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CBS Sunday Morning / Jane Pauley
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April 19, 2020 12:56 pm

CBS Sunday Morning,

CBS Sunday Morning / Jane Pauley

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April 19, 2020 12:56 pm

A historic collaboration between rival tech giants Apple and Google is developing a means by which smartphones will allow us to receive anonymous notifications when we've been exposed to people infected with the coronavirus. Charities are struggling to help record numbers of Americans who are out of work during the pandemic, adding to the millions who already experience food insecurity. The drive-thru, that symbol of American fast-food-style efficiency, is now the means by which many are being tested for the novel coronavirus. A new TV series dramatizes the political conflict pitting proponents of equal rights for women against Phyllis Schlafly, the conservative lawyer who in the 1970s founded the STOP ERA campaign. And the story of a nurses bravery. Those stories on this week's CBS Sunday Morning.




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I'm Jane Pauley and this is Sunday morning. The millions of us who were mostly staying home during this pandemic dream of the day we can roam free again. And the key to that may lie a new technology that puts health officials on the trail of infected people and their contacts. As David Pogue will report in our cover story. Contact tracing means tracking the spread of a disease from each person to everybody they've been in contact with. What we've been focusing on a lot in the United States is the care and treatment aspect.

Almost no attention has been paid to the contact tracing piece. CEOs of Apple and Google released this joint logo. But thanks to a historic collaboration between tech giants Apple and Google, our phones will soon be able to do the contact tracing for us. Coming up on Sunday morning, how big tech may save a lot of lives. After which we're in conversation. Erin Moriarty talks with the stars of a new TV series depicting the long fought battle over the Equal Rights Amendment. Why should women accept this picture of a half life? Set in the 1970s, a new TV series returns to long hair, short skirts, and two very different women's movements.

Women are not a monolith. They're all political persuasions, religious persuasions. Later on Sunday morning, the battle for equal rights. Then and now. We've been seeing a lot of people interviewed from their homes on TV these past few weeks, which prompts this Mo Rocca background report. These are actually African heritage domes.

He has really nailed it. With so many of us sheltering in place, the places where we shelter have become objects of fascination. We're in my office.

Gaga looks like a chic loan officer. Taking in the scenery ahead on Sunday morning. Ted Koppel asks if being behind bars right now is a death sentence. Jill Schlesinger surveys America's efforts to feed the hungry.

Plus, Tracy Smith on curbservice, John Blackstone with Randy Newman, Jim Gaffigan, and more. On this Sunday morning, the 19th of April, 2020. We'll be right back. Thanks to our cell phones, public health officials could soon be on the trail of anyone who's been in contact with a person infected with COVID-19. Contact with a person infected with the coronavirus.

Our cover story is reported by David Pogue. When we talk about fighting the COVID-19 virus, we hear a lot about social distancing, self-isolation and vaccines. What's weird is that you don't hear much about another incredibly important tool in fighting epidemics. Contact tracing.

It means detective work. When somebody tests positive, you ask for the names of anyone they've been in contact with recently. Well, contact tracing is really a fundamental part of managing infectious diseases that are contagious. Dr. Louise Ivers is a professor at Harvard Medical School and the director of the Center for Global Health at Massachusetts General Hospital. We try to find people who've been exposed to the illness, and then we give them instructions on what to do. That could be going to get a test.

That could be self-isolating at home. We want to make sure that you don't inadvertently expose other people. Every day, I want you to write down who you've spent time with in person and where you've been.

Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo has asked the entire population to keep a journal of the people and places they encounter. When you find out that you're positive, you should pull out your notebook and hand it over to the Department of Health so that they'll have accurate, up-to-date information. There's no nationwide tracking that's currently being done. And in Massachusetts, Governor Charlie Baker has hired a thousand contact tracers to interview people who've become infected. Partners in Health, a global health organization that ran a massive contact tracing effort in West Africa during the 2015 Ebola outbreak, is running the Massachusetts program. Everyone talks about flattening the curve, but we want to also shrink the curve, like shrink the total number of people that get sick. Dr. Joanne Mukherjee is the Chief Medical Officer of Partners in Health.

She says that traditional contact tracing is more than just asking, who have you spent time with? It's also making sure you can handle being sick. So I say, Mr. Jones, you have the ability to quarantine, and he might say, no. I am the prime breadwinner for this family. What am I going to do? Then we figure out, does he need unemployment insurance? Does he need food delivered to the house?

That's all very cool, but we still have a big problem. You can't remember every single person you were near. Total strangers in the grocery store?

