tv News Nation MSNBC October 27, 2010 2:00pm-3:00pm EDT
residents saying it's a miracle they survived. if you're planning to fly home for the holidays, get ready to pay a lot more than you're probably used to shelling out. we'll have money-saving advice this holiday travel season. good day to you. i'm tamron hall. the "news nation" is following key developments in the crucial maneuvering as the political landscape keeps shifting in the last six days before the november midterms. president obama is gearing up for a final campaign swing this weekend through five battleground states, including pennsylvania, illinois, and ohio. but today, the president is working the phones at the white house getting ready for an interview with jon stewart. obviously targeting young voters. just a couple of hours ago, the president was interviewed by michael smerconish on his syndicated radio program. >> i still feel confident that it is a very close race in terms of the house. you've got close races all across the country, including in your hometown. so we'll have to wait and see what happens. and a lot of it is going to depend on turnout. >> michael is with us now with
more of his conversation with the president. michael, thanks for joining us. so, first, let me talk about the optimism the president expressed to you. you always wonder if someone really believes what their saying. did he sound like he was convinced that the democrats will not be wiped out? >> the question i was asking was essentially saying, mr. president, it seems like all the pundits agree that the house is about to change hands. and those who will be electing the new class and this is based on some of the research data and telephone calls that i, myself, get. the voters, the passionate ones, they don't want any compromise. they think compromise is not a virtue. they are sending folks to washington to put the brakes on you, sir. so how do you govern in that environment? to which he responded, hey, you know, i'm not waving the white flag yet. i'm not conceding. i think the control of the house is still up for grabs, as you just played for everybody. he also said, you know, if -- if it should happen that they gain seats, they'll need to show
achievements. i guess that was the silver lining that he was saying that those same republicans will themselves have to stand for reelection in 2012 and they'll have to show something. so that's the reason for optimism that there could be work across the isle. >> let me play what the president said when you asked him about the possibility of republicans gaining control of the house and how that will work. let's listen. >> my expectation is is that republicans, should they win additional seats, should they be in a position to hopefully take more responsibility, working with us, are going to say to themselves that it's important for us to -- to show some accomplishments over the next couple of years. >> michael, that's what you were referring to. what else struck you in this interview with the president? >> one of the questions that i got the chance to ask because sitting on my chair, i've yelled at my tv set, why isn't anybody asking him, is he sprilzurpriset those who voted for the health care proposal aren't running on it?
they're not out there saying, yeah, i voted for it and here's way. >> russ feingold did, and he's in probably for it. >> the president articulated the things that he wanted people to know about the health care bill and to say in this negative atmosphere, these barrage attack a drk ads, he's not that surprised. i said you've earned a couple of political stripes of your own. do you think that's the right call? you can judge for yourself from his answer, but i sense that he sure wishes people were out there saying, yes, i voted for it and i'm proud to have done so. >> great job, michael. we've got breaking news out of the washington, d.c. area. a virginia man has been arrested for plotting attacks on the d.c. area. let's bring in pete williams. he's in d.c. with more on this breaking news. pete, what can you tell us? >> well, tamron, this is one of those sting cases where someone believes that they're dealing with members of a foreign
terrorist organization who are, in fact, undercover law enforcement agents. that is exactly what happened in this case. today, a man from ashburn, virginia, which is outside of washington, d.c., a 34-year-old was arrested and charged with plotting to help people blow up some stations on the washington, d.c. subway system known as metro. according to the fbi, he met several times with people that he thought were members of al qaeda. and he was advising them on how to attack the stations. let me show you what the investigators say these stations were. this is a diagram of part of the washington, d.c. metro station. this is the potomac river. these diagrams tend to be very stylized. but he was actually taking pictures and doing some surveillance at three stations. one is called courthouse in arlington, virginia. another is arlington cemetery. this is a stop right near
arlington national cemetery that people use who visit that. and the third is called pentagon city. it is not the pentagon itself, which is this stop. it's another one. pentagon city is a cluster of condos and office buildings right near the pentagon in virginia. and according to the fbi, he met with these folks who gave him tasking to look at metro stations and see when the best times to attack them would be, when their busiest times would be. according to court documents, he said, well, the best times would probably be between 4:00 and 5:00 in the afternoon. he took pictures. gave the little memory cards that he had used in his camera to take the pictures to the people he thought were al qaeda folks and made sketches of the inside of the stations with xs and marks where he thought the bombs should be placed. but it's clear here that he never possessed any explosives. he's not charged with that. he's charged with helping people
