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Sunday Morning / Jane Pauley
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May 28, 2017 10:54 am

Sunday Morning / Jane Pauley

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May 28, 2017 10:54 am

The lost platoon: Ambush

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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. Tomorrow is Memorial Day, the day we set aside for honoring all the warriors who have died in the service of our country. This morning, we honor not only the dead, but also the living, the survivors of the lost platoon, a unit that suffered one of the worst ordeals on the American side during the war in Vietnam.

John Blackstone will report our cover story. You're lying there. You taste blood in your mouth.

Yes. I thought for sure I was going to die. CBS News first told the story of the lost platoon in 1967.

We laid there all night and played it dead. In 1982, we met the survivors again at the Vietnam Memorial. Now, 50 years after the battle, they reflect on lives lived and lives lost. And may you never, ever be forgotten.

Ahead on Sunday Morning. We'll have questions this morning for Al Franken, a man whose career has spanned two very different but very public worlds. Chip Reid does the asking. And I think that people are going to stop thinking about themselves and start thinking more about me, Al Franken. There's this Al Franken. I think Senator Sessions should come back. And then there's that Al Franken.

I think he owes it to this committee to come back. Later on Sunday Morning. This is you and Walter Mondale. The caption here is, can I do this? The senator. And he's saying. From Saturday Night Live. I don't know.

I don't know. What's so funny is the question of the day for Kevin Hart, a comic of uncommon talent. He's talking to our Tracy Smith.

We might have a good time tonight. Kevin Hart is one of the biggest comedians on the planet. But he learned early on that being funny had its limitations. Nobody wants to fight the funny guy. Nobody wants to mess with the funny guy. Everybody wants to be around the funny guy.

And that's what I was. Girls want to date the funny guy? Not really.

Not really. You can tell he drank way too much coffee because he got too much energy. The comedic confessions of Kevin Hart ahead on Sunday Morning. As you've likely heard by now, Greg Allman of the Allman Brothers Band died yesterday at his Savannah, Georgia home at the age of 69.

Together with his older brother, Dwayne, and his bandmates, Kevin Allman played a very big role in creating what came to be known as Southern Rock. A few years back, he granted a candid and touching interview to our Chip Reid, which we'll be revisiting a little later this morning. And more. Jim Axelrod watches some yard work at a former Navy base. Serena Altschul takes us inside the other CIA.

Connor Knighton is back on the trail for us again this summer. This time at Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Welcome to Play It, a new podcast network featuring radio and TV personalities talking business, sports, tech, entertainment, and more.

Play it at The Lost Platoon of the Vietnam War is a story CBS News has been covering for half a century. Of the eight survivors, three have been sharing their experiences with us over the years. This morning, we bring their story up to date. To begin, our late CBS News colleague Bruce Morton sets the stage.

His report is from 1982. Some of these fellows, they've even forgotten their names. But Tom Sears never forgot the day. So he took his wife and children to stay with friends and drove to Washington remembering.

Victor Renza left his house in Peekskill, New York and went to Washington remembering. Clifford Roundtree flew from Chicago remembering. Well, they came in, they shot me in the arm, and I played dead. What they remembered was a day in May 1967 when North Vietnamese ambushed and overran their platoon. Only eight Americans survived. They lived by playing dead for 15 hours. They checked our bodies, took our wallets, our jewelry, our weapons, ammunition.

Left, we laid there all night and played dead until the next morning about 8 30 when they came in and got us. Tom Sears and Victor Renza have kept in touch. Sears and Clifford Roundtree had not. I didn't even recognize you. They had not met nor talked since the medics helicoptered them out wounded over 15 years ago. Tom Sears and Victor Renza and Clifford Roundtree had come to Washington to remember that unforgotten time when so many of their friends had died and they almost magically had lived.

And the last time I was hit, it came right down and hit me right up here in the back, right over by my ear, right in the belt line, right in the pelvis bone. I couldn't conceive, I couldn't get that through my head that everybody would be dead. Remembered rescue. Remember what it was like laying there head to head flat down and hearing a company coming, reconning by fire, and we didn't know what it was. And then they went to the wall to remember their dead friends.

Thank you very much. They found Robert Sandzone. They found Bruce Grandstaff, the platoon sergeant.

Richard Nixon gave his widow the medal of honor. They stood and looked mostly in silence and found the names of all their friends, all their dead friends. They took pictures so they could carry home their dead friends' names.

The names brought memory and emotion flooding back. I came here for, I don't know, a resolve and, uh, maybe it will. Uh, maybe, uh, maybe these guys are home now. Are you yet? Are you yet? Not a hundred percent.

Not yet. Tom Sears and Victor Renza and Clifford Roundtree came to this place to remember together what they could never anyway forget. This place, this week, is full of memory. Clifford Roundtree and his two buddies from the lost platoon were clearly bearing the emotional scars of battle back in 1982.

