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Arizona Immigration Bill; Surfing, Not Regulating; The Unexpected When You're Expecting
Aired April 23, 2010 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ALI VELSHI, CNN ANCHOR: OK. Here's what I've got "On the Rundown."
Immigrants having to carry their registration documents. Police allowed to question them if they suspect -- suspect that they are in the country illegally. It's all in a controversial bill that is on the desk of the Arizona governor, and it is grabbing nationwide attention.
Will she sign it or scrap it?
Plus, they're supposed to be watching Wall Street 24/7, but you're not going to believe what some people at the Securities and Exchange Commission were watching on the Internet, on the job. Let me put it this way -- they were not shopping for shoes.
Also, can you help save the planet and make money at the same time? I'm going to introduce you to one man and one company, living proof. They even have ingredient lists on their products that show you what they're doing for the Earth. And they don't make food, by the way.
All right, will she or won't she? Arizona Governor Jan Brewer has until midnight tomorrow night to sign or veto a bill that could become the nation's toughest state law against illegal immigration. The bill basically makes it a crime, a state crime, to be in the country illegally.
That part you can understand. Here's where it gets sticky.
The bill requires local law enforcement to determine someone's immigration status if they have reasonable suspicion that they are in the country illegally. That's where it gets complicated. The person then needs to provide proof of residency. Violators can be arrested and fined.
So, protesters and supporters of the bill are speaking out across the country. We heard from President Obama this morning at a White House naturalization ceremony.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Our failure to act responsibly at the federal level will only open the door to irresponsibility by others, and that includes, for example, the recent efforts in Arizona, which threaten to undermine basic notions of fairness that we cherish as Americans, as well as the trust between police and their communities that is so crucial to keeping us safe. In fact, I've instructed members of my administration to closely monitor the situation and examine the civil rights and other implications of this legislation. But if we continue to fail to act at a federal level, we will continue to see misguided efforts opening up around the country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELSHI: All right. CNN senior political analyst Gloria Borger joins me now from Washington.
Gloria, a poll that we saw shows that about 70 percent of people in Arizona support this. Thirty percent are against. Thirty percent of Arizona's population is Hispanic. But -- so it's a hotbed for this kind of discussion.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Sure.
VELSHI: But what are the national implications of this?
BORGER: Well, it kind of crystallizes the debate, and you heard the president just talk about it, because it gives the president an opportunity to say, look, unless we get some federal guidelines here for immigration, then you're going to see this kind of thing, which clearly he believes has civil rights implications. It could spread all over the country. So, it gives him an opportunity to say this is why the feds need to step in, which is what lots of the Democrats want to do right now.
VELSHI: And so, really what it is, I mean, generally speaking, you wouldn't think of this as something a state would do. Is it underscoring --
VELSHI: -- the need for a broader -- you know, something really comprehensive coming from the federal government?
BORGER: Well, you know, this is what the Democrats say. But, Ali, look, this is a political issue right now.
This is something that lots of Democrats say is important for the future of the Democratic Party. Their growth is Hispanic voters. And let's not forget, they're heading into a very, very difficult midterm election.
So if they were to propose comprehensive immigration reform that has a path towards amnesty, there are lots of Democrats who say even if they propose it and they fail, this could galvanize Hispanic voters to come out in the next election and vote for Democrats and actively against Republicans. In other words, get that enthusiasm --
BORGER: -- in the Democratic base that they're so worried of losing. VELSHI: How do you deal with this, though? Because you need to appeal to a growing base and a base that's important to the Democratic Party.
VELSHI: But how do you do it while addressing the concerns of people who think there's a vacuum of effective legislation dealing with illegal immigration in the country?
BORGER: Right. And not only that, Ali, because people aren't sure exactly how you go about solving the problem, but a larger issue for the Democrats -- and this is sort of where the Republicans come in -- and I just got off the phone with a Democratic pollster who doesn't think they ought to do immigration reform, because he said we have to keep our eye on the economy. And during an economic downturn, you know, historically, voters are much less hospitable to doing anything about immigration because they see this as people who are going to take away their jobs, right?
VELSHI: Yes. Yes..
