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The Psychology of Change; Chris Brown in Court Again; Obama and the Black Economy

Aired February 6, 2013 - 09:30   ET


CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: Joining me is psychologist Kathryn Smerling and Dale Atkins. Welcome to both of you.

Kathryn, I want to start with you. When you hear these concerns if someone were sitting on the couch let's say what would you say to them?

KATHRYN SMERLING, PSYCHOLOGIST: I would say it's mainly a fear of the unknown. There is a fear one that experiences when they don't know what is behind the door. You have to remember, Carol, that the Boy Scouts were founded in 1910 before women were allowed to vote, during the era of Teddy Roosevelt when their motto "be prepared and be resilient and be ready for self-sufficiency" was appropriate for that time and age, and now we're in 2013, where we have world communication and when we talk about things that we did not talk about before and there is an openness.

I don't believe that sexuality has anything to do with your ability to be a leader, your ability to instill in young boys the idea that they should be self-sufficient and responsible and good citizens. Sexuality is aside from all of that and I think that we have to understand the genesis of the Boy Scouts, where it came from, and where we are today.

COSTELLO: And Dale, what about the concern that a boy sleeping in a tent with another boy has to worry now that that boy might be attracted to him?

DALE ATKINS, PSYCHOLOGIST: You know, it's very interesting, and I want to just mention that I agree with what Dr. Smerling said. I really believe there is this when we're talking about children growing up they go through their own sexual identity search, but we are not talking about sexuality really when we're talking about scouting. And what we're really talking about is teaching kids to be good leaders and to be ethical and to make good choices, and we are not talking about sexuality. When someone is bunking with somebody else in the tent, they are friends. They are talking about issues having to do with what happened during the day, what they're going to do the next day. Friends can be of different sexual orientations. Boys and girls can be friends. They can be caring partners for each other as friends. I think that there is this fear that people believe that if someone is of a different sexual orientation they are going to in some way be compromised, their own sexuality is going to be compromised and this isn't the case. This just isn't proven by any research. COSTELLO: Well, tell me why. Because that is a big fear that if a child is exposed to homosexuality that child might think to himself well maybe I'm gay, too.

ATKINS: Well in our culture, many of us do feel that we are afraid of that which we don't know, as Dr. Smerling said, however the issue is more about well "maybe I am gay." This is a fear that a lot of kids have. It's actually not even a fear they have, although in our society we make it a fear it's a questioning of who I am and I think the questions really need to be discussed and really opened up with family members, and not with the scouts.

Children need to be able to have experiences with one another, where they are learning about being good people, responsible people, ethical people, caring, trustworthy and tolerant and I'm concerned about what the straight kids are learning about exclusion, of anybody, rather than inclusion.

COSTELLO: Right. And Kathryn --


COSTELLO: I want to get into this concern because I think this is important.

Many conservatives, religious conservatives say they're worried these gay scout masters are more likely to molest children than straight scout masters. I'm sure you've studied this issue, Kathryn. What do you think? What is the truth?

SMERLING: There is no truth to that at all. Because there used to be a feeling that if you were gay, if you were homosexual that it was contagious. It was like a disease and if you are with someone who was gay, you would contract that as well.

We know now it's more than likely that it's going to be the hard drive that determines whether you're gay or not and there is no way that people push being gay on other people when they're taught tolerance and inclusion and love, responsibility, all the things that the scouts stand for. This is teaching them that leaders cannot be gay or homosexual, which we know now in today's world in 2013 is absolutely not true. That sexuality has nothing to do with whether you are a prominent leader and you have taught people good values, and you can communicate those good values. And that's what the Boy Scouts stand for. They need to look at their genesis and the context of where they are today and where they were in 1910 when it was just started.

COSTELLO: I appreciate the passionate conversation. I have to wrap this up. We'll see what the Boy Scouts do later today, Kathryn Smerling and Dale Atkins thank you.

ATKINS: Thank you, it was wonderful.

