Return to Transcripts main page
Detroit Shutting Down Schools; Multiple Injuries, Deaths in Texas Bus Crash; Bill Would Change Financial Regulation; Tiger Woods to Play in Masters Tournament
Aired March 16, 2010 - 13:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ALI VELSHI, CNN ANCHOR: Always a pleasure to see you, Tony. Thanks so much.
And as Tony said, I'm Ali Velshi. I'm here with you for the next two hours today and every weekday. I'm going to take every important topic that we cover, and I'm going to try to break it down for you. My goal is to help you make important decisions about your health care, your spending, your security, basically your world.
Let's get started. Here's what I've got on the rundown right now. Last week, it was Kansas City. This week, it's Detroit. Next week, who knows? Public schools are shutting down across the nation. Is it smart business or just short-term thinking to save short-term cash?
Speaking of cash, I'm not saying it's the reason. But, guess who's coming back to golf after a scandal that many said would ruin him forever? I think you can guess his name. I'll give you the details in a minute.
And speaking of scandal, there's a big one rocking the Catholic Church. It goes back decades, and it goes all of the way up to the pope. What did he know, when did he know it and why wasn't something done sooner to protect more children from abuse?
Let's start with the big story we've got in Detroit. Public schools are on the chopping block. Let me tell you a little bit about what we're dealing with here in Detroit.
There -- in the year 2000 there were 263 public schools in Detroit. Today there are 172 public schools in Detroit. And next year, there are likely to be about 127 public schools. That's half the number that there were about a year ago -- about ten years ago.
Now, Robert Bobb is the school's emergency financial manager. He was put in place by the state to deal with this budget shortfall and over-capacity issue that Detroit has. He says it is necessary to close these schools, to fight shrinking enrollment and poor performance by students there.
Let me show you another -- another picture. Let's talk about how many students there are in the school program. In 2000, in the year 2000 there were 162,000 students in the Detroit school program. Now there are 85,000 students. And by 2014, it is projected that there will be only 56,000 students.
Let's talk about graduation rates out of Detroit. The national graduation rate from high school is 89 percent. The graduation rate from Detroit high schools is only 58 percent. So I want to have this conversation, but before that I want you to hear Robert Bobb's words. This is the school's financial planning -- financial manager in Detroit. Here's what he had to say about why schools in Detroit need to be shut down. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERT BOBB, EMERGENCY FINANCIAL MANAGER, DETROIT PUBLIC SCHOOLS: Some people may think, as I stated earlier, that our plan is too ambitious, but the bottom line is that we have lagged behind for far too long.
We no longer have to send our children to second- or third-class schools.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELSHI: Let's find out a little more about what is going on, why this is happening. I'm joined from Detroit by the "Detroit Free Press" education writer, Chastity Pratt Dawsey.
Chastity, thank you for joining us. You know much more about this situation than we do. So give me a characterization of what's going on. Is this because there isn't enough money to keep these schools open? Is it because of performance? Is it because there's too many schools for too few students? What's the situation in Detroit?
CHASTITY PRATT DAWSEY, EDUCATION WRITER, "DETROIT FREE PRESS": Well, the situation is there are too many schools for too few students. Competition with charter schools, primarily competition with charter schools, has been the reason why the school district has lost so many students.
Just five years ago the school district had started closing schools. And 100 schools have been closed since 2005. And you add 45 to that, this is going to be the first major city to close more than half of its schools in just five years.
So charter-school competition is the major reason, and then there are some school districts in the suburbs that are starting to say, "Hey, we need students. We need money," so they're accepting students from Detroit, as well.
So this district is shrinking at an incredibly fast rate. Some call it a death spiral because one issue feeds the other. You lose students, you lose money. You lose money, you lose students.
VELSHI: Now, in about an hour you're going to be at a meeting where some decisions are going to be made. Tell us what the news is likely to be. DAWSEY: Well, tomorrow we're going to be able to tell parents exactly which schools are going to be closed and what the plan is going to be for the closures.
And it's going to be an emotional thing tomorrow. Parents, nobody wants to see their schools close. Nobody wants to see the vacant buildings like we've seen in the past five years, just hulking, empty, vacant buildings that are being ravaged by thieves. Those are affecting communities. Those are affecting tax values. Those are affecting property values. So it's going to be an emotional event, but we're going to be able to say, "This is the plan that Robert Bobb is laying out for school closures," and that will be released tomorrow.
VELSHI: Robert Bobb is a name we're going to hear a lot about for the next 24 hours; we've heard a lot about for the last couple of weeks. Robert Bobb was put into place by the governor, by the state, to deal with this problem in Detroit schools.
And I know -- and this is a situation that's mirrored around the country. The Detroit Federation of Teachers do not like what he's doing, and they've actually asked the governor to remove him from his job. Tell me a bit about the politics surrounding Robert Bobb, his appointment, and the job that he's got to do.
