tv PBS News Hour PBS January 11, 2016 3:00pm-4:00pm PST
captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc >> woodruff: good evening. i'm judy woodruff. gwen ifill is away. on the newshour tonight: with only three weeks to go till iowa voters kick off the 2016 presidential primary season, the race tightens between two leading democrats and among republicans. all part of "politics monday." then, actor sean penn's meeting with drug lord "el chapo" and ethical questions around the "rolling stone" article. and... ♪ remembering legendary singer, artist and writer, david bowie, who transformed rock music over decades. >> bowie never seemed old, that
sense of reinvention made him of seem the time at every time. >> woodruff: all that and more on tonight's pbs newshour. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: ♪ ♪ moving our economy for 160 years. bnsf, the engine that connects us.
>> and the william and flora hewlett foundation, helping people build immeasurably better lives. >> 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: gunmen burst into a shopping mall in iraq today, killing at least 18 people and wounding 40 others. the islamic state group claimed responsibility for the attack in baghdad. it began with a car bomb and suicide blast at the jawhara mall. that touched off a 90-minute gun battle before security forces gained control. to the north, another suicide attack killed two dozen people. ten more were killed in other bombings.
food and medicine finally got through today, to a syrian town that's slowly starving to death. an aid convoy was allowed in, under an agreement with pro- government forces who have blockaded the place. lindsey hilsum of independent television news has the story. >> reporter: at last, this morning, red crescent trucks headed towards the besieged town of madaya, carrying tinned food, rice, lentils, and other supplies, all desperately needed. the people waited. they haven't had a food delivery like this for three months. five more died of hunger or hunger related diseases yesterday. aid workers went in first. food is a weapon of war in syria. and the u.n. and red crescent have carefully negotiated with both government and rebels. anything can go wrong at the last minute. and this is just a stopgap.
>> ( translated ): people are very happy today because the food has arrived, but they're worried and upset because they're still under siege. the town isn't yet open to the world, so the human disaster we've witnessed could happen again in two weeks time. >> reporter: under the agreement, emergency aid is being delivered from the syrian capital damascus both to madaya, which is held by rebels, while besieged by syrian government forces and hezbollah, and to the shia villages in the north, near idlib: al foua, and kafraya, which are besieged by the rebel group ahrar al-sham. the rebels surround the villages, and although there isn't the same level of hunger there as in madaya, the people, who are mostly government supporters, are trapped, unable to leave. if the food program hopes to
feed 40,000 people in the area for one month, just a tenth of the number of syrians who urgently need food aid this winter. >> woodruff: the united nations says says 4.5 million syrians are in need of humanitarian aid. germany's leaders today condemned retaliatory violence against immigrants. six pakistanis and a syrian were assaulted sunday in cologne as tensions flared over new year's eve attacks, mostly carried out by migrants. meanwhile, turkey said it plans to offer work permits to syrian refugees so fewer of them will try to get to europe. in pakistan, new efforts began to revive long-stalled peace talks in neighboring afghanistan. representatives from afghanistan, china the u.s. and pakistan met late into the night in islamabad. the four nations did not invite the taliban to the session, but pakistani officials said it's vital to bring the militants into the fold. >> the primary objective of the
reconciliation process is to create conditions to bring the taliban groups to the negotiating table and offer them incentives that can persuade them to move away from using violence as a tool for rsuing political goals. >> woodruff: the taliban said today it will not agree to any direct talks with afghanistan without first talking to the united states. on wall street, stocks managed small gains, despite oil prices falling to just over $31 a barrel, the lowest in 12 years. the dow jones industrial average gained 52 points to close near 16,400. the nasdaq fell five points, and the s&p 500 added a point. and the ringling brothers and barnum and bailey circus has announced it's retiring all of its touring elephants in may. that's a year and a half earlier than originally planned, and it comes as more cities are banning events involving elephant acts.
