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Afghanistan Shooting Rampage Soldier Identified; New iPad Released
Aired March 17, 2012 - 15:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, ANCHOR, CNN NEWSROOM: You're in the CNN NEWSROOM, where the news unfolds live this Saturday, March 17th, St. Patrick's Day. I'm Fredricka Whitfield.
We now know the name of the soldier blamed for a deadly rampage in Afghanistan. The Pentagon identifies him as Robert Bales. He is an Army staff sergeant now in solitary confinement at Ft. Leavenworth. Our reporters have been talking to his friends and shocked neighbors. Stay right here, we'll go live to Washington State in just a moment.
The price of gas is on the rise again. It went up 0.4 percent overnight. It is the eighth straight day of price hikes. The national average for a gallon of gas is now $3.83. That's 31 cents higher than it was just one month ago.
President Obama is putting his re-election campaign into high gear. He kicked off a jam-packed day at a fund-raising in his hometown of Chicago. And then he flew Atlanta for a series of events, two of them hosted by filmmaker Tyler Perry. A 13-hour campaign blitz raised nearly $5 million.
A notorious Nazi criminal has died, 91-year-old John Demjanjuk was living in a home for the elderly in Germany when he passed away early today. The retired U.S. autoworker was sentenced to five years in prison after being found guilty of assisting in mass murder at a death camp in Poland. But he was released pending his appeal.
9-1-1 calls are being released in the shooting of an unarmed Florida teenager. Trayvon Martin was shot and killed last month allegedly by a neighborhood watch captain in a gated community. Here's a conversation between the alleged shooter and the 911 operator shortly before that shooting occurred.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
GEORGE ZIMMERMAN, NEIGHBORHOOD WATCH CAPTAIN: Something is wrong with him. Yep. He's coming to check me out. He's got something in his hands. I don't know what his deal is.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you following him?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. We don't need you to do that.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: A short time later, calls started pouring in from neighbors, who say they heard a fight and then someone screaming, and then this.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So you think he's yelling help?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All right. What is your --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There's gunshots.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You just heard gunshots?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How many?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Just one.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: Trayvon Martin's parents say they are outraged that George Zimmerman has not been arrested and they feel betrayed by the Sanford police department.
All right. Back to our top story. The Pentagon identifies the soldier accused of a civilian massacre in Afghanistan. He is Staff Sergeant Robert Bales, a 38-year-old Army veteran of three combat tours in Iraq. Right now, Staff Sergeant Bales is in solitary confinement at Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas, awaiting formal charges that he killed 16 Afghan civilians last weekend in Afghanistan.
Let's go live now to Casey Wian. He is in Washington State at the joint base where Bales was stationed.
So, Casey, you've been talking to people who know Sergeant Bales. What have they been saying about him?
CASEY WIAN, CNN REPORTER: Fredricka, most of the neighbors near where Sergeant Bales' wife and two children live said they did not actually know him. But those who did say they are having a very difficult time reconciling the man that they know with the man who is suspected of gunning down 16 Afghan civilians.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was completely blown away. Yes, I was devastated, heartbroken. I mean, completely shocked. I would describe him -- he was super fun to hang around with. Kind of the life of the party kind of guy. Super loving, friendly to everybody he met. Great with his kids. I just -- I don't -- I don't see how this has happened.
WIAN: now the residents where the Bales family lived was put on the market for a short sale on Monday, just one day after those shootings happened in Afghanistan, one neighbor telling us that the house was always lit up, always had lights on until about four days ago.
And that's clearly because his wife and children were moved here to Joint Base Lewis McCord from their home for their own protection, Fredricka.
WHITFIELD: And so his house was not -- his home was not on base. What more can you tell about the neighborhood? Was this a mostly military kind of neighborhood?
WIAN: No, actually, just the opposite. Not very many military folks in the neighborhood. The Bales family lived in a home that was one of the older homes in the area, just nearby some brand new much larger homes were in that area. Described as a very tight knit community, but one where many of the neighbors did not actually know the Bales family -- Fredricka.
WHITFIELD: All right. Casey Wian, thank you so much for that update.
Many people in Afghanistan are furious that Staff Sergeant Robert Bales was moved out of the country. They believe he -- they believe he should stand trial there. CNN's Sara Sidner is in Kabul.
SARA SIDNER, CNN REPORTER: Fredricka, family members of the victims of Sunday's massacre allegedly by a U.S. soldier spoke to Afghanistan's parliamentarians today, giving much of the same story they gave to President Hamid Karzai on Friday, asking that justice be done and asking it to be done right here on Afghan soil.
