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November 14, 2021 11:54 am

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CBS Sunday Morning / Jane Pauley

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November 14, 2021 11:54 am

On this week's "CBS Sunday Morning" with Jane Pauley; Some service members and others suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) have had little relief from traditional anti-depressants used in conjunction with psychotherapy. Now, a recent FDA-approved trial using a psychedelic drug called MDMA – better known by its street name, ecstasy – has shown promising results. CBS News national security correspondent David Martin talks with a former Marine whose two tours in Iraq presaged twelve years of nightmares, panic attacks and failed relationships – and who now finds hope.

Over two years ago, Donna Parker, of Lexington, Kentucky, found Army uniforms in the bottom of a dumpster, and began searching for their rightful owner. Her quest – an obsession, really – would lead her to a grieving Texas family. Steve Hartman reports on a uniform's journey home.

"Sunday Morning" senior contributor Ted Koppel talks with Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, about the current state of our nation's response to COVID-19, and what the pandemic has taught him about science, politics, and America today.

Portugal is emerging as a shining example of civic duty. One of the most vaccinated countries on Earth, it is now welcoming visitors after having achieved a 98% vaccination rate for its eligible population, even as new COVID variants are appearing across Europe. Correspondent Seth Doane looks at how the country succeeded by approaching the virus as if going to war.

Academy Award-winning actress Halle Berry has always found inspiration and motivation via the spirit of boxing. That passion inspired her first film as a director, "Bruised," about a mixed martial arts fighter. Berry talks with "Sunday Morning" contributor Kelefa Sanneh about the lessons that MMA has taught her, and what she wants to impart upon her own children.

A year after COVID cancelled many family gatherings, the holiday is back, and our Luke Burbank has some do's and don'ts about getting the most from your family's feast.

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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.

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Let's partner for all of it. Learn more at Good morning. I'm Jane Pauley and this is Sunday Morning. We celebrated Veterans Day this past week, honoring the service of our military veterans. Sadly, many of our vets are still living with the scars of war, physical and psychological. And for those tormented by post-traumatic stress disorder, treatments are few and far between, which is why a new therapy from a very unlikely source could make a difference.

David Martin will tell us about it. You know, I spent over a decade pushing people away and making my life harder on myself. Two combat tours in Iraq left Scott Ostrom overwhelmed by nightmares and thoughts of suicide.

Then he volunteered for an FDA-approved trial using a psychedelic drug best known as ecstasy. I haven't had a nightmare about the war since. Do you suffer panic attacks anymore? No.

Are you ready? New hope for veterans suffering from PTSD coming up on Sunday Morning. To many, he's a hero.

Others have their doubts. From the beginning, Dr. Anthony Fauci has been on the front lines of the battle against COVID. On one of his rare days off, Dr. Fauci took stock with our Ted Koppel. A case can be made that no one over the past 20 months has been more involved and more visible in the battle against COVID than Dr. Anthony Fauci.

We needed, he says, a country pulling together. And as a matter of fact, we had just the opposite. Could it have been different? The answer to that is yes, it could have been different. But when you have leadership denying that something is as serious as it is, then you have a real problem.

Dr. Fauci on a two-front war against COVID ahead on Sunday Morning. You know Halle Berry as an award-winning actor. You might even know she's a former beauty queen, but there's a lot more to her than that, as California discovered. Halle Berry, the Academy Award-winning actress, is trained in mixed martial arts. Do you remember your first time where you took a really hard shot?

I was training for John Wick and I broke three ribs and I thought, oh yeah. Are you ready? Yeah. So she can take it and dish it out. Later on Sunday Morning, Halle Berry. Rita Braver talks with actor Andrew Garfield. Lee Cowan has the tale of an old telephone, which dials up timeless connections.

Seth Doan is inside one of the most COVID-vaccinated nations on earth. A story from Steve Hartman. Thanksgiving thoughts from Luke Burbank and more on this Sunday Morning, November 14th, 2021.

