tv PBS News Hour PBS October 4, 2010 10:00pm-11:00pm PDT
captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions >> brown: good evening. i'm jeffrey brown. there were more warnings of terrorism threats for travelers in europe today, and word came that the u.s. struck again at militants who may be behind those threats. >> woodruff: and i'm judy woodruff. on the newshour tonight, a newsmaker interview with ambassador daniel benjamin, the state department's coordinator for counterterrorism. >> brown: then we look at this year's nobel prize winner for medicine, robert edwards, who developed in vitro fertilization. >> wdruff: special correspondent lee hochberg reports from seattle on the challenges for public schools in accommodating students who are
homeless. >> they just don't want to be left. they don't know whether they'll disappear the next day. all of them have that uncertainty, they don't have roots. they don't have any guarantees. >> brown: ray suarez talks to historian susan reverby about her discovery that u.s. scientists performed secret syphilis experiments in guatemala during the 1940s. >> woodruff: and we have a discussion on what lies ahead in the supreme court term that began today, with marcia coyle and lawyers paul clement and paul butler. >> brown: that's all ahead on tonight's newshour. major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by:
and with the ongoing support of these institutions and foundations. and... this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> brown: tourists in europe were in the spotlight today after the u.s. and several other countries issued travel alerts. the alerts grew out of reports last week, about a terror plot aimed at european cities. in the meantime, the u.s. launched another drone attack into pakistan, where some of the plotters reportedly trained. newshour correspondent kwame holman begins our coverage. >> reporter: japan and sweden today became the latest countries to urge caution by their nationals living in or visiting rurp. the u.s. and britain issued their alerts op sunday.
the state department advisory said in part, u.s. citizens should take every precaution to be aware of their surroundings and to adopt appropriate safety measures to protect themselves when traveling. the advisory did not suggest that americans cancel their travel plans. and at u.s. airports reactions varied among those departing for europe. >> most of my traveling started after 9/11 any way, so i've always had this kind of sense of being careful. but not so much that i'm worried and not having fun. >> you can't just get on a plane and go wherever you have to go. you got to worry about if you're going to make it home alive. >> reporter: the alerts were triggered by intelligence that terrorists may attack public places. tourist attractions, or transportation centers,, in britain, france and germany. but no specific target has been identified. and today the german interior minister said his government sees no immediate threat. >> there are currently no
concrete indications of imminent attacks in germany. there is, however, a high abstract danger. >> reporter: in france, armed troops patrolled train stations and other key public places today. there have been two bomb scares at the eiffel tower in the past two weeks, but france has not raised its terror threat level. the possible plot was said to be modeled after the attacks in mumbai, india two years ago, a commando style raid aimed at hotels catering to western travelers. in washington, attorney general eric holder said there is no indication that terrorists are targeting the u.s. or americans in particular. >> the threats being precipitated, the alert is all directed at europe. that does not mean that we're letting our guard down with regard to the united states. we have seen over the past year attempts by al qaeda or its affiliates to at
at torkum, a vital supply line to u.s. and nato forces in afghanistan. hundreds of trucks have been caught in the snarled traffic near the closed crossing. >> we feel afraid as a few days ago a blast occured in this area and a lot of vehicles were destroyed. we rented this vehicle, if it gets burned we'll be ruined. >> reporter: that attack on nato truck last week was only the beginning, as the taliban targets the idle convoy. before dawn today, 20 trucks including several fuel tankers were engulfed in flames after insurgents opened fire on them, not far from islam bbad, four people were killed. >> there were nine to twelve people who have come here and carried out this activity. >> reporter: hours later two more nato trucks were burned,
this time in southwest pakistan. hoping to end the crisis, nato secretary general formally apologized to pakistan's foreign minister in belgium today. he called the killings of the pakistani border guards unintentional and appealed for the border crossing to be reopened. pakistani officials have promised that will happen soon, but they have not named a date. >> brown: and for more on the u.s. government's advisory to americans abroad, we're joined by ambassador daniel benjamin, the state department's coordinator for counterterrorism. welcome to you. could you help us under the level of certainty in these threats? for one thing, are there specific individuals that intelligence services are now seeking in europe or elsewhere? >> you know, i can't comment on what's in the intelligence specifically. but i can tell you that we looked at this information, this has been cumulative, it's been been building up over a period of weeks and months, and decided
