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American Doctor Rescued in Afghanistan; President Hugo Chavez's Cancer Recurs; Supreme Court to Hear Constitutional Challenges to Laws Banning Same-Sex Marriage; Texas A&M Quarterback Johnny Manziel Wins Heisman Trophy; Interview with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar; Stephen Baldwin Arrested
Aired December 8, 2012 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm Don Lemon. Thanks for joining us.
Breaking news tonight. New developments out of Venezuela to tell you about. It is about the president there, Hugo Chavez, and tonight the news is about his health. On the phone with me now from Havana, Cuba, is CNN's Patrick Oppmann.
Patrick, Hugo Chavez addresses his nation tonight. What did he say?
PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (via phone): Very emotional Chavez telling, now in Venezuela, but people here in Cuba, taking the air in Cuba as well, announced he has a recurrence of cancer, that he will be returning to Cuba immediately to undergo surgery. This is his third cancer that we knew of before the elections in October in Venezuela, October. He said he had been cured of cancer. That the doctors essentially saved his life. It turned out that that information was incorrect. And Hugo Chavez in a very emotional address tonight to the people of Venezuela said he needed to return to Cuba immediately to undergo surgery and that his life is essentially on the line. He said good-bye to Venezuela, said the support of the vice president, Nicola Maduro, and Hugo Chavez very much shaken, someone perhaps looking at mortality in the face. And to returns to, once again, fight cancer now.
LEMON: Well, Patrick, I think it's interesting that he said good-bye to the people of Cuba. Should we be reading anything into that?
OPPMANN: I think absolutely. It's been a year and a half where Hugo Chavez has really spent more time in Cuba perhaps than in Venezuela. Months and months in Cuba fighting cancer. And some of the speculation flying through all this time about his health and he consistently has said that he was receiving very good treatment, that he was recovering.
Again, it seems like those reports were not accurate, that Hugo Chavez is someone who's very, very ill, facing a third bout of cancer in the same region, pelvic region. This is, of course, talking to doctors who will tell you that many vital organs are. And that it can beat cancer there very, very quickly in the early stages of cancer that the odds of surviving that kind of cancer is lower and lower. Of course, we know very little about Chavez's cancer. But we know it's reoccurring. It certainly seems his health is in a very grave state here.
LEMON: And I should say saying good-bye to the people of Venezuela and then going to Cuba.
Thank you very much, Patrick Oppmann. If you get any new details, we will get you back on.
Another breaking story for you now. We are getting details here at CNN about the kidnapping and rescue of an American citizen in Afghanistan, a doctor. We don't know much yet only when the U.S. military is telling us from the war zone. We do know the American doctor's name is Dr. Dilip Joseph. This U.S. military official tells us he was kidnapped by Taliban insurgents on Wednesday near Kabul. And today, American and Afghan troops working together found and rescued him from Taliban captivity. We will let you know more details as we get them in here on CNN.
Egypt's opposition isn't backing down, despite president Mohamed Morsi's cancellation of a controversial decree. That irrigate the president's sweeping powers. But, his critics called it a power grab. They're also opposed to referendums scheduled next weekend end on Egypt's new constitution.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And now the 2012 winner of the Heisman memorial trophy is -- Johnny Manziel.
LEMON: He is known as Johnny football. And tonight he made history. Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel won college football's prestigious Heisman trophy. He's the first freshman ever to win the award. Manziel led A&M to a 10-2 record including a monumental victory over previously undefeated Alabama.
We got a lot plan for you on this Saturday night. Here's what else we're working on.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: An NBA legend sits down to talk with me about his incredible life and facing death.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All of a sudden, you realize there's a clock up there with your name on it.
LEMON: Blazing up under the space needle. What can Seattle expect now that pot's legal there? We get the low-down from someone who knows in Amsterdam.
A Baldwin in trouble with the law again. He comes on to this show to explain himself.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want to do the right thing.
LEMON: And the most popular Korean pop star on the planet getting heat for some hateful words about U.S. soldiers.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: You know, you can divide Americans into two camps really. Either you consider it the illegal drug of choice for slackers or you'd like to see it legalized. Sell it, tax it, make it a sign of our valued civil liberties, maybe even a treatment for illness. Well, we are talking, of course, about marijuana, pot, (INAUDIBLE), whatever you want to call it.
