tv PBS News Hour PBS January 21, 2022 3:00pm-4:01pm PST
captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc >> woodruff: good evening. i'm judy woodruff. on the newshour tonight: no breakthroughs. the u.s. and russia remain in a heated standoff over ukraine after a meeting between the american secretary of state and his russian counterpart. then, cruel winter. taliban rule, a historic drought, and bitter cold exacerbate afghanistan's widespread food scarcity. >> ( translated ): the taliban say we have peace, but what good is peace when our children are sick, and i have debt collectors at my door. >> woodruff: and it's friday. david brooks and jonathan capehart take stock of the president's first year in office and the failed push for voting rights in the senate. all that and more, on tonight's
pbs newshour. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> fidelity wealth management. >> johnson & johnson. >> financial services firm raymond james. >> the john s. and james l. knight foundation. fostering informed and engaged communities. more at kf.org. >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions: and friends of the newshour.
>> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> woodruff: the top american and russian diplomats have had a high-stakes meeting over ukraine, and agrd to keep talking. u.s. secretary of state anthony blinken and russia's foreign minister sat down for 90 minutes in geneva today. neither indicated there had been progress. we'll get all of the details, after the news summary. a federal judge in texas today blocked enforcement, nationwide, of a covid-19 vaccine mandate for federal workers. the u.s. justice department said that it will appeal, and the white house said 98% of federal employees already have their shots. that came as the c.d.c. reported booster shots are 90% effective against hospitalizations in patients with the omicron variant.
anti-abortion forces staged their annual rally in washington, d.c. today, buoyed by hopes of a sharp rollback of abortion rights. thousands protested the u.s. supreme court's "roe v. wade" decision that legalized abortion 49 years ago. and, they looked to a mississippi case that could overturn "roe." >> today, we march to the supreme court, which this year has an opportunity to give the american people, for the first time in 50 years, the ability to recognize that equality begins in the womb. hopefully, next year will be a new era of building the culture of life, because "roe" ll >> woodruff: afterward, the crowds marched to the supreme court. the justices are expected to issue their much-anticipated ruling by march. in the middle east, islamic state fighters launched some of their biggest attacks in several years. more than 100 gunmen assaulted a
prison in northeastern syria, where some 3,000 isis militants were being held. at least 23 of the attackers died. and in iraq, isis gunmen stormed an army barracks north of baquoba, killing 11 soldiers as they slept. rebels in yemen say that a saudi coalition air strike killed at least 70 inmates at a prison today. dozens more were wounded in the air raid. it was part of the war's most intensive air campaign since 2018. the assault began after the rebels-- backed by iran-- launched their own air attack on the united arab emirates. back in this country, federal agents have arrested a texas man for allegedly postg threats about killing officials in georgia after the 2020 presidential vote. it is the first case brought by a u.s. justice department task force. the texas suspect could get five years in prison, if he is convicted.
on wall street today, stocks finished their worst week in many months. the dow jones industrial average lost 450 points to close at 34,265. the nasdaq fell 385 points. the s&p 500 dropped 84. for the week, the dow lost 4.6%, the most since october 2020. the nasdaq fell 7.6%, and the s&p 500 dropped 5.7%. both were the biggest losses since march 2020. and, fans across generations are mourning rock superstar meat loaf, after his death on thursday. his 1977 debut album, "bat out of hell," sold more than 40 million copies worldwide, and remains one of the top-selling
albums in history. here he is singing the title track in a music video, in 1979. ♪ when the nit is over like a bat out of hell ♪ i'll be gone gone, gone ♪ like a bat out of hell i'll be gone ♪ when the morning comes but when the day is done ♪ and the sun goes down and the moonlight shining ♪ >> woodruff: meat loaf was 74 years old. still to come on the newshour: we examine the biden administration's efforts on education initiatives. david brooks and jonathan capehart break down the latest political news. a pandemic-inspired online drawing class grows into a push for arts education plus, much more. >> woodruff: today, the u.s.
