tv Weekends With Alex Witt MSNBC December 26, 2015 4:00am-5:01am PST
good morning, everyone. welcome to "weekends with alex witt." i'm dara brown. alex is off today. here's what's happening. a holiday weekend washout, heavy rains in the south, forcing dramatic rescues as flood alerts are issued across the region. all the strange weather details up ahead. in politics, donald trump does not take the christmas holiday off, at least not on twitter. we'll tell you about his latest messages related to the race for the white house. new reaction today to a report that the obama administration plans to deport families that crossed into the u.s. illegally last year. details on that. and the science behind one aspect of "star wars." can a weapon used in the film actually be created on earth?
a rough christmas night in alabama. a high-water rescue took place in the town of trussville, with crews is pulling two women who became stranded in their car. earlier in the day, a tornado ripped through part of the state. birmingham took a direct hit. several homes were destroyed. the storm there brought this damage also behind wednesday's deadly outbreak in tennessee, georgia, and mississippi. at least 15 people are killed. survivors are trying to pick up what's left of their homes. >> they're going to make it a lot better. we came out with the clothes we had on their backs. >> when something happens like this, we all come together and make sure everybody is taken care of. >> meantime, many in the northeast saw extreme warmth on the christmas holiday. people donned shorts and t-shirts to go outside. and flowers are blooming like it's spring and not winter. well, at least in colorado, there is a reality check. the national weather service grand junction received 4.9 inches of snow, making it the
city's snowiest christmas on record. for more on the forecast and the rest of the day's weather headlines, here's msnbc meteorologist bonnie schneider. bonnie, another wallop of severe weather could hit the south again this weekend. is that right? >> absolutely, dara. we're also ramping up for a major snowstorm in the southwest. first to the southeast, where we do have thunderstorms rolling through little rock, into memphis, into paducah, kentucky. this is the last thing we need. we've had so much rain, several inches on the ground. and unfortunately, there is more rain in the forecast. you can also see these storms contain frequent lightning strikes. something to keep in mind. flood warnings continue for alabama. the governor declared a state of emergency for all counties in alabama due to flooding, and look at the flood threat now into st. louis, springfield, even down to dallas, where we could see severe weather brewing. plenty of rain coming through over the next 24 hours. dara, i'll talk more about the snowstorm in just a bit. >> bonnie, thanks so much. well, now to politics and christmas tidings. president obama and the first lady continue their annual tradition of visiting the marine
corps base in hawaii as part of their thanks to all military service members. >> we never take for granted what all of you do for the american people. you help keep us free, you help keep us strong, and whatever service you're in, whatever branch, we are extraordinarily grateful for everything that you do, every single day. and we hope you guys had a wonderful christmas. >> nbc's kelly o'donnell is traveling with the president in hawaii. kelly, good morning to you. what more can you tell us about what president obama's visit with the troops was like? >> reporter: well, this is one of those opportunities where the president and the first lady really get to spend some time with men and women in uniform and their families. they get to do some photos with them, actually have some personal conversations, and that adds a special dimension to this visit. the president also acknowledged that there were losses of u.s. american personnel in afghanistan, reminding everyone that that is, of course, a
dangerous duty, still even with the drawdown of troops in iraq and afghanistan. so he made note of that in a special way. and really, on a much lighter side, darra, he sort of teased about the fact that when he's here in hawaii, he does his morning workout with marines, on the marine base. that is for security reasons. maybe the downside to that is the president gets to be sort of side by side with some of the fittest men and women in uniform, and he said he's watching guys curl 100 pounds and he's feeling a little less strong as commander in chief when he's up against that. so it was a combination of things. of the family touch, the sort of lighter moments, having his own spouse, mrs. obama, there by him. and at the same time, giving that message over appreciating their service and being aware of the sacrifices of both those in uniform and their families make at this holiday time. dara? >> president obama's vacation comes at a time when his administration is planning to deport hundreds of people that came to the u.s. illegally.
