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tv   Consider This  Al Jazeera  November 19, 2013 10:00pm-11:01pm EST

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welcome to al jazeera america. i'm john siegenthaler in new york. and here are tonight's top stories. the obama administration reportedly new about problems with healthcare.gov as early as last spring. the white house admitteds there were red flags. president obama said there were technical and procurement issues that should have been anticipated. two bombs exploded near the iranian embassy in beirut. at least 23 people were killed. the double suicide attack appear to be the latest in a string of bombings linked to the war in syria. new york is about to become the first city in the nation to raise the legal smoking age.
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michael bloomberg signed legislation banning the sale of tobacco products to people under 21. and today marks the 150th on anniversary of the gettiesberg address. nows of people honored the speech at events all over the country. "consider this" is antonio mora is up next. i'm john siegenthaler i'll see you back here at 11:00 eastern, 8:00 pacific time. and you can always get the latest on aljazeera.com. ♪ ♪ >> after 12 years hundreds of billions of dollars spent and
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more than 2,000 american soldiers killed, the war in afghanistan was supposed to be wrapping up. but if the war in afghanistan is truly winding down, why are we now reportedly committing to leave thousands of troops there for at least another decade? and also a tragic attack on one of virginia's most prominent politicians once again casts a harsh light on the mental health system. and did you ever ask youst if you could beat your child in a footrace? a new study says yes, you would leave them in the dust. we start with the war in afghanistan. afghans say they have reached an agreement with the u.s. on a framework that includes a long-term substantial military presence. that had lead to concerns that we may have troops in afghanistan for many years to come. joining me now to discuss that
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involvement in afghanistan are christine fair, assistant professor at the center for peace and security studies at georgetown university. she served as a political officer to the united nations assistance mission to afghanistan in kabul. also joining us from washington, d.c. is pj clark former assistant secretary of state. great to have you both with us. the u.s. and the afghanistan government met on talks of what happens after 2014. and president obama agreed to apologize for mistakes made during the war as a condition for american troops to keep operating there over the next decade. but then we say susan rice say there was no apology. >> there is not a need for the united states to apologize to afghanistan. quite the contrary. that is not on the table. >> what is going on here, pj?
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>> i think it's the art of diplomacy, antonio. certainly as we move towards the [ inaudible ] later in the week that is set to potentially ratify the agreement and perhaps cite understandings, what the afghans are looking for are some expression that the united states appreciates the burden that the war of the last 12 years has meant on the afghan people. as susan rice saad -- said there are multiple sides to this. but the fact is there are still uncertainties here. the korean war ended in the early 1950s, and we still have troops in korea because we now have a security partnership with that country. what the troops will represent past 2014 is consolidating and protecting the gains that have
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been made over the last 12 years in an uncertain environment. the one missing piece in afghanistan is a peace agreement between the afghan government and the taliban. having troops there past 2014 negates a likely narrative where the taliban wants to say we drove the united states out of afghanistan, and the answer is they haven't. >> christine it is fair to say that most americans probably thought we would leave some security force in afghanistan. but the numbers today are pretty substantial. >> yeah, actually that number has been around for quite a while, so for people who have been watching the afghanistan debate this number isn't s surprising at all. our goal has always been to hand over security to the afghans. and there's no secret that the state of the afghan national
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security force is improving, but they are not going to be able to sustain significant threats without ongoing training. and i think there's another problem. this is also always been looming in the background, there wasn't a lot of room to talk about it, and that is that there has been no plan to get the afghan government to be financially and economically viable, so not only are we going to have a presence there for quite sometime to continue training, but the real issue is the americans are going to have to continue footing the bill for the recurrent cost of the afghan government. there has not been in place a plan to get the afghan government capable of paying its own bills. and one of my consistent and enduring critiques of our failed afghanistan policy is we haven't been able to deal with the pakistan part of the puzzle. and the reason why we're so concerned about the future that
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afghanistan could take is that we know full well the kind of future pakistan wants. pakistan has pursue s an islamt government. and we don't have any kind of plan in place that is going to wean pakistan off of its preferred utilization of its jihadi assets. >> we are talking about 6 billion dollars in annual aid right now that is prom advertised. martin dempsey talked to the "wall street journal" about that. and he said, quote . . . and he added if security deteriorates to a point where that 6 billion in aid dries up, then they can't survive as
