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STARTING POINT WITH SOLEDAD O'BRIEN

Two Arrested in Tulsa Shooting Spree; Decision Day Approaches; Affirmative Action On Trial; North Korea Announces Missile Launch; China Investing in Latin American Countries; Battle of Shiloh

Aired April 9, 2012 - 08:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Our STARTING POINT this morning, the terror in Tulsa. Two suspects heading to court this morning after a killing spree that scared people into staying in their homes for two days. Now, a Facebook post, it may provide a motive.

Plus, George Zimmerman has not been charged with any crime. That could soon change. The Trayvon Martin case may be -- may be head to go a grand jury this week.

And China's latest power play. They're now throwing cash around in the Caribbean. Why we may need to be worried and what China is up to.

Monday, April 9th. STARTING POINT begins right now.

(MUSIC)

ROMANS: What is this one?

ROLAND MARTIN, HOST, WASHINGTON WATCH: That's Joy Denalane. The song is "Change". She did with Lupe Fiasco.

ROMANS: Nice.

Al right. That's Roland Martin's play list.

Roland Martin is the host of "Washington Watch".

John Fugelsang is a political comedian.

Will Cain is a columnist with TheBlaze.com.

Will, he never stops talking. Roland talks like this.

All right. Our STARTING POINT this morning: People in Tulsa, Oklahoma, breathing a sigh of relief this morning.

Two suspects in a deadly shooting spree last Friday are now in custody. Five people were shot, three killed and two we're told -- we were just told have been released from the hospital. The suspects are both white. All of the victims were black.

Nineteen-year-old Jake England and 32-year-old Alvin Watts will be arraigned today. Police aren't calling it a hate crime but a Facebook posting by one suspect suggests this rampage may have been racially motivated.

CNN's Jason Carroll is following developments for us live in Tulsa this morning.

Jason, what are authorities telling us about the possibility of hate crimes charges at this hour?

JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, there are a couple of things, Christine. When you look at whether or not someone is charged with hate crimes, there are certain criteria that have to be met here. One of the things is the crime has to be admitted against a protected class, derogatory or threatening statements have to be used. Sometimes investigators will look at past writings from a particular suspect.

In this case, they'll be looking very closely at Jake England and his Facebook postings. You'll remember it was two years ago his father was killed by an African-American man and England never got over that. He wrote about that on his Facebook page. He used a racial slur. He also said, quote, he said it might just be the time to call it quits.

He also made some sort of reference to get ready for more funerals. This was right before the shootings happened. The shootings happened on Friday. Some of these writings started on Thursday.

So, investigators will be looking very closely at this in terms of whether or not they determine whether hate crime charges will be filed against these two particular suspects -- Christine.

ROMANS: You know, Jason, so Jake England made this comment about his father's murder two years ago. Do we know any more about -- I mean, he made -- he brought this up on his Facebook page and also the suicide of his girlfriend or fiancee and the mother of his child.

So, what do we know about the murder of his father? Do we know more about that? I think -- I think it was listed as some sort of domestic dispute?

CARROLL: Well, what I can tell you about that is, once again, it was something that England never got over. He never felt as though the man who was accused of murdering his father was properly brought to justice and not properly charged in the way that he should have been. It was something that he never got over.

So that is one of the things that investigators will be looking at in terms of what references he made to African-Americans on his Facebook page before these shootings got under way. Again, at this point, these men, both of these suspects charged with shooting with intent to kill, charged with first degree murder, that will be arraigned in court later today. That's scheduled to happen at about 10:00 a.m.

But look, I can also tell you that investigators from what they are telling me spoke to the police chief this morning. Even though you have two arrests in this, this is still an investigation that's very active. They are still in the process of gathering facts about motive, with both of these suspects.

So these are some of the things that are coming into play as they move forward -- Christine.

ROMANS: All right. Jason Carroll in Tulsa -- thanks, Jason.

This morning, prosecutors in the Trayvon Martin case are preparing for the possibility that a grand jury could review evidence and testimony tomorrow. It's been 43 days since Martin was shot and killed. The admitted shooter is George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer.

This as you know has been a highly charged case. This weekend, a group of college students walked 40 miles across central Florida calling for Zimmerman to be arrested and tried in court.

But Angela Corey, the special prosecutor investigating the Martin case, has said from the start, this case will likely move forward without a grand jury.

Jayne Weintraub is a criminal defense attorney. Phyllis Kotey is a former Florida judge and former Florida state attorney.

Welcome to the program this morning. Thanks for being here for us.

JAYNE WEINTRAUB, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Good morning.

PHYLLIS KOTEY, FORMER FLORIDA JUDGE: Thank you for having me.

