tv CNN Newsroom CNN July 18, 2012 9:00am-11:00am EDT
>> all right. diane, and finally, a horse in kentucky in touch with his inner artist. the horse named justin. there you see him there. throwing around the paint brush a while back, now painting are just, they cannot keep them on the shelves. selling for hundreds of dollars. all the money going to help a local museum which is really nice. he liked to draw shapes in the sand with her whip. gave her a brush and justin started painting. can we get a better name than justin for that horse? three waiting for the same cycling and it is frustrated.
a lot of frustrated people coming out. frankly, just want of to get on with it. being called where they're going or what near going or where they should turn up. clearly still some confusion here but they are working very hard to shake this down. the ceo of this company got an absolute grilling yesterday in parliament about the politicians who didn't spare any block. describing this as a shamble and as astonishing $77 million management fee for this whole thing. tinge underlying thing is despite the problems with companies like this, the police and the army they they will step in already 3 1/2 hours to be mobilized to fill in some of the gaps and more are available if needed. it's not a great start but organizers are saying once the medals start being handed out, everyone will forget about it. >> dan rivers reporting live for us this morning.
stuck gas pedals on the ford escape and mazda tribute vehicles again and the federal government is investigating whether they played a possible role in one fatal crash. and another crash where the person suffered multiple injuries. nearly 100 reports have been filed by vehicle owners prompting an investigation by the national highway transportation safety administration. more than half a million of the same vehicles all for model years 2001-2004 were recalled eight years ago for speed control cable issues. there are more than 700,000 of these cars still on the road today. jones is live in washington to tell us more about this. is this a new problem? >> well, as you mentioned, good morning. it's not clear at this point whether this is a totally new problem but there are certainly suggestions that it isn't completely new. we're talking about the ford escape and mazda tribute suv models from 2001 and 2004.
as you mentioned, 730,000 of these vehicles are being looked at according to the national highway transportation safety administration. now, back in 2004 some of the same vehicles were recalled because the vehicle speed control cables and some of the new complaintses suggest that it was the repairs done back in 2004 that could have led to the problem now. 730,000 of these vehicles on the road. you can see we're standing on a busy street here. people are headed to work. this is something that people are certainly going to be krnd about. we've reached out to ford and mazda, waiting to hear more from them. but as you know, this idea of acceleration problem isn't entirely new one. we know that toyota had problems with this a couple of years ago. carol? >> so what are vehicle owners supposed to do? >> well, they certainly need to be paying attention to the news and if they have vehicles from this model year, again, the ford
escape and mazda tribute suv was the v-6 engines from 2001 and 20 2004, unclear at this point whether there's going to be a crawl. but this investigation has begun. certainly they will want to pay attention and see what comes out of this. carol? >> yeah. aveda jones in washington. can't shake calls to release more tax returns. not because they're coming from democrats. the latest poll comes from republican governor rick perry. >> i'm a big believer that no matter who you are or what office you're running for, should be as transparent as you can be with your tax returns and other aspects of your life. people have the appropriate bill to judge your background. >> and it's not just rick perry. the influential national review online writes in an editorial, quote, romney protests that he is not legally only gazed to
release any tax returns. of course not. he is no longer in the realm of the private sector, though, where he can come plooi with the letter of the law and with the securities and exchange commission and leave it at that. per spepgss matter. end quote. romney remains firm. two years of tax returns is enough. mr. romney is trying hard to change the discussion from his tax returns. his latest attempt accusing the president of being anti-business. is evidence mr. obama's comments in a campaign stop in virginia on friday. >> if you are successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. there was a great teacher somewhere in your life. somebody helped to create this unbelievable american system that we have that allowed you to thrive. somebody invested roads and bridges. if you've got a business, you didn't build that. somebody else made that happen.
>> romney surrogates have rallied around this issue. though one of the surrogates comments seemed offensive. here's what john sununu said about a conference call about the president. >> the president clearly demonstrated that he has absolutely no idea how the american economy functions. the men and women all over america who have worked hard to build these businesses, their businesses, from the ground up is how our economy became the envy of the world. it is the american way, and i wish this president would learn how to be an american. >> sununu then stepped back from that reference in an interview with wolf blitzer but he held fast of his criticism of the president on the economy. >> frankly, i made a mistake. i shouldn't have used those words. and i apologize for using those words but i don't apologize to the idea that this president has demonstrated that he does not
understand how jobs are created in america. >> john sununu a liability for the romney campaign? no way, he tells the "washington post," sununu is, quote, not your milk taste metro sexual talking point surrogate, end quote. one of the worst droughts to hit the united states in 100 years is taking a huge toll on this year's crops. in a state that grows the most corn, less than a third of the crops are in good condition. now, farmers and communities across the country are needing to figure out what to do with the potential harvest. this is no longer a corn plant. this is a weed. this ear is probably not harvestable. >> got exports. we've got ethanol industry, and we've got the livestock industry. you know, we've got some food industry that uses some corn, too. and we've got all of them competing for that crop. >> the agriculture department has declared natural disasters
in 26 states and in about two hours from now president obama will discuss the drought with agriculture secretary tom vilsack. as i said, the drought is now considered the largest and worst since the mid 1950s. take a look at the map. more than half the country is now effected. meteorologist rob marciano is in burnettsville, indiana, where i think the crops there have been worst of all. >> reporter: they have been, carol. and this is pretty much the worst spot as far as the drought, the heat, around being in the heart of the corn field, as well. ironically, about half an hour ago it poured down rain, probably about a third of an inch, 20 minutes. clearly not enough but these plants will take it. this stalk should be over my head that the point. and just to give you an example of what a healthy ear of corn this time of year looks like, these are few and far between right here. this is what most of this corn looks like. this is not a harvestable at this point. some of this is not even
pollinated. that's the key. the bulk of the heat and most intense drought came during pollenization. which means what they have now is all they're going to get regardless of the rain shower that comes down, what they have now is what they're struggling to maintain. earlier this morning i spoke with the farmer who actually owns this plot of land. >> just keeps much worse until major rain storms coming through. >> so they need a lot more than what we just had about 20 minutes ago. but putting things in perspective, they have had some good years in the past 10 or so years. so the more conservative farmers have built up a little bit of a cushion, if that's at all possible. and there is some insurance that a lot of these guys have for years just like this. but it goes well beyond just some struggling farmers as we pointed before you came to me, carol, that these little -- these species of corn, you know, they feed the cattle. they feed the pigs. they need you. and they even supply some fuel.
