tv PBS News Hour PBS July 7, 2010 7:00pm-8:00pm EDT
captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions >> lehrer: good evening. i'm jim lehrer. scorching heat and humidity gripped the northeast and mid-atlantic again with temperatures topping 100 degrees. >> ifill: and i'm gwen ifill. on the "newshour" tonight, the record highs disrupted train travel and pushed electricity use toward record levels. we get the latest on the heat wave and on how people are coping. >> lehrer: then, judy woodruff reports on the philosophical war inside the republican party. >> ifill: paul solman interviews french finance minister christine lagarde about the european debt crisis and france's moves toward economic
reform. >> we want as our first priority economies to develop value and to create jobs. and this is my constant obsession. how are we going to create jobs in europe. the first priority is a bit of >> lehrer: jeffrey brown gets a rare view from inside the failed state of somalia, from jeffrey gettleman of the "new york times." >> ifill: and spencer michels unveils the soon-to-be-published life story of a literary giant. >> mark twain decreed that his autobiography couldn't be published until 100 years after his death. that's this year. >> lehrer: that's all ahead on tonight's "newshour." major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by:
and by the alfred p. sloan foundation. supporting science, technology, and improved economic performance and financial literacy in the 21st century. 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.
>> ifill: nursing homes were evacuated, transit slowed and millions sought relief today as intense hot weather continued to grip the east coast. heat records were shattered all along the east coast this week, as early summer readings headed into the triple digits. the hottest spot of all-- baltimore, where the temperature topped out at 105 degrees yesterday. the national weather service issued warnings for a searing swath of real estate stretching from the carolinas to new england and points west through kentucky and into illinois. a full quarter the nation's population was sweating it out. the sudden swelter was remarkable. just five months ago washington d.c. was digging out of nearly three feet of snow. but this week, tourists wandering the nation's capitol braved a blistering national mall. >> this heat is insane. tremendously unbearable >> ifill: nearby, karen dale was
looking to cool off. >> it's excruciatingly hot out here and about all i want to do is keep cool; i'm looking for the nearest pool, but i'll take a sprinkler at any time. >> ifill: in philadelphia, as elsewhere, the hottest kinds of work still had to be done. for saheed dillard, it was laying asphalt. >> it feels like you're sitting on a griddle and i am the hamburger or the hotdog. >> ifill: and in broiling boston, one dockside fisherman said the fish couldn't care less about the heat. >> it doesn't make a difference, really. it just depends on when they feel like coming in. >> ifill: even in normally-cool portland, maine, air conditioners were sold out. >> we've had calls all day. we've had to say "no, i'm sorry, we're going to get some more at the end of the week." but, you know. >> ifill: the demand for cool taxed power grids. utilities said they could handle the load, but there were scattered outages in several cities. 42,000 customers lost power in new jersey, new york and connecticut. for those who lost their air conditioning-- and those who never had it-- there were "cooling centers": 100 in new
york city alone. >> i have a studio with no air conditioners, so it is really necessary to be here on a hot day like today. >> ifill: the heat also took its toll on transportation-- buckling roadways in places, and it led washington's metro rail system, and others, to slow down. baked rails were in danger of bending under the pressure of fast moving trains. health officials also issued alerts with small children and the elderly especially vulnerable. >> it's a combination of the high temperature and the high humidity that really causes the patients to have problems handling the heat. light headedness, headache, nausea and those are the first symptoms of heat exhaustion. >> ifill: the weather was fit for neither man nor beast. princess, the pitbull, was saved from heat stroke in a philadelphia animal e.r. >> signs of distress would be any evidence of labored breathing, disorientation, if they seem lethargic, if you feel that they feel extremely hot to
you, if they're panting a great deal. >> ifill: of course, for some it was all a matter of perspective including this military veteran in new york city. >> i just got back from iraq. this is, like, nothing. >> ifill: forecasts called for temperatures to continue in the low 90's through the weekend. >> lehrer: still to come on the "newshour": the republican divide; the french finance minister; an update on somalia and mark twain's autobiography. but first, the other news of the day. here's hari sreenivasan in our newsroom. >> sreenivasan: wall street had its best day in more than month. it was driven partly by bargain- hunting, and partly by an upbeat forecast on financial stocks. the dow jones industrial average gained more than 274 points to close back above 10,000. the nasdaq rose more than 65 points to close at 2,159. cleanup workers struggled again today to keep up with the oil spill in the gulf of mexico. much of the focus was well inland, near new orleans, where oil appeared on monday.
