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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Debt Deadlock; Don't Teach, Don't Tell; Concussion Cover-up Allegations; The Barefoot Bandit; Dr. Drew's Interview with Bristol Palin
Aired July 20, 2011 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN ANCHOR: Anderson is off tonight.
We begin with breaking news, late word that emergency White House talks to head off the debt crisis got nowhere tonight. And there are new signs, troubling ones that any possible compromise, big or small, long term or short, simply is not going to make it through the House of Representatives.
Now, you may think that this is business as usual in Washington: two sides pushing a crisis to the brink in order to get the best possible deal for their side. But Jessica Yellin is reporting that some of her sources are telling her that this is anything but a normal crisis.
And she joins us now.
Jessica thanks. Your sources are saying this is becoming an abnormal crisis. What happened today?
JESSICA YELLIN, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, there was a lot of process, Sanjay, and a lot of discussion and still no breakthrough is the bottom line. We are less than two days away from the President's self-imposed July 22nd deadline for a deal. And still there is no deal.
And now some on Capitol Hill, some of even the President's allies are saying this is now in their view time to cut bait and stop going for this big deficit reduction package that they have been talking about and just find the easiest path forward to get the debt ceiling raised and worry about deficit reduction at another time.
GUPTA: It seemed like there was some enthusiasm and some progress yesterday. But if the two sides are even further dug in, even further apart so to speak, why is the President still pushing for something big?
YELLIN: Well, there's the overt politics of it; he seems to be nominally winning. The Republicans in public polls are doing less well and are getting more blame than the President, in part because he's going for something big. But there's also just the simple fact that they have to figure out a way to get votes in the House of Representatives to raise the debt ceiling. And they can't get those votes with a simple effort to do it and to raise the debt ceiling. They have to look for other avenues.
Now, this is where you mentioned that this is abnormal. Outsiders look at this process and say, this is typical Washington mess. It always works out in the end. But you know, when you talk to old hands in Washington who have been at this for decades, they say this is sort of abnormal Washington messiness and that's because you have these sort of dead-enders in the House of Representatives who don't really care, these new freshmen, they don't care about re- election. And you can't sweeten the deal or bargain with them to get their votes because they just want to cut spending. So you don't know how this works out in the end and that's why this negotiation is so messy.
GUPTA: They were elected you're saying in some ways not to compromise.
GUPTA: Process versus politics. Jessica thanks so much.
Unfortunately it's not very encouraging what Jessica is talking about. You know, in the past Republicans and Democrats seem to have always managed to hammer out budget deals containing a blend of taxes and also spending cuts. And each side often had to make painful concessions.
You will remember President Clinton cut entitlements. President Reagan raised taxes and pushed to increase the debt limit.
But this time around as Jessica reported, there are Republican members of Congress who believe they were elected specifically not to compromise. And when it comes to taxes, both sides appear stuck on their slogans instead of solutions. So we're going to keep them honest tonight.
First, the Democrats.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JAN SCHAKOWSKY (D), ILLINOIS: Millionaires and billionaires get to sail around on their yachts, and by the way, get a tax deduction.
REP. JUDY CHU (R), CALIFORNIA: Republicans would propose to use their money to subsidize a millionaire's yacht.
SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV), MAJORITY LEADER: People who own corporate jets and yachts.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We can't just tell millionaires and billionaires they don't have to do a thing. Just relax. That's fine. We will take care of this.
SEN. SHERROD BROWN (D), OHIO: Republicans would rather protect millionaires and billionaires.
OBAMA: Millionaires and billionaires.
SEN. BARBARA BOXER (D), CALIFORNIA: Tax breaks for the millionaires and the billionaires.
REP. TED DEUTCH (D), FLORIDA: Preserving tax loopholes and payments to oil companies.
REID: Tax breaks for oil companies.
REP. NYDIA VELAZQUEZ (D), NEW YORK: Republicans are choosing tax loopholes for owners of corporate jets.
DEUTCH: Tax breaks for corporate jets.
OBAMA: Making sure that millionaires and billionaires keep their tax cuts.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GUPTA: You know, "Keeping Them Honest," though, they're talking about changing the tax code, so hedge funding kind of is taxed like regular income instead of at lower rates. And according to the White House that only gets you about $20 billion in savings over 10 years. That corporate jet tax break everyone talks about, eliminating that pulls in about $3 billion. Tax breaks for oil companies, only about $4 billion a year.
Here's the point. The reality is closing a $1.4 trillion deficit can't be done just by taxing tycoons.
However, listen to the Republican talking points. And those same tycoons aren't even called the rich or the wealthy or the well-off. Instead the phrase is -- well, listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JEB HENSARLING (R), TEXAS: Let's raise taxes on job creators. Mr. President, the American people don't want that.
REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R-MN), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The job creators of this country are not the bad guys. They're the good guys. We want more job creators.
REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: The House cannot pass a bill that raises taxes on job creators.
