tv PBS News Hour PBS February 27, 2013 5:30pm-6:30pm PST
captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions >> brown: the supreme court heard a challenge today to the landmark voting rights act from alabama officials who said a key provision has outlived its usefulness. good evening, i'm jeffrey brown. >> ifill: and i'm gwen ifill on the "newshour" tonight. marcia coyle fills us in on the court arguments followed by a debate on whether the whole the law is still needed. >> brown: then, ray suarez reports on the political push to tighten gun control laws, including a ban on assault weapons. >> ifill: does it matter where we work? yahoo c.e.o. marissa mayer sparks an uproar by banning employees from working from home.
>> brown: from our "coping with climate change" series, hari sreenivasan takes to the slopes and asks: could rising temperatures endanger future ski seasons? >> you don't kn if u're going to have good snow. you don't know if it's going to come early or late, or if the spring is going to become warm, and the season is going to end prematurely. we just don't have that dependability anymore. >> ifill: we have an encore look at a profile of master pianist van cliburn, who died today at age 78. >> brown: and we close with a sampling from today's ceremony unveiling a statue of civil rights pioneer rosa parks in the u.s. capitol. >> she lived a life of activism but also a life of dignity and grace. and in a single moment with the simplest of gestures she helped change america and change the world. >> brown: that's all ahead on tonight's "newshour."
>> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> support also comes from >> 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: the nine justices of the u.s. supreme court pondered a central piece of civil rights legislation today. at issue: whether it's still needed, 48 years after it first became law. >> we are not there yet! >> brown: georgia congressman
and civil rights leader john lewis was one of many who rallied outside the court this morning for the voting rights act. they were there on a day the justices heard a challenge to a key section of the law: it requires states with a history of discrimination-- mainly in the deep south-- to get federal approval, or pre- clearance, before changing voting procedures or districs. lewis argued the provision-- known as "section five"-- must be preserved. >> there are still forces in this country that want to take us back to another period, but we're not going back. we've come too far. we've made too much progress to go back. the literacy test may be gone; but people are using other means, other tactics and techniques. so we still need section 5 and that's why we are here today standing up for the voting rights of all americans. ( applause ) >> brown: in 1965, lewis helped
lead 600 people across the edmund pettus bridge in selma, alabama, where police beat them with nightsticks and state troopers fired tear gas. the event became known as "bloody sunday" and proved a tipping point. president lyndon johnson and congress responded with the voting rights act. lawmakers have renewed the law ever since, most recently in 2006, with overwhelming support. but shelby unty, alabama says the law has outlived its time. frank ellis is the county attorney. >> we ask for some recognition that we and these other covered jurisdictions have made great strides over the last 48 years. i was 24 years old. i've been the county attorney since 1964. i was 24 years old when we came under section 5. i'm 73 last weekend and we're still under the same formula, none of which has applied to us in many, many, many years.
>> brown: president obama has recently void support for upholding the voting rights act. he's said that if part of the law is struck down, it will be harder to prevent acts of voting discrimination. the case provoked some tough questioning at the court today. and of course marcia coyle of the "national law journal" was there and is back with us tonight. so, marcia, tell us a little bit about the challenge from shelby county. why this particular county what's their argument? >> this case was teed up by an organization here in washington, d.c. known as the project for fair representation. the organization's goal is to eliminate racial and etic preferences. e head of the organization looks for clients to bring lawsuits targeting racial or ethnic preferences, it found shelby county, the organization also finds a lawyer, it found burt rhine, a well known, well respected lawyer here in washington, d.c. and it funds the litigation. shelby county agreed to do it, challenged section 5, they went
through the lower courts in may. a three-judge panel of the federal appellate court here in washington upheld the law 2-1. >> pelley: esseially saying that weon't need it anymore and we want to be -- we don't need this federal inquisition. >> you mean shelby county? s. in the court mr. rhine's main argument is that the formula used to determine which jurisdictions in the country should be subject to section 5's requirement that any voting change precleared by the department of justice or a federal district court in washington is outdated that it did serve its purpose when it's designed in 1964 t target that discrimination prevalent at the time. but when congress took up the act in 2006 it didn't do a state-by-state analysis as it should have he believes to determine whether certain states
should newly be covered or old covered states be taken out. >> brown: this sounds like very heated and dramatic questioning. >> it was very intense. >> intense is your word. it sounds as though that argument found favor from the conservative justices. tell us about what that, what you heard from them. >> they focused for their questions for the lawyer for the united states, solicitor general donald verrilli. justice scalia said when congress first enacted in the voting rights act in the senate there were double digit votes in opposition to it. with each reauthorization of the voting rights act the number of opposing votes decreased until in 2006 there were no opposing votes and the house had a similar record and he said this wasn't a attribute utility, he didn't think, for-to-the need for the votingights act but to what he called the phenomenon of racial entitlement. once a society gives a racial entitlement, he said, it can never get out of it.
