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Soap Opera for Social Change (#601)

Ambitious producers in Kenya hope their TV show can help foster peace amongst the country's tribes. [26 minutes] Closed Captioning

This episode has not aired in the past few months on Iowa Public Television.

PBS Video

Series Description: This series engages viewers with documentary segments and interviews that probe the most important issues facing democracy, including media policy, corporate accountability, civil liberties, the environment, money in politics and foreign affairs. Hosted by award-winning journalist David Brancaccio.

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  • Episode #401

    Investigates where negative political stories come from, how they spread and if they're effective. [26 minutes]

  • Episode #402

    Latino voters may provide the margin of victory or defeat in the presidential election. [26 minutes]

  • Episode #403

    The battle over the identity of the Democratic Party. [26 minutes]

  • Episode #404

    A new course for the religious right? Evangelical voters are rethinking their politics and purpose. [26 minutes]

  • Episode #405

    Are politicians listening to middle class families on the edge of economic collapse? [26 minutes]

  • Episode #406

    A seasoned campaign manager looks at the political battles ahead. What are the candidates' next moves? [26 minutes]

  • Episode #407

    Corporations are taking benefits from workers by calling them "freelancers". [26 minutes]

  • Episode #408

    Will a Bush Administration effort open thousands of acres of public land to private development? [26 minutes]

  • Episode #409

    Inside Democratic strategies -- the challenges from Texas and Ohio to the White House. [24 minutes]

  • Episode #410

    Alex Gibney's film "Taxi to the Dark Side" investigates the use of torture in the war on terror. [26 minutes]

  • Episode #411

    Congress is debating letting companies off the hook for helping the government spy on e-mails. [26 minutes]

  • Episode #412

    A hidden toxin in children's toys -- Why is the U.S. not following the Europeans in banning it? [26 minutes]

  • Episode #413

    Could a new effort to fight global warming save money and create jobs at the same time? [26 minutes]

  • Episode #414

    A look at poor families in Nepal who sell their daughters to work as bonded servants far from home. [26 minutes]

  • Episode #415

    Are the rich getting a sweet deal on taxes? [26 minutes]

  • Episode #416

    Health care crisis: Does Pennsylvania have the answer? [26 minutes]

  • Episode #417

    Children of the rich have a better shot at college than poor kids. Look who's trying to level the field. [26 minutes]

  • Episode #418

    Politics, race and religion -- the primaries enter an explosive phase. [26 minutes]

  • Episode #419

    Corporations are running many Americans prisons - will they put profits before prisoners? [26 minutes]

  • Episode #420

    A radical experiment in education: American universities in the Middle East. [26 minutes]

  • Episode #421

    [26 minutes]

  • Episode #422

    Child prostitution in America - can it be stopped? [24 minutes]

  • Dialogue with Dictators? (#423)

    A military commander's strong opinions cost him his job. [24 minutes]

  • Episode #424

    Is the Army casting aside its neediest soldiers? [26 minutes]

  • Globalization's Downside (#425)

    Will a booming worldwide middle class drive up consumer costs? [26 minutes]

  • Mortgage Makeover (#426)

    Is there a way to keep desperate homeowners in their houses? [26 minutes]

  • Episode #427

    An unemployment epidemic in the Middle East: what does it mean for America? [26 minutes]

  • Episode #428

    Embedded with the Marines in Afghanistan: Can we defeat a resurgent Taliban? [26 minutes]

  • Episode #429

    Former Presidential candidate John Edwards discusses politics and his poverty initiative. [26 minutes]

  • Episode #430

    The scandal involving Alaskan Senator Ted Stevens, bribery and the oil company VECO is investigated. [26 minutes]

  • Inside Pakistan (#431)

    Filmmaker Sabiha Sumar discusses democracy in Pakistan and her interview with President Masharrif. [26 minutes]

  • The U.S.-Mexico Border Fence (#432)

    The U.S.-Mexico border fence -- are private contractors making billions on a project that won't work? [26 minutes]

  • Episode #433

    For-profit health clinics in Kenya weather unrest and attempt to expand the reach of quality care. [26 minutes]

