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Supreme Court Showdown?; Mentoring Black Youth; North Hollywood Shootings

Aired April 3, 2010 - 22:00   ET


DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Tonight, the Supreme Court and an impending change. A possible retirement, giving a young president another chance to put his stamp on the nation's highest court. Our senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin explains.

As we mark the death of Dr. King, some powerful voice is arising unexpectedly to carry the civil rights course. While their faces aren't familiar, their voices resonate.

And what's the worst movie you've ever seen? Stay tune to see if it's one recently voted the worst of this decade. How bad can it be?

Hello, everyone. I'm Don Lemon. Thanks for joining us.

We are tracking a developing story tonight, this one out of Washington, one that could ignite a political showdown. We are learning from our senior legal -- senior legal analyst, excuse me -- Jeffrey Toobin that the Supreme Court justice retirement, one of them is imminent.

Eighty-nine-year-old Justice John Paul Stevens has been hinting that he will leave the bench. Now we're hearing that announcement can happen very soon. Stevens tells the "New York Times" this, and this is a quote.

"There are still pros and cons to be considered. The president and the Senate need plenty of time to fill a vacancy."

No one knows the High Court better than Jeffrey Toobin. He recently interviewed Justice Stevens for "The New Yorker," and Jeffrey joins me by phone from New York tonight.

Jeffrey, how soon do you think he will make this announcement?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST (via telephone): Well, on March 8th, he told me he would decide in about a month. We are just about at a month. I don't think he meant that precisely to the day, but I think we will hear in the month of April that he is retiring.

LEMON: So it's not surprising. He has been sharing this. You said to me earlier that there were actual clues, reading between the lines, talking about hiring interns and what have you and assistants. There are clues there that he might be considering retiring. TOOBIN: Right. Every year for the last, at least decade, he's hired four law clerks, but last fall he only hired one law clerk, which is all that a retired justice is entitled to. Those who know Justice Stevens considered that a clear sign that at 89 years old, with his 90th birthday coming up on April 20th, this was a clear sign that he was getting ready to retire.

LEMON: All right. Jeffrey, thank you very much. Jeffrey, stick around. We'll talk to you -- in just a little bit, we'll talk about the political ramifications of this. What this could mean for President Barack Obama and who might be on his short list to replace Stevens. We'll talk to Jeffrey in just a little bit.

Let's go to Iraq now and a bloody reminder. The insurgency is far from defeated. Gunmen dressed in Iraqi military uniforms stormed homes south of Baghdad and killed 25 people. The massacre took place in a Sunni village. Some of the dead were members of the Sons of Iraq, a group that helped the U.S. military turn the tide against the insurgency. The investigation is in its early stages, but authorities believed the killings are the work of al Qaeda in Iraq.

To the war now in Afghanistan. The Taliban may have a new ally in its fight against the U.S. -- Iran. A Pentagon official tells CNN new military intel suggests Iran is plotting to smuggle weapons into Afghanistan for militants in the next few weeks. It's apparently part of an effort by Tehran to interfere with coalition operations. The official says the source came from an Iranian informant whose past tips have been verified. Another U.S. official though says the amount of weapons isn't enough to cause the coalition much trouble.

If you're flying this weekend, you may want to take notice of this -- take notice at different airports. It's happening all over the country. The TSA is revising its rules for screening passengers.

Under the new guidelines, the TSA plans to share information from intelligence sources with airlines and other nations. Existing no-fly lists will remain in place along with random selections of some passengers for additional screening.

But a much criticized program that require additional screening for passengers from 14 Muslim countries, it has been dropped. That was put in place in the wake of the Christmas Day bombing attempt.

And long lines and ecstatic customers are a sign Apple has another hit on its hands. The iPad. Apple aficionados are turning out in droves to snap up the new tablet computer. Reaction to the device wasn't lukewarm when it was unveiled, but it did nothing to tamp down enthusiasm for a device that could clearly change the industry.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: First impression? I don't know. I think it's a game-changer. That's what it looks like, at least. Well, it can do great for anyone who's worked the iPhone or the iPod. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a lightweight portable computer. You know, it's really simple to use. I'm going to use it for school and work and stuff.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: You answer my next question. What's the first thing you're going to be using this iPad today?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right now, when I get home, to sync it up with my apps on my Mac and just go straight on and work and just play around, reading books. I have to do a PowerPoint for school on Monday. So I'm going home straight and do that.


