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Increasing Evidence Worst of Recession is Over; Obama Promises to Change Tone Between Democrats and Republicans; U.S. Navy Pilot's Remains Found 18 Years Later; California to Legalize and Tax Marijuana? Violent Summer in Chicago

Aired August 2, 2009 - 19:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm Don Lemon. Call them green shoots, call them signs of optimism, call them whatever you want. But there are some increasing evidence -- some of it official, some anecdotal -- that the nation's economy has turned a corner and the worst of this recession may -- may be over.

Some of it from Alan Greenspan, the former Federal Reserve Chairman; he says, he believes there is a good chance the worst is behind us.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ALLAN GREENSPAN, FORMER FEDERAL RESERVE CHAIRMAN: I'm pretty sure we've already seen the bottom. In fact, if you look at the weekly production figures, the various different industries, it's clear that we've turned perhaps in the middle of last month, the middle of July.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: All right, so let's talk about the economy and the evidence that things are getting better here, let's do that with Poppy Harlow of CNNMoney.com. Hello Poppy.

POPPY HARLOW, CNNMONEY.COM: Hi, Don.

LEMON: I mean, you've heard Mr. Greenspan there. He says that he thinks that we have hit bottom and I think he said somewhere in the middle of July. Do the numbers support what he's saying?

HARLOW: You know some do and some don't. And you have to see what is just sort of propped up by the government Don and what's real. I mean, the latest news we have is the GDP report that we got on Friday morning and it was better than expected and we can't say that for most economic reports we get.

Our economy contracted one percent in the second quarter. This is the first of three readings so it's not the final call on economic activity but it was better than the one and a half percent contraction that was expected. And Don, let's compare it to the first quarter of this year when we saw our economy shrink by five and a half percent; so it's a lot better than that.

But again, you've got stimulus spending that has really kicked in more in the second quarter...

LEMON: Yes.

HARLOW: ...and that's not going to be here forever, Don and we still need the economy to grow.

It's great that it's slowing at a better pace than before but we need it to grow, so we can add -- add jobs, Don and as you know, that is the key, add the jobs or you won't fix anything.

LEMON: Yes and you mentioned the GDP report. The president spoke about it on Friday. Let's just listen to him, Poppy and then we'll talk.

HARLOW: Ok.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Today's GDP is an important sign that the economy is headed in the right direction and that business investment, which had been plummeting in the last several months, is showing signs of stabilizing.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Ok, so let's talk about unemployment, as you said, because if you're still jobless, right, if you still don't have a job, then you probably don't feel like the economy is rebounding because you don't have any money coming in.

HARLOW: Yes and I mean, how can you, right? We have six and a half million jobs lost in this recession alone from December, 2007. Until now, many more underemployed people -- let's not forget of people not making enough money -- and what you see on your screen, the June jobs report.

Our unemployment rate ticked up to nine and a half percent, a lot say it's going to top 10 percent or 11 percent in the not too distant future and you have about 500,000 people that lost their job in that one month alone.

So let's wait for the July numbers, let's see what happens. But Don, what about those unemployment checks that people are living on right now and paying their mortgage with and what we're hearing from "New York times," today.

LEMON: It should be running out, right?

HARLOW: Exactly, come September, come the fall, one and a half million Americans...

LEMONG: Right.

HARLOW: ...according to the New York Times will see their unemployment checks stop and then what are they're going to do? LEMON: Yes and let's talk about what was -- it used to be I think the biggest investment for most Americans and that was their homes...

HARLOW: Yes.

LEMON: Right? So what about sales any movement there?

HARLOW: Some great news this week.

LEMON: Ok.

HARLOW: Let's be positive for a second. Monday we got a new home sales report that showed an 11 percent spike when you look at the month of June, that's great.

But you have an $8,000 first-time homebuyer credit from the Obama Administration that's helping things out. It's going to disappear on December. We did get at a very positive home price index report on Tuesday that showed -- that was a very unexpected home prices increase about a half a percent in 20 major cities on average when you look at the month of May.

So two positive home reports but Don something you and I have talked about that producers hear lot -- what about commercial real estate? I saw a friend on Friday night who works in this industry and he said, let me tell you that the fallout from the housing sector is going to pale in comparison to the fallout from the commercial real estate industry. And we're going to see it too and that's what he is saying.

So we're keeping an eye on it.

LEMON: You're absolutely right. I've heard the same thing.

Poppy Harlow, CNNMoney.com, we appreciate it.

HARLOW: Sure.

LEMON: You know the economy was a hot topic today on the morning talk shows, no surprise there. And the top adviser though to President Obama is drawing some extra attention for refusing to rule out a middle class tax hike to pay for health care reform.

Let's bring in now our senior political analyst Bill Schneider. Bill anytime you mention middle class tax hike, any time you mention taxes, a lot of people get really nervous especially when times are already as tough as they are now.

BILL SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I should think so. Most people identify as taxpayers -- they are taxpayers. And President Obama got elected on a pledge not to raise taxes on middle income Americans and he said 95 percent of Americans will not see a tax increase.

