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Millions Of Brackets Busted On Day One; Giant 5,000-Mile-Wide Blob Of Seaweed Could Reach Florida By Summer; Texas Plans To Adopt Board To Take Control Of Houston Schools. Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired March 17, 2023 - 07:30   ET





JIMMY FALLON, NBC HOST, "THE TONIGHT SHOW STARRING JIMMY FALLON": March Madness has officially begun. There's nothing more fun than carefully filling out your bracket and then losing to a coworker who pronounces UCLA as "Uk-la."



DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: That would be me.

COLLINS: -- literally me and you.

LEMON: And don't forget Anderson. Anderson's a little bit the same way when it comes to sports as I am. I know a little bit more than him.

COLLINS: Yes, you do -- you do.

All right. The Alabama Crimson Tide -- as you saw yesterday, they did advance to the second round of the Men's NCAA Tournament, but there were some huge upsets that busted millions of March Madness brackets on day one.

Andy Scholes breaks it all down for us. Andy, I mean, it wasn't even --

LEMON: How is Uk-la doing?

COLLINS: It wasn't even -- Uk-la -- it wasn't even sundown on day one -- even President Biden's bracket was busted because he had Arizona winning it all.

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, yes. If you're President Biden or anyone who had Arizona this is what your bracket looks like this morning, guys. It's red X's all over it and you're in for a tournament of sadness now because you have no chance of winning your pool or competition if that's what your bracket looks like.

But, you know, filling out a perfect bracket, it's impossible, right? Out of the tens of millions of brackets that were filled out this year this is it -- 787, the only ones that remain perfect according to And that's because we saw so many crazy things happen yesterday, including an all-time great win by the Furman Paladins.


NCAA ANNOUNCER 1: Clark gets it in and gets it back -- we're 10. Clark double-teamed along the baseline and throws it up the floor. Intercepted by Hein. Pegues for three and the win. He does it with 2.2 to go.


SCHOLES: Just incredible. Virginia fans in shock of what they saw. And check out this Furman fan praying every single prayer she knew hoping that her Paladins would hang on and win, and they did.

Furman the smallest school in the tournament -- less than 2,700 students -- knocking off Virginia 68-67. Paladin is from Greenville, South Carolina, making most of the first trip to March Madness in 43 years. They're moving on to the second round.

But Furman wasn't even the biggest upset of the day. As we mentioned, 15-seed Princeton -- they took the lead on two-seed Arizona with two minutes to go. And then the Wildcats didn't score in the final four minutes and 45 seconds of the game. The Tigers just a massive upset there. This is the third-straight year and 11 times overall a 15-seed is able to beat a number-two seed in the first round.

And you know, guys, I don't want to say I told you so but I told you so. If you were paying attention on Monday -- remember, I brought up KenPom? It measures offensive and defensive efficiency. I said you had to be top 40 offense and top 22 defense.

These are the only two -- only teams that could win right now. These teams are close. All of these teams are still alive or haven't played yet. Who was it on here that I said? Arizona.


SCHOLES: I also showed you this map. Since 1997, every single champion was east of this line going down the middle. Where is Arizona? They're over here.

So it's not looking good again for the west coast, guys. They've only got UCLA and Gonzaga over there left. Texas is actually on the other side of that line as well. So we'll see -- we'll see what happens.

But we should be in for more chaos later today.

COLLINS: I'm not going to start --

LEMON: (INAUDIBLE). COLLINS: Yes, I know. I'm not going to start an SEC champ but I would like to. But, I mean, even Biden's bracket was busted. He had Arizona winning it all.

SCHOLES: Yes, not good -- not good if you have Arizona winning it all.

LEMON: That's your answer, not good?

SCHOLES: You know, that's rough. That's rough.

COLLINS: Andy, who are you watching today?

SCHOLES: Well, you know, today -- let's see. You've got Purdue in action as a one-seed. And then there's a lot more potential upsets today.