by today, crews had collected 1,700 pounds of tarballs and other oily waste from lake pontchartrain, north of new orleans. the city's recreational backyard sprang back to life in the 1990's after decades of pollution. now, it's threatened again, as the gulf spill creeps past protective barges. >> it gets on your fingers; you wash it and wash it. it just smears and smears. >> sreenivasan: down the coast, in alabama, more tar balls, and brownish foam stained beaches like this one. and out on the gulf, choppy seas kept most skimming boats off the water for another day. the effort has largely been sidelined since a hurricane roiled the gulf last week and smaller weather systems followed on its heels. the weather also delayed a large new ship that could siphon more of the oil from the well site. it is now expected to be operational in the next three days. in the meantime, the associated press reported the gulf of mexico has more than 27,000 abandoned oil and gas wells. the report said no one is
checking to see if those sites are leaking. the wells are sealed with cement, but geophysicist roger anderson-- at columbia university-- said that is no guarantee. >> well, the plugs, the big question is how long does cement last and to take for it oxidize. we don't actually know that even for our buildings, our skyscrapers that have a significant amount of cement in them. we don't know how long they'll last. >> sreenivasan: ironically, b.p. was injecting cement to seal the well under its "deepwater horizon" platform, when it burst on april 20. it has been gushing ever since, and may not be plugged for another month. those russians accused of spying in the u.s. may be heading home in a prisoner swap. it was widely reported today that an exchange is in the works. five of the russian suspects were being moved from virginia and boston, to new york. the other five suspects are already there. they could be traded for several people convicted in russia of passing secrets to the u.s. more than 50 iraqis were killed in attacks across baghdad today.
32 of them died in a suicide bombing. the victims were shi-ite pilgrims crossing a bridge to a shrine to commemorate a shi-ite saint. the attack came despite tight security. the u.s. toll in afghanistan rose again today as three more troops died in a roadside bombing in the south. that made 10 americans killed so far in july. also today, an airstrike mistakenly killed five afghan soldiers in the east. the afghan ministry of defense-- m.o.d.-- complained, and the international security assistance force-- i-saf--said a joint investigation was underway. >> ( translated ): we have started investigating the incident since this morning, we also condemn this action. unfortunately this is not the first time, it has happened many times, but we hope this will be the last time. >> we were obviously not absolutely clear whether there is afghan national security forces in the area, but this is as i said right now subject to a very detailed investigation
jointly between the m.o.d. ministry of defence and isaf and i do clearly regret what has happened. >> sreenivasan: in another development, britain announced plans to pull back from a volatile part of southern afghanistan. 1,000 british troops will leave the sangin valley in helmand province. 99 britons have died there since 2001. u.s. marines will take their place, starting in october. a federal indictment in brooklyn alleges that al-qaeda was directly involved in last year's failed plot to bomb the subways in new york city. it named several al-qaeda figures, including adnan shukrijumah. he's on the f.b.i.'s list of most-wanted terror suspects. and the man who was osama bin laden's cook pleaded guilty today at a war crimes tribunal at guantanamo. in the plea deal, ibrahim al qosi admitted helping bin laden escape u.s. forces in afghanistan. al-qosi has been at guantanamo
for eight years. the former dictator of panama -- manuel noriega -- now faces seven years in a french prison. he was convicted and sentenced today in paris, for drug money laundering in the 1980s. the court also seized nearly $3 million from his frozen assets. noriega was deposed by a u.s. invasion of panama in 1989. after that, he spent two decades in a u.s. prison. an experimental plane took to the air today over switzerland in a bid to fly 24 hours on solar power alone. the "solar impulse" has a wingspan of 207 feet -- similar to the size of a large airliner. solar cells on the wings are designed to capture enough power to let the plane fly through the night. the goal is to prove a similar plane can one day circle the globe relying solely on the sun's energy. those are some of the day's major stories. now, back to jim... >> lehrer: there is much energy within the republican party's
conservative movement, in this 2010 election year. judy woodruff reports on the genuine debate that lies behind it. >> reporter: from john mccain's coming primary challenge in arizona, and charlie crist's departure from the g.o.p. in florida. to rand paul's defeat of the republican establishment's candidate in kentucky, and sharron angle's come from behind victory in nevada. there are signs of conservative life across the land. but the new muscle from the right, has crushed a few of the g.o.p.'s own, and has ignited an argument inside the party. to many who follow washington, the two republican senators from utah and south carolina may seem like peas in a pod: both long time loyal party members, both conservative. >> the economy is in serious trouble! >> let's not spend all this money unless we know what we are doing! >> reporter: but it doesn't take much of a look beneath the surface to discover differences between utah's bob bennett and
south carolina's jim demint in their view of their roles in the senate, and of some of the main issues facing the country. they illustrate as well as anything else the philosophical divide inside the republican party, and the fight being waged for the direction it will take in this year's elections, and beyond. bennett was elected in 1992 from the most republican state in the country. he's also been an important adviser to senate republican leader, mitch mcconnell. but in recent years, he has also worked across the aisle with democrats on a couple of big issues. an effort in the financial crisis of 2008, to craft bank rescue legislation. and a year earlier, to reform employer-based health care with oregon democratic senator ron wyden. >> bennett walked across the center aisle or the united
states senate and said, "let's go to it." i like your idea of trying to get everybody covered. bob bennett is one of those special people in american politics who continues to believe that we ought to have ideas-driven government. >> reporter: on may 8, utah republicans let bennett know what they thought of his efforts at bipartisanship. he was defeated in his try for a fourth term at the state g.o.p. convention by activists who yelled, among other things, that he didn't love the constitution enough. >> the anger about what's going on in washington was simply too powerful to overcome. i am obviously not angry enough. one of the complaints about me was, "we don't see you on c.n.n. we don't see you on fox screaming. we don't see you shouting and fighting loud enough. you're sitting back there talking to these people and we don't want that.
