tv PBS News Hour PBS December 8, 2015 6:00pm-7:01pm PST
captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc >> woodruff: good evening, i'm judy woodruff. >> ifill: and i'm gwen ifill. >> woodruff: on the newshour tonight: afraid in america: from the threat of attacks at home, to the dangers of divisive language. what's driving the fear, and how can we heal our wounds? >> ifill: also ahead this tuesday: fighting for isis. new data on those heading to iraq and syria to join the jihadists. >> woodruff: and, making sense of how real estate developers are cashing in on a little known immigration program. >> investments are supposed to be a million dollars unless it's in a rural area or in an area of high unemployment. guess what? every project is finagled into a "high unemployment area." >> ifill: all that and more on tonight's pbs newshour.
>> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> woodruff: how to respond to the threat of terror? that question dominated action in congress and the presidential race today. one response came in the house of representatives, late this afternoon, as lawmakers voted
overwhelmingly for new curbs on who is admitted to enter the united states. >> woodruff: the push in the house was to end the practice of not requiring entrance visas for anyone who has been to iraq or syria-- among other places-- in recent years. currently, people from 38 countries qualify for the visa waivers, but house majority leader kevin mccarthy said that time has passed. >> that you have more than 5,000 individuals that have western passports in this program that have gone to iraq or syria in the last five years. those are gaps that we need to fix. >> woodruff: democrats joined in supporting the bill, but they also insisted the house address gun control. minority leader nancy pelosi and others called for a ban on letting people buy guns if they are on a terrorism "watch list."
>> we must not only have moments of silence, we must have days of action. it's not just the high profile occasions, as much as they challenge our conscience and tear at our heart strings, it's the every-day violence in our country that must be addressed. >> woodruff: some republicans argued such a measure punishes people who are wrongly suspected of terrorist links. the debates on both guns and visas follow attacks by islamist extremists last month in paris, and last week in san bernardino, california, as well as other mass shootings. a more drastic response came monday from donald
trump, the republican presidential frontrunner. >> donald j. trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of muslims entering the united states until our country's representatives can figure out what the hell is going on. ( cheers )
>> woodruff: many of his republican rivals took issue with trump, as did republican house speaker paul ryan, today: >> this is not conservatism. what was proposed yesterday is not what this party stands for. and more importantly, it's not what this country stands for. >> woodruff: the obama administration blasted the statement: the secretaries of state and homeland security issued rebukes, and the pentagon warned that such calls feed the islamic state's claim that america is at war with islam. white house spokesman josh earnest went even further: >> the trump campaign, for months now, has had a dustbin of history-like quality to it. from the vacuous sloganeering, to the outright lies, even the fake hair, the whole carnival barker
routine that we've seen for some time now. what donald trump said yesterday disqualifies him from serving as president. >> woodruff: the trump statement
also came in for sharp criticism today from a number of foreign governments. we'll delve more deeply into the new fear of terror attacks, and how we're expressing that fear, after the news summary. >> ifill: in the day's other news, syrian refugee families have been arriving in the u.s. over the objections of state leaders. on monday, the roman catholic archdiocese of indianapolis resettled a family of four previously been forced to move to connecticut. they had undergone two years of security checks. separately, in texas, a syrian family of six arrived in the dallas area. republican governors in both states have called for such refugees to be turned away. >> woodruff: turkey's state-run news agency reports six children, including a baby, drowned today in the latest migrant tragedy. the group of afghan nationals was trying to get to the greek island of chios, when their rubber dinghy sank off turkey's aegean coast. turkey has recently stepped up
efforts to stop migrants from trying to get to greece by sea. >> ifill: security was high in vatican city today as 70,000 people flocked to st. peter's square for the start of a holy year of mercy. 5,000 extra police and soldiers were deployed around rome, in the wake of the paris attacks. pope francis took note of the tensions, as he addressed the faithful. >> ( translated ): let us set aside all fear and dread, for these do not befit men and women who are loved. instead, let us experience the joy of encountering that grace which transforms all things. >> ifill: the pope launched the year-long jubilee by opening large bronze doors at the entrance of st. peter's basilica. crowds later lined up to cross the threshold as an act of pilgrimage. similar holy doors will open at cathedrals around the world on sunday. >> woodruff: back in this country, record-setting rainfall has the portland, oregon area struggling with flooding and
landslides, with more rain due this week. some in portland were forced to evacuate overnight after several inches of rain turned streets and highways into creeks. the downpours also sent sewage overflowing into the willamette river. >> ifill: fewer americans are having trouble paying for their health care in the last four years. that's according to the centers for disease control and prevention. it says the number of people struggling to keep up with medical bills fell by 12 million for the first half of this year, over 2011. the poor and those near the poverty line were most affected, due largely to the president's health care law. >> woodruff: and, wall street gave more ground, faced with falling oil prices and weak data from china. the dow jones industrial average lost 162 points to close below 17,570. the nasdaq fell three points, and the s&p 500 dropped 13. still to come on the newshour: fear and loathing across the
united states. new numbers on who's fighting for isis. supreme court arguments over equal representation, and much more. >> ifill: in the wake of last week's san bernardino shootings and the harsh politicized debate that has followed, we, like many news organizations, have been debating how to cover the story of terrorism at home, backlash against muslims, and how we as a nation cope with fear and loathing. without ignoring the history of such divisive rhetoric, or the danger it can present, we also recognize there is real fear and worry. but where is the line? we search for that answer with three people who follow these issues. dalia mogahed is the director of research at the institute for social policy and understanding. she's the co-author of the book, "who speaks for islam."
