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Chicago Teachers Protest in Streets; Washing of the Feet; New York International Auto Show

Aired March 28, 2013 - 05:30   ET


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Happening right now, a landslide has people in one neighborhood afraid that the bottom will drop out at any moment.

ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR: And swallowed alive, a man is still missing after a sink hole suddenly opens up under a sidewalk.

BERMAN: That's crazy.

All right. Taking it to the streets. Chicago teachers, parents and students lead a huge protest shutting down the center of the city.

Welcome back to EARLY START, everyone. I'm John Berman.

SAMBOLIN: And I'm Zoraida Sambolin. It is 30 minutes past the hour. And first up this morning, a massive landslide threatening more than a dozen homes in a community 50 miles northwest of Seattle. One house at Whidbey Island has been already destroyed, 17 others are unreachable with access roads completely wiped out.

Take a look at these pictures. Some residents had to be evacuated by boat. And others nervously watching their property just vanish, foot by foot.


BRETT HOLMES, WHIDBEY ISLAND RESIDENT: It was pretty scary. I got out there with a flashlight and then just kept hearing a rumbling and watching more and more of it fall away.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The portion of it was always eroding. But that much of it, no, no. I mean, I lost 50 -- over 50 percent of my yard.


SAMBOLIN: Thirty-three homes were originally evacuated. Last night a team of geologists reportedly allowed 15 of those home owners to return.

BERMAN: All right. So some terrifying moment shows the moment a security guard in China was swallowed up by a massive sink hole. Look at that. The 25-year-old man can be seen very briefly in the foreground walking with an umbrella in the rain before the ground underneath him just opens up and puff, just disappears.

The Chinese media reports that the sink hole is 52 feet deep.

SAMBOLIN: Look at that.

BERMAN: Sixteen feet wide. They say the heavy rainfall may have been a factor in forming this thing. People who live in the area also point to tremors from a construction site nearby.

SAMBOLIN: Oh, my goodness.

All right. A new development this morning in the case of James Holmes. That is the man accused of opening fire inside a Colorado movie theater last July, killing 12 people and injuring dozens. His attorneys filed papers yesterday saying that Holmes has offered to plead guilty and spend life in prison as long as prosecutors don't seek the death penalty. There's no word if prosecutors will accept that offer. The next hearing in this case is on Monday.

BERMAN: So there's lots of anger in the streets of Chicago. Hundreds of public school teachers and their supporters shut down the center of the city last night, protesting the school district's consolidation plan that will close 54 schools at the end of this school year. The head of the teachers union calls it a safety issue, saying the children should go to school where they live, not in a different neighborhood.

SAMBOLIN: Pamela Brown is here with more on the protest and that consolidation plan.

Welcome to CNN.


SAMBOLIN: Nice to have you this morning as well.

BROWN: Thank you so much. Great to be here. Well, good morning. On the heels of a contentious strike that shut down schools for more than a week, teachers and parents angry about the consolidation plan are butting heads once again with Mayor Rahm Emanuel. The demonstration was non-violent but more than 100 protesters were escorted away by police.


BROWN (voice-over): Hundreds of teachers, parents and students took the streets of the Windy City by storm Wednesday afternoon, dozens cited for civil disobedience. Showing their fierce opposition to mass school closures, parents and school employees say the cuts will impact some of the city's most impoverished neighborhoods.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We need to protect our children to save our schools.

BROWN: Protesters held signs saying keep your hands off our schools and school closing equals one-term mayor, while many teachers wore red in a showing of solidarity.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was at a school that's safe. But I feel like none of them are safe.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They should give the resources to the current schools, to the neighborhood schools, to the real public schools.

BROWN: Mayor Rahm Emanuel seems unwilling to negotiate and the district says closing the 54 underenrolled schools, the largest school consolidation in U.S. history, is necessary to deal with the looming $1 billion budget gap.

BARBARA BYRD-BENNETT, CEO, CHICAGO PUBLIC SCHOOLS: Having been the product of the Civil Rights Movement and having done exactly as the people are doing today, I get it. It's a part of the democratic process. And I respect it.

BROWN: School closures are nothing new but they're increasingly seen as a politically charged issue revolving around race and poverty.

