tv PBS News Hour PBS April 19, 2021 6:00pm-7:00pm PDT
amna: good, my mom then wise. judy woodruff is away. on the newshour tonight, gun violence in america. more deadly mass shootings across the country this weekend, as indianapolis mourns, and leaders call for action. then, closing arguments. the prosecution and defense wrap up their cases in the murder trial of former minneapolis police officer derek chauvin. plus, ingenuity. nasa scientists celebrate another first, this time taking flight on mars. and playing lady day on the big screen, revealing the troubling history of the united states versus billie holiday. >> it was the hardest thing i've ever had to do in my life. even the worst moments, even the most painful moments, it was a lesson in filmmaking, it was a lesson in making art, a lesson
in authenticity and bravery. amna: all that and more on tonight's "pbs newshour." >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by -- >> before we talk about your investments, what's new? >> audrey is expecting twins. >> grandparents. >> we want to put money aside for them, so change in plans. >> let's see what we can adjust. we want to be closer to the twins. >> change in plans. >> mom, are you painting again? you could sell these. >> let me guess, change in plans? >> at fidelity, a change in plans is always rt of the plan . >> consumer cellular. johnson & johnson. bnsf railway.
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contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. amna: the nation is convulsed again by a new spasm of shooting and -- shootings and the debate over how to stop them. today police in three states investigated weekend attacks, those on the heels of last week's shooting in indianapolis. >> we often watch this on television area -- television. it's far away and will never happen to us. but it did. amna: as indianapolis grieves the eight lives lost in last week's shooting at a fedex facility, new evidence emergence about the gunman, 19-year-old former employee brandon scott hole. authorities say that last year, he legally bought the two assault rifles used in the attack, months after his mother warned police her son might attempt suicide by cop. under indiana's red flag law,
authorities seized a weapon from hole, but a court hearing to determine if he was fit to own a gun never happened. >> this case does illustrate some of the shortcomings that exist with the red flag law. he was treated by mental health professionals. they didn't simply commit him. they didn't prescribe him any additional medication, and he is cut loose. and so for us the risk is if we move forward with that proceeding, and we lose, guess what happens? that firearm goes right back to that person. amna: meanwhile, a string of more shootings over the weekend. three of them within 24 hours in kenosha, wisconsin, austin, texas, and shreveport louisiana. arnd 1:00 a.m. on sunday in a kenosha tavern, a gunman killed three people and injured three more. police say the suspect targeted the victims. >> i hear gunshots going off, get out of bed, look out the window, i see all sorts of
people running from the bar. >> later that morning in austin, a former sheriff's deputy allegedly shot and killed 3 people at an apartment complex. police say the suspect, 41-year-old stephen broderick, was arrested today. and late sunday evening in shreveport, at least five people were hospitalized with gunshot wounds after shots were fired into a crowd. no suspects have yet been identified. these multiple shootings follow a spike of other high-profile mass shootings. let's look at efforts to change laws and what we know about how well those laws work. champe barton is with the trace, a news organization dedicated to reporting on gun violence. welcome to the newshour and thanks for being here. let's talk about your reaction to the news about the indianapolis shooter. his first gun was confiscated. there was supposed to be a red flag hearing that never happened that might have prevented him from buying the other two weapons. what happened? there was a system and it just didn't work? amy: this is not entirely -- champe: this is not entirely uncommon. you have a system that should in
theory prevent one of these events, but in execution it falls short in some way. the thing to note is that is not a sure thing, the red flag law and making a red flag determination and confiscating weapons and preventing future purchases would have stopped him. it is entirely possible he could have bought the gun on the private market afterwards, but certainly the red flag determination could have made a difference. amna: we have been seeing report after report of group shooting after group shooting. there was a sense during the pandemic that gun violence dropped. is that actually what happened? champe: that's actually not what happened. gun violence was higher last year than any of the previous five years. we published a story on this recently. gun violence has been higher than ever. even mass shootings, defined as
