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Storms Claim at Least 17; Tips to Find Cheaper Gas; Google Googles Stirs Privacy Controversy; Donald Trump the "Birther"; Transgender Tax Collectors; NBA Project $300M in Losses

Aired April 16, 2011 - 08:00   ET


T.J. HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: We are at the top of the hour here now. From the CNN Center, this is your CNN SATURDAY MORNING.

Good morning to you all. I'm T.J. Holmes. It is 8:00 here in Atlanta, but it is 7:00 a.m. in Tushka, Oklahoma. Take a look at what they are dealing with today.

A powerful tornado ripping through that city, destroying homes, leaving dozens of people injured. The same storm system pounded much of the southeast last night. Going to take a look at where the storm is headed. Also unfortunately the death toll this morning is going up.

Plus, a lot of people out there are looking for lower gas prices. Well, you can stop. We've got the tip to help you find the cheapest gas in your city, a simple little something you can do.

Also, they say a picture is worth a thousand words. But imagine if a stranger takes your picture, click, from that photo, they're able to get your name, your phone number and other personal information.

We'll tell you about a major corporation and whether or not they are exploring this new technology and how exactly would this work?

But first, we do need to start with a really difficult night for parts of the southeast, dealing with a powerful storm system. That storm system is not done yet by the way. It erupted Thursday out of Oklahoma and Arkansas, started moving east. It has killed at least 17 people now in three states, including two people in Oklahoma where some of this damage is.

Now the damage you just -- I mean quite frankly, we see tornadoes and the damage they do, but every time we see it, it still seems just unbelievable. This is what it did in the town of Tushka there. The state's governor is touring that area today.

Also let's turn to Arkansas. My home state got hit pretty hard. The storm struck with a fury there, seven people killed. Among the victims, a 34-year-old woman and her seven-year-old son who died when an oak tree fell on their house in Little Rock.

Now listen to this though. The fire captain says the two were found in bed. The mom, he said, apparently had gone in to comfort the child during the storm and they both died there. An 18-month-old who was also in the home in another room, was not hurt.

Also take a look at what the storm did in Jackson, Mississippi. Homes were knocked off their foundations, trees uprooted, power lines knocked down, forced the closing of Interstate 20.

CNN meteorologists telling us that this has been the worst outbreak of tornadoes in the south since last summer. There have been reports of at least 98 twisters over the past couple of days and by some of this video you can tell some people lost everything.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They told us to take cover and I went to the bathroom. Ian (ph) shut the door and this roof falls on my head. So I stayed there until it was over. And I don't have anything left.


HOLMES: Georgia and Alabama also feeling the punch this morning from the storm. Trees, power lines down all across the area. Also, in Alabama, a couple of counties hit there hard. In one of those counties, three people were killed by trees falling into their homes. A state of emergency has been declared by the governor there. A fourth person was killed in a separate county there.

Mississippi under a state of emergency right now. Joining me on the line from Clinton, Mississippi is Mike Womack. He is the director of Mississippi Emergency Management Agency there.

So we appreciate you giving us a moment. You're there, not too far outside of Jackson. Sir, give us an idea, just how bad did you guys get it?

MIKE WOMACK, DIRECTOR, MISSISSIPPI EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY (via telephone): Well, the storm actually hit the city of Clinton, which is right adjacent to Jackson and did the most damage here in the city of Clinton and tracked into Jackson. We were actually very fortunate that the tornado appeared to hit the ground initially, but then went about tree top or house top level as it did carry on to the northeast.

HOLMES: Sir --

WOMACK: We had substantial damage here in Clinton and Jackson, Mississippi, but not near as bad as it could have been.

HOLMES: Not as bad as it could have been. What about the human toll? I understand, did I hear this right, you all didn't have any deaths in particular in your city, but in the city of Clinton, but any word of injuries as well?

WOMACK: Well, we have a report from around 9:00 last night as the storm tracked throughout the rest of the state. The very southwestern part of the state in Green County, very near Mobile, Alabama, there's a reported fatality. Now, sometimes we have those reports and later they're not confirmed, but this one appears to be an actual fatality in Green County, Mississippi. That's the only fatality that we have reported. We do have approximately a dozen injuries throughout the state. Considering that about 18 different counties have reported some level of damage to have that few injuries is pretty remarkable.

HOLMES: One of the things, Mr. Womack, did people get the warnings, did they get enough of a head's up and did they heed those warnings yesterday?

WOMACK: Well, the National Weather Service had been saying for two days prior to this event that it was a strong potential and certainly the day before. So National Weather Service, the media throughout the state and certainly my agency, we try to make sure everybody was aware of it. I think people did for the most part. But there's always going to be those circumstances that even when you take the necessary precautions, things can happen.

HOLMES: Mr. Womack, we appreciate the update. A lot of people have it interest and certainly concern for a lot of people in the south right now waking up to just the horror, so we appreciate your time and good luck to your folks there in Mississippi. Thank you so much.

