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Great American Boycott Planned for Monday; High Energy Prices

Aired April 30, 2006 - 09:00   ET


JESSE DIAZ, PROTEST ORGANIZER: We feel that we are in a position to keep the pressure on to gain amnesty for the 11 or 12 million undocumented folks that are here now.


TONY HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: Brace yourself. Tomorrow promises to be unlike any other in American history, with thousands or perhaps millions of immigrants refusing to participate in the U.S. workforce. It could prove to be a very long day.

Good morning, everyone.

It is Sunday, April 30th, 2006.

From the CNN Center in Atlanta, I'm Tony Harris.


We want to thank you for starting your day with us.

Here's what's happening right now in the news.

Border brigade -- the Minutemen volunteers say they've called in 1,300 illegal border crossings this month in Arizona alone. The group is ending its month-long deployment. They say they've helped raise awareness about border security issues. But critics say the volunteer patrols cloud the issue and distract from finding real solutions.

A report of a peace agreement in Sudan to tell you about. Reuters News Agency says the government has accepted a peace agreement for Darfur drafted by the African Union. Negotiations have dragged on for two years while the humanitarian crisis in the region has escalated. The U.N. high commissioner is heading to Darfur and we're going to talk with her this hour.

HARRIS: Texas twisters -- take a look at this. People in several counties are cleaning up the damage from tornadoes that ripped across the area. Homes were damaged or destroyed. Trees and power lines were knocked down. There are no reports of injuries to people, but Baylor University says two horses from its equestrian program were killed.

You're not seeing double, but the audience was doubled over laughing last night. A look-alike helped the president poke some fun- at himself at the annual White House Correspondents Dinner.

We will have highlights and a live report from Ed Henry later this hour.

NGUYEN: What a sight there. Kind of a like a Doublemint.


NGUYEN: Well, is getting gas giving you a headache?

We've got some tips on how to get the most bang for your mobile buck from "Car and Driver" magazine.

Also, school violence, war, natural disasters -- it is hard enough for adults to cope with issues like these. But how do you talk to your children about this kind of stuff? Answers ahead from online education tool, Brain Pop.

HARRIS: First up this morning, American businesses that rely heavily on immigrant labor could get a rude awakening tomorrow morning. There's a very good chance that no one will show up for work. It's being called "The Great American Boycott."

Our Thelma Gutierrez explains what's pushing it forward.


THELMA GUTIERREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The Great March, massive student walkouts, the national day of action.

JORGE RODRIGUEZ, PROTEST ORGANIZER: It's never been done in the history of the Mexican-Latino civil rights movement in the U.S.

GUTIERREZ: All building toward May 1st, "The Great American Boycott," where supporters are asked to boycott work, school, and not spend any money, to show their economic power.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Aprehende? Boycott for power.



GUTIERREZ: Who's behind this? We go to what's called the Lion's Dean...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Concentrate on the -- on the phone banking. Concentrate on phone calls.

GUTIERREZ: ... for a behind-the-scenes look at the force driving the marches.

We're not talking about P.R. executives with big advertising budgets or high profile national leaders. We're talking about people like Jesse Diaz, a gardener and a Ph.D. candidate, who's putting himself and his daughters through college by cleaning yards. In six weeks, he's traveled to 20 different cities to help strategize.

DIAZ: We feel that we are in a position to keep the pressure on to gain amnesty for the 11 to 12 million undocumented folks that are here now.

UNIDENTIFIED PROTESTERS: Racists go home! Racists go home!

GUTIERREZ: It was protests against the Minutemen, self-appointed protectors of the border, that moved Diaz, a U.S. citizen, to take a stand against what he believes is racism. That's what propelled him from this to this.

DIAZ: It has brought us all together with the same interests, the interests of the community, the interests of 12 million folks, right, that are looking for our leadership.

GUTIERREZ: Using donated tickets, Diaz has traveled from Los Angeles to Chicago, New York and Washington, often with no place to stay, sleeping at people's homes and community centers.

DIAZ: It's been hard organizing it, because we don't have no money. We have very little money to -- to go across the country.

RODRIGUEZ: You know, there is a sacrifice to be made and I think people are willing to sacrifice for justice and a humane immigration law.

GUTIERREZ: In fact, for some of the organizers who live paycheck to paycheck, that means no full income for the past six weeks. But Diaz says it's worth it.

DIAZ: We're not settling -- settling for -- for learning and reading about history. We are making it, brothers and sisters. We are making it.

GUTIERREZ: Thelma Gutierrez, CNN, Los Angeles.


HARRIS: Because of the disruptions the boycott is likely to cause tomorrow, there is a risk of a negative backlash.