what else can you tell us about this newly unveiled plan? >> reporter: well, this is a program that is a continuation of what has been a part of a mission from the department of homeland security that goes back to 2014. where secretary jeh johnson was setting out guidelines and this particular program would look at those people from central america who are considered what they call recent border crossers. so not involving families who have been here for decades, when might be working in parts of the united states, more immersed in the u.s. culture. these would be people who have been more recently crossing the border, detained in some way, have been through a court process, and in some way in that part, were determined to not be eligible for asylum or some kind of relief in the u.s. typically, that includes some kind of infraction. not necessarily a violent criminal record, but some kind of record that shows that they have somehow violated the immigration laws or have some
kind of criminal record, and that puts them into a system that says that they can, in fact, be sent back. not just the individual, but those who are with them. and what is interesting about this particular announcement is that it comes timed for the holidays. during the obama's hawaiian holiday, his administration is working up a new plan to deal with one of the hottest issues on the campaign trail. >> if i didn't bring up illegal immigration, which is a huge problem, we wouldn't even be talking about it. >> our immigration system is broken. and we need to keep families together. >> reporter: tonight, this new action involves plans to carry out raids across the country, to deport a few hundred undocumented immigrants the from central america. already ordered to leave by u.s. courts. immigration and customs enforcement says the focus is on those who pose a threat to national security, public safety, and border security. but relatives, undocumented spouses, and children with no
criminal records would be sent back, too, drawing sharp criticism from the president's political left. bernie sanders writes, "i am very disturbed." hillary clinton's campaign says she has real concerns and points to the need for a full and fair hearing. but the gop front-runner eagerly claimed credit. in classic trump tweet speak, wow, because of the pressure put on by me, ice to launch large-scale deportation raids. it's about time. experts say announcing the plan now, over the christmas holiday, is meant to maximize attention, especially in central america. >> the government is sending a political message to americans that they will enforce immigration law and to central americans that if they try to come here illegally, the government will send them back. >> and there have been other instances where administration officials have tried to send that message to a population that might be targeting the u.s. as a means of getting here at some point. saying to them, if you make the
trip, there is no guarantee that you would be able to stay in the united states. the white house is not talking about this, but department of homeland security officials are. and they say it's really part of their normal operations, and this is just a new piece of what has been a plan in the works over the last year or so. dara? >> kelly o'donnell reporting for us from hawaii. thank you so much, kelly. now to some other news. a wildfire in southern california is rapidly growing and forcing evacuations. the fire started just before midnight in ventura county. officials say in just a few hours, it grew to more than 900 acres. the area is seeing wind gusts of more than 45 miles an hour. a major freeway and the pacific coast highway have been shut down for several hours now. authorities in houston say a christmas day fire at a storefront mosque appears suspicious. the nbc affiliate says the atf found multiple points of the fire's origin. it started about a half hour after midday services and took firefighters a few minutes to put out. fortunately, no one was hurt. and the big man wasn't the
only one going into a chimney on christmas eve. a phoenix family found their cat stuck in the chimney. the kitty, who has been dubbed santa claus, was rescued by firefighters after being trapped overnight. >> when he went in, he was an almost white cat. and now he's black as soot. so -- >> the family says their daughter is visiting from the holiday and brought her cat along. they have since boarded up the chimney for the rest of their stay. the east coast and the south will bask in record-breaking warm weather. this after setting christmas eve and day high temperatures. christmas day in new york was the warmest on record for the city. 68 degrees. nbc's kristen dahlgren is in new york's central park this morning. good morning, kristen. how have new yorkers embraced this warm weather? >> good morning, out here in central park, they are loving it. december 26th, it's already 53 degrees out here. we saw people running by in shorts. you know, a lot of the country
did struggle with the weather this christmas, but new york is not one of them. >> reporter: forget the pudding, it was all about ice cream in new york. >> what's christmas normally like, the weather? >> white! >> how about this year? >> sweaty. >> reporter: ice cream trucks doing summer-like business, as temperatures soared to a record 66 degrees. >> best christmas ever? >> best christmas ever. we worked until 2:00 in the morning. >> reporter: in central park, short sleeves is replaced winter wear. >> new york christmas, never think this. >> reporter: and in this bizarre-o world, buffalo, where there would normally be feet of snow, instead saw a lake day, complete with jet skis and scuba diving. near usually frigid providence, rhode island, christmas day was a perfect day to hit the links. >> unbelievable. >> reporter: up and down the east coast, record highs were shattered for a second day. >> it's amazing. we spend half our christmases in
florida, so it's kind of like being in florida. >> reporter: but there was no celebrating at eastern ski areas where no snow meant no business. there was also not much holiday joy for fedex. the shipping giant skewered on social media when packages weren't under the tree in time. "i don't think irate is an accurate word right now. thanks for ruining a 12-year-old's christmas." fedex employees volunteered to work on christmas, as the company blamed heavier than planned volume and severe weather outbreaks. and you hear about those severe weather outbreaks. people here in new york know that they are pretty lucky. today, dara, likely to stay in the 50s only, so no records today, but tomorrow we could see another record. and listen to this. if the forecast holds out, it's not likely to dip below freezing for the rest of this year. that means no 32-degree days or below in december. that hasn't happened since they started keeping records. >> shorts and flip-flops for the new year.
