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CBS Sunday Morning / Jane Pauley
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August 23, 2020 5:07 pm

CBS Sunday Morning

CBS Sunday Morning / Jane Pauley

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August 23, 2020 5:07 pm

 Schools across the country are reopening in the midst of a pandemic with a mix of in-person and virtual instruction. David Pogue reports on the insecurities, disagreements and fears about protecting children that remain. Conor Knighton introduces us to Wyoming pilot Peter Rork , who transports animals in need to adoption centers across the country through his non-profit, Dog Is My CoPilot. Matt Stutzman, one of the top-ranked archers in the country, has medaled in a sport that many would have thought beyond his reach: he was born without arms. He shares his story with Lee Cowan. 100 years ago the 19th Amendment, intended to empower women with the Constitutional right to vote, was just one vote short of ratification. In an interview with Face the Nation's" Margaret Brennan, historians discuss how suffragists won the long-pitched battle. Vanna White, the co-host of "Wheel of Fortune" talks to Mo Rocca about her 37 years revealing puzzle clues, and filling in for Pat Sajak during his recent emergency surgery.

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Let's partner for all of it. Learn more at edwardjones.com. Good morning. Jane Pauley is off today.

I'm Lee Cowan, and this is Sunday morning. As summer is winding down, the school year is winding up, and with it, lots of questions. The threat of COVID-19 is throwing many school reopenings into confusion, leaving parents wrestling with school matters large and small.

David Pogue will report our cover story. Some students with masks and some without. Some schools reopening, and some teaching over the internet. Good morning, Marvin Wright Elementary. As the new school year begins, that's the scattered state of education in the COVID era. We can't live our lives in fear. I don't want to hear that students are sick or they have gotten their parents sick.

The desperate search for a workable lesson plan ahead on Sunday morning. Our Sunday profile this morning is of Wheel of Fortune veteran Vanna White, who you might call letter perfect. She's talking with our Mo Raga. For 37 years, she's been revealing letters at this famous board. Now Vanna White is revealing more.

I remember before I became famous, I saw a couple of famous people who were not very nice to people, and I thought, if I ever become famous, I'm not going to treat people that way. Solving the puzzle of Vanna White. Later on Sunday morning. Margaret Brennan helps us mark 100 years of women's suffrage. Journalist and contributor Mark Whitaker discusses the fight for racial justice with best-selling author Ta-Nehisi Coates. We have a dog's tail from Connor Knighton. Luke Burbank tells us about a sweet slice of summer.

Watermelon. Plus, Jim Gaffigan, Steve Hartman, and John Dickerson, looking ahead to this week's Republican National Convention. All that and a lot more on this Sunday morning, the 23rd of August 2020. We'll be right back after this. Getting back to school is no small part of getting back to normal. And yet, in this time of COVID, there's nothing normal or easy about it. School matters.

Our cover story is reported by David Polk. These parents and teachers may look like they're arguing over the reopening of schools this fall. It's not safe yet. I don't think we have enough testing in place and testing for asymptomatic students. I can guarantee you that the school will be safer than Walmart, Costco, Reesers, and those other places you may have gone.

But in fact, they all want the same thing. What's best for the kids? My son has barely had any conversations with other children since March. The only part they disagree on is what is best for the kids. If the most important thing is our kids' education and social development, there's only one answer. We believe that schools should be open, but it has to be done safely.

Dr. Sally Goza is a pediatrician and the president of the American Academy of Pediatrics. We know that children get more than reading, writing, and arithmetic at school. They get social and emotional development skills. They learn to get along with other children. They get healthy meals.

They get good exercise. Whereas trying to learn at home on a screen has all kinds of problems. Studies show that kids don't learn as well that way.

They're more exposed to domestic abuse. Plus, how are parents supposed to work when their young kids are stuck at home? But if what's best for the kids is minimizing their exposure to the COVID virus, then the answer is different. Keep them home. I don't want to hear that students are sick or they have gotten their parents sick or their grandparents sick.

DeShauna Barker is a math teacher at the Preparatory Academy for Writers in New York City. She's also a parent. The pediatricians and mental health experts say kids can't stay home for a year looking at the laptop screen. They need to be among other people.

I agree. However, we won't be able to worry about social emotional issues with our children if they're getting sick or their parents are dying. Even if students can keep six feet apart in the classrooms, how do they do that in the hallways or the cafeteria or on school buses?

What about things they touch like lockers and drinking fountains and computer keyboards? At this moment, about half of U.S. schools plan to begin the semester exclusively online. The other half will welcome students to their school buildings in person, at least part-time.

