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CNN SATURDAY MORNING NEWS
WTO Meeting Protests In Hong Kong; Senate Patriot Act Proposals; Presidential Address Reaction; Is California Prepared For A Tsunami?; Chubby Zoo Penguins; Merry Christmas Campaign; Actor John Spencer Dies
Aired December 17, 2005 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Right now it's 11:00 p.m. in Hong Kong where riot police are ready to march in the streets. You're looking at live pictures right now of what many of the protestors would consider to be an organized civil protest, but the authorities there are thinking this is civil unrest taking place there in the streets of Hong Kong and that's why both sides are kind of at an impasse right now.
The protestors are being asked to move along, but you can look through this live shot right now. The protestors are at microphones, some of them have bamboo sticks, many of them organizing. They're even beating drums, upset about the meeting of the World Trade Organization. They have a few complaints and thoughts that they want exhibited as well.
HARRIS: And Fred, we've seen this picture, scenes like this and there have been other scenes that have been a little more chaotic where the authorities have actually moved in and pushed those people aside. Maybe we have some of that taped picture we can turn around for you. But this -- we've been following this since about -- oh, about 6:00 a.m. Eastern time here and at various times throughout the course of the morning.
There you go. As you'll see in some of these pictures, things got a little rough. Things got chaotic, and do have sort of an amalgamation of people who are on hand here. You have farmers who are upset on one side of the coin. They're upset with trade barriers that they perceive as being promoted by the WTO.
And then you have other sides of this argument who are saying that there needs to be freer trade and that you can no longer continue to give to poor nations. So you have both sides and probably more sides than we even know at this point protesting in Hong Kong right now.
WHITFIELD: All right. We're going to keep a close eye on that all morning long, morning here, night time there. Again, it's 11:00 p.m. there.
Now other news topping this hour. Instead of shopping, Vice President Dick Cheney is packing his bags for a busy week of travel and diplomacy. Next week, Cheney is expected to make stops in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Amman. All five nations are U.S. allies in the continuing war on terror. The trains are running for now in New York as transit workers and MTA officials try to hammer out a new contract -- a labor contract, specifically. If a deal isn't struck by midnight Tuesday the Workers' Union say its 33,000 members will go on a system-wide strike. New York's mass transit system is the nation's largest with seven million riders daily.
HARRIS: And also coming up this hour the show must go on, as they say in show business, but there are heavy hearts on the set of the "West Wing."
With the anniversary of the devastating tsunami just a week away, what's the risk of California getting hit with an out and out disaster?
And who wants to be politically correct this Yuletide season. We'll tell you how American is responding to the "Just Say Merry Christmas" campaign.
And in just a few minutes, President Bush will make his case for extending the Patriot Act. That's because the U.S. Senate dealt the president partial defeat by rejecting to renew some of the bill's provisions. Patriot Act critics such as Democratic Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold, who will be giving a live rebuttal to the president's address in just a few minutes, say the Patriot Act infringes upon civil rights and liberties.
Trying to find some consensus, a bipartisan group of senators offered a three-month Patriot Act extension only to be rejected by the president.
For more on the Senate proposals, CNN's Kathleen Koch is live at the White House with the very latest and, first, Kathleen, we know that the president is going to come out strong defending the Patriot Act as he has since September 11th.
KATHLEEN KOCH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: He is, Fredericka. We're going to be hearing language, I think, very similar to what we've heard in numerous speeches over the last year and increasingly in recent months, the president insisting that it is a vital tool for law enforcement to help protect Americans from the threat of terrorism.
And the White House, despite some of the qualms that the senators obviously had about renewing it yesterday, the White House continues to insist that there have been no proven -- no complaints, no report of abuses, case of abuse of the law, that it has not ever been used to infringe on American civil liberties, but again, a lot of concerns on the Senate and not just on the part of Democrats.
