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World's Biggest Beer Maker; Nurse Refuses To Give CPR; Retail Giants Fight Over Stewart; Obama Holds Cabinet Meeting; Wall Street Responds To Cuts; Nurse Won't Do CPR On Dying Woman; Sixteen States Face Another Winter Storm; Workers Demolish Sinkhole Home; Casey Anthony In Bankruptcy Court; Baby Delivered After Crash Dies; Kim Jong-Un and Dennis Rodman; President Obama Makes Remarks at the Beginning of His Cabinet Meeting

Aired March 4, 2013 - 13:00   ET


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: An elderly woman collapses at a nursing home. A nurse calls the facility -- calls 911, but refuses to give CPR. Should the nurse have done something?

Then, courtroom drama over who gets Martha Stewart's products. Why the biggest names in retail are fighting for her brand. Then, is it a smoking gun in the Michael Jackson wrongful death case? How an e-mail could tie the concert promoter to Jackson's doctor and what this could tell us about Jackson's final days.

This is CNN NEWSROOM. I'm John Berman in for Suzanne Malveaux today.

President Obama filling out his new Cabinet. He's holding the first Cabinet meeting of his second term at the White House right now. And this morning, he announced three more nominations, secretary of energy, EPA administrator and budget director. We'll tell you about them in just a few minutes.

Taking a look now at the big board. Here's how Wall Street is responding to those forced spending cuts. Investors seem to be taking the cuts in stride with stocks mostly flat for the day thus far.

So, a 911 operator begs a nurse at an assisted living facility to help a dying woman, but she won't do it. The reason, it's against policy. Listen to this.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is there anybody that works there that's willing to do it?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're going to let this lady die?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, that's why we're calling 911. I'm sorry.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We can't wait. She can't wait right now. She is stopping breathing.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Lillian (ph), can you hear me?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She can't wait for them to get there.


BERMAN: So, this happened Tuesday morning at the Glenwood Gardens facility in Bakersfield, California. The executive director says the nurse and other staffers, they were just following policy. They do not do CPR because it's an independent living facility, not a nursing home.

Jeff Gardere is a clinical psychologist. Jeff, this 911 call, it's pretty hard to hear. A lot of us think of our own parents or other loved ones who may be older and worry about the kind of care they may be getting here. Is there an ethical issue here for this nurse?

JEFF GARDERE, FORENSIC PSYCHOLOGIST: I don't believe there is an ethical issue. This is a woman who was just following her orders and therefore is within her rights in every way to not provide this CPR. She may have been afraid that she would lose her job. But now, we have to talk about matters of the heart. I would think if she had given the CPR, there's no way that she would have lost her job. There's absolutely no way anyone would have criticized her, and if she did lose her job, I think there would have been many people stepping up who would have said, OK, we'll give you a job because you acted outside of the rules but did so to save someone's life and that's what it's all about.

BERMAN: Again, though, the rules -- as we have said, the rules were to call 911 and not get directly involved beyond that. Do you think that the do not resuscitate orders or do not resuscitate forms or discussions that people have with their parents and also facilities, did that come into play here do you think? You know, we're not 100 percent sure if the woman had one of these do not resuscitate orders. Reportedly no, not 100 percent sure, but could that have been a factor here?

GARDERE: I don't think it was a factor and I'll tell you why. We're talking about an assisted living care facility. We're not talking about a nursing home. So, these are people who are elderly. They need a little bit of help, but they are not in critical condition or need critical care. But I believe, John, the question becomes if you're talking about senior citizens living there and you have a rule that says you cannot do CPR on a person who lives there, then why isn't there someone in residence, why isn't there a doctor on call, a medical staff on call because these people are at risk even if they are not sick enough to be within a nursing home.

BERMAN: You know, that brings up a good point. I mean, we should mention, by the way, that the woman's daughter said she's very satisfied with how Glenwood Gardens handled the incident, but back to your point, what do consumers need to know about these kinds of facilities? What should we be looking at in terms of what they offer and what they don't?

GARDERE: Well, certainly, when we're look at the issue, as you brought up, with the DNR, there should be some sort of advance directives given as soon as a person enters that particular place so we know what to do. If there is a DNR in place, that they are not resuscitated. If they want to live, then they can actually get the CPR. That is number one. But secondly, and most importantly, even in assisted living, things like this do happen. So who is on board? Who is there providing the medical care? Who is in residence to be able to provide emergency care? That is important because this happened to this woman and it fell within the cracks of ethics and law, but it probably happens to many other people and how is it taken care of?