the pachyderms will go to live at the company's conservation center in florida. still to come on the newshour: bernie sanders closing the gap in iowa. the legacy of superstar david bowie. mandatory union dues before the supreme court. and much more. >> woodruff: with just three weeks to go until the nation's first early-voting contests in iowa, presidential candidates are sharpening their attacks. on the democratic side today, hillary clinton stressed the differences within the democratic field, while bernie sanders pushed his core populist message to potential hawkeye state voters. >> you can run a strong and, i believe, winning campaign
without asking wall street or the drug companies or millionaires and pill nares for their -- billionaires for their support. you can go to ordinary people who want real change in this country and do it with the support of the middle class of this country. >> as you begin to think about the caucus and read about what we're each saying and talk to your friends and neighbors, i think it's time for us to have the kind of spirited debate that you deserve us to have. again, we're so much better than the republicans, but we do have differences, and you deserve to know what those differences are. >> woodruff: well, let's get into some of those differences on this "politics monday," reporting from the trial, both in iowa tonight, tamera keith of n.p.r. and amy walter of the "cook political report." i hope you are both indoors because it's cold outside. we are seeing a tightening of
the race today, amy, showing a poll bernie sanders is caught up to within 3 points within hillary clinton, an nbc "wall street journal" marist poll. do we understand why this race is tightening? what's behind these numbers? >> well, the hillary clinton campaign will tell you, in fact have told us since the beginning of this race, that they expected this would be tight all along. of course, all candidates say that. we know why it's going to be tight, because the same dynamics are in play this year as they were back in 2007 and 2008. back then, hillary clinton did best among those people who traditionally come in caucus -- older voters, much better with women. where barack obama did better is independence and young people, people who don't necessarily show up to caucus. this same dynamic is playing out in 2016 but bernie sanders playing the role of barack obama and hillary clinton playing the role of herself again. so the question on caucus night will come down to who comes out
to vote, which, of course, none of us can know until that night. but if it's a big number that come out including people who don't traditionally show up on a monday in february, then this race will indeed be very close. if it's more of the traditional democratic voters that show up every year, then hillary clinton, i think, will have an easier time winning. >> woodruff: but, tamara, is that tightening changing the way the candidates talk to the voters and what they're saying? >> i don't know if it's the tightening that's doing it or the limited time left on the calendar, but they are definitely talking in a different way than they have before. in particular, hillary clinton is much more pointed in the way she talks about bernie sanders than in the past. a little example, an argument they're now having about guns. this game up back in october and hillary clinton talked about bernie sanders' position on immunity or some level of immunity for gunmakers and gun
dealers but she never really called him out by name. now she's saying bernie sanders supported this thing when it came up in 2005 in congress. he's open to possibly changing his position on it or revisiting it, but he hasn't changed his position yet. and she is saying barack obama, the president and i, we want to take away this immunity. bernie sanders, calling him out by name, doesn't want to. that's very different that they're talking about each other now by name, and they're talking very specifically about issues. >> woodruff: and, amy, i saw this afternoon her campaign put out a statement about she wants to put a cur charge on multi-million nares. it's very clear whose attention she's trying to get. >> exactly. i was at a bernie sanders event today here in iowa, what was interesting, to tamara's point, you know,market seems to have sharpened her attacks on bernie
sanders, whereas bernie seems to be the more subtle, gentler attacker here, still refusing to call her out -- he calls her out but not quite as pointedly. he continues to mention the fact that he's never run negative ads in his time as a candidate, suggesting he's not going to do it this time and wants to win on the merits of the debate. no question in talking to bernie sanders supporters, they feel like no matter what, they have won because they have forced hillary clinton to move to their position, a more liberal position, and specifically, of course, on this last issue, on economic inequality. >> woodruff: and, tamara, the sanders people must think that this sort of, as you put it, soft response is working for them. >> it's very much bernie sanders' personality. it's the persona he's had as a candidate throughout his political career, and he doesn't intend to change that. that said, he is willing to go there on issues.
