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CNN NEWSROOM

Ten Days To Reach A Deal; More Goodbyes For Newtown; NRA Proposes Armed Guards For Schools; Police Investigate Motive For Shooting; Winter Storm Races East; Businesses Face The Cliff; Gun Control Faces New Legal Landscape; Student Challenges Microchip Tracking; Fighting To Avoid Street Violence; Fiscal Cliff Deal; Mexico Frees Former U.S. Marine; Car Bomb Kills Five People In Syria; Enjoying Chichen Itza, Mexico; What Parents Should Know; Lawsuit Against Penn State Can Proceed; Florida Judge Faces Ethics Charges; Refinancing Many Times For Lower Rate

Aired December 22, 2012 - 12:00   ET

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


RANDI KAYE, CNN ANCHOR: And CNN "NEWSROOM" continues with Miguel Marquez now. I am out of here.

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN ANCHOR: Have a lovely evening. Thank you very much.

KAYE: You, too. Have a good day.

MARQUEZ: Great to see you.

Well, happy holidays is turning into bah humbug for millions of Americans who could see their -- see deep cuts in their paychecks ten days from now. Lawmakers and President Obama have left Washington for Christmas, and with no consensus on the momentous tax hikes and spending cuts set to go into effect January 1st.

CNN's Brianna Keilar is live in Hawaii where the president is vacationing. Brianna, is the president overly optimistic a last- minute deal can be reached?

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: I don't know, Miguel, if you could say overly optimistic. We heard him last night in the briefing room of the White House saying he's a hopeless optimist that something can still be done.

But the fact is it's going to be something smaller. He's now pushing for tax cuts to be preserved for Americans making $250,000 or less and pushing for unemployment benefits to be extended for a couple million Americans.

Listen to some of what he said, but also still some of the House republican opposition to this short-term plan he's pushing.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: In the next few days I've asked leaders of Congress to work towards a package that prevents a tax hike on middle-class Americans, protects unemployment insurance for 2 million Americans, and lays the groundwork for further work on both growth and deficit reduction. That's an achievable goal. That can get done in ten days.

REPRESENTATIVE JOHN BOEHNER (R), HOUSE SPEAKER: The president's solution of raising tax rates would still leave red ink for as far as the eye can see. And it would hurt jobs at a time when far too many of our citizens are struggling to find them.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KEILAR: But the difference now, Miguel, is in discussion is this very small package that would really only deal with making sure these tax increases don't happen and that these unemployment benefits are extended as the White House sees it. But the bigger issue of trying to deal with deficit reduction of entitlement reform, tax reform that is being put on the shelf right now.

MARQUEZ: Kicking the can down the road, I suppose. If there is no deal, will workers see extra taxes coming out of their paychecks starting January 1?

KEILAR: So that's the thing. Technically taxes increase on January 1st, but if you were looking at your paycheck and trying to figure out am I going to be seeing this here just a matter of a couple weeks, no, actually.

We wouldn't expect that you would be seeing your taxes in your paycheck being pulled until late January, early February, and that's because payroll processors will revert to that 2012 equation that they use for your taxes in your paycheck until they're sure there's certainty.

Because even if we were to go over the cliff, there's still a possibility it can still be fixed in the immediate time after that.

MARQUEZ: So not an immediate cliff it sounds like. So House Speaker John Boehner was dealt hugely -- or what seems to be a hugely embarrassing blow when his own party refused to vote on his Plan B proposal. Where do Republicans go from here?

KEILAR: Well, right now they are home in their home districts for Christmas and they will be watching a lot of the action I guess you could almost say from their couches. Normally in a situation like this you would want to have the power to shape what something is going to look like.

In a way, House Republicans still do because ultimately that might, say, have to vote on something the Senate takes up. At this point, it's something being worked out between the White House and Senate Democrats and also it will ultimately have to include Senate Republicans if it's going to have to pass the Senate.

But at this point, House Republicans have kind of abdicated their power to shape this short-term bill to the Senate Minority Leader, Mitch McConnell. And so the thought is, obviously, that they may vote on something that the Senate has to take up. But it's something that ultimately has to go through the House would take Democratic votes as well and maybe they won't get as much as they want. Certainly their opportunity to get some entitlement and tax reform is gone for the moment -- Miguel.

MARQUEZ: Absolutely extraordinary situation. Brianna, thank you very much. Try to enjoy Hawaii and aloha to you.

KEILAR: Aloha.

