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Oil Well is Plugged; Summer Session Likely for House of Representatives; Teaching Boxing to Stop Violence; Iran's Ahmadinejad in Hot Seat; Iran's Harsh "Justice"; Flood Ravaged Pakistan; Mission Possible: Fighting Crime One Click at a Time; Chicago Terror Arrest; XYZ: From Harvard to NBA
Aired August 4, 2010 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
T.J. HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: We're coming up on the top of the hour. Here now in the CNN NEWSROOM, I'm T.J. Holmes in for my good friend, Ali Velshi. Let me tell you what we've got on the rundown for you right now.
High confidence and plenty of progress in the Gulf. At least that's what we're hearing from the government. Top officials say most of the oil is gone. But is the disaster really almost over?
Also, we're waiting for the verdict on whether California voters have the right to ban same-sex marriages.
Also, the long journey home for American troops critically wounded in Afghanistan. Our Barbara Starr has an up-close look as they arrive in Germany for much-needed medical treatment.
But again, the long battle to plug the leak is almost over, according to the president, according to the White House. They are sounding very optimistic these days.
The static kill effort is going on right now, and we're told it is doing well right now. We were just listening to the White House briefing a short time ago. We saw Thad Allen, who is, of course, the incident commander, and also the head of NOAA.
The head of NOAA made a comment today that is significant. That being that 50 percent of all the oil that spilled over those three months of the oil disaster, 50 percent of it is gone. Gone. Now, they explain this in a new report today in which they say that only 20 percent of the oil can't be accounted for.
Let's go ahead and put this graphic up because you'll find this fascinating, kind of a breakdown of percentages they have for you. Let me put it up and go through it here with you. It's behind me.
But you see that top number, 26 percent residual? That's the stuff they can't account for. They say either it's sheen out there or it's just below the surface. That's the stuff they can't account for, but they say 25 percent of all the oil that spilled, 25 percent has been evaporated or dissolved.
Another 16 percent naturally dispersed on its own. Another 17 percent siphoned from the wellhead. Another eight percent chemically dispersed. Five percent burned off, three percent skimmed.
So, 75 percent of the oil they say they can account for in some way, form or fashion. The oil that is dispersed right now, they some of the droplets remain. But they say for the most part, 50 percent of all that oil is gone.
That was kind of an astonishing number to hear.
The report we just got out today is getting some criticism right now. Some are saying, how in the world can you account for that? How in the world can you say that, in fact, all of that oil is gone? But, still, the government right now sticking next to their numbers.
Also, the president came out today. He made some comments, and some of the strongest comments -- the president has been careful, I guess you could say, over the time of this Gulf oil disaster, didn't want to sound too optimistic. But, in fact, the president said today that this was significant, and he said that, in fact, yes, we are looking at possibly the beginning of the end of this Gulf oil disaster.
The work will continue over the next couple of days with this static kill operation that's going on that will move us on to the next step, which will be the last step, the bottom kill that will finally kill it, this relief well.
Let's go ahead and listen in to just a portion that we heard today from today's briefing at the White House.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JANE LUBCHENCO, NOAA ADMINISTRATOR: No one is saying that it's not a threat anymore. The oil that has been completely degraded isn't, because when it is biodegraded, it ends up being water and carbon dioxide. So, if it has been biodegraded, if it's gone, then it's not a threat.
Oil that is in microscopic droplets, that is still there, may be toxic to any of the small creatures under the water that are encountered -- that it encounters. And even in very small droplets, it is -- can be toxic. We do remain concerned and are actively studying the overall impact that both the oil at the surface and the oil subsurface has had on the entire ecosystem of the Gulf.
The oil that is beneath the surface is in the process of very rapid degradation. It's disappearing very quickly. It is very dilute.
As you go farther and farther from the wellhead, the small, microscopic droplets of oil are very quickly diluted into parts per million. Parts per million, that's very, very dilute. And farther away from the wellhead, it's even more dilute. But dilute and out of sight doesn't necessarily mean benign.
And we remain concerned about the long-term impacts, both on the marshes and the wildlife, but also beneath the surface, and are actively studying that, both as part of our federal response and in partnership with much of the academic community that is also very interested in the overall long-term impacts of this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOLMES: It seems like we've been getting more good news than bad news out of the Gulf. But the good news, that the static kill operation is working. And depending on how you view it, it certainly sounds like good news if it's true. But, in fact, 75 percent of that oil has now been accounted for, 50 percent of it gone altogether from the Gulf. Just some dispersed that's left over.