so this is a huge industry that's taking quite a beating. and later on today, one of the undersecretaries of the agricultural department will be right here in this spot to take a tour, and tell these folks what he can do and what the federal government can do at least a little bit to help out. carol? >> rob marciano reporting live from indiana this morning. two men caught on camera trying to rob a cafe, but oh, did they pick the wrong place. how a 71-year-old man saved the day. the medicare debate continues in washington... ...more talk on social security... ...but washington isn't talking to the american people. [ female announcer ] when it comes to the future of medicare and social security,
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it is 17 minutes past the hour. checking our top stories now, breaking news out of syria. we just got word syria's defense minister and deputy defense minister were targeted and killed. this is important because it brings the bloodshed well into the president's inner circle. this could be the tipping point. the british foreign minister says, i think it's clear the situation is deteriorating rapidly. the acting chief of the general services administration is freezing hiring and canceling most executive bonuses after a spending scandal two years ago. the agency spent more than $800,000 on a luxurious vegas seminar for 300 employees. in money news, a car buyer sues hyundai claiming he is not
getting 40 miles to the gallon as advertised. it's the second fuel economy lawsuit this year against an automaker. a woman successfully sued honda, saying her civic hybrid never did get 50 miles per gallon. the dog from the movie "the artist" was supposed to bring the ball from the pitcher's mound to home plate, but he ran towards the mascot and then dropped the ball. he may need more training to throw out the first pitch, but he sure looked cute. in florida, two would-be robbers storm an internet cafe with a gun and a baseball bat but had the tables turned on them. they told everyone inside, don't move, and that's when a 71-year-old customer in the back pulled out a gun and started shooting at them. he chased them out of the cafe. the suspects were later found and placed under arrest. the anticipation is beyond fever pitch for batman. actually, the buzz surrounding this film is bizarre. first a clip.
>> there's a storm coming. >> you sound like you're looking forward to it. >> i'm adaptable. >> hmm. "the dark knight rising," tickets are rising to $100 this morning. the website rotten tomatoes dared to post a bad review on the site. so many fans protested in very vulgar ways the site had to shut down the comment section, the editor-in-chief urging, quote, just take a deep breath, step away from the computer, and maybe go for a walk. have a smoke if you need one. there are plenty of other things to get angry about, like war, famine, poverty, and crime. but not movie reviews. sincerely, editor-in-chief, rotten tomatoes. and then, there's more, there's the political fallout. some conservatives say batman's
arch enemy in the film bane, is really bain, as in mitt romney's old company. media critic eric degins is joining me to talk about the strange reaction to this movie that's not even out yet. eric, seriously, why? >> it's amazing. you brought me here to translate comic book fan boy for you. >> please try. >> this is an amazing movie. the reaction in a way is understandable if you understand comic book fan boys like myself. the dark knight series is considered one of the best comic book movies ever made. the "the dark knight" is considered one of the best comic book movies ever made. a lot of fans are on the edge of their seat and are really hoping that christopher nolan figures out a way to wrap up this trilogy in a way that's worthy of the quality of the first two movies. >> but that doesn't really
understand -- >> so if anybody indicates it may not be great -- >> that doesn't explain why people wrote in to rotten tomatoes saying nasty things about critics when the fans haven't even seen the movie yet. >> i think it does, actually. because they are really invested in the movie. they want to believe it's good. and they are very skeptical of anyone who would try to trash it, particularly when they have so many hopes wrapped up in it. i also think that the -- for us fan boys, again, you've got to understand this weird subculture. "the avengers" came out, and i think it set the bar pretty high. it was a really well done comic book movie, and it raised expectations. and now i think fans really want "the dark knight," the final movie, "the dark knight rises," to at least rise to that level or be better, and they are very skeptical and critical of people to want to pull away from that legend. >> ok. let's talk about the, i guess, political fallout.
the arch enemy, bane, is it possible that hollywood said, hmm -- >> no. no. >> let's name this arch enemy bane. >> no. no. it's not possible. i mean, number one, the character was picked as the main villain just as the presidential race was getting started a long time ago. so i don't think this was in their minds. and the character itself was created almost 20 years ago. in the batman comic books. also, if you think about the batman legend, bruce wayne is a millionaire who runs a -- or billionaire who runs a very successful company that makes things. he is the hero of the story. so in a way, if they were sending a political message, they would be saying that romney is the hero. i don't understand why conservatives want to feel persecuted here. i mean, in the end, we know batman is going to win. i'm not blowing any spoilers here. and he's the billionaire playboy
industrialist. so i don't really understand. >> he's the nice rich guy who gets it, right? >> exactly. now, we do know that there may be some flavors of occupy wall street in the message of the villain bane. we can see that in the trailers that have been released. and there's going to be talk about tension between the classes, between people who don't have feeling sort of persecuted by people who have. and wanting to take a piece of what the ultrasuper rich have. that will be a theme in the movie. but, again, the hero of this piece is a wealthy man. and he's going to win. so i think rush limbaugh should just take a chill pill and wait until the movie comes out. >> eric, thank you so much for sharing. we appreciate it. >> thank you. the federal minimum wage has not increased in nearly three years. now one group is calling for a day of action to pressure lawmakers. but some lawmakers don't want the minimum wage raised. we'll tell you why.
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it remains stuck at $7.25 an hour. and if you don't think this is an emotional issue, just ask voters in wisconsin. this is republican congressman sean duffey, who was confronted by a constituent who said, hey, congressman, let's talk about raising the minimum wage. >> when are you going to hold your next town hall meeting? >> we said we're going to do one every year, and we've done that. >> if you want to come set up an appointment in my office, we'd be happy to have you come on by. >> what i'd like to know is the law to raise the minimum wage. there's a law to raise the minimum wage. >> that youtube video courtesy of credo super pac, a progressive organization. democrats want to raise the minimum wage to nearly $10 an hour, but republicans have blocked the efforts. cory buckner is a waiter. he earns $2.83 an hour.
that's the tipped minimum wage in pennsylvania. and i want to explain that to viewers. so $2.85 is the minimum wage in pennsylvania because they factor in tips, et cetera, et cetera. right? >> correct. >> ok. first of all, welcome. we're glad you could join us. we really appreciate you being here and talking about this. so, cory -- >> i appreciate it. >> with tips along with your minimum wage of $2.85 an hour, how much do you earn? >> roughly i can earn anywhere in between $50 a day to $150 a day. it's really based on the generosity of other people. >> and some days you don't get many tips at all or maybe none, right? >> correct. saturday, i didn't make -- i didn't have one table simply because the restaurant was slow. so i didn't make any money -- i made $12 that day about. >> so how much per year roughly do you make?
