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Lil Wayne Leaves Hospital; New Leads in 23-Year-Old Art Heist; March Madness Begins Tonight

Aired March 19, 2013 - 10:30   ET



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CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: Rapper Lil' Wayne has been released from a Los Angeles hospital after suffering a seizure last week, a series of seizures, for that matter. The "L.A. Times" reporting his condition may be linked to a dangerous combination of cough syrup and soda called cizzurp (ph).

A.J. Hammer is standing by in New York. Tell us about this, A.J.

A.J. HAMMER, HLN HOST, "SHOWBIZ TONIGHT": Well, there's been this outpouring of support and concern flooding the Internet, carol, after those initial reports which claim that the hip hop star was near death. But now you have multiple associates of the 30-year-old Grammy winning rapper working very diligently to dispel any rumors on the social media. They're even using Wayne's own Twitter handle to let his fans know he was good and he's thankful for the prayers and the love.

Now no one in Wayne's camp is confirming what led to the seizures. But this "L.A. Times" report does identify this cizzurp citizen a possible reason. This is a cough syrup concoction that's reportedly have been getting more and more popular within the hip hop community. And their report highlight Wayne's admitted use of the substance. It's concoction that's also referred to sometimes as purple drank, because of the dark color that it turns to from the dyes in the syrup.

Now, Wayne has made no secret of his affinity for the drug. He's actually written about it in his lyrics. He's admitted to the difficulty he's had with breaking his habit for the beverage. Apparently, the liquid brings about a euphoric effect that's common with other painkillers.

Now, whether or not this hospital scare was directly related to the drug, I think this ordeal is certainly adding light to an issue that might benefit from the attention. But Carol, as you can imagine, a lot of folks in the music industry and beyond are elated at this indication, at least, that Lil' Wayne appears to be on the mend.

COSTELLO: Well at least we're glad for that, but you always want to ask, what was he thinking?

HAMMER: Yes, if, indeed, this has anything to do with it, one of the doctors who's quoted in this "L.A. Times" report says that seizures are not likely brought about by this cizzurp, but if somebody already was predisposed to seizures, it is possible.

But again nobody is confirming exactly what put little Wayne in the hospital.

COSTELLO: All right. A.J. Hammer, thanks so much for that.

We have a bit of developing news for you, developing out of Chardon, Ohio. T.J. Lane, a young man who killed -- a young man who killed three of his classmates and wounded three others back in 2012, just last year, he's in court to be sentenced. And as you can see, he's wearing a white T-shirt with "Killer" handwritten on the front of that shirt. Lane faces life in prison, and I guess when they were talking in court about how juveniles could be put to death, he smiled at this.

Now, why he was allowed to wear this T-shirt in open court is another question. Maybe that's just -- maybe they can wear whatever they want in court. But, certainly, I don't know. I don't even know. Words can't describe that, but this is taking place in Chardon, Ohio. We'll keep you posted.

"Talk Back" question today. "What have we learned from the Iraq war?" Your responses, next.


COSTELLO: Forty minutes past the hour. Time to check our top stories. At least 48 people are dead, many more wounded following a string of bombings and shootings, through mostly Shiite neighborhoods in Baghdad, Iraq. There were simultaneously attacked two, 17 car bombs, seven roadside bombs, and two shootings. The attacks come on the 10th anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq.

Vacationing Google staffers took pictures of some of the world's most famous mountains and the company put those images up on Google map. Sites like Kilimanjaro and Everest base camp. The project is designed to provide trekkers access to some of most remote areas on the planet.

A change at Disney theme parks in the United States starting this Saturday. Children under the age of 14 will now have to be accompanied by someone 14 or older. A Disney spokeswoman says families with passes who often drop their children off at the park for the day will be contacted about that new policy.