Going to move on to today's "Sound Effect." And the aftermath of yesterday's carnage in Connecticut is our "Sound Effect" this hour.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALISON KOSIK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Did he tell you what it was like inside there?
AL BASSETT, RETIRED EMPLOYEE: He just said, "Pure hell, Al," and just walked away. Pure hell. Pure hell. I'm sure it was.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GREGG ADLER, COUNSEL, TEAMSTERS LOCAL 1035: There was no reason to expect that this would happen. And so do you every time you're going to discipline somebody, like, have the state police there?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOLMES: Now, investigators say an employee was angry. He was forced to resign after a disciplinary meeting. Pulled out a gun and opened fire at the Hartford Beverage Distributors. Killed eight people, then killed himself.
Well, some new unsettling details coming out today. Survivors of the attack say Omar Thornton chased at least one of his victims through the building, then out into the parking lot before gunning him down. Police think he probably specifically targeted some of the folks who were killed.
One victim was president of the teamsters union the shooter was in. There are some allegations by close acquaintances of Thornton that he faced racial harassment on the job. Police say they haven't found any evidence of that just yet, but the investigation continues right now.
We're going to take a quick break. We are getting some breaking news out of Washington, D.C., about the possibility of Congress, that's on recess, coming back to work a little early.
Stay with us.
HOLMES: All right. Going to turn to our Brianna Keilar, standing by for us on Capitol Hill.
Brianna, hello to you.
They're on recess. Nobody likes to come back to work early, do they? But is there talk now of bringing these guys back?
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's exactly right, T.J. A very unusual move the Democratic leaders are considering, bringing the House of Representatives back from recess.
You know, they went on break on Friday. And it's kind of the joke around here when they go on recess. You don't want to be standing in the hallway between the House floor and the -- or in the east front, where all of their cars are parked, ready to whisk them off to the airport, because you risk bodily harm they move out of there so quickly. But, yes, according to a Democratic leadership source, we're being told that House leaders are considering this, and that it's likely the House is going to be called back.
So, why? Well, it's because the Senate today very unexpectedly passed a bill that would give $26 billion in aid to states. This would be money to help teachers so that they aren't laid off, but also to give billions of dollars to states for these Medicaid costs that are just really hurting their budgets. Democrats say that this money would help them retain people like firefighters and police officers.
So, just imagine the visual here, T.J., would be Democrats saying, look, here we are, we're on break, and we're coming back to do this work for you because this is so important, and we're trying to keep these teachers working before the school year starts -- T.J.
HOLMES: I'm scared to even ask you, Brianna, but you're mentioning coming back so they can help states, help firefighters, help teachers. Surely, everybody would be on board with that. Wouldn't they, Brianna?
KEILAR: No, T.J., they would not. Likely, the expectation is that Republicans are going to oppose this, and they're going to say, as they've said in the past because they've opposed this spending before, they say that the money for teachers is a payoff to teachers unions shortly before the election. There's that element.
And then they also say that this money for Medicaid and propping up these state budgets, that this is just more of the stimulus, which they say is a failed program. So the expectation would be that they would monolithically vote against this.
So not only do you have this visual of Democrats trying to come back and say, look, this is a victory for us ahead of the election, you have Republicans arguably going to even more unhappy about coming back from break, right, who are going to say this is ridiculous, this is pointless, and this is a political move just for the spectacle? HOLMES: And Brianna, one last thing, quickly. When we will know possibly for sure if this is going to happen. And if it happens, are we talking about literally hopping in from the airport, running down, making a vote and leaving? Or will they have to stay for a while and do some debate?
We would expect that they would probably come back really just to pass this one thing. Now, there would probably be some debate before it. Are they going to hang around for weeks? No.
What we know right now though, T.J., is the Democratic leaders are going to be talking. They'll be talking on the phone here shortly, if they aren't already, discussing exactly what their plan is going to be. We wouldn't expect them to come back this week.
As you know, the Senate is wrapping up business this week. We would expect it to be a little later on, possibly next week might be the idea. But, no, the idea would be that they would come back, it would be a very visual thing where they would just be passing this huge chunk of change, really, for these states to help the cash- strapped budgets that they have.
