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'Gimme a Minute'; FDA Approves New Drug to Treat Insomnia; Two- Man Crew of International Space Station on a Mandatory Diet

Aired December 17, 2004 - 08:30   ET


SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back everybody. You know I love the Christmas music.
MILES O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: For those of you at home who are thinking about getting one of those Time-Life CD deals, you know, I think the Soledad O'Brien collection would actually be better. You can have her come to your house and have her hum. She doesn't know the words -- so -- when she does know the words just whistles. It's very...

S. O'BRIEN: (SINGS) Roasting on an open fire...

M. O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Excellent, excellent. That's really good.

S. O'BRIEN: Oh -- you see, Hemmer doesn't let me sing to him, but you're sort of a captive audience, aren't you?

M. O'BRIEN: I'm so in the spirit.

S. O'BRIEN: Did I make you in the spirit?

M. O'BRIEN: Yes, yes.

S. O'BRIEN: Welcome back, everybody. Wasn't that worth one minute of hearing that?

M. O'BRIEN: You're not going to quit the day job are you? Just checking.

S. O'BRIEN: No, not anytime soon. Coming up in just a few moments, have drug companies finally come up with a perfect prescription for a good night's sleep? There are plenty of sleep ads already on the market. Something new, though, is coming. We're going to take a look at the pros and cons of a drug called Lunesta.

M. O'BRIEN: Also, it's not exactly Mama's cooking. We're going to look at -- look at this stuff -- what is it?

S. O'BRIEN: It looks like...

M. O'BRIEN: Ask yourself at home what is that? Rice Krispy treat? What is it? It is -- you know now, of course -- scrambled eggs.

S. O'BRIEN: It's a scrambled egg with cheese on it. M. O'BRIEN: Kelly, would you eat that?




WALLACE: Oh, yes. I'm willing, Miles, you lead us the way.

M. O'BRIEN: This is what they eat in space, like they have a choice. So anyway. All right. That'll be among the things we look at today, the food shortage on the space station. We're going to try some space station food.

S. O'BRIEN: Is it true you're going to be on a diet on this?

M. O'BRIEN: I'm going to do it for a week.

S. O'BRIEN: Really?

M. O'BRIEN: See how it goes. In this -- it's a lot of calories. We'll talk about it.

S. O'BRIEN: Change for Miles.

M. O'BRIEN: Pretty much. They exercise two hours a day up there.

S. O'BRIEN: You going to do that, too?

M. O'BRIEN: I'm going to try.


M. O'BRIEN: We'll see. We'll see how that goes. All right, Kelly. You'd better take it away.


O'BRIEN: Every Friday at this time, we cook up the week's big stories in a tasty little dish we like to call "Gimme A Minute."

Our chef's this morning from Watertown, Massachusetts, Democratic consultant Doug Hattaway. Nice to see you, Doug.


S. O'BRIEN: From Washington, D.C. Republican consultant Tara Setmayer. Nice to see you.


S. O'BRIEN: And from parts unknown, but some of them are very close since, look, he's got the CNN logo over his shoulder -- Andy Borowitz of Hey Andy, good morning.


S. O'BRIEN: Thank you very much. I know you're lying, but thank you.

Tara, let's get right to you. Senator Trent Lott now weighing in on the Defense Secretary, saying, quote, I am not a fan. Ouch. Do you think, in fact, that the secretary is going to survive another year in the job?

SETMAYER: Well, I'm not a fan of Trent Lott's, but Trent Lott of all people has really no business criticizing the Secretary of Defense. But, listen; Donald Rumsfeld has been an excellent Secretary of Defense. Now notwithstanding there have been some miscalculations for the post-war effort in Iraq, but for the most part the morale of the troops, the troops on the ground love him.

And last time I checked the Secretary of Defense was not nominated to be Mr. Congeniality, so just because they don't -- he's the whipping boy right now, and I think it's unfortunate because he's been an excellent Secretary of Defense.

Will he survive a year? I don't know. I think it's 50-50. I would like to see him stay, but I think that there may be political pressures that force him out and I think that would be a disservice to the troops and to the Defense Department.