>> well, it's hard for me to say because i have switched jobs recently. but i would say somewhere in between $20,000 to $30,000. >> ok. so some people might say, that doesn't sound so bad. so tell me what it's like to live on that amount of money per year. >> not too well, because at the moment i'm currently over $30,000 in debt due to school. and i can't go back to school because i owe my school $3,000. and i can't transfer my credits to another school if i chose to until i pay that three grand. >> so i'm sure you don't want to be a waiter for the rest of your life since you have that college education. >> no. >> so why are you still doing that? >> it's just a way of living. i mean, i don't even have insurance. i would say most restaurants don't even offer that or benefits to their employees. so at the moment, it's decent money. it's just a way for me to get by at the end of the day.
>> republicans say raising the minimum wage would hurt small business owners because they'd have to pay their employees more. and we don't need that right now in the midst of our economic downturn. what do you think? >> i think giving a little bit more to hard working people who don't make enough to begin with is a very good thing. i can recall as a kid, when i say a child, i mean a college student, 19 years old, making $7.25 an hour. and living with my parents. and having insurance. and still struggling. at the end of the day, to pay bills. >> and just the last question for you. have you looked for another job that might pay more? >> honestly, i would say -- here in pittsburgh, it's kind of hard to find that. here we have corporations like -- well, not a corporation, but upmc we have here, which
employees a lot of medical people. and then we also have giant eagle, which is another major corporation. and they start off at $7.25 an hour as well. it's very hard to find jobs in this economy. so i think raising the minimum wage would definitely help in some ways because it's bad enough that people can't find jobs to begin with. >> corey, thank you for being here and sharing with us. we appreciate it. keep in mind we're talking about raising the federal minimum wage. each state has the power to set its own rate. for example, in washington state, the minimum wage is $9.04 an hour. in puerto rico, it's $4 and change. christine romans is our business correspondent, and she is here to explain. christine, if states can raise the minimum wage, why should the federal rate be changed? >> well, look, every year, when there's a debate about this, it's ferocious, especially when you're not creating jobs quite
frankly. the federal minimum wage prevails. when there's a choice between the two, when a state's minimum wage is lower, in almost all circumstances, with some exceptions for very small businesses or family-owned businesses or small farms, you have to pay that federal minimum of $7.25. it's been three years since it's been raised. it should be higher. some people say it should be a liveable wage. living on the minimum wage is about $15,500 a year. certainly corey knows better than anybody how difficult it is to live on that. but what small business people say, look, i'm barely holding on right now. if i have to raise wages $2 or $3 an hour, i'm definitely not going to hire anybody else and definitely will have to lay somebody else. part of the debate has searchce around, as it always does, centers around young people. minimum wage jobs have often been where young people first get their foot in the door as
they are finishing school or out of high school. and some of the debate is raised over, you know, maybe young people would not have a chance if the minimum wage were raised. that's how it falls along the lines of making it a liveable wage. no, don't hurt small business. >> and both sides have a valid point, right? is there any evidence, though, i wonder tying the minimum wage to the number of jobs created or lost. >> and, you know, this is -- so in 2006, something called the fiscal policy institute studied this and found that states that had raised the minimum wage had better job creation from small business. but immediately conservative groups, carol, came out and said that's because they were raising the minimum wage because they were already in a healthier position. that's why small businesses were hiring more, not because they raised the minimum wage, but because politically they were able to raise it because already times were good. that was 2006. a lot has changed since then, carol. we've been losing jobs overall ever since then, and conservatives will say, look, we
raised the federal minimum wage, and we have been losing jobs ever since. >> christine romans, thank you for sorting it out for us. we appreciate it. new reaction from the pentagon on the situation in syria. i'll have that for you next. yes it's true. how is this possible? proper tire inflation, by using proper grades of oil, your car runs more efficiently, saves gas. you could be doing this right now? yes i could, mike. i'm slowing you down? yes you are. my bad. the works fuel saver package. just $29.95 or less after rebate. only at your ford dealer. so, to sum up, you take care of that, you take care of these, you save a bunch of this. that works. with lean cuisine steam bags. get our crispiest carrots and our snappiest peas all freshly steamed in just minutes. steam bags from lean cuisine. be culinary chic. our current dividend tax rate will expire this year,
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if your car's totaled, we give you the money for a car one model year newer. to learn more, visit us today. responsibility. what's your policy? this is cnn breaking news. we started this newscast with breaking news out of syria. the defense minister there and the deputy defense minister both killed in a targeted suicide bombing. this brings the violence very close to the president of syria, and now american officials are responding. let's head to the pentagon and barbara starr. what did defense secretary leon panetta say, barbara? >> carol, we just finisheda press conference with the secretary. he mainly in the past has left syria to the diplomatic side of the house. today, a very different tone, very different words from leon panetta. have a listen. >> it's obvious that what is
happening in syria represents a real escalation in the fighting. and that all of the concerns that we've expressed about the need for assad to step down, the need for a peaceful transition, the need to achieve a peaceful solution to that situation, that by ignoring those appeals by the international community that the violence there has only gotten worse and the loss of lives has only increased. which tells us that this is a situation that is rapidly spinning out of control. >> rapidly spinning out of control. carol, that is the first time we have heard that kind of assessment from the u.s. military from the pentagon. secretary panetta and the
british minister of defense, who is also here today, also spoke about syria's chemical weapons, and said they are now working through international partners to try and press the assad regime to understand they absolutely cannot do anything with those chemical weapons. that they must keep them secure. but i have to tell you, there were also very serious words about all of that. a lot of concern expressed about what is coming next in syria. carol? >> yeah. we're looking at live pictures out of syria. what part of syria is this from? do we know? we don't know. but this video come in to us. and you can see a lot of unrest in syria. and of course it's made its way to the capital now as we know because the defense minister and the deputy defense minister killed. barbara starr, thank you for bringing us up to date. it will likely be viewed as the biggest decision to date in the run for the white house. our political panel weighs in on mitt romney's choice for vp and
why these three men are reportedly on the short list. >> i use toys to make affordable medical devices. when we're using toys, it demystifies the medical technology. often we look at these devices and we think that they are a black box and you need an expert to even take a screwdriver at it. you may not have the courage to hack a $1,000 device. but you definitely have the courage to hack something that's $5. and if you add a little bit of ingenuity, it becomes something as powerful as a $1,000 medical device.