two or more people killed, not including the shooter, even those were higher. gun violence has been surging throughout the pandemic and most frequently it is not the sorts of incidents we see in indianapolis where it is a lone style shoer that we have seen before that has captured the fascination of the country. it is more frequently more routingun deaths that happen as part of community conflicts in cities across the country. those deaths were higher than ever last year. amna: when you talk about gun violence in america, who are some of the communities more disproportionately impacted? champe: predominantly city neighborhoods that are majority black and low income that are affected by this kind of gun violence. this is true of the mass shooting violence in the country and also true of the drumbeat of
regular gun violence. the only form of gun violence where black people are not -- don't accept a disproportionate share of the debts are suicides. these red flag laws do have a chance and have proven in some studies to be pretty effective at reducing. amna: nasa tax 10 to generate -- mass attacks tend to generate a lot of attention. the president has called them a national embarrassment and has introduced executive action concerning gun violence. when you look at those steps, what kind of difference would they make? champe: most of them were not any new laws that would exist immediately. they were suggestions. he was requiring the department of justice to put together laws that would prevent certain things, but we don't have an idea what those laws would look like. there was also an ask the
department put together, boilerplate red flag model legislation that other states could adopt, but it would not necessitate they adopt the law. the one executive action that would absolutely have an effect, according to researchers and activists, is he pledged $5 million to support cmunity gun violence interventions. that is more money than has ever been proposed to address these sorts of problems, and more than has ever been proposed to invest into communities that experience the majority of gun violence. there is robust research that suggests the interventions that would be targeted with this money would have an effect on reducing the number of gun deaths and shootings in these cities. amna: what about the nra? with them in bankruptcy proceedings, is there a sense their influence is waning with lawmakers? champe: it is true the nra is eager -- is weaker than it has
ever been. however, the republican party has absorbed the nra's talking points, the idea of gun rights absolutism. that is the party right -- the party line now. just my personal opinion, i don't see a reason to be super optimistic that the party line is going to ship because the nra is weaker. this has become a republican party plank as much as an nra plank. amna: thanks so much for joining us tonight. champe: thanks for having me. amna: we will take a deeper look at the lives lost in indianapolis shortly. but first, let's turn to the other major news story of this day, the closing arguments in the trial of former police officer derek chauvin. the verdict will be closely watched in minnesota and around
the country, with many cities brace for protests, marches and potential unrest. special correspondent fred de sam lazaro reports on the final case made by prosecutors and chauvin's defense. and a warning -- the testimony includes some graphic images of what happened to george floyd. >> you have now heard the evidence -- sam: today's closing arguments culminated over two weeks of testimony with both sides revisiting video seen extensively throughout the trial, beginning with prosecutor steve slusher. >> this case is exactly what you thought when you saw it first, when you saw the video. it is what you felt in your gut, what you now know in your heart. this wasn't policing, this was murder. the defendant is guilty of all three counts, all of them. and there is no excuse.
sam: shaaban -- chaivin is charged with second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and manslaughter in the second degree. >> nine minutes and 29 seconds. he was trapped with the unyielding pavement underneath him, as unyielding as the man who held him down, pushing him, a need to the neck, a knee to the back, twisting his fingers, holding his legs for nine minute and 29 seconds, the defendant's weight on him. sam: although the floyd case sparked debate in minneapolis about reforming or abolishing the police, prosecutors say this is not what the trial is about. >> this is not a prosecution of the police. it is a prosecution of the defendant. sam: chauvin took notes by hand, but notably removed his mask for
his own lawyer's closing arguments. defense attorney nelson also used police body camera video, which he said demonstrated children -- chauvin's actions were reasonable. >> you can't limit it to nine minutes and 29 seconds. it started 17 minutes before that. the totality of the circumstances that were known to a reasonable police officer in the precise moment the force was used demonstrates that this was an authorized use of force. as unattractive as it may be. and this is reasonable doubt. there is absolutely no evidence that officer chauvin intentionally, purposefully applied unlawful force. it's tragic.
