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tv   Consider This  Al Jazeera  February 14, 2014 1:00am-2:01am EST

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the package at the house, say the police. richard parker has been charged with murder and held on a $1 million bond. those are the headlines - "consider this" is coming up next. you can get the latest news online at lost electricity this winter. >> millions of americans have lost electricity this winter. as a leading industrialized nation, why are we powerless to prevent these outages? why is hamid karzai setting free? and the high cost of valentine's day. hi, i'm antonio mora, here is more on what's ahead. >> we're going to continue to monitor the power outages.
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>> frozen rain and sleet may be a bigger factor. >> run ragged trying to get the lights back on. >> half an inch, you should expect widespread outages. >> the urn is concerned about the release of 65 prisoners in afghanistan. >> it should be of no concern. >> stand on stage with these. >> my life has been to make a success of the gift that i have. >> we beginning with losing power, another fears storm has left 3 quarters of a million customers in the northeast in the dark. power outages can persist long after storms pass. janet taboni reports, it seems
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we're powerless against our aging power grid. >> if you are watching this, you probably didn't lose power. many americans are in the dark. and wealth related outages cost between 18 and $30 billion a year, quite a range. despite efforts to upgrade the aging power grid, millions of americans lose power each year due to weather. over 7 million in hurricane sandy alone. >> just put them underground. that way ice, high winds, falling trees, can't get to them. but unfortunately it's not that easy. at a whoppings 1 millio whor mile it's not cheap. germany has power outages at a rate of 21 minutes per year, out
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of zero. weather preparedness isn't up to par. >> fortunately this administration along with a number of state and local governments are starting to focus their governments on preparing for the very real threats posed by extreme weather events and climate change. >> reporter: burying power lines though ambitious could be an investment in the future. jean nagiana taboni, al jazeera. hadn't even recovered from the the last storm and they are getting hit again. people are upset. do they have a right to be? >> obviously when you are without power, you would expect to be upset. the fact of the matter, the way that most utilities repair
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outages, is that they borrow crews, they get work crews from adjoining areas and yacht jaifnt states. the crews have to go out one by one and repair these and it takes time if you don't have the manpower. >> of course the great part of the issue is 61% of our power lines are above ground. here i am in manhattan, no problems at all because the power lines are underground. >> you are just lucky, when superstorm sandy hit, all those power lines and transformers and substation were down below ground, was not a benefit, because superstorm sandy shorted them out and that's why most of manhattan lost the power. >> as january it pointed out, the estimates of the cost of what it would mean to put the
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lines underground would be about $1 million per mile. but wouldn't that mostly work except in flood situations like a sandy, to help places that are hurricane-prone and snow storm-prone? >> well, yes and no. it is not as easy as it may seem to put things underground. for example, when you put things underground when you have extreme temperature differentials, the ground is going to freeze and thaw, and it's a lot harder to get to, you've got to tear up proceeds. there are benefits a lot of ways. it certainly would be nice. a lot of electricity activities, most of that wiring will be buried but to go back and try and take all that above ground distribution and put it below
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ground would be prohibitive. >> if they did bury everything, in the long run it would are more than double the cost for the average consumer for their electricity. but in germany has far fewer power outages than we do so wouldn't that save us money, just not having as many power outages? also, it is the repairs of power lines. aren't there as many repairs above and below ground? >> yes, and no. if you have your power lines buried and you have a fault, somewhere along the line a crack in the insulation so the line has to be taken out of service to repair it, you can't just drive down the road and come to a pole. you have to the discover where it may be located.
