Return to Transcripts main page

CNN Newsroom

Tea Parties Protest Government Spending; States Raising Funds through Taxes, Fees; Obama to Appoint border czar; Boy Falls Victim to Brutal Bullies; El Paso Looking for Results from border czar; Taxpayers Can File Online, Check Post Office Closing Times; Pill- Therapy Combo Helps Alcoholics

Aired April 15, 2009 - 13:00   ET


KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: Tony, thanks so much.

We're pushing forward to the very last minute. That would be midnight. The deadline to send in that 1040 form the IRS has been waiting for. We're going to make it less taxing with last minute tips, tea parties, all that coast to coast.

And pushing back at the border. Can a czar win the war against Mexican drugs, black market guns and illegal immigration? We're live in El Paso this hour.

Hello, everyone. I'm Kyra Phillips, live at the CNN world headquarters in Atlanta. You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.

On April 15, there are two kinds of taxpayers: those who filed and those who are scrambling. And if you owe and can't pay, you still have to file. That's the real deal, straight from the IRS.

And President Obama admits that this is nobody's favorite day, but in a speech that you may have seen live here last hour, he pointed out most taxpayers are seeing less tax taken from their paychecks, thanks to the stimulus. As for the millions who no longer draw paychecks but wish they did, he says the stimulus works for them, as well.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We start from the simple premise that we should reduce the tax burden on working people while helping Americans go to college, own a home, raise a family, start a business, and save for retirement. Those goals are the foundation of the American dream, and they are the focus of my tax policy.


PHILLIPS: And a CNN poll from last month shows that most Americans, 62 percent, approve of the president's tax policy. Thirty- seven percent don't.

And on a list of what Americans consider the most pressing economic issues, taxes come in fifth after unemployment, inflation, the mortgage crisis, and the stock market. Two hundred thirty-six years after colonists dumped tea in the Boston Harbor, the tea parties are back. Well, they're not exactly parties, and tea now stands for "taxed enough already," but all around the country, fed up taxpayers are venting, not just about taxes, but about bailouts: taxpayer dollars funneled by the billions into teetering banks.

Another difference from colonial days: these protests were born and spread on the Internet. Conservatives say that liberals don't have a monopoly on cyber organizing. And you can find a party near you on Facebook, Twitter, or

Naturally, Boston is one of these party towns. CNN's Mary Snow is actually there.

Mary, is this a real movement or a stunt?

MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's hard to say right now, Kyra. You know, the crowd has been growing throughout the day. We are out across the street from the Massachusetts state house. There's been a rally going on since about noontime, and later today there will actually be a re-enactment of the Boston tea party, complete with costumes. That is being run by a local TV station -- radio station that is, is going to be hosting that event.

But the people here today, as you mentioned, said that they had heard about it on the Internet. A lot of them saying that, yes, they're angry about taxes, but also government spending and the stimulus package, the bailout. They are angry, and they came here today to express that anger.

A number of different speakers here today throughout the day, and also a lot of the people who are here saying, you know, they had heard about this. FOX News radio hosts had been promoting this event, and they came out today.

So no one unified group out here today. A lot of the messages really are varied, but bottom line, they say they want government spending to stop -- Kyra.

PHILLIPS: Nothing like promoting FOX News. All right, Mary Snow. You be careful out there. They're getting a little rowdy.

Well, you heard the president talk about lower taxes, and that's a common prescription in an economic slump, but government already take in less during recessions and somewhere, somehow, some of that money has to be made up.

CNN's Christine Romans has some cases in point.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Kyra, states hit hard by the recession have to dig deep to close their budget gaps, and that means getting creative to raise more money. And whether it's fees or taxes, it means more money from you.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) ROMANS (voice-over): What do pole dancing, fishing licenses, car registrations, and a state park pass have in common? They all could get more expensive as states slap on taxes and fees in a scramble to raise money.

Colorado wants a fee for background checks for new gun owners. The price of a Michigan state park pass may rise. In Nevada, lawmakers are considering a tax on legal brothels and an increase in Vegas hotel taxes. And in California there's even a proposal to tax marijuana, another to put a sales tax on porn. States are scraping for every penny.

BERT WAISANEN, NATIONAL CONFERENCE OF STATE LEGISLATURES: What they're doing first is they're cutting spending. They're cutting back on programs. They're delaying projects. They're putting in hiring freezes.

ROMANS: And they still have to raise more money. Sin taxes are a perennial recession favorite, like taxes on tobacco.

DONALD BOYD, NELSON A. ROCKEFELLER INSTITUTE: This time around, wealth looks like it's the new tobacco. We're seeing quite a few states that are at least considering income tax increases on upper income earners. We've seen it in New York and California already.