ROMANS: So, let me ask you first. I mean, I'll guess start with Jayne.

Do you think this is going to the grand jury?

WEINTRAUB: I absolutely think it will go to the grand jury.

ROMANS: Why?

WEINTRAUB: And the reason -- the reason I think that is, first of all, there's a special prosecutor handling the case and in any hot potato or hot profile case, normally, the cases are given to the grand jury. They're given to the community to make a decision, so that if there is a backlash these are elected officials, the prosecutors, the state attorney herself and that way she won't suffer the backlash politically.

Also, any first-degree murder case has got to be indicted by a grand jury and I don't see why if the case goes forward, it wouldn't be charged as a first-degree murder.

ROMANS: Phyllis, do you agree? Do you think the grand jury is going to see this?

KOTEY: Absolutely, in terms of what would happen on the case -- I'm sorry. I think that it would be suicide, political suicide, for a case of this magnitude not to go to the grand jury and especially given the fact that as a first-degree murder or if it's charged as a first-degree murder, it will certainly have to be reported or indicted.

ROMANS: If it goes to the grand jury that is made up of 15 people. They must decide whether there is probable cause a crime has been committed. In this case, they'd have to have some evidence. They'd have to have any piece of evidence that would convince a judge that Zimmerman probably committed a crime. It's going to have to be a witness or a piece of physical evidence or something to give them that probable cause.

When you think -- I don't know. When you look at the facts of this case, phyllis, let me stick with you. Do you think there could be an indictment?

KOTEY: Well, it's hard to say because you always run the risk when you're looking at information that you're just receiving, in terms of the media, that you're not seeing everything. And, of course, information that goes to the grand jury is under their control. In terms it of what they will hear and what they will decide. Certainly that doesn't even begin to speculate whether there would be a conviction on this particular evidence.

There's, of course, the rules of evidence that will come into play at that time.

JOHNG FUGELSANG, POLITICAL COMEDIAN: Ladies, I have a quick question for both of you. Is there a concern at this particular time that with the media saturation, that it's going to be impossible to find a potential juror of 12 people who have no opinion about this case?

ROMANS: Jayne, you take that first.

WEINTRAUB: It's not what the standard would be anyway. The standard would be, you know, are there six or 12 jurors who can put whatever opinions they have aside and base their verdict solely on the evidence in the case. And that would be once they reach a petit jury, once they're in jury trial. Now, we're talking about a grand jury. And the grand jury does not have those constraints.

FUGELSANG: Thank you.

KOTEY: Absolutely. There are none of those kinds of restrictions on the grand jury in terms of how they consider a case or whether they would have to make those kind of decisions about it. The only thing you're looking at in terms of the grand jury is whether there's anyone who is related to anyone in the case in any of these particular way that would bring their fairness into question.

MARTIN: Both of you talked about first-degree murder. But from a special prosecutor standpoint, she has the opportunity to present evidence and actually decide is it first-degree or second-degree murder or even manslaughter. And so, don't you expect her to match the evidence with the potential charge that she wants to possibly indict George Zimmerman on?

WEINTRAUB: Well, I do, except that to me, it's either a first- degree murder or it's nothing. I mean, first-degree murder is premeditation. And under the law in Florida, premeditation is just as long as it takes to formulate the intent "I'm going to kill him". In other words, as long as it takes to take out the gun, that's "I'm going to kill you".

Second-degree murder in Florida is a heat of passion and doesn't apply. Manslaughter is basically an accident. It's culpable negligence. There's no negligence here. He intentionally shot him and the only issue was whether or not he had the right of self-defense which I don't think he did either.

KOTEY: Well, I think the other issue that you're looking at here, too, though, is the action of the special prosecutor versus the action of the grand jury. I mean, the special prosecutor can consider all other kinds of crimes perhaps in terms of possible charging in this case. But the grand jury and the requirement of that action of the grand jury is only as it relates to first-degree murder, which requires an indictment for the grand jury in order to go forward.

WILL CAIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Jayne, Will Cain. Let me ask you real quick what role will the "Stand Your Ground" law play in a potential grand jury? Will they consider self-defense during the grand jury, or is that going to be left to be made as an affirmative defense at trial?

WEINTRAUB: Well, normally, it would be left as an affirmative defense at trial. However, in this particular case, I believe that it's going -- the statement is going to come in. Zimmerman's statement to the police will come in and I believe that, you know, there are reports and dispositional reports from the police and memos from the police of the "Stand Your Ground" in the reports that the grand jury will consider.

