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California Suffering From Historic Drought; No Relief In Forecast In California; Obama Scrutinized NSA Options; NTSB: Pilots Identified The Wrong Airport; Christie To Face First Test Since Scandal; School Shooting Suspect On The Lodge; FBI Joins Search For Missing WSJ Reporter; Hunter Paid $350,000 To Kill Black Rhino; Obama Takes Middle Ground with Changes to Surveillance Programs; MLK "Twerk" Posters Spark Outrage

Aired January 18, 2014 - 08:00   ET


VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Cities rationing water. Ranchers are selling their cattle and clerics are praying for rain. It's the worst drought California has seen in 100 years and the whole nation will likely feel its effects.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I had no idea there would be an attack on my 2- year-old daughter and 7-year-old daughter, and my beautiful young wife.


CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: The winner of the black rhino auction paid $350,000 for a license to kill, but now he is the one being hunted.

BLACKWELL: And on the eve of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, these posters and flyers are sparking outrage. Is the freedom to twerk a way to engage you or smear the Civil Rights Movement? Your NEW DAY starts right now.

PAUL: You know what? It is Saturday. Sit back and relax. You made it to the weekend.

BLACKWELL: You are here.

PAUL: Yes, I'm Christi Paul.

BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell. It's 8:00 here on the east coast. This is NEW DAY SATURDAY.

PAUL: Yes, we want to talk about California's drought crisis because this is about more than wild fires at this point.

BLACKWELL: Yes, the fires are a nightmare for people who have lost homes and lost their cars, but the state's epic disaster could be trouble for the entire nation since California produces nearly half of all U.S. grown fruits and nuts and vegetables.

PAUL: So Kyung Lah has more on the drought and its consequences for all of us here. Good morning, Kyung.

KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Victor, Christi, if you want to know about the power, the danger of California's drought, just look at this building behind me. This was a historic mansion. It was broken up into several different apartments. A two-storey structure, a fire completely made it collapse. The record low rain in the state, the winds, and the low humidity made this right for fire. The drought says the governor has plunged California into a state of emergency.


LAH (voice-over): This is what California's drought looks like. The driest year in a century meant a flame friendly canvas for the Colby fire, 1,700 acres charred, thousands evacuated. Five homes gone in an instant. The drought declared the governor has plunged California into a state of emergency.

GOVERNOR JERRY BROWN (D), CALIFORNIA: We are in an unprecedented very serious situation and people should pause and reflect on how dependent we are on the rain and nature and one another.

LAH: In a state of emergency speech, the governor asked everyone to cut back water use by 20 percent. His declaration does lift some environmental restrictions to allow the state to move water to parch regions more easily. Challenge, there is not much to share among the 38 million residents. Reservoir levels are at record lows. Snow packs this season is 80 percent lower this season.

Los Angeles got just over 3 inches of rain in all of 2013, about a quarter of what's normal. More firefighters will be hired and they are on alert for the dangerous drought. As for the Colby fire that's still burning, it started as an accident. Police say these three men set an illegal camp fire. They and their attorneys could not be reached for comment.

The fire rapidly exploded out of control. The challenge is for firefighters, more dry winds and a forecast without any rain stretching on into the weekend.


LAH: Looking now at the hillside, you can see it is all brown. That's not typical. That's not burned land, either. That is normally green this time of year, but because of the drought, all of the earth here is brown. Firefighters are saying they have had a very difficult fire season and they expect it to continue -- Victor, Christi.

PAUL: Kyung Lah, thank you so much. So obviously we know California needs a lot of rain, but I'm sure a lot of you are sitting there looking out the window and saying what's in store for me?

BLACKWELL: Yes. Let's check in with CNN meteorologist, Jennifer Gray. Tell us are we getting any rain in California and how about everybody else?

JENNIFER GRAY, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes, not anytime soon. We are stuck in the stubborn pattern. Some of the forecast models are showing this ridge breaking down a little bit by the end of the month. But until then, really nothing and even once we get to the middle of the month, it is a little iffy. We have the ridge of high pressure in place. That is the pattern we have been in over the past couple of months.

It brought in the offshore winds. Those very dry Santa Ana winds that have sparked out some wildfires already and this is the time of year where Southern California is supposed to get the rain. We've just seen none of it. San Francisco is the driest they have been since they have been keeping records, and that is 165 years.

So relative humidity has in the single digits adding insult to injury there. As you look out to the next three months, we have the long term forecasts. We will stay above normal as far as temperatures in Southern California. It looks like we will see below normal precipitation amounts. That is not good news at all. As we switch gears, I want to focus on the northern plains and Midwest.

