Skip to main content

tv   News  Al Jazeera  October 21, 2014 8:00pm-9:01pm EDT

8:00 pm
widening economy can be summed up as income and wealth gaips for those at the top and stagnant living standard for the majority. that's food for thought. that's our show for today. i'm ali velshi, thanks for joining us. >> hi, everyone. this is aljazeera america. i'm john seigenthaler in new york. freedom. an american released by north korea, but what about the other two americans held there? medical break through, a paralyzed man walks again. giving hope to millions. travel restrictions, the new rules to stop ebola from reaching america again fetch. >> army weapon, meant for the kurds, it may be in the hands of isil. and the make or break
8:01 pm
issues. america votes 2014. tonight, an american citizen held prisoner in north korea for nearly six months is on his way home. jeffrey fou was arrested in may after leaving a bible behind as he tried to leave the country. he was suspected of proselytizing. and he was flown to guan. it gives hope to others held in north korea. mike viqueira at the white house. >> reporter: this is a great deal of mystery around this, and eve the united states government has been very tight-lipped throughout the day. we learned that mr. jeffrey
8:02 pm
fowle, from ohio, has been released by the regime. he was held after leaving a bible on a table in a hotel. they are not saying how this came to pass, but we know that the defense of defense plane was sent there, and there was something of a rush to pick him up at the airport where mr. fowle boarded the plane on his way to freedom. the united states has no formal diplomatic relations with the north korea regime, john. we have to go through sweden, and they handle all of our diplomatic issues there. they secured the release, and washington noted that it was a positive sign, but they didn't say of else. here's the state department spokeswoman, marie hart. >> he has been seen by a doctor and he appears to be in good
8:03 pm
health. he was in detention in north korea. we will provide assistance to him and to his family in the coming days and weeks if he requires that. >> and john, there's a lot of explanation on whether this is a diplomatic opening. but there are two other americans that remain deaned there, kenneth bae and matthew miller. >> mike viqueira at the white house. paul worked with energy on the issues, and he's a program director at the plowshares fund. what do you make of this? are you surprised? >> i am a bit surprised, john, and thank you for having me. in the past couple of episodes where we had american detainees, there has been a little bit more visibility in the days and weeks prior to their release. and in this case, mr. fowle was
8:04 pm
released. and it's a surprise. >> do you think that there's any connection between what's going on in north korea, and we don't know what's going on in north korea following kim jong un's disappearance. >> i doubt it. and the question you and is the heart of the matter. i'm smiling a bit at your north korea expert. i've been there twice, and it's something that i work on as my role in the plowshares fund. but really, there are quite a few experts on north korea, because we know so little, and we end up speculating quite a bit. there have been exchanges of gunfire in north korea and
8:05 pm
there of been statements in the u.n., fighting back against the of violations of human rights allegations, and then you have something positive, the release of a detainee. i would pause however, you're talking in this case about north korea signaling or at least communicating with the united states in a bilateral nature. this is an american citizen and a north korean action, and i suspect, particularly because it was a u.s. airforce plane that was requested and i think required to go to north korea, but there was some type of arraignment and quilled pro quo. >> what could that be? >> well, again, i'm speculating a bit, but it seems to be that the north has been interested in getting back in conversations with america, and by conversations, i wouldn't go so far to say negotiations over the nuclear program, but since
8:06 pm
kim jong un has been in power, there has been very little, almost zero interaction. so it may be time, now that he has been in power for a year or so t. he's thinking, it's time to talk. >> so two americans in jail. and why fowle and not them? >> again, his transgression and the charge against him was the most marine of the three. and it's likely that it's most easy to sell to his domestic population. where all he did was leave a bible behind. and the other two detainees, at least what they're charged with, are much greater crimes. >> thank you very much. in hong kong, talks between government protesters and students have ended without agreement. the students stuck to their demand for an unrestricted choice of candidates for the
8:07 pm
2017 election. and it the government could not compromise. the protesters have been on the streets of hong kong since september. new travel restrictions in effect to try to stop anyone with the ebola virus from entering the u.s. ever again. starting tomorrow, all passengers coming from west africa are required to travel through those five airports with enhanced screening. they will have their temperatures taken, and they will and travelers about possible ebola exposure. gathering in new york today, training healthcare workers. >> john, healthcare workers welcomed this training after the two nurses became ill. they began asking questions about the centers for disease control protocol, the rules by
