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California Wildfire Burns Nearly 3,000 Acres; Five Year Old Shoots Two Year Old Sister Dead; Obama to Leave for Mexico; Getting Hospital Updates Via Apps; Eating Healthy vs. Eating Cheap; PepsiCo Pulls Ad Decried as Racist

Aired May 2, 2013 - 10:30   ET



CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning I'm Carol Costello. Thank you so much for being with us. It's 32 minutes past the hour.

In Southern California, officials say a wild fire, a huge wild fire is about 35 percent contained now. More than 400 fire fighters now are battling that blaze. This is Banning, California, that's about 25 miles west of Palm Springs. Kyung Lah is in Banning. Tell us more; 35 percent contained it doesn't sound so good.

KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's quite good because overnight Carol the fire fighters say they actually made some good headway. The fire fighters here cautiously optimistic. But you can see how my hair is flying around. There is a lot of wind now that the sun is up. This is bad news. They are very concerned about the high winds and the low humidity here.

What they're worried about is what you're seeing over here. This is a home. This is Joe Kiener's (ph) home. And you can see what happened when the wild fire came raging through this area. This home was engulfed in just minutes. The reason that he was able to survive is because he was already outside, he was in his car trying to escape.

But this really tells you Carol what a wild fire can do, how quickly it can move. And something else I do want to -- want to point is if you can walk over this way with me, you can see this house is destroyed. Take a look at that house. It's still standing.


LAH: That's how haphazard a fire can be. And also quite dangerous -- Carol.

COSTELLO: Any other homes destroyed?

LAH: This is the only home. And fire fighters say that's actually quite good news. What they're surprised about is the force of the fire happening so early in the -- in the year. This is a type of destruction you see usually in October but because of the dry weather, the lack of precipitation we've had this year, that's really a dangerous combination for what's going to be their anticipating a very difficult fire season. COSTELLO: Oh Kyung Lah reporting live from Banning, California this morning.

We'll be right back.


COSTELLO: Back to Boston in the -- back to Boston rather and the latest on the bomb investigation. Confounding information revealed in court documents. Investigators say they found fireworks emptied of the explosive powder in a backpack found in Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's dorm room several days after the attack. Take a look and then investigators also say Dzhokhar told his friends a month before the Boston marathon that he knew how to make a bomb. And as far as we know Dzhokhar did not ask any terrorist organization to cover his tracks. He allegedly asked his college buddies to do that.

Karen Greenberg is a terrorism analyst and director of the Center on National Security at Fordham University Law School. Welcome Karen.


COSTELLO: What do these latest clues tell you about this case?

GREENBERG: Well they tell you more -- it's more a civics lesson than anything else -- the three friends that have been arraigned and are in custody. They're accused of trying to cover up for their friend and the civics take away is you don't do that, particularly if you know that there's been a bombing, particularly if you think that he's been the suspect. Whether or not you know he's been accused of the crime.

And so what they did was obstruct justice that's what they're accused of. We'll see if it's hands out in court. But that's the civics take away.

COSTELLO: Robel Phillipos he's the American, he's also charged with lying to federal investigators and that's something you certainly do not do.

GREENBERG: Exactly. It's still part of -- of trying covering up a crime. And in this case it's a rather heinous crime.

COSTELLO: I want to talk a little bit about Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's response when one of his friends texted him that he looked an awful lot like the bombing suspect. He texted back "LOL", laughing out loud, "Empty my dorm room of what you want". It just seems like such a callous text.

GREENBERG: Yes. I mean, this is a -- this is a problem in terms of how do we read 19-year-old; 19-year-olds that have been accused of this kind of crime. And so it really just -- what kind of state of mind he was in, is really the question. Was he being flippant? Was he giving them a message to come to his house to do what they -- to get rid of the evidence. There's really no way to say. And that's what they're going to try to determine. But I think the important thing about these three friends that they now have in custody is that they could learn an awful lot about Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. And I think that's more than anything what law enforcement seeks from -- from having these three young men.

COSTELLO: Well I think his friends, I mean this is according to court documents, that these friends knew that Dzhokhar knew how to make a bomb a month before the Boston marathon then this text is more chilling.

GREENBERG: Well I don't know if the text is that chilling but the fact that it's alleged in complaints --


COSTELLO: Well as far as disposing of evidence I mean might that not kind of say and point to the direction that these kids knew what they were doing when they went to the dorm room and took the backpack out and the laptop.

GREENBERG: Yes, but it does not mean they were involved with the crime itself prior to it happening. And that's very important distinction when you're thinking about terrorism charges and death.

And so it's an -- of course they shouldn't have done it. And that's what I meant by this really is a basic civics lesson. And they should have known better and they should have gone to law enforcement or at least to some adults who could have help them get to law enforcement and they didn't.

Instead, they tried to help their friend out or at least that's what's alleged but --

COSTELLO: You know I want to stop you right there. Because if I suspected my friend --


COSTELLO: -- planted a bomb at the Boston marathon killing three people.