  • Episode #434

    A conservative push to end affirmative action. [26 minutes]

  • Episode #435

    Former Governor Christine Todd Whitman discusses the modern Republican Party and the current race. [26 minutes]

  • Episode #436

    Bishop Harry Jackson and Author Drew Westen discuss the shifting agenda of political evangelicals. [24 minutes]

  • Women, Power and Politics: A Rising Tide? (#437)

    This special on women and political power features special reporting by Maria Hinajosa. [56 minutes]

  • Episode #438

    An inside look at the government's efforts to craft a proposal to bail out the U.S. banking system. [26 minutes]

  • Episode #439

    Follows the presidential campaigns efforts to attract first time voters and Hispanics in New Mexico. [26 minutes]

  • Episode #440

    A close look at America's inadequate transportation network and the toll on suburban commuters. [26 minutes]

  • Episode #441

    A look at how Virginia voters will be making their decisions and an update on the economic crisis. [26 minutes]

  • Episode #442

    The nationwide shortage of trained nurses and its effect on the entire medical system are explored. [26 minutes]

  • Episode #443

    [26 minutes]

  • Episode #444

    Harvard professor and Obama advisor Charles Ogletree provides insight on the new administration. [26 minutes]

  • Episode #445

    These two "green" projects are keeping building materials out of landfills and helping the needy. [26 minutes]

  • Episode #446

    Frank Raiter, formerly of Standard & Poor discusses credit rating agencies and the economic crisis. [26 minutes]

  • Episode #447

    Robert Kuttner, author of "Obama's Challenge" details potential solutions for fixing the US economy. [24 minutes]

  • Episode #448

    Authors Tariq Ali and Hooman Majd discuss America's relationships with both India and Pakistan. [24 minutes]

  • Episode #449

    Focuses on island nations in the South Pacific where climate change is already a menacing reality. [26 minutes]

  • Episode #450

    An organization in Nepal attempts to stop families from selling their daughters as bonded servants. [26 minutes]

  • Episode #451

    A former director at Standard & Poor discusses the credit rating agencies and the economic crisis. [26 minutes]

  • Episode #501

    A hard look at credit card offers and at Congressional legislation aiming to regulate the industry. [26 minutes]

  • Sea Change (#502)

    Dive deep into the sea to learn how climate change is affecting the ocean's currents and chemistry. [26 minutes]

  • Episode #503

    Long-distance transmission lines constructed to carry clean energy in California are investigated. [26 minutes]

  • Episode #504

    The economic crisis is forcing many seniors to reluctantly exit retirement and look for jobs. [26 minutes]

  • Episode #505

    Financial reporter Bethany McLean discusses the options for stabilizing America's financial system. [26 minutes]

  • Episode #506

    Across the country, cities are in crisis because of the fallout from the mortgage mess - property taxes are way down, and abandoned homes are bringing down property values, inviting crime, and draining government coffers. Neighborhoods are being destroyed. Yet the federal bailout money is not going directly to desperate communities and homeowners, but to local and national banks. NOW investigates the innovative way some cities are fighting back. The city of Memphis, Tennessee is suing major national lenders and banks for deceptive and discriminatory lending practices in an effort to recoup the cost of the financial mess. Other cities using this legal tactic include Baltimore, Cleveland, Buffalo, Birmingham, and San Diego. With desperation climbing alongside debt, can the strategy help these blighted parts of America? [26 minutes]

  • Episode #507

    Focuses on President Obama's stimulus money and whether it will be spend in the way it is intended. [26 minutes]

  • Teen Sexual Harassment on the Job (#508)

    Teen sexual harassment in the workplace is investigated and abused teenagers share their own stories [26 minutes]

  • Episode #509

    A look at impact of the struggling economy on the retirement plans of the baby boomer generation. [24 minutes]