that this was the appropriate moment to issue this public alert. and we are coordinating, cooperating very closely with our allies in europe. and we're taking this all very very seriously. >> can you tell us whether i appears to be a kind of home grown terror, that is european nationals who go to pakistan or elsewhere for training? >> again, i can't get into the specific intelligence. it quite clear that al qaeda and its allies have a variety of different options that they can resort to. they've been targeting europe and the united states for quite some time. and as i said, we thought this was the appropriate time to issue this alert. >> brown: what about today's drone missile attack in pakistan? and then recent ones in the last month, is there a direct tie that you can tell us about? >> i'm afraid that as you know the u.s. government never discusses these intelligence activities, drone strikes. so i'm going to have to pass on
that. >> brown: all right. so, we heard attorney general holder say that the, there are no particular indications that americans are being targeted right now. you made a decision here not to raise it to the highest level of warning. why not, and what exactly are you there for asking americans to do in taking precautions? >> well, we are not asking americans to cancel travel. we are advising americans that it is a heightened threat level, and that they should take appropriate precautions and consider doing things like not spending excessive amounts of time in large public transportation buildings, stations and the like, not hanging out at public demonstrations. moving purposely wherever they're going. taking very basic sort of precautions. again, no one is canceling trel. i'm going to europe later this week. secretary clinton will also be traveling to europe, ven jones
the national security advisor is in europe as we speak. and this travel alert is set to run for at least 90 days, and the president plans to travel to europe during this period too. this is really about giving americans the information that we as a government owe them so they can take the appropriate precautions. >> brown: but i'm sure this is a tough balancing act. is there a concern that if the alert is as broad and nonspecific as you're necessarily making it, how helpful is it? i read today a quote from bruce hoffman, a terrorism expert at georgetown university, he says i'm not sure what it says beyond the fact that the world is a dangerous place, and we already know that. >> well, it is a balancing act that we are undertaking, of course. if we had more specificity we would include more specificity in the alert. we do know that there is
significant plting going on, and the information had built up and had reached a level where we felt that our legal obligation, and remember we are required to do this by law, that our legal obligation indicated that we needed to tell the american people and tell people who are traveling to europe and people who live there that they, that it's americans living there, that they should know this and they should take appropriate cautions. >> brown: and were there serious discussions there about exactly what level to raise it to and what exactly you're able -- you're clearly careful here with us, for understandable reasons, so explain more about the thinking of this balancing act of warning people but not scaring people. >> as i said, we have a legal obligation. and no one has an interest in panic, nor is panic indicated here. it's not appropriate. we felt that we had this information, it's been building up, and we needed to pass it on. there was no thought really
towards jumping to the higher level of warning, which would actually suggest that people cancel travel. really there was no thought of that. but we did think that it was appropriate to pass on that there was a heightened threat level. of course as you noted, a number of other countries have done the same. i think that that indicates that they share our concerns. >> brown: but my understanding is that neither germany nor france have raised their levels in the last days or weeks, and we heard the german interior minister a while ago saying that he refered to this as a high abstract danger. are you confident that government, on the same page here? is there any danger of confusion to the public in the different messages? >> no, i think we're very much on the same page. there really has been very close coordination with others. i would add that although the french have not technically raised their level, their interior minister and the head of domestic intelligence there
have spoken about the light flashing red lately, which is far more alarmist than anything we've said, and that the threat level is at a peak there. so different countries obviously have their different traditions for handling these things. but i don't think there's any question but that everyone is taking the current situation very seriously. >> brown: finally, you referred to i think the 90-day legal period for this. how do you know otherwise when to rescind it, when might that happen? could you resin it earlier than that? >> you know, frankly that's a good question. i think we do this as a matter of course. the question really will be whether or not it gets renewed. the typical course of these things is that they will expire after a certain amount of time. the real question is whether we continue to receive information that suggests that it needs to be maintained. and that of course is something that we'll be watching very closely. >> brown: all right, daniel benjamin at the state department thank you very much. >> my pleasure. >> woodruff: still to come, a no. >> woodruff: still to come on the newshour, a nobel prize for
