- Rick Klein, Olivier Knox, Richard Coolidge and Jordyn Phelps at Power Players14 hrs ago
Pioneering journalist and author Gail Sheehy made a career out of telling the stories of other people’s lives.
Best known for her 1976 book “Passages,” which the Library of Congress named one of the 10 most influential books of our time, Sheehy is now telling the story of her own life’s journey in a memoir, “Daring: My Passages.”
“It's so much easier to write about other people's lives,” Sheehy told “Top Line” in a recent interview. “I had to actually figure out, what did my life add up to? … But I feel much better on the other end of it. I let go of a lot of guilt. I came to really appreciate people who had been helpful to me along the way.”
Looking back at the arc of her own career, coming up as a woman practicing journalism at a time when the field was largely dominated by men, Sheehy said she would tell her younger self not to be intimidated.
- Susan Saulny, Jordyn Phelps and Ali Dukakis at Power Players2 days ago
The recent killing of an unarmed black teenager by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, sparked a national discussion about racism in America today, but the Wall Street Journal’s Jason Riley says the country is having the wrong conversation.
“Every time we get a Ferguson or a Trayvon Martin, we start talking about relationships between the black community and the police department,” Riley said. “We start talking about racial profiling. We start talking about poverty and unemployment. But I think those are really side issues, and what they're really ducking is the real issue, which is black criminality, black crime rates.”
Riley, who has been dubbed as the “the right’s favorite new race guru” by Salon Magazine, is the author of a provocative new book called "Please Stop Helping Us: How Liberals Make It Harder for Blacks to Succeed" in which he argues that “values and habits” within the black community, not “oppression from a manifestly unjust society,” are to blame for the challenges facing “the black underclass.”
- Jeff Zeleny, Richard Coolidge, Ali Dukakis and Jordyn Phelps at Power Players4 days ago
The Fine Print
Are die-hard Democrats and far-right Republicans inadvertently bankrolling the other party’s campaigns? As it turns out, partisan-charged transactions are taking place every day, and in an unlikely place: The grocery store checkout line.
With 2014 midterm elections now in full swing, how can you avoid filling the opponent's pockets with your bread and butter money? There's now an app for that: BuyPartisan.
“For the first time, we made it easy for people to be able to take a product that they see on their everyday grocery store shelves and be able to take their smart phone and … scan the barcode and instantly be able to figure out whether the political party behind the product that they’re buying matches their own values,” Matthew Colbert, CEO of Spend Consciously, Inc., told “The Fine Print.”
Colbert says the new smartphone application is designed to empower consumers by providing transparent information about the products on their grocer’s shelves. By scanning everyday items ranging from toilet paper to cereals through the smartphone app, BuyPartisan provides shoppers with a comprehensive breakdown of the company’s political profile in a matter of seconds.
- Rick Klein, Olivier Knox, Richard Coolidge and Jordyn Phelps at Power Players7 days ago
Republicans are likely to win control of the Senate in November’s midterm elections, according to projections by the statistical prognosticators at FiveThirtyEight.
“We’re currently projecting that Republicans have a better chance than Democrats to control the Senate, but it's still up for grabs,” FiveThirtyEight political analyst Harry Enten said. “The current number that we're going for is a 62.2 percent chance that Republicans will take control of the United States Senate in November.”
Enten sat down with “Top Line” to discuss FiveThirtyEight’s Senate forecast, which has been updated since this interview’s taping Wednesday, and explained why it tells a story of GOP victory.
“We’re calculating the percentage chance that Republicans will win each seat, and then we're adding up those probabilities, and then we come up with an overall top line,” he said. “We believe that Republicans do have a better chance of controlling the Senate than Democrats.”
From typewriters to Twitter: White House correspondent Ann Compton on making history and covering itJonathan Karl, Richard Coolidge and Jordyn Phelps at Power Players9 days ago
When 27-year-old Ann Compton arrived at the White House as an ABC News television correspondent in 1973, she broke a glass ceiling for women and launched a career that became, by many measures, legendary.
Over 41 years, Compton reported on seven administrations and covered 10 presidential campaigns, visiting all 50 states and six continents with presidents, vice presidents and first ladies. She was the first woman ever to cover the presidency full-time for a major American network.
“To come in as the first woman wasn't that intimidating," Compton told “Politics Confidential” during an interview on the balcony outside the vice president’s ceremonial office overlooking the West Wing. “To come in as somebody who was 26 years old, 27, alongside of colleagues who had been in the motorcade when John Kennedy was shot, or in Panmunjom when the armistice was signed in Korea, I was out of my league.”
She quickly proved her mettle, earning widespread admiration and an Emmy for her reporting on Sept. 11, 2001, when Compton was the only broadcaster aboard Air Force One with President George W. Bush.
