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Ivan in Gulf of Mexico; Family Tensions Rise in Peterson Case; Health Issues and Long Distance Flying; Top 10 Buzzwords

Aired September 14, 2004 - 08:30   ET


HEIDI COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: Hey, it's 8:30 now on this AMERICAN MORNING. We are watching Hurricane Ivan this morning for any signs of significant weakening, although that's not really what we're hearing. It is down to a Category 4 now, but just by the slimmest of margins.
One-fifty six, Category 5 -- winds are at 155 right now. So, we're going to get the forecast, also talk to the mayor of Panama City Beach.

BILL HEMMER, CNN ANCHOR: That's a monster on the satellite, isn't it?

How about Oprah?

COLLINS: Take a look at the audience.

HEMMER: Yes, 276 brand new cars given away -- yesterday's show. The first show to start her 19th season. And they were going nuts in Chicago. We'll get a report on how she's able to pull it off with some folks at GM and some pretty happy people on the way also.

About seven million dollars to GM I think, right -- $28,000 per car and weeks and weeks and weeks of very good publicity, too. So, we'll get to that also in a moment.

COLLINS: People will be talking about it for a while, that's true.

We want to check in with stories now in the news with Daryn Kagan at the CNN Center once again. Morning, Daryn.

DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: Heidi, good morning. Just a few hours from now, Senate Intelligence hearings start on whether Porter Goss should be confirmed as the new head of the Central Intelligence Agency. Goss is an ex-CIA agent and retired Republican Congressman from Florida.

President Bush wants him confirmed, and it is likely he will be approved.

The battle for the White House is being fought this morning over healthcare. In just a couple of hours, President Bush is expected to detail his plans for improving the healthcare system at a rally in Colorado.

Rival John Kerry is promising to lower the rising healthcare costs for seniors. About an hour from now, Kerry will appear at a senior center in Milwaukee.

New options to improve vision for people who are nearsighted. An implantable lens, one approval from the Food and Drug Administration yesterday. Surgeons -- if you can deal with these pictures at breakfast time -- slip the lens through a small incision and implants it in front of the natural lens.

The tiny hard plastic lens then helps the eye create in-focus images.

And talk about being in the lion's den -- a man in Australia climbed into a zoo enclosure housing four big cats this morning -- watch these pictures.

Witnesses say he pulled out a Bible and asked onlookers if they wanted him to pat the animals during their feeding time. Just hours ago, the staff coaxed the man out of the den. He is now undergoing psychiatric evaluation.

No name on the man -- you might expect him to be named Daniel, but we'll have to check on that and get you more later.

COLLINS: Yes, good point. So, how long was he in there, Daryn?

KAGAN: Story doesn't say.

COLLINS: Sounds like several hours if they just coaxed him out of there.

KAGAN: Too long. Too long. Any amount of time in the lion's den is too long.

COLLINS: Yes. Probably true. All right Daryn thanks so much.

HEMMER: Hurricane Ivan is being called an extremely dangerous Category 4 storm this morning just a tick below Category 5, headed for the U.S. Gulf State region -- Ivan ravaged Cuba's western tip.

Hundred-sixty mile an hour winds there, heavy rains, unrelenting surfs destroying homes and businesses.

Ivan now making its way through the Gulf of Mexico; a Hurricane Watch now in effect from Morgan City, Louisiana which is essentially New Orleans to Saint Marks, Florida, which is south of Tallahassee.

Lee Sullivan has seen it all before. He was Chief of Police in Panama City Beach when Opal came on shore nine years ago. He's now the mayor. Mr. Mayor, good morning to you.

How you getting ready? What have you done so far?

MAYOR LEE SULLIVAN, PANAMA CITY BEACH, FLORIDA: Well, there are -- there are issues about boarding up, obviously, protecting your property, and there are issues about leaving places that present a danger, and in this particular case the mandatory evacuation covers the entire island of Panama City Beach. Once you do that, you must understand in all humility that you are at the mercy of the weather and you can prepare but you can't manage it. You just have to take what she brings to you.

HEMMER: Yes. Mayor Sullivan, I mentioned you were there in 1995 with Opal. What was the toughest aspect of that storm that caused so much damage in your area?

SULLIVAN: We looked at Opal coming in as a Cat 5. It fortunately dropped to a 3 before it made landfall. We were on the east side of that, the eye probably about 40-50 miles to the west of us, and it brought us to our knees.