DAWSEY: Last year Robert Bobb was appointed by the governor to be the emergency financial manager, essentially to oversee the finances for the school district. And in doing so, he said, "Look, I have to making a academic decisions because academics and finances are tied together."
And that has caused a huge amount of controversy. The school district is suing say, "No, you can't making academic decisions." The Detroit Federation of Teachers, the union, has joined in that lawsuit or they have voted to join into that lawsuit to say, "No, you cannot make academic decisions."
So even as the school district is shrinking and there's all these issues with very, very bad test scores and graduation rates, there's this power struggle that's going on between Robert Bobb and the school district. And the union is now inserting its voice in the argument.
VELSHI: All right. I want to talk to you a little bit more about this. I want to find out what the implications are nationally. Chastity Pratt Dawsey is the "Detroit Free Press" education writer. Stay right there, Chastity. We'll be right back to continue this discussion. It's a discussion we're having. It's almost like we're moving across the country and having it in different cities every week. Schools getting shut down.
Stay with us. We'll be right back with more.
VELSHI: Let's take a look at the numbers on your screen right now. These are the number of schools, number of public schools in the Detroit Public School District in 2000, 263 schools. Now there are 172. And next school year there could be 127.
I'm joined by Chastity Pratt Dawsey. She's the "Detroit Free Press" education writer.
Chastity, we have been reporting, last week we reported on Kansas City, the Kansas City School District shutting down 29 of its 61 schools in that particular district. And there were many in that Kansas City area. Similar situation: too many schools, too few students, more students getting attracted to magnet schools and charter schools elsewhere?
DAWSEY: Definitely the same situation. It's not just Kansas City and Detroit. It's happening all over the nation. Washington, D.C., had the same problem, with competition causing the school districts, the primary public school district to lose students and lose funding. So everyone is feeling this kind of competition.
DAWSEY: And the financial pain that comes afterward in some instances.
But in Detroit, it's unmatched. It's actually since 2005, 100 schools have closed.
DAWSEY: So in five years' span, from 2005 to 2010, we will have seen more than half of the school district in this major city shuttered, closed down.
VELSHI: What do you do if you're a parent of those school -- those students that need to go to the public school system in Detroit and you're seeing this happen, your kid's school is being shut down? Obviously, you'll be accommodated at another public school. But you said something a few minutes ago when we talked, in that it's a cycle. It's the students mean money and money means -- you know, money gets the students.
DAWSEY: Right. When the school districts lose money they lose students. They have to close schools. Closing schools in a lot of times makes more students go away. So each -- each problem causes the other problem.
So a lot of times, what we're seeing is the charter schools are gaining more students from the school district. The school district is shrinking. And again, the suburbs are saying, "We'll take some of your students, as well," because they need money, they need students. So parents aren't getting more options.
And again, there's something else happening in Detroit. Just last week there was a leadership group that's calling itself -- it's the Excellent School Detroit.
VELSHI: Yes. DAWSEY: And they're saying we have $200 million, and we're going to help close down bad schools, open up good, well-performing schools, charter, public, or private. They're not being discriminatory in any way.
So in about ten years if this group and if this school district, educational plan, if these two plans braid together, we're going to see a totally different system of schools as Robert Bobb said. Not school system but system of schools.
VELSHI: Yes, yes.
DAWSEY: The ball game is going to change educationally here in Detroit, if these two plans merge and actually come to fruition.
VELSHI: And as you say, microcosm of what's happening in many places in the country. Chastity, great to talk to you. Thank you so much. We'll check in with you again.
Chastity Pratt Dawsey is the "Detroit Free Press" education writer, joining me from Detroit.
All right. Another major development. When I come back, Christine Romans is going to join me to explain what this massive financial regulation overhaul bill is that Senator Dodd introduced yesterday. It's on the table. Is it going to change anything? Would it have saved us from the financial crisis we're in, and will it save us from the next one? We'll find out when we come back.
VELSHI: I want to take you to a scene that we've been following for some time here at CNN. A bus has turned over in Campbellton, Texas, on the highway. I want to go straight to our reporter on the scene from our affiliate, KAST, in San Antonio. Stephanie Serna is there with that bus over her shoulder.
Stephanie, what is the situation and what are the developments?
STEPHANIE SERNA, KAST REPORTER: Well, it's still very much an active scene out here. As you can see behind me, crews are still in the process of transporting all the injured people to the hospital.
Now, two people were killed in this accident. Several people have been airlifted out. And about a dozen others were taken by EMS ground crews. Now DPS officials do not have an exact count on the injured at this time. But we are told most of them were transported to university and Bancy (ph) hospitals in San Antonio, all of them in critical condition.