But the question is "Stand Your Ground" eliminates the need and the duty to retreat. It does not enable you to go be an aggressor or pursue somebody and that kind of -- for example you want you can't race on a race car speedway and then shoot the driver of the car who is about to run you over. That doesn't apply and that what seems to have happened here.

ROMANS: Yes, that one, Jayne, is clear. That one is clear-cut that we can all agree on, but still the mystery and the murkiness of what happened in that minute or minute and a half, that's what this grand jury no doubt will be talking about.

Jayne Weintraub, thank you so much. Phyllis Kotey, nice to see you both this morning.

Let's send it over to Zoraida right now for the other news headlines making news this morning.

Good morning.

ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning to you, Christine.

The teenage suspect in that deadly Ohio school shooting rampage will be back in court today. Seventeen-year-old T.J. Lane is accused of shooting and killing three of his fellow students at Chardon High School. That was back in February.

Lane is being held on juvenile charges of aggravated murder, attempted murder, and felony assault. He could still be prosecuted as an adult.

Singer Jennifer Hudson is scheduled to testify in the murder trial of the man accused of killing her mother, her brother and her nephew. Jury selection begins today in the trial of William Balfour. Balfour is the estranged husband of Hudson's sister. Prosecutors say he gunned down Hudson's family back in 2008 in a fit of jealous rage.

Troubled actress Lindsay Lohan may be in hot water once again. A woman has filed a battery complaint against Lohan, accusing her of shoving her at a West Hollywood nightclub. Police say they are investigating whether or not the complaint is valid. Lohan is currently under probation for shop-lifting, a violation could land her back in jail.

Well, 33-year-old Bubba Watson is waking up with a green jacket this morning. He won the 76th Masters Tournament in Augusta, Georgia, in a sudden death playoff with South African Louis Oosthuizen. Watson started the final round in fourth place but shot a 68 to force the playoff. It is his first major win.

And may the odds be ever in their favor. "The Hunger Games" -- number one at the box office again this weekend. That's three in a row, folks. And a total take of more than $300 million now.

And "SNL" using the movie's momentum to have a little fun with the host Sofia Vergara.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Don't be shy! Come out from behind that bush! Let the people see you! So tell me, what has been the most surprising thing about the "Hunger Games"?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a good question. You know what has been funny? I haven't been that hungry!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, you know what that means? Wait for it. Boom! "Hunger Games"!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SAMBOLIN: As a mom of little ones, Christine, I don't think you probably watched "The Hunger Games," right?

ROMANS: No. Been doing a lot of Dino Dan lately. Not "Hunger Games." I haven't had the big sit-down and decide whether I would take them.

Di you take yours?

SAMBOLIN: I have not yet, but I think I'm going to the 13-year- old.

ROMANS: Oh, there you go. Well, now, it's a part of like culture references happening now about "Hunger Games." You almost have to do it, right?

SAMBOLIN: Oh, yes.

ROMANS: Thanks, Zoraida.

MARTIN: Just go eat.

ROMANS: Just go eat.

FUGELSANG: Read the books. The books are really political. I mean, they are really political for kids and extremely violent, so something for everyone!

(LAUGHTER)

ROMANS: Dino Dan and the T-Rex, that's it.

All right. Ahead on STARTING POINT, it should race be a factor in college admissions? The Supreme Court is about to take that up again. Supporters of affirmative action are very worried this time around, including Steve Perry.

Plus, how a mother's waist may be a factor in having a child with autism. You want to hear the new information out about this, this morning.

And we're going to leave you with John's playlist, Campbell Brothers, "I've Got a feeling." That's a good song.

FUGELSANG: Yes. Got some gospel on it.

ROMANS: STARTING POINT back in a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROMANS: The Supreme Court set to look into race and college admission potentially up-ending the practice of affirmative action at public universities across the country.

At least six states have put in place their own ban on race as part of the administration's process, but in states like California and Texas, some public universities have found a way around the ban using what's called a holistic review to decide who will gain admission to the universities.

CNN education contributor, Steve Perry, joins us now. He's the founder of Capital Preparatory Magnet School in Hartford, Connecticut. So nice to see you this morning, and I know you have big opinions on this.

A lot of folks are saying they think that affirmative action could be trouble with the university entrance policy because they think Supreme Court might be working against it. What do you think? What do you think will happen?

STEVE PERRY, CNN EDUCATION CONTRIBUTOR: I'm deeply troubled by the direction that we're going, and I'm troubled that we're still having this conversation. I remember being in college having this conversation and thinking that it would go away sometime soon, because we understand that affirmative action is a group solution to a group problem.

You can't have hundreds of years of segregation and expect to give one group of people just 60 years of a policy and expect that it will, in some way, correct the problem. Bigger than that, most people have a misconception about what affirmative action is.