LEMON: Well, I was out there with everyone. This is mine. Got it today. There was a very long line out there today. And again, as we said, some of the reviews on this -- let's go over this. Some of the reviews were lukewarm. You know, others weren't. Well, kind of mixed, but it didn't tamp down the enthusiasm. Some people still aren't sold on it.

But, you know, if you want to know more about it, much, much more, including small things you should know about the iPad, go to There's a whole list of information about this new device.

Well, President Barack Obama will soon have another spot to fill on the nation's high court, and who could be on the short list for that? Our senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin rejoins me in just a moment.

Plus, we'll have this for you.


MICHAEL BAISDEN, RADIO HOST: The term has always been used, you know, be the example that you want to see in other people. And I wanted to be an example by showing and not telling.


LEMON: Radio host Michael Baisden on a cross-country mission to help America's black youth and in the process, he may be positioning himself as a civil rights leader for a new era. Who are the African- American leaders today? We're going in depth to find out.

Also, time for you to weigh in. Log on to the social networking sites. Some of your comments, we'll get on the air.


LEMON: More now on our top story. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens and growing speculation that he is about to retire. Stevens told the "Washington Post" today, "I can tell you that I love the job and deciding whether to leave, it is a very difficult decision. But I want to make it in a way that's best for the Court."

So let's bring back CNN's senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin from New York tonight.

So Jeffrey, the Obama administration -- the president has a lot riding on his agenda now, in the coming months. So, how might this affect him if in fact Stevens does retire?

TOOBIN: Well, this is a major, major opportunity for any president, because presidents only serve for four or eight years and Supreme Court justices often serve for 20 or even 30 or even 35 years, like Justice Stevens has served.

So this is really a chance to set his legacy. Of course, with 59 Democrats in the Senate, there is at least the possibility of a Republican filibuster. Again, a Obama nominee, so this is likely to be politically contentious. Although chances are like most Supreme Court nominees, anyone Obama nominates will be confirmed.

LEMON: How critical is Justice Stevens' role on the Court?

TOOBIN: Well, he's very important because he is what's known as the senior associate justice. He is the justice with the most seniority on the Court, and he gets to assign the opinion, when the chief justice, who usually gets to assign the opinion, is not in the majority.

So, whenever William Rehnquist or John Roberts have not been in the majority, since 1994, when Stevens became senior associate justice, he has been potentially in charge of the Court and he has exercised that power with great skill.

LEMON: So, you've talked about that in, I guess, in a way that sort of summed up in a bit what Stevens' exit might mean to the Court. But will his departure -- it's not going to change the balance of the Court, but it may change some things, the way, I guess, they rule because of his ideology, even though the president will probably -- will definitely pick a liberal judge?

TOOBIN: It is true that Stevens is one of the four liberals on the Court. Obama will likely pick a liberal. So the balance will not switch. But one justice always changes the court. And if you now have two young justices by Supreme Court standards who are both liberals -- Sonia Sotomayor, a recently confirmed, Obama's next appointment, that starts to give liberals momentum.

It starts to say that there will be an important liberal presence on the Court for many decades to come. And it also suggests that Obama, who will be president for at least the next three years and maybe the next seven, will have a chance to shape the Court and perhaps even replace some conservative justices.

LEMON: Some of the left, Jeffrey, sort of championed Stevens as a liberal, but he -- does he himself feel that he is a conservative judge?

TOOBIN: Well, he does, actually. He has -- he is a moderate Republican. He is -- he was appointed to the Supreme Court by President Gerald Ford in 1975, appointed to the Appeals Court by Richard Nixon in 1970, and he says that he has not changed, but the world has changed. The world has become more conservative. His colleagues have become more conservative.

So what was a moderate in 1975 is, in fact, he is seen as a liberal in 2010. There's much to recommend with what Stevens said. He is right that the center of gravity has changed in the Court, although I think it is also true that he has moved to the left as well.

LEMON: Hey, Jeffrey, I really have to go. I'm up against a break. But listen, who's at the top? Who the waiting in the wings? Just one name that you can probably say is waiting in the wings?

TOOBIN: The current Solicitor General Elena Kagan, the former dean of Harvard Law School, someone Obama knows well from Chicago. I'd say she's at the top of the list.

LEMON: All right. Thank you, Jeffrey Toobin.

Children searching for Easter eggs in a park make a really horrible discovery.

