The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour
JIM LEHRER: Good evening. In the news this Wednesday there was fresh evidence of new weakness in the economy. The government's index of leading economic indicators dropped for the second month in a row, and the U.S. trade deficit hit another new record. White House officials say President Reagan will probably give federal employees a 3 1/2% pay raise, and a prototype of the new U.S. B-1 bomber crashed in California. Robert MacNeil is away tonight; Charlayne Hunter-Gault is in New York. Charlayne?
CHARLAYNE HUNTER-GAULT: We'll get a closer look at some of the main stories in the news today, starting with Mondale's latest bridge-building effort, a meeting with 20 of the country's Democratic mayors. From Jesse Jackson we'll find out just how firm is his commitment to Walter Mondale and how that translates into black support for the Democratic ticket. As NASA tries to get the space shuttle Discovery aloft, we'll get an astronomer, Carl Sagan, to tell us about plans for going to Mars and beyond. We also have a special report on child molesting in day care and a debate about what can be done about it. And we get to know a very special music man on Cape Cod.
In Washington today the government was heavy on economic news, reporting that its main gauge for future economic activity revealed the most serious sign of economic slowdown since the recession's end. The index of leading economic indicators dropped a sharp 0.8% in July, following an even sharper decline in June. The biggest negative factor was a drop in the number of building permits taken out in July. Deputy White House Press Secretary Larry Speakes said the decline was expected, and said it should be helpful in diminishing pressure on interest rates.
The government also reported that the United States suffered a record $14.1-billion trade deficit in July. This was blamed on a 22.2% surge in imports. Officials have predicted that this year's trade deficit could be far worse than last year's.
In Detroit the United Auto Workers targeted both Ford and General Motors for a possible strike on September 14th. The union's 25-member board made the decision today following yesterday's decision by the two auto companies not to increase wages or provide job security. Union president Own Bieber explained the board's action at a news conference.
OWEN BEIBER, president, United Auto Workers: We came to that conclusion based upon the fact that the proposals that were made to us yesterday by both companies really represent no proposal. They do not in any stretch of the imagination represent any fairness on the part of either company to their workers, our members, and for that reason we're telling them that they're both targets and that they should start all over, and that they ought to do it with haste because there are only 16 days, roughly, left to reach an agreement.
HUNTER-GAULT: The White House confimed today that the President will probably ask Congress to approve a 3.5% pay raise for the 1.4 million federal civilian white-collar employees. If approved, it would take effect on January 1st. Despite a recommendation that would take the pay hike to 18%, a White House spokesman said the 3.5% figure was favored because of concern about the federal deficit, and also that inflation is at a low 4%.
Jim? Mondale: Mending Fences
LEHRER: Meanwhile back in Minnesota, Democratic candidate Walter Mondale continued the effort to get his campaign act together. Yesterday he welcomed the varied blessings and endorsements from John Anderson and Jesse Jackson. Today the Democratic mayors of 20 U.S. cities and towns were the main business of the day. Mr. Mondale met with them for two hours as a St. Paul hotel and then held a news conference with them.
WALTER MONDALE, Democratic presidential candidate: This campaign is now ready to move. We have our coalition together. Our case is strong. The contrast couldn't be more basic. And, from here on out, we're going to gain momentum and win this election.
Mayor JAMES CAULDWELL, Tupelo, Mississippi: I'm convinced that we in the South vote for plaforms and issues, but we also vote for people. Sensitive, warm, caring, concerned people. Walter Mondale, Geraldine Ferraro have the same philosophies, family values, in the South as cornbread, catfish and cotton. And that's why we're going to win.
LEHRER: And Atlanta Mayor Young recanted on some earlier criticism of the Mondale campaign staff.
Mayor ANDREW YOUNG, Atlanta, Georgia: I think in the course of the campaign there was a lapse right after the convention, a lapse due to fatigue and many other things that many of us out in the field got restless. I think I'm very proud to say that a lot of folk that I thought were smart-asses are a lot smarter than I thought they were. And after hearing the campaign review and after seeing this group put together, I think we're well on the way. And I'm very, very optimistic about this cmpaign, and particularly about my state of Georgia, which we're going to carry.
LEHRER: The mayors reportedly gave Mondale an earful about the campaign and their problems. Here to fill us in on what happened is one of the 20 mayors who was there, James McNulty, the mayor of Scranton, Pennsylvania, who was a strong supporter of Gary Hart in the primary. He joins us tonight from public station KTCA, Minneapolis-St. Paul. First, Mr. Mayor, in general terms, what was the message you all gaveMr. Mondale?
JAMES McNULTY: Well, I think, Jim, that the main message we gave him was that not only is the election winnable, but the election is winnable if he just reaches out and not only with Jesse Jackson and all his supporters, as he did yesterday, not only with the governors, as he did earlier in the week, but also with the mayors. And, really, that was his offer. He invited us here to Minnesota to tell us that, and I think that that's the most optimistic projection that can come out of here is the fact that the mayors who were here got that message loud and clear from Walter Mondale himself.
LEHRER: What do you mean? What was the message?
Mayor McNULTY: Well, the message was that in the cities the mayors are going to be in charge of their campaigns for the presidential ticket. The message was that the Mondale administration when it's in the White House is going to be sensitive to the needs of the cities, to an urban policy and to putting people in cabinet positions that respond to mayors and local county officials.
LEHRER: Had there been some confusion about that before today's meeting?
