tv CNN Saturday Morning CNN March 31, 2013 5:00am-6:00am PDT
and spring is here, so rsvp yes to your school reunion. reconnecting with an old friend is great and it could help you live a longer and healthier life. that'll wrap things up for us. top stories in the "cnn newsroom" start now. from cnn world headquarters in atlanta, it's sunday morning. good morning to you. a brand-new pope, a very different tone. thousands pack into st. peter's square this morning as pope francis leads his first easter mass. plus, a murder mystery in texas this morning. a district attorney and his wife both shot dead in their home just two months after an assistant d.a. was gunned down in the very same town. and the kennedy's kodak moments. never-before-seen images of america's most famous first family, taken 50 years ago today.
it's sunday, march 31st. good morning, everyone. i'm alison kosik. we begin this morning with that developing story out of texas. authorities there are hunting for leads in the murder of a county prosecutor and his wife. mike and cynthia mcclellan were shot to death inside their home last night. it happened in coffman county, texas. that's the same place assistant district attorney mike hassey was gunned down in january outside the county courthouse. i spoke earlier with the mayor of the city of kaufman. he said he thinks the murders are linked. >> this has to be targeted. that's the logical conclusion. i don't have any information that directs me to think that's the case, but that's what you would assume under the circumstances, since targeted two people from our prosecutors. >> our ed lavendera is in kaufman this morning. ed, what are police telling you about this link between these
latest killings and the murder of the assistant d.a. that happened in january? >> reporter: good morning, alison. so far, very little information, other than the fact that mike mcclellan, the district attorney, and his wife, gunned down in their home, and found yesterday, late yesterday. and obviously, with what happened here two months ago, a lot of questions swirling around, exactly what is going on with these cases. and the way the first prosecutor, a man by the name of mark hassey was gun down on his way to work, it was almost like it appeared like a hit, like he had been specifically targeted. that it wasn't just some random shooting. there was a great deal of law enforcement brought in to look into that case and we have seen that presence descend on the home of the mcclellans. fbi agents, texas rangers, as well as local law enforcement officials, who have descended on that mcclellan home to begin that investigation there. and as you heard the mayor of
kaufman say, it appears to be related and whether or not, but exactly why these prosecutors were targeted. if that turns out, indeed, to be the case, is not clear. but mr. mcclellan was very outspoken after the murder of mr. hassey two months ago. listen to the way he talked about how badly he wanted to capture the culprit of that murder. >> i hope that the people that did this are watching, because we're very confident that we're going to find you, we're going to pull you out of whatever hole you're in, and we're going to bring you back and let the people of kaufman county prosecute you to the fullest extent of the law. anything that you people can do to accelerate getting our hands on this scum will be appreciated. >> reporter: you know, you can
tell mr. mcclellan had the bold swagger of a texas prosecutor as he spoke there two months ago, very angered and upset about what had happened to his coworker. they described the prosecutor's office here in kaufman county as a tight-knit family, a small office where a lot of the lawyers and the prosecutors get to know each other very well. so you can imagine just how hard hitting this latest news is for that tight-knit circle of prosecutors that work in that office. but also, a great deal of fear, because many people wondering, is there someone who's -- you know, what is the reason, what is the motive behind these attacks and are they specifically going after these prosecutors? so you can imagine investigators trying to pinpoint that and are taking a much closer look at that. and we're hoping the to hear from them here in the next couple of hours. the sheriff in kaufman county, we're told, is supposed to answer questions from reporters here in a few hours, and we'll keep you up to date on that as well. >> and we'll get those details from you. before you go, didn't texas
authorities say that police thought there could be a link between hassey and even eric ebel. are they talking about that at all? >> well, this is one of those things that is just kind of swirling and hovering over all of these cases. when mark hassey was gunned down at the end of january, authorities were saying they were looking into some sort of white supremacist group. then after the colorado prison chief was murdered and the man that police suspect was behind those murders was captured in a shoot-out or killed in a shoot-out in texas just a couple of weeks ago, investigators were comparing notes on those cases, to see if perhaps they were connected in any kind of way. and now you add to all of this, this case of the mcclellan family being murdered in their home, and found yesterday. all of those questions kind of lingering out there and hovering over these cases. not a lot of firm details as to whether or not all of these cases are connected at this