Strong winds whip up in the Northeast -- the Northwest, I should say, even boats in the water aren't safe from the storm.

And no iPad, no BlackBerry, no e-mail. Find out why that may be just what you need to do to get your life back on track.


LEMON: We have some breaking news here on CNN. This comes out of North Hollywood, California. We're being told that three people were shot and killed and two others were wounded today in an attack to North Hollywood. The shooting occurred around 4:40 p.m. local time there, that's according to the Los Angeles Police. Of the five people who were shot, three died at the scene, two others were treated and taken to the hospital.

This is just coming across the wires, so we're just getting that video from our affiliate KTLA. There is the suspected gunman there. The gunman fled the scene and police are looking for him. As soon as we get more information on that story, we'll bring it to you, that happens in this broadcast, we'll bring it to you then.

Meantime, a gruesome discovery in an Easter egg hunt in a park in Des Moines, Iowa. Two children found the body while searching for eggs. And authorities say there is no indication of foul play and they aren't sure how long the body has been there. An autopsy is planned.

A new ordeal for ESPN reporter Erin Andrews. Two years ago, as you probably know, she was secretly videotaped nude by a stalker. Now there are death threats. A lawyer says somebody has been sending e- mail messages to sportscaster Dan Patrick describing plans to murder Andrews. He says the FBI began investigating those threats Thursday and has already identified a suspect. A lot love for a boxer on the ropes. People in Detroit turned out as former champ Tommy "The Hitman" Hearns auctioned off cars, boats and memorabilia to pay a tax bill.


TOMMY HEARNS, FORMER PROFESSIONAL BOXER: People have done much love and cared much. They want to give me their money to help me settle a debt. You know, that's just love.


LEMON: Hearns owes the IRS a $450,000 tax bill. He made have some $40 million during his impressive career.

Let's turn now to CNN meteorologist Bonnie Schneider in the CNN severe weather center with the very latest.

Bonnie, man, oh, man, I'm dying over here because of what's happening. Everything is beautiful where we are, but it's just bringing some pollen and everything.

BONNIE SCHNEIDER, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes. I had to show you this first, Don, since you mentioned it. You're not alone. Extreme allergy sufferers across much of the Southeast and Southwest right now. So, if you're sniffling and sneezing, there's a good reason. A lot of pollen in the air.


LEMON: That is cute. We just could take some of that rain. Make the rain come over here, sort of switch that.

SCHNEIDER: Clean the air out, right?

LEMON: Oh, boy. All right. Thank you very much.


LEMON: What's life like when you're the writer of one of the worst movies ever made?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I used to use my initials. He had me go back to using my real name on my script, so that people wouldn't quite associate me with the movie.


LEMON: What movie do you think it is? OK. If you saw it, then that might give it away a little bit. But the conversation with the screenwriter, hilarious. Coming up.

But first, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was the undisputed leader of the civil rights movement. So who is the movement's leader today? We're taking a close look at this question with a powerful panel of guests.


LEMON: This weekend marks the anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination in Memphis. Forty-two years later, Dr. King's legacy has taken root in new generation of black leaders. Many of them, including radio host Michael Baisden, they use the airwaves to push Dr. King's message forward. Right now, Baisden is on a cross- country bus trip to spread the message of hope and responsibility aimed at raising up today's African-American youth to become tomorrow's leaders. Take a look.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The baddest man on the radio.

LEMON (voice over): Michael Baisden is on the air. BAISDEN: Welcome back to the "Michael Baisden Show."

LEMON: And spreading the word.

BAISDEN: This is how you change lives. Come on.

LEMON: He's not a preacher, but his secular sermons fill the airwaves all across America, leaving some to suggest black radio hosts are replacing the iconic civil rights leaders of the past.


LEMON: In 2007, instead of Washington or Selma, they marched on Jena, an obscure Louisiana town, until six African-American students were charged with beating a white student after nooses were hung in a schoolyard tree.

BAISDEN: This is my home away from home.

LEMON: Today, Baisden and his co-host George Wilborn have taken their "Power to the People" message on the road -- on a tour bus that will take them to 73 cities, encouraging adults, especially African- American men, to get involved in young people's lives as mentors.

(on camera): This is your life, man -- for how long?

BAISDEN: For five months, until mid-June. We end the campaign in New York City.

LEMON (voice-over): But before the Big Apple finish, Baisden says he will match contributions to local mentoring programs with up to $350,000 of his own money.

