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THE SITUATION ROOM
President Bush Will Give Last In Series Of Four Iraq Speeches Tomorrow; Karen Hughes Interview; Reporter Who Witnessed Stanley Tookie Williams' Execution Speaks; Pregnant Woman Survives Sky-diving Crash; DIRECTV Slapped With Huge Fine For Telemarketing; DNA Evidence Proven Faulty In Tucson; "Brokeback Mountain" Praised But Controversial
Aired December 13, 2005 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: You're in THE SITUATION ROOM, where new pictures and information are arriving all the time. Standing by, CNN reporters across the United States and around the world to bring you the day's top stories.
Happening now, 1,000 days in Iraq. It's 3:00 a.m. Wednesday in Baghdad, where U.S. troops still are in harm's way and an historic election is now under way. Striking images of war as only we can show them to you right here on THE SITUATION ROOM.
Also this hour, a perilous plunge. A woman's sky dive goes terribly wrong. If you think the fact that she survived is amazing, wait until you hear the surprise twist to the story.
And raves and rants about a new gay-themed film. It's 4:00 p.m. in Hollywood, where cowboys in love (ph) is a Golden Globes darling. Some conservative critics say the movie is sending a bad message.
I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
First up, the war in Iraq, measured in days and deaths and a push toward democracy. This hour, Iraqis on the brink of critical parliamentary elections, with early voting going on today around the world for Iraqis living in 15 other countries. U.S. troops on the ground are marking 1,000 days since the invasion, while mourning more of their colleagues.
New bloodshed in Iraq today. Four soldiers were killed when a makeshift explosive device went off outside Baghdad. A new update from the Pentagon puts the total number of American servicemen and women killed in Iraq to 2,151.
With the debate over an exit strategy raging on, President Bush is set to speak once again about Iraq tomorrow, the last in a series of four speeches designed to sell his policy to a weary public.
Our Brian Todd explores how the United States got to where it is in Iraq today. Brian?
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, it's hard to summarize 1,000 days of such an important story, but looking back, many might not have figured this war would even get to this point. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
TODD (voice-over): The plan is to end it quickly, maybe even in one day. March 20, 2003, in Baghdad, a so-called decapitation strike, aimed at taking out Saddam Hussein, in the hopes the regime will collapse.
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: On my orders, coalition forces have begun striking selected targets of military importance.
TODD: But those missiles are off-target. And on March 21, a massive air and ground assault, meant to shock and awe the Iraqi resistance, gets under way.
April 9, U.S. forces take control of Baghdad. Saddam's gigantic statute is symbolically toppled, but looters begin their own chaotic reign over the capital.
May t, a proclamation that will haunt the Bush White House.
BUSH: Major combat operations in Iraq have ended. In the battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed.
TODD: On July 22, it takes a combat operation to take down two notorious brothers, Uday and Qusay Hussein, killed after a six-hour gun battle with U.S. troops in Mosul.
August 19, the first major attack by a growing insurgency. A truck bomb explodes outside United Nations headquarters in Baghdad. The U.N. special representative among more than a dozen killed. The U.N. soon pulls out of Iraq.
December 13, 2003. From a spider hole outside his hometown, Saddam Hussein surrenders to U.S. troops without a fight.
April 28, 2004. The first in a series of grotesque images from Abu Ghraib prison are made public. Iraqi prisoners abused, humiliated -- images that provoke outrage in the Arab world and scandal in the U.S.
Early May, another horrifying image. Kidnapped American Nicholas Berg speaks just before he is killed, the first of several hostages beheaded. Berg's death establishes his lead captor as the face of the insurgency, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.
June 28, 2004. In a surprise move, the U.S. hands power back to the Iraqis two days ahead of schedule. Civilian administrator Paul Bremer departs under heavy security.
November 5, one of the largest and deadliest battles of the war commences. U.S. troops begin an all-out assault on the insurgent stronghold of Fallujah.
A new year brings fresh optimism. January 30th, 2005. Millions vote in Iraq's first free elections in half a century, selecting an interim parliament.
But through the spring and summer, insurgent attacks continue. Iraqi casualties build, and on October 25th, the number of American deaths in Iraq reaches 2,000.
TODD: The war that so many thought would end so quickly marks another important day just this week. On Thursday, Iraqis will go to the polls again and select a permanent parliament.
BLITZER: Brian Todd reporting for us. Brian, thank you very much.
