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Chile Devastated; Prosecuting Miscarriages? Science of Tsunami Alerts; Medical Breakthroughs Saving Lives: Cord Blood Provides New Hope for Blood Cancer Patients; Interview with Henry Louis Gates on America's Family Tree; Teachers Seducing Students Go Free
Aired March 1, 2010 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CAMPBELL BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: Hey, there, everybody.
A renegade Republican senator single-handedly puts the brakes on a bill to extend unemployment benefits, and 100,000 Americans are left in the lurch. That story topping the "Mash-Up" tonight. We're watching it all, so you don't have to.
Is it a principled stand for fiscal discipline or a classic case of Washington gridlock? Whatever you may think, there's no denying that tonight one senator has shaken thousands of Americans from coast to coast. Take a look.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The Department of Transportation says it furloughed 2,000 workers here and around the country because Congress failed to pass legislation to extend funding for the projects, part of a $10 billion package being blocked by one senator, Kentucky's Jim Bunning who angrily refused to answer questions about why.
SEN. JIM BUNNING (R), KENTUCKY: Excuse me I have to go to the floor.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... people who are unemployed?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Senator, can you explain why you're holding this up? I'm sure you have an explanation.
BUNNING: Excuse me.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you concerned about those that are going to lose their benefits? Guess we have our answer.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Four hundred thousand Americans risk losing their unemployment benefits over the next seven to 10 days, and Medicare fees for doctors were suddenly slashed by 21 percent.
Bunning held up the bill because Democrats hadn't come up with a pay to $10 billion price tag.
BUNNING: If we can't find $10 billion to pay for something that we all support, we will never pay for anything on the floor of this U.S. Senate.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: And we can't resist telling you that, as Senator Bunning ran from the cameras today, he turned to give reporters the finger.
Moving on, in Chile tonight, the U.S. ambassador is describing a scene of major, major devastation. We are hearing stories of unrest and stories of looting, as rescue workers mount a frantic search for survivors.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: The official death toll as of now has climbed to 723.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Chile's 8.8 earthquake exploded with the force of 500,000 Nagasaki-sized nuclear bombs in one of the most active earthquake zones on the planet.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Five hundred thousand homes damaged or destroyed, major bridges down, some coastal towns hit with both the quake and tsunamis washed away, two million people affected. Rescuers are struggling against exhaustion to find people buried alive.
KARL PENHAUL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's a 70-ton sardine fishing vessel, and it was washed ashore about 600 yards, in fact, by a tsunami wave that followed about an hour after that earthquake.
SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: Looting has been -- well, it's making the streets really chaotic here.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): I don't even have a bed, only the clothes on my back.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Chile's government has asked the United Nations for mobile bridges, generators and field hospitals. Tomorrow, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will arrive with the first wave of U.S. relief.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: We're going to have much, much more from Chile coming up a little bit later tonight.
In Afghanistan, new information tonight on the suicide bomber who killed seven CIA employees at an Army base. That information comes in the form of a new videotape posted on several radical Islamic Web sites. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEANNE MESERVE, CNN HOMELAND SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Humam Khalil Abu-Mulal al-Balawi knew ahead of time he was about to meet some of America's most secretive intelligence operatives and analysts.
In a newly released 43-minute video al-Balawi says he was only planning to kill his handler, Jordanian army Captain Ali bin Zeid, the man he says he duped into believing he was loyal to the U.S. and Jordan, even as he continued to work for al Qaeda.
Al-Balawi says -- quote -- "We planned for something, but got a bigger gift, a valuable prey, Americans, and from the CIA."
But no one can explain how Al-Balawi knew the meeting included the CIA. By any measure, that would have been very closely held.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: Al-Balawi said he had first tried to join jihad in Iraq before making his way to Afghanistan.
Here at home, add Warren Buffett to the list of people urging a back- to-the-drawing board approach to health care reform. The billionaire tells CNBC the current bill doesn't do nearly enough to rein in costs.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WARREN BUFFETT, CHAIRMAN & CEO, BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY: It's like a tapeworm eating, you know, at our economic body. We have a health system that in terms of costs is really out of control. And if you take this line and just project what has been happening into the future, we will get less and less competitive.
And so we need something else. Unfortunately, we came up with a bill that really doesn't attack the cost situation that much, and we have to have a fundamental change. We have to have something that will end the constant increase in medical costs as a percentage of GDP.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: No surprise, Republicans having a field day with Buffett's comments, especially since President Obama has counted him as an informal adviser.
And speaking of health care, the president received his own annual checkup this weekend. And while his doctor says he's in excellent health, there is definitely room for improvement.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: The president may look like he's in good shape, but his says he needs to bring down his cholesterol.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The White House blamed it on a White House chef at the president's beck and call.
