PBS NewsHour full episode, May 5, 2023

PBS NewsHour full episode, May 5, 2023

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GEOFF BENNETT: Good evening. I'm Geoff Bennett. Amna Nawaz is away. On the "NewsHour" tonight: The latest jobs report shows another month of strong employment growth, but many Americans are still choosing the gig economy over permanent jobs. New revelations about payments made to Justice Clarence Thomas' wife raise more ethical questions about the Supreme Court. And the so-called Godfather of A.I. warns about the dangers rapidly developing technologies pose to our society.

GEOFFREY HINTON, Artificial Intelligence Pioneer: I think it's an area in which we can actually have international collaboration, because the machines taking over is a threat for everybody. (BREAK) GEOFF BENNETT: Good evening, and welcome to the "NewsHour." The U.S. labor market is again showing its resilience amid other economic obstacles, including recent banking failures. The latest jobs report found job growth was higher than expected last month, with 253,000 new jobs spread throughout many sectors of the economy. The unemployment rate dipped to 3.4 percent, matching the lowest rate since 1969.

Paul Solman looks at the newest data and how robust job growth squares with the expansion of the gig economy. NELA RICHARDSON, ADP Research Institute: That 253,000 jobs created is really, really solid. PAUL SOLMAN: In fact, say economists like Nela Richardson, the latest jobs data came in strong, despite a downward revision of jobs created in the previous two months. NELA RICHARDSON: More people came into the labor market, and so that helped boost supply and was met by strong hiring demand from companies. Good, solid job gains matched with moderating wage growth, that's good news for the economy and for inflation.

PAUL SOLMAN: Not particularly good news for workers, concerned their wage growth isn't keeping pace with inflation, right? NELA RICHARDSON: Actually, as inflation has come down, the wage growth we're seeing has at least edged out inflation over the last couple of months. But you are absolutely right. And so the issue is, how do you get wage growth to not to decelerate more quickly than inflation comes down? PAUL SOLMAN: The logic, modest wage growth lowers what companies can charge and expectations of future inflation, which, eventually, the Fed and the rest of us hope, drives inflation below wage growth. But a question: With unemployment so low, how come the gig work force remains so high? Economist Katharine Abraham: KATHARINE ABRAHAM, Former Commissioner, Bureau of Labor Statistics: A lot of people who talk about the gig economy are really thinking about just platform work, Uber, Lyft.

PAUL SOLMAN: Just a few million Americans. KATHARINE ABRAHAM: But it's actually much bigger then that. There are many more people, maybe on the order of as many as 14, 15 percent of the work force, who are working as self-employed, independent contractors, doing a whole variety of things.

PAUL SOLMAN: That would be more than 20 million of us. And talk about a variety of things. LINDSAY FERGUSON, Gig Worker: I grow and sell medicinal herbs and flowers. PAUL SOLMAN: And that's not 38-year old Lindsay Ferguson's sole side hustle. LINDSAY FERGUSON: I perform in the Bay Area with various dance troupes.

I perform burlesque. I'm getting into drag performance, and I take photos of myself. I'm a model. And I sell those shots online for money. KATHY KRISTOF, Founder, Editor, and CEO, SideHusl.com: Pretty much anything you can do in the regular economy, you can do in the gig economy.

PAUL SOLMAN: Kathy Kristof runs SideHusl.com, which hooks up freelancers with gigs. KATHY KRISTOF: You can make money playing games. There's a Web site that will allow you to take in other people's laundry. Almost any service you can provide, there's an online platform that will help you market that service.

PAUL SOLMAN: And supplement income from your regular job, assuming you have one. LINDSAY FERGUSON: All of the full-time work that I do and the side hustles that I do does not keep up with the rate of inflation, which is why I need to supplement my full-time money with the various gigs that I do. PAUL SOLMAN: Spencer Cohen is a gig puppeteer. SPENCER COHEN, Gig Worker: I work full-time for a nonprofit agency right outside of New York City. And, on the side, I'm a freelance puppeteer.

PAUL SOLMAN: And that's why your arm is fuzzy there? SPENCER COHEN: Yes, I have got one of my puppets right here. Hi, there. My name is Gary J. Platypus. PAUL SOLMAN: Nice to meet you.

Cohen is among the few who makes enough at his day job. His side hustle is for fun. But why do millions of workers continue to rely on gig work exclusively with all the job signs out there? Flexibility, says food delivery driver Shirley Cox.

SHIRLEY COX, Gig Worker: I don't have a 9:00-to-5:00. I can work at 1:00 a.m. if I need to or I can do extra hours on the weekends. Those are the advantages. PAUL SOLMAN: But, says Cox: SHIRLEY COX: The market has gotten very saturated.

You have to work more hours than I did initially to make the amount I did before. PAUL SOLMAN: In fact, Cox has cut back on her hours. Why? SHIRLEY COX: I'm just in the process of looking for work. And so that takes up a lot of time. Job hunting is a job in itself. PAUL SOLMAN: Cox's search fits with the most recent data Anna Zhou at Bank of America has seen.

ANNA ZHOU, Economist, Bank of America: A decline in terms of people doing these type of gig jobs over the last 12 months. PAUL SOLMAN: What is going on? ANNA ZHOU: They might be rotating into more traditional jobs. So think about, they might be working in a clothing store in a mall now, instead of driving deliveries, right? PAUL SOLMAN: But there are still plenty gig workers out there, says economist Paul Oyer, an authority on the subject.

PAUL OYER, Stanford University: There are long-term trends in the gig economy, and those continue to be the same as they have been for a long time. And that is slow and steady growth as more workers want flexibility and as more firms want flexibility too. PAUL SOLMAN: Which is how Nela Richardson sums up the gig economy. NELA RICHARDSON: It allows people to add on to employment if they need the money, to make that employment flexible. And so there is right now a symbiotic relationship between what companies need right now and what gig workers are able to provide.

