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General Motors to Close Plants?; Taliban Threatens Pakistan's Capital

Aired April 22, 2009 - 20:00   ET


ROLAND MARTIN, CNN ANCHOR: Folks, lots of news to get to tonight, and we have got a lot of smart folks here to talk about it all, but first the breaking news on reports that General Motors is closing plants around the country, seriously scary stuff.

Ali Velshi, our chief business correspondent, he is here to walk us through it -- Ali.

ALI VELSHI, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: All right, Roland, here's what we have got.

General Motors is not commenting on this. They have shut themselves down after somebody close to some discussions may have leaked information that GM is getting ready to close plants down, possibly most of their plants in the United States, this summer for up to nine weeks.

Take a look at where General Motors plants are, by the way, across the United States. Many people assume this is an Ohio and Michigan story, but there are General Motors plants across the United States. Typically, the plants shut down for two weeks over Christmas and two weeks in the summer. It's to recalibrate the plants and retool them.

In this case it may be being done because General Motors has too much inventory on the lots. They have got five months worth of inventory of pickup trucks, three months worth of inventory of SUVs. Those are not moving off dealer lots. General Motors, as you know, has a deadline to meet of June 1 to reorganize this company or face what could be a government-imposed bankruptcy. And that doesn't look like it's doing well.

In fact, General Motors just announced today that it is probably going to miss payments on -- miss a payment on June 1 for a billion dollars. So, this doesn't bode well. The good sign here is that maybe by doing this, they stop getting -- putting cars on the lots, and they reduce their inventory, get some cash.

The bad news is, if you stop building cars, the parts makers don't get so supply you with parts, and the parts makers make parts for other automakers, as well, so there could be a ripple effect that could hurt Ford and Chrysler right now as well.

MARTIN: All right, Ali, thanks a bunch.

Now, our big -- other big story of the day, the apparent suicide of a top executive of Freddie Mac, one of the corporations at the heart of this country's mortgage mess.

And we will certainly talk about it tonight with CNN anchor and correspondent Erica Hill, Lisa Bloom, anchor from truTV's "In Session," and Dr. Gail Saltz, an associate professor of psychiatry at New York Presbyterian Hospital, and of course Ali as well.

Now, Erica, disturbing story. I saw it this morning and I was like, whoa. CFO died?


ERICA HILL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It is. And a lot of people had that reaction, probably, upon first seeing it this morning, because it did cross early this morning.

Here is what we know at this hour -- 41-year-old David Kellermann was the acting chief financial officer of Freddie Mac. He was found dead in his basement this morning of an apparent hanging. The 911 call from his Virginia home came in just before 5:00 a.m. and the police were on scene not long after.

It is a home he shared with his wife and his 5-year-old daughter. We're told there were no signs of foul play. Police though would not comment as to whether or not a note was found. A police spokeswoman said it -- quote -- "may have been an apparent suicide."

Neighbors expressed shock at the news. One man actually referred to the Kellermanns as a solid salt of the earth family, a family that was very community-oriented. "The New York Times" though is reporting that Kellermann recently hired a private security firm after reporters came to his home asking about his bonus.

Now, Kellermann was actually set to take home an $850,000 retention bonus after the government took over Freddie Mac. That was to be paid out over the course of 18 months. That's according to a September securities filing. At this point, he had received $170,000 of that bonus -- Roland.

MARTIN: All right, Erica, thanks a bunch.

Ali, I want to go right to you. How important was Kellermann to the organization?

VELSHI: Well, first of all, a chief financial officer in any company is important. In a company like Freddie Mac, which is the second biggest writer of mortgages in the country, they buy mortgages from the banks, particularly important.

This is a company that the government has injected a lot of money into. And the government has taken some responsibility. They're responsible for 13 million mortgages in this country.

Now, here's the problem. Ever since he took over as the chief financial officer in September, it seems that there have been some investigations that have been launched since then into things that have been happening since then. So, that is part of the problem. This is a company with a lot of pressure on it.

The other side to this is that he was a star. He was 41 years old, known to be a really hard worker with a great work ethic. And if you're a CFO in a company like that, you have got to know these things are coming your way. So, I don't know and we don't know and Freddie Mac says they don't know of anything to do with these investigations that were going on that were tied to him or that he was implicated in. At least that's what they have told us about.

So one doesn't know whether there was a connection to his very high-stress job. But he was in a very important position at a company that matters to a lot of Americans.

MARTIN: I want to go to the doctor on this whole -- this high- stress issue. We were talking about this story this afternoon in our news meeting, Erica and I.

The moment we heard about it, we began to talk about all of the drama and the issues, all the hype surrounding it and the fact that people are literally under significant amounts of stress in these jobs. Talk about that in terms of where we go with this economy, how it's affecting folks down at the bottom and at the top.


Look, we're seeing rise in not only suicides, but violence overall, because people are under a tremendous amount of stress. Associated with the stress is a lot of shame and humiliation. These are people who have been highly successful. Their identities are completely wrapped up in their success. And now they're seen as a failure. People are angry at them. They're blaming them.

They're feeling guilty. All of these things can really conspire to create depression, serious depression with a capital D., which has a mortality rate from suicide of 15 percent. So, if it's unrecognized by people around them, who say, well, of course, they're stressed, they're having a hard time, but they don't see the red flags, being they're not sleeping, they're not eating, they can't concentrate, maybe they're talking about being hopeless or feeling worthless or any reference to life isn't worth living, those people need to be taken in for help immediately. They are at risk.