it's tragic. sam: on the cause of floyd's death, nelson discounted testimony from several prosecution witnesses, who said it was asphyxia caused by champe:'s actions -- caused by chauvin's actions. nelson argued they had cherry picked video and that drugs and underlying disease were responsible. >> don't let yourself be misled by a single still frame image. put the evidence in its proper context. the failure of the state's experts to acknowledge any possibility at all that any of these other factors in any way contributed to mr. floyd's death defies medical science and common sense. sam: the prosecution returned with a brief rebuttal. >>. what i thought was the largest
departure from the evidence. the truth is the reason george floyd is dead is because mr. chauvin's heart was too small. sam: judge peter cahill denied a motion for a mistrial from defense attorney nelson, who said he was concerned about the influence of intenseedia publicity. >> we stand united. sam: outside the courthouse, a prayer vigil was held with the families of floyd and daunte wright, killed a week ago in a police shooting. with the metropolitan area on edge, there were also police and local leaders to maintain peaceful protests. for the pbs newshour, i am fred de sam lazaro in minnesota. amna: now let's return to the impact of the shootings in indianapolis. eight people lost their lives last week at a fedex facility
there. we wanted to take a moment to remember them and the legacies they left behind. this 66-year-old worked at a fedex sorting facility to help support her family. her granddaughter tweeted, after the passing of her mother, she never let her sisters feel that void. what a harsh and cruel world we live in. samaria blackwell, 19, was the youngest of four siblings. her family remembered her as someone who loved people, especially those of advanced age. she always found time to invest in the older generation. karli smith, 19, was born and raised in indianapolis, where she graduated from high school last year. indianapolis public schools released a statement calling smith a bright light. armor g sacrum was a hard-working mother of two in her late 40's whose husband was
disabled. she worked the overnight shift so she could provide food for everyone in the house. 32-year-old matthew alexander was a dispatcher at the fedex facility and known for his big heart. a former coworker told reporters everybody liked him. he was always saving somebody. he was a good kid. jaswinder kaur are above to cook and hoped to bring her son from india, but coronavirus derailed her plans. john steve weisert was a retired engineer working turn some extra money on the side. later this year he would have celebrated 50 years of marriage with his wife, mary. the oldest victim of the shooting, weisert was 64.
jaswinder singh had just recently taken a job at fedex. he was reportedly killed while waiting for his first paycheck. his nephew told reporters he was always positive, always nice, and i never saw him angry. we still don't know about the motive of the subject. half of those killed were sikh americans. that community is morning its losses. simran jeet singh is a senior fellow at the sikh coalition who's been in contact with the families in indianapolis. he is also a lecturer at union theological seminary in new york city. he joins me now. welcome to the newshour and thank you for being here. you have been in touch with those families. we can't imagine their pain right now. give us a sense of what they are going through, what they are telling you. >> the six who lost loved ones are hurting, grieving. they are outraged and frustrated. they are also filled with
determination and resilience. as i have listened to surviving family members, i have heard a fierce determination that their lives will not be lost in vain and that moments like these are catalysts for meaningful action. like all groups, the beauty of the sikh community is it does not have just one view of such an event. trauma, a view of solidarity with the impacted families, and it forces all of us to engage in a difficult and public conversation about what it means to be americans today. amna: the police are still investigating a motive, if one is to be determined. among the community on the ground, what is the feeling? is there a sense they were targeted in some way? >> i don't know what the officials will conclude, but i
will share what we can see. a disturbed young white man who should not have had access to guns targeted a facility where sikhs make up a large and visible population of the workers. he killed baptists and sikhs. at the end of the day, a light is a life. but we can't look away at the pattern of hate violence, including the 2012 massacre in oak creek. we are facing steep challenges, ranging from the protest number on india to standing shoulder to shoulder with groups targeted by white supremacists across america. our faith guides us to do so on on ways that uplift ourselves and others, especially during difficult times like this one. amna: you mentioned the mass shooting that targeted the sikh community in wisconsin in 2012.