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christine said. pj has it all become about money? >> well, it's a lot about it. as christine said the afghan security force is becoming more capable. it's relatively large and certainly larger than afghanistan, one of the poorer countries can afore under present circumstances. obviously a lot of talk about natural resources that exist in afghanistan over time perhaps, you know, that can help to, you know, raise revenue in afghanistan. there has been a lot of work to try to improve trade between afghanistan and its neighboring countries. that again is a long-term prospect. so the reality is that for the foreseeable future, afghanistan is going to need a considerable amount of international support. >> christine what about the relationship with karzai. he depends on the united states currently, and if it hadn't been
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for the united states, he never would have been president. so what about all of the posturing he has been doing lately? >> as an american it is very frustrating that there is even an expectation that our president would apologize for the mistakes that were made. a lot of the aid that the americans have paid have gone to the war loads. money by the millions leaves every day on various flights leaving from kabul to dubai. one of my enduring concerns about americans continuing to foot the bill is this is a little bit like putting money in a parking meter in the sense that much of the money we have invested in afghanistan hasn't really stayed in afghanistan. there has been very little accountability. it's really difficult to say what we have invested that is
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going to be durable. i object strenuously to the idea that we have to keep troops in place, and keep paying to somehow invest -- or to somehow protect really spirous investments. >> and pj what are the troops going to say? our troops have been so overextended for so long, i can't imagine this is going to be well received. >> i vehemently oppose it. unless there is a systemic plan with the afghans are going to get their about together, it is also a fact after 2014 karzai isn't going to be there anymore. so we're entering into uncharted water of what afghanistan is going to look like post karzai. >> pj a quick final word on the troops? >> sure. it's in our national interest to make sure that afghanistan
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doesn't become a safe haven for extremists as it was in 2001. and -- and the united states thinks it accomplished that with a much lower level of troops there. so we're there to back up the afghanistans, make sure whether it's al-qaeda, the taliban, other elements don't pose a future risk to the united states and other countries allied with the united states. but this is fully consistent with what we have done in other conflicts where the hot war ends, there are still residual threats, and we build a security partnership with a country with which we have invested a great deal of resources. >> okay. i really appreciate you both coming on tonight. and we turn now to the increasingly restrained relationship between the u.s. and israel. joining me more on that are
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daniel, who is in our washington, d.c. studio, and mayor, and editor of israel iran observer. he joins us from tel-aviv. your prime minister really upped the anti-today. netenyahu told a german europe that iran has enriched enough you yan um to make five bombs. >> the prime minister seems to be following a strategy which he has devised whereby the more alarmist he sounds, the more he believes the international community will take note of the iranian nuclear program and the potential dangers that it poses to the state of israel. that's his strategy which is understandable, but what is causing concern in the state of
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israel is the public fight he has decided to pick with president obama over america's involvement in the nuclear talks and america's strategy. the view seems to be that president obama is going way too soft on the iranians. and the fact that he is doing in publicly is creating concern that this could impact our relationship with washington. >> talks resume tomorrow, and it does seem like the talk is reaching a higher level. >> it does. but it is really bluster, and there is very little that netenyahu can do at this point. the americans want to freeze the iranian nuclear program at its present state so they can get six months in which to negotiate a more permanent agreement, and if they can get something that they think they can sell to the
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congress, they are going to take it. >> reporter: president obama saad he doesn't know if an agreement would come during these talks or next. let's listen. >> part of the reason i have confidence the sanctions don't fall apart is we're not doing anything around the most powerful sanctions. the oil, banking, and financial services sanctions are the ones that have really taken a chunk out of the iranian economy. >> but they are talking still about increasing the sanctions or if not needing to get more from iran in this deal. >> there seems to be the view that, you know, sanctions have worked, they have brought iran to the table. obviously the iranian government is very much concerned about them, so why not just use them
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to the max? just impose as tough of sanctions as possible so that iran agrees to all agreements of prime minister netenyahu and some of the u.s. which is zero enrichment. whether this will work is doubtful, because the super leader of iran has to have an outcome that he can sell to his own home audience, however, this seems to be very much the concern among netenyahu's supporters that if we give up sanctions now we can't reimpose them. >> susan rice also gave us an indication of how much money we're talking about. >> we're talking about a faction of the number you have heard out there. >> 10 billion? 20 billion? >> less. >> so daniel, looks like we're talking about maybe somewhere
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between 10 and 20 billion of what are estimated to be a hundred billion dollars? sanctions, so again, how big of a deal are those sanctions? >> i don't think that that amount is a big deal. the real question is whether we can continue over a long period to prevent iran from collecting the money it has brought from transacting oil sales and that kind of thing. and i don't see any indication that we are about to give up on that structure of sanctions. they are prepared to put a relatively small -- it's not small to me -- but to them, it's a relatively -- they are planning to put a relatively small amount of money in the iran's pockets in order to get six months.
