Posts by Susan Saulny, Richard Coolidge and Jordyn Phelps

  • Meet the woman trying to turn the White House Green

    Susan Saulny, Richard Coolidge and Jordyn Phelps at Power Players 4 mths ago

    Power Players

    Most voters will likely never know her name, let alone cast a vote for her at the ballot box, but that’s not deterring Dr. Jill Stein from running for president in 2016.

    Stein was the Green Party’s presidential nominee in 2012 and is expected to announce Friday the she’s exploring another White House bid in 2016.

    Prior to making the announcement, Stein sat down exclusively with “Power Players” to explain why she’s stepping forward as an alternative to the current field of likely presidential contenders that she characterizes as “corrupt and sold out.”

    “There are rules that make it possible for the very rich to buy politicians -- that's what's going on,” Stein said. “There's a horse race around grabbing the money right now, and I think it speaks volumes about what a really sorry state our political system has come to.”

    In her 2012 campaign, Stein received fewer than half a million votes across the country – less than 1 percent of the total popular vote – and was even arrested for trying to get into a televised debate from which she was excluded.

    Stein recalled the arrest – and subsequent holding – as “the most bizarre experience you can imagine.”

  • Meet the ‘Joan of Arc’ of the oceans: Marine biologist warns that ‘the ocean is dying’

    Susan Saulny, Richard Coolidge and Jordyn Phelps at Power Players 10 mths ago

    Power Players

    As a marine biologist, Sylvia Earle has spent more than half a century diving in pursuit of a greater understanding of the oceans. But now, the renowned scientist is concerned that there may be little left to study before too long, warning that “the ocean is dying” at the hands of human destruction.

    “It's taken only a few decades to unravel those very basic systems,” Earle told “Power Players” during an interview at the Smithsonian Natural History Museum’s botany collection. “We're changing the chemistry of the planet, starting with the ocean, well the atmosphere too. It's a big thought that humans have the power to change the nature of nature.”

    Earle points to the disappearance of 50 percent of the world’s coral reefs and the depletion – and in some cases complete extinction – of certain types of ocean life through causes that include over-fishing, the fertilizer runoff from farming, underwater bomb testing and oil spills.

    And in harming the oceans, Earle explained, humankind is disrupting the basic planetary systems on which we rely.

    Her most urgent call to action is to establish the oceanic equivalent of national parks, what Earle calls “Hope Spots.”

  • Chef to the Freedom Riders: How the 'Queen of Creole Cuisine' fed the Civil Rights Movement

    Susan Saulny, Richard Coolidge and Jordyn Phelps at Power Players 11 mths ago

    Power Players

    Chef Leah Chase, or as she’s widely known for her famous New Orleans cooking, the “Queen of Creole Cuisine,” quite literally helped to feed the civil rights movement.

    As the chef and owner of the renowned New Orleans restaurant named after her husband’s father, Dooky Chase’s Restaurant , Chase’s family took great risk in braving the South’s infamous “Jim Crow” laws to allow black and white organizers of the civil rights movement to use the popular restaurant as a safe meeting place.

    “You just did the work you thought you were expected to do,” Chase said. “Anything you thought that could better people, you just did it.”

    Fifty years after the Civil Rights Act was signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson, Chase sat down with “Power Players” to remember the days when Freedom Riders worked from the upstairs level of her restaurant to plan their bus routes through the segregated South.

    “I knew I had to feed them, and I knew I could not do what they were doing,” Chase said. “My whole life, honey, was this restaurant.”

    And in more recent years, word of Chase’s Creole cooking has even spread to presidents. Chase has fed every president since Bill Clinton.

  • Is college worth it? New documentary explores higher education costs and rising student debt

    Susan Saulny, Richard Coolidge and Jordyn Phelps at Power Players 1 yr ago

    Power Players

    At a time when student loan debt exceeds $1 trillion and the cost of college continues to climb to new heights -- outpacing any other goods or services in the U.S. economy -- a new documentary asks the question: Is it worth it?

    “Tuition has risen since 1978 by 1,120 percent, and during that same period state funding for colleges has declined by 40 percent,” filmmaker Andrew Rossi told “Power Players.”

    Rossi’s film “Ivory Tower” traces the ballooning price tag for a college education to a shift in the national political and cultural mindset, by which college has come to be viewed as a private good, rather than a public one.

    “In the ’60’s and ’70’s, conservative governors like Ronald Reagan argued, in Reagan's words exactly, that the states should not subsidize intellectual curiosity,” Rossi said. “There was a real shift in viewing higher [education] as a public good instead to a private good that is giving the graduate the opportunity to earn more money in their lifetimes; and that legacy has really continued on to today.”

    ABC News’ Alexandra Dukakis, Tom Thornton, Nick Greiner and David Girard contributed to this episode.

  • Complicated roots: The story behind Washington's iconic cherry blossom trees

    Susan Saulny, Richard Coolidge and Jordyn Phelps at Power Players 1 yr ago

    Power Players

    Washington’s cherry blossoms have become an iconic image of springtime in the nation’s capital. And while the trees can be appreciated solely for the ethereal beauty they cast on the shores of the Potomac River, the historical roots of the trees are more complicated.

    Ann McClellan, a recognized expert on the trees who has written two books on Washington’s annual festival celebrating the blossoms, told “Power Players” that the first trees given to Washington from Japan in 1910 were a symbol of international friendship.

    “When they gave the gift of trees they were really giving something of themselves, because they were grateful to the United States for brokering the treaty of Portsmouth, which ended the Russo-Japanese War,” McClellan said. “It was the first time Japan was treated as a bona fide member of the international community.”

    The trees were given in honor of then-first lady Helen Taft, wife of the 27 th president William Taft, who had developed an interest in the blossoming trees from her travels to Japan and was working to beautify the park area around today’s tidal basin, which was a swampland at the time.

  • Maya Angelou: Forgiveness is the answer

    Susan Saulny, Richard Coolidge and Jordyn Phelps at Power Players 1 yr ago

    Power Players

    If you thought you knew everything there was to know about Maya Angelou, the writer, think again.

    In her most recent autobiography, “Mom & Me & Mom,” Angelou reveals how she learned to forgive her mother after having been abandoned by her for 10 years as a child, and also describes the time when she was nearly beaten to death.

    Of her mother, Angelou describes how she grew over time to let go of her resentment – progressing from calling her “lady” to instead calling her “mother” – and ultimately forgiving her.

    “She loved me and she respected me,” Angelou told “Power Players,” going on to explain how her mother reacted when she became impregnated at age 16 by a boy whom she did not love.

    “She asked me: ‘do you love him?’ I said ‘No.’ ‘Does he love you?’ I said ‘no,’” Angelou recalled of her conversation with her mother. “She said, ‘Well, we’re not going to ruin three lives because of convention. We are going to have a wonderful baby and a wonderful life.’”

    “I so respected that,” Angelou said. “I was thinking she would kill me or put me out of the house. Love heals you see?”

    Eventually, Angelou would work side-by-side with those same people.