tv First Look MSNBC April 29, 2013 2:00am-2:31am PDT
good monday morning, everybody. right now on "first look," as syria's civil war rages on, mounting pressure on the president to take stronger action against the assad regime. two weeks after the boston bombings, there are new questions about the suspects and their connections overseas. a fast-moving storm in texas leads top flash flooding and frantic calls for help. plus, air traffic gets back to normal, thankfully. taylor swift's massive new digs. and it is man versus beast at the giants/padres' game. good morning. i'm betty nguyen. well, the call for action in syria is growing in washington in the wake of new evidence indicating chemical weapons are now in play in the civil war-torn country.
president obama has said crossing that line would be a game changer. well, now critics are calling the country's credibility into question, while the white house still wants more evidence. nbc's tracie potts has details now from washington. tracie, good morning. >> reporter: hi, betty, good morning. and more from syria's state news agency this morning, its prime minister convoy was attacked in damascus. the prime minister said to be okay. varying reports of deaths and injuries from that attack. but it does underscore the seriousness of the violence there and why some here in washington want to act quickly. amateur video from syria, the fighting getting worse. and now the u.s. has some evidence syria's government may have used chemical weapons on its own people. president obama had called that a red line for action. now he's cautious. >> knowing that potentially chemical weapons have been used inside of syria doesn't tell us when they were used, how they were used. >> reporter: there's pressure
from capitol hill to act, soon. >> for america to sit on the sidelines and do nothing is a huge mistake. >> more than just syria, iran is paying attention to this, north korea is paying attention to this. >> reporter: but what type of action? a no-fly zone, air strikes, ground troops? >> the worst thing the united states could do right now is put boots on the ground in syria. >> reporter: lawmakers are also concerned if there are chemical weapons, how quickly could we secure them? >> the day after assad is the day that these chemical weapons could be at risk. >> we assist the rebels, al qaeda could take advantage of that. >> reporter: the u.s. weighing its options as the threat of conflict becomes more likely. and we hear this morning that some of the latest fighting has actually happened near a complex that's been linked to syria's chemical weapons program. betty? >> all right. good information there. thank you, tracie. now to afghanistan, where the taliban is making good on its threats. taliban insurgents kicked off
their spring offensive sunday, killing an afghan police chief and two other officer. now, in past years, spring has marked a significant upsurge in fighting between the taliban and nato forces, along with their local allies. it's also a key test, as the international coalition is scheduled to hand over security responsibilities to afghan forces next year. meanwhile, though, a new report exposes tens of millions in ghost money that's flowed from the cia to the offices of afghanistan's president. according to "the new york times," these secret bags of money are dropped off every month to buy influence, but there is little evidence that that has worked. instead, some u.s. officials say the money has fueled corruption and empowered war lords, undermining washington's exit strategy from afghanistan. today marks two weeks since the terror attacks in boston, and investigators are still searching for what apparently turned two immigrant brothers into alleged terrorists. over the weekend, we learned of a taped phone conversation where older brother tamerlan was heard
discussing jihad with his mother. russian intelligence intercepted that 2001 call, where tamerlan also mentioned a possible trip to palestine, but moscow didn't inform the cia until the days following the marathon attacks. nbc's michelle franzen has the latest on the investigation. >> reporter: a key focus for investigators centers on tamerlan tsarnaev's visit to dagestan in 2012 and what he did during his six-month state. authorities tell nbc news they are weighing russian reports on what they learned about tamerlan while he was visiting family. the big question sunday for lawmakers, whether tamerlan received training during his trip. >> i suspect that ultimately we're going to conclude that a lot of the radicalization took place before the trip. that these brothers, particularly the older brother, were more self-radicalized, that online sources were probably among the most significant factors. >> reporter: several former counterterrorism officials tell nbc news investigators are
leaning toward a theory that the two suspects did not have training and acted alone, pointing to syria's flaws in the operation. the suspects had no escape plan and returned home after the bombing. police say they carjacked a vehicle and stole money from the victim. and on the day of the bombing, authorities say they stood out and unlike everyone else, were not in a panic. in boston, at the old south church, a moving walking and vigil to the marathon finish line, healing moments for young and old alike and signs the boston strong spirit is thriving. >> that was nbc's michelle franzen reporting. well, spring storms cause dangerous flash flooding in texas. parts of the houston area were hit over the weekend with more than 6 inches of rain in just a few hours, turning streets into rivers. many drivers were stranded with firefighters, get this, making more than a hundred high-water rescues.
