tv CNN Newsroom CNN February 17, 2012 11:00am-1:00pm EST
>> thank you, you too. live from studio 7, i'm suzanne malveaux, get you up to speed this friday, february 17th. heavy shelling pounds the syrian city of homs the 14th straight day. the explosion you just saw is said to have hit a civilian building. an opposition group says that nine bodies were found in homs this morning. our arwa damon is in one of those neighborhoods hit the hardest. >> the streets are mostly deserted, the majority of residents are staying indoors or have already fled. >> just the constant sound of gunfire nonstop. >> reporter: they used to bury the dead in the old graveyard over there but once government forces came in, they stopped being able to do that and this again is another position where we can't actually move out into the road because once again, you're exposed to sniper positions that are just around the corner on the other side of those buildings. final preparations are under
way for a farewell, not to just a pop superstar but a daughter, a mother, a friend. whitney houston's funeral is tomorrow in the church where she sang as a child u the pastor says the service will be personal and dignified. it will also be a gathering of celebrities including houston's god mother, aretha franklin. on the "today" show, she talked about the difficulty of singing at that service tomorrow. >> it is not gonna be easy, i can tell you that. it is not gonna be easy, but cissy asked me to and i'm just going to try to do my best. >> do you know what you are going to sing? >> not really sure right now. not really sure. the dow continues to flirt with the 13,000 mark, extending gains from yesterday's session. alison kosik is watching the action for us at the new york stock exchange. and the president boarding air force one in about an hour to fly to washington state, giving a speech at a boeing assembly plant about increasing american exports. the president's going to talk
about his new plan to help u.s. companies compete internationally. the speech is going to build on what he calls his blueprint for an america built to last. and the republican presidential candidates all over the map today. rick santorum in michigan right now speaking at a faith forum. he heads to ohio tonight for a dinner, mitt romney is in michigan then flies to idaho for a rally. ron paul is in washington state and heads to idaho for his rally and newt gingrich holding a rally in georgia today. and congress voting today on a bill to extend the payroll tax cut. keep money in your paycheck. so, for example, if you make $50,000 a year, that is $83 a month you get to keep. the bill extends the tax cut for the rest of the year, also prevent cut in fees for medicare doctors and extends unemployment benefits. 24 hours from now, family, friends and a who's who from the
entertainment world will gather to say good-bye to whitney houston. among the celebrities taking part in tomorrow's funeral service you kevin costner, houston's "bodyguard" co-star, alicia keys, stevie wonder, aretha franklin who is also houston's god mother and houston's ex-husband, bobby brown will attend the service. susan candiotti is outside the church in newark, new jersey. i understand they are expecting a lot of people here, the he can security very, very tight already being put in place, set the scene for us if you will there. >> reporter: hi, suzanne, it should be quite a sendoff for whitney houston. a lot of people love her, despite the many struggles she has had in her life. and yes, police are already setting up perimeters around the church, starting to block off some of the streets here and they have told people a time and again the closest any fans will be able to get to this church is at least two blongs away. so a lot of disappointment for
fans who are trying to see some of the big celebrities coming here and others who are going to pay their respects to whitney houston but they won't get a closeup view of things at all. in fact, police telling them you shouldn't come by because you are not going to be able to see much. listen. >> the best thing to do would be to stay home and watch the service on television it is going to be aired over all the network channels a and would be the best place to see it the funeral is not going to be a traditional procession as we would normally have. >> reporter: so this may be the last day before the funeral service. the fans will be able to come up and deliver to the church itself flowers and candles and all kinds of personal moment toes. meantime, over at the funeral home, police have also set up a very strict security perimeter there. they have tape up, the funeral home itself has set up drapes to protect some of the entrances to the funeral home, presumably because of privacy.
>> and what is the mood there now less than 24 hours away from this service? >> reporter: oh, i would say it is anticipatory. for the most part, been talking to a lot of the fans who continue to come by and they really understand why the family wants to keep this private, disappointed they can't get closer but they are coming here never the less to show their support and their love for whitney houston. >> susan, thank you. bring you live coverage beginning at 11 a.m. eastern. join soledad o'brien, piers morgan and don lemon as the music legend is remembered. coming up in just a few minutes, i will talk with reverend gentleman jesse jackson, a long-time family friend, about his role in the funeral tomorrow, about houston's incredible musical legacy, a legacy that also includes songs like this. ♪ because the greatest love of
her personal struggles made headlines but her voice made her a legend. and tomorrow, other music legends are going to pay tribute to whitney houston. it was songs like "i'm your baby tonight" that rocketed houston to the top of the charts. ♪ i can do anything for you baby ♪ ♪ i'll be down for you baby ♪ lay all my cards out tonight
♪ just call on me, baby ♪ i'll be there in a hurry >> she makes you smile. houston's vocal coach and singer/songwriter valerie simpson say it was her voice, not her troubles, that defined her. >> some people, you know, might find fault with that idea, you know, and want to bring in her personal trials and tribulations which have nothing to do with her art industry and her gift to the world. that is -- that is her record, not her personal trials. her record is her music, that incredible voice. >> she was a pure artist. she wasn't an entertainer like other people, she was an artist. her life was based upon her voice. she had a remarkable voice and could do anything, could sing with incredible excitement, seductive, she had the whole thing. >> the world going to remember whitney houston for her musical legacy but her family, frimsd, memory, of course, more personal, reverend jesse jackson, long-time family friend
who is going to be taking -- attending the funeral service tomorrow. thank you, reverend, for being with us. you know, every time i see pictures of her in videos, she just make me smile, she really makes me smile. how did you come to meet whitney houston? >> she had that special something. you know, martin king was associated with that church, reverend thomas before the pastor was on sclc's board, early on we got to know her mother, sissy houston, outstanding singer in her own right, the sweet inspiration, she sang with aretha frank linger the contemporary with elvis presley. and so she comes out of a great singing family and friends so she had her own unique talents but from the time she was in the choir at new hope, you know she had that little special pep in her step that special something. >> tell me about the first time you met her. >> she was a teen, didn't meet her as such, just could see her
sing. much like when aretha sang, as a teenager in her father's choir, you knew that aretha had something a little different above the cut. she had that same something, later i got to know her and my birthday party last year, bobby brown was there i got to know her and bobby across the years. she is easy to meet, very personable, but when she is mostly nope for this huge voice. i mean, "i will always love you," "the greatest love," the "star-spangled banner," the spine-tingling performance that night during the war, i mean, this is what we know her for and she will be remembered for. >> you have counseled many high-profile, highly accomplished percentage ever counsel whitney houston or members of her family? >> we communicated but people like reverend martin wine nans who will give the eulogy on tomorrow, the wine nans family, the houston family, the wine nans were very close. we had that kind of relationship.