Make it 23 wins in a row for the Miami Heat. They now have the second longest winning streak in NBA history. The Heat beat the Celtics in Boston last night, 105-103. LeBron James for the winning basket with 10.5 seconds left in the game. The Heat overcame a 17-point first half bust and lead. Next stop for the Heat LeBron's former team the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Now to college basketball. We're not talking Wall Street, but March Madness. There are your brackets. We're coming right back to get you ready for tonight's tip-off.


COSTELLO: It's time now to "Talk Back". The question this morning, "What did we learn from the Iraq war?"

Ten years ago tonight, President Bush made this announcement to the nation.


GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: My fellow citizens, at this hour, American and coalition forces are in the early stages of military operations to disarm Iraq, to free its people, and to defend the world from grave danger.


COSTELLO: Saddam Hussein's statue fell less than a month after the first tomahawk missiles were fired. In May of 2003, Mr. Bush infamously declared mission accomplished aboard the "USS Abraham Lincoln."


BUSH: Major combat operations in Iraq have ended and the battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed. The transition from dictatorship to democracy will take time, but it is worth every effort. Our coalition will stay until our work is done and then we will leave.

(END VIDEO CLIP) COSTELLO: Of course, we didn't. We later learned that Saddam Hussein had no weapons of mass destruction and no ties to al Qaeda. And now a new report by Brown University shows the toll of the conflict: 190,000 have been killed in Iraq, 70 percent of them civilians; 4,488 of them, U.S. service members. The war cost you, the taxpayer, $2.2 trillion. Cost of rebuilding Iraq, $60 billion, although most of that money went to contractors and military police, the rest was lost to fraud.

Joining me now, CNN political contributor and Democratic strategist, Donna Brazile, and chairman of the Tea Party Express, Amy Kremer. Welcome to both of you.



COSTELLO: All right. Well, this question has generated a lot of response on my Facebook page this morning, and people are angry about the Iraq war. So I'll ask you the question, first off. What have we learned from the Iraq war, Amy?

KREMER: Well, I think that history is still being written, and there's probably more that we're going to learn. But one of the biggest things is that no matter what the advertised price is for going in somewhere, the government's going to spend more money. I believe that we have looked -- we have studied how counterinsurgency works and we've developed technology to be able to deal with that better.

And I think some of our technology has also improved, in terms of drones, biometrics, I'm sorry, and medical prosthetics. But I think, at the end of the day, you know, history is still being written and you can never have enough intelligence as well.

COSTELLO: Yes. That's for sure. Donna, I want to ask you that same question and I want to read you one of my Facebook comments from Curtis. He actually says we've learned absolutely nothing. Do you agree?

BRAZILE: Well, I hope we have learned something. I mean the number of Americans lost, wounded in that war, the number of Iraqi civilians and others wounded and lost in that war, the billions of dollars in reconstruction aid, the trillions of dollars paid for the war.

We're still paying for the war. There's another appropriation of $8 billion. We've winded down operations, but we're still helping the Iraq government and the Iraqi people.

What did we learn? That the intelligence was wrong, that the assessment was pretty much off the charts. And we were led to believe things that we all now know were absolutely wrong. I hope -- it's a blot on our history. It's a blot on the American -- you know, our history of combat. But I hope we go forward, taking care of those men and women, those brave men and women who went over there --

(CROSSTALK) COSTELLO: Let me just follow up on something you said, Donna. This is from Charles, he's also on Facebook. He says, "We learned WMDs are not in Iraq, Bush is a liar, and there's not a western Democratic solution for every foreign problem."

And that leads me to my question for you, Amy. The next time an American president wants to declare war on some country or wants to carry out a war, will the American people believe him or her?

KREMER: Well, you know, I think that all of our leaders acted with the information that they had available to them at that time. And, you know, it wasn't that President Bush just went in and did this on his own. Congress had to vote to go in as well. And he had support.

Like I said, you know, we can never have enough intelligence. So the American people, I don't think, have any alternative but to believe our president. That's why he's been elected. And I certainly hope we never go down this road ever again, because you never want to lose any lives, and there's always an unintended consequences.