Somebody behind you on the bus? CEOs of Apple and Google released this joint logo. They are teaming up to create voluntary coronavirus tracing and tracking software. Well, if you've been watching the news, you know this next part.

And then we came together and literally it was a mind meld. Dave Burke is the Vice President of Engineering for Android at Google. Almost too many people volunteering, everybody wants, you know, can't find anyone who doesn't want to help with the pandemic. And Bud Tribble is the Vice President of Software at Apple. Two tech titans launching a rare collaboration. Not only is it historic that these two huge tech rivals are working together, it's also historic that they're appearing together on my screen and yours. The idea here that Google and Apple had, it wasn't new with us, was could we use mobile phones to help public health agencies do a better job to amplify their efforts on contact tracing?

And, you know, it's actually a credit to the academic institutions both in the US and in Europe and in Asia. There are a lot of researchers thinking through this problem. Okay, so what is this big project?

It's a little technical, so let's take this slowly. You've heard of Bluetooth, right? It's a weak radio signal that lets your phone send music to wireless headphones or music to your car's stereo. Very soon iPhones and Android phones will continuously broadcast a Bluetooth beacon, basically a big number that changes every few minutes, to any phones within about 15 feet. Meanwhile, of course, your phone is picking up the beacons from all other phones nearby. It remembers these interactions for 14 days.

Now here's the cool part. Suppose that a few days later this guy tests positive for COVID-19. If he's willing, he can report his diagnosis in an app from a public health agency.

At that point, everybody he's exposed in the last two weeks gets notified on their phones and advised to seek testing or quarantine. And to be clear, nobody has to participate if they don't want to, is that right? It's under user control, they can turn it on or off.

That is one of the principles that Google and Apple aligned on, like, you know, in the first five minutes, maybe in the first five seconds. If somebody opts in, will their name ever be shared? No. Will their location ever be shared? No. Will the data collected ever be hackable or shared with the government or used for marketing?

No. In fact, we've engineered the system so that the data doesn't go to a central place. You just know that you were close to somebody who was infected, that's it. South Korea and Singapore are doing digital tracing too, but far more invasively.

They do link the infections to your identity. But MIT internet policy professor Danny Weitzner says that the American approach, private and optional, will pay off. If we force people into this, they'll likely try to hide from it.

And if everyone wraps their cell phone in aluminum foil to try to prevent these signals from spreading around, then we would have failed. Google and Apple aren't writing the actual apps. Instead, they'll help state public health agencies create the apps, which should start arriving next month. One of the most amazing things about this collaboration is that it's Apple and Google. I mean, for many, many years, we thought of these two companies as smartphone arch rivals.

It's very reassuring that we see the world the same way. Like, we see the potential for smartphones to help people. This historic collaboration between Apple and Google does face a few challenges. Maybe not enough people will choose to turn it on, or maybe you'll get a notification, but you're actually fine, or vice versa.

And if you are notified, what then? Millions of people still can't get tested or can't afford to self-isolate. But Dave Burke and Bud Tribble are optimistic. This is just one action.

And realistic. It's not a panacea. It's not the silver bullet. We have to do many different things in order to beat this pandemic. And, as Harvard's Louise Ivers says, we have to try. This is the biggest public health emergency of our lifetimes, and we need to be ambitious about how we're going to get out of this, because we cannot all stay home forever. Feeding America's hungry is no easy task during this time of disease and surging unemployment. Jill Schlesinger is watching our food banks rise to the challenge.

From the streets of Southern California, the line for food was so long there was a huge traffic jam, to the sidewalks of Maine. The financial fallout from the pandemic crisis is triggering a hunger crisis. Food banks are struggling to find new ways to help record numbers of Americans who are out of work. Tell us about the types of people who are coming through the doors here at the food bank.

Within the past month, we have seen an absolutely up tick of people that are now furloughed or unemployed. So that's a newer face that we're seeing at the food bank. Dr. Jessica Rosati is chief programs officer at Long Island Cares in New York, where they distribute food bag by bag, as well as delivery by delivery to seniors and others in need who can't leave their homes. In March alone, we distributed over a million pounds of food. And what was the prior month in terms of pounds of food? Maybe 600,000. According to Feeding America, the nation's largest hunger relief organization, before the virus outbreak, there were already 37 million people nationwide who didn't have enough to eat.

That's expected to grow by an additional 17 million, an increase of 46 percent. At the Trinity Jubilee Center in Lewiston, Maine, they try to make sure every meal they hand out includes something hot. We're seeing folks who we can tell have never had to ask for food before.

