tv PBS News Hour PBS December 8, 2014 6:00pm-7:01pm PST
captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions >> woodruff: news on the failed rescue attempt in yemen of an american photojournalist. we examine the risks and odds of success for freeing american hostages from their captors. good evening, i'm judy woodruff. >> ifill: and i'm gwen ifill. also ahead this monday, as protests against police killings continue in cities across the country. younger protesters weigh in on race and justice in america and why they march. >> woodruff: plus, struggles of the homeless in a place known for wealth and innovation. >> we have a regional housing crisis. we have the most expensive housing market in the nation and it takes five minimum wage jobs to afford to live here.
i think silicon valley is especially unique because it's almost like a tale of two cities >> ifill: and... >> ♪ i'm so tired of being alone. ♪ so tired on my own, won't you help me... ♪ >> ifill: ...al green on a life of music making and preaching the iconic voice of soul. >> woodruff: those are some of the stories we're covering on tonight's pbs newshour. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: ♪ ♪ moving our economy for 160 years. bnsf, the engine that connects us.
>> lincoln financial-- committed to helping you take charge of your life and become you're own chief life officer. >> and the william and flora hewlett foundation, helping people build immeasurably better lives. >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions 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. >> ifill: the justice department announced new guidelines today on federal law enforcement
profiling. the rules build on a 2003 policy that barred racial profiling, and extends it to include the use of religion, national origin, and other characteristics. attorney general eric holder said, amid anger over the killings of black men by white officers, it's vital to have sound policing practices. >> given the limited resources that we have, given the opponents that we face, both here and certainly overseas, we can't afford to profile, to do law enforcement on the basis of stereotypes. it undermines the public trust, ultimately, but also makes us not good at what we need to do. >> ifill: security screening at airports and border checkpoints would be exempt from the new guidelines. they also don't apply to local police departments. >> woodruff: six long-term detainees from guantanamo bay, cuba, began settling in today, in uruguay their new home. the country's defense minister said they'll be "totally free men," the same treatment
refugees receive. the four syrians, one tunisian and one palestinian had been held at guantanamo since 2002. they were originally suspected of ties to al-qaeda, but never charged. 136 detainees remain at guantanamo, half of whom have been cleared for transfer. >> ifill: in afghanistan, the u.s. and nato officially closed their combat mission, after more than 13 years. nato troops participated in the ceremony in kabul, lowering a flag and formally ending their deployment. at its peak in 2011, there were 140,000 foreign troops in afghanistan. after january first, the coalition will maintain a force 13,000 strong. most of them will be americans, including an extra 1,000 troops announced on saturday. >> woodruff: syria and iran today condemned israeli air strikes inside syria. the attacks on sunday hit near the damascus airport and a town near the lebanese border.
israel hasn't confirmed the attacks, but previous air strikes targeted iranian-made missiles bound for lebanon, and the militant group hezbollah. >> ifill: eight people in western china now face the death penalty in high-profile attacks that killed 46 people last spring. a court imposed the sentences today in xinjiang province. authorities blamed the attacks on radical separatists with foreign connections. the province has seen growing unrest as muslim uighurs chafe under chinese rule. >> woodruff: back in this country, two large fires raged in downtown los angeles early this morning, snarling rush hour traffic before fire crews could get them under control. more than 250 firefighters turned out at a block-long construction site where the
first fire broke out. it spread to two neighboring high-rises, and rained burning embers across roads. >> this is right up there with one of the most intense fires that i've seen where it taxed a lot of our resources right away and then the fact that there were multiple incidents going on at the same time it was really challenging for the incident commander to get companies into the right places to surround this thing and fortunately we had a freeway behind us so we had it boxed in but it was just so intense a heat it took a little while to get it. >> woodruff: another large fire also broke out about two miles away. no injuries were reported in either incident, but both were under investigation, and fire officials would not rule out arson. >> ifill: the supreme court refused today to review b.p.'s multi billion dollar settlement stemming from the 2010 gulf oil spill. the oil company argued that it's been forced to pay some businesses for losses that may not have been caused by the disaster. but the court's action makes the settlement final and starts a six-month period for filing claims. >> woodruff: the white house has kicked off a major initiative to train millions of high school
and middle school kids in computer science. today's announcement says the nation's seven largest school districts, along with 50 others, will begin offering introductory computer science classes. much of the focus is on getting more girls and minorities into computer careers. wall street started the week on a sour note, the dow jones industrial average lost 1,006 points to close at 17,852; the nasdaq fell 40 points to close at 4,740; and the s&p 500 slipped 15 to finish at 2,060. falling energy stocks led the way as oil prices slid to $63 a barrel, a new five-year low. >> woodruff: president obama had a royal visitor from britain today, prince william. the pair chatted briefly in the oval office. later, william delivered remarks at the world bank on illegal wildlife trade. the prince's wife kate is also in the u.s. for the visit, but she stayed in new york city where she visited a child-
development center in harlem. >> ifill: still to come on the newshour. what happens when u.s. hostage rescue missions fail? young protesters on race, justice, and why they march. child refugees leave the classroom for the fields to support their families. the extremes of wealth and poverty in silicon valley. controversy lingers over the teams picked for the first-ever college football playoffs. and legendary soul singer al green on a life of making music and preaching. >> woodruff: the fallout kept coming today from saturday's failed u.s. commando raid to free two hostages in yemen. american photographer luke somers and south african teacher pierre korkie were shot to death by their al-qaeda captors before commandos could reach them. >> the president does not at all regret ordering this operation.