BAISDEN: I didn't see it as giving away money. I saw it as investing in our kids. And the term has always been used, you know, be the example that you want to see in other people. And I wanted to be an example by showing and not telling.

Hugs only. Hugs only. LEMON: At each stop, he is greeted like a rock star.

In Augusta, Georgia, so many people have showed up, there wasn't enough room. But local mentoring group Dad's in Action got in. For them, mentoring starts at home.

(on camera): Do you feel lucky and sort of privileged that you have -- you're here and you're able to be your own son's mentor?

TERRENCE PAYNE, "DAD'S IN ACTION": I'm very privileged. And I take this honor very highly to -- just to have a son or even have a child to just to be a part of his life, you know? And I take off from work and don't work as much just to be with my son.

I mean, it means more to me than -- just being with him every day. And anyone here in this town would know who knows me, I have been carrying him in one arm and doing my work with the other. I have -- my whole life is this young man here.

LEMON: That should be the message to all dads, don't you think?



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's right, it's true.

BAISDEN: That's right, I said it.

LEMON (voice-over): Inside the chapel, Baisden is preaching, firing up the crowd, hoping his passionate pitch resonates long after he gets back on the bus.

(on camera): So, it's not just your voice going all over the country. It's you.

BAISDEN: Yes. Sometimes, got to show up, right? You can't just let them hear you, they have to feel you.


LEMON: Well tonight, I spoke with three African-American radio personalities to talk more about how Dr. King's message is being advanced today. White House correspondent April Ryan of American Urban Radio Networks and radio talk show hosts Bev Smith and Warren Ballentine, and I asked Bev Smith about the significance of empowerment as more black voices are heard over the airwaves.


BEV SMITH, HOST, "THE BEV SMITH SHOW": I think that actually, where African-Americans are concerned in terms of media and radio, it's always been about self-empowerment. We have been the dryad (ph), and so, we're just following the tradition.

But we have an even greater tradition now and that is to raise up an army of young people who will be able to continue the legacy of Dr. King. And I'm not so sure that we have done a good job of including young people. That's why what Michael, my friend Michael Baisden, is doing is so important.

LEMON: Warren, let's talk to you about this. I think the power of urban radio was seen during the election of President Barack Obama. Your show and a number of other shows, I think there was a "New York Times" article that talked about how you -- how you guys introduced the president to the country and to an audience that he may not -- that may not have been familiar with him.

But you know, going off of what Bev said about the job here, doing a good job and what radio hosts are doing, what do you think your role is? Do you see yourself as a civil rights leader -- the new civil rights leader of sorts?

WARREN BALLENTINE, HOST, "THE WARREN BALLENTINE SHOW": Well, I would happily take that title, let me say that. But let me say this as well. I'm a lawyer by trade, and in law, there are two types of law. There's a de jure law and there's a de facto law. De jure is something that's specifically made for it. And de facto is by happenstance.

Well, when you talk about civil rights, de jure, I'll think of National Action Network, NAACP and other things. De facto is what I think about with myself and radio hosts.

Most of us who got into radio didn't go into radio to become civil rights leaders. But what happened was this. We don't have an outlet, and because radio is the only outlet, especially when you have a situation like I have or Bev or Reverend Sharpton or Michael Baisden or Tom Joyner or Steve Harvey, where we actually get to talk, and it's not just all music, we can actually talk about our issues and develop a plan to make it happen.

When you talk about Jena and the White House -- perfect examples. You know, MSNBC or CNN, or no other network told us to march on Jena, it was black radio. And we came in droves.

And we have a power and a position that is unique because we have more educated African-Americans than we've ever had at this time in the world and we have more people politically involved that we've ever had before. And we not only have African-Americans who are tuning in, we have other races tuning in because they want to hear what we think about what's going on.

LEMON: And that's interesting because I was on, when I'm on your show, or Michael Baisden's show, or any of the other urban shows, you would think that it would be a certain demographic, but people call me from every different ethnicities saying, I heard you on the radio. Are you surprised that I listen to Warren or surprised that I listened to Michael Baisden?

Hey, April, I'm going to talk much more with you about this in the other side of the break. But I want to get you in here real quickly, because you have a unique perspective to be able to look at all of this playing out at the White House with the first African- American president. How do you see it playing out as far as a civil rights leader beyond the White House we're talking?

