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Fleeing Libya by the Thousands; Stocks Jump on Jobs Optimism; Firefighters Fight for Pensions; Budget Battle in Ohio; How Budget Cuts Could Affect You; U.S. Supreme Court Rules Military Funeral Protests OK

Aired March 3, 2011 - 11:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN ANCHOR: Live from Studio 7, I'm Suzanne Malveaux. I want to get you up to speed for Thursday, March 3rd.

Moammar Gadhafi bombs a Libyan oil town for a second day today. The port of Brega is home to Libya's second largest oil facility. Gadhafi forces tried to retake the town yesterday, but rebels pushed them out.

And this amateur video shows the desperate fight on a beach near Brega that became a battleground.

(GUNFIRE)

MALVEAUX: One of Gadhafi's buddies now is offering his help. Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez wants to send an international mediation team to Tripoli to find a way to end this conflict. Already, one rebel faction says no negotiations.

And the Libyan crisis push gas prices up another four pennies overnight. AAA says a gallon of regular costs $4.43 on average, nationwide. That is 20 cents a gallon higher than just two weeks ago.

And a German official says that the Frankfurt Airport shooting suspect deliberately targeted American troops. The official calls the man a recently radicalized Muslim. Police say the young suspect from Kosovo opened fire on an airport shuttle, killing two U.S. airmen.

And a Pakistani court ruled today that CIA contractor Raymond Davis does not have diplomatic immunity. Davis is accused of killing two Pakistani men in late January, and the Obama administration argues that Davis is a diplomat and cannot be prosecuted. A second court and Pakistan's foreign minister are still considering this case.

And Rhode Island teachers are ranting over termination letters. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED GROUP: No more! No more! No more!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MALVEAUX: The school board fired all 2,000 Providence teachers last week. Most are going to be called back, but the exact number of layoffs will be determined after the budget is worked out for the next term.

And actor Mickey Rooney is pushing Congress to strengthen protections for the elderly. The 90-year-old Hollywood legend says his stepson abused him physically and financially.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICKEY ROONEY, ACTOR: I'm asking you to stop this elderly abuse. I mean to stop it now. Not tomorrow, not next month, but now.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MALVEAUX: Rooney's stepson denies ever abusing Rooney. Next hour, I'm going to talk with an expert on the growing problem of elderly abuse.

And one of the world's biggest mysteries could have been solved, but it wasn't. DNA tests of bone fragments found on a Pacific Island cannot be linked to pilot Amelia Earhart. Earhart vanished in 1937 while trying to fly around the world.

Well, the clock is ticking on the NFL labor dispute. The collective bargaining agreement between the players and owners expires in just a few hours, and if no deal is reached, next season could be cancelled.

Our Carol Costello, she is here with us.

Carol, you're a huge football fan. I know you're a huge football fan.

COSTELLO: Life could end as I know it.

MALVEAUX: This could be devastating for you!

COSTELLO: I know.

MALVEAUX: Tell me. People are going to "Talk Back." What's going to happen?

COSTELLO: Well, here's the question.

You know, want to see a nasty union fight? It's not in Wisconsin or Ohio. It's between the lines, between the millionaires and the billionaires of the National Football League.

With a midnight deadline looming, the players and owners are still far apart on a collective bargaining agreement. The sticking point, how to share the proofs in a multibillion-dollar industry.

Right now the NFL takes in about $9 billion. Owners take $1 billion off the top, and they split the remaining $8 billion, 60/40, in favor of the players. The owners say they can't afford that anymore. They want $2 billion off the top, and no more multimillion-dollar long-term contracts for rookies.

The players union says phooey. And it says one more thing -- we don't want to play 18 games.

You have to admit, this drama beats what's going down in the heartland, especially in dollars. The average salary for a Wisconsin teacher, about $50,000. Average salary for an NFL player, $1.1 million.

So, "Talk Back" today: Do you care if there's an NFL lockout? Do you care if there's an NFL lockout?

Facebook.com/CarolCNN. I'll read your comments later this hour.

MALVEAUX: All right, Carol. I know you care. I know you care.