HOLMES: Well, Brianna, you might get some company, unexpected, on Capitol Hill this summer.
HOLMES: Brianna Keilar.
Always good to see you, dear lady. Thank you, as always.
Well, coming up here, fighting youth violence with fighting -- boxing in particular. A former Chicago gang member working with kids to keep them on the right path from the same streets where he himself got into trouble.
HOLMES: Well, a former Chicago gang member now fighting youth violence in his old neighborhood by teaching street kids to box. That might sound a bit ironic, but Derek Brown's mission is about a lot more than just left hooks and jabs. It's about helping out the neighborhood, and he's also "Building up America."
DEREK BROWN, FORMER GANG MEMBER HELPING TO FIGHT YOUTH VIOLENCE: I had six blocks that I corrupted.
TEXT: Derek Brown was a leader of a notorious Chicago street gang -- the Vice Lords.
BROWN: I was trapped up in a life of selling drugs.
TEXT: On the streets he was known as "Shotgun." BROWN: "Shotgun," it came from when I actually stayed across the street. This was a big gambling spot. And one day they was out gambling, and I looked out my third-floor window and I seen the whole crowd just disperse.
And I looked. I didn't know what was going on. I can't hear anything. And I see this car jumps on the sidewalk and runs this guy over. And I came off my back porch -- boom, boom, boom -- shooting a shotgun.
TEXT: But now Shotgun has a new role -- Coach Derek --
BROWN: The kids right now call me "Coach Brown." "Coach Derek" is what I tell them to call me.
What I'm doing, I'm watching you. Try to hit me right there.
TEXT: -- who is trying to "K-O" Chicago's youth violence by teaching street kids to box.
BROWN: It's a big problem in this city. For one, it's not enough programs that's over here. It's not enough community centers.
TEXT: So he started his own --
BROWN: Ready? Go. All your punches straight. There you go. Perfect.
TEXT: -- on the steps of his old school, on the street where he grew up and joined a gang at the age of 13.
BROWN: What's ironic is I went to this school right here. There's bullet holes in this wall that came from me. You can see bullet holes in this wall that came from me.
TEXT: Now 34, following a sting in prison, he has been out of the gang for two years and is reveling in his new life as a role model.
BROWN: It's two parents, though. It's your home parents, whether it's your father and mother, and it's the streets. That's something that goes unnoticed. The streets will take your kid and turn him into what they is.
When I look at them, I think hope. I think somebody's going to be something in life. Somebody's going to be definitely better than me.
Put some snap to it and keep your hands tucked in.
He don't have to grow into nothing negative. He can see the negative, but he doesn't know how to handle it. I'm not just teaching them how to box. I'm teaching them to box their way through life there.
There you go. Good. That's the champ. (END VIDEOTAPE)
HOLMES: Well, it's a long, it's a difficult, it's treacherous, and also it is a race against time, this journey we're talking about, trying to get the injured off the battlefield.
Our Barbara Starr is bringing us a series of reports about the journey home. She joins us now from the Pentagon.
Barbara, hello to you.
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Hello there.
You know, the flow of wounded is only increasing every day. The buses are now unloading at a hospital in Germany all the time.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Got it?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Got it.
STARR (voice-over): Eight hours after leaving the war zone, words of comfort.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Welcome to Landstuhl. You're safe now. They're going to take good care of you. OK?
STARR: For some, the rush into intensive care, even as stretchers keep coming off the overnight flight from Afghanistan.
(on camera): These critically wounded troops have just arrived from Afghanistan here at the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center. Some of them are suffering from massive injuries. They have been in roadside bomb blasts, mortar attacks. It is here that you can begin to see the price the wounded are paying in this war.
(voice-over): In the last several weeks, Trauma Director Lieutenant Colonel Raymond Fang has seen firsthand what is happening to troops carrying out the strategy of protecting Afghan civilians.
LT. COL. RAYMOND FANG, LANDSTUHL REGIONAL MEDICAL CENTER: We see a lot more injured, what we call dismounted IED injuries, where people are on foot patrol when they're injured. And here we are seeing truly just devastating extremity amputations. We've been seeing a lot more, three and four extremity amputations, than I had seen in the conflict in Iraq.
STARR: Specialist Gary Davis arrived here from Afghanistan just a couple of days ago. He survived a massive roadside bomb. Portions of both legs have been amputated.