he has been calling on clinton to support a bill on paid family leave that he's a co-sponsor of, along with kristen gillibrand and other senators. clinton said, i support paid family leave just like you do, but she wants to pay for it in a different way. so i think that -- and with that tax proposal, bernie sanders' campaign came out and said that won't be enough, what clinton is proposing. so i think they are starting to get chippy on issues themselves, and i think we can expect to see them fighting about taxes in the weeks ahead. >> woodruff: i like that word "chippy." so guess whole who else is talkt bernie sanders? none other than donald trump said something. let's listen. >> i want to run against bernie! (cheers and applause) oh, that's a dream come true, this guy. he would make some president. 90% tax, everybody. does anybody mind paying 90%
tax? because you go with bernie, you're going to have yourself a nice 90% tax. he wants to take it all away from you. >> woodruff: so, amy, mr. trump still has other republican candidates to worry about, but he is talking about bernie sanders. >> well, two things going on -- one, donald trump always has to be part of whatever talking points are, so they wanted get himself into what a debate between bernie sanders and hillary clinton and make sure nobody forgot about him, he inserts himself. the other piece goes toward what bernie sanders is talking about, that he is the more electable candidate. the thought has been for a long time hillary clinton is a better general election candidate and has a hard time with liberal voters. bernie sanders points to the poll, particularly the marist poll, that shows bernie sanders is beating donald trump handily in new hampshire, whereas
hillary clinton is only up by 1 point, bernie sanders is saying i'm the more electable candidate. no one talked about bernie sanders yet. this issue donald trump brought up about 90% texas, we will hear a lot about the amount of spending and where it's coming from. should bernie sanders be the nominee, it will be a very tough road for him and the numbers will change. that being said, i think what donald trump is trying to do is say, whoa, don't let bernie sanders put the cart before the horse here. >> woodruff: about 45 seconds left, tamara. fill us in on where does the republican race stand right now in iowa? >> it's sort of a neck and neck situation depending on which poll you look at between donald trump and ted cruz, ted cruz being the senator from texas, and ted cruz is really consolidated the evangelical vote, and donald trump seems to be getting almost all of the rest. and trump today, i think, even speculated as to why some of those people who are so far
behind in the polls don't just drop out, so there you have it. >> woodruff: well, we're just watching along with the two thef you. we're glad you're there as our eyes and ears, tamara keith, amy walter, good luck on the trail. thank you. >> thank you. you're welcome. thanks. >> woodruff: and while the candidates jockey for position and try to win over voters, the bipartisan group "no labels" is still hammering away at its goal of bringing the parties together. today, they announced republicans ben carson, chris christie, john kasich, rand paul and donald trump, and one democrat, martin o'malley, have all signed a pledge to work toward the "no labels" policy agenda. which calls for creating jobs, securing social security and medicare, balancing the federal budget and making the united states energy secure. a short time ago, i spoke with the group's co-chairs: former connecticut senator joe lieberman and former utah
governor jon huntsman. senator lieberman, governor huntsman, thank you for joining us. so you have five republicans and one democrat who have signed this pledge. what exactly are they pledging to do, governor huntsman? >> well, they are pledging to embrace a process for goal setting and leadership in a bipartisan fashion drawing from tell meant of a national strategic agenda which include four big policy categories -- jobs, entitlements, energy and a balanced budget. essentially, every one to have the six candidates, a very diverse group, i might add, stating they will support the national strategic agenda and, number two, they will sit down and meet with a bipartisan group of congressional leaders within 30 days of being elected to the presidency and, third, to establish a goal of drawing from one of those big issue categories and leading out in a bipartisan fashion in delivering
what the american people are really looking for. >> woodruff: senator leash lieberman, hearing this, aren't those the general goals stated in a broad-brush way that just about anyone could agree to? >> that's exactly the way we framed them because we're operating from the premise that we're trying to disrupt the dysfunction in the washington political system. we're trying to create some incentives for people to work together, and one of the best ways is to have people agree at least on commonly held goals, the four policy areas. so left, right, center, democrat, republican should agree on the goals. then for these presidential candidate to promise, if they get elected, within the first 30 days in office, they will call members of congress, both parties in, to begin negotiating to get something done on at least one of the goals. frankly, i'm surprised all 15 of the current presidential candidates didn't sign on to this. i'm grateful that the six did,
but i'm puzzled the other nine haven't, and we're going to continue to pursue them to make our case that it's not asking much for them to pledge, promise to work together across party lines, which hasn't happened very much in washington lately. >> woodruff: governor huntsman, though, at the same time, isn't it the fact that candidates from different parties, say a conservative republican, is going to have a very different concept of what it means to secure social security and medicare than is a liberal democrat? >> and that, judy, is the beauty of governing. that's what the process is so important. that's what i had to do as a governor, put your ideas, build bipartisan coalitions and manage it through to fruition. it's been a long time since we've put points on the board in terms of getting pig, important things done for the american people. i can remember in the '80s when ronald reagan did so with tip o'neal, they set a goal
around medicare, social security and tax reform, and i remember in the '90s when bill clinton and newt gingrich, then speaker of the house, set a goal, differing widely from an ideological point is standpoint, they took two different pathways to tend point but got there. so you have to set the goal first and expect people on both sides are going to negotiate, compromise and ultimately figure out a way to get there. that's all part of the process. >> woodruff: but senator lieberman, you're not underestimating how far apart these candidates, many are, on these fundamental questions? >> in a sense werk are through no labels in a very different way expressing the anger, the frustration so many americans feel about how the american government has gone off the track and is being expressed by a lot of these candidates with anger as well but, in the end, you have to be more than angry. you have to be willing -- history tells us to work with people in the other party to get something done, and we're trying
to create a vehicle for the voters to send that message loud and clear to the presidential candidates. >> woodruff: and governor huntsman, finally, though, can you really hold these candidates accountable? >> the american people will do just that. i have no doubt. the country is hungry for this kind of sense of bipartisan problem solving. they're turning out, and you better believe they're turning out to the town hall meetings and a will be right up till the primary, and they're going to hold the candidates accountable, ultimately. that's why creating the vehicle which we have done through no labels is exactly what needs to be done. there is no other movement quite like it. we're republicans, democrats, independents, we have different affiliations but agree on the necessity of problem solving to the get the work of the american people done. that's what's been missing. >> woodruff: we thank you both.