That second group includes the largest public school system in the country with 1.1 million students and 1,800 schools. Thank you for joining us, Chancellor. Are you getting much sleep these days? Sleep? What is that?

I haven't slept since March. Richard Carranza is New York City's Chancellor of Schools. Tell us who was involved in crafting the plan. We've had superintendents, parents, medical professionals, we've had epidemiologists.

When you have that many voices, it's sometimes a little messy, but that's okay. The resulting plan is for schools to open in September, but to allow enough space for distancing, each school divides its students into two or three groups who will go to school on alternate days of the week. The remaining days, they'll learn at home. Meanwhile, inside the schools, the city intends to live by the five scientific golden rules. When we speak with our medical experts, they say the number one thing you should be doing is face coverings for all individuals in the school building.

We're going to remind students, we're going to continue to make it a game for our youngest students that they understand and it's fun to wear those face masks. Second one is a lot of sanitizer, a lot of hand washing. Number three, continuous cleaning. The fourth thing is social distancing. So students will see one-way hallways. And then the fifth thing is ventilation of an indoor space.

You have to do all five to have the best chance of really negating the possibility of spread. They're not quite that strict in Spring Hill, Tennessee, where students started school two weeks ago, in person, five days a week. Masks are optional. A parent has that option to have their child wear a mask if they choose to wear a mask if they want to, but there is no punishment for those that do not.

Marissa Massey is the principal of Marvin Wright Elementary School. Will they notice any changes to the setup or the routine? Every child gets a temperature check when they get out of the car and when they get off the bus every day.

They'll eat lunch in the cafeteria. We do space them out a little more. I guess the real nightmare scenario in that situation is when a child gets infected but doesn't show symptoms and then, because children often don't, and then brings it home to the grandparents. And that could be a possibility.

We just, you know, just like with any other virus that that does you can bring it home to anybody. You've seen that some schools have have opened and a couple of have had to backtrack. Does that does that make you nervous at all?

It doesn't make me nervous that we can't live our lives in fear and we have to think what's best for us and our kids. If we were to shut down we we could do that and it would be okay. Now COVID-19 disproportionately affects people with low incomes and that's especially true when it comes to reopening the schools. Millions of kids don't have computers or even internet access.

How are they supposed to learn at home? I think you're right, Becca. Many wealthier families, meanwhile, are forming what are called pandemic pods. We're forming a pod together. That means we're only going to socialize together.

We're not going to socialize outside of our pods. Jonathan and Sarah Aloy are working parents in San Francisco. They've joined two other families whose children will all be attending school remotely.

So describe how this works. We're hiring a tutor not to replace our public school teachers but to ensure that our kids are paying attention to their public school teachers. They're going to make sure the kids are doing their classwork and homework. They're going to ensure the kids are getting some recess and exercise and having lunch and being safe. It's all sorts of things like the kids need snacks at random times.

The kids need to be told, okay, Zoom starts in two minutes, get ready. Wow, so can I ask what it what it costs for the tutor? We're paying forty dollars an hour for four kids. Okay, now a lot of people seeing this are going to be saying, oh great for you wealthy California executives, what are the rest of us supposed to do? We are incredibly fortunate that we are able to partner together with other families and collectively afford to hire a tutor.

We recognize that is not the case for everyone and there's definitely some guilt there. One thing's for sure, this school year won't look like any other in the U.S. or anywhere else. In Thailand, some students sit in isolation chambers. In Senegal, workers spray returning students with disinfectant. In India, some classes meet outdoors where the virus very rarely spreads.

In Denmark, the students sit, eat and play on the playground in isolated clusters. But in the United States, every state has different infection rates and we have no national strategy to guide us. So we're stuck with a menu of terrible choices and no single solution that can work everywhere. So the uncertainties, the disagreements and the fears remain. If you could address anxious students who happen to be watching this right now, do you have any words of reassurance? I can tell you we want nothing more than to see you go back to school.

Teacher Deshonna Barker recommends that New York hold off on reopening the schools until more details have been ironed out. In this moment, what we really want to see, we want to know that you're safe. That you are safe and that your family members that you go back home to are going to be safe. Without that, we don't think it's time just yet for you guys to go back. But Chancellor Carranza says that the schools will be ready. We are leaving no stone unturned. We are consulting with all of our medical experts. We are more strict than what anyone else has told us to be.