If taxes do go up they're going to be only at the highest levels. And that's what's been proposed by many of the plans that are now being considered for health care. That's why when the members of the administration start talking about tax increases not primarily falling on the middle class, a lot of people get nervous.

What does that mean? "Not primarily falling on the middle class." Are middle class taxes actually going to go up to pay for health care and the deficit?

LEMON: Yes, you've got to pay close attention to the language as you we're saying "primarily" which doesn't mean the middle class taxpayers are exempt from anything.

SCHNEIDER: That's right. And there's a long history in Washington and in this country of raising taxes and disguising that. It's been by Republicans as well as Democrats calling them fees for services, calling them charges but not calling them a tax hike because "tax hike" is a poisonous word.

The way Ronald Reagan built the Republican coalition was on the foundation of low taxes and that's still the cornerstone of the Republican faith. And you can bet that if there is any indication that taxes are going to go up for middle class Americans, the Republicans are going to jump right on it.

LEMON: That language is like the fine print...

SCHNEIDER: Exactly.

LEMON: ...you got to read it.

Ok, Bill Schneider, our senior political analyst. Thank you, Bill.

SCHNEIDER: Sure.

LEMON: President Barack Obama came to Washington promising to change the tone between Democrats and Republicans but his rival in last November's election says things haven't worked out that way so far. Republican Senator John McCain told CNN why he thinks so.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Just before the inauguration, the president had a dinner in your honor. And he said you're an American hero and a guy who reached across the aisle. And that is the tone he wanted to set when he came to Washington.

On this point has he failed the test he laid out at that dinner to be truly bipartisan?

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, (R) ARIZONA: I'm afraid they have and look, they've got the votes. We understand that, they had the votes in the stimulus package and the budget and the omnibus and the S-Chip (ph) all this legislation. And they have picked off sometimes two or three Republicans but that's not changing the climate in Washington.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: That was made about the first hundred days. What about the second 100 days of the Obama administration? Let your voice be heard. Cast your vote at CNN.com/reportcard then get the results on "CNN's National Report Card" Thursday night 8:00 p.m. Eastern.

Some answers tonight finally for the family of Navy Captain Michael Scott Speicher. He was the first American officer to be shot down in "Operation Desert Storm" back in 1991 when his jetfighter was hit on the first night of that war.

But his remains were never found until last month. An Iraqi civilian told U.S. Marines in Anbar Province that Speicher's body was buried at the crash site. And excavation turned up bones that were positively identified as Speicher's.

For friends and family, who had been trying to learn his fate for 18 years, their long search has come to an end.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIRIAM NOVELLY, CAPT. SPEICHER'S FRIEND: It's a bittersweet ending. I mean it's great that we have finally accomplished an ending but it is bittersweet. You know, you always hope that he's going to found alive but yet, on that end if he was found alive, look what he's missed.

I mean, his children are in college now. And what kind of life would he have led being a prisoner of war? And of course, there was always speculation that he was tortured and beaten and you know; so it's, like I said, it's bittersweet.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: And just a short time ago we received this written statement from the Speicher family who called the captain a brave and wonderful father, husband and naval officer who responded to the call of duty without hesitation.

Their statement goes on to say, "We thank the active duty men and women whose diligence has made this happen and hope that this process has prevented another of our service men and women from being left behind. We will miss him, and we will never forget. Thank you for your thoughts and your prayers."

And CNN's Pentagon correspondent, Chris Lawrence has been following the story and he joins us now live from Los Angeles.

Chris, we're also just hearing from the White House as well on this from President Obama. I'll read that statement in just a minute. What are you hearing from the Pentagon?

CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, the big thing is we just talked to the family spokesman just a little while ago and they say that they do expect to get a classified briefing from the military either Monday or Tuesday. But it has answered the one big question they had and they now know for sure that Captain Speicher did not die in some Iraqi prison.

This has been a mystery that has gone on for nearly 20 years and there were all kinds of questions, you know. Was he captured, was he tortured? All this time the answer was buried in those Iraqi sands and it really all was solved by one single tip. When that Iraqi citizen came forward and told the U.S. troops about that crash site, when the marines got there, they talked to another Iraqi citizen who said he not only remembered that American jet crashing, but that he was there when the Bedouins found Captain Speicher already dead and buried his body.

It took several days but the Marines were able to collect enough evidence. They found those skeletal fragments and bones, they flew them back here and that's when that team of military pathologist were able to match the jawbone with Captain Speicher's dental records and confirmed that it was indeed him.

LEMON: Hey, Chris, you know this has been going for almost 20 years -- 18 years now. And back in January when this happened -- January of 1991, then Joint Chiefs Chair and also the Secretary of Defense made the announcement. And I want you to take a look at this, because it is two very familiar faces even today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Would you please describe the plane that went down on the American side, the type of plane, number of casualties?