KAREN LEWIS, PRESIDENT, CHICAGO TEACHERS UNION: I think this is a message of we will not be moved from the all-negro spiritual.

REV. JESSE JACKSON, PROTESTER: Safety for our children. Security for our children.

BROWN: Beyond the expected teacher layoffs, many parents say they're also concerned about the added cost of transporting their child to a new school.


BROWN: The city still hasn't released details of a transportation plan. The Chicago Public School System still has to hold three meetings for each school it plans to close before the Board of Education votes on the plan in late May.

BERMAN: All right. Pamela Brown, thank you so much. Great to have you here in the morning.

BROWN: Thank you so much. Great to be here.

BERMAN: Later on in "STARTING POINT," Soledad will speak with Barbara Byrd-Bennett, head of Chicago's public schools, as well as Karen Lewis, who is the president of the teachers union. That is at 8:30 Eastern Time.

SAMBOLIN: And just a few hours from now, newly elected Pope Francis conducts a mass and performs a tradition that dates back to the time of Jesus. But even with this ritual he's choosing his own path, washing the feet of prisoners at a youth detention center.

CNN's Ben Wedeman is live in Rome.

And, Ben, talk to us about the significance of this mass and where he chose to have it.

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the significance, of course, dates back to the last supper of Jesus, the night before he was crucified when he washed the feet of his 12 disciples. So it's a very important religious event.

And Pope Francis, as he has done since becoming Pope just two weeks ago, is breaking with tradition. Normally the Pope conducts this service in a papal basilica and he usually washes the feet of 12 retired priests. This time, he's going to a simple prison on the outskirts of Rome. He'll be washing the feet of 12 inmates, many of these inmates aren't even Catholic. Then in fact we know from the list we got from the prison that some come from Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia, Somalia, so they very well could be Muslim.

So this is definitely a radical break from tradition and this is really part of what he said from the beginning, during his inaugural mass when last week he said that we need to take care of the thirsty, the hungry and the prisoners. So he's very much breaking from tradition and this is really only the latest.

The day before yesterday we learned that he's not going to live in the spacious, luxurious papal apartments but rather in a Vatican residence. He doesn't wear those red -- red shoes. He wears black shoes. He doesn't take his chauffeur-driven car. He takes the bus. So this is a Pope who definitely wants to do everything his way -- Zoraida.

SAMBOLIN: So hey, Ben, do you think all this breaking with tradition will change the papacy and even perhaps how people view the Roman Catholic Church?

WEDEMAN: Well, he's only been Pope for two weeks, let's keep in mind. And his changes have been stylistic until now. But I can tell you here in Rome, everybody is talking about Pope Francis, or Francesco as they call him here, very excited, they enthusiastic. And they look at him as somebody who really is changing things, if not -- substance, style as they look at Italian politics and what a mess it is and they say we wish we had somebody like Pope Francis running this country.

SAMBOLIN: Oh, wow. Well, we'll see as time continues to move on.

Ben Wedeman, live in Rome for us, thank you very much.

BERMAN: Thirty-seven minutes after the hour. And the eagles have landed. I'm talking about Florida Gulf Coast University.

SAMBOLIN: Can you believe it?

BLITZER: The Cinderella story of this year's NCAA tournament. They are awesome. And they have arrived in Texas for tomorrow night's Sweet 16 showdown with the Florida Gators. We all love them. The dunk city darlings have already made history becoming the first 15- seed ever to advance to the round of 16. We believe Vegas, not so much.

SAMBOLIN: I hope they're wrong.

BERMAN: The Eagles are 6-1 underdogs. You should bet on it.

SAMBOLIN: You know what, I'm going to root for them. That's what I'm going to do. I'm not necessarily a gambling girl but I am going to root for them.


All right. Thirty-eight minutes past the hour. The New York Auto Show is getting under way with automakers showing off lots of new models with a lot of bells and a lot of new whistles. I had the chance to experience something that not many people in this city get to do. I went off-road in the city. I'm going to share that with you, coming up.


SAMBOLIN: Welcome back to EARLY START. It is 41 minutes past the hour. The New York International Auto Show gets rolling tomorrow. And over the next 10 days about a million people will get a chance to see everything from exotic cars to concept cars to all the latest models. About 60 new autos will be introduced. And I had a chance to get an early look and have a lot of fun.


