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Top Syria Commander Defects; Melinda Gates Makes Accessible Birth Control Her Life Mission; Best Equipment Not Available for Western Wildfires; Facebook to Hook Up in Asia.
Aired July 6, 2012 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: ... when I think about America, I think about my family. I think about my grandfather who fought in World War II and my grandmother who, even with a baby, was working on a bomber assembly line and when my grandmother came back home, he got the opportunity to go to college because of the G.I. Bill.
And I think about my mom, a single mom, because my dad left when I was a baby, so she had to raise me and my sister with the help of my grandparents and it was tough sometimes, but she was able to do it and get her own education and then ensure I got a great education because she was able to get student loans and grants.
And then I think about Michelle's parents. Her dad worked at the water filtration plant, a blue collar worker in Chicago, and mom stayed at home, looking after the kids and then, when the kids got older, she went to work as a secretary at a bank and she worked there most of her life.
And when I think about both Michelle's family and my family, what I am reminded of is what made America great was this basic idea, this basic bargain, that all of you experienced in your own families, your parents, your grandparents, your great-grandparents, maybe some of them immigrated here from some place else.
But the idea was, here in America, you can make it if you try. You know, that it doesn't matter -- it doesn't matter what you look like, where you come from, what church you worship in.
The idea is that, if you were willing to put in the work and take responsibility for your family, just like Dan was talking about, if you were willing to stick with it and tough it out when times got tough sometimes, that ultimately hard work was rewarded and responsibility was respected, and you didn't just look out for your yourself, but you looked out for your community as well as your family and your country.
You know, nobody expected to get fabulously rich, although it was great if people goes rich, but when I think about my family or Michelle's family, you know, what made us rich was spending time together and the idea was -- the idea was that, you know, if our families were of good character and had good values and you were willing to work hard, then you could find a job that paid a decent wage and eventually, saving up, you could own a home. And you knew that you wouldn't go bankrupt when you got sick because you had some health insurance and maybe you took a vacation every once in a while, and it wasn't necessarily some fancy vacation at some fancy resort.
The best vacation I had when I was a kid was we -- my grandmother and my mom and my sister -- we traveled around the country on Greyhound buses and on trains, and we stayed at Howard Johnsons and, you know, you -- I was 11 and so, if there was any kind of swimming pool, it didn't matter how big it was, right? You'd spend the whole day there and then, you know, you were real excited to go to where the vending machine was and the ice machine and get the ice and that was like a big deal, and you would just see the sights and stop by a diner some place.
So you'd have that chance to -- to take a little bit of time off to spend with your family and then, when you retire, you were able to retire with dignity and respect and you were part of a community.
And that basic bargain is what built this country. That's what made us an economic superpower. That's what made us the envy of the world, not the fact that we had the most millionaires or billionaires, but the fact that our economy grew from the middle out and there were ladders of opportunity for people to get into the middle class, even if they were born poor.
And the reason I ran for president, the reason I ran the first time for a state senate seat on the south side of Chicago, was because for too many people that bargain, that dream, felt like it was slipping away, for too many people.
We had gone through a decade where people were working harder and harder, but they didn't see any increase in income and profits were going sky high for a lot of companies, but jobs weren't growing fast enough, and the cost of everything, from health care, to college tuition, to groceries, to gas kept going up, faster than people's incomes.
So a lot of folks felt like that idea that we not only could live a good middle class life, but more importantly, we could pass it on to our kids and they could -- they could succeed the way we might not have imagined. They could go to college and do some things that we couldn't imagine doing. That felt like it was slipping away for too many people.
That's why I got into politics. That's why I ran for president. That's why in 2008 a lot of you came together and helped support us. And we didn't even realize then that we were going to be getting hit with the worst economic crisis, the worst financial crisis in our lifetimes and, obviously, the hardship that occurred because of that made that dream even a little bit further out of reach for too many people.
You know, we came together and it wasn't just Democrats, by the way. It was independents and Republicans who wanted to figure out how do we put that basic bargain back together, to grow the middle class, not from the top down, but from the middle and from the bottom up. That was our idea.
