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BP Prepares For Top Kill; Anger Swells in Gulf Region; Doctors Continue Work in Haiti

Aired May 26, 2010 - 10:00   ET


KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: Checking top stories. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton showing solidarity with South Korea today; Clinton tells leaders in Seoul that we will stand with you in this difficult hour.

Tensions are high in the Korean peninsula over the South blaming the North for a torpedo strike on one of its war ships back in March.

President Obama wants to send up to 1,200 more National Guard troops to the border with Mexico. The troops would help with drug enforcement and intelligence activities until more customs and border agents can be hired. The president will also ask for a half a billion dollars to add to current funds for border protection and other law enforcement.

Happening on Capitol Hill this hour, an oversight hearing on the gulf oil spill. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar appears before a House committee. Expect to hear questions about an inspector general's report that federal inspectors accepted gifts from companies that they monitored.

We begin this hour with the coverage of the sky-high hopes of top kill and the chilling reality it faces 5,000 feet under the sea. This is BP's live video feed of the oil still gushing from the broken well at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico.

Right now all hopes of choking off that geyser are in limbo. BP execs are still sifting through the latest data to see if they can begin those efforts early this morning.

Now take a look at what crews are going to try and do. BP hopes to seal the leaking oil well by pumping cement just like this and heavy mud right into the ruptured line. It's never been done before at a depth like this, nearly a mile under water and even company executives can see that it has no more than a 70 percent chance of even working.

Here's what's been going on this morning and what we can actually expect through the rest of the day. CNN's Ed Lavandera is in Grand Isle, Louisiana. So, Ed, can you quickly lay out what BP hopes to achieve today?

ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, what BP is doing right now is going through its diagnostic testing, pressure tests on that blowout preventer to see if they can carry that out. We had anticipation that perhaps this is a process that they could have started at first light today, but the chief executive of BP, Tony Hayward, told CNN this morning that he is still in consultations with his team of scientists and experts within the company that are looking at all of that analysis, and it doesn't sound like they're quite ready to start the top kill process.

So they will be doing that here in the coming hours. Hopefully there will be some sort of kind of indication of where they are along that process, but it doesn't sound like they are quite ready to start this top kill process. Listen to a little bit of what Tony Hayward told us this morning.


TONY HAYWARD, CEO, BP: In the course of the last 12 hours, working overnight, we have begun the process of diagnosing the pressures and the potential flow paths in the blowout preventer. Later on today, I will sit with my team, review the analysis and determine whether or not we should proceed.

So in the course of today we will be determining whether or not we should proceed with the top kill operation.


LAVANDERA: So, Kyra, you can listen there to Tony Hayward's response that even the idea of actually going through and carrying out this top kill process sounds to be still very much in the air as those robotic vehicles under water continue to look closely at that blowout preventer to see if they can even carry out this top kill procedure. Kyra?

PHILLIPS: All right. A lot of people keeping their fingers crossed. Ed Lavandera in Grand Isle. Ed, thanks.

And across the gulf region and in much of the country there's a growing sense of outrage that Washington is not doing enough. So lawmakers are keeping a close eye on the disaster and what's being done to contain it.

CNN senior congressional correspondent Dana Bash on the hill with the latest. Dana, tell us exactly where you are and why it is so important to the story this morning.

DANA BASH, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, this is one of the ways that lawmakers say that they can keep a close eye on the disaster and we heard yesterday a big controversy because BP said that they would potentially cut off the live camera feed that we have been seeing for the past several days of what's going on at the bottom of the ocean, but what we have here is something that is not available to the public, but it is something that members of Congress demanded including the chairman of the committee where I am right now. Barbara Boxer.

This is the environment committee and what they have here are feeds coming in from BP. They is a special password to access these feeds. This is what you see and what we have all been seeing. But there are other cameras that they are looking at. You have staff, watching, monitoring and they say that this is really crucial because it is not just about transparency which they say is absolutely incredibly crucial to have the public see what's going on 5,000 feet under the ocean, but also in terms of, Kyra, getting records and gathering information to make sure that they understand what's going on in terms of the oil spilling out so that they have that information for future prosecution, future litigation and to make sure that the taxpayers really don't get on the hook for what's going on there.

PHILLIPS: And Dana, this morning you spoke with Senator Bill Nelson. He's been one of BP's biggest critics so far and he went as far to say the military just need to take this over because of all organizations, it's the military that knows how to organize and bring in the best minds. I mean, we saw that during Katrina with Russel Honore and the guard.