ROBERT GIBBS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: All you guys think he eats carrots and celery, and there's more cheeseburgers, fries and pie than you previously knew.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On Marine one on the way back from his exam at the National Naval Medical Center, the president said -- quote -- "I just have to say no to dessert more often."
ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: His doctors, however, have told him to start eating better and to stop smoking.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a battle he's been waging since he was a teenager, as he explains last year.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I would say that I'm 95 percent cured, but there are times where -- there are times where I mess up.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: Gibbs says his boss has to use a little more presidential restraint.
And that brings us to the "Punchline." This is courtesy of the folks over at "SNL." Check out this from "Weekend Update."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SETH MEYERS, ACTOR: The U.S. State Department this week unveiled plans for the new U.S. Embassy in London, which will made of glass and include many advanced security measures -- I guess to compensate for the fact that it's made of glass.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: Seth Meyers, everybody. That is the "Mash-Up."
Coming up next, a Utah lawmaker proposes a new law to prosecute women who have miscarriages. You heard that right. We're going to explain, and he's joining us right after the break.
BROWN: Utah's governor has one week to decide if he's going to sign a bill to prosecute women whose reckless behavior causes them to miscarry their pregnancies. Is that going too far? Some legal experts say reckless could mean not wearing a seat belt. It could mean not -- or staying in an abusive relationship.
So, could that, should that kind of behavior be a crime?
Joining me right now is Representative Carl Wimmer, who is the sponsor of the bill, also with me, senior legal analyst Lisa Bloom.
Representative Wimmer, just explain, first of all, what exactly your intent is with this legislation.
CARL WIMMER (R), UTAH STATE REPRESENTATIVE: Yes. Thank you.
The intention of this legislation is to close a loophole that we found in Utah law that allows a woman to kill her unborn child intentionally or knowingly without any repercussions or ANY consequences whatsoever from the state. We had a case here just this year where a 17-year-old pregnant women, she was 17 (sic) months along, she hired somebody to beat her and kick her in the stomach repeatedly in an attempt to kill her unborn child. Luckily, the child lived.
And during the court proceedings, we found out that we had a loophole in our law that said she can't be prosecuted. Even if the child had died, she could not have been prosecuted. So, the purpose of my law is to close that.
BROWN: OK. So, I think what has sparked a lot of interest, not -- not -- and I'm going to let Lisa respond here in a moment, because I know this gets into the abortion debate, obviously, but it's also the fact that you use the word reckless. If a woman is found reckless in her behavior that results in the death of her fetus, she can be criminally charged.
And there are a lot of people say this is like a woman driving without a seat belt and she has an accident and she miscarries and her friend maybe says to a police officer, hey, she didn't really want the baby anyway, and suddenly prosecutors are going after this woman?
WIMMER: Yes, there's been a lot of innuendo, a lot of rhetoric surrounding this bill and the term reckless. Not wearing a seat belt wouldn't qualify under the definition of reckless.
BROWN: So, why -- well, how do we know that? How do you define reckless?
WIMMER: Reckless is -- has been defined in this state, and it's a very, very clear definition. What it is, is it has to be a substantial and unjustified risk. And then the person has to engage in that risk in a behavior that would be a gross deviation from what the reasonable person would engage in.
So, this is not an accident or a miscarriage that happens so often, a tragic miscarriage. We have removed the language, the negligent language from the bill to make sure that that -- those cases would never be prosecuted.
BROWN: All right, hold on. Let me let Lisa jump in here.
BROWN: Start at the beginning. There's a lot to respond to.
LISA BLOOM, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Let me start at the beginning, which is that abortion is legal in this country in the first two trimesters or until viability. That's under Roe v. Wade and many Supreme Court decisions since.
And it's simply unconstitutional for Utah or for any state to try to criminalize abortion.
And, Representative Wimmer, that's what you have said that you're trying to do. You're anti-abortion and you want abortion to be illegal in all cases. And this is an attempt to get there. It's not closing the loophole. It's creating a law that's unconstitutional.
BROWN: And you do expect this to be -- I mean, there's going to be an appeal. It's going to go before the Supreme Court, presumably. And..
BLOOM: I would think.
BROWN: I mean, you don't disagree with that, do you, Representative Wimmer, that that is your -- ultimately your intent, right?
WIMMER: I do not believe that this bill will even be -- go to court. This bill is completely constitutional.
I highly disagree with the assessment that it's unconstitutional, because we're not affecting legal abortions. All we're doing is trying to stop women from murdering their unborn children.
BLOOM: Well, what you call murdering unborn children is what other call a right to terminate a pregnancy. And what Roe v. Wade stands for is the proposition that a woman has the right to terminate her pregnancy, up until the point of viability, which is generally the first two trimesters.
