Return to Transcripts main page


HIV and Hepatitis Scare in Oklahoma; "Dunk City" in "Big D"; Reports: Barbara Walters Retiring; Interview with Tim Walsh; Holy Week at the Vatican

Aired March 29, 2013 - 08:00   ET


JOE CARTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: -- Fort Myers, Florida, on the campus of Florida Gulf Coast University. The basketball team making the sweet 16 tonight. As you can see, the town is going crazy for Dunk City.

ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: And the price of your airline ticket may not depend on when you fly. The other factor you must be aware of. That's coming up.

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: We're also going to meet this morning, the parents of a clever toddler who figured out how to pick a lock and break into her sister's bedroom and steal her stuffed animals. We'll talk to them about that this morning.

It's Friday, March 29th, and STARTING POINT begins right now.


O'BRIEN: Welcome, everybody.

Our team this morning: Ryan Lizza is back, CNN contributor, Washington correspondent for "The New Yorker".

And Will Cain is with us, too, CNN contributor and columnist for

And Roland Martin, also host with "Washington Watch with Roland Martin". Nice to have all of with you us. It just never ends, does it?


O'BRIEN: Our STARTING POINT this morning is the health scare that is unfolding in Oklahoma. The Health Department is notifying 7,000 patients. So, that's roughly one out of every 50 people in Tulsa, Oklahoma, that they may have been exposed to hepatitis B, hepatitis C, HIV, possibly, that they are treated by one particular dentist, whose name is Scott Harrington. Officials say he is a menace to public health.

Susan Rogers, the executive director of the Oklahoma board of dentistry said this to me in the last hour.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SUSAN ROGERS, EXEC. DIRECTOR, OKLA. BOARD OF DENTISTRY: Some of the things we found were just absolutely incredible. And it's stuff that -- it's just basic universal precautions for blood borne pathogens that they were just not following regular protocols. He was allowing unauthorized, unlicensed personnel to do I.V. sedation. And that is completely unacceptable and illegal in Oklahoma.


O'BRIEN: Ed Lavandera is live for us in Tulsa, Oklahoma, with this developing story.

Hey, Ed. Good morning.


Well, you know it is bad when health investigators who do this kind of work for leaving, inspecting clinics and dentist offices, that they're the ones who say when they walked out of this dental clinic behind me, they felt sick.


LAVANDERA (voice-over): Tulsa health officials say the sanitation conditions inside this building where Dr. Scott Harrington works as an oral surgeon were horrifying.

ROGERS: I will tell you that when the health department investigators, when we left, we were just physically kind of sick. I mean, that's how bad -- and I have seen a lot of bad stuff over the years.

LAVANDERA: Those health officials say that as many as 7,000 patients in the last six years might have been exposed to HIV as well as hepatitis B and C. Health officials say Dr. Harrington treated a higher population of patients with those illnesses. But when investigators started inspected the tools and equipment in the office in the last two weeks, what they discovered was disturbing and extremely unsanitary.

ROGERS: The instruments that came out of the autoclave were horrible. I wouldn't let my nephews play with them out in the dirt. I mean, they were horrible. They had rust on them.

LAVANDERA: So far, health officials believe at least one patient was infected with hepatitis C from treatments in this office.

The news has sparked nerve-wracking sense of unease. Patients are receiving letters urging them to get tested.

DR. KRISTY BRADLEY, OKLAHOMA DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH: The magnitude and the unknown length of time that the practices may have occurred have prompted public health to begin systematic notification of Dr. Harrington's patients and recommend testing for HIV, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C viruses. As many persons who may be infected with these blood-borne viruses may be infected for years without experiencing any signs of illness.

LAVANDERA: State health officials say Dr. Harrington voluntarily stopped practicing after the investigation of health and safety law violations started a few weeks ago. Harrington is 64 years old, a veteran oral surgeon, who started practicing more than 35 years ago.

But it's not clear if the closure is permanent or temporary. We haven't been able to reach Dr. Harrington yet, and this is the message callers to his office hear now.

AUTOMATED VOICE: You have reached the office of Dr. Scott Harrington. The office is currently closed.


LAVANDERA: Soledad, as far as possible criminal charges, none have been filed so far, but health officials here in Oklahoma say they are in contact with the district attorney's office here in Tulsa, Oklahoma -- Soledad.

O'BRIEN: Ed Lavandera for us this morning with that horrible story. Thank you.

John Berman has got a look at some of the other stories making news this morning.

Hey, John.


A suicide bombing in Pakistan, less than half a mile from the U.S. consulate in Peshawar. The Pakistani Taliban claiming responsibility. Hospital officials say 10 people were killed. And another 30 injured.

Police say the bomber rode a motor bike to a security checkpoint and detonated about 20 pounds of explosives that were on his body.

