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tv   CNN Newsroom  CNN  October 9, 2011 4:00pm-5:00pm PDT

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star-studded birthday celebration. cnn's own soledad o'brien is m.c.'ing the event with people li. time don lemon like at the cnn headquarters in atlanta. here's what's happening right now. the growing occupy wall street if movement is now in it's 23rd day of nonstop protests. occupy events have been popping up all over the country, including this one today in front of the white house. about 100 people gathered to protest what they call corporate greed and social inequality. one person was arrested when he tried to throw a shoe over the fence. the shoe hit a uniformed officer. the man has been charged with assault. cnn's susan candiotti is at ground zero of the occupy wall street, a park in lower manhattan, and she joins us now. susan, it looks like the crowd is bigger than it was last sunday. what's going on there today? >> reporter: well, at this hour, don, they have one of their
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people's assemblies going on. you can see it and possibly hear it over my shoulder, where people make speeches, but because they don't use a mic system here, they don't have permits for that, so instead, they shout it from person to person to person so the entire crowd can hear what the message is, trying to rally support for their cause. as you say, as we pan the crowd here, you can see that there are a lot of young activists here, certainly, but already also others here from different walks of life. last hour, we introduced you to a grandmother who came here all the way from detroit. all kinds of people represented. they're also getting visits from celebrities. some who are here to show support, some who stopped by, not necessarily looking for the spotlight, but just to hear what's going on. in the middle of this week, on the biggest day we saw of all the crowds we had, that was the day we had the big rally. we ran into documentary filmmaker, michael moore, who's been here quite a bit, and actor
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tim robbins. certainly, both of them are activists. i ran into one and then the other. they started to talk to each other and to me. and i specifically asked them whether they thought at some point that this movement, maybe next year, would go so far as to back a specific presidential candidate. here's what they said. >> don't you see that this is beyond the politicians? people are not here to endorse candidates. they have waited for years for the politicians to respond to the pain that they're feeling, and there is no response. so now this has gone beyond them. it's gone beyond thinking about who's running for office next year. >> it's gone beyond the idea that a politician can save the problem -- save the day here, or solve the problem. it's not -- the problem is deeper and bigger than that. >> so, certainly, they're all about affecting change. that's what this movement is all about. and they're talking about different ways to get there. they don't want to be
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affiliated, again, don, with any specific political party, but it is interesting to note that when i talk to people about that, i'm getting a lot of people who say they support ron paul. many libertarians here, and i'm also seeing more than one sign saying tax the rich. and of course, as you know, a lot of polls now show the majority of americans supporting that notion, but not getting anywhere so far, of course, in congress, for now. back to you, don. >> susan candiotti, thank you so much for that. the occupy wall street movement apparently doesn't have many friends among republicans. house majority leader eric cantor called them mobs and republican presidential candidates have been lining up to dismiss the protesters as un-american and engaging in class warfare. listen to herman cain and michele bachmann. >> i went by one of the protests in washington, d.c. on friday, and i saw a lot of signs from unions that were there, so i don't know how spontaneous these protests were, but it seems to
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me that their anger should be directed at the white house. because barack obama's policies have put us in one of the worst tailspins economically that we have. and maybe that's why the protests that i saw was within shouting distance of the white house. >> yes. but the fact of the matter is, why aren't there jobs? go and picket the white house. demonstrate in front of the white house. the thing that this administration does not get is that the business sector is the engine of economic growth. that's key. they don't get that. so this president and administration wants to continue to try and spend our way to prosperity. part of it is jealousy. i stand by that. >> and as you might imagine, civil rights veterans such as reverend joseph lowery have a much different perspective. >> the people know that he's not responsible for our financial dilemma, and they know that the financial community is