PAUL SOLMAN: That and the need of so many Americans for side hustles in a high inflation economy, like Lindsay Ferguson. LINDSAY FERGUSON: At the end of the month, I lose my full-time job, which is rent money, but also my health insurance, which is why I'm doing everything I can to schedule my dental cleanings and my blood panels while I still have coverage, because, come the end of the month, I lose my full-time job. PAUL SOLMAN: And finds herself back, like about a third of all gig workers, with side hustles as the only income she's got.

For the "PBS NewsHour," Paul Solman. GEOFF BENNETT: In the day's other headlines: The World Health Organization declared an end to COVID-19 as a global emergency. The announcement marked a symbolic end to an era.

Officially, COVID is blamed for some seven million deaths worldwide, including more than one million in the U.S. The actual toll is estimated to be at least 20 million, with thousands more dying every week. In Geneva today, the WHO's director general noted, most countries have already lifted restrictions, but he warned against complacency. TEDROS ADHANOM GHEBREYESUS, Director General, World Health Organization: The worst thing any country could do now is to use this news as a reason to let down its guard, to dismantle the systems it has built, or to send the message to its people that COVID-19 is nothing to worry about. GEOFF BENNETT: In the U.S., the public health emergency for COVID is set to expire next

Thursday. Meantime, Dr. Rochelle Walensky is stepping down as director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control after two years.

In a letter to President Biden today, she indicated it's a good time to go as the COVID pandemic wanes. Walensky's last day at the CDC will be June 30. The head of Russia's Wagner Group mercenaries threatened today to pull out of Bakhmut in Eastern Ukraine.

He said they'd been starved of ammunition. The Wagner Group has poured men and arms into the front-line city for months, making it the war's bloodiest battle. In a video message, Yevgeny Prigozhin charged, Russia's military had failed to help seize the city by next week's holiday marking victory in World War II.

YEVGENY PRIGOZHIN, Wagner Group Chief (through translator): We were going to capture Bakhmut by May 9, but the pseudo-military bureaucrats stopped the supply of ammunitions and prevented us from doing this. They're sitting there shaking their fat bellies and thinking that they will make it into history as winners, when they have already made it as cowards. GEOFF BENNETT: It's unclear if Prigozhin will make good on his threat.

He has long made fiery accusations against Russia's military that he often retracts. The people of Serbia were plunged deeper into mourning today after the nation's second mass shooting in two days. A gunman killed eight people and wounded 14 others in two villages late Thursday in apparently random attacks. Police arrested the suspect in a village south of Belgrade today, after an all-night manhunt.

Serbia's president condemned the attack in a nationwide address. ALEKSANDAR VUCIC, President of Serbia (through translator): This new mass criminal attack, after an attack on our children, targeted randomly anyone who happened to be outside a hunter's hut, around a campfire, or outside their gate, going about their own business. This is an attack on our whole country, and each citizen feels it.

GEOFF BENNETT: A day earlier, a teenage gunman had killed eight students and a guard at a Belgrade school. Flash floods in a province in Eastern Congo have claimed the lives of at least 176 people. Torrential rains this week sent rivers into two villages in the Central African nation, destroying buildings and triggering landslides. The rain also caused flooding in neighboring Rwanda that killed 130 people.

The two warring sides in Sudan sent envoys to Saudi Arabia today for talks on trying to enforce a cease-fire. That word came as fierce fighting continued without letup all across Khartoum. The capital city has been ravaged by three weeks of intense combat. The talks between Sudan's army and paramilitary rebels will take place in the Saudi city of Jeddah.

Back in this country, the U.S. Supreme Court has temporarily blocked Oklahoma from executing a death row inmate. Richard Glossip was involved in a murder-for-hire plot back in 1997 and scheduled to be put to death on May 18.

The state's attorney general had called for his life to be spared, arguing that he didn't receive a fair trial. The High Court now put his execution on hold while it reviews the case. Wall Street rallied as bank stocks recovered some and Apple's earnings beat expectations.

It's the single most valuable stock on the market. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 546 points, or 1.6 percent, to close at 33674. The Nasdaq rose 2.25 percent. The S&P 500 was up 1.8 percent. And a New Orleans teenager is headed for Cornell University after receiving a record $10 million in scholarship offers. Dennis Barnes announced his choice today and said he will study computer science.

He's 16 years old and is graduating from high school two years early. Barnes applied to nearly 200 schools and had scholarship offers from 149 of them. Congratulations to him. And still to come on the "NewsHour": Idaho criminalizes helping minors travel out of state to get an abortion; David Brooks and Jonathan Capehart weigh in on the week's political headlines; and Brits express mixed feelings ahead of the coronation of King Charles. For the fourth time in a month, a news report is raising ethics questions about Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and his financial dealings with rich friends. John Yang has the story.

JOHN YANG: Geoff, this time, it's about money going to Thomas' wife, Ginni Thomas, at the direction of Leonard Leo, whose work has been devoted to getting more conservative federal judges. According to The Washington Post, in 2012, Leo told Republican pollster Kellyanne Conway that he wanted to give Ginni Thomas another $25,000, the money should be billed to a nonprofit group that Leo advised, and that there was to be "no mention of Ginni," of course. Washington Post investigative reporter Emma Brown was on the team that uncovered this. Emma, first of all, why would Leonard Leo, who's perhaps best known as the head of the Federalist Society, the conservative legal network, why would he be in touch with Kellyanne Conway about sending money to Ginni Thomas? EMMA BROWN, The Washington Post: Well, that is a great question. And the documents that we reviewed that we based our reporting upon don't fully answer that question. I mean, what we can see is that he is arranging these payments.