Mayor McNULTY: No, I just don't think it was a high priority in what had been addressed during the campaign, and then some of the other things that were addressed were the projection of Walter Mondale and his true relationship. Mayor Hatcher of Gary, Indiana, pointed out that he went to Africa with Walter Mondale, and when he went to Africa, he found Walter Mondale to be very persuasive and very sympathetic and very warm in his relationships with other leaders of other countries, and that that was a dimension of Walter Mondale that should be brought to the American people -- his broad experience in foreign affairs and, being a student of Hubert Humphrey's, he learned from the former mayor of this city, who went on to become a leader of this party. But what I found from Walter Mondale was that Walter Mondale is not in Hubert Humphrey's shadow and he's not in Jimmy Carter's shadow. He's become Walter Mondale -- by picking Geraldine Ferraro, by making that courageous and bold move, by stating that we're going to need a tax increase and being very candid with the American people. He won this convert, and I was the first mayor to come out for Gary Hart other than any of the mayors from Colorado.
LEHRER: Did you all tell him to let your hair down, as the governors apparently did?
Mayor McNULTY: No, we didn't tell him to let his hair down. As a matter of fact, we come just the opposite way. We want him to be as presidential as possible.
LEHRER: Now, what does that mean? What does that mean, being presidential?
Mayor McNULTY: Well, what it means is being very candid and serious and taking the leadership role with the American people. He's the leader of this party now, and while some of us may have supported other people, the message we gave him was that we want him to lead, we want him to be out front, and we want him to not be the guy next door, because the American people don't want the guy next door to be president; they want the most qualified person to be the president, somebody who's sensitive to the holocaust that faces us on nuclear weapons, especially, and that comes across the board in every city in the world, let alone the country.
LEHRER: But in Scranton, Pennsylvania, where you are from, you are suggesting, I guess, that that was not the way he is being perceived as of now, correct?
Mayor McNULTY: Well, I was one of the doubting Thomases in the primary. I was wondering whether Walter Mondale could have his own image and be his own man and not be perceived as a rerun of the 1980 election. I think by the way that this election is running and by the tactics of the campaign and the strategy, Walter Mondale is not only his own man, but he's a man of courage.
LEHRER: But you think -- but what you all were telling him, he still has to get that over to the electorate. If he doesn't, he's going to lose in November, correct?
Mayor McNULTY: Well, what we were telling him was that -- what he was telling us, first of all, was that we can help him do that in our local media markets and our local communities because we can disseminate that information. Because the Democratic Party is made up of a lot of poor people who are black and white, of the senior citizens on fixed incomes, of a whole -- of young people who are unemployed, of people trying to buy homes and can't get a mortgage because of the interest rates, and that this is the constituency that's in Scranton, that this is the constituency that's across the country, and whether it's white or black or brown or yellow, it doesn't matter, or red. What we need is somebody in the White House who understands that there are cities in America and that the tale is of two cities.
LEHRER: All right, let me ask you this question, Mr. Mayor. You mentioned Jesse Jackson; I mentioned Jesse Jackson also. He was there yesterday. Some have already suggested that this is taking on a smell of 1968, that Jesse Jackson's less-than-enthusiastic endorsement of Walter Mondale is smelling a lot like what McCarthy did to Humphrey in 1968. Do you see that as a possibility as well?
Mayor McNULTY: No, I don't see that as a possibility, because all of the black mayors and all the black congressmen who were here with Jesse Jackson were very sincere in their effort to coalesce this campaign and make it sensitive not only to black needs but to urban needs. And what we found was that Jesse Jackson wanted to place people in the campaign who were already Mondale supporters -- Coleman Young, as the chairman for registration. And all the people involved were not Jesse Jackson. Jesse Jackson wasn't looking for a place for himself in the sun. What he was trying to do was bring together those people that he's represented in this primary so that they can come out to vote, because if all of them vote, we can win.
LEHRER: All right, Mayor McNulty, thank you very much.
Mayor McNULTY: Thank you.
LEHRER: Charlayne? Jesse Jackson: Mended Fences?
HUNTER-GAULT: As Jim said, the mayors were the third constituency group that Mondale has brought to Minnesota in the past few days. Over the weekend he met with the Democratic governors, and yesterday was devoted to rallying support from some three dozen or so black leaders. But there was one critical variable in all of that, the Reverend Jesse Jackson, who had his own private meeting with Mondale before the larger group did. The blacks at the later meeting left, pledging their support to the Mondale-Ferraro ticket, and so did Jackson, but the controversial former candidate for the nomination left the door open to challenge the ticket. To find out more about his intentions, we have with us Reverend Jesse Jackson from Chicago. Reverend Jackson, just what did you mean when you said that your support would be broad-based, deep and intent, and yet you reserve the right to challenge the candidate?
Rev. JESSE JACKSON: Well, first of all it means that I intend to campaign for this ticket. I have studied the costs. I have looked at the alternatives, and I shall appeal to people across this nation and across lines of race and religion and race to support the Mondale-Ferraro ticket.
HUNTER-GAULT: But what if --
Rev. JACKSON: If in fact --
HUNTER-GAULT' Why did you say you reserve the right to challenge it?
Rev. JACKSON: Well, in responding to a question about would I criticize, I would never give up the right to criticize. I will never give up the right of conscience. And yet, given the live option that Walter Mondale represents, I intend to support him, to do so by engaging in massive registration efforts, to engage in some joint appearances as well as to participate in a massive voter turnout.
HUNTER-GAULT: But are there differences remaining between you, or differences that other blacks have with him that you think he might have to be challenged on down the line?
Rev. JACKSON: Well, I do not foresee that at this point. The fact is I was refused a visa to go to South Africa just this past Monday, a result of Reagan's "constructive engagement" policy with that nation, being its number-one trading partner. That's inoffensive to the Reagan administration. That's quite offensive to Walter Mondale. That's a difference. Walter Mondale's committed to an arms agreement package, a way to reduce danger and begin to save money to rebuild our cities.
HUNTER-GAULT: All right, but what --
Rev. JACKSON: That's a difference. And as I look at his commitment to justice at home and peace abroad, I can embrace this ticket with enthusiasm.
