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Hurricane Arthur Prep; Markets Open Higher; Airport Security Boosted; Serena Williams Questioned; Walkman Turns 35

Aired July 3, 2014 - 09:30   ET


ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: Derrec, thanks for taking a few minutes of your time with us. What you guys seeing there right now?


Well, obviously, there's a lot of attention with Hurricane Arthur. It being the first named storm of the hurricane season, coupled with a holiday weekend. Right now what we're seeing is Arthur, based on what we heard from the National Weather Service, is probably the closest it's going to be to the South Carolina coast. We're not expected to get anything more than what we would see in a severe thunderstorm, with the exception of the heavy rip current, which the entire eastern seaboard should be affected by that.

So, lots of people are visiting South Carolina or visiting the beaches in South Carolina right now. It's going to be very important to pay attention to the weather over the next few hours and on into tomorrow, and certainly obey the lifeguard rules and decisions and any warnings that might be posted.

CABRERA: Right, Derrec, you mentioned the rip currents there. That could be a very deadly threat. We know back in 2008, with Hurricane Bertha, that stayed about 1,000 miles off the New Jersey shore and yet three people died in the rip currents from that particular storm. For those who may be visiting from out of town, aren't necessarily familiar with how that works, how long are those rip currents a real threat?

BECKER: Well, from what we're hearing from the National Hurricane Center and our National Weather Service offices in South Carolina is, we're expecting the rip current threat to be on into today and certainly a little bit of tomorrow. Our county emergency management directors tell us that they have increased life guard staff, beach patrols have increased to make sure everybody gets the warnings about the dangers in the water, and any potential storm warnings that may come. They're going to be increased staff for the holiday weekend anyway but now there's that added piece of information that people need to pay attention to with Hurricane Arthur.

CABRERA: Is the storm surge or the rain causing any travel trouble?

BECKER: Not right now. It looks like it is raining in some parts of Myrtle Beach. We're looking at the live web cams we have access to. But as far as we know, traffic is fine in South Carolina.

CABRERA: All right, Derrec Becker, thank you so much for joining us from South Carolina this morning.

BECKER: Thank you.

CABRERA: Wall Street edging higher after a solid jobs report this morning. And 288,000 jobs were added last month. That's much more than expected. And it pushed the unemployment rate down to 6.1 percent. This is now the lowest level we've seen in almost six years. CNN Money's Alison Kosik is live at the New York Stock Exchange this morning.

Alison, are we going to touch that 17,000 mark today, do you think?

ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Well, stocks have already touched it and they've crossed it. So for the first time ever, you're seeing the Dow beyond 17,000, actually sitting at 17,028. You know, nothing like a stellar jobs report to get to that psychological milestone.

The question is, though, will the Dow close at that level? I was talking to some traders today. He said, you know what, you may see some resistance. We're seeing the Dow get to 17,000 and cross that 17,000 mark. It doesn't mean it's necessarily going to close there.

What you're seeing happening now as far as the jobs report goes, investors are kind of pulling apart the report right now. They're really looking at what kinds of jobs people were getting. Were they mostly low earning positions or were these middle income or higher income spots. Now, the good news is that a lot of these gains for these job gains I'm talking about were broad-based. Most were in the professional and business services areas. Those were good paying jobs.

So here's the prediction from traders that I've been talking to. You may see higher highs today, as we are seeing right now, record highs for the Dow for the first time ever crossing over the 17,000 mark. This trader telling me, though, you just may not see the Dow close at 17,000. Either way, though, guess what, Ana, you're still going to get fireworks. Macy's is ringing the closing bell a little early today, 1:00 today, because the market is closed tomorrow. Macy's is ringing the closing bell and I hear they're going to have fireworks.


CABRERA: All right! We like the sound of that. Of course, Alison, too, this is the fifth month in a row now we've seen jobless claims above 200,000 or the unemployment rate that is, more people getting jobs, 200,000 plus people who are now joining the employment force. That's kind of significant, too, right?

