tv PBS News Hour PBS January 29, 2015 3:00pm-4:00pm PST
captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productionsñi >> woodruff: seeking justice andñrxd america's youngest convicts, why keeping juvenile offenders closer to home can stop futureñiñr crimes.ñrñr good evening, i'm judy woodruffñiñrñrñiñiçóçóñiw3 >> ifill: and i'm gwen ifill. also, ahead this thursday... >> you have to believe in the tooth fairy to believe that iran is not interestted in getting very close to nuclear weapons. >> ifill: going nuclear, iran's controversial energy program andt( the divisions in@(oe u.s. and inñr tehran over how to address it. >> we shouldn't be naive.ñiñrñi iran has the capability to build a bomb.ñi it has the knowledge and even if talks collapsed and we launch iñiqñrñi a war, the fact is we can't bombñrñiñaiñrxdñiñiñi
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the same faith as you. may god save you and act as a shield for islam and muslims. >> ifill: japanese diplomats have also been involved in the flurry of negotiations, but it's unclear whether the hostage go to would be part of any deal. until now, jordan has always refused to negotiate with extremists, but the government is under intense domestic pressure to bring the captured pilot home. >> woodruff: there's been another insider attack in afghanistan, killing three american security advisers and wounding a fourth. officials say an afghan soldier shot the americans today at a military airport in kabul. and in egypt, at least 20 people
died, with 36 wounded, in attacks on police and military targets in the sinai peninsula. islamist insurgents have carried out a series of strikes there. >> ifill: meanwhile, a tense calm prevailed between israel and the militant group hezbollah. the two sides signaled they have no interest in escalating clashes along the lebanese border that killed two israeli soldiers and a u.n. peacekeeper yesterday. israeli prime minister benjamin netanyahu blamed the violence on hezbollah's main supporter. >> ( translated ): it is iran that is responsible for yesterday's attack against us from lebanon. this is the same iran that is now trying to achieve an agreement that would leave with it the ability the develop nuclear weapons. we will continue to defend ourselves against all threats near and far away. >> ifill: the flare-up followed an apparent israeli air strike that killed six hezbollah fighters and an iranian general inside syria earlier this month. >> woodruff: russian-backed rebels in eastern ukraine
expanded their push today to seize more territory. the separatists announced they'd nearly encircled a government- held town north of donetsk that hosts a key railway hub. at the same time, more artillery fire smashed into donetsk itself. reports varied on civilian casualties, but ukraine's military said five soldiers were killed in the last 24 hours. >> ifill: the number of new ebola cases in west africa fell below 100 this week, for the first time since june. the world health organization reported today it's the strongest sign yet that the epidemic is subsiding. in all, more than 8,800 people have died since the outbreak began. >> woodruff: the u.s. senate today passed a bill to approve the long-delayed keystone x.l. oil pipeline-- 62 to 26. nine democrats joined 53 republicans, supporting the project to carry oil from canada to the gulf coast. president obama has threatened to veto the bill, and that prompted appeals from both sides after the vote.
>> we don't agree on everything obviously. but there are things we can work on together. and we are working to build the right kind of energy plan for this country to get the energy security and there will be more work to do, but i hope the president will join with us now in a bipartisan way and sign this legislation. >> i hope that he vetoes this legislation because frankly, i want him to be able to negotiate. i want him to be able to negotiate with this company the terms and agreements by which this pipeline is going to be built. i want him to protect the american economy. i want him to protect the american farmers. and i want him to protect the american environment. >> woodruff: the house and senate must now reconcile their different versions of the bill before sending it to the president. >> ifill: and on wall street, stocks swung sharply higher after a batch of better reports on corporate earnings. the dow jones industrial average gained 225 points to close at 17417; the nasdaq rose 45 points to close at 4,683; and the s&p 500 added 19, to finish
at 2,021. >> ifill: still to come on the newshour. what's the best form of justice for kids who commit crimes? the missing malaysian jetliner is declared an accident. pros and cons of a nuclear deal with iran. overhauling retirement and health benefits for the nation's veterans. the controversy over the depiction of war in the oscar- nominated "american sniper." and, patriots or seahawks? the economics of betting on the superbowl. >> woodruff: a new report out today on the state of juvenile justice in the u.s. finds that outcomes are better for youth kept under supervision closer to home rather than those in secure, state-run facilities. in fact, it shows that those arrested and then locked up in juvenile detention facilities are twenty-one percent more likely to be arrested again than
those monitored closer to home. and those who commit a second offense after time in detention facilities are three times as likely to carry out more serious crimes later on. with us to discuss the report are: xavier mcelrath-bey of the campaign for the fair sentencing of youth. and michael thompson, director of the council of state governments justice center. his group conducted the study for the state of texas. we welcome you both. michael thompson, to you first. i read you said there has never been a study done like this one. what did you mean by that and what were the main findings? >> yeah we've never seen any state conduct a study like this. i mean every state is seeing or nearly every state is seeing a dramatic decline in the number of kids that it has in state-secure facility, but this study that texas undertook is unlike anything done anywhere. we saw 1.3 million records pulled together over an eight-year period, an exhaustive
