tv PBS News Hour PBS October 2, 2015 3:00pm-4:00pm PDT
captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc >> woodruff: good evening. i'm judy woodruff. on the newshour tonight: the search for answers in the wake of a college campus rampage as the town of roseburg, oregon grieves. >> this is a wonderful community, but it's going to take a long time for this community to heal from this. >> woodruff: also tonight: a dispatch from germany where so many of the migrants who've fled the middle east have ended up. but could the country's welcoming attitude be wearing thin? then, the story of an acclaimed food writer's return to the kitchen and the joy of rediscovering the simple pleasures of cooking. >> cooking, for me, is a real meditation. the peel, just doing this, the
sound. >> yes. if you pay attention to these things, you go into it and it's very calming. >> woodruff: plus, david brooks and e.j. dionne are here with thoughts about the oregon shooting and analysis of the rest of a very full week of news. all that and more on tonight's pbs newshour. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: ♪ ♪
moving our economy for 160 years. bnsf, the engine that connects us. ♪ >> supporting social entrepreneurs and their solutions to the world's most pressing problems-- skollfoundation.org. >> the ford foundation. working with visionaries on the frontlines of social change worldwide. >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you.
>> woodruff: multiple guns, multiple shots, and multiple questions. investigators in oregon filled in more details today about the mass shooting that left nine people and the shooter dead, and wounded nine others. but they were still trying to figure out the why. special correspondent cat wise begins our coverage. >> reporter: by this morning, police tape was up at this apartment complex in winchester, oregon, as investigators hunted for clues and a motive. the man identified as the gunman-- chris harper mercer-- had lived there before he opened fire at umpqua community college in nearby roseburg. he was killed in a shootout with police. federal authorities say he had body armor and six guns with him, including pistols and a rifle. they found seven more guns at the apartment. all had been purchased legally but douglas county sheriff john hanlin suggested the number is not so unusual.
>> in oregon, i mean, this is a hunting state, and firearms are popular in most households, yeah. >> reporter: as police search for what sparked the shootings, a picture of the gunman has begun to emerge. neighbors in this complex describe him as reclusive, and very close with his mother. his online social profiles show a fascination with guns and the irish republican army, and an apparent hatred for organized religion. witnesses at the shooting scene said the gunman demanded to know each student's religion before he shot them-- seeming to single out christians. he was also interested in mass shootings, writing in one blog post: "seems the more people you kill, the more you're in the limelight." with that apparently in mind, sheriff hanlin made clear today he won't utter the killer's name. >> i continue to believe that those media and community members who publicize his name will only glorify his horrific actions, and eventually this will only serve to inspire future shooters.
>> reporter: meanwhile, the people of roseburg, in the heart of oregon's timber country, were plunged into mourning. hundreds gathered for a candlelight vigil last night, including the college's interim president, rita cavin. >> it's a small community. many people have been here for multiple generations. it's very close-knit. so when word went out that we needed help, the network just surrounded us. and it's a blessing of being in a small town. >> reporter: governor kate brown visited today, to lend support. >> oregon has worked continuously to prevent these kind of tragedies, but they continue to happen here and across the nation, and it is going to keep happening until we decide we want them to stop. >> reporter: the killings also brought new calls for gun control from president obama again today. >> the majority of people who have mental illnesses are shooters.
so we can't sort through and identify ahead of time who might take actions like this. the only thing we can do is make sure they can't have an entire arsenal when something snaps in them. >> reporter: and the u.n. secretary general ban ki moon said he hopes the united states will take the necessary action to reduce gun violence. i'm cat wise for the pbs newshour in roseburg, oregon. >> woodruff: this evening, authorities identified the nine dead including students and one teacher. we'll turn to the broader issues of gun violence and mental illness after the news summary. in other news, the economy turned in a sub-par showing for september. the labor department reported today that employers added 142,000 jobs-- less than expected-- as oil drillers and others cut back on hiring. the unemployment rate held steady at 5.1%, mainly because more people stopped looking for work.
