PBS NewsHour full episode, Jan. 19, 2023
GEOFF BENNETT: Good evening. I'm Geoff Bennett. AMNA NAWAZ: And I'm Amna Nawaz. On the "NewsHour" tonight: The U.S. hits its borrowing limit, forcing the Treasury to take extraordinary measures to avoid default, while Congress wrangles over raising the debt ceiling. GEOFF BENNETT: A new refugee program allows American citizens to sponsor people fleeing violence and oppression.
AMNA NAWAZ: And scientists lay out the environmental and health effects associated with gas stoves, as they become the subject of national debate. ANNIE CARFORO, Climate Justice Campaigns Coordinator, WE ACT for Environmental Justice: The results right now are showing that cooking with gas in apartments leads to incredibly high levels of harmful pollutants that really hurt our health. (BREAK) GEOFF BENNETT: Good evening, and welcome to the "NewsHour." The U.S. government hit its debt limit today, forcing the Treasury Department to resort to extraordinary measures to keep the government paying its bills and avoid the catastrophic consequences of a default. That's with the new GOP-led Congress setting the stage for a high-stakes showdown over raising the debt limit.
Congressional correspondent Lisa Desjardins joins us with the latest. It is great to see you. LISA DESJARDINS: Good to see you. GEOFF BENNETT: And for the unfamiliar, remind us what this means that the country has hit its debt limit, its debt ceiling. LISA DESJARDINS: To use a cliche analogy, we have reached our credit card limit.
However, unlike most of us, the Treasury has far more sweeping powers to deal with hitting its credit card limits. So they are using accounting mechanisms. They call them extraordinary measures -- I'm starting to call them extra-ordinary, because they have to use them so often now -- in order to keep us paying our bills.
How long will that last? Well, the estimates are until summer. But I want to pay attention to a note that Secretary Yellen wrote in her letter today about what she thinks is ahead. She wrote -- quote -- as you can see right there -- that: "The period of time that extraordinary measures may last is subject to considerable uncertainty." That means, essentially, no one really knows how long we can keep treading water. GEOFF BENNETT: So, the timing ahead is uncertain.
Treasury is trying to buy time. But, back in 2011, as you well know, this sort of brinksmanship resulted in the U.S. having its credit rating downgraded for the first time in history, and Americans' retirement savings took a hit. What's the risk this time, Lisa? LISA DESJARDINS: It's a very significant risk. A quick reminder, of course, that, first of all, most people believe that Treasury would pay the bonds, pay our creditors, but, really, the Treasury, my reporting a couple years ago, was, there really isn't a clear plan.
So let's say they pay our bonds right off the bat with the money we have. But then they have to make choices, prioritize. Would it be that federal workers would have to be furloughed because agencies wouldn't get money? Is it benefit programs like Social Security, even, Medicare, food programs? Somebody would not get money, millions of people.
And that, the problem is, could lead to a tipping in the economy, which, of course, people are still worried about recession. So all of those things, including interest rates, and then including the world economy, could just lead to an avalanche of problems throughout systems around the world. GEOFF BENNETT: Why are these hard-line Republican members of the House willing to play roulette with a still vulnerable economy? What's their political calculation here? LISA DESJARDINS: I'm so happy to talk about this. They say this is one problem, dealing with the debt ceiling, but another one that they're more concerned about is the size of the debt itself. Here's how new Speaker Kevin McCarthy put it this week.
And he used an example. He stressed the most recent omnibus spending bill, which really is one of the largest ever passed by Congress. Here's what he said. REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): They let two senators write a $1.7 trillion omni bill that no one got to see and jammed it through the middle of December.
So you realize why we have a debt like we had been in the past? Why wouldn't we sit down now, set a budget, set a path to get us to a balanced budget, and let's start paying this debt off and make sure the future generation has as many opportunities as we do? LISA DESJARDINS: A lot going on in those sentences. He said, why don't we sit down? What they're really saying is, we will not raise the debt ceiling until you agree to limits on spending. And they want significant limits on spending.
But they say that the problem is so large. Let's look at where we are with the national debt. Now, here's -- let's look over the history of the national debt relative to our economy, where we are. Look, we're almost right there at World War II levels right there in that 100 percent of our economy range.
That's the end of last year. Let's look at what's forecast. This is from the Congressional Budget Office.
Look at that. If nothing changes in how our Congress and government operate, that's where our debt will go, to areas that people say are uncharted and real danger to economy. That's why conservatives are doubling down. They want the debt, which is its own issue, connected to spending. GEOFF BENNETT: A lot of that spending happened during the Trump era.
And those same Republicans weren't sounding like Kevin McCarthy sounded today. What gives? LISA DESJARDINS: I was keeping track of those spending bills that many Republicans were passing, whether it's for the military or veterans. They had no problem on this sort of like buffet of federal dollars that they were passing at that point.
But I think, right now, what's happening is, of course, they're coming into power. And those behind them, their core base, is saying, look, this is a problem. It is about their identity, in a way, right? They have -- trying -- they're trying to assert: We're those fiscal Republicans again. But they're also the combative Republicans that are willing to risk everything for brinksmanship. Those two things are coming into play right now.
So let's talk about what we think could happen. What are the scenarios are ahead? GEOFF BENNETT: Yes, how is this likely to end up? LISA DESJARDINS: OK. We don't know. But I just want to try to start -- tee off these chaotic potentially months ahead with these ideas.
