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STARTING POINT WITH SOLEDAD O'BRIEN
State of Emergency Declared in Florida; Supreme Court Issues Decision in Arizona Immigration Case; What Happens Next In Arizona?; Debby's Deluge; Wildfires Threaten Colorado; Rest For Representative Jesse Jackson Jr.; Red Cross: Blood Donors Needed; Dole Recalls Over 1,000 Bagged Salads; Fallout From Court's Arizona Law Decision; Facebook Switch; Deadly Mudslides In Uganda; Zimmerman Bond Hearing; Failures In Flight
Aired June 26, 2012 - 07:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: And our "Starting Point" this morning, parked along the panhandle, tropical storm Debby is drenching Florida. A state of emergency with two feet of rain is expected. We're going to talk to Florida's governor, Rick Scott, this morning.
Show me your papers, upheld, the Supreme Court issues a split decision on its immigration crackdown. The part that angered a lot of people, the part that some people, some critics were calling racist is still on the books this morning.
Charlie Rangel is one the rope. He's had the same seat for 42 years. Now, he faces the toughest challenge of his political career today. He'll be with us.
And also, our "Get Real," are you a MAC or are you a PC? We'll tell you why that matters when you're searching for a cheap hotel online.
We got a packed show this morning. Carlos Gutierrez is going to join us from the Romney campaign. The Alabama attorney general, Luther Strange, will be our guest as well. Governor Rick Scott is going to join us, and Congressman Rangel all ahead.
It's Tuesday, June 26th, and "Starting Point" begins right now.
Hi, everybody. Welcome. Our "Starting Point," tropical storm, Debby, barely moving as it sits off of Florida's panhandle coast. And the sunshine state is a soggy mess today. Record breaking rain is flooded roads and homes in low-lying areas. Florida's governor declaring a statewide emergency.
Brings us all to CNNs George Howell. He's live for us near Saint Marks, Florida. Oh, wow. That looks bad.
GEORGE HOWELL, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Soledad, good morning, this is what people are waking up to here like this convenience store. You see this parking lot covered with at least a foot of water. It has receded I can tell you here in the last hour since I've been here, but it's a shallow enough to walk around in but deep enough to get a sense of what's happening here. This was really the hardest hit county so far in the state. The county saw at least 25 inches of rain in the last several days. Keep in mind also there was a wind event. This storm packed a punch, winds gusting at 45 miles per hour, strong enough to knock over several things, knock down some trees and cause a lot of problems with debris in the roads.
Here along this coastal road we are finding that police are in place to make sure that drivers are not surprised when they ran past those low lying areas when they find, again, water at least a foot high, so precautions are being taken.
I also want to show you what's happening right now. Just east of us in the state, flooding is happening right now in cities like Live Oak and Lake City, that's where they are dealing with the storm system as it goes very slowly over the state of Florida causing a lot of flooding, Soledad.
O'BRIEN: George Howell updating us on what looks like a big giant mess in Florida. Thanks for that update, we'll continue to check with you all morning.
Let's get to Alexandra Steele, in for Rob this morning.
ALEXANDRA STEELE, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Good morning, Soledad. Where George is the worst is over but the axis of the heaviest rain has moved on. Moving east at three miles per hour, that's good news, yesterday stationary, kind of in a dead zone with no forward momentum, 45-mile-per-hour winds and no strengthening expected today. Here's the path from the national hurricane center, moves onshore early tomorrow then we'll see it push eastward, finally beginning to see the end. In terms of what we've seen for the worst of it, here's where we've seen in Tallahassee, 10 to 20 inches and now moving eastward.
You can see southeast Georgia, really will get hit with maybe 10 to 20 inches of rain as well. In storm total, maybe another 4 to 8 completely. So the axis of the heaviest rain moving eastward as the storm moves east ward. The extreme threat, heavy rain and flooding, but also the storm surge and isolated tornadoes we saw not out of the picture as well. But finally, Soledad, a bit of momentum as tropical storm Debby moves east.
O'BRIEN: Thanks for that update, Alexandra. We'll continue to check in with you throughout the day on that. More rain to come. Florida's Governor Rick Scott is declaring a state of emergency. We're going to talk to the governor straight ahead this morning in just a few minutes.
First, though, Christine will update some of the headlines for us. Good morning.
CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, Soledad. Arizona declaring victory this morning, even though the Supreme Court struck down most of its controversial immigration law. The justices upheld the part of the law that critics had the biggest problem with, the part that gives police power to say, "Show me your papers." Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio tells Erin Burnett this decision changes nothing. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE ARPAIO, MARICOPA COUNTY SHERIFF: We arrest anybody who violates the law, we don't care where they are from. A lot of people come from Mexico and they are here illegally, that's not my problem.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROMANS: In a few minutes, Soledad will be joined by Carlos Gutierrez, honorary co-chair of Mitt Romney's Hispanic committee for the campaign's response to that Supreme Court ruling.