analysis that was done that proves that really kids do do better closer to home. kids staying under community supervision instead of being in an incarceration setting. we found they were saving the state a lot of money hundreds of millions by closing these facilities and putting the emphasis on community supervision. very few states could conduct an analysis like this yet it's the kind of analysis that states everywhere should be conducting. >> woodruff: what was so different about the community incarceration or care for these young men and women that was from the state-run facilities? >> right. i mean, when you hear it and you think about it it makes a lot of sense, right? what we've been doing is pulling kids away from their community sending them to a facility hundreds or thousands of miles away interacting with after the who don't look like them, don't necessarily speak their language, uprooted from any kinds of ties they had in the community, further away from positive influences they had like maybe family members or pastor or a sibling.
and we expect there to be some tremendous corrective action when we're putting them with a bunch of kids who maybe will have a negative influence on them because they're a higher risk of reoffending. when we talk about it that way, we shouldn't be surprised that those kids do better when they're closer to home. >> woodruff: xavier mcelrath-bey, you were in a detention facility when you were 13 years old. what did you learn from that experience about this? >> well at that age in particular, i was very much traumatized, to be quite honest with you. i came from a household that contended with psychiatric disorders and substance abuse and a lot of very not nurturing experiences i had as a child and faced with a lot of violence in my community so when you grow up in an environment like this and you contend with such a sense of being unsafe and the feeling of being unnurtured i gravitate toward those things that give you the opposite impression. for me in my life, that was the gang. the gang gave me a wealth of
love and support and, strange enough, although it resulted in many poor decisions, it was fundamentally needed for me in terms of my own development. i would also say that recognizing these needs, you know, not only are we the only country in the world that overincars rates kids but we're also the only country that's known to sentence children to life without the possibility of parole. i think this flies in the face of what we know abouted alessened development and negates the reality that children have the capacity to change. we know this not just in terms of research, but also in terms of what we've seen with individuals coming out with another chance at life. >> >> woodruff: xavier mcelrath-bey, let me stay with you for a moment. what do you believe is different and helpful about a facility about a treatment program that is closer to home? because in many cases it's going to involve... they're going to be isolated from other youth.
what's better about it? >> i think you have to keep in mind that the majority of the kids are coming into the system having experienced a lot of adverse experiences. they've been traumatized by violence, by abuses in their homes. we know this through research. when we put a child in an environment that only reinforces that negativity in their life we cannot expecting the child to have a positive outcome. in fact, more often than not it does more harm. it only retraumatises the child. it only slows to further abuse and neglect. i think we could take on a better approach for our kids. >> so michael thompson, what does it look like then from the standpoint of a state or a community, what do the results look like when young people come through a program that's run at the community level? >> well again what we're seeing is that kids are doing better when they're in this community-based program instead of in a state correctional facility. but we also know that just putting in program doesn't
automatically ensure great results. we have seen here in texas that they've plowed a lot of the money they've saved into community-based supervision and community-based services. but what we're finding is those programs are not always delivered in a way that's consistent with what the research says works. so for example we find different programs serving low-risk youth and they're connecting those low-risk youth to some medium or higher-risk youth, and those kids in turn are having a bad influence on those lower-risk youth. that's pulling them further into the system. we have to figure out a way to make sure these programs are delivered in a way that's consistent with what the research says works. >> >> woodruff: but xavier mcelrath-bey back to you. how do we know that the local community is going to be able to deal with some of the complex issues these young people can face? is a local community always going to have that ability? >> i think if given the proper support given an adequate amount of information and how to
go about best practice, i think we can be very effective. we know that incarceration is not the answer. i think we need to direct more money, more resource more funding to community-based alternatives that will enable these children to very successful outcomes. we know children have the capacity to change. i always say no child is born bad. the reason why i say that is for the most part the majority of kids grow up and come into contact with the law because they come from the most poor,dy invested and impoverished communitiesment they come from communities that lack proper resources and adequate education. i think we can focus on how to better these areas of their lives. i think we can see some much better outcomes for the youth. >> woodruff: and michael thompson, in terms of whether it's state governments, local governments, the resources they expected on these program, why should they believe the officials who are making decisions about what to do, why should they believe that this is a more successful course? >> well, again, first of all, they're going to save a lot of
money going this route instead of putting the emphasis on state incarceration. you know, $130,000 a year is what the state spends to incarcerate kids in texas in the state correctional facility versus spending $110,000 under the right kind of community supervision and services. we know it's not just a matter of money. we know unless we actually match the right kids to the right services and give them the right intensity, we're not going to get the results that are possible. we're seeing that across the country. that's why we think everybody needs to take a hard look not just at how kids are doing once they're under community supervision, but really holding programs accountable for particular results. >> woodruff: michael thompson joining us from austin, texas, xavier mcelrath-bey joining us from chicago. we thank you both. >> thank you. >> thank you. >> woodruff: now back to our second look at rethinking iran.
