TODAY | April 29, 2014
>>> natalie morales , willie geist , and tamron hall . live from studio 1a in rockefeller plaza .
>> welcome to "today" on a tuesday morning. it's april 29th , 2014 . good-looking crowd outside with us on the plaza. still a little bit chilly here. i'm willie geist along with natalie morales and tamron hall . al is down covering the tornados that have swept across the midwest, down into the south. he is in kimberly , alabama, for us this morning. that's about 20 miles or so north of birmingham. al, good to see you this morni g morning. what's the scene on the ground there?
>> well, i've got to tell you, this is the kimberly first church of god . obviously destroyed. just the other side of the street is the kimberly town hall . that was badly damaged as was the fire department . four firefighters were in there when the tornado hit. they hunkered down. all around me, there are some guys working on a roof right now, trying to get that going. it was a really difficult night, and obviously as these tornados came across, arkansas was hard-hit with people being killed. it was a devastating night. we had just a small taste in a way of what it's like to live through one of these. our hotel at about 11:00 last night, the sirens -- the tornado sirens started going off. and on the loud speaker in the hotel, they told everybody immediately get out of their rooms, head down to the ballroom because there was a tornado bearing down. so it was a rough night for a lot of people throughout the south. over 100 tornados -- or i should say over 80 report of tornados . we've got a map that shows you, just for last night, as the system came sweeping across, the number of tornados that fired up out of this system. now, these were not the long track tornados like we had on sunday. but 80 reports of tornados . 174 wind damage reports. and 64 hail reports. so very, very active night, guys. and the big deal is that we've got another day like that setting up for today. and in fact, in some ways could be worse because the area for strong storms, it will extend up into the atlanta area today. so it's going to be another active one.
>> yeah, we've got 11 deaths to report overnight. seven in mississippi. two in tennessee. two in alabama. bringing the death toll now to 28 since all of this started a couple days ago. and as al said, more to come today. we'll check in with you shortly.
>>> some other news to tell you about. this clippers story just goes on. the fallout continuing over the racist remarks allegedly made by clippers owner donald sterling . big name sponsors cancelling or suspending their deals with the team. some of them carmax, virgin america , kia, state farm , red bull . sterling is accused of making the comments to his then girlfriend after she took a photograph with magic johnson at a los angeles dodgers game. you see it right here. posted it to her instagram. the recordings between the girlfriend and mr. sterling made their way to "tmz" sports and deadspin. here's a short portion of what he's alleged to have said.
>> you can do anything. but don't put him on instagram for the world to have to see so they have to call me. and don't bring him to my games, okay?
>> the recordings have not been verified by nbc news. the woman, ms. stiviano's attorney says the audio is legitimate but she did not release the tapes to any news media. sterling himself says the recording is not consistent with nor does it reflect his views, believes or his feelings. we'll get an announcement today from the nba chiommissioner adam silver to announce what the nba can do. it's not clear what he has in his power, but clearly the walls are closing in around donald sterling .
>> sponsors are starting to drop out. the team is paying a heavy price for the alleged words of the owner. it's tough when you see the players protesting and turning their jerseys inside-out. i mean, they still have a job. they have a job to do. they have a game to play. and they want to get back to that. but this has sadly become a terrible distraction.
>> they play tonight, actually. and the miami heat in a sign of solidarity also staged a protest. not against the heat and its ownership, but as the league itself. and they have, of course, this game and they have jobs. but these are the moments that prove who we are. last night, i was at an event and people kept asking, you know, what does this say about us as a people? i said listen, it proves that if these allegations are true, he's in the minority. look at how many of us have rallied together, black, white, men, women, people who don't even like basketball and they say this is not what we represent. so while our jobs are important, who we are as humans and whether we can stick together in the ugliness of something like this, it lightens my heart. i don't want to sound like polly anna or let's all hold hands and kumba kumbaya, but everyone has said, if this is true, this must end. that's a glorious thing.
>> he's going to have to sell the team. i don't think he can continue on.
>> the nba can't force him to give up something he owns, unless the owners get together --
>> the players won't continue to play on his team.
>> according to the clause that's been leaked out, if there is a monetary issue, where it hurts the league revenue, they can force him out.
>> which it already has.