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in london they spend a great deal of time and money digging up roads, to repair cables that distribute power around london. there are pluses and minuses. electrical utilities, major thrust and good dependable power, today it's profitability. anything that adds cost to their service is anathema to them. >> we have seen an awful lot of problems over the past few years pretty much from florida to maine. >> certainly. we have to break the grid into different pieces. by that i mean we have transmission systems. these aren't the things that generally cause the problem. things are above ground. but if someone were to blow up a transmission tower it is not
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those lines that we worry so much about. it is the distribution systems that feed your neighborhood. they are above ground.through most of our neighborhoods. , electric utilities certainly on the east coast especially have been embarking on something called feeder automation. if we think of a transmission line that comes out through our neighborhood, the same way you would the wierk in your house -- wiring in your house, you know you've got a circuit breaker in your house, the circuit breaker pops, you go down to the basement you reset the circuit breaker. the electrical distribution network is something like that. for years those circuit breaksers were out on power poles and it took someone on a truck to go out and reset those. they were on fuses. now there are smarter devices, ones that can reset the circuit
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breaker automatically. utilities are also playing around with something called distributed generation. rather than having just large generating plants a few places around the u.s. and sending the power out everywhere from there, the notion is to build smaller generating facilities, especially since we have such a good supply of natural gas these days, and build them closer to where people need the efnlg electricity. since you don't -- exactly. >> a lot of people have suffered as a result of these power outages. doctor, it's great to have you on the program. >> my pleasure. we now have a two year budget lgt deal, and the farm bill has been passed after years of disagreements. the republican party feud seems to be growing and some democrats
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are running away from the president. even a political action committee associated with nancy pelosi is behind television ads attacking the obamacare website.. we are joined by rick wilson, worked for rudy giuliani, the republican national committee and a number of florida campaigns, including republican jeff atwater's chief financial officer. michael sher al jazeera america's political contributor. a debt sealing deal, a farm bill, people not completely happy, but there's movement. are things better? >> thanks for surrounding me with guys from florida and california, i'm envious amid the slush. to be succinct, no, not at all.
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i think those are exceptions that prove what is a depressing rule of gross underachievement. the republican speaker of the house jammed that through with very precious few reebility votes, not wanting a repeat of what was the government shutdown. a three year odyssey, the farm bill, of no interest to most of the washington media, there was a lot of goodies in there for a lot of folks. you may have some sort of record actually set by the congress in how few days it will be in session, and when it comes to president obama, he tipped things off about how he was going to go it alone basically in the state of the union and has since done so on a bunch of measures, including minimum wage for federal contractors and the big magilla, morphed into
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something of a political tactic rather than the prospect of anything substantive legislatively happening certainly this year. >> all right, rick, let's go to immigration. that has been a big issue for republicans. a lot of people think they have got to do something about immigration. is there any chance immigration is going to move forward? >> look, i think the distrust from all the parties from the conservatives in the house to the more business oriented republicans in the house to the republicans in the senate to the president to schumer, they are all looking at this as quicksand. and they are all looking at it as a seriou series of possible e outcomes. i don't think there's enough trust among parties, even schumer's throw away, delay it
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until 2017, an enormous skepticism on the part of the caucus, why would he do anything different with immigration is what i hear a lot of members saying. >> well and the president is doing that on obamacare through executive orders and jim brought that up. the president at the state of the union basically saying he was going to go without coming. here is jonathan turley, a fan of the president's who weighed in on that issue. >> i happen to agree with many of president obama's policies. it's often as important how you do something as what you do. basically rewrite or ignore or negate federal laws and that's a very dangerous thing. >> michael your reaction, it's a case of democrats turning against democrats. >> listen, what he's doing is negating history there. i mean presidents have used this. when you become president, you
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get air force 1, you can bowl whenever you want and you have executive privilege. barack obama has used executive privilege this way fewer times than any presidents preceding him. the average is 44 per year that the presidents use this. ronald reagan used it, gerald ford, richard nixon, bill clinton used it. >> but the argument is he's going further and setting policy. >> how different is that from george w. bush looking into legislation and checking off what he liked and didn't like. if i were a republican, i would be complaining that the president is doing it as well, they're there fighting and saying they don't want to have that. the fact of the matter is, every president does this. it's like the filibuster.
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you don't want to touch it. >> between john mccain, talking about ted cruz hurting his party. he forced what was in effect a meaningless debt ceiling vote. rick, mccain has never been a fan of cruz, called him a wacko bird before, but he's creating some serious problems for moderate republicans. >> i think we blew a debt ceiling vote yesterday, to get this stink on them that wasn't necessary politically. look i don't love raising the debt ceiling. i think our debt is going to come back some day and bite us on the tail we don't know what hit us. obamacare, obamacare, obamacare,
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these pointless debt fights do not work for us politically. if you look at the numbers during the shutdown peerd, we were having this grade ideological vote, it was a great issue for us, it doesn't work. i don't love the debt, i don't love the debt sealing increases. >> let's talk about obamacare, there is some drama on that front among democrats. few seem interested in having the president campaign for them, now they're running away from him on obamacare. nancy pelosi on one of her super-pacs, basically trashes the website. incumbent joe garcia last this. >> tea party billionaires say, it can fix the truth.