And second of all, people who were already struggling, like single parents, parents working low wage jobs, elderly people, disabled people. They used to be able to get food from different places in the community. And a lot of those food kitchens and food pantries have shut down. So people are relying on us for even more food than before. Trinity Jubilee Center.

Erin Reed is the executive director at the center. Donations are down as local colleges have closed and supermarkets have less surplus food. We've spent more on food in the past month than we have in the past six months combined.

Down the street at the St. Mary's Nutrition Center, they were busy pre-packing bags of food. Social distancing means that recipients are no longer allowed inside to choose what they want. People are doing a lot, but it's still never quite seems like enough. The crisis has touched everyone who works here, like Fiestan Mobalama. My mother, she got laid off from work. And a lot of my friends, they got laid off from work.

It's been hard. Across the country, in Southern California's Orange County, the Second Harvest Food Bank has started a drive-thru service on Saturdays. The first day was unbelievable.

We literally got crushed. The surge of cars coming to the Honda Center, which is where we have our distribution, was something I've never seen before. The CEO of Second Harvest, Harold Herman, says they've overhauled their procedures to ensure they're not spreading the virus. They had to reduce the number of people working in their warehouses. We've relied on volunteers for 37 years, and we have as many as 26,000 of them come through our doors on an annual basis. But overnight, had to basically turn that tap of resources off and figure out a way to work the food ourselves to be able to harden our defense. In place of volunteers, they've hired 120 people who have recently lost their jobs.

Like musician Tim Gill. The industry evaporated. Concert tours canceled, studio dates canceled.

Within the span of just a few days, it went from a full calendar of work to nothing at all. Along with a paycheck comes a box of food. We just have so much less income that we need this basic assistance, you know, and it's invaluable to know that we have these resources that we're not going to be going hungry. Feeding America says 95% of food banks in the country are seeing higher demand and higher expenses.

Over the next six months, it will take an estimated billion and a half dollars, or 30% more money than they've been spending, to meet that need. This food bank cannot close. There are hundreds of thousands of people right now counting on us, and it's not just the food. It's that little bit of hope that comes with that box as well.

That normalcy that someone actually is out there looking out for you during a time that has a lot of people really uncertain. The fight against the coronavirus is taking that ubiquitous American innovation, the drive-through, to a whole new level as Tracey Smith now shows us. All over the country, parking lots have become doctor's offices, and every car is a little waiting room. And the key word is waiting. Here in California, drivers spend as much as six hours in line to get to the big tent where they crack open the window just enough for a nasal swab or a needle stick, and then drive off to wait some more for the results. So people queue up hours before we open.

Dr. Matthew Avenante says the process is slow, but there's no better way. So the drive-through is the only answer? In my opinion, it is.

It is. Hospitals are overwhelmed. Urgent cares are overwhelmed.

Doctor's offices are overwhelmed. They're trying to develop home kits, but it's just not fast enough. A drive-through, fast food style setup is just the way we probably have to go. Seems now the drive-through, that symbol of American excess and maybe even laziness, is finally getting a little respect. These days when you have to wear a mask just to go out in public, a drive-through testing facility seems to make a lot of sense, and that's especially true in this country where you could drive through to get just about anything. Today, Americans want it all.

They want it now, and they don't want to get out of their cars to get it. A few years back, our dear friend Bill Geist found drive-through weddings, drive-through funerals, and more, so much more. Here's one a lot of people can't even believe.

Can I help you? A bourbon and water and a martini straight up with a twist. It seems that there's no business that can't be done out of a drive-up window.

Martini straight up. Thanks very much. Have a good day. I've seen drive-through confessions for churches, drive-through animal adoption centers. Everyone is kind of adopting this model to make businesses go.

Adam Chandler's the author of Drive-Thru Dreams. It doesn't exist as a culture. Drive-throughs and fast food, the way it does here, anywhere else in the world. The drive-through is uniquely American.

Yes, yes. It exists in other places, but not with the same special flavor, I guess. And that flavor sells. According to a recent study, fast food restaurants take in about 70% of their income through that little window, and now the pandemic has made it the only game in town. Drive-throughs are how hospital workers and truckers and families are getting fed right now, and so it's actually how the country is continuing to move, and that's important to note, too. But whether you're selling burgers or booze or band-aids, working a drive-through is a tough business, especially when the cars won't stop coming.