agreed to submit written responses next week to russia's demands on how to end the crisis over ukraine. the announcement came during a high-level diplomatic meeting in geneva, as russia maintains overwhelming force along the ukrainian border, and has now deployed troops to neighboring belaru here's nick schifrin. >> schifrin: in geneva today, the u.s. and russia's top diplomats agreed to keep the diplomatic path open. secretary of state anty blinken said talks would continue. >> we anticipate that we will be able to share with russia our concerns and ideas in more detail and in writing next week, and we agreed to further discussions after that. >> schifrin: russian foreign minister sergey lavrov called russia's demands legitimate. >> ( translated ): our concerns are not about the imaginary, but about the real threats and facts that nobody is really hiding: stuffing ukraine with weapons, sending hundreds of western
military trainers. ( explosions ) >> schifrin: but near ukraine's border, it is russian weapons that aren't hiding. today, the russian defense ministry released new video of soldiers training with the tanks they would use to launch a full-scale invasion. and with the russian tanks, and troops that arrived this week in belarus, the u.s. says about 100,000 russian troops surround ukraine, in a half- dozen locations. the troops in belarus are only a few hundred miles north of kiev, and could link up to surround kiev with troops in nearby klimovo, where the russian buildup can be seen in satellite photos released this week. today, blinken warned the threat to ukraine's government was diverse, and possibly fatal. >> we've seen plans to undertake a variety of destabilizing actions, some of them short of the overt use of force, to destabize ukraine, to topple the government.
>> schifrin: in response, the west is accelerating military aid. this week, the u.s. fast-tracked more javelin anti-tank missiles that senior u.s. officials say are now deployed to key transit points. and, for the first time, the u.s. authorized the transfer from baltic allies of surface- to-air stinger missiles that can target russian helicopters and low-flying jets, used most famously to help the afghan resistance defeat the soviet military in the 1980s. ukraine has also deployed drones from nato-member turkey, that have successfully targeted russian tanks in previous conflicts. in eastern ukraine this week, ukrainian soldiers said the support supplies some solace. >> ( translated ): it shows that we are not alone, that we have support, and we can count on our forces' and our allies' power. >> schifrin:ut the u.s. has rejected the idea of supplementing ukraine's military with its own forces, and the russian forces, just across the border, are overwhelming. for more on ruia's posture on ukraine's borders and what the
u.s. and west are doing about it, we turn to michael kofman, research program director in the russia studies program at the center for naval analyses, or cna. michael kofman, welcome back to the "newshour". we've seen this week the u.s., the u.k. rush weapons to ukraine, including those stinger surface-to-air missiles. what's the significance of that? >> it's a big development the united states and other countries are willing to rush military equipment and weapons to ukraine at the stage. unfortunately, it's not going to make a strategic difference in a conflict or deter russia. in those republicans, you see the united states basically now preparing for the worst. i think there's to some extent almost a resignation that conflict is very likely. >> reporter: stingers can target russian helicopters and even jets flying below a certain altitude. why don't they change calculus? >> russia maintains superiority over ukraine's military.
while it is going to do something and will in the margins raise the cost of the russian-military effort, depending on what the actual military campaign might be, it's ultimately indecisive in terms of outcome, nor are the other tactical capabilities like an-tank missiles and the like. >> reporter: so even the weapons forwarded to ukraine doesn't make a huge difference in the calculus, how are ukrainians swaiptd r situated on the ground to exert at least some cost on russia? >> the ukraine military is positioned to deny any sall incursion, that's why a russian military campaign would have to be much larger than before and involve the use of air power. but ukraine's military is not able to defend against the largest country in europe. much of ukraine's military pour is concentrated east, sleeltz cut off, encircled an russia may attack in the eastern regions, south and the north.
ukraine's military is simply not in a position to defend all these projects with a much smaller force and big shortages and logistics, air defense and the like. >> reporter: what has russia deployed to ukraine's border that gives it that superiority over the ukrainian forces. >> it's safe to say that rust has close to 100,000 troops or that sort of potential prepared for an invasion with reserves and ugust siliries. much of this is pre-positioned equipment and quite a few don't have the personnel already there with them but that can arrive on short notice. the honest answer is when you look at russia's military buildup today, they are potentially weeks away from being able to conduct a large-scale military offensive. >> reporter: and that weeks away, is that calendar based on russian deployments of personnel or the weather or perhaps both? >> so from my point of view, it's much more bed on the forces that are still moving and the capabilities that are still
en route towards ukraine. there's a host of units moving from central russia and the russia far east. there are amphibious assault trips in transit across europe in the mediterranean. they'll fake time to arrive to the black sea fleet. there are components to military operations that aren't there yet. >> reporter: we've seen russian troops arrive in belarus today including a few hundred miles north of kyiv. what additional capacity does that provide russia. >> a significant development. it tells us the russian military operation is likely to be charge and not just ukraine's eastern regions but will encircle kyiv from the northeast and the northwest as russia has a substantial number of forces employed in belarus and to the south is a sizable milary russian buildup in crimea. >> reporter: so the strategic consequence of being able to encircle the capital is.