HUNTER-GAULT: I see. But you would say that your endorsement -- I mean, was it an endorsement and was it unconditional, basically?
Rev. JACKSON: Well, let me give you an example. Dr. King supported Lyndon Johnson with great enthusiasm in 1964 running against Barry Goldwater. He supported the ticket. But then, when Johnson moved away from his peace posture to expanding the war in Vietnam, Dr. King came right back with his seven reasons against the war in Vietnam and talked about "the betrayal of silence." And so he supported the candidate but reserved the right of conscience. I will always reserve the right of conscience.
HUNTER-GAULT: All right, did you --
Rev. JACKSON: Having said that, the Rainbow Coalition is now a national political organization. We made the judgment to endorse the Mondale-Ferraro ticket, and we intend to campaign to that end.
HUNTER-GAULT: All right. Did you ask Mr. Mondale for anything yesterday?
Rev. JACKSON: Well, only for a mutually respectful and a mutually beneficial relationship. A) to define our proximity, which we have defined; we'll do some campaigning together. Secondly, to involved blacks, hispanics and women vertically and horizontally in the campaign; the role that now that Charlie Rangel enjoys, the role that Ernie Green will now serve, the role that Maynard Jackson will serve -- as a senior public policy official, the role that Coleman Young will now play, the roles that people like Addie Wyatt and C. Delores Tucker will play means expansion in that area. And the kind of public policy posture that, on the one hand, will reduce the budget deficit, which mortgages the future of our children, the kind of arms agreement thrust that will reduce danger in this world, and the commitment to social justice. This was the basis for my supporting this -- supporting this ticket.
HUNTER-GAULT: All right, did Mr. Mondale ask you for anything, like to stop criticizing him?
Rev. JACKSON: Oh, on, he didn't. And I do not think it was necessary for us to do that. We talked about ways to win, not just ways to relate. Later on in this week I'm going to be meeting with the Southern state chairs. There we shall begin to focus on how do we move in the South from racial battleground to economic common ground; how do we begin to pull together, the black and the white vote together, to allow our interests to converge and to in fact win the South.
HUNTER-GAULT: Well, how do you --
Rev. JACKSON: We have the numbers if we have the will.
HUNTER-GAULT: All right, how do you respond to people who say that the more actively you campaign with Mondale, particularly in the South, the more harm it'll do him among white conservatives especially?
Rev. JACKSON: Well, that assumes that white conservatives are going to vote for Walter Mondale in the first place, and they are not. The fact of the matter is, in 1980 the Carter-Mondale ticket lost eight Southern states by 182,000 votes. There were three million blacks unregistered. New levels of registration by blacks, new levels of cooperation between blacks and whites is going to make a difference. I submit to you that blacks and whites across the South have more in common than they do in conflict, and if our leadership can begin to focus on a New South economic agenda, raising the standard of human need; stopping these plants from closing on workers without notice, going to foreign markets abroad; that we're going to begin to move towards racial -- move away from racial battleground to economic common ground. We're going to close this gap that not exists between Mondale and Reagan, and we're going to win this election in November.
HUNTER-GAULT: Well, given the generally negative comments that have emerged from blacks, even though Andrew Young more or less softened his criticism after the meeting, and given the ones that you've made in the past, I mean, how do you expect to get blacks mobilized, and how do you expect to generate the kind of enthusiasm for what many will still perceive as the conditional endorsement from you?
Rev. JACKSON: Well, number one, in addition to looking at the top of the ticket, there are 435 people running for Congress. There are people running for the Senate. There are people running for governor, for county assessor, for tax assessor, for registrar, for legislator, for state senator and for mayor. We must look at the entire political package. There is a package being led by the Mondale-Ferraro ticket. There is a package being led by the Reagan-Bush ticket. And I submit to you that we have many reasons to vote. The top of the ticket is just one reason to vote. We must fight to protect our position in the Congress on the House side, on the Senate side. We must begin to look at state court judges, begin to look at Supreme Court judges. There's a lot of reason to be involved in this campaign with increased enthusiasm with each passing day.
HUNTER-GAULT: All right, well, Reverend Jackson, thank you for being with us.
Rev. JACKSON: Thank you.
LEHRER: One final political item about Geraldine Ferraro, the Democratic nominee for vice president. The Philadelphia Enquirer reported today she received congressional campaign contributions of $700 from a businessman who later served eight months in prison for labor racketeering. The contributions were made before he served the time, and the Enquirer said there was no indication Miss Ferraro knew of the man's criminal record or that she did any political favors for him. Mondale-Ferraro campaign officials said the story was insignificant and not worth responding to.
HUNTER-GAULT: In South Africa, the final results in the election of Asian members of a new house of Parliament showed today that less than 20% of the Asian community had gone to the polls. The leaders of a boycott of the election declared the result proved that the people had rejected the new constitutional system. But the politicians who were elected said they would establish their credibility by obtaining benefits for the Asian community.
In Israel the police stopped Rabbi Meir Kahane, a member of parliament who wants to expel all Arabs from the country, from leading a march into an Arab town. Here is a report from Mike Sposito of Visnews.
MIKE SPOSITO [voice-over]: In the center of town 7,000 citizens took to the streets to stop Kahane getting in. Ironically his campaign of hatred brought about exactly the reverse of his aims. He wants the Arabs out of the country, but in Um el-Fahm, Jews stood side by side with Arabs, united in their opposition to the Rabbi's extremist views. The clashes were inevitable. Kahane, backed by hie MP's immunity, had vowed to enter the town. The citizens had vowed to keep him out. The police had a difficult decision to make -- to back Kahane's rights or to maintain public order. In the violence that ensued, at least six youths and six police were injured. Eventually police decided enough was enough and ordered Kahane to turn back, but before he left he hit out at the Arabs he has called dogs.
