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Amputee Returns to Active Duty in Iraq; Valentine's Day

Aired February 14, 2005 - 22:00   ET


AARON BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening again everyone.
This being Valentine's Day, the program is rich with stories of love but not all the sort of love stories you expect on Valentine's Day, certainly not where we begin tonight.

There are no Hallmark cards that celebrate love of country, duty and honor. No one sends roses or buys chocolates for those whose idealism extends beyond the concept of self sacrifice.

You're about to meet a man who is the first to do something. Captain David Rozelle was not the first amputee in Iraq but he is the first amputee to return to duty there, his story told in his memoir "Back in Action" is a story of strength, a story of courage and, yes, a story of love.


BROWN (voice-over): In the days after the fall of Baghdad before the car bombings and the IED attacks that seem so commonplace now, David Rozelle's Humvee hit a landmine and David Rozelle nearly lost his life.

CAPT. DAVID ROZELLE, 3RD ARMORED CAVALRY REGIMENT: I remember the looks on the faces of my soldiers. They had to carry me and my litter onto the landing zone to load into the helicopter and saying goodbye to my brothers. I mean it's just gut-wrenching, really gut- wrenching.

BROWN: He would survive but lose his right foot.

ROZELLE: I laid back and really thought about it and it broke my heart and I don't like being still. I like being in motion and to say that you're going to take away one of my feet just, it just -- it hit me. I just, I couldn't even imagine it but I knew it was the only chance.

BROWN: That really is the beginning of Captain Rozelle's story, an amputee with the heart of a soldier, foot gone, heart intact.

ROZELLE: My initial response was I've given enough but my true self and my most inner person, you know, is not -- is not a quitter. I realized I at least needed to see if I can do this. I at least need to prove to myself that I can stay on active duty. I can go back and fight if I have to. BROWN: As amputees go he was lucky. Others struggled to learn to eat again or take a step again. Rozelle's challenge was to become a soldier again, a step at a time, first walking, then running, then competing.

ROZELLE: When I started doing those races I was horribly self conscious of the way I looked. I didn't feel like an athlete and I didn't take myself very seriously. I felt like an amputee. I felt like I was disabled.

BROWN: There were triathlons and iron man relays. There was the New York City marathon and each one brought Rozelle closer to who he was and who he wanted to be.

ROZELLE: And then just the nature of competition as I did more and more events, I won one and as they handed me the trophy, I felt like a stud.

BROWN: In just ten months after he lost that foot David Rozelle won his race, not a marathon, something more.

ROZELLE: I'd won. They found me fit for duty. I'd proven to a board of doctors and the Army, the Department of Defense that I was -- I was fit for duty. OK, now what? That was my goal was to be found fit for duty. It wasn't to go back to Iraq. It's never been my goal is go back to Iraq. It's been to be able to have the ability to take command again. That's all I wanted. So, now I had to make a decision.

BROWN: And, in the end, with the country at war the man with the soldier's heart made the only decision he could.

ROZELLE: When I think about going back, yes, it's going to be hard but it's my duty and if you don't really know what that word means, then you don't understand it. I believe in it because it's who I am. I am a cavalry officer. I've commanded troops before and I'm going back where I have the opportunity to command troops again under the same conditions, plus I was the first amputee to do it. I love it. I'm proud -- I'm proud to serve the American people.

BROWN: We all, I suppose, judge ourselves by different standards but for most at some point we ask how will those who we love most and love us most see us? David Rozelle, now just weeks away from heading back to war, believes he knows.

ROZELLE: The truth is that a man judges himself on how his son perceives him and, although my son only has a perception of how good warm cookies are right now, in 30 years he's going to look at me as an old man and he's going to sit down and think about it and I want him to be proud of me and I think that my son will be proud of what I've done and that's the most important thing to me.


BROWN: Later in the program we'll examine another kind of love that Hallmark hasn't quite gotten around to making a card for either, the infatuation with the moment when you know something you didn't know the moment before, in short the love of invention, more important how not to stifle it in young women because men and women, young and old, are different. So, two reports, what it means but first what it is.

Here's CNN's Elizabeth Cohen.


ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): They notice it when they make dinner. They notice it when they walk the dog.

