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18 Dead in Arkansas Flash Flood; Government: BP Must Reveal Better Plan by Sunday; California Teen Rescued Trying to Sail Around the World; US-UK Match Ends in 1-1 Tie; Government Appoints Sisson as Gulf Spill Point Man; Town Protects Itself from Spill; Comedians Parody BP

Aired June 12, 2010 - 17:00   ET



DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: The flood water poured in, catching almost everyone off guard, killing 18, more are missing. We're standing by for a live update on just how many and who are coming for in Arkansas.

The Obama administration gives BP an ultimatum with a time limit attached. Can BP get it done? If not, what then?

And the British Oil Company isn't just the brunt of anger for many Americans, it is the brunt of a whole lot of jokes. One group of comedians is leading the charge. Their video is the latest to go viral. It is a viral sensation and they will going to join us this hour.

The death toll is now up to at least 18 in the flash floods that swept through an Arkansas camp ground and crews are searching right now for as many as two dozen still unaccounted for. The Governor Mike Beebe says, four people are confirmed missing but another 20 people may have been in the area when the floods hit. The waters rushed in so fast and caught the campers so off guard that there was just no escaping for many of them.

Our Sandra Endo is live at the scene in Langley, Arkansas. What is the very latest on the search for the missing people there, Sandra?

SANDRA ENDO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Don, the search and rescue effort continues at this hour, as you were mentioning. And the teams are really focusing downstream, south in the Little Missouri River, South of the Albert Pike camp ground. And the conditions are extremely tough. First of all, very hot out there, and also the communication is poor. Keep in mind this is a very remote area. People come here to get away. There is no real good cell service, so officials here had to create more cell towers, bring in more equipment to improve those emergency communications. And federal and state officials came to the site earlier today, they looked at the devastated areas as well as met with family members and they are vowing not to give up on the search.


TOM VILSACK, AGRICULTURE SECRETARY: We have approximately somewhere between 30 and 40 service personnel working today. We have provided equipment, will continue to work until we are sure that we have done everything we've possibly we can to find every single person who is missing and to account for those who are currently unaccounted for.


ENDO: And this is an extremely tight knit community and survivors we spoke to say, they are just holding out hope -- Don.

LEMON: All right. Sandra, thank you very much. We appreciate that.

Now, we turn to the gulf. On the 54th day, the oil disaster down to the Gulf of Mexico, the government has given BP until tomorrow to come up with the better plan, that comes just one day after we learn twice the amount of oil is gushing out of the pipe at first than we first thought. So even with that containment cap in place, the gulf is still being poisoned right now.

We turn to cnn's Chris Lawrence, he joins us now from Grand Isle, Louisiana. Chris, clearly the government is not satisfied with BP's response now, they're giving them this ultimatum, basically.

CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, exactly Don. Basically, they're saying, look, that plan may have worked for what we've thought was coming out, now that we think the estimate is much higher, you've got to come up with a better plan. Basically giving them 48 hours to identify and speed up some of the ways which they can contain the oil. And why do they need to do that? Well, let's go back for just a second. In the days following that well rupture, we were told that they estimated about 42,000 barrels a day were coming out. Then that got revised to about 200,000 barrels.

Now some scientists are saying based on what the latest they know, the estimate could be anywhere from 900,000 all the way up to 1.7 million gallons of oil coming out every day. It is to put it in terms that people might be able to understand that kind of number, it's like an Exxon Valdez happening, you know, pretty much once a week. So, basically the government and the coast guard have told BP you've got 48 hours to come up with a better more aggressive plan -- Don.

LEMON: Hey, Chris, I can see that you're on the beach now with the cleanup workers. Are they talking to you?

LAWRENCE: No, that's the thing. Let me just show you exactly what's happening. Some of these workers here, what they're doing is trying to skim off the top part of the beach where a lot of the oil has been collecting, then they get it in these bags and start toss it away. This is sort of a tiger dam. What is designed to do is try to keep that oil from coming any further onto shore and doing any further damage up here. You know, earlier some of the workers were coming off, we were trying to ask them here, how is it going today, what's going on? No one would talk to us at all.