8:08 pm
which to keep staff safe. the new rules, total body coverage, and lots of practice. >> healthcare workers signed into a new york city auditorium to learn mere about ebola. >> we are the nurses on the front line, taking care of all patients, and we need to be educated in taking care of all kinds of patients. >> the speakers were public healthcare experts, but new york governor, andrew cuomo was there, cautioning the audience that dealing with ebola is not the only challenge. >> the second problem is dealing with people's anxiety and people's panic. so you have two missions today. one, learn, train yourself, pay attention. second, when you go home, when you're talking to your family, when you're talking to your neighbors, keep the anxiety down. >> so far, new york has had no cases of ebola. but public health officials
8:09 pm
want all healthcare workers to be ready just in case. showcasing the new training protocols to nurses, aids, technicians, dietitians, custodians, anyone who might come in contact with the patient, with ebola. 5,000 healthcare workers paid close attention to this information session. a highlight was the demonstration of the protective gear. how to put it on effectively and take it off safely. >> the instructor was with the u.s. public health service. >> the range of motion exercises, make sure that the ppe is comfortable and you don't have to adjust it. >> he explained each step. from the scrubs to the gloves, foot covering, outer gown, facemask, second pair of gloves, and last, a face shield with frequent use of hand sanitizer throughout. the new require.
8:10 pm
having an observer to assist the healthcare worker before and after seeing the patient. >> she does not begin any of the removal of the equipment until the trained observer is there to help. >> the trainees we spoke with said that the session was very helpful. lisa porter is a worker at the hospital. >> what's the most important thing you learned? >> hygiene through all of the step, it's an eye opener >> reporter: he knows that bodily fluids from arn ebola patient could be the source of the disease. >> what do you think needs to be done next to help keep health workers ready? >> more practice. we need to use the protocols put out by the cdc. and we need to make sure that the protocol is followed. to me, that's the most important. you can have protocol and follow it. >> the training session was
8:11 pm
sponsored by the new york hospital association, and the healthcare worker's union. the nation's largest union, which includes 1 million nurses and doctors and healthcare workers. >> it's important information for these healthcare workers to have. in other medical news to tell you about tonight, a breakthrough, one scientist said that it's more impressive than a man walking on the moon. a radical new treatment that has a paralyzed man walking again. jake ward has more. >> reporter: john, it is an extraordinary story. this is a man who suffered from paralysis. something that was as irreparable as losing a hand or losing one's sight. but now because of this new technology, this new treatment, he's suddenly walking again. one of the many knife wounds that derek suffered in a 2001 stabbing attack sliced through his spine, leaving only a tiny
8:12 pm
strip of scar tissue. like many people with that clean break in the spine, he was paralyzed. and at the time, he had no chance of recovery. but doctors from britain implanted cells into his spinal cord and seem to have regrown the connection there. >> they can grow back provided we give them a break. >> he spends five hours a day in exhausting physical therapy. he noticed that his legs were regaining. and he can walk outside with leg braces and frame, and he has recovered limited bladder and sexual function. >> this is the moment. >> what it is instead, the transplantation of cells from one part of the body to the other. the part of the nose that transmits our sense of smell
8:13 pm
rise on nerves that are constantly replaced in our lives. they removed a few olfactory cells and glue them in a lab and injected them above and below the spinal cord. this was a leap of faith. no one knew if it would work. they put tissue cross the gap and waited and hoped. this is magic. >> we're making history now. to me, this is more impressive than a man walking on the moon. >> scientists say that they believe that the cells form a pathway to generate, but don't understand how. future trials of this technique will involve 12 patients in poland and britain, people with cleanly severed spines. so this is not going to be for everyone, but not yet. but the fact that it put somebody back on his feet when a decade ago he would have no
8:14 pm
chance of walking again, it shows how powerful cell therapy is. >> john, it's a truly extraordinary thing, and this is the same kind of spinal injury that christopher reeve had. and they have put this man on his feet and given him control of his body. >> it's so exciting, and you mentioned the millions of people out there who could benefit from something like this, but how close is it to regaining the use of their limbs? >> this is not the kind of thing that's a plug and play implant kind of thing. this is not a clean process. they had to build a custom, and almost improvised structure to make that connection that was lost in that man's spinal. if you imagine something made out of paper mache, very delicate. and then they interject the properties, and they happened to do the thing that they hoped they would do.