bobby jindal, stumps for the republican candidate in ohio. while that state's senator, rob portman, also campaigns for romney. both men on a reportedly, quote, vp short list for romney. so what will romney's choice tell us about his strategy? and more importantly, will we even remember these people if romney wins the white house? seriously. you remember george hw bush as president, not necessarily as president reagan's vice president. and honestly, you can remember what al gore actually did as vice president under president clinton? so let's talk about all that. jason johnson is chief political correspondent for politic 365. and professor of political science at hiram college. also, republican strategist ron bonjean. i can't wait for this conversation. i think we remember vice presidents for the offbeat things we do. dan quayle misspelling potato. and joe biden perhaps best for
this moment when an open mic captured his excitement about health care. >> ladies and gentlemen, the president of the united states of america, barack obama. [ bleep ] >> yes, he said this is a big f-ing deal, if you didn't quite catch it. but i'm sure you remember it. jason, we'll begin with you. why not pick the most vanilla candidate out there? >> it's actually a smart idea. if you are trying to make a big splash with your vp candidate, it means your campaign is already done. it's kind of like adding a new baby to a sitcom to raise the ratings. you know your show is done. so why do that sort of thing? mitt romney should pick somebody boring, just like him, and that will keep him in the focus. he is the top of the ticket. >> ron, you're a big time strategist. is that what they think about when they go for the choice? >> well, there are several things they think about. one is, you know, to mitt romney, trust is a big deal here. all three of these men that you listed can be trusted.
all three of them have different qualities. rob portman comes from ohio, a battle ground state. he sis a solid campaigner and h has worked with members on both sides of the isle. pawlenty has been with the romney campaign for a long time, hauled a lot of water without a lot of recognition. although low key, he is considered very close to the romney campaign. and bobby jindal has a great story to tell. the son of an immigrant, comes from the south, and that's something that romney might need going into november. >> ok. let's talk about rob portman for just a bit. i have always wondered this. so i'm an ohio voter. and i was for many years. i never cast my ballot because the candidate picked someone from ohio. i mean, do voters consider that? i mean, you work in ohio, jason. >> yeah. i am an ohio voter too. we don't care. nobody cares. they are not at the top of the ticket. the biggest myth is that this stuff actually affects voters, right? voters look for who's the top of the ticket and what they are
going to do. occasionally somebody is creative. there's no guarantee that rob portman will bring ohio to mitt romney but he could pick somebody like rob portman because he is in the senate and romney hasn't been in washington, d.c., and it may help him behind the scenes. that's a smart vp pick, someone that will help you behind the scenes, like a biden or dick cheney y. >> ron, if you were running things, if you were god of the romney campaign, who would you choose? >> oh, that's a loaded question. i'm not going to get myself into trouble by picking someone. i do think all three of those -- all three candidates right now are very solid. there's quite a few -- >> that's such a copout. come on, ron. >> they are all great people. they all bring to the table different qualities. and i do think, you know, for instance if rob portman was picked, i do think that would make a big splash in ohio. people would notice. it's the hometown senator getting selected. that is actually a big deal. not necessarily seal the deal, but it would certainly help him raise the profile there.
and helps with fundraising. all kinds of things can ben at this time from that. >> ok, ron. we'll let you off the hook there. because i only say that, ron, because many republicans don't seem thrilled by those choices because, you know, remember they floated condoleezza rice's name out there. they said that would be a great pick. but no interest there i think from condoleezza rice. >> you know, they are not dynamic, exciting individuals. it's not the sarah palin type of choice that mccain made. but that's not the type of campaign going on right now. romney is looking for somebody that can be a solid number two, that can talk about the economy, that can really back him up. and he may announce before the convention, which could be very helpful to him. >> ron bongejean and jason johnson, thank you for being here today. it was fun. the fight to drink supersize sodas in new york is heating up. pepsi, coke, and soft drink lovers assemble for the battle.
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52 minutes past the hour. checking top stories now. spinning out of control. that's how defense secretary leon panetta describes the situation in syria after an explosion killed the nation's defense minister and deputy defense minister, the brother-in-law of the president, bashar al assad. panetta said, quote, must bring
maximum pressure on assad to force him to step down." a week away from the ban on big sugary drinks in new york city and coke and pepsi are battling back with a massive campaign. the anti-soda ban messages are in airplanes, movies. the weather is taking a toll on farmers and will hit your wallet. 55% of the u.s. is in a drought, the worst since 1956. withering crops means we'll likely pay higher food prices. c. but hurry before this opportunity...disappears. the mercedes-benz summer event ends july 31st.
jeremy lynn is -- lin is headed to houston. his three-year $25 million contract with houston is backloaded with $14.8 million set for the final season. had the knicks matched the offer they would have been hit with a luxury tax for the third season, so they passed on the point guard. no hard feelings from lin. he tweeted, quote, much love and thankfulness to the knicks and new york for your support this past year, easily the best year of my life. # forever grateful.
