tv Matter of Fact With Soledad O Brien NBC February 3, 2019 5:00am-5:31am PST
>> right now on "matter of fact" -- soledad: there are people in opposition who would say listen state law protects women. >> after nearly 50 years, can congress finally get the equal rights amendment ratified? plus, the case of the faulty forensics. >> in layman's terms, the agent line. >> did the fbi's debunked evidence send thousands of innocent people to prison? and, from brooke to a bestseller. >> i never have to stress over how much milk i'm putting in my coffee. >> how this single mom wrote her way out of the homeless shelter.
soledad: i'm soledad o'brien. welcome to "matter of fact here, democrats and republicans came together on capitol hill this past week, for a new bi-partisan effort to finally add equal rights for women to the u.s. constitution. congress passed the equal rights amendment in 1972, 47 years ago. it was then sent to the states for ratification. that still hasn't happened. in addition to the approval of two-thirds of congress, a constitutional amendment needs approval by three-quarters of the states. but only 37 states have ratified the amendment, one short of the 38 needed. congresswoman jackie speier, a democrat from california, introduced new legislation with congressman tom reed, a republican from new york. we'll talk to congressman reed in a moment, but first congresswoman speier, so nice to have you with us. walk me through what your
strategy is for this particular legislation. it is about a timeline. rep. speier: exactly. when the first amendment was put before the voters and the states, it had a deadline. what we're saying now is we are going to strike the deadline altogether. we now have 37 states. we're looking at either virginia or north carolina or arizona to take us to 38, and maybe then the women will be in the constitution and no longer can be discriminated against. soledad: why do you think it's taken almost 50 years? which does not bode well, frankly, for this happening. rep. speier: good question. i think there was an effort by conservatives for a long time to say it would mean women would be in the military, it would mean you would have to have unisex bathrooms. well, all those things have happened without the e.r.a. being passed. but what's so important is the fact that because there's not a prohibition in the constitution against discrimination based on
sex, there is the opportunity to do that. soledad: there are people in opposition who would say, state law protects women, federal law protects women. part of the reason you don't need it is good news. it is 2019. we don't need to do it because the laws are already there state wise and federally that protect women. rep. speier: so it's only 24 states they've actually passed any rights amendment. and those that say you don't need it aren't living the life of a woman. so i asked peggy young who worked at ups for 10 years and then got pregnant and then was told because she couldn't lift 20 pounds that she would have to take a leave of absence and lose her health insurance, when men who couldn't lift 20 pounds were accommodated. and she went all the way to the supreme court and it was found that it was discrimination but it wasn't intentional. soledad: we'll see where it
goes. nice to have you with us. 13 states have not ratified the e.r.a. they are predominantly socially conservative red states. republican congressman tom reed of new york co-sponsored the latest legislation to ratify the e.r.a. nice to have you with us. those 13 states, how likely do you think it is that you will get one of them over the finish line? rep. reed: we are so close. from my perspective, this was a natural fit, to be the voice on the republican side as well as having that legacy in our backyard. so i think getting the states to the finish line is doable. one more state and we are there. soledad: you say seneca falls and i think, for a lot of americans who don't have an idea what seneca falls is, explain that, and share your story. you are a guy. as a cosponsor, not just signing on, but cosponsoring the legislation, i thought your back story was really interesting. rep. reed: i appreciate that.
seneca falls is the birthplace of the women's rights movement. susan b anthony, elizabeth stanton, the rich history is right there. more importantly, what motivated me to stand with jackie and carolyn on these bills as well as with this movement is you know i'm the youngest of 12 children, i have eight older sisters and three older brothers, and my mom -- my father passed away when i was two, so my mom was a single mother. with 12 kids. having been raised in that household, i saw the power of women. there's no limits on who you are in america, sex, color, any type of discrimination is unacceptable. when i experienced those stories through them because they've experienced it through their lives, it just felt right to be a voice for my mom and stand
with these great women to get this to the finish line. soledad: what is the argument for those states that are socially conservative? what are they fearful of? it has been 47 years. rep. reed: you would think we would not be having this conversation in 2019, but we are. and it's taken so many years to get to this point. why this wasn't done decades ago is a question to me. when i hear folks are fighting against this or taking a position against it, generally what i hear, because i try to understand where the other side is coming from, is that it is not necessary. you read the supreme court cases, the justices, and you hear some of them articulate that there are strict interpretive people of the constitution that say, it doesn't say women. in the beginning of our nation, women were not treated equally.
there's that argument that needs to be addressed. soledad: congressman tom reed of the great state of new york, thank you. >> next, were thousands of innocent people wrongly convicted based on faulty forensics by the fbi? and, is the polar vw forensics by the fbi? and, is the polar vw from the first loving touch pampers diapers are the #1 choice of hospitals, and have been for over 40 years pampers swaddlers the #1 choice of hospitals, nurses & parents your but as you get older,hing. it naturally begins to change, causing a lack of sharpness, or even trouble with recall. thankfully, the breakthrough in prevagen helps your brain and actually improves memory. the secret is an ingredient originally discovered... in jellyfish. in clinical trials, prevagen has been shown to improve short-term memory. prevagen. healthier brain. better life.
