tv PBS News Hour Weekend PBS October 18, 2014 5:30pm-6:01pm EDT
captioning sponsored by wnet >> sreenivasan: on this edition for saturday, october 18: the president appeals for calm in the face of the ebola scare. gas prices plunge-- we'll talk to an expert about how low they could go. and in our signature segment, trying to bring new jobs to coal mining communities 50 years after l.b.j. launched the war on poverty. >> pbs newshour weekend is made possible by: corporate funding is provided by mutual of america--
designing customized individual and group retirement products. that's why we are your retirement company. additional support is provided by: and by the corporation for public broadcasting and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. from the tisch wnet studios in lincoln center in new york, hari sreenivasan. >> sreenivasan: good evening. thanks for joining us. during his weekly radio address today, president obama offered reassurances that ebola does not pose a major threat to the united states. >> what we're seeing now is not an 'ioutbreak' or an 'iepidemic' of ebola in america. we're a nation of more than 300 million people. to date, we've seen three cases of ebola diagnosed here. we have to keep this in perspective. as our public health experts point out, every year, thousands of americans die from the flu. >> sreenivasan: the president also answered critics who have
demanded that he cut off all travel between the united states and the west african nations, where the disease has already claimed at least 4,000 lives. >> trying to seal off an entire region of the world, if that were even possible, could actually make the situation worse. it would make it harder to move health care workers and supplies back and forth. experience shows that it could also cause people in the affected region to change their travel, to evade screening and >> sreenivasan: the u.s. government will temporarily stop funding research that could make three highly-infectious diseases-- mers, sars and influenza-- even more contagious. some scientists argue the research is valuable because it could lead to the development of vaccines if the diseases mutate naturally. but critics warn that the research could be used by terrorists or others determined to start a pandemic. none of this involves work on ebola research. the united states supreme court has upheld a law requiring texas voters to present photo i.d.
when they go to the polls next month. the u.s. justice department and civil rights groups had sought to have the law overturned. the six justices who upheld the texas law offered no rationale for their decision. but a six-page dissent, written by justice ruth bader ginsburg and supported by justices kagan and sotomayor, said the ruling could keep as many as 600,000 texans from voting, most of them african-american or hispanic. a lawyer for the state of texas has called those estimates "preposterous." early voting in texas begins monday. the white police officer who killed an unarmed black teen in ferguson, missouri, last august has told investigators he was pinned in his vehicle by michael brown and feared for his life. officer darren wilson also said brown reached for his gun during the scuffle and that the gun was fired twice inside the car. forensic tests showed brown's blood on the gun, on the interior door panel of the police car and on wilson's uniform. all this, according to an
article in today's "new york times." a missouri grand jury is considering bringing criminal charges against wilson. he shot brown several times outside the vehicle. there's been a sighting of the survivalist accused of killing one state trooper and wounding another in pennsylvania. 31-year-old eric frein reportedly was spotted carrying a rifle near a high school last night. frein has eluded police for a month, despite an extensive manhunt. investigators also are examining blood found on the back porches of several homes in the area. thousands of people in bermuda are without power today after hurricane gonzalo swept across the island last night, downing trees and blocking roadways. it's the second powerful storm to strike bermuda in less than a week. police have reported no deaths or serious injuries. overseas today, catholic bishops meeting in vatican city concluded their two-week synod without approving a measure sought by the pope that would have welcomed gays into the church. another liberalization measure,
allowing divorced and civilly remarried catholics to receive communion, also was defeated. a draft agreement showing unprecedented openness towards gays and co-habitating unmarried catholics received widespread coverage, but it was watered down throughout the week. and the watered down version was ultimately rejected. and facebook is demanding that the u.s. drug enforcement administration stop using fake profile pages to try to hunt down suspects. in a letter made public yesterday, facebook's chief security officer said law enforcement officers have to follow the same rules as everyone else and not lie about their identity. justice department officials say they are reviewing the practice. >> sreenivasan: and now more of our continuing series, "the war on isis." detailed analysis of the administration's efforts to halt the advance by islamic extremists who have captured large portions of syria and iraq. for the latest, we are joined once again tonight from
washington by douglas ollivant. he served with the national security council under president bush and president obama and is now a partner with mantid international. the iraqi parliament today approved nominees for the interior and defense ministry positions. so what's the significance of that and what can be done now that they are in place? >> well, it's very significant. we've not had a parliamentary-approved minister of defense or minister of interior since 2010. so to have the sunni minister defense and shi'a minister of interior is very important movinged for. president obama has talked about getting an inclusive government, and the hardest part of that was the security ministry. so now that we have a parliamentary-approved minister of defense and minister of interior, we have yet another step to goed for on really coordinating the response to the islamic state in iraq. >> sreenivasan: we've been talking a lot about isis in the context of syria and iraq. it seems lebanon is starting to get dragged into this fight as well. >> well, that's right.