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joe garcia, fought to hold the insurance companies accountable. so they can't deny coverage for preexisting conditions or drop coverage when you get sick. attack ads can't change the truth. joe garcia is doing what's right for florida. howt majority pacs -- house major pacs responsible for this ad. >> joe garcia is not saying repeal obamacare but jim, the other swipes sound like something right out of the republican play book. >> for some of these democrats i think this is not that one particularly difficult. if polling shows obama isn't particularly popular in your district, the website rollout was disastrous, let's fix,
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everybody will sort of agree request that, including obama. but it's not surprising that in some areas of the country, folks are going to say, see, i thought obamacare was a mess and i'm going to try to fix it, and they'll see that obama isn't on any high school platforms with them during the height of their campaigns. >> but is there light at the end of the stubble on obamacare? 3.3 million have signed up, they were hoping for significant more younger people, and a lot of people signing up are people who are getting subsidies. how good is the news? >> i think you just hit the nail on the head. is there light at the end of the tunnel? it dims when you look at who is signing up for obamacare. with the abstraction of the total horrible rollout aside, is policy that the president wanted that the congress voted for the
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people reelected a president on and so gradually you are seeing i.t. work. the hiccups and the stubbles at the-- stumbles at the beginning make it difficult for a victory dance for any good time in the future. >> good to have you on the show. coming up next, america's tenuous time with afghanistan, failure to control the opium trade that is funding extremists. and hermela aregawi is tracking what's on the web. >> join the conversation throughout the show on dwirt @ajconsiderthis. and our facebook and google plus pages. people of our time. hip hop pioneer russell simmons talks with soledad o'brien
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>> i make mistakes everyday, i don't try to count them... >> about his music.... >> the artist should say what's on people's minds. >> his cause... dominion over the animals does not mean abuse... >> and his future... >> i wanna make movies and tv shows that reflect the new america. >> russell simmons up close and personal... talk to al jazeera only on al jazeera i must begin my journey,
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which will cause me to miss the end of the game. the x1 entertainment operating system lets your watch live tv anywhere. can i watch it in butterfly valley? sure. can i watch it in glimmering lake? yep. here, too. what about the dark castle? you call that defense?! come on! [ female announcer ] watch live tv anywhere. the x1 entertainment operating system, only from xfinity. relations between afghan
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>> relations between afghan president hamid karzai and the obama administration may have plunged to a new low thursday, following the release of a suspected 65 taliban prisoners. karzai says there was no concrete credible evidence that justified holding the men. an the u.s. had no business criticizing the decision. >> afghanistan is a sovereign country. if the afghan judicial authorities decide to release a prisoner, it is of no concern to the u.s. and should be of no concern to the u.s. >> but the u.s. embassy and the u.s. military boast blasted the release as did coalition headquarters in kabul saying the release of these dangerous prisoners poses a threat to u.s. coalition and afghan national security forces as well as the afghan population. insurgents in the group today have killed coalition and afghan
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forgses so why would president karzai go ahead with a series of not so comploamentic slaps? from a former u.s. ambassador to c.o.ocroatia, serving as a state senator in vermont. good to have you with us ambassador. the u.s. insists that there are. >> katy: why would the afghan government just go ahead with this prisoner release despite all the objection he from coalition forces and from washington? >> well, first, one of the problems is, that the evidence that the u.s. military has may not be in every case the quality of evidence necessary to convict somebody in a trial. and there is certainly enough
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evidence that people have been detained both at bagram, the big prison at afghanistan and at guantanamo. who may only be peripherally involved in insurgent and terrorist activists or not at all. so there is a mistake about holding people indefinitely without trial. on the other hand there is clearly strong evidence against a number of these people and releasing it is a stick in the eye of president obama and frankly, i think that's precisely what president karzai's intending. relations between the u.s. and afghanistan i think on a personal level between president obama and president karzai have not been particularly good since obama took office, in spite of all the u.s. has been doing for afghanistan. and they've been deteriorating in recent months.