We even fried to ask, is it -- have you been told not to talk, or do you just not -- you know, you just don't want to talk? It's your option. But would not even say a word, not even "no comment." We know that BP has put out a letter because this has been an ongoing issue about getting access and getting people to talk and feeling like there is, you know, someone at the top saying, don't say anything. BP put out a letter telling people, hey, you've got the right to talk, you can talk to the media, you can talk whoever you want to about what's going on. Here, no one is talking -- Don.

LEMON: No one is saying anything. Chris Lawrence, thank you very much. Appreciate your reporting. Now, we don't know if BP has a viable idea to stop the oil other than relief wells. But many of you have some very creative solutions and the coast guard even has appointed someone to figure out which ones might actually work. We'll introduce you to him, coming up in our next half hour.

This is a peak beach season along the gulf. Many coastal communities are anxious to assure visitors their beaches are safe and clear of oil. But it is not easy.

And Cnn's Reynolds Wolf says, it's the oil you can't see that poses the biggest challenge.


REYNOLDS WOLF, CNN CORRESPONDENT (VOICE-OVER): It started as a regular day at the beach in Gulf Shores, Alabama. Sand castles, swimming and sun bathing. But a life guard's warming came as a wakeup call.


CHRISTINA WEAVER (ph): We were in the water and they told us to get out because the oil was coming in.


WOLF: Christina Weaver and her brother Robbie spent their childhood together on this beach. Having moved away, they come back to visit together today.


WEAVER: We figured we would come see the beach one last time before it was ruined. But we got here and five minutes later here it was. And it's nasty.


WOLF: Public advisories have now been posted in Alabama and Florida. But beaches remain open.


KIM TAYLOR, ALABAMA DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH: When you see these advisories, those are just as a precaution for anyone who may be in the water, who may be sensitive to oil products, and that might cause irritation on the skin.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: One gets water and the other one gets element.


WOLF: Water testing has been part of the routine in Pensacola Beach, Florida since the spill begins.


DR. RICHARD SNYDER, biologist, university of West Florida: We're actually taking water samples and sand samples and analyzing them chemically to look for the oil that people can't see. And a lot of this oil is disbursed in the water.


WOLF: At an emergency management meeting, almost 150 miles away of Mississippi, officials are tired of waiting.


UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: The solid samples that was sent in Monday, we got Sunday, we still don't have the results. You know how long it took them last time.


WOLF: And Hancock County Emergency Director Brian Adam says, he's pushing incident command for faster results by urging beachgoers to be vigilant.


BRIAN ADAM, HANCOCK COUNTY EMERGENCY DIRECTOR: Right now, I tell them to go to the beach and just, you know, be wary of what, you know, they're going and be wary of their surroundings.


WOLF: And that seems to be exactly what life guards back in gulf shores, Alabama are doing. Less than, half an hour, after oil wash-up on their beach, swimmers were allowed back into the water.


UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Now they said, we can go back in. So we're OK now. Well, I don't see anymore out there right now there on the beach, so, I guess we're OK.


WOLF: Christina Weaver isn't taking any chances.


WEAVER: Yes, I don't want to be in the water. It's everywhere.


WOLF: The weavers were here for fond memories but are leaving with an unexpected keepsake.


WEAVER: Why are you trying to collect some?

ROBBIE WEAVER: Well, just to show that I was here when it happened. A little memorabilia.

WEAVER: Yes, this is not fun.


WOLF: Reynolds Wolf, cnn, Orange Beach, Alabama.


LEMON: For one gulf town, isn't waiting for BP or the Federal government to protect them from the oil disaster. They've united in an effort to save their community from ecological disaster through hard work and determination. The mayor joins us live, next.

And she is safe after being missing at sea. That's the most important thing. Now, come the questions about whether a 16-year-old should have been allowed to sail around the world by herself. Her parents are sounding off this afternoon.

And you should sound off too. Be a part of our conversation. Send me a message on twitter or on Facebook, you can follow us on twitter. And check out my blog at We want to hear from you. We're back in a moment.


LEMON: President Obama spent time this week at the White House consoling relatives of the victims of the oil rig explosion. He's also visiting the gulf coast again and meeting with BP executives next week. I asked our Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley if this is going to counter some of the criticism that he's been slow to react to the disaster.