all these years later, how is that impact still felt? simran: the impact of something like that never goes away. when your community is targeted, it leaves a scar in your collective psyche. the sikh community is a visible, engaged, and spiritually aware community. there were times, after 9/11 and the oak creek massacre, where we felt targeted, even if americans could not clearly describe who a sikh is. today we see ourselves as a more active force in building a more just america. we know our high visibility will make us targets. although the reason for the targeting may change over time, our visibility puts us on the front lines against a regressive and racist vision of america. i think that part of our experience, this courageous vulnerability, that's part of our tradition too and it is one
that comes with a steep cost. it is also a commitment i am proud of and that i know many sikhs are proud of and i don't see us giving up our commitment anytime soon. amna: our hearts go out to all those who lost a loved one in indianapolis, and we are grateful to you for joining us tonight. simran: glad to be with you. stephanie: we will return to the full program after the latest headlines. former vice president walter mondale died today in minneapolis. an icon of the democratic party, mondale served under president jimmy carter and ran for president in 1984, losing in a landslide ronald reagan. he also served as a senator, ambassador, and minnesota
attorney general. president biden considered him a mentor and spoke to him on the phone yesterday. walter fritz mondale was 93 years old. his family did not reveal a cause of death. we will have much more on his life on tomorrow's addition of the newshour. everyone in the united states 16 and older is now eligible for a covid-19 vaccination. the last few states took that step today, on the heels of news that half of all american adults have already received at least one dose. white house officials said it's never been easier to get a shot. >> there are now thousands of more people ready to help you get vaccinated. there are now millions more vaccine doses available and waiting, and there are now more than 60,000 safe and convenient places to get your shot. stephanie: meanwhile, the world health organization projected the pandemic could be controlled within months, but warned of ongoing surges.
india reported nearly 274,000 new cases today. new delhi went under a one-week lockdown to try to stem the rapid spread of the virus. there is word that u.s. capitol police officer brian sicknick died of a stroke the day after confronting pro-trump from extremists on january 6. the washington, d.c., no -- washington, d.c. medical examiner concludes a chemical spray was not a factor but the overall stress played a factor. that could rule out homicide charges. in russia, officials announced they have sent jailed dissident alexey navalny to a prison hospital, but insisted his health is satisfactory despite a three week prison strike. the prison system said he will be treated at this hospital 110 miles from moscow and that he has agreed to undergo vitamin therapy. navalny's doctor warranty could be near death. supporters called for nationwide protests on wednesday.
firefighters cape town, south africa have finally subdued a wildfire that burned an historic library. a person has been arrested on suspicion of arson. the blaze broke out early sunday and swept down the famous table mountain and into the university of cape town. the school's library had housed priceless african books and manuscripts. >> investigating teams need to determine the extent of the damage, cause of the damage. they will have to work very closely with the city of cape town and with other agencies. i am not in a position to say what the extent of the damage is right now in monetary terms. stephanie: a powerful typhoon off the eastern philippines forced more than 100,000 people from their homes today and killed at least one person. the storm is the strongest ever recorded in april. it's not expected to make landfall, but heavy rains and waves are flooding low-lying areas.
nasa has made history again, with the first powered flight by an aircraft on another planet. on mars today, the four pound ingenuity helicopter hovered 10 feet off the ground for 29 -- 439 seconds. we will have a closer look later. the world of soccer shook today after 12 of europe's largest and wealthiest soccer clubs announced plans to form a breakaway super league. it would feare 20 clubs, including england's chelsea and spain's real madrid. the plan drew heavy criticism from uefa, the governing party for european soccer. >> uefa and the football world stand united against the disgraceful and self-serving proposals we have seen in the last 24 hours from a select few clubs in europe that are fueled purely by greed above all else. stephanie: still to come, despite israel's successful inoculation campaign, many
remain resistant to a shot. how nasa's ingenuity makes space history by taking flight on mars. oscar nominee andra day on the painful history in the united states vs. billie holiday. plus, much more. >> this is the pbs newshour from w eta studios in washington and in the west from the walter cronkite school of journalism at arizona state university. amna: with the world's highest covid-19 vaccination rate, israel recently began using a vaccination passport program to give immunized people access to some degree of normality that's not available to those who have not had shots. as marn hill reports, the program's in israel is not mirrored in the palestinian territories where the virus runs rampant. martin: for the schreibman