ROMANS: Simply put, the math doesn't add up. States are bringing in less at a time when their recession-weary citizens need more services. Fees on hunting licenses and taxes on gentlemen's clubs can't close the gap alone.

BOYD: To see significant increases in -- is what I would call the go-to taxes, the income tax and the sales tax. And if you want to raise significant amounts of money, that's where states are likely to go.


ROMANS (on camera): Donald Boyd says raising taxes is the last thing states do in a crunch. It's politically dangerous, of course, for politicians, but Boyd says he expects widespread tax increases starting next year, just as the recovery is taking hold. But look for the tax increases to be temporary -- Kyra.

PHILLIPS: All right, Christine Romans, thank you so much.

Now, OK, license fees, a tobacco tax, well, pretty standard stuff, right? But we found some unusual state taxes that you might not know about.

In Tennessee and some other places, there's the so-called "crack tax." Anybody buying illegal drugs is meant to pay the state some, too. Yes, it's anonymous, and once you've paid, you get some stamps to put on your little baggy of whatever.

And if you're buying a deck of playing cards in Alabama, be prepared to ante up an extra 10 cents. Oh, and stores that sell them have to shell out for a license, too.

And then next door in Mississippi, there's a 7 percent amusement tax. Gospel performances exempt, unless the singers throw in some of what they call "hillbilly" or pop music.

Well, we're not done yet. Later this hour, CNN's Gerri Willis checks in with everything you need to know to get your taxes done today and, hopefully, sleep well tonight.

Drug cartel violence in Mexico spilling into the U.S. We reported on it, pushed it forward with experts, with people living through it. Now another step. In the next hour or so we expect the Obama administration will name a border czar to tackle the problem.

Let's go straight to Kate Bolduan at the White House for more -- Kate.


Yes, we are expecting to hear in the next hour, as you said, hear about a new border czar. The secretary of homeland security, Janet Napolitano, is down touring the border today and will announce, as administration officials say, that Alan Bersin will be the new border czar for this administration. He's a former Justice Department official, and the Justice Department says he held a similar post under the Clinton administration.

But man, what a big job Mr. Bersin has ahead of him. Not only is he taking on illegal immigration. That would be one job, but he's also taking on the drug-related violence that you have reported on and we've reported on that has just exploded along the border.

And we know that the administration has already promised additional aid to the border: beefing up law enforcement, sending hundreds of federal agents down there. And now it will be this gentleman to take it head on.

PHILLIPS: And, Kate, of course, there's been some criticism about him, as well. I mean, under the Clinton administration, the Gatekeeper Project, some said, "Hey, he ruled with an iron fist," an iron fist that actually pushed the problems of drugs and the cartels and weapons to other parts of the country or other areas along the border.

So he doesn't come with 100 percent support from everybody involved on this front, correct?

BOLDUAN: Well, that is interesting. And there has been much criticism about the Gatekeeper program that happened under his watch, but the administration so far has not commented on that or even taken on any of that criticism.

Still, of course, we're just hearing from administration officials the announcement is coming. But you can be sure those are going to be some of the first questions that will be asked.

PHILLIPS: Sure. And of course, Obama's trip to Mexico tomorrow. What are you hearing?

BOLDUAN: Yes, some interesting timing there. Yes, the president is going down to Mexico tomorrow to meet with President Felipe Calderon. And these exact issues we expect to be on the table: immigration reform and how to take on and manage the drug-related violence that is there.

And then he jumps off to some of the Americas in the Caribbean, which will be taking on other issues with regional leaders: energy, the economy, as well as poverty. So a lot coming up at the end of this week.

PHILLIPS: Kate Bolduan, sure appreciate you. Thanks so much.

BOLDUAN: Of course.

PHILLIPS: It's a dangerous game along the U.S. border with Mexico: drug smugglers trying to get their cargo into the U.S. and American officers trying to stop them. We're going to find out a little bit later in the NEWSROOM how Mexican cartels have upped the ante with some creative new smuggling methods.

And let's talk about outlaws on the high seas now. Greek officials say that Somali pirates have released the crew of a cargo ship named Titan. The crew has been held hostage for about a month.

In a separate incident, the French navy went after a pirate mother ship today some 500 miles off the coast of Kenya. The French say 11 pirates were taken into custody. The pirates had attacked a Liberian ship last night. The French navy then launched a helicopter from this vessel to fight them off and then seized the pirates early today.

