Researchers Recover Last Piece Of Ship At 9/11 Site

Last summer, the remains of what seemed to be an 18th century ship were found at the construction site of the World Trade Center. Earlier this month, archaeologists excavated the last piece of that ship. Robert Siegel speaks with Michael Pappalardo, who's been working at the site as an archeologist with the firm AKRF.

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MICHEL MARTIN, host: I'm Michel Martin, and this is TELL ME MORE, from NPR News. It's time for our weekly visit to the Barbershop, where the guys talk about what's in the news and what's on their minds.

Sitting in the chairs for a shape-up this week are author Jimi Izrael, sports reporter Pablo Torre, syndicated columnist Ruben Navarrette, and new to the shop, communications strategist, former Obama administration communications staffer, Corey Ealons.

Take it away, Jimi.

JIMI IZRAEL: Thanks, Michel. Hey, fellas, welcome to the shop. How we doing?

RUBEN NAVARRETTE: What's up?

PABLO TORRE: Good to be here.

COREY EALONS: Thank you for letting me in the house. I appreciate it.

IZRAEL: Oh, man. Come on. Wake up, everybody.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

MARTIN: Late night.

IZRAEL: Wow, Corey.

MARTIN: Late night, the big speech, the big game.

EALONS: Hey, I'm in southern California. I'm glad they have the lights on, I tell you.

IZRAEL: Right. We are, too, over here, but anyway, for different reasons. Corey, my man, thanks for joining us, and welcome to the shop.

EALONS: I appreciate it. Glad to be here.

IZRAEL: All right. Well, let's get started with the president's speech last night. President Obama announced a nearly $450 billion plan to jumpstart job growth. Now, that's a lot of money, Michel.

MARTIN: You know, it is a lot of money. And, of course, it's the day after a big rollout of an announcement. You want to talk about the substance, but you have to talk about the politics, too. And the president, you know, actually, unusually, it seems to me, actually went right at the politics in the speech last night.

I'll just play a short clip, where he talked about the fact that, you know, there are philosophical differences underlying the approach that people think we should take to the economy. But he says, you know, elections are how we settle that. But guess what, folks? The election's a while away, and we don't have time. This is what he had to say about that.

(SOUNDBITE OF SPEECH)

President BARACK OBAMA: And maybe some of you have decided that those differences are so great that we can only resolve them at the ballot box, but know this. The next election is 14 months away, and the people who sent us here, the people who hired us to work for them, they don't have the luxury of waiting 14 months.

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

IZRAEL: Wow. Thanks for that, Michel. You know, I like the urgency. I like the urgency in his voice, man. It sounds like he...

TORRE: It's new. I like it.

IZRAEL: Yeah, yeah. It sounds like he's been hanging out in the Barbershop, you know. I mean, you know what I'm saying? But, you know, it comes across - look, I like to hear a little bit of emoting. You know, he keeps conveying his agenda in a forceful way. It's a little tardy. You know, I guess I'll take it, but you know, he had some difficulty capturing the imagination of the gallery.

You know, you had Democrat Jim Moran, reportedly, was reading a newspaper. And, you know, and, of course, there was - Jessie Jackson, Jr. was studying - was also reportedly studying the fine painting work on the ceiling. So, you know, I don't know. It might be too little, too late.

Thanks for that one, Michel. Ruben.

NAVARRETTE: Yo.

IZRAEL: I know you must have a take. Right?

NAVARRETTE: Now, come on. I mean, come on.

IZRAEL: You've been critical of the president's efforts. What do you think of the plan?

NAVARRETTE: Yeah. You know, as I've said before, I'm not alone in that regard. One of the president's big problems is the crumbling of his liberal base and people who have previously support him who just think he caves in too easily, doesn't fight hard enough, and a variety of other criticisms they have about him.

This is really bizarre. Here, you have a president who comes forward and says: This is really urgent. We really have to get on this. We can't wait 14 months. This is a president who waited 30 months to have this speech, as making Jimi's point. I mean, this is a - he finally got around to this idea, and suddenly, it's urgent that we get it done now. It wasn't urgent over the last 30 months.

I think the problem with the president isn't the policy. I think a lot of what he had to say was good, and it is good. But the era is so toxic, it's so polluted because people in that gallery - particularly the Republicans - they see him as somebody who has constantly criticized them, made them out to be the enemy, demonized them, not worked with them on health care, marginalized them and been dishonest in his dealings with them.

And then his response in an economic crisis is to take all the spending he's already given - by the way, by the way, spending for which he has been criticized by elements of the black community, because a lot of that spending went to Wall Street. A lot of spending didn't make its way to Main Street and to urban neighborhoods, right. So he takes the spending and his doubles down. He says, we need more spending.

