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Mother Nature's Winning; Bullied to Death; Inside the Militia; Stripper Fallout; "We're in Trouble"; "Free Credit Report" Crackdown; Where are the Pythons?; Bullies and Their Victims

Aired April 1, 2010 - 06:00   ET


JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR: The 15-year-old who prosecutors say was bullied to death by fellow students at a Massachusetts high school. Our Alino Cho tracks down the principal and asks the top questions even if she is being thrown off school property. Her live report just ahead.

KIRAN CHETRY, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm sure you've seen these commercials offering free credit reports. The trouble is they're usually not free unless you buy something else. Well, things are about to change. We're going to tell you why. It's about to get a whole lot easier to figure out those confusing ads.

And of course, the amfix blog, it's up and running. We'd love for you to join the wide conversation going on right now. Maybe the bullying story, any concerns about the weather. It's supposed to be nicer today, but things are still dicey in parts of the northeast. What do you think? Go to We'll be reading some of your comments throughout the morning.

ROBERTS: Let's get right to it. We'll begin in the northeast this morning with flooding that can only be described with one word and that is catastrophic. Hundreds of people have been evacuated from their homes because it seems like this. These areas coming into us from Warwick, Rhode Island. Homes, streets, cars, the entire neighborhood is completely underwater today. A part of interstate 95 closed in both directions.

CHETRY: And from one of our I-reporters. An old mystic Connecticut roads resembling a ranging river rapid almost knocking people over. The water approaching the front doors to homes and across the region, tens of thousands are still without power this morning.

ROBERTS: Another iReporter cut. These pictures people stumbling through murky, knee-deep water to help a man who was stranded in his car.

CHETRY: The flooding is so bad that Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano will be touring the devastation. She is going there tomorrow for Rhode Island. Right now, though authorities are closely monitoring this bridge, it's in Coventry, Rhode Island and it could fall into the (INAUDIBLE) River and damage several dams downstream. If that happens, that would mean several more feed of water flowing into a river that's already ten feet above normal. For more, let's head to our Reynolds Wolf. He is nearby in Warwick, Rhode Island, and just how (INAUDIBLE) is it that this bridge could actually collapse?

REYNOLDS WOLF, AMS METEOROLOGIST: It could be a game-changer. Right now, many of the major thorough fairs in the area are either under water or partially submerged. But, I mean, just getting from one point to another on the map is it's an exercise in futility.

So if that bridge gives way, it's going to be a world of trouble for a lot of people. Right now, we've got good news to report. The good news is, waters have begun to recede a little bit. The problem is, in places like Warwick, as you see behind me, it's a tremendous mess even though the water has dropped a bit.

Behind me, you see cars all in place. A few trucks. We even have a hot tub that's been picked up from someone's backyard and pushed here through the parking lot. Just a horrible scene that we have here of devastation. I'll tell you, this scene has been playing out across the region. Including Cranston, Rhode Island. Just a few miles from here as the bird flies. And yesterday, we witness one man's battle against the rising waters.


WOLF (voice-over): Rhode Islander Eddie Flynn has called this place home for the past 10 years, but he's never seen anything like this. Early Tuesday morning, the flooding Paxtuxet River paid him a visit.

EDDIE FLYNN, CRANSTON, RHODE ISLAND EVACUEE: About 7:00 yesterday morning is when I spotted it, and I've seen all the water. And I said we're in trouble.

WOLF: Twenty four hours later, his basement was submerged. With waters rising higher, the rescue boats at the Cranston Fire Department came calling. With only minutes to spare, Ed grabbed what mattered most, his girlfriend and two puppies and was towed to dry land. His loss -- overwhelming.

FLYNN: That's when I lost everything. After they shut the pumps off, my furnace is under water. Everything.

WOLF: Flynn is not alone in his grief. There are thousands of similar stories all across the region. Some of the rescuers say the scope of the damage is mind-boggling. Have you ever seen anything like this before?

LT. GARY MEINERTZ, CRANSTON, RHODE ISLAND FIRE DEPT.: No, nothing like in my time on the job now. This is historical.

WOLF: But the floodwaters will recede. And when they do, the cleanup will begin. For Flynn who has no flood insurance, bigger battles lie ahead. But still, he says he's going nowhere.

FLYNN: I'm not leaving. I'm the captain. That's my ship. And I'm not leaving it. So that's my story and I'm sticking by it.

(END VIDEO CLIP) WOLF: Certainly tough times for Ed Flynn and his family. He's very fortunate in the fact that his daughter lives close by. So he'll be able to stay there as he slowly begins to recover. That's what the next step is going to be as the waters you see, people are going to be recovering across the area. One thing that works in the favor also is a pretty nice forecast in the eastern seaboard. We'll have that coming up very soon. Let's get back to you in New York.

