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When Free Doesn't Mean Free; Historic Flooding in Rhode Island; More Kids Victims of Being Bullied to Death?; New 'Theme Songs' for The Mexican Drug War Popping Up

Aired April 1, 2010 - 10:00   ET


KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: OK. I admit it. I like those slacker dudes who sing their free credit report songs at the renaissance fair, to see food plays and drive around in the old clunker with pleather seats and the chicks laughing at them, but you'll wonder if they'll change their tune now that the new rules are kicking in.

Christine Romans, those free credit report offers weren't really free, right?

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: No, they weren't. And you know -- and the government is cracking down on advertising of anything with a free credit report because there is only one true free credit report that's mandated by the government and they don't advertise it on flashy TV commercials and online.

So let me tell you first what the changes you're going to see online when you go to these Web sites where they're offering a free credit report. They're going to have to have disclosures that say, "Hey, actually we're trying to get you into subscription service where you're going to pay every month." That's what you're getting for your free credit report. This is effective tomorrow. And in the TV and radio ads they have to have very clear disclosure starting in September, so you will see some changes to many of these ads.

There is a real free credit report. There is one real free credit report. Let me tell you where it is, no strings attached,, Kyra. If you're not online you can call 877-322-8228. That is the web site that the FTC, the Federal Trade Commission, mandates for your free annual credit report -- Kyra.

PHILLIPS: Good advice. Thanks, Christine.

An abortion doctor killer will have his say in court this morning. Scott Roeder faces life in prison when he is sentence. He was convicted in January of gunning down Dr. George Tiller at his Wichita, Kansas, church. Tiller was one of the few U.S. doctors to perform late term abortions. Roeder has said he had to kill Tiller to save babies lives.

Good-bye gas guzzlers. The Obama administration setting tougher standards for gas mileage and emissions. (INAUDIBLE) models those vehicles would have to meet targets of 35.5 miles a gallon, but that change could cost you. It could raise a car's sticker price by $1,000 bucks, but on the flipside, with better gas mileage drivers being get that extra money back within three years.

Happy Census Day. Yes, it's the deadline to send in your form and it looks around 62 million of you sent them in including the President there. 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. That's just over 50 percent though. So for those of you that didn't get it done. Guess what? Replacement forms on the way, and if that doesn't work, you're going to get a knock at the door.

Three more stories that we're going to be covering this hour. They had us talking and maybe they'll move you, outrage you? It did both for us. And it did just me. If you've seen this, is it just me or does it seem to be happening a little too much with regularity? A child bullied to the point of suicide. Yesterday, we told you about a second grader in Texas who reportedly tried and failed and in a sec we're going to tell you about an eighth grader in Texas who tried and succeeded.

Plus, you know states are hurting for money, but should foster parents with special needs kids be the ones who pay? If you're going to shaft someone, why them?

And death is my companion. Well, that's some uplifting stuff, isn't it? Mexico's bloody nightmare, the drug cartel war, now has a soundtrack.

All right, let's get to Texas now. A funeral today for a 13- year-old boy. The coroner's report won't show it, but was bullying the true cause of death? Carol Cavazos (ph) from CNN's affiliate KTXA reports.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At school he's been bullied by some eighth graders.

CAROL CAVAZOS, KTXA REPORTER (voice-over): John Carmichael, friends say, was always small for his age. It's the reason why, they think, he was bullied.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was bullied because he was short and that was it.

CAVAZOS: Jeremy Stanbaugh (ph), one of John Carmichael's closest friends, remembers hearing about one bullying incident in particular.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I got some friends at school that said that some kids -- it was Jonathan and some other kids put him in the trash can.

CAVAZOS: Karen Gowin (ph) who took John Carmichael to the Cowboy Church with her own son hopes the boy's death sends a message.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If there's one positive thing that can come out of this that it would be that people would learn, kids would learn to treat other kids with respect.

CAVAZOS: Joshua ISD superintendent Ray Dane says he heard about the trash can incident only yesterday.

RAY DANE, JOSHUA ISD SUPERINTENDENT: Back in the fall during football season there was a - he was put into a trash can.

CAVAZOS: Close friends say John Carmichael was a good student and well liked among his friends. He will be missed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's just going to be quiet around here without him around.