>> woodruff: one of the most influential and revolutionary musical artists of his generation, david bowie, died yesterday after an 18-month battle with cancer. in a career that spanned more than five decades, the sale of more than 140 million albums, and included an ever-changing and sometimes androgynous look that led to glam rock and many other iconic moments, david bowie remained an original to the end. jeffrey brown has our remembrance. ♪ >> brown: constantly changing, but somehow always uniquely himself.
♪ david bowie was one of the culture's heroic figures for decades. appearing in many guises, shapes and forms, leaving a mark on rock music and well beyond. he was born david jones in south london in 1947, and rose to fame first in 1969 as 'major tom' in the hit song, "space oddity". and then, memorably, in the early 70s as another otherworldly character, 'ziggy stardust'. rolling stone music critic anthony decurtis: >> suddenly, here's david bowie. kind of a much more complex
subversive figure. >> nothing you have seen or heard about david bowie will prepare you for the -- >> in 1976 bowie stepped into another artistic world acting as the pale alien in the film "the man who fell to earth." ♪ then in the 80s, he became a music video and fashion icon, cementing his mainstream pop star status with a string of hits, telling his fans "let's dance". ♪ his range of pursuits, very much including a visual sensibility, also attracted those in the art world. michael darling is with
chicago's museum of contemporary art, which hosted an exhibition on bowie. >> the thing that made him a museum exhibition is the variety of his output. we had costumes, stage designs, graphic designs, handwritten lyrics and things like that. >> the range, the showmanship, playfulness were hugely influential. madonna spoke to it when bowie was inducted into the rock and roll hall of fame in 1996. >> he has truly changed my life. today other musicians and artists spoke to bowie's influences including some of the day's biggest stars. >> it's one thing to be influential in rocklen roll but when you affect the pop world, like madonna or lady gaga, bowie was an extremely important figure for them. this idea that you could
continually reinvent yourself, that every time you stepped out on the stage, it was a stage, and which character are you going to be playing? that was anybody's guess. bowie never seemed old. that sense of reinvention really made him seem of the time at every time. >> so many artists these days are working across different media. they're making videos. they're doing performances. they're painting, taking photographs, and david bowie was already, you know, as early as the 1960s, doing that work. >> tributes came from fans. some at a mural in his hometown. >> the message he gave to me was don't ever be afraid to be different believe in yourself. >> brown: even some from very high places, such as british prime minister david cameron. >> david bowie was a genius. for someone of my age, he provided a lot of the soundtrack of our lives. >> brown: bowie was married for more than 20 years to the
supermodel iman, with whom he had a daughter. he also had a son from a previous marriage. he'd been active in recent years, he'd kept working, collaborating on a new off- broadway musical, "lazarus" and with a jazz quartet on his last album, "blackstar". it was released just last friday on bowie's birthday. ♪ >> brown: david bowie died of cancer sunday night, two days after his 69th birthday. >> woodruff: stay with us. coming up on the newshour: the ethics of interviewing an infamous drug lord.
