Video: What’s Really Going On at the World Trade Center Site

September 11th, 2009

WNET.ORG Correspondent Rafael Pi Roman visits Ground Zero in New York to find out how progress is going at the World Trade Center construction site.

Video: The Return of the Swine Flu

September 11th, 2009

WNET.ORG Correspondent Rafael Pi Roman speaks with New York City Health Commissioner Thomas Farley about the expected return of the H1N1 virus during the normal flu season.

Q&A: Al Roker and Deborah Roberts help "Families Stand Together"

September 11th, 2009

A new PBS primetime special, Families Stand Together: Feeling Secure in Tough Times is coming to THIRTEEN on Saturday, September 12th at 5 p.m. This hour-long special, hosted by Al Roker, Deborah Roberts and Elmo, aims to help families with children, ages two to eight, experiencing difficult economic circumstances by offering strategies and tips that can lead to positive outcomes for their children’s physical and emotional well-being during this tough economic climate. Roker and Roberts, who are married and have children of their own, spoke to Inside THIRTEEN about the program.

Q: Why did you do this special, “Families Stand Together,” with Sesame Street?

Roberts: I have been such a fan of Sesame Street and I have always looked enviously upon any celebrity that gets to interact with the Muppets. I thought the special was infinitely responsible and wise. I thought ‘Wow, this is a combo of great things, a primetime special that’s important at this moment, and a television show like Sesame Street that has such an impact.’ I thought there’s no way to not do this.

Roker: It’s Sesame Street. Who doesn’t love Sesame Street? It’s a chance to hang out with Elmo! It’s a great topic, lots of people are dealing with this, and if Deborah and I can help, we’re happy to do that.

Q. There are a lot of programs that offer strategies for adults who are trying to deal with the recession … what makes this show different?

Roberts: What makes it different is that it offers advice on a couple of levels, to children and parents. Children are dealing with this recession through their families; children are experiencing and worrying about it, and there’s great advice to help children weather the storm. There’s also advice to help parents to be there for their children. It’s not just geared to children, but also to families, to embrace these tough times and what they call for. There’s one family in the program who had to cut back; the father lost his job and his daughter loves to read. She had a great idea with her mother to sell her old books to buy new ones. Families can walk away from this program with a good image and good advice.

Q. What is the best advice you would give a parent who’s lost a job, or struggling with the recession?

Roker: Look for whatever help your community offers. Whether it’s church, financial assistance, therapy … you have to look for something. And you have to include your kids; you can’t do this without making sure the family’s involved. You also have to make sure that what you tell your kids is age-appropriate – don’t show them a budget, for example. But you can help them understand what’s going on. Hiding it is not the way to go.

Roberts: Number one, don’t underestimate what the children might think about it, and number two, to be creative — whether that means financially, or finding way to make the money go further and still have a good time. One military family has come up with movie night at their own home; they have popcorn, and the kids enjoy it. It’s not like they’re missing out on the experience of going to the movies — parents are finding ways to be creative, in a way that comes up positive for their children.

Q. You have children of your own — what did you take away from working on the show?

Roberts: Fortunately, we are not struggling yet in this economy, but there are ways that our children can enjoy what we have, and ways that we can incorporate what these families do on the special into our own family. There are ways that we can do things to be creative with what we have, and it’s fun to work on a project and activity. My husband and I thought that we can do that with our kids. We can have that atmosphere at home, and we’ve employed these ideas from the program in our home. The silver lining is that we get closer as a family, and we pull together.

Watch a preview below, and tune in on Saturday evening for Families Stand Together.

September 11 Memorial Events in New York City

September 10th, 2009

  • World Trade Center Site Memorial Ceremony and Remembrance 2009

  • The official New York City observance of the anniversary of 9/11 will take place at the World Trade Center site on the morning of Friday, September 11, 2009. In honor of the new federal designation of September 11th as a National Day of Service and Remembrance, family members will read the names of all 2,752 victims aloud. Each family member will be paired with a volunteer from the five boroughs who will represent the spirit of compassion and giving that unified New York City in the weeks and months following the tragedy.

    As always, four moments of silence will be observed to commemorate the times when each plane hit and each tower fell. At sunset, the famous “Tribute in Light” will return to the skies above New York City for the night.

    Friday, September 11, 2009. 8:40 am – 12:30 pm.
    Zuccotti Park, Liberty Street between Broadway and Church Streets
    Call 212-442-8953 for more information

  • September 11 Remembrance at Trinity Church

  • Trinity Church will open at midnight for an all-night vigil and labyrinth walk. A Day of Remembrance service will take place from 12:30 – 2:00 pm.