We have winter weather advisories in place for folks, a blizzard warning for portions of South Dakota. We will see a couple of inches of snow in the Minneapolis areas and Pennsylvania with snow. Not incredible snowfall totals, 2 to 4 inches in Chicago. Here is a look at the big picture, high pressure across the south. Warm weather continues out in the west, guys.

This drought is something we're going to be talking about for weeks, months to come. It will take much more than a couple of days of rain to reverse all of this.

BLACKWELL: Wow, the effect there and now across the country. Jennifer, thank you.

PAUL: So now let's talk about your privacy and President Obama kind of drawing new boundary lines so to speak on how the federal government handles your phone and e-mail records, and all that good stuff.

BLACKWELL: In the wake of Edward Snowden's stunning revelations about NSA spying, the president is now tugging on the reins of the most controversial snooping programs.

PAUL: Senior White House correspondent, Brianne Keilar has more for us. Good morning, Brianna.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Christi and Victor, this went down to the wire, one White House official telling me even as of Thursday evening key policy decisions have yet to be finalized.


KEILAR (voice-over): President Obama worked with his advisers well into the night on Thursday, on his speech revealing changes to NSA spying program. The final decision on his biggest announcement by all appearances came very late. BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I'm therefore ordering a transition that will end the Section 215 Bulk Metadata Program, as it currently exists --

KEILAR: But the deliberating isn't done, the president saying his administration will consult further with experts and ultimately lead Congress to decide which third party will store details like phone numbers and length of calls.

SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: Who will we hire? Edward Snowden's contractor to hold all the information? I don't want them collecting the information. It's not about who holds it. I don't want them collecting every American's information.

KEILAR: Thursday night, Obama called British Prime Minister David Cameron to detail his proposal. Shortly before his speech on Friday morning, White House officials alerted key members of Congress, the final steps in a month's long process.

While vacationing in Hawaii for two and a half weeks over the holidays, President Obama poured over recommendations from his NSA advisory panel between rounds of golf and family outings.

Throughout December and January, he met with tech CEOs from companies like Facebook, Twitter and Google, privacy and civil liberties experts and lawmakers on House and Senate Judiciary and Intelligence Committees. A drawn out decision making process that is a hallmark of Obama's.

According to several aides who told CNN it is not unusual for the president to hold his decisions close to his vest. We have seen it before.

OBAMA: Because we cannot resolve someone else's civil war through force.

KEILAR: Most recently on Syria and his call to send Navy SEALs into Pakistan to finalize Osama Bin Laden's compound. In the last several months, Obama's views on the spying program changed from his description of the man whose leaks started the controversy, this was last June.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: No, I will not be scrambling jets to get a 29-year- old hacker.

KEILAR: And today --

OBAMA: Mr. Snowden's action.

KEILAR: To the need for changes to how the U.S. spies.

OBAMA: And I think we struck the right balance.

KEILAR: This is only going to work if the American people have confidence and trust.


KEILAR: March 28th is the key deadline. That is when the controversial bulk phone data program needs to be re-authorized. Attorney General Eric Holder and intelligence officials will weigh in and President Obama will also work with Congress to figure out where they think all that information should be held since the NSA will no longer keep it -- Christi and Victor.

PAUL: White House correspondent, Brianna Keilar, thank you, Brianna.

BLACKWELL: So we are now learning more about how two Southwest pilots landed at the wrong airport in Missouri Sunday night. Now investigators say the plane's computer was properly programmed to identify Branson Airport, but the pilot saw the bright lights and they saw similar runway and they landed at a county airport 7 miles away. The NTSB says it's continuing to analyze the cockpit voice recorders. Both pilots have been suspended.

PAUL: I want to give you the latest on the New Jersey bridge scandal. Three groups and 17 people with ties to Governor Chris Christie have now been subpoenaed in the case.

BLACKWELL: Yet many of them are being asked to turnover their cell phones and computers. Officials are expected to comb through the e- mails and the text messages and the voicemails that maybe connected to last September's controversial bridge closing. The findings will be released next month. Today, Christie faces what could be some of his toughest critics, members of his own party.

PAUL: And the GOP star headed south to help raise money for Florida Governor Rick Scott's re-election campaign. CNN's Tory Dunnan joins us live from Orlando. Tory, I'm wondering was there any point with all of the scandal that broke out in New Jersey, that anyone considered cancelling this trip for Christie?

