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Sunday Morning / Jane Pauley
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March 7, 2021 1:44 pm

CBS Sunday Morning,

Sunday Morning / Jane Pauley

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March 7, 2021 1:44 pm

Tracy Smith talks with Regina King about her film directorial debut, "One Night in Miami." Lee Cowan visits Point Roberts, Washington, a town isolated from the rest of the American mainland. David Martin explores the role of military veterans in the January 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. Seth Doane examines how residents of a Northern Italian village are coping after a devastating year of COVID. Remy Inocencio travels to China in search of the origins of the coronavirus. David Pogue talks with biochemist Jennifer Doudna, co-creator of the gene-editing technology CRISPR, and Walter Isaacson, author of "The Code Breaker."

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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. While COVID restrictions have affected everyday life across the country, perhaps no place as much as one small border town that's very much on point.

Lee Cowan will be showing us around. This is one of the few places in America COVID didn't take a foothold, and yet it's dealt a hammer blow nonetheless. So what's it feel like here now? A ghost town. It's a ghost town.

I mean, if you wanted to do a film on a ghost town, you wouldn't have to pay anyone to leave. They're already gone. Point Roberts, America's little corner of Canada, and how COVID has closed it off.

Later on Sunday morning. During some not so long ago difficult times in our country, Americans found comic relief by going on the road with Bob Hope. To this day, he's one of our legends of comedy, as Tracy Smith reminds us.

I just want you boys to see what you're fighting for, that's all. In the darkest days of World War II, a visit from Bob Hope brought a little light, and no one knew that more than his family back home. What was it like to have Bob Hope as a dad?

Dad was a really fun guy, and he was more like a friend to playmate than he was a dad. Bob Hope, a legend at war and on the home front, ahead on Sunday morning. Michelle Miller has our Sunday profile, award-winning actor and director Regina King. David Pogue meets one of the Nobel Prize-winning inventors of the gene editing technique known as CRISPR. David Martin looks into the role of the extremist group called Oath Keepers in January's capital attack. Plus COVID at one-year journals from Ramey and Osencio in China, along with commentary from Dana Perino. And more on this Sunday morning, the 7th of March 2021.

We'll be right back. You might say that for the folks in one isolated small town, complaints about COVID lockdowns are very much on point, as our Lee Cowan discovered firsthand. COVID had a pretty hard time finding its way to Point Roberts, Washington. There's been only one confirmed case here since the pandemic began.

It is remote. On a map, Point Roberts looks like it should be part of Canada, except that this little fingertip dangles just below the 49th parallel, officially making it part of Washington state. We call it pretend America, the world's largest gated community.

He's kidding, sort of. The only way for Americans to get to the rest of the U.S. by land is a 24-mile drive through Canada. That means getting past two international border guards. That's been our primary access to our country, is through another country, and it's just been built that way.

Keep moving with purpose. As the fire chief, Chris Carlton, is organizing about a thousand vaccines for all the residents here. That's the good news. The bad news is that in keeping with U.S. and Canadian COVID travel restrictions, without an essential reason, no one, vaccinated or not, drives in or out of Point Roberts anymore. I know communities across the United States are suffering, but because of our geographical oddity, we've been disproportionately affected. If you found a plane, you could fly off Point Roberts, although this is what passes for the airport. They've tried a ferry too, but because of choppy seas, it sometimes can't make the crossing, and even if it does, then what?

Having to rent a car when you get there on the foot ferry, getting taxis, Ubers, and a lot of my community don't have the funds to do that. Despite the difficulties getting in or out, Canadian officials say the border restrictions are justified because residents in Point Roberts have most of everything they need. They say that you're sort of self-sufficient. That's a lie. But they say that though, right? Well, yeah, but it's someone who's never been here. That is Canada, this is the United States.

That's Brian Calder, the director of the Point Roberts Chamber of Commerce. We have no doctors here, we have no vets here, no medical facility like a drug store. We've got a list of more things we don't have compared to everyone else than what we do have. But what they have in abundance is beauty, something nearby Canadians can't resist. They pour across the border in the summertime, quadrupling the population here. But now all they can do is come to that invisible boundary, in this case marked by small yellow barricades, and look across.

