Return to Transcripts main page


TSA Knife Ruling Sparks Opposition; U.S. Expels Two Venezuelan Diplomats; Dow Up After Record Week; Valerie Harper Has Terminal Cancer

Aired March 11, 2013 - 14:29   ET


BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Barbara Walters has spoken. Elisabeth Hasselbeck not leaving "The View." Walters smacked down the buzz that was circulating that the co-host was being fired for her conservative opinions. Take a listen.


BARBARA WALTERS, "THE VIEW" HOST: We value and appreciate her point of view. It's important to us because Elisabeth helps give the show perspective and balance. We have no plans for Elisabeth to leave the show. OK.


BALDWIN: Well, someone is leaving, comedian Joy Behar. She is headed out at the end of August. The morning talk show is in its 17th season.

Now to some of the hottest stories in a flash. We call it "Rapid Fire." Michael, roll it.

First up, Kwame Kilpatrick is guilty. So says a jury in the case against the former mayor of Detroit. Kilpatrick convicted on a laundry list of federal charges, including fraud, bribery, extortion. He could face up to 20 years in prison. No word yet on a date for sentencing.

The TSA standing by its decision to start allowing those small knives on airplanes. They issued a statement just a couple of minutes ago reiterating their plan to implement this rule change come April 25th. The agency says the change will allow security agents to then focus on bigger threats, like explosives. But New York Senator Chuck Schumer says the move makes zero sense.


SEN. CHARLES SCHUMER (D), NEW YORK: Usually when a government agency makes some kind of ruling, even if you disagree with it, at least you see the logic. I don't see any logic here. I hear outcries from passengers about this. Almost no one has called my office to say, why can't I bring a sharp knife on an airplane?


BALDWIN: Also questioning the logic, flight attendants union and the CEO of Delta Airlines also on the record opposing this upcoming rule change.

The U.S. has expelled two Venezuelan diplomats. This after Venezuela kicked two U.S. military attaches out of its country last week. The country chooses a new president to replace Hugo Chavez on April 14th. Socialist Vice President Nicolas Maduro on the left there is in charge, but the opposition leader on the right side of the screen, he is expected to give Maduro a run for his money.

And after six straight days of gains here, the Dow, it is starting on an up note on this Monday. The big board, as you know, hit an all-time record last week. Still above that mark as we look at this with an hour and a half left of the trading day. We'll keep a close eye on it for you.

Now to this, though. She has been given three months to live, but Emmy award winning actress Valerie Harper, she is not giving up. Coming up next, a revealing, emotional interview with the star who says she is keeping herself open to a miracle.


BALDWIN: Actress Valerie Harper is now opening up about her rare terminal cancer diagnosis. You know her. She was the '70s sitcom star. Best known for shows like the "Mary Tyler Moore Show" and Rhoda, she went on NBC's "Today" show just this morning to tell her fans that she is not done fighting the disease that is currently attacking the lining of her brain.


VALERIE HARPER, ACTRESS: First, I thought, my God, three months to live. It is not the whole truth. It is not -- yes, I may be, but it could be six, it could be five years. You know, you just don't know. The thing I have is very rare, and it is serious, and it's incurable, so far. So I'm holding on to this so far, but I'm also quite ready to say bye-bye.


BALDWIN: I want to bring in senior medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen. I love how she's fighting and speaking out.


BALDWIN: So much.

COHEN: So amazing.

BALDWIN: Tell me about the cancer. Technically it is not brain cancer.

COHEN: Well, it is not a brain tumor, exactly. As far as we know it is not in the brain, it is in the meninges, which is sort of bag that surrounds the brain. It's not a tumor. It's not solid. It's sort of individual cancer cells floating in her spinal fluid.

BALDWIN: Is it treatable at all?

COHEN: Doctors do sometimes chemotherapy, but doctors tell us that the main purpose of the chemotherapy is to control seizures and to control pain. It doesn't really extend life very much. If it does, it is by a matter of weeks.

BALDWIN: You say if it can extend by a matter of weeks, what is her prognosis as of today?

COHEN: She says that her doctors have told her three months, which is about what doctors have told us as well, three to six months. You know, I think that for those of us that do not have a terminal illness that sounds like a short time.

But speaking to people with that kind of a prognosis, they feel that's an important time, an important time to do what they want to do, to hope for some kind of a cure and to, if necessary, say good-bye to the people they love.

BALDWIN: Elizabeth Cohen, thank you.