I turn now to Karen McGinnis, our meteorologist in today for Reynolds Wolf. The storm is not done, so who -- oh, my goodness, I'm looking at your map here. I didn't see that over my shoulder. Wow, this is just an idea of all the reported tornados. KAREN MCGINNIS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: The fact that you said wow, it is very impressive. And I want to point out what has happened here. Here is Alabama and here is Mississippi roughly speaking. This is Google Earth, 98 reports of tornadoes, essentially, across the southeast and essentially in these two states.

I want to point out what happens right here, right along the border, between Mississippi and Alabama. This has kind of been the ground zero for those tornado reports and yes, it is not over yet.

What we're looking at is the potential for some of these thunderstorms to make their way in across the mid-Atlantic region, essentially from around Charleston, South Carolina and Myrtle Beach towards Wilmington and then towards Virginia Beach. You could see the possibility of some lightning, heavy downpours and perhaps an isolated tornado.

Want to pick up where Mr. Womack left off with the emergency services there in Mississippi. Out of Clinton, we've got video of this tornado which touched down along interstate 20. There was an 18 wheeler that was blown over. There you just saw a vehicle that was turned over. They said that seven people were taken to the hospital. A possible fatality and there were several serious injuries reported there.

If you remember this used to be the hometown of WorldCom, a telecommunications company, that collapsed in 2002. It's a very small town. But they're still reeling from the severe weather that struck across the southeast. And T.J., we'll be back very shortly and show you some more pictures and what's going to happen.

HOLMES: Karen, we appreciate you. We'll be checking in with Karen McGinnis plenty this morning. It's seven minutes past the hour now. Turn to Long island, New York, where the family of a murdered young woman says they got phone calls from a man claiming to be the killer. This is one of the latest disturbing newest developments in the search for a possible serial killer.

Twenty four-year-old Melissa Barthelemy, you're seeing here there, she is one of the presumed victims. Her mother says shortly after her daughter's disappearance, a man using her daughter's cell phone, made taunting phone calls to the victim's sister and admitted to the killing.


LYNN BARTHELEMY, MELISSA BARTHELEMY'S MOTHER: He was taunting her. He was basically torturing her. She kept asking where her sister was and he just wouldn't tell her. She would ask, you know, if she was alive. He wouldn't answer. I mean we always had hope until that last call when he told Amanda that he killed her.


HOLMES: At least eight sets of remains have been recovered. Four have been identified, including one belonging to Melissa Barthelemy.

A woman who accused a Duke University lacrosse players of raping her, you remember her, remember that story? Well, now she could face new charges after the death of her boyfriend. Crystal Mangum (ph) was arrested earlier this month after police say she stabbed her boyfriend. He died Wednesday from his wounds.

Four years ago, you will remember, Mangum claimed to have been sexually assaulted by three Duke lacrosse players. Authorities later found out though there was no credible evidence that the attack had occurred and dropped the case.

A Florida mother wants to know why a popular restaurant chain served her son, who is a toddler, he got a glass of sangria. This is being called the sippy cup slip-up. This happened at an Olive Garden in Lakeland Florida. It happened late last month.

Jill Van Heest (ph) said she realized something was wrong by her son's behavior. Yes, usually sangria in a toddler, something is going to go awry. Olive Garden admits that the child was, in fact, improperly served alcohol and is promising changes to prevent this from ever happening again. The mother says she is now considering, you guessed it, a lawsuit.

Some bank customers in Hallandale Beach, Florida, looked like they stepped right out of an Alfred Hitchcock movie. Check it out. A flock of birds started attacking them in the bank's parking lot. The customers here, unfortunately for them, the leaders of the pack are aggressive but they are Federally protected endangered species of birds. So what do you do about it?

Also in Chicago, a school there wants kids to just eat what's being served in the cafeteria. The school is banning lunches from home unless students have a medical excuse. The principal thinks the school's food is more nutritious than what parents would pack for their children. I'm sure some parents might be offended by that.

Well, think about this. What if there was a phone app out there that would let you take a picture of someone you see on the street and then that app would tell you that person's name, phone number and financial information. And what if that were the picture of you they were taking? There's a possibility of an app like this being in the works. We will explain.

Plus some folks are paying more than $4 a gallon to drive around these days. Prices near some record highs, but there are ways to save. We know you want those ways. Those tips on what you can do. That is coming next.

Also, a lot of people out there working hard, working 9:00 to 5:00 and quite frankly in this country we work a lot more than 9:00 to 5:00 Monday through Friday it seems and maybe you put in hours on the weekend, but Americans, we we're not really working that hard, at least that's what we're told according to a new list out.

Checking out some of the countries that work the hardest, in fact the U.S. not even in the top three. According to the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development, China is at number three, Japan at number two, workers there averaging nine hours a day.

So who works hardest? I'll have that answer for you in minutes.