The most anticipated Supreme Court decision in years is set for Thursday. That when the Supreme Court will release its decision on president Obama's health care law. The court could toss the most controversial aspect of the law, the individual mandate, which requires almost every American to have health insurance or pay a penalty.
Feeling the Harlem heat, a long time congressman fighting for his career today -- 82-year-old Charlie Rangel is squaring off against three opponents in today's democratic primary. Rangel, who was chairman of the committee who writes the nation's tax code, was censured on the house floor in 2010 for not paying taxes on a beach front villa on the Dominican Republic. Earlier Ashleigh Banfield spoke to one of his challengers, Clyde Williams.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CLYDE WILLIAMS: I used to work for President Clinton and president Obama.
ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Do you have their endorsements?
WILLIAMS: I'll tell you what I do have. President Clinton came out and said he would not endorse Charlie Rangel because I was involved in the race. President Obama has not endorsed a Democratic incumbent, which is typically the norm for a president sitting in office.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROMANS: Congressman Rangel will be here to respond at 8:15 eastern on starting point.
Overseas Turkey changing its military rules of engagement with Syria. Turkey's prime minister says they will treat any military approach from Syria as a threat. The move stems from Syria's downing of a Turkish fighter jet last week. The prime minister calls it a hostile act, claiming the plane was shot down in international airspace without warning.
The creep factor playing a part in the decision to put away convicted child molester Jerry Sandusky. Two jurors talking about what they witnessed on "AC 360" last night. One says Sandusky couldn't hide his expressions in court. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOSHUA HARPER, SANDUSKY TRIAL WITNESS: I didn't see anything in the victims that would lead me to think they were not credible. But then I also took a look at Sandusky while he was watching the victims testify and it seemed to be that he was kind of reminiscing of the victims.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What do you mean?
HARPER: Well, he would lean in towards them and pick his chin up a little bit and kind of -- like he was thinking about the victims and his behavior with them.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That struck you as creepy.
HARPER: Yes, I would say, a little creepy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROMANS: Sandusky was convicted on 45 of 48 counts of child sexual abuse. He'll likely spend the rest of his life in prison. In fact, the sentencing guidelines are something like 400 years, Soledad.
O'BRIEN: It's 90 days before they figure out when sentencing comes. Christine, thank you.
ROMANS: More on the Supreme Court's decision on Arizona's controversial immigration law. Court struck down three parts of the law but upheld the section that allows police officers to check a person's immigration status while enforcing other laws. The Obama administration expressed support for the decision says it will not be a willing partner in Arizona's efforts to arrest undocumented people unless they meet federal criteria. Mitt Romney's camp remains kind of evasive while campaigning in Arizona. Mitt Romney did not say whether or not he agreed with the high court's ruling. Instead at a boost at a private fundraiser he said this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MITT ROMNEY, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The Supreme court decision related to the immigration, and you know, given the failure of the immigration policy in this country, I would have preferred to see the Supreme Court give more latitude to the states, not less, and the states now in this decision have less authority, less latitude to enforce immigration laws.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O'BRIEN: Carlos Gutierrez is the honorary co-chair of the Romney campaign's Hispanic steering committee and he's also the former commerce secretary under president George W. Bush. He's an immigrant himself from Cuba. Nice to see you, as always.
CARLOS GUTIERREZ, HONORARY CO-CHAIR, ROMNEY CAMPAIGN HISPANIC STEERING COMMITTEE: Pleasure. O'BRIEN: This was interpreted as a win, big win. If you listen to Jan Brewer, she said it was a victory for the rule of law and a victory of the people of Arizona and people of America, a victory for the 10th Amendment. Do you see this as a victory?
GUTIERREZ: I see this as one big mess throughout the country and the reason that we're in this mess is because the president has failed to provide leadership. What's going to happen now, Soledad, it's going to get worse because we don't have that leadership. All states are going to start splintering and keep on splintering the country into different immigration laws when what we should have is leadership to have one national immigration policy, which is exactly what Governor Romney wants to do.
O'BRIEN: Let's talk about Governor Romney specifically. What exactly is his position on SB 1070? Does he support the one provision that now stands?
GUTIERREZ: Well, let me say this, Soledad, and I have been for immigration reform as long as I can remember and I have the battle scars to prove it, but I believe that as the governor does, that every country in the world has the right and the obligation to secure its borders, to knows who's coming in, to know who's leaving, it's a right and obligation, every country does it. What is alarming here is that there appears to be a need to convince the president that part of his job is to secure the borders and part of his job is to ensure that we know who's coming in and who's going out -- we shouldn't be arguing about this.
O'BRIEN: But my question was not about president Obama, my question was about mitt Romney and specifically this one provision of SB 1070. Does he support it as it now stands?
