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Hannah Anderson's Mother's and Brother's Funerals Today; Wildfire Growing In Yosemite National Park; Homeland Security Employee Suspended; Congressman Lewis' Life Story In Comic Form; Mayor Bob Filner Gets Recalled; Remembering March On Washington 50 Years Ago

Aired August 24, 2013 - 15:00   ET


FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. It's 3:00 p.m. on the east coast, noon out west. For those of you just joining us, welcome to the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Fredricka Whitfield.

And look at our top stories right now. Here are the items this afternoon. Hannah Anderson and her family are saying goodbye to a mother and son. Police say family friend James DiMaggio killed Christina and Ethan Anderson before kidnapping Hannah earlier this month.

In California, a raging wildfire is growing inside and spreading inside to the Yosemite national park.

And it's been 50 years since Martin Luther King, Jr. made his famous "I have a dream" speech at the Lincoln memorial and thousands are gathering today on the Washington Mall to celebrate that historic event.

In a small catholic church near San Diego, the service is under way to remember alleged kidnapped victim Hannah Anderson's mother and brother. This is a live picture right now inside the Guardian Angels Catholic Church in Santee, California. The bodies of Christina and Ethan Anderson were found in the burnt home of family friend James DiMaggio. DiMaggio is suspected of killing them before allegedly kidnapping Hannah and then fleeing to Idaho.

Stephanie Elam joins us live from outside the church right now.

So Stephanie, after DiMaggio was spotted in Idaho, the FBI shot him dead. Hannah was returned to her family. How has this service brought not only a community together but perhaps those immediate family members of Hannah Anderson?

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Fredricka, there are about 450, maybe 500 people inside. It's completely full. There is an overflow room that people are sitting in right now, and the proceedings have been going along as you might expect. Lots of emotion. I've heard some whimpering while I was sitting inside the church. And Hannah is sitting in between her grandparents. They are the grandparents of Tina Anderson, and her grandmother has pretty much had her arm around Hannah the entire proceedings as they have watched everything and you have seen Hannah with her head down as she's listening. But overall, lots of people from the families, lots of family from the different communities.

Brett Anderson, also sitting in the same pew with Hannah just further down the row there, all taking this in, and finally, getting that chance to say goodbye to their loved ones after some three weeks it's been since they were found in that burned-out building --Fred.

WHITFIELD: And so, Stephanie, this has been a mass, but is there any expectation that Hannah would say anything today?

ELAM: There was no expectation that she would say anything today. In fact, they have been very protective of her, even when she arrived here at the church, arriving in a big, black SUV and protecting her, a group of people, to take her into the church. But while things were getting ready to be started, she was walking around the church, smiling, hugging people, holding a baby. She was making the rounds and we have yet to see her cry while she was doing all that, but just sort of soaking up the love she was feeling for the people who showed up here to honor Christina and Ethan.

WHITFIELD: All right, Stephanie Elam, thank you so much.

Also in California, a raging wildfire, it's growing. The rim of fire more than doubled in size in a day, and has now also spread to the western edges of Yosemite national park.

Nick Valencia is there and has been following the development for us.

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Fred, the sun has come up here in Stanislaw national forest and it's given us some fresh perspective just how devastating the rim fire has been.

Take a look at this. These charred trees, these go back a couple of hundred yards, at least. And it's doing things like this, scorching the earth and synching the edges of these leaves here. It has been very unforgiving to the terrain. The (INAUDIBLE) is still quite high at least 126,000 acres burn and it has been very unforgiving in its pattern.

You see here the fire completely jumped over this road, scorched this but left those trees over there in the distance untouched. We've seen multiple fire crews from local, state and federal agencies trying to work to put out this blaze. It's been eating away at the edge of Yosemite national park. And right now at this hour, that is one of the big concerns for those who are fighting the flames. It is, however, a ways away from the tourist center of the Yosemite Valley.

Right now they tell us it's still blue skies and very little smoke in that area. They're not discouraging tourists from coming, but there is a long road ahead for the fire officials working to put out this flame. At last check, only five percent containment, more than 2,000 firefighters working to put it out -- Fred.