he thought were folks from al qaeda to carry out these attacks. now, federal agents say that he was born in pakistan but was a naturalized u.s. citizen. he was actually arrested by the fbi this morning and he's due in court right now to face terrorism charges. but the authorities emphasize that there was never any danger here because he never had any access to explosives, and the people he was dealing with were not actually terrorists. >> neal mcbride called this chilling. thank you, pete, for getting us the latest on this breaks news. appreciate that. back to politics. where the president will be campaigning in these final days. friday he heads to virginia to give a boost to democratic congressman tom perielo. saturday, it's on to pennsylvania. the latest poll shows republican pat toomey slightly ahead of joe sestak. also saturday, the president headlines a rally in connecticut. the senate and governor's race, big races there. then it's on to chicago where
the president's old senate seat could fall to a republican. finally, sunday the president will end his campaign swing in cleveland. among the big races in ohio, the governor's race and four key congressional races. mike, another part of this story developing. apparently there's a report that the dccc is about to pour in millions of dollars, a last-ditch effort to keep control of the house. >> right. the reports are $16 million. over 66 races. listen, tamron, the chimes are down, and the hour is late here for democrats. with just about anybody you talk to, pundit, politician, reporter, anybody pretty much thinks that the house is lost at this point. and now the dccc, that is the campaign arm of democrats here in washington, making this effort to sort of spread the playing field, play catch-up in a lot of these districts. 66 races. when you look at this historically, tamron, a lot of the prognosticators are calling can 97, 98 seats in play.
that is ana astronomical number. wh historically when you look at it, when 20 and 30 seats in the last two elections was considered a wave almost, sweeping democrats into power, now in just this one election, all of those gains that democrats made now are being threatened, swept away by republicans and the advent of speaker john boehner on january 3rd of next year when the house convenes. the president making his appeal to voters. the independent voters are pretty much going republican. he's trying to bring the young people in, the minorities, the women, holding events. the rallies on college campuses. he's going to be erecting that firewall, this blocking strategy to try to save the senate in connecticut. in illinois, there's also a senate race in ohio. although no one thinks the democrat is going to come back in that race. just a very important governor's race in ohio. >> all right, mike. thank you. we want to hear from you.
are you happy with the candidates on the ballot for this midterm election? text 1 for yes or 2 for now to the number 622639. message and data rates may apply. we'll bring you the results later in the show. and no rest for the weather weary. just a day after a storm that's being called a bomb stirred up a reported 21 tornadoes. more severe weather is threatening the east today. take a look at the damage caused in north carolina. a twister blew holes in roofs and levelled trees for miles. the massive storm is dumping snow in minnesota with at least ten inches expected in some areas. the weather channel's eric fisher joins me live from chicago. they've canceled 175 flights today there. quite a fall storm we are looking at, eric. what's going on there? >> yeah, especially after what was a beautiful october in chicago. one of the sunniest on record here in the windy city, which is certainly windy now. you mentioned a bomb.
that's a technical term that means that the pressure dropped at least 24 millibars in 24 hours. we had that. this is the lowest pressure in the state of michigan and the lowest october pressure in chicago. gusts today, 40 to 60 miles an hour. it's caused problems. over 175 flights canceled. over 500 canceled yesterday. coned has restored power to over a million people in this storm. to our south, they had an ef-2 tornado, and that created quite a bit of destruction in a more rural farm town yesterday morning. justracine, they had an ef-1 tornado. this system moved so quickly yesterday, those storms started in western missouri. they were in new york state by the end of the day. that's over 1,000 miles in just one day's time. that wind is going to stick around. >> eric, thank you very much. let's get the latest on the path of the storm. kim cunningham has been tracking it.
kim, we heard eric say that the storm traveled and it's already hit the new york area. where are you tracking it now? >> well, the front is hung up across the south, tamron. we're looking at still showers and storms that could be severe. this tornado watch in effect until 8:00 tonight, including the atlanta metro area. no active tornado warnings at this time. but we also have, as you just saw, a new tornado watch for western parts of north and south carolina. also, d.c. still in this. and we have an active warning. prince georges county, also a severe thunderstorm warning right now to the south and east of washington. now, this is not over with. tomorrow we're looking at more severe weather, as that front slips through. the northeast off the hook, but watch out, again. more tornadoes possible for the southeastern u.s. back to you. >> kim, thank you. and how did one of america's best swimmers die in the middle of a race? fran crippen's family wants that answer. his sister will join me line. and california's proposal to legalize pot may be losing steam among voters, but it is getting some major support from some very rich donors.