and a convenience store roof collapsed from the weight of the water, but the employees inside were able to get out before the roof caved in, and there were no injuries now, here's your first look at this morning's dish of scrambled politics. supreme court justice stephen breyer is expected to make a full recovery following shoulder replacement surgery. the 74-year-old justice had a nasty bike accident over the weekend, his second in two years. last year he broke his collarbone. michigan congressman mike rogers has become the latest victim of so-called swatting. police were sent to his home to investigate after an emergency call. the congressman later released a statement, calling the incident an unfortunate prank. >> oklahoma senator tom coburn has introduced a measure to invoke the tax-empty status of sports leagues. did you know this? the nhl, nfl are currently considered charitable organizations and therefore not taxed like most for-profit corporations. according to coburn, taxpayers
lose $91 million every year because of those exemptions. texas senator tom cornyn apparently was not impressed with an op-ed from a young, undocumented illegal immigrant. when asked via twitter if he would stand in the way of immigration reform and the so-called dream act, he simply responded, "complete bs." well, a washington state senator is masponsoring a bill making it legal to deny lbgt services. and later today, president obama will nominate charlotte north carolina mayor anthony fox to be the next transportation department. leave it to partyers in key west to find a way to poke fun at mandatory federal budget cuts. well, this ship that you see
right there dubbed the "sea quester" took the place of coast guard at the conch independent republican celebration. it is the first time for 30 years would the guard, all because of funding rollbacks. and the white house now has a tumbler page. officials say they will post the best quotes and photos from president obama and of course, jives. and that is your dish of scrambled politics. coming up, what to expect when you arrive at the airport this week. we have some good news for you. plus, afternoon delight, the golden arches hints at big changes that could be coming to a menu near you. you're watching "first look" on msnbc.
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into custody, but was later released and cleared. the owner of the bangladesh clothing factory that collapsed and kills hundreds of workers is facing charges of negligence after unsuccessfully trying to flee india. officials say the building was illegally constructed. at least 380 people were killed. rescuers are still searching for survivors, but say there is little hope of finding any. flight delays around the country should ease up this week. that is some good news. the staffing at the nation's air traffic control towers is back to normal after congress voted to end sequester-imposed furloughs. in northern california, a massive search is underway for a man suspected of, get this, fatally stabbing an 8-year-old girl. so tragic. rshts in valley springs are being urged to stay indoors and keep their doors locked. and a hot air balloon carrying seven tourists in peru veered off course and crashed into the pacific ocean. five passengers have been pulled from the water while two others remain missing, including the pilot.
no one on board was wearing life jackets. officials blame strong winds for the accident. it's hard to believe, but six months to the day since hurricane sandy slammed ashore, devastating communities along the new york and new jersey shorelines, are still trying to recover. bill karins is live along the jersey shore, along with the "morning joe" crew. a lot of damage still there. >> reporter: it's unbelievable to think only four tweweeks fro now is memorial day weekend, the unofficial kickoff to summer along the jersey shore. they've already done a lot of recovery so we're progressing at a fast pace as summer arrives. and it's also a better weather season. behind me, the roller coaster, the iconic image of hurricane sandy's damage on the coast. the storm surge taking down the end of the pier, maybe about a quarter of it. and they're hoping to have that removed in the next two or three weeks before we get to the