>> suggests one to have the main objectives may be regime change and impose settlement upon ukraine. it's one to have the more optimistic scenarios. the alternative is russia actually intends to partition ukraine. >> reporter: we've seen other tactics and operations from russia in the past notably cyber operations but also more use of special forceso-called little green men. what are the capacities and the likelihood russia use thes those instead of traditional ground invasion? >> at the end of the day, these conflicts are decided by large-scale conventional military operations. i think in any initial phase you would seen air campaign combined with strikes and cyber warfare, followed up by an offensive ground operation. they've already invaded ukraine more than once and occupied and annexed ukrainian territory, too, and these he was have not been successful in achieving russian political aims so it's
incredulous they would seek to attempt again that which has not worked. >> reporter: can you see anything to forestall war? >> doesn't look like russian's diplomatic efforts are genuine, they seem almost designed to fail. the latest meeting between secretary blinken and lavrov suggests russia is interested to receiving a formal refusal to its demands much more than it's interested in achieving a diplomatic compromise. >> reporter: michael kofman, thank you very much. >> my pleasure. thanks for having me on your program. >> woodruff: winter in afghanistan is never easy. but this is the first since the withdrawal of the u.s. and its allies, and the taliban takeover. in response, the international community cut off non- humanitarian aid, froze assets
abroad, and imposed sanctions on the new government. all those factors, plus crippling drought and already-fragile institutions, has led to an economic and humanitarian crisis. as john ray of independent television news reports, afghans are going to desperate lengths to keep themselves, and their family members, alive. >> reporter: kabul is no place to be young in this bleak mid- winter. there is snow on the mountains, a chill in every heart, and only the coldest comfort for a family of six children-- the oldest, 14; the youngest, just one. their father is dead. they are destitute. and their mother is desperate. we first found her at the local market, her children laid out like goods for sale, begging strangers for help.
but help there is none. so, for a few pennies, they polish shoes. it does not earn them any kind of living, nor buy them even bread. there's barely a roof over their heads. the stove is stone cold, and their baby is sick with fever. >> ( translated ): i'm desperate. we're beaten. there is no more we can do. god knows, i have nothing. >> reporter: when the taliban arrived, much western funding vanished, as quickly as u.s. troops. today's boots on the ground belong to the army of urban poor. the economy has collapsed. there is no work. and little relief. "in this place, we have no
money, no doctor, not even a ece of bread," says tawoos khan. "most the ildren you see here are orphans. their fathers have been killed in the war. but now, we will discover, peace brings no respite." a child appears at the door. her father makes us an astonishing offer. he wants to sell? it sounds callous, but it is more a measure of sahib khan's misery. an educated man, once a schoolteacher-- better times, now gone. >> ( translated ): the taliban say we have peace, but what good is peace when our children are sick, and i have debt collectors at my door?
there is nothing else i can do. i am not able to care for her. >> reporter: life has never been easy here. but now it is harder than ever. to the people here, all these children, it doesn't matter that the americans have gone and the taliban have come back. what does matter is that they just don't have enough to eat, and that it feels that they are being forced, slowly but inevitably, towards starvation. they work miracles here. they need to, for babies like hasibula, whose survival seems against all odds. amina fights for breath, her malnourished body unable to fight off infection. her mother tells us she will stay at her bedside until god decides her daughter's fate. for week after week, staff
worked without pay. they still lack medicine and equipment. and sometimes, even miracles fall short. >> we have in the previous months, mortality was about 200. 200 children was died in here. >> reporter: and underlying it always is hunger? >> just hunger. yes. >> reporter: and women who are pregnant and hungry give birth prematurely. so, it is two to an incubator. a baby has stopped breathing. his name is muhammed anwar. for an agonizing moment, his life hangs in the balance. but this fight ends in victory. >> he got a new life. after resuscitation.
>> reporter: yet sometimes there is as much grief as joy. this newborn, called sabar, his twin brother has already died, and his own span in this unhappy land will be measured in days. his mother has been warned-- they do not have the drugs to save him. >> whole weekend, it is very bad for us. we are hopeless for them. >> reporter: four decades of fighting has ended, but yet another generation seems born to suffer. >> woodruff: there's no words. very hard to watch. that was john ray of independent television news.
