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President Obama Campaigns in New Hampshire; Ryan Tackles The Medicare Issue; Wildfires Scorching California, Idaho, Washington; Julian Assange Asylum Standoff; Week 3 in Drew Peterson Trial; Man Thought Dead but Alive is Charged; U.S. Man Fights in Syria Alongside Rebels; How Hollywood Handles Real Tragedies Affecting Movies
Aired August 18, 2012 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, HOST: This week's Chasing Life, we know how important a good night's sleep is. But you might be surprised by this. It's a new study of heavy snoring in children. It's not necessarily cute. In fact, it can be tied to some serious medical issues that are associated with chronic, poor sleep.
There was a study in the Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center that found that two and three-year-olds who snored loudly at least twice a week had more problems with hyperactivity, aggression, and attention problems. Snoring may also be a sign of breathing problems.
Bottom line is if your child is snoring heavily more than once in a blue moon, don't ignore it. Talk to the doctor. Find a way to get your child the rest that restorative sleep that he or she needs.
That's going to wraps things up for SGMD. You can stay connected with me at CNN.com/Sanjay. Let's keep the conversation going on twitter as well at Sanjay Gupta CNN.
Time now though to get you a check of your top stories in "THE CNN NEWSROOM."
ALISON KOSIK, CNN ANCHOR: You're in THE CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Alison Kosik in tonight for Don Lemon. Here's a look at the stories making headlines this hour.
President Obama is in New Hampshire campaigning for support in another of the small but critically important battleground states. Earlier in Florida, republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan brought his mom along to defend his Medicare plans before an audience of mostly senior citizens. Reports on both campaigns coming up in just about two minutes.
The great recession is officially over but the budget cuts continue in public schools across the country. A new White House report finds 300,000 education jobs have been lost since the end of the recession in June of 2009. The cuts have also led to fewer school days and larger class sizes.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Allahu Akbar. Allahu Akbar.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KOSIK: At least 172 people were killed across Syria today in street fighting, bombings, and shellings. That's according to an opposition network based in Syria.
Also today, nobody will say for certain whether Syria's vice president has defected as opposition leaders are claiming. If it's true, he is the highest level official to leave Syria and flee the country.
For the first time in 45 years, Dallas County, Texas is spraying mosquito pesticide from the air trying to end a deadly outbreak of West Nile virus. The virus has already claimed 21 lives in Texas and made at least 550 others sick. Many in Dallas are opposed to the spraying. The EPA says, the pesticide isn't harmful to humans or pets.
Federal officials say, cantaloupes from southwestern Indiana are making people sick and even killed two people. The cause? Salmonella. The FDA says, if you have any cantaloupes from that part of the country, throw them out. More than 140 people came down with salmonella infection in 20 states.
Firefighters are catching a break with slightly cooler temperatures as they tamp down wildfires, scorching much of the western U.S. In California and Washington State, people who fled the area are being allowed to go back home and see what was spared. We'll have more from the fire zone in just a few minutes.
General Motors is recalling some 250,000 vehicles in the U.S. and Canada after reports of a number of fires. The recall is targeting SUVs in just the colder states where salt and other chemicals are used to clear roads in the winter. GM says, the fluid can get inside the driver's door causing a circuit board to short. The company says this has been sparking fires.
Indiana police say, weather is to blame for a deadly multi car pileup this morning. One person was killed, two others badly hurt when at least 12 cars smashed into each other on interstate 65 in Jasper County. Police say, fog plus smoke from a nearby fire made it tough for drivers to see.
To the presidential race now and a small state that could play a big role on Election Day. President Obama is making two stops in New Hampshire today pitching his plans on taxes and the budget.
CNN's Athena Jones joins me now from the White House. Athena, what did the President have to say?
ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Alison. Well, President Obama's message on taxes is that for middle class families the Romney/Ryan proposals will be bad for them. He said that the average middle class family with children would see their taxes rise by an average of $2,000 under the proposals of the GOP ticket and that he says that they are doing this in order to pay for tax cuts for the wealthy. As he put it, for people like Mitt Romney. And so, let's listen to how he described that at the event in New Hampshire.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: Governor Romney's tax plan would actually raise taxes on middle class families with children by an average of $2,000. Ask Governor Romney and his running mate when they're here in New Hampshire on Monday, they're going to be coming here on Monday. Ask them if that's fair. Ask them how it will grow the economy, ask them how it will strengthen the middle class. They have been trying to sell this trickle down snake oil before.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JONES: And so there you have it. I mean, maybe the same message we've been hearing the last several weeks or really the entire campaign. But that a little bit more of a fiery speech today, Alison.