GUTIERREZ: As I mentioned, the governor supports the right of border states and the country at large to protect its border, to protect its integrity. It's not an anti-immigration --
O'BRIEN: But, sir, that is not the question. I get it, and I think there's a million people who would agree with you. But on this particular thing, what has been interesting to me to see the degree to which mitt Romney has been dodging what is kind of a yes/no question. Let me play a little bit of I think his name is Rick Gorga a spokesperson, speaking to reporters on the planes, 16 questions he was asked by reporters, dodge, dodge, dodge. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This debate is sprung from the president failing to address this issue so each state it left and has the power to draft and enact their own --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A very specific thing -- does the governor supports the Arizona law Saturday.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We've addressed this.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What is his position?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Each state has a right within the constitution to craft their --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Does he think Arizona did a good job?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O'BRIEN: That went on for seven full minutes. The part of the law that stands in SB-1070, requires police to check immigration status of anyone they detain or arrest if that person is in the country illegally. Does mitt Romney support SB 1070, yes or no?
GUTIERREZ: Soledad, it's a little bit more complicated --
O'BRIEN: It's not.
GUTIERREZ: But what the governor has said and made a statement yesterday, he supports the right of border states to do what they have to do according to the law --
O'BRIEN: And does that include -- does that include stopping and detaining anyone and check the immigration status of that person if they have reasonable suspicion if the person is in the country illegally? I'm not sparring with you, sir. As you know, this is the critical, central, most controversial portion of this bill, and Governor Romney has not said if he supports it or not.
GUTIERREZ: This is not about Governor Romney --
O'BRIEN: It is if he wants to be president.
GUTIERREZ: This is about Obama's lack of leadership.
O'BRIEN: I think some Democrats would agree but we're talking about Romney at this moment.
GUTIERREZ: That's the issue. We shouldn't distract the situation and put it on governor Romney's lap.
O'BRIEN: I want to know what his position is.
GUTIERREZ: His position is that we have a mess and need a national policy.
O'BRIEN: Let's talk about his policy. I agree. Let's talk about his policy. I think there's a zillion people agree we kind of have a mess on our hands. Governor Romney wants to be the next president of the United States. What does he think about 1070? It's a yes/no question, support, don't support, yes, no?
GUTIERREZ: I'm sorry, Soledad, that's where we've got this all wrong. Policy is not this one single sliver.
O'BRIEN: In this case it is. It is actually one sliver, three were shot down by the Supreme Court. GUTIERREZ: The policy is we need a national, federal, immigration policy --
O'BRIEN: Agreed, agreed, agreed. But specifically on this question, I feel like, and I think a rational person would agree with me, Governor Romney and his people who speak for him or completely dodging this questions. Let's move on.
GUTIERREZ: Governor Romney supports the right of the states to protect their borders.
O'BRIEN: But that's not my question. My question is not that. That's a great answer, but not to my question. My question is about SB 1070. He has not said if he supports it or not.
I'm going to say we're going to agree to move on because I'm not getting an answer. We'll talk about the Dream act, which I know you support and Mitt Romney, as you well know, he has said he would veto the dream act if he got elected into office and hasn't said what he would do in the wake of president's executive order which would allow young people who came across the border without documents illegally in this country. What would he do for those -- would he reverse --
GUTIERREZ: I'll tell you what Governor Romney is going to do when he becomes president. He wants to bring together a bipartisan group to finally get this issue reverse.
O'BRIEN: Would he reverse the executive order?
GUTIERREZ: Why would he say what he's going to do when we have a Congress that hasn't done its job? This is an opportunity to push Congress to do something before this -- this executive order, executive decision lapses. So Governor Romney wants to tackle the problem and wants to solve the problem, Soledad. We have had a president --
O'BRIEN: But he wants to solve the problem, sir, without giving any details. I think that is fair to say. We've had a five minute conversation and to simple questions, no answer.
GUTIERREZ: We want a strategy for legal immigration, we'll have to work in a bipartisan way to deal with the 12 million undocumented workers, it's a very complex thing. You want a one sentence for a 700-page Bill. What we do know is that --
O'BRIEN: I don't think that's fair, I want a one sentence answer to a simple question. I'm willing to talk for hours --
GUTIERREZ: Let's do it.
O'BRIEN: I do think we're very low on specifics. Would he overturn an executive order is a yes/no question? Does he support 1070, it's a yes/no question? You're not the only Romney spokesperson who does not answer that question.
GUTIERREZ: Soledad, you're making this issue about Governor Romney. This is an issue about President Obama's total lack of leadership and delivering on promises, that's why we're in this mess.
O'BRIEN: And I believe you and I could have a conversation about that as well.
GUTIERREZ: That's the issue. We're distracting --
O'BRIEN: For Republicans it's the issue, and you want to say it's all President Obama's fault and you can absolutely have that conversation. I want to know, what the plan is when it comes to Governor Romney. A separate issue of President Obama and there are Democrats who would agree with you. For Governor Romney what's the plan?
