TONIGHT ON METROFOCUS

Glass ceilings are being shattered and race barriers are being broken as Andrea Stewart-Cousins becomes the first black woman to lead the New York State Senate. A judge has ruled that New York State’s lawsuit against the president and the Trump Foundation can proceed. America’s favorite weatherman gives us a history lesson about one of America’s favorite traditions. When astronaut Scott Kelly came back after a year in space, his science made headlines, but his art was out of this world. Craig Newmark isn’t just the name behind Craigslist. He’s also on the front line in the fight to keep America’s veterans well on the home front. He joins us to share the details.

Aired on November 27, 2018. 

TRANSCRIPT

> TONIGHT ON 'METROFOCUS,' GLASS CEILINGS ARE SHATTERED AND RACE BARRIERS ARE BROKEN, AS ANDREA STEWART-COUSINS BECOMES THE FIRST AFRICAN-AMERICAN WOMAN EVER ELECTED TO LEAD THE NEW YORK STATE SENATE.

AND A LAWSUIT PROCEEDS AGAINST THE PRESIDENT AND HIS FAMILY OVER THEIR HANDLING OF TRUMP FOUNDATION FUNDS.

AND THE SWITCH IS FLIPPED ON WEDNESDAY AT ROCKEFELLER CENTER, AS ONE OF AMERICA'S FAVORITE CHRISTMAS TREES IS LIT UP.

AL ROKER IS HERE TO ILLUMINATE US WITH A BACK STORY OF THIS BELOVED ANNUAL EVENT.

AND WHEN ASTRONAUT SCOTT KELLY ORBITED THE EARTH FOR A YEAR, HE WAS NOT ONLY CONDUCTING EXPERIMENTS, BUT MAKING ART.

IN A MOMENT, HE'LL SHARE HIS WORK WITH US.

AND CRAIG NEWMARK ISN'T JUST THE FOUNDER OF CRAIGSLIST, HE'S LEADING THE FIGHT TO KEEP AMERICAN'S VETERANS WELL ON THE HOMEFRONT.

HE'S HERE WITH THE DETAILS.

THOSE STORIES AND MORE AS 'METROFOCUS' STARTS RIGHT NOW.

> THIS IS 'METROFOCUS' WITH RAFAEL P. ROMAN, JACK FORD AND JENNA FLANAGAN.

'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY JAMES AND MERRYL TISCH, SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM, III, THE SYLVIA A. AND SIMON B. POYTA PROGRAMMING ENDOWMENT TO FIGHT ANTI-SEMITISM, BERNARD AND IRENE SCHWARTZ, ROSALIND P.

WALTER, BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG AND BY --

> GOOD EVENING AND WELCOME TO 'METROFOCUS.'

I'M JENNA FLANAGAN.

WE BEGIN TONIGHT WITH A HISTORIC MOMENT IN NEW YORK POLITICS.

STATE SENATOR ANDREA STEWART-COUSINS HAS BECOME THE FIRST WOMAN TO EVER LEAD A LEGISLATIVE CHAMBER IN ALBANY.

THE YONKERS DEMOCRAT IS EXPECTED TO TAKE THE POSITION WHEN THE NEW LEGISLATIVE SESSION BEGINS IN JANUARY.

THE ASCENT OF STEWART-COUSINS COMES AFTER THE DEMOCRATS DECISIVE WIN IN THE MIDTERMS.

IT WILL ALSO MARK THE FIRST TIME THAT BOTH THE STATE SENATE AND STATE ASSEMBLY, WHICH IS RUN BY SPEAKER CARL HASTY L BE HEADED BY AFRICAN-AMERICANS.

IT ALSO MEANS THE DAYS OF THREE MEN IN A ROOM WILL BE OVER.

AND IN OTHER NEWS, OVER THE HOLIDAY WEEKEND, A JUDGE RULED THAT NEW YORK STATE'S LAWSUIT AGAINST THE TRUMP FOUNDATION FILED EARLIER THIS YEAR CAN PROCEED.

THE LAWSUIT NAMES PRESIDENT TRUMP, AS WELL AS TWO OF HIS CHILDREN, IVANKA AND ERIC.

HERE WITH THE RUNDOWN OF WHAT THIS WEEK'S POLITICAL HEADLINES MEANS IS CITY AND STATE EDITOR IN CHIEF JONATHAN LENTZ.

JONATHAN, WELCOME BACK TO THE PROGRAM.

GOOD TO BE HERE.