HOLMES: Fourteen minutes past the hour now. You think you work hard? You think we all work hard in this country? Apparently not as hard as the folks in China or Japan according to a new list of the hardest working nations. China came in at three, Japan came in at two. You see the hours per day they work.

What is the number one hardest working country? Mexico. They work an average of 9.9 hours a day. That's about 10 hours.

The U.S., where did we come in? We were ninth on the list by the way.

The Detroit public school system, sending out some layoff notices to all of its teachers. That's more than 5700, 248 school administrators also getting similar notices. This, however, of course, does not mean that all of these teachers will lose their jobs. The district has to now determine staffing needs based on fewer students.


KURTIS BROWN, TEACHER: Trying to correct the budget problems on the backs of the teachers, that's unfair because we do all the work.

ALICIA ADAMS, PARENT OF STUDENT: Definitely uneasy, you know. Job security is important and we have the teachers, you know, educating our students. So it concerns me, you know, will their heart be in it?


HOLMES: They're going to determine the teacher staffing needs and the system will rehire the teachers that it does need. But you ask maybe, why send the notices to everybody in the first place? Because of the union contract with the district, they are required to at least make this administrative move. They at least have to let them know and send them these notices before they start firing anybody.

A lot of you out there in search of cheaper gas. Check out the latest average prices for regular, midgrade and premium, $3.81 for regular, $3.95 and if you got one of those engines that takes the good tough, $4.08, that's the average folks in this country, so that means some places are paying a whole lot higher than that. Get those in your brain those, and now look to a year ago. It was almost a dollar cheaper in most of these categories.

Now a lot of people trying to figure out exactly how to make this stretch. How do you make your personal fuel budget stretch?

CNN's Casey Wian found out for you and some of these tips include smart phone apps and a bit of common sense can go a long way, right Casey.

CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: T.J., here in southern California gas prices are among the highest in the nation, averaging about $4.20 a gallon for unleaded regular leaded and people are driving all over Los Angeles looking for the cheapest gas prices. But there is a better way.


WIAN: Pain at the pump is real for paint store delivery man Mark Murillo.

MARK MURILLO, DELIVERYMAN: It hurts because of the high prices. But I have to do it to support myself and my family.

WIAN: There are ways to ease the pain. What's the best way for motorists to make sure they're getting the best deal on the gas they buy?

JEFFREY SPRING, AAA: You don't want to be going way out of your way spending gasoline and money trying to find the cheapest gasoline. But try to plan your route to where the cheapest gas is in your area. WIAN: A growing number of websites and smart phone apps can help. I'm at a gas station in Hollywood where regular gasoline is selling for $4.39 a gallon. I think that may be too expensive. So I can go on my iPhone and check an application to find out if there's anything in the neighborhood that's cheaper. There is, less than half a mile away. Here we are down just the street and gas is selling for $4.15 a gallon, 24 cents a gallon less. That could mean a savings of $3, $4, $5 depending on how big your gas tank is. The only catch is, to get the savings here you've got to pay cash or pay a 45 cent ATM fee. Either way it's a big savings. Another tip, look for gas at or near wholesale clubs which use low gas prices to attract shoppers. Location is key, says Jason Toews, co-founder of cheap gas finder gas buddy.

JASON TOEWS, GASBUDDY.COM: Wholesale clubs tend to compete very aggressively on price and forces all the other competition nearby to lower their price too. You want to look for an area where either it's a bedroom community, has a lot of gas stations and find some cheap prices right there.


WIAN: Stations to avoid include those near tourist destinations and ritzy residential neighborhoods. How can you determine whether it's worth your while to drive 10 or 15 miles out of your way to find the cheapest gas? There are actually several sites on the Internet including one, bank, where you can punch in the distance you have to travel, the price of gas at the two stations, the amount of gas mileage you get for your car and the amount of gas your gas tank holds and it will figure out whether it's worth driving out of your way to find that least expensive gas. T.J.

HOLMES: Thanks to our Casey Wian for that.

Here is a question for you folks, exactly how much is too much? You'll certainly be asking that question after the next story we have. There could soon be a cell phone application that allows you to take a picture of someone out there on the street and then your smartphone could find out the name, number and other personal information of that person. Is that going too far?

Also, this morning, you got to start small, right, but you got to think big. An inventor strikes the right tune with his innovative ideas.


HOLMES: Well, 21 minutes past the hour now. Guitars of course, been playing the same old tune for the most part for decades. One small business trying to improve on the old design.

Our Reynolds Wolf has this weekend's start small, think big.


REYNOLDS WOLF, CNN CORRESPONDENT: No, I'm not playing. The expert is but the amazing thing, both of these guitars are perfectly tuned. It's all thanks to the Evertune, the brainchild of engineer Cosmos Lyles. Where did you come up with the idea?

COSMOS LYLES, INVENTOR, EVERTUNE: About five years ago on my couch.

WOLF: Five years ago on your couch? Tuning can frustrate beginners and pros alike. This promises to keep guitars in tune forever.