Now, we knew from the start in 2008 that turning that around wasn't going to happen overnight. It didn't happen overnight and so we weren't going to reverse it overnight, but we've been steady. We've worked hard and I know all of you have worked hard and Dan's story is typical of so many people I meet who had to make adjustments and deal with some disappointments, but came back stronger and came back tougher.
And that's what America and that's what Ohio has been doing. So, over the last, you know, several years, what we've seen are people who go out and retrain for new jobs and small businesses have to adapt and sometimes the owner doesn't take a salary just to keep folks on the payroll.
And, you know, I met a woman yesterday in Parma who I had met a year earlier. She had been out of work for two years and had gone back to community college at the age of 55 and retrained and I saw her in the rope line after my speech. She had just been certified and was starting her new job on Tuesday. And -- and after having been two years at a community college.
So, those stories are duplicating themselves all across Ohio and all across the country, but it's still tough out there. You know, we learned this morning that our businesses created 84,000 new jobs last month and that, overall, means that businesses have created 4.4 million new jobs over the past 28 months, including 500,000 new manufacturing jobs. That's a step in the right direction.
That's a step in the right direction, but we can't be satisfied because our goal was never to just keep on working to get back to where we were back in 2007. I want to get back to a time when middle class families and those working to get in the middle class have some basic security. That's our goal.
So we've got to grow the economy even faster and we've got to put even more people back to work and we've got to tap into the basic character of this country because our character has not changed even though we've gone through some tough times these last few years. It hasn't changed our character. It hasn't changed what made us great. It hasn't changed why we came together in 2008.
So, again, our mission is not just to get back to where we were before the crisis. We've got to deal with what's been happening over the last decade, last 15 years, manufacturing leaving our shores, incomes flat-lining.
All those things are what we've got to struggle and fight for and that's the reason that I'm running for a second term as president of the United States. I want to move this country forward. I want to move this country forward.
KYRA PHILLIPS, ANCHOR, "CNN NEWSROOM": The president of the United States there at a campaign event in Poland, Ohio, talking jobs and economy. But, once again, the biggest economic report of the month is disappointingly small. The Labor Department is telling us that in June that the economy actually added 80,000 positions, well short of the 95,000 that economists expected.
Now, the jobless rate remains at 8.2 percent, not exactly an ideal backdrop for a presidential rally, but on the second and final day of President Obama's first campaign bus tour of the year, he's making the most of it, as you can see, and making his case for more time to see the recovery through.
Now, last hour, Mitt Romney interrupted his New Hampshire holiday with his take on the 80,000 new jobs in June, and that's where we find our CNN's Dana Bash. She is close by in Boston.
Dana, two parties used the same numbers to make opposite points, of course.
DANA BASH, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Of course, exactly. Welcome to politics, especially presidential politics just a few months before the election.
Notice, Kyra, you're right, that the jobs numbers were anything but great, but the president took as much as he could to look at the long view. He's mentioned the fact that 4.4 million new jobs were created in 28 months. He called it a step in the right direction, but you can't be satisfied.
He's got to walk -- talk about stepping -- he's got to walk a tightrope to try to tout good news, but also not look out of touch to say that things are better than people feel that they are.
On the Republican side, Mitt Romney was out there within 90 minutes of these job numbers being released, standing in a small business, a hardware store, where he is vacationing, where he has a home in New Hampshire, and he was very clear that this is not where people want to be.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MITT ROMNEY, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: ... the jobs report this morning and it is another kick in the gut to middle class families.
It's consistent with what I've heard as I've gone across the country and met with families in their homes, in cafes and restaurants and in break rooms. American families are struggling. There's a lot of misery in America today and these numbers understate what people are feeling and the amount of pain which is occurring in middle class America.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BASH: Now, Kyra, that term, "kick in the gut," is very illustrative and it really, you know, brings home how the Romney campaign believe that people feel and, in many ways, they are right. He said it twice, "kick in the gut."
And this is ending a week that was not very good politically for Mitt Romney. I think even his aides will quietly concede that because they sort of bumbled the healthcare response, the response to the Supreme Court decision on whether a mandate is a tax or a penalty, and he's had some pretty harsh criticism from some high-powered CEOs about the way his campaign is run.