Miami versus Drake -- a lot of people like Drake as a 12-seed. Indiana versus Kent State. Kent State's got a lot of veterans on that team. So that's a situation where we could have a 13 and a 12 moving on. Those are some games I'm excited to watch.

And, of course, you know, you can't go wrong with any of the games, especially early. Michigan State in action and old Tom Rizzo --


LEMON: Well, Drake is on there. I thought --

SCHOLES: -- he's a -- he's a vet.

LEMON: I thought Drake was Canadian.

COLLINS: Oh my gosh. Get out.

SCHOLES: Oh boy, Don.

COLLINS: Leave the set.

SCHOLES: Oh, boy. Don's going to end up winning the bracket --

COLLINS: All right.

SCHOLES: -- you watch.

COLLINS: Andy Scholes, my favorite time of year. Thank you so much.

LEMON: All right.

SCHOLES: All right.

LEMON: We're going to take you outside now, all right, because this is a live look at Sunny Isles Beach, Florida this morning where a giant mass of stinky seaweed could soon be headed to that area right there -- that beach.

A 5,000-mile-wide stretch has -- stench, I should say. Is that right -- stretch has hit Barbados already and it is threatening its ecosystem and its tourism industry. Scientists are worried about the environmental and the health impact as it invades coasts along the Caribbean or Caribbean and heads toward Florida.

Let's get straight now to CNN's Leyla Santiago. She is live for us in Key West. So listen, it sounds weird and funny but this is actually very serious. We are seeing a massive bloom of seaweed. What is causing it?

LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Listen, Don, here it is. Here's some of that stinky seaweed that you just mentioned here. Scientists have been tracking this particular patch of it since 2011 and they say that this year it could be coming in record numbers. We could see the largest bloom yet coming this way and it could be a new normal.


JOE KAPLAN, RESIDENT, KEY WEST, FLORIDA: It's thick and in the summertime builds up and smells terrible.

SANTIAGO (voice-over): Joe Kaplan captured these images about a week ago. Massive amounts of seaweed washing up at Smathers Beach, a beach he knows well because he walks it several times a week.

KAPLAN: And I was shocked when I saw that day where it wasn't even spring yet. It's still winter, which is very unusual.

CHUANMIN HU, USF COLLEGE OF MARINE SCIENCE: And this is about 5,000 miles long.

SANTIAGO (voice-over): Professor Chuanmin Hu is one of the leading experts on what many have referred to as a massive blob of seaweed heading to Florida's coast.

SANTIAGO (on camera): Fair to call it a blob?

HU: No.

SANTIAGO (on camera): No, we can't call it a blob, OK.

HU: I would never call that a blob.

SANTIAGO (on camera): OK, why?

HU: Because it's not.

SANTIAGO (voice-over): Satellite images he says show it's not one massive body of seaweed; rather, a bunch of patchy clumps traveling from West Africa. It's called the Atlantic Sargassum Belt and it's considered a natural phenomenon. Right now, it's twice the width of the U.S., carrying six million tons of seaweed, and headed to the east coast. HU: In June of this year it may turn into 20 million pounds.

SANTIAGO (on camera): So let me get this straight. This -- what we're seeing the last month is six million tons and it's going to get bigger?

HU: Yes. There's no way to stop that. This is nature just like no one can stop a hurricane.

SANTIAGO (on camera): Should we be worried about that?

HU: No.

SANTIAGO (on camera): Why?

HU: The reason is that sargassum is not toxic.

SANTIAGO (voice-over): But it smells pretty bad and it's a nuisance for those trying to keep beaches clean to attract tourists. Just a few years ago here's what it looked like in Mexico.

Officials in Monroe County, which includes the Florida Keys, have set aside more than $200,000 to clean and remove sargassum from its beaches.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Seaweed is a mixed blessing. We need it. Seaweed is a nursery for all these large pelagic fish. And the negative side to that seaweed is if it comes in the concentrations that I believe we're going to see, our fishing grounds are going to be completely covered with it. And there's almost no point to fishing because we're going to be spending the entire day cleaning weed off our lines.