PHILLIPS: No charges have been filed in this case. The school plans to implement a new program to train teachers to be more aware and responsive to bullies. John Carmichael's parents talked to Anderson Cooper last night. They're hoping teachers and administrators everywhere are listening to this.


TAMI CARMICHAEL, MOTHER: I just know that he got his books knocked out of his hands and things and pushed up against the walls in the lockers.

TIM CARMICHAEL, FATHER: Put in the dumpster and - my wife went to eat lunch with him one day and after she left they jumped him and forced his face into a toilet. It just needs to be stopped. You need to open your eyes to it.

TAMI CARMICHAEL: Teachers need to open it up and look at what's going on.


PHILLIPS: Make people accountable, that's for sure. And outraged parents in Massachusetts say enough is enough when it comes to bullies. They want school administrators fired after Phoebe Prince's death. Parents say that bullying has gone on at South Hadley High for years, and the school has done nothing about it.


DANIEL SMITH, PRINCIPAL, SOUTH HADLEY HIGH SCHOOL: We are working through and revising our procedures and policies and so forth, yes.

ALINA CHO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): And are you encouraged by the results so far? Do parents seem to be encouraged by the results?

SMITH: So far, I think we are. I mean, we're working on that, yes.

CHO: But what do you say to all of the parents who are outraged and who are calling for your resignation?

SMITH: At this point I'm not going to talk any further.


PHILLIPS: The principal's contract is up and we'll see what happens. A total of nine students have been indicted in connection with phoebe's suicide. Charges ranging from statutory rape to criminal harassment to civil rights violations. Three of those students go to court on Tuesday.

All these stories got us thinking, what do you say to your kids about bullying? If you don't mind, go to my blog, and share your thoughts with me. I would love to read some of them on the air later in the hour.

Well, real mall rats that the Rhode Island shopping center are probably drowned by now. Lots of businesses and schools closed today due to the state's worst flooding in 200 years. They're worried about a bridge in the town of Coventry collapsing and the worst-case scenario, large chunks of the bridge shooting downstream damaging dams and releasing even more water.

Jacqui Jeras, that would not be a good thing.

JACQUI JERAS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: It wouldn't. In fact, I'm glad that you mentioned that because I just got some new information on that very thing here. There actually is an old dam and an old bridge, the Laurel Avenue Bridge in Coventry that you were talking about, that both could cause some dangerous rises on the Pawtuxet River there and put another dam downstream called the Arctic Dam in West Warwick in jeopardy.

So they've done some evacuations here as a precaution and of course, officials will continue to monitor that situation. So still some scary moments even though the Pawtuxet River has crested so there's a lot of pressure out there as this water continues to move very, very rapidly. That's a lot of pressure and a lot of force in these areas and there is still literally dozens of rivers that remain in flood across the northeast.

So the great thing is that the weather is providing a very significant break here. You know, we're talking about, you know, two, three days at least, at a minimum of dry weather. There's a slight risk that we could get some thunderstorms this weekend as there's a storm in the nation's midsection comes through, but right now our best thinking is this could take more of a northerly trek and head up towards Canada and we might be OK here. So we'll watch that situation.

We'll have more coming up about what this storm is doing today across the southwest with that fire danger bringing some real changeable conditions. We want to show you that out of Denver right now. Temperatures, 34 degrees. You had a record high on Tuesday of 82. You had 20 inches of snow last week and you could see some of that rain and snow beginning to mix in again by late tonight. So we'll have more details on that fire danger which is really critical today, Kyra, when I see you again.

PHILLIPS: All right. Thanks, Jacqui.

It's Thursday, and you know what that means. Time for the 30- second pitch. Can you put this man to work? He's going to make his case.


PHILLIPS: Murder in a small town, but here's the twist. The victim was the town's mayor. Here's the story in Washington Park, Illinois. Our St. Louis affiliate, KNOV says someone has been taken into custody for the shooting death of Mayor John Thornton. He was found shot to death in his car. We're following the story. We'll have developments as soon as they come in.

Mexico's bloody nightmarish cartel wars, now it's got a soundtrack.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So you sing about drug dealers and what else? Love?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Love? No, really. I don't think so.


PHILLIPS: No love here just violence, blood and drugs. Going to doubt if you'll find this stuff available on iTunes.



