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Young Boy Allegedly Suspended for Imaginary Grenade; Latest on Alabama Bunker Investigation; A Look at Rising Gas Prices; Marco Rubio Talks Rap Music

Aired February 6, 2013 - 15:30   ET


BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Did you hear the outcome of the online contest to replace one of the "Monopoly" game tokens? I know, I know, so many of you are saying say it ain't so.

Get a quick shot, Rob, on the three camera so I can show you this. This little thing, you see this? It is so teeny-tiny. Well, it has been ironed out. Ba-dum-bum. Horrible. Horrible.

Anyway, this teeny-tiny iron, yes, it is gone. This iron is out. It is being replaced by this, a cat, which beat out a robot, beat out a ring, a helicopter and a guitar. Ooh, a guitar? See, that would have been my vote.

"Monopoly" fans from more than 100 countries voted in the contest on Facebook. What do you think? Send me a tweet @BrookeBCNN.

A second-grader pretending to save the world gets in real trouble with his school. Here he is. We're showing what he did. Administrators suspended this guy for throwing something that didn't even exist, an imaginary grenade.

Julie Hayden from our Denver affiliate KDVR tells his story.


ALEX EVANS, 7 YEARS OLD: I can't believe I got dispended.

JULIE HAYDEN, KDVR REPORTER (voice-over): Seven-year-old Alex Evans doesn't understand his suspension.

EVANS: They said I was being dispended.

HAYDEN: ... any better than he can pronounce it.

EVANS: It is called Rescue the World.

HAYDEN: He was playing the game during recess at Loveland's Mary Blair Elementary School and threw an imaginary grenade into a box with what he called "pretend evil forces" inside.

EVANS: I pretended in the box there was something shaking in it. And I'm, like -- and it goes ...

HAYDEN: He did not throw anything real or make any threats against anyone.

He explains he was pretending to be the hero.

EVANS: So nothing can get out of it and destroy the world.

HAYDEN: But his imaginary play broke the real rules.

The school lists what it calls absolutes under the parent resources section of its website -- absolutely no fighting, real or imaginary, and no weapons, real or imaginary.

MANDIE WATKINS, MOTHER: And, honestly, I'm not sure the rule is realistic anyway for kids this age.

HAYDEN: Alex is like a lot of second-graders, perpetual motion.

His mom says he doesn't understand why pretending to be a soldier is wrong.

WATKINS: I think that when a child is trying to save the world, I don't think he should be punished for it.


BALDWIN: So, here is the response from the school district in Colorado. We have this. This is their statement.

Quote, "The situation is much more complicated than what has been portrayed. The student was not suspended for an imaginary weapon.

"The Thompson School District has never suspended or expelled a student for an imaginary weapon.

"As this is a disciplinary issue regarding a student, the school district is not able to delve into the specifics of this particular incident."

We are now learning much more about the SWAT-like tactics used to rescue a now 6-year-old boy held under ground in an underground bunker for six days.

Remember the hostage-taker here, Jimmy Lee Dykes, was shot dead in the raid.

Investigators say the site may still be dangerous with explosives found inside that bunker.

Martin Savidge is in Midland City, Alabama. And, Martin, you're just getting some details. Tell me about the final moments of this raid.

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, let's bring you up to speed on what's been going on.

For the second straight day, bomb disposal teams have been going through the property of Jimmy Lee Dykes and they are still searching because they fear that there could be other explosive devices. In fact, we have been told that, up until very recently -- I'm talking just a few hours -- the body of the gunman is still inside of that bunker because authorities have felt it was too dangerous to go in there and remove him.

Two explosive devices were found, one inside the bunker, another just outside of the bunker.

Now, down to those final moments. One of the things that authorities were dealing with is not just the unstable nature of explosives, but the mental state of Dykes himself.

He apparently had this idea, theory, conspiracy, that somehow the Mob was controlling horse racing and he was fixated on getting that message out. He kept telling authorities about it and that he wanted to talk to a member of the media.