TORY DUNNAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, there was a bit of a question about whether or not he would come here to Florida, but he is coming until all eyes will be on the state today. One thing to point out is that New Jersey Governor Chris Christie was asked a question in his first news conference after all this happened about whether or not this would affect his ability to do his job as chairman of the Republican Governors Association.

At that time, he said it would not affect things at all, but this weekend is going to be a true test of that.


GOVERNOR CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSE: Whatever test they put in front of me, I will meet those tests.

DUNNAN (voice-over): Now the test for New Jersey Governor Chris Christie moves some 1,000 miles south from the garden state to cash rich Florida. More than a week after the bridge controversy blew wide open. This will be Christie's first trip out of state. A jam packed weekend with stops in Orlando, Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach. His star power and fundraising abilities will be on display in the midst of a political scandal. The governor is in town to fundraise for Florida Governor Rick Scott who despite the controversy is not shying away.

GOV. RICK SCOTT (R), FLORIDA: I know Chris did the right thing. He apologized and went to the community and apologized. So I look forward seeing him.

KEILAR: And as its chairman, he will also raise money for the Republican Governors Association. Christie will attend events on Palm Beach to network with those in the donor base. Those he would rely on if he decides to run for president in 2016.

ADAM SMITH, POLITICAL EDITOR, "TAMPA BAY TIMES": I think Florida Republicans would be a lot more excited if it was pre-bridgegate. But you know, he should play really well especially in south east Florida that's basically New Jersey South.

DUNNAN: Turns out the excitement could still be there. His main political event is at Home Depot co- founder and billionaire, Ken Langone's home. Even with the scandal, Langone tell CNN he has been flooded with requests to meet the governor.

ANA NAVARRO, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: The most important thing on Chris Christie's plate right now is New Jersey, focusing on his to-do list there and setting that ship straight. He also has other responsibilities. He is the chair of the Republican Governors Association and then he also has to think about Chris Christie and what his future is.

He has a lot of donors that are here in the Florida area, people that want to hear from him and want to ask him questions and want to go on and listen to what Chris Christie has to say.

DUNNAN: A sign his popularity remains a threat. Democratic National Committee Chairman Debbie Wasserman Schultz will be along for the ride with her own agenda.


DUNNAN: And a little bit more on that front, Debbie Wasserman Schultz also is part of the Democratic National Committee released this video this morning, a welcome to Florida video about Chris Christie not so much really welcome, but using quotes from Republicans over the past few days sort of derogatory comments about Chris Christie.

Victor and Christie, this is simply a clear sign that they still see him as a threat especially moving forward into 2016.

BLACKWELL: All right, Tory Dunnan, we will be watching Florida closely, in Orlando for us this morning. Thank you.

PAUL: Still ahead on NEW DAY, a puzzling mystery out of New Jersey this morning. It has nothing to do with Chris Christie, but what happened to this "Wall Street Journal" reporter. His family is desperate for answers today and the FBI is involve now.

BLACKWEL: And Dr. King like you have never seen him before. Look at your screen, some say you should never see him this way. The party flyers a lot of people are calling an absolute disgrace.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was just chaos. It was real chaos. When I came down from the school, the girl was walking with her arm. She looked like she got shot.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There was a floor with drops of blood. You don't expect stuff like this to happen. It's crazy.


PAUL: You feel for these people. New for you this morning, a school shooting suspect is on the loose right now. Police say he opened fire in the gymnasium at Delaware Valley Charter High School in Philadelphia. It happened yesterday. Two teens were shot and injured. Police say the shooting was caught on surveillance. They originally had three suspects.

BLACKWELL: But one suspect was taken into custody, cleared and released. Another turned himself in last night. This is only January 18th. This is now the second school shooting in the U.S. just this week.

PAUL: We will keep you posted on what we find out there. Also there this frantic search right in New Jersey with this desperate family.

BLACKWELL: Yes, the family of David Bird says that the "Wall Street Journal" reporter went out for a walk last Saturday and never came back.

PAUL: CNN's Alexandra Field is following the story in New York right now. So what are the updates on the search first of all?

ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, good morning, Christi and Victor. We are hearing another search party will head today to try and find David Bird. His colleagues here at the "Wall Street Journal" are holding on to hope that he will found safely. So, of course, is his family, they said it was just last Saturday when he said that he was leaving his Long Hill, New Jersey home to take a walk, but he never returned.

The family says he does not have his cell phone with him. He also does not have medication he needs to take twice a day following a liver transplant nine years ago. State police and the FBI are involved in the search parties have looked for him every day, but his family is still asking for help in finding him. Here is what his sister-in-law told us.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CHRIS FLEMING, DAVID BIRD'S SISTER-IN-LAW: The police responded right away on Saturday and came out that night. It was terrible weather. Next morning, there were helicopters with infrared. There were dogs, horses, terrain vehicles, 200 volunteers on foot. Counties from all over the state assisted, maps. They have been so thorough that it's just a puzzle. I think that's why we want anybody who has anything to just please, please contact the police.