Last hour, I spoke with Christine Newmann-Ortiz, who is organizing a large rally in Milwaukee.

I asked her why she thinks the public will support tomorrow's work stoppage and economic boycott.


CHRISTINE NEWMANN-ORTIZ, PRESIDENT, VOICES DE LA FRONTERA: I think because there is a growing recognition that, I think by the sheer numbers, that obviously there is a broken immigration system. And I think by the courage that has been demonstrated by so many working class families and the overreach of these very extreme criminalization policies, I think it's really exposed the need for a humane change, and that that time is now and the need is now. And people -- I think, we're really at a fork road in terms of a life and death struggle for the future of this country.


HARRIS: For the best, most complete live coverage of tomorrow's events, keep your TV locked on CNN. Our correspondents are deployed in major cities across the country and in Mexico-City. And we've teamed up with the Spanish language network Univision for even greater reach. "The Day Without Immigrants" begins at 6:00 a.m. Eastern on CNN's "AMERICAN MORNING" and continues throughout the day.

For Web users, check out

And there will be streaming live coverage available on Pipeline. Now, this is a hot button issue that will likely affect you wherever you live. Tell us if you support what organizers are calling "The Great American Boycott" and why.

E-mail us,

And we'll read some of your comments a little later in the program.

NGUYEN: Let's get you the latest out of Iraq this morning.

Iraqi police say two roadside bombs targeted police patrols in Baghdad. At least two officers were hurt. Police also say two bodies were found in the city. The victims had been shot in the head and their bodies showed signs of torture.

A lot of people want U.S. forces out of Iraq and they turned out in New York yesterday to hammer home this message. Thousands of anti- war protesters filled 10 city block in Manhattan, including activist Cindy Sheehan, actress Susan Sarandon and the Reverend Al Sharpton.

Sixty-nine American troops were killed in Iraq in April alone. The State Department says that is the highest monthly death figure this year.

Still talking about Iraq, former Secretary of State Colin Powell says troop strength in Iraq was of concern before the war began. Powell says he gave his advice to now retired General Tommy Franks, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and President Bush, but they didn't agree with his opinion.


COLIN POWELL, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: I have always been one who favored a larger military presence in an operation to make sure that you can deal with the unforeseen. But in the case of the aftermath of the fall of Baghdad, you had institutions being destroyed, you had ministries being burned down and I have said on many occasions, I don't think we had enough force there, at that time, to impose order. And that's what we were responsible for because when you have taken out a government, a regime, then you become responsible for the country.


NGUYEN: Now, Powell's comments were made during an interview that aired on Britain's ITV Television.

HARRIS: The political rhetoric certainly is heating up. Democrats and Republicans are drawing the battle lines for the November elections. Democrats spent this weekend going door-to-door to make their case to voters.

DNC Chairman Howard Dean led the charge.


HOWARD DEAN, DNC CHAIRMAN: Honesty and openness in government, American jobs that will stay in America, a strong national defense based on telling the truth to our citizens and our soldiers, a health care system that works for everybody, just like 36 other countries have.

I mean these are agenda items that -- that really make a difference to the American people. Gas prices. I mean the president has been in office for five years. We've seen this coming. The Iraq situation obviously makes that worse.

But what really, I think, makes Americans mad, is that Republicans gave away $16 billion of our taxpayer money to the gas companies. This is ridiculous and we've got to get an administration that has more sympathy with ordinary America, ordinary working Americans.


HARRIS: Republicans say they're not just twiddling their thumbs. The Republican National Committee issued a statement saying: "The RNC understands the importance of voter outreach, which is why the party has engaged in a sophisticated and targeted voter contact strategy for more than a decade. This strategy has yielded successful results in past elections and will continue to benefit the party, and ultimately the country, by electing candidates who will make sure working families keep more of their hard-earned dollars and that America continues to fight an aggressive war on terror."

NGUYEN: Well, a surprise guest showed up at the White House Correspondents Dinner.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: As you know, I always look forward to these dinners.

STEVE BRIDGES, COMEDIAN: It's just a bunch of media types -- Hollywood liberals, Democrats like Joe Biden. How come I can't have dinner with the 36 percent of the people who like me?


NGUYEN: Referring to those poll numbers.


NGUYEN: It was double the fun-and at the president's own doing.

HARRIS: Plus, buying a, well, gas, is a pain in the pocketbook, that's for sure.

So what's a driver to do?

It all starts with the car you buy.

Some tips coming up to pump some air back into your deflated finances.

That's next -- Reynolds, good morning.


And we had some rough weather we were dealing with in Texas just yesterday.

This morning, it's been in New Orleans. Right now, the scattered showers are now making their way into parts of Mississippi. But in New Orleans, it's still raining as we speak.