you get close but not too close. i was a friend, not a counselor. i knew whitney. she was able to take that voice. she belonged to newark, she was always newark's daughter, a neighborhood girl who made good. so her success, many people revelled in her success and found joy in her singing. she always sang songs that uplifted and never degraded. >> and we saw a picture of you, reverend in 1989, what was she like then? that was the peak of her career? >> well, the rise, she and don cornelius with the soul train, he was the engineer who just left us this week and she of course, was a great passenger on this whole train and she was just easy to meet and the joy of her singing, the powerful voice and the choice of songs, you know, there's a lot of debate about what artists should and shunt do with their artistry. we know her for her artistry and
her singing, i might add, on the way to becoming a great actress as well there is a movie coming now the a few months from now, you are going to see another whitney houston even on screen as well. >> well, we are looking forward to that i know that is coming out soon. finally, reverend, what is the one memory that you will take with you that you hope to leave the rest of us? >> well, i suppose praying with her on the one happened. on the other hand, just listening to her sing. i mean, when she hit the notes, that special note, "i will always love you," the "star-spangled banner" that night during the war and the war is always controversial, her singing the "star-spangled banner" at night took the world to a different level so the incredible voice and she was easy to get to know and really a loving person. women not be there tomorrow because she died but we will it will be tomorrow because she lived because we care so much for her, even now, cissy, her mother, daughter, family, reach out to them in a very special
way. >> all right. reverend jesse jackson, thank you very much. i know you will be attending the funeral service there a difficult day for many but also a celebration of who she was. thank you, reverend. whitney houston's voice, her success, inspiring countless performers on their own journeys to stardom n a few minutes, we are going to talk to grammy winner ashanti. she is going to join us live with her memories of whitney houston. and tomorrow morning beginning at 11 a.m. eastern, cnn beginning live coverage of whitney houston's funeral, joining piers morgan, soledad o'brien, don lemon, whitney houston, her life, her music, start act tomorrow morning, 11 eastern. the u.n. condemns syria's government for the lawering its own people, but the military keeps right on attacking. we are going to have two live reports from the region.
those who venture out risk being killed by snipers or government tanks. as the carnage continues, the international community now struggling to find a way to stop. this the u.n. general assembly has passed a nonbinding resolution calling for syrian president bashar al assad to step down. resistance to the assad regime is spreading across northern syria. our ivan watson reports from a town that is now held by the opposition. >> reporter: this is the last line of defense for an opposition enclave in northern syria, a checkpoint manned by young volunteers, searching cars by the lights of a burning tire. the leader here, 35-year-old abdullah. before the revolution, he made a living selling cars. what are you looking for? what are you protecting against here? we are on the lookout for bashar
al assad's thugs and army, abdullah says. entire villages and towns here in northern syria have broken free of the syrian government. there's no syrian military presence at all in this town. instead, children walk to school, pafs the flag of the opposition, which flies over main street. the green, black and red flag a symbol, worn by revolutionaries, making preparations a day before their weekly show of defiance against the government. >> we are preparing for tomorrow. we have tomorrow a big demonstration. >> reporter: this friday, the protest will include a message of support for the besieged city of homs. if that opposition stronghold folds, syrians here in the north know they may be the next to face the wrath of the syrian security forces. this 21-year-old university student doesn't expect help from the international community any
time soon. >> we have nothing more now. >> reporter: the syrian government routinely denounces opposition activists, calling them armed terrorists. when they began demonstrating last spring, these young men chanted freedom. [ singing ] now that thousands of syrians have been killed, the chant is harbiya. in english, that means war. >> ivan watson is joining us now from northern syria. ivan, first of all you can the french president, nicolas sarko sarkozy, urging syria's opposition to come together here. he says that revolution can only be brought from the inside. the activists do they think that they can accomplish that from the inside on the ground where you are? >> they are certainly trying to,
suzanne, but their resources are limited because these are local activists, these are villages, this is the country side in many case that have risen up, but they are still facing overwhelming military power on the part of the syrian security forces and though there are more weapons now in the hands of the rebels, if you will, they still don't stand any chance against syrian tanks and potential threat of syrian air power. they are calling for some kind of help, desperately calling for help from the outside world. >> ivan, character they are so overwhelmed, outnumbered by government forces, what keeps them going here? what makes them think that they can actually turn things around there? >> i think they do not believe that they are actually outnumbered, suzanne.
i think they feel the numbers are on their side and that, full, they think that justice is on their side. they are striking out against a leadership in this decade for five decades, passed on from father to son. they feel like it is undemocratic. they feel like they have right on their side but they are facing a government these been in power for so long that wields force and has a proven track record of using deadly force, where the problem steps in. they also seem to express that they have been backed up against a wall, that so many of their comrades have been killed that they have no choice but to rebel knowing full well that their homes with be destroyed, their family members can be locked up and massacred as well. and there's a certain sense of fatalism here in these communities that make up part of
this very tenuous opposition encrave that we are exploring this week. >> ivan, please be safe where you are and continue the reportinglave that we are explo this week. >> ivan, please be safe where you are and continue the reporting. i want to go to nick paton walsh. we are hearing for the president to step down here. is there any muscle, any teeth to this and has there been any response? >> there's no real legal kind of implication from this vote t is symbolic. it is about pretty much the nation who condemn bashar al assad ahead of the vote putting it on a communal piece of paper and lodging that objection after much diplomatic wrangling t may have impact, may ease humanitarian assistance it may increase pressure perhaps on the syrian regime, bear in mind, china and russia, two key powers who blocked the original u.n.