I was hopeful in the beginning. That's where we met Maggie Morey. So this little curb, it might as well be a 40-foot wall. Exactly. She owns this cottage, just a stone's throw from where we were talking, and so do a lot of other Canadians.

You can tell which ones because they haven't been allowed to tend to their properties in almost a year. It's devastating. I miss it like a family member I haven't seen in over a year, truly. Cross-border commerce is the lifeblood of Point Roberts, making up as much as 85% of the annual income for the businesses here. My credit card thinks I've died and gone to heaven because I haven't used it down here. Without Canadians, this little corner of America may have dodged COVID, but not its ripple effect. There's some days we don't have a single customer. Beth Calder runs a package-receiving business here.

Canadians can avoid expensive international shipping fees on their Amazon and eBay purchases by just picking them up across the border instead. But for almost a year, those same packages have sat orphaned, some 2,000 of them. And what does that do to your business? Oh, it's crippling.

It's very crippling. Last March, I had to lay off eight of my 10 staff instantly as soon as the border closed. Canadians also used to cross the border for cheaper prices on eggs and milk. That's in part at least why Point Roberts's only grocery store is this big. Owner Allie Hayton thought about closing when the border did, but she knew she couldn't. If I close, there's no access to food for anyone.

We've got to take care of the people that live here. Some have already moved for good. This used to be a busy street right along the border. Not far away, the gas stations are empty. Restaurants are shuttered. We found a bank that had left. A ghost town. It's a ghost town. At the Bald Eagle Golf Club, Rick Houle and the rest of his grounds crew still tend to the empty fairways and bunkers in the hopes that one day their town will get out of the rough, but it has to happen soon. How many people do you normally get?

I usually run around 20,000 a year. And this year? None. I know, it's sad. The longer this goes on, the fewer people we're going to have. They have to move for unemployment because there is none here.

So how long can that last, though? Well, until we run out of people, period. Point Roberts is a lifestyle as much as it is a destination. Residents pride themselves on their independence.

So if they ask for a hand, they really mean it. The fear though, at least in the age of COVID, is that they may be shouting into the wilderness. We can weather almost anything in our community. We're extremely resilient overall and that comes with a double-sided sword, right?

Because sometimes you can be resilient to the point that other people forget that you're here. FBI Director Christopher Wray warned during his Capitol Hill testimony this past week of the ongoing threat of domestic terrorism. This morning, our David Martin takes a look at the extremist group that goes by the name Oath Keepers. Whoever coined the phrase, once a Marine, always a Marine, did not have this in mind. A Marine Corps veteran using the Marine Corps flag to attack a Capitol police officer. Thomas Webster is one of more than 30 who have served in the military, now charged with crimes at the Capitol. Were you surprised by the number of military veterans who have been arrested for storming the Capitol?

Very disappointed. This is an issue that I think can erode the great respect that our American citizens have for our military. In an interview soon to be broadcast on 60 Minutes, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said the Pentagon is still coming to grips with extremism in the ranks.

I don't expect to see significant numbers inside of our ranks, although I think the numbers will be probably a bit larger than we would believe. But I would tell you that a small number of people can have an outsized effect. A small number at the Capitol formed what law enforcement called a stack, a military formation used to move through crowds. It doesn't take an army to do what happened. It takes people with some skill set to lead those others. Former FBI agent Tom O'Connor spent two decades investigating extremists. Extremist elements in the United States have long tried to recruit former military and former law enforcement into their ranks for their skill set.

And for the mindset of a culture trained to resort to violence when all else fails. All you veterans out there, you got to stand up. Army veteran Stuart Rose founded a group called Oath Keepers in 2009. And lead your local community in watching over their own backyards, over their own neighborhoods, their own town. That stack moving through the mob and up into the Capitol is made up of Oath Keepers. At least three of them are military veterans.