wall street reacted negatively at first, but then shrugged off the jobs report, as energy stocks rallied. the dow jones industrial average gained 200 points to close above 16,470, the nasdaq rose 80 points, and the s&p 500 added 27. for the week, the dow and the s&p gained 1%. the nasdaq rose half a percent. the bahamas took the brunt of hurricane joaquin today. heavy flooding, torrents of rain and howling wind destroyed homes and tore up trees, but there were no reports of casualties. at the same time, the u.s. coast guard reported a cargo ship missing, with 33 people on board. >> the real challenge is this vessel is disabled basically right near the eye of hurricane joaquin, right where the strongest winds are. so up to 140 miles per hour. the challenge is trying to get our assets as close as possible to try to find the vessel. >> woodruff: the hurricane began
to weaken slightly this evening, and forecasters said it's likely to curve out into the atlantic, and away from the u.s. east coast. word came today that the u.s. secretary of education, arne duncan, will step down in december, after six and a half years on the job. he's one of the longest-serving members of the obama cabinet, and at today's white house announcement, he said he's going home to chicago to spend more time with his family. >> i love this work, i love this team, i love the president, i love the chance to serve the only thing i love more is you guys. and i can't wait to come home, and see a couple more track meets and maybe get to coach ryan a little bit. and maybe have a few more dinners, maybe go to a movie someday that'd be pretty amazing. >> woodruff: the president named john king, jr.-- a senior education department official-- to serve as acting secretary for the remainder of his administration. that avoids a confirmation fight with senate republicans, who've accused the administration of dictating policies to local schools.
in afghanistan, sporadic shooting echoed around kunduz, a day after government forces recaptured most of the city. the taliban had held the provincial capital for three days, and today, the militants' new leader hailed it a symbolic victory. meanwhile, residents reported ongoing firefights, as afghan troops swept through the city. they're trying to dislodge militants who are hiding in people's homes. >> ( translated ): the security situation is not good in kunduz, we are really concerned about this situation. we are not able to get out of our homes. we have no food to eat, we are really in trouble. >> woodruff: meanwhile, the taliban scored another advance overnight, seizing part of a northeastern province in afghanistan. in iraq, the top shi-ite cleric called today for widening the war on the islamic state group. grand ayatollah ali al-sistani issued a statement, saying:
and the vatican has distanced itself from a kentucky county clerk who met with pope francis last week, at the papal embassy in washington. kim davis had been jailed for refusing to license same-sex marriages. she says the pope praised her courage, and told her to "stay strong". but today, vatican officials played down the meeting, and said it was not an endorsement. >> first of all, the meeting took place as the farewell greetings as the pope was leaving the nunciature in washington. the nunzio invited a number of guests, his own choice, to greet the pope. very brief greetings and in the pope's characteristic kindness and his warmth and hospitality, he shook peoples' hands and gave them rosaries. we should understand it as that. >> woodruff: instead, the official said the pontiff's "only real audience" was with a gay couple that francis knew from his years in argentina. still to come on the newshour: the latest on russia's foray into syria, is germany's
welcoming attitude toward migrants wearing thin, analysis of the week's news from david brooks and e.j. dionne and much more. the shooting in oregon has again provoked many discussions about what can be done to prevent future tragedies. since the shootings in newtown, connecticut, in december 2012, there have been more than 985 mass shootings where four or more people are injured or killed. this year alone, the crowd- sourced mass shooting tracker reports there have been more than 295 shootings. you can see where these have happened on a map on our website. for all of the discussions, little has changed. and tonight we explore this with: todd clear, a professor and former dean at rutgers university school of criminal
justice. he has written widely on gun violence. and jeffrey swanson, a professor of psychology and behavioral science at duke university. we welcome you both to the program. professor swanson, i'm going to start with you. you told us today it may be the case these mass shootings are growing more common but you said that doesn't mean they are easier to predict. what did you mean by that? >> well, here we are again, judy, talking about a horrifying mass casualty shooting, and it's just appalling. we're asking ourselves the same question, is this about mental illness? and let me just be clear, you don't have to be a psychiatry professor to know that this is not the act of a healthy-minded person. it is the act of a deeply disturbed person. it's appalling. on the other hand, it's also an
atypical act. it's atypical of people with mental illnesses, the vast majority of whom are not violent and never will be and atypical of perpetrators of gun crimes, most don't have mental illness. these are factors that act together and are difficult to predict and prevent. >> woodruff: professor todd clear, every time we have one of these mass shootings, there are calls to do something about the availability of guns to people who have mental problems. has it become harder in any part of the country for people with emotional problems, mental problems to get hold of a gun? >> well, there have been attempts to put new legislation in place in various locations, but the politics of this is very difficult because it's hard -- while most americans and many people would think sensibly that having some kind of screening for gun availability is