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president karzai has refused to sign a bilateral security agreement even though it was recommended by council that he himself called, supported by the parliament, he in the last month he charged the u.s. with killing civilians in a firefight, and released evidence that was clearly doctored, including photographs from an incident in 2009. and so there's a message here. >> he's also accused the u.s. of aiding or conducting attacks to undermine the afghan government. he's called the u.s. a colonial power. he conducted secret talks with the taliban, called the taliban his brothers. some outsiders think he's.lost it. after he leaves the presidency this year? >> he's often emotional, he can
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be erratic. but there is a method to this. president karzai would like to be the continued major player in afghanistan. occupy the role of father of the nation. which is a kind of informal but very important position. and in afghanistan he's just constructed a -- or is going to be moving into a palace adjacent to the presidential passal, and he would like -- palace, and he would like to be sure that whoever succeeds him will take the lead from him. what he doesn't want to have happen is what happened in 2009 when the united nations was supporting elections, funding them. and the elections were massively fraudulent and the world saw that they were fraudulent. so i think part of this is, he's trying to intimidate the united states so that -- and the united nations so that they will not make an issue of the very likely
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fraud in the upcoming presidential elections. and to some degree, his intimidation is working. >> you were part of that group that found the massive fraud in 2009. was that sort of the beginning of the end where the relationship really started going downhill fast? >> yes, i think that was a turning point. what had happened in 2009 is that president obama had come into office, he announced a surge, he tripled the number of u.s. troops in afghanistan. he had a major civilian surge. it was a concerted strategy. but it depended on having an afghan partner. already there was a sense of frustration with karzai in the new administration, because of fraud and he was also illegitimate. not only did relations begin to
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deteriorate, but the surge and the whole strategy turned out to be an expensive failure. >> as you you mentioned most of the main contenders in the election this year favor the bilateral security agreement with the u.s. that would allow more troops to stay in afghanistan. so do people there, the afghan officials, care that karzai's prisoner release is poisoning affairs with the u.s? >> oh, certainly they do. whoever is going to be president is gotten to want support from the international community. the government is heavily dependent on foreign aid. and will want support for the afghan army because they'll be concerned without it, that without that support the army
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may collapse. and finally those contenders who really have a base of support in the elections, particularly abdalla abdalla, who may have been robbed in the 2009 election will want to have an honest vote. >> only have about 20 seconds left. clearly there's very little contact between washington and kabul now. the reports are that they haven't even been talking since november. so are you confident that once karzai is out of power the relationship will get better? yes, it will get better but it may be that the united states will decide that actually it does want to get out. and will go for the zero-option, that is the complete withdrawal. karzai is pushing things to the edge. >> ambassador peter galbraith, good to have your insight. good to be with you. >> afghanistan's flourishing opium trade, according to the figures on the u.s. office of
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drugs and crime, afghanistan's republics rose to what coc cock-could be a -- could be a record of, and while the defense department has spent some $2 billion on afghan counternarcotics programs eric logan with the dod's office of counternarcotics and threghts believes that we do not believe $2 billion has been well spent. i'm joined by gretchen peters, former abc correspondent in afghanistan and pakistan. we spent billions of dollars to suppress the opium trade in afghanistan. it gets turned into heroin. we see the heroin problem in u.s. and other places, how is
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what we're doing getting it wrong? >> well, i think the policy mistakes or the strategic mistakes came from the very beginning, back in 2001, late 2001, and early 2002, there was really a golden opportunity for the united states and for the international community to take advantage of the fact that farmers across afghanistan had not planted opium for the first time in more than a decade. the taliban had banned the farmers from growing opium and it was a chance to shift that country or large parts of it onto alternative crops. at the time though the priority was to hunt for terrorists. and fugitive al qaeda members and the drug problem didn't get the attention that it deserved. and then after that, the focus was put on -- or the bulk of the focus was put on destroying the crops of opium farmers, as
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opposed to going after some very, very powerful drug lords, most of whom actually lived outside of afghanistan, ironically. so the focus was put on the poor farmers, not the wealthy traffickers. more recently i think now we see a situation where the bulk of the effort going on in afghanistan is just to get out of afghanistan.. i don't think there's a coherent strategy as to what the international community is going to do about that region's drug problem post-2014. >> and they end -- and in the end is there anything we can do? this is a poor country and many afghans depend on it now. will it go on no matter what we do? >> no country in history has ever been as addicted to narcotics from an economic standpoint as afghanistan is. at some points opium has represented about almost half of gdp in that country.
