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tv   Andrea Mitchell Reports  MSNBC  December 3, 2014 9:00am-10:01am PST

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and a mother of twins is stabbed to death in abu dhabi. now the hunt is on for her killer captured on security video. pregnant pause, the case of a former u.p.s. worker who claims illegal discrimination during her pregnancy. >> they basically told me, go home, we don't have anything you can do until you're no longer pregnant because you're a liability. immigration jam. president obama tries to jumpstart congressional action today while brian williams slow jams the issue with jimmy fallon and the roots. >> the president has defended his decision arguing that he would've preferred to have congress pass a permanent immigration bill which he said he would gladly sign, but instead, they have yet to take action. so the president felt he had to do it himself. >> mmm mmm mmm. take it from my man breezy wheezy.
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good day, everyone, i'm andrea mitchell in washington where there's a lot of news today. the supreme court heard oral arguments this morning in a case that could have big impact on tens of millions of women across the country. at issue is the case of peggy young, a former u.p.s. worker who requested a temporary transfer back in 2006 to light duty. so she wouldn't have to lift heavy packages while pregnant. as advised by her doctor. but u.p.s. refused and young had to take an unpaid leave of absence losing her medical insurance. she spoke a short time ago outside the court. >> i want all of the women out there to know that you have a voice, and you need to use it. we want to start our families, we should be able to start our families and continue work at the same time. >> is it workplace discrimination? should companies be required to make accommodations for workers who cannot perform on the job because of pregnancy? joining me now, nbc justice
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correspondent pete williams from the supreme court. new america foundation liza mundy here in the studio. >> reporter: how far does it go? it clearly says an employer can't deny someone a pay or promotion or different job or favorable treatment just because they're pregnant. but what if a pregnant worker can't do the same job and requests light duty? that's what happened with peggy young. she got pregnant, her doctor said she shouldn't lift anything more than 20 pounds. she worked for u.p.s. she says i can still do my job picking up light packages at the airport. somebody else can help me with the really heavy ones, but u.p.s. said no, basically, your pregnancy is a liability. now, what her lawyers are claiming is basically this. u.p.s. is discriminating because it does make some accommodations for workers who have some on-the-job injury or off the job injury, or medical condition that temporarily makes it impossible for them to do their
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job. so they say if a company makes any distinctions like that, it certainly can't deny them to pregnant workers. the question for the court here, it did seem clear, andrea, that the three women were on peggy young's side. the question is, will they get to five? i'm not sure about that. the court, even justice breyer who you'd normally expect to perhaps join on something like this says i don't know where you draw the line. if the employer makes any exceptions at all, say allows light duty for any workers at all, does it have to give it to the pregnant workers or only if it's a big class of workers. and how do you draw the line? that seemed to be what was puzzling the court today. >> and liza, you've written about this. where do you draw the line? and, obviously, millions of women are affected by this. there is a 1978 law barring discrimination on the basis of pregnancy. >> right. so the question is, what is discrimination? and, you know, another factor in this case is that the u.p.s.
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would also give accommodations to people who had lost their licenses for drunk driving. so the idea that pregnant women somehow don't deserve those same kinds of conversations, same kind of accommodations seems -- well, let's just say that u.p.s. has changed the policy now. >> u.p.s. changed the policy after this case first came up. one of the issues that she had raised previously, her lawyers had raised is that u.p.s. would say if a driver lost his driver's license because of dui, they could get another assignment and not have to drive during that interim period. and that's obviously something very different from a pregnancy. >> reporter: what u.p.s. said today in court when asked about that today, andrea, they did not make light duty exceptions, though, of -- sure, they say the company said, yes, we made some
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accommodations for people like that. but not allowing someone who works for a package delivery company basically to say you can't lift heavy packages. they would give them other kinds of duties, answering the phone, that kind of thing, but there wasn't that accommodation available for her. couple of other things, andrea, the federal government's in a funny position here. initially, it took the same side as u.p.s. did, then it changed its mind when the eeoc, the equal employment opportunities commission came up with new rules earlier this year. but guess what, one of the largest employers, the u.s. postal service still follows the same kind of policy that u.p.s. used to follow. so that if peggy young were working for the postal service, she would have been treated the same way probably that u.p.s. did. >> does that create a real problem for the solicitor general representing the federal government here? >> well, it's my understanding -- >> it didn't put him in a position where he was very comfortable. >> and liza -- >> this is a moving target, clearly. it's my understanding that the federal government is looking at
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its policies. and i think the larger context here, 100 years ago, there was massive discrimination in the u.s. labor market. women were denied all sorts of positions. they couldn't advance. if they got married and were school teachers, they had quit their jobs. men in contrast were paid more, they were paid a higher salary if they were married or fathers. men have been rewarded and husbands and fathers have been rewarded for the job market, whereas working women and working mothers had been treated as problems. they've been stigmatized and treated as problem workers. and i think that, you know, the attitudes that they're problematic for employers in ways that is really unfair. women are the better-educated gender now. they're 60% of college and university students. they take the majority of the associates degrees there. a well-educated, highly productive part of our workforce and our economy, and yet you see this pervasive idea that they are problematic.
