tv Starting Point CNN December 6, 2012 7:00am-9:00am EST
cliff deal has come to? why 81-year-old former senator alan simpson is going gangnam style to get everyone's attention on debt. >> it has officially jumped the shark. alan st. pierre is the executive director for the national,or for the reform of marijuana laws. oregon senator jeff merkley, heidi ewing, and rachel grady will be joining us. steve satich, ohio congressman, steve latourette, and ambassador nick burns are our guests this morning. it's thursday, december 6th, and "starting point" begins right now. welcome, everybody. our starting point this morning, some major developments to tell you about in egypt, after angry protests against political moves by the president, mohamed morsi, have turned deadly. tanks, armored personnel vehicles, all stationed outside the presidential analysis cairo. not only are they guarding the
palace, they're also keeping apart supporters and opponents of morsi. hundreds of his islamist supporters already taking to the streets in cairo this morning. opponents are gathering not very far away. last night the two sides clashed right outside the palace. the violence killed at least five people. hundreds of other people were injured. opponents are demanding that morsi dial back on those sweeping powers that he has granted himself. cnn's reza sayah is live for us in cairo this morning. what's the latest? >> reporter: soledad, we're getting the first signs that maybe, just maybe, cooler heads are prevailing and peace could be extraordinary in front of the presidential palace. within the past 20 minutes, we've seen about a few thousand of president morsi's supporters move away from the palace area and the crowd seems to be thinning out. we're getting reports that this was a call by the revolutionary guard, the military, for the crowds to withdraw, and it looks like it's happening.
it's too early to tell if things are going to remain calm in the coming hours, but certainly this is a good sign. later in the day, president morsi is scheduled to address the nation. we're not sure what he's going to say, but this is a president that's under tremendous pressure to calm things down and unite this country, that at this point, is divided. based on what the opposition is saying, based on what their position is, anything short of the president saying that he's going to annul this constitution, this draft constitution, and start the process over, anything short of that, is not going to satisfy the opposition. opposition leaders came out and made that demand yesterday. in the meantime, opposition factions applying the pressure on the president. last night, of course, you had these ugly clashes. more than 400 people injured in front of the palace, where you had literally a brawl between these two sides. the supporters of the president, the muslim brotherhood, the
islamists, and on the other side, the opposition factions. the liberals, the moderates. in many ways, this is a fight for egypt's identity. both sides want their vision to be the future of egypt and that's what this conflict is unfolding. >> and these pictures are just remarkable, as you look at those tanks right from the presidential palace. reza sayah for us this morning. thanks, reza. appreciate the update. our other developing story in the middle east this morning. fears that syria could unleash nerve gas and what could that mean for u.s. military involvement. nbc news is reporting that syria's military has loaded the component chemicals for the deadly nerve gas sarin into aerial bombs that could be dropped from fighter jets. cnn reported on monday that syrian forces started combining chemicals that could be used to make sarin gas for weapons. mohammed jamjoom is in beirut. he's got more on the story for us this morning. good morning. >> reporter: good morning, soledad. this latest report only increasing concerns about the intentions of the syrian regime when it comes to their chemical
weapon stockpile. now, why are there so many concerns? not just because people are worried what bashar al assad might do with these chemical weapon stockpiles, as there have been for months, but more as rebels are advancing on damascus and the battling are getting more heated and pitched around the capital, there are concerns that if damascus were to fall, what would happen to chemical weapon stockpiles? could they get into the hands of groups that are fighting with syrian rebels? a big concern, and we've heard more calls from the u.s. administration, warning that bashar al assad if we were to utilize chemical weapons against the population of syria, that would be a clear red line, they would face consequences. we must add one more thing, that the syrian regime has repeatedly said, including today, they have no intention of utilizing chemical weapons against syrian. >> mohammed jamjoom for us this morning, thanks for the update. let's turn right to zoraida sambolin. she's got a look at the rest of the day's top stories. >> good morning to you. breaking the ice, president
obama and john byron finally discussing the fiscal cliff. they talked by telephone yesterday. with just 26 days remaining to get a deal done, there are signs of compromise on the republican side. oklahoma's republican senator tom coburn a leading conservative saying he is okay with raising taxes on the wealthiest 2% of americans. in a few moments, soledad o'brien will talk with oregon senator is jeff merkley. he sits on the budget committee. naeem davis now charged with murder for allegedly pushing a man off a new york city subway platform. davis was arraigned last night on a second-degree murder charge. police say he pushed 50-year-old ki-suk han on to the tracks and into the path of an oncoming subway train. internet security pioneer john mcafee could be deported to belize as early as today. guatemalan officials detained mcafee yesterday. they accuse him of entering their country illegally. he turned up in guatemala on tuesday after disappearing from his home in belize.
police there want to question mcafee in connection with a murder, his neighbor's murder. he says he is innocent, but that he went into hiding because he feared persecution by police in belize. the duchess of cambridge has discharged from a london hospital. she is nearly three months pregnant and was being treated for acute morning sickness. she was smiling when she left the hospital this morning with prince william by her side. kate is headed to kensington for a short period of time of rest. she looks good. >> she does. and some familiar faces leading the field for the 55th annual grammy awards. kanye west and jay-z each received six nominations. one of the newcomers, the indy pop band fun also got three nominations, including one for best artist. >> my kids will be so excited. they love fun. i've never heard of them before, but they love fun. zoraida, thank. kind of a big old pot party in washington state now. take a look at. >> two, one!
>> that's because at midnight, possession of up to an ounce of marijuana for personal uses is legal thanks to a landmark ballot initiative that passed last month and took effect at midnight. to celebrate, pot smokers have been lighting up in the shadow of seattle's iconic space needle. cnn's miguel marquez is in seattle for us this morning. morning. >> reporter: good morning there. this was only one of many parties across the state with people just taking the first step as this new law is implemented. ♪ >> reporter: the moment recreational pot, anything less than an ounce, no longer illegal in washington state. >> it's amazing. i'm not a criminal anymore. i can't go to jail for small amounts of marijuana. you know, it's -- i'm free to be free. >> reporter: several dozen hard-core smokers showed up here to the base of the space needle, the symbol of the city and of the state to light up at the stroke of midnight. and while the new law does not
allow smoking in public places, seattle police and police departments across the state are turning a blind eye tonight, allowing celebrations to light up. this is what you'd assume the stores will look like or something along these lines? >> so, yeah, our stores are going to have the feel of a fine cigar shop. >> jaymon shively, once a high-profile executive at microsoft, now preparing to open as many as two dozen high-end marijuana shops in washington and colorado. and yesterday he'd be called a drug dealer. today, an entrepreneur. >> our target market is actually baby boomers. so these are folks who may be tried it in college a couple times, maybe they didn't inhale, but now it's actually safe to inhale. >> reporter: he's already working on packaging and attractive displays for future clients. the state liquor control board has a year to regulate and license the growing, processing, and retailing of marijuana here. all of it taxable at a very high 25%.