LET'S START WITH WHAT IS NEW IN ALBANY.

WE HAVE A NEW SENATE MAJORITY LEADER.

THIS WAS EXPECTED SINCE ELECTION DAY.

I THINK DEMOCRATS MAY HAVE AS MANY AS 40 SEATS IN THE 63 SEAT CHAMBER.

AND STEWART-COUSINS WAS BROUGHT IN WHEN DEMOCRATS WERE BACK IN THE MINORITY ABOUT TEN YEARS AGO, THEY HAD A SHORT PERIOD, CHAOTIC PERIOD IN THE MAJORITY.

AND I THINK THEY BROUGHT HER IN AND THOUGHT THIS WOULD BE A PERSON WHO COULD LEAD THE CONFERENCE, SHOULD THEY TAKE THE MAJORITY.

SHE'S A WOMAN, SHE HAS A DIFFERENT LEADERSHIP STYLE.

SHE'S COLLABORATIVE, SEEMS VERY COMP TEM COMPETENT.

SO AS YOU KNOW, HISTORIC POINT FOR THE STATE AS A WHOLE.

OF COURSE.

NOW, ARE THERE ANY PARTICULAR ISSUES THAT MIGHT CHANGE THE TONE OF THE STATE SENATE?

SURE.

THE OTHER INTERESTING THING TO POINT OUT, OTHER THAN HER BEING AN AFRICAN-AMERICAN, BEING A WOMAN, SHE'S A SUBURBAN LAWMAKER, AND YOU HAVE HAD A HISTORY OF NEW YORK CITY BASED LAWMAKERS, ESPECIALLY DEMOCRATS, WHO HAVE NUMBERS IN NEW YORK CITY IN THE FIVE BURR ROUGHS.

ONE OF THE THINGS TO WATCH THERE, WHAT CAN THEY GET BEHIND.

A BIG THING TO WATCH IS WHAT IS GOING TO COST MORE AND MIGHT REQUIRE RAISING TAXES OPPOSED TO WHAT CAN GET DONE, THINGS LIKE ROE VERSUS DE, CODIFYING THAT IN STATE LAW.

OR CONGESTION PRICING CAN GET A LITTLE TRICKY.

I DO ALSO WANT TO SAY, THOUGH, THEY HAVE A POSSIBLE PAY RAISE ON THEIR DOCKET, AS WELL.

SURE.

THAT'S A BIG ISSUE FOR LAWMAKERS IN ALBANY.

THEY MAKE JUST UNDER $80,000 A YEAR.

IF YOU CHAIR A COMMITTEE, YOU GET A LITTLE MORE MONEY.

YOU GET MONEY FOR TRAVEL.

BUT THEY HAVEN'T GOTTEN A PAY RAISE IN TWO DECADES, AND THERE'S BEEN A LOT OF POLITICS AROUND IT.

YOU SEE A LOT OF PEOPLE PUSHING FOR, OKAY, IF WE RAISE THEIR PAY, THEY WANT TO BAN OUTSIDE INCOME.

YOU CAN'T HAVE AN OUTSIDE JOB, THE IDEAT CONFLICTS OF INTERES.

THE FORMER SPEAKER WAS CONVICTED OF CORRUPTION INVOLVING HIS ROLE AS A LAWYER OUTSIDE OF BEING A LEGISLATOR.

I WAS GOING TO SAY A LOT OF THE CORRUPTION CASES SEEM TO STEM FROM THAT ISSUE.

THEN THERE'S GOING TO BE THE UPSTATE, DOWN STATE ISSUE, BECAUSE $80,000 IN BINGHAMTON OR UTICA GOES A LOT FURTHER THAN HERE.

SURE.

AND THE NEW YORK CITY DOWN STILL RAISED ITS PAY UP TO $150,000.

AND YOU SAW AFTER THAT HAPPEN, SOME STATE LAWMAKERS DECIDED TO RUN FOR NEW YORK CITY COUNCIL.

THERE'S OBVIOUS APPEAL THERE.

BUT THERE IS A BROADER ISSUE.

CAN YOU RECRUIT THE BEST, MOST TALENTED PEOPLE IN THE CITY LIK MAKING ABOUT $80,000?

IT'S HARD TO GET BY, ESPECIALLY IF YOU'RE A LAWMAKER IN MANHATTAN.

WELL, TURNING TO THE NATIONAL STAGE, WHICH SOMEHOW ALWAYS COMES BACK TO NEW YORK CITY, THIS LAWSUIT AGAINST THE TRUMP FOUNDATION.

