tv PBS News Hour PBS July 20, 2012 6:00pm-7:00pm PDT
as tens of thousands of refugees flee the escalating violence. >> suarez: judy woodruff checks in from florida. she reports on the president's push in that battleground state, and the pause in both candidates' campaigns after the colorado shootings. >> brown: and david brooks and e.j. dionne analyze the week's news. >> suarez: a follow-up to our recent story about smart meters used to monitor energy use. spencer michels reports on california activists who want to ban them. >> pacific gas & electric one of the nation's largest utilities has had to fight a coalition of people who suspect, among other things, that smart meters may be bad for your health. >> brown: that's all ahead on tonight's newshour. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪
♪ moving our economy for 160 years. bnsf, the engine that connects us. >> and by the bill and melinda gates foundation. dedicated to the idea that all people deserve the chance to live a healthy, productive life. >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions and foundations. and... >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> brown: once again today, americans absorbed the news of a mass shooting-- a dozen dead, at least 59 hurt or wounded.
it happened in the city of aurora, just east of denver, where a movie theater erupted in late-night chaos. newshour correspondent tom bearden begins our coverage. >> reporter: the attack at the century 16 theater set off terror and confusion. one man bore a long blood stain across his back. >> did he get shot? look, there's blood over there. >> reporter: the deadly events began minutes earlier, during the showing of "the dark knight rises", the new batman movie. >> i heard sounds of metal canisters clinking around, and then i saw plumes of smoke. >> reporter: a man in a gas mask standing in front of the screen threw a tear gas canister, then opened fire. >> i didn't realize there was something wrong right away. i thought it was like a firecracker or a firework or something. i thought someone was just like, "oh, it's the batman premier, i'm going to bring some firecrackers in and throw it and get people riled up." >> reporter: but an instant later, it was clear-- the gunman was standing there, firing at
people just a few feet away. >> he just... he broke in through the door, and he threw the thing and, like, all you could see was pretty much the mask, just the gas mask. and it was probably one of the scariest images i've ever seen in my life. and he just threw up the gun and just started doing it, and shooting, like, at least four or five rounds, and then that gun ended, and then he just did it again with the other gun. >> it was just chaos. you saw injured people, you saw... there was this one guy on all fours crawling, there was this girl spitting up blood, there was bullet holes in some people's backs, some people's arms. >> there was people bleeding, there was people obviously may have been actually dead, and we just ran up out of there. and we were just scared and didn't know what to do, and the guy unleashed about 50 to 70 shots. and after that was over or whatever, me and my girlfriend were playing dead in the aisle, and then after that, i heard someone say "he's gone." >> reporter: one of the victims was jessica ghawi, who escaped a shooting at a mall in toronto, canada, last month. benjamin hochman was a colleague at the "denver post." he says she will be sorely missed. >> she was new to town, and she
hung out with a lot of my friends. we hung out a lot. she was a budding journalist and just a budding personality. i spent a lot of time with her, and every time we did, we just laughed and laughed. >> reporter: happy person? >> she was effervescent. "effervescent" is the best word to describe her. she was bubbly, so much fun to be around. quick with a joke, a goofy person, and she just lit up the room. >> reporter: as they surged outside, shocked movie-goers tried to understand what had happened. and police arrived and made an arrest in a matter of minutes. >> i'm told by a colleague you could describe it as hundreds of calls coming in, within roughly one minute to a minute and a half police officers were on scene. he was apprehended he was apprehended with three weapons in the car, and one was left in the scene inside the theater. the weapons are as follows:
an ar-15 assault rifle, a remington 870 shotgun, 12 gauge shotgun, and a 40-caliber glock handgun. we believe those three weapons were used in the scene, and another 40-caliber glock handgun was found in the car. we're not sure if that was also used in the scene. the suspect was dressed all in black. he was wearing a ballistic helmet, a tactical ballistic vest, ballistic leggings, a throat protector and a groin protector, and a gas mask and black tactical gloves. >> reporter: the man was identified as 24-year-old james holmes. >> we are not looking for any other suspects. we are confident that he acted alone. however, we will do a thorough investigation to be absolutely sure that that is the case, but at this time, we are confident that he acted alone. >> reporter: a man in aurora who said he knows holmes described someone quiet and unassuming. >> he was laid back, kept to himself.