the pioneer of in-vitro fertilization; the challenge of educating homeless children; the u.s. government's syphilis experiments in guatemala; and the start of the supreme court term. but first, the other news of the day. here's hari sreenivasan in our newsroom. >> sreenivasan: the nato casualty count is climbing again in afghanistan. three troops were killed today in bombings in the south. a fourth died when iurgents attacked in the east. there was no immediate word on their nationalities. at least 11 nato troops have been killed already in october. there were 59 for all of september. new reports on the u.s. economy today showed continuing signs of stress. factory orders fell more than expected in august, and contracts for new homes remained far below the pace of last year. in response, wall street pulled back after its big september rally. the dow jones industrial average lost 78 points to close at 10,751. the nasdaq fell 26 points to close at 2344. the california supreme court has upheld governor arnold schwarzenegger's power to furlough state workers. the unanimous decision today rejected a challenge by state
employee unions. schwarzenegger imposed the furloughs to ease the state's budget crisis. more than 200,000 workers stay home without pay for three days a month, saving $80 million. this was the first day of competition at the commonwealth games in new delhi, india. crowds were small, after weeks of problems with completing and cleaning the facilities. a nigerian woman won the event's initial gold medal in weightlifting. and in swimming, australian women won two golds in the early going. in the meantime, organizers continued spraying insecticide to control mosquitoes at competition venues and the athletes' village. the insects can carry dengue fever, a potentially deadly ailment. the presidential race in brazil is headed to a runoff. in sunday's election, the ruling party candidate fell just short of winning an outright majority of the vote. she'll face jose serra, a former sao paulo governor, in the runoff on october 31. both candidates have promised to continue policies that helped make brazil an economic power. early results from sunday's
eltions in bosnia point to continued stalemate. voters split largely down ethnic lines in choosing parliament and a three-person presidency. the leading croat and muslim presidential candidates advocated a unified bosnia. the bosnian serb candidate wants to secede and create a separate nation. bosnia's divisions have held back economic reforms and hindered its chances at joining the european union. those are some of the day's major stories. now, back to judy. >> woodruff: the nobel prize in medicine was awarded today, the first of this year's nobels. it was given to a pioneer in the field of assisted reproduction whose work changed medicine and captured the world's attention more than three decades ago. on july 25, 1978, the birth of louise brown in england gave hope to infer tile couples around the world. known as the worlds first test tube baby, the infant was the first child born through the then revolutionary procedure
known as in vitro fertilization, or ivf. it was developed by scientist robert edwards and gynecologist patrick steptoe, who died 10 years later. during ivf, eggs are removed from a woman, fertilized with sperm in a petri dish, and then implanted in the womb. scientists kay elder worked with edwards at the ivf clinic he and steptoe established in cambridge in 1980. >> they had repeated failures, they had no funding, they had everyone in the world against them. and they continued with immense passion, enthusiasm, and through their work have managed to change the face of society, and also many different aspects of medicine. >> woodruff: today the nobel academy recognized the medical breakthrough.
>> have decided to award the nobel prize to, in 2010 to robert edwards for the development of in vitro fertilization. >> woodruff: in the last 32 years, approximately 4 million babies have been born using the technique, according to the nobel prize committee. ivf has not been hailed by all, however. the catholic church has long voiced its opposition to the process, and the use of donor eggs. today louise brown is 32. alive and well. seen here celebrating a recent birthday with robert edwards. she conceived her own child naturally in 2007. the 85-year-old edwards is a professor emeritus at the university of cambridge, he was too ill to comment this morning. for more on edwards, his work for more on edwards, his work and its impact, we're joined by
dr. robert stillman, medical director of the shady grove fertility center, which is based the washington, d.c., area. thanks for being with us. >> it's a pleasure, especially on this auspicious occasion. >> woodruff: well, dr. edwards was working on this for two decade before there was success. what drove him, what was pushing him to do this? >> the idea that louise proun would have a birth and have a child of her own 32 years later drove him, and his partner dr. steptoe. >> woodruff: we heard the scientist who worked with him say that there was a lack of funding, there was opposition. what exactly were they dealing with back then? >> well, there was a huge limitation on the fears that there would be poor health in outcome. there was great religious limitations and concerns, those still exist today. so there was no funding from the british government, which they had asked for for many, many years. so that there were enormous hurdles.
and when i said that they were hoping for louise brown and the birth of her child, really what they were hoping for was to bring progress to the science, bring progress to and hope for millions of infertile couples, which has been born out. >> woodruff: you actually met him, worked with him, trained with him. >> well, i was privileged enough to meet him. i was actually training at emerson hospital in 1979 with then or now sir robert winston. and 1978 was the first birth. so the town, scientific town in particular was abuzz at the time and had the opportunity to meet him. i didn't have the privilege of working with him. but everyone certainly of my generation knows quite well and now hopefully many generations forth will know him. >> woodruff: explain for us exactly how this procedure works. >> the process involves ovulation, in the normal process. fertilization of an egg in the fallopian tube of the woman, and then the embryo is transferred itself into the uterus.