FIRST OF ALL, THERE'S SO MANY LAWSUITS RIGHT NOW.

PLEASE REFRESH OUR AUDIENCE WHICH LAWSUIT WE'RE TALKING ABOUT.

THIS IS PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP'S NONPROFIT, SOMETHING THAT HE'S HAD AROUND FOR DECADES.

IT GOT INTO SOME TROUBLE ALLEGEDLY, BUT FOR GETTING INVOLVED IN BUSINESS DEALS WITH THE TRUMP ORGANIZATION, GETTING INVOLVED IN THE TRUMP CAMPAIGN.

THERE ARE ALLEGATIONS THAT IT WAS INVOLVED WITH A FUND RAISER, A TRUMP CAMPAIGN FUND-RAISER THAT NONPROFITS SHOULD NOT BE PART OF.

IF THIS SUIT IS SUCCESSFUL, THE TRUMP FOUNDATION WILL HAVE TO PAY BACK MILLIONS OF DOLLARS.

SO, AGAIN, IN NEW YORK, THE STATE ATTORNEY GENERAL'S OFFICE HAS OVERSIGHT OVER HOW NONPROFITS OPERATE.

AND IT IS AN INCREMENTAL STEP THAT THIS CAN GO FORWARD.

BUT IT'S INTERESTING TO NOTE THAT A SITTING PRESIDENT CAN BE CHARGED IN A CIVIL CASE LIKE THIS.

THAT'S ONE OF THE ARGUMENTS THAT HIS LAWYERS ARE SAYING, HE'S PRESIDENT, HE SHOULD.

HAVE TO GO TO COURT OVER THIS.

BUT FOR ACTIONS TAKEN PRIOR TO OFFICE, THIS CASE CAN GO FORWARD.

THIS MAY NOT BE THE LAST OF THE LAWSUITS ATTACHED TO THE TRUMP NAME.

I WANT TO ASK ABOUT THE GOVERNOR.

SO DO WE EXPECT HIM TO BE WORKING HAND IN HAND WITH THIS NEW LEGISLATURE?

ON ANY NUMBER OF BILLS, YES.

THINGS LIKE ETHICS REFORM.

AGAIN, ROE VERSUS WADE, CODIFYING THAT IN STATE LAW.

YOU SEE SOME TENSION ON THIS PAY RAISE DISCUSSION THAT HE'S SAYING, AGAIN, YOU NEED TO HAVE THAT INCOME FOR ME TO GET ON BOARD.

THERE'S AN INTERESTING QUESTION WHETHER THAT'S WITHIN THE SCOPE OF THIS BODY THAT IS EXPLORING WHETHER TO RECOMMEND A PAY RAISE OR NOT.

IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE ON THE HORIZON WE SHOULD KEEP AN EYE OUT FOR THIS COMING WEEK?

A LOT OF DISCUSSION ABOUT VOTING CHANGES.

THERE'S A LOT OF FRUSTRATION HERE IN NEW YORK CITY, WITH LONG LINES AND MACHINES MALFUNCTIONING.

A LOT OF LAWMAKERS ARE SAYING THAT'S GOING TO BE ONE OF THE FIRST THINGS WE'RE DOING IN JANUARY, THINGS LIKE EARLY VOTING.

THAT SEEMS TO BE THE ONE THAT EVERYONE WANTS TO SEE HAPPEN.

RIGHT.

A NO BRAINER.

SO LISTEN, THANKS FOR GIVING US THE 411 OF WHAT'S HAPPENING AFTER THE STATE LEVEL.

THANK YOU.

> THE LIGHTING OF THE CHRISTMAS TREE AT ROCKEFELLER CENTER HAS BEEN A TRADITION THAT OFFICIALLY GOES AS FAR BACK AS 1933, AND UNOFFICIALLY BEFORE THAT.

THE ANNUAL NBC CHRISTMAS IN ROCKEFELLER CENTER, AN EVENT THAT SAYING NATURALS S ROCKEFELLER CENTER, AN EVENT THAT SAYING NAIGNALS THE COMING CHRISTMAS SEASON, WILL BE ON TOMORROW.

JOINING ME NOW IS AL ROKER.

WELCOME.

GOOD TO SEE YOU.

NOW, AL, TALK A LITTLE MORE ABOUT THE TRADITION OF THE LIGHTING, WHEN AND WHY DID IT BEGIN?