kristen dahlgren in central park. thanks so much, kristen. well, donald trump is at it again on twitter. coming up, his response to new polling showing hillary clinton beating him in a head-to-head match. (vo) some call it giving back. we call it share the love. during our share the love event, get a new subaru, and we'll donate $250 to those in need. bringing our total donations to over sixty-five million dollars. and bringing love where it's needed most. love. it's what makes a subaru, a subaru. wheall i can think abouthit, is getting relief. only nicorette mini has a patented fast-dissolving formula. it starts to relieve sudden cravings fast. i never know when i'll need relief. that's why i only choose nicorette mini. ♪ everything kids touch during cold and flu season sticks with them.
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welcome back. now to politics and donald trump taking no break christmas day, at least not on twitter. he was sending this message. the people said i wouldn't run or i wouldn't lead or do well, in first place and leading by 21%, now say i won't beat hillary. this coming on the same day he took credit for the obama administration's administration reported plan to raid families that came across the border illegally. so you might imagine trump taking credit for talking about these deportations, but what prompted the administration's
plan? i'm assuming it has nothing to do with donald trump, correct? >> it has nothing to do with donald trump, dara. but here's the bottom line, the administration has annually continued to deport certain undocumented workers of immigrants who are here illegally, simply because they do pose some sort of risk or some sort of criminal risk to the country. in 2012, actually, there were 409,000 illegal immigrants who were deported. and that is a sharp decline, dara, from the just 235,000 who were deported in the last year. so, really, the administration is declining, but the announcement, of course, comes hot on the heels of a political discussion on the republican side of things, where, of course, this is dominating the headlines. >> and staying with that, the latest poll in a head-to-head matchup nationally shows donald trump losing to hillary clinton by two points. obviously, he's been underestimated before. and when it comes to
state-by-state matchups, overall, does that show trump in better or worse shape now? >> well, i think it shows him about equally. and here's the bottom line. the you look at what's happening with the immigration debate, this really does -- the administration's recent announcement does put the former secretary clinton in sort of a tough spot. because she's got to cater to the far left of her party and of course the more independent voters, who mr. trump is going to go after. but here's what i'm kind of looking closely at. if you look at the people who are supporting mr. trump, they are very fed up with the washington establishment and that's really propelled him to the top of the pack. but he's going the need the washington establishment should he become the party's nominee. and they'll have to help him take the white house and unite and coalesce behind him. we both know, not a lot of republicans are falling in line behind mr. trump. >> speaking of the republicans, one of your latest pieces for bloomberg news is called "how
anti-trump republicans are blowing their chance in new hampshire." tell us, how? >> well, you know, i was thereupon aup there and i spoke to a lot of the independent voters who are still trying to decide between the three governors, governor christie, governor kasich, former governor bush. they said, wait a minute, if we all rallied behind one candidate, we would be able to hopefully catch mr. trump. so that, really, i think there's a growing frustration that the establishment, more moderate, independent-minded candidates aren't really coalescing behind someone and that's allowing this divided vote to propel mr. trump to the top of the polls, in what once was an establishment-friendly stronghold. >> speaking of so many candidates on the republican side, what is the conventional wisdom now on who might be dropping out next? >> it's always tough to predict who's going to drop out, but when you look at what happened, when you saw senator lindsey graham, he was someone who was very well-liked, again, by folks in washington. he's now out of the race. what i would be watching for,