>> and the longest running owner of an nba team, i believe it's the rockets owner, spoke out and said, i've told the commissioner basically to have a zero tolerance policy . the nuclear weapon, whatever that is available to them, you have other owners who are privy to these details say there's obviously something available.
>> there are other owners who said the opposite. mark cuban said this is a slippery slope , we have to be careful how we handle this. he condemned outright the comments but we have to be careful about stripping away. the guy is repugnant, a racist creep if you believe what was said on the tapes. but is that enough to take a team away from him? and if it doesn't come internally, external forces will force it. if you lose all your sponsors and free agents don't want to come there, it will happen some way or another.
>> if he sells the team, he's still going to be a billionaire, so not a lot of people will feel sorry for him.
>> a slippery slope doesn't mean that there's no option. he's saying that yes, you look at how someone lives their life, whether or not they're married. it's a slippery slope in that way. but he didn't say -- mark cuban didn't say it wasn't an option, which is the critical thing.
>> but he may not support the option.
>> he may not support it.
>>> here's a question for the parents out there. how much and how often do you help your kids with their homework?
>> it's tough, right?
>> we help quite a bit, although it's getting harder. fourth grade math is my cutoff.
>> fourth grade the cutoff. we're still in first grade, so i'm a big hero. six plus eight, 14.
>> you wait until they start getting into the word problems that you can't figure out. the reason we ask the question, there's a new book that says parents who get involved with their kids' homework don't improve their grades and they may actually be hurting your kids academically. the book is called "the broken compass." it analyzed surveys of american families over the last three decades by the u.s. department of education and the survey found families who regularly helped their children made no difference in that child's test scores and reading and math and even compromised ultimately their grades. the book's authors found that parents tend to unfortunately take the reins, sometimes take over. that sounds like my husband. with the homework help .
>> let's have some honest talk about parenting. there is a moment where you're helping your child work through the homework and you're like, let's just get this over with. fill in the blank. you got it. time for bed.
>> there's also a time when i struggle with josh because i want him to learn and really get the lesson. do you know how we got the answer? and sometimes i'm just -- you get so frustrated. you get a little bit like, how can you not see it? don't you see it? it's right in front of you. the answer is right there!
>> i'm so glad you didn't go into teaching, natalie. why don't you understand?
>> teachers need to be paid a heck of a lot more than they're getting paid. it is a hero's work.
>> so i guess the takeaway from this study is help your children, but be careful in how you help your children. it's not just turn your back on them.
>> i guess it's be there when they need you, but, you know, make sure that they're asking for the help. that it's not unsolicited help.
>> and get out at fourth grade is the other thing.
>> leave at fourth grade. word problem , i'm out, josh. all yours.
>> poor josh is like listen, lady, i need you right now.
>> thank goodness my husband is good at math, because he's the one that usually steps up.
>>> something else that's caught our eye, have you heard of man showers, or dad baby showers ? it's an idea blowing up on pinterest. i've never heard of it, but it's awfully adorable. people have been posting photos of dads celebrating the new arrival of the baby. check out this one. it's a bud light cake and it's labeled dachelor party. it's a beer tower.
>> oh, wow.
>> with diapers on top. and how about this one. can you drink beer from a bottoming, dads? who can do it the fastest. women have these games that we play at the showers. this is the guy game.
>> maybe we'll have to do this one at savannah's. she won't be able to partake in that.
>> shotgun the beers.
>> i thought the trend was like the combo, co-ed shower. but this is like a separate thing. what do you think?
>> those are like the worst beer commercial stereotypes of guys. all we do is sit around and throw beer cans at each other and barf and watch football together.
>> but hanging out with the guys and celebrating a baby. it could be fun.
>> no. [ laughter ] i mean --
>> you're not on pinterest.
>> here's what it is. if you go to, like, vegas with your guys and you want to call it that, great. call it whatever you want . we're here for the baby.
>> no strippers, sorry.
>> no, no, not that.
>> a hangover version of a baby shower .
>> i just mean guys sitting in a semicircle opening gifts together is never going to happen. just not going to happen.
>> that would be awesome.
>> look at this little onesie. and it's shaped like a budweiser.
>> i love it. i don't even know you anymore, man. what are you giving me this for?
>> who are you, man?
>> that's a good beer commercial.
>> willie is obviously not going to show up for your dad party.
>> i will not come to your dachelor party or whatever it is.