we want somebody really up there fighting." and, that's not my style. >> reporter: but fellow republican jim demint of south carolina, who is up for re- election himself this year, sees the utah outcome differently: he says voters want government's main focus now to be to stop spending and borrowing, and what he calls the government takeover of the private sector. he says voters are looking for candidates who agree with that. >> when bob bennett, who everyone said was a conservative republican lost-- it wasn't that he lost to someone who was further to the right: he lost to someone who talking about constitutional limited government. i think the fear of voters is starting to have an impact here, with republicans and democrats. >> reporter: bennett, on the other hand, says the voter anger that defeated him is not a recipe for solving the country's problems. >> the concern i have about the anger we're seeing that's being fed by talk show hosts and
others is that it will be like a wave that comes in and smashes on the beach and destroys everything there and then recedes back into the ocean and leaves nothing behind it but empty sand. >> reporter: demint believes the clamor against government over- reach-- articulated by the tea party groups-- is so powerful that both parties ignore it at their peril. >> we have to cut spending. we have to keep taxes reasonably low. we can't keep adding to the deficit. and i think if these folks come up here and don't do that, i think you'll see them tossed out the next time. and i think you'll see a rebellion back home. >> reporter: bennett sees the tea party and other conservative citizens groups as demanding more than he is prepared to do. >> i found that a good many of the delegates simply wouldn't talk to me. they were so angry, so determined to quote, "send
washington a message," closed quote-- that coming to one of my events to hear what i had to say on any of these things was something they simply would not do. and many of them who did come, they would hold up their copy of the constitution, and they would say, "if it's not in the constitution you shouldn't do it, and senator bennett you have been unfaithful to your oath." i got that a lot. we want to dismantle everything. and, well, i'm not quite ready to go that far in my conservative views. >> reporter: demint is far more complimentary of the tea party agenda. he confirms he is considering endorsing additional challengers to republican incumbents, as he did in florida's senate race. demint says what concerns voters has less to do with republican or democratic labels and more to do with rising debt and deficits. >> it's more of a common sense philosophy, more of a balance sheet philosophy than it is partisan politics at this point. it's not right-left. i don't think those labels are going to work any more. there's nothing right or left about balancing the budget within your means.
or not bankrupting our country. i mean, you can't put republican or democrat on that. i think if republicans don't get the message after this election, i think it'll be an earthquake election. i think if we see the candidates, that kind of the party leaders endorsed, did not make it through, that these other candidates they said could not win, in p.a., and florida and kentucky. when they win-- and if we don't get the message then, then i think it's going to require even more aggressive changes. >> reporter: bob bennett says he agrees the obama administration has over-reached in spending and health care. >> my biggest concern is that we are not addressing the real issues. i think politics is divided between the great issues and the great diversions. and we're spending all of the time arguing about the great diversions. we're in a global world. we have a different kind of economy. then, demographics-- our country
is getting older. the percentage of people in the working force is shrinking. then, when you add to all of that the entitlement programs-- social security, medicare and medicaid-- you end up with a financial brew. well, i'm mixing methaphors here -- you end up with a financial circumstance that is unsustainable. and that's what we should be focusing on and not arguing about all of the specific mistakes that president obama is making. every administration makes specific mistakes that are fun to argue about, but here are the big issues going ignored. >> reporter: oregon senator ron wyden, bennett's partner in a failed bipartisan attempt to reform health care, argues members of the two parties have to work together or voters will punish them. >> those who come to washington in january of 2011 and say, "i'm only going to oppose the other side; i'm only going to work to
undermine what they'd like to do," i think voters will make it very clear that that's not acceptable either. they want solutions. >> reporter: republican jim demint disagrees. >> it is very difficult to work with the democrats because they're not working for the good of the country. and the republicans have been partially guilty of that in some ways, but not nearly to the degree. i think this idea of "we've got to work together," does not work any more. >> reporter: bob bennett has an opposite take. >> we need to be very careful, we republicans. obviously, this sense of anger works to our benefit, because if we're going to throw out all of the incumbents and the democrats control both houses, well, there are going to be more democrats to be thrown out. but we must recognize that anger is not a sound strategy for governing. once you are in office, you have to have some solutions.