Voters in Washington and Colorado legalized it, recreational use - it's recreational use last month and Washington's law took effect on Thursday. But when Americans think about legal drug use, most people don't think Seattle. Think they about Amsterdam, right?
Holland's famous port city has about 780,000 people. Drugs there are technically illegal but they've been tolerated since the 1970s. Seattle is a port city, too, a little smaller than Amsterdam. And as of this week, marijuana is now legal across the whole state in amounts up to one ounce.
So, what can Seattle and the rest of American expect to happen in areas with legalized pot? I asked an Amsterdam journalist, Edwin Van Den Berg.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
EDWIN VAN DEN BERG, AMSTERDAM JOURNALIST: They don't have to fear any increased -- that's my experience here in Amsterdam. Because what I tell you this, tonight, atmosphere, a lot of foreigners are coming to buy -- it's not heroin or cocaine. It's soft drips cannabis, marijuana. There are strong regulations, people who are under 18 can't buy it. And the mayor checks every coffee shops several times a year. The police are checking it. They aren't allowed to sell any more than five grams per customer.
LEMON: So are you saying that it's an irrational fear that they have, that it's going to increase the crime rate, that it's going to be violent and there's an undercover factor --
VAN DEN BERG: Yes.
LEMON: You think that's an irrational fear?
VAN DEN BERG: Yes. I think it's an irrational fear. My experience here in Holland, when you forbid it, people want to have the drug. Let's say, everybody knows when you have strong regulations at the coffee shop and the police are going to check that regular times and they don't sell it to anyone below 18 and they Don't sell alcohol, in Amsterdam, it's worse. They're reducing the number of coffee shops. That's now the problem here in Holland. But smoking of marijuana and weed is -- don't give much trouble here in Amsterdam, on the street also.
LEMON: You don't have a big problem with people just openly smoking marijuana on the street? It's not a big issue?
VAN DEN BERG: Well, when marijuana -- people who smoke marijuana on the streets, they're mostly quiet and they don't give much trouble. The most trouble is for people that gave a lot of discussion here in Holland, people who are using alcohol on the street, those people gave a lot of trouble and get noisy and give trouble to other people on the street, most foreigners or tourists who smoke a joint on the street, yes, well, they are quiet. They don't give much trouble here on the streets.
LEMON: So if you use marijuana, in your experience, in Amsterdam, it's not a drug that causes people to be violent? Alcohol causes people to be more violent and rowdy than marijuana?
VAN DEN BERG: Yes, yes, yes, that's what the politicians say here in Holland.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: That is the view from Holland. Tomorrow at 7:00 eastern, we're going to get the point of view from Seattle. City council president Sally Clarke joins me to talk about how her city is preparing for legalized pot. We'll have her. And make sure you watch for reaction tomorrow at 7:00 eastern.
The Supreme Court agreeing to take up one of the biggest issues of this generation, same-sex marriage. For those wanting to tie the knot or the ones that already have, what's really at stake here? I' will talk with one of those couples, that is next.
LEMON: Some have called it the civil rights issue of our generation. And now, this legal challenge lies in the hands of the U.S. Supreme Court. The high court has announced it will hear two constitutional challenges to federal and state laws.
Joining me now from New York, Jo-Ann Shain and Mary Jo Kennedy. They have been together for 29 years and they were married in July of last year. The first day same-sex marriage was legal in New York state.
Thank you guys for joining us.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you. Thanks for having us.
LEMON: So, listen. Before I get into all this, did you ever think in your lifetime -- from the attorneys who are presenting this case, who have been fighting this case, a liberal and a conservative and a Republican. And they both say it is a civil rights issue, it's not a left versus right thing, it is a civil rights issue and it's a civil rights issue of our generation.
JO-ANN SHAIN, MARRIED FIRST DAY SAME-SEX MARRIAGE WAS LEGAL IN NEW YORK: We absolutely agree with that. This is it. This is the civil rights issue of our generation. And it is so because when a group of people are denied the same rights that other people have because of who they are and who they love, it's not right. And these are our civil rights that we're talking about.
LEMON: What do you say to people who -- where is the disconnect here? Why can't some people just see that equal rights mean equal rights for everyone?
SHAIN: You know, I don't really understand the reason why. And all we can do is to be out, to be open and to hope that people open their hearts and minds to see that marriage equality and equal rights is what anybody would want. And we're not taking anything away from anybody.
