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Sunday Morning / Jane Pauley
The Truth Network Radio
October 20, 2019 10:23 am

CBS Sunday Morning

Sunday Morning / Jane Pauley

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October 20, 2019 10:23 am

Five years after meeting a trio of children grappling with their identity, Rita Braver met up with them to see how their lives have progressed. Life often imitates art. In an interview with Michelle Miller, Mariska Hargitay, the actress and executive producer of "Law and Order: Special Victims Unit," talks about taking her fight for victims of sexual assault on and off the screen. 

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

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

Let's partner for all of it. Learn more at edwardjones.com. Good morning. I'm Jane Pauley and this is Sunday morning. The Supreme Court heard a case this past week regarding job discrimination and the rights of gay and transgender workers. Though we won't hear the court's decision for some time, what we will be hearing this morning are young people telling Rita Braver their stories about growing up trans. Five years ago, when we first met Venice, he was low-key about having been born biologically female. But today, as a young transgender man, you describe yourself as loud and proud.

What does that mean? I'm able to just walk out my doors and yell, I'm trans, even though like I wouldn't, but... Ahead on Sunday morning, growing up trans. He's a legend of pop music who's winding down his days on the road while putting his life story in print. He's Sir Elton John and he's talking this morning with our Tracy Smith. Sir Elton John is in the middle of his last ever world tour and about to release his first ever autobiography. Was there anything that was difficult to share? Um, yes, of course. But share he does.

Elton John in his own words later on Sunday morning. Could a roadside sign with the words park here be directed not at people driving their cars but at pedestrians? Loop Burbank says yes. There's a park in Indianapolis where the I-70 and I-65 meet that you kind of have to see to believe.

You can come here any time of the day or night and there'll be people that will be here. You can talk to them and it's refreshing because everyone thought that it would never work. They thought it was a dumb idea.

Tom Batista's brilliantly dumb idea. Ahead on Sunday morning. Our Sunday profile this morning is of Mariska Hargitay who plays a no-nonsense crime investigator on TV. This morning she'll be the subject of an investigation by Michelle Miller.

As Detective Olivia Benson on NBC's Law and Order SVU, she's been every sexual predator's worst nightmare for more than 20 years. One move. Lights out. Did you have to practice these bad-ass dances or they just came natural?

They come natural. We'll go behind the scenes with Mariska Hargitay later on Sunday morning. With Scott Simon we'll meet a man who's calling his balls and strikes. We'll sit for a round of questions and answers with presidential candidate Andrew Yang.

Andrew Yang is the president of the Andrew Yang. And our Jim Gaffigan has some thoughts on in-laws. And more all coming up when our Sunday morning podcast continues.

We first met them five years ago. Three young people, kids really, who identified as transgender. So what has life been like for them growing up trans?

Rita Braver has our Sunday morning cover story. What do you think's the most important lesson you've learned over the past couple years? To speak up for myself. Like a lot of recent high school grads, Zoe Luna is reflecting on her teenage years. I think a lot of people don't realize that trans kids are just kids. We go through the same things. We go through the same heartbreaks. We go through the same struggles, the same teenage experience. And most of the time we're not able to go through them because people are so focused on being like, you're a trans kid.

We have to treat you differently. Zoe has faced more than the usual teenage angst. We first met her five years ago when she was 12.

And Sunday morning did a story on what was then an emerging phenomenon. More young people openly acknowledging that they are transgender. Biologically a male, Zoe never felt like one. I like the color pink. I scream like a girl. I act like a girl. I breathe like a girl. I'm not a boy.

Like, I would just be very defensive about it. Along with Venice and Maddie, Zoe was one of three transgender young people we profiled in that story. Since then, the subject of transgender kids has moved into the mainstream.

But some things have still not changed. Zoe told us five years ago she was bullied in middle school. Like, it's just the whole school.

Even like the kids that do seem like they're good kids, they even make what I mean. In fact, a 2017 survey found that the vast majority of transgender youth say they are bullied and feel unsafe in school. But Zoe says in high school she learned not to care about being teased. For me, it started with realizing, you know, I have nothing to be ashamed of. I'm transgender.