LYLES: That first moment we did this, and turned the tuning (INAUDIBLE), they we're like wow. Those kind of bends will take a guitar out of tune. You don't have to worry about temperature. You don't have to worry about light. You don't have to worry about weather.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And it just means you're not thinking about the tuning. You're just thinking about playing, which is amazing.

WOLF: Without nay any software or batteries the design is unique, using only springs and levers. In some ways, it's a very simple design, isn't it?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's very simple. This is all mechanical. It's based on a spring technology and constant tension.

WOLF: Did you have any idea it was going to be received this well?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. I think most inventors actually think their inventions are going to be much better received than they actually are. It's been a five-year process, which shows that it's actually a lot harder to get it to this state than one thinks at the beginning.

WOLF: And this can be used for virtually any stringed instrument, correct?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If there's a string, we can keep it in tune.

WOLF: For more innovations, stay tuned.

Reynolds Wolf, CNN.



HOLMES: Well, 24 minutes past the hour now.

This is pretty scary stuff to share with you now. Imagine if someone snaps a picture of you. You're just out there on the street and from that picture, they're able to get your name, phone number and access to other personal information.

This is generating a lot of talk and so we got to talk about it with our digital lifestyle expert Mario Armstrong, joins us this morning.

Mario, good morning.

Some controversy, a lot of back and forth about this and possibly Google coming up, possibly coming up with this kind of application. Let's start with just this. How does this kind of technology work in the first place? How is it able to do that?

MARIO ARMSTRONG, DIGITAL LIFESTYLE EXPERT: So what we're talking about T.J. here is facial recognition technology which is not new technology. We've known about facial recognition for years.

And, in fact, right now, Google has the technology and capability in a product that they already have out on the market called Google Goggles. The name of it is Goggles and what this product will enable you to do, is you can take your camera phone, snap a picture of say the San Francisco bay bridge or other landmarks or other pieces of artwork or any popular things, and then it will instantly take that photo and search for information out on the web and bring you information back to your phone that it's ;s found about that image.

HOLMES: So it's the same concept with your face. Do a search for it and see what comes back?

ARMSTRONG: That's exactly right. It will go against all of the computers that are out there. It can even search against Facebook profiles. It can search against other social networks and it would find other information related to your image. I could snap a picture of you, T.J., out in public and then find out other information that's related to that image about you.

HOLMES: We need to let our viewers know, we don't have a release date. We don't know if this is actually going to happen, but this technology exists and it appears that conversations about this are happening. Apart, Mario, from the conversations as well, is that you would have to opt in to this service?

ARMSTRONG: That's what the lead engineer in from Google is saying. They're very cautious about this T.J. because they know this a privacy concern.

Think about it. People have a legitimate concern to feel, you know, fearful about an app that can be on anybody's phone that someone can take a picture of you at a restaurant and get information from that.

This hasn't been released, as you say, and they have been very careful about privacy issues and they have to wait until they can really figure out what is the right balance for something like this. That's what I've been trying to figure out T.J. What is a good use for this type of application? How could this be helpful?

Maybe for dating it could be, but maybe also for criminal searches and security. But then a friend of mine gave me an idea too. He said what about when you're in retail and you use your credit card or you use an electronic wallet. You can take the picture of that person to prove that's their identity that goes with that electronic wallet.

HOLMES: Man, this is nuts and I don't know what kind of dating you're doing, but it's unimaginable but that's the thing.

You're supposed to walk up to somebody and ask for their phone number and their name. You're not supposed to just snap a picture of them across the room to get it. This is scary stuff. There's a lot of privacy stuff to be worked out here.

Quickly here for me, 15 seconds, is somebody going to put a stop to this? Is it possible we're going to see this or this is too much of a privacy issue.

ARMSTRONG: I think this is possible that we will absolutely see this in some future point. I do know privacy advocates are very, very watchful of this whole thing and if people really want to get educated, I suggest they go to Google's website called Google labs. This is where they do all the experimental technologies before they release them to the public.

HOLMES: All right. Mario Armstrong, good to see you as always, bringing this to our attention here and our viewers' attention.

I want to share with our viewers as well, you heard Mario mention the Google engineering director for image recognition development. He gave us a quote in this story, saying I'm quoting it here to you, "We recognize that Google has to be extra careful when it comes to these privacy issues. Face recognition we will bring out possibly once we have acceptable privacy models in place."

So they're being quite careful here. But again, once again thanks to our Mario Armstrong for this.

Also coming up, the images are just powerful. Take a look here once again, used to be a house in this spot. You know, we're seeing a lot of pictures like this out of the southeast and would you believe this is not over yet. Our meteorologist is here. We'll tell you what this storm is doing now and where it's headed.


HOLMES: Well, it's 17 minutes past the hour now. At least 17 people, excuse me, 17 people -- I should say we're at the bottom of the hour -- 17 people killed in tornadoes and violent weather that has hit the southeast.