Let's look at the scenarios that I want to map out for people. First of all, Republicans could potentially win out with this freeze that they want or cut to federal spending. But already we see industries and agencies worried about that scenario.
Also, maybe there could be bipartisan measures to cut the budgets ahead. That is what happened in 2011, by the way. There was a deal to try and put up more guardrails on spending, or there could be no deal.
There could be a complete standoff. One side or the other has to cave entirely. That's where we are right now, because, right now, the president is saying he will not negotiate. I have a feeling that whether these things are connected and press releases or not, there are going to have to be conversations about federal spending in the next few months.
How much will Democrats give or not? How much will Republicans give or not? That is where everything comes down to it. GEOFF BENNETT: Well, for one thing, we know for sure that you will be tracking all of it. So, Lisa Desjardins, thanks so much for sharing that reporting. Good to see you. AMNA NAWAZ: In the day's other headlines: President Biden got an up-close look at the ravages of storms that have swept California. The president and California Governor Gavin Newsom toured the seaside town of Capitola, one of the areas south of San Francisco that was hardest hit by so-called atmospheric rivers.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency now estimates the storms caused at least several hundred million dollars in damage. Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy issued an urgent appeal to Western nations today for tanks and air defense systems. He addressed a meeting at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland via video link and said Ukraine needs tanks to take the fight to the Russians.
VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, Ukrainian President (through translator): We can't get there to get the enemy. This requires a specific weapon. There is a list of countries that have it, and there is a specific list from us of what we need. Want to help, help. No dialogue.
Just help. AMNA NAWAZ: Zelenskyy spoke as U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin met with Germany's new defense minister in Berlin. The two allies are pressing each other to supply tanks to Ukraine. In France, more than a million people took to the streets blasting plans to raise the retirement age by two years to 64.
Striking workers and other protesters held largely peaceful rallies nationwide. But police in Paris fired tear gas after some in the crowd threw objects at them. French President Emmanuel Macron responded from a meeting in Barcelona, Spain, and vowed to proceed with the pension age change. EMMANUEL MACRON, French President (through translator): In countries where people live even longer and where we have strong welfare systems, when there are fewer and fewer people who are economically active and more and more who are retired, this reform needs to be carried out if you want the pact between generations to be fair. AMNA NAWAZ: The French government says the change would also bring billions and additional pension contributions, as workers pay into the system longer.
Back in this country, Harvard University reversed itself and announced it will offer a fellowship to Kenneth Roth, former head of Human Rights Watch. Roth accepted an offer last year, but then the dean of Harvard's Kennedy School of Government rejected it. Roth said he believed his criticism of Israel was the reason.
Today, the dean, Douglas Elmendorf, said his initial decision was in error. On Wall Street stocks gave more ground on disappointing data from the housing industry and manufacturing. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 252 points to close at 33044.
The Nasdaq fell 104 points, or 1 percent. The S&P 500 slipped 30 points. And there's word that David Crosby, a major figure in rock music in the 1960s and '70s, Has died. He was a singer, songwriter and guitarist who co-founded two legendary bands, the Byrds and Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young Here he is with that second group performing "Teach Your Children." (MUSIC) AMNA NAWAZ: Crosby battled drug and alcohol addiction for years, but was twice inducted into the Rock Hall of Fame.
David Crosby was 81 years old. Still to come on the "NewsHour": why New Zealand's prime minister is stepping down after becoming a global symbol of female leadership; actor Alec Baldwin faces charges for a fatal shooting on a movie set; director Sarah Polley discusses the making of her new film, "Women Talking"; plus much more. GEOFF BENNETT: It was a political earthquake last May when the draft Supreme Court opinion overturning Roe v. Wade was leaked almost two months before the ruling was actually handed down.
Chief Justice John Roberts launched an investigation. And today, as John Yang reports, the court issued its report. JOHN YANG: Geoff, the investigation has not been able to identify the leaker. No one confessed, and none of the available evidence points to a culprit.
The investigation, which was reviewed by former Homeland Security secretary Michael Chertoff, did identify weaknesses in the way the court handles sensitive documents. Marcia Coyle is the "NewsHour"'s Supreme Court analyst. Marcia, what did -- who did the Supreme Court go about investigating this? MARCIA COYLE: Well, as you recall, John, the investigation was assigned to the court'S marshal. She's a former national security lawyer for the Army and pretty much is an administrator now in which she manages the courts of security. The marshal undertook the investigation. And there were interviews of 97 court employees, 82 of whom actually had access to electronic or hard copies of the draft opinion.
These employees were not only interviewed, but they were asked to agree to sworn affidavits about the statements they made to investigators. And, as you said, at the at the end, they could not show by a preponderance of evidence that any one person was responsible for the leak. JOHN YANG: And the report said that pandemic may have actually played a role in this.
MARCIA COYLE: And that was kind of interesting, John. The court said the pandemic -- pandemic and the expansion of the ability to work from home, along with the gaps in the court's own security measures, really increased the risk of an inadvertent or deliberate disclosure of the draft report. JOHN YANG: The report also said that the -- they had some broad recommendations about improving the way the court handles secure documents or documents that shouldn't be leaked. And they said a lot of the policies are outdated. Should that surprise people that, in the 21st century, the Supreme Court has outdated policies on handling secure documents? MARCIA COYLE: I'm sure would surprise many who aren't really familiar with the court itself, but it doesn't surprise those who follow the court.
