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tv   Weekends With Alex Witt  MSNBC  December 27, 2014 9:00am-11:01am PST

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so i can reach ally bank 24/7, but there are24/7branches? it's just i'm a little reluctant to try new things. what's wrong with trying new things? feel that in your muscles? yeah... i do... try a new way to bank, where no branches equals great rates. a sea of blue in the streets of new york. thousands gather to bid final farewell to a slain police officer. the funeral in pictures and words next. leaving afghanistan. in a matter of days, the u.s. combat mission ends there. but is america's longest war really over? new remarks, north korea with fresh criticism against the u.s. on internet hacking and now it is directing comments against president obama. a bitter wind in the west that may linger into 2015. a forecast that may affect your new year's eve plans ahead.
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high noon here in the east. welcome to "weekends with alex witt." ♪ happening just moments ago, "taps" playing as a coffin carrying a slain new york city police officer heads to its final destination, a nearby cemetery in brooklyn on a day when tens of thousands of mourners gathered to pay respects to one of the city's finest. it drew police and citizens alike. officer rafael ramos and his partner, wenjian liu, were ambushed and killed in their police car as they sat on a city street. vice president joe biden spoke to the crowd about the dangers police officer face every day. >> i've spoken at too many funerals for too many peace officers, too many funerals for
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brave women and men who kept us safe and watched their families grieve. and i've observed one thing that unfortunately it's only when a tragedy like this occurs that all their friends, neighbors and people who didn't even know them become aware of and reminded of the sacrifices they make every single solitary day to make our lives better. give you a live look to the left of your screen at that somber processional, it's an extraordinary sight. that sea of people lining the route there as officer ramos is taken to his final resting place in brooklyn at that cemetery. mayor bill de blasio spoke of the impact the killings have had on the people of new york. >> our hearts are aching today. we feel it physically.
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we feel it deeply. new york city has lost a hero, a remarkable man because of the depth of his commitment to all around him. on behalf of all 8.4 million new yorkers, on behalf of all of us, i extend my condolences to extended family that we've all come to know in these days. >> in a final honor, police commissioner william bratton posthumously promoted the officer to detective first grade. the funeral plans for officer liu have yet to be announced. nbc's adam reese is outside the church where that funeral was held. give us a sense of the scene there. >> reporter: alex, it's very solemn here right now.
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a lot of emotion, a lot of tears as the family prepares to make their way to the cemetery which is only about a half mile from here. the casket came out first followed by the family. the ceremonial guard took the casket to the hearse taking the flag off, folding it very carefully and the commanding officer of the 84th precinct handed the flag to officer ramos' wife and two young sons in a very emotional moment. they now are making their way as the honor guard and the police officers gather together in this very tightly choreographed ceremony. they will make their way to the cemetery. alex? >> adam, it is certainly debatable as to whether or not political statements, emotional statements otherwise should be made on a day like today when this should be the focus. that said, there are reports that some officers turned their back on the mayor while he was speaking. what do you know about that? >> reporter: we did see as the
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mayor was speaking several dozen, maybe hundreds of officers turn their backs on the mayor as he was speaking outside here on the streets, outside the church. on this street here and on streets nearby, we had several people that witnessed this and when the mayor was done, they'd turn back around. alex? >> as we take a look to the right of the screen of officer ramos' family as they wait to take off from the church there and go to the cemetery to bury their most loved one, i guess the question would be, could you tell when those officers were turning their back, were they nypd or were they representative police officers from the many different precincts from around this country that have come to honor officer ramos? was it all nypd? >> reporter: while we have seen officers from as far away as texas and canada, the ones that
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turned their back, all nypd. >> can you describe, adam -- we're calling it a sea of blue. but to be there and see that and feel that, just the enormity of that police presence, what is that like? >> reporter: it is an incredible sight to see. they are here to honor him, to pay tribute to him, to mourn him. they come from all over. i've heard some of these officers even paid their own way to get here. and they're here to show respect for an officer whose life was taken by an assassin's bullet. and i just think they all feel the hurt that the nypd feels at this time. and they want to share being here, that they are here in support of the nypd. >> yeah. and how far are you away from your position for those bagpipers that are being their somber procession? that's the kind of sound that we so often do associate with that sort of mournful sound that can be emanated from those bagpipes
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with police funerals. i'm sure that's going to be a very powerful sound emanating through the streets of brooklyn momentarily. >> reporter: they are right behind me. there's a lot of ceremony involved in this funeral. it's very tightly choreographed. just a minute ago we saw a flyover by helicopters in formation. we've seen all the officers here in formation saluting the coffin as it passes by. it's a lot of ceremony and it is all carefully planned. >> it is an extraordinary ceremony, to say the least. getting chills myself just watching it from here inside the studio. i can only imagine what you must be seeing and feeling as well as all those there to ronner officer ramos. adam, thank you very much. let's get more on today's service. we bring in jim cavanaugh. you heard the reports, officers coming from as far away as california, canada, paying their final respects to rafael ramos.
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let's take a listen to this. >> we're kind of like family, no matter what agency you're from. it really hits close to home when you hear an officer's lost his life. >> we thought it was great to pay our respects. in light of what's going on right now, we've figured this is the least we could do. >> this is what law enforcement is about. it's about family, about brotherhood, sisterhood. it's the least we can do when something tragic as this happens. it affects everybody. >> jim, it is an extraordinary thing when a police officer is killed in the line of duty, the same can be said about firefighters. what is it about these inspires such incredible loyalty? >> well, it's the thin blue line for the police that keep us between chaos and anarchy, alex. if there's no police, really there's no society. when you look at other countries where there's a lot of violence and they're trying to get their country back together after war,
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the first thing that has to stand up is the police. there's no police, there's no courts. the police bring the people to court. there's no courts, there's no law, no justice. so the police from the beginning of civillation -- that's why we call them the thin blue line, between chaos and order, anarchy and civil society. >> what do you make of the report that there were maybe a couple of hundred nypd officers who turned their back on mayor de blasio as he was speaking? do his words add fuel to the fire at least for some? >> well, it's very unfortunate. it's sad i think that that happened on a day to honor officer ramos that we have these sort of political insults and statements. i don't think it's a good thing. certainly there's a lot of emotion and visceral feelings on the members of the nypd. but insults make one look small who hurls them. it's not what should happen.
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leaders need to rise above insults, not be hurling insults, work toward a reconciliation. they may not like the mayor or his position on things, but the mayor was elected by half the city residents. so he is the elected leader. you're going to to have to deal with him. the mayor, when this is all over, should try to reach out. i know there's difficult conversations, but he needs to reach out, too, rise above the insults, let's talk. everything you hear him saying, he's supporting the police. when you hear him speak, he's supporting the family. so let's rise above this. it's a great city. and let's bring it back. across the country as well. you can support the police and be against injustice. you just have to condemn violence. you cannot truck any violence or talk of violence or plans to hurt the police. you can support the police and be against injustice or excessive force or those kind of things as well. >> jim, you've had a long career in law enforcement yourself.
