PBS NewsHour for December 28, 2015 - Part 2



Jeffrey Brown>

killing of 12-year-old Tamir Rice. New outrage emerges in Chicago after

police accidentally kill a 55-year old grandmother. A rash of twisters and

floods leave more than 40 dead across the South and Midwest. A San

Francisco start-up tries to make menus at restaurants more transparent.

What were the memorable moments from the campaign trail this year? The

debate continues over a retiring fleet of nuclear-armed submarines. The

arts suffer the loss of a cinematographer and an abstract artist.>

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Business; Food and Beverages; Health and Medicine>

SHIREEN YATES: Yes. So this is Nima.

CAT WISE: In the kitchen of their small San Francisco start-up, Yates gave us a demo on some fresh, supposedly gluten-free waffles that had just been delivered from a local restaurant.

SHIREEN YATES: So, what we would do is, we would take a sample of food, and we put it in this little capsule. And then were going to take the top. The action of closing this will grind the food. So, I'm just going to put it in the sensor right now, and then we're going to start it.

CAT WISE: It takes about two minutes for the results to come back. During that time, the device uses a sophisticated antibody the company developed to test if gluten is present. They are testing to levels set by the Food and Drug Administration for what constitutes gluten-free. That's 20 gluten protein parts per million.

A smiley face means no gluten at those levels. A frown means gluten is present.

So, we got a smiley face. So what does that mean?

SHIREEN YATES: That means I feel a lot better about eating my waffle.


CAT WISE: Now, could some other part of this waffle have gluten in it?

SHIREEN YATES: Yes, yes. That is absolutely a possibility.

But what we are doing is giving you that extra piece of data to really improve your odds of staying your healthiest self when you're eating out, and actively trying to avoid certain foods.

CAT WISE: Those trying to avoid gluten is a big market, about one in five Americans these days. A team of engineers and scientists who are part of the company now called 6SensorLabs are making tweaks to the Nima before shipping it out to customers next summer.

It will cost about $250 and each of the disposable capsule will be about $4 to $5, depending on the quantity ordered. Testing foods for gluten isn't new, of course. It's often done in commercial labs. And there are some home testing kits out there.

But many are time-consuming and require multiple steps to get the results. That presented the team with a design challenge.

Co-founder Scott Sundvor:

SCOTT SUNDVOR, Co-Founder, 6SensorLabs: This is a consumer product. It's not a medical device. And because of that, it has to be something that's really easy to use. It has to be fast. It has to be discreet.

CAT WISE: The company is aiming for 99.5 percent accuracy. And they're comparing their results with the results of other independent gluten testing labs. What they have found so far is about a quarter of the foods they have tested labeled gluten-free have in fact had some gluten in them. Yates says that doesn't surprise her.

SHIREEN YATES: I don't know if you have ever worked in a kitchen, but it's chaos. And so the idea of getting your order in, making sure it was heard correctly, getting it to the chef, and making sure everything was prepared in the right way, getting the dish, and putting it back in front of that consumer that has that real sensitivity, there's a lot that can go wrong.

CAT WISE: The Nima currently tests only for gluten, but the company is planning to eventually test for other allergens like dairy and peanuts. But that's proving harder to do.

JINGQING ZHANG, 6SensorLabs: There hasn't been a clear guideline regarding what exactly -- what level do you have to detect in order to make sure that people aren't getting sick at these levels?

CAT WISE: Jingqing Zhang is the company's lead scientist. She says, unlike for gluten, the FDA doesn't have a set standard for what constitutes dairy-free or peanut-free.

JINGQING ZHANG: A big challenge was to understand and potentially work with these regulatory agencies to figure out what is the level we need to bring it down to? The second challenge I really see is that we need to be detecting these proteins at very, very sensitive levels.

CAT WISE: While 6SensorLabs is focused on getting their product to market quickly, their competition is heating up. Several other companies are developing different food testing technologies, including the use of smartphones.

