(CNN) - A massive landslide in Washington has destroyed one home and threatens more than a dozen others, an official and CNN affiliates in the Seattle area reported.
This morning on "Starting Point," Washington State's chief hazards geologist Tim Walsh reports on the latest into what caused a massive landslide, and what methods they're using to measure the area.
The "Starting Point" team discusses a move by a New Hampshire school to ban dodgeball and other "human target" games.
As hundreds of teachers took to Chicago’s streets Wednesday to protest the closure of 54 public schools, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago Public School CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett refused to negotiate. The consolidation of many of the city’s schools is necessary, they argue, as classrooms are half-empty and CPS faces a $1 billion budget deficit.
Byrd-Bennett joins “Starting Point” on Thursday to discuss the city’s efforts to consolidate schools and to improve education for Chicago’s students.
“Our guarantee is that no child will go to a school that is lesser performing than the school that they’re in,” Byrd-Bennett explains, adding that for many years students have been “trapped in under-utilized and under-resourced schools.”
The consolidation plan has come under fire for potentially endangering students that will have to travel farther to attend their new schools. The Chicago Teachers Union warns that closing schools in certain neighborhoods may expose students to gang violence.
“No child will travel more than two blocks in an average than from where they currently live and we are working very, very directly with the Chicago police department, our faith-based organizations, and our neighborhood-organizations to ensure that there’s safe passage for our children on the routes to and from school,” Byrd-Bennett says on “Starting Point.”
Lake County Sheriff's deputy Jessica McGregor says it's all in a day's work.
Last Tuesday, she found herself up against a 7-foot alligator while conducting her regular patrol duty at a middle school in Clermont, Fla.
Classes were about to dismiss, so Deputy McGregor decided for the student's safety to wrestle the alligator herself.
This morning on "Starting Point," McGregor explains her decision to make a move on the animal, and how her childhood prepared her for the challenge.
This morning on "Starting Point," Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) weighs in on the expected House and Senate votes on separate budgets and argues why the Democratic budget plan is better for the country.
Rep. Van Hollen also weighs in on the RNC's 'autopsy' report reviewing the failures of the 2012 election.
Vatican deputy spokesperson Father Thomas Rosica on importance of Pope Francis's installation mass.
On Monday, the Republican Party released details of an internal review that was launched after losing the 2012 presidential election. In an unprecedented move, the GOP has decided to make the results of the review public, which includes 219 specific recommendations. This morning, CNN contributor Ari Fleischer joins “Starting Point” from The National Press Club in Washington where the RNC will be presenting its report.
"The problem the party has is we've lost five of the last six presidential election popular votes,” Fleischer says. “America demographically is changing and Republicans very much remains a party that is ideologically moored in the 1980’s without figuring out what comes next."
The former press secretary for President George W. Bush says the land of reform lies within the gubernatorial level where the GOP has 30 governors and 315 electoral votes throughout the United States. He adds that these states are “where the nation’s innovators live” and “where people with Republican core conservative principles are connecting with people’s lives and making them better winning large shares of minority votes.”
“We blow a whistle on ourselves,” says Fleischer of the report. He adds that the report details “how the party needs to be more inclusive, more welcoming, more inviting conservatism.”
Overall, Fleischer says the party has lost the “ability to be persuasive with people who don’t agree with us on every issue.” He says the remedy for this particular issue is doing “what the Governors have done.” He adds, “If somebody doesn't agree with us on every issue we can still work with them and get things done. That’s part of what republicans historically have done. We need to get back to doing that again.”
A health story of growing interest this week has moms on alert for a staple food in the diets of thousands of children. Two women are taking on Kraft, asking them to change their Macaroni and Cheese. Vani Hari and Lisa Leake are food bloggers leading a campaign and petition on Change.org to get Kraft to remove two color dye ingredients from their beloved Macaroni and Cheese.
Their online petition states: "We recently discovered that several American products are using harmful additives that are not used—and in some cases banned—in other countries. [...] Kraft Macaroni and Cheese in the US contains the artificial food dyes Yellow 5 and Yellow 6. These unnecessary—yet potentially harmful—dyes are not in Kraft Macaroni and Cheese in other countries, including the UK, because they were removed due to consumer outcry."
Lisa Leake, a mom and 100DaysofRealFood.com blogger, and Vani Hari, an aunt and Foodbabe.com blogger, both share the reasons for their campaign on “Starting Point” this morning.