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that a pregnant employee is problematic in a way that, you know, that fathers are not, for example. >> and, pete, i know you made the point that there are three women on the court now. i can just say ruth bader ginsberg did most of her early legal work as an appeals court lawyer and then as a professor on this very issue. and i can really guarantee, as you can, as well, that's going to be a really interesting conference when the court discusses this case. >> well, we'll know how she'll come out. she was a very aggressive questioner here back on the court after her heart stent procedure last week. >> pete williams. thank you so much. great to see you again. >> thank you. >> and tune in tomorrow at noon, peggy young, the plaintiff in this case will join us live to talk about her case. millions of california residents, meanwhile, from south lake tahoe all the way down to san diego are seeing another wave of big storms today. bringing relief to farmers reeling from years of drought. and fears for residents bracing
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for possible mud slides in their communities. jacob rascon is live in california. seems in california you either have too little or too much. >> well, you can't go, you can't get it right, for some reason, the officials here in glendora have done this before, preparing for the possible mud slides. they set up these concrete barriers and then, of course, the sandbags. the city alone handed out 18,000 sandbags in the last couple of days. they take this very seriously because they're one of the cities that is just below these foothills that have recently had wildfires. and they've come to learn when they have the wildfires, then they have the rain, the potential for the mud slide is huge. already in this storm we had yesterday, we saw record-breaking amounts of rain, more than 8 inches in one area in the san bernardino mountains. we had flash flooding there. and then down in the foothills where we had it a little bit better. we're still worried about another wave of rain that's coming later today. in all, we've had a wave on
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sunday, a wave yesterday, and then another one expected today. that is almost unheard of, and after big wildfires, it's a huge concern that it could come into homes. they know it's happened before, andrea. >> jacob rascon, thank you so much. appreciate you being out there. and we have developing news from the country of abu dhabi where we've learned an american teacher was brutally killed on monday. she's 37 years old, she's the mother of twins, she was stabbed to death in a mall bathroom in a high-end shopping mall. cassandra is a reporter for nbc news.com and following the story from london. what do we know? this is considered a very safe area. >> it is considered a very safe area, which is why everyone is shocked by this really hideous attack. we know that she was attacked in the public bathroom of this upscale mall in abu dhabi. the attack -- over the suspect's face and full black gloves.
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so police are searching for the identity of the suspect who they're calling the ream island ghost after the area where the attack took place. and they're trying to find out the identity of the attacker, any sort of motive and what caused this fight that led to the brutal attack. >> and, cassandra, when we don't know, of course, whether there's any kind of anti-american or terror thing, but there had been a warning from the u.s. embassy for americans to be careful. so is there any other context? >> exactly. this attack comes just weeks after the u.s. embassy in abu dhabi and other embassies issued a warning to citizens. saying there's a anonymous posting encouraging attacks on american teachers, specifically. well, the embassy says there's no clear cause for this attack that happened on monday. they're urging people to remain vigilant as this threat continues. >> thank you so much, cassandra, reporting on that from london.