MARQUEZ: Yesterday much of the country paused to remember the Newtown shooting victims. Church bells rang out exactly one week after the tragedy began. Flags remained at half-staff. Even many web sites went dark.

And people all over the country observed a moment of silence for the 20 children and 6 teachers and administrators. Today, there's a walk for peace in Newtown where three more children will be laid to rest.

Anna Grace Marquez Greene who loved to count and sing, Josephine Grace Gay, who had just celebrated her 7th birthday, and Emilie Alice Parker, who was bright, creative, and very loving.

The National Rifle Association has come out with a plan to make our schools safer. This is their first statement since the tragic shooting took place. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WAYNE LAPIERRE, EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT, NRA: I call on Congress today to act immediately to appropriate whatever is necessary to put armed police officers in every single school in this nation. The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MARQUEZ: Some politicians were quick to slam their proposal.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REPRESENTATIVE DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: The NRA, I would say that they were tone deaf, but it's beyond that. They're just deaf. I mean, they have completely ignored, don't understand, don't grasp how deeply wounded this nation was.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MARQUEZ: National correspondent Susan Candiotti is live in New York. Susan, just a week after the tragedy, people are still shocked by this senseless crime. Now this statement by the NRA, which can only be described as extraordinary, the statement that Mr. Lapierre gave yesterday. Why would armed guards in schools -- you know, why would they ever work or how could they ever work?

SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I mean, that is the debatable question, isn't it? For example, in Columbine in 1999, there was an armed guard in that school, and yet those two students were able to kill 13 people at that school.

So, you know, all week, Miguel, as you know, most Americans were waiting to hear what the NRA had to say, what they talk act adding background checks, a ban on assault weapon, what about restricting the size of ammo clips.

But instead we all heard the statement that they made. Well, among the opinions we sampled, we of course talked with people in Newtown, the site of that massacre, and for the most part people not impressed by the NRA's comments.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The only way to fight fire is with fire. So if you've got somebody that's armed and you're not, you're part of the problem, you're not part of the solution.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm very torn at this point. I'm not happy with the NRA. I am not happy with the NRA. And I am a gun owner myself. There is just no reason for automatic weapons in the public and clips that discharge so many rounds of ammunition.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CANDIOTTI: But of course the question is how many armed guards would you need, who would pay for this, would you position these people in every room in the school? All these are questions we still don't have answers for -- Miguel.

MARQUEZ: They are, indeed, tough and good questions. Turning to the investigation, any progress being made to find out information from Adam Lanza's computer hard drive?

MARQUEZ: Well, the FBI is still working on that in their facility at Quantico, Virginia. Remember that computer was -- had been destroyed by that -- by the shooter in this case. And so they've been trying to piece together the hard drive.

Now, we don't have any information about what they're finding, but in the meantime, of course, they're trying to find some kind of digital footprint for this young man. Was he sending e-mails to anybody? Did he flag his intentions to anyone?

For the most part, we've been unable to find anyone who was a friend of his, at least recently. He seemed to spend most of his time in his house, you know, playing video games.

And so authorities are trying to talk to family and friends to find out as much about him as they can to get down to the bottom of this, to find a motive -- Miguel.

MARQUEZ: Candy, thank you very much. I know it's been a tough one. Have a good day.

AAA predicts some 93 million Americans will travel between now and New Year's and many of them have had to face situations like this. This blizzard shot by I-Reporter Danny Murphy in Iowa on Thursday has been tearing across the Midwest and is now headed toward the east coast.

Great. Just in time to snarl a lot of holiday plans besides snow, whipping winds, a real headache in places like Cleveland. Drivers should stay off the road if they can. Who wants to have their sleigh stuck in a ditch over the holidays?

Alexandra Steele has been tracking the storm for us this morning. Alexandra, where is the storm headed today and what should we expect out there?

ALEXANDRA STEELE, AMS METEOROLOGIST: All right, well, you know, in the northeast, we're seeing the winds and also some snow falling, but, you know, we've had airport delays, nothing like the last few days so air travel is certainly a lot better as is the roads.

But here's a look at Washington Dulles just getting on the board now with over an hour delay. The predominance of northeast airport delays have been because of wind. Ft. Lauderdale are actually doing a little work at the airport.

That's what slowing things down on the runway there. San Francisco ensconced in rain and wind, so delays all morning and expected throughout the day, as well. So here's a look at the biggest problem in the northeast. Not only do we have this lake-enhanced snow coming down.

So we're going to see another 4 to 6 inches, possibly more than that. In this lake-effect area that typically sees it in upstate New York and western New York. But it's the winds that are courtesy of the big storm, 20-, 30-mile-per-hour wind gusts.