MICHAEL GORIAN, AUTHOR, "WHAT COULD HE BE THINKING": There are about 100 identified structural differences between the male and the female brain.

COHEN: Michael Gorian, psychologist and author of "What Could he be Thinking" and his wife, family therapist Gail Reed (ph) Gorian, say they notice all the time how differently their brains function, how he tends when they're talking to get right to the point.

GORIAN: You're taking in all sorts of stuff whereas all I'm doing is I'm listening for what I think is the key variable and I hone right in on that and that's really very male/female.

COHEN: When scientists look inside men's and women's brains literally with MRIs, they find a biological reason for this difference. Women in general have a larger corpus callosum. That's the area of the brain that handles communication between the two hemispheres, so the two sides talk better to each other. That's one theory as to why studies show women tend to multitask better.

GORIAN: The more female brain approach, gather a lot of material, gather a lot of information, feel a lot, hear a lot, sense a lot.

COHEN: MRIs show men, on the other hand, tend to move information more easily within each hemisphere.

GORIAN: Men, because we tend to compartmentalize our communication into a smaller part of the brain, we tend to be better at getting right to the issue.

COHEN: Scientists say many male/female brain differences are apparent even at a very young age. Males have more activity in mechanical centers of the brain and females in verbal and emotional centers. So, give a girl a doll, she'll try to talk to it.

GORIAN: That doll becomes lifelike to that girl but you give it to the 2-year-old boy you're more likely, not all the time, but you're more likely than not to see that boy try to take the head off the doll or he thinks spatial mechanical, so he's using the doll as an object.

COHEN: And what accounts for these differences? Much of the answer lies in our genes. Women are born with two X chromosomes and men with an X and a Y.

DR. MARIANNE LEGATO, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY: And on that Y chromosome are at least 21 unique genes, unique to males, which control many of the body's operations down to the level of the cell.

COHEN: Dr. Marianne Legato says because of these genetic differences men and women experience different symptoms when they're having a heart attack and genes, not body size, are the reason men can drink more alcohol than women without becoming intoxicated.

LEGATO: Women do not have the enzyme in their stomach that degrades alcohol which men have.

COHEN: Of course there are many similarities between men and women, mentally and physically but scientists are learning all the time about the differences and what they mean.

Elizabeth Cohen, CNN, Atlanta.


BROWN: Now here's where this all gets tricky and not just where it comes to male and female comparisons. This is traditionally where science meets pseudo science and in many cases superstition and bigotry. So what do you do? Or, even more simply, what do you say, some thoughts from CNN's Jeff Greenfield.


JEFF GREENFIELD, CNN SR. ANALYST (voice-over): If you don't notice that the great majority of NBA players are black, you almost surely have a vision problem. More than 75 percent of the players are African American.

You might also notice that in general, in general, black ballplayers play a different style of game than their white counterparts. The dribbles, the drives, the slam dunks just don't seem the same.

But does this tell us anything about genetic hard-wired distinctions? That's at best an Olympic-sized leap. And, speaking of the Olympics, ever since 1968, the marathon run at the Olympics and just about everywhere else has been dominated by the Kenyans, specifically Kenyans who come from the Calingen (ph) tribe.

Altitude, diet, tradition, socioeconomic factors explain much but an article in a scientific journal last fall says that such success also points to a possible genetic component. Now, does that make you a bit uncomfortable?

Or, what about the fact that as biologist David Page (ph) has written, the genetic difference between males and females absolutely dwarfs all other differences in the human genome and that one of the most obvious differences is that the average man is substantially stronger than the average woman. (on camera): We're uneasy about such assertions because we know our past when so-called experts blithely asserted complete falsehoods about racial, gender and ethnic differences designed to perpetuate, even encourage blatant discrimination.

Jews were not as smart as gentiles. Blacks were genetically linked to primates. Women were incapable of rational thought. They were also said, by the way, to be incapable of sexual enjoyment.

(voice-over): So, no wonder Harvard President Larry Summers got into hot water for suggesting that innate differences might explain the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) of women among professional scientists or engineers. The problem lies in the fear that acknowledging these differences could lead to certain social policies.

For instance, if most women are weaker than most men, it tells you absolutely nothing about allowing women to be firefighters but it may mean there will be a lot fewer women in the ranks. In New York City where women have been taking the same test as men for more than a decade, there are 28 females in a force of more than 11,000.