>> brown: therefore that the courts needed to act, step in? >> he said it wouldn't end unless a court found that the entitlement no longer comported with the constitution. chief justice roberts pointed out to mr. verrilli that the state that had the worst disparity and registration in voting between african americans and whites was massachusetts and one the best with tha record is mississippi. he asked at one point "are the citizens in the south more racist than the citizens in the north?" mr. virilely's main argument is, well, congress built a record, it built a record of 15,000 pageses to show that there was current discrimination and it had a right to look at past discrimination. great deference is owed to congress in this area. >> brown: and on the other side, the more liberal justices i saw justice breyer, he referred to this as an old disease, something that's gotte better but is stihere and we still should keep the --
>> yes, he asked mr. ryan "why wouldn't we keep a remedy that was working in place as we would with an old disease we were trying to get rid of?" again, mr. ryan responded that the remedy worked for the disease that the act was targeted at in 1965, a new remedy is needed. >> brown: in a case like this, is one of the justices considered the key swing? often justice kennedy plays the role. >> in race cases it really is but i ve to say today h sounded skeptical of the government's arguments. you really can't predict how this sort of thing is going to turn out. in 2009 everybody thought section 5 in another case would be struck down but the court didn't. >> brown: is there as then a kind of narrow way out of this or do you get the sense that they've signaled that they want to resolve the big question here. >> well, since so much of the focus was on this coverage formula, how congress determines who has to be covered, it's possible the court could find
that the formula is outdated, strike that downand lve section 5, the preclearance obligation, in place. but many believe that without the coverage formula section 5 won't work. >> brown: all right, marcia, thanks as always. judy woodruff picks up the defrom there. >> woodruff: now, each side gets a chance to weigh in. hans von spakovsky is a senior legal fellow at the heritage foundation and filed a brief in this case alongside former justice department officials. and sherrilyn ifill is president and director-counsel of the naacp legal defense and educational fund. an attorney from her group argued before the court today. full disclosure: she is gwen's cousin. and welcome to you both. thank you. so, hans von spakovsky, to you first, what is the best argument for keeping the voting rights act -- for getting rid of section 5 of the voting rights act? >> section 5 was an emergency provision. it was supposed to be temporary,
only supposed to last five years and it was put in place because of widespread and persistent discrimination. the conditions that justified in the 1965 don't exist today and in fact, the supreme court said back in 1966 that it was an extraordinary intrusion into state sovereignty but it was justified by the unique circumstances. that kind of widespread systematic official discrimination does not exist. there are still incidents of discrimination, but those can be remedied by section 2 of the voting rights act. that's the nationwide permanent provision that bans racial discrimination in voting. >> woodruff: sherrilyn, his argument is widespread racial discrimination doesn't exist anymore therefore that provision section 5sn't needed. >> well, congress had to take up that question in 2006 and they did and over the course of nine months they determined that it does exist. the 15,000 pages of testimony that were described earlier, the 90 witnesses who testified, the 1,200 objections that the justice department had to make
to voting changes, the 650 objections over 400 of which were a determination that there was discriminatory purpose in voting changes throughout the jurisdictions that are covered by section 5, that was the evidence that was before congress in 2006 and based on that evidence, not opinion, they determined that we still do need section 5. >> woodruff: how does that square, hans von spakovsky, with you saying there is no widespread racial discrimination if there are that many examples of violations or alleged violations how does that square with what you're saying. >> let's talk about alabama for just a second. in the last 12 years there's been exactly one objection made in alabama. and over the last 20 years -- >> pelley: when you say "objection," objection to -- >> an objection to a voting change that was submitted to the justice department for preclearance. out of the 12,000 jurisdictions that are covered, that's all states, municipalities, counties, city governments, in the last ten years there have
only been 37 objections. in fact, today chief justice asked the solicitor general in 2005 the year before renewal how many submissions were made of voting changes? 3,700. how many objections were made? just one. the point of that is there is no longer systematic widespread discrimination and the record that congress established did not show that. >> woodruff: sherrilyn? >> that's too narrow a vision of what section 5 does. objections are when the community or jurisdiction proposes a plan, the justice department reviews it and determines that that plan is going to discriminate against minority voters. but there are other things that happen as well. sometimes the jurisdiction submits a plan, the justice department says "we think this plan is problematic, give us more information." and the jurisdiction at that point will decide to withdraw the plan. there are over 800 instances in the period that congress studied in which a jurisdiction did precisely that.