>> ifill: in malaysia, the government has officially declared the disappearance of malaysian airlines flight last march an accident. investigate, now say the copilot was in control in indonesia when airasia flight 8501 crashed into the java sea last month. and u.s. officials are reporting a spike in online threats against major airlines. i'm joined now by science correspondent miles o'brien. miles, let's take these one at a time. declaring this flight an accident, is that something we kind of knew? >> yes we did. really this is not based on any new information about the investigation. this is more bookkeeping. the international treaties which require airlines to declare an aircraft missing or an accident or whatever the case may be, and this makes it possible for the victims, for the families to seek redress. and so... >> ifill: we should remind people, this has never been found. >> that's correct. so missing is considered an accident by technical terms. here we are approaching the
one-year anniversary of this event, and i think that it was time to allow these families to move on and seek claims. so meanwhile the search continues, in the southern indian ocean that. will continue until the weather gets too bad probably in may or so, but we don't know anything new. so when people say it's been declared an accident, remember, it's based on the same information we've had for quite some time. >> ifill: big difference with the airasia flight. they actually found the plane. they are recovering victims. they even found the black boxes. and now we're beginning to hear that they're able to pin some of the responsibilities to what seemed like a very erratic flight path. >> we're getting it out in dribs and drabs, which is unfortunate. it would be nice if it came out in a more systematic way. but we do know the plane somehow stalled. it got into some bad weather apparently, and when we talk about a stall, and aerodynamic stall, meaning the wind was not moving quickly enough over the wings for it to fly. the recovery from the stall is obviously where the problem occurred. first officer was the pilot flying.
the captain would have been right there beside him. but the important thing to remember is when you stall at high altitude, there is precious little time to do what needs to be done. you're right at the edge of the performance capability of the aircraft. couple that with the fact that the airbus is flown largely by computers and human beings manage the systems. when things go bad the computer sort of gives up the ghost. it hands the plane over to the human being at a really inopportune time. so one of the things i think we should be looking at here is the relationship between the automation and the computers and the human beings. is there a good interface in this gray area between the two? >> ifill: we know this is very similar to... remember the air france flight? was it kind of like that? >> air france 447 is hauntingly similar. for those of us who follow the aviation industry closely we don't like the hear that. accidents should lead to that accident never happening again. they say there's... the rules are written in blood, if you will. and it's too bad.
