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Dealing With Institutional Racism; Senate Extends Unemployment Benefits

Aired July 20, 2010 - 15:00   ET


RICK SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks so much, Ali. Good to have you back.

Two topics that we're going to be tackling over these next two hours, and they're issues that the United States of America is tackling. They have to do with our money, your money, and a deficit that's being called a cancer.

And then what Ali just mentioned a moment ago: how we as a nation handle institutional racism, institutional racism, how we deal with it. I plan to spend an entire hour today talking about this woman, this USDA woman who resigned after saying that she didn't help a white farmer as much as she could have.

Now, she's been on CNN today explaining her story. You heard Ali go through some of this. If you missed it, because you were at work, you're going to want to hear what she specifically had to say.

Also, wait until you hear what we have also dug up about her past that you did not know about. And was she taken out of context? Did somebody manipulate the editing of her speech? Did the media, the government and the NAACP act irresponsibly or responsibly?

And then this. Which right-wing commentator did the White House name when asking her to resign? Which right-wing commentator did the White House name when asking her to resign? We're answering all of those questions.

But, first, there is some breaking news out of Washington. All right, I want to start with this breaking news, because here's what's going on. Senate Democrats have just broken a Republican filibuster. Mitch McConnell, Senate Republicans were blocking a bill to extend unemployment benefits to nearly two million Americans who have been without a job for six months or longer.

Their benefits were either exhausted or were about to run out. And now it appears they're going to be extended through November, brand-new information just coming in, literally minutes ago.

Jessica Yellin in Washington, how were the Democrats able to get the numbers to break this filibuster that they didn't seem to have last time you and I were talking about this?

JESSICA YELLIN, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Rick. Yes, as you say, this has been a huge fight between Democrats and Republicans. They broke the filibuster, Democrats did, because they just got a new senator. Senator Carte Goodwin of West Virginia was just sworn in this afternoon. And a half-an-hour later, the Democrats had this vote and they got the 60 votes they needed to pass that threshold to move this bill forward for final passage.

Carte Goodwin, as a side note, is temporarily taking the seat that Senator Robert Byrd vacated of West Virginia when he died, Rick.

SANCHEZ: Why were the Republicans holding this up?

YELLIN: So, the Republicans have been arguing that they want to extend unemployment insurance benefits, but only if it's paid for. As you know, Americans consider the deficit and the mounting spending one of their top concerns. And Republicans really see that as a campaign issue they can win on by trying to stop this government from, in their view, spending too much.

Here is Senator Mitch McConnell speaking just a few minutes ago about his views on unemployment insurance and the fight with the White House.


SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MINORITY LEADER: He went out of his way to misrepresent the position of Senate Republicans. I don't know anybody who's not in favor of extending unemployment.

But I would remind you that the president just last November, when we did a previous extension of unemployment insurance, that it was done in a responsible way and it was paid for.


YELLIN: So, he was being critical of the president's remarks when the president said Republicans don't want to help unemployed folks.

Rick, this is a tricky political situation because polls show the majority of Americans do support extending unemployment benefits. Depending how you ask it, 52 percent to 60 percent support it. At the same time, concerns over the federal budget deficit and federal spending are one of Americans' top concerns. So, the two sides are walking a tightrope on this one, Rick.

SANCHEZ: Let me go back to something we raised yesterday after we watched the president's speech. It's this. What about the Republican argument that it's OK to add to the deficit if you're cutting taxes, supposedly, for the wealthy?

Here's what Jon Kyl says -- quote -- "My view and I think most of the people in my party don't believe that you should ever have to offset a tax cut."

So, this becomes an argument as to whether it's OK to increase the deficit one way, but not another way, and, as we know, both parties go in different directions on this. Is this a potential problem for Republicans down the road?

YELLIN: It's a problem. This is one of those things that's in the eye of the beholder. And they're almost only preaching to the people who already agree with them.