COSTELLO: Dick Cheney has, you know, there's a new documentary out about him, Donna. He said that he regrets nothing. That he would do it again. He would invade Iraq again, because Saddam Hussein was frankly, a terrible person.

BRAZILE: Absolutely. But we have a lot of terrible people, all over the world. As we speak right now, in Syria, for example; one just passed away in Venezuela. We have one in Iran. I mean can we solve all our problems by invading sovereign countries? I don't think so.

I would hope that we learned that we shouldn't just be so happy to go to war before we use all of the other diplomatic and other means at our disposal.

COSTELLO: And Amy, I think, clearly, especially from my Facebook comments, Americans have absolutely no appetite for war, or very little appetite for war, unless the country comes under direct attack.

KREMER: I mean, I have to agree with you, that we want -- we didn't want this. No one wanted this. But we had been attacked on September 11, and going into Iraq was not a direct result, but it led to that, to Iraq, and none of us want that. But we have to trust our leaders. I think that's really the only alternative we have.

But also, when we go in and do something, we need to have an exit strategy. A plan that we can execute. And have as much intelligence as we can. But, you know, what, I want to echo something Donna said. We need to take care of our men and women, our veterans and the families of those that we have lost. They have fought for us and died for this country. If there's anybody we need to take care of, it's those men and women and their families.

COSTELLO: Absolutely.

Amy Kremer, Donna Brazile -- thanks for the great conversation this morning. We appreciate it. BRAZILE: Thank you.

KREMER: Thank you.

COSTELLO: March Madness, it starts tonight, but that is not all that's going on with the tournament. How is Dave Matthews involved? We'll have a live report, next.


COSTELLO: The most notorious art heist in America's history may be closer to being solved, 23 years later. Federal authorities have found surprising new information about the brazen theft of 13 works of arts -- works of art, rather -- a Boston museum worth $500 million.

Here's CNN's Lisa Sylvester.


LISA SYLVESTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: 1:24 in the morning in Boston, the day after St. Patrick's day in 1990, two men dressed as police officers bluffed their way in, saying they heard there was a disturbance at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. They tied up the two guards on duty and took them down to the basement.

During the next 81 minutes, they committed one of the largest property thefts in history, taking 13 different artworks, now worth about $500 million.

ANTHONY AMORE, CHIEF OF SECURITY, GARDNER MUSEUM: Imagine if you could never hear Beethoven's Fifth or any great piece of music that you enjoy. And it's just dedicated to memory. That's the same when you lose a painting, like the ones we've lost, these singular masterworks by some of the world's greatest artists.

SYLVESTER: The thieves entered the first floor and went to the Blue Room and stole a Monet painting. Then they went up to the second floor. In the Dutch Room, they stole six paintings, some of them cut out of the frames. Among them, three Rembrandts, including the artist's only seascape. And a Vermeer. There are only 34 Vermeer paintings that are believed to exist. Then they crossed into the short gallery and took another six art pieces, including five Degas paintings. The 13 masterpieces have never been recovered. No arrests made.

But after combing through thousands of leads that have taken investigators around the world, the FBI announced it now know who took the artwork. Investigators say they are reasonably sure organized crime was involved.

RICHARD DESLAURIERS, SPECIAL AGENT IN CHARGE, BOSTON FBI: We have reason to believe it's likely that the artwork has changed hands several times and that those who might be in possession of the paintings right now might not necessarily have been those that were involved in the original theft. SYLVESTER: But where are those 13 pieces of art now? The FBI says it does not believe the pieces ever left the country. And they say about 12 years ago, some of the master pieces were seen in Connecticut and Philadelphia, where someone tried to sell them.

GEOFF KELLY, SPECIAL AGENT, BOSTON FBI: I don't know if all 13 pieces are still together. We've received information that we've been able to corroborate showing that the paintings may have been in different locations at different times.