point, but all of that is kind of in this pot of questions that are being asked, and so it just adds to have the intrigue of exactly what is going on. >> ed, let me ask you this. are authorities at this point doing anything to protect the other people that work for the prosecutor's office? there's the big worry that, am i next? >> reporter: well, there have been some reports, you know, that early on after mark hassey was gunned down, there had been efforts in stepped up security for a lot of the people who work in these high-profile, public position here in kaufman county. exactly, you know, a lot of those details are kept very close to the vest, exactly what is done. those are the kind of things that law enforcement doesn't like to share, for obvious security reasons. whether or not that had tapered off or whether -- you know, how intensely that had continued, we will ask today, we will continue asking those questions. those are questions that are a little bit harder to get answers to. but, obviously, given what has happened, that will be a question of much concern and we
would imagine that would be reinforced now, given this situation and how this has dramatically changed now. >> ed lavendera, thanks.clerica things may have kept eric ebel from killing the prison chief. a clerical error led to ebel being released almost four years too early. he was serving an eight-year prison sentence in 2005, he hit a prison guard and got four more years for that assault, but those year were never actually that tacked on to his sentence. texas authorities believe ebel shot and killed the colorado prisons chief. christians around the world are celebrating easter. catholics in jerusalem prayed at the church of the holy sepulchre. that site is bereaved by many to be the site where jesus was crucified. in honduras, people blocked off the streets and made an
eelaborate carpet out of sawdust. at the end of holy week, catholic processions walk over the carpets and the images are erased. in the philippines, a realistic reenactment of the passion of the christ. you can see here, men flogging themselves. and here's the crucifixion, these men have actual nails through their hands and feet. one man who plays jesus has done this every good friday for 23 years. and at vatican city, thousands of christians gathered to hear the pope give his annual easter message. this is his first easter as pope. he talked about the s rresurrecn of jesus christ. now to south africa, where doctors for nelson mandela say the former south african president is responding well to treatment for pneumonia. isha sesay is in johannesburg. isha, have we learned anything else about mandela's condition? >> reporter: no, alison. it is just after 2:00 p.m. here
in johannesburg, and as of yet today, we have not received any update on nelson mandela's condition. we did get a statement from the office of the south african presidency yesterday, saturday, and in it we did learn the detail that nelson mandela was admitted to the hospital, due to a recurrence of pneumonia. we also learned, according to the statement, that he had received treatment for a lung infection and was now able to breathe without difficulty. but i think the most important detail in this statement is the fact that it said, he continues to respond to treatment and is comfortable. alison, information that's sure to provide much relief to people here in south africa and around the world. >> isha, you were out this morning. what's the mood among south africans today? >> reporter: you know, the current president of south africa, jacob zuma, said a couple of days ago, when nelson mandela was admitted to hospital, that he was appealing to south africans and people
around the world to pray for mandela. and we went to a church service in sweatto earlier today and we spoke to churchgoers who were attending the freeway tabernacle church and as we spoke to them, it became very clear that mandela is very much in their thoughts and prayers. take a listen to this gentleman. >> he was a person who made sure we have peace. but we need to move on. you know what i'm saying? and at the end of the day, we will always honor him. >> and, you know, alison, people, young and old, men and women, as we spoke to them and as they made their way to this easter sunday service, hold nelson mandela in such regard and they have so much emotion, so much love for this man. so south africans, like people around the world, so closely following this latest health scare, and everyone we spoke to, really willing him and sending him well wishes, alison.