>> woodruff: so what about that point hans von spakovsky? >> over the lifetime of section 5 there have been something like over 120,000 submissions. the number of objections is extremely small even when taking into account that particular factor. and the point is -- >> woodruff: when a provision was -- when a jurisdiction took it back and changed it? is that what you're saying? >> yes. but the point of that is those instances can be remedied through section 2. that's when the government or private citizen goes to court and proves discrimination. section 5, like i said, it's an intrusion to state sovereignty because you can't make a change without getting the pre-approval of the government and that violates basic notions of sovereignty and you can only do it if you have extraordinary circumstances. those don't exist anymore. >> woodruff: shar sherrilyn, why isn't section 2 -- i know we're using a lot of terminology here, but the division that applies to the whole country. >> that enables you to sue after discrimination has happened.
but what do you do in a circumstance in which the poling place-- as happened in a native alkan village just in 2008-- that the jurisdiction decides to move the polling place out of that native alaskan village to a location that would require those villagers to take either a plane or a boat to vote? what do you do when that poling place change happens right before an election? is it enough to say "i can file a lawsuit"? what congress wanted under section 5 was to stop the discrimination before it happened and what they said in 1965 was not that they recognized that it was an intrusion but what they said is we need something that allows us to get at voting discrimination we can't even imagine yet. that will allow us to capture all of the ingenious methods that jurisdictions might use to discriminate against minority voters. >> woodruff: why isn't it better to move ahead of time rather than waiting until after a violation has happened. >> well, that issue came up in the court today and one of the justices said well, apparently the government hasn't heard of the fact that you can go immediately to court and get a
temporary restraining order to stop that kind of behavior. the point of this is that under section 5 when you do something that is just unique in american jurisprudence, the burden of proof is not on the government is to show discrimination has occurred. the burden of proof is on submitting jurisdictions to somehow prove a negative that they didn't discriminate. and you can only put that kind of burden on if you have the kind of circumstances that justify it. under the supreme court's own holding in 1966, that doesn't apply today. >> woodruff: how do you answer that? >> this is precisely what congress intended. what congress wanted was for the burden to be removed from the victims of discrimination and placed on the jurisdiction. and the supreme court has looked at this four times. the voting rights act and the constitutionality of section 5 has been challenged four times and each time they've upheld the authority of congress who has the power under the 15th amendment to protect the right to vote and to keep denials of the right to vote based on race and color from being enacted.
and what congress tried to do was to make sure that not the victims of discrimination could bring lawsuits, costly lawsuits, but that instead the jurisdiction would have to submit to the federal authority to determine whether or not that voting change was discriminatory. >> woodruff: what about his other point about the option of doing a temporary injunction. >> that still reqreshose native alaskan villagers to find a lawyer, go into court and find a lawsuit. that's what congress didn't want. it's actually ironic that people are saying it's better to have costly litigation that lasts years than to have an administrative process in which a jurisdiction can simply submit the documentation to the department of justice and get preclearance. >> woodruff: she's talking about what congress intended when it twhroe law. >> i know, but what congress said when it wrote this law that this was supposed to be a temporary provision that would only last five years. we've now renewed it for a fourth time. it will last until 2031 and an important issue we haven't discussed is the triggering formula. the jurisdictions that are covered today are covered based on registration of turnout data
in the 1964, 196 and 1972 elections. if you updated it they would no longer be covered. >> woodruff: what about this out of date point? >> we're talking about reauthorization. in 2006 congress looked at the jurisdictions to determine what is happening in those just tk +*eubss now. that's the 15,000 pages of testimony. and it's based on that determination of the ongoing nature of scrimination in those jurisdicons they authorized. moreover, the act has built into it a process from getting out from under section 5. it's called bailout and every jurisdiction that's sought bailout has been granted bailout. off clean voting record for ten years you can get out from under section 5, new hampshire has a pending bailout petition right now. many people think the state of virginia is close to be able to bail out. all the jurisdiction has to do is have clean hands which alabama-- and almost every justice in the court concreted today-- does not. >> woodruff: we'll leave it there. share lynn aoeu if i feel, hans von spakovsky, thanks very much.
>> ifill: you can listen online to a collection of viewer stories about the voting rights act as part of our special oral history project. and still to come on the "newshour": banning assault weapons; working from home; feeling the impact of warmer weather; the life of pianist van cliburn and honoring civil rights pioneer rosa parks. but first, with the other news of the day. here's hari sreenivasan. >> sreenivasan: housing is heating up and it's taking wall street with it. the national association of realtors reported today that january contracts for home sales hit the highest level in more than two years. the stock mark react with a sharp rally. the dow jones industrial average gained 175 points to close at 14,075. it's up nearly 300 points in two days. the nasdaq rose 32 points today to close at 3,162. the latest nuclear negotiations with iran ended today with talk of concessions by the west and an upbeat appraisal from tehran. margaret warner has our report. >> warner: the two days of talks, in almaty, kazakhstan,
ended with no breakthrough only an agreement for more talks in march and april. but the was something new: the u.s. and five negotiating partners reportedly offered to ease some economic sanctions. iran's principal negotiator, saeed jalili, called it a turning point. >> ( translated ): some of the issues in the latest proposal are more realistic compared to what they said in the past. and they tried to get closer to iran's viewpoint, which we believe is a positive step. although we still have a long way to reach the optimum point. >> warner: reports from almaty said in exchange, the six powers called for iran to sharp restrict its enriching uranium to near-weapons-grade level. the powers also reportedly dropped a demand to shutter the enrichment facility at fordow, proposing instead that work there be suspended. fordow is buried deep in a mountain, making it hard to destroy in a possible military strike. lead negotiator for the six
powers-- the u.s., britain, france, russia and china plus germany-- was catherine ashton of the european union. >> i hope that the iranian side are looking positivelyn t proposals that we've put forward. we work extremely hard in a very considered manner collectively on behalf of the united nations security council who mandate us to do so in order to try and get >> warner: far from almaty, secretary of state kerry said in paris that the talks had been useful, but he also reiterated the u.s. position. >> iran knows what it needs to do. the president has made clear his determination to implement his policy that iran will not have a clear weapon. >> warner: and in jerusalem, israeli prime minister benjamin netanyahu called again for the threat of military measures.
