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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Government Wildlife Watchdog Under Fire; Obama Administration Takes on Arizona Over New Immigration Law
Aired July 6, 2010 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN ANCHOR: Tonight: the gap between BP promises and BP results. When it comes to cleaning up all that oil, the gap is, well, big enough to sail a supertanker through. We're "Keeping Them Honest."
Here is what it's all about. On March 24, BP filed papers with federal regulators promising it could, in the event of a leak, skim and remove 491,721 barrels of oil from the Gulf a day. Numbers matter here. And this is a number, by the way, that the feds did not question. It's also 340,000 barrels more than the current upper leak estimates, which would mean that right now, if BP were actually living up to its promise, it would be capturing each and every drop of oil that's coming out of this pipe every day, with capacity leftover to do the same for seven more leaking pipes just like this one.
Nothing would be hitting the beaches or the marshes. Ask a shrimper if he think that's the case. See what an oysterman has to say. Look at the oiled birds and consider how well BP is living up to its oil collection promise to federal regulators. Run the numbers and you will see they're not doing very well at all.
According to "The Washington Post," it turns out skimming only accounts for 67,000 barrels of oil recovered, and not per day either, but over the entire 78 days of this disaster. Burning it gets another quarter million or so. Another 600,000-some barrels is collected with that cap on the blowout preventer, which leaves more than a million barrels of crude floating around the Gulf.
When asked for comment by "The Post," a BP spokesman said -- quote -- "The numbers, well, they are what they are." He says now is not the time to ask why, to which we simply say, if not now, then when?
One late note: Efforts to connect a third tanker to the leaking well are being slowed tonight by rough weather. The hookup now expected by week's end would boost the amount of oil BP could recover before it leaks into the ocean.
I want to bring in "Newsweek" contributing editor and New Orleanian Julia Reed, also Jefferson Parish Council President John Young, who has got plenty to say about those BP numbers.
You guys have heard the same numbers that I have heard, that they just heard as well. What's going on, John? What's the discrepancy here? JOHN YOUNG, CHAIRMAN, JEFFERSON PARISH COUNCIL: Absolutely. BP's credibility is shot.
None of the numbers that they have given us from day one have proved to be accurate. They have underestimated the flow out of the pipe when it blew out. They have overestimated what they can capture.
They have overestimated the amount of skimming vessels they had .
GUPTA: Overestimate or intentionally misled?
JOHNSON: Well, at this point, it appears that they intentionally misled us, because there have been memos discovered that showed other than what they have told us.
And, you know, with BP, anything they say, you have to go back and verify, because you can't trust anything they tell you at this point. And now we're 70 days -- 78 days into it.
GUPTA: Julia, this was an approved plan. Someone looked at what they put forward and said, OK, that sounds reasonable. That someone was the federal government. Who do the people -- who can they trust?
JULIA REED, CONTRIBUTING EDITOR, "NEWSWEEK": Well, here -- yes, I mean, that's the thing. And nobody has trusted BP since this happened.
So, what I don't understand is why the federal government, namely the president of the United States, has pretended like this is just not happening on his watch. The Minerals Management Service, which now has some name we can't even remember, because they don't want to be the Minerals Management Service anymore, they approved the plan.
Obama took to office, promised to clean up the Minerals Management Service.
REED: A year-and-a-half into his presidency, he hadn't done that. He approves deepwater drilling anyway. Then we have the spill. He says, OK, no problem. BP is going to take care of it.
Well, clearly, early on, BP was not taking care of it. All right. It's a political calculation. I get that. The president doesn't want to step in right at the beginning and say, all right, I'm in charge of this, because all the flack would go there.
But, at the very least, you would think, OK, behind the scenes, he's going to put pressure on BP executives at least to give us straight numbers. It was a member of Congress who had to throw a fit to get the high-resolution video that was finally released to you guys.
REED: At no point has the president taken responsibility for this. He gave a speech, what, 58 days into it, where he said -- and that was the same day that speech was delivered, don't forget, that we found out that the numbers of the oil, barrels -- I mean, gallons of oil gushing out had been way underestimated.
GUPTA: Way off.
YOUNG: And now they're trying to keep the press out, keep them at a distance.
REED: But that's been the case from the beginning. But wait a minute. So he gives the speech. He says -- on that same day and says at the end of the summer, John, 90 percent -- and to everybody else that was watching the TV, 90 percent of the oil is going to be cleaned up by BP.
Really? On what planet is this guy living?
YOUNG: The relationship between the federal government and BP is much too cozy.
REED: Oh, yes.
YOUNG: There needs to be a military chain of command. And BP needs to be told by the federal government told what to do, not be asked what to do.
GUPTA: The thing that I don't understand -- and you guys are from here -- but who doesn't want this to be cleaned up? It seems to everyone -- every person I talk to says, look, let's get the best minds in the world. We know it's hard. Obviously, it's not easy. But what...
REED: It's not that hard.
YOUNG: But it's not that hard. There's a disconnect. There's a very big disconnect here.
REED: But the disconnect, to your point, it seems willful now. It does.