All are attempting to capitalize on the growing number of Americans who are food-focused, especially when it comes to gluten. It's a trend that has more than a few skeptics. But for the estimated three million Americans who suffer from celiac disease, an inflammation of the intestines, there's no disputing that gluten ingestion is a serious health problem.

DR. NIELSEN FERNANDEZ-BECKER, Stanford Celiac Management Clinic: There's some studies that suggest that as little as 50 to 100 milligrams is enough to activate an immune response. To put that into perspective, a slice of bread has 5,000 milligrams. So, it really doesn't take a lot.

CAT WISE: Dr. Nielsen Fernandez-Becker is the director of the Celiac Management Clinic at Stanford University Hospital. She says that products like the Nima could be helpful, but they shouldn't be a crutch for patients.

DR. NIELSEN FERNANDEZ-BECKER: I think it would be valuable. But I think it's only one tool in the arsenal. I hope what it doesn't do is that it makes patients more complacent. If you have a piece of steak and you sample one side, could we be missing gluten in some other side?

CAT WISE: The Nima team is now developing an app that will allow users to share information about the tests they have done on foods, and where gluten-free is truly gluten-free.

For Shireen Yates, that kind of knowledge can make or break her meal out. After getting the smiley face she was hoping for, she dived right into her gluten-free empanadas.

For the "PBS NewsHour," I'm Cat Wise in San Francisco.

JEFFREY BROWN: A holiday weekend enjoyed by all, we hope, including the candidates for the presidency, but, today, back to the campaign trail, and, for us, a chance for an end-of-the-year look at what's been a most surprising race for the White House.

For that, we're joined by the Politics Monday team, Amy Walter of The Cook Political Report, and Tamara Keith of NPR.

Hello on Monday on this Christmas weekend -- week.

AMY WALTER, The Cook Political Report: Hello. Yes.

JEFFREY BROWN: We know it has been a crazy race, right, unexpected in many ways.

But, Amy, you start, and start with the Republicans. Do you remember a moment along the way where you said to yourself, this is not what I was expecting?


AMY WALTER: There have been so many of those moments, Jeffrey.


AMY WALTER: But I think it's when Scott Walker dropped out of the race.

JEFFREY BROWN: Scott Walker was it, huh?

AMY WALTER: It was Scott Walker dropping out, because it really made me realize that everything I had assumed about what this election was going to shape up to be was actually not working out that way. I mean, Scott Walker on paper looked like the perfect bridge candidate for the Republican Party, right?

JEFFREY BROWN: He seemed like the guy, yes.

AMY WALTER: And for him to drop out this early, and that combined with Bush's struggles, really said to me that, boy, the biggest surprise in this race is not the rise of the outsiders, but the real vacuum on the establishment side and how incredibly inefficient and ineffective the establishment has been in sort of making themselves important in this race.

JEFFREY BROWN: Tamara, was were your moment?

TAMARA KEITH, National Public Radio: My moment happened at an ice cream stand in Burlington, Vermont.

JEFFREY BROWN: Had to be. Right? Yes.

TAMARA KEITH: And it was after Bernie Sanders had announced he was running for president, but before he had had any of those really big, well- attended rallies. And at the time, the conventional wisdom was really Bernie Sanders is running to push his agenda and to push Hillary Clinton to the left.

That was the mantra. He's just running to pull Hillary to the left. Well, I was interviewing his best friend at this ice cream stand -- or one his best friends -- and he said, no, Bernie Sanders is running for real. Bernie Sanders is in this to win. He's not in it to push a message. And it's really proven to be true. He's out there. He's pushing to win.

Just one other moment was a town hall meeting Hillary Clinton had in Keene, New Hampshire, and she asked everyone in the room, if you have had a connection to substance abuse, raise your hands, and almost everyone in the room raised their hands. And it was really this remarkable moment and is a reflection -- this is a presidential campaign where almost every candidate is talking about addiction and drug abuse and heroin, and it's because New Hampshire is a first-in-the-nation primary state, and it's a really big issue there. And that moment really encapsulated it.