KOSIK: Athena, I know the President had some tough words for Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan when it comes to Medicare. Tell me more about that.
JONES: Well, exactly. Both campaigns have been accusing each other of various horrible things about Medicare. Of course the republican campaign is saying that the President is going to gut Medicare, cut it by $716 billion in order to pay for his health care law. The President says, wait a second. You really need to fear the plan that Romney and Ryan proposed which would essentially voucherize the system, give seniors money to pay for Medicare but that he says many, many seniors would come up short.
And so, we're going to see these charges go back and forth. No side wants to leave these charges unanswered. But it's the President who said that Romney and Ryan's plan will change Medicare as we know it and seniors would no longer be able to count on their health care whereas what he has done strengthens the program. So, just a little sampling of what we heard today -- Alison.
KOSIK: OK. Athena Jones from the White House, thanks.
Republican Mitt Romney is on the road today but he is not making any public appearances. He is holding meetings and fundraisers at several sites in Massachusetts. Here he is a little earlier in Boston. Meantime, his running mate Paul Ryan addressed the Medicare issue head on holding an event in a Florida community which is home to many retirees. And he brought along a special guest.
Here is CNN political editor Paul Steinhauser.
PAUL STEINHAUSER, CNN POLITICAL EDITOR: Hey, Fred. We not only had Paul Ryan today. We had his mother as well. I guess you could say there were two Ryans on the stage behind me at this major retirement community in central Florida known as the villages. Paul Ryan who one week ago today was named as Mitt Romney's running mate was here to talk about Medicare which as you know is an important issue among retirees and those nearing retirement age.
And Paul Ryan introduced his mother to this crowd, this very pro- republican crowd, and he used her as an example to talk about how he and Mitt Romney will protect Medicare and he used her as an example to talk about how he says President Obama is weakening the important, popular government program. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. PAUL RYAN (R), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You've heard the President has been talking about Medicare a bit lately. We want this debate. We need this debate. And we are going to win this debate.
My mom has been on Medicare for over ten years and I want to tell you exactly how many years over ten years she has been on it. She plays tennis every week. She exercises every day. She planned her retirement around this promise that the government made her because she paid her payroll taxes into this program which she made, which she had this promise with. That is a promise we have to keep.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEINHAUSER: The villagers is the largest retirement community in the United States and it's also very pro-republican. I spoke to a lot of people in the crowd here. And they told me couple of things, A, Medicare is extremely important to their vote and, B, they are very much behind the Ryan/Romney ticket. Florida of course so crucial.
President Obama then running for the White House four years ago narrowly won this state. The polls out right now indicate a very close race with the President with a slight advantage over Mitt Romney. Seniors, they make up about a quarter of the voting electorate here in Florida. That's why Medicare is such a big issue and that's why Paul Ryan was here today and he was showing off his mother -- Fred.
KOSIK: In Washington State, they're calling it the worst wildfire season in a decade.
Next, how firefighters are fighting back. And hear from some families who have had to run from the flames.
KOSIK: Some people who wisely got away from the west coast wild fires were able to return to their homes today to take stock of their houses and property.
CNN's Rob Marciano is in Washington State with some people who lost literally everything they owned.
ROB MARCIANO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Military Chinook helicopters continue to attack the Taylor Bridge fire near Cle Elum, Washington. A battle some residents have already lost and several days are in are still shell shocked.
LARRY PUTNAM, FIRE VICTIM: It still has not registered that we don't have a home.
MARCIANO: An explosive fire combining lots of dry fuel and strong wind quickly engulfed homes and over 35 square miles of land.
(on camera) We're on the northeast edge of where the fire came through earlier in the week. You can see the blackened hill side still smoking and smoldering. The fire itself came up this ridge and the winds were so fierce it actually jumped over this highway continued burning up underneath those wind turbines. Obviously this scenario that gets a lot of wind usually they take advantage of it. This time it hurt them.
PUTNAM: All of a sudden a wall of flames come up over the ridge. It just came up over the ridge and, you know, like a hundred foot high.
PUTNAM: So then, I said OK. Let's don't panic. But I think we'd better hurry.
MARCIANO (voice-over): Larry Putnam and his family made it but their home did not. Only pictures can remind them of what their dream home once was.
Larry is a contractor, so he has taken refuge in a senior center he actually built. This week it's a red cross shelter for victims of the fire just like him.