REP. ERIC CANTOR (R-VA), HOUSE MAJORITY LEADER: Help the nation's job creators grow the economy and start hiring.
REP. PETER ROSKAM (R), ILLINOIS: Job-killing tax hike on America's job creators. REP. CATHY MCMORRIS RODGERS (R), WASHINGTON: America's job creators.
REP. RENEE ELLMERS (R), NORTH CAROLINA: America's job creators.
REP. SPENCER BACHUS (R), ALABAMA: Innovators and job creators.
SEN. KAY BAILEY HUTCHISON (R), TEXAS: Innovators and job creators.
BOEHNER: Job creators around our country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GUPTA: The job creators as you heard there. "Keeping Them Honest," though, not taxing them or anyone as House Republicans wants mean you have to make some pretty brutal budget cuts. If you look at the budget House Republicans passed the other night, the Cut, Cap and Balance bill, it calls for $680 billion in spending cuts -- spending, rather next year.
That doesn't count Social Security, Medicare, VA benefits or interest on the debt. Yet if you exclude those very same items, actual spending last year was $1.24 trillion.
We did the math here. Doing a deal that doesn't involve raising any revenue means cutting upwards of 40 percent from all spending on about the bare essentials.
Now, whatever else you might think about the proper size of government or what's fair to pay in taxes, neither side's rhetoric squares very well with reality.
Let's get some perspective now from Jon Corzine. He's former Democratic governor of New Jersey and before, a U.S. senator and CEO of Goldman Sachs. Currently he runs the investment firm MF Global Holdings Ltd. Also, Carly Fiorina, vice-chairwoman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, she's also a former senior campaign adviser to John McCain, and before that CEO of Hewlett-Packard.
Thanks to both of you for joining us.
Let me start with you, Carly. You heard some of these sound bites. Some of these revenue suggestions like ending that corporate jet perk it seems to make its way into every speech. It seems like it would be pretty uncontroversial. But -- but there seems like some of your fellow Republicans are drawing a hard line on any revenue-raising proposals whatsoever.
Do you believe as a starting point we can make a dent without doing that?
CARLY FIORINA, FORMER HEWLETT-PACKARD CEO: Well, I think first of all, with regard to the rhetoric of millionaires and billionaires, the problem is when you look at the fine print what Democrats are really talking about is raising taxes on a family that makes $250,000. And if you're a nurse and a fireman raising two kids you don't feel very wealthy right now. So I think that's the problem. The rhetoric doesn't match the reality.
I think, however, for Americans one of the frustrating things about this whole debate in Washington is there has been a deal on the table for quite some time. And I believe the deal would get bipartisan support. That deal involves lowering the corporate tax rate, which everyone including President Obama agrees is too high, closing all of the loopholes -- that helps small businesses, by the way, who have a hard time dealing with a tax code that's thousands of pages long -- cut some spending.
Let's give Republicans credit for changing the conversation to how much can we spend to how much should we save. And then making some changes in Medicare, index Medicare differently so that wealthy people have to pay more, and change the inflation assumptions on Social Security.
If you put all that together, that's a big deal. And it's a deal that's been around in Washington at least since the deficit and debt commission and I think would get broad bipartisan support. And so everyone has been pushing up against this deadline which we also knew was coming for a long time --
FIORINA: -- to see how the politics is going to turn out.
GUPTA: But again, Carly, just to be clear: without generating any new revenue, can you adequately address this problem despite all the things you just said?
FIORINA: Oh, I think revenue raisers, in my opinion, are fine. That's different than raising tax rates.
And I think what we need to do is lower tax rates and close loopholes, and that raises revenue. And I think there's broad support for that.
GUPTA: Jon Corzine, let me ask you on the other hand we are still recovering from a major recession which is I think what's captured so many people's attention. Republicans say now is not the time to take any money out of the pockets of, as you heard, job creators.
Do they have a point?
JON CORZINE (D), FORMER NEW JERSEY GOVERNOR: Let me start with, almost everything Carly just said, I probably could support. And I think that's what you're hearing out of the so-called Gang of Six and growing bipartisan support in the United States Senate.
It is revenue-raising by broadening the tax base and lowering rates and taking serious steps with regard to expenditures. And it's about a 3-1 mix. And I think the President's talking about a balanced approach for quite a long time. It is unfortunate that we are playing sort of Russian roulette with the debt ceiling which is a guaranteed tax increase on everyone because you're going to see a sharp, sharp rise in U.S. interest rates if this debt ceiling problem isn't fixed.
It is real process, but it has real implications in financial markets and the cost of issuing U.S. treasuries for a very long period of time. It just makes no sense.
We do need to get a debt ceiling passed. I do agree particularly when you look at talking points, we ought to get off the talking points right now and get around to fixing the problems, the kind of thing that Carly talked about, the Gang of Six has talked about.
CORZINE: Not -- a lot of that -- none of us like any individual piece of it, but as a package it moves the ball dramatically down the road --
CORZINE: -- on deficit reduction and in revenue increases.
