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STARTING POINT WITH SOLEDAD O'BRIEN

Is The 787 Dreamliner Safe?; Steubenville Superintendent Speaks Out; Delay In Russia's Ban On U.S. Adoptions; Invisible Driver Freak Outs; Controversial North Korea Trip Wraps Up; Fears Over North Korea's Missiles; Too Many White Men In Cabinet; Mastering Your "Killer Emotions"

Aired January 11, 2013 - 07:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back. You're watching STARTING POINT. We begin with John Berman and a look at today's top stories. Hi, John.

JOHN BERMAN, ANCHOR, CNN'S "EARLY START": Thanks, Soledad. We've just learned this morning that the Department of Transportation is going to announce a review of the Boeing Dreamliner 787. This is after two incidents overnight in Japan, coming on the heels of three other mechanical failures this week.

CNN's Rene Marsh is live in Washington with the details. Good morning, Rene.

RENE MARSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, John. We've just confirmed that the FAA will announce in about two hours from now, their plans to scrutinize how this jumbo jet was assembled, how its parts were manufactured, as well as looking into its overall design.

This would, of course, come just days after an electrical fire in the belly of an empty Japanese Airline 787 on the tarmac at Logan Airport in Boston on Monday. Now one of the jet's high energy lithium ion batteries exploded causing the flames and the heavy smoke.

We did speak to a spokesperson from Boeing. Here's what they said in part, quote, "We actively work with the FAA daily across our product lines. We are absolutely confident in the reliability and performance of the 787." So we're expecting that announcement in just about two hours from now -- John.

BERMAN: All right, thanks very much, Rene Marsh in Washington this morning.

Ohio's attorney general says the investigation into the Steubenville rape case is almost over. Plus the superintendent of schools is now speaking out about the case and social media's role in the whole thing.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIKE MCVEY, SUPERINTENDENT, STEUBENVILLE, OHIO SCHOOLS: Horrendous act. A horrible act of what went on with the internet and the social media. And we need to get them more educated on social media. With that learning point or teaching point per se, I think we have to be aware of, these are situations that can happen. And, unfortunately, it's come to light in Steubenville, Ohio.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: The case attracted a new round of national attention when a video made about the alleged assault last August went viral. Two high school student athletes have been charged with the alleged rape of a 16-year-old girl.

A big development for some of American couples trying to adopt Russian children. A controversial Russian law banning adoptions by Americans signed by President Putin last month will not be put in place for one year.

Now it was supposed to take effect this month. What this means is that some adoptions can proceed, giving families who were so close, new hope. The Russian law is seen as retaliation for an American crackdown on human rights abusers in Russia. It's really sad that families and kids being caught in the middle of an international dispute.

So this may be the best drive through prank ever. An aspiring magician created a driver's seat costume that really makes it look like no one is driving the car at all. He put this on and then went through a bunch of fast food drive-through and recorded the stunned, freaked out employees. You have to watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hello. What the heck is going on? My God, my God.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Really? Girl. Hello! Are you serious?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: Clearly someone to watch. Genius.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are not too far off from that, where cars can drive themselves places.

O'BRIEN: Hopefully, they won't have to eat. That was funny. He will become a huge celebrity for that. I love that.

Let's turn and talk a little bit about North Korea this morning. Of course, it is one of the most closed off oppressive countries in the world. Few Americans have really even laid eyes on North Korea in person.

But a high-profile group from the United States just got back from a controversial trip there. Former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson and the Google chairman, Erik Schmidt spent three days in that communist country. Governor Richardson is with us from Washington, D.C. Of course, he is also the former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. It's nice to see you, sir. Thank you for talking with us. We appreciate your time this morning.

BILL RICHARDSON, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO U.N.: Thank you, Soledad.

O'BRIEN: The State Department said they didn't think this trip was a good idea and yet, you went anyway. Why?

RICHARDSON: Well, they were understandably cautious. The relationship with North Korea is not very good. But we went as private, humanitarian trip for three reasons, one, to urge the North Koreans to have a moratorium on missile activity, no nuclear tests. Secondly, to find out about the American detained there, Kenneth Bay, that he be properly treated, and then thirdly, to spread the message about an open society, the internet, cell phones.

Eric Schmidt was like a rock star there, talking to people, to students, to scientists, to software engineers about the importance of the internet. You know, I think it's important that we not isolate the North Koreans. They have six nuclear weapons at the most.