Meantime, there were protests that erupted in Jalalabad again. This is the second time protesters have taken to the streets there because of this case. And they were screaming things such as "Death to America," and asking that the suspect be tried using Islamic rule as opposed to any kind of foreign justice system.
That is not likely to happen. There is an agreement that governs what happens with anyone who is accused, particularly members of the military. And so that agreement is in place between the United States and Afghanistan. Likely we will not see this soldier tried here. We certainly will not see him tried in the Afghan judicial system or using Islamic law.
Now one more thing I want to mention. This relationship between the United States and Afghanistan seems to be fraying.
The Afghan president talked much yesterday about some of his frustrations, saying that the United States did not cooperate fully the way that they had expected them to when it comes to this investigation, saying that his investigators were not able to even speak with this accused soldier -- Sara Sidner, CNN, Kabul, Afghanistan. WHITFIELD: A war caught in horror -- in a terrible conflict there. Some of the most disturbing images yet are coming out of Syria. And that's coming up next.
WHITFIELD: Over the past month, video has emerged from the embattled city of Homs, Syria. They appear to show killings and other atrocities committed by Syrian security forces in opposition neighborhoods. CNN has obtained footage that is among the most disturbing yet. And we should warn you Arwa Damon's report includes scenes that may be hard to watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ARWA DAMON, CNN REPORTER (voice-over): The men crouch as they move across roof tops, crawling through holes they smashed through the walls. It's taken them nearly a week to get this far, to reach a house on a sectarian fault line that runs through Homs. We're rescuing the bodies of the martyrs, the voice on the video narrates. They've heard that a Sunni family has been killed.
What they find, shocking beyond description. The first body, that of a woman.
In the room next to it, bodies crowded into a back corner, as if they were trying to hide. The dead child's face a mask of fear, blood splatters the wall.
"Let the world see," the voice exclaims. "Look at this massacre in one just one house." He curses the Shias, the Alawites and Bashar al- Assad.
The video is said to have been shot in the neighborhood of Sabib (ph) early in February.
"Oh, look, people, look," Sheikh Abu Ibrahim (ph), says, overcome with emotion as he, too, curses the regime and the world. The camera pans over to show more bodies slaughtered in the bathroom.
Suddenly, on another floor, a tiny whimper. The child cries out, clearly terrified. He comes into view, having to crawl over a body lying in the doorway. He must have been hiding for days.
"Don't be afraid. You're safe now. Don't make a sound," one of the men tells the boy. It's not known who killed his family or why. But the men who found the bodies are sure this was a sectarian massacre carried out by thugs allied to the regime.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: All right. This election is about the economy, jobs and the businesses that create those jobs. But how much control do politicians really have over the U.S. economy? Our Ali Velshi has this week's "Fortune Brainstorm."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALI VELSHI, CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Well, CNN contributor Nick Ragone is a presidential author. His most recent book is "Presidential Leadership: 15 Decisions that Change the Nation."
Nick, in terms of promoting American business, as you have looked back at other presidents, how does President Obama -- notwithstanding all the criticism he gets right now and is going to get from Will Cain, sitting next to you, how does he rank in terms of being pro- and anti- business and, from a historical context, how has that played into presidencies in the past?
NICK RAGONE, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Presidents really don't have that much control over the economic cycle. And we like to think they do.
RAGONE: And over long periods of time, like Franklin Roosevelt, they do, Teddy Roosevelt, transformative presidents, Ronald Reagan.
But for the most part, presidents are hostages to economic cycles rather than driving them.
VELSHI: Or beneficiaries.
RAGONE: Or beneficiaries, right.
VELSHI: What do you think, Will?
WILL CAIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I love that analysis, by the way, the presidents are either beneficiaries or hostages of the business cycle. But that doesn't begrudge us the ability to look into them and see are they pro- or anti-business?
I would say this, I think Barack Obama, certainly wants to create jobs. I think he knows that businesses play a vital role in that process. I think he's pro-business in that way. But a deeper, instinctual level, I think he is anti-business, very, very anti- business.
In fact, when I watch his economic policies and how he hopes to direct certain industries, invest in this industry, green energy, it reflects that essential value to liberal ideology, which is a lack of humility, that you think you have more control over something than you actually do.
VELSHI: Thank you. I'm Ali Velshi with this week's "Fortune Brainstorm."
WHITFIELD: All right. In this week "Gaming and Gadgets," our syndicated technology columnist, Mark Saltzman, joins us with the latest video games to hit the stores.
So, Mark, let's begin with the games for the sports lovers. Tell us about the FIFA Street from EA Sports.