security council resolution stood by them through this vote as well. we have recently -- we recently suggested to danny, an activist we spoke to, people are familiar with him from his videos from inside of homs, we asked him what his feelings about the last few months of diplomacy were. this is what he said. >> for the last few months, it is a crime against anything. russia and china will be dealing with with that. what they did they got syrian blood on their hands this is all their fault. the last time the u.n. did nothing, they gave the green light and the okay to bash shar assad to kill more. it was the first time that he got -- that he used rocket launchers after u.n. he felt safe. >> so, that accusation really is that the u.n., through inaction, has been emboldening bashar al assad, something i think you can see in evidence maybe on the ground today. reports of a hinted crackdown
and video you are about to see from homs . many residents in the area here, the crackdown continues, the onslaught is absolutely 100% in evidence. in the east from me here, clashes breaking out again this morning, a death toll of about 40 today amid these demonstrations, so, no real suggestion that yesterday's vote has done anything to sway the syrian regime. suzanne? >> such a discouraging situation there on the ground. clearly, people like danny trying to bring attention to this story. thank you very much, nick, we really appreciate it. and another story we are following, whitney houston taking on a lot of up and coming artists under her wing. she inspired countless artists and one of those inspired singers, grammy winner ashanti. ♪ baby i don't know why you want to do me wrong ♪
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funeral at 11 a.m. tomorrow, but i want to talk about how she inspired young performers, especially women. ♪ i'm your baby tonight >> grammy winning artist ashanti paid tribute to whitney houston this week on abc's "good morning, america." watch this. ♪ close one more door, i don't want to hurt anymore ♪ ♪ stay in my arms if you dare, must i imagine you there ♪ ♪ don't walk away from me >> wow. that was ashanti. she calls whitney houston a pioneer for female singers and she is joining us live from new york. ashanti, i'm a big fan of yours as well as whitney's, so, thank you very much for being here with us. >> thank you so much. >> sure. tell us, when did you first meet whitney houston? >> the very first time i met whitney was in the hotel lobby somewhere in l.a. and she came
up to me in this dress, bouncing and singing my song "always on time" and i was completely blown away. i was like, oh, my gosh she knows who i am, she is singing my song, i was just in awe, it was like the biggest moment for me. >> that must be so special because she was someone who reached out to a lot of people but i understand a lot of young artists like yourself, did you guys keep in touch over the years and develop into a relationship? >> we actually had a couple of interactions. i had the honor of having her and bobby in one of my videos, but was amazing, it was human for me, a song called "down for you," she was like the epitome of the down girl that's gonna ride, you know what i mean, for your man and everything and it was just so amazing to have her in the video and i saw her at another event, obviously at clive davis's party and i saw her at a christian dior event and waving to me across the room, like, hey, shanty, girl around always made you feel like extended family. >> oh, absolutely did.
she -- what did she give to you as an artist, as an inspiration? >> she was such -- she had so much poise and grace and strength. you know, she was the epitome of a strong business woman with class, an amazing, amazing talent and i think every little girl singing into a hairbrush one whitney's songs. every little girl wanted to you know, sing and have a poise such as whitney houston. for me, she was just like that pioneer that legendary woman, powerful woman and classy and seine wall all at once. >> and you have really -- i mean, did you that song justice, when you sang that on abc, that was very, very impressive. >> thank you so much. thank you. >> what were you thinking? what were you feeling when you sang those words? >> i was just like this is so huge, she is such an icon and for me to have the honor, you know, of being able to sing one of her most amazing songs and just thinking about her family and her daughter and what great loss they may be going through. and you know, it was a little emotional for me. you know, we have lost, it seems
like a huge family member to our music industry, you know? so it was very touching. >> and ashanti, we wish you all the best and continued success with your own career as well. >> thank you very much. >> and thank you. we appreciate it. we have live coverage of the funeral for whitney houston, starting tomorrow at 11 a.m. eastern. join soledad o'brien, piers morgan and don lemon as a music legend is remembered. next hour, debra lee is joining us, the ceo of b.e.t. b.e., talk about the loss of her friend and the amazing artist who leaves behind classic songs like this one. ♪ oh, i want to dance with somebody ♪ ♪ i wanna feel the heat with somebody ♪ ♪ yeah i wanna dance with somebody ♪ ♪ with somebody who loves me ♪ oh, i wanna dance with somebody ♪ ♪ i wanna feel the heat
keeping an eye on wall street, where stocks were mixed, markets at multiyear highs, the dow at levels not seen since may of 2008. so you have to go back more than a decade to december 2000 to find these level opts nasdaq what we are talking about. alison kosik is joining us. put this into perspective for us. we in recovery because of the dow? >> you look at the dow from where it has been and where it is now, suzanne, the dow made up a lot of ground. the nasdaq is at a multiyear high. everyone wants to know what is going on here, whyy this run-up in the markets what you are seeing is the markets reacting to the economic reports that have come out lately that are pretty much showing that a recovery here is picking up speed. the reports that we get every time we sit here and report them for you on jobs, the economy adding jobs. le gdp is weak but it is growing.