family this is the real victory over the pandemic. last passover holiday, they conducted this feast virtually, via zoom. the vaccine has significantly reduced covid in israel. it is a special occasion for hilla and her daughter. >> are you happy the corona is not here anymore? >> yes. >> and that everything is ok and all the family can be here together? >> yeah. >> this is our first gathering for 13 months, and it is all because of the vaccine, which ought our life back together. martin: israel has the highest per capita covid vaccination rate in the world. almost 60% of the population has been fully vaccinated. another 10% have antibodies after recovering from covid. >> we have fans in stadiums,
praying in synagogues, sitting in restaurants, and the numbers are still low. it is definitely a vaccine success story. martin: there are conflicts and challenges, which americans will probably encounter this summer as immunization progresses. israel is the first country to implement a vaccine passport. bar 51 is one of the coolest night spots in tel aviv. but if you want to get in, you have t show a green passport. moshiko gamlieli is the owner. >> it is a huge story because of the vaccine. we are open. at the door, i need to say, do you have the vaccine? if so, you can come in. if not, you need to stay out. i hate that i have to say to people, you are not allowed to get in. it's the opposite of what i do. martin: for those who decided
not to vaccinate, they can only dine outside. >> any country can introduce the green passport only after offering a sufficient amount of vaccines to the whole population. from the very beginning of the vaccination campaign, i said loudly there will be no mandatory vaccination in israel. martin: the vaccine rollout has not been easy. ultra-orthodox jews rioted against lockdowns and initially refused to take the vaccine. vaccination among arab citizens is still low. they face higher numbers of infection and illness. young people largely avoided taking the vaccine. they do not feel threatened by covid. the green passport provided an incentive for the young to vaccinate. if you want to have an active social life, you need the document. holmes place is a popular tel of the -- tel aviv jim. in order to work out and mingle, you must have your green passport.
>> we met lots of young people that took the vaccine only to be able to work out in the gym. we are like the candy of the vaccine because people take it and then they can come work out. they want to go to a nightclub, places that are closed only for people that got vaccine. i think it helps. >> ♪ just close your eyes and feel the love ♪ martin: nadav lev believes the green passport is denying his civil rights. he is a musician and, like 12% of the population, he refuses to take the vaccine. >> i feel the vaccine is not safe enough for me. it has not been checked enough. many of my musician friends got a text message saying ifhey are not going to get there vaccine, they can't get back to work.
that's breaking civil-rhts. >> the basic right oa person is to be healthy and stay alive. so we are all the time managing this crisis, taking into consideration the fact we have to stick to basic democratic rules and fight the pandemic. never easy, always a challenge. no textbook answer to all of these questions. i think we did ok. martin: israel's high-tech economy has reopened. people are resuming their lives. but just east of here is the palestinian west bank. social distancing is still enforced, the economy is at a standstill, and there is only a trickle of vaccines for the palestinian population. millions of palestinians believe their rights are being violated by not being offered the vaccine from israel. the palestinian authority governs the semi autonomous west bank while hamas rules the --
there is a 21% covid infection rate. intensive care units are overflowing in what is now a third covid wave. in gaza, infections have spiked to over 1000 cases daily out of a palestinian population of 2000. there is also a severe vaccine shortage. omar najar is an official in the palestinian health ministry. >> the decision is difficult because there is no immunization for our people. we immunize less then 3% of our people due to the shortage of the vaccinations. the occupation, according to international law, israel is responsible for vaccination and to have the vaccines from them according to these rules. martin: the israeli government claims that according to the oslo peace agreement, the palestinian authority is responsble for west bank and gaza public health. >> palestinians have their
health ministry administer and they should have been thinking about vaccination half a year ago, eight months ago. nothing prevented them from doing that. a lot of palestinians are alive today and survived the coronavirus because israel was there with equipment, with medicine. martin: israel is vaccinating over 125,000 palestinians who work in israel or in west bank jewish settlements. the world health organization has arranged for 100,000 doses to innoculate palestinian frontline workers. ghassan -- frontline workers. ghassan toubasi was lucky enough to receive the pfizer two shot vaccine. >> we lost two dentists in ramallah from the pandemic. two of my friends. after taking the second dose of the vaccine, i feel more comfortable. i have self confidence in my job, dealing with patients. martin: with continuous on and
off lockdowns, thousands of plaestinians illegally cross into israeli daily in search of work. they also bring with them covid variants, spreading into the west bank that could one day hamper the efficacy of the covid vaccine in israel. >> the disease will not stop in israel, if it is not stopped in palestine. and israel is trying to escape from this responsibility. >> i am not sure we will ever be in a situation where we will be able to vaccinate the whole palestinian population. i think it is their moral obligation towards their people to try to get the vaccines. we will help, we will help with whatever we can. martin: the vaccine has proven its worth, but it is not powerful enough he'll -- enough to heal the political wounds between palestinians and israelis.