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i know you've seen tragedies like this. talk about the effect that a tragedy like this has on the beat cop and the people who deal with these beat cops on a daily basis. >> right. it does affect the officers. it affects the officers nationwide when you have an assassination like this and an ambush. pennsylvania police officers ambushed and killed having lunch. it affects the larger police community. but they go back out and do the job because that's what they signed up for. but they need the support of the citizens. they need the support also of political leaders from the mayor to the president. and it was good that the vice president was there. and all the members of congress, we all need to support them. of course, in a democracy, there's going to be critical issues before the police. and the police have to accept that as well. the police looks up at a bullet during a robbery, they'll accept a fight to be hurt, they have to accept criticism as well if it's
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justified criticism that can be hurled. and like the governor said how brave they were in demonstrations that were against them, yet they were protecting the protesters. that's the kind of policing we want to see. >> but they shouldn't have to assassin's bullet. >> exactly. while on -- it has got to strike fear whether pronounced and forefront in their minds as they put on their uniform and head out on the streets every day or they can't lose sight of that. >> no, right, exactly, alex. everybody has fear. there's always fear. it's how you handle fear that's the definition of courage. you have to change your tactics n people country.
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got to stand by the police and the courts and the d.a.s, the prosecutors and the judges and ultimately us, the jurors, so we can have a civilized society. so it's all happening before us. it harkens back to the '60s. i started on the police in '74. and i remember just the post-'60s era and how the feelings were. and it very much brings this all back to the way things were back then. we're reliving some of those issues. >> the left side of your screen, that's the somber processional making its way to the brooklyn cemetery for the burial of officer ramos. to the right, you see the back of vice president joe biden who spoke before that crowd, conversing right now with new york governor andrew cuomo. jim cavanaugh, thank you for your insights. coming up at the half hour, i'll speak with michael daly who has particular insight covering the city for years. i'll ask him about today's
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turnout and the tension between police and citizens beyond new york city. new concerns about the president's safety and it's linked to the secret service again. a new report questions who's behind the wheel in the president's motorcade. starting next week, millions of workers will see more money in their paychecks. i'll talk with a congressman about the reason for it next. goodnight. goodnight. for those kept awake by pain... the night is anything but good. introducing new aleve pm. the first to combine a safe sleep aid. plus the 12 hour strength of aleve. for pain relief that can last until the am. now you can have a good night and a... good morning! new aleve pm. for a better am.
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north korea's supreme leader hurling more insults, accusations and threats at the u.s., this time slamming president obama directly. in a statement, it says it blames the president for encouraging the release of the movie "the interview," blames the administration for internet outages. but it doesn't mention the
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recent attack on playstation. hallie jackson is following it all for us. what's the latest? >> reporter: latest is some reports from dyne research of an internet outage again in north korea coming hours after that statement in which the country blames the u.s. government for a suspected cyber attack earlier in the week that crashed north korea's internet. the u.s. government has denied any involvement. now this war of words is getting nasty. the war of words escalating again overnight and taking a nasty turn. with the north korean spokesman saying, quote, obama always goes reckless in words and deeds like a monkey in a tropical forest and promising inescapable deadly blows if the u.s. continues its, quote, gangster-like practices. more rhetoric after the release of "the interview" which features a fictional plot to kill kim jong-un. sony's gaming division hopes to get back up to speed this morning after another suspected
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hack. this one blocking gamers from logging onto the playstation network. but experts say the groups taking credit appears to be separate from the hackers responsible for the cyber attack against sony's studio arm, the branch of the company that made "the interview." >> i think this is all coincidental. i would be really hard-pressed to say any connection between the two is taking place here. >> reporter: multiple platforms are letting people buy or rent "the interview" online. and while streaming statistics are not available yet, box office numbers are. the controversial comedy which plays at only 331 theaters grossed more than $1 million opening day. >> at this point, the currency of this movie is awareness, not dollars. >> reporter: it's almost unprecedented that a big studio movie is made available online and on the big screen at the same time since that could eat into the profits at theaters. but independent cinema owners don't seem to mind. >> given the huge amount of interest in this film, i think
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them releasing it online makes a lot of business sense. >> reporter: still, this apparently successful experiment borne of necessity may be short lived. >> i don't know that this sets a new standard. this is one of the most unique situations we've ever seen and is unique to "the interview." >> reporter: unique to this movie, the number of illegal downloads, which analysts say is and has been a probably industry-wide. one tracking site estimates this movie, "the interview," has been pirated more than 1.5 million times in just the last few days. >> this story is extraordinary any way you look at it. thank you for bringing us the latest, hallie jackson. low gas prices aren't the only thing putting more money in people's pockets. as of january 1st, 29 states will have a minimum wage higher than the federal standard with 20 states increasing it by vote or by law in 2014. the highest, washington state where a legally mandated cost-of-living adjustment makes the wage $9.47 an hour. congressman jim mcdermott of washington is joining us now.
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he sits on the house budget committee. thanks so much for joining us. >> good morning, alex. >> i know your state has linked the minimum wage with the cost of living since 1998. what find of effects have you seen in your state from having such a high wage? >> we've had an economy that's booming. in fact, it was in washington state a year and a half ago when the people in a little town voted to raise the minimum wage to $15. that's the kind of thing that's going on all over the country where people are frustrated by the federal government and by the state governments not doing anything. the people are taking it in their own hands. they just raised it in arkansas, for heaven's sakes. that was not happening ten years ago. but the people are taking it in their own hands now. >> so you haven't seen what critics will say will be the negative effect of this, that you'll see businesses fleeing as they can't afford the minimum
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wage? >> that's the kind of fearmongering that always goes on. but the effect is what you see in the gdp. people have more money. they not only can pay their bills but they can go out to a restaurant or buy a new shirt or maybe a new reel for their fishing rod or something. they have more money. the economy picks up and really rolls. >> we've got reuters reporting that the state minimum wage increases for 2015 are going to affect about a third of walmart's locations. how will that have an affect on business owners, given that walmart is a bellwether? >> i think people are realizing in an economy like ours that's based on consumers spending money, that means you have to put money in their pocket. you cannot keep wages way down and expect them to go out and buy things. so if you want the economy to
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roll, you've got to have more money in the pockets of workers. and that's what's going on. the legislature, the tea party, all those people who want to keep everything down and not do anything, they simply are out of touch with what's going on in the economy. >> i'm going to have my director throw up a graphic on the screen. why is it that republicans on the state level can be convinced of something that it seems republicans on the national, the federal level cannot be convinced of? what's the difference? >> i have no idea except for the fact that they're probably closer to home. when i was a state legislator, i went home every weekend and i was there all during the week and i saw what was going on in the state of washington. when you get to washington, you're a long way away. you don't talk to a lot of people. you don't hear their problems in the same way that you do when you're a state legislator. and i think what's going on in state legislatures is basically a response to that. >> in 2014, voters across four
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states approved the minimum wage in those states. all four of those states voted gop for the senate. democrats losing seats in three of those four states. why didn't this issue resound in your party this year? >> i think it was a failure on our part of taking this issue up and using it as a real platform to work on. people want -- they know their wages aren't going up. they see and hear that the economy is rolling. but it isn't affecting them. and i think the democrats failed in that regard. and the people know what's best for them. they raise the minimum wage, then they'll think about their senator or whatever. but he was not being helpful or she was not being helpful. and they simply made a distinction. the people are smart. >> here's what the cbo said in february about the effects of raising the federal minimum wage. on the plus side, 900,000 fewer people living below the poverty
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level. on the negative, roughly 500,000 workers losing their jobs. what do you say to your critics who stress that second number? >> i say that that's an economist looking at its darkest side and not wanting to be surprised and using a number like that -- but the economy has grown over the last 20 years and we have raised the minimum wage over and over and over again. i remember working for $1.27 an hour a long time ago. and i thought if i ever got $2, i'd really be there. well, we're now way above that. what you've seen is that it never slows down the economy in spite of what economists say. >> democratic congressman jim mcdermott of washington. a happy new year to you. >> same to you. >> thank you. who's really behind the wheel in the president's motorcade? the secret service is explaining why it is using unpaid and untrained volunteers as drivers.
