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CBS Sunday Morning / Jane Pauley
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March 20, 2022 2:11 pm

CBS Sunday Morning,

CBS Sunday Morning / Jane Pauley

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March 20, 2022 2:11 pm

“Sunday Morning” with guest host Mo Rocca. David martin examines why Russia’s tank war has stalled, while Lee Cowan looks at the plight of millions of Ukrainian refugees. Plus: Tracy Smith sits down with actress Sandra Bullock and Erin Moriarty talks with former college classmates of Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson.

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Our CBS Sunday morning podcast is sponsored by Edward Jones. College tours with your oldest daughter. Updating the kitchen to the appropriate decade.

Retiring on the coast. Life is full of moments that matter, and Edward Jones helps you make the most of them. That's why every Edward Jones financial advisor works with you to build personalized strategies for now and down the road. So when your next moment arrives, big or small, you're ready for it. Life is for living. Let's partner for all of it.

Learn more at Good morning. Jane Pauley is off today.

I'm Mo Rocca, and this is Sunday morning. This past week, negotiations to end the fighting in Ukraine seem to offer a glimmer of hope, but the fighting rages on. Some 3 million Ukrainians have fled their country.

The vast majority, about 2 million, have traveled to Poland, roughly the entire population of that nation's capital Warsaw. Lee Cowan reports on the looming humanitarian crisis playing out in the shadow of war. The invasion of Ukraine has raised a lot of questions about the strength of Putin's war machine. But there is no question about just how much misery it's caused. This is certainly the fastest mass migration from war since the Second World War.

The growing human toll of the refugee crisis sweeping across Europe ahead on Sunday morning. She's one of the most popular actors of our time. Tracy Smith this morning talks with Sandra Bullock about the past and her surprising plans for the future. Sandra Bullock's had her share of highs, but she's learned to look out for the lows. Let's say a scale of 1 to 10. How's life now? It's my life, so it's about a 9.2. That's very specific.

Why 9.2? Because the other shoe will drop. It will. We can call for help, get to the airport and get out of here and I am driving Sandra Bullock on timing coming up on Sunday morning. And I'll catch up with three entertainment legends who tell us the story behind a most unique and very memorable Broadway musical.

There she is. It started with a painting with a painting that it ended up a Broadway classic was by no means preordained. Isn't it true one of the producers at one point actually held the door?

Yeah, he finally got up and went to the door that people were walking out of and just held it open for people because it squeaked every time somebody walked out. Bernadette Peters, Mandy Patinkin and James Lapine talk Sunday in the park later on Sunday morning. And much more besides, David Pogue looks at the ups and downs of gasoline prices. Susan Spencer will consider the COVID pandemic's toll on our mental health. Erin Moriarty introduces us to Katonji Brown Jackson, the woman likely to make history at the Supreme Court. John Dickerson takes note of a classical pianist who personifies the maxim practice makes perfect and more.

It's the first Sunday of spring, March 20th, 2022. And we'll be back after this. Russia has one of the largest, most powerful militaries in the world. But as national security correspondent David Martin reports, the war in Ukraine has revealed some serious shortcomings. The stalled and sputtering spectacle the Russian military is making of itself in Ukraine came as a revelation to General Frank McKenzie and almost certainly to Vladimir Putin as well. I am surprised at the problems they're having. It should be very concerning to Russian leadership. As commander of U.S. forces in the Middle East, McKenzie has spent the last three years operating in close proximity to the Russians in Syria and knows their history as one of the world's great tank armies, all of which has been belied by the first three weeks of war. They haven't been able to maneuver their armor effectively. You know, there's a tremendous history of that actually in the Russian military, being able to do deep armored operations. At the end of the Second World War, they were as good as that as anybody else. But these guys still don't seem to have remembered that.

Should heads roll? I would not be happy if that's the way U.S. forces were performing. We have non-commissioned officers that are the backbone of the joint force.

They're the people that actually make sure things are done, that continuing actions are taken, that you dig in, that your tanks don't run out of fuel. McKenzie, himself a tank commander as a young officer, watched in disbelief as an entire armored column advancing on Kiev literally ran out of gas. If you're going to drive and operate a main battle tank as a commander, and I have, then you are thinking all the time about fueling that beast.

If you're not thinking about fueling that beast, then you're behind. And they appear to have not taken those basic logistical considerations and trained as they move forward. Are you surprised they seem to be sticking to the roads?

That's a lack of training. You've got to get off the roads to maneuver. The roads are death traps, particularly for armored vehicles, particularly when you're fighting people that have good anti-tank systems, and the Ukrainians do have good anti-tank systems. On Wednesday, President Biden promised the U.S. will send 9,000 more anti-tank weapons. The United States and our allies and partners are fully committed to surging weapons of assistance to the Ukrainians, and more will be coming.