GUPTA: But who is benefiting, though?
REED: I have no -- I can't...
GUPTA: Willful would imply that someone is...
YOUNG: Well, we're certainly -- we're certainly not benefiting. And, again, this is not just a Louisiana problem. This is a national problem.
Barataria Bay is one of the richest estuaries in the world. We produce 30 percent of the domestic fisheries for the entire United States.
YOUNG: And we produce 30 percent to 35 percent of natural oil and gas that provides heating oil to the East Coast during the winter months.
So this is a -- the president said it's like a war. We ought to treat it like a war. But we shouldn't be taking off for holidays, as the Corps of Engineers did over the weekend. We should be doing it 24/7. The oil moves at night. We should be working 24/7, and we should intensify the manpower, intensify the equipment.
REED: But, as you point out, this should have been a military operation from the beginning.
REED: But, I mean, finally, a couple of weeks ago, members of his own party, Barbara Boxer and Bill Nelson, who has a lot of stake at this since he is a senator from Florida, asked the president just to send in a Naval command to take control of it. No response, not even to members of his own party.
GUPTA: Right. Right.
REED: So, right, I don't know who it benefits, but does it seem willful, or at least incomprehensible.
GUPTA: The one -- the one -- I thought it was good news when I finally heard, Julia, that by the end of the summer, the president was saying 90 percent would be cleaned up.
REED: I know, but he's basing that on information from BP.
(CROSSTALK) GUPTA: You guys are both laughing at that.
YOUNG: You can't rely on that.
YOUNG: Everything we have been told to date has not proven to come to pass.
YOUNG: This is like a hostage crisis.
REED: But he needs to speed it up. He needs to speed it up himself.
REED: We don't have any skimmers. We finally get a skimmer.
GUPTA: We're talking about cleaning up, skimmers, the booms, all of...
GUPTA: ... heard about.
REED: ... weeks into this...
YOUNG: But that's why, you know, a good example on the skimmers, we have about 2,000 skimmers available throughout the entire United States, not to speak what's available worldwide.
They won't relax the restrictions (INAUDIBLE) Oil Pollution Act to allow those skimmers to come here. We have an unmitigated disaster here and they're not throwing all their assets at it.
GUPTA: Some people have said Bobby Jindal, the governor of Louisiana, has 6,000 National Guard at his disposal, has only deployed 1,000. There was some criticism. As a parish president, what do you say about that?
YOUNG: Well, no. I mean, certainly, the governor has those at his disposal. And guess what? Every effective measure has been built by the National Guard, the sand barriers at Elmer's Island, East Grand Terre, but we need the equipment to put these men on.
You can have men. But if you don't have the equipment to put them on and to do something, they're going to stand on the beach. We need the equipment.
YOUNG: We need the equipment to put...
REED: And you need somebody to be bossing them around.
YOUNG: ... to put the men to work. So, it's not the governor. The governor has done everything he can do.
GUPTA: Any predictions? If you're saying President Obama's prediction is not accurate, John, I mean, what can you tell people who are watching this, saying, look, I have been hearing about this for two-and-a-half months?
YOUNG: We need the American people to call their congressmen and their senators and put pressure on the Congress and the Senate, as well as the president of the United States.
He has the executive authority to cut through all this red tape, bureaucratic red tape. We're being held hostage down here, hostage to the oil and hostage to incompetent, cumbersome federal bureaucracy.
YOUNG: We're the greatest country in the world, and we should be able to beat this. And we're not because we're not throwing everything we have at it in terms of manpower and equipment and getting -- cutting through the regulations and red tape, because this is an emergency situation.
GUPTA: Final word, Julia. I know you have had some -- a lot to say about this, and you're very fired up, understandably so.
YOUNG: Right. Right. Well, it's...
REED: Well, I think John is, too, but he's an elected official and has to be more careful.
REED: No, I mean, I know -- the thing is that I just -- again, the disconnect -- it used to be a disconnect. Now it's beyond disconnect.
REED: I really feel like we're in an alternative universe down here.
YOUNG: It also...
REED: And every day, you have got -- today, we have oil in Texas. Tomorrow, it's going to be in Miami. No skimmers. I mean, two weeks into this, all these countries with way advanced technology than BP obviously has its at disposal or the government offers it to us. We don't take it. The only thing the administration has done is make this worse.
GUPTA: I have to tell you, for people who dipped in and out of this story, as many have over the last two-and-a-half months, it is mind-boggling that we're having the same conversation.
REED: I know.
GUPTA: We're going to be here all week.
YOUNG: It almost seems there's some intentional hidden agenda here.
GUPTA: Well, we're going to...
YOUNG: I hate to say that. But we should be much more advanced in beating this situation than we are today.
GUPTA: It's certainly more frightening than I think a lot of people understand.
YOUNG: And it's far from over. It's far from over.
GUPTA: We're going to be here all week. We're staying on top of this story, as you know, John, Julia.
REED: Thank you. No, you're great.
(CROSSTALK) YOUNG: Thank you, Sanjay. We appreciate it. Thanks for all you're doing.
GUPTA: Thank you very much.