valuable, it's hard to get this movement on this politically because the people who are opposed to gun regulation are so strong and organized that the political movement on questions like this are difficult. but there is a lot of variation in drug laws locally in the states, but the fact adjacent states have different drug laws, they can end up in states that have stronger regulations. >> woodruff: do you think it's difficult for anyone in the country for someone with a mental health problem to get access to a gun? >> the problem with firearms in this country is they're very prevalent and highly lethal and constitutionally protected, so it is, unfortunately, too easy, still, for people inclined to
harm others or themselves to obtain a firearm. the criteria that we have are both too narrow and too broad at the same time. they identify lots of people who aren't dangerous and fail to identified some who are. we did a study last year showing approximately 9% of adults in this country have impulsive angry behavior, who smash and break things when they get angry and have access to a firearm and probably 1.5% have impulsive angry behavior that's pathological and carry a gun around with them. the vast majority of those individuals will never be involuntarily committed and thereby prohibited from a firearm and don't have a criminal record. so we need to think about having more accurate criteria for preventing the purchase of a gun and think about what to do about the existing guns that are out there. >> woodruff: professor clear, we heard president obama at the white house refer again to the fact that the difference between the united states and other
advanced countries around the world, i think high-income countries where people have access to a good education, is that there is such a wide access to guns in this country. is there that much difference between the u.s. and other countries on this? >> well, yeah, absolutely. the united states has a very strongly-established culture of gun availability, and the markets that deliver the guns are more widely spread, both the legal and the illegal markets, than in most other countries. it is true that in countries that have a lot of strife going on and war-torn countries, guns have a different pattern, but in western democracies, we stand out. >> woodruff: professor clear, we know polls show most americans, on the one hand they say there should be stricter background checks, but on the other hand they say they don't think the gun laws should be stricter in general. i mean, there is a contradiction out there.
how do you understand and read the public on this? >> well, i think there is a couple of things going on. i think there is a deep distrust that's broadly spread particularly across people who would be more likely to own guns, a deep distrust of government and particularly of government intervention and government control, and that distrust leads people to think that any regulation of guns is at the expense of personal freedoms, and the first step is really is first step, and there will be many, many steps if you let something happen. by the same token, large, large numbers of people really recognize that guns are a risk factor, and most americans would support what they would call sensible gun regulation, but what sensible means tends to fall apart when you start to look at the details. and it is really true that we have so many handguns in america and so many guns of other types that reasonable policies that would begin to restrict those
are very tough to imagine politically in a feasible way. >> woodruff: professor swanson, how, as somebody who looks at this all the time and looks at the issue of violence, how should we as a country begin to think about doing something about this intersection between access to guns and mental illness or mental disturbance? >> well, it's not a one-thing problem and not a one-thing solution. we certainly need to think about getting upstream and addressing the social determinants of violent behavior, having healthier communities with fewer kids exposed to trauma who grow up to be perpetrators, but we need to do something about limiting access to such an efficient killing technology at the time when people are at risk. there are times we know when people are at risk or elevated risk. for example, if they're brought into a hospital in a short-term voluntary hold and don't progress to an involuntary civil commitment, there are ways
people could be prohibited temporarily from firearms and also there are some innovative legal purchases in states like connecticut, indiana and california that allow family members of la law enforcement to take steps to remove firearms from people they might be concerned about who are at risk of harming others or themselves. the gun violence restraining order in california was passed after the elliott rogers shooting, and i think all of those things together may help us in the long run. >> woodruff: professor todd clear, professor jeffrey swanson, we thank you both. it's a conversation a lot of people are having tonight all over this country. thank you. >> thank you. >> woodruff: russia again launched airstrikes in syria today in a bid to bolster the regime of bashar al-assad.
but in washington, president obama said the u.s. will not cooperate with the russian campaign. and he insisted he will not turn the syrian conflict into a superpower proxy war. chief foreign affairs correspondent margaret warner reports. >> warner: day three of moscow's air campaign and the russian military said its planes hit 18 islamic state positions across western syria. but the u.s.-led coalition charged again that, in fact, the russians are not limiting their strikes to isil. this was president obama this afternoon: >> but what was very clear and regardless of what mr. putin said was that he doesn't distinguish between isil and a moderate sunni opposition that wants to see mr. assad go. from their perspective they're all terrorists and that's a recipe for disaster. >> warner: overnight, members of the u.s.-led coalition demanded the russians stop targeting other groups.