MARC SALTZMAN, TECH GURU: Right, so, yes. So FIFA Street is the latest soccer simulation. But instead of playing on the pitch, as they call it, on the big fields and in all the world's biggest stadiums, you're actually playing on the streets, hence the name.
There's about 35 different locations, from New York to Rio to Tokyo, London, Paris, and you are engaging in a looser game, a faster-paced soccer game with your favorite players. It could be, you know, your favorite stars from Manchester United or Barcelona. But you're engaged in head-to-head competitions against the game's artificial intelligence or online with up to eight different players.
And there's trick competitions. There's customizability. You can actually create your own soccer star from scratch and work your way up. So it's really a lot of fun, 11 different modes to choose from.
Not much to complain about with this game. It's really, though, designed for footy fans. If you like your soccer, then you're going to like FIFA Street which is, I think, the best one in this series. This is about a (inaudible) series --
WHITFIELD: Gotcha. It looks so real. Really does. All right. And so this past week we also saw a new -- the new installment in the creepy Silent Hill franchise. Tell us about Downpour.
SALTZMAN: Right. So Silent Hill is a 13-year-old franchise. It's a single player game in the survival horror genre.
So it's played from a cinematic third person perspective. And you're roaming around this creepy town named Silent Hill, interacting with the mysterious towns folk and unlocking sort of this, you know, very underground story about, you know -- it's tied to all these kinds of monsters and zombies, if you will. This game is pretty good. It's definitely not the best in the 13-year-old franchise.
Downpour plays -- you're a prison inmate who escapes. You find yourself in the town. And there is a lot more exploration and combat, which is, I think, the good news in this game, and more side missions and more to do. You don't feel like you're on a tight leash.
But on the flip side, there are some technical bugs in this game, where all the action kind of slows down to a crawl when there is a lot going on at the same time. And combat feels a bit stiff. But it's a decent game in the Silent Hill franchise. If you're a fan of this series -- and there are many of them who like to be scared as they play these games, the graphics are definitely good.
SALTZMAN: Yes. It's definitely you have to like these kinds of games. If you like Resident Evil or, you know, so definitely Silent Hill Downpour, it's a solid game, but I wouldn't say it's two very strong thumbs up or anything.
WHITFIELD: OK. Yes, instead I look forward to you telling me about the next thing that is more happy for me. Mario Party Nine from Nintendo. It's all about happiness and kids.
WHITFIELD: Tell me about that one.
SALTZMAN: This one is (inaudible) for everyone. That's like you, Fredricka (inaudible). This is the ninth game in the Mario Party series for the Nintendo Wii platform. It's a party game. So up to four people (inaudible) can engage in eight different mini-games.
And it's everything from little racing fun games to capturing items, to bowling to different -- little fun and quick diversions, digital diversions, if you will. This time around you can team up with others more than you could have in the past, instead of it being so competitive. There are boss characters, that you are collectively fighting against.
And it's fun. It's very colorful, fast-paced. I think it's a good outing, you know, for Nintendo fans, because you've got all those familiar characters, like Mario, (inaudible) Donkey Kong, very family- friendly content. I think it's a fun game.
But the mini-games are starting to get a little bit tired. They're coming up with, you know, 80 different mini-games for each of these nine games. They're bound to run out of ideas. And I think it's starting to happen. But still, fun game for 50 bucks.
WHITFIELD: OK. And finally, some controversy surrounding the end to Mass Effect 3 from Bioware. What's going on?
SALTZMAN: Right. So Mass Effect 3 is the third and final game in this epic sci-fi role-playing game series that we have talked about on this segment in the past. So people are complaining about the ending. In fact, there's a poll at the Bioware forums online that 89 percent of the people were not happy with the ending.
Some are saying you don't have enough choice. Some are saying it's anti-climactic. I don't want to give away any spoilers here. But suffice it to say that this might be the first time in video game history that the gate developers will release an update, some downloadable content that's optional that could change the ending of the game to please their fans.
There's been some buzz that this is what the developers will do, that you'll have more choice on how the ending of this, you know, very anticipated game plays out at the end, at the climactic conclusion. So kind of is very interesting to follow this. Because Mass Effect 3 fans are not happy with the way the current game ends.
WHITFIELD: My goodness.
SALTZMAN: This will be a first if they actually change the ending. WHITFIELD: Oh, and it appears as those these video games really are appealing to the more adult audience, or at least the bigger kind of kid, young adult audience for sure, Mark.
SALTZMAN: Absolutely. The average age of a gamer in the U.S. is 35 years old.