By contrast, the U.S. Army holds men and women to distinctly different standards. A 21-year-old man must to at least 40 pushups, for women it's 19, gender-norming critics call this. No women in combat units, the brass reminds them, so maybe the tests don't have to be exactly the same.

But this discussion gets even more intense in matters of race. Why do black students tend to under perform in academic settings even when those students come from affluent, stable families?

Peer pressure not to achieve, the legacy of discrimination, low expectations from their teachers that could undermine their own self- confidence? And, if we acknowledge this, does that somehow imply that everything from affirmative action to outreach programs are doomed to failure?

We live in a time when we're fully prepared to acknowledge, even laugh about differences in how we walk and talk and mate and pray and raise our kids but the whole conversation is so loaded with our knowledge of past ugliness it's no wonder we approach the topic as though we were walking through a minefield.

Jeff Greenfield, CNN, New York.


BROWN: Now we're not done with this quite yet, more to come in the hour ahead, starting with the best and the brightest and what it takes to make them shine.


AMBER HESS: I developed an inexpensive technique using (UNINTELLIGIBLE) photography to replace a $30,000 piece of equipment for a chemical analysis. BROWN (voice-over): Amber Hess, high school inventor and the most important invention of all we're nurturing more Amber Hesses (ph).

MICHELE GROGAN, HEAD OF UPPER SCHOOL, STEVENSON SCHOOL: We try to set an atmosphere that girls, boys, whoever they are, that they think that they can be successful.

BROWN: A young woman any father might be proud of so why isn't hers?

MAYA KEYES, DAUGHTER OF ALAN KEYES: I love my parents very much and they love me and they disagree with what I'm doing at the moment.

BROWN: She's an A student with a drive for public service. He's a very public conservative. This isn't about love so much. It's who she loves.

Later, he says more than 400,000 served, so how does she keep McMarriage tasting homemade?

Also, one part Thomas Payne, one part real pain, the growing power of bloggers.

And feast your eyes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think it's really, really nice, something different.

BROWN: Who knew Central Park blossomed in February? Just make a right at Strawberry Fields and you'll find us for this is NEWSNIGHT.



BROWN: Amber Hess has one of those names that sounds like it could have been a pen name, the sort of pen name that a smart person uses when he or she wants to write a romance novel on the side.

But a fiction writer would never make up a life like Amber's because her achievements in science seem so far beyond those of us mere mortals and they turn any conventional notion about gender and science right on its head.


BROWN (voice-over): For two years, Amber Hess has been on a mission to figure out a cheaper and easier way to analyze lots of stuff.

HESS: I developed an inexpensive technique using digital photography to replace a $30,000 piece of equipment for chemical analysis. Chromatography in general is used by tons of people and people using it are analyzing just tons of different compounds whether it be plants. You can use it like looking at different medicines. BROWN: This may not mean much to most of us but it has landed Amber a coveted spot as a finalist in the Intel Science Talent Search, the Nobel Prize of high school science. In March she'll compete against 39 other finalists for a $100,000 college scholarship.

HESS: I wrote a computer program using that lab and it does it all automatically in just a few seconds.

BROWN: That's welcome news for scientists everywhere. Now with just a digital camera and a simple computer program they'll be able to analyze compounds quickly and inexpensively.

A.J. GALINDO, PH.D., SCIENCE TEACHER STEVENSON SCHOOL: Amber is a very, a very gifted student and very conscientious and because of her passions for science she was a great student working very hard and very diligently, always wanting to have the questions answered.

BROWN: A.J. Galindo has been teaching chemistry at Stevenson School for 17 years. He's worked with Amber on her project and science, he says, does not discriminate when it comes to gender.

GALINDO: The boys and the girls have the same aptitudes and abilities. Some years in the honors chem class there are a couple of outstanding boys. Some years it's outstanding girls. Other years it's, you know, a tie between the sexes.

BROWN: So, if boys and girls enter the classroom on an even playing field when it comes to science what needs to happen inside that classroom to keep things that way?

GROGAN: We're trying to set an atmosphere that girls, boys, whoever they are, you know, that they think that they can be successful.

HESS: It's dissolving. Like at first...