Including the shoulder-fired Javelin, which dives down on the top of the tank where the armor is thinnest. Using everything from the high-end Javelin to the workaday rocket propelled grenade launcher, the Ukrainians have destroyed several hundred Russian vehicles. Well, so how much of this is due to Russian incompetence as opposed to Ukrainian skill?

That's a great question, and I think we're going to have to see how this progresses a little further to be able to finally answer that question. I would tell you this though, the Ukrainians have shown great bravery in defending their country. It's less clear to me how aggressive and motivated Russian forces are down at the individual soldier level, the platoons that are actually driving on the roads, you know, meeting the enemy. Ukrainian resistance foiled Russia's plan to take the capital of Kiev with a lightning strike in the opening days of the war.

With their vaunted tank army stalled, the Russians have reverted to siege tactics, pounding cities and their residents with rockets and artillery. But they are expected to regroup and try again. Is it conceivable to you that Russia could just flat out fail to take Kiev?

I would be surprised if that outcome happened. Taking Kiev is very important to them, so I predict they'll try very hard to take it. And I think there could be a horrific price actually to be paid in the civilian population as they move against the city. As Russia's invasion enters its fourth week, millions of Ukrainians have been forced to flee their homes.

Lee Cowan takes stock of the humanitarian toll of war. The western borders of Ukraine have become a sin, a revolving door of despair. More than three million people have fled Ukraine, plus nearly seven percent of the country's entire population. Tatiana Andrieva and her cats, along with her two young daughters, spent 22 hours on a train from their home in southern Ukraine to the Polish border town of Medica. When they arrived, the chaos they left behind was, for a moment anyway, replaced with compassion. But their journey was just beginning.

They were soon boarding a bus, going deeper into Poland, where they hope to catch another bus that will take them to Germany. Eleven-year-old Anna and six-year-old Irina have been spared the grim details, for the most part. She's trying to protect children from all of it, and she doesn't give them all of the information she has. UNICEF estimates that at least one million of the refugees are children. The rest are women and the elderly, a human catastrophe on a scale that Europe hasn't seen since World War II. I don't believe that this will be over quickly.

David Miliband is the president and CEO of the International Rescue Committee. As bad as this is, over three million people so far, how bad do you think it might get? However much we hope for the best, we should plan for the worst. And planning for the worst means figures of five or even seven or, in some estimates, 10 million people leaving the country. Those kinds of dire predictions have already triggered a never-before-used directive that allows refugees to stay and work in EU countries for up to three years.

The approach was, let people in first, do the paperwork second. And that's a very significant reaction, and it speaks to the scale of the crisis. But Miliband says the exit out of Ukraine is only part of the problem. We have to remember that for every person who makes it out of Ukraine, there are 10 still inside Ukraine.

Russia's cruel indifference to providing humanitarian corridors has left them virtually cut off. Those who can leave carry with them baggage of a different sort, including those covering the conflict, like award-winning photojournalist Peter Turnley, who brought back these images this past week. I ran into a journalist, and he asked me what I had experienced. And I told him the sense of guilt that I felt, that I could walk away from the situation, and the people that I had seen could not.

And I literally, without warning, just began to sob. He captured in an instant what words never could. But if there's one emotion that overwhelmed them all, he says, it was a sense of loss. This image of a man named Vitaly saying goodbye to his family in Kiev, haunts him still. He stood on the tracks for a long, long time, and he and his wife and daughter just stared at each other. But suddenly the train just left. And it was like breath had just, air had just come out of a balloon, but you couldn't get it back. And I remember feeling this incredible sense of pain for this gentleman, Vitaly, that just had lost contact with his wife and child.

And the destiny for all three of them was completely unknown. If Vladimir Putin's goal was, in part, to create a refugee crisis to destabilize Western democracies, politically so far he's failed. What he has succeeded in doing, however, is testing the limits of human cruelty. This moment feels very dark. And as so many people have been forced to leave the country, one has a sense as well that a lot of light and illumination has been taken away from their hearts. The fighting in Ukraine has fueled a crisis at America's gas stations. David Pogue now on pain at the pump. Every morning, manager George Ramos updates the prices at his Harlem gas station. Lately, he's been using bigger numbers. In one week, they went almost 90 cents. Have you ever had a really angry driver come and yell at you guys? Yeah.

Once a day, like vitamins. Last week, average American gas prices hit a record high, 4.33 a gallon. And much higher in some places. And because it now costs more to transport anything, everything costs more. So why are gas prices spiking? It's got to be Russia, right?