PHILLIPS: Telling a story with music, but is it a story worth telling? The reality of murder and mayhem in Mexico with a catchy beat. It can be pretty tough to take like dance or rap on steroids. CNN's Thelma Gutierrez tracks down the musicians. Their response? Hey, it's a living.



THELMA GUTIERREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's Friday night and this club is packing them in.

This isn't Mexico. We're in a suburb of Los Angeles, and all these fans are here to listen to traditional Mexican music called corridos, ballads that date back to the 1800s and sound a little like a polka.

(on camera): They're fanatics about the corrido because it's the music that makes them want to get up and dance. (voice-over): But the kind of (INAUDIBLE) that they're here to listen to, if you listen closely to the lyrics and translate them, it actually has a very dark and disturbing message.

It's the illicit world of drug running. The narco world reported on the media and posted on YouTube have inspired the lyrics of the narco corrido.

We went to Inglewood, California, to meet some musicians. Alfredo Tapia and the group Los Traviesos 24/7. They play the music that some find so offensive it's banned from the air waves in Mexico.

(on camera): For people that haven't heard narco corridos, how exactly is that kind of music? How would you explain it

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's drug dealers.

GUTIERREZ: Drug dealers. So you sing about drug dealers. And what else? Love?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Love? No, not really. I don't think so. Tapia took me to a garage that he turned into a recording studio. This is where he produces the underground music. They played for us.


GUTIERREZ: I listened to some of the lyrics and you're talking about agua dela muerte, mataras malde (ph). I mean, they're going to kill their mother. What is that?

I mean, there was like somebody -

GUTIERREZ: Did I hear that right?


GUTIERREZ: All three of you are United States citizens, right? But you have family members in Mexico.


GUTIERREZ: So it's got to bug you that this has taken hold.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, yes. Definitely.

GUTIERREZ: Would you go play there?


GUTIERREZ: Who are your influences in American music?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Dr. Dre. I grew up with those guys.

GUTIERREZ (voice-over): They say the narco corrido is a little like gangster rap. It's controversial, raw commentary about what's going on. Do you feel just a little bit responsible? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I do. I do. I do. But if I don't do this kind of music I'm out of business.


GUTIERREZ: Right now narco corridos are big business and the hottest phenomenon on the internet is Larry Hernandez. His videos on YouTube and MySpace get hundreds of thousands of views. His concerts sell out and he's top of the Latin billboard charts with no major label, no radio play or media exposure.

Critics argue that singers are profiting from violence and tragedy. But USC professor and narco corrido expert Josh Kun (ph) says that that maybe partly true but this isn't new.

PROF. JOSH KUN, UNIV. OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA: These kinds of songs exist in all kinds of other cultural areas. There are Italian mafia songs and hip-hop has been all about the criminal lifestyle in some ways and songs that document and make very powerful observations about the criminal underworld.

GUTIERREZ (on camera): Does that ever worry you from a security perspective about who's in the crowd and who's in your audience watching you? Who might like your music and who might not like your music? Does that worry you?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We try to be as careful and cautious as possible.

GUTIERREZ: What does that mean?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We try to be neutral.

GUTIERREZ (voice-over): Alfredo Tappia (ph) says he dreams of the day when he can go back to singing about love and romance, but for now his fans only want the violent lyrics of narco corridos.

Thelma Gutierrez, CNN, Los Angeles.


PHILLIPS: Helping kids in desperate need. One father refusing to turn his back, but now his home state is taking away his safety net. Budget cuts now putting foster kids in a tough spot.


PHILLIPS: A shocking crime in Trenton, New jersey. Police really could use some help finding those responsible. They're looking for up to seven men and boys who sexually assaulted a seven-year-old girl. That girl's 15-year-old sister allegedly is a prostitute and offered the little girl up to the men. The teen is facing a bunch of charges herself.

D.C. police is searching for a fourth suspect connected to a deadly drive-by earlier this week. Four people died in that shooting. They were actually coming back from a funeral. Three people are under arrest and so far two of them have been charged.

An obsession with the make believe cost - well an obsession that may have cost a girl her life. Her parents go on trial tomorrow. If you don't remember the case, this is the South Korean couple who spent all their time with a virtual child. So much time, in fact, that they let their three-month-old daughter starve to death. The case is expected to shine a spotlight on the dangers of internet obsession.