8:15 pm
and it's really a magical regaining of this man's ability to walk. >> we hope this continues and does more good. thank you very much. coming up next, u.s. weapons supply air drops for occurred fighters, and they may now be in the hands of isil. >> i think it's time for a fresh new voice. whether that be alison lundergan grimes, i'm not sure. >> the night for women voters. in the kentucky senate race. and texas polls, we'll look at the new voting laws on the books. our special election report, america votes 2014. coming up.
8:16 pm
8:17 pm
>> tonight, there are reports that the u.s. may have inadvertently helped isil in its battle for kobane. a video appears to show isil fighters with crates of american supplies. a pro isil group said that the u.s. mistakenly dropped the crates in the hands of isil instead of the kurds. kurdish fighters in kobane say they're holding their ground and suspecting help to arrive from iraq. bernard smith is on the border
8:18 pm
of turkey and syria. >> isil launched a new assault on kobane town monday night. but they defended and held the lines with the help of the new ammunition and weapons they received in the u.s. air drop, but it remains something of a stalemate. the kurds haven't gained territory. and isil fighters haven't gained territory either. the positions are the same that's they have been in the last days. they are all ready to send iraqi and peshmerga fighters to aid in kobane despite their own challenges, but they remain in negotiations with the turkish government about how much aid and military aid they can send along with those fighters, and the route that those fighters will take as they transmit turkey into kobane. >> there's information tonight from the fbi that three american teen girls were stopped in germany, possibly on
8:19 pm
the way to join isil fighters in the middle east. the colorado teens are ages 15, 16, and 17, and they were brought back home to denver. it's not clear whether the girls will be charged or arrested. several months ago, a 19-year-old woman was arrested in denver for attempting to join isil forces. according to the children agency, unicef, every five minutes, a child in the world is killed by violence, not just war, but homes and communities. unicef warns that surviving victims can develop long symptoms of post-traumatic stress. and there's a connection between poverty and violence. >> there are strong links between poverty and a children's link with violence. having said that, there's really no country in the world
8:20 pm
tax immune to its children experiencing violence. so strong links, and at the same time, a strong message about the global message of this, the violation of the rights of children. >> wanted report says that countries with the highest murder rates are el sav dor and guatemala. a senate race in kentucky at a dead heat. alison lundergan grimes, and now mitch mcconnell might be in the fight of his political career. and the deciding vote might be women voters. >> she doesn't wait for others to lead, the 27-year-old is a full-time office manager, but also a dedicated community activist. she's cleaning up this eyesore
8:21 pm
of an intersection to bring louisvilleians together. >> it's something that need ed to be done. >> chapel is the kind of voter that alison lundergan grimes needs to win over this year. >> i was glad to see that there's a woman in politics, representing kentucky. >> but in kentucky, people are just as certain about who they don't like, and not as certain who they do like. >> i think it's time for a fresh new voice, and whether it's alison lundergan grimes, i'm not sure. >> i don't necessarily like her so much, talking about things like she doesn't support obama's agenda with the ept, or school, and those things, they aren't in line with what my
8:22 pm