    Friday, September 11, 2009
    Trinity Church, Broadway at Wall Street
    Calendar of services

  • The September Concerts

  • The September Concerts are a series of free concerts held in locations around New York City and around the world to fill the skies with music every September 11th. In 2008, more than 100 concerts were held in New York City. For 2009, concert venues will include Central Park, the New York Public Library, the 42nd Street subway station, Rockefeller Center, Washington Square Park, the World Financial Center, and many more.

    Friday, September 11, 2009
    See listings for all concert locations and times


    Share Your Thoughts: President Obama's Health Care Reform Speech

    September 9th, 2009

    On September 9, President Obama addressed a joint session of Congress about his plans for health care reform. After weeks of contentious debate at town hall meetings across the country, the President used his speech to outline his plans and take control of the national discussion.

    Watch President Obama’s speech below.

    Tell us what you think about President’s Obama’s health care plans thus far in the poll below.

    [poll id=”2″]

    In Case You Missed It: August 31-September 7, 2009 streaming online

    September 8th, 2009

    A roundup of all streaming, full-length videos online from PBS and Thirteen programs that aired last week. See the list below for all full episodes and links.

    A scene from the Shanksville Memorial segment on Religion and Ethics Newsweekly.

    NewsHour with Jim Lehrer: The reports, segmented by story, per day.
    Nightly Business Report: The reports stream online.
    NJN News: The reports stream online for one week (see archives M-Tu-W-Th-F).
    Worldfocus:The nightly news show streams online for 15 days; signature stories are online forever.

    Charlie Rose:
    Aug. 31: Conversations with Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio and George Clooney.
    Sept. 1: The Future with Eric Schmidt, Marc Andreessen and Bill Gates.
    Sept. 2: “Relationships” with Bill Gates, William Gates Sr., Valentino and Giancarlo Giammett.
    Sept. 3: Conversations with authors Gay Talese and Joseph O’Neill.
    Sept. 4: Conversations with Jimmy Wales; Werner Herzog and Jill Bolte Taylor.

    Tavis Smiley:
    Aug. 31: Former CIA officer Robert Baer; filmmaker Doug Pray.
    Sept. 1: Harvard’s Shorenstein Center director Alex S. Jones; actor Mekhi Phifer.
    Sept. 2: New York Times journalist Peter Baker; singer Ledisi.
    Sept. 3: Boxing legend George Foreman; journalist Fred Kaplan.
    Sept. 4: Trumpeter Terence Blanchard.

    News and Public Affairs: Weekly Programs:
    Washington Week: President Obama’s address on health care; continued unemployment despite the administration’s upbeat outlook; Afghanistan strategy.
    NOW on PBS: The debate on detaining suspected terrorists indefinitely without a trial even as Guantanmo Bay faces closure.
    Bill Moyers Journal: First Amendment lawyer Floyd Abrams and former Federal Election Commission chairman Trevor Potter talk about the constitutionality of campaign finance limits for corporations; an essay on health care reform.
    Religion & Ethics Newsweekly:

    • A segment on personalized genetic testing: what it entails and promises to clients, and the ethical concerns.
    • Indiana University professor Edward Linehan, an expert about sacred spaces, is interviewed about the Shanksville Memorial, located on the spot where United 93 crashed on September 11, 2001.
    • Father Leo Patalinghug, a priest who has his own Web-based cooking show.

    Consuelo Mack Wealthtrack: An interview with author Nassim Taleb about his unusual way of investing, and Wall Street Journal personal finance columnist Jason Zweig on neuroeconomics.

    News and Public Affairs:
    Wide Angle:Time for School 3, Part I. A look at kids in several different countries looking to gain a basic education. Part of Wide Angle’s decade-long documentary project.
    In the Life: It’s About Time. This latest installment examines what it’s like to be grow old as a gay person and the challenges faced by gays as they enter their advanced age.

    NOVA: Is There Life On Mars?: Recent developments and efforts in search of the answers about the Red Planet.
    NOVAsciencenow: Sleep; first primates; earthquakes in the Midwest; profile of geophysicist Sang-Mook Lee.

    Antiques Roadshow: Tucson, Arizona-Hour One.
    History Detectives: Stalag 17 portrait; Seadrome; Black Tom Shell.