SPEC. GARY DAVIS, U.S. ARMY: We flipped over. Everybody had the seat belts and stuff on, but, you know, we were in pain.
I got out of the vehicle, undid my seat belt, and I just flopped on to the ground. With all the adrenaline going through me, I did notice that my legs were messed up, but I crawled as far as I could to a door. That's all of the energy I had, and I just kept on yelling, "Help me! Help me!"
STARR: Davis is on constant pain medication, but still, doctors will try to get him out of bed and into a chair. He will fly home within hours.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Take him to the ER.
STARR: Back out front with the teams who handle the wounded, Specialist Shalandra Reddin giggles about her new braces.
SPEC. SHALANDRA REDDIN, U.S. ARMY: Can you understand me?
STARR: But quickly, this 27-year-old begins to open up.
REDDIN: We have seen so many people with missing legs, arms, eyeballs. I mean, no -- it has been crazy.
STARR: She tells us these days, there may be as many as four buses of wounded a day. It used to be just one.
Shalandra talks to the troops.
REDDIN: One story I heard that particularly stuck in my mind was he said that he was looking out the window in Iraq, and the next thing he woke up, he was here. So -- and he had no legs.
STARR (on camera): That is a lot for you the deal with at the age of 27.
STARR: It's hard.
REDDIN: Yes, it is. But I'd rather help someone that it be the other way around. That's how I look at it.
STARR (voice-over): As soon as the wounded are stabilized enough to fly again, they leave Germany and are loaded one last time onto a cargo plane for the nine-hour flight back to the United States. Medications are checked and rechecked.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Number 10. Number 20.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Go ahead. Lower.
STARR: More gear is loaded, turning the C-17 cargo plane into a flying intensive care unit.
For this critically wounded soldier, equipment that would take up an entire hospital room stateside, from hospital bed to cargo plane. (on camera): You're now on the way home?
STARR: What are they telling you? Where are you going? What is going to happen next?
DAVIS: I'm going to Walter Reed and start my rehab there. My parents are supposed to meet me there at some time, so, I'm excited about that.
STARR (voice-over): Young troops still have their priorities even now.
DAVIS: For example, I asked if they had Internet, and they said, "Oh, yes. Don't worry. You're going to have a computer in your room so you can do e-mails and stuff like that."
STARR: Still, at moments, the road is daunting.
(on camera): Right now, because of the medication, and everything fairly pain-free?
DAVIS: I'm doing pretty good.
STARR: Yes? This is not such a good day?
DAVIS: Well, yesterday was tough, because they took me out of the bed.
STARR (voice-over): For these troops, pain and exhaustion, but they are going home.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you very much.
STARR: That story tomorrow.
STARR: Well, actually, we're going to have it a little later tonight, T.J., on "THE SITUATION ROOM," the third leg, the final leg of "The Journey Home." And we are going to introduce you to some remarkable troops, including three young soldiers wounded from the 101st Airborne Division. They are living the spirit of the Band of Brothers -- T.J.
HOLMES: Well, Barbara, we look forward to seeing that third part of this journey.
Barbara Starr for us from the Pentagon.
Great pieces. We're looking forward to seeing the last leg of that journey, Barbara. Thank you so much.
Well, coming up, a grenade attack aimed at Iran's president, or is it just fireworks? Today's incident comes two days after President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad accused Israel of hiring mercenaries to assassinate him.
We're "Globe Trekking" next.
HOLMES: All right. We go "Globe Trekking" today. And we start in Iran, where we got reports today that there was an assassination attempt made on the president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. A short time after that, we got a report that says, ah, not so fast, and even said this was just a matter of fireworks.
Our Ivan Watson following this confusing story for us right now from Istanbul, Turkey.
And have they cleared anything up for us yet, the government of Iran?
IVAN WATSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, there have been more statements coming from the Iranian government saying that, no assassination attempt took place. A spokesman from the Iranian president, he tells CNN that this was a toy firecracker that was thrown. That nobody was injured.
Part of the confusion, T.J., is that a number of pro-government Iranian websites, including the Farse (ph) News Agency, which is close to the Iran Revolutionary Guard Corps, provided somewhat detailed reports earlier on Wednesday that a homemade hand grenade had been thrown at President Ahmadinejad's convoy in that western Iranian city and that at least one person had been detained in connection with the incident -- T.J.