No. The problem with energy prices is not just Russia. Jason Bordoff is the director of the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University.

And, by the way, an electric bike fan. He says that it all started with the pandemic. We shut down half the global economy to keep people at home and keep us safe. And so prices collapsed and you had incentive to stop drilling and lay down your rigs. OK, so demand for oil fell and then the supply fell. And then when the pandemic began to ease up, people have more money to spend and a lot of them are spending it on pent up demand for travel.

We haven't traveled in a while and people really want to do that. And the oil industry should be able to do that. And the oil industry is trying to ramp production back up.

But like supply chains with cars and supply chains with lots of other parts of our economy, there are bottlenecks and problems. So the oil companies were trying to gear up again. But then Russia attacked Ukraine. All over the world, countries stopped buying Russian oil. Much less Russian oil is getting out into the world. And therefore there's less oil in the global bathtub of oil. And that pushes prices up for that global oil price.

So the pandemic recovery was the first whammy. And the Russia situation made it a double whammy. Too much demand, not nearly enough supply. But we get only about 3 percent of our oil from Russia. So why does that war affect prices here? Well, without the Russian oil, the countries that usually buy Russian oil had to find other sources.

So less oil overall, prices go up, including here. This is Russia. This is Russia.

This is Russia. This is essentially a prime lesson for economics 101, how supply and demand really work. Patrick DeHaan is the chief petroleum analyst for GasBuddy, the app that helps you find the cheapest gas near you. What about this notion that it's the president and his policies that are at fault? The U.S. president is a small cog in a big wheel of global supply and demand. And while a president can attempt to try and steer one wheel of an 18-wheeler, the market is still in predominant control of where oil prices go. You hear a lot of this, oh, the oil companies are gouging. Looking at, you know, 150,000 gas stations in near real time and watching the prices that they pay, the wholesale price of fuel, I can tell you that in very, very few, if any instances, there is gouging. Nobody can say when gas prices will drop again, but at least they're no longer climbing. Jason Bordoff says that COVID shutdowns in China have lowered demand.

Oil prices have fallen over 30 percent in the last week because of the resurgence of COVID in China. The price of the pump is set by the price of oil and the price of oil set in a global market. In other words, we shouldn't yell at the guy pumping our gas. It's certainly not the fault of the guy pumping our gas. Or as gas station manager George Ramos puts it, we're only pawns in the game.

So you're just the last domino in a long line of pricing. I'm the guy with the mouth. The Good Fight, the final season now streaming exclusively on Paramount Plus. Hi, podcast peeps. It's me, Drew Barrymore.

Oh, my goodness. I want to tell you about our new show. It's the Drew's News Podcast. And in each episode, me and a weekly guest are going to cover all the quirky, fun, inspiring and informative stories that exist out in the world because, well, I need it. And maybe you do, too, from the newest interior design trend, Barbie Corps, to the right and wrong way to wash your armpits. Also, we're going to get into things that you just kind of won't believe and we're not able to do in daytime television. So watch out. Listen to Drew's News wherever you get your podcasts.

It's your good news on the go. When better than the first day of spring to spend a Sunday in the park with whomever. Not long ago, I asked three old friends, Mandy Patinkin, Bernadette Peters and James Lapine, to help us look back at a Broadway classic.

Here she is. It began with a painting. George Seurat's 1886 Pointillist masterpiece, A Sunday on La Grande Jatte, was the inspiration for 1984's groundbreaking Broadway musical, Sunday in the Park with George, which starred Mandy Patinkin and Bernadette Peters and was co-written by James Lapine and the late Stephen Sondheim. Seurat's finished work, composed entirely of tiny painted dots, hangs in the Art Institute of Chicago.

That's just practice. At New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art, we visited a smaller study done by the artist two years earlier. The idea that this would be a study, I mean, in and of itself, it's a great painting. Back in 1982, Lapine was a graphic designer with experience only in experimental theater, who visited Sondheim, already a legend, with a postcard image of the painting.

We were sitting on the floor and we probably had smoked a joint and we were just staring at it and then we started breaking it down. Seurat himself died at 31, having never sold a major work, his own life something of a blank canvas. Into that void, Lapine and Sondheim imagined an artist struggling mightily to create, and the figure in the foreground as his mistress named, what else? Dot, a woman asking for more of Seurat than he can give. Now Lapine, who also directed the show, has written a book, putting it together, about the making of the musical, beginning with the concept.

James came over to the house. He said, I know this is going to sound pretentious, but Steve and I sat down and we talked about making a work of art based on a work of art. I didn't think it was pretentious, but I thought, oh, okay, that sounds interesting. No, I think you thought it was pretentious. Did I? Yeah. But you apologized for the pretentious possibility, but I didn't think it was pretentious before.