We'll be right back. Here's something you probably don't know. As many as one in five veterans suffers from PTSD. Post-traumatic stress disorder is a leading cause of suicide among vets, but David Martin has word of a surprising treatment that could lead them out of the dark. I stabbed myself in the neck and the wrist with a knife and I just wanted the pain to stop. A series of Pulitzer Prize-winning photographs captured the agony of former Marine Scott Ostrom, his life overwhelmed by PTSD after two tours in Iraq.

12 years of nightmares, panic attacks, and failed relationships. A danger not only to himself, but to others. Deep down I was angry, so really I think I was just looking for a fight. What were you angry about? Well, I was angry with myself. I felt guilty for some of the things that I failed to do when I was overseas. Failed to do, how? I watched my friend burn alive inside of a Humvee and the fire was too hot and I couldn't get to him, so I felt like I needed to be punished for that.

You're being haunted by a memory of something that happened to you. Rachel Yehuda of Mount Sinai High School in New York has spent 30 years working with veterans and other victims of PTSD. The standard treatment for PTSD has been psychotherapy and there are two medications that are FDA approved for the treatment of PTSD, both of which are antidepressants. How effective is the treatment?

These treatments tend not to really solve the problem for most people, but they are better than nothing. Desperate for relief, Scott Ostrom answered a Facebook ad seeking volunteers for an FDA approved trial using a psychedelic drug called MDMA, better known by its street name, Ecstasy. It really did change my life. Come on, buddy.

In a short period of time, in six months. When I first heard about this, I thought to myself, how could this possibly be a good idea? Psychedelics were illegal and designated by our government as being of potential harm and no medical benefit.

Then at the annual Burning Man Festival in Nevada, she met Rick Doblin. I knew that MDMA was great for PTSD in 1984. Doblin heads a psychedelic research organization called MAPS and for decades has been fighting laws which made psychedelics illegal. And we think now about how many people over the last 50 years could have been saved from suicide or depression if the research hadn't been shut down.

It's a tragedy. It was not until 2016 that the Food and Drug Administration authorized phase three trials for MDMA, the same kind of phase three trials COVID vaccines went through to prove they are safe and effective. The results from the latest phase three trial of MDMA were just astounding. So these studies, did they produce specific results?

Two-thirds of the people that were treated with a course of MDMA no longer have PTSD. Would you call this a breakthrough? I would absolutely call this a breakthrough. What does the FDA think? They've designated MDMA-assisted psychotherapy as a breakthrough approach. What does that mean in terms of what you can do now? Well, it doesn't mean you can start taking MDMA on your own.

It means that the data are so good that let's get this on a fast track for approval. But life on that fast track costs money. The biggest obstacle really for us was raising the funds to do the research because the pharmaceutical companies were not interested. The major foundations were not interested.

It was all too controversial. Enter Bob Parsons, a maverick billionaire who first took psychedelics three years ago. How much of a difference did psychedelics make in your life?

The quality of my life has increased immeasurably. Never a good student, Parsons joined the Marines at 17 and was sent to Vietnam. A month later, he was wounded.

This is a picture of me in the field hospital. It was the last he saw of combat, but the war continued to haunt him. I was a completely different guy that came home than the guy that left. The guy that came home, he had a short temper, never felt like he belonged no matter where he was or who he was with. Was he a good guy?

Or who he was with? Was it getting better? Was it getting worse?

I believe it was getting worse. Somebody would ask me if I served in Vietnam. I start crying. Parsons made his fortune from GoDaddy, an internet company which he turned into must-see TV with risque Super Bowl ads. Now you're a billionaire. What are you going to do with all that money? I'm going to do what I can to get psychedelics approved for therapeutic use.

Parsons has donated more than seven million dollars to psychedelic research. Under the influence of MDMA, Scott Ostrom was able to actually visualize his inner demons. This spinning black ball started to open itself up to me in different layers like an onion and then each layer revealed like a new memory and it was almost like the layers were just opening and opening and opening. At the center, he found a part of him he calls the bully. It was a terribly frightening creature. The bully is basically the person you had to become in order to survive two tours in Iraq.