HOLMES: Well, Ivan, also, even as we try to clear that up, it didn't seem like it took too long for President Ahmadinejad to point the finger or point some kind of blame at the West for now how we are handling the coverage of this story.
WATSON: Well, that's pretty consistent with a lot of the rhetoric that comes from the Iranian government. Basically, his spokesman saying that this was the foreign media blowing this out of proportion.
But part of the problem here is journalists like myself are, for the most part, barred from going into Iran and dozens of Iranian journalists have been detained over the course of the last year by the Iranian government as part of a much broader crackdown that has targeted hundreds of Iranian opposition activists and critics of President Ahmadinejad himself -- T.J.
HOLMES: All right, one last thing here on Iran as well. A lot of people have been following the story of this woman who was convicted of adultery who was then sentenced to death by stoning. We have been following her story for some time and updates now, Ivan, that she's possibly not even in Iran anymore?
WATSON: Well, this is Sakineh Ashtian, and she's been sentenced to death by stoning for committing adultery. She's still currently in Iranian custody. Her family waiting to find out whether or not in fact she will be stoned to death, even though the president of Brazil has offered her asylum in Brazil to escape this punishment.
Meanwhile, she's without her defense attorney, T.J. It's a prominent human rights lawyer by the name of Mohammed Mostafaei. And we just learned today from the United Nations high commissioner for refugee that he is in detention here in Istanbul. He fled Iran, and he is being held in a detention center here for answering with false papers or illegal documents.
He went into hiding after July 24th after bringing a lot of international attention to this very case. He was brought in for interrogation in Iran at Iran's notorious Evin prison and then went into hiding. He says his wife was taken into custody by Iranian officials. He claims that they are holding her as hostage to try to get him to turn himself in. And now he joins a growing number of hundreds of Iranian opposition activists, human rights activists, dissidents who are fleeing to Turkey to escape this very same Iranian government crackdown -- T.J.
HOLMES: Still more twists and turns in that story. Ivan Watson, we appreciate the updates on both of those stories happening out of Iran today. Thank you so much.
Meanwhile, in Pakistan, we have been watching the devastation there for several days now. The death toll continues to go up after that monsoon rain led to record flooding 1,500 people, dead there. Our Dan Rivers reports for us from the region.
DAN RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well this is the cue to get across the bridge here in Chakgara into lower Dere (ph). The main road bridge has been swept away and so the army are here and they have built this temporary suspension bridge which people are carefully walking over.
I think we can walk over as well and that will give you an idea of how precarious it is. You can see the river down here is still raging away, still very swollen, as you can see. And all these people are a mixture of people sort of trying to get back to their homes, have been cut off or people trying to get out. There's traffic going either way. So we'll wander over and just give you a feel for it.
So it's pretty precarious, but the problem with this whole area is that this is just one of 91 bridges which have been swept away. They say that this bridge over here, they're going to have back up and working in some form in just two weeks. That's what the army are claiming.
They've already got a lot of equipment and temporary bridge that they're going to erect over this gap in the highway, but it's going to be obviously quite a big challenge. You can see how strong the current is. And we've been watching as they've been dumping huge quantities of rocks and earth there to build up this side of the bank. And they've been doing the same right here as well. And this bridge actually, they're still sort of making while we're on it. Up here, you can probably see this guy who's still sawing away and still finishing off the edge of the bridge that we're on.
One of the big challenge is now for the authorities here is getting food and water to all these people because a lot of areas, the electricity's been cut off, which means the water pumps aren't working or the wells have been polluted. So that's one of the big challenges, getting food and water to all these people, as well as getting the communications open.
And this is just one bridge that they've now got at least some traffic going over. But as I say, the task is massive ahead of them and it's going to take them, I would imagine, many months to get this area back to normal.
Dan Rivers, CNN, Chakgara, Pakistan.
HOLMES: Well can you imagine fighting crime with the click of a mouse? We're going online for today's "Mission Possible" that could help you keep your family safe.
HOLMES: Some of the top stories we're keeping an eye on.
It's the beginning of the end -- that's how the White House describing the plugging after 106 days of the ruined BP oil well on the floor of the Gulf of Mexico. Today, day 107, government scientists say almost three-fourths of the oil that's leaked out has been burned, skimmed, dispersed or evaporated in some way.
