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Shutdown Issues; Bikers at Large; America At Risk

Aired October 5, 2013 - 09:00   ET


POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, everyone. I'm Poppy Harlow.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Victor Blackwell. 9:00 here on the East Coast; 6:00 on the West Coast -- this is NEW DAY SATURDAY.

A lot happening across the country when it comes to weather --

HARLOW: Yes. A lot.

BLACKWELL: Let's start in the Plain States where people are probably feeling both anxious and relieved a bit this morning.

You hear the sirens? As many as 18 twisters touched down in three states overnight, Iowa and South Dakota and Nebraska.

In Wayne, Nebraska, a tornado destroyed as many as a dozen homes although fortunately no one was killed. It is rare to see a tornado at this time of year, but it is not unheard of.

The good news is the American Red Cross is sending teams into that area to help cope with the storm's aftermath. The storm knocked out power to half of the residents of Rapid City, South Dakota. Nebraska not the only state getting pummeled with severe weather. From California to the midwest down to the Gulf of Mexico, rough weather is sweeping across the country.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: And that is why we have meteorologist Alexandra Steele here with us in the CNN weather center in Atlanta. So, some states literally look like they were hit by a blizzard in early October after this early winter snowstorm. Is more snow on the way for them?

ALEXANDRA STEELE, AMS METEOROLOGIST: You bet it is. Another 15 to 20 inches. You know, what it is really is a weather trifecta playing out here across the country. From historic snow to historic tornadoes to even a fire threat.

So let's begin this trifecta with Wyoming and the snow there. More is expected today especially eastern Wyoming. Bull's-eye today, Rapid City, South Dakota. 15 to 20 inches. Making it a top 10 snowfall for the record books most likely. And then also, the winds exacerbating that. So blizzard conditions certainly probable there.

All right. To tornadoes we go. Long violent track tornadoes we saw yesterday. Conditions atmospherically were just so ripe for this. 18 prelim reports, three states - Iowa, Nebraska and North Dakota. Again, as you heard Victor say it is uncommon, but certainly not unheard of. We had 11 in October in 2001. So they can happen. Actually the National Weather Service is doing a post-storm survey today to assess the damage.

All right. Into the fire threat we go in California. Certainly one of the worst seasons potentially we could see. October is note worthy for California wildfires. Santa Ana winds howling out there. Southern California this weekend red flag warnings are up. Winds could possibly blow any small fire out of control. Already Laguna Park with 77-mile-per-hour winds, Ventura Country, and in L.A. County, 52-mile-per-hour winds there, Poppy and Victor. So certainly across the country we got myriad issues, all very substantial as well, not to mention the tropics but we got cooking in the Gulf of Mexico.

HARLOW: Yes, no kidding, I mean wild weather weekend. And we want to take our viewers now - thank you, Alexandra. Lets take you now down go to the gulf where this tropical storm is creeping closer to the shore.

BLACKWELL: Yes, people are getting ready for what could be the roughest weather they will see this year. Let's bring in CNN's Indra Peterson in Pensacola Beach, Florida with more.

So this has changed over the past couple of days - the intensity, the strength, what should people there expect?

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: You know, that is exactly the key. Things are changing. It doesn't mean we're out of the woods just yet. There's a big reason for that. First, let's talk about the change. Yesterday, we were on the borderline of a very strong tropical storm or possibly making landfall of a weak category 1 hurricane. The winds are 60, 65 miles per hour.

This morning, they're down to 40 miles per hours. That's a big difference. That puts us right on the borderline of a strong tropical depression or at 39 miles an hour that's a tropical storm. It's only one mile per hour over that. Either way, they were still talking about the pretty big effects.

Right around Morgan City, Louisiana, they are already under a tropical storm warning. That means within the next 36 hours, they're going to start seeing some very strong winds, 40 even 50-mile-per-hour gusts will be out there. They're going to be seeing some heavy rain and think about this area. There's been so much rain already for the season, that flooding concerns will be high. But even with the small amount of rain mainly because you are going to get so much in such a short period of time.