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but the money won't even last iran six monkings -- months so far as i can tell. >> and what about the meeting with president putin. is he trying to get putin to help out? >> i suppose so. and the russians are very concerned about iran getting nuclear weapons. this negotiation looks like it is between maybe the united states and iran, but it's not really. the real negotiation is between iran and israel, and netenyahu is pressing his case as hard as he possibly can. i think whatever comes out of these talks, he is going to have to accept it because there is no real alternative for him. >> yeah, and there was a bombing at the iranian embassy in beirut today, and there were fingers pointed at israel, but an
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al-qaeda group has claimed responsibility. is that an escalation of the syrian war that is totally unrelated to all of this? >> absolutely. the -- the al-qaeda -- the sunni extremist organization hold iran responsible for supporting bashar al-assad, and it seems like they are picking on iranian targets, and the fact that iran and the united states are now talking about a possible agreement, probably added to the situation because this is something they don't want to have happen. all right. thank you both for joining us. has another case of mental health issues caused another tragedy. antonio today the world celebrates a household picture that both of us take for
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granted. i'll tell you more coming up. and what do you think? join the conversation on twitter and facebook and google plus pages.
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a violent family tragedy in virginia is casting a harsh light again on america's fragile mental health system. state police were called to the home of senator deeds tuesday after he was stabbed in the face and chest apparently by his 24-year-old son. the son underwent a mental health evaluation on monday, but was released after a few hours when officials couldn't find a single psychiatric bed that could receive him. senator deeds is in a local hospital in fair condition.
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>> reporter: his son gus deeds was found inside the residence suffering from life-threatening injuries associated with a gunshot wound. and despite the efforts he did die at the scene. >> investigators later confirmed that he shot himself in what has been described as an apparent attempt as murder suicide. i'm joined by professor of psychology. great to have you here, gael. were you surprised that they were not able to find one psychiatric bed to hold him in the western part of the state of virginia? >> sadly, no. there are many areas in the united states where hospitals are filled to capacity and that has a lot to do with the fact that there are not enough state dollars -- state budgets have been cut and there are fewer and fewer facilities and that means
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fewer and fewer beds. >> i know this is a particular problem in the state of virginia but would this surprise you if it happens somewhere else? >> it would not surprise me. there are many areas where there are not enough mental health professionals or enough facilities and beds. and also not even treatment up front, not enough community centers in many parts of the united states. >> and this was a state senator, an important politician in virginia, and there is a study by the treatment advocacy center, and it looks at how access to mental health has declined over any years, in 1955 . . . i believe that's 100,000 people. by 2010 that dropped to just 17
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beds. again, what does this all day when you look at those numbers it is dramatic. >> it is. in the 1960s we deinstitutionalized -- we said no this is not a good system, and we were right to do that. but even if you look since then, beds have continued to drop. and the reason for that is we have taken away money for mental health budgeting. between 2008 and 2012 over 1 minute 8 billion dollars has been lost on mental health budgets. >> so what does that say? because every single time we see the mass shootings it seem there is some very substantial mental health component. >> i think you have to remember that many of these are committed by people who don't have mental health problems. but we don't prioritize it. it does often pose a factor in these kinds of incidents, and
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also actually if you look at it, one of the number one causes for disability is mental health issues. the amount of money we lose in lost wages is huge. and it is much larger than the amount we have taken away from the budget. moreover there is a tremendous amount of suffering and disability due to mental illness. >> and how about the whole issue of deinstitutionalization, and how that happened. >> right. >> have we gone too far in the other direction? >> i would argue perhaps we have. at the end of the day we have prioritized civil liberties so highly that there are people who really need to be in care. in this particular instance of what happened in virginia, if he
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were deemed a threat to himself or others he would have been kept in an emergency room until there was a bed. so somebody decided that, you know, he could leave, you know, legally speaking. however, where the line is drawn, we may have to reexamine. it's a very high threshold to hold someone, and that means there are people going out who are potentially quite risky. >> because we do hear so many stories, you just go on and on and on about how there were so many warning signs, so many things that happened in advance of when they snapped and ended up committing these terrible acts, that you would think there would be some way of fining out how to help these people. >> i agree. but another huge issue is that of stigma. there is such stigma that many families don't bring their loved