And let us know what you think as well at home. Join the live chat right now under way at AC360.com.
Up next: There's a lot of people at the breaking point. You have mental health professionals trying to help. What BP is also doing about that problem.
Also, what on earth led federal regulators to conclude that the risk of wildlife from a BP spill would be low? Does this look like a low risk to you? Didn't to us. We wanted to know if regulators dropped the ball and how. We're "Keeping Them Honest."
Then, later, the Obama administration takes on Arizona over the state's controversial, but popular, new immigration law. Will the White House prevail in court? And what about politically? Jeffrey Toobin is going to join us and one of the Arizona sheriff's as well on the front lines -- all of that when 360 continues live from the Gulf.
GUPTA: You know, you could say plenty about how resilient the people down here really are, how tough they have been in the face of disaster, but toughness only goes so far.
And now, after Katrina, the recession and now this, many have reached the limits of resilience. A Gulf fishing boat captain took his life recently, and no one can be sure of why. You never really know. But the spill took his livelihood, and the fear is, he won't be the last. We saw a spike in mental health issues after the Exxon Valdez disaster. And local professionals say they are seeing the same thing now.
BP promises to make things right on the Gulf. But the $10 million question tonight is, can they, will they make this right?
Randi Kaye takes us "Up Close."
RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): When Louisiana's health secretary sent this letter to BP last week requesting $10 million in funding for mental health, he expected a speedy answer, days, at most. This is what he told us last week.
ALAN LEVINE, SECRETARY, LOUISIANA DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HOSPITALS: You know, that's one of the reasons why we have put a deadline on the letter. If you notice the last sentence, we said, we need an answer by next week.
KAYE (on camera): But that deadline has come and gone, no answer from BP. And this was the state's second request for $10 million. BP responded to the first request, saying it -- quote -- "looked forward to continuing the dialogue." But the oil giant provided nothing.
(voice-over): The money, if it ever comes, would be used to treat those experiencing emotional trauma since the spill, fishermen like Luis Lund Jr. (ph), who can no longer fish to support his family because of the oil. His wife says he's full of rage.
RACHEL MORRIS, WIFE OF FISHERMAN: He wants to go on a rampage, screaming, punching, hitting, whatever he can do. And he can't. And he just can't get it out. It's just stuck in there, bubbling.
KAYE (on camera): How is that anger coming out?
MORRIS: It comes out -- he started drinking. He's smoking more, when we're trying to quit. He takes it out on us just in general. We do something that kind of would make him upset, and all the other stresses kind of pile on top of that, so he blows up.
KAYE (voice-over): Rachel Morris wants to help. She is learning how to navigate the emotional pressures at group wellness classes like this one at the St. Bernard Project. Other Gulf wives are here, too. Same problem.
YVONNE LANDRY, WIFE OF FISHERMAN: I have got one at home right now that needs to vent, you know, but won't. He will fuss at me or he will fuss at him and -- or the kids.
KAYE: Among other things, the group is taught breathing exercises to control stress.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Push the air out to release all that negativity from your body.
KAYE: The Project's CEO, Zack Rosenburg, says, if BP doesn't pay, this lifeline will end for many. They won't have enough money to treat everyone. Even now, it's far from ideal. Those anxious, angry or depressed already have to wait eight weeks just to get in for a first appointment.
(on camera): Is this wellness group an example of why you need more money from BP?
ZACK ROSENBURG, CEO AND CO-FOUNDER, ST. BERNARD PROJECT: If we are able to get more dollars in the door, we're going to start a peer- to-peer counseling program. We're going to add evening and weekend hours to our center, and we're going to open a satellite office down the road, because the need is clearly there.
KAYE (voice-over): We tried to contact BP numerous times to ask why it hasn't even responded to the state's latest request. No one at BP responded to us either.
(on camera): Does it surprise you that BP hasn't come forward with the $10 million to help people like your family that the state has requested?
MORRIS: No. I don't think -- it's not surprising to me. I don't think that they're doing nearly what they could do. I don't expect to see the $10 million because they don't care about us. We're an inconvenience to them.
KAYE (voice-over): An inconvenience and perhaps just another expense in BP's $3 billion tab in the Gulf.
Randi Kaye, CNN, New Orleans.
GUPTA: All right. And we're "Digging Deeper" now with Dr. Elmore Rigamer. He's medical director of Catholic Charities right here in New Orleans.
Thanks so much for joining us.
DR. ELMORE RIGAMER, MEDICAL DIRECTOR, NEW ORLEANS CATHOLIC CHARITIES: Nice to be here. Thank you.
GUPTA: You know, we have said it before, but Hurricane Katrina, the recession, now this. You're seeing lots of patient,s more than 3,000, I understand.
RIGAMER: We have -- we have five centers in the communities, the affected communities. And, so far, in these centers, we have seen about 14,000 people for various needs, financial needs, some guidance, and some for counseling. BP is financing this work, incidentally.
We opened up there right when this began, a few days after this began, at the request of the parish pastors. And when BP saw what they were doing, they asked, could they help out? So, they gave us a big sum of money in the beginning to start this. And so we're operating on that now.