LISA BLOOM, TRUTV ANCHOR: And that populist outrage that we have all been hearing about certainly can't help. There was the pressure to name names of the AIG execs who got those big bonuses.

MARTIN: And of course you have got lawsuits, and depositions. You have got people visiting their homes.


BLOOM: And that's right. And people want a scapegoat. And they want to name somebody and blame somebody for these economic problems.


BLOOM: And now we're seeing the fallout.

SALTZ: They're feeling that tension. You know they have to be. So they feel like they have gone from being king of the hill to potentially, not only major loser, but scapegoat and that's a very terrifying place with no end.

HILL: And they're also feeling that stress in their personal life. You bring up AIG. We saw so many reports over the last few weeks of in this one town in Connecticut AIG executives hiring security.

There was a "New York Times" report that David Kellermann hired security after information was released about what his bonus was. Now, we should point out, too, these bonuses were actually defended. This was a retention bonus. There was a retention bonus package of $210 million spread out over 7,600 employees to be paid over 18 months.

A lot of outrage over that when that came up. But the federal regulator who actually is in charge of AIG was defending these bonuses saying, look, this is an important part of the solution. It's not about the problems of the past. But still as Lisa mentioned, there's that public perception and that outrage.

MARTIN: And, Ali, look, I'm sure somebody at home is saying, look, I'm not feeling sorry for some guy who made a whole bunch of money. But the reality is, you do have to think about the wives, the children.


VELSHI: You really do, Roland.


MARTIN: ... constant attack.

VELSHI: You and I talked last week. I do a radio show on Wednesdays. And I got a phone call last week on the show from a man who was telling me about how he was in debt, and he was on disability. And then he started to cry and he told me his wife had just lost her job that morning and then said he just wants to take his truck and drive it off of something.

And I had to remind people, whether it's you, or whether it's somebody who is an executive, this is not a fatal disease. This is not a virus that is eating us up. We will get through this. It's money. And nobody needs to take their life. And nobody needs to talk about somebody else taking their life. That's when this goes to for. Money reporting is my life. This is not how we do things.


MARTIN: Of course, Doc, we had the story of the guy in L.A., and the guy in Baltimore, what, half-a-million in debt, killed his wife, his children.


SALTZ: Well, the problem is, this isn't just happening to people at the top. This is happening to people over and people who maybe are on the edge in terms of some mental health issue. They're maybe saying I can't afford my medication. I can't afford treatment. I'm not going in...


VELSHI: And there's no way out.

SALTZ: And they think there's no way out.

But, to some degree, it's disease that takes over at a certain point. The money isn't the disease, but then it can become depression, which is a disease and then they don't see a way out, even though there may be.

MARTIN: And then talk about the fact that you lose your job, and now you don't have health care, now you can't go see the doctor.

VELSHI: You can't get the treatment, yes.

MARTIN: Absolutely.

Folks, we have got lots more to talk about tonight, including one of President Barack Obama's biggest challenges, Pakistan. How did a country that is supposed to be our partner in the war on terror end up with the Taliban only 60 miles from its capital city?

Also, we know you're all fired over the Craigslist suspected killer and his fiancee, who is standing by her man. Listen to this message from Malcolm from New York.


MALCOLM, NEW YORK: Of course she should stand by her man. That's his fiancee. Someone needs to by his side to help him through this ordeal.


MARTIN: Well, what do you think? -- 1-877-NO-BULL-0. That's 1- 877-662-8550. Give us a call. Also drop me an e-mail, and you can fine on Twitter and Facebook -- back in a moment.


MARTIN: Wow. Nice graphic, Albert.

One of President Obama's biggest foreign policy challenges as he nears the end of his first 100 days, and I'm sure you have heard about that, is a rapidly deteriorating situation in Pakistan. Could our key ally soon find itself under Taliban control? I thought we got rid of them. And what would that mean for us here at home?

There are alarming new developments tonight.

Erica, she's going to drop it on us.

HILL: Yes, Roland, the news here tonight is the fact that the Taliban is closing in on Pakistan's capital city, Islamabad.

The Pakistani government recently bowed to Taliban demands. As part of a peace treaty, they allowed the Taliban to impose a strict of Islamic law, Sharia law, in a small area known as the Swat Valley. But it didn't stop the Taliban's march. They have now seized control of the Buner district.

Why is this a big deal? Because this area is less than 60 miles from the capital, which is especially chilling because the Taliban ultimately have said they want of Pakistan to be ruled by Sharia law.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was crystal clear today in an appearance before the House Foreign Affairs Committee. In her words, Pakistan is facing an existential threat. And its government is on the verge of abdicating to the extremists. The only way to stop the Taliban from taking over, the secretary says, speak up loudly.


HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: I do want to talk about Pakistan, which I think poses a mortal threat to the security and safety of our country and the world.

And I want to take this occasion, and this public forum, to state unequivocally that not only do the Pakistani government officials, but the Pakistani people and the Pakistani diaspora, many of whom are extremely successful Americans here in academia, business, the professions and so much else, need to speak out forcefully against a policy that is ceding more and more certified to the insurgents, to the Taliban, to al Qaeda, to the allies that are in this terrorist syndicate.


MARTIN: All right. Erica has teed it up for us.

And we also bring now back Ali and Lisa. Also joining us, terrorist expert and analyst Paul Cruickshank. He wrote a piece on al Qaeda in Pakistan for the April issue of West Point's "Sentinel" magazine. Also Cliff May from the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a conservative foreign policy think tank, and he's hanging out with us in Washington.

