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Commencement Speaker Controversy; Justin Bieber in Trouble Again; Supreme Court Upholds New York Gun Law; Big Comeback for "Made in the USA"; Adam Scott Wins the Masters

Aired April 15, 2013 - 09:30   ET



CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning. I'm Carol Costello. Thank you for being with me. Stories we're watching right now in the NEWSROOM, at 31 minutes past the hour. The opening bell ringing a new week in on Wall Street. Stocks expected to slip on news of a slowing economic growth in China. Ringing the bell today, an executive with the Independent Petroleum Association of America. And CEOs of energy sector companies.

Today, as you well know, is April 15th. You know what that means. It's tax day. It is the deadline to pay Uncle Sam if you owe for 2012. If you need more time, be sure to file an extension today.

More than 27,000 runners are running in today's Boston marathon. The race is just getting under way. More than a half million people are expected to line the course. Good news, this year's weather will be much cooler for runners with temperatures in the 50's.

College students rejoice. Graduation is right around the corner. Question now, do you have a commencement speaker? At last check, two prestigious commencement speakers are out before ever addressing graduates. The famous neurologist-turned Republican darling, Dr. Ben Carson, pulled out of duties at Johns Hopkins University after students protested his stand against same-sex marriage. And Robert Zolick, the former World Bank president pulled out of Swarthmore's commencement after students criticized his past support of the Iraq War. Playing today, talking about this, L.Z. Granderson, CNN contributor and senior writer for ESPN. And Will Cain, CNN contributor and analyst for "The Blaze."

Welcome to you both.



COSTELLO: Good morning. I guess we should first determine what the purpose of a commencement address is. What is the purpose? Have we forgotten, L.Z.?

GRANDERSON: I think it's to inspire the students to reach higher heights. At least that's what I kind of remember it being for me. You know, when it comes to these two individuals who have come under protest, I just say welcome to the party. You know, you'll always find a group of students who will be upset about who the commencement speaker was or has been selected. Right here in Michigan, Governor Rick Snyder I think has basically been protested at every single commencement speech he's given temperature so as I said, welcome to the party.

COSTELLO: Will, this is what Mitch Albom wrote in the Detroit News under the headline "Freedom of Speech? Not for Commencement." Albom asserts commencement speakers must now appeal to every single student. He suggests questions for potential commencement speakers like "have you ever owned a gun, fired a gun, asked someone else to fire a gun or taken away a gun, have you ever told anyone at a cocktail party that guns should be outlawed or that everyone should have at least eight guns in their kitchen. And if so, what are the chances it was a tape recorder at a cocktail party? If you answered no, great, the deal is on. Please continue. Just a few more."

What he's saying is unless you appeal to every single student, maybe there is not a chance that you'll be the speaker.

CAIN: Every single student is the operative phrase. Right, because this has been referred to now as the heckler's veto. You can't run the risk of offending any single group or perhaps individual, who may have a problem with who the speaker is. We should be precise in our criticism, though. It's not really an issue of freedom of speech. Freedom of speech is restraint by the government over the content of your speech. You really don't have a right to be a commencement speaker. But what it is, is it's an indictment on higher education. When these colleges force speakers to adapt to every single student in every single sensitivity and every single inclusivity, you are going to wipe yourself of any depth of thought, any provocativeness, any challenge to rigorous thought and get yourself exactly what you're asking for. Just a boring old speech.

COSTELLO: Well, there are two avenues of thought from my perspective at least. One is if you cancel a commencement speaker because supposedly he is controversial to a small number of students, isn't that saying you've educated these people, right, they should be able to sit in an audience and listen and think for themselves and accept it because that's just life. On the other hand, for the students graduating it should be a fabulous time. You really shouldn't have to worry or be thinking about controversial subjects on your graduation day. What say you, L.Z?

GRANDERSON: Well, I think it's silly to try to avoid talking about controversial issues just because it's your graduation day. That's like trying to control the weather because it's your wedding day. If you really want to know how the real world works, you're getting ready to graduate, well this is it. Things aren't going to be perfect all the time. You're not always going to get your way.

But it's important to remember that freedom of speech is not freedom from consequences of your speech. And the fact is that it wasn't just the fact that Dr. Carson said something against marriage equality. It was the fact that he equated being gay with bestiality and alcoholism. So you're talking like, you know just a step beyond that. What some students on that campus felt was acceptable and what some staff members and faculty members felt was acceptable language.

You have the freedom to say whatever you want. But just because your wife comes up to you and asks if this dress makes me look fat, if you say yes, you're still subject to those consequences. You don't get to say freedom of speech.

CAIN: So that's interesting. What we're talking about is not regulating what might be said in the speech, but we're regulating the speaker on anything they might have said in the past. And the point in these two individuals is Carson's offensive statements about homosexuality and Zolick's support or part of an administration that assumed the Iraq war. It's not like he plAnned that war.

So then we get into the politics of this. What I'm talking about colleges adjusting who their speakers can be for their student body, then we start talking about the actual decisions of the college administrators and the important figures in the college. And then we realize there are statistics like this. Seventy-two percent of college professors according to a 2005 study self identify as liberal. Fifteen percent as conservative. Now we look at who they're excluding from the speeches for things they said in the past. We got some pretty interesting indictments of higher education.