What they do say inside the Romney campaign is that, all of that aside, nothing else matters when it comes to where voters are going to go and how they are going to put the right or the left down in November.
Nothing else matters as much as the economy and jobs and that is why he was out there as soon as he could to talk about this jobs report this morning.
PHILLIPS: Dana Bash, thanks so much. We're going to have a jobs report breakdown straight ahead.
PHILLIPS: And just a quick note for those of you heading out the door. You can continue watching CNN from your mobile phone or from your desktop. All you have to do is just go to CNN.com/TV.
Well, the good and the bad of the latest jobs report. More jobs were added in June, 80,000 in fact, but that was far fewer than the 95,000 expected and barely an improvement from the 77,000 jobs added in May. Adding to the general disappointment, the unemployment rate remained at 8.2 percent.
Poppy Harlow is in New York with what the numbers say about the state of the economy and the impact on people across the country. Poppy, this report definitely tells us which sectors are growing and how many people are out of work, but what exactly does it say about how long people have been without a job?
POPPY HARLOW, CNNMONEY.COM CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's one of the most troubling things about this report is you have to look past that headline number of 8.2 percent unemployment.
Let's show you what we're talking about. We still have 12.7 million Americans that are out of work, but of that number, almost 5.5 million of them, Kyra, have been out of work for six months or longer. That's almost 42 percent of the unemployed.
Now, why does that matter? It matters because it's been proven that the longer you're out of a job, the harder it is going to be for you to get one. There are a lot of employers who just want to hire people that have a job and have that current experience. So this is very problematic.
I'll also tell you something that's not included in this headline number and that is there are 2.5 million Americans right now that want to work, that are able to work, but are not counted in the unemployment rate because they have given up looking for a job, either they are discouraged or something else, but they have given up looking for work, so they are not counted in the unemployment rate.
That's what Mitt Romney referred to last hour when he said the real unemployment rate is closer to 15 percent. Technically, he's correct. If you add those 2.5 million to the 12.7 million, if you add that all together, you've got 14.9 percent unemployment rate, so that's more of a realistic look, Kyra, at the numbers. Very important to look at both those.
PHILLIPS: And the unemployment hitting, it says here, the minority groups, some minority groups more than others.
HARLOW: Absolutely. And I think that this gets glossed over sometimes. Let's look at what we're talking about because, when you have 8.2 percent overall unemployment, you've got 7.4 percent unemployment for whites, but you have 14.4 percent unemployment for African-Americans. That number ticked up from 13.6 percent in May, so that rose. That's concerning.
And then 11 percent unemployment for Hispanics, the same percent it was in may. So the concern here is that it's not hitting minority groups evenly, that African-Americans and Hispanics are struggling more when it comes to finding work in this country, so that's very problematic and that's something that we often don't talk about, but it's a real, real issue.
And I will tell you also that the issue here is this anemic job growth that's continued, that you mentioned. It's now been three straight months where we have had less than 100,000 jobs created in this country, whereas in the fall and the winter we saw big acceleration in job growth.
The concern is you've got four more jobs reports, just four, before the election. How do we get this robust recovery underway?
PHILLIPS: Yes, and we know both candidates will be playing off that report.
PHILLIPS: Obviously, we've been talking about that throughout the morning. Poppy, thanks so much.
Wall Street is also reacting to the June jobs numbers, as expected. Right now, not looking so good. Dow Industrials down 157.
PHILLIPS: The father of a mentally ill man who died after being beaten by police in California is now suing the police officers. It was a year ago yesterday that security cameras captured six police officers in Fullerton beating Kelly Thomas after being called to investigate reports that he was looking into car windows and pulling on the handles of parked cars.
Here's the video and, once again, we want to warn you it's pretty disturbing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KELLY THOMAS, POLICE BEATING VICTIM: They are killing me, Daddy. Dad!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's got to -- put -- cuff him in the front.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't want to take those off.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's still going to put them off.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's still fighting, dude.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Relax, relax.
THOMAS: Daddy. Daddy.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK.
THOMAS: Killing me.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What's the guy's name?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Trying to get it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Relax, relax.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PHILLIPS: The 37-year-old died of his injuries five days later. Two of the officers have been charged in his death. Both have pleaded not guilty.