Democrats think this smacks of hypocrisy. How can you cut taxes and not count that as spending? Republicans say two things. One, taxes aren't money you have. Taxes, you can't expect to already have that. You have to take it in from working people. And, so, it's not adding to the deficit. It just didn't exist until you took it in.

And, two, if you cut taxes, they say they believe it stimulates growth and then you get more in the end. So, those are different philosophies of politics, economics. And it's one of those things maybe you're not going to convince many people to see it your way if you don't already.

SANCHEZ: Jessica Yellin with breaking news out of Washington as usual as it happens.

Now this: an explosive accusation against the White House. Fired government worker now says the Obama administration harassed her. And at the center of this entire controversy is race. This is the video that sparked the entire thing.

Shirley Sherrod is seen telling an audience that she didn't give a white farmer all the help he needed because he was white and acting superior. Now, that's practically a textbook case of institutional racism, right? But does it tell the whole story? She says the White House forced her out. Fair, unfair?

Here's what Sherrod told CNN's Tony Harris today.


SHIRLEY SHERROD, FORMER USDA OFFICIAL: Why am I out? They asked me to resign. And, in fact, they harassed me as I was driving back to the state office from West Point, Georgia, yesterday. I had at least three calls telling me the White House wanted me to resign.

TONY HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: So the pressure came from the White House?

SHERROD: And the last one asked me to pull over to the side of the road and do it.

HARRIS: Are you willing to name names?

SHERROD: And that's exactly what I did.

HARRIS: Are you willing to name names?

SHERROD: Pardon?

HARRIS: Are you willing to name names?

SHERROD: Oh, I can tell you, that was Cheryl Cook, the deputy undersecretary. She called me and said -- because she called me, and I said, "Cheryl, I have got a three and a half hour ride to get into Athens." She called me a second time, "Where are you now?" I said, "I'm just going through Atlanta."

She called me again and I said, "I'm at least 45 minutes to an hour from Athens." She said, "Well, Shirley, they want you to pull over to the side of the road and do it because you're going to be on Glenn Beck tonight."


SANCHEZ: Yes, of course we're calling Ms. Cook, as we are with many others involved in this story. Just ahead on the LIST, we're going to tell you what else she said during that speech. We're also going to say what she claims she meant to say, and what we have learned exclusively about her past that may shock you. You won't hear this anywhere else. That's just ahead.

Also, no new leaks from the underwater well. So, now BP wants to try a static kill option. What is it? And is it too risky? That's next on the LIST. Your national conversation continues.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, Rick. This is Richard Roy (ph) from Whitehall, Montana.

There's still no jobs out there. And I think you guys even know that. But all these pinheads that say, oh, well, if we turn around and give them more unemployment, they won't look for a job, I have been looking for damn near two years, and I wish I could find one.


SANCHEZ: Welcome back to your national conversation. I'm Rick Sanchez.

At the very top of our follow-up list now, BP is considering a new option for permanently sealing the well. And it is a variation of attempts that have, well, failed before. It is called static kill this time. And it would involve pumping mud into this well. The mud would then force the oil back into the reservoir.

Now, I know what you're probably thinking or saying. Hey, Rick, haven't we tried similar things before? Why would it work this time? Well, it's different. BP believes it might succeed because pressure in the well is lower than it was before, and certainly lower than what was expected at this point.

I want to show you how this theory would work. Yesterday, around this time, we were talking about BP finishing up some of the testing. Now, there, in fact, is the area that they would re-plug, so to speak. They're able to do this now because, as you can see, there's not the same kind of pressure, the same kind of hydrates, the same kind of methane that was pouring out of that pipe you see right there several weeks ago when we first attempted this. So, that's the difference.

That's why they think, without as much pressure, they may be able to actually reach equilibrium and stabilize this. The man in charge, Admiral Thad Allen, didn't provide details about how big the seepage was. But we do know that it was detected less than two miles away. So, it doesn't seem to be as big of a concern.

Now, due to the uncertainty of the results in this testing, the government and BP have, as we have reported, decided to extend the test for another 24 hours. So, some time during this newscast, we may get word that they have finished those tests and that the 24-hour period has been exhausted.