The court as an institution is very slow to change. And I think that is largely the reason why. I mean, we're still hearing arguments over whether there should be cameras in the courtroom. And it was only because of the pandemic that the court began to livestream audio of arguments. So, again, it's an institution that changes incrementally.
And so, no, I don't think those who know the court would be that surprised. JOHN YANG: You know the court very well. You have watched the court and these justices. The one thing that report did not talk about is the effect that the leak had on the operations of the court, of the dealings between the justices.
Are you seeing any long-term effects of that in the way the court, the justices operate and deal with each other? MARCIA COYLE: In terms of the leak, I think that it's hard to say that I see anything visibly. I mean, we know that, last summer, some of the justices made comments about the impact of the leak. Justice Thomas, for example, said it was the sort of thing that makes you always want to look over your shoulder. Justice Alito talked about how it led to threats on justices' lives. I think, overall, that it definitely affected the interpersonal relationships within the court, not just among the justices and their clerks, but even the people who work there, especially after being investigated for this. And that -- I think it's unfortunate, John, that the court -- that the investigation did not find someone to hold responsible for this, because it continues a shadow over the court.
There were a number of people who believed first that we might never hear about the results, that the court would never do what it did today, which was issue a report, and they should get credit for doing that. But, also, people felt that it might have been somebody -- it might have been a justice or the spouse of a justice who did this. And without holding someone responsible, that suspicion is going to continue. And I think as well it will continue to affect the interpersonal relationships, perhaps not as much as they were affected last term, when things were still so raw.
The court gets its work done and the justices work together. But I think it can't help but continue to cast a shadow over the institution, at a time when there are many shadows over many institutions in our government. And that's unfortunate. JOHN YANG: "NewsHour" Supreme Court analyst Marcia Coyle, thank you very much. My pleasure, John. AMNA NAWAZ: The State Department announced a new program to help facilitate refugees coming to and settling in the United States.
It's called Welcome Corps and aims to empower private American citizens to sponsor refugees. Since the 1980s, the number of refugees admitted to the United States has fluctuated. After the 9/11 attacks, numbers plunged, but then rose again over time. They dropped again during the Trump administration, but have been rising since Joe Biden became president. Krish O'Mara Vignarajah is the president and CEO of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service.
She joins me now. Krish, welcome back. Let's talk about this new program from the Biden administration.
They say they aim to mobilize 10,000 Americans to sponsor 5,000 refugees in the first year. They call it the boldest innovation undertaken in our approach to refugee resettlement in over four decades. Do you agree with that? KRISH O'MARA VIGNARAJAH, President and CEO, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service: I guess it's throwback Thursday because, in many ways, this pilot reverts to how refugee resettlement was done before it was professionalized into a federal program in 1980. Prior to that, it was faith-based organizations, private citizens who came together and supported refugees through private sponsorship. The refugee program has obviously been refined since then. But community involvement and public-private partnership is really the core of our work even today, even before this announcement.
What we find is that our volunteers become our most enthusiastic ambassadors and advocates. So it is nice to see the administration recognize the generosity of the Americans spirit, and bring more people into the work of welcome. But, that said, I do think there are a few things to keep in mind to be realistic about the promise of this new program. There are things that private citizens can do well or even better than anyone else, organizing a donation drive, helping furnish departments. But there is a risk that sponsors may not be fully prepared or equipped for what oftentimes is complicated, challenging work, whether we're talking about addressing the trauma that refugees have experienced, or navigating the paperwork and bureaucracy of helping a family enroll their kids in school.
So we just want to make sure that these sponsors are prepared for what's in store and that they're vetted. So, we're excited about the program. But, obviously, we need to be realistic about what it will deliver. AMNA NAWAZ: Krish, it doesn't sound as if you have a lot of faith that this program is going to make a significant difference.
It sounds like it's welcome, but you don't think it'll have a huge impact. And I should also point out your organization is one of the oldest and largest refugee resettlement agencies in the country. You are not part of this coalition in this program. Why not? KRISH O'MARA VIGNARAJAH: So we attended the State Department event. We certainly are supportive of anything that can rebuild the infrastructure.
There are some excellent groups who are involved. But we have invested in a model of community co-sponsorship, because we have seen over decades of experience that the best outcomes happen when there is public-private collaboration. So, for us, co-sponsorship means leveraging the incredible generosity and compassion of Americans, while also recognizing that the buck stops with us, as a resettlement agency that has done this work for 83 years. We're grateful for any effort that brings Americans into the work, but it's a lot to ask of private citizens to do this principally on their own. And so that's where I think that there are opportunities to leverage individual involvement. But, really, at the end of the day, there is real value to the professionalization that we have seen in the four decades that the U.S. refugee admissions program has been in
place. AMNA NAWAZ: So, when you look at the refugee resettlement program in the U.S. right now, I mean, President Biden's latest refugee cap for this year, for 2023, is set at 125,000 people. When you look at the way our system works right now, where would you be putting resources and attention for the U.S. to get anywhere close to that number? KRISH O'MARA VIGNARAJAH: Amna, that's a great question, because we have got to solve for the real problem.
And that's not the domestic infrastructure to resettle refugees. It's the backlogs that continue to plague the program. Maybe there's a misconception out there that we don't have the domestic capacity here in the U.S., but that's just not the case.
It is true that many resettlement sites closed during the cuts of the Trump administration. But two years later, we have built back. At LIRS, for example, we had to close 17 of our 48 sites during the Trump administration. But we haven't just returned to 48. We actually now have 50 resettlement sites up and running. So the real and most pressing challenge is, actually, how do we help process refugees, and ultimately admit them to the U.S.?
