tv PBS News Hour Weekend PBS December 15, 2018 5:30pm-6:01pm PST
captioning sponsored by wnet >> sreenivasan: on this edition for saturday, december 15, more shake- the beltway as the trump administration ousts another cabinet member. ♪ ♪ and musician nils lofgren-- the sought after side man, takes center stage. next on "pbs newshour weekend." >> pbs new mshour weekend e possible by: bernard and irene schwartz. sue and edgar wachenheim iii. seton melvin. the cheryl and philip milstein family. dr. p. roy vagelos and diana t. vagelos. the j.p.b. foundation. rolind p. walter. barbara hope zuckerberg. corporate funding is provided by mutual of america--
designing customized individual and group retirement products. that's why we're your retirement company. additional support has been provided by: and by the corporation forca public broing, and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. ythan from the tisch wnet studios at oln center in new york, hari sreenivasan. >> sreenivasan: good evening and th the secretary of the interior, ryan zinke, is leaving the trump ration at the end of the year. president trump announced zinke's exit on twitter this morning. zinke played a significant role in trump's agenda to scale back environmental regulations and to promerote engy development on public lands. the former navy seal and montana congressman was under scrutiny in multiple investigations ove his nearly two-year tenure, including ethical questions into his travel and real estate dealings. zinke was being investigated for a land deal in his hometown involving his family's foundation and the chairman of
thoil and gas giant halliburton.th secretary has denied any wrongdoing. thr oer high-ranking officials have left the administration after allegations ransuging from of funds to conflicts of interest led to ethics investigations-- e.p.a. administrator scott pruitt, secretary of veterans affairs david shulkin and health and human services secretary tom price. a coalition of states with democratic leadership is promising to appeal a federal court ruling that aimed to invalidate the entire affordable care act-- known as obamacare. late yesterday, judge reed o'connor of the federal district court in fort worth, tw'as said the individual mandate which requires all americans have nshealthance "is unconstitutional" and that the rest of the act fails without the mandate. the law and all insurance policies remain in effect as the ruling makes its waugh the courts. the case was brought by a group oysf republican state attor general and is expected to go to the u.s. supreme court. this afternoon, on a visit to arlington national cemetery where volunteewr had placed
ths on each gravesite, president trump praised the liurt decision. >> it was a big . it was a great ruling for our country. we will be able to get great healthcare will sit down with the democrats if the supreme court upholds. we'll be sitting down with the democrats. and we will get great healthcare for our people. >> omsreenivasan: for perspective on all of this, on a very busy saturday, newshour weekend special correspondent jeff greenfield joins us now from santa barbara. jeff, let's start with what could be the more consequential bi of news that happenelast night, the court ruling. entireal judge says the affordable care act is unconstitu onal. >> welen the affordable care act was passed, it made every american eithesuget health nce or pay a penalty. when chief of staff roberts cast the deciding vote to thhold law, he said the penalty is a tax and congress has the power . impose a t last year, congress passed and ore president signed a bill that said, no, noe penalty. and what this judge said was, well, now that there's no penalty, you're forcing
americans to get health care. , u, the congress, don't have acat powd the entire obe law-- medicaid expansion, subsidies for isw-income americans, protection from pre-eng condition nsns, no more caps on the lifetime payout ofance companies-- all of that, he said, has to go. >> sreenivasan: this is one federal judge in texas.ar doesry weight. what's likely to happen? this doesn't mean that the lawow has stopped >> correct. this will be appealed, and it very likely will be right back up to the supreme court, which has had two cracks at this law already. but, meanwhile, some 17 million to 20 million americans now have their health care under a possible cloud. and remember, from the get-gthe trump administration has done everything it can to try to weaken this act, not promotingve ising passes waivers. and then you look at the politics. we just had are midterm whhe democrats made health care the key issue of their campaigns and
the republicans and the presidents were actively saying, "no, no, we're gog protect pre-existing conditions." so the pottial for this law is going to make politics, i think, front and center, the minute the esnew congress comes intoion in january. >> sreenivasan: jeff, it also seems to raise the importance of the federal bench in the sense that right now, this particular caseit seems to have been shopped, almost, by the people who thought that they were going to get a favorable verdict. and you realize that it's not just the supreme court that makes the law of the land. there's all these other courtit, an really important the judges that every president has the abily to get through confirmation. >> and teat-- that's ay important point because while everybody's talking about the democratic victory in the midterm, the senate, the new senate will be slightly morean republwhich means that even if there are a couple of republican dissenters from these fedeyl judges, it's v likely that trump can get pretty much all of his judgesat through the court of appeals level, the district crt levls.
