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Jena Six Suspect Released on Bail; Isiah Thomas Under Fire

Aired September 27, 2007 - 20:00   ET


A fact check on comments, plus our response to what Bill O'Reilly has said to me.


SANCHEZ (voice-over): The word rhymes with witch. It's demeaning to women. But is it OK if spoken by a black man? That's what the NBA's golden boy says.

ISIAH THOMAS, NEW YORK KNICKS COACH: Not as much. And I'm sorry to say I do make a distinction.

SANCHEZ: Maybe we make that now former golden boy.

More spending, $800 billion and counting, health care for children. Wait until you find out how little.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How come you're not answering me?

SANCHEZ: One woman's bold and controversial confrontation with the Iranian president.

Bill O'Reilly, race, and what he told me about no complaints from listeners. Is it true?

A dishwasher's life savings confiscated. Who ever said life was fair?

And ever get that feeling that someone's looking over your shoulder at the ATM? We have got it on tape and bring it OUT IN THE OPEN.


SANCHEZ: And hello again, everybody. I'm Rick Sanchez.

Tonight, in the wake of the questionable and controversial comments by Bill O'Reilly, we are going to revisit the issue of race.

We found something else, by the way. Remember that I reported that O'Reilly told me on the phone that nobody complained about the show that he had done on the air.

Guess what? Somebody did complain on the air to him directly. And we have got that recording. Here's part of it. (BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

BILL O'REILLY, HOST: John, Indianapolis.

What say you, John?

CALLER: I think your spinning and bloviating does not do the black community justice. You re just giving fodder to your viewers who have a negative view of black people anyway, so your pointing out a couple of Twistas and Ludacrises in the large general population is shameful.


SANCHEZ: Important to note that he's on the record, with several members of the media saying that nobody complained.

We have got a couple of reports on this controversy that we have lined up for you tonight. Stay tuned for those.

Meanwhile, first, we do have breaking news for you now -- the last of Jena Six out of jail tonight, Mychal Bell accompanied by the activist Reverend Al Sharpton and an entourage of family and supporters, offering thanks to God that their prayers have been answered.

These are some of the pictures that we have been monitoring throughout the afternoon and part of the early evening by all, by the way, mindful that Bell and his five schoolmates must face justice in the beating of another schoolmate, who is white.

Now, Bell's release on bail came hours after a prosecutor announced that he would no longer receive an adult trial for the teen. This is big. Bell now faces trial in juvenile court instead. This is what a lot of the lawyers and a lot of the supporters have been going after.

Joining me now is one of those, Warren Ballentine. He's an attorney. He's also a nationally syndicated radio host. He's been very outspoken about this case on his radio show, by the way. And he was in Jena, as so many others were last week, for that huge protest that took place.

What do we think is behind at this point this decision, Warren?

WARREN BALLENTINE, ATTORNEY AND RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Well, Rick, I think a couple of things have taken place.

First, I think the governor of Louisiana has stepped in. I think the fact that we came down there as American citizens and really just showed the country and the legal system that, hey, this was a schoolyard fight. These boys should be punished for what they did to the victim, but they don't need to be punished where they're going to jail for the rest of their lives.

They're looking at 15, 22 years here in some cases. We need to fix this legal system in Jena.

SANCHEZ: I have been told by some of my producers that you're extremely upset about something that the DA said today...


SANCHEZ: ... in reference to the protests.

And we are going to let the viewers listen to it first. And then I would to get your reaction, Warren. So, let's do that first.

Go ahead, Chris.


REED WALTERS, LASALLE PARISH DISTRICT ATTORNEY: I firmly believe, and am confident of the fact that had it not been for the direct intervention of the lord Jesus Christ last Thursday, a disaster would have happened. You can quote me on that.


SANCHEZ: What's so upsetting to you about that comment?

BALLENTINE: Well, it sounds like to me that he is saying that African-American people are animals, and the fact that we can't come together collectively and protest peacefully, like the spirit of our forefathers, such as Dr. King and others.

And, you know, Rick, I have to say this. My listeners were upset by this comment. I'm upset by this comment. I thank Kathy Hughes (ph) for allowing me and Syndication One, Reverend Sharpton and myself, our shows to be locally heard and nationally heard, because it makes no sense we have a prosecutor coming out saying something like this.

Listen to what he is saying. He's saying that, look, only by the grace of God, Jena didn't get tore up. And, look, I was down there. Everybody, from blacks to Hispanics to Caucasian, everybody was on the same accord. They just wanted peace and justice.

