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'Kamber & May'; 'Paging Dr. Gupta'

Aired May 16, 2005 - 08:30   ET


CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: In Texas, Specialist Sabrina Harman begins her defense today in a trial stemming from the Abu Ghraib Prison abuse scandal. Harman is the second service member to face a military judge in the case. The first, Charles Graner, was sentenced to 10 years in prison. Harman faces six-and-a-half years if she is convicted.
In health news, new hope for smokers trying to kick the habit. A European company just wrapped up a second phase of testing for a nicotine vaccine. The shot creates anti-nicotine antibodies that stop the nicotine from reaching the brain. The results are said to be good, and some think the vaccine could be out within five years.

And former South African President Nelson Mandela is in Washington this morning. In about three hours, Mandela will speak at the Brookings Institution about development in Africa. Mandela is set to meet with President Bush tomorrow. Their first visit in more than two years. Mandela had criticized the war in Iraq, accusing the president of, quote, "wanting to plunge the world into a holocaust."

Back to you.

MILES O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: All right, thank you very much, carol.

Senate investigators say Saddam Hussein managed to buy influence from high-level Russian officials. Ex-Iraqi government members say Hussein was paying off the Russians in exchange for their getting U.N. sanctions lifted. That is topic number one for Democratic consultant Victor Kamber and former RNC communications director Cliff May, both of them joining us from Washington.

Cliff, I guess, except for the specifics on the names, none of this probably surprises you?

CLIFF MAY, FMR. RNC COMM. DIR.: No, there's been reason to believe for some time that Saddam Hussein used Oil-for-Food money. This a program meant to keep kids from dying, give them food, give them medicine. And it was a corrupt program, and he used it to pay off people in various countries.

So that when we went to the international community to see if we could do something about Saddam Hussein, we were talking to people who may have been getting checks from Saddam Hussein. Important to understand, this is -- we're talking about the biggest financial swindle in human history. We're talking about a program that ended up killing people, and this was under U.N. auspices, under Kofi Annan. M. O'BRIEN: Biggest swindle in human history, really? This is it, huh?

MAY: If you look at the numbers involved, yes, I think so. It would be hard to find anything with that many billions of dollars stolen. Anything else, I can't come up with it.

M. O'BRIEN: Well, Victor, does this prove the U.N. is rotten to the core?

VICTOR KAMBER, DEMOCRATIC CONSULTANT: No. I mean, Cliff said -- everything I agree with Cliff except one thing. It was not a corrupt...

M. O'BRIEN: Hey, wait a minute, you agree with Cliff?

KAMBER: With everything but one line, which is a crucial line. It was not a corrupt program. The program was corrupted by Saddam Hussein and the Russians. The program...

M. O'BRIEN: Well, it takes two to tango. There's more to it than that.

KAMBER: Not according to Senate reports, if you read them. Kofi Annan has no implications by him whatsoever. It's Saddam Hussein who ended up taking these monies and bribing...

M. O'BRIEN: Victor, you don't think there were a lot of winks and nods going on over this whole thing?

KAMBER: Anymore than I think Dick Cheney winks and nods over Halliburton, or anybody else winks and nods over programs.

MAY: Miles, if I may, there are two possibilities. We don't know that Kofi Annan broke any laws.

KAMBER: We do know.

MAY: We don't!

KAMBER: ... has not found any evidence.


KAMBER: So let's start with innocent.

MAY: No, not finding any evidence is not the same thing as innocence, as you well know. There is two possibilities...

M. O'BRIEN: Isn't there a presumption of innocence here? No?

KAMBER: I would think so.

MAY: Let's presume innocence. In that case, he's the most negligent and incompetent manager in world history as well, because this program, which he shaped, expanded, presided over, which his son profited from, he evidently didn't know what the heck was going on with this program, and Saddam Hussein was using the money from the program to buy weapons and palaces, and possibly, I think this will come out eventually, possibly to underwrite terrorism.

KAMBER: And bought votes from the U.N., we know that.