Tonight, Senator Joe Biden is heading back to Iraq to observe Thursday's parliamentary elections. The top Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee says Mr. Bush has not yet adequately explained his Iraq strategy in his recent speeches. Biden appeared here on THE SITUATION ROOM earlier.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOSEPH BIDEN (D-DE), RANKING MEMBER, FOREIGN RELATIONS COMMITTEE: The president is being much more candid, and -- but what I haven't heard from the president -- and it may be coming, I'm not saying it won't -- is that the president has not come up with what the specifics are that pertain to his new strategy. Staying the course, the old strategy, doesn't work. The president has implicitly acknowledged that by talking about the mistakes that were made and how we have a lot more to do. I think it's necessary to tell the American people that, to be candid to get their support.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: On the eve of Iraqi elections, the president speaks to the American people once again tomorrow, his top aides all working in tandem to try to convince the American public that staying the course in Iraq is the right thing to do.
Let's bring in our chief national correspondent, John King. He sat down with a top Bush adviser earlier today. John.
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, I sat down with Karen Hughes, whose new job is to be ambassador from the State Department, her job to improve the U.S. image around the world. And she conceded the president, the administration is a bit frustrated right now.
Public opinion heading into the Iraqi elections shows the Iraqi people feel better about their country, better about the security situation, but they still resent what they believe to be an illegal U.S. military occupation. Karen Hughes predicting in that interview that eventually, the president and the United States will get some credit.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KAREN HUGHES, WHITE HOUSE ADVISER: This week is a milestone, as they go out to vote for a permanent government. And I think as they elect that permanent government, as their security forces, which they are beginning to be increasingly responsible for their own security, then, at some point, we will be able to begin to bring troops home. And at that point, I think once it's all said and done and Iraq emerges as a stable and unified and democratic country, I think Iraqis will be grateful for what the United States has done for their country, to improve people's lives.
KING: In our new CNN poll just out today, six in 10 -- 58 percent -- of the American people do not believe he has a plan for victory in Iraq. I want to ask you not about the plan, but about, from a communications standpoint, this used to be your job at the White House, helping the president communicate his message. How and why has he failed?
HUGHES: If you go around the country, I think Washington tends to see things in black and white. If you go around the country, it's more of a shade of gray. People -- people have questions. People are uneasy. And I understand that. No one likes war. It's difficult.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Now, Wolf, she has a very tough job. Karen Hughes acknowledging, although she says we need to get all the facts, that she's frustrated that the Pentagon apparently paid to place newspaper reports in Iraqi press, propaganda. She says the United States should go with the truth, not propaganda, and she also says those allegations of torture of those detainees at Abu Ghraib and elsewhere make her job, improving the U.S. image in that part of the world, very difficult.
BLITZER: John King reporting for us. John, thank you very much.
Zain Verjee is standing by at the CNN Center in Atlanta right now for a closer look at some other stories making news. Hi, Zain.
ZAIN VERJEE, CNN ANCHOR: Hi, Wolf. Former President Gerald Ford is in the hospital, but an aide says it is nothing to be concerned about. Ford's chief of staff says he's undergoing routine tests that have been scheduled for some time. She added the 92-year-old former president is in excellent health for his age, and she insisted that a cold the former president has been suffering from does not have to do with his hospitalization.
With a vote on extending the Patriot Act expected in the House of Representatives tomorrow, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales is pushing for its approval. At a news conference in Washington today, Gonzales joined several leading lawmakers in saying the bill is essential for protecting the nation's security. Critics say there are not enough civil rights protections in the extension.
If you think driving while talking on a cell phone is bad, how about robbing a bank? This woman became known as the cell phone bandit for a series of bank robberies around Washington. Now, Candace Rose Martinez could spend up to life in prison. She pleaded guilty today to the heists, which netted more than $48,000. Sentencing is set for March.
Wolf, you don't drive and talk on your cell phone at the same time, do you?
BLITZER: Only wireless. No hands. Hands-free.
VERJEE: What about Jack? Jack, do you talk on your mobile and drive?
BLITZER: Jack, I don't know if he has a cell phone.
JACK CAFFERTY, CNN ANCHOR: On my mobile.
VERJEE: Mobile, cell. Cell, mobile.
CAFFERTY: I don't have a cell phone. Say schedule.
VERJEE: No. Say garage.
VERJEE: Say tomato.
CAFFERTY: Say controversy.
VERJEE: Read some emails.
BLITZER: All right, Jack.
CAFFERTY: Here's something you can do with your cell phone, Zain, if you're so inclined. We have got cell phone pornography on the way according to a piece in "USA Today." It's already big business overseas -- one research firm saying that global sales of mobile porn will hit a billion dollars this year.