COSTELLO: Causing 14 people to lose limbs, injuring more than 200, I'm not going to go to their dorm room and empty a backpack and a laptop. I'm probably not going to that.


COSTELLO: That's just not normal behavior to me.

GREENBERG: That's right. And they shouldn't have done it. And -- and the take away and the lessons from this is of course they shouldn't have done it, but it doesn't make them guilty of more than just the cover up.

COSTELLO: Karen Greenberg. Thank you so much for -- for being with us this morning. We appreciate it.

GREENBERG: Thank you for having me.

COSTELLO: Oh a shocking sad story. A five-year-old boy -- five years old shoots and kills his little sister. She was only two. What relatives and authorities are saying about this case now?


COSTELLO: At 43 minutes past the hour time to check our "Top Stories". The calendar says May, but yes, those are snow plows on the road -- a late spring storm sent cars skidding along icy Interstate 35 in Southern Minnesota today. Parts of the state of Phoenix as much as eight inches of snow.

Kentucky police say a two-year-old girl was accidentally killed by her 5-year-old brother. Caroline Sparks died Tuesday after her brother shot her with a 22-caliber rifle the five year old got for his birthday.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He just picked it up before he realized.

DAVID MANN, UNCLE: He's just trying to -- accident and it's just tragic, it's something that you can't prepare for.

LINDA RIDDLE, GRANDMOTHER: I just know she's in heaven right now and I know she's in good hands with the lord.


COSTELLO: Relatives say the single shot rifle has a child safety lock and was kept in a safe spot. The gun maker Cricket markets weapons to kids under the slogan "My First Rifle".

The Republican senator behind the bipartisan bill to expand gun background checks blamed politics for its failure. Pat Toomey and Democrat Joe Manchin join forces on that controversial issue. Toomey told newspaper editors at his home state of Pennsylvania that many of his fellow Republicans, quote, did into the want to be seen helping the President so they weren't going to vote for that background check bill.

In just a few minutes President Obama kicks off a three-day trip to Mexico and Costa Rica. Let's head to the White House now to check in with Dan Lothian. We see Air Force One waiting for the President. I understand he hasn't left the White House yet, though.

DAN LOTHIAN, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: He has not. I can hear Marine One idling out on the South Lawn where the President will be boarding shortly and then heading over Air Force One flying to Mexico and also Costa Rica. The primary purpose of this trip is on the economy, strengthening economic ties between the United States and Latin America. Trade, of course, is the big issue. Immigration is another thing that will discussed between all the leaders. But one of the things that's been talked about quite a bit is what does the future hold for the war on drugs and the drug violence down in Mexico.

The United States and Mexico have been really ramping up in an aggressive way over the last few years going after these drug cartels but the violence continues. In recent weeks, there were some 17 murders in the northwest part of country, also in the resort city of Cancun.

And in this effort, this ongoing effort under former president Felipe Calderon, rather, seems to be eroding under the newly-elected president, Enrique Pena-Nieto -- a lot of concerns about some of the things that are being said by the new administration. They're talking about sort of stream lining and tightening up the flow of intelligence.

And there's concern here in the United States among law enforcement officials that they're pulling back a bit from this joint partnership that has been successful over the years. That could really hinder and stand in the way of this war -- this drug war that's been waging now for so many years there in Mexico.

So these are some of the things that the President will be dealing with as he heads on this very short trip to Mexico. And again, another issue as well immigration -- we can't forget that. That is something the President will be talking about with the leaders as he takes this trip even as lawmakers here watches the debate about the best way to fix a broken immigration system -- Carol.

COSTELLO: Dan Lothian, reporting live from the White House this morning.

Eating healthy, it isn't cheap. A new study shows just how expensive it can be when you're trying to feed your family healthy foods.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Dr. Bailey is performing a toupee procedure right now. There wasn't enough room in our OR so we're just following it on Twitter.



LAURIE SEGALL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Live updates on surgery isn't just for TV shows like "Gray's Anatomy".

PETER TAUB: So if I want to send a message to this child or this child's parents and the choices are pretty standard. Your child is now asleep comfortably under anesthesia. Your procedure is now started.

SEGALL: Dr. Peter Taub is a surgery surgeon. He's using an called MD Connect Me. It sends pre-written and e-mails to a patient's loved ones during surgery. TAUB: Surgery in itself takes anywhere from four, six hours. That's a lot of time these kids are away from their parents in this modern age of technology. Parents really loved getting updates.

SEGALL: Usually they're sent by a nurse or a medical resident. How do you manage to get notifications out during the surgery?

TAUB: Well, we have help. Part of the system is you need somebody in the operating room who can work with you.

SEGALL: Medicine is starting to take a small dose of high-tech. Congress has created incentives for using electronic health records. The latest seeing the provisions in the Affordable Care Act.

NAT TURNER, CO-FOUNDER, FLAT IRON: Your first thing you have to do in health care to have technology transform is the day that it has to be electronic.