never really talked to anybody. the conversations we did have were very short. i mean, he was somebody you wouldn't even look at twice walking down the street. very, very mellow. >> reporter: in short order, the night's terror shifted to holmes' apartment four miles away. fbi agents and police attached a camera to a fire truck ladder to look inside, and discovered it was booby-trapped. police have evacuated a five- block area around the apartment complex. that's because they've discovered what the police chief described as "sophisticated explosives." the fbi says that investigation could go on for days. >> we're not sure what we're dealing with in the home. they appear to be incendiary devices, there are some chemical elements there, and there are also some incendiary elements that are linked together with all kinds of wires. as a layman, it's something i've never seen before. we have a lot of smart bomb techs up there trying to figure out what were going to do. >> reporter: the search for a
motive began almost immediately, but it appeared international terrorism was not involved. >> i want to emphasize at is point, we do not see a nexus to terrorism, but we are continuing to look and we are being as cautious as possible with the investigation as we move forward. >> reporter: in san diego, california, where holmes' parents live, the family issued a statement saying their hearts go out to the victims. >> as you can understand, the holmes family is very upset about all of this. it's a tragic event and it's taken everyone by surprise. and they are definitely trying to work through this. they are cooperating with law enforcement. and they just ask your patience, diligence and respect at this time. >> reporter: the shootings also spilled over to the presidential campaign, as both president obama and republican mitt romney called off their campaigning for the day. the president spoke briefly to a crowd in fort myers, florida, saying the country was "united as one american family." >> if there's anything to take
away from this tragedy it's the reminder that life is very fragile. our time here is limited and it is precious. and what matters at the end of the day is not the small things, it's not the trivial things which so often consume us and our daily lives. ultimately, it's how we choose to treat one another and how we love one another. >> reporter: later, in bow, new hampshire, mitt romney also expressed his condolences for those in colorado. >> our hearts break for the victims and their families. we pray that the wounded will recover and that those who are grieving will know the nearness of god. today, we feel not only a sense of grief, but perhaps also of helplessness. but there is something we can do-- we can offer comfort to someone near us who is suffering or heavy laden, and we can mourn with those who mourn in colorado.
>> reporter: both men canceled scheduled campaign events today, and the campaigns said they would stop running ads in colorado for now. >> suarez: we're joined from aurora by peter banda of the associated press. peter, welcome to the program. among other things you have been looking at the james holmes himself. what you can tell us about the young man charged with the crime? >> well, you know, not much is known about the suspect. all we know right now is that he was a ph.d or doctoral student at the university of colorado. he was studying neuroscience. and he enrolled about a year ago but he was in the process of withdrawing. so far that's all we've been able to find out. we've been trying, you know, trying to find out as much information as we can. so far that's all we've been able to find out. >> suarez: you've been talking to survivors of the theatre shooting. tell us some of the stories that have emerged from your reporting. >> the stories coming out of the theatre are heartbreaking. you know, i can't imagine
being in that type of situation. we've heard stories about, you know, the gunman pointing the gun at one particular patron who was about four to five feet away from the gunman. she survived. she jumped out of the way. we've heard stories of two young ladies 20-year-olds who had-- they ducked underneath the seats and they were trying to make their way and they were describing how they were so afraid that you know, the gunman would come for them, afraid to duck, duck their heads, afraid to move. they told us that the hardest part for them was doing something, getting up. trying to find that chance. but then when they did find that chance, it was actually getting up. but they found courage to do that and they made it out one of the side entrances. we've heard stories of the wounded, one witness told us that as she was crawling out she was crawling over what felt like bodies, lifeless bodies in the aisles.
and the rows of seats. and you know, one of the bodies moaned and she felt compelled to do something. she was trained in emt and she checked his pulse and she had to make a calculation whether she waited there and helped this person out or if she made her way out for her own safety. and she ended up choosing her own safety. you know, we've heard stories of one father or apparently a father, an older gentleman carrying a young child, the estimate from the witness who told us was this child was about 7 years old. you know, blood, one witness told us that a friend of theirs slipped on a pool of blood. i mean this was a horrific scene that they described along with the terror and the smoke and the gunshots being fired, that's what
we're hearing. >> suarez: one of the most shocking things about this crime is the large number of people shot in what seems to be a very short amount of time. do we know of the 59 people who were injured, whether some of them are in grave condition and are in danger of dying? >> you know, as far as whether or not they're in danger of dying, anybody who is in critical condition would always be in danger of dying. as far as the number of people in that condition, it is a changing situation. i don't have that figure right now but how many-- we do know that 12 people are dead. 10 died at the theatre, two died at the hospitals. and we do know that 60 people were injured. >> suarez: a shocking story has emerged about the appearance of the shooter in the theatre. what have they, both police and witnesses to the shooting said about what the gunman looked like? >> well, the witnesses
described to us a man who was dressed in black. head to toe. appeared to be wearing a bulletproof vest and boots. silently moving through the theatre. as far as you know, and the suspect was wearing a mask. what we're hearing, are reports coming out of new york that this gentlemen had painted his hair red. and that told police that he was a joker. but that's a report. we've been unable to confirm that report. but you know as far as witnesses, what we're hearing from witnesses is that he was wearing a mask. so the red hair and whether or not he had, what his face looked like, we're not getting that from witnesses. >> suarez: peter banda from the associated press from aurora, colorado, thanks for joining us. >> thank you.