this is a by-pass, this is a detour, cheating really, around blocked tubes, which was the original diagnosis of louise brown's mom. so what we do is stimulate the ovary, take out numerous eggs, fertilize them in the petri dish it's not really a test tube. and then trafr an embryo, sometimes more, into the uterus. so again it's a detour around the street that might be blocked. now there are many more indications for it than just blocked tubes. >> woodruff: what about the success rate today compared to 1978 when they were first able to do it? >> louise brown was born after about 250 attempts. and years and years of work, as you mentioned in the laboratory before trying this on humans. today patients at her age with her diagnosis, 65, 70% success rate, in one cycle. so there's been enormous progress.
again standing on the shoulders of those before you is a privilege, and in some ways easy to do, when you look at what they went through. >> woodruff: the success rate varys, of course, according to the appropriateness of the patient, right? >> yes. there's a spectrum, age can play an adverse effect in the success rate. different types of diagnosis. but overall the success rates have gone upper norm usly and we're doing much of the work now with just one embryo, rather than years ago even just a few years ago multiple embryos, and there was multiple pregnancys. >> woodruff: and doctor this is still a complicated process to the couple who decides to go through this. >> oh, very much so. coming to a fertility clinic with this type of medical problem is a compromise for couples, it's not how they envision their lives would be beginning, their lives and families would be built. and utilizing in vitro fertilization is another level of compromise in many ways,
because it's complex and be can , can be expensive, since most of it is not funded by insurance companies. and getting into it is a i daunting process and that relies on our being able to provide success as well as support to couples. there was something that steptoe and edward couldn't do with any degree of security. they could give their passion, they could give their ethical beliefs in what they were doing to louise brown and 250 women who, moms who preceded her. at least we can offer great success, we just have to continue the passion and the ethics. >> woodruff: talk a little more about the opposition. there was opposition in the beginning, religious and other types of opposition. has that grown over the years, has it diminished at all? how would you contrast? >> other than for the couples who are faced with the difficult dilemma, especially catholics, for instance in our setting, the religious objections in many
ways have been marginalized. i don't mean to minimize them. but the success rates and the millions of births and a means by which to family build couldn't be any more obvious for couples having infertility. the difficulty is that in those who are religious and their religious beliefs are against in vitro fertilization, then they wind up infertile. they are in a very difficult dilemma. so i look at this as a terrible situation where individual couples are faced with this great dichotomy. i think the field has moved on, beyond the religious objections, because even in the united states and norfolk where dr. howard jones who is turning 100 years old in december, the pioneer of in vitro fertilization in this country, having worked with steptoe and edwards, those individuals couples are faced with a terrible dilemma. and i sympathize with them. but the feel has moved on, i
believe, regarding the objecti objection. >> woodruff: so how would you sum up what edwards did, the contribution? >> monumental for the 4 million children who were born. it was a great scientific achievement then. it's a great clinical and human try up -- triumph now. >> woodruff: dr. stillman, thank you for coming to talk about this. >> thank you. >> brown: next, children in school, but without a home. rising homelessness is presenting major challenges to educational systems across the nation. special correspondent lee hochberg reports from seattle. >> you've done the first one, you may continue. >> reporter: these happy faces at seattle's first play school, on mask trauma at home. >> one times two. >> reporter: ian has lived in four places in just over a year. school staff found him and his family living in a van.
>> i want to stay like in one place and be safe. makes it hard for me to study. and -- >> reporter: what are you thinking about instead? >> how is the next place going to be, what's the next place we're going to live. >> reporter: family is -- families with children today comprise one-third of the nation's homeless population, an estimated 1.3 million kids experience homelessness per year. one-quarter of them have witnessed violence, half suffer anxiety and depression. teacher miriam reed. >> they are very shy, they mumble. they just don't want to be noticed. they don't know whether they're going to disappear the next day. all of them have that uncertainty, they don't have roots, they don't have any guarantees. >> reporter: for ian, school is the most stable part of life. but education for homeless kids is often disrupted, fewer than 25% finish high school.
so the challenge is how to best educate this growing group, at this privately funded school for the homeless programs teach them to advocate for themselves, and improve their self confidence. when teachers saw ian take a back flip off a playground swing they started an acrobatics class. but most homeless students attend public school. and many educators say the real challenge is to make public schools provide those accommodations to the homeless. there is a federal law called the mckinney vento act that requires schools make those accommodations. but results have been mixed, as many schools simply don't do it. the law is supposed to work like this. schools appoint homeless liais liaisons like tammy williams to go to shelters and give students needed supplies. and locate homeless kids who need help getting in to school.