There were also some Republicans who felt there needed to be some modifications in the Patriot Act and what they felt, and what many of them voiced on the floor, was that you needed to mend it, but not end it. And they argued, some of them, for a three-month extension to give the time to make the necessary changes to make the Patriot Act a law that everyone was comfortable with. But President Bush drew very much a line in the sand yesterday, his spokesman Scott McClellan saying that the president would not accept any sort of a very short renewal, any kind of a three-month extension, that it was really basically all or nothing.
And the president, after the lack of a vote for cloture yesterday, put out this scathing statement to Congress saying that he wanted them to stop their delaying tactics, that although the Patriot Act would expire -- many of its measures in just about two weeks -- that the threat of terrorism would not, Fredricka.
WHITFIELD: And, Kathleen, why a live radio address? And it won't just be a radio address, but why a live address from the president when so often on Saturday mornings we're hearing his taped radio addresses?
KOCH: Well, I think, Fredricka, this is to drive home the point of just how important this issue is to President Bush. He had already yesterday morning pre-taped a radio address on another subject, but the White House, after the Senate failed to vote to renew and extend the Patriot Act, felt they need to do something very dramatic. And this is also one of two ways that the president can get his message out to the American public unedited, speak directly to them.
WHITFIELD: All right. And Kathleen, here's the president. Let's listen in.
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: ... to defend the constitution and I have no greater responsibility than to protect our people, our freedom and our way of life.
On September the 11th, 2001, our freedom and way of life came under attack by brutal enemies who killed nearly 3,000 innocent Americans. We're fighting these enemies across the world, yet in this first war of the 21st century, one of the most critical battle fronts is the home front. And since September the 11th, we've been on the offensive against the terrorists within our borders.
One of the first actions we took to protect America after our nation was attacked was to ask Congress to pass the Patriot Act. The Patriot Act tore down the legal and bureaucratic wall that kept law enforcement and intelligence authorities from sharing vital information about terrorist threats. And the Patriot Act allowed federal investigators to pursue terrorists with tools they already used against other criminals.
Congress passed this law with a large bipartisan majority, including a vote of 98 to 1 in the United States Senate. Since then America's law enforcement personnel have used this law to prosecute terrorist operatives and supporters and to break up terror cells in New York, Oregon, Virginia, California, Texas and Ohio.
The Patriot Act has accomplished exactly what it was designed to do. It has protected American liberty and saved American lives. Yet key provisions of this law are set to expire in two weeks. The terrorist threat to our country will not expire in two weeks. The terrorists want to attack America again and inflict even greater damage than they did on September the 11th.
Congress has a responsibility to ensure that law enforcement and intelligence officials have the tools they need to protect the American people. The House of Representatives passed reauthorization of the Patriot Act, yet a minority of senators filibustered to block the renewal of the Patriot Act when it came up for a vote yesterday.
That decision is irresponsible and it endangers the lives of our citizens. The senators who are filibustering must stop their delaying tactics and the Senate must vote to reauthorize the Patriot Act. In the war on terror we cannot afford to be without this law for a single moment.
To fight the war on terror, I'm using authority vested in me by Congress including the joint authorization for use of military force which passed overwhelmingly in the first week after September the 11th.
I'm also using constitutional authority vested in me as commander in chief. In the weeks following the terrorist attacks on our nation I authorized the National Security Agency, consistent with U.S. law and the constitution, to intercept the international communications of people with known links to al Qaeda and related terrorist organizations.
Before we intercept these communications, the government must have help to establish a link to these terrorist networks. This is a highly-classified program that is crucial to our national security. Its purpose is to detect and prevent terrorist attacks against the United States, our friends and allies.
Yesterday the existence of this secret program was revealed in media reports after being improperly provided to news organizations. As a result, our enemies have learned information they should not have and the unauthorized disclosure of this effort damages our national security and puts our citizens at risk.
Revealing classified information is illegal, alerts our enemies, and endangers our country. As the 9/11 Commission pointed out, it was clear that terrorists inside the United States were communicating with terrorists abroad before the September 11th attacks. And the commission criticized our nation's inability to uncover links between terrorists here at home and terrorists abroad.
Two of the terrorist hijackers who flew a jet into the Pentagon, Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid Almihdhar, communicated while they were in the United States to other members of al Qaeda who were overseas. But we didn't know they were here until it was too late.