kurtis >> suarez: "denver post" reporter kurtis lee was at gateway high school in aurora, which police turned into a command post overnight. i spoke with him earlier today. , welcome to the program. there's a command center at gateway. we're not far from the theatres where the shootings occurred. what's going on there. what have police been doing at the high school? >> yeah, ray so, gateway high school is several miles away. a short drive like you were saying. at the high school early this morning after the shoot og kurred, they bused several dozen witnesses to the high school where they conducted interviews with them. these are local police officials, as well as we've heard reports of the fbi conducting interviews with witnesses. after those were done about 6:30 or 7:00 in the morning they slowly began to trickle out of the high school. and now the high school is basically a staging area for people who have, who don't know where their loved ones are, friends or loved ones are located. and that's kind of what it is right now. the gateway high school. >> suarez: did you get a chance to talk to people who were in the theatre when the shootings occurred. >> when the shootings
occurred, when they exited the high school, several people described what they sawment one gentleman had said that he saw a gunman enter the front emergency entrance, in full black and a gas mask on and he threw a canister into the crowd which appeared to be tear gas. and then just began shooting. and several people described the guy as wearing all black, a gas mask and just very calm in what he was doing. >> suarez: it is remarkable that so many people were able to get out so quickly. did anyone tell you how they managed to get out of the theatre and not get hurt. >> it was just mass chaos. one gentleman in the parking lot of the high school, he was missing his shoes. he had lost his shoes trying to get out. people were bruised and kind of bloody and scratched up because they were just scrambling to get out in the chaos of the event. >> suarez: fell me about the people without came searching for relatives or friends, this is a crime, after all that happened in the middle of the night. was it late morning before a
lot of people even realized what happened? >> absolutely. a number of people lost cell phones in the chaos trying to get out of the these soar they weren't able to get in touch with friends and family so a lot of people were just rushing in to gateway high school. one gentleman had a picture of his son saying he can't get ahold of his son it was just very, you know, tragic. a lot of people were in shock. they just didn't know what was going on. that's what gateway is right now, a place for people to go, give the name of someone that they can't get ahold of and hopefully get information on their whereabouts. >> suarez: did you witness any of those reunions? did people find who they were looking for or realize the person they were looking for was either injured or even dead? >>. >> yeah, several people were exitsing the high school in tears. i talked to them they were tears of joy because they found out their loved one was okay. they finally managed to get ahold of them. i have not spoke to someone who found out that their loved one or a friend or family member had passed away or was killed in the
shooting. >> suarez: kurtis lee, thanks. >> thanks, ray >> suarez: our reporting continues online, where we have eyewitness accounts of the shootings and links to photos taken by the "denver post." find video from the president and mitt romney's comments today, as well as those of colorado officials. plus, we'll live stream news conferences later this evening. >> brown: still to come on the newshour: the escalating violence in syria; judy woodruff on the obama push in florida; brooks and dionne; and a campaign against smart meters in california. but first, the other news of the day. here's hari sreenivasan. >> sreenivasan: euro-zone finance ministers approved a $37 billion bailout for spain's troubled banks today. the announcement came hours after huge anti-austerity protests were held in 80 cities, like this one in madrid. the crowds carried signs and shouted slogans denouncing new tax hikes and pay cuts for civil servants. but spain's deputy prime minister said today there is no way around making hard choices.
>> in such a difficult situation we only have two options, do whatever we can to get out of the crisis. and that is exactly why we're doing what we are doing. or we could do nothing which is what was done before and got us into this situation. >> sreenivasan: also today, spain's most indebted region, valencia, requested financial aid from the central government. the events in spain triggered new worries on wall street, and stocks fell sharply. the dow jones industrial average lost more than 120 points to close at 12,822. the nasdaq fell 40 points to close at 2,925. for the week, both the dow and the nasdaq gained about half a percent. the u.s. treasury department warned today that the process for setting a benchmark global interest rate is still flawed. the agency said british banks remain capable of manipulating the so-called libor. three weeks ago, barclays bank admitted it submitted false information about its borrowing costs in 2007 and 2008 to keep the rate artificially low. libor affects rates on contracts worldwide, from home mortgages to business loans.
those are some of the day's major stories. now, back to jeff. >> brown: and we turn to syria, where rebels have taken control of several key border crossings in the bloodiest 24 hours of fighting since the uprising began 16 months ago. the regime's intelligence chief, injured in a bomb attack on wednesday, died today. he was the fourth figure in president assad's inner circle to be killed in that blast. and as the crisis deepened, thousands are fleeing across the border. lindsey hilsum of independent television news reports. >> reporter: he was the highest ranking christian in president bashar al-assad's government. the funeral of defense minister daoud rajha was held at the greek orthodox church of the holy cross in damascus this morning. ( cheers and applause ) the congregation cheered the syrian army, whom they see as their protectors, even as they mourned the minister and three other security officials killed apparently by a bomb on
wednesday. as the coffin was taken away for burial, they cheered president assad. a mile or so to the south, the suburb of midan bears the scars of several days of fighting. the rebel free syrian army ceased control earlier in the week. but today, government forces took it back. the rebels can mount hit and run attacks, but they still can't hold onto territory in the capital, as the government counters with artillery and heavy weapons. a few people tentatively returned to their homes. tens of thousands of others, though, are driving to the border with lebanon. they fear that this is just the beginning of the battle for damascus. people were crossing into lebanon into the early hours. but many of those i've been speaking to today say there's nothing going on in damascus. they're supporters of president bashar al assad.