A couple of pennies just won't get it done. A new study says soda taxes need to jump to 18 percent if they're going to have an effect on our obesity problem. Right now 21 states have taxes in place, but the extra charge hasn't put a dent in the consumption of sugary drinks. So what's it doing for our kids? It's packing on the pounds. Check out the numbers. As it adds up, our kids are putting on 20 pounds a year just because of sugary drinks.

The controversy within the religion of scientology. A history of violence, but at whose hands? Today we continue asking questions, why were the police never called in to investigate?


PHILLIPS: This week CNN has focused on the church of scientology, a secretive religion that boasts such Hollywood celebrities as Tom Cruise and John Travolta. We've also told you about allegations of physical abuse made by former high-ranking members of the church against the church's leader, David Miscavige.

The church not only denies all those allegation, but they say it comes from people who are working together to destroy the church. The church says one of the people making allegations was demoted and then removed from his senior position precisely because he was violent.

Now how even the competing versions of what happened ultimately raised questions, that the public is entitled to know. What was going on in the church and why were the police never called in to investigate? Here's CNN's Anderson Cooper.


MARTY RATHBUN, FORMER MEMBER, CHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY: In late '03, there was a beating every day. And if it wasn't him doing it, it was from him inciting others to do it to others.

COOPER: In front of other people?

RATHBUN: In front of other people.

COOPER (voice-over): Since first coming forward last year in "The St. Petersburg Times" with allegations of abuse against church leader David Miscavige, Marty Rathbun and five other former high- ranking scientologists, have found themselves under vigorous attack by the church they once dedicated their lives to.

The former scientologists are accused of working together to destroy the church. Tommy Davis is the church spokesman.

DAVIS: The church is going to defend itself. It's going to defend itself for its own sake, and it's going to defend itself for the sake of its parishioners. And the fact of the matter is these individuals are out there, and they're lying.

COOPER: Current and former senior Scientologists sent CNN dozens of declarations, e-mails and affidavits defending the church and its leader and attacking the credibility of those who have spoken out.

The church says former construction manager Tom Devocht was violent, and wasted millions of church dollars during his time with the Sea Organization, the church's religious order.

They alleged former spokesman Mike Rinder physically attacked his subordinates and say former marketing manager Jeff Hawkins has attended rallies with an anti-scientology movement called Anonymous, which protests against the church.

Most of the church's affidavits specifically name Marty Rathbun, who they say assaulted members of the Sea Organization on numerous occasions.

(on camera): The affidavits are from people who said -- within the church -- who said the beatings and the physical abuse was not perpetrated by David Miscavige but was perpetrated by you.

RATHBUN: Right. Outright lies. I did some, and I didn't come in here ever telling you I was Little Lord Fauntleroy and never did anything wrong. I'm no angel.

I'm going to tell you, I was involved in this. But for God's sake, to try to make it sound like I perpetuated the whole thing is just a complete and utter fabrication.

COOPER (voice-over): In sworn affidavits, a number of church members make specific allegations against Marty Rathbun, including more than a dozen instances of physical violence.

One person writes she witnessed Rathbun hitting a colleague, quote, "about the head and in the face, while yelling at him."

Another writes Rathbun, quote, "walked into the office and appeared upset with me," adding, "He suddenly punched me in the stomach."

And his own ex-wife says Marty Rathbun lives for war.

(on camera): People, many of them who you know very well, they all say David Miscavige is kind. They say he's hard-working, that he's a passionate man who's done really nothing but good for the church.

RATHBUN: They will say anything they need to say, Anderson. COOPER: Current senior members of the Sea Organization say that, while their former colleague, Marty Rathbun, was repeatedly violent, for many years none of them informed the church's leader, David Miscavige.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That guy had a streak of violence.

COOPER: On four occasions between 2000 and 2002 to you, Mr. Starkey, as well as at least five incidents in 2001. So that's nine incidents between 2000 and 2002.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Marty Rathbun is gone. When it was found out he's out of the church.


COOPER: So no one can answer me why David Miscavige was not informed for several years.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let me just finish.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I absolutely say unto you, Mr. Miscavige was not there.