Again, we expect to hear from Admiral Allen in about 20 minutes. And, as I say that, let's check the Twitter board, if we possibly can. We have got something coming in right now, operational update. Here we go, BP sending this saying: "Well integrity testing continues. Pressure has reached 6,825 PSI." That's not very different from what it was yesterday. "No oil is flowing into the Gulf."

So, that's two days in a row we have seen the continuation of that. That was sent by BP today, what am I reading from here, about three hours ago. As that changes, we will update.

Now this: heroin, cocaine, Mexican drug cartels, Wachovia? How the bank that may be counting your money may be tied to the deaths of 22,000 people -- 22,000 people. That's ahead.

Also, he's visiting the White House for the very first time since becoming the leader of Britain, one of America's strongest allies. Wait until you hear who British Prime Minister David Cameron is expected to meet tonight, after his one-on-one with President Obama. That's next right here on your national conversation. This is RICK'S LIST.


SANCHEZ: Welcome back. We have got an update I need to share with you right now.

You know, Shirley Sherrod has been saying all along that, in fact, she was a victim of government officials who may very well have jumped to conclusions. Well, she goes on to say that it was the White House who asked her to step aside. And they say it was because some right-wing commentator, according to the White House, was going with this story.

So, who answers to this now, if they jumped the gun? We have been trying to find out all day, just like we have been asking a lot of other questions about what's really going on with her past. And some of the information that we have found out will shock you. But here's what we have just learned. Just got this information moments ago. In fact, I'm going to read it right off of my laptop. It now appears -- and our Washington folks are confirming this -- that it will be, in fact, Tom Vilsack. Tom Vilsack, as you know, is the secretary of agriculture. He's the one who ultimately made the decision to ask her to step down, if in fact that's the way it played out. We will get more response from him.

We're now being told that it will not be a public official from the department who will step before the cameras and speak. He himself will address this issue soon. Let me read on, likely, a statement coming from him. We expect that he may be talking from Ohio because he is on the road at the time.

So, Tom Vilsack is now going to be the person who will address this issue involving Shirley Sherrod. We are going to be all over this story.

There's another part of the story I want to bring you up to date on. She, Shirley Sherrod, used to work for the USDA in Georgia, says it was the White House who forced her to resign after a speech surfaced where she said she didn't help that white farmer as much as she could have.

Here's the question now that a lot of people are asking. Was she taken out of context? Did someone manipulate the editing of the speech? I mean, the question to her that I believe has not yet been asked is, what would we have heard on the speech that would have recessed you or that would have made people understand that that was not your intent to sound, as you have been accused, of institutional racism?

Did the Tea Party's fight with the NAACP play into this scenario? These are the questions that many Americans are asking. You're asking them as well because I'm reading your tweets. And I now see 2,500 of them coming in just in the last hour.

We're going to try and answer some of these questions for you. And we have also got exclusive details about her past. Take a listen to what she told, though, Tony Harris. This is earlier today.


SHERROD: The NAACP has not tried to contact me one time, and they are the reason why this happened. They got into a fight with the Tea Party, and all of this came out as a result of that.

HARRIS: Your reaction...

SHERROD: I would have appreciated -- when you look at my history of civil rights, I would have appreciated having the NAACP at least contact me, and Roland Martin, too, contact me to try to get the truth about what happened.

(END VIDEO CLIP) SANCHEZ: All right, I want to let you know a couple of things. We have reached out to Roland Martin, obviously, frequent guest on this newscast, and we will talk to him and have him -- give him a chance to answer what Ms. Sherrod has said.

Also, as far as the NAACP goes, let me bring you up to date on this development in this continually moving story. This is a statement on Shirley Sherrod.

"The NAACP is now conducting an investigation into the recent revelations about the situation with Ms. Shirley Sherrod, including attempting to speak with Ms. Sherrod." So, now they're going to talk to her.