The father of a former U.S. soldier charged with conspiring with al Qaeda in Iraq as he fought in Syria says his son is no terrorist. In fact, he says his son Eric Harroun is a hero for fighting alongside Syria's opposition. The FBI arrested Harroun Tuesday near Dulles Airport in Virginia. He is charged with conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction outside the U.S. specifically in this case, a rocket- propelled grenade in Syria.

So, Rush Limbaugh telling his listeners that the battle over same-sex marriage is over.


RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO HOST: This issue is lost. I don't care what the Supreme Court does. This is now inevitable.

Once we started talking about gay marriage, traditional marriage, opposite sex marriage, same-sex marriage, hetero-marriage, we lost. It was over. It was just a matter of time. (END AUDIO CLIP)

BERMAN: The issue now goes behind closed doors, of course. Justices will spend the next three months drafting their legal opinions outside the public eye until their decision is ready probably at the end of June.

A Philadelphia man may be alive this morning due to the quick actions of a complete stranger. For reasons unknown, this man walked off a subway platform, falling down into the tracks. A surveillance camera captured the scenes.

Seconds later, a stranger jumps down to assist the man and screams for the power to be shut off. Firefighters arrived a short time later and took the man to the hospital. Wow, quick thinking.

O'BRIEN: Wow, that's amazing.

I wonder if it's split-second, would you be the person who jumped in? You know, like --


WILL CAIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I mean, you stood (ph) at subway platform and asked yourself that question and the answer to yourself is always yes.

RYAN LIZZA, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I have never stood in a subway platform and asked myself that question.

MARTIN: On the subway platform, you stood on the wall.

LIZZA: I think Will has a hero complex. He wants to be one of those guys --

CAIN: When you're a superhero, you always try to anticipate things when they come along.

O'BRIEN: And turning now to sports.

MARTIN: Wear a Superman pajama --


O'BRIEN: Please. Really, the first bump, gentlemen. Really? Really? Oh, oh.

Four down, four more to go, march madness heads from the sweet 16 to elite eight. And last night, another number one seed bit the dust. Fourth seeded Syracuse knocking top seed Indiana out of March Madness. It happened last night, 61-50 victory. Orange raced to an 18-point lead the first half and never really trailed.

Also advancing last night, the number two seed Ohio State with a 73-70 win over Arizona. Wichita State pounding over La Salle, 72-58, and Marquette taking care of Miami, 71-61. Now on the sweet 16 schedule tonight, top seeded Louisville taking on Oregon, and then Michigan/Kansas, Michigan State/Duke.

And then -- drum roll, please -- Anybody. Thank you.

Fifteenth seeded Florida Gulf Coast University looking to keep the dream alive against the Florida Gators.

Joe Carter is in Fort Meyers, Florida, with more on the match up tonight.

Hey, Joe. Good morning. And it's louder than it was last time.

CARTER: Good morning, guys.

It is so much louder than earlier. I'm really impressed with these college kids. Up at 5:00 a.m., still cheering at 8:00 a.m.

Look at the energy. It's Dunk City USA. It was a phrase coined after this team beat Georgetown in the first round of NCAA tournament. They went on to beat San Diego State. First 15th seed to make the sweet 16 in tournament history.

As you can see, the energy is electric. This is a Cinderella story that's really captured the attention of the entire country. They are saying this is the team that could make the difference in the long run.

We got here guys around 4:00 this morning and this campus came alive around 4:00 a.m. First, about 500, 600 people here in the plaza on campus. They said they plan to party for the entire day.

You see these newspapers right here, it says Dunk City. Obviously, that phrase that was coined by the players. You see these newspapers all over campus. They're actually headed to Dallas as well. The team plays Florida tonight.

But it's going to be a great atmosphere all day long. They have assured me, no classes today. They are going to enjoy jumping and dancing and having a great time -- guys.

CROWD: Dunk City, Dunk City, Dunk City!

MARTIN: No classes, shocker.

O'BRIEN: I was going to say. Imagine, really like, wait a minute, isn't that our daughter?

BERMAN: It looks no fun at all at Florida Gulf Coast University.

O'BRIEN: Terrible.

MARTIN: University named for Gulf Coast.

BERMAN: Yes, part of the Gulf Coast.


O'BRIEN: A broadcasting legend. Thanks, Joe. Appreciate.

A broadcasting legend could be taking a final lap. There are reports that say Barbara Walters, the first female co-anchor of a network evening broadcast news, will end her trail-blazing 50-year long TV career in May of 2014.

Nischelle Turner is live for us in L.A. She's following some of those developments for us.

Good morning, Nischelle.


I can't get sombrero guy out of my head from Florida Gulf Coast University.

O'BRIEN: Yes, yes, the shirtless sombrero guy.

TURNER: Wow. He was hyped very early in the morning.

