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February Jobs Report; Pistorius Ex-Girlfriend Takes Stand; "The Future of the Mind"; Helping Los Angeles Girls Find Hope

Aired March 7, 2014 - 08:30   ET



We have breaking news now. The February jobs report has just come in. And CNN's chief business correspondent, Christine Romans, has the details.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: It's a little stronger than expected. One hundred and seventy-five thousand net new jobs created in the month of February. You'll remember, so many people thought that the weather would hold things back. The forecast was 150,000. The jobless rate, 6.7 percent. The Labor Department is calling that little changed. For the record, it's up just slightly from 6.6 percent.

When I look at these numbers on the table and I see the revisions, you can see that there are upward revisions - upward revisions for December and January totaling about 25,000. So a little bit more (ph) hiring than we had expected.

The labor force participation rate, 63 percent. Little changed. That's the number that so many people are worried about, showing how many people are out of the labor market. But we saw construction adding jobs. We saw manufacturing adding jobs. We saw leisure adding jobs. I'll point out, it will be really important to watch the quality of the jobs added. Two-thirds of the jobs created in the recovery --

BOLDUAN: That's a big theme that you look for in -- especially in recent jobs reports?

ROMANS: Yes, two-thirds -

BOLDUAN: Quantity versus quality.

ROMANS: Two-thirds of the jobs created have been lower wage jobs. We had retail jobs lost. I think that's no surprise in the month, you had retail jobs lost. Look, who's going out and buying -


ROMANS: You know, stuff when you're, you know, shoveling out your driveway. So, again, 175,000 jobs created. There's the trend over the past year. So you can see, it is a pick up. We can call this a pick-up in hiring. And 175,000 is just enough to absorb the new entrants into the labor force. That's what you want to see. How many times weather was mentioned, I think 13 times in the press release. So that tells you that they were very closely watching that.

BOLDUAN: So that feeds into what Janet Yellen, the Fed chair, was worried about, that the winter weather would impact the numbers.

ROMANS: So with -- if you didn't have this bad winter weather, you may well have had a much better start to the year for hiring.

BOLDUAN: So you think that's the real thing? That's not just an excuse.

ROMANS: It's a real thing. It's absolutely a real thing. I mean weather is something that every economist has been trying to -- this year has been crazy. You can't go to a job interview if -- you can't go to a job fair if there's all of this crazy weather.

BOLDUAN: You can't get there.

ROMANS: Right, you can't. And if you're hiring, especially if you're in one of these industries that you're working outside or you're in housing. I'm interested that manufacturing and construction did have job gains in the month. I think that's important. Retail lost. We'll look for business information services. Those tend to be higher paying jobs.

This is a number, I think, that is going to be -- the stock market's going to like this number. People who think that the underlying strength of the economy is slowly gaining momentum, they're going to like this number. You know, the Treasury secretary, a couple of weeks ago, told me that we're on a decided, you know, upward course in the American economy. These numbers fit into that. You want to see more, but this is the right direction.

BOLDUAN: The right direction. We'll take it. Christine, thanks so much.


BOLDUAN: And, of course, be sure to watch Christine's show, "Your Money," Saturdays, 2:00 p.m. Eastern, right here on CNN.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Coming up on NEW DAY, extraordinary testimony in the Oscar Pistorius trial. His ex-girlfriend crying in court saying he always carried a gun. That's not why she's crying, though. We'll give you the very latest straight ahead.


CUOMO: Welcome back.

We're learning a lot more about blade runner Oscar Pistorius. More than his defense team would probably like. An ex-girlfriend broke down on the stand when she told the court that he cheated on her with the woman he's now accused of murdering. Also, she said that he kept two cell phones, one only for personal business. And she also said something perhaps more germane to the case, which is that Pistorius was never without his gun. So let's get our status check and fight through the points of who's winning this case at this point. We have host of HLN "Now: On the Case," and former prosecutor, Mr. Vinnie Politan. He's going to be looking at the points for the prosecution, of course. And CNN legal analyst and criminal defense attorney, Mr. Danny Cevallos, who will, guess what, look at the defense side.

Gentlemen, thank you very much.

Mr. Politan, always a pleasure. We'll begin with you as the prosecution.

Now, let's set aside the fact, but remind our viewers, that a lot of this stuff we're hearing right now would never make it into a trial in the U.S., but it is in there and it is going to shaping the character. What is your deal, Mr. Prosecutor? What are the main points you're trying to make here and why do you think you're effective?

VINNIE POLITAN, HOST, HLN'S "NOW: ON THE CASE": Well, let's start with the -- what you just spoke about, which was the girlfriend testifying. The ex-girlfriend of Oscar Pistorius painting a picture of who this guy is, right? How is it possible that Oscar Pistorius would shoot and kill his girlfriend? Well, he was a hot head with a temper that would flared up and he always had his gun with him.