Rabbi MEIR KAHANE: There is no such thing as an Arab village in the state of Israel. It is a Jewish village that is temporarily inhabited by Arabs, but only temporarily.
SPOSITO [voice-over]: Kahane's right-wing supporters made a show of solidarity, but eventually both they and the rabbi who is shunned by the Israeli establishment had to turn and go.
HUNTER-GAULT: In Lebanon, fighting broke out again today between two Moslem groups struggling for control of the northern city of Tripoli. Nine people were killed, and 20 were wounded. And a committee attempting to disengage the two sides suspended its meetings. And in Beirut, Pierre Gemayel, the founder of the right-wing Phalange Party and father of President Amin Gemayel, died today at the age of 78. He was the foremost leader of the Lebanese Christian community and a strong force in efforts to reconcile Christians and Moslems. Jim?
LEHRER: Back in this country, one of the four prototype models of the new B-1 bomber crashed and burned in a California desert today. One of the plane's three crew members was confirmed dead, and there were unconfirmed reports the other two were injured. Wire service stories quoted witnesses saying the plane was trailing smoke before it went down. Others reported seeing the craft's escape capsule floating toward the ground by parachute. The crash occurred 75 miles northeast of Los Angeles near Edwards Air Force Base. Charlayne? Sagan on New Horizons
HUNTER-GAULT: For the third time this summer the space shuttle Discovery was grounded on its launch pad today, this time because of a troublesome timing device. But NASA officials are optimistic that Discovery will finally make its debut voyage tomorrow morning. NASA postponed today's scheduled flight last night after discovering a computer error that could have prevented the shuttle from safely going into orbit. Engineers say the problem has been fixed, and they are predicting smooth sailing tomorrow. Discovery's maiden voyage was canceled twice before in June, once because of a computer malfunction and again the next day because of a faulty valve. Setbacks like these may have tarnished NASA's image, but they haven't deterred some scientists from drawing up plans for even more ambitious adventures in space than the shuttle.
One such project that's already won President Reagan's backing is an $8-billion permanent manned space station, and next month the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment is expected to issue a report that, among other things, calls for serious attention to the idea of sending a manned expedition to Mars. The idea has enchanted visionaries for over a century. But scientists have really taken the idea seriously since the late 1970s, when the unmanned Viking space probes landed on Mars and started beaming back pictures of the red planet's rocky terrain. A group called the Planetary Society has taken the lead in promoting an expedition to Mars, possibly by the turn of the century. The Society's president is noted astronomer Carl Sagan, professor and director of Cornell University's Laboratory for Planetary Studies.
Dr. Sagan, first of all, if NASA is having such trouble getting its space shuttle off the ground, how are you going to even think about going to Mars?
CARL SAGAN: Well, we've already been to Mars by unmanned space craft. By the way, it's not quite the right word, since women go into space as well. There's a great need for the right adjective.
HUNTER-GAULT: Do you have a suggestion?
Dr. SAGAN: No, I can't think of any, actually.
HUNTER-GAULT: All right, we'll get to that.
Dr. SAGAN: Actually "crewed" doesn't work. That's c-r-e-w-e-d.So we have gone there a number of times. You just saw some of the spectacular Viking photographs of Mars. Four spacecraft -- two orbiters, two landers -- arrived in 1976, continued working, one of them, for five years.
HUNTER-GAULT: So you're not discouraged by Discovery's continuing problems?
Dr. SAGAN: No, you see, there are many different kinds of space programs. There's the military space program, there is the civilian space program, and the civilian space program has a manned part of it, which has very little to do with science. At least so far it has political functions, probably military functions, but not much in the way of science.The science could be done for much less money. Then there are applications satellites, things that are very useful -- weather satellites, or earth resource satellites, communications satellites that are beaming this program throughout the United States, and military reconnaissance satellites, which are immensely stabilizing, that prevent the United States and the Soviet Union from making too uncomfortable a surprise of the other.
HUNTER-GAULT: All right, but let me just ask you, though. I mean, you've just named the points of all of those things. What would be the point of going to Mars?
Dr. SAGAN: Well, there's bunch of things. First off, we live on just one planet, one little corner of the universe.And we don't know what else is possible for planets because we've had just one experience. By studying another planet rather like the Earth, and Mars is in many respects quite like the Earth, we learn about our own world. and to give a practical example, some of the initial work which led to the discovery of nuclear winter, the possible long-term climate catastrophe on the Earth following nuclear war, came from studying of duststorms on Mars. There are very practical things about geology and climate and the atmosphere and the interior of our planet that you can learn by a detailed study of Mars, and there's the question oflife. Viking found no hint of life on the planet, but it's quite surprising because here are two planets, rather similar conditions, equally old, next door to each other in the solar system. One has life, the other does not. Why? It's the classic scientific situation of the experiment and the control.
HUNTER-GAULT: But in the past you've been opposed, haven't you, to manned space flights. I mean, why have you had a change of heart about sending a man or a woman to Mars?
Dr. SAGAN: Or several. Well, if there are purely scientific objectives, then I say the way to do it is with intelligent machines, with robots. It's the way we've been doing it. It's something like 10% or maybe even 1% the cost of a comparable manned expedition. But science is not the only reason why we do these things. In fact, it's often at the bottom of the list of reasons we do things. In the case of the Apollo program, the moment a man landed on the moon the program was canceled. it wasn't about science. A scientist landed on the moon; the program was canceled because it wasn't about science. What I imagine in this case is something like the following. Suppose there somehow came into power in Washington and in Moscow leaders devoted not to competition and nuclear confrontation, but to doing something together, doing something which would raise the hopes of people all over the world, something that would show that the United States and the Soviet Union could cooperate on a major venture that would carry the human species into the next millenium. A manned mission to Mars is an ideal such example. And I think the proliferating -- the propagating consequences for peace and understanding on the earth could be very major. But it requires a political motivation for doing it. It can't be justified on science alone.