Now DPS officials say the driver said she heard a popping sound, which she thought was the tire, when she lost control of the bus. And then it rolled over.
Now, we're told there were about 35 people on the bus, including the driver, and that they were on the way to McAllen and then to Matamoros in Mexico. Most of the passengers there were in their 20s and 30s.
We talked to one witness who pulled over to help the victims. She told us that there was a lot of people climbing out of the windows of the bus, just trying to get out, trying to get help.
And again, it's still very much an active scene out here. We are told by DPS officials that they are going to do a full-scale analysis of the accident, but at this time, they have heard that they do believe it is a tire that popped on the bus. That could be the cause of the accident. They will be out here for at least another two hours.
We are live in Atascosa County. Stephanie Serna, CNN news.
VELSHI: Stephanie, thanks very much for joining us. Stephanie is with our affiliate, KAST, out of San Antonio at the bus scene. The scene of that accident is about 40 miles south of San Antonio.
Let's go to Christine Romans now to discuss this -- this very big financial overhaul bill that was introduced yesterday. Almost hard to get your head around. And a year and a half out from when financial regulation was such a big deal, it's sort of hard to concentrate on this, anew. But tell us about this. Chris Dodd introduced a massive, massive bill that is somehow going to change the way our system is regulated.
CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Well, and critics will say a 1,300-page bill. Some Republican critics have been saying it's just so big; it's 1,300 pages. Well, look, this is reordering the regulation of the financial system. And as Chris Dodd said, this is the first big reform of the financial system, the biggest since the 1930s.
So this is what's in it, Ali. The Fed would oversee consumer protection. There would be an independent agency housed within the Reserve Bank to have your credit cards, your mortgage, the things that you touch and use. This group would have authority for making sure that you are being treated fairly and the rules are being followed.
There would be new rules for too big to fail. The big banks would have to pay into this -- to this $50 billion resolution fund so that the government could come in and start taking apart a company that was failing, a big financial company, before it took down the global economy.
An early warning system at the Treasury Department, a council of nine regulators who would be able to see and start to act when something was going wrong.
And also there's a provision in here where shareholders would get more of a say at executive compensation. But Ali, it's a nonbinding --
ROMANS: -- nonbinding say on pay. So some are just -- I will tell you that consumer advocates, they say this isn't as strong as they wanted overall. And then others say, "Look, why are we going so fast? Let's slow down." Eighteen months after the economy fell apart.
VELSHI: Well, let's ask -- it seems counterintuitive, Christine, that somebody would say, "Why are we going so fast," given everything that's happened. But there is an argument that people make to say that when we regulate, sometimes, or when we take out regulations, it has unintended consequences, and sometimes those consequences are 10 or 15 or 20 years down the road.
But when's the right time and what's the right speed with which to put some regulation in? Because as you and I have discussed, everything that happened in 2008 can happen again today. Virtually nothing has a rule that would prevent it from happening again.
ROMANS: Absolutely. The only reason why it wouldn't happen today is because the banks are so chastened and the big, you know, kind of financial engineers and some of the insurance companies are so chastened that they're not making the risky bets that they used to.
But when that memory fades, what is there in place right now, Ali -- you're right -- to make sure that this doesn't happen again?
One of the things, I think, that is so interesting about this, though, is that Chris Dodd was on that Senate committee, that banking committee, the most powerful committee about overseeing our economy, for 26 years.
ROMANS: He's only been running it for three years. But for 26 years. Many of the same people. Timothy Geithner, the treasury secretary, he has been in government for many, many years. Ben Bernanke. Alan Greenspan before him. Henry -- Henry Paulson. All of these people who are now involved in talking about how to make sure this doesn't happen again didn't see it coming. And, in fact, were all part of the system that pushed homeownership; weaker lending standards...
VELSHI: Right. Lower interest rates. Sure. Yes, yes.
ROMANS: -- ownership at all costs, I would say; low interest rates; weaker lending standards and actually, the deregulation of Wall Street. Remember, Congress decided to lower system barriers on Wall Street.
VELSHI: Right. The were rules in place ten years ago.
VELSHI: And they were taken away.
ROMANS: So are we going to get it right now? You're right...
VELSHI: Yes. ROMANS: ... that it's very important to get it right now. Andy Push (ph) at Bank of Montreal, he said something very interesting this week, Ali. He said that you've got Congress acting on health-care reform, 17 percent of our economy, and on a reordering of the financial regulation, necessary, but also would touch every single thing that you do.
ROMANS: Your job, your home, your credit card, your auto loan. But if you -- if you think government's broken and you're concerned about Washington, every single thing you touch is pretty much being -- being reformed...
VELSHI: Being tinkered with, yes.
ROMANS: ... or talked about right now, so it's incredibly important. Right.
VELSHI: Christine, we'll talk to you again in another hour.