He is seeking to keep Ginni Thomas' name off the billing paperwork. But we don't know -- we don't know why he's doing this. JOHN YANG: Ginni Thomas, of course, is a conservative activist, but she's also a consultant, had a consulting firm, didn't she? EMMA BROWN: So, she -- yes, she has a long career in politics. And, in 2009, she established this -- a nonprofit, actually, to try to sort of harness the energy of this gathering Tea Party movement. She ended up stepping away from that, amid sort of conflict of interest questions, because there was a large anonymous donation to that group, and she founded a for-profit consulting firm, Liberty Consulting. And that is the firm that has paid her for many years, according to Thomas' -- Clarence Thomas' disclosure forms.

But that's all we really know. He doesn't need to disclose how much money she makes through her consulting firm, nor who her clients are. JOHN YANG: You talked to ethics experts about this. What did they have to say? EMMA BROWN: So, the Judicial Education Project, which was the source of the money paid to Ginni Thomas, according to this arrangement, as laid out by Leonard Leo, filed its first amicus brief before the Supreme Court in 2012. So that's the same year as these payments. And, in that brief, it was -- it was in Shelby v. Holder, which, of course, is the landmark

voting rights case in which the court struck down a provision that was meant to protect minority voters. Thomas agreed with that outcome, but he said: I would have gone further and struck down a broader provision, which is the same position taken by JEP, Judicial Education Project. And this was not a new position for Clarence Thomas. It's not as if our reporting shows that he was swayed in some way by this organization that was apparently -- had -- had been asked to pay his wife. But the standard for recusal is not showing that someone was swayed. It's showing that there's a reasonable basis to question the impartiality of the justice.

And so we spoke to ethics experts who said -- who were divided on the question of whether this was a close enough connection with the payments to his wife that it should have required his recusal. JOHN YANG: We reached out to the Thomases for comment. We never heard back. We did get a comment from Leonard Leo. "The work she did here did not involve anything connected with either the court's business or with other legal issues.

Knowing how disrespectful, malicious and gossipy people can be, I have always tried to protect the privacy of Justice Thomas and Ginni." That was explaining why he wanted Ginni's name kept off. Emma, when you take everything we have learned about Clarence Thomas in the past month, the luxury vacations with Harlan Crow, Crow buying Thomas' mother's house from the -- from the justice and his family, paying the private school tuition of his of -- his great-nephew -- or grandnephew, rather, and now this payment to his wife, what's the significance of all of this? Why should people be concerned about this? EMMA BROWN: I think we're in a moment of just great scrutiny on the court and on potential conflicts of interest. And the reason that matters is because, if people don't have confidence that the justices are acting on the basis of law, rather than under some other influence, then the court can't function, and we -- our nation sort of depends on people trusting the court in order for a republic to function in the way -- the way it's supposed to. JOHN YANG: Emma Brown of The Washington Post, thank you very much. EMMA BROWN: Thank you.

GEOFF BENNETT: This has been a week where concerns over the rapidly expanding use of artificial intelligence resonated loudly in Washington and around the world. Vice President Kamala Harris met yesterday with top executives from companies leading in A.I. development, Microsoft, Google, OpenAI, and Anthropic. The vice president discussed some of the growing risks and told the companies they had a -- quote -- "moral obligation" to develop A.I. safely. That meeting came just days after one of the leading voices in the field of A.I., Dr. Geoffrey

Hinton, announced he was quitting Google over his worries about the future of A.I. and what it could eventually lead to unchecked. We're going to hear about some of those concerns now with Dr. Geoffrey Hinton, who joins me

from London. Thank you for being with us. And what are you free to express now about artificial intelligence that you couldn't express freely when you were employed by Google? GEOFFREY HINTON, Artificial Intelligence Pioneer: It wasn't that I couldn't express it freely when I was employed by Google. It's that, inevitably, if you work for a company, you tend to self-censor. You tend to think about the impact it will have on the company.

I want you to be to be able to talk about what I now perceive as the risks of super intelligent A.I. without having to think about the impact on Google. GEOFF BENNETT: What are those risks, as you see it? GEOFFREY HINTON: There are quite a few different risks. There's the risk of producing a lot of fake news, so nobody knows what's true anymore. There's the risk of encouraging polarization by getting people to click on things that make them indignant. There's the risk of putting people out of work.

That -- it should be that when we make things more productive, when we greatly increase productivity, it helps everybody. But there's the worry that it might just help the rich. And then there's the risk that I want to talk about.

Many other people talk about those other risks, including risks of bias and discrimination and so on. I want to talk about a different risk, which is the risk of super intelligent A.I. taking over control from people.

GEOFF BENNETT: Well, how do the two compare, human or biological intelligence and machine intelligence? GEOFFREY HINTON: That's a very good question. And I have quite a long answer. Biological intelligence has evolved to use very little power, so we only use 30 watts. And we have huge numbers of connections, like 100 trillion connections between neurons. And learning consists of changing the strength of those connections. The digital intelligence we have been creating uses a lot of power, like a megawatt when you're training it.

It has far fewer connections, only a trillion, but it can learn much, much more than any one person knows, which suggests that it's a better learning algorithm than what the brain has got. GEOFF BENNETT: Well, what would smarter-than-human A.I. systems do? What's -- what's the concern that you have? GEOFFREY HINTON: Well, the question is, what's going to motivate them? Because they could easily manipulate us if they wanted to. Imagine yourself and a 2-year-old child. You could ask it, do you want the peas or the cauliflower? Well, the 2-year-old child doesn't realize it doesn't actually have to have either. We know, for example, that you can invade a building in Washington without ever going there yourself, by just manipulating people.

But imagine something that was much better at manipulating people than any of our current politicians. GEOFF BENNETT: I suppose the question is, then, why would A.I. want to do that? Wouldn't that require some form of sentience? GEOFFREY HINTON: Let's not get confused with the issue of sentience. I have a lot to say about sentience. But I don't want to confuse the issue with it.