COSTELLO: Well, you think that this doesn't affect the fan, but when you have to pay $95 for one adult ticket to a Jets game, it's affecting fans, these high salaries and all of this money. I'm sorry, we're affected, too, by all of this.

MALVEAUX: Yes, absolutely.

COSTELLO: With the NFL.

MALVEAUX: Let's see how -- we'll see how it goes. All right. Thanks, Carol.

Here's a look at what is ahead "On the Rundown."

A live report on refugees crowded along the Libyan border.

A mother charged with attacking a child on a school bus.

Also, budget reality check, what is on the chopping block.

And a basketball player kicked off a team for having sex?

And finally, Lady Gaga on being in the spotlight.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LADY GAGA, SINGER: It's all about your peers, it's about people that you respect. It's about knowing your own strength artistically.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MALVEAUX: More bombs being dropped today on opposition-held towns in Libya. It means that there are more people also who are fleeing. The U.N. high commissioner for refugees reports some 150 million people have left so far. Some of them are crossing into Tunisia and Egypt, but several thousands are fleeing to a tiny Italian island.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LISA SYLVESTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Crossing what's known as the Sicilian Channel, would-be migrants from North Africa are arriving by the boatloads, escaping the violence that has swept across Tunisia, Egypt, and now Libya, hoping for a new home in Europe.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): All of us, we are not asking for anything. We only ask for a possibility to find work in Europe.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How did you get here?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On a boat. Twenty-five hours on a boat.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How many were on the boat?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I don't know. There were 150 people with us.

SYLVESTER: Thousands of North Africans have arrived at the tiny Italian island of Lampedusa in the last two weeks. The island is only about 180 miles from Libya's capital, Tripoli. The U.N. refugee agency says the processing facility there has been inundated.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MALVEAUX: Now, aid agencies warn of a growing humanitarian crisis, especially on Libya's border with Tunisia.

Our Becky Anderson is in the middle of all of this.

And Becky, give us a sense of, what is the situation where you are at that border crossing?

BECKY ANDERSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Well, it's much calmer, Suzanne, and much more organized, thanks to the efforts of the aid agencies here and, indeed, the Tunisian army. They've done an absolutely amazing job.

I mean, a couple days ago, what's called no-man's-land, which is about two minutes from here, obviously just this side of the Tunisian border, was absolute chaos. Now, things are calmer for sure, but what you've got is tens of thousands of young male migrant workers who are poor. They are hungry, and they are very, very long way from home.

MALVEAUX: And Becky, give us a sense of what you are seeing there.

ANDERSON: Yes. All right.

I mean, what you see behind me is people who have been here probably for three, four, five days. You've had some Nepalese being bused out today. You've got Bangladeshis, some 5,000 Bangladeshis, who haven't actually made it over the border. They are sort of sitting in no man's land.

The government apparently doing absolutely nothing for them. And we are being told that the U.N. is concerned that there may be a cholera outbreak there.

What you're seeing on the ground effectively is -- I hope we've got a short report. Have a look at this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: Well, they may have got some food, but as you can see, very few people have got any accommodation. There has been 100,000 people over this border since February the 20th. They've got some 20,000 here, and as far as the eye can see. The U.N. has sent up a tent accommodation further down the road, but these guys really have got very little at this point, and they are still getting, they say, some 10,000 a day coming through.

It's more of a trickle at this point in the day than it has been in the past couple of days. But this is a logistical crisis which the U.N. says could become an absolute catastrophe.

Here, on the Tunisian border, it's got to be said, these guys are calm. Aren't they? I mean, things have gotten a lot more organized.

But the question is this: How do we get all of these guys home? That is what the U.N. is struggling with at the moment, and that is why they need more help.

Egypt Air sending some 20 flights a day from an airport which is about two-and-a-half hours away from here. But this is going to take an awful long time. And meanwhile, the hope is, of course, these guys are going to stay calm.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: Yes. And, Suzanne, those, of course, are just the lucky ones.

MALVEAUX: And Becky, real quick here, we're hearing reports about West Africans who are stuck in Libya as well?