Candy Crowley, Chief Political Correspondent: I'm not sure. Certainly we'll see. These things tend to go up and down the polls, which is why they take polls because people change their minds a lot. But the fact is what you hear now, certainly around Washington, and we'll see what people think when those polls start to come out. What you're hearing now is that this has been very reactive. When the president is seen as not being angry enough, we get this quote about well, he's going to kick some ass. When he's seen as not being connected enough, he goes down to the gulf. When he's seen as not having actually talked to real people, he goes down to the gulf again.

So, there's this sort of reactive feel to it rather than proactive. Then we find out that he hasn't even spoken with anyone at BP since this began. Now, we have these meetings coming up. So, it does seems that they are reacting at the White House rather than being proactive. But I have to tell you, all of this is going to be window dressing unless some of this gets fixed, unless that oil gets cleaned up.

LEMON: Yes, and we've got this -- probably, he's got two ongoing wars, he's got the economy. Those are some big challenges. How does this one rank?

CROWLEY: Well, you know, listen, you cannot compare this, we certainly lost men on this rig as we know. But there are two ongoing wars that we hit the 1,000 American deaths of u.s. military in Afghanistan not too long ago. We are trying to draw down in Iraq, he's still building up in Afghanistan. Those are important issues. The White House will tell you as they often do, this is a man that can focus on any number of things. Nonetheless, all the oxygen right now is going to this oil spill. And what matters is when you're looking at a president, and his prospect of getting other things done is the perception. Does the president look decisive? Does the president look as if he's getting something done? Because if this we contempt, it makes other things harder to do.

LEMON: You know what, I'm glad you brought that up because, you know, we just saw the elections that happened on Tuesday, right? And we saw Bill Clinton, which could be, you know, sort of a turn around for him. Plus, he's worked in Haiti and then he had some success with the candidate on Tuesday. Is he in a better position to campaign for democratic candidates now than the president?

CROWLEY: Interesting, he's certainly -- Bill Clinton's point is less of a mixed bag than President Obama is. Why? Of course because Bill Clinton is out of office. Presidents tend to get more popular when they're out of office just because they're just not under fire. But Bill Clinton has always been very popular among the democratic faithful. He's a good guy to show up in your district, particularly if it's a very solidly democratic district. He really did some -- for Blanch Lincoln down in Arkansas. He pulled that out when no one thought he would. Now, he's out talking in favor of Harry Reid and campaigning for him. I suspect you will see him on the trail. Not just because people want him there but he loves it.

LEMON: Yes, he absolutely. You can see he lights up when that happens. So, Candy, I'm watching you with a cup of coffee and some eggs on Sunday morning so and you are, you know, the complement there, you complement that very well. Where I might to see because Sunday when I have that coffee and eggs.

CROWLEY: Someone who haven't heard from quite so much. Alabama Governor Bob Riley, who will talk to us about his state obviously, their preparations, what he sees coming, his view of how things are going. And we're also going to talk about the economy. I've been interested, as I'm sure you have. We heard all this talk kind of early on and what we thought was the recovery about, well, maybe it's a double dip recession, maybe it will get worse, and it all went away. And now, I noticed, it's back again. So, we're bringing on some smart people to explain this to us. And we'll talk about how the president is doing. Tell them what you and I just talked about. LEMON: Candy, looking forward to it. See you on Sunday morning. Thank you.

All right, and make sure you check your reservations. Pilots for one airline are now on strike and it is a time that is, I guess it's as good as a win, is it? Celebrating in the streets of Washington after the 1-1 draw between the u.s. and England. I'll call it a win. I'm convinced with that. Call it a win. What about you?


LEMON: Want to check your top stories right now. A 16-year-old girl who tried to sail around the world by herself is safe and blaming bad weather for her failed attempt. A French fishing crew rescued Abby Sunderland this morning in the Indian Ocean. The California teen became stranded after a storm broke the mass on her yacht. She had to abandon her yacht which was called Wide Eyes which remains in the middle of that ocean. Her parents today defended Abby's solo efforts.


