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President Bush's Approval Rating Hits All-time Low; Interview with Reza Aslan; Federal I.D. Card Legislation Stalls In Congress

Aired May 1, 2005 - 15:00   ET


ANNOUNCER: From New York City, America's financial capital, this is IN THE MONEY.


JACK CAFFERTY, HOST: Welcome to the program. I'm Jack Cafferty. Coming up on today's edition of IN THE MONEY:

The security measure in your wallet: New legislation in Congress would toughen rules forgetting a driver's license. We'll look to whether that adds to creating a national I.D. card and just calling it something else.

Plus, dar what? The crisis in Darfur is only the latest disaster that's gotten Americans to changing the channel. We'll talk about why a conflict that's been labeled genocide is simply not getting much attention here.

And it's a business not a charity: You can walk out of a casino with big winnings, but that's not the way the bosses want it. We'll learn the 10 things your casino doesn't want you to know.

Joining me today, a couple of IN THE MONEY veterans, CNN correspondent, Susan Lisovicz; "Fortune" magazine editor at large Andy Serwer.

We're funny, us Americans. Start driving the cost of a gallon of gasoline above $2 and suddenly the blame falls squarely at the foot of the guy at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. His approval ratings are going right straight down. What's going on?

ANDY SERWER, "FORTUNE": Well, you know, it's really kind of a mystery to me, Jack. I mean, you do have higher gas prices, but everybody knows adjustments for inflation are not that bad taking not that much out of your wallet especially relative to 1980. The war has been improving, I guess, a little bit in Iraq. Maybe it's just the fact the guy doesn't look terribly competent when he does press conferences. People don't have a good feel for the guy. We voted for this guy. I don't understand. Why don't people like him? It's not why things are falling apart.

SUSAN LISOVICZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, I don't understand why everybody's so suppressed. The president said the day of his election; I have political capital to spend. That their -- his vice president said that there was a mandate. But, was it really a mandate? I think it shows the deep divisions among the voters that still exists. The economy is not doing great. It's unfair for us to blame the president for high gas prices.

SERWER: Things are OK. I mean, you know, things are OK. I don't understand.

CAFFERTY: They're OK, but there, you know, big deficits looming out there that, there's some uncertainty about the solvency of social security, and the baby boomers are moving toward retirement in the not too distant future. You got Medicare on the ropes. There is, I think, a sense that behind the scenes there are structural problems in the country and maybe that has a slow affect on whether or not we enthusiastically look toward his leadership after five years, I don't know.

SERWER: I think you're right, I mean, I think there's uncertainty out there, you see that in the consumer confidence numbers, Jack. And maybe there is just some fears. I think it also maybe speaks to John Kerry's ineptitude as a candidate. In other words, he lost...

CAFFERTY: Good point.

SERWER: The guy came in and he still isn't particularly liked. What does that say about John Kerry?

CAFFERTY: Yeah, that's a good point. President Bush, this week, threw his weight behind something called the Real I.D. Act which is making its way through Congress. This just -- this T's me up no end. That legislation includes new federal rules for state-issued driver's licenses. States would have to conform and confirm that documents used to get a driver's license are not forged and you'd need your license to go where federal rules apply, including airplanes and trains. To some critics this adds up in something else, a national I.D. card. For a look at Real I.D. and whether it means better security for all of us, we're joined now from Washington by Bruce Schneier, who's the author of "Beyond Fear: Thinking Sensibly about Security in an Uncertain World."

Bruce, nice to have you with us, welcome.

BRUCE SCHNEIER, AUTHOR, "BEYOND FEAR": Thanks for having me.

CAFFERTY: The hypocrisy of Congress fiddling with this measure just reeks to me when they refuse to address the broken borders in this country over which millions of unknown people travel every year, they disappear inside the country. We have no idea who is here, we have no idea who's coming here tomorrow or the day after tomorrow from Mexico or Canada, or however they get in here. They've refused to enforce the laws that restrict access to the United States, but they're now going to concern themselves about standardizing all our driver's licenses. Am I way out of line here in thinking this is hypocritical as can be?

