tv Weekends With Alex Witt MSNBC January 2, 2016 4:00am-5:01am PST
good morning, everybody. welcome to "weekends with alex witt." i'm todd piro. alex is off today. historic flooding and the aftermath. a live report on what's next and what's left behind as waters recede in the nation's midsection. on the loose, a gunman who opened fire at a bar in israel remains on the run. was this an act of terror? the latest from israel live. gun control in his sights. president obama plans to take new steps that might make it tougher to purchase a firearm. we'll tell you what to expect. and going for broke. new numbers on how much americans spent this season. it could come down to one key factor.
at this hour, in illinois, the national guard is in place and hundreds of residents have been told to evacuate as deadly floodwaters batter that state. at least 24 people have died in illinois and missouri. two remain missing today. nbc's charles hadlock is there this morning. what are you seeing on the ground there? >> reporter: hi, todd. there's still water from the flooded meramec river here. the food news is that interstate 44 from st. louis all the way into oklahoma is open. as is i-55 from chicago that goes down to memphis. the flooded roadways were cleared yesterday. but a lot of the secondary roads are still under water because the meramec river rose to a record high of 44 feet. that's 28 feet above flood stage. on thursday. it's four feet higher than it's
ever been here. it's slow to drain because it goes into the mississippi 15 miles from here, but the mississippi river is also swollen so it's backing up to the meramec. st. louis was never really flooded, it was the smaller up tos like valley park, and arnold that bore the brunt of the flood. now it's moving south, the up to of ste. genevieve, but the floodwaters are holding. and cape gerardo, they're preparing for water 50 feet above flood stage, but the water is holding and the water is passing by for the moment. but they're watching that wall built after the '93 flood there. so the floodwaters are traveling to the south, memphis is on alert for the water that could be arriving later this next week. also, the coast guard has posted a high water advisory from
southern missouri all the way down to natches, mississippi. so it will be a long, slow flow. >> so how else are southern states preparing to prepare for this flooding as it unfortunately heads their way? >> reporter: well, they're watching the water games, piling sandbags in low-lying areas where they can. they're keeping a watchful eye. they have been through this in '82 and '93 and now in 2016. >> charles, thank you very much. joining me now is meteorologist bonnie scheider. good morning. >> good morning, todd. we are watching this event as you are just hearing it's a slow moving natural disaster that will be with us for the first couple of weeks of january. the need warnings are spread out from st. louis down to memphis and we'll be watching as that
large mass of water, the floodwaters, works its way down the mississippi and eventually we'll keep our eyes on new orleans at the end of the week. as of this morning, we have 316 river gauges nationwide that are above flood statement. you can see them by the red dots on your screen. we may have less flood stage, but the ones that are flooding are flooding badly from st. louis as i mentioned but look through arkansas and even into texas and the south where we have heavy rain coming along the gulf coast. we did see the river crest into st. louis already. but we are expecting it to crest in cape gerardo later for example. elsewhere, another area to watch, we're looking for the potential of freezing rain in texas. that may impact san antonio for those traveling in austin as well. we're watching for the cold air to work into the forecast. boy, what a difference a couple of days make and for sunday, you will feel that cold. 44 is the high in new york.