♪ amna: nasa has made plenty of history with space flights to mars. but today, a new chapter -- it flew on mars for the first time. miles o'brien takes us out of this world. >> ultimate or data, confirmed. it has performed its first flight. miles: when the data and early images came down, proving history was made 180 million miles away, the mars ingenuity team erupted with joy. project manager mimi aung ripped up the contingency speech she wrote in case things did not go as well as they did. ingenuity took off, hovered and landed on mars, the first powered controlled flight on another planet. >> we can now say that human beings have flown a rotorcraft
on another planet. [applause] miles: mars changes the equation for flight with wings or rotors. the gravity is about one third of earth's and the carbon dioxide atmosphere is much thinner. >> it's about 1% compared to here on earth. even though you're able to lift, right? you have to spin very fast to lift. because the atmosphere is so thin, you can't lift as much mass. miles: on earth, helicopter blades typically spend about 300 or 400 revolution per minute. ingenuity's blades spin at about eight times faster, 2400 rpms. the key challenge for the team, make the helicopter as small and light as possible, to fit on perseverance, and be flight worthy. to find compact components, they didn't have to look much farther than their own smartphones. >> the advancement of these cell
phone technologies and also autonomous cars are also starting to have reliable lightweight senss. and there are lightweight computers on the phones. and, you know, drone community has also advanced electronic components. miles: ingenuity is a technology demonstrator, so its goals are modest. the plan is to fly only five flights, no higher than 15 feet, no farther than 160 feet downrange, and no longer than a minute and a half. if history serves as a guide, ingenuity could usher in a new era of mobile exploration on mars. >> we have imaging data. miles: in 1997, the first mars rover, sojourner, was also a technology demonstration project. the size of a microwave oven, it led to larger and more capable successors, spirit and opportunity in 2003, curiosity in 2012, and now perseverance.
lori glaze is director of nasa's planetary science division >> the helicopters can actually help to do reconnaissance to scope out a new site or actually to access places that we can't actually access to collect samples potentially, or carry scientific instrumentation to do some insitu science from the helicopter. miles: just as it was 118 years ago at kitty hawk, this first flight is likely just the beginning of a new era of aviation. for the pbs newshour, i miles o'brien. amna: president biden is trying to build bridges, meeting today with a bipartisan group -- group of lawmakers to sell his $2.3 trillion infrastructure plan. lisa desjardins explores the political cost. lisa: stakes are high for biden and congressional republicans.