they don't want to say that there's any threat to his regime, but they're getting their families out nonetheless. are you telling me that there is no fighting in damascus? >> no, no, no, it's okay. relax. nothing. >> reporter: everybody in damascus is relaxed, are they? >> yes. >> reporter: but maybe he had a reason for his reticence. we spotted someone lurking and listening. fear doesn't stop at the border. journalists leaving damascus say wednesday's killing of defense officials was a turning point. >> the bomb attack changed a lot. it made the situation very, very, very tense, meaning that people really did not go out at all unless they had to. >> reporter: we met a group of syrians already in lebanon, who've been buying mattresses for refugees who'll be accommodated in schools. they were expecting 3,000 to arrive on buses in the coming hours. >> i think damascus is prepared now for a big battle. so damascus is going to be out of civilian for sure.
and i mean going to be anti-civilian. so we should prepare ourselves for that situation. i think damascus is going to be the last battle. >> reporter: in the syrian capital on this, the first friday of ramadan, opposition supporters demonstrated after midday prayers. in some neighborhoods, they were met with bullets-- government forces and the feared pro-assad militia, the shabina, in action. this afternoon, funeral processions surged down the streets. dozens were killed-- fighters and activists, regarded as martyrs by the rebels. they're mourning their dead, as government supporters mourn theirs. and the killing isn't over yet. >> suarez: in new york today, the united nations security council voted to renew the 300- member observer force in syria for another 30 days. their mandate was set to expire today. and a virginia court sentenced a
man who spied on syrian dissidents in the u.s. to 18 months in prison. mohamad soueid admitted he sent audio and video recordings to members of the country's intelligence agency. he also met with president assad in syria to discuss dissident activity. soueid was arrested and charged last year. find the story we reported about soueid in december on our web site. >> brown: and to the analysis of brooks and dionne-- "new york times" columnist david brooks and "washington post" columnist e.j. dionne, filling in for mark shields. and joining in for the first part of our discussion is our own judy woodruff, who's in florida tonight covering the campaign. and judy, i want to start with you and the top story of the day-- the shootings in aurora. you were at the event in florida this morning where the president spoke about it. tell us about that, what administration officials were
telling you and what the reaction. heard about it this morning i reached out to the obama campaign officials who were traveling with the president. they had already decided at that point that they were going to shorten the president's remarks here that it was going to change the complete nature of what was supposed to be in fort myers, florida, and the southwest part of the state. a campaign eventment they said it will be very different, much shorter. an soon after that they announced they were completely cancelling his appearance in orlando this was to be a two-day swing it was significantly cut short. what happened with regard to the people who came to see him though, jeff this all happened so fast. people had waited in line for hours on wednesday to get tickets to see the president. they had waited for hours this morning, wrapped around the block in very hot weather here in south florida, to see him. many of them did not know about the shootings in aurora until they got inside the auditorium there. and an announcement was made, they were of course shocked
and they growned when they were told the president's remarks would be cut short. but very quickly after the president, himself, appeared, explained what had happened, why he was going to make only brief remarks. of course they all understood. skeed for a moment of silence. he referred to h own family, being a father. he said the first thing i thought about was what if my own daughters malia and sasha had been there. i know every other parent feels the same way. i talked to a number of people afterwards. he only spoke for about eight minutes but afterwards one of the people who were there, jeff, a woman said to me, i came here so excited to see the president. but i left frankly, thinking about the things that matter in life. so it was an understanding crowd as he left. and as you know, and you've already reported, both the obama camp and the romney camp cancelled all advertising in colorado. they are continuing advertising though around the rest of the country.
most of it negative. >> brown: david, one of moss moments when politics stops, at least momentarily, and the candidates have to shift quickly. >> i think they're both doing the right thing. i hope it has a long-term sobering effect. i don't expect it will. but one of the features, i think of this campaign has been it's an extremely consequence race, but as peggy noonan wrote t is always a compelling race because sometime these have been migrating toward the most trivial issues. this sort of brings you a little back to earth. i done know it will have any effect, but one can hope. >> brown: it does come after a week of particularly loud and negative week to shifted tones like this. >> right, well i think it was inevitable. today they both sought to look presidential and nonpolitical and comfortabling. and they both skuk seeded in that. i think after an event like that there is nothing a politician can say that in any way is related to politics is going to look goochlted i think they felt the same sense of shock and horror as everybody else because they're human beings too. i think there will be an
interpretation. i doubt will change the tennor of the campaign in the long run but i think they both reacted as candidates and presidents are supposed to. >> brown: tell us a little bit about what you were hearing there before all this happened, the tenor of the campaign we're talking about. the president has certainly been keeping up the pressure on mitt romney, very forcefully staying on offense. is that a strategy that they're telling you? >> woodruff: it absolutely is a strategy, jeff. when the president, we did hear the president speculate yesterday in palm beach, florida. he spoke to a group of seniors. a largely jewish group. so the president reaching out to those voters, very important for him to win if he's going to win florida. the swing state of florida in november. but overall the campaign feels it must continue to keep trying to define mitt romney. the ads they are running about bain capital, about his not releasing his taxes. they say they feel this is a strategies that's working and they're going to continue it. they also say they understand that this may,
the president's own favor ability ratings may take a hit, a small hit they hope. but they believe that the damage they're doing politically to mitt romney is even more significant. they're pointing to polls that show people look less favourably on his background at bain cap pal which they say is the central racial for hisdi, what he did at that company, they say, is what he wants to do for the country. so what they are doing is entirely appropriate. >> let me ask you two at the table here. is it having an effect, david? >> yes, not entirely positive effect for the president it is bringing down mitt romney's positives. it's really bringing down barack obama's positives. re-election races are-- on the incumbent t hurts more on him. if you look at the "new york times" polls this week you see the presidential numbers coming down slightly to. me it's probably all overshadowed by the fact that the spanish bond, 10 year bond went up to 7%. the european crisis continues to be pretty bad. the economy is pretty bad. >> things we haven't really talked much about this week.
