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tv   Weekends With Alex Witt  MSNBC  March 21, 2015 9:00am-11:01am PDT

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thin reach. the u.s. says, not so fast. what exactly could be in a final agreement? i'll talk with a nuclear expert about the details. a new move by lawyers for robert durst. they want him released immediately. hear whether that could happen. the fbi's now looking into congressman aaron schock who began with a taxpayer-funded downtownen abbey office could end in something far more serious. style not over it's spring. but that doesn't mean it's the end of wintry weather. the latest on the weekend forecast in minutes. hey, everyone. high noon here in the east. 9:00 a.m. out west. welcome to "weekends with alex witt." new today, secretary of state john kerry saying there's been substantial progress in ongoing nuclear talks with iran but there remain important gaps. the secretary speaking today in switzerland saying the six nations involved in the talks are determined to reach a solution by the march 31st deadline.
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>> we are united in our goal our approach our resolve and our determination to ensure that iran's program is entirely peaceful. >> those formal talks among iran the u.s. european nations and china resume late next week. kristen welker is at the white house for us. why were the talks recessed so close to the march 31st deadline? >> reporter: a lot of people asking that same question, alex. the official reason is because it's the iranian new year also because the mother of the president of iran passed away. and his brother was one of the negotiators. but you heard secretary kerry underscore the point that while there has been significant progress gaps remain. and among the main sticking points, alex the number of centrifuges that iran should be allowed to have to enrich uranium. the number that they're talking about right now is in the ballpark of 6,000. but critics of this deal israel
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included say the number should be much lower. iranians say they should actually be allowed to have more centrifuges. so that remains a key sticking point. then this issue of sanctions. that's one of the main issues where they are stuck and where they're not able to reach agreement. iran would like sanctions to be lifted immediately once a deal is in place. but the united states and its european partners are saying these sanctions should be lifted gradually and only when iran proves that it's actually following through with the terms of the deal. this is something that secretary kerry, iran the other world leaders that you talked about have been working on for over two years. the initial deadline to get a framework for an agreement comes at the end of this month. so really they just have days to try to reach a framework for a broader deal. president obama, secretary kerry signaling that there have already been a number of deadline extensions and that they're not willing to extend the deadlines again. also want to underscore the point, alex that the ultimate deadline to reach a final deal
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comes in june. so they do have a little bit of wiggle room when you're talking about that. i have been speaking with senior administration officials here behind the scenes and i say, look, president obama initially said the chances for actually reaching a deal are at about 50%, is that still the case? and they say that is the case. so there's measured optimism at the white house despite the fact that secretary kerry says progress has been made. >> kristen welker at the white house, thank you for that. joining me now, former senator george mitchell who from 2009 to 2011 served as u.s. special envoy for middle east peace and previously chaired the so-called mitchell report on middle east violence and is a special adviser to president clinton. senator mitchell thank you for joining me. >> thanks for having me. >> prime minister netanyahu's go-to line throughout these negotiations is that it's a bad deal. what does a good deal look like to you? >> a good deal is one which
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would provide mechanisms to ensure that iran complies with the agreement. that's the first and most important test because there isn't any trust. both the ayatollah khamenei and president rouhani have said publicly that iran does not seek nuclear weapons. but the problem of course is that the actions of their government contradict those words. so there has to be a process in which verification can occur. secondly, that iran will not be able to develop a nuclear weapon in a relatively short period of time. the so-called breakout period throughout the span of the agreement. that's critical, of course. if they were to try to do so we would want to have plenty of notice so that we can take action to prevent that from occurring. so i think it's important that it provide that iran not be able to develop a nuclear weapon and
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that there be a mechanism for verification that iran is complying. those are the key elements in my mind in general terms. >> so, senator, if you do not trust iran and as negotiating partner ultimately, how, then do you interpret secretary kerry saying there has been substantial progress? are you certain and confident there is some sort of a verification process there? >> well i'm not an insider to this process. but i doubt very much that secretary kerry or president obama or indeed the other five countries who are negotiating partners -- it's very important because in the united states the discussion has been about the u.s. and iran. but we have five countries negotiating with us -- china, russia britain, france and germany -- that there be some mechanism for verification. i don't think anyone is going to try to reach an agreement which can't be verified that is there's no way of knowing whether or not iran is complying.
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that, to me wouldn't pass muster. >> as a senator and a diplomat, what was your reaction to the senate republicans' letter to the warning to the ayatollah that any tell could be-- deal could be rescinded? >> it's counterproductive. i think their hostility to president obama has clouded their judgment and led them to take actions which in retrospect i think look unwise even to many f of those who signed the letter. i don't think it will have a huge significance on the negotiations because the reality is the senate republicans who signed that letter are not going to support any agreement that president obama reaches. it just isn't going to be sufficient. prime minister netanyahu in his speech before the congress established what are essentially completely unattainable goals to be able to be called a good deal simply not possible to get
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an agreement along the terms that he described. and i think both the prime minister and the congressional republicans will oppose any deal. the question is will they be able to scuttle a deal? and that's a much more difficult hurdle, i think, for them. because again, remember we have five countries besides the united states dealing with this. that's why iran's at the table because the sanctions have been effective. and the reason the sanctions have been effective is they're not unilateral american sanctions. the other five countries are joining in. if an agreement is reached and those countries are involved and it's scuttled by opposition in the congress they won't go along with increased sanctions. so the congressional republican argument of r, let's just increase the sanctions is completely defective and unsound because the sanctions will go from universal to unilateral and
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therefore from effective to ineffective. >> senator i'm curious because -- of course we also hear these mixed messages from iran. one day, president rouhani says they're committed and a deal a near. the next day, the ayatollah tweeting a scorching remark about the west. as someone who's been at the negotiating table, does this stuff really matter or is it just a sideshow for the public? >> you have to remember that their society is divided just as ours is. president obama has one position along with secretary kerry, the congressional republicans have another. if we were now doing this in a studio in tehran as an iranian interviewer, they would be talking about mixed signals from the united states. here look obama says this but the speaker of the house says that. >> fair. >> so they're a divided society secondly, of course, it could be a negotiating tactic as well. they want to hold out for the best deal they can get. they want to be able to say to their hardliners look we
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prevailed just as president obama is going to want to say to the congress look we prevailed. so i think it's both an issue of internal politics on both sides and the issue of negotiating tactics, trying as best you can to create an atmosphere which gives you the most leverage. >> senator, the relationship between president obama and prime minister netanyahu appears to get worse by the day. what is the true nature of it in your experience and how has it changed over the years? >> first, i think it's important to recognize that there have been many occasions in the past when presidents of the united states and israeli prime ministers have had sharp disagreements. president eisenhower forced the israelis to come out of the suez. president reagan is another example. president clinton didn't get along with prime minister netanyahu. neither does president obama. nothing new about that.