MARY JO KENNEDY, MARRIED FIRST DAY SAME-SEX MARRIAGE WAS LEGAL IN NEW YORK: And we're not asking for more rights. We're just asking for the same rights that other people -
LEMON: It is now special rights.
KENNEDY: Not more - not special rights. And, but we want what the rights everyone has. No more and no less.
LEMON: If you don't believe in gay marriage, don't get gay married.
LEMON: Did you guys ever think in your lifetime that the Supreme Court would be taking up this issue?
SHAIN: Absolutely not. It was something -- not in our wildest dreams did we think that.
LEMON: I want to talk about this. You wrote a letter to the editor - Mary Jo, you did, editor of "The New York Times" last year talking about the growing majority of New Yorkers who favor marriage. Why did you feel it was important to do that?
KENNEDY: I think it's very important to get the word out there, for people to really understand and see, you know, what gay people are like, that we have the same sorts of loving relationships and to get people familiar with it and more comfortable.
The question you asked about why some people are opposed, I think people just don't know what it's all about. And also people get a little confused around religious issues. And it's really not a religious issue. It is we are asking for civil marriage, to have the same legal rights as other couples. So it's very much a civil right issue and it's very much a -- just an issue of love. We want the same recognition that other couples have.
LEMON: You've been together for 29 years. You have a 24-year- old daughter.
LEMON: I hope you're together for a very long time.
KENNEDY: Thank you very much.
SHAIN: Thank you.
LEMON: Thank you so much. Congratulations.
KENNEDY: Thank you.
SHAIN: Thank you so much.
LEMON: So, this is all in the hands of the Supreme Court.
Next, we'll talk with a woman who can argue before those justices. An inside look next.
LEMON: Five percent, that's the number of cases the Supreme Court argues to hear -- agrees to hear, excuse me, out of all the ones appealed to it. And now, same-sex debate will be part of that small group of cases. But the questions are swirling now. Who will the court hear arguments from? Will it come down strongly and clearly for or against gay marriage or will it rule narrowly, sending the cases back to lower courts for further deliberation?
Attorney Karen Conti is here.
So Karen, what does this mean? What does this mean? The court -- that the court chose to hear these cases?
KAREN CONTI, TRIAL ATTORNEY, CRIMINAL AND LITIGATION: Well, as you said, very few get heard. Court can decide not to hear most of them. And the reason that a court is deciding this is number one, there's a split in states on how they ruled on this case, on these cases in the past. So they're going to have to decide these disputes among the states. Second, it's a really important issue. It's a ripe issue. This is an issue we've all been waiting on. And that's what the Supreme Court is going to here, make the decision.
LEMON: All right. So, let's -- what do you think this issue is? Some people say it is a civil rights issue. You said you don't believe it is a sexual preference issue.
CONTI: I don't. It's a constitutional right, to me. In my view and in the view of the Supreme Court in the past. 14th amendment says you can't discriminate against people under the equal protection clause. And gender has always been something discriminate against. I can't treat you differently because you're a man versus a woman. Well, this defense of marriage act is exactly what the defense of marriage act does. It denies same-sex marriage couples the rights for tax benefits, federal health benefits and the like. So if you're married to a man, you dent get the same right ifs you're a woman married to a man. That is gender discrimination, in my view, not sexual preference.
LEMON: And you've argued in front of the Supreme Court.
CONTI: I have.
LEMON: You said in 1990?
LEMON: Yes. Nerve-racking?
CONTI: Very nerve-racking. These issues are very important. It is almost like you are lobbying for changing the law and the justices are very prepared. They're very intelligent. And there's a lot at stake. So this is going to be a very interesting argument. Now we can actually listen to them online.
LEMON: Having argued in front of the Supreme Court, how do you think they're going to rule?
CONTI: Well, I think we have a fairly conservative court. But it's kind of divided 50/50. It's going to be a very close call. However, looking at the case precedent in the past and looking at what I think they have to do with this law, I think they're going to have to strike down the defense of marriage -- this is not going to do what a lot of people say, Don. A lot of people say it's going to make gay marriage mandatory in every state. Now, the states will still have the right to decide whether they want gay marriage. It is just that the federal government can't discriminate in giving out benefits.
LEMON: OK. So, it discriminate in giving out benefits, so if you do get married, will you have to have the same tax breaks and benefits --
CONTI: Exactly. Tax benefits, family medical leave act, for instance, if you work for the federal government -- all of those same benefits.
