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tv   PBS News Hour  PBS  June 22, 2022 3:00pm-4:01pm PDT

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♪ judy: good evening. i'm judy woodruff. on the “newshour” tonight. pain at the pump -- president biden asks congress to suspend the federal gas tax temporarily as rising prices pinch drivers nationwide. then. guns in america -- senators announce a bipartisan deal on firearm safety legislation in the wake of numerous mass shootings across the country. and crimes of war -- the international criminal court's top prosecutor investigates atrocities committed by russian forces in ukraine. >> what we have to do is make sure we put the law into action. and the law has to have meaning for those that are in shelters, those that are feeling insecure, those that have lost loved ones.
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judy: all that and more on tonight's “pbs newshour.” ♪ announcer: major funding for the "pbs newshour" has been provided by -- ♪ >> moving our economy for 160 years. bnsf, the engine that connects us. >> cfo. caregiver.
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contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. judy: president biden is calling on congress to temporarily suspend the federal gas tax. the president told reporters today that he knows the proposal is not a permanent solution to rising prices at the pump. pres. biden: i fully understand that a gas tax holiday alone is not going to fix the problem. but it will provide families some immediate relief, just a little bit of breathing room as we continue working to bring down prices for the long haul. judy: white house correspondent laura barron-lopez has been reporting on the president's proposal, and joins me now to discuss. hello, laura. tell us what is the effect of this proposal expected to be and how is it you received? laura: this would go into effect for three months if congress ultimately decides to pass it.
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that is the big if right now. currently the federal gas tax is about $.18. the federal diesel tax is roughly $.24. so they have not been touched since 1983. they have not been increased at all. right now arage price of gas is about $4.95. but the reception has been lukewarm at best from members on the hill including members within biden's own party. speaker pelosi has in the past called the idea of suspending the gas tax essentially a con and she doesn't think it's very helpful to consumers. i was speaking to a harvard economist and former obama administration and economic advisor today. he said that consumers will get about a few cents back at the gas pump, but that ultimately, oil companies will receive billions in profits. the big question is whether or
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not those oil companies then decide to lower the prices at the pump because of theprofits they are receiving. our colleague lisa has heard a lot from democratic leadership today that right now, the votes just aren't there on the hill for this. judy: so ultimately, how much power does the president have to do anything about gas prices, to do anything about inflation over all, and do we know, is the administration planning to do anything else? laura: there are a lot of other options the administration is considering. at the end of the day, there are a lot of limitations on president biden and what he can ultimately do, not just for gas prices, but also inflation more broadly. one thing the white house is considering is lifting china tariffs on household goods, bicycles, etc.. that is something they are considering right now. another thing is that the energy department secretary jennifer
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granholm is about to meet tomorrow with oil executives. she said she will push them to try to use the profits they will ultimately get back if a gas tax holiday is demented. the profits they are getting right now, she is going to try to push them to send that back to the consumer to lower prices at the pump. now there's been a bit of duking back and forth between oil executives and presidentiden lately so it remains to be seen whether or not those conversations go anywhere. another big way there could be an impact on inflation comes down to the federal reserve. federal reserve chairman jerome powell was testifying before senators today about the possibility of interest rate rais and what impact that would have on the economy. >> do you agree that interest rates go to high, too fast that it could? driveus into a
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recession ? >> certainly a possibility. it is not the intended outcome but it is a possibility. frankly the events of the last few mohs around the world have made it more difficult for us to achieve what we want which is 2% inflation and still a strong labor market. laura: we heard powell say a recessiois a possibility. not likely. we heard a rosier picture from the white house. biden has repeated again and again that he thinks it is not inevitable and to really try to tell the public should not be worried about it just yet. judy: significant acknowledgment by the fed chair. all of this is happening while the midterm elections just five months away right now, right now we know the president's approval rating hovering on average around 40%. what do we know about how voters might react to a gas tax? laura: i was spoke -- talking to democratic pollsters and they
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say it is popular with voters. at the end of the day they acknowledge the reality that it is marginal savings, but voters in polling and status -- focus groups, they want to see the president do everything at his disposal, even if it is something like he did today which is simply calling on congress and calling on states to follow suit and suspend their state gas taxes. so she said the more they see him out there creating a record of attempts to try to curb inflation and curb gas prices, the better off it is for him as well as democrats into november. judy: of course all this happens in a political environment at the same time, people are watching how much everything costs. laura barron-lopez, thank you.
