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Safe Skies Without the Hassle?; "Into the West"

Aired June 6, 2005 - 14:30   ET


KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: The vote count stands. A judge in Washington state has found no evidence of fraud in the balloting that made Christine Gregoire governor. Republicans who had gone to court to nullify her 129-vote victory say they will appeal.
It happened again. This time Citigroup, the world's largest bank. It revealed personal information on almost 400 million of its customers has been lost. The data, all on computer tapes and being shipped by UPS to a credit bureau in Texas.

A status check on intelligence reform in our CNN "Security Watch." It's been nearly a year since the 9/11 Commission made its recommendations for fixing problems at the CIA and the FBI. Is the nation any safer from terrorism? Well, today former commission members are meeting in Washington to assess what progress has been made.


JAMIE GORELICK, FMR. DEP. ATTY. GENERAL: Without a much more streamlined process for appropriation of funds to each of the relevant agencies, you are not going to be able to achieve half, if any, of the promise of the changes in the Executive Branch.


PHILLIPS: Well, in other security news, as more and more passengers line up to catch a plane, the government is looking at ways to keep the sky safe without clogging the baggage check and security lines.

CNN's Brian Todd looks at what they have in mind.


BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): On their first plane trip since September 11th, this Lezotte family isn't worried and isn't having many security hassles as they head back to Dallas from Washington.

LINDA LEZOTTE, PASSENGER: I think it is very thorough. I've been impressed. Everybody is helpful.

TODD: That's what the transportation security administration wants to hear as it comes under added pressure to improve its performance. A confidential new report from the Department of Homeland Security suggests ways that TSA can tighten security gaps at major airports and get you through check points faster.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Please keep the boarding passes in hand.

TODD: According to Homeland Security officials who have seen the report, it says more explosive trace detection need to be in place. This involves taking swabs of passengers and luggage and running them through machines to look for explosive residue. The report says these machines are now only in limited use at major airports but there's a more expensive upgrade called the explosive trace portal. A passenger walks through a portal; there is a burst of air. And that air is tested for residue. Only 14 airports have them. And TSA officials say they're acting on the report's recommendation to deploy more.

MARK HATFIELD, TSA SPOKESMAN: We have brought trace portals, which will now be installed at the 40 busiest airports by the end of this year.

TODD: But according to the "New York Times" the report says many overseas airports don't meet U.S. standards for background checks on passengers flying into the U.S. from abroad.

REP. DAN LUNGREN, (R) HOMELAND SECURITY: We do have a situation now where we check manifests while people are in the air. That is while the flights are in the air. There has been a suggestion that might be done at an earlier stage so you don't have to divert these flights. And you could possibly be able to identify potential terrorists suspects before they actually get on the flight.

TODD: But TSA officials say they have good collaboration with other governments over security standards and are always looking for ways to improve. One simple way to get people through check points faster according to this report? Putting longer tables in front of checkpoints to empty your carry-on luggage.

CLARK KENT ERVIN, FMR. DHS INSPECTOR GENERAL: Many of the solutions recommended are very low tech or no tech recommendations at all. They don't cost a lot of money, so it is hard to believe that they haven't been implemented.

TODD (on camera): TSA officials say they've been working that problem, too, and many others in the report. Experts say that's not a moment too soon, since we are now seeing passenger volume that we haven't seen since before September 11th.

Brian Todd, CNN, at Reagan National Airport.


PHILLIPS: And stay tuned to CNN 24/7 for the most reliable news about your security.

Straight ahead, actor Russell Crowe may have to eat some crow after police showed up at his hotel this morning. We're going to tell you what happened.

And a fashion faux pas? Opponents of a sometimes offensive T- shirt business forced the entrepreneur to rethink his ways.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: "Monty Python's Spamalot"!



PHILLIPS: "Monty Python's Spamalot" wins a lot. The send-up received the Tony award for Best Broadway musical last night in New York. Mike Nichols won the best director trophy and "Spamalot"'s Sara Ramirez picked up the Best Featured Actress in a Musical Award.