GUTIERREZ: In fact Governor Romney, what he wants to do, instead of a patch work, instead of a DREAM Act, supposed DREAM Act that expires in two years, he wants something permanent.
O'BRIEN: Specifics. And not legal, talk to me about illegal immigration, name specifics he's going to do.
GUTIERREZ: He wants to work in a bipartisan way --
O'BRIEN: That's not specific.
GUTIERREZ: If you like, we can go through 700 pages.
O'BRIEN: You and I are going to do that, sir.
GUTIERREZ: You are trying to simplify something that is terribly complex. What is clear and really simple is that we have not had leadership on this issue and that's why we have the mess we have today.
O'BRIEN: I think you're trying to make more complicated something that is a yes/no question, but I'm going to take you up on your offer that we'll go through all 700 pages.
Nice to see you, sir, to spar with you early in the morning first thing. Thank you.
We're going to continue this later on STARTING POINT we're going to talk to Attorney General Luther Strange from the state of Alabama. Similar legislation has been proposed there. Also the former Arizona state senator Russell Pearce led the effort to pass Arizona's law. He's going to be our guest as well.
Also we'll talk about what's happening in Florida where there's a state of emergency. Tropical storm Debby dumping rain for days. Florida governor Rick Scott will join us live this morning.
Hey big spender, Mac users seem to be shelling out more for the stuff they buy online. It's our "Get Real." You don't want to miss our next hour. We'll also talk to Hollywood superstar Jada Pinkett- Smith. You're watching STARTING POINT.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) ROMANS: It's 20 minutes past the hour. News Corp considering splitting off its publishing arm, according to reports in the "Wall Street Journal" and "New York Times." The TV side and film side of Rupert Murdoch's business is much more profitable than the publishing side. The calls haven't been returned.
Google set to launch a tablet to rival the iPad. The reports call the Nexus-7, priced at $199, far cheaper than the cheapest iPad which goes for $400. Soledad?
O'BRIEN: Christine, thank you.
Tropical storm Debby is creeping slowly toward the west coast of Florida this morning, dumping up to another foot of rain in some areas, there's severe flooding and widespread power outages and several reports of tornadoes and at least one confirmed death. All of that brings us to Florida's governor, Rick Scott. He's declared a statewide emergency. It's nice to see you, sir, thanks for joining us this morning. What's happening in Florida?
GOV. RICK SCOTT, (R) FLORIDA: I declared a state of emergency yesterday. We're getting drenched with rain. And tropical storm Debby is heading slowly to the coast will hit Taylor and Dixie County, but we're going to have a lot more rain, flooding and downed power lines and 30,000 customers without power. So we've got a very good state emergency response team and local emergency response team. We're ready for these things because of hurricanes so we're working hard at this, making sure that our Floridians are prepared and making sure they very cautious, when they are going outside, be careful around the beaches. I look forward to the end of the week when we'll have our sunshine back.
O'BRIEN: I was going to ask -- we keep talking about what a slow storm this is, how long are you inspecting you're going to have these emergency teams mobilized before it finally peters out?
SCOTT: The rain will go on for the next two or three days. Then we'll be responding to the flooding, which will continue for a period of time. Hopefully by the end of the week by this weekend, we'll have things cleaned up. What I care about, every Floridian makes sure they are taken care of. We are very cautious, making sure we're out there helping every individual that is getting stuck in this.
O'BRIEN: Let me ask you about this fatality we were reporting earlier that happened in Venus, Florida. A woman her home was hit by a tornado and she was literally thrown out of her home. And she was holding her three-year-old daughter in her arms.
SCOTT: The daughter, my understanding is she is doing fine. This is one of the risks we have to be very cautious. We have tornadoes in the state. We've got to be very, very cautious. Everybody has got to listen to their local emergency response teams, we've got to be very cautious. It's flooding and tornadoes and downed power lines.
O'BRIEN: We are a distance from you here in New York the pictures look just absolutely terrible. So good luck to you in your state and we're going to continue to follow it for everybody on air. Governor rick Scott, thanks for your time this morning, nice to see you.
SCOTT: Good morning, bye.
O'BRIEN: Still ahead this morning on STARTING POINT, do you use Orbitz to find cheap hotels? Be careful of what computer you're using to book the trip. We'll tell you why we're saying "Get Real" about that and a lot of people to talk to and a lot to talk about. Here's our STARTING POINT team, Margaret Hoover, Alicia Menendez, and Will Cain as well. We're back in just a moment.
O'BRIEN: Welcome back to STARTING POINT. Today's team, Alicia Menendez joins us. She's the host of Huffington Post blog. Nice to have you with us this morning. Thank you for being here. Margaret Hoover is with us as well, author of "American Individualism," and Will Cain is a columnist from TheBlaze.com.
WILL CAIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: We're ready. What questions do you have?
O'BRIEN: Will you answer me directly, please?
