Return to Transcripts main page
PAULA ZAHN NOW
My New Life; Robert Davis Speaks Out
Aired October 11, 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: I'm really excited tonight because of the overwhelming reaction to last night's show and the way you could help change the life of someone you don't even know. My new life and your amazing response to the plight of hurricane victims. Last night, hundreds of job leads for this homeless attorney and this jobless cook. Tonight, our special series continues. Could you be the one to help kick start a new life? The man who is beaten on Bourbon Street.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERT DAVIS: The only thing I do remember was this woman who kept screaming about he didn't do anything.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAHN: But that mystery woman wasn't the only witness. We found another who tells us what happened in the French Quarter.
And driven to extremes. Incredibly punishing force, split second decisions, on the line between life and death. If you don't think NASCAR drivers are athletes, wait until we get you behind the wheel.
Welcome back. Our experiment has been such a success, we're starting with it tonight. It has been six weeks since Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast, and I keep seeing this tragedy from new perspectives. Here's one that really strikes me. In those six weeks, nearly 67,000 disaster loan applications have been filed with the Small Business Administration, but only 661 have been approved so far. That's 1%.
The workers from those destroyed businesses need more than bureaucracy and paperwork. What they desperately need are jobs, and they need them now. Labor Secretary Elaine Chao will join me in a little bit to talk about the national job outlook. But right now, I want to keep trying something unique. If you're a manager, an employer or if you hire people for a living, please watch this closely. I'm hoping give some storm victims a brand-new life. Here's what they're up against.
They lost everything, their belongings, their homes, their cities and towns and one of the most important keys to recovery. They lost their jobs. In the wake of the hurricanes an astounding 363,000 Americans lost their jobs. Some analysts think the final number could approach half a million. Where were those jobs? Everywhere and in almost every industry. When the skies cleared after Hurricane Katrina, 95 percent of the Gulf of Mexico's oil production was shut down. At least 286 hotels along the Gulf Coast are in no shape to take in visitors. The casinos, don't bet on them for a while. Transportation jobs, look at the roads. Countless shops and restaurants have been damaged or destroyed. And these are the people affected.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's time to start over.
ZAHN: Business owners, welders, cooks and musicians.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I basically have nothing. And everything I have on me is borrowed.
ZAHN: A law school graduate whose first job has been blown away.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My house is gone. My job's gone. So there is nothing to go back to down there.
ZAHN: When you've lost everything, you desperately need a way to get something back. You need a job. So, are you ready to help out some of these people? Over the past few weeks, my staff has made contact with a number of storm victims who are looking for work. They're going to tell us their stories. We're going to put their resumes on the screen. And once again, if you're a manager or an employer or you hire people and you'd like to contact these specific people we'll be meeting, call us at 1-877-hireme5.
You could also e-mail us at this address: firstname.lastname@example.org. My new life is all one word. Or go to our Web site, cnn.com/paula. I'll put you in touch with our job seekers. We're going to leave it up to the both of you to see if the match works. CNN has not verified the information provided by potential employers, and we have no opinion about the qualifications of any particular employee or the merit of any employer.
Employers should follow their own best hiring practices in determining whether to hire any of the featured individuals. Also here with some tips for all job seekers is Brad Karsh. He is an expert in career counseling. And I'll be talking with you in just a little bit. So don't go away, please. Right now, we're ready to meet our first person who needs a new life.
JERRY BLAKE: To ride a Boss Hoss is probably the ultimate thrill for a motorcycle enthusiast. I bought a Boss Hoss motorcycle seven years ago. It's a very high performance, unique motorcycle. Because I liked them so much, I bought the franchise. I put so much not just time and money and effort, but a lot of pride in my business. And to see the doors blown, to see everything look white and gray, it's just a very surreal thing to encounter. Three years trying to get it right, and eight hours to destroy it.
I'm a single dad. I have twin boys that are nine years old that are also displaced from the storm. They're taken from the schools. All they want to do is see their friends. I'm looking for an opportunity in a sales environment. As a business person, I would describe myself as very successful, college educated, played football at LSU, worked for the governor, owned four businesses. I've always learned that misfortune breeds opportunity. And at this point in my life, I'm looking for the opportunity because I think I've had enough misfortune.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAHN: Jerry joins me now from New Orleans. If you're in a position to hire Jerry Blake, the contact information is right at the bottom of your screen. Good to see you, Jerry. I know you've been out there Pounding the pavement. Any leads at this point?
BLAKE: Well, I've basically been working on networking and trying to get back with friends and trying to see what's available out there in the marketplace today and what opportunities I have to potentially get some investors to try to get my business back on its feet.