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the commitment by the united states to israel's existence and security goes not to a particular person or a prime minister but to the people and the nation of israel. so that's going to survive. i don't think it's likely that they're going to become best pals in the near future. but they both have an interest in working to see that violence does not erupt in the region. israelis and palestinians interact in thousands of ways each day all across that region. they have to live together. >> senator, may i ask, to that end, do you think we will see a two-state solution in our lifetime? >> yes, i do. i don't think it will be in the immediate future. but the two-state solution has been harshly criticized by many with valid reason. we've been at it for a half century and it hasn't been attained. the problem is as difficult as it is no one has offered a more
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credible or feasible alternative. in all that time despite all that criticism. and i believe there isn't any other answer and it would be best for both israelis and palestinians to do it. americans ought to go read a speech that george w. bush gave in jerusalem in january of 2009. the most forceful and i believe persuasive statement yet made by a leader on why a two-state solution is good for israel and for the palestinians. that's the basis of our policy. that's what we have to pursue. i think it's going to be very difficult now given the prime minister's reversal and re-reversal, there wasn't any trust there to begin with. now of course there's even less than there was before. but i think it's got to happen. and i think it will happen soon. i hope not after another round of violence. >> senator george mitchell thank you very much for your insights, sir. i appreciate them. >> thank you. developing now in brooklyn
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new york seven children are dead, all siblings after a fire tore through a house early this morning. the youngest victim, just 5 years old. another sibling and the children's mother escaped that fire but are in critical condition today. joining me from the scene, nbc's ron mott. what's the latest information you're hearing about how this all started? >> reporter: hey, there, alex. good afternoon. a gut-wrenching story here in brooklyn. seven children between the ages of 5 and 15 have died in this house fire that broke out overnight. i want to step aside for a bit so you can see the scene down here half a block away. the mayor and the police commissioner on scene now doing through the remains of that house. and then they're both expected to address the media that has been escorted down there. earlier the fire commissioner did address the media here. let's take a listen at what he had to say a few hours ago. >> this is the largest tragedy by fire that this city has had in seven years. it's a tragedy for this family. it's a tragedy for this community.
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it's a tragedy for our city. >> reporter: the commissioner said the fire was called in at 12:23 this morning. they responded within 3 1/2 minutes, they were on the scene. but it was too late for these children. one 8-year-old girl was declared deceased here in the house. the other six were transported to hospitals where they were later pronounced dead. the mother a 45-year-old woman, jumped out of the window along with a 14-year-old daughter. they're both in critical condition at area hospitals at this hour. the fire apparently started, according to the fire commissioner, in the kitchen on a hot plate, a hot plate apparently left on overnight to warm up some food. this is a very orthodox jewish neighborhood and a lot of people obviously are observing the sabbath so there's no cooking. but apparently the hot plate was left on overnight and is believed to be the source of the fire. officials say they looked in the first floor and the second floor, could not find any evidence of smoke detectors on those two floors. there was apparently at least one down in the basement.
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but it was unfortunately not able to awaken those seven children who perished in this fire. very sad story here in brooklyn. >> just tragic. ron, thank you for that. other news now, police in louisiana say a man who went on a rampage at the new orleans airport with a machete and a can of bug spray is being treated at a local hospital after he was shot by a law enforcement officer. 63-year-old richard white began spraying insecticide and swinging his machete at tsa agents and passengers after he approached a security checkpoint at the airport last night. he then ran through the metal detector and was chasing a female tsa agent when a sheriff's lieutenant fired three shots striking white in the face, chest and leg. another tsa officer was struck in the arm by one of the bullets. but the injury is not life-threatening. walmart will reportedly pay $10 million to the family of the comedian james mcnair. a walmart truck hit the limo bus
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the two men were traveling in last summer. tracy morgan is still recovering from a brain injury. and the streets are paved with gold in one northern california town. but if you ask city officials, that's where it's staying. crews discovered flakes of gold mixed with dirt thursday morning during a water main upgrade project. but the city manager insists the dirt will be returned to the ground with the gold still in it citing the process of salvaging it would be too costly and time-consuming. residents aren't happy with that decision. >> no, there's no respect for history. there wasn't any effort -- imagine all of that material they've given away to the contractor. >> despite the city's decision the gold fever may continue as residents gear up for the 2016 gold panning championships. the attorney for accused killer robert durst is demanding his client be released. but on what grounds? today something entirely new is being built into bounty. dawn. new bounty with dawn.
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the attorney for real estate heir robert durst is claiming that he was illegally arrested, demanding that he be released from a louisiana prison. on monday durst will be in a court for a bond hearing. at the same hearing, his attorney will argue he's being held without probable cause. >> the charges in louisiana are minor. in comparison to what they've got him charged with out in california. why louisiana wants to keep him there is a mystery. we're ready to get to california and in essence get it on. >> joining me now is paul henderson, a veteran prosecutor. paul, with a welcome to you, durst's attorney is talking about the gun charge. is this as insignificant as he's making it out to be? >> it's actually not that insignificant because the gun was also found with $43,000 in cash which might not seem like a
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big deal to a billionaire. but in the context of being with a gun and with the marijuana, also with latex gloves and a mask that can be significant, it can be an indicator of guilt which could be an indicator of flight -- i'm sorry, indicator of flight which could be an indicator of guilt. that's why it's all relevant. i'm sure prosecutors in louisiana aren't willing to just let that information go in light of these new charges. but they might. we'll have to wait and see. >> during that same interview, his attorney said that it was no coincidence at all that he was served with a warrant right after that final episode of his hbo show. let's take a listen to this. >> if we try this case and when we try this case we're going to try it on facts and not on a tv program. >> so he's referencing those hot mike comments. will those be accessible when his murder case goes to trial -- will they be admissible?
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>> it seems clear on what he's going to be arguing is that they were an invasion of privacy and that his client had a reasonable expectation of privacy because he had withdrawn from the taping as we saw from the tape and had gone into the bathroom. but i would expect prosecutors would present an argument that showed that he had signed a waiver that indicated both specifically and purposefully that he was engaging in this taping process that had been going on for several months. so it should not have been a surprise. what i think may be interesting is if we have an argument being presented that these were excited utterances that were admissible because he was reacting to evidence that had been shown to him as part of the investigation associated with the filmmakers. and i dish with the filmmakers specifically because they were not acting as agents of the police or investigators. they were doing their own investigation for purpose of this film.
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so they're not going to be held to the same standard that law enforcement might be held to if they were eliciting these statements. >> his attorney was asked about those cold cases that several police departments are looking into. here's that. >> this disappearance in eureka california, the police chief just came out and said there's no evidence he had anything to do with that. and someone got murdered in san francisco at the same time that bob durst was there. hell, there were 2 million people in san francisco when that happened. there's no evidence. there's no linkage. i mean maybe the next thing we'll hear is he's responsible for the disappearance of jimmy hoffa hoffa. >> do you think durst has become an easy target? >> it's not that he's become an easy target. there's been controversy surrounding durst and his behavior and his actions for years. but when we see the culmination of those statements and we see the culmination of that evidence
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all coming to a head with the comments that he made saying that he killed them all, it kind of puts a big bow on it and it makes it not an attractive nuisance but it puts a tie-in of the investigations that have all been ongoing for all of these years. it's more than a mere coincidence. these aren't people that just randomly died. these are people that have been missing, that have died, that have been tied to him, that have been associated with him, that have been around his inner circle. and this is not an individual who has not faced murder charges in the past. and so it's going to be really interesting to see what gets presented at the preliminary hearing which is going to be a probable cause determination and to see whether or not he gets held over for felony charges. and then what's going to happen with the charges here in california associated with the homicide -- just because you raised that issue, i want to point out that these were ongoing investigations so there
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had not been a previous arrest. there had not been previous charges in those two other murders. so there is no double jeopardy and there's no restriction that just because the investigation had taken this long or because one police officer or a police chief in some jurisdiction said that he was not the person that is guilty that is not a restriction from charges being brought or for him facing homicide charges in these subsequent cases. >> paul henderson, thank you very much for your insights. appreciate them. >> sure. thanks for having me. ahead, new questions surrounding illinois congressman aaron schock's use of government funds as the fbi opens an investigation into the disgraced lawmaker. i was determined to create new york city's first self-serve frozen yogurt franchise. and now you have 42 locations. the more i put into my business the more i get out of it. like 5x your rewards when you make select business purchases with your ink plus card from chase. and with ink, i choose how to redeem my points for things like cash or travel. how's the fro-yo?