There are 190 million cell phones in the United States, and a lot of them are in the hands of some very young children, not to mention the guy in the car next to you who is driving down the highway at 80 miles an hour watching "Debbie Does Dallas" and doing God knows what else while trying to keep his car on the road. I mean, I can't even bear to think of that.
A CEO of one adult film company expects cell phone pornography to eventually account for 30 percent of sales. Steve Hirsch of Vivid Entertainment says -- quote -- "this is going to explode." It's not a great choice of words, Steve. He says people will want "porn in their pocket." That's a quote.
Here's the question. What are the consequences of cell phone pornography? Now there's an issue to -- no, I'm not going to say that. Write us at CaffertyFile@CNN.com or you can go to CNN.com/CaffertyFile and we'll read some of the more tasteful responses later.
BLITZER: Thank you very much, Jack. Thank you.
CAFFERTY: You're welcome, Wolf.
BLITZER: And coming up -- witness to death. We'll talk to a writer who was there when Stanley Tookie Williams was executed. She'll tell us how it went down.
Also free fall survivor -- a pregnant woman whose parachute malfunctioned drops from the sky at 50 miles an hour and lands on her face. Find out how she lived to tell her incredible story. She's joining us here, 7:00 p.m., right now. That's coming up.
And "Brokeback Mountain," the controversial film about two cowboys in love, draws criticism, critical acclaim and seven Golden Globe nominations. We'll take a closer look.
You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
BLITZER: Stanley Tookie Williams was executed early this morning in at California's San Quentin Prison for the murder of four people in 1979. He maintained his innocence until the very end.
Kim Curtis is a reporter for the Associated Press. She was an eyewitness to the execution.
She's joining us now from our San Francisco bureau. What was it like? Take us inside as you witnessed this execution.
KIM CURTIS, ASSOCIATED PRESS: Well, it started promptly at midnight. We all filed into the death chamber. And after a couple of minutes, Mr. Williams was brought out in shackles and handcuffs and put onto this converted dentist chair, which is what they use to -- when they do the lethal injections.
And he laid on his back and was strapped down and they had some trouble finding a vein in each arm to insert the chemicals into. And it seemed to take an excruciating amount of time.
BLITZER: When you say an excruciating amount of time, you are a reporter. You were taking notes. How much time did it take?
CURTIS: It took a good 20 minutes, I'd say, for them to get the needles inserted properly. And he hadn't taken the Valium that was offered to him before the execution. So he was wide awake and clearly getting agitated at the length of time it was taking. He kept lifting his head and looking over at his supporters and kind of shaking his head in apparent disgust as they had trouble finding a vein.
BLITZER: Was he -- could you hear him speaking?
CURTIS: You know, the glass that separates the witnesses from the actual death chamber is so thick that you could sort of hear things going on or him saying things, but it was more a matter of watching his lips move and guessing at what he was saying. At one point, I did hear him say something to the effect of, do they know what they're doing or do you know what you're doing to the guy who was trying to find the vein in his arm.
BLITZER: How many guys were in there with him administering this lethal injection?
CURTIS: You know, I had a horrible, horrible view. It was very obstructed from the corner of the room and I was sort of ducking and moving around to try and see what was going on. But I only saw three. And it's a very tiny area where they actually administer the chemicals. It is a tiny, very cramped area.
BLITZER: And so then what happened? In the course of 20 minutes, at some point you could clearly see he was dying?
CURTIS: Right. They sort of swivel the chair around so that his head is facing a different direction, and they all -- they being the prison officials, sort of moved out of view and then everyone just waited.
BLITZER: And then?
CURTIS: He clearly died. Right before someone dies by lethal injection, they tend to heave, like their chest -- they take really deep breaths right before they die, and then their skin turns a very ashen color and they're clearly not alive anymore.
BLITZER: There have been some complaints over the years that this is cruel and unusual, the way that they administer this death. Did he seem to be in physical pain near the very end?
CURTIS: He didn't to me but it was hard to tell, again, because it was an obstructed view. He clearly seemed agitated, frustrated, and a little bit disgusted that, you know, even they couldn't quite do this efficiently.
BLITZER: Before going in there, did he make a final statement?
CURTIS: He did not.
BLITZER: Did not say anything?
BLITZER: What was your personal feeling watching all of this?
CURTIS: Well, I'd seen executions before. But this was the first that I witnessed where I'd actually met the person when they were alive. So it was a little different experience for me.
BLITZER: Talk about that.
CURTIS: It's kind of hard to because I felt like I knew him a little bit more as a person, and that maybe isn't where I should be as a reporter. So I tried very hard to just sort of do my job.