And I got to give CNN props for this. Kyra Phillips's show was absolutely fantastic. The only thing that I wish you guys would have highlighted a little more, just a little more, is the real reasoning why African-Americans felt like we needed to go down there.

SANCHEZ: Warren Ballentine, we thank you so much. We will be touching base with you again.

We have got a lot of news to get to, but we promise that we will continue to revisit this topic.

Now what some are calling the misplaced priority what we as a nation seem to care about these days and also what we don't care about. Well, one of the things we don't seem to care about is children. You heard it right. Let me show you what I mean. Let's go over to the big wall and we will try and break this down for you, because as a nation it's definitely something that we need to come to grips with. This is some of the spending since 2003 on the wars so far.

Look at it, $577 billion. We know about that, right? It's a graph that we have seen from time to time. Add to that, by the way, $190 billion more. Go ahead and do that, guys, in the control room. And you will see how the number grows.

Now, look at all the way where this thing is, right, 767. Now, I want you to see something else. Come on back here with me, Jeff, as we break this down, because I think this is important for all of us as Americans. I want you to see now just what has been funded for children's health insurance.

These are kids who might get sick and may not be able to get treatment. See, this is also known as the SCHIP, starts with $9 billion since 2003, $9 billion. Now they want to add to that another $60 billion, so that children whose parents just happen to not be able to afford this can somehow get the help.

But, so far, the president is saying, no, I'm going to cut that in half. I'm not going to let you have all $60 billion. In comparison to the other numbers that we have seen here, a lot of people are asking, why, then, Mr. President did you make this campaign promise back in 2004?


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: America's children must also have a healthy start in life. In a new term, we will lead an aggressive effort to enroll millions of poor children who are eligible, but not signed up for the government's health insurance programs.

We will not allow a lack of attention or information to stand between these children and the health care they need.



SANCHEZ: That was what was said. This is what's happening now. The Senate voting on this tonight.

So, let's get it going. Bruce Lesley is with First Focus, an advocacy group for children that is a big supporter of the SCHIP insurance program for children. Also Representative Tom Price. He's a Republican from Georgia. He's a doctor, by the way, which is important to this conversation. And he's against the expansion of the SCHIP program.

My thanks to both of you gentlemen for being with us.

(CROSSTALK) SANCHEZ: Let me ask you this question. What fault does a child have who happens to be born by the grace of God to a family that may be loving, but just simply can't afford to pay for get or have life insurance?


SANCHEZ: Representative Price, let me start with you.

REP. TOM PRICE (R), GEORGIA: Thank you very much, Rick. Good to be with you tonight.

And it's no fault at all. And in fact if this program were indeed about covering just those children who are between Medicaid and their family's able to take care of them, then that would be a wonderful thing.

The problem is that's not the bill that we voted on. That's the talking points that come from the other side, but that's not the bill we voted on. The bill that we voted on in fact will cover individuals who are in families up to $84,000. So, it's not about poor kids. And it's oftentimes not even about kids, because it covers up to 21-year- olds. These are adults.


SANCHEZ: ... because if we get too much into the policy wonkiness of this, I think we are going to lose a lot of our viewers.

Let's bring in Bruce Lesley now.

Bruce, let me ask you this question. Are we giving in this country, short shift to children and especially when it comes to health? What have you found?


And what we have found is that, just a few years ago, Congress passed a Medicare prescription drug bill for senior citizens. And all we're asking about -- for is the same recognition for kids.

The drug bill provided about 11 times the spending that children -- we're asking for children in this bill. And we think that, if it's good for senior citizens, it's good for kids. Congress gets health care provided for them. So, why not for kids? And...

SANCHEZ: But it's not even just about health insurance, gentlemen. It's a whole general regard in this country. It's the way we do business.

Look, go to any park in the United States of America right now, and I guarantee you will find that for the most part there aren't a lot of children playing on it, like there were when we were growing up. You know why? Because most communities in this country today don't have recreation directors. If you go to Congress and you say I want to start an arts and crafts program, at 500 kids and help them, you will be lucky if you can get a couple of pennies. But, boy, I will tell you, you go to every police department, they have will spanking brand-new vehicles.

There just seems to be in our nation today a misplaced priority when it comes to helping children.


SANCHEZ: Representative Price.

PRICE: Hold on, here, Rick, my goodness gracious.

One of the big reasons that communities all across this nation don't have places where kids can play is because the communities get sued when somebody falls and breaks their arm. I know that, as a physician. I took care of some of those kids who then the attorneys wanted the records to do so.


SANCHEZ: Hold on.