GROGAN: And I think that's how those girls think. I'm just another one in the classroom and I want to raise my hand because I've got something to say.

HESS: Actually most of the time I end up doing better than the guys so I definitely believe that women and men are equal in science.


BROWN: Smart young women who follow their own paths sometimes find themselves at odds with expectations, including those of their own parents. The public knows Alan Keyes as a conservative talk show host, a political candidate, commentator. Fair to say his views on gay marriage are strong. He has called homosexuality selfish hedonism.

Mr. Keyes is also a father and today his public and private worlds collided when his daughter Maya made her first public appearance as a gay activist. At a rally in Maryland, the 19-year-old Ms. Keyes spoke frankly to CNN about her parents' reaction to her sexuality and her reaction to them.


KEYES: They're very conservative. They weren't very happy about the whole thing but, you know, they said -- they talked to me about it a lot and at first they said it was a phase. They were in denial. They didn't think I really was actually queer but when they came to kind of accept that I was they just were not too pleased.

I love my parents very much and they love me and they disagree with what I'm doing at the moment and as such they can't support me in this activity but they're still always going to love me. I know that.


BROWN: No public response so far from Mr. Keyes and what his daughter had to say today.

Communication between fathers and daughters can be full of complications. It's often argued the same holds true for men and women in general and that's where we turn to now on this Valentine's Day.

Joining us from Washington is Deborah Tannen, Professor of Linguistics at Georgetown University, the author of 15 books, including "You Just Don't Understand, Men and Women in Conversation." professor, good to have you with us.


BROWN: People I think, it might be helpful if as we go along they just think of their own relationships and how some of this applies but part of what you have written about is that women like to talk it out and men are really actually quite comfortable just hanging out together.

TANNEN: You know it's building on what we just saw with the little kids. We just saw that if you give a girl a doll she'll talk to it and give a boy an action figure he'll probably try to take its head off, figure out how it works.

So, women talk is the glue that holds a relationship together, so when she asks her husband or her boyfriend "How was your day" and he says "OK," she feels something is missing in the relationship. He doesn't. He feels he tells her everything but he means everything that seems to him worth telling.

She may start talking about a problem and he may think "Gee, why is she telling me this? She probably wants a solution." It's just the opposite. She's frustrated.

BROWN: Yes. This is the part that's really interesting to me is that because I -- not because I suppose, I know I do this, when I hear this I think what I'm being asked here is how do I solve it? And that's not necessarily I know from firsthand experience what's going on at all. TANNEN: And that's why it's so frustrating sometimes because you really are trying to give her what you think she wants and I think it comes down to what you would do if you were in that situation. You wouldn't tell about a problem unless you wanted somebody to give you the solution.

It's almost like this men asking directions conundrum. Many men feel that they don't want to do something that's going to put them in a one down position, so telling about a problem would do that. It's just like asking directions would do that.

BROWN: Would put them in a what?

TANNEN: Yes, go ahead.

BROWN: I'm sorry, would put them in a one down position?

TANNEN: Yes. You know when you look at how boys play they're using language to make sure that they don't get pushed around by the other boys. You look how girls use talk in their play, they're telling secrets, so your best friend is the one you tell everything to.


TANNEN: So, she in her grownup relationship thinks she's got a new and improved version of the best friend who will tell each other everything but he's kind of working on a different plane.

So at the end of the day when he comes home, if something happened during the day, you know, that kind of made him feel kind of bad, the last thing he wants to do is relive it at home. That's going to make him feel less good about himself. Sometimes if he just knows why she would want to do that it's a lot easier to go ahead and just listen.

BROWN: OK. Let's see if we can solve this now.

TANNEN: I think we can.

BROWN: Wait a second we're not supposed to solve it. Is this a -- is this a genetic difference? Is this something we're hardwired to be? Is this a cultural or environmental difference the way we're raised? Or, is it some weird combination of both? Does it exist in all cultures, for example?

TANNEN: I think it is a combination of both. I was amazed when "You Just Don't Understand" came out that I got letters from all over the world, as far as Indonesia, Japan telling me that they had the same problems. They fit in the same pattern.