That's right. That's who the Marine Corps trains you to be, a fighter and a killer and that's who I had to become to survive those deployments. With the aid of two psychotherapists, he was able to come to terms with it. After those three MDMA sessions, I haven't had a nightmare about the war since. Do you suffer panic attacks anymore? No. Do you have any thoughts of suicide?

No. But like a drunk getting sober, he can't undo all the damage done, all the years lost. You know, I spent over a decade pushing people away and making my life harder on myself and not loving myself. So, as far as dealing with the combat part of my PTSD, we were successful in that but I still think I can be a better person.

I still think there's room to grow. MDMA may be a breakthrough, but it's still a trial drug not likely to be available to the estimated one million veterans suffering from PTSD until 2024. What the breakthrough means to me is that we have a meaningful way to spend our time now so that we can bring a new paradigm of care to the people that need it most.

It just means that there's real hope out there that they really end up being a game changer for people that have suffered for way too long. You might say that in his battle against COVID, Dr. Anthony Fauci is fighting a war on two fronts, against the virus, and an equally tough struggle against misinformation. Senior contributor Ted Koppel visited Dr. Fauci at home to get this battle report. Every 12 minutes, someone dies.

Every 12 minutes, someone dies. More than 30 years ago, Dr. Anthony Fauci was being demonized by AIDS activists for not doing enough. Tony, all of that is bureaucratic bullshit, and you ought to be ashamed of yourself. These days, the ranks of Fauci critics have multiplied. And this demon doctor must never be allowed to escape justice. But if anything in this age of COVID, the charge now is that Fauci has done too much. Here's a guy who fully expected to spend his life giving prostate exams, and there he was declaring the ancient Christian calendar null and void. When you see the thank you, Dr. Fauci signs, does that shelter you a little bit?

It does. I mean, the fact that you know that people really care about you and understand what you're doing really deflects a lot of the crazy attacks that you get. But after nearly two years of COVID, three quarters of a million Americans killed by the pandemic, and an unrelenting assault on his competence and honesty, does Dr. Fauci have any second thoughts about the past and fresh thoughts about the next time? Could it have been different if the president had led in a different way? The answer to that is yes. But when you have leadership, you know, denying that's something, is as serious as it is, then you have a real problem.

So in that respect, it could have gone differently. Does it border on the criminal? I wouldn't say that because, you know, that generates a lot of, you know, unnecessary soundbiting. It's something as a public health official in my mind is serious. For example, one of the things that to me was most difficult to accept is that we put together a good plan for how we were going to try and dampen down the spread of infection early on, thinking that that was accepted by everybody.

And then the next day, the president saying, free Michigan, free Virginia. I didn't quite understand what the purpose of that was, except to put this misplaced perception about people's individual right to make a decision that supersedes the societal safety. That to me is one of the things that I think went awry in all of this. Did you ever raise that with President Trump? You know, I didn't have the opportunity to raise it.

I was sort of like shocked. And then I didn't speak to him for some time after that. But it was at that point that I realized that I would have to just get out there myself and say things that clearly were going to be contradictory. I'm not totally sure what the president was referring to, that it was much worse than we're saying it was, that it's not going to go away tomorrow.

It's not going to disappear like magic because, you know, this virus is going to disappear. And unfortunately, you know, that alienated me among certain people in the world. Not necessarily the president himself, but he unleashed, you know, people like Peter Navarro out there writing editorials that I didn't know what I was talking about. He had his comms people do opposition research on me. Could you imagine that? I've never heard of that, doing opposition research on one of your own civil servants.

How does that happen? At the time, the Trump White House denied that there had been any opposition research targeting Fauci. There's no opposition research being dumped to reporters. But over time, criticism has taken its toll. You're losing ground in public polling. Yeah. A couple of polls lately have begun to indicate that people are losing faith.

Right. Are you just preaching to the choir these days? You know, it's very, very tough, because if you keep lying about someone and keep spreading preposterous accusations that they're going to be some people to hear that often enough are going to believe it. But that's just the way it is.

