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Egypt's "Day of Departure;" Proof Internet Feeds Into Gullability?
Aired February 4, 2011 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Hey, it's 10:00 a.m. in the east, 7:00 out west right now. CNN has learned that Mark Kelly will lead the upcoming space shuttle "Endeavor" into space. We know that Mark Kelly, of course, is Gabrielle Giffords' husband. She has been recovering in the hospital and Kelly had to decide whether to stay with her or to go and lead that mission he's going to go.
And we're trying to find out why an armed passenger hijacked a Greyhound bus. Greyhound says the man forced the driver to pull over as the bus got close to its destination in Raleigh, North Carolina. He let all but two passengers off, then got behind the wheel and drove down interstate 85. Police eventually stopped the bus, stunned the suspect and then they took him into custody.
And Las Vegas Police believed this is the man who robbed the Bellagio Casino back in December. 29-year-old Anthony Carlio (ph) is the son of a judge. Investigators say Carlio (ph) walked into a casino, wearing a motorcycle helmet and carrying a gun and left with $1.5 million in casino chips.
We're keeping an eye on Egypt for you in Egypt where massive crowds are gathering in the major cities. In Cairo's Tahrir Square today's relative peace has been put to the test. There are reports of isolated squirmishes and rock throwing near the overflowing crowds. Only anti-government protesters are inside Tahrir Square and soldiers are trying to prevent a third straight day of brutal violence.
Let's go now to Cairo and get the very latest from CNN's Ivan Watson. He is in Tahrir Square. Ivan, we are looking at the pictures there, and we have been hearing from Ivan that they have been asked by some of the security there not to broadcast live pictures, not to broadcast the pictures from Tahrir Square of the protests there, and that police and security forces were trying to get inside to stop them.
So, Ivan Watson joins us now on the phone. Ivan, what's the latest with that being asked not to broadcast from there?
IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (ON THE PHONE): Well, the situation right now is that we're able to - we're sending pictures for as long as we can. The scene here is joyous. There are thousands and thousands of people. We wanted to show you some pictures of what it looked like a few hours ago, Don, when the prayers were taking place here, when you had thousands of people on the pavement, kneeling on the ground because Friday is the Muslim holy day of the week.
And it was a pretty remarkable scene, especially in a place that had basically been a battleground for two days and two nights, and now the crowd is really starting to roar for some reason. I'm not really sure what's happening here. Really, a tremendous burst of excitement. I'm not sure what has changed to trigger this right now among the thousands of people.
After the prayers, Don, more people poured into the crowd. And it grew, and I would say that - I don't know what I'm seeing right now. It's a really wild celebrations. People are embracing and hugging themselves as if some huge victory has just taken place. We haven't seen this kind of behavior all day. They're surging towards the southern end of the square.
Let's take a listen here. Don, I'm not sure whether you can hear or see our live picture. Something dramatic seems to have happened because this crowd of thousands is in ecstasy, embracing and celebrating.
LEMON: Ivan, yes, we are better able to hear it when you speak because the microphone picks it up. I think it's a little bit too far away for the microphone just to pick up. So if you continue to talk and speak slowly, we will be able to hear some of that. The live pictures we have are fairly dark. And you're looking at - this is tape, right, scotty? You are looking at - these are pictures from earlier.
But, listen, Ivan, continue to tell us what you're seeing, and let's put up the dark picture as well and if we can do a split so we can see what Ivan was talking about. There were prayers this morning, and then we're hearing now --Ivan Watson says there's some sort of squirmish if not for a celebration he believes is going on. Ivan, continue.
WATSON: Yes. Some piece of news probably has come out here that has just gotten people terribly excited. And we will try to figure that out as soon as we're off the air and can do that. A remarkable change was after the prayers were finished, many, many more people poured into this square, which had been a battleground for two days and two nights up until pretty much dawn this morning.
And basically this place that was sieged turned into a joyous political rally with people clapping and dancing in circles and chanting and waving flags, and it was peaceful and still is peaceful, and there are people from all different walks of life from Egyptian society. There are islamists. There are secular, educated women here. There are teenagers. There are elderly intellectuals all milling around in what is a peaceful demonstration, and what had been a peaceful anti-government protests until the bloody, deadly clashes began here two days ago.