PUTNAM: We built it in 2000 and since then it has just become the jewel in the crown of this community as you can see. And then a couple years ago it burnt down.
MARCIANO: So he built it again. Now some evacuees are just using the parking lot. Eugene and Mary Lou Smith sleep in their travel trailer and are in no rush to leave.
MARY LOU SMITH, FIRE VICTIM: They've been so good to us, the Red Cross and the senior center, we laughed and we says, we're going to stay here. They feed us. No dishes. No cooking. Why would I want to go home to a yucky old place?
MARCIANO (on camera): Like a resort.
EUGENE LOU SMITH, FIRE VICTIM: Yes. It's like a nursing home, only you're free to go.
MARY LOU SMITH: But we made the best of a lousy situation. And all of our group, our houses are saved and we thank God for this. But we feel for the ones that have lost their home. MARCIANO (voice-over): For Larry Putnam, it means rebuilding on land he has lived on for 20 years.
PUTNAM: It's just hard to comprehend when you lose, you know, your home and where you've lived. That is our dream place. I'm going to be buried up there.
MARCIANO: Rob Marciano, CNN, Cle Elum, Washington.
KOSIK: The CDC is urging all Americans who fall into the baby boomer category to get tested for Hepatitis C. Those are people who were born between 1945 and 1965. The agency says, millions of people may be infected with Hepatitis C and not even know it. A little while ago, we talked with a doctor who told us why that age group is at particular risk.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. SUJATHA REDDY, PREMIER CARE FOR WOMEN: Baby boomers may have had lifestyle choices when they were younger, possibly a tattoo with a dirty needle, maybe experimenting with drugs or a blood transfusion prior to 1992. It puts them at higher risk for Hepatitis C. And now, we've got really good treatments out there so getting diagnosed makes sense. You can treat this virus.
You can also make lifestyle changes. Maybe you stop drinking or decrease your alcohol. You avoid certain medications that might be bad for your liver because it can be as you mentioned a deadly virus that can lead to liver failure, liver cirrhosis, and over many years liver cancer.
FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Interesting. So, all these things transfer by way of blood in some capacity, so the treatments that you would receive if it turns out you test positive for Hepatitis C, are much more advanced.
REDDY: They are. Newer treatments, newer drugs which can affect, are more effective, and so it does make sense to get tested.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KOSIK: And CDC officials say, Hepatitis C related illnesses kill 15,000 people in this country every year and can be detected with a one-time blood test.
So let me ask you this. Would you like to be more attractive to the opposite sex? It could work out, buy fancy clothes, but maybe even easier than that.
KOSIK: So, what's the best way to attract a mate? Good looking, successful? That probably doesn't hurt. But would you believe you may need to be playful? (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL MURRAY, ACTOR: Hey. Let's have some fun! Come on.
UNIDENTIFIED GIRL: Yes!
MURRAY: Hey, kids. Come on. (INAUDIBLE) Hey. Hey. Ow. Ow. Are any of you up for adoption? (LAUGHTER).
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KOSIK: Yes. That's Bill Murray trying to impress a girl with his playfulness in "Groundhog Day" but I'm thinking that's a little too playful.
Wendy Walsh is a relationship expert, she joins us once again. So, Wendy, are we more attractive if we're considered playful?
DR. WENDY WALSH, HUMAN BEHAVIOR EXPERT: Well, we are certainly one of the few species who stays a little bit fun and playful even past maturity. And it's always been that women often look for a sense of humor in men because it is linked with intelligence. Believe it or not you have to be really smart to be funny.
You've got to sort of anticipate how your audience will take it. You've got to think in double entendre (ph), double meanings. And for that, you have to be pretty smart. And women like smart guys because they could be good providers, right? They can bring in the bucks as well.
KOSIK: So, for women does humor trump what is outside? You know, how hot the guy is? Is the sense of humor really the utmost importance?
WALSH: Right. Well, the study we're talking about is a new study out of Penn State and it showed that for women it definitely does. A sense of humor, playfulness, and fun trump looks. For women. Now not for men. Because men always like...
KOSIK: Of course.
WALSH: ...that youth and beauty of course, it's always a signal of reproductive fitness in our ontological (ph) fact so that's where they go. But yes, women love fun. You know, have you ever heard the saying women fall in love with their ears and men fall in love with their eyes.
KOSIK: So guys don't even care if the women have a sense of humor? Is that what you're saying? Personality doesn't count?
WALSH: Well, you know how much I hate to generalize, Alison. There are guys that care about personality more than anything and there are guys that care about a nice rack more than anything. So, you're going to have a range there just like you are with women. But this particular study showed that there is a tendency for women to choose fun and playfulness over good looks in men.