ANDERSON: Yes. There's about one million people still on the other side of the border, migrant workers, and tens of thousands of those, we believe, are West Africans.

Now, there have been stories thrown around that West Africans have been used as mercenaries by the Libyan government, so they haven't been seen since this all started. And there are concerns that -- they are already racially harassed as a matter of course in Libya, sadly. There are real concerns about where those men are.

Are they being paid? Will they get wages? They're undocumented workers, so a real concern to the agencies.

MALVEAUX: All right. Becky, thank you so much.

Well, it's time to go "X Country" for a look at some stories our affiliates are covering.

In Pompano Beach, Florida, shocking scenes on a school bus. An irate mother is charged with child abuse after an attack on a 7-year- old boy. Police say that the woman thought that her 6-year-old daughter was being bullied.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED GROUP: United. Our school will never be defeated!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MALVEAUX: In Atlanta, a protest against cuts in the state's scholarship program for college students. The scholarships are funded by the lottery, but funds have been below projections. Georgia Governor Nathan Deal says the programs had to be trimmed.

In Hallowell, Maine, the roof of an ice arena caved in while three people were inside. There are no reports of injuries.

(WEATHER REPORT)

MALVEAUX: Well, we know you've noticed. Gas prices, they're rising, every single day lately. But it is not because oil is in short supply. We're going to tell you what's really fueling the jump at the pump in a live report from the New York Stock Exchange.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MALVEAUX: So we're taking a look at CNNMoney.com's lead story. If you're somebody like me, looking for a house to buy, we're now looking at a double dip, a big dip in the number of new homes that were sold in January.

Also, taking a look at the stock markets here, you can take a look at the Dow Jones. It is actually up 170 points or so, and that is good news for a lot of folks out here.

So, the stocks, they're on the rise, but so are gas prices.

Our CNN's Alison Kosik, she's going to join us from the New York Stock Exchange.

And Alison, explain that to us. Because on the one hand, you've got the stock markets rising, but you also have gas and fuel rising, too.

What is behind the rally, first, at the stock market?

ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Well, there are two reasons. We got a strong sign that we are seeing a recovery in the jobs market. Also, oil prices are holding steady at around $101 a barrel. That's because we are seeing kind of like the status quo in the Mideast. One analyst is calling it controlled chaos.

As for jobs, first-time claims for unemployment benefits, they dropped by 20,000, to 368,000 last week. Analysts are saying it's a sign that we're moving toward a new threshold of 350,000, and what that essentially is, is a sign that the layoffs are slowing, that we're seeing fewer layoffs. We just need to see more hiring being done -- Suzanne.

MALVEAUX: Oil is not in short supply, so why are we seeing the gas prices go up?

KOSIK: You know what? It's all about speculation. It's the "What if?" factor.

You know, what if the crisis in the Mideast spreads to even bigger oil exporters? That is really the big question there.

And if you think about it, it's a really big, volatile region. It has a huge impact on oil.

If you look at this, it accounts for, in the Mideast, 31 percent of the world's oil comes right there from the Mideast. No other region produces more. At this point in the markets, it looks like the markets are really pricing in these rising oil prices up to a certain level, of course -- Suzanne.

MALVEAUX: Alison, how does this play in when it comes to travel, particularly airfare?

KOSIK: Oh, get ready for those airfares to keep going up. In fact, we are seeing our sixth airfare increase already this year, and we're only in to March.

Compare that to four increases for all of last year. You know, this one, this latest one, this sixth one, started with American Airlines. All of the majors followed after that.

And you know what? We continue buying these tickets, and as long as we continue buying these higher fares, these airlines are going to keep pushing the envelope and continue to raise these fares. So it's something we're probably just going to have to live with for a while -- Suzanne.

MALVEAUX: Yes, they know we're stuck. All right. Alison, appreciate it.

KOSIK: We are. Sure.

MALVEAUX: Well, here's a chance to "Choose the News." We're going to tell you about three stories, and you vote by text messaging for the one that you want to see in our next hour. So here are the choices.

Egyptian evacuees in Libya are trying to make their way back home. It is the last leg of a very long and dangerous journey.