we've got the list. plus, meg whitman's answer that made the room react like this. >> i just think it's not the right thing to do. >> they seem to be -- >> we'll let you hear what she said before the booing. of then was gathered together in one place. [ printer whirs ] done. ♪ thanks. do you work here? not yet. from tax info to debunking myths, the field guide to evolving your workforce has everything you need. download it now at thinkbeyondthelabel.com. to stay fit, you might also want to try lifting one of these. a unique sea salt added to over 40 campbell's condensed soups. helps us reduce sodium, but not flavor. so do a few lifts. campbell's.® it's amazing what soup can do.™
still a mystery. days after an accomplished american swimmer dies during a competition -- >> swimmers started weeping openly. and then they were sad because one of theirs had gone missing. >> his family searches for answers. they say they're not getting them from investigators. were the conditions too extreme for even the best swimmers in the world? right now on "news nation." well, a fellow teammate says she knows what's to blame for
the death of fran crippen. he died last week during the world cup off the coast of dubai. there are two investigations under way into his death, but another swimmer says it was too hot and there were not enough people to make sure the athletes were okay. and with me now is fran's sister, maddy. maddy, thank you so much for joining us. i know your family is grieving the loss of your beloved brother. first off, let me ask you how you're doing at this point. >> it's been a struggle the past few days, but we're making our way through everyone's kind of bonded together and really lifted us up. so my family is just so grateful for all of the support and the people all over the world that have really helped dull the pain a little bit. >> as i mentioned in the middle of this unimaginable grief you're experiencing, you want answers as to what happened during that race. what are your concerns at this point regarding the investigation?
>> it's interesting. each day changes so much. things that you thought wouldn't happen one day happen the next. and it's -- every day is a surprise since saturday. but we want our brother to come home. and i want my brother to come home. i want my brother to be laid to rest and my parents have the opportunity to start healing and my sisters go back to college. we all have the chance to go back and have a semi-normal life. i know it won't be the same without fran. >> of course not. >> but we'll be able to do our own thing. >> now, his remains, i understand, from what i was reading, his remains are on the way back to your family. is that not the case? >> yes, they are on their way back. the -- the consulate in the uae and the people that we were dealing with over there were very helpful in getting him returned to us, so we're so grateful for that.
and that's going to give us a lot of peace, i think, when we're able to be with him here and lay him to rest. >> now, you've said that your brother was campaigning for improved safety at these international open-water events. what questions do you specifically want answers to regarding what happened to him? >> i think based on previous experience, i was a pool swimmer, so i know when i go to a pool event, there are rules and regulations that are in place regarding pool temperature, water quality, you don't go into a pool without chlorine, for instance. there's a number of lifeguards. if not enough lifeguards are there, you don't have the swim meet. all coaches are trained life-savers. there's just so many things that happen before you actually are able to have a swim meet in a pool. i think we need to make sure the same rules and regulations that exist in a pool exist for open water. and almost doubling those rules and regulations because a pool is a very controlled
environment. and the open water is at nature's hands. >> do you think this meet should have gone on? do you believe your brother and the other swimmers should have been able to go on knowing that the water temperature was 80, 82 degrees? >> we're not exactly sure officially how hot the water is. and i think that if they -- they didn't -- there are certain rules that exist right now. i'll not sure that this site passed those rules. that's one thing that is being investigated. and obviously if they didn't pass those rules, then they shouldn't have it. i think moving forward, we need to take the lessons that were learned here and apply them to future sites so in the future, no, this site should not hold a race. >> maddy, we hope you get the answers you're seeking as you mourn the loss of your brother. thank you, maddy, for your time. the busiest travel season of the year is about to start, and the cost of your airline ticket, if you're flying, well, get
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to determine treatment. don't stop taking plavix without talking to your doctor as your risk of heart attack or stroke may increase. people with stomach ulcers or conditions that cause bleeding should not use plavix. taking plavix alone or with some other medicines, including aspirin, may increase bleeding risk, so tell your doctor when planning surgery. tell your doctor all medicines you take, including aspirin, especially if you've had a stroke. if fever, unexplained weakness or confusion develops, tell your doctor promptly. these may be signs of ttp, a rare but potentially life-threatening condition, reported sometimes less than 2 weeks after starting plavix. other rare but serious side effects may occur. itching to geico reported sometimes less than or more on car insurance?ercent. do woodchucks chuck wood? (high-pitched laughter) man: hey you dang woodchucks, quit chucking my wood!