HUNTER-GAULT: But you have to get there, too.It requires a spaceship. Do we have a spaceship to get us there? Me or Sally Ride or any of the men you'd like to send up?
Dr. SAGAN: Right, right. No, no. I'm all for sending women. I think it's a great idea. The Planetary Society, which you mentioned at the top of the broadcast, is an organization of 120,000 people based in Pasadena, California. We've commissioned a study by Science Applications, Incorporated, as to what would be required for manned missions to Mars as the first step in the development of a permanent base on Mars and ultimately a permanent human presence on Mars, making us a two-planet species. And what emerges from this study is that the initial steps could be done for remarkably little, for around the cost of, for example, military programs, which many have grave doubts about whether they help or hurt the security of the United States and the Soviet Union -- B-1, for example, or MX. You can do a manned mission to Mars somewhere around the turn of the century -- 2003, let's say -- for that kind of money.
HUNTER-GAULT: How long would it take to get there?
Dr. SAGAN: This particular mission -- it's a very interesting design -- involves a six-month voyage to Mars, 30-day dwell time on the Martian surface, and 2 1/2 years to get back to Earth. that's one of many possible program configurations. It would require an existing infrastructure in Earth orbit, because you would have to assemble the spacecraft in Earth orbit, and that means something like shuttle, something like space station, although not necessarily the administration's present configuration. So yes, of course there are difficulties with the shuttle; there always are with new technological systems of this complexity, although we might wonder about the cost overruns and other problems with it, but there is no -- there is nothing that is fundamentally infeasible about this. It's well within our technological capability, and it represents, if you step back and look at it, a magnificent prospect for the human species to step off the Earth and not be confined to the planet on which we arose.
HUNTER-GAULT: All right, you say it's possible, but even so it still sounds like beyond 21st-century thinking. Do you think you could actually get the public to rally behind this the way they did behind Apollo and all of the other space missions?
Dr. SAGAN: Well, remember, Apollo was a political program. Of course it had a huge element of drama and excitement, the idea of going to the moon, the inaccessible. But no, it was mainly the U.S. response to the catastrophe at the Bay of Pigs, an extremely foolish move by the United States, and Yuri Gagarin's first orbital flight. That was our response. So I say I think a great deal of enthusiasm is sitting out there for this on its own merits, the scientific, the exploratory ones. But it requires a political hook to hang it on, and the only hook that I can imagine that would work would be a joint U.S.-Soviet mission, maybe involving other nations as well. And if you think of the implications of that for moving into the 21st century, I think it's a very attractive and doable package.
HUNTER-GAULT: Thank you. I think it sounds like the basis for a good discussion at another time. Thank you for being with us, Carl Sagan.
LEHRER: Still to come on the NewsHour tonight, we have a report and a debate over the need for regulating day care facilities, and we close with a story about a tradition of summer at Cape Cod.
[Video postcard -- Chatham, Massachusetts]
LEHRER: In the category known as special interest news, President Reagan this afternoon vetoed a bill designed to continue long-term financing for public broadcasting. The bill would have authorized funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting for fiscal years 1987 to '89. In a statement release with the veto, Mr. Reagan said the magnitude of funding, $270 million by 1989, was too much, too fast, and could not be justified. Bruce Christianson, president of PBS, said the audience is the real victim of Mr. Reagan's veto.
Charlayne? Policing Day Care
HUNTER-GAULT: In Chaska, Minnesota, a trial involving a child molesting ring was opened to reporters today following an order by the Minnesota court of appeals. On Monday the judge hearing the case had ordered the courtroom closed to the media and the public during testimony by the child victims in the case. The district attorney in the case had asked for that ruling to lessen the trauma of testifying for the children. But the chief judge of the court of appeals ruled that the lower court judge had insufficient findings to sustain his order. This case, however, is happening at a time when issues over coverage of such cases as well as publicity about them is dramatically increasing all over the country. In recent months reports of sexual abuse, particularly in day care centers, have dominated the news. They range from centers like the middle-class preschool in Manhattan Beach, California, involving the alleged abuse of some 100 children over the years, to a low-income center in New York City involving some 50 children who were allegedly abused for several months. Currently there are some 22,000 publicly-funded and private day care centers in the country, and projections are that by 1990, 80% of the children under six will have working mothers. Experts say that some 50% of those economic will have to be cared for in formal day care facilities. Many of those experts in the child care field argue that unless more serious attention is paid to day care, there are are going to be a lot more horror stories in the future.
DAY CARE TEACHER [singing]: "An elephant sat on Sarah, Willoughby wallabee winaya, an elephant sat on Sanaya, Willoughby wallabee weejay, an elephant sat on BJ.
HUNTER-GAULT [voice-over]: Until a few months ago the image of day care in America was drawn from happy idyllic scenes like this. But nowadays the image is dramatically different. It is being formed by stories like these.
New York City DAY CARE MOTHER: So I knew something was wrong, and I knew it was a different attitude. So I turned the TV on, and she really didn't want to watch it, and so I asked her what's the matter, and she told me a guy at the day care school, he tried to molest her. And she was -- you know, she was very upset about it. And she said he tried to touch her in certain places, and she knew it was wrong. She told him to stop and everything. And that's how I found out.
2nd New York City DAY CARE MOTHER: And to have to actually sit down with an eight-year-old and ask her, "Did someone, you know, touch you?" It was difficult.
HUNTER-GAULT [voice-over]: These mothers had children in day care centers in New York City. But their nightmare is being repeated around the country. With each new incident of child abuse, new questions arise. Why are there so many horror stories? And why do they all seem to be happening in day care, and what, if anything, can be done about them?