>> i believe that this requires the international community to ratchet up its sanctions and make clear that if this continues there will be also a credible military sanction. i think no other means will make iran obey the wishes of the international community. >> warner: iran insists its nuclear program is for peaceful energy production, not weapons. but just last week, the "international atomic energy agency" reported iran is installing advanced, uranium- enriching centrifuges at its natanz nuclear facility, a step the united states called provocative. >> sreenivasan: chuck hagel was sworn in today as the new secretary of defense, with federal budget cuts topping his agenda. the former republican senator from nebraska addressed pentagon employees who will have to manage some $46 billion in reductions starting friday. >> we need to figure this out. you are doing that. you have been doing that. we need to deal with this realy. we've got ahead of us a lot of challenges.
they are going to define much of who we are, not this institution only but our country. >> sreenivasan: hagel won senate confirmation yesterday, despite the opposition of most of his fellow republicans. he succeeds leon panetta, who had served in the top pentagon job since july of 2011. white house officials conceded today it's unlikely the government will avoid those looming, automatic budget cuts. a spokesman said president obama will meet friday with congressional leaders, but there was no indication that any deal is in the works. tomorrow, senate democrats will try to bring up a stop-gap bill to delay the cuts, but republicans could block the measure. at the vatican, pope benedict the sixteenth gave an emotional farewell in his last general audience-- a day before his retirement becomes official. we have a report from james mates of "independent television news." >> reporter: a final ride on the popemobile into the crowds on st. peter's square. a last baby to kiss.
there is no protocol on how to leave the office of pope because no living pope has done so for 600 years. but benedict xvi decided he was not going to go quietly. for ten days there have been rumors that he stood down not just because of ill health, but because of power struggles in the vatican. in his farewell address in front of 50,000 in the square and millions more on t.v., he confirmed all had not been well. "there were also moments that were not easy," he said. "ifeltike st. per anthe apostles and the boat on the sea of galilee. the lord gave as many days of light winds when the fish were abundant but also times when the waters were stormy and the winds were against us and the lord seemed to be sleeping." sitting just feet away were the the tens of thousands of pilgrims and the simply curious who heard today's speech cheered and waved their banners in appreciation, most cannot have expected such frank admissions.
but even so, didn't seem surprised. >> the difficulties of office? well, with the absolute mayhem in the catholic church in the last number of years, i suppose. what else could he mean? >> i ask each of you to pray for me and for the new pope. >> reporter: but as he took his leave of st. peter's and the world stage, he has spelled out very clearly the challenge facing his successor. >> sreenivasan: 115 cardinals will choose benedict's successor during a papal conclave. they'll begin meeting monday to set a date for the official gathering. those are some of the day's major stories. now, back to gwen. >> ifill: today on capitol hill a senate panel discussed the proposed renewal of the assault weapons ban, nearly a decade >> jesse was brutally murdered at sandy hook school on december
14. 20 minutes after i dropped him off. >> reporter: the emotions swirling around the gun issue were vividly on display at a senateearing, as neil heslin described the killing of his six-year-old son in newtown, connecticut. he was one of the 20 children slain that day. >> it's hard for me to be here today talking about my deceased son. i have to. i'm his voice. i'm not here for the sympathy, a pat on the back. i'm here to speak up for my son. >> reporter: to that end, heslin joined those speaking up for a bill to outlaw some assault- style weapons and high-capacity munition magazines. it was offered by california democratic senator dianne feinstein, who said today the need for a ban has never been greater. >> since 1982 there have been at
least 62 mass shootings across the united states. and they have been accelerating in recent years. 25 of these shootings have occurred since 2006. and seven took place in 2012. >> reporter: feinstein says her bill would outlaw 157 semi- automat rifles,s well as magazines that hold more than ten bullets. similar weapons-- already purchased legally-- would be grandfathered in. a similar ban passed in 1994 expired in 2004, and supporters and opponents have argued ever since over whether it worked. at today's hearing, republicans, including senator chuck grassley of iowa, said the focus should be elsewhere. >> violent video games have eouraged the killing of innocent people for sport. these ought to be of deep concern. mental health services are not always up to par. there are occasions when people
think congress should pass a new law. the idea is a particular fix, the idea is a particular fix hasn't been tried before and supporters might think that they have a solution to a problem. this is not the case with the assault weapons ban. >> reporter: republicans also complained again that current laws are not enforced, which sparked a testy exchange between south carolina senator lindsey graham and milwaukee police chief edward flynn. >> if it'such an important issue, why aren't we prosecuting people who fail a background check? and there are 15 questions there; they're not hard to understand if you're filling out the form. so i'm a bit frustrated that we say one thing-- how important it is-- but in the real world, we absolutely do nothing to enforce the laws on the books. now, let's talk... >> i-- you know, just for the record, from my point of view, senator, the purpose of the background check. >> how many cases have you made... how many cases have you made... >> you know what? it doesn't matter. it's a paper thing.