  • Episode #510

    How could a struggle over land lead to the brutal murder of an American nun? David Brancaccio interviews award-winning filmmaker Daniel Junge on his latest film "They Killed Sister Dorothy." The documentary focuses on Sister Dorothy Stang, a Catholic nun from Dayton, Ohio, who in 2005 was killed on a muddy road in the Brazilian Amazon she worked tirelessly to save. But it's also the story of peasant farmers hoping to preserve their way of life in the face of powerful industry interests. Who will dare stand up in the battle between the haves and the have nots, and will our world's ecosystem pay the biggest price? "Peasant people...don't have a chance to share in the riches that the planet can offer because some people are taking off so much of the pleasures of this world, and there's only so much to go around," Sister Dorothy said before her death. [24 minutes]

  • Episode #511

    On March 13, financial ministers and central bankers of the world's economic superpowers will meet in London to lay the groundwork for next month's crucial meeting of their country's leaders, known as the G20. Will their work revolutionize the global economy and lift us out of this economic hole, or will politics get in the way? David Brancaccio interviews Kenneth Rogoff, Harvard economics professor and former chief economist of the International Monetary Fund, about how high we should raise our hopes and what's at stake for America and the world. [24 minutes]

  • Episode #512

    The sputtering economy is forcing many to lose their health insurance. Should the government help? [26 minutes]

  • Episode #513

    Focuses on Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio, a controversial figure in the illegal immigration debate. [26 minutes]

  • Episode #514

    Thousands of U.S. troops are getting discharged out of the army. Many suffer from post traumatic stress disorders and brain injuries, and aren't getting the care they need. The Army claims these discharged soldiers have pre-existing mental illnesses or are guilty of misconduct. But health advocates say these are wrongful discharges, a way for the army to get rid of "problem" soldiers quickly, without giving them the treatment to which they're entitled. NOW covered this issue last summer, and we revisit the army's controversial position and follow up with affected soldiers we met. As a result of the media attention from our report and others, the Department of Defense revised its criteria for diagnosing pre-existing conditions and, now, fewer soldiers are receiving the diagnosis, making more of them eligible for care. Also on the show, we update how the distant Pacific nation of Kiribati is dealing with the reality that both their land and culture could disappear from the Earth due to global warming. Kiribati President Anote Tong is now considering purchasing land abroad to save his people. He says his pleas for international support have largely fallen on deaf ears. Experts predict millions of people will become climate change refugees in the years to come. [26 minutes]

  • Episode #515

    Americans are addicted to coal - it powers half of all our electricity, and is both plentiful and cheap. In fact, some call America the "Saudi Arabia of Coal." But are we paying too high an environmental price for all this cheap energy? With carbon emissions caps high on the Obama Administration's agenda, coal is in the crosshairs of the energy debate. On NOW Senior Correspondent Maria Hinojosa travels to Wyoming to take a hard look at the coal industry and its case that it can produce "clean coal" -- coal that can be burned without releasing carbon into the atmosphere. President Obama has been outspoken in his support for "clean coal technology," but some say the whole concept is not much more than a public relations campaign. As part of the report, Hinojosa talks with Wyoming Governor Dave Freudenthal and Jeff Goodell, the author of "Big Coal," who says that carbon dioxide emissions generated from coal contribute to global warming. Can America's cheapest and most plentiful energy resource be produced without burning the environment? Next on NOW. [26 minutes]

  • On Thin Ice (#516)

    Seventy-five percent of the world's fresh water is stored in glaciers, but scientists predict climate change will cause some of the world's largest glaciers to completely melt by 2030. What effect will this have on our daily lives, especially our water and food supply? With global warming falling low on a national list of American concerns, it's time to take a deeper look at what could be a global calamity in the making. In a special one-hour NOW on PBS, David Brancaccio and environmentalist Conrad Anker -- one of the world's leading high altitude climbers - adventure to the Gangotri Glacier in the Himalayan Mountains, the source of the Ganges River, to witness the great melt and its dire consequences first-hand. The two also visit Montana's Glacier National Park to see the striking effects of global warming closer to home and learn how melting glaciers across the world can have a direct impact on food prices in the U.S. Along the way, Brancaccio and Anker talk to both scientists and swamis, bathe in the River Ganges, view a water shortage calamity in India, and see with their own eyes and cameras the tangible costs of climate change. "We can't take climate change and put it on the back burner," warns Anker. "If we don't address climate change, we won't be around as humans." [56 minutes]