ron brownstein writes for "the atlantic" and "national journal," specializing in the demographics of the nation's politics. and khalid baydoun is an associate professor of law at barry university in orlando. he studies the history and intersection of race, religion and national security. thank you all for joining us. ron brownstein, overall, what san mating this discussion we are -- what is animating this discussion we are seeing now. >> we're already having a really volatile debate on american identity even before paris and two things on nat. first, economic strain. in 15 years the median income is low than in 2000, a period of stagnation is almost unprecedented in american history. second, weçó are living through the most profound demographic change in the 20th century.
a majority of our public school systems is nonwhite. white christians now for the first time are less than half the total of american population. so even in the early stages of the presidential campaign all of these issues come together to raise a series of concerns about whether americans and particularly blue collar whites, older whites, non-urban whites, most religiously conservative whites were comfortable with the changes going on in the country, but when you add to that the threat of terror first in paris and here on american soil in san bernardino, it adds an additional element and that's what's produced the combustible mix we're living with. >> dalia mogahed, what is legitimate in this combustible potion ron brownstein outlined and what is not? >> well, i think all americans are concerned for their safety. everything from mass shootings to terrorim. we are all very concerned about
violence. that is relat legitimate and wed to talk about keeping ourselves safe. is what not legitimate and what is dangerous is to broaden that fear to an entire community, to make muslims as a community, as a group collectively guilty for the crimes of specific individuals. the reason that's dangerous not only unproductive is that's exactly what i.s.i.s. wants us to do. this is playing into their narrative. they want a war between muslims and everyone else. they are -- that feeds their narrative and feeds their ability to recruit. >> ifill: khalid baydoun, we have lived through this demonization of the chinese, the japanese in this country. we have been here before.
>> yeah, the culture of, you know, scapegoating an entire group is nothing new in the united states. obviously with the japanese-americans in world war ii. the idea of the stereotype guilt, the idea an individual's race or pheno-type is signaling or symbolic of a national terrorism act is embedded in society. also exclusion axe. there are precedents where banning muslims signifies trump's rhetoric is nothing novel. first you had a naturalization act from 1790 to 1952 which made the naturalization, i is citizenship of muslim immigrants illegal because islam was irreconcilable with whiteness which is a prerequisite for citizenship. you had acts on the books till
1965 which had quotas from asian countries and the indigenous muslim population, enslaistled africans which comprised 1.2 million people in the antebellum itself. so the idea of bans muslims is nothing novel and otherçó groups being demonizing as well. >> ifill: ron brownstein, every poll i look at shows there's a reason for there to be this kind of a demonization as it were, which is that the parties see things differently. >> i normsly differently. across the board, musicians, our immigrants broadly speaking are a burden and benefit to american society. most americans say benefit, a clear majority of republicans, particularly those without college degrees will say burden. is islam compatible with american values? there is something where there is actually a majority of americans in some polls, you know, much stronger in the
republican party will say yes. clearly across the board, if you look at the two parties, i think this is possibly the central divide between them. i've described the democrats as a coalition of transformation. they relay on the group ore millennials, minorities, social upscale whites who tend to be comfortable with dull chiewrl and demographic change we're living through. the republicans i describe as coalition of restoration. they rely on groups who show the most unease about the broader terms of american society, all of which have now been turbo charged by being connected to this very legitimate issue of safety and terrorism has really kind of intensified those concerns and largely expands donald trump's improvement in the polls in the last several weeks. >> ifill: does that explain it to you, dalia mogahed, which is when you look at the numbers and the disconnect among democrats, republicans, whatever, that this was bound to happen? >> well, i think it's interesting to look historically on where these numbers have been, and when you look at
american sentiment about islam and muslims, what you find is anti-muslim sentiment spikes not actually after terrorist attacks, which is what i expected to see, but during election cycles and in the runup to the iraq war. so anti-muslim sentiment is a political tool used primarily by the republican party to drum up votes, and i think that's detrimental to our democracy, not only dangerous for muslims. >> ifill: you're saying this sentiment does not exist at all absent an election? >> it, of course, exists but i'm looking at when it spikes. so when you look at anti-muslim sentiment, it actually did not increase after 9/11. before and after 9/11, there was virtually no change and a slight improvement when you look before and after the boston bombing, again, no change. but you have a 15-point spike among r&publicans during election cycles.