>> it's always worth emphasizing that has a much bigger effect than what these two men do. >> i think they are bringing romney's negatives down. people are less likely to approve of romney but they're more likely to vote for him because of the overall economy. >> brown: what do you think, ej. >> the choice in november is 8 plus percent unemployment or something else, something else is likely to win. it is a choice between barack obama and mitt romney, barack obama has a decent chance of winning the race. and i think that combined with miscues on romney's part, the combination of miscues on romney's part and the aggressive tone of obama has really given people second thoughts about romney. i think the most striking thing about the romney campaign is they've done very little to no work trying to paint a picture of mitt romney as an attractive person. they haven't put forward much of a positive campaign. they spent the whole primary running down their opponents in order to eke out those victories. and i think romney's refusal
in a very sort of tough way to release more income tax returns is hurting him. and i think the larger narrative about bain, offshore accounts, outsourcing jobs, actually is a link to a larger debate about what kind of economy we want to have. and what romney's real view of the economy is versus obama's view. and again on that side o bama request win. >> i want to come back to that. but one more question before i let you go. who is obama talking to? who do you get the sense that he's addressing so far in the dog days of july here, is it the people, the supporters, is he reaching out to so-called independence? >> woodruff: it's both. they're trying to do everything they can to get those folks who voted for barack obama into 2008 to stay with him. they know there has been some drain off of support and they say they're prepared to accept that. but they're going to do
everything they can to go back and as they put it touch everybody who voted for it, if they can find them, who voted for them four years ago until that person says i'm absolutely not going to vote for him again. they're still working it. but at the same time, jeff, yes, they are reaching out to any new voters, to converts, particularly here in florida. i'll tell you they are looking at immigrants who came to the united states from either puerto rico which is a major source of new residence here in florida. puerto rico, other caribbean countries, south america. they see there a small but significant number of new voter registrations that they think they can pick up so they're working both sides of that street. they know they can't take it for granted. they understand the enthusiasm is down from what it was four years ago. and so they can't count on that. >> brown: we're going to look for your report on monday. have a good weekend, and thanks a lot. >> woodruff: thank you. >> brown: so let's continue here. i want to pick up on what
judy was saying but also the point you were just making. there are a lot of things being thrown around this week, outsourcing and who creates businesses and what is infrastructure and the role of government. you were putting in that, that there is sort of the makings of a serious discussion. but are we having those? >> no, i absolutely make. there is the makings of a serious discussion of what sort of role of government wa, sort of society wa, sort of capitalism we want to have. and i do think there is, that's implied in a lot of these arguments. barack obama's really attacking romney on all the things people don't like about capitalism. the high creative destruction involved, especially in private equity. will we actually have that discussion. i'm extremely doubtful. in part because what they're targeting are people who don't pay attention to politics. everybody without pays attention has already decided. >> and so they want a very simple message. so for example barack obama has not been an enemy of outsourcing throughout his whole campaign, he understands that i think
outsourcing people, companies that outsource do create more jobs domestically. he understands it's part of the global economy, it's part of the things that make country as broad grow that make us grow. he's got a very simple minded ad attacking romney for being one who ships shops overseas but to have a debate about capitalism and the role of government would require more nuance than we will either get on either side precisely because they are paying attention to people without don't pay attention. >> brown: what do you think. >> i think are you talking about a small part of electorate. the polls 53% is what obama got last time. he is hovering around 47, 48%. he needs some share of the difference t the 6 or 5 or 6% of difference. i agree with david that there is a real debate underlying this. i don't agree with him that the outsourcing issue is as clear-cut as he says. there is a presentation this week by an economist who talked about the costs in increased unemployment, lower labor force, participation, in parts of
the country from chinese imports. and that outsourcing really does have a cost to a significant share of the american population. obama is talking about how tax benefits go to companies that ship jobs overseas over companies that create jobs here. he's talking about the need to restore american manufacturing. i think the debate obama wants and that romney should want to engage in from his side is whether this new kind of capitalism where so much money is made in the financial sector is the kind of capitalism that builds up our country and that we have much more emphasis on finance, much less on manufacturing, and lord knows, much less on labor. and i think that that is the fight that underlies this. and i think we're going to get there eventually. >> brown: well, that's optimistic. >> see, one thing i do agree with ej on, if romney is going to be a personification of capitalism, he does have to say what kind of capitalism he's for.