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postel has all the details. >> the big stories this weekend, overall relatively quiet but some rain in the south and more cold air coming into the northeast. let's have a look at the big picture today with the temperatures not too bad at least yet in the northeast. 50 in new york city. it's going to be coming down a little bit by tomorrow. but there's the rain in the south across texas and parts of louisiana and mississippi, temperatures there in the low 60s. that rain tomorrow moves to the southeast, gets to atlanta. 59 for a high there. but look, new york, high on sunday of 38. and check this out, a little bit of a snow shower activity. little clipper system moving toward perhaps southern wisconsin, northern illinois tomorrow night. maybe early sunday morning. not a whole lot of winter weather there, just a little bit. i think the big story winterwise is the cooling trend this weekend in the northeast. look at some of these numbers, perhaps up to 20 degrees below average for this time of year. yes, it is early spring. but i'll tell you what, certainly doesn't feel like it.
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>> thank you. in today's number ones celebrity fashion pointers and a shoe that's a runaway hit. but first, money matters and the places where people feel good about spending. where is consumer confidence highest among the nation's biggest cities? we go to silicon valley, san jose tops the index. nearby san francisco is second highest followed by the nation's capital. on the other hand, birmingham alabama, ranks last in consumer confidence. memphis, tennessee, is second worst with oklahoma city rounding out the bottom three. going home again has paid off big-time for lebron james. sales of his nike shoes have soared far and away among all others. and finally, eva mendezs shares fashion advice with "extra". >> never? >> can't do sweatpants. no. number one cause of divorce in
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america, sweatpants. no. and jerry seinfeld might agree. >> again with the sweatpants? >> they're comfortable. >> you know the message you're sending out to the world with these sweatpants? you're saying, i give up. i can't compete in normal society. i'm miserable so i might as well be comfortable. >> that's great. those are your number ones. i have the worst cold with this runny
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welcome back to "weekends with alex witt." time now for headlines at the half at 33 past the hour. a 49-year-old alabama woman has been convicted of capital murder in the death of her 9-year-old granddaughter. joyce harden garrard faces the death penalty after police claimed she forced her granddaughter to run and carry wood for hours as punishment for a lie about candy. the girl suffered a seizure and died three days later in a hospital. former rap mogul suge knight is recovering after collapsing
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in court and hitting his head on a table. he was unconscious for at least ten minutes. it happened after a judge set a $25 million bail in his murder case. bobbi kristina brown is in a rehabilitation center today. the daughter of whitney houston and bobby brown was moved from an atlanta hospital on friday where she had been held since being discovered unresponsive in a bathtub nearly two years ago. aaron schock announced on tuesday he would resign and give up his seat at the end of this month. the announcement came after a number of reports alleging misuse of government funds. nbc's kristen welker joins us once again from the white house. kristen, what are investigators looking for? >> reporter: well alex law enforcement officials tell nbc news federal agents are looking into congressman schock's campaign money. it's a stunning fall of grace. he's a young republican who
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rocked the political world, even party leaders by announcing his resignation this past week. >> i was a bit stunned by the announcement. >> reporter: 33-year-old aaron schock stepping down citing a heavy heart after questions surfaced about his lavish spending and air travel plastered all over his instagram. now the feds are stepping in. >> this is well beyond anything that could happen on capitol hill. >> and tonight -- >> reporter: the fourth-term congressman is known for his media savvy. his famous abs and even making a cameo appearance on "top chef" where he talked about the importance of ethics. >> when you become a new member of congress, the first day is spent on ethics. >> reporter: but his bright career started to unravel when questions emerged about his office makeover styled after "downton abbey" and his use of taxpayer dollars and penchant for flying for private jets. he repaid the federal government
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for $40,000 for some of those expenses. >> when you rent a plane, people can say, that seems out of touch. i get it. >> reporter: but this past monday reports emerged that schock may have double billed the government for his car mileage. now the fall from grace from one of the youngest members of congress could impact the very voters he'd hoped to inspire. >> young voters are going to look at this and see a young member of congressman who misspent money and might become further disengaged with the political process and with voting. >> reporter: no comment yet from schock on these latest allegations. but earlier this week his spokesman said he would repay the money while he was in congress. the fbi is expected to be a part of the investigation as well as federal officials. >> thank you so much kristen welker from the white house. chilling new details emerging about the deaths of a pregnant celebrity chef and her husband and officials are looking into whether a suspect charged with their murders might lead them to a 15-year-old cold case.
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nbc's gabe gutierrez has the story. >> reporter: a southern beauty with california flair. christy cod was a former contestant on "food network star". >> my view is fresh, organic, delicious, healthy cuisine. >> reporter: she was about to cater the filming of "the big short" in new orleans, cooking for stars like brad pitt ryan gosling and steve carell. >> i'll make you an awesome jambalaya. but it's going to be healthy. >> reporter: full of life she'd just gotten married, gotten pregnant and moved to rural north carolina. but then on sunday her distraught family reported her and her husband j.t. missing. >> her free spirit is to love everyone she met. i don't understand why someone would do that. >> reporter: police soon arrested robert jason owens, a handyman who had worked on the couple's house and charged him with two counts of first-degree murder and the killing of an unborn child.
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a search warrant alleges he hit and killed j.t. while driving j.t.'s truck. human remains have been found inside owens' wood stove. >> he did admit to taking the bodies storing them on his property and destroying. >> reporter: authorities say owens' arrest could jump-start a 15-year-old cold case nearby. teenager zeb quinn disappeared after leaving work. asheville police say owens knew him and is a person of interest but he's never been charged in that case. >> the fact that he's been arrested on three counts of murder that is a huge event in the zeb quinn case. >> reporter: this morning, investigators are trying to piece together a motive in the cods' murder. >> it's very gruesome the story. >> reporter: now a family is grieving the loss of a star chef. her mother saying she's looking for closure that does not exist. gabe gutierrez, nbc news.
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house republicans are stepping up their demands for full transparency after the revelation hillary clinton used private e-mail for official business during her time as secretary of state. late this week representative trey gowdy sent a letter to clinton's lawyer asking for clinton to hand over her private e-mail server to the state department's inspector general. clinton has already turned over thousands of pages of documents to the state department except for personal e-mails she says
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focuses on things like yoga and planning her daughter's wedding. joining me now, jimmy williams and republican strategist mercedes schlapp. with a welcome to both of you, jimmy, i'll start with you. tell me why clinton should never have to turn over that server to a third party. >> because it has her personal e-mails on it and she owns it. that's why. she and the former president own it. if that's the case so should jeb bush so should chris christie with the exxon settlement he just classified the people of new jersey would like to know that information. if this is about transparency, we are not holding everyone on the republican side running for president to the same standard as hillary clinton. and that is a problem. it is not the american public's server. it is their server with their personal e-mails on it. and if the americans would like their e-mails released then that would certainly be good for the goose and the gander but
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that's not what's happening here. >> mercedes, on the flip side tell me why clinton must turn over that server. >> i think she should mostly because we're seeing with the issue of benghazi for example, that they want to make sure they have all the relevant information that they need. the interesting thing about what congressman gowdy has said is that they should release it to a state department inspector general or to a third-party arbitrator to make that decision as to being able to sort through the server. when you look at the state department itself, the policies were very clear. this is why like the national archives and records administration basically has shown concern and has asked the state department to answer the questions as to why hillary clinton had a personal server and did not use a government e-mail. >> okay. jimmy, moving on here there's been a lot of fierce reaction to president obama saying this -- >> in australia and some other countries, there's mandatory voting.
