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BP Tries New Tactics for Mitigating Disaster; Eight Killed Today in Bangkok Streets

Aired May 15, 2010 - 17:00   ET



DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Every day in the Gulf of Mexico, another excuse, another setback, more misinformation, a tragedy of errors. What is their excuse this time?

Shoot to kill, no exceptions. That's what Thailand's government is telling the military to do to protesters in some of the worst violence in history there. And they are following orders.

Plus, you'll meet some extraordinary students whose extracurricular activities are getting the attention of the first lady of the United States. She's paying them a special visit.

And hello, everyone. I'm Don Lemon. It sounds like a broken record, only it is real life. And the people along the u.s. Gulf Coast, well, their lives aren't getting any better right now. For more than three weeks, oil has been gushing from the sea floor and the best minds in government and in the industry still haven't figured out how to stop it all. Today they're trying something new, inserting a tube into the leak to siphon off at least some of the oil. They're also relying heavily on those chemical dispersants that we have heard so much about this week. But many wonder if those dispersants could be as dangerous as the oil itself. More than 436,000 gallons of dispersants already been used on the ocean surface. But the coast guard is hoping, however, that it can be more effective if they use it underwater.


CASI CALLAWAY, EXEC. DIR., MOBILE BAYKEEPER: The chemical dispersants are still our number one concern. We understand that epa is allowing them to do the dispersant at the wellhead again because they have done tests that they think show it's fine. The oil doesn't go away simply because it has been dispersed. You might be able to break up a little bit of it, but it is still there, it is still persistent in the environment.


LEMON: This is the very beginning, and that's cnn's David Mattingly, he joins me now from New Orleans. David, I understand that we could learn a lot in the next several hours about whether they're making any progress out there in the gulf.

David Mattingly, cnn correspondent: What we ran into last night, bp says was a little bit of a setback. They have all the pieces in plate, they have this insertion tube ready to go, ready to insert into that leaking pipe at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico. But the frame around it, they had to bring it up to the surface again last night to make some adjustments because they weren't able to connect the hose or the pipe that is going to siphon off all that oil up to a surface vessel to contain the oil. So, they're going to -- they had to take it up, they made some adjustments, they're going to try again this evening, they hope to have it operational sometime tonight.

LEMON: So, let's talk about the dispersants I mentioned as I was leading up to you, David. Have dispersants ever been used this way in this volume?

Mattingly: This is a huge experiment. It has never been used in this quantity. It has never been used applied at the source underneath the surface of the water. Until now, this has been used on the surface to handle an oil slick. It has never been applied to oil leaking from a pipe a mile at the bottom of the ocean. So, this has all been a big experiment. They actually stopped using the dispersants for a while, did a couple of tests to see what was happening. They really didn't even know how to measure or quantify this at the time. So, they have decided to start using it again after doing some tests and looking at it some more.

U.s. government watching this, measuring it as it goes along to see what effects it is going to have on the environment and prepare to stop it if they start seeing that something negative happening. But, again, this is a toxic material. It is not as toxic as the oil. So, there is a trade-off there. And they said, they didn't make this decision very lightly. But they feel like the ability to disperse this oil at the source will keep that huge slick forming on the top, breaking it up throughout the water column, means it is going to be in a way that you're not going to see it on the surface, but it is still going to be in the water. So, what everyone is saying, what's the long-term effect going to be, that remains the big question here.

LEMON: No one really knows in this case. Thank you very much, David Mattingly, who has been covering this from the beginning. David, we'll get back to you throughout the evening here on CNN.

Meantime, we go overseas, a warning to American travelers from the State Department today, stay out of Bangkok because of scenes like this in the streets. Take a look.


At least eight more people were killed today in clashes between troops and anti-government protesters bringing the death toll to 25 over three days. Our Sara Sidner is in the middle of it all in Thailand's capital. And a warning to you, our viewers, some of these images are very graphic.