And obviously the people in Pakistan should be concerned. But does this put the U.S. at risk, Paul?

PAUL CRUICKSHANK, FELLOW, CENTER ON LAW AND SECURITY: It definitely puts the U.S. at risk. This is a safe haven for al Qaeda. One of the spokesman in this region, Swat, one of the Taliban spokesman, said we want Osama bin Laden to come here. We will shelter him. We will help him. We will protect him.

A lot of the training for these terrorism plots we have been seeing in the last few years have been happening in these parts of Pakistan particularly in the tribal areas. There was a plot in 2006 to blow up as many as seven commercial jetliners going from London to North American cities. Now the al Qaeda operatives, the British al Qaeda operatives, in that cell trained in these parts of Pakistan.

MARTIN: Well, Cliff, look, this surely has to be a concern, because I thought President Bush keeps telling us, we defeated them, we defeated them. Now they're back. What in the world is going on?

CLIFF MAY, PRESIDENT, FOUNDATION FOR THE DEFENSE OF DEMOCRACIES: Yes, we're still at war with militant Islamism which takes a number of forms. One is al Qaeda. One is the Taliban, which went it was ruling in Afghanistan hosted al Qaeda and there in Afghanistan of course 9/11 was plotted and planned.

We did not entirely defeat the Taliban. We did not entirely, obviously, defeat militant Islamism. We believe that Osama bin Laden took refuge in the kind of remote and wild tribal areas of Pakistan and from there he and his allies seem to be, little by little, taking over Pakistan. Pakistan, keep in mind, is a country that has nuclear weapons.

MARTIN: Absolutely.

MAY: The takeover of power -- I think Hillary Clinton is exactly right that a militant Islamist, an al Qaeda or Taliban Pakistan, would be a dreadful threat, maybe as she put a mortal threat, to the United States and our allies.

BLOOM: It's a threat to us. And, Paul, we also know it's an immediate threat to over 100 million girls and women of Pakistan, because when we're talking about the Taliban and Sharia law, what we're talking about is half the population being a cross between prisoners and slaves. Over 200 girls schools have been bombed or burned in the last few months. And many girls are afraid to leave their homes at all. Under Sharia law, women can't leave their homes unless there's a husband or a father present.

What can we do to address that right now?

CRUICKSHANK: Well, that's absolutely right. There was a case earlier this month, earlier this April, in Swat where a girl, a 17- year-old girl, was beaten to an inch of her life by these Taliban...

BLOOM: It was on a YouTube video.

CRUICKSHANK: ... by these Taliban thugs, and for supposedly committing adultery, so there are these sort of abuses are going on all the time. And the hope is that this is going to start turning the Pakistani population against Taliban. The middle-classes in Pakistan are waking up to this threat from Taliban. And I think there's some evidence that this is taking place. The middle classes in Pakistan are waking up to this threat from the Taliban. And these sorts of videos are causing a backlash within Pakistan. Now, what can the Obama administration do now? Well, not very much.

MARTIN: I was trying to figure out, Ali, what did we get for the $11 billion we have given Pakistan?

VELSHI: Well, here's the problem.

Of the $11 million that's gone to Pakistan...

MARTIN: Billion.

VELSHI: Billion dollars -- since about 2001, 2002, since after 9/11, most of that has gone to military aid. About a little less than a quarter has gone to economic aid.

Now, the problem is, as the Taliban shows up in your country, money tends to leave. They're not really -- people are not all that interested in investing in a country that could be run by Taliban, who changes law all the time and has generally unfavorable laws to foreign investment.

So, Pakistan has a tenuous democracy as this point. It's a democracy, but it's not a country that people are clear whether the government actually runs it, the democratic elected government runs it, or the military runs it, or the military can step in at any moment and take control.

So, you have a weak government. And until Pakistan has a strong government and a stronger economy, those middle-class people you're talking about aren't on board.


CRUICKSHANK: And for too long, the military in Pakistan has been obsessed with India. All the resources that America has given has gone into...


VELSHI: And India...


VELSHI: ... as an important story for Pakistan as fighting the terrorists...


CRUICKSHANK: That's absolutely right. HILL: But the other story that is important, too, I think, for the viewer at home and for the American people is understanding the difference between the Taliban and al Qaeda.

MARTIN: Great point. Great point.

HILL: Now, you have brought up the point that we have been hearing that the Taliban had been defeated. Cliff talked a little bit about that, about how the Taliban is still out there.

There are fundamental differences here. But people at home are also hearing from the president that he has said...

MARTIN: Should negotiate with them.

HILL: Well, he didn't say specifically negotiate, but that he would be willing to speak with Taliban leaders. And that's a very confusing statement, because the U.S., as we know, does not negotiate with terrorists. Yet...


MARTIN: And, Cliff, don't have much time. I want you to close us out on that.

Should we be talking with the Taliban?

MAY: Well, yes, the -- look, there's different Taliban. There's no question about it. The Taliban that is in control of areas of Pakistan is among the worst. They have vowed to kill Americans and to attack America.

Within Afghanistan, most of the Taliban is terrible. But what the military will tell you is, there are some groups that call themselves Taliban, but they are really not. They are not ideological. So, are there groups you can peel off that are not really Taliban in Afghanistan? Maybe.

But, in Pakistan, you have got a Taliban that is very close at the hips was al Qaeda.

MARTIN: Great point.

All right, Paul and Cliff, we certainly appreciate it. Thanks a bunch.

Erica, Ali and Lisa, you can't go anywhere. All right?