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it would be transformative if everybody voted. that would counteract money more than anything. if everybody voted, then it would completely change the political map in this country. >> by the way, for australia, they do have mandatory voting rights but they also don't have embedded in the constitution free speech. that said jimmy, what's behind those remarks? what do you think motivated them? >> i think the president is talking about the influence of money in politics especially after the united states supreme court is for all intents and purposes struck down any campaign finance limitations and told us that corporations are people that cannot get cancer, by the way. so i think that's what he's reacting to. i like what he had to say. i think he's right. by the way, this would do something remarkable. it would make the congress and the united states senate actually have to compete for voters. and people running for president, too, because what we know is, looking at the last
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election, a lot of people do not vote because they feel like their voice is not heard. well, their voice is not heard because they don't show up to vote. look the idea that you -- many countries you cannot vote. there are plenty of countries where women cannot vote. if we can send you off to war, we can certainly mandate that people go and vote. i think that will go a long way into diminishing the amount of money in politics. >> you talk about the numbers of people who vote or who don't. in 2014 the midterms only 36% of the people voted, 2012 presidential election 54% of americans cast their votes. mercedes tell me why shouldn't everyone be made to vote? >> well voting is a choice. it's our civic right. for some somebody, not voting is a protest. it's their way of saying i don't want to vote. and i found interesting research that there's, for example, a
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jehovah witnesses decide they don't want to get involved in political events so they don't vote. granted, i think voting is incredibly important. i think more needs to be done to ensure that people are able to vote and have access to -- obviously to get out there and get that message out. it's incredibly important. but mandatory voting would be very difficult to implement here. what are you going to do? fine them. that's what they do in australia. so i think again for people choosing not to vote it's a libertarian position. but that's their freedom of choice to do that. >> and if they don't, they shouldn't be able to complain. >> i agree with you. >> i agree with you, too. totally agree. it's a privilege to be able to vote. >> that's right. >> absolutely. that's right. >> my goodness. >> that is right. >> another comment making headlines and getting pretty intense reaction from democratic senator dick durbin talking about the stalled confirmation vote for loretta lynch for
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attorney general. let's take a listen to that. >> loretta lynch is asked to sit in the back of the bus when it comes to the senate calendar. that is unfair. it's unjust. it is beneath the decorum and dignity of the united states senate. >> jimmy, isn't this strictly about politics and not race? should senator durbin have gone there? >> first and foremost i worked for senator durbin for five years. secondly, yes, he should have gone there because in fact -- the idea that we don't talk about the fact that loretta limplg is lynch is an african-american doesn't make her not an african-american. she's still an african-american. and the united states senate under the majority has not put her nomination on the floor. why not? because of a different bill. guess what? you can in fact in the united states senate ask unanimous consent, get all 100 senators to set aside the current bill vote on her, make it a ten-minute
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vote and go immediately back to the human trafficking bill with the abortion language in it. that's all it takes is unanimous consent. guess who's objecting to doing that? republicans. not a single democrat has objected to doing that. but republicans are. so who's in charge? republicans. who's supposed to make the vote happen? republicans. who's not allowing the vote to happen? republicans. she is still african-american, she is still qualified and they are not allowing a vote. it is wrong. it's immoral and it is not how the senate should work. and dick durbin is damn right in what he said. >> mercedes? >> i think dick durbin took it way too far. senator durbin voted against the first african-american woman secretary of state, condoleezza rice. so to use a race card on that was completely wrong -- >> but he voted. >> he voted against her, though. >> but he voted. the point is he voted. they scheduled a vote on her. >> here's the deal. you know how it works in the senate.
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first, i think that -- i do think that administrations should be allowed -- the senate should go ahead and vote on these incredibly important positions. >> where's the vote? >> i'm agreeing with you on that. but dick durbin went too far on his comments i believe. >> why? because she's black? >> the third part is -- because of the fact that it's hypocritical. he goes and votes against condoleezza rice but then he throws the race card over with loretta lynch. >> wait a minute. >> i do believe they should allow for the vote to happen. we are agreeing on this, jimmy. they should allow the vote to go through. >> then you can't say he's being a hypocrite. >> the negotiations need to go on and the democrats refuse time and again to negotiate with republicans on certain bills. >> set the bill aside, mercedes. all they have to do is set the bill aside. democrats, there are 45 democrats in the senate -- >> get the bill done and let's get loretta lynch. >> set the bill aside.
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the republicans aren't allowing it to happen. it's complete and total crap. >> we want to get stuff done. >> how about get this nomination done and give her the same treatment that condoleezza rice got? why can't loretta lynch have the same treatment that condoleezza rice got? a vote. >> my goodness. >> can you guys call each other? >> we will. >> we love each other. thank you both. >> thank you. we have this breaking news to report. u.s. special forces have been ordered to evacuate one country because of increased danger there. new ofgs is coming your way at the top of the hour. i was determined to create new york city's first self-serve frozen yogurt franchise. and now you have 42 locations. the more i put into my business the more i get out of it. like 5x your rewards when you make select business purchases with your ink plus card from chase. and with ink, i choose how to redeem my points for things like cash or travel. how's the fro-yo? just peachy...literally. ink from chase.
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secretary of state john kerry today said he expects nuclear talks among the u.s. iran and five other nations will have positive results. >> over the past months the p5 plus 1 have made substantial progress towards that fundamental goal. though important gaps remain.
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we are united in our goal, our approach, our resolve and our determination to ensure that iran's program is entirely peaceful. >> those talks recessed yesterday. they will resume next week in switzerland. march 31st is the deadline for a framework agreement, a final agreement must be in hand by the end of june. the president of plow shares fund a global security foundation is with us. he's also the author of "nuclear nightmares." the primary concern here for the u.s. is iran's ability to enrich uranium. the "associated press" is reporting that the sides are narrowing now on a cap of 6,000 centrifuges centrifuges, a significant cut from the 10,000 tehran reportedly now runs. but that still sounds like a lot. will that stop or delay iran's ability to produce a nuclear weapon? >> the 6,000 centrifuges represents about 60% of the
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10,000 operating. but there's another 10,000 that the iranians have also installed ready to go. so we're actually looking at a deal that would require iran to rip out about 75% of the centrifuges they have built. this would substantially slash iran's nuclear potential. and it's coupled with other agreements that would remove most of the nuclear -- the uranium gas from the country and all together these restrictions would make it at least a year before iran could build enough material for one bomb should they ever break the deal. >> that's if the deal goes forward as we've outlined here. how close could iran be to developing a nuclear weapon if there's no deal? >> right now, they're about two months away from building a bomb if they started right now. there deal would stretch that out to at least 12 months and it would put in place intrusive inspection regime. we want eyes everywhere. we want to be able to see if iran's cheating and set up a carrot and stick approach to this.
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if they comply with the agreement, they are rewarded. sanctions get lifted piece by piece. if they should cheat, then the sanctions get snapped back on and we get to consider other options. >> in the past there's been talk of israel's bombing nuclear installments in iran. is that a viable option or are they buried too deep protected by layers of concrete and steel? >> iran has an extensive nuclear complex and if you don't have a deal that shrinks it it's going to grow. it's heavily defended. it's fortified in many areas. so this is not a quick strike by anyone. the u.s. has to -- if we were to strike iran it would take at least ten days with thousands of sorties. this would be a major war that would make the iraq and afghanistan wars look like warm-up acts. this would be a catastrophe for everyone, especially us. so a negotiated deal is really your only viable option. >> you say two months joe? iran's only two months away from
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having a nuclear weapon? >> some people give it a little longer, three months. but that's the official u.s. estimate. it's how long it would take them to build the core of a bomb. so if they started enriching right now, in two to three months, they could have enough for the core of one bomb. it would take them other months to actually assemble that into a weapon perhaps as much as a year. but when they have the core that's worrisome because they could move it around. you'd be hard-pressed to find it. >> what's kept iran from getting to that point of having the core? >> the estimate is that iran's not decided to build a bomb. they could if they wanted to. they haven't decided to do it. it appears they're acquiring the technologies to give them the capabilities. and this is always the key with a country. no country in history has ever been coerced into giving up a nuclear weapon or a nuclear program. but many countries have been convinced to do so. so you want to set up a framework agreement and a system where the iranian leaders
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themselves decide it's in iran's security interest not to acquire a bomb to go down a non-nuclear road and to reengage with the west. this reengagement with the west also opens iran up to greater western influence and this could have a beneficial impact on its other behaviors that we continue to disagree with. >> joe, sobering, thank you very much. appreciate the conversation. >> thank you alex. ahead, how swedish furniture retailer ikea is taking over the world. the ultra-personalized research tactics the store employs including home studies. that's next.