Well, another award-winning actor, Russell Crowe, is out of jail. He was released on his own reconnaissance after a late morning arraignment in Manhattan criminal court. Crowe was charged with second degree assault for allegedly throwing a telephone at a hotel employee, who police say required stitches. His publicist issued a statement denying that Crowe struck the employee while trying to get a new phone for him room so he could call home to Australia.

The statement reads, quote: "Words were exchanged and Crowe wound up throwing the phone against the wall. He regrets that he lost his temper, but at no time did he assault anyone or touch any hotel employee."

A gold rush, pioneers heading west, a culture clash that led to bloodshed. Well, they're all a part of Stephen Spielberg's new epic miniseries for television. "Into the West" tells the story of American's expansion through two families, one white, one American- Indian. The series will air on Turner Network Television, a network owned by CNN's parent company, Time Warner.

And recently I had the chance to speak with two of the actors about how their backgrounds prepared them for bringing the human struggle of the 1800s to life.


TONANTZIN CARMELO, ACTRESS, "INTO THE WEST": I think it's very progressive, as far as anything I've seen before. It's the first time that you see native Americans and pioneers put on equal footing. The story is told from both of their points of view. And I haven't seen it before. So it's very progressive.

PHILLIPS: Now, Matthew, for you, because you have the American Indian background. But, Matthew, you don't. You've got the Irish, Welsh, English. What was it like to get into this character and also, you know, learn about this part of history?

MATTHEW STEELE, ACTOR, "INTO THE WEST": Well, the character is sort of similar to my background. I come from a large family. I'm the youngest, like Jacob. And I journeyed west, so I took the risk and went out West. And I -- I sort of had a wanderlust like Jacob did. You know, I went first to New York City, but then ended up in Los Angeles.

But for me, I learned more about the mystical elements of native culture. There's a deep sacred quality about everything that they do and that's really fascinating and that's something that I'd like to see brought more into mainstream culture.

PHILLIPS: Well, what a perfect segue. Let's take a look at this clip here, the buffalo scene. Let's talk about how this moment is very spiritual. In a minute, we'll see the young boy kneel down in front of the buffalo. What did you learn from this?

STEELE: Well, I guess for native Americans, getting their vision and their closeness to their spirituality is the way they send e-mails or get their e-mails from God, so to speak. You know, I come from a Baptist background and so we have our beliefs. But I guess what I learned is that if you have an open mind toward other cultures, you know, if there is a God, he sends his messages, you know, any way we can get them. You know?

PHILLIPS: And we know that for a fact, that's for sure. Tonantzin, what do you think? I mean, from a spiritual and cultural perspective, are you happy with how this was portrayed and what did it do for you personally and culturally?

CARMELO: Well, for me it was a coming home type of a role, because, as a native American, I actually began performing as a dancer with feathers and everything. So people would always come up to me and ask me, are you a real Indian? And to me...

PHILLIPS: And those pow-wows are beautiful.

CARMELO: Yes, well, that meant for them are you a tee-pee Indian from what we see on TV, you know, in film and TV? And so this kind of role, although Thunderheart Woman, my character, does play a Lakota (ph) woman who does originate in a tee-pee, you see her offspring, who actually progressed and you see them wearing the pioneer clothes. And actually, she does wear the pioneer clothes. So it's a progression to maybe where a current day native American might be.

PHILLIPS: That's right. You guys, of course, fall in love. I don't want to give it all away. But let's look the scene where actually your relationship develops. OK. Let's roll this one clip.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right, (INAUDIBLE). Anyone else in the bidding here?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who's the greenhorn? 300.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ben, you better talk to your friend.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What is you thinking? Johnny Foxhole will whip you away to (INAUDIBLE).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's trying to buy his sister peach fuzz? You even know what to do with her?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm going to set her free and send her back to her people.


PHILLIPS: Powerful moment in the film. Matthew.