>> we're looking at the potential of bringing in more than $500 million each year in new tax revenue. >> reporter: the big question still, what will the federal government do? pot still illegal federally. today, a legal toke of revolution burning here and soon colorado. now, colorado's law, almost the exact same, will get going by january 5th. and the federal government has only said so far that they are reviewing both states' programs and they remind them that federally, at least, it is still illegal to possess marijuana. back to you. >> miguel marquez for us this morning, thanks, miguel. let's get right to alan st. pierre, he's in washington, d.c., the executive director for the group fighting for the legalization of marijuana since they were founded back in 1972. nice to have you with us. you heard miguel's report.
there are strict rules, it's going to be heavily taxed, still considered to be illegal by the feds. what's your reaction to what happened at the stroke of midnight? >> well, that's a celebration to be sure. that's pent-up 75 years of marijuana prohibition in america, even though the law technically doesn't allow for public use. let's acknowledge it was just a public celebration. >> so if you think that this is the end of prohibition, we're looking at just two states, do you think that this is kicking off what could be a national trend? and if, yes, is that in the next year, two years, ten years? >> indeed. look at decrim. when marijuana was decriminalized in 1973, ten more years, it was decriminalized. in 1996, when californians voted for medical marijuana, ten years later, we now have 18 states that have medical marijuana. and i think it passes prologue, the same thing will happen with legalization. almost the entire west coast and all of new england is going to move in this direction. it will take decades to infill
the middle of the country. >> so what does it look like? walk me through. because i think for a lot of people who have concerns, they're worried about what it tangibly looks like on the streets and in the communities. it's going to bring in potentially millions of dollars for the state, because of high taxation. will it also change tourism too? >> to be sure. why go to amsterdam? why go to jamaica? i love trout fishing and skiing, so i think i'll be making more trips this year to colorado and washington, and i expect a few hundred thousand other people will be doing the same. particularly once the laws kick in in a year, when an adult can go, just like to a restaurant, to a bar, to a liquor store, whether it's a private license or whether the state controls it, and purchase the product and use it responsibly. >> alan st. pierre, joining us this morning. he's the executive director of the national organization for the reform of marijuana laws. nice to have you with us. thank you. coming up next hour, we'll hear from steve sarich. he's trying to overturn that new
law. we'll tell you why, straight ahead. also ahead on "starting point," president obama and speaker boehner talk on the phone about the fiscal cliff. but will they be meeting face to face and will they get anything done before it's too late? up next, oregon senator jeff merkley. he's a member of the budget committee. and kobe bryant joins an elite club with basketball greats like michael jordan and kareem abdul-jabbar. his impressive feat, we'll tell you all about it. >> the greatest player in the history of the los angeles lakers. wow! that's a savings of over 29 bucks! twenty-nine bucks!!?? and they're powered by friendship. see for yourself if you could save on the brands you want. walmart.
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welcome back to "starting point." i'm christine romans. minding your business this morning, markets in a holding pattern as fiscal cliff talks continue in washington. but the s&p 500 is up 12% so far this year. and a 20-year veteran investment strategy at goldman sachs, abby joseph cohen, she estimates stocks could rise another 10% to 15% next year. she says the fundamentals of the u.s. are solid, despite the fiscal cliff concerns coming out of washington. she says stocks could get hit in
the early part of the area if we go over the fiscal cliff, but the fundamentals of the economy are still good. all right. apple stock dropped more than 6% yesterday. shares were down about half a percent in pre-market trading this morning. no concrete news pushing them down, but today there's another hearing in the patent case with samsung in california. and a tech research report generatored a lot of buzz that apple's tablet competitors could eat into its market share. >> interesting. >> thanks, christine. well, the good news is, let's do the fiscal cliff and the good news. and it's not very much. but at least the two sides are talking, by phone. not face to face. house speaker john boehner and the president are hoping to break the fiscal cliff ice. now we're just mixing metaphors, left and right. speaking on the phone, 26 days left, of course, until we tumble over the cliff or slide down the slope or fall off the precipice or however you want to put it. we could, of course, face massive tax hikes, spending cuts. that's what the fiscal cliff is all about. it would all start with the start of the new year.
i want to get to senator jeff merkley. he's a democrat from the state of oregon. he's on both the budget committee and the banking, housing, and urban affairs committee. nice to have you with us, sir. thanks for joining us. >> you're welcome. >> thank you. before we get to fiscal cliff, let's talk a little bit about syria. there are now reports that they may be loading the components that would make up sarin gas. and i'm curious to know and i think a lot of people are watching this, does this mean that we are headed, the united states is headed into military action considering what we know about the red line, if you will, that hillary clinton laid out pretty clearly? >> it was very important for her to draw a very clear line. because any use of chemical weapons has to be responded to internationally. i'm sure the secretary of state is immersed with russia right now, is in negotiations with russia for a united front against this absolutely unacceptable possibility. >> okay. so she's laid that out. but then the next step, of course, if, in fact, they're putting together the components that create sarin gas and they're leading these into weapons, are we going to war
insider to stop this? the united states. >> i think that the u.s. is going to be laying out a series of actions in partnership with some other states that will be taken, should they use these chemical weapons. and it is my hope and i think the hope of everyone on this planet that a fierce and united international response will ensure that syria does not actually consider using these weapons. >> let's talk about the fiscal cliff. we now know, and it's kind of a slow news day on that front, right. the news we're reporting, the speaker and the president spoke by phone and nothing came out of it. and that's the headline. we know that -- we've been talking about the fiscal cliff, in nearly a month, we'll get over it, but really it's nine days, because everybody is supposed to break in just nine days. do you think everybody in congress fully understands just how frustrated and annoyed the american public is on this, seeing everybody go off, you know, to their home states for the weekend while this looms for the rest of us? >> well, certainly when i was home in oregon, i heard about it
from everyone and every meeting. there is an expectation that we come together with these big national issues and address them. right now, what we have is a very unspecified proposal from the republicans, just basically saying we'll find revenues somewhere, we'll find -- cut programs somewhere. meanwhile, we'll be very specific about cutting medicare and social security. that's an extremely unacceptable response to the president's initial proposal and quite frankly, it's not acceptable that this game of chicken continue right on down the road. the needs will be very specific in negotiations, if they need to keep them very private and contained for a while, to get the details, so be tit, but action is required. >> the game of chicken is being on played both sides, isn't it? the president's side and the republican's as well? >> the president has laid out a very clear proposal, consistent with his campaign, that it's time to end the bonus breaks for the best off. recognize that if you're very wealthy in america, you would
get all the breaks that anyone would get up to $250,000. >> i get it, taxes is a sticking point, but the spending is also a problem, and both sides are playing chicken. democrats are not so willing to cut spending and republicans say they're not going to raise taxes for anybody. that's a sticking point with nine days to go. >> so certainly those who are advocating as the president did during his campaign that we need to return the bush rates, he's laid out a very specific proposal. the republicans are arguing for cuts. they need to lay out a very specific proposal on that regard. >> all right. well, we'll continue to watch it. kind of a bummer of news, a phone call that's nothing come out of it is our big headline out of it. senator jeff merkley joining us from the state of oregon. appreciate it. still ahead this morning on starting point, when you can't get washington to reach a deal on the cliff, why not go gangnam style? that would be, yes, the man on your left is 81-year-old former senator alan simpson. he's got a hysterical new video, but kind of a serious point with it. we'll talk about that and much more with our "starting point"
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stop instagraming your breakfast and tweeting your first world problems and getting on youtube so you can see gangnam style. ♪ >> that would be 81-year-old former senator alan simpson going gangnam style. he's serious, though, trying to get young people to understand what the looming fiscal cliff is all about. that little ad, he was hired by this organization of young people, who are concerned about the fiscal cliff, is hilarious. it is the funniest thing. >> his legs are the best part. he's getting really into it.