HILL: We are chained.


MARTIN: Folks, we have more in a minute.

Of course we're coming up on the 100th day of the Obama administration. One week from tonight, join us for a special prime- time event, CNN's national report card of the president's first 100 days. That's next Wednesday at 8:00 p.m. Eastern. All the best political team on television will be back in the studio.

Coming up, the latest on the alleged Craigslist killer and his fiancee.

Lisa can't wait for that one.

BLOOM: Oh, I can't wait.


MARTIN: Folks, it's like "The Jerry Springer Show" on the streets of Mumbai. Check this out. The mom and stepmom of the little girl in "Slumdog Millionaire" in a knock-down, drag-out brawl. Well, at least, on "Springer," someone steps in to stop it.

Erica Hill, Ali Velshi, and truTV's Lisa Bloom here with me.

And, man, talk about drama in that video.

BLOOM: Talk about life imitating art, right, just like the film. What really goes on in the slums of India?

HILL: And it's not pretty. And there's been so much talk about that since that film, that there really does need to be some attention paid to the fact that this is not a pretty place to live. And there's a lot of horror there.

MARTIN: Drama, drama.

All right, we will send Ali to break it up.


MARTIN: Folks, we're just getting started here. That's the rundown of the show. You can see we're also talking about the fiancee of the Craigslist killing suspect standing by her man. What's up with that?

Also, give us a shout, 1-877-NO-BULL-0. That's 1-877-662-8550.


HILL: "Dance Party USA" right here.

MARTIN: Ah, a little Jamie Foxx going.

Folks, we have been getting a ton of phone calls and comments mostly from Lisa Bloom about the alleged Craigslist killer and his stand by her man fiancee.


MARTIN: Trust me, you can get in on the conversation by calling us at 1-877-NO-BULL-0, 1-877-662-8550. But, first, Erica with the briefing.

HILL: All right, a little news for you now: The FDA will allow the sale of the so-called morning-after pill to 17-year-olds without a doctor's prescription. That's an about-face from Bush administration's policy, which limited over-the-counter sales of the controversial drug known as Plan B to women 18 and older.

In Colorado, a man who claims he snapped when he killed a transgender woman convicted today of first-degree murder and a hate crime. Allen Andrade faces a mandatory life sentence without parole. This is believed to be the first prosecution under Colorado's bias crime statute for a crime against a transgender person, also something I know Lisa has covered extensively.

And you have got to see this. A man flying a homemade plane in Florida makes an emergency landing on a busy three-lane street. The whole thing of course caught on camera, so we couldn't resist showing it to you, the camera from inside the cockpit of the plane near the engine. Check this out. The pilot says he lost engine power shortly after takeoff and insists this landing was not a stunt.

VELSHI: Nor was the fact he had a camera.

HILL: Right.

MARTIN: Two cameras.



HILL: You never know when you're going to need to put something on YouTube.


VELSHI: ... and plane shouldn't be in the same sentence.

HILL: Well, speaking of cameras, something we saw just before the break, a fight about the child of "Slumdog Millionaire" -- the child star of "Slumdog Millionaire."

As you can see here, we showed you a little bit before, apparently erupting on the streets of Mumbai on Sunday. Now, this is the mother and stepmother of the 9-year-old Rubina Ali. They were battling over reports that the little girl's father had actually tried to sell her. The father is denying those reports.

BLOOM: Thank you, Erica, for not using the word catfight.


HILL: Happily not.

(CROSSTALK) HILL: It's also a very serious story. I would have a hard time making fun of it.

BLOOM: It's a sexist term that everybody else uses when two women fight.

MARTIN: Well, I'm trying to figure out if -- reports regarding the dad. Who was beating him up?

BLOOM: Yes, nobody.

HILL: I think that's where we send you in, Roland Martin.


BLOOM: He denies it, by the way. He says he was set up by a British tabloid, and he would never, ever sell his daughter.


BLOOM: Just to be fair.

MARTIN: All right.

HILL: We should say, too, the video that was made available to CNN didn't have any sound on it...


HILL: So that part, too, is a little sketchy.

VELSHI: The one where he's allegedly making the deal to sell his daughter, to have somebody pay them to adopt...


MARTIN: We had some sound there. They were fired up.


BLOOM: He says not even for 250 grand. He wouldn't do it.

MARTIN: All right, folks, thanks a bunch. Hold tight.

We have been hearing from you all day, again, hearing from Lisa all day, about the alleged Craigslist killer and his fiancee. Some folks just don't understand why she would stand by her man. Well, listen to what she said in a letter to ABC News.

She wrote -- quote -- "He would never hurt a fly" -- unquote.

We want to know what you think. Give us a shout, 1-877-NO-BULL- 0. That's 1-877-662-8550. You can also e-mail me or find me on Twitter and Facebook.

VELSHI: And you can Twitter me at Ali Velshi. MARTIN: But you probably wouldn't want to.




MARTIN: All right, folks, a huge test for the U.S. Supreme Court. For the first time since President Barack Obama's election, race is front and center among the nine robed justices. With four landmark cases to decide, the justices have the power to redefine civil rights in America.

Erica Hill is going to break it down for us -- Erica.

HILL: And we're going to start with one of those cases being heard today, one of the four, which is the one getting, frankly, the most attention at this point.

It's a discrimination case brought by a group of white and Hispanic firefighters in New Haven, Connecticut. Now, they say they weren't promoted because in their mind it happened because they weren't black.