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whatever happens regarding the gas tax, congress does appear poised to deliver the biggest overhaul of the nation's gun laws in nearly three decades. it is a development few observers believed possible, even as mass shootings like those in buffalo and uvalde shook the country. congressional correspondent lisa desjardins joins me now to explain what is in the bill, what is not, and where this proposal goes from here. let's start, hello, let's start with the fact that this has several elements to it. tell us what is in here and what it looks like. lisa: this is an 80 page bill. that is not very long when you talk about how much it does, but it has specific elements to it. i want to start we idea of what we are talking about with guns specifically. the title of the bills the bipartisan safer communities act. there are $750 million in grants
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to help states and local officials and counties, if they want to enforce and do re to implement things like red flag logs -- laws, crisis intervention, mental health and veterans support. it is up to the community to decide. it's also with boyfriends or girlfriends, blocked if they are convicted of domestic abuse for fi years. there's also cracking down on straw purchases. that is when someone purchases a gun legally but is doing it for someone else who is not able to buy it legally and sells it to them. that would be illegal under this law. so we see different kinds of provisions appealing to different people but all new aspects of gun law in the u.s. judy: we know this also includes part of an effort that is focused on young men who are troubled, who may become violent. tell us about what in the bill
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would address that. lisa: i want to take time to talk about that. that is one of the main reasons we are here. the shootings in uvalde and also in buffalo. what do we know? the suspects in those shootings, teenags. people between the ages of 18 and 21 able to get a hold of an assault style or long gun, able to use those to -- with incredibly lethal effect. here's what the bill does in terms of tackling the idea of troubled youth. there would be a new records check for anyone 18 to 21 years old who would attempt to buy a longer. -- long gun. that check would last between three and 10 days. then they would look into mental health records for young people, which are now not part of the process at all. reading the bill last night, i discovered that provision would actually sunset in 2032. it is a temporary provision and it is part of a compromise. but this is something people think is significant and could save lives.
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judy: we know that this is being described as the most significant bill to address gun violence in decades. how did we get to this point of even having it? lisa: i tnk there are a few elements. some of it have to do with personalities. the two people who really pushed this through the most were democrat chris murphy of connecticut who is known at the forefront of this debate, because he's close to newtown and took up the mantle of this idea of gun reform after the sandy hook shootings. then there's john cornyn of texas, which has seen repeated mass shootings in his state. they got together and ad this effort. here's what they said in the last day about the bill they were able to craft. >> i don't want us to pass a bill for the purpose of checking a box. i want to make sure we actually do something useful. >> this bill will be too little for many. it will be too much for others.
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but it isn't a box checking exercise. this is not windowdressing. this bill is going to save lives. lisa: this was a focused bill and is not just about the aspects i mentioned above, but also significant aspects on health and safety. in this bill, billions for schools and pediatricians to get mental health training, to expand mental health services for young people and also $300 million for school safety. a wide range of uses that can have. it is interesting, something that democrats got in the compromise. grants cannot be used to fund gun training for teachers, something democrats did not want to see. so notable not just within the bill, but who opposed it. the national rifle association is opposed to this. this is the first bill in decades we've seen likely to pass congress on guns despite nra opposition. judy: what does the timeline
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look like on this? if the senate does pass it, what are the prospects in the house? lisa: it does look actually pretty good in the house. housspeaker nancy pelosi is on board. we expected to go through the senate this week and the house should take it up after it comes back from july 4 recess. stay tuned, but right now it looks pretty good. judy: stay tuned. lisa desjardins, thank you. in the day's other news: afghanistan's taliban leaders are appealing for help after an earthquake killed at least 1,000 people and injured 1,500. it struck in the eastern mountains, near the pakistan border. officials warned the death toll may go higher still. we'll return to this, after the news summary. in ukraine, russian artillery
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battered the city of kharkiv in the northeast for a second day. officials think you have said the russians hope to divert ukrainian troops away from fierce fighting in the eastern don region. state tv offered a glimpse of the devastation. ukrainian troops are still holding out against a russian seizure. federal reserve chair jerome powell pledged today to raise interest rates enough to douse inflation without sparking a recession. powell told a u.s. senate hearing that he still hopes for a so-called a soft landing. members on both sides of the aisle pressed him about the potential downside of aggressive rate hikes. chair powell: of course, we're not, we're not trying to provoke and don't think that we will need to provoke a recession. but we do think it's absolutely essential that we restore price stability, really for the benefit of the labor market as much as anything else. judy: last week, the fed raised a key rate by 3-quarters of a point -- the most in nearly 3