i want to stop 76... >> well, can i ask the questions? >> i want to finish the answer. >> well, no. i'm... >> i want to stop 76,000 people from buying guns illegally. that's what a background does. if you think we're going to do paperwork prosecutions, you're wrong! >> reporter: the feinstein proposal is not expected to pass congress, given the opposition of the national rifle association, many republicans and some democrats. but, the newtown tragedy has sparked a new, national debate, and there is emerging support for expanding background checks. vice president joe biden said today change is being seen at the polls. >> for the first time since newtown, voters sent a clear unequivable signal. >> reporter: in chicago yesterday, former state representative robin kelly won the democratic party's nomination to succeed former congressman jesse jackson junior. in washington today, the vice president pointed to her pledge to fight gun violence in a city rocked by a record number of deadly shootings. >> the voters sent a message last night, not just to the n.r.a. but politicians around the country by electing robin kelly who stood up and stood
strong for gun safety. totally consistent with our 2nd amendment rights. they sent a message. >> reporter: mr. biden also met with new york city mayor michael bloomberg, whose super-pac spent two million dollars in ads that attacked candidate kelly's opponents for their n.r.a. support. >> brown: online, we have extended coverage of the gun control debate, including new data that reveals some common ground on approaches to stemming gun violence. >> ifill: now, to a debate over where and how we work. this week, marissa mayer, c.e.o. of the tech gnt yoo! announced the company will stop its employees from working at home. the move made headlines around the country, sparking conversations about whether mobile technology helps or hurts productivity. for our own debate on who benefits from flexible work schedules, we turn to john sullivan, a professor of management at san francisco state university.
he advises employers on hiring and human resource practices. and micheline maynard, a regular writer for www.forbes.com. she is a long-time reporter on american industry and its workforce. and, as it happens, has worked from home for more than a decade. john sullivan, is this move about getting all hands on deck or is it about restricting flexibility as critics say? >> well, it's about innovation so remember yahoo! competes against apple and google and facebook and in order to be what we would call serial innovator like an apple copping out with a new product that wows people you need all hands on board and so we know from the dta she came fromoogle,he's a computer scientist, she's very data driven, it's not an emotional decision. it turns out, the more random interactions between people the more collaboration you get, the faster decisions are made and the more innovation you get. and innovation brings in much
more money, much more revenue, much more profit. so, for example, apple revenue per employee, the amount each employee produces every syria six and a half times that of yahoo!'s. so this is to save the company and to say "we have to be an innovation machine we used to be. the only way around that is to get everyone on board to rebuild the culture." >> mickey maynard, is this about inknow administration? is this about having all hands on deck? is it impossible to have all hands on deck if everybody's not there? >> well, gwen, there's a crisis at yahoo! melissa mayer is the fifth c.e.o. in five years. as professor sullivan said, apple is cleaning everybody's clock in silicon valley but it's a cultural issue. when i visited silicon valley when i was a hoover fellow at stanford last fall i saw all kinds of people with laptops a er e pacein lo alto and they weren't just zipping coffee and having conversations, they were innovating. they were doing their jobs.
so while we say work from home, i think of it as work remotely meaning you're not sitting in a cubicle staring at a screen you're out someplace where you can be creative and do your work. >> ifill: telecommuting is not new, mickey maynard. why are we having this argument now? >> well, that's very -- it's a very interesting argument right now because in the stories that i've done for forbes.com the reactioto them was really vehement in both directions. there were people who think of working at home as slackers sitting around in your bunny slippers and your pajamas and cooking casseroles at lunch instead of doing your work and then the folks who work from home say, hey, look, i'm online from 6:30 in the morning, maybe i feed the kids but then i go back online at night. so you're getting 16, 18 hours of work out of me. >> ifill: john sullivan, how do you measure the innate value of socialization in order to create productivy? how do you kn tat that works?