GUPTA: So, they came to you?
RIGAMER: They came to us. They came to us. And they also asked us to get together a group of organizations here, the voluntary organizations active in disasters, a collaborative of 30 not-for- profits working in the area, in the communities, run by people in the communities.
So, this is a coalition of organizations who have come together. And BP asked us to propose a grant to operate for the next three months, giving mental health assistance.
GUPTA: What -- what sort of things do you expect to see? Valdez...
RIGAMER: Well, we're seeing...
(CROSSTALK) GUPTA: The Valdez studies are -- they are out there, really. We're in the early phase right now. And the difference between Valdez or Katrina is that this is ongoing, and that's a continuous pressure.
But we're seeing what you would expect. People feel very anxious, very afraid. They don't know what's going to happen to their livelihood, their community.
There's -- there's beginning to be depression and a real sense of helplessness, because these are people who were working and then, within a week, not only are they not working, but they have got to deal with the legal system and corporate system and case managers and whatnot to get back to work.
From a mental health perspective, given that it's ongoing, and having -- people having a lot of the symptoms you just described, what can you do about it?
RIGAMER: Well, I think we can do a lot.
First of all, we're -- we're making -- we're doing a lot of education about what reactions to expect, anticipatory guidance. So, if you have these kinds of reactions, you're not mentally ill. You're having normal reactions to this terribly abnormal event. We want you to come in and talk to us. And we're fanned out in the communities to do that.
We're following the model much like we did after Katrina, where you go out into the communities and seek people out. So, we're doing that, hiring people in the communities to do that.
And then, with all of this fanning out and screening and talking to people, we will talk to ones or screen many, many people to see who needs to be kicked up to the next level and talk a little more about it.
GUPTA: For somebody who is watching right now who may think, you know, I feel like maybe I should be getting help, how do they know that they should be seeing someone like you, and how do they know that it could be something quite serious?
RIGAMER: Well, they -- usually, when it's quite serious, they see somebody like me, who is a psychiatrist.
But not many have to come up to me, really. I think that, if they have persistent negative thoughts, they just can't get rid of them, there's a feeling that nothing will go right, everything I have tried or everything I will try, it won't matter, if it's spilling over into your family, and you're irritable, and you're picking on your kids, or you're arguing with your wife, usually, it's the -- the husband who is the primary wage-earner in these communities, and you're just feeling down, I think that's one thing.
Certainly, if you feel that life is not worth living, and it's too hard to go on, and I have been through Katrina, and I had a setback in the recession, it's still going on, and now I have got this, you should talk to us.
Not just here in New Orleans or this area of the country, but all over the country, people have really felt the impact of this. And I think, again, because it is ongoing, two-and-a-half months now, no end in sight...
RIGAMER: Right, no end in sight.
GUPTA: ... any advice for people who are just watching night after night?
RIGAMER: I would limit what I watch.
RIGAMER: This is a continuous stimulus, reworking this over and over and over again. And we certainly tell that to people here. You know, know what's going on, but get your mind on something else.
GUPTA: ... keeping up on the news, you know...
RIGAMER: Keep up on the news for all you need to know, but only what you need to know, really.
I don't think regurgitating it over and over and over and over, with all of the nuances, are very helpful. And, certainly, if you're preoccupied with it, like a lot of people here, you need some time out of this and away from this. And that's one of the things we try to get them to do.
The most important thing we want these people to do, the ones here, is to have a sense of mastery once again of what's going on in their lives, and get back to work and help them do what they need to do to take over.
GUPTA: All right.
GUPTA: Dr. Rigamer, thanks so much for joining us.
RIGAMER: Thanks for having me. Appreciate it.
GUPTA: We are certainly going to try and keep people informed on this very issue, including the paper trail that led to this: evidence that federal regulators in charge of protecting the fish and wildlife, well, they dropped the ball. We are going to follow the facts on that, "Keeping Them Honest."
And, later, Chad Myers on the new threat to the cleanup from the weather.
Stay with us.
GUPTA: We have all seen these disturbing pictures of birds and other wildlife soaked in oil. The images are pretty heartbreaking to look at. And we can't actually show you any recent video, though, because the Coast Guard no longer allows us to bring our cameras close enough to record the rescue efforts. They say it's for safety reasons.
As far as we could tell, though, no one was getting hurt and reporters weren't getting in the way. We will let you decide why they have restricted access.
Meantime, we have learned something else about the wildlife sickened and dying in the Gulf. Some newly uncovered documents show the federal agency whose job it is to protect these animals from oil spills appears to have dropped the ball, big time.
Joe Johns is "Keeping Them Honest."
JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): If the images themselves aren't bad enough, consider this. All of it could possibly have been avoided. That's because, when it was time to issue deepwater drilling permits, new documents show, in the event of a spill, the Fish and Wildlife Service considered any risk to wildlife -- quote -- "low."
Bill Snape is with an environmental watchdog group, the Center for Biological Diversity.