CHETRY: It is heartbreaking to hear those stories. Whether or not there will be help available remains to be seen. Reynolds, thanks for bringing us that. We will be talking about that in a few minutes with the mayor of Warwick, Rhode Island, about what kind of help this town needs and where you even start, in less than ten minutes from now on the Most News in the Morning.

ROBERTS: A high school principal under fire finally speaking out defending his school's actions after a 15-year-old student there was allegedly bullied to death. Nine students from South Hadley High School in Massachusetts are facing criminal charges accused of driving Phoebe Prince to commit suicide back in January.

For the first time since those students were indicted, we are hearing from the man at the center of the firestorm. Alina Cho tracked him down, and she joins us live in South Hadley, Massachusetts. Did you find anything out from him, Alina?

ALINA CHO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, a little bit, John. Good morning, listen, ever since we started working the story on the ground her in South Hadley, Massachusetts, we've been calling the principal, we've been calling the superintendent, and no one has been calling us back. But for a few statements on paper, there has been no comment. So yesterday, I decided to walk across the street, ring the buzzer, and frankly, I was shocked when the principal himself answered the door. Here's what he said.


CHO (voice-over): This is the press release that some are calling a slap in the face. In the wake of the 15-year-old Phoebe Prince's suicide, and immediately following the indictment of nine classmates who allegedly bullied her, South Hadley Public Schools have announced, we've taken disciplinary action with an additional group of students and they have been removed from the high school. It looks like a proactive move on the school's part.

But guess what, the students they're talking about are not the nine students who have been charged in Prince's death. That's because the school hasn't taken any disciplinary action against them. So is the school now trying to look like it's on top of the problem that some say it completely missed? Keeping them honest, we went to the school looking for answers.

(on camera): Hi there, sir, my name is Alina Cho, I'm with CNN.

DANIEL SMITH, PRINCIPAL, SOUTH HADLEY HIGH SCHOOL: We're not allowing any media on the property at this point. CHO (on camera): You're the principal, right?

SMITH: I am the principal.

CHO (voice-over): The same principal who many say has been avoiding questions about what happened inside his school. Why multiple faculty members allegedly witnessed Prince being bullied and did nothing to stop it. This is his first television interview since the indictment against the nine teens were handed down. We asked him about the anti-bullying task force created following Prince's death.

SMITH: We are working through and revising our procedures and policies and so forth, yes.

CHO (on camera): And are you encouraged by the results so far? Do parents seem to be encouraged by the results?

SMITH: So far, I think we are. I mean, we're working on that.

CHO (voice-over): Even though the district attorney called the inaction by school administrators troublesome. Failure to act in the Prince case did not amount to criminal behavior. Susan Smith whose son, Nick was a close friend of Phoebe Pince says parents have been complaining for years about bullying by students and that the district didn't listen. Now, it needs a fresh start.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have been seeing from early on that the administration needs to resign. It's despicable.

CHO: The school district says it is conducting its own investigation. Plans to meet with the district attorney, and will take disciplinary action based on any new evidence. Back at South Hadley High School --

CHO (on camera): But what do you say to all of the parents who are outraged and who are calling for your resignation?

SMITH: At this point, I'm not going to talk any further.

CHO: Will you resign when your contract is up?

SMITH: I have no comments at this point.

CHO: And your contract is up in May, sir?

SMITH: I have no comment.

CHO: I hope you understand, we just --

SMITH: If I need to, I'll call the police, there's media on the property.


CHO: The superintendent who's also been under fire spoke to "The Boston Globe." He defended the school's action by saying the administrator only learned about the bullying against Phoebe Prince in the week before she killed herself.

Meanwhile, also interesting to note that the district attorney says that three of the nine students charged in this case are actually officially still enrolled at South Hadley High School. It's entirely possible, John, that all of them left voluntarily. Ironically, some say, they, too, were scared they would be harassed.

ROBERTS: Alina Cho for us this morning outside of South Hadley High School. Alina, thanks for that report.

What we're seeing in many billion cases is girls hurting girls. At 6:30 Eastern we're going to dig deeper with Erica Holiday and Joan Rosenberg. They're the co-authors of the book, "Mean Girls, Meaner Women."

CHETRY: Also new this morning, taking down a militia from the inside out. Prosecutors say it was and undercover agent who infiltrated the right wing before nine members were arrested and that this agent actually helps them build explosives. The militia is accused of planning to kill a police officer and spark a war with the U.S. government by launching an attack at that police officer's funeral.