>> ifill: the question about new threats 50 threats in the last month against airlines, is that something that's unusual? is 50 a lot? >> listen we love the first amendment. it's what we're all about. you shouldn't yell fire in a crowded theater. twitter is making it possible for a lot of people and apparently a lot of copycats to do harm. you know what people can get hurt sliding down those slides, so people should stop and think and these people who do this should be prosecuted. >> ifill: if you make a threat, it has to be investigated. >> you have to do it, yeah. >> ifill: miles o'brien, thank you. >> you're welcome, gwen. >> woodruff: now back to our second look at rethinking iran. just today, the senate banking committee voted to advance a bill which would toughen sanctions against iran if negotiators fail to achieve agreement on its nuclear program by the end of june. tonight, we focus on the challenges and the opportunities
of reaching a deal with the longtime enemy of the united states. it's part of our partnership with "the atlantic magazine." >> woodruff: whether you were watching the president's state of the union address last week in washington or tehran, his warning to the u.s. congress against imposing new sanctions on iran has been loud and clear. >> new sanctions passed by this congress at this moment in time will all but guarantee that diplomacy fails. >> woodruff: nonetheless mr. obama faces varying degrees of resistance from congressional republicans and even some democrats. house leader john boehner issued an unprecedented and controversial invitation to the israeli prime minister to address congress on why new sanctions are crucial. the former spokesperson for
iran's nuclear negotiation team says iranian politics are equally divided. >> the reason the situation is very much like the u.s. domestic situation, believe it or not, this is a mirror image. >> they have real domestic politics. this is not a dictateship. this is not a monolithic political entity. there is fusion of political and religious authority. it's like nothing else we've seen. so negotiating with them is very difficult. >> woodruff: journalist and iran specialist robin wright has visited the country in times in the last two decades. >> iran has two parallel governments. you have both an elected president, but you also have a supreme leader who is a cleric and who has the ability to veto virtually anything. >> woodruff: a majority of the iranian parliament voted to support current nuclear negotiations still a split at the top of iran's leadership often pits hardliners against those more moderate. author and geopolitical
strategist robert caplan believes it's a pivotal moment in iranian politics. >> does the country want to be a normal country and engage in, you know, engage with the world and trade with the world and do away with death to america? or does the country want to be a pariah for years to come? >> woodruff: israel's ambassador to the u.s., ron dermer, insists there is no doubt about which holds sway. when the leader of iran, the supreme leader and you don't get called supreme leader for nothing, tweeted out in english on his official account, "israel must be annihilated," it's a threat we take very very seriously. >> woodruff: in fact, the iranian capital is less than 1,000 miles from the cities of jerusalem and tel aviv. >> israel's position is not just to prevent iran from having a nuclear weapon today. it's the prevent iran from having a nuclear weapon tomorrow. >> woodruff: iran, however, has long claimed that its nuclear intentions are for
civilian purposes only -- energy generation and medical uses. [gunfire] there is no better use than the iran-iraq war when even under chemical attack from iran, the supreme leader publicly opposed retaliation with weapons of mass destruction. >> i would say as a nation if a nation during war is attacked by weapons of mass destruction and is not reciprocating just because of its religious values, what more objective guarantees do you want to believe that this nation is not after a nuclear bomb? >> woodruff: iranian good faith was clear more recently in syria where iran was a key partner in negotiating the destruction of assad's chemical weapons stockpiles. >> there was a try lateral
cooperation between tehran washington and moscow which led to the destruction of chemical weapons in syria. >> you'd have to believe in the tooth fairy to believe that iran is not interested in getting very close to nuclear weapons. >> woodruff: richard haass of the council on foreign relations is much less trusting. history wouldn't give you a lot of confidence. one is robb has at times violating understandings with the international atomic energy agency. there have been a lot of things on the side surreptitiously. >> we shouldn't be naive. iran has the capability to build a bomb. it has the knowledge. and even if talks collapse and we launch a war the fact is we can't bomb knowledge. >> woodruff: there are many who say what's really going on is that iran is already so close to being able to build and having a nuclear weapon that these talks really don't matter very much. >> judy, to be very sincere and
frank to you if the iranians wanted to build a nuclear bomb, no one could have prevented it. >> woodruff: today there is a tale of two irans. while many clerics claim to view america as iran's top enemy many younger iranians are looking to the west, hoping that normal relations will improve their prospects for a better life. >> the population is one of the youngest populations of the large country in the world. >> they're very much involved in internet social media they all have satellite dishes that bring in western programming. >> iran is partially democratic. churches are allowed. women ride on motorcycles. >> a lot has changed. there is a warning to be part of the world again, and that clashes with the deep xenophobia of the revolutionaries. >> the problem is not with the iranian people. the iranian people don't hate
the united states. the iranian people probably besides the people of israel are the most pro-american people in the region but the iranian people don't control their government. their government is controlled by a radical regime. and that regime hates the united states. >> woodruff: many basic civil liberties, from women's rights to free speech, are denied in iran. journalists are routinely imprisoned by the regime including an american reporter for the "washington post." >> it's not clear who has the upper hand in iran, but what is clear is never in years has there been so much public expectation and hope of a political change in iran in this case via the nuclear talks. >> woodruff: what all sides in iran agree on is that nobody here wants more of the crippling sanctions layered on the already fragile economy, which many in the west credit for bringing the country to the negotiating table.