BERMAN: You know, it is so emotional and every family needs to take stock in this. Every family needs to pay attention to exactly what the rules are when they get into this type of situation. Jeff Gardere, our thanks to you, a really important discussion. I appreciate it.

GARDERE: Thank you, john.

BERMAN: So, a major winter storm, yes, another one, is expected to bring heavy snow to as many as 16 states early this week. Minneapolis will be the first state to get hit tonight with up to a foot of snow. The storm will reach Chicago tomorrow with the same. Then, tomorrow night, the snow is schedule e scheduled to move east hitting from New Jersey down to Washington. Some forecast models show D.C. getting as much as a foot of snow. You don't think much happens in D.C. right now, wait until you see what happens when they get a foot of snow. Areas along the Jersey shore impacted by Hurricane Sandy could also see heavy snow and coastal flooding. That is not welcome at all.

Crews are back at the site of a deadly sinkhole today in Central Florida. Workers are continuing to demolish the home where the hole some 20 feet wide by 50 feet deep swallowed a man while he was in his bed. 36-year-old Jeff Bush disappeared in the hole. He is presumed dead. The search did not turn up anything. Officials warn the house could collapse at any time. The backhoe operator tried to be careful not to destroy the items in the House so the family could salvage them. You can see the picture frames, baby toys there, military awards.

Alexandra STEELE joins us now to talk about sinkholes. They're common in central Florida. Alexandra, tell me this area known as sinkhole alley. Where is that? Explain that to me.

ALEXANDRA STEELE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: All right, John. You know, actually, they are more common than you think and certainly a greater preponderance of them do happen in Florida. But, you know, we've seen them and have seen them all around the world from New Guiney to Venezuela. Here's a picture of one, an underwater sinkhole, in Belize. Here's a look at one from Los Angeles from 2009. You can see this fire truck, the front of it down -- fallen down into the sinkhole. Here's another one from Hudson, Florida from 2012, you can see that collapsing in.

So, it begs the question, right, why does it happen? And, you know, in Florida, they are so common. In the four years ending last year, 25,000 people gave and submitted to their insurance companies, sinkhole damage claims, so they are quite common. And here's a look at where we've seen them and have had them in Florida and predominantly that alley you're talking about is in the south. Texas, Florida, Pennsylvania is really the farthest north, and Missouri as well. Alabama, Tennessee and Kentucky do as well.

So, why? Well, here's the culprit. It is all about this. What lays under the soil that you have your feet under? This is the grass, this is the soil and this is the bedrock. And the culprit is either limestone or dolostone or dolomite. And it's porous, it's soluble porous bedrock. And here's what happens. The rain comes down. The ground soil here becomes acidic and, in essence, it's this acidic rainwater that dissolves away all this limestone.

Think of a sponge and little holes in a sponge. Well, this acidic rainwater opens those sponge holes and they get bigger and bigger and bigger and can't support what's above them, be it a person, a car, a house. And then, the house falls in and that sinkhole happens. So, that's really kind of the biggest issue as to why and the places, of course, in the south or around the world that have them is because of this limestone or any really soluble, very porous rock that lays under and we have a lot of that in Florida. Other causes actually are all human induced, whether it's a water pumping, ground water pumping kind of breaking it up, also land construction if they're doing construction and all those trucks. And also, drain -- water drainage patterns, they may change. Someone may be changing them and thus, we can see a sinkhole. So, not exactly sure why this Florida one happened, but most likely, of course, it's this porous bedrock of limestone.

BERMAN: And there's no question, Alexandra, a whole lot of people paying a lot closer attention to --

STEELE: That's right.

BERMAN: -- sinkholes than they were a short time ago. Alexandra STEELE, our thanks to you.


BERMAN: Casey Anthony is back in the news. She arrived at her bankruptcy court hearing in Tampa earlier today. This is her first public appearance since she was acquitted of murdering her two-year- old daughter, Kaylee, in 2011. According to our affiliate, Central Florida News 13, she is claiming about $1,000 in assets and almost $800,000 in liabilities. Court papers list Anthony as unemployed with no recent income.

In New York, a tragic ending to a horrific hit and run case. A baby boy was delivered by C-section shortly after his father and mother were killed on their way to a hospital yesterday. The taxi they were in was broadsided by a BMW. Police now say that that little baby has died. Hundreds turned out for the funeral of the orthodox Jewish parents. The occupants of the BMW, they took off on foot after the accident. Police are still looking for them.

So, here is what's coming up this hour. A remarkable announcement. Doctors say they have cured a two year old who was born with HIV.