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responsible. that the greed, the corruption, the selfishness of the financial community, and even today, when the wealthy are not willing to share their world, they want to keep less than 10% of the people own more than 90% of the wealth. that's unfair. >> well, many people are comparing occupy wall street with the tea party. and i put the question to princeton professor dr. cornell west. you'll see him sitting next to tv and radio commentator tavis smiley. i'll explain why, but first, listen to dr. west. >> the tea party movement is a right-wing populist movement obsessed with individual liberty, obsessed with small gochlt and lower taxes, whereas what you see with the young people especially in the occupy wall street movements around the country is a different kind of movement. not just populist in the progressive sense, but it's inclusive. it's embracive. it's concerned about not just individual liberty, but social justice. not just social justice, but trying to get some control over
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the greed in wall street, the greed, the corporate greed they see in the military industrial complex. you see it in the prison industrial complex, is an all-embracing movement. it reminds me much more of the 1930s in responding to recession and depression and trying to create a unified movement. trying to get some control over the elite, that's the top 1% who have accrued 83% of the income growth in the last 85 years. >> the always out spoken dr. cornell west. i spoke with him and tavis smiley. my interview with them cub in about 30 minutes here on cnn. let's go to the capital now, capitol hill, where this week the senate is expected to vote on president obama's jobs bill. 60 votes will be needed to overcome republican efforts to block the measure, which has a $447 billion price tag. cnn's athena jones has a look at
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thilgts. >> reporter: the bill would cut payroll taxes, extend unemployment benefits, give tax credits for raising wages or hiring unemployed veterans or the long-term unemployed and provide money to keep public workers on the job and invest fle building schools and roads. it would be paid for with 5.6% tax on income over $1 million, starting in 2013. >> it is that proposed tax on high-income americans that has united so many republicans in opposition to the jobs bill. they argue that taxing anyone, even people who make a lot of money is the wrong thing to do in a sluggish economy. >> well, what's concerning about it is, he put ideas in this jobs bill that have already proven to fail. instead of trying to get compromise, he's embracing conflict. he's running around the country campaigning on a bill that he knows won't pass. it can't even get out of the senate right now, rather than working with us on ideas that we agree on that would help create jobs. >> this isn't a shocker for you. the democrats say that the bill is essential and policy and pol
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people do support the bill. nancy pelosi says the bill still does have a chance to pass in the sthaenate. >> i think the senate democrats are overwhelmingly promoting it. there are a few that may have some concerns about one aspect of it or another. but what's important is the president is taking it to the people. they understand the opportunity it presents, the distinctions between doing something or not and what it means in their lives. >> unemployment remains stuck at 9.1%. another reason democrats argue that a jobs bill is badly needed. is mitt romney's mormon faith holding him back from being embraced by republican voters? that conversation is after the break. also ahead, week three getting underway in the conrad murray trial. more riveting audio from murray's interview with police is expected to be played. ks dify than many other allergy medications. omnaris. omnaris, to the nose. did you know nasal symptoms like congestion can be caused by allergic inflammation?
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what is it? is something holding republican voters back from fully embracing mitt romney? if you believe the headlines out of the values voters summit, it could be his mormon religion. but as cnn's candy crowley reports, many of romney's opponents are doing whatever they can to sidestep the issue altogether. >> reporter: thomas jefferson talked about the wall of separation between church and state. nobody said anything about separating church and politics, but everybody knows it's a sticky wicket. is mitt romney a non-christian? >> i'm not running for theologian in chief. i'm a lifelong christian, and what that means is i start with do the right thing. i'm not getting into that controversy.