I can't change the fabric of society about social media and how it works. I want to read to you a quote from an epidemiologist up at Johns Hopkins University. The question was raised, when does the pandemic end? And she said, it doesn't end, we just stop caring, or we care a little less.

What do you think? We are now at 70,000 to 75,000 cases a day and over 1,000 deaths. That is an unacceptable point to say we've got to live with it.

Absolutely. If you get it way, way, way, way down below that, well below 10,000 a day, that may be something that we can ultimately live with. So to say that, yes, we're just going to stop caring, we got to be careful and make sure that stop caring when you don't notice it, not stop caring when it's still killing 1,000 people a day in the United States. A couple of years ago, it was not uncommon for us to lose 30,000 Americans a year to the flu. Right.

Is that an acceptable level? No, it's not. The difference between influenza and COVID-19 is that we don't have a very good vaccine against influenza. So we cannot accept a high level of deaths to COVID-19 when we have a vaccine that could prevent it. If we had a chance to do it again, should we? Do we find the right man or woman who was so highly regarded, so trusted that we put it all under his or her control? If we had a country where people realized the importance of a communal effort, then we could do that. But that's not where our country is right now.

Our country is divisive. And I guess I should point out that 20 months ago, we thought that nationally trusted figure was a fellow by the name of Anthony Fauci. And for a while, it looked as though you were. Right.

And then? I didn't create political divisiveness. And that's the thing we're dealing with. We're dealing with the uncomfortable but real element of political divisiveness at a time when we are in the middle of a war against a virus.

No, but in a few weeks, you're going to be 81 years old. It would not be unreasonable to say, you know something, folks? I've done what I could. See you.

That's not the way I look at it. I'm the head of an institute that actually played the major role in the development of the vaccines that have saved now millions of lives that COVID-19. I'm the director of the institute that has now been very important in the basic research in leading to the drugs that will now have an important impact in the treatment of COVID-19. That's what I do. So I'm going to keep doing that until this COVID-19 outbreak is in the rearview mirror, regardless of what anybody says about me or wants to lie and create crazy fabrications because of political motivations.

All right, let's get to work. Actor Andrew Garfield soared in his role as Spider-Man, but that's nothing compared to the skills he displays in his new film, as he explains to our Rita Braver. I haven't been in a gallery or in a museum for two years. Visiting the American Folk Art Museum, one of Andrew Garfield's favorite New York haunts, you get a sense of how thoughtful he is about everything, even weather vanes. The craftsmanship and the detail and turning something so simple and practical into a piece of art, that's one of the great things that human beings do. Garfield has done plenty of great things himself, starring as the amazing Spider-Man, scoring an Oscar nomination for playing a pacifist combat medic during World War II in Hacksaw Ridge. You know what to do.

Keep pressure on it. The wine dark kiss of the angel of death, please. And he earned a Tony Award for Best Actor for his portrayal of a gay man dying of AIDS in the 2018 revival of Angels in America. I want more life. But now, at 38, Andrew Garfield is trying something entirely new, his first ever musical role. This is the life of Bobo Bobo. In a new film called Tick Tick Boom. So what gave you the guts to try? It's a really good question.

What's the best way to answer that? For whatever reason, I feel compelled to go to places that I haven't been to before as a person, as an actor. Garfield plays Jonathan Larson, best known for writing the award winning Broadway mega hit Grant. Larson died tragically at age 35 of an aortic aneurysm, the morning that Rent premiered here at the New York Theatre Workshop. So it's sacred, hallowed kind of halls where Jonathan's opus was given to the world for the first time. I have an original rock musical. It's also where much of Tick Tick Boom was shot. The film is an expanded version of an autobiographical work that Larson wrote and performed about his struggle to keep writing despite constant rejection. It's just him just banging out at a piano, just singing these songs and trying to figure out how to be him in a world that doesn't want him to be him.