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so that's a major challenge. we also have a situation where the -- more than half of the opium that's produced in afghanistan is consumed inside afghanistan and in neighboring states and also up in russia. so you have addiction rates and the associated diseases that come with sharing needles that are spreading like wildfire through the region. and that's going to create or has already created public health cries eas cries crises. and unfortunately in the key countries, afghanistan andback stan, there are senior officials in both of those countries, in the leadership positions, who are deeply implicated in the drug trade. and so i really don't -- >> president karzai's brother
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amad karzai, has been connected to the opium trade, does that indicate that the opium sails reaches the highest strata of governmental? >> that is the root of the problem. history would indicate that until you have an indigenous political movement that seeks to drive out organized crime and corruption, what the outside world tries to impose is really not going to stick. so i think that's worrisome. i'm not particularly optimistic about the future in afghanistan with regards to this problem and i think we're going to only be able to measure success in decades. these are problems that -- there is a tendency to look at the size of the opium crop from year to year. the number of provinces that are cultivating opium, the number of
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traffickers who have been arrested. unfortunately this is an economy where success is measured in decades not years. >> and then the homeland security issue. now the government embraces it wholeheartedly. they get hundreds of millions of dollars per year, in 2008, the late richard holbrook said breaking the narco-state is essential. if we can't suppress that narco-state is that really the issue, is that how we're going to fail? >> i think we are failing, the united states has failed in afghanistan and i think it's in large part due to the fact that the country is governed by an incredibly venal and corrupt leadership. there's pervasive corruption not
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just around the drug trade but around all sorts of aspects of ordinary government business. there's very lil security through large -- very little security through large part because of the rampant and violent crimes across the country. and there's sort of no end in sight for any of that. and you know, the other challenge is that the militants, the insurgents in pblght pakistd afghanistan and in fact all over the world are funding themselves, becoming more violent, more ruthless and more criminalized. that too is adding challenges for the average afghan person. >> the book is seeds of terror. gretchen pierson, thank you for joining us. let's check in with hermella.
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>> antigovernment protest in venezuela turns violence. five people were killed and 25 injured after a standoff between pro, and antigovernment protestors, blaming maduro's government from economic hardships in the country. leopoldo lopez, told reporters, the government is playing the violence card. on the website alfredo compares president maduro to the last leader, to which taves responded he was elected to carry on the legacy of president chavez as mandated by the venezuelan
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people. you can read more and join the conversation on the website, >> you can't find toilet paper in stores, unbelievable. the os oscar look at, plus e high price of valentine's day, and a surprising choice, hollywood's most romantic movie ever.
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while you were asleep news was happening. >> here are the stories we're following. >> find out what happened and what to expect. >> international outrage. >> a day of political posturing. >> every morning from 5 to 9 am al jazeera america brings you more us and global news than any other american news channel. >> tell us exactly what is behind this story. >> from more sources around the world. >> the situation has intensified here at the border. >> start every morning, every day 5am to 9 eastern. >> with al jazeera america.
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the physical distance >> the physical distance between backup singers and the star they're backing may only be about 20 feet. but the struggle to get from one to the other could take a lifetime, with obstacles that have nothing to do with talent. our series, oscar nominated documentaries, continues with 20 feet from stardom. >> there's a power to these women that stand on stage with these guys. >> it's a bit of a walk. and walk to the front is complicated. >> my greatest pleasure is to stand back, i let them do what they can do. >> it's a springboard but it can easily become quicksand if that's not what you want to do. >> there's no guarantees in entertainment. >> i felt like if i just gave my heart, to what i was doing, i would automatically be a star. >> morgan neville directed the
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film. he joins us from studio city, california. 20 feet from stardom is available on itunes and dvd. morgan, now it's backup singers, what do you see as the biggest difference between attitude and approach between the two? >> i mean there's a world of difference. we talk about that 20 feet being the distance from the lead singer to the backup singer but the world of difference is vast. i think it's something that they all have to come to terms with, it's not just about talent. i think that's one of the messages of the film, which is an industry that values image and ambition and luck and timing and all these other things. the talent can be far down the list. that can be a tough psychological pill for our singers to take. the women in the film have come to terms with it and have a lot
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of lessons to teach. >> mick jagger says it's not that far, prejudice may have been part of the problem? >> absolutely. i mean there's certainly something about the fact that backup singers are probably the ultimate disenfranchised members of the entertainment industry. the film touches on lots of civil rights issues. what you see and what these women dealt with is there were only a certain number of slots for african american women, an aritha franklin in the industry.