Your bill is so broad that it includes all stages of pregnancy. And, by the way, the case that was the impetus for the bill, the 17-year- old girl who was desperate, probably because she couldn't get an abortion in Utah, where 93 percent of the counties don't have an abortion provider, that she paid somebody to beat her, I mean, why are we trying to penalize a girl like that in such a desperate measure, rather than help her?
WIMMER: Well, the fact is, is that anyone can get an abortion, a legal abortion, in the state of Utah. It's within a few hours drive. You can get them anywhere in the state of Utah. That's simply not true.
But I would say that these are two separate issues. This is not an abortion issue. This is an issue of trying to stop women from killing their unborn children in an intentional malicious act.
BROWN: All right.
WIMMER: It has nothing to do with miscarriage.
BROWN: All right, stop there for a second. I'm not sure they are two separate issue, but I do want to go to the second issue here, which is this language that does have a lot of people -- reckless...
BLOOM: Reckless, right.
BROWN: ... a little concerned about what that could mean in terms of an aggressive prosecutor.
Manslaughter is generally the taking of a human life with reckless conduct, which simply means consciousness of the danger and ignoring the danger. So, I could certainly see a local prosecutor arguing that you knew you got into the car and you didn't put your seat belt on. You knew that was dangerous. You took driver's ed. You knew that, right?
She would have to say yes. You didn't put that seat belt on. That caused the death of your unborn child. That could be recklessness. The law doesn't set forth any clear guidelines. It simply uses this language and leaves it to local prosecutors to decide which women who had had a miscarriage they're going to prosecute and criminalize.
BROWN: So, Representative Wimmer, how do you stop something like that from happening, I mean, seriously? How do you guarantee that that's not going to be a case where a mistake was made, and a woman whose already been traumatized having gone through a miscarriage is then put through this?
WIMMER: Right. Yes.
The scenario being that's played out is -- simply wouldn't elevate to the mens rea of reckless in this state.
BROWN: How do you know that? But why -- how are you so confident in saying that?
WIMMER: Because not wearing your seat belt is not a gross deviation from what the reasonable person would do.
BLOOM: Well, it's what the law requires, as a matter of fact.
WIMMER: Yes, but it is not a primary offense. It's not something that is prosecuted. That would be the equivalent of a negligent mental state. And we took that out.
BLOOM: OK. But what about a young woman who takes drugs, or a young woman who drinks, or a young woman who is at a crowded violent environment where she gets attacked or she get mauled or she gets beat up...
BLOOM: ... when someone could say that was foreseeable that that would cause harm to your fetus.
WIMMER: Yes. Those particular issues, we would have to separate each one. However, the reason we have the...
BROWN: So, who separates those? It's left up to a prosecutor to decide? WIMMER: Well, we do have a judicial system in this country that does work.
However, the reason I left the language of reckless in the bill is because to specifically deal with the women who use elicit and illegal drugs, and those drugs kill the baby. That is reckless behavior. That is a gross deviation from what the reasonable person would do, and that's the term -- that's what reckless is defined as, as a gross deviation.
BROWN: All right. Let me -- we're almost out of time here, but, Lisa, presumably, if the governor does sign this into law, obviously, there's going to be an appeal. Walk us through what happens next in terms of the legal...
BLOOM: Right. Right. I think there certainly would be constitutional challenges.
Utah already has a lot of anti-abortion laws on the book criminalizing abortions that are ineffective because of Roe vs. Wade, as a lot of states are doing, hoping that when Roe vs. Wade is overturned, as many people seek, certainly as Representative Wimmer seeks, that those laws would then come into effect.
So, I think this would be challenged. I think because it's so broad that includes the first two trimesters, that it will probably struck down at least as to that. I think it's a groundbreaking law. It's not just closely a loophole. It's really criminalizing abortion.
BROWN: Representative Wimmer, we will be watching to see what happens. Appreciate your time tonight.
WIMMER: Thank you very much.
BROWN: Lisa Bloom, as always, thanks, Lisa
BROWN: When we come back, down in Texas, Republican voters picking their nominee for governor tomorrow. Supposed to be a run-of-the-mill election, but it's turning into an all-out battle for the soul of the Republican Party. We're going to explain.
BROWN: There's a battle brewing in Texas right now, where three Republicans, two big names, one underdog are battling for their party's nomination for governor. The results will say a lot about voter anger at Washington and the growing power of the Tea Party movement.
CNN senior political correspondent and "STATE OF THE UNION" host Candy Crowley for us in Austin tonight.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is she in a car? No.
CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This weekend, Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison was out flaunting her roots.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... Texas, and she's riding a horse, Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison.
CROWLEY: Why does the great-great-granddaughter of the man who signed the Texas Declaration of Independence in 1836 have to remind Texans that she's one of them?
GOV. RICK PERRY (R), TEXAS: When you have spent the last 17 years of your life as a United States senator in Washington, D.C., when you voted for the bailout that in hindsight was an absolute atrocity, then you must go to the people of the state of Texas and explain to them why you're not a creature of the Washington culture.