The way that blew out all the bottom of the buildings, where it didn't blow the bottom of the buildings out, it went around so the Gulf of Mexico crossed the street.

Power lines, structures -- we had to -- I had to get front end loaders and road graders to push the debris out of the street before we could even begin to move around.

And then, we had a lot of people who just went post-dumb and stayed during that. I don't think they will do that again, but that was an issue for us trying to get the people that were trapped because in their stupidity they had made the decision that they would play and stay and that's just not a good thing.

HEMMER: Let's hope it's not a repeat performance on 2004. Thank you, Mayor.

SULLIVAN: I think -- yes -- I think because of what's happened in South Florida that this particular part of Florida has a serious respect for what could happen to us this week.

HEMMER: You talk about Frances, talking about Charley, talking about Andrew from 12 years ago with lessons learned in a very, very tough way. Thank you.

Lee Sullivan is the mayor there in Panama City Beach and Chad Myers again watching that storm.


COLLINS: A family feud has become a side bar in Scott Peterson's double murder trial. Tensions between Scott and Laci's family boiled over the last weekend.

When the defendant's family arrived at the courthouse yesterday they were ordered to sit at the back of the courtroom, and later they returned to their seats behind Scott.

Former San Mateo County prosecutor Dean Johnson joining us now from Redwood City, California to talk more about this. Nice to see you again Mr. Johnson.

Why was the Peterson family moved around in court? DEAN JOHNSON, FMR. SAN MATEO COUNTY PROSECUTOR: Well, there have been a couple of incidents. One a few days ago in which Lee Peterson, Scott Peterson's father started a verbal altercation with Laci Peterson's stepfather, Ron Grantski.

And then later, when Lee took the stand, it was said -- although I couldn't see this since I sit behind the Peterson family -- it was said that Sharon Rocha, Laci's mother, was mouthing the words "liar, liar, all lies" during the testimony.

Judge Delucchi apparently felt that this was disruptive of the jury and felt that both families needed a time out, so he said that for the week, for this coming week, he was going to put the families in the back of the courtroom instead of in the front of the courtroom.

Apparently now he has relented in that decision, the Petersons are back in the front of the courtroom.

Interestingly enough, the Rocha family was not to be seen yesterday.

COLLINS: Yes, talk about that a little bit if you would, Mr. Johnson. Does it seem like from what you're seeing in that courtroom that it's just become too much for Laci's family as well? Just too much of a strain?

JOHNSON: Well, there's no question that the tensions of this case are wearing on both families, but I particularly have noticed with the Rocha family, Sharon Rocha, sometimes tearful with -- during fairly innocuous testimony and it's obvious that the tensions are wearing on her.

They did take a day off last week. I think just to rest and recuperate. Right now, we've seen the Rochas absent for two of the recent days of testimony. And I hope they come back, because its beginning to look as if they may have abandoned the case themselves, and they need to be there to support those prosecutors and to remind these people that they are the family of these two dead victims.

COLLINS: Obviously incredibly difficult. Let's talk about the testimony, though for just a moment. The day began with testimony from a woman -- this was the neighbor. Her name Kim McGregor, a witness connected to her. She was the neighbor that apparently broke into the Peterson's home back in January and stole Laci's wedding dress.

Now, how significant was this testimony?

JOHNSON: Well, one of the theories that the defense has floated is that Kim McGregor was somehow obsessed with Scott Peterson and wanted to replace Laci. They've suggested that Kim McGregor met with some Pacific Islander men and plotted with them to abduct Laci Peterson.

The actual witness was one of these Pacific Islanders who did in fact meet with Kim McGregor in his home the day before Laci went missing. And the prosecution I think very effectively made the point that look this is a nice man, he's not the boogey man, he has nothing to do with Laci or Scott Peterson or with their disappearance.

So, the prosecution is systematically poking holes in the theories heretofore raised by the defense.

COLLINS: All right also there was a GPS tracking device that was put on Scott Peterson's car shortly after Laci disappeared. How strong do you think that evidence is going to turn out to be?

JOHNSON: I think it's eventually going to turn out to be very important because the prosecution is going to show through this GPS evidence that once the search for Laci Peterson turned to the San Francisco Bay, which is where he was fishing and where the bodies were found, that he had a manic interest in this search, and that he repeatedly went to the Bay time after time after time in rental cars.