If you have basic qualifications and both people meet the basic qualifications let's say it's a 3.0 GPA and 1,100 on the S.A.T., you have one as 3.0 and another one as 3.5, they're both qualified. Affirmative action does not make it possible for unqualified students to get into school. It simply opens up the admissions process to look beyond just the obvious.

ROMANS: So, let's talk about this holistic approach, a holistic review process that a lot of (ph) universities like to say, because the Supreme Court rule back in 2003 that public universities couldn't give an applicant an advantage, an automatic advantage based just on race.

They had to look at race and ethnicity as part of an overall bigger package, this holistic review. And so, universities over and over say, look, we don't just look at race, we look at everything. Is that working?

PERRY: Well, no. In some states, it's not. In fact, since they removed affirmative action in some states, the numbers of -- they plummeted of African-American students. See, colleges can go all the way to the continent of Africa to find a 6'9" kid who can shoot, but many of them can't seem to go off the streets (INAUDIBLE) and find kids to come in to their school.

When they want to integrate, colleges find a way to do so. Look, we've only had one Black president, a couple of Black CEOs. Let's not get ahead of ourselves. Race is still an issue. Two lead stories will about African-Americans being shot dead in America. We still have race as a problem.

And as somebody who is working behind have to make sure that we improve primary and secondary education for children, especially children of color, I can tell you we're not going to finish by the end of the year. So, we need to keep in place group solution problems, I mean, group solution policies so that we can begin to beat back the problem.

CAIN: You know, with all due respect to Steve, I feel passionately about this issue as well, but on the opposite end of the spectrum. I think the best way to end racial discrimination is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.

And while Steve described this as a group solution to a group problem, the problem with that analysis is that we have individual rights in this country, and this has individual consequences, and students are not admitted to school based upon their color of their skin under affirmative action.

MARTIN: You know what's interesting? In 2004, President Bush spoke to (INAUDIBLE), and I asked him the question that you've spoken out against the whole issue, but you never questioned legacy. And here's what is interesting.

My grandparents could not go to certain universities because of their skin color. But if will's grandparents did, he gets the benefit of their legacy, and I don't.

(CROSSTALK)

MARTIN: So, it's interesting when I hear people who talk about the issue of race, never mention legacy as this as well.

CAIN: Roland and I have had this debate in the past, and I don't think the rebuttal to opposing affirmative action is, oh, you don't oppose legacy as well. Listen to this right now. Listen to this right now.

(CROSSTALK)

CAIN: Listen to this, I oppose legacy. There. Does that fix it for you?

(CROSSTALK)

ROMANS: Steve, jump in.

PERRY: Here's where the problem lies, Will. What we have to take a look at is that the overall whelming majority of African- American children are going to, unfortunately, subpar schools. And so, when compared apples to apples, they're not being put in a position to be successful.

So, with all due respect to where you're coming from, you're not looking at the bigger picture. And when we look at individual rights, what you're not looking at is that the individual rights of children and primary secondary school are, in fact, being usurped, and as a result of that, they're not able to compete on the same level.

It doesn't mean that when they get into school, they can't compete because I know that affirmative action may have been considered when I was brought into school. However, I graduated the same degree as everyone else.

CAIN: Steve, I totally appreciate that.

PERRY: When you put a student in a position -- when you put a student in a position to be successful, you have to look at the circumstances that created it, Will, not just where we are today.

CAIN: I totally appreciate that perspective and recognize that there's a problem. The answer to the problem, though, isn't one to abridge individual rights, as I suggest earlier.

The answer to that problem to me is quite honestly and I don't have any reason to butter (ph) you up here is to do what you're doing, is to go at the high school level and elementary level and middle school level and improve that gap in education. It's not to abridge individual rights later --

PERRY: What do you do in the meantime, Will? What do you do in the meantime? Because we're not going to fix this problem at the end of the year. College admissions already under way, and many students either have or have not gotten into school.

So, by next year, we're not going to figure this thing out either. So, until such time as it is equal, because I'm there. On the first day that it's all equal, I'll be the first one to say it's over.

MARTIN: First thing, they change the law in Texas, the top 10 percent. And then when they admit regardless of whether you are in any school, top 10 percent, you still have parents, the White districts who say, oh, well, my child took A.P. classes. This kid who's African-American or Hispanic, they didn't. So, my child should get in before them. That's race neutral.

(CROSSTALK)

MARTIN: Still a problem with that.

FUGELSANG: The U.S. military has been one of the biggest defenders of affirmative action in the U.S. court system. They filed many counter briefs supporting this, because they believe it does improve the candidate pool for the military.