And to your point of citing the numbers, the administration has increased the number to 1000 -- 62,500 and then 125,000. But, in the first year, we resettled less than 12,000. And in the second year, we resettled about 25,000. So the question is how we build that pipeline abroad. Otherwise, there's a risk that you have this new program and sponsors will come forward, but there's actually going to be very few families to support.
AMNA NAWAZ: Krish O'Mara Vignarajah is the president and CEO of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service. Krish, thank you for joining us. KRISH O'MARA VIGNARAJAH: Thanks for having me. GEOFF BENNETT: There's been quite a bit of heated debate lately about gas stoves and potential government regulation. The fire was lit last week after recent studies linked asthma with the use of gas stoves, and a member of a federal consumer agency briefly suggested that perhaps the federal government might even ban them in newly built homes.
But that was quickly shut down by the White House. Still, there's new focus on the health impact and possible alternatives. In fact, there are even some new government incentives for swapping out older stoves. Miles O'Brien has been looking into all of this and has our report. MILES O'BRIEN: Maria Espada was happily cooking without gas long before a political stew started boiling over in Washington. LARRY KUDLOW, FOX Business Anchor: Right now, you have got this campaign by all these left-wing groups to end gas-burning stoves.
MAN: Teasing a potential federal ban on gas stoves. WOMAN: A ban on gas stoves. WOMAN: The link between your gas stove and childhood asthma. WOMAN: Gas stoves don't cause asthma. There's no research proving that. Chef? MILES O'BRIEN: No ban is currently in the works, but cooking with gas is the latest battle in the culture war.
Since last year, Maria has used an electric oven with an induction cooktop. MARIA ESPADA, New York Resident: Oh, beautiful. And it'll be done very quick.
MILES O'BRIEN: It replaced a gas range. Maria has lived in this New York City Housing Authority apartment in the Bronx for 44 years. When you first heard about an electric stove, did you think, hmm, I like cooking with gas, or were you ready to change? MARIA ESPADA: I was not ready. But I thought of one thing, my asthma. Every time I would turn it on, I would start coughing.
MILES O'BRIEN: Really? MARIA ESPADA: Yes. I would start coughing. So it was the gas. MILES O'BRIEN: Yes. MARIA ESPADA: Unfortunately, that's what I noticed.
It was the gas. MILES O'BRIEN: She is part of a pilot program hoping to refine the recipe for the big switch away from fossil fuels. New York City has committed to reducing its carbon footprint by 80 percent in 2050. And, here, about 70 percent of greenhouse gas emissions come from buildings.
ANNIE CARFORO, Climate Justice Campaigns Coordinator, WE ACT for Environmental Justice: The electrification of existing buildings is going to be a really complex challenge. And what we don't want to see is communities of color, low income-communities, affordable housing residents being left behind in that transition. MILES O'BRIEN: Annie Carforo is a climate justice campaign coordinator for the nonprofit WE ACT. It is helping study the transition, installing an array of air quality sensors in kitchens with electric and gas appliances. ANNIE CARFORO: We're looking to see the change in air quality over six months in this building, and also to study the challenges and opportunities of electrification in affordable housing. MILES O'BRIEN: This has led them to an important conclusion: Methane is a greenhouse gas that harms the climate, but burning it also has a more immediate impact right at home.
ANNIE CARFORO: The results right now are showing that cooking with gas in apartments leads to incredibly high levels of harmful pollutants that really hurt our health. MILES O'BRIEN: As methane, or natural gas, burns, it triggers a reaction between nitrogen and oxygen, which creates nitric oxide and nitrogen dioxide, pollutants collectively known as NOx. They cause all sorts of cardiovascular and respiratory illnesses, including asthma.
The latest study published in December compared data on nationwide asthma rates and gas stove usage, and concluded 12.7 percent of current childhood asthma in the U.S. is attributable to gas stove use. No surprise to Rob Jackson. ROB JACKSON, Stanford University: OK, then put the -- we can the fans on the....
WOMAN: On the grounds, close all the windows. MILES O'BRIEN: He is a professor of environmental sciences at Stanford University. He and his team are focused on finding methane wherever it may be. He spends a lot of time sampling the air in kitchens equipped with gas ranges. ROB JACKSON: We take a series of measurements before we light it.
We measure how much methane comes when you turn the thing on and off, that puff. And then we measure how much is coming when the flame is on. MILES O'BRIEN: Jackson's team also samples beyond the kitchen. ROB JACKSON: The NOx that is generated in the kitchen, not surprisingly, it doesn't stay there.
It spreads throughout the house. You get above these thresholds in adjacent bedrooms, where there's no hood and really no expectation that you would find those gases in the air that you breathe. MILES O'BRIEN: In the Bronx, a few floors away from Maria Espada, researcher Misbath Daouda is on her own hunt for indoor air quality data. It was lunchtime in Ayanna Kai-Sutton's apartment. She cooks with gas, a Ph.D. candidate in climate and health at Columbia University, Daouda
recorded nitrogen dioxide levels nearly 40 times greater than World Health Organization daily guidelines. MISBATH DAOUDA, Columbia University: So, if you look at this, the levels here is 500 PPB, which is huge, because... MILES O'BRIEN: That's parts per billion. MISBATH DAOUDA: Parts per billion.
