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Lights, Camera, Flop; Hot Summer For Athletes Who Behave Badly; What Legalizing Pot Could Do For The Economy; Billionaires Buying Up Newspapers; Tech Companies Promote Immigration Reform

Aired August 11, 2013 - 15:00   ET


JOHN BERMAN, CNN GUEST HOST: Lights, camera, flops. Welcome to YOUR MONEY. I'm John Berman, in for Christine Romans.

Now, the film costs $100 million to make but nobody sees it will it change the way you watch movies for good?

BERMAN (voice-over): Call it Hollywood's latest disaster epic, and no one in the film business wants to see a sequel, an avalanche of mega movies have fallen with a thud. Columbia Pictures' "After Earth," Disney's "The Lone Ranger" and Universal's "R.I.P.D." all failed, tens of millions of dollars short of their opening weekend expectations.

With price tags exceeding $100 million, these productions will be lucky to make back half of what they spent. Steven Spielberg, director of the original summer blockbuster, "Jaws," says all these busts will change what you end up paying at the box office.

STEVEN SPIELBERG, FILM DIRECTOR: Eventually you are going to have to pay $25 to see the next "Iron Man," and you're probably only going to have to pay $7 to see "Lincoln."

BERMAN (voice-over): Like many other American industries, globalization has hit Hollywood and business abroad has helped the bottom line. The number one movie this summer, "Iron Man 3," made about $300 million at home but more than doubled that abroad.

It turns out the international market has a taste for the epic computer effect-heavy spectacles, and that's just one reason the big studios are shying away from riskier original storytelling. Each of the top five highest-grossing movies this summer were remakes or sequels.

"Star Wars" creator George Lucas knows a thing or two about sequels. And he agrees with Steven Spielberg's vision of the future.

GEORGE LUCAS, FILM PRODUCER: What used to be the movie business, which I think includes television and movies, now it's going to be the television business, which has nothing to do with television.


BERMAN: AMC's "Breaking Bad," HBO's "Game of Thrones" and Showtime's "Homeland" are drawing viewers away from the theaters. So what does the future hold for moviegoers who prefer filmmakers with big ideas but perhaps smaller wallets? Spike Lee has been telling original stories for decades, from "Do the Right Thing," to "Inside Man," one of my favorites.

The question is, what does the future look like for directors who don't want to churn out 3-D remakes and sequels?

Spike Lee, what do you think about that?

What's the future?

SPIKE LEE, FILMMAKER: Well, just see what the two guys who really invented the blockbuster, Mr. Spielberg -- what Mr. Spielberg said and Mr. Lucas said, I can't top that, they hit the nail. They hit it right on the head.

BERMAN: You have changed the way you are doing business. Explain.

LEE: Well, my newest film, I am raising money through Kickstarter, which is really about crowd funding. And I like to say that I have been doing Kickstarter before there was Kickstarter.

My first feature film, which yesterday was the 27th anniversary of it --

BERMAN: Happy anniversary.

LEE: -- thank you -- "She's Gotta Have It," the budget was $175,000, so there was no Internet, so social media for me was writing letters, writing postcards, licking envelopes, licking stamps and making phone calls. So I have been doing this from the beginning, now I am just trying to use the technology to get the money.

BERMAN: The technology lets you do things, though, that may have not been available 27 years ago.


LEE: No, there is no may, it has.

BERMAN: People you never met, people you have never laid eyes on.

LEE: Exactly.

BERMAN: People you will never meet will be investing as opposed to people, friends, neighbors, the like, you're raising money for before.

There is a sense among some people that Kickstarter is for the grassroots, for the small time inventor in their garage, or for someone out there making a film on their iPhone. That's not you, I mean, you've directed big Hollywood movies before. You have courtside seats at the Knicks.

And you know, you have a Rolodex with A-listers out there.

Is there a difference between what you are doing and the guy making a movie with his iPhone?

LEE: No, because we are both appealing to people to make pledges to get our work. And I went to the co-founders of Kickstarter, Yancey and Perry, and asked about it. They said, Spike, we made this for everybody.

So the co-founders of Kickstarter said that, then I'm OK with it. And also we are bringing people to Kickstarter that never even heard of it, who never even heard of crowd funding, and they are going to invest; they're going to pledge on my films and invest in others, too.

BERMAN: Is there a difference between pledging and investing? What do I get if I kick in the 1,000 bucks to the next film?