joining us, our regular politics monday duo. amy walter of the cook political report and camera key of mpr -- and tamra of npr. let's start with the climate plan. this big biden plan. he had the meeting today with a bipartisan group of lawmakers. what is the president trying to do and is it working? >> i think what is notable about the bipartisan group that came by the white house today is it is similar to what the biden administration did to try to build bipartisan support or a bipartisan coalition for the big covid-19 relief l. they reached outside washington to mayors and governors to say, especially for mayors, we have bipartisan support. there is a joke that mayors tell about themselves, that there is
no democratic or republican potholes, just potholes. when you are mayor, you have to deal with those things. the members of congress who came over to the white house were all former mayors or governors. whether they are going to get them to sign on, particurly republicans, is an open question. mitt romney came and said he felt president biden was open to discussing -- and biden expressed this himself when reporters were in the room -- he was open to discussing not just what was in the package, but how to pay for it. we are in this period, a long period of time, between when the biden administration announced their plan and the informal deadline they have set for congress to figure out whether it can be bipartisan and what shape it is going to take. every few days they are doing another event to show they are
working on it to try to win over public and popular support so they can claim, like with the covid relief bill, that it is bipartisan, even if it is not supported by republicans in washington. amy: tamara makes a big point about the period between when legislation is introduced and when it gets past. that's the time when it gets defined. if you are democrats now, polling suggests it is a mixed bag on how popular the support is. we have seen some polling that suggests it is very popular, others that say it is enh. it suggests both sides have to fight to define what actly this is. for democrats especially, it is how to pay for it, which is leaning into the issue that seems in all these polls to be
favorable to democrats. that is paying for it with higher taxes on wealthy people and higher taxes on corporations. people seem to like that. as we know, it is always in the details and how people perceive not just the message, but the messenger. do they trust democrats to follow through with what they say? republicans saying it is never going to be just those two groups of people who are going to pay for it eventually. regular americans have to fund this. they like to say everybody loves infrastructure, but paying for it, what that narrative looks like, is going to be very important for democrats if they want to pass this thing and keep it popular for them to be driving now, which is why you are seeing the president and vice president spending almost all their time pitching on this issue. amna: let's talk about the
short-lived america first caucus , the group that circled around georgia republican and member of congress marjorie taylor greene. it was reported part of the platform included respect for the uniquely anglo-saxon political traditions of the u.s.. this weekend, greene's staff said she is not launching anything. there was quite a lot of blowback. what do you think is happening? what does this mean politically? amy: it was not that long ago that party leaders in washington had the ability to keep their caucus together and keep some rebels from going out of bounds by limiting two things. one, access to donors. the other, access to good, plum committees. marjorie taylor greene has already been kicked off her committees. democrats instigated this.
access to donors now has opened up because of the internet and the ability for candidates to raise a whole lot of money from small dollar donors. marjorie taylor greene is not the favorite of anyone in the establishment, but it looks like she has raised $3 million in the first three months of this year. it gets harder and harder for leadership to keep these folks on the same page and there is really little they can do about showing any sort of disfavor toward them. lisa: what about the other end of the republican party, the anti-trump republicans? how are they doing politically and in dollars? tamara: the remarkable thing is for every marjorie taylor greene and josh hawley who had a good fundraising first quarter, there are also the house republicans
who voted to impeach president trump. they are in theory in the doghouse, but they are doing quite well with fundraising. several set personal fundraising records in the first quarter after voting to impeach former president trump. they face likely primary challenges with president trump backing their challengers, but the establishment money ended up flowing to those people who sided against trump. whether that will be a sugar high that only lasts the first quarter is not clear, if they are not able to keep up the public interest and get small dollars, like marjorie taylor greene and others who have been able to generate. lisa: less than a minute left. it is lovely weatherutside in much of the country. vaccines are giving people new hope. i want to ask quickly, what do you think is the political
temperature of the american people right now? amy: it seems cautiously optimistic. we are seeing an uptick in the percentage of people who think the country is heading in the right direction. still not a majority, but i think that is the good news if you are in the biden administration. as vaccines come online, people feel like their lives are getting back to normal. lisa: i do think the next several weeks will be key to figuring out how people really feel, if they are able to get vaccines or if they continue being frustrated, if people start getting vaccinated and going to restaurants. it could have an effect on the outlook. lisa: amy walter and tamera keith, thank you for joining us each night in our virtual restaurant of sorts.
amna: a new film takes on the life of the great billie holiday. the woman playing her, andra day, is winning rave reviews, including a best actress nomination at the upcoming oscars. jeffrey brown is here with that story for our ongoing arts and culture series, canvas. jeffrey: in the united states vs. billie holiday, we see the legendary jazz singer in her final years. >> ♪ there ain't nothing i can't do four nothing i can't say ♪ jeffrey: founded by f agents obsessed with bringing her down. >> hoover says it is un-american. you have heard those lyrics. they provoke people in the wrong way. jeffrey: there is relentless racism, abuse, alcohol, and drug
addiction. but also a towering magnetism, resilience, and artistic brilliance. it was a big, important life, making it all the more remarkable that for 36-year-old andra day, this was an acting debut. >> it was the hardest thing i have ever had to do, but it changed me in an amazing way. i loved every moment, even the worst, most painful moments. it was a lesson in filmmaking, authenticity, bravery. >> ♪ broken down and tired ♪ jeffrey: until now, day was best known as a singer. her hit song rise up became an anthem for the black lives matter movement. she grew up in seann diego -- in san diego and attended a public arts magnet school, where a teacher suggested she listen to recordings of billie holiday.