BORGER: So, this gives the Republicans an opening here. And lots of Democrats are saying, you know, don't focus on immigration. Doing the banks and financial --
BORGER: -- reform is great. Stick to the economy.
All VELSHI: All right. Good discussion. Gloria, thanks very much for being with us, as always.
VELSHI: Have a great weekend.
BORGER: Sure. You, too.
VELSHI: Gloria Borger, our senior political analyst.
They were supposed to be watching the market, watching what hedge funds were doing, watching the fat cats. But during the most economic upheaval in generations, what were some government regulators looking at? I'll give you a sense of it after the break.
VELSHI: Goofing off on the job, believe it or not, is nothing new. It even happened before we had the Internet. But when it happens in government, it sort of becomes everybody's business. And when it happens in the office that regulates Wall Street while major financial institutions are melting down, well, it goes from being everybody's concern to being a bit of an outrage.
I'm talking about employees and/or contractors at the Securities and Exchange Commission surfing the Internet for porn when they should have been sniffing outed the Madoff scandal, for instance, or cracking down on fraud on Wall Street. My "YOUR $$$$$" co-anchor Christine Romans joins me again with all of the dirty details.
Christine, are we being -- I mean, everybody's talking about this today.
CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Yes.
VELSHI: And I get the outrage part of it. I also get --
VELSHI: -- that maybe we're being unfair. You tell me. You've been studying this for this morning.
ROMANS: Well, I mean, I talked to the inspector General, David Kotz, over at the SEC, and I said, "What's going on?" I mean, is this something that's ancient history, is this something that is isolated? And he told me, "We're looking at this right now. Right now we are investigating this, still."
This has been something they've been investigating for five years now. Some 33 cases.
These 33 cases, Ali, are -- this isn't accidentally clicking on the wrong box. I want to be really clear here.
This is 33 cases in five years of massive, hours and hours of downloading gobs of stuff. Thirty-one of these probes have just been in the past two and a half years since the financial crisis. Half of these employees, more than half of these employees, Ali, are senior- level people at SEC making $99,000 to $223,000 a year. That's your money.
ROMANS: And the SEC inspector general's reports and the SEC inspector general makes it very clear that some of these cases are really egregious. In some cases, you've got inspectors, you know, going to managers there saying these employees cannot possibly even be working.
VELSHI: Well, yes. There's massive numbers of -- one person --
ROMANS: And a senior attorney at SEC headquarters spent eight hours a day downloading porn, filled up his hard drive, and then had -- didn't have any more room. And then started downloading -- putting it on CDs and DVDs and filling it with boxes. That person, when confronted, I'm told, resigned in shame.
Some of these people have been surprised that they were caught, begged not to have their families or colleagues told what kind of porn that they were reviewing. There's a regional accountant who 1,800 times tried to download porn onto her work laptop and got through successfully 600 times before they caught her. Another account was blocked from sex sites more than 16,000 times in one month.
Well, how do they know this?
VELSHI: How do you do that? How do you get any work done?
ROMANS: These people are not geniuses, right? Because, hello, everyone, your IT department can see -- even if they have a filter, they can see what you're trying to hit. In some cases here, they're running into the filter, and then once they're rebuffed, they try to find a new way to get around it. So now IT has been alerted.
VELSHI: Let's see what Republican Congressman Darrell Issa, who often has something to say about stuff, has to say about this. He's on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.
"This stunning report should make everyone question the wisdom of moving forward with plans to give regulators like the SEC even more widespread authority. Inexplicably, rather than exercise its existing regulatory enforcement authority, the SEC officials were preoccupied with other distractions."
And Christine, you spoke to the SEC. We've got a statement from them, too.
VELSHI: Let me read that.
"Every instance of inappropriate use of the Internet investigated by the inspector General was detected by the SEC's own surveillance and referred to the inspector general for investigation. Each of the offending employees has been disciplined or is in the process of being disciplined. We will not tolerate the transgressions of the very few who bring discredit to their thousands of hardworking employees."
How many employees do they have?
ROMANS: Yes, they have 3,600 employees. Now, some of these were contract workers, some of these were employees, though. So if you look at 33 cases, these are just the ones that IT has sort of flagged and then sent along to the inspector general, and they investigate and move along from there.
There could be more. We just don't know. But it's 33 cases over the past five years, from 3,600 full-time employees.