So how are they today? John Blackstone picks up their story. Fifty years to the day after most of his platoon was killed in a Vietnam jungle, Clifford Roundtree has found serenity on a northern California river. That looks like a good one, man. Teaching another Vietnam vet how to fly fish. You're right on the edge of some moss right there. That's a nice spot. A lot of us have been in combat.

It is healthy for us to hang out together. Uh, you know, it's good to be here in this environment with another veteran. Roundtree prefers not to dwell on the battle that left shrapnel in his arm, that he survived by playing dead. The fighting he'd willingly forget. The 22 men who died, he never will. I don't think there's too many days to go by that I don't think about them.

And their families and the loss and the hurt that they have to suffer. In Texas, another survivor of the battle, Kenny Barker, has a wall full of memories. When you're thinking about it like today, it brings you back to the reality of the time. That time, 50 years ago, is never far from his thoughts.

There's very few days that go by that a sound or a smell or a sight, something will throw you back into that. My whole platoon, all 30 of us, are down under that smoke. In the ambush, Victor Renza took a bullet in the back. You're lying there, you taste blood in your mouth. Yes.

I thought for sure I was going to die. 50 years later, to the day, he carried a wreath to the Vietnam Memorial. This list is the guys that were killed in my platoon that day. That's a lot of guys. They take up a whole section of the wall.

Here it is. Back in 1982, it was Renza who organized the survivor's reunion at the wall. But he's returned many times since. I feel a calmness about going there, and I see my friends' names, and I'm okay with it. I know that I got to deal with it. I moved down with my life. Coming home is hard. Clifford Rountree now admits that back in 1982, he was struggling to stay sober, a battle he's been winning for more than 30 years. It took some changes in my life to be able to look at it in a way where I could accept it and not be at war with it, let go of some of the anger about it.

Why me? For Kenny Barker, it's not so much survivor's guilt as survivor's obligation. Be the best you can be every day, because you can't let 22 people down. For 50 years, the lives of the survivors have largely been defined by that one day, May 18, 1967. I have a daughter who got married five years ago and insisted that her wedding would be on May 18. Wow.

This is hard to talk about. So I tried to talk her out of it, and she said, no, I want that to be a happy day for you. So that wedding day, May 18, you walked your daughter? I walked her down, and the guys who fought side by side with me that day were sitting at the reception and at the church. And on May 18 this year, the 50th anniversary of the battle, she joined her father at the Vietnam Memorial.

This is Victoria, better known as Tori. Glad to meet you. No crying. Not allowed. This is so good to be here at this wall and honor these guys.

Thank you for your service. Ahead, Fleming, Ian Fleming. And now, a page from our Sunday morning almanac, May 28, 1908, 109 years ago today, day one for the creator of 007. For that was the day Ian Fleming was born in London. The son of a wealthy member of parliament, Fleming held a desk job in naval intelligence during World War II. He wrote his first spy caper, Casino Royale, in 1952 at his Jamaica vacation home, borrowing his hero's name from a bird-watching book author. Fleming wrote 13 more thrillers, attracting a Cold War following that included President John F. Kennedy.

I realize the Russian people think of me as an enemy. After American U-2 spy plane pilot, Francis Gary Powers, let himself be captured alive by the Soviets in 1960, CBS naturally went to Ian Fleming to find out what Bond would have done. I hope he would take this pill. I like to think he would have.

It would put me out of a job because I wouldn't be able to write about him anymore. Far from taking that suicide pill, James Bond took to the silver screen. Dr. No debuted in 1962, the first in a series that has continued long after Ian Fleming's death in 1964. From Sean Connery to Daniel Craig. In all, seven stars have played 007, including Roger Moore, who died this past week at the age of 89. No money, Penny.

You know there never has been and there never will be anybody but you. All told, the Bond films have grossed more than $7 billion worldwide, which makes Ian Fleming the true man with the Midas touch. It is next, pull up a chair. That's so cool. It's Fleet Week here in New York City, which gives us the chance to personally thank three of the thousands of visiting sailors, Marines and Coast Guardsmen for their service. Joining us are Petty Officer James Burke of the Navy, Lieutenant Junior Grade Anna Ruth of the Coast Guard and Staff Sergeant Matthew Santiago of the United States Marine Corps.

Thanks for coming in. And now we're off to a former Navy facility not far from here where there is yard work going on, as Jim Axelrod will explain. It's a familiar sight across America, a once booming industrial center now mired in decay. The Brooklyn Navy Yard knows the story well. Brooklyn Navy Yard has the glory and the glamour of the past.

