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Landslide Threatens Homes; Chicago Teachers Protest in Streets; Calorie Bombs on Kid Menus; Warmer Temps in Store; Obama Expects Immigration Bill in April; Miami Heat Loses to Chicago

Aired March 28, 2013 - 06:30   ET



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

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Swallowed alive. A man still missing after a sinkhole suddenly opens up under a sidewalk.

SAMBOLIN: And taking it to the streets. Chicago teachers, parents, and students -- look at that -- they lead a massive protest shutting down the center of the city.

Welcome back to EARLY START. Happy you're with us this morning. I'm Zoraida Sambolin.

BERMAN: And I'm John Berman. It is Thursday morning. It is 31 minutes after the hour right now.

And happening right now: more than a dozen homes threatened by a huge landslide in a community about 50 miles northwest of Seattle. One house on Whidbey Island has already been destroyed. Fifteen others are unreachable with access roads just completely gone. Many residents forced to evacuate by boat. Others watching as their property just vanishes inch by inch.


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


BERMAN: So 33 homes originally evacuated. Last night, a team of geologists determined 15 of them were safe and allowed at least those owners to return.

SAMBOLIN: And look at this. Terrifying video shows a moment a security guard in China was swallowed up by that, a massive sink hole. A 25-year-old man can be seen very briefly in the foreground walking with an umbrella in the rain before the ground opens up and swallows him.

Chinese media reports the sinkhole is 52 feet deep, 15 feet wide. They also say heavy rainfall may have been the factor in the formation of it. People who live in the area also point to tremors from a construction site nearby.

BERMAN: That is crazy.

SAMBOLIN: Unbelievable.

BERMAN: New developments this morning in a case of James Holmes, the man accuse of opening fire inside a Colorado movie theater last July, killing 12 and injuring dozens. His attorneys filed papers yesterday saying that Holmes has offered to plead guilty and spend his life in prison as long as prosecutors do not seek the death penalty. No word if prosecutors will accept that offer. The hearing -- the next hearing in this case is scheduled for Monday.

SAMBOLIN: And angry protest on the streets of Chicago. Hundreds of public schoolteachers and their supporters brought the downtown loop to a stand still last night. Protesting the school's district consolidation plan that will close 54 schools at the end of the 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.

BERMAN: CNN's Pamela Brown is here with more on the protests and its consolidation plan.

Pamela, good morning.


On the heels of a contentious strike that shut down city 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 not 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, save our schools.

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

UNIDENTIFEID FEMALE: I was in a school that safe but I feel none of them are safe.

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

BROWN: Mayor Rahm Emanuel seems unwilling to negotiate and the district says closing the 54 under-enrolled 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, PRES, CHICAGO TEACHERS UNION: I think this is a message that 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 Chicago public school system still has to hold three meetings for each school it plans to close. The board of education votes on the plan in late May and it is expected to pass.

SAMBOLIN: So I know that the city faces a huge financial crisis and education in particular. How is the mayor, Rahm Emanuel, responding to all of this?

BROWN: Well, right now the mayor is saying, look, the time for negotiations is over. We've held public hearings. It's time to move forward and implement this plan. So, it appears to be a done deal. But I will say the teachers union does not appear to be giving up any time soon. So this saga will likely continue.

SAMBOLIN: They're going to dig their heels in. The end of the day, you know, the parents need answers. They need to know their children are going to be safe.

BROWN: How they're going to get to schools.

SAMBOLIN: Yes, the transportation is really important.

Thank you so much. We appreciate that.

BROWN: Thank you.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Later on "STARTING POINT," we will speak with Barbara Byrd-Bennett, head of Chicago Public Schools, as well as Karen Lewis, she is the president of the teacher's union. That's at 8:30 Eastern.

BERMAN: So, it is no secret this fast food not always healthy food for your children, but even some restaurants with so-called healthy meals have their share of some calorie surprises on the menu.

Our senior medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen joins us right now.

Elizabeth, there's a new report that is pretty surprising.

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: It is surprising, John, just because of the sheer numbers. They took a look at 50 big restaurant chains and they found 91 percent of them don't meet the nutritional guidelines of their own association, of the National Restaurant Association. They don't meet those nutritional guidelines for kids.