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decades. the prime minister of sri lanka has declared his nation's economy is in complete collapse -- and, he's appealing for foreign assistance. he spoke today as the island nation faces severe shortages of food, fuel and electricity. inflation is running near 40%, and sri lankans have protested on a near-daily basis. many blame government inaction. >> our children don't have milk powder. no fuel for our husbands to do their jobs we don't have gas to cook. how can we live? we came to tell this government if they can't govern, then , please leave. they are all thieves. judy: sri lanka has suffered from lost tourism revenue during the pandemic and soaring commodity costs. back in this country, yellowstone naonal park partially reopened today, after record flooding. this morning, hundreds of vehicles waited to get in for the first time since june 13th , when visitors were evacuated. 10,000 the old faithful geyser
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was again a major attraction. the northern part of the park is expected to remain closed until at least july. and, on wall street, stocks ended slightly lower as crude oil prices fell 4%. the dow jones industrial average lost 47 points to close at 30,483. the nasdaq fell 16 points. the s&p 500 dropped 5. still to come on the “newshour." raphael warnock recounts his rise to the u.s. senate in a new memoir. missouri becomes the latest state to use covid relief to support underfunded schools. how guitarist and singer molly tuttle became a bluegrass music star. plus, much more. announcer: this is the "pbs newshour," from weta studios in washington and in the west from
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the walter cronkite school of journalism at arizona state university. judy: for a country already suffering through economic and humanitarian catastrophe, the earthquake in afghanistan today makes an awful situation even worse. with the taliban government under severe international sanctions, getting aid and comfort, not to mention medical care, to the remote mountains in the east, is a monumental task. here's amna nawaz. amna: it was afghanistan's deadliest earthquake in two decades. villagers recounted the terrifying moment their homes turned to rubble. the 6.1 magnitude quake struck this rural region in the night. houses made of mud, bricks, and stone crumbled in an instant. >> it was about midnight when the quake struck. it destroyed the houses of our neighbors. there were many dead and wounded. they sent us to the hospital. i saw many dead bodies. amna: the epicenter was located in the eastern part of the country ne the pakistani
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border. residents are resorting to using their bare hands to dig through the rubble, searching for survivors. mustafa madatkhail is the afghanistan program director for the international medical corps, one of several humanitarian organizations helping with the emergency response. >> it was difficult. it was a mass casualty. amna: i'm sure the death will increase more and more. the few helicopters able to reh the zone evacuated the wounded for treatment and delivered much-needed medical supplies and food. but responding to a tragedy of this magnitude will be a major
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test for the taliban. most international aid was stopped to afghanistan after they seized power 10 months ago. today, taliban leaders desperately appealed for help. >> when such a big incident happens in any country, there is a need for help from other countries. it is very difficult for us to be able to respond to this huge incident. we ask the international community to cooperate with us and continue their support. amna: president biden has directed usaid and other federal government partners to assess how the u.s. will respond to the disaster. joining me now is a communication and advocacy coordinator for the international rescue committee and is based in kabul. welcome to the "nehour." and thank you for joining us. let's start with what we know. what have you been able to learn about the extent of the devastation, how many people have been injured or killed? what are you hearing right now? >> what i'm hearing from the ground is that it is an
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absolutely devastating situation, upwards of 1000 people killed, scores more injured. we hear that 1800 homes have been destroyed as a result of this earthquake that took place in the middle of the night. these areas that are most affected are some of the poorest and most remote areas in the country. they lack the appropriate infrastructure. people do not have the economic means to build proper housing. and as a result, most of these areas had mud homes that have basically been razed to the ground. amna: you mentioned this happened in the middle of the night, meaning people were at home sleeping when this ppened. >> yes. people were in their, in their beds, in their homes. it was around 2:00 a.m. we felt a jolt here inabul, didn't think much of it. and then slowly the news started to co in. it took a while due to the fact that telecom towers had also gone down and been damaged. and that's also impacting some
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of the recovery efforts. amna: this is a remote perch of the country. as you mentioned, telecom towers have now been impacted. what what does this mean for what you and your organization are able to do or not do? >> it's very challenging. again, afghanistan is currently in the midst of a horrific economic crisis and a worsening humanitarian crisieven before this earthquake took place. humanitarian organizations right now are coordinating with one panother so that we can better understand the impact and the scale ofhe destruction that has occurred and how best we can spread out the resources and the capacities that we have in order to reach the most number of affected people. amna what about the government? as we know, this taliban government's been in power now since august 2021. do you know anything about their resources or capability to respond? >> one of the areas which has been struggling quite a bit over the course of the last nine months is the health sector.