GUPTA: Right. And, you know, today the news seemed to be, Governor, there was hardly any progress.
And, Carly, one of the biggest questions seems to be, will some of these Tea Party freshmen ever cast a vote to raise the debt ceiling under any circumstance? You heard Jessica's report. I mean do you think that's going to happen? Is there anything that can be done to convince them?
FIORINA: Well, look, I think there are people on both sides who are not going to support this deal no matter what. I mean Nancy Pelosi has said famously as well as some other House Democrats that they will never accept entitlement reforms. So I think there are going to be folks on both sides. The question is, can you get enough votes?
And I think Jon is absolutely right. It's critically important that we raise the debt ceiling. I think, however, the President of the United States is not a freshman House Republican.
FIORINA: And as I said, this deal has been on the table for a long time. This problem has been on the table for a long time. I think we need the President of the United States, the leader of the free world, to step forward and lead here. And I think there will be enough bipartisan support to get a deal done.
GUPTA: Has he not been leading on this? I mean, with regards to these most recent conversations? FIORINA: You know, disappointingly, President Obama put forward a budget in February. This was his opportunity to lead, in my opinion. That budget was voted down 97-0. It tackled entitlement reform not a bit. He gave a wonderful speech in April which the Congressional Budget Office said it couldn't score because there weren't enough specifics.
The truth is the President himself has never put a deal on the table. He's asked other people to put deals on the table. And so I hope now that in this final two weeks he will come forward and be clear and specific about what it is he wants done and help lead people to get it done.
And Jon, you know, the process part of this now, I mean, some senior state Democrats -- Senate Democrats are saying that there's just not enough time to act on this Gang of Six or Gang of Seven proposal. I mean you know how the chamber works. I mean, are they right? Can they -- can they get this through?
CORZINE: First of all, I do want to say I think the President has been leading very visibly. The American people understand he's talked about a balanced approach. And it's been repeated meetings and repeated efforts to get to a balanced program, a so-called grand bargain which I think actually Speaker Boehner has been supportive of.
The real effort is being made. We are now also into process deadlines that will be very hard to meet if there are filibusters, if there is the kind of thing that we saw on TARP, a vote down and then we see reactions in markets to create crisis and then you have to go back and have a second vote.
There is not much time left on that candle burning. And the debt ceiling does have to be passed, whether it's short term, which the President talked about today.
CORZINE: As long as it's tied to a long run balanced program kind -- the kind of program that Carly talked about, I welcome. I have heard the President say he's welcomed it, very much at his own peril among Democrats across certain elements of our party.
You can hear people pushing back against it. I think he's exhibiting truly strong leadership on willingness to make real cuts in spending, but he is asking and demanding that there be revenue raisers.
CORZINE: And if that happens we can get to a long-term program as well as pass that debt ceiling.
GUPTA: And he -- and he also talked about the possibility of an extension for a couple of days as long as there is a plan in place. CORZINE: Absolutely.
GUPTA: Carly Fiorina, Jon Corzine, thanks so much for joining us.
GUPTA: And let us know what you think at home as well. We're on Facebook. You can follow me on Twitter at @SanjayGuptaCNN. I will be tweeting tonight throughout the show.
Up next, more breaking news, a school system where kids have taken their own lives: is the district's policy on discussing sexuality part of the problem? We will tell about the possible lawsuit shaping up and bring you both sides of a debate that matters to kids and parents alike.
Later, is America's favorite sport destroying the lives of the people who play it? The link between on-field concussions and serious debilitating long-term brain injuries and now the NFL is being accused of deliberately hiding the danger. We'll bring you the latest and talk to a former player who's suing the league.
GUPTA: More breaking news tonight on a subject that frankly terrifies me as a father. Bullying that can be so intense that parents claim it can drive a child to suicide. Now as a parent you do everything you can to protect your child at home. You count on others to do the same at school.
Well, tonight we've learned that two civil rights groups plan to take a Minneapolis-area school district to court, this after the school district refused to change its curriculum policy on sexual orientation.
In just the last two years, seven children there have committed suicide, seven. The parents of two of those children say their teenagers were bullied over their perceived sexuality. And that's not uncommon among teen suicides nationwide.
Yet in this particular school system, teachers taking a position on homosexuality; it is off limits. The question is, should it be?
In a moment the two sides are going to weigh in on that, the federal investigation and the possible lawsuit.
But first the heart-breaking story from Poppy Harlow.
MICHELE JOHNSON, MOTHER: These are Samantha's swim suits. And those have been hanging here, because I just can't put it away.
POPPY HARLOW, CNNMONEY.COM (voice-over): A swimsuit hanging lifeless since November 2009 when Michele Johnson's only daughter took her own life.
JOHNSON: We believed that she was just hiding from everybody because she was feeling hopeless.
Samantha was kind of a tomboy. And she -- she was perceived as gay.