The authorization I gave the National Security Agency after September the 11th helped address that problem in a way that is fully consistent with my constitutional responsibilities and authorities. The activities I have authorized make it more likely that killers like these 9/11 hijackers will be identified and located in time.
And the activities conducted under this authorization have helped detect and prevent possible terrorist attacks in the United States and abroad.
The activities I authorized are reviewed approximately every 45 days. Each review is based on a fresh intelligence assessment of terrorist threats to the continuity of our government and the threat of catastrophic damage to our homeland.
During each assessment, previous activities under the authorization are reviewed. The review includes approval by our nation's top legal officials including the attorney general and the counsel to the president.
I have reauthorized this program more than 30 times since the September the 11th attacks and I intend to do so for as long as our nation faces a continuing threat from al Qaeda and related groups. The NSA's activities under this authorization are thoroughly reviewed by the Justice Department and NSA's top legal officials, including NSA's general counsel and inspector general.
Leaders in Congress have been briefed more than a dozen times on this authorization and the activities conducted under it. Intelligence officials involved in these activities also receive extensive training to ensure they perform their duties, consistent with the letter and intent of the authorization. This authorization is a vital tool in our war against the terrorists.
It is critical to saving American lives. The American people need me to do everything in my power under our laws and constitution to protect them and their civil liberties and that is exactly what I will continue to do so long as I'm the president of the United States. Thank you.
HARRIS: Wow. The president of the United States ending his Saturday morning address, which is usually the radio address, which is usually taped the night before.
Let's bring in Democratic senator from Wisconsin Russ Feingold to talk about all of this and to respond to all of this. Russ, good to see you this morning. Thanks for taking the time to talk us to, first of all.
I don't know that we expected to hear all of this this morning. First of all, your response, your reaction to the fact that the president is first of all, taking responsibility straight up and acknowledging that he did authorize the NSA to do this kind of domestic spying. Let's start there.
SEN. RUSS FEINGOLD (D), WISCONSIN: Well, it's a sad day when the president of the United States is deciding to play politics with our national security. He's trying to justify not being reasonable about the Patriot Act on the ground that somehow this thing's going to expire unless we do it exactly his way. That's not the case and that's not the way any of us feel.
And then he even goes further, as you pointed out, by saying that he authorized these wiretaps even though there was no specific law allowing it. He's trying to claim somehow that the authorization for the Afghanistan attack after 9/11 permitted this and I'll tell you something, that's just absurd.
There's not a single senator or member of Congress who thought we were authorizing wiretaps. You know, if he needs a wiretap the authority is already there in the Federal Intelligence Surveillance Act. They can ask for a warrant to do that and you know what? Even if there's an emergency situation, they can go for 72 hours as long as they give notice at the end of the 72 hours.
So the president is basically saying he runs the war on terror and the Congress and the representatives of the American people don't have to pass laws to allow it. You know what? That's not our system of government. We have a president, not a king, and that's the way he's talking.
HARRIS: Let me have you do this. For a lot of folks, these might seem like two separate issues here, the Patriot Act and ...
FEINGOLD: And they are.
HARRIS: Yes, do they dovetail together in any significant way that we should take particular note of?
FEINGOLD: Well, they relate in this sense, is that there's a pattern here of the president refusing to listen to arguments about protecting innocent Americans. In the Patriot Act, we have a couple of provisions that make sure they can't go after innocent Americans' library records and medical records and business records.
Every single member of the Senate, including all of the Republicans, voted for those provisions. The president says no, he'd rather let the law expire than have those protections in there. Now that relates to the other point which is that he apparently feels even if he doesn't have authority from Congress that he can go ahead and do all this stuff anyway under some inherent power.
So what that really means, if you take his argument all the way, is he doesn't even need the USA Patriot Act because he thinks he has some kind of an inherent authority to make up the law himself. And I'll tell you something, this president and no other president is above the law and that's exactly what he was just telling us he was.