Now, Kelly's father is filing a wrongful death lawsuit against the city, its police chief and the six officers, alleging assault and battery and civil rights violations in the death of his son. Ron Thomas is seeking more than $25,000 in damages.
Our Casey Wian has been following the story from the very beginning. Casey, what kind of changes does Thomas actually want to see by doing this?
CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kyra, what he says he wants is more oversight by the city of Fullerton of its police department, Ron Thomas claiming that the city has a long history of ignoring abuses, alleged abuses, by its police officers.
This lawsuit that he was filed, that was filed yesterday, includes claims against, as you mentioned, the city of Fullerton, two former police chiefs and those six officers. It alleges assault, wrongful death. It alleges negligence, federal and state civil rights violations.
Kelly Thomas' father's lawyer says that those Fullerton police officers should have known that Kelly Thomas was mentally ill and not a threat.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GARO MARDIROSSIAN, THOMAS FAMILY ATTORENY: The important thing to remember is that Kelly had every right that all of us have. The fact that he was homeless, the fact that he was mentally ill did not reduce his rights.
He has the same rights all of us had and have. These police officers owed him an obligation to protect him and to serve him, not to beat him to death.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WIAN: Now, we should mention that Kelly Thomas' mother has already settled with the city of Fullerton for $1 million, but his father, Ron, says that this is not about the money.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RON THOMAS, FATHER OF KELLY THOMAS: Primarily, I want change. I've never talked about money. I'm still not talking about money. That's -- that's not what I'm doing.
You folks have followed this from day one. You know the criminal portion is where I'm really at with this. I want justice. With the lawsuit, the civil portion of it, I want change.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WIAN: Now, some of those changes have already happened. Three members of the Fullerton city council were ousted a couple of weeks ago and replaced by three new members who were talking about reform.
Ron Thomas wants to, eventually, he says, run for city government himself, try to change the city of Fullerton's charter to allow it to have more control over the police department. He says, as he mentioned there, that this is not about seeking money.
PHILLIPS: Did you get a comment from either the city or the police department on this lawsuit, Casey?
WIAN: We tried to reach out to them yesterday. None of them have gotten back to me. I should point out, though, that the city has been closed since Tuesday because of the Fourth of July in an effort to save money, as many cities are facing, so we've not heard back from either the city nor the police department on the lawsuit, Kyra.
PHILLIPS: Well, we'll follow the story for sure and, also, Casey just mentioned that Ron Thomas told reporters in that news conference that he's keeping his eye on possibly becoming the mayor of Fullerton.
PHILLIPS: George Zimmerman could get out of jail today, but his family needs to come up with $1 million in collateral to back up the bond that was set by a Florida judge.
Zimmerman will have to pay 10 percent of that amount or $100,000 to get out. He must remain under electronic surveillance and report in every two days. He can't have a bank account, passport or go to an airport.
The judge says that Zimmerman planned to flee the country to avoid prosecution for killing unarmed teen Trayvon Martin. Zimmerman's original bail of $150,000 was revoked last month after he failed to disclose the more than $100,000 in public donations to his defense fund.
And another major setback for embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. A commander of the elite Republican guard and member of Assad's inner circle has defected and is said to be on his way to Paris. He's seen right there in this picture, right there to the right of Assad.
Word of the defection came at an international Friends of Syria conference in Paris. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton again took the stage to blast Russia and China for their continued support of the Assad regime.
Ivan Watson has been following all the developments on this story. He joins us once again out of Istanbul. Ivan, what exactly can you tell us about this general and the significance of the fact that he defected?
IVAN WATSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Manaf Tlas comes from a family that's the closest thing you could come to describing as aristocracy in Syria, Kyra, and his father was the defense minister of the country for more than 30 years. He was a senior commander, as well.
And now what we have is western governments, particularly France, claiming that he has abandoned the regime of Bashar al Assad. And this man was said to be part of his inner circle for decades.
Take a listen to what the French foreign minister said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LAURENT FABIUS, FRENCH FOREIGN MINISTER (through translation): Now, on the point of defection of some high-level people, I have confirmation that this one person, who belongs to Republican guard of Mr. Bashar al Assad and for a long time was one of his friend and very close to him, it's been confirmed that he has defected. Everyone believes this is a hard blow for the regime.