ROBERTS: A conservative leader is telling donors to stop giving to the RNC. Tony Parkins, the President of the Family Research Council made the plea after we found that the party after we found out that the party picked up a $2,000 tab at a Hollywood strip club. We will talk to him at 8:10 Eastern about who he could back now.

CHETRY: LL Cool J versus Sarah Palin. Fox has pulled a segment featuring the rapper that was supposed to air on Palin's new show after he went off on Twitter. He says Fox used two-year-old footage of an interview to promote the piece. Fox said LL Cool J knew that the interview was going to be used at a later date. He just didn't know that Palin would be hosting the show.

ROBERTS: Partnership in the sky. American Airlines and Jet Blue say they are joining forces to offer passengers more connecting flights in and out of New York and Boston. The deal would give American more stops within the country and stretch Jet Blue overseas.

CHETRY: Well, fire and ice. Stunning video coming from Iceland. A volcano erupting for the first time in nearly 200 years. Blasting steam and ash a mile high. The force was so powerful that lava burst through the earth forming new craters. Scientists say, despite all the show, it shouldn't actually be a threat to any people.

ROBERTS: Well, a strange beginning to the Yankee's Twin Spring training game in Florida. Lead-off man Denard Span, the first batter of the game, slices a foul ball in the stands and immediately starts running towards the seat, something you don't see very often. Turns out the foul ball struck his mother. Hit her in the shoulder. Paramedics checked her out. She was OK. Both stayed in the game yesterday.

CHETRY: Can you imagine, of all of the people, you hit your mom. ROBERTS: Wow.

CHETRY: She's okay, but he knew. He went running.

ROBERTS: Twenty thousand people in the stands and you hit your dear old mom.

CHETRY: Well, coming up in about 10 minutes, those TV commercials are advertising free credit reports, they're pretty hard to miss. It's could be hard to figure out how could something be free after you get a bill after signing up and understand what free really means and how is the crackdown underway.

ROBERTS: At 6:25 Eastern, Florida's python problem. It has state officials declaring open season on the unwelcome invaders. Snake hunters, descending on the everglades in search of the predators, but it seems the giant snakes have suddenly vanished.

CHETRY: At 6:40 Eastern, Joe Biden's F-bomb. The gift that keeps on giving. Your health care is a "BFD" T-shirt? Yes, they're actually going to try to sell this thing. It's 12 minutes past the hour.


ROBERTS: Well, the rain has finally stopped falling across most of the northeast this morning, but it could be days before all of the water finally recedes. In Rhode Island, the flooding is the worst in two centuries.

CHETRY: It really is, and an official with the Department of Homeland Security now saying that Secretary Janet Napolitano will actually be heading there to survey the damage. It's so widespread, and a lot of people this morning are saying where do you even start?

For more, we're joined by the mayor of Warwick, Rhode Island, Scott Avedisian.

Mr. Mayor, thanks for being with us this morning.


CHETRY: What we're hearing and seeing first hand, some of these heartbreaking tales of people like Eddie Flynn (ph), whose, you know, home was basically destroyed in all of this. I know it's been tough for so many people.

What is the latest in terms of rescue missions and emergency response this morning?

AVEDISIAN: Well, our biggest issue at the moment, Kiran, is we're trying to get our pumping stations for our sewer authority operational, so that hopefully, later this morning, we can announce that people can start using the water system again so that we can get people back into operation and -- and make things seem as though they're getting back to normal as quickly as possible. ROBERTS: Mr. Mayor, I know that it's been an awfully tense and probably a sleepless 48 hours for you. We -- we understand that you've been getting dozens and dozens of urgent calls from your residents there. What have people been phoning you about?

AVEDISIAN: Well, the biggest issue that we've been having is, you know, on the banks of the Pawtuxet, the people who live there are used to some flooding. They're not used to the magnitude that we're getting, nor other parts of the city where we never see water are starting to have the same kind of flooding problems.

It is now more than 24 hours since the river crested, and we're still seeing, you know, this -- the scene behind me, where water is not receding as quickly as we would have envisioned. So we're having water problems in areas that traditionally have never had problems before.

CHETRY: And we still right behind you, that car is still submerged. I know the river crested nearly 24 hours ago, but, as you said, it's not receding as quickly.

One of the things that they're watching is this bridge on the Pawtuxet River. They say if it collapses thing could really get bad, what -- and it can end up, you know, destroying some dams and making things even worse.

Are -- are you getting status updates about whether or not that structure's going to hold?

AVEDISIAN: The -- the one here seems to be OK right now. There are other bridges in the city that the state is now currently out assessing so that we can try to do a full assessment of our infrastructure to find out what is stable, where we can allow traffic to return to.