About five years ago, the fire department gave a test to fill openings for lieutenant and captain. When the results came back, none of the African-Americans who took the test -- while they passed, none of those who passed scored high enough to qualify for the promotion, according to civil service rules.

More than a dozen white and Hispanic candidates, though, did qualify. But, afraid of being sued by the black candidates, the city of New Haven threw out all of the test results and canceled all the promotions.

Now in response, the white and Hispanic candidates sued. That's were the ones we're taking a look at.

Also this week on Monday, the court hearing a case out of Arizona over English language classes. Specifically in this case, how much money does the state need to spend teaching English to students who do not speak it?

Next Tuesday, coming before the court, a very hot button issue in light of the economy. Discriminatory mortgage lending. New York's attorney general, Andrew Cuomo, claiming some banks offer more high interest loans to blacks and Hispanics than to whites. That would be tackled.

And finally, the other big case among these four involving voting rights, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Now at issue here is whether the Justice Department should oversee local election laws where there's a history of discrimination. This lawsuit claims in effect that with President Barack Obama's election we have come a long way since the '60s so that no federal oversight is needed. So understandable why these four cases have a lot of people saying this could effectively change civil rights law in this country.

ROLAND MARTIN, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Folks, right now, we're going to bring in our legal shot call, a big ball, Jeffrey Toobin. He's written a book called "The Nine: Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court."

HILL: It's great. That's a great title for a magazine (ph). I love it.

MARTIN: I'm just trying to, you know --


MARTIN: Jeff, four big cases. Now, the question, could this court, the Roberts court, frankly change the face of civil rights in America with these four cases?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Absolutely. And what's so interesting about these cases that they fundamentally all ask the same question, is that whether the government can use race in making decisions. Can the government say, we want an integrated police force and fire department? Do we want black students definitely represented in a university? Do we want congressional districts that protect black voters' interests?

All these questions involve whether the government can take steps in favor of diversity or whether the government is not allowed to use race at all in making any decisions.

MARTIN: Jeff, this court is pretty much divided. You got four folks, frankly, on the left, four on the right. Who is the key justice? And give us a sense of his thoughts, his thinking as it relates to these cases.

TOOBIN: It is a very good time to be Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court now, because he holds the swing vote in case after case. In probably at least three of these four cases, Kennedy will be the deciding vote. And basically on these issues, Kennedy believes in theory that you can use race as a factor, but usually, when it comes down to each individual case, is he finds it was impermissible in that particular case. So that --

MARTIN: Jeff, I remember when Sandra Day O'Connor was on the court, folks literally in race cases, they were writing to her, appealing directly to her. Same case here?

TOOBIN: Absolutely. Even more so here. The court is more obviously divided than it was when Justice O'Connor was the swing vote. You know, since the '70s, this court has been really evenly decided. First, the swing vote was Lewis Powell.

MARTIN: Right.

TOOBIN: Then it was Sandra Day O'Connor. Now, it's Anthony Kennedy. And smart litigators pitch their briefs to that justice because that justice holds all the cards.

MARTIN: All right, Jeff. Hold tight one second, folks. Two more legal experts in my panel will tackle that question when we come back.

Don't go away. Back in a moment.


MARTIN: Ah, Lisa likes the deejay. Folks, we're back talking about a divided U.S. Supreme Court with the power to dramatically alter the landscape of civil rights with four cases right now.

Our next guest (INAUDIBLE) Wendy Long, counsel to the Judicial Confirmation Network. She's also a former law clerk for Justice Clarence Thomas, and from Harvard Law, Professor Charles Ogletree. His book "All Deliberate Speed: Reflections on the First Half-Century of Brown v. Board of Education." And, of course, Erica, Ali and Lisa Bloom from truTV. And Jeffrey Toobin is also back with us as well.

Wendy, I want to start with you. This case out of Connecticut, if you will, 37 percent African-Americans in the city, no black firefighters likely to be promoted. Is that fair?

WENDY LONG, COUNSEL, JUDICIAL CONFIRMATION NETWORK: Well, the question is, are we going to guarantee equality. This country was founded on the proposition that all men are created equal. And what does equality mean? Does it mean equality of results or equality of opportunity?

A good way to test the proposition, Roland, is to flip it around and say what if a whole lot of black applicants had done really well on the test and the city said oh no, that's too many. We can't use that. We're going to throw it out. Everybody would be shocked and scandalized.

And the question is, is our constitution color-blind? Do the principles apply no matter which race is at stake? And that's really what's the issue in this case.

MARTIN: But, Ogletree, isn't the issue though that you don't have a history where African-Americans have had these jobs for so many different years and, frankly, the courts have been saying we need to equalize the situation.

CHARLES OGLETREE, HARVARD LAW PROFESSOR: That's exactly right. That's why we have the Voting Right Acts. We have Title Seven of the Civil Rights Act. All of those support to remedy those situations.

And we said all men are created equal. That we didn't include women and we didn't include blacks. We've never met that burden now.

And this test here, Roland, let me be clear about it. This test is designed to make sure these people are equipped to be senior people in the fire department. The reality is this. That if you had a test where blacks all scored high and didn't -- and whites didn't, there's something wrong with the test. It shouldn't exclude groups, groups personal (ph) tests. That should take you and make you a better firefighter.

LONG: There was no history of racial discrimination in the New Haven Fire Department.

OGLETREE: Oh, that's not true.

LONG: What the Supreme --

OGLETREE: That is not true. That is not true. Lawsuits have been brought in New Haven over and over again, because of the fact that blacks have been denied promotion. It's not a southern problem, it's not a national problem.

