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tv   KQED Newsroom  PBS  November 25, 2018 5:00pm-5:30pm PST

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vu: next, a "kqed newsroom" special... richards: my motto now is, "start before you're ready." whatever new opportunity comes your wayjump at it. vu: ...authors speaking about everything from sexism in silicon valley... chang: the women sort of feel like, "this is where powerful people are, ey but they're damned if o and damned if they don't." vu: ...to the role of religios in today turbulent political climate. aslan: evangelicalism andthy have been married as a single force, and this is the culmination of that marriage, and perhaps it's time for a divorce. vu: hello. i'm thuy vu. welcome to a special edition of "kqed newsroom." on this iogram, we're revisitierviews from our archives with dynamic, provocative authors. we begin with the politics of health care. cecile richards has beenet and ceo of planned parenthood for more than a decade. the organization offers low-cost reproductive health-care services to millions of people across theountry.
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one of those services is abortion, making the nonprofit a frequent target of conservative lawmakers who have threatened to cut off federal nding. richards announced in january that 2018 will be her last at the helm of planned parenthood, and she has a book out, "make trouble."on iticles her stories of bucking the system and fighting for change from an early age. cecile richards, nice to have you here. richards: great toe back. thank you. vu: well, in the introduction in your book, "for the first time in my life, the top practically, i'm wondering whether my own daughterswe will have far rights than i've had." which rights are you talking about, and why do you feel that way? virichards: well, i'm sly concerned under this administration and this congress at the effort repeal women's reproductive rights, really basic, basihealth-ca, and that's, of course, the work we've been doing at planned parenthood this entire year is to fight back, and we've been successful so far, and, of course, we've seen an outpouring of young women mobilizing, energized, running for office
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and doing all of the things i think we need to do. vu: the trump administration has done a number of things. it's rolled back contception coverage. it's ait's cut funds forefund planning parenthood. teen-pregnancy prevention programs. what else t coming down the pipelit has you concerned? richards: one of the biggest concerns frankly that we haves that are being put up into the federal judiciary now, some of the most extreme judges, some of them not qualified. vu: and the biggest bght right now seems over the nomination of wendy vitter to louisiana district courts. planned parenthood has taken out ads against her nomination. what are your concerns about her, andhat do you think her nomination means for other bench openings across the country? richards: well, the concern about wendy vitter is... and, yes, planned parenthood has been actively opposing her nominatio becae has some of the most extreme views even on issues like birth control, trying to link birth control to violent death among women. she has not been rated qr lified by the american sociation.
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she has no experience stin the federal judicial that would make her qualified. it seems that her only qualifications is that she's on the far right of the repubcan party. who says that contives the views of an anticause cancer.ocatece richards: and absolutely, and then we saw the hearing, you know, her hearing before the senate. she wasn't even willing to say where she was on brown v board of education. i mean, this is the kind of fundamental... this is a fucoamental issue in thitry, and so we're just concerned nominees in the federal benchl that are going to be there . vu: i want to also talk about thstories that you recount in your book. richards: mm-hmm. vu: you've had quite a life. your mother, ann richards, was the governor of texas. richards: correct. vu: the firebrand that she was. richards: yes. vu: your father, david, is a civil-rights attorney, and you write in your book that your dinner table was never really about eating. it was for sorting precincts lists, so what's your earliest memory of being politically acte? richards: well, i mean, that was the... i had an incredible childhood.