that signals to me that what is driving anti-islam sentiment, an increase in anti-muslim sentiment is a political campaign is a manufactured effort to create fear and turn fear into votes. the problem, though, is that we all lose when this happens. first of all, in all cases, it didn't work. that strategy simply did not work. the most isla islamphobic repubn candidates did not win this primary. we all lost because anti-muslim sentiment and fear hurts our freedom. it makes us less critical, it makes us less likely to hold our government accountable, it makes us more accepting of authoritarianism, conformity and
prejudice and this is corrosive to our democracy. khalid baydoun, is there a differentiation between hate speech and fear speech in this context. >> they emanate from one another and i think we tend to focus on islamphobia, not the root cause which is ignorance and misrepresentation of islams and muslims, if we can erode those two things, islamphobia will not speak in times of crisis. there is pervasive ignorance of the con tiewrs of muslim identity on both sides of party lines. islam for one is always framed as an immigrant faith and foreign faith yet the plurality ofçó muslims are black, one-thi. so if we want to get at theçó heart of curbing islamphobia, the real strategy is retrench the ignorance, retrench the representations of muslims and
islam which feeds hate speech. >> ifill: lacking the political clout other groups have, ron, what is the reality and the ability for that to happen? >> as i said, i think we're having a difficult enough time dealing with the changing face of america when we were thinking about the culturallis implicati, the demographic and economic complications. we're thinking about the economic stream of the voters. you add to that the terrorist and the safety issue and the thing becomes vastly more combustible. the president had a twofold message. he said, on the one hand, we have to combat broad-brush painting of any group, but he also said there is a responsibility in the muslim-american community to be vigilant and dedicated and forceful in rooting out the kind of behavior that we saw -- the kind of attitudes we saw in the attack in san bernardino. and that i think is important for everybody to recognize how
volatile the situation is because it's so difficult even before this. after this, it's that much more explosive. >> ifill: a lot of republicans agree with the president about the vigilance issue. ron brownstein of the national journal and "the atlantic," dalia mogahed, khalid baydoun, thank you all very much. >> thank you. >> woodruff: as law enforcement and intelligence officials worry about attacks inside the united states inspired by the islamic state group, a new report released today says the number of foreign fighters traveling to iraq and syria has dramatically increased over the past year. this chart shows most of the new fighters are from the middle east, the former soviet republics and western europe. the average rate of fighters then returning to western europe
is estimated to be 20 to 30%. we turn now to the lead author of the report, richard barrett, senior vice president of the ali soufan group, a security consulting company. he's also a former british diplomat and intelligence officer. and new york times reporter rukmini callimachi. she's written extensively about the islamic state group and its followers. richard barrett, rukmini callimachi. the number of fighters going into syria and iraq, increasing dramatically in the last 18 months. how much has it gone up, who are they and where are they coming from? >> i reckon it's doubled. it's gone from 12,000 in june of last year to between 27,000 and 31,000 now. most of the recruits are from the middle east and north africa, but consider the number
from other countries as well, most notably europe, russia and the former republicans of the soviet union. i think one thing that's interesting is from north america, the number has remained pretty flat, air rather unremarkable increase from north america which is quite an illustration of your discussion earlier in the program. but there are many reasons why people join the islamic state, and it doesn't mean all are domestic terrorists in training. a lot will go to join the islamic state. i think the key question is about the returnees, whether they have some intention to do something like the paris attacks or whether, in fact, they're just fed up and completely disillusioned by the islamic state and want to go home. >> woodruff: i want to ask you about the returnees, but back to the origin of their decision to make this move, what is driving most of them? >> well, it's hard to say, of course, and we need to know more, but i think that the
islamic state does offer some real attractions. it offers, obviously, some sort of adventure. it's a new adventure as well. you can be in on something that looks very important from the beginning. you can be in on something that gives you a sense of purpose, belonging, a sense of direction which may be completely lacking in your life at home. i think, also, it sort of forgives the past so you can shed all your past and you can start afresh as a valued and respected member of society. i think for many people who go to join the islamic state, that they found lacking, that they found difficult. >> woodruff: rukmini callimachi, you've done so much reporting on this phenomenon. what would you add to the why this is happening? >> well, i think very broadly speaking, the young people i have spoken to that have attempted or succeeded in making the journey seeming to be coming from a place overemptiness in their lives back in the u.s.