The question today is, is there a future? Nothing boomed louder in the first half of the 20th century. It's bustling docks with a backdrop for the opening of On the Town. Established in 1801, the yard churned out fleets of military ships over the next 150 years, providing 70,000 jobs during World War II. But when the war ended, business dried up.

Within a few decades, the Brooklyn Navy Yard had taken its place among the rusting and rotting, until it finally closed in 1966. These are smaller offices for six or eight people. We have conference rooms up there.

David Belt had a different ending in mind. He's one of the developers of New Lab, an 84,000 square foot hub for high-tech startups housed in what used to be the grease and grime of a heavy machine shop. People saw this as just like a rusted out shell. When I came into this building, you know, it just was mind-blowing. You saw it immediately?

Immediately. New Lab is a 35 million dollar project. 80 companies and 400 people work here.

We want to make sure that they have a level of optimism and humanism in the work that they're doing so that they're making the world better. Venture capitalists have poured 250 million dollars into it. There is a lot going on.

Take vertical farming, for instance, a business that grows plants and produce without any soil. You won't believe this, an earpiece that translates 30 foreign languages in real time. And then there's solar panel backpacks that charge cell phones as you walk. As soon as you go to lift something, you put this on. That's what's going to be doing most of the heavy lifting.

Exactly. Sean Pederson's company, Strong Arm Technologies, makes support braces that also track the movement of manual power and power. We're creating a better future for the industrial athlete. The industrial athlete? What's an industrial athlete? The guy that'll deliver the packages to your door, that'll pave your roads, that'll build the buildings that we're in. He sold 5,000 vests last year, expects to sell 12,000 this year, and is doing business with 20 of the 100 largest employers in the country. So this is our latest product.

It's called the Ali Chair. That's so cool. Jessica Banks designs chairs for Space Challenge city dwellings. An MIT grad, she thrives on the energy here. When you have a network and a community of people that you can actually work with, that gets you ahead. All the millennial churn even works for Steve Gorevan, an old school inventor whose company makes devices that help Mars rovers pick up and analyze soil samples.

I don't think there's anyone who works in any one of these companies who's 62 like I am. Do you like being the senior statesman? Nope. Not one bit. Not at all.

Actually, he loves it. Oh, it's a major shot in the arm for my business. The new lab companies are valued at nearly a billion dollars. Not a bad turnaround for this once abandoned site. Brooklyn Navy Yard, where an entirely new generation is coming to do good and do well. Coming up, we remember Greg Allman. Welcome to play it a new podcast network featuring radio and TV personalities talking business sports tech entertainment and more.

Play it at play dot it. Midnight Rider, a classic from the Allman Brothers band, especially poignant given that we've learned of the death of Greg Allman at his home in Savannah, Georgia at the age of 69. By way of tribute, we take a look at the remarkable portrait Chip Reed painted of Allman back in 2011. By now, the songs are like old friends. And Greg Allman never got tired of singing them. Why do you love singing so much?

It's like going it's like going to an analyst and just spilling your guts or getting something off your chest. You know, look, here's the way it is. There's no question the Allman Brothers, the bluesy jam band pioneers who all but invented southern rock, earned a special place in music history. The band's musical journey began in Nashville, Tennessee. Gregory Lenore Allman was born on December 8th, 1947, a year and 18 days after his brother Dwayne. Tragedy struck early. Their father was murdered by a hitchhiker when Greg was just two. Big brother Dwayne had to fill the void. So he was kind of a father figure to you in some ways. He was also a big brother. He knew that much more than me.

If we didn't live to be 96 and 95, I would have been baby brother, still. But it was Greg who first discovered music, when as a nine-year-old, he saw a neighbor with a guitar. So did you fall in love with the guitar the first time you saw it sitting there? I did. It was like sparks flying. Greg taught Dwayne, who quickly became a virtuoso. They played together until 1969, when Dwayne assembled what would become the Allman Brothers band.

Greg was reluctant to sign on. I was already accepted to college to be a dental surgeon. No way.

Really? And my brother said, man, we got to go out here and tear up the road for a while, you know. I said, I tell you what, I'll go out there for two years and I'm going back to med school. When I got out there in two years, I was so far in debt, man. I had to stay.

In debt, perhaps. But along the way, Greg found he had a gift for songwriting. Was there such a person as Melissa? No, but there was a person that I had dreamed up. I was real lonely. And I had everything in the song written but the title. And I got, but back home with sweet Barbara, with sweet Mary Jo. And I just, I was flabbergasted, you know.

Inspiration came to him in of all places, a grocery store. I was the only one in the store except for this one Spanish lady. And she had this little toddler with her. She was everywhere. And one time she just took off down this one aisle and the lady just freaked out and she went, oh, Melissa, Melissa, come back. And I went, oh, lady, I could kiss you.