FIELD: So far the search has been focused in the area around Bird's home and along the Passaic River. Earlier this week, there were media reports that Bird's credit card had been used down in Mexico, but a source close to the investigation tells CNN that prosecutors have not confirmed whether or not that credit card was used -- Victor, Christi.

BLACKWELL: So many questions here, Alexandra Field, thanks for staying on top of it for us.

PAUL: Well, you know, he shelled out $350,000 just for the chance to hunt and kill a black rhino. Now this Dallas man says he is the one being hunted because he wants to kill the endangered animal. Up next, he tells CNN his side of the story.



PAUL: Welcome back. It's 23 minutes past the hour right now. A man who paid $350,000 for a chance to hunt and kill a black rhino is being hunted. His name is Corey Knowlton. He says he and his entire family have gotten death threats.

BLACKWELL: And now we had word of more of his story. CNN's Ed Lavandera has the story. Good morning, Ed.

ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Victor and Christi, Corey Knowlton says he cares so much about black rhinos that he is willing to spend $350,000 of his own money, which will be donated to conservation causes for the chance to hunt one. But to many around the world, this still sounds totally illogical.


ANNOUNCER: It's $350,000.

LAVANDERA (voice-over): This was the scene inside the Dallas Safari Club auction hall when Corey Knowtton dropped $350,000 for a hunting permit issued by the government of Namibia to hunt the black rhino. It didn't take long for Knowlton to get outed on social media and for the death threats to pour in.

COREY KNOWLTON, HUNTER: I had no idea that it would be this visceral. I had no idea that they would be attacking my 2-year-old daughter and 7-year-old daughter and beautiful young wife, and they'd want to kill us all and burn us. LAVANDERA: Knowlton has hired a private security team while the FBI investigates the threats against him. But instead of hiding, Corey Knowlton says he wants to convince his critics that this hunt will actually help the black rhino population thrive in Namibia.

KNOWLTON: It's -- a belief in conservation for me.

LAVANDERA: Knowlton started hunting as a young boy. Knowlton hosts hunting shows on the Outdoor Channel and he also organizes high-end hunting adventures around the world. Corey Knowlton describes himself as a passionate conservationist and argues that old black rhinos that don't reproduce actually threaten to kill other younger rhinos.

KNOWLTON: They are actually the biggest killers of rhinos in the area. They put the group of experts together. They went out there. They identified them as a problem. They need to be, for lack of a better term, exterminated for the species to continue.

LAVANDERA: But Knowlton faces scathing criticism from other animal rights groups. Critics say these sanctioned hunts will only drive up the price of endangered animals.

JEFFREY FLOCKEN, INTERNATIONAL FUND FOR ANIMAL WELFARE: The message it sends around the world is that Americans will throw money to kill one of the species. It is saying that this rarity of this animal means it's more valuable dead than alive and that is not going to help conserve the rhino in the long term.

LAVANDERA: Knowlton says he has not scheduled a time to hunt the black rhino in the Namibia yet, but he says if the journey goes as planned, it could be the most amazing experience of his life.

KNOWLTON: So to that end, I'm a hunter. I want to experience a black rhino. I want to be there and be part of it, OK. I believe in the cycle of life. I don't believe that meat comes from the grocery store. I believe that animal died and I respect it.


LAVANDERA: This black rhino auction is authorized by the Namibian government. Every year the country auctions off up to about five of these hunting permits and since it has done this, in the last 15 years, the black rhino population has come back from the brink of extinction. Victor and Christi, back to you.

PAUL: Interesting. Ed Lavandera, thank you so much.

BLACKWELL: The Reverend Franklin Graham says his legendary father, this is a quote, "ready to go to heaven." That is coming up. We've got an update on the health of Reverend Billy Graham that's coming up.

Plus get ready for a fresh face on "Saturday Night Live." the next cast member who makes her debut and a little history tonight.

PAUL: But even before that, we want to check in with Christine Romans. She has a preview of "YOUR MONEY," which is coming at you at 9:30. Hi, Christine.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Christi and Victor, Americans are waking up from the American dream to find when it comes to your economic status, where you were born is where you will stay. How do you fix that economic mobility? I'm going to search for solutions with Christiane Amanpour and Candy Crowley. That's coming up at 9:30 a.m. Eastern on all new "YOUR MONEY."