>> isha sesay in south africa, thanks. tensions remain high in the korean peninsula following threats of war from the north. live reports from seoul, coming up next. and here in the u.s., a different kind of tension for thousands of dental patients in oklahoma who may have been exposed to hiv. they're lining up to get tested. that report is straight ahead. later, just-released, never-before-seen pictures of the kennedys, taken 50 years ago today. you're watching cnn sunday morning. [ lane ] are you growing old waiting for your wrinkle cream to work? neutrogena® rapid wrinkle repair has the fastest retinol formula. to visibly reduce fine lines and wrinkles in just one week. neutrogena®. no they don't. hey son. have fun tonight. ♪
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nectresse™. sweetness naturally. patients of an oral surgeon in oklahoma waited in line for hours yesterday for free hiv and hepatitis tests. that's after state health ns inspectors discovered filthy conditions at the office of dr. scott harrington. they say they found rusty tools and evidence he re-used needles. they also say he had unlicensed staffers and may have been giving patients expired drugs. as many as 7,000 patients may be
affected. our national correspondent, susan candiotti, has more from tulsa. >> reporter: it's not the way melissa smith hoped to celebrate her 18th birthday. a trip with her dad to the tulsa health department. you're about to go in to get tested. what are your emotions right now? >> i'm pretty nervous. you know, i don't like needles, i don't like, really, testing, and after this whole ordeal, i just want to be clean. >> reporter: free from hepatitis b and c and hiv. smith is one of oral surgeon scott harrington's 7,000 patients who might have been exposed to those viruses because of what oklahoma investigators call risky practices by the doctor and his staff. zpl >> it makes my skin crawl. i think it's horrifying. >> marissa's mom says dr. harrington took out her daughter's wisdom teeth in june 2011. >> what do you remember about getting your wisdom teeth out? >> i just thought, you know, he's a really nice guy. like, there isn't going to be
any problems. you know, so, obviously, now, i don't really feel like that. >> reporter: melissa is a nurse and understands the risk of infection is low, but she's infuriated. >> i'm angry. you know, i feel like he's kind of let us down. i feel like he's let a lot of people down. >> reporter: dr. harrington wasn't home when he visited. both he and his lawyer aren't returning repeated calls. this woman, who would only identify herself as a friend and patient, dropped off an easter lily. but unlike hundreds getting tested, she won't, telling me, quote, i trust him. this neighbor says he's known harrington for years. when you heard about these charges, the complaint against him by the board of dentistry, what did you make of it? >> couldn't believe it. he seems highly competent to me. just a smart guy and i was just shocked when i heard it and i feel badly for him. i feel badly for his patients and i hope -- i really hope there's some other explanation. >> reporter: an explanation for
state board of dentistry allegations of expired drugs, suspected unsanitary equipment, including rusty instruments and unlicensed dental assistance, administering iv sedation, which authorities say is a felony. >> it's just scared me so badly, that, you know, i'm just always going to be, like, always thinking about that, like every time i go to the dentist. >> reporter: so far, no criminal charges against harrington, seen in this picture from the '70s, or his assistants. >> you know, how do you say you're sorry to 7,000 people that you possibly could have infected? i just don't think you can. >> reporter: marissa, petrified of needles, waited three hours to have her blood drawn. >> i will never forget my 18th birthday presenting with a blood test. >> reporter: her perfect present would be a clean bill of health, but she won't get test results for another two to three weeks. alison? >> susan candiotti, thanks. now let's go ahead and head overseas to north korea, where the region is on edge after the
country proclaimed it was entering into a state of war with south korea. cnn international anchor, jim clancy, is in seoul. jim, after hearing a week of threats at this point, north korea has seemed to have had gone silent. why is that? >> reporter: it is far too difficult to really predict what it means, to analyze it. it's a dangerous game, first of all, because north korea is so unpredictable. it's also so remote. we can't see inside the government to understand the decision making process. obviously, there's a lot of speculation. people are wondering, did kim jong-un get the message that was delivered by china, by russia, and so many others, to dial back the rhetoric and all the talk of near war on the peninsula, missile strikes on the continental united states. did he hear that message? is that why we're seeing all of this? even some north korean experts