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the secret service is on the defense again this week answering concern over news that it has long allowed untrained volunteers to hop behind the wheel of vehicles in presidential motorcades. the secret service is standing by the protocol which came to light in a news report. nbc's kristen welker has the latest from hawaii where the president is vacationing. krist kristen, this has been going on for some time, right? >> reporter: it absolutely has been. it's a practice that goes back at least three decades. the secret service allowing the white house to bring in volunteers to drive staffers and journalists in the presidential motorcade. but now there are fresh questions about whether that could be putting the president in jeopardy. the presidential motorcade, known for its flashy lights, high levels of speed and as a
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"new york times" report details, volunteer drivers with no special training, assigned to drive the press and white house staffers. while the practice dates back to the 1980s, it's coming under new scrutiny after a graduate student posted a picture of herself on facebook showing her standing next to the president's limousine. she was among the volunteers on the president's trip to san francisco this past fall. natalie tyson told "the new york times" she refd little training from the secret service but the agency's spokesman defends the practice saying the volunteers are, quote, briefed by the secret service agent responsible for the motorcade prior to any movements. the motorcade has a police escort and typically there is no other traffic on the road at the time the presidential motorcade is moving. still some critics worry the untrained volunteers could put everyone at risk. >> quite frankly no one should be behind the wheel of a vehicle in a presidential motorcade other than secret service agents
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or sworn law enforcement officers. >> reporter: this comes as the secret service tries to regroup following a major embarrassment for the agency when a man made it across the north lawn and all the way inside the white house. now, the white house had no comment about this. we also tried to reach out to tyson for comment but were unsuccessful. officials here note the white house hired a company of professional drivers that they've used in the past to shuttle the press around here in hawaii. alex, back to you. >> safe travels wherever you're going. thank you so much, kristen welker. a third-grade teacher's christmas wish is giving her students a valuable lesson in kindness. we'll take you back to new york city where thousands are paying their final respects to a police officer who was killed in an ambush. up tastes like my homemade. it's our slow simmered vegetables and tender white meat chicken.
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this is a live look right now at those who have assembled and gathered to pay homage to officer ramos killed in the line of duty, ambushed a week ago today while sitting inside of his patrol car there in the brooklyn area. police officers and others going out on the street following that very solemn service inside that brooklyn church. tens of thousands of mourners have filled that new york surrounding streets. it's been an extraordinary sea of blue, something that we don't often witness. and it is an extraordinarily this funeral drew officials and citizens. the officer and his partner were ambushed, his partner was wenjian liu, they were sitting in that patrol car. officials like vice president biden, mayor de blasio were in attendance. governor cuomo was also this attendance. >> when you put on that badge as
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a police officer, you are no longer just a man and a woman and a citizen of new york, you represent public safety and law and order and an attack on the nypd is an attack on all of us. >> michael daly is a special correspondent for "the daily a former new york columnist. you've covered the nypd for some you when you see and witness a day like escorted the coffin off towards the this music is a symbol that we go on, that's what you're hearing. you're hearing the spirit of the new york city police department in pipes and drums. they will be going back out on the street and keep doing what they've always done. >> michael, have you ever seen
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the likes of a size of this crowd for a police officer's funeral? we've seen aerials, it is extraordinary, literally as far as the eye can see is a sea of blue. >> it's remarkable. there really is something different about this one. i think part of it is -- there they go. part of it is it came at a time when everybody imagined the city was so much better and then all of a sudden so much worse. new york city homes, kids watched daddy or mommy or maybe both get dressed up in that dress uniform of the nypd and take up their white gloves. the question is, where are you going? and the answer is, i'm going to the funeral of a police officer. and the unspoken question was, could that happen to you? and the answer is yes, unfortunately. i think everybody here, if you
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look at these name plates with all those shoulder patches from all over the country, all the patches really read nypd and all the name plates read ramos today. >> it was reported that maybe a couple of hundred nypd officers were turning their back on mayor de blasio as he spoke. it's been a trying time between them for things the mayor said and how they were interpreted. but today, is that out of place? people have the right to express themselves and make their points. but a day like today when the focus should be on officer ramos, should that have happened? >> i think it's not my place not being a police officer to say that. i do feel that they must have some pretty strong and pretty -- they have to be deeply hurt to do that at a police officer's funeral. for them to be thinking of
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anything but this particular officer really says something. >> how about this, michael? have you ever seen tensions between city hall and police at this level? >> in the dickens era, there was a big demonstration outside city hall. but there was a sense the whole city was kind of that way at that time. i've never seen it as deep as this. this goes bone deep. it really does. to e]áy? it going to > i think first of all, the new york educate himself about police officers a little bit. he said the other day that it was only a small number of police. protests. and there were thousands of people shouting abuse at the police. police officers i know were streets with people going up and calling them murderers and racists. you have to start -- the mayor has to understand, they're hurt before he can start to reach out
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go-round as head of the police department to be widely rank-and-file certainly. but how has the department and changed since he was , i think the feeling was that it was a there's nothing we can do about it. of his naple, proved that wasn't true and they cut crime in half. unfortunately, it became much more about numbers. the only important number should have been the reduction of crime. and it became about other numbers as well. and i think that led to some serious tensions. but i think it's getting better. if you want to know how de blasio and the police can come
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together closer, just study bratton's remarks at this funeral. it was about as good a talk as i ever heard. >> he's pretty eloquent and certainly always strikes the right tone. plans for liu. funeral because his is trying to make arrangements to come over from see him whenever that i don't know how you go to one and not the other. they were sitting in that radio i think everybody would want to honor him equally as they are ramos today. >> both men dying as a result of shots through the side of that car, both men hit in their heads. tragic situation. we thank you for your insights, michael daly. thank you so much. >> thank you. in four days, the u.s. officially ends our combat mission in afghanistan.
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coming up in our next hour, a look at the impact of the troop withdrawal. and gas prices may slide to prices we haven't seen in five years. we have a prediction of how low they're expected to go.
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at 45 past, it's time now for your headlines. two teens are injured after a wild night at a mall near pittsburgh. police say up to 1,000 teenagers poured into the monroeville mall last night. several groups got into multiple fooilt fights and forced them to close down. a number of teens were cited for disorderly conduct. the medical examiner says a 4-year-old autistic boy who went missing on christmas eve drowned. jaden morrison's body was found in a pond near myrtle beach, south carolina. hundreds of people helped search for him after he wandered away. police discovered his body yesterday morning. police say a tweeted bomb threat on a jetblue flight was a hoax. it happened overnight from a flight from seattle to long beach, california. all the passengers had to get
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off while police with bomb-sniffing dogs searched the plane and luggage. this holiday, one third-grade teacher from boston figured out a way to send her students from a low-income, high-risk school home from the break with a guaranteed gift in their hands. but what happened next even surprised her. nicole entered a contest sponsored by capital one bank called "my hashtag wish for others" and wrote a short essay that sid, my hashtag wish for others is that my voracious, adorable, hard-working, loving scholars all leave for their december break with a book in their hand. the company donated over $150,000 to the school through nico nicole. big congratulations for you. i'm the mom of two kids and i gave you kudos because there's nothing more important in our children's lives than teachers. did you ever imagine this kind of response? >> i did not imagine this response at all.