SANCHEZ: Wait. I am going to just stop you for a moment, because you mean to tell me that parks across this country don't have somebody paid by the city to be there to work with them as leaders, as teachers because we're afraid as a government they will get sued?


SANCHEZ: So, we would rather do nothing for the kids, wait for them to become bad apples and then arrest them?


PRICE: Rick, it's the risk of falling. It happened in my own community, Roswell, Georgia. They had to remove some of the playground toys because the kids were at risk of falling and breaking. And they didn't want the liability exposure.

But that's not why we're here tonight.


SANCHEZ: But I got to tell you, it's a sad day in our country when we're not making sure that we're looking at this before the problem starts.

I mean, really what we're saying here is, we will wait until we got a problem and then we will deal with these children. In the meantime, we are going to do very little for them.

Mr. Lesley. PRICE: That's not what we're saying. That's not what we're saying.


LESLEY: Rick, that's exactly right.

One of the things that we talk about is, children right now represent a quarter of the nation's population. But they are all of our future.

And one of the things that -- about this program is, all we're asking for is one quarter of 1 percent of the federal budget. And it just is shocking to us that this is the issue that people are drawing the line on. The president has vetoed no bills throughout his -- one bill throughout his whole term, and this is the one that people are now saying, oh, no, we have got to stop.

SANCHEZ: Congressman Price, I want to give you the last word. I got to tell you, though, as a fellow Georgian, looking at this situation, this is not about Republicans. This is not about Bush.

PRICE: You're right.

SANCHEZ: This is not about Democrats. It's about the promises guys like you make to us as parents that you are going to be looking out for our children. And I wonder if you keep that promise when you get into office, sir.

PRICE: I live up to that promise, because the bill that I support, which is the reauthorization of SCHIP, would cover kids who parents are unable to afford insurance for them.

We support that. Our party supports that. The president supports that. I'm here telling you that I'm ready, willing and able to sign -- to support that bill, vote for it, and encourage the president to sign it. That's not the bill that came through the House and the Senate this week.

SANCHEZ: Bruce Lesley and Representative Tom Price, my thanks to both of you for being with us.

And a programming note: We are going to continue to follow this story. This is a live signal that we're showing you right now.

We have been following what's going on right now on the Senate. As you can see, the vote is taking place. As soon as we get any results, we will be sharing those with you.


UNIDENTIFIED ATTORNEY: Would you find it also offensive for a black male to call a black woman a bitch?

THOMAS: Not as much. And I'm sorry to say I do make a distinction. (END VIDEO CLIP)

SANCHEZ: What? It's OK for a black male to say that, but not for a white male? Will thinking like that cost NBA great Isiah Thomas millions or what? Tonight, the jury has his case.

Also, the continuing controversy over Bill O'Reilly and what he said to me about complaints from his listeners.


SANCHEZ: That is what happens when you stir up a wasps' nest. We showed you that picture tonight, apropos tonight, because now former NBA star and current New York Knicks coach Isiah Thomas has done just that. He's fighting a $10 million sexual harassment suit.

But remember that, during his career, fans always seemed to think of Thomas as Mr. Nice Guy. Always had that huge smile. Everybody seemed to love him. That was his image, as a matter of fact, when he played for there for the University of Indiana, played for Bobby Knight, one of the toughest coaches ever, came out without any problems.

Well, he was on court also for the Detroit Pistons playing like very few NBA players could play, making last-minute shots in many of those games. And then even on the sidelines, he moved over to the NBA and moved into management, moved into coaching.

But now Thomas has gone from a basketball court, as a matter of fact, to a courtroom having to answer questions, because today a jury began deliberating the sexual harassment charges that were filed by a former Knicks executive.

Anucha Browne Sanders says that, in addition to making unwanted advances, Thomas allegedly swore at her, using the B-word, the one that rhymes with witch.

And he was asked about this during in a pretrial deposition. To the dismay of everyone who was in that room, here's what he said.


THOMAS: I will put it to you this way. That would have violated my code of conduct, OK? And maybe I'm not go supposed to go here, but I'm going to go here anyway.

But a white man calling a black female that, it's on with me, too. I'm not tolerating that. I'm not accepting that. So, if it's going down that road, with a black female and white male saying that to her, that's a problem for me. Screw this conduct thing.


SANCHEZ: It's amazing that he would say something like that, at least to most people.

So, here's the question. Is it only OK for a black man to use that word when referring himself to a woman, but not a white guy?

Joining me now is Andi Zeisler, co-founder of -- boy, I'm going to say it, because it's the official name of your magazine -- "Bitch" magazine. And Donnell Rawlings, radio personality, and he's also a humorist.