WHITFIELD: Oh, my gosh.
SALTZMAN: Believe it or not, which is probably twice that you'd expect of an average age of a gamer. But, you know, as we grew up jumping over barrels and chomping dots and chasing ghosts and now we're having kids and we're still craving interactive entertainment. So there is something for everyone.
WHITFIELD: Wow. So almost the middle-ager crowd. All right.
SALTZMAN: That's right.
WHITFIELD: Mark Saltzman, thank you so much. Appreciate it.
SALTZMAN: Thanks, (Inaudible).
WHITFIELD: So for more high-tech ideas and reviews, just go to CNN.com/tech and look for the Gaming and Gadgets tab or follow Mark Saltzman on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
All right. I'm going green today. You have noticed? Well, so is everybody else. Ahead, the colorful traditions of St. Patrick's Day.
WHITFIELD: The Pentagon releases the name of the soldier blamed for a deadly rampage in Afghanistan. Robert Bales is an Army staff sergeant now in solitary confinement at Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas. He is accused of killing 16 Afghan civilians last weekend in Kandahar. Shocked people in his Washington State neighborhood describe Bales as a normal family man.
And now to the diplomatic fallout from the shootings, Afghan President Hamid Karzai is suggesting the U.S. isn't giving a completely candid account of what happened. And he says the incident has taken a significant toll on diplomatic relations with the U.S.
Earlier, I asked CNN foreign affairs reporter Elise Labott if the U.S. State Department will attempt to get involved with the legal case against Staff Sergeant Bales.
ELISE LABOTT, CNN FOREIGN AFFAIRS REPORTER: The uniform code of military justice will dictate how this sergeant -- Staff Sergeant Bales is tried, and there are particular rules in this. And basically it's a Pentagon show.
WHITFIELD: And whose idea was this? Was it the U.S. military who said we need to go ahead and try Sergeant Bales in the U.S., or did the State Department play a role at all by trying to make a case, or help make the case that Afghanistan was making, that perhaps there's a way to try him overseas?
LABOTT: Well, I don't think any of this has really been worked out yet. I mean, some military officials are saying there's nothing to preclude him from being tried in Afghanistan. and let's be clear, when we say tried in Afghanistan, we don't mean tried by the Afghan justice system, we would mean that the U.S. military would just move the trial over to Afghanistan.
But I think that, again, they're really leaving this up to the military and how they decide they want to proceed. Certainly they want to take into account the Afghans' concerns that justice be served.
There are also a lot of particular rules about whether witnesses can be introduced, whether Afghan witnesses can be introduced, because if the prosecution uses Afghan witnesses, then, of course the defense will need to question them as well. So those kind of questions are still being worked out.
Again, nothing to say, as they have in the past, that he couldn't be actually tried in Afghanistan. But you know, as we've been talking about, this agreement that governs U.S. military in Afghanistan, when the fall of the Taliban happened, U.S. and Afghanistan had agreement that these soldiers had immunity from Afghan law and would be processed according to the U.S. military justice system.
So this agreement is in effect. I don't see the U.S. going back on that. They don't want to leave their military up to a trial of the Afghan system, which, Fred, even though they are starting to build accountability rule of law, Afghan justice system considered very weak and corrupt.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: All right. Checking our top stories, the director behind the documentary of a notorious Ugandan warlord is now in the spotlight himself. Jason Russell was taken to a medical facility on Thursday after he was seen running through the streets of San Diego in his underwear and shouting incoherently. His family says he does not have a drinking or a drug problem.
A day of upsets in the NCAA basketball tournament. Number two seed Duke lost 75-70 last night and 15th seed Lehigh University and 15th seed Norfolk State edged powerhouse Missouri 86-84. The March Madness field of competitors is now down to 32 teams.
At 5 o'clock Eastern time, my colleague, Don Lemon, and I will have an NCAA bracket showdown. Who saw any of this coming? Five o'clock, Eastern time, today.
All right. Manhattan was bathed in a sea of green this morning. Thousands of St. Paddy's Day revelers turning out to celebrate the 251st annual parade. St. Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland. People across the U.S. are celebrating his feast today. But for those of you not wearing green, be prepared to get a little pinch or two. It's a tradition to pinch anyone not wearing the color green. With ale in his hand there, President Obama celebrating St. Patrick's Day. He made a surprise stop at an Irish pub in Washington, D.C., this afternoon. He ordered a Guinness at the Dubliner, a well-known pub in Washington, D.C., on North Capitol Street. It is just around the corner from the Capitol building.