>> woodruff: the white house defended the raid, with spokesman josh earnest saying american officials had not known about efforts to win the south african captive's release. >> what i can tell you was us had no information that there were negotiations underway interrupts that is the information i have. that said, we mourn the death of mr. korkie as we mourn the death of mr. somers. >> woodruff: the associated press reported yemen's government did know about the korkie negotiations, and that u.s. officials were present during recent conversations about him. on saturday, the head of the charity that employed korkie, gift of the givers, said his release had been set for sunday, one day after the raid. a ransom was reportedly being paid. >> it was really shocking, especially since last week i told yolande, which is pierre's wife that we will have pierre
home for christmas. >> woodruff: relatives of luke somers also criticized the u.s. raid. coming days after a previous rescue attempt came up empty. >> i'm certain that my life is in danger. >> woodruff: u.s. officials said they had to try again, after al qaida in yemen threatened to murder somers, and showed him in this video released last week. they had set saturday as a deadline. so, late friday, operators from the navy's seal team six flew from djibouti across the gulf of aden, to shabwah province in southern yemen. various reports said they hiked several miles, but they were spotted as they closed in, and a gun battle ensued, giving the militants time to shoot both hostages. yesterday, outgoing secretary of defense chuck hagel defended the planning that led to the raid. >> our process is about as thorough as there can be. is it
imperfect? yes. is there risk? yes. but we start with the fact that we have an american that's being held hostage and that american life is in danger. that's where we start and then we proceed from there. >> woodruff: over the summer, the u.s. also tried and failed to free american journalist james foley, held by the islamic state group in syria. foley and four other western hostages were later beheaded by islamic state members. today, in a new video, a leader of al qaida's branch in yemen denounced that practice. >> filming and promoting it among people in the name of islam and jihad is a big mistake and not acceptable, whatever the justifications are. >> woodruff: we explore the questions raised in the raid with brian jenkins, a terrorism and security expert who has advised in hostage negotiations. e's a senior advisor at the rand corporation. brian jenkins, thank you for joining us. as we just heard, u.s. officials are saying they had no choice but to go after these hostages, that the life of luke somers was in danger.
how would you have assessed the threat here? >> well, i think we've certainly seen numerous examples where al quaida, its affiliates or the islamic state have murdered their hostages in these gruesome videos that we've seen. there's a higher incidence of that. so the threat of death has to be taken seriously. a rescue operation is always going to be a high-risk indefer. it's high risk for the rescuers and high risk for the hostages. >> woodruff: i ask about this because, as i'm sure you've seen, luke somers' family is saying he would be alive if the rescue attempt had not been made. >> you know, that's something i certainly cannot say. i mean, as i say, we've seen one american after another murdered by their captors.