kobe bryant is talking about the challenges of his 2003 rape case and how it helped him mature as a person. he spoke about the dark days in a new interview with graham benzinger of yahoo! sports. >> the days were just endless. like this is never going to end. this feeling, these dark times are never going to be over. i think once you go through something like that you can't help but be different. you can't help but have a better sense of who you are. >> bryant wound up settling with his accuser. he admitted no guilt. that's a look at sports this morning. the next hour of -- not really. i would've been fine with 0% for 36 months, but i demanded 60. no...i didn't do that. it was like taking candy from a baby. you're a grown man. alright, see you at home. [ male announcer ] the volkswagen autobahn for all event. we good? we're good. [ male announcer ] at 0% apr for 60 months,
officials were killed in a rebel attack. this new video just coming in to cnn shows rebel troops celebrating their deaths. it could be a pivotal moment in the uprising. the two people killed are in the syrian president's inner circle. in fact, the deputy defense minister is president al assad's brother-in-law. arwa damon will tell us more. >> just to update viewers, now three members of the syrian government, senior members reported to have been killed according to state television adding to the two names you mentioned, that also of the president's security adviser general hasan tukmani. the most significant is the death of shawkat. he was the president's brother-in-law and an extremely close friend. although he was the deputy minister of defense he was also the former head of the military
intelligence, a unit that's really loathed and feared by the vast majority of the syrian population. so this most certainly is going to be sending a message to the syrian government that they perhaps are no longer as safe as they once thought they were. this strike taking place during a senior meeting that was being held at the national security building. most certainly one would assume a very secure location. now the free syrian army, the rebel fighting unit, is taking credit for the blast saying it was caused by a highly explosive device that came about after some pretty sophisticated coordination across a number of free syrian army brigades, not just from damascus but other parts of the country as well. one would assume the strike also included the help of someone who had access to the location where that meeting was taking place. syrian state television saying it was carried out by a terrorist suicide bomber and promising that it will crack
down immediately, carol. >> all right. arwa damon reporting live. the pictures are from darwa, syria. they are celebrating there as well. more from syria later in the newsroom. this just in, a statement from syria's former ambassador to iraq who has defected. he says, i think what happened today is a big and important operation that hit the heart of the regime. i believe the regime will escalate against the syrian people, but at the same time it started getting weaker and weaker. the ability of the rebels to reach to this place in this way is a great achievement. we are also getting new reaction from american officials. let's head to the pentagon and chris lawrence. what are you hearing, chris? >> defense secretary leon panetta welcomed the uk minister of defense philip hammond within the last hour. both had very strong words on this situation in syria. in fact, secretary panetta said
it is rapidly spinning out of control. >> it's obvious that what is happening in syria represents a real escalation in the fighting and that all of the concerns that we have expressed about the need for assad to step down, the need for a peaceful transition, the need to achieve a peaceful solution to that situation, that by ignoring
>> chris lawrence live at the pentagon for us. the drought affecting more than half of the united states could have a direct effect on the economy. look at the map. highlighted are 14 states that recorded the top 10 driest six-month periods from january to june of this year. six of the states are within the corn and soybean belt. the percentage of the midwest that's in drought quadrupled in june. we have two reports for you this morning. rob marciano in indiana reporting on the impact of the drought and then to the white house for word on what the obama administration may do to help. good morning, rob. >> reporter: good morning, carol. this is one of the worst spots as far as the drought and the heat goes. indianapolis itself, 46-day stretch of less than a tenth of an inch of rain. the palmer index, the way we measure drought in this state, as low as it's been since 1988.
that's the drought the farmers are comparing it to. when you get drought though plus the 100-degree-plus heat, that compounds the problem. we have corn that should be up over my head. as you can see it's waist, if not chest high. this is some of the healthier corn because we are near the side of the road. deeper in the field where the circulation isn't as good, the soil isn't as good it's much less. the stalks are smaller. the ears of corn are smaller as well. talking to farmers here, there is a lot of technical stuff. i got a a lesson on what corn is all about, how it pollinates and what the drought is doing to it. >> during pollination it's very important to have water to be able to cause the ear to be pollinated. during that stretch we had 100-degree days so it can burn the silks coming out of the corn cob itself. 80% to 90% of the corn in this area has established itself
already. the rain isn't going to help at this point. >> reporter: this is what an ear of corn should look like this time of year. it would grow just a little bit more, get a little bit more ripe. this is difficult to find. this is more prevalent. half of the crop looks like this. in some cases not even pollinated. that's what they are up against. yields are expected to be less than 50%. maybe 20% or 30%. they are trying to hold onto what they have. with the heat index up and over 100 again today, that only adds to more e vap wavaporationevapo. they are against the wall here. even with a lot more rain it may be too late. back to you. >> the poor farmers. in the next hour, like i told you, president obama will discuss the drought with the agriculture secretary. brianna, what can the president do for these farmers? >> reporter: you know, a lot of what the president is doing, i uh think, is also dispatching
the secretary and officials to take the lead here. to that end, usda officials, federal officials will be fanning out across the u.s. this will continue in the coming weeks to a number of drought-stricken communities. agricultural communities that are really struggling. part of this is obviously to do a show of force that they are here on the ground helping some of the state-level staff and also to bring information back to washington. pardon me, we have some construction here at the white house, as i'm sure you can hear. the other thing -- and we have seen this coming from the department of agriculture -- is really raising awareness about some of the federal assistance out there and also the emergency loans that are available for some of the growers. to that end we've got the usda reducing loan processing time for those and also reducing the interest rate for some of the emergency loans. >> we did manage to hear you
though. at least you weren't sprayed with the sprinkler. thanks. we appreciate it. mitt romney hitting the battleground state of ohio today on the heels of the president's speech in cincinnati this week. while romney speaks in bowling green in northwest ohio he'll have two big name supporters stumping for him in other parts of the state. jeb bush will be in hamilton while bobby jindal will be in columbus. mitt romney's latest line of attack on the president is that he's anti-business. republicans point to an obama remark last week on the campaign trail they say suggests the president is out of touch with exactly how jobs are created. >> if you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. [ cheers ] >> there was a great teacher somewhere in your life. somebody helped to create this unbelievable american system that we have that allowed you to
thrive. somebody invested in roads, bridges. if you've got a business, you didn't build that. somebody else made that happen. >> while continuing his attack on the president over the handling of the economy, romney surrogate john sinunu is stepping back from this remark about president obama. >> the men and women all over america who have worked hard to build their businesses from the ground up is how our economy became the envy of the world. it is the american way. and i wish this president would learn how to be an american. frankly, i made a mistake. i shouldn't have used those words. i apologize for using those words. but i don't apologize for the idea that this president has demonstrated that he does not understand how jobs are created in america. >> so some are asking is john sununu a liability for the romney campaign.
no way says gop consultant dave carney saying he's not your metro sexual talking point surrogate. end quote. search dogs may be on the scent of two young cousins from iowa who went missing. what one mother fears has happened to them. [ feedback ] attention, well, everyone. you can now try snapshot from progressive free for 30 days. just plug this into your car, and your good driving can save you up to 30%. you could even try it without switching your insurance. why not give it a shot? carry on. now you can test-drive snapshot before you switch. visit progressive.com today.