BASH: Very interesting. Senator Bill Nelson is actually one of the people who demanded that they see these images and so he has been very critical of BP, but what was most fascinating in my conversation with him this morning is that he reflected what I've been hearing elsewhere in the halls of Congress here, and that is frustration not just at BP, but at the administration for not doing enough.

And here's what he said about what he thinks the president's role should be in the future.


SEN. BILL NELSON (D), FLORIDA: If this thing is not fixed today I think the president doesn't have any choice and he better go in, completely take over, perhaps with the military in charge, not because the military can do this, but the military has the apparatus, the organization by which it can bring together the civilian agencies of government and to get this thing done, and I think the president is going to have to have Secretary Salazar clean house in the Minerals and Management Service, which has had such a cozy, incestuous relationship with the oil industry and basically let the oil industry rule the roost.


BASH: Now, again, I want to emphasize that is a member of the president's own party saying that it is simply time very soon for the federal government to not just let BP do this, but the federal government has to really take control and that starts with President Obama. Kyra?

PHILLIPS: Dana Bash, appreciate it.

And President Obama will confront some of that anger head-on. He's planning to travel to the area on Friday to see the catastrophe for himself. His critics say that so far the administration has talked a lot, but done very little.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REP. STEVE SCAUSE (R), LOUISIANA: The president needs to come down to New Orleans and actually help us and do his job. We're tired of him talking like John Wayne and acting like Peewee Herman.


PHILLIPS: Coming up, I'm talking to the man whose no-nonsense response to Hurricane Katrina and other disasters have earned him comparisons to John Wayne. General Russel Honore is going to tell us what the government needs to be doing right this minute in the gulf. Frank talk, no minced words. That's coming up at the bottom of the hour.

The spill isn't just BP's problem, but for the industry altogether. Last night on "Larry King Live," Larry spoke with the recently retired president of Shell Oil, John Hofmeister.


LARRY KING, CNN HOST: John, is this an example - is BP an example of why we hate the oil companies?

JOHN HOFMEISTER, FMR. SHELL OIL PRESIDENT: Well, I think there are certain issues that have to be dealt with in a larger context. I think the industry as a whole has done a horrible job over many decades of telling its story. Nobody's talking about the 35,000 wells that were safely drilled in the Gulf of Mexico.

We have to get to the bottom of what happened here. Is this a systemic problem or is this a case of some individuals who made horrible judgments that went terribly wrong and let's understand what really happened even while we have to clean up this horrific mess.

KING: But it does, does it not, John, hurt the whole industry?

HOFMEISTER: It absolutely does, and I have to ask the question, Larry. This is fundamental, why is the industry pushed into the deep water, 5,000, 10,000 feet of risk that they're taking for Americans when there's oil on shore, there's oil in the shallow water that the industry is not allowed to pursue.

Tomorrow, we will consume 20 million barrels of oil in this country. A lot of it is coming from foreign nations and deep water. We will not tolerate as a country, drilling in shallow water which puts us into this horrific risk. If this was a shallow well this would have been - this blowout would have been stifled weeks ago.


PHILLIPS: Some fear that the gulf spill will lead to fewer permits for off-shore drilling. Day 37 of the disaster. Each hour the damage grows and the anger builds. We're going to hear from coastal residents who are seeing their futures slip away.



CLAYTON MARINO, RESIDENT: What are we going to do now? That's why we live here, for the food, crabs, all the seafood. The best place in the world to live. This is where the food is. And that's why (inaudible) everyone wants to avoid what has to be said.


PHILLIPS: Those are the people directly affected by this and one thing that everyone wants to hear is when will BP launch its top kill effort to plug that leaking oil well?

Well, we'll let you know as soon as we do receive word on that, but for many residents along the coast even that relief would come too late. They're literally seeing their way of life just slip away.

CNN's Kiran Chetry is in Grand Isle, Louisiana. And Kiran, give us a sense of the frustration level right now.

KIRAN CHETRY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, and we certainly felt it today and yesterday in talking to the locals and talking to the local emergency management leaders that are trying to do their best. Just checked this out. These are just a couple of tar balls. They were confirmed to be tar balls by Jefferson Parish Emergency Management Director Deano Bonano.

We spoke to him earlier today. And he says that at low tide, you'll see these wash up and at high tide, it's literally sheens of oil that they come out here day in and day out and spend hours cleaning up, shoveling into bags by hand.