I have got to start with you, Donnell.


SANCHEZ: is there any justification for saying that, I'm a black guy. I can say B-I-T-C-H to a woman, but you, as a white guy, you can't say that; that would be offensive.

RAWLINGS: No, I don't it's any justification, but, as sad as it may be, I think it's socially acceptable in the African-American community as a word that we use to communicate certain thoughts.


SANCHEZ: What? Wait, wait, wait. If I have questions, I know people at home have questions.


SANCHEZ: You just said it may be appropriate to use that in the African-American community in certain circumstances. What possible circumstance?


RAWLINGS: No, I mean, like when -- sometimes, if somebody is happy, like, OK, if you trying to make a reference to somebody being good at their profession, whatever, you might hear in the African community, that bitch is bad. You might hear, oh, that's a bad bitch.

But coming out of a white guy's mouth or whatever, you don't take it the same way, because that is something that you're not normally used to hearing.

SANCHEZ: So, you're saying if you use it in a different way, almost like collegially, like you're giving someone a praise or something, right, not as an accusation -- in other words, if you called me or I called you that word...


RAWLINGS: As a black guy. As a black guy. And it's the same thing, the same example with the N-word, or whatever.

And that has been under a lot of controversy, like, is it OK for somebody to say the N-word or this other race not to say the N-word? But we know through hip-hop and through the younger generation and everything that it's been a word that's been socially acceptable with teens and in hip-hop music. SANCHEZ: Andi, you're a woman. You have a magazine that is called after this. It's named after this. The question to you is obviously are there any circumstances when you think the use of this word is appropriate, when addressed to a woman?

ANDI ZEISLER, CO-FOUNDER, "BITCH": Well, can I say the word?

SANCHEZ: Of course you can.



Here's the thing about bitch. It's a unique insult, because it's always about gender. When you call a woman a bitch, you are cursing her for being a woman. When a man calls a man a bitch, he is using that to emasculate the other man. You really can't separate it from gender.


SANCHEZ: It sounds like you're perfectly fine with the use of the word.

I am going to hold you for just a moment, and I'm going to come right back to you. But I want to share with you and also with our viewers something that happened in court, because after the attorneys realized what Isiah Thomas had said, it seemed like they double- clutched. Then they went back and they asked him, do you just say what we think you said? Take a listen to this.


UNIDENTIFIED ATTORNEY: Mr. Thomas, you stated earlier that you found it offensive for a white man to call a black woman a bitch.

Do you remember that testimony?

THOMAS: Mm-hmm.

UNIDENTIFIED ATTORNEY: You have to say yes.



Would you find it also offensive for a black male to call a black woman a bitch?

THOMAS: Not as much. And I'm sorry to say, I do make a distinction.


SANCHEZ: Now, he's backtracked his testimony on that. But let me go back to you, Andi. And I'm not talking about just the use of the word in general. I'm talking about the argument that he's making. As an African-American male, he can say the word, but he would have a very serious problem if a white male used the same word and addressed it to a woman.

What do you make of that?


Well, I think that's a very specious distinction, and I don't buy it. What I hear from that is that he's saying it's OK for a black man to call a black woman a bitch, because they're in the same community.

But what it sounds to me like is that he is saying black women are black men's property and they can refer to them how they like, because, again, I'm bringing back to gender. It's a gendered insult. That's not a synonym for woman.


SANCHEZ: We're down to about 15 seconds. And I want to give you the last word, because that sounds like something you would probably want to respond to.

RAWLINGS: Well, I don't necessarily -- again, I don't think that it's right for anybody to say it. And she made the same comment that, in the black community or whatever, it's accepted, because that's something that's been part of our language for a while.

SANCHEZ: It's just another word.

RAWLINGS: Another word.

SANCHEZ: Donnell Rawlings and Andi Zeisler, we thank you both.


O'REILLY: Well, it doesn't matter. It gets out in the press, it gets out in the press.


SANCHEZ: Still ahead, revisiting O'Reilly and race. What he told me about getting no complaints from his listeners. Was it true?

Also, a daring robbery caught on tape. Imagine how terrified this cashier was with a knife at her back. See it there. We will be back..


SANCHEZ: This is an important story we have been following for you every day this week. And we want to continue, because this is a dangerous situation. It's a crackdown in Myanmar. It's the country that used to be known as Burma, as many of you know. Now, the country's military junta have been trying to crush the anti-government demonstrators. And there you see some of the members of that military group right there.