COSTELLO: Well, I have a good idea. You could just have like the student with the best grade point average give the commencement speech. Why have universities pay all that money just to take this abuse from students and from outside forces.

CAIN: They do that, too.

COSTELLO: They do that too, but why not only do that? Just a suggestion.

CAIN: Why don't we just all be quiet and we'll never offend anybody.


GRANDERSON: I say that hiring Snooki as your commencement speaker is all the indictment of higher education you need.

COSTELLO: I agree with that one. L.Z. Granderson, Will Cain, thanks so much.

CAIN: You bet.

GRANDERSON: Thank you.

COSTELLO: The Anne Frank Museum had a superstar tourist and not too many people are pleased. You know what I'm talking about. The Biebs and his comments on Anne Frank. We'll tell you how they went over with people who well, who have a stake in this. We'll be right back.


COSTELLO: Justin Bieber just can't catch a break these days. This time the pop star ticked off some people for a comment he left in the guest book at the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam. For more about this, let's head to New York and talk with "Showbiz Tonight's" A.J. Hammer. So what did he write?

A.J. HAMMER, HOST, "SHOWBIZ TONIGHT": Well, the headlines just keep on coming for Justin. And by the way, this particular bit of drama really did start off in such an innocent way. Bieber is on his European tour. Last Friday, he took time to stop and visit the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam, and after he got a firsthand look at the house where the young girl and her family hid from the Nazis for two years, he wrote a blurb in the guest book the Anne Frank House, I think actually, pretty innocently looking to just publicize the visit posted the blurb on their Facebook page, and that's where it took off.

Here is what Justin Bieber wrote. "Truly inspiring to be able to come here. Anne was a great girl." And he should have stopped there, but he continued with "Hopefully she would have been a Belieber."

Well, thousands of people have been weighing in as you might expect. A lot of them on the Anne Frank House Facebook page, slamming Bieber for being so vain that he had to have a note about Anne Frank focus on him. For their part, the Anne Frank House doesn't seem to think that there is anything wrong with what Justin Bieber wrote. They posted another message about Justin after the outrage erupted saying they were pleased with the visit and that Bieber was very interested in Anne's story. He spent more than an hour at the museum. And they added they hoped the publicity would inspire more to learn about Anne Frank and read her diary.

And it may very well do that, but it is certainly easy to understand why people are so upset. It seems completely egotistical to visit the Anne Frank House and leave a note about yourself. But I was thinking about it, Carol, the year books of the world are full of self indulgent lines from kids Bieber's age who think they're being perfectly appropriate. Then again, they're not international superstars.

COSTELLO: I know. It's easy to forget he's 19 years old, right? I don't know, though. It just would have been so much more natural had he said, boy, she would have been a great friend. I wish she had lived in my time.

HAMMER: Exactly.

COSTELLO: A.J. Hammer, thanks so much.

COSTELLO: Next in the NEWSROOM, it's the claim we used to see in store shelves a generation ago. Now we're seeing a big "Made in the USA" comeback. We'll take a closer look at the resurgence of American manufacturing.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is CNN Breaking News.

COSTELLO: We have just learned the Supreme Court has upheld New York State's strict gun control law which bans possession of a firearm in public openly or concealed unless someone can show, quote, "Proper cause to secure a carry permit" and proper cause has to be more than self-defense. We'll have much more on this on CNN in the hours to come.

Also, the search for a missing hiker is expected to resume today after a series of weekend avalanches. On Saturday, Mitch Hungate was out with two friends when an avalanche carried them 1,200 feet at speeds reaching more than 50 miles per hour. That same day, a woman walking her dog was caught in a slide on another mountain. She later died from her injuries.

Another sign this morning the housing market is recovering. "USA Today" reporting more lenders are offering conventional loans with a down payment of 10 percent or less. Lenders have been required at least 20 percent down trying to reduce the risk of default after the housing bust.

For years we heard of American companies moving their jobs overseas. But that trend of off-shoring seems to be reversing. "Time" magazine goes from the board room to the factory floor in its cover article made in the USA and say we can expect to see "Made in the USA" stamped on more and more products. According to the magazine, a half million manufacturing jobs have been created in the United States over the last three years.

Rana Foroohar, oh I hope I pronounced your name right Rana.


COSTELLO: Thank you I'm so sorry. Rana is the author of that article and an assistant managing editor at "Time". She joins us from New York. Good morning.

FOROOHAR: Good morning.

COSTELLO: Good morning. So it sounds like good news, but 500,000 jobs over three years doesn't really sound like a whole lot.

FOROOHAR: Well you know, it's the most that have been created in a decade in manufacturing. Manufacturing has been on a down swing as we all know since the '70s because of outsourcing to China and other cheaper labor countries.

So the fact that we have seen jobs being created, that's the first time in ten years that that's happened. And so there is this sort of sea change and some of the economists I spoke to feel that the outsourcing trend is actually at an end for a couple of reasons.