He said, though, that this didn't have to be the case, that they warned the federal government and BP several weeks back that it was coming ashore. They monitored it themselves with choppers and they were able to tell them that we have to act now and that those pleas fell on deaf ears. Let's listen.


DEANO BONANO, DIR., HOMELAND SECURITY, JEFFERSON PARISH, LA: Our initial operation was, look, we have to attack this offshore before it gets on land. So we brought in our sheriff's department helicopter and we put boats, fire boats and police boats in the gulf along with the helicopter. We (inaudible) the whole 20 miles offshore and we said look, here's the latitude and longitude of it. (inaudible) the next day it was at 14 miles and then the following day at 10 and then four and nothing happened.

Last Friday oil started pouring onshore. Saturday, we had thick oil come onshore here on the beach and form and passes into our estuary. Our estuary is a nursery ground for all the fish is and nobody was doing anything.


CHETRY: So that's the big problem here that everyone acknowledges that it made it into the estuaries and that it made it into the marsh. When it hits the marshlands. The marsh, the grasses, just die. They say that that's just non-negotiable. That's what happens.

The big concern about that situation is the livelihood here and how scary it is for everybody who makes their living on the waters either through tourism. This place should be packed right now because it's right before memorial day weekend. It's dead.

All of the beaches are closed. Those who make their money through the commercial fisheries and of course, the vital shrimp industry that has about three-quarters of the shrimp we consume as a nation, is harvested right here and then on top of that, concerns about the long-term environmental impact of the land that they love so much and that's what the mayor of Grand Isle was talking about today. Let's listen.


MAYOR DAVID CAMRADELLE, GRAND ISLE, LOUISIANA: Just look at what came over our beach in the last couple of days. You know, the kids and the atmosphere. You're going to evacuate if the smell gets too strong. You know, we got fishermen, the few fisherman (inaudible) only 80 percent and if the smell goes too strong. We got a few fishermen that (inaudible) 20 percent and the other 80 percent of the dock, our shrimp dock is closed. Our businesses are closed. They're open but I mean there's nobody there. It's like a ghost town.


CHETRY: A ghost town and that's not what it's supposed to be. They should be welcoming about 10,000 people who come to this area to enjoy the fishing, the tournaments that take place here. The fishing and all that Grand Isle has to offer. Right now, it's a scary situation for all of them.

When I talked to the mayor this morning, Kyra, he said I'm going to go have coffee with a couple of the fishermen. Try to reassure them. One of the biggest shrimp buyers is saying I may have to leave. I may have to go to Houston, I have no way to make a living here. And all the while, the courts are getting it louder for the federal government to take this over and to turn their words into actions which is being echoed by a lot of the locals that I spoke to here.

PHILLIPS: We'll keep following it. It is a tremendous amount of outrage. Kiran, thanks.

Well, like a flee on an elephant, why boycotting BP at the pump may not hurt the oil giant that much.


PHILLIPS: Checking top stories. BP has yet to begin executing their so-called top kill plan to plug that leaky wellhead pending a review of related test data. The maneuver never before performed at this depth is expected to begin sometime today. At least 17 people wounded in a pair of Israeli air strikes targeting Gaza. Five of the wounded, suspected militants. Israeli defense forces say they're targeting tunnels often used by insurgents and the air strikes were a response to incoming mortar fire from Gaza.

In the Jamaican capital, the death toll rises to at least 29 people that have been killed as the day three-old gun battle to capture the island's reputed drug kingpin intensifies. The violence began Monday when Jamaican police tried extraditing Christopher (inaudible), a vote to the U.S. but the alleged drug lord henchman fought back.

Thousands of Haitians lost their limbs in the earthquake, we're going to take you back to Port-au-Prince and show you what some Texas doctors are doing to give them a new chance at life.


PHILLIPS: Well, we are not forgetting the people who need help in Haiti and neither are a very special group of doctors from Texas. They've been going to Haiti since January, giving hope to those who lost limbs in the earthquake. Victims stigmatized, not able to get jobs because they're missing a limb.

Reporter Cima Mather looks at the great work that these doctors are doing.


CIMA MATHER, REPORTER (voice-over): Twenty-six-year-old Jean Pierre is known for her singing, devotional songs, she says, is what got her through after being trapped under the rubble for five days following the January 12th earthquake.