i'm deferght specifically to one woman i spent a lot of time with in washington state who was recruited by a man who we believe was looking for the islamic state but did not end up going. she was living in a trailer with her grandmother, early 20s, didn't have a full-time job when i saw her. her idea of fun, she told me, was going to the mall and walking around the mall and looking at the shops and grading at merchandise she could not afford to purchase. so you can see from that place to then being seen as, you know, the wife of a future jihadist, that that could be exciting and give you true meaning in a life that isn't filled with that. >> woodruff: you're experiencing what you're seeing in your reporting is these are young people who lack something in their lives wrath than young people who are excited by something they see online, some
of the propaganda that the islamic state is putting out there? >> i think the first precedes the second. i think, at least in the ones i've spoken to, there is a place of emptiness, and then this propaganda seeks them and it's extremely slick and convincing. in the case of this woman, she was extremely interesting because she was not just a person who had no faith and not a muslim convert. she was actually a sunday school teacher. she was a very ardent christian and they managed to take her from that place to converting to islam online, in private, without any other muslims present, to go from there quickly on to discussing potential marriage to a good muslim and discussing her voyage to what they described as a muslim land, which she understood to be syria. and, so, it was very swift. >> woodruff: richard barrett,
on the question of who comes back to their country of origin and why they do it, whether they go back to commit an attack or go back disillusioned, what did you plern about that and how that's changing? >> they're trying to do a systematic survey of the returnees to ask them why did you go and come back? it's been difficult because people aren't generally keen on talking about that. if they come back and just want to get on with their lives, they don't want to be remind of the experience in the islamic state. and others who come back with perhaps more uncertainçó motive, they wouldn't want to talk to us either. research that. as far as one can tell, i think manyñrñi as rukmini callimachi,e have a very emotional response to the islamic state. when they get there, they find out it's not like that at all and thaiived duped by their mind
and the propaganda. tas article in the "new york times" illustrated, the islamic state is very persistent in pursuing these possible weak characters they want to draw in. >> woodruff: so, rukmini, are we learning what the united states and other countries should be doing to slow this down, if not stop it, at least cut down on the number who are attracted? >> i think the united states seems to be doing something right because as richard pointed out, the numbers from america are flat, whereas they're spiking in numerous other theaters, specifically in europe. so there is something that is working. what i would add is, in the case of the young woman i was profiling, she managed to pull herself back from the edge of the cliff, and she did it through the help of the former extremists who are now back in the west and who saw the errors of their ways and are now online themselves trying to fish out
people like this young woman who is about to possibly make, you know, a very terrible error. what i think is lacking is that there isn't really a former life place in america for those people. if you are somebody like a man who tried to go to pakistan and met the taliban years and years ago but now has come back and is a law-abiding citizen and is helping deradicallizing those people, seems there should be a place for those voices because they're very powerful. they can speak to the ideology. he could say, i have been there and know the verses you're talking about. let me show you verses that say the opposite. >> woodruff: richard barrett and rukmini callimachi. thank you. >> thank you.