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sfx: common city background noise ♪ credit belongs to the man who strives valiantly who errs who spends himself in a worthy cause and who, if he fails at least fails, while daring greatly sfx: background city noise ♪ just past 1:00 in the east. 10:00 a.m. out west. you're watching "weekends with alex witt." we begin with breaking news from overseas in the wake of the devastating suicide bombings yesterday. the u.s. military ordered the evacuation of so 0 special operations forces from yemen. joining me now on the phone, jim miklaszewski miklaszewski. what are you hearing?
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>> reporter: alex according to officials, the situation for those u.s. special operations forces has just become too hot, too much of a risk. the threat is too high according to sources, so why take that risk? let's pull them out now. that includes 100 special operations forces u.s. commandos including green berets and navy s.e.a.l.s. the green berets have been training yemeni military forces in counterterrorism operations. but the americans themselves have not been involved in direct ground combat operations against the militants there. there were only the two situations where u.s. navy s.e.a.l.s made two separate attempts in november and december of last year to rescue american journalist luke somers. but lo and behold in the second attempt, somers was killed by al
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qaeda captives. not clear when this is going to go down. but the u.s. military said it's time to get out and do it now. >> mick, does this as all come as a surprise to you given how heated things have been there in yemen? >> reporter: those special ops guys have been relatively safe working with the yemeni military in remote parts of the country in training primarily. and then the navy s.e.a.l.s were involved in some intelligence-gathering. so u.s. military drone strikes could be launched against some of those militants. just a week ago a drone strike killed a top al shabaab leader who was the mastermind of the mall attack in yemen. according to the sources we're
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talking to they say right now the level of participation by the u.s. special operations forces with the yemenis has been somewhat downgraded because of all the turmoil there in the country now. and since they're not doing that much anyway, let's not take the risk. let's get them out now. there's always a possibility of going back in later. but given the level of violence right now and the sunni versus shia which we're seeing throughout that part of the world right now, nobody has any indication that they'll be able to go back in there anytime soon. >> absolutely. jim miklaszewski at the pentagon, thank you for that. new today, secretary of state john kerry saying there's been substantial progress in ongoing nuclear talks with iran. but they remain important gaps. the secretary speaking today in switzerland saying the six nations involved in the talks are determined to reach a solution by the march 31st deadline. >> we are united in our goal,
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our approach, our resolve and our determination to ensure that iran's program is entirely peaceful. >> those formal talks among iran the european nations and china recessed yesterday and will resume late next week. nbc's kristen welker joins us once again from the white house. kristen kristen, any more clarification as to why those talks recessed with a four-day break, so close to the march 31st deadline? >> reporter: well, officially we know that it is the iranian new year. we also know that the president of iran president rouhani's mother, passed away. his brother is one of the negotiators and apparently all the negotiators are planning to attend that funeral. but secretary kerry underscoring the reality that there are still some deep divisions here despite the fact that some progress has been made. based on reports from the ground those divisions include sanctions. iranian officials want sanctions to be lifted immediately once a deal is in place with the united states and its european counterparts.
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they're saying sanctions could be scaled back over time. once it is clear that iran is actually following through with whatever deal is in place. the other big sticking point over the number of centrifuges that iran should be allowed to have to enrich uranium. right now, the number they seem to be focusing on is 6,000. critics of this deal say it should be much lower than that. iranian officials are arguing for it to be even higher. so those are among the key sticking points. and of course there is a lot of drama behind the scenes. there's a lot of tension between the united states and israel right now, particularly after prime minister benjamin netanyahu who was just reelected just days after coming to the united states. some saying relations between the united states and israel have never been at a lower point. and a lot of debate here back at home. members of congress say they want to be able to weigh in on any deal. president obama urging them to stand back saying that if they
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intervene, they could ultimately derail the talks. but you have members of congress saying, look we should have a say in any deal that comes to place. of course the deadline is approaching in just days as you pointed out. and the deadline really calls for reaching a framework for a broader agreement. the ultimate deadline is in june. and secretary kerry and president obama have been very clear that even though there have been some extensions over the past two years, this is really the ultimate deadline. they're not looking to extend it any further. so a lot of pressure riding on these next several days once talks resume next week. >> kristen welker at the white house, many thanks for that. this morning, i spoke with democratic congressman john yarmouth about his outlook for the deal. >> i and a group of other members were briefed by the white house just on thursday. and this is a great opportunity for the world to basically put a hold and actually degrade the capability of the iranians to do any nuclear weapon by at least
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ten years. what's important to recognize is there are very few options to this kind of arrangement. we have an unprecedented situation in which the obama administration has been able to get the cooperation of the russians and the chinese, the security council, even countries like japan and south korea are helping with putting the economic crunch on iran that has brought them to the table. so i think this is a really rare opportunity for us to make huge progress in limiting the ability of the iranians to develop a nuclear weapon. >> the final deadline for a preliminary agreement is a week from tuesday. now to the investigation into an attack at the new orleans international airport. louisiana police say a man who was shot by authorities during an attack on friday is being treated for his wounds at a local hospital today. authorities say 63-year-old richard white approached a security checkpoint last night, sprayed a tsa officer with a can of wasp spray and began swinging a machete.
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he ran through the metal detector and chased a female tsa agent before a sheriff's deputy fired three times, striking him in the face, chest and thigh. a tsa officer was struck in the arm by a bullet fired by law enforcement. but that injury is not life-threatening. developing news out of brooklyn, new york fire officials believe a hot plate is to blame for an early morning house fire which claimed the lives of seven children ages 5 to 15. another sibling and the children's mother escaped the fire but are in critical condition right now. the fire commissioner choked back tears as he described the magnitude of that fire. >> this is the largest tragedy by fire that this city has had in seven years. it's a tragedy for this family. it's a tragedy for this community. it's a tragedy for our city. >> joining me now from the scene in brooklyn is nbc's ron mott. what's the latest information you're hearing? >> reporter: good afternoon, alex. a heart-wrenching story here in brooklyn.