I would give my life before we take one of yours. And that's the weight that I carry with me every single day. To Luke Burbank now, who's slicing up an unmistakable taste of summer. Even during a pandemic, there's nothing that says summer quite like a big juicy slice of watermelon. It's watermelon weather. And if you want some of the sweetest watermelon in America, you'd do well to head to what might seem like an unlikely place, Hermiston, Oregon. You know, it's just a small slice of Americana.

Slice of Americana. I see what you did there, Jack. Oh, I know. Did you see that?

That was very subtle. That's where Jack Bellinger's family has been growing watermelons since 1942. My grandfather started growing watermelons, I think more to keep his energetic kids busy. I think it was like a three-acre field. It turns out that field in eastern Oregon, of all places, was an ideal spot for growing watermelons.

We typically have very warm days, but our nights are much cooler and it increases the carbohydrate production in the plant. Carbohydrates equate to sugars and sugars equate to a sweeter watermelon. Wow. Bellinger wasn't even sure there's a way to grow watermelons. Wow.

Bellinger wasn't even sure there'd be a market due to COVID, but boy was he wrong. It's been incredible. You know, watermelons are considered to be a happy fruit. It's good times. It's picnics.

It's kids enjoying their backyard. People need a reason to feel good. It's sort of the summer equivalent of a comfort food, really.

Absolutely. Comfort for Anna Dickman and her daughter, or more accurately, a group of wedding guests in Utah. They said you better send watermelon down to us. So this is crossing state lines because it's like, that's how good it is. Like, if you come from Oregon, you have to bring us watermelon.

It's habit. You have that lovely sonorous quality. Ken Albala, a food historian at the University of the Pacific in California, has got the art of selecting a watermelon down pat. I always see people tapping watermelons, but I don't know what they're...

I do it myself. I don't know what I'm listening for, though. You're listening for a pump, pump, pump. If it has a dull thud, it means all the cells have collapsed and it's going to be mushy. So wait, what's the sound I'm listening for?

Almost sounds like a drum. Albala says watermelons, which appear in the Bible and King Tut's tomb, come from Africa. And there's a theory that the reason that they first cultivated these was not for the flavor, but for the water. So this was sort of harnessing the groundwater and having nature put it into a sort of a convenient ball shape for you.

That's exactly it. Once we started eating watermelons, the focus shifted to taste and color, says Albala. It was bred consciously to be sweeter and and more red. You know, the original watermelons are white or yellowish. And they started cultivating these in ancient Roman times. And by the Middle Ages, you finally see pictures of watermelons that have that bright pink. Watermelons were brought to America by way of European settlers from Spain, as well as via slave ships from Africa. And during their time here in the U.S., they've changed even more. Most watermelons are now seedless with harder, rounder rinds, which are much easier to transport. In Japan, they've even taken it a step further, using molds to grow square and heart-shaped watermelon.

Can I try a sample here? Meanwhile, back in Hermiston, my mouth was watering for something traditional and right out of the field. Social distancing here. This is great. This knife is terrifying, but also very safe. Oh my gosh. Cheers. So good. That good? I would agree.

This seems really good, but I would. Can I have another section just to like a hundred percent? Be sure. Absolutely. This is CBS Sunday Morning. We take the journalism very seriously. You guys are dedicated to your profession.

Exactly. Last week marked the centennial of ratification of the 19th Amendment, giving women the right to vote. 100 years sounds like a long time, but as Face the Nation's Margaret Brennan explains, a right we take for granted was a very long time in coming. Last Tuesday, with banners, bells, streamers, and skydives, Nashville celebrated the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, giving women the right to vote. We, the women, marched and sang and spoke. Roseanne Cash added her voice to the celebration.

We, the women, earned the right to vote. Around Nashville and around Tennessee, we all rang bells. And I rang one here in New York.

And I rang one here in New York. But back in 1920, the city was stunned to silence. Bells and whistles and all kinds of things were ringing across the country, but not in Nashville.

It was still too raw, controversial. Nashville attorneys Jeannie Nelson and Margaret Behm raised almost $4 million to create a votes for women room at the Nashville Public Library. We really want to make sure that when people leave this room, they understand that women weren't given the vote, that it was a bitter struggle. It was a battle, and it almost didn't happen.

By August of 1920, 35 states had ratified the 19th Amendment. Only one more was needed. The suffragists realized that there's only one state where it's at all possible that they might be able to eke this out, and that is Tennessee. Historian Elaine Weiss has written about that pivotal moment. They had opposition files. They did.