BLITZER: And you did your job, and I'm not going to press you anymore on that. Clearly a difficult assignment for all concerned, including the reporters whose had to eyewitness this. Kim Curtis of the Associated Press. Thanks for spending a few moments with us.
CURTIS: Sure. You're welcome.
BLITZER: And still to come here in THE SITUATION ROOM, a perilous plunge but a happy ending. I will talk to the sky diver who survived this accident and the fact that she lived isn't the only surprise.
Plus, a DNA mystery leaving investigators with more questions than answers. We'll show you what's going on.
Stay with us.
BLITZER: Let's head back to Zain Verjee at the CNN Center in Atlanta with a closer look at some other stories making headlines around the world. Zain.
VERJEE: Wolf, America bashing has apparently become popular in the run-up to Canada's elections next month. Prime Minister Paul Martin says if the U.S. doesn't like it, c'est la vie -- that's life. Martin was responding to a speech by the U.S. ambassador to Canada. He warned Canadian politicians in a speech against what he called constantly criticizing your friend and your number one trading partner.
Sudan's justice minister says his country will not allow investigators from the International Criminal Court into the western Darfur region. The United Nations wants to probe mass rapes, killings and other atrocities carried out by rebel militias that rights groups say are backed by the government of Sudan. But the justice minister says Sudan's own justice system is capable of dealing with any crimes committed in Darfur. The U.S. has labeled the killings in Darfur as genocide. Tens of thousands of people have been killed, and more than 2 million displaced.
Indonesia is reporting the ninth human death in that country from bird flu. Tests confirm that a 35-year-old man who died last month in the capital Jakarta was infected with the H5N1 strain of the virus. Health Ministry officials say that the man had a history of contact with poultry.
And a look at who's coming to Copa Cabana Beach. Organizers say the Rolling Stones will play a free concert on Rio de Janeiro's famous waterfront on February the 18th. Officials expect it to draw a crowd as large as the traditional New Year's Eve celebration on Copa Cabana. That would be 1.5 million people.
Wolf. BLITZER: Watching the Rolling Stones. That's going to be quite a place.
VERJEE: Can we do THE SITUATION ROOM out of Rio in February?
BLITZER: The answer is no. But that's -- we can talk about it. Thanks, Zain.
Just ahead -- after the fall, she spun out of control after her parachute malfunctioned, and smashed to the ground at 50 miles an hour. Already an amazing story, but there is also another incredible twist.
And you might think a movie that is earning praise from critics would be welcomed by the masses, but this love story involves two cowboys in love, which makes "Brokeback Mountain" the target for controversy.
You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
BLITZER: Some are calling it a miracle. A woman cheats what she says should have been a certain death. And in a surprising twist, although Shayna Richardson didn't know it at the time, there were actually two lives that were threatened.
BLITZER (voice-over): It was a perilous plunge. This video shows 21-year-old Shayna Richardson spinning out of control in her first solo sky-diving jump. It happened October 9 in the skies over Arkansas. After jumping out of the plane, Richardson's main parachute failed. When she tried to open her backup parachute, it would not open all the way. As her frightening downward spiral continued at about 50 miles per hour, Richardson says she was sure she would crash and die.
She was half correct. Richardson did hit the ground, smashing face first in a parking lot. But amazingly, she survived. Richardson broke her pelvis and her leg and lost six teeth. After four surgeries, she now has 15 steel plates embedded in her body.
There was also an unexpected surprise. Shayna Richardson is pregnant. Doctors made that discovery while treating her injuries.
Richardson says she did not know of her pregnancy, and that, had she known, she would not have jumped.
BLITZER: As she plunged toward the Earth in an uncontrollable spin, Shayna Richardson says she appealed to a higher power, saying, and I'm quoting now, "God, I'm coming home. Please don't make this hurt."
I spoke with Shayna a little bit earlier about her harrowing ordeal.
BLITZER: Shayna Richardson, thanks very much for joining us. You are a very lucky woman. We'll get to that in a moment. But when did you first realize you were in deep trouble?
SHAYNA RICHARDSON, SURVIVED SKY-DIVING ACCIDENT: I knew I was having trouble when I looked up at my reserve chute, and it was spinning out of control. I knew I was going to have big problems.
BLITZER: What did you -- what...
RICHARDSON: I really didn't expect to live through it.
BLITZER: What went through your mind?
RICHARDSON: Certain death was all that went through my mind. I was just sure that this was going to be a fatal accident, and there was nothing I could do to fix it. I did everything I was taught to do to correct the problem, but I just -- it was out of control.
I had no abilities whatsoever in fixing it. And I just had to ride it down. I rode it -- I was under the reserve canopy for probably 3,500 feet, and every bit of it was spinning very fast, about 50 miles an hour I was spinning towards the ground.