That is a bad, lethal combination and it makes it much more plausible inside this courtroom that, yes, Oscar Pistorius is capable of doing what the prosecution has accused him of doing, which is murdering Reeva Steenkamp.

CUOMO: All right, so, let me toss the ball over to you, Danny. You know, you've got two phones. You cheated on me with Reeva Steenkamp. And you had a gun a lot. What do you do with that as the defense?

DANNY CEVALLOS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, in America, you don't let that get in. But apparently in South Africa, you can bring in character evidence to show that the defendant was generally a bad guy. Look, we all know, the rules of evidence here in America, this character evidence that he cheated on her or that he was a guy who liked to carry a gun around, not only is it improper character evidence, it's not relevant. Again, we know he had a gun. We know that he intentionally fired it.

The question was his mistake as to who was behind the door. So this evidence about what he did in the past, even cheating and even having a gun, is really unduly prejudicial. It wouldn't come in, in the United States. It shouldn't - apparently it's OK to come in, in South Africa. I don't know why. But the defense has to diffuse that character evidence. Hopefully the judge, because there's not a jury, the judge has seen this before and will give it the minimal weight it deserves.

CUOMO: Danny, what are you sweating for. You're winning that argument right now. Take out that fancy pocket square and dab your --

CEVALLOS: I get nervous around Mr. Politan. CUOMO: Dab your mustache.

CEVALLOS: I do. I get very anxious.

CUOMO: And, Politan, you look too confident. So I'm going to feign the outrage.

POLITAN: Take the tie off.

CUOMO: I'm going to feign outrage now. You know, when are you going to get to the actual events of that night. You keep talking about who he was everywhere else except that night. What do you have that shows that he planned to kill his girlfriend the night that he pulled that gun out, that you can prove that it's not his story we should believe? And what's this about the light on in the bathroom? How are you going to prove that?

POLITAN: Well, the light on in the bathroom is incredible evidence because Oscar Pistorius' story is based upon that he's walking around in the dark. And because it was so dark inside his bedroom, he couldn't see the fact that Reeva Steenkamp was no longer in the bed. And that's his excuse for shooting through the door accidentally.

Well, the neighbor, who has a clear shot, 80 yards, there's nothing between his balcony and Oscar Pistorius' bathroom, 80 yards, he could see that the bathroom light was on. So Oscar Pistorius can't say that he was in the dark that night because the witness says the light was on, by the way, ladies and gentlemen.

CUOMO: When was it on? When was the light on? And how does the guy know he saw a woman's figure when it was a frosted window? What's going on here?

POLITAN: What do you mean what's going on? What's going on is the light is on. It's on. He looks. He hears screams before he hears the final gun shot. And the light is on. Oscar Pistorius is not walking around in the dark like he said. He had to say he was walking around in the dark, because that's the only way you could explain that you're walking around in your bedroom and you don't know that your girlfriend is not in the bed.

CUOMO: Vinnie just scared me.

Danny, what's going on with your side. You got the light on. You said it was off. You know, you have all these people saying they heard screams. You say you didn't know where your girlfriend was. It seems like there - it seems in hot -- almost difficult to believe that you didn't know. And don't try to leave like that, Danny. Don't try to kill the shot when it's time to answer.

CEVALLOS: The light is problematic for the defense because the light ruins the defense's theory that Oscar Pistorius had no idea what was going on in his own bedroom and that Reeva wasn't in the room, she was in the bathroom. So they really have to work on the light. The light is very problematic. So they have to attack that testimony. That's why they spend so much time on this perception and whether or not he could be wrong about seeing the light and what he saw and what he heard. They really have to break down this doctor's testimony.

CUOMO: All right. And let's end on this point. Vinnie, at this point in the trial, we're still early on -

POLITAN: Yes, me lady.

CUOMO: We're still early on in the trial. But at this point, do you believe that even if the prosecution is successful in saying or showing Pistorius couldn't have believed what he thought he believed. He must have known that she was somewhere. You know, the story doesn't make sense. That this could still wind up being culpable much more likely than it is intentional homicide?

POLITAN: No. No, I don't think so. And I think maybe it's not premeditated murder, maybe it will just be plain old murder, but I don't think you're going to get all the way down to an accident, because the accident says he made a mistake. You know, he's very reckless. This is beyond reckless. There's something going on there.

And I think the key may be whatever's on those cell phones. If they were able to uncover whatever -- why are the cell phones in the bathroom. There was something related to those cell phones that lead to this fight, and that's what's got to be uncovered. And hopefully we'll see it at some point during the course of this trial.