SCHNEIER: It's more even more hypocritical than that. Last December Congress passed legislation about driver's licenses. It was a recommendations from the 9/11 Commission. We've already done this. The provisions in the Real I.D. Act were rejected from, last December, from that law, and now we're seeing them back. We're seeing them back in an appropriations bill, an emergency bill. There's no debate, there are no hearings, there's no discussion, it's being snuck in. Ten senators sent a letter to Frist on both sides of the aisle saying, hey, slow down, we should have debate on this. You're right, this is a big deal, it's expensive. It's an unfunded mandate to the states there are other things to do with the money. If we're going to have a national I.D. we should at least debate it. Last time we debated it we said no.

LISOVICZ: Well, that's what we're trying to do right now, to debate it. The 9/11 hijackers had all these driver's licenses. Isn't there any security advantage to have a standardized form of I.D. in this great country in which we live?

SCHNEIER: There really isn't. I remember some of the 9/11 hijackers had real valid I.D.s, so if there was a standard I.D. they would have had it. Some of them had fake I.D.s that were real. Some they bribed a motor vehicles clerk in Virginia and got a valid I.D. in an illegitimate name. Some are traveling on foreign passports, they had valid that wasn't a United States I.D. All of those problems are still going to exist regardless of whether we have 50 state licenses or one national I.D. The question to really ask is, this is $120 million, is the number I saw, it would take for states to do this. Where's the money coming from and is that money better spent elsewhere? What are we getting for that money? And I think we need some debate in Congress, not just here on CNN, but debates in Congress about this.

SERWER: Well, we've got to start somewhere, Bruce.

SCHNEIER: I suppose.

SERWER: Let me ask you though, everyone in their wallet has a card that's more secure than their driver's license, and that is their credit card. If you think about it though, it's true. Your card is stolen, you report it, it is invalidated like that, the databases are national, they're wicked fast, back and forth. What's wrong with having driver's licenses be as secure as credit cards?

SCHNEIER: There's nothing wrong with that. Driver's licenses should be secure. The question is it the state's responsibility to provide that security or is it the federal government's responsibility? If it's the federal government's responsibility, there should be funding, there should be a program and we should decide that as a country we want that. If it's the state's responsibility, then it's the state's responsibility. Having the federal government pass a law without state input -- remember, the state said no and Congress agreed, last December, these very provisions. We had more secure driver's licenses in last December's congressional bill, it was (UNINTELLIGIBLE) counter-terrorism bill, so we had debate about this. And what we reached was a level of security that, I think, is much better. So, yeah, we want driver's licenses to be secure. I think we have that. What this new law does is it erases what we did last December and does that without any debate. And the important thing here, I think, is to have a national debate, here. If we're going to have a national I.D. card, let's discuss it.

CAFFERTY: Who's behind this?

SCHNEIER: It's hard to tell. I'm more of a security guy than a political guy. It seems like the republican leadership linked this to an emergency spending bill.

LISOVICZ: Right, but we're in an era of tax cuts and spending cuts, by the way, I mean, you know, the social security proposals would cost a lot of money, Medicare is being cut. You know, one issue that we haven't really touched upon is identity theft. In your view, if there was a national I.D. card, license, would that help or hinder the ability to steal your I.D.?

SCHNEIER: You know, it's interesting, it seems obvious that it would help, I think actually it would hinder, it would make the problem worse. Identity theft is bad for two reasons. One, that information is easy to get and two, it's very valuable once you get it. If we start standardizing identity, we use one identity document for everything, if someone steals your identity, they can do a lot more damage to it. It makes the crime much more dangerous. I think we are served security-wise by having multiple identies, because it makes the problem more diffuse, it makes it harder to do a lot of damage. So, I think that a card would make the problem worse.

SERWER: Bruce, just quickly here, because we're almost out of time, you're a security guy, you just said, so what are the priorities? What would you say is the best thing to spend money on?

SCHNEIER: You know, when it comes to terrorism, I think we need to spend money in two different areas. We need to spend money dealing with terrorist cells, figuring out how to stop them regardless of what their plans are, and then spending on the back end, emergency response, dealing with what they do, regardless of what it is. Stuff spent in the middle, surveilling everybody, trying to defend targets, stuff that really just makes the terrorists change their plans and doesn't really get you a lot of security for your buck, to me those very rapidly become ineffective ways to spend money.