but iran responded to past increases in sanctions by actually boosting their nuclear efforts. >> american understanding is that if we put more pressure, the iranians would step back. they increased the sanction, iranians increased the number of centrifuges from 2000 to 3,000 to 20,000. the level of enrismment from 3% to 20%. they enriched uranium from a few hundred kilograms to 10,000 kilograms. >> woodruff: but with oil prices falling, richard haass believes u.s. economic leverage may be rising. >> if iran ever reaches that point where they believe the choice is compromising on the nuclear in order to preserve the essence of their political system and their revolution going back to '79 they would do so i believe. >> woodruff: so where will this high-stakes game of nuclear negotiations end? predictions still vary. >> this is my belief that we
would be able to reach a deal by this summer. >> i think the odds are at least even or slightly better than even we get a deal. i think if there is a nuclear deal, iran will get some sanctions relief that. will improve things. >> woodruff: what will the reaction be inside iran if there is no nuclear deal? >> it will be tremendous disappointment. i think the government would be in trouble if there is no nuclear deal because expectations are now so high. >> woodruff: meanwhile, israeli resolve remains firmment >> israel's position is iran does not need to have a military nuclear capability at all. so all of their nuclear infrastructure that could be used to build nuclear weapons in the future has to be dismantled. >> ifill: everyone routinely thanks veterans for their service. but now, an independent commission has new recommendations on how they should be compensated.
hari sreenivasan has the story. >> sreenivasan: over the past 15 years, healthcare and benefit costs for members of the armed forces has nearly doubled. so far, efforts to reign in costs have stalled as members of congress and veteran groups pushed back. today, a congressional chartered commission charged with recommending reforms released their report. they call for overhauling the health insurance system for military families and retirees and modifying the pension benefits for soldiers. to walk us through some of those recommendations, i am joined by the commission's chairman, alphonso maldon. thank for joining us. first i want to ask, how important is it for the military to carry out some of these reforms? what's wrong with the way things are now? >> our retirement system today, we have the vast majority of our military really does not benefit from the traditional retirement, military retirement. and we have made recommendations, this commission has made a recommendation that we can actually offer more benefits or increased benefits
to those service members and we can best do that by a recommendation that we have made which is actually a blended retirement system which actually... in a blended retirement system that we are recommending, is one that will leverage the benefits the recruiting benefits of a government-sponsored thrift savings plan and the retention benefits of the traditional military retirement system. and we add an additional continuation pay at the 12-year mark, and so then we... by doing that, we're able to provide more benefits to more service members, which will extend the benefit that is to about 17% now to up to about 75%. >> sreenivasan: so if you're actually shifting some of those cost, if you put it into the thrift plan, where do the savings come from? >> the savings come from one,
we have savings that will come from accrual. you accrue a cost, current dollars over future dollars and we take advantage of that savings. also in the recommendation that we have made, when a service members actually decides they're going to retire at 20 years, we're offering them additional options where they can take a lump sum of pay. if they take that lump sum and are out early, that means we can take advantage of that and those accrual savings. so that's part of the savings that we get there. >> all right. let's talk... >> sreenivasan: sorry, let's talk about the health care recommendations you have, too. that's a big portion of it. you want to try to shift military families out of tricare system into a more open marketplace. why? >> why is because right now we think that there's tricare really has... often it has really caused some confusion for
people and some dissatisfaction because there are beneficiaries trying to access care and the process is so lengthy it's so frustrating for people to actually have to obtain that specialty care that they need and so it has caused concerns in that regard. so what we're recommending is that there be a... we would actually replace tricare with a selection, a menu of commercial insurance plans so that the beneficiaries of active duty service members component members and retirees that are non-medicare eligible could actually benefit from that because to get them more choice, more access. >> so one of the concerns of veterans groups is if you do increase, while better choice or more choices are good, if you shift toward more of a public model, these military families are going to have to pay higher
premiums compared to what they pay today. >> that's not the case with this because, number one, exactly what the family members of active duty service members are paying today there is no additional cost in that regard because the government provides a basic allowance for health care that each family member, that each service member will get. that money will be there to defray out-of-pocket costs. >> sreenivasan: i want to ask, with these changes to both health care and retirement, if you're grandfathering the entire can existing military and their families in when will we materialize these savings? >> the only ones you're gann faring, this is two different things, you gann fare on the retirement side of it. you grandfather those currently serving in the military today, and you grandfather those that have already retired. that's just only the retirement pay that's being grandfathered.