They have 1.4 million men in uniform. They are hostile. They are unpredictable. I think it's better to have a dialog with them. I've negotiated with them the last 15 years or so successfully for political prisoners, for American servicemen, on rice issues, food issues.

I think it's important that we engage them, and I'm worried, Soledad, that we're heading towards a confrontation there with the North Koreans feeling isolated and the countries surrounding North Korea, South Korea, Japan, the United States, Russia, the six-party countries. We need diplomacy. We need dialog. We need a new policy.

ABBY HUNTSMAN, HOST, HUFFPOST LIVE: Governor Richardson, it's Abby Huntsman here. What was your assessment of Kim Jung-un? There are still obviously a lot we don't know. Did you get any sense that he is any different from his father, his grandfather, that he is maybe more open to reform?

RICHARDSON: My sense and it's only a sense. We did meet with him, is that he is more open to reform. There are some economic measures that he has taken that are a little more open-minded. His manner is more mixing with the people, more speeches.

His father, for instance, never addressed the country. He was educated in Europe, so I have some hope, but at the same time, he engages in these missile launches. I think now that he's done that, perhaps he feels he's established this domestic strength with his people.

And now he'll engage in diplomacy, but what's important is to have a dialog, to try to find out what's going on there.

CHRIS FRATES, REPORTER, "NATIONAL JOURNAL": Governor, Chris Frates here. I want to find out, do you think it's appropriate for a group of private citizens led by a business leader of one of our biggest companies to be negotiating, trying to open up ties with North Korea. Doesn't that run cross wise with our diplomatic folks in the State Department?

RICHARDSON: No. No, I don't believe that foreign policy should just be officials in the State Department. It should be private citizens. It should be philanthropic groups, NGOs. It should be mediators, should be the United Nations.

My point here is that right now, our relationship with North Korea is frozen and if some individuals, private citizens, especially somebody like Erik Schmidt who can bring a message of openness and hope and the internet and cell phones and more communication.

And be treated as somebody that they are intensely interested in, remember, we met with students, with average peel average people. It wasn't just the government.

O'BRIEN: But there is part of that, and Ed Truesky at reason.com wrote an article, which was called Bill Richardson and Erik Schmidt's bogus journey to North Korea. And part of his point was what you help do is create a leverage for propaganda.

Here's what he wrote, "Given that North Korea hasn't been able to make it possible for its people to eat enough, the hope its government can do something about internet access seems as fruitless as this trip, which Kim Jong-Un is sure to use to appear as a high-tech leader." Doesn't he have a point there?

RICHARDSON: No, he doesn't have a point because how can we be used if we're talking to students and expanding the idea of North Korea using the internet? I mean, these people in North Korea are thirsty for openness.

When we deliver a message that access to the internet, exchange for information and openness is good, I don't see how this can be harmful. When we tell North Koreans -- I've been dealing with them for years, what they are doing is heading toward a path toward confrontation against their own interests.

Against their own economic growth by spending so much on nuclear weapons, on missile tests, that's the message that they received, and maybe we'll do some good, maybe not. And then there is the American there.

O'BRIEN: I'm going to ask you about that. You didn't get a chance to meet with Kenneth Bay. I know his son had written a letter that he was hopeful that you would deliver to his father. What happened on that front?

RICHARDSON: Well, the letter will be delivered. Kenneth Bay is way up in the northern part of the country. It was not accessible to us, but we made the point very strongly that he should be treated properly. We were assured that the judicial proceedings on his case would happen soon. That's sometimes a good sign because it means it may be wrapping up and hopefully, he'll be released. But, you know, nobody had been -- we do have a Swedish representative there. We don't have representatives in North Korea, advocating for him.

This case got a lot of visibility there. So if we can help one human being, one American and give a message of cool it on the nuclear front and talk about the internet and openness. Look, the Arab spring was created by the internet, by Facebook, by Twitter, young people communicating with each other.

This is one of the most closed societies in terms of the internet. It's controlled exclusively for very few in the government. If we can spread that message, we are doing some good. It's not just the government, the U.S. government or the Korean government that should have this access.

There is one bit of hope. The new president of South Korea, a woman, has been making positive statements about engagement. I think these countries in the region, China, South Korea, Japan, should participate more in engaging the North Koreans, opening them up and finding ways for them to cool their dramatic surge in nuclear development and missile activity.

That reduces tension in the peninsula, that's good and then the North Koreans can spend their resources on their own people.

O'BRIEN: Governor Bill Richardson, former Governor Bill Richardson, joining us this morning. It's nice to talk to you, sir. Thank you for being with us. We appreciate it.