And, in fact, some of the meals have more than twice as many calories as a child is supposed to get, depending upon the age of the child.

So, let me show you some of their worst offenders, John. Let's start over here. Over here we have a Chili's meal which is pizza and fries and a chocolate milk, 1,120 calories. So 1,120 calories. Again, more than twice as much as some kids are supposed to be getting.

And if we move on to the next one, this is Dairy Queen which is chicken strips, fries, a dilly bar, which is like an ice cream bar, sauce and sort of a slushy kind of arctic drink. That has 1,027 calories, about the same.

And then the one with the most calories in this little scenario here is this one here from Applebee's which is grilled cheese, French fries, and a chocolate milk. And that's 1,210 calories, more than 1,200 calories in one meal. And you don't even really think about it. You're serving this to your kid. It is a ton of calories.

We reached out to these three restaurants and Applebee's and Chili's responded and they said, look, we have other options. You don't have to choose these items and we'll customize items for you.

We also reached out to the National Restaurant Association which has this program to encourage restaurants to have lower calorie options for kids. And here's what they told us. The National Restaurant Association said that restaurants nationwide are providing innovative, healthful children's options to their younger guests.

But what this report finds is, well, maybe not enough -- John.

BERMAN: Twelve hundred calories, I don't think my kids eat that much in a week, Elizabeth. But are there -- you know, they mention there are other options out there. Are there good options out there?

COHEN: You know, this report was pretty scathing on the restaurant industry. And they really said that only one restaurant has done a great job and they said that restaurant is Subway. So I'll give you an example. This is a Subway kid's menu -- meal, rather. Kids roast beef sub, 1 percent milk and apple slices. It's only 395 calories. So that's really what a lot of kids should be getting. Four hundred calories makes much more sense for a child than 1,200 calories.

BERMAN: Elizabeth Cohen, thank you very much. Appreciate it.

COHEN: Thanks.

SAMBOLIN: Those portions look enormous, as well, right? That's like for three kids.

Thirty-nine minutes past the hour.

Look at the stories trending this morning.

A top secret stripped from one of the final episodes of "Breaking Bad" is still missing, after it was stolen from Bryan Cranston's car. New Mexico police arrested a suspect and have now released Cranston's 911 call.


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

They broke my passenger window.

DISPATCHER: Can I get your name, please, sir?

CRANSTON: Bryan, B-R-Y-A-N, Cranston, C-R-A-N-S-T-O-N.


SAMBOLIN: "Breaking Bad" returns this summer for the series final eight episodes. Does somebody know what's going to happen, right?

BERMAN: Someone out there fighting (INAUDIBLE).

So, did you notice the Internet is a little slow lately? It is because there's something of a nuclear war raging right now in cyber space. That's how a security expert describes what's happening.

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 slowed down Web sites across the globe. I noticed it.

SAMBOLIN: You have noticed?

BERMAN: I have.

SAMBOLIN: I haven't.

All right. So lots of buzz in south Florida about the new Miami Dolphins logo. Berman loves this. Take a look at it.

Officially confirmed the new logo after it was leaked and it appeared on It features a helmet-free dolphin. Berman is really sad about that. It comes with a slight uniform change as well which is described as something of a throwback to the team's original aqua and orange color scheme.

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

BERMAN: I just think the dolphin should be wearing a helmet. Call me a traditionalist.

Forty minutes after the hour.

And a career decision by Ashley Judd. Amid all the speculation that she's going to give politics a try, what did she decide?


BERMAN: Soledad O'Brien here with a look ahead on "STARTING POINT."

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Lots ahead on "STARTING POINT" this morning.

We're going to talk first and foremost about the homes in the line of disaster that are being threatened by that landslide in Washington state. We'll talk with the Whidbey Island fire and rescue chief, Ed Hartin. He's been dealing with the aftermath of that landslide, including the evacuations.

Then, the Supreme Court hearing arguments for and against DOMA, the Defense of Marriage Act. We'll analyze the statements to see if there's any indication so far in how the court could rule and we'll talk to the lawyer who challenged the law. That would be Roberta Kaplan. She's representing the 80-year-old woman who brought the fight to court.

Protesters are taking to streets. They are fighting to keep 54 Chicago public schools from closing. We're going to hear from both sides of that issue this morning.