Right now, we're hearing the technical foundations, the basis for this GPS evidence or we heard that yesterday. We haven't' yet heard about all of the trips but we expect that to be coming soon.

COLLINS: All right Dean Johnson, thanks as always for breaking it down for us. Live from Redwood City, California this morning.

HEMMER: How about a good feel-good story right now? TV studio audiences sometimes are lucky enough to get little gifts, maybe a book or something like that.

What Oprah Winfrey's audience got yesterday though was mind- blowing.


OPRAH WINFREY: All right, open your boxes. Open your boxes, one, two, three.


HEMMER: It only got better after that. Two hundred and seventy- six people in Oprah's audience got a brand new $28,000 car that cost GM about $7 million to donate the Pontiac G-6s. Everyone there was someone Oprah apparently knew needed a car through e-mail correspondence or mail correspondence.

They were all there yesterday in Chicago. Then they all went outside, walked along the sidewalk and saw this huge parking lot just loaded with car after car after car.

COLLINS: Can you imagine?

HEMMER: And red ribbons on top of every one of them.

COLLINS: One of the people in the audience had like four hundred thousand miles on her car if that's even possible; probably not driving it any more. Great story. All right. Still to come on AMERICAN MORNING, Rocky and James Bond have a new home in Hollywood. Andy Serwer is "Minding Your Business" on that.

HEMMER: Also, we're paging the good doctor. He's got the low down on a potentially deadly health risk when you're flying coach find out what you can do to prevent it in a moment. Back after this.


HEMMER: Long distance flying can present some serious health issues for some airline travelers. A lot of us fly, and a good topic today with Dr. Sanjay Gupta talking about the new guidelines to address this issue. Good morning to you.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN SR. MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning. They call it coach syndrome, Bill. It's when you fly on a plane for too long you don't get up and move around you can develop a blood clot in your leg that can potentially be a problem.

Now these blood clots are also called venus thrombosis, deep vein thrombosis, or DVT. What is it?

It's a blood clot that forms deep in the body, usually in one of the deep veins of the leg. The reason it is so dangerous it can break off and travel through the blood stream. A lot of people get these and for that reason doctors in the -- the recent journal called "Chest" put out some new guidelines in how you might be able to prevent these sorts of blood clots from forming in the first place, especially if you are a frequent traveler.

Here are the guidelines: and first of all they talk about a medication known as Heparin, a low molecular weight Heparin. They actually in some cases doctors will recommend that you actually give yourself a shot of this prior to a long flight for example for an international flight or something like that.

It's already used in operating rooms and hospitals, Bill, for hip and knee surgery to prevent blood clots in those cases. There's also these stockings they're called below the knee compression stockings. You may have seen them. They're white in color; they usually come up to just about the knee. You can buy them at your local pharmacy.

Those are the guidelines doctors are recommending. There's also common sense-ical guidelines. I think we all know these. Don't wear tight fitting clothes if you're going to be on a long flight. Stay really well hydrated. And if you take a drink make sure to get even more water.

Stretch those calf muscles.

HEMMER: Would you recommend aspirin? Does that work here or not?

GUPTA: You know, it's really interesting. And everyone says aspirin seems like such a simple thing: Why not just take an aspirin? Couple of problems. One is that there have really been no studies to show that it works in the long term in terms of preventing these clots. Two, is that aspirin does have some potential side effects. It can irritate your stomach, it can predispose you to bleeding and it lasts longer in terms of its blood thinning effect than you need.

You don't need for it to last seven days, which is what aspirin typically lasts.

HEMMER: A lot of us fly, though. Is each passenger equally at risk for something like this?

GUPTA: No and I think most young and healthy people, the vast majority of people are not going to be at risk for this. But there are people who are a little bit more at risk. Take a look at the list there.

People who have had previous blood clots, for example. If you've had a blood clot in the past you may have one again. Family history of blood clots. Varicose veins, those unsightly veins in your legs, they can make you a little bit more at risk, as well.

And anybody with chronic diseases. You know chronic diseases such as arthritis, heart disease, those people more at risk, Bill.

HEMMER: Good to know. Thank you. Good to have a doctor around, by the way, too. Always there for you, nice to see you.

COLLINS: Still to come this morning the next time you get stuck at a red light, don't start cursing it may be an opportunity to find romance. "The Cafferty File's" coming up next.