PAUL: Well, the morning is just chugging along. It is 29 minutes passed the hour right now. I'm Christi Paul.

BLACKWELL: Just starting for some people. I mean, we've been up since the crack of last night. It is just starting for some people. I'm Victor Blackwell.

Five things you need to know for your NEW DAY. Up first California's Governor has declared a drought emergency. This happened yesterday and Jerry Brown says the state faces maybe the worst drought in a century. The Governor is asking Californians to cut back 20 percent of their water use.

And you know this drought could take a toll on the state's farming industry, we know, that and lead to higher prices for all Americans at the supermarkets.

PAUL: The son of famed Evangelist Billy Graham is asking the world to pray for his dad right now. The Reverend Franklin Graham spoke about his father's condition saying his dad is quote, "Ready to go to heaven." But Graham said his dad has started another book and he wants to be able to finish it and also said that Billy Graham hopes to film another online video message.

BLACKWELL: Number three, roughly 100 passengers who survived that Asiana plane crash in San Francisco last summer have filed a lawsuit against Boeing. It claims Boeing knew or should have known the plane had inadequate warning systems and a few other deficiencies. Three people were killed in that crash and more than 180 people were injured. Boeing would not comment on the lawsuit.

PAUL: More than 78,000 runners expected to lace up their sneakers across the country today to pay tribute to a mother killed by a drunk driver. Meg Menzies was out for a jog Monday morning when she was hit. A Facebook page has been set up asking people to run today in her honor. Runners posting to social media, you are encouraged to use the #megsmiles.

BLACKWELL: For the first time in more than six years, a black female cast member joins the cast of "Saturday Night Live." It happens tonight. Of course all eyes will be on SNL and former Upright Citizens Brigade star Sasheer Zamata who is making her debut along with two black female writers.

Now later this morning we're going to talk to comedian Lonnie Love (ph) and former "Mad TV" star Debra Wilson about the controversy and the diversity in comedy.

PAUL: All right so time for our political gut check: focusing right now on the big news out of Washington. President Obama setting new limits on the country's most controversial spy programs.

BLACKWELL: Yes the President is definitely tugging the NSA's reins. But he's also staunchly defending the need for cyber surveillance. It's a middle ground that seems really a far cry from remarks that Senator Obama made in 2007 about the Bush administration. Listen.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This administration also puts forward a false choice between the liberties we cherish and the security we provide. I will provide our intelligence and law enforcement with the tools they need to track and take out the terrorist without undermining our Constitution and out freedom.

That means no more illegal wiretapping of American citizens. No more national security letters to spy on citizens for not suspected of a crime. No more tracking citizens who do nothing more than protests a misguided war, no more ignoring the law when it is inconvenient. That is not who we are. And it is not what is necessary to defeat the terrorists.


PAUL: So let's talk about this with CNN political commentators Maria Cardona and Will Cain. Both of you thank you so very much.


PAUL: You know Maria I remember hearing somebody say once being a senator and talking about security is much different than being a President because you are not privy to everything a president knows. Has he stepped back on his tough stance on civil liberties in your opinion?

CARDONA: I actually don't think he has, Christi. And for certain that is true. Being a senator or being a member of Congress is very different than being in the Oval Office and really seeing everything every day that we face as a nation in terms of global threats.

But in the -- in the sound bite that you just played, everything that he talked about are things that no longer happen. And so I don't think it's a discrepancy to say that he is doing something different than what he campaigned on. I think what he is doing though, is straddling two very complicated and very important interests such privacy concerns and our civil liberties as well as making sure that we continue to do what we need to do to keep us safe to focus on national security.

And I actually think that he has done that and he's going to continue the debate which I think is incredibly important. This is an important transparency debate that we need to have. And I think he was able to straddle that yesterday in the recommendations that he came up with.

BLACKWELL: There well elements though, you say that all of the things that came from the sound bite, I'm going to come to you Will with this, that are no longer happening. The President, then Senator Obama in '07, said, that "Spying on citizens who are not suspected of committing a crime."

If they are still collecting the quote, unquote "metadata", that still collecting the phone numbers and the times isn't that exactly what the President said he would get rid of in '07?

WILL CAIN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes so look he -- we didn't strike any middle ground yesterday, Victor. He is straddling nothing. Virtually nothing happened yesterday. That was window dressing, it's fairy dust. It's lip service to the idea of privacy.

The government suggests they're going to leave the metadata in the hands of the phone companies. But he suggested I'm going to try this transition to that -- to that eventuality; that it will stay in the hands of the phone companies. But he said just that we're going to try to get there. In effect it's going to stay in the government's hands and even if it goes in the phone companies' hands, he's going to have no problem accessing it.