beliefs are. >> i'm not barack obama. >> her views on guns and the epa and keeping chaps' loyalpy, as a conservative democrat, glimes is trying to talk to both, and that comes with risks. >> everything seems to so planned and meticulous, and it's not organic, like here's who i am. >> most people don't like to be appealed to as women voters, but as people. >> university of kentucky journalism professor, al croft, said that grimes is going after people with specific issues, like work, raising the minimum wage, and debt. and they might hit the right notes, but those issues are not necessarily enough to drive voters to the polls. >> people who would benefit from those types of measures are less likely to vote. because they are poorer, and less educated than most other
8:23 pm
voters. they're down, and in a midterm election like this, getting those people to the polls is pretty difficult. >> and for grimes, rallying the support of rural kentucky women may be especially hard since they usually lean republican. senator mitch mcconnell hopes to reach voters with appalachia's annual festival. but seeing the canned date roll through town isn't enough. the democratic led healthcare law. >> i think that everybody needs the healthcare. >> but that's not deciding her vote. >> who are you voting for in the senate race? >> i have no idea. i really don't. i haven't decided. >> the biggest factor for moore may have little to do with the actual candidates. >> how do you feel about obama? >> no comment. >> kentuckians' overwhelming disapproval of the president has pushed grimes to distance
8:24 pm
herself from the nation's top democrat, and the grimes camp hopes that hillary appeals to that essential group, women. and jennifer chapel's vote? anyone but mitch mcconnell. >> let's get mitch out. we'll take anyone other than mitch. and at the end of the day, i think i'm going to vote for the lesser of two evils, and vote for alison, and i don't know if she's necessarily evil, but lack of representative. >> getting voters to the poll at all. allison grimes continues to try to distance herself from president obama. last week, she wouldn't reveal whether or not she voted for him, something that mitch mcconnell is trying toy make a big deal out. in the polls, it shows mcconnell with a slight edge, but it's so minor that it's basically a dead heat. and it deifies the conventional
8:25 pm
business in washington that says that mcconnell can win this. and it shows him with a slight edge among women. that's a surprise, and it deifies past surveys, so it shows that allison grimes, now more than ever, needs to get women on her side, john. >> libby casey, thank you. >> . >> tonight, we have learned that washington post editor, ben bradley, has died. his coverage of the watergate scandal has led to president nixon's resignation. he died of natural causes in his home. a look back the his life. >> ben bradley capitalized his social ties to washington's elite, including president john f. kennedy. and in 1972, under bradley, they trace aid burglary attempt at the democratic party's water
8:26 pm
gate offices to some of president nixon's top aids. one of the key sources was a top fbi official, they called deep throat. >> deep throat was right from beginning to end, and woodward and bernstein went out making mistakes, so the accuracy of the stories were never called under question. >> reporter: nixon's attempts to cover up his involvement in the scandal, crimes with justice, ultimately led to his resignation. the only time that an american president quit while in office. he called it a watershed in history when trust suffered serious erosion. >> people don't tell the truth enough, in different ways. and it's become so easy to lie that no one recognizes lies. >> bradley, backed by the post's owner, katherine graham, had earlier fought nixon for a
8:27 pm
supreme court ruling for freedom of the press. the new york times posted a damning history of the vietnam war, known as the pentagon papers. newspapers argued successfully that the public's right to know trumped the security. >> when the head of the cia tells you that they're publishing something that's a danger to the national security of your country, you can't just tell them to jump in a lake. >> but other president, barack obama, awarded bradley a top combation for speaking of truth in power. tom achermann, aljazeera.