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my dbut now, i take used tometamucil every day.sh it traps and removes the waste that weighs me down, so i feel lighter. try metamucil, and begin to feel what lighter feels like. soledad: for years, even decades, the justice department has known that flawed forensic work may have sent innocent people to prison. before dna testing was used to analyze hair, prosecutors relied on a process called microscopic hair comparison. until that process found itself under the microscope when a whistleblower said the fbi was producing shoddy and unreliable forensic work. a justice department investigation revealed analysts at the fbi crime lab made false reports, conducted inaccurate tests, and testified beyond the
means of science. in other words, lied about the accuracy of microscopic hair comparison. but instead of alerting defense attorneys or defendants, initially the justice department only notified prosecutors. elmer daniels spent 39 years in prison based on flawed fbi testimony. he joins me with his lawyer, emeka igwe. elmer, let's start with you. what was that day like, getting out after 39 years? elmer: a long time coming. i can't say that i couldn't wait for it, but i did. soledad: do you believe that it would happen? 39 years is an insane amount of time. elmer: i believed that it would happen at some point. never doubted that i wouldn't see the other side of the fence. soledad: because you would not admit to guilt for a crime you did not commit, that had an impact, correct?
emeka: elmer refused to admit guilt to something he did not do. even though he was offered a commutation by the attorney general of delaware, and offered a pardon, he was willing to sit in jail rather than admit to something he didn't do. soledad: will you tell us the history of this particular case? >> a 15-year-old female went to a party and went -- and that a 15-year-old white male. they left that party, went to some train tracks in wilmington, delaware. the 15-year-old male alleges he engaged in sexual intercourse with the 15-year-old female. the female said they didn't engage in sexual intercourse. allegedly, my client came up to them and the 15-year-old male ran off and allegedly went to get help. and my client, they allege, raped this 15-year-old female.
that 15-year-old male changed his story four times and was charged with hindering prosecution and possibly charged with rape of this 15-year-old female. that's when for the first time he mentioned my client elmer. soledad: michael malone was an analyst with the fbi and he also talked about the infamous double match, the strongest evidence in front of the jury. tell me why this really became what you hinged a lot of your ability to get mr. daniels freed up on. emeka: just a little background on special agent michael malone. he was a star of the fbi forensic laboratory and he testified in thousands of cases across the country. and he would say that he could make identifications based upon hair comparison analysis. in mr. daniels' case, he said there was a double match. soledad: so the victim's hair is on the perpetrator, the perpetrators hair is on the
victim, and so that is completely conclusive if you are a jury. emeka: even to this day, without the use of dna, you can't tell the difference between any pieces of hair. there are cases where people can't tell the difference between animal hair and human hair. michael malone testified that it was a double match and you can imagine how harmful that was to mr. daniels' case. you have a supposedly reputable fbi examiner testifying that there was a double match, which back then was equivalent to fingerprint or dna identification. we sent transcripts of the case to the fbi and the fbi, in conjunction with the department of justice, wrote to the attorney of delaware, that the agent testified beyond the means of science. in layman's terms, the agent lied. soledad: when you are finally, after 39 years, being released, did people say, we are sorry?
elmer: no one apologized. haven't heard, i guess what you would call people in positions of authority, have never humbled themselves to come to me and say, we were wrong. soledad: you seem to recall, but i think -- seem very calm, but i think i would be furious. it doesn't sound like anyone is being held accountable. will they compensate you in some capacity? elmer: i don't know. soledad: are you mad, furious? elmer: hurt. soledad: are there more elmer daniels right now who are incarcerated behind bars because of this flawed analysis by the fbi? elmer: i think there are more men, women, incarcerated like me, yes. soledad: you're not the only one. elmer: i'm not. soledad: would you agree with
that? emeka: it wasn't just michael malone. there was a review of the fbi laboratory and it was found that 26 out of 28 lab examiners testified falsely regarding hair comparison analysis. there are thousands of these cases throughout the country. soledad: thank you for talking with me. really appreciate it. >> when we come back, made in america. soledad: you've gone from being in a homeless shelter to a published, raved about author. >> but her success comes with a warning. >> i'm really hoping that my warning. >> i'm really hoping that my at redfin, we charge you a 1% listing fee.