Remember, she's saying, well, why didn't you talk to me yesterday before you put out these statements? She's saying, why didn't you get my side of the story? They're also going to talk to the farmer in question. And they also are now getting the full video of her speech, not just edited portions of it, but the full video of the speech. What will we learn from that? They go on to say they're following a full and comprehensive process, and then they will issue an updated statement. Then they will issue an updated statement.

Here it is, NAACP. Obviously, we're going to be all over this and we expect to be able to talk to them as well. We're planning a one-hour special, a one-hour special at 4:00. RICK'S LIST at 4:00 will be a one-hour special on this issue.

And we will play more of the interview in that next hour. We're finding out a lot more about the woman at the center of this firestorm. Her story is fascinating, by the way, and it could change the way you look at this entire incident, either in one direction or the other, depending on what information you pay close attention to. That's at 4:00.

Also, mark your calendars. Afghanistan's president says the country will be ready to handle its own security by 2014. Really? We will drill down on that for you as well. That's next on your LIST.

We will be right back.


SANCHEZ: Hey. Welcome back to RICK'S LIST. Welcome back to RICK'S LIST. I'm Rick Sanchez.

Let's do this, Robert. Give me a shot of Eric Cantor's tweet. We just got this a little while ago. Here's Eric Cantor. "Whether it's the stimulus, health care, regulatory reform or unemployment benefits, President Obama never wants to pay for anything."

So, that's the shot from the right, somewhat expected. Eric Cantor, as you know, is the GOP whip.

Now to international news. This international donors conference that we have been following for you, it's been taking place in Kabul. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has been there. Let me bring you up to date on the headlines on this. This is -- I believe this is significant for America overseas.

The big headline, President Hamid Karzai says that Afghanistan is determined to be responsible for its own security by 2014. So, there's the date. Mark it on your calendar, 2014. But Mrs. Clinton says U.S. involvement in Afghanistan will continue after that in transition.

Now, here's something else that's interesting. Just today, in fact, just a little while ago, we were monitoring this. President Obama met with British Prime Minister David Cameron. And he said both countries' interests are aligned in Afghanistan.

But here's the question: Is public opinion now turning against the war, not just from the left, as we have seen in the past, but from big-time conservatives like Richard Haas, who's saying the war in Afghanistan is not worth it?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: At this time, she will be remanded to serve her sentence. And the court is going to order that there be no house arrest, no electronic monitoring, no work release, and no work parole.


SANCHEZ: Yes, that's an international story in and of itself, because everyone seems to be talking about it as well in Europe. Look at how far this star has fallen. That's Lindsay Lohan. Today, she spends her very first day behind bars, the start of a 90-day sentence. The drama in the courtroom, that's ahead.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I had a person stop in my driveway, a motorcycle. I thought they was broke down. I hollered at them. And they said, no, we're OK, but there's a gaiter in your yard.


SANCHEZ: Yes, there was. And the story gets even better from there, folks, and why it's in "Foots." Where else? That's next right here on the LIST.

Come back, will you? We will be there in two.


SANCHEZ: Well, you have heard of jumping the shark, right? Well, we have got jumping the cow. "Foots."

I loved this video when I found it last night. Had to share it with you. You have heard of the average bullfight. Well, this is no average bullfight. We jump over bulls. We don't kill them. It's not only a twist, a jump, a turn, a flip. You get the point. It's an actual sport.

They call it (SPEAKING FRENCH). And it's been going on for more than 150 years in the South of France. Yes, I probably butchered the pronunciation.

Generally, we stay away from UFO stories, but these pictures are irresistible. Amateur video claims to capture these lights in the sky over China, and the video suddenly goes viral. No little green men here, though. Analysts from MIT said some of the pictures were likely Photocopied and that others appeared to be Chinese ballistic missile launches.

How's this for a lawn ornament? Ornery is more like it. Needless to say, the homeowner was surprised.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I had a person stop in my driveway, a motorcycle. I thought they was broke down. I hollered at them. And they said, no, we're OK, but there's a gaiter in your yard.