>> well, you do because it's data driven. so at google, for example, they measure the length of the cafe line to get their free food because they found that if the line's too long, people drop off the line. if the line's too short, sun of a gun if people don't get their food and they don't collaborate. so it's a very scientific approach and it's certainly not about productivity. so i would agree telecommuters are very productive. but it's not true they're innovative because they don't interact. if i sent you 50 e-mails a day yod be vepset but human interaction when you meet 50 people it isn't. so there's plenty data of this and certainly because she's from google, the c.f.o. responded to google's approach to working at home. they said well, how many telecommuters would you like and his answer was "as few as possible." so this is not a productivity issue, it's an innovation issue. if you'll be productive and efficient work at home it saves gas and the environment. but if you want innovation, the
answer is no. look at the best innovators in the world, apple and google, you come to work everyday, you come in early, you stay late and the interaction -- and incidentally, it's serendipitous. it's not scheduled meetings, it's walking down the hall and someone from h.r. talking to someone they don't know in engineering going "hey, what are you doing?" and when you say "i just got a nobel prize" it forces to people to say "i need innovate, too." >> ifill: let me ask mickey maynard this. part of the concern has been from women who believe that the flexibility allows especially working mothers to be able to work from home and be part of the work force. we had gloria steinem take a shot at that last night on this rogr. mikey,s tat what this is about as well or completely off the point? >> you know, i was reading a lot of comments about this and i'm trying to stay kind of in the middle about it for what miss mayer's motivations are but people are saying "this is a way to get us to quit. this is a layoff by telling us to come into the office."
first of all, i thought that this working from home battle was done. i thought h-fs something that ten or 12 years ago everybody got comfortable with. but it is a tough economy and there are a certain number of jobs out thereand emoyers can say "look, i want to see you, i want to know that you're at your desk." but folks also would say, look, i might be at my desk, i might be playing solitary and those meetings you want me to participate in, those are time-killers and i am much better off in an environment of my choosing. i will come into the office, will do you have a-sites, i will skype with you, i can see you on my computer screen, i can interact with you on a conference bridge. so just sitting in a room together, i've senate a lot of silent rooms where we were supposed to be innovating and nobody had any ideas and we broke up and went and got ideas and came back. >> ifill: john sullivan, does it disproportionately affect women in the workplace? >> no. the average telecommuter is actually a 40-year-old male. so what it affects is the
shareholders have children, the shareholders have grandparents. this is about money. this company is not going to survive unless it gets back to serial innovation mode so the answer is no, this is about data and mickey's wrong. most officials do it well. they do telecommuting. these are five firms that hav been v to be serial cmurs. you're come peale peteing against apple, it's machine. google the same way. yahoo! knows how to lay off people. they have done it five times in the last four years or whatever. it's not a way to avoid layoffs, it's a way to save the company and the stock is at $20, apple and google is at $800. the answer is, no, if that stock goes up to $800, everyone-- women included-- will be treated better, they'll have a secure job and be rich. that's what this is about. >> ifill: i have to ask you both a final question and i have to ask you to keep it brief. is this a trende're seei? is this -- yahoo! unique or are they an outlier? >> the reaction to yahoo! will
tell what happens with this issue. i happen to believe that yahoo! will have to modify this policy because they have upset the apple cart, no pun intended. >> ifill: john sullivan? >> every comment you see is not from a yahoo! employee. no they're not going to modify this and no it's not a trend. this is only for serial innovators. there's five, six firms in the world that need to innovate like this. no, it's not a trend. >> ifill: john sullivan of san francisco state university, mickey maynard of forbes.com, thank you both very much. off >> brown: yes, a large chunk of the country has been hammered by a fierce winter storm this week. but even so, scientists and businesses are concerned we've seen less accumulation and faster melts in places that crave deep powder-- the ski slopes. hari is back with our story. part of our series, "coping with climate change."
>> sreenivasan: it's peak ski season in aspen colorado. the mountain town draws tens of thousands of visitors from around the world every winter just for the snow. for championship skier chris davenport, skiing is more than just a pastime. >> skiing through powder snow, champagne power as we call it here in colorado, is almost an indescribable experience. you've got gravity pushing you down the hill, the snow is sort of coming up over your body silently, the air is cold, it's blue sky, and these crystals are sort of glistening in the air, it's almost an out of body experience. and that's the thing that makes skiers, gets skiers addicted to the sport. >> sreenivasan: but these days davenport is worried his sport is headed for a fall. >> you don't know if you're going to have good snow. you don't know if it's going to come early or late, or if the spring is going to become warm, and the season is going to end prematurely. we just don't have that dependability anymore.