Christine Romans is my co-host on "YOUR $$$$$." You can watch us on Sunday -- Saturdays at 1 p.m. Eastern, Sundays 3 p.m. Eastern. Also, in one hour we're going to hear from the Federal Reserve about whether or not they're doing anything with interest rates.
OK. Here's a story you -- you may have heard about. Here's the words he used: "I feel like I'm ready to start my season at Augusta." With those 11 words, Tiger Woods ends all the speculation and ends his self-imposed, sex-scandal-driven exile from pro golf.
Three weeks or so until his masters comeback. But the reaction from major players has been immediate.
This statement from Billy Payne, the chairman of Augusta National Golf Club. Quote, "We support Tiger's decision to return to competitive golf beginning at this year's Masters Tournament. Additionally, we support and encourage his stated commitment to continue the significant work required to rebuild his personal and professional life."
CNN's Susan Candiotti is following this story from New York. She's been on it right from the beginning. She joins us now by phone.
Susan, your initial reactions that you've been getting to this announcement that Tiger Woods is coming back to golf, very, very quickly.
SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN CORRESPONDENT (via phone): Well, this is exactly what all the experts have been predicting, that if he was going to come back soon -- and that's what everyone was saying; that's the drum beat we've been hearing -- it would be at the masters.
Why the masters? Well, because it is a tightly-controlled tournament. Yes, he loves playing there. Yes, he's won it in the fast. This is -- the fans who go there are considered to be the creme de la creme. The press who attend, it's by invitation only. And Ali, if you are caught with a phone or a BlackBerry or anything on the course, it could be turned off. You are escorted out the door and, as history has shown, you get your press credential yanked, and you never get invited back again.
VELSHI: Susan, you remember from the beginning of this when you were covering it, there were some people who said, "Oh, my goodness. After all of these women and all of these allegations, it will be a very, very long time before Tiger Woods is able to return to golf." And then we had that very unusual press conference or statement that he made recently.
The issue is there is a lot of money riding on Tiger Woods -- Tiger Woods getting back into golf.
CANDIOTTI: That's for sure. And he certainly has lost a lot of his sponsors. The only ones who have stuck by him, Nike and Gillette. Others dropped off, including Gatorade, including Accenture. So it's time for him to come back on the tour.
And certainly, the PGA commissioner himself put out a statement just moments ago that I got hold of. And obviously, the PGA tour is happy to have him come back...
CANDIOTTI: ... because the ratings have been sinking. And when Tiger plays, they make more money.
What's interesting, I think, Ali, is the -- what kind of reaction is he going to get from fellow players on the course? Because, as you recall, he certainly has had support from the likes of Arnold Palmer himself. But some of his follow players have indeed taken shots at him, and some of them have been known to say, "We're tired of hearing about all this. Let's get on with it."
But the fact of the matter is, they're going to be happy to see him back because when he plays, the purse go up, too.
VELSHI: Right, and people watch and all sorts of things happen. All right. Susan, thanks so much for your great coverage -- coverage of this story right from the beginning.
Susan Candiotti joining me on Tiger Woods' return to golf.
All right. We're going to take a break. When we come back, Elizabeth Cohen is going to join me with something very, very interesting. She's going to take a close look at what you -- you probably know as the Medicare doughnut hole coverage gap. Well, if you don't know what it is, she's going to tell you what it is. And she's going to tell you about some reforms and some overhauls that might actually have an affect on how much you pay for your medical care.
Stay with us.
VELSHI: Any of you who know about Medicare, who use it or are planning on using it, know about something called the doughnut hole. It's a coverage gap in -- in Medicare. Our senior medical correspondent, Elizabeth Cohen, joins us now to tell us a bit about this and some potential changes.
ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Right. The doughnut hole is not a good place to be.
COHEN: OK. It is not sweet, but it is sticky. You don't want to be there. So let's talk about...
COHEN: ... what this doughnut hole is because it's gets very confusing. We're trying to be simple here.
If you're a senior citizen, Medicare will help you pay for your prescription drugs. That's a great benefit. It's very generous. When you spend between one penny and $2,830, you're in good shape.
COHEN: They're going to help you.
But when you spend $2,831 and one penny, that section starts being on you're own. You're going it alone.
COHEN: Then for that amount of money after that, that dollar figure. Then, when you hit $4,550, they start helping you again.
VELSHI: So that's the doughnut hole. If you spend between $2,831 and $4,550, that part you're paying for yourself.
COHEN: Right, and that's $1,720. And that's a lot.
VELSHI: That's the hole.
COHEN: And groups (ph) of seniors get in this hole.
COHEN: So it's not an uncommon thing.
VELSHI: OK. Now, what's changing? What's happening?
COHEN: Well, for health-care reform what they hope to do --
COHEN: -- what the current bill says it's going to do is it's going to close that gap.