Other people are Latina, black, white, you know, like we all have our different titles or our different ways of identifying. Still, life has been something of a roller coaster for Zoe. She happily celebrated her quinceañera, a traditional 15th birthday celebration for Latina girls, which was featured in an HBO special.

I now present this Bible to you. Congratulations. And she has just been cast in a major film. Zoe is now engaged to her boyfriend of two years, who is also transgender.

But she is estranged from her family and has been coping with some other difficult issues. When we met you five years ago, we went with you to the doctor to talk about medical transitioning. Any pain?

No. Where are you medically now? Medically, I'm still taking hormones.

Any changes in your medication? I always used to want to get reassignment surgery because I always felt like that would make me a complete woman. But I'm a woman because I say I'm a woman, regardless of whether I have a vagina or a penis. I'm kind of just completely comfortable with myself. But other trans kids, like Venice, whom we also caught up with after five years, are making different decisions. I feel since I do want to work with society, the best... Venice was born biologically a female, but always identified as a male. About a month ago, I had a hysterectomy and about three years ago, when I was a freshman in high school, I had top surgery. It means that you won't have breasts like a woman has.

Yes. Personally, for me, I feel top surgery was very important because every time I would look in the mirror, I would just be disgusted with myself and just being able to go to the beach with my friends and being able to feel comfortable in my body, swimming and surfing. And I wasn't able to experience those joyful moments before.

When we first met Venice at age 13, he came across as a happy-go-lucky kid. But he says things were darker than they seemed. We know that the suicide rates are much higher among transgender youth. You actually felt suicidal at some points? Yes. At multiple points during my life, especially going through puberty, I felt extremely suicidal.

Now 18, Venice says the complete support of his family has helped him through, and he's now hopeful about his future. You describe yourself as loud and proud. What does that mean? I'm able to just walk out my doors and yell, I'm trans, even though, like, I wouldn't, but... Still, he's watched with dismay as the Trump administration has tried to roll back all kinds of protections for transgender people, including the right to choose which bathrooms and other facilities they may use.

I feel baffled because I'm like, why would people be looking at each other's body parts anyway in the restroom, especially when we're all just there to go pee and walk out? What's the hardest part of being trans for you? Nothing really. At 11, Maddie has not had to think about the politics of being transgender. She was just six years old when she first talked to us about being born a biological male.

What did you think? Good. I was a girl. You knew? Yeah. How'd you know?

I just figured that out. Today, she says she doesn't focus on her gender, and neither do her classmates. Some of the kids in school are aware that you're trans.

Yeah. How do they react to that? Just, I'm the normal school kid.

After, it's probably only, like, one day, if a little bit of shock, then the rest is just normal. Maddie says she feels lucky to have such a loving family. Her parents, Kristy and Enrique, have tried to help her meet other trans kids, but also learned to cope with being different from most of her peers. I think we both have continued that message with her that this is nothing to be ashamed of. It's part of who you are.

It doesn't have to be the part that you lead with when you meet somebody. So how was your day? Good. Yeah? Maddie is now at an age where she is beginning to think about using hormones to help her develop as a girl. We give you the right hormones so that your body goes through the right puberty.

She says she's not looking forward to getting shots, but what's the upside of it for you? Changing what I don't want. And that's what you're determined to do?

Yeah. Or they said, oh, I already know they are. Maddie's parents know things may get more difficult for her as she gets older.

Lose that tooth. But they also say they see positive changes in public attitudes. I can remember in the beginning when I was explaining to people, oh, my daughter's trans, they had no idea what that meant.

Now the conversation starts at a more advanced place with the majority of people because there's more information out there. What's your hope for Maddie in the future? Continued happiness, peace, love.

Pretty much the same thing any parent wants for their child. Yeah. Yeah. I try.

I feel like if folks were just to educate themselves more and they'd be able to understand trans people are people. What are your hopes for your life in five years? I don't know. I just hope that wherever I am in five years, I'm content, I'm happy, and I have a place to call home. Where on earth might you find a highway sign reading park here without any place to actually park your car? Possibly at the place Luke Burbank is about to take us to. It's important to me to have this little path and it's a snake path through these all these bushes and trees.