how college players continue to play football despite bans after they've had concussions. and the power of poetry born in a juvenile detention center. but first, to the supreme court. today, the justices heard arguments involving a group of california schoolteachers and a major teachers' union, in a case that could have wide ramifications for organized labor. the question: can teachers who aren't union members be required to pay some union dues? our regular, marcia coyle of the "national law journal" was in the courtroom today, and she's here now to tell us more. before i begin, we were talking about david bowie and you said you remember something special. >> i remember his duet with bing crosby in a crosby christmas special when he sang peace on earth and bing crosby sang little drurm boy. it was a beautiful duet. >> woodruff: another testament to his versatility. >> yes, indeed. >> woodruff: i had to ask you
about that. this case involving the deepers. >> no singing in the supreme court today. >> reporter: this was a case with history. >> yes. in 1977, the supreme court upheld a state law that required unions, which at the time were the exclusive bargaining agent and had to represent all public employees in that unit, it allowed those unions to collect -- or required those unions to collect so-called agency shop fees in order to cover their share of the collective bargaining costs, even though they were non-members of the union. the supreme court at the time said that the interference with their first amendment speech and association rights were justified for two reasons -- government employers wanted lab peace, they didn't -- labor peace. they didn't want to negotiate with multiple representatives with often conflicting demands. also, the government employers wanted to avoid free riders, the
non-union members who would get the benefits to have collective bargaining without sharing in the cost. fast forward almost 40 years, the supreme court has two cases, one in 2012, another in 2014, both by justice alito casting doubt on whether that 1977 decision was really good law and, into that doubt steps smart lawyers, anti-union lawyers who created a case that would challenge that 1977 decision head-on and that's the case the court heard today. >> woodruff: tell us the main arguments and how did the justices respond. >> first up would be the ten california public school teachers who are objecting to paying any fees to the union. the -- i saw in the court what i would call a clear ideological divide. you had the more conservative justices being very skeptical of
the union's claims that the interests served by the 1977 decision really did comport or really did justify the first amendment encroachment by the agency shop fees. justice kennedy was the most critical voice, i think, during the arguments. he said this was compelled speech and what the unions were doing were creating compelled writers, not free writers, but compelled writers. you also had the chief justice and justices alloto and justice scalia questioning the line that the court in 1977 drew between collective bargaining activities for which unions could collect the fees and unrelated activities that were more political. justice sk scalia said everythig collectively bargained with the government has a political component. on the other side, you had
justices demanding of the california teachers who are challenge this a special justification for overruling a 1977 precedent that's been around 40 years and, as justice kagan said, tens of thousands of contracts affecting maybe ten million people have been in place because of that 1977 decision. >> woodruff: marcia, a fair amount has been written about whether this is going to have broader repercussions. did that come up in the argument? >> it tid. justice ginsburg said if this 1977 precedent falls, so, too, will the court's decisions upholding similar required fees, for example, that lawyers pay in mandatory bar associations and even student activity fees paid in public universities. but there is a disagreement wean the two sides over the impact. the teachers challenging the fees, their lawyers say, no,
unions will continue to go on, there are 25 states that don't have agency shop fees and their unions continue to exist and thrive. the other side, the unions say, no, this is a major blow. we used this money to do things like train teachers, train firefighters in other types of unions, provide equipment that maybe counties and local governments cnd afford. so they see this as a weakening and blow if this 1977 decision falls. >> woodruff: it will be watched closely. >> it will be a big end of term, i'm sure i will be back. >> woodruff: can't wait, marcia coyle. >> my pleasure. >> woodruff: the united states and mexico are now trying to determine how to have the recently-captured drug kingpin, "el chapo", extradited from mexico to the u.s.
this weekend, "rolling stone" magazine published a story about el chapo that could have come straight out of a hollywood screenplay. it was written and reported by actor sean penn, who secretly visited "el chapo" in mexico before he'd been captured. but some are questioning the ethics of "rolling stone"'s methods. our william brangham has more. >> brangham: "rolling stone"'s article was the very first time the public has heard from joaquin "el chapo" guzman directly. the meeting between the drug lord and sean penn was setup by another actor: kate del castillo, one of mexico's most famous television stars. "rolling stone" gave the drug kingpin fugitive final approval of the piece. sean penn did spend an evening with guzman. but guzman's quotes in the piece came from a video recording after the actor sent him questions. according to the magazine, this photo accompanied the story, for authentication purposes. proof that the two met. joining me for more on this is angela kocherga, she's the borderlands bureau director for cronkite news at arizona pbs.
angela, thank you for joining us. i wonder if you could just tell me, what was your first reaction when you saw the sean penn piece in rolling stone? >> i thought, if anyone had gone to a hollywood producer with this scenario, they would have been laughed out of the room but, of course, this is the reality. you have this famous mexican actress, sean penn, actor/activist, and this man in mexico hiding in this jungle hide away. four journalists, it raised troubling issues about access and what constitutes real journalism as opposed to more of a conversation rather than what they're calling an interview. >> brangham: let's talk about some of those issues. as we mentioned, rolling stone granted el chapo final approval of the peace, and the magazine points out he didn't actually want anything changed, but that's not a very common practice for journalists to grant their subjects. >> no, and unfortunately that's
not a ringing endorsement of hard-hitting journalism when your main subject gives it the green light without changing a single word. in mexico, this is a reality. self-censorship is a tool of survival. many journalists have to censor themselves to survive. many have had to flee for their lives, others kidnapped and killed in mexico for covering organized crime. this is troubling, treated as an entertainment style news story when we have journalists in mexico risking lives to bring readers and viewers the truth. >> brangham: do you think the public is served in any way by sean penn's "interview" with el chapo? >> i think if it had been characterized as a conversation. the content of the interview doesn't reveal anything new.
