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CNN SATURDAY MORNING NEWS
Defiant North Korea 'To Weaponize Plutonium'; Strong Storms Slam Memphis; Main Challenger in Iraq Election Protests Results; Tetris Turns 25: Is it the Next Olympic Sport?
Aired June 13, 2009 - 06:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
T.J. HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: Well, from the CN -- hey.
BETTY NGUYEN, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, how you doing?
HOLMES: You OK this morning?
NGUYEN: I am fine. How's your chair?
HOLMES: I'm well. Yes, it's not quite right.
HOLMES: ...should be.
NGUYEN: Two things we have to deal with before we go on air. Well, apparently, while we're on air.
HOLMES: While we're on the air. Hey, that's full disclosure here.
Hello to you all on this Saturday, June the 13th. I am T.J. Holmes still adjusting this morning.
NGUYEN: Yes, good morning, everybody. And it's, you know, understandable. It is 6:00 a.m.
HOLMES: 6:00 a.m.
NGUYEN: I am Betty Nguyen. Thanks for starting your day with us.
Yes, 6:00 a.m. here in Atlanta; 5:00 a.m. in Memphis, Tennessee, where a powerful line of storms just whipped through the area, causing some massive damage. We're going to take a look at what happened to this man.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She came down right on top of my car. I was in it. And I jumped up, and a big limb -- you see how large it is -- came across the -- got me on the shoulder. And I jumped up.
(END VIDEO CLIP) NGUYEN: Well, thousands say that they are waking up without power this morning. Reynolds Wolf has more on this storm in just five minutes.
HOLMES: Also, would America be America without the contributions of African-Americans? Well, a new exhibit is answering that question with a resounding, "no." My conversation with TV and radio host Tavis Smiley, the creator of "The America I Am" exhibit.
But a few things happened overnight that we need to tell you about. Some stuff going on while you were sleeping. First up, NASA scrubbing today's launch of that thing there. That's the shuttle Endeavor. There was a hydrogen gas leak. The leak was found while Endeavor was being fueled. Shuttle managers could set a new launch date when they meet later on this morning.
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MIKE LEINBACH, SHUTTLE LAUNCH DIRECTOR: We had a situation where we were leaking inside this -- this cavity. Even though we were taking that away from the ship, it was leaking to the point where we weren't sure about the -- about the -- the condition of that disconnect. And so we wouldn't have gone -- we wouldn't have wanted to go through flight and disconnect with a possible hydrogen gas at that -- at that disconnect.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOLMES: So Endeavor will sit. That is one of our top stories right now on our Web site. And, of course, you can go to our Web site, CNN.com, for more information.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NGUYEN: Supporters of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad cheer his apparent re-election victory. Iranian officials say the president has about a 32 percent lead over the chief reformist rival.
Now, final results, they are expected soon, and we're going to bring you more on this story in just a few minutes.
HOLMES: Turn to North Korea, at it again in its nuclear standoff with the U.N. The North today said it is enriching uranium. Also saying it will weaponize all plutonium. The Security Council voted unanimously yesterday to expand and tighten sanctions on North Korea after its recent nuclear test.
CNN's John Vause in the region for us, joins us now from the phone from Beijing. John, put this in perspective for us. It seems like we're always hearing something from the North. But why is this threat different? JOHN VAUSE, CNN SR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): Well, in many ways, it's not. What we're hearing is that the language is very tough, but this is really in keeping with the tone that's been coming from North Korea for most of the year.
The North Koreans actually declared back in January that it was weaponizing its stockpile of plutonium. Most analysts say, based on their estimates, that would make about half a dozen nuclear bombs. Each time they do a nuclear test, they reduce this material they have available. There is some speculation they could be getting ready for yet another nuclear test. That would make their third.
But the key point out of today is the -- the enriching-uranium statement. The North Koreans had never made any secret about their plutonium-nuclear program. That's the one at the Yongbyon nuclear plant. But there's always been some controversy over whether or not there is another secret uranium-enrichment nuclear program. In the past, the North Koreans have denied it. Obviously, they're confirming it now.
They also confirmed it back in April of this year; the North said it would pursue a uranium-enrichment program unless the U.N. lifted sanctions. Now, the U.N. has tightened sanctions. The North has come out and confirmed that.
And what they've actually said is quite specific. They've said the process of uranium enrichment will be commenced. It doesn't say when; it implies now. But these statements are always left a little vague, deliberately so, so there's a bit of wiggle room for further negotiations -- T.J.
HOLMES: All right. John Vause for us. Thank you this morning. We'll be checking in with you. Again, thank you so much.
NGUYEN: Well, crews, they are on the ground right now in Tennessee trying to restore power to tens of thousands of people who were just left in the dark after yesterday's severe thunderstorms.
Take a look at this:
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(WIND AND RAIN)
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NGUYEN: Listen to that rain. The storm, which packed winds up to 70 miles per hour, knocked down trees, power lines, dozens of homes. They were damaged. There were also reports of at least 32 storm- related car crashes. None of them though involved any major injuries. So that's a little bit of good news.
Let's take you to Memphis. At least one person was hurt by a falling tree. We're told he is in the hospital in serious condition. Now, there is a slight risk of severe storms that will continue today.
Reynolds, I know you've been watching this. Boy, did a little damage overnight though.
REYNOLDS WOLF, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Oh, no question. We're talking winds in excess of 70 miles an hour. We're talking at almost hurricane...
NGUYEN: Wow, hurricane force.
WOLF: Hurricane-force winds.
WOLF: Seventy-four miles an hour or greater. And that's basically what we had last night. We could see more of that happening again today in parts of the Southeast, also into the central and southern Plains. We're going to get to that immediately.
But first, let's show you a bit more of that video if you can. We're going to take that full, and as we do so, we're going to show you again, the widespread damage.
A lot of tree damage yesterday, Betty. And when you have those strong winds and you have the trees that are uprooted, obviously what you're going to be dealing with will be -- well, at times, quite a bit of damage in terms of your power lines. A lot of people without power. In fact, some 100,000 people without power this morning. So it is going to be an interesting time to say the very least, as people are making their way through the morning hours.
So that's the story that we have for you. We're going to be seeing more of this erupt into the afternoon hours. Right now, you're taking a look at Memphis; the heaviest rainfall now moving into the south. Some other development back over towards Arkansas, south of Jonesboro. That could bring another round of storms right through Memphis.
Not expected to be quite as strong as we had just yesterday. But still pretty interesting nonetheless. Some of the strongest storms right now into parts of Alabama and later on today just to the east of Denver and back into the central Plains, mainly between the hours of 3 and 6; 3:00 this afternoon and 6:00 into the evening, chance of severe storms there across the central and southern Plains and in parts of the Deep South.
Other than that, look for some splash-dash showers in parts of the Northeast; 69 degrees in Boston; 72 in New York. Dallas -- take a look at that. We're talking hot -- James Brown celebrity hot. Ninety- eight degrees the expected high for the day today along parts of I-35. When you tap into that -- that high humidity, it's going to feel like it's about 110 in many spots.
As you look over towards, a little bit cooler, 87 degrees; 95 in Phoenix; and 70 in L.A. We're going to have more on your forecast. We're going to talk more about that damage in Memphis, where they're going to be cleaning up through the weekend. What a mess.
WOLF: Guys, let's send it back to you.
NGUYEN: All right. Thank you, Reynolds.
WOLF: You bet.
NGUYEN: We do want to turn right now to another global hotspot, that being Iran, where the quest by a reformist candidate has apparently been quashed.
HOLMES: Yes, voting officials say President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is well on the way to a re-election victory.