They had to learn to take hold of the levers of power, and they had to learn the game. Leading suffragists like Carrie Chapman Catt gathered at the Hermitage Hotel. Carrie Chapman Catt was the leader of the main suffrage organization. Historian Susan Ware. She'd been involved in the movement since the 1880s. She's ready to bring this to a close.

Oh, dear, what can the matter be, dear, dear? An army of anti-suffragists was there as well. Women are wanting to vote. So what is their rationale?

For some, it is a religious and moral decision. Some feel that women seeking equality will lead to a disruption of gender roles. For others, they are, especially in the South, they are racist, and they don't want black women to vote. Also weighing in on the anti-suffrage side. There are corporate interests that don't want women to get the ballot. They fear that if women can vote, they are going to want to abolish child labor.

Fearing that female voters would block any repeal of prohibition, the liquor lobby kept a suite on the eighth floor of the hotel. Free drinks for legislators 24-7. They're liquoring up the legislators.

You bet. And Carrie Chapman Catt asks at one point, is every legislator drunk? And she's told, yes, yes, they are. The challenge of women's suffrage was always that it was going to be men who were going to make the decision. And you had to be able to find ways to encourage them to perhaps take a step that they might not otherwise. The stakes were high with the 1920 presidential election just around the corner. They're 10 weeks out from an election in which it's unclear whether or not 27 million Americans will be able to vote or not. Yeah, the dreams of of three generations of suffragists and 27 million women are riding on this. It had been a long road since Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott held one of the first equal rights conventions in Seneca Falls, New York, in 1848. Women had marched. They had organized. They had lobbied Congress, picketed the White House and gotten arrested. And now on the eve of the vote in Tennessee, the night before the suffragists realized they do the math and they're not going to be able to pull it out.

They're going to be a little bit short. Their support has has just dissolved. The next morning, as crowds gather at the State House, 24 year old Harry T. Byrne intends to vote no. That morning, he receives a letter from his mother. She says, I've noticed that in the newspapers, it doesn't say that you're supporting ratification. Be a good boy and support Mrs. Catt and get ratification through. Be a good boy.

Be a good boy. And he votes aye and pandemonium ensues. I always favored votes for women.

In 1963, Byrne told CBS's Walter Cronkite about that day. When I was confronted with the fact that I was going to go on record for time and eternity on the merits of the question, I voted in favor of ratification. On August 26, 1920, the Susan B. Anthony Amendment becomes the law of the land. An 80 year old struggle is won. As Carrie Chapman Catt put it, young suffragists who helped forge the last links of that chain were not born when it began.

Old suffragists who forged the first links were dead when it ended. But for black women, the fight was far from over. Black women anticipate that even after the 19th Amendment is ratified, that they will face poll taxes, they will face literacy tests, they will face intimidation and violence. Martha S. Jones has written about black women's role in the continuing fight for equality. Black suffragists are the universal suffragists. From the beginning of the 19th century on through the 19th Amendment and all the way to the Voting Rights Act of 1965, it is African American women who sound the call, no racism, no sexism in American politics. Testimony to the strength, steeliness and diversity of the women who fought for equal rights and continue to do so today.

When you're asking what is the role of women, who gets the vote and those in power, what they do sometimes to keep people from voting, all of those issues where they are in 1920 and they're still here today. Now, time for something completely different. A story about a man and the dogs who love him.

Connor Knighton has quite a tale. On this 100 degree day in El Paso, a Texas terrier named Tumble is enjoying a bit of fresh air while trying to beat the heat. However, most of Tumble's time is spent here, inside a cage at El Paso Animal Services. She was brought to the shelter and after she was found out on the street, her head trapped in a fence. Usually on any given year, we have 25,000 to 30,000 animals come through the door.

Kyla White's job is to help get those animals out the door. But there are far more dogs in El Paso than there are willing adopters. It's a common story at shelters in several cities. But it's not the story in El Paso. It's a common story at shelters in several cities. But it's not the story in every city. My jaw just dropped.

I didn't know. I mean, I'm living in a cocoon in Jackson where, you know, life is good and everybody has a dog and all the dogs are well taken care of and the shelter is empty. Peter Roark is a retired orthopedic surgeon based in Jackson, Wyoming. He's loved dogs ever since he was a boy. I like dogs better than most people I know.

I mean, I just they're just pure of heart and pure of soul. Roark also happens to be a part-time pilot. When he retired from medicine, he realized that he might be able to help connect some of the towns that have full shelters to towns full of willing adopters. So he took the seats out of his plane and took to the skies, co-founding the nonprofit Dog is My Co-Pilot. The mission is stated to fly or transport the dogs from the areas that have a high euthanasia rate to areas that will never put down a healthy animal. A typical day might involve loading up a plane full of animals in Merced, California, and then dropping them off to receiving partners in Portland, Seattle and Missoula, Montana.