SAMBOLIN (on camera): So we are in front of a gorgeous corvette that I would like to test drive and I believe I'm with the guy who has the keys?

ED WELLBURN, VICE PRESIDENT FOR GLOBAL DESIGN, GM: This is only the 10th time you've mentioned you want to drive the car.


SAMBOLIN (voice-over): Who can blame a girl for trying with so many cars on display?

(On camera): Look what I found.


You are in trouble.

(Voice-over): The New York International Auto Show is a car lover's paradise.

(On camera): There are about 1,000 vehicles to see and I've got to tell you, two pieces of advice is bring some really good walking shoes and bring your wish list. Because there is a car here in every price range.

(Voice-over): If speed is your thing, the McLaren Spider can go as fasts 200 miles per hour.

MICHELE SHAPIRO, PR MANAGER, MCLAREN AUTOMOTIVE: So this has an unprecedented amount of Formula One technology. It has brake steer, it has an air brake.

SAMBOLIN: It also comes with a $265,000 price tag. More the eco conscious type, the Chevy Spark runs on electricity. (On camera): And how long do you have to plug it in?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For full charge, within four hours.

SAMBOLIN: Wow. That's not bad.

(Voice-over): Two automotive trans this year. More affordable luxury cars and more technology at your fingertips.

MARK SCHIENBERG, PRESIDENT, GREATER NEW YORK AUTOMOBILE DEALERS ASSOCIATION: There's more computer technology in a car today, way more computer technology than there is in the spaceship that landed on the moon back in 1969.

SAMBOLIN: The Mini Cooper's club van has a giant display of its new infotainment system that includes Pandora radio.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So you can fit your own stations here. You can give it a thumbs up, thumbs down.

SAMBOLIN (on camera): We're going to give it a big thumbs up.


If I can get to it. Thumbs up.



SAMBOLIN (voice-over): But the talk of the show and what got me really excited, for the first time, a vacuum has been built into a car. Honda is introducing it in its 2014 Odyssey.

(On camera): You can pull it all the way through. This is incredible. And it gets all the little crevices and corners. Check that out.

(Voice-over): Finally my chance to take a spin in a Jeep Rubicon. We took a drive on an outdoor test track.

(On camera): Wow.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And we're just going to shake you up here just a little bit.

SAMBOLIN: This is like true off-road experience.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right in downtown Manhattan.


STEVE LORTON, TRACK MANAGER, CAMP JEEP: This is our traction model. So traction is very important in four-wheel drives.

SAMBOLIN: OK. All right. LORTON: Thirty degrees up, 18 feet high. Here we go.


LORTON: Nice and easy, nothing but blue sky in your future here. OK? OK. So here we go.

SAMBOLIN: My goodness.


LORTON: So as we go down --

SAMBOLIN: Did I tell you I hate roller coasters?

LORTON: But here's the good part, my foot is not on the brake. The vehicle is braking itself down the hill.

SAMBOLIN: Oh, my gosh.


LORTON: My foot hasn't turned the brake yet. And no more hill. We're out.

SAMBOLIN: I understand why you did not allow me to drive.


LORTON: Well, I thought you might like the experience before you got right in the middle of it. OK?

SAMBOLIN: I'm not going to do that. Thanks.


SAMBOLIN: I was just saying, I love to do all sorts of crazy things and I'm an adrenaline junky. But that really was intimidating. And it was right there right outside of the center and it's very scary.

Now I have to give a plug again for the Honda Odyssey. That is the most amazing thing ever. It's a shop-vac.

BERMAN: So I have a series -- I have a series of questions about this entire piece. It was excellent by the way. But you're with, like, $200,000 cars.


BERMAN: That can go a million miles an hour and the thing that impresses you the most was the mini van with the vacuum?

SAMBOLIN: Anybody who has children, and you do, you know what your car looks like, and you have to constantly lag a vacuum cleaner in order to -- in order to clean it. This thing has an amazing hose, it goes all the way to the front. You can clean everything in an instant.

BERMAN: It is the biggest --

SAMBOLIN: They should put it in every car.

BERMAN: -- development in transportation.


