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PAULA ZAHN NOW
Steroids and High School Athletics; Trucking Through Iraq
Aired March 7, 2005 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, everybody. Thank you so much for joining us tonight.
Tonight, we have a warning to all of your parents. Beware of the latest drugs of choice in many high schools and even in some grade schools.
ZAHN (voice-over): When winning is everything, some kids stop at nothing, steroids muscling into high school sports.
WILL GRANDY, FORMER HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL PLAYER: Playing any sports, it's all about bigger, faster, stronger.
ZAHN: But when one coach calls in the cops, what's a parent to do?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hey!
ZAHN: And in a race against the wilderness, dogs, danger and a young blind woman against all odds.
RACHAEL SCDORIS, IDITAROD RACER: My dad and I always joked that my biggest challenge isn't being blind, but being blonde.
Rachael Scdoris and her quest to race the Iditarod.
ZAHN: So, if you think steroid abuse is only a problem in pro sports, moms and dads, think again. Take a look at these alarming numbers. Last year, some 75,000 eighth graders use steroid, eighth graders, kids about 13 years old.
And it gets worse, 91,000 tenth graders, 106,000 twelfth graders. These numbers are based on research from the National Institute of Drug Abuse and the Department of Education. And maybe the most startling example of this troubling trend is at Buckeye High School in Arizona.
Here's Randi Kaye.
RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In the shadow of Arizona's Superstition mountains, you'll find Buckeye, 30 miles outside Phoenix. Farm being is the heart of this small town, but football is its soul. For coach Bobby Barnes, Buckeye held out promise. He gave up a career in construction and took a hefty pay cut to pursue a lifelong dream, head coach of a high school football team.
BOBBY BARNES, HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL COACH: I got a head job, like I've always wanted and dreamed about doing and had a really tough situation in my first year.
KAYE: Just three months into Coach Barnes' first season, the dream began to sour.
BARNES: It was the most miserable time in my life.
KAYE: A player's mother told police she had found steroids and a syringe in her son's room and gave them permission to question her son at school. That player's confession led to a team-wide investigation.
BARNES: At that time under those circumstances, I feel like I followed my heart in doing what was right and was basically trying to get them to just tell the truth.
KAYE: Coach Barnes got what he asked for. In what became the largest steroid scandal in high school history, 10 of his top players admitted to using the performance-enhancing drugs. Barnes kicked all of them off his team.
W. GRANDY: Playing football, playing any sports, it's all about bigger, faster, stronger.
KAYE: Will Grandy was one of the players found using steroids.
(on camera): Are you angry today?
W. GRANDY: Yes. I'm really angry.
KAYE: A year and a half later, Will feels betrayed by his coach. It was his senior year. He never played for the Hawks again and hasn't picked up a football since.
BARNES: A little more arc, right?
KAYE: Without 10 of their starters, the Hawks staggered to a 1-9 record. Barnes had sacrificed the season to get at the truth.
BARNES: There were no heroes. I'm someone who was taught to do what you think is right and stick with it and don't compromise a decision because you're worried about what people will think.
KAYE: In the aftermath, townsfolk were split on the new coach, who placed principles ahead of winning. At Darla's Cafe (ph) in town, the steroid fiasco is still a featured item on the local menu.
JAMES ANDERSON, BUCKEYE RESIDENT: I believe it makes everybody kind of maybe embarrassed a little bit that it was going on and maybe they didn't it. KATHARINE NELSON, BUCKEYE RESIDENT: It just sucked whenever you went somewhere else and you would say, like, you're from Buckeye, they're, like, oh, yes, we heard about that school.
KAYE (on camera): Where did the players get the steroids? The police investigation discovered a group of them, including Will Grandy, drove across the Mexican border to the town of Puerto Penasco. There, Will's father tells me they bought animal testosterone from a veterinary clinic. They brought it back here to Buckeye and to their teammates.
(voice-over): Tim Grandy and his wife, Kim (ph), remember the night they found out their son was using steroids.
TIM GRANDY, FATHER: We didn't know. We were dumbfounded, quite honestly, because we've had discussions about supplements. We've had discussion about weight gainers. We've had discussions about Creatine. We did research on it, and we said no way.