COHEN: So that gradually over a period of ten years that gap won't exist and Medicare will help you all of the way through. But this has been -- this is not the first attempt to try to do that.
COHEN: So it will be interesting to see if this actually works.
VELSHI: And at the moment people have to buy separate coverage if they want to cover that.
COHEN: You can do that. But that can get very expensive.
VELSHI: It's very, very expensive.
All right. Elizabeth, thanks so much for that. Elizabeth Cohen, our senior medical correspondent.
All right. When we come back, well, you know, let's do it right now. Let's over to Chad Myers. He's covering some weather situations for us across the country.
Chad, what have you got?
CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Well, you know what I have, a couple of things they want to talk about. Couple of things about the northeast. This was an ugly weekend, obviously. Now the storm finally over. But some brand-new video in. So let's go to a couple of pieces that we have, a couple out of Massachusetts, a couple out of New Jersey. And then we'll take you to some video out of the Midwest, because they are preparing for a flood that is actually going to be taking place, really, this weekend, even though the water is coming up now. The water is still rising. And it won't even stop rise for quite some time.
One more thing I want to tell you about, too, if we don't have that video. We will go to ahead to another -- a new flood warning just issued for Iowa. This is because of this. I haven't seen this yet this year, Ali. An ice jam near Estherville in Iowa. So the water in the Des Moines River trying to flow downhill, trying to get through Des Moines and then out into the Missouri. And there's an ice jam near the Highway 4 bridge one mile south of Estherville.
So now more things to worry about when that -- when that -- that ice, the big chunks, can't get under the bridge.
MYERS: It starts to -- it starts to pile up and pile up and pile up. All of a sudden, you've made a dam. And that dam is now pushing that water all of the way back out toward Estherville.
And it's not the only area. We have flood warnings almost all the way from Chicago all the way up to Grand Forks. And it's the Red River we've been most focusing on.
MYERS: Because that's where the water has been going up so quickly. But there are flood, really, threats all the way from Pennsylvania and New York down across the southeast because of the El Nino rain that we've seen all winter long.
And than the high areas up here, obviously, because that water here has to go north. And eventually, in one little fell swoop, the water out of the Missouri goes to the south. So it's all kind of -- almost like a continental divide up there across pats of where the red refer goes one way and Missouri goes the other way. And that's all very wet and there's up to -- up to -- eight feet of snow has fallen in some of those areas. Now that all has to melt.
VELSHI: All right. And they're preparing for a flood. There's some sandbagging going on, I understand, along the Red River. We'll keep checking in with you on that, Chad. Thanks very much. Chad Myers in our severe weather center.
All right. When we come back, this is another story we've been following closely. You probably read or heard about it, the church sex scandal. A German Catholic priest has been suspended, and people want to know if this is tied to the Pope. Stay with us. We'll find out more about it when we come back.
VELSHI: This is a developing story in the Catholic Church in Europe. The Church is increasingly on the defensive as a child sex scandal grows in Germany. This is in addition to another scandal that was being followed in Ireland. And this one may have ties to the Vatican. So, in fact, to the Pope himself.
We want to discuss this a little bit more in detail with our reporters who have been following this story. I want to introduce you to Fred Pleitgen. He's in Berlin. Diana Magnay is in Rome. And John Allen is CNN's senior Vatican analyst in Denver.
Fred, let's start this conversation with you. Let's start with this issue of the German priest. Who is he, what is he accused of doing, and what is his tie to the Pope?
FREDERICK PLEITGEN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Very close ties to the Pope himself. This is a priest by the name of Peter Hullermann, who was suspended from duty yesterday. He's down in Bavaria down south.
And his ties to the Pope are the following. Apparently in 1980, when the Pope was the archbishop of Munich, he allowed this man to come into the archdiocese of Munich at the time. Apparently, church records now indicate that at the time, people involved in that move had to have known that he was already in therapy for molesting children. Now, what happened later in 1985 and 1986 is that he kept on molesting children there. Then he was convicted of sexual abuse, did time on probation. And also had to pay a fine. He was then subsequently moved from one position to the next, but he did have one thing, one rule that was out there, was that he was not allowed to deal with children anymore.
Now, the church has found he disobeyed that order, he did deal with children, he did have church services involving children. So now, he has been suspended. This is certainly someone who was working in the diocese when the pope, when Benedict himself was the archbishop of Munich back in 1980. Ali?
VELSHI: Now, there are a lot of responses. I want to know what the Vatican has said. But one of the things I heard is that they said what the Pope, the current Pope knew was that he was back in the diocese. He was not aware that he was being allowed to work with children.