LEE: Let's talk about, well, when you pledge, there are rewards for every pledge. So it's not really an investment. So on Kickstarter, you can only -- $10,000 is the limit. So for me, at $10,000, 10,000 bucks, I take you to dinner, and you sit courtside with me, my wife's seat -- thank you, Tonya -- at the world's most famous arena, that's what it got. And we should not move in 10 years, that's BS.

BERMAN: I can see the next moves on TV.

But still, it would be an honor --


LEE: No, no, no, sir.

BERMAN: -- it would be an honor to sit next to you at a game.

LEE: Sitting with me, maybe you don't know basketball, but sitting with me courtside in my seats, that's an experience.

BERMAN: You can see the Celtics there, one of the great teams --

LEE: Also we have sold 27 of those.

BERMAN: Twenty-seven $10,000 packages?

LEE: Yes, and the tickets cost me $3,500. And Steven Soderbergh was the first one, who himself has said the same thing about Hollywood that Spielberg and Lucas said. And he's no longer making hungry films. And he is going to work exclusively doing cable work.

BERMAN: Let me ask you this about the direction the film business is going in general, because we see sequels sometimes to movies now that were made 20 and 25 years ago, and they're not sequels -- remakes. We see a remake to "Total Recall," we see a remake to "Dirty Dancing."

"Do the Right Thing" was a huge film --


LEE: (Inaudible) it was huge culturally, but it didn't make -- not huge as far as box office goes. BERMAN: What would you say if someone came to you and said I want to do a remake of "Do the Right Thing "?

LEE: I'd say we're going to do it as a Broadway play.

BERMAN: Is that in the works?

LEE: Yes, my man, James Leigland (ph), who owns half of the theaters here on Broadway.

BERMAN: So something that's going to happen right there?

LEE: A musical, yes.

BERMAN: Would you put the musical in movie form?

LEE: We're trying to speak to Stevie Wonder.

BERMAN: So you would do anything. The bottom line is you see these sequels out there, you see these remakes that are selling right now, you are not opposed to the notion --


LEE: No, because my new film, "Oldboy," we're not calling a remake, we're calling it a reinterpretation. It's a Korean film that came out 5-6 years ago, which is starring Josh Brolin and Samuel L. Jackson. It comes out this Thanksgiving.

But for me, I mean, this tent pole -- again, Spielberg and Lucas said it themselves. This tent pole business plan is going to collapse the movie business onto itself.

BERMAN: A little earlier you brought up the New York Knicks. Let me ask you, this is a money show, this is a business show. Let me ask you a business question.

The Knicks are a team, that, if you're old enough, you can remember they did win a championship --

LEE: Yes, 41 years ago.

BERMAN: -- 41 years ago. So you have to be really old to remember something that long ago.

Let me ask you this, LeBron James can opt out of his contract, do you think the Knicks have any shot of signing him?

LEE: I don't think so. If he wanted to come to New York he would have gone to New York instead of Miami, and, look, he has to -- they won two championships back to back, they are going for a three-peat, so I think he's going to stay. And think about it, once you get under the grips of Pat Riley, it's hard to move.

BERMAN: You guys had him and you couldn't hang on. Spike Lee, thank you so much for joining us. It's really a pleasure to meet you and talk to you about this. Appreciate it.

So we were talking about sports. In the 1996 film, "Jerry Maguire," football player Rod Tidwell made it very clear what he wanted from his agent:


CUBA GOODING, ACTOR, "ROD TIDWELL": I need to hear it, Jerry.

TOM CRUISE, ACTOR, "JERRY MAGUIRE": Show me the money!

"TIDWELL": Jerry, you got to yell it.

"MAGUIRE": Show me the money.

BERMAN (voice-over): But a summer of athletes behaving badly have left some pretty thick wallets lighter, and fans wondering what can possibly happen next.



BERMAN: This summer has been a hot one for athletes behaving badly -- not all of them, just a sliver in fact -- but when it happens it certainly grabs the headlines. More than 30 NFL players have been arrested since the Super Bowl; of those, Aaron Hernandez faces the most serious charges.

In late June the former New England Patriots star was arrested and charged with first-degree murder; Hernandez is awaiting trial in jail.

And last week a video surfaced of Philadelphia Eagles receiver Riley Cooper saying a racial slur at a Kenny Chesney concert. He apologized and he was sent home from training camp but he has since returned to the team.

In college football, Heisman trophy winner Johnny Manziel is under investigation. The NCAA is looking into reports that Manziel was paid thousands of dollars for signing autographs, which is a major violation for a college athlete, not the NCAA itself, however.