KAYE: But their shock quickly turned to anger. Will Grandy and his family claim Coach Barnes, the school and local police overreacted and violated their rights.
T. GRANDY: It felt like I was emotionally raped, if you will. I mean, this was my son, my flesh and blood. As a parent, there's probably few worse feelings than not being able to aid your child.
KAYE: On the night Will's football career ended, team practice had finished hours earlier and he still wasn't home. Another mother told the Grandys the team was being questioned about steroids at school. Will's dad was rushed to his son, but was blocked at the locker room door by a police officer.
T. GRANDY: He said, I'm talking to you. He said, if you put your hand on that door, you're going to jail.
And I turned around at that time. He had his hand on his gun and says, I'm not kidding. He said, get away from that door right now.
KAYE (on camera): So, this is where it all happened, huh?
BARNES: This is it.
KAYE (voice-over): With police and the school principal present, coach Barnes took the lead in questioning the team.
BARNES: I called them in one at a time, because I didn't want them to be looking at each other and kind of giving the nods of, let's don't say anything or let's do. I wanted their honest statement.
KAYE: For five hours, the players were questioned. As coach Barnes tells it, 10 of them stepped up, did the right thing and took responsibility.
BARNES: I think that the kids should have been complimented for a very difficult admission. KAYE: Will Grandy, though, says he was forced to think.
W. GRANDY: We tried to walk outside that night. The few of us that were left in there just walked outside and we were going to go home. And we were stopped at the door by a police officer threatening to take us to jail and expel us from school and kick us off the football team and all that.
KAYE (on camera): If you didn't go back inside?
W. GRANDY: Right, if we did not go back inside.
KAYE (voice-over): It was a confession that led to a felony charge, thousands of dollars in fines and a court-ordered drug treatment program.
W. GRANDY: I have to drug-test randomly all the time. It's a year-long program. It's cost me a few thousand dollars. I have to go to 24 hours of group counseling, 48 hours of substance abuse classes.
KAYE: Will's parents tried to fight back, writing letters to the school superintendent, the school board, even the ACLU. The school denies it violated student's rights and says it properly followed policy. But the superintendent in a letter to the Grandys, acknowledged her own concerns about the interviewing process. Coach Barnes maintains he just followed school policy.
BARNES: You know, I will say this again, and I say it to those parents that are upset with me. I don't know what I could have done different.
KAYE: A year and a half later, Buckeye Union High is working on rebuilding its football program. This past season, the Hawks went 5- 6. There's still work to be done on the school's reputation. Coach Barnes thinks his players are clean, but says drug testing would be too expensive.
(on camera): They think of Buckeye and they think of you, they think of steroid.
BARNES: Well, right. You know, that's a poor epitaph.
KAYE (voice-over): The Grandys, meanwhile, still insist the school and coach have some tough questions to answer.
T. GRANDY: The year and a half is just -- just absurd.
KAYE: Will is bitter, defiant and unapologetic for injecting steroids.
(on camera): What are your regrets, if any?
W. GRANDY: Getting caught.
KAYE: Not doing them in the first place?
GRANDY: Getting caught, telling the truth. I don't regret doing them.
ZAHN: Well, someone else with no regrets about steroid use might surprise you, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who recently said so on ABC's "This Week."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "THIS WEEK")
GOV. ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER (R), CALIFORNIA: No, I have no regrets about it, because, at that time, it was something new that came on the market. And we went to the doctor and did under a doctor's supervision. We were experimenting with it. It was a new thing.
So you can't roll the clock back and say now I would change my mind on this thing, because, for those days, that's what we did. And I was the first one always to say, yes, this is what I did, without denying it or talking about, no, I never took it or anything like this. That's what we did in those days, but I would strongly recommend that people do not take drugs.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAHN: And I think that message was loud and clear from the governor of California.
So, what is a parent to do? What warning signs should you look for? Well, let's turn to senior medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta. It's just frightening to listen to what this community went through.
ZAHN: And the fact is, all of us who have adolescent kids really don't know what we're supposed to be looking for. What are the most obvious signs that our kids could be abusing steroids?
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: It can be difficult. And the numbers are pretty alarming.