he does have to say too much resources have been going to finance. he does have to say some of these things these bankers are doing makes me sick. he has to distinguish that from the part that he has been part of which is the creative destruction part, which is does involve sometimes involves job losses but involves making companies more efficient so they thrive in the long run so he has to give a speech saying this is the capitalism i believe in or else he will get tarred with the libor. >> that is a hard argument to make. i mean it's easy to sort of intellectually but -- >> in elections past people gave serious speeches. barack obama gave a serious race speech. it used to be if you ran for president you trotted out all thitses serious policy speeches that people like ej and i paid attention to. now that is all gone. they don't care about us any more. >> i enjoy talking to david but that is a very awkward case for mitt romney to make. i agree he's got to make it and i would love to see a debate over the future of american capitalism and what kind we want. but it is awkward for him to talk about the problems with
finance and the shift of resources towards finance when obviously that's how he has made his money. and the problem with his bain story is yes, he can tell some good stories about companies like staples and others that he put money into that thrived. but he wants to evade all the stories where they made a lot of money even when the companies tanked. when they piled companies with debt. there are kinds of capitalism that he's been involved in that i think raise some legitimate problems in the eyes of voters. >> brown: i want to shift back to where we started, with aurora, in our last couple of minutes here. it's always interesting to think b we were just talking about, the subjects that don't come up in a campaign. does something like this, when there is a mass killing, and everybody pays attention for a day or so or maybe weeks, guess it have the potential to shift into a kind of legitimate issue in the campaign? in the culture? >> i wish it did. i am struck by the fact that every time something like this happens, the gun lobby
run as long and saids anybody who wants to raise fundamental questions about the kind of laws we have on weapons is somehow exploiting the crisis. they don't say that when people say fema didn't handle something. they don't says that's exploiting hurricane victims. but in this case we can't even have the debate. >> brown: you mean over gun control. >> national gun regulations y don't we restore the assault weapons ban. why don't we have effective background checks and do other things to try to keep weapons out of the hands of people who might be dangerous or have mental illness. and that conversation just gets totally shut down. i don't pretend that every tragedy with be avoided if we had more rational gun laws. but if that's your test, you're never going to pass any laws anyway. but we do need a debate on the fact that we are the country with the loosest laws on this, and we see the consequences. >> brown: last minute do you think -- >> when these things happen, liberals say we should have tighter gun controls.
some conservatives say we should shame the people that make violent movies that inflame these line a fix. i think the causality between both is extremely weak. you look at the gun laws there is really no corelation between tighter gun laws and lower crime. the cities with the tight gun law does not have lower crime. crime has been going down even as guns have been going up. and so i think when you got a guy like this who dresses himself in body armour, has sophisticated incendiary devices, he's outside the realm of normal policy. he is off in his own world of danger. and i'm not against gun control, but i'm extremely dubious that this is the right occasion to have that argument or that it would make any affect on a case like this. >> brown: it is unlikely to come up again in the campaign. >> both parties are afraid. the republicans are aligned with the gun lobby and democrats are intimidated by the gun lobby. i obviously disagree with david. i think some of these laws like at sought weapon ban could have a very concrete effect, maybe reduce the level of violence. i think we need to be able
to talk about it and i think most politicians are afraid to talk about it. >> all right. we have to leave it there. ej dionne, david brooks, thanks. >> thank you. >> suarez: next, a follow-up to our story last friday about an austin, texas, neighborhood that uses "smart grid" technology to track and control its energy consumption. not everyone thinks that's a good idea. newshour correspondent spencer michels reports on some california activists who'd like to see the devices banned. >> reporter: fairfax, california-- a small, hip, politically liberal, environmentally concerned town in marin county, across the golden gate from san francisco. it's the home of valerie hood, a landscaper and activist who decided that the local utility's decision to replace her traditional gas and electric meters posed a danger to her.
she doesn't want a new one-- a so-called smart meter-- that reads how much energy is being used, and transmits the figures to pacific gas and electric via radio signals. pg&e has installed nine million smart meters in northern california, part of a $2.2 billion program. it has been touted as a way to save money and energy, because the transmitted information can be used to monitor home energy use. that allows residents to use appliances when demand is low, reducing their costs. hood and her fellow activist mary beth brangan believe wireless smart meters emit harmful electromagnetic radiation, a contention that has spurred a major debate and studies to back up both sides. hood and brangan took up the fight against the smart meters,
and started printing signs and petitions for several reasons. >> pg&e decided to do a wireless version, and they didn't need to be wireless. they could have been hard-wired. >> people have reported seizures, they've reported migraines, they have had trouble sleeping, heart problems, arrhythmias, a lot of symptoms from difficulties with smart meters. >> this was just pushed on our communities without any sort of input or education or anything. and it was all of a sudden, you're going to get smart meters, whether you like it or not. >> reporter: they weren't alone. environmentalists and others in several parts of the country have taken up the anti-smart- meter cause, as utilities spend $29 billion to upgrade their networks and install the new meters. hood lobbied the fairfax town council, and after several meetings, the council decided to ban the smart meters.