    Arts and Culture:
    Masterpiece Mystery: Inspector Lewis, Series Two: Music to Die For. The underground world of bare-knucke boxing is tied with a murder in Oxford Available for online viewing through September 20, 2009.
    Masterpiece Mystery: Inspector Lewis, Series Two: And The Moonbeams Kiss the Sea. Lewis and Hathaway investigate a murder in the basement of Oxford’s Bodleian Library. Available for online viewing through September 13, 2009.
    P.O.V.: Ella es el matador (She Is The Matador). Filmmakers Gemma Cubero and Celeste Carrasco offers a glimpse into the world of women’s bullfighting through profiles of two female matadors, Mari Paz Vega and Eva Florencia. The documentary is not only about their passion for the sport but also examines the challenges in entering a territory usually reserved for males.

    Q&A: Pamela Hogan, Executive Producer of "Time for School"

    September 8th, 2009

    WIDE ANGLE’s unprecedented, award-winning 12-year documentary project, Time for School, follows seven kids in seven countries struggling to get what nearly all American kids take for granted: a basic education.

    If you have any other questions, join a live discussion of the film on Thursday, September 10th at 12:00 noon at the WIDE ANGLE website.

    Time for School 3 premieres in two parts on September 2 and September 9 on THIRTEEN at 10 p.m. Pamela Hogan, Executive Producer for Wide Angle Specials, speaks about the genesis and the future of this groundbreaking project.

    Q: How did the Time for School series first come about?

    We have The New York Times to thank for it. In 2002, when I was Wide Angle’s Series Producer, I read an op-ed piece by economist Amartya Sen called “To Build a Country, Build a Schoolhouse.” Reporting that more than 125 million children worldwide had never been inside a school, and that in sub-Saharan Africa, 40 percent of primary age children had no opportunity for schooling, he made a powerful argument for how investing in education promotes a country’s economic growth. The editorial was really a call to action, because all 189 U.N. member countries had recently promised a free education to every child in the world by 2015 – it’s one of the “Millennium Development Goals” adopted in 2000 to eradicate poverty.

    The timeline was perfect – if we started following children in their first year of school in 2002, they would be scheduled to graduate in 2015, the target year for fulfilling the world’s great promise. I called our Executive Producer, Stephen Segaller, to float the idea of a longitudinal series, along the lines of Michael Apted’s famous “7 UP”. It was the easiest pitch ever – before I even finished my sentence he said “Brilliant! Let’s do it!”

    Q: You had the entire world to work with — how did you choose what countries to visit and which kids to follow?

    First, we wanted to go to some of the places where education is especially hard to come by – since 2/3 of out-of-school kids live in sub-Saharan Africa and south Asia, those regions needed to be included. For contrast, we also wanted a story in one of the world’s best school systems – that’s how Japan was chosen. Then, because we really wanted to paint a global portrait, we looked for compelling stories in other regions that would dramatize the challenges kids face all over the world.

    We looked for places where something interesting was happening. For example, Kenya had just decided to drop school fees. Benin had started a girls’ education initiative that would challenge long-held attitudes. India was offering night school classes for kids who had to work during the day. Brazil was paying poor families to keep their kids in school. Post-war Afghanistan was attempting to get more kids in school than ever before, to re-build the country. By finding students in those places we could follow those unfolding stories over time.

    Working from New York, producer Judy Katz was able to make a short-list of candidates in each of the seven countries, after lengthy correspondence with schools, NGOs, UNICEF, and other sources. The final choice was up to the field producers. Didn’t they do an amazing job?

    Q. What have been some of the most dramatic moments, the turning points in the series?

    The biggest surprise for all of us has been to see how much happens in these kids’ lives in a short time. At first we thought that returning every three years might be too short – how much would really have changed? Boy were we wrong.

    The danger that many of the students in the series cope with on a daily basis is, for me, one of the most dramatic things about Time for School. Kapisa province, where our Afghan student, Shugufa, lives, was relatively stable when we started shooting in 2002; it has now become a Taliban stronghold and a girls’ school near hers was recently attacked. Just walking to school every day is an act of courage for her. In Kenya, Joab and his siblings had to face the terrifying post-election violence last year on their own: their mother has died and their father has abandoned them. In the favela in Brazil, competing drug gangs and police crackdowns have turned Jefferson’s neighborhood into a warzone: in art class he and his classmates draw men with AK-47s and bullets raining from helicopters.

    Q: What do you expect to find when you go back in 2015?

    Well I hope we go back in 2012 first!

    Unfortunately it seems unlikely that Neeraj in India will be able to return to school, but I hope that she is happy in her life and able to use the skills and confidence that she developed in her years in school. The others at risk – Jefferson in Brazil, Nanavi in Benin, Joab in Kenya, and Shugufa in Afghanistan – have shown such extraordinary determination and strength, and have already surmounted so many challenges in their six years of school thus far, that I believe they will make it through to graduation. They’ve all already defied the odds – just making it to middle school is a miracle where they live. In fact I see the makings of future leaders in these students, and believe that some of them will go on to great things.