we do watch the dow what it is meant to do is be representative of the economy and made up of a pretty good mix of companies, leading banks, tech companies, retailers and insurance companies and what's actually in the dow are specially chosen companies that expected to be around for a while, but it is only 30 stocks, sue january and wall street pros, they say other indexes are a better reflection of the broader market. so let's say the s & p 500 is better indication of how the market is doing. >> took a beating the recession. what does this mean for us now? >> you know what tomorrow does down to comes down to perspective, the dow is getting pretty darn close to 13,000, a lovely, nice, round number we like talking about it is a psychologically important milestone but there is more to make up here. before the recession, the dow topped 14,000. gosh what a wild ride it has really been the past five years. the dow hit that record 14,000 in 2007, it bottomed in 2009 at
6,000. that's drop of more than 50%. so, since then, the dow has really been clawing its way back. you know what matters for investors in what matters for investors gaining back what was lost though, to at least break even and maybe, hey, even make a profit. so, when you look at it that wake the dow still needs to gain another 9% to reach an 500, has even bicker ground to make up, 13% to go. that's what you really want to watch as well because that's what most retirement accounts and mutual funds track. so besides watching the dow, got keep your eye on the s & p 500 as well. suzanne? >> keeping our eyes on all things. thank you, allison, really appreciate that. also keeping an eye on what's taking place on capitol hill. this is just in here. now, this of course the controversial payroll tax cut that they are cutting a deal signingly, the house and the senate, republicans, democrats finally agreeing on something here. it looks like in the house, they have enough votes to pass this, the voting is not officially done it does have to go to the senate next. that's where we expect a lot of
fireworks but essentially what does this mean? the payroll tax bill mean? a compromise democrats and republicans giving pretty much everybody a break but for those of you, say, who make $50,000 a year, it means $83 a month that you get to keep. so, it is a tax cut break for a lot of folks. it finally is being -- working its way through the house and the senate. i've just been told that it officially passed in the house, so, wither going to wait to see what happens in the senate, that's where we expect to see a lot of back and forth, but this is a compromise, this is a rare compromise in washington that very likely will benefit a lot of us. at the same time, republicans still saying this don't know exactly how this is going to be paid for. democrats, the obama administration, as well as republicans signing off on this are saying, however it is going to help a lot of folks get through these hard times. we are going to keep our eye on that. we are also watching the market, others keeping a close on on war, what else this
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newt gingrich about to get a huge influx of cash from his campaign in time for super tuesday. mark is live at the political desk what are we talking about here, big bucks? >> huge bucks, all coming from sheldon adelson who is the casino mogul out in las vegas. he owns properties around the world. in fact, our own kevin vaughan dug nugget out this morning. sheldon adelson, him and his family, given $11 million to the super pac that has basically fund the ad war for newt gingrich over the past few primaries. well, there's some question whether sheldon adelson would continue to give money to new england to his campaign has slipped through, kevin has it
from sources now he will give another $10 million prior to super tuesday, which really will put newt gingrich at least back on the air. big question is will it put him back on the map with the rise of rick santorum in the question is why is shield.adelson doing this? >> yeah. >> well, one of the sources, suzanne, is telling kev than, in fact, he doesn't want rick santorum to win the nomination so he either wants newt gingrich to do it or he wants, get this, mitt romney to win it. talk about divide and conquer there suzanne. >> yeah. that's for sure. also, i guess these big backers, they can either support you or they can kind of get knew some trouble, too. rick santorum's billionaire backer, he makes this comment essentially that upsets a lot of folks, particularly women. i want you to listen to what foster friess has said. >> and this contraceptive thing, my gosh it is such inexpensive. back in my days, they used bayer aspirin for contraception, the gals put it between their niece and it wasn't that costly.
>> mark, the cringe fact nor that just unbelievable, right? a lot of people just eww, just listening to it is kind of disturbing there. does santorum have any reaction to this? >> he does. this? >> yeah, he does. what was he thinking? what was foster freiss thinking when he said that? but rick santorum has distanced himself from those comments but just this morning he also in many ways tried to turn the tables on the mid yeah. let's take a quick listen. >> somehow i'm responsible for a bad off color joke. >> no one said that you were responsible. they said, how would you characterize it and what have you said to him. it's to understand how you differ from what this person said. >> every supporter who says something now -- >> and there you have rick santorum right there.
there's something to be said about a really strong offense is having a good defense. and clearly what rick santorum is doing is saying it's a gochya question. foster freiss has since apologized for those comments. >> clearly he expects that he's going to be asked these questions. that guy is really doing an incredible job at funding his campaign there. mark, thank you. appreciate it. have a good weekend. just days before the arizona primary, contenders are debating the issues again. watch the arizona republican presidential debate wednesday night at 8:00 eastern. just last month, free style keying pioneer sarah burke died from a training injury she received in utah. that sent shockwaves through the
extreme sport community. kevin who received the same injury on the same course two years earlier. dr. sanjay gupta caught up with him. >> that snowboarder at the pinnacle of his career, doing crazy tricks like this one. but during a practice run, his olympic dreams literally came crashing down. he hit his head on a half pike and suffered a major brain injury. >> it happened so quickly and it's crazy. i was up in park city and then all of a sudden the next thing i knew i was a month later i was in the hospital bed. >> reporter: he survived the hospital accident but the trauma to his brain changed his life. it took ten months of extensive rehab just to move around on his own again. >> i remember being in there and the rehab hospital and being like, oh, i'll be out snowboarding in a couple more weeks and that was like two months after the injury and just
like -- then it was two years later and i had no idea at the beginning what was involved. >> two years after the accident, he still has problems with his short-term memory and occasional seizures. >> the amount of hard work i put in and what it's taken to get back to snowboarding is undescribable. i feel like this is much bigger than just winning a medal. >> in december he got back on the snowboard again at the dew tour but this time it was just for fun. >> my goals have changed, from going to the olympics to getting back on a snowboard. >> doctors told pearce he will never compete again because another hit could be deadly but he's staying active. >> the biggest learning experience for me through this whole process is putting your mind to something when you're totally focused on it, you can do it. no matter what anybody tells us,
if you put your mind to it and you're 100% determined, you can do it. >> no dr. sanjay gupta, cnn. this weekend on san ji gaup ta, one person dying every 19 minutes from prescription drug. sanjay will have a closer look at the silent epidemic of prescription drug overdose. that is this saturday and sunday at 7:30 a.m. eastern on cnn. dad, why are you getting that? is there a prize in there? oh, there's a prize, all right. [ male announcer ] inside every box of cheerios are those great-tasting little o's made from carefully selected oats that can help lower cholesterol. is it a superhero? kinda. ♪ so i used my citi thank you card to pick up some accessories. a new belt. some nylons. and what girl wouldn't need new shoes?
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the "name your price" tool. now available on your phone. get a free quote today. new york knicks have been benefiting from their superstar jeremy lin. christine romans shows us the business linpact. >> rabid fans adoring headlines and shout outs from late-night comics. >> the worst possible jeremy lin punt. >> newt gingrich. >> reporter: this is what, pardon the punt, linsanity feels like. and they couldn't be happier.