SANCHEZ: Hey, there's a gaiter in your yard. It took eight sheriff's deputies and several Department of Wildlife workers to subdue the riled-up reptile.

In case you ever want to look at these "Foots" again, you can find them on my blog. And that is


SHERROD: I have done more to advance the causes of civil rights in this area than some of them who are sitting in those positions now with the NAACP.

They need to learn something about me. They need to know about my work. They need to know what I have contributed through the years.


SANCHEZ: Well, guess what? The NAACP has fired back. We've learned they are, in fact, going to relearn about her. Vilified, she was, by the NAACP, fired from her government job all because of a speech she made that seemed to suggest -- or did suggest -- she discriminated against a white farmer who was acting "superior," her words.

More of her emotional response and reaction from the farmer's family, that's ahead. You'll hear it for yourself.

Also, dressed in camo, armed with rifles, ready to protect the Arizona border. Just one problem -- they're tied to a neo-Nazi group. Brooke Baldwin has been keeping track on this trending story. That's next right here on your national conversation. This is "RICK'S LIST." See you after the break. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SANCHEZ: Trending stories now, on patrol in the Arizona desert, some activists say the federal government isn't doing enough deal with illegal immigration. Brooke Baldwin's been following this for us. It's one of the big trenders. This makes some people nervous. Tell us why.

BALDWIN: It all sort of has to do with this big, new immigration law in Arizona, right? That's sort of the start of the story. Some people say, look, this law is not far-reaching enough.

There's this one man, Harry Hughes, and several others live near the border in Arizona. They participate in "illegal immigration patrol." That's with the leader Hughes is terming it on his blog. Walk with me. I want to show you this blog.

We pulled it up. And you can actually see some of the pictures of his blog, just another day. And I e-mailed with him and indeed verified this was his blog. You can see different pictures. I'm not going to show you some of these immigrants. But I want to show you different border patrol called in. He's wearing camo. He is armed.

He goes on and on and posts a bunch of news stories about what he's doing on the border. In fact, he blogged about one of his recent trips. This is the blog from July 16th. I want to read this to you. He's boasting about what he and some of these members of this militia group are doing.

"There are 11 less illegal aliens in this country thanks to us. We are doing the job the federal government refuses to do." \ So, back up. Who is Harry Hughes? Some are calling him a neo- Nazi, though Hughes refutes that claim. In fact, he declined our offer to appear on the show. But he did e-mail me back. In fact, he told me he does definitely identify as a member of the National Socialist movement.

And if you're familiar with that, some define that as a group -- it's a hate group who believe only non-Jewish, white heterosexuals should be American citizens. In his words, Rick, he said it's a white civil rights group often referred to as a hate group by those who oppose them.

SANCHEZ: National Socialist, last time I saw my history book, it means Nazi, it means Hitler, it means circa 1940s, right?


SANCHEZ: So he's saying he's not a neo-Nazi, just a Nazi?

BALDWIN: He's not saying either, Rick Sanchez.

SANCHEZ: Well, I mean -- "I'm a National Socialist but I'm not a neo-Nazi." That means to me, "I'm a Nazi." All right, moving on, is there a problem here with -- I understand somebody protecting their property, as well they should. I don't want people trespassing through my property and I have a right to protect my property.

If he was the homeowner on that land, I would understand it. But is he within his legal rights to walk into any part of the United States and arrest people? Does he have arrest authority?

BALDWIN: Instinctually, that's the question. How in the world can this be legal? In fact, it is legal. He's patrolling and these members are patrolling in the dessert. This is public land.

I spoke with local law enforcement. Arizona is a loose gun state, meaning they can indeed arm themselves. I talked to one of the sheriffs in this county. It's actually the number one pass-through county for drug-smugglers. He told me this group -- he's standing by his claim this group is driven by bigotry and hate. It's a group of four to eight men, and he says they're just looking for trouble. Listen.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Even though they're professing to be trying to do something good, they're driven and motivated by hate. And that's wrong. He's not defending his home. He's not defending his person. He is intentionally going out there looking for trouble.