CNN chief international correspondent Christiane Amanpour is there.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Supporters of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad took to the streets to celebrate after official election results gave him a landslide victory in Friday's election.
Supporters of his main rival, Mir Hossein Mousavi, came out to protest, bolstered in part by Mousavi himself, who earlier had held a press conference to announce that he had definitely won.
MIR HOSSEIN MOUSAVI, IRANIAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE (through translator): According to the information we have obtained from our campaign offices around the country, the definite winner with a high difference of votes is me.
AMANPOUR: Mousavi also complained that ballot papers had run out too early in many polling places, and that despite extended voting hours, polls had finally closed while many voters were still left standing outside.
Friday's turnout was a record, 75 to 80 percent, say election officials, as we saw in the capital, Tehran.
(on camera): At many of the polling stations, people have been waiting in line three and four hours to cast their vote, under the boiling-hot sun, trying as best they can to fashion some protection, and determined to stay until they can sign that ballot.
(voice-over): They even brought their own pens. Election authorities had to broadcast that advice, as rumors flew that official pens might be filled with vanishing ink. And some voters said they were confused about whether to put down their candidate's official code number or his name.
At this station, they were told to his name.
Mohammed Reza (ph), a notary public, said he voted for the president because of how he had confronted the international community.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Iran has become a peaceful nuclear power in the last four years, and this is very good. And we stood up to countries that thought they could bring us to our needs and make us kowtow to them.
AMANPOUR: Whereas Mohammad (ph) said that he voted for Mousavi, because the president had brought ridicule and isolation on Iran with his belligerent posturing and Holocaust denials.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): People feel that our standing in the world and our prestige have been damaged. Today, we've come to the voting booth to change that.
AMANPOUR: Zenab (ph), a 19-year-old engineering student, agrees.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I would like to have a lot of -- a lot more respect from other countries towards my country.
AMANPOUR: After riding a wave of excitement from massive street rallies leading up to the election, Mousavi's supporters said they had come to the polls even before the doors opened to vote for a new beginning, like 20-year-old student Nega (ph).
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Change. That's the only reason.
AMANPOUR: And this young dentist, Mir Fakri (ph).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Change is happening all over the world.
AMANPOUR: While at a different polling station downtown, the president's base of supporter, among the conservative, religious and less-affluent voters, said that they were voting for more of the same.
"God willing, the country will progress in the next four years just as well as it's done in the last four years," says Fatema (ph). "I voted for victory of the revolution."
NGUYEN: And I want to bring in now our chief international correspondent, Christiane Amanpour, who joins us now by phone from Tehran.
And Christiane, we were going to bring you up live, but I understand there's been a large gathering. Talk to me about what's going on right now.
AMANPOUR (via telephone): Well, right now, I can see from where I'm sitting, there's an unusual number of -- of police and special police in the streets, including some riot police. I can see a group running towards a group of Mousavi followers who we've been walking and following.
They've come out to a -- a press conference that was scheduled by Mousavi only to have been dispersed. We followed them, raising their hands. We're raising the two-finger victory symbol of Mousavi, and telling us that they were not satisfied with the results, and that they believe that the results should have been precisely the opposite, or at least close. And to go to a -- a runoff.
What we know is that so far -- and I can see riot police running right now -- what we know so far is that according to the official election results, with the majority of the ballot boxes counted, they are giving Mr. Mousavi a two-to-one victory over -- a surprise two-to- line landslide over -- sorry, the incumbent, Ahmadinejad, a landslide surprise over Mousavi.
Now, we have not had the official election results. And there's some talk that maybe, you know, it's backdoor arranging going on to try to figure out how to come out of this.
But in any event, many people say they're dissatisfied. Obviously, the supporters of President Ahmadinejad say that this is exactly how it should have been, and they expected this to happen. But others are not happy, and Mr. Mousavi himself has written an open letter to quote -- "the people" -- to "the people of Iran" -- in which he has denounced cheating, official manipulation of the vote, and said that this would be to the detriment of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Back to you.
NGUYEN: Christiane, you said Mr. Mousavi had originally called a press conference, that's why people have gathered. But that press conference is not going to happen now. Do you know why?
AMANPOUR: No, we don't. It's a complete mystery what's going on. We assume it's because of what's happening and the confusion that's going on. In addition, SMS texting message, which the Mousavi camp has mainly relied on to get its support and organization and mobilize its -- its followers has been down since just before the voting started.
I'm coming up to a street corner now where I can see some garbage or something has been set on fire, a tire has been set on fire in the road. There's not a big crowd around it; it looks like they've been dispersed by what I told you before were riot police in their helmets and shields running after them. I can see them right now; there doesn't seem to be a huge amount going on on this corner. Those people have dispersed.
But there is tension. Everywhere I go, there are people standing on street corners, talking, telling us they're angry, frustrated. Those who support the president, Ahmadinejad, have said, you know, "We won. Why are you angry? This is the Islamic republic. We had a fair election." So this is the atmosphere that we're in the middle of right now. Back to you.
NGUYEN: All right. Chief international correspondent Christiane Amanpour watching the situation very closely there in Iran. And of course, Christiane will bring us the latest news should anything else develop this morning. Stay with us for that.
HOLMES: Also, the president -- President Obama laying out his health-care plan for Americans. But the question here is just how much it'll cost.
Also, Betty going on safari. Where were you, Betty?
NGUYEN: Well, I was not in Africa. In fact, I was in Las Vegas. This is a foreclosure safari. We're going to show you some of the best foreclosures in the nation.
NGUYEN: Well, Las Vegas has one of the worst housing markets in the nation. Foreclosures there are up while home prices are down, and some say you can even get a house for the price of a car. Yes.
So to find out, I took a trip to Vegas to see if these deals really exist.
NGUYEN (voice-over): This is no ordinary tour bus.
JENNIFER MARTIN, REALTOR: It was originally listed at 152...
NGUYEN: These perspective home buyers are looking for some of the best deals in the country. Realtor Jennifer Martin is their tour guide.
MARTIN: It's been on the market for 142 days.
NGUYEN: Martin calls this her "foreclosure safari." It's a hunt through one of the nation's worst housing markets: Las Vegas.
First stop: An 1,800 square-foot home in a gated community now priced at $93,000.
NIKKI CORDA, PROSPECTIVE BUYER: I really like the high ceilings. It's amazing that places are going for such steals right now. It's really amazing.
NGUYEN: Better be, or Jessica Thomas isn't interested. Check out her price range.
JESSICA THOMAS, PROSPECTIVE BUYER: Cheap. Car cheap.
NGUYEN (on camera): Car cheap? What does that mean?
THOMAS: It means I'm not going to pay more for a house than I would pay for a car right now.
NGUYEN (voice-over): By that, she's talking $25,000 or less. Might be difficult.
Next stop, a home that was once listed for $255,000. House hunter Ciara Byrne is impressed by today's price.
CIARA BYRNE, PROSPECTIVE BUYER: This place here is $109,000. And, you know, it's almost 1,400 square feet. There's no way you could get that I don't think anywhere in America. Certainly not in a big city.
NGUYEN (on camera): There are a lot of reports saying that Vegas is the best market, the cheapest market to buy a home. Is that a reality?
MARTIN: It is, yes. Because we're No. 1 in the nation for foreclosures. Banks are in competition with themselves, so they've got to keep reducing and reducing until -- you know, until somebody buys it.
NGUYEN (voice-over): And that's made some places dirt cheap. Even car cheap.
Remember Jessica? Well, this is what she can get for $25,000.
(on camera): And I wasn't sure what we were going to find, but this is a pretty big place.
THOMAS: Yes, this place is huge.
NGUYEN: Is it better than what you imagined it would look like?