    Q: How have audiences reacted to this series?

    We’ve had such a tremendous response, and teachers all over the country are creating special study plans around the student’s stories. So many students tell us “I never realized how lucky I am – I took school for granted until I saw the film.”

    One college student told us she decided to join the Peace Corps after watching the film! Advocacy groups have also embraced the series and are using it to highlight the need for more global funding to achieve the UN goal of universal education by 2015 – only half the money promised by the developed countries has actually been delivered.

    One middle school in Long Island was so touched by Joab’s story that they contacted his principal in Nairobi, Kenya, to ask how they could help. She said the school needs a library – and books to put in it! The students call themselves the Kenya Krew, and for the past two years they’ve been raising money for that library, and corresponding with their counterparts in Joab’s class. You can see the full story on our website.

    Watch a preview for Time for School 3 below.

    Video: Preview the new season of Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly

    September 3rd, 2009

    This week marks the thirteenth season of Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly, a one-of-a-kind program that examines religion’s role — and the ethical dimensions — behind top news headlines. Kim Lawton, Managing Editor and Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly Correspondent, gives a preview of the upcoming season, which premieres Saturday, September 5 at 10:30 am on THIRTEEN. To watch Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly online, visit their website.

    Worldfocus: A Kurdish sanctuary ages in Brooklyn

    September 2nd, 2009

    This year, Worldfocus producers have been working on a multimedia project called Stateless to Statehood. The project focuses on the relationship between individuals, ethnic groups and states — from the 12 million people without any citizenship to the tens of millions yearning to form entirely new nations. Worldfocus producer Ben Piven wrote for Inside THIRTEEN about a Kurdish refuge in Brooklyn.

    Flowing headdresses and silver amulets from Kurdistan fill the dusty glass cases of the exhibition room. Over 2,000 erudite books fill the shelves. Faded photographs of Kurdish peasants cover the walls.

    A stately corner brownstone in Brooklyn’s Prospect Heights contains a most unlikely collection of Kurdish items. Vera Beaudin Saeedpour’s Kurdish Museum and Library has amazed curious Brooklynites since she launched the museum in 1988. And her center, strangely enough, remains the only Kurdish museum in North America.

    The entrance to the Kurdish Museum and Library.

    Saeedpour’s phone rings off the hook, as Kurdish scholars from Istanbul to London search for facts and figures. The irony is that Saeedpour is not a Kurd.

    Her obsession with the Kurdish people and their quest for international recognition began in 1973, after she fell for a young Kurdish engineering student from Sanandaj, Iran. But Homayoun Saeedpour died of leukemia in 1981. The widowed Saeedpour was in love with the Kurds so much that the center, established five years later, became a tribute to her Kurdish second husband.

    At 79, Vera Beaudin Saeedpour (nee Fine) is still a zealous liaison with Kurdish VIPs all over the globe – even though she never learned their language. Activities involving her adopted people take up most of her free time — when she’s not nursing her back or making sure her two mischievous cats don’t get out.

    A Kurdish headdress that belonged to Homayoun Saaedpour.

    Vera’s introduction to Kurdistan happened late in life. But her immersion in all things Middle Eastern began in 1968, during a trip to Israel and its Gaza territory — acquired one year prior — with four of her five children from her first marriage. In that fateful year, Vera, a secular Jew passionately committed to her ideal of Jewish justice, began to take a keen interest in the non-Jewish cultures of the Middle East.

    Homayoun Saeedpour, whose last name Vera continues to use, inspired a journey to pursue advanced knowledge of Kurdish history and culture. Initially, with zero knowledge of what a Kurd was, Vera found the entry in Oxford Concise Dictionary describing Kurds as “tall, predatory, and pastoral.”

    “But Homayoun was neither tall nor predatory,” she said.

    Some of the library's books about the most famous Kurd in history.

    Vera also likes to talk about her other favorite Kurd, Saladin, who famously repelled the Crusaders. “Legacy of Saladin” and “Color Me Kurdish” are among her museum’s notable past exhibitions.

    Vera takes credit for arranging the first American trip itinerary — in the late 1980’s — for Iraqi president Jalal Talabani, who is of Kurdish origin. She likes to mention her frequent trips to meet with presidential aides in Washington D.C. throughout the 1980’s.

    Out of her home office, Vera publishes the quarterly “International Journal of Kurdish Studies” and a newsletter, “Kurdish Life.”

    “My goal is to do research that adds to the truth and avoids ideology,” said Vera, whose publications contain her often prickly perspectives and her unfailingly critical eye for current events. She offers comprehensive, if scathing, analysis of Kurdish politics.