And finally, the bad boys of summer, 12 Major League Baseball players suspended for 50 games apiece this week, all of them linked to a anti- aging clinic in Florida called Biogenesis, where the league says the players bought performance enhancing drugs; none of them failed a drug test, but only one, Yankees' third baseman, Alex Rodriguez, is appealing his 211-game suspension.

CNN Sports anchor Rachel Nichols joins me now. She's at Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester, New York, for this weekend's PGA championship.

Rachel, we'll get to golf in a minute, but first, let's talk about A- Rod here. He makes about $27.5 million a year, let's compare that with the average Joe, the per capita income in the U.S. is $27,915 a year.

A-Rod's contract with the Yankees runs through 2017; critics say appealing the suspension, well, it's really all about money. The question is, the Yankees have been looking into this for a long time, looking about ways to possibly get out of this deal.

Would it be a smart business move if they could just pay him out and cut ties?

RACHEL NICHOLS, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: No, not really, because they are going to be paying him $60 million, and you don't want to pay a guy $60 million to do nothing; that's if the full suspension is upheld and he loses about $30 million plus off of that contract.

If the suspension is lessened, even a little bit, they are going to be paying him more than $60 million, so you don't want to pay that money for a guy to do nothing, even if you negotiated some sort of settlement, Alex Rodriguez wouldn't take that much of a pay cut. So Brian Cashman (ph) has said that if he is available to them and they are paying him, they are going to use him.

Of course if he is suspended for as long as baseball has said he will be suspended for, and of course we are going to have to see what an arbitrator decides, well, then that puts Alex Rodriguez at 40 years old. And you have to wonder how much can he play at that point. But if he makes a legitimate move to try to get onto the field, they are required to pay him. It's a very interesting financial situation.

BERMAN: He could end up being 40 years old, having taken a full year off. That will be interesting to see.

So former St. Louis Cardinals slugger Mark McGwire was asked about the suspension this week. He's now a hitting coach.

He told ESPN, quote, "Everybody, especially the players, don't want any more part of it and I hope this is the end of it. I wish I was never part of it."

So, Rachel, obviously, this is not the end of steroids and PEDs in baseball, but might it be a sort of turning point that we are seeing?

NICHOLS: Yes, I think this is the most interesting part about this story, John. This is really a sea change in the McGwire-Sosa era; you saw those guys' teammates really perform a protective nook around those players. Nobody wanted to talk about steroids.

Now, in clubhouses around the country, we are seeing players speak out, saying we don't want cheaters in our game; we don't want to be competing against them for jobs. And I think that change more than almost any other is going to shift the way not only the public but younger players coming up see the game and see whether they should take performance enhancing drugs.

As you point out, there will always be people who try to cheat. But we could see the percentages change. And that's key for Major League Baseball. BERMAN: Now you're standing at the golf course right now, following a superstar who has battled back from controversy, very different type of controversy. And we are not talking about cheating in the game, we are talking about life problems here, we are talking about Tiger Woods.

You spoke to Tiger Woods this week. He is coming off of his 79th PGA tour win last week; how is his comeback going, how are fans treating him on the course?

NICHOLS: Well, fans here love him because they want to see him win again. It has been five years since Tiger has won a major tournament now. I have to say, he has had a fantastic year, better than anybody else in golf. He's won five titles, he's won nearly $8 million, and he's come close in majors doing well in the early rounds, but he has had trouble closing.

I asked him about that on the course.


TIGER WOODS, PRO GOLFER: Well, I just keep getting myself there, just keep putting myself there. And the key is, if I am there, then I got a chance to win. And I just haven't done it in the last five years, but the key is to keep putting myself there, and I will start getting them.

NICHOLS: I know for you, you've had a tremendous year, and there's been so many parked the last five years. You've played great golf, but you seem to still want that major so badly.

Why is it still so important to you after all this time?

WOODS: Well, they are the biggest events, and it's just neat being part of a golfing history, you know. You know, I have won 14 of them, and they are so unique and so different; you are playing against the best fields, you are on the most difficult venues, and the pressure is just -- it's fantastic, it's fun.

So that's why there is a rush, that's why we play them, that's why we love them.


BERMAN: Rachel, thank you so very much. And head over to CNNMoney for an interactive look at how much the all-time greatest golfers have earned for winning major championships, check out major money, golf's biggest winners. That's up on CNNMoney right now.

So Dr. Sanjay Gupta, he was against the use of medical marijuana, now he says he was wrong. Sanjay joins me next.


BERMAN: We talk a lot about budget cuts, underfunded schools, even cities going bankrupt. One idea that has a lot of people talking, legalize marijuana and tax it like crazy.