APRIL RYAN, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, AMERICAN URBAN RADIO NETWORKS: Well, one thing, and I'm going to bring it back a little bit to the White House, with Bev, Warren, Michael, Tom, all the other talk show hosts, black talk show hosts, too, they bring up a consciousness.

They have a platform. And in past administration and in this administration, they are hearing the groundswell and they take that, and what is being done in black radio and also what I do at the White House helps to shape policy, believe it or not.


LEMON: Our panelists have much, much more to say on the eve of Dr. King's assassination. My conversation continues on the other side of the break.



LEMON: We're talking about who's carrying the civil rights torch? Who are the new civil rights leaders?

Joining me now, April Ryan, Bev Smith, Warren Ballentine, they are back.

Hey, you know, April - and I want to make this clear. This isn't something that Republican, Democrat, left or right


LEMON: This goes -- this goes beyond partisanship because even though, you know, I said that Urban Radio helped with getting President Obama elected in the sense that they introduced him to an audience who may not have been familiar with him but not everybody was on the same page. Not everybody was for him.

RYAN: Right, you had this up and coming senator from Illinois who everyone didn't know about, but then you have the Clinton machine that everyone knew about. And people wanted to hear, you know, what one side had to say.

There was an allegiance to the Clintons, and then but you have this race that linked you to Barack Obama and everybody was vying, all the black media outlets were vying for Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, because what the mainstream media didn't do was tell the story for us to hear what he was going to say or she was going to say about crack cocaine versus powdered cocaine disparities, about the situation in Jena, about many things that affect the black community.

LEMON: Yes, but I do have to say, we have been talking about that on CNN and we were very -- we led the charge when it came to Jena as well at least getting that story out there, and just telling that story.

So Bev, listen, is this new, though, because I know that black radio, Urban Radio has always had a lot of power, but it seems like there's a new activism, or am I just too young and I don't know

BEV SMITH, HOST, "THE BEV SMITH SHOW": I think you're too young, darling. I think you're too young to know about the talk show hosts. Now in those days, they were disc jockeys and they played the music, but they also where the place where you can go to find out what was going on in the community. They also went out and gave dances and events in the community.

But I do want to say that what we have to talk about when we talk about black radio is the difference between those of us in radio, Warren, Bev, those of us in radio, and Rush Limbaugh. Bo, Bee, Bah (ph), whatever.

Because what we have is a deeper commitment. We have a commitment because we are all there is. And if you look at our periodicals that we're losing, if you look at the newspaper industry that is dying, where can you go to get the truth? And fortunately, we're blessed to be on the air.

Now, you talk about Jena, but no one talks about Kimberly Elise, the girl that was taken out of Wal-Mart. We got -- we did. We carried that story. We had people contacting legislators and we got her the moment she walked out of the jail. She disappeared. We were with Haiti with Dr. Ron Daniels.

RYAN: And we're still on Haiti. That's right.

SMITH: And we're still in Haiti. We're there.

BALLENTINE: I went over there with Ron.

SMITH: I went -- I went. You know, Warren, that I've been with Ron Daniels on the committee for a long time.


SMITH: Let's take the story of AIDS. I took care of an AIDS patient. We worked with Phil Wilson. If we weren't around to tell the story, to bring the news, and that's all of the story...

RYAN: And Bev, what about five years after Katrina? What about five years after Katrina?

SMITH: We're still telling the story.


BALLENTINE: Even when -- even when you look at the history of black radio and activism, Don -- now, I'm probably the youngest person on this panel involved in the conversation. But when you look at Mayor Denkins in New York, he won that election because of the power of the black radio station there, WLIB. When you look at my home city in Chicago, Harold Washington won because of WVON in Chicago, talk radio.

LEMON: Hey, listen. Warren, listen, I've got to go. I'm up against the break. We're talking -- yes, I know that. And I understand what you were saying, Bev, but the power of the platform has increased since the days of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. It appears radio hosts have a bigger voice.

So are we on the right thing here? Do you agree, Warren, I'll give you the last word, that radio hosts are leading the charge? And if so, and who else might be out there, if anyone?

BALLENTINE: I do agree that we're leading the charge, but I also think you, Don Lemon, who I call America's news anchor...

LEMON: You don't have to say that.

BALLENTINE: I'm not saying it just to be saying it, Don. I'm saying it from what my millions of listeners tell me.


BALLENTINE: Exactly. They look at you guys behind the seat, but the one thing that's disappointing is why isn't it one African- American who has an opinionated show on one of these major networks?

RYAN: Absolutely.