Laurence sunderland, teen's sailor father: This is not a flippant decision. Abigail has been raised on the ocean all her life. She slept half of her life on yachts. She's cruised for three years with us on our own particular boat. This is like second nature to Abigail. And Abigail has a great passion for sailing in the ocean. She will return, and I get -- it's a little frustrating when people without accurate information come out and make statements.

LEMON: Which tell you that Abby's older brother sailed around the world last year.

Scattered clashes were seen around Tehran today on the one-year anniversary of the contested Iranian election. This video appears to show a demonstration today in the capital. Today began, peacefully, the protestors fought with police at sites around Tehran. When this is told CNN that security forces flooded the streets. Last year's disputed election ended with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad winning a second term in office.

A tsunami warning has been issued for India after a strong earthquake in the Indian Ocean, west of the Nicobar Islands. The Indians -- but Indians, I should say, Tsunami Center says, a wave likely won't be anything alarming. The quake was measured at a magnitude of 7.5. Police say, there are no reports of injuries or damage from the quake.

A tie feels like a victory for the u.s. at Soccer's World Cup in South Africa. I'm so excited about it, everybody is. I can't barely get it out that u.s. and England battled to a 1-1 deadlock in their first match in group play. England's Captain Steven Gerrard scored in the first four minutes, but Goal Keeper Robert Green let a shot by American Clint Dempsey slip past for that tie. England was a heavy favorite in this match, ranked number eight in the world, and we tied them.

So, how much more important is soccer in England than here -- I should say football. Well, Bob Bradley makes about $500,000 a year as coach of the team, team USA. His counterpart for England Fabio Capello, guess how much he makes. About 15 times that. Well, still, you can't count on the USA -- you can't count out the USA, I should say. You can't count out the USA.

Cnn's Richard Roth watched the game with fans in Washington. Richard, good to see you. So, what is the mood like there? Is there relief, is there joy, is there disappointment? How's everybody? I see a lot of trash on the ground behind you, by the way.

Richard RoTH, cnn correspondent: Oh, yes. Well, let's talk about what happened when the Americans scored. You mentioned that goal like Clint Dempsey, we were watching and rolling as the crowd here at DuPont Circle in Washington reacted as the Americans tied up the score.


ROTH: The Americans tied it up. There was a lot of certain after the English with Steven Gerrard scored quickly. I think some thought that might be it for the whole game, but we had a tie. Now with me here are the people who put together this fan festival. They're Americans and I want to get their reaction. Michael, what do you think at 1-1?

MICHAEL: A huge relief. Seeing England go up a goal so early, does raise the doubts in your minds that the fact that we got that equalizer was so crucial. And to end this game with a point in our first round World Cup group will be a great platform for further progress in this tournament.

ROTH: Aaron, I mean, some people in America may not understand. I mean, the American's fate of this World Cup in South Africa did not ride on this game. But it goes the big way for us to getting out of this group stage, what was your analysis of the match?

AARON: Well, I think, Tim Howard from United States had an excellent game. And, you know, it's great to get a result, 1-1 against a super power like England.

ROTH: I mean, it seems like the English can't beat the Americans, 1950 amateur squad beat the English won nothing.

AARON: I think we should be proud about the way we played today. Particularly Tim Howard.

ROTH: The goalie?

AARON: Yes, absolutely. Excellent game.

MICHAEL: He made some great saves today.

ROTH: Yes. What do you think it will do to the momentum here about soccer in America, this result, this match?

AARON: It will show more Americans that we can compete with some of the best soccer nations in the world. And England is one of the best. And I'm pretty sure it's going to convince a lot of the skeptics that we have a future in this game here.

ROTH: Was this a success? You had to raise money. You had to do a lot of things. Caught through the Washington red tape, and you got over, I don't know, thousands here to watch this American result. Are you going to do this for Algeria against the United States and Slovenia against the United States?

AARON: Well, I think, I'll certainly be watching that game. I'm not sure if I'll be watching it from DuPont Circle National Park but it was a success. I feel like we played a 90-minute game ourselves. And gone their overtime, it was an exhausting day.

ROTH: Did you have security first checking and making sure English people did not get it? I did not see many English fans here. Why is that?

AARON: Well, I think the American fans were just over outnumbered the English fans.