say kim jong-un was painting himself into a corner with all of that. he was whipping up so much national fervor and getting people geared up to go to war that it could backfire on him. he could lose credibility or even worse, he can find himself in a position where he had to make good on some of those threats in order to maintain a standing in the eyes of his own people. there's little doubt, at this point, that over the course of the next hours and days, all eyes from washington to beijing, from here in seoul to moscow, are going to be on north korea and kim jong-un to try to see what he does say, to try to listen closely and find out what the next move of pyongyang will be. alison? >> okay, jim clancy in seoul, south korea, thanks. basketball star kobe bryant accomplishes something few nba players get to achieve in their career. that and your march madness highlights are next. can acne cleansers be tough on breakouts
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all right. let's talk march madness. florida gulf coast may be out, but andy scholls, is there another cinderella story in here? >> there sure is. witchta state was able to fly you should the radar of the cinderella team. that's not the case anymore. with their win over ohio state yesterday, the shockers made history backing the 15th seeded
ninth or higher to reach the final four. witchta state almost didn't make the tourm, but that's why they call it march madness. anyone can make a run, the shockers are living proof of that. they jumped ton buckeyes last night and held off a late ohio state run to punch their ticket to the final four for the first time in 48 years. >> cinderellas usually are done by this stage. if you get to this point, you can win the whole thing. so, you beat a number one seed and the number two seed, i think cinderella just found one glass slipper. i don't think she found four. >> well, the east regional final, syracuse and marquette got the chance to play in front of president obama. and if he's a fan of offense, this game was certainly not for him. the orange in their stifling zone defense, completely shut down the golden eagles. marquette scored just 39 points. that's a record low for a team in a regional final. this one was never really close. syracuse cuts down the nets and heads to their first final four
since they won it all back in 2003. now, the orange will play the winner of michigan and florida state. that game sets off today at 2:20 eastern. and the final spot in the final four will be up for grabs as the last number one seed left in the tournament, louisville, takes on duke. well, hurt ankle and all, kobe bryant continues to will the lakers to victory. last night against the kings, he finished 19 points and 14 assisted. and with this jumper in the second quarter, kobe moved into fourth place all-time in the nba scoring list. he passed will chamberlain. kobe now trails only kareem abdul-jabbar, karl malone, and michael jordan. and major league baseball kicks off tonight. astros has the lowest paid team in the entire league.
>> andy schoels, thank you. today's easter, but many of you may be planning to celebrate at church, chocolate bunnies, easter egg hunts, but some people are celebratiing by indulging in crime science fiction and murder mysteries. the 100%-natural no-calorie sweetener made from the goodness of fruit. nectresse™. sweetness naturally. picasso painted one of his master works at 56. doris taerbaum finished her first marathon at 50. not everyone peaks in their twenties. throughout their lives. passion keeps them realizing possibilities. an ally for real possibilities. aarp. find tools and support at aarp.org/possibilities. and you wouldn't have it any other way.e.
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...and we inspected his brakes for free. -free is good. -free is very good. [ male announcer ] now get 50% off brake pads and shoes at meineke. welcome back to cnn sunday morning. i'm alison kosik. bottom of the hour now. here are some of the stories we're watching for you this hour. police say a drunk driver is to bl blame for a crash that killed five members of one family. two others from the family who are in the van are in critical condition in nevada this morning. police say their vehicle was rear-ended by a drunk driver and rolled over.
five people were thrown from the vehicle. the 18-year-old driver of the other car was taken into custody. so far, he's been charged with driving under the influence. in california, los angeles police are asking for police he identifying two men accused of kidnapping two girl. the young girl was snatched from her bedroom in the middle of the night on wednesday, but then found 12 hours later. police have released information about one of her suspected captors, 30-year-old tobias summers. investigators are asking for anyone with information to come forward. you may not recognize his name, but you've probably heard his music. music producer phil ramon, he passed away yesterday. he was 79 years old. ramon received 14 grammy awards for his music work. he even became known as the pope of pop. ramon collaborated with major artists like madonna, banono an paul simon. in fact, listen to this.