Second, are we pushing our kids to excel or pushing them over the edge? The documentary "Race to Nowhere" generating a lot of buzz with parents.

And, finally, a stray puppy appeared to be very sick. He was put down and left in a dumpster. But now people are lining up to adopt this little dog.

So vote by texting 22360. Vote 1 for "Dangerous Journey Home"'; 2 for "Race to Nowhere"; or 3 for "Puppy Survives Euthanasia." The winning story will air in the next hour.

And Pittsburgh's pension crisis. Firefighters battling to keep their retirement benefits, but city leaders are warning of a financial disaster up ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MALVEAUX: Here's what's ahead "On the Rundown."

Times are so tough in Pittsburgh, that firefighters could lose their pensions.

Also, an anti-gay church gets the OK to protest at military funerals. And the father of a fallen Marine, he's got a lot to say about that.

And also, sex gets a college basketball star kicked off his team.

And it is a problem that is playing out across the country -- cities and states with tight budgets and huge obligations. Leaders in Pittsburgh say that the city faces financial Armageddon.

But CNN's Jim Acosta reports that firefighters are battling to keep their pensions.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JIM ACOSTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The fiscal house is on fire in Pittsburgh. Unless the city can get a handle on its out- of-control pension costs for its firefighters and other public workers, local leaders have said they are facing financial Armageddon.

(on camera): Is that overstating it?

MAYOR LUKE RAVENSTAHL (D), PITTSBURGH: Well, I think we're headed that way. The reality is --

ACOSTA: You're heading towards Armageddon?

RAVENSTAHL: We'll, we're heading towards very difficult scenarios.

ACOSTA (voice-over): Pittsburgh cannot meet its obligations to its pension system to the tune of $700 million. This in the city that already spends 50 cents of every dollar on pension, health care cost and debt. Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, a Democrat who grew up in a union family, blames his city's labor agreements.

RAVENSTAHL: Things have to change.

COSTA: The city's firefighters and police can retire at age 50, after 20 years of service, landing a pension equal the half of their take home pay. Firefighters can even boost their pensions by working more overtime in the last three years on duty. A practice called pension spiking.

(on camera): Is that fair?

RAVENSTAHL: It's not. And we've brought it up to the fire union. They're aware of it. Of course, they push back.

ACOSTA: Usually, pension spiking does not go on?

ROBERT COX, BATTALION CHIEF: Not in this bureau. I'm not sure how it does in other cities. But in this way, our overtime is distributed. It's an even rotating list.

ACOSTA (voice-over): Firefighters deny their engaging in pension spiking. They blame city hall.

WILLIAM GILCHREST, PITTSBURGH FIREFIGHTER ENGINE 17: Because of fiscal mismanagement of the cities, the governments and things, the working man shouldn't have to suffer for that.

ACOSTA: Ralph Sicuro, with the local firefighters union, is open to raising the retirement age but says this no job for senior citizens.

RALPH SICURO, INTERNATIONAL FIREFIGHTERS UNION REP.: So, what am I supposed to do with somebody that reaches the age of 65 and they want you now to work until your 70. What do I tell them? They can't -- they can't get up on the rig anymore.

ACOSTA: The mayor warns the pension system needs more than tweaks.

RAVENSTAHL: If I had my way, we would be able to offer 401(k) plans to city officials and government officials.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MALVEAUX: Our own Jim Acosta, he joins us live from Pittsburgh.

Hey, Jim. You reported that the city, right, is blaming some of the unions, and the unions are blaming the city managers. I imagine it's not that simple.

ACOSTA: Right. Well, it isn't that simple.

I mean, the math is really the problem here. Both sides agree that the math is the problem. If they don't get a handle on these financial problems, they are going to be forced into some painful choices.

The pension system that exists in Pittsburgh is worked out really between the unions and the state legislature. So the mayor here is really being held hostage to that agreement. And so unless he can get some kind of concessions between the state and the unions, there is not a whole lot he can do besides, perhaps, raising taxes or cutting deeply into the local budget here. That's something that he doesn't want to do.