After you said, that's pretty pretentious. Next came the casting. I saw this lovely woman to my left, Bernadette Peters, in Pennies from Heaven, the film.

Love is good for anything that ails you. I kind of fell in love with her. I also thought that she just looked like she was from the 19th century. Mandy, I thought, was fantastic in the Evita commercial. That's all they wanted.

Not much to ask for. But Tinkin had just won a Tony for his performance as a fiery revolutionary in Evita. It's my magic system. You didn't see the show? Not so much on the show. I never saw the show. You never saw the show? Never saw the show.

Oh, that's hysterical. So I'm in the commercial and I said, yeah, he looks like. So did I. He looks intense and he's great and he looks like George Seurat.

Not much to ask for. The commercial was great. It really was a great commercial. The original off-Broadway cast also included future stars Brent Spiner, Christine Baranski and Kelsey Grammer. But putting the show together was no walk in the park. Kelsey Grammer yelled at you.

Tell me about that. He yelled at me in front of the company. Apparently, I had no style in giving notes and was fairly blunt with people. But at that point, I really didn't have my people skills together. We were kind of kids putting on a show.

The pressure was even greater on Patinkin, whose part was still being written even as opening night approached. The sun is blinding. All right, concentrate. Eyes open, please. Sunday in the park with George. Look out at the water, not at me.

Sunday in the park with George. You'd walked out at one point, stormed down the street. I was terrified and I and people were coming and I just said, I don't know how to do this.

I was just in a state of terror. Lapine called Patinkin's wife, Catherine Grody, for advice. She said, just tell Mandy you love him. And I just said to her, you got the wrong guy. But he found his way to tell me he loved me. It became one of the moments of my life.

But Bernadette Peters, who'd been appearing on New York stages since the age of 10, never panicked. Steve and James, they just they're so specific. So I knew they were two great people at the helm. And I knew that the ship was going to go forward.

You could just tell that based on your experience. Oh, yes, because in other shows, there were people at the helm, but there were so many other people talking in their ears that they would get confused. But these two guys were so clear of what where they were going with the show that I just felt secure.

Still, the forecast for Sunday in the park was bleak. The show's own stage crew nicknamed it Sunday in the Dark and Bored. Preview audiences were leaving in droves. Isn't it true one of the producers at one point actually held the door? Yeah, he finally got up and went to the door that people were walking out of and just held it open for people because it squeaked every time that somebody walked out. On the night, critics were to see the show the same day the final two shows were on.

The same day the final two songs were added, Lapine gathered the cast. James stood at the foot of that stage and we all got in that semicircle. And he spoke to us in a kind of clear yet see through code, which was believe in this. You've done this. You know this piece.

Please put away every doubt you have. Just forget about it. It was a kind of silent prayer in between his words. Geez, it was it like you were handing your baby over? I have no recollection of this. Well, I do. Part of the wonder of the book was discovering these things that I really didn't remember, to tell you the truth.

And we went out there like a team and we honored his request. The show won the Pulitzer Prize and has become a classic. Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine's ode to the art of making art. Confirmation hearings for Katanji Brown Jackson, President Biden's choice to join the Supreme Court, begin tomorrow. Aaron Moriarty looks at the woman who could make history. My nominee for the United States Supreme Court is Judge Katanji Jackson. The name Judge Katanji Brown Jackson may be new to many Americans, but not these three women. I remember thinking, oh my gosh, what we saw so many years ago is really coming to pass right now in this moment.

I can only hope that my life and career, my love of this country and the Constitution, will inspire future generations of Americans. Antoinette Coakley, a professor at Northeastern Law, Lisa Fairfax, a law professor at the University of Pennsylvania, and Nina Simmons, a corporate lawyer, met the federal court judge when they were all college freshmen at Harvard. It was very clear from the first time that we met her that Katanji was special. I remember selling her when we were in our dorm. You are going to be the first black woman on the U.S. Supreme Court. Back then, they called themselves the ladies, inseparable roommates during college. They went on to become classmates at Harvard Law. It was, we're going to make this together. We're going to help each other. And Katanji taught me that.

When one wins, we all win. Jackson's writing and her analytical skills earned her a spot as an editor on the prestigious Harvard Law Review. But her friends say she stood out for more than just academics.

She's hilarious. And that's something that people may not anticipate because they're so blinded by her intellectual brilliance that they don't realize she also has another side to her. She could dazzle with a story. And everyone would be laughing at the end of it.

