Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-Calif.) on last-minute efforts to avoid massive forced spending cuts to public services.
On Thursday, Pope Benedict XVI began facing his final hours of as the sitting religious leader of the world's 1.2 billion Catholics. Earlier that morning Pope Benedict XVI met with more than 100 cardinals who must now choose his replacement. His decision to stand down - the first pope to do so in six centuries - has thrown the Roman Catholic Church into a whirl of activity. This morning, the CNN contributor Father Edward Beck joins “Starting Point” to talk about his resignation.
Regarding Pope Benedict XVI’s successor, Beck says, “there's a lot of talk that the Catholic Church is in the developing world, in Africa and Asia, so I want to go out a limb and I want to throw someone out from the developing nation of the Philippines, Cardinal Tagle.”
In November of last year at age 55, Tagle became the world's second youngest cardinal. Beck says Tagle also interesting because "he is so humble.”
“When he was bishop in… the Philippines, he would ride his bicycle. He would encounter all the people on the streets. He would invite the poor in his residence to eat,” Father Beck says.
Rep. Buck McKeon (R-CA), chair of the House Armed Services Committee, on the effect of forced spending cuts on military.
U.S. Olympic gymnast McKayla Maroney became an Internet sensation after her not impressed face went viral. And that face was photographed on the medal podium giving a brief look of disappointment after she won a silver medal in the vaults. But her real claim to fame is helping the women's gymnastics team win the gold at last summer's Olympic games.
Now Maroney is catapulting into a new field acting. She appears in the CW TV show called "Heart of Dixie" and working with 7-UP on a new line of sodas.
This morning on "Starting Point," Maroney talks with Soledad about her life after the Olympics, and her plan to return to recapture gold in 2016.
On Thursday, Pope Benedict XVI pledged an "unconditional obedience" and respect to whoever takes up the reins after his dramatic resignation. During his final hours as pope he is expected to depart the Courtyard of San Damaso in his chopper and land in Castel Gandolfo – his temporary retirement home. Pope Benedict XVI is the first pope to resign in six centuries. At 8 p.m. (2 p.m. ET), the pope will officially be in retirement. This morning Sister Simone Campbell, Executive Director of NETWORK joins "Starting Point" to discuss the pope’s resignation becoming effective today.
Pope Benedict XVI’s legacy is defined by two significant and historic factors, Campbell says. The first is “his amazing teaching with regards to the economic challenges of our globalized world and really challenging the first world to be mindful of justice for everyone.” The second revolves around the “fact that he acknowledged his limitations in aging and has resigned. I think it was a very courageous act on his part and I think that boldness hopefully will help open up some new opportunities in the church.”
Campbell, who also serves as a member of the Sisters of Social Service, says the likelihood that the new pope will push hard to change the role for women within the Catholic Church is “probably slim to none.” She however remains hopeful adding “as we embrace reality of our modern world, women are moving more into roles of leadership and, quite frankly, the church needs us there more than they ever have. And so I think maybe it's going to happen just by doing. Often law follows practice, not leads practice.”
Msgr. Rick Hilgartner on the next steps in the process for choosing a successor for Pope Benedict XVI.
The story of six-year-old Coy Mathis has captured the nation's attention. Her parents, Jeremy and Kathryn, have filed a lawsuit against a Colorado school district due to the school no longer allowing Coy to use the female restroom at her school. Coy was born with male sex organs but identifies herself as female, and had been previously allowed to use her school's girls' bathrooms.
Jeremy, Kathryn and Coy talk with Soledad on "Starting Point" this morning to explain the move to sue the school district.
"We actually have no idea what caused them to go from being so accepting to her, to completely change, and start discriminating against her. We never had any issues with other classmates or any parents at all," Kathryn says.
The school claims it was accommodating Coy, and now wants her to use the boy’s bathroom, the staff bathroom, or the bathroom in the nurse’s office located on the other side of the school. According to the lawsuit, the district attorney for the school, W. Kelly Dude, claims that as Coy's body develops in the years to come, her use of the girls' restroom will make some students and parents uncomfortable.
"The immediate problem with that is we're not in middle school yet, we're not in high school yet, and they're punishing a six-year-old for something that hasn't happened, and may not happen. Her body development is none of their business. That's up to her and her doctors in the future. That's not something we're at right now, and right now we need to be protecting a six-year-old not a middle schooler or a high schooler," Kathryn says.
Coy's father Jeremy stands firmly that the school is discriminating against his daughter, and he feels that the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act applies to Coy. The act reads, "Places of public accommodation may not deny any person participation, entry or services based upon the person's sexual orientation or transgender status."
Jeremy believes that the school is “in fact discriminating… I know they state they have been accommodating, but what they're doing is discriminating, forcing her to use a separate bathroom from all the rest of the kids or forcing a little girl to go in the boys' room, and that's not okay."
Currently, Coy is being homeschooled until this matter is resolved.
See an extended version of the interview in the clip below.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Coy Mathis and her parents, Jeremy and Kathryn, will be guests on "Starting Point" live Thursday, Feb. 28th in 7:00am E.T. hour.
It's a dilemma few schools have ever had to face: First-grader Coy, who was born with male sex organs but identifies herself as female, had been allowed to use her school's girls' bathrooms until school officials barred her from doing so after winter break, her family says.
Coy's parents, Jeremy and Kathryn Mathis, have taken her out of school after the incident.
The district "took into account not only Coy but other students in the building, their parents, and the future impact a boy with male genitals using a girls' bathroom would have as Coy grew older," the school district's attorney, W. Kelly Dude, told CNN Tuesday.
"In the end we just want what is the best for Coy," Mathis said, explaining why the complaint was filed. "We want her to be able to go back to school and be treated equally without discrimination and harassment."
The case has now received national attention and the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund, which is representing Coy, said it has filed a complaint against the state.
"For many transgender people, discrimination is a daily part of life. Unfortunately for Coy, it has started very early," he said, adding that the complaint is a "test of Colorado's Anti-Discrimination Act."
On "Starting Point" Thursday, Feb. 28th at 7am Eastern, Coy Mathis and her parents, Jeremy and Kathryn, will talk with Soledad O'Brien live to explain the lawsuit, how the incident has affected the family, the response they've received and their goals going forward.
We want to hear from you: Where do you stand on this story? How do you think the parents and the school should have reacted in this situation? What would you want to ask the Mathis family about their situation?
This morning on "Starting Point with Soledad O'Brien," Rep. Aaron Schock (R-Ill.) weighs in on the stalemate in Congress over working to avoid forced massive spending cuts.
Rush transcript available after the jump.
There's a new book about Jesus that's getting a very big celebrity endorsement from the pop star Justin Bieber. Justin shared a message with his 7 million followers on Instagram, and the message was this:
"So proud of my pastor. This book comes out on the 26th. Judah is the best speaker of our generation, read this book. You won't regret it."
The book is called "Jesus is____" and it's written by Judah Smith. He's the lead pastor of the City Church in Seattle, and he joins Soledad and the "Starting Point" team to explain why he hopes to create a discussion around who Jesus was and what he means to people.