CROWLEY: The race to be the Republican nominee for Texas governor is all about Washington.
SEN. KAY BAILEY HUTCHISON (R), TEXAS: There is an anger all over America, certainly all over Texas, about what's happening in government, the overreach in Washington. People think, well, what on Earth are those people thinking up there? And I don't disagree with them. I agree with them.
DICK CHENEY, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And when it comes to being conservative, Kay Bailey Hutchison is the real deal.
CROWLEY: A year ago, Hutchison was the fave, a popular Republican seen as the establishment candidate who would broaden GOP appeal. But that's so 2009, before incumbent Governor Rick Perry's yearlong full embrace of anti-Washington, anti-tax, socially conservative rhetoric that includes a declaration at a Tea Party event that Texas should consider see seceding from the union.
WAYNE SLATER, COLUMNIST, "THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS": That got an enormous response, not because Texans want to secede, but because they hear the word secession as code for, we don't like Washington. Unbelievably successful.
CROWLEY: Perry now leads Hutchison by double digits -- not that it's that simple.
DEBRA MEDINA (R), TEXAS GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: I'm here to tell you today we're going to win.
CROWLEY: Debra Medina has promised to abolish property taxes and ignore federal laws she thinks are unconstitutional. A gun-owning nurse who homeschools her children, Medina is a Tea Party activist campaigning as the real anti-spending, anti-Washington conservative.
MEDINA: They sing the song well during campaign season, but they don't legislate that way.
CROWLEY: Medina's presence in the race could force a runoff, if no one gets to the 50 percent threshold. But she took a hit recently and her numbers began to fall when she didn't immediately repudiate the notion that the U.S. government was involved in 9/11.
BROWN: Candy Crowley joining me right now from Austin.
And, Candy, just tell us, how much of a wakeup call is this for Washington Republicans? A year ago, Kay Bailey Hutchison considered a shoo-in, today, not so much.
And the commercials here that are being run against her by Governor Perry are pretty amazing, Campbell, because it's not just, oh, she's from Washington. It's when -- you know, when incumbents come back, they say, well, I got $5 billion for this project in Texas and $3 billion for this.
Perry is even hitting her on the things that she brought home for Texas, saying, you know, people are tired of this. They know these earmarks are just the same old Washington game.
So, what is the lesson here? It's interesting to me that we have known for a while and the polls have shown for a while that incumbents in Washington are in trouble running for reelection to their seats.
But Senator Hutchison is running for governor. And it still is a very, very anti-Washington race. And, as you say, it's just turned upside-down in a year, from Kay Bailey Hutchison looking like a shoo- in to her really being the underdog at this point.
BROWN: Candy Crowley, we will, of course, be watching tomorrow. Candy, thank very much.
When we come back: the situation in Chile tonight very desperate, with reports of looters setting fires, raiding businesses in some quake- devastated areas. We are going to have a live report from there when we come back.
BROWN: Security a huge concern in Chile tonight. We're hearing reports of looting on every street corner in the city of Concepcion, and the death toll from Saturday's work now up to 72, and half-a- million homes severely damaged, from what's being reported.
Karl Penhaul is in one of the villages devastated by the quake where aid workers have yet to arrive.
PENHAUL: This is the town of Talcahuano, a fishing village. And you're right that government aid workers have not seen this place so far, according to the habitants. They say they're in desperate need. But I just want to give you a little bit of a scene-setter. This is Main Street in Talcahuano. And look at what's on Main Street. That's a 70-ton fishing vessel. In normal times, that is fishing for sardines. And, before this earthquake, that was anchored about 600 yards out that way.
But then what happened with this earthquake, according to the fishermen and according to the local inhabitants, is that, about an hour after the earthquake, two tsunami waves swept ashore, more than six, six-and-a-half-feet high, they say, and that's what it brought ashore.
Now, the people, being fishermen and having had experiences of a horrible earthquake back in 1960, they ran straight out of their homes and headed for higher ground. And they say, as they were heading to higher ground, members of the Navy and, they say, also firefighters were there with megaphones saying, hey, go home, there's no problem, there will be no tsunami wave.
They chose not to listen to the authorities, and you can see real damage caused by those waves about an hour after the earthquake was. Look down this street. That is the kind of damage. We have got hundreds of yards of fishing nets that have been dragged to shore. We have got the debris of buildings that have been destroyed, the facades, the fronts of homes have been just washed away.
And there is thick sludge here as well. You can see some of these people very kindly waiting in the background for us as well. These are people who have been working in the course of the day to fish out their possessions from what are left of their homes, from what's left of the sludge, some mattresses there, because they have gone to a different place now to live. They're living in higher ground.