But I think that we're going to look at a number of road closures for the foreseeable future. There are some bridges that the Department of Transportation has alerted us that they are concerned about. So it will be quite some time before some of the bridges are open again.

ROBERTS: And Mr. Mayor, we've -- people talking about this in terms of the worst flooding that the town has seen in some 200 years, and -- and you said, you know, about recovery here, we've got some -- some photographs that we want to show you of the Warwick Mall, a little before and after, what it looked like before and after. This is a street view from Google Earth.

And, I mean, take a look at the amount of water there. And this is -- this is probably one of the economic centerpieces of the town. How long before some of these businesses, do you think, can get back up and running and what kind of impact might that have on the economy there?

AVEDISIAN: Well, what we're trying to do right now is assess all those businesses that we can move to other space, that we can help relocate and reopen as quickly as possible.

But for the Warwick Mall, I think it's going to be a long time before we see retail open there again. The mall owner has been in contact with our Economic Development Department and we continue to have discussions with what it is that we can do to speed that process along.

CHETRY: Are you guys going to get any federal aid? You've been declared a disaster area, so what's the status of -- of getting some help and some money to -- to rebuild?

AVEDISIAN: Well, as you know, Secretary Napolitano is coming here tomorrow. We look at that as a very good sign that FEMA is taking this seriously and that the federal money will start to flow in.

We are documenting all of the businesses and all of the residential issues that people have had so that we have a full accounting for FEMA. So once they move in and start processing applications and start processing the information, we're hopeful that the money will flow to our residents and our businesses as quickly as possible.

ROBERTS: Mayor Scott Avedisian from Warwick. We wish you all the best, sir. I know that the next few days are going to be awfully difficult for you and the residents there of Warwick.

Thanks for taking the time to join us. We really appreciate it.

AVEDISIAN: Thank you.

CHETRY: Good luck.

ROBERTS: Well, it's 20 minutes --

AVEDISIAN: My pleasure (ph).

ROBERTS: -- after the hour now.

You've seen the commercials, you've heard those catchy jingles, now credit report companies who say they are free have to come clean.

Christine Romans "Minding Your Business" this morning with a preview. Hi.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: That's right. Sometimes free isn't free. It's just a way to lure you in to get a subscription, to make you get -- pay money every month to monitor your credit report. Now, the government is cracking down.

We're going to tell you how to get the really, truly free annual credit report without all the strings. That's right after the break.


CHETRY: You know, I feel so much better than I did about 10 minutes ago, because our Christine Romans is here "Minding Your Business", and she fell for the same April Fools' joke which is John telling us that he's been called up to be the ambassador to Canada.

ROMANS: I really believed it.

CHETRY: And you and I both fell for it. No one else did.

ROMANS: John! Really? John!

CHETRY: Well, wait. My reaction was, oh my gosh, you know, it's such a big career move. Christine goes, am I going to have a connection then to these good parties?

ROMANS: That's true. I did say that. All right, well --

ROBERTS: And in your condition, too, (INAUDIBLE).

ROMANS: So, as you can see, I'm really -- I'm looking -- taking the long view. I'm looking around -- over the corner.

Look, we're talking about the -- the free credit reports as well.

ROBERTS: But wait, the (ph) ambassadorship to Canada is available.

ROMANS: You know -- and please tell us, is that -- that was a beautiful April Fools' joke. It was very well done, well executed. You get the -- you get the award for the best April Fools' of the year.

ROBERTS: It's the first one I've pulled in a decade, at least.

ROMANS: Oh, it's so good.

ROBERTS: Nobody expected it.

ROMANS: So while you're getting ready for work, everyone, remember, there's probably somebody in your office who's pulling together some April Fools' jokes. So be on your best behavior. Be very smart today, because you might be had by someone like John Roberts.

I want to talk about free credit reports, because this is something you hear an awful lot about. Go to this Web site, go to this -- you know, call this number. You can get your free credit report.

It's very, very difficult to get actual free credit report. There's only one real free credit report that's mandated by the government. There are a lot of other agencies that are trying to sell you a subscription series or credit protection, a whole lot -- a host of other products that aren't really free. Get on the free credit report site, and then, suddenly, you're paying $5, $10, $15, $20 for -- for other online services.

So, the government, through that Credit Card Protection Act that we've been telling you about, has shut this down. Starting tomorrow, when you go to any of these places online, they have to tell you online, very, very clearly that this is not the government-mandated free credit report site.

The TV and radio disclosures don't start until September, so you're still going to see a lot of advertisements, if they don't change any of that advertising, the ubiquitous advertising that you see.