he's basically admitting he's sending unknown giant amounts of drugs, heroin and other drugs, across the bored. but it's the story behind the fact that's fascinating, the fact you have a hollywood actor and mexican star finding their way into a jungle hide away ofex co-'s mos most famous man. it doesn't seem temperatures they wanted to make ate secret trip, mexican authorities had a way to track them. almost every person in mexico knows who kate del castillo is. >> brangham: you're a journalist, you've covered this story many years, you teach young journalists. there is a circumstance you would have ever agreed to these type conditions you would have let an actor interview a kingpin with these kind of conditions
put on it? >> i don't think we would call it journalism. you would call ate conversation between an actor and drug lord and the story behind the story is fascinating how they came together, but we also have to remember, although chapo says, yes, i know drugs kill but i do it because i was raised as a poor person in mexico and there were no other recourses. i mean, there is real stories in mexico that there is real meat to that part of it. but he also runs one of the most brutal drug cartels in mexico. i covered the very violent years, the border city across from el paso, texas, and ten thousand people were killed in the span of about five years. as the si sin aloa cartel had bd betts. we can't forget the journalists who have been silenced. in drug trafficking strong
holds, journalists can't report anything about the cartel without prior approval. so what sean penn did was probably not new for mexican journalists but he faced none of the risks they face every day. >> brangham: rolling stone had nothing to offer. larntion thank you so much. >> thank you. >> woodruff: next, concussions in football and the college game. fans are increasingly aware of concussions at the pro level. the most recent example was on saturday, when antonio brown of the pittsburgh steelers suffered one after a brutal hit by cincinatti linebacker vontaze burfict. burfict could be facing suspension. tonight, tens of millions of viewers will watch clemson and alabama face off in college football's championship game. it's a big night for the sport.
but like pro football, one question lingering throughout the season is how teams are handling concussions. hari sreenivasan has one look at that in a conversation he recorded earlier. just as the n.f.l. has taken new streps to protect players, some teams and schools in the ncaa have taken precautions as well. in college football schools have more lated 'tude on some decisions and there are questions where a team may take too big a risk. stat arranges online news site that focuses on health and medical science is exploring whether some players with too many concussions are still allowed to play. it tells it through the story of a sophomore quarterback a.j. long to played for syracuse. after the third concussion, the team's head doctor summoned him and told him he could no longer play for syracuse but a.j. wanted to play somehow. >> he was like, hey, from my
professional opinion, i think it would be best if you didn't play football anymore so therefore i'm going to disqualify you from continuing to play contact sports at sir use university. when you hear those words and it's is final verdict, it hurts and shocks you. >> when the doctor called, he was vague. telling me that you're ending my son's career, you're worried about his welfare, what will then tail for the rest of his life? >> after my family researching telling me that we'll go to a specialist and have them look at it to tell us what they think because this is what they do for living. i hope they tell me my brain is fine and i can continue playing the game i love, football. >> the brain is something you can't play with but, you know, it's hard to put a value on the competitive spirit. >> sreenivasan: david joins me
from boston. david, as you point outs, this is a kid who as syracuse tattooed on his arm. you can tell from this video he wants to play ball. but the idea he's essentially a free agent and can be signed by another college even after he has this history of concussions. >> that's what was surprising to us is that a doctor at one university thought that his condition was so perilous and the danger so extreme that he could never play contact sports again at that university is then able to go out and be recruited by other schools, and there is no ncaa regulation or restriction on that. so he is basically a free agent now with several schools wooing him. >> sreenivasan: how about the tracking on this? is there any system inside the ncaa? you talked to a lot of different colleges and sought information from so many different schools, how do they know if they're inheriting an injured player? >> well, there is no real way to
know for sure. the player may let them know or they may get information from someone they know at another school but the ncaa does not keep a list or a database of players who are medically disqualified. what we found was that we approached the 65 schools that are at the upper echelon of college football and we asked all of them for basic information about how many athletes qualified for concussions, only nine responded to us and two gave us the information we were looking for. so it's clearly a subject they're not comfortable speaking about and at the moment there is no good way to discuss to make sure how atha lets roo being protected for the long term. >> sreenivasan: you point out there is no single standard on exactly how many concussions is too many. >> that's true. we talked to one of the more interesting people in the stories, the university of arizona head trainer, and you told me he disqualified a football player for a single