>> woodruff: as the president marks one year in the oval office, we are continuing to check in on some of his key campaign promises. tonight, education. from re-opening schools in the pandemic, to a plan to offer two years of free community college. geoff bennett has this report card. >> reporter: as a presidential candidate, joe biden proposed historic investments across the span of an american education, from pre-k to college. >> we need emergency support funding for our schools, and we need it now. >> reporter: and as president, biden's top priority: providing immediate relief to public schools shuttered and stretched to the breaking point by the pandemic. a covid relief plan outlined early on: >> look, we can only do that if congress provides the necessary funding, so we get the schools, districts, communities, and states the resources they need for those-- so many things that aren't there already in a
tight budget. they need funding for testing to help reopen schools, more funding for transportation so students can maintain social distances on buses. they need it for school building for additional cleaning service, protective equipment, ventilation systems. >> reporter: president biden delivered, pouring roughly $122 billion into k-12 education, as part of the $1.9 trillion covid relief package he signed into law st spring, sending students back into classrooms and making up for learning loss. add to that, the president in november signing a $1.2 trillion infrastructure package, prviding money for schools to remove lead pipelines and expand broadband access. one of the president's most ambitious education proposals called for universal pre-k. >> there's universal pre-k for every three- and four-year-old child in america. it's going to increase academic achievement in all children and give them an even start no
matter what-- what home they come from, no matter how little-- little they've been taught to read or they've been read to. >> reporter: the $110 billion pitch for free, high-quality pre-school aimed at offering early learning that research shows helps kids throughout their lives. but the plan, included in his build back better act, is currently stuck in the senate. the president initially included in that social spending plan tuition-free community college, which he said would boost the middle class and help the u.s. compete with other countries. but in october, the white house revealed it dropped the proposal in a massive round of cost- cutting aimed at satisfying conservative democratic lawmakers. >> so, that was really discouraging to hear. >> reporter: 22-year-old pam williams attends community college in milwaukee. >> if that would have got passed, i feel like it would encourage more people to go for higher education. but now, people seeing that community college isn't even something that i might be able to pay for, just because of how
expensive that is. >> reporter: for now, the president says that proposal will have to wait. >> i promise you, i guarantee it, we're going to get free community college in the next several yes. >> reporter: and for americans struggling with crushing college loan debt, one biden pledge sounded particularly promising. >> i'm prepared to write off the $10,000 in debt but not $50,000, because i don't think i have the authority to do it by signing. >> reporter: during his campaign, he vowed to cancel $10,000 in student debt for every borrower. but, for the past year, president biden has chosen not to use his executive power to wipe out the student debt that weighs on some 45 million americans. that's despitencreased pressure from progressives like senator elizabeth warren, and establishment types, too, like senate majority leader chuck schumer. instead, the white house has been kicking the issue bk and forth with congress. >> if congress sends him a bill, he's happy to sign it. they haven't sent him a bill on
that yet. >> reporter: 23-year-old aidan sova recently graduated with $13,000 in student loans. >> although i still am a general supporter of president biden, i have to say that my frustration grows. i thought that within the last year of his presidency, he would at least ease the burden for me and all of the other americans who are affected, particularly considering the context of the pandemic. >> reporter: federal student loan payments are currently on pause because of the pandemic, and are set to restart in may. all told, president biden propos the largest federal investment in education in generations, much of it targeted to those who need it most. but, proposing policies has been far different from passing them into law. for the pbs newshour, i'm geoff bennett.
>> woodruff: president biden's first year in office closed out this week with major challenges, domestically and abroad. democrats have been unable to garner enough support to pass the white house's legislative priorities, and as we reported, tensions remain between the u.s. and russia, despite high-level diplomatic talks. to break down what these setbacks mean for the biden administration moving forward, we are joined by brooks and capehart. that's "new york times" columnist david brooks, and jonathan capehart, columnist for the "washington post." very good to see both of you on this cold january friday night. let's talk about the president's first year, jonathan. the critics are letting him have it. some people are coming to his defense. how do you see the first year? >> well, i see the first year -- today i was asked to give him a grade. i would give him a b. he's got an lot of good things
done -- the american rescue plan, the bipartisan infrastructure plan -- but there are a lot of other things that haven't come through -- build back better, voting rights. there's the continuing having to deal with the covid pandemic and dealing with people who don't want to get the vaccines, to help also get the economy going along, and speaking of the economy, inflation. so this is the first year of a four-year term. maybe in year two, he can get a lot of these things done, but it just goes to show, what we've seen is the limits of presidential power, especially when the president's party controls when you brownch of government but only because of the tie-breaking volt of the vice president. >> woodruff: david, do you want to give him a grade? >> i teach college and our grade inflation is so ridiculous, i don't want to do that becausit would be, like, an a plus.