BROWN: And, again, that was Karl Penhaul reporting for us from Chile tonight.
Meantime, officials in Hawaii say that they dodged a bullet after a tsunami triggered by the quake failed to produce these destructive waves. At least 50,000 people were evacuated in Hawaii just in case, but now some scientists acknowledge that they overstated the threat.
And Dr. John Rundle, is a seismologist at the University of California-Davis. And he's joining us right now.
Welcome to you.
DR. JOHN RUNDLE, SEISMOLOGIST, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA-DAVIS: Good morning -- good evening.
BROWN: We were all watching, I think, the same thing on Saturday, with a lot of fear, with a lot of trepidation. Our television screens said tsunami going to hit Hawaii at 4:05. It even prompted the president to come out and make a statement. And then nothing happened. How does that happen? RUNDLE: Well, in the first place, your report just talked about 6.5- half foot waves hitting Chile and depositing a boat quite a ways inland.
You know, these things are difficult to forecast and predict. I mean, you have got a situation where you have got to have a good source model of the earthquake. And that often takes time, even as long as several hours for an earthquake this big, to generate a model like that.
And then you've got -- and that comes from the USGS, and they do a terrific job under their director Marcia McNutt and getting that thing, those types of models over to NOAA. And you know, but NOAA has to actually do a good propagation model, and then there's a tsunami run-up model, which in all those three different parts of the model, you know, are uncertain to some degree or another. So when you can convolve all these things together, it makes it difficult to come up sometimes with an accurate forecast.
CAMPBELL BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: And I -- sorry, just to --
RUNDLE: Go ahead.
BROWN: I just want to kind of put in context for people. I know a lot attention was sort of focused on this after Banda Aceh. And you know, the tragedy that we saw after that massive tsunami. And people got very focused on it, making sure that we could try to develop these warning systems and that kind of thing. So I guess my question is, did we sort of believe that these warning systems had been developed after that, and that they were a lot more precise than they are?
RUNDLE: Well, there will always be some uncertainty associated with forecasting in earth-related disaster sort of thing. I mean, as you said, six years ago we were watching 250,000 odd people getting killed by a tsunami. So, you know, the golfer Tom Watson once said if you want to increase your success, you have to double your failure rate, you know. So unfortunately, when you forecast these things, you're going to have false alarms along with the successful predictions.
I mean, we actually in our own little way are trying to do something along these lines. We have a forecast Web site called openhazards.com where we actually try to make earthquake forecasts so that people can get some information about the risk that they face around the world. And --
BROWN: And that's even before an earthquake happens.
RUNDLE: That's before an earthquake happens, right.
BROWN: Which would be amazing.
RUNDLE: That's right.
BROWN: So -- but I guess you don't know if it's going to work until, you know --
BROWN: -- one is big enough to test the theory, right?
RUNDLE: Well, that's right. You know, 8.8 earthquakes don't come along just every day. So, you know, the success of these types of forecasts depends a lot on collecting data on other -- the results of other forecasts and how they work. So, you know, if we had 8.8 earthquakes every week, you know, I can tell you that our forecasting and prediction efforts would be a lot better than they are.
BROWN: Well, Dr. John Rundle, thank you for explaining that to us and simplifying it. I really appreciate your time tonight.
RUNDLE: Sure. Thanks.
BROWN: And when we come back, a tiny drop of blood that brings new hope to cancer patients. Medical breakthroughs saving lives. We have a special series tonight starting tonight from Dr. Sanjay Gupta. That's just ahead.
BROWN: Tonight, we begin a special series, "Medical Breakthroughs." Every four minutes in this country somebody is diagnosed with a blood cancer and every 10 minutes somebody dies from it. But that last number is changing because a type of blood that was once thought to be worthless has now become a very precious resource. CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta has living proof of the power of cord blood.
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Diana Tirpak was so sure her leukemia was going to kill her. She bought this suit for her husband Jake to wear at her funeral.
DIANA TIRPAK, CANCER SURVIVOR: I was bound and determined he was going to look fine at the funeral.
GUPTA: Without a bone marrow donor, Tirpak traditionally faced a death sentence. Mary Laughlin is her doctor.
MARY LAUGHLIN, CLEVELAND CORD BLOOD CENTER: Her prognosis was 100 percent mortality in the absence of a transplant.
TIRPAK: My doctor had a very serious conversation with me and my family. And the bottom line of that conversation was, I had two to six months to live.
GUPTA: Until recently, Diana Tirpak's story would end right there. Diana Tirpak, loving wife and mother, long-time school nurse, dead of acute leukemia at 66.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Better than our purple tube for cord blood.
GUPTA: But something thrown away, considered medical waste until recently, changed everything. The umbilical cord and placenta. It turns out cord blood holds something special, stem cells that can be used instead of bone marrow. It's a medical breakthrough that is saving lives like Diana Tirpak's. Here moments before her stem cell injection. She was lucky. Her doctor happened to be a pioneer in stem cell transplants.