In fact, in the early hours of this whole drama, they had discussed the idea of sending in a reporter or someone pretending to be a reporter to get his statement and then in return that the little boy Ethan would be set free.

That idea was eventually nixed and then we know that they went with the other option many days later of using the forced entry with SWAT.


BALDWIN: OK, let me just erase my incredibly perplexed face when I hear that description.

Tell me about the bunker. How big was it -- is it?

SAVIDGE: A very confined space. We're talking about roughly six- feet-by-eight-feet, which, again, when you are talking about how they made this entry and the way it went down, of course, was witnesses saying there were explosions and that's been verified by authorities now.

And there were flash-bang grenades that were tossed inside and that a hole was blown in the roof of the bunker and authorities had to literally drop in.

But when that explosion went off, they say that Dykes actually fired at them first, and it was then the federal officers that returned fire and killed him, but, of course, they had to be extremely careful because you got a little boy just feet away from where all of this is happening. Ethan was unharmed.

BALDWIN: Incredible and here it is his sixth birthday today.

Martin Savidge, thank you so much, in Alabama.

Coming up next, Ali Velshi has all the hottest business news.

Ali, what's on tap?

ALI VELSHI, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Hey, listen, we're getting a lot of complaints about how high gas prices are going.

I'm going to talk to you a little bit about gas prices. Then I'm going to tell you where you might be benefiting from the price of energy.

That's on "Your Money" when we come back. Stay with us. You are watching CNN.


VELSHI: From the CNNMoney Newsroom in New York, I am Ali Velshi.

And I take the subway everywhere, so all this complaining about gas prices over the last month has been falling on deaf ears until I went for a very long drive this weekend and realized, whoo, gas prices have spiked.

Take a look at gas prices over the last month, 25 cents a gallon higher to $3.55 a gallon, and everybody is asking me, why are gas prices so high? Why do you think they're so high?

Gas prices all have to do with this. This is light, sweet crude oil. It is the biggest determinant in the price of gasoline by far, $96.62. This thing's been hanging around between 90 bucks and 100 bucks for the last few months.

When it goes up a little bit, gas prices go up. There are other reasons why gas prices go up, but bottom line is that's mostly what it's about.

Forget about it. I can't do anything about your gas prices. What I can do is tell you how you might be saving money elsewhere in the energy world and how you actually might even make some money.

I want to show you natural gas. This is all of our energy consumption in the United States by different sources. And you can see petroleum, which comes from that barrel of oil I was telling you about, makes up 36 percent of all our energy consumption in the United States.

Natural gas is a quarter. Coal is 20 percent. Renewables are nine percent. Nuclear, we're not very big on nuclear here in the United States, is only 8 percent.

Take a look at that 26 percent natural gas. In the last five years, we have been squeezing, pulling, extracting natural gas from everywhere we can find it. There is a natural gas boom in this country.

Natural gas production going back to 2007, look at that. It's up 19 percent in the course of five years.

Now, that's the good news because natural gas can be used to heat your fireplace or your clothes dryer, but it is also a source of energy, so what you're seeing is some conversion from other sources of electricity into natural gas.

Lots of times you plug something in, turn on a light and that energy is coming from natural gas.

Here's the interesting part, though. Back in 2008, before the recession, natural gas was running at $13.31 cents per million BTUs. A BTU is a British Thermal Unit. That's how you measure natural gas.

Take a look at that. The price of this thing has plummeted. It is now $3.34 per million BTUs. That's actually up a little bit. Most people think this is going to go up higher.

So, the bottom line is you are paying less in many cases for your electricity than you were a few years ago. So, where you may be paying more to fill your car up, your overall electricity bill might be less because of the price of natural gas.

Now, there are some opportunities for you here. One is, in this natural gas boom, those companies that supply production for natural gas, they are gas fuel production. They supply the parts, the pipelines, the hoses, the valves, those companies tend to do very well.