JEAN PIERRE (through translator): When she hollered no one heard him.

MATHER: As the days passed watched people die next to her.

PIERRE: After that, she just keep yelling Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, if you let me stay here too many days I know I will die. Please send those people back. This time I will make sure they do hear my voice.

MATHER: Lovely woke up in a makeshift hospital grateful to be alive, but in shock at the loss of her arm.

(on camera): Thousands upon thousands of Haitians lost limbs in the earthquake partly because of the way that they were trapped under the rubble and the high number of infections.

DR. TIM GUERAMY, ORTHOPEDIC SURGEON: At that time it was - it was just devastating story after devastating story where these amputations had been done in the middle of the street but a lot of them were done by surgeons and by people trying to get people out and the worse stories are people trying to get themselves out where they actually took whatever they had with them, they had with them to cut their own arm or limb off in order to get out of the rubble.

MATHER (voice-over): Dr. Tim Gueramy is among a group of central Texas doctors who have been going to Haiti weekly and rotating teams since the earthquake struck.

GUERAMY: That's okay, buddy. It's OK. I know.

MATHER: They set up what's known as the only sterile OR in the Port-au-Prince area. Orthopedic surgeons revised crude amputations and when possible tried to save infected limbs.

GUERAMY: Most of these patients that you see behind me, they were left at another hospital that could not help them and we brought them here and we can fix them and we can give them a chance at life.

MATHER: At this makeshift hospital you see numerous survivors who have not walked since the earthquake.

(on camera): Do you think she'll be able to walk again?


MATHER: But she just needs the proper care.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: she does need it because she will never walk if it stays like this.

MATHER: In Haiti, not only are those without limbs stigmatized, moving around in this country with a disability is difficult and most say the odds of getting a job which equates to survival become nearly impossible.

CHASE BROWN, PROSTHETIST: I just want to give them some hope. I think I want to show them, "hey, your life is not over. It can be full again."

MATHER: Central Texas doctors built this lab and recently started fitting Haitians with prosthetics. The first leg was built for Malene.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Maybe this week she walks.

So with her left foot I want her to step in front with the prosthesis.

That's better.

MATHER: Next, an arm is being made for Lovely.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's about having hope and having their life back.

MATHER: Cima Mather for CNN, Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

(END VIDEOTAPE) PHILLIPS: And just so you know, the Texas doctors are going beyond their lab in Port-au-Prince to train other Haitians so they can give the same high standard of prosthetic care. If you would like to learn more or help here's a web site you can go to

And when it comes to dealing with natural disasters, this guy's a pro. Retired Lieutenant General Russel Honore tackled post-Katrina, New Orleans and now he's sharing his pointers on how to clean up the gulf oil mess.


PHILLIPS: I can only hope if I lived that long. That's I'm in half as good a shape as Gladys Flamer.


GLADYS FLAMER, 103 YEARS OLD: Maybe they can drive better than me. I don't have any problems with accidents and the cops don't bother me.


PHILLIPS: Oh, yes. She drives, all right. Gladys Flamer is still driving, still driven at the age of 103, tootling around Coatesville, Pennsylvania and you know when she's coming. No mistake. Her '79 two-tone Coupe Deville, but I think the story here is, she's 103. 104 next month and she looks 25 years younger. Miss Flamer, this shout outs for you.



PHILLIPS: This morning, hoping for a miracle. A mile under water in the gulf coast. We're waiting for BP's top kill operation to get under way as officials check their data to see if they can begin this morning. You're looking at a live video feed from the oil gusher which has been spewing for 37 days now. Failing to choke it off means this disaster could continue nearly unchecked for months to come.

Pretty scary thought especially since BP execs say that the top kill has only a 60 percent to 70 percent chance of success, but here's what's supposed to happen. Heavy mud will be force-fed into the well, fighting against the leaking oil and gas. Then cement will be poured to seal it off.

BP says it will take somewhere between 12 hours and a couple of days to figure out if it worked. Now this hour interior secretary Ken Salazar is testifying on Capitol Hill about the federal government's efforts to help the gulf. Just minutes ago he told lawmakers that BP has pledged to do all it can to make it right.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) KEN SALAZAR, INTERIOR SECRETARY: I want to make a statement about responsibility here because it is an issue which I know every member of this committee has probably spoken out on since this event began on April the 20th. The fact is that we should all know that the national laws at which many of you have been a part of creating over the last 40 years have created a system of responsibility here where BP is the responsible party. It also is a law that sets forth some limitations relative to liability.