According to Harvard economist Jeffrey Myron, legalizing pot could save the government $7.7 billion a year in enforcement costs and it could bring in $6.2 billion in tax revenue. That's a total of almost $14 billion in savings and revenue.

Then there's the other part of the discussion, the serious part, people who argue that pot isn't really bad for you, that in some cases it has major health benefits.

I want to bring in CNN's chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

Sanjay, you have a special about marijuana, called "Weed," airing this weekend. You have talked with doctors, you've talked with growers and dispensers. You have been researching this for over a year and what is fascinating here is you have had a change of heart.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, no, I think that's very fair to say, John. I have had a change of heart. I had been critical of medical marijuana in the years, written magazine articles about it, sort of pointing out that, in my opinion at that time, the evidence just didn't stack up.

And, John, if you go look to the medical journals now on medical marijuana, there's some 20,000 papers out there, but the vast majority of them are designed to look at harm; a very small percentage, about 6 percent or so, my calculation, designed to look at benefit.

And it gives a very distorted image of our attitudes towards medical marijuana, what we know about it.

For me it took getting outside the country, looking in other labs and talking to legitimate patients with legitimate problems, as I found, for whom not only did marijuana work, it was the only thing that worked.

So, yes, I had a change of heart in large part because of this journey, John. Again, I have seen how it can work when nothing else did.

I want you to see Chas Moore. He's a 19-year-old with a condition known as diaphragmatic flutter. Take a look.


GUPTA (voice-over): Meet 19-year-old Chas Moore. He uses many different strains of marijuana, many of them high in CBD, to treat his rare disorder of the diaphragm.

CHAS MOORE, MARIJUANA USER: My abs like lock up.

GUPTA (voice-over): That's why he's talking this way, almost speaking in hiccups, like he can't catch his breath. He's about to show me how the marijuana works. He's been convulsing now for seven minutes.

GUPTA: How quickly do you expect this to work?

MOORE: Within like the first five minutes.

And I'm done.

GUPTA: That's it?

MOORE: That's it.

GUPTA (voice-over): It was actually less than a minute.


GUPTA: John, he had taken so many different medications, and, you know, he is one person, but he's emblematic of many more. So many of those medications he took weren't working for him. He had been in the intensive care unit for a period of time. It was pretty scary stuff.

And again, you heard that he's taking this strain of marijuana that's high in CBD. There's two ingredients people talk about, THC, that's the stuff that's psychoactive, can make you high, and CBD, which is the more medicinal part. So you can have a more medical part of this marijuana without getting the high and that's a lot of what Chas is doing.

BERMAN: Incredible how quickly that worked. Dr. Sanjay Gupta, thank you so much, this special getting a huge amount of buzz.

Do not miss Sanjay's special. It's called "Weed," Sunday at 8 pm.

Thanks, Sanjay.

Coming up, Jeff Bezos, Warren Buffett, John Henry, billionaires buying up America's newspapers. What the deep pockets mean for the future of the 4th estate.



BERMAN: So you've heard that newspapers are dying. So why are billionaires buying?

I'm John Berman in for Christine Romans, and this is YOUR MONEY.

So remember these? This is a newspaper. Maybe you've never flipped through one.


BERMAN (voice-over): Maybe your kids have never seen them, but newspaper readership, as we said, is falling, print ad dollars drying up and digital ads can't fill the hole fast enough. Pew Research finds that for every $15 newspapers lose in print revenue, they gain just $1 in online revenue. The business model clearly struggling and price tags plummeting. So enter the billionaire buyer. They're grabbing up the nation's newspapers at fire sale prices. Seventy million bucks: that is how much Boston Red Sox owner John Henry paid for "The Boston Globe." That's less than 7 percent for what this sold for 20 years ago; $344 million, that is how much Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway spent on 28 daily newspapers. That's according to the company's 2012 annual report. Buffett has bought more papers this year.

And then there's Jeff Bezos. The Amazon founder is shelling out $250 million for "The Washington Post," a paltry 1 percent of his personal fortune.

As our Jim Acosta reports, billionaires have gone shopping in America's newsrooms.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Richard Milhous Nixon...

JIM ACOSTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Watergate brought down a president.

ROBERT REDFORD, ACTOR, "BOB WOODWARD": I have got to get something on paper.

ACOSTA (voice-over): But it made a newspaper, a triumph not just for reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, but also for the family that owned "The Washington Post," led by its publisher, Katharine Graham.

Now the legacy in the future of one of the world's most important newspapers rests in the hands of one billionaire, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, a stunning $250 million deal that gives new meaning to the term --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just follow the money.