(END VIDEO CLIP) WATSON: Now, Kyra, it's to note, we do not know whether this man, Manaf Plas, has joined the rebels or the opposition. It does seem he has abandoned the government. And part of the reason why that is such a big deal is, unlike Libya, where we remember ministers and senior officials and commanders were defecting in the first months, abandoning Moammar Gadhafi, we haven't seen that in Syria in 16 months. We've seen some mid-level military officers, lots of conscript soldiers fleeing the military, but nobody from within the inner circle, and this suggests a crack in that inner circle -- Kyra?
PHILLIPS: Wow. What a fascinating interview that would be. But you actually had a chance to talk to this general's brother, is that right?
WATSON: Yes, yes, that's right. Seven years ago, in Damascus, in 2005, I met Manaf Plas' brother, Felas (ph), who was a business man, not a military officer. And in that interview, it was really interesting. That was earlier on in Bashar al Assad's presidency. There was still talk of reform and hope for a change in the strict police state there. And people were still even talking about the Damascus Spring as a sign of that hope. This man, Plas's brother, said he hoped for change, that there was a problem in corruption, police and economic problems. I met him in an ornately decorated wooden office, a very nice office, but those hopes for change in Syria clearly faded. And -- and the violence of the last 16 months is testament to the fact that none of those reforms really took hold. If anything, the Syrian government answered calls for change and a change for government, peaceful calls, with artillery and tanks and helicopters and bullets. And now the death toll, by our estimates, are more than 16,000 dead in just 16 months -- Kyra?
PHILLIPS: Ivan Watson staying on this story for us. And we'll continue to talk on a dale basis. Ivan, thanks so much.
In Libya, nearly three million voters take a huge step towards democracy when they go to the polls tomorrow in the first free elections since the overthrow of Moammar Gadhafi. They'll elect a 200-national seat assembly that will draft a constitution. Islamist parties, including the Muslim Brotherhood, are among those vying for power. The vote comes nine months after a civil war ousted and killed Moammar Gadhafi and left the country sharply divided among rival tribes, ethnic groups and militias. Just last Sunday, protesters, angry over the way assembly seats were distributed, attacked election commission offices in two cities.
PHILLIPS: As the world economy sputters, not even the Vatican is immune to money problems. The Catholic state is reporting it's nearly $19 million in the red this year. Millions of paying tourists continue to flock to its holy monuments, like the Sistine Chapel. The costs of employing its 3,000 staff during the Eurozone crisis has led to its worst financial year on record.
Going up against the Vatican and teachings of your own religion, one Catholic woman is making it her life's mission to see that all women have access to birth control.
Our Dr. Sanjay Gupta spoke to Melinda Gates, about how tough it is to speak about the critics who say her foundation violates the sanctity of sex.
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: You're a practicing Catholic. You've been very open about that. Your own bishop has said conception is sacred, and artificial contraception violates the meaning of this gift. The bishop. First of all, how do you wrestle with that, or have you spoken to the bishop directly?
MELINDA GATES, BILL AND MELINDA GATES FOUNDATION: You have to be willing to speak your mind. I have to be able to say to me the contraceptive piece is not controversial. I mean, that's -- my roots, part of what I do in the foundation, comes from that incredible social justice upbringing I had, this belief in that all lives, all lives have equal value. So we're not going to agree on everything, but that's OK.
GUPTA: If you were meeting with the pope, what would you tell him?
GATES: I would tell him that I think this is right for all women, that if you believe in helping poor women, if you believe in children living and thriving, I think this is a necessary tool in this day and age.
PHILLIPS: Hear more about this Catholic controversy as it all unfolds. Set your DVR to record "Sanjay Gupta, M.D.," tomorrow afternoon at 4:30 eastern and Sunday morning at 7:30 eastern.
Well, police officers come across a lot of things they would rather not like to see in their line of duty, the worst of society, neglect, abuse, suffering, but they have to respond. It's what they are trained to do. And for this week's "CNN Hero," seeing elderly people in trouble took that dedication to duty to a whole new level.