The benefit of the mob is it provides a little bit of cover. Seamus Hughes, deputy director of George Washington University's program on extremism, calls the military veterans at the Capitol the tip of the spear. These are the folks that had some level of planning prior to January 6th, right? It wasn't just a spur of the moment, right? And they saw an opportunity and they seized it. They executed what the military would call a multi-pronged attack, forcing Capitol police to defend different fronts simultaneously. The approach by the rioters is from several different angles. So they're separating the law enforcement that was there to thin them out. And they had the means to do it. Prosecutors allege Jessica Watkins, an Oath Keeper who once served in the Army, used a walkie-talkie app on her cell phone to communicate.

We have about 30, 40 of us, she said. Everything we effing train for came the response. Even a basic infantry soldier has a skill set of tactics, of movement, to an objective. And they use that and I think others followed. Once you breach that doorway or those windows, then it's like water flowing into the building.

It's very difficult to stop. So far, nine Oath Keepers have been indicted for their role in breaching the Capitol. Does that gut the Oath Keepers?

No, not by any means. You're talking about an organization that's much larger than nine, right? Law enforcement doesn't know exactly how many extremists are out there, in part because it doesn't always recognize their secret codes. The average person that doesn't know that code, it's going to be right in front of your face. You don't know it.

Give me some examples of this code. If I say when the Rahoa takes place to you, does that mean anything to you? It's the racial holy war. This Pentagon report published photographs of skinhead tattoos to help commanders spot extremists in their ranks. The report warned, military members are highly prized by these groups as they bring legitimacy to their causes and enhance their ability to carry out their attacks. Do you have any ideas for how you prevent military people taking their military training and using it for extremist purposes? I think we need to do counseling throughout to make sure that they're aware of the fact that there are organizations that will try to recruit them because of the skills that they have. Defense Secretary Austin has ordered a one-day stand down for the entire force to focus on the threat of extremism, but he knows there is no one-day solution.

This is not something that we can fix and put on a shelf. This is something I think we have to stay with for a long, long time. To the movies now, actor and director Regina King already has numerous awards to her credit, including an Oscar, and another may be in the offing. Michelle Miller has our Sunday profile. A walk through Regina King's old stomping grounds in Los Angeles unexpectedly became a literal walk down memory lane.

Lamar Park mostly represents the good. Look at that. See? A plaque honoring Marla Gibbs, your TV mama, King's co-star in 227. The 1980s TV show that launched her career. Mom, you're being unreasonable.

Thank you, dear. Thirty-four years later, her starring role in HBO's popular superhero reboot, Watchmen, has brought her an entirely different fan base, something she acknowledges is a bit of a running joke. If you're black, you probably know me from being in like some of your favorite movies, and if you're white, you probably know me from Watchmen or this monologue right now. What do you make of that? The fact that, you know, there seems to be two audiences or three audiences? A lot of us are just living in the present.

You know, and have not connected the dots. You know, every now and then I'll have that moment where someone goes, Oh, my God, you were in that. That's the blessing of a fruitful career, you know? From her Oscar-winning role as the determined mother in If Beale Street Could Talk, to her Emmy-winning roles in the TV series Seven Seconds and American Crime, Lies Come Back on the Liars, Deceptions Come Back on the Deceivers.

At 50, King is getting awards buzz for One Night in Miami, her directorial debut in films. Daunting. Um, scary. Maybe scary.

Scary in a good way. I don't want to fail the legacies of these men. It's the fictional account of the real story of Malcolm X, singer-songwriter Sam Cooke, the NFL's Jim Brown and Cassius Clay, later known as Muhammad Ali.

They meet up in a hotel room after a boxing match. Oh, my goodness. Cassius. Cass? What? Cass, what is it?

I don't know. Why am I so pretty? I felt like I knew all of these men. I saw my son in these conversations. I saw my father in these conversations.

They love, they are vulnerable, they're strong. Strike with the weapon that you have, man, your voice. Black people, we standing up. One of the challenges the characters face is how to use their platform to make a difference. Something King says she thought a lot about after the police killing in Minneapolis of George Floyd.

