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President Bush Speaks on Iraq, Terror Today; Summer Safety: Deck Safety; 90-Second Pop

Aired June 2, 2004 - 07:30   ET


BILL HEMMER, CNN ANCHOR: A commencement speech at the U.S. Air Force Academy is now slated, the second key policy speech in as many weeks. And we'll get a live report on what we may hear a bit later today from the White House in a moment.
HEIDI COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: Also this half-hour, our summer safety series continues with what could be the weak link in your outdoor party: your deck. Do you know how to spot a construction flaw that could bring disaster? We're going to talk to you about that and what you need to know.

HEMMER: We're going to shake that railing, right?


HEMMER: And make sure it's sturdy?


HEMMER: That is one of the tips and a lot more.

COLLINS: That's a good one.

HEMMER: Yes. Also, "90-Second Pop" today talking about Britney Spears in Beijing and her deal to keep her clothes on in China -- or so they say.

COLLINS: It's hard to do, you know?

HEMMER: I'm telling you. And a few other topics in a moment here on "90-Second Pop."

COLLINS: President Bush addresses some of the military's newest officers today when he delivers the commencement address at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. Mr. Bush is expected to make the case that a free and democratic Iraq is a positive step in the fight against terror. At the same time, he'll try to garner more international support for a new U.N. draft resolution on Iraq, being circulated by the U.S. and Britain.

Kathleen Koch has some details now from the White House on all of this, this morning.

Good morning to you -- Kathleen.


President Bush this afternoon will be telling cadets at the U.S. Air Force Academy that the struggle in Iraq is very similar to World War II; that it is just as heroic and just as important.

The president is also expected to talk about the new interim government that was named in Iraq yesterday. The president is praising those new leaders, calling them patriots, and saying that they have the talent, commitment and resolve for the challenges that lie ahead.

Of course, the challenge for the U.S. now is to get through the U.N. Security Council a resolution that would solidify international support for the fledgling democracy. A draft of the resolution, the new resolution, was obtained by CNN. It shows that it does say the Iraqi troops would remain under Iraqi control, and it for the very first time sets an exit date for U.S. and coalition forces of the end of 2005, December 2005. It also does say that the troops could leave sooner, if requested by the Iraqi government -- Heidi.

COLLINS: Well, Kathleen, you mentioned the president calling the new Iraqi leaders patriots. But how tricky do you think it's going to be for the U.S. to actually deal with these new leaders, being that some of them have been critical of the American presence there?

KOCH: Well, the administration yesterday tried to put a very positive spin on that. They said these are not America's puppets. And National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice said part of having a democracy is having a free and open dialogue that includes criticism. President Bush himself said he believes that this is a group of people that he can work with. And he said it's really testament to the success of the selection process; that leaders have emerged who are first and foremost loyal to the Iraqi people. And the president said, well, if they criticize the U.S., so be it.

COLLINS: All right, Kathleen Koch, thanks so much for that, coming to us live this morning from the White House -- Bill.

HEMMER: Heidi, about 27 minutes now before the hour.

It's time for another installment of our special series this week. We call it "Surviving Summer." And today, how to keep your deck safe and secure. You might remember last year in Chicago, right near Wrigley Field, it took only seconds for a party to turn from a celebration into a tragedy. A deck collapse there. It killed 13 young men and women. Deck collapses in the state of New York, in Massachusetts and elsewhere also took headlines last summer, sending dozens to the hospital.

How can you make sure your deck is safe?

Jason Cameron is a carpenter on TLC's hit show, "While You Were Out." He's live in Hoboken, New Jersey.

Welcome, James (sic), to AMERICAN MORNING. Good to have you here. JASON CAMERON, CARPENTER, "WHILE YOU WERE OUT": Well, thank you very much.

HEMMER: In general, how big of an issue is this, James (sic)?

CAMERON: It's a huge issue. And I'm glad you guys are doing this segment, because obviously, as you can see right now, if you can pan over, we're on the second -- it's a two-story deck and we're up on the top level.

So, it's a big issue, especially now that summer is starting to begin and deck safety is something that should be taken seriously, because obviously doing this segment tells us that we've got to do it for a reason.

HEMMER: Yes, Jason, let's go through a checklist here, a deck safety checklist, we'll call it. The first issue here is the wood. What do we need to understand about the wood?