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seven children have died in an overnight house fire here. fire officials say they believe this fire started in the kitchen with a hot plate that was left on. you can see there is still some fire equipment here on the scene. the fire surnd control. two people did manage to get out of the fire. the mother along with a 15-year-old child. there were nine in all in the house. seven have perished. the response from the fir officials was swift, 3 1/2 minutes before the first units got here. but it was too late for those seven children, children ranging in ages from 5 to 15. fire officials told us they did not see any signs of smoke detectors on the first or second floors of this home. there was apparently some smoke detectors down in the basement. this fire started around midnight, a little after midnight the call came in around 12:23 early this morning. seven children dead. the father of the family apparently is out of town at a conference. and officials were trying to get word to him of this awful story. that's the latest here in brooklyn. >> thank you very much ron
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mott. a florida police department comes under fire for a racist video and takes action against the offending officers. that's next. ♪ i'm going my way... ♪ ♪i leave a story untold... ♪ he just keeps sending more pictures... if you're a free-range chicken you roam free. it's what you do. if you want to save fifteen percent or more on car insurance you switch to geico. it's what you do. ♪ two wheels a turnin'... ♪
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the national urban league has just published its 2015 state of black america report. the report details the state of social justice, economics and many other areas for the black americans and hispanic americans. mark mariel joins me now. >> good to be with you. >> what is the state of black america in 2015? in short on many fronts black america remains in crisis and we see justice challenged at every turn. put in perspective, how critical -- >> so let me give you a tidbit
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of some good news. we have the highest high school graduation rates in history. school dropouts are lowering. on the economic front, we've had this surge in job creation indeed 200,000 jobs per month for 12 months. it's an astounding rate. it's a greater rate of private sector job creation than we've had since 1977. on the other hand this is where the crisis comes from on the jobs front, 33 of the top 70 cities in america have black unemployment levels of over 15%. and there are seven where the unemployment levels exceed 20%. that's a crisis. that means that the recovery has not yet reached many, many americans. and on the justice front, the continued incidents that we see, the raw use of race in the case of the university of virginia, the beating of a young man and
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the deaths in 2014 of many at the hands of law enforcement and also the just absolute refusal by the congress to hold hearings on a voting rights act extension bill this means that justice is indeed in crisis, too. so jobs are in crisis. justice is in crisis. and finally, when it comes to education, we find wide disparities that continue to exist in achievements. so while there's some movement in the right direction, there is a tremendous gap out there that we've got to fix as a nation. >> i was going to say, i appreciated the silver lining to this report at the top. but i have to tell you, what stays with me is what you've said which there's a lot of work to do. can you tell me how this translates to the quality of life for black americans in this country? >> well while we have a numerical index that says that african-americans enjoy, if you will 72% that of whites and latinos, about 75% that of
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whites, it just means the struggles and the challenges many families are facing, many americans are facing -- and i would acknowledge americans across the board in many ways face these challenges. but for black americans, for brown americans, it's disproportionate in its depth. and what we try to do with the state of black america which is available at, is present facts that inform a debate, that inform a discussion, that informs public policy. the equality index is a broad set of data. we recommend it to everyone it at our website. so you can get an idea. this year we have information from an economic standpoint on the top 70 cities and information on all 50 states if people want to kind of look at the condition and the status of the achievement gap in those states. >> in terms of the index, it showed that fewer black americans were actually victims
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of violent crimes over the past year, despite the cases of michael brown and eric garner which of course sparked these protests across the country. but have these highly visible incidents taken attention away from some overall gains? >> i think that the highly visible incidents sort of i think, point to that even with slight gains, even with slight gains, we sometimes on these issues have a pendulum. it may swing in one direction and then swing back. and they're highly visible incidents and should point to the need for reform. we can build bridges. we can bring police and community together. everyone wants to live if you will, in a safe community. and i hope that the report is a call to action. the urban league offers its recommendations on how to address many of these issues. but we encourage every community, every city we encourage those across the board to look to the facts in this report as a way to inform the
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discussion. >> i want to get specific regarding police right now because in a newly reported incident four ft. lauderdale police officers were fired after racist videos and texts that were uncovered. listen to what ft. lauderdale's chief of police had to say yesterday. >> all four officers' conduct involved racist text messages exchanged among themselves and former police officer alex alvarez created a video that was racially biased. the four officers' conduct was inexcusable and there is zero tolerance for this type of behavior within the ft. lauderdale police department. >> in the wake of these incidents and then that scathing justice department report on ferguson, are we beginning to see more awareness, potential reform on the parts of some police departments around the country? >> well let me just lift up that police chief whose voice i
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just heard for taking swift action and contrast that to ferguson where many of the leaders, even though there have been some resignations and some terminations have not yet said the justice department has pointed out problems that we need to fix. this police chief in ft. lauderdale has taken swift action. and that's what we would ask for and that's what we would expect. but no doubt in an age of more transparency, in an age of videos recorded text messages and e-mails, maybe what we're seeing is more exposure more transparency around a problem that's been there for a very long time. but remained if you will hidden in people's files or wherever. and the transparency and the visibility around it. it shocks us, no doubt. but what it should be is evidence of the need for there
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to be real change and real reform. >> okay, amen to that. mark, thank you so much. good to talk with you. >> thank you. a major retailer from overseas expands in the u.s. see how far ikea is going to make you a customer. i was determined to create new york city's first self-serve frozen yogurt franchise. and now you have 42 locations. the more i put into my business the more i get out of it. like 5x your rewards when you make select business purchases with your ink plus card from chase. and with ink, i choose how to redeem my points for things like cash or travel. how's the fro-yo? just peachy...literally. ink from chase. so you can. nobody told us to expect it... intercourse that's painful due to menopausal changes it's not likely to go away on its own. so let's do something about it. premarin vaginal cream can help it provides estrogens to help rebuild vaginal tissue and make intercourse more comfortable. premarin vaginal cream treats vaginal changes due to menopause and moderate-to-severe painful
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wow! look at that! ew! the tobin stance! that is totally what it is! a new article is highlighting just how far one mega company will go to get your business. from home studies to surveys to hiring ant polgshropologists. and it's not walmart doing it. it's ikea. joining me is beth cohen. with a welcome to you, your article got our attention because of just how far ikea is going to get their customers. it's all about the research. this company does according to your article, home visits surveys to really get at people's living habits. talk to me about this study, though, on morning routines in mumbai versus shanghai. >> this was great. ikea did surveys of 8,000 people around the world in eight cities and they really tried to get
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into how people lived across the world. they found that in mumbai people were most likely to hit the snooze button. in shanghai they were the fastest out the door in the morning. but what ikea is really interested in is similarities how cultures intersect. what they found was that it didn't matter where, but women took longer in the morning to pick out their outfit than men and it actually created some stress for them, not surprisingly. so ikea took this information and fed it to their designers who came up with a free-standing mirror had a rack in the back, place to hang your accessories so you could put everything out the night before and it could cut down on morning panic. >> that makes a lot of sense. they did a study about couches. why did they do this and what did they find? >> it's interesting. when you ask people how they use their couch, they'll tell you that they sit on their couch to watch tv entertain guests on their couch. but in reality, that's not actually what we do. we send to lie on the couch. we laze about.
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so they put up cameras in four cities -- homes in four cities around the world and they found, for example, in shenzhen china, people were more likely to sit on the floor and use a couch as a back rest. and they said we're not designing couches to be used this way. maybe we should rethink how we're designing our sofas. >> the research, how is it paying off for ikea? >> it's interesting. ikea is a mass retailer. it's a volume game for them. they really can't tweak things from culture to culture that much or it does cut into their economies of scale. so this is a way for them to see how are people similar, how can we make the product for the most number of people and then make adjustments when we have to? and it's working. >> it is working. beth, thank you so much. interesting article. >> thanks. that bloody arrest of a university of virginia student has drawn outrage and anger on
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campuses and across the country. some thoughts on the issue come from jason johnson. he joins us next. introducing the citi® double cash card. it lets you earn cash back twice, once when you buy and again as you pay. it's cash back. then cash back again. and that's a cash back win-win . the citi double cash card. the only card that lets you earn cash back twice on every purchase with 1% when you buy and 1% as you pay. with two ways to earn, it makes a lot of other cards seem one-sided. ♪ ♪ ♪ "here i am. rock you like a hurricane." ♪ fiber one now makes cookies. find them in the cookie aisle. [ female announcer ] we help make secure financial tomorrows a reality for over 19 million people. [ mom ] with life insurance, we're not just insuring our lives... we're helping protect his. [ female announcer ] everyone has a moment when tomorrow becomes real. transamerica.