Dr. Abinante. What has this been like for you? This has been really hard for me. My family's moved out, and I have four kids. They moved to my in-laws, and I get to see them tomorrow, which is really exciting. I mean, you are on the frontline, so you felt like you had to isolate yourself, essentially.

I felt like that was best, and my wife also, she was very worried about the disease. My family motivates me, and when I think about the world being locked up and being away from my family, it's isolating. You feel alone. But for now, it seems the best way forward may be to stay isolated and just drive-through. Is this, in some cases, a matter of life and death?

In some ways, yes. But if we prevent one case, then we can prevent three from that person, and three from that person, it's exponential. And so I do feel like we're able to make a huge difference and save lives. For those behind bars during the coronavirus emergency, social distancing is all but impossible. So what does that mean, both for those inside a jail or prison and for those of us outside the walls?

Here's our senior contributor, Ted Koppel. The notion that society is best served by taking people who break the law and locking them up for a long time, that notion has always had a powerful constituency in this country. That's why, on a per capita basis, the United States has more people behind bars, 2.3 million, than any other country in the world.

And a lot of the sentences are insanely long. I was sentenced to 1,010 years and 19 life terms for armed bank robbery. I won't go out for parole until Jesus comes back first.

That's our starting point. There's no such thing as a good time to be an inmate in the U.S. prison system or, for that matter, to be awaiting trial in a county jail. It may also be that there's never been a worse time. Rikers Island in New York City's East River currently holds more than 4,000 prisoners. It is a toxic breeding ground for COVID-19. Throughout all of the city's prisons and jails, the number of inmates and staff testing positive has now topped 1,000. Keep in mind that Rikers, by far the largest of them all, is a jail, not a prison.

What I know from being incarcerated is that people in American prisons and jails have very little prospect at avoiding infection. Piper Kerman spent more than a year behind bars. Her memoir was adapted into the hit series, Orange is the New Black.

Orange is the New Black. Our experiences are essential to understanding the reform that's needed. She is a passionate advocate of early release. Jail facilities typically hold people who have been arrested and have been charged with a crime but are presumed innocent, but the majority of people are eligible for bail and can return to the community, but they are too poor to pay their bail. So nobody should sit in jail just because they're poor and especially when there is a pandemic going on. We just look at it's just looking grim it's only a matter of time for where you all get it. There is an added touch of desperation to calls coming out of jails and prisons around the country these days.

Guys is coughing and there's just no way to escape it so you know if this the last one you see me in bro know that I love you you know what I'm saying bro I know that I love you you know what I'm saying like I mean not to sound like that but it's real. Confinement and social distancing are mostly incompatible. Inside of a cell you have to basically figure out how are you going to adjust because a few feet down from you is another person. Erlon Woods is out of prison now but a couple of years back he was my guide to prison life at San Quentin outside San Francisco. You don't have a hell of a lot of room in here.

You can only it's like one person can only move at a time like if I'm this is we had to turn sideways. When I say that small space as you know you was in there it's about the size of an average person's bathroom so that's what that's what that confinement is. Adnan Khan is also happy to describe himself these days as an ex-con. Erlon and I were in San Quentin together the floor that we lived on we shared up with a hundred people and that floor was three feet wide so it is physically impossible to do six foot distancing in a three foot wide tier. So what happens when inmates get sick? When viruses hit the culture of prisons at least in my experience has been punitive meaning that when someone gets sick they get punished by being sent to solitary confinement. That at least was the case at San Quentin. When Erlon Woods was an inmate there he hosted and still hosts a podcast called Ear Hustle. He did an episode on solitary. It's the hole, the box, the dungeon.

I saw no future. How do I spend the next 20, 30, till I die in this cell because I was I wasn't prepared for it. Once you get sent to solitary confinement the rules and regulations that apply in there whether you're there for disciplinary reasons or whether you're there for quarantine purposes those rules and regulations apply to you no matter what you're there for. One controversial option the early release of elderly inmates and those convicted of non-violent crimes. Anybody that doesn't have to be in prison has not been sent to prison. Anybody who is non-violent or ready to be released is out. In Florida last week 164 inmates were released to stop the spread of coronavirus. The troubling exception that will only solidify existing resistance to early release.

The day after this announcement deputies say Joseph Williams killed a man in Tampa. I am issuing an executive order to stop the release of dangerous felons from prisons and jails in Texas. We may in ordinary times have the luxury of ignoring what happens behind prison walls but says Piper Kerman not now. Prisons and jails do not have ICUs. They don't have intensive care units.