MARTIN: Wendy?

LONG: What the Supreme Court has said is that where does a race conscious remedy?

MARTIN: Right.

LONG: It has to be very strictly tailored to address some problem. And Justice Scalia has said it well. He said, look, when there's been individual instances of racial discrimination, compensation or redress has to be provided.

MARTIN: Right.

LONG: But we don't have a creditor and debtor race in this country. That's not how it works. Is it equality of individuals? Are we trying to play some game of equalizing groups with racial quotas and set aside.

MARTIN: Hey, Lisa, there are four cases and we're talking about employment. We're talking about education. We're talking about -- so many different areas. And so, Lisa, you say a critical time for this court.

BLOOM: It is.

MARTIN: This Roberts court.

BLOOM: It is. And civil rights law which I used to practice is firmly grounded in social science. And so, as social science changes, as we make progress as a society, the law changes as well.

And I want to ask Jeffrey Toobin because Justice Roberts, our chief justice, said, (INAUDIBLE) the way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race. And I think we all want to get there. The question is, how do we know? How do we know when we've achieved that?

MARTIN: Great point. Jeff?

TOOBIN: Well, the question is, you know, is there a moment when we suddenly don't have to treat races differently anymore. But I think there's one factor here that hasn't been talked about yet.

A lot of people who believe in these sorts of remedies think, you know, it is more -- it is also an important thing to have diversity. The diversity itself is a value. That when you have a law school class, it is a value to the society to have a diverse group of students. So it's not just a question of, you know, treating all people equally in admissions or in applications.

BLOOM: But to Charles Ogletree, the problem that Justice Souter said is cities can be damned if they do, damned if they don't. They get sued either way no matter how they treat some of these tests.

OGLETREE: That's true but that means throughout the test and start over. You've got to get it right because the reality is you can't exclude people, a whole group, because this is a fire department like others where African-Americans have not been given jobs when they had the qualifications. The testing is a historical change in the 20th century trying to exclude African-Americans particularly. So the Title Seven is designed to address these issues, so the other case we're going to talk about hopefully is designed to address these issues.

LONG: But --

MARTIN: I want to get a comment from Wendy before we go to break.

LONG: But the New Haven case was not designed to create a more diverse fire department. Basically the district judge have said there -- she said, what discrimination? They threw the test out so no one was discriminated against. That reasoning doesn't make sense on its face.

MARTIN: Obviously, the court is going to decide. It was very interesting what we found. In the last time with initiative affirmative action case, the business community played a vital role.

LONG: That's true.

MARTIN: They're also playing a role in that so they advanced the issue as well.

I certainly want to thanks Wendy Long, Professor Charles Ogle and Jeffrey Toobin. Thanks for joining us.

The rest of you, you still have some work to do.

Folks, ladies, if police told you the man of your dreams was really a nightmare, what would you do? We're talking about the accused Craigslist killer whose fiancee is standing by him. Cynthia from my native Texas, she weighs in.

CYNTHIA, FROM TEXAS (via telephone): I know that every woman wants to believe that the man she's fallen in love with is her deliverer, conqueror, hero and more. But as a woman herself who is married to a convicted felon, unbeknownst for myself, darling, it's time that they stop. Cut your losses, pray for him and move on.

MARTIN: Cut your losses and pray for him.

Folks, we want to hear your thoughts in the story. Call us 1- 877-NO-BULL-0. That's 1-877-662-8550. You can also e-mail me Hit me on twitter and Facebook. You can also hit up Ali.


HILL: That one's for Lisa.

MARTIN: We actually set it up for you. That's Raphael Saadiq, "Love That Girl." One of the most underrated albums in 2008.

HILL: I have to download that.

MARTIN: Great song. Trust me.

Time for our "Political Daily Briefing" with Erica and we set the song up for her.

HILL: Thank you, thank you. All right, where was I? I got a little flustered there. Here we go politics, you're ready?

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi speaking out tonight saying that knew Representative Jane Harman was recorded on the Justice Department wiretap a few years ago, but she didn't inform Harman because the information was classified. Harman was reportedly caught on tape talking about lobbying the Justice Department on behalf of two top officials of a pro-Israel group who were charged with espionage.

The publication, the 'Congressional Quarterly," reports Harman agreed to try to get those charges reduced in return for help getting the coveted chairmanship of the House Intelligence Committee. Harman, though, denies any wrongdoing. She is now calling for the wiretap transcripts to be released. We'll keep an eye out for those.

Another story stirring up the political landscape tonight, quite the double billing.

Former President Clinton and former President George W. Bush reportedly attending an event in Toronto together next month. They'll both be there, according to the event planner, and they'll talk about the challenges facing the world and will take questions.

This is the first time the pair will share a stage since Bush left office in January. The catch, the media is not invited.

Finally tonight, the controversy surrounding the photo shopped image of a shirtless President Obama. Oh, yes.

The photo the paparazzi took, remember this over the holidays. A newly elected president vacationing in Hawaii last December. Well, now, this photo is gracing the cover of "Washingtonian" magazine's May issue. But as you can see here, a few digital changes. The bathing suit now red on the cover of the magazine. The background as you can see removed. And he does seem to be a little bit more sun kissed, a little more of a glow there for the president.

The magazine is getting a lot of criticism actually for the changes. The editor-at-large though tells us they were purely artistic and that you can't have a dark bathing suit on a black background, because, well, you wouldn't be able to see it.