WHITFIELD: All right, Nick Valencia, thank you so much.

So the weather conditions in the area have been feeding those flames. Alexandra Steele is in the severe weather center. ALEXANDRA STEELE, AMS METEOROLOGIST: You know it's a function of two factors, Fredricka, kind of the acceleration of this. One, the winds, they have been strong and they have been erratic. And the other, it is the terrains, it this rigid and these canyons. So, put the winds through those canyons and that's what happened. It's called the canyon effect. The wind gets squeezed in the canyons. Kind of like in New York City if you're walking between the buildings, the wind gets squeezes and it accelerates. And so, that's what we are seeing here as well.

So, in terms of the winds, today southwest winds between of 10 to 20 miles an hour with gust to 27 miles per hour. Have that yesterday as well. Another problem, the lack of rain. Look at the next five days. Dew points are low, in the 20s, meaning there's not a lot of moisture in the air. Here's the irony, though. We have got a tropical storm just south and west, tropical storm Evo. And look where it is. Its west of the Baja, and it is bringing copious amounts of rain.

Here's the fire. Here's where all the rain is. We are going to see flooding in Las Vegas and Palm Springs and Phoenix, so close but yet so far. So this rain is not going to make an impact on the fires. So you can see where this tropical storm goes. It stays off the coast but brings a lot of moisture inland but south of where we need it -- Fred.


MARTIN LUTHER KING JR., ACTIVIST: I have a dream. Let freedom ring.


WHITFIELD: Today, thousands of people are gathering to mark the 50th anniversary of the march on Washington. Fifty years ago, Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his iconic "I have a dream" speech at the Lincoln Memorial.

Our Chris Lawrence is live from Washington with us right now.

So Chris, a number of people gathering at the reflecting pool but then making their way on that route and then near the new Martin Luther King memorial as well?


You know, the march may be over for today, Fredricka, but this is really just the beginning of an entire week of looking back at the historic nature of that march. We saw the families of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Trayvon Martin. There was a mix of politicians, civil rights activists, and everyday people, some of whom were here 50 years ago and were recalling all these incredible memories, and then many who were born decades later who were just sort of reconnecting with the significance of that march. Nothing moved the crowd quite like Representative John Lewis, who was one of the original organizers of the march and the youngest speaker at the original march in 1963. He talked to the crowd about what inclusiveness and civil rights means today. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. JOHN LEWIS (D), GEORGIA: All of us, it doesn't matter whether we're Black or White, Latino, Asian American or Native American. It doesn't matter whether we're straight or gay, we're one people, we're one family, we're one house. We all live in the same house.

Back in 1963, we hadn't heard of the internet. We didn't have a cellular telephone, ipad, iphone. But we used what we had to bring about the non-violent revolution and I said to all the young people, you must get out there and push and pull and make America what America should be for all of us!


LAWRENCE: And again, we talked about this being the beginning, not the end. On Wednesday, President Barack Obama will be here along with former presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter along with a lot of Hollywood celebrities like Jamie Foxx, Oprah Winfrey, singer LeAnn Rimes. They will be marking that 50th anniversary of that "I have a dream" speech by Martin Luther King, Jr. -- Fred.

WHITFIELD: And Chris, you know, there were a number of people as you said who had been there in 1963 and a lot of folks who had not. But give me the idea of some perspectives from so many of these young people who showed up today who perhaps didn't know anything about the struggles that were the focus of that march 50 years ago.

LAWRENCE: One thing that really jumped out at me is how many times up on that stage you heard people say -- and it was a lot of times women who said, women didn't speak at this march 50 years ago. And that's something that just sort of, as someone who was born after that time, I was sort of caught by surprise like, wow, OK, in 1963, this was all run by men. And today, you saw women have a very big presence.

We talked to a lot of young people who said, you know, some of the issues that weren't even on the table 50 years ago that are now, rights for the gay and lesbian community, immigration reform. So you see some things that have carried through, wanting more jobs, voting rights, but also some new issues that are really pertinent to folks today that maybe, you know, weren't high or weren't high on the list of things people were even considering in 1963.