STEELE: I think initially Jacob, his sort of desire for righteousness is because he actually listened in church back home. You know, he left the status quo of his family where on Sundays they're nice to each other and the rest of the week they tear into each other. And he leaves that and meets a man named Jebediah Smith (ph) who explains to him that the West is not a way to live, it's just a place on the map.

And that carries with him and influences him and he always tries to do the right thing because he have tries to be like his hero Jebediah Smith, who is probably trying to be like Lewis and Clark or whoever had captured their imagination. But in this scene, I think that for him there is no choice in the matter. He has to prevent this woman from being, you know, sold as a slave.

PHILLIPS: That one scene where you're injured, you're saying good-bye, I love you, thank you for saving me. You also speak in the native language. What do you think is so powerful about that moment?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Never forget who you are. You're one part Lakota, one part Virginia. Abraham High Wolf, remember who you are always and remind your brother Jacob.


CARMELO: And that scene illustrates how important death was. Death was so much more a part of life. I mean, death was very prominent in those times. And it is today, of course, but back then, it was a life or death situation. If you want your children to live, you have to move on. And it's survival.


PHILLIPS: Well, "Into the West" premieres this Friday on TNT, a network owned by CNN's parent company Time Warner. Well, do you use those disposable cameras when you're on vacation? Well, get ready for the disposable video camera. That's right.

And teed off about offensive T-shirts? Well, an entrepreneur who tried to push the envelope decides it's time for a wardrobe change.



CHRISTINA PARK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Eight women, four men are deliberating the Michael Jackson molestation trial. brings you the key issues that may decide his fate. Flip through our interactive timeline for the some of the key moments in the trial and the interruptions, like when the 46-year-old pop star showed up 90 minutes late for court wearing his pajamas, complaining of a back injury, putting his $3 million bail briefly in jeopardy.

Or when a forensic accountant testified that Jackson faces millions of dollars in debt and a looming financial crisis. looks as the jurors now deliberating. Where they work. Do they have kids? How they feel about Jackson? What's their educational background? Juror number 77 works in social services. The 44-year-old woman calls Michael Jackson a great entertainer. She's also divorced with a son in his 20s. She or someone close to her has been diagnosed with cancer. Why should that matter? Well, Jackson's teen accuser is a cancer survivor. We profiled all 12 jurors, from a 79-year-old retirement woman, to an assistant head cashier who's just 20 years old.

We've also broken down the 10 counts Jackson faces in our online special at

I'm Christina Park, and that does it from the dot-com desk.



PHILLIPS: Well, you know I'm eager to see, this new gadget, this video gadget.

KATHLEEN HAYS, CNN FINANCIAL CORRESPONDENT: This is just fantastic, I think. You know, for people who lose stuff, easier to lose one of these and not spend so money. First cameras, now camcorders. CVS will soon begin selling disposable video cameras. Yes. The new camcorder from Pure Digital Technologies doesn't use videotape. Instead, it saves the movies to a memory card just like a digital camera.

The one-time use camcorders will be priced at just under $30 apiece and you can record up to 20 minutes of footage. One added cost, though. You will have to pay CVS an additional $12.99 to process your movies onto DVDs to see them. So sounds like an interesting product, Kyra. Maybe that stock's going to go places. We'll see, huh?

PHILLIPS: No, that's a good idea. I'm sitting here, adding it up, thinking, eh, it might be cheaper still to buy a little camera, keep my tape. All right, Kathleen. Thank you.

HAYS: You're welcome.

PHILLIPS: Well, the government of Aruba is asking thousands of people on the island to help with the search for Natalee Holloway. She's the U.S. teenager who's been missing since last week. We're going to get an update from our reporter in Aruba at the top of the hour.

And all the comforts of home discovered inside a huge insurgent bunker in Iraq. Are there more hide-outs like these? We'll tell you.


PHILLIPS: One entrepreneur who got rich selling humorous and often offensive T-shirts has had a change of heart. CNN's Jeanne Moos has the story, but since this is a story about a man who sells offensive T-shirts, well, some of you might find portions of it objectionable, which, of course, will only make some others want to watch.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): You may be less than tickled by these T-shirts, from "Help Stop Rape: Consent," to "I Surfed the Tsunami." They deserve to go to T-Shirt Hell, which is where you can find them on the Web.