ACOSTA (voice-over): The "Post" now follows other major newspapers. "The Wall Street Journal" bought by conservative media titan Rupert Murdoch and "The Boston Globe" purchased by Red Sox owner John Henry due to be snatched up by the super wealthy. And perhaps the "Chicago Tribune" and "L.A. Times," which had lain in the portfolio of libertarian billionaires Charles and David Koch.

LUCY DALGLISH, DEAN, UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND: I think what people are forgetting when we're talking about billionaires taking over the media, that's not exactly new.

ACOSTA (voice-over): William Randolph Hearst of the Hearst newspaper empire came from a family that made its fortune in mining. The classic film "Citizen Kane," loosely based on Hearst's life story, noted how wealth affords the luxury of failure.

ORSON WELLES, ACTOR, "CHARLES FOSTER KANE": I did lose a million dollars last year; I expect to lose a million dollars this year. I expect to lose a million dollars next year. You know, Mr. Thatcher, at the rate of a million dollars a year, I'll have to close this place in 60 years.

ACOSTA (voice-over): Something Bezos has in common. He revolutionized retail shopping online. Remaking the selling of news is next.

DALGLISH: Bezos can spend an enormous amount of money on "The Washington Post" without really taking too much of a dent in his own private fortune. So he has the leeway to make major experiments.

DONALD GRAHAM, CHAIRMAN, "THE WASHINGTON POST": Everybody knows that newspapers have to change.

ACOSTA (voice-over): "The Post" chairman Donald Graham insists the paper's commitment to journalism won't change.

GRAHAM: We will become a place that does its traditional job and maintains its traditional values but tries things, and I hope a lot of them will succeed.

ACOSTA (voice-over): A sentiment echoed by Bezos in a letter to "Post" employees that reads "The values of 'The Post' do not need changing. The paper's duty will remain to its readers and not to private interests of its owners. We will continue to follow the truth wherever it leads."

DAVID GERGEN, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Most newspapers today are terribly undernourished in terms of funding. There's been an unwillingness to invest in investigative reporters, for example, or foreign bureaus have been closed down and they need to be reopened. And a private owner with the kind of wealth that Jeff Bezos has can really make a huge difference.

ACOSTA (voice-over): CNN political contributor David Gergen, who once worked for the Nixon White House and came to know Katharine Graham and legendary executive editor Ben Bradlee says Bezos can afford to make mistakes, but the stakes are still high.

GERGEN: Had it not been for Ben and for Kay, there would have been no Woodward and Bernstein and maybe the Watergate story would have turned out very differently. Who knows for sure?

ACOSTA (voice-over): After the downfall of a president, it's just not Washington without "The Post."

ACOSTA: "The Washington Post" newspaper will no longer be a publicly traded company. It is now a privately held firm controlled by Bezos. "Post" management will remain in place for some time, but for how long depends on Jeff Bezos -- Jim Acosta, CNN, Washington.


BERMAN: So billionaires buying up newspapers. Should we be worried? Should we be optimistic?

Rana Foroohar is CNN's global economic analyst; Richard Quest is the host of "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS" on CNN International, and he does mean business.

Rana, let me start with you here. You wrote a great piece this week talking about why you are so optimistic that Jeff Bezos is buying "The Washington Post." You think it's a terrific match. There are other people are not so optimistic. One critic wrote, "Great journalism has been hijacked by the powerful to spread their personal ideology."

Explain to me your case, why is this a match made in heaven?

RANA FOROOHAR, ASSISTING MANAGING EDITOR, TIME: Well, for starters, as you have just seen, great powers hijacking newspapers or at least owning them and pushing their own agenda is nothing new.

The people that I have spoken to at the "Post" say without question the paper needs a technological revolution and it has got to make the leap into the digital age. It was behind the curve. It hadn't been working for them. Their business model is broken.

And if there is a guy out there that can transform digital businesses, it's Jeff Bezos. People speak about him maybe next to Steve Jobs as the most transformational Internet business leader of our time.

So I think if he can take this paper -- and we know this is a guy that loves long form content, right, the Kindle was ahead even of Apple and the iPad in terms of getting people excited about reading in the digital format. If he can transform this paper, then (inaudible) not just great for the "Post," but the news business in general.

BERMAN: Richard, you're stroking that paper like (inaudible).


RICHARD QUEST, CNN HOST: Old school. Give me that.

FOROOHAR: Love it. Get your fingers dirty.

QUEST: The smell of newsprint.