JEFFREY BROWN: So, you're seeing, both in a way, and particularly what you said, Amy, not so much it's the candidates, but also just where is the power within the parties?

AMY WALTER: Exactly. Who is driving this campaign?

And we have been used to over the years to the power of the elites, whether it's the media, or the donors, or the party that could ultimately shape the campaign. In this case, especially on the Republican side, they have had little to no impact.

Now, that doesn't mean, as we move forward, they won't, but it's clear the super PAC spending certainly hasn't helped Jeb Bush. The attacks by elite conservative media haven't done anything to stop Donald Trump. And when you look just at the overall polling, the number of people in the Republican primary who say we want somebody who has zero experience in governing is over 50 percent.

JEFFREY BROWN: Is there anyone on the Republican side -- Amy picked Scott Walker as her, what happened to him?

Is there anybody on your side that doesn't get much attention now that you keep wondering why not?

TAMARA KEITH: Well, on the Democratic side, covering the Democrats, there was a time when you really thought Martin O'Malley would catch fire, and he just never has.

He has stayed in the low single digits the whole time. He's the Maryland governor, former Maryland governor. And he on paper looks like a perfect candidate.

JEFFREY BROWN: You still have to tell us that, right, which is a sign right there.

AMY WALTER: Exactly.

TAMARA KEITH: Yes. He still has incredibly low name I.D. He still is just working hard and not really getting anywhere. And it's kind of surprising.

JEFFREY BROWN: So, fast forward. Now we are going to look ahead a little bit.


JEFFREY BROWN: Iowa is less than -- well, about a month away. Right? Do you still think, as we sit here now, that these first primaries are -- well, how important are they? Are they all-important?

AMY WALTER: They are still very important.

JEFFREY BROWN: Very important.

AMY WALTER: They are still very important. Let me underline.


AMY WALTER: I still think they are going to winnow the field down.

We're not going to have all these 13 candidates now on the Republican side. And we may lose Martin O'Malley, too. But I think the real question is going to be, what does Donald Trump do if he doesn't win one of those early states? Our assumptions about this race have always centered around Donald Trump. Where is he? Is he first? Is he going to be, you know, running as an independent candidate? What is his message? How are the candidates reacting to him?

If he doesn't win an Iowa or a New Hampshire, the entire premise of his campaign has now collapsed, right? The entire premise of his campaign is, I'm a winner, and you're all losers, I'm in first, you are not.

What he decides to do is also going to have an impact on what happens to the rest of these candidates.

JEFFREY BROWN: What do you see happening?

TAMARA KEITH: My crystal ball is hazy.


JEFFREY BROWN: Come on, come on. How many of these faces?


TAMARA KEITH: I think that Amy is right. There will be far fewer faces after Iowa and New Hampshire.

And I think, also, Super Tuesday is very heavily weighted to Southern states and I think that it is going to change the dynamic. And it's hard to campaign in all of those states. It takes money and it takes hard money, not just super PAC money.


And what we know from the past campaigns -- and I know they haven't been a good guide in this election, because everything we seem to have learned last time isn't happening this time.

JEFFREY BROWN: Which I forced you to say at the beginning.

AMY WALTER: I know. See, I can admit where I wasn't so clear on my crystal ball.


AMY WALTER: But here's what we know.

We know that the events that start to happen when voters start voting really accelerates the process. All the polls that we have had up until now, all the assumptions that we have had up until now, they can change overnight, when voters actually start casting ballots.

JEFFREY BROWN: OK. We will be back next week, the new year. Happy new year.

AMY WALTER: Thank you.

JEFFREY BROWN: Amy Walter, Tamara Keith, thanks so much.


TAMARA KEITH: Thank you.

JEFFREY BROWN: During the 1980s and '90s, the U.S. Navy built a fleet of nuclear-armed submarines -- their mission, deter an attack against the U.S., and, if that failed, fight a nuclear war.