IT WAS INTERESTING.

IT ACTUALLY STARTED BEFORE ROCKEFELLER CENTER WAS EVEN COMPLETED.

IT WAS DURING THE GREAT DEPRESSION, AND SOME CONSTRUCTION WORKERS DECIDED TO PUT UP A SMALL CHRISTMAS TREE, JUST A TINY TREE.

AND IT HAPPENED A FEW YEARS AFTER THAT, AS THEY WERE STILL WORKING ON ROCKEFELLER CENTER.

AND THEN IT JUST BECAME --

IT CAUGHT THE IMAGINATION.

AND BECAME A REGULAR TRADITION.

WE STARTED -- I GOT INVOLVED WITH IT BACK IN 1983, WHEN I FIRST STARTED AT W NBC HERE IN NEW YORK.

I WAS THERE WITH YOU.

YES, AND REALLY THE LAST TWO OR THREE MINUTES OF LIVE AT 5:00.

THEN IT BECAME FIVE MINUTES, AND THEY WOULD HAVE SOME ICESKATERS.

IT KEPT EXPANDING BUT IT WAS STILL A LOCAL SPECIAL.

THEN NBC SAID WE'VE GOT THIS GREAT EVENT IN OUR BACK DOOR -- OR OUT OUR BACK DOOR, WHY NOT BROADCAST IT LOCALLY HERE IN NEW YORK?

FROM THE NETWORK'S STAND POINT, THIS IS OUR EXTRAVAGANZA.

THAT REALLY USHERS IN THE HOLIDAY SEASON.

IT'S BECOME AN INTERNATIONAL EVENT.

I WAS READING UP ON THIS AND WAS SURPRISED TO SEE THAT THERE ARE TOURS ORGANIZED AROUND THE LIGHTING OF THE TREE.

THE THING THAT I ALWAYS LOVE, BECAUSE THEY SHUTTLE US BACK AND FORTH BETWEEN DIFFERENT STAGES.

WE PASS AN AREA WHERE A FEW LOCAL RADIO STATIONS ARE BROADCASTING THE LIGHTING OF THE TREE.

THAT MUST LOOK FANTASTIC ON RADIO.

THEN I FIND OUT THEY'RE SIMULCASTING ON THEIR WEBSITES.

IT'S AMAZING.

IT IS A TOURIST DESTINATION.

HOW DO THEY GET THESE TREES?

AND HOW BIG DO THEY GO?

IT IS A YEAR ROUND EFFORT.

THE BIGGEST ONE SINCE I'VE BEEN DOING IT, IT'S ABOUT A 85-NORWAY SPRUCE, NO, 90-FOOT NORWAY SPRUCE.

BUT THEY LOOK AROUND THE TRISTATE AREA.

USUALLY CONNECTICUT, NEW YORK, NEW JERSEY, AND USUALLY IT'S A TREE THAT IS IN ITS FINAL STAGES OF LIFE, AND IT WOULD COST THE FAMILY THOUSANDS AND THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS TO HAVE IT REMOVED.

AND THE FOLKS AT ROCKEFELLER CENTER DO THESE AERIAL TOURS.

AND THEN PEOPLE SEND IN SUGGESTIONS.

PEOPLE THEM SEVERALS WHO HAVE THE TREES THEMSELVES SEND IN THE SUGGESTIONS AND THEY WINNOW IT DOWN.

THEN IT'S THIS WHOLE ENGINEERING FEAT, PUTTING IT ON A FLAT BED.

IT'S ACTUALLY BEEN FLOATED DOWN THE HUDSON RIVER.

THEN PUTTING IT UP, THE CRANE COMPANY PUTS IT UP, AND IT'S AMAZING TO SEE HOW THEY GET THAT FAST STANDING.

THE LARGEST ONE I THINK WAS 100 FOOT LONG.

AND THEY CAN'T MAKE IT ANY LONGER THERE.

SO YOU'VE BEEN INVOLVED SINCE 1983.

DO YOU HAVE A PARTICULARLY MEMORABLE YEAR OR MEMORABLE MOMENT?

I REMEMBER ONE YEAR, SCOTT HAMILTON WAS ON THE ICE.

THIS IS WHEN WE HAD ICESKATERS ON.

AND IT WAS RAINING CATS AND DOGS.

WE THOUGHT THERE'S NO WAY HE CAN GO ON.

HE CAN'T POSSIBLY PERFORM.

AND HE DID A TRIPLE SOMERSAULT IN THIS POURING RAIN.