HARLOW (on camera): Was she gay?
JOHNSON: No. We don't think she was gay. She was 13.
HARLOW (voice-over): Samantha was the first of seven students to commit suicide in a single Minnesota school district in less than two years. Parents and friends tell us four of those teens were either gay, perceived to be gay, or questioning their sexuality. And at least two of them were bullied over it.
Erica Hoops was Samantha's best friend.
ERICA HOOPS, FRIEND: Yes, she didn't feel safe anywhere. During volleyball they would call her names like "fag" and be like, "Go over to the boys' locker room. You shouldn't be in here."
HARLOW (on camera): Was the bullying part of the reason, you think, Erica, that your best friend killed herself?
HOOPS: Most definitely. There's no question about it.
HARLOW (voice-over): Allegations of bullying have brought unwanted media attention and CNN has learned a federal investigation to this quiet suburban community.
(on camera): We're about 30 minutes outside of Minneapolis in Anoka-Hennepin. This is the biggest school district in the entire state. But the reason we're here is because it has become a battleground over homosexuality in the classroom.
(voice-over): This is the only Minnesota school district we could find with a curriculum policy that bars teachers from taking a position on homosexuality and says such matters are best addressed outside of school. It's become known as the neutrality policy, and some teachers say it's part of the problem.
JERI SCHULTZ, TEACHER: There's so much we can't do and say to help create a more accepting and affirming and welcoming environment that would eliminate some of that bullying in the first place.
HARLOW: In a school newsletter, and in a voice-mail to staff, Superintendent Dennis Carlson denies any connection between bullying and the suicides.
DENNIS CARLSON, ANOKA-HENNEPIN SUPERINTENDENT: Based on all of the information we have been able to gather, none of the suicides were connected to incidents of bullying or harassment.
(END AUDIO CLIP) HARLOW: Carlson says the district has a comprehensive bullying policy and has piloted a bullying tip line. He says the neutrality policy is a reasonable response to a divided community.
CARLSON: It's a diverse community. And what I try to do as superintendent is walk down the middle of the road.
HARLOW: But one teacher is ready to take on the district.
(on camera): Are you afraid that you could lose your job just being here talking about this?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Realistically? Yes.
GUPTA: And Poppy Harlow joins us now.
It is a heartbreaking story just listening to that mother. Poppy, what is the latest on the advocacy groups that have threatened to file a federal lawsuit against this school district?
HARLOW: Well, Sanjay, just today, the Anoka-Hennepin school district if Minnesota said that they're going to keep, no question about it right now, the neutrality policy in place.
The Southern Poverty Law Center -- that's one of the advocacy groups behind this case -- says any resolution must include a repeal of that policy. So right now if you just look at it, if this doesn't change they plan to file a lawsuit against the school district.
Now, the SPLC was present for our interviews involving its clients.
And you know, Sanjay, what we also learned today is that the school district asked the Southern Poverty Law Center and the National Center for Lesbian Rights to assist it in training its staff to support gay students. But that is not going far enough, Sanjay, for these civil rights groups.
On top of this, CNN has learned and confirmed the Departments of Justice and Education are investigating incidents involving bullying and harassment in that school district. And while the school district told us they have had collaborative discussions with federal authorities, the DOJ tells us today their investigation is ongoing.
You will see our full investigation. We have got it all coming up Sunday evening at 8:00 p.m. Eastern -- Sanjay.
GUPTA: All right, Poppy. Thanks a lot.
Let's keep on topic here. I want to bring in educator and bullying expert Rosalind Wiseman. She's the author "Queen Bees and Wannabes: Helping Your Daughter Survive Cliques, Gossip, Boyfriends, and the New Realities of Girl World." Also, Candi Cushman, education analyst for CitizenLink, the policy arm of Focus on the Family. Thanks to both of you.
Candi, you saw that report with us. I mean, you -- you -- my understanding is you support the neutrality policy in that Minnesota school district. First of all, what do you make of this news, this breaking news that federal officials are conducting an investigation, a civil rights one?
CANDI CUSHMAN, EDUCATION ANALYST, CITIZENLINK: Well, first of all, we do support the neutrality policy.
It seems reasonable and fair to all the parents and students. It's important to understand that this policy has nothing to do with the school's anti-bullying policy. This is a curriculum policy, simply asking, directing the teachers to remain neutral when discussing controversial sexual topics in the classroom. It directs them to discuss the issue in an age-appropriate, factual way and in a way that's relevant to the curriculum.
It doesn't ban them from talking about it. So I'm not sure what all the controversy is about, because they actually have an anti- bullying policy that specifically mentions sexual orientation issues and that gay and lesbian kids should be protected.
So I'm really not clear on why the activists are threatening a federal lawsuit against the school district. It just makes one wonder, what more do they want?
GUPTA: Right. Well, I mean, you heard from some of the teachers there, Candi, as well. If a teacher is to remain neutral, can they adequately support a child who -- who may be getting harassed because of their sexuality? How do they reconcile both those things?