8:28 pm
8:29 pm
>> just two weeks left. >> mitch mcconnell wants you to think i'm barack obama. >> some races are getting
8:30 pm
tight. big money. >> liberals control our state supreme court. >> big tv, and new election laws that could make it harder to vote. >> wanted right to vote. >> some voters are just fed up. >> there's a lot of dissatisfaction. >> tonight, america votes 2014. >> i'm john seigenthaler in new york t. on november 4th, america will make crucial decisions. if republicans win in a handful of states, it could control both houses of congress. a power shift that could torpedo president obama's legislative agenda. and that's why these final weeks are so important. >> thanks, john. one of the tightest contests right now is the governor's race in florida. incumbent republican, rick scott, is facing democrat, charlie crist. and tonight in their third and final debate, john, things got hot and heavy, and this time without a fan. >> did you know it was for a
8:31 pm
political fundraiser? >> she apologized, charlie. >> you're not answering the questions. >> scott and crist have been hammering each other on job creation and creation, and it doesn't stop there. mark udall is in a neck-and-neck battle with cory gardiner, and polls suggest that gardiner is edging him out. tom tillis is behind in what might be one of the most expensive senate races ever. and the republicans and democrats are in a virtual dead heat, after tillis focused on federal issues, putting hagen in the hot seat. spending $2 million more to protect in arizona.
8:32 pm
the cochairman of the national committee is making headlines, saying that wisconsin voters might not be as sharp as a knife. woah. john, that's it. one of the biggest factors in this year's middle terms may be voters that cannot cast a ballot. some of the states have started new voting laws, and we're coming back to you. >> paul. >> reporter: the 2010 midterm election started a wave of new voting laws, and this remains a very pitched and part of the battle with a flurry of last-minute legal action. the u.s. supreme court just ruled that texas could use a photo i.d. law, many called the toughest in the nation. and critics say that it discriminates against blacks and hispanics, but wisconsin voters won't have to show an i.d. at the polls. after the supreme court overturned a lower decision
8:33 pm
that would have put this law into place for the november election. in north carolina, that state has eliminated same-day registration, and it has gotten rid of measures to make voting easier, and a program that would have allowed high school students to register to vote. in ohio, they have cut six days of early voting, known as golden week, and overall, opponents say that cuts to early voting hit voters the hardest. by the way, arkansas, a supreme court decision has cut down a voting law, finding that the requirement to show a voting i.d. violates the institution. some get out the vote efforts turn to let's help the voters get required i.d.s. lisa stark reports from washington. >> reporter: duchess lolita is filling out the paperwork to make sure that she can vote next month in virginia.
8:34 pm
she has never mixed an election. >> why is it so important on you? on important to you? >> that's my rights. >> but this year, she needs something new. a photo i.d. something that she doesn't have. >> 1, 2, 3. >> officials with the registrar's office are handling out free voter identification cards. >> i think that it's great that we're providing it free of charge, definitely. we want people to come out and vote. and if this is one of the requirements, let's help them out and have is that photo i.d. >> in virginia, a host of i.d.s are allowed, including employee identification cards and student i.d.s. a number of other states are much more restrictive. in texas, for example, voters must have a government-issued i.d. so a permit to carry a concealed gun is okay, but not
8:35 pm
a student i.d. those fighting the texas law say about 600,000 registered voters may not have the right identification, many of them minorities. >> we as americans don't want politicians manipulating the rules of the games where some are and some aren't. >> even studies have consistently shown that voter fraud is a problem. supporters of the laws say that they have a purpose. >> to secure our election process, and make sure that we have fair and free elections, where one of the only countries in the world, in the western democracy that doesn't uniformly require the voter i.d. >> for now, states with i.d. laws are waiting to see what happens on november 4th. you really have no idea how this is going to play out on election day, do you? >> we really don't. but we know we'll assist our voters in any way we can. >> and the battle over the constitutionality of these laws
8:36 pm
will continue long past the election. lisa stark, aljazeera, arlington, virginia. >> and political contributor, jeannie day, professor of political science. welcome. so justice ginsberg delivered her tough descent and have suggested that 50,000 people in texas won't be able to vote. >> she really borrowed that from the district court ruling in corpus criste. there was a two-week old trial where the judge said over a million people would be disenfranchised. and that's where justice ginsberg got that number. >> so you think this could affect the election in a big way? >> it's not going to affect the governor's race in texas. greg abbott, running as a republican, he's 14 points ahead.