ZAHN: So you're really into sales, and you love selling motorcycles. Is that something you'd like to continue to do?
BLAKE: I would -- Paula, I would love to sell anything that has an asset value and perhaps build relationships. And motorcycles are great. Boats are great. But actually anything that would have the opportunity to pass my way, I think I would love to do that.
ZAHN: And what's so hard with this job market right now for you, other than the fact that you have so much company? Is it because you've had such specific kind of experience?
BLAKE: It's just difficult in the fact that you're still trying to put your insurance together, you're trying to put your life together, you're trying to get your kids back in their schools. It's trying just to take the daily grind to wake up and make it work. And it'll come together because I'm a positive person and I feel like I need to just keep going. Everyday is a new day, and I just need one more swing at the bat. And that's what I'm looking forward to.
ZAHN: Well, I think that attitude's going to carry you a long way. Jerry, if you wouldn't mind standing by for just a moment. Here in the studio with me is a man I introduced our audience to a little bit earlier, an expert in career counseling. Brad Karsh is the president of a company called Job Bound. Now there are a couple of things that he just said that struck me. He's going to be flexible. He obviously has had a lot of experience in sales and sounds like he could sell just about anything. That's going to be helpful, isn't it?
BRAD KARSH, PRESIDENT, JOB BOUND: It is going to be helpful. The more flexible you are in any job search, the better opportunities that are going to come your way. So it's great that he's looking at a couple of different options in terms of what he wants to do.
ZAHN: What isn't he doing, based on what you just heard from him?
KARSH: One of the things that's important for job seekers like Jerry to do is really tap into their transferable skills. And Ally (ph) talked about that last night. He worked as a business owner. People were selling stuff to him all the time. He should go back to those companies that were selling to him, and he should talk about a sales position. He's been on the other side of the desk. He's been the guy who's had to buy it. He knows what it takes to sell it. And he should start there and then expand that circle out broader and broader and broader.
ZAHN: Is he going to have more of a problem, do you think, than some other workers out there?
KARSH: I think he has some wonderful experiences. He's got a great attitude, obviously. And it's all about perseverance and networking. And he seems to have that going for him. It's not easy at the beginning, but once you start doing it more and more, it comes more natural.
ZAHN: Yes, Jerry, you don't seem to have a shortage of perseverance. You're really willing to get out there and do what you've got to do, aren't you?
BLAKE: I'm really trying, Paula. And actually my kids came in the other day and told me that if I couldn't find a job that I could always be a double and fill in for Dr. Phil if he needs a little break in vacation.
ZAHN: You know, I was kind of looking at the resemblance there, wondering the same thing. You've got some smart kids there, Jerry. Please stand by, Jerry. Hopefully by the end of the show we'll have someone out there that will be able to match up with your skills. If you're a manager or an employer and you want to get in touch with Jerry Blake, please call us at 1-877-hireme5. You can also send an e- mail to email@example.com or go to our Web site, cnn.com/paula. So once again, Jerry, if someone calls, we'll bring you right back on.
And after a quick break, we'll meet tonight's second job seeker.
For years he's made a living by making music on Bourbon Street. Well, that was before Hurricane Katrina destroyed all of his instruments. Can you help him keep the music going? And a little bit later on, I'll be joined by Labor Secretary Elaine Chao. We'll look at the job picture for all of the hurricane victims.
And here is an update for you on one of last night's job seekers. We've gotten plenty of calls, hundreds of them, in fact and e-mails inquiring about Michael Addison, the cook from Carlton, Louisiana. Here's one of them.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My name is my name is Randy Brocket (ph). I'm in Chattanooga, Tennessee We're opening up a brand-new Cajun restaurant, Mar (ph), and we need a chef. And the chef that you had on there would be, I think, perfect for us. So if he needs a job, we need a chef. Bye-bye. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, our company is Dimension Development Company. We're a multi-unit hotel company. We have five hotels in Louisiana. And we could certainly use Michael as a chef in one of our hotels. We're always looking for an extra chef for the hotel property.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAHN: And welcome back. All this week, we're trying an experiment out here. We're hoping to match up a handful of people with unique skills with people in our viewing audience who can hire them. You can get in touch with us by calling 1-877-hireme5, sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or go to our Web site at cnn.com/paula. Now it's time to meet another hurricane victim who desperately needs a new job.
RICKY LIGGINS: I basically have nothing, you know, nothing. I mean everything I have on me is borrowed. I never experienced anything like this before. I have food. I'm eating, you know. I have my own room. I've been blessed with that. You know, people are donating Casios and stuff. I mean, I'm happy, really. You know? I don't want to be there, you know.