vo: geico. fifteen minutes could save you fifteen percent or more on car insurance. you should get some custom fit orthotics. dr. scholl's custom fit orthotic center. it recommends the custom fit orthotic that's best for your feet. and footcare scientists are behind it. you'll get immediate comfort... ... and, you could save a couple hundred bucks. for locations see drscholls.com airline travelers will have plenty to grown about this holiday season. ticket prices are set to be 7% to 18% higher this year. the reason, demand for air travel is growing amid a modest economic recovery and with that demand comes more crowded flights. eric is a travel expert and editor for travel post. eric, thanks for joining me. 18% increase? >> well, what we're seeing is the economy is bouncing back enough that people are traveling at the holidays because it's an important time to travel. the problem is that air fares
are always about supply and demand. demand always goes up around the holidays. supply this year is lower because the airlines cut capacity dramatically over the past two years. they haven't added it back. that's why when you fly now, planes are really crowded. >> i don't want to make this into a personal beef with the airlineles, but when i bought my ticket yesterday, it was several hundred dollars more than what i normally pay. i looked at the map of seats to select from. there were more than enough seats on that particular flight. that wasn't supply and demand. >> the airline knows they'll sell those seats. >> i see. >> exactly. we have a rule that you basically should be buying your holiday air fares around, you know, before the halloween candy shows up at supermarkets. >> so if you don't have your thanksgiving ticket, for example, now -- >> you're going to pay through the nose. >> it's interesting timing. they've just come out with the list of the least-liked airlines, i guess.
and based on, for example, how much these airlines charge for bags, if your ticket is 18% more this year plus you've got to pay 100 bucks or 50 bucks for your luggage, that -- that makes you want to stay home. >> it's really going to come into play for christmas. they tend to bring gifts and stuff like that. everybody wants overhead space. they're going to end up having to check it, so they'll pay more on that end, too. >> so until the airlines start to increase the number of flights, we should get used to paying a lot more? >> basically. there's not a lot of good news. what you can do is fly as far from the actual holiday as possible. >> then it's not the holiday. >> that's true. celebrate thanksgiving in early december and you'll be perfect. >> eric, thank you for that sage advice. great talking to you. only you could make me laugh about high prices. thank you. if you don't have your ticket now, you may be in trouble. a court has ruled lime wire needs to shut down part of its service.
the computer software allows people to share songs over the internet. it encourages illegal sharing of copyright protected music. and this is a buzz story. apple says their white iphone 4 won't be available until spring. the the white models are more challenging to manufacture than apple first expected. and remember myspace? oh, it seems so long ago. facebook and twitter have taken over the world of social networking. find out how myspace is trying to take it back. and richard heene. remember him? he was the dad behind the balloon boy hoax. this time, he's back in the news. it's got nothing to do with balloons.