MICHAEL: They might have been a little intimidated. I heard that some of them actually went to a couple of bars in the neighborhood rather than stay here. We did see English fans earlier, but they seemed to strangely disappear.

ROTH: All right. Michael and Aaron, we'll see what happens to the Americans whether they disappear as they unfortunately did at the last World Cup after just three matches. Don, it's all over here in DuPont Circle, a 1-1 usa-England.

LEMON: I say that's a win. Richard, Michael and Aaron. Thanks the all of you. You know, accepting your ideas. The coast guard looking for your solutions to containment, clean up the oil disaster. And this group takes on the BP oil, well, it just goes viral. We'll going to show you the video, it's unbelievable, it's making its way around the internet. If you need a good laugh, you'll going to get it right here. The Upright Citizen's Brigade is going to join us live.


LEMON: Disaster in the gulf has dominated a news this week, not just in the gulf but in Washington, too. Take a listen.


DANIEL BARRON, BP EXPLOSION SURVIVOR: I don't know what people expected the president to do exactly, if they expected him to go down there and wash pelicans or something. But he's the president. He's not someone who cleans beaches. It's important to know, Louisianans to know that we have his support. And I think he's communicated that.

REP. STEVE COHEN, (D), TENNESSEE: BP is going to be known in the future as biggest polluter and they certainly shouldn't be paying dividends to their investors or advertising, because no amount of advertising can cover up the stink and smell that BP has caused in the gulf, in this country, and to their name. THAD ALLEN, ADMIRAL, U.S. COAST GUARD: We're no longer dealing with a large monolithic spill. We're dealing with an aggregation of hundreds of thousands of patches of oil that are going a lot of different directions. And we've had to adapt and we need to adapt to meet that threat.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This will be contained. It may take some time, and it's going to take a whole lot of effort. There is going to be damage done to the gulf coast and there's going to be economic damages that we got to make sure BP is responsible for and compensates people for.

KEITH JONES, FATHER OF VICTIM: We will not know for years what the impact will be on the food chain that affects the entire ecosystem and the productive capability of Louisiana's marshes. This event will not end the day that the oil stops flowing. It will not end literally, as the chairman pointed out, perhaps for years or decades, and we pray not for centuries that we will be looking at this. It will be long after we're gone that people will be study thing event.

ROBERT BARHAM, SECRETARY, LOUISIANA DEPARTMENT OF WILDLIFE & FISHERIES: You heard it and felt it. It was high being in a car accident. You're shaking and the whole rig is moving and things are falling down. And you're hearing people screaming and yelling. It was complete pandemonium.


DON LEMON, CNN NEWS ANCHOR: The world wants to help the Gulf get rid of the oil. Hundreds of tips and ideas have come in. BP has a hotline. And now the federal government has a point man in the Coast Guard to screen your suggestions.

CNN's Pentagon correspondent, Barbara Starr, explains why the government feels it had to step in.


BARBARA STARR, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): You are Mr. 1-800-oil- ideas guy.

CAPT. MATTHEW SISSON, U.S. COAST GUARD: Well, there are lots of people with a lot of ideas.

STARR (voice-over): Captain Matthew Sisson is in charge of reviewing all the ideas the public is giving the Coast Guard on the oil spill and figuring out if the ideas can work.

(on camera): James Cameron, film maker of "Avatar," Kevin Costner the actor testifying before Congress. Schoolchildren coming up with ideas. It seems unprecedented.

SISSON: It is unprecedented. And what we're doing is saying, whether you're a school child or Kevin Costner, we'll take a look at your input. STARR (voice-over): The Coast Guard wants the public, industry and scientists, anybody and everybody to send in their best ideas. They promise a quick response. One reason? There's been a growing feeling BP is not listening.

(on camera): What is the Coast Guard's feeling? Is BP being responsive to the public's ideas?

SISSON: The -- the public that we have responsibility for has given us complaints that they have not been responded to in a timely manner. If there's way to better deploy booms, if there is better material that can be used for oil on the surface or just below it, is there a way to protect the marshes without damaging them, that's what we're looking for.

STARR (voice-over): If you have an idea, log on to, and click here to submit your plan. It will come to this situation room.

SISSON: Let's go to the next page.

STARR: Already, some 400 ideas have been received.