What's the maximum number of animals you'd have on a flight? 251. Wow. Yeah. What did that smell like? You have no idea.

It's it's an amazing olfactory experience. Roark began his rescue flights in 2012, just a few months after the sudden death of his wife Meg. He was distraught, desperately searching for a new direction. My wife passed away. I was in the darkest place that you can imagine. A mutual friend of ours called me and said, you know, Peter, you need to knock this off.

Meg would want you to be happy. So get out there. And out there he went. To date, Dog is My Co-Pilot has flown more than 15,000 animals, mostly dogs with a few cats thrown in. That's way more of an impact that I ever made as an orthopedic surgeon, you know.

And so it's so much more rewarding. 72 animals are waiting for Roark at the El Paso airport at 4 a.m. on a Sunday, including a tired tumble. Once everyone is safely loaded onto the plane, Roark is off. After stops in Salt Lake City and Sutton Valley, the bulk of the animals descend into Troutdale, Oregon, just outside Portland. There, an army of volunteers is waiting to help unload the dogs and get them to their new homes. I think I'm gonna cry.

Yeah, good boy. Julie Zagrens, with Portland's One Tail at a Time Rescue, says she's noticed a huge increase in interest since people have been stuck at home during the pandemic. Yeah, we've been inundated lately.

The last few months have been really busy with both foster homes and adoption interests. Zagrens found Tumble a home with Portlanders Andrea Fielder and Matt Schmidt. It turns out their backyard kiddie pool is Tumble's favorite hangout spot.

Some Texas habits die hard. You're home, Tumble. You're home.

This doesn't look like Texas, does it? Back at the airport, an empty plane means a successful trip for Peter Roark. I'll be back here in two weeks to do it all over again, hitting a half dozen other towns in the meantime. Did this help you find a purpose? Yeah, it's interesting. I know people say, wow, you're all saving dogs. And I'm thinking, I really think they saved me. They got me back out in the world again.

Good Fight, the final season, now streaming exclusively on Paramount Plus. In the face of the struggle for racial justice, many of us are stepping out of traditional comfort zones. That includes one high-profile magazine. Mark Whittaker is our newest Sunday morning contributor. Vanity Fair, the glitzy 107-year-old magazine, might be best known for great reads and great photography, chronicling Hollywood and high society. But how does a publication that bills itself as capturing the cultural zeitgeist react to a moment like this? I felt when I took the title over that the culture really was moving very strongly in a direction that was more diverse.

Radhika Jones became Vanity Fair's editor-in-chief in 2017. I think as an editor, you know, you're always hoping to see around the corner. So what made you think that Ta-Nehisi was the person who could kind of help you create something really new and distinctive? Well, Ta-Nehisi has been seeing around corners for his whole professional life.

If you are attempting to study American history and you don't understand the force of white supremacy, you fundamentally misunderstand America. Earlier this year, Jones tapped best-selling author Ta-Nehisi Coates to guest edit a special issue of Vanity Fair on newsstands next month. It features contributors of color on almost every page. So what did it feel like to be the boss? Well, I mean, I'm Radhika's boss. Let's be clear about that.

I was lending an assist. Arguably America's preeminent voice on race, Coates burst onto the national scene as a national correspondent for the Atlantic. For every nickel of wealth that the average Black family has, a white family has a dollar. His 2014 cover story, The Case for Reparations, revived a national dialogue about the issue, with Coates even testifying before a congressional panel on reparations last year. Enslavement is theft. 250 years, Black people had the fruits of their labor stolen from them. And his landmark book, Between the World and Me, written as a letter to his son about the dangers of being a Black man in America, has sold more than 2.5 million copies.

It skyrocketed back onto many bestseller lists this summer in the wake of George Floyd's killer. Tony Morrison compared you to James Baldwin. That must have been a pretty heavy. Yeah, it was, it felt like somebody handed me a responsibility. I mean, obviously I was flat at praise.

It was, you know, I was enormously humbled, but I felt like it was a charge. Like somebody said, okay, now you have to, you know what I mean, go and fulfill that. Because if you don't, you're going to be the guy that made Tony Morrison wrong. How would you like that? You want that to be your legacy?