carefully, are who his supporters, people like senator john mccain, who are they going to start to get behind? we've seen in recent days, some of his previous supporters start to move behind former governor bush, but people like carly fiorina, people and to some extent governor kasich. however, i've got to be honest, i was at some rallies in new hampshire and i'll be back there early monday. people are very interested in what governor kasich has to say, governor bush, and governor christie. a lot of moving parts now as we inch closer to these first contests, first 1st in iowa, february 9th in new hampshire. >> interesting. this will all be very telling. kevin cirilli, thank you very much for joining us. >> have a good one. and severe weather continues to cause problems in the south. this is video of a water rescue in trustville, alabama. crews pulled women to safety after they became stranded in their car. this follows a week of deadly weather, which swept through parts of mississippi, tennessee,
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this morning. a new ap times square spol found that has shootings and attacks weighed haefl on the minds of americans in 2015. the paris attacks were top events for those polled. close behind came the paris attacks and isis atrocities. and only 17% of americans compared with 30% a years ago believed this year was better. the poll was conducted earlier this month. well, in today's three big money headlines, bargain hunting in the cards and in return. joining me now, retail analyst, hetha hersog, author of the book with the "black market billions." let's start with bargain
hunting. that is one of the reasons people will be flocking to the stores today. >> and some of these storms will have discounts of up to 30 to 60%, in some cases, up to 80%. and some of the best things that you can get right now, to find those bargains, happen to be, obviously, holiday items. because they're trying to get that merchandise out of the store. so if you have to stock up for next year, for example, you want to get more ornaments t s or tr get more holiday gifts for next year, start ahead of the pack, go ahead and do that. also, clothing items. and let's say you're in the market for a car. most of the time, car dealerships are trying to get rid of their inventory on the lots, so at the end of the year is the best time to go out and get those cars. >> let's move on to the gift cards. lots of people will be using their gift cards to buy discounted merchandise today, correct? >> correct. the big number here is $100 billion. that's the amount of money that people are buying gift cards annually. and 93% of people, u.s. consumers, end up purchasing
gift cards. that's $213, annually. i get a ton of gift cards. people may want to go out and use those gift cards, to take advantage of those discounts, but let's say you're one of those people that really don't like that gift card, or they don't like the merchandise, there are other sites that you can go to to either trade in that gift card or get the value for that gift card. i have to say, when you do go to those sites, at times you have to be very careful. if they're trying to give you a value of that gift card that's maybe 30 to 50% higher than what it usually is, it might be a fraudulent site. so you have to be very careful there. >> interesting tip there. now to in return. what do you do with that gift that you just don't want? >> well, there's a lot of things you can do. you can obviously go back to the store and take advantage of those discounts. or you can go in and even maybe, you know, donate to the gift cards. a lot of people actually -- i have some stats here.
from retail me not, they say that 33% of people return unwanted gifts, right? and other people, if they want to go ahead and -- i have no qualms about this, no judging here -- 30% of people re-gift the items and 24% of people donate those gifts. so, you know, it's the end of the year, maybe you want to give your charitable donations, you can always go ahead and donate those gifts s ts to charity. >> nice job. thanks so much for those tips. >> thanks for having me. you've seen "star wars" three times already, right? what about the other films worth checking out this weekend? ideas, straight ahead. i could feel our deadlines racing towards us. we didn't need a loan. we needed short-term funding fast. building 18 homes in 4 ½ months? that was a leap. but i knew i could rely on american express to help me buy those building materials. amex helped me buy the inventory i needed. our amex helped us fill the orders. just like that. another step on the journey.