    A chess set with Kurdish pieces.

    In her own words, she became “an equal opportunity scholar” in 1991, after repudiating the ideals of Kurdish nationalism. After a decade-long commitment to the establishment of a Kurdish state, she observed how Turkish Kurds began making shifty deals with Turkey to support increased autonomy in Iraqi Kurdistan. Perceiving these particular Kurds as traitorous to their cause, she bemoans their willingness to sell out their brothers.

    “But the quest for nationalism is not worthwhile. Groups that believe their own state is best are tribally-oriented and narrow-minded. This has resulted in bloodshed and endless pursuit of narrow objectives,” said Vera.

    Vera enjoys talking about being a pugnacious scholar.

    “My relatives pulled oxcarts. We aren’t class acts,” said Vera, whose irreverence seems to increase with age.

    – Ben Piven

    In Case You Missed It: shows from August 24-August 30, 2009 streaming online

    September 1st, 2009

    A roundup of all streaming, full-length videos online from PBS and Thirteen programs that aired last week. See the list below for all full episodes and links.

    A scene from Inspector Lewis: Series Two: And The Moonbeams Kiss the Sea.

    News and Public Affairs: Nightly Programs:
    NewsHour with Jim Lehrer: The reports, segmented by story, per day.
    Nightly Business Report: The reports stream online.
    NJN News: The reports stream online for one week (see archives M-Tu-W-Th-F).
    Worldfocus:The nightly news show streams online for 15 days; signature stories are online forever.

    Charlie Rose:
    Aug. 24: Conversations with Dolly Parton, Meryl Streep and Helen Mirren.
    Aug. 25: Conversations with Julian Schnabel, Mickey Rourke and Neil Young.
    Aug. 26: An appreciation of Senator Edward Kennedy with Doris Kearns Goodwin, Al Hunt and Jon Meacham.
    Aug. 27: Conversations with David Chang, Tom Colicchio, Ferran Adria and José Andrés.
    Aug. 28: Conversations with Joe Scarborough, Evan Williams and Rahm Emanuel.

    Tavis Smiley:
    Aug. 24: Film director Quentin Tarantino.
    Aug. 25: Country singer Reba McEntire; novelist Dean Koontz.
    Aug. 26: A tribute to Senator Edward Kennedy with Rep. John Lewis and lawyer Vernon Jordan.
    Aug. 27: Aetna CEO Ron Williams; author and UCLA professor Eric Sundquist; former U.S. senator Edward Brooke.
    Aug. 28: Historian Douglas Brinkley; musician Josh Charles.

    News and Public Affairs: Weekly Programs:
    Washington Week: The passing of Senator Edward Kennedy; the reappointment of Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke for a second term; investigating CIA interrogation techniques.
    NOW on PBS: Paying to repair roads and infrastructure.
    Bill Moyers Journal: A broadcast of the film Money-Driven Medicine, which examines aspects of the medical care business.
    Religion & Ethics Newsweekly:

    Consuelo Mack Wealthtrack: An interview with AQR Capital Management founder and managing principal Cliff Asness, who talks about his strategies and offers advice to investors.
    New York Now. An interview with Gov. David Paterson at the state fair. Available for one week only.
    Foreign Exchange: A segment on the upcoming German elections; a preview of an installment to Wide Angle’s Time for School series; a discussion with Trita Parsi about Iranian-American relations.

    News and Public Affairs:
    Wide Angle: Once Upon a Coup. A documentary on the politics and business of the African nation of Equatorial Guinea, home to an attractive oil reserve.

    NOVA: Monster of the Milky Way. An examination of black holes.
    NOVA scienceNOW: Saving Hubble update; gangster birds; a profile of brain surgeon Alfredo Quiñones-Hinojosa; how memory works.

    Antiques Roadshow: Los Angeles-Hour Three.
    History Detectives: WPA mural studies; George Washington miniature; Japanese balloon bomb.
    American Experience: The Kennedys. A survey of one of the most famous American political families that produced a U.S. president and two senators.

    Masterpiece Mystery: Inspector Lewis, Series Two: And The Moonbeams Kiss the Sea. Lewis and Hathaway investigate a murder in the basement of Oxford’s Bodleian Library. Available for online viewing through September 13, 2009.

    Jacques Pepin: More Fast Food My Way: Citrus thrill. Cured herring starter;skirt steak grandma with freshly squeezed lime in anchovy and garlic sauce; gnocchi with eggs and scallions; sauteed curly mustard greens with hot sausage; and chestnut cream Mont-Blanc, with crushed pieces of scrumptious biscotti, chestnut puree, and whipped cream.