The U.S. Navy is escorting another U.S. cargo ship to Kenya. Somali pirates hit the Liberty Sun with grenades and gunfire. But the crew went into defense mode. They barricaded themselves in the engine room, sent out a distress signal, and worked some evasive maneuvers. Well, the pirates were gone by the time military help arrived on the scene.

That military help came in the form of the USS Bainbridge. You know who's still on board, right? Captain Richard Phillips. He was supposed to be in Kenya reunited with his crew from the Maersk Alabama, but he's going to be a little late. The Alabama crew is to arrive at Andrews Air Force Base later today.

First Fargo, not Valley City. The threat of flooding hits another town in North Dakota, and the scramble is on to move people out of the danger zone. We'll have the latest.


PHILLIPS: Robert Gibbs talking Mexico right now at the White House briefing. Let's listen in as we get to talk about a possible new announcement of the border czar today.


ROBERT GIBBS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: ... sharing a level of unprecedented cooperation, starting with these designations which help make -- which help give these a tangible effect. That cooperation is indicative of the across-the-board improvement in bilateral work to take on such cartels.


GIBBS: It is the designation under the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act, which dates back, I believe, to either the late -- very late '80s or the early '90s. We'll give you guys a fact sheet on this.

There was 30 cartels. Yes, sir?

QUESTION: Robert Cox (ph). North Korea, the Russian chief nuclear envoy said today that the most important thing at this point was to get the North Koreans back to the negotiating table, not the imposition of stiffer sanctions or other measures.

I was wondering what's next in the U.S. plan for dealing with North Korea? Have there been any particular contacts between the president and any of the U.N. members of the five-party -- that are involved in the six-party talks?

GIBBS: I don't know of particular communications. As I said yesterday, the administration and I believe all those involved are anxious for the North Koreans to come back to -- come back to the table. The same place where in September of 2005 they made an agreement to dismantle their nuclear program, and we hope that we can have further discussions and make continued progress on that dismantling.

PHILLIPS: if you want to watch Robert Gibbs there at the White House briefing in its entirety.

We're going to take a quick break. We'll be right back.


PHILLIPS: Well, it's beyond words. That's how they're describing the flooding threat in Valley City, North Dakota. The Cheyenne River is at record levels now. Hundreds of people being urged to leave their homes. In Fargo the threat of flooding along the Red River has eased, and city leaders are now sending sandbags to Valley City and other areas threatened by the flooding there.

Chad, stormy weather causing some travel delays, among -- what else are you tracking?

CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: I'm tracking the tornado damage from yesterday in Florida and also how long these travel delays are across the northeast.

If you are in the northeast, we have an east flow coming off the ocean. A very large rain shield affecting a lot of big-time airports here. We'll get rid of that. We'll show you the airport delays. LaGuardia, an hour and 20 minutes. Newark, almost two hours. Philadelphia and JFK are coming down now, only 40 minutes.

Something else I want to show you. Not so much this. This is a system affecting traveler travelers. But back out west we've got snow back on the map and a lot of it. Places around Spokane yesterday, especially just north of the city, picked up a foot of snow where the city hardly picked up anything. Just a small little system that moved very close to Spokane.

But look at all of this snow. This snow is going to be in the way of an awful lot of travel maybe east to west over the weekend, as well as we get a foot or two feet of snow in the Rockies.

Now I want to turn my attention to the pictures from Florida, because we know there were tornadoes, and this is what tornado damage looks like. We had tornado damage on the east side and also on the west side of the state.

This is near Wesley Chapel, Florida, from WTSP, Tampa/St. Pete there. And this is what happened yesterday when a very small, probably only a 0 or a 1 tornado, came through. But that's all it takes. And there you go. Back over on its right side.

But there's maybe some more like an F-2 damage. Maybe about 120, 135 miles per hour to take a roof off like that. But these are solid structures, and if you were on the inside where you were supposed to be, you were just safe. So good shape.

PHILLIPS: All right. That's great with the car. It was like whoop.

MYERS: Right back up.

PHILLIPS: Exactly. Hey, no problem at all. All right, Chad, thanks.

MYERS: You're welcome.

PHILLIPS: Well, 11-years-old, a Boy Scout bullied at school for supposedly acting gay until he just couldn't take it anymore.


PHILLIPS: Supporters of same-sex marriage are split over what New York Governor David Paterson is doing. Tomorrow, he's expected to introduce a bill legalizing same-sex marriage. It comes about a week after neighboring Vermont became the fourth state to allow them.