Or a song. She has an amazing voice. We've heard her sing. And we all know that if she had wanted to pursue that, she would have been brilliant in that space. But her true passion was always the law. She came to college knowing she wanted to be a lawyer.

And not just a lawyer, right? She wanted to be a judge, didn't she? Yes, she did.

I was like, oh, that totally makes sense. By the way she talks, by the way she walks. She grew up in Miami, Florida, the oldest child of two educators. Her father is also a lawyer. They were there for her.

They said, why not you? You belong here. You are the one. You've worked hard, you're smart, you can do this. Jackson attended a predominantly white high school where she learned to think on her feet as a member of the debate team. She was one of the, if not the, shining star on the team. She was a standout in every way.

Steven Rosenthal, who met her in seventh grade, was a member of that team and a close friend. And you described her as the Simone Biles of oratory, which brings to mind agility. Yeah, Simone Biles has all these gold medals around her neck.

That was the way Katanji was with debate trophies. She had more hardware, you know, than anybody else. But the quality that her friends mentioned most is her ability to listen and weigh all sides of an argument. A skill, they say, that will serve her well at confirmation hearings that begin tomorrow. Katanji is the ultimate preparer, and she's going to be prepared. She, like all successful women of color, is used to facing questions about her credentials. Of course, she's had to have an armor.

We all have. I think most people walking through this world do, but especially black women. Case in point. After Judge Jackson's name was announced, So is Katanji Brown Jackson. Tucker Carlson, on his Fox News program, ignored her nearly nine years on the federal bench and instead wondered about her scores on the LSAT. Let us know what Katanji Brown Jackson's LSAT score was. What did she do on the LSAT? The law school entrance exam.

I actually laughed when I saw that because I said, is this the best that you can do? That man has clearly never met Katanji Brown Jackson. But the 51-year-old federal judge will likely be challenged about her past as a federal public defender and her work on the U.S.

Sentencing Commission. If confirmed, she'll be the second working mom on the high court. She's married to surgeon Dr. Patrick Jackson and has two daughters. It's not just about the people who look like her, who are getting inspiration from her. It's about all of us looking and realizing what it means for what's possible. A woman who stands just five feet one inch tall, poised to knock down one more barrier.

It's so historic because it's just another instance where we can say, this is the America that we all want to be a part of. The dream is possible. The dream is possible. The arrival of yet another Omicron variant has health officials on high alert. As we continue our look at what's become a pandemic roller coaster, Susan Spencer considers that other COVID crisis, our mental health.

This is Coco and this is Juliette. At home with her guinea pigs, Natasha Beltran seems like a happy 12 year old. But since 2020, she has been struggling with grief beyond her years. I remember my dad as a very funny guy that has a lot of friends near his neighborhood and he likes to go movie theaters, hiking.

So you have a lot of good memories. But on April 28th, 2020, her father, Julian Pena, just 50 years old died of COVID in a Bronx, New York hospital. The nurse called me and she said that it was really bad. Maxine Beltran, who is studying to be a nurse is Natasha's mother. They were running out of ventilators and they said, we have to remove him.

And then they removed him. And I was it. I didn't know how to tell her. So I had to, I pretty much didn't tell her. How did you tell her? I had to tell her. I had to tell her.

I had to tell her, her daycare lady, to help me tell her. Had you been able to go to the hospital and see him? No. So you never got to say goodbye?

And not being able to say goodbye haunts them both. I thought it's my fault that my dad died. You didn't tell her? No. I thought it's my fault that my dad died.

You did? Yeah. Because I was like, if you would have talked to him or be there for him, he would, he would probably be alive. That's a terrible thing to try to live with. I know. Wasn't your fault? It wasn't, baby. When a 10-year-old loses her father and can't even go to the hospital to say goodbye, how do you undo that?

Well, it's not a matter of undoing. It's how do we help children cope with those situations? We just looked at what was going on. Psychologist Arthur C. Evans Jr., who heads up the American Psychological Association, says unresolved grief is just one piece of the pandemic's widespread mental health fallout. We're seeing the number of children going to emergency departments in psychiatric distress going up. We see a number of people who are dying because of overdose. Over 100,000 people last year. We're seeing the number of people who are experiencing anxiety and depression at four times the rate.

Four times? It's four times what it was before the pandemic. In a country divided on everything, roughly nine out of 10 Americans agree the U.S. is in the grips of a full-blown mental health crisis.

And even now, with masks coming off. Would you expect the mental health situation to also get a little bit better as the virus recedes? No, it's going to be with us because what we know from research is that when people experience these kinds of traumas, people after 9-11 or Hurricane Katrina, that we expect to see people experiencing problems for at least another seven to 10 years out. So you're basically talking about a second pandemic? We are because if you look at the numbers of people that are affected, it's clearly at the scale of a pandemic. Oh, that's cute.