>> ifill: stay with us, coming up on the newshour: developers cash in on a little known visa program. how common core standards affect test scores. plus-- conspiracy, mystery and the supernatural. author stacy schiff's true story of the salem witch trials. but first, to the supreme court, where justices today heard one of the most important cases of this term-- involving the very nuts and bolts of how our democracy works. at issue: who gets counted when states have to divvy up their territory into state-house and state-senate districts. everyone who lives there? or just those who can vote? marcia coyle of the "national law journal" was in the courtroom today, and she's here now to tell us more. we're talking about equal representation. we always assume somehow one man, one woman, one vote is the rule. how did this get to the court? >> well, as justice breyer
pointed out in the arguments today, this case raises the fundamental question of what kind of democracy do we want? do we want a democracy in which everyone here is represented or a democracy in which only those who have the right to participate in the democratic process through the vote are represented? the equal protection clause of the 14th amendment the court held includes the principle one person, one vote. that principle, the court said, requires states to draw legislative districts of substantially equal population, but the court has never said -- and this principle goes back to the 1960s -- the court has never said what population counts. the case that the court heard today takes issue with what all 50 states have been doing for basically half a century, using total population. the two texas voters who brought the challenge to the supreme
court claim that one person, one vote really requires states to draw districts on the basis of the eligibility of voters, the voting population, the eligible voting population. >> woodruffpopulation. >> ifill: if you're somebody who doesn't like to vote or a child under age 18 who is not qualified to vote, you're counted for the representational purposes? >> that is correct, under total population, you are counted. today the justices examined both the theory, the meaning of one person, one vote as well as the practical consequences of a shift from what the states have been doing for half a century to just using voter eligible population. >> ifill: what are the practical consequences? who's affected? >> that is a question justice breyer asked during the end of the arguments. he said who's left out, basically? the lawyer, the voters who are challenging this said, children,
noncitizens who are here legally, undocumented aliens and disenfranchised felons. but he also told justice breyer, if this is a concern, the state can address it by giving them the right to vote. on the constitutional side -- >> and giving children the right to vote? >> all those who are left out the right to vote. so many justices explore more deeply the meaning of one person one vote. justice societ soto sotomayor so only with eligible population you are ignoring the dual interests under this principle. it's not only the voter interests, it's the representational interests, and we've given states the discretion to make this joyce. justice cag kagan said i think e framers of the 14th amendment addressed this. the sponsor of the amendment said numbers not voters, numbers not property, that is the theory
of the constitution. she said she couldn't wrap her mind around the other argument when she felt that the framers addressed it. she also noted at one point that the constitution explicitly says you use total population when you apportion the u.s. house of representatives. >> ifill: right. so why would the constitution require total population for that but forbid it for use of state legislative redistricting? >> ifill: so if you are -- the civil rights groups said this is a civil rights issue. >> yes. >> ifill: is that how it broke down in the court arguments today? >> it wasn't much about the politics. this case is at the intersection of the constitution and politics, but it's very clear, and everyone on both sides pretty much agree that if you use voter eligible population to draw your districts, you're going to see a shift from -- you
will see seats moving from the urban areas where you have greater population that tend to vote democratic to less populated rural areas that tend to vote republican. so that's the politics end of it. also, at least in texas and a few other states, the population that would probably feel the impact of this most negatively would be your latino population which is closer to the cities and has larger families with more children. >> ifill: i'm always curious how the cases that we think are settled end up at the court. how did this one do this? >> it's interesting. there are two vote horse brought the challenge, but behind the two voters is really one man, edward blum, who runs the project on fair representation whose goal is toned about all racial and ethnic classifications. he is behind the case we may discuss tomorrow on affirmative action in universities.
>> you've seen him before and will see him again. >> yes. marcia coyle, "national law journal." thank you. >> my pleasure, gwen. >> woodruff: much attention on capitol hill is focused on a deadline this week to pass a major funding bill for the government. but as is often the case, other less-noticed bills get swept up in the process. tonight we have a report about one of those-- a controversial immigration program tied to jobs, development and money that's due to expire friday. it's been around for two decades, but is up for renewal and possibly some changes. economics correspondent paul solman has the first of two reports this week, part of our series "making sense" of financial news. >> reporter: officially, this is an economically depressed part of brooklyn, new york. so where are we? >> we're right here at northern
163. and the barclays center is right over there. >> reporter: for years, freelance journalist norm oder has been following this project; formerly called atlantic yards, now pacific park-- is writing a book about it. >> what's being built is the shaded area. >> reporter: what's being built is condominium housing. the investors: foreigners, mostly chinese, who, as part of our country's e.b.-five visa program, can get permanent u.s. resident visas-- green cards-- for themselves, spouse and minor children, in return for their investment. the chunk of change required? >> e.b.-five investments are supposed to be a million dollars unless it's in a rural area or in an area of high unemployment. that's called a targeted employment area, then it's $500 thousand. guess what? every project is finagled into " high unemployment area." look around here-- we're in a prosperous area. a brownstone over here is easily over $2 million; condos in some of these buildings, close to a million.