Tom Bautista is the kind of guy who tends to veer off the beaten path. When you get into here, all of a sudden you're no longer in the city. You're in the middle of a forest. Well, a small forest in a small triangle of land wedged between traffic choked freeways in Indianapolis. That's where a few years ago inspiration struck. There's this hill that's been planted with trees and it just seemed like if we can just put some seats out there, people would sit out there and watch traffic.

Bautista was walking home one night when he had an idea. Build a park where people could relax by sitting and watching other people sit in traffic. So it's just like all these people traveling through our city are river cars. Actually, if you close your eyes, it could be the white noise from the ocean. I can hear it.

And now and the sun is a little brutal, so we're going to do a shade screen over it. He even had a clever name in mind, the idol. Get it? Like what a car does in traffic? It turns out Bautista never met a crazy idea he didn't like.

From living off the land in a cabin he built himself when he was 21, to staging a basketball game on an aircraft carrier that he leased for one dollar, to doing his actual day job, which is, we're not kidding, being Jimmy Buffet's stage manager. So to him, building a park in an overlooked highway median, well that seemed perfectly normal. We don't have rivers and we don't have mountains and we don't have oceans and but we do have traffic. I'm not saying in a bad way. I'm saying this is what we have.

Let's use what we have. It's definitely unique. I first heard about Tom through my other job on the NPR quiz show, Wait Wait Don't Tell Me, where let's just say I was skeptical. Bautista says he got the idea five years ago while walking along the freeway, which it should be noted is almost never a sign things are going great in your life. So after mocking him to millions of radio listeners, it only seemed fair that I come check out the project for myself. So the first time you did this, and actually maybe even now, were you technically trespassing?

I'm not saying. Bautista's idea was actually pretty big, creating this public space but also reuniting two old Indianapolis neighborhoods that had been torn apart in the 1960s by the interstates. On this side was Holy Rosary. It was the Italian neighborhood. On the other side was St. Pat's and it was Irish neighborhood. And it turns out his interest in reuniting people from both sides of the freeway is really very personal. My mother is a Murphy.

My dad's Italian. Bautista, they would have never gotten married if they didn't meet before that stupid interstate came through. You wouldn't exist.

I might not even exist because that interstate divided these neighborhoods. But his dream, noble as it sounded, was still at that point just a dream. And then something surprising happened.

Six and a half years after the first inspiration, after dealing with maddening local bureaucracy and organizing countless hours of volunteer labor and getting local artists to contribute their work, Tom Bautista actually built the idol. Are you happy with how it turned out? I'm very happy.

I'm very happy. It's because you can come here any time of the day or night and there'll be people that will be here and you can talk to them. And it's refreshing because everyone thought that it would never work. They thought it was a dumb idea and it turns out it's a great idea.

A great idea that Bashiri and Uzuri Asa appreciate. It is, it's very much an abstract place to hang out. How about the noise? It turns into sort of a lull.

It's not, it's not distracting or annoying at all. It's just like air going up. The way we judge the attendance was how fast the trash cans filled up. For Tom Bautista, who's had lots of far out ideas, this odd ballpark, this might be the accomplishment of his lifetime.

God, you know, a simple thing that we were going to do with volunteer labor, you know, and now it's this huge thing that it's amazing. Where on earth might you find a highway sign reading park here without any place to actually park your car? Possibly at the place Luke Burbank is about to take us to. It's important to me to have this little path and it's a snake path through these, all these bushes and trees.

Tom Bautista is the kind of guy who tends to veer off the beaten path. When you get into here, all of a sudden you're no longer in the city. You're in the middle of a forest. Well, a small forest in a small triangle of land wedged between traffic choked freeways in Indianapolis. That's where a few years ago inspiration struck. There's this hill that's been planted with trees and it just seemed like if we can just put some seats out there, people would sit out there and watch traffic.

Bautista was walking home one night when he had an idea. Build a park where people could relax by sitting and watching other people sit in traffic. So it's just like all these people traveling through our city, our river of cars, actually if you close your eyes, it could be the white noise from the ocean. I can hear it.

And now and the sun is a little brutal, so we're going to do a shade screen over it. He even had a clever name in mind, the idol. Get it?