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the health sector relied heavily on donor funding, and much of that has been suspended over the course of that nine months. i visited a hospital in paktia, a neighboring province, to the one that has been, the two that have been affected, just a couple weeks ago. and this is a regional hospital that is supposed to cover paktika, paktia, logar and khost they were struggling. you had, you know, three babies to an incubator. you had hallways lined with women holding malnourished babies. the health sector in afghanistan is at a brink of collapse right now, and this is only going to get worse with this catastrophe that happened. amna: you mentioned the lack of donor funds. that's largely because no country in the world recognizes officially recognizes this taliban government. do you worry that lack of donor aid coming in will now hinder your and other organizations ability to respond to this latest tragedy? >> a lack of funds has been the
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greatest issue in dealing with the humanitarian crisis over the course of the past nine months. we are struggling to get money into the country with the banking sector and sanctions that have been put in place. a lot of small and local ngos that do operate in these remote areas have basically shut down and are not operational. so a lot of the burden has fallen upon international organizations as we do have mechanisms in order to bring funds into the country. however, however you know, it's still not , enough. the situation is worsening by the day. and now we have this catastrophe of this earthquake that took place, that only going to exacerbate the humanitarian aid community as well as the public sector. amna: that is samira syed rahman, she's with the international rescue committee, joininus tonight from kabul. thank you for your time. >> thank you for having me.
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judy: attorney general merrick garland traveled to ukraine this week to discuss u.s. efforts to help prosecute russian war criminals. ukrainian authorities say they are investigating more than 15,000 possible war crimes committed since russia invaded in february. the u.s. and european countries are also supporting an international criminal court investigation. nick schifrin talks to the icc prosecutor about the pursuit of justice. nick: the horrors of a horrific war. more than 1000 ukrainians in bucha, bound and executed by russian soldiers, buried in a mass grave. a theater in mariupol, destroyed by a direct russian strike as hundreds of women and children hid inside. outside, their city obliterated, many residents forcibly deported into russia. kyiv has already found a russian soldier guilty of killing a ukrainian citizen and sentenced
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him to life. but the russian war crimes are widespread, and include the killing, torture, and rape of civilians during armed conflict. those violations are set out in the 1998 rome statute that created the international criminal court. >> the international criminal court is troubling to the united states. nick: in 2002, president george w. bush withdrew u.s. support. but toy the u.s. is aiding icc prosecutor karim khas investigation in ukraine, where he's working with top prosecutor iryna venidiktova. i spoke to khan today from the hague. when you opened your investigation in ukraine on february 28, you said that there was a reasonable basis to believe alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity have been committ. today, almost four months later, do you also believe the possible genocide has been committed? >> it's a great question, nick, but where are the early stages of an investigation. analysts, investigators, lawyers, forensic experts have been, and are on the ground. and we will in due course make determinations, but we can't put the cart before the horse.
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nick: some of the atrocities we've seen, including russia forcibly deporting ukrainian children, are specifically written into the genocide convention. russia trying to destroy entire ukrainian cities, even if it is early in the investigation. do those kinds of acts become the basis for a genocide investigation? >> we've seen and we're looking into a number of allegations, including the allegations regarding the unlawful transfer of civilians and children in particular. and they could give rise to legal liability on a number of grounds. i'm not going to start pontificating on what are theoretical possibilities. there is real suffering. that's not theoretical. there's real suffering in ukraine. what we have to do is make sure we put the law into action. and the law has to have meaning for those that are in shelters, those that are feeling insecure, those that have lost loved ones
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or are today as we speak, are facing bomrdments or different conduct that may constitute international crimes. and i think that's what we're focusing on. nick: how difficult is it to collect evidence when the crime scene, as you've called it, is a war zone? >> it's not a walk in the park. it's difficult because i've got a duty of care to aff. but it's not impossible. we saw effective investigations in the former yugoslavia. i ink we've seen time and time again that there can be accountability. nobody believed, nick, that when the guns were firing in the balkans, that milosevic, present milosevic or karadzic or mladic would ever be brought to an international court. nobody thought at the height of the genocide in rwanda that former prime minister jean kharbanda and others would be brought to court. nick: are you collecting evidence that you believe could lead to any kind of prosecution of president putin himself or any senior russian officials around him? >> all individuals have