LEMON: Now let me jump in here and ask you, I don't know if you can take your microphone and try to move it closer, if you have a mic that will pick up. What are they chanting here? WATSON: I'm having trouble making this out, and, Don, I am not a fluent Arabic speaker. But the crowd clearly got some piece of news that made them really happy. There are still security people.
LEMON: I want you to stand by Ivan. Will you stand by a minute? I promise we are going to come back to you. But I want to go now to Sarah Sirgany, to the deputy editor of "Egypt Daily News" and she is in Cairo. She joins us now via Skype. Are you getting any information on what Ivan is talking about, Sarah?
SARAH SIRGANY, "EGYPT DAILY NEWS," DEPUTY EDITOR: I'm trying to. I called our reporters. They see people are cheering but they don't know exactly why. There are reports on Al Jazeera right now that four aides of the minister of Interior have been arrested, and you know, I don't know if you know this but the minister of interior has been one of the hated symbols of the regime. And he resigned from the old cabinet and has been replaced already.
But so far, we don't know. When we're there, there are a lot of rumors that take place, and people could cheer but so far there hasn't been any confirmed reason why they are mass cheering now in Tahrir.
LEMON: But there is mass cheering and our Ivan Watson is hearing. He is at Tahrir Square, overlooking Tahrir Square. So listen, we are hearing also information that the Arab League chief has joined the protests there in Egypt. What can you tell us about that?
SIRGANY: I haven't heard this. I've only heard it through an e- mail but I'm not sure that the Arab chief - sorry, I heard it wrong. People spotted him there, but no one has seen him speak, at least no one I know of have seen him speak to the protesters or address them in any sort of way.
There are reports - you know that the square is big and it's very difficult to cover it and know exactly what's happening where, but there are reports that some of the people that came together and formed what is the elderly committee that would take care of the country in a transition government, have tried to go there and speak to the people but were not able to address everyone. But that was earlier in the day.
LEMON: Sarah, stand by. Stand by.
SIRGANY: All right.
LEMON: We're going to continue to talk to you as well. I want to go back to our Ivan Watson who was reporting from Tahrir Square live in Cairo. So Ivan, we have some live pictures that we're able to see of the square. And according to the reporter there, she is saying that there is cheering, and she knows that there is cheering, possibly because two members of the interior ministry have been arrested, not confirmed yet but that's what she is hearing. So take us through what you are hearing there.
WATSON: The crowd is still quite happy. I'm seeing at one end of the square what looks like the detention of some kind of suspected prisoner by the Egyptian soldiers that are stationed near the Egyptian Museum and that's been occurring periodically.
Actually, they're walking somebody off to the military's corner. Several suspected, I guess, pro-Mubarak elements, several suspects have been taken away this way throughout the day. We've witnessed this before. And this is part of the self-defense networks that have sprung up here in Tahrir Square after the two days and two nights of fighting here.
There are many combatants, many young men who fought against pro- Mubarak elements around the barricades here, battles of hails of stone that's being thrown back and forth and Molotov cocktails, and so these bandaged men are walking around, wearing their bandages like symbols of pride and they are also continuing to guard the entrances into the square.
At one moment there was some kind of a false alarm and they all used whistles to send some signal out to reinforce one area. So you can see how they have organized themselves using signals to move their forces around. But I would say that compared to yesterday and the day before, there are many more people who did not spend two nights here during the fighting. And engaged in combat who have joined here to show solidarity, and to raise their voices, calling for the resignation of the Egyptian president, Hosni Mubarak.
LEMON: So Ivan, this is called a day of departure. It was prayer, supposed to be peaceful. And we are also hearing that there is a turn. They have done a 180 in the way that they are treating especially Americans and American journalists, seem to be kinder, treating them nicely, more courteously. What can you tell us about that?
WATSON: Well, among the opposition activists, journalists of all race have been welcome. These people are very keen to get their voices out to the outside world from day one of what has been a grass roots movement. The issue has been out beyond the opposition demonstration areas, beyond the barricades where for the last two days, during the fighting, we also saw systematic attacks on journalists carried out by supporters of Hosni Mubarak, and by what we suspect are secret police as well. Where you've had dozens of reporters who have been beaten and some hospitalized from a slew of different countries, whose equipment has been destroyed and confiscated as well.
And there have been a number of arrests as well. Our CNN crews at a hotel overlooking the square have been banned from filming a live signal from the balcony there, filming into the square. And today Al Jazeera is reporting that its Cairo offices were attack by a gang of thugs and their offices were burned and destroyed. Just to show you there is still a very serious campaign to stop these images from getting out to the outside world especially via television.