M. O'BRIEN: Let's talk about "Newsweek." "Newsweek" right now offering a retraction on this story, which indicated that the Koran was being flushed down the toilet by interrogators at Guantanamo. Now they'd like to flush the story down the toilet perhaps.

But part of it is, I think Newsweek hasn't done a very forthcoming retraction here. What are your thoughts on this, because this truly -- Victor, you start with this one. Lives were lost over this whole thing.

KAMBER: No question. I mean, one of the problems we have in this age where instant news and everyone's trying to one-upsmanship the other. Every network, every magazine, every newspaper. They're going with half-truths sometimes. They're going with rumors. They're not going with the kind of investigative true journalism, I think, that is required. Here, "Newsweek" made a blunder, and then compounds it, I think, by not doing the kind of apology that's necessary.

Having said all that, and using what Jack's question today, I do not think the government should intrude itself. I do not think we need any sort of censorship, but I do think that we need to understand that "Newsweek" went way over on this one.

All right, Cliff May, time to put some restrictions on the press?

MAY: No, I wouldn't put restrictions on the press apart from the government. I think the press should put restrictions on itself. I think it's high time...

M. O'BRIEN: We're not good at that, though, are we?

MAY: No, absolutely. The media is not good at self-criticism. It's not good at self-reflection or self-examination, but after what happened at CBS with Dan Rather, what happened with "The New York Times" with the Al Kaka (ph) ammunition dumps, what happened here, it really is time for the media to look at itself and try and do better than this. Right now, all -- everybody just wants to get the story out there first, and it's right...

M. O'BRIEN: And this is a single source, anonymous source at that, and a particular story that has tremendous implications. I wonder if the editors totally missed the potential implications there.

MAY: How about this implication? We're in a real war. It's a real war, not a metaphorical war. I think the media has to be extra careful. When "Newsweek" says we're sorry to the victims, small consolation to those victims who died.

M. O'BRIEN: Let's got back -- this is the final subject. Condoleezza Rice with her little impromptu tour of Iraq. Victor, as she went, a lot of carnage, even as she was there. This is, nevertheless, very important for the administration to get her out there, to try to get ahead of the story. Events, however, seemed to overtake this, don't they?

KAMBER: Yes. I mean, I think it was crucial that she go from the administration standpoint, because all we've seen for the last three weeks, four weeks, is death upon death upon death. The insurgents continue to kill, suicide bombers.

And what the purpose of her trip, I'm assuming, was to try to get back on message that democracy wins out over death. The American public hasn't bought all this.

M. O'BRIEN: Well, all it did was make sure we pay attention to the 34 deaths that occurred that day.

Cliff, final thought on that, the trip and the administration, where they are right now?

MAY: The solution to the suicide bombers is going to be military. We need to fight this kind of war and win it. These people are barbarians. But Condi Rice was there for another reason. She wants to see that the government that's coming together, the constitution, is done correctly, and she's providing very important advice, because we're trying to help Iraq become a decent society, one of the first in the matter of Middle East. That's very important for the future of our foreign policy and for the future of the world.

KAMBER: It was a photo-op trip, you know it was.

MAY: Where would you rather have the secretary of state go, Victor, other than Iraq right now? Where is more important?

KAMBER: I think probably to here in the United States to try to solve how we get out of Iraq.

MAY: She is the secretary of state. Her job is to do foreign affairs.

M. O'BRIEN: Gents, got to go.

Victor Kamber, Cliff May, always a pleasure. Thank you -- Soledad.

S. O'BRIEN: Well, defense testimony resumes this morning at Michael Jackson's molestation trial. The pop star's strongest witness so far may be his former attorney.

Here's CNN's Ted Rowlands.


TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): As Michael Jackson's defense case moves into week three, Jackson's former attorney, Mark Geragos, is expected to be back on the stand. Last week, Geragos testified that he was the one that ordered video surveillance of the accuser's family. Geragos said he thought the family might, quote, "shake down his client," Michael Jackson.