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responsibilities, from a foot soldier to a general to a you know, a civilian superior. everybody involved in conflict that has engaged in hostilities or has responsibilities to prevent or punish, they can be held accountable. one of the legacies, nick, from nuremberg, was the principle that there's no statute of limitations for war crimes. so i think we need to have the perseverance, but also we need to find new ways, innovative ways to mobilize the law as soon as possible. nick: there is no statute of limitations, but there are of course jurisdictional questions. you won't prosecute any crime that ukraine's prosecutor general is prosecuting. you visited her multiple times. you're working closely with her. have you and her made any kind of decision yet about how to divide some of the prosecutions up? >> yes, we have had many discussions. i think ukraine has a fantastic prosecutor general in iryna
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venidiktova, if the state is willing and able, they have the first riand indeed the first responsibility to investigate and prosecute crimes on their territory. given the scale of criminality, which is absolutely massive. whatever the level, we will move forward and will have discussions with our ukrainian counterparts and decide if there is evidence,hat is the best forum? is the best forum the icc or is it domestic courts? for this nature, the reality, everybody has to have a role. nick: let's talk about some of your coordination with the united states and the biden administration. senior u.s. officials tell me that you have submitted requests for intelligence. u.s. law prevents any administration from funding the icc, but it doesn't prevent the u.s. from providing intelligence or people to the icc. in general, do you believe that the biden administration is providing as much assistance to you in this investigation as u.s. law allows? >> we have had good communications and good meetings with the u.s. administration and
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in fact, bipartisan. if we can work together, we can get more justice than we have at the moment. of course, i think there's always areas for significant improvement. in an ideal world, i would make many suggestions but it's not my , prerogative. there are conversations going on, and i hope, of course, we can build trust and we can get evermore support from all state parties, including the united states. nick: pursuing someone like president putin or other senior russian officials could be done by another crime, the crime of aggression. the icc, of course, does not have jurisdiction over the crime of aggression. but do you support ukraine using the crime of aggression, which is in its legal code, or the creation of some kind of independent tribunal, to use the crime of aggression against senior russian officials? >> in terms of other entities, other mechanisms, i think there needs to be a dose of realism. the icc has been here for 20 years. it's been historically under-resourced. it has a clear jurisdiction and there are some perhaps unforeseen consequences or difficulties by creating other mechanisms.
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i think we should focus on mobilizing what is already here, what already exists, but we can become rather self-indulgent in creating things that would like. i'd rather focus on what we have and put it into action effectively. nick: karim khan, the international criminal court, thank you very much. >> thank you so much. judy: george as u.s. senator raphael warnock gained national attention in january 2021 when he won his high-profile senate race. before that, he was best known as the senior pastor at atlanta's historic ebenezer baptist church. senator warnock is up for reelection this year and with a few months to go before voters cast their ballot, he's out with a new memo or that describes his journey to the pulpit and then to the halls of congress.
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it is titled "a way out of no way" and i spoke with him moments ago. senator warnock, thank you for joining us. this is part of your telling your story, the 11th of 12 children in your family, grew up in public housing project in savannah, georgia. first in your family to go to college. i want to ask what you meant in the title when it says "a way out of no way and" the new american story. sen. warnock:. thank you so much. it's great to be here with you. so the title of the memoir, away out of no way comes straight from the black church. and let me hasten to say that when we say the black church, we've never meant anything racially exclusive by that. i'm talking about the antislavery church, the church that slaves built, and out of which martin luther king jr and so many others emerged, calling
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america to its best self. and you're not in a black church for long before you hear someone in the pulpit or maybe even in the pew say, our god makes a way out of no way. it is a phrase and an expression born of suffering, quite frankly, and of oppression, but of keeping the faith over against long odds. hoping against hope. putting one foot in front of the other and never giving in to despair. to know that that as we push our way, we may not know exactly how things will move froday to day, but ultimately we're going to be all right. judy: so many stories in the book about your growing up and about your time as you made your way through life. you became a minister after theological school. you've clearly had your trials and tribulations. what was it, 25 years ago, your older brother, keith, who was a police officer, arrested, sentenced to life in prison for being involved in a drug ring. what did you learn from that
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experience? sen. warnock: indeed, it was one of the darkest and most difficult moments in my family's life, one that we continued to rustle through. he was released after 22 years of a life sentence. ironically, because of covid and the pandemic and the overcrowding of our prisons in a country where we are 6% of the world's population, we americans, but we warehoused 25% of the world's prisoners. and so it gave me a lens into the things that need to be corrected in our criminal justice system. the so-called war on drugs that literally hollowed out entire communities, particularly black and brown communities. we're seeing it play that play out now in rural communities the opioid epidemic. it gave me a kind of compassion and tender heart as a pastor, as i dealt with others who were gog through the same thing. it informs my work as a