BALLENTINE: Are we not talented enough to do this?

RYAN: Absolutely.

BALLENTINE: I mean, that's the problem. That is the problem.

SMITH: That is the problem.

LEMON: Well, here's the thing. At CNN, we don't do opinion, we put the story out there and we try to stay in the middle of the road.

SMITH: You put it out there and we'll do the opinions.

BALLENTINE: Yes, that's right.

RYAN: You know, what I was taught -- you know what I was taught starting out in black radio, that's the facts, Jack, nothing but the facts.


LEMON: All right. Interesting conversation. Thanks to our guests.

Many of the nations governors threatened, told to resign or else. Who's behind the message? And imagine turning off all your electronics for one day? Could you do it?

I don't think you can.

I talked to a woman who says it's a big step toward taking back control of your own life.


LEMON: I want to check the headlines right now.

A crash involving a bus, a car and a pickup truck has left 16 injured in Denver. The bus apparently ran a red light and hit the truck, pushing it into a parking lot before ramming it into a pole. Witnesses say the bus also hit a car, spinning it around. Two of the people in the accident are in critical condition tonight. Several others seriously hurt in that accident.

A spring break tragedy in Panama City Beach, Florida. Police say a 17-year-old Notre Dame football recruit died when he fell from a fifth floor hotel balcony. It happened yesterday. Witnesses tell police Matt James apparently was drunk and belligerent and was leaning over the balcony when he fell. Another spring break student died in Panama City just last month. In that incident, a 19-year-old from Georgia also fell from a hotel balcony.

Federal authorities say at least 30 governors across the country have received letters warning them to resign. The letters came from an anti-government group and were signed by them. The FBI says there's no credible threat of violence in the letters, but they are investigating whether any laws were broken. No arrests have been made. At least two governors have increased security as a precaution.

He was a five-star chef in India but he gave up that successful career to serve people in the streets of his hometown. I want you to meet our CNN Hero of the Week -- Naran Krishnan.


NARAN KRISHNAN, PROTECTING THE POWERLESS (voice over): Because of the poverty India faces, so many people are being abandoned by their own family and left uncared on the roadside of the city.

I saw a very old man eating his own human waste for food. It really hurt me so much. I was working for a five-star hotel as a chef. I had all the ambitions. I want to excel in whatever I was doing. But the old man changed everything.

My name is Naran Krishnan. I feed and care for the abandoned and mentally ill in my hometown, Madurai, India.

I get up at 4:00 in the morning. Every meal, it has been prepared fresh. We go distribute. People are waiting for us. They totally rely on the food which we give. It is a continuous process. Cooking, distributing, then again coming. We are feeding almost about 400 people three meal a day around the clock, rain or shine, no holiday.

Others feel difficult to do this. I don't feel it difficult. My mission and my ideas are very clear. The happiness I see in their face keeps me going. I take energy from them. I want to save my people, and I feel that is the purpose of my life.


LEMON: If you want to nominate someone you think is changing the world, just go to

Just how far would you be willing to go to get your hands on an iPad? How about a journey half way around the world?

Plus this --


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Shame on him. I mean, I don't know what to tell you. I don't want to be him when he's going to answer to somebody. I don't know how you can rook nuns, to be honest with you.


LEMON: It is no match made in heaven. This one's now in court.


LEMON: Wow. You've got the iPod, the iPhone. Do you have the iPad? Thousands of people lined up at stores all across the country today to get their hands on Apple's newest release. Prices for the lightweight tablet-sized computer ranged from $499 to $829, depending on how many gadgets it has. One man flew from all the way from Israel to Miami just to buy one.

So now that we've got you all hot wired for the iPad and other devices, unplug it just for a day. And not just your iPad. No electricity, no driving in your car, no work of any kind. That's what you do every Saturday if you are a religious Jew. It is a pre- ordained day of rest, a time to pause and reflect on what's important in life.

And you don't need to be religious to try it. That's what we want to tell you. That's what one lady's message says. This age-old concept is explored with refreshing clarity in a book. It's called "The Sabbath World" by Judith Shulevitz, a writer with the Slate in the "New York Times." I spoke with her earlier about why the Sabbath maybe even more important in our 24/7 world than ever before.


LEMON: So, Judith, you know, it's kind of the perfect weekend to talk about it, Easter weekend and, you know, we just had Passover, right? So let's talk to me about -- talk to me about "The Sabbath," just religion aside, what it means to you.