welcome back to "news nation." what we're watching right now, it is one of the most talked-about proposals on the ballot this season. whether or not to legalize pot in california. now hear why more voters are turning against it. then, a nuclear site scare. how did federal officials lose communications with 50 nuke missiles? and today's gut check question, a teenager points a laser at a police helicopter and it gets more than a year in prison. does the punishment fit the crime? msnbc is the place for politics. here are the latest headlines from the midterm elections. california republican senate candidate carly fiorina is scheduled to be released from the hospital today. she expects to resume campaigning tomorrow. fiorina was admitted to the hospital yesterday for an infection associated with a reconstructive surgery after breast cancer. polls show she's trailing
barbara boxer. and despite staying out of the race for rhode island's governor, president obama is making an appearance in a political ad for the independent candidate. lincoln chafee endorsed president obama in 2008 and used old footage from a campaign event at that time. the president is refusing to endorse democratic candidate frank caprio who was -- who has said that the president can take his endorsement and, quote, shove it. caprio is getting help from a big name, former president bill clinton. he'll campaign for caprio on sunday. caprio supported secretary of state hillary clinton's bid for the presidency. and a federal judge is ruling that voters in connecticut can wear world wrestling entertainment clothing to the poll. republican senate candidate linda mcmahon is the former ceo of wwe. her husband is now the head of that company. president and mrs. obama are appearing together in a new political ad. it started airing just today in the key battleground state of
illinois where alexi giannoulias is in a tight race for the president's old senate seat. >> a lelexi is my friend. you can trust him. you can count on him. >> he's one man that speaks from the heart. >> he is in this for the right reasons. >> he will be a phenomenal u.s. senator. >> i'm alexi giannoulias, and i approve this message. >> joining me now is nick bogart. alexi giannoulias and mark kirk both suffer from correredibilit issues, but this might be a big boost. >> well, in his home state, of course, and the first lady's home state. even when alexeijune janelle --s
been leaning on the obama brand, so to speak, quite heavily. a friend of obama's for quite a while. even though there was some talk early on in this election cycle that the white house wanted somebody else in this race opposed to alexi giannoulias, he's counting on the popularity of the first family. >> kirk is leading giannoulias by two or three points. right, nick? >> it's all within a margin of error. so a lot is going to depend on turnout. that's why you have the president himself coming to do a get out the vote kind of rally in chicago this weekend. you had president clinton here last night trying to rally the troops. and scott brown, the republican senator from massachusetts, will be here to do the same for the republicans this weekend. you know, there are not a hot of people who are very happy with these choices in the senate race. whoever gets their core supporters out has a huge advantage. >> in illinois, a tea party
backed gop state senate candidate, al reynolds. and now some republican leaders are calling on him to get out of the race. what's going on there, nick? >> well, al reynolds was at a candidate forum near the university of illinois down in the champaign area. he was asked a question about trying to get more minority representation in state universities like the university of illinois. he launched into a -- kind of an off-the-cuff ramble about while black women are interested in self-betterment, black men would rather deal drugs or play sports. they've not asked him to drop out of the race. it doesn't mean much because that race was pretty safely democratic. he hadn't railssed any money at all. but this will raise questions. he was an early founder of the tea party movement in that area. >> nick bogart, thank you. >> thanks, tamron. it is one of the
high-profile issues on the ballot next week in california, whether to legalize marijuana use in that state. but the latest polls show support for prop 19 is, shall we say, losing its buzz. joining me now is brian grim. he's also the author of the book "this is your country on drugs: the secret history of getting high in america." i'll say it's just out on paperback because ryan is my friend. >> thanks, tamron. >> how is this losing buzz? every time we bring up this issue, we get a thousand e-mails and tweets on twitter. >> historically, marijuana ballot issues always tend to lose a little bit of steam as they get closer to the election. it's not exactly clear why this is happening, but a lot of it has to do with parents who kind of get cold feet. the closer that the idea of legalization gets -- or legalizing medical marijuana, for that matter. the closer the idea gets to reality, the more scared a few people get. and it's not a big shift, but it's critical when you have, you know, something that's polling
as close as it is now. this is -- think about it. this is an uphill climb. people are trying to overturn 70 years of federal law. this is not a small matter. >> you've got big money now being donated. $1 million from george soros, the ceo of men's warehouse gave 50,000 of his money. the millions from soros alone would help in this debate, i would imagine. >> it will help, but in california it costs something like $7 million to run a week of ads. so it's a tiny amount of money. they're actually ironically up against about $140 million. that's about the number that meg whitman is spending to become governor. now, it doesn't look like she's going to succeed, but spending that much money to get out her base, which is -- which is old white voters and conservative latinos could end up swamping prop 19. those are people they don't want to vote for this initiative.