They don't have any of the medical facilities to deal with very sick people. So every single day on a normal day on a good day thousands of prisoners are brought out of prison to local hospitals. Overall remember the number of inmates and staff testing positive in New York City's prisons and jails is now over a thousand. One might reasonably assume that the majority of that number are inmates. They're not. Of those testing positive for COVID-19 Department of Corrections staff outnumber inmates almost exactly two to one. It's impossible that staff will not become infected and that their own families and their own communities are not going to experience the spread of coronavirus outside of prisons and jails because an outbreak behind bars is going to spread to the outside community.

And a footnote the Florida Department of Corrections announced that it is lowering the minimum age to be a corrections officer and just last week announced $1,000 bonuses for new recruits. This is The Takeout with Major Garrett. This week Stephen Law ally of Mitch McConnell and one of Washington's biggest midterm money men. List for me the two Senate races where you think Republicans have the best chance of taking a Democratic seat away. Nevada, New Hampshire. Not Georgia. Well, Georgia's right up there but New Hampshire is a surprise.

In New Hampshire people really just kind of don't like Maggie Hassan. For more from this week's conversation follow The Takeout with Major Garrett on Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts. This pandemic is forcing many of us to confront the pain of sudden and unimaginable personal loss. Here with reflections Jason Rosenthal author of the new book My Wife said you may want to marry me. I was married to an amazing woman for 26 years, Amy Krauss Rosenthal. She was a prolific author and memoirist. She also wrote a modern love column for the New York Times that went crazy viral.

It was called You May Want to Marry My Husband and was a creative play on a personal ad for me. Ten days later Amy died of ovarian cancer. There I was devastated with grief and undeniably alone. I imagine many of you are feeling that way in the face of this global pandemic. Anything can trigger the feeling. A while back when I went to my doctor's office for an annual checkup I was asked if the information contained in my medical file was still accurate.

Things like emergency contact and marital status. It was such a routine exercise but it overwhelmed me with the sheer sadness of everything hiding beneath the surface and the reality that I was alone now. But Amy wanted me to fill that blank space now part of my life. She wanted me to find joyful moments. Seek meaning in this complex life we live in and discover love with someone else. It took me years to come to that realization. I learned that grief has no timetable. Through this current crisis you may suffer extreme hardship as a result of many losses in your life. From your normal routines to the pain of having someone close to you gracefully ill or gone forever. Then you might feel okay for a while and slip back into anxiety. That's okay.

That's normal. After my loss many people reached out to me with their own stories and I came to an epiphany of sorts that I'm reminded of today. That loss is loss is loss. Unique to each one of us yet a shared story for us all. We shine brightest in the world. I'm managing now because so many stepped up to guide me. As you are isolated feeling a sense of tremendous loss and grief know that those are normal feelings as we manage this crisis. We can be alone together.

Pay no attention to that expert speaking on camera during a TV interview from home. Mo Rocca has what can only be described as a background report. What is that on the wall? What's your musical instrument? I'm getting a background check from writer and fashion commentator Simon Doonan and designer Jonathan Adler. That is the trumpet that my father took up late in life and was one of the loves of his life.

It is my most prized possession of the instrument. With so many of us sheltering in place the places where we shelter have become objects of fascination. This world that we're living in now where we're constantly on view FaceTime, Zoom calls has turned everyone into an obsessive art director. With a view of public figures in their private spaces here's the ordinarily flamboyant Lady Gaga.

We're in my office and we're going to be here. She's very conservative looking. This is Gaga running the HR department. I like it. Daily Show host Trevor Noah.

These are actually African heritage domes. He has really nailed it and on the right side we see that he won some sort of award which gives him an award-winning presence. Journalist Cynthia McFadden. I'm going to be the first to say I'm going to be the first to say journalist Cynthia McFadden. It's very well composed in a way that sort of creates serenity and looks very chic and appealing. Thank you. And Senator Bernie Sanders.

I would hope that no matter what your political view is. I appreciate that he has the chess set which says I'm a strategic thinker which is important. Some stars don't need any background at all.

You could send somebody a virtual hug. Only a real international global icon can do this kind of level of simplicity. This is our Jim Gaffigan and I have to tell you right away I love his chandeliers. I've never seen so many chandeliers. It adds a little unexpected burst of glamour to Jim Gaffigan. Be safe everyone.

We're going to get through this. Seeing the couch they have could be the most interesting information that you learn today that's not horrifying. Amanda Hess is a critic at large for the New York Times. She says focusing on the scenery can be a welcome distraction. There's something soothing about meditating on the pattern of Reese Witherspoon's chair.