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and we have breaking news now from texas where a federal appeals court has issued a halt to the execution of scott panetti. attorneys for the death row inmate argue their client should not be killed because they say he is severely mentally ill. it has been five years now, also, since usaid subcontractor alan gross was taken into custody in cuba. today the white house put out a statement on his imprisonment saying, in part, we remain deeply concerned for alan's health and reiterate our call for his release. for alan's wife judy, that is not enough. judy gross saying enough is enough, my husband has paid a terrible price for serving his country and community. adding, it is time for president obama to bring alan back to the united states now, otherwise it will be too late. gross was detained in 2009 for bringing in satellite equipment to cuba in violation of cuban law. he was tried and sentenced to 15 years in prison. this is andrea mitchell reports
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the good news despite the fact that obviously the midterm elections did not turn out exactly as i had hoped is that there remains enormous areas of potential bipartisan action and progress. and i've already spoken to speaker boehner and senator mitch mcconnell. and what i've said to them is that i am prepared to work with them on areas where we agree, recognizing there are going to be some areas where we don't agree. >> president obama's going to be meeting later today one-on-one for the first time since the election with the next senate majority leader mitch mcconnell. topping the agenda, avoiding a
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government shutdown even as they try to find a way around a pending showdown over immigration. joining me now, daily fix time, chris alyssa, and managing editor of post politics.com and jeanne cummings of bloomberg politics. welcome, both. what is the latest on where we stand between the hill and i know the senate and house are in different places. you also have ted cruz raising these issues in the senate caucus, as well. >> right. look, i think john boehner made clear their plan, which is essentially to fund all of government through next september except for the department of homeland security, through the early spring, maybe march, in order to sort of preserve as much flexibility as possible and to punish the president over the executive action on immigration. the really predictable, honestly at this point, andrea, if you've been paying attention over the last few years, the rebellion is coming from the conservative
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right who say why should we -- we're about to come to a bigger majority in, you know, come january 3rd. why would we pass anything that takes us through the next fiscal year. that doesn't make any sense. how john boehner handles this. look, we've been -- i feel like it's meet the new boss same as the old boss. we've been through this before. he has struggled to unite or come close to uniting the republican conference behind what he strategically wants. and nancy pelosi has been less than willing to let democrats peel off to support something to help john boehner out. in many ways, we're right back where we were with fiscal cliff and a lot of these other brinksmanship moments. same working dynamic, at least as of today. >> and ted cruz, as you can see is speaking as we speak. he's been calling the obama executive order amnesty, which arguably it is not. this is ted cruz right now. let's hear. >> one month ago, on election
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day, america had a referendum on amnesty. the president rightly said his policies were on the ballot all across the country. and republicans, republican candidates in the house, republican candidates in the senate campaigned across this country, and they said two things to the american people. if you elect us, number one, we will do everything possible to stop the train wreck that is obamacare. >> yes! >> and number two, if you elect us, we will do everything possible to stop president obama's illegal amnesty. >> yes! >> he's calling it illegal amnesty. obviously, this is the debating point. mitch mcconnell is trying to find a way around this, as is john boehner. >> absolutely. they have come up with this idea of the two-tiered votes. first vote symbolic saying, you
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know, we hate everything obama just did on immigration and we're going to try to change it. second one, funding the government. there is a fair amount of resistance now that is building in both the house and the senate to this. i don't think we're totally around the corner yet. senator sessions yesterday was saying, you know, maybe we need to negotiate something else. as chris said, maybe a shorter term cr so they can get their hands on the budget. a big problem for them is that these sections of the immigration law that the president has touched are financed through fees, not through the budget. >> that's the point i was going to make. >> very difficult for them to de-fund. >> they can defund, chris clizza, but the immigration part of the law, the white house was clever on this, and this is the facts, it's funded by fees, which are not subject to congressional appropriation. so they can't take the money away as easily. >> and that's part of the problem. i think if you -- if you got
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john boehner and mitch mcconnell privately and candidly, they would say, look, the truth here is, there's only so much we can do. can we do things at the margins? in some ways, andrea, though, one was an executive action. one did pass through congress. it's the reaction that the mcconnells and boehners of the world have through the affordable care act. the idea it's going to be completely undone via legislative. they have acknowledged publicly at this point is very unlikely. and yet, they know the base of the party loathes obama, number one, and also thinks this executive action is part of a broader sort of lawlessness that exists in the executive branch. so they know they have to do something. the problem is, and jeanne put it right, a symbolic vote to sort of condemn the president's action is symbolic. it doesn't have teeth. and the question is, is there something that could have teeth that they could do? i think the answer may be no. but -- that may not get it in
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the way. >> and briefly, jeanne, do you think there will be a government shutdown, or not? >> i wouldn't vote totally against it. i think the odds are against it. >> you wouldn't? >> no, i would not. the odds are against it, but it's an unpredictable situation, and the base wants to see a fight. if this goes regular order and everybody's getting along, that's not going to satisfy their base. and so that's why i feel like we haven't turned the corner yet. we've got a couple more twists and turns along the way. >> yeah, i agree with you there. and with chris. thank you, both so much. and brian williams celebrated his tenth anniversary in the anchor chair by showing up on the "tonight show" to slow jam on immigration reform. as that well known rapper breezy wheezy. >> congressional republicans are still weighing their response considering everything from a possible government shutdown to even suing the president. >> you ain't lying, big brilly
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further joint damage, even without methotrexate. ask about xeljanz. even without methotrexate. emma, it's simple, when you are in a place like this, the best way to capture the moment is to feel it, even if you can't see it. in the wake of the controversy and the protests over the ferguson, missouri, grand jury another grand jury could decide this weeken o a highly charged case involving allegations of excessive force against, by police, rather, in the death of an african-american man. this one was in staten island, new york city. in question here, whether nypd officer should face the criminal charges for the choking death of eric garner, an incident caught on camera this past july.