JUDITH SHULEVITZ, AUTHOR, "THE SABBATH WORLD": The Sabbath is two things to me. One, it's this incredible idea. It's really one of the great ideas in human history. It has transformed the world. It's affected the way we've lived for thousands of years. And I was interested in thinking about it, studying it, learning its history before it kind of disappeared from our lives.

So, that's -- that was the big idea that I -- that I had about the Sabbath. And then what it meant to me personally was it was a way to get outside of the work-a-day-driven-careerist life that I was leading.

LEMON: You know, it's interesting, because you talk about, you know, Christians, any religion that people have these moments where they feel like they're searching for something, right?

And then it can be even harder now, as you say, you know, if we have all -- we're connected. I'm showing my BlackBerry and my iPhone, that you're always connected. And sometimes, do you think it's always about religion or is it just about connecting to a source, connecting to family, pulling back and not being so involved in the rat race?

SHULEVITZ: Don, that is exactly the point. That's exactly the point of what I discovered about the Sabbath which is that it is a -- it is a really good idea for people, for families, for communities to set aside a structured time in which they connect with each other. And that is at the heart of what the Sabbath does.

LEMON: You said -- this is a quote from you. You said it's collective time illness? What does that mean?

SHULEVITZ: Collective time sickness, actually. I'd say we're sort of -- we're driven by time rather than driving it ourselves and it's making us sick. The idea of the Sabbath is not just that people -- all people have the right not to work, which, by the way, was a radical and new idea when it was first conceived and written down in the 1400s.

It's not only that. It's that all people have the right to work, not to work at the same time so that they can be together. And one of the things that's happening to us is that we're all -- we're getting on these very different schedules. And we're having a very hard time figuring out how to come together.

And what the Sabbath does is it creates the situation in which there is just a structured period in which we can come together.

LEMON: So is this the first step? Maybe that is the answer to my next question. I was going say, what's the first step? If someone's watching, what do they need to do?

SHULEVITZ: Basically, the first step is to do it yourself. You bring it into your life and try to get your family to do it with you.

But one of the things I argue in the book is one of the ideas, the political idea sort of embedded in the Sabbath, is the idea that as a society we have the right to take control of our time, and say maybe as a democratic society, we want to decide to bring back some rules about what can and cannot be done one day a week.

And we might want to start thinking about ways to encourage people not to work on that day.

LEMON: Yes, very good advice. The book is called "The Sabbath World." Her name is Judith Shulevitz. Good to see you.

SHULEVITZ: Thank you, Don.

LEMON: You can't use an app for that. Sorry.

If you'd only avoid one film for the rest of your life, make it "Battlefield Earth." That's the judgment from really some critics. Very harsh critics. So how did this John Travolta alien flick earn so many enemies? We're going to tell you.


LEMON: Did you see the movie "Battlefield Earth" back in 2000? Apparently not a lot of people did. It was really so bad. Its horrific critical views have transcended time. The Razzies have just officially dubbed "Battlefield Earth" the worst film of the decade. Not even John Travolta's star power was able to save it from critics who tore it apart in the debut.


ROGER EBERT, FILM CRITIC: Our first movie is an unholy mess named "Battlefield Earth." Let's not beat around the bush. This is one of the ugliest, the most incomprehensible movie I've ever seen. It's like spending two hours in the intergalactic town dump with a lot of people who need a bath and a trip to the dentist.

The movie stars John Travolta in a role that obscures and wastes his talent as a creature named Terl, a security chief of the alien Psychlos. Forest Whitaker is second in command, meets Terl's new secretary played here by Kelly Preston.

JOHN TRAVOLTA, ACTOR, AS TERL: (INAUDIBLE) You've got to drink with economical speed. And there's another advantage.



LEMON: You had to take a sip of water after that one, huh? Roger Ebert beat up on you. That's why I miss Roger Ebert. I mean, he didn't hold his tongue.

So that's the screenwriter right there. His named is J.D. Shapiro. You received the Razzie, the Worst of the Decade Award, earlier this month. So thanks for joining us. Sorry, you know, you got beat up like that. J.D. SHAPIRO, SCREENWRITER, "BATTLEFIELD EARTH": Well, thanks. Perhaps, it happens. I want to say, it's great to be here on the show. I'm actually a big fan of your work. I don't see you winning a Razzie any time in the future, so...