CAFFERTY: Would you agree our borders security in its present state is inadequate security?


CAFFERTY: The author of "Beyond Fear: Thinking Sensibly about Security in an Uncertain World." A clear thinker, indeed, Bruce Schneier thank you, nice to have you with us.

SCHNEIER: Thank you.

CAFFERTY: When we come back on IN THE MONEY:

Slow on the uptake: The crisis in Darfur has been called genocide, but you wouldn't know it from the world's reaction. We'll talk about what's causing the blind spot.

Also ahead, trading yesterday for tomorrow: Learn about how the colonial years shaped Islam and how it's changing yet again.

And you've heard of performance art, now Steve Jobs of Apple is doing performance criticism. Allen Wastler will be here to explain exactly what that means as IN THE MONEY rolls on.


CAFFERTY: Does hearing the words Darfur Sudan conjure up the words of death, destruction, and ethnic cleansing? Probably not. And that's because throughout the years of strife in that region, the American media has turned its attention elsewhere. Here to tell us why is Samantha Power from the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy.

Ms. Power, nice to have you with us. Thanks for joining us.


CAFFERTY: Last week a reporter was detain by the Sudanese government, a reporter trying to cover this story. I suppose, my first question would be, is the reason we don't know more about what's going on in Darfur, a lack of access as in reporters being detained by officials or simply a lack of interest?

POWER: Well, it's a bit of both, and they're quite related. The Sudanese government has made it very difficult for journalists to get visas to enter Sudan and then once you enter you usually have to wait between a week and two weeks in order to get a second permit to get to Darfur. And there's no political effort by Western governments or by our governments or by African governments on Sudan to make it politically costly for them to make it that difficult.

CAFFERTY: Why not?

POWER: Well, for the same reason that there hasn't been much in the way of political pressure for them to stop the killing in the first place. It's not really a top level concern. The United States, of course, is very overstretched with the war on Iraq and the so- called "war on terrorism." Europe yan countries, some of them have oil deals with the Sudanese government, China certainly has an oil deal, Russia is generally reluctant to bring up human rights concerns. So, there's a sort of tragedy of the commons and the Darfurians are the ones paying the price.

SERWER: Samantha, let's take a step back, thought, and help us out here. What is the conflict all about?

POWER: Well, it's become about ethnicity. That is ethnicity is being used to justify a campaign of so-called ethnic cleansing. So, you have an Arab state, an Arab-run government in Khartoum, the capitol of Sudan, that has chosen to use ethnic cleansing as a tool of counter-insurgency. Basically, there was a rebellion, the government said our way of dealing with the rebellion is to just depopulate the region of Darfur, even if that means that women and children are murdered or women are raped and whole communities are destroyed. So, it's got aspects of a civil war and them, but the way of dealing with that war on the part of the government is, you know, murder and deportation.

LISOVICZ: But, you know, Samantha, this comes at a time when you saw all the good that the world can do with the tsunami, for instance. Now, that was a natural disaster, but you saw countries and journalists, people open up their wallets. Is there a different response when there is a disaster on a man-made scale? Like for instance, we had Bosnia. Did we have the same response to Bosnia?

POWER: Well, first of all, just on the tsunami, I think that viewers who saw those images, you know, of tourists and of Indonesians and Sri Lankans and others, even if we'd never been to Sri Lanka, we could imagine sitting on a beach, seeing a giant wave, kind of running toward it out of curiosity, and then, you know, being aghast and then, you know, potentially being crushed by that wave. All of us could imagine being similarly situated. I think it's much harder to imagine being, you know, a goat herder in Darfur and being targeted on the grounds of ethnicity or being caught up in a civil war or rebellion.

So, part of it is imaginative and then the other part is as a viewer of tsunami footage, we all felt like if we gave some amount of money that money would deal with the significant problem, a health problem, a food problem, or reconstruction problem. When you hear about genocide or ethnic cleansing, you don't feel like giving money is actually going to -- it somehow seems incommensurate with what's actually happening. It doesn't seem like it's going to stop the killers.