All right, calling attention to a crisis. George Clooney wants the world to focus on Sudan, even if that means crossing a police line.
WHITFIELD: All right. Actor George Clooney says Sudan could turn into the worst humanitarian crisis in the world unless aid is delivered immediately. And to make his point, he was arrested outside the Sudanese embassy in Washington, D.C., yesterday.
Clooney, along with lawmakers and his dad, human rights activists and other demonstrators were all trying to call attention to Sudan's need for international help. Earlier in the week, the actor testified before Congress and met with President Obama. And he recently traveled to Sudan to witness the desperate situation first-hand.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE CLOONEY, ACTOR AND ACTIVIST: You never know if you're accomplishing anything. All we're trying to do is bring attention to a moment in time that is actually important. We hope that this brings attention to it. We hope it helps. And we hope that as the people understand there really is a ticking clock on this and that we need to get moving.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: Clooney accuses the government in Khartoum of raping, starving and killing its own citizens in the border regions between Sudan and South Sudan.
And then, boy, it is a stunning look inside the power of a tornado that wipes out communities. In this case, this coming out of Indiana. Surveillance cameras at Henryville Junior High School were rolling, when, on March 2nd, this EF-4 tornado headed straight for the school.
Jacqui, I'm with you now. You know more about this tornado and what it did and the results here, some images that's we're able to see for our own eyes, to try to piece this whole thing together, the power of this twister.
JACQUI JERAS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes, and it all happened in about 20 seconds. You can really see the suction from this tornado. You can see the intensity of this tornado. It was an EF-4. Winds were about 170 miles per hour. They're estimating. If you remember, the students were released for the day and sent out on those buses and some of those buses ended up coming back to the school because of that warning.
And they got inside. But in the safe place of the school, you know, those large span rooftops like the gym, that video is just amazing. That is not a safe place to be. But you get into those interior hallways, you get into the bathroom, you get into an office room that is entirely enclosed. And that's how those children were able to be safe.
WHITFIELD: Incredible when you look at this, seeing how the rooftops just peeled off like it was just a single piece of paper.
JERAS: I know. And it just happens so fast. Literally, your life can change in the blink of an eye.
WHITFIELD: It sure does.
JERAS: It's so destructive. It's scary.
WHITFIELD: Well, and what is scary, too, I know people are really enjoying this warm weather. It is a little nerve-wracking because we all know, that when you have the clash of this cold weather and this hot weather coming together, that spawns more potential tornadic activity, big storms. And is that potentially on the horizon for us?
JERAS: It potentially is, yes. Looks pretty likely. You know, when you get three days in a row (inaudible) with 80 degrees in the month of March. You have to enjoy it and you're loving it. But you know something is going to give eventually. So, well, take a look at our severe weather area for today.
You know, the big risks here really is going to be large hail and damaging winds. I think it's going to be more isolated. This is not a big tornado day. But we can't rule out a few isolated tornadoes. So we want to make you aware that St. Louis, down towards Evansville and possibly sneaking over to Nashville later on tonight.
But tomorrow, more significant severe weather is expected. We have got a strong storm system out to the west. And what's happening tomorrow with this system and the upper levels of the atmosphere is that the winds are turning and changing and also getting faster with height.
And so when we get those types of conditions and it starts to move into the Plains, we start to get a very strong conveyor belt of winds, which is already in place, bringing up that warmth and that moisture from the Gulf of Mexico, and that interacts with those changeable winds and that cooler, drier air from the west. And that's when severe weather happens.
So that's the concern for tomorrow. And it's a real slow moving system. So we're talking Sunday, Monday, maybe even into Tuesday at least that we're going to be dealing with strong to severe thunderstorms in the Plains. Today with the system still way out west, this is a windy, wet winter maker. Let me tell you about it.
Ahead of it, where things are dry and the warm air is pushing in, we have got a critical fire danger area. And then heavy snow across parts of the west. Sierra and Tahoe, Fredricka, are already reporting 48 inches of snow! (CROSSTALK)
WHITFIELD: I know!
JERAS: In 24 hours.
WHITFIELD: That spring skiing is killer.
JERAS: My girlfriend is out there right now. I don't know that she's going to be able to get home, though.
WHITFIELD: Not complaining.
JERAS: Not that she cares.
WHITFIELD: No, exactly.
JERAS: She'd like to be snowed in, where are great things to do, like snowboarding and --
WHITFIELD: Four feet though, ooh, that's a lot.
WHITFIELD: That's OK by me. All right, thanks so much.
And spring is, what, Tuesday?
JERAS: Yes. The 20th. Right?