BILL SNAPE, SENIOR COUNSEL, CENTER FOR BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY: Fish and Wildlife Service had the legal authority and responsibility to say, stop, wait. There are impacts to this project, including the potential for a spill, that we need to look into. We need to make sure that, if there's a spill even remotely the size of the spill that we saw, that whales, sea turtles, birds, other endangered species of wildlife are in decent shape, that we can do something for them, and not have the catastrophe. I mean, it's bad out there right now, very bad.
JOHNS: The paper trail starts in 2007. It was that year, before the drilling was about to begin in the Gulf, the Fish and Wildlife Service wrote this letter concurring and agreeing with the Minerals Management Service environmental assessment that drilling posed no significant risk to wildlife. Don't tell that to the critically endangered Kemp's ridley sea turtle or the then endangered brown pelican or the threatened loggerhead turtle.
SNAPE: I think the question is, why did they not fulfill their role as a watchdog? They why did the Fish and Wildlife Service, which was supposed to be the voice of reason, the voice of caution, decide to turn the other way and let MMS and BP run roughshod?
JOHNS (on camera): So, what does the government have to say for itself, now that its presumed advocate for fish, wildlife and endangered species has been caught on paper playing yes-man to the very agency that cleared the way for the environmental catastrophe in the Gulf?
(voice-over): The Fish and Wildlife Service did not return our calls, but the Interior Department, home to both the MMS and the Fish and Wildlife Service, says it is reviewing a wide range of questions that the BP oil spill raises, including MMS' environmental review process.
A government official familiar with the issue blamed MMS for putting out bad information that the Fish and Wildlife Service in turn relied on.
SNAPE: I think they call that smoke and mirrors. I think, at some point, someone within that department has to take responsibility.
GUPTA: All right.
So, Joe, you know, we have been seeing some of those images. I mean, do we have a current count on the number of animals killed by the oil or how many have been rescued?
JOHNS: Well, it comes from the Fish and Wildlife Service. And the numbers might surprise you. Most collected or dead of the birds, 1,387 dead, vs. 940 alive with visible oil.
The sea turtles, it was something like 444 dead with -- and then there's 156 alive with visible oil. Mammals, the numbers are much smaller, Sanjay, 53 dead, five alive. So, frankly, it's just not a pretty picture at all right now in the Gulf.
GUPTA: Yes. I just remember seeing those images from the very start. And they're just still so heartbreaking to look at.
Joe, thanks so much.
And it's not just wildlife getting sick either, as you can imagine. Tomorrow, on 360, a disturbing question: Might BP be trying to hide the risks to cleanup workers?
You know, more than 20 years ago, Exxon sealed the health records of workers sickened while cleaning up Prince William Sound. And, as Drew Griffin discovered, some of those workers are still sick today.
DREW GRIFFIN, CNN INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: Did you have it before you started working on the Exxon Valdez?
ROY DALTHORP, WORKED ON EXXON VALDEZ CLEANUP: No, no, no, no, and the same thing with my eyesight. I don't know if the -- if my failing eyesight -- because I'm going blind.
GRIFFIN: You think you were poisoned out there?
DALTHORP: Yes, yes, silently poisoned.
And that's what's happening to -- going to happen to those people down in the Gulf.
GRIFFIN: Were they concerned about your health?
DALTHORP: They never asked us. They never said anything. They -- none -- nobody ever checked with us, nobody. They never did a follow-up on us, never asked if we ever had any -- we ever had any consequences of it. They could have cared less. I'm serious. There was no follow-up.
GUPTA: And, today, BP is facing similar accusations as well.
Louisiana's Health Department has reported 128 cleanup workers who have been sickened. And state clinics are telling us something else as well, that cleanup workers are being told to report to BP's own health clinic on Grand Isle, not to go to state facilities. Drew Griffin is going to be digging deeper tomorrow on 360.
Also, next on 360: watching the weather. A new, dangerous system could threaten the Gulf. And Chad Myers is tracking it, joining us with a live update.
Also, jail time for Lindsay Lohan. Got that story, as well, coming up.
GUPTA: The Gulf Coast survived a close call from Hurricane Alex. But tonight, rough seas continue to threaten the region and the oil cleanup efforts, as well.
To make matters worse, there's a possible new storm threat. Forecasters are keeping a close eye on a low pressure system pounding the Yucatan with rain. What are the chances all of this is going to head north and grow stronger? Let's ask the expert. Chad Myers is joining us from Atlanta.
Chad, what have you got? What do you say?
CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: At least better than 50/50, Doctor. This is very warm water. The skies are calm. Sunshine aloft means that you're seeing a lot of high pressure here aloft. That's a great thing for a big storm to get bigger.
So this now over the Yucatan Peninsula, this convection. See the colors from earlier on today, moving about 12 hours in advance. And now we're seeing that storm system develop probably into something in the next 48 hours. But what does it develop into? Will it be a 105-mile-per-hour hurricane? Probably not. Is it probably going to be Alex? It could be Bonnie, and Bonnie could be a 50- or 60-mile- per-hour storm, but the same track that Alex took, south of Brownsville into Mexico, maybe as far north as Corpus Christi, but it's still a long way from the oil slick. That's good news.