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>> rick perry is a -- >> reporter: the question arises because dr. robert jeffress, a southern baptist minister, introduced rick perry the other day, calling perry a genuine follower of jesus christ, as opposed to another candidate jeffress could and did mention. >> i think mitt romney is a good moral man, but those born-again followers of christ should always prefer a competent christian to a competent non-christian lime mitt romney. >> reporter: mitt romney is a mormon and he has passed this way before, four years ago, the first time he ran for president, when he addressed concerns, rumors, and political analysis of his religion. >> i believe in my mormon faith and i endeavor to live by it. some believe that such a confession of my faith will sink my candidacy. if they're right, so be it. >> reporter: many things sank romney's candidacy in '08. religion may have been one of
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them. >> you look at the results from 2008, he ran poorly among evangelical christians, especially in the south, in all the southern states, he never topped out above 20% of the votes with evangelical christians. >> in all, 45% of republicans who vote in primaries are conservative evangelical christians. they are far less a factor in a general election. for romney's gop rivals, this requires a straddle. you don't want to alienate a huge part of the primary vote, nor do you want to look intolerant. >> the pastor who was introducing and supporting governor perry in texas, who said that governor romney, who is a mormon, is not a christian. i want to know if you agree with that statement? >> you know, this is so inconsequential as far as this campaign is concerned. >> you leave open the possibility that people are going to say that you dodged the question, the direct question. >> i think, again, to make this a big issue is just ridiculous
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right now, because every day i'm on the street talking to people. this is not what people are talking about. >> it will look like you're dodging it. >> if that's what it looks like, i'm dodging it, because it's not going to help us boost this economy, and that's my number one priority. >> reporter: and that's how you navigate around a sticky wicket. candy crowley, cnn, washington. we're going to dig deeper now into the concept of rejecting a candidate because of his religion. a baptist minister is encouraging voters to choose rick perry, an evangelical christian for president, over mitt romney, a mormon. joining me now is a political analysis and an independent, we want to point that out, goldie taylor. so does the reverend robert jeffress have a point when he's advising people to vote for people whose beliefs are aligned with theirs? >> i have to say this. there is freedom of speech in this country and people have the right to express their views how they see fit. but freedom of speech comes with
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consequences. and so there are consequences to what reverend jeffress had to say over the weekend. if you characterize mormonism as a cult, if you characterize buddhism, per se, as a cult, out of the mainstream of so-called christianity, i think that's problematic, especially in a country where we're built on religious tolerance. if you're wrapping yourself in the constitution, it becomes problematic if you then say that, you know, certain other religions, not like yours, can't inhabit the white house. >> okay. i'm glad you said that, because what would happen? they said, this is something that's not important to the american people. you heard what michele bachmann told our candy crowley. people are not talking about this now, or that's not important, what she said, to the american people. so what would be the flip side if someone, say a christian or catholic or someone had said that about catholicism or about christianity. if someone from another religion would have said that? >> i think there certainly would have been a more severe pushback
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or more severe backlash against statements like these. you know, we, as christians, should ask ourselves, what if we were known as tolerant people. what if we were known as giving people? what if we were known as peace-loving people who, you know, had compassion towards other. wouldn't we be able to bring more people to our tent if we were known for that rather than the kinds of exclusionary statements that you see happening over this past weekend at the value voters summit. so, you know, i think we have to look at ourselves and how we project this out into the broader world. the interesting thing is that the other candidates in the race realize how hurtful this could be. you know, rick perry didn't say a word when pastor jeffress left the stage, you know, after his introduction. in fact, he said he hit it out of the park. but when you look at people like michele bachmann today, like herman cain today, none of them, none of them would out -- allow, back up these kind of statements, because they know
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how hurtful it can be, even in a gop primary. >> are voters beyond this, though? does it end up helping mitt romney and hurt -- perry has said, everyone is backing away from it, right? pretty much they're backing away from it? but does it end up helping romney, because we went through this four years ago, are people over this? >> here's the bad news. the bad news is americans still live with a number of unfortunate biases. mormonism is probably one of them. so if americans know enough about mormonism, it's almost foreign to them. and bigotry is driven by ignorance, by the lack of knowledge. the more you know about something, the more fearful you are of it. unfortunately, they're probably speaking to some of the biases that still exist in american society. and that's unfortunate. >> does this -- does this have legs, or maybe a week -- we've been talking about it for two or three days. will it last through the campaign season? >> we probably won't talk about it much longer, but it will show
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up in the voting booth, unfortunately. >> stick around. big stories on politics today that we'll be talking about. that's right after the break. 