Our Karen McGinnis will have an update on where this storm system is heading in just a moment. But first listen to some of these people tell their stories.


HOLMES (voice-over): Transformers exploded, cars tossed, trees toppled, all made for a wild spring night in parts of the southeast. In Alabama there are reports of tornadoes touching down in at least six counties. This woman in Tuscaloosa ran into her hallway as the storm hit.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We got in the hallway and I could hear this -- I don't know what kind of noise it was. It's a whizzing, crackling, and it scared me.

HOLMES: In nearby Birmingham, heavy winds knocked down power lines and tore off roofs. Further south in Washington County, Alabama, a large tornado was reported on the ground. This house was flattened; tossed yards from its foundation.

In Mississippi, folks are waking up to a state of emergency in 14 counties. A twister ripped through Interstate 20 in Clinton.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And the funnel cloud dropped right there at the laundry room and we were lucky we even got in the door and it just crossed, went behind us, and crossed I-20. And like five minutes it was over.

HOLMES: Even blew over an 18-wheeler. It also ripped through local businesses and homes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: At first we heard a lot of wind blowing, it not just sounded like a train, a whistle and then all of a sudden we seen like a black funnel cloud.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We saw people standing outside. We didn't know why. So we decided to go out there too. And then we saw all this damage out here.

HOLMES: In the Atlanta area a tornado watch was in effect for most of the night. Heavy rain and hail blasted several counties. Fallen trees pummeled homes.

This woman came to check on her parents after a large tree uprooted and fell through their roof.

TABITHA OWENS, PARENTS HIT BY TREE: (INAUDIBLE) because my daddy was right there next to that window and the tree barely missed him.


HOLMES: All right, 33 minutes past the hour. I turn right now to our meteorologist Karen McGinnis. Karen this thing isn't done yet but it could -- is it possible it could spawn some of the same violent stuff we saw over the past two days?


MCGINNIS: Absolutely.

HOLMES: Still going.

MCGINNIS: This has been going on for the last 48 plus hours.

HOLMES: Yes. MCGINNIS: We watched it march across the central U.S., move across the southeast and now the severe storm threat is headed towards the Carolinas and into southern Virginia. This is where you could see large damaging hail, frequent lightning, heavy downpours and the possibility of an isolated tornado or two.

And right now most of the watches and warnings center around Georgia, also into South Carolina, even a portion of Florida as well. But it is making its way very rapidly towards the east. It had slowed down or was moving more slowly across the south central U.S. and the southeast, but now it's picking up some speed and moving very, very quickly.

We've got some pictures out of Tuscaloosa, Alabama. You've seen video from all parts of the south central and southeastern U.S. Did you see that? It looked like a vacant lot. There had been a house there. It was totally wiped out.

And to tornado investigators, the National Weather Service people who come out and look at this type of thing, they estimate just what the winds would need to be to obliterate a house.

And by the way, we don't have any reports of anyone injured or actually there was one injury in that home. But, out of Tuscaloosa specifically, we don't have any reports of any fatalities.

But they are wondering what the EF, the Enhanced Fujita would be. This would probably be at least a three, maybe a four -- T.J.

HOLMES: All right, Karen McGinnis, we appreciate you as always.

MCGINNIS: Thank you.

HOLMES: We'll be checking in with Karen plenty throughout this morning.

Well, the discussion and controversy over whether or not President Obama was actually born in the United States, it seems like it just won't go away. And we have seen a lot more about it lately. Why? Because a man who usually gets a pretty big microphone has been talking about it; we're talking about Donald Trump.

CNN deputy political director, Paul Steinhauser joining me from Washington; Paul, always it's good to have you here with us. Donald Trump he is now at a Tea Party rally. He has been talking about this and the President, whether or not he was born in the country. Well, is the President ready to respond now to Mr. Trump?

PAUL STEINHAUSER, CNN DEPUTY POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Well, maybe not specifically to Mr. Trump, T.J., but he's definitely talking about this whole idea of whether he was born in the U.S. or not. He keeps reminding people that yes he was. But he also says that the whole idea, this birther issue as it's called, it continues to be an issue in the general election next year. He says it could actually hurt the Republican who runs against him.

Take a listen to what he said to ABC News the other day.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Over the last two and a half years, there has been an effort to go at me in a way that is politically expedient in the short term for Republicans, but creates I think a problem for them when they want to actually run in the general election where most people feel pretty confident the president was born where he says he was, in Hawaii. He -- he doesn't have horns.


STEINHAUSER: And you know, T.J., our most recent CNN Opinion Research Corporation National Poll kind of backs up what the President says. It indicates that nearly three out of four Americans say that President was definitely or probably born in the U.S. Only a little less than a quarter actually have the -- you know, the problem whether they believe the President was born in the United States.

And of course, CNN, other news organizations, you have (INAUDIBLE) done the research, the birth certificate and yes, he was born in the United States.