But then there are other things really can be changed by culture. For example, we know that boys tend to be more aggressive, tend to fight more but there are cultures where boys are just very discouraged from fighting and then other cultures where it would be encouraged. So, I think culture and genes really play and they're both in the mix there and I think that also can play a role, you know. If you go out with your wife or your girlfriend, she says something you might kind of disagree with her in public. You know that's just an intellectual game.

She may take it as you're disloyal to me. Women often take it personally or literally when men kind of use argument just as a way of having a conversation, maybe even teasing to show you're friendly.

I noticed in my work in the workplace if women talked about another woman's clothing, it was a compliment. If men commented on clothing, it was usually a playful insult. You know "Where did you get that tie? It looks like your breakfast is still on it." So, it's using fight as a way to show affection. Women don't do that as often so they sometimes feel hurt by it.

BROWN: Professor, good to have you with us. This is interesting stuff. Thank you.

TANNEN: Thank you.

BROWN: Thank you.

One more note on all of this to consider. Twenty-one years ago a woman named Geraldine Ferraro secured a place in American history and broke down yet another barrier for American women, her story tonight as we continue our yearlong anniversary series "Then and Now."


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Political history was made when 1984 Democratic presidential candidate Walter Mondale named New York Congresswoman Geraldine Ferraro as his running mate. It was the first time a woman was a contender for the country's second highest office on a major party ticket.

GERALDINE FERRARO: Whether it was a rally, whether it was a press conference, whether it was a debate against the vice president of the United States, my biggest concern when I walked in was making sure that I did it right and didn't let down the women.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The reelection of Ronald Reagan ended her executive office hopes but Ferraro went on to serve as a U.S. Ambassador and, after leaving government, host of CNN's "CROSSFIRE."

In 1998, while campaigning for a Senate seat, Ferraro was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a very rare and often fatal blood cancer. She is now in what her doctors call pathological remission. Besides raising awareness for myeloma, she's traded the life of a politician for a slightly less demanding VP role with a global consulting group.

Ferraro has been married for 45 years, the mother of three and the grandmother of seven. She considers herself a very lucky person. FERRARO: I went from being a kid who lost her father and who lived in the South Bronx almost to going in to live in the White House. That just tells you about what this country is all about.



BROWN: Here's a Valentine's Day riddle for you now. What do Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward have in common with Britney Spears and Jason Alan Alexander? Both couples tied the know in Las Vegas, except that one marriage lasted about 55 hours and the other 47 years so far.

With roughly 200 instant wedding chapels, Las Vegas reminds us that love is the ultimate crapshoot. And that makes Charlotte Richards perhaps the ultimate croupier.

Her story now from CNN's Frank Buckley.


FRANK BUCKLEY, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Another wedding is under way at the Little White Wedding Chapel in Las Vegas. The groom is nervous. And here comes the bride.

CHARLOTTE RICHARDS, LITTLE WHITE WEDDING CHAPEL: Who gives this woman to be married to this man?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I do, ma'am, Elvis Presley, the king of rock 'n' roll.

BUCKLEY: Within minutes, the rings are on, the groom is shedding a tear, and Elvis is serenading the happy couple. Presiding over this wedding...

RICHARDS: Love is so important, isn't it?

BUCKLEY: ... and thousands of others in the course of nearly 50 years in the wedding business, Charlotte Richards.

RICHARDS: You may kiss your beautiful wife.

BUCKLEY: She's a sentimental romantic and a quickie wedding icon. At the Little White Wedding Chapel in Las Vegas, Charlotte offers everything from flowers to photos.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Say cheese. Come on.


BUCKLEY: It's one-stop shopping at the place that pioneered the drive-thru wedding, where you can get married in a tunnel of love.

RICHARDS: And here I am, the wedding queen of the West.

(LAUGHTER) BUCKLEY (on camera): The wedding queen herself didn't get married her. Richards was married in Reno. But that man she married 45 years ago set her on the path to all of this. And the story of how it all started is really a love story.

(voice-over): It begins in Las Vegas in the 1950s. Richards says her first husband had abandoned her and their three little boys. Just when she was down to her last dollars, this man stepped into her life.

RICHARDS: He was my knight in shining armor.

BUCKLEY: Merle Richards was a wedding photographer. He offered her a job, was kind to her kids, and got her a place to stay. In three years, they were married.