JACK CAFFERTY, CNN ANCHOR: Legendary Hollywood studio is changing hands. Andy Serwer has got the lowdown on that. He's "Minding Your Business." Good morning.

ANDY SERWER, "FORTUNE" MAGAZINE: Good morning to you. Sony is buying MGM, Jack, for $2.85 million, creating the world's largest film library. Seventy-six hundred movie titles including "Rocky," including "The Pink Panther."

CAFFERTY: Do they have "Gigli?"

SERWER: You're talking about "Gigli?"

CAFFERTY: Do they have all the J. Lo movies? All the Madonna films?

SERWER: I don't know. That's too bad for them isn't it? Also they've got -- what else they got? James Bond, that's the big thing they've got.

CAFFERTY: And they keep making these but I read that they may shut the movie studio -- and -- but the value of this deal is in the library.

SERWER: It's all about the library. And so, Sony is doing this with a bunch of other companies, including Comcast. Comcast says it's going to be putting those movies on its cable networks, creating a synergistic sort of deal. Jeez, that's always the kiss of death, I think.

Anyway, the big loser in this deal? Is Time-Warner, our own company was trying to get this property. Actually you know what, they just didn't want to pay as much as Sony did and this company has a lot on its plate.

CAFFERTY: Yes, it's a multi-billion dollar deal. Kirk Kerkorian will make some more money...

SERWER: He always does, doesn't he?

CAFFERTY: What about the markets? They tried to get something going yesterday but they didn't really...

SERWER: Up a smidge. A mini-rally. Let's check it out. Dow up one point. Hey. All right. Almost two points. All right. Selling it short. Nasdaq moving ahead. Techs keep going. This morning, Jack, things are looking a little weaker. Here's why.

Retail sales in August coming in a little bit weaker than expected. Autos doing really badly but we talked about that previously. Oil is a problem; prices up. That's because Ivan in the Gulf. They're evacuating the platforms as you might expect. And also, in Iraq, they're blowing up pipelines, continuing to do that. We just got an AP report that power is out in the entire country because of another pipeline explosion near the Tigris River.

CAFFERTY: It's going real well over there, isn't it?

SERWER: Well, I wouldn't say that. You were being a little sarcastic? OK. Understood.

CAFFERTY: Thanks Andy. Time for the "File."

SERWER: You're welcome.

CAFFERTY: Next time you're sitting in traffic bored to tears, consider this: some outfit in Great Britain did a survey. Two million motorists openly flirt while driving every day.

I can tell you from experience it doesn't happen a lot in New York City but maybe in Britain. Traffic lights, traffic jams offering the best opportunities. The survey indicated a half a million people said they would sleep with someone after flirting on the road.

And as many as 150,000 folks actually met their husband or wife while sitting in traffic.

SERWER: Ask Richard Quest about that. CAFFERTY: Yes, you ask him. Group that keeps -- a group that keeps track of word use has come up with a top 10 list based on television catch phrases. Global Language Monitor lists the following buzzwords that have infiltrated the mainstream.

Our contribution to culture: "Fahgeddaboutit" from "The Sopranos," of course. "You're fired" from "The Apprentice."

"Wardrobe malfunction" -- Janet Jackson showing the world one of her breasts during the Super Bowl.

"Girlie-men" -- Arnold Schwarzenegger criticizing Democrats in the California legislature.

"Mess O'Potamia" which is pretty clever. Jon Stewart describing Iraq.

And from "Survivor," "Voted Off the Island."

Too early to know what -- speaking of Schwarzenegger -- what his legacy will be as governor of California, but it's likely he will be remembered as the man who signed a bill making it illegal to have sex with dead people.


CAFFERTY: Hard to believe, but necrophilia was not against the law in California until Schwarzenegger put pen to paper yesterday. The new legislation will help prosecutors who have been stymied by the lack of an official ban on this. Before the new law, prosecutors didn't have anything to charge these people with other than breaking and entering.

SERWER: That's a different culture out there, isn't it, Jack?

CAFFERTY: I have nothing further to say.

HEMMER: That kind of explains the approval ratings, huh? Sixty- five percent. Break here. Back in a moment. Ivan slamming Cuba over night. Now folks along the U.S. Gulf Coast waiting and wondering where this storm goes. Back in a moment, the National Hurricane Center is our guest live top of the hour here on AMERICAN MORNING.



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