Like what a car does in traffic? It turns out Bautista never met a crazy idea he didn't like. From living off the land in a cabin he built himself when he was 21 to staging a basketball game on an aircraft carrier that he leased for one dollar.

To doing his actual day job, which is, we're not kidding, being Jimmy Buffett's stage manager. So to him, building a park in an overlooked highway median, well that seemed perfectly normal. We don't have rivers and we don't have mountains and we don't have oceans and but we do have traffic. I'm not saying in a bad way, I'm saying this is what we have, let's use what we have. It's definitely unique. I first heard about Tom through my other job on the NPR quiz show Wait Wait Don't Tell Me, where let's just say I was skeptical. Bautista says he got the idea five years ago while walking along the freeway, which it should be noted is almost never a sign things are going great in your life. So after mocking him to millions of radio listeners, it only seemed fair that I come check out the project for myself. So the first time you did this, and actually maybe even now, were you technically trespassing?

I'm not saying. Bautista's idea was actually pretty big, creating this public space, but also reuniting two old Indianapolis neighborhoods that had been torn apart in the 1960s by the interstates. On this side was Holy Rosary, it was the Italian neighborhood. On the other side was Saint Pat's, and it was Irish neighborhood. And it turns out his interest in reuniting people from both sides of the freeway is really very personal.

My mother is a Murphy, my dad's Italian, Bautista. They would have never gotten married if they didn't meet before that stupid interstate came through. You wouldn't exist.

I might not even exist because that interstate divided these neighborhoods. But his dream, noble as it sounded, was still at that point just a dream. And then something surprising happened. Six and a half years after the first inspiration.

After dealing with maddening local bureaucracy and organizing countless hours of volunteer labor and getting local artists to contribute their work, Tom Bautista actually built the idol. Are you happy with how it turned out? I'm very happy. It's because you can come here any time of the day or night and there'll be people that will be here and you can talk to them and it's refreshing because everyone thought that it would never work. They thought it was a dumb idea and it turns out it's a great idea.

A great idea that Bashiri and Ushuri Asa appreciate. It is, it's very much an abstract place to hang out. How about the noise? It turns into sort of a lull.

It's not, it's not distracting or annoying at all. It's just like air going up. The way we judge the attendance was how fast the trash cans filled up. For Tom Bautista, who's had lots of far-out ideas, this odd ballpark, this might be the accomplishment of his lifetime. God, who would have thought, you know, a simple thing that we were going to do with volunteer labor, you know, and now it's this huge thing that it's amazing. Hi, podcast peeps. It's me, Drew Barrymore.

Oh, my goodness. I want to tell you about our new show. It's the Drew's News podcast. And in each episode, me and a weekly guest are going to cover all the quirky, fun, inspiring, and informative stories that exist out in the world because, well, I need it.

And maybe you do too. From the newest interior design trend, Barbie Corps, to the right and wrong way to wash your armpits. Also, we're going to get into things that you just kind of won't believe and we're not able to do in daytime television, so watch out.

Listen to Drew's News wherever you get your podcasts. It's your good news on the go. You like your guys in chains? Yeah. You like your women at knife point? It's Sunday morning on CBS, and here again is Jane Pauley. Mariska Hargitay shows no mercy towards sexual predators in her long-running TV role. And she carries her character's drive and determination over to her real life as well. Michelle Miller has our Sunday profile. You know where she is. Now if she dies, I promise you I will make the rest of your life hell. As the Avengers are the avenging angel of NBC's Law & Order SVU, Detective Olivia Benson is every sexual predator's worst nightmare. So you wanted to teach her a lesson, so you dragged her into that bedroom and you raped her.

No, that did not happen. That's the room. We got to sit in that room. I'll take you. I'll take you into that room. So many scenes in here, interrogation.

I've never even walked in the skirt. Mariska Hargitay has played Olivia Benson, now captain of the Special Victims Unit, for a record 21 seasons. This is you here. Oh wow, we're really doing this.

On the set of SVU, she showed us how it's done. I might hand kick you there, but I don't know if I'm going to sit. Might have to intimidate you, walk around you. And then I might just pull this out and go like that. Then I might get up. Olivia Benson on the force for 21 years. Yeah. She could be ready for retirement, the pension.