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>> they hadn't cataloged them. >> by their very definition they're invisible. when i went to talked to archives, they all said we have nothing. which wasn't true. just which meant they had not notated the footage because they're the background. that's the whole thing. i think the film for me and hopefully the audience is about a paradigm shift. you change how you listen to muct-to music, how you hear music. you realize you're singing along with the backup singers, not the lead singers. >> that's what we're often doing right. and many of those struggle to make a living. darlene love, from backup to hall of fame career but in there somewhere she ended up as a house maid.
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let's look at how she got assigned. >> one particular christmas i was cleaning this lady's bathroom. ♪ ♪ >> and christmas baby, please come home, my christmas record, came on the radio while i was cleaning the bathroom. ♪ >> and i just looked up and said okay, all right darling, this is not where you're supposed to be. you're supposed to be singing. there's a whole world out there who wants to hear you sing! ♪ >> and of course there was. but how difficult is it to make a living at a background singer? >> it's very difficult. i mean only the best of the best survive in that industry but it's a tough industry. the music industry is difficult and it's certainly gone through a lot of changes. it is one of the pai paradoxes,n
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restaurants and elevators they always say, oh, that's me singing. but just because people see you in proximity to rock stars, they assume you have a much more glamorous lucrative life than what you have, while many of them have gong through very, very difficult times. >> some of what you profile are vocal chameleons. they can do in a single day, gospel rock and swing. >> yes, morning with frank sinatra and in the evening with frank zappa and then in the afternoon, buck owens. if you're able to do everything, the industry only wants you to do one thing and that's what they want to sell.
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and i think a lot of backup singers because of their versatility have a hard time figuring out what that singular thing is. >> judith hill, viewers may know her because she was going to be on the michael jackson tour, preparation for that tour that never happened, she got a lot of attention because she went very deep on the voice. but she even had a moment where, in between the jackson thing and "the voice" she ended up being a backup singer and she did it in disguise on television. it's really a struggle for these people. >> it is. it's interesting when judith was on "thi "the voice" she alreadye it she is a backup singer, but all the time we were making this
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show, judith was sleeping in her childhood bedroom in her parents house, trying to get a record deal. just because you are on the stage with michael jackson doesn't mean you have the route to stardom. but judith has been signed to a contract. >> morgan, best of lum at the oscars. >> thank you so much. >> our data dive is next. and remembering the life and legacy of sid caesar. >> she doesn't wanna come as someone who was manipulative. >> revealing secrets...
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>> information became our most powerful weapon... >> taking chances... >> everyone that was involved in the clandestant movement, had a code name. >> each week, a new eye opening experience. >> now they're going to go to jail... >> al jazeera america presents... remarkable documentaries
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>> start with one issue education... gun control... the gap between rich and poor... job creation... climate change... tax policy... the economy... iran... healthcare... ad guests on all sides of the debate. >> this is a right we should all have... >> it's just the way it is... >> there's something seriously wrong... >> there's been acrimony... >> the conservative ideal... >> it's an urgent need... and a host willing to ask the tough questions >> how do you explain it to yourself? and you'll get... the inside story ray suarez hosts inside story weekdays at 5 eastern only on al jazeera america today's data dive gets romantic. americans are celebrating valentines day this week seemingly with little concern for cost.