They will abate tonight, but they're still pretty strong. Let's talk about a white Christmas. Historically, believe it or not, there's only a 10 percent chance of a white one in New York City, 23 percent in Boston, 33 percent of a chance in Pittsburgh, 40 percent in Chicago.

Looks like if only place that will see it on this board is Pittsburgh because of the lake-effect snow. So look at this. A lot of the country, though, will see white Christmas meteorologically means that we have an inch of snow on the ground Christmas morning.

Even if it's falling we need an inch on the ground in the morning. That's where we're going to see that white Christmas. Looking ahead toward tomorrow, still more rain for San Francisco, so another tough travel day. They clear out on Monday.

But the story, Miguel, will be what's happening here in the southeast. Tuesday through Thursday, there's the chance for this next storm to climb the coast and bring more snow potentially Wednesday and Thursday to the northeast. So we'll be watching that.

MARQUEZ: Alexandra, thank you very much.

If the U.S. goes over the fiscal cliff, how are America's business leaders going to react? And if they could force the politicians into a deal, what would it include?

And later, some legal advice on how previous Supreme Court decisions might impact new gun laws now under consideration.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MARQUEZ: One thing business owners hate more than just about anything is uncertainty. And if politicians in Washington have done anything, is create the ultimate climate of uncertainty regarding the fiscal cliff.

Todd McCracken is president of the National Small Business Association. He joins me from Washington, D.C. Todd, if no deal is reached by the end of the year, a lot of people predict spending will slow down. How will business owners react?

TODD MCCRACKEN, PRESIDENT, NATIONAL SMALL BUSINESS ASSOCIATION: Well, I think they're going to react in a negative way because you mentioned the lack of confidence, a lack of certainty that's going to result, and that's absolutely the case.

If you're a business owner and you're thinking about maybe expanding, if you're someone who's thinking about starting a business, which is what we need in this economy, this is not the time you're going to do that.

You're going to put those plans off until you see how this all will get resolved. There's lots of practical questions for other business owners as well this would queue up.

MARQUEZ: Hasn't a lot of that slowing down already happened in the previous months since -- you know, I've been talking to folks since October, November. They've stopped hiring. They aren't putting in as many orders. Isn't a lot of that already under way? Do you expect it to get worse?

MCCRACKEN: It will get worse and yes, it has happened. We have a countercyclical thing going on where one of the biggest things business owners are going to lose come January 1st is the ability to deduct immediately their equipment purchases.

Right now they can do that pretty generously. That's going to go down to just $25,000, which in business is almost nothing, starting January 1st. So a lot of them have been making those purchases now so it's going to drop off precipitously beginning January 1st, especially if it's not fixed.

MARQUEZ: That will take a bite. All those government contracts out there, those businesses with them I take it they're the first, sort of the front line of the people that might get hit on this.

MCCRACKEN: You know, if you don't know what's going to happen immediately, those are the businesses that are really going to find themselves in a bind because if we go into sequester, all the federal agencies have to immediately figure how they're going to cut 10 percent of their expenses. And the quickest way for this me to do it is lop of contracts that they have. So a lot of businesses that employ lots of people that do business for the government are going to get thrown into a great deal of uncertainty and security.

They won't know if they'll be able to keep their employees, when this will end, whether they should keep them on, and sort of take the loss. It's a real problem for those companies.

MARQUEZ: Yes. And the priorities for business when it comes to making a deal in Washington, do they want to see the taxes dealt with or do they want the spending dealt with?

MCCRACKEN: Well, really the whole thing has to be dealt with because what you're really talking about is sending a level of confidence to the economy, to consumers, to investors, to the whole economy.

So really ideally what we would like to see is a deal that not just fixes the cliff effect coming up here on both tax and spending side, but also sets up a process in the near term in 2013 to deal with our big structural debt problems.

And that really would give, I think, the economy a significant boost in confidence and get us on the growth path we need.

MARQUEZ: You're a guy who knows Washington. Yes or no, will they come up with a deal?

MCCRACKEN: They will. I'm not optimistic it will be by January 1st, though.

MARQUEZ: Perfect hedge. Thank you very much. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

MCCRACKEN: Merry Christmas.

MARQUEZ: All right, are smart cards, badges, things with microchip in them a sign of the beast? One Texas teen says yes and she's taking her case to court, suing her school. Does the case have legs? Our legal eagles are standing by.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MARQUEZ: With the recent events in Newtown, Connecticut, the gun control debate is on. But given Supreme Court ruling -- the Supreme Court's last ruling on gun control, what if anything is possible?