it does throw a light on just how important it is that the republicans were able to holdpa and d their hold on the senate. >> sreenivasan: let's talk a little bit about congress righ now. we saw the beginning of this week-- i hadn't seen it. perhaps it's not unprecedented, have such a long conversation in front of cameras between the leaders of congress of the opposing party and the kesident. >> yw, this is about the 450th "i can't believe i'm seeing this happen" in the last two years. normally it's just a photo opportunity. int the president decided to kind of negotiatront of the cameras. and nancy pelosi, the presumptive speaker-to-be, kept pushing back on him on the facts about the votes for the wall and all these kinds of issues and, remember, trump has not had in the first two years any experience in deling with the opposition party in control. and that raises a bro.ader poi we're going to look at a new congress. the republican mine ity in the ho going to be more conservative than it was because it was moderates who lost. and the new republican majority in the senate is going to be
trre conservative, becausp critics like corker and flake are gone. meanwhile, you have ats in control of the house who have been waiting for two years to get the kind of subpoena power, the investigative power to looke rything from alleged collusion to now the sudden revelatis about campaign finance law violations that have been raised by mueller, the trump organization itself and how it functions. you've got a new york attorney general, on top of everything ngelse, who says she's go look at everything. so you tell me how, with this atmosphere in january, any noon of cooperation between the democrats and republicans and the president is likel' i just dt see that happening. >> sreenivasan: this is also happening the same time when there is significant turnover in the administration. i mean, i don't want to necessarily editorialize by saying "significant" but numerically, it is unprecedented. >> we've never seen anything like this. i mean, ortd from the cabinet members who have been leaving under a cloud, you still have the commerce secretary, wilbur
ross, you had the president fi the secretary of state and the attorney general. you had his campaign manager in jail and his personal lawyer about to go to jail. you have more communications directors than there wale spin tap drummers. s's just a turnover that we have nevn as far as i can abgure out going back at least pr to andrew johnson's 1866.stration in so every time you think you have seen the extreme to which our politics can now reach, the line is pushed back further, and we're less than two years into this administration. >> sreenivasan: and there might be me spinal tap references yet to come. thank you very much, jeff greenfield, for joining us tonight. >> pleasure. >> sreenivasan: bruce springsteen has spent much of
2018 perrming an acclaimed autobiographical show on a new york city stage, and tomorroa filmed version of that show," springsteen on broadway," wil make its streaming debut. but 2018 has been a signal year for one of springsteen's band members, as well-- nils lofgren- - he also has a noteworthy biography of his own, and is celebrating his golden anniversary the music business. newshour weekend's tom casciato has the story. r ♪ >>orter: even if you've arver heard of nils lofgren, chances you've heard nils n fgren. he's best kn a member of bruce springsteen's famed e- street band and for periodically backing neil young. but what about ringo starr in the sperlight? s nils lofgren. jerry lee lewis at the mic, nils lofgre
chuck berry out front? nils lofgren. willie nelson and friends? if you blink you'll miss him, but there's nils lofgren. performing before tens oes aying sideman to the household names. >> even though i'm grateful for a reputation as a gulayer, i don't need to solo. i enjoy giving it up and being a guy in the btid, and contri as best i can. >> reporter: but had things broken a b differently, he might have been one of those household names himself, though that's kind of a long story. >> by the way i just want you to know this month i'm celebrating 50 years on the road. >> reporter: nils lofgren fell in love with music early, but he didn't begin with guitar lessons. you started out on the accordion? >> yes. my mom's sicilian, my dad's swedish, and it's a big part of their heritage, the accordion. so, i asked for lessons. i still love the accordion. but, you know, the written note in classical music, which i zeudied classical accordion after the waand polkas-- you know, all the emotion has to
come inside the notes written. you cannot deviate. so, i fell in love with the idea of blues guitar, where you improvise what you hear. ♪ ♪ep >>ter: that love turned to arre passion the first time he went to imi hendrix. >> and jimi blew us all away. and th almost an uncomfortable possession i left with that i had to try to be a pional rock musician, which never entered my mind until that night. >> reporter: how old were you? >> 17. within w school.ropped out of i was very harmless-looking. i looked like a waif. you know, i s like 5'2" and u know, i had a handful of songs. and no music industry or the business, i'd sneak backstage at every show, try to meet the perfmers and ask for advice. >> reporter:ne night that teenage lofgren went to a show at the legendary cellar door in washington and approached the headliner: neil young.