and if we republicans don't have some solutions, and we just expect anger to keep us in office after we've won gains in 2010, we'll pay a serious price in 2012. >> reporter: demint argues the members the voters will reject will be the ones who don't stand up for principle, and who go along with the other side for more spending. >> supposedly, after we all pledge to a limited government, we can work together and debate how to do that. but the democrats have completely forgotten that oath, and so have some republicans. i hope those republicans are sent home. and i hope we get some people up here who take their oath of office seriously. >> reporter: with a small but growing number of conservative victories over the past few months, including one who will take bob bennett's senate seat in utah, congress may be closer to a showdown over these competing visions. >> lehrer: and here with a p.s.
to that report is the newest member of our newshour team... political editor david political editor david chalian. who joined us from abc news... he'll be in charge of our political coverage here on the broadcast as well as on-line... welcome, david... welcome to the family, david. >> thank you very much for having me, glad to be here. >> lehrer: just following up here on judy's report, first of all, michael steele, the chairman of the republican party's problems, into this, or does it fit? >> well, it fits in this way. michael steele's, other than raising money, michael steele's mission one is to for the last year now to harness this energy in the tea party movement, the conservative wing of the party, without days feking the folks in the middle that you need to win in order to become a majority party. but you just alluded to the controversies, michael steele's problem is he can't get out of his own way. and the latest controversy about his remarks on the afghanistan war and the fact that he took a position that
is not like any republican, saying basically that he was not in favor of the obama policy in afghanistan, he had to walk that back, because that's not at all the position his party is in. again, he stepped on his own messaging, and therefore this mission of harnessing that tea party energy gets put to the side because he becomes a distraction to the conversation. >> lehrer: so he's not involved in this split, right? >> he's not. he's trying very hard to bring those two sides together into a winning coalition. he hasn't aligned himself with one side or the other. but with all of these gaps if you will, he's almost making something irrelevant right now. the other republican campaign committees in charge of winning house seats and senate seats and governors races, they are raising money basically by telling donors don't give to the r. m. c. or michael steele, he keeps getting into trouble, give it to us. so they're sort of side lining him from this effort. >> lehrer: are there recognized national spokespersons for both of these wings that we've just
been talking about? jim deminute on one side, now of course bob bennett, he's about to leave the senate, but who are the leaders of these two groups? >> right. jim demind is certainly a leader of this one side, he got behind marco rubio in florida in the senate race real early and it drove charlie crist from the party, who is now running as an i believe. on the establishment side, it's tough to tell. mitch mcconnell and john boehner are certainly the establishment leaders in congress and they have to set the tone and have to appeal to both factions in here. i don't know that the establishment side has necessarily one leader. but certainly any of the moderates in the senate, the few that are left, would fit into that wing of the party. but the jim demints and the, of course sarah palin who is active with the tea party movement, i spoke to one senior strategist in the party today and he said listen those guys, they make all the noise, they get all the attention, they get on all the shows. they don't necessarily
represent as large of a swath in the party as the attention they get may make many believe. >> lehrer: so the big struggle, the big mission is going to be to put all the republicans back together when humpty-dumpty -- never mind that analogy. anyhow, put them back together, right, come november? >> no doubt about it. and barack obama and nancy pelosi are doing all they can to help that effort because they really do unify around opposition to the president's agenda, to the speaker's agenda in the house. this is going to be a tough terrible year for the democrats, there's no doubt about that. and this divide i don't think will hamper that too much for republicans. but in certain key races, like you saw in the kentucky senate race, the nevada senate race, these are races democrats didn't even think they'd be in, and the fact that these tea party candidates are in there now, democrats are licking their chops that maybe it won't be quite as bad. but when they get, if the republicans do get in the majority when they get to the governing issue, and you her
bob bennett talk about that in the piece, then this obstacle presents it in greater fashion. one republican said to me that's a problem they would love to have after november. >> lehrer: sure. when senator demind says hey wait a minute this isn't really republicans and democrats, this is not a partisan thing, this is bigger than that, and is that just talk? >> i don't think it's just talk in this one piece. what he's really talking about there is how much the american electorate overall is concerned this year about deficit and debt. and that is true. that cuts across party lines, no doubt republicans and conservatives care more. but i think what jim demint is getting at is that there is a feel, and all republicans, establishment, tea party, all kinds of republicans say they've gotten away from those core principles of reigning in the spending. so i think that is, that principle that jim deminute is talking about, does sort of go beyond party labeling. >> lehrer: and there's also no question, is there, that there is anger among the populace
for all kinds people who have lost jobs, homes, set set ra, whether it's ideological or not, there's anger? >> there's no doubt about it. and the big question that we're going to keep looking at going forward into the fall is how much of a hearing will obama and the democrats running on the ballot this year get from the american public if the economy doesn't improve much. will they even be open to their side of the argument to try to make this a comparative election. >> lehrer: thank you, david, and again welcome. we look forward to your future wisdom and wit as we go forward. >> thank you. >> ifill: next, europe is coming to terms with big questions about austerity and spending. last week, "newshour" economics correspondent paul solman interviewed the greek prime minister. tonight, he speaks with the french finance minister about how her country is coping with the large burdens of paying for its national retirement system. it's all part of his ongoing reporting on "making sense of financial news."