We showed Sisson some of the ideas CNN has been getting. These men say they have a product that can pick up oil.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not any oil left behind on the water or the sand.


SISSON: How it would be deployed, the amount of product that would be necessary, where it could be deployed that wouldn't damage the marsh grasses, those are questions and challenges to be answered.

STARR: Sisson now spends much of his time away from his headquarters in Connecticut and on scene in the gulf.

SISSON: I consider New Orleans my home. The gulf is the most wonderful place in the world to me. And I've never seen it like this.

STARR (on camera): Coast Guard officials say there may not be a magic solution, but they want to hear every idea the public has.

Barbara Starr, CNN, new London, Connecticut.


LEMON: And one gulf coast town isn't waiting for BP or the federal government to protect them from the oil disaster. They have united in an effort to save their community. The mayor joins us live. Plus, this --


SUSAN BURTON, CNN HERO: We all leave prison saying, we're going to make it. I'm going to get my life on track. I'm going to be an asset. I'm going to go to school. I'm going to get job. And if there is not support to do that, it's just not going to happen.


LEMON: Many studies show prison is often a revolving door. But our "CNN Hero" is on a crusade to change that.


LEMON: Magnolia Springs, deep in the Alabama Bayou, off Mobile Bay, along the Magnolia River, even the mail is delivered there by boat. People there have been bracing and planning for the oil slick. They've been doing this for weeks. And if and when it arrives in Mobile Bay, they have a plan to keep the oil from coming up the river into their town. We'll talk about that plan. But getting to this point was not easy.

Charles Howser is the mayor of Magnolia Springs and joins me now from Pensacola.

Mr. Mayor, thank you very much.

BP's initial response was, they were slow to give you money, they wanted to give you boom, you said you wanted more. You wanted some barges, that wasn't adequate enough. So you had to resolve to getting these barges here. How has that effort -- where is that effort now to get the barges?

CHARLES HOWSER, MAYOR OF MAGNOLIA SPRINGS: Well, actually, we are in good position from that standpoint in that we already have the barges. We went on our own. We didn't wait on anyone else. We went ahead with our plan. We were fortunate to secure the funding from the state. Governor Riley did a great job in getting us funding. We have the barges in place. We have half the pass blocked off. And once oil is spotted close by, then we will close it off the rest of the way.

LEMON: Initially, it was just going to be booms. You're in Mobile Bay and the river for your town, where the mail is delivered, is right there off the bay. So you were going to have -- BP wanted to put booms there, but you said that wasn't enough because the water is so choppy and you needed some other protection, so you went in to get barges. There was a fight because it was going to coast a lot of money, right? How much of an effort was it to get this money from BP?

HOWSWER: Well, we were fortunate in that the money that BP gave the state of Alabama, Governor Riley did an amazing thing in that he took the money, that $25 million, gave Mobile County $10 million, gave Owen County $10 million, and then we divided the money up to the municipalities. So Governor Riley made the decision to push it down to the municipality level, which cut out all the bureaucracy. From the time we presented the plan to the governor to the time we had the money was about ten days.

LEMON: 10 days. Let's get this right. Did the money come from BP or the government? HOWSER: BP gave the state an initial round of $25 million.

LEMON: And it came from those funds. Got it.

HOWSER: And it came from those funds.

LEMON: So it was about $200,000, correct?

HOWSER: It was $200,000. And we're about to run out of that. I talked to the governor about four days ago and he's already authorized another $500,000. So that will last us probably four or five months.

LEMON: So that was a fight to get it.

HOWSER: It was.

LEMON: What about the human side? What about the people there who live in your town, what are they feeling about this? How are they feeling?

HOWSER: Well, I think everybody feels the same. I think the way everybody describes it is that your stomach has been tense for about two months now. It's like waiting on a hurricane that just won't arrive. Then when you see what's happening to the beaches in other areas and you see what's happened to Louisiana, it's just heartbreaking. I feel for them. And we're just determined to not let it happen to us.

LEMON: Charles Howser, is the mayor of Magnolia Springs. Best of luck. Let us know -- I'm sure our reporters are going to be down there -- if those barges actually stop that choppy water and stop the oil from coming in. We'd appreciate an update, OK?