Yeah. One horrific number tells Natasha Beltran's story. More than 140,000 children have lost a parent or a caregiver to COVID. And getting help for these kids can be almost impossible. To find a children therapist that is covered under your insurance, it was mayhem. You couldn't find anybody?

I couldn't find anybody. And I'm a single mom. I don't have her dad.

I don't have any help or somebody that can chip in or contribute. In most parts of the country, kids are seeing significant delays in getting the help that they need. Not just weeks, but often months. And that would be unacceptable if our kids had cancer, for example. And we were told that they can't see a physician for four months. California may be about to change that.

Every school I visit, I hear the same thing. We need more resources. We need more counselors. California Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurman oversees the system with more than 6.3 million students.

I'm certain that you know the challenges that our students and our families are experiencing. He's pushing an ambitious bill before the legislature. We've set a goal to build a pipeline of an additional 10,000 mental health clinicians over the next several years. 10,000 in the California school system?

10,000 in California. I saw you quoted somewhere as saying, this is the way where we can leave an important mark. What did you mean by that? Job number one has got to be attending to our social-emotional learning needs of our kids.

And so I think that's the legacy that we have to leave. In New York, the Beltrans went months without proper help. Until they found a nonprofit called The Children's Village.

Daphne Torres-Douglas is its Vice President of Behavioral Health Services. We're always hearing all the time, oh, kids are so resilient. Resilience doesn't take away the trauma. We still have to address the fact that they're hurting. Which is why The Children's Village provides counseling free of charge. We see a lot of young people suffering from losing family members. And we see young people not having the ability to cope.

And we see the adults not knowing how to help them. The social worker assigned to the Beltrans worked with them in their home. What was it about the social worker that reached you?

Oh, so many things. It's just her energy, so positive, so calming. Like, I understand what you have gone through and I am here to help.

You felt like you could talk to her. Yeah. What's your assessment of how the Beltrans are doing? They're doing really well, but this may be a long process for them and that's okay. And as long as they have one another and they are connected to one another and supporting one another, they're going to be okay. A hopeful outlook that two years later, Natasha Beltran is ready to embrace. Natasha, a lot of kids have lost parents or caregivers. What would you tell them? It's not your fault.

You won't ever stop missing him. No. But that's okay.

I know. Major Garrett on Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts. This is Intelligence Matters with former acting director of the CIA, Michael Morell. Bridge Colby is co-founder and principal of the Marathon Initiative, a project focused on developing strategies to prepare the United States for an era of sustained great power competition. The United States put our mind to something we can usually figure it out.

What people are saying and what we kind of know analytically and empirically is our strategic situation, our military situation is not being matched up with what we're doing. Follow Intelligence Matters wherever you get your podcasts. It's mine? Yes, sir. What?

Never had one before. Want a room to yourself? I bet. Sandra Bullock won an Oscar for her role in The Blind Side. Now she's out with a new film, but acting is not the only thing on her plate.

Tracy Smith has our Sunday profile. On one of the coolest streets in Austin, a go-to for the hip and the hungry. This is Walton's Fancy and Staple, a cafe and flower shop in a century-old brick building owned and restored by actress producer Sandra Bullock. I love the idea of finding purpose for something that was created for another purpose originally.

This place, which was once a horse and carriage repair shop, is now a destination for local foodies. To me, this is just as fulfilling as making movies. And if you know her movies, that's really saying something. There were just hundreds of snakes in this temple just waiting for us to show up. What?

Why aren't they biting that guy? This is ridiculous. Delete. In The Lost City, from our parent company Paramount, she's a kidnapped romance novelist. Unchained me. That's her seatbelt.

Who, along with her book's cover model, Channing Tatum, fights her way back to civilization through some harrowing and comically cringe-worthy situations. Ah! No! What is that?

Get them all. Oh my God. No, I can't touch this blood-gorged mucus. Can you fling it? Can you? Why don't you just pick it and fling it?

Just pick it and fling it. It's refreshing that the person taking their clothes off is the guy. Because nobody wanted me to do it. I think I'm kidding. Not.

And Channing was the one willing to work out all the time. I was like, I'm not willing. It's the latest chapter in a career that's taken her from a speeding city bus in 1994's Speed. It'll be one hell of a ride.

To an even more harrowing trip in 2013's Gravity. I'm in a dress. I have gel in my hair. I haven't slept all night. I'm starved and I'm armed. Don't mess with me.

Of course, she's also known for her brand of physical comedy. I'm fine. I'm cool.