She wanted to release the film ASAP. When we become complacent and we don't continue to be diligent, things can lead right back to where they were. So it's what makes the conversation of One Night in Miami so urgent right now, because black people dying in the streets is happening again. What was your biggest takeaway? I think that God put me here to tell more of our stories. It was the reminder that a black story is an American story. Regina King grew up middle class, the daughter of an electrician and a teacher who pushed her and her sister into the arts. I guess I would probably have to thank my mother for helping me keep my priorities in order. Because a lot of child stars don't turn out quite like you.

They don't and also I was a child star before the smartphone. Eager to show her range, she jumped at the chance to play against type in Boys in the Hood. Why every time you talk about a female you got to say bitch or ho or hoochie? But her grandmother wasn't exactly thrilled. She told me, yeah, the ladies at the church, they're asking me, well, how does Regina speak like that? Where did she learn that?

That's not my baby. Right, and so my grandmother was like, and I just had to tell them she is an actress. Similar roles followed. I kind of got in a box where people just wanted to offer me roles that were like hood girl roles, if you will, and then I broke out of that box and became wife. So how do you break that mold?

I think along came Ray. She auditioned for the part of the mistress. I'm having your baby. You can't do that. I have to talk to the doctor or something.

You got to get rid of it. Off screen after going through a divorce, King made the bold decision to turn down roles outside of LA so she wouldn't have to leave her young son behind. Now he's 25. Was it hard to say no to projects? No, no, I've seen so many examples of parents that have had to make the choice to not to be there as consistent in their children's lives and just kind of what the aftermath was of that. And in a year when COVID deferred so many of our plans, King was hit hard emotionally. Sometimes it's even as simple as now that things are opening up and you're going to your regular store or someplace that you used to go frequent and to find out that face, that person that you knew so well is no longer with us is... Who was that?

Who was that for you? Who are those tears for? Yeah, it's actually just tears for everyone. And we so quickly say, how are you doing? I'm fine. And so many of us are not fine. But even in this time of uncertainty and unrest, Regina King sees her next story as one of hope. I would like to actually witness the change. And part of that is as Americans owning that ugly stuff that still exists. So I would like to witness a fabric when the fabric gets to the place where we all think it's beautiful.

And then go home to my grandma and say, we did it. One year later, health officials are still trying to nail down exactly how and where the coronavirus got its start, which has taken our Ramey and Asencio to the Chinese province of Yunnan. Swirling in the skies like a living river, bats across much of Asia are believed to be lucky. They live very long.

They are resistant to a lot of diseases, cancer, diabetes, heart disease. And China's Batman biologist Lin Fa Wang says if there's one point most experts agree on. The ancestral virus came from bats. Covid's closest known relative in the natural world. A 96% genetic match was ID'd here in horseshoe bat droppings in 2013. In a copper mine in this hazy, rolling countryside of China's southwest Yunnan province. Our CBS news team searched for it, where six men contracted a novel flu-like virus in 2012.

Three died. Before we found that mine, we found this. Angry men shouting at us to leave.

We've just been chased off away from where the mine is. These guys are proof that they're trying to control the people who go in and therefore trying to control the information that comes out. What is the percentage chance Covid is man-made? Zero, because we don't have enough knowledge to make a SARS-CoV-2 virus from all the non-existing bat viruses. China's top secret Wuhan Institute of Virology has been at the center of controversial allegations Covid was created in a lab here.

The city was ground zero for the world's first known cases. But scientists say the search for Covid's origin should not be limited to one country. Bats don't recognize borders, and neither do viruses. From here, in remote Yunnan province, four Southeast Asian nations are less than 200 miles away.

Vietnam, Myanmar, Laos, and Thailand. Some bat species can fly 200 miles in one day. At Khao Chong Prong temple, west of the Thai kingdom's capital, Bangkok, millions of these flying mammals mesmerize tourists each sunset. They've also attracted Thailand's bat woman, Superporn Wacharapusadi. Since the pandemic hit, she and her team from the Thai Red Cross have sampled Thai bats for coronaviruses to determine how close they are to Covid. The similarity is 91%, but we found it could not infect human cells. The people who collect bat dung in Khao Chong Prong's caves to sell food fertilizer are proof not one has tested positive for coronavirus antibodies. What we still don't know, how or where coronavirus jumped from bats to humans. More and more likely, it looks like a human infection that brought a virus to Wuhan. Earlier this year, delegates from the World Health Organization visited Wuhan, but they've now scrapped their interim report. After allegations, China did not give them full access to all the data. Further complicating a mystery that could take years, even decades to solve, if ever at all.