if there had been no rescue attempt, then there would be criticisms because the united states had not made an effort to rescue a hostage, and if that hostage were subsequently killed. keep in mind, you know, there have been -- just taking a quick count of some of the recent hostage rescue attempts that have been made by either american, british or french commandos in afghanistan, somalia, yemen, iraq, syria, we've got about 19 of those tries, 14 of them resulted in freeing at least some of the hostages. five were failures. hostage rescues can fail either because the situation has changed and the hostage is not where the intelligence had reported, or they fail because the hostages are killed in a gun
fight. out of a total of 41 hostages involved in those cases, nine were killed, and 32 were rescued. so that says, look, it's about a 20% chance of being killed in these operations. >> woodruff: since the u.s. has made it very clear it doesn't negotiate with hostage-takers, doesn't even consider paying ransom, what are the options? are there any options? >> the options are either simply to stand by and do nothing and hope that the captors will respond to humanitarian appeals and release their captives, or that some other government that may have some greater influence
over the captors will persuade them to do so. we haven't had a great deal of success in that happening lately. or the alternative is to attempt a rescue, as we've seen in a number of cases. >> woodruff: well, you just pointed out -- at least what the most recent statistics are. but give us a sense of just how difficult a rescue attempt like this one is. >> you know, as i say, they're going to be a long shot, and if you look over the period of time, hostages are killed in a variety of ways. the hostages may be killed during the initial abduction, attempt to resist. a hostage may be killed while attempting to escape his or her captors. a hostage may be murdered in cold blood by their captors, or a hostage may be killed during the course of the rescue. of those hostages who are
killed, not of all the hostages, but of those who are killed, then about 80% ofo them are killed during the rescue. but what we have seen in recent years, particularly with hostages falling into the hands of these jihadist groups, is a greater willingness on the part of those hostage-takers to murder their captives and especially in the case of american or british captives. >> woodruff: which makes it a much more difficult set of options for the u.s. to consider. brian jenkins, we thank you very much. >> thank you. >> ifill: highways have been blocked, retail establishments shut down, and public transportation slowed as mostly young protesters have taken it
to the streets in the wake of a pair of grand jury non- indictments. today, president obama and other political leaders weighed in again, as the outcry continued across the nation. protests started up again this morning in new york, as demonstrators blocked a major highway on staten island. last week, a grand jury there opted not to indict a white police officer. in the death of a black man, eric garner. the now-daily demonstrations have swept from coast to coast. most of the rallies, like these in manhattan, have been peaceful, but they've laid bare a deep vein of distrust. >> you know, i'm scared. i know a lot of people afraid of the police and they are here to protect us. >> i don't know that it's a matter of racist cops or not but there's something definitely wrong with the system and i think the system should be indicted. >> ifill: today, new york state attorney general eric
schneiderman sought to address that crisis in confidence. he wrote to the governor asking for authority to investigate all deaths of unarmed civilians by police. elsewhere, about 200 protesters in philadelphia braved the cold to stage a die-in after yesterday's eagles football game. police looked on, but did not intervene. >> people have the right to their opinions. they have the right to protest. that's what this country was founded on and we have the obligation to protect everybody. >> ifill: it was a much different scene in berkeley, california where violence erupted for a second night. authorities said a splinter group vandalized and looted, and police fired tear gas to break up the crowd. >> a kid with a hammer comes in, throws brake fluid like he was going to light the store on fire. guy with a crowbar comes in and starts stealing stuff. >> ifill: in an interview with bet, airing this evening, president obama appealed to young people especially to show
calm and patience. >> this isn't going to be solved overnight. this is something that is deeply rooted in our society. it's deeply rooted in our history. we have to be persistent because typically progress is in steps. it's in increments. you know, when you're dealing with something as deeply rooted as racism or bias in society, you've got to have vigilance, but you've got to recognize it's going to take some time and you just have to be steady. >> ifill: and in cleveland, the mother of 12-year-old tamir rice also spoke out today. she demanded a white officer be tried and convicted for killing her son, who was holding a toy gun when he was shot last month. >> ifill: a new poll by usa today and the pew research center shows age matters. 74% of those under 30 say the policeman who killed new yorker eric garner should have been charged, but among those over 65, only 41% think so. we wondered about the voices behind the young faces of these rolling protests and what these