Now the big question is what is going? Why is this guy breaking apart? It slowed down significantly. It is just making its way north at about eight miles per hour. And the area that it is right now - it is literally being ripped apart. You can actually see a tiny circulation, trying to go straight north. Meanwhile most of what you see on the radar is kind of ripped to the east with strong winds up above. Dry air is filling in. And as long as it moves slowly, it's going to continue to rip apart. So the big question is, can it get over this speed bump and start to make its way northeast like it is expected to do? If that happens and it is expected, it will start to hold together a little bit more. We're not going to have those conditions ripping it apart. And that is the concern. That is the reason we keep talking about weakening. We are not out of the woods. This is very important. People need to realize this concern is still here - strong winds, heavy rain and trees uprooted right out of the ground, all still in the forecast, guys.

HARLOW: Yes, absolutely, people have to take it seriously. Indra, I appreciate it. Thank you so much.

Also, new this morning, in New York, police have two bikers in custody that are accused of involvement in the clash between a group of bikers and an SUV driver earlier this week.

BLACKWELL: And police say one of the men is the man, you see in the video, man you see smashing out the driver window with his helmet. The guy here with the helmet. CNN's Margaret Conley is live in New York. Margaret. what else do we know about these men?

MARGARET CONLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Victor, two bikers - they turned themselves in. They are in custody. The incident took place right here at West 178th Street. The west side highway is just blocks away from us. The bikers said this morning that they are going to gather right on this corner where we are standing.

We can see four police cars there, here protectively. Meanwhile, investigators they are still looking into what happened.


CONLEY: The motorcyclist seen here who repeatedly smashed his car window using his helmet with the family trapped inside has been identified. Authorities have also found the motorcyclist who shot this helmet cam video, showing how the incident escalated from the start.

Alexi and Lian (ph) was driving an SUV with her family here on Manhattan's Westside Highway. According to police, he struck a motorcycle that had slowed in front of him, slightly injuring the driver. Now it's when other motorcyclists surround him. Police say the bikers hit and spiked the car's tires.

As Lian escaped, his car ran into three more bikers, including one who is critically injured. That is when the motorcyclists gave chase eventually cornering the SUV and then beating and slashing Lian in front of his wife and two-year-old daughter. We returned to the scene with retired police officer Lou Palumbo and asked him how things went so wrong.


CONLEY (on camera): He puts the blame on the motorcyclists. PALUMBO: See them just driving normally in the center lane, nothing really dramatic. You are about to see this motorcycle operator pull in front. He's going to slow down and turn and look back at him. I'm just curious but what precisely were you thinking at that moment that you thought that would be appropriate?

CONLEY: Could the SUV driver have done anything differently?

PALUMBO: In my opinion, he was in fear for his life. He had a baby in the car and I don't think that he believes that he had any other option.

CONLEY: So if someone, the average person is driving down the freeway and this happens to them, what is the advice you can give them?

PALUMBO: Call 911, number one and then just basically try to yield the right of way to these bikes. The issue here is really the volume of motorcycles. The issue here is the operation of these motorcycles.


CONLEY: Now, there is one more twist to the story and that there was an off-duty police officer in the group riding amongst those motorcycles. And the question remains as to why it took him four days to come forward with information.

HARLOW: Absolutely. A lot of questions. Margaret, thank you. I appreciate your reporting. We are now also hearing from the man who witnessed the beating. Stepped in and helped stop the attack on the SUV driver.

BLACKWELL: His name is Sergio Consuegra. He spoke exclusively with CNN's Anderson Cooper.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: So you were actually standing between one of the people who is hitting the guy with his helmet and the man on the floor, the driver? You stood between them?


COOPER: Were the motorcyclists saying anything back to you?

CONSUEGRA: Yes, one of them was screaming saying with the helmet on top of him. He said "No," because I tell him "please stop. Let it go." And then one of them, a short guy, he said "No, because he rammed one of us." I didn't understand what he was saying to me because I did not know what happened before.


CONSUEGRA: Before anything else.

COOPER: He was saying that the driver ran over one of the motorcycles.

CONSUEGRA: Yes, that is what I heard him saying. When I - I didn't want to talk to him or engage in any whatever situation that happened before. I kept saying the same thing. I stood my ground. I looked in their eyes and they looked at me. Basically, there was a little tense moment of maybe a couple of seconds looking at each other. They somehow got - I don't know. They stopped. Somehow they stopped.


HARLOW: Well at least he stepped in and helped as much as he could. We are going to keep you updated on the story as we get more developments throughout the day.

BLACKWELL: You know, it would be nice to tell you this morning that the government is open.

HARLOW: Yes, yes.

BLACKWELL: They worked it out overnight while you were sleeping. Yes, can't do that.