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mean, my parents were into every movement that came through town -- the farmworkers, the women's movement. i think the most important moment for us, though, was when my mom got to run the first campaign ever of a wthan who was running fostate house, sarah weddington who had argued the roe. vs. wade case, and as kids we all got to be involved, and i saw firsthand both h hard it was for women to run for office and how important it was and hoexciting it was because she won that race, and then, of course, mom went on to have heown political career. vu: and one of the most notable moments of your career, i mean, we all watched i nationally in 2015, was when congress investigated controversial videos about planned parenthood's collection of arted fetal tissue. no evidence of wrongdoing was found. richards: none. vu: was at one of the toughest challenges during your tenure at planned parenthood? richards: oh, absolutely. i mean, you know, fake videotapes that were used to try to damage richarthe reputationtely. of the organization,, we had five congressional committees
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investigating planned parenthood, more than investigated enron or the financial crisis, but we got through that, and i think one of the most important things about that hearing pps it ended up being antunity to educate millions of people in this countrye about credible health care that planned parenthood provides every single day to thousands of women in america. vu: dod yet you're stepping at a time when many women would argue that planned parenthood needs someone with your experience at the hm. richards: well, i'm really proud of what we've do over the last 12 years to invest in a whole new generation of leaders all across the country, and, of course, i wouldn't be stepping down if i felt like that we re at risk. we are actually stronger today than we've ever been in our 100-year history. we have now more than 12 million supporters, which is twice the membership of the national rifle associaon. we're making a difference in states all across the country, and i'll be an avid supporter of planned parenthood for my entire life, but i think it's time for me to move aside and make space for someone new vu: 16 presidential election, as you mentioned, has energized many women, younger women,
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former housewives who now are running for office r the first time. they're becoming more politically activegh r thwhether it's thr communityg or actually running for office, and you have had a long historin your life of being very politically active. i mean, you protested ther vietnam war when youjust, you know, in the 7th grade... richards: eght. vu: ...and you w a union organizer for a long time after graduating from college, so what would be the biggest piece of advice that you have for womeare now becoming politically active? richards: well, i think just don't wait for someone to ask you tdo it. just jump right in right now. i think so many women wait until they think they have the perfect résumé whether it's to run for office or run an organization, but this is the moment. i've never seen wome this active, really, literally shaking the foundation of this country in every possible way, and i think that if we support each other, help women that are running for office, we really can make an enormous impact not only iyethis november but tws from now as well.
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vu: and yet, when the job came up for planned parenthood richards: that's right. you almosvu: why? take it. richards: well, i mean, that's what i talk about in my book.h you know, ght, "well, i've never done anything that big. it's so hard. it's...you know, i don't have the skills," anoli think a lot of womenback because they think they're not ready, and so my motto now is, "start before you're ready."kn because they think they're not ready, you are, and, yo, don't overthink it. just whatever new opportunity .comes your way, jump at vu: and those are good words to end on. cecile richards stepping down from planned parenthood, soice to have you here, and congratulations on your new book.yo richards: thanvery much. thanks. vu: turning now to the culture of high tech, silicon valley is home to some of the world's most profitable vu:and innovative companiesure of hiwho are vying to create game-changing products and services, but according to bloomberg tv host emily chang, the valley is also a place where gender inequality and mistreatment of women run rampant.an lays out her critique in her book, "brotopia: breaking up the boys' club of silicon valley."
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nice to have you here. chang: thank you, thuy, for having mit's grea. vu: well, how stark is the gender gap in the tech industry? chang: so just look at the numbers. i mean, women account for 25% of jobs across the computing indtry, 7% of venture-capital investors. d these are the people wide what geek gets to be the next facebook, and women-lecompanies get just 2% of venture-capital funding, so not only are they underrepresented, they're just not getting the money that they need to start these potentially world-changing businesses. vu: but it wasn't always this way. i mean, in your book yotalk about women who played a formative role in the computer industry, women like ada lovelace, women like grace hopper. tell us about them. chang: in the 1940s and 1950s -- this is what surprised me the most when i started ing my research -- women played vital roles in the computing industry. they were programming computers for the military, programming computers for na a, and then in the '6 '70s, as the industry was exploding, they were desperate for new talent, and so a softwarhocompany hired two psgists
