Return to Transcripts main page


Three Killed In Small Plane Crash; Another Arctic Blast On The Way; Is Arizona Bill About Christians Versus Gays?; Three-Year-Old With An IQ Above 160; Apple Flaw: Hackers See Encrypted Messages; Google Phone Sees Space, Tracks Motion; "Help Me" TV Station Loses Sound

Aired February 23, 2014 - 07:30   ET


CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: The pilot was trying to land when apparently he spotted another plane on the runway and then tried to avoid a collision and that's when he crashed.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: And number five now, temperatures across the country expected to plunge this week. New York, Chicago, Washington, they're going to see another surge of arctic air and some eastern states are actually expected to battle sub-zero temperatures. If you live in the south, though, you still have a little time to soak up the sun. It's going to be around 70 today in Atlanta, just saying, just saying.

PAUL: We're going to get it back now, thanks to you. We're going to get hit with like 30-degree weather.


PAUL: Listen, I know that big chunk of the community is outraged over Arizona's legislature passing the so-called religious freedom bill as they call it.

BLACKWELL: Yes, and that would protect individuals and businesses from lawsuits if they refuse services to gays or anyone else based on deeply held religious beliefs. Protesters as you see in here now are demanding that Arizona governor veto it, but how would you feel about this bill if you were both a devout Christian and gay?

PAUL: Joining us now via Skype Justin Lee in Raleigh, North Carolina, he is the founder and executive director of the Gay Christian Network and also the author of the book "Torn Rescuing the Gospel from the Gays Versus Christian Debate." Justin, good morning to you. Thank you for being with us.

JUSTIN LEE, FOUNDER, THE GAY CHRISTIAN NETWORK: Good morning, thanks for having me.

PAUL: Thank you. So, I know that it's easy on the surface to cast this bill in Arizona as Christians versus gays. How do you feel about this whole thing?

LEE: Well, I don't think it's that simple at all. That's the kind of dichotomy, the kind of image that we see in the culture a lot on these kinds of topics. But the reality is that there are Christians with many different views on this bill, many Christians who strongly oppose this kind of legislation, as well.

And, in fact, often what's really going on here is we have different understandings of what it really means to be gay so that you got folks who see being gay as a lifestyle choice who want to encourage folks not to make that choice. And then you've got other folks who say, no, look, this is my orientation.

This is what I feel, it's who I am and so when you do something that harms me as a person, you're discriminating against me, not on the basis of any choice I made, but just who I am.

BLACKWELL: The verse that many Christians who oppose gay marriage or homosexuality point to in 1822, though shall not with mankind and we saw the protest there with signs about the golden rule and love thy neighbor as thy self and it appears this way that some of the people who oppose gay marriage oppose serving gays choose the Leviticus verse with completely forgetting about all the other verses of impartiality and loving each other.

PAUL: Matthew 7, no judging.

LEE: You know what, Christians have long had different views on theological questions. The church is wrestling with what we'll call sin and not call sin. The bible tells us to love God, to love our neighbors and to love our enemies and essentially we're supposed to love everyone, whoever they are and I think in this debate what's often happened is that Christians have become known not for our love, but for our hate and our discrimination and our bigotry.

And that's contrary to the message of Jesus. Many Christian friends may disagree with me on the theology of marriage, for instance. As long as they treat me with love and respect, I'm OK with differences on theological opinion.

PAUL: So let me ask you from a Christian standpoint, is it fair to ask a business to provide a service for something that they think is against their religious beliefs? How do you address that issue?

LEE: You know, those kinds of issues can get really complicated and with this legislation, in particular, we've heard a lot about say the wedding photographer asked to photograph the same-sex wedding. I'll be honest with you, as a gay man , if I get married some day and a photographer or caterer says I don't want to be part of your event. To be honest --

PAUL: You don't want them, right? Exactly.

LEE: I can't imagine wanting someone to be part of my wedding who doesn't want to be there. From what I can tell, these seem to be a tiny sliver of the kind of cases that a bill like this affects. To me it's sort of like if you have a fly on the wall and you decide to take care of it by bringing in a wrecking ball and knocking down the house. This is a bill that has the potential to impact religious freedom for everybody. To say that every business owner could deny services to me, not just on the basis of my being gay but being evangelical. So if I hail a cab and say, take me to the Baptist Church and the cabby says, well, I don't agree with Baptists, so, I don't want to take you to the Baptist Church that that would be legal. And in America I think, you know, religious freedom means I have the right to practice my religion and I have the right to be free from discrimination on.

BLACKWELL: I think from having conversations with people on social media and in person why this, above all, we know that the national organization from marriages is focused on defining marriage as one man, one woman, but I see no initiative to combat divorce. I mean, if you're trying to support marriage, why not keep couples together? Why this? Beyond all the sins that are detailed in the bible?

LEE: That's a question a lot of Evangelicals have been asking ourselves as well. And I think part of it is there is a perception on the part of some Christians and Evangelicals, in particular, that society is moving away from where they think it ought to be on this issue. So, they're fighting back more strongly on this particular issue.