>> i'm not sure if she has been enrolled. did she say? >> they're all in school. >> reporter: nationally public schools identified more than 950,000 homeless students last year. but schools didn't serve an estimated 400,000 other homeless kids. 12-year-old deon came to seattle this summer to visit his aunt and grandmother. meanwhile his mother in houston became homeless. the relatives tried to enroll him in seattle schools, but the district rejected him. the grandmother emma wilson. >> everything we done we hit brick walls, we hit brick walls. we needed paperwork. >> reporter: mckenny vento guarantees youths like him immediate enrollment without residency or medical records, which homeless kids rarely have. but seattle demanded both, and two pieces of mail addressed to his homeless mother, two more addressed to his aunt. and school records from houston.
>> i said what you want us to do have him walk the street and get arrested. so what do you want us to do, well, we need paperwork. we can't get paperwork because we can't get in touch with the mother. the mother is homeless. >> reporter: we joined the family one morning, a day after they had spent three more hours trying to enroll deion. this youth advocate had spoken to seattle's homeless liaison. >> i explained the situation, explained how he's between houses, she said he is not homeless, he does not fall under this act. >> reporter: they tried one more time. >> so we are here to get enrolled. this is deion. >> how are you, hi. >> and he is in a situation where he's between houses. >> welcome to seattle. the seattle public schools. i'm going to get you started here. >> reporter: this time district personnel enrolled deion, no questions asked. >> but because he's an
unaccompanied homeless minor, we don't need all that paperwork. >> that's right. >> great. >> that's absolutely right. looks like everything is in order here. >> reporter: van stone wondered after three months of trying what had changed. >> so previously you were rejected? >> yes. >> and then today? >> magic, it was magic. >> i'm happy that i can go to school. i can't wa. >> reporter: the district's homeless liaison, ruth mcfadden, came down to give him free school supplies. >> wow! >> reporter: but was at a loss to explain to us why he had been turned away earlier. >> maybe they didn't mention that they were homeless when they first came in? >> reporter: the family strongly denied that. and school critics like seattle attorney casey trupan say even if that were true the school should have recognized the child was homeless. >> they had to identify students who are homeless, and then provide services to help them.
>> reporter: and his law firm advocates for the homeless, he says mckinney veblto requires schools to respond to any hints that a family is homeless, as many are ashamed to admit it. he notes seattle identified 6% fewer homeless students last year than the year before at a time homelessness statewide increased 12%. he fears it's an intentional efforts not to identify students who had crossed the -- cost the district money. two years ago in new york state, 37% of school districts failed to identify even one student as homeless. >> there's no other way to see that than that schools are not identifying homeless students within their midst, because identifying a homeless student may come, may bring about a cost to the school district. >> reporter: costs like transporting homeless students. to minimize school changes that can set students back six months or more, mckinney vento allows
homeless kids like samantha to stay in her same school if she moves to a null shelt terks school is required to provide transportation. williams has a turbulent family life and has moved between four temporary homes around tacoma in two years. the 15-year-old was moving again when we met her in september. so you're heading -- >> wherever. stay... pretty much whatever from there. >> reporter: amidst ongoing trauma at home, school has been her beacon. >> without school, i don't know where i'd be. math equations, two plus two is four, can never get that wrong. i mean, it fell ters your blood, there's no wrong in that. but when it comes to home life it's very confusing. i don't know if kid do this. >> reporter: but last winter when she moved 10 mile as way to escape a threatening home
situation, her school offered her only city bus passes for transportation. a daily round trip trek of five buses and three and a half hours on the road. all without a winter coat. >> i had to get up at 4:30 or so it really discouraged me from going to school and stuff. sometimes i would just stay home. >> reporter: after five weeks she got legal help and her school, a clover park school district near tacoma, changed the arrangement. the district denied our request for an interview, but in an e-mail noted it spent $9,000 by year's end on samantha's transportation. it says it isn't adequately funded to carry out the requirements of mckinney vento. congress will revis it mckenny vento funding this year. currently only 11% of schools win grants to implement the law.