Here's the live image out of the Crescent City, showing the cloudy skies we have at this time. A little bit of rain out there.

And you're listening to the beautiful sounds of Take 6.

We'll have more coming up right here on CNN.


TAKE 6 SINGERS: Do you know what it means to miss New Orleans and miss it each night and day? I know I'm not wrong, this feeling's getting stronger the longer I stay away.



NGUYEN: All right, you can't miss it. It is costing more and more and more to drive. Gas is up another fraction, $2.93 a gallon for regular unleaded, says AAA. Now, a month ago, it was $2.50 and a year ago, just under $2.25 a gallon.

But we're America. We've got to drive. We like our SUVs and our luxury cars. So what do we do now?

Well, let's ask this car guy, Larry Webster, of "Car and Driver" magazine.

Good morning to you.


NGUYEN: All right, before we get to the cars and we line them up and see which ones give us the best fuel efficiency, let's just set the record straight here. When it comes to hybrids and small cars, which one is the better bang for your buck?

WEBSTER: The small cars, for sure.

NGUYEN: Really?



WEBSTER: They cost you less money than a hybrid. A hybrid is going to save you more fuel, but it's going to cost you a few grand more to buy. And you don't save enough in gas to get that back. You will eventually, but it'll take almost 10 years. So...

NGUYEN: I see.

WEBSTER: ... if you're looking for overall money savings, the small inexpensive care is the way to go.

NGUYEN: So hybrids are really more of an environmental statement?

WEBSTER: Yes, you know, fuel economy is a fashion statement. That's why the Prius is very successful, because it looks like nothing else on the road.

NGUYEN: It sure does.

So let's go to these small cars, since you suggest they're the best bang for your buck. Let's put a line up of which ones really will cost you the least amount of money when it comes to sticker price and fuel efficiency.

WEBSTER: Sure. I mean the one I like quite a bit is called the Honda Fit. It's a new model this year. It looks kind of small. It's on that sort of lower end of the market, at about $15,000, $16,000. But it gets in the 30s fuel economy wise.

NGUYEN: Oh, that's good.

WEBSTER: It drives terrifically. And the nice thing today is that small cars aren't really the penalty boxes they used to be. They're actually fairly refined and comfortable and quiet. NGUYEN: And safe?

WEBSTER: Well, I mean there's no perfect care safety-wise. For example, if you knew you were going to be in an accident with another car, you'd want the heavier car. However, if you were in a single accident where you were going off the road, you'd want to be in a small, light car. So there's no such thing as a magic bullet for safety.

NGUYEN: All right, so in the mid-sized car range, what do you suggest?

WEBSTER: What I suggest in that kind of range is sort of the sedans like the Toyota Camry and the Honda Accord. But get the ones with the smaller engines. You'll save money at the sticker and you'll also save gas. And now they've got these four cylinder engines that are really quite peppy and a whole different thing than four cylinders used to be. They're actually very nice and refined and they're perfectly usable.

NGUYEN: All right, but when it comes to luxury sedans, though, I mean not many of them offer those four cylinders. You've either got a V-6 or a V-8.

So what do you do there?

WEBSTER: Well, it's the same thing. You know, fuel economy is basically based on engine size and vehicle weight. So when you're looking to buy a car, just get the smaller engine if it's optional. A lot of the luxury sedans offer a V-6 engine. And they are completely adequate. We've driven them and they're actually a better choice in a lot of ways, because it's cheaper to buy and they'll save you gas. You lost some performance, but it's hard to notice.

NGUYEN: Well, I was looking at that graphic. It was talking about the Mercedes E Class, the diesel, though?


NGUYEN: Should you try to go for a diesel in this luxury category?

WEBSTER: Yes, I mean it's the same -- diesels are the same thing, like hybrids. They are sometimes more expensive to buy than a regular gas engine. They will save you fuel, but it might take you a while to get that sort of extra money you spent back in fuel savings.

So you've got to be careful.

NGUYEN: And the ever important SUV. You know we like our SUVs.


NGUYEN: So is there one that is fuel efficient? I mean is that an oxymoron? I mean can you say that?

WEBSTER: Well, yes, I mean it's all relative, right? They're heavy vehicles. But there are some that are better than others.

There is the Ford Escape hybrid, which gets somewhere around 30 miles a gallon. And there's also the Lexus RX400 and the Toyota Highlander Hybrid. Now, those will be sort of your best fuel saving SUVs.

We've got some coming in the future. The big mammoth Chevy Tahoe will be hybrid coming up.


WEBSTER: I think in about a year. So the things are starting to come online.

But like I always tell people, if you really want to save gas, just buy a small car.

NGUYEN: Yes. And for those who love to put the pedal to the metal, those sports cars, can you save any money there when it comes to gas?