And as for that idea of bringing in a 401(k) plan, that's something that he would love to do here in Pittsburgh, but he would need the state to agree to that and the unions to agree to that. So, not a whole lot of options here, but certainly some very tough numbers facing the city down the road.

MALVEAUX: Some tough choices. OK. Thank you, Jim.

Now to the budget battle in Ohio. The state Senate approves a bill that would curb collective bargaining rights for public workers, but it would also strip away their power to strike.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- Nays. The bill is passed and entitled.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Shame!

UNIDENTIFIED GROUP: shame, shame.

(SCREAMING)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MALVEAUX: Democrats called the measure a union-busting bill. Republican supporters say it's necessary for the state to move forward towards financial reform. The bill now goes to the state House.

And education, social services, there are just some of the areas that governments are cutting to deal with these budget shortfalls. Our CNN's Carl Azuz who is looking at the budget cuts. They're hitting different programs.

And, tell us, I mean, a lot of people are suffering but essentially, you've got some specifics on what's on the chopping block.

CARL AZUZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I do. A couple things I've learned, Suzanne, in gathering this information is nothing is really guaranteed to stick around. I mean, these cuts are diverse, these proposals could affect many, many people and the other thing I learned is, these are not the decisions that governors, that state and local leaders want to have to make.

Take for instance what's already happened in Arizona. People who are on a state health care plan would lose their ability to get certain organ transplants. They could get those transplants but the state plan would not pay for them. So, for example, bone marrow transplants, some people are affected by that. They don't have the money and the plan will no longer cover it.

We're going to move on to Illinois now. Certain substance abuse programs could be on the chopping block because their Department of Human Services budget is being reduced. That could be something that happens down the line.

South Carolina, they're looking to eliminate $125 million to doctors and hospitals. Now, that's a proposal. There's a statute in place that prevents that money from being cut. That statute might have to be moved out of the way first .

Texas, foster care assistance. Those foster homes, they get kickbacks from the state, they're reimbursed by the state, I should say. And that assistance could be eliminated putting a strain on those homes.

The Department of Corrections in Florida, if a lot of prison inmates are moved to county jails, that could put a strain on county jails. And then coast to coast something we're seeing, not specific to any one state, it's from New York to California, police force cutbacks, in some places like Camden, New Jersey, there's a proposal to eliminate the police force by 50 percent.

MALVEAUX: Carl, I don't understand that. If the police forces are eliminated, who protects -- who does law enforcement?

AZUZ: And this is where some areas are getting creative, they're asking for volunteers. Now those volunteers might be doing anything from basic police paperwork.

But in Mesa, Arizona, we're seeing these volunteers. They're processing crime seasons, dusting for fingerprints, swabbing for DNA in some spots. Really sorts of depends on the need. But these are unpaid folks, people who are retirees, in some cases they're students and in some cases they're good Samaritans kind of pitching in to help. And in some cases work like security officers, Suzanne. They'll be on patrol but they don't have weapons. If they see something serious happen, they'll call the police in.

MALVEAUX: Wow. Unbelievable. It's just one of the many creative solutions that states are trying to come up, huh?

AZUZ: That's one. One other one I saw was to bring in prisoners to do more labor intensive jobs. I mean, we've seen prisoners a lot of times cleaning up road sides, doing some basic jobs like that, community work. But now there are some places that are looking to bring in prisoners to paint state vehicles or local vehicles, for instance, to clean up courthouses, to do some of the jobs that private contractors used to do. Of course, the downside to this, according to a criminal justice professor, is that only around 20 percent, he estimates, of prisoners are of low enough security risk to be brought in to do broader work.

So if you have only 20 percent of the workforce, that workforce would be limited as well.

MALVEAUX: Wow. All right, Carl, thanks. Obviously there's bad news but some creative solutions, things that people have to do to get those budgets under control.

AZUZ: Exactly right. We're all having to get creative.

MALVEAUX: All right. Thanks, Carl.

AZUZ: Thank you, Suzanne.

MALVEAUX: Well, don't forget to Choose the News. It is not too late. Vote by texting 22360 for the story you that want to see in detail.