You asked about Bosnia. One of the major differences with Bosnia, of course, was that it was in Europe. Many people had -- many viewers had recollections of the Olympics in Sarajevo from 1984 which was just, you know, eight years before the war broke out there. There was always a likelihood that the Americans might get involved, either using air power or on the ground. And that likelihood made us pay evermore attention, because we thought maybe we, as a country, are going to be at stake there, in the region. So, I think it's a slightly different circumstance than Darfur where few people have visited, were the victims are African and where it feels like a chronic problem and not a soluble one.

CAFFERTY: What's the U.N. doing about this?

POWER: Well, the U.N. is ultimately, you know, a building that is filled with states and states bring their national interests...

CAFFERTY: Sure, but they are, but they are an organization unto themselves, and this is the kind of thing that they were created to address. What are they doing about it?

POWER: Well, I mean, I take that point, but, again, they don't have an army, they don't have money, they don't have mandates until the U.N. Security Counsel, which is filled with five countries, four of which I already mentioned which have their own reasons for not actually investing much political capital in this place. So, what is the U.N. doing? They're feeding people and they're keeping, you know, two or three million people alive who've been ethnically cleansed. But what they're doing also is hoping that some state or states will step forward saying we want to send troops in there to offer protection to these refugees. We can't just keep them alive so when they die they're fatter than they would be, you know, if they were malnourished. We've got to actually stop them from getting raped and murdered in the first place. So, unfortunately, that requires armies, which the U.N. doesn't, of course, have.

SERWER: All right. It's obviously a terrible problem and you certainly know all about it. Pulitzer Prize winner, Samantha Power, she is a lecturer in public policy at the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at the Kennedy School of Government. Thanks for coming on the program.

POWER: Thank you.

SERWER: Coming up after the break:

Talking down a deal: We'll tell you how a friend of Dick Grasso's has been gumming up a planned merger for the NYSE.

And stuck in Apple's bad hooks: See why the company yanked a batch of works by just one publisher from its Apple stores.

And he may be bad, but that's not the way he tells it: Get a cartoon look at what might happen if Michael Jackson made his own case. It's our "Fun Site of the Week."


LISOVICZ: Now let's take a look at the week's top stories in our "Money Minute." The nation's economy is still growing, but not as fast as most economists expected. The gross domestic product from January through March was 3.1 percent, the slowest growth rate in two years. Many blame the relative slowdown on soaring gas prices and rising interest rates.

Congress has given its stamp of approval to President Bush's $2.6 billion budget for 2006. The resolution passed in the House and the Senate, late Thursday. It call for $70 billion in tax cuts and $35 billion in spending cuts over the next five years. Most spending cuts would come from the Medicaid healthcare program.

And instant photo pioneer Polaroid created an instant outrage for bankrupt companies 4,000 retirees. A Minnesota-based (UNINTELLIGIBLE) group bought the company for $426 million and as part of the deal, the retirees will get checks for a whopping $47 each. That's right, $47. Meanwhile, the two top executives who joined Polaroid after a declared bankruptcy will get more than $21 million combined from their sale of company stock options.

SERWER: Call it the revenge of Dick Grasso. Just when the NYSE thought it had made a deal to merge with electronic trader Archipelago, one of Grasso's old friends came along to throw a little bit of a wrench into the deal. That friend is Home Depot co-founder, Kenneth Langone who is openly questioning many aspects of the deal. Now langone is making a counter bid to buy the NYSE. But the question is, could Langone be making a serious business move or is he just trying to get back at the NYSE for ousting his buddy Grasso at the end of 2003? That makes the proposed NYSE and Archipelago combined our "Stock of the Week." A little bit different here.

Oh how the big boys on Wall Street love to play. And, you know, Langone is kind of transparent here. I mean, he wants to help his buddy out and that's why his support on Wall Street has been sort of lukewarm, people looking at the deal, but not really sure they join forces.

LISOVICZ: Oh, it's about money, ego and politics. And one thing you realize is how cozy and small Wall Street really is. Mr. Langone is the co-founder of Home Depot. And he -- if he were to do this deal successfully, with a lot of big heavy hitters from Wall Street like people like John Mack and Jamie Diamond, it would have to get approved by Eliot Spitzer, right? The...

CAFFERTY: Of course.

LISOVICZ: And guess what? Eliot Spitzer is suing Frank Langone and Dick Grasso.

SERWER: Ken...

LISOVICZ: Ken Langone, excuse me.