They're now approaching the end of their lifespans. The Navy plans to build replacements, but there's growing debate over how many are needed and how to pay for them.

Veteran Pentagon reporter Jamie McIntyre, now national security correspondent for Al-Jazeera America, reported this story earlier this year while he was on special assignment for the "NewsHour."

It was produced in partnership with the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.

MAN: Man battle stations, missile. Spin up all missiles.

MAN: Sound the general alarm.

JAMIE MCINTYRE: If America's strategy of nuclear deterrence ever fails, the beginning of the end might look something like this.

The U.S. Navy's ballistic missile submarines are all part of the Ohio class, named for the first submarine of the design, the USS Ohio. They have only one mission: to lurk silently, deep beneath the ocean, ready to rain nuclear devastation on virtually any target anywhere any time on orders of the president.

Submerged just off the coast of Hawaii, the 180-man crew of the USS Pennsylvania demonstrated for the "PBS NewsHour" an abridged version of what it practices every week the sub is at sea. The submarine's video screens display only unclassified data.

MAN: We have a verified and correct launch order directing the launch of missiles 7, 3, and 5.

JAMIE MCINTYRE: And the Navy reviewed our footage to ensure nothing was compromised. What we saw was a mock doomsday scenario.

MAN: This is the captain. This is an exercise.

JAMIE MCINTYRE: The launching of three nuclear-tipped missiles, enough to destroy several major cities and kill millions of people.

It's a drill where there can be no questioning of orders, no consideration of consequences, no second thoughts. Lieutenant A.J. Walker is the triggerman, whose job is to what's euphemistically termed close the circuit.

This is the missile compartment. It what makes this submarine such a fearsome weapon, 24 missile tubes, each one capable of holding a Trident missile with multiple independently targeted warheads. That means this single ship could deliver massive destructive power to multiple targets around the globe.

To critics back in Washington, that raises an obvious question: If one submarine can bring on Armageddon, how many does the U.S. really need?

Joseph Cirincione is president of the Ploughshares Fund, a foundation that supports eliminating nuclear weapons.

JOSEPH CIRINCIONE, President, Ploughshares Fund: One sub carries at its minimum the equivalent of 600 Hiroshimas. If they launched those missiles, if they launch those warheads, it would be a destructive event beyond history.

JAMIE MCINTYRE: It's not just an academic argument. The military commander of America's nuclear arsenal, Admiral Cecil Haney, wants to upgrade the aging fleet of 14 Ohio class ballistic missile subs in the coming decades by building 12 new next-generation subs.

ADM. CECIL HANEY, U.S. Strategic Commander: Replacing the Ohio class submarine is one of my top priorities.

JAMIE MCINTYRE: Each submarine has a price tag of upwards of $5 billion, although, when you count research and development, the total price climbs to over $100 billion, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

VICE ADM. MIKE CONNOR, Commander, U.S. Submarine Forces: However you want to calculate it, this fleet is a bargain.

JAMIE MCINTYRE: Vice Admiral Mike Connor commands the Navy submarine forces. At his headquarters in Norfolk, Virginia, he makes the case for an almost one-for-one replacement of the current fleet, arguing the cost is just 1 percent of the overall defense budget, while the benefit is incalculable, measured, he says, in wars that never start.

VICE ADM. MIKE CONNOR: The truth is that we use them every day to deter a major power war.

JAMIE MCINTYRE: The ballistic missile submarine is an awesome war machine. At 560 feet, it is as long as the Washington Monument is high, yet nearly invisible to enemy eyes when slinking silently deep beneath the waves, which makes it the most survivable leg of America's nuclear triad of subs, bombers, and land-based missiles.

VICE ADM. MIKE CONNOR: And what would happen if they did attempt a massive strike, no matter how massive that strike was, the submarine force that is at sea would survive and be in a position to retaliate.

JAMIE MCINTYRE: As the U.S. cuts the number of nuclear weapons in the latest round of reductions negotiated with the Russians, submarines will play an outsized role in the deterrence mission, carrying 70 percent of America's active nuclear arsenal.