HARRIS: What am I missing here? It can't be as obvious and as blatant and as you paint it or I would imagine that this country might be in a bit more uproar.
FEINGOLD: Well, let me tell you the uproar you're going to see. Put it all together, the original detaining of people in Guantanamo as enemy combatants which the Supreme Court had to strike down, the extreme approach to military tribunals that to be stopped, the authorization of torture and ...
FEINGOLD: Abu Ghraib, secret prisons around the world. I think we see a pattern here, a White House and a president who believes that he's above the law, that he can make up the law as long as he's the president and that it doesn't matter what our own laws and our system of government of checks and balances call for. It's a shocking series -- a shocking record and one we have to contain.
HARRIS: But Russ, let me stop you before we're out of time here. And folks are telling me to wrap, but I want to spend just a little bit more time with this. The president says he has reauthorized this program over 30 times.
HARRIS: Says he has had it reviewed by the Justice Department, by leaders in Congress. Did you know this was going?
FEINGOLD: No, of course, not. This is only taken to the top members of the Intelligence Committee and you know what? It doesn't matter how many times he talks to members of Congress, how many times the Justice Department tells him it's OK, if it's not within the law, if we haven't passed the law allowing it, he can't do it. What he's doing is illegal.
He talked about the revelation of this being illegal. That may be. But what he's doing, I believe, is illegal and it's really quite a shocking moment in the history of our country.
HARRIS: All right. Let's leave it there for now and I'm sure you'll have plenty to say on this in the days and weeks ahead. OK. Democratic senator Russ Feingold.
FEINGOLD: Thanks so much.
HARRIS: Russ, thank you.
WHITFIELD: And you'll hear from the president again live tomorrow night. He will be making his case on the Iraq war effort. He'll address the nation in a prime-time presidential address from the Oval Office. Be sure to join us for that right here on CNN Sunday night, 9:00 p.m. Eastern time.
And this brings us to our e-mail question this morning. Domestic spying as they safeguard against potential terror attacks in this country or a violation of your civil liberties? Send us your commends at email@example.com. We'll read your replies throughout the program.
Is California ready for a tsunami like the one that hit Indonesia last year? We'll talk to an expert about what can be done to prepare for such a natural disaster.
HARRIS: Almost a year since a catastrophic tsunami struck South Asia, devastating countries that border the Indian Ocean. Entire villages and towns were wiped out, families ripped apart. Nearly 200,000 people died. Now scientists are asking, is the U.S. ready to handle a disaster like this, particularly California?
Joining me now to help answer that question is Bruce Clark. He is an expert with the California Seismic Safety Commission. Bruce, good to see you this morning.
DR. BRUCE CLARK, CALIF. SEISMIC SAFETY COMMISSION: Thank you. Hood morning, Tony.
HARRIS: Well, I have to ask you, we had a bit of a head's up on this, didn't we, with Crescent City, that scare in -- what was it? June of 2005?
CLARK: Yes, was there an earthquake off the coast of California in the summer, in June of 2005. There was a warning that was issued for a potential tsunami and, of course, the warning was canceled about 80 minutes later when it turned out that there was not a tsunami.
HARRIS: Bruce, what did we learn about that or what should we have learned? Were there any lessons in that, in how the systems worked or didn't work?
CLARK: I think the systems work moderately well, but not as well as we would have liked them to. It starts with the warning that's issued by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The NOAA warning either comes from Alaska for the West Coast of the U.S., or form Hawaii for the western part of the Pacific.
And the warnings were delivered. They were a little confusing. For the Western Pacific, the warning was -- there was no warning and for the western part of the U.S. there was a warning that there could be a tsunami from this event.
At that point, the information goes to the state Office of Emergency Services and then out to the individual emergency managers around the state to make the decision as to whether or not to evacuate from low-lying areas.
HARRIS: OK. Talk about some of those low-lying areas, particularly along the California coast. Paint for us kind of a nightmare scenario. I know that's part of what you do in planning for these things, but let us in a bit on your thinking.