I'm good. It's something she says she learned at an early age, thanks to her mom. My mother had no sense of humor. Unless you hurt yourself and then she would laugh her ass off. So I realized the weight of my mother's heart was through physical comedy. So you would do pratfalls?

I would fall all the time. And it's fair to say the film world fell for her. She's made four dozen-plus movies.

Oh my God! Why are you naked? Earned countless accolades. You protect his blind side. When you look at him, you think of me.

But also had her share of some real-world grief. Play along with me on a scale of one to ten. How's life now? I'd say it's, you know, it's my life. So it's about a 9.2.

That's very specific. Why 9.2? Because the other shoe will drop.

They will. The other shoe seemed to drop hardest in 2010. It started, happily enough, with a surprise adoption of her first child. He was unexpected.

He was not planned. I got a call one day and your placement is here. And that's after years after having filed. Years. Oh my gosh. Then just out of the blue. Boom.

It literally was out of the blue. And so I was handed a plastic bag and a child. And the winner is Sandra Bullock. And a few weeks later, with the adoption still a secret, she was handed an Oscar for the blind side.

Did I really earn this or did I just wear you all down? But even during her acceptance speech, she says her mind was on her baby. All I kept thinking about was, he's at home. Like, I didn't care.

I didn't care that it was there. I just wanted to go home. And then I was sewn in the dress. I was sewn in the dress and I had to get myself out of the dress.

But all I wanted to do was just go home and feed Luke. How do you get yourself out of a dress when you're sewn in? You just rip it. You just rip it. You just rip it. I ripped it. And then I asked him to fix it. I go, I don't know what happened. I'm like, all the beats came off. And days later, the wheels came off her marriage to reality star Jesse James, leaving her to raise her infant son alone and shut out the rest of the world as best she could.

I mean, so much had happened. How do you process grief and not hurt your child in the process? It's a newborn.

They take on everything that you're feeling. So my obligation was to him and not tainting the first year of his life with my grief. Bullock has since adopted a little girl as well. She's asked us not to use photos of her kids. She says that even in her privileged world, she's had a real taste of the battles other mothers fight every day. You know, my children are black. I have a level of defense that millions of mothers have that aren't white. You know, I have an understanding of how scary it is. And I just get really emotional because I think of hundreds of years of women who've never been able to relax in a motherhood. They've never been able to relax. Worried about their kids. Yes, in a way that we as white women have not had to worry.

You worry about other things, but if you really, really, really take a minute and think about hundreds of years of mothers not being able to enjoy freely the birth of a child, their son becoming a young man, all of those things represent fear and loss. Career-wise, Bullock wanted to give the audience something to smile about. Why are you so maxim? My dad was a weatherman.

But she says that The Lost City, which will be in theaters this week, will be her last film, at least for now. I don't want to manscape you. I didn't bring my clippers. I can be creative. I can be part of a community.

But right now, work in front of the camera needs to take a pause. For how long? I don't know. I don't know. Until I don't feel like I feel now when I'm in front of a camera.

Which is? I want to be at home. I'm not doing anyone any favors who's investing in a project if I'm saying, I just want to be at home. Because I was always running. I was always running to the next thing. I just want to be present and responsible for one thing. So you knew shooting this movie, this is going to be the last one for a while. Yeah, and I don't know what a while is.

I don't know what that is. I would just love to clean out the basement. You're being literal. I'm literal. I have a room where all my shit goes for all the years.

I want to go through it, and I want to see if I remember any of it. These are the golden eggs right there. I mean, they're unassuming, but they're my sister's recipe. Combination of a churro, a donut, and a snickerdoodle.

Her family comes first, at home and here, where her sister Gigi designed some of the pastries. Are you a sweets person? Yeah, big time. I have a problem. Yeah.

Obviously. Or just maybe Sandra Bullock knows when something is sweet and has learned to cherish it. What do you see out in front of you now? She's like, I see a crystal ball. I don't know.

That's what's a little scary about it. I don't know. Watched six months from now. I can't handle this anymore. I need to go back to work, but I don't want to do that. If that feeling comes, I don't want to do that.

I don't want to rely on work to fill me, but I just don't see a lot other than everyone under my roof. That's it. I was not very sexy, but it's mine. You may know the old joke, how do you get to Carnegie Hall?

Practice, practice, practice. John Dickerson takes note of the music of pianist Jeremy Dank. That's a very good cheese.

You know, you could have a more French cheese, you know, but then, you know, sometimes you want a good old German cheese. Why is this man at the piano talking about cheese? Because classical pianist Jeremy Dank is trying to put his finger on classical music. And he knows that means more than putting his fingers on the keys. Dank, an award-winning pianist, is the author of Every Good Boy Does Fine, a performer's love song to the craft of the thing piano students usually hate, practice.