RICHARDS: He rescued me. He absolutely rescued me. And I think of what would have happened if it wasn't for him. I really don't know.

BUCKLEY: Because of him, there was a new life, working on weddings, including those of Las Vegas royalty, like Elvis and Priscilla, Frank and Mia. And in the 1970s, they bought the Little White Wedding Chapel. Love was in the air every day at work and at home.

RICHARDS: He had me on a pedestal. He was so good to me. I never loved anyone more in my whole life than I did my Merle.

BUCKLEY: But, in 1982, her partner in business and life, Merle Richards, he died.

RICHARDS: And seeing him die was just -- it took a lot of my breath away.

BUCKLEY: Richards says she tried to move on. She dated. But no one was Merle. So Richards never remarried, even as she continues to officiate over the marriages of so many other couples.

RICHARDS: I think that's the answer. I think just being a part of their romantic moment keeps me in love with Merle. And when I give, I'm giving a part of my love and his love to these people.

BUCKLEY: 'Til death do us part, a wedding vow Richards refused to obey.

RICHARDS: And some day, I'll look forward to seeing him again.

BUCKLEY: Frank Buckley, CNN, Las Vegas.


BROWN: Now, we're not trying to ruin anyone's Valentine's Day here, but there is a very real and very sobering statistic about marriage in the country. About one in two ends in divorce. Some couples when they run into trouble do seek professional help, marriage counseling. Sometimes, it works. Sometimes, it doesn't.

One couple's story tonight from CNN's Bob Franken.


MICHAEL FELDE, FAITH-BASED MENTOR: Stranger, come here often?


BOB FRANKEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In this family, Michael Felde is the quiet one.

M. FELDE: She thought I was completely confident, was fearless in everything, not knowing that I -- my stomach was churning in a lot of cases.

FRANKEN: Dee appears to be the extrovert, bubbly, outgoing, confident.

D. FELDE: He's going to think I'm a failure and I'll never be able to look at my husband again.

FRANKEN: After 10 years of miscommunication, a series of health and family crises almost blew them apart. Dee wanted to go home to mother.

D. FELDE: And she said, no. She said, you got married. You have your children. You need to work with your husband, rather than with me, and work out your problems.

FRANKEN: Devout Catholics, the Feldes turned to faith-based counseling.

M. FELDE: There's a three-way partnership, God and your spouse and yourself.

D. FELDE: Knowing that the church said that you shouldn't divorce and that you can't divorce, making us work on our relationship, it was just wonderful.

FRANKEN: Whether faith-based or secular, counseling aims to give couples a new way to see their relationship.

ROB SCUKA, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF RELATIONSHIP ENHANCEMENT: That it will give any given couple the opportunity to determine one way or the other whether it does make sense for them to stay together or whether, tragically, it makes sense for them to separate and divorce.

D. FELDE: They taught us to listen to each other. They taught us to understand where the other person was coming from.

M. FELDE: How to listen in a very deep, empathic way, and be able to connect with the partner's point of view, the partner's feelings, concerns and desires.

FRANKEN (on camera): Cupid's arrow often gets so worn down by everyday stress, after a while, that it breaks. The divorce rate these days hovers around 50 percent.

SCUKA: When I am successful in helping a couple get to a point of healing, sometimes some very profound wounds in their relationship, it's an extremely heartwarming experience.

FRANKEN: The Feldes are now faith-based mentors who teach others in marital trouble that their marriage, now 21 years strong, is proof that love can overcome.

Bob Franken, CNN, Washington.


BROWN: Still to come tonight, they're the new media, but are they up to the same old game of gotcha? Bloggers and the stir they are causing.

We'll take a break first. Around the world on a Valentine's Day, this is NEWSNIGHT.


BROWN: A quick look at some of the other stories that made news around the world today. Security alert in Lebanon after the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. A powerful blast ripped apart his motorcade in Beirut; 10 people died in all. Mr. Hariri helped rebuild Lebanon after the civil war. He was quite an extraordinary man.

But he clashed with Syria, a key power broker in Lebanese politics with troops on the ground there. Syria denying any involvement. A group never heard from says it carried out the attack, that claim not verified. This assassination has the possibility of roiling the waters of the Middle East.

Here at home, the CIA delivers a major classified report to the White House on Wednesday. The agency is under orders from the president to come up with a plan to dramatically increase the number of officers who battle terrorism and weapons proliferation.