concussion because it was so severe, but in another case he had a player with ten concussions throughout his college and high school career that he allowed to continue playing because he didn't think that the concussions were so severe as to disable and incapacitate him and disqualify him for the team. >> it almost seems like the player or the parents or the family, their dreams are their own worst enemy. here's a student who knows what the potential outcomes are, at least with all the news that we have been seeing about what happens to n.f.l. players, with ct escalator in their career, some who have suffered concussions on the gridiron. >> that's right. part of the problem here is the science and research into this issue is still in its infancy and there is no good guidelines on how many concussions are too many. so you have a.j. long and his family who have two die me dimey
opposed ips opinions, one who ss you can't play anymore and another reputable one who says as of today you are conclude to play full contact football. so you can imagine the angst over a decision like that when you have black and white decisions and evaluations in front of you. >> sreenivasan: and those decisions will impact the rest of your not just playing career but if you have a pro career, perhaps the rest of your financial life as well. >> right, because we know that, in many cases, there are long-term effects to repeated blows to the head so that's a calculation the family and the player have to make but they're doing so in a system that's very confusion. in a system where one school says you can't play because it's too dangerous and another school that says come play for us. that's why we want to chronicle this story in a.j.'s position because a lot of athletes are
finding themselves in this position. >> sreenivasan: what was the reason the schools gave you when they didn't give you the information you were looking for? >> they mostly cited privacy concerns even though we didn't have ask for names or identifying information. they said we would be in some cases able to figure out who the injured athlete is and that's a violation of federal law protecting student privacy and also health records. in a lot of cases we don't agree with that and this is an area we'll continue to follow up on. >> sreenivasan: is there any movement by the schools in any kind of a unified fashion from the ncaa to figure this out? >> none at all we can find. it's one of those things where the ncaa just sort of said, you know, the schools -- the members of the organizations, you're on your own, you figure it out and create your own standard. >> sreenivasan: david arm strong from stat, thanks for joining us. >> thanks for having me.
>> woodruff: finally tonight, a look at a writing program inside one of the nation's largest juvenile detention facilities. jeffrey brown has that story. >> you know the truth of the quarrels. and how history lets the blame go blameless. for the blood that flows black in the streets. >> brown: in a classroom inside the cook county temporary juvenile detention center in chicago, incarcerated young people recently gathered to hear poet reginald dwayne betts read his work and take their questions. >> that's part of what i meant by history, that it's this bigger thing that we have to understand to even understand our own lives. >> brown: when you come to a place like this, what are you trying to do? what are you hoping to get out of it? >> i think honestly i'm trying to get them to pay attention to their own stories. so i read a poem to them, i'll talk to them, and if i get them to think about their own stories, they get to write their stories down and kind of think in a different way about how their stories shape the life that they have. and if you want a different life, you find a way to tell different stories.
>> brown: betts should know. as a teenager he was arrested for carjacking, tried as an adult, and spent eight and a half years in prison. >> it's really easy for me to walk in here and say that, you know when i was 16 years old i got locked up and pretend like that's the narrative or that's the most important part of the narrative. when in fact, i think that it's not the most important part of the narrative and i don't want to define myself that way cause in part don't want you to define yourselves that way. >> brown: while still in prison betts read intensively, began writing poetry and completed high school. and since getting out in 2005 he's graduated from college, earned his masters, written a memoir and two books of poetry, and at age 35 is now a third- year student at yale law school. >> what i want to do today is, is sort of let them know that i believe what doesn't look and what doesn't seem to be possible right now, but i believe is possible for them. because it is implausible, but hey, implausible happens all the time. >> brown: this is one of the
nation's largest juvenile detention centers, on the day we visited housing over 300 young people aged 10 to 16 who are awaiting trial. as a condition to film this story, we were required to conceal their identities. it's also home to a fully- functioning public school, so students don't fall behind on classwork while here. betts visited through a program called "free write jail arts and literacy", which for 15 years has provided tutoring and creative writing instruction. a native of trinidad , roger bonair-agard is a poet and teacher who encourages his students to find their voice using the familiar language and places around them. >> as you might imagine the young people here have had who they are, and how they talk, and where they live devalued for a
very long time. so the idea that those voices and those places should be brought to something that could eventually be this is really important. >> why you looking at me like that? why you looking at me? because i'm willing to make a change based on my mistakes. >> brown: a student we spoke with read one of her new poems. >> so i ask, why you looking at me like that. speak, tell me you understand i'm more than what you see. so take that chance and get to know me. >> brown: nice. why you looking at me like that. you feel like that's going on a lot? >> yeah. not just me and others, i found myself judged, people, that's just a common thing people do. because you know, me personally, as a youth, african american, i get judged, i'm already, i'm detained right now, so i get judged bad because of that. but really, if people sit down get to know me like, such as yourself, you know and learn that i'm a good person, i'm a good kid. i'm not what they think i am. i'm much better than what they think i am.