LEMON: It's interesting that the Obama administration is not defending the law with the justice department. Is that significant?
CONTI: It's very significant. It's pretty unusual. It happens once in a while. And basically, Obama's come out and said, you know what, we've looked at this. It's a legal issue that we've looked at and it is an unconstitutional statute so we're not going to defend it. And could be a political thing, too.
LEMON: What does that mean for gay people if the defense of marriage act is struck down in this country?
CONTI: It just means that we're going to have availability of benefits on the federal level. We have them on the state level for those states that have same-sex marriage. But it's not going to make it illegal not to have same-sex marriage. So, it will be a start in the right direction for full rights for gay people.
LEMON: For self-esteem and for -- as gay people say, pride, it would also mean a lot as well?
CONTI: It's the first step. And I think it's the right decision.
LEMON: Thank you, Karen.
CONTI: You are welcome.
LEMON: Very interesting. Argued in front of the Supreme Court. Good stuff.
And next here on CNN --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: An NBA legend sits down to talk with me about his incredible life and facing death.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All of a sudden you realize there's a clock up there with your name on it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Let's get you up to speed on the headlines right now. It's our top story this hour.
Very serious medical concerns for the president of Venezuela. Hugo Chavez is immediately returning to Cuba for surgery. He said in a national address today that his cancer has returned for the third time in 18 months.
Also today, Chavez spoke in very grave terms about his health saying for the first time that the vice president will take over. He also said good-bye to the people of Venezuela. Chavez says he will return to Cuba tomorrow.
Egypt's president will push ahead with a vote on the new constitution despite furious opposition. Mohamed Morsi tried to defuse the controversy today by canceling a widely hated decree that gave him sweeping powers. But his critics say they are still opposed to the constitution referendum, saying it's a rushed and deeply flawed document.
House speaker John Boehner says he has no progress report on fiscal cliff talks because there is no progress to report. He told reporters yesterday that President Obama needs to drop what Boehner called his "my way or the highway" approach. Boehner and the president spoke by phone this week and aides are talking behind the scenes. Fiscal cliff, just 24 days away.
He is NBA royalty. One of the best basketball players of all time. I'm talking about Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. He thrilled millions of fans with the sky hook, his trademark move on the court, a six-time MVP. He also is the NBA's all-time leading scorer.
What you may not know about Abdul-Jabbar is that he is among thousands of Americans living with leukemia. Has paid spokesman for Nevada's pharmaceutical corporation, makers of the drug therapy he takes, Kareem says his diagnose is not as a death sentence but as a manageable disease.
KAREEM ABDUL-JABBAR, FORMER NBA PLAYER: In December of 2008, I was diagnosed. It came after a long series of night sweats and stuff that would come and go. It was months. I really should have gone and talked to my doctor about it earlier. But I thought it was just me getting older. And it was really symptoms of the type of leukemia I have, which is called CML, Chronic Myeloid Leukemia.
I think for me, being able to give other CML patients some encouragements and give them an idea that they are not alone and that they can treat their condition and survive is very important. So, that's why I'm partners with Novartis has been very important to me because the medication I take is something that they produced and it enabled me to live my life to the fullest.
I've thought about my own mortality a number of times, especially since I have been diagnosed with leukemia. That's the first thing you think about. All of a sudden you realize there's a clock up there with your name on it and the clock is ticking.
LEMON: What would your day be like without the drug?
ABDUL-JABBAR: Basically, all I do is I have to take my medication every day. I have to go see my doctor and consult with him a couple of times a year, four times a year. I get my blood tested to make sure that the goals that we're trying to achieve are being met.
LEMON: But if that drug wasn't there, what would it be like?
ABDUL-JABBAR: If that drug wasn't there, I probably would have had to undergo a bone marrow transplant or something of that nature to find and live it.
LEMON: It seems that we have reached turning point when it comes to marijuana helping out with those diseases. It's been legalized in certain places, medical marijuana in California and on and on. What do you think about -- for the treatment of leukemia? Where do you stand on that?
ABDUL-JABBAR: The safest thing to do is talk to a hematologist who knows what he's talking about and knows what works and go with that. A lot of people suggest folk remedies that don't work. They're finding things that help people with illness in all different kinds of places, all four corners of the world. I remember reading about certain plants that grow in the Amazon basin that are unique to that area that could have benefit for people. So you know, gold is where you find it.
LEMON: You're a huge jazz fan, right?