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this has just been so overwhelming and so wonderful. >> the video capital one posted to youtube showing your kids getting their books has gotten thousands of hits. let's play a little clip here. >> i made a wish for you guys. i tried not to cry. i really just wanted them to have books of their own that they could take care of and read and share with their families. it made them feel really important. >> i love that sign, reading is dreaming with open eyes. but you were clearly pretty overwhelmed there. the kids were so excited. tell me about that. >> they were just so excited. my kids love to read and they love books. and they just were not expecting anything like that. and they just were so excited and so happy. i just feel so lucky that i was given the opportunity to give back to others this holiday season. >> and you picked three books
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that the kids would get, you wanted to make sure they had a picture book to share with their siblings. how did you come up with those particular books? were they pivotal in your own life? tell me about that. >> the kids loved "the diary of a wimpy kid" books. some of the kids have texted me and telling me they had finished one of them. "my father's dragon" was my favorite chapter book when i was growing up. and "where the wild things are," the author is from my hometown in connecticut. so i was moved to give them a book to share with their families. >> you give the kids your phone number so they can text you? >> yes. i've been getting a lot of texts. i do give them my phone number. >> that's pretty cool. talk about the commitment from the school.
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i know they're not firm yet on how this $150,000 will be used. but what do you hope happens? >> i hope that we can get a computer lab. i really believe in technologically literate children in this day and age. i hope we get a computer lab. we have a greenhouse on the roof. i'd love to see us get more seeds and things to start that greenhouse up so the kids can learn to get their hands dirty. the school is just really overwhelmed and so am i. it was such a gracious thing for capital one to do. i'm just excited that the 700 kids at our school can be -- their lives can be made better by this. >> you actually thought about other kids, not just those in your big classroom there. you and your mother, i understand, planned to give books to other third-grade students. you wanted everyone to have a book to take home and read over the holidays. talk about that. >> yeah. capital one just really has been so great this whole experience, it was above and beyond anything i expected. i was just really dedicated to make sure that i could give back
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to others and so my mom and i wanted to make sure that all the third-graders got the books. so we went out and made sure that before december break that all the third-graders in the school got books, too. >> it's pretty impressive, both capital one and their efforts there and you, nicole. thank you so much for the difference you make in kids' lives. i appreciate that as a mom. i'm sure all the parents of your kids appreciate that, too. >> thank you. a lot of smiles at the pumps in minnesota this week after gas fell below $2 a gallon there. >> this is a green christmas. >> used to be $50, $60 to fill up. now it's $20 or $30. >> one analyst says 2015 could be a year similar to 2009 where gas stayed in the $2 gallon a range for much of the year. the national average price of gallon has fallen for the 12th week in a row. right now, the current price is
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only with xfinity from comcast. there's new reason this week to worry that the flu season will be the worst one you remember for a long time. health officials in multiple states including michigan, tennessee and pennsylvania are reporting signs that this year's virus is spreading faster and hitting harder than past years. three children in minnesota have already died from the flu this season. take a look at the cdc flu activity map. already 13 states as well as puerto rico have a high incidence of the flu. health officials in florida say they are expecting problems ahead. joining me now is dr. natalie azar. can you explain what's going on? was it that people didn't get their flu vaccines and they're not effective? what's happening? >> it's a combination of things. one thing we're seeing this year is a particular strain that's
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predominating is one of the influenza "a" strains. this is the one making all the news. whenever there's a flu season with this one predominating, we know it tends to be a bad season. it happens to be a more virulent influenza "a." that strain is the one predominating. that gets us a little nervous. who made news about a week and a half ago is we were finding out that roughly 50% of the infections people were coming down with were what we call a drifted variant of the strain. that means the flu vaccine that's supposed to cover that particular strain was not going to be effective. people say, how do we know that? we know which strains are chosen for the next year's flu happens very early in the year, usually around february. >> because you have to make them. >> you need enough time to distribute and manufacture all of them. what happened was that that particular strain started drifting shortly thereafter. it was too late. 9 so the batch of vaccines that we have are covering it but, again, 50% of the one that's
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predominating right now isn't being covered. but there are other strains out there still that you are going to covered for. >> normally when one gets the vaccine, how much does it usually cover -- you're saying 50% isn't being covered, is it like 80%, 90%? >> that's an excellent question. typically what we expect from a flu vaccine is it's going to cover about 55% to 60% effective. so last year's flu vaccine was roughly what we said, 55% effective. it's never 100%. it's not even 90% or 80%. but we should remind people even though this strain out there is called a variant, there will be still be some protection from the flu vaccine. and there are other strains, other influenza "a" and influenza "b" covered in the vaccine that you may actually get. so we're recommending the flu vaccine even though it's not 100% protection because getting that vaccine should lessen the complications from the flu and hospitalizations, et cetera.
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>> and can you speak to those naysayers who still from way early on think that, oh, maybe something can happen from getting a vaccine? so many people will not get vaccines because they worry about the effects of that? >> i know. what happens, i think, is a psychological reaction that is not unusual. it happened with ebola. it happens with flying on airplanes. you hear one tragic thing. there was that syndrome that paralyzed someone and happened in the '70s. that sticks in people's minds. or they had a bad reaction from the flu vaccine. but the vast majority of people are convinced when you look at the research and the data that the vaccine is much safer than getting the flu. >> and here's a barometer for me, you're giving your kids the vaccine? >> 100%. and i started vaccinating myself more to protect my children, my parents and my patients rather than even protecting myself.
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young, healthy people can survive the flu if they get it. but it's the other people in the community you're vaccinating to protect everybody. >> leading by example, doctor, thank you so much. hundreds turned out to pay their last respects to one of the nypd officers killed in an ambush last week. i'll talk with a retired nypd detective about the impact on the country, law enforcement and race relations here in the u.s. . at the volkswagen sign-then-drive event. right now, for practically just your signature, you could drive home for the holidays in a new volkswagen. like the sporty, advanced new jetta and the precisely engineered passat tdi. ah, the gift of clean diesel. for the new volkswagen on your list this year, just about all you need, is a pen. festive, isn't it? hurry in to the sign then drive event and get a five-hundred dollar new year's bonus on select new volkswagen models. offer ends january 2nd.
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one pac cleans better than six pacs of the bargain brand combined. cascade. now that's clean. a sea of blue as thousands attend the funeral of an nypd officer killed in the line of duty. the bitter blast of winter about to return. where and when it will be the coldest. new worries about the flu and why this season is being called the worst in years. plus, is drinking alcohol this holiday season going to make you fat? the new article that says, maybe not. good day to all of you. welcome to "weekends with alex witt." here's what's happening out
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there. ♪ the sound of bagpipes on the streets of new york city as the city honors one of two slain police officers. that came on a day when tens of thousands of mourners filled a new york church and the surrounding streets to pay their final respects to one of the city's finest. the funeral for police officer rafael ramos drew officials, police and citizens alike. officer ramos and his partner, wenjian liu, were ambushed and killed last saturday while they sat in their patrol car on a brooklyn street. vice president joe biden spoke to the crowd about the dangers police officers face every day. >> i've spoken at too many funerals for too many peace officers, too many funerals for brave women and men who kept us safe.