THE WATER IS COMING OFF HIS SKATES.

AND WE WERE LIKE, THIS IS UNBELIEVABLE.

IT WAS ONE OF THE BEST MOMENTS EVER.

AND PROBABLY FROM A SENTIMENTAL POINT OF VIEW, AND EMOTIONAL POINT OF VIEW, THERE WAS SOME TALK AFTER 9/11 WHETHER THEY WERE GOING TO DO IT.

WHETHER THEY WOULD PUT THE TREE UP AND LIGHT IT, BUT WOULD THEY HAVE A CEREMONY, AND THEY DID.

AND FIRST LADY LAURA BUSH HELPED US LIGHT THE TREE.

AND IT WAS REALLY AN EMOTIONAL TIME.

ANY SURPRISES?

IT'S A LIVE EVENT, AND I KNOW HOW THOSE THINGS GO.

KNOCK ON WOOD, OR METAL.

SO FAR THERE HAVE BEEN NO MAJOR SURPRISES.

WE'VE HAD SOME PERFORMERS BE LATE.

SOME PERFORMERS HAD A LITTLE TOO MUCH HOLIDAY CHEER, IF YOU WILL.

BUT IT'S ALWAYS THIS WONDERFUL EVENT.

LATELY, AND AGAIN, NOT TO BEAT THE CLIMATE CHANGE DRUM, BUT IT'S BEEN WARMER IN THE LAST SEVERAL YEARS.

THE LAST FEW YEARS, I'VE BASICALLY DONE IT IN A SPORT COAT, AND A SCARF.

SO IT'S BEEN -- SOME NIGHTS IT'S NOT FELT A LOT LIKE CHRISTMAS.

BUT THAT TREE GETS LIT, AND BOY, YOU ARE IN THE HOLIDAY SPIRIT.

WE NEVER GET TIRED OF WATCHING IT AND WATCHING YOU IN THIS EXTRAVAGANZA.

AL, THANK YOU FOR WATCHING US.

MERRY CHRISTMAS, HAPPY KWANZAA, AND FESTIVUS FOR THE REST OF US!

> HE WEARS GLASSES, AND HE CALLS HIMSELF AN OLD SCHOOL NERD.

AND WHILE YOU'LL KNOW CRAIG NEWMARK HAS THE FOUNDER OF CRAIGSLIST, HE'S A VERY SERIOUS PHILANTHROPIST, EARNING HONORS FROM THE WOODROW FOUNDATION AND THE ORGANIZATION, IRAQ IN AFGHANISTAN VETERANS OF AMERICA.

THE LIST OF HIS EFFORTS, HELPING V VETERANS IN NEED IS VAST.

NOW, FOR THIS PART OF OUR SERIES ON POST 9/11 VETERANS, FRONTLINE TO HOMEFRONT, CRAIG NEWMARK JOINS US TO DISCUSS WHY HE SUPPORTS THESE VETERAN ORGANIZATIONS, WHAT THESE INITIATIVES ARE DOING, AND OTHER MAYBE NERDY PROJECTS HE HAS ON THE TABLE.

CRAIG, NICE TO HAVE YOU HERE.

MY PLEASURE.

YOU HAVE OBVIOUSLY THE ABILITY TO ENGAGE IN ANY NUMBER OF PHILANTHROPIC EFFORTS.

WHY HAS IT BEEN, THEN, THAT THE VETERANS ISSUES HAVE BECOME SO IMPORTANT TO YOU?

WELL, AFTER MEETING WITH A GUY YEARS AGO FROM THE IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN VETERANS OF AMERICA, I STARTED REALIZING HOW MUCH I PE PERSONALLY OWE VETS AND THEIR FAMILIES.

VETS AND ACTIVE SERVICE MEMBERS, WHEN DEPLOYED, THEY RISK A LOT TO PROTECT ME.

THEIR FAMILIES SACRIFICE A LOT TO SUPPORT THEIR ACTIVE SERVICE MEMBER.

SO WHEN THEY COME BACK AS VETS, VETS AND THEIR FAMILIES HAVE ALREADY EARNED A LOT OF RESPECT AND SUPPORT FROM US.

AND I THINK IT'S REALLY IMPORTANT FOR AMERICANS TO FOLLOW THROUGH ON OUR COMMITMENTS.

I'M DOING OUR BEST TO FOLLOW THROUGH ON MINE.