>> i think it's brilliant also, though, because it is very effective. everybody's watching, everybody's talking about it. highly effective. >> everybody's retweeting that thing. and a dancing can to next him. what could be better than that. our team this morning, jim fricke is international editor of "time" magazine. abby huntsman is the host of huffpost live, and also the daughter of jon huntsman. roland martin will join us in a moment, he's the host of "washington watch with roland martin." and what's interesting about the fiscal cliff thing, we haven't spoken about young people. we're really just focused on the elect officials who seem to be doing a lot of nothing. >> morale is so low for my generation. because they feel like no matter what, nothing is going to get done. and they speak in a language that they don't understand. i do it for a job, so i know about it, but my friends feel like they have no idea what's going on. >> and this cynicism is really strong. because i think they feel, you know, 27 days to go and they just assume nothing is going to
happen for the next three weeks. and they look at the countdown clocks on television news networks like this one and say, oh, well, nothing's going to happen until we go over the cliff. i don't have tune in or worry about it. >> i wonder if that dancing 84-year-old senator is a way to break through. >> we're the ones who will be the most affected by it. we're getting the $16 trillion deficit passed down to us. >> do you think young people get that, though? do you think they understand the long-term consequences? >> not like they should. still ahead this morning on "starting point," they're an army of one, but does it apply if you are not particularly religious? we'll tell you why one cadet quit the west point military academy just months before he was supposed to graduate because he says he's not religious. also, more bad pr for penn state. look at these lovely sorority girls. yes, they are dressed lake mexicans with mustaches holding signs that, "will mow lawn for beer," things like that. how clever. we'll talk about that photo straight ahead. yeah.
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morning. welcome back, everybody. you're watching "starting point." in just a few moments, we'll be talking to an outgoing west point cadet. his name is lieutenant blake page. he's dropping out, leaving just months before he would graduate, because he says he's being discriminated against because he's nonreligious. we'll also talk with michael winestein, with the military religious freedom foundation. a fiscal cliff, an update, we're nowhere near a deal, but there may be a smidge of movement in the debate. if an agreement isn't reached in 26 days, we go over the cliff or some people describe it as a gentle slope but basically what happens, there are crippling tax hikes and sweeping spending cuts that will go into effect on the first of the new year. the president and the house speaker john boehner finally spoke yesterday by phone. they have both agreed to keep the details of the discussion under wraps. they're both standing firm on
the tax hike, their positions on the tax hikes for the top 2%. listen. >> the revenues we're putting on the table are going to come from, guess who? the rich. >> once republicans acknowledge that rates are going up for top earners, we believe that an agreement is very achievable. >> kate balduan is in washington, d.c., this morning. so that's kind of a depressing thing, when just the advent of a phone conversation between the two top dealmakers is the headline, isn't it? >> i could not agree with you more. the fact that they spoke, but the fact that there's no progress, and that's a headline. i mean, if we want to take anything from it, any significance, it's the first time they've talked in a week. take that what you will. it's almost like hope springs eternal, but we are a long way from a deal still. neither side, as you said is giving on their basic position. president obama continues to insist any deal must include a tax break increase on the top 2% of wage earners, which republicans, we well know, just as firmly insist, that is a
nonstarter in these cliff negotiations. another element to this fight now, which is important, is the debt ceiling. it's likely the country will come up against that marker again early next year, laying the groundwork for another potentially bitter, bruising, and damaging battle between congress and the white house. we know how well that went last summer when we filed a debt ceiling fight. the proposal offered by treasury secretary timothy geithner last week to republicans would change the rules as it relates to the debt ceiling, giving more power to the president and making it harder for congress to block a debt ceiling increase in the future. the president clearly wants to take the threat of this continued fight on the debt ceiling off the table. listen to the president yesterday. >> if congress, in any way, suggests they're going to tie negotiations to debt ceiling votes, and take us to the brink of default once again, as part of a budget negotiation, which, by the way, we have never done in our history, until we did it
last year, i will not play that game. >> well, republicans call it a power grab, when they're really proposing, and this is where they see the little leverage that they have. because they see that if they don't want the debt ceiling to be part of the this fiscal cliff fight. they want to talk about it next year, and they see that as a way to be able to force the president to agree to more spending cuts and entitlement changes that he would otherwise not want to maybe agree to, soledad. but bottom line is, we're still watching them fight in public, which as you well know, the more they're fighting in public, the less they're talking behind the scenes. >> but maybe not. the fact they're not talking about anything they discuss on the phone call, i actually see that as a little ray of hope, right? like let's move it away from the cameras and get some serious work done. >> i will agree with you. >> hope springs eternal. >> i will agree with you. take that sliver of hope and i'll be back here telling you there's no progress. >> kate is an optimist and so am i. thanks, kate. appreciate it. zoraida sambolin has a look at some of the other news.
the bodies of two young cousins missing since the summer have been found by hunters in a wooded area in iowa. 10-year-old lyric cook and her 8-year-old cousin elizabeth collins vanished in july. police found their bicycles and a purse near a neighborhood lake. that lake was the scene of an emotional vigil last night. the families of the two girls have been notified. we are awaiting an official i.d. from police. elizabeth's mother had an emotional message on her facebook page confirmed the bodies are those of elizabeth and lyric. police say they have no suspects in this case. and nearly 4,000 e-mails. that were sent or received by movie theater massacre suspect james holmes have been released to the public by the university of colorado. they reveal holmes may have had a romantic relationship with a fellow graduate student. and cnn denver affiliate kmgh reports holmes expressed fantasies about killing a lot of people more than a month before the shootings. and that a doctor who was
treating him decided against holding him for a 72-hour mental evaluation, because he was leaving the school. starbucks' ceo howard schultz has some sobering advice to offer on that looming fiscal cliff. he says consequences will be far worse than last year's debt ceiling fight, when the u.s. credit rating was downgraded for the first time ever. if a deal is not reached, he told our poppy harlow, the ripple effect will be felt worldwide. >> this single issue has a seismic effect on the rest of the world, that we have never been as connected and the domino effect of a bad outcome here will have significant negative consequences, domestically and around the world. take a minute to come over to your tv, if you can. penn state has another pr problem on its hands this morning. the university's kai omega sorority is being investigated for stereotyping latinos after a
picture showed up on the site tumblr. the photo showed sorority members wearing fake mustaches and dressed in somberos while holding signs that say, "i don't cut grass, i smoke it." the president of the chapter has apologized. is that enough, soledad? >> ladies, as your multi-ethnic friend, let me help you. help me help you. no dressing up as any stereotypical figures. just stop. call a friend. get advice. don't do it. and don't take pictures of it and post it to facebook. >> is there a single minority in this sorority who felt empowered to stand up, to say, hey, friends -- >> bad idea. >> we're talking about kai omega, not sigma kappa theta. i doubt it. moving on. an interesting story. a young man who's just five