25 in minneapolis. and eventually, this cold air is pushing even further to the east. you will feel it on monday. boston and new york, you're in the 30s and new york doesn't hit freezing on monday. so big changes for the first monday of the new year. we're watching this well off into the west in california. a series of storms will be coming in, bringing rain on monday and on tuesday. now, this is all part of el nino. and coming up at 7:30 i'll talk more about el nino and how it will likely impact our winter weather nationally. that's coming up in a bit. but meantime, keep your eyes on the skies today we're expecting a storm in west texas and a lot of cold air filtering into the forecast. overall, it's a calmer picture than last weekend. we get a reprieve before the second week of january. i'm expecting things to pick up winter wise. a nationwide manhunt under way in israel. police searching for a gunman suspected of an take -- an attack on a tel aviv cafe yesterday. two people were killed, seven
wounded. nbc's keir simmons has been monitoring this situation from london. bring us up to date on this manhunt. >> reporter: candles overnight for the victims of a killer still on the run. a manhunt under way this morning. on a surveillance camera, young people relax at a bar. then dive for cover in fear. a gunman appears, firing more than 15 rounds. seconds later, one survivor looks up in horror. around him two are dead. seven people were injured. four are in serious condition. >> i was pretty shocked because i was thinking what's happening? my daughter she was inside the restaurant. i was very shocked. >> reporter: more chilling surveillance footage shows the same gunman moments earlier in a grocery store pretending to shop. then he pulls an automatic
weapon from his backpack and begins killing. leaving bullet holes and bar stools overturned in terror. >> i fall and i -- but it was like over there. >> reporter: israeli media are reporting that police have identified an arab israeli s. some believe this could be the country's first isis inspired attack. one new yorker visiting israel says most people are not frightened. >> we are still planning ongoing out tomorrow night in tel aviv. >> reporter: but this morning the detectives hunt the man who with both hands gripping his weapon was so determined to kill. >> that was keir simmons in london. in pennsylvania a large search is under way for a boy with autism. he wandered away from a party barefoot. he was last seen near allentown and residents are asked to check their backyards, sheds, bushes.
any other potential hiding places. the temperature yesterday was in the 30s with a windchill making it feel ten degrees colder at times. heavy smog blanketed southwest china today and caused major traffic jams. that's the second highest alert level. it is now legal to openly carry handgun in texas. many turned out to celebrate the state's law. many are allowed to carry holstered handguns and millions are thrilled to see it take effect. >> it allows me to leave the house dressed as i want to dress. i don't have to worry about am i hiding anything. >> there are some exceptions. open carry is not am low -- allowed at schools and college
campuses and businesses can ban open carry as long as they display the proper signs. new year's alarm, what prompted one of europe's biggest cities to take dramatic action after an unconfirmed terror threat. and the message that floated above the rose bowl parade when we come back. we call it share the love. during our share the love event, get a new subaru, and we'll donate $250 to those in need. bringing our total donations to over sixty-five million dollars. and bringing love where it's needed most. love. it's what makes a subaru, a subaru.
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whenever you need them. so your business can get back to business. sounds like my ride's ready. don't get stuck on hold. reach an expert fast. comcast business. built for business. welcome back. here's an update on the top story we are foal lowing right now. the national guard is in place and hundreds have been told to evacuate as deadly floodwaters batter the state. at least 24 have died in illinois and missouri. two people are missing. president obama's wrapping up his christmas break in hawaii this weekend. upon his return to washington next week he'll finalize a set of executive actions on gun
control. ron allen is traveling with the president in oahu. ron, what are you learning about this plan and how soon are with -- we going to know more about it? >> reporter: well, we think the president is going to meet with his attorney general on monday. er -- that meeting after several months of planning and looking over the nation's gun law, the president trying to essentially take matters into his own hands because he's well aware that congress not going to act on this issue. so we expect there will be some proposals using executive action perhaps focused at background checks. trying to expand the definition of who a gun dealer is and requiring those individuals to conduct background checks. closing for example the gun show loophole. and the other area, no fly/no buy list. there are a number of individuals, thousands who are on terror watch lists who are not allowed to board airplanes
but they can still buy guns. this does not make sense, the administration says. however, anything that the president does in this area is going to face stiff opposition. a lot of concern, a lot of challenge by gun enthusiasts and by republicans who say the law is clear on these matters. but this is a legacy for the president. something that he feels very strongly about after as dressing the nation on more than a -- addressing the nation on more than a dozen occasions. he says his inability to stop mass shootings, to do more to reduce gun violence is the biggest frustration of his time in office. now he seems determined to act. back to you. >> ron, thank you very much. officials in munich have reopened train stations throughout the city after a terror alert led authorities to shut them down on new year's eve. there were solid indications that seven planned attacks. reuters said that police have been unable to find the suspects and in fact are not even fur
they exist. let's bring in steve clemens, washington editor at large at "the washington post" and what level of threat did it take for them to shut down the munich train stations, especially in light of the fact that police had little information on the attackers? >> well, the actions they took were based on their assessment that information that they got actually just before christmas was solid. and the fact that they didn't either apprehend the suspects that three of whom were allegedly identified within the intelligence they had, or the fact that there was an incident doesn't mean it was a serious threat. i think it was a serious threat at the highest level. it was clearly a communicated -- communicated to them by the intelligence source they trusted. >> european officials took a much more hard nosed approach, banning fireworks. why the different reactions to terror threats?