Sara Sidner, international correspondent (voice-over): In Bangkok, a battle zone exists where businesses once prospered. On one street, anti-government protesters armed with slingshot and fire crackers try to create a smoke screen. On the other end of the street, a Thai marksman takes aim and shoots towards the billowing smoke. Gunshots ring out for hours. We are there in the evening, a loud crack, and someone falls to the ground. An unarmed man has been shot. He's in bad shape. People try to move him to safety, they struggle.

Finally, an ambulance arrives and whisks him away. This disturbing video shows another casualty earlier in the day. The eyewitness who shot this video says, the victim was a volunteer helping another injured man. Witness Nappadol Dewathom shows us the helmet the volunteer was wearing when he was shot.

Nappadol Dewathom (through a translator): It went right through his brain. He was trying to help an injured man. When I saw him, he just fell like a leaf. I heard bang, a soldier shot him.

SIDNER: The military says, it is following the rules of engagement, and can fire if their lives or citizens' lives are threatened. At least two Thai soldiers have been killed since the protests began. The Thai Prime Minister spoke to the nation saying, all of this is due to a small group of people among the protesters trying to create a civil war and the country cannot afford to allow the rule of law to fail. But at least in one part of the city that is exactly what has happened. People are dying on the streets and anti-government protesters are not letting up their fight to oust the government. Sara Sidner, cnn, Bangkok.


LEMON: If you're planning to travel to Europe, better check your itinerary. Remember that volcano in Iceland that shut down air travel overseas last month? Well, it could do it again to airports in the uk. It can happen as early as tomorrow. And German officials say, they may have to start closing airports starting on Monday. Volcanic ash already has forced some closures this week from Spain to the Canary Islands, off the coast of Africa.

Tennessee is still trying to clean up from the deadly floods that ravaged parts of the state two weeks ago. And today, we're getting a unique view of just how powerful the torrent of waters was in parts of Nashville. This is surveillance video from inside an auto parts store in west Nashville. A wave of water smashed through the plate glass window in front of the store, pushing cash registers from their foundation and quickly filling the entire building. Look at all that water rushing in. Volunteers used boats to rescue employees trapped inside that store. Amazing.

A typical American kid turned terrorist. Coming up, special reporting you'll see only on cnn. Our Nic Robertson tracks the life and transformation of one suburban teen who chooses the life of Jihad.

And special delivery for the late king of pop. How thousands of flowers ended up on Michael Jackson's grave. And don't just sit there, make sure you become part of our conversation, make sure you send a message on twitter and Facebook. You can follow us on twitter. Check out my blog, We want to hear from you. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: This is really a chilling case of home grown terror and it starts here in Medford, New York. This is a home down of Bryant Neal Vinas who was born in America in 1982 to South American immigrants but by all accounts, it was a normal childhood in the long island suburbs. Vinas, loved to baseball and even served as an altar boy. I want to show you, that was the first point where I showed you where he grew up. He grew up in Medford, New York, right?

The second point, here is what I want to show you here. He also went here as we talked about to Lahore, to show you around the world here, if we can get this to come up. There he is. He traveled here in 2007 to meet militant contacts. At least, that's what they're saying, that's what investigators are saying. So, I want to take you now to an "ac 360," in special investigation, it was done by our very young Nic Robertson. He spent nearly a year working on a profile of Bryant Neal Vinas. Check out his reports.


Nic Robertson, Senior International Correspondent: He joins the militants on a mission to attack u.s. bases in Afghanistan. In his interrogation, Bryant describes hauling weapons to a mountaintop. Then, aborting the mission as u.s. aircraft closed in.


MITCH SILBER, NYPD DIR. OF Intelligence Analysis: His trajectory, he's shown his ability to sort of surprise us in terms of his -- really his desire and eagerness to get into the fight overseas.


Robertson: According to what Bryant later tells investigators, he is soon asked to become a suicide bomber. And he accepts.


SILBER: He may have viewed it as potentially some type of test, to vet him as to whether he was really serious about this.

PHIL MUDD, FORMER DEPUTY, FBI NATIONAL SECURITY BRANCH: You're going to go through multiple paths, multiple doors, if you will, before someone says, OK, we think we kind of sort of maybe trust this person.