MARTIN: I read in a magazine --

HILL: A novel approach, Roland. The White House, by the way, isn't commenting. I wanted to show you this, though, because it turns out it's not the first photo shopped bare bodied president to don the cover of the "Washingtonian."

BLOOM: What?

HILL: Yes.


MARTIN: All right.


MARTIN: Gotcha.

HILL: Good times. Good times of the "PDB."

MARTIN: Folks, "LARRY KING LIVE" is coming up at the top of the hour.

Larry, you got a prime time exclusive tonight.

LARRY KING, HOST, "LARRY KING LIVE": I do, Roland. And tomorrow night I'm going to wear a bathing suit.

MARTIN: Uh-oh. Uh-oh.

KING: Yes.

HILL: All right.

MARTIN: Shake it, Larry King.

HILL: Is Larry going to be on the panel too?

KING: Tune in tomorrow, yes.

HILL: Nice.

KING: Yes, I want to be on the panel.

(LAUGHTER) We got -- we got a couple of exclusives for you tonight. Duane "Dog" Chapman is going to tell us about a big scare he received last night. He said a gun was fired in his direction during a stakeout. It seems that TV's "Bounty Hunter" was hunted. We're going to hear all about it.

Plus, Levi Johnston is with us. The father of Bristol Palin's baby has got a lot to say about her, his son, and the woman who could have been his mother-in-law, Sarah Palin. What's he going to do with the Bristol tattoo. Find out next on "LARRY KING LIVE."

MARTIN: Hey, Larry, real quick. Ali's got a question for you.

VELSHI: Hey, Larry, are you going to wear suspenders with the bathing suit?


HILL: Is that a yes?

KING: OK, you got me, Ali.

VELSHI: I got you (ph).

MARTIN: OK. All right now. Larry, thanks so much.

Folks, shocking new details are coming out into our newsroom tonight about the so-called Craigslist killing and robbery cases. Randi Kaye joins us live right now from Boston with the latest.

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Roland, a lot to tell you about tonight to catch you up on. It turns out Philip Markoff may have been collecting his alleged victim's underwear as souvenirs and keeping it in his apartment inside a hollowed out medical book.

Two Boston newspapers and ABC news report that information is coming from law enforcement sources. Also tonight, the D.A.'s office telling me that when Markoff was picked up on Monday, his fiancee was in the car with him. They were heading to a casino and that Markoff had $1,000 in cash with him.

Also, we are getting new insight into what some are calling Markoff's darker side. A former lab partner of his from Boston University's medical school, Tiffany Montgomery, told the Boston newspaper he was "strange, strange in a dark way." She said she had class with him for years, that he was moody. She described him as disturbed.

Also more today from Megan McAllister who was supposed to marry Philip Markoff this summer. She has now e-mailed both "People" magazine and ABC News to publicly defend her fiancee. She says police have the wrong guy and that someone is setting Philip Markoff up to make a buck.

Those are the recent developments tonight, Roland. More I'm sure tomorrow. MARTIN: All right. Randi, great job. Thanks a bunch.

Folks, as evidence appears to mount, Markoff's fiancee and friends are sticking by him. Our panel is ready to weigh in and we'll take your phone calls as well.


MARTIN: Joss Stone.

Folks, clean cut, all American, couldn't hurt a fly. We've heard all these words people are using to describe Philip Markoff, the suspect in the Craigslist killing case.

Markoff's fiancee has been defending him publicly in e-mails to ABC News and "People" magazine. Now, we reached out to her but she hasn't e-mailed us yet.

I bet you can't wait to hear what our panel thinks. Erica Hill, Ali Velshi, Lisa Bloom. And, of course, we want to bring in Jane Velez-Mitchell, the host of "Issues" on HLN.

But first, folks on the phone lines. Let's go to Salt Lake City.

Shawn, what do you think?

SHAWN, UTAH (via telephone): I think he's a sociopath and she ought to get as far away from him as humanly possible.

MARTIN: Shawn, you're way too shy. All right. Thanks so much. We appreciate it.

Let's go to Leigh in Biloxi, Mississippi. Great casinos, there. Hey, Leigh.

LEIGH, MISSISSIPPI (via telephone): Good morning, Roland.


LEIGH: Yes. Of course, she's going to stand by her man. I mean, as soon as the details of the case is revealed --

MARTIN: OK. So you think that she'll leave. All right. I appreciate it, Leigh. Thanks so much.

Here's what I have trouble with. We talked about this earlier and folks are like, oh, my God. You know, why is she staying?

Jane, he hasn't been indicted, hasn't been convicted. And so, we know many people frankly who have gone to jail who didn't commit crimes.

JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST OF "ISSUES!" ON HLN: Roland, so he deserves a presumption of innocence in the court of law but police say the evidence is building. And I think that this fiancee is showing blind loyalty and being incredibly gullible. I mean, they found a gun in a hollowed-out medical textbook. They found panties they say of the victims in his home. They found plastic ties that match the plastic ties allegedly that he allegedly used on these women. Then there's the Internet protocol address, and there is the surveillance video. And the biggest thing one of the victims who survived says that she can identify him.

MARTIN: Lisa, sounds like a set-up to me.

BLOOM: So, innocent until proven guilty. But innocent until proven guilty, right? The victim's panties are found in the home. I mean, that's kind of game over for most women. But look, there's always a possibility he's innocent.

There are some kind of plant and there's lies. And she was in love with the guy. They were engaged. They had a beautiful Web site.

This has all happened very quickly. Give this poor woman some time. And by the way, why are we piling on the woman? Why aren't we piling on the accused killer who's really the bad guy here? Family members usually stand by someone.