Also here's one for you you will not believe. We might need to put the breaking news banner up for this one. The "Rolling Stone" reporter whose profile of Afghan war Commander Stanley McChrystal got McChrystal fired, well that reporter has now been turned down for an embed assignment with U.S. troops. Michael Hastings says the Pentagon approved him and then disapproved him. Also learning the Army is investigating the circumstances surrounding Hastings' now infamous article.
Also, the pilot of a small plane was killed this morning one the single engine Cessna rammed into a building near the Deer Valley Airport in Phoenix. Witnesses say the plane sputtered and may have been smoking before the crash. The victim has not been identified.
Today's "Mission Possible," taking a bite out of crime in our own backyard. There's a new crime tool that's online that can help you, Josh Levs, that can help you. You know, if you looked up and you saw breaking and entering and assault on your street, that might help you move.
JOSH LEVS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's a little depressing to see. But the truth is, I mean, how many times have you seen someone say, why didn't I know about this, right? You have these situation in which someone tells you or emails you, hey, the other day there was a crime committed near you, there was a breaking and entering and assault, whatever it was. Why didn't you know about it? Well, the idea behind this website is make sure you know about it. And this is it, it's crimereports.com.
What we did was we set it here for Columbus, Ohio -- I'll show you why in a minute -- and we were just looking at the last seven days. And every time you see a little box with a letter in it, that is some kind of crime. Whether it's A for assault, or B for breaking and entering, T for theft, TV for vehicle theft.
Take a look here, we're going to zoom way in and I'll show you how it works. It shows you the actual street where this is reported. This is straight information they're getting from authorities, from police. Let's open up one as an example. It gives you the specific information there, everything they know about it. And has "send to friend" so if you know anyone in that area, you can immediately take that information, e-mail it to them, use any of the formats -- Facebook, Twitter, whatever you want -- to get them that information right away and to keep yourself informed.
Now the reason we're taking a look at Columbus here, is we actually have a report from our affiliate WBNS in Columbus, Ohio. A woman there is now using this as a tool to get a neighborhood watch going in her community.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAMIE PETREE, STARTED NEIGHBORHOOD WATCH: Hey, you can arm yourselves with this weapon, so to speak, and find the information out yourself.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEVS: So you can see more and more people are getting on this and it is available all over the country. What she is doing in her area is using it for Columbus and trying to get more and more people to check out that website and use it as a tool there.
Now it was created by a man named Greg Whisenant. And it's interesting, not only was he behind this because he had the situation I was talking about before where someone said to him, why didn't I know about this, but he also recently spoke about the larger economic angle. He testified before Congress, he was talking about small businesses in America. And he said broadband needs to be in more places so more people can do innovative stuff like this, create something now online.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GREG WHISENANT, FOUNDER, CRIMEREPORTS.COM: Unlike other types of investment, renewed commitment to and investment in broadband is more like lowering interest rates. It is meaningful to all players and simply accelerates the timeline toward greater efficiency and innovation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEVS: Saying there basically you've got to have these tools, you've got to have broadband, you've got to have access to this in order for our economy to grow. And this is a good example of something really successful. More and more communities are using right now this website here.
HOLMES: OK, there's always a critic out there. There's always a critic, but what is the downside to possibly something like this?
LEVS: OK, well one downside is that you can't take everything for granted here. It's not necessarily completely accurate at all times and there are going to be some things missing. So you can't use this as your sole tool to find out what's going on around you. And they acknowledge that. They say straight up you can't take this information as the only piece of information that you use.
HOLMES: Do they worry it can turn people off to certain neighborhoods? Maybe even affect the home values in a neighborhood?
LEVS: Yes, and obviously that could happen, but if it's information that you're getting, you know, that's someone else's problem.
I will tell you this, when you look at other cities, in general when you're looking at cities, you're going to see a lot of colors. I typed in Atlanta, I typed in New York, I typed in various cities. You are seeing at times that there can be across a week-long period more and more crimes reported. Now it doesn't mean that in every case it turns into a prosecution, but it's information.
I will also tell you while we're looking at it -- you can look at these, too -- crimemapping.com does something similar. So it's not the only tool. You've got crimemapping.com that also offers information. And you also have one more over here, spotcrime.com, which also -- it has a really similar idea behind it, collecting this information, putting it on a map right next to you or behind you. And you can sign up for alerts here and it can tell you if something new happens in your area.
HOLMES: How long do these update? Or how long does one stay up before it falls off, if you will? Does it just stay up there years and years?