Reportedly today, soldiers fired into crowds and beat some of these Buddhist monks, who seemed by all indication to be protesting peacefully. There you see some of the vehicles coming in with all the soldiers. Apparently, they raided Buddhist monasteries to keep monks from joining the protests.

State media -- key point here, state media -- say nine people have been killed. Real witnesses on the ground that have talked to some independent reports say many, many more have died. The U.S. has increased sanctions in Myanmar in response to this.

And there's another story that I want to bring you now. This is another one that we have been watching closely. This is an elderly man taking money out of an ATM machine. This is in England. Now, watch what happens here.

All right, there's two guys that show up, right? One of the fellows starts working with the other one. They know they are going to go after this old fellow. And they are going to take his ATM card. He's going to give to the other one, who is then going to go to an adjacent ATM, and basically clean out his account. The little old guy is not able to help himself.

They withdraw all his cash. The guy never even knew what happened to him. And, tonight, police say they're looking for these two.


BOYCE WATKINS, PROFESSOR, SYRACUSE UNIVERSITY: You cannot continue to insult and degrade and devalue African-American people and women and children, the way he has, and not be challenged on that.


BLITZER: That's just one of the guests we have tonight. That's Boyce Watkins. You know he's talking about Bill O'Reilly. The controversy over his questionable comments continues.

Also, this. This guy here, he saved $59,000 washing dishes for like 10 years as he comes to the United States. So, why has the money been confiscated from him? And they're asking him to even pay more. This is part of our "Immigration Nation" segment tonight.

Stay with us. We will be right back.


(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would like to give hip the benefit of the doubt. I don't think that he meant what he said. I don't like what was said.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: To me, it's ignorant and that was really hurtful. Because I think anyone who lives in New York or in any city or even a small town would know that Black people just don't scream and yell and curse.

SANCHEZ: He goes on to say this: "Black Americans are starting to think more and more for themselves, they're getting away from Sharpton's and Jackson's and people trying to lead them into a race- based culture."

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think that every culture has icons and people that tend to be the forefront, or icons of that particular culture. So, with this being said, I don't know where he's going with it.


SANCHEZ: And there you have it, a couple of opinions from diners that I spoke to in Harlem at a restaurant that's called Sylvia's, the center of controversy sparked by Bill O'Reilly after he talked about dining in that restaurant on his radio show recently. Among his remarks O'Reilly said he couldn't get over the fact that there's no difference between this restaurant and other restaurants even though it was run by Blacks.

Tonight we examine this controversy sparked by what Bill O'Reilly said. And we're going to start with another fact check. Because we've been looking at some of the things he said and then looking at the record. When I called him on Monday, remember I told you this, to get his response, O'Reilly told me there that wasn't one complaint from any of the listeners to his radio show the day that he made those comments. He also told other members of the media that. And he repeated the claim Monday on his television show.


BILL O'REILLY, "THE O'REILLY FACTOR": Recently on the "Radio Factor," I did an hour on how racism is dumb, how it is driven by fear. And I even used my own late grandmother as an example. Now, you can hear that radio hour on, it's a very interesting discussion. We didn't hear one complaint about the program that ran on more than 400 radio stations.


SANCHEZ: Not one complaint. Well, we checked the record. In fact we listened to the recording of the entire show and found a caller who was upset and did complain. This is John on the radio calling O'Reilly's show now, from Indianapolis.


O'REILLY: John, Indianapolis. What say you, John?

JOHN: Oh, I think your spinning and bloviating does not do the Black community justice. You're just giving fodder to your viewers who have a negative view of Black people anyway, so your pointing out a couple of Twistas and Ludacrises in the large general population is shameful.


SANCHEZ: Here's what surprises me about this. If people are offended by something that you have said, why not just say, I apologize to those who were offended and just move on. Instead, after I called O'Reilly to get his response before we aired our report, he lambasted me. He screamed at me. He demeaned me for even considering doing a story about him. Why not just apologize, Bill and then just move on? Admit it's a stupid thing to say and just be done with it?

Because racist or not, intentional or not, one thing is indisputable. It was a stupid thing to say.

Here now we pick up with our own guests as we examine this controversy. Earlier I spoke with Tim Wise, he's the author of "White Like Me: Reflections on Race by a Privileged Son" and then Boyce Watkins, Syracuse University professor and founder of


Tim, let me begin with you. Hasn't Mr. O'Reilly actually perpetuated this situation, the very thinking he now says he was trying to knock down?