BLITZER: So you jumped out of the plane. And do you have any recollection of how many seconds it was before you realized that main parachute was not opening up?
RICHARDSON: Well, the main canopy did open. It's just, during my time of trying to control the canopy, something in my steering toggle snapped loose, which is what sent me into the uncontrollable spin that I couldn't stop on the main. So it did come out and it did open. It just went into a dangerous spin that could have collapsed the canopy and could have caused me troubles there. So I had to cut it away.
And I was under it probably, you know, five or six seconds before it snapped loose and caused me to spin. And immediately, I cut away. I didn't stay under it for long at all once I realized I had a problem.
BLITZER: All right, so as you were getting closer and closer and closer to the ground, what were you doing?
RICHARDSON: I was doing what a sky diver would call pumping the brakes. Pumping the brakes is supposed to adjust the air flow underneath the canopy and allow the slider to come on down the lines, which is what had happened to my reserve canopy. My slider got stuck and it wouldn't come down. So by pumping the brakes, I was trying to get that slider to come on down so I would stop spinning.
And I don't really know what altitude I was at when I realized it just wasn't going to work. But there was a certain point when I just let go of the steering toggles and just kept spinning, because I knew I couldn't stop. And once I let go... BLITZER: Did you crunch up into some sort of position that you thought might better help you, or did you just sort of say to yourself, "it's over?"
RICHARDSON: I said it's over. I went back into what we call the belly-to-earth position. My entire body was parallel to the ground. My arms were in -- they were just kind of put up above my head, kind of in "L" shapes. And I just went back into the same position that I would have gone in had I been in free fall.
And that's how I hit the ground. And I don't really know why I went into that position. I think I just subconsciously, you know, once I let go of the toggles, that's just the position my body went into. And I hit the ground. And they actually say that it may have helped a lot, because it distributed the impact throughout my body, instead of trying to land on my feet or, you know, landing completely on my neck. It distributed all that impact.
BLITZER: What do you remember about the impact?
RICHARDSON: I don't remember anything about the impact. I think I -- you know, shortly after I let go of the toggles, I said a quick prayer. You know, I said, all right, God, I'm coming home. Please don't make this hurt. And after that, I don't remember another thing until I was in the ambulance. I don't remember hitting the ground. And they even said I was talking to people after I landed. There were several bystanders who ran up. And I sat up and started talking and tried to get up. I don't remember any of that either.
BLITZER: You do -- what was your first recollection after this whole incident?
RICHARDSON: First recollection would be in the emergency room. They had me tied down in the emergency room, and they were stitching my face up. And it wasn't but just a couple of minutes after they started doing that that the doctor came in and told me that they had a positive blood test on a pregnancy test that they did. And so that's when everything started really sinking in. And I remember -- you know, I remember all that.
BLITZER: You didn't know you were pregnant?
RICHARDSON: I didn't. I didn't have the least idea that I could be pregnant. And then it turned out I was actually two weeks along. And had we have known, I wouldn't have been allowed to jump. But since we didn't, we went ahead and did the jump anyway, and then found out in the emergency room only through blood tests.
BLITZER: Are you thinking of jumping again?
RICHARDSON: Oh, for sure. Yes. I intend to jump as soon as they'll let me. Obviously, they're not going to take a broken, pregnant woman up in the air, but if they would, I'd go.
BLITZER: You know, a lot of people think you're nuts if you do that again. RICHARDSON: They do. Everybody does. But I know what I would be missing if I didn't. The people who think I'm crazy are the people who don't know what I'm experiencing when I do it. You know, of the times that I've done it, you know, I only have 10 jumps and that's not a lot of jumps. And only, you know, out of 10 is pretty bad odds. But I know the more I jump, the better it is going to look. I'm only going to have this one accident. And you know, I'll have other problems, but nothing like this is ever going to happen again. It would just be insane.
BLITZER: How do you feel now? And how is the baby doing?
RICHARDSON: I feel great. I had my mouth wired shut for about a month and a half in order for my jaw to heal and line my teeth up properly, so I wouldn't have a crooked bite. So they had it wired shut for a month and a half, and that caused a lot of tension right here through my jaw. And this right eye is where the impact was. And with my jaw wired shut, it put a lot of pressure on there, which caused me a lot of pain. And as soon as they unwired it, that pain just went away. And I'm feeling great now.
I just got the partial piece here in front. I just got that on Friday, because I knocked out the front five teeth in my mouth. And next year about this time, they're going to do dental implants. But they have to give it a full year in order for my face to heal properly.