CLARK: Well, we planned for nightmare scenarios but that doesn't necessarily mean that they're going happen. But the places that we're most concerned about are those that are low-lying areas where a tsunami that was coming in from the ocean could extend for miles inland during the event.
And in those situations, we're very concerned about what kinds of damage would occur in the low-lying areas, how people could escape from those areas and keep themselves safe.
HARRIS: What are some of those communities? Are we talking about, oh, Santa Monica, if we think about communities very next to Los Angeles?
CLARK: There are several communities down here along the coast of Los Angeles and, of course, we're always concerned about areas like the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, where if a tsunami came in to those ports, they could produce a lot of damage fairly quickly and put the ports out of business for quite a bit of time.
HARRIS: What's the fix? Kind of briefly, what's a good fix, a good remedy for this?
CLARK: The most important thing we can do right at the moment is to be sure that all of our people understand what the warning signs are and to be sure that if they see an evidence or feel evidence of an earthquake nearby and they're at the beach, that they get to high ground because the most serious problem is for people who are caught in the water during a tsunami and get dragged back and forth under these very high, horizontal currents that develop as the water moves back and forth in the low land areas.
HARRIS: OK. Bruce, good to se you. Bruce Clark answering all of our questions on preparedness, tsunami preparedness on the West Coast. Bruce, thanks. Thanks for your time this morning.
CLARK: Thank you.
HARRIS: And be sure to tune in tonight for a look at the tsunami one year later. CNN correspondents return to the region and bring us the latest on the story.
We'll also take you behind the scenes of other major stories this week, including the historic vote in Iraq. That's tonight at 7:00 p.m. Eastern. CNN's "ON THE STORY."
WHITFIELD: And, you know, this season it seems the debate that's been heating up has been about "Happy Holidays," "Merry Christmas."
HARRIS: Oh, yes.
WHITFIELD: What's the appropriate thing to say these days? Well, a new spin on that. Now you've got a bracelet of sorts that expounds on that point of view, all created by one particular woman who is actually going to join us to talk about why she came up with that and what kind of response she's actually getting.
HARRIS: Can't wait to hear that.
And the cast of the television phenomenon the "West Wing" loses one of its own. We will remember John Spencer right after a break.
WHITFIELD: 'Tis the season to be very chilly out there.
HARRIS: Brad Huffines, the man who is watching it all for us in the CNN Weather Center. Good morning, Brad.
WHITFIELD: All right. Thanks so much, Brad.
Well, we are still following the latest developments out of Hong Kong where thousands of world trade protestors are using bamboo sticks. They're also beating drums, all of that to get into the meeting site. Police are using pepper spray and water to hold them back.
HARRIS: And police, we saw a short time ago were staging, staging, getting ready presumably to move in.
And one woman's desire to bring Christmas back into her community is now a nationwide effort. We will talk to her live coming up. Shanon, good morning.
SHANON COOK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Tony, when we go global, a flock of pudgy penguins in Japan's zoo go for a winter waddle and it's all in the name of keeping their figures looking good.
WHITFIELD: Well, welcome back to CNN SATURDAY MORNING. I'm Fredericka Whitfield in for Betty Nguyen.
HARRIS: Good morning, Fred.
HARRIS: Busy morning.
HARRIS: I'm Tony Harris, 17th day of December. Here's who happening now in the news. A developing story we're following closely. Hundreds of protestors have broken through police lines at the world trade talks in Hong Kong. Police managed to stop them before they stormed the convention center. Police say it's the worst street violence in the city in decades. More than 40 people have been injured. South Korean farmers and activists are upset over efforts to lower trade barriers.
And a few minutes ago, President Bush confirmed reports that he authorized secret wiretaps in the U.S. during his live radio address today which was also televised. He said he allowed the National Security Agency to intercept the international communications of people linked to al Qaeda and he said it was fully consist with his constitutional authority. Mr. Bush also urged Congress to try again to renew key parts of the patriot act. He says it's essential for the government to have the tools to fight terrorism.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BUSH: One of the first actions we took to protect America after our nation was attacked was to ask Congress to pass the patriot act. The patriot act tore down the legal and bureaucratic wall that kept law enforcement and intelligence authorities from sharing vital information about terrorist threats.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS: Lawmakers are working overtime this week to try to get some agreements on the patriot act and military spending. The House and Senate convened this afternoon to try and wrap up their work before the holidays and the end of the legislative year.