conscientious objectors hope to accomplish. so we invited three of them to join us. tory russell is the founder of a group called hands up united. he is in new york city tonight. molly greider is a paralegal who became an activist in response to michael brown's death in ferguson, missouri. she's in st. louis. and jessica pierce is a co- founder of a group called the black youth project. she is in san francisco. jessica pierce, why do you can march? >> hi, how are you doing? >> woodruff: why do you march? i march because this is literally our lives at stake right now. it is literally our blood that's being shed on these streets. every 28 hours, there's a black person killed by a police force in this country. there are more people getting shot and killed on the streets here than in any line of defense in any other country. so really, what i march for is my life and my right to live it. >> woodruff: molly greider, is this about race or is this about
something broader than that? >> i think first and foremost it's about race. i think, beyond that, there are broader issues, but i think that the issue at the forefront is certainly race. >> woodruff: so why do you march? >> because i feel morally obligated to. the fact that i'm not black does not mean that i should sit at home and not participate. >> woodruff: tory russell, same question to you. why do you march? >> i march to be free. i have a 5-year-old son, i have people in the community that wants to be free. we just think about the educational system, the judicial system, how the police are killing us. we're just marching, really, for systemic change. >> woodruff: let's break this apart a little bit, marching for change. everyone wants change, that seems to be the rallying cry. but to change what, exactly? >> we're trying to change the policies in this country. we're also trying to change the
minds of a lot of people in this country. when we look at the case of tamir rice, for example, he was shot a second and a half after police arrived on scene. it is literally at the point in this country where black people are seen as criminals, we are seen as having less rights than even a rabid dog. you know, police treat, you know, rabid dogs with more respect than they treat black people at this point. so, i mean, really, we're trying to change policies, we're trying to change the oversight that we see of police forces in this country. there should be community review boards that actually have real power. we're trying to make sure that even in the case of eric garner, where there was video footage, there isn't always cameras and we have to make sure that there are policies that speak to the fact black lives matter in this country. >> woodruff: how much of this is about moral and how much about legal persuasion, that is
changes minds versus changing the law? >> i think it's about both. i think certainly minds and hearts need to be changed. i think that, thrrl particularly the mind and hearts of many white people in the country need to be changed, but beyond that a laws certainly have to be changed and police and policies need to be changed. >> ifill: let me ask you this, molly, i want to stick with you for a second because a lot of people watching and listening to the three of you are saying i don't understand why people are lying down in the streets, what they think they're accomplishing. what do you say to them? >> you know, part of that is disrupting business as usual. business as usual gets people killed. business as usual got michael brown shot. business as usual got tamir rice shot. business as usual got boyd killed. that's not accepted by us. so we do die-ins, block highways, have sit-ins in
different places to disrupt the normal flow of people's daily lives. >> ifill: tory russell, you're in new york where the occupy movement got its roots on wall street. yet a couple of years later, didn't have leaders, people stepping out saying i'm now in charge and a lotto people had -- a lot of people had diverse goals. how do you know this doesn't turn into that? >> we coordinate with most of the people around the country. what you're seeing is a response from october in october and fergusonaction.com. before i got to new york, i was in cleveland at tamir rice's funeral meeting with organizers in cleveland and some came down from pittsburgh. so this is an organized movement and we have the same demands and goals. >> ifill: jessica pierce, let me ask you whether this is a new face of the civil rights movement. we have been about 50 years,
we've spent time walk about anniversaries and leaders who led marchs across bridges and freedom walks in the south. now you're doing it by technology? >> technology and the tried and true methods as well. people are seeing people doing the die-ins in the streets and protesting in the streets, but we were also making sure people turned out in the past election and holding elected officials accountable on the local level. we're organizing in new orleans, the bay area, san francisco and in new york and d.c. and we're doing all the organizing methods and also making sure our revolution is being broadcast on social media. we're inside and outside the beltway, ton computers and in the streets. >> ifill: molly greider, jessica pierce has worked a lot
for the naacp and traditional organizations. have you been involved in this kind of movement before? is this brand new for you? >> it's new for me. i have not been involved with the naacp or other organization before except a little bit of work. >> ifill: so why this? when treyvon martin was killed, i went to marchs in st. louis for him. but i think the fact michael brown was killed in st. louis really made me feel compelled to be part of this fong the longer term. >> ifill: corey russell, how long have you been involved and did this worry you before these particular incidents all cropped up? >> most definitely. i participated in marches and protests for kerry ball, a young man killed by st. louis please, and treyvon martin. i follow in the footsteps of my