(on camera) But when Taliban and militants here in Pakistan don't provide Bryant with the training and action he wants, his impatience gets the better of him and he begins a series of unsuccessful attempts to join Osama bin Laden's followers.

(voice-over) One time, he disguises himself as a woman, dresses in a burqa to hide his Hispanic American identity, and sets off alone to find an Al Qaeda camp. He fails. But he won't give up. And nearly loses his life because of his persistence.


LEMON: Let's go now to Lahore and we're joined by cnn's Nic Robertson, he joins us by phone. I want to ask you, is Bryant Neal Vinas, is his case unusual -- Nic.

Robertson (on phone): It is becoming more and more typical, people that are turning radicalism in the United States, be they Pakistanis who got American nationality, Afghans who got American nationality or Americans born brought up, all American kids, like Bryant Neal Vinas, who are turning to this radical version of Islam, it is becoming more and more common. And the steps that he took to get to Pakistan, and to get radicalized very, very typical steps. He was quite a normal child -- Don.

LEMON: Yes. Talk more about this because, you know, people say more like and that's a question you mentioned a little bit. Are there more like him?

Robertson: When we set out to report on this documentary, we were under the impression from intelligence officials that there were more people like him around the country. And now, we have actually seen some of them come out into the open, there have been arrests. Najibullah Zazi, the latest -- the alleged Times Square bomber, another person, Mr. Hadley in Chicago, another person alleged to being involved in terror plots. People who had led apparently normal lives, living in the United States, turning to extreme radical Islam, getting radicalized on the internet, getting radicalized with small groups of friends, listening to an extremist mate, his listening to rebel rosy rhetoric from a small handful of radicals of radicals on streets of New York and other places. And then pursuing this idea of attacking u.s. troops or civilians in the United States by coming to Pakistan and getting training in camps here -- don.

LEMON: That was Nic Robertson. Thanks to Nic Robertson. You can catch all of "American Al Qaeda," an "ac 360" special investigation with our very own Nic Robertson later tonight, 8:00 p.m. Eastern right here on cnn. And see it tomorrow night at the same time, only here again on cnn.

If you're going to do something right, well, then, do it right. That's exactly what one man did when he heard the disappointment in the voice of Michael Jackson's ex-wife, what he did that is drawing hundred of visitors to Jackson's California grave this weekend. We'll tell you about that.

And how do you surf if you have no legs? Well, this week's cnn hero can teach you a thing or two when it comes to that.


LEMON: Top stories we're covering right now here on cnn. Federal prosecutors say, a former Mexican presidential candidate is missing and his car has been discovered abandoned with signs of violence. Diego Fernandez de Cevallos was the 1994 presidential candidate of the now ruling national action party. His car was found near his ranch in central Mexico. Cevallos has remained a major figure in the ruling party as well as one of the country's leading attorneys.

In Pakistan, the prosecution has rested in the trial of five American Muslim immigrants charged with planning terrorist acts. Pakistani American from Alexandria, Virginia, pleaded not guilty to terrorism charges. They're accused of conspiring against America, to end NATO forces. The defense will present its case when the trial continues next month.

In southern California, the Episcopal Church is ordaining its first openly lesbian bishop this afternoon. Fifty six year old Reverend Mary Glasspool has been with her partner for 19 years now. She's the first openly gay u.s. bishop ordained since the Reverend Jane Robertson was confirmed in New Hampshire in 2003.

The crew of the "Space Shuttle Atlantis" has been busy today, this is a view of the payload bay that is carrying six new batteries, a new satellite dish, and a Russian mini research module. The crew of the Atlantis spent the day inspecting the shuttle for any damage in preparation for a docking with the international space station.

Michael Jackson's mausoleum is adorned with bright yellow flowers today, thanks to a flower grower with a big heart. Two thousand sunflowers worth more than $5,000 were delivered to Jackson's marble mausoleum in Glendale, California. Jason Levin said he donated the flowers after hearing Jackson's ex-wife, Lisa Marie Presley, complain there were only a few bouquets around the tomb.