Seven-thirty, Bruce Lee.
Red Cross -- they motivated me to volunteer. I watched them.
Where are y'all going? Where are y'all going?
And I said, "Hey, I'm already a people person. I can do this." I have a mission here, you know. I'm destined to do this here. I don't want to go back to the New Orleans area. You know, I want to start my life over somewhere else. I'm not happy doing anything else but music. I mean, I can sit here and you could pay me $100 an hour. I'm still thinking about music. I always hold on to that dream, you know, that someone, you know, would take a chance on me.
Thank you very much. Thank you very much. Thank you very much.
ZAHN: Thank you very much. And the man we just profiled, Ricky Liggins, joins me now from Baton Rouge. Great to see you. You're a smiling man. I know you're getting an awful lot out of your volunteering. How hard are you doing? What kind of work are you doing?
LIGGINS: Actually, I am doing security. I am a cook. I am teaching children piano lessons once again.
ZAHN: So building on some old skills you had and building some new ones? LIGGINS: Yes.
ZAHN: But have you found much time to look for real work in music, like you used to do?
LIGGINS: That's difficult. I'm in a city where I know nothing. You know, that's very difficult in my situation, very difficult in my situation. I know no one. I know no clubs. You know, it's very foreign here to me, you know. I miss playing my music, you know.
ZAHN: What kind of music would you like to be hired to play?
LIGGINS: I'm a balladeerist, is what they call me. OK? I sing love songs. You know, I sing to the ladies, you know.
ZAHN: Well, we all need that, Ricky.
LIGGINS: You do?
ZAHN: They should be lining up at that shelter to listen to you.
LIGGINS: They try.
ZAHN: But you'd be willing, thought, to teach piano lessons full-time, too, if someone would hire you for that, right?
LIGGINS: Yes, of course, of course. But that's not my main thing. I want to sing. You know, I'm an entertainer is what I am mainly, you know. That's where my heart is.
ZAHN: And you don't want to let go of that physical thing, do you?
LIGGINS: Never, ever, ever. Never, ever, ever, never.
ZAHN: All right, Ricky. Hang on for just a minute because I want to bring Brad Karsh back into our conversation. He's an expert in career counseling, president of a company called Job Bound.
ZAHN: And obviously this is a man who loves his music. And aren't there people actually who are trying to employ people who have the kind of experience like he has?
KARSH: There's been an unbelievable outpouring of support, especially in the music industry. And there's a Web site called nolagigs.org. And basically it is all kinds of gigs available all across the country for people who were displaced as a result of Katrina. They had some jobs for him where he could go on a cruise ship for three or four months. Wouldn't have to worry about housing, wouldn't have to worry about meals. All that stuff is set up for him. So there's lots and lots of resources. He needs to try and get to a computer either at the shelter or his public library.
ZAHN: How does that sound, Ricky? Is that something you'd entertain?
LIGGINS: Definitely. You know what? I think someone forgot to tell me about that because it's my first time hearing about it.
ZAHN: Well, we have to make sure that you get to log on to some computer around there so you could look through some of these Web sites.
ZAHN: Obviously, Ricky's dream is to perform. But he also talked about potentially teaching kids how to play piano. What kind of teaching opportunities are there out there for musicians, particularly these musicians who have been displaced by hurricanes?
KARSH: Again, there are some good Web sites to try and hit if he can. There's ones called privatelessons.com that matches up music teachers and individuals who are looking for lessons. I would advise him to walk to different music schools, places that sell musical instruments because people come there a lot looking for private instructors and lessons.
ZAHN: So, Ricky, are you ready to walk a lot of miles to do just that?
LIGGINS: Whatever it takes, darling.
ZAHN: All right. Well, we're going to do our bit to help you out. I'd like to thank Brad Karsh of Job Bound. And I want to give a very special thanks to our two job seekers tonight. If you're in a position to hire either one of the, there are ways you can contact us at the bottom of your screen. We'll put you directly in touch with our job seekers.
More than 300,000 storm victims are out of work tonight. What's the outlook for all of them? In just a minute I'll put that question to the nation's secretary of labor, Elaine Chao.