the islamic state has made no bones about the fact it has designs on lebanon and lebanon has a very tranquil stability from its own civil war 20 years ago. it's taken in a lot of syrian refugees which has put great strain on its state, its service, and its balance. and again now you have the islamic state probing the lebanon border, clearly trying to brick them into this conflict. >> sreenivasan: we're going to put a map up on the screen showing isis' advance during the last seven weeks. what is important about the anbaanand what is the iraqi mily army doing to stop isis there. >> it is a very large prof ins in west iraq and borders baghdad, most notably, but also babble, kerbala, najaf. it's a very significant, very large province, and isis first moved here in january, long
before the sweep into mosul that garnered everyone's attention. so isis has been here a long time. and in fact, some would say isis never really left, that even when the former a.q.i., now isis, the former al qaeda in iraq, went to ground, it never really anbar and always had a foothold there. >> sreenivasan: they also control a town just about 12 miles west of the baghdad airport, and they've been able to fire mortars into the green zone on the eastern side of baghdad, where the u.s. embassy is. how safe is baghdad now from isis? >> well, in the mega-picture, baghdad is not going to fall to the islamic state like mosul did. that's simply not going to happen. baghdad say majority shi'a city that is just-- whose citizens find isis to be absolutely anathema and it will not be welcome in any way, shape, or form. now, that said, isis does have sanctuary in and around baghdad and can doha rasing attacks.
what everyone is most concerned about, of course, is the baghdad airport. the western edge of the baghdad airport is just a few kilometers from anbar province, and it is not inconceivable that isis is trying to not capture but interdict the baghdad airport. you put one or two artillery rounds on the runway at baghdad airport, and all of a sudden, international air travel shuts down for that city, which would then send into a tizzy the international community that's in baghdad, all the embassies, all the military assistance, et cetera. so that's a very real problem that we're watching. >> sreenivasan: all right douglas ollivant with mantid international, thanks so much. >> thanks so much. >> sreenivasan: and now to our signature segment, our original in-depth reports from around the nation and around the world. tonight, an often less visible aspect of poverty in america, rural poverty.
of the estimated 45 million americans now living below the poverty line, more than 7.5 million live in rural areas. eastern kentucky, coal mining country, is one area where poverty has persisted throughout the years. now, a new government plan-- the creation of what are known as promise zones-- aims to alleviate it. the newshour's megan thompson traveled there recently and has our report. it's part of our series, "poverty: the 50-year war." >> reporter: in this south central mountain country, over a third of the population has faced chronic unemployment. >> reporter: for as long as anyone can remember, the coal country of eastern kentucky has struggled. in 1964, president lyndon johnson came through here after he declared the war on poverty. this is the area that became the face of his campaign. >> and we are just not willing to accept the necessity of poverty. >> reporter: back then, the poverty rate in some areas was around 60%.
eastern kentucky has made big strides in the 50 years since lyndon johnson came through here, but even still the area continues to struggle today. the poverty rate in eastern kentucky has dropped, but in some parts still hovers around 30%. unemployment in some counties is more than 10%, much higher than the national average. and the region is still dependent on coal, which has meant trouble as the industry's gone south. how big is the coal industry? >> everything here stems off of coal. >> reporter: like many here, tobey miller's roots run deep, and they run through the coal mines. >> well, my papaw, he worked in the mines, used to tell me stories about when he moved here. >> reporter: miller's papaw, his grandfather, bought the family farm in knox county in 1941 with the money he earned from coal. miller's dad worked in coal. and straight out of high school, miller did, too, welding the
heavy machinery used in the mines. miller's family-- his wife, two daughters and granddaughter-- lived well. he earned more than $50,000 a year. that's double the median household income around here. but then, a year ago, miller was told his job was being cut. >> i've got kids that have needs that i couldn't provide for. i guess, actually, i got depressed real, real bad, and i... i just... i was just scared of losing everything. >> reporter: miller says his family's farm has helped him get by. he grows most of his own food and already chopped firewood for winter. >> that'll be my heat. >> reporter: after his unemployment checks ran out, he did odd jobs for neighbors to stay afloat. >> you just can't go out here and find a job that suits you. i mean, it just ain't here. >> reporter: since the 1970s, more than 130,000 coal jobs have
been lost in the u.s., a decline of about 50%. coal employment in eastern kentucky's now at a historic low. more than 7,000 jobs have been lost since 2008. >> the thing that hasn't happened at an adequate rate is the diversification of the local economy. >> reporter: university of kentucky economist and poverty expert james ziliak says a vicious cycle is at work. like other persistently poor areas, eastern kentucky's high school and college graduation rates are lower than the rest of the country. so, few other industries increasingly in need of highly skilled workers have located here. >> i think the recognition has come at this point in time that coal, it's not going to be the engine of job growth going forward. >> reporter: there are many reasons for coal's long decline--increased mechanization, a dwindling coal supply, the low cost of natural gas and stricter environmental regulations.