KOSIK: OK. But what happens as you get older? Does that playfulness maybe come across as being too immature?
WALSH: Like in the clip we showed from Groundhog Day?
WALSH: Absolutely. Because you have to think about what kind of humor displays intelligence. Is it smart, clever humor, or is it sarcastic, diggy humor? Oh, I'm just playing. Don't worry. You know, are you making your audience feel better? Are you helping them engender themselves toward you or are you putting people down with your humor? Are you being just completely immature and it's time to grow up?
KOSIK: All right. So, what if you're guy a naturally playful person? Is there a way to kind of loosen up a little bit more?
KOSIK: No faking it. No faking it.
WALSH: You can't fake intelligence and you can't fake humor. But what you can do is reduce the amount of stress, anxiety, and depression in your life. And for that, we can all do the work of personal therapy, personal growth to get rid of the baggage that -- that black cloud that's hanging over your head, you can definitely get rid of that. But it's kind of hard to suddenly be funny if you're not naturally a funny person.
KOSIK: Well, that makes sense. Wendy Walsh, thanks. This has been fun. Some great advice for those who are looking for a mate.
WALSH: Good to see you.
KOSIK: Same here.
WALSH: When it comes to buying coffee, dinner, or anything else these days, cash is so last year. The hip way to pay is with your smart phone or in some cases just telling the cashier your name.
Our Silicon Valley correspondent Dan Simon explains.
DAN SIMON, CNN SILICON VALLEY CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It wasn't too long ago when food trucks could only take cash. The San Francisco start up square became an instant hit by making it easy for them or anyone else for that matter to accept a credit card using a smart phone.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: And then you sign on the line with that pad in your hand.
SIMON: Vendors like Shari Washburn tell me her revenue would be half without the technology. SHARI WASHBURN, EBBETT'S GOOD TO GO: It is a game changer for us because we can now accept all forms of payment. It takes every credit card and people don't carry a lot of cash.
SIMON: And now Square has made it even easier for people to pay. Just by telling the cashier your name.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: What is your name?
SIMON: Users need to download the pay with Square app and go through the set up. From there a cashier knows you are a legitimate paying customer.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: There you are.
SIMON: Because your name and photo pop up on the other end. All of the money is exchanged on the back end with the customer's stored credit card number.
(on camera) But it's not just food trucks. Seventy five thousand small businesses throughout the country including this sandwich shop are using the technology. But now you can take the small out of the picture. Starbucks' announcement that it will be using Square in 7,000 of its U.S. stores will accelerate the movement toward a wallet less society. According to tech analysts like Jeff Kagan.
JEFF KAGAN, TECHNOLOGY ANALYSTS: You know, when we leave the house, we have to remember to take our wireless phone, our wallet, and our keys. Going forward at some point, we may be able to leave our wallet at home because we are going to have all of the information in the wallet on our smart phone.
SIMON (voice-over): Starbucks will initially accept payment by scanning a bar code, something it already does with its gift cards. Having a major store chain as a client makes Square one of the early leaders in the mobile payment industry but more established brands like Google, Intuit, PayPal, and others are looking to make a major dent in the space. Other startups like go pay go offer their own innovative features. Its technology allows customers to complete the transaction even before entering a store.
KAGAN: This is very early in this brand new game. We're still in the first inning. So the companies that are leading today may not be the companies that are leading in a year or two years.
SIMON: Still, all the mobile payment companies face certain challenges like convincing a wide audience that paying with a phone is safe and even more convenient than using a traditional credit card or cash. But it seems certain that day is coming when neither will be required.
Dan Simon, CNN, San Francisco.
(END VIDEOTAPE) KOSIK: Julian Assange may have been granted asylum by Ecuador but the Wikileaks founder is still a virtual prisoner inside that country's embassy in London. Is he plotting some daring escape?
DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Don't forget, you can stay connected, you can watch CNN live on your computer, you can do it from work. Just go to cnn.com/TV.
KOSIK: Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has got some problems. Britain wants to extradite him to Sweden. Sweden wants to question him over rape charges and the U.S. wants to ask him about the secret papers he's posted on the internet.
For now, he is stuck in Ecuador's embassy in London. Ecuador will give him asylum if he can get there. As Brian Todd explains that is easier said than done.