>> brussels has per capita more who have gone to fight with isis than any other capital in the european union. in france and in brussels, we have people still being apprehended with pipe bombs and various munitions they brought in. so they have got a real and present threat continuing to unfold can real people on the site. so when you think about hundreds of thousands of people amassing to watch fireworks, that is just too ripe a target at this point. and while many people have criticized brussels and paris and others for not having these and not allowing society to move on, it's an unbelievable size threat. it would make something like bataclan and what we saw happen months ago in paris look very small. i think we need to be humble to some degree in criticizing others in how they have taken on dealing with some of the very and real present threats in
their own societies. >> moving to israel, the second day of a manhunt for a gunman who police opened fire in a cafe, killing two people. how unique is it to use firearms in a security conscious country such as israel? >> it's very rare. the prevalence of guns -- they have a lot of guns there, but people have background checks. they have specific reasons for having them and gun violence is about one-tenth that in the united states. so what we saw unfold yesterday with that rifle in realtime on video is something very, very rarely seen in israel. >> obviously, there's a sense oftentimes that we're going to go to isis immediately when something like this happens, but is there any real indication that this gunman was inspired by isis? >> no. we don't have any information on that. what we do have is information from his father and also from his lawyer. he apparently was jailed for about five years before, you know, they have talk about him having -- talked about him
having mental problems and being an unstable person. that doesn't mean he was inspired by isis. there was a man arrested in rochester yesterday, again, his father saying he was unstable, easily hijacked by various causes here and there and was mentally limited if you will. he had some mental problems. so that is the issue we know of him, but isis could have been a factor. we'll know as their investigation continues. >> staying in the area the jerusalem post is reporting that russian air strikes in syria could send isis forces toward israel. how concerned should israeli security forces be concerned about isis forces getting across the border into israel? >> i think israel has to be worried about the golan heights area. they have unbelievable military defense capacities in the area.
but it's not just isis, it's the al nusra front and bashar al assad's regime and right now they're skirmishing it out between each other. right now, israeli intelligence is sort of comfortable with the notion that as long as al nusra is fighting isis, these are two extremist groups fighting each other, israel will be okay, but if one moves and if russia continues to bombard the isis dimension, they may move down south and then israel would have some challenges and problems. but, you know, israel has formidable military capacity there. >> sort of two wrongs make a right to your other point before. isis in iraq has retaken the key city of ramadi. sort of a celebration of sorts, but as reported in "the washington post," there are far tougher battles ahead, including the much delayed offensive to retake mosul. is the iraqi army prepared to move on to mosul and what a victory there mean for iraq and for isis? >> well, mosul has a population
of between a million and a million and a half people and it's a very important strategic city, both for iraq of course within its country and isis. and i think that it's going to take a lot more resources, much more coordination. ramadi was a small steppingstone, and of course mosul will require a coordination between not only the iraqi military, but also the u.s. coalition led forces that are around and supporting that, both the british and the americans supported the ramadi effort. understand the synthesis of their actions turned out to be pretty good. but i don't think it would be wise of iraq to think that it can now immediately move to mosul without really beefing up and prepping up more. because it will be a very, very big campaign, the terrain is much larger and the population would be -- you know, involved is just staggeringly large. >> if the u.s. does go to mosul,
what would the u.s. role be then? >> i'm sure it would be both spotting targets, air support. bombing. and also coordinating other elements of the coalition that are supportive. i think the united states will play that synthesizing intelligence and aerial bombardment and aerial support role. but you have to remember, we have about 3,000 u.s. forces within iraq now, playing different support roles, training, providing guidance and assistance. and intelligence support. >> a good week for the iraqi prime minister from a p.r. perspective, not such a great year for him. like you said, no time to spike the football just yet. steve clemons, thank you for joining us on a saturday morning. speaking of football or parade, it wasn't all roses yesterday. who was behind that sky writing sign that called donald trump disgusting? good thing geico offers affordable renters insurance. with great coverage it protects my personal belongings should they get damaged, stolen or destroyed. [doorbell] uh, excuse me. delivery.