Well, ask any parent and any teacher and they'll tell you the same thing. Being involved in your child's education is key to their success. Cnn contributor, Education Contributor, Steve Perry heads to Los Angeles to examine how Overland Elementary school gets parents involved and keeps them involved.

STEVE PERRY, CNN Education Contributor: Welcome to Los Angeles. We're here this morning at Overland Elementary School. We're here to discuss how to involve parents in child's education with principle and some of the parents. So, what is it that you do to get your parents involved in your children's day?

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Well, the parents are involved in every aspect of the school. All the way from the beginning of the day with the drop- off lane.


UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: And they'll open the doors, let them out of the cars, say good morning, welcome them into school.

EVE GELB, overland parent teacher association: We have an arts committee, we have a library committee, we have a safety committee that works hand in hand with our staff to make sure that earthquake supplies are ready. We have a science committee. We have a technology committee. STEVE HERMAN, CHAIRMAN, FRIENDS OF OVERLAND: The parents fund-raise annually to support instruction throughout the school. The thing that we also have tried to do is within the fund-raising, it is fund- raising for the school. It is not fund-raising for, you know, the grade or that grade or this program.

TEO HUNTER, DROP-OFF LANE VOLUNTEER: I wanted to be a part of the thing that protected my biggest investment, which is my children. Why would I not want to contribute to an organization or a group that was molding my biggest investment?

PERRY: Does it make your job easier or harder?



BORN: Because I know there is a way to do it because parents are involved.

LEMON: Education Contributor Steve Perry.

A new immigration debate over a college student. There's no question, she's an illegal immigrant.


JESSICA COLOTL, illegal immigrant: I was trying to fulfill my dream of getting an education. I don't see how that is a crime.


LEMON: But many question why she had to be deported. What to do with non-citizen students, just ahead.


LEMON: A new immigration controversy and this time, it is not coming from Arizona, but from the state of Georgia. The dilemma of a senior at Kennesaw State University is drawing attention to thousands like her nationwide. Students who were not citizens, but came here not by their own choice.

Jessica Colotl entered the country illegally with her family. Eleven years ago, she was a year from getting her college degree when a deputy pulled her over on campus on March 29th for a minor traffic violation. He learned of her illegal status and soon the Federal government started the process to deport her. Colotl spoke with cnn just yesterday after she was charged for another violation, giving a false address, when the officer arrested her. Take a listen.


COLOTL: I'm just trying to get my education. I don't think that's fair, because I was brought to the u.s. when I was 11-years-old. I didn't have an option. For me, right now, there is no path of legalizing myself.


LEMON: OK. So, immigration authorities gave Colotl a break, deferring her deportation for a year so she could graduate. But then, she has to go back to Mexico. Her case has set off a bunch of immigration debates. Should state schools allow illegal immigrant students, should they allow them? Kennesaw State knew she was not a citizen. They know she wasn't. But the bigger question, what should we do with illegal immigrant students, in fact, Congress has looked at a bipartisan bill that dealt with that exact problem. It is called the dream act. It would give conditional citizenship to young people for six years. It would grant permanent citizenship if among other requirements they pursue a degree beyond high school.

And it would be restricted to immigrants who came in here when they were -- came here I should say, when they were 15 or younger. Lawmakers introduced it in 2001 and proposed it multiple times since. So, what is wrong with giving citizenship to these young people? Tonight, we're going to explore both sides. So, supporting citizenship is Angela Kelly, she's from the Center of American Progress. And against it, because we can say against it, is Phil Kent, a spokesman for the Americans for Immigration Control. Thank you all for joining us.

So, Phil, here is my question. Like Jessica said, you know, there are many people that came here, it wasn't their control, right, the way they came here, some, you know, came and their parents wanted to bring them. So, then, what is your argument against it?

Phil Kent, "Americans for Immigration Control" spokesman: The unfairness, Don, is the fact that these are slots that should be given to American kids and American citizens. These are people that are gaming the system, sad to say, and it is against the 1996 immigration law to have an illegal immigrant who is known in post secondary education. So she has to go back and do the legal route and do the paper work, get a student visa.