[on camera] This is the PRACA day care center here in New York City. It is one of the city's 385 publicly-funded day care centers. Before this August, it was considered one of the better centers in the city, but that is no longer the case. The Bronx district attorney is now investigating charges that some 50 of the children here were raped, sodomized or otherwise abused. In trying to find out what happened here, we discovered that New York's problems are really a microcosm of the problems that exist in one form or another in day care centers around the country.
[voice-over] The story began on August 2nd, when three of the center's employees were arrested after the mother of a four-year-old girl who attended PRACA reported that her daughter had been raped. Soon afterwards, other parents who had entrusted their children to the center's care began asking questions.
PRACA Day Care Center PARENTS: We have asked them so many questions and we have gotten no answers at all from anyone. The center -- the staff at the center doesn't know what's going on, or either they know and they're not willing to say anything.
HUNTER-GAULT [voice-over]: Day care experts feel that PRACA's problems are due in large part to a day care system overburdened by budget cuts and staffing problems. New York's fiscal crisis in 1976 forced cutbacks locally. The problem was further exacerbated by cutbacks during the Reagan administration. Tony Ward is executive director of Child Care, Inc., a reference service for New York City parents.
TONY WARD, Child Care, Inc.: In day care you're dealing with children, with young children who need constant close attention. You're dealing with them for 10 hours a day. You're dealing with them five days a week, 12 months of the year. It's not like a public school program with nice long summer vacations and Christmas and Easter vacations.You've got a very stressful kind of work situation, and at the same time you've got cutbacks in the staffing for these programs. And I can tell you that what happens is when you go through a year chronically understaffed and underfunded, you simply find yourself not being able to cover all the bases, not being able, if you are the management of a center, to keep an eye closely enough on every worker who comes in, on checking out their background thoroughly enough, on cross-checking in the ways you need to, and in supervising them adequately and giving them proper training.
HUNTER-GAULT [voice-over]: In fact, one of the PRACA day care aides now under indictment was a convicted drug dealer prior to being hired by PRACA. But the lack of funds hurts not only the centers' ability to monitor themselves, but also the city's ability to monitor centers.
Until last year, Edith Clute Ginsberg was head of the agency responsible for licensing day care centers in New York City.
EDITH CLUTE GINSBERG, former director, New York City day care: I know the staff that I worked with in the Division of Day Care in the Department of Health in 1973, they carried caseloads of 42 average. Today I happen to know they carry an average of 120, and they can't do the same job. In fact, they only get around now -- this sometimes happens, only at licensing time every two years.
HUNTER-GAULT [voice-over]: Ms. Clute Ginsberg and others think there's a connection between the cases of child molesting that have been discovered and the drop in city monitoring.
Ms. CLUTE GINSBERG: I think the more supervision, the more monitoring, this could be picked up more easily. I don't say it could be prevented. But I think it ensures, when you have educational people going out, helping with programs, giving consultation, there's much more insurance that this would be picked up. They would talk to directors, they'd ask where the aides are. Why was this aide alone with this child, or this assistant teacher?
HUNTER-GAULT: Ironically, New York City has some of the highest standards for day care licensing and monitoring in the country. If such a scandal could happen here in New York, many day care experts believe that even worse could be expected to happen elsewhere.
[voice-over] Helen Blank is with the Children's Defense Fund.
HELEN BLANK, Children's Defense Fund: When we looked at 50 states and what the states have done when the federal child care dollars were cut, we found that over 30 states had cut back their child care standards. When we see with less dollars, less federal dollars, less state dollars, is states caught between providing care for children and cutting back -- cutting back not only on standards but on staff who monitor child care programs.
HUNTER-GAULT [voice-over]: At the same time the federal government was reducing funds, it also moved in 1981 to return all regulatory power of the states, which resulted in a patchwork quilt of regulations and standards.
Mr. WARD: The variation statewide is appalling. There are five states -- according to a 1981 study done by the federal government, there are five states that have no standards whatsoever. There are seven that are considering having standards. There are 27 states that do require what's called a child development associate certificate, which is something; it's a beginning. And there are 11 states that have standards that really get into requiring that teachers have somekind of specific training and background in early childhood education, up to the level of a bachelor's degree. That's a pretty appalling record.
HUNTER-GAULT [voice-over]: Marilyn Smith is with the National Association for the Education of Young Children.
MARILYN SMITH, National Association for the Education of Young Children: Many parents don't realize that there aren't national standards. I guess it's like -- it's so important that children are protected if they're in these group programs that we want to use to just -- we do assume that someone is seeing about it. It doesn't enter our minds that there wouldn't be someone who's overseeing this. But it's not the case.
HUNTER-GAULT [voice-over]: Day care advocates believe what they call the government's benign neglect is based on a false premise.
Mr. WARD: I think there's still a misconception that day care is something that a few children, a few special children with problem families, have to be involved with. And in fact that's not the current social reality in this country. The fact is that most children under the age of six now have mothers in the workforce. That is the way the country is moving and has been for the last 30 years. Day care is the normal need of the normal child in this country, and yet we persist in treating it as something sort of special and that can be ignored because it only applies to a few. I think if we recognize how widespread the need for day care is, we see that there has to be a federal role for setting some standards.
LEHRER: The need for a stronger federal role in day care funding and regulation is a debatable point, though, and we're going to hear it debated now by Dodie Livingston, commissioner of the Administration for Children, Youth and Families at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and Helen Blank, director of child care for the Children's Defense Fund, who was on the tape.
Commissioner Livingston, to you first. Do you feel the federal governmental should become more involved in this?
DODIE LIVINGSTON: Not in regulations of day care centers. We feel that, first of all, the primary responsibility for day care belongs property with the parent. Not only the responsibility but the right and the privilege. We feel that parents know best what their children need, and there are very many different kinds of situations that a mother, particularly a working mother, might face. And also the type of lifestyle that she has. And we feel that it starts at the local community and that the regulation should be at the local and state levels, where they really know what their needs are.