Fear or love baby, don't say the answer. Tick Boom is the first feature film directed by Lin-Manuel Miranda, famed writer and star of Hamilton. From the moment I got the gig to direct it, my brain was like, well, who could play Jonathan? And then Miranda saw Garfield in that Tony winning role in Angels in America. What impressed you about what he brought to that role? What impressed me was that he brought everything to the role. He brought his joy and he brought his range. And I didn't know if he could sing, but I just felt like he could do anything.

And here's where our story takes its own dramatic turn. The only person that Miranda thought might know if Garfield sang was Greg Miele, Garfield's good buddy and one of New York's most in-demand massage therapists. He works with both Garfield and Miranda. And you just thought you'd ask him if Andrew Garfield could sing? Yeah, I think as he had his elbow halfway up my neck, I thought, can Andrew Garfield sing? And he said, oh, Andrew can do anything, buddy. And I said, of course he can sing. He has the voice of an angel. And I've never heard Andrew sing. As soon as Lin left, I called Andrew and I said, can you sing? And I said, because I just told Lin I just lied to Lin-Manuel. So he calls you and says, can you sing? I freak out. That's a good friend that will lie on your behalf. That's like a properly good friend. Garfield spent a year studying voice, even learning to play the piano a bit and spending much of a break in filming due to the pandemic here in New York City, which has special meaning for him.

Andrew, raised in England, he's the son of a British mom and an American dad. I was conceived here. Congratulations.

A hot summer night in downtown Manhattan. You know way too many people. Me and my parents are close.

What can I say? It was his mom who suggested he try acting. She kind of put me on this path. She was the one. Linda Garfield passed away in late 2019 and the pain is still real for her son. She got really sick. She really fought pancreatic cancer really hard for about a year and a half. And then there was no, there was no defeating it. It just, it was time. You have said that you dedicated your performance in Tick Tick Boom to your mom and also infused the role with your memory of her.

Yeah, I mean, I think everything I do is in dedication to her. If every person watching could double their pledge right now. Garfield has plenty to do. The devil's coming for me, Tammy. He just played disgraced televangelist Jim Baker in the film The Eyes of Tammy Faye.

And there are rumors, he won't confirm or deny, that he may have a cameo in the new Spider-Man. He's equally coy about his personal life. So I cannot tell you how many young women have asked me to find out if you're dating anyone. Oh my gosh.

Oh my gosh. Well, I'm flattered that that's interesting to anyone and that's all I have to say on the matter. Do you ever see yourself settling down, having a family? Yeah, definitely. It's something I really would like to do. You want to do that?

I definitely do. As to the future of his career, Andrew Garfield says he hopes it can be as meaningful as that of the man he plays in Tick Tick Boom. I just want to tell great stories because that's what gets me out of bed every morning is feeling like you can offer something healing and something soulful like Jonathan Larson did. 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. Earlier, we told you about new research into treating PTSD.

Steve Hartman has more on the very same topic, a tale of hope lost and found. Donna Parker is on the last leg of a journey to find the rightful owner of these army uniforms, a journey that began more than two years ago at the bottom of this dumpster. These are army suits. Whose are these?

Why are they in the trash? So this became an obsession? It did, for a very long time. All she had to go on was a common last name, Mackenzie. But Donna researched, posted on social media, even set up tables at festivals around her home in Lexington, Kentucky, hoping someone might know who these belong to. And eventually, Donna did get the full name. And when I did, his obituary was the first thing that came up. And it hit me like it would a family member. Back in 2018, Sergeant Keith Mackenzie, who had survived two deployments to Afghanistan, took his own life. He'd been diagnosed with PTSD. Marriage was crumbling, car repossessed, which is actually how the uniform ended up in the dumpster. This wasn't at all the answer Donna was hoping to find, but it made returning that uniform more important than ever. Somebody may have wanted them. You could have never guessed how much they were wanted.

No. A thousand miles away in Waco, Texas, Keith Mackenzie Jr., who was left to shag his own fly balls, still feels some bitterness toward his father. But that military service, that's a part of his dad he holds onto dearly. And literally. I'd just sit there and hold the dog tags.