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edge. officials have not confirmed if the device was a camera or a phone. overseas, a wildfire that broke out yesterday in australia has now burned more than 115 homes. the flames rampaged through a stretch of the southern coastline, heavily populated by tourists. northwest england is bracing for potentially life-threatening flooding. authorities have issued rare flood warnings, because forecasters predict up to 5 inches of rain in a region that is already dealing with flooding in recent weeks. nearly 35 years after the iranian hostage crisis ended, the 53 americans held captive are receiving restitution. they or their estates will each receive $4.4 million. $10,000 for every day held. the award was part of the spending plan just approved by president obama. and for the fourth time in her career, tennis star serena williams has won the associated press female athlete for 2015. she wins the honor after capturing three of four grand slam titles this year. and those are your fast five
headlines. well, residents in birmingham, alabama, are surveying the damage today, a day after a tornado swept through the area, destroying homes and trapping people under debris. nbc's raphael miranda is there with more. >> reporter: the twister came out of nowhere. residents saw the funnel cloud from afar one minute and the next it was at their doorstep. >> when they say take cover, take cover. >> reporter: several homes were destroyed. >> tore the whole wall down. >> reporter: some people even had to be rescued from underneath the rescue. >> be careful of wires being down. house looks like there's no damage, nobody's in it, move on. >> reporter: instead of sitting at christmas dinner, families found themselves hopelessly searching for anything that could be saved. >> give me your hand. come on. >> reporter: 10,000 customers lost power. as if that wasn't bad enough, residents throughout the state have been dealing with more than a half foot of driving rain, flooding roads, and homes. outside of birmingham, rescuers saving motorists overnight who were caught nb flash flooding. the first responders attaching
ropes to them to pull them out of the raging flood waters. even birmingham's mayor came out to help directing traffic friday night. the same twister was spotted southeast of birmingham in vance and tuscaloosa where it caused more damage. and the same conditions that spawned this tornado are responsible for the deadly outbreak of storms on wednesday in tennessee, georgia, and mississippi. 15 people are now confirmed dead. volunteers there are still searching for the missing. >> we're just out here trying to go through the mangled up mess of the trees and it's just a disaster. >> a disaster this holiday weekend for those who lost all they owned, but for people who came through the storm alive, something to be grateful for. >> what's really important is your family, your friends, and just having the gift of life. >> at least 15 people died from the latest severe weather that hammered this south during this christmas week. let's turn now to bonnie schneider with more on the weather, including a huge snowstorm developing for the coming week. >> dara, this is incredible. we are looking at the potential
of historic snowstorm developing into new mexico and western texas. the national weather service is describing this event as a once in 30-year storm. as low pressure digs into this region, we'll see not only heavy snow, but possibly ice, blinding snow with blowing and drifting snow. that's why there's a blizzard watch and warning issued for this region. we're expectedi inheavy snow, uo 2 feet in some areas. and the same storm kind of breaks apart. we'll get a batch of really heavy snow, 10 inches into parts of the plains to the north as well, south dakota, and look at this, green bay, la crosse, minneapolis, all have snow in the forecast over the next 48 hours. so as this vigorous storm system ramps up, we'll be watching for the threat in advance of it for severe weather, including thunderstorms, and that holds true for dallas into tulsa and oklahoma city. the risk for flooding exists as well to the east. but look how cold this air is. 17 degrees for the high in denver. while it's cold out to the west, we're still dealing with that record warmth to the east.