And here's some good news about our other job seekers from last night. This happens to be one of the calls that came in for attorney, Melissa Nunley who lost her first job, her first home. Basically that diploma is all that was left from that home because of Hurricane Katrina.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hi, this is Jim Greenburg (ph) calling from Newark, Pennsylvania. I'm the managing partner in a plaintiff's law firm here in York of about 30 people total and would be interested in talking to Melissa Nunley as to possible job opportunities here. Bye.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm calling from Albuquerque, New Mexico. And I'm calling about Melissa Nunley. I do not have job to offer her. But if she is offered a job out here, I will give her a room to stay in until she is able to get on her feet. Thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAHN: That is Ricky Liggins, a man who once worked full-time on Bourbon Street as a musician but unfortunately because of Hurricane Katrina has been without work for six weeks now. So if you're a club owner or someone who could use a musician, please pay attention to the information we'll be sharing with you at the bottom right-hand part of our screen. He may be the man for you.
And he is, unfortunately among the at least 363,000 people who have filed for unemployment benefits for the first time. Well, what else can the government do for them? Is there hope they will find jobs quickly? I'm honored to have as a guest the nation's secretary of labor, Elaine Chao. Good to see you.
ELAINE CHAO, SECRETARY, DEPARTMENT OF LABOR: Thanks for having me.
CHAO: You're doing a great job. It's been very inspiring to see these people's stories being told on the air and also how you're matching up employers with workers. That's what we do. So you're helping out, too.
ZAHN: Sure. But it's also tricky. But we certainly have seen a level of generosity that is quite impressive. But unfortunately, when you look at the numbers, they're absolutely daunting. At the end of the day, you could have half million people unemployed because of these hurricanes. What kind of hope is there for them on the horizon that they will once again have full-time employment?
CHAO: I think you've hit exactly the issue. And that is hope. And I think it's very important to give these people hope because there will be a better tomorrow. You know, after every hurricane, after every natural disaster, we find that there actually is a period of rebirth, of reconstruction, of rebuilding so that there's actually more jobs created during that period. If you look at Hurricane Ivan last year when it swept through Alabama and Florida in September of 2004. Less than one year afterwards, Florida had experienced a net increase of 300,000 new jobs, and the unemployment rate dropped a full percent.
ZAHN: But that's hard for people to look that far forward because what they're finding right now are these latest unemployment numbers with the unemployment rate now at 5.1 percent. So the question is what kind of impact will this vast number of unemployed people in the Gulf Coast have on the overall unemployment numbers in this country?
CHAO: Well, we want to help people. And that's why I'm so pleased to be on here. We want to help people understand that there is a nationwide network of one-stop career employment centers that's government run. It is publicly funded, and they're located throughout the whole country. Now, the majority of people have left the devastated areas. And so, we want them to know that they don't have to return to their home community immediately to seek assistance, to get job advice, to get advice in putting together their resume, to find job fairs, job banks.
The department just recently signed a partnership agreement with Manpower. We have, as I mentioned, 3,500 one-stop employment centers throughout the world. Manpower, which is an employment agency, has 1,100 offices throughout the country. So we're leveraging the collective strength of our organizations. And so, we want people to call a toll-free number. It's 1-877-usajobs. There is going to be a tremendous need for workers.
We are already seeing a worker shortage in the areas that are devastated. There are people looking for jobs, but there are also employers looking for workers. And there is going to be all sorts of jobs that will be needed, unskilled jobs to skilled jobs. And our challenge is to communicate that there's a great deal of assistance programs out there and that we want to connect the employers with workers. Now,...
ZAHN: And that's the greatest challenge these people face, because in many cases they're still living in shelters, and they have so many impediments in trying to figure out their insurance papers before they can even lift up their heads to look for jobs.
CHAO: Absolutely. Well, that's why we also have started a kind of like a one-on-one mentoring program. And again, that's all available through this toll-free number. It's 24, seven, 1-877- usa2jobs. We also have counselors for people with disabilities, at risk youths who may need additional assistance in reconnecting with the work force. We have caring, compassionate counselors who are standing by and who want to give assistance, career assistance, employment assistance to people.
ZAHN: Well, you've got close to half a million people desperate for that kind of help. So we'll keep our fingers crossed. Thank you so much for joining us.
CHAO: Not at all. Thank you for spreading the news for us.
ZAHN: Appreciate it. Right now, it's 28 minutes passed the hour, time to check in with Erica Hill at Headline News to update the hour's top stories. Hi, Erica.
ERICA HILL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Paula, a turn about for Texas Congressman, Tom DeLay. The former House majority leader's attorney has struck back filing a subpoena against Texas District Attorney, Ronnie Earle. Now, Earle has charged DeLay twice in a campaign fraud investigation. Now DeLay's attorneys are demanding to see Earle's communications with the grand jurors who indicted the congressman.