>> if the numbers are right, the no campaign, if you will, they've only come up with $300,000 as opposed to the amount that i just mentioned for those who support it. >> right. the prison guards union has stayed neutral. in the past, the prison guards have always been the biggest funders of anti-drug proposions. so the fact that they stayed out -- and the beer distributors got involved. they got involved just a little penny ante. so they have -- they have been operating on a shoestring. but the amount of money that meg whitman is spending to drive turnout is going to ironically have an effect on prop 19. meg whitman's only legacy could be to defeat proposition 19. >> it's good to see you, ryan. thanks for coming on. >> thanks for having me. new details into how the air force could possibly lose touch with 50 nuclear missiles this week. it actually happened. there's a stockpile of 150 blistal missiles in wyoming. for an hour, the control center
lost communications with 1/9 of the u.s. arsenal. that amounts to about 50. there are some people off the record saying that this problem has existed -- or at least happened before. >> yeah. sources we're talking to said this sounds mysteriously like situations that had occurred infrequently but nevertheless over and over again in the past 15 to 20 years or so. these missiles, control of these missiles relies on a bank of computers that all work together. and if those computers happen to get out of sync, they automatically shut down. they have to be rebooted essentially, and that takes about 45 minutes. now, what we're told about the situation that happened at fb warren, where controllers lost contact, the ability to actually control those missiles for about 45 minutes. so very mysteriously sounds like the situation that had occurred
in the past. in case -- and if it is the case that that recurs, one has to wonder why that problem hasn't been fixed. nevertheless, pentagon and military officials insist that the -- there was never any danger as a result of this. even though some sources say that they -- those missiles, 50 missiles, would not have been able to be launched during that 45-minute window. that's really not a problem when you think about it. one of the other problems, however, is that in these situations, the secretary of the defense and even the president are supposed to be informed of this in a timely manner. it so happens that president obama didn't hear about it for three days. so the air force has a lot of questions left to answer. >> obviously a lot of questions. thank you very much. surprising new numbers on bullying tops our look at stories around the "news nation." a new survey finds half of high school students have bullied someone in the past year. and nearly half say that they've
been the victim of bullying. the survey was conducted by the joseph institute of ethics. part of arizona's voter i.d. law has been struck down. the law requires voters to prove they are u.s. citizens before registering to vote or casting ballots. the court says it was inconsistent with the national voter registration act. and in northeastern mexico, the entire police force in the small town of los ramonas quit. police stations in the area are frequently attacked and police often quit after drug cartel attacks. mahmoud ahamadinejad is playing in a soccer match in tehran. he played alongside the bolivian president and even scored a goal on a pass from his fellow president. charlie sheen's ex-wife is
talking about the actor's tirade inside a new york city posh hotel. we've got the scoop. but first, there's a lot going on today. here are some things we thought you should know. matt lauer interviewed california's candidates for governor and challenged them to take down the negative campaign ads. jerry brown said if meg whitman agreed, he would follow along. listen to what meg whitman's answer was and the audience reaction. >> i will take down any ads that could even be remotely be construed as a personal attack, but i don't think we can take down the ads that talk about where governor brown stands on the issues. i just think it's not the right thing to do. >> well, something smells in a southern california congressional race. this ad was mailed out with a scratch and sniff patch. the ad is supposed to smell like garbage.
it reads "the stench of washington" and shows a picture of his opponent, loretta sanchez. remember the passionate candidate from the new york gubernatorial debate? >> the rent is too damn high. the rent is too -- >> just in time for christmas, you can buy your own jimmy mcmillan action figure. it comes in two versions. the standard doll and the one that dotalks. the talking version goes for 50 bucks. it's on herobuilders.com. those are the things we thought you should know. [ man ] ♪ trouble ♪ trouble, trouble trouble, trouble ♪ ♪ trouble been doggin' my soul ♪ since the day i was born ♪ worry ♪ oh, worry, worry worry, worry ♪
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site. julia bernstein joins us now with more. how does myspace plan to get back in the game here? >> well, instead of competing directly with facebook, they're trying to redefine what they're about. instead of being about friends who know each other in real life connecting, the new myspace is all about entertainment content. they want their users to connect to movies, music, video, you know, online videos, even celebrities that they're interested in to get information about, listen to music and connect with other people who are fans of the same content. they call it really now a social entertainment site, trying to differentiate themselves from facebook. >> so social entertainment. are they now competing with a tmz where you'd get your gossip or something like that? >> you know, that's a very good question. but what the ceo, mike jones, told me is they think this is a whole new category. they're not competing with facebook, but they're not competing with tmz either. they're taking some of at the information that you could get
from a billboard.com or even from twitter and laying that information on top of the myspace platform. so you can go and say you like a band. you can say you're a fan of that band and then you listen to music from the band, find out when they're performing, and see a twitterer feed and articles about that band. they're putting it all into one place. >> does it look like they're throwing in the towel if they're trying to create a whole new category? have they given up and said, facebook, you win? you've got the social media thing on lock? >> absolutely. i think they're saying facebook has nailed the social networking story in a way that they won't. they're not trying to compete in that arena anymore. they're trying to change their focus, change the website and really create something different because they can't win against facebook. facebook has 550 million users. myspace has 130 million, but their traffic and their ad revenues have been in the decline. >> interesting. change there. julia, thank you. good seeing you. comedian jon stewart is
making news today after being named the country's most influential man of 2010. the funny man was awarded the top spot in a poll of more than 500,000 readers at askmen.com. he beat out bill gates, mark zuckerberg, steve jobs and conecokanye west. president obama came in at number 21. denise richards is speaking out about charlie sheen's meltdown. i'm not sure what happened in that new york hotel, but she's talking about it. madonna is offering you a few way to get fit. and balloon boy's dad is going to help you scratch your back. let's get the scoop from courtney hazlett. what is denise richards saying? >> when this sort of thing happens, a lot of people wonder what denise richards would do about it because she's promoting her new television show. she soldiered on and made all of her commitments, among them sitting down with the ladies of the "today" this morning.