And I don't. The issue is called The Great Fire, inspired by a poem about white Chicagoans in the early 20th century, who saw the influx of African-Americans as a disaster, akin to the fire that nearly destroyed the city 50 years earlier. Coates writes about it in a powerful editor's letter. It's interesting, the metaphor, because at the beginning of the letter, the fire is a threat.

Yes, it's seen as destructive. By the end, its greatest power is illumination. And you know, what I argue in the piece, that's always been the great power of the black movement. I mean, what is so horrifying about seeing Emmett Till's open casket, that it illuminates something brutal about the country. What is so horrifying about seeing John Lewis charged and beaten and folks gas for wanting to cross a bridge? It illuminates something that we do not like, something that is not consistent with how we see ourselves as a country. Same thing with these cell phones. I mean, it's not like this is new, but suddenly it's illuminated, you know, and people can see it.

And it absolutely drives folks who don't even experience it crazy. It's hard to look at that and not do anything. The cover is a portrait of Breonna Taylor, the 26-year-old Louisville woman who was shot and killed in March by police in her own apartment. It was painted by acclaimed artist Amy Sherald. Sherald's best known work is the Michelle Obama portrait that hangs in the National Portrait Gallery.

At a time when sales of print magazines are down, Jones hopes this issue becomes that increasingly rare commodity, a keepsake. And as a child of a mother born in India, she takes her responsibility as a cultural gatekeeper seriously. You can use the gate to keep people out, or you can use the gate to let people in. And that's, for me, what's been behind this project. It feels so magical to me at this incredibly difficult and strained time in American history to have been able to do that. Ta-Nehisi Coates, who will now join Vanity Fair as a contributing editor, is not known for his optimism about race. But in the multiracial faces of today's protesters, he sees reason to believe that this time might be different. One of the things that people have said about your work is that you offer a powerful indictment of the state of race relations in our country, but you don't ultimately offer solutions or reason for hope. And yet, in your editor's letter, you actually do see hope in this current moment. I have very little, again, I just want to be clear with this, I have very little expectation that the powers that be in Louisville, in Kentucky, will ultimately hold the people that killed Breonna Taylor accountable. I am filled with a transcendent, transcended sense of, I would actually call it joy, when I see the people who continue to struggle in her name nonetheless.

And maybe we're at a moment where some kind of critical mass of people in this country, beyond the community that's actually being affected by it, actually can see some things that they couldn't see before. Count our Jim Gaffigan among the parents agonizing over back to school 2020. This is normally one of my favorite parts of the year, the end of summer. I can stop applying sunscreen, I can hang up my long sleeve sun shirt, and I can watch my children prepare to head back to school. Unfortunately, this year, my children won't be physically heading back to school. They'll just still be here with me, like they have been for the past hundred years.

I love them. Like many parents, my wife and I have struggled over the school question. Do we send our children back for in-person learning and possibly expose them to the coronavirus or expose others to the coronavirus or do we not educate them? Okay, the last part was my suggestion, which my wife didn't like. Of course, the opposite of in-person learning is distance learning.

I'm sorry to say those words so early on a Sunday. Even hearing the phrase distance learning makes me want to drink scotch straight from a bottle. Okay, fine. I'll do the distance learning again. I'll morph from grumpy parent into personal assistant of my children. Excuse me, sir.

You have a third grade zoom in five minutes and here's your sliced apple snack. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to order more scotch. Welcome back, everyone. There's no puzzle behind Vanna White's success on the game show Wheel of Fortune. She takes a spin of the wheel with Mo Rocca. With so little to be sure of in this topsy-turvy world, at least one thing is certain. Each weeknight, Vanna White will glide across the stage of Wheel of Fortune, revealing letters, applauding contestants, and looking beautiful while doing it. And that's my job.

I'll be the first to make fun of it, shall we say. It is what I do and I feel very lucky that I was able to get this job. I love what I do.

Thank you all for being here. And fans of the show love what she does. Vanna has been co-hosting Wheel of Fortune with Pat Sajak for 37 years. Back in the dark ages, before 1997, Vanna had to turn the letters. Do you miss turning the letters? I'm serious.

No, you know, I said, is there any way you can make my job easier? I didn't really say that, but it took time because they had to manually stop tape and change those letters, which was a couple hours at least to do. This is the last night of this puzzle board.

You will no longer be turning letters. So when they turned it into a computerized puzzle board. The new board, which you will see on Monday, it's heat activated, if you will.

And if anyone could heat up a board, you can. You actually touch the letters. And they light up. It went like that.