WEBSTER: Oh, yes, absolutely.

NGUYEN: Really?


WEBSTER: Because what really makes a sports car fun-is kind of a lightweight agile car. And sort of, like I said, lightweight means higher fuel economy. And you can get something like the Mazda Miata, which is now called the MX-5. It has a four cylinder engine, it's a small car and it is, I'm telling you, it's one of my favorite cars in the world to drive.

NGUYEN: I can tell. But here's the key, right, the faster you go, the more gas you use?

WEBSTER: That's right. You know, there's no magic bullet for fuel economy.

NGUYEN: So, you get the nice sports car and you've just got to drive really slow with it.

WEBSTER: Hey, one thing, you know, don't forget, the smaller car, it's going to save you gas.

NGUYEN: Right.

WEBSTER: It's probably going to save you money to buy and it's easier to park. I mean there's a lot of benefits.

NGUYEN: Yes, there is.

Do you have a question for him?

HARRIS: Well, Larry, does that Fit come in a four door? WEBSTER: Yes.

HARRIS: Oh, good.

It does come in a four door?

WEBSTER: No, it's a -- actually, it's a five door kind of hatchback thing.


WEBSTER: It's really roomy inside. The only thing I think that's a problem is it sort of looks like an economy car.


WEBSTER: Like I said, that Prius looks like something special so people can buy it and say hey, I'm saving fuel. But actually the Fit buyer is saving fuel, as well, and actually saving money to boot.

HARRIS: Nice. Nice. Nice.

NGUYEN: Good information.

Larry Webster, technical director of "Car and Driver" magazine.

You know your stuff and we appreciate you sharing it with us.

WEBSTER: Thank you very much.

NGUYEN: Have a good one.

WEBSTER: You, too.

HARRIS: Still ahead, it will be a good day for cleaning up that mess in Texas. But much of the Midwest could see some rough weather today. Meteorologist Reynolds Wolf will be along with your Sunday forecast.

And later...


UNIDENTIFIED CARTOON CHARACTER: Anything someone does that makes someone else feel bad or unsafe is bullying, as far as I'm concerned.


HARRIS: SpongeBob he's not, but parents can never go wrong with cartoons. And these cartoons can help your kids learn. We'll tell you about Brain Pops. That's Brain Pops. Brain...

NGUYEN: It's not a cereal.


NGUYEN: It's a Web site.



HARRIS: So here's the thing, Texans will tell you things are bigger there and storms over the past 24 hours certainly back that up.

This is Gainesville, Texas, where winds up to 100 miles per hour destroyed homes and businesses. People are checking the damage out today.

Outside of Waco, Texas, this destruction could have been from a tornado. One was reported in the area. But the Weather Service says 70 mile per hour straight line winds likely did most of the damage.

A stairway to more destruction now. This is just one of many homes blown apart in Coldsprings.

NGUYEN: Look at that!

HARRIS: Power was out to thousands of Texas customers.

Dispute the fierce storms, there were no -- luckily, no serious injuries reported.

That's good news.

NGUYEN: Yes, that's really remarkable.

You know, Reynolds Wolf is going to join us to talk about this weather.


NGUYEN: And, Reynolds, they like to call Texas Tornado Alley for a good reason.

But was there a tornado actually spotted in these storms?

WOLF: Too early to say.


WOLF: Right now, I know they had some tornado warnings in that area.


WOLF: But I don't think that any visual confirmation -- what they look for on radar is a signature mark. They refer to it as a hook echo, which indicates rotation of the storm, which means that a tornado could form. But as far as one definitely happening, there's still a lot of conjecture there.

But I did hear that there were some wind gusts through central Texas that were actually up to 100 miles per hour. And just to give you an idea here, think about this, folks, hurricane force winds, 74 miles per hour and above. So 100 mile per hour gusts. That's above hurricane force. So certainly some strong stuff.


WOLF: Meanwhile, if you're in New Orleans, you don't have to worry about your lawn.

However, as we go back to the weather computer, for all you gardeners today, here's your Lawn & Garden tip. I'm going to step out of the way. Fertilizer weather watch -- avoid spreading fertilizer before a heavy rain is forecast to arrive. An abundance of rain can wash the nutrients away. So if put out some fertilizer in New Orleans this morning and you have that rain coming down, sorry -- let's send it back to you.

HARRIS: Not a good idea.


WOLF: Not a good idea.

NGUYEN: And not a good idea for Jazz Fest. They're out there trying to have a good time and you're raining on their parade.

WOLF: And the Zurich Classic. They've got golf out there today, too.

HARRIS: That's right.

NGUYEN: That's true.

HARRIS: That's right. That's right. You're right.