It also is a law that sets forth some limitations relative to liability. Secretary Napolitano, who has been leading this effort and doing a Herculean job in making sure that the Coast Guard and the efforts that she has under her control.

And I have had several meetings with BP. And we have confirmation from them that they are not going to hide behind the $75 million liability cap. What they have stated formally to us, and we will hold them accountable, and we believe we have the legal right to do this in any event that they will be responsible for all costs. That means all response costs to this oil spill, which is their spill. It means all damages will be paid with respect to any impacts on natural resources. It means all costs related to the cleanup, and it means that those who will be affected in the Gulf Coast from an economic point of view will also receive compensation. And so they are not hiding --


PHILLIPS: An oil geyser and a Category 5 hurricane. They may not seem that they have a lot in common, but this spill has been called President Obama's Katrina. In fact, in 2005 you'll remember a cigar-chomping, no bull, Ragin' Cajun rolling into Louisiana to bring that situation under control.


LT. GEN. RUSSELL HONORE (RET.), CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Put those damn weapons down! I'm not going to tell you again (EXPLETIVE DELETED). Get those (EXPLETIVE DELETED) weapons down!


PHILLIPS: We saw him make that difference only five days into that situation. We're talking more than 35 days into the oil spill. So, what role does this guy think the military should be playing now?

Retired General Russell Honore joining us live from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. General, we saw hope arrive as soon as we saw you on the ground there. As soon as we saw those Humvees rolling in one after another coming through New Orleans, through all that water. We haven't seen that kind of hope yet in the oil spill.

HONORE: I think your observation is spot on that we're depending on BP to do this. They don't have the command and control structure. They don't have the capability to have a land response to mitigate this oil or to clean it up. It is time for the government to take over, the control of the oil that's in the ocean and coming to the shoreline. That's the government responsibility. That's why we have elected officials to keep us safe and secure.

The government has focused on who's going to pay. Okay, we got it. BP's going to pay. The government and the military, along with the state and parish governments, are in a better position to solve this problem.

PHILLIPS: All right. You made many interesting points when you put together your memo of advice to how this should be handled and how the military definitely should step in. We picked five of those points. And as usual, it's straight talk and advice.

First point, you said more than anything from day one, BP should have done everything possible to get in there and stop the oil. Okay? So, you said they were more wrapped up in PR and its image than stopping that geyser.

HONORE: Yes. BP, like Toyota, focused on protecting their brand by bringing engineers forward. The engineers at BP know. The problem is that engineers are on the backseat in the boardroom, and the MBAs are running the company who are saying let's do this cheaper, better, quicker.

This is an engineering failure. As opposed to protecting brand, we need to know what happened, how it happened and how we're going to fix it. And the engineers need to be leading this effort. Over.

PHILLIPS: All right. Another thing you said -- point made, they've got to tell the truth. Do you feel from the very beginning that BP just wasn't telling the truth from incorrect estimates to how bad this could be?

HONORE: I think by their own admission, they've said this themselves more than once, that their initial estimates were wrong, and they stuck with those numbers for almost 30 days. Reportedly challenged by good scientists. So, by their own admission they've said that.

PHILLIPS: Number three, you said in a situation like this, you've got to break the rules. What did you do in Katrina, and what should they have done or should do?

HONORE: You know, Kyra, after Katrina, the Cajun Navy was trying to get into New Orleans, and we had bureaucrats standing out wanting to check their boat registration and the insurance.

The same thing is happening. We see a governor of Louisiana and parish presidents asking to be put into action, let them do more, and we have bureaucrats looking and the studying the plan. It's time to roll up our sleeves and go to work and unleash the great workforce we've got down here that's used to working in the marsh to go out and try every attempt. Right now, let them try but a failure (ph), and we're not letting them try. We've got their hands -- buckled as opposed to letting them out and doing what they can.

PHILLIPS: Point number five. You said define the rules. Even Senator Bill Nelson said this morning live here on CNN, General, that the military should just take over. It knows how to handle disasters. It knows how to organize great minds. Hey, we saw it happen during Katrina. Once you stepped in, things finally got taken care of. Does the military need to step in and take over?

HONORE: I think what the military can best do is handle the actions of the oil at the seashore as well as to increase enough command and control, grid this Gulf out where each parish president has a military commander designated to work with them, provide the federal resources without saying we agree with this, we don't agree with that. We have to try every possible solution to stop that oil from hitting the shore.

