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Sales Tax and the Internet; Examining the New Blackberry; The Lead Preview; Nancy Grace and Anerson Cooper Spar Verbally

Aired March 22, 2013 - 15:30   ET



DON LEMON: Welcome back, everyone. And thank you for joining us, new folks.

Bottom of the hour now, technology, sports, health, science and showbiz news, we're hitting it all right now.

Ah, David Bowie is back. At age 66, he's just released his 27th studio album "The Next Day" -- that's what it's called -- and it has already soared to the top of the charts.

Now the eccentric life will be -- his life will be on display at the VNA Museum in London like this wild outfit, which cemented his status in Britain, when he appeared on the BBC hit TV show, "Top of the Pops," back in 1972.

And then there is the white sax his father bought him back when he was a big jazz fan.

And how about this? The hand scrawled lyrics to his psychedelic hit, "Ziggy Stardust," introducing his most famous character to the world.

It is one of the most technologically isolated places on earth, I'm talking about Myanmar, also known as Burma, a country where hardly any of the 50 million residents owns a cell phone and Internet access is rare.

Now a country will still finding its feet after decades of direct military rule. Now Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt thinks it is time to get Myanmar connected.

Fresh from his controversial trip to North Korea, he is now in the southeastern Asian country -- southeast Asian country to try to tap that market.

Showrooming? Showrooming? You know what it is? We're all guilty of it.

You know when you look at a TV at Best Buy and then you buy it on Amazon? Now the senate is stepping in, attempting to end the practice.

They're holding a symbolic and nonbinding vote today on whether online merchants should collect sales tax. The so-called "Amazon tax" getting support from both sides of the aisle.


SENATOR ROY BLUNT (R), MISSOURI: You're supposed to pay this tax. And people just don't do it.

I think last year in Missouri we had about 300 people pay this tax in the entire state.

SENATOR MAX BAUCUS (D), MONTANA: This basically will have the virtual effect over a period of time to say all states have to have sales taxes, forget your income tax and beyond that it's going to be -- it's got to be the same rates.


LEMON: Zain Asher in New York now. Let's go live.

Zain, is a ride on the free-tax train coming to an end?

ZAIN ASHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Don, it does look like it. The Senate is addressing this as part of a budget debate. We're expecting to see an amendment filed on it today.

Now, even though this would mostly be a symbolic vote, it does raise a chance of actual legislation later on.

Now here's what officials are trying to do. They basically want to sort of level out the playing field between store retailers, right, and online retailers. We have a situation now, Don, you talked about it a little bit, people sort of going to places like Best Buy, Macy's, they sort of look around and then they go and buy the exact same product online for cheaper.

Now I'm sure a lot of us are guilty of this. But if you introduce an online sales tax, it will help brick-and-mortar retailers compete more fairly, so there is definitely pressure for this law to move forward.


LEMON: Hey, Zain, question for you, some states already -- actually already collecting sales tax, right?

ASHER: Right. So, yeah. The law as it stands now is a little bit confusing, right?

So, if an online retailer has a physical presence, a physical presence in a particular state, such as a store, a business office, a warehouse, it must collect sales tax from customers in that state.

Now, if it doesn't have a physical presence in a state, then it is not necessarily required to collect sales tax, and oftentimes when consumers have to pay an online sales tax, they're technically responsible for sending the unpaid tax directly to their state. But obviously a lot of people don't do that.

This law does open up a huge revenue potential for this country, possibly $23 billion by some estimates.


LEMON: A lot of money. Zain Asher in New York.

Hey, have a great weekend. Thank you.

North Korean rockets blasting through the sky, burning cities, paratroopers descending on South Korea, armed soldiers and tanks in a land assault, you're looking at the latest propaganda video from North Korea, broadcast on state TV, an invasion scenario that it says would see some 150,000 U.S. citizens living in South Korea taken hostage.

Syrian Bashar al-Assad is vowing to purge his opponent after a suicide bombing at a mosque right in the heart of Damascus. The blast left 49 people, including a leading Sunni cleric who supported Assad's Alawite museum government -- Muslim government, excuse me.

Prepare for takeoff. Prepare for takeoff or just prepare to be arrested. A man pretending to be a pilot makes his way all the way to the cockpit.