O'BRIEN: It's time to get real. OK, on its Web site, Orbitz claims it wants to be your best source for cheap travel and cheap hotels, turns out the cheap rate depends on what kind of computer you're using to access Orbitz, people with Macs use 30 to 40 percent more on hotels than people on pcs. They've started to use that information to predict their customer spending habits, the journal claiming that Orbitz will show Mac users different, more expensive rooms on their site to the people using pcs. Orbitz executives are experimenting with that practice. They say that the company is not showing the same room to users at different prices, they are just obviously sorting what you get.
CAIN: Makes total sense, like driving to the Cadillac dealership in a Mercedes, they will put you in the fancy car not the Ford on the used lot --
O'BRIEN: What if you're advertising here you'll get the cheapest cars, this is the place to come for the cheapest car, and now we go with your analogy, they are going to show I the most expensive, the Cadillacs when there is a Ford over here?
CAIN: You changed the premise that doesn't exist. It's cheapest cars, it's the best deals, define deals.
O'BRIEN: Now we're getting into semantics? Deals, it's such a confusing words.
MARGARET HOOVER, "AMERICAN INDIVIDUAL": Drive into the car dealership, no, I want to see everything on the menu. You have to hit sort because everything is still available to the mac user that's available to the pc user, you just get the most expensive ones first coming from a mac.
O'BRIEN: If you knew that they were going to treat the people who are driving up in the Mercedes different than the people in the Ford, would you continue to go to the dealership?
CAIN: That's a different question.
O'BRIEN: He argues with me all the time.
CAIN: This is mutual, this relationship. They are not offering, as you said, the same room at different prices. What they are gearing towards is a room you might like, the evidence shows you might like more.
O'BRIEN: Yes, they show you more expensive stuff.
CAIN: They learn stuff about you and offer you things you like.
O'BRIEN: Because they know that if you have a Mac you're going to spend more.
HOOVER: Would you not go to Orbitz anymore?
O'BRIEN: I would definitely use my PC. I have a PC. I don't mind the red roof inn, I'll tell you that.
Still ahead this morning on STARTING POINT, the Supreme Court's ruling on Arizona's immigration law could put the brakes on similar measures all across the country.
Alabama has already been hit with the challenge. We're going to talk with that state's attorney general.
Does one early sign show that Michael Phelps is headed for defeat?
CAIN: Ryan Lochte looked good last night.
O'BRIEN: Here's Margaret Hoover's playlist, Rolling Stones, we always start with Margaret Hoover. I like that. She comes with good music.
HOOVER: I think I've got a good relationship with the music people.
O'BRIEN: Welcome back to STARTING POINT. Arizona's immigration law could face new legal challenges after the Supreme Court struck down three key provisions.
Gone now are allowing police to arrest immigrants without a warrant if they had probable cause a crime had been committed, making it a crime for an illegal immigrant to fail to carry registration papers or a government ID and preventing illegal immigrants from trying to get jobs here in the United States.
But the part that stands is the most controversial. Police can check a person's immigration status while enforcing other laws. If they have a quote, "reasonable suspicion," that the person is in the U.S. illegally.
All of that brings us right to Jeff Toobin to update us. He is our senior legal analyst. It's nice to see you.
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Good morning.
O'BRIEN: You said yesterday to me that you thought this was really, really confusing. What's confusing about it?
TOOBIN: Well, the confusing thing to me is, what's the difference between the three laws that were rejected and the one law that was upheld? What's the principle that can guide other states in creating these immigration laws?
Justice Kennedy's opinion made it clear that the court believes immigration generally is a federal responsibility, that the federal government is in charge, but states have some leeway as long as they don't conflict with federal law.
That's a good and fairly uncontroversial idea, but how to apply that in the real world is kind of mysterious to me.
O'BRIEN: Clearly they are worried about racial profiling and we know that the Justice Department has already sort of raised that red flag.
Also, he even wrote, Justice Kennedy, there's a basic uncertainty about what the law means and how it will be enforced.
That's in the ruling itself as if they are saying, we are assuming that this is going to be challenged maybe not even that far down the road.
TOOBIN: Right, the so-called show us your papers law, the part of the law that was approved. It has never gone into effect. So we don't know how it will actually work in the real world.
And you think about the key idea, the key idea of that law is that if police stop someone and they have reasonable suspicion that they are here illegally then they can demand their papers.
But what does it look like in the real world to have reasonable suspicion that someone is here illegally? What's a police officer supposed to do?
Frankly, I have a lot of sympathy for the cops who have to try to do this in a non-discriminatory way. I don't know how that's going to work and I think the court quite rightly is worried how this is going to play out. O'BRIEN: Jeff Toobin, as always thank you. We appreciate it. We'll check in with you a little bit later next hour.
How's the Arizona immigration ruling going to affect other states? Alabama's Attorney General Luther Strange is going to join us to talk about that in just a couple of minutes.
First though, we got to Christine. She's got an update on stories making headlines today.