We have the capability in the Navy to do reconnaissance and provide offshore command and control and U.S. northern command. A four-star headquarters in Colorado springs with a 1,500 man headquarters and with the Army North in San Antonio and Naval Fleet Pacific -- Atlantic command standing by. The military can help with command and control.

But we will also need enough command and control to take care of the people that will want to come in and volunteer. Lessons from Katrina. This is a Katrina all over again.

PHILLIPS: It's the last thing we want to see, too. And we haven't even addressed the mental health disaster that will take place once all these people lose their jobs and their livelihoods. We'll be talking a lot about that as well.

General Russell Honore, always great to talk to you. Appreciate it.

The more this oil gushes, the more we want to know, who is responsible for this disaster? Well, there's been plenty of finger- pointing, as you know, but a lot of people say BP. That's the bad guy.

And a 2002 company memo that has just surfaced is not helping that company fight that image. This is the outrageous part. The memo actually compares workers to the Three Little Piggies. That's right. The famous childhood fairytale, and it puts a price tag on employee lives. In a handwritten note on the cost-benefit analysis points to constructing cheaper and less safe trailers for employees as the optimal scenario.

This offensive letter was discovered by the attorney Brent Coon, who is representing families of workers killed in a BP refinery blast in Texas that happened in 2005. I had a chance to talk to Mr. Coon last hour.


BRENT COON, ATTORNEY REPRESENTING FAMILIES IN 2005 REFINERY BLAST: It's incomprehensible that a corporation the size of BP would actually look at the construction materials available, and being fully aware that people could be killed from an instance such as what occurred out at Texas City, nonetheless, buy the cheaper constructed materials, knowing that it was cheaper and the pure risk benefit analysis to pay the claims of people that were killed than to buy materials that were more durable that would protect them.


PHILLIPS: BP's spokesman Mark Salt is responding, saying since Tony Hayward became CEO, he's focused on safe and reliable operations as the company's number one priority. In the last ten years or so, injury rates and the number of spills have reduced by approximately 75 percent.

If you don't have the answers, find someone who does. That's what Pensacola, Florida City Council told a BP spokesman last night as the perceived corporate stonewalling earned her a scolding, the door, and later her walking papers. One thing heard clearly amid the chorus of "I don't knows," disgust. Just take a listen.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How are we guaranteed as a community that we're not going to have oil contamination? how can we be assured?

UNIDENTIFIED BP SPOKESWOMAN: So, let me look up some process and procedure on that as well -- on the impact of that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are they pre-testing the soil and the current of soils in the area before they start doing the decontamination process?

UNIDENTIFIED BP SPOKESWOMAN: Um, I'm going to have to get back to you on that one as well.


PHILLIPS: CNN affiliate WEAR is reporting that the spokeswoman has since been relieved of her duties.

Now, everyday Americans enraged by BP are wanting more than the head of a corporate spinmeister. Some are even calling for a boycott of BP gas stations. Here's CNN's senior correspondent Allan Chernoff.


ALLAN CHERNOFF, CNN SENIOR CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): "Boycott B.P." is the rallying cry for those fed up with the mess in the Gulf. More than 100,000 people have joined Boycott B.P.'s Facebook page, including Patricia Jarozynski.

PATRICIA JAROZYNSKI, MOTORIST: I won't buy their gas anymore. You know, I won't patronize a company that's destroying our planet.

CHERNOFF: B.P.'s environmental catastrophe has Public Citizen, a consumer advocacy group, calling its first boycott against an energy company.

TYSON SLOCUM, DIRECTOR, PUBLIC CITIZEN: The boycott sends a clear message that we as American consumers are not going to tolerate corporate illegal activity.

CHERNOFF: There are more than 11,000 B.P. stations in the U.S. selling over 42 million gallons of gas per day. But B.P. doesn't own the stations. Independent franchisees are the owner.

(on camera): The truth is, boycotting B.P. isn't as easy as many activist may think. B.P. is one of the biggest companies in the planet with so many different businesses. So, even if you're not buying B.P. gasoline, you may be putting its Castrol motor oil into your vehicle. And that soda you're drinking today, well, the aluminum can, the aluminum may have come from ARCO Aluminum. And the road that you're driving on could have been paved with B.P. asphalt.