>> sreenivasan: those variations are what mark williams, a snow hydrologist at the university of colorado has been studying. >> in terms of climate change, the parameter, that's most sensitive to climate change, is snow. in particular we're starting to lose snow on the shoulders; that is snow accumulation starts later and snow melts start earlier. and that's going to have all kinds of repercussions in terms of water availability, in terms of recreation, in terms of ecosystem services, the list goes on. >> sreenivasan: the 2011-2012 winter season was the fourth warmest on record for the u.s. according to n.o.a.a. at yr, colorado saw only half it's average snowpack, making it the worst ski season in 20 years. and williams thinks it could get worse. >> we knew that our work showed that snow melt is going to start earlier, we're going to start to lose some of that late season snow, but it didn't look like it
was going to really be a problem until we get 30 or 40 years in the future. however what we saw last year, march 2012, there essentially was no snow. first time ever, it was the lowest snowfall here in boulder on record. so there's reason to be concerned. >> sreenivasan: across the country, on a small community ski hill, the realities of warmer winters are felt more acutely. >> well, were here at campton ski area in campton, new hampshire, part of waterville estates. that's our 1969 statalied double chair lift, an oldie but a goodie, and then over to your left there is our rope tow. lots of people have learned to ski right on that little hill. >> sreenivasan: it is more a community resource more than a profit center, but due to low snow, it has been closed since 2011. >> we get emails from the members every day.
when's it open? the kids want to know. the families want to know. we just can't do it. it looks white but if you went over that with skis that you cared about, they'd be ruined. >> sreenivasan: the lack of steady and deep snow has measurable economic effects across the country. visits to ski resorts were down 15 nationwide in 2012. >> what we found is that there's a pretty big impact, and when you have a lower than average snowfall winter, you've got about $800 million of unrealized revenue in the united states, and it can cost the u.s. about anywhere between 13,000 and 27,000 jobs. >> sreenivasan: elizabeth burakowski is a climate scientist at the university of new hampshire, she co-authored a report looking at the economic impact of a bad season on the winter sports industry. >> by the end of the century, some regions are going to be seeing winter temperatures that are anywhere between six and 12 degrees fahrenheit warmer than they have been in the past couple decades. and that spells trouble for our ski industry.
>> sreenivasan: even in a wealthy resort community like aspen, a slow ski season means losses. dan mcmahon whose shop is at the bottom of aspen mountain does not want another winter like the last one. in march, his ski rental business tumbled 20 to 30 percent and the losses snowballed for the rest of the year. for mcmahon, low snow means high costs. >> if it's a low snow year, our skis are going to get beat up. people are hitting rocks, more equipment gets broken. it just gets damaged more. so we spend a lot more on our staff, bring in more people to help tune the skis. >> have a good run. >> sreenivasan: mike kaplan c.e.o. of the aspen skiing company says the industry operates within a very small window every year. >> we're open about 140 days a year, but its that christmas through march period where, yeah, you either make it or you
don't. >> sreenivasan: snow guns like these are a ski company's last resort against warmer temperatures. but even here in aspen, where they have invested millions in turning water into flakes, the machines only cover 10% of the ski area. and rich burkley, vice president of mountain operations for aspen skiing company, says making snow is energy intensive. >> we will blow about 200 million gallons of snow, of water converted in snow, and that sounds like a lot but in the natural environment and in other resorts it's a very small amount of snow that we make. it's energy intensive, there's no doubt about it. so when we're at full capacity across the four mountains, we're using about 10 meg of power which is kind of the power equivalency of a small town. >> sreenivasan: that kind of power is too costly for many resorts to sustain. it also adds to carbon emissions.
so to help lower its carbon footprint, aspen has gone green- with more efficient lighting and even powering its electricity with methane vented from a coal mine. >> we are just finishing now bringing our third one-megawatt generator online, so we have three one-megawatt generators that are being powered by this methane that was just being vented in the atmosphere. so, destroy carbon, make money. >> sreenivasan: while a big snow storm like the one that hit this february may be a short term boon to the resorts in the northeast, burakowski says it doesn't reverse long term trends. >> over the long term, like since the 1930s, we have seen decreasing trends in snowll, including the northeast u.s. in terms of what we really care about is whether that snowfall stays on the ground. but the number of days with snow cover has been dropping off pretty precipitously. >> sreenivasan: and while this season is looking better than the last for colorado, the possibility of shorter winters
has skiers like chris davenport concerned about the future of his sport. >> by traveling around and seeing these things first hand, it really is shocking. i come back to my own home and i go, oh my gosh, what are we going to do about it? i have three small children. i want my kids to grow up seeing the same glaciers and enjoying the same long winters that i've been able to enjoy and i fear they are not going to be able to do that. >> sreenivasan: a chilling thought for all skiers. >> ifill: since our visit to new hampshire's campton mountain, the ski area has been able to open, but not under the best conditions. we have much more online for science wednesday, including a look at the challenges of making snow for resorts and pictures from our viewers who shared their own stories of how snow shortages have affected their winter sports plans. >> brown: a giant of american culture has died. van cliburn rocked the classical and cold war worlds in the late 1950s and beyond.