HARLOW: Because if we did, it would be a dream. No deal in Washington. Day five of the government shutdown. We're going to tell you where things stand.

BLACKWELL: Plus, we will go live to the heartland to hear what Americans have to say about Congress and the shutdown.


BLACKWELL: A live look at House floor right now. Some debate happening there because there is a vote that's coming up on back pay to furloughed federal employees. There's a bill that will be debated or is being debated now so when the shutdown ends, the hundreds of thousands, more than 800,000 federal workers furloughed and not being paid, they will get that money back.

During the last shutdown in '95, Congress voted to give back pay to furloughed workers. Again, day five of the government shutdown. CNN's Athena Jones joins from us the capitol.

Athena, do we expect this to pass and get the president's signature.

ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Victor. We do expect this to pass. This is something the White House has already said that the president supports and will sign. We expect that bill to pass in the House later on this morning. The Senate to pass it and go to the president's desk and he will sign it.

I should tell you the House is also going on a measure that would allow military chaplains to continue offering religious services to members of the military during the shutdown. It is not exactly one of those smaller spending bills, but it's another bill that they're hoping to pass today. I can tell you this furlough back pay is a big issue. The hundreds of thousands of workers were being affected, at least, if they pass and sign this bill, as is expected, they will get a paycheck once the government reopens. It is really the only positive movement we have seen on the hill as we enter this fifth day of a shutdown. Both sides dug in holding firm in their positions. Democrats are repeatedly saying they want House Speaker John Boehner to simply bring to the House floor for a vote, a spending bill funding the entire government, reopening the doors of the entire government. And the House Republicans don't want to pass - many conservative House Republicans don't want to pass the bill that doesn't include some changes to Obamacare.

Listen to what House Republican Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann had to say.


REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R), MINNESOTA: We hold the purse, so to speak. We hold the credit card for this country. We are the ones who make the decision in the House of Representatives, the most powerful part of government was meant to be by our founders. We're the closest to the people. We're elected every two years. We're the ones who decide how much to raise taxes or lower taxes. We decide the spending. That's our job.


JONES: And now many members of the American public are saying Congress do your job. They are not pleased with the fact that this shutdown is continuing and so we expect that anger to continue. We are waiting for some sort of movement or some positive change here. Back to you, guys.

BLACKWELL: Our Athena Jones at the capital.

Again what you saw there was some activity on the House floor as they vote or continue to debate now on this bill to give back pay to the furloughed workers whenever this ends. There is this plan to make sure they get their money back. More than 800,000 furloughed workers. As Athena said it is expected to pass the House, and the Senate and the president's signature.

Now President Obama called out Republicans again this morning over the government shutdown.

HARLOW: And he did not mince his words. Our Jill Dougherty is at the White House. Good morning to you, Jill. Give us a sense of what the president says.

JILL DOUGHERTY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, he started kind of softly with some letters from Americans who are suffering during this shutdown. And then he let loose.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Take that vote. Stop this farce. End this shutdown now. The American people don't get to demand ransom exchange for doing their job. Neither does Congress. They don't get to hold our democracy or our economy hostage over a settled law.


DOUGHERTY: And then also you know you have from Speaker Boehner much of the same very strong rhetoric. He is saying this is an epic battle. That every one, the Republicans should hang tough. Victor.

BLACKWELL: Jill Dougherty there at the White House for us. Of course, this conversation will continue. We heard comments even from secretary of state John Kerry.

HARLOW: Right. From across the globe.

BLACKWELL: OK. All right. Thank you very much.

Americans are angry and fed up with Congress.

HARLOW: And they are not afraid to share those feelings with Washington. Our Ted Rowlands is in Kansas City, Missouri. Ted, good morning to you. You're outside of D.C., you're away from the politics, you're with the folks, what are they telling you about the shutdown?

TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, they are disgusted, Poppy and Victor. As you can imagine, we have been going to different cities for the last five days and hearing basically the same thing. People are angry for a couple of reasons, the obvious reasons. This was on everybody's calendar. This should have been avoided. Both parties are to blame. People out here think. People, they are used to the bickering in Washington. They are used to the fact that nothing gets done because the lawmaker's goal is to attack the other party.

But when something like this happens where there are furloughed workers and these furloughed workers be getting back pay, but what about all of the other workers, the ancillary folks that are working outside the parks, the contractors, they are not getting paid. We talked to people in St. Louis. They were absolutely livid.