COOPER: He's not there, there are telephones. You have fax machines, you have e-mails? Why did you not inform?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, well, when somebody blows up like a Marty Rathbun and called you something, you don't immediately pick up the phone and call the leader of a world-wide religion.

COOPER: Well, you had four years to do it here. So no one over the course of four years informed David Miscavige that a high-ranking member of his church was mistreating people.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, we have -- there's something you don't understand.

COOPER: You can say yes or no. I'm just asking a question.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Marty Rathbun was not in a top position when that happened at all. He was and -- you know --

COOPER: Well, he was -- he was a member of the Sea Organization. He was important enough to have an office next to you. Nobody informed David Miscavige this was going on.



DAVIS: Here's the point, is that when -- the point is that when Mr. Miscavige was informed, Marty was removed. That's what matters. COOPER (voice-over): There's no physical evidence proving the former Scientologists' charges just as the affidavits supporting Miscavige and attacking his critics also cannot be verified.

But surprisingly, although they disagree on who was perpetrating it, both sides describe a work environment inside the church where punching, choking, kicking as a means of discipline and intimidation occurred on numerous occasions, and no one ever filed criminal charges or even called the police.

Tommy Davis is the church spokesman, and Monique Yingling is an attorney for the church.

(on camera): How is it possible that a member of the church could assault about a dozen people and nobody come forward about it and nobody file any charges?


COOPER: How come the church didn't file any charges if, in fact, Marty Rathbun was really beating people up?

MONIQUE YINGLING, ATTORNEY, CHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY: People did come forward about it, and there were reports written, as Mr. Davis pointed out. And the reason that there were reports written was because it was very untoward. There may have been some people who decided they didn't want to report it and they suffered it in silence.

But there were, indeed, reports written.

COOPER: So why didn't the church then decide to proceed with charges? I mean, aggravated assault is -- it's a felony; it's against the law.

YINGLING: The church treated it as internal matter, and he was disciplined internally.

COOPER: I don't understand. You said that Marty Rathbun beat people more than a dozen times or so. You said Mike Rinder has beat people and that was known apparently, at the time, at least some of it was known at the time.

And yet, that seemed to be acceptable behavior in the church. I mean that no charges were ever filed against any of these people. It seems remarkable if, in fact, that is really the truth, unless the opposite is true and their charges are true and it was the head of the church who was doing these beatings, in which case, it would make sense that no charges would be filed or no one would come forward.

DAVIS: Well, they were removed. The point is, is that they were removed; the choice of the individuals who were attacked on whether to file charges or not is completely their choice.

COOPER: But if this is so abhorrent to scientology's beliefs, beatings, why then -- it doesn't seem that it was taken all that seriously? DAVIS: It absolutely was.

YINGLING: Oh, I think it was taken very, very seriously.


COOPER: I mean if my boss started to beat me up here, and the head of Time-Warner said, "Oh, you know, we're going to deal with it as an internal matter," I mean I think that would be pretty shocking.

DAVIS: Here's the thing. The point is, is that when it was discovered, he was disciplined and he was removed.


PHILLIPS: David Miscavige, the chairman of the Board of Scientology, rarely meets the media. He hasn't done a news interview since 1998. We've offered many times for Mr. Miscavige to appear on "AC 360" for his series, but his spokesperson, Tommy Davis, has declined for Mr. Miscavige. The invitation remains open.

Tonight, what happens to those that leave the church and speak out? That's on "ANDERSON COOPER 360," tonight, 10:00 Eastern, 7:00 Pacific right here on CNN.

Money troubles forcing one state to make a tough choice. Who gets cut out? In this case, special needs kids, but the fight is far from over.


ANNOUNCER: Live in the CNN NEWSROOM, Kyra Phillips.

PHILLIPS: The economy is making it tough on families all over this country, but some non-traditional families are really feeling the pinch as states look for ways to cut the budget. Carl Harris is one of those unique parents who they're on the brink of losing critical help.

Here's his story. He already raised three kids of his own. Then he reached out to help others, taking in four foster kids. Now, they're a permanent part of his family and he's doing it again. Caring for even more kids, kids with special needs, but now this. His home state of Indiana is planning to cut much-needed assistance for foster families.

Carl Harris, you're a great story, but what's happening in your state is not. First of all, your family is absolutely beautiful, and you're on vacation, right?