CRISPR, a long and complicated acronym that holds the promise of treating a lengthy list of diseases, David Pogue has been talking to one of its creators. For the first time, the Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded to two women. When Jennifer Doudna won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry last year, there was no black tie ceremony in Sweden. Because of the pandemic, she picked up the medal in her backyard. Let's cut to the really important thing. Where do you keep your Nobel?

Truth be told, I have the replica in my house, just in a little frame, and I have the real medal stashed away in a safe. Doudna is a biochemist at the University of California at Berkeley. She and her collaborator, Emmanuelle Charpentier, won the Nobel for their 2012 work on a scientific breakthrough that's frequently described with words like miraculous, the gene editing technique known as CRISPR.

So it's an acronym that stands for Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats. Don't ask me to say that again. I knew it. That's what I would have guessed. What does it look like in the real world? Is it a computer? Is it software?

It's not a computer and it's not software. If you were looking at it in my lab, you would see a tube of colorless liquid. Two tubes, actually. The first contains molecules that have been engineered to latch onto one particular gene in the cells of a living thing, a specific part of its DNA. The proteins in the other liquid cut the DNA at that spot. It's like a zip code that you can address to find a particular place in the DNA of a cell and literally like scissors, make a snip. Cutting DNA like this usually disables the gene. We can disable a gene that gives us a disease or shut off the gene that limits how much fur cashmere goats grow or how much muscle a beagle grows.

The next step is much harder. Swapping in a different DNA sequence, replacing it with something we've created ourselves, we'll be able to rewrite the genes of any plant, animal, or person. When I started this book, I thought, okay, biotechnology and CRISPR, it's the most amazing thing happening in our time.

And then I realized by the end, I was understating the case. Walter Isaacson is the author of bestselling books about Benjamin Franklin, Albert Einstein, and Steve Jobs. His latest, The Code Breaker, published by Simon & Schuster, part of ViacomCBS, is about Jennifer Doudna and her work on CRISPR. Your face is there on the cover. What was that like getting the Walter Isaacson treatment?

Well, a combination of absolute terror combined with knowing that I was in the best hands possible. I mean, Ben Franklin, Steve Jobs, and you. And Einstein, don't forget.

And Einstein, that's right. Since Doudna published her paper in 2012, a lot's been going on in the world's CRISPR labs. Scientists have bred more nutritious tomatoes and created a wheat that doesn't contain gluten. Clinical trials are underway to treat some cancers using CRISPR techniques. Those medical treatments show off CRISPR's most jaw-dropping possibilities. About 7,000 human diseases are caused by gene mutations that, in theory, we can simply snip away. They include muscular dystrophy, cystic fibrosis, Huntington's disease, and sickle cell disease, a blood disorder that brings debilitating pain, infections, and early death. It affects about 100,000 Americans, including Victoria Gray, a Mississippi mother of four who became the first American to be treated with CRISPR-fixed genes.

In the year since the experimental treatment, she's had no severe pain or hospitalizations. Of course, like any revolutionary technology, this one has a dark side. The headlines are always about, oh, what you've unleashed is designer babies. Like, people are going to say, I want blonde, blue-haired, super smart, super muscular.

Is that real? Well, yes and no, mostly no. We don't really know which genes need to be edited for the kinds of traits that you mentioned. And I suspect that we're talking about dozens, if not more, genes that would need to be tweaked.

Doing that would be technically very challenging. So I don't think we're on the verge of a world of CRISPR babies myself, but it's close enough in the sense that the technology fundamentally could enable this, that I think it's critical that we have a discussion about it. Most people who've studied this say, you've got to draw a line between what's medically necessary. In other words, trying to make sure people don't get sickle cell anemia or Huntington's.