brother protesting in st. louis for 30 years. >> ifill: do these protests, these coast-to-coast die-ins and road blocks, does this feel like a different stage? >> yeah, it's younger, fresher and i think there we're more connected than most people think. this is mott the civil rights movement. you can tell by how i have a hat on, my t-shirt and how i work in my shoes. this is not the civil rights movement. this is the oppressed people's movement. you will see us, gay folk, poor black folk, brown folk, white people and we're all out here for the same reasons. we want to be free. we believe we have the right over laws. the question we keep getting to is what's legal. we need to be talking about what's right. we're not heading that way. we need to go out in the streets and block some of that and make this system ungovernorrable and
disrupted till we get our own self-determination and self-liberation. >> ifill: jessica pierce, what do you think should be next and is it something that needs to be organized in a former structure? >> i think it has to be organized on some level because it's not just about building, it's about sustaining the movement. it's about turning this moment into a movement which we're focused on which is why we had actions around the eric garner case and the verdict that came out. we are continuing to maintain the structure that allows people to come in, join chapters and allows people to determine what they think are the solutions, that allows people to get trained on the different tactics and prolong this movement. but also to make sure that on a local level we're actually engaging these targets on an ongoing basis because i think the point that people are
missing right now is yes this is hitting everyone now because you're being force to have had to deal with this, it's on your news every day, at your dinner tables and on your streets and it's stopping you from getting home and to work but what people need to know is even when people leave the streets is that we still are going to be organizing and we're going to be doing it in every way possible and that's how we sustain the movement is by organizing, mobilizing, building relationships, interfacing with local officials. i was in d.c. last week with testifying at a hearing for public safety with the new mayor elect to make sure people know whatever it is we are going to do it and more. >> ifill: jessica pierce, molly greider and tory russell, thank you all. >> thank you. >> ifill: have you been a part of the recent protest in your city? tell us why by posting a video on an instagram or youtube and tag it to "newshour", find directions on
pbs.org/newshour. >> woodruff: they are being called syria's lost generation, the over one million children who fled the war to end up in refugee camps in neighboring lebanon, turkey, and jordan. marcia biggs brings us this profile of two young girls in lebanon: best friends, forced to work in the fields to feed their families. >> reporter: it's dawn near lob non's bored were sir. i can't like children all over the world, 12-year-old iman and 14-year-old bushra are waiting for their morning ride. but this truck won't take them to school. it will take them to a long day of back-breaking work. iman and busra are from a town in northern syria controlled by
i.s.i.s. they fled their homes two years ago when their village was destroyed. here in lebanon they tell us their families have struggled to make ends meet, that their parents are too old to work. local land owners often prefer to hire children who are cheaper and have more energy, and the girls say they choose to work to save their parents the humiliation of having to ask for money. "i went to work, so we could pay the rent." "if they borrow money and somebody comes and talks about them the next day, we can't bear that." the u.n. estimates almost 300,000 syrian refugee children living in lebanon today not currently enrolled in school, having to work and support their families. the children in the potato fields are the sole bread winners of the family earning as little as $4 a day. yet these two are some of the lucky ones. a local organization set up
shifts after school for working children. >> they came to us and said we cannot survive if our children don't go to work, so we need the work and the money but we also need the jigs. >> reporter: does it bother you you're making it easier for them to go to work? >> as a kid, he has a right to play and not go to work. it's hard. they need this work to survive. >> reporter: by the time they get to school in the afternoon, they are exhausted but say they desperately want to be there. if only for a couple of hours. >> it's our dream. >. what is your dream. "our dream is to go back to our country and to go back to the way it was, to have a break from work and the disdain on people's faces."
>> what do you want to be when you grow up? >> "when i grow up, i want to be a doctor so i can treat every person who is ill and not take any money," she says. "i would treat them for free. i want to help any countrymen." but bushra is not so optimistic. in the future my friends will be teachers and doctors, but i won't be able to be. that's my fate. she says. yet, here in this little tent after a long day of work, it's a fate they continue to fight every day. marcia biggs, in the pika valley, lebanon. >> woodruff: last week, the too many program topped to millions of refugees because of operating funds.