Well, you know, Soledad, this really isn't a surprise that the 83- year-old Walters is retiring. But when you think about it, it's very tough to imagine television without Barbara Walters.

Now, the reporting is that she will make this announcement in May and that's going to let ABC celebrate her career for a year with all of the specials and retrospectives. I'm sure we'll see some of those older Barbara Walters specials and also some 10 most fascinating people.

There's a lot to remember because she's had such an impressive career. We'll have our own really retrospective really quick. A timeline of Barbara Walters' career.

She began as a reporter, writer and panel member on NBC's "Today" show back in 1961. And then she was promoted to co-host in '74 and hired away by ABC in '76.

At ABC, she did begin those Barbara Walters specials and there 10 most fascinating people. Those became a regular year-end program. And in '84, she was a host and a correspondent for ABC's news magazine show "20/20."

Now, if you are an important person over the last 40 years, chances are you were interviewed by Barbara Walters.

It'll just be interesting, Soledad, to see what happens with the daytime program "The View" going forward.

O'BRIEN: Absolutely. Nischelle Turner for us this morning -- thank you, Nischelle.

MARTIN: She's a legend. TURNER: Sure.

O'BRIEN: Still ahead on STARTING POINT: several homes are still in danger of being destroyed by a land slide. So, were there any early warning signs? We're going to talk with Washington state's chief hazards geologist straight ahead.

And then this man says he was just doing his job. One state trooper is being called a hero this morning. Well, how he was able to lift a car off a man who was pinned beneath it. The story is straight ahead.

You're watching STARTING POINT.


O'BRIEN: Welcome back, everybody. You're watching STARTING POINT.

Dozens of home in the state of Washington remain under the threat of destruction this morning after an enormous landslide along the coast of Whidbey Island, which is just north of Seattle. There are two homes in the area and they've already been destroyed and at least five others could still be in danger. Thirty other homes in the area remained under evacuation orders as officials investigate what exactly caused the landslide. And then they have to decide if it's ever going to be safe for those residents to return home.

We want to get right to Tim Walsh. He's chief hazards geologist with the Washington state Department of Natural Resources.

It's nice to have you with us. So walk me through the number of homes that you think will not make it, if we have this sort of 3 dozen roughly that have targeted as the most vulnerable. How many people do you think really will be able to get back into their homes and then live there, seriously?

TIM WALSH, CHIEF HAZARDS GEOLOGIST, WSDNR: I think it's premature for us to be answering that question. One of the reasons that we're out here right now is to take accurate measurements of the landslide mess so that we can begin to make -- to do monitoring and see where this is going, how fast it degrades, how fast it might move in the future.

So we need more information before we can answer that. But I should back up and say this is a landslide that has been moving off and on for a number of years. It destroyed, a little bit north of here, it destroyed a house in 1997.

And this landslide overall probably started moving about 13,000 years ago. It stretches for about 1.3 miles along the coast. And different parts of it move at different times. So it's a matter of managing this and living with it, rather than making definitive judgments about it.

So we'll see on a day-by-day basis, how fast this is moving. But as of yesterday, we're not seeing any more active movement. We suspect that it's going to be slowing down for a while. But that's having our fingers crossed. O'BRIEN: How do you do the monitoring? Explain how you take those measurements, from air? What do you do?

WALSH: Well, we're still costing it out, but what we expect to do later today is fly aerial photography, stereo photography, so that we can make accurate measurements of the dimensions of the landslide. And by doing it in stereo, we can actually make measurements of the -- of the height as well.

And we'll do that periodically so that we can tell how fast the toe of the landslide, which is the part of the landslide that is out in the water right now, how fast that degrades. And that's important because this is what's called a rotational landslide and that means that the top of it goes straight down, but the bottom of it rotates back up.

And so that acts as a retaining wall and as that degrades, the effectiveness of that retaining wall degrades as well. And so that could trigger more movement. So we want to watch carefully how fast that toe does degrade.

O'BRIEN: Wow. Tim Walsh is the chief hazards geologist for Washington State, the Department of Natural Resources. Thank you for talking with us this morning. Certainly appreciate it. That sounds very dire for those 36 or so homes that are really in jeopardy. We appreciate it.

Still ahead this morning on STARTING POINT, want to make your breath sizzle? Try some bacon mouthwash. Ugh. And I even like bacon. That's disgusting. We'll talk about that straight ahead.


KOSIK: Welcome back to STARTING POINT. I'm Alison Kosik, "Watching Your Money" this morning. The stock market is closed today in observance of Good Friday. But check out the returns for just the first three months of the year.

The Dow is up 11 percent, its best Q1 performance since 1998. The S&P 500, that set a new record high yesterday. It's up 10 percent for the quarter. The NASDAQ is up 8 percent over that same timespan.