another day as high temperatures will soar and likely shatter records. we've been seeing that over the past few days, especially over christmas. expect more of that for today. and for today, the blizzard will be in full force for areas of the southwest. warm temperatures prevail to the east. the cold really coming in behind it. i'm concerned about oklahoma city, in and around this region for ice, dara, as we go through the weekend, because there's be a thin layer between the warm and the blustery air. a treacherous weekend for weather. and we'll also talk about the northeast, because we'll get in on some of that snow coming up on monday and tuesday. it's a very vigorous weather pattern. >> you mentioned the snow has to be coming to the northeast on monday. will we get the cold temperatures come with that? >> we'll see a 20-degree temperature drop from boston to new york on both sunday and monday. we will get cold, not as cold as this, but you'll notice the difference monday morning. >> bonnie, thank you so much. now to the middle east. a syrian air strike has killed a
top rebel leader. the kill is said to be a blow to the government. meanwhile, fighting against isis in iraq is heating up. reuters reports iraqi troops are moving on the last remaining district held by isis forces in the city of ramadi. reuters adds that information about the situation on the ground is very difficult to verify. let's bring in colonel jack jacobs. is this information credible? how close are they actually to taking back ramadi? >> there is apparently just one district left to take. but fighting in urban areas, which is the most difficult anywhere, days can turn into weeks, which can actually turn into months. so it remains to be seen whether or not they'll be able to see the last remaining areas of the city. >> we know this is the last remaining area, but why is ramadi so important? >> well, you know,
geographically, it's the biggest town, the most important one on the road from amman, jordan, down to baghdad, but more important, it's the center of a very high concentration of sunnis. almost everybody in that town, a large majority, are sunnis and so holding on to it is very, very important for isis. if they lose control, then it's an enormous, an enormous victory for the government and a big loss for isis. >> colonel, the ground battle against isis has been heavily supported by u.s.-led air strikes. is this really enough? >> yeah, it is. at least partially, because we rely so heavily on air strikes and air strikes alone can't do anything, as everybody knows. whoever's fought on the ground. so our focus in providing air cover for troops on the ground only goes -- is only useful, insofar as the troops on the ground are skilled and can seize
and hold terrain. so, yeah, it's a mess and it can continue on for a long, long time if all we are going to do -- if all anybody's going to do is rely on american air power. >> assuming that the iraqis re-secure ramadi, what would be their next move? >> well, they've got a lot ahead of them. taking the area is a very small part of what needs to be done. they need to actually secure it. they need to establish fairly substantial intelligence operations, so they can make sure that there's no resurgence, there's no terrorism inside the town, and most important, they have to move their control outside the city, so the city is ringed with security forces, so there's no infiltration. and then they have to start the very, very difficult job of trying to administer the area. now, seizing terrain is relatively easy. holding on to it is something else again, and that's going to take some time, dara. >> and what do we know about the syrian rebel leader who was just killed? will that have any impact on the u.s. fight against isis?
>> i think so, and a lot of other people do too. this guy was the most powerful rebel leader. he controlled the area that was just to the east of damascus, and prevented the security force -- assad's security forces from consolidating their control, all the way to the east. this has loss is very, very significant and there's plenty of evidence to indicate that the air strikes were provided by russia. and it's now forced everybody to sit down and take a look at maybe there needs to be some way to end this, because -- end the war, because otherwise it's going to carry on for a long, long time, but it's very, very important for perhaps to move to the end of the civil war. >> colonel jack jacobs, thank you so much for weighing in on this. >> you bet. well, drones were expected to be a popular christmas gift this year, with an estimated 1 million expected to be sold. but the uses of drones range far beyond recreation. nbc's tom costello looks at how
they're helping business es sav time and money as well as improve safety. >> spinup check -- >> reporter: ski season was still weeks away at bolton valley, vermont, this fall, when the annual lift inspection came in the form of a flyby. air shark snapping photos and shooting video of the pulleys and cables that will carry 150,000 skiers this winter. >> pitch it into the wind at about 5 degrees. >> then a close-up look at a nearby wind farm, looking for cracks in the turbines. >> the beauty is now we don't need to somebody up there to just check on it. >> reporter: a big improvement in safety and the cost savings approaching 90%. nationwide, this is the year drones have gone from gimmick to indispensable. surveying commercial aircraft for storm damage, measuring the shrinking arctic ice pack and surveying offshore oil rigs. among the most common uses for
drones, commercial real estate, along with film and photography. already, the faa has issued more than 2,100 exemptions for commercial drone use. >> reporter: in maryland, kevin kinsey has invested in a drone and hd cameras to help realtors market their homes on the internet. >> we're sitting here on a 50-acre farm and you can't capture that with a photograph. >> reporter: the business of drones is taking the off. california leads the country with the most oppositers, followed by florida and texas. in marion, texas, usaa insurance is testing drones, hoping inspectors will no longer have to spend 45 minutes looking at roof damage. >> with a one-myan flight time to gather the data, you're reviewing the data for 15 to 20 minutes. >> reporter: the drone revolution is about speed, safety, and spectacular imagery. from weddings and ski vacations to mountain bike races and science, too. researchers have been scrutin e scrutinizing incredible overhead views of endangered killer wails nursing their young off seattle.