Forty eight people at the St. Louis Arch. Non-government workers - they are out of money, out of a paycheck until this is figured out. This morning in Kansas City, we have been talking to people and also last night. Take a listen to a little bit of what they had to say.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Lawmakers should go back to work and they should deny pay - they should refuse pay themselves for as long as they are denying pay for the federal government workers.

ROWLANDS: What message would you have for the lawmakers on Capitol Hill? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would like to tell them to go back to work, OK? And as far as Obamacare, if they don't want people to have insurance, they should give up their insurance.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I think it is asinine that they let this happen. But, you know, I understand why it happened. I hope they get it cleared up soon.

ROWLANDS: Message to Capitol Hill?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Turn it back on. We need the government.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Quit bickering overall. Just make a decision. Help out the people.


ROWLANDS: And that's really the theme. Quit bickering. I tell you what, it has been interesting talking to people. There are some people who don't care. There are some people who align with their party affiliation and blame the other party. But the lion's share of people are just absolutely disgusted with both parties and the fact the government is shutdown. Poppy and Victor.

HARLOW: Yes, it's good to hear from people all over the country about this, Ted. One of the things that I have been hammering home is the real issue with even if the government workers that are furloughed get back pay, which is important if they do, that all the other folks, it's businesses and their jobs are being so impacted, they are not working as a result of this - they are not eligible for a federal back pay. So it is hurting across the board.

We want to hear from you. You can voice your opinion to Washington about the shutdown. Go on to CNN's ireport and tell us what you think. We're going to be right back.


HARLOW: Almost everyone these days, it seems, shares photos on social media, but in between those snapshots of your kids, your dog, your late night out, you probably run across more than a few ads.

BLACKWELL: Yes, every weekend we share an example of how tech is ruining someone's life. And today, we are calling out the photo sharing site Instagram. Yes, you, Instagram. Because it recently announced that like Twitter and Facebook, it is going to start posting ads.

HARLOW: It isn't so? But it is. Instagram officials say they will ease us into their brave new world of advertising. They promise beautiful high quality photos that they think feel natural to Instagram.

BLACKWELL: But still ads nonetheless.

HARLOW: Right. BLACKWELL: Instagram's parent company Facebook added ads to the news feed just a few years ago and it seems like the only way social media sites can profit.

HARLOW: Well, it is a business.


HARLOW: In the past year, mobile ads alone have been huge business topping out at $8.8 billion. Facebook tries to rake in cash by tailoring ads to users' interests. That is not what Instagram is going to do at this point. So it's going to be different but you know, they say don't believe the feeds, like don't post 20 pictures of you know, whatever it is - your dog, I don't believe the feed with that, Instagram. I'm interested to see how it works out.

BLACKWELL: I knew someone who posts 20 pictures of your dog.



HARLOW: Like 12.

BLACKWELL: You're going to love this one.

Soldiers we know are used to saving each other's lives. But one staff sergeant in Colorado says he would not be alive today if not for one 12-year-old boy. Their story is after the break.



HARLOW: One of my favorite songs and you know when you hear it what that means. Time for "The Good Stuff" where we bring you a good story that has made headlines.

It's about a soldier from Colorado who says he owes his life to a 12- year-old boy.

BLACKWELL: Staff Sergeant Wesley Patton was kayaking when rough water knocked him out of the boat. At the same time, Adin Pruett was fishing with his dad. And when they say Patton go under, they threw him a life jacket and helped him to safety.

HARLOW: And just then, Patton actually had an asthma attack. That is when Adin came to his rescue, a second time, ran to the car, grabbed his inhaler, brought it back. Patton said later about the 12-year-old boy "I'll live another day because of him."

That is fantastic.

BLACKWELL: You know, we need - with all that is going on, with the shutdown, the story of the bikers, and what happened in Washington, we need a moment just to talk about some good stuff. HARLOW: Leave it to a 12-year-old.

BLACKWELL: Thanks for watching today. We will see you here back at the top of the hour. But first a special countdown to crisis edition of "Your Money." Listen.


OBAMA: As many people are being hurt by a government shutdown, our economic shutdown that results from default would be dramatically worse.


HARLOW: All right.

BLACKWELL: Here is the president's message.

HARLOW: Trying to find the camera there.

BLACKWELL: I'm here. The president's message falling on deaf ears in Washington. A special "Your Money" with Christine Romans starts now. See you at the top of the hour.