Governor Paterson admits the bill might not have had enough support to pass. Some gay activists are concerned that a loss would harm their cause nationally. But the governor says New Yorkers at least deserve a debate and to know where their elected officials actually stand on the issue. Well, whatever your stance on same-sex marriage, that's an issue concerning adults. Nobody should stand for kids being bullied with homophobic taunts. And maybe if somebody stood up for a little Massachusetts boy, he'd still be with us.

More now from CNN's Randi Kaye.


RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): By all accounts, Carl Joseph Walker Hoover was a good kid, a Boy Scout who went to church every Sunday with his mother and prayed every morning before school.

The sixth grader started at the New Leadership Charter School in Springfield, Massachusetts, last September. But for Carl, school wasn't much fun. His mom says he was bullied daily by students who called him gay.

SIRDEANER WALKER, CARL'S MOM: Some people may say he was flamboyant. He was very dramatic.

KAYE: Sirdeaner Walker says she never asked her son if he was gay, but she says students called him feminine and told him, "You act gay."

(on camera): Carl's mother says she tried to help her son. She told me she called the school every week to get them to stop the bullying. She says the school told her it has an anti-bullying policy and not to worry.

(voice-over): Nothing changed. Eight months into the school year, the taunting finally became too much. Monday night, just last week while his mother cooked dinner downstairs, Carl wrapped an electrical cord around his neck upstairs.

When he didn't come down for dinner, his mother headed to his room. Horror greeted her in the hallway. Carl had hanged himself in the landing outside his third-floor bedroom. He was just 11.

(on camera): What happened? You called 911?

WALKER: We called 911. My daughter actually got me a knife, and I actually cut the extension cord myself to let him down.

KAYE (voice-over): Mrs. Walker says just hours before Carl took his life, he told her a female student had threatened to beat him up and kill him.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm so sorry for making fun of Carl.

KAYE: In this sympathy card from Carl's school, one student even apologized for making fun of Carl.

(on camera): The school's chairman of the board says he is deeply saddened by Carl's death. He says the school has consistently addressed bullying issues and has stressed the need for respect among students. He says he plans to investigate to see if the school's anti-bullying policies were followed.

(voice-over): And it's not just Carl. Bullying is often deadly. Yale School of Medicine found apparent links between bullying and suicide in children. Among the study's findings, bullied students are two to nine times more likely to have suicidal thoughts.

Seventeen-year-old Eric Mohat (ph) from Ohio shot himself in 2007 after his parents say students at his school repeatedly called him gay, "fag" and "queer.' The Mohats (ph) are suing school officials.

The district says it found no evidence to support the family's claims it ignored a bullying problem.

A survivor of breast cancer and homelessness, Carl's mother says her faith in God keeps her going. She hopes sharing her story will save another child.

Carl would have turned 12 on Friday. Instead of a celebration, his mother will honor the memory of her son: the boy with the big smile who said he wanted to be president so he could change the world.


PHILLIPS: Randi Kaye joining us now live from New York.

I'll tell you what, Randi: that's a heart-wrenching story for any of us to watch, and having lost her son, does Mrs. Walker believe that she did everything that she could have done to try to save him?

KAYE: Well, she actually does. She called the school every week, Kyra, for the last eight months. She went to the school. She met with the principal. She actually told the principal that her son was being bullied in the cafeteria, outside, and especially he was being bullied in the bathrooms.

And she told me, quote, that the principal and the school told her, "Well, you know what? We can't patrol those bathrooms." Now, if the school has an anti-bullying policy, why it can't patrol the bathrooms and make sure that the bullying isn't happening in there is a really big question.

I mean, this mother says that he was practically taunted and teased from day one. So why it wasn't handled early on is really a big question that is yet unanswered.

PHILLIPS: Exactly. Find out who those kids are, pull them aside, hold them accountable for what they're doing. I mean, just imagine if the parents knew what their kids were doing, and now seeing that this child took his own life.

You mentioned two cases in your report, though. How common do you think this kind of bullying is?

KAYE: More common than you might think, actually. The U.S. Center for Disease Control says that 160,000 students stay home every day nationwide because of bullying. So this really is a serious problem. They just don't want to go to school.

Now, part of it stems from the fact that more and more children are coming out in middle school, coming out at an earlier age and they're just not mature enough yet to deal with it. In Carl's case, the boy who I featured in my story, he was afraid to name the students who he says were bullying him. He was afraid that he'd be called a rat. So these kids just don't know how to deal with it yet.

PHILLIPS: And it's pretty incredible how cruel kids can be at that age, even that young age. Randi, thanks. I appreciate it.

And as Randi mentioned in her piece, Carl would have turned 12 on Friday, and coincidentally, that same day, thousands of schools will take part in a national day of silence. The aim: call attention to the bullying of students who are gay or are perceived to be.