THOMAS: Yes, as far -- and especially as far as size goes. This is like double what I thought it would be.
NGUYEN: Do you think you could see yourself in a place like this?
THOMAS: Oh for sure, yes.
NGUYEN (voice-over): It needs work, but Martin says with a 7,000 square-foot lot, you could even tear down the house and eventually make money on just the land.
Still, when it comes to real estate, location is key.
Last stop: a condo complex near the Vegas Strip called the Meridian.
MARTIN: From $400,000 to $700,000 down to, you know, $60,000 to $90,000 two blocks from the Strip? No. This is -- this is it. This is the best value in Vegas by far right now.
NGUYEN: Martin says these condos are selling faster than she can write offers. But there is one catch:
MARTIN: It's cash only.
NGUYEN: So if you want a good deal, it's best to come to Vegas fully prepared to put your money on the table.
NGUYEN: And I cannot stress that enough. While you can get a real steal in Vegas, Martin says she thinks the housing market is starting to bottom out, and she's seeing multiple offers for properties, which creates a bidding war, and that eventually drives up prices.
So take your cash and be ready to buy right then. If not, the price may go up.
HOLMES: I -- I hear that, right? She said cash only?
NGUYEN: Cash-only for those.
HOLMES: Cash only?
NGUYEN: But think about it: They went from $400,000 to $600,000 down to $60,000 to $90,000, right?
NGUYEN: So if you want a deal like that, you better get ready to pay right now.
HOLMES: On the stop. All right.
NGUYEN: Or it could be gone.
Well, in the next half hour -- looking to sell your home or even buy a new one? How about a swap? We could swap homes.
I make out a little bit better on that deal.
HOLMES: I would not get a good deal on that one.
NGUYEN: People are doing it though.
HOLMES: All right.
Also, Josh Levs playing video games this morning.
Good morning to you, Josh.
JOSH LEVS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's why Betty's the one who suggested that.
NGUYEN: Right. Exactly.
LEVS: Very clever.
NGUYEN: You're right there.
LEVS: Nice thinking this early.
Hey, you guys play Tetris at all? You fans?
NGUYEN: Used to.
LEVS: Did you? All right. I would never put a picture of myself on the screen, but you got to see what I got to do. Take a look. Zoom in here for a second. This was so much fun.
Wait -- can we get it going? Come on. Go 3-D. Oh man. There you go. All right. It is one of the most popular video games of all time. Look at that! I'm going to show you what I got to do there.
How it all started, and also what's ahead. Are we going to see 3- D Tetris?
HOLMES: All right. One of the most addictive video games of all time is now turning 25.
NGUYEN: Twenty-five? It seems just like yesterday. Oh goodness.
Josh Levs is here to tell us about Tetris. We've all played it a time or two.
NGUYEN: And there's something about Tetris being in the Olympics. What's that about?
LEVS: Isn't that wild?
Yes, I got to interview the owner and also the creator, and they genuinely want that. They actually want to push for a Tetris cup, and then they want to see it in the Olympics. By the way, lots of iReporters sending in their memories of Tetris. Everybody getting into this.
And you're going to see now this conversation I had, including with the creator, who sat down, just had an idea one time. I asked him when he realized he was on to something big.
ALEXEY PAJITNOV, TETRIS CREATOR: Very first time when my program, small game start working, I couldn't stop playing myself.
I understand that it -- it's a really good game. But I can't imagine that it will be that big.
LEVS: So you got addicted the first time you started playing? PAJITNOV: Yes, very much.
HENK ROGERS, BLUE PLANET SOFTWARE: When I first found it at the consumer-electronics show in 1988, I kept on coming back and playing more. And that was the first sure sign that this was going to be a good game.
LEVS: There are stories of people going into work on the weekends just to sit at their computer and play a video game for hours. They even dream the Tetris shapes if they play for too long.
How did this happen? Could one of you explain to me why it's so addictive and what goes on when you play it?
PAJITNOV: Well, first of all, it's a very simple game. And -- and it has really strong creative spirit in it.
So instead of just throwing something, you kind of build up the profile out of those small pieces, and -- and enjoy doing it. And that's the probably the very important addictive factor.
LEVS: It is. I think I hear what you're saying; it's the simplicity, and also the immediate satisfaction, right? You get that, but then...
LEVS: ...you have to build again. So you get the satisfaction, and then immediately it's time to work for the next one.
We have some video that we're going to be showing of take-offs of Tetris, the things people have done, turning buildings into Tetris games, or human Tetris.
You all have put something into your news release: "We have a vision of the future where people all over the world can meet and become friends without speaking the same language." You go on to say, "Because they'll be connected through the universal language of Terimunos (ph)." Which is -- is "of Tetris."
Are you guys being sarcastic about that, or is that an actual hope?
ROGERS: No, I think that's a -- that's a real dream for us. You know, games are...
ROGERS: ...games are the universal language, and Tetris breaks all culture, language and age and gender barriers.
LEVS: Have you all had any complaints from people out there who are trying to say that Tetris is a drug, that it's more addictive, that there needs to be some kind of warning with it? PAJITNOV: Well, it happens to me all the time; people approach to me and say, 'You know, I spent so much of my college time on Tetris, I almost blow exams or -- or so and so and so.'
And I always -- usually ask, 'But was it a good hours which you spent on Tetris?' And everybody say, 'Yes, it was -- it was really good hour.' So I say, 'I not waste it; I gift it to you.'
ROGERS: I think that Tetris is the first virtual sport. And we'll see -- yes, we'll see Tetris cup in the future, and competition -- international competition. Hopefully we'll be part of the Olympics someday.
LEVS: The actual Olympics? Like the -- the "Olympics" Olympics?
ROGERS: You know, why -- why limit the Olympics to physical sports? You know, why not mental sports?
LEVS: Wow, that would open up a whole new realm.
Let -- let's talk about the future. I know you have a lot of plans for building this What would will we be seeing -- when you envision the future of Tetris, will I have a -- a 3-D Tetris right in front of me like on "Star Trek" kind of thing, where I can just put my fingers in the air? Are you going to put on goggles and have 3-D virtual Tetris?
Well, what's ahead in the future? Give us a sense.
ROGERS: Tetris is the ultimate casual game, so we need to keep it simple. So if -- if going 3-D means that you're taking it out of the realm of -- of simple-to-understand games, then it probably won't go there. We make sure that Tetris is playable by as many people as possible always.
LEVS: Which is one of the reasons there are so many people out there who are addicted.
And so many people sending us their iReports and funky pictures of things they've done with Tetris shapes. Look, we're inviting you to weigh in with your stories.
We're going to show everybody that graphic. There you go. We're going to be talking about this at the blog today, CNN.com/NEWSROOM. We've already got conversations going, Facebook.com/joshlevscnn. Twitter.com/joshlevscnn.
And also, there's a story on the main page of CNN.com right now where you can read a lot more from our interview; you can learn some of the more details that they have tell you about. And, you know, weigh in there, too.
So lots of chances for you to share your Tetris stories.
Betty and T.J., I guess there's a lot of addicts out there, because we certainly are getting a lot of photos.
NGUYEN: Tetrimaniacs (ph), right?
LEVS: Is that what it is? Tetrimaniacs?
NGUYEN: I don't know; I just made that up.
HOLMES: Did you just make that up?
NGUYEN: Kind of works though.
LEVS: Let's use that.
NGUYEN: All right. As long as I can copyright it.
LEVS: That's all Betty.
NGUYEN: Thanks, Josh.
LEVS: Thanks, guys.
NGUYEN: Here's a serious question for you: how is your child's school performing? How would you grade his or her teacher? Maybe what about the principal?
HOLMES: Yes, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan says it's time to raise the bar.