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garner's death was ruled a homicide by the medical examiner. live in staten island and joining me now. what do we expect from this grand jury? how long have they been deliberating? they seem to be getting close to the end of their decision making. >> reporter: yes, the grand jury here in staten island has been deliberating since september. and on -- or late november, the officer involved, was -- is believed to be the last of the witnesses to testify before the grand jury. now, we know they've been meeting here today and sources say that they expect them to perhaps come back with a decision as early as 2:00 today. now, whether that decision will be announced today is another thing. there's a rumor and speculation that it may come tomorrow after the big tree lighting ceremony in midtown today. again, at this point, rumor and speculation. >> and i wanted to take you also back to ferguson where, of course, you've spent so much time. and we now have a statement from the stepfather of michael brown who is among many other people,
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apparently, being investigated for possible incitement of a riot on that, on that awful night after the grand jury reported when there was so much violence. and he said i was so angry and full of raw emotions and so many others were and granted, i screamed out words i shouldn't have screamed in the heat of the moment, it was wrong, i humbly apologize for all of those who read my pain and anger as a true desire for what i want for our community. that's from louis head, the stepfather. take us back to that night and what was witnessed on one of the video cams. >> i think what was so remarkable that night was not just the sheer anger, but the sheer mass of people out that night. and i think there should be a distinction for weeks on end, people had been training, protests have been training and nonviolence civil disobedience, training for that day they knew it was coming when a grand jury would announce a decision that many people had presumed would be a nonindictment. but then there was so many young people out there.
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we're talking about teenagers. and many of those folks were ones that broke into some stores, set some fire to some stores. and, of course, no one i spoke with condoned those actions. but i think it also speaks to how disaffected so many young people in those communities are. so many of those young people in the front lines day in and day out, dealing with police officers, and sometimes very unpleasant encounters. and so, from all of this, there are the many lessons learned, the police have learned lessons, protesters learned lessons. we're still learning at this moment right now as protests have spilled out into more than 100 cities. that's kind of what's important in this case. what will the grand jury decide in this case? and how will the community respond? organizers i've talked with here in new york say they're hoping to take some of that fuel from the ferguson case that has been spreading across this country and capturing it here because there is a nonindictment in this case. people say they will, again, take to the streets and demand justice for eric garner, michael brown, and what has been a string of young black men unarmed killed by police. >> thank you so much.