CAMERON: Well, you need to understand a couple of things. First of all, a deck, when you actually purchase a house, you're looking at the materials of the deck. The first thing you want to look at is to see what kind of wood they used. And you can tell just by the green tint of this wood right here that this is pressure-treated. So, that's really important to make sure that the wood they use is either pressure-treated or a type of wood that can withstand water and infestation, which is something like cedar.

So, as long as those products are being used, or another product they have out now, which is a composite material, is made out of wood fiber and resins. And this will withstand any type of weather you can put on it. So, that's a really important one.

HEMMER: Jason, the next thing is, check the structure and the stability. I think there's a lot of common sense that comes in here. What do you advise in that area, the structure and stability of a deck?

CAMERON: Yes, a good question. That's really important, and those are just simple things that you can do as a homeowner is to check and to sure that before you have a big party, before you plan to have a lot of people, is just to check simple things. Like, for instance, how solid is the railing? Because this is the key point and this is one of the weak links in a deck, people leaning on it, how solid is it. This is pretty solid. But you want to check the ballisters. You want to check the top rail. You want to make sure everything is solid. If you see nails that coming up, you want to make sure you pound those back in. Check that about once a year. How good is the decking material? Is it solid?

And another thing we can do to make sure that our deck is protected is take a little bit of water, pour it on, and as you can see here, this isn't beading up. If it started to beed up, you would know that you would have good protection on your wood. So, this needs to be resealed, because what's going to happen is this is going to soak in, and that's what we don't want on decking material. HEMMER: You know, Jason, so many of us remember a year ago in Chicago, such a tragedy it was for those young men and women at that party over the weekend. Is there a way to know how many people are suited for a deck? Is there some sort of formula you can give us to let viewers know about their own deck, about how many people can fit at one time?

CAMERON: Yes. Yes, there is a good rule of thumb with that. Forty pounds per square foot on a deck like this. So, this deck that we're standing on now is about 10-by-10, 100 square feet. Multiply that by 40, and that gives you the amount of people -- the amount of weight that you should have up here.

So, no more than probably four or five big guys at one time on this particular deck. So, that's a lot less than what people would normally consider for having on a deck. So keep that in mind, 40 pounds per square foot. Measure out your deck, and that's a good rule of thumb.

HEMMER: Also...

CAMERON: But you've got to remember also that you...

HEMMER: Go ahead.

CAMERON: You've got to remember also that you have things like barbecues and these other things on decks that take up a lot of weight as well. So, you have to factor that into the equation now.

Another good point I want to make real quick about barbecue placement on a deck is where you have it. Obviously, this barbeque is right next to the railing. And what people don't realize is that the grease from this barbecue might get on the banister and this could actually ignite. So, this is not a good place for a barbeque. You want to make sure you are away from exposed wood like this so you're not in danger of starting a fire.

HEMMER: Jason, what about maintenance? What's your advice in that area?

CAMERON: Good question. Maintenance is really important, and it's something that can go -- that you can do very little, but, you know, a little bit of maintenance goes a long ways. So, if you want, we're going to -- I'm actually going to head down and show you some things to look for when you're doing maintenance on a deck. So follow me.

So, basically we're on the other side of the deck right now. A lot of things that people can do that don't take a lot of time, homeowners can prepare for is just to look, inspect the underneath of the deck. And what you want to see are things like this: hangers that are used to -- for the joists to actually attach to the ledger board.

And you want to make sure that when you look at the ledger board up here that you're looking at something like a carriage bolt, which if you look up here is actually attaching the ledger board to the house. This is the major portion of the deck that you want to look at and consider, because this is actually anchoring it to the house, which gives it most of the support. So, you want to make sure that these are carriage bolts that are used and not screwed in, because that's really important. And I think a lot of these accidents are happening because this is not properly attached to the house. So, these are key.

HEMMER: That's a really interesting perspective, too, yes, in that second camera down there. As you say, it is key and critical.

CAMERON: Very much so.

HEMMER: Hey, you were great, Jason. Thanks.

CAMERON: Well, thank you very much.

HEMMER: Jason Cameron, I didn't know they had decks over in Hoboken, but now we know. Thanks, Jason.

CAMERON: We're getting ready for summer. We want to have a good time. All right, thank you, Bill.

HEMMER: You got it for sure. Thanks again for that.

Tomorrow our series continues with a look at safety at the amusement parks, too. Stay tuned for that tomorrow -- Heidi.