>> ...while the e.p.a. and bureaucrats try to kill kentucky's coal industry. >> reporter: the job losses are a hot topic in the senate race here. republican incumbent mitch mcconnell has tried to capitalize on the latest round of environmental rules proposed by the obama administration last summer. even democratic challenger alison lundergan grimes has kept her distance from the administration. >> i don't agree with what the president has done, his energy philosophy. >> reporter: while president obama's blamed, right or wrong, for the coal layoffs in kentucky, he's also getting some credit for a new plan to boost the economy, unveiled earlier this year. >> we're here today to announce the first five promise zones. >> reporter: the promise zone initiative will fight poverty by concentrating aid in specific regions of the u.s. it's not a new idea. republican congressman and housing secretary jack kemp pushed enterprise zones starting in the '80s. president clinton promoted empowerment zones. they appeal to the left and the right because they use tax breaks to spur job growth.
president obama proposed tax cuts for the promise zones, but they have to be passed by congress, a prospect considered unlikely for now. and there's no guaranteed federal aid, just a promise of priority for federal grants. the promise zone in kentucky includes parts of eight counties in the southeast part of the state where tobey miller lives. jerry rickett led the effort to apply for the promise zone designation. it's no secret that this part of the country has been struggling with a lot of these issues for many years. what is it about this promise zone that you think is going to actually make a difference? >> well, it gets back to the partners all working together. you know, one individual group can only do so much, but if you weave us together into a rope, we can be really, really strong. >> the people of the region have said, this is it. we've got to do something now or else we might not be able to pull back. >> reporter: in fact, the promise zone has brought together a new coalition of
local governments, schools and community organizations that will implement the promise zone goals: diversifying the economy, creating jobs, growing small business, and improving education and retraining. the work is just getting under way, but rickett points to a couple successful local initiatives that show how the promise zone could work. >> we've got to get a better- educated workforce, got to help the adults that, you know, need additional training or retraining. >> reporter: especially unemployed coal miners. many are leaving in droves to find work. so, in hazard, kentucky, two promise zone partners-- the community college and a job- training group-- launched a new program to teach laid-off miners to repair electricity and phone lines. so far, 39 have graduated and almost every one has found a job. tobey miller is also retraining. at his nearby community college, he's earning an associate's degree to repair heating, air conditioning and ventilation systems, or h.v.a.c.
>> if i can, i'm going to stay right here and try to get through this school that i'm doing, because it's here. h.v.a.c. work is here. >> reporter: miller says he wants to start his own business one day. promise zone supporters say that's exactly what they want, too. >> we really believe in entrepreneurship, trying to get businesses to start, trying to find ways to help the ones that are here, you know, thrive. it's really difficult to recruit industries into eastern kentucky. >> reporter: because it's so difficult to recruit outside employers, rickett says they need to grow their own. last year, rickett's group got an $800,000 federal grant, which they then loaned to local manufacturer clyde phillips. he hired 19 people with that money and plans to hire dozens more. when we're talking about thousands of people losing their jobs and thousands of people already un... unemployed, will one or two jobs here or a dozen jobs there make that difference?
>> well, it's the only op... opportunity we have. you have to be realistic and work within the areas that you can and have progress and success in. >> i do get the sense that there's greater energy and enthusiasm to... to... to tackle the problem. but time will tell if it will pay off. clearly, we're hoping that it does. >> i've never been dependent on that before. >> reporter: like many here, tobey miller blames the government for the coal layoffs but admits he's been helped by federal programs, too. a local promise zone partner signed him up for federally- supported programs that have helped pay his mortgage and provide a stipend for a few months. >> it has been a very big bonus for me. i mean, it saved my bacon. but the problem i have with it is, if they'd left things alone, everything would've still been going along just fine.