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one in earlier. a lot of people that frankly need care really aren't coming in because they feel shame and stigma. and this is another issue we really have to look at handling better. >> and you really think that stigma is still that big of problem today? >> no question. in fact to some degree even more so because all people are hearing about is the people that are so ill that they are violent and that just further stigmatizes the mental health problem as opposed to saying there are more people who could benefit from treatment who are never going to commit a violent act, who aren't getting into treatment because they feel uncomfortable. >> and how much will more dollars going into the system help? >> tremendously. we have lost research dollars. a lot of the dollars are lost in
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terms of earlier treatment whether it's medication or therapy. unfortunately treatment is not cheap. so you need this kind of money to get people in at all, but, yes, all of the re-sea re-sears -- resources have shrunk, >> shrunk is a nice way to put it. >> that's right. >> it's unbelievable. >> it is. >> gail thank you for coming in. >> thanks for having me. switching topics now there was more bad news tuesday for president obama on obamacare, and with people with preexisting conditions. one of the programs key itmanagers told a congressional committee that up to 40% of the systems supporting the health care exchange have yet to be
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built. and just a third of the people asked approve of the way the president is implementing obamacare. 63% do not. and when asked if they supported obamacare, nearly 60% said no. some of them may have been among the people with preexisting conditions who have health insurance through their state's high risk pools. but could lose it without getting a new policy through obamacare. i'm joined by a past president of the association of health care journalists, charles great to have you here. you have really been focusing on people, talking to all sorts of people who have been focused on obamacare. who is obamacare really going to help? >> there are a lot of people who are actually winners in the obamacare system. anybody who is under 26 and who can stay on their parent's health insurance policy, they are a winner.
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the folks who previously could not get insurance and now can, those people are winners. people who are getting preventative health benefits at no cost. those people can be classified as winners, and finally people in states that have decided to expand their medicaid programs. medicaid is the program for the poor. people -- millions of people across the country who previously were not eligible will not but eligible. >> and people have always thought that those getting subsidies will also be winners, but you write there are some concerns about people getting subsidies. they may get surprises they wouldn't expect. >> that's right just because you get a premium subsidy, that's only one only cone -- come point innocent. the other is your copay and deductible. for some of these folks they are look at thousands of dollars in
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deductibles, so while they are having help covering their monthly cost, if they can't afford that deductible their insurance may not mean as much as it should. >> so let's talk about the preexisting conditions. we just mentioned people who do have policies now. they might be in trouble if they can't somehow get a policy through these websites before january 1st. >> there are about 300,000 people around the country who are enrolled in a high risk pool. they were denied insurance under the previous system, and it will cost a lot more, but it allowed them to actually have insurance for their health needs. but they are having trouble signing up, so they are looking at these high risk pools
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shutting down at the end of the year, and that is a real problem. >> is there any chance these deadlines will be met? >> i think there are a lot of things being looked at. you have some states deciding to postpone the date in which these high risk pools are closed. marge if you are going through chemotherapy, and on january 1st you can no longer go to your therapy. so some states are expanding those deadlines. >> and earlier you mentioned the risk pools and part of the essence of obamacare and it working is expanding those risk pools and having a lot of young people come in. >> right. >> but you have also written that not only are young people not signing up now as expected because of the problems with the
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website, you wrote that there is unbelievable lack of awareness among those young invincibles as they call them. just don't know about the exchanges at all. >> right. a lot of people are focusing on the top line number. the number of people that have signed up. and that's certainly important because you have this projection of 7 million people signing up in the first year, but what is equally important is what percentage of young people in this group are there. if there are not enough young people, and this skews older, the costs will just keep going up. >> and you wrote only a quarter of those young people are not even awared. >> many are not aware. and there is a huge effort to get them to be aware. >> you wrote that there been democrats who wrote to president obama and their insurance policy
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was canceled, and they wrote to their congress person who is nancy pelosi, and they said . . . how bad is that problem with all of these people who are seeing their policies being cancelled? >> right. i think what the president hazem fa -- has emphasized is there are people who have gone on the website and his premium is going to double and his plan is going to get worse. here is clearly a loser in this system. >> a lot of people are complaining about that.