COSTELLO: Chris Brown back in court, this time it's not what he did. It's what he didn't do.



CHRIS BROW, RECORDING ARTIST (singing): Don't wake me up. Don't wake me up.


COSTELLO: That is Chris Brown performing at last year's BET Awards. Some might find his costume that night emblematic of a tale of two Chris Browns and say he's going back on a pledge he made to his fans after the beating of his on again/off again girlfriend Rihanna.


BROWN: What I did was unacceptable. 100 percent. I can only ask and pray that you forgive me, please. I hope that others learn from my mistakes. I intend to live my life so I'm truly worthy of the term role model.


COSTELLO: Role model is hardly a term Los Angeles prosecutors would use for Brown lately. Brown is back in court today, facing accusations he lied about finishing the community services assigned to him after he assaulted Rihanna. Nischelle Turner is in Los Angeles with more. Good morning.

NISCHELLE TURNER, CNN ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Carol. The headline in this right now is that the DA is accusing Chris Brown of not completing his community service. Prosecutors are not asking to send him to jail. What they want to do is they want him to restart the 180 days worth of community service. The court gave him a unique deal for this probation in the first place allowing him to complete his community service in Virginia under the personal supervision of the Richmond police chief Brian Norwood.

But instead, the district attorney says Chris Brown was supervised by his mother and the records submitted to prove he's done the work were, quote, "at best sloppy documentation, at worst fraudulent reporting." But the motion is also accusing Chris Brown of violating his probation by getting into a fight with Frank Ocean at a Hollywood recording studio last month. It also notes some of the other incidents that made headlines where he allegedly snatched a fan's cell phone in Miami and he also apparently threw a chair at a "Good Morning America" appearance. Carol, it was four years ago this Friday that Chris Brown punched Rihanna inside a rented Lamborghini on a Hollywood street after she reportedly found a text message from another woman.

COSTELLO: What's Chris Brown's attorney saying?

TURNER: That's interesting, too. Mark Geragos' words are just as strong, on the flip side. We contacted him and here's what he had to say about all of this. He said, quote, "apparently the district attorney's office has completely lost their minds. They are making scurrilous, libelous, and defamatory statements and apparently have lost their ability to read their own reports." So just by those short words from both parties, Carol, it could get interesting in court this afternoon. So, 2:00 this afternoon he is expected to there because these are felony charges that they have to answer so we will probably see Chris Brown in court today.

COSTELLO: Nischelle Turner reporting live from Los Angeles.

President Obama under scrutiny as he starts his second term, and some ask why isn't he doing more to boost the black economy? I'll talk to a man who is looking to the White House and beyond for answers.


COSTELLO: Coming up on 45 minutes past the hour, time to check our top stories. First class mail delivery on Saturday is going to go away starting in August. Your post office could be on the chopping block. The postmaster general said to make a major announcement in 15 minutes about the restructuring of the cash-strapped postal service. We'll bring you his remarks live.

Protecting American diplomats overseas, that's expected to be the focus of comments this afternoon by Secretary of State John Kerry. Kerry will speak after his ceremonial swearing in. Vice President Joe Biden will do the honors. Kerry took the official oath on Friday.

In money news if you think you're paying through the nose now for your smartphone data plan just wait. A new report predicts monthly bills will be $40 higher by 2017 because Americans are expected to use 6.2 gigabytes of data per month by that year, that's eight times more than they use today. The report by Cisco also predicts connection speeds will be three times faster.

It's a busy year for Coast Guard cutters, freezing temperatures and frigid winds are forming ice ten inches thick across the Great Lakes. That might be good for skating but it's terrible for shipping. So a fleet of nine cutters is working around the clock to keep the channels clear.

"A rising tide lifts all boats" -- it's a phrase that some say sums up the Obama Administration's approach to the economy. Rather than targeting specific groups the President has insisted that policies benefiting all Americans will in turn help those who are the most in need.