WHITFIELD: All right. Chris Lawrence, thank you so much from the reflecting pool there on the national mall.

All right, next week will be the final week that Bob Filner will be mayor of San Diego. His last day is Friday. But it won't be the end of his troubles. He is facing possible lawsuits and is under criminal investigation after 18 women accused him of sexual harassment. Yesterday, as part of an agreement with him, the city council announced his resignation. He apologized but added that he has been a victim of mob hysteria.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MAYOR BOB FILNER (D), SAN DIEGO: I started my political career facing lynch mobs. And I think we have just faced one here in San Diego. And you're going to have to deal with that. In a lynch mob mentality, rumors become allegations. Allegations become facts. Facts become evidence of sexual harassment, which have led to demands for my resignation and recall.


WHITFIELD: The San Diego union tribune reports as part of their agreement the city will pay Filner's attorneys fees in the lawsuit now against him, up to $98,000.

All right, the next story shocked so many, a Washington man advocating a race war.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And in the 21st century, we have two options. We are going to fight for our survival, we are going to unite as a people and protect our own interests, or these Whiteys are going to show us who they really are.


WHITFIELD: And guess what, he is a law department official at the department of homeland security and that department not thrilled about these you tube videos.


WHITFIELD: A department of homeland security employee is now on administrative leave following his online rants of hate. The employee has a You Tube site full of tirades about Whites and gays and he says a race war is imminent.

CNN crime and justice correspondent Joe Johns has this story.

JOE JOHNS, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Fred, it's our understanding that the government is investigating this situation, though they tell us, of course, that they can't discuss personnel matters. The question is how a government employee with senior status at the department of homeland security, no less, could be found on the internet promoting a race war.


AYO KIMATHI, EMPLOYEE, HOMELAND SECURITY: We need warriors, militant (bleep).

JOHNS: His name is Ayo Kimathi, 39-years-old, and what's troubling many is that he is a federal law enforcement employee with the department of homeland security in immigration and customs enforcement.

KIMATHI: That is how we are going to put butt in his ass and bring her in to him to planet earth with that male aggressive.

JOHNS: But it's his moonlighting videos on the Internet that are attracting attention.

KIMATHI: It isn't nobody going to be allowed to conduce and make us think that when you see a Black man as a warrior, that we are looking at a homo and we will be looking at a homo that is talking a black talk that we're looking at a Black man.

JOHNS: His Web site called Wall on the Horizon says his purpose is preparing Black people for an unavoidable clash with the White race.

HEIDI BERICH, SOUTHERN POVERTY LAW CENTER: He's propagating some serious hate including the mass extermination of Whites. He's got anti-gay, anti-Semitic material on there. It's really, really extreme.

JOHNS: The liberal leaning southern poverty law center says Mr. Kamathi is the individual known on Internet web videos as the irritated genie, a fiery Black nationalist.

KIMATHI: Ignore the Black boy, that's OK.

JOHNS: While there are thousands of hate videos and web sites, what makes War on the Horizon different is the apparent connection to a government employee.

BERICH: You can't, as an employee of DHS, just do whatever you want. You have to report this kind of material given the sensitive nature of the law enforcement work.

JOHNS: ICE put out a statement. ICE does not condone any type of hateful rhetoric or advocacy of violence of any kind against anyone. Every ice employee is held to the highest standard of professional and ethical conduct. Accusations of misconduct are investigated thoroughly, and if substantiated, appropriate action is taken. But both left and right have strong reactions, including Sarah Palin, who called it un-flipping believable.


WHITFIELD: All right, that was Joe Johns reporting.

And CNN reached out to Mr. Kimathi, but he did not return our calls.

All right, comic books and the civil rights movement, the two things you don't often hear together. Well, two men have done just that. They're telling the story of Congressman John Lewis' life in a graphic novel, and we will meet them, next.