Yes. Even though it couldn't be less important but that's part of what makes it so nice. Of course public figures are used to being public but what about everybody else? What we're divulging by letting people see us in our home environments I don't know I wonder if we're going to regret this. It's certainly possible but I've found that you know when I get on a zoom chat with my colleagues I'm looking at their surroundings and I'm certainly interested but I don't think I'm judgmental because for the most part somebody else is looking at your apartment too so it's this mutual experience.

Mutual but not always equal. Students suddenly having to take classes online and seeing each other's home environments are learning about their own class differences. It has revealed these divides and and also probably connections between people that may never have been revealed otherwise. Of course the era of revealing ourselves via video chat predates the COVID-19 crisis. Remember professor Robert Kelly? You may know him better as BBC Dad.

At the time you know it was this like sensational viral thing and now it's just normal. Now we're all BBC Dad. We are all BBC Dad now. Ladies and gentlemen Tom Hanks. After all we're living in an era when Tom Hanks hosted Saturday Night Live from his kitchen.

That is some sound effect of applause. Somebody told me that they think that a lot of big Hollywood stars are using their kitchens because there's a little bit of a democratizing effect at work. Do you think there's anything to that? Yeah I do I think that's actually a great point. Like we all have kitchens and yet you don't look around and see the sort of Jim Gaffigan level of chandeliers and glamour.

You know it humanizes Tom Hanks. Jim Gaffigan's the one who really misplayed it by showing that he basically lives in Versailles. I hear another commentary being written right now. Like the rest of us sheltering at home right now our Jim Gaffigan has almost lost track of time. Not to mention his sanity.

Five weeks. Five weeks in quarantine with my wife and five children in our New York City apartment and I'm not crazy. I'm not crazy. I'm not crazy.

Did you hear that? I'm not crazy. I'm not crazy. But I'm getting there. Every morning I wake up it feels like that scene in the movie Groundhog Day. Okay campers rise and shine and don't forget your booty. Rise and shine. Rise and shine.

Except unlike Bill Murray's character it's not Groundhog Day. For me it's January 1st. Who does that? After a New Year's Eve party that I wasn't invited to.

Now come over here look at this. Every morning as I walk out to greet my true friend the coffee maker I see the remnants of some phantom party. Who does that? Who would do that?

A can, a wrapper, some crumbs strategically placed to invite mice or bugs. That's wrong. That's mean. Was it you?

No. It's my children. They're vandals.

They're doing it on purpose to torture me. That's the garbage. That's the juice box. Garbage juice box.

You just have a can in your bed. Why would you think that would be okay? I don't know.

I don't know. I was gonna throw it away. They destroyed an antique chair. They didn't break it. They destroyed it.

It's my boys. They're savages. My wife and I have tried. We've tried to civilize them. We tell them how to sit, how to eat, how to comb your hair. Now when's the last time you guys combed your hair? That was a pretty yesterday. We comb their hair for them, yet they still look like this.

This is your hair, right? I should go. I can hear them planning their next mess. I'm not crazy.

You're not crazy. Now I'm talking to my phone. Hang in there, everyone. The new television series Mrs. America tells the story of the years-long battle over the proposed Equal Rights Amendment.

This morning, members of its cast are in conversation with Erin Moriarty. The battle for the ERA, the Equal Rights Amendment, has been waged for nearly a century. And in January, before COVID-19 brought the country to a halt, many saw signs the battle was finally coming to an end. Virginia is on the brink of becoming the 38th state to pass the Equal Rights Amendment.

But the country has been here before. The passage of the Equal Rights Amendment is the single most important piece of unfinished business. Mrs. America, a limited TV series, takes a look back at the 1970s. Yesterday, the Equal Rights Amendment sailed through the Senate. When the ERA almost became a reality. They say that women are like tea bags.

You don't know their strength until they get into hot water. I think the only reason to don't want to be into history is to understand where we are today. Cate Blanchett produces and is one of the stars of Mrs. America. We spoke with her and other members of the cast earlier this year. It was literally like Groundhog Day. Same-sex bathrooms and women in the military and the draft and all of these things are all coming up now. Even the Equal Rights Amendment itself. We will get it ratified next year.

You just got lucky. The ERA was passed by Congress in 1972 but three-quarters of the states had to ratify it to make it law. That seemed all but certain with feminists like Gloria Steinem, Betty Friedan, Bella Abzug and Shirley Chisholm behind it. Until they ran into another woman just as passionately opposed to it, Phyllis Schlafly. The women's liberation movement is basically a very negative attitude toward life. A threat to the traditional American family.