>> reporter: paris, june 24. thousands in the streets, protesting france's plan to raise the retirement age from 60 to 62 by 2018. in a country where the official work week is 35 hours, plus five weeks vacation a year, and retirees, on average, now earn more than workers. in charge of the economy ever since the financial crisis, christine lagarde, champion french swimmer in the '70s, high-powered chicago lawyer in the '80s and '90s. and back in france, finance minister since 2007. we sat down with her in paris on monday. madame minister, thanks for joining us. >> pleasure. >> reporter: how serious is the threat to the world economy right now. spain, greece, eastern europe, portugal, all tremendously weak. and, have you been taken off guard? >> i'm always cautious and i'm
always very attentive to the unknown risk. because i strongly believe that the risk is going to come from somewhere unexpected. >> reporter: how bad is the threat now? >> what we've done for europe at large i think is a very massive plan, totally unexpected, totally counter treaty because it was notcheduled in the treaty that we should do a bailout program as we did. >> reporter: this is the may 9 bailout that you did. i think you said at the time that it was the most expensive night in the history of the world. >> that's right, because we had essentially a trillion dollars on the table to confront any market attack that would target any country, whether it's greece, spain, portugal or anybody within the euro zone. >> reporter: so you're not worried that there's an imminent threat to the global economy at the moment. you wouldn't tell me if you were
i don't guess. >> no, no, let me be more specific about it. i was asked if it was the beginning of the crisis, the middle of the crisis or the end of the crisis. and i said we are in the middle of the beginning of the end. the crisis has really hit its peak. >> reporter: economically, france vs. germany seems to mirror the main economic issue of our times, or right now, which is stimulus vs. austerity, bailouts vs. budget cuts. europe can't do both, can it? it can't do everything. >> yes, it can. we always we have to strike the right balance between continue to stimulate and most of us still have a little bit of stimulus under our foot in order to accelerate that fragile
growth that has picked up 2010. but, at the same time, we must very decisively cut our deficit and reduce our debt. now how do we cut deficit. there are two ways. one is we reduce public spending and certainly as far as france is concerned we can do a bit because at the moment it is the biggest public spender in the european union. so we can cut public expense. the other way to reduce deficit is to collect tax. and we're going to automatically collect a bit more tax in 2010 than we did in 2009. >> reporter: but this is a form of austerity and in greece and spain and all over europe, austerity is now being practiced. are you not afraid that this might lead to a double dip recession or worse if all european governments cut their spending and raise taxes at the same time? >> we are all spending quite a lot of money.
so i think the money spent by public authorities particularly in france which is the only country i'm the minister of economy and finance for, we have room to maneuver, there's no question about that. when you decide to reduce your budgets by 5% you can actually do it. >> reporter: you know the economist says austerity is a dirty word in france. that even though you're trying to run this balance to be austere at all is a political impossibility. >> i've invented a new word in french which i call "ri-lance." ri is the first syllable of riguer. >> reporter: rigor. >> and lance is the relance, stimulate. so i've mixed a new word. the first priority is a bit of rigor in order to cut deficit, reduce deficit, reduce debt by specifically targeted tools but we also want to stimulate growth.
>> reporter: you know when americans see french workers in streets protesting a rise in the retirement age at which you get a pension from 60 to 62 over the course of a decade when the germans are going from 65 to 67 in a year, they roll their eyes. >> it's not as simple as that. we are moving from 60 to 62 before 2018 and in 2018 the whole pension scheme program will be balanced so we reduce the deficit by pushing out the limits from 60 to 62 and by various other means because we will also raise the financing of the pension scheme. >> reporter: you became famous and controversial-- well you were already famous, but i guess controversial when you used this phrase, "enough thinking
already. time to roll up our sleeves and get working again." so you are more nearly the austerity person, no, or at least that's your reputation. >> well, i did say at the time that we had dealt, addressed, argued about each and every issue that there is to be argued upon. and that that has filled out libraries and that wed done libraries and that we'd done enough thinking so far. it's about time to roll up our sleeves and get on with the work. and i still very strongly believe that we have to produce more value. our economy system has to be more productive, has to be more competitive. and i don't see and i don't know any other alternative but work. i haven't changed. >> reporter: when we talked with prime minister papandreou of greece, he acknowledged that he
and europe were essentially between a rock and a hard place with regard to spending vs. saving. is that fair or do you think with your new word "ri-lance"-- rigor with stimulus-- that somehow you can have the best of both worlds? >> the economic policy that we are adopting with that ri-lance, a bit of cutting deficit on the one hand, a bit of stimulating growth on the other hand, is a constant fine tuning exercise. because we want as our first priority economies to develop value and to create jobs. and this is my constant obsession. how are we going to create jobs in europe. >> reporter: french and german banks hold a lot of spanish and greek debt you don't worry about them. >> as i told you, i'm minister of economy and finance. >> reporter: french banks?