the newshour spoke today with two free syrian army fighters, backed by the u.s. they say they've been hit, even though the islamic state, or "daesh" in arabic, is long gone from their areas. captain walid is a communications engineer and an f.s.a. commander in talbiseh, north of homs, on a strategic road that runs from the capital damascus north to aleppo. >> ( translated ): there is no >> warner: sheikh abdulrazak is also with the f.s.a. in talbiseh. he sent this video of a reported russian attack, and says it's clearly aimed at punishing opponents of president bashar al-assad.
>> warner: and, captain walid warns, that day of reckoning may be fast approaching. >> warner: at the united nations today, syria's foreign minister seemed to confirm coordination between russian air power and the syrian army. >> ( translated ): air strikes are useless unless they are conducted in cooperation with the syrian arab army, the only force in syria that is combating terrorism.
>> warner: meanwhile, russian president vladimir putin was in paris, for a meeting ostensibly about ukraine, but he reportedly spent an hour discussing syria with french president francois hollande. russian officials suggested today their air campaign could run three to four months. for the pbs newshour, i'm margaret warner in washington. >> woodruff: refugees from across the middle east continue to flee civil wars and the threat of isis. germany-- among the european nations-- has been welcoming them. but in this report from munich-- currently in the midst of oktoberfest-- we learn that attitudes are changing. matt frei of independent television news has that. >> reporter: you could with be excused for thinking you'd landed on a strange planet, especially if you're a syrian
refugee and you walk into this, in the center of munich, and there are beer bottles thrown from the train station. the annual oktoberfest. it is the very celebration of excess. beer is served in something bigger than a flower vase and pork is king on the plates and on the walls. a few weeks ago the city authorities briefly flirted with the idea of canceling oktoberfest out of respect for the refugees who had been given standing ovations at the train station. that would have gone down very badly, and since then the mood here shifted against the visitors from another world. a retired math and physics teacher --
teacher -- the rest of the world is impressed with germany for its hospitality to outsiders. >> i'm not sure about that. there are 89 million of you. every year, 300,000 germans and 400,000 more. >> reporter: you think there is a danger muslims will take over in this country? >> yes, i'm very sure. >> reporter: what would you do about this refugee problem then? >> i don't know. i wouldn't vote for mackle again because of this. >> reporter: and still they come. despite the fact germany reimposed border controls with austria two weeks ago. this is pasa, germany's economic miracle in the form of newly
minted jeeps screeches by. the refugees line the platform waiting to be processed. the restriction a-- there is friction amongst the newcomers, the police step in before a brawl can arise. this is an english teacher from aleep o his 6-year-old and only son died in a barrel bombing. he documented every step of his existence on his smartphone. >> we need a solution. killing is not a solution. >> reporter: so putin getting involved is not a solution? >> yeah yeah. in old time russia helps but now more bombs. >> reporter: it means more war. >> more war. >> reporter: more refugee. yeah. >> reporter: so what's your future going to be? >> i don't know. >> reporter: 17,000 refugees were welcomed in one week alone,
a third of the entire population and almost as the whole of britain were accommodated in four years. it is said attend of the train line, angela merkel is using refugees to turn germany into a superpower but she's worried about backlash. here opinions are divide, in this case in one family. >> a lot of people standing at the railroad station with the signs saying welcome to germany, et cetera. i also don't see any people saying please go away again. >> reporter: what do you think? >> yes, far too many. we have no idea how to cope with these numbers. >> reporter: angela merkel's moral exceptionalism regarding refugees stems in part from germany's exceptionally dark
past, and nowhere is this more poignant than here. this was the main camp, one of the first and most infamous camps built by the nazis, they killed more than 40,000 prisoners here. and here's the bitter irony, such is the lack of accommodation and space for the refugees flooding into germany now that quite a few of them have been put up by the authorities in another part of the camp just across the road. the s.s. called this piece of hell the herb garden and used the camp's prisoners as slave labor to help develop a nazi brand of homopathic medicine. these are the original greenhouses. it's a go desk notion lost on javed and chaffe, both refugees from afghanistan who call this place home. inside all traces of the past have long been erased.