OFC. ZACH HUDSON, CNN HERO: I've been a police officer now for a little over 10 years. We see people at their worst. And the one thing that I've seen over and over again is victimization of the elderly. They are the forgotten portion of our society that nobody really thinks about. They are alone, and yet they don't ask for help.
Hey, buddy, you got a flat tire going there.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know, but I don't have the money to fix it.
HUDSON: That's not good.
They're that much easier to victimize. It's extremely sad. If I can help with you that tire, why don't you give me a call?
I realized something had to be done. I'd had enough.
I'm Officer Zach Hudson, and I was raised by my grandparents, my great grandmother. And now I'm bringing this community together to help keep seniors safe.
Hey, Mr. Anderson.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Come on in.
HUDSON: How are you?
Cops and fire fighters come across seniors that have various problems, are able to call us. And seniors reach out directly to us.
How is your floor looking?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Soft.
HUDSON: Not so hot.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My floor is getting mushy. I was scared to death that I would go right down through it.
HUDSON: We contact the not-for-profits, faith-based organizations and businesses, and we get it taken care of for free.
If we get that tile down, that wheelchair won't take its toll on the floor like it did. There is no job is too small.
We've got 25 yards to do.
It takes commitment from the community.
Nice and solid
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I love it.
HUDSON: Elderly people rescued me in a lot, a lot of ways.
What do you think, Mr. Anderson?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't want to leave my bathroom.
HUDSON: This is a simple opportunity for me to give back to them.
PHILLIPS: Well, it's pretty incredible to think that every day 10,000 Americans turn 65. This rapidly aging population is known as the silver tsunami. Great to see someone doing something to help them all out.
You can nominate someone who knows he's making a difference. Just go to CNNheroes.com.
PHILLIPS: Well, deadly storms with winds topping 50 miles an hour ripped through the Great Smokey Mountains area in Tennessee. Two people died in the national park there. The chief ranger says that one woman was killed when a falling tree hit her as she tried to get out of the water. Another man was killed on his motorcycle when he was hit by a tree limb. Others were injured and taken to the hospital. And dozens were stranded as roadways were blocked. Storms also knocked out power to thousands of people and damaged several homes.
Now, in the western U.S., the wildfires have destroyed hundreds of homes and left thousands of acres of land scorched, but has everything -- or actually has everything possible been done to stop the fires? We actually learned that some of the best equipment that could have perhaps saved some of those homes was actually not used.
Got to go "In Depth" now with our Rob Marciano in Atlanta.
After doing major work, were you there for more than a week.
ROB MARCIANO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Good week.
PHILLIPS: Yes. How did you find out about this, and explain what the deal is.
MARCIANO: Well, I mean, they're doing the best they can, first of all. What happens is the U.S. Forest Service actually contracts out a private company, and any time you -- you co-mingle the government and private companies, you're going to have some confusion and complication, that's for sure.
First of all, tankers do a great job. The big tankers do a great job of knocking down a fire and cutting it off before it gets up and over the ridge that. That didn't happen the night the Waldo Canyon Fire came down the ridge and into Colorado Springs. They were using some big tankers, but there's a number of big tankers that were sitting on the ground, not contracted by the government for this year.
Let's start with the biggest one. It's a 747. This thing is called the Big Kahuna. The Forest Service has used it sparingly in the past. It costs a lot of money, as you would imagine, to fly, but this thing has knocked out big fires in Israel and Mexico and worked sporadically for the U.S. Forest Service. They are not contracted this year, so their maintenance isn't -- isn't ready to go. They can dump 20,000 gallons of fire retardant or water. They are parked.
And the other big fleet that's parked, these P-3 tankers. They are old submarine hunters, you know, about 50, 60 years old. For decades, they have been flying for the Forest Service knocking out fires. Their contract was broken off last year because of some higher safety issues. Higher more so, than the FAA and the Navy, so these guys are sitting on the ground frustrated that they can't help fly.
PHILLIPS: So if the FAA and the military says it's OK, why isn't it good enough for the Forest Service?
MARCIANO: Well, you know, there's been a rash of crashes. This is dangerous business and they are pretty old planes.