In 2008, the court struck down Washington, D.C.'s attempt to ban guns entirely from homes. So what does that mean for gun control today?

Let's bring in our legal guys, Avery Freedman, civil rights attorney and law professor in Washington and Richard Herman, New York criminal defense attorney and law professor, joins us from Las Vegas.

Avery, is there any room for gun control here? AVERY FRIEDMAN, CIVIL RIGHTS ATTORNEY: Yes, a ton of it. Miguel, that 2008 decision that you referred to, the Heller case really provided the open door. Even Justice Scalia, one of the most conservative members of the court and writing for the majority, talked about unusual and dangerous weapons being permitted to be regulated.

So I think Heller really offers Congress an opportunity to get serious, show some backbone, take advantage of the existing constitutional law, what the tragedy means, what comes out of Connecticut, and take action in dealing with arms regulation. I think the opportunity is there. I think they can get it done.

MARQUEZ: Richard, what would meaningful gun control legislation or laws look like that would get by the Supreme Court?

RICHARD HERMAN, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: That's a great question, Miguel. We're going to find that out in the next year or so. Justice Scalia also talked about the enshrinement of our constitutional right to bear arms.

In any event, I think the areas will really focus on enhanced reporting of mental health issues and hopefully better mental health treatment because that really should be the number-one focus to preventing crimes such as what occurred up in Newtown.

Because I think most people who are licensed to carry guns or who possess guns are not going to get involved in the types of crimes and mass slaughters that we've been reading about.

But certainly limiting the capacity of the clips, taking a simple hunting rifle and adding a 30-round clip to it, making it an assault rifle, is another area fruitful for discussion, for banning those types of clips. They were banned before, and they were upheld.

I think that ban is coming back, but in any event, what a tragedy in Newtown. Everyone's reeling from it still. But, Miguel, if Congress doesn't act now, time will be the healer and all of a sudden this will fade away like so many cases in the past.

MARQUEZ: That's the question for both of you, I guess. Avery, in '89, there was a terrible shooting in Stockton, California, several kids gunned down by a semiautomatic weapon. It took five years to get what was an imperfect -- what many considered an imperfect law passed.

FRIEDMAN: Right.

MARQUEZ: How do you expect to see this play out in this particular political environment?

FRIEDMAN: Well, I think the difference is this is 9/11 national pain. Yes, Stockton was significant. Aurora was significant. Oregon was significant, but the fact is 20 children lost, I mean, it's on the minds of everyone.

And I think the president is taking charge of this issue. I'm actually optimistic. I think the easy path obviously is you have the semiautomatic ban somehow expires, that's the easy stuff. You deal with that, Congress brings that back.

The harder issue, I think, and the money issue is the issue of mental health. I think that really is where the focus is, a much broader comprehensive one. But you know what, Miguel, I think that's going to be tough.

I think that's a state issue, also. We have to deal with weapons as part of the formula, and I think we're on path for 2013 to see something coming out of Washington here.

MARQUEZ: Richard, can you legislate mental health? Is there some way to get a national card going? What are the possibilities here?

HERMAN: They're going to need to do something, Miguel, because these people that get involved in these types of crimes obviously have severe mental health issues. Now, having said that, this individual in Newtown, he would not have fallen into a category with the mental health issues so I don't know where they draw the line.

I don't know where -- what types of diagnoses have to be reported nationally or statewide. I don't know. It takes a lot of good minds to put together a program that will work here. But you ask a great question, Miguel. And, again, that answer we'll find out in the next year or so.

MARQUEZ: I've got to switch gears here. We could talk about all this day, I know, but out in Texas, the great state of Texas, there's a 15- year-old woman named Andrea Hernandez.

She is making a federal court fight out of I.D. cards. She's saying that the school in San Antonio putting a microchip in the card and then tracking students is against her religion.

Richard, this brings together both the ACLU and the Evangelicals to help her fight this case.

HERMAN: Right.

MARQUEZ: Strange bedfellows, but does she have a leg to stand on?

HERMAN: You know, they're walking hand in hand. Who would ever have predicted that? But, again, when we talk about mental health issues, to me, this case might fall into that category.

FRIEDMAN: Come on.

HERMAN: I don't know what they're talking about.

FRIEDMAN: That's not fair.

HERMAN: The sign of the beast is a badge, a badge? The school says we want to put little chips in our school badges so that if students are missing we can locate them. What's wrong with that? Come on. Give me a break. Give me a break.