so how do they feel about the history of this place? >> he doesn't really care that this was a concentration camp which he use now staying in because it's better than sleeping on the street and there are no rooms or flats available in germany because there are simply too many refugees like him, so he's happy to have this place and doesn't mind too much that it's in a rather creepy location. >> reporter: both are relieved germany has offered them refuge but they're also sick with longing for the country they lost. >> woodruff: stay with us. coming up on the newshour. cooking with acclaimed food writer ruth riechl and trying to end the school dropout crisis. president obama expresses
frustration and anger in the wake of yesterday's mass shooting in oregon. but is there anything he can do? will there be a battle among house republicans to replace speaker boehner? and what does russia's involvement in syria mean for the u.s.? we turn to the analysis of "new york times" columnist david brooks and "washington post" columnist e.j. dionne. mark shields is away tonight. welcome, gentlemen. >> thank you. >> woodruff: so here we are yet again, another mass shooting. they seem to be happening every few weeks. david, the president said yesterday at his news conference that he thinks the country's grown numb, that these are happening so often. is he right? >> i don't think so. the reaction of people i have spoken to is one of impatience and growing frustration. i don't think we've grown numb to them. i don't think we've take an practical and pric pragmatic aph to trying to prevent them. obviously as we said earlier, they're hard to prevent. i'm for gun control laws as i've
said so many times. we've gone through a ritual on this program, and i don't think they'll do much good. they might do a little good because there are 250 million guns in this country, it's very hard to control, but they might erect a barrier. there is obviously probablematics with getting a list of people who have had mental health issues to run against a registry, that's obviously a problematic thing to do. i've emphasized the make believe function that the profile of these guys is very similar and it is in this case and we have a young guy with loneliness issues and if we looked around for young men like that in our society, maybe we could do something there. i would invite people to think pragmatically about the many steps we can do to make a dent, but it's going to be hard to make a dent in this. >> woodruff: it is hard, e.j.,
and, yet, as the president said, something has to happen, something has to happen. what is the something? >> i loved seeing his anger about this because i think he reflected the anger of a lot of people. i actually liked it when he said this is something we should politicize because the barrier -- deiologizing it isn't going to work. as ben carson said, gun control only works for the normal law abiding citizens. all laws only work for normal law abiding citizens. same with marco rubio, gun crime is committed by criminals. yeah, that's an argument against all law, though. we have to try some things. there are no free and democratic and wealthy countries in the world that have our rate of gun violence.
you know, david is quite right that we have to worry about loners and alienated people, we have to do better on mental health, but we're not the only country in the world with loners and alienated people, and i think we have to be able to take steps on guns and i don't know what's going to shake us to get there, but the president is saying we can't just sit here anymore. i think there is an anger that's growing out there that may at some point get conservatives in particular who ought to be in a different position than they are on this issue. >> woodruff: as with we heard from the two guests we talked to a few minutes ago, it is hard and, yet, maybe there is a way to identify some of these young men, most of them are young men, who are deeply troubled and try to prevent them from getting access to them. >> maybe, and i think if we have any political process, it's to come up with a comprehensive package of reform, so would
include some gun control things and mental health things and other things policymakers could come up with. on gun control, i'm not against them. most of the guns these guys get they get legally. >> woodruff: oregon is the place this time. >> oregon has pretty tight gun control legislation. people in criminal gangs, they get the guns illegally, but there are so many guns, we're not going to deport 12 million immigrants or get rid of 250 million guns. >> australia had a massive gun buyback program, 700,000 guns, translated into about 40 million here, which is a start. we right now can't do a thing. i'm all for doing more on mental health. i don't think there is a problem with that. the ideological part is on guns.