So where is the free -- the real free credit report? Well, the federal government, the Federal Trade Commission, makes the three major credit agencies give you a real free credit report every year for now charge with no strings attached, once a year.

That's That's the only government, free, mandated place to go. It's run by the three credit agencies. You can also call that phone number, 877-322-8228.

Something interesting in this -- in this credit card reform that's now going into effect, it's also -- you could go to that -- the real free credit report site and you could still kind of get hooked up with -- with, you know, with paying for different little bells and whistles. But now, from now on, those bells and whistles from the credit agencies will have to be offered after you get your free credit report.

So --

ROBERTS: So that whole thing about got there --

ROMANS: You know, I'm not going to single -- I'm not going to single anybody out. But when you go to those places, after you've listened to the ad, there's a lot of things you can accidentally click on and get moved in. And just be very, very careful because you can then --

If they ask you for a credit card number, that means that they're trying to charge you something, right?

ROBERTS: Well, you know, the guy that sings that song is Canadian, and, as you learned this morning, I was going to (ph) double-check with --

ROMANS: Oh, the Canadians. I'm real --

ROBERTS: -- people with Canadian heritage have to say.

ROMANS: I'm real (ph) -- those -- oh, Canadians.

CHETRY: Thanks, Christine.

It's 27 minutes past the hour.


CHETRY: Welcome back to the Most News in the Morning. We have a follow-up now to the fight of the Burmese python in the Florida Everglades. There's been efforts to control the population of the fast-breeding predators. They were underway this year, until Mother Nature apparently decided to step in and do the job herself.

We get more now from John Zarrella.


JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): They seemed to be everywhere. Nearly, every day, a Burmese python sighted somewhere.

At a nursery --

LT. LISA WOOD, VENOM RESPONSE TEAM: We managed to pull it out of the weeds and take it into custody.

ZARRELLA: We found one on the side of a heavily traveled road while tagging alonh with wildlife biologist Joe Wasilewski.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right over, right over.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Look at the size of this one, huh?

ZARRELLA: The nature conservancy taught park rangers, police and utility workers how to catch them. Not easy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's not buying (ph).

ZARRELLA: The fear was these evasive species were overrunning the Everglades. They numbered perhaps 100,000 and spreading out. That was last summer.

Now, suddenly, the snakes have disappeared. Something changed. A state-sanctioned one-time python hunting season is under way but no one is catching much of anything.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I got to always tell everybody, it's like trying to find a needle in the haystack when you're looking for these snakes.

ZARRELLA: And the Everglades is one big haystack.

Josh Armadi (ph) hunts pythons. We've been out with him twice slogging through the glades.

(on camera): Look at this mud, we're going through now.

(voice-over): Climbing up rock piles, looking under disregarded metal.

(on camera): Nothing?


ZARRELLA: Nothing. So, you think though this is a pretty good day to find snakes, right?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This should be, you know, a textbook day. It's nice and sunny.

ZARRELLA (voice-over): Apparently, the pythons didn't read the book. We even tried at night.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A nice, beautiful little snake.

ZARRELLA: A native species, not a threat.

We also went out twice with Joe Wasilewski, the wildlife biologist, walked miles of prime snake country, not a single snake in the grass. Just --

(on camera): Oh, my God.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Slow, it's a gator.

ZARRELLA: A big gator over here. How long is he?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, he's a good 10 foot.

ZARRELLA: He's a good size.

(voice-over): So what happened to all the pythons?

GABRIELLA FERRARO FLORIDA FISH AND WILDLIFE COMMISSION: We are thrilled that the weather was so cold in south Florida this year that it may have killed 40 percent to 50 percent of those reptiles of concern.

ZARRELLA: That may be conservative. The pythons simply couldn't handle the persistent record-cold temperatures. Scientists say the lid nature put on the pythons won't last. A few warm winters, they say, and the snakes will be back.

But for now, nature has taken care of the problem humans couldn't get a handle on.

John Zarrella, CNN, in the Florida Everglades.


CHETRY: Snake hunting with no snakes. There you go.

ROBERTS: That's the best way of snake hunting.

CHETRY: Yes, that's true.

Thirty-two minutes past the hour right now, time for your top stories.

The worst flooding in 200 years, soaking Rhode Island, leaving residents from Maine to Connecticut either without homes or without power. One Rhode Island bridge on the verge of collapsing, and if it does, it could take out several dams downstream. Sewage systems are also so taxed that some towns are asking people to stop flushing their toilets for now.

ROBERTS: Iran's top nuclear negotiator will be in China today. He was invited to discuss his country's nuclear problem. The visit comes just a day after Beijing agreed to join six world powers to create sanctions against Iran for its nuclear development.