>> ♪ all of me why not take all of me? ♪ >> i remember being confused at first by her voice. it is so different. she sounds nothing like whitney houston, gladys knight, patti labelle, aretha. i could not take my years off what i was listening to in her voice. >> what did you hear in the way she made a song come to life? >> it was a motion, truth. her songs are cap -- are how she perceived things and how she felt. she song about all the things women or people thought about but did not necessarily say. that's what i think makes music so powerful and taboo, a lot of songs, as well. >> what is the government's problem with billie holiday? >> my song, strange fruit. it reminds them that they are
killing us. >> small world. jeffrey: the film, a fictionalized account based on real events, was directed by lee daniels. it centers on the most powerful and taboo song of all, strange fruit, written by a songwriter and activist and first recorded by holiday in 1939. >> ♪ southern cheese that strange fruit ♪ jeffrey: it was inspired by a photograph of a lynching, this strange fruit of the title. >> ♪ black bodies swinging in the southern breeze ♪ jeffrey:jeffrey: holiday made it her own antiracist at them, an especially brave act when jim crow laws flourished and the
civil rights movement was yet to gain strength. >> people asked me about comparisons between myself and billie holiday. i am a black woman in america. there is an inherent feeling of invisibility that comes with that. >> i will get you carnegie hall. jeffrey: holiday's story has been told before. the 1972 film lady sings the blues start another famous singer making her acting debut, diana ross. more recently, audra mcdonald played holiday on broadway in lady day at emerson's bar and grill. >> did you decide to play against them? how did you feel about taking on the role they have taken? >> i saw a lady sings the blues like 50 million times. it is one of my favorite movies. it was not against the two of them, it was blending. billie holiday at the center and
what was amazing about diana's performance, amazing about audra mcdonald performance. couple them with billie and myself. my performance is a combination of myself, billie holiday, diana ross, and audra mcdonald. jeffrey: day took up smoking and drinking to force her body to feel what holiday's was experiencing. >> it was unhealthy for my body, healthy for my spirit. i felt like i had to earn it, feel it in my body. i also felt like the gravel in her voice, the sound and tone were earned over years of her life. i had to figure out how to earn it over a short period of time. and it helped slowed me down because i am fast and billie holiday is like, easy. >> and the golden globes goes to andra day. jeffrey: in february, andra day
won a golden globe. now she is up for an academy award, cementing one final personal connection, her name. it's a stage name she gave herself long ago, an homage to the woman known as lady day, billie holiday herself. >> ♪ here is a fruit for the crows to pluck ♪ jeffrey: for the pbs newshour, i'm jeffrey brown. amna: and online right now, more than a month after the atlanta shootings, businesses in the u.s. say they are operating in fear. the recent rise in hate crimes against those business adds to the economic crisis many of them have been grappling with since the beginning of the pandemic. all that and more at pbs.org/newshour. that is the newshour for tonight. join us online and here tomorrow
morning -- tomorrow evening. please stay safe and we will see you soon. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by sumer cellular -- by consumer cellular. johnson & johnson. bnsf railway. the kendeda fund, committed to advancing restorative justice and meaningful work through investments in transformative leaders and ideas. more at kendeda.org. >> the alfred p sloan foundation, driven by the promise of great ideas. >> supported by the john d and catherine t macarthur foundation, committed to building a more just, verdant, and peaceful world.
more information at mac found.org. and with the ongoing support of these institutions. this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy.] >> this is pbs newshour west from weta studios in washington and our bureau at walter cronkite school of journalism at arizona state university. is your family ready for an emergency?