S. O'BRIEN: Tara's got a point there. It's not like he's supposed to be Mr. Congeniality, right?

HATTAWAY: Well, it sure takes Republicans a long time to recognize blatant incompetence. I think, actually, if competence were a criterion for serving in the Bush administration, Rumsfeld would have been gone a long time ago.

S. O'BRIEN: Final word this morning to Andy Borowitz. Good morning, Andy.

BOROWITZ: Good morning. You know what? You go to war with the Secretary of Defense you have, not the one you might want.

S. O'BRIEN: I like that. Doug let's talk a little bit about the DNC chair. As you know the job is open. Some folks are looking at Tim Roemer. Eight other candidates, actually, want to kind of put their hat into the ring. Who do you think the Democrats should pick?

HATTAWAY: I'm still sorting out the field. I think they need to send a message that they understand elections actually happen outside the Beltway, not in Washington, and pick somebody who values the grassroots and can invest in the state party organizations, because that's where the action really needs to be.

S. O'BRIEN: Tara, as an outsider looking in, what else do you think the Democrats need to do? SETMAYER: Well, if character and integrity were any measure then I guess no one would have been around in the Clinton administration, including Clinton.

But anyway as the Democrats, you know, it's funny. Of course I'm going to still gloat in our victory -- they need to pick someone like Michael Moore -- how about that? Or George Sorros. I'd love to see those people. Or Alec Baldwin run the Democratic National Committee. We'll win elections for the next 20 years.

S. O'BRIEN: Yes, I guess asking Tara may be not such a good help there about the Democratic Party. Andy, you have any advice for the Dems?

BOROWITZ: I was just blown away by this story because I didn't know there were still eight Democrats in the country.


S. O'BRIEN: All right, Tara, I'll give you the next question. You know we've been talking all week about cell phones. Should they finally just allow them to be used on planes? Where do you stand? Would you like to use your cell phone on a plane?

SETMAYER: Well, of course. I'd love to use my cell phone. I'd love to use my Internet on the computer but only I'm allowed to use my cell phone -- no one else is allowed to use it. That's the stance. I think it would be a recipe for disaster. I don't think any -- nobody wants to hear me talk about my fantasy league stats or my -- you know, what's going on at the Defense Department, just like I don't want to hear what's going on in, you know, Mr. Johnson's wife's problems. I think it's a recipe for disaster. I don't think it will ever come to fruition.

S. O'BRIEN: Do you ever think it'll come to fruition, Doug, that Tara is going to be the only one who gets to use her cell phone on the plane? Is that possible?

HATTAWAY: If I said what I really thought about cell phones on airplanes, the FCC would slap me with a fine for indecency. I think this is a -- I mean the Internet, wireless, great. Cell phones would be a recipe for disaster, they'd have to use the air marshals just to break up the fights.

S. O'BRIEN: Could be ugly. What do you think, Andy?

BOROWITZ: You know what? If you allowed cell phones on planes, you've got to ban lawyers.

S. O'BRIEN: Good idea. Does -- get a final look at the undercovered story of the week. What do you think we missed?

HATTAWAY: Well, the media did a good job covering the latest film test of the Star Wars missile system that Bush wants to spend billions of dollars deploying even though it doesn't work. "Slate" magazine had a story pointing out that Bush actually wants to spend twice as much on Star Wars as he does on protecting the borders, which is how terrorists would actually get a bomb into the country. So its clear Rumsfeld isn't the only expensive failure that Bush is keeping around the Pentagon.

S. O'BRIEN: Oh, getting a little cheap shot in there. Tara, what's your undercovered story?

SETMAYER: One of these days Doug and I will have a real debate. My undercovered story -- well its not only undercovered, but it still needs to be focused a little more is the disaster going on here in Washington, D.C. with baseball. The District is having a unique opportunity to finally get baseball after 33 years and an economic redevelopment program for the Anacostia Riverfront, which is the most impoverished area of D.C. would reap the benefits, and the keystone cops over there in the city council are a completely ruining this.

It would be a -- such a disservice to the city of D.C. and those residents in that area and the jobs that it would create if Washington doesn't...

S. O'BRIEN: The keystone cops who are tying to make sure that they don't have to foot the bill and all the taxpayers there.