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15 minutes past the hour. checking our top stories now. the son of one of the world's richest men due in court after his wife was found dead in his home in britain. the son of a billionaire founded a giant packaging company. he was arrested on drug charges. then police found his wife's body. her death is unexplained. look at the plane that flew over penn state. the banner read take the statue down or we will, in reference to the statue of joe paterno. penn state said they will make a decision soon. apple's next iphone could be the thinnest ever. according to the wall street journal the new one will be thinner with new screen technology that would also produce better images on the iphone. apple has yet to announce a new
iphone but one is expected later this year. in florida two would be robbers storm an internet cafe with a gun and baseball bat but they had the tables turned. they told everyone not to move. that's when a 71-year-old customer in the back pulled out his gun and started shooting at the would be robbers. he chased them out of the cafe before they were found. the suspects, that is. later they were arrested. the mother of one of the missing iowa cousins tells cnn today she thinks the girls may have been taken. 8-year-old elizabeth collins and 10-year-old lyric cook haven't been seen since friday. because they haven't been found lyric's mother fears they were abducted. in the meantime, a search operation continues at a lake in evansdale, iowa, where jim spelman has been for two days. any update you can give us? >> well, they have been draining this lake since the day before
yesterday. you can see how much the water level has gone down on the banks, on this island and here on the shore as well. they have people in kayaks monitoring the shoreline for anything that might be revealed by the water going away. they don't think they will find anything in this lake. for the family who, as you mentioned, are thinking more and more that this was an abduction they feel they need to get over the process of draining the lake before they can move on. here is lyric's mom misty talking about that. >> because we haven't found them anywhere in this surrounding area i feel like maybe they were taken. i'll be more comfortable in that theory once they drain the lake and we find nothing there. so i'm glad they are draining it today. >> the fbi brought in two scent dogs. they were able to go through the whole family members, sniff all of them to eliminate their scent. then take smell tests out of the
shoes of the girls and search the area behind me on the far shore of the lake. they were able to pick up a scent that led them to the water's edge. we don't know if that will end up being significant or where the girls might have gone after the point when the dogs weren't able to find them. they are trying to do what they can to get a lead that might help them find the girls. >> so they are draining this lake. they have been doing it for the past couple of days. how much longer will it take? >> should be done by tomorrow at the latest, given the drought conditions it's draining faster than it might under other circumstances. it's really not that deep of a lake. when they are done draining it there will be one area that's ten feet deep. they may have to put divers in there. but by tomorrow at the latest they should know if there are answers to this case in this lake. >> jim spellman reporting live for us this morning. he's known as the blade runner. oscar pistorius is the first
amputee track athlete to compete in the olympic games but michael johnson says the south african has an unfair advantage. welcome to hotels.com. summer road trip, huh? as the hotel experts, finding you the perfect place is all we do. this summer, save up to 30%, plus get up to $100 on us. welcome to hotels.com.
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so there is this amazing disabled athlete in the olympics named oscar pistorius. carlos diaz is with me now. as you can see he's running with prosthetic legs. everyone says, oh, it's great because he's qualified for the olympics. this is the first time a disabled runner has competed against able-bodied people, so to speak. track star michael johnson told the daily mail yesterday, quote, we don't know for sure whether oscar gets an advantage from the prosthetics that he wears. it is unfair to the able-bodied competitors. he says maybe oscar should not be in the olympics. carlos, this debate has gone on for a long time. >> it's a great argument. to be clear, michael johnson is friends with oscar pistorius.
he said, i like him as a person. he disagrees with the advantage he says he gets. it's not like oscar pistorius had his legs amputated two years ago. he was born without fibula in his legs and his parents made the tough decision at an early age to have his legs amputated. he's had this his entire life. if you think this guy is training on a magic carpet, you're wrong. when he's done with training, more times than not his stumps are blistered and bloodied. he's training as hard if not harder. we are talking about the 400 meter event and the 4 x 400 relay. how many people had that marked on their calendar to watch? >> it's still important to the other competitors in the race. >> the point of the olympics is competition but to inspire people. this guy, oscar pistorius from south africa can inspire so
many, quote, disabled people because of what he is doing on these artificial limbs. i get where johnson is coming from. there have been extensive studies since 2008 as to whether these limbs give an advantage. they are lighter than your normal legs. there is an advantage there. but when it is windy he has a disadvantage. you can see they are flat and catch the wind. when it rains he can't run in the rain because of the lack of traction. he doesn't have ankles to absorb the blow. so it still has not been scientifically proven whether or not it is an advantage or disadvantage. why not in this particular story just sit back and enjoy the inspiration of it? >> i think michael johnson would think because this is the olympics, and i know what you just said, but still people train all their lives for this competition. >> it's not like they picked oscar up off the streets. he's been running for years and he's earned the right, at least
in one event to be there. there was a special exception made in the other event. i see both sides of the argument. but if i had to lean one way or the other, i say let oscar in because of the inspiration and because of the attention that it's going to draw to these events. >> it will be an interesting race. now people will be paying attention. >> people will be watching. now they know the 400 meter and 4 x 400 relay. >> thank you so much. why won't he release the tax returns? that's the question dogging mitt romney as he defies calls from high ranking members of his own party. i will talk with one of them about the strategy and whether the outcry will force him to change his mind. i don't have to use gas. i am probably going to the gas station about once a month. drive around town all the time doing errands and never ever have to fill up gas in the city. i very rarely put gas in my chevy volt. last time i was at a gas station was about...i would say... two months ago.
the last time i went to the gas station must have been about three months ago. i go to the gas station such a small amount that i forget how to put gas in my car. ♪ [romney singing]: oh beautiful, for spacious skies, thai'm barack obama and igas approve this message. for amber waves of grain, for purple mountains majesty, above the fruited plain, america, america, god shed his grace on thee, and crowned thy good, with brotherhood... with less chronic osteoarthritis pain.