>> sreenivasan: okay. do you think you have a better chance of getting this through congress? >> it's my hope that we'll get it through. congress has sent clear signals that they're interested in wanting to get some things done. they have waited for quite some time, almost two years to get this so i think that there's a great chance we can get it done. >> sreenivasan: all right, alphonso maldon thanks so much for joining us. >> thank you. >> woodruff: now, a look at a movie that has been at the top of the box office for the past two weekends. as well as generating a lot of conversation and controversy. jeffrey brown has that. it's part of our occasional series we're calling newshour at the movies. >> don't pick it up. drop it. >> brown: "american sniper" is a drama based on the real story of
chris kyle, a navy seal said to be the most lethal sharpshooter in u.s. military history. credited with killing more than 160 people in iraq. >> do you ever think that you might have seen things and done some things over there that you wish you hadn't? >> oh, no, that's not me. >> what's not you? i was just protecting our guys. they were killing our soldiers and i'm willing to meet my creator and answer for every shot that i took. >> brown: kyle himself told the story of his multiple tours, from 1999 to 2009, and difficult adjustment to civilian life, in a best-selling memoir. now the film, directed by clint eastwood, has become a huge commercial success. on path to becoming the biggest box-office war film ever. overtaking steven spielberg's world war two classic, "saving private ryan." with more than $200 million in ticket sales and counting. and it's received six oscar nominations, including for best picture. it's also clearly touched a national nerve.
rekindling debates about the iraq war, the glorification of killing, and more. all playing out in popular culture, on social media and on tv. >> i'm just saying, you know the idea that americans cannot see any ambiguity, that someone has to be pure hero or pure traitor is ridiculous. this one is just american hero, he's a psychopath patriot and we love him. >> he was shooting al queda terrorists. and i would have shot them too. because his job was to protect the soldiers and the marines and when he was up and when he saw he shot. >> brown: cody mcgregor, texas state director of the group, concerned veterans for america, told me why he thinks the film is appealing to so many americans. >> americans are hungry to see heroes on the field, and i'm not talking about football players this sunday.
i'm talking about our heroes on the battlefield. the film does a tremendous job and resonates with vets and civilians, the battle we endure in camouflage and the battle when we come home. i have to tell you, we see parades when we've come home and i'd like to see those same parades a year later when we're back in society. >> brown: mcgregor, himself a former army sniper who served in afghanistan, also thinks the film captures the ambiguity pressures, that people like him went through. >> the film does a great job in showing there is far more to being a sniper than just pulling the trigger. you have to assess the battlefield, target and think through the larger impact of pulling the trigger. >> brown: but for others, that gun-barrel focus is too narrow and, ultimately, deceptive. "new york magazine" film critic david edelstein told me he greatly admires the film-making here, but not the message.
>> the way you frame something, context is everything. clint eastwood looks at chris kile in a vacuum which does a profound disservice to men who died over there, supposedly defending our freedom and tens of thousands of iraqis. the film shows this as a natural outgrowth of 9/11. he gets married and next thing you know he's in iraq. it makes it seem as though al- qada was waiting us in iraq and devilish killers, so no historical, moral or human context. >> brown: but then why, are americans flocking to the film? >> the story of chris kyle told
in this extremely dishonest way is giving people some idea, yes, we lost him, yes, we lost these incredibly brave soldiers, but there was a reason we were there, there was a reason we had to be there and the movie allows us, allows people to mourn chris kyle, to mourn the dead in iraq, but also to say, this made sense, it made moral, it made cosmic sense. >> brown: the man behind all this, chris kyle, came home after four tours of duty and worked with troubled and wounded veterans. there are continuing questions about how much he himself suffered from p.t.s.d. and about the veracity of some of the accounts he gave of his own life and deeds. in 2013, kyle was killed by a vet whom he was trying to help through some dark times. that year, nicholas schmidle wrote a profile for the new yorker magazine that tried to pull together a full portrait of the man. >> he was an enormously dynamic person.