SETMAYER: They don't, they don't.

S. O'BRIEN: Let's give the final word this morning to Andy. Andy.

BOROWITZ: Well, Bernard Kerrick's nanny stepped down this week, saying she wanted to spend less time with his family.


S. O'BRIEN: That's very funny. You guys as always, thank you. I hope you have a great weekend and happy, happy holiday if I don't see you before then.

BOROWITZ: You, too.

SETMAYER: Merry Christmas.

S. O'BRIEN: Thanks. Miles.

M. O'BRIEN: Well, all they want for Christmas is a space ship full of food. The two man crew of the international space station is on a mandatory diet, this after they discovered some of the cupboards were going bare faster than expected and the orbiting outpost would need some groceries by mid-January.

In fact, if an unmanned Russian freighter doesn't arrive on Christmas Day successfully, Leroy Chiao and Salizhan Sharipov will have to abandon ship. So how grim is the diet? Are they like Oliver Twist asking mission control "please sir, I want more?" I asked the experts in Houston what they thought. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

M. O'BRIEN (voice-over): There's no question they live a high life, but the food on the space station, well it isn't exactly haute cuisine.

SEAN RODEN, NASA FLIGHT SURGEON: This represents one day's worth of food for one person.

M. O'BRIEN: One day.


M. O'BRIEN: All right. They're doing a lot of eating up there, aren't they?

RODEN: Yes, they are.

M. O'BRIEN: Sean Roden is a NASA flight surgeon. It is his job to watch what the astronauts eat.

RODEN: Sweet and sour chicken. Here we have some dried apricots.

M. O'BRIEN: And eat.

RODEN: Chicken with peanut sauce.

M. O'BRIEN: And this is the scaled down diet. Before the cupboards began going bare, station keepers Leroy Chiao and Salizhan Sharipov were scarfing up 3,000 calories a day. They have trimmed 500 calories out.

So this is not a diet to recommend to the masses.

RODEN: No, I would not recommend this to the masses, but if you would compare the astronauts, they are elite athletes and they live a fairly elite athlete life.

M. O'BRIEN: They are gym rats by necessity. Two, two and a half hours a day of aerobics and isometrics to keep muscles from atrophying and bones from becoming brittle.

PEGGY WHITSON, ASTRONAUT: The muscle control that you have distance standing up is not present in space, and so we cut to compensate with these exercises.

M. O'BRIEN: Astronaut Peggy Whitson spent six months on the station in 2002 where, believe it or not, food is not taken lightly.

WHITSON: Our selection and our variety is very limited, so you know the first eight to ten days it's not a big deal. The next eight to ten deals is not too much a big deal, but after a few months it gets a little boring so food is a huge deal on orbit.

(END VIDEOTAPE) M. O'BRIEN: All right, so it might become a big deal for me, because I'm going to go on the space station diet until that food delivery on Christmas. I asked NASA for a week's worth of food. They basically laughed at me. A little busy trying to prepare food for the real station.

I did get a day's worth, see here. It's a lot of food. I'm going to try to match this diet as best I can. You know, go and get some camping food and that kind of stuff. And then mid-week we'll talk with the crew and compare progress and we'll do a little taste test here. I want to try these eggs.

Umm -- want to try that? Quite good. I've got the fajitas here. Let's see how these are. That's better. Try the fajita. Try the fajita; you'll like that.

Here's a little peanut chicken.

S. O'BRIEN: That's not so bad. That's actually pretty good.

M. O'BRIEN: Try that one.

S. O'BRIEN: That's good, too.

M. O'BRIEN: Yes, save that one.

S. O'BRIEN: That one doesn't look so bad.

M. O'BRIEN: And then I've got the mushroom soup here.

S. O'BRIEN: Oh, I'm not going to try that.

M. O'BRIEN: You don't want to try that, trust me.

S. O'BRIEN: What's this one?

M. O'BRIEN: That's peanut chicken kind of dish. So anyway I'm going to try to replicate this.

Of course the important thing is it's upwards of 3,000 calories so I'm going to be rolling back in here. Coffee with sugar, too. I'll try that to wash it down. In any case, I've got to do the two hours of exercise a day in order to really, you know, make this an experiment. So, I'll be checking in and on Wednesday we'll talk with the crew and we'll compare notes on food and whatever.