Melissa, that's it. The band released two albums, gaining little attention until 1971, when they recorded a performance at New York's legendary Fillmore East. The album catapulted them to worldwide fame.

To this day, it is considered one of the greatest live albums of all time. Their wildest dreams had come true. But just three months later, it all came crashing down. Do you remember when you lost him? Is that day clear in your mind? Yeah, yeah, too clear. On October 29th, 1971, Dwayne Allman was riding his motorcycle down Hillcrest Avenue in Macon, when a truck turned in front of him. He had two speeds, man, 100 and parked. Dwayne Allman was dead at 24.

The band carried on, with guitarist Dickey Betts shouldering more of the load. But with his long blonde hair and gritty, soulful voice, Greg got most of the attention, more than he bargained for, after his high-profile marriage in 1975 to Cher. I remember going to the grocery store and just seeing my face everywhere. And I'm like, what is happening? She said, she said, I told you, I told you this would happen. Cher told you that?

Yes, she warned me. They were married for about four years, one of Allman's multiple marriages. He leaves behind five children. Over the decades, the Allman brothers disbanded and then regrouped several times, playing a celebrated yearly residency at New York City's Beacon Theater until breaking up for good in 2014. Allman also made a series of solo albums.

The last one will be released this coming September. It seems the man who first sang The Road Goes On Forever, more than four decades ago, wasn't too far off. So you're going to do it until you just can't do it anymore. Until you have to take it off.

Until you just can't do it anymore, until you have to take my ass out there on a stretcher. What the mortarboard is to graduation day at so many colleges is what the chef's toque is to the school known as the other CIA. Serena Altschul shows us why. I am much better at working with the small flowers and she is much better at making the larger flowers. Visit Skya Stark and Felice Kotick's dorm room in Hyde Park, New York, and you'll find an edible garden with roses, peonies, and fuchsias. We need 800 flowers for the cake, but we've made around 200 or 300 at the moment. And it's their homework, decorating a nine-tier wedding cake. Everybody kind of walks in and they're like, oh, look at those flowers. And we're like, yeah, we're bakers.

It happens. The roommates are baking and pastry students at the Culinary Institute of America, also known as the other CIA, a place Julia Child once called the home of the Harvard of cooking schools. Now you should start to, right off the bat, understand what's going on in here. Why are they simmering?

Why is there motion in there? Among its nearly 3,000 students is James Bickmore Hutt from Australia. My family were kind of baffled by the fact that I wanted to come to culinary school because I originally was studying engineering. And then I said, well, you know what? I want to go study food.

And they were like, okay, well. C.C. Cooper is from Washington, D.C. and enrolled after serving in the Air Force. How different is this from Air Force service? I think it's a little bit more structured. I hate to say that because the military is all about structure. This is more structured than the military.

It is. In the military, you have structure on a grand scale. But here it's down to that little minute detail. Back of the knife. That's it.

Details that begin with the fundamentals, like knife skills. Some of them are close to the money. This is very close. So just keep them a little bit tighter. Leading to more advanced work in Latin cuisines.

So then you're going to take it like this up and over. Wine tasting. So is it more apple pear? Is it more stone fruit?

Is it more citrus or tropical? And even 3D printing with sugar. The school's nine restaurants are also classrooms where students both cook.

I have the market fish here for you. And wait tables. The Culinary Institute of America started as a trade school for 50 GIs returning from World War II. It would go on to change how chefs were taught, says CIA President Tim Ryan. The European model, and particularly the French model, was based on apprenticeship.

It was the learn as you go. You're going to be an indentured servant to me for three years. And then in 1946, along comes the CIA, and completely blows up that notion on how chefs are not just trained, but educated. But at a price. It costs around $33,000 a year to attend.

That's more than many grads make in their first year out of school. And then there are the occupational hazards. We have an unusual report. It's the cut and burn report. Really?

Yeah. I probably can fairly safely say that no other college or university has a cut and burn report. And basically that tracks, you know, who got burnt, who got cut.

Cuts and burns heal, of course. I bid you to dream big dreams. For Felice, Skya, CeCe, and James, all recent grads, what's far more lasting, they hope, is a recipe for success. Consider yourselves graduated. I'm in the middle of spelling a very difficult word.

My dad shows up late. Ahead, Kevin Hart, harvesting laughs from childhood pain. This is all I heard. I'm in the middle of spelling some sh**. Out of nowhere, all I heard was, all right, all right, all right. Yeah. Kevin Hart is one of our most popular comedians, which makes him the perfect choice to answer our occasional summer question, what's so funny? Tracy Smith does the honors. Yeah.

Yeah. He could call Kevin Hart a comic, but he's more like a comedy rock star. We about to have a good time tonight. We love you, Kevin.