(laughter) more americans give joseph biden an f than give him an a or b. he's in a slump. only 20% of americans want joe biden to run again. stunningly, only 48% of democrats want him to run again. that's pretty bad. nonetheless, here's how i would justify what he tried to do -- americhas big problems with inequality, race, voting, on a whole raft of issues, climate change and the rest. he tried to swing for the fences, and i thought, given the sociological crisis we're in, it was worth a shot because it really could have adjusted the foundations of america. it turned out to be more an our political system was able to handle. turns out that trust is government is really so low that people are suspicious of gig government action, it turns out joe manchin and kyrsten sinema actually believe what they say and they were not to be moved. so i think it was worth a shot, but it is time to pivot, and he is pivoting in small ways. i think he announced that this
week that he's going to spend less time negotiating with senators, more time in the country. that being president is different than senator, america wants a president who is out there and arctic lating things. but he has one job now and that's to make sure donald trump does not win in 2024, and that means he thews win over people who are sometimes democratic and sometimes trump voters and focusing on the 10 to 15% of republicans who are tired of trump to me is the number one job in the next three years. >> woodruff: if that's his job , do you agree that's the number one job and, if it is, is he up to it? >> well, look, i think the president's number one job is to get this country on track, and i don't think, you know, focusing all of your attention of 10 to 12% of republicans who might come your way is the way to do it. i think that the president and his administration went about
governing in a way of saying, you know what? this is what we are supposed to be doing, we are supposed to be governing for everyone. let's get things done and get things passed that affect all americans, as health department say, whether you voted for me or not. the other thing that we have to keep in mind that, yes, the president swung for the fences, but we can't also forget about the fact that republicans, particularly in the senate, have been unified in their opposition to just about anything he wants to do with the exception of the bipartisan infrastructure law and also the bill related to china. now, they're coming together on electoral -- the electoral count act and trying to do something about that, but you can't get voting rights passed without a single republican coming forward, or you can't even get build back better, any of the popular programs that are in it can't get passed because
republicans will not vote for them, then that becomes also part of the challenge, but i also think it should become part of the president's message about why things aren't getting done, and i think he tried to do that in the press conference on wednesday. >> woodruff: but, i mean, if these are the obstacles, david, how does he work through them in a way that was very difficult to work through this past year? >> well, the question is whether he wants a message or action. some of the action he can do through executive action, some minil things he can do, but if he wants to pass bills, it strikes me the infrastructure act is the way to go. he got 19 republican senators to support that, that was a trillion-dollar bill. it's a massive thing. a lot of people liked it. i think there are some parts, and i think the president thinks this, there are some parts to have the build back better bill that have broken out an can pass with biernts support. if he's going to pass things, he has to pass things joe manchin likes or things that can get 60
votes in the senate. it's just math. the ideas when i say he needs to focus on the 12%, there are a couple of perceptions he needs to address and not with words but with actions. the first is he's become ineffectual. people think he's not getting stuff done and that's because in the last six months he hasn't gotten a lot done. the second perception, he's not in touch with the desires of the people in the center, that he's gone therefore off left, and i think that was a necessity if he was going to try something big, but those concerns are things like crime, things like inflation, things like covid, and they're mostly economic right now, and, so, fix statementing on the issues -- fixating on the issues that are of interest to the senator is the way to get even 50 votes rather than 60. >> woodruff: is that the answer, jonathan, favor the center? >> depends on how are you defining the center, because i would argue that, you know, going for the child tax credit to get that funded or made
permanent, going for paid family leave, going for childcare, which, if you want to get the economy back up and running and you want to get -- want to have people get out back into the workforce, provide childcare so that you make it possible for people to go to work. i don't think that that's -- that that's some far left or progressive thing, that is something that i think a majority of the american people would like to have happen, and, you know, if build back better suddenly becomes childcare, adult care and maybe something on climate change or the child tax credit, get that in a package and get that passed, i think that that will solve maybe most of what david is talking about. it will show the country that the president has the needs of the country in the center of his nd and is doing everything -- or did everything possible to get that done to help them.
>> woodruff: david, is that doable? >> i do think there are things -- i'm not sure childcare is something you can geta lot of republican votes for or even joe manchin's votes for but i think versions of the child tax credit have been supported by people like marco rubio, the republican from florida. so i think there are things, and i'm just advocating for extreme pragmatism. the first question the first year is what does the country need. i get that. that's a good question to ask. but i think the question right now is what can we get done. so you go to your legislative affairs office and say where can we get the votes, and it's not throwing along bombs, it's throwing short passes along the middle and the child tax credit is a plausible one and i think there are a bunch of other plausible ones on the energy stuff and some of the voting rights, the electoral count act which jonathan mentioned which has strong bipartisan support, and, so, you pick up some wins and wins produce more wins down the road.