>> and neil had a martin in his hand, and he said, "would you have any songs for your band?" i said, "yeah, i've written a handful of songs." and he handed me his guitar and said, "sing me one. sing me another." and after four or five songs, he says, "i really like those songs >> reporter: slow down a second. >> alright. >> reporter: you're 17 years old? you invite yourself unannounced backstage to a neil young show-- >> well, i walked in on them. vii didn't ask for an , or i might-- if i'd asked management, "can i meet neil," the answer would've been, "no, he's busy." >po> er: before he knew it, lofgren was invited to los angeles to play guitar and piano on an album that would become a classic. >> when i young and david briggs asked me to play on the after the goldrush album. and i just practiced and practiced and this particular day lphie-- the great drumme ralphie molina-- stayed behind and we were working on southern man, it was like bum bum bah, bum bum bah.
and after about a half an hour, i wanted to break it up. and you know, i come from the- the polka, accordion school. you know-- that whole ah thing. and so, i started doue-timing, you know, the-- doin' octaves, and you know-- ♪ ♪ so when neil and david came back from lunch, they said, "what the heck is that?" and i said" that's southern man with a polka beat." and they said, "that feels great, but don't ever say that again." >> reporter: rock and roll ruled the airwaves back then, and nils lofgren was an up-and-comer. still, not even 20, he made his firsist national tele appearance in 1971 on a pbs spe acingside one of his
idols, virtuoso roy buchanan. >> roy was a master. and i fell in love with that sound. >> reporter: the master helped the kid develop what would become a signature style. t >> this was the fime i heard-- harmonics sound like bells. and hshowed me how to do it. ♪ ♪ >> reporter: lofgren was on tap rise, and iared the sky was the limit. in his 20s he performs live with edhis own bands, and reco series of solo records, getting some great reviews along the way. >> in the '70s, you made some di wd you think that stardomas on the way? >> well, you know, the whole stardom-- rock star thing, sex, drugs, rock and roll, and death, that never had a big appeal to me. i really didn't wanna be famous.
i always saw it as like a very serious venture of making a living playing music, as a musician. ♪ ♪ >> reporter: a gymnast as well as a musician, lofgren inrporated acrobatics into videos and concerts. but no matter what he tried, by the early '80s, his music just wasn't selling. >> record deals dried up. and to my horror, i went to all the companies and they're like, "nope. you-- you've bee at it now for quite a while. no 'thit records, you dake us money. you're kind of like a dinosaur." i hit a-- really low poin i got down in the dumps. i started drinkin' a little too much a myself.in' sorry for and it was during that time period-- i'd stayed in touch with bruce. we first cro-- crossed pathin 1970. and so-- i called him, and he said, "what's goi on?" and he could tell i was kinda down in the dumps. fid, "why don't you come up and
hang out with meor a weekend in jersey?" which i did. >> reporter: it wasn't just a weekend with springsteen. it was the start of lofgren's cond act, among rocks most acclaimed backing musicians, a chance to "just be a guy in the band," even if it was one of the world's most famous bands. >> reporter: that was really life-changing. >> totally. ♪ ♪ >> reporter: a lot has changed in nils lofgren's half-century as a performer. as he's continued to record rock and roll has given way to hip hop america's most popular music. the club where he first met neil young is a starbucks now. and with two artificial hips and a pair of torn shoulders the gymnastics are a thing of the past, too. bofut the final sho his 50th
ear, playing not for tens of thousands, but for a few eds at new york city's winery, nils lofgren seems perfectly tisfied. if you could give some advice now to that 17-year-old nils lofgren who used to sneak backstage to rock stars, what would you say? >> oh, boy, i just say, you know keep following your dreams. don't sink anything. dress. ♪ ♪ honestly i was just a scared young musician in love with rock 'n roll and just music period. and, you know i look back and realize that i was given a gift that i didn't ask for. just trying to caretake it in my wildest dreams i would he never been greedy enough to think 50 years later hundreds of people would come from all over to hear me sing my son for them. after 50 years i've brought a
crowd to walk out and sing for and i almost feel like all i have to do is get out of the way anghlet the music come throu me. >> sreenivasan: to hear selections of nils lofgren's music visit pbs.org/newshour >> sreenivasan: not every msician makes a living solely from playiic. in chicago, a punk rock band bcalled the bollweevils hn balancing their conventional day jobs with their unconvenovonal hobby fo two decades. report jay shefski from chicago pbs station wttw has their story. ♪ ♪ >> reporter: most wednesday nights, a longtime chicab punk and called the bollweevils t rehearses in a northwesde basement. punk rock is fast and loud-with often angry and rebellious lyrics.