And a follow-up to a story we told you out of Sri Lanka last week. DNA tests have confirmed this little boy's name is Abilash. The tsunami quite literally ripped him out of the arms of his mother. After he was found alive, eight women claimed to be his mom. His parents couldn't prove Abilash was theirs because the tsunami washed away the documentation of his birth. They will now be reunited.

Now, here's a safe bet. You know you're in hot water when somebody invents a new word or phrase to describe your pain. For Dan Rather, Jeff Gannon, former CNN executive Eason Jordan, and others, the phrase blogswarm qualifies.

Hugh Hewitt came up with it. He's a media critic and naturally a blogger. Steve Lovelady takes exception to it, the phenomenon, not the phrase. He too is a media critic and a blogger. Beginning to see the pattern here? Here's CNN's Howard Kurtz.


HOWARD KURTZ, "RELIABLE SOURCES" (voice-over): They're called bloggers, the people who spew their opinions from bedrooms and basements, often hitting their favorite target, the mainstream media. And they're having a growing impact.

Take the case of Jeff Gannon, the White House correspondent for two conservative Web sites, Talon News and GOPUSA. After Gannon asked President Bush a loaded question, liberal bloggers led by Daily Kos and Atrios, discovered that his real name is James Guckert, that he had registered some Web addresses with embarrassing names, and even circulated a provocative photo of him. Gannon quit last week.

Bloggers helped prompt another resignation last week, that of Eason Jordan, CNN's chief news executive. Jordan had stirred a furor at an off-the-record conference in Davos, Switzerland, by saying that U.S. soldiers were targeting journalists in Iraq. He backed off that statement when challenged -- to what degree is in dispute -- and later said he never meant to suggest and doesn't believe that soldiers were intentionally killing people they knew to be journalists.

The bloggers, led by such conservatives as radio host Hugh Hewitt and NationalReviewOnline, began pounding Jordan. But the mainstream press, with the exception of a few newspaper articles and talk shows, ignored the story. And yet it didn't matter. The businessman who posted the first account of what he heard Jordan say at Davos had started a brushfire.

JEFF JARVIS, JOURNALIST: Anyone who's a witness to news can be a reporter, because anyone and everyone has access to the press, to the Internet. Everyone is a Wolf Blitzer in sheep's clothing.

KURTZ: Jordan was already controversial for writing in "The New York Times" two years ago that CNN had not reported some of Saddam Hussein's abuses to protect its Iraqi employees.

(on camera): Why does CNN, or CBS, which came under cyberspace fire for Dan Rather's discredited story on President Bush, care what bloggers say? These online commentators can generate enough noise that they push a story into the press or circumvent the mainstream media entirely by communicating directly with computer users. The people who own the printing presses and television towers are no longer the gatekeepers of what is news.

(voice-over): But for all its fact-checking prowess, the Internet can also be a place of ugly rumors, such as the unsubstantiated allegations on the conservative site that Baltimore's Democratic mayor, Martin O'Malley, was having an extramarital affair.

MARTIN O'MALLEY (D), MAYOR OF BALTIMORE: These are despicable lies. These are falsehoods. KURTZ: Falsehoods that, it turned out, were spread by a longtime aide to Maryland's Republican governor, Robert Ehrlich. When "The Washington Post" revealed the postings, Ehrlich fired the aide. Sometimes, the much-maligned media can also act as a check on the blogosphere.

Howard Kurtz, CNN, Washington.


BROWN: Ahead on the program, it may not be spring yet, but Central Park is most definitely in bloom, an open-air, saffron-colored art exhibit stretching along 23 miles of pathways. We'll take you through the park as it looks now.

And the rooster strolls through our studio with morning papers. Strolls? I think not.

We'll take a break first. This is NEWSNIGHT.


BROWN: Something unexpected happened in New York City over the weekend. The city seemed to fall in love. And what could be more preposterous than losing your heart to 5,200 tons of steel, 165,000 bolts and self-locking nuts, and over 116,000 miles of nylon thread woven into bolts of saffron cloth.