HOLMES: It's amazing, Paul, this conversation continues now. Here you go, he's about to run for re-election and it might be still a part of the re-election campaign as well.

Well meanwhile, the President speaking of re-election, you've got to raise a lot of money to run for president but it's really getting expensive here. A billion dollars they're trying to raise so the strategy just to start as early as possible?

STEINHAUSER: Yes. You know, last time around he broke all records, shattered all records, raised three quarters of a -- of a billion dollars, the goal this time could be up to a billion. And we see this new strategy, he kind of -- he kicked it off the other night, Thursday night in Chicago, he held three fund-raisers, the first for his re-election.

And T.J., I guess you can call this President by day and fund- raiser sometimes by night. It's kind of the Oval Office strategy where the President -- he's very presidential but occasionally now and then he holds these fund-raisers. And if you're shocked don't be. It's nothing new.

Listen as recently -- the most recent presidents, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, did the same thing.



STEINHAUSER: That Oval Office strategy when they are running for re-election. HOLMES: Yes it happens; it's what they do. Paul, before we let you go though, we're trying to get something out of Washington. Some people say we don't get a lot of honesty, truth. And I'm going to ask you to give it to me in just a second.

But our viewers, I want you to watch this, our Paul Steinhauser made an appearance on a late night show, Jay Leno's, a lot of people know that, when he wasn't necessarily an invited guest. Watch this. And then we're going to try to get some truth out of Paul Steinhauser, watch.


JAY LENO, NBC HOST, "THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JAY LENO": This guy on CNN, I see this guy every day, and every time the camera is on him he pretends to be on the phone. This is annoying to me.

Watch. Here, here, he's not good at pretending. Like I see him right there, look, oh, he sees the camera. Look. Look. Oh look. Just look at that. Who has that kind of conversation?

Here he is about an hour later. There he is in the background, hello, look. There's the camera on him again. Look. This goes on all day. Here. I'm on camera. Hi, how are you doing? I'm not falling for him.


HOLMES: Paul, Paul, give me the truth. Are you talking to anybody on the phone?

STEINHAUSER: You know, I guess I'm not getting a lot of love from Jay Leno. But I'm a popular guy here at CNN.

HOLMES: Stop it Paul.

STEINHAUSER: People call me. People call me.

HOLMES: Paul, give me the truth, Paul.

STEINHAUSER: Yes, I'm on the phone.

HOLMES: Who has a three-second conversation, Paul?

STEINHAUSER: You know what it mostly is, people -- people calling me to say hey, you're on TV. I know, thank you very much. Bye.

HOLMES: Oh, my goodness. All right. Well, yes Jay, Jay you're annoying Jay Leno to no end. But Paul, good stuff. And OK that's there's the honest answer. We got the truth out of Washington, D.C.

Paul, good to see you buddy. Talk to you again soon all right. I'll call you shortly.

STEINHAUSER: Thanks T.J. Yes, please do. HOLMES: Well, it's the video that people can't seem to get enough of on YouTube. A president, he is actually pocketing a ceremonial signing pen. He's trying to be slick about it. But he got busted in a big way. Stick around for the rest of the video and the rest of this story.

Plus, Pakistan's special treatment for people who tried to cheat the tax man, they sent in a team of transgenders and they are not shy.


HOLMES: All right. Monday, deadline to file taxes here. If you don't get it together this weekend you could be hearing from the IRS. But some other countries go after tax evaders in a much different way.

Check this out in Pakistan. Tax evaders are shamed into paying. CNN producer Nadia Bilchik here with the "Morning Passport"; OK, here in this country sometimes you evade taxes, they will actually put you in jail.

NADIA BILCHIK, CNN EDITORIAL PRODUCER: Yes, you get a scathing letter first. Don't mess with the IRS.

HOLMES: You don't get that first in Pakistan?

BILCHIK: No. In Pakistan, well, in Karachi, tax evasion has become so bad, something like less than one percent of people actually pay their taxes.

HOLMES: Really?

BILCHIK: In fact, they say in Pakistan, out of the 117 million people, less than a million willingly file taxes.

HOLMES: How do they get away with that?

BILCHIK: Well, this is what they decided to do in Karachi.


BILCHIK: They have got together a group of transgenders or dual genders and this group of people will arrive at your office and because the concept of transgender or dual gender is so absolutely appalled in Pakistan, now you're looking at a man called Refi (ph) and Refi is pushing on his lipstick --



BILCHIK: -- because he is about to embark on a mission and the mission is to shame tax evaders into paying.

HOLMES: But how do they do that?

BILCHIK: So what he will do is him and his friends or she and her friends will go to the home of the tax evader or the office of the tax evader and you'll see them walking towards and they will clap and jeer and laugh and shame the tax evader into paying their taxes. And they've managed to collect around $90,000 the equivalent cost --


HOLMES: How new is this? Did they just start doing this not long ago?