WHITFIELD: All right, Jacqui. We'll check back with you. Thank you so much.
All right. Right now in Nepal, innocent children are growing up behind bars. This week's CNN Hero decided to give them a better life by sacrificing her future for theirs. Meet Pushpa Basnet.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PUSHPA BASNET, CNN HERO: In Nepal, when parents have been arrested by the police and the children don't have a local guardian, some children go to prison with the parents. Before (inaudible) I visited the jail, I was starting my bachelor in social work. I saw a small girl, who just grabbed my shawl and she just gave me a smile. It was really hard for me to forget that.
My name is Pushpa Basnet, and my mission is to make sure no child grows up behind prison walls. In 2005, I started a daycare where the children can come out from the jail at morning and they can go back to the jail at the afternoon.
We have children who are from 2 to 4, and they have coloring, reading, starting five days a week. We started resident in home in 2007. Currently, we have 40 children living out here, mostly about 6 years old.
I don't get a day off, but I never get tired. The children all call me Mamu. It's a big family, with lots and lots of love.
When I started this organization, I was 21 years old. People thought I was crazy, but this is what I want to do with my life. I'm giving them what a normal child should have. I want to fulfill all their dreams.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: Remember all of our heroes come from your nominations. So go to cnnheroes.com to share your inspirational stories.
All right, rapper turned actor Ice Cube is teaming up with a couple of stars for the movie version of "21 Jump Street."
ICE CUBE, RAPPER AND ACTOR: Yes, you know, the show was cool. Our movie is crazy.
WHITFIELD: Up next, our film critic tells us if the movie does live up to the hype.
WHITFIELD: All right. This weekend, comedies at the box office, including "Jeff, Who Lives at Home" and "21 Jump Street."
Our movie critic, Matt Atchity, from rottentomatoes.com is here to give us some reviews of his picks, of these two big movies.
So let's begin with "Jeff, Who Lives at Home," we're talking Susan Sarandon and Ed Helms. "Jeff, Who Lives at Home," waiting for something in his life to happen. Right? Let's take a look a this.
MATT ATCHITY, EDITOR IN CHIEF, ROTTENTOMATOES.COM: Yes, just a little something.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "JEFF, WHO LIVES AT HOME")
(END VIDEO CLIP, "JEFF, WHO LIVES AT HOME")
WHITFIELD: Oh, no. OK, so, Matt, did you like?
ATCHITY: I did like this a lot. This is from the Duplass brothers, who gave us some great indie movies called "The Puffy Chair" and "Baghead." This is their first for a major studio. It's for Paramount Vantage. And it stars, as you see there, Jason Segel and Susan Sarandon. Ed Helms plays Jason Segel's older brother in this.
Jeff is kind of a layabout. He lives in his mother's basement. He's got one job on her birthday. He has got to go and get wood glue and fix her door. He manages to get in all kinds of trouble and kind of floats throughout his day. It's this weird little story. But I really liked it. It goes in directions you don't really expect.
And it's this really satisfying personal story about this family. In a certain way, it made me think of "The Descendents," in that it's a very intimate story about one particular family. I really enjoyed this movie. And I think it's a fantastic time in the movie. I would recommend going and seeing this.
WHITFIELD: So it sounds like you're saying a lot of people might be able to relate to this story line, too.
ATCHITY: Definitely. You know, especially considering that recent report about how more and more people think it's OK to live with their parents, coming back, you know, the boomerang generation. So this might help them relate a little bit.
WHITFIELD: OK. What was your grade?
ATCHITY: I gave it an A. I think it's absolutely worth seeing. I really, really enjoyed this film. I think it's -- you know, as close to perfect as you're going to find in a movie.
WHITFIELD: Oh, my God. You don't dole out those A's, you know, lightly at all --
ATCHITY: Normally, not very often.
WHITFIELD: No, not at all.
OK, "21 Jump Street: Going Undercover at School," very similar to, I guess, the television show, now on the big screen. We're talking about Ice Cube, Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum. Boy, he's in everything lately. It seems like every time I turn around he's in something. So let's look at a clip.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "21 JUMP STREET: GOING UNDERCOVER AT SCHOOL")
(END VIDEO CLIP, "21 JUMP STREET: GOING UNDERCOVER AT SCHOOL")
WHITFIELD: OK. Tell me more. Uh-oh. Tell me more, Matt.
ATCHITY: Yes, things go from bad to worse in that scene. Now, if you had asked me a few months ago what "21 Jump Street" would have turned out to be as a movie, I would have told you it would have been something like we saw with the "Dukes of Hazzard" or "Starsky and Hutch," not very good. And I know I just gave an A to a movie before this. Honestly --
WHITFIELD: Drum roll?