she was interested. she said we're keeping this -- made interesting points about how this affects her kids. >> i wasn't screaming or freaking out. i did call 911. the details of what went on in the room, what went on that night, i prefer to keep private and personal. my daughters are very unaware of what happened. >> that's good. >> really trying to protect them. charlie will always be a part of my life. we are bonded together forever. and no matter what the situation is, he's their dad. and, you know, it was unfortunate what happened. i can't control what happened. >> what did happen, there's damage to a hotel room. reports ranging anywhere from $7,000 to $20,000 worth of damage. i'm being told that charlie sheen is just going to pay that bill. he's saying, hey, just put it on my tab, we'll take care of it. that will avoid criminal investigation, police report, any further details. this can be kept as quiet as charlie sheen wants. >> okay. madonna? >> madonna. do you want to look like
madonna? that's the question you have to ask yourself if you decide to go to her gym. madonna is opening up a series of gyms. that's a lovely photo. my goodness. if you want to look like that, you might check out hard candy gyms. >> she's got great arms. >> she does. 30,000 square feet of space in mexico. the plans are to open up these gyms all over the world, not necessarily in the united states. so open the gyms where her fan base is largest. that's outside the united states. finally, richard heene, remember him from the great balloon boy incident? he is back in front of a camera, kind of strangely here. watch. >> the secret is in this noocheral textured wood and all of these tiny knots. it gives you a deep, deep penetrating scratch. oh, man, this thing feels good. this thing is strong. oh! oh, god! >> i wonder why he never got his own television show. that was an ad for the bear scratch there. if you itch like a son of a twitch, there's this product for you. so he's trying to make a buck
for his family. for that, can you blame him? >> the kids aren't in the video. >> actually, there's a longer version of this that's several minutes long. many minutes too long. you do see one of the kids trying out the -- >> the balloon boy dad back in the news. thank you, courtney. for the latest news, log on to msnbc.com or be a fan of the scoop on facebook. next, a teenager is playing with a laser pointer. he aims it at a police helicopter and then he ends up behind bars for 15 months. that is our gut check question of the day. is that too much time? now to the results of our text survey. earlier we asked if you're happy with the candidates on the ballot for this midterm election. just 27% of you say yes. 73 pe 73% of you, big old no. [ male announcer ] the vanilla caramel latte from maxwell house international café.
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nation." we just ran a story about the candidate from the party rent is too damn high who is selling his doll now. flannery wrote, now who is crazy? alvin green came up with his own doll and everyone laughed. rent is too high guy will rake in bucks. flanne flannery, you're right on that one. join the "news nation." e-mail me, tweet me on twitter.com or on facebook at facebook.com/tamronhall. too many ways to reach us. time for our gut check. a california teenager is heading to federal prison for pointing one of these at a police helicopter. in june of last year, 19-year-old nathan redman aimed a laser pointer at a california highway patrol helicopter. the chopper was investigating a burglary when the light blinded the officers aboard, forcing them to change course. they traced that light to the car where they found the laser
pointer inside. he later pleaded guilty to a felony count of interference with an operator of an aircraft. his penalty, 15 months in federal prison and three years of supervised release once he completes that sentence. blinding a helicopter, obviously, not good. it is clearly dangerous. probably stupid. but does that time fit the crime? i mean, this one doesn't match his, but can you see it? what does your gut tell you about it? i just learned you can't point this directly at anyone. learn something new every day. yesterday, should kids be forced to take classes online in the case of bad weather? 60% of you say, yes, get to work. 40% say, no. that does it for us this wednesday. i'm tamron hall. thomas roberts picked up the coverage right after the break. thanks for joining us. s ♪
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