the marin county supervisors took a similar stand, outlawing new devices, at least for now. more than a dozen california cities and counties have passed such legislation. >> they don't have the jurisdiction individually to create a smart meter-free zone, or whatever they want to call it. >> reporter: edward randolph is director of energy for the california public utilities commission, the only agency, he says, that has jurisdiction over the devices. randolph says the p.u.c. pushed the utilities to install smart meters. >> the vast majority of all the input and evidence is that, you know, society is going to benefit from the smart meters. i mean, the energy efficiency savings alone in the long term for the state of california is going to be a large economic benefit for most rate payers. >> reporter: when pg&e began
installing smart meters in california six years ago, executives never suspected that it would cause such a fuss. they say they considered gas and electric meters just tools of the trade. the meters connect diverse power sources into an efficient system, argues helen burt, the chief customer officer for pg&e. >> a smart meter is really a basic building block of a smarter grid, and a smart grid is being built all over the united states to connect solar power and other pieces of intermittent renewable power into the electric system. >> reporter: while critics say the use of wireless technology contains a risk, burt discounts it. >> i will tell you, we know they're safe. we know smart meters are safe. i believe wireless technology is safe. i have no qualms whatsoever about the safety. you know, i probably have seven or eight wireless devices, two of which are probably with me today. so i think we live in a wireless world. >> reporter: engineering dean emir jose macari of sacramento state university also defends
wireless technology. he was part of a california council on science and technology team that reviewed the literature on electromagnetic emissions, including radio frequency waves or rf, a study often cited by pg&e. >> there is no proof of any health impacts from rf. the world health organization put out a report in 2005 saying there is no evidence of any harms to human beings from these technologies. >> reporter: but they didn't say that harm wasn't possible? >> correct, we continue to say maybe more studies are needed. >> reporter: macari demonstrated for us how the emissions from a smart meter can be monitored. he says those emissions are very slight. >> i could also be measuring emission on my cell phone. >> reporter: so, how does it compare? >> this is so much higher, by 20 times what a smart meter does.
>> reporter: and he says the emissions tail off. >> as we measure right here, and as you measure it further and further, the signal goes down exponentially. >> still, opponents of smart meters like joshua hart continue their fight at the public utilities commission and elsewhere. hart founded "stop smart meters," and he says the studies pg&e cites conflict with others showing problems. he says no studies have been done on smart meters per se, but research on cell phones is relevant. >> the national institutes of health have found changes in neurological chemistry because of exposure to wireless. there are hundreds of peer reviewed articles that show impacts on human health and behavior at levels far below what the fcc guidelines indicate are permissible. >> reporter: hart is calling for a halt to the technology, even
though pg&e is 90% through installing the new meters. >> we think there should be an immediate moratorium on the technology, pending a series of independent hearings on the problems that have been identified. and this needs to be a national and international halt, and we need investigations. >> reporter: the movement against smart meters has been joined, not just by environmentalists and leftists, but also by tea party activists who see the meters as an invasion of privacy, since they collect data on people's electricity use that could indicate facts about their life- styles. >> the smart meters reveal how many people are home, what time you wake up in the morning, what appliances you're using, even perhaps what television program you're watching. and this is all information that is extraordinarily valuable to third party corporations. >> reporter: do you sell the data to anyone? >> absolutely not. >> reporter: do you share it with anyone? >> no, our customers own their data. we do not own their data. >> reporter: one thing hart and
his supporters have achieved is a provision that people who want to keep their old meters can do so, provided they pay a $75 fee and $10 monthly charges to "opt out" of the smart meter program. >> a lot of people consider it extortion to have to pay to not have something on your house that can harm you. >> reporter: pg&e's burt says the company accepts the "opt out" program, even though the numbers are small. but it means the utility must maintain two separate systems, at a cost. >> we've got about five million households across the service territory. about 30,000 have elected to opt out. the rest of our customers are really engaged in a different way with the new technology. >> reporter: while that new technology remains controversial, a utility research group says about half of u.s. homes, 65 million, will have wireless meters within three years. >> brown: in a blog post, spencer examines the dueling
scientific claims about smart meters, and whether they do or don't cause illnesses. >> suarez: finally tonight, a preview of a new three-part documentary series on immigration called "homeland: immigration in america." it premieres tonight on pbs. the first episode focuses on jobs and, in part, the challenges of legal immigration. here's a sampling from the documentary, featuring the story of a taiwanese doctoral student at washington university in st. louis. i am the series narrator. >> suarez: u.s. university still attracts many of the world's most promising students in science and technology. but more than ever the u.s. is facing competition to keep them, especially from india, china, korea and