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that they have to pay for benefits they don't need. let's look forward to next year. the employer mandate was postponed is that a problem? are we going to see this whole issue in a different way next year? >> i think we're going to see so many things evolve over the course of the year. what are employers going to do? will they scale out their people's hours? scale back the number of workers that they have? clearly a concern. but that's 12 months from now. we have to make it through this year's open enrollment. >> and on tuesday they testified that the whole payment side of the website, the way the payments are going to be dealt to doctors and things starting are way -- i think they said 70% isn't finished. how do you see things playing out. what do you think is going to happen? >> well, i think that people
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are -- what we're seeing in some states that are running their own enrollment is the pace of enrollment is picking up. the states that have decided to run this themselves will see huge expansion of coverage. in other states that are sort of fighting this, you are going to see challenges and fewer people enrolled than expected -- >> and without new money coming in, though? is this going to be a problem? >> it could. it's hard to know where this is going to turn out, but we know every day will bring another story. >> all right. we'll stay on top of it every day i'm sure for a very long time. appreciate you coming in to talk to us. >> thank you. >> antoine know it's the 13th annual world toilet day. the purpose is to raise awareness about the problems people in developing nations face when they don't have a
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sanitary place to relieve themselves. it is something most of us take for granted but having a toilet help prevent the spread of diseases. although the numbers have gone down significantly, according to the un, 15% of the global population still defecate in the open. water aid, a nonprofit organization released this fun video to shine a light on a serious issue. ♪ ♪ liquid or solid, whatever you make ♪ ♪ when you think of all of the things that i do ♪ ♪ it's time to say thanks to your lou ♪ ♪ if i wasn't there anymore, you could only imagine disaster ♪ >> that was cute. now to your reaction.
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you can read more at the website, america.aljazeera.com. >> thank you. straight ahead are the latest generation of kids far less healthy than their parents. and the gettiesberg address is 150 years old. al jazeera america brings you more us and global news than any other american news channel. find out what happened and what to expect. >> start every morning, every day, 5am to 9 eastern with al jazeera america. determining using some sort of subjective interpretation of their policy as to whether or not your particular report was
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actually abusive, because if it doesn't contain language that specifically threatens you directly or is targeted towards you specifically, they may not consider it abuse. they may consider it offensive. and in that case they just recommend that you block that person. >> i don't want to minimise this, because i mean, there's some really horrible things that are on line, and it's not - it's not just twitter, what has happened through social media and the anonymity of the net is that you see websites, hate-filled websites targetting all sorts of groups, popping up. there has been a huge number of those that exist as well. the stream is uniquely interactive television. in fact, we depend on you, your ideas, your concerns. >> all these folks are making a
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whole lot of money. >> you are one of the voices of this show. >> i think you've offended everyone with that kathy. >> hold on, there's some room to offend people, i'm here. >> we have a right to know what's in our food and monsanto do not have the right to hide it from us. >> so join the conversation and make it your own. >> watch the stream. >> and join the conversation online @ajamstream. can you believe kids today take an extra minute and a half to run a mile than what their parents did when they were kids? this is according to new research presented to the american heart association that found that across the globe children are on average 15% less fit than their parents were when they were kids. what can we do to stop this trend and start to make kids healthy again? >> we're joined in new york by the director of cardiac disease
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prevention. great to have you here. 90 seconds that's an awful lot of time. >> it is. >> did it surprise you to hear these results? >> not at all. we have been realizing for the few years past that we are becoming a more sedentary society. more fast-food. more increase in numbers of sugar, increase in cholesterol increase in our kids and in our adults. >> but this process started, the studies looked at 25 million worldwide, and started in 1970 and saw a decline of 5% per decade. so this started before a lot of the things we blame. and it wasn't just in the united states. >> true.