CUOMO: All right, Danny Cevallos, thank you very much. I know it's hot in that studio. Appreciate you being with us, Danny, making good -

CEVALLOS: I'm smitzing (ph).

CUOMO: No, you're doing great. Always the best looking guy on camera, no offense, Vinnie. You look better than me. I'll give you that much.


CUOMO: Well, you called me, "my lady," and I think that that was offensive.

POLITAN: Well, that's a sign of respect in South Africa, apparently. You're like the judge, me lady.

CUOMO: Yes, to a female judge. I'm not a female.

POLITAN: Yes. Yes, I know.

CUOMO: I don't think.

POLITAN: I know.

CUOMO: Anyway.

POLITAN: I want to make sure people are watching noon to 3:00 on HLN. CUOMO: Noon to 3:00, HLN, watch Vinnie Politan. He's doing the best coverage on this case that I have seen.

Thanks for joining us, fellows. Have a good weekend.

Tonight you can watch more on the trial. We have CNN Spotlight, "The Oscar Pistorius Trial." You can watch it at 10:00 Eastern right here on CNN. Get all caught up. A really interesting case so far.


BOLDUAN: Coming up next on NEW DAY, mind reading and telekinesis is the stuff of science fiction, right? Of course. Well, maybe not much longer, apparently. One physicist's view of the future of the mind, coming up.



KEANU REEVES, ACTOR: Can you fly that thing?



MOSS: Tank, I need a pilot program for a B-212 helicopter. Hurry.

Let's go.


BOLDUAN: Let's do it.

Brain programming may not be confined to movies like "The Matrix" anymore or soon. Futurist and theoretical physicist Michio Kaku says new research is leading to scientific breakthroughs that could make mind reading, telekinesis a reality sooner than you may think.

He details the possibilities in his new book, "The Future of the Mind" and he is joining us here to explain in all in -- sum it up in three minutes. How do we do it?

Great to see you.

MICHIO KAKU, AUTHOR, "THE FUTURE OF THE MIND": Right. Glad to be on the show.

BOLDUAN: So we've got smart pills. We've got forgetful pills. We've got everything. Where do you want to begin? How do we get there?

KAKU: Well, first of all, just last year for the first time in history we actually uploaded a memory into a mouse. Next, we're going to upload memories into primates like for example chimpanzees and then we want to create a brain pacemaker for people with Alzheimer's disease so they can upload a memory of who they are, who their children are and where they live.

And then after that, who knows? Maybe upload a vacation that you've never had. And think of it, college students will be able to take all the courses they flunked in college, learn that material. We're not there yet.

But the first steps were taken last year. This is huge.

BOLDUAN: Well, I understand the application with Alzheimer's. That seems like a very good application of that possibility. But otherwise why would we want to do this?

KAKU: This could change the economy. Think of all the workers who are laid off because technology races on and they have to go to junior college and community college and relearn these skills. Think of college students who can take courses that they didn't pass in college. And this could affect entertainment, it could affect the economy. This is huge because our memories are who we are.

BERMAN: It's like an iPhone update. You just -- you know, plug in and all of a sudden things appear in your mind and the programs work better.

KAKU: Well, that's the goal. We're not there yet. But for animal studies we can actually do that. When animals learn certain skills we record the memory and then we reinsert that memory back into what is called the hippocampus of the brain and the animals learn it just like that.

CUOMO: How are you -- what is it that you're inserting that's the memory?

KAKU: Well, when you -- we learn a task in the hippocampus -- that's in center of the brain. Electrical activity surges in what is called the hippocampus. That's your memory organ. We record it. Just like you videotape something, we record the impulse going in to the hippocampus.

CUOMO: So the impulses have a specific pattern --

KAKU: That's right.

CUOMO: -- or makeup that is unique to that particular memory.

KAKU: Right. We record it. And then later after you've forgotten the task we reinsert that very same signal into the hippocampus and bingo --

CUOMO: You shoot electronic signals.

KAKU: That's right.

BOLDUAN: So is it just like the future version of the MRI. Like where are we today in terms of steps of getting there in humans.

KAKU: Well, see MRI is passive in the sense that you're -- BOLDUAN: Right.

KAKU: -- simply looking at energy flows of the thinking brain. We can do that now.

CUOMO: Yes, I knew that.

KAKU: And that allows us to quote, "read responses".

CUOMO: That was a dumb question. I knew that.

BOLDUAN: Speaking of dumb -- just kidding.

KAKU: This is active. We're talking about uploading -- uploading memories, experiences. One day we may have a brain net where the Internet is replaced by memories, emotions and feelings rather than digital.