A letter from Al Qaida leader, Ayman al Zawahiri is described as chilling by U.S. intelligence officials. The letter reportedly written to Abu Musab al Zarqawi, the al Qaeda leader in Iraq. It's said to be a calm, clear, well-argued prediction that U.S. troops will soon leave Iraq. Warnings of a possible New York City subway attack turned out to be a hoax. That's according to government sources who tell CNN the informant who triggered a heightened alert lied.
And you don't know jack-o-lantern until you've seen the world champion in the pumpkin weigh-off in Half Moon Bay, California. The winner weighing in at, get this, 1,292 pounds, Paula. That is one big gourd. We'll head it back over to you.
ZAHN: Yes, and it could take a couple thousand people to carve it, too. Thanks, Erica.
By now you've probably seen that absolutely shocking videotape of a man getting beaten up by the New Orleans Police today. He is telling his own side of the story, and so are more witnesses. What really happened? Were the cops out of control? And what provoked them to use such violence? Please stay with us. We'll have both sides of the story.
ZAHN: Today, we're hearing for the first time from the man we saw on videotape, beaten and bloodied by New Orleans police. The officers involved are charged with battery. They have been suspended and there's now a federal civil rights investigation into that case. But I think what the beaten man is saying is going to stun you. Here is Ed Lavandera.
ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: As Robert Davis was being arrested and beaten by New Orleans police officers, he says he could hear a voice trying to help.
DAVIS: I was very incoherent at the time. Anything that they said -- the only thing I do remember was this woman, who was kept screaming about, he didn't do anything. That's about all.
LAVANDERA: Davis and his attorney went to find that woman but her name is not in the police report as a witness. They hope she'll come forward to help explain what triggered the beating. The New Orleans Police Association says Davis was intoxicated and insists the videotape doesn't tell the whole story.
LT. DAVID BENELLI, NEW ORLEANS POLICE ASSOCIATION: Before you can rush to judgment and even though it looks damaging, it really damaging, these officers and the other officers on the scene deserve due process. They deserve to be investigated.
LAVANDERA: Robert Davis, a retired schoolteacher, says he stopped drinking 25 years ago and was simply trying to ask an officer a question about the curfew. What this man, being handcuffed, has to say supports Davis' account. Calvin Briles says he watched the officers throw Davis to the ground.
He says Davis was not resisting, and when he tried to point that out and asked to make a statement, he was handcuffed, pushed against a car and told what was happening was none of his business. He has since left the New Orleans area. Davis suffered a fractured cheekbones and says he injured his back during the arrest.
DAVIS: I hold no animosity against anyone. I want to thank our new police chief for his quick action. I really do.
LAVANDERA: Three New Orleans officers have been suspended without pay and face criminal charges. They have pleaded not guilty and the FBI is also taking a closer look at the actions of two of its agents who assisted in this later stages of Davis' arrest.
One of them can be seen here holding Davis' legs. FBI officials familiar with the investigation said their agents stopped to help after seeing the New Orleans officers trying to make the arrest. But that's also what angers Davis' daughter.
KEESHA DAVIS, BEATING VICTIM'S DAUGHTER: The other police officers didn't, you know, stop it or ask any questions or try and find out why he was being arrested, why, you know -- hitting on him. They just kind of joined in, and I have a problem with that.
LAVANDERA: That witness says that the officer that approached him was a customs officer, and we've learned tonight that the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency is also launching its own investigation. And although things here on Bourbon Street tonight seem rather festive, in the wake of this beating, New Orleans police announcing today that they will be enforcing a strict curfew starting at midnight, essentially shutting down Bourbon Street until 6:00 in the morning -- Paula.
ZAHN: Ed, I understand you've had a chance to talk with two men who happened to be on Bourbon Street as this beating got underway. What have they told you about what they saw?
LAVANDERA: They said one of the things that disturbed them the most was that outside of the officers that were surrounding Mr. Davis initially, he says off-camera what you don't see were many officers gathered around kind of standing and watching them. What bothered them the most was that none of those officers stepped in to help Mr. Davis.
ZAHN: And did they indicate that Mr. Davis had done something that would have provoked all these officers?
LAVANDERA: Well, these two witnesses showed up, they say, just before Mr. Davis was thrown to the ground -- so we haven't been able to speak with anyone who saw in the moments leading up to this altercation. So what we've heard from the police association over the last day is that the tape doesn't show everything.
And from these witnesses we haven't heard exactly either what prompted the scuffle to begin, although Mr. Davis has said he had just gone up to one of the officers to ask about the curfew. ZAHN: A little bit earlier on, Ed, we were looking at the picture during your pre-packaged piece, of Calvin Briles. He was the man who was one of these witnesses you were talking about, who was handcuffed. Did he end up being arrested?