And with it not being a 105-mile-per-hour storm, it won't have that storm system. It won't have the wind affecting the oil like we saw with Alex. I don't believe this is as big of a threat as Alex was to the shores of New Orleans and all the way back into the bayous of Louisiana, Mississippi and all the way into Alabama and Florida as well. It's hot. Two systems now in two weeks basically.
Temperatures today, 103, New York City. The old record was 101.
MYERS: This today is the first time New York City got above 100 since 2001. So, is it hot? Yes. Is it summer? OK, it's I get that. I get it's summer and this is not breaking news.
But this is the first time we've been above 100 on any day for almost ten years. It's hot and it's still hot tonight. This is part of the problem, doctor. Things aren't cooling down at all during the nighttime hours. You can't even open the windows and cool the house down. If you don't have air conditioning, it's still 91 in New York city, still 91 in D.C. Even tonight at the very, very best for New York city, it gets down to 78. That means your house gets to, what, 82, 83 if the windows are open, and back up tomorrow. This has to make health problems. I know we tell people, go to the mall. But there must be something more you can do. Well, you're the doctor. What do you say?
GUPTA: Well, it's a good point. There's no question about it. You're right. We typically tell people, you know, if you're going to be outside, stay outside early in the morning or late at night. And if it just never cools down, you can't do much about that.
Now, keep in mind, the elderly and the young are going to be the most at risk. So certainly, check in on those folks.
Chad, I think the biggest thing when you're talking about the problems of heat stroke, people have so much insensible lost of fluid. You're losing fluid, oftentimes not even knowing it. So really, really trying to keep up with your hydration and the old advice still trying to find a place, public place, library, shopping mall, something like that, still holds true. Try to get in out of the heat for a little bit. You know, there's already been one death, Chad, as you might know, in Philadelphia, reported, possibly another one possibly out of Detroit, run well. So this is serious stuff, Chad.
MYERS: Doctor, is there an early warning sign? Is there something you can say to yourself, "Oh, you know what? Dr. Gupta told me that if this happens, I should do this? Does your head get foggy? What do you first feel?
GUPTA: You certainly might. You might start to feel lightheaded, for sure. You have all the signs of someone who's starting to develop significant heat problems. Your skin will be aflush. You certainly will be sweating a lot.
What may be surprising and less intuitive to people is that when the signs of heat loss, you stop sweating. You stop actually being able to rid your body of heat. That's when it's becoming more serious. Your mechanism for sort of cooling yourself really starts to fail, Chad. So hopefully, some people are listening to that.
Chad, thanks so much for the update on the weather. We'll be checking back in with you shortly as well.
We're following several other important stories, as well, tonight. Joe Johns is back for the "360 News & Business Bulletin."
Joe, what have you got?
JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Sanjay, smiles today at the White House and warm words between President Obama and Israeli president Benjamin Netanyahu. The meeting came after months of chilly relations. Today, though, Mr. Obama said America's commitment to Israel is unbreakable. The prime minister, paraphrasing Mark Twain, said the reports of the demise of U.S.-Israeli relations are flat wrong.
In America, soldiers being detailed in Kuwait, charged with giving this video to the Web site Wikilinks. Specialist Bradley Manning faces eight counts and a possible court-martial. The video shows a helicopter attack in Baghdad that left a dozen unarmed civilians dead, including two Reuters journalists.
Back home, jail time for a sobbing Lindsay Lohan. Ninety days. That's what the judge gave her for missing alcohol counseling sessions and violating her probation. That sentence scheduled to begin on the 20th.
Start saving those pennies. The postal service asking regulators to approve a two-cent increase for a first-class cent to 46 cents. If approved, the new rate would take effect in January.
And Israeli military commanders are not amused at this video. I've watched it a dozen times. It surfaced on YouTube, shows six troops patrolling Hebron on the West Bank. First you hear the Muslim call to prayer, then Kesha's "Tick Tock" comes in. And you can see right there what the soldiers do.
The brass calls it offensive. They're promising to investigate, and I just can't get over it. I don't know whether it's fake or real or what. And then where does the music come from, you know? Bizarre, Sanjay. Funny.
GUPTA: You can't get away with anything nowadays, Joe. YouTube. Just put it out there. So you've watched it a dozen times. You see anything different each time?
JOHNS: Well, I can't be sure. I feel like it's fake, but I can't prove it with my own eyes, you know.
GUPTA: Right. We'll let the viewers decide now. They can certainly watch it as many times as they'd like. Joe, thanks so much.
And still ahead, the battle on the border, well, it's going to court. We've been talking about this a lot. The Justice Department is suing the state of Arizona, saying their new law, targeting illegal immigrants is unconstitutional. We'll talk to our own lawyer, legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin about what this means for the law and an Arizona sheriff whose job it is to enforce that law.
Also ahead, a royal visit. Queen Elizabeth, she visits New York, speaks before the U.N. for the first time in more than 50 years. We've got the details from her speech, to her hat. All of that is coming up.