LEVS: Sure. These are your options right here. You can do three days, seven days, 14 days or 30 days. It's up to you. So look, it will be a lot less if I shrink it, which I just did. It's going to go across the screen now and wipeout some that go back more than three days.
HOLMES: All right, Josh. We appreciate you, good tool. I'm going to check my neighborhood out as soon as I get done here. Josh, thank you.
And you can find more information on this search at crimereports.com.
"The Stakeout," sound like a criminal element, but we're talking about our guy, Ed Henry, coming up from the White House. He's staking that place out for us today. I'll explain in a second.
HOLMES: Let's head now right for the White House and our Ed Henry for "The Stakeout."
Ed, kind sir, good to see you, once again. It seems like I have seen you a lot lately. You were in Atlanta, now back at your perch there at the White House.
ED HENRY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: I hope -- can we say on the air what we were saying off the air about Ali and it was like he was filling in for you on your show on Monday -- because he's not around a lot?
HOLMES: No, no we can't say that.
HENRY: I guess we can't say that. Better not say that.
HOLMES: He has a great vacation schedule set up.
All right, Ed, let's get to the president and the White House. And the real business -- saw you in the briefing there today. A lot of questions about what's happening with the Gulf oil spill right now and all of it coming from the White House, quite frankly, a really optimistic right now. And it sounds like they're getting close to that victory lap almost, some would say.
HOLMES: And a lot of people are harkening back to that mission accomplished back in the day. Is this that moment for this White House?
HENRY: No, cause Robert Gibbs was asked that direct question, you're right. And he said, there's no mission accomplished banner for a number of reasons. One of them is they had one of the government scientists out there saying that the impact is still going to be felt in the Gulf for decades to come, decades not just years. One of my colleagues asked, saying there have been some studies saying the impact could last for ten years, and this scientist said, no, decades, beyond ten years.
So they realize they have to be really careful about celebrating just yet, because this is still going to play out for some time. Robert Gibbs calling it the beginning of the end of this phase and there are going to be more phases as they clean it all out, the environmental impact.
But you're right that there's a sigh of relief from this White House. Even though they don't want to admit it publicly, this was dogging this president for weeks now, 107 days or so, and they have finally see some light at the end of the tunnel.
HOLMES: Will they and did they today -- we watched part of the briefing here live -- but will they, for the next couple of days, at least, try to defend the government numbers about where this oil went? A lot of people were just scratching their heads, really, all this oil is gone now?
HENRY: Yes, and they got a lot of questions pressing them. They insisted it's backed up by the science.
But the bottom line is even when you add up all the numbers, there's about 50 of the oil that's been taken away, et cetera, but 50 percent that's essentially still out there somewhere in the environment, whether it's in the water or out on the beaches. And the bottom line is, Congressman Ed Markey, a democrat said today, that 50 percent of the oil still lingering, that's the equivalent of nine Exxon Valdez oil spills. So the bottom line is, this things not over yet.
HOLMES: All right, last thing here and on a much lighter note, the president has a birthday today. I was kind of surprised to hear -- have you heard if he's disappointed he's not spending his birthday with his family?
HENRY: White House aides are saying this is kind of much ado about nothing. The first lady's in Spain for a little mini vacation with Sasha, they're youngest daughter. Malia's off at summer camp. So the president sort of in a way celebrating alone, but not really because he's going to Chicago later this afternoon. He going to have a quiet dinner with friends there.
And then I've also picked up some new information that on Sunday they're sort of putting together a hush-hush party for the president. It's not a surprise party, so we're not letting the cat out of the bag or anything like that. But it's going to be a very tight list, just some senior staff, some close friends, some family. By then, the first lady will be back. So they'll reunite by the weekend. They'll have a little birthday bash.
The president was joking earlier today when he spoke to the AFL- CIO he was disappointed they didn't have a cake for him. And Rich Trumpka, the president of the AFL-CIO, said, look, we wanted one to but the Secret Service wouldn't let us for safety reasons. So they had a little laugh about it.
But he's going to have a little fun. He doesn't get to Chicago as much as he wanted to because he's been dealing with the oil spill and so many other issues. He gets back there tonight and at least for one night gets to hang out with some friends.
HOLMES: Ed, we appreciate you, as always, for the updates. We'll talk to you again soon, buddy.