Blanchett plays Schlafly in the series. The series really does break apart this notion that all women think the same. Phyllis Schlafly was a conservative Illinois lawyer who founded the Stop ERA campaign. I think that she felt that the virtuous woman was was the cornerstone of society. So if we start leaving the family then the whole fabric of America is going to collapse.

This is a complicated thing. Rose Byrne plays Gloria Steinem. People are always trying to divide up women. One of the most recognizable leaders of the pro-ERA movement is Phyllis Schlafly. These right wing religious forces in this country are the people we founded this country to escape.

Both Steinem and Schlafly grew up in the midwest and Byrne says they had more in common than Schlafly would admit. She would travel all over the country leaving her family with help, leaving her children, fighting for this thing. That's the dirty secret about Phyllis Schlafly is that she's the biggest feminist of all of them really.

I would like to thank my husband Fred for letting me come today. I love to say that because it irritates the women's livers more than anything that I say. She was a politician and she knew what she could get done. Margo Martindale says Schlafly was shrewd. She referred to herself as feminine rather than feminist and played the game as well as her opponents. I found that fascinating about her. Smart as a whip but every one of these women are smart as a whip because I would go about it in the right way. Martindale plays congresswoman Bella Abzug.

I am trying to protect our interests. She was loud. She was outspoken. She was an activist from the moment she came out of her mama's womb. Tracey Allman, the best-selling feminist author Betty Friedan.

She had a fantastic education and then she felt stifled by being a mother with three small children and no opportunity to be in the workplace. Perhaps the democrats in this room could refrain from trashing the president at every meeting. Elizabeth Banks is the lesser known but powerful republican feminist Joe Ruckelshaus. The movement was bipartisan back then and equal rights and human rights should be bipartisan.

Of course that's the goal of it. I didn't get anywhere in my life waiting on somebody's permission. Uzo Aduba plays Shirley Chisholm, congresswoman and first African American woman to run for president. I knew her as an African American hero, African American female hero. Apparently the Black Caucus believes that you're going to drop out of the race. Is that true?

Everybody has been hoping and waiting for me to drop out ever since I started seven and a half months ago. The battle lines were drawn between those who welcomed the ERA as an opportunity and others who saw it as a threat. Oh I should have brought another skirt. Sarah Paulson plays a composite character called Alice who was a follower of Schlafly's and a member of Stop ERA. You know she couldn't look around and see anyone any woman that sort of confirmed that she had value based on what she wanted which was not to be in the working environment but to be working in her home and taking care of her children.

Get the constitution equally applied. The series includes some of the memorable skirmishes. Harvard Law School barred women until you know fairly recently. As in this uncomfortable tv appearance with Betty Friedan.

I can name 30, just name one. Rose Byrne says Steinem herself seemed determined to avoid these spectacles. And that was smart you know she didn't want to give her any more air time than she was already having. But in the end Schlafly and her Stop ERA did exactly that. In the early 80s after activists failed to get enough states to ratify the amendment the movement stalled and disappeared from headlines until recently when women's marches and Me Too seemed to breathe new life into it.

America wants this. Over 90 percent of everyone says women should have constitutional equality. Carol Jenkins is co-founder and CEO of the ERA coalition. It's just a matter of time before women and girls have equality and in the playbook that we all live by in this country our constitution. But in fact the issue is as unsettled as ever.

Opponents argue that the January vote in Virginia to ratify the ERA came too late well after a deadline set by congress. We need to demand true equality. And so the fight continues now in the courts.

Uzo Aduba hopes that a series like Mrs. America that provides a look back can help Americans find a way forward. I think we have the unique opportunity now to correct as we progress towards hopefully a resolution of some kind of bringing together of some kind. We all could use a time out this weekend.

Here's ours from Steve Hartman. We begin today with an alarming new milestone. As the misery spreads spreading spreading quickly most of us are relieved to be watching the worst of it from the safety of our sofas deadly record. 47 year old Bevin Strickland of High Point North Carolina was one of those comfortably on the couch. But some switch flipped in you. Yeah it was kind of a switch that's funny that you say that because I was like wait a minute why am I sitting here. Bevin a nurse had just contracted a serious case of empathy. I can imagine the nurses being so exhausted so stressed out if I can just go and relieve a shift for them. Totally crazy right now. That was a month ago and today Bevin is working at Mount Sinai Queens, the epicenter of the outbreak in New York City.