COLLINS: Still to come on AMERICAN MORNING, she says she's not that innocent. So, how is Britney Spears going to make it past China's fashion police? We'll look at that in "90-Second Pop."

HEMMER: Also, Heidi, one of the key players in the Enron matter will be on the sideline for the scandal's first criminal trial. We'll tell you why in a moment here.

COLLINS: And beauty queens were on parade last night in Ecuador. But who was the fairest of them all? Find out as AMERICAN MORNING continues.


COLLINS: It's time now for our fast-moving "90-Second Pop" segment. On tap today, that woman, Britney Spears. Can she perform in China, with clothing or without? We're not so sure. The softer side of Siegfried and Roy as well, talking about their jungle cats. And everybody's favorite wizard casting a whole new batch of spells starting on Friday.

Our panel of all-stars today, Andy Borowitz of, "New York" magazine contributing editor Sarah Bernard, and Sam Ruben, entertainment reporter from KTLA.

Thanks from coming all the way in from California today...

SAM RUBEN, KTLA: Sure. COLLINS: ... to talk about Britney to start off with. We were talking about this a little bit yesterday with Jack. And she's going to China, some issues about her wardrobe or lack thereof. What's going to happen here?

SARAH BERNARD, "NEW YORK" MAGAZINE: Well, I think they're a little worried that she may pull a Janet Jackson-type stunt.


BERNARD: I know, can you believe it? But the thing is, I mean, asking Britney to perform without her revealing clothing, it's like asking the Rolling Stones to perform without their guitars. I mean, her cleavage is her instrument.

COLLINS: I don't know. Really?

BERNARD: It's what she does. It would be so silly...

RUBEN: It would be like asking Britney to actually sing live. So...

BERNARD: Sing, yes.

COLLINS: Thank you, Sam.

BERNARD: Have they heard her sing? Because that's not people go to see Britney.


BERNARD: The music is actually typed in anyway, so it would be ridiculous.

BOROWITZ: I think the Chinese take on Britney Spears' breasts, if you will, it's so consistent with their view of like North Korea's nuclear weapons. As long as they remain in their silos, it's OK. That's their view. That's their view.

BERNARD: But, you know, Mariah Carey performed there last year. So, I don't see what they're really worried about.


BERNARD: If Mariah can make it, Britney can make it. I'm confident.

RUBEN: But it really says something about Britney who has had terrible trouble on the road. The reviews have been horrible. The show is not particularly good. But you want to keep the road show going. And even though the ticket price in China is not going to be what it's been elsewhere.

COLLINS: Right. And at some point, if you've done all of these things, you've done all of the dancing and you've had these incredible production for your live performances, and you've done the quote -- what do you do next if you can't sing? I don't know.

RUBEN: You keep the show on the road as long as you can.

BERNARD: You get a lot of dancers.


RUBEN: Right.

COLLINS: Yes, more dancers maybe.

BERNARD: More dancers to stand in front of her.

COLLINS: All right, let's talk Siegfried and Roy a little bit now. Andy, "Father of the Pride," it's an animated cartoon show about Siegfried and Roy's tigers. Some people are looking forward to this, but others who are saying there's no way this thing is going to last. It's going to be on NBC, yes?

BOROWITZ: Right. Well, some people are saying it's kind of creepy to do a show about Siegfried and Roy's tigers, knowing what we know. But, you know, there are other shows that have been creepy that have worked. I'm thinking of, like, "The Facts of Life." You know, Mrs. Garrett (ph), you really don't get creepier than that.


BOROWITZ: But, you know, I did...

BERNARD: I love Mrs. Garrett (ph).

BOROWITZ: I'm sorry. I just thought it was an apt -- I thought it was an apt comparison.

COLLINS: Well, we're looking at a little bit of it right now.

RUBEN: It's a co-production with DreamWorks, the super state-of- the-art animation, and we find out what it's really like to work with Siegfried and Roy. And the people have gone to Las Vegas, obviously, and have seen, or the secret gardens of Siegfried and Roy, which is a scary place.

COLLINS: Really?

RUBEN: Yes, well, this is where the tigers live and everything.


RUBEN: But the dilemma is this was, of course, in production long before the accident that Roy suffered.

BOROWITZ: Well, you know, I did my homework. There has never been a successful animated series based on an unfortunate mauling incident. So, I think this is really -- it really is...

BERNARD: Well, you know (UNINTELLIGIBLE)? COLLINS: Your research is good.

BOROWITZ: Yes. I Googled it. It's a huge gamble they are playing there.