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last year the national retail >> today's data dive gets romantic. last year the national retail federation. said that each person would spend about $130 per holiday. about two-thirds of those buying will be doing for family members, while one in five said they would get gifts for pets. although 100% of pets polled didn't realize valentine's day was happening this week. biggest floral day in america after mothers day. some over the top, $4.4 billion will be spent on gold, diamonds and silver. people getting engaged, having the question posted on valentine's day. 50 most romantic movies ever,
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casablanca topped the list, but number 2 on flavor wire's list, eternal sunshine of the spotless mind, jim carry and cate winslet, get their minds scrubbed. and the princess bride. my favorite is doctor zhivago, which came in 7th. coming up, the arranged marriage of cable supergiant, worth more than $45 billion.
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$45.2 billion, >> $45.2 billion, that is the price that comcast has agreed to pay to acquire rival cable provider time-warner cable. giving the company huge bargaining power with cable tv networks and stations, how will the deal affect the television landscape? joining us now from phoenix,
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arizona, former npr arts editor bill wyman. what will this merger do for their customers, will they end up paying more? >> probably undoubtedly. but they are not in direct competition anywhere. it's not going to be worse for customers per se, it's going to continue to be paid, if i can make that distinction. >> if the deal goes through, having been a customer of both i know where you're coming from, they will own ms nbc, a ton of local news stations including new york 1, the entire nbc network and all their owned and operated stations around the country. and former sec chairman reedstein would say tilt the negotiating table in media and broadband and equipment industries.
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that is a pretty broad statement. he is basically saying that comcast is going to be able to block competition. >> it's entirely possible and may not pass federal regulation. you have to admit this is a testament to the roberts family's vision of growing the company in a lot of ways, they didn't figure out ten years ago. to be devil's advocate here, they're worried about netscape and the prevalence of broadband going into home, which taken in the growth of the actual population of the united states the number of households is a really bad sign for the industry. so consolidation in some sense is natural. more pressure those companies put on these companies, this is a company that is going to continue to raise cable rates.
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so we're not going to see any relief at all. on the other hand they are looking at a more complex media landscape. >> that landscape may be changing. the federal court struck down the net, what internet content could get into people's homes. if this stands comcast and time-warner says we don't want netscape to compete with us. we don't want it in your home. isn't that too much power? >> that's going to be a very complex thing going forward and i think you're going to see a lot of public pressure on this. and one thing that the comcast people will say is quite often when content providers go up against these cable companies, the content providers tend to win. i don't want to be taking comcast side in all this but it is a really complex landscape with a lot of powerful people.
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i don't think this is a good merger in any case but we'll see. >> comcast managed to block cbs for a while in new york city. it could be an issue. another company that has conceivably too much control over an industry, amazon. it says amazon is bad for books and the book publishing company. but didn't amazon in a way create more appetite and more action for books? >> bio, it's -- boy it's really true. it's easy to get romantic about things like books and records and things like this. i'm speaking as someone who put himself through college, in this area. the amount of choice available to us as readers is many orders of magnitude better. in terms of getting the books we want, orders of magnitude better. we would like the cable industry to be more like amazon where
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there's just one place where we can get every book, every tv show we want, ever movie we wa want, turns around the other side and gets the price lower for we as consumers. so again -- >> one more quick point on amazon because one of the arguments in this article is, in the end the elite publishing houses mostly in new york pretty much could decide what books we read, because they're the only once publishing but now amazon allowing self-publishing because we're getting inundated with bad books. >> that's way it is. we have to work harder to find good music, good news articles. good books. when your choice of good books was much more attenuated, i think it's a good problem to
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have. >> i don't want to end this conversation without talking about sid caesar. so many people you know owe their careers to him, mel brooks, carl reiner, and the funniest thing i saw was sid sae -- caesar he's had a huge impact on television. >> ernie kovacks, milton berle, and the sketches were often very long, in depth and cerebral, it was really a golden age of tv. one of the great things for sid caesar he lived a life into his 90s and had two or three careers, as a tv star.
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>> and on this day that he's passed he hasn't gotten as much credit as he deserves. bill wyman, thank you for joining us. the show may be over, but the conversation continues. we'll see you next time. br >> buried in snow and it's still falling in some places. the winter storm that has nearly crippled all of the eastern u.s. >> a gay rights battle playing out in the heartland - laws that some say is the most homophobic in the nation. >> the health of the united states -- the united states must stop harassing afghanistan. >> tough talk from afghanistan president karzai telling the u.s. to


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