LEHRER: There's no need for a national standard for these things, in your opinion, then?
Comm. LIVINGSTON: We don't believe so. We do feel there are definite roles for the federal government. First of all, the film clip mentioned that funding has been reduced.It's true that the block grant money has been reduced $100 million from 1980 to '84. However, overall, for child care the money has been increased by $1.3 billion, most of which is in tax credits for families who use child care.
LEHRER: In other words, your point is that if there is a problem in the day care center situation in this country, there is no relationship between that and federal fundings as a cause?
Comm. LIVINGSTON: Are you saying -- you mean the reduction in --
LEHRER: The reduction, right.
Comm. LIVINGSTON: Well, what I'm pointing out is that overall the finding has been increased $1.3 billion.
LEHRER: So there hasn't been a reduction?
Comm. LIVINGSTON: Overall, no.
LEHRER: I see. Well, look, let's go to you, Ms. Blank, one point at a time. First of all, on the need for federal regulations.
Ms. BLANK: All right, and then I would like to address the funding reduction question.
LEHRER: All right.
Ms. BLANK: We believe that children deserve a certain protection, that the federal government protects many other interests, they protect tobacco interests, and that children deserve a protection. And it may be that we have to look at different ways of protecting them. We believe that parents have different needs, and different child care settings are appropriate for many different families. Some parents work odd hours. Some parents have younger children and would like family day care. But there should be a basic minimum level of safety and of quality in any setting that a parent chooses.
LEHRER: And that should be --
Ms. BLANK: And we believe that --
LEHRER: -- set at the national level?
Ms. BLANK: We believe at the national level -- the national government ought to look at the new approaches. Perhaps there ought to be a minimum set of guidelines that -- or a set of guidelines a state can strive for that the national government comes in and puts together and then some incentive money to states to implement model guidelines.
LEHRER: What's wrong with that, Commissioner?
Comm. LIVINGSTON: We feel that our approach is to help prepare the parents and, you know, to work with the local community so that they are making good choices for them when they go seek out day care. Well, right now we're redoing a pamphlet, in view of what's developed in New York and elsewhere in the country with the sex abuse, some guidelines helping parents to know what to look for.
LEHRER: So you are giving them guidelines, you're saying?
Comm. LIVINGSTON: Yes. Not telling the child care centers how to operate, but some suggestions on what parents can look for to avoid some of the pitfalls.
LEHRER: Is that inadequate?
Ms. BLANK: We believe there is a tremendous resource question that we all have to look squarely at in child care today. We have over 50% of mothers of three-year-olds working. The demographics have taken off, and we don't have a system in plece. It isn't a matter of just having parents know what to look for.Parents do need help in knowing what to look for, but you have a resource issue. You have very little funds available for training, and what federal funds were available were cut back. You have child care workers subsidizing the system themselves. You talk about quality. Two out of three of those who work in those day care centers earn poverty level wages. Eighty percent of the women who provide care in family day care homes earn below minimum wages. They subsidize the system themselves, and there's little training available for them. We're talking about an infusion of resources if we want to improve the care we give our children. A tax credit is a resource transfer. If you have money in your pocket, the federal government indeed provides a universal support to all parents, and that's good. But the average woman earns $12,000. She can't pay more than 10% of her income for child care. That's $1,000. Day care in a day care -- day care costs in a center run anywhere from $2,000 to $3,000. Families need more help in buying quality care, and states and localities and day care centers need more help in improving the kind of quality of care in those centers.
LEHRER: And your position is that the problem is so national and so huge that it canonly come from the federal government, is that correct?
Ms. BLANK: It has to come from everyone. I mean, you can't just ask the federal government, but we believe that if you depend on the private sector and parents and states themselves -- and we think that we've seen that we won't have enough resources to deal with this issue.
LEHRER: And you disagree?
Comm. LIVINGSTON: Well, we believe there are many resources also to be considered. One of the primary focuses of the Reagan administration has been to get the private sector involved. Last year we did a series of employer-supported child care luncheons where we took out information to a CEO-sponsored luncheon in various cities trying to get corporations, major corporations in communities involved. And there is a great deal of activity in that field. many local, community-based information and referral services on child care have been established or are being established. Many employers are either providing or looking into employer-supported child care where it's a -- it's a frill -- I mean, a fringe benefit for the employee.
LEHRER: All right, let me just come to the point. I haven't forgotten the point about whether federal funds have or have not been cut. Charlayne said they had, the Commissioner says they haven't. You say they have.
Ms. BLANK: There are a number of different sources of federal money for child care. The largest source of federal money to help lower-income families and moderate-income families who don't have high disposable incomes is the Title XX special services block grant. It was cut 21% in 1982.
LEHRER: All right. You don't -- is that --
Comm. LIVINGSTON: Yes, I already acknowledged that.
LEHRER: That's true. Okay, all right.
Ms. BLANK: And we have found that 34 states are serving less children, or were in 1983, than in 1981.
LEHRER: Because of that?
Ms. BLANK: Yes, and we found states making choices. States who hadn't cut care, like Texas, lowering their standards in order not to serve less children. There's a program, the second largest direct program, provides money to help day care providers in family day care homes and centers buy meals and provide hot meals for children. That program was cut back. It used to be that little children who eat small amounts could get two snacks during the day. They're in day care long periods of time. And now they can only get one snack.
LEHRER: That's a cutback, is it not?
Comm. LIVINGSTON: Overall, though, the Department of Agriculture's program has been increased in terms of dollars, hard dollars.
Ms. BLANK: That program grows in dollars because it is open to all eligible children, but the children who eat are getting less because of the cuts in aid in 1981.
LEHRER: Any other cutbacks, or is that it?