HILL: But I can imagine having to deal with that no matter what whether it's just an acquisition, whether it turns out to be true. You're sitting there and no matter who you are, if this is someone who is close to you, if you're a young woman and this is your fiancee, your entire world has just come crumbling down around you.

BLOOM: Sure.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: May I offer a diagnosis. I think this woman is codependent. I think this guy had gambling problems, and codependency is when you're addicted to the addict. And so, classic codependent behavior is to enable and justify and cover for and excuse --

BLOOM: Well, they only had a $1,000.

MARTIN: But we've seen cases before, whether it was Eliot Spitzer, with other folks, where folks stood by their man --


BLOOM: Yes, but that's different. That's different. And I wasn't piling on her.


MARTIN: But what's different?.

BLOOM: I'll tell you why, because she was first lady of the state of New York. She was used to being a public figure.

VELSHI: Right. BLOOM: She knew people were looking at her. And she was creating a bad role model for little girls standing there in this adoring sort of Stepford wife way when he was making his statement. Utterly humiliating.

MARTIN: All right.

VELSHI: But in this case this woman seems to have no experience in this.

BLOOM: This is a couple days old, this story.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: That was a victimless crime. This is not a victimless crime.

MARTIN: Right.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: There was a woman who was badly beaten and shot here, another woman who was terrorized. And it's irresponsible to say, well, the cops are selling a story to the media. We all know that's not how it works anyway. Sometimes tell (ph) stories to the media.

So she's not only gullible and possibly codependent, but I think she's responsible. This is a very serious crime, and there's a family mourning a dead woman tonight.

MARTIN: Let's go to the Hoosier State. Sharon.


SHARON, INDIANA (via telephone): I like to make a comment now about the fiancee.


SHARON: The statement that he wouldn't hurt a fly. He didn't hurt a fly. He killed two women --

MARTIN: Allegedly.

SHARON: And he hurt another one. And then, possibly all these evidences are against him. As a woman, I would not stand by him. I would just cut my losses and leave it alone.

MARTIN: But you know what -- first of all, Sharon, thanks for your phone call.

A lot of folks say that. It's very interesting. We've covered cases all the time and you will see the spouse, you'll see the girlfriend right there in court even with the same kind of evidence in this case here.

HILL: We do want to point out, just to clarify really quickly, it is only one woman who was killed allegedly by this man.

VELSHI: Right.

HILL: I just want to clear that up.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, one woman killed and one woman who was terrorized.


HILL: Absolutely. Absolutely. It's just the caller had said two, so we just want to make sure that the facts are correct.

BLOOM: Allegedly. Allegedly. Wouldn't most of us stick up for our family members, offer them legal support?

MARTIN: We see it all the time.

BLOOM: Visit them in prison? I mean, we can't judge someone who find themselves in the middle of a media maelstrom on a couple of days notice. I just think that's unfair.

VELSHI: You're the only one getting a call from me if I ever get in trouble.


VELSHI: We'll find out on Facebook.

MARTIN: Absolutely.

HILL: I thought you were tweeting, Ali.

VELSHI: At Ali Velshi if you care.

MARTIN: Yes. All right. We'll also be right back with more of your Facebook and Twitter comments. Yours not Ali's.


MARTIN: Hey, what happened to the music? Lisa's upset now.

We're back again with Erica, Ali, Jane, as well. And folks, I want to continue our discussion of a man accused of luring a woman to a hotel through Craigslist and then killing her.

Now, look, we got a lot of folks who are commenting. First off, I want to go to MsRita2009 on Twitter. She says, "Yes, I feel she should stand by her man until after the trial because he might not have done it. We simply don't know yet."

Jane, you're not buying it.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: First of all, let's think of the possibilities here. Let's assume for a moment the police are right, and he did do it. And I'm not trying to convict him. Let's just make that assumption for a second.

Then that means that this woman was in danger. This woman was --

BLOOM: Well, not really, because he's only going after sex workers or people giving erotic massages.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: But you know then it's progressive. You know the crime is progressive and it could have ended up there.

BLOOM: Is that the kind of Madonna whore syndrome? That his own wife or fiancee was probably safe. It was this other weird --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: That's where it starts but you don't know where it ends.

MARTIN: All right. Here's what another -- Aikila (ph) said. She should stand by her man with her eyes open, ears perked and feet ready to run. He could go kill her.

BLOOM: That's well said.

MARTIN: Also, from Facebook. Tasha (ph) says, of course she's in denial. Who wants to believe that the person they love and planning to marry is capable of such horrific things. When the shock wears off she will be angry and willing to face the truth whatever it is.

BLOOM: And remember the four stages of grief, right?


BLOOM: She's probably in the first stage, shock.

VELSHI: And maybe there's some therapy that has to be involved. And maybe there's a lot of talking to, but I think it is true. A, she's new, B, she's not prominent. She's not used to this kind of limelight. This is going to be very confusing to deal with.

HILL: And it's got to be horrific. You look at some of the stuff that was posted on her wedding Web site. Frankly, just terrible things that people who don't know...


HILL: ... either these people are saying, that's an awful thing to do to someone.

MARTIN: Ten seconds, Jane.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: It's a horrible commentary on her. I think that she's looking in the mirror and saying why did I not see some of this. And that's what's really scaring her, herself.

MARTIN: All right, folks, that's it for us. Thanks for all your phone calls, Twitter, Facebook, all that stuff you hit us with.

Back here, same time, same place tomorrow.