And keep in mind, because natural gas is a source for electricity, a lot of companies that are heavy users of electricity, like steel production, like heavy industry, are benefitting from this.

So, you might see a boom in industry and industrial jobs in the United States because of natural gas.

I am just trying to make you feel a little bit better about the fact that your gasoline prices are up 25 cents in the last month.

You're not going to see much relief in gasoline prices. I am probably going to grow a full head of hair before you see cheap gas.

So, at least take some solace and maybe make some investments in natural gas.

That's it for me. From the CNNMoney Newsroom in New York, I'm Ali Velshi. Same time tomorrow. I'm out.


BALDWIN: The Arizona woman who brutally killed her young boyfriend and then lied and denied it over and over and over, talking about this woman here, Jodi Arias.

She is back today on the witness stand at her death penalty murder trial in Phoenix. She has been describing the opening phase of this tragic love affair and let me tell you, no holds barred.

She is talking a lot about sex. And, according to Jodi Arias that was Travis Alexander's number one item from the start, sex.

She says her own romantic interests were much more in the spiritual realm, but she says she went along with Travis. Here she is, Jodi Arias.


JODI ARIAS, ACCUSED MURDERER: I felt a little bit used, but I knew I had gone there on my own willingly.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What do you mean, though, that you felt used?

ARIAS: Well, you know, he gets a hotel room. I show up. We hang out. We have sex. He's not really there presently, like, he's not mentally present.

I'm getting a lot of attention, but only while we're engaging in sexual activity and then we check out and he takes off and I kind of felt like a prostitute, sort of.


BALDWIN: So, Jodi Arias says that in the opening days of this ill- fated romance she felt, her words, like a prostitute.

They're apparently laying the basis for a self-defense defense now that Jodi Arias concedes, that, yes, she did kill Travis Alexander with two gunshots and 27 slash-and-stab wounds.

Sunny Hostin is our CNN legal analyst. Ryan Smith of HLN'S "Evening Express," covering the trial, all the ins-and-outs, as well.

Ryan, let me just being with you. This is day three on the stand for Jodi Arias. How is she doing?

RYAN SMITH, ANCHOR, HLN'S "EVENING EXPRESS": She is, I think, a powerful witness. She's describing some very explicit things. She's making it seem as if Travis Alexander was forcing himself on her.

But she is not using words that indicate anything other than a consensual relationship.

BALDWIN: How do you mean?

SMITH: She is -- so, for example, she says that at one point he baptized her, they go back to her home -- and, remember, this is the Mormon faith -- so, he baptizes her. He takes her home and then he, for lack of a better description here, bends her over the bed and forces himself on her.

She doesn't say, though, that that was rape. She says that she didn't want it, but she went along with it because that's what Travis wanted to do.

So, Jodi Arias speaks in two different ways. In the one way, she tries to play it as if she has been forced upon and she has been abused in all of this, and in the other way, she tries to say, but I don't want to throw him under the bus.

So, it's a very interesting dynamic. I think what's happening so far is it seems consensual, but it is demonizing the victim, so maybe the jury will say this is not a good guy. BALDWIN: Sunny Hostin, what do you think?

SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I think Ryan is right on. I think he hit the nail on the head.

She is a very strong witness. She appears to be docile. She's attractive. She's sweet. I think we see echoes of Casey Anthony, quite frankly, in the courtroom.

But, remember, you know, this is a self-defense claim and this was a very vicious, vicious crime, and so the tactic that the defense is using that the victim, Travis Alexander, is a bad guy, oftentimes, quite frankly, backfires in cases like this.

Because even though she appears to be docile and everything was consensual, when you murder someone and you admit to it with 27 stab wounds and a gunshot wound to the head and then lie about it and try to hide the evidence, I think it's very difficult for a jury to get beyond that, and believe that you had to do all of that to defend yourself from this bad guy, who you admittedly had this consensual relationship with.