PLEITGEN: That's exactly the case. That's exactly what the Vatican is saying. That's exactly what the church here in Munich itself is saying, as well. It is saying, however, back then when the pope was the archbishop here in Munich, he must have probably known this man was undergoing therapy in Munich for molesting children. However, hat he didn't know - that's exactly right, apparently -- is that lower down people in the church were allowing this man to work as a pastor there in the Bavarian area and allowing him to work with children as well.
So, one thing the Vatican has said is that the pope himself cannot be blamed for the lapses that happened, for while he did allow this man to come and did know that he was undergoing therapy, he was certainly not aware of the fact that this man was, in fact, allowed to work during his time there in Munich. Ali?
VELSHI: All right. Frederick Pleitgen, thanks so much.
Let's go to Diana Magnay, who is in Rome now who has been speaking to people and finding -- getting the Vatican response to this. But not just to this, Diana. There's been a discussion about how the Vatican has generally responded to these allegations of sexual abuse.
DIANA MAGNAY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Ali. There was a very frank interview given by the man who's actually responsible for investigating the crimes that the Vatican considers the most serious. He's a man called Monsignor Charles Schicluna (ph).
And what he said was that in the nine years that he's been looking at these kind of cases, 3,000 cases have come across his desk. Interestingly, the vast majority of those, he said, were from the United States, from 2003, 2004 when do you remember those sex abuse allegations rocked the Catholic Church back in the United States. Of those 3,000 cases, Monsignor said that only 10 percent, i.e., 300 of them, involved actual pedophila in its true sense, he said. I.e. the moslestation of prepubescents. The rest were homosexual liaisons with adolescents, that kind of thing. And of those, really quite a startling statistic here, 60 percent were never actually brought to trial because of the advanced age of the accused.
And Ali, it's quite interesting because we've been speaking to so many victims across Europe as this scandal unfolded. Many of them realize that really by speaking at this they have no hope of legal recourse anymore precisely because many of these cases date back to the 1950s and the statute of limitations on bringing them to trial has expired.
But they say they want to talk about them, they want to bring them into the public sphere to make sure this kind of thing never happens to children today. Ali?
VELSHI: Diana, I want to ask you, what has the response been to the media? There's been a lot of people trying to connect this line between the pope and his former diocese in Germany. The Vatican hasn't liked the fact that the media is trying to make that connection personally to the pope.
MAGNAY: The Vatican spokesman, as you say on Saturday, very angrily, really, responded to what he sees as unsuccessful and flagrant attempts by the media to try and implicate the pope in a personal fashion with this situation that Fred was talking about in the archdiocese of Munich. So, fairly frank and angry statement from the Vatican in response to that.
But this is an unfolding sex scandal which involves the pope in a personal sense because this is his home country. Much more so than the cases in Ireland or certainly in the United States.
VELSHI: Right. Okay, Diana. Thanks very much for that. Diana Magnay in Rome. Fred Pleitgen in Berlin.
In a moment, we're going to go to our senior Vatican analyst, John Allen, who is standing by in Denver. As Diana said, we've seen so many cases in the United States, it's surprising that this is new in Europe.
Is it really new? Goes back decades. Does it really stretch to the pope? We'll find out from John Allen when we come back. Stay with us.
VELSHI: I want to continue this discussion about the sex abuse scandal unfolding in Europe with the Catholic Church. I want to bring in John Allen, he's our CNN senior Vatican analyst. He's a Vatican correspondent for The Catholic Reporter - "The National Catholic Reporter." He wrote a book about the current pope. "The Rise of Benedict XVI." He's got an upcoming book called "The Future Church."
John, good to see you again. Thank you for joining us. I'm going to just pretend that we haven't had these discussions in the past. And wonder, given all the discussions and all of the heart- wrenching things that were unfolded in the United States, why is there a new uncovering of things in Europe now? Would this not have led the Catholic Church to have dug some of this stuff up a decade ago?
JOHN ALLEN, CNN SENIOR ANALYST: Ali, that's a very good question. I think what typically happens in these cases is that everyone sort of knows that there is a potential crisis waiting to happen. And then there's some kind of triggering incident.
In the case of Germany, it was the -- actually the principal of an academy in Berlin run by the Jesuits -- that's a religious order in the church -- who decided to go public with the fact that a few former students had come forward to allege abuse. He wanted to handle it in a transparent way.
That revelation then sort of set fire to the situation. And now what we have is a national scandal engulfing Germany that is in many ways very familiar with the pattern of earlier scandals in other places such as United States. Obviously, the new element in the German story line, Ali, is, of course, this question of the pope's own rule as a diocesean bishop in the late '70s and early '80.
VELSHI: Well, here -- this is where the question comes in. Because I -- maybe I didn't follow this up and understand whether something wasn't made very clear, certainly in -- after we went through this in the United States. And that is, the similarities are that someone was found to have done something inappropriate and was shuffled about or somehow protected, moved to another place, may have then gone back into getting involved in inappropriate activities.