HOWSER: Thank you.

LEMON: Thank you and good luck to you.

HOWSER: Thank you.

LEMON: In California, nearly 60 percent of those released from prison end up back behind bars within three years. This week's "CNN Hero" broke that cycle. Once a crack addict and a six-time inmate, Susan Burton got clean and transferred her life. Now she has created a program to help female offenders do the same thing.


LEMON: And sense 1998, Susan Burton has helped more than 400 women get their lives back on track. To see the story of one of her -- of more of her more challenging cases, go to nominate someone, go to, if you think someone is changing the world.

A breast cancer survivor is one of the members of our "Fit Nation" team. She entered a New York City marathon next month. And we'll see first hand how her training is going. And BP, the brunt of a joke, a whole lot of jokes. One group of comedians is leading the charge. They're viral video is the latest sensation on the Internet. They're with us, next.


LEMON: Six CNN viewers will be joining our Dr. Sanjay Gupta next month, competing in the New York City Triathlon. They are all hard at work training for this very demanding race. And we have an update now from Springfield, Ohio, from one of the six, Angie Brohard (ph), who was diagnosed with breast cancer last year.


LEMON: We will continue to follow Angie and other members of Dr. Sanjay Gupta's team as they work hard toward the New York City Triathlon on July 18th.

Out of this disastrous oil spill, a moment of levity. A little laughter. A coffee spill in a conference room turns into an epic failure. We'll speak with the people behind this funny satire.

There they are there, Eric, John and Kate. Wave, hi? We'll talk to you after the break.



LEMON: You want to know what people have been doing at work recently while you're, you know, the boss? Here's what the boss wants to know, what you're doing at work. Here's what they're doing. They're online. There is nothing funny about the oil disaster, polluting the Gulf of Mexico, but BP's efforts to fix, however, it have been fodder for countless jokes.

It's time to take a look at the comedy troupe, called Upright Citizens Brigade. It tackles the BP coffee spill. Take a look.


UNIDENTIFIED COMEDIAN: Best plan of action.



UNIDENTIFIED COMEDIAN: Don't worry about it. It's a small spill on a very large table.

UNIDENTIFIED COMEDIAN: Sir, I think we're underestimating just how much coffee was spilled.

UNIDENTIFIED COMEDIAN: Yes, that's a lot of coffee.

UNIDENTIFIED COMEDIAN: Well, we better hurry up because it's almost reached my laptop.

UNIDENTIFIED COMEDIAN: Calm down. Calm down.

UNIDENTIFIED COMEDIAN: It's also going to destroy all the fish.

UNIDENTIFIED COMEDIAN: Oh, boy. OK. Oh, look at that.

UNIDENTIFIED COMEDIAN: My god, it's encroaching on my map of Louisiana.

UNIDENTIFIED COMEDIAN: OK. I'm sorry. Oh, it's going over.





UNIDENTIFIED COMEDIAN: Wait, wait, wait! I've got a brilliant idea.


UNIDENTIFIED COMEDIAN: OK. Jones, you've got to hurry up. I think the public is getting suspicious.

UNIDENTIFIED COMEDIAN: All set. Damn. Didn't work.



UNIDENTIFIED COMEDIAN: Oh, my god. We are really screwed now.

UNIDENTIFIED COMEDIAN: Look. Garbage will fall into the coffee cups, stopping further spillage.

UNIDENTIFIED COMEDIAN: Now there's just coffee and garbage.

UNIDENTIFIED COMEDIAN: Wait. I've got an idea.

Damn. I really thought that would work.

UNIDENTIFIED COMEDIAN: Well, maybe it doesn't work right away. Let's observe it for three hours and then reassess it.


We just wasted three hours.


LEMON: Kate McKinnon, Eric Tanouye and John Frusciante, they are part of the comedy troupe known as Upright Citizens Brigade. They created that skit. Thanks for joining us.

You know, your video has exploded across the web. Whose idea was it?


ERIC TANOUYE, COMEDIAN: It came out of a group of writers were in a room.

LEMON: Go ahead, John.