Coming up next, our hot topics panel, is it OK for a once male, now female, transgender fighter to take on a woman, talking athletics and someone being transgender.

Plus, Harvard secretly taking a look at the e-mail accounts of some of its deans and parents, banning together to drive out sex offenders.

Wait until you hear exactly how they're doing it in neighborhoods. My panelists are standing by. We'll attack all the topics. They're revealed next.


BALDWIN: For the next half hour, we will hit the hot topics, the stories you'll be talking about over dinner tonight. First up, whether the fight you're about to see is fair. This is a Mixed Martial Arts Match, MMA, between two women in Florida's Championship Fighting Alliance Tournament. Check it out.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They're both back up on their feet.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good throws and reversals by both fighters.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These girls are getting right into it. Fox taking a knee and that's it, holy cow.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What a beautiful knee, beautiful clinch, right to the chin.


BALDWIN: People are calling the knockout into question here. Not just because of what just -- what we witnessed inside the ring, but outside years before this face-off. The winner here, 37-year-old Fallon Fox was born a man.

In 2006, she had surgery to become a woman. Her competitor did not know that until after she lost to Fox. Now, Fox says flat out she won fair and square. The only reason she was outed -- I should say she outed herself because a reporter was investigating her gender.


FALLON FOX, TRANSGENDER MMA FIGHTER: It is completely fair. The medical community stands behind me on that and that there are no unfair competitive advantages, which is the arguments who oppose my competition have said.

If it wasn't for that, I would have preferred to keep my personal medical history to myself, because that's what it is a matter of, my personal medical history and I don't think anybody should have to reveal their personal medical history if they don't feel they want to.


BALDWIN: Let me bring in my hot topics panel today, we have psychologist Paula Bloom, Lauren Ashburn, editor-in-chief of the "Daily Download," Jawn Murray, editor-in-chief of, and Patrik Henry Bass, editorial projects director at "Essence" magazine.

Welcome, welcome. Happy Monday to all of you all. Jawn Murray, let me have you weigh in on this first and foremost, do you think it is fair to have her competing with fellow female fighters?

JAWN MURRAY, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, ALWAYSALIST.COM: Brooke, I don't. And I -- I know legally, you know, her blood work says she is now a woman, but, you know, I still have some questions about the hormone levels and stuff.

They're giving her estrogen and stuff. I have a problem with a real fighting organization allowing someone who was once a man compete with a woman. If this was WWE, which is sports entertainment.

More scripted athleticism because there was a woman named Chyna who would wrestle the men there, I wouldn't have a problem with it because we know what we're getting. With this real action sports scenario, I have a problem with the fact she was once a man.

BALDWIN: OK, so you have a problem. Go ahead, Lauren. You're not a doctor.

LAUREN ASHBURN, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, "DAILY DOWNLOAD": I'm not a doctor, but I do have to sign those endless HIPAA forms every single time I go to the doctor saying, it's -- they're not allowed to release information without me knowing about it.

And I feel for her on this. It is it isn't anybody's business who she was before she is who she is now. And I think that people -- the argument is that she's going to be stronger because men are stronger, and that should be disclosed. But it still comes down to personal liberties. This is her personal decision.

BALDWIN: Yes, in the eyes of the law, she is a she. She had the gender reassignment surgery in '06. Look at International Olympic Committee rule. If she were in the Olympics, that requires two years of hormones, she would be considered a female.

Let me play this, though, because one of the concerns as we heard it from some of her opponents who had no idea she used to be a he. So here is a manager of someone she beat.


MATTHEW HABLETON, ERICKA NEWSOME'S AGENT: Knowing that what you're getting into, you know, not having any disclosure of something of that nature, you know, it puts a lot of stress after the fight obviously, you know, as this story is breaking. But, you know, it is something that the managers know that they should disclose and which they didn't.


BALDWIN: So, Patrick, do you think the other fighters, now everyone knows her sort of history. But do you think if you were going up against her here in the ring, just for your own, I guess, mind sake, you would want to know she was once a he? Does that matter?

PATRIK HENRY BASS, EDITORIAL PROJECTS DIRECTOR, "ESSENCE": I wouldn't go up against her in a ring. What I want to know is whether or not Angela Bassett or Hilary Swank is going to play her in a movie. This is a hot story. I find Fallon Fox's personal story quite riveting, former truck driver, being in the Navy, going to Thailand.

And also there is a policy from the boxing association that they passed in 2012 for a transgender. Now it is up to the boxing association to discuss that policy further and this is a great opportunity in which to do so.