LEMON: I understand what you're saying. But do you know how hard that is? Some say almost impossible.

Before we go into that, before you respond to that, I want to get Angela's response first.

What do you say to him?

ANGELA KELLEY, CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS: If there was an easy way to do this, surely that young woman's family would have done it. There are simply thousands of students like her, who are as American as my two daughters, that can't have a path forward. There is no way for them to get a student visa or for them to get any kind of permanent status, unless Congress does act and takes responsibility for our broken immigration laws and gets these kids on the right side of the law.

Look, we need to be sure that they pass the security test. We need to be sure that they register and pay their taxes. But these are kids that we've made an investment in so far and we need to realize their potential by getting them on the right side of the law, and making sure that eventually they become full-fledged citizens.

LEMON: So how many people -- you said as American as your kids. How many kids and students do you believe are in Ms. Colotl's position, Angela?

KELLEY: It is hard, right. By definition these are folks that don't come forward and talk about their status because they're living in the shadows, living in fear. The estimates are, and especially poignant this time of year where so many kids are finishing high school and finishing college, that there are about 66,000 a year who are graduating in exactly this situation.


LEMON: Wow. That's a lot of students, 66,000.

KELLEY: Absolutely. And the Dream Act would give relief to those students who are already here who came as young students, and who finished high school.

KENT: The Dream Act does not give them any rights. The Dream Act is amnesty. Why don't you tell the truth, Angela? That's what you're center is for. You're an open-borders advocate. You want amnesty for all of these people that broke the law. They came in here. What we need is --

KELLEY: You call it amnesty. I call it an answer.

KENT: -- to uphold the rule of law. You don't like that.

KELLEY: Hardly. I think exactly, we do need to uphold the rule of law, but we need rules that make sense.

Look, you call it amnesty, I call it --

KENT: Well, amnesty is not the way to go.

KELLEY: -- an answer, a solution, rather than stick our head in the sand and pretend these folks are going to go away.

KENT: So leave them in college?

KELLEY: Using state resources to prosecute this kid, to deport this kid, after we have already invested in her and going to school here --

KENT: That's the law.

KELLEY: That simply doesn't make sense.

LEMON: But here's the thing, is --

KELLEY: We can throw -- we can throw more money at the problem or we can get real and make them pay their own way. make her get on the right side of the law. I think that's a solution.

LEMON: I see both of your points, Angela. Let me get in here. Let me jump in here.

I see both your points. When a citizen breaks the law, for whatever reason, whether it is something as minor as a traffic violation to murder or what have you, very few times there is amnesty for citizens who are born here or who, you know, grew up here.

KENT: There are no amnesties.

LEMON: There is no amnesty with the law, so people -- so --

KELLEY: And there should not be an amnesty.

LEMON: Here's the thing. So people say, then why give people, who broke the law, amnesty? We have to do something. We have to look at our laws, but why should you give amnesty for someone who break the law?

KENT: Send them back to their home countries and have them processed like everyone else that plays by the rules. We have foreign students, hundred of thousands of them --

LEMON: But that process is so circuitous.


KENT: I'll agree with Angela that we can agree on one thing, we can streamline the process. But we're not going to be granting amnesty to 50 million people.

KELLEY: There is no process for this young woman. I'm sorry, your viewers have to understand, there is no line for her to get into. There are not visas that would be available to her. The laws need to be changed. They need to be updated to be sure that we --

KENT: We can streamline the process, but you want amnesty and that's wrong.

KELLEY: You can toss around the word amnesty, but I am telling you, it would be an answer to be sure we get kids like her on the right side of the law and --

KENT: Well, the school -- the school --

KELLEY: Look, an investment has been made in her. She is as American as you or I are.


KENT: You can filibuster on this all day long, but the university gave this girl in-state tuition, which is against Georgia Board of Regions policy. She lied on her application to college. You condone all of that. And then the college tries to help her when she's being deported. KELLEY: But that university --

KENT: If I go to the airport, should I call Kennesaw State University if I don't bring my license? Are they going to bail me out? This is totally unfair.