>> i worry all the time but i don't worry specifically about my banks. >> reporter: you don't worry about french banks, you worry, just generally. >> yes. >> reporter: is that why europe and the i.m.f... >> nobody wants to take my job at the moment. >> reporter: is that true? but you seem to like it. >> you have to keep smiling, even when it's hard. grit your teeth and smile, what i was told when i was much younger. >> reporter: madame minister, thank you very much. >> ifill: in a related action today, the european parliament offered one of the toughest responses so far to the bank crisis-- voting to limit the amount of cash bankers can receive in upfront bonuses, beginning in january. >> lehrer: next, an update from the troubled east african nation of somalia, where children are being deployed in war. jeffrey brown has our story. >> brown: it is, according to "foreign policy" magazine, the number one failed state in the world. for nearly two decades, somalia has been plagued by civil wars,
clashing militias, piracy off its shores, and a series of governments with little power, unable stem the violence, which has left thousands of civilians dead. into that vacuum has stepped an islamist rebel group called al- shabob that holds sway over large parts of the country and, with ties to al qaeda, has helped turned the country into a haven for terrorists. last year, international hopes, and a great deal of u.s. aid, were pinned on a new leader, sheikh sharif ahmed, but his government continues to control very little of the capital, mogadishu. few american reporters venture into somalia. one who's made numerous trips there is jeffrey gettleman, east africa bureau chief for the new york times. he recently returned from a trip to mogadishu earlier this summer and joins us now from chicago. we talk of a violent uncontrolled place. what does mogadishu look like and feel like when you're there?
>> well, one of the first forms you have to fill out when you arrive is a immigration form at the airport that asks for your name, address, birth date and caliber of weapon. it's still an incredibly lawless, dangerous experience to travel there. which is why there aren't many foreign aid workers or diplomats or that many journalists that venture in there. that said, life continues in a place like mogadishu. when i was there a few weeks ago i was happy to see a duty-free shop in the airport for the first time. so there is some normalcy returning, but it's incredibly dangerous out on the streets him there's fighting along, there's fighting between several different groups, even troops within the government fighting each other. and it's like baghdad or afghanistan or a conflict zone where you constantly hear shelling, gunfire, civilians are killed every day, needlessly.
but here this has been going on for 20 years, and it really has not gotten much better since 1991 when the government collapsed. >> brown: now, we said that there have been some hopes for this new leader who is sometimes described as a moderate islamist. and it sounds as though according to your reports there's less hope now? what's happened? >> well, i did a big story last august on sheikh ahmed, the president of the transitional government of somalia and a lot of peel were excited when he came to power last year. he was the first leader that wasn't a warlord, he had stayed out of the civil conflict, he was a moderate islamist scholar and had a lot of credibility on the streets. and he also got a lot of support from the outside, so you had these two things going on with potential inside the country to rally behind and a lot of money and diplomatic attention coming from outside. but he hasn't been able to convert that into much of anything.