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in staten island on the eric garner case, coming so soon after ferguson, obviously, the context is everything there. and a bombshell was dropped overnight in the bill cosby continuing store after weeks of allegations of sexual assault, which cosby's attorney has refuted. now, another woman has filed a civil lawsuit against the comedian. she is accusing cosby of sexually abusing her at the playboy mansion when she was only 15 years ago. this is the first since settled out of court back in 2005. here's kate snow. >> did you see what i saw? >> yes, i saw what you saw. and don't be worrying about -- >> it was 1974, and bill cosby was starring in movies, the woman filing suit says she was 15 with her 16-year-old friend when they saw a film set in a park near pasadena. they walked over to see what was going on and they were approached by cosby, who then invited them to sit in a director's chair, court papers say. judy huff, now 55 says cosby
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asked how old they were and invited him to their tennis club where he served them multiple drinks. and then he brought them to the playboy mansion. cosby allegedly told the girls that if any of the playboy bunnies asked their age, they should say they were 19. later, the suit alleges, huff emerged from a bathroom and found cosby sitting on a bed. quote, he asked her to sit beside him, he then proceeded to sexually molest her. >> this isn't a criminal case. this is a civil case where it's all about money. she's seeking compensatory damages. >> an attorney for cosby had no comment about the new lawsuit. cosby has never been charged with any crime, and in the past, his attorney has said other allegations against cosby were unsubstantiated. adding, it makes no sense that not one of these new women who just came forward for the first time now ever asserted a legal claim back at the time they allege they had been sexually assaulted. huff says in the court filing that the incident 40 years ago at such a tender age caused
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psychological damage and significant problems throughout her life. cosby, she says, abused his position of trust. >> and that was nbc's kate snow reporting. as for why she's only filing this lawsuit now, the lawsuit suggests that huff did not recognize the connection between her injuries and the sexual abuse until recently. stay with us here on msnbc as we continue. coming up next, what did the president have to say about vladimir putin? stay with us. [ inhales deeply ] [ sighs ] [ inhales ] [ male announcer ] at cvs health, we took a deep breath... [ inhales, exhales ] [ male announcer ] and made the decision to quit selling cigarettes in our cvs pharmacies. now we invite smokers to quit, too, with our comprehensive program. we just want to help everyone, everywhere, breathe a little easier. introducing cvs health. because health is everything. introducing cvs health. (vo)rescued.ed.
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york times" and former democratic correspondent, mark, you followed this so closely, you know that russia's economy is in terrible shape. but the conventional wisdom seems to be this will only make putin more retro, more aggressive because he's defensive. and he doesn't want to show any sign of compromising with the west. >> yeah. that's right, andrea. and the other thing that president obama went on to say in that q & a was that he doesn't see any likely change in president putin's actions until the politics in russia catch up to the economics. and by that, he meant. you know, this is very popular for putin domestically. he gets consistently very high poll ratings. and so as long as that contin s continues, he can probably weather the economic storm. the question i think that the president was raising was would the economics with plummeting oil prices and other things get so bad that he would begin to see an erosion in his political support. domestically. and if he does, then perhaps we could see somewhat of a less
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aggressive posture toward his neighbors. >> now, facing off with ukraine and russia and all of these problems to say nothing of two wars, the threats from isis in iraq and syria and trouble elsewhere in the middle east and in asia, now the lead story that you wrote today in the "new york times" is a new defense secretary coming in, pending nomination of ashton carter, highly regarded. how is he equipped to take this on. we're expecting this nomination any day now. >> well, ashton carter's colleagues, and there are many of them around the defense industry say he sort of brings this combination of a deep immersion in policy. he was involved in a lot of the planning around iraq and afghanistan. the military campaigns as well as a very sort of granular understanding of how the pentagon works as a bureaucracy. he was a chief weapons buyer for the pentagon. he was intimately involved in
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the production and deployment of these mine-resistant personnel vehicles sent to iraq and afghanistan. he's a nuts and bolts guy and a policy guy. the one thing he doesn't have is a career as a uniform military officer. and some people have suggested that's an issue for him. others say, though, he's worked at the pentagon in a number of senior jobs for so many years. he has deep ties to the combatant commanders. and so he should be able to bring, you know, both this budget and bureaucratic expertise as well as a strategic sense to what's going to be a very difficult period for the new defense secretary. >> and most importantly, perhaps, with an incoming john mccain to chair the committee, so far he seems to have positive statements from those republican senators who have been questioned about his possible nomination. >> that's right. i mean, one of the ironies of this situation is that the president named a republican senate -- senator chuck hagel as