And let me just end with this contradiction. Republicans, I think, deserve a spanking, as follows: This contradiction that Republicans have, they go around and say - like Rick Perry said in the debate the other day - that a president can't create a single job. That's what they say. That's their line. But they criticize Obama for criticizing - creating jobs. That's a contradiction, right?

Well, likewise, Obama has a glaring contradiction, because we have come on this show, you know, for the last two-and-a-half years, and I have heard supporters and others say about Obama, the president can't do much to improve the economy, no matter who the president is.

And now we're told that he can miraculously create all these jobs. I mean, both sides are guilty of some serious BS, because they say what's convenient at the moment that suits their agenda, but tomorrow, they'll be saying something else. xxx I mean both sides are guilty of some serious BS because they, they say what's convenient at the moment that suits their agenda, but tomorrow they'll be saying something else.

IZRAEL: Ruben's taking the Republicans out to the woodshed and get all James Evans on them. My man, Corey.

NAVARRETTE: Right on.

IZRAEL: Now, you are the former director of African-American Media for the Obama White House. Now, members of the Congressional Black Caucus and some other folks says he's not doing enough for African-Americans who are out of work. Do you think, you know, we got a clear answer now last night?

EALONS: I think what you saw from the president last night is he brought a lot of energy, he brought a lot of focus, he brought a lot of specifics.

IZRAEL: Right.

EALONS: And again, he brought policies that are going to help the broad swath of the American people; that includes African-Americans. And when you take a look at the specifics of what he put on the table, dealing with unemployment insurance, making sure that small businesses have incentives through taxes to hire more folks and bring them into their shops, that is going to directly impact the African-American community because they're the ones who have been this disproportionately impacted by the economy and by what's been going on right now.

So I think what you heard last night was a level of specifics, a level of energy, a level of excitement that is going to energize the African-American community and give them hope and faith that this president is going to come through for them.

MARTIN: You know, it's interesting though that people keep saying, oh, you know, black folks are losing faith in the president. One of the things that's been surprising to me is given how bad the economic numbers are that African-Americans, the polls show, are still among the most optimistic about their futures. And that is remarkable. And you have to...

EALONS: It really is extraordinary.

MARTIN: You have to wonder what that's about.

IZRAEL: Yeah, but those types of people want Arsenio to be back on television too.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

IZRAEL: So I don't know if those people count.

MARTIN: You know, just let me say one other thing about this, people talking on both sides, and I think Ruben made an important point, to have people criticize the president saying, you know, he doesn't know how to create jobs. But oh, by the way, you know, the government doesn't create jobs. The government does create jobs. I mean one of the interesting, I think, talking points that's going to emerge in the course of this presidential campaign is how much of the job growth in Texas and Massachusetts is actually due to government spending.

EALONS: Mm-hmm.

MARTIN: You know, there's evidence that most of the job growth in Texas, which Governor Rick Perry leads, is due to government spending, federal spending. And in Massachusetts, you know, it's true that Mitt Romney is taking it on the chin from the Republican base for supporting, you know, the health care initiative that later became kind of the model for the federal one. But guess who paid the bill? The federal government.

EALONS: Absolutely.

MARTIN: So that's one of those questions that's going to have to be answered. And only other point I'd make on this is that the public sector is the primary employer of African-American men. It's the second most important employer of African-American women. So this really does hit close to home, whether people will understand that or not for specific communities. It doesn't affect every community the same way. Anyway, I know, Pablo, you want to get it.

TORRE: Yeah. I mean what I was going to say was I thought the window dressing was good. You know, he was more rousing, more passionate, jobs the right focus, obviously rebranding it that way, infrastructure makes a tremendous amount of sense. For me, though, I mean speaking to sort of Ruben's point, in a slightly different way about the toxic environment, I mean this isn't going to pass, right. I mean the House is not going to pass this, at least not in the current form.

NAVARRETTE: Right.

EALONS: Right.

TORRE: And so for me it's kind of like oh, Obama, you know, it's like taking sort of a principled stand here, but you still had the sense, you know, I think his liberal base will criticize him for saying why didn't you advocate for more? I mean it's not nearly large enough, it seems, to make a true impact spending-wise. And so you have this sort of sheen still, to me at least, that it sounds - an attempt to make a transaction with the Republican Party when that's just off the table at this point.

NAVARRETTE: Here, you know, let me, this is Ruben again. Let me just jump in on this. I think that Pablo's right. This is a free shot. You know, this is a...

TORRE: Yeah.

NAVARRETTE: ...a sports metaphor. This is a free shot, because he's right. Most people are just going to focus on the election. Those Republicans out there who are sitting in that audience and Republicans around the country do not want this president to succeed. They never did.

IZRAEL: Mm-hmm.