Is there something clearer? Has the Catholic Church made it clear as to what you're supposed to do if you're in charge of a diocese or a church and you find out there's a priest who has been involved in pedophilia or involved in sexual activity?
ALLEN: Yes, absolutely. I mean, today, zero tolerance is the official policy of the Catholic Church and it is one that has been completely embraced by Pope Benedict XVI. I think today, it is abundantly clear if he abuses someone sexually, he's going to be immediately disciplined inside the church. That is, he will be yanked out of ministry and potentially kicked out of the priesthood. He will also immediately reported by the church itself or by the victims, if it's their choice, to the police and he will have to suffer the criminal consequences of his actions. I think that actually has been clear for some time.
I think the problem here is that when we talk about the sex abuse crisis, Ali, there are really two interconnected problems. There's problem of priests who abuse, and there's the problem of bishops who fail to clean it up, who should have known better and who failed to act. I think most people would give the church and the pope himself high marks on that first problem. I think it's the second problem where people still have questions about the church's response.
VELSHI: Ultimately, and again, you did point out this is something the current pope may have been involved in in the '70s and '80s. Does the Vatican successfully deflect this or solve it, or does this scandal really reach into the Vatican and into the pope's chambers and really start to affect how people see him?
ALLEN: Well, I think, Ali, the answer to that will depend upon where this story goes in the next few days and in the weeks to come. I mean, if this is an isolated case, one guy who was apparently reassigned by someone lower down the food chain than the then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Benedict XVI, that's one thing.
But if we learned anything from the trajectory of this crisis and other parts of the world, usually one report, one allegation, one case leads to others. If what happens, if what emerges, is that there was a pattern in Munich while Cardinal Ratzinger was there of these guys being shuffled around, then it becomes a problem in this sense. The question that fair-minded people would ask is, can the pope credibly ride herd on bishops who fail to respond to this crisis if it turns out he had the same problem himself when he was in a diocese and bishop 30 years ago?
And whether that's the turn this story takes is going to depend upon what we learn in the days to come about what the record in Munich during those five years actually was.
VELSHI: We'll stay on this story. John, thank you. John Allen is our senior Vatican analyst joining us from Denver.
All right. When we come back, boy, what a scene on Capitol Hill today. We heard a few weeks ago that the TEA Party was taking their battle against health care reform on Capitol Hill. Guess what, they did. Brianna Keilar has been following it. She's going to tell us where things stand with health care reform right now on Capitol Hill, when we come back.
VELSHI: If you are a House Democrat who's wavering on health care, the political universe revolves around you right now, at least for a few more days. President Obama, Speaker Pelosi, all of their aides and allies are imploring you to vote yes.
But to vote yet -- yes on what is not entirely clear just yet. More on that in a minute.
But you're also being lobbied or maybe targeted by the anti- health care reform crowd represented here by the TEA Party and associated groups rallied this morning on Capitol Hill. Now, to illustrate the theme of their kill the bill, some of them, look at these signs. Look at these signs carefully some of them are carrying, depicted the president in a casket, a picture of the president in a casket. One protester said the real problem actually isn't the pictures, it's verbal. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KATHRYN SERKES, DOCTOR-PATIENT MEDICAL ASSOCIATION: You know, it's a funny thing. They keep throwing some of these words out at us high felutin words out at us like reconciliation, and they hope that we won't understand what that means. Those $10 words. You know what's so funny is that these presidents seem to have trouble with the little two-letter words.
SERKES: That's right. What part of no doesn't President Obama understand?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELSHI: Okay. It's true that this debate has taught all of us a legislative lexicon that most of us never wanted to learn. Reconciliation is a prime example, but not the latest one or the most controversial. That gets me back to what exactly House members will be voting on this week.
CNN's Brianna Keilar joins me now to break it all down. I don't know even where to start. You are introducing us to new terminology that most of us never thought we'd never need to learn, Brianna.
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Add this to your lexicon. it's called deem and pass, and this right now is the prevailing strategy for Democrats in the House while they try to pass their health care reform package.
Here's what they're facing, and I've broken this down, honestly, so I don't confuse myself and certainly not you. House Democrats need to pass the Senate bill, but they want to pass changes to the Senate bill, so they would pass it separately in the changes bill.
But the problem is for Democrats there's a lot of vulnerable Democrats who say, "I really do not want to vote on this Senate bill because it's got a whole lot of stuff in it that I don't like." For instance, the so-called Cornhusker kickback, that sweetheart deal worked out in the Senate with the state of Nebraska, or a tax on Cadillac, the so-called Cadillac, high-end health care plans. They want to pare it down with the changes bill.