BALDWIN: Now, I'm going to walk back over and we'll just continue the conversation this way. But it's interesting, because Sheriff Favor has been very outspoken, if you've been following the media, reading how he's quoted, he's been very outspoken when it comes to this law.

And I should get this in there that last week he appeared on what some see as a white nationalist radio program defending this Arizona law. But I have been told by the press person that Favor did not know about the station's beliefs, strongly opposes them.

But bottom line, he said, look, the way to solve what's going on at the border, we need more military down there, not members of this whatever people want to call it -- neo-Nazi, militant, social -- this movement on the border.

SANCHEZ: It's almost like sometimes even if your intentions are good, you have to be careful who you align yourself with. My father always said to me, you become who you hang around with. So be careful who you hang around with.

BALDWIN: And they're flirting with the law. If they go any farther, talking about potential kidnapping, detaining potentially these illegal immigrants, and that is breaking the law.

SANCHEZ: Good stuff. Thanks for bringing it to us. By the way, you and I are going to be covering together at 4:00 -- and I've said this a couple of times. I want to bring it back to people's attention. We're going to do a special report today at 4:00. Instead of just doing "RICK'S LIST," we are going to dedicate the entire hour to this unbelievable story involving Shirley Sherrod.

And we asked you to do a little digging for us. What you have found out just from the conversations you and I had in the hallway a little while ago is phenomenal.

You heard me on the phone and I kept saying, wow, wow. I was talking to this former attorney of this huge historic parcel of black farming land in Georgia. It dates back to the '60s, grown out of the civil rights movements

It's about Shirley Sherrod's farm and how she was the victim of a minority discrimination lawsuit. And you will not believe who had to pay millions of dollars that she just got three months ago.

SANCHEZ: Is it true -- and I'll just put this on the record now and you can give us details later -- that her father was killed by a racist?

BALDWIN: By a member of the Klan in 1965.

SANCHEZ: Wow. Thank you so much. I'm very much looking forward to some of these new developments at 4:00.

Meanwhile, take a look at this -- former O.J. attorney Robert Shaper should be used to circus-like cases and high-maintenance clients. So did he drop Lindsay Lohan just hours before today's hearing? That's ahead.

And also, we've got a heck of a story for you. The link between one of America's most famous banks and the bloodshed in Mexico -- what Wachovia knew about moving drug money and how the whole too-big-to- fail debate apparently played a role in this investigation. This is incredible, folks. It's coming up as "The List" scrolls on.


SANCHEZ: Shirley Sherrod has said that the Department of Agriculture was pressured by the White House to ask her to resign. That's essentially what she told my colleague, Tony Harris, earlier today.

We've been waiting for government to respond to her accusations, and we just got that in, in the form of a statement. We expect we might get more.

But here's the first statement as I read it to you, literally fresh off the press. This is from Tom Vilsack, Agriculture Secretary for the United States of America.

"Yesterday, I asked for and accepted Ms. Sherrod's resignation for two reasons. First, for the past 18 months we have been working to turn a page on the sordid civil rights record at the USDA and this controversy could make it more difficult to move forward on correcting injustices.

Second, state rule development directors are often called to use their discretion. The controversy surrounding her comments would create situations where her decisions, rightly or wrongly, would be called into question, making it difficult for her to bring jobs to Georgia."

Now, remember, Ms. Sherrod is saying here on CNN, if you took it in context, if you listen to the totality of what I actually said in this speech and not just the edited portions of it, you would understand that I was trying to make a point that says discrimination is not good.

But the USDA, her boss, Tom Vilsack, secretary of a agriculture, does not appearing to be buying that or even giving her reconsideration. Why? Let me read on.

"Our policy is clear," he writes, "There is zero tolerance for discrimination at USDA and we strongly condemn any act of discrimination against any person. We have a duty to ensure that when we provide services to the American people, we do so in an equitable manner.