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and watched their families grieve. and i've observed one thing that unfortunately it's only when a tragedy like this occurs that all their friends, neighbors and people who didn't even know them become aware of and reminded of the sacrifices they make every single solitary day to make our lives better. >> mayor bill de blasio came to the podium and spoke of the impact the killings have had on the people of new york. >> our hearts are aching today. we feel it physically. we feel it deeply. new york city has lost a hero, a remarkable man because of the depth of his commitment to all around him. on behalf of all 8.4 million new yorkers, on behalf of all of us,
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i extend my condolences to maisa, to justin and jaden, to julia, to cindy, to the entire family, the wonderful, beautiful extended family that we've all come to know in these days. >> in a final honor, police commissioner william bratton posthumously promoted the officer to detective first grade. the funeral plans for officer liu have yet to be announced. msnbc's adam reese is outside the church where the funeral was held. adam, describe what you think the crowd felt there, what you felt covering this and seeing this incredible emotion and sea of blue represented there on those streets of brooklyn. >> reporter: good afternoon, alex. i should tell you the family is now at the gravesite. they're now burying officer rafael ramos. the scene here today, very emotional. thousands of officers lining the streets in tribute, paying homage, honoring officer ramos. they wanted to say that they
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came here to pay tribute to his duty, not only as a police officer but here as an usher, someone who is so committed to his religion and his job. he loved his wife who he met in high school. he always wanted to be a police officer. and he adored his two young boys. and now we prepare to bury officer liu. alex? >> is there any update -- have you heard anything about when those plans are going to be made public for officer liu? >> reporter: there is a possibility his funeral could be pushed to january. jetblue has offered to fly his family in from china and they're still making those arrangements. >> from outside that church, adam reese, thank you so much. >> let's bring in marquez claxton, a former nypd detective and a friend to this show here. good to see you again despite the circumstances. give me your thoughts about the funeral today and this huge turnout. is this what you imagine from your former colleagues? >> yeah, this is a sad, solemn
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and somber time. these funerals are very difficult not only on the large community, not only on the family but also on those professionals who attend these funerals from across the nation. it is exactly the type of funeral that you would expect when you're honoring a national hero as officer ramos was. so this is a difficult time, an emotional time. and it's filled with pain and anguish. and i think there's a tremendous amount of empathy throughout the nation. >> absolutely. does anything positive ever come from a tragedy like this? >> it's hard to imagine. and i think that most people really a are focused at this ti really on empathizing with the family. all of us have suffered some level of loss on a more personal, intimate level. these are the times when the extended families and the extended brotherhood, if you will, of law enforcement really
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feels directly the impact of loss and tragedy and just the man in which this took place -- the assassination of this heroic man and his partner. it's significant and impactful. it will have -- it will take on emotional toll for several days moving forward. the police officers now have to kind of rekilter, get back on, focus. and they'll always do the job of police officers. but we have to recover emotionally before we can move on. and then imagine there's another funeral coming up in short order. >> police commissioner bratton giving him posthumously the upgrade to detective first grade. what does that mean in a practical sense? >> well, there is some residual benefit to it. but i think the significance of it is that that is an esteemed and significant promotion. and it really pays homage to the life and the career of the
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individual who's awarded it posthumously, first grade is the highest detective grade that can be achieved and really it's a tribute to not only the life that the person led but the service to the city and to the department that they gave. >> there have been calls as i know you're aware for departments to be more reflective of the communities that they police. so what kind of a difference, marquez, could that make in the way the public views officers on the streets? >> i'll be honest with you. i think more significant than complexion change in department is what's being called for in a lot of the protests and demonstrations across the nation, reform. you have to reform and change and shift the paradigm of law enforcement to be more community based and community concerns, community service driven as opposed to the enforcement model that we've been dealing with and addressing over the past 15 or 20 years.
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so i think more important than the complexion and although that is important when you're dealing with the public, relatability, more important than that are reforming the basic structure and principle of law enforcement, policing and the larger scale, the criminal justice system. >> despite this being a day of respect for officer ramos, there were a couple of hundred nypd officers, as you know, who turned their backs on the mayor. talk about this rift between police and city hall and what do you think it's going to take to fix it? >> well, i'll be honest with you. it's really of the utmost importance to fix it. people have to be mindful that there is a history of rifts between city hall and the police unions. as a matter of fact, i can't think in my lifetime when there was a good relationship, an amicable relationship between city hall and the police unions. and that is extended -- people
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may have forgotten, since '92 when the police unions actually were part of a riot that took place on the steps of city hall when then-mayor david dinkens was in office. so this is historically a typical pattern of rift and problems. what's happened now is we're being exposed to it more, we're seeing more attention to it because of the nationwide protests and the calls for reform. but this is nothing new. it's not even necessary or required that the city hall makes any adjustments. case in point, rudy giuliani was hated at several periods throughout his tenure by the law enforcement unions. however, the most significant strides in crime reduction were made during that time. >> yeah. let's take a listen to what was just said a few minutes ago by patrick lynch. here's that. >> today is about mourning. tomorrow is about debate. >> what would you tell those police officers?
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>> we understand the betrayal they feel. >> i'd like to get -- we didn't hear the end of that s.o.t. but the pba president, it's been a tough time, marquez. talk about what you think is going on from a political perspective. can you speak to that? >> i think there are a few things that are going on as far as the union's relationship with city hall. politically, people have to be aware the backdrop is that there is a very tense, terse and vicious negotiation that's going on. there's been a contract offers made to the union that is they deem to be unacceptable and they're exploring the options. that's the backdrop of a lot of what's going on between the police department and mayor de blasio. you include with that a lot of the national call for reform, which the unions are treating as if they are anti-police protests as opposed to pro-reform
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protests. so you add that into the mix. but another backdrop is that the upcoming union elections, many of the labor unions, the police labor unions are dealing with elections that are upcoming. so they're trying to circle the wagons, put everybody under one tent moving into contract negotiations and their very own union elections. >> marquez, thank you for weighing in. the latest in the sony hacking scandal, north korean leader kim jong-un hurls threats at president obama accusing him of prompting the release of the movie "the interview." the statement says nothing about recent interruptions in the sony gaming systems. let's go to hallie jackson who's covering it all for us from los angeles. does it look like the gaming system hack is unrelated to the movie scandal? are you hearing anything on that? >> reporter: some analysts say there's not likely to be any kind of meaningful connection
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between the suspected hack that knocked out both playstation and xbox and the original hack against sony pictures, the studio arm that made "the interview." analysts say it was a different type of attack and it was a different motive. in the playstation suspected hack, you saw for example the lights going out, the goal was to knock out service, it was to annoy people on christmas, kind of like a prank. and also to raise awareness of cyber security issues. the sony incident was much bigger. you saw personal information hacked and then disseminated publicly. >> and then in terms of grossing -- it grossed more than $1 million overall on the opening day. 331 independent theaters. is it fair to call this a win for sony and freedom of speech here in the u.s.? >> reporter: i think you might see moviegoers call it a win for free speech. we heard that all week long as people flocked to theaters. sony would have rather had this
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on wide release in 3,000 theaters instead of the 330-plus that it ended up in. but sony says it's grateful for the support from the audiences, what it called a fantastic audience reaction. the number itself, $1 million or so on opening day, respectable. some box office trackers say it's not bad. it puts "the interview" in the top 15 for opening day, for christmas day and might put it in the top 15 for the weekend. that's competing against big movies like "unbroken" and "into the woods." so not bad. >> regardless of who's to blame for the recent hacks at sony, is this a serious wake-up call to the company, to the industry, to any large corporation about cyber security? >> reporter: that's the best way to phrase it. we've heard that over the last several weeks from cyber security experts who point out it affected hollywood this time. but down the road, it could be a financial institution, wall street, the government in d.c. that's affected. you're seeing a lot of people
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potentially putting some new defenses in place and really looking at what they're doing to protect their company and their business against this type of cyber security issue. >> hallie jackson, thank you so much from los angeles. the new concerns pabt the president's safety after a new report surfaces about who is driving the cars in his motorcade. my name's louis,
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while the president relaxes on his vacation in hawaii, new concerns about the secret service in washington. the agency on defense again after a news report highlighted a policy of letting untrained, unpaid citizen volunteers get behind the wheel in presidential vehicle motorcades. nbc's kristen welker has the latest from honolulu. kristen, apparently this has been going on for a while. >> reporter: it has been going on for a while.