KOSIK: Oh, so you're talking about the unemployment rate falling to 6.1 percent. A lot of that this time around has to do with people are actually getting jobs. Now, the one sort of negative on this report is what's known as the labor force participation rate. It's still at lows that we haven't seen since the late 1970s. So at this point, what many analysts are wanting to see is more people getting back into the labor force, looking for a job, because you don't want to see that sort of stagnation in the labor force rate, Ana.

CABRERA: All right, Alison Kosik, we appreciate your insight. Thanks so much.

And still to come, the bitter fight over the Republican Senate seat in Mississippi continues, despite an election that happened more than a week ago. You'll hear how a conference call for Senator Thad Cochran took a wild turn once opponents dialed in.


CABRERA: It was one of the nastiest races this primary season, and when Thad Cochran edged out Chris McDaniel in the Mississippi Republican Senate runoff, well, he did it with the help of some black Democrats who crossed party lines. That is allowed by state law. But it has McDaniel and some in his camp crying foul. And when Cochran's campaign held a conference call with reporters yesterday, it took a very strange turn in what has already been a bizarre story. But listen to this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): Black people are harvesting cotton, why do you think it's OK to harvest their votes? They're not animals. Why do you treat black people like they're just there to vote.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK, here's what we're going to do. This - OK, I'm happy to I'm -- sir, I don't know, you know, you know, where you're calling from, but I'm happy to - I'm happy to address any question no matter the lunacy of it. (INAUDIBLE).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why did you use black people - why did you use black people to try to get Cochran elected when they're not even Republicans and you're treating them as if they're just idiots that they'll vote for Cochran just because they're black. That's ridiculous.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you harvest those votes?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, listen -- so here's what we're going to do. We're going to try to keep going through this call. If individuals have decided they want to try to hijack this call, we'll just let them get through with it. I'll be glad to answer any of the questions.


CABRERA: Wow, Mark Preston, the executive editor for CNN Politics, is joining me now.

Mark, that's disturbing to listen to. How did this happen?

MARK PRESTON, EXECUTIVE EDITOR, CNN POLITICS: Yes, not only is it disturbing, but it really has added to this incredible political soap opera that's playing out down in Mississippi. What had happened was is that the Cochran campaign has been accused of voting irregularities in this runoff election by Chris McDaniel and his supporters. What McDaniel - what the Cochran campaign was trying to do, Ana, was hold a conference call to try to rebut some of those allegations. A blogger apparently had gotten the information of the call, including the password to get into it so that you could join it. He put it out on social media. And from what we can see there is that somebody got on there and then decided to hijack the call, as we had heard, and then talk in very strong racial tones.

Now, we've got to be very careful in saying that we're not sure -- or we certainly can't conclude by any stretch of the imagination that that was a McDaniel supporter. I've got to tell you, the McDaniel campaign is not very happy by what had happened. They want the focus to stay on what they accused the Cochran campaign of doing, which is voting irregularities. And I have to say, that has not been proven either.

But let's look at this statement. I had just gotten off the phone with them. They sent me this statement that the McDaniel campaign sent me regarding what had happened during this call.

"With the revelation of still more allegations of criminal misconduct surrounding Cochran's effort to drive ineligible voters to the polls, it's no wonder Cochran's staffers told Mississippians seeking electoral integrity to shut up. Senator Cochran's campaign is in a state of wild disarray and Senator Cochran should return to Mississippi and take control of his campaign by addressing the allegations of criminal misconduct surrounding his campaign's strategy of pushing ineligible voters to the polls of June 24th."

Now, what the McDaniel campaign is accusing right now is that Democratic voters who have voted in the June 3rd election were ineligible to vote in the runoff and, in fact, they did vote in the runoff for Cochran. It's all up in the air. It is so confusing, but it is an amazing soap opera.

CABRERA: And yet it's supposed to be over but McDaniel has refused to concede the race. He's still urging his supporters to help him continue this fight. So what is he doing now?