But first, this week's CNN hero saw refugee girls in urban Chicago struggling to get an education and fit into their new community. So she took it upon herself to reach out to those who desperately need a place to call home.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) BLAIR BRETT SCHNEIDER, CNN HERO: My family came to America because we want a better life. We are 12 people in the family. My dad took us to Chicago to migrate. It was really hard the first day. I'm totally lost. It's hard enough to be a teenage girl in the United States, so it's even harder to be a refugee teenage girl.

My name is Blair Brett Schneider and I help refugee girls find their place.

In my free time after work, I was tutoring different, one girl was really struggling.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I had to do more because I'm a girl. I cook food for my family, go to laundry, take care of my brothers.

SCHNEIDER: We started going on field trips. We talked about college. And then things started changing.

Are you getting registered for classes?


SCHNEIDER: One of our biggest goals together was for her to graduate in high school and be on a path to go to college and she did. I thought this was really important and so these other girls. There are about 50 girls in our different programs.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You're making real progress. I'm so proud of you, you know?

SCHNEIDER: Our mentorship program matches girls in high school with one of our mentors who work with them once a week.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You have to write an essay, right?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. I want to write about my life.

SCHNEIDER: When you're walking down the street, they are just teenagers.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want to have my own salon.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: One day I'm hoping to become a nurse.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want to be a teacher.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want to become a doctor or a nurse.

SCHNEIDER: What I see is what all the girls can accomplish and everything they can do. That's really why I do all this.



(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) KING: I have a dream. Let freedom ring.


WHITFIELD: Congressman John Lewis has lived his life as a true foot soldier in the civil rights movement. Now his remarkable life from sit-ins in the south to a seat on Capitol Hill, are being told in a graphic novel called "March."

Joining me right now are the writer and the illustrator of this graphic novel, Andrew Aydin, co-wrote it with Congressman Lewis and Nate Powell is the illustrator. Good to see both of you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good to see you.

WHITFIELD: So, I think people right away think when they hear the word comic book, they start thinking of fantasy. They think of entertainment, but quite the opposite with this.

Nate, you're the illustrator of this graphic novel. Explain how it is and how you got the idea of turning one man's history into this form.

NATE POWELL. ILLUSTRATOR, MARCH; BOOK ONE: More or less, Andrew and the congressman worked together and worked up the script together over several years, and I received a call from my publisher after they had the deal just for the script more or less saying I was the artist for the job. So I worked on some demo pages and we slowly started working at a creative relationship. Yes, a lot of my duty was finding the balance between sort of an accurate and responsible representation of the congressman's story and sort of melding that with the unique powers of storytelling (INAUDIBLE).

WHITFIELD: And so, Andrew, how do you do this? We're talking about Congressman Lewis' life is just amazing. What a tapestry, what a journey. How do you make a decision? What elements of his journey, of his life, should be in this graphic novel form?

ANDREW AYDIN, CO-AUTHOR, MARCH; BOOK ONE: Well, the congressman is such a wonderful storyteller himself, right? And so, over the years working in this congressional office, I have heard him tell his stories to so many young kids. In particular, I heard him tell these stories on inauguration day. And as we sat down to think about this, it really came down to capturing those stories, the way he tells it himself, so that, you know, future generations don't lose that, or the people who can't necessarily come to his office and telling those stories as he tells them so that you're capturing that experience for everyone.

WHITFIELD: And that's really important because Congressman Lewis himself has said that he hopes that "March", and this is the first of a trilogy, will appeal to a new generation, you know. But some of the artwork is graphic, some of the language is very hard-hitting. I mean, the "n" word is in these graphic novels as well. How do you try to appeal to young people so as not to turn them off, frighten them, but enlighten them? AYDIN: I say it is not difficult to tries to appeal to young people at all individual format. I would say the challenge is trying to produce a narrative that reaches from, you know, from 12 and 13-year- olds to 60-year-olds in a way that respects people's different sensibilities in reading and in content and allows them to become engaged in a very personal way.

WHITFIELD: And you know, clearly, while you want this to transcend generations, you also want this to transcend race. And really, from the onset, that is being accomplished because Congressman Lewis and the two of you look very differently but, obviously, you have the same passion about sending the same kind of message. How did that come about?