better than finish. (to the hostess) see, told you it would work... (turns to girl 2) you guys heard me say that, right? cascade. the tougher tough-food cleaner. welcome back. the post-christmas rush is about to begin at malls across the country as shoppers return unwanted gifts and cash in those gift cards. nbc's juliab bag is live at a mall in aventura, florida. what's it looking like where you are? >> reporter: it's actually kind of quiet right now. we have seen the beginning of shoppers starting to flock to some of the stores. i'm right outside the apple store, bath and body works. we've seen some action here. and really, today is not just about returning that ugly sweater or maybe that hover board that didn't quite work out for your 3-year-old, but we've heard from 66% of consumers who are telling us that they plan to be shopping for themselves today. and they will be going after
those deals, not just online deals, but of course here at the mall, like aventura mall, and that's certainly what we're seeing this morning. 66% of them. but even christmas shopping didn't end on christmas day either. people didn't even take a break. maybe you notice some relatives sitting around the christmas tree with some smartphones, looking a little conspicuous, and a lot of them were doing some online shopping. in fact, $600 million. that's how much shoppers racked up in online sales yesterday. that's 50 million more than last christmas. and i don't know if you may have noticed, but i certainly got deals on my phone on christmas day from pottery barn, williams sonoma, even travel sites. so the hectic side of this shopping season still going on and that's certainly what we're seeing here as well. >> it's interesting, i was getting those e-mails yesterday and i thought, i should be shopping? but i thought, no, we'll wait. because i know the deals will be very huge.
what are people buying? >> we're definitely seeing lots of electronics. but also we're seeing people going into some personal care products and then, of course, clothes, as well. a lot of those very popular stores here at the aventura mall. and just kind of seeing, people, like you said, looking for the best deals. they weren't satisfied, maybe, with even the last-minute stuff and they think they're going to get the best things now. in fact, my husband right now out shopping for christmas decorations for next year. that's a good idea too, too. >> good idea to stay ahead. julia bag, thank you very much for that. well, this week's successful rocket launch and landing by spacex now has competitors to compete in a newly changed industry. lauren grush has been following spacex's year-long attempt at making history. and you wrote about how big of a game changer this really is. explain what this means as it relates to the use of rockets?
>> right now rockets are kind of treated a little bit like trash after they take off. they're destroyed and they go unrecovered. that's a huge waste of money. so think of, if you had to create an entirely new 747, when you fly from new york to los angeles. but with this, we can actually re-use rockets and that would save a lot on manufacturing costs. it's important to note, you still have to refurbish the rocket, it goes through a lot of extreme conditions when it goes into space, but that's $60 million worth of manufacturing costs you get to cut out of the equation. >> lauren, the engineers are looking at this one. what are they going to learn as they inspect the falcon 9 rocket? >> right. like i was saying, they want to know how much damage was sustained when it went into space. it goes from a lot of temperature ranges from negative 250 degrees fahrenheit to 1,000 degrees fahrenheit. that will put some strain on the hardware and they want to know how much they'll have to update to get this thing into space
gen. ceo elon musk says this return rocket is pretty special, so they're not going to launch it again. but in order for their business model to work, they'll need to turn around these rockets really quickly. they need to know how much refurbishment they're going to do and how long that will take. >> you brought up an interesting point. you're talking about the business model. is there a chance that this technology could actually translate to a human beings being able to travel up to space? >> if we bring down the launch costs, a ticket to space isn't going to be $60 or $80 million, like it could be. space tourism could be very much in sight with reusable rockets. >> and coming closer every time they do another launch. changing topics here to the science behind "star wars," specifically. this star killer, which is a weapon used to drain stars. is there a real-life equivalent to this? >> yes. the only thing we could really compare it to is black holes. black holes can destroy stars, similarly to how the star killer base destroyed stars.