CAFFERTY: Yeah, one of the things that got Langone's attention, so was I read it, was the fact that Goldman Sachs was doing banking fees on both sides of the deal. They were making money from the NYSE and they were making money from Archipelago and, whether you like Langone or now, he said, hey wait a second, that stinks, and he's right.

SERWER: Well, and it goes deeper than that. I think you hit a really good point, Jack, because they were representing Archipelago, they were representing the New York Stock Exchange. They took the Archipelago public, they own 15 percent of Archipelago, their ex-COO, John Thain is the CEO and their current CEO, Hank Paulson, helped oust the previous CEO, Dick Grasso. So this is Goldman, Goldman, Goldman -- stop the Goldman, I want to get off. I mean, it's unbelievable.


LISOVICZ: I'm not sure that if Merrill Lynch was on both sides of the deal that, perhaps, Merrill will be complaining, it's that kind of thing.

CAFFERTY: Throw all this other stuff out though, the politics aside, this conceivably is not a bad marriage, the old-fashioned NYSE who has the longest listing of anybody in the world, and an electronic exchange Archipelago, which gives them technology they haven't put in use yet. The question is, if the deal goes together, do you buy the stock? Is this something that would be a good investment, do you think?

SERWER: Well, I think Archipelago, you know, is the shape of things to come. It has competitions like Instinet, which is, by the way merging with NASDAQ,


SERWER: So, you know, I think it's, you know, it's one of those things if you're going to be the middleman on Wall Street, you're going to make out. Archipelago is the middleman, ultimate middleman, so I think they will make out.

LISOVICZ: The stock was flying, though, so, so you might be late getting into it.

CAFFERTY: But, it came back down once Langone said he might make a counter offer. That knocks some of the steam out of the balloon.

LISOVICZ: Right, of course, a lot of the traders are saying the NYSE is not getting enough out of the deal, so more to come, for sure.


SERWER: Yeah. Interesting stuff, I think.

Coming up on IN THE MONEY:

A new Islam for a new generation: What you don't know about some moderate Muslims who want to go mainstream.

Plus, not so fast: Casinos like the new Wynn Las Vegas may offer you a good time, but there's more to the business than meets the eye, says "Smart Money" magazine. We've got 10 things your casino won't tell you.

And banning books in the house of the power book: Allen Wastler will tell us why Apple's got an axe to grind with a tech publisher.

SERWER, EDITOR AT LARGE: Our next guest says if you think Islam is an ancient religion out of touch with the modern world, you're a bit out of touch yourself. He says that Muslims are in the twilight of a reformation and that many are ready to create an Islamic democracy. Reza Aslan is the author of "No God But God." He joins us from New Orleans. Welcome to the program. I think that will be news to many people that Islam is ready for democracy and is reforming itself. Please explain.

REZA ASLAN, AUTHOR, "NO GOD BUT GOD": Well, I mean, I understand why it would be news to some people. But I think that it's a pretty well established and fairly common notion that the vast majority of the world's 1.2 billion Muslims readily accept the principles of democracy, popular sovereignty, constitutionals and rule of law. I mean, these are things that are, in many ways, sort of endemic throughout the Middle East and throughout the Muslim world. It's just an opportunity to actually put that into practice and to do is in an indigenous and an Islamic way. JACK CAFFERTY, CNN ANCHOR, IN THE MONEY: Why aren't we hearing this from Islam? They have allowed the terrorists who knocked down the World Trade Center to co-op their identity at least in this country and in many other parts of the world. And if there's such an overwhelming feeling within the Islam community that they want to be democratic and they want to be moderate, why aren't they saying more about that to us? We're not hearing it from them.

ASLAN: Well, they are saying it. They're saying it quite loudly and quite prominently throughout the Middle East in Iran, in Iraq, in Afghanistan, in Egypt, in Lebanon, in Morocco, in Jordan. Part of the problem of course is that that voice, as overwhelming and as large as it may be, is being drowned out by this louder voice of militantism and extremism, primarily because they are -- these small groups, these small factions of terrorists are taking part in these spectacular displays of violence and are getting all of the attention and all of the news coverage, precisely because of the fact they are taking part in these actions, but --

SUSAN LISOVICZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You talk about news coverage. Sorry to interrupt you Reza. A lot of the news coverage obviously here in the United States has focused on Iraq. Now that there is an interim government in Iraq, do you think that this will help to accelerate the reformation that you see coming?