DICK CHENEY, DEFENSE SECRETARY: It involves a single casualty. I don't know that we want to identify the aircraft, do we?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What other information do you have about casualties?

CHENEY: All I can give you at this time is that the total U.S. losses are one aircraft and one individual.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Dick Cheney and Colin Powell -- total U.S. loss as they said one aircraft, one individual. This was on the first day, the first casualty.

LAWRENCE: That's right.

There have been some criticism over the years that the military did make some mistakes along the way, starting just hours after Captain Speicher's plane was shot down, in which the Pentagon there with Defense Secretary Dick Cheney basically declaring him dead.

The military later changed that to missing in action, or I should say killed in action but body not recovered. Years later that would be changed back to missing in action, so the family has been through some ups and downs. And there's been ongoing debate over the years because a lot of people in the military thought that he may have been ejected safely, that he may still be alive.

There was a lot of push from a lot of people in the military to keep looking for him, but again, some, also some pushback from others who thought that certain missions couldn't be risked. You couldn't risk the lives of certain soldiers to look for what they thought were just remains at that time.

So this has been an ongoing thing and of course you saw the family there thanking a lot of the military members who just kept up the push over the years to try to find him.

LEMON: All right Chris. Now we know what happened. Thank you very much for your reporting, our Pentagon correspondent Chris Lawrence.

We just got this statement from President Barack Obama just minutes ago. It says, "I am grateful to the Marines who pursued the information that led to Captain Speicher's recovery so that he can now come home. My thoughts and prayers are with this family and I hope that the recovery of his remain also bring them a needed sense of closure." That's from the president of the United States.

Coming up in just a few minutes we'll speak with one of Speicher's old Navy buddies who can talk to us about the kind of man that he was. It's coming up in just a few minutes here on CNN.

Let's go to Iran and another story that is developing, the Swiss ambassador is trying to get more information on three Americans arrested Friday by Iranian troops. The Swiss embassy represents U.S. interests in Iran because the U.S. and Iran have no diplomatic relations.

The three Americans apparently strayed into Iranian territory while hiking in the Kyrgyzstan region of Iraq. One of the three has been Joshua Fattal from Elkins Park, Pennsylvania.

Last night, his mother spoke with CNN Radio.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

LAURA FATTAL, MOTHER OF DETAINED AMERICAN: My husband and I are eager for the best welfare and conditions for our son, Josh, and for the other two companions he's with. And that is our only concern, his welfare, and the best conditions for him.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

LEMON: And a fourth American hiker from the group, Sean McFessel (ph) is at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad. He didn't go hiking with the others because he felt sick

It has been a deadly weekend of fighting in Afghanistan. Three American troops were killed today in the eastern part of the country. At least six other NATO troops were killed yesterday including several Americans. In July, 75 NATO troops were killed in Afghanistan, the deadliest month for international troops since the U.S.-led invasion began back in 2001.

In Tel Aviv, Israel, mourning and shock after two teenagers were shot dead at a center for gay youth last night. Hundreds of people showed up for their funerals and meantime police are looking for the shooter who witnesses say was wearing a mask. Protesters are condemning the attack as an assault on their freedom.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NITZAN HOROWITZ, ISRAELI KNESSET MEMBER: We're all under shock. We didn't expect such murderous attack. This is the first time something like that is happening in Israel, and we are not going to sit quietly and let this pass away. We're going to fight for our freedom.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Police are treating the shooting as a hate crime against the gay community. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has called for respect and tolerance, and he is promising justice.

The man who allegedly sparked a bomb scare at New York's LaGuardia Airport yesterday has been ordered to undergo a psychiatric examination. Police say 32-year-old Scott McGann was arrested with a backpack containing wires, batteries and a trigger attached to it.

The bag sparked suspicion and led to a large-scale evacuation of the New York airport. LaGuardia was shut down and thousands of passengers had their travel plans disrupted.

McGann is charged with placing a false bomb in a mass transportation facility and making a terrorist threat. If convicted he faces up to seven years in prison.

More than 250 people killed so far this year, that's life on the street in Chicago. Why? You're going to hear from a gang member who says there's no way to stop this violence.

And how do you fix a $24 billion deficit? The state of California may turn to marijuana.

And new fuel to keep the cash for clunkers program alive, but for how long?

And here's how you get on the air here, Twitter, Facebook, MySpace or iReport.com. We appreciate your comments.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: The Obama administration fears the cash for clunkers program will end if the Senate doesn't approve an additional $2 billion for it. The popular government rebate gives consumers cash incentives to trade in old gas guzzlers for fuel efficient vehicles.

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood says he expects the current $1 billion in funding to run out by the end of this weekend. The LaHood says the administration will continue the program until the Senate acts on that proposal.

Ford is expected to report some good news tomorrow and it's rare news for U.S. automakers. CNN has learned that Ford will announce its first monthly increase in sales in almost two years. Sales, Ford officials say, were spurred on by the Cash for Clunkers Program.