POWELL: Well, we're all southerners. So, I think, you know, Congressman Lewis feels very strongly about reaching out not just to people in the south but all over the world, whether they're Black or White, Asian Hispanic, Native American. And I think as we look to see how we do this story, telling this story beyond the movement but as a symbol became very important.

WHITFIELD: Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell, s so much to both of you and it's called "March; Book one," two and three on the horizon, yes?


WHITFIELD: All right, good to see both of you. Appreciate it.

Nice to meet you.

AYDIN: Thank you.

WHITFIELD: In fact, Congressman Lewis spoke this afternoon at the march on Washington remembering his days as a young man in the fight for civil rights.


GEORGIA: I gave them the blood on that bridge in Selma, Alabama for the right to vote. I am not going to stand by and let the Supreme Court take the right to vote away from us.


WHITFIELD: And you can see John Lewis live tomorrow at 9:00 a.m. on "STATE OF THE UNION with Candy Crowley."

All right, blaming Obamacare, UPS says it's changing its health care coverage because of the president's health care plan. The company says they can't cover thousands of all of their employees anymore.


WHITFIELD: And look at our top stories right now.

President Obama met with his national security team today to discuss allegations of chemical weapons used in Syria. An official says the president will make an informed decision about how to respond when the intelligence community has gathered enough information. Both sides in the Syrian conflict are accusing each other of using chemical weapons. Today, Syrian state TV is reporting that military found a cache of chemical weapons, it says, are being used by rebels.

Doctors in Pretoria, South Africa say Nelson Mandela is showing great resilience. The former South African president remains in critical but stable condition. They say the 95-year-old's condition becomes unstable at times, but then stabilizes with medical intervention. Mandela has been in the hospital since June 8 battling a recurring lung infection.

Some of Paula Deen's legal problems may be over. The lawsuit that led to revelations the celebrity chef used racial slurs in her past is expected to be dismissed with prejudice. That means it cannot be filed again. It's not clear if Deen will be paying a settlement to the former employee that filed the suit, but a federal court Web site does label the filing a settlement agreement.

Affording health care is a huge struggle for so many Americans, and now the delivery company UPS says it too is having problems paying its health insurance bill. So, it's cutting back its coverage, and it's blaming Obama's health care for the change. Christine Romans has the story.


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): 15,000 people -- that's the magic number -- of working spouses that will no longer get health insurance coverage through employees working for UPS. That affects roughly half of the company's workforce.

In this internal memo obtained by "Kaiser Health News," UPS states, "We believe your spouse should be covered by their own employer, just as UPS has a responsibility to offer coverage to you, our employee."

The shipping giant told "Kaiser Health News" the cut is expected to save them $60 million a year, savings it hopes will offset cost increases due to the affordable Care Act.

UPS is blaming several aspects of Obama-care for the cuts, including mandatory coverage of dependents up to age 26 and new government fees.

The memo also says the health care costs usually increase by about 7 percent a year, but that due to Obamacare costs, are expected to climb 11.25 percent in 2014.

SEN. TED CRUZ, (R), TEXAS: Gentlemen, thank you for sharing your views.

ROMANS: UPS's announcement, just another piece of kindling fueling the debate over Obamacare.

CRUZ: They should have health care. And Obamacare is causing are more and more people struggling to climb the economic ladder to lose their health care.

OBAMA: My friends in the other party have made the idea of preventing these people from getting health care their holy grail, their number one priority.


WHITFIELD: So why would anyone challenge 12 1,000-pound bulls? Coming up, we'll talk to a woman who can answer that. She ran with the bulls today, in all places, Virginia.


WHITFIELD: Everybody knows about the famous running of the bulls in Pamplona, Spain. Well, now anyone who wants that experience of terror without traveling to Spain can actually do it right here in the good old U.S. of A. An event called the Great Bull Run took place today at a quarter-mile racetrack in -- wait for it -- Petersburg, Virginia.

And guess who was there? Kathy Pierce. Here she is, all in one piece. And Kathy, you look way too good to have run with the bulls this morning.