According to Forbes, the 37-year-old entertainer was the highest paid comedian on the planet last year, eclipsing runner-up Jerry Seinfeld. You need edge to survive in life. My kids aren't going to have that edge. The reason why is because they're growing up different than I grew up. My son definitely doesn't have it. Big.

Wi-Fi is down. And he built this comedic empire not so much by telling jokes, but by talking openly about things people usually try to hide, like his fear of the dark. Like his fear of the dark. I grabbed my robe. I start scared walking towards the hallway. Scared walking is when you walk in, but you lean in backwards just in case. Just in case the **** go down, you can get the **** up out of there real quick.

It's quick. And then there are the embarrassing stories about his family, like the time his drug addicted dad showed up at a spelling bee. Once again, I cannot make this up. All right, this is all I heard. I'm in the middle of spelling some ****.

Out of nowhere, all I heard was, all right, all right, all right. Yeah. Does it do something for your soul to share that with everybody? Those deep personal things? Comedy does come from pain. Like it comes with pain. I can tell you some things right now that at first you'll go, oh my God.

But then you'll laugh at. My dad was on drugs. I have no problem with being honest.

It's the truth. And if pain really is the true source of comedy, he has a deep well from which to draw. Kevin Darnell Hart was born in Philadelphia in 1979, the younger of two boys. Dad was in and out of jail and Kevin says a role model for what not to do. If he hadn't made his mistakes live in person, I would probably be going down that same road in an experimental manner.

You really think so? If you hadn't seen your dad make those mistakes? The only reason why I don't do drugs is because I saw what drugs do. I witnessed it firsthand. They lived in a tiny apartment on the city's north side and mom did her best to make it a home. You and your brother slept in the hallway?

Yeah. I'd be shocked that that place was 500 square feet maybe. Small. For three people?

Yeah, three people. Did it feel small to you? No, it's all you knew. It didn't feel small until I went over to one of my friends' houses that were doing well. I saw grass. I was like, man, you got grass outside your house? Man, this is, I don't know how you got that.

That's crazy, man. This is yours? Like this, y'all get to play in this grass? This ain't the school's? Man, this is cool. Growing up in one of Philly's toughest neighborhoods, Kevin used comedy as armor. Nobody wants to fight the funny guy. Nobody wants to mess with the funny guy. Everybody wants to be around the funny guy. The funny guy. That's what I was.

Girls want to date the funny guy? Not really. Not really.

No, not really. Not gonna lie to you. This would have been a perfect place to put that lie. It would have been a perfect place to put that lie. Yes, women were all over. No, not the case.

Not the case at all. I didn't know how to shut the funny off with women. That was my problem when I was younger. I don't want nobody taking none of this stuff too serious.

I don't need nobody coming up to me after the show talking about who's the funny one now. When he told his mother he wanted to try stand-up full-time, she agreed to help pay his rent for a year on the condition that he read the Bible she gave him. She was like, read your Bible and you'll be fine. She just kept telling me that.

I was never reading the Bible. My time kept going and I'm getting calls. Kevin was the rent and one night after, I mean, God, it may have been a month maybe, a month of back and forth of me and my mom, I decided to open the Bible and I opened it. Then a bunch of rent checks fell out. She had them dated throughout the year. Did she get to see your success?

No. Nancy Hart died in 2007 and Kevin somehow managed to find humor in that too. Like I said, my mom died from cancer. Everybody knows this except my uncle Richard Jr. Funeral's over. Everybody's outside, they're consoling one another. It's a real emotional time. I'm talking. My uncle comes up, taps me on the back.

He said, Kevin, I just want to let you know whoever did this is going to die tonight. Do you think about, gosh, it'd be nice for her to see me now? No, because she does. You know, I got an amazing angel. You don't get here by yourself. You know, I'm not over religious at all, but I'm religious enough to believe. She's there.

100%. All right, look, I want you to keep in mind to yourself that weddings are for the women. You're not supposed to enjoy yourself, Doug. If you were, there would be big screen TVs, there would be gaming. It seems that someone's looking down on him.

Kevin Hart has made more than two dozen movies, many of them box office hits, like the Ride-Along series. What's up, little man? What's up, little man?

What are you talking about? I'm not the little man, you are. Hey, don't start this if you don't want to finish it.

Start what? What, you about 3'10", 3'11"? Yeah, but you know what I'm going to do. Grow. What you going to do, stretch?

You over. He also has a growing family, two kids from a previous marriage and one on the way with his new bride. But as he admits in a new book, as hard as he's worked, he played stupid, like getting arrested in 2013 for drunk driving. Do you think that was the big wake-up call, the DUI? Like, hey, I'm not going to play stupid anymore, to use your words? Once I woke up from wearing that, yes, yes. Yes, yes, and it's not that you don't drink anymore, you just don't drink until somebody else drives you. Yeah, I don't drink or drive.