MARCIANO: It's a pretty high stress environment on these planes. They are basically dive-bombing onto these fires, so they have instituted the U.S. -- the U.S. Forest Service has instituted new regulations that a bit more proactive. That costs money and time to upgrade the planes.
What some of these contractors want, and Aero Union (ph) is one of them, is the Forest Service to promise them that they are going to use them while they spend the money to upgrade. But meanwhile, like you said, what the FAA says is fit to fly, what the military says is fit to fly, those are two different things and then you have what the U.S. Forest Service says is OK.
PHILLIPS: Everyone has a different standard.
MARCIANO: Right. Meanwhile, the C-130s from the Air Force, they were helping out. They have got their own set of rules as well.
PHILLIPS: And then there was the horrible crash.
MARCIANO: Horrible crash. We don't know why that happened. And these are pretty new planes. You know, those pilots -- you could say that those pilots aren't maybe as experienced as guys that fight fires all the time, but they are military and they are trained and they are pros. We just don't know what's happened.
PHILLIPS: The president has said, OK, next year's budget, you're going to get about 24 million bucks.
MARCIANO: Right, $24 million.
PHILLIPS: Will that going to be used to upgrade these older planes?
MARCIANO: Some will be used for that. Some of it will be to try to get the newer planes in the feet. We're sort of in a stop-gap measure like NASA is, we're in between, and that's the frustrating part about it. There is some politics involved.
I couldn't get confirmation from the incident commanders on the ground, but some of the fire fighters on the ground will call, when a tanker goes over top and dumps something, and maybe it's not doing a whole lot of use, they call those CNN drops --
-- because maybe there's a local politician that is, you know, putting pressure on them to do something for the cameras.
MARCIANO: No incident commander that I've talked to will admit to that, but these are the highest, most-visible things out there, that the guys on the ground are doing the bulk of the work and the ones putting out fires.
PHILLIPS: And then we profiled the smoke jumpers. Those guys are absolutely amazing.
MARCIANO: Extremely brave. And we're in a drought now so this year is just getting going. It's going to be a long summer.
PHILLIPS: Rob, thanks so much. Glad you're back. Great work.
PHILLIPS: For more on the wildfire story, watch "The Situation Room" tonight, right here on CNN.
PHILLIPS: Well, if you are leaving the house right now a reminder to continue watching CNN from your mobile phone and you can watch CNN live from the desktop. Go to CNN.com/tv.
All right. Facebook already knows where the population numbers are, and now they want a piece of the pie. The social networking company is chipping in on an underwater cable to get more people in Southeast Asia hooked up to the Internet.
Our tech expert, Shelly Palmer, is joining me now from Brookfield, Connecticut.
It is a smart, but unusual move for Facebook. Is this going to pay off, Shelly?
SHELLY PALMER, TECH EXPERT: Well, it is absolutely going to pay off. People don't realize, the Internet is a physical thing, and it requires cables to get from place to place and if you want to ensure that you have a space on the cable, and the best way to ensure it is to buy a piece of it.
PHILLIPS: In layman term, explain the cable to me.
PALMER: Well, it is actually exactly the same as the cable that you plug into the wall from the computer, but it is really bigger and longer and a lot longer. Exactly the same. Internet access is the same. So Facebook wants to plug into Asia and lay the cable all of the way across the ocean.
PHILLIPS: So is Facebook taking off in this part of the world? PALMER: Well, they are, and they have further to go as they have come so far as we like to say, and importantly for Facebook, they want to ensure they have an opportunity to get their signals back and forth. You need a lot of bandwidth if you are Facebook, and it is hard to come by. And also, remember, again, the Internet is a physical thing. Somebody has to give you the bandwidth and again the best way to do that is to invest in the infrastructure and Google has done it, too. A lot of companies have done it and it has always paid off, because it ensures clean and easy access back and forth.
PHILLIPS: So how is Facebook doing financially anyway and does it have the funds to do this?
PALMER: Well, it certainly has the funds, and if you remember a little while ago they had this big IPO, where about $16.7 billion of brand new cash came in from the shareholders from all over the world, and there is a lot of hoopla over whether that was a good IPO or bad IPO, but at the end of the day they got a check for $16. 8 billion or some number like that after all was said and done so they definite l definitely have a capital and this is the capital expense amortized or depreciated over time, and this is an absolutely good investment, and in fact, they have the money to do it, but the bigger question is it right for the Facebook shareholders and the short answer is absolutely.