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): He is reported to be tense and going a bit stir crazy. Wikileaks founder Julian Assange holed up inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London. He has been there for about two months. Now that Ecuador has granted him asylum and Britain has refused to honor it, a classic standoff is under way. If Assange takes one step outside the embassy --
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: My understanding is that the British will arrest him and extradite him to Sweden.
TODD: That's where Assange is wanted for questioning over sexual assault claims. With the fugitive inside in what's at the moment considered Ecuadorian territory and with British police outside ready to pounce, scenarios are being debated over a possible Assange escape.
(on camera) Is this an option getting smuggled out in the trunk of a diplomatic car? A former British diplomat says, the car would be considered Ecuadorian domain. British police he says, could stop it but not search it. Couldn't necessarily pull Assange out. But there is a hitch in that plan. The hitch, apparently there is no garage available to the Ecuadorian embassy. We're told there is only one entrance to the embassy, right here and obviously that is not an option.
The building is completely surrounded by British police. They're in the streets. The alleys. The side streets. If anyone was going to try to take Assange from the building to a waiting car, the police would get him. The police are also reported to be monitoring the so- called communal areas of the building, the hallways and the elevators, preventing Assange from taking an elevator up to the roof where a helicopter could pick him up.
(voice-over) Police can monitor the hallways and elevators because the Ecuadorian embassy occupies only one floor, the first floor, and not even all of that. It is here right where this window is and Assange can barely step into a hallway without risking apprehension. If he did somehow get to a car, there are airports large and small in every direction.
But experts say, once he got to one of those he could easily be captured. He could actually be smuggled out in a crate or a large bag. If it's labeled a diplomatic parcel, the British police can't open it. But --
OLIVER MILES, FORMER BRITISH AMBASSADOR TO LIBYA: I think they could delay it, I think they could hold it, I think they could keep it in a very cold or very hot place or something like that.
KOSIK: That is CNN's Brian Todd reporting.
Assange is expected to speak publicly tomorrow for the first time since Ecuador granted him asylum.
Half past the hour now. Let's get you up to speed on the headlines.
Republican vice presidential candidate, Paul Ryan, brought his mom on stage today to bolster his ideas to overhaul Medicare. Ryan assured a Florida rally of mostly senior citizens that he and Mitt Romney would protect Medicare if elected to the White House. Democrats say Romney and Ryan's proposals would gut the Medicare program.
The Great Recession is finally over but budget cuts continue in public schools across the country. A new White House report finds 300,000 education jobs have been lost since the recession ended in June of 2009. The cuts have also led to fewer school days and larger class sizes.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KOSIK: At least 172 people were killed across Syria today in street fighting, bombings and shellings. That is according to an opposition network based in Syria. Also today, nobody will say for certain whether Syria's vice president has defected, as opposition leaders are claiming. If it's true, he is the highest level official to leave Syria and flee the country.
In Dallas County, Texas, they are spraying pesticide to kill mosquitoes to counter a deadly outbreak of West Nile virus. The virus already has claimed 21 lives in Texas and made at least 550 others sick. It's the first time Dallas has sprayed pesticide from the air in 45 years.
Federal officials say cantaloupes from southwestern Indiana are making people sick and even killed two people. The cause? Salmonella. The FDA says if you have any cantaloupes from that part of the country, throw them out. More than 140 people have come down with salmonella infection in 20 states.
Some 250,000 SUVs are being taken off the roads after General Motors detected an electrical problem causing fires. The recall is for cars sold or registered in Canada and 20 U.S. states where salt and other chemicals are used to clear roads in the winter. The fires start when fluid gets inside the driver's door, short-circuiting power boards.
A man goes missing, presumed drowned. Authorities search the waters off Long Island. But police discover he isn't dead when, days later, he's arrested for speeding.
KOSIK: Week three of Drew Peterson's murder trial just wrapped up. Peterson, a former suburban Chicago police officer, is accused of killing his third wife, Kathleen Savio.
Criminal defense attorney, Holly Hughes, joins me now.
Holly, this has been really an odd week, hasn't it? First, the defense wanted a mistrial. Then they said maybe not. And other things are being introduced at this point.
HOLLY HUGHES, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY & FORMER PROSECUTOR: Right. Absolutely. They withdrew that request for a mistrial, which tells me they're pretty happy about the way things are going, and they want this particular jury, the jury that's already seated and in the box, to make a decision because they're hoping for an acquittal in this case. They don't want a do-over.
KOSIK: How does it look that they put that out there?
HUGHES: Well, typically, a motion for a mistrial is made outside the presence of the jury. The jury doesn't really know what's going on because this way, if the judge denies the mistrial or grants the mistrial, the jury doesn't find out about it until after the fact because you don't want them to know there is a possible hiccup in the road here until a decision has been made.