MARQUEZ: Avery, he has a point there, Avery. We all have these things these days. Everybody has badges with microchips. We're all tracked. Does this young woman have a leg to stand on?

MARQUEZ: Yes. Let me explain the constitutional issue. The argument is that it's free exercise of religion under the first amendment that's the argument. The fact is the school has accommodated her faith by yanking the chip.

She's got the I.D. the federal district judge in San Antonio did a great job, Miguel. He asked this wonderful young woman, 15 years old, look, now that the chip is out, are you OK?

She said no, I don't even want to use the I.D. nothing in the first amendment permits Miss Hernandez to avoid the I.D. Ultimately Judge Garcia, who's the federal judge here, will rule against her, judgment for the school district. This case is dismissed.

MARQUEZ: Guys, thank you very much. We'll be back in about 20 minutes to talk about a legal setback in the Penn State case, the university trying to delay a lawsuit brought on by a former assistant coach.

It may sound like a contradiction, fighting to take on a growing problem in Chicago, street violence, but some dedicated people are taking young kids and turning around their lives. Photojournalist Derrick Davis shows us how they're doing it.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JUAN GUERRA, BOXER: I grew up watching boxing all my life. Boxing is really, really hard. It takes a lot of discipline. Some people make it look easy, but it's really hard. As soon as I walk in those doors, I just fell in love with boxing.

There are different things that the gym offers you and different things that the streets offer you. Most of the time the street, it will lead you to death. That's the choice that you make.

GABRIEL NAVARRO, HEAD COACH, CHICAGO YOUTH BOXING CLUB: The streets are really, really bad. There's a good one or two shootings every weekend. It keeps kids off the street like if the kid is at home, friends come over, let's go out, there are out in the street. If they come here, it's a real nice environment for them.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everybody get into the ring. We have the rap session.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This week I want to talk about unity. In this gym, we are a community.

NAVARRO: We not only do boxing. We do youth development. When you walk in the door, we're not only teaching you boxing. We're also teaching you that, you know, you have to go to school. We have three or four tutors that we're trying to get these kids' grades up.

GUERRA: I used to have average, like, B, Cs. Now I get As and Bs.

NAVARRO: We're going to have to put everything we got into that one minute. I joined boxing to stay away from the streets and to get my life together. So it literally saved my life, boxing. I want these kids to go to college for the next generation to be more powerful, you know, in life. You know, we're more than just tough. We're also smart.

GUERRA: I want to become a champion, and I want to show people that this neighborhood is not only about violence, that there are people in here, in the neighborhood that are determined to become somebody in life.

NAVARRO: If I help two, three kids a year, that's a great difference. Just like boxing saved me, I'm trying to save others.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MARQUEZ: Very sweet, Derrick Davis. Our "Getting in Focus" special airs 12:30 p.m. Eastern on Christmas Day.

Well, the world didn't end, but the false Mayan prophecy is creating a tourism boom at one of the seven wonders of the modern world. We'll take you there ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MARQUEZ: Taking a look at top stories this hour, President Obama says he's optimistic a deal can be reached on the scaled-down bill on the so-called fiscal cliff. The president and lawmakers left Washington for the holidays, but leaders from both sides plan to return after Christmas to try to hammer out a deal that avoids tax hikes for millions of Americans.

A former U.S. Marine is out of a Mexican prison today. Jon Hammar spent more than four months locked up, sometimes chained to a bed on questionable gun charges. Hammar was on his way to Costa Rica to go surfing when he was arrested back in August. Mexican authorities say the antique gun in his vehicle violated their gun laws. Hammar was finally freed after U.S. officials intervened.

A bombing in Syria killed five people today. The car bomb exploded in Damascus, a neighborhood there this time. No one has claimed responsibility. The Syrian state TV is calling the bombing a terrorist explosion.

And here's what's trending right now on the web. Facebook has a new app that expands the poke. It allows you to send a short message, snap picture or even a ten-second video. But it's once and a done thing. Neither sender nor retriever can retrieve it, perfect for sending a risque image without leaving a trail, right?

If you haven't seen this video, where have you been? Gangnam style is the most watched video in the history of YouTube, according to Billboard. It has 1 billion views and counting. Billboard calculates that "Gangnam Style" is watched more than 76 times a second somewhere around the world. Glad we're putting the internet to use.

Before he died, billionaire Steve Jobs commissioned this megayacht. The Venus is 260 feet long and costs $137 million. But it's been impounded in Amsterdam in a dispute with the man who designed it. He says he hasn't gotten all his money yet.