but when they do that, it's a lot messier. so gases are flying everywhere, they'll come back around the black hole and create a huge disc that's shooting off gama rays and x-rays and it's really hot. and sometimes there are huge jets coming out of these black holes that are going super fast. so i don't know if i would actually want to be on the star killer base, because it sounds like i might get fried. also, not sure how a star can live inside the planet's core, but, hey, it's, you know, a galaxy far, far away and there's the force there so maybe the laws of physics don't -- they're different in this world. >> who knew we would be having hoverboards this year. it's only 30 years later than the movie. you never know. >> exactly. >> great having you. now to another story we're following and it is at the box office. that new "star wars" movie has smashed yet another record. this one a christmas day mark for earnings. deadline.com says "the force awakens" raked in $47 million to
$50 million yesterday. that is twice the earnings of the old record set by the movie "sherlock holmes" back in 2009. now, in a moment, the other movies holmes back in 2009. good thing s affordable renters insurance. with great coverage it protects my personal belongings should they get damaged, stolen or destroyed. [doorbell] uh, excuse me. delivery. hey. lo mein, szechwan chicken, chopsticks, soy sauce and you got some fortune cookies. have a good one. ah, these small new york apartments... protect your belongings. let geico help you with renters insurance. for my frequent heartburnmorning because you can't beat zero heartburn! ahhh the sweet taste of victory! prilosec otc. one pill each morning. 24 hours. zero heartburn. theand to help you accelerate,.
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the new "star wars" movie is all right breaking the box office, but there's several other releases generating their own buzz, including the big short, on what critics are calling one of the year's best. >> you know why i'm piss off, americans screwed by the big banks. >> it's unbelievable. >> then this guy walks into my office and says -- >> there's some shady stuff going down. >> this weekend's must sees, we talked be it the big short, of course second to "star wars," so what makes this so special? >> you've got three must-see
actors that sounds like it's going to be a lot of fun, but by the end, you're actually walk out kinds of enraged, you've got steve correll that gives one of his best dramatic performances ever. ryan gosselin, and christian bale, in a story about three of the people who saw the 2008 financial meltdown coming years before anybody else did. and again, that sounds like this is something i want to go see in the movie theaters. adam kay that's will ferrell's partner. really beefs it up. it's very fast, it's very engaging. whenever they get to some stuff that's too complex to the audience to understand, they literally will cut away to a beautiful woman in a hot tub explaining the terms to you, so it's very playful. and it gets you to understand why we should be so mad about what happened in 2008. it's both entertainment and you
come away with a real understanding of what's going on. >> next on your list, movie concussion, and this one hits home for american pro players? >> absolutely, not only for pro players, but anybody who loves football and certainly for any parent whose kid plays football. this is a movie about -- in which will smith plays dr. bennett amalou, the nigerian born medical examiner who was the first to make the link between playing football and long-term brain damage. and so it's one of those agenda movies that has a case too make, that dramatizes it. dramatizes it very well, alec baldwin is in it. some worried that the nfl has bought the filmmakers off. it's hardly true at all. it's very hard hitting. you go to will smith, you know he's a good dramatic actor, but you never forget he's a star. this is the first movie where i
forgot i was watching will smith, i really bought into him as this character. >> this is timely, we have the rose bowl coming up and the super bowl. this is a time where people need to stay in tune with what's going on. >> if people are really into football, they need to know the physical cost of it. >> an inspirational tale with jennifer lawrence, reuniting with director david o. russell who had her in american hustle and the silver lining's playbook, it's what david oh, russell does, he puts family all in one room and they squabl with each other. invented the miracle mop and went on to home shopping network qvc in particular and really reinventeders from a single mom
to a businesswoman and it's about that trajectory. >> ty, you have some great picks. that wraps up this hour of weekends with alex witt. our top story this morning, the severe weather leaving it's mark on the south, the cleanup after the devastation. my colleague continues our coverage in just a moment. be sure to join alex for a two-hour edition of weekends with alex witt, that's today at noon eastern.
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