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a secretary, and he ran into a buzz saw during his confirmation hearing. now he's naming someone who served for two administrations, ash carter served under the clinton administering. and yet republican senators, not just john mccain, have expressed pretty unstinting support for him. and the suggestion is he's going to sail through the confirmation process. >> mark, thank you so much on all fronts today. and in florida today, a student conduct hearing continues as heisman trophy winner jamis winston confronts sexual assault allegations. accused of raping another student in 2012. >> and we are confident that justice harding, when he hears her multiple lies and jamis' truth will find as every other entity has to this point that she is lying. >> attacking the complainant
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there. >> it was a long time she felt she had no voice and nobody would listen to what she had to say. >> gabe gutierrez joins me now. gabe, this is a situation of a star quarterback. other issues against him, questions about his behavior. but on this campus, he seems to be such a superstar that it's not -- not clear how this proceeding's going to evolve. >> yeah, andrea, he has a lot of support on this campus from students. and florida state is preparing the acc championship game on saturday. they're defending national champions, and winston is a huge star on this campus. that student conduct hearing as you mentioned is entered the second day, it's going on in the building right behind me. and it's, as you mentioned, it's not a civil proceeding. it's not a criminal proceeding. it's being presided by a former florida supreme court justice
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brought in by the university to hear these allegations, hear on campus. and the penalties that winston could face could be anywhere from a written reprimand to expulsion. and these allegations have been swirling iff ining for the past. >> and the department of justice has taken a number of steps under title 9 which have put schools on notice they need to deal with this issue. fsu is now one of 90 schools of the department of education, different issue is investigating for the way they handle sexual violence complaints. and that number's up from a few weeks ago, and the uva allegations first surfaced. you've got a lot -- a lot of attention around the country on the whole question of sexual assault on campus, and what rights complainants have and what who should judge them. >> especially after a few weeks ago, the allegations of a gang
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rape at a fraternity pop up at the university of virginia. fsu is one of 90 schools being investigated. and for its part, fsu says it's cooperating fully with the investigation and says it has put into place certain policies and try to educate people about sexual assault and to try to prevent it in the future. but, as you know, rape victim advocates for the past several years, and even before that have been saying that there is not just enough resources for alleged victims of sexual assault on campus. here and in the tallahassee, the local prosecutor decided not to file criminal charges in this case. he said there wasn't enough evidence. and he said that the police investigation initially perhaps wasn't as thorough as it could have been. the police for its part, they say the accuser broke off contact back in february of 2013. but the district attorney did not get this case until 11 months a of after the alleged incident. a lot of people watching and waiting to see how this plays out.
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>> thank you so much from fsu. and not only campuses dealing with sexual assault allegations and domestic violence off the playing field. at a hearing yesterday, senators threatened to remove tax exemptions enjoyed by professional sports leagues if they don't deal with the problem. former player troy vincent shared his own experience painfully. >> when i consider these issues, i bring a perspective far beyond an nfl executive. domestic violence was a way of life in my home growing up. my brother and i watched helplessly numerous times as my mother was beaten and knocked unconscious as we dial 911. we saw how she struggled to seek help and find the courage to say no more. i've committed my life, worked for the last 20 years, as an advocate against domestic violence, in effort to keep others from experiencing this lifetime pain. i relate to the 20 million victims, survivors of domestic
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in the season of giving, it is not only money that can make a difference, it's also a commitment of time to your local community, especially to public education. the national high school graduation rate has passed 80% for the first time in the history. according to a recent report by america's promise alliance, the challenge now is to keep improving on this record, especially in underserved areas. joining me now is the chair of america's promise alliance, and the honorary chair of the d.c. promise neighborhood, one of 30 programs nationwide receiving special honor today for its work in underserved communities. it's always great to see you. >> it is. >> tell me about the promise communities, the promise neighborhoods and how important it is to put your arms around these communities, virtually. >> it's great that you ask me about the promise neighborhood. this gives me such a good feeling of what we have helped develop here in the nation's capital. we wanted to show what a
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community looks like if you surround the kids with the five promises that they need to survive, and that is what has happened in the d.c. promise neighborhood. it is a wonderful gathering of all kinds of resources that come together to provide the supports. not just for the children, but for the entire community. >> and explain how it goes beyond just the kids in class and extracurricular activities. as you say, it's the whole neighborhood. >> it's the entire neighborhood. in fact, we call it america's promise for two generations because you have to include the parents, too. the new director of the promise neighborhoods says it's america's promise for three generations because she includes the older people, too. it's -- feeling of community, and everybody working together. america's promise helped to put the resources into the commun y community. educare is there, which provides early childhood education.