For a good while, I never took them off since that's kind of all we had. That was all he had. Until his mother, Crystal, got a phone call from a stranger. She answered a prayer that I didn't know I was praying for. Some faith that there's people out there that care. Crystal and her daughter, Kayla, knew Donna was coming.

But it was a surprise to Keith. I brought these for you all the way from Kentucky. I've been looking for y'all for a long time. Thank you. Donna Parker set out to return a uniform. I don't think you understand how much this really means to all of us. What really returned to this family was hope.

Thank you. Halle Berry has played a Bond girl and a superhero. And she can really pack a punch.

Donna has our Sunday profile. I could have never guessed that this would be the turn that my life would have taken. For Halle Berry, the Academy Award-winning actress... Open the cage. There it is. This is her happy place, the cage, where fighters trained in mixed martial arts do battle. You gotta go around. You gotta get your shoulders. Put your shoulders in it.

Put your shoulders in it. She spent years training in kickboxing, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, and other martial arts. I'm guessing when you show up at an MMA gym, people are thinking, ah, this'll be cute. Halle Berry's gonna do a little fighting. I don't think anybody was really ready for me to show up as the fighter that I've become.

Playing characters like Storm in the X-Men franchise... Do you know what happens to a toad when it's struck by lightning? ...and Sofia in John Wick 3, she got into action hero shape. Do you remember your first time where you took a really hard shot? I was training for John Wick, and I was doing very much MMA-type style workouts, and I broke three ribs, and I thought, oh, yeah. But for her directorial debut, Bruised, she had to be even tougher.

Jackie Pretty Bull Justin! Her character, Jackie Justice, is an MMA fighter. There's, like, the thing where you get punched in the face.

Yeah. Well, nobody wants to get punched in the face, especially not a woman. Like, it's not in our DNA to get punched in the face. Before she was an actress, Berry was a beauty queen. She was the first runner-up in the 1986 Miss USA pageant. But in this film, her famous face is often beaten and bloody. Beauty is so subjective, but that word has been tagged to me since the beginning of my career.

And so I've had to work really hard to dispel what beauty is and what beauty does and what beauty can do. Yo, babe, bruh! Since her first movie, when she played a drug addict in Spike Lee's Jungle Fever... I want y'all to meet my new woman, Viv.

...she has fought for chances to take on unglamorous roles. Do you think this package that I walk around in spares me any real-life situation? Do you think crack would pass me by because of the way I look? Go on, just tell them.

You're playing no guessing game. Her portrayal of Letitia Musgrove, the wife of a death row prisoner in 2001's Monster's Ball, made her the first black woman to win a Best Actress Oscar. It's for every nameless, faceless woman of color that now has a chance because this door tonight has been opened. How did that change your life?

Now more people knew who I was, but how it didn't change my life is, you know, the movie script truck didn't back up to my front door and just dropped them all off because I had this beautiful golden guy now. Maria Halle Berry was born in Ohio 55 years ago. Her middle name was a nod to Halle Brothers Company, a local high-end department store, but she says she has never had it easy. I grew up in the inner city of Cleveland, latchkey kid, absentee father. I was being raised by a single mother, so, you know, we had our good days, we had our bad days. We had hard days. So I grew up very middle America.

Middle America? It sounds like the bad days were pretty bad. Some days were. I had a very abusive alcoholic dad for the time that he was around.

He was, you know, struggling, suffering, so, you know, I saw some things that, you know, most little kids shouldn't see. Some kids escaped through art or music, but she loved boxing. Watching boxing on the weekends was my favorite pastime.

I would imagine that these men like Muhammad Ali and George Foreman and Hagler and Sugar Ray Leonard, like, they were in my family. Who was watching these fights with you? Were you just sitting at home? By myself.

By yourself in front of the TV? In my room, imagining that these men were my fathers, or my husbands, but more my fathers, and I just loved the spirit of boxing. I loved everything it represented, and I loved the nobility of it. Did you take that fighting spirit onto the schoolyard?