So, vote one for the story about Egyptian evacuees leaving the conflict in Libya, trying to get home.

Two, for the story about a powerful documentary that asks if we are pushing our kids too far.

Or, three, for the story about a puppy that survived being put to sleep.

The winning story is going to air in the next hour.

Ever wonder how many posts a day are logged on Twitter? Well, according to folks over at deathandtaxesmagazine.com, it's 50 million. So they wondered, if you sat down, read every tweet that crossed in 24 hours, how long would it take you? Twenty-four hours, 24 months, five years or 10 years? Here's a hint. We're talking 330 million seconds worth of Twitter reading material.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MALVEAUX: We asked you how long would it take to read every tweet that crossed Twitter in 24 hours. That would be 50 million tweets. Is it 24 hours, 24 months, 5 years or 10 years?

The answer -- 10 years. Deathandtaxesmagazine.com estimates if someone tried to read tweets for 24 hours straight, they could probably get through 13,000 before collapsing.

Well, videos you just have to watch in today's Guilty Pleasure.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you going to dance?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MALVEAUX: Well, as ridiculous as this is, this bird is now famous on the internet. Researchers say the cockatoo is the first animal to synchronize to a musical beat. They say the bird's performance could provide new insight into how the power of music and movement can help treat human disorders like Parkinson's disease. And Charlie Sheen, he says he's considering a fragrance line. The cologne -- well, commercial -- that's if comedian Jimmy Fallon had his way. That's today's Punchline.

(VIDEO CLIP, PUNCHLINE)

MALVEAUX: Moammar Gadhafi, Charlie Sheen, we know. One's a dictator, the other an actor. But they both had a lot to say lately. Who said what? Our Jeanne Moos, she took that question to the streets of New York.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEANNE MOOS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It had to happen, Moammar Gadhafi and Charlie Sheen seen simultaneously live on morning television.

MOAMMAR GADHAFI, LIBYAN LEADER: Wait, wait, wait.

MOOS: Gadhafi using words that stumped even the translator.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A colloquial term used by the Gadhafi which I did not understand.

MOOS: But some of Sheen's quotes are little hard to fathom. There's even something called "live the Sheen dream" that generates some of his pithier quotes when you click on his head. Women's guardian newspaper put a quiz on their website called "Whose Line Is It Anyway?"

MOOS (on-camera): Gadhafi or Sheen? Your face will melt off and your children will weep over your exploded body.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, it's Gadhafi.

MOOS: Charlie Sheen.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Charlie Sheen again.

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Your face will melt off and your children will weep over your exploded body. Too much.

MOOS (voice-over): Nah, not too much. He was only joking about the effects of the drug he's on.

CHARLIE SHEEN, ACTOR: I am on a drug. It's called Charlie Sheen.

MOOS: Meanwhile, Gadhafi is always blaming hallucinogenic pills for the actions of protesters.

MOOS (on-camera): "I have defeated this earthworm with my words. Imagine, what I would have done with my fire-breathing fists?" UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Gadhafi, I don't know.

MOOS: Sheen. I am like the queen of England?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Gadhafi.

MOOS: Yes.

MOOS (voice-over): both men surround themselves with women. Gadhafi has his female bodyguards. Sheen has --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The goddesses now live with Charlie.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Your two girlfriends, the goddesses.

SHEEN: Yes.

MOOS (on-camera): But you sure you can't say Sheen and Gadhafi dress alike.

MOOS (voice-over): Gadhafi and his falling-off the shoulder robes that requiring constant rearrangement while Sheen shows up in a New York City T-shirt made famous by John Lennon, "Let It Be."

MOOS (on-camera): But they did make some surprisingly similar gestures.

MOOS (voice-over): Gadhafi to his chanting followers. Sheen to his kids.

SHEEN: You're right here.

MOOS (on-camera): Seriously, though, sorry, Charlie, we know the comparisons between you and Gadhafi are ridiculous.

MOOS (voice-over): But we in the press just can't resist. At least, Sheen has some defenders.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's crazy. I've seen worse.

PIERS MORGAN, CNN ANCHOR: I believe fundamentally in man's right to party if he wants to.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right.