Vice President Dick Cheney is heading to Afghanistan tomorrow for the first session of that country's new parliament. He's also visiting other allies in the U.S. war against terrorism.
WHITFIELD: Well, what started out as a peaceful protest turned into this. Anything, but peaceful. Protestors and police came to a head outside the World Trade Organization talks in Hong Kong today. Police tear gassed, fire hosed and pepper sprayed the crowd as they inched closer to where negotiations are taking place at the Hong Kong convention center.
Our senior Asian correspondent Mike Chinoy was right in the thick of it and joins us on the telephone right now. What was the breaking point? We saw that these two sides were at a standoff for so long and now suddenly they have come together and clashed. Why?
MIKE CHINOY, CNN SENIOR ASIA CORRESPONDENT: Good morning. The breaking point came when these militants, South Korean farmers broke into small groups, raced through a busy commercial neighborhood and then regrouped and managed to get within about a hundred or 50 yards of the Hong Kong convention center. The Koreans are used to street fighting. They're well known for their violent clashes with the police in South Korea and they almost overran the Hong Kong police.
The police were then forced to fire CS gas to drive them back and at this point now there are several hundred South Koreans blocking one of the big main roads in Hong Kong. They are surrounded on all sides by riot police. The authorities have warned people in the neighborhood, pedestrians to move away and the question is whether they'll simply stay here or whether the police will at some point decide enough is enough, enough disruption and move in and break the protests up.
The Koreans for their part say they want to stay and they want to remain peaceful, but they're not giving up on their demands to go into the hall where the WTO, the exhibition hall where a meeting is underway because they want their voices to be heard by the trade ministers negotiating in there.
WHITFIELD: And so Mike, we're talking about 6,000 delegates from 149-member states that are part of this WTO meeting at the convention center. Here it is, almost midnight there. Are these delegates actually meeting at this hour in the convention center?
CHINOY: Formal sessions are over, but there's an awful lot of last-minute haggling and negotiating, the prospect of a global trade deal seemed increasingly remote. I've seen a number of delegates come out from the convention center with their suits and their briefcases and their cell phones and walk, looking rather bewildered into this big seething scene of these angry South Korean farmers with their banners and bandanas and face masks and the Hong Kong police with their riot gear. So the trade talks are not going anywhere, but the Koreans are angry at the whole idea of the WTO and they're going to stay put. I should point out that there are several thousand other protestors who have been here all week who want nothing to do with this violence and they had stayed away, but a hard core of militants in the middle of the streets and we're expecting the Hong Kong police to move fairly soon to try and break this up.
WHITFIELD: All right, Mike Chinoy in Hong Kong. And of course, we're looking at a few different pictures here on the right side of the screen. The two set of pictures are taped pictures of the clashes taking place just moments ago and then you're looking at a new standoff taking place involving those armed police with their shields there and that live picture there on the left side. Of course, we'll keep tabs with you, Mike to see what the next step just might be there outside of the convention center in Hong Kong. Remarkable.
HARRIS: It is. In other international news, it is snowing in China and the atmosphere is still icy in Australia and those are just a couple of the other stories making headlines around the world. For that and more let's check in now with Shanon Cook at the international desk. Shanon, good morning.
COOK: Good morning, thanks, Tony. Let's start with China and the wintry weather there. A city in east China called Yuan Kai (ph) has been inundated with snow for the past 12 days. More than three feet of snow has accumulated. It's blocking roads and it's even caused some houses to collapse under the weight of the snow. Local officials have put the city under an emergency plan while residents brace for more snow.
Now to somewhere a little warmer, Sydney, Australia. It's summer there, but swimmers at the beaches are outnumbered by police this weekend. Authorities are trying to prevent a repeat of the racial violence between white mobs and Arab residences that hit a Sydney beach last Sunday. That led to racial violence across the city's suburbs during the week. So far no reports of violence this weekend, though.