So it saved hours. Watching my all time favorite show. It's not so easy to define Vanna's appeal, but it's impossible to imagine Wheel without her. What are we wearing today? Sure, some of the show's 10 to 11 million viewers. Tune in to see what she'll wear. It just goes on every color you want. You've done over 7,000 episodes.

Yes. How many different dresses? Over 7,000. I've never worn the same dress twice.

Vanna White was born 63 years ago in North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. It was wonderful. Back then, we didn't have to lock our doors. We left the keys in the car.

It was a population of about 5,000 people. And I read somewhere that you used to shoot marbles. Yes, I did in school.

Did you? I have to tell you, I'm not sure how you play marbles. There's a circle, and you try to get the marbles out of the circle. You do it kind of like, okay, I got one.

You can snap it with your thumb, or you can do it. And I'm just trying to get one out? Well, no, you should get more than one if you can. No. I didn't. I went right into the mass of marbles. That's okay.

Now it's my turn. She was 10 years old when she decided she wanted a career in television. Did you watch game shows? I did.

As a matter of fact, Concentration was one of my game shows that I loved to watch. I even went to New York when I was 12 years old and went to the set. After high school, she enrolled in the Atlanta School of Fashion and Design, where she studied fashion merchandising and poise.

In 1980, she moved to Los Angeles. And I had $1,000 to my name, 300 for the car, 700 for the apartment, and a job immediately. Waitressing.

I got a waitressing job. After Susan Stafford, the original Wheel of Fortune daytime co-host, left, Vanna applied. This is the Hall of Fame, shall we say. There's my audition. 1982. Oh, that's great. Yes.

Ultimately buying against two other finalists. And I didn't recommend Vanna, and Vanna knows this. Do we know how to pick a hostess? I ask you, ladies and gentlemen. Pat Sajak was skeptical.

Thank you. I am very excited and happy to be part of Wheel of Fortune. Not that she wasn't lovely and wonderful and personable and all that, but she was the most nervous by far of any of them. The camera just loves her face.

But the show's creator, Merv Griffin, who also brought Jeopardy to television, knew what the public wanted. Soon enough, Vanna-mania swept the country. At what point did you realize, oh boy, I'm a household name. I mean, I'm a first name only person, Vanna, like that big. That was when I was in the grocery line checking out and I was on the cover of Newsweek.

I thought, wow, I guess I've made it. But four years into the job, she suffered a terrible blow. Vanna was a dating actor and former Chippendales dancer, John Gibson. You were engaged.

Yes, yes. My boyfriend at the time was killed in a plane crash. That was devastating. All my fans were so supportive. I received tons of fan mail of letters. I've been through this. It just made me feel like I wasn't the only one. She calls the show a family, a cliche, to be sure, in television.

But Vanna seems genuinely to feel the pain of Wheel contestants when they stumble. I have to ask, have you ever seen those video compilations of Wheel of Fortune fails? Oh, yes. Yes. I mean, do you have a favorite one? Oh, my goodness.

Mythological hero, Aetius. I can't accept that. Do you have a couple? Yeah, there's a group of pill pushers. This is Wheel of Fortune, Joan! I feel so bad for them when that happens. And that may be the key to Vanna's enduring appeal. She and the audience have a genuine connection. What kinds of things do people say to you? I've watched you my whole life, or my grandmother and I watched you.

And you taught me the alphabet, you taught me how to speak English. Really? Yes, just yesterday. So, we change people's lives. During most of the show's run, Vanna has actually said very little on camera. But that changed this past December, when Pat was hospitalized for emergency surgery for a blocked intestine. Hello, hello, hello, and welcome to Wheel. Vanna filled in for Pat for three weeks.

Pat is recovering from surgery and hopes to be back real soon. The fact that she did it speaks volumes about her. It would have been very easy for her to say, I'm sorry, this is not what I do. But the audience was rooting for her and almost proud to see her up there. Would you ever want to do it again? It's not at the top of my list. I love being there, I love doing it, but I was so nervous.

Maybe if I did it a few more times, I would feel better about it. But I'm my worst critic. We're glad to hear you. Vanna tapes Wheel of Fortune four days a month. When she's not at the studio, she spends time with her son Nico and her daughter Gigi, and with her boyfriend, real estate developer John Donaldson. Vanna White's contract has her at Wheel's puzzle board until the year 20 Any questions, anything you're curious about today.

Hello, I'm Twitter. I'm where God's cunning and admirable, but yes I've been there, very thoughtful of each other. cant get me there.