But equally important is our duty to instill confidence in the American people that we are fair service providers." This comes from a Stephanie Chan, press secretary, press assistant office of communication, U.S. Department of Agriculture. It says here "A statement by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack."

We just got this. It's the reaction to the accusation from Shirley Sherrod saying, look, I was taken out of context. If you listen to me in totality, you will understand I was trying to say something else. Reconsider your decision.

We just reported the NAACP is apparently reconsidering. We'll hear from them soon. As far as the government goes, it doesn't look like they are.

We'll be right back.


SANCHEZ: We're getting a lot of people talking about this Shirley Sherrod story. A lot of you saying she's falsely accused. Some of you saying, no, she should have been fired. So back and forth we go. We'll continue bringing you the details. They are still coming in, folks.

Now, it's time to check the list of the most intriguing people in the news on this day.

This guy's one of those Hollywood lawyers you probably heard about first during the O.J. Simpson trial in the mid 90s. Now he either is or isn't part of team Lindsay Lohan depending on the day of the week.

This from his office just a couple of days ago -- "I have agreed to represent Ms. Lohan on the condition she complies with all the terms of her probation. She is suffering from a disease that I am all too familiar with."

Show them, Toga? It's celebrity lawyer Robert Shaper. His son died from substance abuse five years ago, and Lindsay Lohan reportedly stayed in a sober living house that he founded.

Well, today, Shaper says he is no longer Lohan's lawyer and never really was to begin with. Lindsay Lohan went to jail today. And her on-and-off lawyer, Robert Shaper, is today, the most intriguing person in the news.

If you're not up on your celebrity news, I don't know, then, what to say to you. But this is a story that people all over the country and really all over the world have been following. Lindsay Lohan has captivated the imagination of court-watchers these days.

We have Kareen Wynter who has been following it. She is here to join us now to bring us up to date on what is going on. Is she officially behind bars, Kareen?

KAREEN WYNTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's correct, Rick. I believe your excellent team of producers told us you do have Lindsay Lohan's mug-shot. She was booked a short time ago. She was booked about 15 miles from where I'm standing. This is the Beverly Hills courthouse where Lohan was forced to surrender this morning. The judge remanded her into custody.

It was such a media frenzy, just a crush of photographers as the actress was filing into court. At one point, Rick, there was actually graffiti that was thrown at her.

She after arriving ten minutes late for court made her way out, and she was handcuffed right there in court. It was judge's orders. So the cameras essentially had to go black. The bars went up because the judge wanted to respect her privacy. So she was handcuffed.

Get this, at one point she was nudged a little bit, pushed a little bit, as if to say, uh-uh, you're not getting any special treatment from us. They led her out. Her dad, Michael Lohan, yelled at, "Lindsay, we love you." So she is serving her time now.

SANCHEZ: So this young actress who I read is immensely talented, but, still, she's an actress. Why has her case, her story, her lack of self-control so captured the imagination of people who follow the story all over the world? What is it about this really not so abnormal situation? People go to court and get in trouble for things all the time.

WYNTER: The rules of the game change I think when you're famous, you're a celebrity. People think you're untouchable. You're held on this huge pedestal. And when you fall from grace, it's like everyone is surprised, from your fans to the public. And so you're watching so closely. You're always under the microscope.

I think in Lindsay Lohan's situation, the reason people are so intrigued by this is this is a young woman who started off her career on a high note with "Mean Girls." She was an overnight sensation. And to see her spiral out of control.

And this is not what's happening legally the last couple weeks or months. It's been going on for a while, Rick. People have just been fascinated as to what went wrong here.

SANCHEZ: Is she playing this? Is she playing this role of bad girl, or is this all just happening around her without any of her control?

WYNTER: In all seriousness, when you hear from Robert Shaper and the statement he put out, Lindsay's dad, Michael Lohan, she clearly has an illness, whether it's drugs or alcohol, and she needs help. She needs rehab. That's why the judge sentenced her to 90 days rehab. That's why she spent the last several days in Robert Shaper's sober house.