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ARNE DUNCAN, SECRETARY OF EDUCATION: We have to raise standards. I've talked a lot about, we need more time. Our school day is too short; our school week is too short; our school year is too short. We need to make sure our children have the opportunity to be competitive in this new -- in -- you know, global economy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOLMES: Yes, that's the secretary of Education there, Arne Duncan. I sat down with him this week in New York. He's laying out a plan for America's schools. Also discussing -- get this, teachers -- why he thinks you should be making six figures.
NGUYEN: Hello, everybody. Welcome back on this Saturday morning. I'm Betty Nguyen.
HOLMES: Hello to you all, I'm T.J. Holmes. Glad you could be here with us this morning.
NGUYEN: I want to take a look at some of the top stories this morning. It is a no-good for the Shuttle Endeavor. This morning's launch was scrubbed during fueling because of a hydrogen leak. That leak is similar to one that delayed Discovery's launch earlier this year. Shuttle managers meet this morning to decide what is next for Endeavor.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(CROWD CHANTING POLITICAL SLOGANS)
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NGUYEN: Supporters of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad cheer his apparent reelection victory. Iranian officials say the president has a commanding lead over his reformist challenger, but the Mir-Hossein Mir -- Mousavi, I should say, is challenging the vote count saying there have been blatant violations. We are on top of that story and we'll bring you the latest as soon as we get it.
HOLMES: Of course, there's a big push to overhaul America's public school system. The Obama administration wants to attract better teachers, wants to raise scores and a whole lot more. Well, I caught up with the Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and he's not sure our schools, in their current state, can compete globally.
HOLMES (on camera): For every parent out there going that is going to be listening and to hear directly from the Education secretary, what kind of education is their child getting?
DUNCAN: There are many children getting a phenomenal education, world-class education. There are children who are getting a decent education. I worry a lot, there are certain children, in certain communities, who I think we are poorly serving today. In a country as big as ours, there's many different communities, there's a widespread there. I worry a lot about the disparities.
HOLMES: What is the cause of that opportunity gap you just mentioned?
DUNCAN: Lots of things. In education, great talent matters tremendously. Great teachers, great principals, great mentors, great role models make a huge different in our students' lives. So what are we doing systemically to make sure the children who need the most help are getting that? I think we have a long way to go in that journey.
HOLMES: How much is it of the resources that child might have and that wealthy neighborhood you mentioned versus the quality of the teacher?
DUNCAN: The most important thing is to get great teachers and great principals into every classroom, into every school. There again, talent matters tremendously. Teachers in the toughest of communities who are doing a phenomenal job are changing students' lives every single day. So when we surround our children -- not just during the school day, but after school, weekends, again, mentors, role models. This is why I'm such a big fan of what the 100 Black Men are doing around the country. When our children have the opportunity to be surrounded by adults who care passionately about them and stick with them for the long haul, they'll do just find. They'll do fantastic.
HOLMES: How many bad teachers are we looking at in this country? I know you don't have some hard number. But give us some kind of general idea, how many out there are just not doing a great job?
DUNCAN: Honestly, the vast majority of teachers do a phenomenal job. I think we're very, very lucky here. We have some teachers where it is no quite happening. And I think two things have to happen. When teachers are struggling we need to support them, need to help them, give the professional development, give them the mentoring they need to be successful.
But at the end of the day, if it's just simply not working, I think we need to weed teachers at the bottom out. So for the vast majority of teachers who are doing a great, great job, the real challenge and a huge opportunity is over the next couple of years in the country, we have a baby boom generation that is retiring. We anticipate as many as a million teachers over the next four, five, years are going to retire, or are eligible. We need now and I'm really focused on bringing in the best and brightest.
If we can bring in the phenomenal next generation of talent into education, we'll transform public education, not for a couple of years in our country, but for another generation, for 25, 30 years. This is a once in sort of a -- it's literally a once in a generation opportunity. I'm really focused on how do we travel the country, how do we strategically attract the best and brightest to come into education?
Working with the president, the first lady, the vice president, his wife, we are starting this fall, we really want to travel the country and have an all-out campaign to make sure that if you want to serve your country, if you want make a difference, come teach with us.
HOLMES: The president mentioned, and talk about some of those standards and improving the standards, and teachers need to meet those standards. If they don't at some point, there are a lot of other professions out there, maybe you should try one.
Now, is the president, his Education of secretary, going to advocate and trying to put in place some kind of a system and some kind of standards where if the teacher does not meet those by however much time you give them, are you going to be getting teachers out, firing teachers?
DUNCAN: We have to always try to look along the entire continuum. I would argue we don't do a good job on either side. I don't think we do anywhere a near good enough job of recognizing the great teachers, supporting them and learning from them and helping them become master teachers and help them work with other people. So, at the top end, I don't think we do a good enough job of identifying talent. At the bottom end, we absolutely don't do a good enough job of moving those where it's not working.
HOLMES: I want to link teacher achievement to student achievement, but if I was a teacher in Berkley, California, and the student performance there isn't going to match up with a kid in Little Rock, Arkansas?
DUNCAN: This is really being driven at the local level. I think that's very important. This should not be driven -- this should not be federal standards, it shouldn't be national standards. We should be international standards.
Our children today, in Little Rock, aren't competing with children down the block in Little Rock, or in the state. Our children are now competing with children in India and China for jobs. Right now I'm concerned that our children in too many places are at a competitive disadvantage. We need to change what we're doing. We have to raise standards.
I've talked a lot about we need more time. Our school day is too short, our school week is too short, our school year is too short. We need to make sure our children have the opportunity to be competitive in this new global economy.
HOLMES: A lot more to come from that. Now, my mom is a retired school teacher. She would have loved to have heard this. She's going to get paid six figures.
NGUYEN: Oh, I think a lot of teachers are loving hearing that right about now.
HOLMES: Education secretary says even six figures might not be enough for the work teachers do. More of that interview straight ahead.
HOLMES: A lot of states are still waiting to receive their stimulus funds. That money trickles down for various projects including local schools. More now with my interview with the Education Secretary Arne Duncan; he talks about how the process of improving our nation's schools is coming along.
HOLMES: So, you've got to give me the update on stimulus money. How much of it has gone out for education?
DUNCAN: We've put out to states over $20 billion already, to 25 states bringing applications from states almost on a daily basis. Those numbers are going to continue to go up significantly. This is unprecedented resources going to states and to districts.
But let me be really clear. The goal is not to maintain the status quo. With unprecedented resources we need are unprecedented reform. Now, if all we're doing is maintaining the status quo, that won't get us as a country, where we need to do. We're really looking for leadership from our governors, from our state school chiefs, from districts to use this one-time influx of money, these opportunities to drive a very strong reform agenda and take our school systems around the country to the next level.
HOLMES: Is this money coming with restrictions?
DUNCAN: It's coming with a set of principles that we think are very important to continue to drive student achievement.
HOLMES: Now, what does that mean, a set of principles? Do they have to use it for what you all say it has to be used for, or they can use it for -- and you don't have any say?
DUNCAN: We're saying a couple of things are very important to us. We also have unprecedented discretionary resources coming. We'll reward those states and those districts that are investing in those strategies that we think make a difference.
There are four of those. First, is what we talked about, common, college-ready career-ready, international benchmark standards, raising the bar. Second is comprehensive data systems, so we track children throughout their educational career so they don't get lost. We want to track children to their teachers and we want to track teachers back to their schools of education, so we know which schools of education are producing the teachers, that are producing the students that are doing the best job.