TIM WISE, AUTHOR, "WHITE LIKE ME", Well, of course. I mean, first of all he's being disingenuous. His comment was THAT he was shocked that Sylvia's was like any other restaurant. That he was shocked that people in Sylvia's weren't saying "m-fer bring me some iced tea." That's like saying that if you go to the Meetin' Three (ph) in South you expect everybody to be like Jed Clampette. I mean, nobody would say that everyone would know it was offensive. So, when he said it, he wasn't just talking about other people's views, he was expressing his own. But I think the bigger issue here, is...

SANCHEZ: Let me stop you for a minute and challenge you. On Mr. O'Reilly behalf because he's been asserting that in fact he was speaking for other people. That he was trying to let his viewers know, pardon me, his listeners know that all Black people aren't like that.

WISE: Well, first of all, if his listeners believe that, then they are not only ignorant, but racist. If White people believed that they're the sum of stereotypes they see in media, that takes a profound amount of a lack of critical thinking. But when he says "I was shocked," he didn't say my listeners might be shocked, he didn't say lots of White people might be surprised to learn that Sylvia's is not a place where people cuss. He said, "I was stunned, I was shocked." Now he's trying to backpedal. But I think the bigger point here, and it's important to point this out, is that White Americans, and I'm one of them, and I talk to White folks a lot, they're all around round me -- White folks don't know Black reality. While folks -- 80 percent or more of White Americans live in communities where there are almost no people of color around. So, we live in this bubble of unreality. We really need to get out more, I think is what this suggests.

SANCHEZ: Is it important, Boyce, that Bill O'Reilly used a personal pronoun when he made that explanation? He used the word "I," he didn't say "others."

BOYCE WATKINS, YOURBLACKWORLD.COM: Yeah, that's the fundamental questions, typically. Yeah, he's usually asking me why are there so many single mothers, why are they getting arrested, you know, what's wrong with you people. And that's just racist rhetoric and the fact that he has so many followers, so many viewers, I never get more hate mail than when I'm on a FOX show. That really says a lot about him, it says a lot about his audience and it says a lot about our country, unfortunately.

SANCHEZ: I want to share something with you before we run out of time. Boyce, hold on for just a moment. This is not the first time this happens and in the past, people have said, like O'Reilly, this was certainly not intentional. Let's take a look at some previous clips.


SEN JOE BIDEN (D), DELAWARE: I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy. I mean, that's a storybook, man."

BARBARA BUSH, FMR FIRST LADY: ...what I'm hearing, which is sort of scary, is they all want to stay in Texas. Everybody is so overwhelmed by the hospitality. And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this -- this is working very well for them.


SANCHEZ: Two comments, both of them subtle racist comments, at least in terms of they're discarded by many of my friends who perceived them at the time. Any different than what Bill O'Reilly did?


WATKINS: Well actually, Bill O'Reilly needs to watch it because he's every bit as bad as Don Imus. I mean, the fact is that he's actually done more damage to Imus, the difference is though, that Imus sort delivered his blow in one fell swoop. But through time, if Bill O'Reilly continues to do this thing, I know that in, we're eventually going to come after him. He cannot continue to insult and degrade and devalue African-American people and women and children the way he has and not be challenged on that.

SANCHEZ: But, Tim, there is a difference, isn't there? I mean, Don Imus was very direct. It was more like a hammer over the head as opposed to a velvet glove in O'Reilly's case.

WISE: Yeah, but Rick, you know, the problem is. There have been some studies that have come out recently that have actually found that the subtle racism, the kind that's not as blatant, the kind that makes the Black person say, wait a minute, what was that? -- is actually worse in terms of the health effect, the psychological effect that it has on people of color.

At least when it's blatant, Black and Brown folks know what it is, they don't have to second guess. When it's subtle, when it's packaged in when it's never, oh, never intentional, that's the kind of stuff that actually puts folks of color back on their heels and makes them have to constantly second guest every interaction they have. That's dangerous stuff.

SANCHEZ: We're going to have to leave it there, gentlemen.

WATKINS: That's an interesting point.

SANCHEZ: Interesting discussion. Boys, sorry, we'll get you back. Tim Wise, author of "White Like Me," and Boyce Watkins from Syracuse University and My thanks to you both.


SANCHEZ: And now when we come back, this is our "Immigration Nation" segment we bring you every night. This is a guy who's been knocking himself out for like 10 years as a dishwasher. All of the money he's collected is gone. He's going to tell us his story, as a matter of fact. He doesn't speak English, so I'll translate for you by talking to him in Spanish. Stay with us, we'll be right back.


SANCHEZ: Welcome back to OUT IN THE OPEN, I'm Rick Sanchez. We're going fast tonight, because we got a lot of stuff to get through. The guy you're about to meet, he already had a couple of successful careers under his belt. So, we learned from this, because who says that you can't change, because this guy did. In fact, he made a play for a third on Capitol Hill. Here's Ali Velshi with tonight's "Life after Work."


ALI VELSHI, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's fall in Washington, and Heath Shuler is back under center, but this time he's quarterbacks a team of his fellow U.S. congressman practicing for a charity game.

You see, Shuler's new playing field is the U.S. Capitol.

REP HEATH SHULER (D), NORTH CAROLINA: True leaders lead by example. And the way that they can stand for it and say look, you can follow me. You can follow me, we can do this together. And I think we just have to have more people that will have the courage to stand up and reject their own party when they feel that the party is wrong.

VELSHI: Shuler's independent streak is part of the reason he got elected last November as a conservative Democrat from North Carolina. But he's better known for his days as a star quarterback at University of Tennessee and brief NFL career.

His road to politics started when a major foot injury in 1997 forced him to think of life after football.

SHULER: I knew at that point I needed to have a new direction in my life that football wasn't going to be here forever. I needed to have that plan for my life going forward.

VELSHI: Shuler retired from football and built a successful real estate business with his he brother, but a part of him felt unfulfilled.

SHULER: I never had intentions to be a member of Congress. It was, what can I do to help my community? And my community suggested that I put my hat in the arena to be a member of Congress.

VELSHI: And so Shuler continues to learn the Washington playbook as he works on issues that are important to him: The environment and assisting small businesses and he's already made plans for the future. Shuler says he's running for reelection in 2008.

Ali Velshi, CNN.


SANCHEZ: Here's the story we've been telling you about. You might recall the story, her on CNN, some time back, it's about a man who achieved the American dream and then the U.S. government stepped in and it more morphed into a nightmare. His entire life savings confiscated by the feds. Well, now they want to take even more from him. Our John Zarrella brings us new details OUT IN THE OPEN.


JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For 11 years, Pedro Zapeta lived his simple version of the American dream in Stuart, Florida. He washed dishes. He saved nearly every nickel. Two years ago he was ready to go home. Zapeta carried this duffel bag filled with all of the cash he had scrimped and saved to the Fort Lauderdale Airport. Security spotted the money.

PEDRO ZAPETA, IMMIGRANT (through translator): They asked me how much money I had.

ZARRELLA: It was $59,000, and every last cent was seized by U.S. Customs. He didn't know he had to declare that he was carrying more than $10,000, but that's the law. And since then, Zapeta has been fighting not only deportation, but also get his hard-earned money back.

ZAPETA (through translator): They are treating me like a criminal when all I am is a working man.

ZARRELLA: Pedro, the dishwasher's story sparking an outpouring of generosity and now nearly $10,000 in donations sits in trust.

(on camera): Not long ago, his attorney says, federal prosecutors offered Pedro a deal. He could take $10,000 of the original cash seized, plus the 9,000 in donations, not talk and leave the country immediately.

Pedro said no, he wanted all of the money, he had earned it.

(voice-over): If you think things couldn't get worse for Pedro Zapeta, you're wrong. Now, according to the attorney, the IRS wants the donated cash? Why? To cover taxes on the donations and on the money he made as dishwasher. Neither federal prosecutors nor the IRS will discuss the case.

MARISOL ZEQUEIRA, ZAPETA'S IMMIGRATION ATTY: When you are poor, uneducated, and illegal, your avenues are cut...

ZARRELLA: Wednesday, he went to immigration court and got the rest of the bad news. The judge gave the dishwasher until the end of January to leave the country on his own and he's unlikely to ever see a penny of his money.

ZAPETA (through translator): I am desperate. I no longer feel good about this country.

ZARRELLA: Zapeta's American dream is crushed. All he ever wanted to do, he says, is make enough money to buy some land in this mountain village and build a home for his mother and sisters. For him and for them -- that dream, too, is gone.

John Zarrella, CNN, Miami.


SANCHEZ: What a story. And Pedro Zapeta joins us now. (speaking foreign language) thanks so much for being with us. Let me ask you this question speaking foreign language). You must feel pretty bad.

ZAPETA: (speaking foreign language)

SANCHEZ: (speaking foreign language) How do you feel about the United States?