And in response to two Ohio teens being convicted of rape a group of college students have made a video, showing what you could do if you're there. This is a video right here, if a girl is passed out drunk on the couch. A surprising twist in this video, I thought. We'll talk to them (inaudible).

SAMBOLIN: It is an interesting video. I'm glad that you're highlighting it. Soledad, thank you.

Forty-five minutes past the hour. The first full week of spring and a lot of us are still shivering in these parts. Jennifer Delgado is live in the CNN Weather Center in Atlanta.

And we're hoping that you're going to bring us some warmer temps. JENNIFER DELGADO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: We are. We're going to warm things up. And I know a lot of people are begging for some sunshine and it looks like we're going to start to see that warming trend happening today. But it's only going to be short-lived. Now we start off the morning, temperatures below freezing in some parts of the South. But we are better than what we were yesterday, at 35 degrees in Jacksonville, 36 in Atlanta, 34 in Birmingham. When we move up towards north for areas like Scranton as well as in New York, 38 degrees and 34 degrees.

So where are we going today? Well, we're going to see temperatures getting close to seasonal. We will continue that even through the weekend. Right now looking across parts of the Northeast, very quiet there. This is a nice change. Notice just some very light snow flurry action happening. As we go through the afternoon, New York City, you'll see a chance for a couple of showers or two.

But you'll also see some sunshine out there as well, especially as we head later into the day. And that includes for areas like Boston, full sunshine is a ridge of high pressure down towards the South and the same for the Southwest. We will see a disturbance starting to get its act together just in time for the upcoming weekend.

High temperatures today will be in the 50s, the 60s. Really no areas are going to be below freezing. A lot of 70s down towards the South. But as I said to you, rain coming into the weekend.

And notice, it's going to be just in time for Easter Sunday. We'll see it from the Midwest all the way over towards the East Coast. And that includes New York City, Boston as well as Philadelphia and down towards the South. So it's going to be soggy on Sunday. But we'll get close to average temperatures. So that's the gift to you.

BERMAN: Oh, great. We're going to be average. That's the good news.


BERMAN: We'll finally be average.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Inaudible) to be average.

SAMBOLIN: Thank you, Jennifer.

BERMAN: Jennifer Delgado, our thanks to you.

DELGADO: You're welcome.

BERMAN: Forty-seven minutes after the hour, President Obama's striking a positive note on immigration reform, saying he expects to see a bill on the floor of the Senate in April. He talked about the legislation yesterday during interviews with Spanish language broadcast networks. And he said that the Senate bill is focusing on key points.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They're paying attention to border security. They are creating a pathway for people to earn their citizenship. They are improving the legal immigration system.

BERMAN (voice-over): The president also says he's planning to visit Mexico and Costa Rica during the first week of May to discuss trade issues and border security.

SAMBOLIN: Well, it looks like there won't be a Judd versus McConnell throwdown in Kentucky. Ashley Judd tweeting that she can't run for office now because of family issues. The actress and active Democrat flirted with challenging Republican Senator Mitch McConnell in 2014. McConnell, along with Karl Rove's conservative super PAC, spent several thousand dollars on ads attacking her.

BERMAN: They'll have to find a new target right now. A lot of Democrats, including Bill Clinton, were kind of suggesting that there should be a different candidate in that race. Very interesting.

All right, 48 minutes after the hour. The big news, the winning streak stopped in Chicago. And at least one member of the Miami Heat says he is glad it's over. We're going to hear from him --

SAMBOLIN: Who is that?

BERMAN: We'll see -- in today's "Bleacher Report," coming up.


BERMAN: Welcome back, everyone. The Pakistani teen nearly killed by the Taliban is publishing her life story. Fifteen-year-old Malala Yousafzai was shot in the head at point-blank range because she was an outspoken supporter of education for girls. Now she's going to school in Britain. Her memoir will called "I Am Malala;" she's reportedly getting up to $3 million for this.

SAMBOLIN: That is great. I'm glad to hear that.

All right. The longest streak in professional sports is over. The Miami Heat lost to the Chicago Bulls last night ending the win streak at 27 games.

Are we excited about this, Joe Carter?

JOE CARTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I guess you're both Bulls fan or obviously not Heat fans.