ROMANS: Good morning, Soledad. A state-wide emergency now in effect in Florida. Tropical Storm Debby has spawn tornadoes, brought down power lines and left coastal areas underwater.
CNN's George Howell is live near Saint Marks, Florida. Good morning.
HOWELL: Good morning. I can tell you just a few minutes ago, a transformer blew and stopped all the work that was happening here in its track.
In fact, the owner of the store, you see the owner here she was cleaning out the store, stopped all that work, not dealing with any of the water until this electrical situation is worked out.
I can tell you though the good news, this water is starting to recede a little bit. Much lower now than it was when we first arrived here.
But still people are waking up to this flooding here. We're also finding in Baker County live pictures where I-10 has been shut down in both directions just east of I-75.
ROMANS: All right, thank you, George.
Out of control wildfires in Colorado growing even bigger and more aggressive overnight shutting down major tourist attractions and forcing 11,000 people out of their homes in Colorado.
The hot, dry and windy conditions fuelling the flames are expected to continue through at least mid week. The temperatures are now reaching all time highs.
A health setback for Illinois Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr., his office says he's on a medical leave of absence and has been treated for exhaustion since June 10th.
Jackson, first elected in 1995, represents the state's second congressional district, which includes part of Chicago's south sides and Cook County suburbs.
The American Red Cross is appealing for people to give blood after a collected 50,000 fewer donations than expected this month. The Red Cross says the shortage leaves it with about half of its normal supply calling these emergency levels. All types of blood are needed but especially Types O positive, O negative, B negative and A negative.
Bagged salads are being pulled from Wal-Mart and Kroger shelves over a listeria scare. Dole Foods recalling more than a thousand cases of salad because of possible contamination. The salads fall under Kroger's fresh select and Wal-Mart's market side labels with use by dates of June 19th.
For the first time since 2004, Michael Phelps lost an Olympic trial, but he still qualified for the Olympic team. Ryan Lochte beat Phelps in 400 meter individual medley last night setting up what could be an interesting rivalry in London this summer. Phelps still became the first American male swimmer to qualify for a fourth Olympics -- Soledad.
O'BRIEN: All right, thank you, Christine. Appreciate it.
We return now to the Supreme Court's decision on Arizona's immigration law. Five states around the country have similar laws to Arizona and they are now dealing with the fallout from that ruling.
One of them is the state of Alabama. It used Arizona's law as a basis for its HB 56, which is now facing a challenge in the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals. Both laws have a show me your papers provision. That is what it's called.
But Alabama's law has key differences, requires school officials to check if new students are legal. It says illegal immigrants can engage in business transactions with local and state government.
So many people assume that would be sewage and getting electricity connected. Contracts are void if one party knew or should have known that the other party was undocumented.
Luther Strange is Alabama's attorney general. He's joining us by phone this morning. Thank you for being with us, sir. We certainly appreciate it. What was your take on the Supreme Court's decision in Arizona?
LUTHER STRANGE, ALABAMA ATTORNEY GENERAL (via telephone): Well, good morning. I appreciate you having me on. Well, it was an interesting ruling. As a chief law enforcement officer he was very encouraged that the Supreme Court acknowledged a role for law enforcement and state and federal to work together.
So that was a positive from my point of view because I think that's the traditional role of law enforcement, cooperation. The other provisions, it's very clear the Supreme Court has said it pretty clearly that federal pre-emption is the rule and the realm of immigration.
O'BRIEN: So your state has some similarities to the state of Arizona. You have a measure that would say that it's a crime if you fail to carry your immigration papers. That was struck down in Arizona. Your state also has a crime to work -- if you're here -- crime to work if you're here illegally, that was struck down in the state of Arizona.
As you mentioned, the show me your papers provision remains. Walk me through, how does that work? What does reasonable suspicion look like?
STRANGE: Well, as you mentioned earlier, our law now is pending in the 11th Circuit so we'll get more clarity as to how the whole law will fair under this new ruling.
But in terms of law enforcement procedure, you know, it's standard, you know, law enforcement practice, I think, universally really, to do the normal proceedings protecting people's civil rights and so forth.
You have to stop someone. You have to have a reason to stop them. You can't profile anyone or pick them out because of the color of their skin or language they speak.
After they have violated a law, if that's the case and you've done that properly, then if you have reasonable suspicion, that is someone doesn't have a driver's license, for example, something like that.
Then you under the new ruling, you can only inform the federal government that you have a suspicion that person is in the country illegally. And then the federal government can either respond or not.
They can say we don't care to talk to that person or it is a person of interest, you know, someone that they've made a party and then it's the federal government as job to determine their status and take it from there.
O'BRIEN: There are many people who would say the Alabama law goes further. It requires school officials to ask children who are foreign born themselves or who are children of foreign born parents for papers.
It says you can't engage in business, like get water or electricity. I was just talking about that a moment ago or the contracts are void.