CRAIG SMITH, LEGAL ANALYST: What Geragos has really done is he is distancing Michael Jackson from the conspiracy.

ROWLANDS: Geragos also explained what he thought was Michael Jackson's motivation for sleeping in the same bed as children, saying it was a form of, quote, "unconditional love."

JIM MORET, LEGAL ANALYST: He said what I drew was a gentleman who was childlike in his love for kids. I saw someone ripe as a target and I moved in to protect him.

ROWLANDS: Judge Rodney Melville was clearly upset with Jackson's attorney Thomas Mesereau over what the judge called a misrepresentation to the court. At issue is the attorney/client waiver that allowed Geragos to take the stand. The dispute must be resolved before Geragos resumes his testimony, scheduled for Friday.

It's expected that more celebrity witnesses could be called to the stand within the next few weeks, including Elizabeth Taylor, Jay Leno, and Larry King. Actor Macaulay Culkin testified last week. He said claims by a former Jackson employee that Jackson molested at Neverland Ranch were, quote, "absolutely ridiculous."

Ted Rowlands, CNN, Los Angeles.


S. O'BRIEN: The reason Geragos won't testify until Friday is because he is involved in another trial and has to wait for a recess in that case -- Miles.

M. O'BRIEN: In St. Paul, Minnesota, a debate is raging over a Roman Catholic priest who denied communion to more than 100 parishioners. The priest refused to give the sacrament to people wearing rainbow sashes during Sunday's service at the Cathedral of St. Paul. Members of the Rainbow Sash Alliance have worn the sashes to the cathedral on this day since 2001 to show support for gay Catholics. The priest warned parishioners last month that he would deny them communion if they wore the sashes this year.

S. O'BRIEN: Well, who would have bet that 100 years that Las Vegas would become the glitzy gambling mecca that it is today? Las Vegas, in fact, celebrated its centennial over the weekend in fine style with a big old birthday cake. That would be a cake right there. It's bigger than a basketball court. I bet it's really tasty. The events commemorated May 15, 1905, which is when businessmen auctioned off land on what is now the Las Vegas strip. Those 110-acre lots went for between 100 and 750 bucks.


M. O'BRIEN: Still to come on AMERICAN MORNING, is there something in your personality that is making you sick? I don't know. Dr. Sanjay Gupta has important information for your disease prevention. S. O'BRIEN: And we'll tell you why Hyundai picked XM Satellite Radio raid over Sirius. The customers had some strong feelings about it. Andy Serwer will explain ahead when he's "Minding Your Business," as AMERICAN MORNING continues.


S. O'BRIEN: Are you the kind of person who sees the glass as half empty or half full? Well, it could make a difference in whether you'll become seriously ill. Dr. Sanjay Gupta looks at how your personality can affect your health -- Sanjay.

SANJAY GUPTA, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT I'm a glass half full kind of guy.

S. O'BRIEN: Me too.

GUPTA: I know you are.

But there is some a relationship between personality and health. Personality traits can affect your health. And the most well known, clearly type-A personality. It includes more than just anger, but also cynicism, aggression, mistrust of others. You know people that are like this. Someone who is quick to fly off the handle and become more easily agitated.

Now this is a well-known link. These people, researchers say, are associated with a greater risk of heart disease than more placid individuals. But researchers say type A's aren't the only ones at risk for health problems because of their temperaments. And this is where it gets sort of interesting. Type-C personalities, have you heard that? Well, if you think you're hiding your emotions is good, think again. Researchers say that repressors, also known as type-C personalities, fail to express negative emotions. They're characterized as unassertive, over-patient, avoiding conflict. Some scientists have said that this could actually increase your risk of cancer.

This is really interesting. So if you're constantly stressed out, your body released increased levels of these so-called stress hormones known as cortisol. A lot of people have heard of this. Could cause problems with autoimmune diseases, like M.S., rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis. All sorts of different things might depress your immune function. You may be more likely to get sick as well.