SANTIAGO (voice-over): And as the Sargassum Belt heads toward Florida, another natural phenomenon is already hitting its beaches on the west coast -- red tide. It can be toxic, kill fish, and cause respiratory issues. This year's red tide concerns were enough to cancel at least one major event here in Indian Rocks where one family visiting told us --

MARGO SAGE, TOURIST FROM CANADA: But as soon as my son, my husband, and I got out of our car we all started coughing.

SANTIAGO (voice-over): But for spring breakers like this group from Iowa the concerns of massive amounts of seaweed or red tide were not enough to change vacation plans.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I would rather it be red tide than raining every day.

SANTIAGO (voice-over): Tourists noting friends back home --

SAGE: And they'd be pretty jealous -- regardless of having a little bit of the red tide symptoms, they'd be pretty jealous that we're here and they're not.

SANTIAGO (voice-over): Because the pristine beaches of the Sunshine State are hard to resist for many despite what may be looming offshore.


SANTIAGO: And Don, take a look. You can see they're actually cleaning these beaches, something they do normally every day. But yes, they're going to be pretty busy if this sargassum comes up to keep this clean, pristine beaches.

Now, scientists will tell you they have somewhat of an understanding of the currents and the tide that move this stuff around. Still, more needs -- more research is needed to be able to forecast it. And there's concern that if we try to, quote, "fix it" or find a solution -- it's an ecosystem, right, so there could be unintended consequences here. So when I asked him what his best recommendation was, avoid it -- Don, Poppy.


LEMON: Wow, that would really throw a drag. It's a drag for summer. One of the joys of summer is being able to go to the beach and this would certainly hinder that.


LEMON: Thank you, Leyla -- appreciate that.

COLLINS: All right, it is being called the "selfie effect." How picture-perfect Photoshopped posts on social media are impacting people's mental health, especially that of young girls. Our Sanjay Gupta is here to explain next.


LEMON: All right, so be honest. Probably many of you, right -- how many of you have caught yourself aimlessly scrolling through social media and being inundated with supposedly picture-perfect images. You've got to get it right. You've got to get it right. Everybody's going to see it.


Well, believe it a lot -- believe it or not, I should say, there is a name for it. It's called selfie -- the "selfie effect" and it -- not surprisingly, it can have a huge impact on your mood and your psychological health, especially for young female users.

In a new episode of "Chasing Life" podcast with CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta, he explores this phenomenon. I wonder how much -- I'm sure his daughters have a lot to do with this and I'll ask.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta joins us now. Good morning to you. Real quick, did your daughters influence you in this? Good morning.


GUPTA: I mean, I think it's the reason that I did this, this season, was because of -- and I've never included my daughters. I have three teenage daughters. Never included them in anything I've done in the media. But this issue of social media and selfies and all that was something that -- you know, it's talked about all the time and I've learned a lot, which I -- which I know is your question.

But let me -- let me say this. This idea of the selfie effect -- it's really interesting. First of all, it's a term that was coined by Professor Sinclair-McBride at Harvard a few years ago. But basically, just like you said, it has to do with this idea that we're constantly looking at these selfies of ourselves -- people take a lot of selfies -- and comparing them to these really remarkable Photoshopped-filtered images that we see on social media quite a bit.

So there's this constant comparison that is happening between ourselves and between these basically, unfathomable images, and it can lead to feelings -- changes in the brain. People feeling inadequate, requiring more dopamine in order to get the same satisfaction from your own looks. It's really interesting and we're just so inundated with it.

People know the Photoshop and the filters and all that exist and they're aware that they're probably looking at images that have been heavily filtered, and yet they still cannot help but compare their own images to those other images, and that's leading to this selfie effect as Professor McBride describes it.