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this is nothing new. it dates back at least three decades, the secret service allowing the white house to bring in volunteers with really no special training to drive white house staffers and journalists in the presidential motorcade. now there are new questions about whether that could be putting the president in jeopardy. this is all coming under new scrutiny after a graduate student posted a picture of herself on facebook showing herself standing next to the president's limousine. she was among the volunteers on the president's trip to san francisco this past fall. natalie tyson telling "the new york times" she received little training from the secret service. but the agency spokesperson defends the practice saying, look, the vehicles driven by volunteers are nowhere near the president and the volunteers are, quote, briefed by the secret service agent responsible for the motorcade prior to any movements. the motorcade has a police escort and typically there is no other traffic on the road at the time the presidential motorcade is moving. still, there are some critics who worry the untrained volunteers could put everyone at risk. the white house had no comment about this story. and we were unable to reach
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tyson for comment. officials here, though, note that the white house hired a company of professional drivers that they have used in past years to shuttle the press around on this trip in hawaii. alex? >> i want to ask you about one more thing. we have to talk a little politics here. the president should be living it up out there in this serene, beautiful landscape. he's coming home to a republican-controlled house and senate. no day at the beach there. what do we expect in his first week back at washington? >> reporter: you're right. he's trying to relax here in hawaii. played a number of rounds of golf. that will probably continue. when he heads home, he and republicans who are set to take control of congress, as you point out, have said they want to try to find some common ground on a few issues, things like corporate tax reform, trade and infrastructure projects. but there will be big battles ahead, alex, some that we've already seen like health care, for example. republicans vowing to try to pass legislation that would scale back or change the
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president's signature piece of legislation. the president saying he's not going to give an inch there. and expect a battle when it comes to the keystone pipeline. republicans say approving the pipeline would add thousands of jobs. the president disagrees saying he thinks the number of jobs being estimated is really an overestimate. and he's signaled that he's opposed to approving the keystone pipeline although he hasn't issued a veto threat. and you can expect big battles when it comes to immigration. of course, the president just announced that big executive order on immigration which would allow millions of people to stay here legally, a number of republicans opposed to that say he's overstepped his authority. guess what? this budget that they just passed only funds dhs, the agency that funds a number of immigration policies through february. so you can expect that to be a big battle in the new year as well. but as for right now, congress remains on recess and president
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obama continues with his vacation here in hawaii. everyone trying to rest before they head back to washington. >> except you, apparently. kristen welker working away there in hawaii. nice place to work. is drinking alcohol this new year's going to make you fat?
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katy pesoft and fullntrary, how dlike a flower,grow? with new covergirl full lash bloom mascara. finally! volume that's soft - not spiky. new full lash bloom mascara from easy, breezy, beautiful covergirl if you're planning to ring in the new year wednesday night with champagne, wine or liquor, be prepared to see it on the scale next week, too. a new report in "the washington post" is reminding revellers those calories will cost you. nights of heavy consumption more detrimental to your waistline than you might have guessed. joining me is the "washington post" contributor who just had to remind us of the consequences. jill adams, thank you for joining me. i know you mentioned in your article that you almost hope that you find evidence that drinking does not lead to weight gain. not really the case, huh? what did you find?
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>> i would say the science isn't totally clear on this. but i had my reservations about even reporting this story for fear of what i might find. >> let's talk about the different kinds of drinkers. you have the one glass a day drinkers, the teetotalers. talk about it. >> the one drink a day drinkers really do the best on about everything that's been measured. a lot of these studies are done this large populations. so there's a lot of strong evidence behind it. they do better in terms of not gaining weight. they do better in terms of having a healthy heart. they live longer. they have longer longevity. now, more than -- this is all in the frame of moderate drinking, which is defined by our country as one drink a day for women and two drinks a day for men. you might call men lucky. >> i guess. what about the skinny cocktails?
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i don't know if men drink those as much, the ones that boast the fewer calories and fat, how do they weigh in on this? >> i didn't exactly look into that in much depth for my article. but there are ways you can watch your calorie intake when you're drinking. there are light beers that contain fewer calories. with kocks, you really have to be careful of the mixers. you're putting in syrups and sugars and sodas and all those things are carrying calories of their own. so a rum and coke with a diet coke is one way to reduce calories. perhaps using -- also the other thing to watch out for is portion size. you want to either reduce the amount of alcohol or reduce the amount of -- or just make a smaller drink and sip it. >> yeah. what's the big takeaway? what do you want to have people take away from this article? >> well, as is often the case with health reporting, it's a little bit of a mixed message.
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so in some kinds of studies they do, people have shown that alcohol is an appetite stimulant. so after people drink, they eat more. they eat more after a drink than drinking maybe water. i was told by the chief scientific officer at weight watchers that the other thing to worry about alcohol is its effect on your behavior. so you might forget to count calories if you're at a holiday party. you have a drink or two. next thing you know, you're not sticking to the vegetable side of the table but diving into the fried foods. alcohol can have lots of effects like that that might mean in a single day, you're taking in way more calories because you've had those drinks. the interesting thing is in these longer-term studies, it actually shows this one drink a day, people weigh less than people who drink more or people who don't drink at all.
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>> well, i have to say, i have a few friends who are probably going to take that little nugget of info away from all this. jill, happy holidays. >> thank you. the future of afghanistan without help from the u.s., what lies ahead as the u.s. ends the combat mission there. and one of the deadliest natural disasters in modern history, see the remarkable recovery in some of the very spots hit hardest by a tsunami a decade ago. i take prilosec otc each morning for my frequent heartburn. because it gives me... zero heartburn!
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that helps you sleep easily and wake refreshed. did you get chips for the party? nope. (ding) cheese plate? cheese plate. no, i made something better.