TIRPAK: My new birth date was February 22nd at 9:55 a.m. in the morning. And so I celebrate several birthdays now. I celebrate that day. I celebrate the birthday of my donor, and I celebrate my own birthday. So there's much to celebrate after a stem cell transplant.
GUPTA: Stem cells from cord blood are now being used to treat people with cancers like leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma. Once it's donated, it's entered into an online registry and kept frozen. The donation is anonymous with more than 200 hospitals participating nationally.
(on camera): Now cord blood does have some advantages. It's easier to match than bone marrow. Why? Because the immune cells are not yet fully developed and the patient can get the treatment in about three weeks as opposed to six to eight weeks for bone marrow from an adult donor. But there is still the risk, the new blood rejecting the host, something called graft versus host disease. And there's also still months of recovery, but it's a life-saving opportunity especially for African-Americans and other minorities.
(voice-over): Before the only option was the bone marrow registry.
LAUGHLIN: That registry of 13 million people meets the needs of about 60 percent of Caucasians in the United States and only five to fifteen percent of underrepresented minorities.
NATHAN MUMFORD, CANCER SURVIVOR: I had a pretty much 100 percent chance to die.
GUPTA: When Nathan Mumford was diagnosed in 2004, he thought his number was up.
MUMFORD: We went to try and get a bone marrow transplant, and we went through that process and nobody had a match.
GUPTA: Mumford had two choices. He could continue chemotherapy and live maybe another year and a half, or he could try cord blood.
MUMFORD: That was an opportunity, a chance for me to live. I'm not a quitter. I've never been a quitter, so I wasn't going to quit.
GUPTA: Cord blood saved his life, just as it saved Diana Tirpak's.
TIRPAK: Such a tiny, tiny few drops of blood, blood cells really give new birth to people.
GUPTA: One new birth giving rise to another.
GUPTA: Campbell, let me give you a little bit perspective here as well. Back in 2001, cord blood transplants represented about one percent of all transplants between individuals who are not related. Last year, that number was 24 percent. You've seen just how remarkable a life-saving tool it can be. But you can see now, it's becoming more popular as more and more people sort of learn about it as well -- Campbell.
BROWN: Dr. Sanjay Gupta for us tonight.
And when we come back, we're going to show you the amazing things to be learned by tracing your family tree.
BROWN: You may think you know all about your family tree, but a dozen well-known Americans, everybody from Stephen Colbert to Meryl Streep just found out about ancestors they never knew they had all because of this documentary project from Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates. I talked to Dr. Gates recently and asked him how he got so interested in tracing America's family tree.
HENRY LOUIS GATES, HOST, "FACES OF AMERICA": When I was nine years old, my grandfather died. Edward St. Lawrence Gates is my father's father. And after we had buried him, my father took my brother and me back to the Gates' family home in Cumberland, Maryland, and showed us his scrapbook. So we didn't know he kept these scrapbooks. My father was looking feverishly for this clipping, and the clipping was the obituary of the oldest Gates, Jane Gates, my great-great-grandmother who had been a slave. And it said, it's dated January 6, 1888. And it said died this day, Jane Gates, an estimable colored woman.
And then my father showed me a picture of her, and that picture now hangs on the wall of the kitchen in my house back in Cambridge. And the next day I got a conversation book and I interviewed my mother and interviewed my father about their family trees. And I've been interested in genealogy ever since.
BROWN: So what stands out for you, I guess, in these various experiences? I know it was different with everybody, but are there, especially when you're working with some of these big names, is there something that's sort of striking about it?
GATES: A couple things. On the genetics side, I wanted to find a Jewish man and a Muslim man who had identical haplotypes. That was one of my great desires. And when we tested Mike Nichols (ph) who's German Jewish and Russian Jewish, and we tested Mehmet Oz, they have exactly the same half of type haplotype. This is just like the story of Abraham.
GATES: Exactly the same haplotype. What that means is that about 10,000 or so years ago, they descend from the same individual. Eva Longoria, I wanted to show the stereotypes about Mexican-Americans are ridiculous, and that people of Mexican-American heritage have been in the new world for a long time. And we traced Eva Longoria back to her 11th great-grandfather who lived in Spain, but her 9th great- grandfather came to the new world in the year 1603.
GATES: Seventeen years before the Mayflower.
GATES: Incredible. Incredible.
BROWN: I want to play some clips. Here's a moment that I think will be striking for a lot of people. It was when you told Kristi Yamaguchi about her Japanese grandfather who had fought in World War II for the U.S. And let's take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KRISTI YAMAGUCHI, FIGURE SKATER: Nissei (ph) is promoted.