Third, we really want to think differently about talent. How do we get the best and brightest teachers into our most underserved communities, inner-city urban, rural? How do we reward that talent? I think we need to pay teachers who do a great job more money. Controversial. I think we need to pay teachers who do a great job more money. A little controversial, I think we need to pay math and science teachers more money. We have a shortage of math and science teachers. We need to invest there.
Finally, we want to think very differently about the schools at the bottom nationally, schools that are drop out factories, where 60, 70, 75 percent of students are dropping out each year. We want to fundamentally turn those schools around.
HOLMES: What should be the average salary for a teacher in this country?
DUNCAN: I think our teachers around the country are dramatically underpaid. I think we under invest in education. But let me be clear. I don't want to invest more in mediocrity. I want to invest a lot more in great teachers.
Our great teachers, our great principals, are desperately underpaid, undervalued. They are the absolute unsung heroes in our country. We can't do enough to shine a spotlight on them, to reward them, to learn from them, and let them know how much, as a country, we appreciate what they're doing to shape our next generation. HOLMES: Should there be six-figure jobs?
DUNCAN: Absolutely. We can't pay enough for a great teacher, great principle. There's -- you can't put a dollar value on the difference they are making in our children's lives. It is literally invaluable.
HOLMES: Not exactly saying they're going to get those six figures.
NGUYEN: I was going to say, it's one thing to say it, its another thing to find the funding to make that actually happen.
HOLMES: Yes. But a lot of money is going out. And he wouldn't commit to it. He said, we're not telling the states exactly, they have to use the money for this. But if they don't use it for what we suggest they use the stimulus money for, then maybe they won't get a second round of money.
HOLMES: There you go, principles, a he called it.
NGUYEN: Yes, be responsible with it.
Speaking of schools, what about bullying? Some say it has gone to the extreme, classroom taunts, playground pushing. Well, that has escalated into violent offenses, sometimes even death.
HOLMES: Yes, an NFL star now hoping to change all of that. He takes you to a summer camp where Atlanta Falcons Chauncey Davis tackling bullies head-on.
NGUYEN: Also, why my personal interest in helping the hungry takes me on a yearly journey half a world away.
NGUYEN: President Obama has put out some pretty bold ideas to reform health care. This weekend he is announcing ideas on how to pay for it all in his weekly radio address.
Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I've made a firm commitment that health care reform will not add to the federal deficit over the next decade. To keep that commitment, my administration has already identified how to pay for the historic $635 billion down payment on reform detailed in our budget. This includes over $300 billion that we will save through changes like reducing Medicare overpayments to private insurers, and rooting out waste in Medicare and Medicaid. However, any honest accounting must prepare for the fact that health care reform will require additional costs in the short term in order to reduce spending in the long term. Today I'm announcing an additional $313 billion in savings that will reign in unnecessary spending and increase efficiency and quality of care. Savings that will ensure that we have nearly $950 billion set aside to offset the cost of health care reform over the next 10 years.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NGUYEN: The president wants a new government-sponsored health plan, but opponents worry that could limit choices and hurt private insurers.
HOLMES: We want to head back to a developing story happening in Iran right now. We've been covering for the past couple of days, of course, the election happening there. The incumbent president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad taking on a few challengers. And it seems he had one strong challenger, but after the vote, after heavy turnout, some of the results we are getting show that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has been reelected overwhelmingly. Well, that's not sitting well with a lot of the supporters of his main challenger, Mousavi.
Our Christiane Amanpour has been there covering the elections. Christiane you're back on the line with us here. Tell us what is happening now. We understood that some of the challenger's supporters were starting to gather. How are things turning out in the streets right now?
AMANPOUR: Well, I'm standing in one of the main squares in Tehran and this frustration after yesterday's vote is spilling out into the streets. People are mostly good natured but a big march happening now. Several thousands of supporters who seemed to have come out spontaneously onto the street and they are shouting for their votes to be given back to them.
They're shouting "death to the dictator." They're shouting that this is their green waves and many, many as you can hear cars are honking in support of these Mousavi supporters, mostly young men and women, who have come out and are in the streets right now.
There are quite a lot of police out, both traffic police and special police, including riot police. By and large, they are just observing at the moment, although for about 15 minutes we stood on a corner as we watched the riot police rush the students and the young people as they set fire to garbage cans, as they poured into the streets, and were chanting to get their vote back.
The riot police rushed them with stones and it was for a while what looked to me like a bit of a cat and mouse game. The police would run. The students would run back. And then they would march forward again, and then this would be repeated over and over again.
I have never witnessed these kinds of scenes in Tehran in the 20 years I've been covering this country. This is something that had been perhaps the worst fears of those who said that they were afraid of what might happen if Mir Hossein Mousavi was not declared the winner.
Because of the huge turnouts in rallies across the country and, of course, in the capital Tehran before the election, people here expected that it would either be at the very least a close race or that Mr. Mousavi would win. When the election results started to come in, giving the incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad a surprise land slide, practically 2-1 victory over Mousavi, people here, Mousavi supporters, started to cry foul.
Mousavi, himself, has written an open letter to the people of Iran, congratulating them for their high and historic turnout and condemning what he calls the cheating, the official manipulation of the results. Back to you, T.J.
HOLMES: Christiane, I want to pick up on one point you made there, which was the fact -- I guess these were pretty much informal polls given some of the rallies that we saw over the past few weeks that seemed so massive in support of Mousavi, so that doesn't seem to necessarily mesh with the huge landslide victory for Ahmadinejad.
Is that what's not sitting well with a lot of these supporters of Mousavi, now? They are just thinking there's no way that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad could have won in such a landslide victory?
AMANPOUR: That's right, T.J. That's why they're out in the streets, because they feel their vote has been stolen. They are saying that, give us back our vote. Death to the dictators. And obviously the supporters of President Ahmadinejad, who are very strong in the provinces, in the rural areas, they have been celebrating certainly overnight.
But what's interesting is that there has been yet no official word on the actual final results, even though the election officials have been giving what seems to be at least 80 percent of the votes counted so far, none of the official elections monitors, none of the interior ministry officials have come out yet to say this is the official results.
That is interesting. We tried to find out why not. In the meantime, as I say, this crowd just seems to be growing. You can hear the honking as cars arrive and are stuck in traffic, or supporting the marchers. Cars and drivers are flashing the V for victory sign that was emblematic of Mir Hossein Mousavi's campaign. Many of them are wearing green, either cloaks or bandanas and ribbons tied around their fingers.
They're now moving down toward one of the bigger streets. That again was very symbolic of the number of people, the millions who came out thirty years ago, during the Iranian Revolution that swept in the Islamic Republic of Iran.
I can see many, many women out here, many waving their hands, waving the victory sign. Again, they're shouting, Mousavi, Mousavi, get back our vote for us.
HOLMES: All right. Christiane Amanpour, we thank you so much for the update. We hope you will continue to check in with us the situation there warrants in Tehran. Our Christiane Amanpour, CNN senior international correspondent.
Now, the situation there, is protesters wanting their vote back, as you heard there. Many supporters, I should say, of Mir Hossein Mousavi.
We are back after a quick break. Stay with us.
HOLMES: All right. Right here, Reynolds. We are not worthy.
NGUYEN: Oh, get out of here.
WOLF: All hail. Yes.
NGUYEN: Please, now I'm really embarrassed. Stop it.
WOLF: Feeling the power.
HOLMES: We're doing this, we're giving her a hard time.
NGUYEN: A really hard time.
HOLMES: Our dear, dear, Betty here. Betty, this week was awarded the Andrew High School Community Service Award. In case you're not familiar, it is something that's given out to Time Warner, huge company, which we're a part of here, but it goes out for humanitarian efforts. And this win -- let's throw the picture up there, please, of the ceremony it was in New York.