KATHY PIERCE, ATTENDED GREAT BULL RUN: I cleaned up a little while afterwards, so yes. I didn't quite look like this after the race.

WHITFIELD: Oh, my goodness, so how did it go and why in the world did you want to do this?

PIERCE: It was so exciting. I love action-packed sports. I love NASCAR. Go, Denny Hamlin.


PIERCE: But I love sports, and this gave me the opportunity to do something that I've always watched on TV. So I just -- I did think about the danger of it, but then I just went for it.

WHITFIELD: Okay. So you watched the running of the bulls, Pamplona, you see it on videotape, and you've always said to yourself, I kind of want to do that, I just don't want to go to Spain?

PIERCE: Exactly. I can't afford to go to Spain right now.

WHITFIELD: So how did you prepare yourself? Did you train in any way? Did you get special shoes? Did you read up on anything? What is your strategy?

PIERCE: Well, I did buy new tennis shoes. I had to look nice. But yes, I bought new tennis shoes to add some traction to them. I did practice climbing a fence because I thought I would need to climb the fence to get out of the way and did a little bit of dodging. It's not necessarily how fast you run, it's how fast you get out of the way.

WHITFIELD: OK. Did you have to use any of those techniques? Did you have any close calls or anything? Yes? PIERCE: I did! I had to climb the fence, yes.

WHITFIELD: You did. OK! So what was that moment like? Kind of heart- stopping, right?

PIERCE: It was, it was. It was more like I could see a wall of people coming at me, and then you could see the bulls through that. So, yes, I thought, well, maybe I just better get out of the way.

WHITFIELD: Oh, my goodness. So Kathy, besides your own personal experience, you can now say you've run with the bulls. But what was the most memorable thing about your experience today, whether it be, you know, looking at a bull in the eye or looking at the people that came out for this. What resonates the most with you?

PIERCE: You know, it was a combination of the bulls as well as the crowd there. They had a fantastic crowd. It was just a very fun atmosphere, just a very diverse group of people. You would see college people all the way up to senior citizens. I met -- I just met a great group of people.

WHITFIELD: Oh, my goodness. So how are you going to top this? What is next besides maybe a phone call from Denny Hamlin to take you out on the racetrack or something?



WHITFIELD: That must be it.


PIERCE: That would be the ultimate.

WHITFIELD: Well, is there a way of topping this experience?

PIERCE: I really don't know. A young lady that I met there said that she's been skydiving, so maybe that's next on the agenda.

WHITFIELD: Oh, my goodness. And hopefully Denny Hamlin is watching you today, and you'll get that phone call from him or something like that and get out on the racetrack.

PIERCE: Yes, yes! Or Austin Dillon. He's great, too.

WHITFIELD: OK. Well, they're all racing this weekend, aren't they?

PIERCE: They are, yes. And this is my hard-earned T-shirt from my effort today.

WHITFIELD: Oh, you will be sporting that, and I know you're going to make that look really good. Amazing.

PIERCE: I'll try. I'll wear it proudly.

WHITFIELD: Good. We're so glad you shared the experience, and you made it all in one piece, no bumps, no bruises. You look good.

PIERCE: I'm fine. Thanks so much, Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: Thanks so much. Let me know if your favorite racecar drivers give you a call. It's a follow-up.

PIERCE: I will. I will. Thank you.

WHITFIELD: All right, take care.

All right. Coming up next, the polar ice caps, very serious. Many activists are letting us know they are melting. Today we find out just how fast from a scientist at NASA.


DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Deejay Robbie Wilde lives in a world of rhythm and bass. He just can't hear it. Severe ear infections as a child left Wilde completely deaf in his right ear and 80 percent deaf in his left.

ROBBIE WILDE, DEAF DEEJAY: My mom was crying when the doctor said it. Me being the one with the hearing loss, I went up to my mom and I'm like, Mom, it's okay, I'll be all right, I promise you. You'll see, I'll be fine.

GUPTA: Although hearing is the most important sense in a deejay's life, Wilde was still determined to make it. He went to deejay school to learn the art of turntableism, and he relies on a computer to see the music. Red is a kick from the bass. Blue, that's a snare. Greens are vocals.