months away from graduating west point, he's decided that he is going to abandon his degree in a very public way. 24-year-old cadet blake page, he wrote a blog page on t"the huffington post" saying he wanted out because he's being discriminated against for being nonreligious. in his resignation letter, he writes this, "i do not wish to be in any way associated with an institution which willfully disregards the constitution of the united states of america by enforcing policies which run counter to the same." the u.s. military academy sideli declined to give us a statement. they did confirm that page's resignation has been approved and he's being honorably discharged. joining us this morning is blake page, now an outprocessing cadet from west point. michael winestein is with the military religious freedom foundation. they're in albuquerque. nice that talk to you both. blake, i'll start with you, if i can. did you know that before you attended west point, that this is an institution that involves
going to chapel, praying over meals. there was a bit, i think it's fair, of a religious culture around west point. >> sure. i knew there was a religious culture, but being a cadet does not involve going to chapel, it doesn't involve praying over meals, under normal circumstances. going to chapel is often encouraged in illegal ways here and throughout the military at large. but prayer over meals is explicitly required at certain times. those things, though, those things weren't as big of a deal to me as a lot of the other problems that have arose -- >> okay, so walk me through. you spelled it out in your letter to "the huffington post," religious bigotry. tick off for me some of the things that you found most offensive. >> right. well, things that have happened to me personally have just been conversational and really just condescension and disrespect
from other people. and i can give my personal stories all day long, but so far, it seems that my greatest criticism comes from people saying that they can't believe what i'm saying. we have over 150 clients here and the staff, faculty, and cadets at west point who also agree that this is a problem. and there are thousands throughout the military who also agree that this is a problem. so if anybody wants to just pretend that this sort of harassment doesn't exist, they're really missing it. i've had conversations with -- >> forgive me for interrupting you, you said the mrff, and that's the military religious freedom foundation, of which mr. winestein is founder and president. we'll turn to him for a moment. is it true that this is a -- how big of a problem is this? and how many complaints do you get? this seems the to be a real rarity, a high-profile departure, just months before graduation. >> soledad, it's a terrible problem. our foundation, the military religious freedom foundation, currently represents 30,512
active duty united states marines, sailors, soldiers, airmen, and cadets and midshipmen at my alma mater, the air force academy, west point, and annapolis. 96% of them are actually practicing christians themselves, being told that they're not christian enough. at west point, as blake says, we have 151 clients, 119 of whom are also christians. but this year, this is very typical for west point. earlier this year, our foundation had to lead the way with other organizations to stop west point from inviting the raging islamphobe, retired jerry boykin, from speaking at their national prayer breakfast. we had to go public with that. this man is a raging fundamentalist christian, islamphobe, you know, disgraced. west point, did, at the last minute, disinvite him. a few months later, thanks to other folks at west point, we found out that west point had a four-year longitudinal study that was assessed with the class of 2013 this time. it came out in august, i think it was, blake, where they were
actually asking questions about leadership, and they were testing, you know, asking questions about faith and religion. which is fine to do, but not in this country, because clause 3, article 6 of our constitution specifically forbids religious questioning. >> general benjamin davis jr. was the first black to finish from west point. he went through an entire year where no one even spoke to him because he was black. do you believe that you're giving in to them by leaving? what if you stayed? what if you said, no matter what you do to me, i am going to win and beat you at this battle? why leave? >> yeah, i get that question a lot. i didn't come to west point to get a west point degree. i couldn't care less about graduating from west point. what i wanted to do was become an officer, all right? so that's what was important to me and that's what i was working towards. and i'm not being beaten, going through the channels here haven't been difficult for me, classes haven't been difficult.
i've generally had a fair amount of success with my time as a cadet. and anybody who thinks i'm just giving up and walking away is really missing the point. i found out earlier this semester that i would not be able to commission, but i was told that i would be allowed to graduate if i decided that i wanted to. when i first found out if i wasn't going to commission, i asked if i could go ahead and aleve so i wouldn't waste anymore taxpayer dollars, but i was encouraged by people here to stay, and ended up staying for a few months, and i realized there was a problem, i was going to be outside the system, and i wouldn't be able to affect the changes i wanted to affect as a high-ranking officer later on. so i made the decision to do what i could to try to get attention to an issue that i think needs a lot of attention. >> you certainly have with your post on "the huffington post." it's what all people are talking about. cadet blake page joining us and also michael winestein as well with the military religious freedom foundation. nice to talk to both of you
gentleman. we appreciate your time this morning. got to take a short break. still ahead, the nfl experienced a tragedy this week when a kansas city player killed himself and his girlfriend. there's a new article that takes look at the lengths that roger goodell is going to to protect his sport. we'll talk about that straight ahead. americans believe they should be in charge of their own future.
replacement ref fiasco, four suicides that have taken place from former or current players over the last eight months. they're really dealing with a lot. and in the middle of all of this, roger goodell is trying to hold all the pieces together. >> yeah, it's a fascinating look at a man who is trying to manage, you know, one of the country's most beloved sports and institutions at a moment of its maximum crisis. probably its biggest crisis since teddy roosevelt told the college football, you know, clean up your game or i'm going to ban it. so it's just looking at the way that he's struggling to acknowledge and address the fact that concussions and traumatic brain injury lead to degenerative dementia, but also preserve the spirit of the game. because on the other side, he's addressing a lot of critics who say, you're watering down the sport, the sport is brutal. the sport has always been brutal. that's the reason we love it. >> first of all, which is huge. even if you broaden it, remember, before even this, he had to deal with the issue of
violence within the sport, in terms of also off the field. that is banning players, suspending players. that was the whole issue as well. as relates to the concussions, you've had lawsuits, you've had former players. you see mike ditka out there saying, we haven't done enough. it's also been a part of the collective bargaining agreement, because the current players pay into the system. these guys say, why should i be playing for these old guys. so he's had a very difficult task. >> what does he suggest that we can do? is there any changes we can make as of now? >> well, he's implemented a couple of rule changes. one of the most fascinating aspects is he's proposing or he's contemplating publicizing a rule change that actually involves getting rid of the kickoff. that changing after the team scores, the winning team, the scoring team would be put on the 30-yard line with a fourth down and 15-yard to go scenario. so they have a choice about whether or not they go for it is and try to retain possession or they punt.
and because an overwhelming majority of concussions that are caused on the football field are during kickoffs. it's really the only scenario where 11 players are running at 11 players at full speed. >> makes sense. >> it is the cover story -- >> that's interesting. >> -- of "time" magazine. it's the cover story called "the enforcer." appreciate that update. still ahead this morning on "starting point," the story of a shrinking city and a city that's really on the verge of collapse with thousands of homes abandoned, jobs disappearing, it's not fiction. we're talking about the city of detroit. directors of a new documentary take a look at detroit's struggle to survive. the folks who are trying to keep that city alive. we'll talk to them, coming up next.
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welcome back, everybody. "detropia" tells the story of an american city on the verge of collapse through four detroiters. it just made the academy awards documentary short list. here is a little clip. >> they are shutting down schools. they're shutting down futures basically. >> we're not going to accept any more downsizing. we want to hear about upsizing, big sizing, supersizing detroit. >> it's going to be difficult. the city is broke. i don't know how many times i have to say that.