S. O'BRIEN: We'll see how you're doing as well. All right, Miles thanks.

M. O'BRIEN: Thank you.


M. O'BRIEN: Still to come on AMERICAN MORNING, a rose by any other name might make a good gift. Andy Serwer has the latest holiday gift idea. S. O'BRIEN: Also something new for treating insomnia and something two-thirds of us would be able to use safely.

M. O'BRIEN: And you know the hawk story -- those homeless hawks? Jack has an update on what's happening with Pale Male and Lola. The latest on that as AMERICAN MORNING continues.


S. O'BRIEN: Sanjay has got the day off today. In medical news this morning the FDA has approved a new drug to treat insomnia. Elizabeth Cohen joins us from the CNN Center with details on that. Hey, Elizabeth. Good morning.

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Soledad. Soledad, this new sleeping pill is called Lunesta. Now what's different about it?

Well, according to the company that makes it, they say that other sleeping pills are generally limited to use for just seven to ten days but they say that this pill doesn't have that limit and in fact the company says when they did studies for six months, the pill was safe and effective.

So let's take a look at some of the benefits of the pill. The makers say that it has a quicker falling asleep time. In other words, you'll fall asleep more quickly. Longer stretches of uninterrupted sleep than when you don't take the sleeping pill. And a greater amount of total sleep time.

But also important to remember that medicines can have side effects. With this sleeping pill one possible side effect is behavior changes, also daytime sleepiness and dependence and unpleasant withdrawal.

Now it's important that people know that according to the company, that dependence can develop even if you just use the pill for a week or two so sleeping pills are definitely something to take seriously and when you use it you want to talk to your doctor about how long you're going to need it and always take it at the lowest dose -- Soledad.

S. O'BRIEN: Elizabeth are there any people who should not take Lunesta?

COHEN: Well, apparently there are folks if you have just an occasional sleep problem, you're having trouble now and then, this is not really the pill for you. This is more people who have a chronic problem, let's say you have some kind of an illness that causes you a lot of pain and so you have trouble sleeping. It would be more for that type of person.

S. O'BRIEN: What do people then do who have the other situation? People who just have a sleepless night every once in a while?

COHEN: Right -- there are certain things that you can do, they're really just pretty much common sense things. For example, you can make sure that you follow a sleep routine and that means go to bed at the same time every night, wake up at the same time every morning, don't vary.

Also wear comfortable clothes, get a comfortable bed, that's very important. And exercise daily. Not right before you go to sleep, but during the day get some exercise, that'll help make you more sleepy at night and of course cup of warm milk, that can't hurt.

S. O'BRIEN: You know, everything we're talking about just makes you want to go back to bed, doesn't it, Elizabeth?

COHEN: That's right.

S. O'BRIEN: All right, Elizabeth Cohen for us this morning thanks. Miles.

M. O'BRIEN: Still to come on the program, the Salvation Army gets a surprising donation, that's ahead on the "Cafferty File." Stay with us for more AMERICAN MORNING.


S. O'BRIEN: Welcome back everybody.

JACK CAFFERTY, CNN ANCHOR: Well it's a new idea just in time for Christmas. For the flower fan in your life and a look at the markets as well. Time for Andy Serwer "Minding Your Business." Good morning.

ANDY SERWER, "FORTUNE" MAGAZINE: Good morning to you, Jack. Yes, this present is a little different, wouldn't you say? I think that's fair to say.

CAFFERTY: That's being kind.

SERWER: Generous, yes. We'll get to that in a second. What happened on Wall Street yesterday? A mixed session for stocks. The Dow was up 14 points and you can see here the Nasdaq and the S&P. A little profit taking after the rally was seen over the past couple of days.

Futures are weaker this morning. Consumer prices, that's inflation for November just came in on target up .2 percent, nothing to worry about there.

Forget about gilding the lily. This is a company that -- you got it -- that embosses flowers -- roses, namely -- with images and messages. It's a company called "Speaking Roses." And some people would say this is disturbing, other people would say its fantastic and Christmas has come a little bit early to the AMERICAN MORNING crew here, Jack.