NAVARRETTE: And they are looking for the next election. Their answer to the economy is defeat Obama, put in somebody who I will say actually knows what he's doing. The question isn't color anymore, it's competence, you know? This is a guy who, the criticism goes - and I think some of it is warranted - is just out of ideas in the same way that Bush 41 was out of ideas in 1992 and had to be replaced by Bill Clinton. So in that regard, they're never going to give him this jobs package. And so this is a free shot. He gets to propose anything he wants and then when it doesn't pass, he gets to blame the Republicans for not passing it.

TORRE: Exactly.

(SOUNDBITE OF CROSSTALK)

EALONS: Here's the thing, real quick, that we have to see.

It's not just about the speech though, it's about the follow-through. What is the president, what is the White House going to do to actually drive this agenda now that they've announced it to the American people and had it on such a big stage? So what do you see? You see the president going out today, taking it to the streets in Eric Cantor's district in Virginia. That's not a small thing. Not only - and he's following the advice that he's been given by a number of folks; take this story to Republican districts...

NAVARRETTE: Yeah.

EALONS: ...and dare those guys to say we don't want bridges built. We don't want our people to have jobs. He's taken that to Eric Cantor and you've seen Eric Cantor's rhetoric be a little bit milder over the past couple of days, looking for areas of common ground. So it's working.

MARTIN: I bet one common ground is, I bet, Ruben, I bet that that line about needing to get that infrastructure back up was resonating with you, if you indeed heard it...

NAVARRETTE: Right.

MARTIN: ...when you were among the 1.4 million households who were affected by the major blackout.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

MARTIN: You're thinking infrastructure, right. Yeah. I'm for that.

NAVARRETTE: You have no idea how dependent you are on something simple like electricity, right, for everything. And suddenly you have no WiFi because the router goes down. You have no lights. You have no anything. You can't turn on the stove or the oven and you can't go down to put the gas in your car or go down to the supermarket.

MARTIN: But can I ask you this though? Were you all afraid that it was a...

NAVARRETTE: Sounds like Reagan-era America.

MARTIN: ...terrorist threat?

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

MARTIN: No Ruben, seriously. Serious question. Did you initially, were you guys afraid that it was a terrorist attack?

NAVARRETTE: No. No, I think...

MARTIN: Or did you realize it was worker error or whatever?

NAVARRETTE: I think that the first thought is - and for the longest time - is that we're just overrunning the air conditioning. It was a hot day in California. We've suffered through rolling blackouts before in California because of hot days and everybody turning on the air conditioning. It turns out that it was not that, but that's sort of the first thought it goes to. And then you start thinking to yourself, wait a minute, it's a hot day but it's September. Shouldn't this have happened, you know, on a hot day in July?

MARTIN: Yeah.

NAVARRETTE: But we - I'll tell you one positive thing, Michel and I thought about this, believe it or not, you know, when you have nothing else to do and no television and nothing, you have to go outside. It's cooler outside. And so all the neighbors go outside. And the neighbors congregate outside. And it's this wonderful thing where you get to know your neighbor again and you begin to confront this idea that so many people who live, not just in the suburbs but around the country, you go home after a long day, you bring down the garage door, okay, and then you go do your business inside and you never necessarily get together with your neighbors anymore and go out there and associate with folks. And people were doing that last night and it just tells you how incredibly dependent we are with all these little electronic toys that I worship. I can't do without them, but it's sad. It's a nice change. An actual reminder of what it was like back in the day.

MARTIN: If you're just joining us, well, this is what it's like in the Barbershop. We get together. We hang out. We visit. We talk.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

NAVARRETTE: Yeah.

MARTIN: ..TEXT: I think we should talk about the GOP debate. We only have about five minutes left and I know that people want to talk about that. You know, who impressed you, Jimi?

IZRAEL: Well, you know, I like Governor Perry, man. I like his hubris. He's trying to get his Biden on before he even has any real steam behind him.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

IZRAEL: I mean my man, my man, you know, and the whole thing is...

TORRE: Throwing bombs.

IZRAEL: Yeah. I'm saying, you want to wait until you get some good steam behind you before you just start popping crazy like Joe Biden.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

IZRAEL: But my man, he's like, you know, forget about it. I'm going to put my crazy right out front so you can see...

(SOUNDBITE OF CROSSTALK)

TORRE: I am Galileo, that's what he says.

IZRAEL: I have no sense at all. I have no he - he's like the Tracy Morgan of the GOP. I love that. I love that kind of thing.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

NAVARRETTE: You can see Mitt Romney leaning over and saying, Rick, are you sure you want to pull like Romney and just sort of like, you know, dodge the question altogether or not to say anything controversial? I can't remember one thing that Mitt Romney said.

MARTIN: You've interviewed Rick Perry, right?