WOLF: The whole nine yards.

HARRIS: Right.

WOLF: You bet you.

NGUYEN: All right, Reynolds.

We'll talk to you later.

Well, you're not going to believe your eyes when you see who turned up at the White House Correspondents Dinner.

Take a look.


BUSH: I'm absolutely delighted to be here, as is Laura.

BRIDGES: She's hot.


NGUYEN: That is a presidential double take.

We'll have more from the comedian in chief, in just a moment.

DANIELLE ELIAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And peacemaking efforts for the troubled Darfur region. We'll be joined by the U.N. high commissioner for human rights with the latest when we go global, next.


NGUYEN: Now in the news, in Baghdad today, police say two roadside bombs targeted police controls. At least two officers were hurt. Iraqi police also say two bodies were found in Baghdad. Police say the victims had been shot in the head and that their bodies showed signs of torture.

A body found in Afghanistan today is identified as an Indian telecommunications engineer. The province police chief says he was kidnapped earlier in the week by the Taliban. The body was beheaded.

Well, the Minutemen are winding down their month-long border deployment this weekend. The volunteer force says their deployment along Mexican border states has pointed out how bad border security really is. One state director says the Minutemen deserve credit for helping the Border Patrol make about 600 arrests.

In other global news, it is a tense situation in Sudan's conflict-ridden Darfur region. But a plan for peace is reportedly underway.

HARRIS: And with more on this story, Danielle Elias joins us from the international desk.

Danielle, good morning.

DANIELLE ELIAS, CNN INTERNATIONAL NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Tony. As you are saying "Reuters" news agency reports the Sudanese government is willing to accept a plan for peace in Darfur. "Reuters" says the plan is being proposed by the African union. The rebels have not yet responded. Meanwhile, millions of refugees in Darfur are homeless and hungry. For more on this, we're joined by Louise Arbour, the U.N. high commissioner, she joins us on the phone from Khartoum, Sudan and she will be visited the Darfur region.

Miss Arbor, let's first talk about...


ELIAS: Hello, hello, thank you for joining us. Let's first talk about the draft. The rebels are expressing some sorts of reservations in this, about what's going on, and how important is it for the government to reach this agreement?

ARBOUR: Well, it's important for both sides to come to an agreement. This has been a protracted series of negotiations and I think there's little hope of much progress on the ground in Darfur until there's a handle on some step towards the resolution of this conflict. Now, the rebels, of course, are fighting amongst themselves, so there's not the same solidarity on that side. But I think we have to continue to hope that this draft proposed peace agreement will come to fruition so we can move forward.

ELIAS: And what I understand you were there approximately a year and a half ago. You're quite familiar with the ground level about what's changing. What is different, then, from this agreement to what was planned and what was agreed on in 2004?

ARBOUR: This is a more comprehensive agreement. At this stage what's on the table is not just a mere cease-fire proposal, it's a comprehensive agreement, that contains provisions of power sharing and wealth sharing between the parties. But, essentially I think from a human-rights point of view and a humanitarian point of view, we have to look at this agreement as an opportunity to increase the humanitarian space. In the last few months there's been fighting amongst rebel factions, fighting between rebels and the Janjaweed government militia and government air force. Lots of (INAUDIBLE) conflict has taken place. So this agreement, one hopes, will open up possibilities for increased security and access to these internally displaced persons in camps.

ELIAS: And on that humanitarian issue, of course, there are problems with the food, water and shelter actually getting to the region. What do you see in the future in terms of what this agreement can bring?

ARBOUR: Well, the key -- frankly, I think the key to all this humanitarian concern is the lack of security. The lack of security, it's clear that the government is not in a position to provide adequate civilian policing. So as you know full well, it's been documented, certainly ever since I was here a year and a half ago, women who have to get out of the camps to collect firewood are subjected to rape and all kinds of sexual violence. So there is no security on the ground, which also prohibits access by humanitarian actors, NGOs, and the U.N., for delivery of essential services. So the key now is to try to provide them a more secure environment on the ground, from this week and then start working in other sectors.

ELIAS: All right, Louise Arbour, U.N., high commissioner. Thank you very much for joining us -- Tony.

HARRIS: Danielle, thank you.

And "News Across America" right now. In phoenix, Arizona, members of the Mission Bell Methodist church will be holding services outside on the lawn today. A fire destroyed the building yesterday. Authorities think someone broke a window and threw something flammable inside. The fire destroyed a year and a half worth of costly upgrades.

In Florida, two brushfires in the northern end of Brevard County have burned nearly 6,000 acres. Officials say one fire was intentionally set. At one point, the fire forced the closure of busy Interstate 95.