If one party either knew or should have known that the other party was undocumented, most people would say that is more stringent that what they are doing in Arizona. Do you expect that in fact the 11th Circuit Court is going to uphold that?
STRANGE: Well, you know, I think now the court is, as I see it, is distinguished between law enforcement cooperation, which is the upholding of the ability to stop and ask and refer them to federal officials.
I think the other areas it looks to me like the court has said that that's an area that's pre-empted by the federal government. So as I read the ruling and I think my takeaway is, the Supreme Court is saying to the federal government, you need to do your job.
If you are going to be in this area and you have the authority and responsibility to enforce the immigration laws, it's your job to do that. It puts the states in a tough position.
If the states can't act in some of these areas, it's the federal's job to do it and if they don't do it, that's not how the system is supposed to work.
So my hope is that the federal government will now enforce the laws that are on the books, will do their job and that Congress and the president will provide some leadership in that area.
O'BRIEN: Luther Strange is Alabama's attorney general, nice to talk to you, sir. Thank you for your time this morning. We appreciate it.
STRANGE: Thank you very much.
O'BRIEN: You bet. Still ahead on STARTING POINT this morning, we're going to talk to the former Arizona State Senator, Russell Pearce.
You might remember that he led the effort to get Arizona's immigration law passed. He paid for it with his seat. We'll talk to him about what he is doing today and what he thinks about this new Supreme Court ruling.
Also ahead this morning, surprise, like it or not, Facebook has changed the main e-mail address on your profile? Did you know this?
O'BRIEN: Kind of a secret switch, yes, a little crazy. We'll tell you about that.
Plus attention all airline passengers, long lines and baggage fees actually may not be the biggest problem. A new book is exposing some pretty shocking issues that face airlines and might keep some people grounded.
Look at this, Marvin Sapp, let's listen for a moment, "Calling Me" from my playlist. A good way to start the morning. You're watching STARTING POINT.
O'BRIEN: Welcome back, everybody. Have you heard this about Facebook getting a lot of backlash about over what was a kind of a secret e- mail switch?
The main e-mail address on your profile has now been changed to @facebook.com. So whatever it was before, whatever your personal e-mail was, they've now switched it, @facebook.com is your default e-mail.
They announced I think it was back in February, I mean, they were going to update the e-mail addresses -- it was April. But they didn't say that the e-mails would literally be changed. You can change it back if you want to, but you know, you have to do that manually.
CAIN: Yes, in fact, they created e-mail addresses for you. See you might not even know you had an @facebook.com e-mail address.
O'BRIEN: Is that legal? You're a lawyer. Can someone create an e-mail account for you?
CAIN: I'm much more prepared to talk to you today about Justice Kennedy's opinion on immigration --
O'BRIEN: Good, then let's talk about this.
CAIN: Facebook look is built on the predicate of being cool. They're going to always have to be at the front end of that. What's next, what's cool, how can we capitalize on this --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Does this make them cool? This makes them uncool, right? It takes them back to a form of communication from the '90s.
CAIN: Like Yahoo building e-mail database on the top of a search engine. I still have a Yahoo! e-mail address --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That makes you very uncool.
O'BRIEN: The idea of like stepping in and sort of messing with things that people take very personally, like your e-mail address, there is a creep factor that I think is weighs in on that.
HOOVER: And communicating with your clientele and communicating with your users, rolling out these decisions in a way that makes them feel you haven't sprung decisions on them.
I mean, if you talk about not being cool. With the premise of the internet is open communication where it's open source information. The notion that new policies are sprung on users immediately does not sit well with Facebook users.
O'BRIEN: I'm not going to like, like this.
CAIN: I guess, they don't want the feedback ahead of time.
HOOVER: They've have very successful rollouts in the past, but less successful ones like with Timeline.
O'BRIEN: I agree.
All right, still ahead this morning on STARTING POINT, a commercial airline is taking shortcuts. Is it putting us at risk? We're going to talk to an author of a new book. It's called "Attention All Passenger." You're watching STARTING POINT. We're back in just a moment.
ROMANS: Welcome back to STARTING POINT. Some quick headlines this morning. At least 18 people killed by mudslides in Uganda. According to a Reuters report, three mountain villages were buried near the border with Kenya. Local officials say hundreds of people are still missing.
And George Zimmerman's attorney says Zimmerman accepts full responsibility for misleading the judge about his finances. His bond was revoked as a result. Zimmerman is charged with murdering Florida teenager Trayvon Martin. He is in jail pending a new bond hearing Friday -- Soledad.
O'BRIEN: All right, Christine, thank you for that update.
Invasive TSA patdowns, expensive ticket prices might not be your only concerns when flying anymore although we certainly complain about those things a lot.
A new book that's out today might give you some new reasons to worry. It claims that commercial airlines have been cutting corners and in many cases putting their passengers in danger.
The author is Bill Mcgee and he writes this. An independent analysis by "USA Today" found that between 2004 and 2009, millions of passengers flew on 65,000 flights operated by domestic carriers that should never have left the ground. And it gets scarier from there.