We are from that generation, you know, that just revels in the idea of delving into the papers. And what we hope, John, is that the Bezoses of this world will somehow unlock the potential for the digital revolution and marry it with the traditional. Now Murdoch has not managed to do it, clearly. And all he's done is split his company, old and new.

BERMAN: Rupert Murdoch now, of course, owns "The Wall Street Journal," among many other things.

QUEST: Right. He's still trying to find and lock that. But the visionary -- he loves newspapers. Don't get me wrong. He loves the industry.

FOROOHAR: Too much. That's why he hasn't unlocked it.

QUEST: Absolutely, perhaps.

And also there's a sort of an old school nature to it.

But with Bezos, the hope is he will somehow not put a rocket up it, but he will unlock the potential.

BERMAN: Let me talk about this. Jeff Bezos, John Henry, Warren Buffett, these guys are awfully good businessmen. If you read Twitter, you think print is dead; newspapers have gone away.

But if they are such bad deals, why do these good businessmen want them so badly? Is this just vanity?

FOROOHAR: Well, canny self-interest in some cases. Vanity plays in others. But Bezos is different. Warren Buffett, who I think is fantastic, loves newspapers. He's not looking to transform the newspaper business, ditto John Henry or, God forbid, Sam Zell, who raped and pillaged at the "L.A. Times".

But Jeff Bezos really wants to experiment. He wants to shift this medium and help it into the new age.

QUEST: And then you have got this.

FOROOHAR: I'm going to have post-traumatic stress. I was at "Newsweek" for a decade.

QUEST: This went under the hammer for next to nothing. Having no longer been a digital -- having not only been in print, now it's online and now it's virtually -- hardly there at all. And this lot have to deny that they are even up for sale.

BERMAN: You are holding "The New York Times." Of course, this week, they had to announce we're not for sale.

QUEST: Let me tell you, this is just how these papers are changing.

Just this week I subscribed to the home edition of "The New York Times," because I've moved to New York. I did it at 7 o'clock in the evening on Wednesday, 7 o'clock in the evening on Wednesday. On Thursday morning at 6:00 am it was outside the front gate.

BERMAN: I am very happy for you that you have this time to spend with your newspaper (inaudible), Richard.


Thank you so much for being with us.

Coming up next, yo quiero what? Taco Bell is expanding its push into the fast food breakfast market. But can Americans' stomachs handle this?



BERMAN: On Friday some gun owners celebrated Starbucks appreciation day with a few extra shots -- and not in their cappuccinos.

At Starbucks locations across the country, gun owners showed off their weapons. They said they were honoring the company's policy to allow open carry at their stores in states where it's legal, including Connecticut.

Some even took their guns to a Starbucks in Newtown. In reaction, a gun control group said it's too soon after the Sandy Hook shootings.

Here's a look at the other stories that matter to YOUR MONEY this week. Give me 60 seconds on the clock, it is "Money Time."


BERMAN (voice-over): Fast food meets science fiction. The first stem cell burger was cooked and eaten this week. It was made in a lab from a cow's muscle cells.

If you're not ready for a stem cell burger, how about a waffle taco? Taco Bell is expanding its push into the lucrative fast food breakfast battle.

Diploma, debt, default. About half of the $1 trillion in federal student loan debt is not being repaid. And 1 in 8 borrowers are defaulting on their loans. All that debt could explain why drivers are keeping their clunkers around longer.

The average car in the U.S. is more than 11 years old. That's a new high, and it's expected to keep climbing, though not if GM can convince drivers to buy a new Chevy Volt. The company knocked the price down by $5,000. Electric cars have been marked down across the board in an attempt to lure new buyers.

And waistlines beware. Ring Dings and Yodels are making a comeback next month. They disappeared off store shelves when Hostess went out of business last November.


BERMAN: It has now been four years since the end of the Great Recession, but the unemployment rate is still high, 7.4 percent nationally in July. That's 11.5 million people out of work. That's more than all the people living here in New York City.

But one specific demographic has a much lower jobless rate: Asian Americans, just 5.7 percent in July.

Zain Asher joins us now to explain why that might be.


ZAIN ASHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, John. Even during the height of the recession, Asian Americans surpassed other ethnic groups when it came to getting jobs. It's hard to pinpoint one specific reason for this, but rather, as I found out, there may be a number of factors that could explain why. Take a listen. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ASHER (voice-over): TV (ph) is an executive at Google. His parents came here from South Korea when he was just 2, working at a dry cleaning store, he says, so he and his sister could go to college loan-free.