There's a survey from an outfit called Websense. I don't know how accurate surveys are, really, Ali, about how many people are downloading or surfing porn at work.
ROMANS: I mean, because --
VELSHI: Yes, you have to get that information.
ROMANS: -- if you're entering a survey, what are you going to say, yes?
ROMANS: How are you going to verify this? But it says that 16 percent of adult men have admitted to surfing for porn at work, which would suggest that the SEC's issue is slightly less than the general population, if you wanted to try to make that comparison. But this is taxpayer money.
VELSHI: Interesting point.
ROMANS: This is the middle of a financial crisis. Where is -- Bernie Madoff, folks. Bernie Madoff. Let's be the watchdogs. Some of those watch dogs are watching porn.
What really irritates me is these are not -- these are some seasoned employees. These are people making a boatload of money.
ROMANS: Sitting there watching porn on your -- the computers bought by your money. And they're supposed to be protecting your money.
VELSHI: An interesting story.
ROMANS: It is. And you know what? There have been several investigations from the SEC on this over the past few years, so now they're really kind of getting a lot of heat for it, aren't they?
VELSHI: All right. Nobody says our job is boring.
Christine, good to see you. See you tomorrow on TV.
You can watch Christine and me Saturday and Sunday, 1:00 p.m. Saturday Eastern Time, 3:00 p.m. Sunday on "YOUR $$$$$."
All right. Coming up, imagine expecting a baby and then the unexpected happens. It's born sick or too early. As your baby fights for life, you face another set of struggles, not wanting to leave the hospital. Huge bills, heartache, but someone is helping out, and you get to meet him next.
VELSHI: Weak, vulnerable, in pain. This is the case for too many American babies. Maybe because they're premature or they have a disease. They spend their first hours, days, and sometimes weeks in intensive care just fighting to stay alive.
It's not just the babies that struggle. Their families do, too. Long hours spent waiting, enormous hospital bills and lots of heartache.
That's where our CNN Hero of the Week steps in.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I entered the E.R. from a severe cold. I was 24 weeks pregnant. I had H1N1.
They put me in a coma to stabilize me. I was in a coma for roughly six weeks.
When I woke up, my husband said we had to take out the baby. And I immediately clenched my stomach, but he settled me down and was like, "No, no, he's OK. He's down in the NICU.
DR. SEAN DANESHMAND, CNN HERO: My daughter was born prematurely. And to see people hearing there's something wrong with their baby, and then to have to worry about everything else around them, I mean, life doesn't stop.
I'm Dr. Sean Daneshmand. I started an organization that provides assistance to families with babies in the NICU. I wanted to take some of the suffering that these women go through away from them so they can really focus on their baby.
It's emotionally draining. And the way the economy now is, people are suffering.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I didn't think this was going to be as hard. She's going to do it. She's going to be OK.
DANESHMAND: They need extra money for clothing, diapers, medical expenses, rent. These are families that, all of a sudden, in a time of crisis, now need extra help. And that's what we're about.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They helped us with our mortgage, with gas.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Something as simple as gas cards to be able to make it to the NICU every day just helped tremendously.
DANESHMAND: I can't think of any other time in one's life where you need someone to be there for you.
You're good? You've got to stay strong right now.
I've got a very special rule in life. I never thought I'd be here. And, my God, I'm having a great time.
VELSHI: In just six months the doctor and his organization have helped 80 families.
To see their stories, or to nominate someone who you think is changing the world, go to CNN.com/heroes.
I want to give you a look at some of the top stories that we're following here at CNN.
Good news. Sales of new homes are up, growing 27 percent last month from a record low the month before. That is the biggest monthly increase in 47 years. The big reason for that? The $8,000 federal tax credit for first-time buyers. That offer expires at the end of this month. People were rushing to get in.
In Iraq, a series of blasts that killed at least 61 people and wounded hundreds more. Shiite worshippers were the main target. The violence shows insurgents are still a big force in Iraq just days after al Qaeda in Iraq's two top leaders were killed in a joint U.S./Iraqi operation, and a little over a month since Iraq's inconclusive parliamentary elections.