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to develop a personality test to identify good programmers, and what they decided is that good programmers, quote, "don't like people."an vu: hmm. well, if you look for people who don't like people, you'll hire far more men than women. that's what the research tells us, d there's no research to support this idea that people who don't like people are better at this jobl than pwho do or that men are better at this job than women, but it had perpetuated l,this idea of the antisoc mostly white, male nerd stereotype that persists to this day. vu: and so that's whcompanies, you think, keep on hiring people who fit that stereotype? chang: so that test, for example, was used aor decades by companibig as ibm, and that stereotype came to sort of permeate i not just tustry but computer labs and parents and families, and then it was repeated in popular culture. a lot of people told me, "well, this stereotype was created by tv and movies." in fact, it wasn't. the tech industry created that stereotype,
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and it has perpetuated this idea, you know, that a very narrow group of people are good at this when, in fact, we need people of all backgrounds making these products because billions and bi ions of people are using them, men and women. vu: and in your book, you also cite another example inof power imbalance by ta about the sex parties that happen in silicon valley. what happens at these gatherings? chang: in silicon valley, work and personal lives are very intertwined, and a lot of business happens outside thoffice, so whether it is at the bar or the hotel lobby or sometimes even in the hot tub. you know, i taout an ir who has hot-tub parties at his house, and so shere's a wide spectrum ial behavior that you see, and in many ways, than they are about sex, a lot more about power and it's a power dynamic that is completely lopsided. p vu: i guess sople may argue, "well, these women are coming to these parties to have a good time, and what is wrong with that?" chang: i spoke to over three dozen people now
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and several who have actually come forward to menc i wrote the book, men and women. you know, the men describe a situation where they're challenging social mores and challenging traditional morality, where the women sort of feel le, "this is where powerful people are," but they're damned if they do and mned if they don't. if they do attend these parties, they're disrespected or discrited. they may never see an investment, but if they don't attend, they're locked out. they're shut out of these important social gatherings, and, you know, some of the women i spoke to aually had to... felt that they had to leave silicon valley in order to, you know, just do business on level playing field, and they decided to continue their businesses in new york. vu: it is a bit ironic, though, as you're saying all this, that people who pride themselves on disrupting things, that kind of environme not . some would argue it's very much the status q, you know, with a lot of what has been happening in business.an it's a tale as old as time, and i do think part of the problem...
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sexism exists everywhere valleyrt of the problem with the sexism in silico is that this is an industry that prides itself on changing the world and being so progressive, and yet if you just look at the numbers,i an, the representation of women is just so horrifying. yes. you know, there's sexism in hollywood. there's sexism in washington, but i would argue that in silicon valley, it matters more than anywhnde because this is antry that is changing our lives every day, controlling what we see, controlling what we read... vu: how we live, how we work, how we play. chang: ...how we get around, the games that our children are playing, you know, but i... you know, i'm an optimist even after speising two years writing ook. i believe that the people who are changing the world, who have solved all of these incredibly hard problems, they can change this too. if they can get us to mars and build self-driving cars and give us rides at the push of a button, they can hire more women and pay them fairly.'s vu: and unny that you just brought all that up about, you know, taking us to mars and outespace.
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elchang: mm-hmm.en very has said that...book.: for example, one of the sex parties you mentioned,as hecknowledged he was there, but he said no lurid behavior happened when he was there. he thought it was a company party.he aid that your account was salacious, misleading, d.and you should be ashame how do you respond to that criticism? chang: that particular party, i never said,se how do you respond "that party was party,"? but that there was behavior at that party d at was very disturbing rrors some of the behavior that we see in some of these other environments, and i spokto men and women who were at that party who felt uncomfortable,d who descriug use, who described cuddling in the middle of the floor and one woman in particular who felt that she was pressured into sexual activity ve and who would not een there if such powerful people had not been there. vu: mm. chang: and so i came into ts as a journalist. i don't have an agenda. i couldn't make is stuff up, and i uncovered some things that i found very troubling. vu: all right. well, the name of the book is "brotopia."
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author emily chang, thank you so much. chang: thank you for hat ng me and shining a li these issues. i appreciate it. vu: now to relion and politics. since taking office, president trump has enacted po tough new immigratiocies as well as travel bans aimed at restricting travel from predominantlymusli. in the fall of 2017, president trumpee ted three inflammatory anti-muslim videospo sted by a far-right group in britain. that incident sparked an international backlash.za i talked with slan, best-selling author, religious scholar and a professor at uc riveide, about the intersection of religion and politicsur in these tlent times. aslan's latest book, "god: a human history," t explorhe evolution of the concept of god. i sat down with him in december of 2017. so nice to have you he. aslan: thank you. nice to be here. vu: so we'll get to your book in a moment, but first i wanted to ask you about those ti-muslim videos that president trump retweeted. u u were born in iran. e muslim.