(LAUGHTER)

MOOS: Gadhafi and Sheen may be seen saying call me, bro, just not to each other.

Jeanne Moos, CNN.

These resentments, they are the rocket fuel that lives in the tip of my saber?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Saber, that's Gadhafi. MOOS: That's Sheen.

(LAUGHTER)

MOOS: New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MALVEAUX: Well, Mike Huckabee is firing back. He takes aim at his critics of his erroneous statement that he made about President Obama. Details are in our political update.

And if you are ready for an upgrade, well, apple's iPad 2 is going to go on sale March 11th, which made us want to know, what year did the iPhone first come out? Was it 2005, 2006, 2007, or 2008?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MALVEAUX: Well, we asked, what year did the original iPhone release. The answer, 2007. At the launch Steve Jobs said quote we are all born with the ultimate pointing device, our fingers, and iPhone uses them to create the most revolutionary user interface since the mouse.

Test your news chops next hour when we put the challenge to our meteorologist, Chad Meyers.

White House officials and lawmakers meet today to cut -- to talk, rather, about spending cuts. Our Ed Henry, he's part of "The Best Political Team on Television." Ed at the White House there.

So what is Vice President Biden and the rest of those folks doing to try to come up with a deal?

ED HENRY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, right, Suzanne, this is really the first big substantive talks, getting all sides together, the White House with Democrats and Republicans on the Hill. You're right, it's going to be brokered by Vice President Joe Biden in his capitol office, because he's president of the Senate, of course. Meeting with Mitch McConnell, John Boehner and Democratic leaders as well, Jack Lew, the White House budget director as well as White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley.

They are getting all these big officials finally all together in one room because they have still got some big differences on how to come up with a long-term budget deal. You know, the president, yesterday, signed into law this short-term continuing resolution to keep the government open for two weeks, but that's pretty short term. They're are going to be bumping up against another potential government shutdown just in a couple of weeks from now, so they are starting to lay the groundwork to come up with a broader deal, maybe some more spending cuts. Still a lot of work to be done.

Big day for the president. That meeting is at 4:00 p.m. Eastern with the vice president. At 1:00p.m. Eastern, the president has a joint news conference here with Mexican President Calderon. You remember, he was here just a few months ago where immigration reform, the controversial new law in Arizona was obviously a big issue then, likely to come up again, as well as the cross border violence, this U.S. immigration enforcement agent killed, murdered on the Mexican side of the border. That is going to be a big issue.

But Libya as well because at this joint news conference, is really going to be the first chance for the White House Press Corps to press President Obama about the crisis in Libya. He has not answered any questions about it yet in the last couple of weeks as this humanitarian crisis has deepened.

And you've been there many times, Suzanne. You know that these news conferences may start out being about Mexico, but may wind up in Libya.

MALVEAUX: Absolutely. And we saw the president, he came out in the briefing room kind of a surprise yesterday, but it'll be interesting to see if he actually will take those questions that you guys are asking about Libya.

And, Ed, I want to ask you as well about Mike Huckabee, because he said he misspoke before about saying the president was raised in Kenya. I understand that he's speaking out again today?

HENRY: Yes, well, he did a talk radio interview and basically was firing back at reporters saying that they kind of blew this out of proportion. He said that he simply mixed up the president's -- that he grew up for part of the time of his childhood in Indonesia, as you know, that Mike Huckabee, in this previous interview, had said that he had grown up in Kenya, said that he just misspoke. Reporters made a lot out of it because, in his words, they can't read, saying that they just mixed the situation up.

But interesting that in this radio show he also went on to suggest that the president had a different experience, saying that most Americans grew up with Boy Scouts meetings, not Madrassas, a Muslim school. AS you know, CNN dug that out during the campaign and the president never attended a Madrassa, he attended an international school when he was in Indonesia, Suzanne.

MALVEAUX: Yes, we know that's just patently false.

All right, Ed, thanks. Really appreciate it. Good to see you.