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found out it will be making a decision about this statue in front of beavers stadium. joe paterno and whether it will be taken down. they will make the decision within 7 to 10 days. we told you earlier there are planes over the stadium with banners that say "take the statue down or we will." penn state won't make a decision for 7 to 10 days but a decision will come. of course when it does we'll have it for you. turning our attention now to politics after a tough week the romney campaign is going on the offensive today. releasing this ad slamming the obama administration for steering millions in stimulus funds to people the romney team says are obama supporters and friends. >> where did all the obama stimulus money go? friends, donors, campaign supporters, special interest groups. where did the obama stimulus money go? solyndra, $500 million taxpayer dollars, bankrupt.
where did the obama stimulus money go? windmills from china. electric cars from finland. >> 79% of the $2.1 billion in stimulus grants went to overseas companies. >> i'm mitt romney. i approved this message. >> there you saw the ad. the ad is an attempt to change the conversation from a subject that won't go away -- mitt romney's refusal to release more of his tax returns. it comes amid growing calls from republicans including rick perry to release more documents so romney can put the issue to rest. >> i'm a big believer that no matter who you are or what office you're running for you should be as transparent as you can be with your tax returns and other aspects of your life so that people have the appropriate ability to judge your background. >> even the influential national review online had this to say
about romney's tax returns. this is an editorial. quote, romney protests that he's not legally obliged to release any tax returns. of course not. he is no longer in the realm of the private sector though where he can comply with the letter of the law with the securities and exchange commission and leave it at that. perceptions matter. mitt romney says two years of tax returns is quite enough. joining me now is national press secretary for the republican national committee. welcome, kirsten. >> hi. thank you. >> we have to start with the tax returns. i know you're probably tired of that line of questioning. but more and more republicans are coming out saying, hey, we need to make this issue go away. so release the tax returns, for goodness sakes. >> well, as you covered in your introduction there, governor romney released 500 pages of tax returns, two years, very, very detailed personal financial
statement. so i think he's been very transparent about his finances. he's done the same thing senator mccain did back in 2008. i think every day we spend talking about this, the president's team in chicago is very happy because they are not talking about the fact that their jobs council which we learned today has not met in over six months. i think it's time we start talking about what each of the candidates brings to the table as far as how to create jobs and turn the economy around. >> that's true, but i think what many republicans are concerned about, you know, a lot of people are writing articles wondering why mitt romney won't release more of his tax returns. there is speculation everywhere. i'm not saying mitt romney did anything wrong, but there is speculation out there as to why he's refusing to release more of his tax returns. >> well, like i said, the governor has spoken about this. he's given many, many -- 500 pages of tax returns, two years.
he's been very transparent about this. i think it's time we all move on, start talking about jobs and the economy which is something obviously the president's team doesn't want to talk about because they keep feeding the beast on this discussion. >> you mentioned on the tax issue romney said he's provided as much information as john mccain and john kerry. he took a shot at john kerry's wife who he said never released his tax returns. but kerry released more returns and he and mccain have been filling out forms for years as u.s. senators. both of them lost the election. let's face it, mrs. kerry wasn't running for president. the argument doesn't hold, even with many republicans. >> well, like i said, he's filled out a very, very detailed personal finance disclosure. we all want to talk about transparency. we want to talk about transparency, too. just today, actually, we are talking about where did the stimulus money go that this president promised was going to create jobs?
we have a couple examples of where it's going. i heard you play the team romney ad that they are up with today. you know, stimulus money going overseas for outsourcing jobs. we are focused on some donors who have received millions and millions of taxpayer dollars through the stimulus. two can play the game on transparency. if the president wants to have a discussion we are here and waiting. >> yeah. but you claim the president isn't being transparent, but many people say mitt romney isn't being transparent either. so who's setting the example here? >> well, the president did claim to be the most transparent administration ever. so i think as the president of the united states who's been in office for three and a half years he definitely has questions to answer. he is the one asking to be rehired. it is our responsibility to ask questions about why he thinks he deserves to be rehired when he
isn't being transparent and we are not seeing the results he promised. >> doesn't a candidate for president need to hold to the same standard? >> well, of course. he's going to make his case for why he believes he can do things better than president obama. he'll have the next three and a half months to do that. we are going to know plenty about governor romney and how he believes he is going to run this country. but it is our job to hold president obama to his promises that he's made. and on transparency it's clear he has not lived up to those promises. >> kirsten, thank you for joining us this morning. >> thank you. have a good day. >> you, too. celebration in south africa as people come together to honor nelson mandela on his birthday in the most flattering way. i will talk to someone who interviewed mandela many times over the years on his big day.
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schools just like mohamed atta did before flying the plane into the world trade center's north tower. we heard immigration officialses just a couple of years ago bust ed some illegal oh immigrants in boston. 25 of them had been authorized or signed off on by the tsa to go to flight school. in fact, three of them already had their pilot's license. yet they were here in this country illegally. that's really just the tip of the iceberg to some of the problems that still exist with trying to keep track of people who are in the country but also going to flight school. >> okay. in addition to what you have said, they are also supposed to release weaknesses in the student visa program. what are we learning? >> the student visa program is the way a lot of foreigners come to the united states to go to school. it's one of the primary reasons there are nearly a million foreigners attending classes
here in the united states. it found that eight years after the government was supposed to do an audit of all these schools, that only about 19% had been recertified. eight years after an audit, only 19% had been recertified. it found that there are sham schools out there. schools giving out student visas to foreign nationals who have no intention of even going to class, carol. >> wow. chris lawrence, you will continue to follow the story and have an update later. thanks so much. >> yep. >> more gas accelerator problems for ford and mazda. dozens of driver complaints. now the possibility the issue caused multiple crashes, including one where someone died. [ male announcer ] it's simple physics... a body at rest tends to stay at rest... while a body in motion tends to stay in motion. staying active can actually ease arthritis symptoms. but if you have arthritis, staying active can be difficult. prescription celebrex can help relieve arthritis pain
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this is a picture of charlene smith with man kdelman. she's a journalist and wrote a book about him. welcome. hi. >> good morning. thank you, carol. >> give us a sense of nelson mandela, the person. you have talked to him many times. >> if you walk into a room, as an example, and there are lots of important people in there, nelson mandela comes in, he will ignore the most important people, the most famous people in the room and he'll head straight for the person who is maybe a humble cleaner in the corner who thinks nobody notices him or her. or he'll greet the security guards first. he has a wonderful way of making ordinary people feel special. in fact, it's not just something that he tries to project. he actually feels this. he remembers things. for example, once my son had