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you used the oven? boom. pillsbury crescents. make the holidays pop. [ male announcer ] the rhythm of life. [ whistle blowing ] where do you hear that beat? campbell's healthy request soup lets you hear it in your heart. [ basketball bouncing ] heart healthy. [ m'm... ] great taste. [ tapping ] sounds good. campbell's healthy request. m'm! m'm! good.® welcome back to "weekends with alex witt." 32 past the hour. the u.s. combat mission in afghanistan is ending by december 31st, just four days from now. that's going to leave the afghans to defend themselves without military assistance from america's military. >> because of the extraordinary service of the men and women in the american armed forces, afghanistan has a chance to rebuild its own country. we are safer. it's not going to be a source of terrorist attacks again.
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>> some troops will remain but won't actively be in combat situations. daniel bulger is a retired lieutenant general and the author of "why we lost." general, with a welcome to you, sir, is the president accurate when he says afghanistan's not going to be the target of terrorist attacks again? >> the president is seeing the future as the glass is half full. but there are warning signs. afghanistan has created shelter groups like al qaeda and the taliban. they're still there. in a way, the president's like somebody who sees a couple of years without hurricanes in florida and then predicts there won't be any more hurricanes. the prevailing conditions provide for terrorists to grow and prosper there. >> what about civilian casualties? they may hit 10,000 this year. it's an extraordinary number. many more women, many more children have been killed. about 5,000 afghan forces have also been killed. so what's the effect going to be when the u.s. military is not
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there for combat missions? >> i think it's quite worrisome because right now, it's the winter. so things are fairly calm because the tough terrain in the hindu mountains. but when the spring comes, there will be a taliban offensive. a lot more casualties this past year than they've had in the entire war in afghanistan. when we had the lead there, we had situations where we killed afghan civilians by accident. but we were trying not to. the taliban's doing it to intimidate them and they're not worried about how many civilian casualties are. they're only worried about winning. >> so then troop drawdown, is this the right time to be doing it? >> i'll tell you, alex, it's something that definitely concerns me. i think one of the most dangerous things we're doing is leaving 10,000 troops there this year and cutting it to 5,000 next year. you send a message of weakness to the taliban that you're pulling out, you send a message that sort of unnerves your
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afghan allies that you're not going to stick with them and leave 10,000 americans at the end of a very long supply line that runs from russia through pakistan. we can't fly an aircraft in there without going through russia or pakistan let alone bring in trucks or anything on the ground. >> those that are remaining, what will they be doing? >> they're going to be training and assisting the afghan military about 350,000 troops that are in their military and police. their going to be providing some support in terms of supplies and medical and assistance in those areas that the afghans are still working on their technical services. there's going to be some limited air support. my understanding is we're going to continue to carry out special operations against the remnants of al qaeda. >> i want to get your reaction to something else the president said. >> we still have some very difficult missions around the world including in iraq. we still have folks in afghanistan helping afghan security forces. we have people who are helping deal with ebola in west africa.
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obviously we've got folks stationed all around the world. >> do you think it is the military's role -- are they best utilized when dealing with a crisis like ebola and if they are putting their attention there, does that divert from things like isis? >> well, alex, the military's designed to go in and fight and win. that means in combat going in and killing the enemy and taking terrain. we're not really designed to go in and cure diseases or things like that. we can secure the area and let the doctors and the medical expert and the nurses go in and help out. but really what we're designed to do is kill the enemy and take terrain. when you use it for things other than that, it is sort of a diversion from our core mission. >> so in the fight against isis, it has been a much-debated point whether or not there will have to be u.s. boots on the ground to get the job done, the job that you're describing that the military is trained and cut out to do. do you think we're going to see that? >> alex, i hope not.
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we've tried that already in afghanistan and iraq for a long time. a u.s.-led counterinsurgency -- isis is an insurgent group. they're terrorists. they wear civilian clothes and blend in with the population. the best people to go after them are members of their local community, which is to say in the case of isis, iraqi forces need to take the lead. we can back them up and provide training and assistance. we can provide air support. but they really have to provide the boots on the ground. if we do it, we're not going to stay there long enough to get the job done. you're talking 30, 40, 50 years, that's not in the cards. >> sir, thank you so much for your insights. >> thank you. ten years ago, the world woke up to the aftermath of one of the worst natural disasters in recorded history, a magnitude 9.1 earthquake underneath the indian ocean caused a tsunami that devastated much of southeast asia. nbc's katy tur is in thailand with a look back. >> reporter: although it's been ten years since the indian ocean tsunami, for the millions that call this part of southeast asia
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home, the memory is still fresh. it was a day many in this part of the world would like nothing more than to forget. but on friday, the horror of december 26th, 2004, was remembered. in ceremonies across the region, prayers were offered, lanterns released and loved ones missed. the indian ocean tsunami hit 14 countries, leveling entire towns and villages and killing more than 230,000. most on the northern tip of indonesia in a town called bondaacha. this man watched from a fishing boat as the 100-foot-high wave came in. he watched his wife, his son and his daughter. still, he rebuilt. there's danger wherever you go, you should be the place that you love. in jakarta, the tsunami early warning center monitored one of
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the most active fault lines on the earth. the same one that ruptured in 2004. they hope next time will be different. >> maybe we should have a system like this -- >> reporter: a model from the czech republic was vacationing in thailand with her boyfriend when the wave hit. she was badly hurt but survived. her boyfriend did not. >> his favorite quote was, the day without laughter is a day wasted. so the best way to honor him is -- and the best way to make him happy is if i am happy myself. >> reporter: from indonesia, sri lanka, india and thailand, towns have been rebuilt, the scars are healing but no one will ever forget. although this city was the hardest hit and it seemed like that community couldn't recover, the town is back up, the economy is working again and the
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residents here say that, yes, they have recovered. >> that is very good news, katy tur, thank you so much. america's economy, new numbers this past week which surprised experts. we'll tell you why it has more to do with you than anything happening on wall street. for the volkswagen sign-then-drive event. for practically just your signature, you could drive home for the holidays in a german-engineered volkswagen. like the sporty, advanced new jetta... and the 2015 motor trend car of the year all-new golf. if you're wishing for a new volkswagen this season... just about all you need is a finely tuned... pen. hurry in to the sign then drive event and get a five-hundred dollar new year's bonus on select new volkswagen models. offer ends january 2nd.
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2014's ended with an economic boom. the dow ended above 18,000. bloomberg reporter darren wallbank is joining me to discuss this. can these numbers hold, especially the dow? look at that, 18,000. it was at 17,000 in july. can we expect that kind of growth in the next six months? >> well, certainly the 5% number for gdp growth that came out was a very big christmas present for the u.s. economy. we are talking about numbers that we haven't seen in a decade. the dow 18,000 is a big number
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that market analysts were looking for. and all signs point like this is going to possibly continue a little bit. one of the things that we're going to start to see in the new year, we've got more than 20 states putting in a minimum wage increase. so you're going to see actual real wage growth along the bottom sector. that could contribute to additional spending that could help out some retailers. so you really start to see possibly a little bit of a snowball effect is what some of the optimists were saying after those sort of numbers came out. >> what you're talking about as well extends to the lower gas prices which are really putting a lot more money in consumers' pockets. they're out spending it. but how long can that last? >> the gas prices actually might take a little while to get back up to where they were going. i've been seeing forecasts that talk about a year, maybe a year and a half or something like that until they trigger back up. take those with as much salt as you need to.