Then, Dennis Rodman is back from his trip to North Korea. Why the former NBA star is trying to get Kim Jong-Un and President Obama to talk.

Plus, the FBI releases letters sent to Whitney Houston. How an admirer tried to extort money from the late singer. This is CNN NEWSROOM and this is all happening right now.


MALVEAUX: Dennis Rodman, the basketball diplomat, is back from his chummy trip to North Korea, and he is delivering a message its leader to President Obama. Call me.


DENNIS RODMAN, FORMER PLAYER, NBA: He wants Obama to do one thing, call him.

BERMAN: He wants a call from President Obama?

RODMAN: That's right. He told me that. He said, if you can, Dennis, I don't want to do war. I don't want to do war. He said that to me.

BERMAN: Did you say, why don't you pick up the phone and call President Obama?

RODMAN: No, you know, it's a different story. It's a different story because guess what? The kid is only 28 years old. Twenty eight.


BERMAN: By the way, Kim Jong-Un is actually 30 years old, but Rodman, the former NBA player, went to North Korea to film a documentary about basketball. He got to sit court side next to the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-Un, who is a huge basketball fan. In the meantime, you know, Rodman got closer to that dictator than any U.S. diplomats have ever been. He says he's got a new friend, calling Kim Jong-Un a very humble man who loves power and control.

So, Elise Labott joins me now from Washington. Elise, you know, when you study to be a foreign policy journalist, I am sure you had Dennis Rodman in mind. I'm sure that's what --


BERMAN: That's right. And no doubt, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney also had Dennis Rodman in mind when he was talking about diplomacy. He was actually asked about Rodman at the press conference just a few minutes ago. Let's listen to what he said.


JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: North Korea ought to be focusing on its own citizens and opportunities to improve their lives and the United States has channels of communications directly with the DBRK and those are the channels we choose to employ.


BERMAN: Does it seem to you like the administration is upset about Rodman's trip?

ELISE LABOTT, CNN FOREIGN AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: In a word, John, yes. Basically, publicly, as you can see they are pretty much ignoring the trip, dismissing it all together. Privately, officials are mortified that not only is Dennis Rodman the only U.S. - the only American that has gotten to lay eyes on Kim Jong-il (sic), but basically, that they're being asked by us and a lot of other journalists, are you debriefing Dennis Rodman?

They say we're not going to talk to The Worm about North Korea, but it highlights the fact that the U.S. and North Korea have zero relations. North Korea has, in the period since President Obama took office, North Korea has launched two nuclear tests, three long range missile tests and is quickly gaining the nuclear capability to put a nuclear warhead anywhere on earth. So, it really puts the U.S. in a bind. Their policy isn't working. Clearly, they don't want to rely on Dennis Rodman to do their diplomacy. What are they supposed to to?

BERMAN: A lot of people are making jokes, about the two sitting together watching the basketball game. A lot of others brought up the notion of sports diplomacy, likening it to the ping-pong diplomacy between the U.S. and China in 1971. Is that like that or something different?

LABOTT: The U.S. does engage in a lot of sports diplomacy. You saw last week, the U.S. wrestling team was in Iran being warmly welcomed. What officials say is this is totally separate, if you look at ping- pong diplomacy all these years ago, there were openings between China and the United States. President Nixon had already decided he was going to go to China, engage the Chinese.

If you look at what Kim Jong-il (sic) is doing, these type of propaganda events are more basketball, public events. He doesn't really want to talk to anybody. What they say is he is not really interesting and engaging. He is just interested in his own survival propaganda for the North Korean people and they feel Dennis Rodman is really allowing himself to be used because he's going for his own publicity, for money.

They said this is really not the way to go, but you know, it does make you wonder if you look at what's going on between the U.S. and North Korea right now, U.S. is leading countries of the United Nations to pass some sanctions for its latest nuclear test. Where is that going to lead the U.S.? It needs to think about a new policy. Obviously, they're not thinking Dennis Rodman is the ticket to that, but they are thinking how are we going to move forward in the absence of any relations with North Korea.

BERMAN: All right, State Department expert and Dennis Rodman aficionado Elise Labott, our appreciation for being here today. Thanks very much.

A major confession by one of the Catholic churches highest clerics. Cardinal Keith O'Brien apologizes for his sexual misconduct. We'll have more coming up.


BERMAN: Just moments ago, President Obama held a meeting with his cabinet. The first meeting of the second term at the White House. Let's listen in for a minute.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: (INAUDIBLE) well, this is my 17th meeting with my cabinet. The first one in second term. And obviously, we've got some familiar faces. We have some new faces. We have some familiar faces in new positions.