But it's a blurry line. I mean, if you're trying to improve somebody's memory to make sure they don't have Alzheimer's, you're also improving their memory. There's also a difference between editing one person's genes like Victoria Gray's and making changes that will be passed on to their children.

The girls are safe, healthy as any other babies. In 2018, a Chinese doctor edited the embryos of three Chinese babies so that they and their descendants would be resistant to the HIV virus. I think we still need to understand the motivation for the study and what the process was for informed consent. Scientists worldwide condemned him for going rogue. In China, at first, for about a day, he was celebrated as the first person to create designer babies. But even the Chinese were appalled by what he did.

And eventually he gets tried and put under house arrest. Since that event, Doudna has been hosting a series of international conferences designed to hammer out ethical guidelines for using CRISPR so that agreements are in place before a disaster happens. Gene editing is a fabulous technology that I think will ultimately help many, many people around the world.

And so to me, it's more a question of managing it. In the last year, some of the most prominent CRISPR labs, including Doudna's, have turned their attention to a different scientific holy grail, protecting us from COVID. Starting with work on a cheap, fast, at-home COVID test. I imagine having little CRISPR-based devices so that people can come to work, spit in a tube, and in 30 minutes get an answer telling them whether they need to be quarantined or not. In the meantime, scientists all over the world are exploring CRISPR's stunning potential to improve our lives. Do you think this biotech or revolution will be as big in scope and impact as the digital revolution was? Oh, I think the biotech revolution is going to be 10 times more important than the digital revolution because it allows us to hack the code of life.

And we shouldn't be afraid of using this technology to make ourselves healthier. Everything will be okay. It's a message for young women. In a new book from Fox News commentator Dana Perino, she says it's a lesson she learned long ago from one very fine teacher. When I trace back the roots of what got me to where I am today, I keep returning to my grandfather, Leo E. Perino of Newcastle, Wyoming. Grandpa Perino was a World War II Marine veteran, a rancher, devoted husband, father, and grandfather.

He had strong hands, a gentle soul, and deep blue eyes. I was his firstborn grandchild. He taught me to ride my pony, Sally, and gave me my first pair of red cowboy boots. I loved helping him get ready for his county commissioner meetings, dressy wranglers, and a bolo tie. He taught me the importance of civic duty and gave me my first piece of networking advice.

Accept the drink they offer, then pour it in the first plant you see. My grandfather adored my grandmother, Vicki. They became my early model for a successful marriage.

Their love was a simple but sweet routine. Be present and supportive, take a drive around the ranch just to be together, and top off the bird feeder every night. My grandfather's way of life, working the land, helping other ranchers, and modeling integrity and intelligence was like a tale out of a Western storybook.

Grandpa Perino died suddenly of a heart attack while moving cattle the day after Thanksgiving in 2001. I wish he'd lived long enough to see me work in the White House, but I know in my heart that he was smiling down at me each time I stepped to the podium as George W. Bush's press secretary. As I mentor young women in their careers and life choices, I return to my grandfather's wisdom. Look at the big picture, stay true to your roots, and remember the joys of life. Begin each day with an open heart and a clear mind. Respect your commitments, speak gently, and treat others with love.

I know he would have wanted me to go easy on my self-judgment too. Women of all ages can be very hard on themselves. Sometimes we can forget that to be loved is the greatest gift and the best foundation we can ask for in life. Today, one year into a pandemic that's impacted our lives in countless ways, large and small, we're still navigating uncharted waters. Many of us feel isolated, divided, and lost. What has gotten me through the tough times is a steady hand, a little grit, good decision-making, and humility. If we take care of ourselves and do our best, we'll come out of these days stronger. It's something that came naturally to my grandfather and with it an abiding sense that everything will be okay. Thank you for listening.

Please join us when our trumpet sounds again next Sunday morning. The point isn't the end. The point is winning. 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 / 2023-01-29 00:25:44 / 2023-01-29 00:38:57 / 13

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