(voice-over): B.P. says it's working to make amends.

TONY HAYWARD, CEO, B.P.: I think this is clearly a major reputational issue for B.P. There's no doubt about it. And we are doing everything in our power to respond in the right way.

CHERNOFF: A gas distributor on Florida's gulf coast says business is down this week for B.P. stations by nearly a third. Many B.P. stations owners elsewhere tell CNN, business is just fine.

RAJ SINGH, B.P. FRANCHISEE: Business is excellent here. We do around 12,000 gallons every day.

CHERNOFF: And B.P., which generated sales of $241 billion last year, says it has felt no impact from a boycott effort.

Motorist Lisa Patterson says she favors a boycott, but her local B.P. is convenient.

LISA PATTERSON, MOTORIST: It's the closest station to my house. I'm extremely disappointed with B.P. and I think they're doing nearly enough.

CHERNOFF: Sentiments shared Eric Peterson.

ERIC PETERSON, MOTORIST: When I actually pulled up, I thought, oh, God, B.P., you know? But honestly, is this oil company any worse than any of them?

CHERNOFF (on camera): It's one thing to be angry with BP, quite another to actually boycott. and among those who are boycotting -- they say even if they can't make a dent in BP's sales, at least they can enjoy a moral victory by buying their gasoline elsewhere.

Allan chernoff, CNN, New York.


PHILLIPS; Fed up with Facebook's privacy settings? you're not alone. A lot of people are planning to defriend Facebook itself.


PHILLIPS: Private eyes and public concerns after millions of Facebook users complained. The social networking site has responded. Beginning today, users of the social networking site will find simple ways to protect their privacy.

As you may know, Facebook users have been outraged by technical glitches that expose their privacy data. They accuse Facebook of not giving straight answers about their concerns.

So, that brings us to today's blog question. We asked whether you're abandoning Facebook. Here's what some of you had to say.

Julia wrote, "It's over and out for me. I refuse to be exploited, period. I'm waiting for the big day to exit. I want to be part of the impact."

Mark says, "I quit after it realized how much it demanded by attention, pulling me away from my real relationships."

And Ryan said, "I think if you want to be on an online networking site, then you also want people to look at your stuff."

We always like hearing from you. Just log on to and share your comments.

Back to the oil spill. We've seen the sickening images. Thick, gooey oil slogging into coastal marshes and choking off the precious life that lives there. There's a hidden danger lurking beneath the surface, and last night on CNN's "LARRY KING," we heard from famed oceanographer Philippe Cousteau. He actually dove into an area 20 miles offshore and says what he found is frightening.


PHILLIPE COUSTEAU, FAMED OCEANOGRAPHER: This course of events is developing constantly, and unfortunately our worst fears were realized. You know, there's a chemical dispersant and oil mixture that is now in the Gulf, in huge -- over vast areas of the Gulf. And as we feared, it's not concentrated in the surface. We got in the water, we were about 15 and 20 feet down, and it was dispersed into smaller and smaller particles throughout the water column in these billowing clouds that were just circling us and encompassing us in this toxic soup. It was very, very alarming.

LARRY KING, HOST, "LARRY KING LIVE": Nightmare is the word you used. Would you stick by that?

COUSTEAU: I would, indeed. This absolutely is a nightmare.

(END VIDEO CLIP) PHILLIPS: Cousteau says that even though the extent of the damage is still largely unknown, one thing has become painfully clear. The disaster to the ecosystem is going to plague this region for decades.

The sweet sounds of New Orleans.


Trumpeting renewal in a city ravaged by disaster. Ahead, "Building Up America" in The Big Easy.


PHILLIPS: And the sound of renewal in New Orleans, one note at a time. Musicians making their mark nearly five years after Katrina. CNN's Soledad O'Brien reports in today's "Building Up America."


IRVIN MAYFIELD, GRAMMY-AWARD WINNING TRUMPETER: Louis Armstrong showed the world the vision in the dream of New Orleans. That's what he did (INAUDIBLE).

And it was unfortunate being a trumpet player who's now 32 not finding, you know, an abundance of young, talented trumpet players following in that legacy.


MAYFIELD: Well, we don't invest in the things that make American culture great. So I think that's been happening. And then you had the storm which put the period on the end of the sentence.