ROMANS: Another point that we didn't get to is that, you know, this is interesting to me is in some of the ivies. You have Asian- American students complaining that they're being looked over or passed over in favor of Whites and other minority students because their representation and their scores are too high overall.

So, they're looking into complaints on that matter, too. So, race and the college admission process is something that we will continue talking --

(CROSSTALK) ROMANS: Steve wants to talk about that last point soon, too. All right. Steve Perry, thanks so much. Really nice to see you today.

Ahead on STARTING POINT, the unemployment rate improved last month, but what does it mean for you? Why the job outlook right now actually looks good, ah, looks good if you're in certain categories. Who exactly is getting hired? You're watching STARTING POINT.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROMANS: In this week's "Smart is the New Rich," jobs, jobs, jobs. We're going to get stock market reaction in about an hour to what everyone said was a disappointing jobs report on Friday. Why was it disappointing? Only 120,000 jobs added to the economy in March, about half of what was expected, about half of the rate of the last three months.

But if you're looking for a job, you shouldn't be disappointed. Why? You are job market who won. The private sector has been adding jobs now for 25 straight months, and here's who's getting hired, baby boomers for one. Since the start of the great recession, employment for Americans, 55 and up, is by 3.9 million.

Things are looking better now for new college graduates, too. The National Association of Colleges and Employers says starting salaries are up 4.5 percent from last year, and more grads are expected to be hired this year than last.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KEN ROGOFF, ECONOMIST, HARVARD UNIVERSITY: I think the glass is half full for 2012. I think things are definitely a little better than in 2011. I would rather be looking for a job this year.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: Here are a couple of things can you do to improve your chances of getting hired. Don't sabotage those chances with an inappropriate social media profile. Google yourself. Join professional sites like LinksIn. Network online and off. And look, if you applied months ago or checked in with people in your network months ago, check back in.

A company might be hiring again right now. So, you're hearing about disappointing, disappointing, disappointing. And our rating, you know, the political fighting is starting about how solid this job market is, but job is improving for people. If you are recently unemployed, you have a better chance of getting a job this year than last year. If you're long-term unemployed (INAUDIBLE).

MARTIN: I disagree with the assessment that everybody was disappointed with the Friday's job reports.

ROMANS: You were not disappointed?

MARTIN: No, because here's why. If you were one of those 120,000, you were happy you got a job. I think part of --

ROMANS: Yes, but there's 13 million more.

(CROSSTALK)

FUGELSANG: In fairness, it's 870,000 more jobs than the month Obama took office.

MARTIN: I simply believe in progress. The reality is, we could sit here every month say, well, even if we created 200,000, we still could say, hey, that is still disappointing. I'm simply saying positive growth is still positive.

CAIN: So, politically, the thing that we can agree on is trends are what matters positive growth. The problem is it looks little wobbly. It came down from the months that preceded it. So, what -- the question then comes, what happens next month and the month after? We don't know the answer to that, but does this month make it look wobbly?

MARTIN: I say from day one, it's a problem when we try to look at this on a month-to-month deal in terms of Will, it's up, it's down, it's great, it's bad.

ROMANS: It's always about the trend, right? Which is why I said we had 25 months in a row of private sector jobs growth. You want the private sector adding jobs. We didn't see huge government job losses. That's also good. But 120,000 jobs you're not -- what is happening there is recovery. There is economic growth, and it's happening without companies having to add a lot of workers. The workers who are adding and not making the money of the people who lost their jobs.

FUGELSANG: And there's a lot of food service jobs. It's a Rick Perry recovery if that sense. It's much like the jobs that Rick Perry was touting he created.

ROMANS: He worked at Taco Bell? What are you saying?

FUGELSANG: It was a combination of government jobs and food service jobs. The numbers weren't what they expected. But, again, when the president took office, we were losing 750,000 jobs per month until the stimulus went into effect.

MARTIN: Ben Bernanke made it perfectly clear, this is a five to seven-year slump. I think Americans have to accept it's not going to be quick, fast, in a hurry, like we love.

ROMANS: I think people know that now. Now they are mad about gas prices because now unemployment has become a chronic situation, so now mad about gas prices and blaming who is going to fix those too. Thanks.

FUGELSANG: We should repeal NAFTA.

ROMANS: No, not on that. Seven more jobs report, you're right, it's about the trend, and seven more jobs report before the election in case you're counting.

Ahead on STARTING POINT, China's offshore bet. Why is the country trying to buy friends and influence less than 200 miles off American shores? I bet you can answer that yourself.

A pastor says Tim Tebow is -- wow. I don't know what it says. He is the next best guest to having the Pope. Tim Tebow drawing thousands at an Easter Sunday appearance in Texas. The Pope? I don't know.