Nat Turner is a serial entrepreneur. He told his last company to Google at age 24. Now he's taking on another problem -- cancer, with big data.

Flat Iron is a platform for oncologists. It helps doctors use data in their treatment plans. It enables doctors to compare treatment plans with patients with similar diagnoses.

TURNER: We're just now starting to return results back to the centers to say "Did you know that these four or five treatments are working better than we thought.

SEGALL: The inspiration came from Turner's then seven-year-old's cousin's leukemia diagnosis. This is Turner's cousin. In a commercial for St. Jude's Medical Center.

TURNER: The biggest change will be data-driven health care where the physician sitting there on her iPad with the patient and it just not a, you know -- this is what you have to do, but here are 15 things you should consider based on past historical treatment with other patients.

SEGALL: When it comes to health high tech solutions in a high stakes field.

Laurie Segall, CNN Money, New York.


COSTELLO: We all know eating healthy is the very best choice, but a new study highlights the fact it is hardly the cheapest choice. Christine Romans joins us now from New York. It's expensive.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN HOST: You know when you're feeding kids and you're busy, you have two parents who are working, you know. You can see why the grocery bill goes up and up and up.

But the USDA has these new figures, Carol. Looking at, what it costs to feed the family every week. A family with two school age kids, this is what -- this is what the USDA said; for the thrifty plan -- about $146 a week. For a more expensive diet, $289 a week. Now, you look at those numbers and you say wait a minute, maybe those are too low for me. Or maybe I'm right in the middle of those. Why are they important? Because the USDA uses these number to calculate how much money to give to in assistance for people who need supplemental nutrition assistance, SNAP, or food stamps is what we used to call it.

46 million Americans receive food stamps. One out of seven people get government nutrition assistance. And these are numbers that the governor uses, $21 a day to eat for a family of four based on the lowest estimate carol.

COSTELLO: So how do you keep those costs down?

It is interesting because the government actually has some ideas for this. They have a web site called and they give you even some menu ideas for healthy things that aren't too expensive. They say don't buy precut, prewashed food. That tends to be more expensive. Try canned or frozen vegetables be careful though of the sodium in the canned vegetables, I should.

Cook meals that stretch like casseroles and soups. And make a monthly -- a weekly meal plan, that can help you save. Don't by instant stuff, and cheaper fruits and vegetables the government says, carrots, greens potatoes, apples and bananas tend to be the cheapest fruits and vegetables. Focus on those.

You know make food that stretch, like stir fry for example. Put as many on sale vegetables as you can in there. Again it's And there's some kind of some interesting stuff on there. The point here is to try to get fresh fruits and vegetables in your diet, not break the bank. Planning is a big part of that, the government says.

COSTELLO: It's like another job, right? You know, you're a mom.

ROMANS: You know me. There's nowhere on here does it say my $2 Target pizzas; nowhere on here living there.

COSTELLO: But now we know. Thanks for that tip. Christine Romans, thanks so much.

We'll be right back.


COSTELLO: Being called, quote, "arguably the most racist commercial in history". PepsiCo is apologizing for a web app for Mountain Dew that features African-American in a police lineup along with a battered white woman and a talking goat. The beverage giant also has pulled this 60-second spot off the Internet.

Let's heads to New York, and talk about this with A.J. Hammer. It's not even funny. A.J. HAMMER, HLN HOST: No, It's not Carol. You know Mountain Dew has always tried to be a little out there. I'm going to do my best with a bit more of the description here. The ad that's getting all the attention is the last in a three-part series about Felicia the goat. Felicia's just trying to get a mountain due at a restaurant. When the waitress tells the goat there isn't any Mountain Dew, so the goat assaults her.

And in this third ad, Felicia is a line up -- trying to intimidate the waitress. Take a look.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is easy. Just point to him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You better not snitch on a player. Snitches get stitches, fool.


HAMMER: As far as we can tell, the commercial was not intended to be earned in a broad cast network. But the guy behind the ad was trying to get a viral video going and Carol much to Mountain Dismay -- the ad has gone viral in the worst possible.

It was a professor at Syracuse University that helped get the ad pulled after he complained about it as you said, calling it "It's the most offensive ad ever" and the biggest piece of trash. I should point out, Mountain Dew has apologized. Pulling the add, they said on Twitter, we apologize for the offensive video and take full responsibility. We made a big mistake; we've removed it from all of our channels." Hash tag fail. I would say, they ran out of characters to say Hash Tag Gargantuan because it really is.

COSTELLO: It's just a woman: I mean she looks like a battered woman. Just like unbelievably offensive. So I'm glad it's off, but of course it lives on, on the Internet, right?

HAMMER: Oh, Yes.

COSTELLO: All right. A.J. Hammer, many thanks to you.

HAMMER: You got it.

COSTELLO: I'm Carol Costello. Thank you so much for joining me today. CNN Newsroom continues right now.