NAVARRETTE: I have. I know Rick Perry. I've interviewed him and I think, you know, pretty much, you know, what you see is what you get. I think he's very provocative in the stuff that he says. The conversation, Michel, just on Social Security alone, I mean I found it interesting that here you have all these people up there not wanting to talk about how insolvable Social Security is for younger people and he comes out and says it and then they say, well, you used the word Ponzi scheme, shame on you. He should've turned around and said, what world do you people live in? I mean this is fantasyland? Are you guys are saying that somehow the program is sustainable? So he's very provocative and to that regard he's very refreshing.

But I can't remember one thing that Mitt Romney has said now in two different elections that are memorable. This is a guy who unfortunately kind of in a John Kerry way talks and talks and talks and talks but doesn't say anything because he usually doesn't want to stick his neck out. He's just so incredibly careful and that's one thing you're not going to get from Rick Perry; he ain't careful.

MARTIN: How about Corey? Corey who is the White House most worried about? Is it Perry?

EALONS: I will tell you, I think that Perry is going to be formidable if he gets the nomination, primarily because of what was just offered. He's somebody who will go out, who will speak the truth in air quotes, and people tend to like that, especially in Republican primaries. So I think the White House is concerned about him. But I think mostly they're concerned about Mitt Romney. Mitt Romney...

MARTIN: Really? Why?

EALONS: I think he comes across as a moderate, even though their job ultimately is to uncover the radical right-wing ideals that he has. But I think he comes across as a moderate and I think, you know, he has all the intangibles. He has the look. He has the speech. And I think he matches up well against Obama in a debate.

MARTIN: Interesting. Well, we want to save some time to talk about the real reason we all turned on our TVs last night, the NFL game. Football.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

EALONS: Amen. Amen.

MARTIN: Pablo. Pablo, the last two Super Bowl champions faced off at Lambeau Field with the Packers coming out on top. The Packers went to work, right? Didn't they? They went to work.

TORRE: Completely. And, you know, I was waiting. Luckily, Obama obviously moved the speech before it. But I was waiting for Obama to schedule in pauses where he goes, and the Packers have just got in a third down.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

TORRE: And just sort of keep him them updated intermittently. But I mean it's the NFL's world. I mean we've all been waiting for this. ESPN, notably, before this game had a new deal done with the NFL, $1.9 billion annually, which is more than any league ever in history for a TV contract, and last night was sort of the prime product on display. I mean it wasn't offensive feast, 876 yards of offense, fourth and goal in the last play, and you had everybody on Twitter at bars saying God bless the NFL, it's back. And so...

MARTIN: Records broken. There was one, that one long carry, right, after they kicked off....

(SOUNDBITE OF CROSSTALK)

TORRE: Returning it for 108 yards. It'll be really interesting to see how the season plays out.

MARTIN: But I didn't watch it all. I don't care at all, right?

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

TORRE: Yeah. Right.

MARTIN: All right. Quickly. Who do we like for the Super Bowl? I'm going to put everybody - I know, isn't it horrible when you do that? Somebody at the beginning of the season wants to put you on the spot? Corey?

EALONS: Well, I got to tell you, after last night you got to go with Green Bay to repeat. I mean they were extraordinary, the quarterback did a great job, and I think they have everything they need to go back.

MARTIN: Ruben?

NAVARRETTE: I think it's a safe bet. I'm going to answer it this way. Indianapolis is in a bad way with Peyton Manning out, so that's going to change the dynamic out there for all the other teams in that conference. But hope springs eternal. Oakland Raiders, baby, this is our year.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

MARTIN: No. No. All right, Pablo, who do you like? Could you say?

TORRE: I'm going to go with the Eagles and Barbershop favorite Michael Vic, my guy.

MARTIN: All right. Jimi, you've got the last word.

IZRAEL: I'm going to rock with The Bears. I'll pray for the Browns but...

TORRE: Come on, Jimi.

NAVARRETTE: Hope springs eternal.

MARTIN: And Arsenio...

IZRAEL: Yeah, I know. Right. Right.

MARTIN: And Arsenio really is - must be coming back, right?

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

MARTIN: Jimi Izrael is a freelance journalist and author of the book "The Denzel Principle." He joined us from member station WCPN in - guess where? Cleveland. Ruben Navarrette is a syndicated columnist who writes for the Washington Post Writers Group, Latino magazine and Pajamas Media. He was with us from San Diego. Pablo Torre writes for Sports Illustrated. He joined us from NPR studios in New York. And Corey Ealon is a senior vice president of the strategic communications firm VOX Global, the former director of African-American Media for the Obama administration. He was here with us, guess where? Washington, D.C. Thank you all do much.

TORRE: Thank you.

EALONS: Thanks a lot.

NAVARRETTE: Thank you.

IZRAEL: Yup-yup.

MARTIN: And that's our program for today. I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Let's talk more on Monday.

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