Well, there he is, the man that we expect to be our very first border czar. Can he really make a difference in the violence spilling over from Mexico? We'll discuss it.


PHILLIPS: Well, in the next hour or so, we expect the Obama administration to announce a border czar to focus on Mexican drug violence spilling into the U.S.

Martin Bartlett knows about that spillover all too well. He's a reporter at CNN affiliate KVIA in El Paso, a stone's throw from Juarez, Mexico. Pretty much every day he sees what cartels do to innocent Americans.

Martin, do people think that a border czar will actually make a difference? What's the word on the street?

MARTIN BARTLETT, KVIA CORRESPONDENT: Kyra, I have to tell you, folks are telling me that they are greeting this news with a healthy dose of skepticism. Now, you know, folks here in El Paso and folks all along the border have heard these big promises from Washington before.

The big question, though, this time is what's going to be different now? Can a border czar really get something done here along the border, here on the ground, that hasn't been done before?

PHILLIPS: So I'm curious, for you, someone that lives there, works this beat, for those that you know that live in the area, whether it be even law enforcement, the mayor, whomever, if you were to be able to sit down with this drug czar, and hopefully you will get that interview, what would you say the people want? I mean, even you living in this area, what should the priorities be for this drug -- for this border czar?

BARTLETT: It's really going to be difficult for a border czar to balance the needs of what folks in El Paso -- what people in El Paso say are their needs. You know, folks here in El Paso fully understand, fully believe in the need for increased border security. That said, though, they want it to be very efficient border security.

I'm standing at one of the busiest ports of entry in the El Paso area right now. Sometimes when border traffic gets really busy, it can be two or three hours waiting to cross the border in either direction. So, oftentimes as that border security ratchets up, lines slow down at ports of entry, and that's when folks in El Paso and in Juarez right across the border tend to lose a little faith in the process.

PHILLIPS: So I'm curious, my final question, when you come into your news meeting every morning, is it every day on your editorial note, do you see something about cartel violence or drug violence or death in Juarez or somebody being attacked there in El Paso? I mean, is it a daily news item for you?

BARTLETT: There certainly was a time when it was a daily news item. You know, a couple weeks ago a big troop buildup of Mexican troops right across the border really kind of quelled violence right across the border. However, the El Paso area remains a front line. The FBI's El Paso field office estimates that between 40 and 60 percent of all the illegal drugs into the United States of America cross the border through ports of entry like the one I'm standing at or just along the border in a handful of counties here in west Texas. So, the violence may be slowing in Juarez, but the story is still very much here on the border.

PHILLIPS: Martin Bartlett with KVIA. Sure appreciate your reporting, Martin. And right where Martin is standing, we are expecting that live presser with the announcement of the new border czar. Janet Napolitano, the head of homeland security, going to be there to do that. We'll take it live. Martin, thanks.

Let's take a look at the Dow industrials, up 56 points. Better now than it was this time yesterday. It was down 100-plus points. So, we'll keep monitoring the numbers there on Wall Street.

Well, it's tea time, tea as in taxed enough already, t-e-a. A conservative backlash against taxes in general and government bailouts in particular. The timing, of course, deliberate. It's April 15, and mere hours remain to file your income tax return or face penalties on top of your tax bill. President Obama used the occasion to remind us -- well, most taxpayers just saw a cut in their federal withholding, thanks to the stimulus.

And if you're watching the clock, chewing your nails, turning the house upside down for receipts, well, take a minute to hear what Gerri Willis has to say about last-minute filing.

GERRI WILLIS, CNN PERSONAL FINANCE EDITOR: Yes, you know, you really feel these people's pain out there. A lot of people are doing it at the last minute. No better way to do it than e-filing. Over 77 million people are going to file electronically so far this year. That's according to the IRS. And they're going to break records with it. Here's why. There's a good reason people e-file, file online. It's faster, software programs check for math mistakes and you get your return a lot more quickly if you file electronically.

But I know a lot of people out there worry, they worry that if they file late tonight, the computer could crash at the last minute, maybe the IRS Web site wouldn't be able to handle all those electronic 1040s zooming into the system. We put that question right to the IRS commissioner. Here's what he had to say.


DOUGLAS SHULMAN, IRS COMMISSIONER: Our systems are going to be able to accept all the tax returns from come in. April 15th's a busy day for us. We know it's one of the biggest financial transactions a lot of Americans have every year, paying their taxes, and we're ready to take them.


WILLIS: All right, you heard that. Ready to take your money. The IRS is going to have its act together, will be able to receive all the e-files. To give yourself peace of mind, though, you may not want to wait until so close to midnight to press the send button -- Kyra.