We are going to get to some breaking news in just a moment after the break about a terror arrest that has just been made. Quick break, we're right back with that news. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
HOLMES: Want to head to our Jeanne Meserve who is bringing us a breaking story about a terror arrest in Chicago.
Jeanne, hello. What do you know?
JEANNE MESERVE, CNN HOMELAND SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: T.J., a 26- year-old man arrested last night, according to federal authorities, as he was about to depart for Somalia where they allege he wanted to wage jihad. His name is Shakr Masri. He is a U.S. citizen, he is from Chicago.
In the criminal complaint, it outlines a lot of conversations he had with a confidential informant. According to this paperwork, he told the confidential informant to review speeches by Anwar al Awlaki, that's a name we've been hearing a lot, of course. He's the U.S.-born cleric who is currently believed to be in Yemen who U.S. authorities have said inspired and communicated with the Ft. Hood shooter and also aided Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the underwear bomber.
Also in this criminal complaint it says that this individual, Masri, claimed to know the Zachary Adam Chesser, he is the young Virginia man who just recently was arrested and also charged with wanting to go to Somalia to fight.
They have some quotes here from some of the conversations with the confidential informant. In one, Masri is quoted as saying, I wish to know how the explosive belt works, I will wear one and I will not take it off. At another point it talks about the two of them sitting and seeing four soldiers. Masri, according to this criminal complaint, says he'd like to walk up to the foremen and blow himself up in their presence. The confidential informant says, why would you want to sacrifice yourself for only four? Masri agrees saying it would be better if there were a bus full of soldiers upon whom he could blow himself up and become a martyr.
There is talk of training in this criminal complaint of weapons, there is talk of training, but there is no indication that Masri had either of those. But the government alleges that he was about to go to Somalia to try and fight.
Back to you.
HOLMES: All right, our Jeanne Meserve with the latest. Again, a breaking story there that a U.S. citizen under arrest, a terror arrest now being made. I know you're going to continue to go through the complaint there. Jeanne Meserve, we appreciate you.
Stay with us here on CNN certainly for more updates about that story, more details throughout the day.
Coming up next, my "XYZ." Going to tell you about a star in the NBA that you have never heard of and he's not a star necessarily because of what he can do with the basketball, but because of what he did in the classroom. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
HOLMES: In today's "XYZ," I want you to tell me which of these names does not belong -- Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony, Jeremy Lynn, LeBron James. Chances are you picked Jeremy Lynn out of there. All the people I named, however, are standout players in the NBA, including Jeremy Lynn, but Jeremy Lynn but stands out for different reasons.
Of the more than 350 players in the NBA, Jeremy is the only one who is a Harvard University graduate. The only one out of 350. In contrast, listen to this -- we only have of course nine Supreme Court justices, four of them are Harvard graduates. Different odds there at the Supreme Court.
Jeremy, though, is also the first Harvard grad in the NBA since 1953 and the first Asian-American in 60 years. He was born in the U.S. to parents who immigrated from Taiwan. He was a great high school basketball player but didn't get any Division I scholarship offers. However, he made his way to Harvard.
He had a stellar college basketball career, but he wasn't drafted into the NBA. Jeremy did, however, leave Harvard University with an economics degree. He took that degree into the one job interview where it wouldn't help him get the job -- the NBA summer league. That's essentially the tryout period. That's their job interview. Well, he impressed the Golden State Warriors enough that they signed him to a one-year contract last month.
Now don't think for a second the Warriors don't know what they're doing. He's a local kid. He grew up right there in Palo Alto in the Bay area. And as we know, there is a huge Asian population in the Bay area. Golden State already planning on marketing campaigns around this young man.
Still, no matter what, he had to have the skills to get on the team in the first place. And with a degree, he'll have the skills to get a job after the NBA, unlike some of his fellow players. Only about 20 percent of NBA players have a college degree. That's according to the players union.
Maybe that contributes to this number -- an estimated 60 percent of NBA players are broke within five years after retiring. That's according to a report in "Sports Illustrated" last year. Now I don't want to downplay it, it's no small thing to make to it the NBA. It's a big deal. Very few make it, these guys are amazing athletes. But most aren't in the NBA for long and never become superstars.
So what do you think looks better on top of a resume, former NBA player or degree in economics from Harvard University?
That's my "XYZ" for today. Now it's time for the list, it's Rick's, it's now.