ASLAN: I think so. I think that political reform in the region goes hand-in-hand with religious reform. So what you're seeing, this move toward Islamic democracy, in Iraq and in other places throughout the Middle East in the Muslim world is going to, without question, accelerate that movement for reform throughout the region. If, again, if this is an indigenous movement, it's an indigenous Islamic democracy that is built by Iraqis for Iraqis, then that's what's going to spread throughout the region.

SERWER: Reza, one thing that I think you've said here is that 9/11 was the last gasp of radical fundamentalism. Gee, that sounds terrific. I'm not sure I buy that, though. Can you explain to me why I might be wrong?

ASLAN: Well, I think from the perspective of the west, it's perfectly natural to think of September 11th as having initiated some kind of clash of civilizations between the west and the Muslim world. But if you broaden your perspective, you'll see that what is really taking place is an internal battle within Islam, this internal battle that we're referring to as the Islamic reformation. And that these event like September 11th, like the Madrid bombing, these are, in essence, an opportunity for these small groups of Islamists and militants to drag the rest of the world into this -- into this battle, and doing so precisely to galvanize support for themselves.

I mean, whatever we think about the murderous and immoral actions of al Qaeda on September 11th, this is not a stupid group. They very much anticipated this exaggerated response from the United States and very adeptly used that response in order to gather support, in order to paint this war on terrorism as a war against Islam, as a war against Muslim values and so bring people to their cause. So I think that --

CAFFERTY: Let me go back to something I asked you a minute ago. If that's the case and they have succeeded arguably beyond their wildest expectations, where is the organized voice of the moderate Muslim in the Middle East saying these people do not represent us. This is not what we stand for. Here is what we do stand for. Here is how we would like to, you know, change our image, change our ways, engage the west in whatever ways they choose to engage us, or not? I mean, I'm not hearing anything from the organized moderate voice of Islam in the Middle East. Why not?

ASLAN: Well, I hate to say this, but you're not listening hard enough. I mean this is a movement that is just enormous and overwhelming, unfortunately, for some reason, we are not that cognizant of it here in the United States. Perhaps that may be because it's just not sexy enough for the media. But I can tell you from traveling throughout the Middle East and I think anyone who has in depth knowledge of the people and the cultures of the Middle East will tell you the same thing.

CAFFERTY: But doesn't the message have to be heard here? Don't they have to get the message listened to here?

ASLAN: Yes, and that's precisely what the responsibility for those of us who are first and second generation Muslim immigrants in North America and Europe, that's the responsibility that we have because we ourselves, in our very nature, in our very identity as Muslim Americans have the opportunity to reflect the reconciliation of our values and traditions, of the values and traditions of our homeland. So in other words, it's our job to give them the voice that they lacked here in the west, but to say that that voice is not there is simply not correct.

LISOVICZ: Reza Aslan is the author of "No God But God." Thank you for joining us.

ASLAN: It was my pleasure, thank you.

LISOVICZ: There's plenty more to come here on the IN THE MONEY. Up next, what casino owners know and you don't. We'll run down the 10 things nobody talks about when you put your money down.

And there's order (ph) in the court. Find out how Michael Jackson might sing his defense on our fun site of the week.


LISOVICZ: The house always wins. Counting cards is legal. The less you play, the lower we pay. Odds are you won't hear a pit boss or casino hostess utter those words next time you belly up to the blackjack table. But according to my next guest, they are little known casino truths. This issue of "Smart Money" magazine take a look at 10 things your casino won't tell you. Senior writer Russell Pearlman join us now to clue us in. Welcome.

RUSSELL PEARLMAN, "SMART MONEY" MAGAZINE: Hi there. LISOVICZ: You couldn't escape all the hype, all the glitz and glamour going on in Vegas over the next few days over that billion- dollar complex known as Wynn Las Vegas. The fact is we're losing more than ever, whether it's Las Vegas, Atlantic City, or else where.