gunman suspected of an that exon a tel aviv cafe yesterday. two people were killed, seven wounded. it was captured on video from a shop next year. with one month until the iowa caucuses, several are back on the campaign trail today. including donald trump. one of marco rubio's donors is behind the sky writing sign you see right there. calling donald trump disgusting. during the rose parade that happened and days after a shakeup in the jeb bush campaign he's making some last ditch efforts to save his candidacy including ramping up his attacks on donald trump. joining me is phillip bump. let's start with donald trump's strategy, aligning hillary clinton's policies with bill clinton, saying she lacks the stamina to be the president. what's behind this strategy and can it work or is it more likely
to backfire and alienate people who see him as sexist? >> i think this is because people are seeing him as sexist that he began to push back on the clintons. he started attacking bill clinton's history with liaisons. and donald trump has gotten where he is, by talking trash. people love that about him. it's made him popular. i think this is also in part showing that he's moving his attention to the general election more. i think he really thinks he's got this thing wrapped up which i think is awfully premature. literally just minutes ago he went after jeb bush. i wouldn't worry too much in the general election thing. this is what he does. anyone he thinks might be an obstacle between him and the white house, he will say anything that comes to his mind and his supporters love it. >> he said his extracurricular activities are fair game as well
if he goes after bill clinton. and jeb bush's recent attempts are redeploying the 60 staff members saying i'll take the money for that and not so much on television which is not seeming to be the way to go this year. as his competitors are hitting the campaign trail this week, bush does not have a single campaign event yet so far. what are you hearing about his plans to actually try and become relevant in this election? >> this is the second and the third time that bush has reshaped what his campaign is going to be in an attempt to try to win this thing. if he were to win at this point, it would be an historic comeback. no one has come back from as far behind and still won the nomination. i think what this is about, "a" there's still time to make a difference in iowa. he still has a month. you know, but part of this is him signaling, we're refocusing on what the strategy is.
they're on top of it, doing what they can do to win and part is saving money. he's cancelled the ad buys. part of the reason we learned about this, he cancelled the ad buys because he didn't want to spend millions on tv and doing field is cheaper. >> and speaking of chris christie, he is all over new hampshire next week. polling though in fourth place. this comes after getting that coveted endorsement by the union leader. what else though does he have to do to win the granite state? >> i think he's doing a good job. he's come from way back in the field. you know in the most recent poll he's in fourth, but he's essentially tied for second in the national. he's in the narrow field of folks that are fairly close to being the -- in second place. he's done a very good job. after this whole bridgegate thing, he was seen as sort of doa, but he's resuscitated the campaign. he's doing well in new hampshire and i think he's going to put more of a focus in iowa, and do better than expected in iowa.
if you do very, very poorly in iowa, it will affect how new hampshire voters will view your campaign. i think christie one of the things he needs to do is make sure he's doing okay enough in iowa that people see him as viable so when they get into polls in iowa they'll put him in second or first place spot. >> let's go to the politico prediction. expect a ted cruz/nikki haley ticket. what do you think has to happen in the early voting states for us to get a clear picture of who the nominee is on the republican side? >> i think that ted cruz could win the nomination. i think he's remarkably well positioned as someone who is a sitting republican. i wouldn't put money on ted cruz in part because i wouldn't put money on anyone. there's a lot that has to happen in the next month and the months to follow. i think we're getting ahead of
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welcome back to "weekends with alex witt." i'm todd piro. alex is off. developing across the midwest, raging waters are receding after days of destructive flooding but there's substantial damage and the threat is not over yet. nbc's miguel almaguer reports. what is it like on the ground today? >> reporter: it looks better than a few days ago. this is major intersection outside of st. louis, still under several feet of water. it will affect the local roadways here today. by there's some good news, some of the major rivers are dropping up to eight feet a day in some sections but all that water is headed right downstream.