JOHN FRUSCIANTE, COMEDIAN: Yes, as Eric was saying, a bunch of us writers were in a room kicking around ideas about what to do about the oil spill. And Tanouye had this idea and we kind of kicked it around and came up with this idea of what if BP executives spill a cup of coffee on their table and have no idea how to clean it up.

LEMON: Do you realize how many people have been watching on computers and in their offices? I was at work and it went around the entire newsroom, the building, and by the time I came here, every one was looking at this.

Eric, is there because there is some truth and the truth is often spoken in jest, is that part of the way you came up with this, imagining what these executives would do if something similar happened to them?

TANOUYE: Definitely. We were thinking how ridiculous it seemed that how they had no idea of cleaning up the spill they made. We were actually in the room where we filmed it, was where we were meeting to write, so we just kind of imagined, what if we spilled coffee on this table and had no way of cleaning it up. We'd have to be pretty incompetent, but there would be coffee everywhere.

LEMON: How long did it take from start to finish, from conception of the idea actually get it out and get it filmed?

TANOUYE: We came up with the idea Friday morning.

FRUSCIANTE: We wrote it over --

TANOUYE: Then we kind of, over the next two days and shot it Monday, Memorial Day.

LEMON: So Kate, I want to get you in here because that's because you, right, with the black wig on?


LEMON: So what was your --

MCKINNON: They just asked me to be in it, I think, because they needed a girl.

(LAUGHTER) But it was wonderful to be a part of. It's the best feeling in the world to make people laugh. But when you can raise awareness and undermine authority while doing that, that's even better.

LEMON: There are a lot of people who are outraged with BP in all of this, and they may look at this -- and I think, you know, by -- this gives him, you know, some degree of satisfaction looking at this thing. You know what, these guys are making BP executives look like idiots, the idiots that they are, John.

FRUSCIANTE: Yes, I think that was part of what we were trying to do was make fun of the BP executives, certainly not the people who have been affected by the disaster, but the people who have caused it and seem to be displaying a complete lack of competence in cleaning it up.

LEMON: Yes. It's called the Upright Citizens Brigade.

Who do you write for? What do you do?


TANOUYE: Well, there's a feeder in New York and Los Angeles. We do live shows, sketch comedy, improv comedy, and make videos for the web site. Used to be We teach classes in comedy. So it's New York and Los Angeles for the live shows and then the web site where anybody else can watch it.

LEMON: What's next for you? You guys going to do anything else when it comes to BP?

FRUSCIANTE: I think we have pretty much said everything we need to say about BP This video is huge.

But the great thing is that UCB Comedy has been doing videos like this for a while now, and we have the best writers and performers and video makers in New York City. So any kind of issue like this that comes up, we will definitely be the first to jump on it and have a similar kind of commentary about it.

LEMON: What are the other ones that you have done?

Kate, you work with the troupe. What are the other ones you've made fun of? And usually, it's this sort of farce, you do parodies, I'm sure?

MCKINNON: Yes. We do parodies and character videos. Usually, they don't end up being as political as this video was. But this was so satisfying, to have an idea and be angry about something, and then have, you know, everyone watch it and love it.

LEMON: Hey, Kate, what's been the response? What are you hearing from people? Because I'm sure they get in touch with you or people come to see you. You probably are not recognized on the street for this, but what's the feedback?

(LAUGHTER) MCKINNON: Maybe soon, they will be walking up to me. Well, no, because I actually have blonde hair, but maybe. We will see.

LEMON: I'm sorry, you will have to repeat that. I couldn't hear you. My producers were talking to me. Say it again.

MCKINNON: I'm so sorry. I said because I have blonde hair, I doubt that anyone will recognize me.


MCKINNON: That's the good thing about wearing a wig.


LEMON: All right, guys. Hey, thank you.

Thanks, Kate.

MCKINNON: Thank you.

LEMON: Thanks John and Eric.

TANOUYE: Thank you.

Good to see you.

FUSCIANTE: Thank you.

LEMON: Sorry about the little delay that we have here. But you guys are very funny. We enjoyed the video, OK?

FUSCIANTE: Thanks so much.

TANOUYE: Thank you.

MCKINNON: Thank you.

LEMON: I'm Don Lemon at the CNN World Headquarters in Atlanta. "THE SITUATION ROOM" begins --