MILES O'BRIEN: And that's huge? MISBATH DAOUDA: It's huge. The WHO guideline for NO2 is about 13 PPB. MILES O'BRIEN: This is also five times greater than the EPA one-hour air standard for NOx. But there are no rules in the U.S. governing indoor pollution, even though that is where we spend most of our time.
MISBATH DAOUDA: People who experience asthma are on the front lines, literally, of climate change, because a lot of the sources of carbon emissions also are producing these pollutants that exacerbate asthma. MILES O'BRIEN: While gas stoves are looking less attractive, electric cooktop technology has learned some new tricks. Traditional electric stoves are inefficient. They create heat by simply resisting the electric current. But newer induction cooktops use electricity to create a magnetic field.
The electrons inside pots and pans that contain iron try to align with the magnet, vibrating tens of thousands of times per second, creating friction and heat. The result is better energy efficiency, faster cooking, and no combustion fumes. So, why are so many Americans and Republican lawmakers still enthralled with gas? NARRATORS: Gas! MILES O'BRIEN: For decades, the fossil fuel industry has spent heavily to promote the idea that gas is superior. But it's a bad rap in more ways than one. ACTORS: Cooking with gas. Cooking with gas.
ACTORS: We all cook better when we're cooking with gas. MILES O'BRIEN: And here in the Bronx, the word is spreading. The study documented a 35 percent reduction in daily nitrogen dioxide concentrations for those who switched from gas to electric. Now that the results are in, Ayanna Kai-Sutton has her new electric range. AYANNA KAI-SUTTON, New York Resident: I am excited, of course, to get rid of this old-school gas stove and get with the new.
And, of course, if there's anything I can do that can, like, make the smallest change in the world, then, of course, I'm going to be down to help. MILES O'BRIEN: It turns out the climate crisis is also an air pollution crisis. If we can stop burning things fast, we can all breathe a little easier.
GEOFF BENNETT: And Miles joins us now from his kitchen to answer some more questions about induction stoves. Miles, it's great to see you. So, let's talk dollars and cents. If someone wants to install an induction cooktop range in their home, how much will it cost? MILES O'BRIEN: All right. But before I do that, Geoff, I just want to start the tea kettle water boiling, just so you can see how quickly that happens on an induction stove. We will see that in a second.
OK, basically, a low-end induction range is about $1,200. A low-end gas range is about $1,000. You might have to upgrade your electricity to 220 or 240.
That's going to cost you about $300. Now, if you're in a situation where you want to save some money or you you're renting and you can't change out your appliance, you can use something like this. This is a cooking plate, not even a hot plate.
It's an actual full-up burner that will do everything that this induction range will do for about 250 bucks. There's cheaper ones like this one here. That's about $150. You can actually do that immediately. So there are inexpensive ways to do this, if you're concerned. (TEAPOT WHISTLING) MILES O'BRIEN: There you go, boiled water in...
GEOFF BENNETT: What was that, 30 seconds? MILES O'BRIEN: About 30 seconds. Not bad, huh? GEOFF BENNETT: Wow. Wow. So, Miles, why do professional chefs still use gas? I'm sure a lot of people assume, that if the pros use gas, that's what's best. MILES O'BRIEN: Absolutely. As much as any thing, it's tradition, Geoff.
And this is a transition we're going through where we're trying to electrify our society in order to address the climate change problem. And, of course, we have an indoor air pollution problem as well. But in professional kitchens, there is this assumption that the only way to do it is to light a flame, which is, after all, what caveman did to cook. This is changing.
Some of the top restaurants in the world, particularly in Europe and in Asia, are all induction and have been for quite some time. There is more resistance here in the U.S. to it. And some of that has to do with the fossil fuel industry doing a pretty effective campaign to convince people that electric is not as good. GEOFF BENNETT: Miles, there is some question about the types of pots and pans that work with induction. Tell us more about that. MILES O'BRIEN: Yes, this is an issue that comes up quite a bit.
It's cooking with magnetic fields, so it has to have a pot or a pan that is magnetic, or ferrous is the term. Everything you see here works just fine because it has some iron in it one way or another. So there's lots of variety out there. You can't use things like this, ceramic, because, obviously, that's not magnetic. And if you have a whole bunch of aluminum pots and pans, you will have to retire those as well.
But it's not like you have to get some specialized kind of cookware. GEOFF BENNETT: You have a vent hood, it looks like, in your kitchen. Is that necessary for an induction cooktop? MILES O'BRIEN: Not as important as it is with gas. But I will tell you this. One of the things that people should think about with -- if they're still using a gas stove and continue to do so, use that vent hood. And make sure the vent hood is vented outside, not one of those that recirculates.
That's not going to do any good at all. A lot of people don't bother turning on the vent hood. That goes a long way to improving the air quality in your kitchen. GEOFF BENNETT: Miles O'Brien, thanks so much for sharing that reporting with us and inviting us into your kitchen. We appreciate it.
MILES O'BRIEN: You're welcome, Geoff. Any time. AMNA NAWAZ: Actor Alec Baldwin will be charged with involuntary manslaughter in connection with the fatal shooting of a cinematographer on a New Mexico movie set in 2021. The film's weapons specialist and assistant director are also being charged. Stephanie Sy has more.
STEPHANIE SY: Amna, the Santa Fe district attorney said there was -- quote -- "a criminal disregard for safety" that led to the death of the cinematographer Halyna Hutchins. She explained the decision to file charges on CNN. MARY CARMACK-ALTWIES, New Mexico First Judicial District Attorney: This was a really fast and loose set, and that nobody was doing their job.