>> woodruff: jonathan, speaking of getting stuff done, was it the right thing to do for the president or the democrats to push through voting rights? we talked about it last week, we saw the outcome, they weren't able to get it through. was it the right thing to go ahead with the votes? >> it absolutely was the right thing to do? sometimes i think we make the mistake of viewing some of the issues from solely a political lens and because we look at them through a political lens, we don't see or hear the moral arguments that are being made, and i think that, you know, the president's been making the moral arguments since that speech last year in philadelphia. chuck schumer, the president made the speech -- made another moral case in atlanta a couple of weeks ago, and i think, when you make this a focal point of what you're trying to do, not just to rally your base, not just to help the democratic party, but because voting and the right to vote and the ability to vote and to have your votes counted fairly and
accurately is the underpinning of our democracy. and, so, if you're not going to fight for that, if you're not going to swing for the fences for that, even knowing that you're not going to get a new republican buy-in, that it is not going to pass the senate, and the fact that you've got two members of your own party who are saying even though we're going to vote for it, we're going to change the rules to allow it to pass by simple majority vote, i think the president and the senate majority leader chuck schumer were absolutely right to, if you're going to go down, go down fighting, because if you're not going to fight for democracy, then why are you there? >> woodruff: david, what do you think about whether it was the right thing to do? >> i more or less agree with jonathan, the john lewis act was the right thing to do as a matter of american moralitand principle. i think some so have the efforts wereiss focused. i think our crisis is in the certification of the vote, but that can still be fixed and i think there's republican support
for that. the electoral count act is a very old bill about how we work the electoral college, it's very leaky. there's lots of ways to screw it up, as we saw -- as what donald trump tried to do, so we need to close those loopholes and i think that can very much be be done. other things can be done to make sure there are paper ballots brought back. there are lots of things that susan collins and others are advocating for, i think there are other things republicans are talking up and biden could take them up on it and make sure that after the votes are cast and counted in 2024, we could be assured that the right outcome would actually come into effect. >> woodruff: which matters a lot. jonathan, one of the big challenges right now on the president's plate, of course, is ukraine. we heard a pretty pessimistic assessment from nick schifrin's
guest earlier in the program. how is the president hand lining that? and are the options for him clear at this point? >> um, well, one of the problems of having a marathon two-hour press conference, and especially when, you know, the president is joe biden, is that he, you know, likes to take the american people inside the tent and tell them -- let them know, like, here what we're talking about, and that's what's caused all the consternation with the alliance and also in ukraine. but the fact of the matter is the administration has been clear for weeks now that if russia does anything, there will be severe consequences. even after the president's preference and the administration was doing all sorts of clean up with what the president said, they were back on what they were saying, there will be severe consequences.
the challenge now is where the president is going to be if/when russia does something against ukraine, what does it do, and no matter what it does, it better be -- it better be forceful, it better be strong so it does not send a message to the allies but also the chinese that the united states is not willing to back up its words with action. >> woodruff: david, how do you size up with how the president is doing on this? >> yeah, we've had maybe a decade-long, maybe a 20--year-old slide in american policy, first with the years of the iraq war and probably learning the lessons of voter errors and therefore i think president obama, president trump in almost a bipartisan manner were for withdrawal with the assumption america can't be strong in the world because we're not competent at it. humility is good but excessive humility leaves the wolves room to prowl and vladimir putin and
the chinese have learned to prowl and they've gotten more confidence, they're more assured we're in decline and weak internally and they're testing. what i like about biden, the gaff was the gaff in the press conference and i think that will be forgotten, but i think what's the case is the entire n.a.t.o. alliance is united and strong about this, i think it's important russia wants us to basically withdraw troops from places like eastern europe and central europe and we're not going to do that and have made it clear which is right. but i think what the telling case will be is how severe the kinds of sanctions the west can impose on russia, how those are drawn up and how those are impressed upon the rugs that it will actually happen. you know, i just finished a book on katherine the great, the great russian empress, and taking over the ukraine is an old national tradition, and, so, i'm afraid putin is a russian nationalist through and through, and i do not put it past him
that he'll decide eventually to do this. and the report we had on from the military expert was truly horrifying. this would be such a shock to the 21st century if it happened, so that's why real strength and real specific threats seem to be the right way to do and biden is pretty much doing that. >> woodruff: i'm leaving this friday night with the i think of wolves on the prowl, david. thank you for that. >> have a great weekend, judy! >> woodruff: have a good evening. david brooks, jonathan capehart. >> woodruff: individual ingenuity has become a hallmark of the pandemic, with artists producing an array of creative in-person and virtual innovations. special correspondent cat wise has the story of how one san francisco artist stepped in to help out during the early days,
and soon found a new calling. it is part of our art and culture series, "canvas." >> reporter: on a recent morning, san francisco illustrator and graphic journalist wendy macnaughton put the finishing touches on a drawing. she's illustrated, edited and authored ten books, including three best-sellers. macnaughton has traveled widely, drawing things she sees and people she meets, from boot makers to hospice patients, security guards and literary icons, like joan didion and susan sontag. in 2019, she spent a week documenting the military court in guantanamo bay, cuba for the "new york times." >> i taught myself to draw super-fast, without looking down very much. reporter: macnaughton demonstrated those skills while sketching our cameraman, devin pinckard. >> to me, drawing is never about making a good drawing. it's about the process of looking at the world and people in it and coecting with it.