KOSIK: OK. So hearsay is playing a huge role in this case. First, tell me what it is and, second, why is it such a big deal?
HUGHES: It is. There are 16 different statements they wanted to use, Alison. They are statements that Kathleen would have made to her friends or to law enforcement officers prior to her death. She would have said something like, if I go missing, make sure you check out Drew. I'm afraid of Drew. He's been violent with me in the past. He did X, Y, Z to me. He told me he could kill me and get away with it. They'd never find my body. These are the type of statements. Typically, under our Constitution, you have a right to confront somebody who is accusing you. So when that person gets on the stand and says you threatened to kill me, well, the defendant who is on trial has a right to test that, to cross examine that. When you have a dead person, as we do in this particular case, you can't cross examine them. So that's when it becomes hearsay. That's why it's problematic. And the United States Supreme Court a few years ago they said you can't use it, but they have found exceptions to be able to use it.
And that's why this case is fascinating. It is going to make legal history. They have litigated this. The judge who sat on the motions earlier, Judge White, now he's retired. Judge Burmila is hearing the case. He had listened to all of this in pre-trial motions and said, yes, I think there are exceptions. I think there are good reasons why you can use this hearsay evidence. It's going to come in. Judge Burmila has stood with those rulings and said, yes, they can come in.
But if we do see a conviction here, Alison, you better believe it is going up on appeal, and they'll ask the appellate court, maybe all the way up to the Supreme Court, hey, throw this out. Because they shouldn't have let those statements in.
KOSIK: OK. One other case we're watching, you can call it pseudo- cide.
Raymond Roth, he was reported missing and police searched for him in the waters off Long Island. They couldn't find -- they concluded that he drowned.
KOSIK: A few days later, he was pulled over for speeding in South Carolina. Holly, his son has been charged with conspiring to collect $400,000 of insurance cash. Could this son go to jail for the dad faking his death?
HUGHES: Absolutely, because he's part of it. He is part and parcel. That is where conspiracy comes in. An easy way -- we all think conspiracy is this technical legal term. No. You know what it means? In for a penny, in for a pound.
That's what it means. If you really break it down, he was part of this plan that the father said, let's defraud the insurance company. I'll pretend I'm dead. You get the money. Guess what? We'll get together and spend it later secretly.
KOSIK: Could he wind up spending as much time as his dad if they're found guilty?
HUGHES: Absolutely. Absolutely. Because he is facing the same type of charges, the conspiracy to commit insurance fraud. So he is looking at the same type of time. Now, typically, a judge will say, well the father should have known better and he's older and he convinced the son, he coerced the son. You probably wouldn't see the same sentence but, technically speaking, yes, he could get just as much time as dear old dad.
KOSIK: I'll be watching this one.
I live on Long Island. I'll be watching this one.
Thanks, Holly Hughes.
KOSIK: OK. He fought alongside Libyan rebels last year and spent months as a prisoner of war. Coming up next, we'll tell you why this American is willing to take the same risk in Syria.
UNIDENTIFIED GIRL (through translation): I found out I was pregnant when I was only 12 years old.
CATALINA ESCOBAR, CNN HERO (voice-over): Teen pregnancy in Cartagena is a very big issue. When you go to the slums, it is unbelievable what you see.
(on camera): Many of my girls live here. It is so wrong.
(voice-over): You see these girls. They're babies holding babies.
About 10 years ago, I was volunteering at this maternity hospital and I was holding this baby, and he passed away with me. His teen mother failed to raise the money to cover treatment. Four days later, my own son passed away in an accident.
(on camera): I realized I didn't want any mother to feel the same grief that I went through.
(voice-over): My name is Catalina Escobar, and I'm helping teen moms get a healthy and productive life for them and for their babies.
When we first started the maternity hospital, we were reduced dramatically the infant mortality rate.
(on camera): But the real problem was bigger than that.
(voice-over): My girls end up being pregnant because they don't have sexual education and many of my girls are sexually abused.
When my girls come, they drop their babies in the day care center. We have different workshops so they can develop their skills.
UNIDENTIFIED GIRL (through translation): My goal has always been to have my own restaurant. Now I know to never give up in life.
ESCOBAR: We are changing the lives of these girls. If you give them the right tools, they're capable of moving forward.