♪ after all these years >> good song, that's paul simon's song, "still crazy after all of these years." earlier this morning, pope francis wrapped up his easter message called to the city and to the world. this is his first easter as pope. he talked about the resurrection of jesus christ and then he warned against greed and selfishness and the exploitation of the earth's natural resources and prayed for peace in the korean peninsula, syria, and africa. and for today's "faces of faith," we're talking about how to make your easter meaningful, because there are so many ways to do it. like in the philippines, where they reenact the passion of the christ in graphic detail, every good friday, men are actually nailed to crosses and scream in pain. some of them have been crucified more than 20 times. but why do we need this gory
reenactment? with us now is professor brent strong, expert in theology at emory university and he's an ordained minister. brent, this gruesome story of crucifixion and resurrection, how does this apply to us today? >> right, well, easter is the celebration of christ resurrection, but it's intricately related to the story of christ's passion, culminating in his story on good friday. so in christian thought, these three days, good friday, and easter sunday are known as the three days. they go together. and it shows that easter celebration, as great as it is and as joyous as it is is not in denial of christ's suffering or real life and death matters, but really a conquering of that, so that easter is, you know, the fundamental christian miracle, the kind of sign of new life, unexpected hope. >> but hasn't easter sort of become commercialized. how about all the eggs and east bunny and candy peeps. how does that play into it? >> on the one hand, there's not
a lot about that that's connected to christian easter. some of the things about bunnies and the eggs go back to earlier than christian. they mean differently in that context. the eggs and the bunnies that are symbolic of new life and productivity and prosperity no longer apply solely to spring, but now also to chris's new life. and they're also, you know, gifts of joy, right? they give us joy. that means they remind us of the great joy that the disciples first experienced on easter sunday. >> but do those who celebrate the holiday, do they understand the symbolic or the symbolism of these treats? >> yeah, not always. not always. there's no mention of the eggs or the bunnies in the bible, right? but i think if we think about them in that light, a symbolic of new life, of gifts, of joy, then they're very much part and parcel with the christian thinking about easter. >> okay. some may think this is a little
bizarre, because every easter in norway, they celebrate by reading crime novels, crime fiction, watching murder mysteries. is there meaning in this or is this more commercialization of the holiday? >> it's intriguing. in part, with norway, it has to do with the long holiday there and the unexpected commercial success of a novel in 1923 or something like that. but actually, you can tie it to themes in christian thought in easter. namely that god sets things right. that's the belief in christian theology that god will set things right. that god vindicated christ after that horrible death he suffered. in terms of christian thought, the resurrection of the dead, the resurrection of christ and the final judgment is a sense in which hope happens, because everyone gets their day in court, as it were. >> so what if you're not christian? what if you don't celebrate easter? what is the takeaway that, you know, those should take from the holiday? >> well, easter really is a fundamental christian holiday. there's no christianity without easter sunday. but beyond that, we can say, regardless of religious
practice, i think it has to do with new life, hope, but not, again, in denial of suffering and death. easter says that suffering and death are real. one doesn't go around them, one has to go through them, as it were. but one doesn't go through them alone. one doesn't go through them by pulling up one's bootstraps, but easter is about this unexpected miracle that can happen and god can perform when we least expect it, but really need it most. >> brent strong, very interesting as we begin our day, today easter. thanks for being with us. >> thank you, my pleasure. >> and if you want more stories on faith, be sure to check out our belief blog at cnn.com/belief. the family of superstar michael jackson sues a concert promoter for billions of dollars over his death. we'll look ahead to that trial. it begins this week. ♪
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it's been 30 years since the king of pop first moonwalked across the stage and almost three years since he died after taking a deadly dose of sedatives. but michael jackson's wrongful death civil trial is expected to begin this week. his family says promoters aeg live bears the responsibility for his passing and that they need to pay up, big time. we're talking about billions and billions of dollars. the lawsuit claims aeg live hired and supervised former doctor conrad murray, who gave jackson those powerful drugs to induce sleep and prepare him for a series of concerts. as you may remember, for his role, murray is now serving a four-year sentence for manslaughter. i spoke to a special panel of jackson experts about the trial. debora onri a, and i started by
asking if this billion-dollar case really all comes down to who hired murray. >> i should tell you right off the top that no contracts were ever signed. and conrad murray, for all the time he worked for michael jackson, expecting $150,000 a month salary, never dot paid a penny. so how do you prove with no contract signed who hired him, who paid him, who's responsibility he was? he was actually michael jackson's friend, doctor friend, who he had met many years prior, because he had taken care of his children. and it was michael jackson who brought him into the sphere. but where's the responsibility? that's up to the court. >> debora, knowing there were no contracts signed, what chance do the jacksons have in winning this case? >> the remaining cause of action, which was negligent hiring by aeg, would fall down to the evidence. it would be in the form of