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aleve, proven better on pain. welcome back to "weekends with alex witt." we have breaking news out of maine. four skiers have been injured after a ski lift accident at sugar loaf. some of the people were ejected and others were forced to jump from the malfunctioning lift. joining me now is skier hank margoles who took these pictures. he joins me by the phone. hank, what a terrifying position to be in. what's happening right now? >> they've just i think, finished evacuating all the people from the lifts. there were maybe 200 people that were remaining on the lift after the accident. >> hank i'm a skier and i have plenty of times had a nightmare dream when you're riding up a chair lift that it would stop and you'd have to jump out. talk to me about getting off that lift what was your
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experience? >> well i think actually the lift going backwards was more terrifying than being evacuated, frankly. we went backwards for a couple hundred feet. >> was that out of control? >> yes. >> wow. >> normally when the lift stops it just stops, right? >> uh-huh. >> you sit there dangling. this lift went backwards about 200 feet or so. people who had just loaded went around the back at the bottom of the lift and ended up uphill. where we were we'd taken the first and second tower, we had a couple of skiers in smashed-up chairs chairs taken backwards up the lift -- >> that's incredible. >> yeah. these few seconds, i'll tell you, were terrifying. people were screaming because people were jumping off the lift. skis and snowboards were being
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removed from people's feet so they could prepare to jump if needed. >> can you tell me from your perspective, what do you think was the farthest distance that somebody had to jump? >> most people who jumped that way, probably vertical, maybe ten or less feet. they did it in an area right when you first load the lift. so we've been fortunate with soft snow here. i think people realized they didn't want to go back to the loading area and that they didn't want to go around the wheel. so most people who jumped jumped in that area where they were probably between five and ten feet off the ground. >> i don't know. that's pretty frightening. hank want to confirm everybody's off the lift right now? >> everyone's off, yes. >> we're glad that you are safe. thank you very much. we should let all of you know that sugarloaf is investigating. they don't know the cause of this incident right now. but i'm sure we'll get that news and update from sugarloaf
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resort. the controversy over the arrest of an african-american student at the university of virginia earlier this week is certainly growing. students walked out of a meeting friday with local law enforcement officers in protest of martese johnson's arrest. johnson's arrest caught on video has triggered outrage on that campus as well as across this country. let's bring in jason johnson, professor of political science at hiram college and also an alumni of the university of virginia. jason, with a welcome to you, you wrote this opinion piece here on which says my hands were literally shaking over my laptop as i wrote this article about martese johnson. you went on to say, we are all one cop, one vigilante, one maniac away from being racially victimized regardless of what investigations come afterwards. is that how you still feel as this story has evolved? >> very much so. and to be perfectly honest
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alex, it's probably one of the harder things i've ever written. it was very difficult not just to see the video but to hear him screaming consistently "i go to uva," which is his sort of last-ditch attempt to say, please there could be some consequences to subjecting me to this kind of violence. and it went on deaf ears. students walked by the officers continued to knee him in the back. it's a disturbing thing to have to walk around with a general sense that your safety can be denied denied at any point regardless of your own agency. >> students are protesting the officers' conduct. is there a new sense that since the michael brown and eric garner deaths that the community must speak out against what may be cases of unjust violence that are committed by police? >> yeah, i think that's always been the case. there have been other instances like this at uva and other campuses and the students always
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rally. but the issue is because of the sort of temporary nature of student life it's only four years, it has to be changed on an institutional level. you have to have faculty who are empowered to speak about these issues, you have to have administrators who care about these issues. you have to have board of trustees who care about these issues and are willing to make these kinds of changes. students will come and go. but the attitude of the institution are determined by the men and women who run it. >> what do you think it's going to take to change institutional racism in america? >> this is a heavy question. but i'll try and make it really simple. it's like the abolitionist movement. black people had been getting themselves free from slavery all the time. racism at its core institutional racism is less a black people problem than it is a white american problem. it's time for white americans of good conscience who recognize
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this is a problem have to go into conflict with white americans who want to perpetuate the issue. to take these institutions down it's going to require significant self-reflection and a realization that we can't function like this as a country. with 40% of children under 15 being black and brown, we won't survive two generations if we continue to abuse and mishandle our next generation of americans. >> i have to just wonder you talk about your hands shaking as you're writing over the computer keyboard there, but you're an alum of that storied, wonderful, wonderful school. this has got to be brutal for you. >> it's really hard. i'll be honest. my mother called me. i've had people who i went to elementary school with. i've had people who i haven't spoken to since i graduated who have reached out to me and talked to me about this related their own stories, things that happened when i was in school that we hadn't even thought about. alumni weekend is next month and many of us are talking about
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having conversations with the administration. and my heart, to be perfectly honest, it goes out to martese because no matter what kind of work he's done he's forever going to be known as the kid who got beaten. something was taken from him regardless what the end of this investigation brings. >> jason johnson, thanks so much for weighing in. i appreciate it. let's go now to oklahoma where a so-called religious liberty bill would allow anyone whether they run their own business or work for a federal agency to turn away gay people if their religious beliefs require it. but now a democratic lawmaker who opposes that bill wants businesses and government offices to outright tell the public if they don't welcome gay people so she tacked on that amendment to the bill. joining me now is representative emily virgin the lawmaker behind this clever move. just last year outgoing arizona governor jan brewer vetoed a similar bill. that one didn't go so far as to include government workers. talk to me about the motivation
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behind your amendment and what you hope to achieve by it? >> there were a few motivations on it. number one, we wanted to just point out the ridiculousness of this proposal and allowing discrimination in the year 2015 and how ridiculous that was. we also wanted to bring some more attention to this bill because it looked like of all the anti-lgbt pieces of legislation that were going through the oklahoma house at the time, that this one was the most likely to pass. and finally, it was sort of a tun tongue-in-cheek poison pill if you will that if these businesses wanted to discriminate under the original legislation, they could do that without letting anyone know. so we wanted to say, if you want to discriminate, if you choose to do that let us know so those of us supportive of the lgbt community don't frequent that
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business and those same-sex couples definitely don't want to go in those businesses. >> we spoke with a restaurant owner who posted a sign that says, all are welcome. take a listen to her reaction to this bill. >> if people are going to discriminate against people they should advertise it. >> the bill hasn't been heard on the house floor. what kind of feedback are you getting from your colleagues and fellow oklahomans about this bill and the amendment you've posted? >> well i think a lot of my colleagues in the oklahoma legislature are, frankly, relieved that this measure didn't make it to the house floor yet. because they honestly don't want to vote on things like this. they may have to talk about this issue but they probably don't actually believe that businesses should have the right to discriminate against these couples. from oklahomans i've gotten really good feedback.
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they're glad that something like this is in the news other than what we're used to some other proposals that a lot of oklahomans see as embarrassing. >> oklahoma democrat state representative emily virgin thank you very much for joining us. >> thank you. >> and explaining what's going on there. we appreciate it. in just days the amanda knox case could take another dramatic turn. but what are the chances she'll be retried in italy?