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but this is when the westernized world started to spread it's a lifestyle, its culture all over the world, and mimics that lifestyle was a positive thing, but there were some negatives too. the negatives were for instance the lack of daily exercise, adopting more fast-food joints everywhere in the world. they were the novelties at the time, and that increased bmi, or body mass index,. >> did obesity lead to the lack of fitness or did the lack of fitness lead to the oh beetty. >> yeah, that's an interesting we. i think the obesity lead to the lack of fitness. it's the diet first and then the
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exercise ensues. >> what does this mean for the future of our kid's health. >> one third of the children in the united states now are obese, and 40% are overweight. we're going into a more sedentary society. >> yeah, that is a lot to worry about. the study found that japan had seen little decrease in cardio health over the time of the study, so the japanese seem to do okay. the united states, australia, and some european nations have slowed in recent years after doing poorly for a long time. china, and south korea are doing just absolutely terribly out there. >> true. >> a least a little blessing for the united states is it seems to be levelling off. but still, again, it really is at levels that we have to be very concerned ash eed about.
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do you think study is dead on in >> no, these are 50 studies in 28 count thinks. -- >> but it mostly focused on asia. >> i think because of the magnitude of the people in asia, and it may be skewed towards asia, but you take the magnitude depending on the continents and how many people are in those continents. >> how much responsibility do schools have? >> big responsibility. >> only 4% of elementary schools and 8% of middle schools, and 2% of high schools afr daily physical education. do we have to start at the schools? >> we have to start at the family setting within the family, the parents, because us as adults we're not doing well. >> sure. >> neither in exercise or diet,
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and that would be translated to our kids. the second line of defense would be the school. the school has to put more funding into physical education. reimplement that one-hour daily. the guideline is about moderately vigorous exercise one hour per day. we're at barely one third of that. the schools have to cut down on the ban like the high caloric diets, the beverages, and watch what kids eat and give them more time to exercise. >> a lot of these schools have cut back on recess. >> absolutely. so a lot to be concerned about. >> we're in trouble. >> let's hope not too bad. we really appreciate you joining us. >> thanks for having me. >> straight ahead we'll reveal the word of the year.
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and later the lasting power of the gettysburg address.
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♪ today's data dive gets definitive on the acceptance of seemingly supersillous words in the highest echelons of linguistics. none of these words are even as remotely fancy as the ones i just used. selffy has been awarded the wore of the year. a photograph taken of one's self. oxford says use of the world
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selfy has jumped 17,000 percent in just the past year. the self centered word beat out a variety of contenders, including binge watch, bitcoin, the online currency, showrooming, that's the practice of visiting a shop to examine a product and then buying it more cheaply on line, and miley cyrus fans may be mad that twerk didn't win. i am not. oxford has a habit of honoring unsophisticateded words. bizarrely it sometimes rewards jumbled language with word of the year status. oxford crowned sarah palin's
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word in 2010. but we can't find that world in the online dictionary. and then literally, we started using it more and more for emphasis, as in i was literally fuming. well, so many people use literally incorrectly that diction ayers including oxford has started including the word's informal definition. all i can say is that literally annoys me. coming up how does a two to three minute speech from 1863 continue to capture our mooj nations? on techknow, our scientists bring you a sneak-peak of the future, and take you behind the scenes at our evolving world. techknow - ideas, invention, life.