There were three people that, if they had done their job that day, this tragedy wouldn't have happened. And that's David Halls, Hannah Gutierrez Reed and Alec Baldwin. If they had just done their basic duties, this -- we wouldn't be standing here.
STEPHANIE SY: Halls agreed to plead guilty to negligent use of a deadly weapon. Both Baldwin and Gutierrez Reed will be charged with involuntary manslaughter. In a statement, Baldwin's attorney said: "Mr. Baldwin had no reason to believe there was
a live bullet in the gun or anywhere on the movie set. He relied on the professionals with whom he worked, who assured him that guns did not have live rounds." Elizabeth Wagmeister is chief correspondent for "Variety," and joins us with more. Elizabeth, thanks for joining us.
Were you surprised by the announcement of these charges? ELIZABETH WAGMEISTER, "Variety": I think this is clearly a surprising announcement, because you have an A-list actor who is being charged with involuntary manslaughter. That said, that is what happened. A woman died on the set, and Alec Baldwin was the one who did fire the gun. So, if he had not fired the gun -- of course, there's a lot of steps that should have been taken before then -- had that gun not been fired, then Halyna Hutchins would still be alive. STEPHANIE SY: The husband of Halyna Hutchins reacted today, and his lawyer said in a statement that it is -- quote -- "a comfort to the family that, in New Mexico, no one is above the law." He added that the family fully supports the charges.
Are you hearing similar reactions in the film industry, or the opposite? ELIZABETH WAGMEISTER: What I think is interesting about that statement from the family is, remember that there was a settlement, a civil settlement a few months ago. So that was also surprising to me. But, in the film industry, what I'm hearing is a lot of shock.
People seem to be very surprised that Alec Baldwin was hit with these charges. People are wondering, will he really go to jail? Of course, these charges are tied to a fair amount of possible years behind bars. But I do think that one common thread that I am hearing in the entertainment industry is, this was a horrible mistake.
STEPHANIE SY: And if he is convicted on the one count of involuntary manslaughter, it would carry 18 months. But I do want to ask you about the significance for the wider film industry and for set safety standards. Was this tragedy an outlier, Elizabeth, or is having a better control over stunt guns on said an issue that Hollywood needs to address? ELIZABETH WAGMEISTER: This absolutely needs to be addressed. And in the wake of the tragedy on the set of "Rust," there has been a large outcry for more protocol and more safety to ensure that this never, ever happens again.
But I have to tell you, the outcry has not matched the -- what's actually being enacted on these sets. There are not new laws that we have seen go into place. There's nothing that says there cannot be a real gun and real ammo on a set.
So there's a big call for action, but we haven't seen much yet. But I do expect that we will see a lot more safety protocols being put in place on any set that is using firearms. And the question really remains, why do we need to have real firearms in movies? We're in a world in which James Cameron can make actors into blue creatures. You clearly can do anything through CGI. And, yes, of course, it's more expensive in postproduction to use CGI, but it can be done. And safety needs to be paramount.
STEPHANIE SY: Yes, I think a lot of us had that same question when this tragedy happened. Elizabeth Wagmeister, senior correspondent for "Variety," thank you. AMNA NAWAZ: Lawmakers in New Zealand today are negotiating over the country's next prime minister after Jacinda Ardern made a surprise announcement she would step down before the end of her second term. She has been New Zealand's youngest prime minister in 150 years.
Nick Schifrin looks at why she's leaving and her legacy. NICK SCHIFRIN: She was the world's youngest female head of government. JACINDA ARDERN, Prime Minister of New Zealand: Yes, I can do the job and be a mother.
NICK SCHIFRIN: Well-known for empathy. JACINDA ARDERN: Jump online quickly and just check in with everyone, really. Our gun laws will change. NICK SCHIFRIN: Who became a global liberal icon as a self-proclaimed feminist.
JACINDA ARDERN: MeToo must become we too. NICK SCHIFRIN: And yet, at just 43 years old, five years into the job, Jacinda Ardern says she's had enough. JACINDA ARDERN: I know what this job takes. And I know that I no longer have enough in the tank to do it justice. It's that simple. And so, today, I'm announcing that I will not be seeking reelection.
NICK SCHIFRIN: Ardern is well-known for that emotion and openness, especially in 2019, after an Australian gunman killed 51 Muslim worshipers in two mosques. She stood with the Muslim community and against the shooter's white supremacy. JACINDA ARDERN: They have chosen to make New Zealand their home, and it is their home. They are us.
The person who has perpetuated this violence against us is not. NICK SCHIFRIN: In less than four weeks, Parliament passed a bill banning most semiautomatic rifles and high-capacity magazines. JACINDA ARDERN: Every semiautomatic weapon used in the terrorist attack on Friday will be banned in this country. NICK SCHIFRIN: Her tenure was marked by crises, none larger than COVID.
JACINDA ARDERN: These decisions will place the most significant restrictions on New Zealanders' movements in modern history. NICK SCHIFRIN: Her government shut the borders and imposed one of the world's strictest lockdowns, despite the country's reliance on tourism. It saved lives and allowed Kiwis to resume normal life earlier than most countries.
Throughout, she spoke to the country via Facebook Live. JACINDA ARDERN: As we all join together in the fight against COVID-19. HELEN CLARK, Former Prime Minister of New Zealand: Without question, we had one of the most effective responses to the pandemic in the world, and many people owe their lives to let. NICK SCHIFRIN: Helen Clark was New Zealand's prime minister from 1999 to 2008 from our Ardern's same party.