KELLEY: That university made a decision to invest in her. And she finished school --

KENT: Well, the president of that university needs to be fired.

LEMON: Let her make her point, Mr. Kent.

KELLEY: There is only so many topics we can cover in the short time we have. I think what the American people want is a solution. They want to be sure that people get on the right side of the law, that they pay taxes. We have made an investment in this kid. She came here through no choice of her own.

KENT: The polls show the American people want illegal immigrants ended.

KELLEY: And we could -- and we could deport her to a country that she hasn't been to or we can make sure she gets on the right side of the law and becomes, not a dishwasher, but a doctor. That's the investment that we need to make. and it would be smart to change our laws so that kid realizes her potential, and that laws aren't broken in the future.

KENT: By changing the law, you want amnesty. Admit it.

LEMON: OK, thank you, Jessica -- I mean, hand on, Angela, I should say, and Phil. hang on here. I just want to get this real quickly.

Jessica, what -- if you have a solution to this. And a quick line here. And I know it takes more than that, what is the solution for people like Jessica.

KELLEY: My solution for people like Jessica is that Congress passes a bipartisan bill with tough requirements that takes young people like that, makes sure that they finish school or that they serve in our military, and at the end of the day, that they become American citizens.

LEMON: OK, good.


KENT: That is incredible to award citizenship. At the very least, if you want to streamline the process and have something where you can help a girl like Jessica, at least grant her a permanent residency. But I wouldn't grant her citizenship.

KELLEY: All right, if you'd like -- permanent residence is fine. That would be fine. If that's the compromise you want to make, that would put her on a path. Look, everybody breaks the rule at some point or another.

KENT: So that's OK.

KELLEY: My kids break rules all the time. It is not OK. But the punishment has to fit the act. This kid came through no choice of her own.

LEMON: Listen, guys --


KENT: -- have to hear about the citizens are denied slots. There are a lot of people that would like to go to college tht don't get in because --


LEMON: We'll have to end it. We'll have to cut it off here.

Hey, Steve, can you give me a two-shot here on camera two or whatever we have the two-shot here?

I understand what both of you guys are saying here.

And listen, Ms. Kelley, it is not breaking rules. These are laws that are broken. We have to remember that. There is a difference --

KELLEY: Agreed. Laws need to be updated, frankly.

LEMON: -- between breaking rules and breaking laws. And when you break laws, you have to pay the consequences. No American citizen, naturalized or otherwise born here, breaks a law and gets amnesty. I mean, very few times does that happen.

KELLEY: Agreed. And as a child, she had no choice.

KENT: Thank you, Don.

LEMON: Hang on. So I understand the position and I understand both your positions. And there is something we have to do and that's what we're here to figure out. What do we do to -- for people who are like Jessica, who came to this country?

KELLEY: What's the answer? That's right.


KENT: We could have narrow legislation to help someone.

LEMON: Through no means of their own, their parents brought them here, to figure out what to do.

Thank you very much for that, Angela.

And Phil on this camera. Thank you.


You're very aggressive and you're very passionate about this. I appreciate you coming in.

I promise our viewers we'll continue this talk. I think it is a very good talk.

KELLEY: Thank you.

LEMON: Thank you.

KENT: Thanks, Don.

LEMON: All right.

Let's move on now.

The Cannes Film Festival in full swing in France. And CNN's Brooke Anderson talks to Oliver Stone and Josh Brolin about the new sequel to "Wall Street." Take a look.


BROOKE ANDERSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Unscrupulous investment banks, Wall Street corruption, economic disaster, those sound like stories from any leading newspaper. But here at Cannes, they're not headlines. They're plot points in the latest film to premiere here, Oliver stone's "Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps".


UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: When I got out, who is waiting for me? Nobody.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: This is not about the money. This is about you and me.


ANDERSON: This is Stone's follow-up to his 1987 hit movie "Wall Street," which defined the excess of that earlier era and glamorized corporate raiders.

Stone, whose father was a New York stockbroker decades ago, is hoping the timeliness, the relevance of his new movie resonates with filmgoers.

(on camera): You have said the first "Wall Street" was a morality tale.