And as far as the baby is concerned, perfect. They said he -- well, he or she, we don't know yet -- but the baby is growing perfectly, right on schedule. The heart rate is perfect. We have arms, legs and a face now. So the baby is perfect.
BLITZER: And you set up a fund to help you with the medical expenses, which can be quite steep?
RICHARDSON: Oh, yes. We're looking at $20,000 to $25,000 to replace my teeth, and you know, I'm 21 years old. I don't want to spend the rest of my life with either no teeth or a partial piece. It is really important to me to get my teeth back. We spent a lot of money on orthodontics work, and we spent a good amount of time making sure I had, you know, the teeth that I needed, and then I knocked them all out. So we're working hard to try to get me the funds necessary to pay for those teeth.
BLITZER: Well, Shayna Richardson, as I said before, you are a very lucky woman. You survived what a lot of people no doubt thought was an impossible survival. Thank God you're OK, the baby is OK. And we'll continue to stay in touch. We're going to put on our Web site, cnn.com/sitroom, how people can get in touch with you and your fund if they want to help you out during this medical crisis that you are going through. Good luck to you, Shayna.
RICHARDSON: Thank you very much, Wolf.
(END VIDEOTAPE) BLITZER: Shayna Richardson tumbled thousands of feet without a chute, in effect. Has anything like this ever happened before?
The answer is online, and our Internet reporter Abbi Tatton has more. Abbi.
ABBI TATTON, CNN INTERNET CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, an incredible fall that Shayna survived. And other amazing stories here on the Guinness World Record site. They have details of the highest fall survived without a parachute -- in 1972, Vesna Vulovic, a flight attendant, was traveling in a plane over what was then Czechoslovakia. The plane exploded, and she plunged 33,000 feet. She survived with two broken legs and only temporary paralysis.
When she came to, she apparently said, can I have a cigarette?
Other stories on the site: An amazing fall in an elevator at the Empire State Building in 1945. Betty Lou Oliver plunged 75 stories, or 1,000 feet. Wolf, amazing stories at the Guinness World Record site.
BLITZER: They are truly amazing, Abbi. Thank you very much.
And another person who beat the odds is cyclist Lance Armstrong. He beat cancer and won the Tour de France seven straight times. For that, he might be named "TIME" magazine's person of the year. "TIME" announces its pick this Sunday.
CNN's Anderson Cooper shows us why Armstrong is a strong candidate.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): In capturing another Tour de France title this year, Lance Armstrong broke away from the pack and rode straight into the record books. A heroic feat for anyone to accomplish, and one made more impressive considering Armstrong was fighting for his life while battling cancer back in the 1990s. It is enough to make Lance Armstrong a candidate for "TIME" magazine's person of the year.
DAVID IGNATIUS, EXEC. EDITOR, "TIME" MAGAZINE: A person who has a lot of support as a person of the year candidate is Lance Armstrong, who has just come off his seventh straight win in the Tour de France, and who has raised millions and millions through Live Strong, his charity, to help cancer patients and to enhance awareness for cancer issues.
And he's a hero. I mean, what he's accomplished in terms of one of the most grueling sporting events that exists is just incredible. And then he's taken his fame, taken his money, and put it into causes that matter. So he's definitely somebody who deserves it.
BLITZER: And our sister publication, "TIME" magazine, will announce the person of the year this Sunday. You can tune into a special CNN program, PERSON OF THE YEAR, Sunday morning 8:00 a.m. Eastern. Anderson Cooper will be reporting. Up next, do you like a good mystery? Then you'll stick around to see what this case involving DNA is all about.
Also, love that cell phone. It's hard to imagine what life was like without it. We can talk on it anywhere, take pictures with it, listen to music, even watch -- yes, get ready -- pornography. Jack Cafferty has your email on this subject.
Stay with us.
BLITZER: It is a real-life situation for CSI. A criminal commits a violent crime, leaves a bit of his DNA behind. that is supposed to create an open and shut case. What happens when it doesn't?
CNN's Adaora Udoji is in New York. She's standing by to tell us what's going on.
ADAORA UDOJI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Evening, Wolf. They have a real puzzle on their handS in an Arizona crime lab and another one in Florida. Seems they found DNA somewhere they shouldn't have from someone not involved in their cases. That could spell trouble for prosecutors.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE, "CSI": DNA results are back.
UDOJI (voice-over): On the television show "CSI," DNA evidence always leads to the suspect of the crime. But in Tucson, Arizona, DNA results in three separate cases, a murder, an assault, and a rape, have led to more questions than answers.
Why? Those DNA results turned up a profile of an unknown woman who has no connection to either the suspects or the crime.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: I wouldn't say it is a common problem, but it certainly is something that occurs occasionally.