The so-called Mayan end of the world prediction has apparently, I'm still here, come and gone. So are you, but tourists have good reason to get a taste of Mayan history and culture and architecture. In Chichen Itza, Mexico, Nick Parker gives a look at this week's "On The Go."

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

NICK PARKER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm here in ancient Mayan ruins in Chichen Itza where thousands of people came recently to mark the end of the Mayan calendar or as some said the end of the world.

Well, the world didn't end, but there are still many, many good reasons to come and visit what has been described as one of the seven wonders of the modern world. Chichen Itza was built more than a thousand years ago and was one of the largest cities in the Mayan empire.

Today, it stretches out across about five square kilometers of ground here in Yucatan. And as you can see, a lot of the architecture is still extremely imposing. This temple corresponds to the Mayan calendar.

A lot of the steps and panels represent months and years. And as you can see all around me, there's stale great deal of enthusiasm amongst tourists for coming to Chichen Itza. Nick Parker, CNN, Chichen Itza, Mexico.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MARQUEZ: Important advice for millions of people, especially parents, in the wake of the Connecticut shooting. That's up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MARQUEZ: Eight days after the massacre in Newtown, parents everywhere are understandably anxious about their children's safety both in and out of school. Our Josh Levs is here with a clinical psychologist with a unique point of view.

JOSH LEVS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Well, look, a lot of us all over the country are feeling a lot in the wake of what happened. For parents like me, it feels different when you drop your kids off at school right now. You might have some more worries.

As we as a society, as the nation have this conversation about what policies we need, we also need to do the little work of processing what we're feeling. I reached out to a great clinical psychologist who said the first thing to understand is we should recognize that it's OK that many of us feel deeply affected.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) PAULA BLOOM, CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST: It means we're human beings, have the ability to have empathy. It's not just that we're watching it happen to others that we are putting ourselves in that place and their place and can feel that.

But we also need to remember feelings are not facts. It's OK to feel like this is going to happen to you and fear all those things, but it doesn't necessarily mean that it will.

We need to stay with our feelings, but we also need to recognize that our feelings affect our behavior and thoughts.

LEVS: How do you do that? I feel like when it comes to the safety of our children that is the one topic on which we are least likely to be rational in the whole world.

BLOOM: Right.

LEVS: There's something that's so visceral and primal about protecting our young, right?

BLOOM: Absolutely.

LEVS: How can we do what you're talking about?

BLOOM: You're feeling the feelings, but we do this every single day. There's risk every single day in our life. We drive our car and we know people have car accidents. There are all kinds of thing we go out on faith. We can feel the feelings, but knowing that being stuck in this negative feeling isn't going to help serve you or your kids.

LEVS: This is fascinating. All right, some tips from you. Separate feelings from facts. You also talk about keep routines, how important that is. Tell me about that.

BLOOM: Yes, it's really important. We need these anchors. When we're feeling so overwhelmed emotionally, we feel so ungrounded. So when you have these routine, meal time and sleep times, the things we think about to recommend for our kids, those are the things that help us as well.

Staying ground sod that we have all these emotions, but getting to a place where you can watch the emotional roller coaster without necessarily having to ride it every time.

LEVS: Fascinating. All right, two more. Accept your right to move forward and be honest with yourself. What do those mean?

BLOOM: Yes, accepting your right to move forward. Sometimes people think if they move forward with their life somehow it means they're not having enough compassion that somehow they feel like if they stay, you know, they make a decision to say I'm going to get out the move forward.

Does that mean I didn't appreciate the gravity of the situation? You can feel more than one thing at a time. You can feel sadness and anger and compassion and still put one foot in front of the other and living your life.

LEVS: The last one there, be honest with yourself. Maybe you might need therapy, right?

BLOOM: Right. Especially if you have any kind of history with trauma, you need to be careful with that. But being honest with yourself is about sometimes taking media breaks, being very careful about what you expose yourself to, and recognizing the psychological warning signs.

How are you eating, sleeping, if you thinking? To what degree is this impacting you? Your mind is a magnifying glass. Whatever you focus on will get better.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LEVS: Clinical psychologist, Paula Bloom there and I'll tell you one great line from her, we need to think not only about what we tell our kids but what we tell ourselves. I've got a lot more posted on my pages, cnn.com/josh, Facebook and Twitter, joshlevscnn.

I've just posted about Miguel joining us here in the "NEWSROOM" for the weekend. There are helpful things to keep in mind as we move forward.