But, again, I think it goes back to what I was saying earlier about there is a strongly held view amongst some Evangelicals, still, that being gay is a matter of choice. It's what I believed growing up. I grew up Southern Baptist. People chose to be gay and it was a sinful choice and I should speak out against it.

Not until many years of wrestling with my own feelings that I was able to admit to myself that I was gay and I had chosen it. As people come to understand that and understand the experiences of gay people, they become much more understanding and much more empathetic and a lot of this kind of conflict goes away.

PAUL: Boy, Justin Lee, it has been so interesting and such a pleasure to speak with you today. Executive director of the Gay Christian Network, author, as well. Thank you so much for being here.

LEE: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: All right, still to come on NEW DAY, she looks perfectly normal, but some say this girl could be the smartest 3-year-old on the planet. More on her off the charts IQU and the wild things her brain can do.

PAUL: Plus, anyone who uses an iPhone or an iPad, you need to hear this one. Thanks to a flaw found in Apple software, spies and hackers may have been able to see and read all of your sensitive data. We have details after this.


BLACKWELL: It's 19 minutes until the top of the hour. This girl you're about to meet, she is one of the smartest 3 year olds on the planet. Alexis Martin is the youngest person on the planet accepted as a member of Mensa. She is 3. Her IQ is over 160 and 160 is the highest number possible.

PAUL: Look at her there. Just after her first birthday, she could already recite entire books from memory after her first birthday. By the time she was 2 she was reading and taught herself to speak Spanish using her parents' iPad.


PAUL: My gosh that little voice.

BLACKWELL: Alexis already reads at a fifth grade level. She's 3. Doctors who tested her say her IQ is so off the charts they can't even assign a number to it.

PAUL: Those are some proud parents.

BLACKWELL: That's amazing.

PAUL: In a big way. Look at her, she's like I just want to sit here and play. She's still a 3-year-old at heart.

BLACKWELL: Time for our weekly look at the good and bad of technology.

PAUL: If you use Apple products and ever shared a wireless network in a public place download all the latest updates and please be sure your information is safe. Apparently there was a software flaw that let spies and hackers see all your private messages, even financial information. We're talking about iPads and all is at risk here. Here is more, there are new fears that hackers are going to study Apple's new patch hoping of course to break passed it.

BLACKWELL: All right, so, you might think this is cool or creepy, but here it is. Google unveiled project tango. It's a prototype smartphone that makes a digital blue print of the physical world around you. It's 3d sensor and map floors and ceilings like James Bond or "Mission Impossible" movie. You can use the device to find your way if you're lost in a building or to play "hide and seek" in your house with your favorite game character. What do you think?

PAUL: Spongebob is going to be -- I don't think so.

BLACKWELL: Cool or creepy?

PAUL: Little creepy, just a little. Television, obviously, is a visual media, but it's hard to put on a good show without sound. We love the WGN morning show in Chicago and what they did turning this technical live meltdown. Believe it or not one microphone from a remote location, mind you, was working.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're experiencing some very serious technical difficulties with our audio system and for some reason, this is the only audio that works right now, but we want everyone to know that we are frantically working on this situation and trying to fix it as soon as possible.

I'm Nancy Lu along the mag mile and for some reason we are experiencing some serious technical difficulties with our audio systems and I hope you'll bear with us as we iron out this situation. But that's the thing with this morning show, you never know what to expect. But while I'm on the air --


PAUL: This went on for 19 minutes, people. Kudos to that girl in the field who had to take over for 19 minutes.

BLACKWELL: On and on and on. But you know what? That's a great team because they were funny, off the cuff and I'm sure the numbers were huge. Everybody was calling, turn on WGN. They were great.

PAUL: Nice job, nice job.

BLACKWELL: Still to come on NEW DAY, nine films have been nominated for top honors at the Academy Awards including "Philomina." But nine movies is a lot to sit --

PAUL: So if you need a cheat sheet on what to watch. We have you covered, coming up.

First check in with CNN's John King, he has a look at what's coming up this morning on "INSIDE POLITICS." Good morning, John.

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, guys. This week looking at President Obama's end of the year about face. Yes, believe it or not, kind of sad, looks like Washington's governing year is over, from here on out all campaign mode. Also, guess who's coming to dinner at the White House? Perhaps the next president, who? Well, we'll show you on "INSIDE POLITICS" just ahead.

BLACKWELL: Watch "INSIDE POLITICS" with John King coming up at 8:30 Eastern here on CNN.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't like change. It's really hard for me. Sometimes I think that I'll die before I change.


PAUL: Oscars are just one week from tonight. And if you haven't seen movies like "American Hustle" this is your last chance to catch up for, you know, the big show.

BLACKWELL: But there are nine films nominated for best picture. That's a lot to get through in a week, right? We're busy already.

PAUL: Good luck with that. BLACKWELL: So what should you watch and what should you skip? Let's get some advice from Bradley Jacobs, senior editor at "Us Weekly" magazine. Bradley, good to have you this morning.

PAUL: Good morning.


BLACKWELL: So if you have time for just one of the nine, which one should people pick?