CUSHMAN: Well, the school has said over and over, and we would agree with the school, that no one should ever be neutral on bullying. Absolutely, if they see a student being harassed because they are perceived to identify as gay or lesbian, that should be stopped. That should be prohibited and punished immediately. There is no neutrality on bullying.
But what the school is saying, what they're doing as they said is trying to respect a diverse community. They are not mandating that homosexuality be promoted in the classroom. And apparently nothing short of endorsement of homosexuality in classroom curriculum will satisfy the gay activist groups. And I just don't think most American parents, that's not what they're comfortable with in public school classrooms. That's not why they send their kids to public schools.
GUPTA: I think it's hard to generalize probably what parents across the country feel about this.
But, Rosalind, I mean, what do you think about this? What are your thoughts on what Candi is saying specifically?
ROSALIND WISEMAN, AUTHOR, "QUEEN BEES AND WANNABES": Sure. I think most parents and all parents in this country want children to go to school and be safe, no matter who they are, no matter what they look like, no matter what their perceived orientation of any kind is.
And the problem with neutrality is it doesn't look neutral to the target or the bully. It looks like you are siding with the bully. And so if you can't name on top of that the behavior that's happening because you have to take a neutral stand, then what it looks like to the child and to everybody around is that that homosexuality or that gossiping is so shaming and so you can't talk about it that the child will never come forward.
So if the teachers are muzzled or if there's a perception that the teachers are muzzled then our children are never going to come forward.
WISEMAN: So in all of these ways, all of this gets to a place where children will not come forward and they feel isolated. And then they do terribly sad things like take their lives.
GUPTA: So Candi, along those lines, starting off, I mean do you object to telling kids that there's nothing wrong with being gay? Wouldn't that be important in fostering an atmosphere of safety and inclusion?
CUSHMAN: Well, what we fully support is the right of parents to determine and control when, how and if their children are exposed to controversial sexual topics like homosexuality, gay marriage.
Again, most American parents are not sending their kids to taxpayer-funded schools to be given homosexuality lessons and to have those lessons mandated. However, I am absolutely in support of a teacher saying, you should not use a derogatory or degrading statement about a student perceived to be gay or lesbian.
It's wrong to use insults, derogatory name calling, physical harm. Peer abuse is always wrong and it should be stopped as soon as it happens. No one's neutral on that.
WISEMAN: What's so amazing to me --can I just say, what's so amazing to me is, there's so little time in a school to be able to teach these programs. And where is the faith in the teachers in the school district and the counselors and the school nurses that they're going to do right by the kids and they're going to teach these kids appropriately?
And that's what I think is so problematic about what I'm hearing from Ms. Cushman is that there's this belief that somehow if we give the teachers the opportunity to reach out to students and say, you are ok at base whoever you are, that that will then go from that to jumping into gay marriage. And that really to me is about why don't we have faith in the people in that community to do right by their kids?
GUPTA: And the teachers who are teaching these kids who again in the piece --
GUPTA: -- you saw some of them at least seem to, Candi, feel a bit muzzled.
GUPTA: Look, we could talk about this a long time. There is a federal investigation as we all heard under way, so we will keep on this topic.
Rosalind Wiseman, Candi Cushman, thanks so much for joining us.
CUSHMAN: Thank you.
WISEMAN: Thank you.
GUPTA: Still ahead, we have more breaking news. Homeland Security issues a warning for private utilities, why it's urging them to be on alert. That's next.
Plus, the NFL is slammed with a lawsuit alleging it deceived players about the long-term dangers of concussion. My interview with one of those players who has filed a lawsuit, just ahead.
And a fugitive thief who became a cult hero while eluding the law for more than two years, where the Barefoot Bandit is today and, by the way, how did he get that nickname?
GUPTA: NFL players did not vote on a new labor contract today, as expected. They're in talks with owners to hammer out a deal to end a record-long work stoppage. The agreement on the table includes new safeguards for players, including limits on the number and intensity of their workouts. It also provides nearly $1 billion to retired players, many who have develop dementia and other medical problems.
Decades of research supports a link between concussions and debilitating long-term brain injuries. Now the NFL has been accused of deliberately hiding for nearly 90 years those exact dangers. In a lawsuit filed just this week, 75 former players accuse the league of fraud and deceit, alleging it concealed what it knew about the harms of concussions.
In a statement, the NFL told us, quote, "We have not seen the complaint but would vigorously contest any claims of this kind."
Riddell, the company that makes helmets for the NFL, is also named as a defendant in the lawsuit. They told us they haven't seen the complaint and don't comment on pending lawsuits.
I'm a neurosurgeon. I spend a great deal of time investigating the long-term impact of traumatic injuries to the brain. And last fall, I sat down with former Vikings linebacker Fred McNeill. He's one of the players who filed the suit.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, he got drilled at the 5.
GUPTA (voice-over): They are thrilling.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Delivered the blow. Came in with a stinger.