She cares for the sickest patients under the most demanding conditions solely because she believes she was made for a moment like this. I'm not afraid. I'm not easily shaken by things. I was in a bank robbery. I was held at gunpoint. I was tied up for 15 minutes. He was tying me up and I said are we on candy camera? You know I wanted to make him laugh.

I figured I'll make myself human to him and then anyone want to kill me. It was at that point that I realized this was no ordinary hero. Then I learned that although she's not technically a volunteer, she has to get paid for legal reasons. Bevin plans to donate everything she makes after expenses to the Mount Sinai support staff. And the fact is she could really use the money. She has student loans and she's a single mom with twin 16 year old boys back home.

Cheers man. Did she ask you if she could do this or did she tell you she was doing it? She says multiple times even after saying yes. She's like are you sure you want me to?

Why did you say yes? This life is life is not to just serve yourself but to serve others. These apples didn't fall far. I believe it's our duty. I believe we should be compelled to do something when we can. There's a switch that goes off in some people during perilous times. Whether it's the football coach who steps in to stop a school shooter, the NFL player who joins the army after 9-11 or the nurse who simply stands up from her couch. There will always be those who run toward disaster when everyone else is fleeing.

Somebody's got to help. What if we all said we couldn't handle it and we couldn't do it? You know what if everybody said that?

It certainly wouldn't be America. Painters often take moments in history and capture them on canvas and our current crisis is no exception. The paint is barely dry on one work our Lee Cowan is about to show us.

I think what's in in my head is the idea or the feeling that I wanted to have. It has to have an emotion. Yeah, yeah I think that's what makes art art.

I wish somebody would come at ease. Khadir Nelson has been emoting one brush stroke at a time for decades. Perhaps you've seen his work on the cover of the New Yorker or in children's books. He's a celebrated illustrator too, but his work also hangs in galleries and museums. Collectors eagerly seek him out, but what he does best is perhaps what we need most of all right now. The strength of the human spirit celebrated.

I think it's a crucial moment and I need to have a voice and create an image that will give people hope. I call the painting After the Storm. After the Storm? After the Storm. All these people, all these figures in the painting, they have their eye on a common goal.

They all have their eyes trained on the light. It was still a work in progress when we visited Nelson's Los Angeles studio earlier this month at a healthy social distance of course, but even in its earliest stages its message was pretty clear. I think one of the things that we are probably missing, a lot of people are missing now, is human touch.

Yeah. Because we have to stay so far away from one another. So I wanted to make sure to emphasize that that is part of being a human being is touch. Yeah it's human touch.

Little hands holding big, old hands clasping young. The painting will tell me what it needs, what it wants. It really speaks to you that way.

Yeah so it's like it's a conversation. Nelson started having that conversation with crayons when he was just a boy, one drawing in particular. It was the Incredible Hulk beating up the Fantastic Four in Spider-Man and I thought wow this is a this is a narrative painting. I didn't realize that's what it was, but I've always really found joy in telling stories with my work. And those stories have gotten noticed just this year. His illustrations for the book The Undefeated garnered him not only the Coretta Scott King Book Award, but also the coveted 2020 Caldecott Medal. This was the year that I was given the you know the biggest prize in children's literature. It's the Oscar. It is, it is.

But the threat of COVID canceled the Caldecott ceremony. It's got to be disappointing though. It was a bit disappointing. I expected it.

He spent years painting his passion, the heroes from Negro League Baseball. He was going to help celebrate their centennial this year, but COVID struck that out too. But I totally understand. I think we it takes a back seat to all of what we're experiencing. You know that's just that's just where we are at the moment. So he spent this uncomfortable moment painting the better moment to come.

He finished after the storm this past week. This is the first time anyone's ever seen it. Most of what he'll get from its sale and the prints that follow he intends to give to COVID-19 relief efforts. No small donation. We are all human beings. We are all part of the human family and we are all experiencing this together. Kadir Nelson used his talent to seize on the global stillness and created an image that somehow screams unity in the quietest of ways. I would challenge everyone and anyone to fill their days with creating something that's going to help themselves get to the next moment, to the next hour, to the next day, to the next week so that by the end of this experience we've created this beautiful document that shows where we've been, who we are, and how we're going to move forward.

I'm Jane Pauley. Please stay safe and join us when our trumpet sounds again next Sunday morning. There are bad people in the world. The best way to protect the good people is to convict the bad. So here's to us. The Good Fight, the final season, now streaming exclusively on Paramount+.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-01-28 11:16:25 / 2023-01-28 11:35:09 / 19

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