Still, critics like Ploughshares' Joe Cirincione argue building enough new subs to destroy the world a dozen times over is expensive overkill.

JOSEPH CIRINCIONE: If you just need this to be a deterrent force, to respond in case someone is crazy enough to actually attack the United States and thereby deter them from ever doing that, well, you really could be talking about four, five, six nuclear submarines, each of which would have 16 missile tubes, each of which would carry five or six warheads. That's a lot of nuclear weapons.

JAMIE MCINTYRE: But, as Admiral Connor war-games various worst-case scenarios, involving Russia, China, and North Korea, he insists the psychological calculus of deterrence can't be reduced to a simple math problem.

VICE ADM. MIKE CONNOR: So you think about an intelligent adversary, and our adversaries, in a peer competitor situation, they are intelligent, they are thinking adversaries, you wouldn't want to have a situation where there is an incentive where they say, you know, if we strike on this day or when this ship is being repaired or when they're just leaving port and the other one is just coming in, that maybe the balance of force would change in our favor.

JAMIE MCINTYRE: But, ultimately, it could be money, not strategy, that torpedoes the Navy's pricey plan to design and build a state-of-the- art sub to replace the current 14.

SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL (D), Connecticut: The cost of that program has been estimated in the range of $100 billion. The Navy has said that it cannot pay for it out of its Navy budget.

JAMIE MCINTYRE: At his Senate hearing to be confirmed as Joint Chiefs chairman, General Joseph Dunford agreed paying for a whole new fleet of subs out of the regular ship building account would bust the Navy's budget.

GEN. JOSEPH DUNFORD, Commandant, U.S. Marine Corps: And what I can tell you with a degree of surety is that, were we to fund the Ohio class replacement out of the Department of the Navy, it would have a pretty adverse effect on the rest of the ship building plan, and the estimates are between two-and-a-half and three ships a year.

NORMAN POLMAR, Naval Historian: The cost is -- some people would say outrageous. I just say it's tremendous.

JAMIE MCINTYRE: Naval historian and consultant Norman Polmar says, either way you fund the plan, through the normal budget or a special account, it's unaffordable, and unworkable.

NORMAN POLMAR: If Congress were to fund the Navy strategic submarines out of a separate fund, tomorrow afternoon, the Air Force would come in and say, hey, Congress has approved a new bomber; we want that funded out of a separate strategic fund.

JAMIE MCINTYRE: Polmar says there are smarter, cheaper ways to buy the same level of nuclear deterrence. Modifying smaller attack submarines already in service, he argues, would allow the Navy to buy fewer of the bigger ballistic missile subs.

NORMAN POLMAR: Today, every attack submarine can carry Tomahawk land attack conventional missiles. Most of our submarines have vertical launch tubes for 12 of these Tomahawk missiles. Those missiles tomorrow or, say, a couple of years could have nuclear warheads.

JAMIE MCINTYRE: But the Navy counters, the smaller attack subs don't have the endurance of the bigger boomers, and that their cruise missiles don't have the intercontinental range, nor carry multiple warheads that can destroy different targets.

And advocates for far deeper weapons cuts say the whole debate underscores the folly of expensive new nuclear weapons that would only be used if a war were essentially already lost.

This plaque shows the USS Pennsylvania was launched in April of 1988. That makes it over a quarter-century old. It, like other submarines of its class, was designed for 30 years of service, which means it would have been decommissioned in the next couple of years. But now the Navy says it's figured out how to keep those submarines running for an extra 12 years.

Commander John Cage is captain of the USS Pennsylvania.

So, you have showed us around your boat. It looks great. Everything looks like it's spit-polished and shiny. It looks like this boat could go on forever.

CMDR. JOHN CAGE, USS Pennsylvania: She still has a lot of life left in her. But it's definitely getting on in the years. There's things that -- we have a lot of redundant systems, that I find myself using those redundant systems a little bit more. Certain components will fail. Certain things are just starting to run past their lifetime.