So, what they are doing, Ali, is taking something called a rule. This is, sort of a procedural vote. Normally, it doesn't do a whole lot. Members of Congress vote on it and they say, hey, we're going to debate for this long. But what they're doing is they're rolling the Senate bill into the rule, and here I'm going to -- I'll staple it together, right? So that we can make it official. It's stuck in there.
And then they would vote on the rule, which would deem that the Senate bill is passed, and then they could emphasize this changes bill. Republicans are screaming about this, Ali, and they say that they're going to force a vote this week about whether or not this tactic should even go forward, Ali.
VELSHI: All right. So, let's keep it in mind. The rule thing. Until now, we thought rule was a four-letter word. But it's actually a methodology, something that they can use to get the bill through. Republican representative Virginia Foxx had something to say about this. She's from North Carolina, let's listen to this together.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. VIRGINIA FOXX (R), NORTH CAROLINA: I serve on the Rules committee. They are planning to bring a rule that say if you vote for the rule, you've voted for the bill. That's never happened in the history of this country, and, again, it undermines the rule of law, and the American people will not stand for it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELSHI: Now, it's not entirely true. In fact, it's not true at all that it hasn't happened in the history of the country. We've found a few examples of where it's happened in 1993, in 1999. But clearly, the Republicans are not interested in this.
KEILAR: Yes, this has happened many times, if you're talking about the folding in, we call it a self-executing rule. You pass the rule, and whatever's embedded in it will then pass. This has happened, I believe, dozens of times in the last decade. Actually, most recently in February.
And members of Congress, Republicans and Democrats, have done it to give themselves political cover for votes, which is the whole point of this, right? I mean, in February, they did it with the debt ceiling, which was obviously something the Democrats need to pass to increase the debt ceiling. But it's not popular, and so they put it in the rule and it gives them a little cover.
But what you have, Ali, is Republicans going, don't trick us, don't try to fool us. In the rule, we know it's the Senate bill, and we're going to hit Democrats for passing the Senate bill with a lot of unpopular stuff in it. But Democrats standing by it, saying look at the overall package we are passing, not the Senate bill. We're changing this bill.
VELSHI: Just remember years ago talking to you about the news business, and I wondered if we ever thought we'd be sitting here discussing the arcane, procedural matters. But that's the news, and that's why we cover it. But nice job with the signs. It's fairly simple and straightforward.
Brianna Keilar on Capitol Hill. You'll be seeing a lot more of her and her pages to describe exactly what's going on.
When we come back, we'll continue our coverage here on CNN. Stay with us.
VELSHI: All right. Talking to Brianna about all that procedural stuff brought out the inner geek in me, so now I'm going into overload.
The Internet hits every single aspect of our life, from business to homes to schools to finances. Some of you might even be watching me online right now. But there are huge problems with cost, speed, and access to the Internet that you may not know about. Frankly, we're in need of a big boost to the Internet.
So today, the FCC, the Federal Communications Commission, released its plan to high-speed access to all Americans. This is a quote directly from the plan. Quote, "Like electricity a century ago, broadband is a foundation for economic growth, job creation, global competitiveness and a better way of life. It is enabling entire new industries and unlocking vast new possibilities for existing ones."
So, I want to talk to you about broadband for a minute. Right now, on average, Americans get about four megabits per second, 4 MBs on their home computers. This pipe here represents those 4 MBs. This has been fantastic for downloading a photo here and there, downloading a song to your iPod, things like that.
But this is sort of the initial stages in the Internet. The FCC wants to bring 100 megabits per second into homes by 2020, in 10 years. Look at this. This represents 100 megabits per second. The little pipe was four, which is what we have now. Some people have 6 -- I have 6 -- some people have 10. But they want 100 going into the house by 2020.
Image how much more information will travel through the larger pipe. Back when we had this, we weren't doing as much with the Internet. With this, we're uploading video and we're having teleconferences.
Now, take this to a global level for a minute. Not the household level, the global level. You probably think that we are a world leader for Internet access. Get this -- we are not even close in the United States. We're barely -- we're certainly not in the top ten. We're barely in the top 20.
Let's take a look. Various studies ranked countries differently. But take a look at the top ten countries according to an Internet tracking firm called Achamine (ph). Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, Czech Republic, Romania, Switzerland, Netherlands, Lativia -- who knew! -- Denmark, Sweden, Romania is on top ten list. America, depending on which study you look at, may not be in the top, 15, it may not be top 16 or 17.
South Korea, by the way, takes the top spot. Japan, Hong Kong, you'd expect those places to up near the top, but the next ones, as you can see over there are -- are leaders. They all do better than the United States does.
All right, so that's the story of broadband. That's the story of why we're talking about this. As we do here every day on my show, I want to break down this FCC plan for you, and I've got somebody who can help us do that. Former FCC chairman, Michael Powell, will join us live in just a momento tell us how this plan can change the way -- not just the way you surf, but the way you live. Stay with us.