holiday season and the memorial day weekend. also, the pier here has been dramatically improved and most of it was tore down and a new one was put up. and they're actually hoping to have the southern end of the pier opened up next weekend and the whole thing by memorial day weekend, so in time for all the big crowds. a lot of questions i get is why was this storm so powerful and why did it do so much damage, only for being a category 1 hurricane? think about it, category 1 hurricanes shouldn't have done this much damage. the size of the storm was incredible. it covered 1.8 million square miles. that's the cloud shield of this storm. and the winds were just super intense. right as we went through the peak of the high tide cycle, right along the coast. you have the unprecedented wind field of this storm. it was the second largest wind field that we've seen. let's compare it to katrina. again, it was a more tighter, smaller circulation with the intense winds, but when we compare it to the size of this storm, look at the yellow colors on the hurricane sandy map. it shows you that this tropical storm force winds extended 480
miles from the center of the stopper. in other words, a katrina storm was like a really fast propeller in the ocean, where this storm was more like a big, huge cruise ship with a propeller just throwing the water at the coast. there was so much to recover from, some areas it will take years to get back to normal, but as far as a lot of communities like seaside heights, they're working as fast as they can to get ready for this summer, which is now only weeks away. >> and good to see that progress. thank you, bill. over to the world of business now, where cnbc's kayla tausche has your monday morning headlines. good morning, kayla. >> good morning, betty. president obama is expected to appoint more members of his second term cabinet as soon as today. deputy national security adviser michael frommen will be named u.s. trade representative while chicago real estate mogul penny pritzker will be money secretary. and frank businessen nano
will become ceo of first data. matt zain, also formally ceo, and seen as a potential successor to jamie dimon, will take over that job. both were key on getting the bank back on track. and living social is e-mailing the 50 million customers whose accounts were hacked. the daily deal site says names, e-mails, birth dates and passwords were accessed, but no info on credit cards was stolen. living social is partly owned by amazon. betty? >> that's good that the credit card info was still in tact. >> at least there's that. as wall street looks ahead to april's jobs report on friday, startling new data from the st. louis federal reserve. it finds that the u.s. government paid out $3.3 billion in 2011 for unemployment benefits to people who were actually working. well, chrysler, it is kicking off another earnings onslaught this morning. about half of the s&p 500 have
reported and so far 69% are beating earnings estimates. and an auto investment of a different speed. a 1939 daimler db-18, if you don't know what it is, take a look, it once belonged to winston churchill, believed to be the last of its kind. an anonymous owner in germany hopes the classic coupe will fetch over $500,000 on ebay. what a beautiful car there. a new survey finds most of us put more thought into a mother's day gift than we do for dear old dad in june. poor dad. but the majority still buy flowers and send about 40 bucks. which reminds me, i need to get a gift. and finally, if you haven't heard, egg mcmuffins may soon be your new hangover food. >> would you ever consider having mcdonald's serve breakfast all day long? >> yeah, we've come up with innovative ways of us expanding the breakfast hours, and some of those things we'll also be seeing here in the near future.
>> i like the sound of breakfast right about now. just ahead, some laughs from the white house correspondents' dinner when "first look" returns. changing the world is exhausting business. with the innovating and the transforming and the revolutionizing. it's enough to make you forget that you're flying five hundred miles an hour on a chair that just became a bed. you see, we're doing some changing of our own. ah, we can talk about it later. we're putting the wonder back into air travel, one innovation at a time. the new american is arriving.