O'BRIEN: The storm, of course, was Katrina. The hurricane not only dispersed musicians and set back his beloved jazz scene it also claimed the life of his father who drowned after the storm. Today, inspired to rebuild the city he loves, Irvin Mayfield created the Seeking Satch (ph) contest, invoking Louis Armstrong's nickname, Satchmo, given to him because of his smile, wide as a satchel bag.

MAYFIELD: There are those who want to be the next Louis Armstrong; they just don't know how to be. So that's what "Seeking Satch" is about. It's about seeking that next generation.

O'BRIEN: The judges were renowned jazz instructors and musicians, including Mayfield, himself. They gave pointers.

MAYFIELD: Song has a lot of brilliance to it. So now it's about dotting the i's and crossing the t's.

O'BRIEN: And musical advice.

MAYFIELD: I can tell you can hear it. Knowledge is a question of understanding; understanding what you're hearing. I think five years later after Hurricane Katrina we really were looking for a way to get people to understand the New Orleans story and to not be the Katrina story only.

O'BRIEN: Explain that to me. You're parsing the difference between New Orleans and Katrina and for many people, they're one in the same.

MAYFIELD: Yes. Well, I think Katrina is a great tragedy that James Carville calls an engineering failure. That's one aspect of time of the city. But New Orleans is almost 300 years old. We have to look forward as if we plan to make another 300 years.

O'BRIEN: And that plan for Irvin Mayfield includes a vibrant jazz scene; something that this young trumpet player Doyle Cooper, known simply as red, understands. He was the winner of the "Seeking Satch" contest and will perform at the summer Louis Armstrong Satchmo festival in New Orleans in August.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And our grand prize winner this afternoon, Doyle Cooper.

DOYLE COOPER, WINNER, "SEEKING SATCHMO" CONTEST: This is a great honor to be an ambassador of Satchmo.

O'BREN: So when you look around, there's progress or not so much? Or none?

MAYFIELD: There's tremendous amount of progress, the question is where do you really look for progress? The story of New Orleans is the people. They answer to the question that follows Hurricane Katrina, and that question is "What is the city?" And the city is the sum of its people.

And New Orleans is a great city because of the people.

O'BRIEN: Soledad O'Brien, CNN, New Orleans.


PHILLIPS: Now on the note of music, we aired some music just a few minutes ago. And, obviously for those of you that heard it, it was the wrong music that aired, and we apologize for that. It was a terrible mistake, and we're working very hard to make up for it.

Back after a quick break.



PHILLIPS: Well, we want to introduce a new segment for you, something that you can count on everyday to wrap up this newscast. It's called "Home and Away," and it's a tribute to our U.S. servicemen and women who have sacrificed their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan for us. We are joining for this special initiative, and in a moment we'll tell you how you can honor your own loved one.

But first, we want to tell you a story about Staff Sergeant Christopher Webb. His widow, Shalom Webb talks about her husband's special relationship with their daughter.


SHALOM WEBB, STAFF SERGEANT CHRIS WEBB'S WIDOW: Marilyn was born September 2, 2006, and she was born at Fort Hood, Texas. We'd gone from New Jersey to Texas. And it was mine and Chris' proudest moment.

Two months after she was born, he was shipped out. He was ready to go and do his duty. He had no problem with that, but it was hard for him to leave knowing there was this brand-new baby.

MARILYN WEBB, FATHER KILLED IN LINE OF DUTY: That's my daddy and my mommy. This one is pretty and this one is handsome!

WEBB: She looks so much like him. Her smile and everything. I think she has my eyes, and that's it. Everything else is completely my husband's.

I always tell her how much he loved her and wanted to be with her and he would do anything he could with her now if he could, and he's watching over her. I always tell her that he's with her and sometimes when it's time for punishment, I tell her, like "Your dad sees what you're doing!".



PHILLIPS: You can see all of Christopher Webb's story at, and we'll stay committed to tell you those type of personal stories everyday right at this time.

And if you'd like to give your own salute to a fallen service member, you can go to our Web site, Just click on the service member's hometown, and it will take you to a link where you can post iReports, memories, letters, pictures. Whatever you want.

Tony Harris. Didn't that make you --

TONY HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: Good stuff. Looking at the wedding picture. She's pretty, he's handsome.

PHILLIPS: Yes. That's good stuff. Will you stay with it?

PHILLIPS: Every single day, same time. We just want to remember the personal stories of the men and women fighting for us.

HARRIS: You're committed to it, and you always have been. Good stuff, Kyra. Have a great day.

PHILLIPS: Have a great day.