GATES: Now, this, by the way, is what an officer said about your grandfather when he received his promotion from "The New York Times."
YAMAGUCHI: He is unquestionably the company's best soldier.
GATES: He is unquestionably the company's best soldier in "The New York Times."
YAMAGUCHI: Yes. Wow.
GATES: Nissei (ph) is promoted. A member of 100th division wins lieutenant in field.
YAMAGUCHI: That's amazing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: You have these really emotional encounters for people. They are so grateful to have this information. It's amazing just watching that.
GATES: I have the best job in the world. I get to introduce people to ancestors about whom they know absolutely nothing. It's fantastic. Nobody knows more about their ancestry than their great-grandparents. Nobody had ever put black or while. I thought it was only black people. But I have two Asians, you know, a Latina, and we take them back, in Yo-Yo's (ph) case, back to the 12th century. In Queen Noor's case, we took her back to an ancestor born in 435 A.D. Elizabeth Alexander, the chair of African-American Studies at Yale read the poem at President Obama's inauguration, is descended from Charlemange (ph). Charlemange (ph) is her 37th great grandfather.
BROWN: Well, you mentioned Yo-Yo Ma. You also find these connections and relations between various people.
GATES: Yes. BROWN: Let's play another clip about a few relatives within the group. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
EVA LONGORIA, ACTRESS: Yo-Yo Ma.
GATES: You and Yo-Yo Ma share an actual ancestor.
LONGORIA: He's Mexican?
BROWN: She's so cute. OK. Eva Longoria and Yo-Yo Ma, I mean, how does that happen?
GATES: Well, we got to the Byrd (ph) Institute, which was one of the leading research centers in genetics, do the special test. It's not even available commercially, though "23" had made their version of this test. And they will look at your whole genome. It looked at the whole genome of all my 12 guests, and they could identify whether or not you share a common ancestor back as recently as 250 years ago, which is not that far. And it turns out that Yo-Yo Ma and Eva Longoria share a common ancestor. If we can do an ideal family trees, there will be one name that would light up on both their family trees that they both descend from probably since the time of Columbus in the last 500 years. A haplotype goes back 10,000, 20,000 years ago. These autosomal cousins are within the last 500 years. That's astonishing.
BROWN: That's incredible.
GATES: It's incredible.
BROWN: Now, let me ask about your own genealogy, because I know you've done plenty of research into that. And you discovered that you have more white ancestry than black.
GATES: Yes, this was very traumatic for my identity.
BROWN: Well, I was going to say. How did you handle that one?
GATES: Well, I have about 57 percent European ancestry, with the latest seven percent Native-American ancestry. But my great-great- grandfather, my father's great-grandfather was an Irishman.
BROWN: And this is common, isn't it?
GATES: It's common.
BROWN: I mean, you see this a lot.
GATES: If we did the DNA of all the black men in the NBA, 33 percent will find out that they descend from a white man who impregnated a black woman during slavery. That's incredible.
BROWN: It really is.
GATES: It's 33 out of 100. It's amazing.
BROWN: And you can see "Faces of America" with Henry Louis Gates Jr. That is on PBS.
Coming up, a teacher suspected of inappropriate sexual conduct with students and school officials accused of letting them get away with it. That after the break.
BROWN: Still ahead, a school sex scandal and allegations of a cover- up down in Dallas. But first, we have more must-see news happening right now. Mike Galanos here with tonight's "Download." Hi, Mike.
MIKE GALANOS, HLN PRIME NEWS: Hi, Campbell. First off, a scare today at an IRS building near Ogden, Utah. It was apparently all for nothing. Scary nonetheless. The U.S. Postal Inspection Service tells "The Associated Press" a suspicious substance that turned up was not hazardous, however, parts of the building were evacuated.
A devastating winter storm with hurricane-force winds triggered flooding across Western Europe. Tonight at least 60 people are dead. The storm snarled air and rail service and knocked out power as it battered France, Belgium, Portugal, Spain and parts of Germany as well.
In Washington, President Obama today ditched his motorcade for a rare walk in the park, joking he needed to walk of some cholesterol. He took a quick stroll to Lafayette Park and on his way to the White House after wrapping up a morning speech. And again, as we mentioned earlier, doctors say the president's cholesterol has spiked since his last checkup.
And finally this, body art and all of its natural glory. Here's a look at Spencer Tunick's latest creation. He's a photographer known for taking nude group photos in public places. That's a wide shot of some 5,200 people stripped down and embraced each other on the steps of the landmark Opera House in Sydney, Australia. One 19-year-old said it feels tribal.
And I'll leave you with that.
BROWN: You don't even have to blur anything. I can't see anything. It's just like dots on the screen, Mike. Come on.
GALANOS: Naked ants down there. Naked ants.
BROWN: Mike Galanos, thank you, Mike.