CHETRY: And taking down militia from the inside out. Prosecutors are saying an undercover agent infiltrated the right-wing Hutaree militia before nine of its alleged members were arrested and even helped them build explosives. The militia is accused of planning to kill a police officer and then trying to spark a war with the U.S. government by launching an attack at the funeral -- John.

ROBERTS: Thirty-three minutes now after the hour. The movie "Mean Girls" explored the cliques and conflicts that come with high school. But as we've seen in too many real life cases, most recently in western Massachusetts, teen bullying can have tragic results. And it often involves girls hurting other girls.

Erika Holiday and Joan Rosenberg wrote the book "Mean Girls, Meaner Women." And they join us now from Los Angeles.

Good morning. Thanks for being with us.

Erika, let's start with you. Are we seeing more these days, this sort of bullying that we saw at South Hadley High School? And how much of an influence is technology, particularly, social networking, having on all of this?


Yes, I think we are starting to see more incidents of bullying coming out now. And a lot of it does have to do with social networking because children are now being raised where they don't even communicate with one another. They can have all these kind of relationships via text message, Facebook, other networking sites. So, children aren't learning how to engage one-on-one with each other.

ROBERTS: And is it easier, too, or does it contribute more to it, the anonymity of the Internet and the sort of depersonalization of it, that they can actually be meaner to each other in their communications?

HOLIDAY: Yes, absolutely, because you now are behind closed doors. You can now say things -- the meanest, nastiest things, without ever having to reveal your identity. It's a way of getting away with being really vicious.

ROBERTS: Joan -- you argue in your book, Joan, that women grow up learning to hurt other women, a product of several factors. Let's put them on the screen for folks at home to see. One of them is self- hate; rigid gender roles; damaging media messages; intense competition; psychological, biological, and evolutionary pressures.

You're basically saying that girls are hard-wired to handle conflicts in a way that could lead -- actually lead to extreme bullying, where they don't know how to stop.

JOAN ROSENBERG, CO-AUTHOR, "MEAN GIRLS, MEANER WOMEN": You know, we've talked about meanness as a coping strategy. And really, largely, the biggest issue that we think about is that girls are not socialized or brought up to learn how to handle their feelings in a way -- particularly what we would call difficult or hard feelings of anger, competition, aggression, and envy -- and be able to handle those in ways that are comfortable and where they manage them well. And then be able to express them directly, which is different for boys.

So, we do think that the women are -- both girls and women are under a lot of pressure to handle their experiences very differently.

ROBERTS: Well, Joan, how much of that is a product, too, of growing up and trying to succeed in a world that is essentially, up until very recently, been a man's world?

ROSENBERG: Well, I don't -- I don't know that that's necessarily changed. So, again, I think there are still some very challenging guidelines and norms that girls face and women face that it's still are anchored in the way that women and girls were brought up many, many years ago.

ROBERTS: Yes. I say --

ROSENBERG: We'd like to think it's changed.

ROBERTS: Right. I say up until recently, you know, recent studies have shown that women have now surpassed men in earning power in a lot of cases. And the majority of women are breadwinners now in many families.

Let me come back to Erika. And talk about this "Mean Girls" movie, which was based on Rosalind Wiseman's book "Queen Bees and Wannabes." It introduced a lot of people to this concept.

Let's take a quick look at the clip from the movie, then I'll ask you about it.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Regina was dangling Erin in front of me in purpose. I knew how this would be settled in the animal world.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But this was girl world.


ROBERTS: You say in your book, Erika, that girls and boys grow up with a different set of tools for how to handle conflict. What are those different sets of tools? And how do they affect the way that they're growing up and the way that they deal with conflict?

HOLIDAY: Well, boys typically are taught at an early age that it's OK, it's normal to express their anger. Boys more so than girls are socialized in way to play sports, to engage in competition with one another and to release whatever kind of aggression they might have.

And for girls, it's a little bit different. Anger is seen as something that is more masculine. So, girls learn that they should express sadness, and not necessarily anger. And so, they tend to hold in their anger much more than boys do.

ROBERTS: Joan, are schools starting to look more closely at this issue? I imagine they are, particularly in light of what happened in Massachusetts. But most importantly, what do they need to do?

ROSENBERG: They really need to set zero tolerance policies for bullying. I think they need to set about an education program that includes not only the children in the school, but parents need to be actively engaged in this. Parents need to be able to step up, and indicate to the children, you know, and model for the children, what needs to take place so that -- so that it's a coordinated effort across the entire community. Individually for the children and the families, and then as a community response.