MARQUEZ: Thanks very much for tweeting and for being there.

LEVS: You got it.

MARQUEZ: A Florida judge runs a business out of her chambers and is now running into trouble. She's facing ethics charges, but she says it's all on the up and up. Our star legal team will dive in and sort it out.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MARQUEZ: It's not the decision Penn State had hoped for. A judge denied the university's request to hold off on those civil case by former assistance football coach, Mike McQueary. While related criminal case are resolve. McQueary as you remember become an essential figure in the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal last year.

Our legal guys are back, Avery Friedman in Washington, Richard Herman in Las Vegas. Richard, this seems like a bit of a mess. Is it common for a civil case to move forward while a criminal case is still pending?

HERMAN: It is not common. It's highly uncommon, Miguel. You know, McQueary has brought a lawsuit against Penn State and the three administrators who he believes are culpable to him -- Schultz, Curley, and Spaniard.

What he's saying he was a whistle-blower, he was wrongfully terminated, he was defamed by them. He's seeking $4 million of damages in the civil arena. But these three administrators, they're facing criminal charges.

And what's routine in the country is when anyone is facing criminal charges and there is a companion civil case going, the judges routinely stay the civil proceedings because these individuals have Fifth Amendment rights. They're not going to be deposed.

The criminal lawyers are will not allow them to be deposed and here the judges say I understand all that. But listen, the defamation claims are different and have no bearing on what the administrators said to the grand jury or investigators.

He's made that distinction. He claims there's no relationship between the criminal case and the civil case and therefore, he said the civil case continues on. I think it's a bad ruling. And I think they ought to appeal it. I think the appellate division will grant them that stay.

MARQUEZ: Avery, something tells me you don't agree.

FRIEDMAN: I hate to do it, I absolutely agree with what Richard said.

MARQUEZ: Christmas miracle.

FRIEDMAN: The cover-up was in March of 2011.

MARQUEZ: Christmas miracle.

FRIEDMAN: The cover-up was March 2011. They fired him a month after he testified in July of 2012. So the judge wrote a 14-page opinion saying, look, the case can go forward. I think it's a terrible decision.

The fact is without the discovery of these three guys to explain what they did and whether they played a role in the termination is critical. I think what you're going to see is interlocutory appeal and then an appeal by the university to jam this thing. It makes no sense.

McQueary needs to take those depositions. They will not testify. By the way, Miguel, there are no dates even set for the criminal trial. Judge Gavin is saying McQueary is entitled to prompt attention, not going to happen, go to the court of appeals. Nothing is going to happen here.

MARQUEZ: Can either of you sort of sort this out? Robert, if this was your client -- I mean, Richard, if this was your client, how would you get at this and move forward with this thing?

HERMAN: There's no way I'd allow it to proceed. If I'm representing them in a criminal arena, I am not allowing them to testify in any civil proceedings.

FRIEDMAN: Yes. That's right.

HERMAN: I'm not allowing them to open their mouth, period, can't do it. FRIEDMAN: Yes.

MARQUEZ: All right, guys, let's move on to the judge down in Florida. This is a woman who --

FRIEDMAN: Love this case.

MARQUEZ: I knew you guys would. Something told me I knew you'd love this. A county judge, Judith Hawkins, used her office to promote a side business. Basically, she was literally running a business out of her chambers saying that she had extra time using her assistants. Avery, there's ethics charges against her. Is she right or wrong? Can a judge do this?

FRIEDMAN: Well, I thought she was going to say I have a first amendment freedom of religion, but if I'm a lawyer in that courtroom, Miguel, I'm saying your honor, what a lovely book and look at the lovely pictures and what's that book going to cost me?

It's a clear violation of ethics rules. No doubt about it. I don't know what this judge is thinking. She earns $142,000 a year, picked up an additional 30 grand in selling books not only in the courtroom but out in the garage.

So to me I don't know how she's going to explain this away. She's probably a decent person. They're probably sanctioning her on some degree. But it is mystifying how she could come up with running a private business with robes a flowing on the website selling this stuff, unbelievable.

MARQUEZ: Richard, you've probably dealt with a few judges in your time. What do you make of this?

HERMAN: I think, Miguel, that we're talking about mental health issues earlier today and --

MARQUEZ: I'm calling another flag. It was going so well.

HERMAN: Come on, really. How can a judge be hocking her ministry wares in the courtroom and basically compelling lawyers to buy this stuff to get decent decisions from her? Her calendar is minimal. Her trial schedule is nothing. Her docket has no cases. This woman needs to be removed immediately, and she needs some major therapy, I think.