So not just type A, Soledad, we've known about that since the '70s, but type-C personalities as well potentially.

S. O'BRIEN: So let's say you're a type-A personality and you want to be a different type of personally, maybe not type C, since obviously they're are risk associated with that, too. Can you actually change your personality type?

GUPTA: You can. But personality is sort of an interesting thing. A lot of it is genetic to some extent. According to Dr. Oakley Ray (ph) from Vanderbilt University, personality is genetically influenced, but our temperaments are influenced by early experiences as well, our parents caregivers, friends, all those sorts of things. So you can change, but you're faced with situations that are going to test your temperament.

Experts say the key is to try and manage your response, and do this consciously. Remain calm. Calm yourself through things like meditation, for example, relaxation. You can use some of that on the set here maybe. As Dr. Herbert Benson, president of the Mind Body Medical Institute says, you can elicit a relaxation response by consciously repeating a calming word or phrase as you exhale. You can try this at tome. For those of you who repress your emotions, vent. I mean, that's the option there. Shy introverts may never be the life of the party, but you can calm your inner fears by sort of easing yourself into social situation.

S. O'BRIEN: And you should learn to do it for your health.

GUPTA: Absolutely. There is a real link here, a real link.

S. O'BRIEN: All right, Sanjay, thanks.

M. O'BRIEN: Feel better already, or I'm going to think it anyhow.

Twenty-eight years after the first "Star Wars" film took the world by storm -- it's been that long -- the much anticipated final "Star Wars" film officially premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in Cannes over the weekend. Amazing how that works.

Among those in attendance, the director George Lucas, accompanied by Natalie Portman, who I'm told shaved her head in this thing. Can you believe that? That's a look.

S. O'BRIEN: You know, she's cute; she can pull it off.

M. O'BRIEN: Yes, well, you're right.

Samuel L. Jackson. There's Lucas of course. Episode three, revenge of the stith -- Sith, whatever it is.

Did I call her something else besides Portman? There she is.

S. O'BRIEN: She looks good.

M. O'BRIEN: She looks lovely, she really does.

All right, it's the final chapter at long last. The franchise has earned $12 billion in box office over the years, and the force is with them in London as well. Star Wars" fans attend a long-awaited movie marathon. Hundreds of fans are watching the entire series back- to-back-to-back-to-back. Count 'em, six, culminating with the premiere, of course, of "Episode III: Revenge of the Sith." The tickets for the marathon were sold out in just five minutes last week. Clearly, a lot of people with a lot of time on their hands in Great Britain. "Episode III" opens in the U.S. this Thursday.

S. O'BRIEN: Are you going to take your kids to see it?

M. O'BRIEN: My kids are not into this at all. I think it's a generational thing.

S. O'BRIEN: Really? Remember when we were...

M. O'BRIEN: I remember it back in '77. Of course I was very, very young at that time, seeing it...

S. O'BRIEN: Lined up around the movie theaters, everybody.

M. O'BRIEN: It was great, and then they did that Jar Jar thing, and now there's some sense that maybe it's kind of gone back to its roots. But you know, it's interesting, in this final episode, they kind of humanize Darth Vader. We know why they did that last, obviously, because it takes the fun out of the villainry a little bit. And it's not James Earl Jones, by the way. It's somebody else.

S. O'BRIEN: Interesting. Maybe I'll see this one. Or maybe not.

M. O'BRIEN: Or maybe not.

S. O'BRIEN: Ahead this morning, one option that car buyers do not want. Some say they're being turned off by Sirius Satellite Radio. Andy Serwer's "Minding Your Business" just ahead. He'll explain.

And we're back in a moment.


S. O'BRIEN: Welcome back, everybody.

JACK CAFFERTY, CNN ANCHOR: Hyundai drivers changing the channel on a certain shock jock. Andy Serwer is "Minding Your Business."


Hyundai surveyed 300 to 400 of its customers to try to decide whether to go with Sirius Satellite Radio or XM. And a surprising number of them told the carmaker that they did not want Sirius in their car because of Howard Stern. They didn't want to have to listen to Howard Stern.