Let me give you one example of why it might want to do that. So, suppose you're getting an A.I. to do something, you give it a goal. And you also give it the ability to create subgoals. So, like, if you want to get to the airport, you create a subgoal of getting a taxi or something to get you to the airport. Now, one thing it will notice quite quickly is that there's a subgoal, that, if you can achieve it, makes it easier to achieve all the other goals that you have been given by people. And the subgoal that makes it easier is get more control, get more power.

The more power you have, the easier it is to get things done. So, there's the alignment worry that we give it a perfectly reasonable goal, and it decides that, well, in order to achieve that, I'm going to get -- get myself a lot more power. And because it's much smarter than us, and because it's trained from everything people ever do this -- it's read every novel that ever was, it's read Machiavelli, it knows a lot about how to manipulate people -- there's the worry that it might start manipulating us into giving it more power, and we might not have a clue what's going on.

GEOFF BENNETT: When you were at the forefront of this technology decades ago, what did you think it might do? What were the applications that you had in mind at the time? GEOFFREY HINTON: There's a huge number of very good applications, and that's why it will be a big mistake to stop developing this stuff. It's going to be tremendously useful in medicine. For example, would you rather see a family doctor that has seen a few thousand patients or a family doctor that has seen a few hundred million patients, including many with the same rare disease you have? You can make much better doctors this way. Eric Topol has been talking about that recently. You can make better nanotechnology for solar panels.

You can predict floods. You can predict earthquakes. You can do tremendous good with this. GEOFF BENNETT: Is the problem, then, the technology, or is the problem the people behind it? GEOFFREY HINTON: It's the combination.

Obviously, many of the organizations developing this technology are defense departments. And defense departments don't necessarily want to build in, be nice to people, as the first rule. Some defense departments would like to build in, kill people of a particular kind.

So we can't expect them all to have good intentions towards all people. GEOFF BENNETT: There is the question of what to do about it. This technology is advancing far more quickly than governments and societies can keep pace with the capabilities of this technology. I mean, they leap forward every few months. What is required to write legislation, pass legislation, come up with international treaties, that takes years. GEOFFREY HINTON: Yes.

So, that -- I mean, I have gone public to try and encourage much more resources and many more creative scientists to get into this area. I think it's an area in which we can actually have international collaboration, because the machines taking over is a threat for everybody. It's a threat for the Chinese and for the Americans and for the Europeans, just like a global nuclear war was.

And for a global nuclear war, people did actually collaborate to reduce the chances of it. GEOFF BENNETT: There are other experts in the field of A.I. who say that the concerns that you're raising, this dystopian future, that it distracts from the very real and immediate risks posed by artificial intelligence, some of which you mentioned, misinformation, fraud, discrimination. How do you respond to that criticism? GEOFFREY HINTON: Yes, I don't want to distract from those.

I think they're very important concerns, and we should be working on those too. I just want to add this other existential threat of it taking over. And one reason I want to do that is because that's an area in which I think we can get international collaboration. GEOFF BENNETT: Is there any turning back? When you say that there will come a time when A.I. is more intelligent than us, is there

any coming back from that? GEOFFREY HINTON: I don't know. We're entering a time of great uncertainty, where we're dealing with kinds of things we have never dealt with before. It's as if aliens have landed, but we didn't really take it in because they speak good English. GEOFF BENNETT: How should we think differently, then, about artificial intelligence? GEOFFREY HINTON: We should realize that we're probably going to get things more intelligent than us quite soon.

And they will be wonderful. They will be able to do all sorts of things very easily that we find very difficult. So there's huge positive potential in these things. But, of course, there's also huge negative possibilities. And I think we should put more or less equal resources into developing A.I. to make it

much more powerful and into figuring out how to keep it under control and how to minimize bad side effects of it. GEOFF BENNETT: Dr. Geoffrey Hinton, thanks so much for your time and for sharing your insights with us. GEOFFREY HINTON: Thank you for inviting me.

GEOFF BENNETT: With abortion now effectively banned in 15 states across the country, many Americans are crossing state lines to end pregnancies legally. Today, a first-of-its-kind state law aiming to end that option for anyone under the age of 18 goes into effect in Idaho. In a piece co-produced with the "PBS NewsHour," KFF Health News correspondent Sarah Varney takes a look at this new frontier in the movement to outlaw access to legal abortion.

SARAH VARNEY: Nestled in Northern Idaho's rolling hills sits the college town of Moscow, home to the University of Idaho. Mackenzie Davidson, a budding journalist works for the school newspaper, The Argonaut. Her editor asked her to write an editorial on a new law that bans so-called abortion trafficking.

Before you were assigned to write this article, did you know anything about this abortion trafficking ban? MACKENZIE DAVIDSON, Student, University of Idaho: I had heard of it, but I didn't know a whole lot about it. SARAH VARNEY: Did it surprise you that this was even a proposal here to prevent teenagers from leaving the state? MACKENZIE DAVIDSON: Ever since Roe got overturned, it kind of felt like, every day, you're waking up and more and more of your rights are being taken away. SARAH VARNEY: Idaho has one of the nation's harshest abortion bans. Until now, Moscow residents could drive just a few minutes across the state line to Pullman, Washington, where abortion remains legal. But, starting today, the new law makes it a crime to help a young woman or girl traveled to get an abortion without her parents' permission.

STATE REP. BARBARA EHARDT (R-ID): Mr. Speaker, friends, we are only looking to continue to protect our children and our parental rights. SARAH VARNEY: Representative Barbara Ehardt, a Republican, co-sponsored the bill.

STATE REP. BARBARA EHARDT: This is only dealing with those who would traffic minors without the consent of the parent. SARAH VARNEY: Mackenzie interviewed Ehardt for the article. MACKENZIE DAVIDSON: She kept saying that it was about parental rights, and that was the most important thing.