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all right. as promised, political analyst goldie taylor back to talk some politics for us. goldie, let's turn now to herman cain, the lone black republican running for president, the day he told cnn that many african-americans in society do have a level playing field. >> i don't believe racism in this country today holds anybody back in a big way. is there -- are there some elements of racism? yes. it gets back to if we don't grow this economy, that is a ripple effect for every economic level. and because blacks are more disproportionately unemployed, they get hit the worst when economic policies don't work. that's wrhere it starts. grow this economy and it's going to help everybody to get jobs and to get back in the workforce. >> well. all righty, then. >> so, how does he come across? out of touch?
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someone finally speaking it, saying it like it is? >> he comes across very, very disconnected. and you've got to wonder which country did herman cain grow up in? you've got to wonder which one, you know, where does he live? >> the reason i said that -- the reason i said, well, and looked at you, because i saw your expression as you were watching him saying that african-americans aren't affected by racism now. your reaction to that is? >> i've been black every day of my life. i've never used it as a crutch, but i certainly know what it means to be black in america. and is my fight just a little bit harder? sure. has it made my stronger? sure. but does racism still pervade this culture in a way that keeps african-americans from having access to meaningful opportunities, from having equal access to a quality education, to quality health care. those kind of things,
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absolutely, they exist. so are they impediments, absolutely, they are. >> so why would he say -- he believes what he believes. and you know him. why do you think he would say something like that if he -- do you think he believes it? >> i do think he believes it. i met herman cain for the first time a little over a decade ago when he wanted to run for u.s. senate here in georgia. i will tell you that his ideals and principles were even too conservative for georgia. johnny isaacson happened to win that race and still sits in the seat today. you know, my problem with mr. cain and other people who believe as he does is they -- he offers the gop, he offers right-wingers a way to assuage their own guilt. so a, we don't owe anybody anything. we don't have to pay for previous racisracism, it doesn' exist anymore. see, look at herman cain, we don't need these set aside programs for colleges and universities. we don't need affirmative action in government and private
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contracting. we don't need these kind of programs, let's do away with them, they're impediments to business. he is a grand excuse to get away from all of those kinds of helps that really do help to level the playing field. today we're not on a level playing field. and for anyone to say it, i think they've got to be disingenuous. >> let me ask you this. let's move on. i want to talk about next week, real quickly. the jobs bill, is it dead on arrival? >> dba, dead before arrival. >> really? that's it? that's the end of it? >> that's the end of it. >> real quickly, can you tell me? >> we don't have the votes in the senate or the house. >> thank you very much, goldie taylor, great conversation, again. thanks for coming. >> thanks for having me. jerry brown signs a bill that makes it easier for illegal immigrants to attend college. that and more of your top stories coming up next. this is the relief i've been looking for. salonpas has 2 powerful pain fighting ingredients that work for up to 12 hours. and my pharmacist told me it's the only otc pain patch approved for sale
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taking your headlines now. better education opportunities now await illegal immigrants in california. governor jerry brown signed the second part of the state's controversial dream act into law. it makes illegal immigrants eligible for state-funded financial aid starting in 2013. the first half of the act went into effect in july, allowing them to receive private scholarships. a fugitive hijacker who was on the run for four decades is fighting extradition to the u.s. george wright's lawyer says the 68-year-old suffers from heart and blood pressure problems and he believes he'll die in prison if he is sent back to the states. wright is a convicted murderer
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who escaped from prison in 1970. in 1972, he hijacked a flight to miami with four other members of the black liberation army. he was on the run until authorities finally caught up with him in portugal last month. wright is claiming portuguese citizenship to avoid being sent back to the united states. it's getting cheaper to fill up your gas tank. two weeks ago, the lundberg survey put the national average at $3.55 a gallon. it has fallen 13 cents since then to $3.42. deadly widespread flooding has much of thailand under water right now. at least 261 people are dead across the country, and some of the worst flooding there in decades. in the four hardest-hit provinces, more than 800,000 households are affected. thailand is just the latest country in southeast asia to get hit with heavy rain and high waters. while it's not that unusual this time of year, the damage the time around is particularly extensive.