Yeah. What keeps her going? I think that there is an innate need for justice. To right wrongs, almost to the point of a character flaw. I'm a good cop, Elliot. Yeah, I know. Her character resonated with viewers from day one.

I'm not sorry, he's dead. It became very apparent to me early on. We needed a compassionate, empathetic figure that would fight for women, fight for survivors, and treat people with the respect that they deserved. A role Hargitay herself. I'm going to flick my shoe on. Oh yeah, baby. Has embraced on screen and off.

How much has she gotten into you? Are we going to cry this early? No, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to do that. No, no, no, no, no, no. Listen, I, um, a lot. Thank you for believing me.

Of course. This show and this character has profoundly changed the trajectory of my life. Here she is sort of alone to start with. The lovely Jane Mansfield. That life began in the spotlight. What is your name? That's what she calls herself, that's it. As the daughter of movie star Jane Mansfield.

Her mother was killed in a gruesome car accident when Mariska was just three years old, asleep with her two brothers in the back seat. Take me through how therapy helped you through that. You know, it, it, I think it saved my life. Trauma freezes us.

And I think people don't fully understand how powerful it is. And, um, you equated it to PTSD. Oh yeah.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. I started to grieve my mother's passing in my mid-twenties like it had happened yesterday. And I went, oh, okay.

So, so this is still in there. And then as I got in therapy, I just kept getting stronger and investing in myself in a new way. She was raised by her father, Hungarian born actor and bodybuilder, Miki Hargitay. He just, you know, you just taught me about excellence and never quitting, uh, because he accomplished so much against all odds. And so there was no excuse ever.

He was like, how bad do you want it? Well, I guess you didn't want it. Miki Hargitay died in 2006, but lived long enough to see his daughter win the Emmy for Outstanding Actress in a Drama.

I left the award show that night and went to the hospital where my father was and I gave him the Emmy because, because I felt like he was the reason that I, that I got it in the first place. My daughter's been violated. Whose side are you on? Hers. Her role also inspired her activism. I started getting letters from survivors disclosing their stories of abuse.

That was when I went, oh. She started a foundation to support victims of sexual assault and violence. They did a rape kit on me. And produced a documentary exposing the enormous backlog of untested rape kits in this country. I am evidence, literally.

My name is on a box, on a shelf, that has never been tested. I think that if, you know, I was outraged and shocked at the statistics of sexual assault, I thought my head was going to explode when I learned about hundreds of thousands of untested rape kits sitting on shelves being ignored, saying, you don't matter and what happened to you doesn't matter. Best documentary, the winner is I Am Evidence. I first and foremost want to express my deepest gratitude. This is a big moment for this, for the women that entrusted us with their stories.

She is the mother of me too. SVU creator Dick Wolf says when the show began back in 1999, the subject of sexual harassment and assault was taboo. Those stories weren't out there. Did you ever imagine that this show and that Mariska would resonate in the way it has for as long as it has? Oh, absolutely.

I knew right away it was going to run 21 years. Stop it. No. When Hargitay's longtime co-star Chris Maloney left the show in 2011, she thought about quitting herself. I would be thinking you're going, oh my god, I'm carrying this now.

Can I do it? I did think that. She's been carrying the show for nine seasons now. I didn't want to quit because of fear. These days Hargitay is executive producer. I want you to stay there for the first beat.

Reset. And she also directs. You ever direct your husband?

No, I've never directed him but we work on things together now. Her husband Peter Herman plays defense attorney Trevor Langan and now stars in his own show Younger. They met on the set of SVU. He's kind of cute.

Yeah, you think? I saw him and went weak in the knees from minute one. Really? Like, oh wow, okay, wow. They were married in 2004 and now have three children. This is Amaya, August, and Andrew. Can you say hi Michelle? Hi. We caught up with them at Citi Field where Mariska was throwing out the first pitch for the New York Mets.

Your family unit seems so intact. How do you, I mean, this is a tough show. You like 10-12 hour days sometimes. 10-12? Oh, I'm sorry, what? Do you mean 14? Do you mean 14 and a half every day? Look at that.

Yeah, kind of amazing. Captain Olivia Benson. And yes, here she is. Mariska Hargitay.