all of the things that have been said about chris kyle, his opinions about iraqis, his embrace of killings, all of that is true and yet, he was enormously generous when it came to helping veterans. he was a mentor, a natural mentor. he was repeatedly cited for his leadership and his work for younger seals and that carried on after he left the service. i think that chris kyle drew a line between "us and them," a very, very bold line and some of us would draw that line further out and be more inclusive about who "us" is and be more, but if you were on this side, you were a brother in arms. >> brown: actor bradley cooper, who plays kyle and received an oscar nomination, says he thinks the film puts a spotlight on the challenges of vets and their spouses and families back at home: >> so we tell this man's story
but he does serve a purpose hopefully that someone who is going to watch this movie who maybe has gone through what he has gone through, or gone through what taya has gone through, can sit there and say "oh, wow, i'm not alone." >> brown: that's one theme that's run through films that have tried to capture aspects of the nation's longest running wars. "american sniper" has outdone them all in the box office and says nicholas schmidle, raised the level of contentious divide still further. >> sure, it has people talking about the war again in a way that felt reflexive at the time and very political and polarized. and you can see unlikely bedfellows of people who are anti-war but pro-film or think the film glorifies the war or is anti-war, i fell like a lot for people are projecting their own opinions of the past 14 years and how the u.s. responded to
9/11 and u.s. engagements abroad. >> brown: one thing both supporters and critics of "american sniper" may at least agree on: americans are still sorting out their responses to our recent wars and films are one way that's happening. >> ifill: with only days left until the super bowl, paul solman reports from las vegas on the multi-billion dollar world of sports betting. it's part of his ongoing reporting: "making sense of business and economics." >> reporter: an afternoon in paris, a lovely, traditional setting for a café break says teddy covers, if just a bit faux. >> it's the real las vegas paris, it might not be paris in france, but... >> reporter: no. >> ...it's not a bad facsimile. >> reporter: teddy covers, a
professional sports gambler, knows how convincing illusions can be. directly above us, a half-scale eiffel tower dominates the las vegas strip: 541 feet high. down here below, the tower's sturdy feet. a grand illusion, to buttress the dream harbored by most vegas visitors: hitting it big. >> they're recreational players, squares, average joe's. over the long term, they're not likely to return a profit from their sports betting investment. >> reporter: whereas teddy covers, nesevransky, says he is likely to profit, in large part, one assumes, by taking money from the squares. ( cheers and applause ) we'd come to vegas on one of its big money sports weekends, the pro football playoffs that determine the super bowl finalists. >> this is the world's largest race and sports book, with over 30,000 square feet of action. >> reporter: jay kornegay proudly runs sports betting at the westgate, formerly the las
vegas hilton. when built in 1969, the biggest hotel in the world. but the stage elvis once graced now features a 45-foot screen sports betting has become the headliner here. ( cheers and applause ) and sports betting is huge for nevada, a state which handled more than $100 million on the super bowl alone last year. no credit cards; cash only. how does the westgate make the odds? >> back in the day, uh, we used to just get in a room and argue for about, uh, five to ten minutes, on each and every game. but now, analytics play a huge part of it. >> reporter: data, he means; computer algorithms. kornegay, who may be the most influential football bookie in the world, sets the point spread on, for example, the next day's patriots-colts game. he had the pats, my team,
favored by six-and-a-half points. >> most of these numbers are moving based on what the sharps are betting. >> reporter: who are the sharps? >> the sharps are the professional bettors. they're the ones that play the big money. and the big money influences the line movements. >> reporter: the pats favored by six-and-a-half means they'd have to win by at least seven for me to cash a bet on them. bet on the colts? so long as they don't lose by more than six points, you're the winner. six-and-a-half is the cut-off. but kornegay had had the patriots as bigger favorites earlier in the week, setting the original point spread even higher, at seven-and-a-half. why the change? >> it's a cat and mouse game every single day in the sports book. we try to position ourselves to be on the same side as the big money that comes in. the public, the average joe's we will just let them play the game. >> reporter: and is that because passionate fans like myself just aren't as rational as the sharps and you? >> rational is kind of a strong word, but what you look at is these guys that are playing the big money have done their homework.
the average joe's, probably not so much. they probably read today's paper. teddy covers agrees. >> the recreational player is gonna take five minutes, look at the point spread, and say, "ooh, i like this side," or, "i like that side." i'm spending all day, all week, working on finding little edges cause all it is, is little edges over time. >> reporter: years ago, a finance professor explained the stock market to me with an image that stuck, a herd of investing sheep, preyed upon by the wolves of wall street. sports gambling in nevada recalled the metaphor, the public herd betting as one, forcing the bookies to change the odds or line. and then... >> the sharps, or the wolves in your case, will take advantage of that, as they see value in a line movement. that's been adjusted by all the public money that's come in. >> reporter: you don't look like a wolf, and i don't feel like a sheep... ( laughter ) ...but i'm getting a sense that our relationship might reduce to that!