PEARLMAN: That's right, billion-dollar hotel, it's a $2.7 billion hotel for Wynn Las Vegas. Yes, people are gambling more than ever and they're losing more than ever. Back in 1993, people gambled and lost about $11 billion and in 2003, the last time figures were available, they gambled and lost $27 billion. So more people are visiting casinos and, frankly, they are losing more at casinos.

SERWER: Russell, I'm sure you read that book "Bringing Down the House" by those MIT students who were card counters and tried to beat Las Vegas at its own game. Isn't it true that gamblers are getting more sophisticated? Often than doesn't matter because there's nothing you can do about house odds, except in black jack so they're getting more sophisticated. The house is getting more sophisticated too, right?

PEARLMAN: That's right. Anywhere in the United States card counting is legal as long as you do it in your head. There's nothing that the casino can stop you from using what God gave you. Casinos can make it a little bit more difficult for you. They use multiple decks in casinos, which sometimes makes it more difficult to count. Even Wynn Las Vegas, I've discovered, they are using RFID chips, radio frequency ID chips, in the casino chips now so they can track how you're betting. So if they suspect you're card counting, card counters will modify their bets when they suspect they'll have more face cards coming out in a black jack game. So if they see that you are making a lot of bigger bets during certain hands, they might ask you to not play at that particular table. They might ask you to leave the casino. That's pretty much all they can do legally. Other folks have told me they will -- other casinos will surreptitiously spill drinks on you, change dealers on you, make your experience a little less pleasant.

CAFFERTY: The vast majority of people who walk into a casino are not nearly sophisticated enough to engage in things like card counting. Most of us go there to blow a few bucks, have a few laughs. But there are some very subtle and very gentle ways that the joints can separate you from your bankroll. You'll never see a clock inside. There are no windows inside. Time stands still in a casino. Bet a few dollars, lose a few hand, the cocktail waitress is at your elbow just like that and the drinks are on the house. What are some of the other ways subtly that we are set up from the minute we walk in the door?

PEARLMAN: There's always been rumors that casinos pump oxygen into their casinos, so people stay awake more. Whether that has been true or not is irrelevant at this point because casinos are actually pumping essentially aroma therapy in the casino floors and hotels. They're subliminally relaxing you with various smells. They've taken a cue from the retail world, place like Victoria's Secret where they pump vanilla, the scent of vanilla through stores to make it a more pleasant experience. You're finding casinos that do the same thing. This all started back in 1991 when the Mirage opened in Las Vegas. They have a tropical feel so they tried to put in the scent of coconut butter and suntan lotion oil to give the sense that, you know you're in a tropical experience. And casinos saw that hey, that worked, people like the smell. Now you see a lot of different casinos all around the country do the same thing. The Mohican sun casino in Connecticut is the largest scented building in the world. The Venetian Casino in Las Vegas uses a combination of herbs and woods and citrus scents and also a little bit of lavender. Now none of this has any harmful side effects. Particularly, lavender has been clinically proven to relax you --

LISOVICZ: It's all very relaxing. That's what I have during my occasional massage, I always have the lavender oil. But you're not relaxed when you're losing money. That was too much information I know.

PEARLMAN: It all gives the sense that you want to stay in the casino. You want to stay in a place that makes you feel good. Odd are if you stay in a place that makes you feel good, you'll spend more money.

LISOVICZ: Right, but then you have to go get more money, so you go to the ATM in the casino and what happens?

PEARLMAN: That's right. ATMs in casinos, they're the real one- armed bandits because they will charge -- the average most casinos will charge a $3 fee just to get from your checking account. That's double what the average is if you are not a customer of the bank and try to use their ATM machine. So that's not bad enough. Try using a credit card to get your money out and usually there's a flat fee on top of whatever interest charge your credit card will pay you. So let's say you want to take $500 out. You'll be charged a $29 fee, plus the interest on your credit card. That's almost a 6 percent tax on your own -- on the credit card advance.

SERWER: Russell, just quickly here, what are the odds in the various games? And are they fixed -- regulated or do they just compete with each other? How does that work real quick?

PEARLMAN: At least in black jack, the odds are pretty close. What a casino will do these days is add more decks, pay out on a natural black jack. Instead of being 3-2 will be 6-5. There will be little subtle things that individual casino player might not notice but over 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, it adds up to millions and millions of dollars more profit for the house.