LEMON: All right. Ivan Watson. Please stand by, Ivan, because we want to know exactly what's going on there. And if you're just joining us. It's supposed to be a day of departure in Cairo, reporting live from there. Ivan Watson is reporting live. A day of departure and a prayer. And just moments ago, Ivan is reporting that there is some sort of celebration that he is seeing, lots of people moving about. And the crowd has become more mobile and louder and we are trying to dig into exactly what's going on.
We have one reporter here who is a contributor here who is saying that it's possibly because two members of the Interior Ministry have been arrested. We don't know for sure. That's according to her reporting. We will confirm that for you. But again, a reporting live from Tahrir Square in Cairo. Again, some sort of raucous. He believe it though to be peaceful and a celebration of sorts. We're following the very latest. We're back in just moments.
LEMON: Some mixed news on the economy to tell you about. The January jobs report is out. And while it shows an increase of 36,000 jobs, it's far less than the 148,000 that was expected. The unemployment rate for January has dropped to nine percent, down from 9.4 percent the month before, and the manufacturing and retail sectors saw the biggest gains while construction and transportation remain down. Mixed numbers.
You can better believe we took you live to Dallas a short time ago. Mark McKay is reporting inside of the Super Bowl. They are shivering in frigid conditions, again today, in parts of Texas and in fact, it was colder this morning in Amarillo than in Fairbanks, Alaska. How often does that happen? Not very. Schools are closed for the third straight days as the city struggles to clear roads and highways covered with ice and snow.
And we want to tell you, an American Airlines just told us just a short time ago - their spokesperson Ed Martell was on - 630 flights cancelled in and out of Dallas. Jacqui Jeras tracking the snow and ice in Texas for us. Jacqui, not good news. Talk to us about that. It's going to be a while before they're able to get those flights back up with the weather the way it is.
JACQUI JERAS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Absolutely. I mean, it's still snowing in Dallas right now. Here you can see on the radar picture. There is another big burst that's just heading into the city. So conditions are going to go downhill again. But say, after the noon hour, we will watch for improvements, still a little blustery therefore today. We're also getting some freezing rain around the Houston area.
Numerous interstates and highways are shut down, including the beltway around Houston. They've had about a quarter of an inch of freezing rain now and there are accidents everywhere. You don't want to travel. All along i-20, just a nightmare situation. And the airports, the only one reportedly closed right now, Corpus Christi, and we also have confirmation of Love Field in Dallas, they are also closed. But they were able to make a progress with runways but it's just the tarmacs and some of the taxi ways that they are going to continue to have some problems on.
Now our storm here is going to track off to the east and it's going to spread heavy rains across places like Atlanta and up towards Charlotte and then move into the mid-Atlantic and into the northeast. The good news is it's a fast-moving storm. This is going to hit the northeast just tomorrow. And that's pretty much it. The end of your weekend is looking a lot better. But it's going to take a while, Don, to break out of that big freeze. They should be out of the freeze for the Super Bowl, by the way. But you know, when you think about all the fans that are there, they're from Green Bay, right?
LEMON: Pittsburgh is used to it, too.
JERAS: I said Pittsburgh, too. Both of them, absolutely.
LEMON: All right. Thank you, Jacqui.
JERAS: Sure thing.
LEMON: Appreciate it.
You know, we've GOT fresh proof that the internet has made us more gullible. We'll tell us how a college professor had his students believing that a totally imaginary animal was real. They fell for a hook line and sinker.
LEMON: When they say don't believe everything you read, right? Sure, the digital age and the internet - well, they make our lives better and easier and they help us stay better informed. But one downside is the eroded of a healthy skepticism in this country and really around the world, at least among people like your kids who might have grown up with the web all their lives.
A professor at UConn wanted to find out just how much Facebook and YouTube generation will belief. So he directed his students to a web site about the rare pacific northwest tree octopus, an animal that's about as real as a unicorn, but the students fell for it hook, line and sinker and they saw this on line and they believed it was real. So some kept insisting it was real even after their professor told them that it was fake. That he made it all up.
Professor Donald Leu joins us now from (INAUDIBLE) Connecticut. Thank you so much. They believed it. You made the whole thing up, and you put it on the internet, and then what happened, professor?