been ill. i saw him six months later. he said, how's matthew? i said, what's wrong with matthew? he said, he had flu last time. he meets thousands of people but remembers everything about you. he makes you feel special. >> bill clinton told a wonderful story to cnn -- bill clinton and chelsea clinton had lunch or dinner with nelson mandela yesterday. he said when nelson called he wanted to talk to chelsea as well about her homework and how things were going in school. and then he got down to business with president clinton at the time. how do you think nelson mandela managed to keep the humanity after all that he went through? >> i think it's because of all he went through. he was in jail for 27 years. it was 21 years before he was allowed a contact visit with his
wife, 12 years before he was allowed a visit with his children. in the first few years he was allowed only one 500-word letter every six months. only a 30-minute visit every six months. i think in that time he had lots of time to contemplate, to think about things. he knew that there was going to be a bad end, the sort of end we can expect in syria, unless he found a way to make every south african feel they belonged. to do that, you have to speak to your enemy. you have to make your enemy your friend. that's what he deliberately started doing in prison so that by the time he came out, he'd been practicing this for such a long time. just a quick reference to chelsea. what i forgot to say was that in any group he'll go for the women and children first. that's who he wants to speak to first. all of those islanders for 27 years they didn't see women and children. >> nelson mandela is 94 years
old. how is his health? >> well, he struggles to walk. he's feeling all the pains of being 94. at this stage he's tired. he's done his bit. he's had a wonderful time with his grandchildren. he married at the age of 80. his wife has been a real gift. she's probably the heroine of the latter part of his life. we are all readying ourselves for when he goes and it will be a tragedy for the people of south africa. >> for people all around the world. thanks for sharing your stories. we are getting in new pictures of nelson mandela. stay with us. nelson mandela is sitting with his family, having his favorite dish which i think is tripe. can uh you see the picture? >> i can't, i'm afraid. uh i saw pictures this morning
of him. he's looking very frail. he's struggling to walk. if you remember, one of the things he loves the most is to dance. he can't dance anymore. he can't exercise anymore. but he does have a lot of love around him. that love isn't just the love of his family. i think he knows and feels that all around the world people are loving him. and that 67 minutes of community work, south africans call on people everywhere in the world to do something. pick up litter for 67 minutes. it's nothing. it's small. but it means something. >> it's meaningless next to what nelson mandela accomplished in his life. thanks for joining us this morning. ford and mazda are under a federal microscope amid concerns and complaints about gas pedals sticking in certain vehicles. we'll take you to washington for a live report. [ female announcer ] the power to become a better investor has gone mobile.
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checking our top stories now. a deadly explosion hits a national security building in damascus. syria's defense minister and deputy defense minister who happens to be president al assad's brother-in-law were killed. state media says two others were killed. a presidential security adviser and interior minister. this hour we learned penn state will make a decision in 7 to 10 days on the future of joe paterno's statue on campus. this comes one day after a plane flew over penn state with a statue reading, take the statue down or we will. check out the dramatic video of flames shooting out of a six-story bronx apartment building in new york. firefighters have minor injuries because of the blaze. the fire started on the sixth floor and quickly spread throughout the building causing the roof to collapse. stuck gas pedals on ford escapes and mazda tribute
vehicles again. the federal government investigating whether they played a role in a fatal crash in other car accidents that resulted in multiple injuries. nearly 100 reports have been filed promising an investigation by the national highway traffic safety administration. more than half a million of the same vehicles all from years 2001 through 2004 were recalled eight years ago for speed control cable issues. more than 700,000 still on the road today. let's head to washington, d.c. to find out more. athena jones is there. good morning. >> reporter: good morning. as you mentioned -- i'm sorry. go ahead. >> go ahead. >> reporter: as you mentioned, the national highway traffic safety administration is looking into 730,000 of these ford escape and mazda tribute suv model years 2001 to 2004. those two car makers recalled
those same vehicles, nearly 60 # 0,000 of them, back in 2004 for an accelerator cable problem. some of the new complaints allege that the failures may have been related to repairs made in response to that earlier safety recall. so a lot will be under investigation here. >> i'm sure people who owned the cars are wondering if they should drive their vehicles. >> well, you know, we spoke with ford and mazda. we reached out to ford and mazda. ford says they are cooperating with an investigation. they are not likely to say much more until nhtsa comes up with findings. if you have one of these vehicles you can subscribe on the website to a recall notification e-mail system. that way, once a decision has been made you can be notified immediately as to what to do with your vehicle. >> athena jones, thank you. we'll be right back. they can save you up to 30% more by bundling your policies.
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a cool refreshing drink. it's what we need after a long day at work during the hot summer months. now there is a new benefit, depending on what you drink. for today's daily dose dr. nicholas perricone with summer drinks that can actually protect your skin. >> it's summer time. there is nothing we enjoy more than a cool summer drink. something as simple as iced tea whether it's black, white or green, contains powerful antioxidants and anti-inflammatories that create chemicals to protect our skin. my favorite is the berry mix. i take a quarter cup of blueberries, raspberries and strawberries. put it in a blender and add half a cup of apple juice. blend it until smooth. drinking this can fight fine lines and wrinkles. it's loaded with phytonutrients that can change the way we look. >> i'm doing it after the show.
that does it for me. thank you so much for joining me today. >> thanks so much. i'm kyra philips. syria is under siege. more top generals on the run. how much longer can the regime hang on? u.s. flight schools still flying under the f.a.a.'s radar nearly 11 years after 9/11. a big investigation involving suspicious foreign students and illegal visas. does this u.s. olympian have a prayer of winning the marathon? you may believe he's destined for gold when you find out who his coach is. we begin with a natural disaster of epic proportions. that's what the governor of illinois is saying about the historic drought are a advantaging his state. along with 25 others across the country. look at this map.
you can see how widespread the bone dry conditions are. last time it was this bad, 1956. rob marciano is in the middle of the hardest hit area in indiana. the corn crop is hit especially hard. >> yeah. the corn belt getting hit with not only drought but heat. obviously the heat exacerbates the drought a little bit. you get the string of 100-plus days like they have had in the past month it makes things so much worse. just yesterday, indianapolis hit 101. yet another record. the last 46 days, the driest on record in indianapolis. less than a tenth of an inch. where we are, an hour and a half north of there we got a quick shot of rain two hours ago. but probably less than half an inch. just enough to raise the humidity levels. it's steamy out here today. spring was perfect to sow corn. theyar