WHAT DO YOU SEE AS THE MOST SIGNIFICANT ISSUES THAT WE AS A SOCIETY SHOULD BE FOCUSING ON TO HELP OUR VETERANS?

WELL, IF A VET COMES BACK AS A WOUNDED WARRIOR, WE SHOULD PROVIDE EXTRA SUPPORT FOR THEIR FAMILIES AND CAREGIVERS.

IF A VET IS LOOKING FOR A GOOD JOB, WE SHOULD SUPPORT THEM FINDING A GOOD JOB.

FROM MY POINT OF VIEW, IN TECHNOLOGY, THAT'S WHAT I KNOW, WE EXPOSE VETS TO THE CONTACTS WITHIN THE COMPUTER AND TECHNOLOGY INDUSTRY.

FOR EXAMPLE, ONCE I JOINED THEM ON FACEBOOK, VETS AND TECH GETS TRAINED IN SALES FORCE TECHNOLOGY AND GETS THOSE VETS JOBS.

MORE RECENTLY, VETS AND TECH WORKED WITH CYBER SECURITY FIRMS TO GET THOSE VETS TRAINING AND THEN PLACEMENT, DOING CYBER SECURITY WORK.

THAT'S A BIG AMOUNT OF NATIONAL DEFENSE RIGHT NOW.

OUR COUNTRY IS BEING ATTACKED THROUGH THE INTERNET.

WE NEED MAYBE 300,000 MORE CYBER SECURITY PEOPLE.

THAT MANY?

IT'S A GREAT CAREER PATH.

HOW ABOUT SOME OF THE OTHER ORGANIZATIONS THAT I MENTIONED THAT YOU'RE INVOLVED WITH.

IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN VETS OF AMERICA IS THE BIG LONG STANDING ORGANIZATION.

THEY ADDRESS REAL VETERANS' NEEDS IN THE HERE AND NOW.

LIKE HELPING MAKE SURE THE G.I.

BILL GOT PASSED, AND IS PRESERVED, DESPITE ATTACKS.

THEY ARE TRYING TO HELP VETS GET PROPER TREATMENT IF THEY WERE EXPOSED TO BURN PITS, WHICH IS LIKE THE NEW AGENT ORANGE.

AND WOMEN VETERANS.

AND THERE'S NOW A COUPLE HUNDRED THOUSAND OF THEM OR MORE.

WITH PROJECTIONS THERE WILL BE MORE AND MORE WOMEN COMING INTO THE MILITARY.

AND AMERICA AS A COUNTRY, AND THE DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS, NEEDS TO RESPECT AND PROPERLY SUPPORT WOMEN VETS, AND IAVA AS A GENUINE LEADER IN THAT REGARDS.

IF SOMEBODY IS WATCHING OUR CONVERSATION AND SAYS THIS SOUNDS LIKE GOOD WORK, WHAT CAN WE SUGGEST THAT THEY CAN DO TO HELP?

THEY CAN HELP VETS FIND WORK.

IF THEY KNOW A JOB THAT'S AVAILABLE.

IF THEY'RE IN THE SCHOOL SYSTEM, THEY COULD HELP MAKE SURE THAT THE KIDS OF ACTIVE SERVICE MEMBERS OR VETS GET A GOOD, AND THEN A BETTER EDUCATION.

FOR EXAMPLE, THROUGH CONTRIBUTING THROUGH DAUGHTERS CHOOSE, WHERE THE SCHOOLS -- THEY CONTRIBUTE TO TEACHER'S PROJECTS, WHICH ARE IN THE SCHOOLS THAT SERVE MILITARY FAMILIES.

AND THE IDEA IS THAT PEOPLE CAN FIND OUT WHAT PROGRAMS ARE AVAILABLE TO VETS, AND THEN GIVE THEM A LITTLE NUDGE.

WE TALKED ABOUT YOUR VOLUNTARY WORK WITH THE V.A. AND BEING TITLED 'THE NERD IN CHIEF.'

WHAT SORT OF WORK WERE YOU ABLE TO DO WITH THEM?

I TOOK THE RESIDENTS PROGRAM AND CALLED IT FOR ME THE NERD IN RESIDENTS PROGRAM.

TWO REASONS, TRUTH IN ADVERTISING.

AND I MAY HAVE A SENSE OF HUMOR, ALBEIT ON THE DRY SIDE.

I THOUGHT I WOULD BE HELPING THEM WITH TECHNOLOGY.

I WAS WRONG.

THEY KNOW HOW TO DO PRETTY MUCH EVERYTHING THEY NEED TO DO.