Oh, I got in my fair share. And as I've navigated my way through my career and have gotten older, that ability to fight and not being afraid to fight, realizing I have to fight and wanting to fight, I think has served me well. Berry says she wants to be seen as a strong role model, especially for her daughter, who's now 13. You know what it says to her? She can do anything she wants, and as a little girl, a little black girl, a woman, a girl of color, she needs to see these images. She needs to realize that her mom can do anything she sets her mind to doing. She needs to understand that. Has she gotten in the cage yet?

Not yet. This movie might encourage her or discourage her. No, she will.

What she will have to do, and I'm going to require this, is she will have to learn some form of martial arts, like I'm adamant about especially women learning how to protect themselves. I think that's key. Over the years, Berry has learned that movie stardom means constant scrutiny. In the past, I would read things about me, and I would know that it's not true. And in the early days, it would bother me.

It would keep me up at night. And as I got older and my skin got a little tougher, I realized that you're just dinnertime fodder. Don't sweat it. The real people in your life know who you are. Berry has served as an ambassador for Genesee Center, a domestic violence organization. And she says mixed martial arts have been helpful to her and to lots of women who have faced difficult times. Many women are fighting to get their power back. They're fighting for their voice. They're fighting to be seen, to be heard.

And for me, I would say that's why I do it too. What is it about fighting that has that appeal? What is it about risking that kind of violence, that kind of damage? If you're desperate to heal, I think you'll take those punches in the face. Getting punched in the face doesn't feel as scary as some of the lives that these people have had to live.

It pales in comparison. A lot of fighters talk about they fight because they have to. With you, it seems like you're doing this because you want to. Because I have to. I have to too.

I have to. I have to survive. I've had to make a way for myself. I've had to support myself.

I've had to create a career for myself, a way out of no way. No has never been an answer for me. Getting hurt and stopping, never what I do. Questioning, never what I do. Taking chances, always what I do. Because I have to. And at an MMA gym, I learned one more lesson. Don't get in Halle Berry's way.

I'm tapping. It's the same sad story in country after country. COVID exacting a terrible toll. That was true in the small nation of Portugal as well. But then things changed.

A lot. Seth Doan has a postcard from Lisbon. This song in Portuguese is about change. A constant with the coronavirus. But from this overlook in Lisbon, with the sun peeking through, things looked pretty good. Having weathered the storm of COVID, at least for now, Portugal is emerging a shining example. One of the most vaccinated countries on earth.

Trams are again packed, so are restaurants. Roughly 98% of those eligible here have been vaccinated, compared to about 62% in the US. And organizers of Lisbon's Web Summit tech conference saw companies shift their stance on attendance.

Amazon told us in September, early September, right, we're in. And that was followed by Facebook, Google, Apple and Microsoft. Were you watching the vaccination rates in Portugal while you were planning?

Yeah, massively. Web Summit CEO Patty Cosgrave told us Portugal's vaccination rate was the single biggest consideration, as they worked with authorities to increase the number of attendees to about 40,000. The vaccination program was led by the military. A top navy official spoke at Web Summit in all of his gear, and it worked.

Whatever he did, I think it had a profound effect, dispelling concerns that certain parts of the population might have about getting vaccinated. I appeared on the public, always in my combat suit. Why did you wear your combat suit? Because it was a war for us. A war faith?

Yes. A former submarine commander, Vice-Admiral Enric Govel, was put in charge of Portugal's vaccination effort in February. As the country struggled with a deadly third wave, he saw it as a war with no neutral parties.

So there is only two sides. Are you on the side of the virus, helping the virus, because you don't want to be vaccinated? Or are you in the side of the community, of everybody?

Portugal is roughly tied with the United Arab Emirates for fully vaccinated citizens, more than 87% of the entire population. The admiral says Portugal's success was due to organization, communication, leadership, and another factor. Because I am not a politician, and I make the process outside the politic struggles. You think that was important, to depoliticize this? Yes.