since then, money has been raised but well short of what's needed for the coming year. >> ifill: back in this country, we turn now to a look at the homeless in silicon valley. their very existence is evidence of a widening income divide in one of the wealthiest and fastest growing regions in the nation. scott shafer of kqed san francisco has our report. >> reporter: this may not be the image that comes to mind when you think of silicon valley, but it's a scene that's become all too familiar here. homeless people wedged between a freeway and a residential neighborhood. >> you will find a lot of encampments tucked in little nooks and crannies. for over the past two decades this is how the city has hidden the homeless problem from the citizens. >> reporter: anthony king has lived on and off the street 15
years, now has an apartment and spends his days advocating for the homeless. on this day king is visiting narnia, an encampment named after the mythical world imagined by author c.s. lewis. most residents set up makeshift homes he didn't behind the brush. robert hernandez, an unemployed roofer, says it's only a matter of time before authorities give him and his neighbors the boot. >> when they come and sweep us, they come and say you have to have all your property gone or else we're just taking it. it's really stressful because the neighborhood behind us, it's a scene, you know, a crowd of people pushing shopping carts with all their belongings into their neighborhood. well, of course, they're not going to have that so we have to move at night. >> reporter: hundreds of similar tent cities across silicon valley aye all within a few miles of the world's most profitable tech companies. last week the most notorious and perhaps largest encampment in the united states was
demolished. known by the representatives as a jungle, the camp of 300 people stretched across 6 acres along the muddy banks of coyote creek. for jeers san joseeé officials turned a blind eye but an increase in crime, growing piles of garbage and human waste polluting the river fueled neighborhood complains. ray is the homeless response manager. >> but to the unsanitary conditions, bad weather and challenges we're seeing people experience every day in this tragic place, decided to close the encampment and move people into stability. >> reporter: san joseeé set aside $4 million to relocate residents and connect them with services. downtown streets team head bid eileen richardson is working to move people out of the jungle and into housing. >> we have been working night and day to try to provide housing. >> reporter: for kathleen
claymore, the stability of a hope is welcomed. >> i'm about to have a place for me and my kids. they don't have to be with my aunt. make be with me. i've always worked. i have good jobs and a lot of skills, so i'm willing to do whatever i can because these kids are my life. >> reporter: so far 144 jungle residents have been placed in housing, another 62 received vouchers worth $10,000 a year. but with average rents topping $36,000 a year, many are having a tough time finding a place to live. >> over that way, momma. >> reporter: on demolition day, displaced residents spilled into the streets. some gathered in a nearby parking lot to console one another. among them, edward o his wife and two children. >> our situation, we don't have that much money to get a place. we're supposed to get housing
but it's taking forever. >> we can't find no where else to go because they don't want kids, even to rent a room or a studio. >> reporter: with an influx of tech workers to the region, competition for housing is fierce. silicon valley now has a vacancy rate of just 2.5%. >> we have a regional housing crisis. we have the most expensive housing market in the nation and takes five minimum-wage jobs to afford to live here. silicon valley, almost like a tale of two cities. >> reporter: jennifer loving runs destination home, pushing for an ambitious plan to build 6,000 affordable units in the valley. for it to work, loving says, tech companies need to step up and apply some silicon valley ingenuity to this problem. >> what we don't have is somebody from our private sector community saying let's invest in creating a lot of units and we'll help you, whether it's design, innovation, money. we solve harder problems than this in this valley all the time, but for some reason this
hasn't been a problem that we've been able to solve. >> reporter: exacerbating the situation, the elimination of state redevelopment funds in 2011. >> with the distribution of redevelopment, we lost millions of dollars that we used to fund the development of affordable housing throughout the community. the dollars are gone. >> reporter: to help bridge the gap, san joseeé's city counl last month passed a fee requiring developers to contribute funds to affording housing but the revenue likely won't kick in for another five years. for silicon valley's 8,000 homeless residents, that might not be soon enough. for the pbs "newshour", i'm scott shafer in san joseeé. >> woodruff: college football will see its first-ever championship playoffs at the end of this season, but there's already criticism about the new arrangement for selecting who
makes it into the semifinals. the four top ranked teams at the end of season made the cut. yesterday, a selection committee whose members include former secretary of state condoleeza rice announced that first ranked alabama will play the number four seed, ohio state. and number two oregon will face third-ranked florida state. left out, t.c.u., which just a week ago was ranked third and would have made the semi-finals and baylor. baylor defeated kansas state saturday night. but its coach art briles wondered later if the new system would have rewarded him for running up the score. >> we're there on the 38 yard line with an 11 point lead. we're playing at home. i mean, i can take a knee or we can try to score again. i'm looking at coach snyder on the other side who i have
tremendous respect for and i think do i take a knee or try to score style points for a more convincing victory. the playoffs begin on new year's day. to help explain how this new system works, the anger over some of the choices, and the money connection we turn to mike pesca. he is the host of slate's daily news and discussion podcast "the gist." he's also a contributor to npr. mike pesca, welcome back to the program. so remind us why was college football looking for a new way to end the season? what was wrong with the college bowl system? >> well, there was couple of things wrong wit. for a number of years, there was no championship, so the a.p. writers would sort of get to decide who is the number one with. then they at least tried to pair the best two teams in juan-game -- one-game playoff, a championship game. but when you pair what you think are the best two teams, a third or fourth team will have a complaint. so they expand it to four teams. now the fifth or sixth team will have a complaint.