But kids are going through a lot of changes already around that age frame anyways. But there are some more definitive signs. If you're suspicious specifically about steroids, certainly increased muscle mass. That's something that they're using the steroids for in the first place. So, sudden muscle gains, maybe out of proportion to what they're doing working out. Irritability, they call it roid rage. That's a term that doctors use to describe the sort of mood.
Severe acne as well. You're oftentimes putting children into premature puberty, so severe acne. Boys may have enlarged breasts. Girls have deeper voices. They take on opposing sort of sex signs.
ZAHN: The most amazing thing, though, about the use of steroids is, it seems to have just a strong psychological consequence as physical. What should we know about both of those? GUPTA: Well, it can have a significant psychological consequence. You hear about the roid rage. You hear about sorts of temperament, mood swings.
Again, it's hard. I mean, teenagers can have those things, anyways. But the physical attributes can be even more profound in children than in adults. For example, stunted growth. I think this surprises a lot of children when you tell them that. You can actually stunt the growth. As big as they may want to get now, you can make it so that they're shorter and smaller in the long run, infertility, baldness, again, premature puberty, also liver damage and I would go so far as to say liver cancer even in certain situations, blood clots, stroke, high blood pressure, heart attacks.
Kids live in the here and now, Paula.
ZAHN: Of course they do. And what kids didn't.
GUPTA: What kids didn't. And you heard the governor as well talking about that. They're thinking about next Saturday and the football game. If you say blood clots, liver cancer, right over their head, it seems.
So, what is your advice for the best way for parents to effectively open up a dialogue with kids without them being, you know, outright accusatory?
ZAHN: Unless they've got the goods, unless they've got the evidence.
GUPTA: Right. And I think everyone's antenna is a bit raised on this.
I think, as far as dialogues go, I think really explaining some of the long-term consequences of steroid use and explaining the short- term benefits may not be worth it in the long run. If you really are concerned, there are tests that can done as well. Specifically, you can look at blood tests like increased cholesterol, liver function tests, make sure the kid is not taking a significant health hit from the steroids now.
You can also test to see if they're using steroids, period. And sometimes those tests cost about 75 bucks, but you can go to your doctor's office and find out once and for sure.
ZAHN: It's all so scary when you think about this competitive world these kids are living in.
GUPTA: The numbers are remarkable, yes.
ZAHN: It's terrible.
GUPTA: Thank you, Paula.
ZAHN: We're about to take you on a wild and a potentially deadly drive. Put on your helmets and flak jackets.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALLEN PETTY, FORMER KBR TRUCKER: I'm 10 feet tall and bulletproof.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAHN: Coming up next, one man's very personal video diary on one of the world's most dangerous jobs.
And then, a little bit later on, yes, that's how they react when Sanjay and I walk into the newsroom every Monday. Yes, right. Bet your back to work did not look like this, this Monday morning. Wasn't this good? How much longer will the applause continue.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAHN: And still to come tonight, big money for a big risk and what turned out to be a very nasty surprise. Plus snow, cold, dogs and a landscape she can't even see, the story of a blind dog racer.
First, though, we're moving up at about a quarter after of an hour here. Time to turn to Erica Hill and headline news for the hour's top story.
ERICA HILL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Paula.
Syria's president has committed to a first stage of withdraw from Lebanon. All 14,000 Syrian troops inside Lebanon will be moved near the border by the end of the month. Opposition leaders want a full withdrawal sooner. The White House says the measure doesn't go far enough. Today, President Bush called the leaders of France and Saudi Arabia from Air Force One to thank them for supporting Syria's complete withdrawal from Lebanon.
President Bush, meantime, will nominate Undersecretary of State John Bolton to be the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. The arms control expert is being described as a tough-minded diplomat. But critics question his negotiation skills. Bolton has been critical of the U.N. in the past. If confirmed, he would replace John Danforth. The younger brother of Michael Jackson's accuser testified today that he saw the singer -- and this is somewhat explicit, so we just want to warn you here -- he says he saw the singer put his hand in his brother's pants. The boy's testimony was the first direct eyewitness account of alleged sexual contact between Jackson and the accuser. The boy says Jackson warned the kids -- quote -- "not to tell your parents what we did." Jackson has pleaded not guilty to all charges.