SAMBOLIN: It's fantastic. I said, why didn't I think of it? It was a man who thought of it. I thought it was a woman engineer. I know. This man --

BERMAN: Even with the frontal lobes?


BERMAN: It was a man who thought of it?

SAMBOLIN: But he was much older so he's over 28 years old. Anyway.

BERMAN: All right. Well, well done.



BERMAN: Forty-five minutes after the hour right now.

Well, you know her as an actress and a political activist. But will Ashley Judd add senator to her resume? She has made a decision. We'll tell you what it is, coming up.


BERMAN: Forty-nine minutes after the hour right now. A lot going on. Christine Romans here with the headlines.


Again, a tense morning on Whidbey Island, 50 miles northwest of Seattle. A massive landslide already destroying one home and threatening at least a dozen others. Many residents evacuated by boat. Right now 17 houses are unreachable. The owners hoping they don't wind up in the Puget Sound below.

An attack like a nuclear war. That's how a security expert describes what's happening in cyberspace. Unknown attackers are targeting an anti-spam group in Europe but the ripple effects are being felt everywhere. The attack affects the Web's infrastructure and has slowed down websites across the globe.

Ashley Judd won't be running for Senate in Kentucky. The actress tweeting that she can't run for office now because she needs to spend her time and energy on her family. She flirted with challenging Republican Mitch McConnell in 2014. The Senate minority leader, along with Karl Rove's conservative super PAC, spent several thousand dollars on ads attacking her.

BERMAN: She would have been very exciting for national Democrats. There would have been a lot of money in that race, including her own. But there are a lot of people in Kentucky in the Democratic establishment who felt she was too liberal to run right there. She has positions on mining that may have been against what a lot of people in Kentucky want and think.

ROMANS: Right.

BERMAN: And they still think that there may some Democratic candidates who have a chance of beating McConnell in that race.

ROMANS: She was testing the waters, though, for a certain amount of time.

BERMAN: And she may be back. This is not the end of politics for her at all. She's considering -- I think she's eyeing perhaps a race two years down the line.

SAMBOLIN: They said she'd have to do a lot of door-to-door.

BERMAN: And she may be doing that. And she probably should move back to Kentucky also.


SAMBOLIN: That would be --

BERMAN: She's been living in Tennessee for a while, too.

SAMBOLIN: That would be very smart.

All right, thanks, Christine.

ROMANS: You're welcome.

SAMBOLIN: Fifty minutes past the hour.

Good news, bad news, if you were traveling through the northeast today, you might see a bit of rain. But temperatures, we understand, are warming up a bit.

Jennifer Delgado is at the CNN Weather Center.

Warming up, we like to hear that. Is that across the board?

JENNIFER DELGADO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes. Yes, we are going to see temperatures returning to average. But here's the problem, Zoraida and John. It's not going to stick around very long. Even yesterday morning -- I know, I'm a big tease.

SAMBOLIN: She giveth, then she taketh away. DELGADO: I do. I taketh away. Mother Nature is taking it away. Over night, though, yesterday were bitterly cold in some of these parts. They were right near 30 degrees. And if you remember yesterday, guys, we had a lot of blue out there indicating freeze warnings. Well, temperatures are slowly warming up. And right now you're looking at frost advisories across parts of Florida and the same for southern parts of Georgia.

But in the blue, that is certainly where we're going to experience the coldest temperatures with the freeze warning.

Now you mentioned a chance for a few showers across parts of the northeast. We're talking a very, very weak little system moving through. So again, we're only talking about really a 20 percent chance of showers down to the south we are talking a lot of sunshine out there and warming up to the west.

So don't expect any major delays if you're going to be flying out weather-wise. Now looking at the temperatures, notice for Dallas as we get to Saturday, temperatures running a couple degrees above average. For New York City, we're right at average. That's good news. But as I said to you, it's not going to stick around. Here's a look at next week. We are going to see cold air arriving from the Midwest on Monday and then it spreads over towards the east. So you can see for yourself, below normal for a good chunk of next week.

SAMBOLIN: All right, Jennifer. Thank you.

DELGADO: I taketh it away. You're right.

SAMBOLIN: Yes. All right. Ahead on EARLY START, the top secret breaking bad script stolen from Bryan Cranston's card. Now we're hearing Cranston's 911 call to police. You're watching EARLY START.