>> there's some houses that have some flooding around the area. >> reporter: it's moving at a volume and rate few have seen before. after swallowing homes the mississippi river is now pushing downstreams at ten times the speed of niagara falls. late next week, it will reach cities like memphis. but before it does -- >> there are still a lot of dangers out here. >> reporter: this u.s. coast guard team is helping to patrol 500 miles of nautical river, looking for anyone in trouble. >> our biggest concern is looking out for those who haven't evacuated and making sure that they don't need our assistance today. >> reporter: the widespread flooding across the midwest still threatens 9 million people after claiming 24 lives and leaving two missing. levees up and down three major rivers are stressed but holding for now. the governor of illinois in hard hit alton has the national guard standing by and ready to deploy.
>> we have communication equipment as well as sandbags to support the local responders. >> reporter: for many, help comes too late. small cities taking the biggest pud punch. for those like dan crawford, this is anything but a happy new year. >> massive clean-up, just a muddy mess. a muddy, sandy mess that's what we've got. tensions are a little high around here. >> reporter: for those struggling to stay above water, the good news -- it's now receding. eureka, missouri, three days ago and now this weekend. but as the coast guard showed us, this torrent is headed south and with it a new threat. in cities downstream like memphis, they're expecting a surge of water in about eight days from now. the flood threat will be moderate. but they hope the levees will hold. >> absolutely.
new proof this week that the el nino weather system keeps getting stronger. while floodwaters rage through missouri and tornados tore up the south, balmy weather was in store for the northeast as a result of el nino. here is some of miguel almaguer's report from "nightly news" this week. >> the newest satellite image released from nasa bears a strikely resemblance to the one in 1997. >> this el nino in size and intensity will definitely rival the previous two champions which were '82 and '97. this is a godzilla el nino. >> joining me right now is bonn bonnie schneiders. which areas will be beneficial? >> well, in the west coast, california, they need the rain and that's one of the primary impacts of el nino. but the wet influence is enhanced by el nino, and it
carries over into texas. remember we had record rainfall in dallas this year, unfortunately that's more to come in the peak of el nino. and weather in west texas, froz frozen precipitation. other impacts, drier in the northern plains and then to the north, drier and warmer into the great lakes. it's interesting to see how it will impact the northeast because we'll see an impact as well. not as much cold air, but wet conditions and some snow as well. >> how long do you think this el nino will last? >> at least through the winter months as it peaks. for the northeast and the great lakes, it means more icy conditions than snow. particularly as you start heading off to the great lakes. the el nino will last into the early spring, but what's interesting is the next phenomenon that we're expecting to occur is la nina. that's known for having more of
an amplified atlantic hurricane season. remember in 2005, that was la nina. so this entire year 2016, looks like it will be a year for extreme weather. >> 2005, not a great year with rita and of course -- katrina, correct. let's go to the other side of the country. california's drought. will any of this help them there? i know that when they get a lot of rain after not having a lot of rain for a number of years you think of one thing and it's mud slides. >> that's right. and i think mudslides are going to be a huge concern. we have a series of systems coming into the west. one starting tomorrow night and then tuesday. this will likely bring more rain to northern california than southern. although showers will be as far south as los angeles this week. but the concerns for mudslides exist. we have seen it earlier into the fall. it's something to keep a close
watch on, especially if you live in an area prone to land slides. any rain coming in creates that risk. >> but they need it. so what do you do? bonnie, thanks. bill cosby reaching out to his fans for the first time since his arrest on thursday. he wrote on twitter, friends and fans, thank you. the 78-year-old comedian and actor was charged in a pennsylvania court with aggravated indecent assault. that stems from an allegation that in 2004, cosby drugged and assaulted a woman at his home. wednesday's charges were the first time though that cosby has been charged with a crime regarding allegations of sexual misconduct. well, let's bring in msnbc contributor and former prosecutor and criminal defense attorney seema heyer. how hard will it be to convict cosby? >> you have the celebrity factor, but you have in the prosecution's favor, andrea
constand did report close to the incident. she didn't report right away and many psychological experts can testify that women who have suffered sexual assault often experience a trauma that prevents them from reporting right away. another problem, that's no physical evidence. there's no dna, no eyewitnesses so there's nothing actually to corroborate andrea constand. however, we may hear from many of the accusers. the other accusers of the 57. >> with that evidence problem in mind, cosby's attorney was asked if she expected prosecutors to offer her client a deal. let's listen to what she had to say. >> i have no idea what the prosecutor's office is going to do and what the inner workings are of their system. but my client is not guilty and there will be no consideration on our part of any sort of arrangement. >> what do you make of the comments? do you think that evidence is