PHILLIPS: Ready to take your money. The famous last words.

WILLIS: Right.

PHILLIPS: All right, well, what are some of the most common errors that you think people are making and going to make?

WILLIS: Well, here's a fly in your ointment. Errors that could really hurt you, math errors, very common error. You know, you just don't add up things correctly. You don't subtract correctly.

Incorrect Social Security numbers, that's common. Not signing your return, a terrible mistake to make. Forgetting to sign the check. Maybe you really don't want to write it in the first place, right, so you forget to sign it. Remember, though, any of these errors can delay your refund, so you want to check everything once, twice before you actually file.

PHILLIPS: All right. And what advice do you have for people filing their taxes by mail?

WILLIS: Well, you know, get it done, get it done early. Here's something you should know. There will be a handful of post offices open until midnight tonight, but to find out where they are, go to They have a little computer program there. You can find out where the post office is in your neighborhood, how late they're going to be open.

You'll definitely want to know because you have to be postmarked before midnight. And remember, you don't have to buy certified mail. You don't have to pay extra money to send your taxes. You just have to have them postmarked April 15th.

PHILLIPS: Got it. Thanks, Gerri.

WILLIS: My pleasure.

PHILLIPS: Well, if we haven't covered everything you need to know, just ask. E-mail us your last-minute tax questions to Gerri's here with us.


A.J. DUFFY, PRESIDENT, UNITED TEACHERS LOS ANGELES: It stinks. It's going to cause chaos and havoc in the schools, and we know they're going to find more money. In the meantime, they're disrupting the lives of thousands and thousands of people.


PHILLIPS: You heard it. Anger in Los Angeles after the board of education voted to lay off as many as 5,400 teachers and support personnel for the upcoming school year. That move sent irate teachers into the streets yesterday.

The L.A. school system is the second largest in the nation, by the way, and faces a $596 million budget shortfall. That vote came hours after the board decided to use stimulus funds to save the jobs of nearly 2,000 elementary school teachers.

Well, the global financial crisis continues to take a huge toll on Switzerland's largest bank. UBS says it will slash 9,000 more jobs worldwide by the end of the year. The company also says it expects a first-quarter loss of nearly $2 billion. Also causing problems, UBS says that clients continue to withdraw money following the bank's decision to cooperate more with foreign authorities over tax evasion.

And we've told you about the pounding Michigan's getting -- or Michigan is getting in this recession. Now, thanks to the big demand for green cars, things might start to turn around.

Governor Jennifer Granholm has awarded tax credits for four companies that make batteries for electric and hybrid cars. That move could create more than 6,000 jobs and help secure federal stimulus dollars for energy projects.

Help for chronic alcoholics just a pill away. So, why aren't more people using it? it's important medical news just for you.


PHILLIPS: Next hour, we expect the Obama administration to announce a border czar to focus on Mexican drug violence spilling into the U.S. Let's go ahead and talk to another Texan on the front lines. He's at the front of the front line, El Paso Police Chief Greg Allen. Chief, glad to have you with us. I know you've been pretty...


PHILLIPS: Well, it's our pleasure. And I know that you've been really frustrated with what's taken place under your jurisdiction and that you've heard a lot of talk and not seen a lot of action. So, do you think a new border czar is the answer to the nightmares you deal with every day on the streets?

ALLEN: Well, I'm hoping it's going to be a help to us. Right now I believe, as I said earlier, we've had a lot of talk, but very little action on this, and if this drug czar is able to get us what we need, then I think it's going to be a good thing for us.

PHILLIPS: So, if you could sit down with this border czar, Chief, and say, look, this is what I deal with every single day, and this is what I need from you -- because you are in a town that has really struggled with the violence from Juarez spilling over into your area -- what would you say to the drug czar if you could look him in the eye and sit him down one on one?

ALLEN: Well, first of all, you know, our department is understaffed as far as an area this size. I think we need equipment and personnel, and those things need to come immediately. We don't need the bureaucracy that deals with these types of situations on a piecemeal type of basis. We need action right away, and that's what I would want to be able to tell him.

PHILLIPS: That's a good point. You know, this border czar position is brand-new. It's going to be very much of an experiment, but just prior to this in March the feds ordered an influx of border agents and X-ray machines, drug-sniffing dogs to the U.S.-Mexico border. Did you see any of that, sir?