BERMAN: That's just crazy.


BERMAN: Welcome back to EARLY START, everyone. We'll take a look at what is trending online this morning. So we first told you about this story a couple of days ago.

"Breaking Bad" star Bryan Cranston had a top secret script from one of the upcoming final episodes stolen when a thief broke into his car near where the series is shot in Albuquerque, New Mexico. A suspect has now been arrested but -- now I should say we are also hearing Cranston's 911 call to police.


BRYAN CRANSTON, ACTOR: I need to report a breaking and entering into my automobile. They broke my passenger window.

UNIDENTIFIED 911 OPERATOR: Can I get your name please, sir?

CRANSTON: It's Bryan, B-R-Y-A-N, Cranston, C-R-A-N-S-T-O-N. (END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: It's crazy. That is the 911 call. The thing is, the script does still appear to be missing. So that information could still be floating out there. "Breaking Bad returns this summer for the series' final eight episodes.

SAMBOLIN: So lots a buzz in south Florida about the new Miami Dolphins logo. The team officially confirmed this logo after it was leaked as it appeared on It features, take a look, a helmet free dolphin and comes with a slight uniform change which is described as something of a throwback to the team's original aqua and orange color scheme.

The Dolphins will officially unveil it on April 25th at the start of the NFL draft.

BERMAN: I miss the helmet. I can tell you right now. I miss the helmet.


BERMAN: I thought the helmet was kind of iconic.

SAMBOLIN: Well, you could paint one in.

BERMAN: You paint one -- all right. Fifty-seven minutes after the hour. To check out other top CNN trends head to

SAMBOLIN: Well, it seems to be all everyone is talking about, same- sex marriage and of course, Dionne Warwick. Here's some late-night laughs.


CONAN O'BRIEN, HOST, "CONAN": Bill Clinton now says he wishes he had supported gay marriage back when he was president. Yes. That's what he said. Yes. Clinton said at the time he was too busy campaigning for open marriage.

JAY LENO, HOST, "TONIGHT SHOW WITH JAY LENO": Yes, they're talking about the Defense of Marriage Act and they brought in expert witnesses on the Defense of Marriage. Kelsey Grammer, Larry King, Jennifer Lopez. Together they've been married 172 times.

JIMMY KIMMEL, HOST, "JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE": Today the justices discussed the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as a union between one man and one impossible woman. I hope they legalize gay marriage soon. Mostly because I need to be alive when gay divorce court hits the air.

JIMMY FALLON, HOST, "LATE NIGHT WITH JIMMY FALLON": Hey, this isn't good. Singer Dionne Warwick has filed for bankruptcy. They reveal she owes $10 million in back taxes. When asked how she plans to pay it off, she was like, that's what friends are for?


BERMAN: A million miles away.

All right. EARLY START continues right now.

SAMBOLIN: Edge of disaster. Right now a landslide threatens to wipe out an entire neighborhood.

BERMAN: New this morning, health crisis for Nelson Mandela. South Africa asking the world to pray for their former iconic leader who has been rushed to a hospital.

SAMBOLIN: Heroes in action. Take a look. Police officers caught on camera pulling a man out of a burning car.

BERMAN: Stopped cold in Chicago. The Bulls did it. They ended the Miami Heat remarkable winning streak, 27. There will not be a 28, folks.

SAMBOLIN: Bravo. That's just too bad, isn't it?

BERMAN: Yes. It scored right there, but not enough, LeBron.

SAMBOLIN: That is correct.

BERMAN: Good morning. Welcome to EARLY START, everyone. I'm John Berman.

SAMBOLIN: And I'm Zoraida Sambolin. It's nice to have you this morning. It is Thursday, March 28th, 6:00 a.m. in the East. So let's get started up here.

First, it is a massive landslide leaving dozens of home owners in Washington State literally living on the edge. Wait until you see these pictures. A very tense situation unfolding right now in Cookeville, Washington. One home already destroyed. It fell on the bottom there. Dozens more are threatened now. Some residents have been forced to evacuate by boat. No doubt it is a nail-biting time on Whidbey Island. That is 50 miles northwest of Seattle. And that's where we find Dan Simon this morning.