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kids from 6 weeks old to 5 years old, it's free to the neighborhood. the children's hospital has a health van that comes in and delivers health for the children. there's a dental van that comes in. and united health has built a free standing health clinic for the entire community. and then, of course, you have the schools that are there to educate the kids. >> and at&t, and other corporate partners have been doing their share. >> they have. and at&t has stepped up. an important day today because they are giving the promise neighborhood a $300,000 grant that will help the schools prepare the children for college and work. >> now, we get to the stage of 80% graduation rate, 20% of these young people falling behind. we know that attendance in college, whether it's two years or four years and what kind of program it is makes a real difference in their opportunities in life and lifetime earning power. >> it is essential now.
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there used to be jobs for people with out of high school education. there are no more. in this new 21st century, high school education is mandatory. and even education beyond that point. we have to prepare our children for the challenges of the 21st century. and education is one of the primary ways that we do that. >> how do you engage the teachers, public school teachers and get around past tensions that other communities have had between teachers unions and associations who feel somewhat threatened by parent groups, by accountability issues, by some of the federal programs. >> well, actually, america's promise doesn't get into that that much. but we help to create the atmosphere in the community where people can communicate with each other to work through those problems. and they do come up because it's human nature. but in these communities, we have fostered a culture where people talk to each other and work through the problems.
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and so we encourage that. >> what's the next challenge? you're doing so much here in the district of columbia which has had lots of challenges in the public education field in the past. but, you know, there was so many cities and smaller towns and communities around the country that are still really lacking in resources in rural areas as well as -- >> rural areas are a challenge. america's promise has been holding summits around the country. we have held a number -- by the time we're finished with this campaign, we will have held 100 summits around the nation. and they have all been very successful in bringing the communities together. to provide the resources that are needed. it is a challenge in rural areas, because they have to be brought in by the city. city communities are doing a good job of bringing those people in. they address not only the education of kids, they know that it's more than school and teachers that gives them
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success. jacksonville, florida, for example started parenting academy. the role of parents is so important, yes. and the kids, if they don't have the support of parents, that makes their job harder. that makes it harder. >> it's the home, the classroom, in school and out, and it's the whole community. >> it's the whole community. the whole community. >> thank you so much, alma powell, and i should disclose i'm part of this in a very unofficial way. so i -- >> well, we are pleased to have you as a member of our board, andrea, you are a great contribution to us. >> welm, it's just a little bit, teeny bit watching what you do up close. >> all you need is one little bit. >> thank you, alma powell for being with us. and up next, 'tis the season, the big event in new york city tonight. guess where.
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five, four, three, two, one -- >> whoo! >> house speaker john boehner doing the honors last night, lighting the capitol christmas tree. this year's tree came from minnesota's chippewa national forest, decorated with thousands of ornaments made by residents of minnesota, mostly children. and tonight, the lighting of new york city's most famous christmas tree, probably the most famous christmas tree in the country, the rockefeller center tree is an 85-foot norway spruce from pennsylvania. crews decorated it with 45,000 l.e.d. bulbs and a 550-pound star. matt, savannah, al, hosting the tonight's special at 8:00. with stars including mariah carey and lady gaga. and that does it for us for this edition of "andrea mitchell reports." tomorrow on the show, peggy young, the woman who brought her
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pregnancy discrimination case to the supreme court today. and senator kaine on his support for a vote. ronan farrow daily is up next.
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we donate 250 dollars to helping those in need. we'll have given 50 million dollars over seven years. love. it's what makes a subaru, a subaru. craig melvin in for ronan farrow. we start with breaking news. a federal appeals court has halted tonight's execution of scott pantetti. set to die for killing his inlaws back in 1992. his case sparked a national outcry because he has a 30-year history of mental illness. more on the case and the last-minute stay in minutes. meanwhile, here in new york city, a grand jury could vote as soon as today on whether to indict a police officer in the death of eric garner. garner's struggle with police was captured on video back in july. shows him being put into the
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choke hold that contributed to his death. choke holds are a violation of nypd policy. garner's last words, i can't breathe have become the rallying cry of protesters. the grand jury has been hearing arguments since august. >> i would like to hope that in the coming weeks or the coming days whatever it be that the grand jury gives us a fair decision. >> we'll have a live report from staten island where that grand jury is meeting. we'll go there in just minutes. meanwhile in ferguson, missouri, today, police are considering charges against the stepfather of michael brown.

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