A new study says aspirin can help healthy women avoid stroke, but it doesn't lower the risk of heart attacks in women under 65. And that's actually the opposite of how aspirin affects men. Previous research was done almost exclusively on men. But the results are generally good news, because women proportionately suffer more strokes and men more heart attacks. Those findings will be published in "The New England Journal of Medicine."
And that's going to do it from here -- Paula, back to you.
ZAHN: And whenever I hear the story -- those kinds of studies, I feel like I have to read them twice, because there's always such a disparity between the way the men test and the women, so...
HILL: It's true. It makes it a little confusing sometimes.
ZAHN: I'm glad they're figuring this all out.
ZAHN: Thanks, Erica.
And just ahead, a man who had an absolutely amazing view of the war in Iraq, from the driver's seat, an American who took one of the riskiest jobs on the planet and took along his video camera for a ride -- next.
ZAHN: And we're back.
Today, the White House says it is absurd to think American troops in Iraq deliberately fired on a car carrying Italian journalist Giuliana Sgrena. She has suggested that they did.
And anti-war feelings are running very high in Rome, where at least 10,000 turned out for the funeral of her Italian rescuer killed in that shooting. And today in Iraq, Bulgaria also blamed friendly American fire for the death of a sergeant, while insurgent attacks again claimed dozens of lives.
Well, as you can imagine, numbers alone can't even begin to describe the routine dangers in Iraq. One American truck driver who took a huge risk has made a video diary of his experience.
And, as Jim Clancy reports, it is a terrifying glimpse of war through a windshield.
A. PETTY: Everything is going to be fine. Nothing is going to happen to me. Don't even -- you know, I wouldn't even worry about that, but, anyway -- I mean, go to bed. It will be fine. I love you.
JIM CLANCY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Looking at the war through a windshield. Allen Petty left his wife and six daughters in Burnet, Texas, last year to go to Iraq. He says he was driven by a sense of duty and a dream.
A. PETTY: They guaranteed a range between $80,000 to $100,000, six-digit figure, depending on how hard you ran and how many convoys, the hours that you worked.
SYLVIA PETTY, WIFE OF ALLEN: We needed a home.
A. PETTY: Yes. I initially did it because we have a large family. We have a pretty big family. And I wanted to build them a home. And this was the opportunity. And so I got her permission, and I took it.
S. PETTY: And that was a lot of trust.
CLANCY: That trust was tested even before Allen took the job, when Iraqi insurgents took aim at the civilian convoys.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What's happened?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They attacked our convoy.
April 9 was the day that -- it was a 9/11 for KBR contractors. They had -- several truck drivers were killed. And Tommy Hamill had been captured and held hostage.
CLANCY: Allen wasn't deterred. He made up his mind. He gave up his secure $1,900-a-month truck driving job and, with the promise of big money for his family, hit the road from Burnet to Baghdad.
S. PETTY: He's got a big heart. He loves to do things for people, and this was the ultimate for him to do something for someone else. And the money was nice, the idea.
A. PETTY: It was like coming into Baghdad.
CLANCY: So, by May, Allen Petty was at work as a civilian contractor for KBR, Kellogg, Brown & Root, trucking supplies to U.S. troops on the front lines in Iraq. He kept a video diary.
A. PETTY: I started making videos, talking on the truck, you know, expressing my emotions. There was some good, some bad, some happy, sad, when I say good and bad. Expressing it into the camera, like if I could see them in my own mind, you know, in my own mind.
A. PETTY: It got pretty wild earlier, but nothing happened. But we went down a very hot zone to get here. Like I said, they get RPG there every day. Convoys are constantly under attack. But we snuck in on them.
Looks like they're blowing up them oil wells. I'm ready to go now. You see my protection. I'm protected real good, protected under the arms. It goes all the way up here, protects you from bullets. I'm 10 feet tall and bulletproof.
CLANCY: Thousands of miles away, Sylvia and their six girls weren't necessarily reassured by the videos they were watching.
S. PETTY: He would call at a certain time every morning and every night to check in. And any time he had to go on a run, he gave us a little code to let us know he was leaving, and he would always call at the border to let us know he was about to cross and begin to pray.