BROWN: "LARRY KING LIVE" starting in just a few minutes. But coming up next, teachers suspected of seducing students and being allowed to walk away to teach elsewhere. This is really happening. That story when we come back.
BROWN: So talk about a parent's nightmare. Imagine your 17-year-old son getting a text message from his female teacher that says, direct quote here: "Hey baby, I just wanted to say hi before I go to bed. I'll meet you in our dreams. I miss you, baby."
Pretty shocking, right? Well, the Dallas high school teacher who really did send that message was incredibly allowed to quietly resign and she's now teaching at another Texas school. And the case is by no means an isolated incident. The Dallas Independent School District is being called out for routinely keeping quiet about teachers accused of sexual conduct with students. So what exactly is going on here?
Tawnell Hobbs broke this story for the "Dallas Morning News." We also have our own Lisa Bloom, CNN legal analyst, with me here as well to talk about this.
Tawnell, let me start with you. I mean, the story took you about a year to uncover. What has shocked you the most?
TAWNELL HOBBS, REPORTER, "DALLAS MORNING NEWS": Well, I think what shocked me the most were that the educators, they were allowed to resign and just leave so even on their records they don't have a termination. And also that in some of these cases, apparently, law enforcement did not get involved.
BROWN: How is that possible? I mean, why wouldn't the school prosecute? Why wouldn't there be charges filed? I mean, who was sort of sweeping this under the rug?
HOBBS: That's a great question. Unfortunately, the school district did not respond to our questions, and they didn't want to talk about -- let's talk about individual cases. They didn't even want to talk about the situation. I mean, we received the general statement via e- mail.
BROWN: Lisa, I mean, this is terrifying if you're a parent, I guess, when you see that this is happening. Teachers are engaging in this kind of behavior, and it's getting sort of swept under the rug here. I guess at what level does it rise to criminal --
LISA BLOOM, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Right.
BROWN: -- so that you could actually prosecute?
BLOOM: Well, the problem with the e-mail that you just read is that's not criminal. It's not a crime to tell someone even for an adult to say to a child that I think of you in my dreams. You know, criminal behavior will be sexual contact between an adult and a child or a threat, or a solicitation of sexual contact. So mere words are probably not going to be a crime. It would be sexual harassment under Title 9 of federal law and under most state laws. A lawsuit could be brought for that, but not criminal charges.
BROWN: So there are examples of what you just described, though. Here's one, another teacher who acted inappropriately.
This man was found to have, quote, "fondled and kissed a minor student in a school storage room." But after resigning on his own avoiding criminal prosecution, he now works at a recreation center. I think I have that right. Tawnell, tell us about this case.
HOBBS: That's correct. In that case, apparently, according to the school district and information that I obtained, he admitted to fondling this student and kissing her, and he was allowed to resign. He told me personally that he was never arrested, never faced criminal charges for this. He did receive was what they call a Class E citation. Apparently he was questioned about this by the Dallas Police Department and admitted to kissing the student, and they hit him up with a ticket, which is basically like a traffic ticket, a fine that you pay by mail.
BROWN: How many teachers total did you find in all your research? How many instances like this?
HOBBS: We looked at -- I mean, I looked at 20 cases. I mean, that's what I looked at. Obviously, there's more than 20 cases, but that's what I looked at. I looked at 20 cases, and in about half of those you had your -- what I call the fringe cases. The cases where there may not have been a rape or sexual assault, but there was obviously fondling, maybe a consensual sexual relationship.
BROWN: Given that you wrote this story, I mean, I'm guessing parents in Dallas are pretty outraged about it. What are they saying?
HOBBS: Well, a lot of them, they can't believe that these folks were able to just quietly leave without even reflecting the termination on the record. They're obviously very concerned about the situation, and you know, they're wondering now, you know, how do I go about trying to check into this? And actually, we've provided some information in the paper where parents can actually go on a Web site and do a little checking on their own.
BROWN: So, Lisa, what do you do as a parent? What do you do? I mean, what are your options?
BLOOM: Well, you can try to find publicly available information, but as Tawnell says it's difficult. And it shouldn't take an enterprising reporter a year to dig up information like this.
I mean, think about doctors. A lot of information is available about doctors on medical board Web sites. You can find out criminal charges, civil cases, board complaints. You should be able to find out the same kind of information about teachers, shouldn't you? If you're entrusting your child to somebody for an entire day or even for an hour a day, shouldn't this kind of information be publicly available? I think that's the next step, and that's the kind of thing this article could lead to.
BROWN: Well, Tawnell Hobbs, who did the reporting on this for the "Dallas Morning News," many thanks to you for being here.
HOBBS: You're welcome.
BROWN: And Lisa Bloom as well. Thanks, Lisa.
HOBBS: Thank you.
BROWN: That's it for us. "LARRY KING LIVE" starts right now.