>> they have been delivering loads of lin apparel and fans are picking them up at record breaking speed. >> i have no money now. >> reporter: lin now has the best selling jersey in all of the nbc. but clothing sales are just part of the business. shares in madison square garden recently hit all-time highs. cable tv ratings are up 70% and the price of a ticket to see the knicks play here is through the roof. >> tickets are up over 100%. in minnesota, we had the fourth largest crowd in the history of that franchise. >> fans are already talking back. >> they just weren't playing
well and now that they are playing well again. >> reporter: it's enthusiasm like this that has sports tallying up the potential of a player passed over by two teams before landing with the knicks. >> if he becomes an individual that continues to transcend the nba he the asian-american community, those numbers could be into the $20 million range. >> reporter: his only known deal is with shoe maker nike but new firms will be knocking on the door not only in the u.s. but in china where lin's shirts are already selling fast online. >> it's that all-american story of anything can happen. >> marketers stress to inflate the basketball in new york city. >> failure is farthest from
their minds now. paying cold hard cash for more lin merchandise and earning the gratitude of the company can. >> ten days ago you didn't know who jeremy is and everyone is in love with this guy. it's unbelievable. >> a lot of people are hoping that the business of lin has waned. christine romans, cnn. top of the hour. i'm suzanne malveaux. i want to get you up to speed. if you're keeping your eye on the 401(k), the dow is closing on 13,000. it's up by 25 points. highest level in four years. final preparations are under way now for a farewell, not just a pop superstar but a daughter, a mother, a friend. whitney houston's funeral is tomorrow in the church where she sang as a child. the pastor says the service is
going to be personal, dignified, and a gathering of celebrities, including aretha franklin. on the "today" show she talked about the difficulty of singing at this service tomorrow. >> it's not going to be easy. i can tell you that. it's not going to be easy. but cissy asked me to do and i'll just try to do my best. >> do you know what you're going to sing? >> i'm not really sure right now. not really sure. >> heavy shelling pounding the city of homs for a fourth straight day. it's said to have hit a civilian building. an opposition group says nine bodies were found in homs this morning. congress is halfway done approving a payroll tax cut extension a short time ago. the house passed it by a vote 293-132. right now the senate is voting as well. it's to extend the tax cut to
the end of the year so if you make $50 now, a year, that is $83 a month you get to hang on to. cut in fees for medicare doctors and extending unemployment benefits. gm posting record profits and santorum talking about his detroit route in a speech outside of the city. >> my grandfather first came -- he actually came to detroit and worked in the auto factories for two years so i have a little history here in southeast michigan. >> new american research group polls suggesting that michigan once considered a lot for mitt romney who grew up there. now up for grabs. santorum is a top choice of likely voters with 37% support. romney coming in second with 32%. the new jersey state assembly has passed a law legalizing same-sex marriage. governor chris christie is promising to veto that.
he wants a statewide referendum. opponents got a boost when washington state legalized same-sex marriage. less than 24 hours from now, family, friends, a who is who is going to gather to talk about whitney houston. a source tells they remember her life and an investigation condition continues into how she died. careen winter kareen wynter is joining us from los angeles. >> reporter: they can focusing right now on her prescriptions as well as behavior in the days leading up to her death. let's begin with the prescriptions. a source close to the investigation tells me that investigators have in fact contacted physicians as well as pharmacies around the country for information, including the
mickey fine pharmacy in beverly hills. one of the prescriptions found where she died was from mickey fine but the pharmacy did nothing, nothing criminal and is not the focus of the investigation at this time. one of the prescription drugs found in the suite was the anti-anxiety drug xanax but investigators don't know whether she took it the day she died. medicines as well as pill bottles found in her hotel room are undergoing testing. but nothing indicates that anything is criminal here. they are reporting toxicology reports which, as you know, could take six to eight weeks but a source close to the investigation have said that investigators put a rush on that report. we may see something a lot sooner. suzanne? >> kareen, we know that investigators were talking about the few days before her death. are they taking about what things were like for her leading
up to that day? >> you know, it's quite interesting, suzanne. houston's family member and staff confirmed she did indeed use the medication xanax. one source close to the family said that the singer was taking medication for a throat infection as well as xanax or a similar drug for anxiety. it was to help her sleep. the friends say houston was also known to have a drink or two if she went out. investigators are looking at possible hotel surveillance video that may reveal, you know, a lot more information about her behavior as well as her activities in the common areas of the hotel in the days leading up to her death. however, a source close to the investigation was not able to confirm if that video actually exists. if it's out there, they are going to be looking at it. >> absolutely. tell us about tomorrow. i know there are a lot of people out in los angeles where you are and there's great anticipation about what is going to take place and it's really about who is who in the music industry.
>> absolutely. a few names that cnn has been able to confirm is kevin costner. he'll actually speak at the private, invitation only funeral. the ceremony will feature performances by stevie wonder and alicia keys and roberta flack and and rigaretha frankli. a source close to the houston family has confirmed that there will be a private viewing today. the viewing is for family only and will be held at a funeral home in new jersey. no other information will be disclosed regarding details but also as to how houston's mom, cissy houston's mom is doing at this time, we're told that she's doing well, trying to hang in there given the circumstance of
this incredible loss. >> thank you very much, kareen. cnn will have full coverage tomorrow morning beginning at 11:00 a.m. eastern. join piers morgan and don lemon as the world remembers a legend. whitney houston, her life, her music. live tomorrow on cnn. here's a rundown of some of the stories we're covering over the next hour. first, protesters taking to the streets of syria. in defiance of a brutal crackdown. and anthony has died. the new york times reporter was covering the crisis in syria when he died of an apparent asthma attack. his family and friends prepare to say good-bye to whitney houston. one person who recently paid tribute to her. >> i am humbled, i am thankful to be here. i thank you.
you are my family. >> those were houston's remarks as she accepted the entertainer of the year award, the b.e.t. honors two years ago. deborah lee is coming up next. but my nose is still runny. [ male announcer ] truth is, dayquil doesn't treat that. really? [ male announcer ] alka-seltzer plus fights your worst cold symptoms, plus it relieves your runny nose. [ deep breath ] awesome. [ male announcer ] yes, it is. that's the cold truth! beth! hi! looking good. you've lost some weight. thanks. you noticed. these clothes are too big, so i'm donating them. how'd you do it? eating right -- whole grain. [ female announcer ] people who choose more whole grain tend to weigh less than those who don't. multi-grain cheerios -- 5 whole grains, 110 calories. creamy, dreamy peanut butter taste in a tempting new cereal. mmm! [ female announcer ] new multi-grain cheerios peanut butter.