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>> audiences are intelligent and they know that their
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seven score and ten years ago, president abraham lincoln gave one of the most important speeches in american history. he attempted to heal the wounds of a split nation and honor the
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fallen. ken burns is working on a new documentary on the speech and released a video of some luminaries reciting the famous wores. >> our fathers brought forth on this content, a new nation conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the pop situation that all men are created equal, we have come to dedicate a portion of that field as a final resting place, for those who sgaif their lives so that that nation might live, it is all together fitting and proper that we should do this, that this nation under god shall have a new birth of people, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth. >> he is the chairman of the lincoln bicentennial center.
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great to see you herald. >> great to see you. >> you were part of the ken burns project. >> well, we have five presidents so i think i can be left out of the major preview there. >> it seems like it is a great way to get the message to modern audiences. >> i just got back from gettysburg, and they have had 50 million viewer of this, and taylor swift. [ laughter ] >> you went to gettysburg for the ceremony this year. prior presidents have gone. president obama has gone in the past. why did he not go this time around? >> well, there was certainly a lot of air out of the balloon in gettysburg.
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he didn't exactly not go, he just -- he was never going to go, i guess. certainly has a lot of other problems. >> he has linked himself to lincoln from the beginning. >> very much so. >> reporter: pretty much since he announced he was going to run for president. >> very much so. there is a very horrible irony here. president kennedy was supposed to give the 100th anniversary speech. he pulled out right before because he had a political rally to go to in dallas. but i was hoping he would go. >> why are we so fascinated with this speech 150 year s later? >> because there is so much mythology attached to it. it set out what lincoln set out
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for it to achieve which was to create a scripture and make official it was no longer a war to reunite the union, but have a new freedom that embraced color. >> and it also was a creed for democracy. >> absolutely. and an example of absolutely sublime writing. it is so hard to write a compressed prayer-like thing as lincoln did, and it is astonishing that any human being was able to do it, and that of course adds to its resonance. it's a recitation piece for schools for the last 100 years or so. >> he said that people will little note or long remember what we say here. how long he was. >> absolutely. this was a guy who had a very big ego in addition to talental.
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i wonder if he wasn't focusing on the soldiers. >> what kind of response did it have then. there has been an article recently how he was the first social media president. this actually went viral back in 1863. >> he had already become a master of getting his communications widely published in the press. he used to proofread copy himself to make sure it was right. he was speaking to 10 or 15,000 people, many of whom were hung over because the night before they had been celebrating kind of inappropriately. street parades, music, drunkness, so he is speaking to this group of guys with headaches, but he was always speaking to the country through the press. there was an ap reporter sitting
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behind him transcribing it. and when he was done the guy was shocked, and he said is that it? and lincoln said yes, for the moment. but then the gathered his wits and he read the steno graph to the copy to make sure it was the the same. it was wide read, easy to read, and the response was really political. if you read an republican newspaper, the republican press immediately said it was one of the greatest expressions of humanity ever given on the planet. if you read a democratic paper then you realized that lincoln
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was a fool who could not put two words together and was an embarrassment to the united states. >> what was the impact? >> any impact was slow coming. in terms of its becoming american scripture as many of my friends have noted, that took a while. it really took, sadly it took a time when people didn't want specifics about the african american experience. they want didn't want to remember the second inaugural so much that all people were guilty. all americans north and south were guilty for the sin of slavery. they preferred this very vague, although beautiful declaration of what the country should be. >> time magazine and others have
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put it out there as one of the top ten speeches in history. fair? >> only in the top ten? it should be fire than the top ten. nothing was as -- as gorgeous as succinct and as lasting as the gettysburg address. >> the words are very powerful. and i suggest that people go to the website and listen to it. >> mine won't be as eloquent. >> i will go watch yours as soon as we're done. good to see you. the show may be over, but the conversation continues on twitter and facebook. we'll see you next time. ♪ etobicoke
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. good evening, everyone. welcome to al jazeera america. i'm john siegenthaler in new york. abortion wars - landmark votes from the supreme court and a city that could profoundly change the direction of the bitter fight. living in america, making ends meet on minimum wage - reality for millions - what a day pay gets for thanksgiving dinner. rob ford flops - toronto's mayor keeps his day job and loses something else. gettysburg, lincoln - the speech that changed america 150 years ago tonight.

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