>> reporter: when the pandemic hit, macnaughton, who has a master's degree in social work, knew those connections would be harder to make. she and her wife, caroline paul, an author, wanted to find some way to help. >> so we were talking to my mom and my dad, and my mom suggested, "why don't you teach drawing to kids?” >> reporter: she took her mom's advice and, on monday, march 16, 2020 she went live on instagram. >> hello! hello! welcome to drawing class. wow! i'd never done instagram live before. so glad everyone could come. but caroline picked up the phone and she pointed it at me and-- and we taught the ki how to draw a dog. >> reporter: were you expecting a few kids to join? >> yeah, yeah. maybe get 100 people. and we had over 12,000 on the first day. it was overwhelming, and it was awesome.
>> reporter: macnaughton and paul ended up doing 72 live instagrams over the following months. she says viewership was highest during the first few weeks, with tens of thousands logging on from all over. >> veracruz, mexico... i think we counted over 70 countries, or something like that? like, truly international. and all of the kids would take pictures holding up their art at the end. so, this incredible community of kids formed, and they all got to see each other and feel connected. hello! >> reporter: macnaughton's joyful, unpolished videos, which she called “drawtogether,” combined art instruction with dancing and social-emotional support. >> does that feel peaceful? art assistant caroline! >> reporter: paul stayed behind the camera, but still had a presence. and their dog, suso, made frequent appearances. >> drawing-- and art, but drawing in particular, helps us
with our fine motor skills. it helps us with decision-making and stuff like that. it helps us academically, for sure. but then there's this socio- emotional stuff underneath. so, that is recognizing our own emotions and identifying them. it's learning to be cuous about other people and connect with them. right, celebrate differences. >> reporter: early last year, after receiving positive feedback from parents and kids, macnaughton and paul built a studio in a local theater. macnaughton funded the project using personal savings and an advance payment from a newsletter service called substack. >> you know what time it is? it's time to draw. >> reporter: there they recorded 12 episodes, and made them available for free on substack and youtube. with suso looking on, macnaughton gave me a tour. >> everything in the d.t. studio is made by hand. everything's made of cardboard or papier maché. all of the boo are pieces of wood. this is called “leaves of yass”"
this is our magic portal. we visit all different types of people, so kids really see themselves reflected in the show. >> reporter: paul says there have been a lot of lessons learned along the way. >> just push my hand away if i'm too close. and, action. one of the things someone said is, "oh, if you're going to be shooting art, you should have a static camera over," and we thought that would be so great. and then, when we had the opportunity for it, it didn't look good. when wendy is talking, she's talking to a kid on other side of the camera. i mean, it happens to be me, too, but it's also a kid, and a kid is going to peer and look arnd, so the camera represents every kid. >> reporter: macnaughton is now looking for a production partner to expand the drawtogether audience, and she's also expanding her mission--
promoting robust arts education in schools around the country. with a grant from twitter co-founder jack dorsey's“ start small” philanthropic fund, she and a team recently launched a pilot project calle“" draw together classrooms.” >> we heard from teachers that they had been using drawtogether in their classrooms, so we said, "wow, this would be really useful for classrooms that might not have funding for art in their programs or might not have really kind of fun, smoothly integrated socio-emotional learning opportunities.” the project provides resources and curriculum-- developed with the help of education experts-- to 100 mostly high-need schools and community programs. >> reporter: one of the educators taking advantage of the program is anna sopko. she teaches first grade at césar chávez elementary in san francisco's mission neighborhood. >> at our school, we have 30 minutes a week with an outside specialist, for eight weeks out of the year, which is
pretty minimal. >> reporter: sopko says she's seen an impact since her students began watching drawtogether. >> they really connect with her. over time, i've seen them become more and more willing to say, "that's okay, i messed up," or to offer each other advice like "we all draw differently. you can always turn the page over and start again." and i think the more we can keep that dialog going, i think that's really going to improve their confidence, not just as artists, but as people in the world. >> reporter: as they finished their drawings on a recent afternoon, a surprise guest popped in... >> hello! >> reporter: it was the first time macnaughton was able connect in-person with a group of young fans. >> one, two, three, let's do a show! oh! look at all those beautiful butterflies! >> reporter: macnaughton recently raised new funds, mostly from small donations, to provide art supplies to several thousand students.