LEMON: Sometimes I do. Sometimes, I do. Well, listen, what's been the reaction? Have you been able to get any work as a screenwriter since then? What's been the bottom of the barrel reaction here?

SHAPIRO: Well, let's put it like this. I actually have gotten a lot of work but my agent had me -- I used to use my initials. He had me go back to using my real name on my script, so that people wouldn't quite associate me with the movie.

What happens is this. The way movies are made is people go to cocktail parties and they go, hey, guess who we got in the movie, and they don't want to go, hey, guess what? We got the writer of "Battlefield Earth" writing our next movie, so.

LEMON: All right. Well, at least you're working. You know. I don't remember who Ishtar was. That film, too, and there were other things. There was another movie about water -- "Waterworld."

SHAPIRO: Yes. Kevin Costner, he went out with that one.

LEMON: J.D., I love your honesty. Let's see. In the "New York Post," you wrote you're proud because, quote, "of all the sucky movies, mine is the suckiest."


LEMON: And so you're proud of it. So how did that happen?

SHAPIRO: Well, I can't take all the credit for the Razzie award. It was actually what was on the screen, a lot of it I didn't write. And that's what happens a lot. As a writer, I don't have full control over everything. And in this case, there was a script that was -- my script was rewritten by Corey Mandell.

LEMON: Are you saying the studio ruined your script?

SHAPIRO: I'm saying it actually started with the other writer that was brought onboard that ruined it. And then it went from there. You can't take a bad script and turn it into a good movie. Never going to happen. And that's where it all started. And that was the train wreck. Because I like to say, it's not fair to court a train wreck because people actually want to watch a train wreck.

LEMON: Well, you can just call it, that was -- instead of a train wreck, the new thing is that was the "Battlefield Earth."

SHAPIRO: Good. We'll make it part of the vernacular. I like that. That would be excellent. People see something really bad, they'll just go "Battlefield Earth" and everyone will know. LEMON: What was up with that "Battlefield Earth"? That was terrible. So, do you think you deserve this honor? Because let me tell you, "Freddy Got Fingered", "Swept Away" and "Gigli" were you up against. Do you think you deserve it?

SHAPIRO: Absolutely. When you're -- when you're up for an Oscar, there's an agenda. You know, you're trying to win an Oscar. There's no agenda here. No one's trying to win a Razzie.

So getting it, yes, the movie definitely deserved it. In fact, my feeling is, if we ever do torture again, which we hope we never do, but if we do, instead of water boarding, we should make them watch "Battlefield Earth" over and over and over. And I think by about the third one, they'll give up their own mother to make it stop.


LEMON: What kind of a crook would try to rip off a school run by nuns? Sounds incredible. But now a Catholic school is on the hook for hundreds of thousands of dollars. Why?


LEMON: Every weekend, we bring you interesting news items you might have missed.

China's notorious coal mines suffered three deadly accidents this week. The worst left more than 150 miners trapped deep underground when their mine suddenly flooded with cold, black water.

Well, today, a group of rescuers entered the mine including several divers but they returned to the surface just a short time later. They said conditions in the mine were, quote, "very difficult." The day before, tapping could be heard on the pipe, indicating there were survivors. Since then, there's only been silence.

Who would scam nuns out of hundreds of thousands of dollars? Massachusetts authorities say they know who -- a Rhode Island fundraiser. Now he's facing some serious charges.


MARTHA COAKLEY, MASSACHUSETTS ATTORNEY GENERAL: Those funds went for his own personal expenses, for adult entertainment and for his own travel.

TOM FONGILIUS, CONTRACTOR: Shame on him. I mean, I don't know what to tell you. I don't want to be him when he's going to answer to somebody. I don't know how you can rook nuns, to be honest with you.


LEMON: Well, at first, Michael Hlady seemed like the answer to the nuns' prayers, right? He told them he found a benefactor who could donate up to $14 million to renovate their Catholic school in Worcester. So the school embarked on a huge expansion project, hiring contractors and builders. But apparently and sadly, it was all a scam. Hliady has pleaded not guilty to larceny, but the nuns are still on the hook for thousands of dollars in contractor fee.

Nice guy, huh.

Thank you for joining us. Thanks for putting up with allergies here. I could barely think and talk tonight, but you guys suffered through with me, I hope and say to the end. And I want to tell you I'll see you back here tomorrow, 6:00, 7:00 and 10:00 p.m. Eastern.

Enjoy your iPads. Have a good evening and again, thanks for watching. Good night, everybody.