The Empire State Building may no longer be the world's tallest building, but it is still beloved -- the world round. There she is. Live pictures now. Are these live pictures? From New York City? The building, which was -- has weathered economic hardships, world war, and terrorist fears turns 75 tomorrow. There we go. Now, a live picture. Happy birthday to a beloved landmark.

NGUYEN: Well, we'll have the latest on where it will be stormy or sunny on this Sunday morning. I know a lot of you are heading out, when Reynolds Wolf returns in a few minutes.

Also "Brainpop" may sounds like a kids' cereal, but they're really cartoon with serious message. If you're a parent, they are useful and you need to know about it.

HARRIS: And later seeing double at the White House correspondent's dinner. CNN SUNDAY MORNING continues in a moment.


HARRIS: Thousand, perhaps millions of people are expected to take to the streets tomorrow in what's being billed as the great American boycott. For the most comprehensive live coverage on tomorrow's events keep it locked here on CNN. Our correspondents are deployed in major cities across the country.

And in Mexico City we've also teamed up with the Spanish language network, Univision, for even greater reach. Our day without immigrants' coverage begins at 6:00 a.m. Eastern on CNN's "American Morning" and continues throughout the day.



ANNOUNCER: This is CNN, watched by more Americans than any other news channel. Now, back to CNN SUNDAY MORNING with Betty Nguyen and Tony Harris.


NGUYEN: Sounds of Aaron Neville and "Take Six," this morning. Take a look at this, though. In the past two weeks young children have watched images like these on TV. We've seen potentially violent plots stopped at schools from Alaska and Washington State to Kansas and Arkansas. Even in discussing American troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, children have questions and having to explain war, violence, and death, well, it will be overwhelming., though is a subscription-based Web site promising educational tools to help children understand the disturbing images.

In addition to the three "R"s they've incorporated ways about educating children about sensitive world issues on their level. Noah Prawer is the executive vice president in charge of business development at Brainpop and he joins us from New York this morning. Good for you -- glad to have you here.

NOAH PRAWER, EXEC. V.P. BRAINPOP: Thanks for having me, Betty.

NGUYEN: Well, first of all, tell us how brain pops works exactly.

PRAWER: Sure, well, Brainpop is an educational program for children ages 6 to 16, and we create online animated educational movies across a variety of subjects, including Science, Math, English, Social Studies and Health and Technology. We currently have a library over 600 topics and we create new topics each week. We add about three to four new topic per week.

NGUYEN: So you stay current. Four million children visit this site each day. That is really a staggering number. So let's get to the specifics of what you offer. For example, bullying. That's been a big topic lately, especially with the school violence that we've seen all across the nation, all the way from Alaska to North Carolina. And then you've got this teenager in Spring, Texas, who was beaten, very severely, as a result of two boys accused of doing this at a party. So, tell me, what are you doing on this site to talk about the affects of bullying and what you can do to stop it?

PRAWER: Exactly. Well, traditionally we focused on curriculum to guide a lot of our production. Meaning we correlate our content to state-mandated standards, but with the example of bullying we've gone outside this scope and addressing some of the social pressure that children are facing in schools, and often times, these are topics not addressed by textbooks, not addressed, you know, by typical classroom aides and we hope is that through our movie, teachers and parents can open up a dialogue or create a are forum trough which they can talk about these difficult subjects that kids are going through in school and really don't feel, you know, comfortable talking about all the time.

NGUYEN: We're looking at some of the cartoon right now. So, is this a supplemental to, say, a teacher and a lesson in the classroom or do you have specific tips on, for example, when does teasing become bullying?

PRAWER: Yeah, well, I mean, this -- we have specific tips in our movie, but we obviously wouldn't suggest this alone in dealing with the issue. And, across all the topics that we create, we, like I said, we correlate them to state standards, so they go by exactly what the state mandates each kid needs to know. And we're currently in 25 percent of schools across the United States. We're also, you know, more and more being incorporated into homes and families are using us, you know, as a dialogue between their parents and their kids.

NGUYEN: I think it's fascinating how you do stay with current event and things that are really affecting children today because sometimes, as mentioned, the books are behind. They're -- you know, it takes time to publish them, so if you are talking about something today, it may not actually be in a textbook. For example, a lot of kids dealing with the news that's coming out of Afghanistan and Iraq, a lot of them dealing with it specifically, because their parents or relative is serving over there. So how do you talk to kids about what is happening?

PRAWER: Exactly, Betty. Like you said, textbook adoptions take place every five years and obviously a book published five years ago would have nothing on the war in Iraq or the September 11 attacks and, like you said, let's face it, kids are warning the news, they're reading the newspaper, and they're seeing all this, you know, all what's going on, and it's not really speaking to them. So what we hope to do is create movies that give them the vocabulary and the understanding to enter some of these questions and, you know, hopefully lay allay some of their fears. We hope to replace the fear that they might have when watching the news with fact, you know, and help them to better understand what they are seeing in their environment.