SYLVESTER: The two men who committed the crimes will likely never be charged but the statue of limitations was up after 20 years and prosecutors are open to the idea of immunity for anyone who has information about the artwork. At the gallery, empty frames hang on the wall.

AMORE: That is incredibly rare for a painting to be destroyed beyond a conservator's ability to repair it.


COSTELLO: Unbelievable. That was Lisa Sylvester. The gallery is offering a $5 million reward. The museum says it's one of the largest private rewards ever put up and they're hoping that someone might have seen these paintings in an attic, a basement, in a home and will turn them in, for $5 million.

And the madness begins tonight -- 16 teams chasing a dream to be major college basketball champions. Carlos Diaz of HLN sports is in the CNN atrium where a big huge, giant board displays the brackets. Have you filled out yours yet, Carlos?

CARLOS DIAZ, HLN SPORT: I'm trying to fill this one out, but I don't have a ladder or a crane. This is the big board behind me. You can see it's 20 feet tall by 30 feet wide and it is truly one of the biggest brackets you're ever going to see.

And to answer your question I just got done filling out my bracket. But I'll tell you what; people here in Atlanta are very excited about what's going to happen Final Four weekend. Talk about a great line- up.

As far as the concert series goes, that's going to be in Centennial Park. You've got artists like Sting, Flo Rida, Dave Matthews Band, Ludacris all performing on the sixth and the seventh, it's going to be a blowout weekend --

COSTELLO: Wait did you say Flo Rida?

DIAZ: Flo Rida, exactly. When you combine Sting and Flo Rida, it's an amazing concert. But it's going to be -- it's going to be a great concert. It's a free concert and they're expecting 140,000 people to pass through that concert series. They're getting ready for not only a weekend of basketball here for the Final Four coming up in a few weeks, but also a great weekend of partying, if you will.

COSTELLO: Did I hear Muse was going to be there too?

DIAZ: Say again?


DIAZ: Muse, of course. Yes. How could I forget Muse? Where is my mind?

COSTELLO: That's my favorite band.

DIAZ: Yes, Muse is going to be here. Yes.

COSTELLO: I love them. So you filled out your bracket. So who do have winning them all?

DIAZ: I cannot divulge that information -- Indiana. I went to IU. I'm sorry. We all have our affiliations. The security guards are already yelling at me, because some guy's like, hey, you didn't back North Carolina. And I'm like I'm sorry, so we're doing the best we can. But yes, you have to go with your affiliations. I want to IU, I've got to go with Indiana, I'm sorry.

COSTELLO: I picked out Louisville this year, with a lot of help. Because I have to be honest -- basketball, college basketball is not my strong suit. And as a very smart person, I reached out to others for help. And I'm sure that I'm going to win it all this year. Because as you know, we're all competing here within CNN, including you.

DIAZ: Yes, I plan to be in the bottom half of that bracket. But you have a state pick with Louisville, because, of course, it's the number one seed. And don't forget, you can watch all the games on Twitter this year. The social media is unbelievable with these games. You can watch highlights on Twitter and then tonight on TruTV.

You have the first four starting out tonight. You can see the bracket up there. North Carolina state -- excuse me, North Carolina AMT against Liberty. And then also you have middle Tennessee against St. Mary's. So it's going to be an amazing start to the tournament tonight.

Don't forget, Liberty, the true Cinderella so far. They've lost 20 games, but because they won their conference, they're playing tonight in the first game of the tournament.

COSTELLO: Ok. I still think I'm going to beat you, although we don't win any prize money for winning.

DIAZ: Well, that would be wagering and that sold the illegals so we have to say to the agents -- it's all for fun, all for friendly fun. And I do think you're going to beat me, because I have no idea what I'm talking about.

COSTELLO: Carlos Diaz, thanks so much. I'm Carol Costello. Thank you so much for joining us today.

"CNN NEWSROOM" continues right now with Ashleigh Banfield.