Am I late? Now he gets around LA in a kind of rolling command center, usually working the phones. He talks about moving away from the buddy films he's known for. In fact, he just wrapped a more dramatic role with Nicole Kidman and Bryan Cranston. But this is a guy who knows where his heart is.

I'm never walking away from comedy, never. Hey, man, I'm going to go to Starbucks real quick. I'm going to get a bottle of water. Somebody want something? It's always one guy.

You can tell he drank way too much coffee because he got too much energy. I love the fact that I have a craft that I can perfect as long as I want to. And the beauty of stand-up comedy is everybody wants it. Everybody needs it.

Everybody likes to laugh. Thank you. Thank you. I love y'all.

Thank you. Next, Steve Hartman's in Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood. Welcome to Play It, a new podcast network featuring radio and TV personalities talking business, sports, tech, entertainment and more.

Play it at Play.In. Having the right neighbor in the right place at the right time can make all the difference. Just ask Steve Hartman. Oh, my God. Whenever evil claims a victory, as it did in Manchester, people search for words of hope. And this past week, that search led many back deep into their childhood to Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood, of all places. It's a beautiful day in this neighborhood, a beautiful day for a neighbor. It was Mr. Fred Rogers who once said, when I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, look for the helpers.

You will always find people who are helping. Thousands shared that quote on social media last week, including a senior writer from Entertainment Weekly named Anthony Bresnikan. That quote almost seems too good to be true, right?

It does. Whenever you see like these quotes, it'll be Abraham Lincoln saying something. Then you find out he never really said it.

He never said it. Mr. Rogers said that. And I knew from experience that Mr. Rogers was like that in real life. Which is why when Anthony shared the helper quote, he added a personal story from when he was in college that made it all the more poignant. On Twitter, he began, I was struggling, lonely, dealing with a lot of broken pieces and not adjusting well. Then one day, he said he walked into an empty commons with the TV on.

And there was Mr. Rogers. I just stood there, mesmerized. He watched the entire episode and felt a little better.

But says the real fix came a few days later. Yeah, I'm going downstairs to the lobby of the student union and the elevator opens. And Mr. Rogers is standing there. And I just got in the elevator and he said, were you one of my television neighbors? I was like, yes, I was one of your neighbors. Anthony told him how he just watched the show and how it made him feel better. He sat down and he said, would you like to tell me what was upsetting you? I didn't have anybody that I could talk to like that.

I feel like his trolley car. I fell off the tracks. He put me back on and that was all I needed. And at one point I said, I'm really sorry.

I hope I'm not tying you up and you have somewhere else to go. And he said, sometimes you're in just the right place. I looked for the people who were trying to help. Mr. Rogers was in just the right place again last week, reminding us to look for the helpers, the first responders, the global leaders and caring neighbors across the world who still outnumber evil a million to one. But it surprises me that you don't know this issue. Still to come.

Did you enjoy meeting me? Questions for Senator Al Franken. But it is time for someone to pick up the mantle of new ideas. And that person is me, Al Franken. It's Sunday morning on CBS and here again is Jane Pauley. That's Al Franken back in his days as a cast member on Saturday Night Live.

These days, Al Franken is a United States Senator on Capitol Hill, which makes him fair game for some questions and answers. Here again is Chip Reid. Raise your hand, please.

As they crossed the bridge to confirmation. But it surprises me that you don't know this issue. Many of President Trump's nominees had to get past some pointed questions from the junior senator from Minnesota. You said that student debt has increased by a thousand percent?

980 percent. That's just not so. And those questions are getting Al Franken noticed. In some case, we're not necessarily the ones you listed. It was 30 years ago and my memory was of this nature and my memory was my support for those cases. Your memory. It's your grilling of Jeff Sessions and your grilling of DeVos that have people talking about, there's buzz about you running for president. Right. Look, I've always been tough in hearings.

I do my homework. You don't sound like you personally handled cases that you said you personally. Well, I was on a radio interview without any records and that was my memory at the time. This is the first time I've had nominations from a Republican president and I thought that some of the people that he nominated were not right for the job.

If there is any evidence that anyone affiliated with the Trump campaign communicated with the Russian government in the course of this campaign, what will you do? Senator Franken, I'm not aware of any of those activities. But occasionally the hearings brought back memories of what made Al Franken a household name in the first place. Did you enjoy meeting me? I hope you were as much fun on that dais as you were on your couch. Well. May I rephrase that, sir? Please.

Oh my lord. Well, I think we found our Saturday Night Live sound bite. Yes, it's never too far from the conversation. Franken's past on Saturday Night Live.

That's right. I believe we're entering what I like to call the Al Franken decade. And lately he's been coming to grips with the tension between politics and comedy. When I first came to the Senate, I had to be very careful not to be funny.