MARQUEZ: Well, with that, we will say that Hawkins has not responded to our request but --

FRIEDMAN: She didn't call you back? Never called you back?

MARQUEZ: Well, you know, I think there's probably a good reason why she didn't. Nobody calls me back. I can't get a call back. Guys, thank you very much.

FRIEDMAN: Happy holidays. Take care.

HERMAN: Happy holidays, Miguel. MARQUEZ: Happy holidays to you. They are here every Saturday at this time to give us their take on the most intriguing legal cases of the day.

Falling interest rates have led to a rise in refinancing. Some do it several times. You'll meet a serial refinancer.

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MARQUEZ: Bargain basement mortgage rates mean some homeowners have gone back one, twice, even three times to lower their mortgage payments with lower interest rates. Christine Romans introduces us to a serial refinancer in this week's "Smart is the New Rich."

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CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Same condo, same owner, three different interest rates in just three years.

SHAWN BRECK, REAL STATE AGENT: November 2009, 5.125 percent. November 2010, refinanced and it was 4.25 percent, now 3.6 percent.

ROMANS: Real estate agent Shawn Breck brought his condo in 2009.

BRECK: It's 650 square feet, 15-foot ceilings.

ROMANS: Since then he's refinanced twice, sticking with a 30-year fixed rate mortgage.

BRECK: My first refinance my mortgage payment dropped about $350 a month. From there it will drop another possibly $400 a month.

ROMANS: Sinking mortgage rates save him $750 a month. Rates have fallen from almost 4 percent to around 3.3 percent this year alone. Just a couple years ago 6% was considered super low and once in a lifetime.

(on camera): If you're sitting on a mortgage right now that is 5.25 percent or 6 percent, what should you be doing?

BOB MOULTON, PRESIDENT, AMERICANS MORTGAGE GROUP: You should be calling a loan officer.

ROMANS: You should not be above 4.5 percent?

MOULTON: You should not be about 4.5 percent right now.

ROMANS (voice-over): But lenders aren't passing the cheap money around like they were at the peak of the housing bubble.

(on camera): Who should be refinancing?

MOULTON: Anyone who has equity in the house, who's working, can show a good credit score, and has money in the bank.

BRECK: After they ran my credit all they needed was my last year's tax forms and then it was just a matter of formality of signing the paperwork and doing it.

ROMANS: Step two, run the numbers.

MOULTON: You have to do the economics to make sure that you're recouping your closing costs within the amount of time that you're going to stay in the house.

ROMANS: And stop procrastinating. If you qualify, the sooner you close, the sooner you save.

BRECK: It seems like a no-brainer to me. If you can save -- I mean, if you can save even $100 to $150 a month, it seems worth it.

ROMANS: For "Smart is the New Rich," I'm Christine Romans.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MARQUEZ: A small town in Spain has literally hit the jackpot. We'll tell you about that in a moment.

And if you have to go out today, just a reminder, you can continue to watch CNN from your mobile device. All you have to do is punch in CNN live or from your laptop, that is, all you have punch in cnn.com/tv.

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MARQUEZ: President Obama says he's optimistic a deal can be reached on a scaled down bill on the so-called fiscal cliff. The president and lawmakers left Washington for the holidays, but leaders from both sides plan to return after Christmas to try to hammer out a deal that would avoid tax hikes for millions of Americans.

Cold, windy, and snowy, that sums up the weather across much of the northern U.S. today. A winter storm that hit the Midwest on Thursday is now moving into the northeast with gusts up to 40 miles an hour. A blizzard warning is in effect for West Virginia and Maryland until 6:00 p.m. tonight.

For some residents of a small town in Spain, Christmas came a little early. They won the bulk of the Country's Annual Christmas lottery. It pays out, get this, $2.2 billion to thousands of winner in the biggest prize of the fat man was won by residents of this town near Madrid.

Spaniards usually buy a ticket and share it among their friends and family so the joy is spread around, very nice. I'll be back in an hour with much more news coming up after 2:00 p.m.

One of the biggest gun retailers in America says it did a lot of soul searching after the Newtown massacre. But in the end, customers wanted guns.

In the 3:00 hour, we'll take a closer look at how other countries view America's fascination with guns including Japan where almost no one owns firearms. And it's that time of the year when everyone gets sick. At 4:00 p.m., Dr. Sanjay Gupta will explain how to avoid getting the flu. "YOUR MONEY" starts right now.