COLLINS: That's amazing that it actually changes the chemistry -- it alters the chemistry in your brain --


COLLINS: -- from looking at these images.

Sanjay, I have a little sister. She's 16 years old. My little brother is 18 -- or 19 now, but I think about this and the effect it had on them. And one thing I think is difficult for parents is how to talk to their kids about it because parents did not grow up with Instagram at age 12. They didn't go through --

GUPTA: Right.

COLLINS: -- that and experience that. And this is the first generation that's living through that.

So what are -- what are parents supposed to do here?

GUPTA: Well, it's interesting. First of all -- so my kids are your siblings' age, first of all, so I'm dealing with this as a -- as a -- as a parent. And a lot of times I look at my own experience. We did not have this growing up but we did have magazines and fashion magazines and there's always been this sort of unattainable imagery that we're surrounded with. That's always been there. What has changed Kaitlan, I think over the last 10-15 years, is that we're now completely inundated with it. So you're carrying around this device in your hand, whereas you may have had a magazine in the past, you read it and then it gets tossed. Now there's this constant abundance of these images and they're persistent. So abundance and persistence of these images, it really makes all the difference. We -- you just can't get away from it.

But there's also something else. When you look at the filters, for example, they are -- and really dissect them and try to understand what are these filters doing, they are creating a conformity of images as well.

In fact, I asked Professor Sinclair-McBride about this and here's what she said.


PROFESSOR KENEISHA SINCLAIR-MCBRIDE, CHILD PSYCHOLOGIST, BOSTON CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL: A lot of the filters kind of have a very Eurocentric lens. So it would be great if they did not make people's skin colors lighter or change the shape of their noses or change how big their eyes are, or do things that make them more towards a certain standard of beauty that may not be from the cultural background that they are from, right? Like, I think that would be really clutch.

Like, it would be nice if like when you put a filter on it said you're beautiful as you are, but you can play with this if you want, right? Like it's just -- it's just a tool. It's just a thing that is here. But also this picture of you without the filter is also really cool.


GUPTA: I learned something -- I learned so many things from this podcast. But that idea that these filters create this ethnocentrism -- filters, as a general rule, will lighten the skin and will change the sort of dynamics of the face in a way to create this conformity is what Professor Sinclair-McBride was saying. I hadn't really thought about that but as we looked at the filters it's true.

But also to your point, Kaitlan, this idea as a parent or maybe even as an older sibling to continuously remind people -- and my kids, in this case -- that they are beautiful the way they are. They'll roll their eyes at you as I have found. They'll be like dad, of course, you have to say that. But they remember it. They remember it --

LEMON: But it's true.

GUPTA: -- and it makes a difference. It's true and --

LEMON: It's true, Sanjay. I'm so -- I'm so glad --

GUPTA: It's true.

LEMON: I can't wait to listen to this because I notice that these filters -- I'm like why are these sort of European sort of projection of narrow nose --



LEMON: -- or whatever, lighter eyes, and that has always been frustrating for me. But when I tell my nieces and even people I know like God, you're so beautiful without, like, the makeup and all of that, right? You're beautiful with it but it's just weird that people have this.

I was so happy to see Lady Gaga performing at the Oscars with no makeup.


LEMON: I was like right on --


LEMON: -- Lady Gaga. That's amazing. And hopefully something like that can be a --

GUPTA: No filter.

LEMON: No filter -- can be a role model for young people.

COLLINS: Yes, it's amazing.

Sanjay, I can't wait to listen to that either.

GUPTA: Absolutely.

COLLINS: I think it's such a good note.

GUPTA: Make sure your younger siblings listen to it as well, Kaitlan.

COLLINS: I will. I will. I'm going to send it to them, Sanjay. Thank you so much. My whole family -- they are big Sanjay fans, of course, so --

LEMON: Thank you. This is very interesting. I can't wait to hear it. Thanks, Sanjay.