BILCHIK: Well, apparently it's an Indian practice that Pakistan has adopted that has become increasingly popular as tax evasion has flourished.

HOLMES: Oh, my goodness. Now are people paying on the spot or are they --

BILCHIK: They're agreeing to pay but they do pay. And remember, Pakistan is a very conservative Muslim country.


BILCHIK: So a group of these very flamboyant, dual gender, transgender people arrive at your office or your home and the attention and ruckus it causes it's so embarrassing. But what happened is Refi tells the story that him and his group arrive at the home of somebody who is an anonymous tax evader but they realize that he is the provincial minister for tax evasion.

HOLMES: Oh my goodness.

BILCHIK: So they run away. But certainly another way and it's proving to be fairly successful.

HOLMES: You know what I wonder what we could come up with in this country. Usually just the threat of jail will do it. But maybe we should try some --

BILCHIK: Innovative ways to punish tax evasion.

HOLMES: You pay your taxes, I assume?

BILCHIK: On the 15th.

HOLMES: Of course, we always do. All right, Nadia, thank you.

This is another story, don't go too far. Nadia was telling us about this earlier. I just love this story -- it shows that even presidents are just regular folks. Sometimes they can't help themselves.

That's the -- on the left there, the President of the Czech Republic. You see him checking out that ceremonial pen there. And he just signed a transportation agreement with the President of Chile. He liked the pen so much, he took it and put it under the table, he made the switcheroo to the left hand, it goes into his pocket and here the hand comes up.

Look at him, the smile on his face. OK, I just got away with that. He just forget though Nadia, that just about oh what 20 something cameras may have been on him. But Nadia was telling me earlier, this is not really theft. He's entitled to the pen. Maybe he didn't know that and thought he had to steal it. But he didn't have to.

But he just looked guilty and it's awfully funny. He's got a lot of hits on YouTube.

Well, another piece of video that the White House can't be excited about, the President was giving a speech on spending. This was on Wednesday. During the speech he's talking about his vice president who is going to be leading up a lot of the negotiations. The vice president, he was really thinking deeply or he was sleeping; could be just deep thought. Either way the VP's office not talking about this.

These guys have long days. They hear a lot of long speeches. What are you going to do?


HOLMES: Well, about a quarter to the top of the hour now. I want to bring in HLN Sports' Ray D'Alessio joining me this morning. A lot happening NBA-wise; the playoffs are starting. Also some bad attention was drawn to one of the biggest stars in the game.

Let's start with the playoffs and, you know, we talk about the NFL and the lockout. We might have an NBA one and people might be surprised to hear how much money they are losing.

RAY D'ALESSIO, HLN SPORTS: Right. Yes. They're estimating the league possibly $300 million this year, unlike the NFL they're not losing money.

HOLMES: They're not losing money.

D'ALESSIO: They're not losing money; they're still making money. But the owners are basically saying look, we need to change our current system so we don't start losing money. But yes, the NBA coming out this week, saying last year they lost $340 million. This year they stand to lose $300 million.

Something we're going to hear a lot about in the coming months, T.J., is the BRI, that stands for basketball related income and the way the current system works, the players receive 57 percent of that, OK. Now, the owners are saying that number needs to be lowered, but the players' union is saying that's not the issue here.

The issue is the revenue sharing and how the whole system works out right now. The way it works out now is, there is revenue sharing in things like NBA licensed merchandise, the national TV contracts but those local TV deals those are not shared deals.

The average NBA team, their yearly television contract is worth $12 million; the teams like the Lakers, the Knicks, a reported $150 million plus big endorsement deals. There isn't that huge revenue sharing amongst all the other teams. That local media revenue does not go to other teams. It just goes to those teams.

HOLMES: This was supposed to be a great year, banner year. Everybody was talking about the NBA last summer with LeBron and the whole thing. We thought this would be a great year for the NBA. I think people are surprised to hear. And wasn't viewership up?

D'ALESSIO: Viewership was up; jersey sales are up. But again, as the players are pointing to, it's that whole revenue sharing thing that really needs to be working out. That's why the smaller market teams are losing money.

HOLMES: All right. But speaking of one of those big market teams, L.A., one of the biggest stars, maybe on certainly one of the most recognizable athletes on the planet, Kobe Bryant got caught in an ugly moment.

D'ALESSIO: Right. He did and this happened on Tuesday night's game, TV cameras caught him on the sideline. You know, referencing a referee with an anti-gay slur. Kobe yesterday, of course, he was fined $100,000 for making this anti-gay slur.

HOLMES: Big time.

D'ALESSIO: Yes. Big time fine and he felt bad about it. He really did. He was back on "The Dan Patrick Show" yesterday saying it's something that he used before, but now he realizes how, you know, the use of this word really impacted people around him and now he's trying to make a difference.

The Lakers are also teaming up with GLAAD, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance against Defamation to better educate fans and players as well not to use these type of slurs again.