streets. >> reporter: it's very difficult to get around. there are only certain roads that we can take because of sniper positions and some parts you really have to gun it to avoid being targeted. >> the streets are mostly deserted. the majority of residents are staying indoors or have already fled. >> just the constant sound of gunfire nonstop. >> reporter: they used to bury the dead in the old graveyard over there but once government sources came in, they stopped being able to do that. and there's another position where we can't actually move out into the road because, once again, you're exposed to sniper positions just around the corner on the other side of those buildings. this is another spot. if you look up here, there are
holes in the wall just to the right up against here. this room that we've taken video from, there's a baby crib right next to the bed and a lot of homes it looks like the family left in a panic. shoes have been left behind and obviously there were children living here. one can only imagine what took place because this building was also hit in one of the strikes. personal belongings are still inside. these types of holes were dug into various walls inside the neighborhood, we're being told, by the free syrian army and this
is how they were getting families out because there was so much firing from the front and they weren't able to evacuate that way. they were forced to come out like this to get to safety. and when residents are able to finally come back home, this is what they are going to return home to. arwa damon, cnn, homs, syria. anthony shahdid has died. he was a reporter for the new york times. he died yesterday apparently after suffering an asthma attack. shadid was kidnapped in libya last year. he was someone we got to know on this show. he was fearless and insightful. i spoke to him not long after his release after six days in captivity. >> did you think that you would make it out alive? >> it was a frightening ordeal, no doubt. there are some stories that it's
worth taking risks for. it's a little bit of cliche but unless you're there covering it, nobody is going to know about it. unless you're there trying to bring meaning to it, to bring a certain depth to it, it won't be done otherwise. >> anthony shadid was only 43 years old. he won two pulitzer prizes for his reporting in iraq. giant tornadoes have been formed on the sun. chad myers is going to take us there next.
sun. you're seeing the edge of the sun here and it made significant progress here. it's spinning. you can see it. maybe all along there have been tornadoes here but you can't see them because they are not here on the edge where you can see them as a toernld. the earth itself is that big. it's an entirely earth-sized tornado spinning around as plasma comes shooting out of the sun. it fills up in the sky and form as tornado. we are just now seeing this for the first time. i put this on my twitter feed for the first time. i was so amazed by this. you can tell that it's a tornado. you can't even tell that it's there, suzanne. pretty cool stuff. >> that is pretty good stuff. and how does it do that? how does it actually spin? what does it actually do when you see something like that? >> well, scientists believe that it's spinning under the surface of the sun. you have to understand that it's
not a surface. it's a gas. you can fall right through it. as it comes spinning out, it actually continues to spin as you go up into the atmosphere. the reason why we finally see threes now and we didn't see them in the '90s, thought they were there but there's a new solar dynamic observatory up there. 8$865 million to help determine the sun's magnetic field and they believe that the spin has something to do with the magnetic field as well we are now into a very cool part of the sun cycle. the sun is becoming very active. we are going to get into places where the sun is just going to get maybe a spin through or a mass ejection or solar fire once a week. so for the next year we are going to see these beautiful pictures. about the next year and a half before the sun goes down in the cycle, stuff like this is maybe
weekly or a daily occurrence. expect to see really cool video. >> that is really cool. all right. thank you, chad. appreciate it. >> yep. this just in. want to make sure that everybody gets this here. the senate just passed the payroll tax 60-36. the house passed it within the last hour. the president is going to sign this into law. this will pass the tax cut to 160 million workers and extend the jobless benefits through december. so what does this mean? if you make, say, $50,000 a year, it means $83 a month that you get to keep. this is the extension of the tax cut. extends tax cuts for the rest of the year and according to the congressional budget office, it's going to raise the federal deficit by $89 billion over the
next ten years. so it's a very controversial issue for democrats, republicans coming together on this. this is clearly something that is going to benefit a lot of americans who are suffering during this time. now, that was just passed in the senate, the house next to the president's desk. the unemployment rate fell to the lowest level in two years. we're talking about 8.3%. for african-americans, this rate is still high. it is actually their unemployment rate twice that of whites. and some say black-owned small businesses, they may be the key to improving the numbers. that is today's what matters. >> reporter: he owns a small business for 23 years. jackson had to make some tough decisions to keep his business
going. >> we had to dip into my 401(k) and there's been weeks that i've actually haven't gotten paid. >> the recession impacts a lot of people in the job market but studies show that african-americans have been hit the hardest. by the end of 2011, the unemployment rate for blacks is almost at 16%. almost double the national average. economists say historically the unemployment rate has been higher than any other group. >> it just gets that much worse for blacks. >> reporter: as the economy
turns around, small black-owned businesses may hold the key. >> two-thirds of the workforce so we need to develop policies that focus more on those industries. >> now things are starting to improve for jackson's printing company. >> i'm in the final stages of a negotiation of buying a new digital press. i certainly wouldn't be doing that if i didn't feel optimistic about the future. >> reporter: if companies like jackson's continue to grow, job opportunities for blacks may get better. >> for things to get better, we've got to get better. for things to change, we've got to change. whitney houston and a network who recently sell honored her were celebrating her comeback.