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legislator. judy: and you do bring your background as a pastor to the united states senate. you've served now for a year and a half at a time of historic gridlock in washington, in the senate. do you you know, having seen it up close, do you have a formula for how to break through that gridlock? sen. warnock: these are difficult days, but i think you you get up every morning, you do your work, and you try to build coalitions, and sometimes unlikely alliances with with people who may not agree with you on everything, all for the sake of building what dr. king called a beloved community. that's that's our calling in a moment like this. judy: well, one of the unlikely coming together, if you will, is just we've seen it just in the last day or so over gun legislation, gun control. it looks as if there could be an agreement in the senate. it's clearly not what you and many other democrats wanted but , is it something you could support? sen. warnock:, what i want is to
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see us break the gridlock. i mean, columbine happened about three decades ago. think about that. we we have adults in america who for them and their children, they don't remember a world as i do when you didn't have to teach kindergartners what to do in the case of an active shooter. this has been our experience now for a generation and a half. here's what the senate cannot afford to do to wash our hands of the issue and say we can't do anything. so i've gotten a good look at this bill. i've been working and with my colleagues and encouraging those who've been at the center of this work. this is a good moment. we're going to save lives when we pass this legislation and i think lay the foundation for figuring out figuring out what else we can do for the american people together. judy: another issue before the country right now, senator, is the high cost of gasoline. as you know, president biden today announced a three month suspension of the federal gas
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tax. you habeen asking for a suspension through the end of the year. is this something you can support? sen. warnock: well, in fact, i introduced the gas tax relief act back in february. so i've been pushing for this for the better part of the year. i'm now happy to see the president is fully on board with this. and i can tell you that for consumers and georgia, hard working families trying to work it out, this can't come soon enough. i hope we can get this done sooner than later. judy: your race for reelection, senator, you're up against a georgia football legend and herschel walker as the republican nominee. it's been reported just in the past few days that he has fathered three more children than he had previously acknowledged. he's getting a lot of attention over that. his campaign, in turn, has turned around and accused you of being involved in a nasty custody fight with your former
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wife. this has gotten down and dirty quickly, hasn't it? sen. warnock: well, i think it's going to be a long campaign. and thpeople of georgia have a stark choice to make about who they think is ready to represent them in the united states senate. i'm the most junior member of the u.s. senate out of 100, number 100. and yet i punch way above my weight. we passed a bipartisan infrastructure bill. i've worked with republicans to get things that i think are good for the people of georgia. i've worked with my colleague in alabama to help georgia farmers get their goods to market. i'm pushing now for this gas tax relief, something i've been arguing for since february. and i'm trying to cap the cost of medicine and i'm going to keep my eye on the ball, if you will, and on the people of georgia. judy: senator raphael warnock, candidate for reelection to the
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senate and the author of the new book "a way out of no way." senator, thank you very much. sen. warnock: great to be with you. thanks. ♪ judy: schools across the country are getting much needed upgrad thanks to the covid relief package known as the american rescue plan. that is true in missouri where the state legislature decided how to allocate the federal money just weeks before it was set to expire. experts say fixing systemic funding gaps in public education will require long-term, sustained investment. communities correspondent gabrielle hayes has more from st. louis. reporter: 4th grade david oliverires is one of 225 students at pierre laclede junior career academy, a pre-k through 7th grade school on st. louis' west side. soon the classrooms he and his teacher work in the halls they
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, walked down, will see new paint. an improvement his dad, cory oliverires, says is long overdue. >> funds don't seem to be or appearing to be equally dispersed throughout the saint louis area. i mean, you can just look at our schools, look at the schools on this side of town. look at the schools on the other side of town. reporter: missouri schools, like many across the country, heavily rely on local funding sources such as property taxes, to fund public education. in neighborhoods where property values are lower, often communities of color, schools like laclede may not get as much funding as those in wealthier neighborhoods. missouri also ranks 49th in the nation when it comes to state funding for education according to a state auditor report from 2021. that lack of funding also extends to teacher pay. missouri is home to the lowest base salaries for teachers across the country at $25,000 a year.