FUGELSANG: He's had a better year than the Pope.

ROMANS: Do evangelicals want the Pope or Tim Tebow?

MARTIN: They want Jesus!

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROMANS: And welcome back. Zoraida has got some news headlines for us. Good morning, Zoraida.

ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning to you. North Korea rattling the international community this morning. South Korean says the north is getting ready to conduct a third nuclear test. At the same time there are plans for a long-range rocket launch with the rocket sitting ready on the launch pad. North Korea insists it just wants to put a satellite into orbit, and in a rare move it even showed off the hardware at its top secret launch site. Our Stan Grant was there.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STAN GRANT, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This is about North Korean pride, about their right to launch a satellite, and also refuting any claims that this is not, in fact, a satellite launch but, in fact, a covert missile operation.

JANG MYONG JIN, HEAD OF LAUNCH SITE: I'm very disturbed.

GRANT: He can deny that? You can deny that it's -

(CROSSTALK)

JIN: Look for yourselves with your own eyes you can judge whether it's a missile or whether a launch.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SAMBOLIN: Experts say this could be a test of long-range missile technology that might be used to strike the United States and other targets.

Starting today, the U.S. Navy will cut compensation checks to those affected by Friday's military jet crash at a Virginia Beach apartment complex. The first payouts will cover housing, meals and clothing totaling about $2,300 per individual resident. There's more for families. Dozens of apartment units were destroyed but amazingly no one killed or sellers hurt.

And obesity during pregnancy can increase the risk of autism. That's according to a new study polished in the journal of pediatrics. It found that obese mothers were 70 percent more likely to have a child with autism. That is compared to normal weight mothers with normal blood pressure and no diabetes. They are also twice as likely to have a child with other kinds of developmental delays. Researchers say a third of the women of child-bearing age are obese.

And a pastor joked he is the biggest thing in Christianity right now next to the Pope that is. Tim Tebow spoke in front of a crowd of about 15,000 people during an Easter church service held outdoors in Georgetown, Texas. He says the country needs to get back to being one country under god.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TIM TEBOW, NFL QUARTERBACK: It's kind of crazy. I really don't think I was the first athlete to get on a knee and pray and it's funny because I have actually had the same routine the last seven years and just this year, they started calling it Tebow-ing, which I have no idea why. I've been doing the same thing for the last seven years, and this year it seemed to get popular. But I do think it's pretty cool, because at least, you know, prayer is being talked about.

SAMBOLIN: Sometimes that prayer actually works for him. Christine, back to you.

ROMANS: Thanks, Zoraida. We are here discussing, is he really the biggest thing in religion? We say no.

MARTIN: No, he is not.

ROMANS: Christianity who is the biggest in Christianity? I.

CAIN: Joel Osteen draws 50,000 people every weekend to his mega- church?

SAMBOLIN: He could save the Jets actually.

(LAUGHTER)

CAIN: He sells more tickets than the jets.

MARTION: A lot of people think football is a religion, absolutely. Bottom line there are a number other Christians who play basketball and football and basketball.

FUGELSANG: And Joel has lost a lot of weight.

ROMANS: I knew you were going there.

Let's talk about the big heavyweight on the block, and that is China, China, China. China's economic reach now extending just miles off U.S. shores in the Caribbean. Major investments from the Chinese government, Chinese banks, Chinese companies in countries like the Bahamas and Trinidad, these investments have risen dramatic. Some of that they financed, a national stadium in the Bahamas, a grammar school on the island of Dominica, and a children's hospital in Trinidad.

But why the spending, spree, and what does it mean for the United States? Joining us is the co-author of a startling new report on Chinese investment in the region, Kevin Gallagher, professor of international relations at Boston University. Welcome to the program. It's influence and reach, and it's trying to buy friends and influence and in a region of the world that is dominated by the United States. Is that the assessment?

KEVIN GALLAGHER, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, BOSTON UNIVERSITY: Yes. The Chinese have come out of nowhere in Latin America and the Caribbean. In 2005 they had little or no presence in terms of investment. My authors and I estimate in between 2005 and 2007 that the Chinese have invested $75 billion into the region. That's more than the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, and the U.S. export-import bank combined.

ROMANS: This is sort of Chinese theory, a philosophy. The Chinese have a long time frame for their investments and all of their foreign policy is an investment in their economy. We have seen them doing this all around the world buying up oil fields and doing partnerships and joint ventures and giving money in loans to countries the U.S. won't deal with. Why is it so pointed it's happening in our backyard too?