CNN's Poppy Harlow spoke with members of a Ford family about the company's future.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

POPPY HARLOW, ANCHOR, CNNMONEY (voice-over): Lino Widmann worked as an engineer at Ford from 1960 until the early '90s following his father's work at the automaker during the Great Depression.

LINO WIDMANN, FORMER ENGINEER, FORD: For me, it's provided a great living. It's provided an opportunity to send all my kids to college. It's provided satisfactory income in my retirement.

HARLOW: It was Lino's first and only job out of college. Three decades later his son, Carl, followed in his footsteps.

CARL WIDMANN, VEHICLE ENGINEER MANAGER, FORD: Probably the first thing that interested me about it is Ford -- we have like a family day and I always remember that as a kid. Just the shear breadth of what was there and even then as a kid the engineering or the intuition of all the interesting parts and stuff like that.

HARLOW: Carl has been an engineer at Ford since 1991. In fact, all three of Lino's sons have worked at Ford, something you see a lot of here.

BILL FORD JR., EXECUTIVE CHAIRMAN, FORD: I think it's the most defining element of this company, it's a family company. I can't tell you the number of places I can go in our company where people come up to me and say I'm fourth generation also or my aunt and uncle knew your father and your grandfather.

HARLOW: But times have changed and layoffs have mounted.

When Lino worked at Ford in the late 1960s, the automaker had more than 29 percent of U.S. market share. Today that number has fallen to 15 percent.

L. WIDMANN: What has happened to the industry? People have found great desire to buy foreign cars, I guess. We want to become a country that assembles parts, that's one thing. If want to become a country that not only assembles but also designs and innovates the parts, that's another story.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LEMON: Poppy joins us from New York.

Poppy, so, what is the family's outlook for the future of Ford and the U.S. auto industry as a whole? They've got some knowledge of this.

HARLOW: They do. I mean, the father there, Lino, relies on Ford for his pension. The son has worked there for about 20 years. And it's interesting, Carl, the son you heard from, he is one of the lead engineers, Don, on the new 2010 Taurus. You saw it in the video. We might be able to show you some more here.

But that car is a goal by Ford to revamp its image to look like a lot of the cool foreign cars you see, to bring more people into the showroom and say hey, look at this car.

I drove on it in that test -- on the test track there -- and it is. It's a sporty car, it's very fast, it's sleek on the inside. They are trying to revamp their image at Ford and it's interesting, the son is leading that project to do so.

Ford fairing better than General Motors and Chrysler, not going through bankruptcy but still thousands of lay-offs at Ford so the outlook hopeful. We're going to get some very good numbers from Ford on Monday. And you know, the outlook hopeful but still really questionable what happens to the industry.

The full report's on CNNmoney.com.

LEMON: Let's continue we keep continuing to get positive news about the economy, in sales, in housing, in jobs -- we hope.

HARLOW: We hope.

LEMON: Thank you, Poppy.

HARLOW: You're welcome.

LEMON: Nearly 20 years have passed and tonight finally the family members have an answer; an American fighter pilot shot down just hours into the first Gulf War. Now his remains are finally recovered.

Plus if you light up, you have to pay up. Can pot smokers in California help fill in the state's big budget hole?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: All right, if you are just joining us tonight, the remains of the first U.S. casualty from the Gulf War in 1991 have been located and they have been identified. Navy pilot Michael "Scott" Speicher was shot down over Iraq on January 17th, 1991, but the body was never found until just last month, buried in the desert near the crash site in Anbar province.

Let's go down to Jeff Richardson. He served with Speicher in the Navy in the mid-1980s and he says he stayed in close contact with the family. He joins us now from Jacksonville, Florida.

Thank you, sir.

JEFF RICHARDSON, SERVED WITH SPEICHER IN THE NAVY: Thank you, Don, thanks for having me on.

LEMON: How are you doing?

RICHARDSON: Very good and how are you?

LEMON: I'm doing okay; probably doing a lot better than you. It must just be terrible to hear this. You didn't serve with him in the Gulf War, did you? Did you go on that mission with him?

RICHARDSON: No, that's correct. We served from '83 to '86 out of Cecil Field in Florida.

LEMON: Ok. Tell us about him. Everyone wants to know what kind of guy he was. If you served with him I imagine you knew him pretty well.

RICHARDSON: I did. Our relationship was Scott Speicher -- I called him Spike -- was the pilot and I was the plane captain. I was the guy who got his plane ready for launch and recovery, when he came back in. So we had to have a good rapport with each other, because his life depended on it and the aircraft as well.

LEMON: Yes?

RICHARDSON: About his personality, I really sometimes have a hard time talking about how cool a guy Scott Speicher is -- was -- because it sounds cliche but he's a fantastic guy, the guy you want to go party with when you go off the ship. He's also the guy who is going to sit next to you Sunday morning in the church services.

Great family man, some of those stories come from talking to his family and friends past the years.

LEMON: You said, I noticed that you said "is -- was." It's kind of hard for to you say "was," isn't it?