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however, both the state and st. louis public schools have recently approved increases to base salaries, that oliverires says were desperately needed. >> these teachers are here. the teachers are very talented. they're not getting paid for what they're putting in. i get emotional. excuse me. because i know how it is to be behind. it's a struggle to get caught up. reporter: kimberly norwood is a professor at washington university school of law in st. louis. she says missouri's lack of education funding has historical roots. >> missouri became a state in 1821, and shortly thereafter the state enacted anti-literacy laws that prevented blacks, whether free or enslaved from reading or writing. reporter: though slavery was abolished in 1865, the supreme court decision plessy v. ferguson upheld state
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segregation ws decades later. norwood says that the ruling's separate but equal doctrine meant schools were never really equal. >> so those black schools end up being overcrowded. they didn't have the resources. they weren't given the money. the teachers weren't paid the same. reporter: nearly 60 years later, the landmark civil rights case brown v. board of education overturned the plessy decision. >> missouri begins a process to end segregated schools. we haven't gotten there yet. so it's 2022. reporter: for norwood, missouri's current funding model exacerbates the problem. >> the amount of money that you give for education is going to depend on how much the property values are in your district. so it's a property rich, property poor scenario. >> it solidifies the cycle of
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poverty. reporter: pamela westbrooks-hodge is member of the missouri board of education and after spending years working in education and finance, she says the current funding model can have an impact on economic mobility. >> because my housing values are low, i don't have the educational outcomes that perhaps i should. i'm not as prepared. and so what are my career opportunities? am i likely to go to college? reporter: back at laclede, principal damaris white said her students are still working through barriers the pandemic made worse. >> it's like now we have to catch up to where they are. so in order to do at, it takes funding. we cannot educate our children the way that they need to be educated without funding. reporter: missouri now has an unprecedented $2 billion in covid relief funds that will go, for the most part, directly to schools. but after decades of underfunding, districts are now trying to figure out how to use that money and how to fill in gaps that existed before the pandemic even started.
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schools are using the money to help with everything from addressing learning loss to hiring mental health counselors. st. louis public schools received 103 million dollars and used what they call an equity index to distribute the funds. that process reviews things like total enrollment and the number of students on free and reduced lunch. laclede is using the funds to update their library and cafeteria among other much needed improvements. >> new furniture in some of the classrooms. more field trips, more field experiences for our students as well. reporter: students now have ipads and their teachers stay late for new after school programs. all things they didn't have before. all things principal white says the extra covid relief money made possible. >> to be able to have a stem lab, after school programming for reading and math and those interventions, and to have small
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group and one on one with the teachers has been it's just been , great. reporter: while the covid relief funds are a boon, that money says pamela westbrooks-hodge, is , just a temporary fix to a structural problem. >> i think we keep putting band-aids on the surface wounds that we see. but systems thinking says keep peeling back the layers to understand root cause. and so that's why addressing resourcing flows structurally, to make them more equitable, to send more dollars in where they're needed on a sustained basis is needed. reporter: for professor norwood, the question of equity is key. why doou think that this issue continues to linger? >> i think we talk that talk about equity and equality, but we don't really mean it. and if it's not good enough for your kid, it shouldn't be good enough for min
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reporter: for mr. oliverires, who's put four kids through st. lewis public schools, the future of education is personal. >> i had a child that came here that i had to resign from a job because of behavior problems. they were so bad, i was here three or four times a week. had i not, i don't know where this child would be right now. reporter: today, his son david has dreams of being a movie star and a basketball player, and his daughter's tori's outlook on her future has changed. >> with the help of the staff here, we were ab to get her through school, through elementary school. she's now interested in college. she's made a turn around without the staff here made that happen. -- without the staff here, it would not have happened. reporter: it is those dres mr. oliverires says that fuel his passion for advocating for students and making sure they have the tools they need to be who they want to be. for the “pbs newshour”, i'm gabrielle hays in st. louis.