how do you get to be a targeted employment area? you have to create a zone of high unemployment. so how do you do that? >> you have to connect census tracts so it adds up, in total, to be 150 of the overall national unemployment average, so this is what they did. this is taking you out here in this arc through the neighborhood of crown heights, and into this neighborhood bedford-stuyvesant, all the way up into this poor district, creating this rather odd shape. i call it the "bed-sty boomerang." >> reporter: oder means that th" targeted employment area" is a contorted tract drawn to meet the high unemployment hurdle for the lower half-million-dollar investment- which must create ten jobs as a condition for the visas. >> there's something really fake going on. >> reporter: nevertheless, it's perfectly legal under current e.b.-five legislation. forest city ratner, the developer of pacific park, says it "complied with all of the required guidelines and laws. we have created thousands of
construction and permanent jobs in an area with historically very high unemployment levels 70% of the development company is owned by a firm based in shanghai, so chinese investors are getting green cards for building luxury housing in a ritzy neighborhood, and the bulk of the profits will go to china. not surprisingly, it isn't just crusading reporters who find e.b.-five projects like this one problematic. >> much of the investment money coming into targeted employment areas has been directed towards lavish-- i mean, building projects in well-to-do urban areas. one of the most notorious examples of this gerrymandering to push the boundaries is the hudson yards project. >> reporter: republican senator charles grassley is talking about this e.b.-five project in manhattan, which persuaded foreign investors to build luxury apartment buildings,
office towers and retail space right next to the hip highline and chelsea neighborhood. to reach the unemployment threshold, the developers delineated a skinny tract that stretched 10 miles north, to include the poor, densely populated manhattanville housing project." related companies," the developer of hudson yards, did not respond to pbs newhour's requests for comment. >> even the "wall street journal," which never met a business project it didn't like, reported on how this program has been abused. >> reporter: case in point: a chicago developer who suckered several hundred chinese into investing $160 million in a proposed hotel and convention center near o'hare airport. a slick, chinese language promotional video, using illinois officials and the state seal, helped convince investors this was legit. >> we welcome e.b.-five investors to the state of
illinois and the city of chicago. >> reporter: but nothing was built, no visas issued, the money siphoned instead for personal use and to fund a cosmetic surgery business. the developer was charged with fraud. moreover, the job creation claims are suspect, says brookings researcher audrey singer: >> there's very little knowledge of who gets those jobs, where they live, whether they're good jobs, whether they're short term or long term jobs. >> reporter: and yet the e.b.-five program is booming, especially since the crash of 2008, when traditional bank financing for real estate development dried up. the number of foreign investors who were allocated visas under the regional center program has jumped from 805 in 2007 to the annual limit of 10,000 the past two years, a limit already reached this year by september. 90% of those now applying are chinese. so why shouldn't e.b.-five be reined in, or simply scuttled,
when its authorization runs out this month? immigration professor stephen yale-loehr helped structure the project in brooklyn where this piece began. >> the program is good in a variety of ways. it creates jobs for u.s. workers at no expense to the u.s. taxpayer, particularly during the great recession when developers could not find domestic capital to start or finish their projects. e.b.-five money became one way that they could do so. >> my passion was in redeveloping neighborhoods and then i found e.b.-five, which is another tool to do it. >> reporter: angel brunner is the co-founder of e.b.-five capital, a private firm that recruits investors through so- called "regional centers" and pools foreign capital for developers. >> what i really liked about it was that it didn't take taxpayer money, and it was a foreign source of capital. >> reporter: a cheap source, as investors settle for low returns in exchange for green cards and eventual citizenship. not all e.b.-five projects are suspect. the same regional center that
helped finance the pacific park project in brooklyn also helped put wi-fi in the new york city subways. another example: just a stone's throw from the nation's capitol building, a famous space that's gone to seed is getting a much needed facelift: >> it's the original site of the beatles first north american concert in the 1960's. it's gone from parking lot to waste management facility and now finally to class a retail and class a office. >> reporter: but only because of e.b.-five. so, for this program, as for so many others, there's the good along with the bad. and remember the investors, says stephen yale-loehr: >> it's not just $500,000 they're bringing to the united states-- they're buying homes here, they're paying taxes on their world-wide income,, they're sending their children to college here and paying for college education, so each investor that's coming to the united states is spending or investing a lot more than what the program requires to get the green card.