he died today at his home in fort worth, of bone cancer. i had the chance to spend time with van cliburn in 2008. here's an excerpt from that story. ♪ april 1958, a young texan named van cliburn is the surprise winner of the first international tchaikovsky piano competition in moscow. coming just six months after the soviets launched sputnik, amid a mounting arms race and heightened cold war tensions, the performance galvanized the nation and received worldwide attention. >> new york city adds its own bravo to the worldwide crescendo of applause for van cliburn. >> brown: on his return to the u.s., the 23-year-old cliburn was given a ticker-tape parade down broadway, the only classical musician ever so
honored. >> i was amazed. and i said, "well, i think this may be-- not for me-- but this may be hopefully the grandest moment or a grand moment for classical music. >> brown: back in 1958, "time" magazine put cliburn on its cover, as "the texan who conquered russia." but that's clearly not the way he saw it. >> well, that's not possible, not in great art. if they appreciate what you did -- i am so grateful, because they were wonderful to me. there was such great audiences; i cannot begin to tell you. i didn't conquer anything. as a matter of fact, they conquered my heart. >> brown: indeed, the soviet audiences adored cliburn. and soon enough, so did audiences around the world. his concerts were regularly
sold-out. his album of tchaikovsky's first piano concerto, one of the pieces he'd played in moscow, became the first classical recording to sell a million copies. cliburn is also well-known now for another competition, the one that bears his name. the van cliburn international music competition, held every four years, was started in 1962 in his honor by music teachers and private citizens in fort worth. recently, a group of past winners and their families returned to texas as rt of the 50th anniversary celebration for cliburn. olga kern performed with her young son. ♪ >> these young people who are so
talented that come here. when i go to hear them, i am so inspired i want to go home and practice. rachmaninoff said once, "great music is enough for a lifetime, but a lifetime is not enough for great music." >> brown: and you still have the same curiosity and excitement? >> yes, and the same joy in hearing these compositions. but it's always there. it will be there after you and i and everyone we know today are dead; that music will still be alive. >> brown: piano great van cliburn: dead today at age 78. and you can watch our full profile and hear more from him-- that's on our website.
>> ifill: finally tonight, remembering the civil rights icon, rosa parks. in 1955, she refused to give up her seat on a bus to a white passenger in segregated montgomery, alabama. her arrest spued a bus boycott that stretched over a year. a bronze statue of parks was unveiled in the u.s. capitol's statuary hall today-- a short distance from the rotunda where she became the first woman, and only second african american, to lie in repose after she died in 2005. she was honored by among others, president obama, congressman james clyburn and house speaker john boehner in today's ceremony. >> rosa parks, the first lady of civil rights, the mother of the movement, the saint of an endless struggle. however one wished to refer to her, this statue forever ordains
rosa parks' status as an icon of our nation's struggles to live out its declaration that we are all created equal. this statue speaks for itself and today we speak for a nation committed to remembering and, more importantly, emulating rosa parks. so we place here here in the chamber where many fought to prevent a day like this and right in the gaze of jefferson davis, the president of the confederacy. >> she lived a life of activism but also a life of dignity and grace. and in a single moment with the simplest of gestures she helped change america and change the world. rosa parks held no elected office. she possessed no fortune, lived
her life far from the formal seats of power. and yet today she takes her rightful place among those who've shaped this nation's course. >> ifill: those remarks were part of a ceremony unveiling a statue of civil rights pioneer rosa parks at the u.s. capitol. >> brown: again, the major developments of the day: the u.s. supreme court heard a challenge to the landmark 1965 voting rights act from alabama officials who said a key provision has outlived its usefulness. stocks surged higher on upbeat news about home sales. the dow industrials gained another 175 points. and a father of one of the school shooting victims in connecticut appealed to a sharply divided senate committee to adopt a ban on assault-style weapons. this evening the u.s. senate confirmed jack lew to be the new treasury secretary. >> ifill: online, we profile a young man who grew up in a tough neighborhood and then returned with a mission to give back. hari sreenivasan has the details. >> sreenivasan: after graduating from duke univisty, social
entrepreneur donnel ird me home brolyn,heree ru bloc power-- providing job training and connecting community groups so they get discounts on energy-saving products. we spotlight baird's work in our agents for change series. plus, larry kotlikoff, a regular contributor to making sense, argues the sequester won't help the u.s. deficit problem. he says the nation's debt is much higher than we acknowledge. all that and more is on our website newshour.pbs.org. jeff? >> brown: and that's the "newshour" for tonight. on thursday, with just one day to go before automatic spending cuts hit. we talk with public media reporters around the country about the possible impact on their communities. i'm jeffrey brown. >> ifill: and i'm gwen ifill. 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: ♪ ♪
moving our economy for 160 years. bnsf, the engine that connects us. >> support also comes from carnegie corporation of new york, a foundation created to do what andrew carnegie called "real and permanent good." celebrating 100 years of philanthropy at carnegie.org. >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions and foundations. d.. >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you.
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