KOSIK: A young graduate of Georgetown University is raising money to go to the front lines in Syria and spend time with the rebels. Matthew Vandyke says he knows what the risks are. Last year, he fought with the rebels in Libya and ended up spending months in prison after being captured by Gadhafi forces.
Nick Valencia has the story.
NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Early last year, Matthew Vandyke left his home in the United States for Libya to film --
VALENCIA: -- and to fight. He wanted to help rebel forces overthrow long-time dictator, Moammar Gadhafi.
Years before, he made friends with many locals during a motorcycle trip across the region.
MATT VANDYKE, ACTIVIST & FREEDOM FIGHTER: I decided that I couldn't just sit at home and watch this happen to people I cared about. So I decided I would go to Libya. I called my girlfriend and said, sorry, you should come home from work, I'm on my way to Libya. And I just went.
VALENCIA: After less than a week there Vandyke was captured by Gadhafi's forces while on a reconnaissance mission for rebels in the city of Praga (ph). He was taken to Tripoli and held in solitary confinement, enduring what he calls psychological torture in the high- security Abu Salim Prison.
VANDYKE: This is where I spent around 85 days when I was first captured.
VALENCIA: There were times when he thought his life would end there.
VANDYKE: I mean, I thought that I would be imprisoned for 20 or 30 years or possibly executed. I was captured before NATO was involved in Libya, so I had no idea that NATO had gotten involved until after I escaped prison. But then after escaping prison, I went right back to the front line and continued doing it.
VALENCIA: Now nearly a year since leaving Libya, the 33-year-old graduate of Georgetown University wants to go back to the front lines but, this time, he is destined for Syria. He says he is better prepared than most for the journey.
VANDYKE: I knew people in Libya. I've been to Syria before. I've been living and working in the region for years. You know, it's not like I just threw a dart at a map and went over there. VALENCIA: As the conflict in Syria spreads and the casualties mount, Vandyke says he knows this journey will be even more dangerous than his ill-fated trip to Libya.
VANDYKE: I am not looking forward to it actually, going back. It is not something -- I find people who enjoy it, there might be something wrong with them, people who thrill-seek in war. I don't like war tourists. I don't like people who go for a rush. If I want a rush, I'll go drive my motorcycle like I used to do.
I don't intend to die but, obviously, when I go and put myself up on the front line, that is a possibility and I recognize that.
You guys ready to move back? I just got hit with shrapnel.
VALENCIA: Despite the risks, he says his family supports what he is doing.
VANDYKE: My mother raised me with a set of morals. She raised me with a set of beliefs. She raised me to keep my commitments. She understood when I did not come home after escaping prison in Libya and that I stayed to fight.
VALENCIA: Vandyke is still raising money for his trip, mainly through web sites. He says he plans on being in Syria for at least four weeks.
And when he's done, he'll post a documentary film of his experiences online.
Nick Valencia, CNN, Atlanta.
KOSIK: Imagine seeing this scene at your local school. Thankfully, it's only a training drill, but why are they doing this? I'll tell you next.
KOSIK: Imagine arriving at school, only to find it under siege by a gunman.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Come on, guys! There's people dying in here!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KOSIK: Fortunately, this was just a training drill at Watkins Memorial High School in Ohio. More than a dozen law enforcement agencies participated. The frightening scenario was planned for almost a year to help train officers and prepare students for the worst. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RANDY THORP, SHERIFF, LICKING COUNTY, OHIO: This isn't about seeing how prepared we are. Really, it's to find out how prepared we are not.
LINNIE MILLIGAN, PARENT: It's too close to home. I mean, it's a very -- I have a junior here at the high school, and it's a very scary situation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KOSIK: One of America's most infamous killers is up for parole. Mark David Chapman, the man convicted of gunning down former Beatle, John Lennon, is seeking freedom for the seventh time. Chapman is set to stand before the parole board as early as Tuesday. He's serving 20 years to life and was last denied freedom two years ago. Lennon's widow, Yoko Ono, has, in the past, has been against his release.
The summer heat has been brutal for people in all types of jobs. An auto mechanic in Tulsa, Oklahoma, found a unique way to stay cool.
DAVID O'BRIEN, WEARS KILTS TO STAY COOL: This is the manliest man wear you can wear.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KOSIK: David O'Brien says he won't work another summer day in pants. He prefers kilts, until it cools down in October. Hey, they're functional. But O'Brien admits that he has certain kilt rules for his shop.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
O'BRIEN: Keep your knees down and your feet crossed and everybody's happy and safe then.
This is much cooler, physically cooler than shorts.