BERNARD: You know what I don't understand about this? I thought the whole point was to make things that were less expensive.


BERNARD: I mean, reality TV is so much cheaper than a sitcom. This cost $2.5 million an episode to make.


BERNARD: And it just seems unbelievable. I said that "The Swan" was my least favorite show, but I can tell you this is going to be it. This just seems like the worst idea. I can't even imagine.

BOROWITZ: The only thing they have going for it is that the tigers are approximately the same color as Donald Trump. So, that might be a good thing.

BERNARD: Do they have the bouffant?


COLLINS: Yes, maybe more of the hair, that would be a better comparison.

All right, Sam, let's talk Harry Potter now. "The Prisoner of Azkaban." I can't ever say that.

RUBEN: I can hardly say it either (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

COLLINS: Yes. It's almost like Quidditch or whatever that is.

RUBEN: Exactly.

BOROWITZ: You're doing great.

RUBEN: You're an aficionado. If you liked one and two, you'll certainly like three. And the fact is there is a new director on board. It's a slightly -- the kids have grown up to a degree, and there's an excellent -- and Andy will appreciate -- a great hair joke in the movie. But other than that, I didn't think it was anything particularly departure. Again, it will be extraordinarily successful. It is relatively faithful to the book. But it's no revelation...

BERNARD: It's much darker. The third book is much darker than the first two. I actually liked it the most out of all of them, because I'm a huge Harry Potter fan and I've read them all!

RUBEN: And huge Harry Potter fans, this is the good news, will not be disappointed. But the introduction of this new villainous character, Serious Black. BERNARD: Serious Black is not a great name (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

RUBEN: They really do have terrific names.

COLLINS: So, there isn't, as you see, you know, these people who have been reading the books and, again, just a reminder, it's not just kids. I mean, there are a lot of adults who are very interested in them.

RUBEN: Right.


COLLINS: They are not going to be disappointed. That means they haven't been disappointed obviously in the past with the other movies that have come out.

RUBEN: This is turning out to be one of the most successful franchises.


RUBEN: And, I mean, there's already another movie in production. I think they're going to, you know, bang out as many as they can.

BOROWITZ: And there's a lot of concern about piracy actually of this film. As a matter of fact, Warner Brothers is actually shipping the films in cans labeled "New York Minute," because they are very nervous about it.

COLLINS: All right, guys, thanks so much this morning. Andy, Sarah and Sam, thanks once again, you guys -- Bill.

HEMMER: Heidi, thanks for that. Fourteen minutes now before the hour. In a moment here, a big day ahead for Scott Peterson's defense team. What are they up against? What will the arguments be presented in court? We'll talk about that when we continue in a moment here on AMERICAN MORNING.


COLLINS: Forty-nine minutes past the hour now, and here's what's happening in other news today.

An early morning blast in Iraq has injured nearly two dozen people. Iraqi police say a car bomb detonated on a busy street in northern Baghdad. According to Iraqi authorities, the vehicle exploded twice, the second blast following about one minute later. The target of the bombing is not yet clear.

The U.S. and Great Britain are calling for multinational forces to leave Iraq no later than January of 2006. That's according to a revised U.N. resolution introduced just hours after members of the interim Iraqi government were announced yesterday. The draft also calls for the interim government to have control over the police and the Iraqi army. To California now. Defense attorneys for Scott Peterson present his side of the story today. The prosecution wrapped up its opening statements yesterday. Jurors were shown photos, including ones of Peterson with his mistress and images taken during his wife's autopsy. Peterson is charges with killing his wife, Laci, and their unborn son in December of 2002.

And finally, to a much lighter note now. An Aussie beauty beating out Miss USA for the Miss Universe title. Miss Australia, Jennifer Hawkins, was crowned Miss Universe 2004 in Ecuador last night. Happy girl she was. Hawkins, who is 5 foot 11, beat out women from 80 countries, including Miss USA, Shandi Finnessey, who was the first runner-up. So good for her. Bill, I'm sure you watched that, right?.

HEMMER: I missed it, but that's why we have videotape.


HEMMER: Thanks, Heidi. Back to Jack, the question of the day.

Good morning.

JACK CAFFERTY, CNN ANCHOR: How are you doing, Bill?

"CBS Evening News" is out with some tapes that could be very bad news for Enron. Traders are heard on the tapes gloating about their role in the western power crisis, apparently confirming that they deliberately conspired to drive up prices.