LEMON: You have a huge collection. A lot of it was lost in a fire?
ABDUL-JABBAR: All my violins was gone.
LEMON: All of it. I just started collection violin. Your heart must have been --
ABDUL-JABBAR: It was a big blob of violin in my front yard. But fortunately the technology was changing at that point from vinyl to CD. And I've been able to get most of what I lost on CDs. So it hasn't been that much of a lost, although it's taken me 20 or 30 years to replace everything.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Flight 209, climbing to cruise at 42,000. We'll report again over Lincoln.
ABDUL-JABBAR: But you know, that movie, I think, everybody that works in the airline industry watch that is movie. I was flying in Europe on another airline. And the pilot -- it was a really big plane that has extra seats in the cockpit. Before we took off, one of the pilots came out and said, come with me. And I went into the cockpit. They strapped me in and they took off and they said, we can tell everybody that we flew with Murdoch.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Roger, Murdoch. I'm an airline pilot.
ABDUL-JABBAR: I was like, what? Did that actually happen?
LEMON: What's taller? You or the statue?
ABDUL-JABBAR: The statue is taller. And it's taller than every other statue. So, I'm really happy about it. And I'm closest to the street. So people will see my statue first.
LEMON: What is the statue like seven feet tall?
ABDUL-JABBAR: It is 17 feet tall.
LEMON: Seventeen-feet tall.
ABDUL-JABBAR: Yes. I'm thrilled with it just because it's an acknowledgment of what I achieved.
LEMON: What prompted you to write a children's book?
ABDUL-JABBAR: Well, I had an issue with the fact that so many kids, especially inner city kids, don't think they can be a success unless they're involved in sports or entertainment. You take a young man growing up in Harlem or south side of Chicago or here in Atlanta, he wants to be Jay-Z, he wants to be LeBron James, he wants to be Denzel Washington. And he doesn't really see how wide the world is in terms of where he can be successful.
I would tell any of the guys coming along, pursue your dreams as athletes. It's certainly something that's worthwhile. But don't forget that you have a mind. I always try to tell people that I can do more than stuff a ball through a hoop. My mind is my greatest asset. And that should be the case for them.
LEMON: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, thank you very much for that.
What if you could block any memory you didn't want anymore? Would you do it? You may be able to do it very soon. That's next.
LEMON: In the movie "the eternal sunshine on the spotless mind," the characters use a bit of high tech to actually delete painful memories. Well, too bad we can't do that, right?
Well, new research says, now, we may be able to. Human behavior specialist, Wendy Walsh is here.
It's very interesting, Wendy. This is out of Western University. They were looking for better treatments for two things, posttraumatic stress disorder and drug addiction. Why those two very different things? Isn't a memory a memory?
DOCTOR WENDY WALSH, HUMAN BEHAVIOR SPECIALIST: No, because those two disorders, if you will, both involve spontaneous memories. It sort of an obtrusive memories that jump in for the person with posttraumatic stress disorder. Of course, it's painful memories that interject in what now may be seemingly a pleasant day. For drug addicts, it may be environmental triggers that trigger pleasurable memories of how great that drug was. So, that is what they were looking for is how to suppress those kinds of memories.
LEMON: OK. So, I mean, it sounds like you would want it but it's also a little bit frightening because what if they block the wrong thing or cause some sort of other harm?
WALSH: Well, the good news here about these studies is first of all it's really early, really promising research from the University of Western Ontario, I believe in London, Ontario, those good Canadians. But, it doesn't erase memories. It only deals with the pre-quintal cortex and blocking spontaneous memories. The memories are there intact if you want to bring them forth. But they don't just jump in. And that's the promising part of it.
Now, the downside, of course is, if they were ever to develop a pill that would do that, is we are a pill-popping society, Don. And too many people would take it for too many subtle reasons. And you know, there's lots of good reasons to have talk therapy for both of these disorders as well.
People who have suffered a terrible loss, you would think this would be good for them. But there's a downside to everything.
WALSH: Yes. You know Don, for those extreme cases, certainly the psychopharmacology that we have in our culture is very beneficial, for people who just don't respond to other kinds of treatments. But the sad thing is capitalism gets involved and those insurance companies want to save money. So they start paying for only pill- popping, which is very incentive. You just make an appointment and get a prescription. And the same effect could possibly had from many, many months of therapy but insurance companies don't like to cover that. So, it's a terrible cycle.