There is Betty looking lovely with her award.
NGUYEN: CEO of Time Warner, there, Jeff Bewkes.
HOLMES: Yes. And there she is giving her speech. This was for your organization, Help The Hungry, which many of our viewers will be familiar with, because you shared that story with us.
NGUYEN: Yes. We established Help The Hungry nine years ago, my family and I did. And for the past nine years we've been making these yearly journeys to Vietnam where we deliver food, clothing, hygienic supplies, medicine.
Basically, we get to the devastated areas along the southern portion of the Mekong Delta, where -- these are rice farmers that essentially live in grass huts with dirt floors. But when you combine that with the monsoon season, it just gets inundated with flood waters. Many people waist-deep inside their own homes filled with water.
But we also help local schools. What you are looking at there, we provide notebooks, pens and pencils, paper. We also provide food, because children don't have a cafeteria to go to so -- they're lucky to even be able to go to school in these areas because many of the children -you see some there without shoes -- don't even get the privilege of getting an education because they have to work in the fields all day.
So it's really important to not only give them this lifeline, which we provide through help the hungry, but also give them a hand up when it comes to an education. That's giving them enough supplies, enough food so they can attend school.
HOLMES: Well, Reynolds and I are familiar, and our viewers as well, but we are just excited and happy to see others recognizing the work you do.
NGUYEN: Thank you. It was really an honor.
HOLMES: Work that we're familiar with.
WOLF: Absolutely. What do you do next? How do you possibly top this? What's next for you?
NGUYEN: Well, you know, we do want to expand. We're very strategic in Vietnam because we know we can make a difference there. We know the landscape and we know how to go in and provide that aid. But also we want to build wells, water wells. That is so very important because a lot of these areas, these people you're looking at right now, these villagers, have to bath in the local creeks. That's where they wash their clothes, that's where they take a bath, that's where they get their drinking water.
So, it's very important for them to have clean water because that leads to all kinds of other problems if you're drinking water from the local creeks that have all kinds of bacteria in it. That's one of the things we want to build, as well as bridges. Because during the monsoon season a lot of times they are trapped with the floodwaters and there is no way to get out.
HOLMES: Well, Betty, I was there. Reynolds couldn't make it. I was sending him. I did send him that picture of you.
WOLF: Yes, you did.
NGUYEN: Did you?
WOLF: It was great to see. I'll show it to all of you.
NGUYEN: No, no, please don't.
HOLMES: But we were so happy to be there and support you.
NGUYEN: You guys are the greatest. You do. There's so many people here that do support me. I just want to thank all of them. And those who support Help The Hungry, as well, who have gone to our web site and continue to support us over the years. We can't do it without you. It's important work. We are going to continue to do it as long as we have the support in order to do it. HOLMES: Congratulations. I know you were nervous, but I couldn't get enough people together to spell out "Betty" on our chests.
NGUYEN: That is the thing that I was the most nervous about. Because for weeks T.J. threatened me that he was going to come up there with noise makers and signs and he was going to write my name on his bare chest. But he was fully clothed, so we were good.
HOLMES: Congratulations, Betty.
NGUYEN: Thank you.
HOLMES: Let's get back to some news here now.
NGUYEN: Well, there is a coat once worn, get this, by a slave turned statesman, that being, of course, Frederick Douglass.
HOLMES: Also a diary that belonged to Malcolm X. There are other items you'll certainly recognize but may not expect to see in the America, I Am Exhibit.
NGUYEN: Let's face it, the bottom line is, Prince's guitar is pretty cool. It's just pretty cool.
HOLMES: Yes, Prince's guitar is over there.
NGUYEN: Look at that. That is cool!
HOLMES: This is a part of America I Am and the contributions that African-Americans have made to this country. Thomas Smiley, I'm sitting down, talking to him about it and how he helped create this exhibit.
HOLMES: Well, Betty and I -- we're looking forward to, in about 10 minutes ...
HOLMES: ... bringing you a live coverage of space shuttle Endeavor.
NGUYEN: It is always fascinating to see. I was real excited about it.
HOLMES: Not happening.
NGUYEN: Not going to happen.
HOLMES: It is not going anywhere today as scheduled.
NGUYEN: Yes. Officials say they scrubbed the launch because of a hydrogen gas leak. Shuttle managers are meeting today to discuss another launch date.
And CNN's John Zarrella is on the scene at the Kennedy Space Center.
John, talk to us about how dangerous this leak could have been.
JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN MIAMI CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Betty, that's right. You were saying, now, it's a gorgeous day here, absolutely beautiful. Not a cloud in the sky out here at the Kennedy Space Center.
The shuttle Endeavor was supposed to be at 7:17 a.m. Eastern Time, headed towards a 16-day mission to the International Space Station. But it's not going to happen. Endeavor is sitting on the ground.
As they were fueling the external tank late last night, engineers discovered a hydrogen leak in a line that vents hydrogen -- excess hydrogen, away from the shuttle vehicle, and it's eerily similar, almost identical to a problem they ran into back in March with the shuttle Discovery. Well, NASA officials immediately scrubbed the launch, saying that with that hydrogen leak, it is really way too dangerous to risk a lift-off.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LEINBACH: It's a commodity you just don't mess with. We are -- we're very, very sensitive to hydrogen on the ground. And to make sure it's sealed properly at lift-off so we weren't venting overboard and maybe run into a situation where we didn't have enough hydrogen in the tank going uphill.
So, this is way beyond the point where we even wanted to talk about continuing it. It was just very, very similar to two flows ago. We just were not comfortable at all pressing on the way we were.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZARRELLA: You have, really, two issues that you worry about is that, if you have too much hydrogen leaking out there, you could very easily have a fire or an explosion at lift-off. The other issue is, if you have a real bad leak, you wouldn't have enough hydrogen in the giant external tank to reach orbit. So a couple of bad things could happen.
Now, the NASA engineers won't even be able to get out to the launch pad to see what they can do out there until tomorrow. Mission management meeting is a -- mission management meeting is scheduled for tomorrow. You can see the vehicle out there on the launch pad. They will decide then whether they can go next Wednesday, which is the 17th, or have to push it back even further.
The problem they have is -- there is a lunar mapping mission that's scheduled to lift-off on a rocket from Cape Canaveral, just a couple of miles from here. That's scheduled to go on the 17th. So, NASA has some juggling to do there to see if they can get it off the ground. But, again, management meeting tomorrow afternoon, then an announcement on the launch date.
If they can't get off from the 17th and the 20th, they would have to push this back, Betty, until July. And then, of course, that actually pushes all of the launches back. And as we know now, NASA is on a very tight time frame to try and get all the remaining shuttles off the ground -- eight of them -- by the even of 2010 -- Betty?
NGUYEN: Yes, a lot lined up. Well maybe Wednesday will work.
NGUYEN: We'll be watching closely.
John, thank you, as always. We appreciate it.
ZARRELLA: My pleasure.
HOLMES: All right, Betty. Well, we were taking -- you see astronauts out there. And we turn to severe weather there. Well, a lot of stuff is going on. Right here -- let's go ahead and show Reynolds.
I'm moving and hanging out with you here. We were talking about not too long ago the other shuttle mission. They were trying to get back. And the weather wouldn't give them a break in Florida.
HOLMES: Now, it's beautiful.
HOLMES: And now, they've got another problem and they can't takeoff anyway.
HOLMES: The weather is perfect for them.
WOLF: They'll get to time that right. It will get OK. At least they weren't taking off in Memphis last night.
HOLMES: Yes. Nothing is taking off from Memphis. We got video. Now, we can show you video of this -- at least, I think, 125,000 people without power. This is some of the stuff. What kind of stuff was going through there?