The latest political news, you know where to go, CNNPolitics.com.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled eight to one that an anti-gay church has the right to protest at military funerals. The father of a fallen Marine had sued to stop these protests saying that they were targeted harassment that led to emotional distress.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ALBERT SNYDER, FATHER OF MATTHEW SNYDER: This court has no problem with the government sending our children over to these wars, send them back in a body bag and not even have enough respect for that dead soldier to be buried peacefully.

MARGIE PHELPS, PROTESTOR AND ATTORNEY: We are trying to warn you to flee the wrath of god, flee eternal destruction. What could be more kind than that? Don't keep killing your children.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MALVEAUX: The justices said the protesters actions are protected under the First Amendment right to free speech.

And we're giving you a chance to chance to "Talk Back" on the NFL labor negotiations. The contract expires tonight, and the season could be canceled if both sides can't come up with an agreement. What you're saying about that story up next.

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MALVEAUX: NFL fans are waiting and watching the owners and the players in a last-minute negotiation right now to extend their collective bargaining agreement. Well, this expires tonight, and if an agreement isn't reached, the next NFL season could be canceled.

That's the topic of today's "Talk Back."

Carol, I know this hits you. This hits you where it counts. You're a huge football fan.

COSTELLO: It does. It's doom. It's like the day of doom is approaching.

But I asked our Facebook friends what they thought of this, and wow, they do have opinions, because we have an avalanche of comments and I love it.

The question: Would you care if there's an NFL lockout?

Charles says, "No, I wouldn't care. What I'd like to see is those football players and owners paying some commissions to all the teachers that helped get them to the NFL to allow them to make the kind of money they make."

This from Joe, "I would care. I want to be able to kick back with friends and watch the greatest sport in the country when there is no other stability in the world."

This from Jody (ph), "I'm a huge NFL fan, and I get that they're fighting for their rights. They get hurt a lot and are trying to ensure their future but come on, both sides need to stop acting like spoiled brats."

And this from Nancy, "No. It is ridiculous in this economy to pay men millions of dollars to chase a football around."

She has a point there. Keep the conversation going, Facebook.com/CarolCNN, and I'll be back in about 10 minutes. MALVEAUX: You notice our viewers compared this question, the NFL, the fight, to both the Libya dispute, as well as the Wisconsin protest? That they mix it all kind of in there. These are people fallowing the news --

(CROSSTALK)

COSTELLO: They're smart, creative people. That's right, smart, creative people and that's what we like on our fan page.

MALVEAUX: All right, we'll be reading some more I guess.

COSTELLO: Yes.

MALVEAUX: All right, thanks, Carol.

Lady Gaga, she knows how to make a fashion statement, but who can forget, of course, that meat dress she wore at last year's MTV Music Awards? Amazing. More recently, the egg. Yep, the egg entrance, the outfit she wore at the Grammys, that was just a few weeks ago.

Guess what? She is hitting fashion week in Paris now, and her appearance and outfit is trending online.

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MALVEAUX: All right, a man decides to show off his moves. Millions of people have already viewed this dance online. We're following stories trending online for you. This one seems to be a pretty big hit.

Techno music seems to be taking over, contagious those moves. Check out the little boy in the corner who tries to get in on the fun here. See, Internet. There he is. There's the little boy. Internet posts say this is a Turkish dance. We don't know much about the dancers, but he's anonymous. Hopefully, he'll stay anonymous. There he goes.

Someone who is always at the center of attention, Lady Gaga. This time she's strutting her stuff at the fashion week in Paris. Take a look, guys. Take a look at the outfit. CNN got a chance to sit down with this flamboyant star, who says success leads to a lot of scrutiny.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LADY GAGA, SINGER/PERFORMER: I think, like I said, scrutiny is like this massive thing now in this century. And for Nikola (ph) and I and for everyone that we work with it's all about your peers, it's about people that you respect. It's about knowing your own strength, artistically.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MALVEAUX: Another story a lot of people are talking about, Brigham Young University kicked a player off its basketball team for breaking the school's honor code, a code that each student agrees to live by. Utah newspapers report that Brandon Davies admitted to having premarital sex.

BYU was ranked number three before losing just its third game of the last season last night; its first game without Davies.