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well, heavy downpours are also hitting parts of this country. our meteorologist jacqui jeras joins me from the severe weather center. jacq jacqui, the southeast getting soaked. >> yeah, florida, especially. it's been really a brutal weekend for a lot of those folks. take a look at the video we have for you here. this is out of titusville. look at all the standing water. people driving through it, even though they're not supposed to. some parts of florida have seen more than 10 inches of rain. now, we've got an area of low pressure, which has finally developed. we've got what we've called a closed circulation off the coast, and here you can see it on the radar and satellite picture put together just to the south and east of melbourne. we're starting to get in some really incredible winds coming in from the east, around 55-mile-per-hour gusts just reported around new smyrna beach and we're getting some sustained winds, around 30 miles per hour. so this system actually has some potential to become what we call subtropical. we just need to get those winds a little bit stronger, and we can actually get a named storm out of this, believe it or not. rainfall totals on top of what you already have in the next 48
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hours are going to be hardest up here into parts of georgia, into the carolinas, as the system starts to move on up towards the north, we could see a good 2 to 5 inches on top of what focus already have. here's some numbers out of florida, the 10 inches, north key largo. miami had more than 6 inches this weekend. texas also getting in some much-needed rain and the numbers have been incredible. waco, texas, you got 5.83 inches today. that's a record. that is more than double what you've seen all summer long, from june to august, you had 1.43 inches. it was the fifth driest summer on record. the rain still there in the plains for tomorrow, but starting to weaken. we'll watch our florida low move its way on up the coast. and we're also keeping our eye on a hurricane in the pacific that could make landfall the middle of the week. don? >> thank you, jacqui. but i'm not done with you yet. we have tomorrow's commute tonight at 10:00. we have to see each other. it's a date. >> see you then. >> thank you. appreciate it. week three in the conrad murray trial about to get underway and more audio of his
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police interview is expected to be played. we'll talk with legal expert holly hughes next. i ate breakfast and got heartburn, third day this week. so i took my heartburn pill and some antacids. we're having mexican tonight, so another pill then? unless we eat later, then pill later? if i get a snack now, pill now? skip the snack, pill later... late dinner, pill now? aghh i've got heartburn in my head. [ male announcer ] stop the madness of treating frequent heartburn. it's simple with prilosec otc. one pill a day. twenty-four hours. zero heartburn. no heartburn in the first place. great.
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in los angeles, testimony resumes tuesday in the
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involuntary manslaughter trial of michael jackson's doctor. jurors last week heard from dr. conrad murray's numerous girlfriends, plus a video disturbing -- i should say, a very disturbing audio recording of a heavily sedated michael jackson talking. i want to bring in legal analyst holly hughes here to talk about the week ahead. so we've heard -- what we've heard police interviewing dr. conrad murray. >> yes. >> how long after -- was it weeks after -- >> no, this was only two days after, don. they brought him in and sat him down. now, they met with his attorney at a hotel. he's got counsel present and dr. murray is basically trying to excuse his own behavior. now, so far, the jury has heard about one hour's worth of dr. murray's own words. that was a two-hour interview, don, so looking forward, i think we're going to hear the rest of that interview, play it out, and it will be interesting to see where he goes, because, so far, we have heard a lot of excuses. he has pointed the finger very squarely and named other doctors, and said, it's their
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fault michael was hooked on propofol. it's michael's fault. i didn't know anything about it. >> and he didn't know about the other drugs that michael was supposedly taking. >> right. >> trying to bring in dr. arnie klein, saying dr. arnie klein hooked him on demerol. he didn't know about that. all of that, on and on. so they've heard one hour. they have to hear another hour. it's two hours. >> they will. >> as a former prosecutor, is it incriminating, what you've heard so far? >> it is. in trying to save himself, he ends up shooting himself in the foot. because while he is busy pointing the finger at arnie klein and dr. david adams, who he names all over this tape, he citiz says, they are the ones who got him hooked on propofol. i didn't know anything about it. i wasn't even familiar with this drug until i met michael jackson. i never administered it before. well, then why are you ordering gallons of it and administering it to your patient when you don't know about it?! you're admitting you don't know enough to administer it and then walking out of the room and not having rhesesuscitationresuscit.