>> that's mayor binge, talking there. the documentary's directors, heidi ewing and rachel grady join us. >> morning. >> the shots of this movie are dec decaying, fallinapart and in a weird way very beautiful. what was the goal? >> it was the place of great importance in the united states. that majesty is not gone. a lot of the city has been vacated, lost 20% of its population in the last ten years. we're reminded by the people and the buildings what it used to be and maybe what it could become again. >> basic services do not exist. >> they do not. new yorkers and other places take it for granted. but they have no street lights, no police officers. they have no firemen. >> no garbage pickup. >> the quality of life is really -- it's not acceptable. >> we need to understand, how did you get there? part of that is because of massive corruption in the city. you also saw significant white flight because detroit, when it became a largely black city, you
saw folks going out to the suburbs. dollars going with them. that's the struggle. >> it's a struggle, but is the message at the end of your film hopeful or depressing? >> well, it's realistic. we're not saying that detroit is over, it can't rise again. we're saying please double down on detroit. please focus on a lot of us our cities going bankrupt and infrastructural problems in detroit. it's not a message of it's all going to be fine but if people ban together and we focus on places like detroit, of course, there's hope. >> you talk to so many people that are struggling. what did they say they want to get done and how do they expect it to get done? >> they want basic -- i think they want a basic quality of life. they really do. at this point it's donning on them that it's never going to be the way it used to be but they want to have a basic life and that their kids will have at
least as good a life as they have. >> what we're seeing in greece is what's happening in detroit. austerity cuts. >> we're seeing a big bailout -- >> right. >> starting with the auto industry. the white house is giving money for new police stations, homeland security is trying to sustain the fire department in detroit. we're talking about a series of bailouts that continue in order to keep detroit proposed up. i don't know how long that is sustainable. >> the movecy called "detropia." you just made the academy awards documentary short list. congratulations on that. >> thank you. >> good luck with it. we've got to take a short break. just ahead, we'll talk syria. we'll discuss that. space needle, pot party there broke out there right at midnight. i wonder why. i love the holidays.
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welcome, everybody. our "starting point" this morning, syria. putting chemical weapon components into bombs. what does that mean for potential u.s. action? a live report from overseas straight ahead. they're lighting up in washington state. no, not the christmas tree. literally lighting up. it's the first time ever in the united states that the recreational use of pot has been legalized. feds still say it's illegal. so, is this law cut and dry? it's been a good year for stocks, soledad. if we go over the fiscal cliff, what could happen to the markets in 2013? that's ahead. grammy nominations are out. who is in the running to take home the music industry's top honors? >> lots to talk about this morning. we'll talk to steve sarich, director of cannibus coalition. steve latourette is with us and nic burns joins us. it's thursday, december 6th and "starting point" begins right
now. morning, welcome, everybody. we've got lots to talk about this morning. we're talking about syria and fears that they could unleash a nerve gas and what that could mean for any potential military involvement in the war there. nbc news is reporting that syria's military has loaded the component chemicals from the deadly nerve gas sarin. cnn has not confirmed that report yet. on monday we reported that syrian forces started combining chemicals that could make sarinn g gas for weapons. barbara starr has the latest for us. >> reporter: good morning, soledad. they are declining all comment on that report. if this begins to become true, then everybody is turning to the question of president obama's red line. he said there would be consequences. officials are telling us the consequences are if they see the intent by the syrians, of
course, to use the weapons, what does that mean? that means the military has to start providing the president with options. he might decide on the diplomatic route, but he has to have options for military alcohol. that's what the pentagon does. very tough to do, soledad. you have to know exactly where these weapons are, how you would target them, what kind of plane you might use or missile to get in there. can you get past syrian air defenses? are you sure that there are no civilians around? all of these very complicated questions. and you can bet nobody is looking for military action on this. all the efforts right now are to -- possibly through the russians are interest to try to get assad to pull back and not go down this road. >> such ominous signs for us, barbara. appreciate the update. >> sure. >> we'll be talking with ambassador nic burns about this a little later. first, let's get to zoraida sambolin with a look at the
morning's news. this is cairo outside the palace where protesters are starting to gather. tanks and armored vehicles are stationed there. clashes turned deadly yesterday into the afternoon after they unveiled their constitution, highest islamic authority is calling on president morsi to rescind his decree that granted himself sweep iing powers. and second-degree murder, that is a charge against naeem davis, who reportedly push ed k suk han on to the tracks of a subway in new york. >> our family is grieving. we want to thank everyone who reached out to us in help. we are suffering in sore o we have the support of family, friends and our church to help us through this time. >> police say the suspect, naeem davis blamed the victim for that
tragic incident, telling them han was bothering him and wouldn't leave him alone. with 26 days left before we go over the fiscal cliff, president obama and speaker boehner are finally talking. no word of significant progress there or the is scheduling of future talks. there are signs of compromise on the gop side. tom colburn breaking ranks saying revenues are needed and he embraces an approach that raises taxes on the wealthy. the duchess of cambridge has been discharged from the london hospital, nearly three months pregnant and was treated for morning sickness. she was smiling when she left king edward hospital this morning with prince william by her side. she is heading to kensington l palace forry short rest period. grammy nominations are out. kelly clarkson is out for two of the biggest awards, song of the year and record of the year for her hit "stronger."
six artists tied for the most nominations with six a piece, kanye west, jay-z, frank ocean, mumford and sons, and the group fun. are you a big ocean fan? >> i'm a big frank ocean fan. hope he cleans up. that would be nice. our team this morning, jim frederick is with us, international editor of "time" magazine. abby huntsman is back, the daughter of former governor john jon huntsman and host of huffpost live. roland martin host of "washington watch." and zoraida sambolin sticks around. let's talk about pot. how about that for a sharp turn? it became legal in washington eight hours ago. it's still illegal in the federal government's eyes. they had a celebration in front of the space needle.
miguel marquez is joining us with an update on how that went last night. >> reporter: good morning. it went very well from their perspective, even though it was cold out and started to rain. didn't dampen their spirits very much. it was one of many, many parties across the state as they say the first revolutionary step was taken. ♪ >> reporter: anything less than an ounce no longer illegal in washington state. >> it's amazing. i'm not a criminal anymore. i can't go to jail for small amounts of marijuana. i'm free to be free. >> reporter: several dozen hard core smokers showed up here at the base of the space needle, symbol of the city and of the state to light up at the stroke of midnight. and while the new law does not allow smoking in public places, seattle police and police departments across the state are turning a blind eye tonight,
allowing celebrations to light up. this is what you assume the stores will look like, or something along these lines? >> so, yeah, our stores are going to have the feel of a fine cigar shop. >> reporter: once a high profile executive at microsoft, yesterday he would be called a drug dealer. today, an entrepreneur. >> our target market is actually baby boomers. these are folks that maybe tried it in college a couple of times. maybe they didn't inhale. but now it's actually safe to inhale. >> reporter: working on packaging and attractive displays for future clients. the state liquor control board has a year to regulate and license the growing, processing and retailing of marijuana here. all of it taxable at a very high 25%. >> we are looking at the potential of bringing in more than $500 million each year in new tax revenue.