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little bit, share a little bit about what we experienced that evening. >> to the b.e.t. community, thank you. you are my family. it is an amazing dream to be looked at and not judged. judge not for your flaws but for your triumphs. >> debbie, what struck you about whitney houston that night? >> well, what struck me was that she seemed so happy to be there. she seemed so moved by the honor. her mother was in the audience and it was just a great night. she was very humble. she was very down to earth. a lot of people call her a diva.
she wasn't a diva. she was a regular person with an outside talent, a great voice. she was a performer. she was very glamorous. but inside she was a real person who always had a great connect to b.e.t. she has shown up the year before when we honored tyler perry and when she came out, the audience gasped because she hadn't been seen for so long. so for us to be able to turn around the next year and honor her was just really special. she was such a great talent and such a great person. >> and, you know, there was so much hope and love in that room that you could feel. >> right. >> it really was an amazing feeling. you could tell how much it really meant to her at that moment. when you got this news, this devastating news that she had died, did it take away some of that hope that everyone had experienced in that room? >> well, of course it was just devastating and what a horrible
tragedy. there was so much excitement about her new movie sparkle. i had heard from everyone associated with that movie that whitney is fabulous as she plays the mother to jordan sparks. so i did feel like that hope had been extinguished, that this great comeback was not going to happen. i've had the privilege of knowing whitney since 1996 when we honored her with our walk of fame award and i had a lady's lun chon in honor of her and i've seen her over the years. we've honored her so many times but i really feel like she's grown up on b.e.t. she was one of our artists. we broke her. she always showed up for us. we up supported her, she supported us. so it was just the pain and agony and especially for it to happen right before clive davis' party wherever year the question at that party is, will whitney
come, will she perform? that was her event. that's where she was shown to the world for the first time and for her to pass away on that day is just so surreal and i think it's going to take us a long time to deal with it. it's very sad. >> and, debbie, you deal with celebrities all the time. you are in their company. how was she different? was she different than some of the others? >> well, i think her talent was just so incredible and her voice and her presence and even when she was first on the scene as a younger woman, she just had that presence and happiness that made you feel good and when she was singing an upbeat song, you wanted to dance along. when she was singing a ballot, it really touched you. so it was her multi-octave singing voice and also her humanity. as i said before, she was just a great person.
every time i saw her t. was a big house. it was a big, how are you doing? she was just -- she was a girlfriend to so many people and as ashanti said earlier, she was a role model for so many women. >> thank you so much, debra lee. when she lost all of her support, b.e.t. was there for her as well. preparations are under way for her funeral tomorrow but long before she was a music legend, she was a young girl just singing in a church choir. gary tuchman reports. >> reporter: whitney houston went to school here from first to fourth grade. but in 1997 it was remaimed
named the whitney e. houston akood me of creative arts. this is the enrollment document. it shows she entered in 1969 and went on to middle school in 1974. in the principle's office, pictures of him with whitney and pictures with him after she became famous. >> she was a beautiful girl. very quiet. she was well-respected, well-behaved. >> reporter: raymond shepherd used to teach at the school. he reminisces when she was about to make a date. >> when she was leaving to go to california, she came to the local store we owned and the owner, john, said i'm so glad to see you going. i hope you -- i wish you the
best and gave her a $100 bill. he said, here, this is to help you when you go. >> reporter: the houston family home was the center of activity in the summertime because it was the only house in the area that had a build-in swimming pool. so young whitney had a lot of friends that came over. erica taylor, the same age as whitney, was one of those friends. >> what we did over the summer and how it was just fun to be in a pool. >> reporter: after they would be done swimming in the pool behind the house, they would all watch whitney hit tennis balls against the wall. >> how come none of you played tennis with her? >> we wanted to talk to her. we would actually ask each other, like, remember when she would play tennis and we would ask her what it was like to meet michael jackson because of her aunt dionne. >> you knew she had celebrity fashions. >> yes. >> she was a kid then. >> yes. but her aunt was dionne, her
godmother was aretha. >> reporter: many who knew whitney realized her voice was special from her early days singing in the church. some remember her belting out tunes even earlier. >> the first time i met whitney, we called her whittie back then. >> reporter: a retired principal from another orange element industry school. she attended a party more than 40 years ago. >> one of the back rooms she had her cousins surrounded by her and jumped up on the coffee table and started singing. >> reporter: back at the houston academy, room 109. >> whitney used to be your hero? >> reporter:. >> yes. >> reporter: the pride from current students is unmistakable. >> i know i want to be just like her when i grow up. >> i take that role. >> reporter: so you consider her
a daughter? >> i consider her a daughter. >> reporter: gary tuchman, cnn, east orange. funeral coverage will begin tomorrow morning at 11:00 a.m. as the world remembers a legend. whitney houston, her life her music live on cnn and cnn.com this saturday morning beginning at 11:00 a.m. eastern. to climb. ♪ dreams to be realized. ♪ new worlds to be explored and hearts to be won. quaker oats. energy to get you going, fiber to help fill you up and help keep your heart healthy. super people eat super grains. diarrhea, gas or bloating? get ahead of it!
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payroll tax extension has passed through congress and now it's headed to president obama to sign. we're asking alison kosik at the new york stock exchange to break it down for us. >> okay. what could happen is that the number of weeks for jobless benefits may be dialed back because right now unemployment checks can actually go out for up to 99 weeks. now, if the president signs this payroll deal, the house and senate have passed it today. the benefits would drop to 23 weeks or less and it's going to depend on what state you live in. if you live in a state where unemployment is lowest, like 6% in north dakota and vermont, the benefits will be available for 54 weeks. if the unemployment is higher like in florida and nevada, the benefits could be extended for 73 weeks. go to cnnmoney.com for more.