I want to make sure that I say thank you to all of you for the work that you've already done and the work that you're going to be doing. I want to welcome Jack Lew, former chief of staff and OMB director, now Secretary of the Treasury. We're thrilled to have him in that position.

I want to welcome Mr. Chuck Hagel to position of Secretary of Defense and to all of you, I appreciate everything that you've done.

Obviously, we're going to be spending some time talking about potential impact of the sequester on all the agencies and missions across the board. It is an area of deep concern. I think everybody knows where I stand on this issue. We are going to manage it as best we can to try to minimize the impacts on American families, but it's not the right way for us to go about deficit reduction. It makes sense for us to take a balanced approach that takes a long view and doesn't reduce our commitment to things like education and basic research that will help us grow over the long-term. So I will continue to seek out partners on the other side of the aisle so that we can create the kind of balanced approach of spending cuts, revenues, entitlement reform, that everybody knows is the right way to do things.

In the meantime, we're going to do our best to make sure that our agencies have the support they need to try to make some very good decisions. Understanding that there are going to be families and communities that are hurting. And that this will slow our growth and we'll mean lower employment in the United States than otherwise would have been. But we can manage through it and we're going to rely on the outstanding leadership of all these agencies to make sure that we do whatever it is we need to get done to help America's families.

Now, my agenda obviously is broader than just the sequester. Because I laid out both in the inauguration and during the State of the Union, a very robust agenda to make sure we're doing everything we can to grow this economy and to help families thrive and expand their opportunities. We want to make sure we've got a growing, thriving middle class and more ladders of opportunity into the middle class, so in addition to talking about budget issues, we're also going to spend some time talking about making sure we have comprehensive immigration reform done.

And I want to again thank member of Congress who on a bipartisan basis, are moving forward on that agenda. We're going to have opportunity to talk about an issue that's like early childhood education that can have enormous impact on our kids and productivity. We'll have a chance to hear from Joe and other members of the cabinet about progress and reducing gun violence in this country.

So one of the things I've instructed not just my White House, but every agency is to make sure that regardless of some of the challenges that they may face because of sequestration, we're not going to stop working on behalf of the American people to make sure we're doing everything we can to continue to grow this economy an improve people's prospects.

All right? Thank you very much, everybody.


BERMAN: Those are statements by President Obama in his first cabinet meeting of the second term. I think the big news is probably the seating arrangement. President Obama sitting next to the new Secreatry of Defense Chuck Hagel, clearly showing his support for the new secretary after the tough confirmation battle he had in the Senate. The president also talked about the forced spending cuts, so that will be in discusstion today among he and his cabinet - how to manage their way through as best they can.

Meantime, the president is filling out some more of his new Cabinet. Sylvia Mathews Burwell has been has been his pick for budget director. She would take over right in the middle of this ongoing battle between the president and congressional Republicans. She's the head of the Wal-Mart Foundation right now. Before that, she worked under President Clinton and was the deputy budget director.

At the energy department, the president has tapped physicist Ernest Moniz from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. At MIT, he headed up the school's energy program and he too served in the Clinton administration.

And Gina McCarthy has been tapped to be the next administrator at the EPA. Right now she is assistant administrator. She once worked for Massachusetts governor, former governor, Mitt Romney. They join other nominees including Secretary of State John Kerry, Chuck Hagel with defense, and Jack Lew the new treasury secretary. The previous three have been confirmed already.

Federal agencies are implementing those forced spending cuts you heart the president talking about. Here is a snapshot of what some of the impact will have on us. The supplementat nutritional program for woman infants and children, $333 million; the defense health program, medical and dental services for troop vets and their family, $2.8 billion cut. Student financial aid and student assistance, $157 million. The CDC, our people who fight our bugs and diseases and sicknesses, $289 million cut and TSA is taking a $396 million hit. Not just the agents at the airport, but they're cutting federal air marshals as well as cops on the planes.

Some of the lesser known agencies include the Harry S. Truman Scholarship foundation, Marine Mammal Commission and the Northern Border Regional commission. Never heard of those? You're probably not alone.

Coming up, a remarkable announcement. How doctors say they've cured a 2-year-old who was born with HIV. Stay with us.

Then courtroom drama over who gets Martha Stewart's products. Why the biggest names in retail are really having a really pitched (ph) battle for her brand.

Then, is it a smoking gun in the Michael Jackson wrongful death case? How an e-mail could tie the concert promoter to Jackson's doctor. And what this could tell us about Jackson's final days. All that coming up.