CLANCY: On the road in Iraq, Allen worried, too, but he wanted his audience back at home to smile.
A. PETTY: Look at that dog.
(singing): Who let the dogs out?
Well, I dropped my camera, but (UNINTELLIGIBLE) too much here. This is actual...
CLANCY: Allen says he did have faith in KBR security and his rig.
A. PETTY: I put all them water bottles on the dash. I will just give you all a little tip or secret. Those water bottles are really there for protection. It's not a lot, but if a bullet happens to go through, water slows it down.
CLANCY: What Allen wasn't putting in his diary or sharing with his family is what other drivers were seeing and videotaping.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm not hit, but we're taking heavy fire, heavy machine gun fire.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE)
CLANCY: Scenes like this made some drivers call it quits. Their replacements came from Egypt, Turkey or Pakistan.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In a separate incident, two Israeli aid workers were seized.
CLANCY: Facing a new reality, Allen and other drivers engaged in a bizarre exercise, one they thought might help save their lives.
A. PETTY: So, we what these videos over and over.
S. PETTY: What videos? A. PETTY: Beheadings. And we knew the average in seconds if it came down to the ultimate, you know, losing your head, what it would -- the seconds between the first cut to the time you stopped breathing. And we knew -- we knew how they were tied, and we'd tie ourselves up, practice, you know, getting loose, how long it would take, you know, if we ever got alone.
CLANCY: Allen was feeling exposed. The runs into Iraq were longer and deeper than ever.
A. PETTY: I wasn't able to call you and let you know I was running, because they didn't want us to notify any of our family or even speak of it. So, it's one of them black-ops, private, hush-hush, quiet thing.
ZAHN: Well, Allen Petty's story of bravery continues in a minute.
And if extreme danger wasn't enough for him, then came his disappointment and a shocking discovery.
ZAHN: We are back now with the story of an American trucker, Allen Petty, who signed up to work for a U.S. contractor in Iraq. He was told he was going to bring home a small fortune, but that's want what happened to him. Jim Clancy explains why.
ALLEN PETTY, FORMER KBR TRUCKER: We're in Kuwait getting loaded. (UNINTELLIGIBLE). It's a pretty rough area.
JIM CLANCY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Allen petty had good reason to be concerned. Iraq was not a safe place in the summer of 2004 for anyone doing his job.
SYLVIA PETTY, WIFE OF ALAN PETTY: What you going to have for breakfast?
CLANCY: Back home Bernet, Texas, Allen's wife Sylvia was dealing with the family and her own fears.
S. PETTY: I watched everything on TV every moment I could get to see if I could see his truck on convoy, checking names, checking when they would say three military killed and two others, I knew what the others meant.
A. PETTY: Some bad news and some good news. We had one of our guys from the yard get hit yesterday. This is the truck that got hit with that IED I was talking about. This is what's left of it. There's the driver's seat.
CLANCY: Even as the situation in Iraq grew more disturbing, the paychecks at home were growing more disappointing.
A. PETTY: We were supposed to be receiving between $8,000 and $10,000 a month, and we were only getting half of that, four grand.
CLANCY: Allen and Sylvia were mystified by KBR's accounting. Had they been promised too much, not according to KBR. The company declined an on-camera interview, but replied to our questions in writing.
"The figure you mentioned, "8,000 to $10,000 a month, sounds like a reasonable sum. When you factor in that KBR employees in Iraq typically work and are paid for more than 80 hours per week, 12 plus hours a per day, 7 days a week. And they're also paid a hazardous duty uplift, an area differential and a foreign service bonus."
For Allen, though, it didn't seem to add up.
A. PETTY: It was less pay. You know, more than 12 to 14 hours and less pay than what we were promised.
CLANCY: But Allen's disappointment was written right into his contract. Here's what it says, "All hours worked over 40 hours per week will be paid at the straight time rate. The foreign service bonus, work area differential and hazard pay apply only to the first 40 hours worked each week."
In other words, after 40 hours, the bonuses that can add 55 percent to his pay no longer applied, effectively, the more hours he worked, the lower his average hourly rate dropped. Slowly, it dawned on Allen that he was driving trucks into a war zone for $15.57 an hour.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's smoke over there coming out of Najaf still. They've been fighting them for three days.