those 11% end up identifying half of all of the homeless students identified in public schools. very little funding is available for transportation costs . ian graduated recently from a first place school, celebrating a period of stability . but the lease on his family's subsidized apartment was over. later that day they were packing up to move and faced homelessness and new school challenges again. >> woodruff: now, another story about medicine, this of a shocking experiment and a tainted legacy. ray suarez gets the details. >> suarez: the medical experiments were conducted in guatemala more than six decades ago, but did not come to public
light until this past weekend. between 1946 and 1948, researchers with the u.s. public health service deliberately infected nearly 700 guatemalans with syphilis-- most cases without their knowledge-- in an effort to determine whether penicillin could prevent the disease. the u.s. government apologized for its experiments on friday. wellesley college professor susan reverby uncovered the documents while she was researching a book about another shameful chapter, the tuskegee experimes. she joins us now for more on her findings. professor reverby, what were american doctors doing in central america in 1946, and what were they doing to their subjects? >> they were trying to figure out whether penicillin could be used to treat people before their syphilis infection took hold and had been already measured. so if you think about it, it's a little like the morning after pill which you take when you
think you've had unprotected sex and don't want to get pregnant. they were trying to figure out whether penicillin would work for syphilis. but they needed a pool of infection. so they went to guatemala because proogs was legal there -- prostitution was legal there and it was also legal to take a prostitute into prison for prisoners. >> suarez: so they were using prisoners as their stock of observed subjects? >> right. they started off doing prisoners and when not enough infection was created with the prostitutes they moved onto actually giving the men syphilis itself. and because they needed a larger pool of subjects, they moved onto an army barracks and then to the national insane asylum. >> suarez: without the permission of the guatemala government at the time? >> with the permission of a man who was the director of the
sexually transmitted diseases in the guatemala public health department. so how far up it went, but obviously americans can't just walk into a prison or even an army barracks even in 1946, so clearly the heads of all of those institutions had to give permission. >> suarez: as we mentioned earlier you were doing more scholarly work about the tuskegee program. how did that lead you to guatemala? >> i was in the archives at the universities of pittsburgh looking at the papers of thomas parent who had been the surgeon general when the tuskegee study was first going on, and i found while i was there the papers of john cutler who had worked in tuskegee in the 60s, and i opened the box expecting to find moren tuskegee andhere was nothing on tuskegee in the box, but in fact all there was in the box was this material on the guatemala study. and it said very clearly, inoctober us, syphilis. and i was -- inoculation syphilis, and i was completely floored. i had no way of know ofing what
would be there because it had never been published. >> suarez: so dr. cutler was the link between these two programs, but there's a difference with tuskegee, isn't there? >> that's right, and that's part of what interested me. i spent two decades writing about tuskegee, i've wtten two books on it, and the differences are very clear. in tuskegee the men already had latent syphilis, even though there's a myth that they were infect bid the government, they were not. in guatemala they absolutely infected all these people. in tuskegee the idea was to denight treatment as much as possible to the men. in the guatemala study almost all of these people were treated what we're now looking at is the medical records to determine whether everybody got enough, and looks like maybe about a third of the people there did not get cured once they had been infected by the united states government. >> suarez: in the 19 40s, were the rules governing experimentation in humans very different from what they are today? did the people involved from the united states think they were doing something wrong?
>> well, first of all, there were really no rules. there were expectations and sort of a sense of what was right. but there were no regulations the way we have them now and have had them since the mid 1970s. and second of all, this study was enough on the edge that what i found in the correspondence, which was frankly one of the more shocking things, was the language back and forth where it back really clear that they knew that this was improper, and cutler's bosses were not sure, and there's an amazing quote from paren, the surnl ungeneral who says look, we couldn't do this in the united states. >> suarez: so beyond the difference between the two countries, was there also anything latent about the way they thought about guatemalans compared to what they thought about americans in a similar setting? >> they understood that there was a racial difference in the disease, they thought that african-americans and white people had a different kd of syphilis, and they thought that was a similar problem in guatemala. but i think they went there
because of the connection with, because they could get easily to access of these prisoners. and a lot of american research in this time period was also being done in prison populations. >> suarez: well, since the story broke, since you broke it, it's been called shocking, improper, many other similar names. but did it turn up anything worth knowing ultimately? >> no. what's interesting is that cutler never published anything. they really couldn't create enough infection to really get any interesting results. and by 1948 it became clear that penicillin could cure syphilis really easily, so there was less interest from washington to really continue this kind of research. so they had them pack up and come home. i think the thing that's interesting here both with this and with tuskegee is in the end it teach us us more about the doing of medical research than it does about medical science per se. swarnz turns out it much harder
to give people syphilis than you might have thought it,, isn't it? >> i knew it was and that's why it's a sex actually transmitted disease, so all those warnings about dirty toilet seats are myth. it is a disease that has to be in moisture, it can't be created in a cell line, even now. it has to be transmitted through sexual contact, through an infectious mother to her child, only at birth, or through breast milk. >> suarez: but even sending prostitutes into the prisons of guatemala wasn't a reliable method of transition, was it? >> no, it wasn't. that's why i call my paper normal exposure, because they kept saying it's not working with normal exposure, so that's when they moved to this system of trying to abraid these men and women's hands and then on their cheeks and with the men actually on their genitalia and to pour the inuoculant on them, and it required them to pull back the front of the man's
penis to hold a cotton with it in place for an hour to two and a half hours. so not everybody let them do this, prisoners ran away, it wasn't so easy easy to do and the study just didn't work. >> suarez: professor reverby, thauz. >> thanks for asking me. >> brown: finally tonight, it's the first monday in october, and that means it's the first day of the u.s. supreme court's term. there are several high-profile cases on the docket, including one that will be argued later this week involving protests during military funerals. but much of the immediate attention is on a new justice, former solicitor general elena kagan, and the fact that women now make up a third of the court for the first time in history. we look at the new court now with paul butler, professor of law at george washington university, and a former federal prosecutor for the department of justice during the george h.w. bush and clinton administrations. paul clement, solicitor general in the george w. bush administration, and now an attorney in private practice in washington.