WHAT THEY NEEDED WAS AIR COVER AND SUPPORT, BECAUSE THEY'RE ALREADY DOING REALLY GREAT STUFF.

BUT SOMETIMES THEY NEEDED POLITICAL HELP FROM THE WHITE HOUSE TO GET PERMISSION TO DO OTHER REALLY GOOD STUFF.

YEARS AGO YOU WOULD SEE BIG PILES OF PAPER FILES, WHERE VETERANS WERE WAITING FOR BENEFITS MANAGEMENT PROCESSING TO HAPPEN.

HUGE AMOUNTS OF PAPER, SHELVES BE BENDING UNDER THEIR EIGHT.

AROUND THEM, THEY WERE FINISHING THE BENEFITS SYSTEM, WHERE THEY SCANNED IN CLAIMS, GREATLY EXPEDITING THEM AND THEY'RE MAKING ENORMOUS PROGRESS.

WHEN YOU SCAN IN FILES LIKE THAT, YOU MAKE IT A LOT EASIER TO FIND THEM, YOU MAKE IT A LOT EASIER TO GET THEM FROM ONE BENEFITS PROCESSOR TO ANOTHER.

BUT NO ONE WAS GIVING THE V.A.

CREDIT FOR THAT.

SO I WROTE A HUGE THANK YOU NOTE TO VETERANS BENEFITS ADMINISTRATION, ONLY TELLING THE TRUTH, BECAUSE NO ONE ELSE WAS.

SO I THANKED THEM ON THE RECORD, AND THAT MEANT SOMETHING.

HOW DO WE MAKE SURE THAT WITH THE PASSAGE OF TIME WE DON'T START FORGETTING?

ALL I KNOW, BECAUSE I REALLY AM A NERD.

I'M NOT A COMMUNICATIONS OR PEER PERSON, BUT TELL EVERYONE THAT WE SAW VETS A LOT.

WE OWE THEIR FAMILIES A LOT, AND WE CAN'T FORGET THAT.

AND LET'S REPEAT THAT NOW AND THEN.

CRAIG, YOU'RE DOING MARVELOUS WORK FOR PEOPLE AND I'M SURE THEY APPRECIATE WHAT YOU'RE DOING, AND YOUR PERFECT ILLUSTRATION OF THAT NOTION OF DOING WELL AND DOING GOOD.

SO WE CERTAINLY THANK YOU.

AND I KNOW THE VETS THANK YOU.

I APPRECIATE THAT.

BUT ALL I'M DOING IS SAYING THANK YOU FOR MUCH BIGGER WORK DONE BY MILLIONS OF AMERICANS.

WHICH ALL OF US NEED TO DO.

THANK YOU.

PLEASURE.

TAKE CARE.

> IN 2015, ASTRONAUT SCOTT KELLY BLASTED OFF TO SPEND CLOSE TO A YEAR ON THE INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION.

DURING HIS YEAR IN SPACE MISSION, HE SET THE RECORD FOR TOTAL NUMBER OF DAYS IN SPACE BY AN AMERICAN ASTRONAUT, A FEAT WHICH ALLOWED NASA TO CONDUCT TESTS ON THE EFFECTS OF SPACE TRAVEL ON THE HUMAN BODY AND ALLOWED KELLY TO TAKE A YEAR'S WORTH OF STUNNING PHOTOGRAPHS OF THE EARTH, WHICH HE DUBBED EARTH ART.

TAKE A LOOK.

THE EARTH IS A PRETTY GOOD SUBJECT TO HAVE, IF YOU'RE AN AMATEUR PHOTOGRAPHER OR IF YOU DESIRE TO BE ONE.

AND I LIKE TAKING PICTURES AND HAVING AN ARTISTIC PERSPECTIVE ON THEM.

SO I THINK I DID CERTAIN THINGS A LITTLE DIFFERENT THAN OTHER ASTRONAUTS HAVE IN THE PAST.

AT LEAST I TOOK A LOT MORE OF THEM.

I DON'T KNOW, FOR LACK OF A BETTER TERM, MARKETED THEM WELL BECAUSE I GOT A LOT OF ATTENTION.

BUT YEAH, I TRIED TO TAKE PICTURES OF THAT.

I WANTED SOMEONE TO SAY, I WOULD LIKE TO HANG THIS ON MY WALL VERSUS, YOU KNOW, THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT THAT SPOT ON EARTH LOOKED LIKE.