testimony and e-mails. if there's no signed contract, was there an unsigned contract? from what i understand, conrad murray will not be testifying, so you won't hear from him. naturally, you're not going to hear from michael jackson. i would look to any e-mails or intercommunications between aeg and conrad murray, if they, in fact, exist. and my understanding is, there may, in fact, be an e-mail from a ceo or an executive at aeg, which discusses who murray works for. so these are evidence pieces that are going to be absolutely important for the trier of fact. >> and actually, debora, the family does say they have an e-mail that's proving that aeg live was paying dr. murray's salary. here's what the aeg co-ceo said about him days before his death. "we want to remind murray that it is aeg, not michael jackson, why pacing his salary. we want to remind him what is
expected of him." could this be the smoking gun? >> absolutely. this piece of evidence, if it goes to a jury and those 12 jurors are inside a deliberation room, they're going to say, why would this e-mail ever have been sent? under the negligent hiring cause of action, which is the only remaining cause of action left, they have to prove that aeg had hired him. when an executive at aeg says, remember who hired you, that's a piece of evidence. >> alison, let me jump in here. this is an e-mail sent to kenny ortega, who is the director of the this is it concert tour. and michael jackson was not showing up for rehearsals, so the ceo wrote to kenny ortega this threat, hey, tell that guy that, you know, we're the ones who are paying his bills. well, nobody was paying his bills. i read this e-mail, really, as sort of an empty threat to a doctor to try to get the star
back on track again. again, if it comes down to a contract, well, there isn't a contract. so, debora's right, though. it's going to be entirely up to the jury and she's in california. i used to live in california, covered lots of cases out there. you never know what a california jury's going to do. >> and this will be an interesting one. you can catch cnn or watch cnn all week for updates on jackson's wrongful death trial. remember, it starts tuesday. it's shaping up to be a wet easter in the south and the east and lurking behind the rain, say it ain't so, another blast of cold. alexandra steele, why?! >> so depressing, right? hi, everyone. happy easter. here's a look at the big picture. a lot of rains, southern plains, southeast, mid-atlantic, heading into the northeast. and it's actually the same about two-thirds of the country that will get into that cold, canadian air monday and tuesday, next monday and tuesday, about 10 to 20 degrees below where we are now.
but then there's the return to some warmth. let's do a radar tour so you can see where the heaviest rain is. west virginia, virginia, north carolina, heading toward norfolk. atlanta had some rain early in the morning. now we'll see a bit of a dry period and later this afternoon, more showers and storms. that bash offshore moving. i think daytona beach south if you're spring breaking down there. you should be fine, for the most part. here's a look where the rain is, heading to washington, kind of the bulk of this rain, maybe by about 11:00 this morning. gets into new york city by about 4:00. boston, tonight. you're pretty in the clear for the most part. dallas area, dallas to houston, we do have a severe thunderstorm warning. could see 2-inch hail and also could see 70-mile-per-hour wind gusts. that's until noon local time. that's kind of where the more severe weather is in earnest. northern california desperately needs rain. we're seeing it. on the 5, 101, that's where the rain is. san francisco has a bit of a dry period this afternoon, but it's a little bit more interior. sacramento, reading, that's where the wet weather will be.
l.a., more or less dry. here's that cold air. today, average temperatures, finally, right, of course, the west has been extremely warm, but here's a look at what happens on monday, the beginning of that cold air moves in, pushes eastward, drops south, and then we see it kind of begin to relinquish its grip as we head towards wednesday and thursday. there's the big picture, the south getting back to average and not nearly as cold. kind of a lot to absorb, but happy a easter, nonetheless. >> and happy easter to you, alexandra steele. next, never-before-seen photos of the kennedys taken 50 years ago today. we'll show them to you. could. discover nectresse™. the 100%-natural no-calorie sweetener made from the goodness of fruit. nectresse™. sweetness naturally.
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david. they've been released by the kennedy library. and here they are. you're looking at them. the president, first lady, jackie, and the kids, caroline and john-john. here's a young caroline on her pony named macaroni. the president sitting on a bench with his naval undersecretary, paul red faye and john. and look at john again. i want to show you the next one here. this is kind of an erie image of him, was he's in the pilot seat at the controls, pretending to fly marine one. and we know now that he would die before his 40th birthday at the controls of his piper saratoga. and what's fascinating about these kennedy images is not just the glamour of the first family, but how they dressed during a weekend casual event of, you know, horseback riding and just playing around. but they were formally dressed. interesting to see. and it's a busy week ahead in washington with republicans pushing for immigration reform. "state of the union" host candy crowley joins me now from washington. good morning, candy.