But that philosophy is not sitting well with some in the African- American committee who have sharply criticized the President for what they say is a lack of action. My next guest says those critics aren't telling the whole story. He is Ryan Mack, president of Optimum Capital Management. And today he'll meet with one of the President's most vocal critics Dr. Cornell West to discuss the state of the black economy. Welcome.


O'REILLY: The racial wealth gap is astounding.

MACK: Yes.

O'REILLY: The Census Bureau shows whites have 22 times more wealth than blacks, a gap that doubled during the recession largely due to the housing crisis. Many in the African-American community say that's -- that's unacceptable and the President doesn't seem to be doing much about that.

MACK: Well again, I think we have to look at the whole picture here and I definitely am in line with a lot of things that Dr. West says, a lot of the critics, on holding the President more accountable. But what about -- we have to also hold ourselves more accountable as well. I mean granted back in 1984 that number was only -- was lower 11 times but now again that number is 22 times and from 2005 to 2009, the black community lost as much as 53 percent of inflation adjusted median wealth compared to the white community that only lost 18 percent.

So unemployment rates are always --- traditionally doubled that of whites so there's a lot more that we could be doing. I mean President passed the Lily Ledbetter Act, saying the women are earning 70 cents on the dollar compared to men. Well black males are actually earning 85 cents on the dollar compared to women.

So again there are a lot of things in the black community that we could be doing more of, but poverty rates are --


COSTELLO: Well let me -- let me run one idea past you.

MACK: Yes.

COSTELLO: If the government successfully sues S&P for example why can't -- that had to do with the housing crisis, right? So why can't if of course the government wins its suit why can't that money, it gains from that lawsuit go to homeowners? I mean why can't something like that be done?

MACK: It seems like that would be a logical approach but again trying to get that through this divided Congress might be a little bit difficult these days, almost might be putting the square peg in a round hole might be an understatement in that case and again I agree with that sentiment and I've always felt that sentiment.

But I do as far as it relates to the black community we can either one, we can wait on our ship to come in or we could two learn how to swim out to the ship. And the bottom line is that when you look at education, this economy has done a tremendous toll on low -- low wage jobs, low skilled jobs and as blacks have traditionally have less, technically less education than whites --


COSTELLO: Yes but you're talking about swimming out of the pool but if there are no jobs available the unemployment rate is still incredibly high for African-Americans.

MACK: Yes.

COSTELLO: It's sort of stabilized for white Americans but not for black Americans. So how do you swim out of the pool? What exactly do you do?

MACK: Look there's only three things we can do, either one, again if your skills are not, no longer -- any longer acceptable within your particular area you can either one, you can move to another area where your skills are acceptable, you can two, go back to school and increase your education and get more skills or three, you can learn how to create your own company where you can create a demand for your own and be that entrepreneur and try to capitalize off of a -- of the demand within your community.

So all of these things again as a financial, I'm not trying to say the President can't do more as an advocate, it's my job to push him to go further. And I will always continue to do that. But we also have to say that if we continue to allow on one man Barack Obama to do things, there's certain things we can do ourselves. Walking down the streets in our local community, we see check cash in places, rental centers, all of these types of different types of places, pawn shops has become the new bank in the black community.

These are essentially trying to capitalize off what we don't know. The President has nothing to do with increasing our credit score and the President has nothing to do with the fact that we're six times more likely to purchase a luxury car than the average white person, the President has nothing to do that even controlling for socioeconomic factors we're saving 50 percent less than whites are saving.

So these are things, yes, push the President to do more but also turn the camera on yourself and say what can I do? Because if we put too much pressure on President Obama and again, we do a lot of work with those in the city community helping them create jobs and no matter how much we want to give them unless they decide they want to receive that help and help themselves, then nothing we are going to do is going to help them out in the long run.

COSTELLO: I know everybody is like focusing on the President's state of the union which is coming up and hoping he'll mention something about the black community.

MACK: Right.

COSTELLO: Thank you so much, Ryan Mack, for joining us.

MACK: Thank you.

COSTELLO: President of Optimum Capital Management.