sort of hanging over all of this, it's not happened that happened six months or a year ago. it's something that allegedly happened over a decade ago. >> todd, you know, in the field of sexual assaults and criminal justice we see this all the time. there are cold cases that are tried 20 or 30 years later so i don't see that as so much of a hurdle. as to what the attorneys said, i think it's legitimate that he's probably not going to take a plea and this is something that is going to go to trial. even if the prosecution were to offer him a reduced charge, a plea bargain and a nonjail sentence i don't think mr. cosby is ever going to get to a place where he would admit any realm of guilt. >> all right. in the civil case against cosby, a federal judge ruled that his wife camille can be deposed by an attorney representing seven women who claimed cosby sexually abused him. what is the significance of that ruling and can it have an effect
on the criminal case? a number of lawyers are saying, but no, there's the spousal privilege. >> exactly. exactly. so the spousal privilege protects certain communications, todd, but not all communications. so in a civil context that's much less burden and therefore camille could be pressured to be deposed. but in a criminal context, the burden is so much higher and the privilege is so much more secure within that marital relationship that i seriously doubt that camille would be compelled to testify. >> understood. i kind of agree with you on that one. let's switch gears now. i want to ask about the so called affluenza case. it's big news all over the country. the mother of ethan couch back in the u.s., charged with hindering the apprehension of a felon. her son ethan has not been deported though from mexico. what's next in this case? >> oh, well, here we go. todd, so ethan has actually
claimed that his constitutional rights were violated. his human rights were violated. and so far, the judge has granted him this appeal. so he's going to be stuck in mexico for weeks and perhaps even months until they decide whether his human rights were violated. if they were, then todd, they have to go and re-arrest him all again and they have to go through that hurdle of having probable cause. the good news is that mexico and the united states have reciprocity. if you have our guy, if we have your guy, we'll turn them over and cooperate with each other. so the mexican authorities do recognize the united states warrant, but the first hurdle is getting through what he can be deported. whether his human rights were violated. >> seema, thank you. you can say a lot of things about the law, one thing you can't say is it's quick. supporters of a new law
going into effect in texas claims it will help mass shootings and a smoking law like none other in our country. o) so. we call it share the love. during our share the love event, get a new subaru, and we'll donate $250 to those in need. bringing our total donations to over sixty-five million dollars. and bringing love where it's needed most. love. it's what makes a subaru, a subaru.
welcome back. the new year brings new laws. they include a number of gun related measures as well as the strongest restriction on smoking in the nation. nbc's pete williams takes a look. >> reporter: hawaii begins the new year as the first state in the nation to raise the legal smoking age to 21. it applies not only to the sale or use of tobacco products, but to using electronic cigarettes known as vaping. >> i think it's better that we're increasing the age because they're starting younger. >> reporter: and in texas, adults with the right permits no longer need to hide the handguns they carry in their holsters. proponents of the new open carry law say making guns more visible will deter mass shooting, though most police chiefs opposed i.
>> does it make sense to have people running around with guns visible, and i think the answer is absolutely not. >> reporter: a different approach in california. it's now illegal there for holders of concealed carry permits to bring hand guns on to school campuses. the city of albany, new york, requires owners of firearms to store their guns in a secure container or install trigger locks. locks of a different kind in illinois on some prescription pain killers. it's the first state to test whether having locking pill bottles can cut down on those drugs containing hydrocodone. >> it won't stop all fatalities but it will reduce accidental overdose, kids getting addicted to something. >> reporter: tennessee launches the first statewide registry of animal abusers. they hope to encourage more humane conduct and keep animals out of the hands of known abusers. leaving pets in extreme heat or
cold with bring a big penalty starting today in illinois. violations can mean up to a year in jail. south dakotans looking to toast the new year can now get wine delivered. a new law allows any adult to order up to 12 cases a year. pete williams, nbc news, washington. in a moment, the budget busting holiday spending spree. do you have any regrets? we'll see how many shoppers find themselves in financial jeopardy. when you've got a house full of guests on the way and a cold with sinus pressure, you need fast relief. alka-seltzer plus severe sinus congestion and cough liquid gels rush relief to your tough symptoms. to put you back in control. [doorbell] woman: coming! alka-seltzer plus sinus.