And the latest from that oil rig that exploded and went under this week in the Gulf of Mexico, about 50 miles off the Louisiana coast. The search continues for the 11 workers still missing, but hope is dimming. And the Coast Guard says no more oil appears to be leaking since the rig sank, although oil did spill in the initial explosion.
Tornadoes dropped from the sky in parts of the nation's midsection. It could get even worse this weekend in parts of the South. We're going to check in with Reynolds Wolf for the latest when we come back.
VELSHI: Nobody wants another economic meltdown, right? But what's Washington going to do to prevent it? After the break, I'm going to ask one of the smartest guys in the business world what we should be doing right now..
Stay with us.
VELSHI: No more bailouts, no more bad bets by big banks that bankrupt the whole economy. Who can't get behind that? We all want reform.
Big picture-wise, everybody in Washington supports new rules for Wall Street. In fact, most people on Wall Street probably do, too. The differences really come down to details.
On Monday, Senate Democrats will try to move forward on a financial reform plan that has five priorities -- to allow big institutions that get into trouble to fail without creating a system-wide meltdown; to limit the riskiest investments by banks; to move so-called derivative trading out of the shadows; to create a Consumer Financial Protection Agency; and to give investors more say in the salaries and bonuses of Wall Street executives.
Last we checked, at least three of those five points were subjects of intense bipartisan negotiation. The Senate votes could go either way, but unlike health care, at least we're negotiating on this one.
In his sales trip yesterday to Lower Manhattan, here's how President Obama framed the choice.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: A vote for reform is a vote to put a stop to taxpayer-funded bailouts. That's the truth, end of story. And nobody should be fooled in this debate.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELSHI: I want to call on the insights now of a scholar and author, a Washington veteran. Glenn Hubbard is all three of those. His business card will say that he is the dean of the Columbia Business School. He's the guy we need to talk to more on this show. He really knows all about this.
Glenn, good to see you. Than you for being on the show.
GLENN HUBBARD, DEAN, COLUMBIA BUSINESS SCHOOL: Thanks. Thanks for having me.
VELSHI: Glenn, we are looking at this from every perspective. Sometimes we're getting very detailed, sometimes we're pulling it back. We've had some debates. But from a guy who has worked in the administration, who has studied business and economics, what exactly is good and bad about the president's proposal?
HUBBARD: Well, I think you've got to start with what we need to do here, which is to try to minimize the chance of another financial crisis and the systemic risk that it implies.
The bill has some good, particularly in its rhetoric, but it really, despite what the president says, does very little to address too big to fail. That's a very big problem. And, in fact, the devil does lie in the details on everything from derivatives to the activity of banks to executive compensation.
HUBBARD: So, there's some good, but, frankly, a lot to be negotiated.
VELSHI: The executive compensation, I've had a few people tell me -- and, I have to say, I think I share this view, that it's a bit of a red herring. It wasn't the cause of the - the economic meltdown and maybe it's just there to sort of appease people and get - get a few votes. But I'll tell you what we are having issues with, and that is how we regulate derivative trading.
Here's how it's different from the health care debate. On the health care debate, there were people who said we don't actually want what you're proposing versus those who said we did.
It seems here that most people in Washington agree it has to be - it has to be regulated better. What would the "better" be on the - on the derivative-trading side?
HUBBARD: Well, I think there's a couple of big issues. One, we need to move toward exchange trading and central clearing of most derivatives. VELSHI: Right.
HUBBARD: Any contract that's standardized and liquid should be there. I think most economists would agree with that. That shouldn't be a Democrat or Republican issue, that's a basic plumbing issue, frankly.
Where I think there's more disagreement, though, is over the derivatives business and whether that business belongs in banking and securities institutions. I would argue it makes little sense to force derivatives out of banks and broader institutions. I don't think that's the problem.
The problem is exchange trading, and it's very sensible to me to still have derivatives businesses inside banks.
VELSHI: Exchange trading means - it means that they're out there. You can see how they're priced.
HUBBARD: Right. So there's transparency - there's transparency for everyone.
HUBBARD: For regulators, importantly for market participants.
It will mean that some current market makers will make less money, but, so what?
VELSHI: But it's kind of like eBay, right? I mean, some people make less money, some people more money, but everybody knows what everything costs.