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what's your reaction to that? aslan: i wasn't surprised by it. this is a president seo has made anti-musliiment the core foundation not just of his candidacy but of his presidency. he has brought the worst elements of the islamophobia industry in the unitestates, including members of actually southern-poverty- law-center-designated hate groups into the white house itself. i thwho he is, and i think we should stop preten hng otherwise for a momee, and i understand the confusion that often arises within the media when confronted with these seemingly racist acts and rhetoric that the president routinely involves himself with, and we try to figure out why. wheswould he do and say kind of things? and maybe it's just because i thiwatching this too much,mayn but the reason that he does things that seem to suptirt racism and white alism
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is because he has proven himself to be a racist and a white nationalist. vu: and you've also not only written about president trump. you've written about his supporters. in an op-ed in the la times, you liken trump's supporters to cult members.n: ashat's right. vu: can you explain that? aslan: i've spent a lot of time around cult members. i've lived with cult members. i've studied cults for most of my life,wi and i can sa a fair measure of confidence that the kind of rhetoric that i hear from trump's inner-core supporters sounds very much like the kind of rhetoric that i hear from cult members. after all, president trump himself made this very clear when ht said that he could shmebody on 5th avenue and not lose these voters, and that's precisely what we are seeing now. now, this particularly exists in a core ement of his followers among the white evangelical base, but you have someoke frank , pretty extraordinarily, one of his evangelical advisors, saying that trump is receiving downloads from g.
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you have people like franklin graham,ea perhaps his st evangelical supporter, comparing him positively to prophets like abraham and moses and david. you have pat robertson saying that trump's authority is the authority of god, and anyone who refuses to obey it is disobeying god. this is not normal political rhetoric. vu: well, so where is this intersection of religion and politics heading, then? tbecause if you look 2016 election, there was a cnn poll, right, and that poll atund that 61% of whitelics voted for president trump. it was even higher among white evangelical voters aslan: 81%. vu: 81%, right. so how has that role of religion changed in politics over the years? aslan: let's be clear. 81% of white evangelicals voted for donald trump. 67% of evangelicars of color voted for hiclinton. these are people who believe the same thing, who have the same theology but who have a different skin tone, so again, we can't keep pretending
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pr that race isn't thary factor in so many of these discussions that we arhaving here. this is an issue among white evangelicals, and i would say that that's a good thing because what we are seeing now is an enormous amount of backlash from white evangelicals themselves, many white evangelical leaders who feel as though this is a day of reckoning, that for many, many years, evangelicalism and the republican party have been married as a single force, and this in many wayshe isort of culmination of that marriage, and perhaps it's time for a divorce. vu: you have spoken out against the travel ban as well, the one that applies to eight countries,cl ing iran, where you're from, but what would you say to those who feel, president trump does, inat this is the right to do, to put some travel restrictions in place? aslan: these aren't "some" travel restrictions. they're blanket-travel restrictions. in the entire history of the united states, not a single american has ever been killed on u.s. soil
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by any foreignf ational from any onee countries that have been banned on trump's travel list. the u.s. military thinks thinks it's a terrible idea.he y it's a joke to say that this is about preventing terrorism. this is, again, another example of what has become a demonstrable routine of racist actions by this white house. vu: all right.ok now to your "god: a human history," it's more a study of how god is conceptualized rath than a history of god. you say that most of us try to humanize god.what do? that we have that ject upon god our own emotions, aslan: well, it's this sort of natural impulse p our own personalities, our own characteristics, even our motivations, even our own bodies. we create a god that basically looks and acts, feels and thinks like we do,re and that'ssely why we have so many great religious conflicts around the world
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because really what we a doing is implanting in our sense of the divine everything that's go and bad about us, and so what i am advocating for is to reverse that process, to dehumanize gody and think of god less as a divine personality and more as an underlying reality, as sort of the spiritual force of the universe. i think it would create a more deeper, more meaningful spirituality,t but i also thit it could lead to greater relations and less conflict between religions. vu: and definitely much more about that in your book, and so if you'renterested,k definitely picup a copy of "god: a human history." reza aslan, thank you so mh for being here. aslan: my pleasure. vu: recently, we talked with reza asthe former headso mh of the sierra club, carl pope, about his new book tied, "climate of hope." he coauthored it with former new york city mayor michael bloomberg. he cin the book, pope lays out a vision for how individuals, busine es and local governmentscan bate
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even when state and national governments won't. nice thave you here. pope: great to be here again. vu: well, in your book, you say that it's timer a newn about climate change. what do you thin is wrong with the wa it's being discussed now, and how would you like to reframe the conversation? pope: well, we have talked out climate change as this enormous problem which requires phenomenal sacrifice, and the convertotion is, "who is goinay the bill?" that used to be true. it's not true anymore. right now, climate change is an enormous economic opportunity, and the question is, "who is going to take the lead?" that's a different kind of conversation. vu: and you also point out that lot of it has talked about very long-term consequences, not something that people can relate to now. pope: that's exactly right, and if you look, for example, the conversatione're having, people don't realize that many of the states which have done the most to reduce their carbon footprint are states like oklahoma and texas, which did it not because they had governors who cared about climate change. they didn't, butusecause they had utilitymers who wanted cheaper power, and wind is cheaper than coal.