and as always, marcia coyle of the "national law journal." welcome to all of you. >> thank you. >> suarez: marcia, this term is already historic even if nothing else happens, right? >> absolutely. >> suarez: you were at the court today. what happened? >> it was an unusual and usual day. unusual that the chief justice formally closed the old term, and opened the new term. and unusual because justice elena kagan stepped through the vel set kur stains and became the third woman to be -- the velvet curtains and became the third woman to be sitting on the court. the courtroom was full. there were a number of spectators from the public. as well as a number of lawyers who traditionally come to these -- to be sworn into the supreme court bar. >> suarez: did she participate? >> she did. she was first out of the gaest with a question, as i think justice stowe mayor was on her day. she was asked some questions, and then she left because the
second case to be argued involved the united states as a party and she had been solicitor general at the time participating in that case. >> suarez: paul clement, a new justice always raises questions about how the court will be shaped. what do you look for to know the answer to that? >> well, the old adage is every time you change one member of the supreme court you get a whole new court. and i think adding justice kagan to the court, people have focused on the fact you now have a third of the members are women it's also the first time in since justice white was on the court that you have a democratic appointee who held high level administrative, executive branch positions. i think there's a number of different ways in which her presence on the court will change the dynamic of the court and make the dynamic among the justices different from any time previously. >> suarez: one of the questions people are wondering is who steps in for that seat that, that position that justice of stevens had as the champion of
liberal causes on the court. >> i'm not sure kagan is the person to do that. she's more of a moderate. stevens was an old school liberal and she's a new school practicing ma test, like the president who appointed her. and it's important, to have someone who is a left wing equivalent of justice scalia, who is abrasive sometimes, or justice thomas who is committed to this right wring ideology. again both justices, sotomayor and kagan seem to have been selected by the president in part because they are brilliant but also because they have great people skills. so the hope i think is that they can kind of reign in some of the right wing extremism that we see from the chief and other reason republican appointees. >> brown: marcia, you talked about the historic nature of the three women. clearly symbolic resonance, rile? >> absolutely. >> brown: is there a question about a substantive impact of that? >> i think justice ginsberg has addressed this and so has
justice o'connor in the past. in general they would say that it doesn't make a substantive difference. but it can make a difference in certain cases. and we've actually seen that. we've, we saw it in the term in which the court took up whether it was reasonable to strip search a middle school girl. justice ginsberg brought a great perspective to that case having raised a daughter. also i think there have been some political scientists who studied this issue, and they say that fe pale judges often make a difference in sex discrimination cases. >> brown: you're nodding. >> sure. three is a magic number when it comes to a group the size of the supreme court. because for the first time there's a critical mass, so it's not just ginsburg speaking for women. we've got three individuals, but the court has accepted all these corporate case this is year where they are probably not going to be a feminist point of view.