>> the big question still, what will the federal government do? pot is still illegal federally. today, a legal revolution. the only thing the federal government is saying is that they are reviewing the laws here in washington and in colorado, which they get going by january 5th. they will see where they go in the days ahead. back to you. >> miguel marquez back for us this morning. thanks, miguel. steve sarich is also in seattle, executive director of the canibus coalition. nice to have you with us this morning. you actually had asked the judge to temporarily block this new law. on what grounds? >> well, first of all, we want to block it permanently. what the state constitution requires is that a ballot
measure describe everything that the voter is voting on and this adds a new criminal penalty to the washington state statutes and that wasn't mentioned on the ballot initiative. for that and a couple of other reasons we're asking them to actually overturn the law not just temporarily stop it. >> people would be surprised to know you're the executive director of the cannabis action coalition. you run a local dispensary, you use medical marijuana yourself for back pain that comes from severe arthritis. >> right. >> how much of this is your concern from a business perspective about the law and less a moral perspective, if you will, about smoking pot? >> absolutely none. this doesn't affect me financially whatsoever. my job is to protect patients in the state of washington. and this law criminalizes every single medical marijuana patient every single time they drive. and for patients under 21 or just students under 21, we know
that active tch can stay in your system for up to 30 days so that legal joint you smoked two weeks ago is still in your system today. and under the new law, if you get pulled over and they take your blood, you're going to be guilty of, per se, duid, which is a very serious crime in the state of washington. it's a life-changing crime for those under 21. >> let's walk through for folks who aren't aware of the details some of the new driving rules, which i know you're really focused on, under the influence driving. legal thc limit would be 5 nanograms per mill liter. they could conduct so bright tests. serious accident would mandate that you get your blood drawn. they can't search the car for smell alone. you've called these laws, these rules draconian. a lot of people would say, listen, i support draconian laws about people getting in the vehicle under the influence of
any kind of drug being held to high standards if they're going to get behind the wheel of a car. >> you have to understand something. per se duid laws have no relation to impairment whatsoever. the national institute of drug abuse has stated, along with the national institute -- national highway traffic safety commission, federal department of transportation, all have put out studies that show that you cannot judge impairment simply by blood content on any drug other than alcohol. so by setting an arbitrary limit, i wake up in the morning at probably four or five times the legal limit, where i am right now. hopefully, i don't appear too impaired. so you cannot -- we're not talking about impairment. we're not talking about highway safety. we're talking about convicting people simply for having trace amounts of tch in their blood. in other words now they're saying you can have -- you can legally have an ounce of
marijuana. you just better not put it in your body. >> let me ask you a stupid question. are you always at four or five times the the legal limit? would that be everybody's definition of stoned and this is how you go through your day? >> but i'm not stoned. i hope i don't appear stoned. >> no, you don't at all. >> active tch, according to the national institute on drug abuse, the latest study came out in april from dr. aaron karshner says active tch, which is stored in fat cells, can stay in your body up to 30 days. 30 days from last use. if you're a medical cannabis patient and suffer from back pain, like i do, it doesn't mean you are impaired in any way, shape or form but the drug is stored in your fat cells and it will always be there. i will never be below 5 nanograms. i will always be guilty of duid every time i get behind the wheel even though i'm not impaired at all. >> steve saerin, it's nice to
talk to you. >> you're welcome. will president obama and speaker boehner meet face to face? steve latourette is joining us to talk about that. aclu, no surprise, getting involved in the punishment of a man -- should church be a punishment at all? >> depends on who the preacher is. presenting androgel 1.62%. both are used to treat men with low testosterone. androgel 1.62% is from the makers of the number one prescribed testosterone replacement therapy. it raises your testosterone levels, and... is concentrated, so you could use less gel. and with androgel 1.62%, you can save on your monthly prescription.
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for the first time in a week president obama and speaker boehner talked about the fiscal cliff. it was by phone. both sides agreed that they would not talk about the details. what we do know is that it has not led yet to any major breakthroughs. we want to get to congressman steve latourette, republican
from the state of ohio. he is leaving congress, decided not to run for re-election, citing gridlock as a big reason why. we appreciate your time with us this morning. >> thank you. >> can we start with syria first before we get to the fiscal cliff? we know that there's this red line that hillary clinton has talked about. but nbc news has reported that syria is loading chemical weapon components on to bombs, which could -- makes us think, well, what's the next step? to what degree does this mean military action for the united states? >> couple of things, the nbc report is unconfirmed. the other piece of news is that the secretary is expected to meet with the russian foreign minister in dublin, i believe, and talk specifically about getting the okay to put in place economic sanctions that would cripple the syrian government, should they continue down this path. just like a nuclear iran, nobody is going to sit by in the international community and say it's okay for the assad regime
to use sarin gas on its own civilian. >> we'll watch to see what comes out of that meeting in dublin. the foek phone call between the speaker and the president, the headline of the meeting is sort of a sad thing. are you hearing of anything that has come out of this phone call? >> i think it was generated that we had a meeting of the house republicans yesterday morning, as we always do every week. the sense was that there's a growing number of folks in our party that are saying, you know what? the president has won this round relative to the rates, but we need to sit down and get the second half of the deal. and that's the spending. if you look at just what the president is talking about, everybody says the 2%, so forth and so on. that generates $900 billion over ten years, $90 billion a year. that will operate the government for 11 days. so, we are borrowing $1.6 trillion. i think that the president, if he wants to take the deal and
comes forward with real entitlement reform, there's a deal to be had. >> the republicans walked out. we've got shots of that. they were sort of streaming out of the capitol, heading home. there will be no votes between now and the weekend. i want to show that video. i'm curious of what you know of the optics of that. when everybody starts sort of -- that wasn't it. he's going up to a podium. there we go. that's the shot i'm looking for. what are the optics of everybody walking out as americans are focused on washington, d.c. and trying to figure out every last move in the fiscal cliff? do you worry about that from your colleagues in the house? >> well, i've got to tell you, i've been here 18 years. this is going to be a negotiation between the president of the united states and house speaker john boehner. and so we have engaged in some charades over the last 18 years where we all like pretend to be working in our offices, but we're not doing anything to get this done because there's nothing we can do. this is going to be a discussion
between the top leaders of the house and the white house. and when they signal -- sort of like the pope being elected. when the white smoke comes out of the capitol, we can come back and execute the deal. >> wow, i don't know how i feel about the whole pope reference, talking about congress. >> that's better than being sentenced to church, i guess. >> i suppose that is true. and, in fact, that's going to be our next story. steve latourette, always nice to have you. when you're in new york, we would love to have you come and sit down with us on our panel. >> would love to. drunk driver, instead of being sentenced to prison, is sentenced to time in church. not sure how i feel about that. >> love it. >> you do? ♪ presence of the lord is here >> we'll talk about that. back in a moment. too easily? time to deploy the boring-potato chip decoy bag. then no one will want to steal the deliciousness. [ male announcer ] with a variety of tastes and textures, only chex mix is a bag of interesting.
welcome back, everybody. here is our tough call. a judge in oklahoma has sentenced a man to attend church for ten years instead of going to prison for killing two people in a deadly dui crash. it happened last year. 17-year-old tyler alred says he's okay with the judge's ruling. i imagine so. aclu, though, will step in. the group has filed a complaint, saying that the judge disregarded the first amendment, violated the teenager's religious liberties, even though the teen has been attending surch every sunday. >> so nothing will change in his life. do you remember the story back in 1993, the two sisters in mississippi that were charged with robbery, stole $11? >> i remember that when they got out. >> they were sentenced to life in prison. can someone explain the comparison here? >> you know, i do wonder if judges overreach by sending
someone off to church. the kid already goes to church, right? >> how much latitude is the judge given statutely. >> on the other hand 17 years old. >> we got a great pastor, great choir. may be a good experience for him. >> he killed two people. >> i understand he killed two people. i might look at this from a judge's standpoint, sense of redemption, also saying do you send this person to juvenile, do you send them to prison? a cost to taxpayers in some places upwards of $40,000 to $50,000 a year. >> what is more likely to turn him around? is prison or is church going to turn him around? >> you said he goes to church already. >> he apparently has been attending church on sundays. >> maybe it wasn't a really good church. >> how do you monitor whether he's taking any action in order to improve and not --
>> there's a violation of separation between church and state. what message does it send to other teens? worst case, i go to church. >> aclu -- all these reasons and more why the aclu has hopped into this debate. still ahead on "starting point" there are fears that syria could unleash weapons on its own people, drag the united states into its war. we'll talk to ambassador nicolas burns. how the united states could still pick up another gold. is it really 100 calories? let me put you on webcan... ...lean roasted chicken... and a creamy broth mmm i can still see you.