  • Episode #517

    A terrible statistic: one in six women will be a victim of rape or attempted rape in her lifetime. But an even more shocking reality: A backlog in processing rape kits - crucial evidence in arresting violent predators - is delaying and sometimes denying justice for tens of thousands of American women. NOW travels to Los Angeles County to investigate why it has the largest known rape kit backlog in the country -- over 12,000 kits are sitting untested in police storage facilities. An internal audit found that more than 50 of these cases have exceeded the 10-year statute of limitations on rape. "The evidence that we're talking about represents human lives," Los Angeles Controller Laura Chick tells NOW. "Those are lives stacked up on the shelves waiting for justice." NOW talks with courageous rape survivors and law enforcement experts for insight and answers in this disturbing but important report. Are these women being victimized twice? Next on NOW. [26 minutes]

  • Episode #518

    How is Secretary of Education Arne Duncan going to spend $100 billion in stimulus money - almost twice the education budget -- to fix our nation's schools? During his seven years running Chicago's public schools, Duncan went head to head with the teacher's union and skeptical parents by closing down low-performing schools, getting rid of all the teachers, principals, even the janitors, and reopening them with new staffs as "turnaround schools." It's a drastic step, but the results have been promising. NOW travels to Chicago to investigate the collateral damage of a top-to-bottom school makeover, and to get a glimpse of what the future of education might look like for the rest of the country. "We have to be willing to experience a little bit of pain and discomfort, but our children desperately need it and deserve it," Secretary Duncan tells NOW. "Just as we have to do it, unions have to change, principals have to change, teachers have to change, parents have to step up... business as usual is not going to get us there." Do we need to gut our public schools in order to save them? [26 minutes]

  • Episode #519

    How do we fight both the swine flu pandemic and our fear of it? NOW's David Brancaccio sits down with one of the most prominent figures in world health to find out. Dr. Larry Brilliant is an epidemiologist, former chief philanthropist at Google.org, and was a central figure in the World Health Organization's successful small pox eradication program. The two discuss how high tech tools are making it easier for scientists to detect global outbreaks, the critical importance of early detection and early response, and how the current pandemic has yet to show its real hand. "Anyone who tells you that they know that this is a mild pandemic, and the WHO has overreacted, they don't know. Anyone who tells you that the WHO and CDC have underestimated it, they don't know," Brilliant tells NOW. "We're all going to find out at the same time...we're all in it together." The show also features vital insight from Dr. Nathan Wolfe, a Stanford University epidemiologist who specializes in hunting viruses to their source. [26 minutes]

  • Episode #520

    Travel to the Democratic Republic of the Congo to witness the largest U.N. peacekeeping operation. [26 minutes]

  • Episode #521

    Sheds light on Saudi Arabia's successful approach to dealing with terrorists without torture. [26 minutes]

  • Episode #522

    Environmental activist Van Jones thinks green jobs may create a new career frontier for America. [25 minutes]

  • Episode #523

    A hard look at the secretive journey food takes from processing plants to customers' dinner tables. [24 minutes]

  • Episode #524

    The murder of Dr. George Killer and its impacting on doctors and abortion rights are investigated. [26 minutes]

  • Episode #525

    According to the Department of Education, the average amount of an undergraduate student loan in this country is now more than $22,000. And sudden changes in lenders' terms and rates can quickly turn a personal debt into a financial sinkhole, grounding the dreams of many college graduates even before they've started. NOW follows the story of a single mother in Baltimore trying to dig herself out of a $70, 000 student loan debt. While issues of personal responsibility are debated, there's no question the high price of higher education is creating an ocean of student loan debt for people who can least afford it -- and yet another frustrating complication for America's economic recovery. [26 minutes]

  • Episode #526

    Homeless advocate Max Rameau encourages illegal homeless "squatting" in foreclosed homes in Miami. [26 minutes]