Clear, that was very important. People here are very keen to get the vaccine. Guilherme Romana runs this vaccination center, which was busy with those getting COVID boosters and regular flu shots. He says Portugal's state health care system has had a robust vaccination program since its battle against polio in the 1960s. People are used to get the vaccine, their children to get the vaccine, their grandchildren to get the vaccine.

So it's a normal health procedure. But across Europe, COVID hotspots are reemerging. Infections and deaths are spiking in Bulgaria, where only about 22% of the population is fully vaccinated. The World Health Organization warns half a million people could die across Europe before February.

Are you watching the numbers tick up in other European countries as people start to go inside, and are you getting concerned? Of course we are concerned, but right now we still have lower cases, comparing to other countries of course, and we have this defense of the vaccines. People could look at Portugal and say, wow, you've had such high vaccination rates, but you still see the virus circulating, you'll still see people wearing masks. Yeah, but you don't see people dying.

Anne Motta, who studies infectious diseases at the Institute for Molecular Medicine, says only a small percentage of Portuguese are anti-mask. History offers some context. But we know that freedom is something else. We have lived in a dictatorship until 74, so we know that the removal of freedom is something else. A face covering doesn't seem troublesome compared to four decades of fascist dictatorship.

Anne Motta adds masks are not going away anytime soon. Of course this is a virus that will stay here, so we need to learn how to live with the viruses. Despite their progress, Motta says celebrating Portugal's vaccination rate may be premature. I think our success doesn't mean anything if it's not success for everyone. I think one thing that this pandemic came to remind us again and again and again is that we live in a global world.

So, she added, we can celebrate when the entire world replicates the vaccination success of this little country that could. Won't be long until Thanksgiving, which prompts some thoughts from our Luke Burbank. Thanksgiving is without a doubt my favorite holiday, always has been. When I was little, I loved sitting at the kids' table. We'd fill our glasses with sparkling apple juice, cheers the other kids, and pretend we were drinking beer.

Things would get wild. Come to think of it, this is pretty much still how I like to celebrate Thanksgiving, except now I'm at the grown-ups' table. I come from a big family, seven kids and all. And each year, no matter where we are all living or how busy we are, we all make a point to gather together at my parents' house outside of Seattle to reconnect. That is, we always did until last year. The CDC says the spread of coronavirus is now so out of control, Americans should cancel their Thanksgiving plans.

This year, thankfully, things are looking up. Thanksgiving's back, baby. But also, how does Thanksgiving work again?

In case you've also gotten a little rusty due to that year off, here are some dos and don'ts. Do make sure you cook your food thoroughly. Back in the 1980s when I was a kid, a massive windstorm knocked out all the power in Seattle on Thanksgiving, forcing people to pull their turkeys out of the oven midway through and just call it good. Well, let me tell you, it was not good.

Not good at all. Don't peek too early when it comes to your feasting. I've had more than one Thanksgiving meal dampened because I couldn't wait for dinner and ate three entire bowls of black olives by myself. Also, I drank the olive juice, which was a mistake.

Do get outside at some point in the day if your body allows for it. There's nothing like getting the old blood flowing to work up a proper appetite. About ten years ago, I started something called the Burbank Family Fun Run, an early morning jog that the whole family agrees is their least favorite part of Thanksgiving. I know this because they tell me repeatedly. And finally, don't be surprised if at some point in the day, you feel the desire to legally emancipate yourself from these people you love so much. Whether it's that uncle who's looked at one too many Facebook posts and thinks he knows what's really going on, or a sibling still nursing a grudge that goes back to the Nixon administration, families can be a lot. And cramming yourselves into a room with them to gather around a large bird you just cooked can be stressful and challenging. But for those of us lucky enough to have family to gather with this year, it sure beats the alternative. Thank you for listening. Please join us when our trumpet sounds again next Sunday morning. For more from this week's conversation, follow the Takeout with Major Garrett on Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-01-29 10:16:27 / 2023-01-29 10:33:04 / 17

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