GUPTA: And terrifying. Watch a football game, and you can't miss them -- the hits. But what is the real impact? What is happening to the players' brains?
(on camera): How many times did you take a hard hit playing football?
FRED MCNEILL, FORMER VIKINGS LINEBACKER: It was one time I had a real serious concussion. And it was so serious that I was -- I was dizzy for like -- you know, for like two or three weeks.
GUPTA (voice-over): Thirty years ago, Fred McNeill was a linebacker for the Minnesota Vikings. He played for 12 seasons and in two Super Bowls.
Relentlessly hitting opponents was his job.
F. MCNEILL: You got to be able to move, right?
GUPTA (on camera): Right.
(voice-over) No question McNeill is robust physically.
F. MCNEILL: You can control it.
GUPTA: But you can tell his brain has paid a price.
(on camera) What has it done to you?
F. MCNEILL: Well, the impact is -- is on memory. I meet people and talk about the conversation that we had, you know, two weeks ago or three weeks ago or a month ago or whatever, and -- and I don't remember.
GUPTA: If we saw each other again would you remember me?
F. MCNEILL: Sanjay, I don't know. When I started out --
GUPTA (voice-over): The not knowing. It happens often. There was also rage.
TIA MCNEILL, FRED MCNEILL'S WIFE: It got to where I would say things that really shouldn't upset him. And he would get angry really quick. His temper was very short.
GUPTA: Followed by remorse.
F. MCNEILL: I think that was the biggest thing for my dad. He felt like it was all his fault.
GUPTA: It wasn't. But there was no doubt he was different.
TIA MCNEILL: It was a moment where I realized I wasn't living with the person that I knew and married.
GUPTA: No one seemed to know what was happening to Fred McNeill until reports about other former NFL players who had been through similar issues. Like McNeill, they had memory problems, rage issues and depression. Most disturbing: all died young. Could concussions, the common denominator, be to blame?
Researchers at Boston University Medical School are looking deep into the brain and spinal cord of former athletes to find out. What they are seeing is startling.
This is a normal brain; this one, a 45-year-old former NFL player. See the brown tangles? That's brain damage. It looks a lot like this 70-year-old brain with dementia.
DR. ANN MCKEE, NEUROLOGIST, BOSTON UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF MEDICINE: To see the kind of changes we're seeing in 45-year-olds is basically unheard of.
GUPTA: It's called chronic traumatic encephalopathy. And here's the kicker: those changes are directly associated with rage, memory problems, and depression.
F. MCNEILL: I was actually considering not living; was actually considering that.
GUPTA (on camera): You wanted to end your life?
F. MCNEILL: Yes. I was just thinking that it would be so much easier.
GUPTA: Isha, we're going to -- we'll get to the bulletin in just a moment. But I have to tell you, I mean, it was remarkable to talk to him. He's so physically robust but simply cannot remember anything. And his wife said he has had absolutely no life since leaving professional football. That's been the real problem.
ISHA SESAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Indeed. And you know what struck me in your report is that it really only takes one bad blow to the head to cause these types of long-term problems.
SESAY: And it's not just football players, right?
GUPTA: It can be soccer players, girls' soccer. This is becoming an increasing problem and also the military. I mean, we talk about traumatic brain injuries being sort of the signature injury of these wars and you're having the same mechanism in these football players occurring.
So we'll keep -- we'll keep, certainly, on top of that.
I know you have some other stories in tonight's "360 News & Business Bulletin" -- Isha.
SESAY: Sanjay, breaking news. Tonight Homeland Security officials are warning of potential threats against private utilities. Though the agency says it has no specific credible intelligence of an imminent attack. Several recent incidents highlight the ongoing threat.
Prime Minister David Cameron in the hot seat today, grilled by British lawmakers about his ties to those at the center of the phone hacking scandal at the "News of the World". Cameron said he regretted hiring former "News of the World" editor Andy Coulson as his one-time communications director.
Journalists at the tabloid are accused of paying bribes to police and hacking potentially thousands of people, including victims of terror attacks.
In the U.S., a lawyer for relatives of 9/11 victims said Attorney General Eric Holder and other Justice Department officials will meet with them about allegations that their conversations and voice mails may have been targeted by the "News of the World". The FBI is investigating the claim.
Wells Fargo will pay a record $85 million fine for allegedly pushing borrowers with good credit into expensive mortgages and falsifying loan applications. It's the first action the Federal Reserve has taken against a bank for predatory lending practices related to the housing bubble.
And the newborn daughter of David and Victoria Beckham is already making a mark. Harper Seven was named for Harper Lee, the author of "To Kill a Mockingbird". And as a result, sales of the classic novel, according to Amazon, in the United Kingdom have surged 123 percent.
GUPTA: GUPTA: We'll check in with you in a moment, Isha. Thanks a lot.