So, for me, I'm sort of waiting for cross examination because it's a prosecutor's dream, quite frankly, Brooke, to have this kind of witness on the witness stand.

And this prosecutor's had a lot of time. She's been on the stand for three days. Can you imagine the preparation time?

BALDWIN: What about, though, let's just go back to everything that she sort of talked about, right? Because, as you mentioned, the Mormonism, Travis Alexander's Mormon faith and this talk of sex, as well.

Let's just play a little bit of this.


ARIAS: I felt a little bit used. But I knew I had gone there on my own willingly so ...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What do you mean, though, that you felt used?

ARIAS: Well, you know ...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did he ever express a desire during this weekend to engage in anal sex with you?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And did he over the course of that weekend in Aaronburg (ph) express a desire to have vaginal sex with you?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But you -- it appears, based on what you've told us, you declined his desire to have anal sex, is that correct?

ARIAS: Yeah, he was -- yeah, I did. Yes, I didn't -- we did not have anal sex.



BALDWIN: So, obviously pretty explicit stuff there on the stand, all the talk of sex and religion. What's going on?

SMITH: Two tracks here. They're trying to show Travis Alexander, the victim in this case, as a sexual deviant.

So, this is a Mormon community, could be that there are Mormons. There are also people that have some very conservative views on that jury, and so they're trying to appeal to those people on that jury.

Not only that, they're trying to show he had control over her, and that's the domestic violence part of this.

You see, self-defense, she's got to prove that in that moment -- she says Travis -- she dropped Travis Alexander's -- this is a year or so after what we're seeing now.

She drops his camera. Travis Alexander comes at her. She has to use deadly force, extreme deadly force on him.

And all of that is couched in the idea that she was in this domestically violent relationship, so they're trying to build the seeds of that relationship through this.

And then later they're going to have an expert on to talk about how she suffered through battered women's syndrome and things like that, to create the situation that led to Travis's death.

BALDWIN: We'll have both of you guys back on.

As Sunny points out, cross-examination is going to be interesting.

Ryan Smith, Sunny Hostin, my thanks to both of you.

Make sure you catch Ryan on HLN's "Evening Express," weeknights, 5:00 p.m. Eastern.

Coming up next, we're just getting word here from the GOP about who will deliver the Republican response to next week's State of the Union address. Remember, it's next Tuesday night. Any guesses?

Be right back.


BALDWIN: This just in to us here at CNN, Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio will be delivering the Republican response to the president's State of the Union address. That happens next Tuesday, February 12th. It will air following the State of the Union.

And speaking of a certain Florida senator here, the unofficial hip hop historian dropped some knowledge on a room full of young people at a Capitol Hill bar last night, even took sides on which rapper he likes the most.

BuzzFeed captured it all.


SENATOR MARCO RUBIO (D), FLORIDA: I think that Tupac's lyrics were probably more insightful in my opinion, with all apologies to the Biggie fans.

And that was a time where -- you know, in some ways, rappers were like reporters, especially in that era in the '90s.

People kind of picked up on it the wrong way. They thought that these were folks that were condoning a certain lifestyle. Maybe there some of that in there, but mostly they were reporters.

And, in particular at that time, from the West Coast, there was a lot of reporting about what it was like in South Central in the L.A. area and they were reporting what life was like in that -- and that's really what you found in hip-hop.


BALDWIN: Senator Rubio did not stop at Tupac and Biggie. Here's what else you didn't know.


RUBIO: I bet you don't know there's actually a Tupac song that mentions Bob Dole.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I did not know that.

RUBIO: Yeah.


BALDWIN: Political reporter Shannon Travis joins me now from Washington.

So, Tupac, Biggie, what, Kanye, apparently, he's released his Spotify playlist. Tell me more about the -- his hip hop likings.

SHANNON TRAVIS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Brooke, who knew that Marco Rubio was such a fan of gangster rap.