RIRCHARDSON: It is. Bittersweet is the term I've heard it being called today. It was a gut punch this morning when I saw the news, but it was also a relief as well.

LEMON: It brings you right back, doesn't it? When you look at the pictures from 1991, it brings you right back. We're looking at pictures of you and you're at the wall. Can see CNN where you are?

RICHARDSON: I can't see it but I'm familiar with the shots.

LEMON: You're standing at the wall. Tell us what you're doing in this video here?

RICHARDSON: This morning, someone had put up a letter from one of Scott's friends, dated this morning saying, "Hey, it's kind of hard to envision that this actually is going to come to this today." But I was kind of reflecting on what it's like to be a veteran. What it's like to take the oath of office, and to, as part of that, you know, defend the Constitution the way Scott Speicher did, to his ultimate, to his death unfortunately. LEMON: You've been in contact with his family recently?

RICHARDSON: Not very recently. I've met with Buddy Harris and fantastic, fantastic family. I've seen the kids off and on growing up, and they're doing very well. They've been very well taken care of.

Scott Speicher couldn't have asked for a better step-in father than Buddy.

LEMON: You know, people who have been asking what it's like for the family but for those of us who are not in the military -- for civilians -- maybe we don't understand it or feel it as much as veterans do. What does this mean to the men and women who serve in uniform so proudly for the United States?

RICHARDSON: At first it was a lot of --, I don't know if animosity is the right word -- but there was a lot questioning what happened? Why did this -- we have teams whose sole job it is to come in and rescue downed pilots. Why didn't they go in?

I attribute that to Secretary of Defense Cheney at the time as honest mistake about saying that Speicher died. Knowing everything that has transpired since then has led to changes and the rules of engagement changes in the way downed pilots are classified and the way things are investigated before presumptions are made. I think the military hopefully has taken -- we've learned a lot at the cost of Scott Speicher.

LEMON: Jeff Richardson who served with Scott Speicher in the Navy in the mid 1980s, and as a family friend, we thank you so much.

RICHARDSON: Thank you very much.

Some swear by medical marijuana, they say it cures their -- what ails them. Now the state of California says pot may be just the fix it needs.

And the scary streets of Chicago; you'll hear from a man behind some of the deadly violence, why he does it and why he says it won't stop.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: OK. Since the recession started, California has been a financial basket case. Now some people see a golden opportunity to help the state get out of its slump by legalizing and taxing marijuana. CNN's Dan Simon reports from San Francisco.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DON SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Marijuana is California's biggest cash crop, valued at $14 billion, worth more than grapes and vegetables, but the state doesn't get a dime from it. State lawmaker Tom Ammiano wants to change that. TOM AMMIANO (R), CALIFORNIA STATE ASSEMBLY: There are hard second looks now, particularly with the economy, the way it is here in the state.

SIMON: Ammiano has sponsored a bill that would legalize, regulate and tax marijuana. According to the state tax board, legal pot to Californians 21 and older could bring the cash-strapped state nearly $1.4 billion in revenue.

AMMIANO: Well, I think you would have some kind of retail outlet, and it could be a Walgreens. I mean, it could be a hospital.

SIMON: The idea got a boost from Governor Schwarzenegger, who has spent months trying to avert a budget catastrophe.

GOV. ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGER, CALIFORNIA: And I think that we ought to study very carefully on what other countries are doing that have legalized marijuana.

SIMON: Most lawmakers right now do not support broad legalization. So advocates are also working towards a 2010 ballot initiative that would let voters decide, and according to a field poll, 56 percent of Californians support legalization. On the local level, meanwhile, the easiest way to cash in is by taxing medical cannabis. Oakland last week became the first city to directly impose a tax on dispensaries.

City councils in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Santa Cruz are discussing similar measures. It might seem odd for dispensaries to back the idea and want to pay more in taxes but they welcome the chance to be seen as legitimate, valuable businesses. Steve D'Angelo runs a dispensary in Oakland.

STEVE D'ANGELO, HARBORSIDE HEALTH CENTER: Criminals don't pay taxes. Citizens do pay taxes and our hope is that the movement will be seen as a group of citizens rather than a group of criminals.

SIMON (on camera): Given the political environment, if it does make the ballot, it's possible that voters could legalize marijuana in California as early as next year. Of course then all the details would have to be worked out, how you regulate it, tax it and where it would be sold. And then there's the question of the federal government, right now it doesn't even recognize medical marijuana. Dan Simon, CNN, San Francisco.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LEMON: All right. Here we go, time now for your comments. Jenniferts01 say "our nations founding fathers grew cannabis and even allowed payments of taxes to be made with the crop going to many materials."

Monishacante says "this is not good, this will hurt our young students more. Teenagers will think it is OK to smoke weed for fun."

Yumymumyof3, "I will be hardcore looking for a job starting tomorrow. I will let you know. So far no bueno. May need to start my own business again."

And dtwiggy says, "I got a job, was able to modify my home loan and I'm able to buy things now. So I definitely feel it."

We're talking about the recovery in the economy. Fgbm27 says "people definitely seem less tense."