And coming up in our "Con Men" series, part criminal, part cult hero; the man who became known as the Barefoot Bandit. We're going to tell you how he got that nickname and why he stole a fleet of small planes, even though he didn't know how to fly them.
GUPTA: Tonight in "Crime & Punishment", we continue our series called "Con Men" with the fugitive thief who became known as the Barefoot Bandit. His real name is Colton Harris-Moore.
He started off as a small-time juvenile delinquent, stealing food from neighbors out of necessity. But he soon developed a taste for the finer things and bigger crimes. He stole fancy cars, even airplanes, covering a lot of ground before police finally caught up with him.
Ted Rowlands reports.
TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): These are the famous feet of the Barefoot Bandit. His incredible game of "catch me if you can" came to an end in the Bahamas after more than two years on the run.
(on camera): The saga of the Barefoot Bandit started here in the Pacific Northwest in the island communities north of Seattle. It's where Colton Harris-Moore learned how to steal and how to run from the law.
(voice-over): Colton Moore grew up on beautiful Camano Island, a popular summer vacation spot. But according to child welfare reports, life at home in this trailer for Colton was anything but a vacation.
Jackson Holtz is a reporter at "The Herald" in Everett, Washington, and author of the book "Fly, Colton, Fly".
JACKSON HOLTZ, AUTHOR, "FLY, COLTON, FLY": Colton had to go fend for himself for dinner, and he did that by breaking into neighbors' homes and stealing frozen pizzas.
ROWLANDS: By the time Colton was 15, he was stealing more than pizzas. One thing he was leaving behind were bare footprints, which led to the nickname the Barefoot Bandit.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I never locked my doors. Then he started in, and everybody started locking up. He hit quite a few places around here.
ROWLANDS: Authorities caught Colton in February 2007. He was sentenced to three years in juvenile detention. But a year later, after a transfer to this halfway house, Colton escaped.
HOLTZ: That's when he began to do these phenomenal crimes, just unbelievable crimes.
ROWLANDS: Colton survived by living in the woods and empty vacation homes. He seemed to be having a good time on the run. After crashing a stolen Mercedes into a propane tank at this market during a police chase, investigators found a digital camera in the backseat.
HOLTZ: Colton has taken dozens of self-portraits including this now iconic picture of him staring and smiling to the camera, wearing a Mercedes Benz logo T-shirt, listening to an iPhone with survival gear around him.
ROWLANDS: At one point Colton broke into a convenience store and left behind 39 footprints in chalk with the message "C Ya".
But what really got people's attention was when the Barefoot Bandit started stealing airplanes. He didn't know how to fly, but Colton Harris-Moore would end up stealing, flying, and crashing five planes. And people were cheering him on.
HOLTZ: Here was a kid who was sticking it to the law, flying airplanes, breaking into rich people's vacation homes. Thousands of people became interested in Colton Harris-Moore.
ROWLANDS: A Facebook fan page was created. People wrote messages of encouragement. This guy even wrote a song and posted it online.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (singing): Fly, Colton.
ROWLANDS: Police were not amused.
MARK BROWN, SAN JUAN COUNTY SHERIFF: It should be more about apprehension of an adult felon criminal at this point and not so much about -- about everything else, making this person some kind of a cult hero or -- or a Robin Hood.
ROWLANDS: In September 2009, Colton crashed this plane in Granite Falls, Washington.
HOLTZ: That brought on Black Hawk helicopters. It brought on Customs and Border Patrol. And certainly teams and team of SWAT police, just heavily armed, looking for this guy.
ROWLANDS: John Henry Browne is Colton Moore's attorney.
JOHN HENRY BROWNE, HARRIS-MOORE'S ATTORNEY: He evaded Homeland Security. It's pretty embarrassing for the government in some ways. But he didn't know he was doing those things at all, you know. He told me one time, he really had no plan.
ROWLANDS: The last plane Colton stole he flew to the Bahamas, where he lasted a few days before police caught him by shooting up a stolen boat he drove onto a sandbar.
In June, Colton pleaded guilty in federal court. He's likely to spend about ten years in prison, meaning he'll be out at the age of 30.
HOLTZ: He stole five airplanes without really knowing what he was doing. He crashed five times. And he lived to tell the tale. And I think that's pretty amazing.
ROWLANDS: Ted Rowlands, CNN, Everett, Washington.
GUPTA: And tomorrow night, we're going to have more of our "Con Men" series.
At just 16 years old, Barry Minkow started a business in his parents' basement and ended up bilking investors out of hundreds of millions of dollars before he was caught. Casey Wian has a preview.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Back in the 1980s, teenager Barry Minkow seemingly had it all: a Ferrari, a mansion, and a carpet-cleaning business valued at nearly $300 million.
BARRY MINKOW: I'm Barry Minkow, president of ZZZZ Best Carpet Cleaning.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Barry made it easy for people to believe in him. He had that unique ability of getting people focused. And it was audacious.
WIAN: Audacious because, by his own admission, nearly 90 percent of ZZZZ Best was a fraud.