LEMON: Isn't it amazing, though, when you look at movies and you think, that is so far-fetched and so far out there and we were looking at "star trek" and they had the, you know, the fazers and the little communicators, the communicator is like a cell phone now --
WALSH: Of course.
LEMON: That could happen.
WALSH: You know, I believe like a union that we know all in the universe. And when people create things, we're actually predicting. I do believe that we know -- all the answers are inside of us and they're just coming forth in creative people and then eventually the scientists get involved and make it happen.
LEMON: Thank you, Wendy. I believe.
WALSH: Thank you, good to see you.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: A Baldwin in trouble with the law again. He comes on to this show to explain himself.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want to do the right thing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KAREEN WYNTER, CNN ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The red carpet outside L.A.'s shrine auditorium buzzed with excitement. But this time, the bright lights shined on some special stars. Everyday people changing the world.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR, AC 360: Welcome to CNN heroes, an all-star tribute.
WYNTER: Out of thousands of nominations submitted by CNN's global audience, ten amazing men and women were singled out for their remarkable heroic efforts to make the world a better place. People like Razia Jan who is providing a free education to hundreds of girls in rural Afghanistan. RAZIA JAN, CNN HEROES HONOREE: I think education is the only thing in the world that can go forward and make life better.
WYNTER: And Leo McCarthy who gives scholarships to students who pledge not to drink after his daughter was killed by a young driver.
LEO MCCARTHY, CNN HEROES HONOREE: Let's keep these promising, vibrant kids alive.
WYNTER: Olympic swimmer Cullen Jones helped celebrate Wanda Butts' golden moment motivated by her son's tragic drowning. She created a nonprofit that's helped more than 1,200 children learn how to swim.
WANDA BUTTS, CNN HEROES HONOREE: It is unbelievable to me that I have come this far from such a tragedy with my son.
WYNTER: It was an unforgettable night capped off with the unveiling of the CNN hero of the year. Pushpa Basnet, founder of a children's home in Nepal that helps kids whose parents are in prison.
PUSHPA BASNET, CNN HERO OF THE YEAR, 2012: I thank you everyone who voted for me and believed in my dream.
WYNTER: The hope is that their heroic example will inspire countless others.
Kareen Wynter, CNN, Los Angeles.
LEMON: It was a great night.
Actor Stephen Baldwin was arrested this week in New York. The district attorney says he owes more than $350,000 for not paying his state taxes for three years. He pleaded not guilty. He says he's paid $100,000 already on the debt he owes New York state. Earlier he told me, he knew all this was coming.
STEPHEN BALDWIN, ACTOR: Oh, yes, I've been in a conversation about this very thing for several months now. And, again, I'm not trying to be funny when I say this. I'm really grateful that these guys are giving me a chance to work it out. It's a tough situation because it wasn't me specifically -- as you know, Don, you have people do your taxes for you, et cetera, et cetera. It wasn't handled appropriately. I am ultimately responsible. But I am in a conversation and we are communicating with them and what I'm told is that we're going to be able to work it out. I'm hoping that's the end result.
LEMON: But for you, explain to me -- explain to the audience what happened.
BALDWIN: Well, I don't want to cry in my coffee here. But kind of the long story short is, when I moved out of doing my normal career and mainstream secular Hollywood and started to get into mostly faith- based stuff, it changed my income a whole lot. That led to a lot of inexperience on my part. Then I had a very public bankruptcy filing because I've been trying to maintain all this stuff. Then I got hit with this bad situation that I'm in right now with some accountants that didn't represent me appropriately. So it's kind of been a domino effect.
The blessing is that, to be honest with you, in the wake of what's happened in the last 48 hours, I've had nothing but really positive support from businesspeople, partners I'm involved with, with stuff coming in the new year that's going to be helpful in straightening all this out. I'm looking forward to getting into that, staying positive and moving forward and being successful and paying my taxes.
LEMON: OK. So if you were in negotiations and you knew what was going on, how did that turn into an arrest, Stephen?
BALDWIN: Well, that's part of the conversation that we've been having with these folks, was that sometimes, Don, when you're in a certain position, things happen a certain way. And as I said before --
LEMON: Come on, Stephen. You've always been very upfront with me every time I've had you on the air. What do you mean by that?