PROF. DONALD LEU, UNIVERSITY OF CONNECTICUT: Well, we didn't make the site. It was a site THAT'S out there that was made by somebody else. And this was a study with one of my colleagues Dr. David Rankin (ph) at Clemson University and a number of our colleagues, but - and I want to correct something, too. It's not that the internet - this study doesn't show that the internet is making us more gullible or more stupid. It suggests that we need to teach additional on-line reading comprehension skills in schools, that is, the internet demands additional new reading skills, and we need to prepare the next generation for those. LEMON: And we need to find more sources rather than just going to one source. So listen, why do you think that this generation possibly - as you said, maybe it's not, do you think they're a little bit more gullible than other generations?
LEU: No, actually, I think they are probably brighter and more informed generally. Our population of students came from economically challenged school districts in South Carolina and Connecticut. And we looked at out of 1,200 seventh graders, we looked at the top 50 on- line readers from that population, of that population, 88 percent of them believed the site and reported it as reliable or very reliable, and as you said, some of them when we told them it was bogus insisted that it was reliable.
But the problem here is that we don't have these critical evaluation skills of source, for example. How do you evaluate a source of an internet web page? We don't teach those within our reading programs. We really need to. Not a single state evaluates that skill, not a single state has that skill explicit to the internet in their state standards and it doesn't appear in the new common core of state standards explicitly connected to the internet. There is critical evaluation but nobody talks about evaluating sources of the internet. So these new skills that are required from my reading online need to be included into our curriculum.
LEMON: So is it generational or is it just as with age and maturity that a healthy degree of skepticism coming from that because older people tend to be a little more skeptical of things maybe than young people? So maybe it may just be a matter of age and maturity.
LEU: It could be. You really hit on the key ingredient here. It's not that we don't want to teach students any particular site, we do want to teach them some of these strategies for evaluating. But, more importantly, we really want to develop a generation of healthy skeptics about information they encounter. So they look a little more deeply and they think and weigh and balance different viewpoints but in terms of a generational issue, I'm not so sure because there was another study that was conducted several years ago that shows that 75 percent of adults reading health sites never check the source of the information. And a lot of those health sites, health-related sites are published by pharmaceutical companies so adults don't even check the source of information when they go to a new site.
LEMON: So professor, it sounds a little cliche here, but do your homework. I think that's the bottom line. Prof. Donald Leu joins us from (INAUDIBLE), Connecticut. Thank you so much. We appreciate it.
LEMON: Let's talk about the economy now. January job numbers, they are worse than expected, and we'll look at that right after the break.
LEMON: All right. The stock market opening bell rang just about, 9:30 Eastern time now, about an hour ago. Let's look at the number. Dow up 13. Plus 13, still trading though above 12,000. We'll continue to check that for you throughout the day. Also, new jobless numbers are released today and there are some mixed news. So let's go straight to our Stephanie Elam with an update. Hi, Stephanie.
STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Don. This is not the way you would like to see a jobs report to come out when you take a look at what was going on in January. And really, the numbers are not what we would like to see. We did see that the economy added 36,000 jobs last month.
Overall, you may be saying, "oh good, we added, but if you look at this chart here, you can see that's really nothing. Based on the way it's built there. They were expected to add 149,000 jobs. So not a lot of jobs added, below expectations, and then if you look at the unemployment rate, which is a separate survey that's conducted, And you'll see it went down. It fell to nine percent, 9.4 percent.
You may be thinking. Well, how is that possible for it to fall if we saw that there weren't enough jobs created. Because some people just said, you know what, either because of the weather, either they just got discouraged, they did not go out and actually look for a job so they just fell out of the job market and therefore are not counted, and that's part of the reason why we're seeing that number we saw that number go the wrong direction there.
Because it's a sign that people are just not looking. And also, keep in mind, think about what the weather has been like, Don. In January, it's been awful, For a lot of people, if there is blizzards and there's snow out there, you're not going to go out and pound the pavement as much to get a job. So that's probably what's going on there.
Also, for 2010, there were revisions, revisions, enough revisions that actually the numbers that we thought we - thought we had 215,000 fewer jobs that were added to the economy last year than we previously thought. So all of this to say, we still have a lot of work to do this country, Don.
LEMON: Yes, we do. Hey, Steph, let me ask you this -- what is this I'm hearing about, a lot of people - they're filling out job applications all over. But for Google, what's going on?