It's coast level. That's not what I want to do too, and that's been like, Any questions? Anything you're curious about? But we're pretty sure her fans will never let her leave. Are you ever worried that a robot's going to take your job? No. No, I'm not.

Should I be? Steve Harbin has a tale from the sea that you might say is strictly for the birds. One in particular.

It can be a lonely job, pulling lobster traps way out here in the middle of the Gulf of Maine. But for 15 years, Captain John Mikowski had company, a faithful companion. In fact, he says, maybe a little too faithful.

If she comes right up to the window and is looking at me this far away, I mean, just staring at me. John's stalker girlfriend, who he named Red Eye, showed up one day in 2005 and basically never left. Until a few months ago, when Red Eye suffered a leg injury. John knew a seagull couldn't live long like that. How hard was it for him?

Oh, very, very difficult. John's wife, Debbie. I watched John to see how sad he was. I could tear up right now. I don't know why I was so emotionally crushed, but there was a piece missing.

I was beginning to wonder how much longer I felt like doing this. So, in an attempt to save his passion for the sea, he tried to save that seagull. Actually caught her and brought her to the Center for Wildlife in Cape Neddick, Maine. The staff nursed Red Eye while John spoiled her with brown hake, her favorite kind of fish. And would you believe, just a few weeks later, Red Eye was good as new. Earlier this month, John released the bird back into the wild.

Perfect. Of course, the wild was never really Red Eye's thing. Which is why, still today, no matter where John is in this great ocean, Red Eye somehow finds him.

Atta girl! For centuries, boat captains have believed seagulls carry the souls of lost sailors. And for this fourth generation lobsterman, that is a comforting thought. That maybe Red Eye is an ancestor looking out for him. But John says it's more about something far less mystical.

It's about the purpose that is found whenever two living creatures truly need each other. Exit the Democrats. Next up, this week's virtual Republican convention.

Here's a preview from John Dickerson of 60 Minutes. Donald Trump was not always a Republican. Even when he was a candidate for the party's nomination in 2016, he threatened to leave the party. But this week, as he glides into his re-nomination, he has remade the GOP as thoroughly as if it were a high-rise building with his name on it. It's a remarkable ascendancy for a man who had never run for office or held public office. But whose experience in the cut and thrust of the New York real estate business gave him an instinct for wielding power. Those who have opposed him in his party are no longer in office.

Those who might offer an astringent word take care to leaven it with a bouquet of compliments. Senators Marco Rubio, Lindsey Graham, Rand Paul, and Ted Cruz's once primary rivals are now vocal defenders. I'm not fine with this president being impeached based on hearsay. Bill Clinton once said, Democrats fall in love, Republicans fall in line. But Republican conventions were not always placid.

In 1952, even war hero Dwight Eisenhower had to shoulder his way into the party in a brutal convention fight with Senator Robert Taft. In 1976, Ronald Reagan almost took the nomination away from sitting president Gerald Ford. It's my good friend, Governor Reagan, to say a few words at this time.

When Reagan spoke at Ford's convention, a delegate was heard to sigh, we've nominated the wrong man. The reason Donald Trump has such a lock on things is that he has delivered for the Republican Party on every important issue its members care about. He has cut taxes. He has slashed regulations. He has increased defense spending. He has been a vocal supporter of limiting abortion rights and promoted the maximalist interpretation of the Second Amendment's right to bear arms. He has elevated two Supreme Court justices and hundreds of conservative lower court judges who will remake the judiciary for more than a generation. Where the Republican Party has different views from Donald Trump on trade, fiscal restraint, and comprehensive immigration reform, he has reversed party orthodoxy to his way of thinking.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said, I'm not sure he's a conservative, but he's the most effective anti-liberal in my lifetime. This week's convention will bait liberals and the press with taunts, jibes, and cultural displays designed to draw them into a frenzy. President Trump will present himself as a protector from the hordes, immigrants at the borders, protesters in the streets, and anyone carrying a set of ideas that might imperil the S&P 500, which this week hit a record.

Good evening. The reception will be more enthusiastic than the one Joe Biden received. But with headlines about more than 170,000 deaths from COVID-19, economic collapse, and racial anguish, the question for President Trump will be, do voters want protection from the world his convention will paint or rescue from the world outside it?

I'm Lee Cowan. Stay with CBS News for coverage of this week's Republican convention. And please join us when our trumpet sounds again next Sunday morning. Until then, be well, be safe, and enjoy the rest of your weekend. Follow the Takeout with Major Garrett on Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-01-28 16:54:55 / 2023-01-28 17:14:34 / 20

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