CARL HARRIS, FOSTER PARENT: Yes. We're down here seeing my daughter. She lives here in Tennessee.

PHILLIPS: And this is your biological daughter, right?

C. HARRIS: Yes, yes it is. PHILLIPS: OK. It's hard to keep track, you have so many beautiful kids! I guess first of all, you know, tell me why you did this. Why did you want to adopt so many foster kids?

C. HARRIS: Well, first of all, my wife and I, we love children, and like I say, we were empty nesters for quite some time. And we saw a need, to be honest with you. I wasn't on board at first, but when you go to your training and you see the children and you learn that there's a need for it, we were -- we came around, and we just love the children. We love raising them and trying to make a difference in some children's lives that need help.

PHILLIPS: Well, I know you are. Stenia, you're 15, right?


PHILLIPS: OK. Tell me what's so amazing about dad.

S. HARRIS: Well, I don't know, we just -- I love being with him. It's fun. They take care of us. We do things that we like to do. It's just like a normal family, just not biological, but it's still there.

PHILLIPS: What do you think your life would have been like if your dad wouldn't have adopted you? Because I know things weren't easy for you, and foster care is really, really tough. You know, do you ever think about that, like, whew, I am one lucky girl?

S. HARRIS: Yes, I think about it a lot, because if we weren't with them, things would definitely be more hard, more rough, be tough. But I'm glad that we are with them, so I really don't want to think about what it would be like.

PHILLIPS: I don't blame you. I know that Shayla behind you and Anna don't have mikes on, but they can sort of hear what I'm saying. They've got big smiles, that's for sure, and we have Breanna on dad's lap. Do me a favor, Stenia. Ask Breanna what she loves so much about dad.

S. HARRIS: Breanna, what do you like about Daddy?


PHILLIPS: She got shy. How about Shayla and Anna, they can shout it out. What's so cool about dad?

S. HARRIS: What's so cool about daddy?


S. HARRIS: What do you think?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's fun. Yes, he's fun.

C. HARRIS: Maybe not all of the time, but -- Well, but on a serious note, really. You have developed such an amazing family dynamic, and now the talk is that dads like you who take on foster kids are going to lose a huge part of their per diem . Tell me why that concerns you. Would you have even thought about adopting -- you love them now, but if you weren't getting extra support -- would you have been able to adopt most of these kids?

C. HARRIS: No, I don't think so. Most foster parents go into - like I said, you're not going to get rich. It's not a profit situation. The funds that you receive are for the kids and, you know, any time you have an addition to your family, you run into situations. And foster care really shouldn't be a financial burden on you because you're taking care of the children.

We were just fine before the children came in, but when you bring in and the funds that you receive, the per diem, it goes strictly for the children. Anything else that you do is for the enhancement of their lives, and anything extra that you put in shouldn't be for the main things that they need, you know?

PHILLIPS: And now on top of that, not only are they talking about cutting your per diem because I know you've adopted three more beautiful little baby girls.

C. HARRIS: No, we haven't adopted them yet.

PHILLIPS: I'm sorry -- foster kids. That's right. You haven't adopted them and that's why we can't see them because they're still, unfortunately, under the care of the state. I hope you get a chance to adopt them because you're an amazing father.

But now there could be a cut in this per diem, and also those three kids that you have as foster kids that you just took on, they might be reclassified, not -- reclassified so they're not special needs, which means you'd get a cut in that money. Tell me what that extra money goes toward when you have a special needs kids? Is it more trips to the doctor's office? Is it more medication? How will this be tough on the kids?

C. HARRIS: The three children we have are therapeutic. Therapeutic children. They may not have the same special needs that other children have, they're physical needs. The two twins that we have, they had some breathing problems at first at birth, some problems with their stomachs and things like that, but with therapeutic children, most of them might be emotional problems, things like ADHD.

We have to do extra training for these children so that we can deal with the situations that they have. And the cuts, we do make extra trips to the doctor. And just the gas situation and things like that, and to cut from them, I think would be a travesty.