PRESTON: So let's look at this. He sent out a fund-raising e-mail yesterday asking for donations. And if you go to his website, this is what you're going to see on his website right here, another appeal for financial donations to keep the fight on. Now, a very interesting high wire act Chris McDaniel is walking right now. If he's going to raise money, Ana, now is the time to raise money, now is the time to get your base behind you to stay with you. If not for this campaign, the next campaign. And that's what I think we're seeing Chris McDaniel do right now. The question is, how far can he keep this fight going on? And I've got to tell you, episodes that we saw happen yesterday, it's not helping his campaign and I think if you speak to his advisers they'll tell you the same.

CABRERA: But just to be clear, I mean, could he reverse the results of this runoff?

PRESTON: Well, I mean, look, it rests in the hands of the election officials down in Mississippi. There have been allegations but there have been no proof as of yet. I mean - but just to show you how close this race is, 7,000 votes is what separated -- less than 7,000 votes is what separated this election down in Mississippi very, very, very close.

CABRERA: And the beat goes on. Mark Preston, the executive editor for CNN Politics, thank you.

PRESTON: Thank you.

CABRERA: Still to come, growing fears that terrorists may outsmart security screenings and leading to stuffed up measures at some international airports. We'll tell you what some passengers could expect to see.


CABRERA: The July 4th holiday getaway is already in full swing. We have live pictures this morning from New York's LaGuardia Airport. AAA estimates more than 3 million people will take to the skies by the time the weekend ends on Sunday. It's getting busy.

They're in Washington, the Obama administration is stepping up security now for flights that are entering the U.S. from the Middle East, from Europe, due to some concerns about terrorism. CNN national security correspondent Jim Sciutto has more.


JIM SCIUTTO, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): They are the first line of defense for the American homeland, foreign airports with direct flights to the U.S. And now the Department of Homeland Security is directing those international airports to step up their security screening. In a written statement, DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson said, "we are sharing recent and relevant information with our foreign allies and are consulting the aviation industry."

Among the changes passengers may see, more screening of electronics and shoes, more explosive detection machines, and, in some cases, extra screenings at boarding gates. Driving the new directive is increasing concern that terrorists from al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, or AQAP, are refining bombs designed to avoid detection by current airport screening methods.

SETH JONES, RAND CORPORATION: Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula has long looked for vulnerabilities in airport security and in particular finding ways to put together using bombs using nonmetallic material that could make its way through metal detectors, but also trying to hide bombs in body crevices that will not be easily identified by some of the newer machines in place at airports.

SCIUTTO: This is the man believed to be behind the threat, AQAP master bombmaker Ibrahim al Asiri. In recent months, U.S. officials have warned that Asiri and AQAP terrorists trained under him were improving designs of new explosive devices such as shoe bombs that could fool screening systems. We spoke about the new measures today with former DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff.

SCIUTTO (on camera): How concerned should flyers be about what this means about the threat?

MICHAEL CHERTOFF, CHAIRMAN AND CO-FOUNDER, THE CHERTOFF GROUP: I would be mindful of the fact that there is probably increased risk. I don't think it's dramatically different. I wouldn't not fly. The good news here is that the government's sharing information with others in other parts of the world is responding to this.

SCIUTTO: We can get a sense of the urgency of this threat from two things, one, how fast DHS is acting within days, but also that it has specific cities and airports overseas in mind. This is a threat the DHS wanted to respond to right away.

Jim Sciutto, CNN, Washington.


CABRERA: Checking our other top stories.

Dozens of people have been sleeping in a high school parking lot after this massive California wildfire forced them out of their home. This is called the Butts Fire. It's near Napa Valley and it burned at least two homes but hundreds more are still in danger.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It could be right there and 10 minutes from now it will be behind you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I mean our house is up there and I have animals up there and my fiance is up there and -

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It just seemed like we were going to be OK, but then it changed just like that.


CABRERA: At last check, the fire was roughly 30 percent contained. No injuries have been reported.

Some absolutely frightening video to show you now of a woman plowing her car right into two men at a gas station in Texas. This happened after what the men say was an innocent verbal exchange.


MARCUS CHUCKUWUU, HIT AND RUN VICTIM: It was like, whoa, you almost hit us. And then from there she started yelling. She was like, "if I wanted to kill you, I'm not going to hit you about a car, I'm going to shoot you."