ANDERSON: How would you describe this one?

STONE: But nobody listened. Nobody listened.


How would you describe this one?

STONE: It is a different movie. It is a book end, it's not a sequel. It's more like Gecko starts at the bottom. (INAUDIBLE) both have integrity. In the original, Charlie Sheen did not, until he found it later.

ANDERSON: It's a very timely movie.

JOSH BROLIN, FILM PRODUCER: It's a very timely movie. Very. Look at what's happened, September of '08, and this was written actually before that. But then Oliver got a hold of it and he personalized the story and made it a very emotional story.

You see Gordon Gecko in the beginning, having been broken. That's a great place to springboard from.

ANDERSON: It's great.

BROLIN: You know?

ANDERSON: It certainly is.

BROLIN: 23 years later.

ANDERSON (voice-over): "Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps" hits theaters in September.

Brooke Anderson, CNN, Cannes, France.


LEMON: Well, losing a limb could seem like the end of the world. But for some, overcoming tragedy reveals a new zest for living. That's exactly what happened to this week's "CNN Hero". And he's bringing others along for the ride.


LEMON: So how do you surf if you have no legs? This week's "CNN Hero" can teach you.


LEMON: All right. Since 2003, Dana Cumming and his organization taught more than 300 disabled persons how to surf. That number is growing. To nominate someone you think is changing the world, go to

Every college student or every college wants a big name commencement speaker, right? Some George Washington University students will tell us how they landed the first lady of the United States. It only took 100,000 hours to do it.





LEMON: Tomorrow the first lady will speak at the graduation ceremony of George Washington University in D.C. G.W. wasn't just lucky. The students there earned the honor of having the First Lady Michelle Obama to be their commencement speaker. Look.


UNIDENTIFIED COLLEGE STUDENT: You want to put some more on here?


JENNIFER SANTOS, GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVESITY STUDENT: Michelle Obama's challenge was we had to complete 100,000 hours of service and she would speak at our commencement.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Go ahead, get the markers. Get the markers.

SANTOS: I think people took it pretty seriously. I know as the volunteer coordinator for Jump Start, I took it seriously. And I was like, we need to get as many hours as we can through Jump Start.


Jump start is pairing up college students with inner city school kids who are at risk.


There is a lot more students that can dedicate more attention to them and that's an important process to build up that confidence for them.


SANTOS: It is a big reward to work with children and see them running around and smiling and all of that. It is just a very good feeling.


I think community service opportunities give G.W. students the opportunity to get out of their bubble, because there is a very much G.W. bubble. It is nice to step out of that and help others.

SANTOS: To have the first lady come speak at your graduation is, like, a huge thing. And it just makes it that much more exciting to be on the National Mall and hear her speak.

STEVEN KNAPP, PRESIDENT, GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY: It's a little unusual to have your commencement speaker be connected with something that's been going on at the university for the entire stretch of the academic year.

APREZA: Who knows, maybe next year, we'll get a deal from Barack Obama, being like 200,000 hours and then, you know, we'll make it happen.


LEMON: And congratulations to George Washington for accomplishing 100,000 hours of service.

So think about that, 100,000 hours. That's a lot of work. The average workweek, just 40 hours, right? So imagine spending that much time.

To find out how G.W. rose to the first lady's challenge, we have two students who are graduating tomorrow.

First up with up, Jamie Bright was want committee organizing the hours of service.

Come on, smile, you're on TV. The first lady acknowledged you. There you go.

And Shakir Cannon-Moye who was there.

Come on. Yes, that's a big smile.

-- was there when the first lady made the challenge.

Congratulations to both of you. Thank you both for joining us.

First question goes to Shakir. Tell me about the day, back in September of last year, when the first lady asked to you do 100,000 hours of service. Were you thinking? No way, we can't do that?

SHAKIR CANON-MOYE, GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY STUDENT: I was originally shocked by the 100,000 hours. It's a very insurmountable task when you think about 100,000 hours. But when it was broken down to ten hours per person, per undergraduate student, I know how much the commitment to service the G.W. students have, I knew we were going to reach that task. And the fact that we finished it a month out is not surprising to me.