She also co-led an independent review of COVID's origins and countries' responses. We spoke to her from a train outside Davos. HELEN CLARK: I think that Jacinda's government distinguished itself by taking the science seriously. A lot of other women leaders around the world took a similar approach, listen to the experts, make sound decisions, communicate clearly to the public about what you know and what you don't know.
NICK SCHIFRIN: But, two years later, demonstrators protested outside Parliament. A slow vaccine rollout, government mandates and inflation sparked opposition among conservatives and led to Ardern's party slipping in the polls. Dr. Suze Wilson is a senior lecturer at New Zealand's Massey University. DR. SUZE WILSON, Massey University: The cost of living pressures are very real for people. And they're looking for someone to blame.
And, of course, they're going to blame the government. NICK SCHIFRIN: But Ardern also faced criticism that could be sexist and ageist. QUESTION: I have met a lot of prime ministers in my time, but none so young, not too many so smart, and never one so attractive. NICK SCHIFRIN: In 2018, she became only the second world leader to give birth in office.
She never hid her motherhood. JACINDA ARDERN: It's bedtime, darling. Pop back to bed. I will come and see you in a second.
NICK SCHIFRIN: Or her feminism, standing next to 37-year-old Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin. QUESTION: A lot of people will be wondering, are you two meeting just because you're similar in age and got a lot of common stuff? JACINDA ARDERN: My first question is, I wonder whether or not anyone ever asked Barack Obama and John Key if they met because they were of similar age. DR. SUZE WILSON: If you're being subjected to threats of violence at unprecedented levels, all of that makes your workplace environment far more hostile. While she's the number one target, this behavior has a chilling effect for all women.
We look at -- we look at how she is being treated and we go, so that's what happens if you have a public profile. NICK SCHIFRIN: Ardern never shied away from that public profile, until today. After leading the country through countless crises, she says she and her fiance will finally have time to get married. For the "PBS NewsHour," I'm Nick Schifrin. AMNA NAWAZ: A new film is getting Oscar buzz for its standout acting performances and unusually deep exploration of sexual violence.
The film opens nationwide tomorrow. Jeffrey Brown talks to Sarah Polley, director of "Women Talking," for our arts and culture series, Canvas. CLAIRE FOY, Actress: We know that we are bruised and infected and pregnant and terrified and insane.
And some of us are dead. JEFFREY BROWN: A series of assaults has taken place in a conservative Mennonite community, far removed from modern life, and the women of the colony, realizing the perpetrators or their own menfolk, must vote, do nothing, stay in fight, or leave. FRANCES MCDORMAND, Actress: It is a part of our faith to forgive. We will be excommunicated, forced to leave the colony in disgrace if we do not forgive these men. And if we are excommunicated, we forfeit our place in heaven.
JEFFREY BROWN: The film "Women Talking" takes us into a conversation in which, says director Sarah Polley, the stakes couldn't be higher. SARAH POLLEY, Director: Questions around faith and forgiveness and democracy and individual guilt vs. systemic injustice, and how do we heal, and how do we move together in community, and how do we sit with people who don't agree with us on every single issue and come to kind of some kind of consensus to move forward and out of harm? And the idea of getting the best cast I possibly could in a room together to have this conversation was so exciting to me. ROONEY MARA, Actress: Is forgiveness that's forced upon us true forgiveness? JEFFREY BROWN: What a conversation, and what a cast, including Rooney Mara, Frances McDormand, Claire Foy, Jessie Buckley, and Judith Ivey.
JUDITH IVEY, Actress: Isn't it interesting that the one and only request we women would have of the men would be for them to leave? JEFFREY BROWN: The film is based on the 2018 novel of the same name by Miriam Toews, which itself reimagined real events that occurred in a remote Mennonite colony in Bolivia earlier this century. SARAH POLLEY: Kind of amazing to see the film have this kind of life in so many places, because you don't know. You never know when you make a film if it's going to connect. JEFFREY BROWN: In New York recently, Polley spoke of how a story of women outside contemporary life...
ACTRESS: It was all waiting to happen before it happened. JEFFREY BROWN: ... members of a deeply hierarchical faith community in which girls and women are kept illiterate and under the authority of men, could resonate so strongly for her and others today. SARAH POLLEY: One of the resonant parts for me was that -- the power of language, the power of having words for something that's previously been unspoken, the power of having a conversation come in to the culture that hasn't been part of it, that's what these women are doing. And I think, most importantly, what I loved about the conversation this film is it wasn't just about the harms that had been done.
It was about, how do we find a way forward? How do we build a better world? What do we want that to look like? JEFFREY BROWN: Even though, again, it's in such an other world, right? SARAH POLLEY: The film is told in the realm of a fable. So there's something of an allegory about it. There's something surreal and a heightened reality. JEFFREY BROWN: You wanted to take it out of specific place and time? SARAH POLLEY: This is not limited to women in this particular sect. I mean, certainly, there's an extremity and a horror that happened in this community, that it's easier for that to happen in an isolated community where there's no contact with the outside world and where there's such a hierarchical power structure.
But I also just didn't want to give people permission to say, this -- these are only issues that people are dealing with in these kinds of communities, because, of course, we're dealing with them every day in our own. In Montreal, father used to take me all the time. JEFFREY BROWN: Polley herself, now 44, has been in the film world since she was a child star in Canada. SARAH POLLEY: You're mistaking me for someone with potential.