PHILLIPS: It's hard to see you take on something that you don't even have to do, and it just seems so unfair that you have to lose that financial support. Carl, do me a favor, stay with me, you and the girls stay with me because we want to talk about coming up next. And that's where Kathy Graham comes into play. She's the executive director of the Indiana Association of Residential Child Care Agencies. And Kathy, I'm going to want to know what your group is going to do about these cuts. I'm going get you to answer that in just a second.


PHILLIPS: Let's get back to Indiana's plan to cut funding for foster kids. We want to talk now with Kathy Graham, executive director of the Indiana Association of Residential Child Care Agencies.

And, Kathy, you know, we meet families like Carl's and we see how many kids he's taken in, and it just doesn't seem right that a family like this should suffer like that. He's doing something that so many other parents, you know, don't do. Is there any way that you can save this program, save the dollars through this lawsuit that you're filing now against the Indiana Department of Child Services?

KATHY GRAHAM, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, INDIANA ASSOCIATION OF RESIDENTIAL CHILD CARE AGENCIES: Well, we know that we can be successful with the children with the help of families like the Harrises. The children that are coming into our programs have been on average in two previous foster homes, so they have special needs and they need well-trained foster parents. They need individualized treatment.

The litigation we're involved with really speaks to the quality of the care that these children need, and the state is their parent. The state should be responsible for paying for the services that these children need. Again, we're all here to help them be successful. We want them to be safe, have a permanent, loving family as you can see. And we know we can do that if you get the right mix of services to these children. And the key is assessing what they need and delivering those services very timely and matching them with the right family.

PHILLIPS: What is your final hope? Do you think this lawsuit will make a difference? Because as you've said, if it goes through you may lose parents like Carl, right? And there are so many kids in the foster system that need a family.

GRAHAM: Yes. Well, our hope is that the work that we're doing through the court system will help ensure that these children have the quality of care. We've partnered with the Department of Child Services for over five years and have made a lot of progress, and we believe we can get back to that and know that there are a lot of good people working on behalf of children.

But right now, we have a disagreement over the payment issue. And we're hoping to get that resolved through the courts and get back to really focusing on the needs of these children who can't speak for themselves. We are here to really help speak up for what they need.

PHILLIPS: Well, and we will follow the case. Kathy Graham, thanks so much.

And, Carl, final thought before we go. How have these kids changed your life?

HARRIS: They've really changed our lives. We love them dearly. Like I said, we raised a family previously, but now -- raising children now is a lot different, and it's made me a little younger.


PHILLIPS: Well, I love it. Your daughter's laughing behind you. You're quite an inspiration, and your family's beautiful. Carl and girls, thank you so, so much. We'll follow up on what happens.

HARRIS: Thank you very much.

PHILLIPS: You bet.

The wind up, the pitch and the half minute that could change a life. Stay with us, we'll try to connect this job seeker with an employer. He's today's "30-Second Pitch."


PHILLIPS: It's Thursday, and time to find somebody a paycheck. Today, John Banks of Baltimore is making his "30-Second Pitch. It's a half minute that could change his life and find him another job in information technology.

John's married and the father of two grown sons. He has extensive experience as a project manager. He has been unemployed for more than a year, and he's looking for work. Right now that has become his full-time job.

We'll try to change that, though. John Banks joins us from Detroit. Hi, John.

JOHN BANKS, JOB SEEKER: Good morning. How are you this morning?

PHILLIPS: I'm doing okay, but I'll feel better if we can help you out. Tell me, you say you're looking for a job, and it's been a full-time job. Tell me what you've been going through and what you've had to do from the minute you wake up.

BANKS: I get up every morning looking for work. I get on the Internet and I search for opportunities, and I apply for them online because most jobs are looking for you to submit online applications. And it's an all day, every day activity. It's been going pretty much since January of 2009.

PHILLIPS: And as you were saying, when you apply, it is so hard because you can't get in your face. You can't sell yourself, they sort of throw out e-mails and keep e-mails. It's such a non-personal process.

BANKS: It really is. The toughest thing is that years ago, I was on the other side of the recruiting process. And I know the recruiting processes are designed to screen people out rather than in because there are many more applicants than there are positions that are available, so it makes it tough. You have to do something different to make yourself show up and be visible.

PHILLIPS: Well, guess what? You're doing that right now. Are you ready for your "30-Second Pitch"?

BANKS: I sure am.

PHILLIPS: Let's start the clock. John Banks, take it away.