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but when you cut the price of something, if it's something only a couple of people can access, then it's only a break for them. if you cut something like gas prices, that's basically a tax break for everybody who drives a car. and i took my car out to the gas station, i saw a 50% reduction in what i was paying. that's another night out with the wife and kids. it starts to be real money. >> yeah. this is great for the american consumer. but look at russia's economy right now. that's taken a big punch. you have the american and european sanctions as well. does russia's situation risk affecting us next year? >> russia's very exposed to the price of oil. it's much more central to their economy than it is to our economy even if you can believe that. and the price of oil goes down 50%, the price of the ruble against the dollar is down 40% almost in the last year. and so you can see they're very
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closely correlated. u.s. economic sanctions on russia designed to continue bringing pressure against vladimir putin to change his behavior, visa -a-visvis-a-vis,d neighboring states. but the u.s. is insulated from the russian economy as long as it doesn't infect other western states with it. >> in terms of the sentiments, the way people are viewing things, a new poll says 34% believe that their household's financial situation is going to improve. a jump from 27% in october, and also 38% say the overall economy will improve, increase from october as well. can you point out risks you're concerned about for the everyday consumer? >> there are two sorts of risks. there's a perceived risk that we saw at the end of this year that people get very, very worried about that don't actually have a big effect. those are things like ebola didn't have a big effect on the u.s. mainland, for example,
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although it was talked about a lot. but you start seeing some big mainline risks coming on in terms of actual impact. the world economic forum said the biggest 2014 mainline risk was actually fiscal crises. if you look at the u.s. government calendar in terms of showdowns that congress and the president will have, you start to see a couple of big deadline days where there could be some risk coming up if people don't find compromises, find solutions and take shutdowns and things like that off the table. >> what's the first one of those deadlines you're looking at? >> well, i'm looking at the debt limit in march. that could extend off to late summer. but the one that i think could be a big indicator of how we're going is in february when we have a fight over immigration. homeland security funding ends in february. and this is one where republicans have promised a fight. they delayed it in december and november saying that they'd have more of a strong hand when the
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republicans take over the senate in the new year. the other one i'm watching that i think your viewers should pay special attention to is actually highway funding in may. you say highway funding, why is that? because you actually have to figure out a funding solution. and this is something where raising revenues might have to come and we haven't seen agreements yet on actually being able to raise revenues. that's a big question congress hasn't been able to grapple with recently. >> that is an interesting point i have not heard. thank you so much, derek wallbank. >> thank you for having me. happy new year. >> and to you. what's going to get done in washington with the new congress? new predictions ahead. that's right. it's just that i'm worried about you know "hidden things..." ok, why's that? no hidden fees, from the bank where no branches equals great rates.
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politically, 2015 will mean two things for the president. a gop controlled center and securing his legacy with two years remaining in office. we have a democratic stra iic s
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and msnbc contributor. welcome to you both. the president's legacy on foreign affairs. i want to play something the president told troops at a marine base on thursday and get your response to it. here it is. >> this is an important year. we've been in continuous war now for almost 13 years. over 13 years. next week, we will be ending our combat mission in afghanistan. obviously -- [ applause ] >> because of the extraordinary service the men and women in the american armed forces, afghanistan has a chance to rebuild its own country. we are safer. it's not going to be a source of terrorist attacks again. >> what credit do you give the president for ending the wars in both afghanistan and iraq? >> well, i think that the only thing he said correct there is that hats off to the men and women in the military. the problem is, he continues to
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turn a blind eye to the problems with terrorism, and it's only at the united states and the world's peril. he campaigns on the facts that al qaeda was on its heels when it has grown and gotten worse. in terms of foreign policy, he's created an atmosphere where our enemies don't fear us and allies don't respect us anymore. he's continuing to pretend as though terrorism is non-exist t non-existent, and it's not in the best interest of our country, and certainly those around the world. >> in all fairness, can you say he's turned a blind eye to terrorism? wasn't he the president that oversaw the capture and killing of osama bin laden? >> he was, and hats off to that. in light of that and ever since that time, continuing to decrease our military, leaving a vacuum in parts of the world where -- not leaving a residual force of our military in areas
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of the world, and only created a vacuum for isis to grow and increase terror across the country. his policies with regard to terrorism has made america, what used to be the world's superpower, a black eye. >> i imagine jimmy has a difference of opinion here. >> more terrorist leaders have been killed by barack obama than by george w. bush, a. b, we've had no attacks on the homeland since barack obama became president. c, i would suggest that the idea that we are a less safe nation, i don't think we're less safe. i think we're tired of being in afghanistan and iraq and everywhere else in the middle east. i would suggest that the idea that the country has an appetite for staying in a place that the french couldn't take care of, the russians couldn't take care of, that the british failed at, it's probably time for us to go. the president campaigned on getting out of iraq and afghanistan. he's made good on that promise. he's killed more terrorist
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leaders than any other president in the history of this country. i'm okay with that, i guess, playing field. >> how about, jimmy, the poll from cnn, which has the president's approval rating still underwater but higher than it has been. it's now at 48%. what do you attribute the increase here, and do you think he'll pull back above 50%? >> it's all about the economy. notice i didn't say it's the economy, stupid, because i didn't want you to think i was saying you're stupid. it's always about the economy. >> look at the economy, that's why you think it's ticking back upward? the economy is doing well now. >> absolutely. the economy is roaring, and i think it's going to continue to roar, if you will. listen, corporate profits have never been higher in the history of the country. the dow is at 18,000, and housing is up. gdp last quarter, r55%. it's a good economic record.
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doesn't matter what it is, republicans will poo all over it. that's a fact of life, and i'm sure they will. >> to that extend, i want alice to respond to this. let's listen to the conflicting views of the president and john boehner. >> over the past four years we've put more people back to work than all other advanced economies combined. >> i believe the president's policies are getting in the way of jobs being created in america. >> so these competing perspectives, who is right? >> well, the facts are right. everyone can have their own set of opinions but the facts don't lie. the facts are that the labor participation rate is at oon an all-time low. sales of existing homes have gone down significantly. recent polls show 40% of americans say they're struggling to make end's meet. that's the fact of the matter. jimmy and i can disagree on how we view the facts. >> jimmy, ten seconds if you
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want to refute it. >> housing stats are not down, and more importantly, if you have a problem with the idea that people are struggling you might have a conversation with corporate america. maybe they should pay their employees more since they have more profits. >> you guys are worth every penny. have a good one. >> thank you. it's not about hows you can get out of the c-max hybrid. it's about how much life you can fit into it. ♪ the ford c-max hybrid. with an epa-estimated range of 540 miles on a tank of gas. and all the room you need to enjoy the trip. go stretch out. go further.
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takyou haven't seen ep like... your bed in days.
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no, like you haven't seen a bed in weeks! zzzquil. the non habit forming sleep-aid that helps you sleep easily and wake refreshed. because sleep is a beautiful thing. a race car driver hits the wall. >> he's out! >> he's out. >> a kite boarder slams into steel poles. >> it felt like i got hit by a truck. >> motorcycle riders scrape the street. >> whoa! >> super athletes push the limits. >> i just remember hitting the horse. >> oh, good heavens! >> huge amount of pain. >> daredevil goes for broke. >> i practically almost died jumping off this bridge. >> and a family goes over the edge.

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