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in a few moments we'll be talking with ambassador nic burns over fears of syria putting chemical weapon components into bombs. john mcafee could face deportation to belize as early as today. guatemalan officials seized him, accusing him of turning up in that country illegally. police in belize want to question mcafee about a murder. he says he is innocent and went into hiding because of fears of persecution. hundreds still missing. rescuers did find a 77-year-old man who survived for two days on coconuts, rescued while clinging to a boulder near a river with a broken leg. washington state is issuing its first same-sex marriage
licenses. the first couple to receive one in king county, jane abott and peterson. about 250 couples were lined up at the king county courthouse at midnight to get their marriage licenses signed. >> they are 81 and 77 years old. >> wow! together for a long time as well. american shotputter adam nelson may take home the gold. did you hear me? i said eight years. the ukrainian who originally won the gold medal was found guilty of using drugs after a reanalysis of his urine. he must now wait for track and field's governing body if they will official ly reassign the medals or just void the gold.
a stocking stuffer for you, pizza hut is out with a perfume. the whole idea started as a joke on facebook. the restaurant's canadian branch decided to produce a limited quantity of eau de pizza hut. that's insane. >> the crew likes it. >> that would be such an insult. >> would someone order that? >> sure. you can wear it. >> can you imagine? ooh, baby, deep dish. ooh, deep dish. yeah, baby. >> i don't know how to turn to the new numbers on the job market. christine romans, will you help me with this uncomfortable and awkward segue? >> i smell good job numbers. >> we certainly hope that the eau de pizza hut is creating jobs. 370,000 jobless claims down 25,000 from the week before. remember, we had big jobless claims reports for a few weeks in a row because of hurricane
sandy, superstorm sandy. it looks like those are coming down again. the big jobs report will be tomorrow, which will give us the real gauge of what's happen iin here. they expect only 77,000 jobs added. and the unemployment rate, they think, will tick back up to 8%. 77,000. why? because of superstorm sandy. you didn't have hiring, people getting jobs in the northeast because during that time the last month or so. >> jack welch right now, they went up after the election. >> those chicago people. all morning we've been following major developments in both syria, in egypt and syria there are new fears that they could unleash nerve gas on some of the rebels. that's a report from nbc news, that syria is loading the component chemicals. cnn has not confirmed that report yet. egypt, protoasters have started to gather outside the presidential palace in cairo. lots of anger building after the new president gave himself extra powers. the protests were very violent
last night. the clashes killed at least five people. nic burns, former u.s. ambassador to nato, now a professor of foreign relations. cnn on monday reported that the syrian forces, battling the rebels, had started combining the chemicals that could be used to make the deadly sarin gas. on wednesday we had that nbc report that syria is loading those chemical weapons components on to bombs. what is the significance of that reporting? some of it has not been confirmed, at least by us, yet. are we right on that red line as hillary clinton has described it? >> well, it's a very dangerous moment, soledad. really, it's a nightmare scenario that we've worried about since 9/11, that a terrorist group might be able to get possession of chemical weapons. you've seen how the united states has reacted this week. president obama made a very pointed warning publicly to the syrian leadership.
secretary clinton has done that twice on her current trip. secretary clinton will be meeting with the russian foreign minister and the u.n. mediator in syria today in brevlin. >> let's talk about those meetings. >> you can be sure that this issue of chemical weapons will be at the top of the list. >> no question about that. what are the options there? what can the international community do at this point if, in fact, they are already in a position where they're loading these components on to the weapons? >> well, one is this public message from the united states, from the nato secretary general and from the russians. the syrian government, including assad personally, will be held accountable. second is perhaps to see if the russians can use their influence. they're the big egest arms supplier to syria, the biggest ally that syria has, to dissuade the syrians from letting this chemical weapons loose or using them against the rebel alliance. if assad should fall and there's a chaotic period of time where no one is in charge of the government in damascus, if one
of those radical rebel groups gets control of chemical weapons, that could be potentially very, very dangerous and that might lead to some kind of military intervention by the united states or other countries to secure those weapons. >> so would your best analysis be that, in fact, the united states is going to be drawn into some kind of military conflict in syria? >> it is possible. i'm not sure it's likely at this point. the syrian government would have to think long and hard before using those weapons. there will be all sorts of negative repercussions from them, including the threat of military intervention. and i do think the russian government will not want to see syria use chemical weapons or let them out to the control of rebel forces. we're really counting on the russians here. >> you know assad. is he the type of person that in the right situation would use
chemical weapons on his own people if the option was losing and being ousted? >> it's really impossible to tell. the syrian government spokespeople have been saying over the last couple of days under no circumstances would they use them except for foreign military intervention but assad is desperate. his back is against the wall. he is going to lose in this civil war. rebels have made extraordinary advances over the last couple of days. he has got to be thinking about either exile, war perhaps, creating an enclave within syria where his clan can defend themselves perhaps along the mediterranean coast. >> before we run out of time, i want to talk about egypt and mohamed morsi and what's happening in cairo. things seem pretty calm at this moment. last night the clashes were very violent over this proposed constitution. where do you think this ends? >> it's a power struggle. and morsi's called a december 14th referendum on this very flawed constitution. liberal democratic groups have been much more united than many people expected, in the streets,
battling morsi's supporters and morsi will make a speech, soledad, in a couple of hours. it will be interesting if he decides to postpone that referendum. the opposition to him is much more verciferous than he expected. >> reporter: and much more coalesced. >> exactly. >> nice to have you with us, sir. thank you for your time. >> appreciate it, soledad. many biracial minorities say they struggle to find a place where they belong. one young woman, this lady right here, is turning her pain into art. we'll tell you her story straight ahead. plus superstorm sandy. one queens, new york, family lost their home but say their teenage son saved their lives. we've got his story as well. anne's tablet was chatting with a tablet in sydney... a desktop in zurich... and a telepresence room in brazil. the secure cloud helped us get some numbers from my assistant's pc in new york.