  • Episode #527

    The controversial border fence between the U.S. and Mexico and the new climate bill are explored. [26 minutes]

  • Peace and Prosperity for the West Bank? (#528)

    Tony Blair discusses the international effort to build a safe Palestinian state from the ground up. [26 minutes]

  • Inside Israel's Army (#529)

    Reservists in Israel's military discuss the impact of constant war on their lives and world view. [26 minutes]

  • Wall Street Reform and You (#530)

    Explores the Obama Administration's proposal for financial regulatory reform and its ramifications. [26 minutes]

  • Fighting Child Prostitution (#531)

    A look at an aggressive campaign in Atlanta aimed at helping young prostitutes escape exploitation. [24 minutes]

  • Power Struggle (#532)

    Conservationists and California state officials clash over methods of increasing renewable energy. [24 minutes]

  • Episode #533

    Howard Dean discusses possible solutions to the health care calamity caused by the economic crisis. [26 minutes]

  • Episode #534

    Rape survivors and law enforcement experts discuss Los Angeles County's disturbing rape kit backlog. [26 minutes]

  • Episode #535

    The needs, challenges and solutions for transporting vital cargo across America are explored. [26 minutes]

  • Episode #536

    A look at a government plan that may detain suspects indefinitely without trial or formal charges. [26 minutes]

  • Episode #537

    Boston-based Partners in Health is helping doctors deliver medicine door-to-door in rural Rwanda. [26 minutes]

  • Episode #538

    Shady surrogacy services that defraud hopeful couples and victimize mothers are investigated. [26 minutes]

  • Episode #539

    An unprecedented collaboration of PBS programs investigate health care reform in America [26 minutes]

  • Nurses Needed (#540)

    A soldier's-eye view of the war from Afghanistan's southern Helmand Province in the summer of 2008. [26 minutes]

  • Episode #541

    End of life discussions between seniors and doctors is now a flash point in the health care debate. [26 minutes]

  • Episode #542

    A look at the strains the nationwide shortage of nurses is placing on the entire medical system. [26 minutes]

  • Episode #543

    As world leaders prepare to discuss climate change, innovative solutions in Bangladesh are explored. [26 minutes]

  • Episode #544

    The Danish government is working to put as many Danish families into electric cars as possible. [26 minutes]

  • Episode #545

    Columnist David Sirota discusses Obama's successes and failures and the 2009 election results. [26 minutes]

  • Episode #546

    Elizabeth Warren heads the congressional panel overseeing how the bailout money is being spent. [26 minutes]

  • Episode #547

    Reveals how little has been done to help family members who care for veterans with brain injuries. [26 minutes]

  • Episode #548

    President Nasheed of the Maldives discusses how climate change may put his country underwater. [24 minutes]

  • Episode #549

    As Congress hammers out legislation that will determine the future of health care in this country, NOW travels to the nation's heartland to see what reform could mean for the middle class. NOW Senior Correspondent Maria Hinojosa meets two tight-knit Oklahoma families whose problems with private health insurance left them unable to get proper medical care -- and on the brink of financial ruin. One of those families - the O'Reillys -- grapples with the issue of how to cover needed respiratory therapy treatment for their eight-year-old daughter, Sophie, who was denied coverage for what the insurance company labeled a "pre-existing condition." "People pretty frequently say, 'Oh, you know, my plan works great for me'," says Sophie's mother Natalie O'Reilly." And my answer to that is -- insurance works really well until you need it. Until you really, truly need it." [24 minutes]

  • Episode #550

    A look at America's significant troop buildup in Guam and its impact on the island's infrastructure. [26 minutes]

  • Episode #551

    In rural Rwanda, medical house calls are improving the community's health and helping the economy. [26 minutes]

  • Episode #552

    Follow a single mother in Baltimore as she tries to dig herself out of a massive student loan debt. [26 minutes]

  • Episode #602

    An inside look at Pakistan's dangerous border with Afghanistan, where al Qaeda leaders are based. [26 minutes]