8:37 pm
and he's going to pull that off. wendy davis is not expected to win, but it could impact lower level races, and as much as we're talking about texas, there are 21 states in the united states using voters laws that were passed in 2011. so the impact of that across the board is going to be dramatic in a race that's so tight for the senate. >> so texas, will the other laws stand? >> the other laws will stand now. we have the four emergency rulings out of the supreme court. and so all of those new voting laws will be in effect this time around. and certainly with the senate up for grabs, it could have a dramatic impact. but you're right, in terms of texas, it's at the lower levels where it makes an impact. >> there hasn't been much research to show that there's lots of fraud, has there? >> that's justify the thing. all of the states passing these strict voting laws are doing this under the contention that
8:38 pm
there's fraud. and they went back 14 years, and not one case that they could verify of voter fraud. and that's pretty much across the board. no research shows that it leads to fraud. so the reason these stricter laws are needed is what is affecting a lot of people. >> the license to drive, and a library card to get a book, and why not an i.d. to vote? >> that's absolutely what the proponents say. you should need an i.d. to vote. and the problem is, what justice ginsberg said. they had an interesting situation in texas. a woman, born in mississippi, in order for her to vote, she needed $42 to get a birth certificate. and she decided in 2013 that she couldn't afford that. and she said in the trial, i can't get a birth certificate. i need to eat and i don't need to vote. so there's an argument to be made. when the video stores used to
8:39 pm
be around, you need a pass to get in there and represent a video, and to get a library card, but it raises a lot of problems for people who can't afford it. >> especially the elderly and the poor. >> the elderly people who can't leave their home, it's hard to get the i.d.s that they need. >> one of the reduring themes in this year's elections, frustration. americans are fed up with both parties x. as good news for independence, they could have a direct influence capitol hill. >> reporter: as republicans and democrats fight for the senate, the real winner may be neither. independents are gaining support like they seldom have seen before. >> it does seem that this is the year when people will be more open to vetting for people with a difference than before. >> that's especially true in kansas. a state that has only sent republicans to the senate since 1939. and yet now, something that was
8:40 pm
once unthinkable, the republican incumbent, pat roberts is in a dogfight. neck in neek in some polls with an independent. >> both parties are failing kansas. >> pat roberts has the reputation of being disengaged from voters, and that's what made him vulnerable. >> he set that his opponent is a democrat in disguise, and rarely has frustration been so high. nearly 60% of americans think a third party is needed. already one out of four americans are identified as independents, more than republicans or democrats. that's the highest in 350 years. >> people are fed up with parties, but we're stuck with them. there's a lot of dissatisfaction and a lot of polarization. >> it's being felt in races
8:41 pm
across the country. from kansas to alaska's governor's race. >> we will energize and build a strong alaska. >> to santo domingo, where there's a fight three way race for senate. >> regardless of what happened on election day, we have scrambled for both sides. >> there are already two in the senate. and with such a thin margin, analysts say that it's the independents that could prove to be the crucial swing vote. for more on how independents could affect congress, we check in with mike viqueira. mike. >> reporter: john, it's really amazing when you look at the kansas race that jonathan just outlined for us. it's an article of faith here and across the world that midterm elections, timeout is only 40% in the average middle term election, that's miniscule, but 50% in the
8:42 pm