Our "Talk Back" question today: "Should the U.S. be able to kill American terror suspects without trial?" or tweet me @CarolCNN. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COSTELLO: "Talk Back" question today: "Should the United States be able to kill American terror suspects without trial?"

This from Mary, "America is at war with terrorists. If an American becomes a terrorist and is overseas and involved in activities that endanger the U.S. I say take them out. Let's not confuse war policy with the rights of Americans at home."

This from Mark, "Unless the person is actively engaged in combat or a terrorist act it's unlawful to execute him without due process."

This from Dave, "That damned Constitution just keeps getting in the way of this Administration, doesn't it?"

This from Christopher, "If they are in a foreign country taking up arms haven't they de facto renounced their citizenship? The oath they took was not sincere."

And this from Christine, "You can't say yes it's ok but not ok to do it here in the States. If you give them the power to kill Americans abroad then you are giving them the right to do what they have to here. Give them an inch and they'll take a mile." or tweet me @CarolCNN to continue the conversation.

Many, many Ohioans are still angry at Lebron James for taking his talents to South Beach. But some of those fans will no longer be able to display that anger on their license plates, no more "I h8 you". Bleacher Report with Jared Greenberg is coming your way next.


COSTELLO: Another big name baseball star is being linked to that same Miami clinic accused of supplying performance enhancing drugs to Alex Rodriguez. Jared Greenberg of the Bleacher Report is here to talk about it.

JARED GREENBERG, BLEACHER REPORT: Yes Carol, the Milwaukee Brewers Ryan Braun has been accused of using PEDs in the past but it looks like Braun is going to be put under the microscope yet again. Braun's name was found in the records of the Biogenesis Clinic, the Miami clinic which supposedly distributed performance enhancing drugs to several baseball players including as you mentioned Alex Rodriguez.

Braun won an appeal awhile back when he had initially tested positive for elevated levels of testosterone. Braun says his lawyers contacted the controversial clinic to prepare his defense when he was accused of doping. The former Most Valuable Player also says he has nothing to hide. And he will cooperate fully with everyone.

Well, how about this? Play of the day, just over a month into 2013 candidate for player of the year Tuesday night in Denver, Danilo Gallinari of the Nuggets made the Harlem Globetrotters look less that -- like look less than average ballers. But that's not all.

Gallinari's circus (ph) shot also earned the Nuggets fans four tacos for a $1 at a local fast food chain today in the Mile High City. Any time the Nuggets score 110 points or more, fans get to chow down courtesy of the team. Last night marks the 12th home game the team has scored at least 110 points this season.

And how is this for inspiration and motivation? Win the championship we'll give you free physical relations. The association of Nigerian prostitutes, yes we looked it up, they are unionized, they have announced that they will offer free sex for a week to the country's national team that wins the African Cup. The Nigerian Eagles as the team is called plays against Mali later today in the semis of the African Cup. What's not clear is if the free sex in time is for players or for the general population in which case you could probably expect long lines.

Ohio residents, you're going to have to get more creative with how you take out your anger towards Lebron James, people all over the country you know have used license plates to express political and religious views or even just offer some comedy to those stuck behind them in traffic. Ohio state officials have ruled that several vanity tags are off the market.

Take a look at some of the tags that residents will not be able to apply for, the states says it has the right to reject tags that are profane, obscene or sexually explicit.

Now for more on these stories and everything happening in the sports world we ask you to check out

Carol, the bad news here is that if your mom back in Ohio was looking for one of those anti-Lebron plates certainly she's going to be a little disappointed.

COSTELLO: I don't think my mom would put that kind of license plate thing on the back of her car.

GREENBERG: Yes I'd like to see that.

COSTELLO: Yes I would, too. Thanks so much, Jared.

The next hour of CNN NEWSROOM starts now.


COSTELLO: Stories we're watching right now, snail mail emergency, no Saturday delivery, no more friendly neighborhood mailman, it could all happen today.

Late night laughs aside, fears Chris Christie could die in office.