ALLEN: No, I didn't. You know, we all have our bailiwick, so to speak, in law enforcement, and those are basically the areas that everyone operates within. We partnered real well with the other federal and state agencies. And that's, I think, what's contributing to the safety of this city. But at the same time we have our own responsibilities to the El Paso citizenry, and we need to be able to take care of them in the best possible way we can. And sometimes that comes down to simple things such as having appropriate equipment that they might need.

PHILLIPS: Do you think that your officers have to be trained differently than a lot of other police officers around the country because you are dealing with a type of violence that some cities never experience?

ALLEN: Yes, I believe that's true of this case because from what I understand, the drug cartel operatives that operate over there in the mode that they're operating under right now are military trained or former police officers. And when you deal with highly trained people, whether they're bad or good, you need to be up to that same capability that they have, at the very minimum.

PHILLIPS; Well, final question, sir, before I let you go. Do you support military help in El Paso? Would you like to see U.S. forces participating in helping secure your border?

ALLEN: No, I wouldn't like to see that because, first of all, they have Posse Comitatus restrictions on that, and I think we are charged with the responsibility of the city and the state in those areas where law enforcement is on the ground. And until those resources are overcome, I don't think the military has any real business being involved in that.

PHILLIPS: Police Chief Greg Allen, El Paso, Texas. Chief, thanks for your time.

ALLEN: You're quite welcome. Thank you for asking me to be here.

PHILLIPS: You bet.

Their sole objective is to make money, and lots of it. Now, drug smugglers in Mexico are pulling out all the stops to get their cargo across the border into the U.S. We're going to find out what they're trying right now.

And for alcoholics, it sounds too good to be true. Imagine taking a pill and never wanting booze again. As part of his special look at addiction, our chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, talks with a recovering alcoholic who says the experimental drug changed his life.


DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is the last place you'd expect to find a recovering alcoholic.

WALTER KENT, RECOVERING ALCOHOLIC: One of my old favorite watering holes.

GUPTA: But this is where Walter Kent hangs out, a bar called Goober's. Walter is a giant of a man. But for most his life he couldn't find the strength to put down that bottle.

KENT: I was the type of person that the only time I drank is when I was alone or with somebody. Other than that, there was never a problem.

GUPTA: He tried rehab and A.A. Nothing worked.

KENT: Nothing seemed to get rid of that urge. I couldn't get rid of the craving.

GUPTA: But then in 2000, he tried again, an experimental program at Brown University. This time he got counseling once a week and a daily pill, a medicine called Naltrexone. And this time, it worked.

KENT: When you can lose the total urge, the total craving for alcohol, you can beat it. There's no doubt in my mind because I'm living proof to prove that this can happen. GUPTA: Several recent studies show alcoholics do better when they get medicine as a part of treatment. Especially newer drugs like Naltrexone or Topiramate. They're not addictive, and side effects like a dry mouth are minor. But not everyone is sold. Most leading rehab centers use medication only rarely, if at all.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We do not use them at the Betty Ford Center.

DR. KEVIN CLARK, MEDICAL DIRECTOR, HAZELDEN: With the health care professional staff here at Hazelden, our experience tells us that having that network of support and recovery is what really makes the difference.

GUPTA (on camera): More so than medication?

CLARK: More so than just medication, absolutely.

GUPTA (voice-over): The medical directors at Hazelden and Betty Ford each told us therapy is much more important. And they both said that years of success treating alcoholics backs that up. The head of the federal agency that oversees research on drinking says only one alcoholic in 10 even hears about medication.

DR. MARK WILLENBRING, NAT'L INSTITUTE ON ALCOHOL ABUSE & ALCOHOLISM: Most people are not ever told about the medications that are available for treating alcohol dependence. I think that's a crime.

GUPTA: Some say once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic. But sitting in Goober's with Walter Kent, I have to say it changed my view of what that means.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN, Providence, Rhode Island.


PHILLIPS: A mother, a writer, a student, all addicts. Could their brains hold the key to their addiction? Dr. Sanjay Gupta follows them on the journey through recovery and relapse. That's Saturday and Sunday night, 8:00 Eastern, only here on CNN.


PHILLIPS: So are you depressed? Well, medical experts have long known that dogs and other animals can be good therapy for people trying to recover from debilitating illnesses. And now, a Japanese inventor has pushed this forward with, of all things, a very unusual seal.

CNN's Kyung Lah reports.


KYUNG LAH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): You can't help but giggle. He is, after all, cute. But this robot baby seal named Paro is so much more says inventor Takanori Shibata. With more than 100 sensors, Paro responds to light, specific voices and even language.

(on camera): Konichiwa!

(voice-over): All this artificial intelligence planned with a purpose. Sometimes, these nursing home residents can be withdrawn, distant and lonely. But when Paro shows up the visible change is immediate.