Now, there'll be some contracts you can't standardize, and you can't (ph) put those on an exchange. That's fine, and that's part of the - what I mean about the devil in the details.
The Senate bill is too broad about what needs to be on an exchange, but the broad direction of moving to an exchange is a good one.
VELSHI: Glenn, some conservatives have come out and said that if you regulate, particularly this side of things, the - the derivatives, you will hobble American business, that the day after this bill passes, some businesses will go elsewhere where they don't have those rules.
HUBBARD: Well, I think it depends on what you mean by "rules."
Again, exchange trading is something we need. I don't think it will hobble American financial institutions or our competitiveness. I think the notion of separating derivatives from other businesses is dangerous, will affect the competitiveness of our institutions, and I don't see a reason to do it.
VELSHI: There - there is a - there's money set aside in this legislation to help businesses, help large corporations, financial institutions, that get into trouble. Some people read that as money that is a bailout, that - that encourages risky behavior. Others say we'd rather have some money set aside so that we - we don't end up taking the economy down every time a financial institution - a big financial institution gets into trouble.
How do you come down on that?
HUBBARD: Well, this is what we have to get it right. What we want to do is make sure we really go at too big to fail, a real resolution mechanism. The Senate bill is frankly pretty light on that.
The notion of a $50 billion bailout fund to me is a bit of a red herring. I don't know if $50 billion is too little or too much. But I do know that structuring a bailout fund upfront is an invitation to bailout.
I think what you need to do is give the secretary of the Treasury broad authority after the fact and to make sure the people who pay for any bailout are first and foremost shareholders and creditors of the bailed-out firm.
VELSHI: My viewers want to understand better about what kind of regulation works in this country, what kind of models we should be looking at. What would you say? Would you say the FDIC is a good example of a regulatory agency that - that has worked well through this difficult economy we've been through?
HUBBARD: Well, I think the FDIC has had a number of successes. We can't really resolve complicated financial institutions as well as the FDIC can banks because we simply don't have the legislative authority.
Despite the president's remarks, this bill doesn't really have a very good story there.
VELSHI: All right. Glenn, good to talk to you. Thank you for being with us.
VELSHI: Glenn Hubbard is the dean of the Columbia Business School.
The aviation company Cessna was hard hit by the recession, so they asked themselves can we buy - build a better airplane?
Tom Foreman took the CNN Express to Cessna headquarters and we're going to show you what he found when we come back.
VELSHI: Hard hit by the recession, the aviation giant Cessna was forced to re-examine the way they did business. Now they're working to build a better airplane and building up America while they're at it.
Tom Foreman is on the CNN Express from Wichita, Kansas. TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Ali. I know that you know about this, but a lot of people may not, Kansas is famous for making airplanes, particularly corporate jets and those smaller, privately- owned planes that are called general aviation.
They've also been hit very, very hard by this recession. They've lost a lot of business, a lot of jobs, but at places like Cessna here, they're using this as a time to regroup and get ready to charge forward when the economy improves.
FOREMAN (voice-over): A few years back, Cessna, one of the most renowned names in aviation, was selling hundreds of multimillion dollar airplanes annually. Then, the recession, scandals over the misuse of corporate jets, and the company lost half of its orders and half of its jobs, 6,000 in Wichita, alone.
For CEO Jack Pelton, a wake-up call.
FOREMAN (on camera): How is this company fundamentally different than it was two years ago?
JACK PELTON, CEO, CESSNA: I think now every day we wake up, we feel we have to go out - go out and earn our right to be that number one manufacturer in the general aviation space.
It's not just a given. It's something that you have to prove every day.
FOREMAN (voice-over): Proving it has meant using the downtime to reconsider many manufacturing methods. For example, they found that by raising jet wings to a vertical position, technicians can move up, down, and across them quicker, saving time and labor that was previously lost maneuvering above and below the wing. By acquiring and attaching the most expensive parts like engines last, they reduced the holding time for costly inventory.
They have stepped up customer service, with rapid response teams on the ground, and, if need be, in the air to fix any plane that needs repair. And throughout the chain of production, they say they are looking for new ideas, new savings, new efficiencies.
FOREMAN (on camera): In many ways it sounds like you completely rebuilt your production line.