KHEE LEE, GOOGLE EXECUTIVE: They instilled in me a certain work ethic and a focus on just studying very hard.

ASHER (voice-over): Of all the major ethnic groups, Asian Americans have the lowest level of unemployment.

YALE WANG, DRAMAFEVER EMPLOYEE: Every time you hear somebody or your group as a whole is doing well, it's a point of pride.

ASHER (voice-over): At DramaFever, an online window to Asian entertainment, young Asian Americans feel the drive to succeed.

MIN KIM, DRAMAFEVER EMPLOYEE: With the immigrant mentality comes just this family value that nothing is taken for granted and that we really have to work for what we want.

ASHER (voice-over): About half of all Asian Americans hold a bachelor's degree, compared to 28 percent for the rest of the population.

LEE: The focus is "just get an A."

ASHER (voice-over): But even among other minorities with college degrees, Asians still have the lowest unemployment rate. Lee (ph) says that might be because of how Asians are viewed in the workplace.

LEE: There is a stereotype of Asian Americans just being like the worker bees. They come in early; work late and they execute extraordinarily well.

ASHER (voice-over): Even if the job isn't particularly well-paid.

WANG: My mother, who was a surgeon in China, and then when she came here, her first job was actually a waitress and a dishwasher at a sushi restaurant. I don't think she felt that it was beneath her.

PROF. C.N. LE, UMASS AMHERST: They don't see manual labor jobs as a reflection of their own self-worth.

ASHER (voice-over): Another reason for the low unemployment: self- employment. The number of Asian-owned businesses in the U.S. increased 40 percent between 2002 and 2007, twice the national rate.

But there are other stereotypes still holding Asians back.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That we're not creative. That we don't know how to think outside the box.

LE: They get perceived as one-dimensional workers. They get stuck in these so-called white collar sweatshops, where these glass ceiling barriers prevent them from moving up the ranks.

ASHER (voice-over): The younger generation is trying to change that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This new generation of Asian Americans that -- you know, they're very different from that stereotype.

JACQUELINE SIA, DRAMAFEVER EMPLOYEE: And 10 years from now, how you'll see everyone here a CEO of some place.


ASHER: And speaking of CEOs, even though Asians have the lowest level of unemployment, of all the companies in the Fortune 500, only two had East Asian CEOs. Now obviously you do have people like Indra Nooyi (ph) of Pepsi, who is Indian American, but in terms of East Asian CEOs, there are only two, John.

BERMAN: All right. Thanks, Zain, appreciate it.

All right. Coming up next, why Facebook's CEO Mark Zuckerberg and other titans of technology are pushing for immigration reform. That's next.


BERMAN: Facebook, Google, Microsoft, cutthroat competitors in the business world, but on immigration reform they stand united.

Whether it's Mark Zuckerberg or Eric Schmidt or Bill Gates, they are technology visionaries who helped shape our present, now they are pushing hard for an immigration overhaul that could shape the future. This week Zuckerberg spoke publicly about immigration reform for the first time.


MARK ZUCKERBERG, CEO, FACEBOOK: The students who no matter where they were born coming into this country are going to be tomorrow's entrepreneurs and the people creating jobs. This is something that we believe is really important for the future of our country and for us to do what's right.


BERMAN: He has a vested interest. Technology companies say they have jobs and not enough skilled workers to fill them. They holler that U.S. universities educate some of the most talented students in the world, who then get sent them home to create jobs in other countries.

It's something that Google's Eric Schmidt and Microsoft's Bill Gates have both complained about on this show when speaking recently with Christine Romans.


ERIC SCHMIDT, EXECUTIVE CHAIRMAN, GOOGLE: It particularly stupid for the American government to require us to fully educate people with PhDs, ship them out of the country where they can create competitors in other countries that take American jobs away.

BILL GATES, CHAIRMAN, MICROSOFT: If we want to a bring a person here to be educated, you should never then make them go away. And there's some categories of jobs where you know other jobs are created around them. So forcing those back to Asia doesn't make sense.


BERMAN: So the tech industry is making its case loudly; the question is, is Washington listening?

Dana Bash is CNN's chief congressional correspondent, a reporter in the Worldwide Reporting Hall of Fame.

Dana, the Senate passed a comprehensive immigration reform bill that's stalled in the House right now. But here's what Senator Chuck Schumer said on CNN's "NEW DAY."


SEN. CHARLES SCHUMER, (D) NEW YORK: We would much prefer a big, comprehensive bill, but any way that the House can get there is OK by us. I actually am optimistic that we will get this done.