ATCHITY: -- "21 Jump Street" is the best movie I saw this week.
ATCHITY: It's fantastic. It starts out a little bit rough. But it turns into a really surprisingly moving film. It gets really -- what it really gets right is the story between these two friends, played by Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum, and how being popular in high school really strains their friendship.
It sounds really deep. It's crazy funny. There's lots of laughs, and really good cameos from the original cast of the show, of the TV show.
WHITFIELD: Wow! Refresh -- OK, so now you're telling me, what? You gave it an A plus?
ATCHITY: I'm telling you I'm giving it an A. I'm giving it an absolute A. Definitely go see this movie.
WHITFIELD: OK. Very good. Looks like we're all heading to the movie tonight. Check out at least one of them and maybe tomorrow night another.
ATCHITY: Exactly, a great weekend to be at the movies.
WHITFIELD: All right, Matt Atchity, thanks so much.
And, of course, we like to laugh, too. So it's nice to have fun movies to attend. All right. Check out all of Matt's grades and reviews by going to rottentomatoes.com.
All right. The new iPad, well, it's out. You know that. You saw the lines, right? Do you know someone who always has to have the latest gadget? Next, Josh Levs tells us about that psychology behind that.
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DON LEMON, HOST, CNN WEEKEND PRIME: Everyone is wondering why a U.S. soldier would go on a lone rampage and massacre women and children in Afghanistan. And we're going to talk to people who know what it's like to survive in a war zone for months and sometimes years, and then have to put all that horror behind them once they get home. I'm Don Lemon. We'll discuss the legal ramifications for that one soldier and also the mental and physical fallout for all of our brave women and men in uniform. When you join us tonight on "CNN WEEKEND PRIME."
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WHITFIELD: The fountains in front of the White House are flowing green today. This is the fourth year in a row the White House has dyed the waters green in honor of St. Paddy's Day. We're told the first family actually dumped the dye into the fountain themselves.
And then, talk about flowing in green, you might say that for Apple, but for a very different reason. The new iPad, well, it was flying off the shelves. Crowds gathered early yesterday to be among the first to take the iPad home, the newest one. But why do so many people push or stand in line, go to great lengths just to get -- be the first to get the latest? Well, turns out there is actually a word for it. And Josh Levs knows the word. Share the word. JOSH LEVS, CNN REPORTER: Well, because here's the thing. Take a step back and look at what's going on. It's kind of stunning, isn't it? I mean, we have these images, and you can see, all these people line up -- and you and I have been talking about this, some people line up days in advance because they have to have it.
WHITFIELD: Campers out in their sleeping bags. Yes!
LEVS: It's amazing, when you look at it, but what is humanity up to? I mean, we have yet to see whether this will actually outpace the sales of the previous iPads. It might now; we'll see. Either way, the fact is there are all these people who want to do this. I'm going to play you a little sound of some of them, and then I'll tell you the word. So watch this.
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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't want to go to work. I want to go home and play. But I have to figure out how to use it first.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know, it's pretty insane. Like, I mean, for a toy, really, you know? That's all I use it for is a toy. But --
WHITFIELD: A toy?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- it's pretty awesome. I've never been at anything like this before.
LEVS: I like that guy. It is a toy. OK, so here's the thing. So I'm fascinated by what people are thinking. And now the word's on your screen. There is this story from our partners at time.com, that explains this. Neophilia is an actually phenomenon that psychologists have determined. And it's basically this need to do what's new and have what's new. And it is specifically and especially applicable. I mean, and addictive when it comes to technology.
LEVS: Neophilia, because technology itself is addictive. And neophilia is novelty seeking. So there are psychologists that have studied this. And they have found that people have different amounts of it, but there are a lot of people out there who have a lot of it, to the point that they're driven by neophilia and they have to have what's new as soon as it comes out. And so, you know, the people who do the sales know this. And they know --
WHITFIELD: (Inaudible). I'd say Apple knows this, because they come up with something new or besting what they just did, every two or three months. I mean, that's not an accurate depiction of the number, but it sure seems that they come out pretty quickly with the newest, latest, greatest. So they must know about --
LEVS: They know about it. And everyone wants to take advantage of this, have these neophiles be out there. You know, and now so here's what happens. Neophilia can be a good thing or a bad thing. They say it can lead you to be more interested in new experiences, to want to travel new places, to do new things. But they talk about the downside which is that it's addictive and it can --
WHITFIELD: And you can go into debt --
LEVS: -- too far and --
WHITFIELD: -- and they just end up buying everything.