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vu: and so there was a money-making incentive there? .pope: and it was immedia wholesale power rates in texas have been coming down significantly because we're retiring coal and replacing it with natural gas, wind and solar. vu: and, you know, much of the debate over climate change centers around doom-and-gloom scenaos, and you point out in the book that those scaring tactics don't really work wi people. pope: frankly, if you're trying to get somebody... if you're a rock-climbing coach, and you're trying tochet somebody to do a p that is harder than something they've done before, you don't get them to do it by saying, "ohmy god. this is going to be hard. i'm not sure you can do th." no. you got to say to the person you're coaching, you say, "and i know you can, andhing you're going to have to stretch. you're going to have to work. you're going to have to be on. that's what we need to tell people about climate change. you say, "wait a minute. we got rid of a class of refrigeration chemicals
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that were destroying the ozone layer.no we have a class of refrigeration chemicals that are destroying the climate, but we know how to replace them with better stuff. we replaced the first set. we can replace this set." so we need to make ie familiar and comfortar people. vu: you also write in the book that the major contributors to global warming are buildings, right? that is the elhotricity we use in ous, our offices, also transportation and the stuff we make -- stl, toys, furniture -- and so there are so many complex layers here, so what can i as an individual do? what are the top two things i can d to help fight climate change? pope: well, it depends on who you areyb because evy has a different set of institutional nnections. everybody is in part of... people are part of families. they're part of mmunities. they vote for school boards. they work for coanies. they may teach students, and in all of those roles, you have an opportunity to focus the conversation on "how can we simultaneously make tomorrow betterd
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better today?" and everitody has those opports. you just have to look around you and say, "where do i have connection to other people, and how can i work with those other peopleed to sp the rate of progress towards better outcomes for the climate, which are also going to be better outcomes for making us wealthier and healier?" vu: we have this american lung association report that just came out this week that says, "out of the top 10 u.s. citie, eight of them are in california, including los angeles, sacramento and fresno," and at the same time we have a federal government that is rolling back quite a few provisions of the clean air act. pope: well, the trump administration is making federal policies horrible. it turns out, that doesn't have tmatter that much. for example, let's talk about air pollution in california. i've been working on this problem for 40 years. for 40 years, california has been trying to clean up the internal-combustion gine,
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and we've done really a remarkable job, y and for most of those rs, washington was resistant. so mfot of the progress caia made which has now translated into national progress, was made by california without washington. we now recognize we can't do the job th gas power. we need to electrify vehicles, and that's how we're going to sand californiaa's can take the lead, and is taking the lead on getting that done.ld even though dorump wants to pretend that electric cars aren't better than internal-combustion cars, they are.w vu: the administration's policies, viewpoints on climate change, for example, affecting the way that environmentalists are doing thr work? pope: what really matters is, is it affecting the way american electricity cons ers behave? is it affecting the way popamerican drivers behave?s, is it affecting the way american manacturers behave? not so much. they all look at the trump administration and say, "eh, he's going to be there for a while. he's going tg be gone. we're invest the future."
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there was a survey done of all the public utilities when truin announced, "oh, i'm to bring back coal," and only one company out of 42 said that it would change their investment stregy. the rest said, "we're not investing for the next 3 years. we're investing for the next 20 years, and the next 20 arars we'll be using s vu: local governments in california, new york city, for example, even colorado this week, are now taking the strategy of suing oil and gas companies over the costs of climate change. good or bad strategy? pope: that's a good strategy, and that strategy has now been joined by a conservative-libertarian think tank in washington, so we're beginning to see people coming in from the other side and saying, "well, if the government is not goino old the oil industry accountable, individual citizens can." : all right. carl pope, thank you. nice to have you here. pope: great. niceo be with you. vu: and that will do it for us. as always, you can find more of our coveragews on kqed.org/om. i'm thuy vu. thank you for joining us. ♪
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