BANKS: Good morning. My name is John Banks and my specialties are project management and operations management for I.T. My strengths are ability to work with executive leadership to formulate the mission and vision that drive I.T success. Further, I have the facilitative skills to engage diverse team, helping them to work collaboratively to achieve clear, shared objectives, especially in challenging environments.

I'm looking for full-time opportunities in the Detroit, Baltimore, D.C. areas or other great cities across the U.S. or around the world.


BANKS: You can reach me at Give me an e- mail and let's talk.

PHILLIPS: And let's talk when you get that call. Let us know what happens, John, all right?

BANKS: Thank you so much. I appreciate it.

PHILLIPS: My pleasure. Absolutely.

If you're out of work and want to sell yourself to prospective employers, let us know. Send a resume and a letter to Also, if you want to hire our 30-Second Pitchers, like John Banks, just go to our blog, Their pictures -- and their pitches, rather -- and their pictures and their e-mails will be right there.

The changing face of California. Money troubles send the state into the way back machine. Looking more like the Gold Rush days.


PHILLIPS: Looking for a job definitely isn't getting any more easy, and it doesn't seem like it's getting better, either. Treasury secretary Tim Geithner says he expects the nation's unemployment rate to remain high. Take a listen.


MATT LAUER, NBC NEWS: When someone's out there and they haven't gotten a job that they lost two years ago, and they get the feeling the business on Wall Street has returned to normal and the executives are getting big bonuses again and they still can't pay for their mortgage or they're underwater, they say where's the fairness in this.

TIMOTHY GEITHNER, U.S. TREASURY SECRETARY: Exactly. It's not fair. It's deeply unfair, and they should be angry about it. But again, what was the choice the president had to make? He had to decide on whether he was going act to fix it or stand back because it would be -- it might be more popular to not do that stuff, and that would have been calamitous for the American economy. Much, much worse than it was already.


PHILLIPS: And good-bye gas guzzlers. The Obama administration is setting tougher standards for gas mileage and emissions. 2016 model year vehicles will have to meet targets of 35.5 miles per gallon. But that change could cost you. It could raise the car's sticker price by 1,000 bucks. But on the flip side, with better gas mileage, drivers could get that extra money back within three years.

And Britain, remember the controversy over those global warming e-mails from a British university? You know, Climate-gate? Well, the scientist at the center of it has been cleared by a Parliamentary committee. The university's climate research unit had been under fire since e-mails were leaked to the Internet. Skeptics claimed the e- mails showed scientists hiding and manipulating information to exaggerate the threat.

The controversy, of course, is not over. The committee says climate scientists now must publish all raw data.

Forget about the great melting pot. California is now getting a bit of skin on top of that cheese fondue. For the first time since the Gold Rush back in the 19th century, native-born residents make up the majority in most California counties. That's right, actually the new census should show the change for the whole state. Experts tribute the trend of California's economic troubles to see no jobs, no service and higher taxes just doesn't seem to entice immigrants to settle in.

To stay on the note of jobs, jobs, jobs, because Tony Harris has them in the next hour of CNN NEWSROOM, we'll check out some six-figure jobs that don't need a four-year degree, going temp, full time, and how about this one? Hit the beach and blog for bucks.


PHILLIPS: Bullies have been around forever, but the damage they do seems to be getting worse. On our blog, we asked what you say to your kids about bullying, and here's what you told us.

Mary said, "If anyone takes issue with my child and decides to verbally attack her, I give her full license to do the same in return. The one rule I keep is that she is not to throw the first blow in any fight." Susan said, "I tell my son who has been the victim of bullying to report it to administrators because bullies should be held accountable for their actions. Unfortunately, bullying will always be in our schools. Teaching our kids to ignore, report or even defend themselves is the best way we did do."

This from John. "That's okay, son. Take all the beating. When you grow up, they'll all be working for you."


PHILLIPS: Remember, we want to hear from you. Just log on to Share your comments with us. I really appreciate it.

Tony, you were never picked on in school, were you?

TONY HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: Well, I was just fast.


PHILLIPS: You knew how to run?

HARRIS: Just when I was a kid.

PHILLIPS: You knew how to shoot the spitballs through the straw.

HARRIS: And run! Kyra, you have a great day. Yes, take care.