Here, a trader rejoices about a forest fire that shut down a major transmission line into California.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Burn, baby, burn. That's a beautiful thing.


CAFFERTY: Others on the tapes congratulate each other on cashing in on the power crisis.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They're (EXPLETIVE DELETED) taking all the money back from you guys? All that money you guys stole from those poor grandmothers in California?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah, Grandma Millie, man.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah, now she wants her (EXPLETIVE DELETED) money back for the power you've charged right up, jammed right up her (EXPLETIVE DELETED) for a (EXPLETIVE DELETED) $250 a megawatt hour.

(END AUDIO CLIP) CAFFERTY: Unbelievable. The tapes also appear to link top Enron officials Ken Lay and Jeff Skilling to the schemes that started the crisis.

The question is this: How damaging are the new Enron tapes? We're getting a lot of interesting mail on this, this morning.

Paul in Hellertown, Pennsylvania, writes this: "Let's stop being naive. The Enron pirates can be tarred and feathered with dollar bills, dragged down Wall Street and hung by their wallets until they're poor, and it won't make any difference. The more money there is to be made, the more it will corrupt, and there's simply no end to the future millionaire wannabes."

T.S. writes this: "While the conversations on the tapes certainly don't help paint Enron in a positive light, it is far from conclusively damning for either Ken Lay or Jeff Skilling. Thirty- something-year-old traders gloating over their profitable trades has long been endemic to capital markets. It's unlikely to change."

And Saul in Baltimore makes this observation: "Gray Davis must be wishing the recall election was this year."

If you remember, one of the reasons Arnold Schwarzenegger is currently the governor of California is that Gray Davis was blamed in part for the big energy problems out there, and that was one of the factors that led to his being booted out.

HEMMER: The summer of 2001 it was a huge story every day, rolling blackouts in that state?

CAFFERTY: Yes. And the other big story is, where is Ken Lay? He's still out there walking around some place. Gray Davis is out of a job. But Ken Lay is still a free guy.


HEMMER: Our friend over here may have some answers.


HEMMER: But we can't talk to him yet. Let's get a commercial break. Back in a moment here on AMERICAN MORNING.


HEMMER: Welcome back, everybody.

Six Enron defendants are slated to go on trial next week. One key witness, though, will sit this one out. Andy Serwer explains in another check of "Minding Your Business."

Good morning.

SERWER: Good morning to you. HEMMER: Andy Fastow, no-go.

SERWER: A good guess. You know, speaking of what Jack was talking about with those Enron tapes, that "burn, baby, burn" I think will go down in infamy. I mean, you are talking about a forest fire in California, and these people rooting for it. I mean, it's really despicable stuff.

Anyway, you're right. There is a trial starting next week in Houston. Ex-CFO, chief financial officer, Andy Fastow will not be called to testify against the defendants, which include some people from Merrill Lynch. This trial has to do with Enron using a $12 million Nigerian barge deal. It's the old Nigerian barge deal trick trying to obfuscate and make money, and they did. And the whole deal was allegedly phony. I think we still have to say "allegedly" here.

Fastow is not being called to testify because these are still little fish, Bill, and they are going to save him. I talked to Jeff Toobin about this downstairs. You don't want to call a key witness like that, because once you open him up, the defense attorneys can go after him on anything. I think that what they're doing here is saving Fastow for when they go after Skilling.

HEMMER: In later cases and later trials, then he may take the stand.

SERWER: That's right.

HEMMER: The old Nigerian barge deal.

SERWER: The old Nigerian barge deal.

HEMMER: The markets were kind of unfazed yesterday.


HEMMER: We thought the 42 bucks a barrel was really going to have an impact.

SERWER: Right, yes.

HEMMER: Why not?

SERWER: Well, I think a couple of things were going on. You can see here, stocks were up across the board modestly. It's still not bad. The reason why they were up, even with oil going up so much, is because, first of all, it was anticipated. This event in Saudi Arabia happened on Saturday. Stocks have been oversold. And I think so far the American economy has been sucking up the higher price of oil. And it remains to be seen how much longer it can do that.

HEMMER: That's the point.


HEMMER: Thank you, Andy. SERWER: You're welcome.


HEMMER: In a moment here, a question, is your medicine making you fat? Dr. Sanjay Gupta joins us next hour to tell us about it. Back in a moment at the top of the hour here on AMERICAN MORNING.


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