BALDWIN: Well, I think that -- listen, I assume responsibility for this and I think that when you're in a certain position of visibility and you don't do things the right way, legally they have the right to come down on you in a certain way so that other people say to themselves, well, maybe I should do the right thing. And that's part of the situation I believe I'm in right now. And I'm just hopeful that it's going to be -- the end result will be that I can move forward, stay positive, be successful in the business that I have coming in the new year.
LEMON: Because you're a celebrity, you think they made an example out of you?
BALDWIN: Well, listen, I think that that's not something that we haven't seen in the past that hasn't been true. I don't want to sugar-coat one thing. I have the utmost respect for the people that I'm in the conversation with, the Rockland county D.A. is upset. And I want to do the right thing. I want to get this bill paid. I can do it. I just have to get back to work.
LEMON: OK, good. So, then, can you explain this mug shot to me because some people compared this mug shot to Zoolander because it looks like you're posing in that mug shot. What was going on with you?
BALDWIN: Well, I think you will share in this, Don. When you're taking a photo, You kind like you're used to maybe one expression a lot of the time. And -- LEMON: You made that pose with your daughter in that picture, right? That's your pose. Is that your -- what is Derek Zulander called -- blue steel? Is that your magnum?
BALDWIN: Well, I look at it this way, if I'm in the situation I'm in, Don, I might as well have a decent mug shot.
LEMON: Give me the pose, strike a pose for me. How was it?
BALDWIN: You're not really going to make me do that. Does that work?
LEMON: You are such a good sport.
BALDWIN: And you are, too. Thank you for letting me come on and talk about this. I appreciate it.
LEMON: OK. Listen, so my thanks to Stephen, of course. Stephen wanted me and I want to keep my promise to mention his charity project. It benefits his mom's breast cancer fund. They're selling garments. You see Stephen here with his very lovely daughter, she's beautiful, to raise money for the fund. It's called so lucky to b me. Make sure you check it out. HE has great sense of humor and I think he's handling this the right way, especially if he does indeed pay it back and makes everything right.
So, thank you again, Stephen.
Up next on CNN --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: The most popular Korean pop star on the planet getting heat for some hateful words about U.S. soldiers.
LEMON: And here is our moment of the week.
You know it's moment of the week when advanced technology met advanced stupidity. You know those stories when police send party invitations to criminals who show up and get arrested? We have a criminal for you who took that concept to a new ridiculous level of dumb. This genius is Hannah Sabata, 19-years-old. She's 19-year-old old. She's starring in the You Tube video that she made of herself.
Well, she's flashing a pile of cash that she claims she stole from a bank. Nobody's really that dopey, are they? I don't know. Well, it has to be a joke. She's also bragging about stealing a car. In a You Tube video on the internet that anyone can see. Teenagers say the darnedest things, right? Well, guess what? She really did rob a bank and really did steal a car. And police in New York county, Nebraska, really did show up at her house and really did take her to jail. So Hannah, not trying to tell you what to do, And I'm no criminal mastermind. I'm just a news guy in a bowtie, who wrote this? A news guy with a bow tie. But, you're facing seven years in prison for armed robbery and grand theft auto because your brain wouldn't tell your face to stay off the internet for five minutes. Who's kidding who? Who are we kidding here?
Hannah's good judgment and her situational awareness, her criminal career was probably doomed already. And this is how I have to say about her -- look at this. She's classy.
We will be right back.
LEMON: I can only be so lucky. Could it be the end of Gangnam style?
(VIDEO CLIP PLAYING)
LEMON: I just say that because -- I'm sick of hearing that song in everywhere I go. Korean pop star Psy has apologized for wrapping anti-American lyrics in 2004 performance. Text of the lyrics re- surfaced on CNN's ireport and circulated widely online. The lyrics called for the death of U.S. troops in Iraq, not long after the brutal slang of the South Korean hostage by Iraqi insurgence. Psy did write the controversial lyrics. He did write them.
Another South Korean rock band penned the words for their song "dear America." But Psy was one of three performers rapping the lyrics on stage. Let me make sure that is right. He did write them or he did not write them? He did not write them. OK. So he did it on stage.
Let's bring in comedian and cultural observer Dean Obeidallah in Los Angeles. He is on.
So Dean, we did our moment of the week first because you were having problems with your earpiece. It's live TV. You have an issue. It's not a big deal. It works, all right?
DEAN OBEIDALLAH, POLITICAL COMEDIAN: Exactly.