See what you're not seeing here is not an evolution. What you're seeing is a consistency. President Obama is good at acting. Now that doesn't make him particularly unique as a politician he's good at saying what it needs. He needs to get elected. In 2007, the people he needed to get elected and need to hear that he would do away with warrantless wiretapping and now that he's President he is saying he is making grounds to privacy, he's making concessions to privacy but he's not. Nothing happened yesterday.

CARDONA: That is actually so not true, Will. First of all warrantless wiretapping does not occur anymore. And that actually happened at the end of the Bush administration. And that was something that President Obama is focused on and said it should not happen. It does not happen today.

Two very important things happened yesterday which were very different from what had happening up until now. He talked about -- he talked about appointing a public advocate. So that when you go into the FISA court, it is not completely secret. The government is not the only one making the arguments. There will be entities there that are making the arguments in the public interests. That is absolutely a huge change from what had been happening up until now.

The second thing is that he talked about doing an annual review and making public disclosing the arguments to the FISA court that had been made for use of this metadata -- again huge new transparency issues that did not happen up until yesterday. So you're wrong, Will, when you say that is that nothing has happened.

CAIN: No Maria listen, listen. Maria, the constant selling point on this from those the administration and those who support it like yourself is trust me, trust me, trust me, the fox can guard the hen house. We will appoint a public advocate to go before our appointed FISA court and go and hear the arguments against our appointed Justice Department.


CAIN: Three entities appointed by the government, three entities all appointed by the executive branch, all appointed by the government arguing this issue out. The fox doesn't guard the hen house on this.

Here is the final argument. If this was such a big deal, if President Obama made concessions if he saw the light on privacy. What happened? Why yesterday, why in the last few months? If it was such a big deal, he truly believe what he said why not a year ago? The answer is because of one name. Edward Snowden. He doesn't believe this. He is saying it because he thinks we need to hear it.

CARDONA: I completely think that he agrees with this he believes in it. You're right that Snowden actually spurred the debate and that's a good thing but that should not take away from the interest that this president has in this. He is a constitutional lawyer. And we should actually be happy about that because he understands this better than you, better than me, better than anybody that is discussing this right now. And his commitment to privacy and to civil liberties is something that is absolutely real.

BLACKWELL: And the conversation --

CARDONA: And as President, there is a fine line that you need to walk. And he is walking that fine line.

BLACKWELL: The conversation will have to continue at another time -- Maria Cardona and Will Cain. Sometimes it's best that we just back out and let them to have the conversation at it all.

PAUL: We're going to let you go.

BLACKWELL: Thank you, both.

CARDONA: Thank you guys.

PAUL: Listen I have to tell you, this one was really frightening to me. I mean we all know that smoking is just bad for us right but did we know how bad? This new report spells out new dangers to lighting up, not just for people who do smoke but for secondhand smoke as well. We're talking about diabetes, arthritis and some other links that you will not believe. Stay close.


BLACKWELL: Hey, turn and look at your screen. This is from Brazil -- lightning striking the iconic Christ the Redeemer statue that towers over Rio de Janeiro. This is the statue, if you have never seen it in person, 130 feet tall. Understandably it's a frequent target for lightning strikes. But look at this, this --

PAUL: It's a beautiful picture. BLACKWELL: Yes. But unfortunately, it chipped a piece of the thumb and a different finger was chipped in a storm last month. I wonder if they fix it.

PAUL: That's -- yes they are just talking about.

BLACKWELL: Hopefully.

PAUL: That would be quite the job.

BLACKWELL: To get up there yes.

PAUL: To get up there and fix that.

BLACKWELL: Also this morning, a new report is on smoking and new evidence that it could lead to more diseases than previously thought.

PAUL: Yes.

BLACKWELL: The new surgeon general's report comes 50 years -- 50 years since smoking was first linked to cancer. And it shows for the first time 13 cancers are linked to smoking including liver cancer and bowel cancer. Now as well as two types -- rather, type-two diabetes and erectile dysfunction, rheumatoid arthritis and for pregnant women it can lead to cleft palate and cleft lip in fetuses.

PAUL: Good heaven.

BLACKWELL: Wow. Five more states reported widespread flu activity according to a new CDC report. And that brings the total number of states hard hit now to 40.

PAUL: The only 10 states without widespread flu include Arizona, Florida, Massachusetts and Mississippi. H1N1, by the way, is the predominant virus circulating which is a deadlier strain we should point out. It's also covered with all flu shots which is not too late to get we should remind you.