BALDWIN: Paula Bloom, as our fellow psychologist here, I just am curious, weigh in. What do you make of the whole back and forth just in general?

PAULA BLOOM, PSYCHOLOGIST: I just think in general we're so behind, getting comfortable with transgender. We have this very black and white view of gender. And from my perspective, the only thing that is relevant is if doctors clear this and say, she is female, that there is no undue advantage. I don't know why this is relevant.

We have male soccer leagues and female soccer leagues. We have this kind of view that men play with men, women play with women. If she is technically female, and doctors agree with that, I don't see what the issue is. And I also agree that this is a medical situation that does not need to be disclosed.

BALDWIN: Precisely her point, it will be interesting to see, we have seen with the LPGA, with the Women's Tennis Association, sort of allowing transgender athletes to play. But there are only a few. No blanket policy when it comes to professional sports and transgender athletes. So we shall watch and see what else could possibly unfold.

Coming up next, let's talk Harvard. Harvard, under fire for snooping into employees' e-mail accounts. I'm talking deans' e-mail accounts. The university has responded. Are the actions justified? My panel weighs in next.


BALDWIN: One of the best, most respected higher institutions in the nation really now is accused of some low blow tactics, hacking into e-mail accounts of its own deans to find the source of a press leak. The leak was about Harvard's cheating scandal.

More than 100 students were accused of plagiarism, forcing more than half of them to leave the school for a period time. Now the university admits into looking into the accounts of 16 resident deans without giving them the heads up.

But administrators stress only subject titles of e-mails, not the actual messages were read. Harvard did find the source of the leak and got a lot of backlash from the staffers' whose accounts were accessed.

One of them, Professor Harry Lewis, blogged this, quote, "If something as innocuous as the leakage of the August 16th e-mail justifies reading the e-mail of a dozen faculty members, it is hard to know how low the threshold might be for invasion of our in and out boxes."

Welcoming back my hot topics panel, Lauren Ashburn, I want to hear you weigh in on this. Because listen, we are the year is 2013. But anything I write on CNN e-mail I think who could be reading this in the I.T. folks who could be reading this at any given time. This is perfectly legal.

ASHBURN: And people are reading it.

BALDWIN: They are.

ASHBURN: Of course they are.

BALDWIN: The question is, if we're talking Harvard and this institution of free thinking, does it matter ethically where you work if you can do this?

ASHBURN: Harvard, they're not dummies. That's why they are Harvard, right? And a lot of great and famous people have gone there and they would all tell you that you do not put anything in e-mail that you don't want your company to see.

Now, from a management point of view, excellent tool, right, and "The New York Times" reports today that only the -- not the personal e-mail, but the actual professional e-mails --

BALDWIN: Two different e-mail accounts at Harvard.

ASHBURN: Only the professional one that was looked at, correct. But if you are putting anything in there that is of a personal nature, or if you're leaking anything, management has a right to know that. It is going to cause morale, serious morale issues.

BALDWIN: Who agrees?

BLOOM: I agree. But to me the issue is I'm wondering if they were checking people's e-mails when trying to figure out what was going on with the cheating scandal, is this that they're trying to find a whistle-blower, trying to --

BALDWIN: They were trying to figure out who leaked the e-mail to the press.

BLOOM: Right, exactly. I'm wondering, though, were they going through people's e-mails when trying to figure out the logistics of the cheating scandal or more now and just trying to figure out who leaked?

ASHBURN: This is where you meet at the coupe and hand over a paper bag with a document. You don't send it over e-mail.

BALDWIN: This is part of Harvard's statement. Some have asked why the conclusion that review, the group of resident deans was not briefed on the review that was conducted and the outcome. The question is a fair one, operating without clear precedent for the privacy concerns.

John, you want to jump in, here's the thing. They didn't get the heads up that their e-mails would be looked at. That's precisely the point. Should people get a heads up?

JAWN MURRAY, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, ALWAYSALIST.COM: You don't need a heads up. In the words of the great housewives of Atlanta, everybody knows your e-mail is subject to scrutiny. They have a lot of book sense, but no common sense. It is common business practice here, people. I like to call people's work e-mail the pay phone. It is the company that is paying you, so don't use that e-mail account for personal correspondences.

BALDWIN: It's so true. Patrick, you agree?

BASS: Well, no one at Harvard is watching and the whole whistle blowing. What I have a challenge with in this situation is that students at Harvard sign an honor code. I believe that administrators should also have an honor code and you honor that code by letting at least informing someone when you're going to hack into their e-mail.