WOLF: Well, I mean, at a minimum, we have some devastating straight-line winds, possibly tornadoes. I mean, the National Weather Service is going to be going out and doing some aerial recon since getting a better idea if this was caused by a drop -- not drop of storm -- a hurricane, not a hurricane, hurricane-force winds.
(CROSSTALK) WOLF: Hey, man, look, come on. Space shuttle time.
No, they think there's a possible tornado that went through the area with winds in excess of 70 miles an hour, maybe hurricane-force winds. Not a hurricane.
HOLMES: But we are told, only one serious injury to report, with one person believed to be in pretty serious condition after a tree fell on top of him. He is in the hospital. Also, 32 storm-related car crashes. But are they done in Memphis for the day?
WOLF: Not just yet. They're going to see more showers, possibly another thunderstorm. But not of the magnitude what they had yesterday. I mean, it was coming down like a sack of hammers.
Let's show you what's happening right now. We got Memphis for you on the radar. You'll see just to the south and southeast, with some heavier storms moving into parts of Alabama. Strong storms possibly, maybe with some small hail. But, again, as I mentioned, you don't have the same dynamics in the atmosphere to create the rough weather that we had yesterday.
However, later on this afternoon, through parts of Alabama, Georgia, and Mississippi, we could see another round of severe storms -- possibly a better chance of severe storms into the Central, Southern, and possibly even parts of the Rockies, definitely the plains into the afternoon hours, because we've got all the elements there. You got the frontal boundary coming, you have the daytime heating, you've got the moisture in place -- all coming together to give us a decent shot of strong storms.
Very quickly, your high temperatures today just soaring heat -- going all the way up you to 98 degrees in Dallas, 81 in Kansas City, 80 in Minneapolis, 67 in Salt Lake City.
That is a quick look at your forecast. We're going to have a lot more coming up for you. Let's send it right back to you, guys.
HOLMES: All right, buddy, we appreciate you. We'll talk to you again here soon.
WOLF: You bet.
NGUYEN: We want to get you the latest on the Iranian election. Officials say President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is well ahead of his rivals in the presidential vote count. But, leading reformist Mir Hossein Mousavi is calling for the counting to stop, noting what he calls blatant violations.
CNN's chief international correspondent Christiane Amanpour is with a group of Mousavi supporters right now. We just spoke with her by phone. Take a listen.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
AMANPOUR (via telephone): There are quite a lot of police out, both traffic police and special police, including riot police. By and large, they are just observing at the moment. Although for about 15 minutes, we stood on the corner as we watched the riot police rush the students and the young people as they set fire to garbage cans, as they poured into the streets and were chanting to get their votes back.
The riot police rushed them with stones and it was for a while what looked to me like a bit of a cat and mouse game. The police would run. The students would run back. And then they would march forward again and then this would be repeated over and over again.
I have never witnessed these kinds of scenes in Tehran in the 20 years that I've been covering this country. And this is something that had been perhaps the worst fears of those who said that they were afraid of what might happen if Mir Hossein Mousavi was not declared the winner.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
NGUYEN: Well, the official election results have not been declared as of yet. This is still a developing story. We will continue to follow it very closely and bring you the latest.
You're watching CNN SATURDAY MORNING.
HOLMES: All right. Where else can you find Prince's guitar, Michael Jordan's jersey, but also the Emancipation Proclamation and the 13th Amendment? Yes, it's all under one roof -- nearly 500 years of history coming together in a tour called "America I Am." This is a new exhibit unlike any other you've ever seen. Its focus is the African-American history. It's a powerful exhibit.
And PBS journalist Tavis Smiley is the one behind this whole exhibit. I asked him about the exhibit on opening day here in Atlanta.
TAVIS SMILEY, "AMERICA I AM," EXHIBIT CREATOR: This is a part of American history. If there's anything that we struggled with in my generation -- certainly folk older than me -- have been complaining for years that we don't teach, we don't see black history as a part of American history. It's a powerful story about how America has become the great nation she is courtesy of the contributions of black people.
So, I would hope, having said that, that all races, colors, creeds, ethnicities, would appreciate an exhibit like this. When you understand, appreciate, and embrace your history, you can use it to inspire you.
HOLMES: There is some black history taught in schools. Nothing like what you see here. Is this what we need more so as a part of our educational system? Something a little more interactive, something more enlightening for young African-American students to -- and this is very much an educational tool. Does something like this need to be taken into schools and maybe made a part of the curriculum?
SMILEY: I think it's a great question because it is true. I'm an example that not all kids learn the same way. I can't imagine that you and I have the same capacity or the same process for how we go through the information that we gather just to be talk show hosts, to be anchors. So, that my approach is one way; your approach is another.
And learning is the same way. I don't believe that one size fits all. Any educator worth his or her weight in goal understands that there are a myriad of ways that young people learn. And I think that one of the best ways, and I think any educator would tell you, one of the best ways for young students, for kids, to learn is visually. It's important for them to see as it comes to life -- 15,000 square feet, 12 galleries, four theaters, over 300 items.
But I got these young kids started and we're going to move back in time, we're go through this hallway back in time. And we're going to start in Africa, where with it all began. And I look in their eyes, T.J., and I can see "the ooh, the ahh," the excitement. I'm getting asked questions by hundred hundreds of kids, they're screaming and yelling at me, wanting to know this and wanting to know that -- because seeing it is bringing it to life for them.
So, I think that the visual display of an exhibit like this is a way to teach kids in way that they can't learn just by studying history books.
NYLA BUSH, 12 YEARS OLD: If you look around at the museum, you'll see there is really a lot of things that the slaves did to help us and everybody else they did to help us right now. They were treated really brutal.
It was like -- the way they were treated really didn't make sense because color -- black and white -- they aren't colors. So, they never should have been separate because they're all people. No matter what color they are, what their skin tone is. They're all people. They should be treated the same way. We're all brothers and sisters in God's hands.
NGUYEN: Hmm, listen to her speak.
HOLMES: Yes, a ton of kids showed up for the exhibit, opened yesterday. It's going to be in Atlanta through September and then moving on to Los Angeles, opening in Philadelphia. Go see it. I mean ...
NGUYEN: I was just asking how well was this exhibit put together.
HOLMES: Wow, it's amazing -- 300-plus items. You got like Frederick Douglass' clothing is in there.
NGUYEN: Right. HOLMES: You got the doors that slaves went through in Ghana, where all the slave trade first started. You have the Emancipation Proclamation in there. You got the 13th Amendment.
NGUYEN: All that history.
HOLMES: You got all -- and again, you have stuff like Prince's guitar.
NGUYEN: Guitar. So, it just really moves it forward through time, doesn't it?
HOLMES: It moves through. But it really tries to show just not -- this is part of America's history, like there would not be an America without the contributions of African-Americans.
HOLMES: So, 10 cities in four years for this exhibit.
NGUYEN: Go and see it.
HOLMES: There's going to be one near you.
NGUYEN: Yes, absolutely.
And we would want to give you one programming note as well for us here at CNN. We do continue our "Black in America" series. Watch stories of people stepping up, taking charge and creating solutions. The documentary "Black in America 2" premieres July 22nd and 23rd only on CNN.
All right. Let's talk about your money for just a second. How to trade your home with someone else? Yes. Can you get a good deal? Well, no money down, maybe even a swap. We'll give you the details on that.
NGUYEN: All right. So, you can't sell your house. What about swapping it outright for another property? It's hard to believe, but that this is big trend right now.
Our housing specialist, Clyde Anderson, has been doing some homework, researching how all of this works. And he joins us now.
And, you know, when you think about this, this is kind of like online dating ...