the government is still holed up on top of this hill in central mogadishu, they're fighting for their survival in the neighborhoods down below. there's no service delivery, there's no real work of the ministrys, they have ministrys for education and health and children and all of the normal portfolio of government business, but nothing is happening. >> brown: and one of your recent articles highlights another disturbing aspect to this new trend where the government is using children as soldiers. and you make the link to the fact that the u.s. aid is helping prop up this army. >> well, we were surprised by this. we knew the insurgents were drafting children, plucking them off soccer fields, throwing them out on the front lines, even turning young children into suicide bombers. but it was surprising to us that the transitional government, which gets a lot of money from the u. n. and u.s., was doing the same thing. and when i was there a few weeks ago we saw young kids, maybe 12 or 13 years old, carrying automatic assault rifles, working on the front
lines, running checkpoints. and it showed to me the level of desperation that this government is reaching out to anybody it can get including children to fight for it. >> brown: and the rebel group we mentioned, al shabab, sound as though they have not achieved any sort of popularity with the populace, but can you tell how strong they are at this point? >> well, this is exactly it. there's a huge opportunity here, because about half of somalia is controlled by these radical islamic groups that chop off hands and stone people to death, they banned music, they've told women they're not allowed to wear bras. they've tried to impose a harsh and alien form of islam that's wildly unpopular in somalia. but they are militarily powerful and their fighters are very fired up and they have succeeded in drawing people from around the world to come and wage jihad in somalia. so while they're not popular, they're still powerful, and
the government has really struggled to dislodge them. >> brown: now that money that's been flowing in from the u.s., the u. n. and the international community, you write about a rethinking within the international community about whether that's a good idea, how effective all that has been, and perhaps things might change going forward. what are you hearing, what's going on? >> well, we're at an interesting point. for the past year or so, there was a lot of support for the transitional government, because people said we cannot allow the shab ab to rule somalia, the whole country. if they do, that then it could become this magnet for terrorists around the world, even more so than it is today, and it could become a sanctuary where peep could plan attacks around africa or maybe around the world from somalia, just like what happened in afghanistan before september 11, 2001. however, things are shifting a little bit. there had been a lot of support for the government because they were seen as the
only alternative and recently there's been talk of this new theory called constructive disengagement, which is basically advising the international community to back away from somalia , to stop trying to shape events in somalia because it just hasn't been working. >> brown: before i let you go, just to come back to where we started, you talked about the signs of life, even at the airport with the duty-free shop. i remember the last time i looked into this and read and talked to people there were somalis coming back from around the world to come and join the government or to come back and try to create a civil society in a business life there. what's the state of all of that at this point? >> well, that's a really good question. when the president came in last year he brought with him a lot of people from outside somalia who really believed in him and felt a duty to return to their country, brave these
enormous risks, put their lives on the line, and try to build something, try to build a state and a place that has resisted it for so long. but in the last few weeks and past few months, we've seen a lot of these educated technocratic somalis begin to leave the country, and to me that's one of the most discouraging signs, because it really looks like people are beginning to lose hope that this government is any different from all the other transitional governments that failed to bring back a state. >> brown: all right, jeffrey gettleman of the "new york times" on the state of things in somalia, thanks very much. >> thank you. >> ifill: finally tonight, the story behind a 100-year-wait for an autobiography by one of america's most famous writers. "newshour" correspondent spencer michels explains. >> reporter: behind a decorative gate and a security checkpoint in berkeley, california and through an unmarked, locked door
in the bancroft library lies a remarkable and valuable collection of letters, documents and writings that describe the life and passions of mark twain, perhaps america's greatest and funniest writer. this rare and damaged film of twain late in his life is part of the archive, as are early copies of huckleberry finn and tom sawyer, regarded as monumental american novels. overseeing the vault-- as the room is sometimes called-- is robert hirst, general editor of the mark twain project, which this year, 2010, is finally publishing along with the university of california press twain's uncensored autobiography. finally, because twain decreed that this document not be published in its entirety until 100 years after his death, which took place in 1910, when he was
75. most people don't have the nerve to speak exactly what they believe while they're alive because of the repercussions. people will shun them. he says, "i'm only human. i don't want to be shunned. i don't want to be thought ill of, and therefore i'm willing to write this down and put it on paper and leave it behind." >> reporter: working with numerous copies and corrections, the editors at first thought the autobiography was unfinished and random. but after six years, they figured out twain's had produced a complete, provocative document. >> even for us who have had access to it without restriction seeing the way he wants to arrange it, seeing the way he wants to put the parts together is brand new to us. and i can't help feeling that it will be brand new and interesting to the world. >> reporter: samuel clemens-- twain's real name-- grew up in missouri, on the banks of the mississippi: stomping grounds for the fictional tom sawyer and
huck finn. he left school for good at 11, and later became a pilot on river boats also material for later works. out west, during the gold and silver rushes, he worked at newspapers in nevada and california, and started his literary career. he was a traveling man, and wrote about trips to europe and the holy land and to the sandwich islands-- now hawaii. he wrote voluminously, continuously. but for his autobiography, composed during the last three years of his life, rather than write it, he dictated it to a stenographer. she's not only accurate as clemens says, she's a good audience. very important to mark twain, to have someone there reacting to what he says, "laughing, i presume at what he says or at least extolling it in some way." >> reporter: in one revelatory passage, twain describes how he overcame writer's block while working on "tom sawyer."