presidential election. and who are people to turn out hardcore? only the zealots of the party. the base of the party. look at the president, everything that he has been doing with immigration to delaying his attorney general nomination, all geared up to firing up his base or trying not to fire up a republican base. so what gives in kansas? here's an independent who won't even say he's going to be a republican or a democrat when he gets to washington, assuming that he's in the senate. so the question is, is this some sort of indication, a harbinger of the way that voters across the country are feeling? are they so fed up with regular party politics and polarization inside of washington and the beltway? are they going to start looking for people like greg orman or larry pressler, running in north dakota. there's one other, you look at the alaska governor's race, there's a former republican there, running as an
8:43 pm
independent. and the governor dropped out to be the independent's running mate. there are quirks and peculiarities that could be fascinating >> the caucusing formed if one or two more independents are elected to the senate. and so what's the chance of that happening? >> >> reporter: i'm a little sceptical, john, i don't think we're going to see a japanese or uk style parliament with coal lesses to form a majority. in the senate right now, there's a socialist, bernard sanders of vermont. and he's not going to be voting with republicans. if the republicans get a slim majority, they might be reaching out to greg orman or larry pressler if he prevails. >> mike viqueira, thank you. huge sums of monies play a
8:44 pm
part in president and congressional elections, and there's a third branch, outside spending. millions are being poured into judicial elections. ali velshi has that story. >> 87% of our judges in the united states have to stand for election in their career, and this is turning judges into fundraisers, and then they have to raise money for the people who appear before them in court. >> reporter: since 2000, upward of 2 dozen states have seen judicial spending records smashed. and in the last election cycle. $56 million, with half of that coming from outside groups. >> as a result, it leaves judges around the country having to look over their shoulder. and i might have to look twice about this decision. >> spending in judicial elections is often driven by
8:45 pm
things like gay marriage like in iowa. but congress has spent big to create conservative majorities on state supreme courts. hoping that that balance of power will lead to industry-friendly decisions, on issues of employee compensation to obamacare. and while judicial election spending may pale in comparison to the hundreds of million dollars of dollars poured into congressional elections, experts warn that a little money thrown at the court goes a long way. ali velshi, aljazeera. >> coming up next, from the keystone pipeline to reservoirs, how environmental issues are playing at the polls. plus, republicans and democrats seem to agree on at least one issue this election. the second amendment.
8:46 pm
8:47 pm
8:48 pm
>> a new poll suggests that americans are growing more concerned about global chrome at change, and more than ever believe it's a manmade disaster. a cbs news poll said that half of them believe that global warming is causing serious impact. and curbing economic growth. 54% of those surveyed say that global warming is caused by human activity. some issues impact all americans, and others are more local. we go to our reports. bisi in michigan, and jennifer london in california. and in illinois for a sampling of those issues. >> reporter: it's a critical
8:49 pm
issue for conservative senate democrats. republicans say if they gain control of the senate, they want to approve keystone pipeline. it would pump oil from canada to north carolina and nebraska and then on. it's a tough issue for democrats, and environmentalists are fighting t. and proponents say that it would create hundreds of jobs. a legal challenge has made it possible for the white house to put the issue off until after the midterms. aljazeera, chicago. >> reporter: i'm jennifer london in california's parched central valley. the drought has hit especially hard here with 1200 square miles of farmland, with more than san francisco, combined sitting idol.