>> one in three american households has a gun. this dates 300 years going back so this hits such a nerve and we have a legacy of a lot of guns in this country and that's because to have the nature of the settlement of the country. >> woodruff: if history repeats itself, we talk about it for a few days and move on. >> i agree with that. >> woodruff: we'll, let's talk about some big news that happened a week ago today and that was speaker john boehner announcing he's stepping down. david, it's been assumed the majority leader who's number two, kevin mccarthy, had a lock on this but then he did an interview this week and said flat out that the investigation by republicans into hillary clinton's benghazi incident was politically motivated, that you could measure the success of it by her dropping poll numbers. what does it say about him as a perspective speaker? >> well, there are a couple of things we know about him. first, he's a very social and
friendly guy. i still think he has a lock on it because he's so likable. these races tend to be very personal. second, he's not anybody's idea of a ideological fire brand. he's not particularly philosophical, he's social. he's a nice guy. a lot of people are wondering will he be ideological enough because that's not particularly in his nature. third, he's not used to being near the top job and he said something true and stupid, which was true, that the investigation into the democratic potential nominee is a political act and they're trying to bring her down, of course, but you're not supposed to say that. third, he is an embodiment of what's wrong with washington with that statement, which is the gap between campaigning and governing, which used to be something that was honorably upheld has now been erased, so governing is the same as campaigning, or more precisely campaigning is everything. so congressional investigations have become political tools. >> woodruff: so is there any
price for him to pay on this, e.j.? i mean, there was a story today in associated press reporting that jason -- should we move on? >> we should say champagne corks were popping at hillary clinton's campaign headquarters because they had been trying to get them to say outfront that this is a political investigation, now long than the watergate, which is astonishing the investigation into benghazi and he did the classic gaffe, telling the truth about something. chafitz is most upset because he knew political cost of. this i think he is probably the strongest candidate the widened of the caucus can come up with. you have to say that that caucus is still split in a way, but mccarthy pulls it out. in the last few days, there have
been doubts among republicans not only because of the hillary clinton matter but he's not the best spoken person -- >> woodruff: mccarthy? right, kevin mccarthy. he is a great social guy. i don't think anyone can hold this caucus together because as long as barack obama is president, the house republicans and most conservatives aren't interested in governing. >> woodruff: that's my main question about him is what's going to be different with kevin mccarthy? will it be easier for him to corral house republicans? he gave speaker boehner a b-minus for his performance as speaker. >> you've got to give your friend an a! (laughter) >> do you think he called him up to apologize and say i have to do that to get elected. >> i think the caucus will try to change the rules and they go to regular order. basically the changing of the rules lessens the power of the speaker and leadership, and that means more bills from the rank
and file can get votes on. they nominally want the committees to elect their chairmen, to devolve power down where the freedom caucus is. i think the changes would make the house complete lo ungovernable, like the senate where they could stop everything. >> they really want to democratize the house to make it easier for party caucus but you could pass bills if they were governor being democrats. >> woodruff: new fundraising numbers where the presidential campaigns came out. we don't have all numbers but we learned bernie sanders, e.j., raised almost as much money as hillary clinton did, but his money came mostly from small donors. how much of a threat does he pose? is this what you would expect?
>> i think to win in iowa and new hampshire, he has ant proven he can break into constituentsies. i don't think anybody knows how much joe biden knows. >> woodruff: a story he picked up some hillary clinton donors. >> i think it is wonderful to see candidates and i think ben carson picked up a small number of done,s, not by talking to a small number of very rich people but by reaching out to a very large number of citizens and i hope there is more of that in this campaign. three cheers for bernie if only on the money. >> woodruff: why doesn't that mean people should take him more seriously, david? >> i think the renegades on the right like the trumps, i think they will fade. but he's different. his support is not because he's a crazy man, it's because he's
ideologically closer to the heart of the party right now and i think the money is a reputation of that. i don't know, if he wins iowa and new hampshire, doesn't -- the whole psychology of the country will be very different around hillary clinton and historically unprecedented for her to lose those two and get the nomination. >> i think her husband did it. she's going to seem even more vulnerable than now. who knows. i'm beginning to take him a little more seriously. >> i've always taken bernie seriously, and i think the other piece of it is we see a lot of authenticity in politics, he is authentic authenticity. >> woodruff: he's still drawing big crowds. we don't have time the talk about the other republicans except you brought it up, carbs carnes raising a lot of money and, again, small donors.