LAVANDERA: No, he was not. He was detained for about 30 minutes, and he says that during the course of those 30 minutes, the customs officer had told him that he could be charged with impeding an investigation but those charges were never filed. He was handcuffed for about 30 minutes and then released.
ZAHN: Ed Lavandera, thanks so much for the update. Please obey that curfew.
We know the current strain of bird flu is a killer but not many people are getting it, at least not yet. What needs to happen to make that change? You'll see next.
ZAHN: It seems like every day we are seeing more and more disturbing reports about bird flu. Well today a top U.N. official said if there happened to be an outbreak in people, drug companies may not be able to produce enough vaccine in time to keep it from becoming a global catastrophe.
U.S. Health Secretary Michael Leavitt has said, no one is ready for a worldwide outbreak. And this week he's in Asia where 60 people, so far, have died from bird flu. Here's Senior Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta.
SANJAY GUPTA, SR. MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Secretary Leavitt is on a ten day tour of several Asian countries to get what he calls a firsthand understanding of what's happening on the ground.
At this chicken farm in Thailand, Leavitt wasn't taking any chances. He put on protective clothing, rubber boots, a mask and a hat, seeing for himself how to protect man from getting the virus from chickens, at the very source.
MICHAEL LEAVITT, U.S. HEALTH SECRETARY: We need a comprehensive plan. It has to include surveillance, international surveillance.
GUPTA: For all the attention bird flu has received in recent days, it may still be difficult for those in the United States to understand why we should be concerned about a flu outbreak a half a world away in Asia.
GUPTA (on camera): We're sort of hearing a lot about avian flu. And mostly, it's not good.
DR. IRA LONGINI, EMORY UNIVERSITY: I know. It's a disaster waiting to happen. GUPTA (voice-over): Emory University's Dr. Ira Longini developed a computer model to simulate how quickly the bird flu could spread in a country like Thailand if it went unchecked. Each yellow dot represents somebody being infected with the avian flu.
LONGINI: And you can see as it starts to spread across the geographic space, we're now on day 52. We have 25, 28, you know, three, four, or five thousand cases.
GUPTA: But, if we add another model at day 16 where health officials start giving out Tamiflu and quarantining those already infected, within days new cases slow to a trickle. When you put them side by side, it appears that the massive spread of this flu could be contained.
Scott Dowell ran the CDC's field station in Thailand for the past four years. He says mathematical models like this one help illustrate how deadly a pandemic could be, but that preventing it is possible as well.
DR. SCOTT DOWELL, CENTERS FOR DISEASE CTRL.: We've never before even considered the possibility of stopping a pandemic. I think that what that mathematical modeling exercise has done for us in public health is it has laid out a challenge for us to see if we can address.
LONGINI: Is this supposed to be reassuring?
GUPTA (on camera): What this is saying is that, you know, with a good mobile stockpile and a good prepared response and good surveillance, that we have a very good chance of containing that potential strain of pandemic flu.
(voice-over): Of course, none of this will work without money, medicine, and a good plan to use them both.
ZAHN: And surprise, the doctor is in tonight. So are you reassured by any of this?
GUPTA: You know, yes and no, Paula. And I don't mean to sort of hedge here. But, I think yes in the sense that you see smart guys here who are actually trying to model what this pandemic might look like and saying for the first time, this is controllable.
No, because we don't have all the tools yet to be able to do this. I mean, we need the Tamiflu for everybody. We need to make sure that we have a vaccine that going to be available as well. And we got to cross our fingers, again, like you and I have been talking about for a few days now, that this doesn't quickly mutate into something that spreads very easily between person to person.
ZAHN: What strikes me is that you have to do an awful lot of finger crossing here. Basically, once you listen to U.N. reports saying there won't be enough vaccinations if there is a global outbreak of this stuff. Now, Secretary Leavitt has told us no one is ready for this as well. What do you think he will gain from having been on this trip? Will we see any real difference?
GUPTA: I think so because one of the crucial elements of this, Paula, and we saw the misfires with SARS, is that you got to make sure you are reporting these cases early in a potential pandemic. So, if you are starting to see these cases early we need to know about it, so people can prepare all around the world and in the United States.
With SARS, we didn't get the heads-up. You remember all those cases in china were being covered up. Hopefully, having the secretary of health in these countries, actually saying, tell us about the cases so we know what's going on, can track it. That might help and that's the first crucial element, as well, Paula.
ZAHN: The dreaded transparency issue. We just hope people will be honest about it.
GUPTA: That's right.
ZAHN: Dr. Sanjay Gupta, thanks so much.
GUPTA: Thank you.