WILDE: I don't want you to see me as a deaf deejay or a deaf kid trying to deejay. I want you to see me as a great deejay that happens to be deaf, you know. Because I don't want sympathy, I don't want let's give him a gift because he's hearing impaired.

GUPTA: Wilde's skills got noticed by HP. It also earned him a spot in a commercial, thrusting him on the world stage.

WILDE: It doesn't matter that I can't hear the music.

GUPTA: Besides, Wilde says, some things are just better left unheard.

WILDE: There are a lot of sounds in the world you don't want to hear. I like it muffled. I like who I am. I'm proud of who I am.

GUPTA: Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN, reporting.



WHITFIELD: Every weekend, we bring you a segment called The Science Behind where we hope to teach you the why behind the what. And today, a troubling observation by NASA. Scientists there say the ice cap over the Arctic Ocean is melting at an alarming pace. But can we link this to global warming? A NASA scientist gave our meteorologist Chad Myers his take on the issue.


CHAD MYERS, AMS METEROLOGIST: Fred, NASA scientists are on the front lines of a major issue, Arctic sea ice. One lead researcher I talked to said the prognosis going forward isn't good.

THOMAS P. WAGNER, NASA PROGRAM SCIENTIST The good news is this: this year there is a little more ice than there was last year. The bad news, though, is the ice isn't recovering at all, and we're still on one of those years that's really low in terms of extent and the ice is really thin, still.

MYERS: That's one of the questions I wanted to ask you. You know, we can see the square footage of it, but can we see how thick it is?

WAGNER: Sure, we have a couple ways to do it. We actually have a mission called Operation Ice Bridge that flies out with an airplane and bounces lasers and radars off the ice to actually measure its thickness. We even measure the thickness of the snow on top of the ice.

MYERS: Can you also measure the permafrost? I'm a little bit concerned about this melting permafrost and all this methane that can go up into the atmosphere. What can you see with your equipment?

WAGNER: Yes, the permafrost is a big one, because also remember, as the sea ice retreats, you start to transfer that heat in the ocean water onto the land and you increase the thawing rate and you release that methane you talked about.

So, what do we see with satellites? We study the permafrost loss in a couple different ways. One of the simple things is we take pictures because as permafrost thaws, it releases water that forms lakes, streams, rivers and causes rapid erosion.

On top of that, we use other radar satellites that actually measure the (INAUDIBLE) of the earth's surface. As that ice transitions to water, you get a density change that actually inflates and deflates the surface a little bit.

MYERS: Can we put this together with global warming?

WAGNER: Sure. One of the things we sort of try to do is we try to understand what are the specific connections between the warming of the planet and what's going on at the poles. The simple thing is this. In the tropics, you have ways to release the heat from global warming that's building up there, and it winds up getting cycled through the atmosphere. And the poles are like the canary in the coal mine. They melt first and that's what we're seeing.

But also, we're seeing a lot more surface melting of the ice where literally the top layer of ice is forming a pond. And where that's important, too, is that in addition to just melting the ice and losing it, that lets more sunlight through to the ocean. And it changes the basic part of the food web.

MYERS: Now, your portable orbiting satellite, all this, this is global for you. We're not just looking at the top of the world all the time. Are you seeing anywhere where the ice is expanding?

WAGNER: Almost nowhere. And you know what, there's been a couple studies that have come out recently where they have done planetwide surveys using multiple different techniques, okay? Satellites like Grace, which detect changes in mass loss, satellites that ISAP (ph) that use a laser to measure to height of the ice itself. Satellites like LANSAT (ph) that take pictures of the ice.

When you put all those studies together, we are losing ice pretty much from everywhere. And I feel like it's our job to inform the public about the science that we're doing and help them plan better.


MYERS: And now we're just weeks away from a major climate report that may show us just how stark the reality going forward may be. Back to you.

WHITFIELD: All right, thanks so much, Chad.

All right. Getting a deal on prescription drugs. Not unusual, but what about prescription pot? An effort is underway to give some people reduced rates on medical marijuana.