JEFFREY BROWN: She appeared in numerous films before turning to directing in her late 20s with her feature debut, "Away From Her" based on a short story by Nobel Prize-winning writer Alice Munro, about a woman institutionalized with Alzheimer's. WOMAN: Michael was a private person, and Diane was not a private person. JEFFREY BROWN: The much-acclaimed documentary "Stories We Tell" examined Polley's own family history and the different ways lives can be understood and seen. Last year, she published a memoir titled "Run Towards the Danger" that candidly explored some of the trauma she experienced along the way, and how she did or did not respond to them, including a sexual assault as a teenager which came out much later amid a highly publicized court case, and what she saw is abusive treatment she experienced as a child and teen on film sets, being put in emotionally and physically perilous situations.
SARAH POLLEY: Maybe on this one. JEFFREY BROWN: Polley the director has prioritized the workplace aspect of film production. SARAH POLLEY: I kind of have a policy that it is your responsibility as a filmmaker to create a healthy working environment. And I think that kind of gets underplayed in the job description, so... JEFFREY BROWN: Underplayed because people don't think of it on a Hollywood set or film set? SARAH POLLEY: I think people just expect filmmakers to be these wild, creative, imaginative geniuses, and it's irresponsibility or spontaneity or madness is part of the job description, maybe a symptom of a good filmmaker.
And I have found that better work is done on sets where attention is paid to those basic principles of a decent place for people to work, and the hours not being crushingly long, and people's emotional and physical well-being prioritized. JEFFREY BROWN: On the set of "Women Talking," that meant having a therapist, Laurie Haskell, on hand for the most emotional scenes, including one in which the character played by Claire Foy finally explodes, exhorting her companions to leave the colony now to protect their children. CLAIRE FOY: I will destroy any living thing that harms my child. SARAH POLLEY: Laurie turned to me and said: "This is going to be my busiest day." And I said: "Why? We have done all of these things that seem to be more traumatic than this." And she said: "Because every person in this room right now on the crew and the cast who didn't have a parent to protect them is going to hear what it sounds like if they did.
Like, what does it sound like? What are the words you would have wanted to hear your parents say?" JEFFREY BROWN: The therapist knew right away? SARAH POLLEY: Just knew right away. And, sure enough, it was absolutely her busiest day. She had a lineup. CLAIRE FOY: I want to stay and fight too.
JEFFREY BROWN: Ultimately, Polley wants to make clear, this is an empowering film, women talking not only of violence and danger, but how they can change their lives and those of their children. For the "PBS NewsHour," I'm Jeffrey Brown in New York. ACTRESS: We will have to ask ourselves who we are. GEOFF BENNETT: Amy Stelly is an urban planner, designer and artist in New Orleans, where her family has lived for four generations. She has been fighting to have the Claiborne Expressway removed.
It's a highway that the Biden White House has called an example of historic inequity. Tonight, Stelly shares her Brief But Spectacular take on improving community health near urban highways. AMY STELLY, Urban Planner: I don't like interstate going through Treme. I have never liked it.
It's loud. It's dirty. It's nasty. It's ugly.
There's nothing to love about the interstate going through Treme and the Seventh Ward. Growing up, I would enjoy taking the ride to visit my grandparents. My grandparents lived off of the famed St. Charles Avenue. So it was a beautiful ride from downtown New Orleans to uptown New Orleans. It was green, it was pleasant, it was lush.
But then, when I came back home, I was faced with this huge piece of gray infrastructure that just loomed over what we call the neutral ground here. I was never clear about why our neighborhood had to be so ugly and other neighborhoods, like uptown New Orleans, were still beautiful. It puzzled me as a child. I began to understand the race and class divide much later, as an adult.
As a child, I decided that it would be my mission in life to get rid of the interstate. I intuitively knew that that interstate did not give us the quality of life that, first of all, my family bought into when they bought into the neighborhood 70 years ago. But it also doesn't give us, as Black people, anywhere in the United States the quality of life that we deserve. When you put an interstate through a neighborhood, you invite people to go through the neighborhood. They don't stop. They don't support the neighborhood.
They don't contribute to the economic vitality of the neighborhood. Claiborne was really, in its day, a Black Wall Street. There were all types of Black businesses there. Unfortunately, the interstate ran all of that away, because it's a very, very difficult environment to live in and to do business in.
We're looking at 50 years of disinvestment now. There is nothing there. So it ruined the Black community. As a planner and designer, I began to see exactly how land use and land use decisions impact people, especially minorities, people of color, older people who don't understand the language or who haven't been exposed to it.
So I really felt compelled to make sure that these things were clear and understandable with regard to land use decisions. If they don't happen with you, they will happen to you. By and large, those interstates have wrecked our lives.
So we have to take the bull by the horns and we have to speak up. My name is Amy Stelly, and this is my Brief But Spectacular take on urban highways. GEOFF BENNETT: Hmm. And you can watch more Brief But Spectacular videos online at PBS.org/NewsHour/brief. AMNA NAWAZ: Also online, you can view a gallery of images around Iraq's historic victory in the Gulf Cup final today hosted in Basra, Iraq. Love to see it.
GEOFF BENNETT: And join us again here tomorrow night, where we will speak with the U.S. Undersecretary of Defense about efforts to arm Ukraine in its fight against Russia. And that is the "NewsHour" for tonight. I'm Geoff Bennett.
AMNA NAWAZ: And I'm Amna Nawaz. On behalf of the entire "NewsHour" team, thank you for joining us.