ELAM: Don, this is crazy. Imagine you say that you're going to hire a lot of people, which Google did say. They said that this is going to be a record year for them,. They said we're going to hire more than we ever have before. Their previous record was back, I think, in 2007 and they hired about 6,000. They said that they're going to exceed that this year.
Well, people heard and according to Bloomberg, they heard it so much that Google got over 75,000 applications in just one week worldwide. That is -- I don't even know who is the person charged with that, but that beats the record set in May 2007 by 15 percent. They said we need a lot of engineers, a lot of talent. They are going into the cell phone world, doing a lot more there at Google. But an you imagine being the person, a, tasked to go through these resumes --
LEMON: Yes! "I want you to go through those, and have it on my desk by 5:00." Can you imagine?
ELAM: Right. But then, on top of it, how do you make yourself stand out when you know there are almost 75,000 people out there looking for a job for Google? But think about all the perks there are working at Google. It's a fun place to work. It's always rated as one of the best places to work. So, if you see that, it makes it happen. People want to work for Google, too. Man, they're going to have to shine! You need, like, a 3-D prism resume online or something to get people to look at them.
LEMON: Actually, that's a good story for you. How do you make yourself stand out? How do you do it?
ELAM: It shouldn't be too hard to find one of these 75,000 people. I probably could just go outside and find someone who sent in a resume.
LEMON: Right. Thank you, Steph. Always good to see you.
Hey, it's just after 10:30 in the East, it's after 7:30 out West. Here are some of our favorite stories this hour.
This is a scene in Cairo's Tahrir Square, the site of bloody fighting for the last two days. The relative peace this morning has been put to the test. There are reports of isolated skirmishes and rock-throwing near the overflowing crowds. Also, we are hearing the a scene of some celebration there that we're checking on for you.
Las Vegas police believe this is the man who robbed the Bellagio Casino back in December. Twenty-nine year old Anthony Carleo is the son of a judge. Investigators say Carleo walked into a casino wearing a motorcycle helmet and carrying a gun. Remember this video? And he left with $1.5 million in casino chips. Arrested. Son of a judge.
And we're trying to find out why an armed passenger would hijack a Greyhound bus. (INAUDIBLE) the man forced the driver to pull over as the bus got close to its destination in Raleigh, North Carolina. He let all but two of the passengers off, and then got behind the wheel and drove down Interstate 85. Police eventually stopped the buss, stunned the suspect, and took him into custody.
A decorated Air Force pilot is facing a disciplinary review and could soon be kicked out of the military. He is accused of abusing his wife, but did the Air Force miss the signs that Major Chad Bushman was battling post-traumatic stress disorder? CNN's Ed Lavandera explores what happened in the years after Major Bushman returned from war.
ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Air Force Major Chad Bushman piloted C-130 planes into the Iraq and Afghanistan war zones. MAJOR CHAD BUSHMAN, PILOT, U.S AIR FORCE: I remember seeing the missile streak come past the front of the aircraft. That was the most terrifying experience of my life.
LAVANDERA: He thought only ground troops could suffer PTSD, so when he came home from war in 2004, Major Bushman says he tried to settle into a normal routine with his wife Tori. But looking back now, Bushman says intense anger brewed inside him.
BUSHMAN: And so you would snap. It's easier to burst emotion with anger as opposed to actually trying to be vulnerable and talking about it. I didn't really think there was a problem. I could, you know, justify everything.
LAVANDERA (on camera): When a soldier returned from war, they are supposed to fill out, a post-employment health reassessment survey that can help figure out if a soldier needs treatment for PTSD. This is Major Bushman's survey. He says he wasn't asked to fill it out until January of 2008, four years after his tours of duty.
A military attorney in charge of the case says they don't dispute Bushman's claim.
(voice-over): When he finally did fill out the survey, he didn't know his life was about to hit rock bottom.
(on camrea): At what point did you realize you weren't yourself?
BUSHMAN: When I was arrested.
LAVANDERA: In this five-page sworn statement, Tory Bushman laid out in painful detail her husband abuse. It's really hard to read. Verbal attacks that escalated into physical abuse, choking and even threatening to kill her. After this, the Air Force ordered Major Bushman to have no contact with his wife.
What was it like being arrested?
BUSHMAN: Horrible. Worst experience of my life. It's shameful, in a nut shell. There is no other way around it. No honor to it.