LEVS: Yes, exactly. And that's the other thing.
WHITFIELD: That's not funny.
LEVS: The impact it has on your life. Plus there's a high. There's an actual high -- they've studied the brain chemistry. There's a high from getting this new thing. And then that can go away quickly. You can lose it. But there's also a test to help people find out if they are neophiles. And I put it up for you. It's up on the blog and on my Facebook and twitter.
WHITFIELD: Oh, man, you tease.
LEVS: It's joshlevscnn. I'm saying if you take a look there --
WHITFIELD: I'm looking to see what -- who do I know that can fall under that category.
LEVS: Who knows, maybe we are. (Inaudible)
WHITFIELD: No, you know how I am with technology. You know that's not me. I don't have to have the latest, greatest.
LEVS: Yes, you and I can wait.
WHITFIELD: I hold onto things for a long time.
LEVS: Plus we don't like waiting in line for stuff.
WHITFIELD: Oh, I rally don't want to wait in line, no.
LEVS: We're not that driven by neophilia.
WHITFIELD: You don't have to worry about me in that category. But that's fun. OK, so it's kind of like, you know, the endorphins, you know, are kicking in, too.
LEVS: It's a lot like that, yes.
WHITFIELD: Yes, Sounds a lot like that athleticism. Interesting. LEVS: (Inaudible) that way.
WHITFIELD: Right. All right. Josh Levs, thanks so much. We can go on forever on this, but it's fascinating.
All right. Check out what happened at St. Patrick's Day at the parade in England. Oh, Catherine. Anybody spotted Catherine? Uh- huh. There she is. The Duchess of Cambridge was giving out shamrocks to the first battalion Irish Guards. It's her first solo military event. Even the dog mascot got a shamrock there. But look what happened just before she arrived. A couple of soldiers actually passed out. Oh, boy. Hopefully it wasn't because of her arrival and they were just so inundated and stunned. Well, apparently he did recover pretty quickly. It's not clear if it was about the impending excitement that got to him, or he may have, you know, gotten a little overheated in that bearskin hat. Who knows? The temperature there was around 50 degrees. OK. We think he's OK. Whew!
All right. A man weighing 600 pounds says he is being evicted because of his weight. Can his landlord do that? Our legal guys explain.
WHITFIELD: In Virginia a high school student reads a poem out loud in class. And this is what he says happens next.
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JORDAN SHUMATE, STUDENT, GEORGE C. MARSHALL HIGH SCHOOL: When I read it in my normal voice, she told me to read it blacker. It's very, very unprofessional, and it should not happen. She didn't do it to any of the other kids, why did she have to do it to me?
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WHITFIELD: Jordan Shumate went home and told his mom. She went to school administrators complaining of racial insensitivity. In our next hour, we'll talk with Shumate's mom. We'll also hear how the school is responding.
And in Connecticut, a man weighing 600 pounds says his apartment complex is evicting him unfairly. He says they think his weight is damaging the building. I asked our legal experts, Richard Herman and Avery Friedman, if a complex can kick someone out because of damage they may have caused.
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RICHARD HERMAN, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Fred, when he takes a step and he goes through the floor, OK, let's put that aside one second here. The claim -- the claim violations of the lease were that he had more people living in the apartment, which violated the lease, and he had pets in the apartment, which violated the lease.
Those are grounds for eviction. The landlord has been trying to two years to give this time -- to give this guy time to move out, to relocate. They don't want to move anywhere, they want to stay put. This guy is going to get evicted. It's coming down the pipe (sic). It's over. He violated the lease.
AVERY FRIEDMAN, CIVIL RIGHTS ATTORNEY: No, he's not. No, he is not.
WHITFIELD: And, Avery, will they (inaudible) be able to do that? Can they -- can they say that because there's this violation of this agreement, too many people in the house, too many pets, that stand alone is the reason for his eviction?
FRIEDMAN: Yes. There are other tenants who are not obese that have the same circumstances. Let me tell you something, the landlord is going down under the Fair Housing Act. This law has been around for 22 years. And I hope Joey and his mom move forward on this.
If the landlord is smart, they're going to leave this guy alone. The Fair Housing Act protects Joey and 54 million other Americans from getting pushed around like this, and it is really a shame. The state court judge didn't do it, the federal judge will, believe me.
WHITFIELD: All right --
FRIEDMAN: He's staying, he's not going anywhere.
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WHITFIELD: All right, our legal guys, Avery and Richard. You can catch them every Saturday, noon Eastern Time.