Yeah, you were very careful. In fact, I was covering the Senate at that time and I thought, this guy was so funny on Saturday Night Live and now he's not just not funny, he's grim. Well, I wasn't grim. There were some grim things happening, but they're not as grim as now. Is it hard not to be funny?

Yes. Character matters. Franken learned the perils of funny during his first Senate campaign in 2008. Supporters of his opponent, Norm Coleman, combed through the Franken comedy vault for material for their ads.

Nobody likes getting an abortion, except perhaps rape victims. If you're a comedian or comedy writer, they take everything you wrote or said and put it through a very expensive machine called the Dehumorizer. The Dehumorizer.

This was built with Russian technology and what it does is it takes all the context out of any joke you've ever written and comes out as just offensive. He writes about the Dehumorizer in his new book, Giant of the Senate. As for his campaign in that first Senate run, he says it was a serious ad that turns the tide.

We've been married now for almost 33 years. An ad featuring his wife, Fran. I insisted that they allow me to do an ad.

I struggled with alcohol dependency. I really was mad at the content of the opposing ads that didn't portray Al as the person I knew. The Al Franken I know stood by me through thick and thin, so I know he'll always come through for Minnesotans. If it hadn't been for that ad, I would have lost.

You really, you're confident of that? Oh God, yeah. The thing about Franny is Minnesotans are wary of people in show business, as well they should be. I don't know what they expected of me, but to have a trophy wife 20 years younger than me, and I have a trophy wife, but she's only about six months younger than me. Thank you, honey.

You're welcome. Franken says Franny and his staff have spent the last few years trying to keep him on the straight man and narrow path, even when it concerns his grandchildren. Are your grandkids impressed by the fact that you're a U.S. senator? I think you can tell. When he was born, I decided it'd be funny if he called me senator instead of grandpa.

Really? But my staff nixed it. I said, it's funny, and they go, no.

Normally when I look up there, I go, this is pretty neat, you know? Senator from Minnesota. Thank you, Mr. President. I rise today as the inheritor of the liberal tradition of Minnesota senators like Hubert Humphrey, Walter Mondale, and Paul Wellstone. Franken is eager to go into the weeds on policy. We must protect net neutrality. Whether searching for the right words for a speech about equal access to the internet. Because unrestricted is implicates the best word.

Because it embraces our most basic constitutional freedoms. Or serving his constituents a breakfast of warm porridge and global warming. I have three grandchildren.

I don't want them in 50 years saying, grandpa, you were a senator. You knew climate change was happening. Why didn't you do anything about it? And also, why are you alive?

Because I'd be 116. We do know that the Russians interfered in the 2016 election. Franken has been a dogged critic of the Trump administration and was out front in calling for a special prosecutor to investigate the administration's ties to Russia. He should come back and explain himself, Mr. Chairman. Typical headline these days, Republicans near total exasperation referring to Trump. Well, that's today, tomorrow will be Republicans at total exasperation. So if the Republicans are near total exasperation, where are the Democrats? Oh, we reached total exasperation a long time ago. And so as Democrats look to 2020, Franken's name has popped up on some Oval Office short lists.

Keep up the good work we need you. Thank you. President Franken, it's like something that could be on Saturday Night Live. Oh, wait. Is it still the Al Franken decade?

Yes, it is. And now it's the Al Franken millennium. Well, could you have been four decades off? Could the 2020s be the Al Franken decade? They could be where I'm a senator and no, and supporting a great president.

That would be fun. If Franken ever does run for president, there's one headline you're sure to see. It's right there, over and over and over on a poster in his Capitol Hill office. Franken declared winner and that's no joke. Yeah.

Or Al Franken running for Senate. No joke. Right.

And I'm afraid some of my colleagues have been just as guilty. No joke. Al Franken's running for Senate. Thank you, CBS News. You're welcome.

You're very welcome. You guys. Al Franken may not know what his future holds, but it's pretty clear he'll never outlive funny.

Former three term Minnesota senator dead at 103. No joke. You know, I mean, that's that's what we're going to see. Next, a time out about time off. It's time to look at summer vacation by the numbers. According to a recent survey by the research firm G.F.K., the average American took sixteen point eight days of vacation in 2016, which we're happy to report is up six tenths of a day from 2015. That's still well below the average of twenty point three days.

Americans took in the years up through 2000 come fly with me. And those sixteen point eight vacation days taken are still far less than the average of twenty two point six vacation days earned, which means Americans left a total of six hundred sixty two million vacation days untaken last year as to why workers leave vacation days on the table. Twenty six percent say they fear taking vacation days makes them look less dedicated to work. Twenty three percent say they don't want to be seen as replaceable.