We'll tell you how he got there and what tipped the crew off, next.


ALI VELSHI, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: This is it. This is the BlackBerry Z10, goes on sale in the United States today.

I'm Ali Velshi. This is "Your Money," and here's what I think of it.



VELSHI: No buttons may not be news to you, but it is big new for BlackBerry users, many of whom won't know what to make of the Z10.

Canada's BlackBerry is counting on this totally virtual phone to allow it to live to fight another day. After a year-long delay and years of neglecting the onslaught by Apple and Android-based phones, RIM finally unveiled its new BlackBerry 10 mobile operating system and the first phone to run it.

As a longtime BlackBerry-user and hard keyboard-lover, I've been evaluating the new phone in real-world conditions. I'm a heavy-user and a champion thumb-typist. Being new to the virtual keyboard world, my e-mail output has been cut in half while I got used to it.

But the company says the keyboard is easier to use and more intuitive than its virtual competitors.

GADWAY: Select it just by ...

VELSHI: The piece de resistance with the keyboard is that it grabs words from your device and names from your contacts and predicts in a very customized way what you're likely to type, allowing you to compose entire sentences just by clicking the complete words which appear on the keyboard up toward the screen. All of it can be done with one hand.

For those users for whom a virtual keyboard is still a nonstarter, you'll have to wait until April for a model with a hard keyboard.

Built on a brand-new operating system, not a single line of code is copied from BlackBerry's existing platform. Battery life isn't great, but unlike iPhone and many Android phones, you can still change a dead BlackBerry battery.

Here's an interesting feature for those of you who use a corporate BlackBerry with strict company rules, but who also carry a separate phone for your personal use. The BlackBerry 10 uses something called Balance, which basically allows the device to be strictly split, so that the corporate side of it can adhere to the company's rules, say, no photos or personal e-mails, while on the other side of this split personality you can do all of your personal business.

GADWAY: These are secure. The information in them is secure, so I can't take anything out of the work space, into my personal side.

Similarly, when I'm on the personal side, as an end user, I can remain confident that none of the tweets that I'm sending, the pictures that I'm sharing, are things that my employer could have access to.

So it's really and truly a dual persona device.

VELSHI: The two sides of the device, if you will, never cross each other. Keep in mind, though, your company has to authorize and enable this feature.

Blackberry's ultra-secure, ultra-efficient back office systems allowed them to dominate the corporate world.

Increasingly, though, companies are letting people choose what device they use. Back in 2009, 20 percent of all smart phones globally were BlackBerries. Today, it's just six percent.

The stock is down 80 percent in five years. The question is whether this phone can change all of that.


VELSHI: All right, the Z10 comes out just as Samsung released its Galaxy S4, and we're all waiting to see what Apple has up its sleeve for a new launch maybe some time in the next year.

So the smartphone wars are on. I've been using this thing for a while. I like it.

You saw my review. You can go to for Adrian Covert's review. He doesn't like it nearly so much as I do, so watch them both and you decide. From New York, I'm Ali Velshi. This is "Your Money."


LEMON: Some of the hottest stories in a flash. Roll it.

A French man is arrested at Philadelphia's airport for impersonating a pilot on a US Airways flight. Police say the man boarded the plane, wearing what appeared to be an Air France uniform, and talk his way into the cockpit.

His lie came undone when the actual pilot showed up.

Air traffic controllers at 149 small and medium airports are going to be out of a job. The FAA blames forced spending cuts.

Some brand-new airport control towers built with millions in federal stimulus money will collect dust. Controllers worry about safety with less towers.


MAMIE AMBROSE, AIR TRAFFIC CONTROLLER: Why did they build this tower? In 2010, they said that safety was an issue, and then they funded this tower.

Now we're 2013 and safety will not be affected. Which is it?


LEMON: The FAA says it will begin a four-week phased closure of the control towers beginning on April 7th.

New York state's tough new gun control law is under fire from the National Rifle Association. The NRA has filed a federal lawsuit challenging the law's constitutionality.

The pro-gun group claims legislation was rushed into law without committee hearing or public input.

The law passed in January. It adds muscle to an existing ban on assault weapons, limits the size of ammunition magazines and strengthens rules about mental illness as they apply to guns.