CABRERA: Unbelievable when you look at these pictures to learn that both those men walked away with just some cuts and bruises. The suspect is on the loose, nowhere to be found at this point.

Sorry? Not really. One of FaceBook's most public figures is make no apologies for tweaking your news feed to see just how it might affect your mood. She is apologizing, however, for the way the message was delivered. The company's chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg said, quote, "it was poorly communicated and for that communication we apologize. We never meant to upset you." Sandberg said it was just part of FaceBook's normal research.

Tennis Hall of Famer Martina Navratilova is calling a fault on Serena Williams. Williams, and her sister Venus, withdrew from their second round doubles match at Wimbledon on Tuesday. We've shown you this video, but we're seeing again, as you can see, Serena was disoriented during warm-ups. She decided to play on. Clearly she wasn't OK. She had a hard time tracking the ball. Her shots were pretty wild. After three games, the sisters finally retired from this match. Later, Serena blamed a viral illness. Well, now that excuse is raising doubts, and CNN's Andy Scholes joins me with this angle.

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS: Yes, and, Ana, if you were watching this - I was watching this live when it was going on and everyone in the sports office is like -

CABRERA: How does that happen? She's so (ph) - right? Yes.

SCHOLES: What - what is going on? Like, ball boys would throw her a ball and it would just whiz right by her. She just totally missed it. She couldn't bounce the ball up to herself. And when she would serve, she would stumble for it. I mean if you watch the video, it's just - it's puzzling when you're watching it.

And that's exactly what Martina Navratilova is basically saying. Her quote exactly was, "I've never seen anything like this and hopefully never will again. It's not right. It defies logic on so many fronts. The coach said he hadn't seen her for two days. He didn't know anything. How can you be a coach and not know anything? That's wrong. Venus was there. You don't know what's going on. But she says a virus was not it and that much is clear."


SCHOLES: So she's saying she thinks something else was in play here and the virus is the execution. Now, Serena Williams has tried to back up her virus claim. She put a picture on Instagram of her laying on a couch right here basically with her computer. She has a blanket, a Gatorade bottle. Picture seems a little convenient, but -

CABRERA: We've all been there at some point.

SCHOLES: We have all been there at some point. So, you never know. She might have just been sick. But the way she was acting with, you know, the tennis ball, you know, if me or you had a virus, we could probably still sit out here and talk and do a couple stories. But she was just out of it out there on - out of -

CABRERA: It certainly makes you wonder.

SCHOLES: Yes, what exactly was going on.

CABRERA: All right, Andy Scholes, thank you.

SCHOLES: All right.

CABRERA: Still to come, it was the first time you could take your tunes for a walk. How many of us had one of these Walkman. And if you can believe it, it reached a milestone. More than three decades old. We'll talk more about it, next.


CABRERA: Live pictures right now from Kure Beach, North Carolina. You can see the skies there seem to be getting darker. We are expecting a news conference from the North Carolina governor sometime near the top of the hour to get an update on the situation. But the rain is falling there. The waves are picking up and people are bracing for Hurricane Arthur, now a category one hurricane.

OK, a blast from the past now. Let's have some fun. You're going to feel real old in this next segment. The Sony Walkman, which paved the way for iPods and iPhones, it turns 35 years old this week.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): Now you can lose inches off your waistline effortlessly thanks to the new super Walkman from Sony, the world's smallest cassettes player. And while you lose inches here, with Sony sound, you won't lose a thing here. The new super Walkman, indisputably the world's smallest cassette player.


CABRERA: Oh, it was so cool back then. The palm-sized player, those iconic headphones, first to hit the market back in 1979. It's tech throwback Thursday and CNN technology analyst Brett Larson is joining us now to talk all about this.


CABRERA: Brett, this really is such a blast from the past. Do you remember your own first Walkman?