suzanne? >> alison, how does this impact the economy as a whole? can it absorb this? >> yeah. some experts say yeah it really can absorb this. because what this essentially is a gradual pull back. also, fewer people get unemployment checks right now compared to how it was during the depths of the recession. they say there's less of a need to see the extended benefits going out. flares no doubt about it, many lawmakers and experts say it's time to cut back on spending and this is one way to do just that. suzanne? >> thank you, alison, have a great weekend. check it out. if you are a walking dead fan, stick around. we're going to have a zombie invasion right here in the cnn "newsroom." time now for the help desk where we get answers to your
questions. donna is a senior writer and david is a professor. david, your question comes from rose. i've got a large number of open credit card accounts with zero balances. i only open them for promotional services and never use them again. how can i shut down a credit card without damaging my score? >> first of all, i wonder why she's moving all of these accounts all over the place. she should look at the credit utilization ratio. that's the credit available to the credit that she's used on all of her cards. she wants to make sure it stays no more than 30%. once she has done that, she can close out cards without affecting that rate. look at the newest cards and start throwing them out. finally, what she out to do is refrain from doing this in the future because inquiries into new accounts will affect her score. >> absolutely. you've got to do the math, is it
worth it or not. amber said, i anticipate that my take home pay will be $105,000. i contribute to my 401(k) i'm 29, single, and have approximately $48,000 in my 401(k)? >> first, it's great that she's saving so much money to her retirement and maxing out her 401(k) at such a young age. the roth is a better option because you can take the money out down the road. unfortunately, she earns a little bit too much. the income for contributing to a roth has to be $110,000 or less for your adjusted gross income and she earns too much for that. but she can put money into an ira that is nondeductible. she may take a tax on some of the gains. >> and she'll have more of a
selection in an i.r.a.? >> credits correct. >> thank you so much. sent us an e-mail to the cnn help he is firstname.lastname@example.org. this is $100,000. we asked total strangers to watch it for us. thank you so much, i appreciate it, i'll be right back. they didn't take a dime. how much in fees does your bank take to watch your money ? if your bank takes more money than a stranger, you need an ally. ally bank. no nonsense. just people sense. the day starts with arthritis pain...
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andrew, i know a lot of people like this show. i love this show. it's a huge hit. it's shot here in atlanta and i learned something today. big surprise. you play the southern cop but you're actually british. is that right? >> yes, i am, i'm afraid. i'm sorry. >> don't be sorry. tell me a little bit about why you think this show is so successful. >> well, i don't know. you always hope that people are going to watch the show that you make but this kind of reaction is sort of ridiculous. we are still pimpbling ourselves. i don't know. of course, the apocolypse and that sort of theme seems to be in the air at the moment. but also i think that amc and the writers have made it a very, very character driven show and it's about survivors and when everything has been taken away from you, can you survive without turning into a monster in every sense of the word? >> absolutely.
it's got so many plots. you actually film, shoot this in atlanta. it's provided a lot of jobs. >> what do you think about shooting down here in atlanta, in the south? >> it's hot. i'll tell you that the weather is apocalyptic. it's a great advantage to live and work down there for half my life and the crew are spectacular. it's also a part of the country -- i know the east coast and west coast pretty well but atlanta and the south wasn't really an area i traveled to and i love it there. i love the people, the crew, and the cast. everybody there. and they have become family and i'm married with two children. we transplant and then live there as well. my wife adores the place. >> real quickly here, because i know we're running out of time, you've kind of teased a little bit for next season.
what are we expecting for next season? a lot of people were shocked in that final scene. tell us a little bit about what we can expect coming up. >> well, with the death of sophia and something died in rick and he's starting to turn much more to the dark side and colder and also as a result the rest of the character is going through a change there. not everybody gets out alive. >> all right. we all hope you make it. so great having you on. of course, we'll be watching. thank you very much. >> and please send my love to atlanta. >> absolutely. after more than 300 shows, the curtain is coming down on the new york fashion week. we'll take a look at the annual extravaganza. i remember the days before copd.
my son and i never missed opening day. but with copd making it hard to breathe, i thought those days might be over. so my doctor prescribed symbicort. it helps significantly improve my lung function, starting within 5 minutes. symbicort doesn't replace a rescue inhaler for sudden symptoms. with symbicort, today i'm breathing better, and that means... game on! symbicort is for copd, including chronic bronchitis and emphysema. it should not be taken more than twice a day. symbicort may increase your risk of lung infections, osteoporosis, and some eye problems. tell your doctor if you have a heart condition or high blood pressure before taking it. [ whistle ] with copd, i thought i might miss out on my favorite tradition. now symbicort significantly improves my lung function, starting within 5 minutes. and that makes a difference in my breathing. today i'm back with my favorite team.
ask your doctor about symbicort. i got my first prescription free. call or click to learn more. [ male announcer ] if you can't afford your medication, astrazeneca may be able to help. from dkny to mcdonalds, here is an inside look at fashion: backstage pass. this is airing next weekend. >> reporter: for 27 years, donna karen has been an icon in the fashion world. but even though this 63-year-old loves designing, her latest
passion is haiti. karen helps patient artisans in the earthquake zone by selling them in her stores. >> 100% of the profits goes back to the partisans. we're also foundationally giving all of the money back to haiti. >> what do you get out of it, then? >> my heart. >> reporter: we also talked to the designer behind mark haza. we have a look at the gowns worn by halle berry and jessica alba and jennifer lopez. >> it doesn't hurt. >> of course it doesn't hurt. his relationship with actresses is a very different
relationship. >> a growing trend of designers who are not just developing uniforms for fedex but for the kok pail waitresses at a new york hotel. dan herman has been designing for more than 40 years. >> somebody approached me and said would you like to design uniforms? and i said what is that? and i skrufred that i loved it. because it's branding corporations. this season it's all about joan smalls. seemingly overnight she went to cat walk stunner. global face of esteee lauder. >> it's like a go-getter heart like i'm coming to get it. i'm coming to be great. >> elena cho, cnn, new york.
>> for more of the inside look at the fashion industry, watch fashion backstage pass airing on saturday, february 25th, at 2:30 p.m. eastern. a more fuel-efficient turbocharged engine. and a completely redesigned interior. ♪ the new c-class with over 2,000 refinements. it's amazing...inside and out. see your authorized mercedes-benz dealer for exceptional offers through mercedes-benz financial services.
cnn's full coverage of whitney houston's funeral will begin at 11:00 a.m. tomorrow. whitney houston, her life her music on cnn and cnn.com. news corp. has been under fire for months but rupert murdoch plans to launch a new sunday edition called "sun." the new edition of the the "sun" will replace what he shut down during the peak of the crisis this summer. new jersey state assembly has passed a law legalizing
same-sex marriage but governor chris christie is copromising t veto it. and checking stories our affiliates are covering across the country, workplace violence hitting the office of the i am gags office known as i.c.e. an agent fired several rounds at other agent wounding him. a third colleague shot and killed the shooter. no word yet what this dispute was about. a crane cable snapped at a world trade center site sending three huge steel beams crashing 40 stories to the ground below. fortunately, no one was injured. each beam weighed several tons. it strayed into restricted air space and police found a load of marijuana on board