SARAH VARNEY: What does it feel like now to be here -- I mean, you're 19, but this would have applied to you just a year-and-a-half ago -- to try and go across the border? MACKENZIE DAVIDSON: I have no idea how they plan on enforcing that, because it's not like you can stop everybody that's trying to cross into Pullman. SARAH VARNEY: I'm here at the Idaho-Washington state line. And under the new law here in Idaho, any adult who helps a teenager leave Idaho to terminate a pregnancy will face two to five years in prison. That includes an aunt, a sister, or a brother, or grandmother, and even in cases when the teenage girl has been sexually assaulted.

MACKENZIE DAVIDSON: Even when a parent does give consent, experts say the travel ban creates uncertainty about how prosecutors could interpret the law. KELLY O'NEILL, Legal Voice: Until we see something come through, I do think there's a lot of leeway for somebody to decide how to charge it. SARAH VARNEY: Kelly O'Neill is the Idaho litigation attorney for Legal Voice, a progressive nonprofit.

KELLY O'NEILL: You could still be charged arrested, perhaps even have to go all the way to a jury trial an, have to prove your affirmative defense in a courtroom that your sister gave you permission. SARAH VARNEY: Family members of the pregnant minor or the father of the fetus can also sue any health care provider involved. KELLY O'NEILL: If you're successful, you're guaranteed a $20,000 minimum. And that's per claim, per relative. SARAH VARNEY: But abortion providers here in Washington are now shielded from those kinds of out-of-state legal threats.

GOV. JAY INSLEE (D-WA): There are states across the country that are and will be attempting to put its tentacles into the state of Washington. We will not allow that. SARAH VARNEY: Last week, Washington Governor Jay Inslee, a Democrat, signed a bill that bars law enforcement from cooperating with other states' abortion investigations. KARL EASTLUND, Planned Parenthood: Yes, we're seeing people from Idaho come almost every day. SARAH VARNEY: Karl Eastlund oversees Planned Parenthood clinics in central and Eastern Washington, including this clinic in Spokane 20 miles from the state line.

Are you concerned that some of your providers, especially those that live in Idaho, are going to be charged criminally for the work that they do everyday here? KARL EASTLUND: We have told our providers, we will handle all of your legal fees, and we will provide lawyers to help you sort out anything that happens. It's something we think about a lot. SARAH VARNEY: He says less than 5 percent of the clinic's patients who come for abortion care are teenagers. Most of them involve their parents, he says, even though that's not mandatory in Washington. When a teenager can't go to a parent, why is that? KARL EASTLUND: We often get teenagers coming here who are 15 weeks pregnant, 20 weeks pregnant, farther along in their pregnancy than they ever imagined.

They didn't even know they were pregnant, many of them, because of abuse. And it's abuse in the home. We're talking about sexual abuse and incest, which is, unfortunately, a reason many teenagers have to seek abortion. SARAH VARNEY: That's why, Eastlund says, forcing vulnerable teens to tell a parent can put them in danger. KARL EASTLUND: It's going to make it harder for patients who need care of the most to actually get the care that they deserve and need. SARAH VARNEY: But that argument doesn't convince some Idahoans.

RYAN ALEXANDER, Student, University of Idaho College of Law: My parents have always taught me a very important maxim: Two wrongs do not make a right. Smile for the camera. SARAH VARNEY: Ryan Alexander is a second-year law student in Moscow. He and his wife, Catherine (ph), are raising their daughter, Penelope (ph), in the Catholic faith. He says ending any pregnancy goes against his beliefs.

Ryan supports the travel ban because he says no adult can act in place of a parent. RYAN ALEXANDER: That's just kidnapping by any -- by any means, if you're taking -- if you take a girl away from her parents when she's a minor and her parents have authority over her. That's the way our law works. SARAH VARNEY: I asked him about teens who face abuse or have absent parents. RYAN ALEXANDER: My heart goes out to them.

What can I do but pray from a distance and think, how can -- how can that be better? SARAH VARNEY: But for girls that are experiencing that now, what would -- what would you have them do? RYAN ALEXANDER: There are many, many, many Americans who view abortion as the taking of a human life, not just taking of human life, but the taking of an innocent human life, a life fully reserved -- deserving of dignity and protection. That wrong is so grievous that it's not worth trying to correct -- correct another wrong by doing that, by taking that life. SARAH VARNEY: Two hours north in Sandpoint on the shores of Lake Pend Oreille, Jen Jackson Quintano and her husband, Tyler, hope, when their 8-year-old daughter, Sylvie (ph), becomes a teen, she will have trusted adults to turn to. JEN JACKSON QUINTANO, Resident of Sandpoint, Idaho: And I'm trying to cultivate community here to be in my daughter's life in case there is ever a situation, heaven forbid, where she feels like she can't come to me or her father for help.

But at least she's got other adults in her corner that can help her out. SARAH VARNEY: Jen says one reason she opposes the travel ban is because it divides the community. Sandpoint's community and its cohesiveness is its greatest strength. But laws like this are dividing us. We don't know who to trust. We don't know who we can talk to.

DAVID S. COHEN, Drexel University: I think this is one of the next frontiers of abortion litigation. SARAH VARNEY: David Cohen is a constitutional law professor at Drexel University. He says, Idaho's law may set a precedent for more restrictions on travel.

DAVID S. COHEN: People in Idaho who really want to ban abortion aren't going to rest on their laurels because of how easy it is for some people to travel to Washington. So they're going to want to restrict travel.

And they have done that here with minors. And I think, in a matter of year -- a couple of years, we're probably going to see that spread to adults too. SARAH VARNEY: Back in Moscow, Mackenzie Davidson believes lawmakers won't stop with teenagers.

MACKENZIE DAVIDSON: I don't think it's really about parental rights. I think it's purely about controlling people that don't conform. I think they do very good job making it seem like it's only going to impact 17-and-under girls, but it's not. SARAH VARNEY: The travel ban is expected to be challenged in the courts. But, for now, Idaho teens are the first in the nation to navigate these new restrictions.