Now, I don't think they get it, because Sirius has 115 channels. You don't have to listen to Howard Stern.

S. O'BRIEN: It makes no sense.

SERWER: They just didn't. So Hyundai went with XM.

M. O'BRIEN: XM has that "Opie" show, though.

SERWER: Yes, and he's -- they're worse. Aren't they worse?

M. O'BRIEN: Well, they're in the same category anyhow.

SERWER: They're just about as bad during drive time, 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m., starting January 1 is when the Howard will be on.

This is very a sad day in automotive history. Iran's Piecan (ph), the most popular car in Iran, is being phased out of production. And let me tell you, this thing is a real beaut. Four decades, this car was made, 2.2 million units. Listen to this, it got 12 miles to the gallon, spewed waste out of its tail pipe. The Iranian Fuel Conservation Organization said it should be banned. So did the Iranian Environmental Protection Organization.

And the best part about this, Jack, is that there are just a whole host of Piecan jokes. How do you make a Piecan accelerate 0 to 60 in less 15 seconds? Push it off the cliff. What's found in the last two pages of every Piecan's owner's manual? The bus schedule. What do you call two Piecans on the top of a hill? A miracle. How do you double the value of a Piecan? Fill up the gas tank. And on and on.

S. O'BRIEN: These are pretty good.

SERWER: These are very good. And it kind of reminds me of some of these other cars like the Lada (ph) from Russia and the Trevant (ph) from east Germany, some of these cars that just were real dogs basically.

M. O'BRIEN: The pinto.

SERWER: Yes, the Gremlin. We had some here in the United States.

CAFFERTY: What about the markets?

SERWER: Markets, let's talk about what was going on last week. The Dow was down, Nasdaq up a little bit. Price of oil is way down, Jack. Below $48 a barrel, and that's good news for the futures this morning.

CAFFERTY: There you go. Thanks, Andy.

SERWER: You're welcome.

CAFFERTY: Time for the file. Saddam Hussein spending his time in jail working on his memoirs. London's "Financial Times" reports the former dictator's autobiography will include his childhood in Iraq, his early exile in Egypt and his military adventures into Iran and Kuwait.

According to one of his lawyers, Saddam wants to try to, quote, embarrass the great powers that once saw him as a useful buffer against the expansionist ambitions of Iran after the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Bound to be a bestseller and great movie.

While in power, Saddam wrote three romance novels, all of which were, of course, because he was in power bestsellers in Iraq. Last week, a bankruptcy court approved United Airlines plan to terminate $3 billion in employee pension obligations. This week, a bunch of United flight attendants are releasing a risque calendar for 2006, titled, "Stewardesses Stripped." The five women, seen here, range in age from 55 to 64, posing in various states of undress at various locations, including in front of this old airplane. Old women in front of an old airplane. Every picture accompanied by a caption related to United's pension default.

This picture reads, "Are your butts covered? We thought ours were, too."

Another caption says, "Marry me, fly free, but don't expect anything from my pension."

A new type of X-ray machine will soon appear at several airports later in the year. It will give airport screeners a better picture of what's under your clothing. Boy, will it ever.

"USA Today" reports the $100,000 back-scatter (ph) machine uses X-rays to produce photolike computer images of metal, plastic and organic materials hidden under clothing. There's a problem, though. The X-rays are extremely revealing. The ACLU calls the technology a, quote, virtual strip search, but homeland security chief Michael Chertoff says he wants to use the machines, and he doesn't care about privacy issues.

S. O'BRIEN: That's a blurred image.

SERWER: Yes, that's like the X-ray things in the little comic strips when you were a kid, the little, you know, those glasses you could put on.

S. O'BRIEN: He doesn't care about privacy issues. We'll see. All right, Jack, thanks.

Coming up in just a few moments, today's top stories, including the bombshell discovery made by two sailors just two days before deploying to Iraq. Stay with us. That's ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.



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