Now I understand the female skirt theory.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KOSIK: Although, I'm thinking they don't shave their legs, anyway.
Whitney Houston's last film has arrived in theaters. We'll take a look at how Hollywood handles real-life tragedies when they affect major movies.
KOSIK: Whitney Houston's final film, "Sparkle," hits theaters on Friday -- or it hit theaters on Friday, seven months after the legendary singer died in Los Angeles. Our Kareen Wynter explains how Hollywood handles promoting films after these types of tragedies.
KAREEN WYNTER, CNN ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's likely Hollywood will one day make a movie about the life of Whitney Houston.
WYNTER: But what about the movie the star had just finished shooting when she died?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WHITNEY HOUSTON, SINGER: I know y'all don't love each other that much?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DEBRA MARTIN CHASE, PRODUCER: Inevitably, there's that first question of, well, are we going to -- do we need to change anything?
WYNTER: Houston's sudden passing left studio execs and filmmakers, like producer, Debora Martin Chase, scrambling for answers about the film's release date and its script.
MARTIN CHASE: There are a couple lines in the movie that, in light of events, you hear them and you're like, oh, my god, I can't believe, you know, she's saying that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS: Was my life not enough of a cautionary tale for you?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MARTIN CHASE: The world was asking, were we going to speed up the release of the movie?
JASON E. SQUIRE, CINEMATIC ARTS PROFESSOR: Second thought is, all hands on deck.
WYNTER: Cinematics arts professor, Jason Squire --
BIANCA GOODLOE, ENTERTAINMENT LAWYER: Oh, yes, all the time.
WYNTER: -- and entertainment lawyer, Bianca Goodloe, agree that "Sparkle" is an unfortunate trend in Hollywood, feature films requiring crisis management.
GOODLOE: You really need to repackage them and repurpose them in a way that is not going to continue to put off audiences.
WYNTER: Like earlier this year when neighborhood watchman, George Zimmerman, shot and killed teenager Trayvon Martin.
SQUIRE: Changing title to "The Watch," after it used to be "Neighborhood Watch," because it was inappropriate after the headlines.
WYNTER: And even more recently, in July, when a gunman opened fire on a midnight screening of "The Dark Knight Rises." Tragically, that same audience was among the first to see a preview for another film, which, in a horrific coincidence, showed mobsters shooting at theater patrons.
SQUIRE: But in this case, they can move very quickly, and they did. Removing the trailer for "Gangster Squad" and shifting the release date of that movie.
WYNTER: Not only do studios want to react respectfully to an unexpected disaster, they also have a bottom line to consider.
SQUIRE: They spend mountains of money, obscene amounts of money. So they have to take great care when this issue comes up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HEATH LEDGER, ACTOR: Forgive me, but I --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WYNTER: Heath Ledger died while filming "The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus." Filmmakers were forced to hire additional actors to finish the movie.
Sometimes sensitive footage has to be removed, like the World Trade Center scenes in "Spider-Man," following 9/11, or pulling a movie from an entire country, which happened to the tsunami thriller, "Hereafter," following the Japanese disaster.
(on camera): Real-life catastrophe, it's something Hollywood never expects. But with more and more movies coming out every year and increasingly uncertain times, while studios should always be prepared.
GOODLOE: Keep everything in perspective. Give it time, let it breathe, and this too, shall pass.
WYNTER (voice-over): As for "Sparkle," in the end, no changes were made to the film's content or release date.
CHASE MARTIN: We just said no, because she wouldn't have wanted us to. This is a movie that she loved and she was passionate about.
WYNTER: A movie with its own set of challenges that Martin hopes moves audiences this weekend.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) HOUSTON: It makes me feel like I did something right.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KOSIK: And that's CNN's Kareen Wynter reporting from Hollywood.
Our Don Lemon sat down with filmmaker, Spike Lee, who, as you probably may guess, has a strong opinion about almost everything, including racism disappearing after the election of President Obama.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SPIKE LEE, FILMMAKER: Why would it just disappear? I never thought that. A lot of people did, though. That this is going to be the defining moment, and then -- then we enter the post-racial -- what's that word even mean? Post-racial era, where race does not matter anymore, because we have an African-American president. Come on, now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KOSIK: And you can catch Don's full interview with Spike Lee, where he talks about everything from movies to politics to religion, tonight at 10:00 eastern.
I'm Alison Kosik at CNN World Headquarters in Atlanta. I'll see you right back here one hour from now at 7:00 p.m. Eastern.
"THE SITUATION ROOM" with John King, in for Wolf Blitzer, begins right now.