For the "PBS NewsHour" and KFF Health News, I'm Sarah Varney in Moscow, Idaho. GEOFF BENNETT: After the series of controversies involving Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, Senate Democrats are exploring the possibility of introducing their own ethical code for justices. To discuss the court and other major news of the week, we turn now to the analysis of Brooks and Capehart. That's New York Times columnist David Brooks, and Jonathan Capehart, associate editor for The Washington Post. It's always great to see you both.

JONATHAN CAPEHART: Hey, Geoff. GEOFF BENNETT: So, let's start with the new reporting this week that billionaire Republican donor Harlan Crow paid the monthly private boarding school tuition for the grandnephew of Justice Clarence Thomas, whom Thomas was raising as his son. This is yet another gift the justice did not disclose.

There's The Post reporting that Leonard Leo, a well-known conservative activist, proactively obscured a $25,000 payment to Clarence Thomas' wife, Ginni Thomas, raising again this issue of Supreme Court ethics reform. Jonathan, Democrats say that the Supreme Court should write a code for itself, and, in the absence of that, Congress should step in. How do you see it? JONATHAN CAPEHART: I don't see anything wrong with that. Congress has ethics laws and rules and regulations it has to abide by, and yet the Supreme Court doesn't? And I think it was a missed opportunity by the chief justice to not accept Senator Durbin's invitation to meet with the committee, to talk with the committee, so that at least, through the committee, the American people can understand where the justices are coming from in terms of their resistance to any kind of accountability. But, as we see story after story -- I mean, you just cataloged what we know right now.

Who knows what ProPublica is going to come out with next week? That it seems like there's a branch of government that is unaccountable to the American people, to anyone, and is actively resisting it. And I think that, the longer they do that, I think the more popular sentiment will be, you know what, actually, Congress do something about this. GEOFF BENNETT: David, one thing we heard from Democrats this week is that the highest court in the land should not have the lowest ethical standards. Is that a convincing argument? DAVID BROOKS: Yes, first, I should say I have been friends with Harlan Crow for about 20 years. I find him a wonderful man.

He's hosted me at his home in Dallas and in New York. So, reader -- viewers should know that that's my connection to Harlan. And so that's disclosure. And that's what I wish Clarence Thomas had done in this case. I think viewers are smart enough to know.

I'm probably biased in Harlan. I really like Harlan. I think he's a wonderful guy. He's pro-choice.

He could have influenced Clarence Thomas. And so Clarence Thomas should say: I trust the citizens of this country, and so I'm going to disclose my connection, and that -- that's that. As for going forward, I confess I'm a little concerned about Congress doing it, A, because they're pretty polarized. B, I'm not crazy about their own ethical standards.

I mean, they go dialing for dollars, and they do a lot of nasty fund-raising. It's more polarized. But I do think the court really should take advantage of this moment and say, OK, we're -- there's a problem here, and we're going to put some disclosure in.

We're going to make it clear that things like a gift from Leonard Leo, who, unlike Harlan, actually does have business before the court, that we're not going to allow that. And so it's an opportunity just to be clear, to make stricter rules and make the court a more trusted institution. GEOFF BENNETT: Jonathan, the Senate hearing you mentioned this past week, it made clear that a code of conduct, if Congress does act, it won't be a bipartisan congressional effort, because Republicans accuse Democrats of casting doubt on the court because the court hasn't been ruling in Democrats' favor. How might this play out? (LAUGHTER) JONATHAN CAPEHART: I'm sorry. I was -- my reaction to that, that's pretty incredible. Congress is not having this conversation because of the Dobbs ruling, not having this conversation because of, say, Shelby v. Holder or Citizens United.

Congress is having this conversation because there is a Supreme Court justice who has undisclosed relationships and gifts, for lack of a better description, from someone who he's friends with. That is why we're having this conversation. This is not about -- about partisanship.

This is about having one of the branches of government be transparent. And they're actively resisting being transparent. GEOFF BENNETT: David, the Supreme Court's power, as written in The Federalist Papers, derives from the public's belief that the court is administering the law in an impartial manner. There's a recent NPR/"PBS NewsHour"/Marist poll that found that 62 percent of those polled have little to no confidence in the Supreme Court. The findings typically align with political party, but this is an historic lack of trust. How does the court repair its reputation? DAVID BROOKS: Well, I think they need to be proactive on this.

I do think it's -- in my opinion, having watched the court, not as a professor -- I don't really -- professional -- I don't really cover the court too much. But, in my view, they don't do quid pro quo. In my view, most of the -- I haven't met Clarence Thomas and many of the justices, but I have met a bunch. I find them remarkable people, both the ones appointed by Democrats and Republicans.

And so I don't think their decisions are influenced by money and corruption. I think they're sometimes overly influenced by partisanship. And I find it disturbing that you can predict how a justice is going to vote depending on who nominated them. And so I think they have gotten too ideological. But I think the problem here is too ideological, not too corrupt. And I -- frankly, I think the public's distrust of the institution is unmerited.

We should be suspicious of all concentrated power. But I think the courts in general, up and down the system, function reasonably well. GEOFF BENNETT: Let's talk about the debt limit debate, because we have got about a month left for lawmakers to raise the debt limit, which would keep the nation from defaulting and disrupting the global economy. President Biden is set to meet with congressional leaders next Tuesday to talk about this.

He insists he will only accept a bill with no strings attached, and he's dismissing Republicans' demands for spending cuts, for concessions. Your assessment of that approach? JONATHAN CAPEHART: I think the president's absolutely right. We should not be -- the United States -- the president should not be negotiating over the full faith and credit of the United States.