One, American labor is becoming more cost effective. American laborers are still a lot more productive than -- that other countries. China, Brazil, countries like that But they're also cheaper relative to other countries because Chinese workers are demanding more money and getting it.

So that sort of ratio is changing in our favor. There is also the shale gas boom in this country which has brought a lot of cheap energy to factories. And factories that are extremely energy intensive want to stay here now to take advantage of that. And there is a third trend which is the idea that having these very complicated far flung outsourcing sort of, you know, ecosystems can be very dangerous.

I mean if you remember a couple of years ago when the Japanese tsunami hit, the entire auto industry was put on hold for about six months because manufacturing was spread around to all these different areas of the world. And so a lot of factories are thinking let's keep production closer to home, let's be where the customers are, we can move quickly, we can reduce risk.

So, a lot of factors contributing to this boom.

COSTELLO: Is another reason because America simply makes better products?

FOROOHAR: Well that's a great question. I think that, yes, I think that you look at, say, things like the tainted milk scandal in China, which actually led to a boom in U.S. consumer products in Asia because customers were very worried about what they were getting in a Chinese product versus an American one. So our regulatory system and the fact that we do have high quality standards is a competitive advantage increasingly in the global economy as you've got this rising middle class around the world that wants better quality products.

COSTELLO: And just a final question. I mean, is this just a passing trend? Is it a trend here to stay and what might it mean for our economy?

FOROOHAR: Well, I think it's going to mean very good things for the economy. I do think the trend is here to stay. But what it means for jobs is a different question. Because the truth is that a lot of this great manufacturing that's coming back to this country is driven by technology.

So for example, I visited a GE factory in upstate New York, state-of- the-art factory doing green batteries for export all around the world. They were only a few hundred people on that factory floor, 20 years ago, there might have been thousands.

So a lot of this work is now being done by robotics, by very complex sensors, by high tech equipment. So there is a lot of higher end jobs being created, but not so many in the middle. So we still got that middle being hollowed out problem.

COSTELLO: Understood. The article in "Time" magazine this month, you can find it online. Rana Foroohar thanks so much for joining us this morning.

FOROOHAR: You got it.

COSTELLO: Yes. Thank you so much.

"Talk Back" question for you this morning, "Do scare tactics prevent teenage pregnancy?" or tweet me @CarolCNN.


COSTELLO: "Talk Back" question for you today, "Do scare tactics prevent teenage pregnancy?"

This from Bruce: "Scare tactics don't work, education does. Teach all the ramifications of sex. Not just birth control or STD's or abstinence."

This from Emily: "Scare tactics can make 'illicit and daring' which can be a push to see 'if' they can beat the odds."

This from Tansel: "I don't think telling the truth can be called scare tactics. Even if it prevents one teen pregnancy it's well worth it."

And this from Kyerra: "Scare tactics won't work when you have movies, shows, advertisements and music that screams sex, sex, sex."

Keep the conversation going or tweet me @carolCNN.


COSTELLO: Adam Scott made his home country proud by becoming the first Australian to win the Masters. Jared Greenberg is her today with today's "Bleacher Report".

JARED GREENBERG, CNN SPORTS: Carol, a bridesmaid no longer. Seven times Australians have been second at the Masters. Today, some are calling Adam Scott's victory, the greatest moment in the history of Australian sports.

Four shots off the lead entering Sunday's final round, Scott was brilliant. On 18th birdie Scott takes the club house lead and a storied victory appeared to all but be in the books. That is until the '09 masters champ said "Hello, friends". Angel Cabrera, calm, cool and collected, a phenomenal second shot on 18, the Argentine also birdies, sending Scott back out into the rain.

It took a second playoff hole to determine a champ; Scott for the win -- you betcha. His first major victory welcome to the green jacket club.

Tiger Woods made a push, three birdies on a five-hole stretch but a couple of bogeys early on. And of course that two-shot penalty from Friday's round that everybody is talking about really hurt Tiger's cause. He finished tied for fourth, the drought continues, nine years since Tiger's last Masters championship. While the mission wasn't accomplished, Tiger said he still felt the love from the patrons.


TIGER WOODS, PRO GOLF PLAYER: They were fantastic. I had so much encouragement out there. They were absolutely incredible, you know. Especially yesterday, starting out the day, I was -- I couldn't believe the amount of support I had. Everyone was just trying to get me to shoot a low one. I was very thankful for that. (END VIDEO CLIP)

GREENBERG: Kobe Bryant is expected to be out six to nine months but the Lakers playoff hopes still remain very much alive. Sunday night in their first game since Kobe's Achilles injury, Dwight Howard stepped up leading the purple and gold past the Spurs. Meaning if the Jazz lose tonight or the Lakers win Wednesday, L.A. will earn the final playoff spot in the western conference.

At the top of the hour, CNN's Carlos Diaz will break down what's next for Kobe and the Lakers.

A dream come true at a baseball game. This is what everybody wishes for. A foul ball comes your way. Dad snags it. Gives the son the pearly white, but hey dad, check out my arm.