>> i'm a good guy! ( laughter ) you know, i have a family, i went to college, i go to church you know, i'm not here really to take your money. >> reporter: but, seeing as how he's a bookie in las vegas nevada, kornegay admits: >> most likely, it's gonna happen. >> reporter: tony salinas is another westgate habitue who also both sells picks, and bets. when he sees a game where the crowd loves a favorite. >> i'll bet $10 or $20,000 on it, yes. >> reporter: against the crowd, that is, because this homo sapiens identifies with canis lupus. ( wolf howl ) >> reporter: and, if you don't mind my asking, how are you in a position to bet $20,000 on a n.f.l. playoff game? >> i've been betting since 1978. i was sent out here by a federal judge in 1978 from san antonio texas. >> reporter: a federal judge said you have to get out of texas because you're betting so much? >> yes. i had to move out here for five years, which i did. i never did leave. i just stayed here. >> reporter: look, says teddy
covers, most betting is illegal. >> the estimates are that one percent of the actual handle occurs legally in the state of nevada. which tells you that 99 out of every 100 dollars that are bet in the united states are either going offshore, or going to a local bookie. >> reporter: nevada handled $3.6 billion dollars in sports bets last year; estimates of the u.s. total? as high at $380 billion, including all the illegal action, most of it taken online in other countries. >> costa rica's probably the main one, and these people, they use their credit cards, log on to the computer-- boom. there you go. >> reporter: a 29-year-old new york bookie was willing to meet us so long as we made him unrecognizable. why do bettors patronize illegal bookies? because you can't bet in vegas unless you're there in person, he says, plus... >> you know, a lot of people don't have the money that they're betting.
so, in vegas, you have got to go put up the cash to make the bet. other people, they kind of like to make the bet and hope they win, and if they lose go and scramble and put the money together. you know? >> reporter: as to wolves and sheep... >> in general, the bookie wins. because, you're already losing $10 dollars on every $100 bucks you bet. >> reporter: the bookie's commission. >> most people have no self control, and they're just gonna keep betting and betting and betting on more nonsense. >> reporter: meanwhile, more nonsense back in vegas on sunday; the games were on. eddie ceballos, a diehard seattle fan, was dying hard as his favored seahawks were failing to cover the eight- and- a-half point spread over the green bay packers. >> i did bet on the game, i went with my heart, not with my brain on this one. >> reporter: the thrill of his seahawks coming back to win by six in overtime seemed to overshadow his gambling loss. fellow seattle fan mark barrett and friends were also wearing seahawks gear. and you bet on seattle? >> of course. >> reporter: of course because?
>> i'm from seattle. >> this is not rational, this is uniquely human, there's no chimpanzee who could have anything comparable. >> reporter: like me, harvard psychology professor jerome kagan identifies with the new england patriots. he said, days after this interview, that when the country branded them cheats for deflategate, he felt anger and shame. >> i belong to my family, i live in new england and therefore anything good or bad that happens to those categories, affects my emotional life, i have no control over it. we are symbolic beings okay? >> reporter: and your team, says the psychology professor, is your symbolic family. >> you cannot help but feel that if new england does well and i live here then i'm enhanced in some way. >> reporter: and indeed on playoff sunday, i was enhanced even tangibly, giving seven
points to the colts, cashing the bet after the patriots won by 38. we patriots sheep were then diminished, however, by the slings and arrows of outrageous footballs. and so, your conflicted economics correspondent paul solman, reporting for the pbs newshour. >> woodruff: again, the major developments of the day. another deadline came and went with no word on two islamic state hostages, one japanese and one a jordanian pilot. jordan demanded proof that the pilot is still alive before it releases a convicted terrorist. three american contractors were killed by an afghan soldier, at a military base in kabul. and investigators in indonesia said flight recordings show the co-pilot was flying the air-asia jet that stalled and crashed last month killing all on board.
>> ifill: on the newshour online right now, christine sun kim creates interactive sound installations. using her voice and a variety of materials like piano wire. but the artist has been deaf since birth. she spoke to us through her interpreter, about her artwork. watch that video on our home page. all that and more is on our web site, pbs.org/newshour. >> woodruff: and that's the newshour for tonight. on friday, we'll have our second story from sundance. from on-demand to the silver screen. how the business behind independent films is shifting. i'm judy woodruff. >> ifill: and i'm gwen ifill. we'll see you on-line, and again here tomorrow evening, with mark shields and david brooks. for all of us here at the pbs newshour, thank you and good night. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> this is about more than work. it is about growing a community.
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