LAVANDERA (voice-over): The Air Force wouldn't talk about Bushman's case on camera, but a military attorney tells CNN Major Bushman didn't show any signs of problems between 2004 and the day he was arrested in 2008. He never asked for help and performed his duties well.
After his arrest, a military psychologist looked at the veteran pilot's post-deployment survey. Bushman's attorney says the psychologist says that the telltale signs of PTSD had been festering for years.
STEPHEN KARNS, BUSHMAN'S ATTORNEY: Very clear he had PTSD, and they didn't diagnose him. And but for their failure to diagnose him, we probably wouldn't be here.
BUSHMAN: I'm excited. I'm nervous.
LAVANDERA (voice-over): Even though the Air Force is trying to discharge Chad Bushman --
(on camera): Anxious?
BUSHMAN: Like I'm going to throw up!
LAVANDERA (voice-over): -- you might be surprised to hear he has the full support of one important person.
BUSHMAN: You are sneaking up on me.
LAVANDERA : This was the moment Chad and Tory Bushman reunited for the first time in almost two years. After learning about her husband's PTSD, she's giving the marriage another chance.
(on camera): What made you want to stand by him?
TORY BUSHMAN: Just knowing who he was before all this started happening. The man I fell in love with. Just -- he was sick and need help. And I didn't want to give up on him?
LAVANDERA: Have you tried telling the Air Force, hey, look, I'm on his side on this one?
T. BUSHMAN: They just see him as a bad man and want to get rid of him, and they're not taking into account the situation or what he has done for our country or what we suffered as a family.
LAVANDERA: Tory Bushmarn is standing by her pilot, but it might not be enough to save Major Chad Bushman's military career.
LEMON: Ed Lavandera joins us live now. Ed, what happens to Major Chad Bushman next?
LAVANDERA: You heard us mention there in the story that he was going through the process of a court martial, but his wife refused to cooperate with prosecutors. So the Air Force is essentially dismissed that and is not going down that road.
So, next week, Major Bushman faces what the military calls a nonjudicial punishment, which is essentially, he will appear before a three-member panel. It will look and sound a lot like a trial. He side will put on witnesses, talk about the PTSD treatment and the symptoms, that sort of thing. The military will build its case, and essentially the question for the panel is to determine whether or not it's in the Air Force's best interest to retain and keep Major Chad Bushman. This three-member panel will issue a recommendation, and this is a decision that will be made at the highest levels by the secretary of the Air Force.
LEMON: All right. Ed Lavandera. Thank you very much, Ed.
Want to tell you about this. Keeping little girls too clean could be making them sick. That's because an article in the Journal of Social Science and Medicine cites research that shows children exposed to lots of germs are less likely to develop allergies, asthma and autoimmune disorders. The author of the report explains that one reason that girls get sicker than boys is they are exposed to less dirt, which contains important disease-fighting bacteria. Bottom line, let your little girls and your little boys get dirty. Let them get dirty and have fun and play in the dirt! It's good for them -- to a point.
The uprising in Egypt ignites protests in other Arab states. What does it mean to you or me? We'll talk with an expert on the Middle East to break it down for us.
LEMON: You can better believe we're keeping a close eye on the uprising in Egypt and the massive rallies that are being held there right now.
We have some developing news. In Cairo, an overflow crowd has amassed in Tahrir Square. The anti-government crowd gathering has been peaceful and not marred by the brutal violence we witnessed in the last few days, two days. But in fact, just moments ago - here is the new information. Large pockets of crowds erupted in jubilation. There were rumors, these are just rumors, that protesters are celebrating news that some members of the Mubarak government have been arrested. But again, that's just rumors that they heard and that they were happy about that. So, jubilation erupted again. We are unable to confirm that at the moment. We'll continue to check on that and what's going on in Egypt.
In the meantime, what does the Egypt uprising mean to its Arab neighbors and the rest of us around the world? Really, for that, we turn to an expert. His name is Joshua Landis. He is the director for Middle East studies at Oklahoma University (sic).
Thank you for joining us. What does it mean for us first, and then we'll talk about that area, that region?
JOSHUA LANDIS, DIRECTOR OF MIDDLE EAST STUDIES, UNIVERSITY OF OKLAHOMA (via phone): Well, this is obviously going to change the landscape, the geostrategic landscape for the United States in the Middle East if there is regime change in Egypt. Egypt has been our biggest ally.