GUPTA: Just take one second and just explain the incessant ringing that's been going on if you've been watching the program tonight. We think it's a broken railroad track bell over there. I'm not sure. Some people say it's a cafeteria bell for the crew. But the crew is still sticking here with me. Haven't departed yet for dinner.
Tonight, the Obama administration is taking aim at Arizona's tough new immigration law by suing the state, saying it crossed a constitutional line. The decision to challenge the measure was blasted by Republican senators John McCain and Jon Kyl of Arizona.
In a statement today, they said this: "The American people must wonder whether the Obama administration is really committed to securing the border when it sues a state that is simply trying to protect its people by enforcing immigration law."
Many critics of the immigration law says it sanctions racial profiling and unfairly targets innocent people.
A recent CNN/Opinion Research poll showing a majority of Americans do approve this. There's plenty to talk about here for tonight's "Raw Politics" segment. With me now, senior legal analyst and former federal prosecutor Jeffrey Toobin and Sheriff Paul Babeu of Pinal County, who believes the immigration law is necessary to keep the state safe. Thanks to both of you for joining us. If you could explain, Jeffrey, I was reading about this. The Justice Department is making the case that this law violates a Supremacy Clause of the Constitution.
Federal law outweighs state law. Can you explain exactly what it means?
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Right. You know, it's funny. Because most of the time that we've been talking about this law, we've been talking about does it violate Hispanic citizens' or immigrants' rights by racial profiling?
TOOBIN: But that's not the claim that the Obama administration makes. They make the claim that immigration law is uniquely the preserve of the federal government and under the so-called Supremacy Clause of the Constitution, when there is a conflict between federal law and state law, federal law is supreme.
So, basically what the Obama administration says in this lawsuit is that this is an attempt by Arizona to interfere with a uniquely federal function and, therefore, it's unconstitutional.
GUPTA: So with regard to immigration, Jeff, quickly, they say immigration laws should come under the federal government because it's a combination of not only immigration, but humanitarian principles, foreign policy. Is that why it should be a federal thing as opposed to state?
TOOBIN: That's right. Anything that relates to foreign policy, that relates to relations with other countries, that is considered very much the province of the federal government as opposed to a state government.
What makes this an interesting lawsuit and not a slam dunk for either side is that immigration traditionally has been an area where there's been a lot of cooperation between state governments and federal governments. True, federal law is preeminent usually, but it's not an area like war and peace, which is completely the province of the federal government. So, I think it's not an easy case for the judge that gets it, but both sides have a plausible claim here.
GUPTA: And just in completeness here, after the law was passed, a sheriff in Arizona, there was -- it was altered to basically say, "Look, there can be no racial profiling based on this law specifically."
You say the law is simply a response to the fact that the federal government has dropped the ball when it comes to illegal immigration. But does it make sense, however, to have various states, as Jeff is sort of alluding to, have this sort of patchwork of laws when it comes to immigration as opposed to a more national policy -- Sheriff.
SHERIFF PAUL BABEU, PINAL COUNTY, ARIZONA: You're right, Sanjay. If the federal government did what they explained in great detail in this brief about the Supremacy Clause and that this is our job -- well, do your job. Secure the border. Enforce the laws of the land. If we had done that -- we're talking about not just 100,000 people here that are coming in illegally. We're talking -- the Border Patrol, their numbers say in excess of half a million just here in Arizona.
So, if we had half a million or a million people that we sent -- say let's send them to Chicago where the president is from. How quickly would this problem be addressed? And so this has been looked at as a political issue as opposed to a national security and a public safety issue for the state of Arizona.
And for us, this is not an immigration law. This is an Arizona law, which is a class one misdemeanor for trespassing.
GUPTA: With regard to this, specifically, Jeff, is there a precedent to how this ends up getting resolved? I mean, how do you see this playing out now?
TOOBIN: Well, I think this is going to go up the appeals chain. I mean, I think this is going to go to the district court in Arizona first, but it is likely then to be appealed to the circuit court of appeals and very likely to the Supreme Court.
You know, I'd like to take issue a little bit with what the sheriff said. You know, just because the federal government has not been fully successful in immigration, that's not necessarily a legal justification for overruling the Supremacy Clause.
If, for example, Mexico was really, you know, crossing the border and doing terrible things to people in Arizona, that wouldn't be Arizona's right to declare war on Mexico. The law says there are certain areas that are just reserved for the federal government, even if the federal government isn't doing the best job at it.
GUPTA: What do you say to that, sheriff?
BABEU: Not only do I disagree. For years, people have been saying that this is the federal government's problem. Well, hello. This is my obligation to protect the citizens and families in my county, and this is directly tied to a public safety issue.
Now, the federal government has failed in their obligations to secure the border. Just a few months ago, they're saying the border isn't secured. Then they move a little bit and say we'll send you 1,200 soldiers split among four border states. And then they didn't even would Eric Holder, the president, even Napolitano didn't read the law. Yet, they immediately rushed to judgment, attacked us, undermined the rule of law and said, "Guess who's in the crosshairs now. We are."