GALLAGHER: Well, like you said the Chinese are really looking for things that they need around the world and Latin America offers a number of key things. One, Latin America has a lot of commodities, iron, oil, and so forth. Chinese are going to invest in those kinds of products and in the infrastructure to get the products to market to get them back to China.

The Chinese also want to get opportunities for their companies. Often like in one of these Bahamas projects when the Chinese get a loan there, they tie the loan to contracts with the Chinese firms.

Another thing is they want to get rid of a lot of their investments in the U.S. treasuries which don't seem to be working so well, and diversify those.

And, finally, a fourth thing which you find a lot in the Caribbean and in Central America, if you favor Taiwan and the United Nations and other places, the Chinese might give you some money to entice you to flip.

ROMANS: Buying friends and influence, no question. There's also this WikiLeaks from 2003 that reveals an interesting theory that China is investing in the Caribbean as a strategic move to secure allies for when Castro's Cuba turns over, meaning that you would now have China as a big player in the development of post-communist Castro, or maybe it wouldn't be post-communist.

GALLAGHER: I don't really see it as a big security threat. I see it more as an economic challenge. The United States and the World Bank in particular over the past few years has really followed the latest development fad, whether it be trade liberalization or privatization in the 1990s or small anti-poverty programs in the last few years. The anti-poverty programs have merit, but this is more what Washington says these countries need rather than what they want, which is infrastructure and jobs and industrialization. If the U.S. wants to be a player again, we are going to have to reform the World Bank and engage with the Chinese.

MARTIN: Kevin, to that point, these countries desire investment. You go where the resources are. If you're a company looking for venture capital funds, it's the exact same thing. And so China is making a smart move. If the U.S. wants to step up have to get in the game, but all of the debt won't make it happen.

GALLAGHER: Yes. That's for sure. The United States and the World Bank in particular just hasn't been investing in things like infrastructure. If you look around the regions, Ecuador wants billions of dollars to develop its oil and Brazil billions of dollars to develop its oil and Argentina, railroads and so forth. These things bring jobs. And help with long run growth. The U.S. just has been dormant, and the World Bank hasn't been moving into this area. So it's a new source of funds for the region.

ROMANS: Kevin Gallagher, nice to see you this morning. Thank you.

GALLAGHER: Thank you.

ROMANS: Ahead on STARTING POINT, a reality check for Newt Gingrich sounding a lot like he is conceding defeat but still not dropping out?

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ROMANS: They have been bitter rivals during the campaign season and although Newt Gingrich isn't leaving the Republican race he now concedes Mitt Romney is the candidate mostly likely to become America's choice in 2012.

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NEWT GINGRICH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You have to be realistic given the size of his organization and given the number of primaries he's won, he is far and away the most likely Republican nominee. And if he does get to 1,144 delegates I'll support him. I'll do whatever I can this fall to help him defeat Obama. This is that -- the primary goal of the entire Republican Party has to be to defeat Barack Obama.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: Gingrich says he is staying in the -- in to help the party build a solidly conservative platform. He said if Romney is the Republican nominee he'll work as hard for him as he would for himself.

Ahead on STARTING POINT, more casualties in the entire American revolution in a single battle. Why the lesson of Shiloh 150 years ago now has very real lessons for us today. You're watching STARTING POINT.

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ROMANS: When you think about the American Civil War, the battle of Gettysburg might be the first to come to mind but war historian and author Winston Groom whose work includes the original novel "Forrest Gump" has got a new book that tells a story of another pivotal battle. A battle in which he writes "Americans suffered more casualties in the daylight fight at Shiloh than all of the casualties during the American Revolution the War of 1812 and the Mexican War combined."

The book is "Shiloh, 1862". This past Friday April 6th marks 150 years since the Tennessee Battle where nearly 24,000 soldiers were either killed or wounded on that day. Winston Groom joins us now. And "Shiloh" this -- this was supposed to be the ends of the war. Many of the political thought that this would be the end of the war. It was barely a year since the Civil War started and it turned out to be the beginning and a real foreshadowing of a gruesome, gruesome conflict.

WINSTON GROOM, AUTHOR, "SHILOH 1862": It did. It really was a shock to the nation because the only previous battle of any consequence was the battle of Bull Run where there were 5,000 casualties and everyone was horrified by this.

And suddenly, they had five times, all going on 25,000 casualties and I think that the -- everyone began to realize that there was not some easy, dainty military maneuver.

ROMANS: Right.

GROOM: That was going to end the war. A war wasn't going to be over by Christmas. What they unleashed was some monstrous thing that was going to drench the country in blood for years to come.