And so there is definitely something going on there. The DUI offenses. She was busted for possession of cocaine. So she definitely needs help here.

What is interesting, I spoke with director of upcoming film Matthew Wilder. He's directing "Inferno" about a '70s porn star. He said this young woman is so misunderstood, so immensely talented. She does have issues she needs to contend to. And once this all dies down and she's released, you're going to see her make a spectacular comeback.

So I don't think she's trying to be a Hollywood bad girl. I think she's fallen off and gotten into the wrong crowd, and she really needs some intervention here and it will be crucial to how she comes out at the end of all this.

SANCHEZ: Thank you for that report. So many people are interested.

By the way, so many people tweeting about this as well. Take a look at this. To the twitter board we go. Robert, take us there. "The only bookings I'm familiar with are Disney films. I never thought I would be booking into jail. Ekes."

She said that about 17 hours ago. We thought it was interesting enough to share with you. That's Lindsay Lohan tweeting before she goes to jail.

A lot more ahead, including our special hour dedicated to race relations in the United States. Given what's going on with this most talked about story concerning Shirley Sherrod. Developments are still coming in. This is your national conversation. I'm Rick Sanchez and this is "RICK'S LIST."

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) SANCHEZ: More new information coming in not only on Shirley Sherrod's situation and her accusations against the Obama administration and the Department of Agriculture, saying that they jumped the gun. They essentially judged her before they had all the information -- more on that in just a moment.

But first, we have just learned -- if you could, Roger, give me a shot of the -- the underwater shots we've been getting on the leak in the Gulf of Mexico. Thanks, man.

The new information we just learned from Thad Allen, the incident commander in the Gulf, that they are now going to prolong the waiting time another 24 hours.

Remember yesterday at this time you were on the air and I told you they were going to extend it 24 hours? Not necessarily because they saw any bad leaks they were concerned about, but they wanted to be able to go to Houston, get together with all the experts and look at all the data and make sure they're not missing anything.

Well, now they're coming back 24 hours after that 24-hour extension and apparently adding another 24-hour extension. Exactly why, we don't know at this point. But obviously as we get more information on this we will be sharing it with you.

I should say, though, to not cause any alarm, that everything we've been seeing today and yesterday -- in fact, over the last 48 hours, everything we've been seeing out of the gulf of Mexico has been positive, and it has given us reason to be optimistic that things look like they're under control.

The question is, is this something that is going to last? And that's what I think the government is trying to answer for us. So new information, with so many of our reporters there in the Gulf of Mexico, we will bring it to you.

OK, now, the story involving Shirley Sherrod. She went on the air today after being shown on television yesterday as someone who had used institutional racism when she said she didn't do all she could do for a white farmer who was acting superior to her. Those are her words.

And when many people heard those words they decided to act out against her, among those, the NAACP, also, her own bosses at the Department of Agriculture.

Two updates on this story now that I want to bring you up to date on. First, the NAACP, after hearing what she said today which is, wait a minute, that wasn't the full text of my speech. Somebody edited it. Somebody took out the part where I said I was trying to make a point that said racism isn't good.

The NAACP is now saying they are conducting an investigation into the recent revelations -- stay with me here. The NAACP is conducting an investigation in the recent revelations about the situation with Ms. Shirley Sherrod including the attempt to speech with Ms. Sherrod. They're essentially saying, you're right, we didn't talk to you the first time. We're going to talk to you now.

The farmer in question, the farmer who is now saying, wait a minute, this woman is one of my best friends. We're friends for life, and she's the reason we didn't lose our farm. The farmer she was talking about in the speech. You'll hear that, by the way, coming up in a couple minutes.

And also the NAACP will view the full video, which they haven't viewed, the video of her speech. So following a full and comprehensive process we will issue an updated statement, says the NAACP, this after reprimanding her yesterday.

Then there's the government. Have you seen this? Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack is now coming out and saying, no, our policy is clear. We have zero tolerance for discrimination at the USDA, and we strongly condemn any act of discrimination against any person.