Danieclarke says "I see a lot of roads in my area are being repaired and many people were able to get jobs as a result. That's a great thing."

That is a great thing. We thank you for your comments. Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, I-report.com. We'll get them on for you.

Next, we'll take to you a place most of us will never go, inside a street gang. You'll hear from a man who says he has no idea how many people he has killed.

Plus a rematch of the dramatic race in the Olympics when Michael Phelps barely kept his quest for immortality alive by .01 of a second. You won't believe what happened this time.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: This is a story we have been paying particular attention to on this show. It is the violence in Chicago. It is really getting out of control. It's really out of control. The "Chicago Tribune" is reporting more than 250 people have been killed this year alone, six people were shot outside a church on the city's west side just yesterday. The shooting is believed to be gang related. Now I spoke with Dr. Gary Slutkin, he is the executive director of Ceasefire, about what law enforcement and his organization are doing to curb the killing.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DR. GARY SLUTKIN, EXEC. DIR., CEASEFIRE: The police department is doing all that it can and I think the Chicago police department is doing an excellent job. I mean, they can provide an additional presence in areas in which things are extremely hot. However they may not be able to always know what's going on when one person is mad at another because of someone having looked at someone else's girlfriend at a party or because someone owes some someone some money or something like that, and that's where the Ceasefire intervention comes into play.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: All right. So here is a unique look at one source of Chicago's problem, a current gang member talks about what's going on in the city. He really dishes it out. He is taking it as well, and he'll be lucky if he dies of old age, because he'll probably die much sooner if he continues doing this. CNN's Brooke Baldwin reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) BALDWIN (on camera): We're in the crew car headed from downtown Chicago to the city southwest side. It's an area with known pockets of basically gang activity, and we're going to this interview. We're talking to a current gang member. He's willing to share his story about the violence in Chicago, but he's only willing to do it as long as we keep him in the car. We don't show his face, and we don't drive into any other neighborhoods, any other gang turf, just to keep him and our crew safe.

Do you have any idea how many people you've shot in your lifetime?

BOB, CHICAGO GANG MEMBER: Nope.

BALDWIN: Did you ever feel remorse for anything?

BOB: No. I'm not going to say I have.

BALDWIN: Born and raised on Chicago streets, this man insist we call him Bob, says he joined a gang when he was just 13.

BOB: To be fun, to be honest with you. At least I thought at that point. The rush you get from what you were doing. It's like a drug. You can't get enough of it.

BALDWIN (voice-over): Shootings in Chicago have set grim records this summer. According to police, even though homicides are down, shootings are up. More than six percent. This week, 15 people were shot in a single night.

(on camera): Mid-day. Mid-day, broad daylight. What are they doing?

BOB: Taking money, dirty money.

BALDWIN (voice-over): Heroin, that is the drug of choice on these streets according to Bob. A corner dealer can bring in up to several thousand dollars on a good day, but if someone doesn't pay up, Bob says that's when the shooting starts.

BOB: If you hear about a gang or money. It's never going to stop. I don't care who you lock up. Or anything. It's never going to stop.

BALDWIN: Bob says he's been locked up three times. Most recently serving six years for attempted murder.

(on camera): One of the reasons we can't show you his face is because he has some very specific markings of a gang member tattoos, facial tattoos, all up and down his arms and marks of his recent, horrific beating.

(voice-over): He's been shot, stabbed and this month, bludgeoned with baseball bats and left on the streets to die.

DR. MICHELLE GITTLER, SINAI HOSPITAL: It was more of an issue of brain damage.

BALDWIN: Dr. Michelle Gittler is part of the medical team at Chicago's Mount Sinai Hospital that helped save Bob's life, while doctors have to alert police about shooting victims, according the American College of Emergency Physicians, there is now no federal law requiring doctors to track the number of gunshot wounds. Dr. Gittler says it's an epidemic that goes under reported.

GITTLER: To put it in perspective, for the H1N1, or swine flu, alerts go out through all the hospitals and how to recognize it, how to treat it, how to report it, right. So that's 20. And this is 2000. I'm a little bit confused about why this isn't as emergent as a public health issue.

BALDWIN: Dr. Gittler is the only reason Bob agreed to do this interview, he made her a promise to teach kids that they have a choice.

BOB: They don't have to turn to gangs if they don't want. They're just -- how I lead my life, (inaudible) don't want them to make the same mistakes I did.

BALDWIN: Despite that tough talk, Bob says his love for the gang remains. He is not getting out. Still, he's survived the streets to see his 31st birthday.

BOB: Definitely, we're not meant to be here forever, regardless. I mean, it's bound to end. Be nice to him. The right way.

BALDWIN: But there's always the chance he may not make it to 32. Brooke Baldwin, CNN, Chicago.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LEMON: Fascinating report, Brooke Baldwin there in Chicago.

We're going to continue to follow that story, until we get to the bottom of what's going on in Chicago, to see what they're doing.