♪ ♪ but rebelon can take many orms. for the bollweevils you could say it's also in how they live the rest of their lives. ladike inger daryl wilson-- doctor daryl wilson. he's and e.r. physician at a suburban chicago hospital. >> if you think about emergency medicine is kind of a punk rocky kind of thing. it's kinda real, it's raw. and, i think, punk rock is raw tooha, it's something t you know, hits you in the face. ♪ >> reporter: at first, his colleagues were a little sureyprised. >> look at it and go "you don't have a hobby like just playing squash or tennis or something like that?" "and it's like no, i jump off of stages." >> rep ter: daryl says he started listening to punk rock iniddle school when his parents' marriage broke up. us but i found the aggressive nature of the m was a good
way to release energy in a way that wasn't dangerous. you can, you know kinda slam dance and, you know, pretend you're fighting wyoh people that weren't fighting. and the music was cool. i liked the music it had a messag a lot of it was political so i liked it. >> reporter: at first daryl w just a fan going to concerts. then guitarist ken fitzner recrited him in 1989. the bollweevils were just getting started. >> we just thought he looked cool at the show and we had just gone to a bunch of shows with him so it was like, "alright, do you want to be in our band? here's our tape we practice next sunday." and that was it. >> reporter: wait, so you liked his look? did you ask him if he could sing? >> no. >> no, i had no idea if he could sing whatsoever. not at all! >> reporter: some othe other bolweevils also have jobs that might surprise you. >> derruete mumford is a college administrator. bassist pete mittler is an electrician. and ken fitzner? he's a chicago
public school principal. >> my passion is being a principal. that ireally my passion. it gives me such satisfaction. and where the punk rock comes in, s is that becoan outlet and a place for me to be a little l bit more crazy,tle bit different. ♪ ♪ >> reporter: he says he used to hide it at work. but, now he seeit as setting a luable example. >> reporter: my life growing up in the city was tchgh as well, like these kids' are here. and i think it's really important that they have something that lets them expss themselves having that outlee is probably the best things that's ever happened to me. >> reporter: but, when your music is all about rebellion and you've got a successful mainstream job, are you still a rebel? daryl wilson says il about being true to yourself. >> i mean, i'm a 6' 4", 230 pound guy with dreadlocks who
walks into a rm and says "i'm ur physician." people have this kind of staunch stereotype of what a physician is, too, and, you know, or what a erson who looks like me is. that's the whole point. i wanted to do all those things. i wanted to be a punk rock singer.nt i wa to be a physician. i think that i was just rebelling against the idea of people trying to put labels on me. >> reporter: the bollweevils may practice in a basement, but they're a pretty big deal in the chicago punk scene. lots of records, national to ts. recenty played at a festival in england. >> the bottom line is just to be happy you've got to do what you want. i mea'sn thhe thing. it's like i'm here with my best friends and this is one of the thingkns, like yo, if we played in front of five people or 500 people or 5,000 people i still ha my best friends. >> just for the record even thhgh it's all cool to be w friends, i would prefer to play for 5,000 people ( laughter )
>> sreenivasan: negotiators reached an agreement at the united nations' climate talks being held in poland today after of meetings.o week the talks were scheduled to end frid. one sticking point was the rule for monitoring, purchasing, and selling carbon credits to reduce carbon emissions. brazil raised concerns over the cost of buying permits from a central registry and the process of selling those permits. a rulebook for the 200 nations in the paris accord was released for approval and the countries will meet again next fall in new york. the "yellow vest" protests in frafince entered their h straight weekend today as rchers called for more government reforms. in paris, there were fewer protesters than on past weekealnds. most 70,000 police mobilized throughout the country. the government had called for a suspension of protests
following tuesday's attack on a markey t in the c strasbourg. today h's protesters dd a minute of silence to mourn the fckour victims of that at in india's southern state of karnataka, 11 people died, including two children, after what may be ma food poisoning at a hindu religious festival yesterday. more than 90 people were authorities say several people are bein incident.d about the police said that organs of the deceased to a crime lab for forensic analysis. ethgyptian ities today unveiled a rare, well-preserved tomb that has never been disturbed by looters. the tomb has protected ornate hier lyphs and statues of pharaohs for the past 4,400 years. ae old kingdom tomb is 33' under 10' high.' wid just the supreme council on quities expects more discoveries to be made when the site is further investigated in january.
>> sreenivasan: join us again tomorrow for a look at how climate change and poverty are affecting migration from the marshall islands in the south pacific to communities here in the united states. and we'll have more on the ctiing personnel changes in the trump administration. that's all for this edition of "pbs newshour weekend." thanks for watching. ha aood night. captioning sponsored by wnet necaptby media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org >> pbs newshour weeke is made possible by: bernard and irene schwar.
sue and edgar wachenheim iii. seton melvin. the cheryl and philip milstein family. dr. p. roy vagelos and diana t. vagelos. e j.p.b. foundation. rosalind p. walter. boparbarazuckerberg. corporate funding is provided bery mutual of a-- designing customized individual and group retirement products. that's why we're your retirement company. additional support has been provided by: and by the corporation for public broadcasting, and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. be more. be more.
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