PHILLIPS: OK. So apparently, you are multitasking, I am told, because you sent out a tweet. What is this announcement from Twitter?
PALMER: Well, no, I'm actually not multitasking, but here with you.
PHILLIPS: All right. So I guess that right before this live shot --
PALMER: Oh, oh, oh. Well, there is some stuff going on in the world. You know, but we are really just talking Facebook.
PHILLIPS: OK. I'm taking a look and it says, "Get ready for an update. Twitter to unveil major search and discovery update Friday," is what we are talking about.
PALMER: Sorry. Yes. That is exactly right. Twitter has --
PHILLIPS: Who is tweeting for you, Shelly? You don't know what is going on here?
PALMER: I didn't realize we were going through. I got an update not three minutes before we went on the air that something super cool is about to happen at Twitter so I am letting everybody know that, any second, while we are sitting here -- and, yes, I am looking at the Twitter feed and we are getting a new announcement from Twitter, and breaking news for CNN, but I don't have it, just get ready.
PHILLIPS: OK. Shelly. We will watch out for it. And thank you for joining us out of Brookfield, Connecticut.
PHILLIPS: Finally this hour, we want to shed light on a man we talked about yesterday. Lewis Brown is featured in two video clips on Herman Cain's new web site, CainTV, and he talks to the camera in segments called "Street Smarts with Lewis Brown." He calls himself "Lou from Hollywood." And the web site calls him, quote, "A homeless guy who will rock your socks off with the unique philosophy on current events."
Well, yesterday, I asked Cain how he crossed paths with Lewis Brown, and this is what he told me.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HERMAN CAIN, (R), FORMER GODFATHER'S PIZZA CEO & FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: One of my producers and videographers, Chris Bernard (ph), lives in California. He just happened to be walking down the street one day, and came across Lewis, and asked Lewis, did he want the say something and put it on film. Lewis said yes. And he had an opinion on some things that really sort of shocked Chris. He said, well, why don't we see what is on his mind. Even though he is a homeless person, that does not mean that he is clueless. He probably knows more about world issues and what is going on than a lot of people who think that they know what is going on. Now, one sad thing to say about Lewis, Lewis passed away just last week unexpectedly. So we only have three episodes with Lewis, but we were going to continue. Unfortunately, Chris went back to shoot another episode and talked to his friends and found that he had unfortunately had passed of a heart attack.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PHILLIPS: Well, that is not exactly right. A viewer, whose father played basketball with Lewis Brown, e-mailed us to set the record straight, and we are glad he did. "The New York Times" actually published his obituary last September, not last week. But earlier, it ran a lengthy story about the long and decline from basketball progeny to windshield wiper on Vine Street and Hollywood. I could not stop reading. In the 1970s, Brown led the high school to three championships and helped take UNLV to the final four. He is one of the famous Hardway Eight. The NBA should have been his next step, but his sister says, quote, "Drugs were his downfall." The "Times" says that Brown played only two pro games in the U.S. He played overseas on and off, but he had to quit when his knee gave out at the age of 42. Lewis Brown died on the streets at the age of 56. He left many friends but few belongings, and among them, a laminated copy of "The New York Times" piece on his life that I told you about.
Lewis' life touched me deeply and I wanted you to know it in the proper light.
We wanted to hear again from Herman Cain and his spokeswoman sent me this statement. Quote, "Mr. Cain, along with the staff, very recently learned about the death of Lewis Brown. In retrospect, we regret that we did not keep in contact with Mr. Brown on a more regular basis, but we feel fortunate that we had the opportunity to get to know Mr. Brown in the limited capacity with which we were able. Although it seems that Lewis had a troubled journey through life, it also appears that he touched many hearts along that journey. Our sympathy is with those who knew and loved Lewis."
Thanks for watching, everyone. You can continue the conversation with me on Twitter, at KyraCNN, or on Facebook.
NEWSROOM INTERNATIONAL starts right now.