You know it is bad enough that someone secretly taped ESPN reporter Erin Andrews naked in her hotel room, but then they put it all over the internet. The question now how will this affect the talented sports reporter's ability to do her job or her income? How is it going to affect her life? There he is our sports analyst, he's going to join us with some answers.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: All right. Competitive swimming is supposed to be all about the controversial high-tech racing suits, right? Not really. Well, except Michael Phelps wearing last year's inferior Speedo Lzr, still beat arch rival Milorad Cavic in the 100-meter butterfly at the World Championship in Rome. Both men set world records, hitting the wall at under 50 seconds, but Phelps was faster, the rival hit a few pitch, a fever pitch I should say this week with Cavic even casting doubt on one of Phelps' gold medals in Beijing. Hmm. All right. Well, another page in the saga of the secret video tapings of ESPN sports reporter Erin Andrews nude in a hotel room. Well, the tape went viral on the internet. Now paparazzi are camping out in front of her Atlanta area home. Here is part of the 911 call she made last week.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

911 OPERATOR: (INAUDIBLE) 911.

ERIN ANDREWS, ESPN REPORTER: I was in the news recently about being in a hotel naked, and I have paparazzi outside my window and I was told by law enforcement if I did to call 911.

911 OPERATOR: You'll meet with an officer if they come out?

ANDREWS: Yes, these guys are sitting in a car outside my house right now. I would like to tell the officer to have them leave, because the cops have told me to call 911 if they're outside my house.

911 OPERATOR: Ma'am, what's your name?

ANDREWS: My name is Erin, my last name is Andrews. I'm all over the news right now.

911 OPERATOR: I'm not familiar --

ANDREWS: I'm the girl that was videotaped without her knowing, without her clothes on in the hotel.

911 OPERATOR: Really?

ANDREWS: And I got two [ bleep ] sitting outside my house.

911 OPERATOR: Are you OK?

ANDREWS: Yes, I'm just - I did nothing wrong and I'm being treated like [ bleep ] Britney Spears and it sucks, I'm sorry.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: All right. Let's bring in our sports analyst, sports business analyst Rick Horrow who joins us from West Palm Beach, Florida. You know, she said through no fault of her own, she's now considered really kind of a sex symbol, because of what happened. Can she still be a reporter for ESPN, though or do you think this is going to distract her from every event that she is covering?

RICK HORROW, CNN SPORTS BUSINESS ANALYST: No, Don, put it in perspective. This is a victimized person who as thrust into this through no fault of her own, quite clearly. She's an award-winning journalist and her agency Career Sports and Entertainment of Atlanta working very diligently to make sure that she doesn't become the story and she continues to deliver this information in a first-rate way. And when the season starts, it won't be about Erin Andrews, it will be about the football games for the fans that she transmits the information to, at least that's the hope.

LEMON: You know, just real quickly before we move on. I mean this does appeal to a certain demographic when she was on the phone with that lady. She goes I've never heard of it. I don't know about being in the news. Quite frankly, I heard very little about it. So I'm just wondering if it is as big as she is making it out to be or that people are believing it is or just within this world that this is such a huge story? Because a lot of people really don't know about it.

HORROW: Well, she's making it out to be a big story. Because camera people were parked outside her home about something that she had no control of. So I can certainly understand that and hopefully this dies and we move on to covering football which is what she does in a first-class way.

LEMON: And it's been yanked from the internet as much as attorneys can have it yanked. Because sometimes still lives somewhere out there but let's move on now.

You know, we wish the best of luck to her. Again, victimized. That is horrible.

All right, let's talk about the advertising dollars for sports magazines. Certainly, not exempt from the effects of a struggling economy here.

HORROW: Yes, let's do this one quickly. Because it's about unemployment. We want to have some good news. 50 top newspapers sports departments, 48 of them have cut budgets. 300 sports writers and others are out of work. Nothing more crappy than an unemployed sportswriters and others are out of work, nothing more crabby than an unemployed sports writer and if you want to think about advertising, by the way, except for "Sports Illustrated" for kids, every other magazine circulation ad rates have gone down. So hopefully that turns around pretty quickly as well.

LEMON: All right. And how does that drop in ad dollars, translate into broadcast industry?

HORROW: Well, the broadcast industry really needs to continue to focus on its favorites. And that segues into a fan poll that was done, by the way. ESPN talked about the biggest sporting events, not surprisingly. What is the biggest sport? Football, football, football. 24 percent of us think it's our favorite sport. Doubling that of major league baseball. Then college football is next. And then NBA and then college basketball. Here's the thing, the training camps for the NFL opened this week.

Here's my prediction. Based on the stories we've seen, every team goes undefeated this year. 16-0. And a 32-way tie going into the Super Bowl with Dolphins hosting it Steve Ross in Miami, by the way. That's my prediction. What do you think of that?

LEMON: I can only imagine what your rec room or your office or trophy room looks like with all of that stuff that you have. So you know, you've come there, you can see it with the top five sporting events, or events that didn't make the ESPN list.