but in issues like civil rights or sex discrimination or privacy it might make a difference. justice ginsburg takes about a case where she couldn't get the men in the court to see why it took so long for a woman who is claiming sex discrimination to bring her case. and ginsburg said i know, because i've been there. now two of her sister judges have also been there. so i think it's good in terms of the process for the court, but it might lead to some substantive differences and outcomes as well. >> we'll come back to this question of recusing herself, because she has the position that you yourself had as slow solicitor general. i think it in a number of cases, about half the cases. does that have an impact on the term? >> it definitely does. because in the supreme court just is the recusing herself is not just a simple matter of subbing in another judge the way it is in the lower courts n. the way the supreme court works, a decision to recuse is really a vote to affirm, because if the supreme court divides 4-4 in a
case, it affirms the lower court judgment. where as normally you would take five votes to come out one way or another. so in that sense, the decision to recuse, could have a real impact. i would not be surprised to see the justices in those cases where justice kagan is recused working extra hard maybe to decide the case more narrowly, but to avoid a whole raft of 4-4 results. >> i think it can also have an impact on what cases the justices decide to review. if they know that justice kagan may not be able to participate, they may be more careful in what kind of cases they accept. >> i think it's kind of a legal issue and it's -- thurgood marshal was the last solicitor general to be on the court and he recused himself in a budge of cases in the first two terms, and now no one remembers that. that's not the important thing about his great legacy. so i think this is a big deal for now. but in 10 years kagan will be on
this court probably for decades, no one will remember that this was an issue. >> brown: so in terms of what kind of difference she will make, and the new court will be, talk about the term ahead. you can start, marcia. is there a particular theme that we see? >> i don't think there's a theme jeff. sometimes you get a theme like a big first amendment term, or there's an obvious potential blockbuster like the term in which we had the court interpreting the second amendment, and whether there was an individual right to have gu guns. but this term there are a number of potentially significant cases and cases that people can understand and probably find very interesting. i can think right off the bat of two first amendment cases, the one you mentioned earlier that's being argued wednesday involving the westborough baptist minister who has been picketing the funerals of members of the military who died in iraq or afghanistan.
there the family of one fallen marine sued this minister and the charge, the aels was intentional infliction of emotional distress. he won a jury award. but the lower court said this speech is protected under the first amendment. there are three cases involving a job bias in the workplace, that will look at the scope of the laws, protection of employees against retaliation by employers. so there are a of significant cases. we'll also hear a lot about preemption, which is -- >> brown: dairy ask, do you see a theme or do you want to explain preemption? >> i'll try to do both, which is that i agree with marcia that i'm not sure that a theme leaps out from this term's cases so far, and in some ways it's a quiet term. there's not a blockbuster. the court does have four different cases by my count addressing this issue of preemption, which is the circumstances in which federal
law displaces state law, often it's a state tort law, state cause action for a remedy for an injury, but sometimes as in the arizona employment case it's a state law that tries to provide a remedy for say in the arizona cases for hiring an illegal immigrant as an employee. the four different cases the court has, variety of different circumstances, this is one area where i think justice kagan's recuse al will be felt. but in these issues, whether the federal government thinks state law should give way is a very important ingredient, and the federal government therefore participated in three of these four cases. >> brown: you had mentioned before that there's a number of corporate cases, right? >> sure. last term this extraordinarily right wring case said that corporations have first amendment rights and they can spend all the money they want to influence the outcome of elections. so what i'm looking for is to see the difference that justices
kagan and sotomayor make. because this is a right wring activist court that hasn't shown a lot of respect for press den or minimalism. so if we see the court now showing aly bit more respect for the precedent and not making such sweeping rules, that will mean that justices kagan and sotomayor are making a difference. >> brown: all right. paul butler, paul clem scompenl marcia coyle, as all, thank you very much. >> woodruff: again, the major developments of the day. there were more warnings of terror threats for travelers in europe, and a u.s. drone plane reportedly killed five germans at a terror training site in pakistan. four nato soldiers were killed in afghanistan. and the nobel prize for medicine went to british researcher robert edwards, for his work developing in vitro fertilization. and to hari sreenivasan in our newsroom for what's on the newshour online. hari? >> sreenivasan: on the rundown,
we get more from marcia coyle on the cases and justices to watch during this new supreme court session. and economics correspondent paul solman answers a viewers request for an explanation of how the u.s. could spend its way out of a recession. dae chinni defines the "shifting middle," a new demographic in our patchwork nation, who live in 104 of the most crucial congressional districts going into the november elections. and on newshour extra, our web site for students and teachers, a teen who grew up in the roma community reflects on the romas' recent deportation from france. all that and more is on our web site, newshour.pbs.org. >> brown: and that's the newshour for tonight. on tuesday, we'll talk to elizabeth warren , president obama's choice to oversee the creation of a new consumer financial protection agency. i'm jeffrey brown. >> woodruff: and i'm judy woodruff. we'll see you online and again here tomorrow evening. thank you, and good night. major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: