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Early Release Warnings; Tea Party Convention Up; Jobs Report Provides Little Comfort; Stored DNA Puts Some Ill At Ease

Aired February 5, 2010 - 10:00   ET


JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): ... a Saints snuggie. Fits good too. Oh when the Saints win the Super Bowl.

IRVIN MAYFIELD, JAZZ MUSICIAN: It's not about win or lose, we've got to win. It's called the Super Bowl for a reason.


ZARRELLA (voice-over): John Zarrella, CNN, New Orleans.


KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: Well, you know those 10 Americans being held in Haiti? They are going to stay behind bars with no bail. They have now been charged with child kidnapping. A judge can take up to three months to decide whether to prosecute them. The group said they were trying to take 33 kids and give them a better life in the Dominican Republic. Now they could face a maximum penalty of life in prison.

North Korea it is releasing an American held since December. Missionary Robert Park detained after illegally entering that country. Park was carrying a letter to leader Kim Jong Il calling on him to free political prisoners and open borders for food and medical shipment. North Korea state-run media says it's letting Park go after letting "repentance of his wrongdoings."

His lawyer calls it a terrible accident, not a criminal act. James Ray jailed on manslaughter charges. The self-help guru organized a sweat lodge ceremony last October where three people died and 20 others got sick.

It's a moment of crisis. That's a description straight from Toyota's top man, and it's not getting any better. We've reached another day and another modeling question. In his first news conference since the massive recalls first began, the car maker's chief executive says I'm sorry for the safety concerns that now dog Toyota owners around the world.

However, Akio Toyoda, the grandson of the company's founder says there was no cover-up and they have been very transparent with the safety problems. He says his company is cooperating now with U.S. investigators as they examine possible braking problems on the new Prius hybrids. The same brake systems are also in the latest models of the Lexus hybrids. So those cars are now in question also. As you can see, Toyota's problems are staggering. 8.1 million vehicles have now been recalled for the gas pedal problems.

CNN's Kyung Lah joining us now with the newest information from Japan and its top guy getting a lot of criticism, Kyung, for not talking sooner.

KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Certainly a lot of criticism and being certainly the object of frustration by the media here in this press conference that just wrapped up a few hours ago. The reporters really in something that's quite extraordinary in Japan, something we don't see all the time, reporters asking very directly asking where was your management style? What is your management style? Where was your leadership, Mr. President?

And the response that we got is that what he tried to do is handle this crisis deliberately. What we got from Akio Toyoda is an apology. What we did not get and what some speculated would come today is a recall of the 2010 Prius. Now, Akio Toyoda also saying what he is planning on doing is setting up a global committee, a committee around the world to try to deal with the various issues that are facing his company and there are a lot of issues as you point out, Kyra.

He did say that if there was any sort of gap between when they found out about the problems, when they were investigating it and when they acted and informed the public, it was not intentional. That was from his vice president. And if there was any sort of distress on the part of the consumers, they apologize. Here is what Akio Toyoda told the media today.


AKIO TOYODA, TOYOTA PRES. & CEO (through translator): The current problem is a huge problem and it is a critical situation. We as a company must unite and work hard to regain the trust from our customers and I believe that is also my responsibility.


LAH: But when asked if it is your responsibility, have you been hiding these last two weeks as all of these problems have been mounting against the company, what he said was that was not his intent. He wanted to get the people who could best deal with the issues out front. That as a management team, they are one and that he did not feel and did not want customers to feel that he was letting them down.

But certainly, Kyra, he's got a lot of explaining to do. We'll have to see if customers feel that this was enough, but it was just about an hour and there are a lot of questions that were unanswered in that room. Kyra.

PHILLIPS: And a lot more investigations under way. Kyung Lah, thank you so much. We're not going to take our eyes off this story concerning Toyota so stay with us for all the latest information. And if you're away from your TV set, you can always go to There you can find the latest developments and see if your car has been recalled.

12 hours, that's how long it took one California inmate to strike again after his early release this week. 12 hours, then attempted rape. It's a story that we've been following. The early releases and the warnings from law enforcement. But now from Richard Sharp of affiliate KCRA in Sacramento, we get to hear from the suspect himself back behind bars after just 12 hours of freedom.


RICHARD SHARP, KCRA REPORTER (on camera): Do you think they should have let you out in the first place?

KEVIN PATERSON, SUSPECT: No. I'm a menace. You know, I don't seem to work well with others.

SHARP: From inside the Sacramento county jail, 22-year-old Kevin Peterson admits he should never have been released from jail.

PATERSON: I was feeling suicidal.

SHARP: 12 hours after he was released for good behavior, Peterson was arrested for attempted rape. It happened on North C Street in Sacramento.

PATERSON: Mom always wanted me in a safe, warm place.

SHARP: Before his release, Peterson was serving time for assault, a felony. So why was he let out? Sacramento county Sheriff John McGinness says under the new state guidelines for good behavior, he still qualified for early release.

SHERIFF JOHN MCGINNESS, SACRAMENTO COUNTY, CALIFORNIA: Quite frankly, we all knew that this was flawed. It's not good. Nobody in the criminal justice system is celebrating this development.

SHARP: The lawmaker behind the bill, Senator Denise Ducheney has got meetings all day and refused to go on camera about the new early release guidelines. So did the governor's office. But Peterson, the man who says he should never have been let out, does support the early release program.

PATERSON: This was a freak accident, you know.

SHARP: You don't think it's going to happen again, not with you but with other inmates?

PATERSON: Hopefully - I hope it doesn't happen with anyone else.

SHARP: After 12 hours of freedom, Peterson hopes he's not let out any time soon.


PHILLIPS: Well, in that piece you heard from Sacramento county Sheriff John McGinness, not surprised by the re-arrest and warning that maybe we should get used to stories like these. Sheriff McGinness is joining me live from Sacramento, California.

I tell you what, sheriff, I mean you just hear his story and listen to him and this is somebody that has been failed by the system on so many levels. At the same time, did you see this coming?

MCGINNESS: Well, honestly, Kyra, good morning, by the way. I think I did feel that was inevitable that problems were going to occur as a result of letting people out of custody early when they have already engaged in conduct that got them there in the first place.

However, this is a pretty extreme event and his behavior in particular, so shortly after being released. And by the way, he's got about 12 hours of time that we're not certain he hasn't been involved in other criminalities. Don't be surprised to hear of that maybe developing as investigations continue. But I think - you can just rely on the fact when you have a large number of inmates who have engaged in inappropriate, illegal behavior to find themselves in custody now all of a sudden released in large numbers, it's absolutely predictable that you'll have this kind of a thing occur.

PHILLIPS: So does this mean extra work for you there at the sheriff's department? Because you start releasing these guys and they start offending again, I mean, you've got to deal with it.

MCGINNESS: Absolutely. The reality is the state of California is in economic crisis. And this early release program is a product of that - of solutions in search of dealing with the economic crisis. And so while field law enforcement operation in our department in particular has taken enormous hits, about 122 officer positions in our department laid off last year, now add to that problem by increasing the number of inmates released early, it's absolutely inevitable. Very predictable that this is going to occur, this kind of problem will occur.

PHILLIPS: So what's your biggest fear? Do you think you could start seeing more rapes, more armed robbery, more murders? I mean, as a sheriff what are you most concerned about right now in light of this first rearrest that you've seen in your area and knowing there will be more?

MCGINNESS: My concern is the overall well-being of the public in the state of California. Everybody has been scratching their head of late trying to figure out why crime is down. Well, I think a large part of it is that in the past several years, the electorate, the population within the state of California and elsewhere have kind of taken control away from the legislature through the referendum process and called for stricter sentencing guidelines because of frustrations historically about people getting out early. Not being held to answer to the extent required by statute. So I think we have enjoyed a little bit of a change in behavior because so many people who had the propensity to violate the law have been locked up. Now that's being reversed. That's being reversed in a time when law enforcement resources on the street, Street Patrol, investigative resources, are being reduced or eliminated outright.

PHILLIPS: So, sheriff -

MCGINNESS: So the combination of these factors, I'm very fearful will create a less safe California.

PHILLIPS: So what's your answer to the overcrowding problem? You know, if you had the power to make the decision, what would be your step?

MCGINNESS: You ask a very, very critical question, and it's a tough one. But I think we have to go back and look at the guidelines that have been established to calculate good time. By the way, the governor's office, I believe Governor Schwarzenegger's office is very sensitive to this and I think we have had some good dialogue with them and I think there is hope to get more realistic about the sentencing guidelines or the determinating guidelines in terms of releasing inmates early.

This man that you just heard from had a history of assault with a deadly weapon. You would think normal basic perception is that's a violent crime. However, in this context with the changes in statutory law recently imposed by the legislature, it does not rise to the level of violent criminal behavior unless it involves the use of a firearm or great bodily injury.

PHILLIPS: Wow, therein lies another problem.

MCGINNESS: Exactly. So I think we've got to get very realistic about how to determine who it is that should be considered for early release and who shouldn't. And the bottom line is we have found ourselves in a position where we've really dealt with misbehavior most effectively through incarceration and the ability for the state of California to continue to do that to the extent it has based upon financial constraints is really, really jeopardized.

PHILLIPS: Sheriff John McGinness there out of Sacramento, California. We appreciate your time today. We'll definitely stay on this story and follow up. Thanks, Sheriff.

MCGINNESS: Thank you.

PHILLIPS: Rob Marciano, what have you got ahead for us?

ROB MARCIANO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: We got a decent snowstorm. Actually it's a doozy. This one rivals the historic one that came through the same area in December. Atlanta to Raleigh, we're seeing rainfall right now and all that rain is heading into colder air, starting to snow now in D.C. and Dulles. It's not going to stop probably until tomorrow afternoon and it will tap into some Atlantic moisture. Look at these snow total forecasts across the D.C.-Philadelphia area. 16 to 24 inches in D.C., potentially 12 to 18 inches in Philadelphia. Right now, our computer models are cutting off New York but if the track shifts anywhere further north New York could see eight to 12 potentially as we go through tomorrow. We'll have much more throughout the morning and Reynolds Wolf is coming up live in Alexandria, Virginia, in just a couple of minutes.



PHILLIPS: All right. We're checking in at and the news pulse web page. Check it out right now. These are the stories that you're logging on, to the most popular at this time. It's updated every 15 minutes. Look at this, just about 15 - well, about 45 minutes ago we aired our Drew Griffin's investigation about the U.S. marshals. 800 million bucks going into the marshal system, only four arrests. Where's the money going, what's the deal? Check it out, the most popular story right now. Great work by our investigative reporter.

We'll keep checking into the news pulse on, it's updated every 15 minutes.


PHILLIPS: They're preparing for the worst and hoping for the best in the northeast. A monster winter storm bearing down right now. We're talking a lot of heavy snow, fierce winds, bitter cold. Thousands of emergency crews all ready to go as people right now rushing to buy snow shovels, ice melters, salt.

The Washington, D.C., area will be hit especially hard, up to two feet of snow expected there. Some schools closed ahead of the storm fearing what the roads are going to be like come 3:00. Perhaps a wise decision considering the conditions are expected to turn treacherous as the day wears on. Right, Reynolds Wolf, you're live in Alexandria, Virginia, watching it all.

REYNOLDS WOLF, AMS METEOROLOGIST: That is correct. You're absolutely right. You know, one thing we've heard about many of the local stores, you have a lot of places that are already out of bread, out of milk, out of salt. We're not out of salt in this location. This is one of the salt domes that we have in northern Virginia and Alexandria.

This is one of the places where the Virginia Department of Transportation actually gets the salt they put on the road. It's actually step two of a three-step process they have to treat the roads during these wintertime conditions, during these big winter storms.

First they put out that brine solution. They did much of that yesterday. Today they're putting out the salt as we mentioned and they're even using a bit of sand on the roadways too. Not necessarily on the roads but take a look at this as we step outside for a bit. You're going to see this front-end loader and behind that you see a big mountain of sand.

What they do, Kyra is they get that sand, throw it in the back of the trucks and that gives the truck a little more leverage to move some of that snow. Now, to get some of the sand and some of that odd salt you saw moments ago into the trucks, you have to have a big machine like this. This big machine that you see here is about to move on ever, this earth mover.

And as it does move over, it's going to be the big arm that's going to put all the stuff inside these trucks. Take a look at this truck. We've got - let's see, Chris Turner is with us, CNN photojournalist and here's a shot of one of 60 trucks they have been using at this particular station, Kyra. And these trucks are going to be on the road, these drivers, the men and women out here, for 12 hours at a time. They're going to continue to just go out and dump more of these stuff out in terms of the salt.

But then after a while, salt is not going to be the issue, it's just going to be just simply snow removal with the front end of these back loaders and of course, these big trucks. You hear a big beep. The big beep means the big machine is going to come backing up as it does.

PHILLIPS: Time for you to go.

WOLF: Get out of the way. Watch out, Chris. Yes.

We love Chris.

PHILLIPS: Yes, we do.

WOLF: We love you guys. We like to stay on the air.

PHILLIPS: We don't want you to be run over. So we'll follow the trucks -

WOLF: Absolutely. Go back telling the story.

PHILLIPS: There you go.

WOLF: Exactly.

PHILLIPS: Thanks, Reynolds.

WOLF: So what he's going to do is he's going to lift up this big mass, put it in the truck and the truck goes out and it does what it has to do. And of course, Rob is going to tell you coming up in mere moments of how much snow they're going to be dealing with on the roads. Let's just say several feet certainly a possibility. Let's send it back to you, Kyra.

PHILLIPS: Great. Reynolds, thanks so much.

Well, it's not just about football, Super Bowl kickoff is just 56 hours away. The pre-game shows are probably starting right about now. The game, the Saints and the Colts, but like I said it's just about what goes on inside the stadium that's the most important.

CNN's Joe Carter down in Ft. Lauderdale this morning. Joe.

JOE CARTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, good morning, Kyra. The Saints, well, they're doing good this year and they're playing in their very first Super Bowl, but for the better part of 43 years this has been a losing football franchise. And one group of fans in particular have been by the Saints' side through it all.


JOAN SERPAS, CHARLIE'S SAINTS MARCHING BAND: We kind of got excited November 1st of '66 when we were awarded a franchise because we really weren't sure we were going to get an NFL football team here. So that was exciting in itself, never dreaming the bond with that team would grow over the years as it has grown.

CARTER (voice-over): That bond began when Charlie Kurtz, a New Orleans restaurant owner, decided to celebrate the Saints and formed Charlie's Saints Marching Club. His daughter was the first in line.

SERPAS: We paraded when they won their first game. We had a restaurant and bar. We got pots and pans and took to the streets and just had a great time.

TOM JONES, CHARLIE'S SAINTS MARCHING CLUB: He had three rules for the club. Number one, we were going to support the handicapped children, disadvantaged children. That's number one. Number two, support the Saints. And number three, to have fun. Let it rip. And that's - when it came to number three, there were no rules.

CARTER: The club managed to have a good time, even when the once called ain'ts made losing as common as beer on Bourbon Street. But now finally seeing a Super Bowl has something else flowing in the French quarter as well.

CHARLIE'S LUINDA, CHARLIE'S SAINTS MARCHING BAND: Tears started coming down by face because I remember all those bad years and what we as fans had suffered through.

JONES: When I just turned 20, we got the franchise. Well, I really thought, well, it might be 10 years or so we'll get our first Super Bowl, you know. So 10 years passed, we didn't get a championship. And another 10 years passed. And here I am, 63 years old and it's like a dream come true.

CARTER: After Hurricane Katrina ripped through the city, the Saints were forced to play the entire 2005 season away from home. But much like many residents of New Orleans, the team returned and rebuilt.

SERPAS: I think to a lot of people is symbolized hope. That there's hope that we still have a football team to cheer for. There was people at games on Sundays that didn't even have a house to live in. LUINDA: It's not about the economic value to the people that fill those seats every week and sit in front of their TVs, it's about a dream that's about to come true.

SERPAS: For those three hours, three and a half hours, you forgot about all the badness and you just focused on happiness and good times and that's what the Saints did for the city.


CARTER: Win or lose Sunday night, the city of New Orleans is planning a parade on Tuesday to welcome back the Saints. You can bet Charlie's marchers will lead the way when the Saints come back into town. Kyra.

PHILLIPS: I tell you what, it's an exciting time for New Orleans but it's pretty emotional too, Joe. You definitely captured that.

CARTER: You know, a lot of people down here, whether they have a tie to the Saints or not really want to see that city win a Super Bowl, considering all that they have been through.

PHILLIPS: Yes. Amen. Joe Carter, thanks so much.

Well, they burst on the political scene in a big way this year, so just where to the tea partiers really want to go and what direction are they headed in?



PHILLIPS: More than a movie. Real life on the big screen, taking you to the front lines of Iraq.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You have 45 seconds.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everybody get back!



PHILLIPS: That's the Oscar-nominated "Hurt Locker." We've got the star, Jeremy Renner, standing by, just 25 minutes away.


PHILLIPS: So who are the tea partiers? No, they're not a bunch of protesters dumping Earl Gray into the Boston waters, they're actually thousands strong whose voices and numbers continue to grow. The question now is are they a legitimate new party or just a growing movement of rebel rousers. Mary Snow is live in Nashville at the first-ever tea party convention. Hey, Mary.

MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey there, Kyra. And now that this convention has gotten under way, you can see behind me one of the organizers addressing the 600 people who have paid to be at this convention, as they kick it off. Also getting some literature as you walk in. This is called "Mandate to Save America" as you walked in. When you open it up, it says we're calling on leaders, one of the first things, acknowledge the centrality of faith in America. We call for the right to publicly acknowledge god. This is some of the messages being sent out.

Who is here? One of the people we found, Jack Wilson. He is from Maryland. And Jack, you told me that up until about a year ago you were a Democrat and are now trying to run for Congress, right?


SNOW: You said you felt that you were in the minority here.

WILSON: Yes, there's not a lot of Democrats here but there is a lot of independents here.

SNOW: And what brought you here? What do you hope to accomplish?

WILSON: I'm here to listen to everybody else and see what they have got to say and try to get a feel for how people are feeling.

SNOW: The biggest issue for you?

WILSON: Money. We don't have any money. We've got to get out of debt. I mean it's nice to have social programs and it's nice to spend millions of dollars on saving mice and putting turtles through tunnels and building airways to nowhere but we don't have any money. We're broke.

SNOW:: We've been talking a lot about the fiscal issues here, but you know, as we just saw it, we have this pamphlet that's being handed out as you enter here and it says you call for the right to publicly acknowledge god. Is that something you would call on?

WILSON: I come from the old school. OK. But when I went to school we did have school prayer and we had the reading of the bible and we also said the "Pledge of Allegiance." And that's the way I was brought up. What other people believe, that's their belief, not necessarily mine.

I don't believe that god should be part of politics, but whatever everybody else believes. I mean, God comes in many forms to different people. I mean, you have different religions, have different things. They might not call him god but they still worship. So that's basically what I believe in.

SNOW: So social issues besides just the fiscal ones?

WILSON: I'm sorry? SNOW: So there are social issues being talked about here besides the fiscal ones?

WILSON: Oh, yes. Social issues. Immigration is being talked about and different things like that. Yes.

SNOW: Jack Wilson, thanks for dropping in. And we'll check with you later today.

Kyra, we'll throw it back to you.

PHILLIPS: All right. Real quickly, Mary, you know, people paying attention or how much are people paying attention or paying to attend this? It's like 500 plus dollars, right. And also how much is Sarah Palin getting paid to appear? You know, that's what the critics are saying is that if you're so anti-government and anti-big spending, why all the cash?

SNOW: Yes, there are reports out there that she's getting a $100,000 speaking fee. She has not confirmed that nor have the organizers but Sarah Palin did write an op-ed this week for "USA Today" addressing these questions about money, saying that she would not profit from it. She said that she is going to take whatever she gets and give it back to the cause.

Also organizers are saying when I asked them about the money, they're charging $549 per ticket. About 300 plus dollars to go to that dinner where she's speaking. They're also saying that they're taking that money and giving it back to conservative causes.

PHILLIPS: All right. Mary Snow there at the convention. First ever there for the tea party movement.

We're looking for some good job market news, end of the week on a high note? Well, there's always next Friday.


PHILLIPS: For most people, this recession boils down to one thing, jobs. Stephanie Elam at the New York Stock Exchange with the details on the jobs report. Thousands of people still losing their jobs.

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Kyra, it didn't get any prettier in January. The economy lost 20,000 positions last month. Overall, analysts were expecting a slim gain. The major culprit was the construction industry, which we've seen this entire recession.

Take a look at this chart here, and it shows you where we're coming from. January of last year, we lost 741,000 jobs in just that month alone, and the job losses continued until we finally saw a little gain in November. Although it was short-lived, especially since those gains were wiped out by losses in December. But the trend is visible. Things are improving, just very slowly. Now, the unemployment rate was expected to hold steady at 10 percent but it actually dropped to 9.7 percent in January. Still, we have a lot of ground to make up for on the jobs front, no doubt about it.

So, the takeaway is as long as we are seeing job losses or tiny job gains, the unemployment rate isn't going to come down to what's considered normal, which would be about 5 percent. That's actually considered a healthy economy. That's not going to happen any time soon.

And employers are still very cautious, so they aren't likely to pick up their hiring efforts that quickly. Also there's a lot of questions about whether the economy can keep growing after the stimulus runs out.

Here on Wall Street, we've kind of been doing the flat line dance. Doing a little red, doing a little green. Right now, we are in the green but just barely. The Dow is up 2 points, 10,004. You know, we're very close to 10,000. We have closed below that in, like, 3 months. NASDAQ up about 9 points, Kyra. We'll keep our eyes on it, see if we can get some mojo working on it throughout the day.

ELAM: All right. I always leave it to you to get the mojo going. Thanks, Steph.

Speaking of the jobless, coming up later this hour, we take you back to the Stimulus Desk. Josh Levs looks at the most unemployed place in America, Michigan. He'll show you what programs are available to help.

Toyota's top man says I'm sorry, but there's something he didn't say that has some wondering what's next.

And Uncle Sam has got your baby's DNA, so what do you do if you want to get it back?


PHILLIPS: Real life or Hollywood's version of real drama? Sometimes it's hard to tell.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What's the best way to go about disarming one of these things?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The way you don't die, sir.


PHILLIPS: ""The Hurt Locker"" bringing you to the front lines of Iraq. We're bringing you the star, Jeremy Renner, ten minutes away.


PHILLIPS: We are tracking every bit of that Northeast winter storm. Meteorologist Rob Marciano. What you got?


PHILLIPS: It'll be pretty chaotic, too. Thanks, Rob.

Well, the president of Toyota says he's sorry for the problems dogging his company right now.


AKIO TOYODA, TOYOTA CHIEF EXECUTIVE (via translator): The current problem is a huge problem, and it is a critical situation. We as a company must unite and work to regain the trust from our customers, and I believe that is also my responsibility.


PHILLIPS: Mr. Toyoda himself says his company is looking into brake problems with the 2010 Prius hybrids. He did not say if the company will recall them.

Show me the videotape. That's what a judge in Raleigh, North Carolina, is saying. He's threatening to hold a former aide to John Edwards in contempt today. The judge wants Andrew Young in court with the tape that allegedly shows Edwards and his former mistress, Rielle Hunter. Young's attorney says that he doesn't have the tape.

The Tea Partiers doing their thing in Nashville, Tennessee. About 600 people paid $549 each to attend that convention. They are hoping to strengthen their year-old anti-big government movement, but there's been some pushback. Some would-be backers say the tickets cost just too much.

So what if I told you the government has your baby's DNA? Newborns are routinely screened for a series of genetic diseases, and in some states, that DNA is stored even without your consent. Senior medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen is talking about this. And the controversy it's sort of bringing about.

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Right, because parents don't know. I think we parents have no idea that our kids' DNA is stored in state labs, sometimes for decades. I know I have four children, and I didn't know that. I think a lot of parents know that our kids get tested for certain genetic diseases, but we don't necessarily know that that DNA is kept in a state lab with our child's name attached.

I think that's the important thing. A lot of people wonder, gosh, if my kids' DNA is there, they know if my child has some kind of terrible disease. That report could end up in the hands of an employer or end up in the hands of health insurance, because health insurance paid to get the testing in the first place. Now, if you want to learn more about this, go to, and you can see how long your state keeps DNA. Some keep it indefinitely, and it will be there forever.

PHILLIPS: Don't you have to ask permission, though, to do this?

COHEN: That's kind of what's crazy about this is you don't have to ask permission. The state says these diseases they're testing for are so awful and so deadly that they're going to test them without asking your permission.

So, whether you agree with that or not, I think what's sort of shocking is that it then gets stored also without your permission, so you don't have to sign a single thing. And again, your health insurance pays for this testing, so your health insurance then knows about 50 different diseases in some states whether or not your child has these 50 different diseases. And they might say, you know what, we don't feel like insuring this child any more.

PHILLIPS: What if you just don't want it stored?

COHEN: Well, in some states, you can go online to the state department of health and fill out a form that says please destroy my child's DNA. But in other states there is no such form. You can try writing a letter, but I've talked to several experts on tehre, and they're like good luck. You can write the letter, but the state doesn't have to listen to you. They can just keep storing it.

PHILLIPS: All right. Thanks, Elizabeth.

COHEN: Well, the most dangerous job on the front lines in Iraq. Hollywood's version nominated for nine Academy Awards.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's too many locks. There's too many -- I can't do it. I can't get it off, I'm sorry, okay. You understand I'm sorry. You hear me, I'm sorry! I'm sorry.


PHILLIPS: There he is, the star of ""The Hurt Locker"", Jeremy Renner. Best actor nominee and our guest coming right up.


PHILLIPS: Well, it's a good news/bad news type of scenario concerning jobs today. The good news is the nation's unemployment rate dropped to 9.7 percent in January. But the bad news, businesses still cut 20,000 jobs.

So here's the question. What, if anything, are your stimulus dollars doing to help the millions of you still out of work? CNN's Josh Levs is tracking all that for us. Josh, what are you finding?

JOSH LEVS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Kyra, that is one of the biggest questions that we are tackling at the Stimulus Desk, how much is really being done to help the jobless out there. We're going to zoom in to Detroit, Michigan, because that is the place in this country that is suffering joblessness like no other. As you know, with all those plants closing and the limits on purchasing, so many people unemployed.

I want you to see these numbers. Look at this. This is Michigan in general. The unemployment in that state. December 2007, 7.3 percent. It exactly doubled up to December 2009. 14.6 percent unemployment in the state. We have Detroit for you right here, the worst, the single worst among major cities in this country. 15.4 percent jobless rate are the latest numbers we have.

And we're hearing from viewers about this. I can show you on the computer here. I got on Twitter and someone was specifically asking me this exact question, saying, hey, what is being done to help people specifically in Michigan. Just one example of what we're getting right there.

We have some video of people and how they're struggling right there. So, what we want to do now, I want to take a little walk while you watch this over to our CNN Stimulus Desk and our researcher, Emily Smith, who picked up some information about a really interesting project in Michigan that is designed to turn things around for the entire state.

Emily, talk to us. What's this program?

EMILY SMITH, CNN RESEARCHER: Well, Michigan started a "no worker left behind" program. They have got $20 million of stimulus money so far, and they're using that money to help reeducate and retrain out- of-work people. They'll give you up to two years of tuition to train for an in-demand job. Now, that can be something like nursing or green energy...

LEVS: ... or construction, like we're seeing here.

SMITH: ... or construction. Anything that they think once you graduate, you'll be able to be placed immediately. And they have got a great success rate. So far, of the people that have finished training, 72 percent have jobs.

LEVS: 72 percent of the people who go through this no worker left behind program have jobs.


LEVS: That's tremendous. Actually, given the numbers we've seen from other programs, that's huge. Jobs. Is this program itself creating jobs for people to run the program and help the people?

SMITH: It is. So far, yes. They have got people that go back into the program to help train and be mentors and that kind of thing. So, it is coming full circle for a lot of people there.

LEVS: Great. Emily, thank you.

I'll tell you, Kyra, we're looking at a handful of programs there. I've got more I'll be telling you about in the coming days, a series of programs all designed specifically in the state of Michigan to try to tackle what is an unemployment crisis. Coming up throughout the day today, we're also going to tell you what's going on for the rest of the country, not just Michigan. But we definitely wanted to highlight that and the success rate because, Kyra, that might ultimately prove to be a pilot program that pays off elsewhere as well.

PHILLIPS: Thank you, Josh.

LEVS: You got it. Thanks.

PHILLIPS: ""The Hurt Locker"." If you haven't seen it, you should. Real-life Iraq, up for Oscars, and you're going to meet its star.






PHILLIPS: Oh my God, it's not just a movie make-believe mantra. Our troopers say it daily. Now real life hits Hollywood with "The Hurt Locker," nominated for Nine academy awards. It's the story of explosives detonation teams on the front lines in Iraq. It's 131 minutes of emotion but for the real troops, it's 24/7.

CNN's Fred Pleitgen, live from Kabul, Afghanistan. Fred, you know you spent time with these guys on the battlefield. What do they think of their Hollywood portrayals?

FRED PLEITGEN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, of course it's very difficult for them, Kyra. I spent several weeks with the EOD guys south of Baghdad and they were really having a lot to do every day. They are the final guys that you go to when you don't know how else to get rid of a bomb.

But the one thing that I was really surprised about is how matter of fact they speak about their work, and they have to do such difficult things like try to get a bomb out of an Iraqi truck, try and get a bomb out of a ditch. These things are hidden.

The other thing, of course, is for them it was always very, very dangerous to operate in that area. They were telling me for some of them al Qaeda had put a premium on their heads. Killing an EOD guy for al Qaeda was a very, very big thing because they are such important specialists to the mission in Iraq. Of course, now just as much to the mission here in Afghanistan and certainly they are a very, very scarce commodity in a lot of areas on the battlefield. I can tell you, I've been with some units who say EOD is crucial to what they do. Kyra.

PHILLIPS: Fred, you and I were in Baghdad at the same time, a couple of times actually. And the guys told us, you know, that the enemy is getting so creative with these bombs, and it's EOD that has to try and keep up with the sort of creative nature of the enemy. You know, they're killing our men and women daily, and it's hard to really get ahead of it. Can we even put numbers on the deaths at this point?

PLEITGEN: Absolutely. It's absolutely impossible to put numbers on the deaths at this point, but there certainly are a lot of American soldiers right now, especially here in Afghanistan, who are losing their lives to this improvised explosive devices. And you're absolutely right, they were getting very, very creative in Iraq with how they do them, not only putting in one IED, daisy-chaining up to ten with each others.

So you have the first one go off, the troops stop and several others go off. In other places they would plant bogus IEDs in places, wait for EOD to come, and then try to set others off. It was a really, really -- a way you could see this war evolve. It was almost a chess match between EOD and the insurgents to try to come to terms with that.

One of the things that's actually happening here in Afghanistan now and with soldiers on the ground telling me is that somewhat of the same thing is happening here. You're seeing the insurgents get more creative with what they do, trying to daisy-chain IEDs and find different mechanisms to set them off.

The real big difference between Afghanistan and between Iraq as you also know in Iraq you had a lot of that old ammunition from Saddam's day that say they would turn into bombs. Here most of it is homemade explosives, but they're telling us that here the bombs are much bigger than they ever were in Iraq. Kyra.

PHILLIPS: I remember the EOD guys doing these controlled detonations, it was pretty amazing. Fred Pleigtgen there live for us in Kabul, Afghanistan, talking both Iraq and Afghanistan. Fred, thanks so much.

That's a taste of the real thing. Let's go from the battlefield to the box office. Jeremy Renner is the star of "The Hurt Locker," and he actually trained with these EOD troopers and it was no ordinary role, was it, Jeremy?

JEREMY RENNER, ACTOR, "THE HURT LOCKER": No, no. It was a role of a lifetime. I'm so blessed to be able to work with these guys. Ft. Irwin is actually where I trained.

PHILLIPS: Tell me about it. Give me some insight. Do you think that by spending time with them and getting sort of this personal insight impacted the quality of your acting, and even sort of made a bigger impact on your heart or maybe your emotions when it came to how you played out this role?

RENNER: Well, I think it's made a bigger impact on my life as a man than me as an actor. Certainly, I think it helped me as an actor to -- Kathryn and all the guys wanted to accurately portray these guys I spent a year on and off with in training. They were gracious enough to spend time in my home and get to know them as individuals and a ...

PHILLIPS: But you say as a man. Tell me about that, Jeremy.

RENNER: Yes, yes.

PHILLIPS: That catches my attention. How did these guys make you a better man?

RENNER: Well, it's what they did for my awareness towards our conflict. I mean I was one of, I think, many that doesn't even know what EOD stands for. I think it's really important to portray them in an accurate way. It kind of does them a service.

A lot of guys come up to me and thank me for something, I'm not quite sure why, and all I want to do is thank them for their service. They're amazing, amazing individuals. I'm so lucky to have spent so much time with them.

PHILLIPS: You bring up a good point, I mean they're unsung heroes, you know. A lot of the other unsung heroes are those that participate in a charity that's both close to your heart and mine, and I want to go ahead and lift this up because you volunteer for TAPS, Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors...

RENNER: Yes, I do.

PHILLIPS: And it's all about support for kids who have lost Mom or Dad in battle, to suicide, dealing with depression. Why do you do that? Why do you take, you know, step away from Hollywood and spend time with Bonnie Carroll -- we're looking at a picture right now -- the head of this organization, and contribute to this group?

RENNER: You know, it means a lot to me. It's sort of a touchstone for me in this in support for our military, and more importantly, also our families that survived a lot of death. So it means a lot to me. So if I can do anything to help Bonnie and the TAPS organization, I'll do whatever it takes because it's just the most gratifying thing I think I've done in my life.

PHILLIPS: What do you say to those kids, you know, that's lost mom or dad? How do you -- they look up to you, they see you on the big screen, you know. And I know you've had some one-on-one time with them. How do you even try to understand where they are?

RENNER: That's case-by-case. I think with each individual. It's weird, like, "My daddy just died in Iraq. Let's go on the new ride at Disneyland," or whatever it is. It's strange, but you've just got to kind of follow their lead. You know, just kind of be there with them.

PHILLIPS: I hear you. Well, Jeremy Renner, congratulations. We'll be following the results. Of course we're a little biased, we hope you win. I know Bonnie Carroll hopes that you win. We'll see you at the next TAPS event. All right, Jeremy?

RENNER: Absolutely. PHILLIPS: Okay, congratulations. Thanks again for your time.

All right, we'll be back in about 60 seconds. Don Lemon in for Tony Harris as we get ready to kick off our weekend.