there is new word this morning about that rochester man arrested this week for allegedly plotting a new year's eve attack on a bar in that city. the owner of the -- investigators say the 25-year-old has a history of mental illness and had been in contact with an isis fighter in syria before he tried to buy weapons to carry out to the attack. the new year begins with gas prices averaging $1.99 a gallon. gas prices in 2015 averaged 2.44
a gallon. and that allowed motorists to save $550 a gallon over 2014. now to our three big money headlines for today. inflated rates go for broke and no strings attached. joining us now is the author of the book "black market millions." why are home buyers now seeing a fallout from the fed hike just a few weeks ago? >> you remember that the fed said they were going to hike up short-term interest rates a couple of weeks ago, as you said, and people were not sure whether that would have an impact on mortgage rates. it has to the tune of .6%. it's the first time it's been
this high since july. that's the 30-year fixed. the five -- year a.r.m. is at 3.08% with a .4 a.r.m. the reason why the fed hiked interest rates in the first place is that the consumer is feeling a little bit more confident. jobs are getting a little bit more stable. but people weren't anticipating those mortgage rates to go as high as they are. >> a lot of people spent their money, a lot of them spent beyond their means this holiday season. why don't you break down the numbers for us. >> mastercard estimated that holiday spending was up around 7.9% this holiday season. it's the most it's been since they have been tracking this. people were spending about $805 per person, not only just gifts, holiday wares, housewares.
a 51% didn't follow their budget. 15% just ignored their budget. i tell people and i think people, this is probably a good mantra to have, if you have a credit card, ask those credit card companies if they can lower to the interest rate. and slow and steady wins the race, but you want to make sure that you pay those credit cards back, especially if you overspend. >> tell us about the -- >> att is finally, after however many years, finally getting ready of those two-year contracts. they are kind of late to the game here, right? you know when you go in, and you go and get your cell phone contracts, two years, you get a new phone, you can go ahead and
buy your new iphone, your smart known, even a flip phone straight up, and you don't have to sign those contracts. you can pay for it up front or you can be on a monthly plan. what's significant about this, is they are one of the last carriers to do this. verizon, sprint, tmobile has all done away with these contracts and this is to hopefully save the consumer a little bit more money. but it's questionable if you're really saving money if you go ahead and buy a new phone upright if you're on a plan. depending on your carrier, you want to find out what's best for your budget. but it's interesting they're so late the to the game on this. >> have a great start to the new end. that wraps up this weekends with alex witt.
straight ahead, more smart political talk on up with my friend richard lui. and then melissa harris-perry, it's all coming up on msnbc. thank you for joining us. hands down, it was... that's who i was. after one week of chantix, i knew i could quit. along with support, chantix (varenicline) is proven to help people quit smoking. chantix reduced my urge to smoke. some people had changes in behavior, thinking or mood, hostility, agitation, depressed mood and suicidal thoughts or actions while taking or after stopping chantix. some had seizures while taking chantix. if you have any of these, stop chantix and call your doctor right away. tell your doctor about any history of mental health problems, which could get worse or of seizures. don't take chantix if you've had a serious allergic or skin reaction to it. if you have these, stop chantix and call your doctor right away as some can be life-threatening. tell your doctor if you have heart or blood vessel problems, or develop new or worse symptoms. get medical help right away if you have symptoms of a heart attack or stroke. decrease alcohol use while taking chantix.
president obama's new year's resolution on gun violence. and good morning, i'm richard lui. we start with a terrifying scene when a gunman opened fire outside a crowded tel aviv bar. deadly floodwaters also in the midwest starting to head south, putting more communities in the path of disaster. so did carly fiorina jinx the iowa hawkeyes this in yesterday's rose bowl.