LEMON: So, Joshua, listen, we have heard all that. I understand that. It's going to change our geostrategic - we know that. For the region and how we conduct foreign policy and all that. But for the average American in our day-to-day lives, how does it affect us?
LANDIS: Well, it's not going to affect us immediately but this is the train coming down the road for us in the sense that the third world is being buffetted by these rising food prices. Last year and half, wheat prices up 50 percent, sugar 50 percent. This is going to squeeze poor people throughout the world, and that's going to have big political repercussions. We're in this together.
LEMON: OK. What about Syria? Let's talk about Syria --
LANDIS: I just got off the phone with friends in Damascus, and it was quiet. There were supposed to be demonstrations today, but people don't seem to be coming out. It's pouring rain in Damascus, and I think weather has been on the side of the police here, but people are riveted by what's happening in Egypt. Everybody is watching Al Jazeera.
LEMON: Some people thought that immediately or that sooner - it hasn't happened, but that it would spread to neighboring countries. And yesterday, the last two days, they believe for those other countries who were thinking about it that it might be a wake up call for demonstrations like this because if it had been seen, Joshua, as easy as protesters coming out, demanding that the president step out and everything is A-OK and he does, they may do the same thing.
But since there are these clashes now that happened, they're thinking that protesters and people in other countries in the region might say, you know what? Not so quickly?
LANDIS: Well, that's true, but the big thing nor Syria and Jordan is Iraq. They have been traumatized by Iraq. You've got to remember, there are 1 million Iraqi refugees in Syria in terrible shape. So, Syrians are very conscious that the downside regime change could be civil war and big clashes. And that's bad for everybody.
LEMON: A lot of people are comparing this to Iran the 1970s and the shah and all of that. Is that a fair comparison? Is it too early to tell?
LANDIS: I think it is. No, well, you can't tell if it's going to be successful in Egypt. But I've got a feeling it is going to be very hard to put this genie back in the bottle.
Everybody thought Iran was unique because it was a Shiite country, the Shiite clerk of clerics and so forth. But this is similar. It's not going to be led, as we see in Egypt - the Islamic forces are not the dominant forces.
Now, everybody is frightened they will emerge as they did in Iran. But I think the world has really moved on, and I think al Qaeda has scared Muslims as much as it scared the West.
LEMON: All right. Joshua Landis. Appreciate it. Thank you.
LANDIS: You're most welcome!
LEMON: Some new poll numbers are a sign of a big split in our country. President Obama's job approval ratings are the most polarized in more than a half century. The story behind the numbers, straight ahead here on CNN.
LEMON: Let's talk some politics. President Obama has some poll numbers that haven't been seen in more than a half century. Political producer Shannon Travis has the story from the CNNpolitics.com desk. What do you have for us?
SHANNON TRAVIS, CNN POLITICAL PRODUCER: Hey there, Don. Time for a little bit of a political pop quiz. Who is the most polarizing president in recent years? Well, I have the answer right here. According to Gallup, it says President Obama. If you look at his second-year approval ratings, they averaged his approval ratings from last year against other recent presidents, and they say that the average among Republicans, he only has a 13 percent approval rating among Republicans and an 81 percent approval rating among Democrats. Gallup says that makes a 68 percent gap between Republicans and Democrats, and they say if you look at the second year of a president, that makes President Obama the most polarizing president since Dwight Eisenhower.
In other news, our CNN senior producer Kevin Bonn is reporting that Mark Kelly - you know, he's the husband of Congressman Gabrielle Giffords who was injured in that Tucson shooting incident -- Kevin is reporting that today NASA will announce that he will fly, will command the space shuttle Endeavor that's set to launch on April 19th.
Now, Mark Kelly was already slated to fly this mission before his wife was shot in that incident, so now we are expecting that today they will make it official, that he will, in fact, command the space shuttle Endeavour.
LEMON: All right. Thank you, sir. So, listen, everyone gets annoyed when the e-mail goes down. I know you do. So, even the White House isn't immune.
TRAVIS: I go crazy when mine goes down, Don. I'm sure you probably do, too. A lot of people do.
But the White House is not immune. Yesterday, according to our White House correspondent Dan Lothian, the e-mail communications at the White House went down. He says it happened around 8 a.m., a little before. That email was down. That this was unclassified e- mail -- that the classified communication system was OK, but that this also a system that President Obama uses to communicate, him and some of his top advisers. But we learned that Verizon fixed the problem around noon.