NGUYEN: So, when it comes to terrorism or September 11, how do you replace that fear with fact? What kind of facts are you providing?

PRAWER: Well, for instance, with terrorism, we talk about developing a family plan and ways for which they could help protect themselves and their family in the instance of a terrorist attack. And really to empower them to take action and not just sit idly by watching things, not understanding exactly what's g going on.

NGUYEN: Now this is really for children in elementary school all the way up through close to high school. What about those in college?

PRAWER: Well it's interesting, I mean, we're actually working towards developing a product that's going to address, you know, the needs of college students as well, and it's going to take a little adapting, because you can see, you know, our animation is very geared towards ages six to 16.

NGUYEN: Exactly.

PRAWER: So we are working on that, and hopefully over the next year, we'll have that product available.

NGUYEN: But are you seeing its -- something that we brought up momentarily, that people are shifting from the books to the internet? I mean, it seems obvious. That's where they are getting the latest, up to date information. So are you seeing children shift away from just go to the library and getting history there, and simply logging on to sites like yours.

PRAWER: Exactly. And, what we say is there are all different types of learners. There are learners that learn visually, there are learners that learn things by hearing things, by reading things, so what we hope to do is provide students that may have alternative means of learning with the opportunity to do so. And like you said, teachers are more and more relying on, you know, resources outside of the traditional classroom aids. Because we're able to bring fresh, dynamic content to the classroom that a textbook may not be able to do. NGUYEN: Yeah, but if you can merge it with the lesson in a classroom, it benefits everybody.

PRAWER: Exactly.

NGUYEN: Noah Prawer with We appreciate your time today. Thank you.

PRAWER: Thanks for having me.


HARRIS: And updating our top stories this morning, roadside bombs explode in Iraq, wounding two police and two civilians.

Also in Iraq today, authorities found two more bodies. That brings the total to 12 since Friday. All of the victims had been shot in the head.

The clock winds down on the Minutemen volunteer border patrol. The group is ending its month long deployment in Arizona and other border states. Members say they've called in 1,300 illegal border crossings this month in Arizona alone.

And residents in several Texas counties are cleaning the damage from severe storms. The storms packed winds up to 100 miles-per-hour. Several homes and buildings were damaged or destroyed, but no one was injured.

Time to check in with Howard Kurtz in Washington to see what's ahead on CNN's "Reliable Sources."

Howard, good morning.

HOWARD KURTZ, "RELIABLE SOURCES": Good morning, Tony. Coming up, Tony snow heads to the White House podium. Can he lower the tensions between the president and the press? We'll ask our Mary Madeline, Joe Lockhart, and veteran White House reporters.

NBC's "Dateline" under fire for cooperating with law enforcement over its series on catching pedophiles.

ABC News in hot water for it not contacting authorities about a beating caught on videotape.

Plus, Rush Limbaugh arrested on drug charges, Ken Lay and others blaming the press. That's all ahead on "Reliable Sources."

HARRIS: OK, Howard, thank you. See you at the top of the hour. Aren't we in trouble for something?

NGUYEN: Could be.

HARRIS: That's "Reliable Sources" coming up at 10:00 Eastern, followed by Wolf Blitzer with "Late Edition" and "On the Story." Stay tuned with CNN as we go in-depth with the stories of the day. When you are in the public eye as much as President Bush, sometimes you just have to have a good sense of humor.


STEVE BRIDGES, COMEDIAN: I'm feeling chipper tonight! I survived the white house shake-up.


NGUYEN: Well, we'll have some highlights. Some better ones than that, from last night's annual Correspondents' Dinner as we take you live to the White House. Trust us, though, they're funny. We promise.

HARRIS: The nuclear thing, we can do that again.

NGUYEN: That was a good one.


HARRIS: A Washington tradition attracted an odd collection from "A" list journalists -- is that how we refer to ourselves?

NGUYEN: I didn't write that.

HARRIS: To movie stars and politicians, the president and Mrs. Bush were there at the annual white house correspondents' dinner, so were actors, rubbing elbows with supreme court justices, top military brass, even a former CIA agent no longer anonymous. Our very own "A" lister, Ed Henry was at the top of that "A" list of journalists.


HARRIS: Ed, good morning to you.