Twenty one percent say they worry they would lose out on a raise or a promotion. But it's not just the workers themselves who pay a price for not taking all their vacation. The survey shows all those unused vacation days actually cost the American economy more than two hundred billion dollars in lost vacation spending, which is enough to support nearly two million more American jobs.

And how's this for irony? According to G.F.K., employees who sacrifice vacation days in the belief that will get them ahead at work are actually somewhat less likely to have been promoted or to have received a raise or bonus in the last year than those who went ahead and took the time. Something to think about on your long holiday weekend. The Memorial Day we observe tomorrow was inspired by a southern tradition called Decoration Day. A Decoration Day can be marked for private as well as public reasons, as Connor Knighton discovered in one of our national parks on the trail. It feels like a big family reunion, and in a way it is. Several different families have come together on this Sunday afternoon for a chance to be reunited with their ancestors.

This is still home, even though it's never been my own. In the south, it's what they call a Decoration Day. Flowers are carefully placed on the headstones. There are songs, sandwiches, many years ago, even a bit of scripture.

There was a whole lot of tears shaving. But this North Carolina Decoration Day can only happen on one day every year. Once a year to go visit your ancestors is not enough. Other people can just drive to their car to the cemetery and we can't. A visit to this remote cemetery begins with a boat ride across a lake.

Then, it's a long wait for a chance to catch a bumpy ride up to the top of a mountain. It's all because these graves are located inside of a national park. Many of the people represented here today were uprooted for the creation of the park and also when the lake was built.

Dana Sohn is a ranger at Great Smoky Mountains National Park. This backwoods cabin was built long before this stretch of North Carolina became parkland. There were once 6,000 homes here. But in the 1940s, most of those settlers were forced to leave. The Fontana Dam, built by the Tennessee Valley Authority, was created to provide power during World War II. Twenty million cubic feet of water roar through every second. It flooded much of the nearby area. Well, they built the dams. They pushed us out. It's a time Mildred Johnson remembers well. We used to have to leave or swim. You're laughing about it now. Was that sad back then?

Well, yes. Mildred grew up in these hills. But when Uncle Sam came calling, her family packed up and moved. Fontana Lake was created and the rest of the land became a national park.

Back then, you respected and obeyed your government. The government made the displaced residents a promise. Once the war was over, they would build a road to provide access to those old family cemeteries. The park calls it Lakeview Drive. But drive for six miles and this road just suddenly stops. After environmental delays, financial concerns, the road was never finished.

In Swain County, North Carolina, they call Lakeview Drive by a different name. You can't run for any elected office and come to Swain County without knowing about the road to nowhere. The road is part of Congressman Mark Meadows' district, a place where many have come to distrust the federal government.

You know, when you've had promises broken so often and trust that has dissipated, it takes a while to gain that back. In 2010, instead of finishing the road, the Park Service settled with Swain County for $52 million, money that would go to support area schools and local programs. But seven years later, less than a fourth of that has been paid. The Park Service says Congress needs to put the money in the budget, which it hasn't done. Congressman Meadows points to a Government Accountability Office study that states the Park Service could actually pay the entire amount due. The frustration of the bureaucracy on why the people of Swain County can't get the money that they're owed is just mind-boggling.

That frustration has led Swain County to sue the federal government for the remaining $39.2 million. It all feels like another broken promise. CBS News was there back in 1978. The former residents have now gained permission for a series of one-day visits. When, as an attempt to make things right, the park began offering trips across the lake. For most, it is the first time they have been able to return in 35 years.

We're not legally mandated to do such a thing, but it's the right thing to do, and it allows us to just continue telling this story. That's what these decoration days are all about. You see people that your mother grew up with and hear stories about what it was like to live here. It's a chance to remember the settlers who once called this place home.

It was all a huge community who depended on each other, so the old saying, it takes a village, that came from communities like this. For an afternoon, at least, there was a community thriving again in these hills. And we ate really well. There was some pretty great food. Oh, you better believe it. That road that was promised long ago isn't coming, but these families keep coming back every year. The land here is already preserved.

It's the heritage they want to make sure survives. And ahead to our website for the June edition of David Edelstein's movie picks. And next week, here on Sunday morning. How many in the room have created a movie? How many in the room have great-grandchildren? Raise your hand. Forever young. I'm Jane Pauley.

Please join us here again next Sunday morning. This is Intelligence Matters with former acting director of the CIA, Michael Morell. Bridge Colby is co-founder and principal of the Marathon Initiative, focused on developing strategies to prepare the United States for an era of sustained great power competition. The United States put our mind to something we can usually figure it out. What people are saying and what we kind of know analytically and empirically is our strategic situation, our military situation, is not being matched up with what we're doing. Follow Intelligence Matters wherever you get your podcasts.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-01-25 22:03:15 / 2023-01-25 22:26:12 / 23

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