>> "i knew quite well the tale was not finished and i could not understand why i was not able to go on with it. but the reason was very simple. my tank had run dry. it was empty. the manuscript was laying in pigeon hole two years; i took it out one day and it was then that i made the great discovery that when the tank runs dry, you're only to leave it alone and it will fill up again in the time while you are asleep, also while you are at work on other things and are quite unaware of this unconscious and profitable cerebration is going on." there was plenty of material now and the book went on and finished itself without any trouble. that is a method he goes on to apply to every book that he writes. the autobiography, along with nearly a million pages of other material penned by twain, including letters and notebooks, have been housed on the university of california berkeley campus since 1949. that's when twain's only surviving daughter, clara, decreed in her will that the papers go to berkeley where one of twain's biographers was
teaching. since twain's death, four different editors have taken a stab at publishing portions of his biography, despite twain's wishes to wait 100 years. but the project at berkeley-- a team of editors working from the original manuscript-- will mark the first time the entire document is published, including controversial parts. harriet elinor smith is the official editor of the autobiography; she's been working here for more than 30 years. she says that among the writings he wanted to suppress was his somewhat shocking view of christianity. >> there is one notable thing about our christianity. it is bad, bloody, merciless, money grabbing and predatory. the invention of hell measured by our christianity of today bad, bad as it is, hypocritical as it is, empty and hollow as it is, neither the deity or his son
is a christian nor qualified for that moderately high place. ours is a terrible religion, the fleets of the world could swim in spacious comfort in the innocent blood it has spilled." that would have been considered very shocking in the day. >> reporter: editor ben griffin- - who joined the twain project five years ago -- relates another jolting passage, where twain took out his anger on an entrepreueur named james paige, who lost him money. this is the end of the piece he wrote about paige. "paige and i always meet on effusively affectionate terms and yet he knows perfectly well that if i had his nuts in a steel trap, i would shut out all human suffer and watch that trap till he died." >> reporter: very vicious. >> he used the autobiography as a chance to disburden himself of a lot of feeling. he left this out of the final version of the autobiography. >> reporter: are you putting it in? >> we're including it in a
section of the earlier shots he took at writing an autobiography. >> reporter: the autobiography does include social and political material twain thought too hot for the times-- like these remarks about president theodore roosevelt's role in the massacre of fililpino guerillas after the spanish american war. >> "he knew perfectly well that to pen 600 hopeless and weaponless savages in a hole like rats in a trap and massacre them in detail during a stretch of a day and a half from a safe position on the heights above was no really feat of arms. he knew perfectly well that our uniformed assassins had not upheld the honor of the american flag." >> reporter: while he could rant on social issues like imperialism, letters he wrote indicated that he still pulled his punches on what he would reveal, even a century hence. >> he struggled very much with the idea of self-revelation. his own self-accusations, the guilt that he felt.
part of him wanted to reveal all and part of him was really never able to speak the truth as he called it. >> reporter: for shelly fishkin- - an english professor at stanford and a twain scholar who has edited many of his works-- the autobiography enhanses the autobiography enhances twains stature as an american original. >> he always viewed himself as a moralist in disguise as he once put it. he's always helping people look at themselves, look at their flaws, but not judging them in a way that exempts himself. he's always a part of the human comedy that he's portraying and he's not presenting himself as superior to the rest of us. he's criticizing all of us including himself. >> reporter: the release of mark twain's autobiography should cast new light on twain's role and on his life and thoughts. the first of three large volumes will be released in november.
>> lehrer: again, the major developments of the day: nursing homes were evacuated, transit slowed and millions of people sought relief from broiling heat in the eastern u.s. wall street had its best day in more than a month. the dow jones industrial average gained nearly 275 points to close back above 10,000. and it was widely reported those accused russian spies may be swapped for people convicted of stealing russian secrets for the u.s. the "newshour" is always online. hari sreenivasan, in our newsroom, previews what's there. hari? >> sreenivasan: the "newshour" has another previously unpublished work from mark twain. it's an essay called "concerning the interview," and if you've ever been interviewed or just watched an interview, you'll enjoy this one. find it exclusively on our web site. here's an excerpt read by robert hirst, editor of the mark twain
project. >> the interview was not a happy invention. it is perhaps the poores of all ways of getting at what is in a man n. the first place the interviewer is the reverse of an inspiration, because you are afraid of him. he doesn't know when you are delivering melt for when you are shoveling out slag, he can't tell dirt from duckets. he puts in everything you say, then he sees himself ... so he tries to member it by puting in something of his own which he thinks is right, but in fact is rotten. >> sreenivasan: you can ask editor hirst about the twain essay or about the author's life and work. submit your questions on the rundown. and on "newshour extra," there are also special resources for teachers and students about mark twain. on the oil spill, betty ann bowser writes about trailers first brought to new orleans after katrina and now housing workers cleaning up the oil. the same trailers were blamed for making hurricane victims sick five years ago. and ray suarez has a preview of
his upcoming reports from haiti still struggling six months after the earthquake. all that and more is on our web site, newshour.pbs.org. gwen? >> ifill: and that's the "newshour" for tonight. i'm gwen ifill. >> lehrer: and i'm jim lehrer. we'll see you on-line and again here tomorrow evening. thank you and good night. major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: and the william and flora hewlett foundation, working to solve social and environmental problems at home and around the world. and with the ongoing support of these institutions and foundations. and... this program was made possible