because in big-time football, there are five power conferences but four slots in the playoffs. see how one is left over? that's either t.c.u. or baylor. someone's going to complain. >> woodruff: why not go to six or eight teams? >> and maybe one day they will, and there's so much money at stake. $12.3 billion -- sorry -- $7.3 billion over 12 years. eventually, i think they will, because i think the experiment will show americans have such an app title for football, these games will be terribly exciting even if an individual game isn't a good game, just the idea of a playoff. in american sports, we love playoffs. not every other country has playoffs. the english soccer league does not have playoffs, so that's sort of an americanism. maybe in a few years it will expand to eighth and we'll be debating who's the ninth team left on the outside. >> woodruff: feel for baylor
and t.c.u. but there are good, empirical reasons why they're not in, but nothing to do with the one last touchdown as the coach was intimating. >> woodruff: make it more transparent for us. explain why this is a fair system. >> oh, i'm not going to say that but i'll say why this is the best result they could have with four teams. you have an undefeated team, florida state, the championship last year. that's not causing a lot of controversy. once you're in the playoffs you have a chance to win. but ranked third. then alabama and oregon are seen as the best teams. so it comes down to a debate between ohio state and the two teams from the big 12. now the problem is the big 12, remember when i did my hands? i did it because i think numbers sometimes confuse college football. the big 12 has 10 teams in it, the big ten has 14 teams in it. by rule, you can't have a
championship game unless you have at least 12 teams in your conference. so despite the name, the big 12 doesn't qualify to have the championship game meaning it robs one of their teams of a chance to play and a chance to play against the good team. and i bet if baylor and t.c.u., if they were even two terrible teams in their division and afforded another chance to play last weekend like ohio state and florida state and oregon, if they were afforded that, they might be in the picture. > >> woodruff: now that that's all clarified, there are a lot of complaints today money is a part of this, how much money the schools can make. how do you see that? >> that's always the undershot of college football. it's all about -- it's not amateurism, it's professional football with unpaid players. that's a totally separate issue. a big problem is the four schools that have made it sort of have the most momentum and money behind them. baylor and t.c.u., you can't
look at them as underdogs, but compared to the goliaths, the four teams that have made it, they could consider themselves a little bit of the scrappy underdogs. that said, on a football basis, i don't if their wins are as good comparatively as the other schools. it's a shame a, of a bunch of teams, two have to be left out. >> woodruff: we'll be watching around new year's. mike pesca, thank you. >> you're welcome. >> ifill: last night the annual kennedy center honors were awarded to five artists for elevating the cultural vibrancy of the nation. singer al green, ballerina patricia mcbride, singer- songwriter sting, comedienne lily tomlin, and actor tom hanks, and singer al green. green was paid tribute by contemporary soul singer usher.
♪ ♪ ♪ let's stay together... ♪ >> ifill: as well as veteran hitmakers earth wind and fire. before the ceremony, jeffrey brown taked to green about his career. ♪ so tired of being alone... ♪ >> brown: as the kennedy center proclamation reads, "al green's iconic voice stirs our souls in a style that is all his own." and indeed, for a period in the 1970s, green stirred a lot of souls here on the program soul unveiling hit after hit. ♪ ♪ he would ultimately sell some 20 million records and be named one of the 100 greatest artists of all time by "rolling stone" magazine. >> ♪ i'm so in love with you... ♪ >> brown: through the years, his legion of fans including a
rather prominent one have remembered every word. >> they didn't think i was gonna do it. >> ♪ i'm... ( cheers and applause ) ... so in love with you... ♪ >> brown: green himself came from a family of share-croppers in a small town in arkansas. he began singing gospel music as part of his family's performing group before turning to secular soul music and making it big from his adopted home town of memphis. along with fame, though, came a series of personal setbacks including a serious fall off a performance stage and then a turn back to religion. green became a pastor, set up a church in memphis and for close to two decades recorded only gospel music. eventually, even while remaining focused on his preaching, green found his way back to popular music and performance. recording duets with musicians
from various genres. ♪ ♪ in 2003, he released i can't stop with his longtime producer willie mitchell. and later collaborated with questlove of the roots on the album "lay it down." and with justin timberlake at the 2009 grammy awards show. >> loving you... ♪ we talked at washington's kennedy center on the eve of his being honored. can you remember what it was about soul music, rhythm and blues, that first grabbed you, and made you want to do it? >> it was-- it was seeing mister brown, and mister cook. >> brown: james brown, sam cook? >> yeah, and otis redding, on stage, and i said, "boy, i wish i could do that," and i was like