>> reporter: thus senators grassley and patrick leahy have introduced a bill to amend the program, increase transparency and oversight to prevent fraud, raise the minimum investment to $800 thousand from the current $500 thousand for targeted employment areas, and define those areas by census tract-- no more bed-stuy boomerangs. but back in brooklyn, journalist norm oder remains unconvinced. >> i think there should be a giant pause and re-think the whole thing. >> reporter: meanwhile, the clock is ticking toward the december 11 reauthorization deadline. this is economics correspondent paul solman, reporting for the pbs newshour. >> ifill: congress is on the verge of finally approving a rewrite of the education law known as no child left behind. the senate is expected to pass it easily tomorrow. the house did so last week, and
the president is expected to sign it. it will give states more control over public schools, but still requires annual student testing. tests have long been the subject of heated debate, especially those tied to the new and more ambitious common core standards. this fall, results are coming in for the first time, and in many places, they've been disappointing. that includes new jersey, where many parents have been concerned about excessive testing. john tulenko of education week has the story. >> reporter: the common core standards, adopted by most states five years ago, raised expectations for students and launched a massive effort to create new curriculum and train teachers to teach it. now the results of common core tests are coming in, and they're feeling like a bucket of cold water. >> the scores will show that we have great challenges ahead... >> reporter: new jersey's education commissioner david hespe recently shared results
from his state. in english language arts, fewer than half of students were proficient. and in math, only about a third, a steep decline in proficiency rates compared to the old state test. the numbers are similar in many other states. commissioner hespe asked the public not to panic. >> it's the first year of an initial test. we should be humble, we should be patient, we should take our time to review all this information... >> reporter: to help make sense of all this, we turned to a testing expert: rutgers university professor drew gitomer. so, first question, what's it going to mean for new jersey? >> well, when you raise the standards, as the common core is trying to do, has been trying to do, you're judging it against a higher level of expectations for students. and there may have been a false sense of proficiency, under the previous state testing regime. >> this is how specific the data
is... >> reporter: officials in new jersey and other states are counting on data from the new online tests, including p.a.r.c.c. and smarter balanced, to show teachers the way forward. >> we can use the information we're gonna be getting from p.a.r.c.c. to help us close curriculum and instruction gaps in individual classrooms throughout the state of new jersey. our prior test could not do that. this test can. >> reporter: but experts like gitomer aren't so sure that even highly specialized test results will make a difference. >> simply by providing that information and assuming that teachers and administrative leaders have the capacity to take that information and translate it into better practice seems to be... i'm skeptical of that. >> reporter: why? because it's been tried before. millions of students have already been taking, on average, eight state standardized tests per year. and for more than 20 years, the federal government's been giving a national test, n.a.e.p., that just sounded the alarm again
about disappointing results in math and reading-- especially for low income and some minority students. but performance on these tests has proven very difficult to move. why should we think it's gonna be different this time around? >> that's a very good question. this goes back to the old cliche that you don't fatten up a pig by weighing it all the time. >> reporter: even president obama recently said public schools test too much. >> learning is about so much more than filling in the right bubble. >> reporter: no more than 2% of the school year, the president now says, should be devoted to standardized testing. so if tests aren't likely to change things, what will? >> i think we want to spend more of our effort in high quality curricula, not on finer and finer diagnosis of students. >> reporter: the common core's about more than tests. states used millions of their own money, and federal funds, to train teachers and develop curriculum to help students meet the new standards. and new jersey wants to do more.
>> we have to look at supports for students... tiered interventions for students. we need to look at expanding things like early childhood programs... >> reporter: but it's not clear how new jersey will pay for all this. federal grants to support the common core have run out. and new jersey's own general aid, which keeps schools running day in, day out, is still about what it was in 2009. similar conditions in many other states may limit their options too. >> with the common core i think there was a lot of well intentioned folks who were trying to raise the bar and use it as an impetus for improving instruction, but i do think if you look at what has happened in a variety of expensive initiatives including no child left behind, the emphasis has largely been on the testing and not on what to do once we get the test results. >> reporter: states say they'll continue their efforts to improve instruction and hope to see better results next time around. one state, ohio, has taken a
short cut: it's simply lowered the bar by setting more modest pass rates. and not surprisingly, its students seem to be doing better. i'm john tulenko of education week, reporting for the pbs newshour. >> woodruff: an exceptionally severe winter in massachusetts. a minister's daughter began to scream and went into convulsions. less than a year later 19 men and women had been hanged and one man crushed to death. it was the salem witch trails, and they are the focus of the latest add to the newshour bookshelf. biographer stacy schiff turns her gaze on "the witches: salem 1692." she recently talked with jeffrey brown. >> brown: the first thing that hits me here is nine months, all of this unfolded in nine months,
in one year. >> frightening speed, right? >> brown: frightening speed. it's exponential. it begins with two little girls, presumably bewitched, and names began to fly about and before you know it you had this explosive number of accusations. >> brown: before you know it, and it comes to an end. and yet it has lived on. >> it's interesting. it's a stuttering start. it flings to life and dies out very quickly as well and lives on partly because we think of this as something very unlikely to have happened in enlightened america. it's the kind of thing that happened in the medieval world in europe, not on our shores. >> brown: there are so many characters. is there one you can remember hitting you in the gut? >> in terms of what is most beguiling, there's a minister at the center of this crisis accused of witchcraft and he's compelling and unsuspected
because the accused are all women and here you have a harvard-educated minister who has been accused of witchcraft and who is said to have been not only a wizard but a conjurer, a rank above a wizard, and is vested with these particularly terrific powers and all fingers seem to point to him. h he's the one who begins to minister diabolic sabbaths to so-called confessers in the parsonage field. >> brown: in life in this community, did they feel familiar to you or did it feel alien? >> it's farther away from other subjects i've worked on intellectually. you have to get inside a puritan mindset. religion is part of the intellectual heritage. but their insecurities and preoccupations and the gnawing need to solve a puzzle, they're just like us.