The book is called "Attention All Passengers: The Airline's Dangerous Descent and How To Reclaim Our Skies." Bill Mcgee, it's nice to have you with us this morning.
Before we get to the reclaiming the skies, let's talk about some of the problems. I had no idea that 189 domestic airlines have gone out of business, have filed for bankruptcy since 1978?
WILLIAM MCGEE, AUTHOR, "ATTENTION ALL PASSENGERS": Right. Since the airline industry was deregulated, in recent years, that pace has even accelerated even more.
O'BRIEN: Why? What's the big problem underlying everything?
MCGEE: Well, from the airline perspective, they would stay that costs are too high and consolidation is a way to reduce costs. Unfortunately, from a consumer perspective, a consolidation leads in fact to higher fares, fewer choices. From an employee perspective, we have seen hundreds of thousands of airline jobs disappear since deregulation.
O'BRIEN: You have terrifying examples in this book. Like -- you know what? I fly all the time. I don't like reading this stuff because it worries me a lot.
Tell me some of the more egregious examples of things just done wrong in terms of maintenance, in terms of just how, you know, really flights were run.
MCGEE: Certainly. I think the most shocking thing that most readers will find in the book has to do with maintenance and maintenance outsourcing. This is a dramatic change in how we've always done business.
Primarily, throughout entire history of the domestic industry, airlines maintained and repaired their own aircraft. Now outsourcing in itself is not a problem.
But I have spoken to dozens and dozens of frontline FAA inspectors. And what they tell me is the real problem is that we are in uncharted territory because FAA inspectors in many cases are not getting where the airplanes are being fixed.
In some cases here in the U.S., and in some cases overseas, El Salvador, China, and Singapore.
CAIN: Bill, I've said it on this program before. But Warren Buffett once said you could do more for American capitalism if you stood on the beaches of Kitty Hawk and shot Wilbur and Orville down.
That this is simply a bad business, the concept of flying people across the country and you said a minute ago that the solution from airlines, look, it should just be more expensive.
We have gotten used to the concept of cheap flights across the country, and it's hard to maintain a real, safe business model like this.
MCGEE: Well, I spoke to one mechanic who said, next time you pay $99 for a fare, ask yourself where the savings are coming from. And when it's coming from maintenance, I think that's pretty shocking.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So what are we, as consumers, supposed to do to protect ourselves?
MCGEE: I think what I hope that this book will do is raise awareness of this because obviously, the average consumer doesn't have the tools to determine where maintenance work is being done and how well the FAA is inspecting it.
But I do think we need to have a national dialogue about this. Because again, the system works, it has worked in the past. We have an extremely safe aviation system in this country.
But -- and I don't mean to say the sky is falling, but from speaking to more than 100 insiders both in the airline industry and in the federal government, they all say the same thing. Things are changing and we can't just rest on our laurels.
CAIN: No crashes in 10 years, right?
MCGEE: No. Actually that in itself is something that upsets many people. What the airline industry and even the FAA has said, there's been no, quote, "major airline" accident in the United States since 2001 with American Airlines.
In fact, there have been six fatal accidents of smaller carriers, five of which were operating co-chairs for major main line carriers.
HOOVER: You yourself are a pilot. You worked in the airline industry for seven years and then you had official positions in the Obama administration and the airline industry.
One of the things you said in the book is that there's actually a safe way to crash an airplane that can save the most amount of lives. Can you explain that?
MCGEE: Sure. Well, my background is I'm an FAA licensed aircraft dispatcher. One of the chapters that I felt very strongly about getting into the book has to do with survivability.
I think too many people sort of kiss up when they get on an airplane and say, well, it's all or nothing. And that all or nothing attitude has to change. I have an entire chapter just devoted to the small steps that people can take in terms of where they are sitting, what they are doing, not drinking alcohol, not taking sedatives, wearing the right clothes.
We have seen, you know, this term miracle on the Hudson or miracle in Toronto. We have seen so many accidents in the past that probably would have been fatal or had no survivors.
In recent years, we have seen the survivability factor really increase. Every time I write about safety issues, I get blog comments from people saying what's the difference? If anything happens, we won't survive.
O'BRIEN: Not me, man. I'm wide awake and ventilating. Thank you for joining us this morning to talk about "Attention All Passengers, The Airlines Dangerous Decent and How To Reclaim Our Skies." Bill Mcgee, nice to have you.
MCGEE: Thank you.
O'BRIEN: We certainly appreciate it.
We have to take a break. Still ahead, lost more than $2 billion last year alone, but this morning, postal workers are going on a hunger strike to try to save the post office.
Also, Hollywood superstar Jada Pinkett is going to stop by. She'll tell us how her 11-year-old daughter, Willow, inspired her to take action against human trafficking. You're watching STARTING POINT and we are back in just a moment.