LEMON: All right. Shannon Travis, thank you very much.
And we'll have your next political update in an hour. And a reminder for you, for all of the latest political news, go to our Web site, CNNpolitics.com.
Hey, a famous bad guy is making a comeback. Watch out, Dallas! J.R. is not done yet!
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) LEMON: Oh, yes. A return to Dallas, and the famous doctor is sued by his best friend. A lot is happening in the world of entertainment. And our Kareen Wynter is here to tell us about that.
So, what's this about J.R. making a return? I thought somebody shot him.
KAREEN WYNTER, CNN ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT: Well, he's back. He died but you know, is coming back to life. It's not a dream at all for Dallas fans.
J.R. Ewing, he is back, Don. Our sister network, TNT, is updating the classic TV show Dallas, and they just announced Larry Hagman will reprise his role as J.R. Ewing. Now, J.R. was one of the classic soap opera villains, and when the greedy Texas oil man was shot in the show, and it became an international sensation.
The original Dallas ran for 13 years. Imagine that, 13 years, going off the air in 1991. This modern story of Dallas will focus on the Ewing offspring as they clash over the future of the family dynasty.
Now, Hagman isn't the only original character coming back. Patrick Duffy, we hear, will also return as good ol' Bobby. Bobby Ewing. Remember Bobby? And Linda Gray will reprise her role as J.R.'s wife, Sue Ellen. Producers, they are still working to cast up the younger stars, thouhg. No air date has been set yet for the new Dallas debut, Don.
LEMON: All right. So, I think Bobby -- Bobby was the one who died, Kareen. Bobby was the one who died, and then it was a dream and he came back. But J.R., man, he hung around. Again, that's on our sister network, TNT.
All right. Thank you, Kareen Wynter.
WYNTER: Pretty exciting stuff.
LEMON: Yes, we appreciate it.
WYNTER: Thanks, Don.
LEMON: And don't move, everyone. We are about to show you some commercials that made the Super Bowl cut and some that didn't, including a Doritos ad that's different.
LEMON: Just about two days until all of those expensive, funny, new commercials make air. Oh, and the Steelers and Packers play a football game, too. Jeanne Moos previews some of the ads that made the Super Bowl cut, and some that did not.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Forget Roethlisberger and Rodgers. The up-and-coming stars of the Super Bowl could be a pug, a Bieber, a pint-sized Darth Vader, maybe even Adam and eve.
Most advertisers spend a bundle making professional commercials. Bridgestone Tires used a real beaver and a stunt beaver. But there will also be a half dozen homemade Super Bowl commercials. Doritos and Pepsi Max asked folks to make their own ads.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, baby, check this out! C'mon.
MOOS: J.R. Birmingham created Pug Attack.
J.R. BIRMINGHAM, AD CREATOR: I always thought pugs running in slow motion was funny.
MOOS: So he borrowed a friend's pub. There were over 5,600 entries competing for cash and exposure.
The sauna wasn't a finalist. Adam and Eve was.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Different take on an old story.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Na, I'm good.
MOOS: Some aspiring ad makers had the same creative concept. For instance, the chip on the butt. Neither of those made the finals, but one called The Best Part did.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You left the best part.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, I'm pretty sure I didn't.
MOOS: Okay, that isn't as cute as, say Volkswagen's Super Bowl spot featuring a miniature Darth Vader finally gets The Force to work when his dad gives him a hand.
(on camera): In the days leading up to the game, some advertisers even release trailers for their commercials. For instance, the tale of a scorpion in the Anheuser-Busch Clydes Dales (ph) is to be continued. Ditto for another Bridgestone Tire ad.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Rod, you sent this email reply all. You hit reply all.
MOOS (voice-over): But those are created by agencies. The amateurs stand to win up to a million bucks if their homemade ads make it to the top of "The USA Today" ad meter.
(on camera): Now, if I were a betting girl, I'd put my chips on the pug.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Don't hurt my dog.
MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN - New York.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) LEMON: Oh, that's hilarious. Some people watch for the competition; others for the commercials.
I wonder why Suzanne Malveaux watches.
SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN ANCHOR: Absolutely for the commercials.
LEMON: Have a great show, Suzanne.
MALVEAUX: I'm not even going to try to fake it. Just the commercials. Thanks, Don.
LEMON: All right.