ROBERTS: All right. Joan Rosenberg and Erika Holiday, thanks for joining us this morning. The authors of the book "Mean Girls, Meaner Women."

HOLIDAY: Thank you.

ROBERTS: Good to see you this morning. Thanks so much.

By the way, a little bit later on this morning, we're going to be talking to the principal in a school in Nevada who too who took bullying head on and managed to make a difference in ways that you probably couldn't expect that he would. So, we'll to talk to him about his strategy and how it might be applied to other schools across the nation.

And, of course, the amFIX blog is up and running. Join the live conversation right now. We want to hear from you about the bullying story. This morning, we're asking: do mean girls turn into mean women? What do you think?

Just to go to We'll be reading some of your comments throughout the morning.

It's now 21 minutes to the top of the hour.



ROBERTS: All right. New this morning, here you go -- cashing in on Biden's "BFD." The group Organizing for America is now selling t-shirts commemorating health care reform using Vice President Biden's now favorite phrase.

CHETRY: That's right. And as Uncle John said, if the kids are watching, this stands for "Bob's Fire Department."

ROBERTS: Donors who give add least $25 will receive a limited edition. Health reform is a "Bob's Fire Department" t-shirt.

CHETRY: Well, you may be cramming to get your taxes finished. But a lot of states are in no hurry actually to give you your refund back after you file. A bill has already been filed in a New York assembly to prevent tax refunds from going out late. It's one of several states that are delaying refund checks because of huge budget gaps.

ROBERTS: The suspect in the Fort Hood shooting massacre is reportedly being moved from the hospital to jail. Major Nidal Hasan's lawyer tells the AP that doctors gave him his discharge physical last night.

CHETRY: Well, it is a crash test dummy on a plane. It's the focus of airline safety, moving to surviving a crash instead of just avoiding one. You may see more air bags like that on airlines. A little known FAA regulation that was passed last fall requires new planes to be able to withstand an impact of 16 G's. That's 16 times the earth's gravity.

ROBERTS: The Mercedes Benz E-class, the Volkswagen Polo and despite all the bad press, the Toyota Prius all in running for the 2010 World Car of the Year Award this morning. The winners will be announced at 8:30 Eastern, live from the New York International Auto Show.

CHETRY: Oh, my -- I love this one. How many times have you told your kids that the claw machine is for suckers, right? The SpongeBob stuck in there forever and don't waste your dollars trying to get it out. Well, someone's finally cracked it. It's a tutorial on YouTube that shows you how to master the art of the crane and get the goods.

And then there's this way. A kid crawled into the slot. Look, how do you fit in there? How big is that slot? Do you see this?

ROBERTS: It's big enough for him to fit in.

CHETRY: Well, yes, he got his own little prize closet because he was trapped in there for a little while until they were able to (INAUDIBLE) -- the mom's standing on the outside -- oh, God bless her. They finally got him out by the way. So, a good time ahead by all.

ROBERTS: How did they get him out, with the hook?

CHETRY: Yes, dropped it right down the slot there. But I had a couple people actually show me, one of the little amusement parks I took my kids to, what to look for. If it's a stuffed animal that's jammed in with a bunch of other ones, you're never going to get it. You have to pick that's just lying on top.

ROBERTS: The little tiny thing.

CHETRY: And the further away you have to go, the more likely it's going to drop.


CHETRY: You pick them close.

ROBERTS: So, take that knowledge with you to the office this morning, just in case.

Let's check in with Reynolds Wolf this morning. He's live in Warwick, Rhode Island, where they're still having huge problems with the flooding.

What's it like there this morning, Reynolds?

REYNOLDS WOLF, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Well, I'll tell you, John, I mean, it's pretty much difficult for much of the Ocean State, which remains pretty much saturated, under water in a lot of places. But the good news, John, is that we do have better weather ahead.

We'll have that complete forecast not just for this region, but coast to coast, coming up in just a few moments.

You're watching CNN, the most news in the morning.


ROBERTS: It may be April Fools' Day, but this is no joke. Take a look outside our studios this morning.

After the wettest March on record, we are expecting sun in New York City today. See what happens when you get rid of March and you usher in April? Things should stay dry through the weekend, and temperatures are going to be in the upper 60s, even into the 70s here in New York City over the weekend.

And just to the south, in Washington, spring has sprung in an awfully big way. The forecast, sunny today, with a high of 73 degrees. Prime cherry blossom viewing weather for you, though a lot of the cherry blossoms were damaged earlier this week with all that rain, unfortunately.

CHETRY: They got tricked. It got sunny, got warm, they came out, and then the rain.

Well, it's 49 minutes past the hour right now, so things may be looking up. But for some areas, especially parts of the hard-hit Northeast, it's still no picnic.