CLANCY: Sylvia, who saw the bank statements put saw it differently. She saw their dream of their new home for their six daughters fading.
S. PETTY: It never reached into a point to where we were in that bracket that we were told, you know, we would get paid. I say we, as a couple, as a family. And don't -- I don't understand why. I just don't understand. I just know that the dream was over when that happened. It -- there was no -- going to get a house. There was no -- there's nothing left.
A. PETTY: So when I started bringing home two grand a month, my checks you know, I said could go back to my old job and make that, you know. And not get, you know, get bullets shot into -- RPGs, IEDs, car bombs, rocks or possibly even get our head cut off.
CLANCY: If it was growing disillusionment with the money, the mission was losing it's luster as well.
A. PETTY: There's our escort. Darn, they left, and it's just us -- and our body guards. (UNINTELLIGIBLE) coming into Baghdad. CLANCY: Like other drivers, Allen grew uneasy about risking his life, especially when it came to ferrying empty convoys around a warzone. May have been a reason for it, but Allen says he wouldn't understand it. The risk he learned all to well.
A. PETTY: I mean, I had never been that afraid in my life until that (UNINTELLIGIBLE).
CLANCY: That was in August 2004.
A. PETTY: It was just -- how close it came to being one those that you hear about or read about.
CLANCY: Allen Petty's convoy was hit, shrapnel pierced his windshield. The 19-year-old reservist with him, wisely ducked for cover.
A. PETTY: Of course, I was afraid, but of course, I can't get down on the floor board. I've got to keep the truck moving or were sitting targets.
(UNINTELLIGIBLE) I've seen after that was my little 2-year-old, Lida (ph) -- at the time she wasn't two, but I remember seeing a picture of her crawling on the floor. I thought man, (UNINTELLIGIBLE).
CLANCY: The attack was real, but even in his dreams, Allen felt danger closing in on him.
A. PETTY: Yes, there was a point where I actually had a nightmare. That I had been -- that I gotten my head cut off and I could see my body. So I figured -- I thought it was the Lord trying to tell me to come home.
This is hopefully my last trip. I said that about the last one. This (UNINTELLIGIBLE) trip. This is a humanitarian run. It's very hot. It's an emergency. We're going to run all day and all night.
CLANCY: In early September, Allen Petty did come home for what was supposed to be a two-week leave. Instead, he was hospitalized with a heart condition. Allen and his wife, Sylvia, who hoped going to Iraq would buy them a new home, decided staying home, abandoning their dreams would ensure something more precious for their six children.
S. PETTY: They're tired of just barely, you know, making it. And -- but they don't want to lose their daddy, you know, either.
CLANCY: Even though Allen Petty decided not to return to Iraq, he did go back every night in front of his computer.
S. PETTY: It's like he couldn't get away from it. He just -- he was still there. He wasn't here, and he really began to worry me. He was very tense.
CLANCY: In some ways Allen Petty didn't come home for months. It took him that long to rejoin his family. He doesn't look at the videotapes that much anymore, but he hasn't found a new job. And he's still asking KBR about what he thinks are missing pay and benefits, still asking himself, was it worth it?
ZAHN: And all but impossible to get away from those memories. Allen Petty averaged about $6,000 a month, far short of the $8,000 to $10,000 he had expected from KBR. We asked about that, and we got this response from the company. It says, "It is important to note that any employee's salary will vary depending on the actual number of hours worked, and recruits are not guaranteed a specific amount. The figure you reference is simply presented to recruits as the average total compensation for positions in Iraq."
Coming up, we are heading north to Alaska where the race is on.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was kind of born into the sport. It wasn't my fault.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAHN: She may be legally blind, but she's in The Iditarod.
And then a little bit later on, was it just another day at the office for Martha Stewart.
ZAHN: And still to come tonight, a dog sled racer who wins just by having the courage to actually cross the starting line. We'll explain why.
And Martha, Martha, Martha, Martha, Martha, Martha. She's back and got a standing ovation today.
But first, just about a quarter before the hour, time to check in again with Erica Hill at headline news.
Hi, Erica. What's happening?
ERICA HILL, HEADLINE NEWS: Hi, Paula. Good to see you again.