Still ahead on STARTING POINT, this is President Obama hard at work with his staff over Christmas. It was so tough trying to get a deal done on that fiscal cliff. Where were the binders full of women that he could have used to add a little diversity to his staff? We're going to talk about that straight ahead.

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O'BRIEN: President Obama's picks for his new cabinet members are raising some questions about diversity, actually a lot of questions about diversity. Where are the women, for example? Where are the people of color for example? Let's take a look at his four newest choices, one thing notice about all of them? Anybody want to jump in, what do you think? Ding, ding, ding!

Yes, Chris, you are so smart! It was enough that finally Congressman Charlie Rangel, a top Democrat said on MSNBC, it's as embarrassing as hell. And then actress Melissa Joan Hart tweeted this, which I thought was quite funny.

Where is that binder full of women now? You know when you are being dissed by Melissa Joan Hart. Sabrina the teenage witch hammering you that would you a problem, Mr. President. Bill, I'm going to give you this one. BILL BURTON, SENIOR STRATEGIST, PRIORITIES USA ACTION: That photo that's been so widely talked about, all of the folks in the White House, I mean, I don't know if you are allowed to say this on TV, but Barack Obama is black.

O'BRIEN: Yes, he is.

BURTON: And also, you know, that picture is not representative of the whole team.

O'BRIEN: He's also a man.

BURTON: The news there is that Dan Pfeiffer is hungry, apparently, in the oval office. But look, some of the president's top advisers are women, Valerie Jarrett (inaudible), half the White House staff is women. This has been a diverse cabinet. It's been a diverse White House staff and --

O'BRIEN: Not that diverse.

BURTON: It's pretty diverse.

HUNTSMAN: A double standard does exist. There's no way a Republican president would get away with this cabinet.

BURTON: Well, first of all this cabinet is a lot more diverse than President George W. Bush's was. He apparently got away with that. So you know, President Obama has been committed to diversity. But what I think we're experiencing now is a communications problem more than an actual diversity problem.

Because these last four picks happen to be white men. It shines the light on diversity in the White House. But the truth is the president has been committed to diversity and that's why so many people in his --

O'BRIEN: Let's look. Let's go back to the evidence, right? You have the picture and it's not just these guys.

BURTON: You have a picture, of thousands taken in the oval office.

O'BRIEN: Let's get someone in our office to pick the top 50 people in the White House. I'm going to assume that they don't represent what America looks like. I'm going to assume that 50 percent of those top people are not women.

I'm going to assume that 13 percent of them are not African-American. I'm going to assume that there is not a representation of Asian- Americans, Latinos. I feel fairly confident saying that.

BURTON: Would you be wrong to make that assumption. Actually, if you --

O'BRIEN: Want to wager?

BURTON: A $100 because if you take -- if you take the staff of the west wing, which I think you can fairly say --

O'BRIEN: Fifty most important positions --

BURTON: Fairly say is the people who were closest to the president --

O'BRIEN: No, 50 most --

BURTON: Work in the same house with he lives, 50 percent of those people are women.

O'BRIEN: No, 50 most important positions, OK, which is not who exactly is in that one space. It is the most important and relevant positions, we're going to crunch those numbers over the weekend.

BURTON: Let's do it.

O'BRIEN: We will see if it represents what the nation is. You cannot compare it to other administrations. I think everybody should stand on their own merit. Go ahead.

FRATES: I think the problem here for the president is that a lot of folks assumed coming into a second term that he would be able to do a much more diverse pick and that's what Charlie Rangel's point was, don't you have the ability now, in a second term, to create a much more diverse administration than what Bill Clinton had? You talk about George Bush, Obama only 10 percent more diverse than George Bush was.

BERMAN: There is just no question that the Susan Rice pick messed up the roll-out of this completely.

HUNTSMAN: Rest assure though his next picks will likely be a woman or some of the minority chief of staff, but Condi Rice was asked this question by a reporter when she was secretary of state about the lack of diversity in the State Department. And she said don't judge me as I enter the institution, but as I leave the institution. I think that's a great point. It's about how these people serve the country.

O'BRIEN: I'm a very patient person. I'm happy to judge people as they are leaving as well. All right, we have to take a short break.

Still ahead, if you feel like you work in a toxic environment but don't know what to do about it -- how is that for a segue way? Ken Linder written a new book called "Your Killer Emotions." He says the best way to navigate your way is to keep your emotions in check. We're going to talk to him, up next.