Reynolds Wolf is live in Cranston, Rhode Island, this morning.

And it's ironic. I mean, we're talking 70 degrees, sunshine, and you're standing -- and there's a car submerged behind you. I mean, it's still a mess there.

WOLF: Yes, it really is.

You know, you mentioned the car behind me. I'm going to actually pick up where you left off with that car.

There's an interesting story about this particular car, and that is we were told last night by some police officers that that car actually came flying past a barricade, came right down this road yesterday. And people were trying to get it to stop before it came through here.

It came zipping through here and, of course, got picked up by the floodwaters and against that pole. And the guy who was in the car, thankfully, was rescued. But what a mess.

But as you mentioned, things are going to be getting better here in Warwick and across the region, certainly in New York this morning. And here's the reason why. Let's go right to the forecast.


WOLF: All right, folks. That's the latest in the forecast. We'll have more coming up from Warwick, Rhode Island.

Back to you in the studio.

CHETRY: All right, Reynolds. Thanks so much.

And as he said also, the homeland security secretary, Janet Napolitano, is going to be going in that area.

ROBERTS: Coming tomorrow, yes.

CHETRY: Hopefully some FEMA funds.

Meanwhile, lots of comments on the "Live Blog" this morning. Still people weighing in on the bullying situation.

Daniel writes, "Bullying is a problem in our schools. We all need to be good parents and be involved more in our kids' lives. They're our future."

ROBERTS: Yes. This is something that a number of people are weighing in on this morning. "How you can tell if mean girls grow up to be mean women? Kids who grow up feeling entitled or kids that grow up getting special privileges probably end up as adults that feel entitled. It's a parenting issue, not the responsibility of the nanny states."

So, obviously, parents do play a big role in all of this, setting boundaries, appropriate behavior, that sort of thing.

CHETRY: Right.

Also a couple of funny e-mails coming in. I was teasing at the beginning of the show about John getting me pretty could, saying he was going to be leaving to be the ambassador to Canada.

A couple of them -- Bob from Houston said, "I plan to pull a prank on someone before he gets out of bed this morning. Whatever April Fools' joke John played on you, I know you can top it. It ain't over until it's over."

ROBERTS: Yes. Somebody else who writes this morning says, "John, you've got odd-colored socks on this morning and your tie is on backwards."

I didn't know that. I'll have to check that out.

CHETRY: You can join the conversation, by the way,

We're going to take a break. We'll be right back.

Right now it's 52 minutes past the hour.


ROBERTS: Welcome back to the "Moos" news in the morning. It's the closest that you will ever get to becoming a fly on the wall.

CHETRY: Yes. It's called the critter cam, and it allows you to see the world through the eyes of cute critters.

Here's Jeanne Moos with the viral videos.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's an armadillo scurrying from Web site to Web site, a mole burrowing its way through the Internet, an alligator worth surfing the Web for as it surfs the marshlands.

They're all making the rounds, but the place they call home, or at least home page, is the Museum of Animal Perspectives. From chick cam to lamb cam, the animal-borne cameras let you get up close and personal entering their habitat, leaving the viewer happier than a pig in mud But not to be out done --

(on camera): -- with these. We can examine the habitat of the urban reporter.

OK, I'm going to make up now.

(voice-over): Camera mounted on glasses, partially obscured by hair --

(on camera): I'm going to cut to the control room.

You're going up?


MOOS: Where did you get these glasses, Steve?


MOOS (voice-over): We also found the creator of the Museum of Animal Perspectives, Sam Easterson, was happy to chat on the phone.

(on camera): Video naturalist.

(voice-over): That's how he describes himself, but he wouldn't do an on-camera interview.

(on camera): I can't believe you won't go on with me. But anyway, I get it.

(voice-over): For almost a decade, Easterson has been compiling animal videos like this one featuring a rhino.

(on camera): He's not exactly rushing. He's sort of, oh, sniffing.

(voice-over): He considers what's now going viral on the Web to be his old stuff. These days he is into dwelling cams located in a prairie dog's tunnel, or the nest of a laughing kookaburra.

(on camera): It also seems to me that you have sense of humor about this. I mean, if you're putting on like cows licking each other.

(voice-over): You cannot get any closer to a cow or wolf than this -- digging furiously, snarling at another wolf.

There are similarities between a camera mounted on a bison as it chows down on grass and a camera mounted on a reporter grazing the salad bar. The difference is --.

(on camera): I'm taking them off.


MOOS (voice-over): The sheep stuck with it. No wonder the flock won't let him join. Candid Camera is enough to make anybody sheepish.

Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.