We start off with a move that could affect millions of paychecks. The Senate voted down two plans today to raise the minimum wage. A Democratic proposal would have raised it from $5.15 an hour to $7.25. The Republican plan would have upped it to $6.25.
A warning to our viewers on this next story: we have some graphic testimony to tell you about in the Michael Jackson trial. The 14- year-old brother of Jackson's accuser says he saw the pop star molest his brother. The boy's testimony was the first direct eyewitness account of alleged sexual contact between Jackson and the accuser.
He also testified Jackson showed the boys sexually explicit Internet sites and told them not to tell anyone what they did.
Jackson has pleaded not guilty to all of the charges.
Martha Stewart, as you mentioned, Paula, received a rousing welcome today when she visited the offices of her media company, where she told employees she'd thought of them every day while she was in prison and that they are her heroes.
Stewart was not yet wearing the electronic ankle bracelet she will be required to wear during her five-month home detention. Stewart will spend that time at her estate in Bedford, New York, but will be able to leave her home to go to work for 48 hours a week.
If you're in the market for a small car, listen up to this one. Small cars have taken a bit of a hit from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. In a recent round of side impact crash tests, the institute found only the Toyota Corolla and the Chevrolet Cobalt performed well enough to earn an acceptable rating.
Cars earning poor ratings included the Ford Focus, Mazda 3, Mitsubishi Lancer, Saturn Ion and Volkswagen's new Beetle.
California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger said he wants to ban the sale of junk food in schools across the state. He spoke out about it at his Arnold Classic Body Building Weekend. Schwarzenegger says his administration is introducing legislation this year that would replace snack food at schools with healthier options like fruits and vegetables. And of course, Paula, not the first time we've heard someone talk about replacing those foods in school cafeterias.
ZAHN: No, but as anyone who has kids at home knows, sometimes it's not so easy to make them make the healthy choice.
ZAHN: So they may provide it at school, but we'll see what the kids ultimately do. Thanks, Erica.
Coming up next, O.D.'ing on Martha Stewart.
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MARTHA STEWART, FOUNDER, MARTHA STEWART LIVING OMNIMEDIA: Because it's made the news, here's my poncho.
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ZAHN: It was made for her by a friend. How much of a good thing is too much? Jeanne Moos weighs in, next.
ZAHN: Now back to the issue of Martha Stewart, day four, freed from federal prison on Friday, back to work today, the first time in six months. That's when she addressed her troops today.
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STEWART: We are, all of us, in this next chapter going for greatness. I love all of you from the bottom of my heart, and I'm really glad to be home.
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ZAHN: And if you got the impression we were tracking this woman just about everywhere today, you were right. Here's Jeanne Moos with more.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Just out of jail and already we've seen Martha wash her dishes, feed her horses, walk her dog, toss lemons and savor a home-cooked meal. The press ate up every Martha utterance and reported back to editors.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What did you have for breakfast?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She hasn't had breakfast yet. She has not had breakfast yet.
MOOS: Whenever she moved, the press moved down in front of her bucolic Bedford, New York, estate. Even when Martha sent out cocoa to the press, it was captured.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you thank Martha for this for me?
MOOS: Even Martha joked about the coverage.
STEWART: Because it's made the news, here's my poncho.
MOOS: Crocheted for her by a new friend in prison, she wore it leaving the big house.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This was like an Oscar walk.
MOOS: But some curmudgeons in the press were unimpressed.
JACK CAFFERTY, CO-HOST, "AMERICAN MORNING": Who cares? It's a 63-year-old convicted felon.
MOOS: No one was tougher than Don Imus, toying with his own reporter outside Martha's house.
DON IMUS, HOST, MSNBC'S "THE DON IMUS SHOW": This is sick. You're sick and this is sick. This is just...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm not sick.
IMUS: Looking in her window there. This makes me uncomfortable.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm not looking in her windows.
IMUS: Yes, you are. Later on, you'll be out there going through the garbage, trying to find something.
MOOS: He half jokingly gave reporter Anne Thompson a new nickname.
IMUS: You're a peeping Thompson.
MOOS: But the press wouldn't be peeping if the audience didn't want us to peep. Not all viewers were happy.