BALDWIN: Did you think it makes whistle-blowers less likely to speak up?

BASS: Whistle blowers will always speak up.

BALDWIN: OK. BASS: I believe.

BALDWIN: OK, coming up next, we'll talk about communities coming together to drive out sexual offenders using some surprising controversial tactics. That is next.


BALDWIN: Now to a story that pits public safety versus individual survival. The individuals in this case are sex offenders. Many of them just plain flat cannot find a place to live because communities are coming together. They're banning them, even after they have done their time for the crime.

"The New York Times" reports that neighborhoods across the country are now installing these pocket parks, I mean, teeny tiny plots of land, forcing out sex offenders because in many states registered sex offenders are not allowed to live within a certain distance of any given park.

The "Times" says that this L.A. City Councilman Joe Bushingco has already installed one tiny park and has plans for two more for this whole purpose of pushing out a cluster of sex offenders in those areas.

Let me bring in my hot topics panel. And Paula Bloom, I am hearing you are fired up over this. The issue is this is perfectly legal. Is it morally right?

BLOOM: So I'm of two minds. I'm a psychologist. And there is research that talks about greater stability, having a home for people with sexual -- who are offenders are less likely to offend. When you have a lot to lose, that keeps you a little bit more in line.

When there are no consequences, where you feel like you're homeless, nothing to lose, your behavior is -- sex offenders offend not -- they don't stop offending out of some moral thing, it is about consequences. I'm also a mom.

BALDWIN: You are a mom.

BLOOM: I have two kids.

BALDWIN: With a mom hat.

BLOOM: Yes, I feel like, gosh, I would be one of those first people with the shovel, you know, going to help with the playground. My husband, I'm not big on that, but the playground. Here's the thing.

We as human beings, we can look at what is good for society this might help society to keep people safer because they have some stability the sex offenders. When it comes to our kids, the visceral reaction of protecting our children, all of that research doesn't matter. It is really about -- it is terrifying to think our kids can get hurt. BALDWIN: Lauren, you're a mom, would you send your husband or yourself shoveling that playground?

ASHBURN: I would be shoveling.

BALDWIN: So you would be shoveling?

ASHBURN: But here's -- but here's the point. It is really hard to defend a convicted sex offender, right? But where are they going to go? This is like not in my backyard. This is like trying to find a place to put nuclear waste.

We got to do something with it. You can't just leave it sitting around. You have got to put it somewhere. So then what does the solution become? I agree of two minds, I don't want them near my children's school.

But there also is a thing called the national alert, which sends you a red alert every time a sex offender moves into your neighborhood, near your school, you can sign up for this, there are ways of tracking these --

BALDWIN: But still, beyond red alerts in these neighborhoods and on top of a red alert, you have these playgrounds that are popping through, which means definitely these people can't move in. Let me jump in, you all are sort of making this one point, this is according to Janet Neely, a member of the California sex offender management board, from the "Times."

Quote, "Putting in parks doesn't just break up clusters. It makes it impossible for sex offenders to find housing in the whole city. It is counterproductive to public safety because when you have nothing to lose. You are much more likely to commit a crime when you're rebuilding your life."

I mean, you see these tent cities, you all, that are popping up, people living under bridges because they have nowhere else to go. That can't be a solution. What is?

MURRAY: Brooke, I think we need to go to one of these lesser populated areas like look at Wyoming or Montana. Let's go somewhere that does not have the huge numbers of some of these inner city have. So stop investing the money in the parks and maybe build a community to put these people in lesser residential areas.

BALDWIN: So you're saying put them all together and send them to Wyoming?

MURRAY: Basically. You've got to put them somewhere, but we also got to protect the kids. Paula makes great points. There's the ying and the yang with this.

BASS: It is about rehabilitation in prison. The fact that California is spending $6 million on the pocket parks, and the prison industrial complex is a billion dollar business. Can we please enact some type of reaffirmation for sex offenders when they're in prison, so when they leave prison, they're less likely to commit a sex offense and disturb and destroy a life in a community.

BALDWIN: It is a valid point and something that is an issue, not just California, but nationwide. Paula Bloom, Lauren Ashburn, Jawn Murray, and Patrick Henry Bass, thank you all so much, hot topics panel for this Monday. Now this --

One again, an insider attack takes the lives of Americans inside Afghanistan. This comes as the president of Afghanistan makes accusations against the U.S. I'm Brooke Baldwin. The news is now.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You tell them you love them, because you never know what can happen. Tomorrow is not promised to anybody.