so we're watching. david brooks, e.j. dionne, thank you very much. we've all heard about the solace eating comfort food can bring. now a well-known food writer gives her take on the healing powers of cooking. jeffrey brown recently helped ruth reichl prepare a meal in her new york city kitchen. >> brown: spicy tuscan kale, pork and tomatillo stew, and, yes, "cake that cures everything," just some of the recipes that ruth reichl says saved her life and are now collected in her new book-- part cookbook, part memoir-- "my kitchen year". that "year" came in 2009 when "gourmet", the nation's oldest food and wine magazine was suddenly shut down by its publisher, conde nast, and
reichl's ten year reign as editor abruptly ended. she'd been one of the country's most prominent food writers since the 1970's, as a critic at the "los angeles times" and "new york times," and in her best- selling memoirs. now suddenly jobless, what to do? she hunkered down, started whipping up recipes, and tweets about them, gaining a large new following. in her new york apartment recently, we talked about life changes and the simple pleasures of cooking. so i'm getting the tuscan kale? that's what you picked? >> that's what i picked. you sound like a vegetable guy to me. this is one of my favorite vegetables. i love tuscan kale. i think it's beautiful. and it's kind of emblematic of what i like about vegetables that are seasonal. this is very easy to work with. i mean, this is how, then you just pull it apart with your fingers.
>> brown: so this is an example, and you call this, the subtitle is recipes that saved my life. it's a dramatic title there. in what sense did it save your life to come back to the kitchen? >> this was a very dramatic time in my life. i was the editor of "gourmet" magazine. and this venerable institution, i get a call one day, meet with your staff. boss comes down and says, magazine's done. it's dead. pack up your stuff, you're all going home. i was devastated. i revered this magazine. i've revered it my whole life. i never saw it coming. >> brown: you had a lot of employees as well. >> i had a lot of employees. i had more than 60 people, all of whom lost their jobs. and here was a 69-year institution that closed on my watch. and i felt like the world's worst failure. >> brown: so you wrote about coming back to the kitchen as the place that you retreated to.
but a place that you had not been in for a while? because like most of us, you're a busy person? what is it? >> i had always cooked. i wrote a cookbook when i was 21, so i started as a cook. i had a restaurant when i was in my 20's. and then i went into the world of journalism and i was a and i would do the kind of cooking that everybody else did. at 7:00, your husband calls and says, "when are we going to eat dinner?" you put on your coat, you rush home, you don't even take your coat off, you start cooking dinner and you get dinner on the table. >> brown: which is in fact what most of us have to do. >> which is what most people have to do. now i had the leisure to go in and out of stores, talk to butchers, talk to farmers, pick up ingredients i didn't know what to do with exactly, take them home and play with them. cooking for me is a real meditation. that if you allow yourself to be in the process, instead of
worrying about the results, i'm going to get dinner on the table. but if you stand here and you come, smell the scent of onions and garlic when they're cooking in a little bit of olive oil is, it's a wonderful scent. the feel, just the feel of doing this, the sound. if you pay attention to these things, you go into it and it's very calming. >> brown: you know, i think, too, about the proliferation of cooking shows and the chefs, star chefs. but in some ways, does that teach us that things are harder? that you have to be one of those top chefs? >> i feel like we in the media have a lot to answer for because i think we've made people afraid of cooking. >> brown: afraid of cooking. that's what i was wondering. i mean people love those shows, but does it help them or does it in some way hurt them? >> i think, if you think you have to be a chef at home,
you're instantly worried about the performative aspect of cooking. when what you should be thinking about, i think, is the adventure of cooking. and you know, if you make a mistake, big deal. it's one meal. i love making breadcrumbs. i mean this is what you do with leftover bread, you just turn it into breadcrumbs. and so i decided i wanted a little crunch in there. >> brown: and you have, i know you have said that food tells a lot about a culture, right? >> oh, absolutely. not only about a culture but about people. >> brown: what does it tell us about us today? >> when i was growing up, people who came to america wanted to forget where they came from. they wanted to assimilate as quickly as possible. and so when i was going to ps41, everybody came to school with
peanut butter & jelly sandwiches. and it didn't matter what your background was. today, you look at what kids are bringing to school, and they are proudly displaying their heritage, and i think that says something very good. yes, we're americans, but that doesn't mean that we have to reject that place that we used to be. the other thing is, i mean there was a long time when people would go to the supermarket and not want to accept the fact that steak that was wrapped up in a piece of plastic had ever come from a living creature. and the not thinking about it meant that you also didn't have to think about the conditions in which they were raised. and today, we know what it means, the difference between factory animals and animals who are humanely raised. we are really starting to understand that eating is an ethical act. personally? >> brown: what about for you, personally? that book is "my kitchen year," but it's a few years later now. you're still in the kitchen. >> i'm still, you know, i love to cook. i feel like cooking grounds me in time and space. it grounds me in the seasons.