>> reporter: miller says his dream is to save enough money to send his youngest daughter to a four-year college. she'd be the first in the family to go. >> sreenivasan: to learn more about the growing rate of poverty in america's suburbs, visit www.newshour.pbs.org. >> sreenivasan: as you no doubt know, gas prices have fallen sharply in recent weeks. according to a.a.a., the average price of a gallon of regular was $3.52 in late july. now, less than three months later, it's $3.12. for more, we are joined now by isaac arnsdorf. he is an energy and commodities reporter with bloomberg news. so we've seen it decline a lot and sometimes there's a lag between the price of oil and the price of gas. are we likely to see the price of gas go lower? >> it could continue to tick down a little bit. we are seeing oil prices start to stabilize, significantly lower than they were this summer, but it depend sort of where oil goes from now. if oil continues its freefall,
really, or feendz a floor around $80 a barrel. >> sreenivasan: is it likely to last? there are so many different factors pushing it down? >> absolute. we've got very soft demand global low, and expanding supply from the u.s., and really all eyes are on opec now to see if they cut back supply or continue to add supply and let prices continue to fall. >> sreenivasan: there were comments made by imf in saudi arabia this week about what's good, what's bad for saudi arabia. >> the i.m.f. estimates saudi arabia needs about $83 a barrel to break evenots budget. but saudi arabia has a lot of currency reserves and very good credit. they've run deficits before and she they could withed stand it for some time. lower prices, while it would reduce saudi arabia's income, it would actually probably hurt some of their big rivals more like iran or russia. so, you know, there's-- analysts are sort of split.
is opec just not hanging together or is there a camp that thinks maybe saudi arabia is all right with the prices being lower. >> sreenivasan: what's the upside here? when prices fall at the pump, consumers in the the united states actually feel better about it because they're paying less at the gas station, but what are kind of the economic ripple effects when there are low low gas prices? >> this is about the the equivalent of a $500 or $600 tax cut for every household and that's money that will basically be spent right away. so many mirns live paycheck to paycheck and spend everything in their pocket sore anything they save on fuel will go right into the economy and consumer spending and that will happen pretty quickly, and the economic effect of that could be about .4% of g.d.p. growth. >> sreenivasan: wow. how does that ripple into, for example, the holiday shopping season or is that more money in the pocket we can start spending on toys and gifts, et cetera, et cetera? >> other interesting thing about
gas prices, what's been noted is it's peculiar the way we buy it. we sit there and watch the dollars roll by. even more than the the actu effect on income is this psychological effect on consumer confidence because we really notice when those prices move around as we watch them go by. >> sreenivasan: to recap, the big reasons are that china is perhaps demanding less oil. >> absolutely. >> sreenivasan: and at the same time the u.s. is creating more natural gas and oil reserves? >> yeah, so the u.s. is producing a lot more oil domestically, importing a lot less, which makes a lot more oil available on the world market to go to asia. but china is not-- the growth is slowing down there. also, in developing countries, cars are getting more efficient and people are driving less. so demand globally is growing at the slowest pace since 2009 and 29 was, obviously, a very weak year. and at the same time there is also awl this supply coming on from the u.s. and so that's why we've seen prices take such a
nosedive. >> sreenivasan: all right isaac arnsdorf from "bloomberg >> this is pbs newshour weekend, saturday. >> sreenivasan: music fans have long debated the meaning of this photograph, the cover of the beatles' 1969 iconic album, "abbey road." that image was actually one of several taken during a photo shoot with the fab four. now, 45 years later, all the photos snapped that day are going up for auction. >> reporter: the photographer only had ten minutes, so he got the band to cross the road a few times, took six snaps, and then paul mccartney chose the one that ended up on the album cover. ♪ now, for what's thought to be the first time, all six images taken by iain macmillan and one used on the back of the abbey road album are being sold together. >> the collector has been collecting music photography for over 15 years, and it took him
10 years to find it. so it's really special. >> reporter: what few knew then was that "abbey road," released in 1969, would be the last time the beatles recorded together. it lead later to conspiracy theories, that the scene on the cover symbolized a funeral procession, even that paul mccartney had died and an imposter was used. the cover became an icon in its own right. john lennon's suit was auctioned off for a small fortune. so, too, was the white car which is now on display in germany's volkswagen museum. with an estimated 200,000 tourists visiting this crossing every year and, of course, all of the london traffic, finding a quiet 10 minutes to take those pictures these days would be a virtual impossibility. it doesn't stop fans trying to capture the moment. some with their own unique twist. even the outtakes are producing huge interest, especially as just months after these images were taken, the beatles would be
walking away for good when they split up. >> sreenivasan: some more news, the canadian government is shipping 800 vials of its experimental ebola vaccine to the world health organization which will distribute it in african nations ravaged by the disease. and on a much lighter note air, story about defying the odds, during a recent golf trip, an 81-year-old man had a hole in one october 6, a second the very next day and a third after that. he might have been more excited about it if he had not recorded another ace in the hole the month before. i'm hari sreenivasan. have a good night. captioning sponsored by wnet captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org
>> pbs newshour weekend is made possible by: corporate funding is provided by mutual of america-- designing customized individual and group retirement products. that's why we are your retirement company. additional support is provided by: and by the corporation for public broadcasting and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you.