I'll drop and give myself 20. I'll do push-ups, I do things. Doing it all and keeping it real.

I love being a work in progress and I've made so much peace with that. Our friend Scott Simon of NPR has the story of a most talented man who's found his true calling in more ways than one. The baseball team's announcer can be as much a part of its appeal as any player. Pitch is low and it's ball four.

Base is loaded. Think of Inskully in Los Angeles. It's time for Dodger Baseball. Or late legends like Red Barber in Brooklyn. This is the old Red Head, Red Barber. And Harry Carey at Wrigley Field. Holy cow.

You are part therapist and part guide and part entertainer. Game number three of this series, the rubber match. Which brings us to this season and Jason Benetti who became the main announcer for the Chicago White Sox. The Sox finished a long way out of first place. Three and two again. But up in the booth, Jason Benetti in the air tailing away into right center field is one of the best. Hits it to the wall. The job isn't just to yell and yammer into a mic about what happens on the field.

Who taught you to switch it? He makes the rounds before each game talking to players to tell their stories. Your first major league game you ever went to. This is a Pittsburgh Pirates game with my grandparents.

And he preps his own distinct system. One of the best parts of baseball is that everybody keeps score differently. For recording each play of the game. Green is for walks.

It requires a proliferation of pens. Orange is for strikeouts. I use the purple for pregame notes. Cross out all the inning numbers on your lineup cards. Now I have Jason Benetti's partner in the booth is former pitching great Steve Stone. I look at somebody who has the intensity of a professional baseball player. The intellect of a nuclear scientist.

The abilities that are off the charts. Ground ball to third. Moncada with the tag and he got it. You go back a long way with the White Sox don't you? I do. When I was a kid I came here a lot. Tell us about an essay you wrote when you were in grade school.

I think essay is a little bit of a stretch. Evidently I wrote this essay that said what I want to be when I grow up is the White Sox announcer. It took 27 years a law degree and gigs calling college and minor league sports before Benetti joined the White Sox announcers in 2016.

Left field base hit. He is an extraordinary human being who has overcome a situation that a lot of people don't overcome and he's done it by sheer force of will. I have never seen a more determined guy. James do you have 60 seconds for me?

I have 59. Jason Benetti has overcome or at least contends with every day is cerebral palsy. I was born premature as my parents tell the story nearly died and a doctor helped save me.

Cerebral palsy or CP is a disorder that happens when parts of the brain that control muscles are damaged during pregnancy or birth. It can affect muscle coordination for walking vision and speech. Jason Benetti has had several surgeries and years of physical therapy.

I think I can see reactions that people give me where people will smile and talk slowly to me. People can see Benetti has eyes that wander and a walk he calls funny. He says being so conspicuous just encouraged him to play the tuba in his high school marching band. If somebody's gonna psychoanalyze a little kid who walks with a limp of course he's gonna pick the tuba the biggest one because he's got a chip on his shoulder but part of the requirement of band is that we march and so we decided that that was not terribly safe. But he loved being part of the show. Benetti's band director had the idea to put him behind a microphone to call the band's routines. That's how Jason Benetti became an announcer.

They gave me a chance to sit behind a thing that that I had no idea that I was gonna love. Tim Anderson drills it to center. Smith back at the warning track. It is up and clanging off and back in. Is walking a chore sometimes? It's not.

It's actually not. It doesn't look great but it gets me where I'm going. Jason Benetti says he's not a disability activist but he knows his story can be important. I'm a guy who walks a bit different and whose eyes go in totally different directions.

He shares some everyday moments about CP in a series of cartoons for the Cerebral Palsy Foundation called Awkward Moments. Do you have five-year-olds look at you and ask their mother, hey what's wrong with that man? You don't.

I do. Happens all the time. And the mom shushes the kid. I've seen that. I've lived it. It's happened to me dozens of times. That in no way teaches the kid what he's or she's looking at by saying they're trying to make my life better.

But long range there's less understanding so the hope is that there's just more curiosity about what's going on and more openness. Do you ever dream about doing an interview where we don't have to mention CP? Here's the thing. I mean honestly it's part of me.