Now we want to tell you about a young girl from Haiti who underwent a 17-hour surgical procedure in Miami this week to remove a tumor from her face. The tumor was pretty big. It was 16 pounds and the 14-year-old girl suffers from this rare condition that causes bone to become swollen and jelly like. Doctors called the procedure to remove the tumor a success saying the patient was in stable condition.
Now Tony, a Japan zoo has come up with a way to prevent penguins from getting pudgy, exercise. Zookeepers are basically taking their 16 king penguins on two strolls a day to keep their weight down. They walk probably more accurately, they waddle for about 30 minutes at a time. The strict workout regime happens through winter when the penguins tend to get a little fuller around the middle.
HARRIS: OK. I can't let this one go.
COOK: ... thin penguins. HARRIS: There you go.
WHITFIELD: You know, if you see one, something's wrong, right?
HARRIS: Exactly. Aren't they supposed to pack on the pounds? Isn't that their exercise regimen this time of year to pack them on when it's cold.
COOK: Well, that's a very good point. But apparently zoo penguins tend to gain more weight than those in their natural habitat during winter. The penguins sort of all huddle around and just stand there not moving around so they just put on a few extra, I guess not pounds. I guess they do, they put on extra pounds.
HARRIS: I do that, too, when I'm home and taken care of and well fed, in the winter.
WHITFIELD: I guess, the Japanese as a whole they're very fit, very healthy. They're walkers. So they want to make sure that all their creatures, big and small are following the same habits.
COOK: They should show these penguins the documentary march of the penguins for inspiration because those penguins are pretty active, pretty busy.
HARRIS: Got to watch it. All right, Shanon, thank you.
COOK: Thanks, guys.
WHITFIELD: All right, well she said that's it. Forget about it. I just can't take it anymore. Thus was born the just say Merry Christmas campaign in bracelet form.
HARRIS: That's right.
WHITFIELD: More on that coming up.
HARRIS: You will meet the co-founder, sorry, Fred, of the campaign. There she is. Good morning, Jennifer.
WHITFIELD: ... wearing at least one bracelet, right, Jennifer?
JENNIFER GIROUX, JUST SAY MERRY CHRISTMAS: Hi, how are you?
WHITFIELD: All right. We'll be looking at your bracelets right after this break.
WHITFIELD: To see how many you're wearing.
HARRIS: Just want to give you a quick update on the story that is still developing in Hong Kong and we are watching it. There you see Hong Kong Chinese police standing by now poised to break up any demonstrations that might turn my protestors who are there on site, anti-globalization protestors and a host of others who are against what's going on now inside the convention center as the WTO, the World Trade Organization meets to settle some trade issues for the world.
So we are watching the situation. A moment ago we heard a lot of tapping of those shields. It's not going on right now, but just out of our camera view there is a group. We have a group of protestors and we will watch and see what exactly develops here in the next few minutes. Fred?
WHITFIELD: All right. A clash of a different sort this holiday single -- season. It seems this year more than ever Christmas is missing from Christmas. We've seen several examples from the not a Christmas tree at Chicago's city hall to the White House happy holiday season card.
Our next guest says enough already. Bah humbug and all that stuff. She and her husband have launched operation just say Christmas, a campaign to proudly proclaim that Jesus is the centerpiece of the Christmas season and not political correctness. Jennifer Giroux joins us from Cincinnati, Ohio. Good to see you Jennifer.
GIROUX: Hello, Fredericka, how are you? Merry Christmas.
WHITFIELD: Merry Christmas to you and happy holidays to all those others who still don't like to hear merry Christmas.
GIROUX: That's correct.
WHITFIELD: So wait a minute. Where did this come from? It has been quite a few years that people have felt like just not to offend those who do not celebrate Christmas to say happy holidays. Why is it that this year it seems to rub so many people wrong.