and she hopes to expand the drawtogether classrooms project to 10,000 schools by 2023. ( laughter ) for the pbs newshour, i'm cat wise in san francisco. >> woodruff: since childhood, jess t. dugan has recognized the power of photography in documenting the world around them. as they grew into their gender identity, they began using photography and portraits to capture not only their own life, but the lives of other queer people. tonight, dugan shares their "brief but spectacular" take on representation and the power of portraiture. and a note: this essay contains mature content. >> i experienced a lot of change as a young child.
my parents got divorced. we moved homes. and for me, looking back, it's very clear that photography became my anchor. it became the way that i could hold onto the things that were important to me, even as other things in my life were changing. >> i grew up in little rock, arkansas. it was made very clear to me, from an early age, that i didn't look like what people thought a little girl was supposed to look like, or i didn't behave the way a little girl was supposed to behave. and so, from a very early age, i had a heightened awareness around my own gender identity and expression. i moved to cambridge, massachusetts when i was 13, with my mom, and that shift was really significant for me. i came out as gay when i was 13. i started thinking about my gender identity shortly thereafter, and it was really wonderful to be in a place that was more progressive and was more accepting. my first experiences with images
of queer people-- with images that validated my identity as a queer person and as a non-binary person, was in fine art photography books. seeing someone represented who you can relate to or who validates your identity can be incredibly powerful. it can be a lifeline. it can affirm something about yourself that you're trying to figure out or try-- tryi to understand. and so from a very young age, i felt compelled to make images of queer people, including myself, that we're as nuanced and complex and beautiful as i knew these individuals to be. i think portraiture is especially powerful for making people feel seen. both the subjects and the viewers. i'm really intested in people who are living authentically, and i'm especially interested in that when living authentically for them requires actively working against society or the status quo.
i have always used my photography as way to understand myself and my place in the world. i had chest reconstruction surgery when i was 18, to more closely align my body with my internal gender identity. and my mom was very supportive of that. she came with me to texas, where i had my surgery. and when we got back to boston, i made a photograph of us standing next to one another, shirtless. and that was really the beginning of us making pictures together. some of my work is more personal and more subjective, but even that work has a political element, because of who i am, because of my identity. and that's something that i have always embraced. i think that a lot of what i do centers around the power of letting yourself be seen and seeing others. my name is jess t. dugan, and this is my "brief but spectacular" take on representation and the power of portraiture.
>> woodruff: and you can watch more "brief but spectacular" videos online at www.pbs.org/newshour/brief. also online right now, astronomers like to say that telescopes are like time machines, and the new james webb space telescope is no different. on our instagram page, we explain just how far back the researchers are hoping to see. you can find that at www.instagram.com/newshour. and don't forget to tune in to "washington week." moderator yamiche alcindor and her panel will discuss president biden's challenging first year, and what's next for some of his stalled priorities, including voting rights. that's tonight on pbs. and tomorrow on pbs newshour weekend, mississippi is the only state in the nation that does not have a law requiring equal pay for men and women who do equal work. but, that could soon change.
what a new legislative effort could mean for workers who experience discrimination. and that is the newshour for tonight. i'm judy woodruff. join us online, and again here on monday evening. for all of us at the pbs newshour, thank you, please stay safe, and have a good weekend. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> fidelity wealth management. >> consumer cellular. >> johnson & johnson. >> financial services firm raymond james. >> the william and flora hewlett foundation. for more than 50 years, advancing ideas and supporting institutions to promote a better world. at www.hewlett.org. >> supporting social entrepreneurs and their solutions to the world's most pressing problems-- skollfoundation.org.
>> and with the ongoing support of these institutions and friends of the newshour. >> 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 sponsored by newshour productions, llc captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org
. hello everyone and welcome to amanpour and company. here's what's coming up. >> russia will be held accountable if it invades and it depends on what it does. it is one thing if it's a minor incursion and we end up having to fight about what to do and not do, etcetera. >> as ukraine's fate hangs in the balance i ask democratic senator chris murphy just back from that country what president biden really means ahea of tomorrow's crucial geneva summit between the united states and russia. also -- >> i feel like the luckiest girl in the world. >> reporter: the award-winning spanish actress penelope cruz tells me why sheoves working with the director on her latest film "parallel mothers." plus -- >> there is so much pressure put on mothers to uphol