You have to play that next week. Young Jeremy's first gig was on stage at the first musical lesson took place not at the piano, but on the sofa of his boyhood home in New Jersey. One of my father's favorite pieces was the Saint-Saëns Symphony No. 3, the organ symphony. About three quarters of the way through the piece, where the orchestra is diminuendoing, my dad called me up to the couch and was like, listen, we're listening, you know? And then suddenly this organ comes in with the loudest C major chord ever.

And my dad looked over at me and he said, holy crap. So you say it's your first musical lesson. What did you learn? The sheer joy of surprise in music. And I think that was part of what we shared on the couch there. Having felt the connection between music and emotion, head and heart, Dank, age 10, had to learn to settle his hands. We moved to New Mexico and I had a new teacher at the New Mexico State University, William Leland.

Together, they kept a notebook marking his progress. Through the drawings in your book, he seemed to have an aptitude for communicating with a 10-year-old. But I was a weird 10-year-old also, you know, a little bit like, you know, partly 10 years old and partly 50. And he was very determined to build me a technical foundation so that I could actually realize some of the things that I was trying to do musically. He made me play. He thought my thumbs were weak, which they were. So you had to think about, keep your hand quiet and bring your thumb like a little crab under the hand, right? And then go further.

And then go a little, and then go further. He made me do this for, oh God, unbelievable hours. It's even traumatizing me right now to think about to play it. And it seemed like the most miserable possible enterprise. You know, like the whole point of piano lessons was to drain all the pleasure from music.

Why didn't it drain all the pleasure out of it for you? It did at moments, but then, you know, I would listen to some piece and then, you know, like, oh yes, this is what music is for. Do you feel any fellow feeling with Olympic athletes?

They've done all the kinds of practice that you write about and that you do, and then the moment comes. Is that similar at all? It's so similar that I can barely watch Olympic competition. Dank's love of music grew, despite the hours of practice, leading to a bout of evangelical fervor on the bus to school. I was not a fan of popular music in those days. I was an extremely elitist little brat, you might say. And I thought, you know, people need to learn that there's something better out there to listen to. So he stuffed a cassette player in his backpack, got on the bus and pushed play.

The conversation, like, slowly comes to a halt and people are looking around, you know, with this horrible, you know, like, what is that terrible smell, you know? As skilled in the classroom as at the piano, Dank left for the prestigious Oberlin Conservatory of Music at age 16. There, he found teachers who pushed him almost as much as he pushed himself. Is there something intrinsic to the teaching of classical piano that requires hard teaching? There is a long tradition of mean, you know, abusive teaching. You know, even the teachers that were meanest to me, I'm still assuming they did it, you know, because I needed it, in a way.

But sometimes they didn't realize what a sea of anxiety and insecurity I was, you know, underneath. Dank won the highly competitive Senior Concerto Competition at Oberlin and was set to move to his next teacher in California. But after hearing Georg Shebok, he moved to Indiana instead to study under him. I never really loved Bach until that moment. The way he played that, moving his hands so smoothly and beautiful, but also with this little smile, and you felt that his smile, physical smile, was also present in the notes too, that the music had this beatific quality, but also this sense of play. And I don't think many of my teachers had told me to play with play yet. I think I so desperately needed what Shebok was offering at that moment, that I needed a sense of the wider purpose of piano playing and some sort of, also this European perspective. What is the emotional meaning? Like the musical score is like a treasure map, you know, telling you, you know, here's how you create this piece, you know, here's how you bring it alive, here's how you do it.

And it's not a misery, but it's a beautiful guide. The mixture of technique and play has won Dank critical acclaim, including a MacArthur Genius Grant. He now tours the world playing with great orchestras and classical music superstars like Joshua Bell, practicing now a joy in itself. How long can you go without practice?

What happens if it gets into about the middle of the second day? It's like an itch. Maybe it's an addiction in a certain way, you know, like I feel my fingers start to do things, you know, and I can't sit still. It's that act of translating through the body that I somehow need to feel complete. I'm happy to play excellently. I'm very, you know, soothed when I feel I've played well as a pianist, but I'm much happier if I feel that something of that quality when I'm practicing gets transferred to everyone in the room. You've given them something. Yes, which is allowing the audience in, but also allowing the music to speak and allowing the time to feel generous. It's the kind of generosity that Dank felt 46 years ago on that couch in New Jersey. And after countless lessons and hours of practice, he can now give a similar lesson just by sitting down to play.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-01-29 15:04:23 / 2023-01-29 15:24:50 / 20

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