The cops, who already have a tough job, doing our job in Arizona, and they made it that much more difficult when they say -- they give an example of an Hispanic male and their daughter or son walking down main street -- the president did this -- with an ice cream cone and then a police officer comes up and demands papers from that man.
That would never happen. We have a Constitution. We have Fourth Amendment rights that protect and safeguard against unlawful search and seizure. I have over 200 of my staff that are Hispanic, you know. What are we talking about here?
GUPTA: Sheriff, let me just interrupt you for one second. You did say this is a public safety issue to some extent. I'm sure you've read some of the same studies that I have that said the crime rates in Arizona have actually been falling, despite the presence of undocumented immigrants. The numbers have gone down over the last few years, well before this law was ever passed.
GUPTA: Is that really a justification for this law?
BABEU: Absolutely. Because we're talking not just the volume that I shared about 241,000 that were apprehended, 500,000 to a million that are coming into our state, which is a direct threat that just last year people are saying that crime rates and everything have gone down nationally. And that is true. The illegal numbers have gone down substantially over past years because of some of the gains that have been made through President Clinton, giving him great credit, President Bush.
But now we have, still in Arizona, just last year we became and earned the title of the kidnap capital of America, second in the world only to Mexico City. And so we're seeing violence here that is still not seen throughout the rest of the world, and we're living in the impact and the effect. And we're asking for help. You wouldn't have a sheriff and all the police chiefs in our county calling for armed soldiers to Arizona if we could handle this on our own.
GUPTA: All right. Sheriff, it's hard to confirm that kidnap capital of America number. We'll look into that a little bit more. But stay tuned, obviously. This is obviously a discussion we're talking about for some time. Jeff Toobin, Sheriff Paul Babeu, thanks so much for joining us.
BABEU: Thank you.
TOOBIN: Thank you.
GUPTA: And still ahead, after -- thank you. And still ahead, after more than half a century, Queen Elizabeth returns to New York to address the United Nations. She represents nearly a third of the world's population. Think about that. We'll tell you what she had to say. That's next.
GUPTA: In New York, Britain's Queen Elizabeth visited Ground Zero after giving a speech at the United Nations. That was her first U.N. address since 1957. That was at the height of the Cold War. Today, the 84-year-old monarch said she's witnessed great change since then, much of it for the better. She also said this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
QUEEN ELIZABETH II, UNITED KINGDOM: For over six decades, the United Nations has helped to shape the international response to global dangers. The challenge now is to continue to show the leadership without losing sight of your ongoing work to secure the security, prosperity and dignity of our fellow human beings.
(END VIDEO CLIP
GUPTA: Besides the hat she wears as a fashion statement, she also wears two other hats. As head of the state for 16 countries and head of the commonwealth of nations. She represents nearly a third of the world's population. CNN correspondent Richard Quest joining us now. Good evening.
RICHARD QUEST, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good evening to you, Sanjay, from a sweltering New York tonight.
GUPTA: Right. How did the queen tolerate the heat, by the way?
QUEST: That was a piece of cake for her majesty. She's used to Africa, the Gulf, the Caribbean. I asked the palace exactly that question. How would the queen handle the heat? They looked at me as if to say, child, go away.
GUPTA: She is royalty, after all. She has not been to the United Nations since 1957, Richard. How did this visit come about? And do you know, was there a particular goal of the visit?
QUEST: Yes. The visit came about, the secretary general invited the queen. And it's believed that perhaps the palace made it clear that she would welcome an invitation, six of one, half of one dozen of the other. As she comes toward 60 years on the throne, she's very keen and they've drawn on the vast reservoir of experience, wisdom. She's met every U.S. president, for example, except Johnson, since Eisenhower.
So this is a woman who knows her way around the world. And what she really wanted to do was pull strands of leadership, duty, the idea that only United Nations can solve some of these really serious, intractable problems. It was a speech, by the way, Sanjay, that she very much was involved in the writing of.
GUPTA: Crafting herself. So, from Churchill to Cameron, from Eisenhower to Obama, it is remarkable. The most experienced, probably, head of state in the world. There are people on both sides of the Atlantic, Richard, who question the impact of Queen Elizabeth, and even the relevance of a monarchy in general, particularly in these tough economic times. Is that a fair criticism, in your estimation?
QUEST: Well, on the economic front, the queen's accounts were published earlier this week, which showed quite a sizable induction it basically costs me as a British taxpayer, 65 pence, nearly a dollar to pay for the royal family. So, it's peanuts over the whole country. The argument of whether or not there is a role for monarchy is one that will be debated in countries like Canada, Australia and New Zealand. But even there, they are unlikely to make any serious changes toward republicanism until after the queen's reign.
The general view is -- and it is a generalization, is that after 60 years, everybody is quite happy to let the queen continue. And in many cases, there will be an appraisal thereafter. I have to say, I don't see that happening in her home country, the United Kingdom.
GUPTA: All right, Richard. Fascinating stuff. Thanks so much for being on the program tonight, Richard. Appreciate it. Great to have you.
And we'll have much more from the Gulf coming up, as well, at the top of the hour. Stay with us.