What they should do, when they meet, when they get into that room, they should agree right then and there will be a clean debt ceiling vote, while, at the same time, negotiations begin right now on a budget. The president released his budget last month. Speaker McCarthy is having this limit grow -- his debt ceiling act sort of is masquerading as a budget.

Well, if you want to take a sledgehammer to the federal budget, well, sit down with the president and negotiate. His priorities are out there in print. Where are yours, Speaker McCarthy, beyond the cuts that he says broadly he wants to do? Specific conversations need to be -- need to happen, and they should be happening simultaneously. But the debt ceiling must be raised. GEOFF BENNETT: How concerned should Americans be that this won't happen in time? I have talked to Republicans, some of whom privately say that they don't think that Kevin McCarthy can introduce a clean bill, a bill with no strings attached, and keep his speakership. DAVID BROOKS: Yes, they should be concerned.

I'm a little less concerned than I was a week or two ago. I do think Biden is going to negotiate. I think that's just going to be the reality. And I think people in the White House, some of the people understand that.

I have noticed in Congress some moves to make it easier for us to get to a -- to solve this crisis without having it blow up. So that's not to say all warnings are off and that we should just relax. But I think there's been some slow movement. And so the Republicans are wrong in that we -- as we said, we should have a budget negotiation over a budget through the budget process, not through the nuclear option. But, in my view, the Republicans are right that we have put on a big spending binge over the last five years, probably rightly, because of COVID and other things.

But our deficits are way too high right now. They're fueling inflation that's way too high. They're fueling interest payments on the debts that are way too high. And I think it's just good government to think, OK, we got to cut some spending. We probably got to raise some taxes. The deficits are too high.

And so the Republicans are not entirely wrong on the merits of the case. GEOFF BENNETT: What lessons should lawmakers have learned from what happened in 2011? I mean, just the mere brinksmanship resulted in a catastrophic downgrading of the credit rating. JONATHAN CAPEHART: Yes, what they should have learned is, don't do this, do not do this, have this skirmish. Also, Republicans didn't have a problem raising the debt ceiling when Donald Trump was president, and they also didn't have a problem running up trillions of dollars in debt when Donald Trump was president. So their sudden fiscal probity, I find a little off-putting. GEOFF BENNETT: In the time that remains, let's talk about artificial intelligence.

It was really stunning to hear Dr. Geoffrey Hinton, known as the Godfather of A.I., talk about the perils here, about the potential for machines to take over. What do you see as not just the perils, but the promises of artificial intelligence? DAVID BROOKS: About five months ago, I decided A.I. is important. So I have spent about four or five hours a day on it.

And I -- what we talk about here is important. And I always walk in thinking, but A.I. is 100 times more important. I came in thinking that A.I. was, like, it's kind of important, and then maybe it's as big as mobile. We all have cell phones.

Now I think it's the Industrial Revolution. It's really just going to have pervasive effects on our workplace, our society and our culture. And with that come great dangers.

What he -- what Geoff Hinton talked about was the idea that it's going to have agency and it's going to have its own desires, which will overrule our desires. I think we're probably a long way, but he's a lot smarter than I am, so he would probably know. (LAUGHTER) DAVID BROOKS: But it also has great option, great opportunities for us for -- to make us all better at all our jobs.

In 1997, early primitive A.I. beat Garry Kasparov, the chess champion. GEOFF BENNETT: Yes. DAVID BROOKS: And so what happened after that? Did chess go away? No, the chess grand masters trained themselves on A.I.

And so chess grand masters are now way better than they were before, because they had this amazing tool. We're all about to have that amazing tool. And so we will have great opportunities just to be all better at our jobs, with slight peril that it will take over the Earth. (LAUGHTER) GEOFF BENNETT: What about you, Jonathan? Are you concerned or excited? JONATHAN CAPEHART: I'm a little -- I'm a little of both. Listening to Mr. Hinton's interview, I was thinking, isn't this how the movie "Terminator" started? (LAUGHTER) JONATHAN CAPEHART: I mean, isn't this the plot from "Terminator"? But, look, I will take David at his word that it is a tool that we should relish using, until which time it takes over the Earth.

(LAUGHTER) GEOFF BENNETT: All right, Jonathan Capehart and David Brooks, thanks so much. Have a great weekend. JONATHAN CAPEHART: Thanks, Geoff. DAVID BROOKS: Thank you. GEOFF BENNETT: Eight months after succeeding his mother, Queen Elizabeth, as Britain's head of state, King Charles will formerly be crowned at Westminster Abbey tomorrow in a lavish celebration. This coronation will be historic.

It's unlikely anything as grand will be staged again, as Britain's royal family slims down and adapts to the modern era. As special correspondent Malcolm Brabant reports, there's a generational split in England over support for the monarchy. MALCOLM BRABANT: Paying homage in their own particular way, King Charles III's most loyal subjects pitched up days ago to grab prime positions along the procession route.

Fashioning a portrait of Britain's head of state is a former actor Ray Polhill, an avowed monarchist. RAY POLHILL, Former Actor: We need them. And we need them more now than ever. With an ever-changing world of, I don't know, paranoia and blame and everything else, we need someone to help us get through what we're going through. MALCOLM BRABANT: Chris Imafidon is an ardent supporter, not least because of Charles' leadership of The Prince's Trust nonprofit helping vulnerable young people to get their lives on track. CHRIS IMAFIDON, King Charles Supporter: He cares for the youths and the -- for the next generation, ready to connect with Gen Z, uses Instagram, Twitter, Facebook.

I mean, he's a 74-year-old man. He should forget about technology, but he incorporates that. He cares about the environment.

So he has a heart. And that's somebody we have as a new king. And that's why I'm excited to see.

He -- I pray that he doesn't change. MALCOLM BRABANT: Nurse Hilary Greenhalgh has been pitching her tent here at every major royal event for more than three decades. HILARY GREENHALGH, United Kingdom: It is living history, isn't it? I mean, in years to come, people will be talking about the coronation of King Charles III. And I can say, well, I was there.