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this, to me, that's the nail in his coffin, don. this seals up the prosecution's case, because they're saying, you were so careless with this medication. and on the tape, while he's busy pointing the finger at everybody else, he's basically making state's case for him. >> we haven't heard from the defense yet. >> not yet. >> is it coming sooner than we thought in this case? >> i think we might hear by maybe thursday or friday, because the state has met their elements, don. they've put up enough, i think, for a junior to conclude that dr. murray is guilty of the charge. so i think by the end of the week, we're going to be getting into the defense's case. >> let's talk about any chances that those ladies, dr. conrad murray -- >> the honeys. >> you said it. >> well. >> watchi ining the one, she's turned towards the jury -- >> well, she's playing. she's playing to the crowd, she's trying to be on stage, and she wants something from this. that's why she's dating a knowingly married man. you can pick any honey, but
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they're all up there and they want something there this. that's why they're dating a married man in the first place. that's why they're dating a married rich man in the first place. >> but will that matter to the jury, though? what matters here, because there are records of his phone call. he's on the phone with them, so they have kind of judge where he was. it doesn't matter. i don't think the jury cares if he's a player or not. >> though, it doesn't -- well, let me say this. we're all human and we want jurors who are only going to base their verdict on the evidence. but, come on, they are letting certain, you know, things slip into their mind. you know, this guy is careless, he's cheating on his wife, he's not being careful in his marriage. and another reason -- the timeline was great. that's why they called the ladies, to establish timeline. but the other thing it does, it shows that he was distracted. he was in contact with three of them the day that michael died. >> and if he's not honest with the women he's in a relationship, he may not be honest about other things. >> it goes to character. >> holly, appreciate it. the new face of poor americans. you may be surprised to learn
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how young they are. my conversation with author and talk show host tavis smiley and princeton professor dr. cornell west, next. ion for events to co. well somewhere along the way, emily went right on living. but you see, with the help of her raymond james financial advisor, she had planned for every eventuality. ...which meant she continued to have the means to live on... ...even at the ripe old age of 187. life well planned. see what a raymond james advisor can do for you. the new way to add the safety of onstar to your car. [ computer ] onstar. we're looking for city hall. i'm sending directions to your car. turn right on hill street. go north for 2 miles. ♪ this is onstar. i got a signal there's been a crash. do you need help? yes, please. i've got your gps location. i'm sending help. ♪ [ female announcer ] for a limited time, get an onstar fmv mirror for only $199 after $100 off.
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when someone loses their home and nearly everything they own, where do they go? >> -- been at this location for one year. we don't have permission to be here. explicit permission to be here. we've been evicted. this is our sixth location. we've been evicted from five previous locations. >> well, this is a homeless camp outside of an arbor, michigan. pbs host tavis smiley and princeton professor dr. cornel west visited the campus as part of their recent poverty tour. some of these people had been homeowners not long ago. smiley will highlight the poverty tour all this week on his show on pbs. and i recently spoke with both smiley and west about their tour and how it fits in with the occupy wall street movement. >> i'm hoping very quickly that these five nights of conversation on pbs about poverty in america will do my small part, at least, a small part, to advance this conversation about the poor being renders more and more invisible in this country every
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day. >> let's talk about the numbers. how many people now qualify as poor. dr. west, were you surprised by this number? do we know how many people exactly qualify as poor and were you surprised by the sheer number of people? >> we don't know the exact numbers. and what's so unprecedented about this, we get a chance to put a human face on poverty, but also to acknowledge that 42% of our precious children of all colors live in or near poverty. that's a national disgrace. assist moral obscenity. >> let's talk about the timing in all of this. you mentioned the occupy wall street and other cities around the country. this grassroots movement, now growing. either of you can answer this. the timing is right on here. is there a sense of frustration and outrage that's growing in america when it comes to poverty? >> i think the answer is yes. one of the reasons why dr. west and i wanted to get out this
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summer, don, while we had a little time that we could adjust. of course, he's teaching at princeton all the time. it would be clear during the month of august to take this poverty tour. 11 states, 18 cities. we did that this summer, because we wanted to do our part to raise the issue of poverty, higher up on the american agenda, specifically as we start to head into this campaign for the white house. and we want to make sure that this time, that democrats and republicans debate the issue of what we're going to do to eradicate poverty in this country. in the last presidential cycle, three presidential debates, the word poor or poverty does not come up one time in three presidential debates out of the mouths of mr. mccain or mr. obama or any of the moderators. it wasn't even on the agenda last time. it wasn't just about jobs in the short run, that is important, but it's about eradicating poverty in the long run. >> professor, then, what is the lesson here for the national classroom? >> i think part of what we're talking about, especially in