And we have some images on...

CAFFERTY: Is there any way we can see these? SERWER: Yes, let's just kind of beam right in. Here we go. Now if we kind of move right -- I'll use my little pointer here. There's moi; there's Jack. That's just -- Reg (ph) of Thunder Bay (ph). We've got a Christmas present for you.

CAFFERTY: This is the stupidest idea.

SERWER: Here's the queen here, Soledad.

M. O'BRIEN: We finally found a giveaway for you, Jack.

SERWER: Bill, Heidi.

CAFFERTY: Somebody decided that they could improve on...

SERWER: Who's that? Chad.

CAFFERTY: ... the natural beauty of the rose by putting people's faces on them.

SERWER: Miles, Toure', the experience.

CAFFERTY: This is dumb.

SERWER: Who's that, Rick? And there's Sanjay.

S. O'BRIEN: Advertising-wise...

SERWER: Well here at CNN, yes. I mean, you could do "Will you marry me?" Or, "Happy Birthday." Or, "Eat red meat."

CAFFERTY: How about, "Bite me."


SERWER: Yes, "Bite me."

M. O'BRIEN: That would be up there, yes.

SERWER: I think that's good. Anyway, just sort of a different idea for Christmas if you haven't figured out what to get you could get the "bite me," I mean, the roses here with a message. I knew you'd figure out a way that...

CAFFERTY: On to the "File." A Minneapolis businessman who asked not to be identified dropped a check for $14,845 into a Salvation Army bell ringers red kettle last week.

It was the man's Social Security check for the whole year. Said he didn't need it; he said I have considerable income, should continue to do so if I ever retire. He considered sending the check back to the government at one point, but he decided that the Salvation Army would make more productive not to mention wiser use of the funds.

SERWER: Indeed. CAFFERTY: Any chance we could move that camera somewhere into this end of the building so I'd have some ability to maybe read the -- thank you very much. I appreciate it. I'm an old guy and I don't have my glasses on.

Now on to the second story. Jitto and Jefta Alberts (ph) are twins. They live in Holland. They share many things because of the fact that they're twins. It recently came to light that includes the pin numbers for their bank accounts.

Jitto (ph) had his number for a year or more. His brother recently lost his bankcard, or it was stolen. When one brother complained to the other that it was hard to remember his pin number the twin asked him what it was and, voila, they are identical. The odds of non-family members at their bank having the same numbers are somewhere around 1,000 to one against. So, a little weird.

Pale Male and Lola -- not particularly funny, just weird -- Pale Male and Lola, the famous red tale hawks whose eviction from a luxury New York City co-op made national headlines were seen yesterday circling their former home, ready to move back in. The building's board caved earlier this week to public pressure and they have agreed -- well, I was -- there was a lot of people...

SERWER: Hawk advocate.

CAFFERTY: Yes. And they've agreed to rebuild the bird's nest but the birds are going to have to wait a little while. The worker's yesterday were working on installing the spikes that recently held the nest in place. Those have been taken down and they also have to construct a safety rail around the nest that will include a screen that will prevent things like pigeon carcasses from hitting the sidewalks.

SERWER: Splat.

CAFFERTY: But I'm just happy they're going to -- you know...

SERWER: What do they do?

S. O'BRIEN: At some point, don't they say, you know no more nests, they're going to move on to some place in Central Park?

SERWER: Right, and where are they sleeping now?

M. O'BRIEN: Where are they now?

SERWER: Maybe they went over to New Jersey. They went over to Jack's house. What if they went to your house? Would you welcome them?

CAFFERTY: You bet I would. You ought to see the stuff that hangs out at my house.


M. O'BRIEN: All kinds of carcasses.

SERWER: I'll bet. I don't even want to know.

S. O'BRIEN: All right, Jack, thank you.

SERWER: The carcasses that are under his floors.

S. O'BRIEN: In a moment, a look at the day's top stories including the historic signing of the intelligence reform bill. It's getting closer. Carrie Lemack, who lost her mother on 9/11 battled for three years for this. We're going to ask her what she thinks is missing from this bill. That's ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.



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