BERMAN: He's now talking about the possibility of supporting a piecemeal approach. That seemed like a marker of sorts.

How do you see this shaking out?

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It was a marker. Certainly that's the way it's being perceived by House Republican leadership sources who I have spoken to about that.

The only catch is that he is putting out an olive branch, saying that if Republicans want to pass immigration in the process of splitting it up in smaller bills, that's fine. He's not going to -- he's moving away from his whole idea of comprehensive immigration reform.

But here's the "but" -- and this is a big "but" -- what they are not going to go for in the Senate, these people who supported comprehensive reform, is saying, OK, we're going to pass a border security bill now and then in a year or two years we'll get to the issue of legal status or citizenship. That is something that they will not go for.

So there's definitely an important gray area here. But the fact that he put that out is certainly telling.

And I will tell you very quickly. The whole fear going into this month-long recess where we are right now is -- among supporters of immigration reform -- was that Republicans in the House would get blasted by conservative constituents, the base, saying don't you dare touch this. What we have seen so far is actually the opposite.

We've seen Republican leaders come out and be much more open to the idea, even of legal status. We're talking about the House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy and even the House Judiciary Chairman. So that actually has been surprising and maybe a sign that this whole idea is not dead after all, which a lot of people thought.

BERMAN: Dana Bash, thank you so much. As you said, this summer recess key in the immigration rebate. Thanks, Dana.

So much for that old sales adage, "All real estate is local."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (speaking Chinese): (Inaudible) location, location, location (inaudible).

Are Chinese homebuyers half a world away driving up prices in your city? That's next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) BERMAN: It is a hot summer and I don't mean the temperatures. Home prices are up about 20 percent in San Francisco, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Atlanta and Los Angeles. And as Christine Romans reports, you may be competing with buyers you wouldn't expect at the next open house.


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): It's a Saturday afternoon in this Hong Kong hotel and Chinese investors are enjoying a catered lunch while bidding on properties half a world away.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (speaking Chinese): (Inaudible) location, location, location (inaudible).

ROMANS (voice-over): Spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on properties they may never set foot in.

ROMANS: The Chinese are now second only to the Canadians when it comes to buying real estate in the United States. But when they buy, they buy big, spending on average $425,000 per property. And most of the time they pay all cash, all cash, preferring big cities like New York and their suburbs. So what's the draw?

ANDREW CHAN, CHINESE INVESTOR: Upside potential. Surroundings. And we have got friends and folks who live there so it's keeping up with the Joneses.

ROMANS (voice-over): For Andrew Chan, a U.S. home is place to stay on vacation and quite simply a deal. Real estate prices in China are sky high. That means its citizens are cutting checks without stepping foot inside a property on the other side of the planet. Expositions like this one for a development in Florida have become a normal event, this exposition hosted by the O'Neil Group and Noble Apex.

ANTHONY MANN, HEAD OF OVERSEAS PROPERTY SERVICES, NOBLE APEX HOMES: We expect that the U.S. economy can continue to grow. One way or another the property price will still go up. ROMANS (voice-over): In the United States anyone with cash can buy real estate regardless of citizenship. A very simple contract is all it takes, something new for Chinese citizens.

RICHARD GREEN, DIRECTOR, USC LUSK CENTER FOR REAL ESTATE: There is a kind of security to owning property in the U.S. that still doesn't exist in China. It's only recently that the Chinese government has appropriated (ph) property fairly regularly. I think that means that people who have means are still nervous about their ability to hang onto those means if they invest in China.

ROMANS: And 53 percent of reported purchases by Chinese buyers were in California. Why? Well, because it's closer. As a result, the market has changed. Seasoned L.A. broker Sally Forster Jones has had to change with it.

SALLY FORSTER JONES, BROKER, COLDWELL BANKER PREVIEWS INTERNATIONAL: I spent time in China just meeting a lot of the potential Chinese buyers to get an understanding of what types of property they like. They are buying anywhere from the lower end in Los Angeles marketplace, which is somewhere around a million, to the high end, $20 million.

ROMANS (voice-over): Andrew Chan has his eyes on a few homes across the U.S.

CHAN: A lot of information that is provided, very informative, yes.

ROMANS (voice-over): But he's not ready to buy just yet. When he is, experts say China's restrictions on transferring money out of the country will be relatively easy to navigate -- Christine Romans, CNN, New York.


BERMAN: Lucky for all of us, Christine Romans will be right back here next Saturday. Until then, check out the YOUR MONEY blog,

Why are paychecks still flat now that jobs are coming back? Christine shows you the truth behind the numbers.

Have a great weekend.