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this season, reading if book of jonah and so forth, that this is a moment of rebirth. it's a moment of re-examination, that greed needs to die. that avarice needs to die. that indifference to poor people needs to die and a rebirth of empathy, a rebirth of social justice, a rebirth of people of all colors and all cultures, all sexual orientations and all genders fundamentally commitm t commitmented to ensuring that we fight the poverty that's been running amok. >> the poverty tour airs all this week on the tavis smiley show on pbs. more than a third of teens say they have been bullied while their peers stand by and do nothing. coming up next, we'll show you what one high school student is doing about that. well somewhere along the way, emily went right on living. but you see, with the help of her raymond james financial advisor, she had planned for every eventuality. which meant she continued to have the means to live on...
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to help them successfully balance work, life and education. ♪ discover all that sets us apart at it has become common practice for kids to get bullied. the latest cnn poll shows more than a third of teens say they have been ridiculed or threatened while their peers stand by and do nothing. but one high school student is taking saks. our education contributor steve perry has the story in tonight's "perry's principles." >> reporter: for some bullying victims, like joey kimmerling, school must be survived. >> we don't go to school to get an education, we go to school to
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make it through the day without being killed or without being to the point where we feel the feed to kill ourselves. >> reporter: joey's troubles started in middle school when word got out that he was gay. so what did the kids do to you? >> a lot. they -- a lot of threats. one kid said that he wanted to light me on fire like the faggot i was. >> the child was not reprimanded? >> the child was not suspended. the child was not given anything other than a talking to. and then sent back to class. >> if i'm your son's principal, and this has happened, what can i do to help you as a mom feel like i'm doing my job? >> teachers need to be trained or be given permission in their classrooms to simply, succinctly address intolerant comments and behavior. >> reporter: joyce mundy is 2010's middle school principal of the year.
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she's also joey's mom. together they're teaching current and future educators how to stop bullying. >> but the culture in schools doesn't really change until the whole school community takes it on. >> most schools have a 45-minute tolerance assembly in their schools. but if it's only once in the entire year, it's like trying to put a band-aid on someone who needs surgery. it's just not going to work. >> reporter: joey has created a facebook page where everyone can share stories and lend support to those being bullied. >> i really want you to keep up the amazing work. i wish i had the guts to help you without people judging me. >> the messages are all the same. schools across america do not know how to deal with the issue of bullying. >> reporter: but joey and his mom are hoping that will change. >> there is a part of me that is dead, and that no matter how hard i work, will always be gone. and i don't want any other child
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to have to deal with that. when i get that diploma, it's not going to be about the education i received, it's going to be about finally, i can go through life in peace, and i can get out of that survival mode and move into my life. >> here's a quick update on this story. joey and his mom recently moved from pennsylvania to new jersey. joey now goes to a high school where he feels safe because, as he put it, the administration is more accepting. he is looking forward to graduating in the spring and heading to college. there's another teen being remembered for taking action against bullying. he was a 14-year-old boy who was gay and wanted to give other gay teens the strength to overcome being bullied. but the torment was apparently too much for jamie rodemeier who took his own life. >> this is jamie from buffalo, new york. i'm just hear to tell you that it does get better. >> reporter: in may, jamie
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uploads this video to youtube as part of the it get better project. he speaks candidly of being taunted for his sexuality. in school and online. >> made me feel like i could never escape it. people would just constantly send me hate. telling me that gay people go to hell. >> reporter: drawing support from his friends and inspiration from pop star lady gaga, things did eventually get better for the buffalo teen. but recently his parents and friends say the torment hit him harder. last sunday he was found dead after an apparent suicide. he left no note. but that same day he wrote on his blog that he wanted to see two people who had recently died. his great grandma and his friend alex. jamie's father, tim, says his son hid his emotions. >> he fooled herb. he put on a brave face. i wish he wouldn't have.