MINKOW: I spent 87 months in prison. I didn't get away with anything. I paid a heavy price for my crime.
GUPTA: But when the jail time was over, this con man's story was just beginning. Watch what happened next. That's tomorrow night on 360 in our "Con Men" series.
GUPTA: Still ahead, a revealing interview with Sarah Palin's daughter Bristol. What the young woman now says about her former fiancee and the night that changed her life forever.
GUPTA: Tomorrow night on HLN, Dr. Drew Pinsky has a special interview with Bristol Palin, of course, the daughter of the former Alaskan governor and former vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin.
Bristol made headlines when she announced she was pregnant at the age of 17. In 2008 she gave birth to a son they named Tripp. And in her interview with Dr. Drew, she talks about motherhood at a young age and the relationship she had with Tripp's dad, Levi Johnston. Here's a little preview.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRISTOL PALIN, DAUGHTER OF SARAH PALIN: We got engaged. And I see this all the time in young girls where they're on again, off again with their boyfriends and what not. So we got engaged and we gave a story to "Us Weekly," biggest regret of my life.
The day it came out he comes to me and he says, hey, this girl's pregnant and it might be my baby.
DR. DREW PINSKY, HLN HOST: Oh, by the way?
PALIN: Oh, by the way, yes. Just by the way.
PINSKY: What do you want for lunch?
PALIN: Yes. And this was the day that that magazine hit newsstands. So then from that day forward I was just like, I'm just done. Tripp doesn't deserve this for his dad. And I don't deserve this as a potential husband.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GUPTA: And Dr. Drew Pinsky joins me now. Dr. Drew, you say that in talking to Bristol Palin the thing that jumped out at you over and over again is this is a young woman not at all adept at expressing her feelings. That's fascinating. Tell us more about that.
PINSKY: Yes. I mean not that every 20-year-old should have absolute facility with accessing and expressing emotion, but I actually give her a little grief during the interview repeatedly that she covers her feelings with sort of a nice smile -- and not an uncommon strategy but we kind of question where that came from.
And it seems that her family of origin is a very tight family. They love each other very much. But it's a little bit enmeshed. In an enmeshed family system it's hard to be autonomous. It's hard to have your own feelings.
GUPTA: You know, her mother was the vice-presidential nominee but the revelation that then 17-year-old Bristol was pregnant and unmarried made a lot of headlines. So obviously it became very public.
In your interview there was a very revealing moment about her relationship with Levi Johnston, the father of her son. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PALIN: I was so stupid to lie to my mom and to have those series of bad decisions that I made all in one night. But it was definitely life-changing.
PINSKY: But one of them was intoxicated.
PALIN: Yes, under-age drinking.
PINSKY: In California, that would be a rape. Is it the same in Alaska?
PALIN: I don't know the laws on it, but I'm not accusing Levi of rape or anything like that.
PINSKY: Did it feel like a rape?
PALIN: It was consensual because I stayed with him for years on end after that.
(END VIDEO CLIP) GUPTA: Dr. Drew, is there a component of justification? She says she stayed with him, therefore -- is that the point you were driving at with her?
GUPTA: Yes. Right. I mean, that's very teenage thinking as you and I both know very well that teenagers have a way of justifying their behaviors.
Here's the deal. In California -- I don't know about Alaska -- I live in California. If you are intoxicated you are not of mind to be able to render consent for a sexual relationship. So if you have sex with somebody, that person has raped you. That's just fact in California.
And she talks about being blacked out, waking up the next day and becoming aware that she had sex. I said, well that's -- in this day that is a rape. That's what that is. And she says, no, it's not a rape because we eventually got engaged. That's kind of a teenage way of sort brushing the whole thing off.
It's a troubling story. She goes out, she gets loaded, she has sex. She's young, she's underage. And she doesn't -- she couldn't possibly have rendered consent.
GUPTA: She also tells you that she may regret her relationship with her son's dad but then goes to great length to say that she doesn't regret having her son.
PINSKY: Right. And that is something I hear from every single teen mom I ever deal with, which is please -- and if you remember, I'm blanking right now on the name of the young woman that was held captive for so long by a monster.
PINSKY: Dugard -- even she is saying, please don't judge my children because their father was a monster.
Interestingly, Sanjay, I got a Twitter a few minutes ago. Somebody said, "Who cares? Those teen moms are all over the place. Why should we listen to Bristol Palin?"
That's the point. We do have a lot of teen moms in this country. Here is somebody who is telling a cautionary tale. Let's go ahead and listen to it.
GUPTA: I appreciate it, Dr. Drew Pinsky. Thanks so much.
PINSKY: Appreciate it. Thanks Sanjay.
GUPTA: You can catch Dr. Drew's entire interview with Bristol Palin tomorrow night on HLN. That's 9:00 p.m. Eastern. We'll be right back.
GUPTA: That does it for this edition of 360. Thanks for watching.
Piers Morgan starts now.