IT WAS MORE ABOUT THE ESTHETIC VALUE FOR ME.

ONE OF SEVERAL CAMERAS THAT WE HAVE ON BOARD.

SO THE PHOTOGRAPHY THAT YOU SEE IS -- WE HAVE WIDE ANGLED LENSES.

WE HAVE SEVERAL OF THESE, AS WELL.

AND IT'S THROUGH THIS LENS, THIS IS 800 MILLIMETER LENS.

THERE'S CAMERAS, AND WE GET A LOT OF TRAINING, AND I HAVE BEEN TAKING PICTURES IN SPACE SINCE 1999.

I HAVE ALWAYS BEEN -- HAD A LITTLE BIT OF AN ARTISTIC EYE FOR THINGS.

YEAH, SO CLEARLY LIGHTING IS VERY IMPORTANT AND COLOR.

SO CLEARLY I THOUGHT ABOUT THAT KIND OF STUFF, YEAH.

A YEAR IS A LONG TIME TO BE IN SPACE.

IN ADDITION TO JUST FINISHED A, YOU KNOW, MY MAIN MEMOIR BOOK, WHICH IS TITLED 'ENDURANCE, A YEAR IN SPACE, A LIFETIME OF DISCOVERY.'

I'VE ALSO WRITTEN A KID'S BOOK THAT COMES OUT ON THE SAME DAY.

AND NOW I HAVE STARTED WORKING ON THE PHOTO BOOK.

I GOT DRESSED UP IN A GORILLA SUIT AND HID IN A BIG BAG AND CHASED ONE OF MY CREW MEMBERS AROUND THE CHASE STATION.

WHEN YOU HAVE A BROTHER THAT IS ALSO A PREVIOUS ASTRONAUT, YOU FIGURE OUT WAYS TO GET GORILLA SUITS ON THE SPACE STATION.

FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE, IF I'M EVER TRYING TO GET THE ATTENTION OF A GROUP OF KIDS TO TALK ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE OF SCIENCE AND MATH, ENGINEERING, ALL I HAVE TO DO IS SHOW THEM THE SPACE GORILLA VIDEO AND I'VE GOT THEIR ATTENTION.

THIS STUDY WITH MY BROTHER AND I IS REALLY IMPORTANT RIGHT NOW.

BECAUSE IT WILL HELP US GET TO MARS SOME DAY.

I WAS INSPIRED BY A BOOK, ACTUALLY.

IT'S CALLED 'THE RIGHT STUFF' THAT I READ WHEN I WAS 18.

I WAS AN UNDERPERFORMING STUDENT AT THE TIME.

MY WHOLE PREVIOUS, YOU KNOW, 14 YEARS, I GUESS MY FIRST YEAR OF COLLEGE, NEVER ABLE TO DO WELL IN SCHOOL OR PAY ATTENTION, UNTIL I READ 'THE RIGHT STUFF' AND BECAME LIKE A PLAN OF ACTION.

YOU KNOW, TO DO THE THINGS THOSE GUYS DID FOR ME REQUIRED THAT I BE A BETTER STUDENT.

SO I DID.

IT JUST LOOKED COOL ON THE SHELF.

IT WAS RED, WHITE, AND BLUE, AND HAD THIS TITLE THAT SHOWED A VERY POSITIVE DIRECTION.

JUST PICKED IT UP IN THE COLLEGE BOOKSTORE.

I WENT IN THERE TO BUY GUM OR SOMETHING, NOT A BOOK.

BUT I SPENT MY GUM MONEY ON A BOOK AND READ IT OVER THE NEXT THREE DAYS.

AND HERE WE ARE.

'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY JAMES AND MERRYL TISCH, SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM, III, THE SYLVIA A. AND SIMON B. POYTA PROGRAMMING ENDOWMENT TO FIGHT ANTI-SEMITISM, BERNARD AND IRENE SCHWARTZ, ROSALIND P.

WALTER, BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG AND BY -- CORPORATE FUNDING FOR 'METROFOCUS' WAS PROVIDED BY MUTUAL OF AMERICA, YOUR RETIREMENT COMPANY.

AND BY PSE&G, SERVING CUSTOMERS, STRENGTHENING THE BUSINESS COMMUNITY, AND INVESTING IN THE FUTURE.

Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by James and Merryl Tisch, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, Bernard and Irene Schwartz, Rosalind P. Walter, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Janet Prindle Seidler, Judy and Josh Weston and the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.

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