LEMON: OK. So Dean, on the phone and on TV, should he be held accountable for another band's lyrics he rapped back in 2004 or are people over reacting about, you know, this - about artistic freedom?
OBEIDALLAH: Honestly if he had not apologized, if he stood up for those lyrics and that's what he really still feels now, that American troops should be killed, people are right by protesting. And even I would be at really outrage for this guy.
You know, time has passed. He said he's performed for the U.S. troops. He's sincerely apologetic. I think some will forgive him and some will not, frankly. I think it is a tough self realm. Those lyrics were horrible. I know they did not like them. They were horrible for him to rap that. But, you know, perhaps time will heal that.
LEMON: Will heal that. You need to, you know, there was some pretty hateful things about U.S. troops.
OBEIDALLAH: Yes, they were.
LEMON: I mean, for me, it's like when you hear a song -- I'm not talking about the song that was offensive, but that Gangnam style, it is like - one more time at every club, every restaurant, every five minutes. And I'm like enough already.
OBEIDALLAH: It is hypnotic. I'm hypnotized by the song. It almost makes you forgive him for the lyrics. It's an unbelievable song. But, you know, he did apologize.
LEMON: He did apologized. I was on vacation and there was someone in the restaurant and the song came on and all he kept doing was this, the whole time for the song, he kept doing the fist pump, the fist pump. And I was like, stop!
OK. So, as soon as Christmas is Washington (INAUDIBLE), President Obama's attending the event.
OBEIDALLAH: You know, that is really a tough call. I mean, I'm honestly, right on the edge. If he did not apologize, I'd say, yes. If he stood up for the lyrics, I'd say he should be canceled. He has apologized. It's a question of how forgiving can people can be. And he has performed for the troops. And he said great things about the troops now. So, I mean, it's a tough one.
LEMON: Yes. and you're right. It is a pretty catchy song.
OK, listen. Switching gears now, two Australian DJs getting in trouble about their prank call to the hospital where Prince William's pregnant wife, Kate. The nurse who answer the prank call apparently committed suicide yesterday. Some are blaming if Aussie DJs for the nurse's death. Is that fair?
OBEIDALLAH: I don't think it is fair to blame the DJs. I mean, it's a heartbreaking story. But the woman is a mother of two and she took her own life. We hear of these morning hosts doing these types of pranks daily here in New York City. We've seen punk. We have seen numerous shows and hidden camera shows. It's not expected, even within the pale of predictions that somebody would kill themselves because of this.
So, I think unfortunately it did contribute though. It probably pushed her over the edge. But, we don't know all the facts. And you can't hold these DJs as responsible for this. It wasn't inherently inflammatory and disrespectful. It was actually kind of funny and stupid.
LEMON: One of my producers sent me a note saying, you guys played Gangnam style on the air and my kids jumped out of bed with excitement to dance.
OBEIDALLAH: It's an amazing song. I mean, I watched the video over and over. I'm mesmerized. Me and my girlfriend watch it. It is not been in English and I've memorized Korean now.
LEMON: Listen. Let's talk about the Pope joining twitter this week. Pope Benedict got more than 500,000 followers before he sent out his first tweet. Wow.
I think this is amazing. I get excited, Don, when you re-tweet me. If I can get the Pope himself to re-tweet me, you know, how excited I would be? He has over 550,000 followers already. I hope he uses twitter to try to trash talk some celebrities. Be like, hey, Rihanna, how could you be dating Chris Brown. That would be great or let's all be praying for Lindsay Lohan. Let's make it accessible for all.
OBEIDALLAH: I wonder who his first twitter fight is going to be with, I don't know. Maybe with a cardinal or some bishop from another faith --
OBEIDALLAH: Or Jonah Hill.
LEMON: Very good one.
OBEIDALLAH: Never know.
LEMON: Listen, your phone is kind of -- is your phone pink? What is that?
OBEIDALLAH: No, it's red, Don.
LEMON: It looks like a Barbie phone.
OBEIDALLAH: What about your tie, Don, is that from the nation of Islam collection? What is that?
LEMON: At least it's a designer.
OBEIDALLAH: I'm sorry. Any is watching. I'm wearing a bowtie --
LEMON: Stop stereotyping me. What is it? Why can't black guy wear a bowtie? If white guys can wear, black guys can wear.
We got to get off the air. Get off the phone. You can't even afford (INAUDIBLE).
I'm Don Lemon.