ZAHN: Now, do you all believe in miracles? Three days after South Asia's deadly earthquake, they are still pulling people out of the rubble alive. We'll show you some amazing video.
ZAHN: The misery tonight in Pakistan is almost impossible to describe. Three days after a devastating earthquake it is rainy, it is windy, it is cold. And hundreds of thousands of victims are trying to survive out in the open or in tents.
The death toll in Pakistan now stands at least 20,000 and we're told that number could double. 1200 people killed in India. Stan Grant joins me now from Islamabad, where there is some good news, survivors today still being pulled from the rubble. Stan, how many more hours do these rescue workers think they have to rescue people alive?
STAN GRANT, SR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Paula, it is a race against time, you're right. But, never have the words, where there is life, there is hope, run more true.
This building, you can see behind me here was about ten stories it's been crushed to a pile of rubble, but believe it or not there is life in there. We saw the proof of that.
A 55-year-old woman and her elderly mother picked from this rubble. The rescue workers have been picking through this hoping to find someone and they found two people. That has raised hope that there may still be more rescues to come. There may be as many as 30, perhaps 40, more people trapped still inside and clinging to some hope of life.
That's what's keeping the rescue effort going, the hope that they can still pull more people alive. The hope that in spite of the tens of thousands that have been killed here, the hundreds of thousands that have been injured, the millions that are homeless, there is some hope of pulling people out alive.
That's the situation in Islamabad but it's a much, much tougher situation, a much tougher plight for the millions four, five, 10 hours drive from here, who have seen entire towns disappear under the weight of this earthquake, the force of this earthquake.
We're being told that generations here have been lost. Young children have been killed, children still trapped in buildings, but, yes, people there, Paula, still being pulled out of the rubble as well.
ZAHN: I guess that's the most difficult thing to grasp. We have heard those horrendous stories, Stan, about the thousands of children separated from their parents. Many of the kids on their way to school when this quake hit.
Stan Grant, thank you very much for the late update and we hope, that hope does not run out.
I've got something new in this part of the show that I'd like to share with you. We have been trying to match up unemployed victims out of Hurricane Katrina with potential employers out there, but before we get to an update on that, let's turn to Erica Hill, who has our daily headline "News Business Break."
HILL: Paula, it wasn't just fear of inflation that led the federal reserve to raise interest rates last month. Minutes at the FED meeting show policy makers were concerned that a pause in interest rate hikes might signal a flagging economy. Hurricane damage and high energy prices were also a factor.
Financier Carl Icahn continues his attack on Time-Warner management, telling shareholders they should fire the company's board of directors for poor performance. And the media giant, which is also the parent company of CNN, issued a response saying it is already taking steps to improve its shareholder value.
Apple Computer announcing soaring profits in its final quarter thanks to the super popular iPod and back to school computer sales. Apple said Q4 net surged 300 percent. Sales set a new record. And, by the way, look out. A video iPod is in the works next.
And the natural gas industry said there will be no shortage this winter, but it warning that homes and businesses will pay at least 50 percent more than last year. The American Gas Association says the biggest driver for heating bills will be the weather. And, Paula, that's the latest from HEADLINE NEWS. We'll hand it back to you in New York.
ZAHN: Thanks so much, Erica. Now, back to our special segment, "My New Life." We introduced you a little bit earlier on tonight to Jerry Blake. He is a man whose motorcycle franchise was all but wiped out by Hurricane Katrina. He talked a lot about his flexibility. All he wants to do is sell right now and support his family.
On the phone now is Bert Naylor (ph) who owns a Jaguar dealership in Naples, Florida. You heard Jerry's story. What is it about it that got your attention?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, Paula, owning a dealership and the events that happening around the world right now, especially in Louisiana and that area of the Gulf coast, we get missed occasionally here in southwest Florida by such a storm. We're very fortunate, and listening to Jerry and his entrepreneurism I think he would add an asset to my dealership and I would love to maybe offer him an opportunity and maybe relocate him and his family to Naples, Florida.
ZAHN: Well, you know what? Bert, I've got Jerry with us right now. Jerry, is that something you would consider, moving your family that far away from where you used to live?
BLAKE: Absolutely, Paula. That's a -- you know, I appreciate and look forward to every opportunity. And that sounds like a -- you know, it's a beautiful part of the country. And, you know, I would love to hear more about that opportunity and look forward it to.
ZAHN: And it wouldn't be such a bad deal trying to sell Jaguars either, would it?
BLAKE: No, I think that goes in line with those Boss Hoss motorcycles.