PELTON: We did. We cleared out this entire part of the building and said, let's go re-examine how we build airplanes and how we can become better at it. and, you know, not only does it affect the cost of quality, which our customers are going to view positively, but it's also to help our employees.
FOREMAN (voice-over): All of that has allowed the company to maintain aggressive research and development, and to roll out its latest model, despite the hard times. FOREMAN (on camera): You really believe that if you don't keep developing and bringing new products on, you're never going to recover?
PELTON: You're not. Innovate or die. You can't just hunker down and hide during this period of time. You have to continue to invest.
FOREMAN (voice-over): Because that, he believes, is what protects jobs on the ground, and puts planes into the sky.
FOREMAN: This is a long-range type of business, so they don't expect a recovery right away, but they think when they finally get back to where they were and start growing again, they will be on a more sound financial footing, and that will be better for them and their whole state - Ali.
VELSHI: Tom, you have all the fun. I - I not only love being on the CNN Express, but I also learned how to fly a plane in a Cessna. That would have been my dream report.
But, of course, I sit here while all of those guys go out and do fancy things.
In fact, Ed Henry is in Asheville, North Carolina. I wonder what fancy thing he's got going on? We're going to check in with him after this break.
VELSHI: Oh, I love music.
Ed Henry is in North Carolina. What - what - doing what? When's the last time you actually checked into a place where you have to do some work?
ED HENRY, SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, the president goes on vacation, I need to go on vacation, Ali.
HENRY: I mean, you're actually keeping me from vacation. I got to do this - this segment every day.
VELSHI: Which you do every day at this time, Ed Henry, chief White House Correspondent, whatever. He's some kind of muckety-muck at the White House. I haven't seen him at the White House in - in weeks.
But - so he's - the president's there, is that what the deal is?
HENRY: Yes. So the Grove Park Inn is behind me. It's got that red rooftop back there. Many presidents have stayed there. It's really big here in Asheville, North Carolina. The president just arrived there. It's interesting, I can tell you, when I land - I flew in from New York, having been to Wall Street yesterday, you'll remember, and as soon as I got off this little puddle jumper, basically the stewardess was saying get off the plane, guys, get into the terminal because Air Force One was about to land and there were all kinds of police and whatnot taking over this really tiny airport.
It was - it was kind of funny, and they were, like, literally pulling the bags off the plane. There were police standing there, saying move quicker to the - the luggage handlers because they wanted to clear everything.
And when I got into the terminal, which is, you know, one of these terminals with one or two gates.
HENRY: Basically there were people with their noses pressed up against the windows, looking out so that they could see Air Force One come in. They were looking at the motorcade.
And then there were people who brought their kids out on the side of the road in Little League uniforms to see the president, and there were some funny signs along the road, "Free lemonade for the president," "I love Sasha" - one of the president's daughters. No sign for Malia, however, so I don't know how that went over. And then "I weeded my garden for you".
So, people - people really putting on their best here, dressing to the nines for the presidential visit, Ali.
VELSHI: What - what do you so when you're somewhere where the president is on vacation? I remember, because you and I have been on T.V. many times when you've been on vacation and then there's been breaking news.
Christmas Day you were in Hawaii and that airplane came into Detroit with the guy with the explosive in his underpants, so we had to call you up and you ended up working with a Hawaiian shirt on, but --
So, are you working all the time? Well, what happens exactly?
HENRY: Yes. Well, I mean, you're right. I mean, it's sort of funny in a way. We're here, we're joking about, you know, what the president had for lunch or whatnot, but at any moment this becomes really serious.
And that's why you always have to kind of stick close to the work space because even after hours on a Saturday, as you say, there could be an underwear bomber or there could be some serious situation around the world and all of a sudden, you know, we're broadcasting.
And so, today the only news I can report is the president went to lunch, and I'm going to steal this line from one of my colleagues at another network who was just joking that - that the president and the First Lady decided to take their healthy eating initiative to North Carolina. They had lunch at 12 Bones Smokehouse, somewhere the president ate as a candidate.
They had ribs, baked beans, corn pudding, greens, mac and cheese, cornbread, and washed it down with sweet tea. So - and you kind of go through that menu, I'm not sure if it fits right into the first lady's fight against childhood obesity.