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this morning, we have for you the story of 17-year-old nayo jones. she was raised by her father, who is white, and teased by her fellow black students. >> it's a poem about her life. nayo jones is struggling to recite it. >> they always called me white girl. i was never ashamed of myself until they taught me to be ashamed. >> she calls her poem "other" or "the biracial poem." it's about being bullied by black kids for being light skinned. >> weirdo and vanilla took years to fade so i became ashamed. >> now the tough part. she has to perform it at the first spoken word poetry competition of the season.
but it's painful. and she can hardly get through it. >> i pretended i didn't know they were all wondering if i was adopted. no black mother to explain how this tall, angular white man ended up with this short chestnut girl. >> nayo can't remember her poem. >> you got it. i can tell you right now why you're not remembering it. you're not connected to the pieces yet. when they're pieces that are personal, you don't want to connect with it. you're like, i wrote it. i'm done. that's the beginning. part two is owning it, proclaiming this is what it was. >> they always called me white girl i was never ashamed of myself until they taught me to be ashamed. i refuse to be defined by it either. >> don't, don't. >> i don't want -- this is gross. >> it's not gross. >> i'm just so frustrated. i don't know. >> it's okay. i promise you, it gets easier.
come here. let go. you got this. it's all right, sweetie. >> nayo jones is one of the stars, if you will, of our documentary. another young woman we talked to is rebecca kalil. her roots in after ricka. because it's northern africa, that's egypt. she says i'm more black than some people who -- >> i'm truly african-american. >> i'm truly african. it's an interesting debate about who counts, if you will, as black in a country that really likes to define people as black or white. >> what does she say is this. >> nayo will tell you i can't say i'm black. i'm mixed. i am biracial. her mom is black, her dad is white.
my mom is black. because of the one drop rule, i'm black. we have completely diametric opposed ideas and identities even though we're surrounded by the same genetic makeup. she's unclear. it's more of a question, does nayo get to say this is what i am? does society get to say, no, listen, this is what you are. does it even matter at all as we get to younger people in another generation? >> that's a very good point. >> there was another magazine that talk about most of our kids will end up being biracial. the question is how do you identify yourself? i'm raising half puerto rican, half black kids and my son considers himself black, my daughter considers herself puerto rican. >> our own president said he struggled with his own identity
growing up. >> remember when michael jackson came up with that video, black or white? >> yeah. >> this documentary really is revealing an inside discussion within black america. you talk about society, but within black america, we've had paper bag test for so many years. >> we talk about that in this documentary. >> it is a major issue. you go different parts of the country, especially, louisiana, you go to some parts of texas. it's a major -- look, i go to my family reunion, it's like the united nations. i'm going, i don't recognize a lot of these people here. my mom says, no, that's your cousin. really? okay. >> that's a good dialogue to have. >> very talented young woman. >> she can't give it away. abby, no cliff notes. you have to watch sunday. >> i'm not going to tell you. what's wrong with you? 8:00 pm on sunday, our documentary "who is black in america" will air. i'm going to be live, tweeting the show as well, along with russell simmons, who will be
tweeting. feel free to join us on twitter as you sit on your couch and watch our doc. still ahead a family that lost everything in superstorm sandy except they didn't lose each other. story of a teenager who bravely jumped into the waters to swim for help, saved his family. we're at walmart with the simmons family. how much is your current phone bill? four sixteen seventy six a month! okay, come with me -- we're gonna save you money. with straight talk at walmart, you get unlimited talk, text and data for only $45 a month per phone. would we get the same coverage? same coverage on america's best networks. you saved $146.76 by switching to straight talk. awesome! now you can afford to share your allowance with me. get the season's hottest smartphones like the samsung galaxy s2 and get straight talk with unlimited data for just $45 a month -- from america's gift headquarters. walmart. ♪
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neural speeds increasing to 4g lte. brain upgrading to a quad-core processor. predictive intelligence with google now complete. introducing droid dna by htc. it's not an upgrade to your phone. it's an upgrade to yourself. welcome back, everybody. it's been just over a month since superstorm sandy hit. many people are still struggle i ing. new jersey governor chris christie goes to washington today, lobbying congressional leaders for emergency funds to try to cover the cost of the devastation. amazing stories are still emerging in the aftermath of the storm, like ryan panetta, victimized twice. poppy harlow tells us how he
lost his home and his school. >> reporter: the sun isn't up at breakfast time for the panettas. how tired are you? >> very. >> reporter: now living in a borrowed one-bedroom apartment with their parents. how long is your commute to school now? >> it feels almost like two hours. >> reporter: what did it used to be? >> 15 minutes. >> reporter: wow! 6:30 am and they're out the door. a long car ride. >> have a good day. >> reporter: then a bus to ryan's temporary school, ps-13. >> it's unreal how much our life has changed. we're trying to make the best of it. >> reporter: an eighth grade honor student, one of 5,400 new york students still in different schools because of sandy. >> he's the one that was probably impacted the most. and yet he has the strongest will to be here every day. >> when something brings you down, you got to get up.
>> reporter: are you okay, buddy? what makes you so sad? >> i honestly don't know. >> reporter: everything? >> it's everything. >> how did it go today ryan? >> good. >> reporter: every day after school, ryan returns to broad channel to help his dad try to put their home back together. >> everything i owned, everything i worked hard for is gone. >> reporter: karen was home with their four children when sandy hit. >> it was unbelievable how quick it came. >> reporter: water rushed into their one-story house. ryan swam to a neighbor for help. >> i jumped out. >> you jumped out here in the water? >> yes. i wasn't even thinking that a log would hit me or anything. >> reporter: or the electrical power lines? >> yeah. >> reporter: you swam to this house? >> yeah, right here. they took us in to their second floor. >> reporter: the neighbor helped to bring the rest of the family
over and they watched as the water engulfed the only home they've known. what did you think when your 13-year-old son jumped into the water? >> i was panicking. >> reporter: did ryan help save your family? >> absolutely. >> reporter: no question? >> absolutely. >> i was thinking that the water was going to come inside. >> reporter: you feel like your brother helped save you? >> yes. >> reporter: now all the panettas are working to rebuild their home and erase the bad memories. >> after what i've just been through, i don't think i have to see anything that terrifying again. >> it's hard to put into words what this family was like. but you saw them. and this is an incredible family. this is a family that has been through so much and is coming together, trying to rebuild their home. they have no idea what they're going to get from insurance, if any money. they had little flood insurance, no content insurance. everything they had was in that
home that they built up over 16 years. if you want to help victims of sandy, if you want to help this family go to cnn.com/impact f you want to help the panetta family directly get in touch with cnn. you can even e-mail me. we'll put you in touch with them. this family needs a lot of help right now. that is part one of our series. tomorrow we'll bring you part two, showing you more of the impact on the schools themselves across new york city that have been hit so hard by this. >> such a heartbreaking story. what a remarkable kid. don't you want to see him in 20 years? >> he is going to make big waves. >> mayor of the city of new york. >> absolutely. >> what an amazing kid. >> we spend enough time talking about the gulf coast but people across the country do not understand how folks like this are impacted still. this is going to be just like new orleans and mississippi and alabama, five, eight, ten-year process. >> years. >> and hud secretary over this effort, it's a major deal. it will take a long time to fix. >> this is a whole community. this is a working class community.
firefighters, people that work for the city here that built these homes, these little bungalows right there on the water, put everything into them and they're completely gone. >> what's the name of the town? >> broad channel. it's right past far rockaway. >> that's a heartbreaker. end point is up next. music is a universal language. but when i was in an accident... i was worried the health care system spoke a language all its own with unitedhealthcare, i got help that fit my life. information on my phone. connection to doctors who get where i'm from.
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end point. i love the discussion here, but end point. do you want to take it? >> we're rightfully consumed by the fiscal cliff but it would be wise to keep an eye on the middle east. there are life and death things happening there right now and will have huge implications for 2013. >> two big meetings that hillary clinton is having today that could really move the needle on the scary news we have about these components for chemical weapons now seemed to be combined and put into