HOLMES: Just an ugly moment and he was caught right there on camera. It was fixed on him. He has been out and apologizing for it. We'll see what happens.


HOLMES: Ray D'Alessio --

D'ALESSIO: Good to see you, man.

HOLMES: Always good to see you. We had another segment here, sports related, but we're talking about the home run king, Barry Bonds who was convicted in federal court this week, but still coming out the winner.

How does that work? A judge declaring a mistrial on the serious charges -- the question now, is he going to jail? We'll get some insight from legal analyst Sunny Hostin when we come back next.

I know Ray D'Alessio doesn't have a legal background here but he was shaking his head no, but we'll see if the actual attorney agrees with you.

Stay with us.


HOLMES: Well, 52 minutes past the hour now. Sports and courts colliding: we're talking about a couple of high-profile incidents of late.

LeBron James mother allegedly slapping a valet in a Miami Beach parking lot; this happened a few weeks back. More recently, this week's split decision, if you will, on baseball's home run king. Barry Bonds convicted on obstruction of justice charges but not the more serious counts of perjury he was facing.

Legal analyst and friend Sunny Hostin from "In Session" our sister network TruTV joins us from Westchester, New York. Sunny, good to see you as always.

Simple question: Is Barry Bonds going to see the inside of a jail cell?

SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN LEGAL CONTRIBUTOR: You know, I don't think so. He's looking at up to ten years in prison on the obstruction of justice charge that he was convicted of. Under the federal sentencing guidelines that really looks more like 15 to 21 months. But it really is one of the lesser charges here and so, many people are saying he's never been convicted of anything before. We're talking about sort of the home run king. I would say probably not.

Probably probation, perhaps home arrest, but 15 to 21 months, I'm sure the prosecution is going to ask for that but I don't think he's going to get anywhere near that if any jail time at all.

HOLMES: So this is just the judge's discretion? Am I hearing that right?

HOSTIN: That's right. I mean the prosecutor will certainly make a recommendation. The defense will make a recommendation. We know the defense is going to try to get that conviction tossed out. And then the judge will take it under advisement and come up with the sentencing.

HOLMES: OK. Is he going to be retried thought on those serious charges, those perjury charges? This was a big, time-consuming, bit money-spending venture here by these prosecutors. Would they dare try this all over again?

HOSTIN: You know, it's quite possible. I don't think so. Bottom line is when Barry Bonds' trainer refused to testify and was held in contempt, went to jail, this is the second time he's refused to testify against Barry Bonds, that is when I think that this prosecution lost his case.

He's going to do the same thing again and they have to consider that. Very time consuming, very expensive and I don't think this is going to be a case that we see again.

HOLMES: OK. Let's move quickly, we have to get through Gloria James, LeBron James' mother, allegedly slapped a valet; he didn't bring her car quickly enough. Police say she seemed to be intoxicated. We have some TMZ video out there of the alleged incident, kind of -- I'll keep this up and talk to you about it. He's now suing -- the valet is suing for about $15,000 at least. What could he be claiming?

HOSTIN: Well, at least $15,000; probably a little more than that.

HOLMES: What could he be claiming?

HOSTIN: Well, he's claiming that she verbally abused him. She's claiming he assaulted him, and because of the assault and the verbal abuse he's suffering emotional distress, mental anguish and a loss for the capacity of the enjoyment of his life.

HOLMES: What does that mean?

HOSTIN: He says -- basically says, he can't work anymore. He's so traumatized by the slap heard round the world that he wants to be compensated for it. Let's face it, this is a lawsuit because she is LeBron James' mother. This is a case that will likely settle out of court, but she's also facing assault charges out of face, out of this. And so, you know, I mean he's got a bit of a case here and there is video of it.

Is he going to get several million dollars? Absolutely not, but he may get a little money out of this.

HOLMES: Loss of capacity for enjoyment of life. I have a long list of people that I can sue then if that is the case.

HOSTIN: Me too.

HOLMES: If that's all it takes.

Sunny, good to see you as always, thank you so much. You enjoy the rest of your Saturday, all right.

HOSTIN: You too.

HOLMES: All right. We're getting close to the top of the hour here. We're going to be talking about Japan here again in a moment. Thousands of people, would you believe, are still without power in their homes a month now after that tsunami and earthquake. And we're starting to get still more new video of the tsunami's approach.

Plus storm video in the U.S. you need to see.




HOLMES: Yes, holy crap is right. Not over, more possible tornadoes rolling through the country today.


HOLMES: We got new pictures, new developments and new predictions surrounding Japan's ongoing nuclear crisis. The latest for you now, the Tokyo Electric Power Company releases these new images from the Fukushima Nuclear Plant. The industry experts were saying that the crisis could last an additional two or three months; TEPCO not commenting on that assessment, however.

Also the death toll from the March 11th quake and tsunami up to 13,645; more than 14,000 still missing. Of course, we have a reminder for you as well. If you would like to make a difference, go to