LARSON: I, sadly, do. Actually, that picture they had of the one with the mega base on it, that was the one that I had for many a Griswold's family vacation family vacation I had with my family. And we all -- it's crazy to think that this thing is 35 years old. That it was first rolled out in the U.S. in 1980. It was in Japan. There's -- that's the one that I had there. The auto reverse, because that was - remember, that was a big deal, kids, before we had -

CABRERA: Oh, yes. LARSON: Before we had MP3 players and playlists that just went on and on and on. Our tapes actually had to play to the end and then they would turn around, flip over and play to the other end. The tape didn't flip over. Actually the tape had spun around.

What's interesting about the Walkman, though, the prototype, back in the late '70s, was made for one of the Sony co-chairmen. He liked to listen to opera on his frequent transpacific airplane trips. So I guess that was the way to do it back then, put it on a - put it on one of those 90 minute medal oxide tapes and rock out.

What's crazy about the Walkman, though, it got us in the habit of carrying our tunes around. We were no longer subject to riding the subway with people with their giant boom boxes. You know they had the over the head headphones with the little foam pads on them that we saw there in that Sony commercial.

I have actually heard from a lot of people today who are talking about how rad their Walkman was because it made them, you know, go outside. You could take your music with you if you were going to go for a run or go to the gym. And, of course, now we don't carry tapes anymore. We carry around our smartphones that hold, well, literally thousands of songs right now. I don't have to make mixed tapes anymore.

CABRERA: I know. I know. I think I'm already out of date with -- because I still use my iPod when I go for a run as opposed to taking my cell phone, which is kind of one-stop shopping for everything.

LARSON: You - your -- Ana, you're telling me you're running around with your iPad.

CABRERA: My iPod. My iPod.

LARSON: Oh, you're iPod, OK. I was going to say, that's -

CABRERA: I just got an iPad. It's - I'm getting with the times now, you know.

LARSON: Yes, you're - yes, you're running around with an iPad, that's -- that's a little odd.

Yes, no, I mean - and it's - and it's been quite a development over 35 years. Go ahead.

CABRERA: Yes. And you just mentioned, you know, we got the iPhone, we had the Walkman 35 years ago.


CABRERA: You know, it became all about MP3 players. But we just keep on moving forward.


CABRERA: Now it seems to be all about streaming music and we know Google just announced that they're buying another music company called Songza.

LARSON: Songza.

CABRERA: So what is this all about?

LARSON: You know, this is an interesting idea because it's human curated music playlists. You know, the -- really the way music playlists used to be made. You know now, when you go on your Pandora or your iTunes music or your Spotify, and you say, you know, I want to listen to songs that sound like Beyonce, there's an algorithm that runs in the background that has actually, you know, sampled all these songs and plays them for you. With Songza it's more of a human curated playlist set up where people actually go in and create these different playlists to make them sound better.

It's a great idea. And you're absolutely right, streaming music has gotten so big. Actually last week the wireless provider T-Mobile has said now that if you're using streaming music services on your smartphone, that that won't actually count against your data plan. So I mean that's how far we've come. We -- apparently we can't listen to the radio anymore because that's the original free streaming music, but, you know, I guess if you - if you want to pick what songs you have and you don't want to hear commercials or those annoying deejays, you can stream your tunes from the Internet.

CABRERA: It just depends on your taste -

LARSON: Exactly.

CABRERA: Because if your house cleaning music is the same as my house cleaning music, we're in good shape.

LARSON: Absolutely.

CABRERA: But i yours is different than mine then --

LARSON: Yes, that's potentially a problem.

CABRERA: You might want to change the channel. Yes, exactly.

LARSON: Exactly.

CABRERA: All right, Brett Larson, thanks so much.

LARSON: Thanks, Ana.

CABRERA: Well, the next hour of CNN NEWSROOM with Poppy Harlow begins right now. Thanks so much for joining me.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is no time to put your stupid hat on. Don't get brave just because you see some good waves out there. Stay out of the water. Hatchet down and make sure we don't have to come rescue you.


POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now in the NEWSROOM, the first hurricane of the year picks up strength. Mandatory evacuations underway in North Carolina. The governor speaking in just moments.