If "The Gates" by Christo and his wife, Jeanne-Claude, had opened as a movie this weekend, instead of a sculpture in Central Park, it would already be described as a runaway hit at the box office. But on this day that we celebrate love, we're sure that many of the 700,000 people who saw it this weekend will think of it more as an affair to remember long beyond the 16 days it has to work its magic in Central Park.


JEANNE-CLAUDE, ARTIST: When the fabric panels will come down out of their cocoon, we will feel exactly like when a woman is told by the doctor it's a girl, and we will feel, it's "The Gates."

VINCE DAVENPORT, CHIEF ENGINEER The engineering challenges would have been trying to create something that is simple, to devise the weight and the leveling plate and the corner sleeves and all those things that put it together.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And are we ready?

CHRISTO, ARTIST: Rectangular, geometric shape of "The Gates" reflect great pattern of hundred city blocks surrendering Central Park. We are borrowing that public space, and we create gentle disturbance of a few days. We really try to energize the most banal space between your feet and first branches of the tree.

Now, the fabric panel move in all the direction very whimsically, very sensory, reflect the serpentine character of the walkway system and, of course, the bare branches of the tree.


JEANNE-CLAUDE: Each one of our project is like a child of ours. If other people enjoy it, it's a bonus. But that child of ours, the project, the work of art, we pay for it with our own money because it's very natural that every father and mother will pay for their own child.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's absolutely, you know, buoyant.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It just goes beyond the mundane.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're still trying to take it in and figure out what it's supposed to mean.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The wind is blowing in it, you know, just right. So it's an experience.

CHRISTO: The temporal character is the aesthetical decision to translate that fragility, vulnerability we have to our lives and to ourselves.

JEANNE-CLAUDE: Look, there is not a speck of wind.


JEANNE-CLAUDE: There are two sentences we enjoy, once in a lifetime. And also we love to say, once upon a time.


BROWN: Morning papers after the break.



BROWN: A lot of good morning papers today, so let's move quickly through them.

"Philadelphia Inquirer" leads with the Lebanon assassination. Here's a story that caught my eye. "Painkillers' Ill Health." Hearings start Tomorrow on Vioxx and Celebrex and Bextra and all the controversy thereof. That's a good front-page story by my thinking.

"Dallas Morning News." "Testing in Texas Positively Weak. In Many Districts, Users Can Avoid Detection," "Dallas Morning News" following up on its series on steroids and high school students.

"The Detroit Free Press." I don't get this, OK? "Bags Overwhelm Metro Handlers." "NWA" -- that would be Northwest Airlines -- "Blames Crush of Travelers Over the Weekend." They sell the tickets to the passengers. They know how many people are on the planes. Come on. How can you blame the travelers? "Putting Out a" -- just my thinking here. "Putting Out a Costly Habit Ignited Debate. Lansing Area Chief Executive Who Instituted a Controversial Smoking Ban." You cannot smoke not -- you can't smoke at all, I mean, not at work, not at home, period, or he'll fire you. Anyway, it's a very good story and it raises lots of kind of cool issues.

The -- thank you. "The Detroit News." "Will NHL Pull Plug on Wednesday?" Here's a better question. How many people will care if the NHL pulls the plug on Wednesday? The National Hockey League has locked out its players. And it's actually quite sad, because it's a great and wonderful sport and both sides have managed to ruin it.

"The Christian Science Monitor" -- actually, maybe both sides haven't. "The War of Words Over Social Security. Choices Like Personal Account or Risk Can Be Crucial as Both Try to Lock in Support." I've said this before. I'll say it again. It's the best issue out there these days.

"Cincinnati Enquirer." If you're in Ohio and you're looking for work, they've got a lead story for you. "Jobs in Health Care Field Are Hottest in Ohio." Need Work? One Hundred Ninety-Four Thousand, Sixty-Eight Openings Each Year." The newspaper counted them all.

"Chicago Sun-Times." "NHL About to Cancel Season. What? Does Anybody Care?" Wait. I just said that.

The weather tomorrow in Chicago, "relapse."

We'll wrap it up in a moment.


BROWN: Good to have you with us tonight.

Soledad and Bill on "AMERICAN MORNING" 7:00 Eastern time. "LOU DOBBS TONIGHT" next for most of you.

We're all back here tomorrow at 10:00 Eastern. Until then, good night for all of us at NEWSNIGHT.


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