>> good morning. >> you're going to be joined by senator lindsey graham. he's hoping to craft new legislation. what are you going to ask him? >> reporter: well, he's -- in fact, we have a week in washington where much of the activity is going to be behind the scenes. congress is in a week from now. and lindsey graham is part of that so-called gang of eight, looking for immigration reform. we now know that there has been a deal struck between unions and business, for how to get in these sort of low-skilled workers, how many of them, and at what pay scale. that there's been a deal on a new visa for those sorts of workers. and that appeared to be the last thing standing, at least within the group of eight, before a deal. so the question, of course, is, do you have a deal, and when are we going to see it? >> what about gun control? graham is expected to weigh in on that topic next week. >> absolutely. well, and certainly, the president and a lot of people will be weighing in on this. what we're seeing now is there
is a small group, about five republicans, including senator marco rubio, probably the headliner in this case, who have threatened to filibuster, essentially, any gun control bill that comes to the senate floor, that they think infringes on the second amendment. that's a pretty wide avenue, but nonetheless, you know, the white house, as you saw with the president this week, really does feel that time may be slipping away to get anything major down. there'll be a big push by the president and likely a big pushback by republicans as they gear up for what will be, we think, their first debate when they get back from easter recess. and that will be on a gun control bill in the senate. >> okay, candy crowley, thank you. keep it here for "state of the union with candy crowley," which begins at the top of this hour, 9:00 a.m. eastern/6:00 a.m. pacific right here on cnn. you see a lot of these equal signs on facebook and twitter this week, you're not alone. millions made it their new profile picture. but does posting a picture have a real impact on issues?
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if you're on facebook like i am, i know you've been seeing a lot of pink and red on facebook. and there's a reason for that. supreme court arguments over same-sex marriage may have prompted almost 3 million people to change their profile pictures this week to these equal signs. that's a 120% bump in new pictures this week over last year. that's at least according to facebook. and look at this map here. people from all over the nation posted the human rights campaign's red equal signs or a variation of it, especially in those dark areas there.
let's talk about it. political comedian gene bedalla joins me now. can we all jump in on this form of activism. is it real? >> first of all, alison, i think we should applaud people changing their facebook pictures from justin bieber or kim kardashian. i think activism, frankly, is changing. i think, certainly, there are people going out on the streets and protest occupy movements, but now, social media, twitter, facebook. you can be a part of the whole community of trying to effectuate change or at least raise awareness. i think that's a great thing. it couldn't be easier than changing your facebook profile picture. they call it avatar activism. it's a start. >> do they think, okay, i changed my facebook profile picture or posted something online. that's enough of an impact on the issue. does it really impact the issue? >> well, i think you have to look at a few things.
if you only have five friends on facebook, no. get more friends on facebook or get more followers on twitter. and certainly, if martin luther had tweeted the "i have a dream" speech instead of giving it, i don't think it would have moved the civil rights movement as much as it did. with that said, though, i think, honestly, i personally feel any step people take regardless of age, young, middle aged, older, to get involved on a social issue that moves them is so important. and in today's world, i don't think people really how little effort can actually be used to raise awareness and change people's opinions on issues. so, i think it's a very, very positive thing. i think on its own, re-tweeting someone's tweet doesn't make you an activist, but it is a start. and it's a movement in the right direction. >> but is this kind of a movement where these facebook users and these twitter users actually think they're making a difference? is it really making a difference, beyond, i'm saying, sort of getting the word out there? are they changing issues? are they changing lives? >> i think that's really hard to quantify and i think the jury is out on it, because it's a new form of activism, where you have online campaigns, like last year
we saw with the kony movement. i posed the exact same question on facebook and on social media, and the raging response really typify how people are feeling, from some going, no, it absolutely means nothing, some young people saying, no, you have to do more. others are saying, you're just preaching to the converted, you're making yourself feel good, like you're an activist. but another one said, gay rights is a touchy issue and gay marriage. and to stand up for it, even just posting a facebook profile could give courage to someone who has been demonized, who is gay and who has struggled, to give them courage to say, you're not alone. but regardless how you feel about those avatar activism make an impact, there's no doubt that social media has moved the
needle on gay marriage. in ten years, we've seen a huge sway. you didn't see that on civil rights. so i think it has an impact. >> but has social media replaced actually doing, volunteering? i mean, whether -- i understand the issues and there are lots of other issues. i mean, are fewer people volunteering, getting out there? habitat for humanity or volunteering at a children's hospital? are people replacing their social media activism or replacing that kind of volunteerism with that social media activism? >> that would be really a sad, negative consequence of this whole scenario, if you're changing a profile photo and saying, i'm not going to go out and do some grassroots work. one person can't change history alone, but each of us contribute a little bit, and collectively, we can define our generation and quickly change big