You can find "Chasing Life" whenever -- wherever you get your podcasts, so make sure you tune in to that.

The largest school district in Texas is on track to be taken over the by state. Her teachers' concerns about representation and diversity -- that's next.



GOV. GREG ABBOTT, (R) TEXAS: There has been a long-time failure HISD and the victims of that failure are the students.

RON REYNOLDS, (D) CHAIR, TEXAS LEGISLATIVE BLACK CAUCUS: We must continue to protect vulnerable Black and brown communities that are going to be disproportionately impacted by this negative, hostile takeover that didn't have to happen.


LEMON: So you're hearing from Texas officials there. The largest school district in Texas, the Houston Independent School District, is in the throws of one of the biggest takeovers in the country's history. The district superintendent and board of trustees are expected to be replaced by a new board appointed by the state commissioner of education. And there is concern this morning that the new leaders may not reflect the city's ethnic and racial diversity.

Now, the move comes just weeks after the State Supreme Court ruled that the state can remove district officials if their schools fail to meet certain standards. We're going to talk about those standards and all of this now.

Joining us now is the president of the Texas State Teachers Association, Ovidia Molina. Thank you so much for joining us this morning. I appreciate it.


LEMON: So you just heard from the officials there. Specifically, you heard from the governor calling this a failure on the part of the school district. How do you respond to that?

MOLINA: I send it back to the governor and say he failed all of our schools by underfunding them. He is part of the problem and should step aside so that the school district can continue to get better.

LEMON: In an op-ed, though, in the Houston Chronicle, the Democratic state representative that authored the amendment to the bill allowing the state to take over HISD writes that he has no regrets. "When a student fails once there are consequences. When the district fails at least five consecutive times, there should be consequences. HISD has failed."

You say what?

MOLINA: We say that 94 percent of the schools in HISD are performing A, B, or C, and so this is something where you are punishing the whole for a small number. And HISD has made strides. We went from a 50- school -- 50 schools with D or F ratings to only 10.

The superintendent currently has a five-year plan that he's not yet at a two-year into. And so if we're going in the direction where we want to be going in HISD why stop the momentum now?

LEMON: You believe that there is momentum -- there was momentum being had and you said that a small number are punishing the whole. Explain that because the scores were not good.

MOLINA: Well, and in Texas, we're graded by the Star test. Our school is rated by the Star test and the performance. And we know that our students are not standardized. So a standardized test should not tell you everything about what the students or the schools are doing. It should be one thing that is taken into account.

Currently in Texas, if a child fails the Star test then everything that they've done for the whole year gets wiped out, and that's not fair.


Well listen, you're talking about the Star scores, which are standardized scores on HISD's website, and we had that up for 2021 -- the most recent test scores. HISD scored at least 10 points or more lower than the state average.

MOLINA: Yes, and as I said before, these are schools that have been underfunded by our state for many, many years. Instead of wrapping around services with our schools that are struggling, instead of pouring into our students a little bit more, and listening to educators to see what will actually help with our students, the state wants to just tell us what to do without really looking at what the student needs, which is what we do.


I'm wondering if you think this is political because many officials are calling this move political. Houston is a Democratic-majority city. The state leadership, including Abbott, are Republican. Houston clashed with Abbot and others during the pandemic over masks and the school reopening plans there. Do you think this is a political move?

MOLINA: There's definitely something going on because we are taking the rights of elected board members away. We're doing away with an elected school board and making an appointment. And these people that are going to be coming into the board of managers don't even have to have an education background. So if we're working with trying to help an education system why wouldn't we listen to educators, and why wouldn't we want community input? Our schools need to be poured into and not attacked.

And so, our governor is taking the wrong approach, as usual. There is no plan that we know of. Our parents -- our students are in spring break right now so they have no idea what's going on, let alone our educators in HISD.

LEMON: Well, Ovidia Molina, this -- we will continue to follow this and we appreciate.