AARON SCHWARZ, TSHIRTHELL.COM: This is our most popular shirt.

MOOS (on camera): Really?

SCHWARZ: A lot of men have gotten free lap dances from the "I Support Single Mom" shirt.

MOOS (voice-over): T-Shirt Hell is one of the most popular T- shirt sellers on the Internet. There are baby shirts with adult humor, ranging from "Pottyhead" to "They Shake Me." For reasons of taste, we can only show you the more tepid T-shirts.

SCHWARZ: I only support gay marriage if both chicks are hot.

MOOS (on camera): Do you?

SCHWARZ: Actually, I support gay marriage across the board.

MOOS (voice-over): It figures Aaron Schwarz would have an open mind, wide open. He's been called the Howard Stern of T-shirts.

(on camera): Have the T-shirts made you rich?

SCHWARZ: Yes. MOOS (voice-over): He has a file of letters asking him to cease and desist. The Anti-Defamation League didn't like the T-shirt proclaiming "What About All the Good Things Hitler Did?" The folks at Pizza Hut didn't appreciate what he did to their name. Even 9/11 wasn't off limits.

SCHWARZ: That's been our all-time worst shirt. Thousands and thousands of hate mails, death threats.

MOOS: But it took an actual brush with death...

SCHWARZ: My mouth was starting to foam.

MOOS: ... to change Aaron's taste in T-shirts.

SCHWARZ: They said it was a drug-induced poison overdose.

MOOS: Aaron was hanging out one night with various people, some of whom he didn't really know. After he got home, he started having seizures and convulsions.

SCHWARZ: My body, my hands were like this, my body was shaking like this.

MOOS (on camera): This is very hard to believe.

SCHWARZ: I feel uncomfortable, because I feel like you're -- a number of times you've made comments that it's hard to believe the story and stuff like that. But you want it.

MOOS (voice-over): And off Aaron stalked, searching for paperwork to back up the story, paperwork from the ambulance.

SCHWARZ: Receipt from that night.

MOOS: Bills from the hospital, where he was told a toxicology report showed he'd been poisoned, perhaps by a substance in his drink.

SCHWARZ: I was going through a moment where I thought I was going to die. I thought what's the one thing that I'm doing wrong in my life that could be considered wrong, and it was the T-shirts.

MOOS: Convinced someone had poisoned him over his T-shirts, Aaron wants it known that he's taking down his most offensive shirts, a section called Worse Than hell. The removing them has prompted angry fans to refer to him as...

SCHWARZ: "Dear Gutless."

MOOS: And "tail-between-your-legs sellout."

SCHWARZ: They're offended that we're no longer offensive.

MOOS: Partly out of guilt and partly out of fear, Aaron says he'll donate 30 percent of his profits for the next two years to charities that help those he's offended. Still, the remaining T-shirts are bad enough. As Aaron told disappointed fans, your mom will probably still refuse to put your T- Shirt Hell T-shirt in with the rest of the laundry.

SCHWARZ: Afraid it will corrupt the socks.

MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


PHILLIPS: "Now in the News," snuffed out. The nation's highest court rules against marijuana for medical use. The 6-3 vote means doctors can be blocked from prescribing the drug to patients in pain. Patients who use it can be prosecuted.

Christine Gregoire wins again. A Washington state judge rules the vote count that made her governor stands. Republicans claim the Democrats stole the election with illegal voters, errors and fraud. They vow to appeal.

Awaiting his fate. Next hour Mark Hacking is expected to be sentenced for the murder of his wife. The Utah man pleaded guilty to shooting Lori Hacking while she slept and dumping her body in a trash bin. He faces up to life in prison.

Still deliberating. Jurors in the Michael Jackson trial are said to be back at it after sending out a question to the judge. What it was all about has not been made public. What about the pop star's future? A look at that coming up.


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