JACOBS: If you had had to take it down to just one, I have to say, you got to see "12 Years A Slave." This is in many ways movie of the year. It is in a tight race for best picture with "Gravity" and "American Hustle." But this movie has minted stars out of Chiwetel Ejiofor and Lupita Nyong'O, she is also a red carpet superstar.

This is a harrowing story, a little slice of American history that everybody needs to know. It is tough to watch. I remember when I saw it, there is a two-minute seen of Chiwetel's slave character just hanging. If there is one movie to see in the next seven days, this would be it.

PAUL: Let's say we carve out a little time for two movies, what's your second pick?

JACOBS: If you can find a second one, see "Dallas Buyers Club." This is going to have two big wins, Matthew McConaughey for best actor and Jared Leto for best supporting actor. This is a story of course of Matt McConaughey plays a heterosexual who's very homophobic. He doesn't understand how this happened and his arc over the course of the movie, what happens to him and how he meets the Jared Leto character who's a transgendered, gay guy, becoming a woman, and their evolving relationship is very moving.

There's one scene in particular that really resonated with me in a supermarket that really shows how much McConaughey's character grows where he sticks up for Jared Leto, a person who he used to make fun of months ago. So it is really incredible and another important one to see.

BLACKWELL: So we've got "12 Years a Slave," then "Dallas Buyers Club." Say I'm off Friday --

PAUL: Are you off Friday?

BLACKWELL: I'm not. But let's just say that I'm off Friday and I've got time for another one. What's your third pick?

JACOBS: Sneak out and see "Blue Jasmine." This is my favorite performance of the year, Cate Blanchett. She's going to win best actress. This is her sixth nomination. She is a leading lady we all know and she's finally going to win. She plays a Park Avenue socialite so deep into denial about what's happened to her. I couldn't take my eyes off of her. The movie is only 90 minutes long, it could have gone on another 90 minutes. Her performance is just magic.

It is kind of what movie going is all about. With all this Woody Allen stuff that's happening, all this scandal that's risen again after 20 years, Cate Blanchett has kind of stayed away from it. People feel bad that it's tainted her at all, but this performance stands on its own. It is just incredible. That would be my third movie to see.

PAUL: So if we had to -- if we're overachievers and we're going to say I'm going to get all of them, but there's one I'm going to miss -- just one -- which one do we skip?

JACOBS: I personally say you can skip "Nebraska." It is nominated for best picture. I'm sorry to any "Nebraska" fans out there, but it was dreary. It was not an enjoyable movie for me. Honestly, as someone who spent a lot of type in the Midwest, I went to Northwestern, I was born in Canada, I thought it made Midwestern people look terrible.

It really made them look small-minded and like idiots and I just didn't appreciate it. I know a lot of people love this movie, say it says a lot about family and there is a great performance by Bruce Stern. But overall I would say you might be able to skip that one if you had to.

BLACKWELL: If you could fit in eight movies in a week, you can get a ninth one in.

PAUL: When you watch the Oscars you feel like, I'm invested in this and I have my opinions and I can either rejoice or say "that shouldn't have happened!"

BLACKWELL: Absolutely. Bradley Jacobs, thanks so much for counting them through with us, one, two, and three.

JACOBS: Sure thing. Thanks, guys.

PAUL: Have you heard about Atlanta wanting to kick out Justin Bieber almost before he gets here?

BLACKWELL: There are some people here who say please don't come. Don't even look at house. There are some folks here in Atlanta that are making sure the pop star does not move to town.

PAUL: Plus, glowing reindeer? What's going on here? Why some farmers say it's going to cut down on car accidents.


PAUL: I think I see a little bit of sun peeking up there as we look at Georgia. Good morning to all our Georgia friends here. Live look over the city, 73 degrees today, Victor.


PAUL: Sunshine. Springtime just around the corner. We just have to get through a little more cold and then maybe we're there.

BLACKWELL: It's coming, folks. It's coming.

PAUL: Southern hospitality.

BLACKWELL: Speaking of Atlanta, some people in Atlanta have a message for Justin Bieber -- do not come here. That's the message. Apparently the pop star has been eyeing this mansion in town, but the affluent locals don't want him moving in so a group of them will actually protest in front of that home tomorrow morning. According to their Facebook page, nearly 200 people say they will be there to join that coalition.

PAUL: There really is southern hospitality though, I promise.

BLACKWELL: There is.

PAUL: Not with him apparently.

BLACKWELL: Remember Pharrell Williams' infamous hat that he wore at the Grammy awards this year, the one that looks like the Arby hat? It is up for sale. The singer put the designer hat on eBay, current bid -- $12,000.

PAUL: What!

BLACKWELL: And expect the price to climb within seven days left to bid because all proceeds -- here's the good thing -- will benefit the From One Hand to Another Foundation. It's Williams' educational non- profit organization.

PAUL: Well, that's nice.

BLACKWELL: Yes. Vivian Westwood. That's a funky hat, making money though. That's good.

PAUL: Thank you so much for starting your morning with us.

BLACKWELL: Much more ahead on NEW DAY. The 8:00 hour starts now.