it's pure pleasure for me. >> brown: so now can we eat. >> we can eat as soon as this blini is done. >> brown: alright, ruth reichl, thanks so much. >> thank you. >> woodruff: this saturday, public tv stations across the country will air "american graduate day 2015," a national public media initiative to help communities address the school dropout crisis. tonight, a preview from cleveland about a school-to-work program that leads to work in local steel plant. amy hansen from wviz/pbs ideastream in cleveland reports. >> like many midwestern cities, cleveland was built on a foundation of manufacturing. today cleveland's largest steel
mill is operated by arcelormittal who continues to employ many throughout the area. >> arcelormittal in 2007 was faced with a huge problem. they were worried a number of skilled crafts people, electrical-mechanical, eligible to retire would leave in the next five years and we didn't have the backfill to be prepared for that attrition. >> well, i am 61 years old and, yes, retirement has come into mind and a lot of my co-workers are of the same age. we're all in the same category. >> we are projecting at arcelormittal to lose over 200 electricians and mechanics per year for the next five years, so when we lose 200 people, it's imperative that we find either within our current workforce people who want to become mechanics or electricians or we go outside the workforce. >> arcelormittal reached out to five community colleges and
plants to create a program to provide an in-class curriculum with an internship to create steelworker for the future. >> the idea is to grow students who have an interest in mechanical hands-on type work to enter u.s. manufacturing and basically fill our needs. >> i wanted to be an engineer, and when i started doing more research and taking engineering classes, i realized that the majority of engineers actually are doing designing, they don't actually get to work too much with their hands. and i'm the kind of person, i want to do the work with my hands. i want to be a part of what i'm doing. i don't want to just design it and hand it off to someone else. >> after hearing about the steelworker for the future program through a friend, 18-year-old keihen kitchen enrolled in community college in cleveland and is training to become an electrician.
>> in high school, many students are pushed towards a four-year degree to become engineers and doctors and lawyers and the whole need for u.s. manufacturers to have electricians and mechanics has kind of been lost. >> you go into high school and everyone is talking to you about well, you've got to go to college to be successful and you have to go to a four-year university, you will be nothing without a bachelor's degree, it really puts so much pressure on your shoulders to do well at everything you do. in high school, that was a really hard thing to deal with. >> connecting the lights together -- >> hard to deal with because keihen face add host of other obstacles outside the classroom. >> i had a mother very sick, diagnosed with cancer when i was 7 years old. i had a biological father who wasn't in my life, so my brother and i really had to take care of our mom. she was on disability so we were really on the low end of
poverty. it makes you scared, you know, what's going to happen in the future? what about when i'm done with high school? that's some questions a lot of people have. the steelworker for the future program opened up my eyes of going to school where you would have a job attend of the program. >> has a history of lasting five years. we change it right before that. >> okay. i have been down here for 41 years. 38 years as an electrician, done a lot, seen a lot. the flames were shooting open. >> wow... something different happens every single day. >> my first mentor was john pawloski. he explained to me step-by-step what and why he was doing which was an amazing experience to really get to take what i'm learning in school and apply it to a real career, this is how i'm going to be using what i'm learning in school. >> this way, i can share my experiences with the new
generation. you feel kind of proud. >> i did my first internship this summer, and every day i wish i could be coming back to work here. >> just hold it down, turn it on and let it go? >> back at cuyahoga community college, keihen is even closer to her wish. >> this will be my final semester before i get my associates' degree. i have been working in customer service, everything from retail to the restaurant business ever since high school. so it's exciting to be looking at a real career where i'm working one full-time job. i'm very excited to start at arcelormittal. >> woodruff: the seven-hour amgrad broadcast can be seen this saturday, october third on this and other pbs stations. on the newshour online right now: a look at what could be the single biggest trade dispute in history. the three biggest airlines in
the u.s. allege that rival airlines in the persian gulf are receiving unfair subsidies from their governments. learn more on the latest edition of our "shortwave podcast." all that and more is on our web site, pbs.org/newshour. before we go a news update. we are learning the gunman who killed nine people in a shooting rampage at an oregon community college yesterday was a student at the school and enrolled in the class where the shooting took place. be sure to tune into "washington week" later tonight on your pbs station and pbs "newshour" weekend tomorrow. and join us again on monday when the u.s. supreme court begins a new term. that's the "newshour" for tonight. i'm judy woodruff. have a great weekend. good night.
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