LISOVICZ: I always say just go buy a pair of really nice shoes and you'll come out -- at least you'll come out with something nice. But that's my take on it. Senior writer Russell Pearlman of "Smart Money" magazine, 10 things your casino won't tell you and they are all easily available in your article. Thanks for joining us.

PEARLMAN: Thanks for having me.

LISOVICZ: Come up after the break, something's missing from your local Apple store. Allen Wastler explains what got pulled from the shelves. And drop us a line. The address is


CAFFERTY: It looks as though the folks over at Apple don't like publicity unless its pre-approved by their own people. Maybe they do. Web matter Allen Wastler join us now with a contrarian's view of that story, as well as a musical fun site of the week. How you doing?

ALLEN WASTLER, MONEY.COM: How you doing Jack? Did you hear -- John Wily and son, the publisher, they're coming out with a new biography of Steve Jobs. Well, apparently Apple got a gander at the new biography of Steve Jobs and says, we don't like it, you shouldn't publish it and to teach you a lesson, we're going to pull all your books from all 104 of our Apple stores. Now, Wily put out the Mac for dummies series. He does a lot of computer manuals and stuff, a lot of people -- you know, the whole Apple geek community is another example of Apple just being way too arrogant in all this.

But I'm sort of thinking, do you rush to the Apple store to buy a book? No. It's convenient that they're there, but that's not their big thing. Even the geeks, they got, you can get it at discount and everything. We're not talking a big bit of business here. I went and look a little bit. From their entire tech sector serving, they only get about 20 percent of the revenue from that. If you look at your retail channel, it's less than 15 percent through specialty stores. Wily's not taking a big hit. Two, the title of this terrible biography is "Icon Steve Jobs, the greatest second act in the history of business." That doesn't sound like a rip job to me.

LISOVICZ: Did he write it?

WASTLER: One wonders, OK?

SERWER: He did write a book before this that was kind of negative and they've been clashing as he's been reporting this book. But still --

WASTLER: Still, some people have seen it, said, OK, you're not taking a big -- if you make this big to-do, you're not taking a big financial hit. And in fact by making this big to-do, you probably increase sales for the book, a book which is --

SERWER: More publicity.

WASTLER: Kind of complimentary to Steve Jobs in a backhanded way. So it's a win-win for both and all you have to do is create a little buzz from saying we're going to pull your books from all 104 of our stores, 104 stores.

LISOVICZ: But either way they look bad.

CAFFERTY: Then you wind up having people like us sit on national television and sell the book for the author.

WASTLER: It's number 66 now on Amazon's --

CAFFERTY: Sometimes big corporations just don't get it, do they? What about the fun site of the week?

WASTLER: Got a sneak peek for you of Michael Jackson's defense testimony. Let's check it out.

CAFFERTY: Thanks Allen. Coming up next on IN THE MONEY, it's time to hear from you as we read some of your e-mails from the past week and you can send us an e-mail right now. We're at Back in a flash.


CAFFERTY: It's time now to read your answers to our question of the week, about what stories you think the news media is not covering enough. One viewer wrote "we need more coverage of how huge corporations are now stronger than most governments and can even make large countries kneel to their economic will. This is a story getting much more coverage in Europe. Eileen wrote this -- "you're not doing enough to report on the wars and genocide in countries like Sudan, Congo and many other parts of Africa. Silence is the best ally of atrocity."

John wrote, "the biggest story is the way the news is being covered. When did all of you just stop reading the wire copy and stop investigative reporting? Anything that requires work seems to be shied away from on TV news these days."

Now for our e-mail question of the week for next week, with the U.S. prison population at an all-time high, should some drug offenses be legalized? Andy thinks so. Send your answers to and you should also visit our show page at which is where you'll find the address of our fun site of the week.

On that note, we'll thank you for joining us for this edition of IN THE MONEY. My thanks to CNN correspondent Susan Lisovicz, "Fortune" magazine editor at larger Andy Serwer and managing editor Allen Wastler.

Join us next week, Saturday at 1:00 Eastern, Sunday at 3:00. Or you can catch Andy and me all week long on "AMERICAN MORNING" starting at 7:00 am Eastern. Enjoy the rest of your weekend.


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