  • Episode #603

    The authors of "The Death and Life of American Journalism" discuss saving noncommercial journalism. [26 minutes]

  • Episode #604

    The Pentagon estimates that as many as one in five American soldiers are coming home from war zones with traumatic brain injuries, many of which require round-the-clock attention. But lost in the reports of these returning soldiers are the stories of family members who often sacrifice everything to care for them. NOW reveals how little has been done to help these family caregivers, and reports on dedicated efforts to support them. [26 minutes]

  • Episode #605

    Keeping mothers alive during childbirth has been a daunting task in Haiti, even before the quake. [26 minutes]

  • Episode #606

    Experts question if Democrats will negotiate away reproductive rights for other political gains. [26 minutes]

  • Episode #607

    A new film focuses on Nicholas Kristof's reporting on the crisis in Haiti for the New York Times. [26 minutes]

  • Episode #608

    Examines the strong impact angst and dissatisfaction among voters is having on electoral politics. [26 minutes]

  • Episode #609

    Conservationists and ranchers face off over the number of gray wolves in and around Yellowstone. [26 minutes]

  • Episode #610

    "Food, Inc." director Robert Kenner discusses the impact of contemporary food processing on health. [24 minutes]

  • Episode #611

    Change will cause some of the world's largest glaciers to completely melt by 2030. What effect will this have on our daily lives, especially our water and food supply? With global warming falling low on a national list of American concerns, it's time to take a deeper look at what could be a global calamity in the making. David Brancaccio and environmentalist Conrad Anker -- one of the world's leading high altitude climbers - trek to the Gangotri Glacier in the Himalayan Mountains, the source of the Ganges River, to witness the great melt and its dire consequences first-hand. The two also visit Montana's Glacier National Park to see the striking effects of global warming closer to home and learn how melting glaciers across the world can have a direct impact on food prices in the U.S. Along the way, Brancaccio and Anker bathe in the River Ganges, view a water shortage calamity in India, and see with their own eyes and cameras the tangible costs of climate change. "We can't take climate change and put it on the back burner," warns Anker. "If we don't address climate change, we won't be around as humans." [24 minutes]

  • Episode #612

    There are places in the world where the success of a soap opera is measured not just in TV ratings, but in human lives. NOW travels to Kenya, where ambitious producers and actors hope one such TV show, "The Team", can help foster peace amongst the country's 42 official tribes. During presidential elections two years ago, tribalism-influenced protests in Kenya left almost 1,500 dead and nearly 300,000 displaced. Tensions continue today over issues including extreme poverty and widespread corruption. In "The Team", soccer players from different tribes work together to overcome historic rivalries and form a common bond. The hope is that commonalities portrayed in fiction can inspire harmony in the real world. Early reaction to the show's inaugural season is promising. "I was very surprised to see how Kenyans want change, how they want to live in peace and the way the responded to us," Milly Mugadi, one of the show's stars, noted during a local screening. "There were people from different tribes talking about peace and how to reconcile with each other... they opened up their hearts." John Marks, whose organization Common Ground produces versions of "The Team" in 12 different countries, is cautiously hopeful. "You don't watch one of our television shows and drop your submachine gun," explains Marks, who says he was inspired by the influence of "All in the Family" on American culture. "But you can change the environment so it becomes more and more difficult to be in violent conflict." [24 minutes]

  • Episode #613

    Josh Fox discusses "Gasland," a documentary on the surprising consequences of natural gas drilling. [26 minutes]

  • Episode #614

    The Sheridan Correctional Center is the largest fully dedicated drug prison in the country. [26 minutes]

  • Episode #615

    Braddock, Pennsylvania Mayor John Fetterman takes unconventional approaches to reinventing the town. [26 minutes]

  • Episode #616

    NOW looks back on eight years of in-depth investigative reporting to examine what's been uncovered. [26 minutes]

  • The Wars (#617)

    A look back at Iraq and Afghanistan reveals insight about the dangerous and tricky road ahead. [26 minutes]

  • Issues and Insight (#618)

    A look back at economic hardships, health care, environmental crises and more 21st century issues. [26 minutes]

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