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judy: few women get named to those greatest all-time guitar player lists that come out now and then. but, as special correspondent tom casciato reports, there's one playing bluegrass who appears to be on her way. it's part of our arts and culture series, canvas. >> ♪ time is running thin she'll be on the move again ♪ tom: molly tuttle is at the top of her profession. her profession is bluegrass guitar picker. ♪ tom the first woman named the : international bluegrass music association's guitar player of the year, she was drawn to this traditional american art form from the cradle. but the story of how she got from here to here is not
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entirely traditional. start with the title song of her most recent album, crooked tree. molly: i wrote that song with my friend melody walker, and, um, we had seen a quote by tom waits. it kind of said like when they chop down the trees in a forest, the crooked trees are the ones left standing. melody grew up having scoliosis and had to wear back brace all through school. and for me, i lost my hair tyler p show when i was three years old. i always felt like i looked way different than other kids. i got teased for it. when i stood on stage, that was something that made me feel good about myself. so i had this hat that i would always wear and i'd, like, pull it down really low over my face. ♪ tom: she learned to play stringed instruments from her dad, jack tuttle, who taught at the local music shop in palo alto california, the town where molly also attended high school. molly: when i transitioned to palo alto high, it was like a clean break where i could be whoever i wanted basically. and that's when i started wearing wigs, which was a huge
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relief cause i didn't get those comments. and like the whispers or people staring at me anymore. but it made me feel like i was keeping an even bigger secret because now at least i felt like people couldn't tell as much that i had alopecia. tom: folks could tell she was becoming quite a musician, performing with her father and brothers, with their friend aj on mandolin. molly: it was called the tuttles with aj lee, which is not the most catchy band name in the world. [laughter] tom she honed her craft jamming : at bluegrass festivals, where at least once, she found herself honing her feminism as well. molly: and how a bluegrass jam works is usually, like, you just pass around solos in a circle basically. and so i joined this jam and i knew most of the people in the jam, but there was one guy that i had never met before. and it was kind of going around when it gets to me, he leans over me and points to the banjo player on my left and says, you take the solo. when you're a woman in music, a lot of times you're second guessing yourself. are they treating me like this
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because i'm a woman? but in that instance i was like, okay, i know this was real. i'm not making this up. >> ♪ i just want to ride bowlegged bowlegged like the boys ♪ tom did you read music growing : up? molly: no, not at all. i learned by ear and i didn't know anything about what chords were called. and that was a struggle when i got to music college. they kind of rank you in different areas, like music theory, reading, and i ranked so low, i got like all the lowest rankings and everything. it was like one to five and i was like one, one, one, one, one. tom: what she did know at boston's prestigious berklee college of music was how to write, play and sing a song. professionally, she was on her way. but she says always performing in a wig was nagging at her. molly: i decided, like, i can't like keep this a secret from my fans anymore. i want to talk about it openly.
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it's alopecia awareness month, so i thought i would start off with a reveal, taking off my wig. tom: nowadays you can find her raising funds for the national alopecia areata foundation. meanwhile, the fellow who skipped her solo at that long ago bluegrass jam might want to listen to this. ♪ tom fellow musicians marvel. : ketch secor: it's pretty unparalleled. it's like the fretboard is a road that she's been driving down her whole life. tom: one of her frequent collaborators is old crow medicine show's ketch secor. ketch: and like, if i had to pick a surgeon, i'd say, give me one with a hand like molly tuttle's. tom she's also taken unexpected : turns for an artist known for bluegrass. on an album she did of cover tunes, she included the rolling stones' psychedelic classic she's a rainbow. molly out of context, to me, : that sounds kind of like a feminist empowerment song.
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i loved the piano part. i instantly wanted to learn it on guitar. i felt like that was what i wanted to do with the cover album, was take these songs and flip them around and take them from a totally different perspective. and that one, i instantly knew that i felt like i could bring my own voice and take on. tom: and even when it feels like she's going old school, there's often a twist. san francisco blues might have the sound and feel of a classic country waltz, but its theme is utterly contemporary -- how expensive it's become to live in the bay area. >> ♪ it gets so hard to make ends meet now i can't even afford a ride on cable cars ♪ molly its crazy. : like when i go back to palo alto, my mom's like, well, like none of the grocery stores can find people to live or to work there because no one who works at a grocery store can live anywhere near palo alto. like our favorite restaurants
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and places from when i was a kid are all going out of business. if you work at a restaurant you , have to live like hours away from palo alto. you can't afford to live anywhere near there. same with san francisco. tom: it is music traditional, yet somehow current. >> ♪ i swore i'd make it back to stay to my home across the bay ♪ reporter: maybe that's the fruit you should expect from a crooked tree. for the “pbs newshour,” i'm tom casciato. ♪ judy: molly tuttle, like a breath of fresh air. and that is the "newshour" for tonight. i'm judy woodruff. join us online and again here tomorrow evening. for all of us at the “pbs
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newshour.” thank you, please stay safe and we'll see you soon. announcer: major funding for the "pbs newshour" has been provided by -- >> for 25 years csumer , cellular's goal has been to provide wiless service to help people communicate and connect. we offer a variety of no contract plans and our u.s.-based customer service team can help find one that fits you. to learn more, visit >> the ford foundation, working with visionaries on the front lines of social change worldwide. and with the ongoing support of these individuals and institutions.
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this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting, and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. ♪ >> you're wat
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hello, everyone. and welcome to "amanpour and company." here's what's coming up -- >> believe me. we looked under every rock. we didn't do this for ourselves but for our beautiful country. >> israel's prime minister moves to disband parliament. will he succeed? i asked the author of "bebe". >> racism and discrimination wherever it rears its ugly head. >> a behind the scenes work of renowned attorney benjamin crump. then, the january 6th committee cti


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