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ROMANS: And that one battle was simply chaos. Tell me about the -- tell me about word Shiloh. I mean, Shiloh is not a child of celebrity parents as many a whole generation may think. Shiloh was a terrible moment based on a -- it was named after a church, a little Methodist church.

GROOM: Yes.

ROMANS: Basically like a little corn crib that has now come to represent this horrible moment in American history.

GROOM: The Special name of the battle was Pittsburgh Landing. The union named its battles after bodies of water or that thing. And Pittsburgh Landing was old steamboat landing there it -- in the southwest corner of Tennessee. But the little church which was right in the center of the battlefield came to be known as the battle came to be known after it and the outlying thing is that in Hebrew language, Shiloh means place of peace.

ROMANS: It's so a beautiful word that became to symbolize a really horrible day and a horrible moment for American history.

GROOM: Yes indeed.

ROMANS: Let's talk about why you wanted to write this book. Because you have written extensively about the Civil War you've written about a lot of different things 16 books I think. You served in Vietnam. What about this particular battle spoke to you?

GROOM: Well, I've always shied away from it because it was so confusing and I knew about it and I had written about the battle of Atlanta and the battle of Nashville and then the battle of Vicksburg. I sort had taken the war backwards from 1964 and 1863. When I looked at Shiloh again I began to make sense of it and the way to approach it. Because what you had really was 100,000 people, men all trying to kill each other in real enclosed space of ground of about 10 or 12 square miles for an entire day and a half and then it was over.

And that how to describe so what I did was I found, I think, enough personal accounts of people who were either there or were involved in it in some way and let them tell the story from sort of beginning through end through their eyes and it sorted it out a little bit better.

FUGELSANG: When I was growing up, my dad was a history teacher and so I learned about Shiloh through the James Caan movie "Journey to Shiloh" in the late '60s. But as Christine pointed out, now the word is synonymous with celebrity offspring or I think there was a dog film about it in the '90s.

Why do you think that a battle this pivotal to our nation's history has been so forgotten and do you think it might be because it's actually too relevant to the issues that divide us today?

ROMANS: And do we think we can -- and we always think we know how to end something you know --

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FUGELSANG: Yes.

ROMANS: -- and it turns out that war is hell and the assumptions people make about war aren't always that bright.

GROOM: No well they never are. You second-guess it. But I mean, it's a two-part question. The first part, you know, is I think that it has been written about, but the problem has been, I think, or the story they intended 140 regiments or something like that fighting. And they tend to cover all 140 regiments fighting each other and that tends to be a little tedious.

But historically, there's very good books about it but their approach does not lend itself to your ordinary reader.

FUGELSANG: Right.

GROOM: And the second thing -- I mean, Shiloh is important for a number of reasons. The first reason was that the union, General Grant, he got sneaked up on by about 50,000 -- an army of 50,000 men and that doesn't happen very much.

ROMANS: Right.

GROOM: He had (inaudible) confederate army get a mile within his line without knowing about it.

ROMANS: It's a great --

GROOM: But he did persevere and he won the battle.

ROMANS: It's a great read. "Shiloh, 1862", Winston Groom.

Thank you, so sir. Really nice to meet you sir.

GROOM: Thanks for having me.

ROMANS: The "End Point" with our panel is next.

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ROMANS: Time for our "End Point". And we'll start with Roland since he's got the dapper pocket square.

MARTIN: Well, you know -- you know how a brother does it.

The Tulsa story takes us back to Tulsa 1921 where they had the race riots. The one thing that's yet to place to this day, the folks still have not got reparation when black Wall Street was burned. And so hopefully, folks in Oklahoma will step up when it comes to that because that is still a tragic story. And folks -- they all should read about it and know about.

ROMANS: John?

FUGELSANG: I'm going to pay Gene Wilder to phone up Newt Gingrich and in his Willie Wonk scream "You get nothing. You lose. Good day, sir."

ROMANS: Will?

CAIN: I'm going to repeat what I said earlier because it's important and we're going to have this debate for months to come. When it comes to affirmative action, the best way to end racial discrimination is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.

ROMANS: I think we're still going to be talking about that in "End Points" to come.

CAIN: I suspect we will. ROMANS: Absolutely guys. Thanks for listening.

I want to see Will -- put in Will. I want to see Will. You can just put it right there. Let's just see what it looks like on will.

MARTIN: Just dress this poor boy up.

CAIN: I want to say that wearing one of those got me --

FUGELSANG: Did you kill it first? Discriminating on the basis of race.

MARTIN: (inaudible) you will have a lot more style. And grow a better beard.

ROMANS: Oh my. Carol Costello, you have to -- please take it away from me now. It's turned into a fashion show.

"CNN NEWSROOM" with Carol begins now.

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