So many people travel this world and don't know what's unique about them. How's it going? Good.

I already have one built in. What do you say we do it again tomorrow? Try and win one tomorrow? Absolutely.

All right we'll do that. Time now for baked goods with a secret ingredient served up by the fellow Steve Hartman found hard at work long before dawn. Not long ago 93-year-old Ray Boutwell got so bored with retirement he says he could almost feel the obituary coming.

I thought I was going to pass on if I didn't do something different. So now Ray gets up at four o'clock in the morning to unlock his newfound secret to longevity. Cupcakes. Buy a peel.

If you don't have that it won't sell. Once upon a time Ray worked in a bakery but he never opened a business and yet here he is starting from scratch at 93. Yeah. His daughter Rosanna thought this was a terrible idea.

I said no you can't do that. Did you think this was dementia? I was beginning to wonder.

Well I could tell that she was deeply concerned and I understood that. Especially the money part. Where did you get the money? Where did I get the money? Where did you get the money? For what? For your business. You didn't mortgage your house or anything.

Oh yeah my house is mortgaged up as hell. Savings gone too. But I mean what the hell is money? Money is nothing. What Ray has instead is a purpose and what he believes to be a brilliant business model.

These are done. He calls his bakery in Voorhees Township, New Jersey Ray's Boozy Cupcakes because some of them are actually infused with alcohol. But the real chaser here is Ray himself. Theresa can you come in? His employees say there's no keeping up with him. What the hell happened? You didn't tighten it tight.

A little technical difficulties. Even at times like this you don't wish you were in a rocking chair? Hell no this this is getting my blood going. Fortunately it's also getting his mortgage paid. Well we ran out of everything. They started out buying like one or two now they buy and buy the dozen. Okay.

Which is why that's great. He just signed a lease to expand next door. Although that won't be for cupcakes. Now what do you want to do? I'm going to make ice cream on the level of Ben and Jerry.

I'm not the average guy. We got that. Loud and clear. Get a pan real quick.

Put it on there. Just when you may have thought it wasn't possible our contributor Jim Gaffigan has found yet another group of people he has issues with. I'd like to talk to you about my family. No not that family. No not that family. Yes that family. Well that's my wife's family. Which is also my family. After 16 years it's still a little confusing to me. I'm kidding. I love my wife's family.

Did that sound believable? Of course I do love my wife's family. They're my in-laws. That's a strange term. In-law.

Are you related? Uh legally in a court of law. It's like the opposite of being in love. We're in law. We law each other very much. In-laws are like family you're assigned.

You want to spend your life with that person? You got to take those 10 people. All of them? Truth be told my only issue with my wife is that she's not in-law. Truth be told my only issue with my in-laws is there's too many of them. My wife is one of nine children. That's right nine. Every holiday all nine of the siblings and their individual families all get together and spend every moment together. Over Christmas I went to a movie with 30 people.

I didn't even know that was legal. We were walking around. People thought we were from to put it in perspective Jesus only walked around with 12. I learned very quickly I don't want to do anything with 30 people. If I was on the Titanic and the last rescue boat was filled with 30 people I'd be like uh you guys go ahead I don't want to be there when you're trying to decide where to eat lunch.

Often it's more than 30 people because sometimes those 30 people will invite other people so I'll have conversations and people will be like I'm your wife's uncle's best friend. Oh there's a term for that. Stranger. You're a total stranger.

Why am I buying you lunch? I do love my wife's parents. Their names are Louise and Dominic so I call them Louise and Dom. My wife's siblings have also gotten married and some of their spouses call Louise and Dom mom and dad because they're weirdos. I understand sometimes you marry into a family and you become so close to the parents that you want to call them mom and dad but don't.

It's weird and confusing for the rest of us. Wait that's his mom? He married his sister? What state is he from? Anyway enjoy your family.

I mean families. We have questions this morning for Andrew Yang. One of the candidates taking part in this Tuesday's Democratic presidential debate. Contributor Nicholas Thompson, the editor-in-chief of Wired magazine caught up with Yang along the campaign trail.