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>> his death is not the first time a gay teen has killed himself after being bullied. a year ago rutgers freshman tyler clementi jumped to his death after a roommate broadcast a video of him. research shows lesbian, gay and bisexual youths could be as much as seven times more likely to attempt suicide than their straight peers. rodemyers parents say the school told them they were able to stop at times incidents of bullying against their son. one educator said it's not easy. >> it's incredibly difficult. i think if there was an easy solution, a school district or a school community would have found it by now. >> reporter: rodemeyer's family and neighbors say they will continue to speak out so the world can learn from his death. >> all you have to do is hold your head up and you'll go far. because that's all you have to
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do. just love yourself and you're set. >> we have this programming note for you. anderson cooper hosts a town hall conversation about putting an end to bullying. make sure you watch "bullying: it stops here" tonight at 8:00 eastern immediately following this broadcast. actor samuel l. jackson and kenny leon star in a broadway play that pays tribute to dr. martin luther king jr. our preview is next. montgomery and abigail higgins had... ...a tree that bore the most rare and magical fruit. which provided for their every financial need.
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decible film actor. famous for iron man and his oscar nominated turn in "pulp fiction." together the men are taking on real life history. the assassination of martin luther king jr. through a broadway play "the mountaintop." >> because i've been to the mountaintop. >> reporter: the play's title comes from king's last speech on april 3rd, 1968, the day before his assassination. the play's setting? the hours after he just spoke these words to hundreds in memphis. >> i've looked over, and i've seen the promised land. i may not get there with you. but i want you to know that we as a people will get to the promised land. >> reporter: jackson plays king. tired, in his hotel room. angela basset is king's maid.
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"the mountaintop" is about their conversation. a fictional take on what king was like when he was away from the podium. some criticize the play for the way it humanizes the civil rights icon. the play opens. the speech, what have you, that's the last really thing you hear. he walks in, takes his shoes off, smells them, goes to the bathroom. you hear him peeing. it's dr. king. >> i talk to 18, 9-year-o19-yea kids. they say dr. king, that's that civil rights dude, right? that's disappointing. i want them to come and see the man in hopes that they will see him as a human and say, wow, i want to find out more about him. >> reporter: you play him. >> mm-hmm. >> reporter: you don't look -- you barely look like yourself in the play. >> that's great. as an actor you like that, right? >> on purpose, yes. >> i always think when you say dr. martin luther king the audience has an expectation of something visual when they see
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somebody portraying dr. king. i spent a lot of time digging through archives. >> reporter: listened to the cadence in his voice? >> yeah. fortunately i went to morehouse during a time there were a lot of people like him still at morehouse teaching us. >> reporter: what do you mean? >> as a way of speaking and carrying yourself that's very southern ministerial. in a specific kind of way. that leads you to sometimes overenunciate the things that you say. but you still engage. >> reporter: it's very sort of -- >> it's very metered. >> reporter: -- metered and measured. you think about every word before you say it. >> exactly. >> reporter: how do you think dr. king would feel about today, the current situation, the current climate? >> disappointed. >> reporter: the president? >> it would be totally


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