Another blow for the financially strapped Postal Service, Congress' watchdog arm said in a legal opinion the post office must deliver mail six days a week. That could end the Post Office's plan to cut first- class service on Saturdays.

We've seen this before, a sound bite from a TV news story becomes an Internet sensation. Remember this? "Ain't nobody got time for that."

The latest viral video features Michelle Clark of Brookshire, Texas, which is near Houston. Listen as she described a hailstorm to affiliate KPRC.


MICHELLE CLARK, DESCRIBES HAIL STORM: It was like (inaudible) and, oh, boy, that hail just came in. I looked out my -- opened my door and I looked out my door and it started hitting me in my head.

I took off running, ran to my restroom and then I called my mama to see was she all right.

We had a hail party at 2:00 this morning. Everybody was outside.

Man, those truckers was big, the size of a quarter, dog gone. They were big. They were hitting hard too, man.

(Inaudible), here it is, Brookshire, Texas. Man, it's like snow in March.


LEMON: Just prove that there are good sound bites and then there are great ones.

Don't take this next story seriously. It's a joke, OK? But Punxsutawney Phil has been indicted for lying on February 2nd.

On that date, the giant rodent did not see his shadow, meaning spring would come early. Six weeks later, winter is still hanging around.

A prosecutor in Ohio is sick of the cold and snow and has filed criminal indictment against Phil, even seeking the death penalty.

Those handlers have launched a defense. They say the groundhog is never wrong, but humans don't always translate his forecast correctly.

So there's now word that these two guys, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich, talked about teaming up against Mitt Romney last year.

Jake Tapper on tap, next.


LEMON: How's this for a dream team? Check it out. Shaq meets Chris Christie today.

This comes from Governor Chris Christie's Twitter feed. He says, "You know it is a fun day in Trenton when Shaq stops by for a visit." So the governor putting that on his Twitter page.

Look at those two. They make a fine pair.

Minutes away, speaking of politics, I would imagine, and sports colliding, "The Lead with Jake Tapper," Jake Tapper joins me now with a preview.

Hey, Jake, you're talking about the dream team that wasn't, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum. JAKE TAPPER, ANCHOR, "THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER": That's right. In our political roundtable today, we'll be talking with the report, Josh Green, who broke the story of this dream team that almost was, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich, trying to come up with a way to defeat Mitt Romney.

There were discussions between the campaigns. Should we unite and take on Mitt Romney together? We'll talk to the reporter who broke the story, and also, one of those from one of the campaigns who was trying to negotiate it.

We'll also have an exit interview with the outgoing mayor of Los Angeles, Antonio Villaraigosa.

You might recall, during last year's Democratic convention, there was a big kerfuffle on the floor and Villaraigosa trying to put the word, "God," trying to put the concept that Israel's the capital -- that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel back into the platform, big scandal.

He will talk about it for the first time on our show coming up in just a few minutes.

LEMON: Jake, that was pretty good. Pretty good rolling of the R and then you said kerfuffle.

TAPPER: You like that?

LEMON: All in a matter of 15 seconds.

Thank you, Jake. We'll see you in just a minute. Looking forward to it.

TAPPER: Thanks, Don.

LEMON: All right.


ANDERSON COOPER, HOST, "AC 360": Tonight it a full-on "Ridiculist" mystery, a cold case that is near and dear to Nancy Grace's heart.

NANCY GRACE, HOST, HLN'S "NANCY GRACE": You three were the last ones to admire it on air.


LEMON: The mystery over Nancy Grace's handcuffs going to a whole new level. Why she's accusing Anderson Cooper of stealing.

You'll see this hilarious back and forth. That's next.


LEMON: There's so much serious news all the time, so sometimes at CNN, just to lighten it up, we embrace the lighter side of 24-hour news, like when Nancy Grace grilled Anderson Cooper about her missing handcuff necklace.

That's the subject of "AC 360's" "The Ridiculist."


COOPER: Time now for the "Ridiculist," and tonight it is a full-on "Ridiculist" mystery, a cold case that is near and dear to Nancy Grace's heart, literally, as in her necklace is missing.

We're going to hear from Nancy in a moment if she's not too emotional.

But first, a little background. Nancy's necklace first caught my eye, a few weeks ago, when we had her on the program to talk about the Jodi Arias trial. Take a look.