The bloggers say their aim was not to target Kraft alone. “These are American companies using ingredients in our food that are not used, and in some cases banned elsewhere. And we decided we needed to do something about it,” Lisa Leake says. “We strategically picked Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, an iconic food product, trying to get our message across.” That message is that these unnecessary artificial food dyes are being used for cosmetic reasons only and pose health risks. “And we'd like to get them to get them out of our food.”
Hari says they picked Kraft to send that message more effectively. "We didn't just pick Kraft for no reason. They are the largest food company headquartered in the United States," Hari explains. "They have the largest footprint to actually be the leader here."
Carnival Cruise Lines faces another public relations problem this morning. The company confirms that yet another one of its ships, the Carnival Legend, is experiencing an engine malfunction and will cut out a stop in Grand Cayman today to return to its scheduled destination in Tampa. That's on top of a separate problem with the Carnival Dream, which got held in port yesterday in Saint Maarten because of a faulty generator. It caused problems with elevators and toilets.
This is all just one month after the Carnival Triumph lost power and had to be towed back to port, with vacationers enduring grueling conditions. A class action lawsuit filed late last month over that incident is still pending. Jack Hickey is maritime lawyer who specializes in cruise line liability. He has spoken out on Carnival Cruise disasters in the past and offers his insight into whether Carnival can recover from this slew of bad press on “Starting Point” live from Miami this morning.
Hickey says recovery of Carnival's image depends on the situation in question. "You have to have negligence,” Hickey explains. “Plus you have to have either physical injury, or an exposure to actual physical injury. So we don't really, with regard to the Dream, it's really not the exposure to the actual physical injury like we saw on the Triumph. He says passengers aboard the Triumph "were exposed to days and days of raw sewage in the hallways, et cetera. Here we have horrible conditions. Here we do have the toilets backing up, once again, but apparently not over the entire ship."
Hickey also notes that Carnival still hasn’t come out and said much about the Triumph. While the industry is resilient, Hickey says the lack of transparency in the industry regarding what’s going wrong is leading to people filing inquiries and “some immediate fallout with regard to Carnival.”
This morning on "Starting Point," Sen. Dan Coats (R-IN) weighs in on President Obama's dinner with GOP senators, which he attended, and explains how it could change relations in Washington, DC.
ON THE ATMOSPHERE AT THE DINNER:
It was a cordial dinner, but it was a serious dinner. We talked about the subjects we should talk about, the debt and deficit and plunged into more and more debt through out of control government spending. I was glad the president took the opportunity to talk to us personally. I've been talking to him a lot from the Senate floor. I'm not sure he's listening on CNN and C-Span. It was nice to be across the table from him and be able to express exactly my deep concerns about how we fix this fiscal mess.
ON WHETHER TALKS GOT CONTENTIOUS:
It did not get contentious, but it was serious and we had, I think, a very adult discussion. Instead of being on the campaign trail, the president trying to make his point, we were working together and talking together about the real essence of our problem and how we can get this thing turned from this never-ending short-term fix fiscal cliff stuff into a long-term solution to our fiscal problem. I was pleased that it was that substantive.
O'BRIEN: Senator, hold on one second. I want to turn to my panel for a moment. I'm trying to decide if I like this idea of the negotiation and progress. As the senator described, right, listen, I've been talking to him from the Senate floor meaning the president, and that doesn't seem to be particularly effective. So is it better that you have these sorts of small dinners or should Congress actually work in Congress where they belong?
ON CRITICISM THAT PRESIDENT OBAMA DOES LESS LISTENING, MORE TALKING:
This was just the opposite of what we've seen. Us on our platform trying to get a message to him and him on his platform a lot of times campaigning outside of Washington. This was very substantive. He did listen. It was a very serious discussion and I hope that it leads to action. You know, talk is one thing.
ON WHAT HE THINKS THE OUTCOME OF REP. RYAN AND REP. VAN HOLLEN'S LUNCH WILL BE:
Those are two key figures that are going to have to bring back to their caucuses details of where we need to go. But I think the president's reaching out now, maybe it's a consequence of "The Sequester," all the over hype about this is going to be doom's day for America has not worked.
And I think getting back now to the individual, let's talk about this. Let's get serious and let's do it in a way that we can - obviously we have to come together in the end to produce something, as the president said.
But his reaching out, I think we ought to accept it for what it was and we ought to be thankful that we've had this opportunity and that the president is doing this. As I said, it's got to lead to action. It can't just be talk because the situation we're dealing with is very serious.