LEMON: What does your sweatshirt say, the George Washington? Is that what it says?

CANNON-MOYE: Yes, sir.

LEMON: Got you. You don't to call me sir. Even though I'm probably could be your dad. Wow. What a shame.


Anyway, so, Jamie, how many hours did you do? and how long did it take you? JAMIE BRIGHT, GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY STUDENT: I did about 175 hours during the school year. I've been doing them since September and up through May 1st, and even a little few after the official challenge ended. So lots of different service project, everything from weekly volunteering to some of the bigger service events, organized by the Office of Community Service.

LEMON: So Shakir talked about -- how many students again? How many people involved?

CANNON-MOYE: Upwards of 4,100.

BRIGHT: More than --

LEMON: Yes, go ahead, Jamie.

BRIGHT: I was going to say, same number as Shakir. More than 4,100 participated. That included students, faculty, staff members and even our board of trustee members.

LEMON: Do you feel you made a difference with all this work, Jamie?

BRIGHT: Absolutely. I think you can make a difference with an hour of service. And so I was able to make a difference with 175 hours of service. and G.W. was able to make a difference with more than 100,000 hours of service. I'm really excited to hear the number tomorrow from the first lady.

LEMON: Shakir, how did it impact the community, you think, that you worked in?

CANNON-MOYE: I think it was a great impact. That wasn't just limited to the D.C. A lot of the service was done in the schools, but we also alternative winter breaks that went to Peru, went to outside of the country. And we helped a lot of people in our quest to secure Michelle Obama as our comments commencement speaker.

LEMON: Look how cute these kids are. Oh, my gosh, they're just -- and what is that experience like, Shakira, working with those students? You probably get more out of it than they do.

CANNON-MOYE: That's what my view on service was. If was, you think you give so much by helping people, but at end of the day, they help you grow. I volunteered at the local in D.C. schools. At the end of the day, I learned about the D.C. community. I never would have learned the words go, go, or learned about the urban community in D.C. if it wasn't for my experience of volunteering. So I think I got more out of it than I gave to it in the mentoring and tutoring that I gave to the students.

LEMON: I asked you guys to smile at the beginning of this. Shakir, do you think you'll be smiling from ear to ear when the first lady speaks tomorrow?

CANNON-MOYE: I'm so excited to hear her speak. I hope she speaks about service and how you have a commitment to help those in the community that you live in. Because I know that's what I got out of this experience, is that no matter how far you come, you have an obligation to those that you live with, that you go to school or work.

LEMON: Jamie, up against the clock, last thoughts. Do you feel the same way?

BRIGHT: I hope all the G.W. seniors continue to make their commitment to public service and community service, not only next year, but years forward, and same thing for the university.

LEMON: Congratulations to you and to all the students.

I hope our viewers learned a lesson from you as well. I'm going to be looking for you in the crowd tomorrow.

BRIGHT: Thank you so much.

CANNON-MOYE: Thank you very much.

LEMON: Thank you. Thank you.

Getting into shape is hard. We know that. Harder for some than for others. Up next, see how an inspirational athlete is helping some wannabe triathletes prepare for their upcoming challenge.


LEMON: In just over two months, our Dr. Sanjay Gupta and six lucky CNN viewers will be competing in the New York City Triathlon. In today's "Fit Nation" report, they went to Austin, Texas, to get some tips from one of the best cyclists ever.


LEMON: Can you imagine, you're in one of those boot camps or "Fit Challenges" and, all of a sudden, Lance Armstrong shows up? That would be huge.

We've been telling you about what's going on down in the gulf, a really terrible situation. Look at all the oil spewing into the Gulf of Mexico. Tomorrow, my exclusive interview at 6:00 p.m. -- there he is -- Lenny Kravitz. He's helping out the victims, holding a concert. He's going to tell us why he's doing all of this, 6:00 p.m. tomorrow.

In the meantime, I'll see you back here, 7:00 p.m. eastern.

"The Situation Room" begins right now. See you then.