MAN: Three cheers for the king. Hip hip hooray. Hip hip hooray. God save the king.

MALCOLM BRABANT: And today, the royalists' patience was rewarded as King Charles left Buckingham Palace for a brief walkabout. Recent opinion polls suggest that King Charles cannot afford to be complacent when it comes to support. There is a significant generational divide in the country. Whereas three-quarters of all seniors support the idea of a monarchy, less than 40 percent of those aged under 34 feel the same way. The message is clear: If it wants to survive, the royal family has to make itself more relevant to young people. POPPY MILLS, United Kingdom: I think it's outdated.

And I think the idea that, collectively, we have to pay for a family that by blood sees itself as above others is disgusting. FREYJA HOBDAY, United Kingdom: I just don't get it. I don't understand why we have got this one family who are apparently more important than the rest of us, and all this money is plowed into keeping them more than comfortable, literally things made of gold, when, like, lots of people are struggling. I don't really understand why they are superior to the rest of us. MALCOLM BRABANT: Old habits die hard. Some of the seniors here start singing "God save the queen," but, by the chorus, they have remembered the correct national anthem.

Eight months into Charles' reign, Britain is still getting used to having a king. Pianist Susan Bain. What do you think of Charles as king? SUSAN BAIN, United Kingdom: I think he's a thoughtful man. And I think he will be a good king. I hope he's got good advisers around him. MALCOLM BRABANT: The guests at this coronation Tea Party in Lewes, Southern England, are the king's contemporaries.

As their lives are winding down, Charles is just starting to fulfill his destiny at the age of 74. Shirley-Anne Sains is the town's mayor. SHIRLEY-ANNE SAINS, Mayor of Lewes, England: I think he will be in good luck. That's what everybody is hoping for.

But the importance of monarchy is a little bit diminished now we have lost the queen, because she was there so long. CHESTER FUNNELL, United Kingdom: I would sooner be with a king than some of these other heads of state, and the pomp and the pageantry of our country is what a lot of people, including the Americans, are very envious of. MALCOLM BRABANT: Nighttime rehearsals help perfect Britain's expertise at staging grand stage events. But this coronation will be less opulent than the last 70 years ago. ANNOUNCER: No day has ever dawned that rivaled this. Into no other hours would ever cram so much.

Beauty, queenship, (INAUDIBLE) superb, her life outsoars the noblest fiction. MALCOLM BRABANT: Is it the beginning of the end? Is this the last coronation we're going to see? ANNA WHITELOCK, Director, Center for the Study of Modern Monarchy: I don't think it's the last coronation we're going to see, but I think it's the start of a new of questioning and perception of the monarchy. MALCOLM BRABANT: Professor Anna Whitelock is director of the Center for the Study of Modern Monarchy. ANNA WHITELOCK: I think the sort of sense of amnesty about critical questioning of the monarchy that took place particularly during the latter part of the queen's reign is over now. And people are questioning, why, what, how? And those kind of questions about the monarchy's place, its role, its significance, its influence are being asked. PROTESTER: Not my king.

PROTESTERS: Not my king! GRAHAM SMITH, CEO, Republic: The institution itself is not fit for purpose. MALCOLM BRABANT: Graham Smith runs an anti-monarchy organization whose noisy protests have punctuated King Charles' appearances since he ascended the throne. GRAHAM SMITH: The monarchy is wrong in principle, first and foremost. Most people in this country, 80 percent-plus, believe in democracy, believe in the accountability, equality and so on. And the monarchy stands firmly against those values.

And we shouldn't be putting up with an institution that stands against the values and principles of the rest of the country. PROTESTERS: Not my king! Not my king! MALCOLM BRABANT: This demonstration in Liverpool late last month is a taste of what Republic is planning for the coronation. PROTESTERS: Not my king! Not my king! MALCOLM BRABANT: While, inside Westminster Abbey, one of the most symbolic acts the public won't witness will be the anointing of King Charles with holy oil to symbolize his spiritual status. The Right Reverend Nick Baines is Bishop of Leeds.

RIGHT. REV. NICK BAINES, Bishop of Leeds: I think people confuse this with privilege.

They think he's given this massive privilege. What he's swearing to, as happened with the queen back in 1953, you're taking on a massive responsibility for service. So it's a point where you're saying, actually, I have got to give myself away in order to serve these people. MALCOLM BRABANT: Perhaps the most controversial element of the coronation is the archbishop of Canterbury's invitation to the nation to pledge allegiance to the king and his heirs. NATHAN BLACKSTONE, United Kingdom: It just feels very, very archaic to just sort of be going about with the whole holy anointed kings and stuff like that.

It just feels very backwards. AMY BENNETT, United Kingdom: To me, personally, I just think it's a bit laughable. I think they're so out of touch and so kind of beyond the commonality of people, that they think that that is like something that we're just going to soak up and just going to do without questioning it. When, actually, you say that to people, you say that to me, and I will just be like -- like, obviously, I'm not going to do that. Like, it just seems stupid.

But it shows how out of touch they are. MALCOLM BRABANT: Out of touch or not, Saturday's pageantry will reinforce the appearance of a land of hope and glory, even if the monarchy is less revered under King Charles III. For the "PBS NewsHour," I'm Malcolm Brabant in Southern England. GEOFF BENNETT: And you can watch our coverage of the coronation of King Charles III on PBS and also streaming on the "NewsHour" Web site starting very early in the morning, 2:30 a.m. Eastern. The ceremony begins at 6:00.

And be sure to tune into "Washington Week" later tonight here on PBS. And watch "PBS News Weekend" tomorrow for a conversation on living with COVID, as health emergencies come to an end. And that is the "NewsHour." I'm Geoff Bennett. Have a great weekend.

2023-05-06 18:50

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