UDOJI: But not caused by her lab, she says. Here's another twist. Florida officials say the same mystery DNA turned up in a Tallahassee crime lab. Larry Koblinsky, the author of a book on DNA and crime says DNA testing is so sensitive, without strict protocols, a simple sneeze from collecting to testing could trigger contamination, triggering big headaches for prosecutors.
LARRY KOBLINSKY, JOHN JAY COLLEGE: DNA is the gold standard. Jurors take it for fact. When they hear there's contamination, usually the defense knows how to play that up.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I found that the LAPD laboratory has substantial contamination problems.
UDOJI: The most famous example, the O.J. Simpson murder trial, where defense lawyers argued DNA evidence was contaminated. Simpson was acquitted.
In Tucson officials are investigating whether a supplier might have sent contaminated test tubes. That would explain why the problem turned up in another state. Meanwhile, prosecutors in Arizona hope the mystery DNA does not hurt their cases.
UDOJI (on camera): Right now, Tucson prosecutors are at the end of the rape case where the jury has heard all about the mysterious DNA. Once the case is over, both Arizona and Florida officials will start in earnest trying to track down where in the world that DNA came from.
BLITZER: Adaora Udoji reporting. Thank you very much. Very interesting.
It's the largest settlement of its kind ever -- more than $5 million being paid by DirecTV for telemarketing.
Ali Velshi standing by in New York with the "Bottom Line". Ali?
ALI VELSHI, CNN ANCHOR: Telemarketing used to be cheap. It got famous because it was a really cheap method of getting to people, but for one company it really got expensive today.
VELSHI (voice-over): Stop calling me. This time I mean it. That's the message from the 110 million Americans on the national Do Not Call registry to companies that use telemarketers. Just asking doesn't seem to be enough.
So the Federal Trade Commission, which enforces the Do Not Call registry, gave one frequent dialer 5.3 million reasons to stop calling.
DEBORAH PLATT MAJORAS, FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION: It isn't named the Do Not Call registry for nothing. Respect consumers' wishes. Follow the Do Not Call rule.
VELSHI: Satellite TV provider DirecTV, attracted the largest number of complaints from people on the registry, people who got telephone offers of equipment and services, even though they had asked not to be called. EPIC, the Electronic Privacy Information Center, says the Federal Trade Commission proved its commitment to the Do Not Call list.
MARK ROTENBERG, ELECTRONIC PRIVACY INFO. CENTER: Was the FTC going to enforce this law or were they just going to let it sit there? I think they made it clear today that they're prepared to enforce it.
VELSHI: DIRECTV, which has 15 million customers, says it didn't mean to be calling people who asked to be left alone. The majority of the complaints that the Federal Trade Commission received related to telemarketing calls placed by a small number of former independent retailers who ignored DirecTV policies prohibiting unauthorized telemarketing.
EPIC says that is a cop-out.
ROTENBERG: The companies who are hiring these firms bear the responsibility to ensure that the firms are complying with the law.
VELSHI: Will other companies take the hit? The teleservices industry, as telemarketers call themselves, issued a statement saying it's "glad to see the FTC showed restraint in imposing the $5.3 million fine." Perhaps they sense that Americans are serious about not having their dinner disturbed.
VELSHI (on camera): It shows the FTC is prepared to be tough on offenders on this one. We'll keep you posted to see if anyone else gets in hot water. Wolf.
BLITZER: All right, Ali. Thank you very much. Up next -- a movie you may never have heard of before becomes a movie you will be hearing a lot about right now. "Brokeback Mountain" is big winner over at the Golden Globe's nominations and a target for controversy. We'll tell you what's going on. You are in THE SITUATION ROOM.
BLITZER: The new film "Brokeback Mountain" is proving tonight it's a hit with the film critics and a source of contention for some conservatives. The cowboy love story picked up seven Golden Globe nominations today, including best picture.
Mary Snow is standing by in New York with more on the controversy. Mary?
MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, the movie opens nationally on Friday, and some conservatives are already calling it Hollywood propaganda.
SNOW (voice-over): Unlike the legacy of John Wayne westerns, "Brokeback Mountain" breaks new ground in a love story between two cowboys. Some say it has the potential to leave a cultural mark the way "Guess Who's Coming To Dinner" did in the 1960s.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is John.
PAUL STEKLER, FILMMAKER, UNIV. OF TEXAS, AUSTIN: Sidney Poitier, when he starred in films in the '60s, you know, broke new ground in terms of African-American breaking into mainstream films as a romantic star. So in that way, we may look back on "Brokeback Mountain" and say, yes, this broke new ground.