SAMBOLIN: That's true. But I am a Chicago Bulls fan.

CARTER: That's true; I remember, you are from Chicago.

So if you're a Lakers fan you're waking up this morning saying, OK, our record is safe. Miami falls six wins shy of the all-time record, of course, held by the '71-'72 Lakers of 33 straight wins. LeBron James and the Heat, you know, they started this streak back on February 3rd, Super Bowl Sunday.

Chicago last night playing without several of their best guys, really played a rough and physical game. Kirk Hinrich right there with the form tackle on LeBron. Seven times during this streak, Miami came from behind to win.

Chicago, the first team for the better part of two months, finally to prevent a Heat comeback. Of course, that was the play that sealed it. Bulls ended up winning by five. Miami afterwards almost seems relieved that they lost.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It really didn't matter to us, man. I mean, if you get it, it's awesome. If you don't, I mean, we still -- we won 27 games in a row. I mean, that's pretty awesome. So you know, really, we really wasn't (inaudible) we got to get that record? Not at all. So you know, now that it's over, I'm glad it's over.

CARTER: Check that Bulls win by 4.

Boston Jeff Green showed a lot of heart in helping the Celtics end their five-game losing streak last night in the final seconds. He splits Cleveland's defense to nail the layup at the buzzer. Boston won by a point.

What makes this really special, super special, as a matter of fact, for Jeff Green, he's able to celebrate after the game with his doctor. Fourteen months ago, that guy, Dr. Lars Svensson, performed open heart surgery on Jeff Green just a few miles away from the arena at the Cleveland Clinic.

Well, the Sweet 16 starts tonight. The tournament darlings, Florida Gulf Coast Eagles, got a hero's sendoff yesterday. They left Ft. Myers and headed to Texas. They play third seeded Florida Friday night, 10:00 pm Eastern at Cowboys Stadium. Of course, the Eagles are the first 15th seed to make it to the Sweet 16.

Now tonight you've got some games. Marquette and Miami, Arizona-Ohio State -- that's on our sister network, TBS -- Syracuse and Indiana. And the nightcap, La Salle and Wichita State, also on TBS.

Now, one of the top stories in the lineup at, their Zen master, Phil Jackson is now on Twitter. His first and only tweet, a work of art. Check that out. It's supposed to say 11 championship rings, but it's like 11 champ semicolon, he spelled -- I mean, I -- we don't know if he was throwing rings at the keyboard or maybe it's that darn iPhone. You know, we like that darn iPhone!

SAMBOLIN: He's got big fingers.

CARTER: The best part about that, guys, is he sends out that interesting tweet, but still manages to pick up almost 200,000 followers. How about that? Phil Jackson.

BERMAN: Nice to be Phil Jackson. You know, you don't have to spell to do the triangle offense, apparently.

CARTER: Or win 11 rings.

BERMAN: Joe Carter, thanks.

SAMBOLIN: Thank you.

So if you're just waking up, "STARTING POINT" is next with this developing story.


SAMBOLIN (voice-over): Take a look. It is a major landslide that is threatening homes.



BERMAN: That is all for EARLY START this morning. I'm John Berman.

SAMBOLIN: And I'm Zoraida Sambolin. "STARTING POINT" with Soledad O'Brien starts right now.


O'BRIEN: Welcome, everybody. Our STARTING POINT this morning, a developing story: homes that are on the edge, one house already gone, dozens more in jeopardy after a landslide in Washington State.

And new this morning, the former South African president, Nelson Mandela, has been rushed to the hospital. He's fighting a serious lung infection. We'll take you live to Johannesburg this morning.

BERMAN: Then as Supreme Court justices analyze the federal definition of marriage after this now 80-year-old woman demanded equality.

EDIE WINDSOR, DOMA PLAINTIFF: I am today an out lesbian, OK, who just sued the United States of America, which is kind of overwhelming for me.

BERMAN (voice-over): Got to be overwhelming. We will speak with Edie Windsor's lawyer coming up.

Then the Heat's winning streak over. How the Chicago Bulls stopped them from reaching 28.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Security running high in Cyprus as the banks reopen after 11 days of being shut down. How it will affect the U.S. market?

O'BRIEN: It is Thursday, March 28th. And STARTING POINT begins right now.