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O'BRIEN: Everybody has a moment where you get upset and then you do something you regret. Our next guest says he knows how to control those urges and lead to a successful personally at work.

Ken Lindner has got a new book out. It's called "Your Killer Emotions: Seven Steps to Mastering the Toxic Emotions, Urges and Impulses That Sabotage You." It's nice to have you with us. KEN LINDNER, AUTHOR, "YOUR KILLER EMOTIONS": Good morning, Soledad. A pleasure.

O'BRIEN: You are a TV agent so I'm going to guess that you work with lots of hostile people on both sides of the negotiation and I think there are lots of people who think like anger and emotionality in workplace is just who they are and it's not really changeable, that's just what you get when you deal with people. Is that not the case?

LINDNER: Well, it's definitely changeable and you know, I have counseled people for 30 years to make positive life choices and the one thing that has stood out is that you can be brilliant. You can have the best life strategies but if you make a decision when you're angry, when you're hurt, when you feel resentful, jealous, you can make a toxic decision because you want to opt for a quick fix.

You want to retaliate quickly. You want to feel good and whether it's in the workplace or outside the workplace you take the cigarette, you take the drink, binge drinking, women, in that story or go for the bad guy, the bad girl or you get involved in an angry exchange, you say something you regret, and it could damage you for life.

O'BRIEN: How do you keep your emotions in check? What are the rules for keeping your emotions in check?

LINDNER: Well, one of the things is you never want to make a life choice when you are overwhelmed with emotions. You want to step back, you want to be cognitively clear and you want to make a strategic choice. You always want to know ahead of time if you can what you want out of every interaction. So don't let yourself get sucked into --

O'BRIEN: I want $100 from Bill is what I want. That's my goal at the end of the day.

BURTON: Here's my question. What would your advice be to someone who like President Obama who really has their emotions in check. Is it possible to go too far in the direction that you're so in control of a situation that it's a danger?

LINDNER: If it's working for you then you should stick with it. I mean, you can use your emotions, I mean, for example, fear can be positive, anger, if it catalyzes you to do something positive, can be very, very good. You know, emotions per se aren't positive or negative. It's the expression of the emotion, which is positive and negative, does it fuel you to do something positive or self- destructive.

O'BRIEN: What if you're on the receiving end, right? I mean, how do you navigate a work environment that's toxic if you're not necessarily at the top of the hierarchy, but you're a worker bee in the middle, how do you do that?

LINDNER: I really think, again, you want to think about what you want out of the interaction. You know, I believe in something called a choreography whether it's career choreography or life choreography. I believe that there are certain logical steps that you can take to achieve any goal, but you need to be cognitively clear to act those out. In your "Killer Emotions," I talk about how to use your emotions to get there.

The other thing, Soledad, which I think is really important is I think it's really important to be consequence cognizant and that is before you do anything, think about the consequences of your act.

If David Petraeus and Arnold Schwarzenegger and Tiger Woods -- if they had thought about the consequences they may not have done what they did.

HUNTSMAN: Are you listening?

BERMAN: Do you have to be able to fake not being angry, fake not being enraged?

O'BRIEN: That's a good question.

LINDNER: Yes, I mean, it helps because again, here's the thing, it's not feeling the emotion. It's how you express it and the context. We all know there are certain times when actually getting angry can be a good thing, showing your indignation can be a good thing. It all depends on the context. So the question is, is it the right time to express it and I think you probably all agree with that.

O'BRIEN: The book is called "Your Killer Emotions: The Seven Steps to Mastering the Toxic Emotions, Urges and Impulses That Sabotage You." Ken Lindner, it's nice to have you with us. You could leave it on someone's desk like, hi.

BURTON: Here, Soledad.

O'BRIEN: Why, thank you, I don't need this.

Still ahead this morning, a ferocious outbreak of the flu to tell you about and it's spreading, some states have epidemic. We'll tell you why this strain is so powerful and really how to avoid it.

Then, she is the "T" in TLC. T-boz is going to join us to talk about her new reality show that's ahead. We're back in a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O'BRIEN: Welcome, everybody. Our STARTING POINT this morning a severe flu outbreak is spreading, dozens have been killed, hundreds of people hospitalized. This morning new numbers show there might be relief in sight.

Clashing over gun violence, the Vice President Biden meets with the NRA and it doesn't go so well. Can they find a solution to stop gun violence?

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: This year's college graduates have a new reason to smile. Why they are expected to earn more money even though it is a tough job market?

BERMAN: He is a school hero.