WHITFIELD: It's not unusual for seniors and low-income patients to get a discount on their prescriptions, but what if the prescription was for pot? Athena Jones has the story.

ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Fred, 20 states and Washington, D.C., have made smoking marijuana for medical purposes legal. But selling it and possessing it is still a federal crime. This new rule requiring subsidies for a product that's illegal on the federal level would be unprecedented.


JONES: Discounts for weed? Washington, D.C., could soon become the first jurisdiction in the country to require medical marijuana dispensaries to subsidize pot for low-income patients.

DAN RIFFLE, DIRECTOR, FEDERAL POLICIES, MARIJUANA POLICY PROJECT: Doctors realize this is medication that can work for patients, and those patients need to be able to obtain it whether they are rich or poor.

JONES: Under the proposed rule, dispensaries would have to set aside 2 percent of their annual gross revenue to provide discounts of at least 20 percent for patients that earn less than double the federal poverty level. Dispensaries that don't comply would face a fine of $2,000 per offense and risk lose their license to operate for multiple offenses. The Marijuana Policy Project, which advocates for legalizing and regulating weed, said these discounts are a good idea.

RIFFLE: I think the original plan was to have the dispensaries contribute to a fund that the city would maintain, and this puts the onus on the dispensaries themselves. But the bottom line for the patient at the end of the day, if you are somebody on a lower or fixed income, you need to be able to obtain medication.

JONES: Pot can cost a pretty penny. At the recently opened Capitol City Care Dispensary, an ounce of weed cost $380 to $440. I first visited the dispensary a few weeks ago. They already offer discounts of 10 percent to 15 percent to seniors, veterans and low-income patients and say they are happy to do their part to ensure that all patients have access to the medicine they need.

Metropolitan Wellness Center in Southeast Washington also offers some discounts, but says the proposed rule isn't the best approach.

MIKE CUTHRIELL, PRESIDENT METROPOLITAN WELLNESS CENTER: I support the idea of a reduced cost, you know, access to cannabis. But I think the approach of the 20 percent discount or this two percent fund that would be, you know, contributed to by the business isn't the best or most creative process.


JONES: The proposed rule is still under going the required 30-day comment period, so it's not a done deal yet. Fred?

WHITFIELD: All right. Thank you so much, Athena Jones.

All right, they've got one shot, just one chance, to pull this sunken ship out of the water in one piece. We'll show you how they're going about doing that.


WHITFIELD; For nearly two years, the cruise ship Costa Concordia has been off the water off the coast of Italy, half submerged after it ran aground. The captain of the ship is under arrest standing trial. But now all eyes are on the ship. Engineers are soon going to try to pull it up and move it to a salvage yard. Erin McLaughlin reports they hope it stays in one piece.


ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's been 19 months since the luxury cruise liner the Costa Concordia ran aground off the west coast of Italy, killing 32 of the people on board. Now news that the crippled ship will finally be lifted from its side in September. An American and Italian company are working around the clock to prepare the infamous wreckage for its journey from the Tuscan island of Gilio and avoid an environmental disaster. Engineers say it's a naval salvage operation like no other in history.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Teams swelled up to 500 plus people with the welders joining us. So, we still have 100,000 in the water every day. We have 55 coded welders on the project 24 hours a day.

MCLAUGHLIN: The plan to removed the Costa Concordia began with steel platforms built under the water. 36 cables will help hoist the ship upright. And a series of enormous flotation devices attached to the ship's sides will help the cruise liner float away to a nearby port, hopefully all in one piece.

VOICE OF NICK SLOANE, SALVAGE MASTER: Roundabout the 20th of August, all the grouting and the mattresses should be underneath the bed of the Concordia.

MCLAUGHLIN: What makes the maneuver so risky, engineers behind the project say they only have one shot to make the deteriorating Costa Concordia float again.


WHITFIELD: All right, that was Erin McLaughlin reporting and, of course, we'll be watching closely.

That's going to do it for me. I'm Fredricka Whitfield. Much more of the NEWSROOM straight ahead with my colleague don lemon. Don?