And you know, it's kind of those -- one of those age-old tiny secrets. This is new this morning. You know, what's the best time to book your airline flight to get the best price? says 49 days that is the magic number, 49 days before departure. That's your best bet for a cheaper fare. That's for domestic nights, not on holidays, though. And if you're flying international, 81 days is the magic number.

Also if you book too far in advance it can be just as expensive as if you book last minute. looked at 550 million fare records from 2012 to get this information. If you want more, you can go to CNNMoney for the full article, which has more tips for getting those cheaper flights. Information we all want to know.

O'BRIEN: Absolutely. Cheap flights, always good.

Let's take a quick look at what's trending on this Good Friday. Easter just two days away, which means we're at the apex of Peeps season. Peeps, oh, gosh, those Peeps.

KOSIK: (Inaudible) candy.

O'BRIEN: This is a look at one of the entries in "The Washington Post" annual Peeps Diorama Contest, which is quite amazing. Two creative ladies recreated scenes from the London Olympics, including the Queen's parachute jump. That's lovely.

BERMAN: (Inaudible) use of Peeps.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you (inaudible) previous year?


O'BRIEN: (Inaudible) put them in a drawer, then you would just (inaudible) --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just making sure.

O'BRIEN: I think so.

When are you pretty much flawless like Victoria's Secret model Adriana Lima, it's OK to wear a dress backward (inaudible) or how you want to. Sheer white gown she wore at a gala in -- or nothing, also fine. She wore this in Miami. It was supposed to be worn the other way. But no one really is looking at the (inaudible).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now a story I have a comment on.


O'BRIEN: That's how it's supposed to be worn, that's from the runway, look. And then she, of course, wore it backwards.

KOSIK: (Inaudible) like it.

O'BRIEN: Looks great.

BERMAN: Like Chris Cross in the 1990s. Y'all remember Chris Cross?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Jump, jump. (Inaudible).

BERMAN: That's exactly like --


O'BRIEN: Did you just compare Adriana Lima to crisscross?

BERMAN: (Inaudible) but.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Inaudible), jump, jump. O'BRIEN: Moving on, is it an early -- spiraling the drain. (Inaudible) certainly looks like it, but Procter & Gamble claims that their new bacon mouthwash is for real. Here is the ad that promotes it.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The time has come to declare the crowning achievements in the world of bacon, level one, bacon; level two, carbonated bacon; three, spreadable bacon; four, lather up; five, naming your offspring bacon; six, set a mood; seven, permanent bacon; eight, honey, I love you, bacon; nine, oh, this little old thing?

And bacon level 10, a bacon bacon. Now what could possibly top bacon level 10? Why it's none other than bacon level 11. Scope Bacon for breath that sizzles.


O'BRIEN: They went to 11.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That does not look (inaudible).

O'BRIEN: No. It can't be real.

KOSIK: I actually looked at the website to find out if this was for real.

O'BRIEN: It can't be.

KOSIK: Who knows. But it says that when you rinse with it, it tastes like bacon, but once you spit it out, you don't smell like it.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm trying to figure out the fascination with bacon lately. I mean, it's just --

O'BRIEN: I love bacon, but I (inaudible).


BERMAN: It tastes good.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, duh, I get that, John, but it's not like I'm avoiding pork. I'm saying there's stories like this every -- it's taken on this whole sort of cult like thing.

O'BRIEN: I'm sure they'll fill us in on what -- if it's not for real, what's the point?

BERMAN: It's funny.


O'BRIEN: We're talking about Scope, aren't we? BERMAN: (Inaudible).

O'BRIEN: Got it.


O'BRIEN: Still ahead on STARTING POINT, it is the most somber day in the world for the world's 1.2 billion Catholics. The pope has already broken with tradition. We'll see that in a little bit. We'll see more during the Good Friday ceremonies.

Plus a 2-year old has become an Internet sensation after he was caught on video, picking a lock and stealing from his sister's room. The parents of the toddler will be joining us live to talk about that. You're watching STARTING POINT.


O'BRIEN: Welcome back, everybody. You're watching STARTING POINT.

Coming up this morning, he's only 2 years old, but he may have a career in breaking and entering. The parents of a toddler whose little lock picking antics have now gone viral will join us to talk about what they have been able to see on camera. First, though, John starts with a look at some of the stories making news today.

BERMAN: Thanks, Soledad. So believers around the world like people we're about to show you in Jerusalem, solemnly marking Good Friday which, of course, commemorates the death of Jesus on the cross.

For Catholics today is their first Good Friday with the new pope, who really does seem to do things his own way, including Pope Francis, just yesterday, washing the feet of inmates on Holy Thursday. Two of them were women, one also a Muslim. This has never done before by a pope.

Our senior international correspondent Jim Bittermann is following all of this in Rome.

And, Jim, really does seem to be doing things very differently almost every day now.