Hey, Nancy, are you wearing handcuffs as a necklace?

GRACE: Yes, I am. Would you like a pair? I did it for you, Anderson.

COOPER: I saw something shiny and then, the more I looked at it, I was thinking, are those handcuffs? They really are?

GRACE: Yes, they are. And they work.

COOPER: Now it seems that Nancy will have to use her bare hands if she has to arrest somebody because, ladies and gentlemen, the handcuff necklace is missing. I repeat, the necklace is MIA. Sometime yesterday, Nancy lost the necklace.

I spoke with Nancy just a short time ago about this trying time in her life.

Nancy Grace, first of all, I want to express my condolences. What happened to your necklace?

GRACE: Well, Anderson, the last time my handcuff necklace was admired on the air, I'd like to point out that you were present. You ...

COOPER: It was shiny. I was transfixed by it.

GRACE: .. Toobin and Mark Geragos.

You three were the last ones to admire it on air. You clearly wanted the necklace. You asked about the necklace. You showed a very unusual interest in my handcuff necklace.

Or, Anderson, was it just these? How? It doesn't work, Anderson.

So ask your little friend Geragos what he did with my necklace.

COOPER: Now, Nancy, first of all, I like that you pulled a larger set of handcuffs from the twins, and ...

GRACE: These are real, Anderson.

COOPER: No, I'm sure they are.

Are you sure -- I don't want to accuse your children -- are you sure the twins didn't steal this necklace.

GRACE: No, the twins have never seen the necklace. The necklace stays at work in a vault, hermetically sealed. They have never even seen the handcuffs.

COOPER: So when was the last time you remember -- have you retraced your steps?

GRACE: Yes, I retraced my steps, Anderson. And I even put up a flyer all around Headline News and CNN asking for tips and there is a reward for the necklace.

COOPER: Now on Twitter today, as I said, you did accuse me of the theft. And while I do find the handcuff necklace ...

GRACE: I didn't accuse you. I just made a suggestion.

COOPER: You suggested it.

GRACE: I just threw the bread upon the water to see what would bite.

COOPER: Yes. While I did ...

GRACE: And you're turning red.

COOPER: No, no, for the record ...

GRACE: You know something.

COOPER: ... I do find it very fetching. I did not take it.

Do you have any other suspects?

GRACE: Don't try to throw me off the scent. Don't try to throw me off you, Anderson. I've already told you, Geragos and Toobin.

But Toobin's too much of a straight guy to wear a pair of handcuff necklaces. He would never think to steal, like you.

Now what about Geragos? Out of the three of you, I would say that Geragos would be the type to actually steal the necklace.

COOPER: I knew you were going to accuse Geragos, ultimately.

GRACE: Although you're pretty daring. I mean, look at his face.

COOPER: Where does one get a handcuff necklace?

GRACE: If that doesn't scream guilt ...

COOPER: Where do you get a handcuff necklace? Do you get it at a regular jewelry store or do you have to get it at like an S&M dungeon?

GRACE: A what? What is that? What's an S&M dungeon?

COOPER: What will you do if you find the perpetrator of this heinous crime?

GRACE: If I find the thief, they will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. And I plan to personally put these on him.

COOPER: I got to ask this question. What has more sentimental value, your handcuff necklace or your barrette.

GRACE: The barrette is Lucy's, my daughter's.

COOPER: Oh, that's nice.

GRACE: So I'd have to go with the barrette.

Hey, hey, hey, don't ask me anything else about what I wear because, next thing I know, I'm going to turn around and Lucy's barrette will be gone, Anderson. Anderson Cooper.

COOPER: We're going to stay on it, Nancy Grace, thank you. Good luck to you.

GRACE: Anderson, thank you, friend.

COOPER: Thank you, friend.

Let me just say on the record that I promise CNN and "AC 360" will devote all of its many resources to the search and I personally -- I will stay on this story until the handcuffs are returned to their rightful owner or at least until tomorrow's "Ridiculist."


LEMON: Anderson, when she said these are real, I don't think she was talking about the handcuffs.

We should tell you, Mark Geragos will be on "AC 360" tonight to respond to Nancy Grace's accusations. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, this is CNN.