ZAPETA: (speaking foreign language)

SANCHEZ: You feel sad because (speaking foreign language) -- you feel sad because you feel like you've been treated as a criminal and you came here to work. (speaking foreign language) How much money did you lose? (speaking foreign language) ZAPETA: (speaking foreign language)

SANCHEZ: $59,000 (speaking foreign language) So now they want you to pay more -- they want you to pay actually a tax on that money that you no longer have. (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE) How much are they asking for? (speaking foreign language)

ZAPETA: (speaking foreign language)

SANCHEZ: You're not willing to accept any money at this point, you just want your money back. Did you know -- (speaking foreign language) -- did you know that there's a law on the books that says that you're supposed to declare any amount of money over $10,000 when you travel out of the country? (speaking foreign language)

ZAPETA: (speaking foreign language)

SANCHEZ: You didn't know that? So, (speaking foreign language) Do you have a lawyer?

ZAPETA: (speaking foreign language)

SANCHEZ: (speaking foreign language) What is the lawyer telling you?

ZAPETA: (speaking foreign language)

SANCHEZ: He's not telling you anything at this point, that you'll be able to get the money back. (speaking foreign language) How long are you going to be able to stay in this country before they deport you or tell you have to leave?

ZAPETA: (speaking foreign language)

SANCHEZ: So, you're allowed to be here until next January, you say. (speaking foreign language) What does your family say when you tell them about this?

ZAPETA: (speaking foreign language)

SANCHEZ: So, they say that they're in fact very sad, in fact, very sad for you. What was your life like in the United States? (speaking foreign language) You were a dishwasher, is that right?

ZAPETA: (speaking foreign language)

SANCHEZ: (speaking foreign language) How were you able to save all of that money, $59,000 is a lot of money for a dishwasher?

ZAPETA: (speaking foreign language)

SANCHEZ: You say you worked very hard and you never rested. I mean, you would work from Monday through Saturday, and only get some rest on Sunday. What an amazing story. (speaking foreign language) Pedro, thanks so much.

ZAPETA: (speaking foreign language)

SANCHEZ: We're going to be right back.


SANCHEZ: And we welcome you back. Earlier, we were talking about America's priorities and how much we care about our children in this country or sometimes don't. Well, I want to introduce you to somebody who's found her own answer to that question, in her own heart. Here's tonight's CNN Hero.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All right. So, let's start.

MONICA LOVATO, FOUNDER ESPANOLA BOXING CLUB: Espanola is was a small community. And the biggest thing out there, they always say is the drugs and the overdoses and the poverty and all of the bad things, that type of representation. It is negative and it hurts the kids, it hurts the kids to hear that and to think that, you know, that's all there is.


Nearly one quarter of Espanola's population lives below the poverty line.

In 2006, Espanola Valley's drug overdose death rate was approximately five times the national average.


My name is Monica Lovato, and I started a boxing program last year in the city of Espanola, so that the kids would have something to do and somewhere to go after school.

When I was younger, there wasn't much to do in Espanola. We just found somebody's house to hang out at and party.

Leroy Concono (ph) was my boyfriend throughout high school. After high school he got into a car accident on his way home late at night and he was killed in the car accident. Leroy's death really, really took a toll on me. It felt like a part of me died. To try and get my mine off things, forget about Leroy and forget about what happened, I started boxing. It's really changing my life around.

ANNOUNCER: And the new IBA woman's boxing bantamweight champion, Monica Lovato!

LOVATO: I just recently won the IBA Bantamweight World Champion Title belt. Last year I made an agreement with the city that I would volunteer my time to start an Espanola Boxing Club. It's something for the people, something for the community.


Moinica Lovato, "Community Crusader."


The most important part of my program is teaching self-discipline and raising their self-esteem.

Those of you who have been slacking on running, you're only hurting yourselves, remember that, OK?


Since its inception, more than 200 students have participated in the Espanola Boxing Club.

Seven of Monica's students are competing as amateur boxers.


The dream is to build a big community center that's affordable for everybody. If we don't keep them busy and have something for them to do. Well then, we haven't accomplished anything. I'm not just boxing in the ring, but I'm fighting for my community.


SANCHEZ: And you can check out for more on Monica Lovato's story.

Coming up next, check out the cute bears. Cute now, wait until you hear how big they're going to get. Stay with us, we'll be right back.


SANCHEZ: All right, welcome back, I'm Rick Sanchez.

My producers think I'm a pain in the derriere, because I like to take ownership of everything we do on this newscast -- word, pictures. These pictures weren't picked by me. This is my producer, Mutalli (ph) who love animal stories and every time she sees cute bears or cute anything, she has to put it on the air, so I give her credit for this, or blame.

Check out the new arrivals at this is a zoo in Hamburg, Germany. This is Conchatca (ph) bears, three brothers and their sister, all nine months. Glad we can show them for Mutalli and for you. Thanks for being with us. I'm Rick Sanchez, here's Larry King. Hasta Manana.