in that way they strike us as our cousins in many ways. >> brown: one of the things i find interesting for you as the writer is you have to make a decision about how to treat them, to treat their craziness, in a sense. you, stacy schiff, do not believe women ride around on brooms in the night yet those people did. >> i felt like it was my job to make you understand that they truly believed this. the woman who confess they did flew around on a pole to a diabolical sabbath and those on the pole with them believed to some extent what they were saying. you had to buy into that and the imagery and understand why althe delusional things were delusional. but you had to make them feel real before you could discuss why they were crazy. >> brown: how did you decide to do that? >> a lot of it derives from what they're hearing in the pulpit and from prior witchcraft cases. the interesting thing with
history, we often apply a previous narrative to what we see in front of us, and that happens here where you have the whole transference of another witch cracht crisis to 1692 salem and you begin to see how the story boils and how the ideas and agendas converge in salem. >> brown: it's so different from your other books when you're focusing on particularly one person. this is a community. >> this is a tap industry. >> brown: a whole tap industry. >> yeah. >> brown: was it interesting for you, harder for you? >> it's fascinating that you can slip from one sensibility to the other. if i go to a crowded cocktail party instead of an intimate dinner with one person, which i loved, there is ritual to me in many ways, but you have to figure out who's going to carry your story forward, which of the victims you wasn't to write about, which of the court configures they need to hear and how much time to give each of those things. >> brown: there are all kinds of theories as to how this could
have happened. where do you come out? >> you have to read the book to get to the theory but it's a perfect storm in many ways. everyone has an agenda. the agenda isn't entirely clear. there are very much hidden agendas. the girls and ministers have their reasons, the specific authorities have their reasons, the villagers have their reasons and all of those reasons at a particularly vulnerable and explosive time for the conley converge. >> brown: did you want to figure it out or not? because some things are better left to such a great story. >> no, i mean, to me this strikes me as a fairly months and thorough resolution of the mystery of salem. i think you come away thinking, now i see how this could have happened, how all of these things could have built one upon another, and i think there are a lot of fresh threads to the tap industry of how this has come to play. the simplistic explanations fail us when it comes to an incident
as incredibly widespread as this one. >> brown: and the fascination continues. we somehow feel this couldn't have happened in our country. >> we don't do this kind of thing. how could our enlightened puritan ancestors do such things? how do we see this in modern time? part of it is the mystery of the matter, you know, how could this have happened and i don't really understand it. it's the kind of uncertainty that people in 1692 were accused of witchcraft. >> brown: an and it's been taken up in books and plays. >> some of us never outgrow our fascination wit, case in point. >> brown: the book, "the witches." stacy, thanks so much. >> thanks, jeff. >> ifill: and that's the newshour for tonight. i'm gwen ifill.
>> woodruff: and i'm judy woodruff. join us online, and again here tomorrow evening. for all of us at the pbs newshour, thank you and good night. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: ♪ ♪ moving our economy for 160 years. bnsf, the engine that connects us. >> the ford foundation. working with visionaries on the frontlines of social change worldwide. >> carnegie corporation of new york.
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t-u-v-. this is "nightly business report" with tyler mathisen and sue herara. >> commodity crush. it's not just oil. iron ore, aluminum, steel, also getting slammed as the decline in prices takes a toll on companies and markets worldwide. >> in jeopardy, late reports tonight that yahoo! may not go forward with its spinoff of alibaba raising questions about the future of its ceo, marissa mayer. >> and dangerous habit. the one thing that's becoming a bigger risk on the road than texting while driving. all that and more tonight on "nightly business report" for tuesday it, december 8. >> good evening, everyone. a triple digit loss in the market today. late developments tonight on one of the world's biggest internet companies. yahoo!. it seems one of its core