- Jeff Zeleny, Richard Coolidge and Jordyn Phelps at Power Players10 days ago
The Fine Print
With foreign policy suddenly on the front burner of domestic politics, Sen. Ted Cruz said it “increases my interest” in changing the direction of the country and running for the White House.
“Foreign policy has risen to the forefront, because it is clear that what we are doing isn’t working,” Cruz told “The Fine Print” during an interview in New Hampshire. “And I do think the American people in November 2014 and also November 2016 are going to be looking for leaders who want to work to restore America’s leadership in the world.”
Cruz stopped short of saying he will definitely seek the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, but is elevating his criticism of President Obama and his strategy for the threat posed by Islamic extremists.
“So far, the president has not demonstrated that he’s taking ISIS seriously,” Cruz said.
Fracking vs. forests: How Sally Jewell squares protecting wilderness with supporting energy industryDavid Kerley, Richard Coolidge and Jordyn Phelps at Power Players11 days ago
If Interior Secretary Sally Jewell had it her way, she’d make her office in the great outdoors.
“This is my favorite office; it's my favorite playground -- one with no walls,” Jewell told “Power Players” during a hike through Maine’s Acadia National Park.
On the 50 th anniversary of the Wilderness Act, which established the protection of 9 million acres worth of wilderness on federal lands, Jewell discussed the balancing act she plays in trying to simultaneously conserve the nation’s precious wilderness, while also tapping into the potential for oil and gas development ventures.
“This job is full of absolutes on both sides -- those that are more involved in just ‘drill, baby, drill, and let's not worry about it,’ and those who believe that we've got to change things overnight,” Jewell said. “And the truth is: we can't have either.”
When it comes to climate change, Jewell said it’s time for non-believers to wake up to the scientific facts.
“I tell them climate change is real,” Jewell said when asked what she says to those who question that climate change is occurring. “The science is very clear, and they need to get on board and move forward.”
- Rick Klein, Olivier Knox, Richard Coolidge and Jordyn Phelps at Power Players14 days ago
If you look to the halls of Congress, you might say that Washington, D.C. doesn’t need another dinosaur.
But the nation’s capital recently welcomed another power-wielding dinosaur to its ranks in the form of a 66-million-year-old Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton. “Top Line” had the opportunity to go face to face with the dinosaur, dubbed “The Nation’s T. rex,” during a recent visit to the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History.
“What we're working on is the Smithsonian's first nearly complete Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton,” Matthew Carrano, curator of Dinosauria at the museum, said during a tour of the Smithsonian’s “Rex Room,” where museum staff are hard at work inspecting the inventory of bones.
Though there are other T. rex specimens already on display elsewhere in the country, this is the first ever nearly complete specimen obtained by the Smithsonian Institution.
“It’s taken us a little while, and we have less-complete specimens of T. rex in the collection, but nothing really worth showing off,” Carrano said. “There are really only a handful of specimens. Today, we know of maybe 20-25 specimens, but it's taken us about a hundred years to get that many.”
- David Kerley, Matt Hosford and Jordyn Phelps at Power Players15 days ago
When you board a commercial flight, there’s a chance the person seated next you is an undercover air marshal.
The undercover federal agents, who work in teams and number in the thousands, pose as ordinary passengers but are trained to respond to the worst-case scenarios on an aircraft, as “Power Players” saw first-hand during a visit to Federal Air Marshal’s training center on the East Coast.
One of the most emphasized aspects of their training is how to respond to a terrorist assault on board a plane. In one role-playing scenario we witnessed, a terrorist pulled a knife on a flight attendant while a second terrorist began attacking passengers. The two designated air marshals in-training sprang into action, opened fire on the terrorists and neutralized the threat.
- Jim Avila, Richard Coolidge and Jordyn Phelps at Power Players17 days ago
Illegal immigration may be a hot-button political issue in Washington, D.C., but for U.S. Border Patrol agent Luis Rodriguez, who works on the front lines of the battle to curb illegal crossings along the U.S.-Mexico border, it is much more than a philosophical debate: It is a daily reality.
In this episode of “Power Players,” Rodriguez takes us along for a patrol on the Rio Grande, along one of the most heavily used routes by which migrants cross illegally into the United States.
“This is a spot that is well known for rocking incidents, especially once it starts getting dark,” Rodriguez warns as the boat speeds through a narrow area of the river. “They throw rocks in front of the boat going 30 mph in one direction.”
While some of the rocks are thrown by mischievous kids, Rodriguez blames some of the incidents on illegal smugglers.
“We are interrupting their business, so they want to take some kind of revenge on us,” he said.