So let me ask you, you think that diet soda is helping you lose weight? Maybe not. A study confirming overweight people who drink diet beverages end up eating more calories than those who stick with sugary ones. Researchers believe the artificial sweeteners to be blamed here activating the reward centers of the brain and making diet drinkers seek even more food.

BLACKWELL: Wow. West Virginia's water contamination made it clear, and I think most people have known this for some time, how much we all depend on water for just basic survival.

PAUL: Well actor Matt Damon is the co-founder of the charity to help bring water to those in need. And we want to show you more of how he's impacting our world.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This celebration in India has a very special guest -- Matt Damon. But the Oscar winning actor isn't the big business news of the day. The new water pump is stealing the spotlight. And Damon's charity made it happen. helps bring water and sanitation to those in need.

MATT DAMON, ACTOR: Water really kind of underpins everything. Every 20 seconds, a child dies because they lack access to clean water and sanitations. Every 20 seconds.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This hits home for Damon who has four daughters.

DAMON: Once you have kids it's impossible not to see, you know, their face in every child you see.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: provides small loans to help people get access to water.

DAMON: People were paying money for water already. Sometimes 15 or 20 times what we pay for our water, right, to a local water mafia. And if you could actually just front them the money to connect to the municipal, you give them their time back so they can work at their job and pay the loan off.

They are now in control of their destiny in a way that they work. So it's not only about the millions of children who actually die every year, it's about the quality of life that somebody can have if they have access to clean water.



PAUL: Oh, this is a Photoshop fail, people. Lena Dunham's body on the February cover of "Vogue" magazine. Inside it appears the girl's starved body was so drastically Photoshopped that they forgot to put her arm back on -- her left arm is missing.


PAUL: Dunham praised the shoot -- the spread shot by Annie Leibovitz of course, on her twitter cam. But you know what -- Leibovitz is -- she knows what she's doing --

BLACKWELL: Yes, she's a big deal.

PAUL: -- the feminist blog "Jezebel" offered $10,000 for the unretouched photo saying that Dunham trumpets body positivity and her body is real -- these pictures are not, they say.

BLACKWELL: And guess what? They got them. Within two hours of the offer, the blog says they received six unaltered images. It turns out though, the changes were minor. "Jezebel" admits, quote, "As expected, their great. Lena looks fantastic."

PAUL: Yes, she does.

BLACKWELL: All right. So let's stay with another Photoshop fail here.


BLACKWELL: This next story has a lot of people talking. Look at this. Yes, this is from a Michigan party promoter. It's in hot water after using an altered image. You see the face there on the left. That is Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. used to promote a party called "Freedom to Twerk".

PAUL: Oh no, they didn't.

The poster shows King wearing a gold chain there, flashing a gang sign. Photos like this one have gone viral. The party, by the way, has since been called off we should point out.

BLACKWELL: Yes. And earlier, I spoke with the president and CEO of the Hip Hop Summit Action Network and former president of the NAACP, Ben Chavis.

Now Chavis actually started his career in the early 60s as a statewide youth coordinator for Dr. King. And he says despite the outrage, these flyers they offer a teachable moment.


BEN CHAVIS, FORMER NAACP PRESIDENT: These images show that we have some work to do to connect the hip hop generation to the civil rights generation. Certainly, if you want to fight for freedom, if you want to stand for freedom, I don't think you twerk for freedom.

But I understand what these promoters are trying to do. They are trying to get young people's attention so they use certain phrases and they superimpose Dr. King's image to get people to come out to a club.

BLACKWELL: What do you think he would think about these images? Now, there could be an argument made that without these pictures, even on this weekend, some people wouldn't even think about Dr. King. What would his view be about this, do you think?

CHAVIS: Well, I think Dr. King would say, "If you want to use my image, use my image correctly and more accurately." Dr. King would not put down the young people. He would lift them up and try to guide them on the right way. If you know anything about SCLC, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference under Dr. King's leadership, we had a lot of young people who follow, a lot of young people who responded.

So I think Dr. King would take that photo and turn it into a sermon about youth leadership development and about standing on the right path.

BLACKWELL: Can we talk about politics for a moment?

CHAVIS: Certainly.

BLACKWELL: You wrote an op-ed this month looking ahead to 2016. And I want to read something that you wrote. I read it in the "Washington Informer". Here it is.

"As I traveled recently around the country, I'm pleased to report that there is a growing support for Michelle Obama to run for public office and being vice president would be a perfect fit." You also say Hillary Clinton should be at the top of the ticket.