8:50 pm
lawmakers believe that proposition one, a $7.1 billion water bond will offer some relief in water storage, like dams and reservoirs and recycling. opponents call it a pork-filled gift basket with subsidies. and supporters say that it's the only solution for the state's water woes. regardless of whether prop one passes or not, it won't end the drought by some say will only get worse next year. the obama administration's fuel efficiency see rules, more than any other city in the country. this is the heart of the u.s. auto industry, and it has a history of fighting the standards, but now the big three are offering more and more alternative fuel vehicles. the results are mixed. between january and august of this year, 408,000 electric vehicles were sold in the u.s. and that's less than the same
8:51 pm
period last year, and traditional hybrids also fell! analysts say that customers who pay more for cleaner vehicles may be a long, uphill battle. bisi, detroit. >> and aljazeera's political contributor, jason johnson, joins us in the studio, and so other than those issues, what she the other environmental issues this year. >> fracking in north carolina and louisiana, and fracking is an issue in colorado. and you have plenty of issues about climate change in general, that many different members of congress are talking about, and those are the ones going across the country. >> and if the senate goes republican, still a big if, what impact does that have on environmental issues. >> last year, 229 climate change bills were introduced last year, and most were trying to say climate change is real, and it's not something that
8:52 pm
humans have anything to do with. and if the senate boz red, i think a lot of those bills will end up on the front. >front. >> right now, they would regulate or determine what kind of chemicals are affecting the climate. a lot of republicans want to gut the epa and if those bills go with republicans, they could go through. >> which races could be affected by environmental issues. >> i would say colorado, mark udall, gardiner doesn't know how he feels about climate change, and mark you'd al has been dancing around to say if he is affected by fracking or not. >> in suburban areas, do they
8:53 pm
support fracking? >> a lot of people support fracking. over 51%. >> you think that this year, environmental issues are really resonating with the voters? >> i think that they are this year. because people are unhappy about so many different things, and the environment is something new that you can get sort of excited about. and when you have a bad economy hurting people louisiana and colorado, fracking is an issue that can galvanize people. so the environment is more important. >> but it has not always been economics versus the environment. jobs versus the environment. if you pass an environmental law, it will hurt jobs, and is it still that way this year? >> it's always that way as long as republicans can make way with this issue. even unemployment is down to what it has been in eight years ago, people are still hurting, so any message that says this policy, environmental or
8:54 pm
otherwise is going to affect your job, that gets people out to vote. >> jason johnson, it's good to see you, thank you very much. and coming up next: they call it the weapon of choice this campaign season. guns, lots of guns from both sides of the aisle.
8:55 pm
>> aljazeera america special report, america votes 2014. >> gun rights are on the ballot this year. in two weeks, voters in alabama will decide on a constitutional amendment, reaffirming their right to bear arms, and month noians passed a similar vote in august. there are two conflicting issues on the ballot this year, one requiring background checks for gun purchases, and one prohibiting it without the federal government acting first. democrats and republicans don't agree on much, but this election season, they seem to be sending the same message about guns. here's david schuster. >> with republicans, democrats, and independents, they are the hot accessories of a 2014 campaign. handguns, shotguns, assault weapons, and even a cannon.
8:56 pm
>> our four fathers used a cannon like this to fight the british at savannah. >> most of it this year has been coming from challengers and underdogs trying to play up their love of it. >> mitch mcconnell wants to you think i'm barack obama. >> alison lundergan grimes not only distanced herself from the president. >> i'm not barack obama, and mitch, that's not how you hold a gun. >> and you know who else did a publicity stunt firing a gun? barack obama. >> and in alabama, he felt the need to blast obamacare with an assault weapon. but still barack obama lost in the kentucky primary. targeting a drone. >> this is what i think about t the federal government is too big and too powerful.
8:57 pm
>> reporter: voters considered him too extreme and handed rosedale a primary defeat. in washington state, this democrat got it after taking aim at an elephant piƱata. and in iowa. >> hi, i'm running. >> bob, a quirky independent, is barely registering in senate polls, despite name recognition. >> if you're a sociopath who murdered my sister, lynette, and you come to my door to do harm to my girls, i'm going to use any glock. >> for better or worse, this year's gun promotion is a trend, and many consider it a crucial weapon. >> i approve this message. >> david schuster, aljazeera. >> that wraps up our special
8:58 pm
election coverage, and i'm john seigenthaler. thank you for watching. coming up next, the battle for kansas. what's at stake in that battleground state. "america tonight" takes an in-depth look.
8:59 pm
9:00 pm
>> on "america tonight" - why they do it. new details emerge about possible serial killers, what draws them to attack and sometimes tell all. >> it seemed like he wanted to get it out, get it over with. >> suspected attackers, the victims, and how serial attackers get away with it for years. battle for kansas as we head to election. long reliability red. hay staunch republicans are