Eighty-five-year-old Masako Asaga suffers from the effects of an aneurysm. The nursing home claims Paro helped bring back her ability to speak.


LAH: "She's my friend," says Asaga. "I come here to play with her."

The inventor believes Paro has the potential to help those who are even more ill, like this Alzheimer's patient in Italy. Paro appears to help him communicate with the therapist.

While there are no formal long-term medical studies on Paro's impact, Denmark is purchasing 1,000 of the robots for its elderly. Testing is under way in 20 American nursing homes and hospitals.

Shibata hopes cute little Paro, part animal therapy, part robot, could help comfort the rapidly aging population and unlock some of the mysteries of the mind.

Kyung Lah, CNN, Tokyo.


PHILLIPS: A convenience store crook seriously inconvenienced by one tough customer. Seriously, dude, don't mess with the caveman.


PHILLIPS: So easy a caveman could do it? Hardly. A Georgia man's being called a hero for stepping up and clobbering an armed robber. Check this out.


DON "CAVEMAN" SMITH, BASHED ARMED ROBBER: Well, there's a lot of thieving that goes on around here to start with, and I don't like it. I mean, people work for their stuff. They ought to be able to keep it without somebody taking it away from them.


PHILLIPS: How awesome is that? All of it, caught on tape, too. Unfortunately the guy got away, but not before he dropped some of the loot. Police and "Caveman" -- yes, that's what the neighborhood calls him -- still looking for the perp.

The crime, eloping. The punishment, death. We're pushing forward on a horrific story out of Afghanistan. The Taliban acting up like the bad old days. We've got the latest now from Kabul.

And behold the man who is probably our newest czar, border czar, someone to tackle the drug cartel violence. We're expecting to offer an official announcement next hour. We're also wondering, can he make a difference?

And they're still hiding their cargo in cars and trucks, but now smugglers are getting a lot more creative as the U.S. tightens the screws on the drug trade along the border of Mexico. We're going to find out the latest tricks.


PHILLIPS: Live pictures now in El Paso, Texas. At this moment, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano naming a former federal prosecutor to the new post of border czar to oversee the efforts there to try and end drug cartel violence along the U.S.-Mexico border. His name is Alan Bersin. We're hoping to hear from him as well as her.

We'll take it live right now.

JANET NAPOLITANO, U.S. SECRETARY OF HOMELAND SECURITY: All of these facts and figures are a testament to the hard work of the border patrol, CBP officers, ICE agents and Department of Homeland Security personnel working across the southwest border and indeed around all of our nation's borders to keep the American people safe.

Now, to build on these ongoing efforts, we are adding capacity right now to this area. We are doubling the number of ICE special agents assigned to border enforcement special teams, BEST teams, including adding five more agents right here in El Paso. The BEST teams are state, local, federal. To date, they have made more than 1,850 criminal arrests, achieved more than 600 convictions and seized literally tonnage quantities of marijuana and cocaine, along with millions and millions of dollars in United States currency.

We are tripling the number of our intelligence analysts on the southwest border, including analysts who will be located right here in El Paso. We are adding 12 additional ICE attaches in Mexico to work with their counterparts in Mexican law enforcement, as we continue our support there of the efforts against the cartels. We have added 50 additional deportation officers to identify and prosecute violent criminal aliens. Ten of those will be moved right here to El Paso.

We have created 30 more border liaison positions. These are individuals who will work directly across the border with their Mexican colleagues. Ten of those 30 will be located right here in El Paso. We've moved 12 dual-detection canine teams to the southwest border, including several right here to El Paso. You might ask me, what is a dual-detection canine team, it is exactly what the name suggests. It is a dog that is trained to sniff not just narcotics, but also guns and cash or other illegal contraband that are going the wrong way into Mexico. We are adding...

PHILLIPS: Head of homeland security there, Janet Napolitano, speaking live in El Paso, Texas, getting ready to name her new border czar, a new position to be created -- or being created, rather, to oversee all the efforts to deal with drug cartels along the U.S.- Mexico border along -- in addition to other problems, of course, between Mexico and the U.S. with guns and drugs and kidnappings and murder.

Alan Bersin is supposed to be that man named as the new border czar. We're going to talk more about him, his background, his experience, also some controversies surrounding him as well. And we also spoke to the police chief there in El Paso, Texas. And you heard on our air that he said all those assets that the homeland security secretary has been talking about, well, he hasn't seen any of that yet.

So, he's hoping to have one-on-one time with either her or the border czar to find out when indeed his area is going to get the assets that she keeps talking about immediately. We'll follow it.