>> our work is grounded in narrative. >> brown: ryan keesling is the director of free write. >> those issues are their personal issues that are serious, and they need to be processed in some way, like we're not coming and saying, oh, you did this, or you did that, you had this happen to you, you had this happen to you, therefore you are this kind of person. we just allow those issues to sort of come to the surface, and then assemble pieces of art that represent their processing of those experiences. >> so let me grab the broken pieces, and use my thoughts as glue, put it all back together so i at least have a clue. why blame myself when i can look back at my roots, and see myself as a young boy, watching and picking up what my father used to do. one day he said, son, come here, let me show you how this work, he handed me a handful of crack and put a .22 on my waistline which is hidden behind my shirt, he said it's money to be made, and you'll find out what it's worth, setting me up to die early which say he ain't care about my birth. >> brown: does writing, in a place like this, does writing get you respect, it is something that everybody knows you do? >> it's definitely something
everybody know i do, and they look at it, to me like they look at it like it's a positive thing. and i love getting praise for positive things, because i didn't do a lot of positive stuff when i was out, so it was doing something positive and getting a different reaction, it's like, okay, i ain't never felt this before, so i mean why not keep going with this, you know? and since i'm feeling like that now, i'm pretty sure that i'm going to feel like it forever. >> brown: things here didn't always seem so positive. in 1999, the a.c.l.u. sued cook county, accusing the center of overcrowding, unsanitary conditions and abuse. in 2007, the federal government took over, and through a transitional administration the population dropped from over 800 residents to today's 300. last year, control was handed over to cook county's office of the chief judge, timothy evans, who wants to maintain that momentum. >> i think that we are changing, and we have to find a way to keep these people who've gone through the system from returning to the system.
they have to be trained, how to get a job and keep a job. they have to develop skills. they can't just be let out with $40 in their pocket and expect, oh, they're going to be fine. >> detention is like the emergency room of the juvenile justice system. >> brown: in charge of the day- to-day is superintendent leonard dixon, who has run juvenile institutions across the country - most recently in detroit - and is known as a reformer. >> i believe in jails, i don't have a problem with that. my issue is what do you do with people when you get them in there. and what kind of services are you providing so that you can get them back out in society, so they can do well. >> brown: this facility is predominantly african-american. >> yeah, it's- >> brown: far higher percentage than the county. >> there's no question about it. 96% of the kids in here are kids of color. and that's a question that we need to be asking why is it that way. is it a community, is it the courts, it's all of it comes together. it's the police department, i mean it's everything. everybody has to come together to figure out why.
>> brown: dixon wants to see more cases dealt with outside these walls. through halfway houses, shelters, churches and community programs. the illinois state legislature took one step in that direction last year, passing a bill that aims to reduce the number of minors automatically tried as adults, except for the most violent crimes. it's one drop in a wave of penal reform now being discussed across the country that reginald dwayne betts and others have been advocating. >> i do think that a lot of organizations around the country, they're pushing to limit confinement to only when it's necessary. and pushing to sort of find different ways within a community to treat young folks that have gotten in trouble. i think what we're still working on now is to have better outcomes. >> while behind us cell doors keep clanking closed, and malik's casket door clanks closed, and the bodies that roll off the block and into the prisons and into the ground, keep rolling, & no one will admit that this is the way america strangles itself.
>> brown: from chicago, i'm jeffrey brown for the pbs newshour. >> woodruff: be sure to tune in tomorrow night, when jeff talks with reginald dwayne betts about his upbringing, his time in prison and how he found poetry. on our website now, you can watch betts read one of his new works, titled "for the city that nearly broke me." that's pbs.org/newshour and that's the newshour for tonight. on tuesday we'll preview the state of the union address with the president's chief of staff. i'm judy woodruff. join us 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:
>> and by bnsf railway. >> and by the alfred p. sloan foundation. supporting science, technology, and improved economic performance and financial literacy in the 21st century. >> 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. captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org
>> this is "bbc world news america." >> funding of this presentation is made possible by the freeman foundation, newman's own foundation, giving all profits from newman's own to charity and pursuing the common good, kovler foundation, pursuing solutions for america's neglected needs, and sony pictures classics, now presenting "the lady in the van." >> just until you sort your self out. >> an educated woman and living like that. >> merry christmas. >> shut the door. i'm a busy woman. >> would you like to push me up