SNOW: And that is exactly the concern of some Christian conservatives.
STEPHEN BENNETT, "STRAIGHT TALK RADIO": Listen, parents, beware of "Brokeback Mountain." Adults beware as well.
SNOW: Stephen Bennett is a radio talk show host who says he was gay before he married his wife.
BENNETT: "Brokeback Mountain" has taken the level of marketing homosexuality to America another step further. Basically, what they're trying to do is trying to sell it. And that's what we believe. They're basically trying to normalize it.
SNOW: Other conservatives predict the movie will fail when it opens nationally, particularly in politically red states. But it's been getting praise in the cities where it's opened. And with seven Golden Globe nominations ...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: "Brokeback Mountain."
SNOW: ... there's talk of Oscars. Academy Award-winning director Ang Lee says it's gotten more support than he thought. He says his aim is to reach people's hearts.
ANG LEE, DIRECTOR, "BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN": We try to reach the depth and complexity of life. We feel the gap of social codes and political issues.
SNOW: And some historians say this new twist on a western tale may not be so new. It just wasn't depicted in movies and books.
T.V. REED, WASHINGTON STATE UNIVERSITY: Historians have shown that there's a lot of what we would now call gay cowboys out there, partly because there were only men in many of these situations, but also because as in every other occupation, there are lots of folks who were gay.
SNOW: Some say there's probably a lot more yet to be written about the west.
BLITZER: All right, Mary, thank you very much.
Let's say in New York and find out what's going on, on PAULA ZAHN NOW. Paula is standing by with a little preview. Paula?
PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: Actually, I'm sitting by in a very high chair tonight, Wolf. Thanks.
Join me at the top of the hour for the controversy over illegal immigrants' babies becoming citizens. Right now, basically anyone can get U.S. citizenship if they are born here. But what about those hundreds of thousands of babies whose parents are illegal immigrants, people who have no legal right to live here? Should those children get U.S. citizenship? The debate is raging all over America and in Congress over changing those rules, and we will be debating it right here in about six minutes from now, Wolf.
BLITZER: All right. Good debate. Thanks very much, Paula. We'll be watching.
Still ahead -- what are the consequences of cell phone pornography? It is our question of the hour. Jack Cafferty is standing by with your email.
BLITZER: Let's go right back to New York, Jack Cafferty standing by with the "Cafferty File". Jack?
CAFFERTY: Oh, what's the country coming to, Wolf? Cell phone pornography is coming soon according to "USA Today." It is already here overseas, big business, too. One research firm says global sales of mobile porn will hit a billion dollars this year.
So the question is, what are the consequences of cell phone pornography?
Randy in Woodstock, Illinois: "More cell phone batteries burning up and needing replacements. It's a big win for the cell phone manufacturers."
Mike in Hot Springs, Arkansas writes: "I guess it could cause some real difficulty when daddy observes how much the kid has charged on the cell phone. And if mommy finds out how much daddy has charged, well, there could really be some fireworks."
Nick in Milford, Pennsylvania: "This worries me. What happens when we don't get good reception?"
Richard: "Why not? It's just another in a number of indicators of the degradation of society. We are the new Roman Empire."
Angie in Valdosta, Georgia: "Oh, great. Now in addition to listening to everybody's obnoxious ring tone at every restaurant I go to, I can also listen to some girl moaning at the next table."
Parker in Covington, Kentucky: "Cell phone pornography is like religious zealotry gummy stuff on the floor of a theater. Each is, in it's own way, inevitable and each will inevitably annoy somebody."
And finally, Bill in Whitney, Texas: Consequences of cell phone pornography, "eyestrain." It's a very tiny little screen, you see, is what Bill is alluding to there.
BLITZER: I know. All right, Jack. We're going to leave our viewers with some "Hot Shots", pictures coming in from our friends over at the Associated Press, pictures very likely to be in your hometown newspapers tomorrow.
Take a look at these pictures in Australia. Race riots continue. A group of white youths go on the attack against the immigrants during two nights of violence.
Let's go to New York now, where Army engineers pull this black cab out of the Hudson River. The driver drove off a pier yesterday after being asked by police to move the car.
Miami Beach, new citizens. This woman celebrates after taking the Oath of Allegiance. More than 12,000 people from 100 countries will officially become Americans tomorrow.
And in Charlotte, unlikely allies. The rock star Bono and the former senator Jesse Helms hang out before the band U2 goes on stage. The two have become close allies in the fight against AIDS. Those are the hot shots.
Paula Zahn is in New York. She's taking over. Paula?
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