MAN: Dive. Dive.

MAN: All vents open.

JAMIE MCINTYRE: But the sub's crew is still prepared to make the unthinkable reality.

CMDR. JOHN CAGE: We do think about it. I mean, it's definitely not something we want to happen. Nobody in the boat wants it to happen.

JAMIE MCINTYRE: How would you handle the crew on the boat after a launch like that, when no one would sort of know what -- the fate of the world be hanging in the balance. How do you keep a crew together after...

CMDR. JOHN CAGE: I will tell you, that would be difficult. One of the reasons why we train so frequently, the evolution you saw, we do time and time again, so it becomes something that we can execute immediately and quickly. But after that would be a very difficult time.

JAMIE MCINTYRE: For this submarine, a successful deployment is one where the only projectiles from the sea are the bottlenose dolphins who playfully surf the sub's bow as it prepares to dive.

Jamie McIntyre for the "PBS NewsHour," aboard the USS Pennsylvania, off the coast of Hawaii.

JEFFREY BROWN: And finally tonight, we remember two major figures from the world of the arts who died this weekend, an Oscar-winning cinematographer, and a master of the abstract modern art scene.

Haskell Wexler was a pioneer in the world of cinematography in the 1960s and '70s, directing the photography and creating new looks for films like "Coming Home."

ACTOR: I wanted to be a war hero, man. I wanted to go out and kill for my country.

JEFFREY BROWN: "In the Heat of the Night."

ACTOR: Why don't you tell me how you killed Mr. Colbert, and I promise you, you're going to feel a whole lot better.

JEFFREY BROWN: And "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest," for which he received an Oscar nomination.

ACTOR: They're all crowding in on you, Mr. Harding. They're all ganging on up on you.

ACTOR: Is that news?

JEFFREY BROWN: He won his first Academy Award in 1966 for "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?"

HASKELL WEXLER, Cinematographer: I hope we can use our art for peace and for love. Thanks.

RICHARD BURTON, Actor: Martha, I warn you.

ELIZABETH TAYLOR, Actress: I stand warned.

JEFFREY BROWN: That film used handheld cameras to elevate the tension between the characters by Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton.

Wexler earned another Oscar in 1976 for "Bound for Glory," which told the story of Woody Guthrie. It was the first film to use a steady cam shot.

For "Medium Cool" in 1969, a film he wrote and directed, Wexler blended real and fictional footage to tell the story of a TV reporter covering the turmoil of the 1968 Democratic National Convention. That cinema verite style would influence many other aspiring filmmakers.

Wexler was also an outspoken liberal activist and documentarian who used the tools of film to champion his causes.

MAN: It's war. And that's the only thing that you could do, and it's either you or them.

JEFFREY BROWN: He won an Oscar for a short documentary in 1970 called "Interviews with My Lai Veterans" about the U.S. massacre in Vietnam.

He continued working until recently. Haskell Wexler died yesterday. He was 93 years old.

Ellsworth Kelly was one of America's leading 20th century abstract artists, becoming known for his geometric shapes and simple color schemes inspired by the world around him.

Stephanie Barron is senior curator at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

STEPHANIE BARRON, Senior Curator, Los Angeles County Museum of Art: The humanity comes from his uncanny ability to distill the visual and the physical that he sees. And whether it's a leaf or an awning or a rock, things that we might just walk right by, he would pick up, and he would ponder, and he would find the essence in them and distill it into a very simple form.

JEFFREY BROWN: During World War II, Kelly painted camouflage patterns on military tank cutouts to fool German forces. And, after the war, he moved to Paris to study art on the G.I. Bill. He returned to the U.S. in the 1950s. His bold geometric paintings left some viewers wondering just where the art was, while others found themselves drawn in.

STEPHANIE BARRON: I'm always stunned at how much it seems to affect people. And there is a strange ability that these works have to communicate to people who don't just walk by them. They're really drawn into it, and they're very contemplative.