Tell us about them.

HORROW: Yes, sir. Number five, all the events that I've gone to, the Stanley Cup finals, game seven last year in Detroit. And then Tampa Bay a few years ago. Very important because of its uncertainty and drama. Number four, Super Bowl, the last 10, lucky enough.

This is the helmet from the one in Phoenix, the amazing game, Patriots and Giants. Steve Ross, the Dolphins hosting one this year in Miami. Pro bowl, Super Bowl back to back. First time in one city in history. Third, the masters. Where can you get a masters hat the last 10 years including a couple of Tigers wins, sandwiches for a couple bucks including the tradition?

LEMON: Hey, go ahead. Make your point. I want to ask you one more thing that's got to be quick. Go for it.

HORROW: All right. Got to be quick. Number, two World Cup. Germany, transformative. Here's my deal, you and I go next year in South Africa, OK, because that's going to be a big one. And number one, the opening ceremony at the Olympics, Salt Lake City. That is the hat from that. Where else do you get all of the nations in the world parading in one place? That's my top five.

LEMON: All right. You buy, I'll fly. OK. So listen, I got to ask you this real quickly, I butchered his name. The pronouncer sometimes throws you off more than the name. His name is Milorad Cavic.

HORROW: That's correct.

LEMON: The swimmer -

HORROW: That close to correct.

LEMON: Yes, tell me, close to correct. Yes, I screwed it up.

But anyway, tell me about this. This suit is causing all sorts of problems for swimming. They actually banned the - the coaches got together and they said we don't want this suit. And they abided by it.

HORROW: I'm your legal analyst. And I'm going to talk about a swimsuit not a law suit. Bottom line, if this is then it does cut through the water. There are certain things that make this technologically advanced enough where it may shave some time off of scores. Still, the guy opens his mouth and Michael Phelps got them. And even though there is a swimsuit controversy, it will go on way past these championships. Look for it to be a big issue between now and the Olympics in London and every year in between.

LEMON: There you go. I've been looking for something new on this story, someone to guide me through it. And Rick Horrow did it. Rick if you wear that hat, I'll give you $50.

HORROW: Oh, wow! What did you say?

LEMON: If you wear that hat, I'll think about giving you $50.

HORROW: Oh, you'll think about it. There it is -

LEMON: Never better.

HORROW: You and I in South Africa. We got a date next year, pal.

LEMON: With that hat, I'm not going to answer that yet.

HORROW: Speechless. Did I make you speechless? Am I speechless? Are you speechless?

LEMON: The whole studio is laughing. And in my ear, wrap now and move on. They're laughing. Thank you, Rick. You're always a lot of fun.

HORROW: Yes, see you next week.

LEMON: Enjoy. In just a minute, Soledad O'Brien and Roland Martin lead a group of some of the most influential African-American voices. They will examine unique and innovative solutions to critical issues facing African-Americans. CNN & "Essence" presents "Black in America: Reclaiming the dream" tonight 8:00 p.m. Eastern, only here on CNN.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: All right. Start of the work week just a couple of hours away. And unfortunately, just some big travel delays. Jacqui Jeras because of weather.

JACQUI JERAS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: I know, we're crossing our fingers that this clears up by tomorrow. You know, most of the showers and thundershowers will across the northeastern corridor. But we're still going to see some of it certainly lingering across parts of the southeast.

We've had some heavy rain and thunderstorms that have been pushing through the area, New York City down to the Philadelphia area. The rain was heaviest this morning. Caused some flash flooding in the area. We had some street closures. We had some high water rescues. And also some damage at the Trenton Airport due to strong, gusty winds. We're working this story. We're going to have pictures for you a little bit later on as we head into the evening hours. 10:00 eastern time.

We do have a tornado warning which is in effect for Somerset and Wicomico Counties, this is in Maryland. You can see the storm is south of Salisbury, moving off to the east. They report this is a water spout over the bay but now it's moved over land. But we haven't seen any ground (INAUDIBLE) in terms of thunderstorms with that just yet. So we'll continue to monitor that situation. If you're traveling though, yet tonight, unfortunately, this is not a good picture. It's better than what it was a couple of hours ago. So at least I can give you that.

Atlanta, Hartsfield, over an hour and a half. Look at JFK, an hour and 45, and hour and a half for LaGuardia, and Newark down to about two hours and 20 minutes. So that's a whole lot better then three and a half that you had. OK. Tomorrow we're back to work. It's back to reality for a whole lot of people. Except Don Lemon who has the day off. I almost called you John Melon. Where that come from, I got fruit on the brain, right. Severe thunderstorms across parts of Missouri on into Iowa and also into Illinois.

LEMON: I've been called a lot worse by a lot meaner people than you. Jacqui Jeras, thank you.

Hey, Jacqui and I will see you back here at 10:00 p.m. Eastern. I'm Don Lemon. That's Jacqui Jeras.

Next, CNN & "Essence" magazine present "Reclaiming the Dream" hosted by Soledad O'Brien.