HENRY: Good morning, Tony. I don't think I was at the top of the list. I was there. I apologize if my voice was a little bit hoarse. It went on a little bit long. This is known as Washington's version of the academy awards, as you mentioned, Hollywood stars, political celebrities rubbing elbows on the red carpet, paparazzi everywhere. A lot of buzz about George Clooney as well as the rapper, Ludacris. Also, you mentioned the former CIA official, Valerie Plame there with her husband, Ambassador Joe Wilson, a fierce critic of this administration sitting not very far from desk where President Bush was, in -- right in the sites there. And officially, the entertainment with Stephen Colbert of "Comedy Central," but I have to say that the person who stole the show was the commander in chief, or perhaps I should say, the commanders in chief, you see, because President Bush stood side by side with an impersonator, Steve Bridges, who was a dead ringer of the president. They had a very funny routine where Bridges was basically the subconscious of the president, what he was really thinking. Take a look. It was pretty funny.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I am absolutely delighted to be here, as is Laura.

BRIDGES: She's hot!


STEPHEN COLBERT, "COMEDY CENTRAL": The greatest thing about this man is he's steady, you know where he stands.

BUSH: As you know, I always look forward to these dinners. It's just a bunch of media types.

BRIDGES: Hollywood liberals, democrats like Joe Biden. How come I can't have dinner with the 36 percent of the people who like me?

COLBERT: Don't pay attention to the approval ratings that say it's at 68 percent of Americans disapprove of the job this man is doing. I ask you this -- does that not also logically mean that 68 percent approve of the job he's not doing?

BRIDGES The only thing missing is Hillary Clinton sitting on the front row, rolling her eyes.

COLBERT: Mayor Nagin is here from New Orleans, the "Chocolate City." Yeah, give it up. Mayor Nagin, I'd like to welcome you to Washington, D.C., the "Chocolate City with a marshmallow center."

BUSH: You know, it's good to see so many influential guests here tonight. Justice Scalia...

COLBERT: Justice Scalia may I be the first to say welcome, sir? You look fantastic. How are you? Nah!

BRIDGES Bet it feels good to be out from under those robes. Toga, toga, toga, toga, toga!

COLBERT: The president makes decisions, he's the decider.

BRIDGES Where's the great white hunter?

BUSH: I am sorry vice president Cheney couldn't be here tonight.


HENRY: Now, the president ended his remarks by -- his official remarks by saying that it's really important to laugh in this job. That's probably more true than ever, now that he's so low in the polls. But I have to tell you, near the end of Stephen Colbert's routine, the president didn't really seem to be laughing. He actually seemed to be a little bit annoyed at some of the pokes from Stephen Colbert, it went on for a bit -- Tony.

HARRIS: OK, yeah, and for a correspondent like you, is this, I mean, it a lot of fun, is it a little bit of work? I mean, what is it for you?

HENRY: Everyone actually compares to it here to the prom, not the academy awards. Everyone tries to dress up and impress each other, and by the end of the night, you're so tired of it, even before you get there, you're so annoyed about all the preparations and everything else and everyone's looking at each other to see what they're wearing. I mean, it's fun, but it's also -- it gets old real fast.

HARRIS: Yeah, I can imagine that it would. Ed Henry, thanks for getting up with us this morning. We appreciate it.

NGUYEN: Yeah, but, that's an honest answer. I like that. That was on honest answer. That's a good one.

HARRIS: All morning long, this has been -- the e-mails have been crazy this morning on this topic. And here's the question we've been asking all morning -- do you support the great American boycott that is scheduled for tomorrow, May Day?

NGUYEN: And Joanna from Maryland says, "Yes, I support the actions of Mexican people. They should show their feelings by not shopping, not working, etcetera, for as long as they can. All they want is a better life. There is enough place and space for everyone."

And Reynolds, you got one from Margaret?

REYNOLDS WOLF, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Well, this is from Margaret from Pennsylvania says, "Since my own parents came to this country legally from central Europe, I feel that what the illegal immigrants are doing is wrong. I think America should, in fact, boycott them. We should not hire them, sell them food, print everything in two or more languages, or let them participate in our good life until they can prove they are here legally. " That's Margaret in Pennsylvania.

HARRIS: You guys have been on fire this morning, we really appreciate all of the e-mails to our question of the day. And tomorrow's a big day.

NGUYEN: It is a big day, and we are going to be watching it every step of the way. For the best, most comprehensive live coverage of tomorrow's events, you want to keep your TV locked on CNN. Our correspondents are deployed in major cities all across the country, and in Mexico. We're teamed up with the Spanish-language network, Univision, for even greater reach, the day without immigrants' coverage begins at 6:00 a.m. on CNN's "American Morning" and then continues throughout the day.

HARRIS: "Reliable Sources" is next, followed by "Late Edition" and "On the Story."

NGUYEN: And Fredricka Whitfield will be with you later this morning, as well as all afternoon with live news updates. Have a great day.

HARRIS: And we leave you this morning with more from Take Six.


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