CLYDE ANDERSON, FINANCIAL EXPERT: Right.
NGUYEN: ... in the since that they're looking for homes instead of mates.
NGUYEN: How do you do this and do this safely?
ANDERSON: Well, the best way is there's several Web sites out there that you can go to and use these Web sites to really post a profile for your home -- just like you would in an online dating service.
NGUYEN: But you're putting a lot of information out there -- you know, primarily, where you live and where you probably have your biggest investment. Are there any dangers, any pitfalls that people need be to aware of?
ANDERSON: Well, I think the site is a good in-between. So, you're not directly talking to the individual. You're putting yourself out there just you were on any kind of multiple listing services.
ANDERSON: So, it's pretty similar to that. So, I think there's no harm in it.
NGUYEN: So, is it done completely online, Clyde, or do you actually get to physically go and look at the home?
ANDERSON: You can, that's an option. That's one of the things. And if you're looking to move, say, from New York to L.A., you may want to go and look at that house. So, that's something that you have to be prepared for. You can see all the pictures you want, they look pretty. But you definitely need to go ...
ANDERSON: ... and see it before you make a purchase.
NGUYEN: Because they could crop that picture, there maybe (INAUDIBLE) or something. Who knows?
NGUYEN: And it's pretty much free or very -- you know, when it comes to cost, not a lot, right?
ANDERSON: Yes. There are several good sites out there, they range from free to, I think the highest one that I've seen is somewhere around $29.95.
ANDERSON: And that's a one-time setup fee.
NGUYEN: All right. Let's give folks the Web sites so they know where to go.
ANDERSON: All right. We've got lots of Web sites, Betty. The first one is GoSwap.org. GoSwap.org is a great one.
ANDERSON: You got OnlineHouseTrading.com. You got HomeForExchange.com. You got PadForPad.com, Craigslist.org, DomuSwap.com, HouseForTrade.com. Those are just a few of the sites but there's several out there and those are some good sites, too.
NGUYEN: And these are all legitimate, all on the up and up? And you shouldn't be afraid to put your information on there?
ANDERSON: I wouldn't say be afraid. I've checked them all out. I've had friends talk about it. I've actually put some information out here on Facebook and really some good responses.
ANDERSON: I think the main thing is that it's just really picking up in popularity. And it's become popular right now because of where the housing market is.
NGUYEN: So, realistically, say, I live in a home that I cannot afford and I need to get out from under it, I can swap with someone else that has a -- that has a home that's maybe more affordable to me. They get a good deal on an upgrade and I can, you know, stay in a home and make the payments.
ANDERSON: Exactly. That's it.
NGUYEN: And that's how this can work.
ANDERSON: That's it. And you guys trade homes. You're happy. They're happy. And everybody's happy.
NGUYEN: All right. So, would you personally do it?
ANDERSON: I would. I would definitely first to do it. Especially in this housing market right now, if I can find someone that has a home that's really what I'm looking for and then I can help them out at the same time, it makes really easy. You've got two really able, ready buyers, ready to make a deal happens. So, I think that's a good combination.
NGUYEN: And they're not really paying any realtor fees or anything like that, right?
ANDERSON: Exactly. That's the prime thing. No realtor fees.
ANDERSON: You know, you avoid that commission.
NGUYEN: Or maybe we should swap.
ANDERSON: Hey, let's talk about it.
NGUYEN: I've got to see your place first though.
NGUYEN: All right, Clyde, thank you.
T.J., I tried swapping with you earlier, and that was a no-go.
HOLMES: And if people saw your place, they'd understand why. It was no good.
NGUYEN: It is not bad. It's smaller than yours, granted.
HOLMES: All right. Appreciate you, guys. Good luck working a deal out over there.
Well, a lot of folks looking for some Father's Day gifts right about now. We got a smoking idea for you, literally. And also, you can help support a local business.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER (voice-over): Four University of Texas frat brothers didn't want to leave the town of Austin behind when they graduated. So, instead of packing up, they lit up and started a cigar business.
JEFF LIPTON, BOBALU CIGAR COMPANY: We decided to open a place so we can hang out and have a great time.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: The timing was perfect. Cigar smoking was its peak. But there was one big obstacle.
LIPTON: During the cigar boom, manufacturers weren't selling cigars to anybody other than their established customers.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: So, the friends took matters into their own hands.
LIPTON: We took a trip down to the Dominican Republic, and learned how to roll cigars and started doing it here.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: Bobalu Cigar Company now employs four fulltime rollers from Cuba.
LIPTON: We always knew that people wanted to see the show. Unless you're in Miami or Tampa, your chances of you seeing a cigar roller are slim and none.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: But now, you can see the show no matter where you live.
JOHN HADDAD, BOBALU CIGAR COMPANY: We have an Internet site, LiveCigarRollers.com where you can actually watch our cigars being made. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: It's this kind of innovative thinking that keeps Bobalu hot.
LIPTON: Anybody can sell cigars when anybody wants them, but after it dies down, that's when you know if you're doing good.
HOLMES: And coming up in the next hour of CNN SATURDAY MORNING, we're following two developing stories. One -- the nuclear standoff escalating with North Korea. What Pyongyang now threatening to do with its nuclear program.
NGUYEN: And, going to the polls in Iran, the results are in. And the people -- well, they have spoken. But we're going to tell you who is claiming to be the big winner.
NGUYEN: All right. So, school may be out, but the problem lingers on. In recent months, you've seen reports in which young students were just bullied and being taunted so much that they have taken their own lives.
HOLMES: Yes. Well, now, a guy who does his own share of bullying is trying to help out, but he does it on the field. We're talking about Atlanta Falcons defensive end, Chauncey Davis. You know, he bullies a quarterback or two every now and then. But he's taking on school bullying.
The NFL star started an anti-bullying campaign to help students build their self-esteem. He kicked off a program in Atlanta by talking to students about the reckless behavior of bullying. He signed some autographs as well, gave out some gifts, and talked about how he -- yes, even he has even been bullied.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHAUNCEY DAVIS, ATLANTA FALCONS DEFENSIVE END: We've been bullying people and we've been -- and we've got bullied, so, we got to come back to the community to let these kids know that, hey, you can get out of here. If you're getting bullied, you can put a stop to it, you can get help, you can find somebody that will help you. And -- I mean, the more we can get adults to come back and talk to the community, the more these kids will know and less they'll have to go through as a child.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOLMES: I'd love to see the kid who bullied him. Davis says he was prompted to start the campaign after an 11-year-old Atlanta boy actually hanged himself after his family said he was constantly bullied, teased and taunted at school. Davis says that young man's life could have been saved if there were more programs like the one he started out. NGUYEN: Well, there's a developing story that we want your comments on today -- that being the election in Iran. It's being contested at this moment, although it appears that President Ahmadinejad may have won that election.
But we're getting your responses today. Let me go to my Facebook page first. David Foster says, "Was anything really different expected? This was a copy of how dictators in third world countries stay in power."
And, quickly, let's go to my Twitter page. Don says, "When clear plastic storage bins are used as a secure ballot box, there's no wonder that there are allegations." Because, of course, we are hearing today that there are allegations of blatant violations in that election.
HOLMES: And what people are upset about, many supporters of the one of the opposition candidates, is that -- hey, we had this overwhelming response to my candidacy and you're telling me I lost in a land slide? So, this is some of his supporters cannot understand.
That's the developing story. Continue to hit us you up on all of those social networking sites. Betty and I will, of course, be back at the top of the hour covering that big story over in Iran, also, the North Korean developments as well.
NGUYEN: Yes, huge stories that we're going to get you the latest on. But in the meantime, "HOUSE CALL" with Dr. Sanjay Gupta starts right now.