In a park in LA last month thousands gathered to hear the Democrat perhaps least likely to be running for president. And I am the ideal candidate for that job because the opposite of Donald Trump is an Asian man who likes math. In Andrew Yang's world math stands for make America think harder. And Yang is mostly thinking about dire economic times ahead.

He's on message if sometimes off color. That's right I did some f***ing math. We have to be pretty f***ing stupid to let a trillion dollar tech company pay nothing in taxes.

Am I right Los Angeles? For a first-time politician Yang is doing surprisingly well. Polls put him in single digits but in the last three months Yang picked up 10 million dollars in donations.

That's less than half of what the front runners took in but it puts him solidly in the middle of the pack. His supporters are known as the Yang Gang. He's not really a politician and I'm barely a politician. Andrew Yang in fact calls himself an entrepreneur. His parents immigrated from Taiwan. His father a physicist. His mother has a master's in math and statistics.

Yang grew up in Schenectady, New York. His first big success was running a college test prep company. Then he founded Venture for America, a non-profit that helps train entrepreneurs in struggling cities. And he thinks jobs or rather the loss of them are why Donald Trump won the presidency. The numbers tell a very clear story. We automated away four million manufacturing jobs in Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Iowa, all the swing states that Donald Trump needed to win and did win. And Yang believes robots and artificial intelligence will accelerate the loss of all kinds of jobs. And now what we did to those jobs we are doing to the retail jobs, the call center jobs, the fast food jobs, the truck driving jobs, and on and on through the economy. We met Yang along the campaign trail as he took a break for some tea.

I'm gonna get the Duke of Earl Grey. And then discovered a foosball table where we naturally talked about economic theory and another of Yang's big ideas, reforming how we calculate gross domestic product or GDP. Well, if you wanna see how out of whack GDP is, all you have to do is look at my family.

My wife is at home with our two boys, one of whom is autistic. And one is her work every day included at GDP, zero. And we know that her work is among the most important work being done for our society. Is it your work also valued at zero right now running for president?

It probably is. Instead of just measuring economic output, Yang style GDP would include things like our health and life expectancy, our mental health and freedom from substance abuse, how our kids are doing, how clean our air and water are. But the centerpiece of the Yang campaign is what he calls the freedom dividend.

As president, you give $1,000 a month, $12,000 a year to every American adult, rich or poor. Our economy functions much better when we have money to spend, where we can participate in the market, where businesses are responsive to us. We'll start more businesses. We'll be able to change jobs more easily. So the money doesn't disappear in our hands. It creates a trickle up economy from our people, our families and our communities up.

Is this a good idea? There's some parts of it that are, that are an interesting idea. Austin Goolsbee was chairman of president Obama's council of economic advisors. On a practical basis, you kind of would need to know how would that work? That's a thing that's going to cost $2.4 trillion a year. How big a number is $2.4 trillion? Put it into context, the entire income tax in the United States on everyone combined is like $1.5 trillion. To pay for it, Yang proposes a federal value added tax, essentially a sales tax of 10%. Though, Goolsbee estimates it might have to be up to 30%.

Yang says his proposals will particularly hit big tech. If we put a mechanism in place where we, the American people, get our fair share, a tiny slice of every Amazon sale, every Google search, every Facebook ad, every robot truck mile, we can generate hundreds of billions in new revenue and easily afford a thousand dollar dividend for every American adult. You are one of the winners of the freedom dividend. You're getting a thousand bucks a month for a year.

Yang has already started giving out freedom dividends. Thank you so much. Thank you so much. He's called 10 families with the good news. Oh man, I'm like shaking right now.

Paid for it first out of his own pocket and then by the campaign. Though it's all getting Yang a lot of attention, the odds against him becoming president are overwhelming. I am here with you tonight, one of only two candidates in the field that 10% or more of Donald Trump voters say they will support, which means that when I am the nominee, we win the whole thing.

But he's not lacking in confidence. Andrew Yang says he's done the math. It's like a game of rock, paper, scissors. And if Donald Trump's the scissors, I'm the rock. I'm Jane Pauley. Thank you for listening.

And please join us again next Sunday morning. 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 it. Don't like Maggie has for more from this week's conversation. Follow The Takeout with Major Garrett on Apple podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-01-27 23:36:56 / 2023-01-27 23:54:37 / 18

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