soledad: there are 80 million hourly workers in america. and nearly two million of those workers earn at or below the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. there's a big gap between the minimum wage and a living wage. m.i.t. developed a living wage calculator which determined that a family of four with both parents working minimum-wage jobs, would need four full-time minimum-wage jobs to meet their basic needs. it is even worse if you are single. according to m.i.t. a single mother would need to work almost 140 hours a week just to earn a living wage. those are more than just statistics for stepahnie land. they were her reality. her new memoir, "maid," describes her life as a single mother struggling to survive working low wage jobs. stephanie, thank you joining us. i'm so happy to have you with us to talk about it. stephanie: thank you for having me. soledad: start at the very
beginning and what brought you into your circumstances. i know you had domestic violence. you had no money. you had a child and you found yourself entrenched in poverty and alone with a kid. stephanie: it was a b will during position to be in. because you think that you know your parents will be able to support you are my daughter's father would be more supportive and suddenly i was very much alone and didn't have anyone to turn to for help. and so i was in a homeless shelter. soledad: so the thing that i found so interesting about your book, which is a fantastic book was like, the mundane details of how poverty just grinds you down. why did you think that was so critical to put in the book? stephanie: the first draft of the book didn't have much of that. for me that was describing how i'm making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. it was so ingrained in my daily life and i thought it was
boring. my editor had experience with my situation and she said, what happened between the homeless shelter and when you got your first apartment? i said, i was in transitional housing. she said, you need to put that in. i kind of referred to it fondly as a crushing sense of hopelessness. soledad: bring us up to speed now. you start the book when your daughter is five or six. today she's 11 and you've gone from being in a homeless shelter to a published, raved about author. what else has changed? stephanie: these tiny little moments of running out of toothpaste and finding that there's three more tubes under the sink. there's always toilet paper. i never have to stress over how much milk i'm putting in my coffee. soledad: do you think race has made a difference in the opportunities that you would have as a white woman who is poor as opposed to a black woman or a black guy who is poor? stephanie: definitely.
i think my story is incredibly leveraged -- privileged. i did not grow up in systemic poverty. i grew up in the suburbs and i am white and because i grew up the way that i did i didn't think that poverty was my ultimate fate. and that's also a very privileged position to be in. but what i'm hoping is that people are listening to me because i look like them, honestly. soledad: i do hope that people see that and it challenges what they think they know about four people. stephanie: i'm really hoping that my story causes people to listen to the millions of other stories that are from adverse situations, who had it much harder than me, that normally we wouldn't pay attention to. soledad: the book is amazing. stephanie land, i'm so glad you came to talk to us about it. thank you. >> coming up next, why some scientists say the key to fighting climate change is to stop talking about climate change. plus, where's my car?
soledad: now to a weekly feature we like to call "we are paying attention even if you are too busy ." climate scientists hope a new strategy will help climate change. the strategy is to avoid using the words climate change. the strategy is to focus on what is happening, how unusual it is, how much it costs. environmental scientists say the phrase "climate change" is just too politicized now. the change comes as elected leaders double down on denying climate change. before a deadly polar vortex chilled parts of the midwest with wind chills of negative 60 degrees, president trump tweeted "wouldn't be bad to have a little of that good old fashioned global warming right now!"
as experts say, it is not where you live warming, it is global warming. there's no question the earth is warming faster than at any time in human history. so global warming is still a thing even though there is a cold snap happening right now in the midwest. >> when we return, how technology is taking the trouble out of airport parking. soledad:
soledad: would you trust a robot with your car? later this year, travelers at london's gatwick airport will leave the parking to valet robots. here's how it works. first, drive your car into a covered drop off zone, then confirm your parking reservation and flight information on a touch screen. but you take your keys and then go catch your flight. "stan the robot," i'm not making this up, takes it from there. the battery-powered robot slides its forklift-style arms under your car, lifts it and then tightly packs it into the parking lot. no need to fumble for tickets
and keys. stan will use your flight information to have your car waiting in the drop off zone once you return from your trip. that is it for this edition of "matter of fact." we will see you next week. [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org]
robert handa: hello and welcome to "asian pacific america." i'm robert handa, your host for our show here on nbc bay area and cozi tv. today, we try to help everyone find harmony in their lives, in school, and in their performances as we focus on college notes. if you've ever seen any of the "pitch perfect" movies, or even if you haven't, you'll get some idea of the dynamic precision singing that goes on in college notes. we'll start with an overview with the help of the diablo regional arts association. and with the help of kaiser permanente, the sponsor, college notes also addresses mental health at the college level. then, a group from claremont colleges afterschool specials talks about its acapella skills that it will showcase at college notes.