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[ beeping ] red or blue? ♪ this weekend, the president took some time out to make fup of himself, the press, and a few others at the annual white house correspondents' dinner. but in case you missed it, here are some highlights. the problem is is that the media landscape is changing so rapidly. you can't keep up with it. i mean, i remember when buzz
feed was just something i did in college around 2:00 a.m. in fact, i'm taking my charm offensive on the road. a texas barbecue with ted cruz, kentucky with bluegrass concert with rand paul, and a book burning with michele bachmann. of course, even after i've done all of this, some folks still don't think i spend enough time with congress. why don't you get a drink with mitch mcconnell, they ask? really? why don't you get a drink with mitch mcconnell? >> those were good. so joining us now is david nakamura, white house reporter for "the washington post," who covered the dinner. good morning to you, david. >> hi, betty. we're recovering. >> i'm sure you are. you attended nerd prom, as it's called. and given the criticism last
year that the event had kind of lost its focus and was catering to celebrities, was it a little bit more toned down. i didn't see lindsay lohan or kim kardashian there this time around. >> i didn't see them either, but it was still pretty chock-full of celebrities. proponents of the dinner say, it raises a lot of money for young journalists and stuff. but there were a lot of celebrities and there is always criticism of this whole thing being too cozy. there was psy, the gangnam style rapper, nicole kidman and all other kind of big-style hollywood celebrities. but the president went over pretty well and conan o'brien did too. i think it's another event that the critics can hold their hat on. >> i thought the president had some really good jokes. and besides him sporting some bangs, look at that picture. it makes me laugh every time. so hilarious. did you actually get anything interesting, any good intel or
insight from schmoozing with all those politicians and celebrities? and don't try to hold back on us, because we have seen your twitter photos. >> yeah, a lot of great photos. kevin spacey was probably one of the biggest celebrities there, because he is in this "house of cards" show that's catering about journalism, about a congress. a great video they did called "house of nerds," did a spoof of it. i did talk to bob, who said, now that he's out of the oval office, he's laughing along and had contributed some jokes. so obama's still calling on all his big writers to help him there. he went over very well. as good or sometimes even funnier than conan. >> i thought he was a little bit funnier than conan. that's just my opinion. david, thanks so much for your time and those photos that you posted. of course, you had a terrific time at the event and we appreciate you sharing it with us. >> thanks, betty. now for another look at the weather, here's nbc's dylan
dri drier with the weather channel forecast. >> we're talking about rain across the southeast, heavy in spots, especially down through the carolinas. it's already stretching into the washington, d.c. area with some lighter showers across new york and new jersey today. but the big area of concern will be for damaging winds, maybe some isolated hail, especially into southern wisconsin and that will stretch back into northeastern kansas. that's the area where we should see some of our strongest storms today. betty? >> thank you, dylan. we appreciate that. just ahead, who won the weekend box office battle of the continents. and so long, kennedy compound. taylor swift has a new summer home and we'll show you where it is when "fist look" returns. [ thinking ] i wonder what other questionable choices i've made? [ club scene music ] [ sigh of relief ] [ male announcer ] choose taste. choose prego. and didn't know where to start. used a contractor before at angie's list, you'll find reviews on everything from home repair to healthcare written by people just like you. no company can pay to be on angie's list,
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all right. you've got to catch this out. between innings in san diego, a baseball fan got a huge head start in a foot race against a guy in a squirrel costume, but it still wasn't enough of a lead as squirrel man flew right past him for the victory. okay, so pain and gain, it was actually able to wrestle first place at the box office, away from "oblivion." the r-rated flick pulled in $20 million over the weekend, but the big story is all about "iron man 3," of course. the comic book movie debuted overseas to the tune of $195 million. "iron man 3" opens domestically this week and expected to make over $150 million in just three days. and taylor swift is becoming the donald trump of country music. the 23-year-old singer has purchased, get this, a $17 million beachfront home in rhode island, in cash! taylor got the home for $3 million less than the asking price and already has movers on the scene.
she is not messing around. $17 million in cash. >> in cash! >> i hope she got a deal in the house. >> how old is she, 21 or something? it's good to be her. well, i am betty nguyen and this is "first look." a special edition of "way too early" live from seaside heights starts now. in four weeks, memorial day will kick off a tourist season here in seaside heights, new jersey, and thousands of people will pack this boardwalk, trying to get a little bit of a taste of the jersey shore. and it's an absolutely critical time for area businesses, because just six months ago, these residents were living through one of the worst storms we have ever seen, and they're just beginning to pick up the pieces. this is a special edition of "way too early" on this monday, april the 29th.
when superstorm sandy made landfall on october the 29th of last year, it was already one of the largest hurricanes on record in the atlantic. 115 miles per hour in terms of winds and 13-foot storm surges devastated many coastal towns all across the eastern seaboard. for the nearly 3,000 residents here in seaside heights, new jersey, life is just now getting back to normal. good morning, everyone. i'm brian shactman and this is a special edition of "way too early," six months after hurricane sandy. all morning long, we'll be focusing on the storm's victims and what they're doing to bring the shore back to life. some of what was lost will absolutely never be restored. it was the second costliest storm in u.s. history behind only katrina, but the region continues to pick up the pieces and rebuild. and while the government has played a major role in getting these towns back on their feet, it's the people, the neighbors helping neighbors, who have put the area on
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