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it's a marvelous thing! oh! haha! so you can replace plane tickets, traveler's cheques, a lost card. really? that worked? american express' timeless safety and security are now available on apple pay. the next evolution of membership is here. new video in to msnbc just a short time ago. president obama today partaking in a little march madness. the president attended the princeton versus green bay women's basketball game in the first round of the ncaa tournament. the president's niece, lesley robinson, plays for princeton. the final score, princeton, 80 green bay, 70. amanda knox was convicted by an italian court. next week italy's highest court
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will meet to decision what steps should be taken next. knox and her former italian boyfriend were convicted of murder in 2009 then acquitted on appeal in 2011. but in 2013, italy's high court threw out that acquittal and he was convicted for his role in a murder in a 2008 trial. let's bring in ann bremner. with a welcome to you, ann, double jeopardy is prohibited here in the u.s. but in italy, someone can be tried twice for the same crime. what exactly does italily high court plan to do in deciding on wednesday? >> thanks for having me, alex. we call this triple jeopardy because we've had three trials in italy in the amanda knox case. what we'll hear on wednesday is the court's looking at what's called basically a conditional conviction. there's only a conviction in italy if the highest court in italy sustains the conviction on wednesday. so that's really important
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because then the next thing could be an extradition proceeding or request for extradition from the italian authorities to the u.s. >> request is one thing. delivery is another. what's the status of that with the exchange and the likelihood she would have to be returned to italy? >> it may be a diplomatic kind of a function and the question is, will the state department go ahead with the extradition proceeding request? will it be worked out between the countries. there's a treaty between italy and the u.s. but when you deal with extradition, it's based on comity between nations. it's a big thing because this is a huge international case and a huge problem for italy with respect to perception from our country where you can't be tried twice for the same offense. she was tried three times. >> how is amanda knox doing right now? what is she saying about all this? >> she's a very down-to-earth, calm kind of a person. she's trying to stay low key. she's working for a west seattle
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newspaper as a writer. she graduated with a creative writing degree. she's engaged. she's moving on with her life step by step. but those who don't know who she is, the university of washington said, how come you're a junior or senior at 26? she said, i was a prisoner in italy. it's amazing what she's been through. but she's had great support in seattle. when she landed her after her acquittal, there were crowds everywhere welcoming her back home. i think that's really important to her that she's got that support. all over the u.s., around the world, in seattle especially. >> does she ever talk about fear of being extradited to italy? certainly that's got to loom over her. >> well she does. and she's given more and more interviews of late, especially in seattle. it's a huge fear because she already spent all this time in prison. she could spend another 28 years, that was her sentence. the prosecutor wants life. he's appealed before asking for life in prison. so it's a huge fear. but it's got to go through an extradition proceeding.
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if it goes that far in seattle. and there's a lot of defenses under the treaty for her. this has been a very long complicated italian situation in the case of amanda knox. >> you mentioned she's engaged. does she have wedding plans firmed up or just the engagement part of it? >> just the engagement part of it. it's somebody she knew back here in seattle and someone who was writing to her when she was in jail, in prison in italy. she's got a great supportive family supportive community. and now she has an engagement and something to look forward to. things are uncertain right now. but we'll know more on wednesday. >> and finally, does she speak italian regularly? she certainly got fluent. >> yeah. you remember in the beginning when she talked to the authorities in italy, she only knew rudimentary italian. she testified in italian for over a day. >> i know. it was extraordinary. >> extraordinary.
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>> we all watches her do that. ann bremner, thank you so much. >> my pleasure. the guy from "glee," frazier crane and harvey weinstein have something in common. i go behind the scenes for answers. ew york city's first self-serve frozen yogurt franchise. and now you have 42 locations. the more i put into my business the more i get out of it. like 5x your rewards when you make select business purchases with your ink plus card from chase. and with ink, i choose how to redeem my points for things like cash or travel. how's the fro-yo? just peachy...literally. ink from chase. so you can. it's a significant improvement over the infiniti we had... i've had a lot of hondas... we went around the country talking to people who made the switch to ford. the brand more people buy. and buy again. all-wheel drive is amazing... i felt so secure. i really enjoy the pep in its step... that's the ecoboost... the new image of ford now looks really refined. i drove the fusion... and i never went back. escape was just right. just announced, make the switch to ford and get $750 competitive owner cash on top
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if medical marijuana's good for humans what about for animals? nevada may become the first state in the nation to legalize medical marijuana for pets. a bill to make that happen was introduced in the state legislature this week. there are a couple of perks to this job, one of them is getting invitations to cool events around new york. i got a chance to go behind the scenes with "finding neverland," of the hit 2004 movie starring johnny depp and kate winslet which tells a story to write a classic novel, "peter pan," take a look. ♪ producer harvey weinstein knows
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what inspired him to bring this show to broadway. >> i'm a father of four daughters. i have five with my two-year-old son, my father daughters think this is the best movie ever and it's the only one they ever agree on. they think dad's a nerd they think dad's annoying, they think dad's the uber in the house. that's what they think. after i huge responsibility. so i'm doing it for them. we're going to be a really good show, enchanting and miraculous show for people to walk out of here and be inspired and feel great when they leave the theater. >> diane says inspiration for this show began at home. >> with finding neverland, the beauty is i look at my two daughters who are eight and ten, and i'll just watch them play in the living room with a pillow and a sheet and chairs and i get ideas for the play. so this is a really good one where i feel every part of my life and even putting my kids to bed at night, i think every parent can relate to the joys, and also the kids who michael says i won't go to bed, i've
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been there. to be able as a mother to come into rehearsal and share stories about parenting and my kids and to have every person in the cast kind of remember their inner child. that's why i love being in the theater. >> female lead actress laura michelle kelly believes finding neverland has broad based aid peel. >> i know that people will try and recreate it at some point down the road when it gets less exciting. everyone's going to want to do this show. colleges at home, everyone will be singing the songs, it's an incredible show. >> what's cool it's for everyone. children and grandparents can't you? >> yeah. >> kids are going to love it. everybody across the board, might be crying at some point, but in this story, it's sending people into a really magical enchanted place, but for three hours we get to explore what this magical place and and the
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relationship between jane berry and sylvia my character, and the boys is just beautiful. >> matthew morrisson is a familiar face to stage and screen ending a six-season run on television's "glee." who are you most like? j.m. berry or captain hook? >> i'm not too much like berry. it was exciting to jump into that skin and play him. i would think i would be more like captain hook. >> bad guy? >> yeah. but he wasn't a bad guy. i think he was so scary to people because because of his intellect. that's what scared people about him. he was just so smart, which now i'm taking that back -- >> smart guy? >> that's not me at all. >> another famous face from television fraser's kelce grammer living large as captain hook. the actor is thrilled about his return to broadway. >> well all the actors i know
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put theater at number one. it's probably because the relationship with your audience is immediate, and powerful pal. able, you can reach out and touch it. and these are things that touchstones i guess for a live performance. without the audience it's nothing. all of the forms require an audience for them to be art. otherwise you're just sitting in your room. but i think that's why. it's immediate. and it's so rewarding. in the situation like this it can be equally depressing if it's like not going so well. because that -- >> i don't think you have to worry about that. >> it's a great piece, isn't it? >> it's really fun. >> finding neverland is in previews now on broadway opening night is april 15. and that wraps up "weekends with alex witt." have yourselves a great saturday. nobody told us to expect it... intercourse that's painful due to menopausal changes it's not likely to go away on its
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a cruise liner is sinking. >> my job is to rock and roll not to rescue. >> almost 600 lives hang in the balance, and the captain is nowhere to be found. >> i was saying mayday, mayday, we're sinking. and he was saying, what rank are you? i said i'm not actually a rank. i'm a guitarist. five kids plunge into frigid waters. >> if you don't do your job the best that you were trained with no hesitation, a child will die. >> a baby falls into a well. >> heartbreaking. you just wanted to reach down and pull them out of the ground. excuse me. lives on the line. >> police. >> these are the passengers of the airplane that is caught in the power line. >> cameras recording all the drama. >> all i remember is screaming for oxygen and an ambulance and