japan. >> taiwanese barbecue flavor. it's okay, right. >> it's okay. >> wei-jin is interest taiwan. in the field of imology she is one of the world's best and brightest. her research keeps her notice laboratory 60 hour ace week. >> it's not all i do. >> one of my new year's resolution is to learn how to watch football, american football. >> and what is a first down. >> first down -- >> i didn't know anything so to me it was always about beer and pizza, popcorn. >> so they can get either one or two extra points. >> they're going to go for one. >> yay! >> wei-jin would like to stay in the u.s. after getting her ph.d but she could take her american education an her research just about anywhere. and she might just have to. >> if i cannot find a job to
secure my visa status, i will have to leave the country. >> we don't want to suggest that there isn't always going to be a place for people who have extraordinary talent and ability. if we don't get them, somebody else will. we should expect for the world's best and brightest. but a lot of people coming in under these four-year degree h -- b programs do not possess skills that aren't substituteds for available american talent. >> suarez: to say in this country wei-jin needs a specialty occupation visa. it is a complicated and expensive process and only an employer can get her one. >> i study medical science. my goal is that one day i will be able to collaborate with my fellow scholars to target important issues including hiv and aids prevention. this is the interferon gamma. >> we are very much interested in how hosts
react to different pathogens. she's discovered a novell pathway how the immune system recognizes bacteria-infected cells. and it was something that wasn't previously identified. >> every year congress limits the number of new specialty visas. 20,000 are for hiring graduates like wei-jin. 65,000 more can be used to import foreign workers when companies can't find enough skilled americans. wei-jin has an unlimited future in world health. right now she just needs to get temporary stat to us find a job in the u.s. >> i have to apply for opt card three months prior to my actual -- >> right. >> wow, okay, i better keep that in mind. >> if you are unable to complete the degree by the day you choose, it can cause some major delays. basically we might have to cancel it, shift the i-20,
extend it and have you reapply for opt. >> kind of complicated to figure it out. >> oh, yeah. >> you don't have to worry about the h-1-b. >> another level of complexity. >> really, i felt like that was already complicated. >> yeah, hmmmm. >> yeah, we are losing some of the brightest and best because they look at a system and say my goode, maybe america doesn't want mement i'm going to go back here and work there. that hurts us. it doesn't hurt necessarily the immigrant. it hurts america when you find a way to get and kick a skill worker out. >> i would love to continue to be able to do my research. i will definitely look at job opportunities back in my home country. so when i visited back in taiwan i just talk with people and see if they are
job opportunities out there. so yeah. >> we >> suarez: wei-jen decided to stay in the u.s. after getting her ph.d. in immunology in may. she is now married to a u.s. citizen, but was advised to hold off on applying for citizenship through marriage. the couple lived in different cities while she finished school. wei-jen is joining her husband in washington, d.c., and heading to work at the food and drug administration, where she'll apply for a visa through the agency's visitor exchange program. "homeland" was produced by the nine network in st. louis. it airs tonight on most pbs stations. >> brown: again, the major developments of the day: 12 people were killed and 59 others hurt or wounded after a gunman opened fire at a crowded midnight movie in a denver suburb. in syria, the intelligence chief died of his wounds from a wednesday bomb attack, and the u.n. reported thousands more civilians have fled the country. and wall street sank on new worries about the financial situation in spain. the dow industrials lost more than 100 points.
a correction, earlier judy said the obama campaign is reaching out to new voters, among them were immigrants from puerto recognizeo. well, puerto recognizeans are, of course, u.s. citizens. we regret that error. the international aids conference kicks off in the nation's capital this sunday. hari sreenivasan has more. >> sreenivasan: we wrap up our series on h.i.v. and aids by comparing the fight against the disease at two churches-- one in washington, d.c., the other in zimbabwe. and we've partnered with a new pbs website called "next avenue." it offers information and resources for adults over 50. today, paul solman looks at what baby boomers should be doing about planning for retirement. all that and more is on our web site, newshour.pbs.org. ray. >> suarez: and that's the newshour for tonight. on monday, as jeff mentioned earlier, we'll have judy's report on the battle for florida in this year's presidential campaign. i'm ray suarez. >> brown: and i'm jeffrey brown. "washington week" can be seen later this evening on most pbs stations. we'll see you online and again here monday evening. have a nice weekend. thank you and good night.
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>> this is n.b.r. i'm susie gharib. tom has the night off. stocks slide as spain cuts its growth forecast. global strategist nick colas joins us with an update. i.p.o.s were a brightspot. strong market debuts today from palo alto networks and travel site kayak. a look at whether i.p.o.s are making a comeback. and just two years ago, president obama signed the dodd frank financial reforms into law. a look at how that's changed the financial landscape. that and more tonight on "n.b.r.!" two new tech i.p.o.s debuted on wall street today and investors gobbled up shares of both,
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