CAFFERTY: "Who the hell cares if Martha Stewart can new fit into her skinny jeans?"
MOOS: Who cares? Well, CNN's ratings nearly doubled with during live middle of the night coverage of Martha's release.
To Martha or not to Martha? That is the question for reporters. This one brought along her dog.
She's probably off trying to engineer more coverage. After all, this heart-warming video was supplied by the company Martha founded.
During our live coverage of her rousing welcome by employees, the shot inexplicably headed for her feet.
MILES O'BRIEN, CO-HOST, "LIVE FROM": The photographer there doesn't have a shoe fetish. He's trying to show the point there that she is not wearing the electronic ankle bracelet.
MOOS: Hey, who needs an ankle bracelet when we're televising every move she makes?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're rolling, right, buddy?
ZAHN: Maybe we did have a shoe fetish after all. Jeanne Moos reporting.
And you wonder whether all of this is working? For the record, since her release, stock in Martha Stewart's company is down about 17 percent.
Coming up in a minute, meet another woman who's doing what she loves best: trusting her dogs and her skills to get her through a race that she can't even see.
ZAHN: If you want to know what a feat it is to compete in our next story, more people climb Mt. Everest in a year than finish Alaska's grueling Iditarod dog sled race.
This year 79 teams are competing in the 1,100-mile race from Anchorage to Nome, across some of Alaska's most rugged wilderness. The winner typically makes it in about 10 days. For the rest, if they finish, it could take up to 17 days. And so far, just two full days into the race, the leaders are about 200 miles into the course.
Six Iditarod champions are racing this year, as well as one very special rookie, a 20-year-old woman who is legally blind.
RACHEL SCDORIS, IDITAROD MUSHER: I've been told that in Iditarod you will experience the best times of your life and the absolute worse times of your life, and it's funny because those can be two minutes apart.
ZAHN: For Rachel Scdoris, it is the end of a long race of her own that has finally gotten her here to the starting line.
SCDORIS: I've been doing this my entire life. I've been planning this forever.
ZAHN: Rachel is only 20 years old, so forever means since she was a young girl growing up in Oregon. Her father Jerry raced and bred dogs himself, and at an early age she felt the call of the wild.
SCDORIS: I was kind of born into the sport. It wasn't my fault.
ZAHN: Rachel's first obstacle in life was her vision. She suffers from a rare eye disorder, and although she can make out shapes, she has only a vague sense of depth and detail.
Being with the family dogs was an escape for Rachel, a place where she can be in control. Rachel started racing competitively at the age of 11, her sights always set on the Super Bowl of dog racing, the Iditarod.
But not everyone was comfortable with the idea of having her on the trail.
SCDORIS: People always just want to focus on, well, you can't see, so therefore, you can't -- you obviously don't know how to take care of your own dogs. And some people actually said because of my eye condition I was more susceptible to the cold.
ZAHN: The debate over whether Rachel should run the Iditarod with a guide led to a fierce argument in the tight-knit mushing community. Race director Stan Hooley helped to find a solution.
STAN HOOLEY, IDITAROD EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR: The first shot at trying to make everyone happy involved a proposal that involved snow machines that would accompany Rachel. The board of directors just didn't feel that was the right approach, and we looked at a second proposal, which was for her to be accompanied by another dog team.
ZAHN: After several months' negotiation, a compromise was reached that allows Rachel to communicate by two-way radio with a visual guide on a sled just ahead of her, to warn about potential dangers. SCDORIS: Just let me know what obstacles are coming up, and that's all the assistance I need out there.
ZAHN: Everything else Rachel must do herself: negotiating the course, caring for her dogs and caring for herself.
SCDORIS: Man, the pre-race jitters!
ZAHN: Who knows whether Rachel Scdoris will cross the Iditarod finish line in Nome? The race is notoriously tough on rookies, even those racing without an additional challenge.
But in all her years of racing, she's never finished last. She says she sees only possibilities.
ZAHN: And we wish her luck. We're going to have more on Rachel Scdoris's quest to race the Iditarod tomorrow.
That's it for all of us here tonight. "LARRY KING LIVE" is next with actress Kirstie Alley. Thanks again for dropping by here tonight. We'll be back same time, same place tomorrow night. Good night.
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