13, 12, 14, yeah, i was just, you know, i was in grade school. >> brown: did you, in a sense, create your voice, i mean that famous, the falsetto, the sweetness of the voice, but also has the kind of rawness of soul? >> yeah, well some lady asked me the other day, well, do you have to drink hot tea? i said no ma'am. do you have to do a training, something exercise before you sing? and i said no ma'am. so what do you do? i said i don't do anything, i let it alone. >> brown: you let it alone? >> yeah. >> brown: its in there somewhere? >> in there somewhere. >> brown: and so you sort of became al green in some way. >> yeah. >> brown: was it becoming al green, or becoming yourself? >> no, i was in san antonio, texas, and i made a vow, and that's what started all that, that i would work, and when i work i work as hard as i can every time, no matter if i'm sick, i'm well, i don't feel good, whatever, i think the audience deserved to see the best there is, and that's why on
stage im an ass kicker. ( laughter ) that's right, i always kick ass. >> brown: and what was the key, what is the key to soul music, what is the appeal, what is it that you think grabs people? >> i think the sincereness, the rawness of the soul, especially otis redding, he sings to, and thats very hard to sing like that, very difficult, you should try it jeff, it's... ♪ ♪ >> brown: yeah, my wife has heard it, i think we'll probably leave it at that. >> okay. >> brown: there was a certain point in your career, and your career was soaring? >> we were on a 48 day tour over
in london, and england, the u.k., and when i came back to america all the girls were shouting and screaming, and jumping up on the stage, and i said get back, get back, what's wrong with you? so i was asking what's wrong with these people, and he says don't you now, your music is on everywhere, you're a star. i said star? >> brown: but then there was a point in your life where you decided, you turned back to religion, you decided not to record soul anymore, was it. >> yep. >> brown: why? you just felt like you couldn't? >> jeff, please, of course i felt like i couldn't or i would have, but i was recreated, made over, changed from within to without, and that was in 73. >> brown: and was it hard for you originally to step away from that big life you had of celebrity, and hit songs? >> yeah, but i don't know how i did it, i wouldn't want to do it again because its difficult, you know, you in milwaukee, wisconsin, you're doing like a revival type christian set right
here and you're in a theatre, and the door is open, and people are coming by the door and it says al green at the top, and they're saying how much is it to get in, and they say nothing, its free, nobody will come, if its free nobody wants to come, if its $600 a ticket, "oh, give me four of those," but if its free nobody wants it. that was mind boggling for me. >> brown: you know, you describe in your autobiography a kind of wrestling, split personality, and wrestling with yourself all your life. you write here about the split personality, the different al greens that you've been wrestling with all your life, and you say, you even say here, most of the time they cant even stand living in the same skin, you know? >> its a different personality to see him on an r&b stage, and
than to see him in the tabernacle. >> brown: so even just talking to me now, you refer to him. >> yeah, him. >> brown: al green in the third person. >> its just the character that you have to put with each individual instance. >> brown: do you, you know, were sitting here at the kennedy center, you're being honored for this lifetime achievement, when you look back do you kind of see a clean path, or do you see a lot of twists and turns where things could have gone different ways? >> hills and valleys, and everything else, yeah, i had some low points, high points, all that, yeah. i needed the low points to appreciate the high points, and i needed the high points to pull me out of the low points. >> brown: are you surprised to be getting this honor? >> yeah. i've been doing this forty years, nobody gave me a-- nobody gave me much of anything. i had to work for everything i got. i had to, you know, knuckle down
and work for it, that is the way they made me do it, so to be getting this after singing for forty years, you know, im happy, and amazed about it. >> brown: alright, al green, thanks so much, and congratulations. >> thank you. >> woodruff: you can see our profile of ballet legend patricia mcbride, another 2014 kennedy center honoree this year. >> woodruff: again, the major developments of the day. the white house said president obama has no regrets about ordering a hostage rescue mission in yemen on saturday. american luke somers and south african pierre korkie were shot to death by their captors. and protests over police killings of minorities began again in cities around the u.s. in an interview with the bet network, the president urged calm and said racial progress is
"going to take some time." >> ifill: on the newshour online right now it's the season for giving and so we here at the newshour are giving something special to our fans. every day for the next twelve days we'll be posting a gift on our homepage and on facebook, everything from a newshour ringtone, to a newshour-themed crossword puzzle. today we're kicking it off with an ultra h.d. yule log video that you can stream on your phone, tablet, or tv. find that, and check back every day for the latest gift. >> woodruff: and that's the newshour for tonight. on tuesday, we'll look at, new technologies to help humans talk and listen to dogs. i'm judy woodruff. >> ifill: and i'm gwen ifill. we'll see you on-line... and again here tomorrow and again here tomorrow evening. for all of us here at the pbs newshour, thank you and good night.
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