But, look, she has a very serious initiative. It's important work. They're allowed to go on vacation like we all do and occasionally bust the diet out, I guess. And - so they're going to have a little bit of fun, but we're ready at any moment.
And, you know, before the president left Washington, he was tackling a serious issue you've been talking about, which is immigration. It was in the Rose Garden.
There - there were sort of a swearing-in ceremony for people who are becoming citizens, service members and whatnot, and the president said this Arizona state law, he believes -
HENRY: -- that's being proposed is really misguided, that would allow the police to basically pull anybody over, stop anyone to see whether or not they're legal, check their status, and what the president's point is that until you act on a federal level, these kind of laws are going to pop up on the state level and that's why he wants Congress to act, Ali.
VELSHI: That's an important point.
And, by the way, we have heard that about 4:30 Eastern time, less than two hours from now, the governor of Arizona, Jan Brewer, will actually do something. We're - we don't know what she's going to do. She can either sign it, ignore it, veto it - we'll have to figure it out.
Ed, enjoy yourself. I hope you get to actually get a little down time and enjoy North Carolina.
HENRY: I hope so, too. Have a good weekend.
VELSHI: You, too.
Ed Henry, with "The Ed Henry Segment" every day, here, on this show.
For every product you buy, there are costs that you probably don't think about, like shipping and manufacturing and labor, and the environment. So, are you stomping out a bigger carbon footprint than you actually realize?
I'm going to introduce you to a man and a company that is trying to reduce that footprint, and they make some really cool boots.
VELSHI: Hey, do this for a second. Take a look down and look at your shoes. You probably remember where you bought them. Where did the leather come from, or the rubber in the sole? What about the fiber in the laces or the - the cardboard of the box that they came in?
Your carbon footprint could end up being a lot bigger than your shoe size, and that has become a major concern for Timberland, the company that makes all kinds of shoes and clothes and outdoor gear.
Jeff Swartz is the President and CEO of Timberland. He's joining me live from Boston.
A few years ago, we spent a few days together, learning how to understand his business and what they do.
Jeff, thanks for joining me.
JEFF SWARTZ, PRESIDENT AND CEO, TIMBERLAND: Thanks for having me.
VELSHI: You - you spent your Earth Day, yesterday, in a very interesting way. Tell us about that.
SWARTZ: I was in Beijing yesterday, Ali. I spent the morning at the Great Wall. I planted with a Chinese actress named Li Bingbing. I planted the millionth tree in a project that we committed to 10 years ago to try and address the environmental damage being done in a place called the Horqin Desert.
It used to be a - it didn't used to be a desert. It is now, because economic progress leads to the destruction of forest and the result of that is sandstorms that went through Beijing and get as far as Tokyo.
So, 10 years ago, we committed to plant a million trees. We planted the millionth tree yesterday -
SWARTZ: -- in the rain. And then we committed to planting 2 million more trees. We're going to create the Great Green Wall between Horqin and - and Beijing.
And so it was a - it's a long way. I'm kind of jetlagged, but it was a pretty cool day.
VELSHI: Yes, I know. And we thank you for coming out and talking to us.
Listen, you are the third generation of your family in this business. Your grandfather - I think you told me he lost a piece of a - a finger, actually, making shoes back in the day, and you have melded your belief in the Earth and the environment with your business.
I want to ask you, a few years ago you told me you wanted to have a carbon-neutral business. You wanted Timberland to - to be taking less from the environment than it - that it was putting back in. Where are you on that?
SWARTZ: Well, we're making big progress, and - and we have big progress yet to make, to be clear.
We set a goal of being carbon neutral, and we said by the year 2010, which is now. We just -- we just announced that we - last year's result, 36 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions compared to the 2006 baseline. We're on - we're on good target to be at the 50 percent reduction place we said we'd be.
It's all very interesting, but the more time we spend on the issue, Ali, of the environmental footprint at Timberland, the more we learn about our responsibility.
And so, I continue to hear our government say it can't be done. I continue to hear critics say it can't be done, that it's going to destroy business if we put carbon cost into the way we run business.
The fact is, we're lowering our costs. We're creating more innovative products. We're doing it in a way that is environmentally thoughtful. It's - it's not the way of the future, it's a reality that we're living right now.