BERMAN: What are we here for then? What's the whole point of us being us then if you can change it and adapt it? What's point of actually living your life?

KAKU: Because you can enhance it. You can enrich it. You can learn new tasks. You can become better people.

BOLDUAN: I'm with you on this regard. But then what about this dream sharing concept? I don't think anyone wants to know what I'm dreaming about.

KAKU: Well, first of all it's possible now to put the brain in an MRI scan and compose thousands of dots of electrical activity and have a computer program recognize it to create a photograph. We can actually see what's going on inside the living brain.

And then if you go sleep inside this MRI machine for the first time in history it will actually print out crude pictures of what you are dreaming about.

CUOMO: How do you balance the enthusiasm you have for the science with notion of with great power comes great responsibility and how it would be used by people.

KAKU: Well, we have to be very clear that false memories might also be uploaded. Vacations could be uploaded but memories of crimes that never happened.

BOLDUAN: I'm hearing like the premise of every sci-fi movie I've seen in the past five years.

KAKU: Right.

And also remember that President Barack Obama and the European Union have pledged over a billion dollars to map the brain. This is huge. The next human genome project will be the Connect Dome Project to give a map, a map of the human brain whereby we can see how mental illness operates. That's our short-term goal. CUOMO: That would be huge. That would be huge.

KAKU: Right.

CUOMO: Few needs are greater than that one at least in American society to understand behavior.

KAKU: Right. And it's in biblical times that mental illness is mentioned. And we realize that upwards of 15 percent of American population at some point or other have had mental problems. We don't know why. We're clueless as to the origin of schizophrenia, bipolar disorder.

CUOMO: Maybe it would help with the acceptance level also. We always deal with stories here now where there's criminal activity and they people claim to be mentally ill and we don't want to use it as an excuse. There's a stigma against it so knowledge would be very helpful.

KAKU: Right. And one day if we have the Connect Dome that is on a disk all of the pathways of the brain some people have speculated that in some sense this will live on even after we die.

CUOMO: Professor, if this is what you're doing for fun and you should read the book because I already feel smarter, what are you doing for work?

KAKU: Well I'm a physicist. We work on two great things. One is the origin of the universe. That's what I do professionally. That's what I do for a living.

But we also look at the origin of the mind. These are the two greatest mysteries in our science, outer space and inner space.

BOLDUAN: Fun to talk about and fun to dream about -- I'll tell you that much.

CUOMO: And I'll tell you what; people are interested. The book is already number one on the "New York Times" bestseller list.

KAKU: That's right.

CUOMO: So obviously a high interest category.

BOLDUAN: I feel smarter already. Michio Kaku it's great to see you.

CUOMO: John Berman very nervous about the prospect of people knowing what you dream about.

BERMAN: Yes. But think of the legal liabilities of that.

BOLDUAN: Thank you.

CUOMO: Always a lawyer.

BOLDUAN: There you go. Coming up, nearly one in five public school students dropout before graduation. Now one woman is stepping in to make a difference. You're going to find out in this edition of CNN Heroes.


CUOMO: Welcome back. Time for this week's CNN Hero.

Now, in Los Angeles nearly one in five public school students drops out before graduation. One woman is stepping up to make a difference to help teenage girls specifically. Meet Karen Taylor.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I blossom with each pen mark.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I found myself in the words.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Every girl has a story to tell.

KAREN TAYLOR, CNN HERO: Some of our girls are facing some of the greatest challenges teenagers could ever face. They need to be inspired about their own voice.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Life in the light can be so bright, nothing can be so pure.

TAYLOR: Writing is self-expression. It can give them a tool for moving forward.

Say something that nobody else has said before because you have your own way of saying things.

We match underserved girls with professional women writers for mentoring and group work shops.

I want to match you, Krista with Christie.

The moment you ask a young person, tell me about something you're passionate about the writing and the ideas just flow.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Their senses are deluded by the sparkly things that cross their eyes. Thank you.

TAYLOR: We need to help girls see that their voice matters.

We got a lot of good stuff here and what I would like to hear more is about you.

To give girls tools to be able to be positive and thrive and rise above whatever challenges she's facing. What's better than that?


CUOMO: Beautiful -- taking girl power to a whole new level.

BOLDUAN: Couldn't have said it better myself.

INDRA PETERSONS: One in five, every woman -- that's an amazing step (ph).

CUOMO: Hopefully she will change it for the better. If you know someone remarkable we'd love to hear about them. Just go to CNN-

BOLDUAN: Nominate your hero today.

All right. Time now for "NEWSROOM" with Jake Tapper. Have a good weekend, everybody.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning. And thanks for joining me for this special edition of "CNN NEWSROOM". I'm Jake Tapper in for Carol Costello.