Ms. BLANK: There have been other -- there have been other attempted cutbacks. There was an attempt to cut training funds, which are very important to child care, and the Head Start program by 50%, but Congress instructed the administration not to. There was a move to cut back federal funding for that program Mr. Ward referred to, the child development associate program, and I believe the administration may be reconsidering. But those funds have already been cut by two thirds, and they help improve the quality of care by encouraging providers to get training.
Comm. LIVINGSTON: But Head Start was expanded -- is in the process of an expansion of $74 million right now. We've added -- I can't remember the exact number of children, but --
LEHRER: Well, I'm not sure we clearedall this up, but we tried. Commissioner, thank you; Ms. Blank, thank you.
Comm. LIVINGSTON: Thank you.
Ms. BLANK: Thank you.
HUNTER-GAULT: In Washington the federal court of appeals ruled today that the President does not have the right to exercise his pocket veto when Congress is between sessions. The decision involved a bill that President Reagan vetoed last year which would have linked military aid to El Salvador with progress on human rights there. The vote in the court of appeals was two to one, and the majority did not give its reasons for reversing a lower court decision. An opinion will be published later, but the case is considered likely to go on to the Supreme Court.
Once again, now, the main stories of the day. The government's main guide to the future of the economy showed signs of a slowdown ahead.
The United Automobile Workers threatened a strike against both General Motors and Ford if new contracts are not agreed upon in the next 16 days.
Walter Mondale met with 20 Democratic mayors to organize support for his presidential campaign.
In israel the police stopped Rabbi Meir Kahane from leading a march into an Arab town as part of his campaign to drive Arabs out of the country.
And finally tonight, before Robin went on vacation he prepared a piece that can help us all appreciated more these last few days of summer. Cape Cod's Music Man
ROBERT MacNEIL [voice-over]: If ever a place was invented for summertime, it is this place, Cape Cod, Massachusetts.Each visitor has a different reason for coming here. Some come for the beaches and a chance to eat french fries in the warmth of a Cape Cod afternoon, others to fish or sail. Some just to enjoy the Cape's natural rugged beauty.
But if there is one common denominator, one characteristic that appeals to all who summer here, it is the rich sense of tradition that pervades the Cape. That tradition, that unchanging quality, is perhaps best exemplified by what occurs here, in this park in Chatham. Every summer Friday night as the sum starts to set, the people of the Cape gather to listen to the Chatham Band. They bring their children and balloons, their lawn chairs and their hopes of seeing America as it once was.
The Chatham Band has changed little over the years.Their red uniforms date back to the 1930s. The music they play is even older, and they've had the same conductor since 1946. His name is Whit Tilestone, a tradition in himself, the 78-year-old Tilestone is better known as the music man of Cape Cod.
WHIT TILESTONE, conductor, Chatham Band: The minute I get up on the bandstand I'm still jittery, have been for every one of the 38 years and every one of the Friday nights in 38 years. But the minute I give that downbeat to the opening march, suddenly it's like another world where everything is so beautiful and wonderful, and I just feel good. Realize you're doing something good or people wouldn't turn out the way they do.
But you know, we can't start any program 'til we start it the right way. Hi-de-hi-oh!
Mr. TILESTONE: Well, that wasn't bad. Let's try it one more time. Hi-de-ho.
Mr. TILESTONE: Oh, I love it. With that we go into our theme song.It's band time in Chatham!
[voice-over] I think one of the features of a band that would be most noticeable is the spirit that the band fellows have. They know that we're not a real professional band, but the fellows are giving everything they have, and the whole overall result is wonderful between the band fellows and the audience. Every program for these 38 years I've put together with the idea that it'll appeal to various ages. Like the first period, where I try to cater to the little kiddies.
Oh, I love it. All right, get your head now. "Oh, I put my head right in. I put my head right out. I give my head a shake-shake-shake and turn myself about. Oh, here we go loop-de-loo. Here we go loop-de-la" -- Thattaway to go. [crowd sings] -- "all on a Saturday night."
[voice-over] And then later on, after some band music, then we specialize in waltzes for the older folks.
MacNEIL [voice-over]: As the moon appears on the horizon the crowd keys up for the concluding dance, "The Bunny Hop."
Mr. TILESTONE [voice-over]: That is probably the most spectacular scene. There'll be four or five hundred people dancing the bunny hop. And I tell them exactly what to do, when to do it. They they're on their own. I feel that in many ways people deserve a new face, some really new ideas up there. 'Course, the minute I mention new ideas -- "No, we love it the way it is." So I suppose I'll continue. The band fellows say if I get so I can't walk up there they'll just carry me up on the bandstand.
Hey! I'm proud of you! Beautiful! Thank you!
MacNEIL [voice-over]: The concert ends, as always, right on the dot at 10:00 p.m., and the contented crowd melts away into the summer night, dispersing to the various villages and towns along the Cape. But they'll all be back next Friday night, and so will Whit and the Chatham Band.
HUNTER-GAULT: Good night, Jim.
LEHRER: Good night, Charlayne. We'll see you tomorrow night. I'm Jim Lehrer. Thank you and good night.
- The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour
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- This episode's headline: Mondale: Mending Fences; Jesse Jackson: Mended Fences?; Sagan on New Horizons; Policing Day Care; Cape Cod's Music Man. The guests include In Minneapolis: JAMES McNULTY, Mayor of Scranton, Pennsylvania; In Chicago: Rev. JESSE JACKSON, Former Presidential Candidate; In New York: CARL SAGAN, Director, Laboratory for Planetary Studies; In Washington: DODIE LIVINGSTON, Health and Human Services; HELEN BLANK, Children's Defense Fund. Byline: In New York: CHARLAYNE HUNTER-GAULT, Correspondent; In Washington: JIM LEHRER, Associate Editor; Reports from NewsHour Correspondents: MIKE SPOSITO (Visnews), in Israel; ROBERT MacNEIL, in Chatham, Massachusetts
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