VELSHI: I want you to tell me, there are probably three approaches for a company, right? One is that you can buy carbon offsets. In other words, you can keep polluting the way you do and buy carbon offsets.
One is you can change the behavior of your company, your manufacturing processes, things like that, and the third one is you can involve your consumers in the process.
You've done that - that last one as part of what you're doing by putting an ingredients label on your - on your shoeboxes. Tell me about this.
SWARTZ: You're at the heart of the question. Whatever you can do by yourself unilaterally as a company, change the lighting at headquarters to LED lights, good idea, saves money. Ban bottled water at headquarters, good idea, saves plastic, but it's a small part of the - a carbon footprint.
The question's all at the product level, and so by putting a - a nutrition label on the shoebox, we're saying to consumers the power's in your hands to consume. You don't have to go hug a tree. You don't have to do anything radical. You can get the greatest outdoor gear on earth from a company just like ours.
But if you stop for a second at the point of sale and you ask the question, what goes into this? What's the process involved? All of a sudden -
VELSHI: So the things - some of the things you've got on - some of things you got on the label are use of renewable energy. Is it PVC- free, eco-conscious materials, recycled content of the box, the number of trees planted.
Is this working? Do you hear from - from consumers that that helps them to make the decision to buy your shoe versus a competitor's or your jacket versus a competitor's?
SWARTZ: Theirs is a very steady drumroll building just off camera, and it's the sound of the consumer saying, hey, I expect more from the brands that I do business with.
I hear it from government, I hear it from consumers. It is - it's coming.
It came in the food industry with organic food. It is coming in the fashion industry, and when it does, Timberland's - not only - we want it to come, because we believe the more consumer asks about this issue, the - the better our chances of making our case to the consumer.
VELSHI: Jeff, I've always been impressed by you, and - and we really look to you for that kind of leadership. Thank you for - for coming on the show. Thanks for what you're doing for the environment.
Jeff Swartz is the president and CEO of Timberland, joining me from Boston.
All right, straight ahead, I - I want to have an honest chat with you, each and every one of you who keep me company every weekday on this show. Don't miss my "XYZ". Today, it's about you.
VELSHI: Yesterday a media reporter from the "St. Petersburg Times", Eric Deggans, asked me what five things I would do to fix TV, and that got me thinking.
I'm not one of those guys who actually thinks TV is all that broken. There's lots of it available, so you can choose what you want, easily. What I can do, though, is I can try and fix my little piece of TV by being true to you, the viewer, who's as curious as an - and impassioned as I am.
I want to get great at keeping you connected to ideas that you otherwise don't have time to read about, concepts that you otherwise don't have time to debate and friends you don't have time to see - trends that you don't have time to see developing.
I probably choose to enrich more than I entertain, but if you and I can kick back and have a laugh from time to time, that's perfect, too. Laughter in the serious world of news, well, for me that's always welcome.
I do see you as my friend, not because we may be alike, but because we share some time together at this cafe that allows us people of all different backgrounds and religions and politics to come together.
We don't really share opinions with each other. We share respect for each other's views and the desire to passionately defend our own views and, once in a blue moon, to actually switch sides on - on an issue. You can do that here in my cafe. My team and I have affectionately call it Ali's Crib. Together, we can raise our voices when we're passionate, but not in endless, tiresome, predictable debate.
Three things rule my world here, my small plot of the TV world - conversation, respect, and, above all, curiosity. It's the same with my interviews with big time CEOs or politicians or that 11-year-old health care activist I talked to after the health care reform bill was signed.
When you're here, we're all the same. We all get one vote.
You are the people I get up for in the morning. Your criticisms do sting, but they are always welcome, and I'll take your kudos, too.
Reach out to me on Facebook. Send me a tweet. Send me an e-mail. It's a two-way street here in the crib.
So, to answer Eric's question, it's not about fixing TV to me. It's about being different. It's about providing a different product, serving a different viewer, and creating a different relationship than the one that we're used to in the TV world.
That's the "XYZ" of it.
Now, time for another guy who does it differently and does it well, Rick Sanchez and "RICK'S LIST".
RICK SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: All right, thanks so much, Ali.