Hillary-Michelle 2016 -- what does Michelle Obama offer to that ticket and to the country?

CHAVIS: Well, today is her 50th birthday, this weekend is her 50th birthday. The first lady, Michelle Obama, is one of the most popular women in the world not only the United States. But it is just not because of her popularity. It is her skill. She's great Harvard trained lawyer. She knows about the issues of health care. She knows about issues of getting people to have the right diet and the right nutrition. She supports education -- the educational goals to move our country forward.

I think Hillary Clinton and Michelle Obama, running together, I think these two former first ladies in 2016, would be invincible. That is why I knew I was pushing the envelope when I wrote that column but I believe a Clinton/Obama ticket in 2016 would be so exciting, so transformative. And I think it would get a lot of people to have the largest voter turnout in American history in 2016.


PAUL: Well, that's something to think about, isn't it?

BLACKWELL: You think she wants to get involved in national politics?


BLACKWELL: You think she's probably had her fill?

PAUL: Ok. Let's move on here. What's better than having a car that parks itself? That is pretty cool, right? Not when it parks your car like this.


PAUL: This and more of the week's technology fails coming up next.

BLACKWELL: Yes, but first, this week's "Open Court".


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Taylor Townsend is 17 years old and she has already achieved what no American woman has in 30 years. Last year, she was the top junior tennis player in the world.

TAYLOR TOWNSEND, TENNIS PLAYER: I'm so proud of myself. And it was actually a goal that I set.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Taylor was honored at an ITF event in Paris alongside her childhood idols. TOWNSEND: Being in the room as some of these people was unbelievable.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was the perfect night. Taylor Townsend was the belle of the ball. Shoulder to shoulder with the players she aspired to as a kid.

TOWNSEND: I just remember the Williams sisters because they were doing so well at such a young age. And my sister also plays tennis. And so they were really a huge inspiration for my sister and I.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Brands like Nike and Prince have embraced Taylor Townsend.

TOWNSEND: First autograph card.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They will be watching closely as the talented left-hander navigates her way from the juniors to the WTA tour.



BLACKWELL: Every once and a while, technology finds a way not to help our lives. It can actually sometimes ruin it.

PAUL: Take for instance what has happened to some users of Fitbit. That wrist band to helps track how many calories you burn, how many stairs you climb, how well you sleep. Well, some users reported a nasty rash from wearing the Fitbit (inaudible) specifically. Some even report getting painful blisters that ooze or bleed. Sorry that's not --

BLACKWELL: Enjoy your breakfast.

PAUL: What is the cause? Fitbit tells the "Huffington Post" it may be an allergy to nickel. That's the metal that's used on the face plate there. But at least one dermatologist says it could be rather a build up of water and moisture from users who never take it off.

BLACKWELL: Yes, they should probably take it off while they sleep, at least.

So, a car that can park itself -- sounds like a great idea

PAUL: I'm telling you.

BLACKWELL: Especially for bad drivers. Well, not always. Look at this.

PAUL: Oh, my gosh.

BLACKWELL: The driver of this BMW near West Palm Beach says he used the self parking function and this is what happened. This driver says the car suddenly accelerated, flew over a parking mound and landed on top of another car. BMW says wait, wait, wait -- hold on. The company says the system does not have the ability to accelerate. It just turns the wheels and it's meant for parallel parking.

PAUL: But what really happened is my question. I'm telling you -- and you want to make driverless cars, people?


PAUL: That's all I'm saying.

BLACKWELL: These cars can't even park themselves much less drive yet.

Must see moment now.

PAUL: Heavens.

BLACKWELL: I love this one.

PAUL: Prepare for the attack of the devil baby.

BLACKWELL: Devil baby.

PAUL: Oh my -- that's just so wrong.

BLACKWELL: I love the devil baby.

PAUL: It is a prank to promote the upcoming movie "Devil's Due".

BLACKWELL: This is in New York. I mean hard core New Yorkers, like there's a baby is here alone. Not a baby. This remote controlled carriage rolls right up beside them. Out pops a deranged-looking baby, makes Chucky look tame.

PAUL: Totally.

BLACKWELL: But then at some point it starts like spewing things. I know we're going to show that for this hour. But it's actually kind of gross. So of course, it is the baby no one expecting.

What's the point?

PAUL: Look at people running from it.

BLACKWELL: It is promoting a new film that's coming out "Devil's Due". Actually it's in theaters now.

PAUL: Have fun with that is all I can say.

BLACKWELL: Devil baby at this hour of the morning. That's pretty nice.

PAUL: Well it's funny in that way.