ZAHN: You've got that right. All right. Jerry, please stand by because, believe it or not, we have got Kathleen Phillips on the air and she owns a company called Security Consultants in Phoenix, Arizona. She also was captivated by your story. Kathleen, what did you like about Jerry and his skills?
KATHLEEN PHILLIPS, SECURITY COMPANY OWNER: Well, I liked his outgoingness, and he seems like a very nice person. I just wish I could help more. I have a great opportunity here in Phoenix, Arizona. Actually, it's Scottsdale, Arizona, the golf capital of the world. We have excellent schools for your family, and I'd love to offer him a job.
ZAHN: How does that sound to you, Jerry? You've got two completely different kinds of opportunities here potentially.
BLAKE: It sounds like I've hit two home runs and it's -- this is wonderful, and I can't appreciate it more.
ZAHN: Well, you can see the sense of gratitude in your face tonight and we're going to be linking all of you up with each other on the telephone. Jerry, we wish you a lot of luck and we really do appreciate Kathleen calling in as well as Bert Naylor.
When we come back, we also have some offers coming in for that wonderful serenader, Ricky Liggins. You will hear from some folks that have their eyes on you tonight, Ricky. We knew that song would get to them. You'll hear the rest of his story when we come back.
ZAHN: A little bit earlier on we introduced to you musician Ricky Liggins, who not only lost his livelihood but all of his instruments in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. You see him there. On the phone with us now is Steve Gentry (ph) from a club in New Mexico. Steve, you heard Ricky's story. You want to hire him?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Absolutely. I thought that was great. I caught it. I was in the middle of my dinner rush, and I have a small restaurant and nightclub out here in Ellison Butte (ph), New Mexico. It's a small resort of lake, and we're always looking for new performers willing to provide room, meals in exchange for entertainment and some cash. So, he seemed like a great guy.
ZAHN: Well, Ricky, we all loved your voice tonight. How does that sound to you? Would you move to New Mexico?
LIGGINS: Especially the cash part.
ZAHN: The cash part? Yes, that must be sounding really good to you right now. But it's also a great opportunity to do what you want to do. You want to sing, you want to entertain.
LIGGINS: Yes, definitely. Definitely. Definitely. Definitely.
ZAHN: Well, we'll make sure we link you up with Mr. Gentry during this commercial break. Good luck to you, Ricky, and thanks for sharing your talent with us and opening up your hearts to us tonight.
I don't know about any of you, but we're going to take real a big lane change here. But sitting behind a steering wheel doesn't really strike me as an athletic activity. But wait until you see what our senior medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, learned by following veteran NASCAR driver Rusty Wallace.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's very important to be fit, mentally fit, physically fit. These cars take a lot out of you.
GUPTA (voice-over): On the straightaways, Wallace and the other drivers travel almost the length of a football field every second. On the turns, they experience G forces similar to the space shuttle on liftoff.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And liftoff of Space Shuttle Discovery.
GUPTA: That means drivers are pulled sideways on the corners with the same force as astronauts are pushed down on the shuttle launch. Are race car drivers athletes? A definitive yes says Dr. Steve Olvey, who has studied them. DR. STEPHEN OLVEY, UNIVERSITY OF MIAMI: Absolutely. Race track drivers require all the same attributes that more traditional athletes require in their sports.
The heart that we saw in more fit drivers would be very similar to what you would see in a very fit Olympic long distance swimmer, marathon running, somebody who's playing basketball -- professional basketball.
GUPTA: NASCAR drivers also need to concentrate with few breaks as they maneuver in traffic at 180 miles per hour or more. Imagine hitting the fast forward button the next time you're on the highway. Jack Stark is team psychologist for Hendrick Motorsports, one of the top teams at NASCAR.
JACK STARK, SPORTS PSYCHOLOGIST: No other sport, that I know of, no other sport demands that kind of attention to detail and focus for four hours.
GUPTA: Drivers need to stay mentally sharp in conditions like a sauna. The car is humid and the temperature inside is routinely over 100 degrees, closer to 170 degrees by the floorboards. That's why he wears this special heel protector and has cool air pumped through the hose in the top of his helmet.
RUSTY WALLACE, NASCAR DRIVER: The hardest thing is getting dehydrated real, real quick, physically just overheating and your body starts shutting down, concentration level starts going away. The most weight I've ever lost in one race was 11 pounds.
GUPTA: Even with all the challenges, the 49-year-old Wallace remains in contention for the NASCAR championship.
ZAHN: Please join Sanjay for more 10:00 p.m. Sunday night, and please join me tomorrow night. I'll introduce you to two more job seekers. We're hoping you can help them start a new life.
We've appreciated your generosity tonight. Thanks for joining us.
TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com