GIROUX: Well, I think it's sort of been the perfect form of frustration that has made our project explode. Between the ACLU threatening lawsuits against nativity scenes, to schools substituting lyrics for the holy songs that we're used to and the retailers more or less ignoring Christmas within their stores, we have been inundated with phone calls and e-mails with parents and people in all walks of life telling us their stories that they're not really angry. They're just resolved to reclaim the Christmas season for the birth of Jesus.
WHITFIELD: And those phone calls and all those messages came after you launched your campaign however right, about the bracelets. Just say Merry Christmas.
GIROUX: Yes, my husband and I own a very small Christian bookstore. We have nine children and we just noticed that Christians were feeling compelled to say happy holidays to each other. So we just did this as a way to encourage folks in our own community to not be afraid to say Merry Christmas. We had no idea we would tap into the national frustration that we did and we are now nearing 100,000 in numbers for shipping out. You can imagine we get no sleep at night trying to get these to folks before Christmas. We are so thrilled and humbled to be a small, small instrument and trying to just bring the pendulum a little bit back to the center again in this country, because it's really just a matter of allowing Christians to feel comfortable to trust their faith to one another.
WHITFIELD: So I understand, you didn't just tap into the national frustration, but you're being solicited by people around the world, aren't you, people who want to buy these bracelets, wear them and profess how proud they are to say Merry Christmas.
GIROUX: We have been really surprised every day at the inquiries and the orders that we have gotten, shipping to Canada, United Kingdom. We actually got an e-mail from somebody in Russia. We just were amazed and I think what it is is that for so long people have slowly seen kind of a moral decline in removing God from society and (INAUDIBLE) the system on parents especially and their frustrations of what they see in the public schools and they just decided it's time for us to step up and say we're defining what the future of the country is for our kids.
WHITFIELD: Jennifer, we are going to get a lot of e-mails after this segment approximate. A lot of people are going to say I want to know how to get my just say Merry Christmas bracelet. So where do they go?
GIROUX: Operationjustsaymerrychristmas.com. We're doing our best. We're having churches call. We're overnighting to them so they can have them for Wednesday and Christmas Eve coming up. So just call this number on the Web site and we can take care of that. We are just so happy to spread the message and that so many folks share our desire to bring Jesus back to the Christmas season.
WHITFIELD: Jennifer Giroux, thanks so much.
GIROUX: Thank you, Fredericka, Merry Christmas and happy holidays.
WHITFIELD: Very clever. All right and happy holidays.
HARRIS: You may know him only as Leo McGary, the tough, but dedicated chief of staff on NBC's "The West Wing." The actor who played McGary died Friday of a heart attack. He was 58. CNN's Brooke Anderson looks back on the life of actor John Spencer.
BROOKE ANDERSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): John Spencer was a key part of the Emmy-winning drama "The West Wing," the first actor cast on the show. He earned five straight Emmy nominations for the role of chief of staff Leo McGary.
JOHN SPENCER, ACTOR: I loved Leo. I mean I see Leo as a much greater-evolved human being than I am, than John is. Leo's a hero, in my eyes and how nice to play somebody you have that much respect for.
ANDERSON: Spencer won an Emmy for an episode of the show that touched on his character's alcoholism. He spoke openly about his own struggle for sobriety.
SPENCER: In the old days when I was out there I would celebrate good news with a drink. I would give myself solace with bad news with a drink. If there were no news at all I would deal with the boredom with a drink.
ANDERSON: Spencer played another recovering alcoholic on "LA Law," the show that would propel him into the public eye. He also found steady work on the big screen, co-starring in "The Rock," "The Negotiator" and "Sea of Love." He was quick to credit his success to the quality of the materials he worked with.
SPENCER: I think I'm a good actor so I'm not demeaning myself, but first comes the word, the true creative art is the writing. I'm an interpreter.
ANDERSON: One of the producers of "The West Wing" said Spencer will be missed by everyone who ever had the great fortune to know him. Brooke Anderson, CNN, Los Angeles.
HARRIS: Emmy award-winning actor John Spencer was 58 years old.
WHITFIELD: Some pastors are saying no to Christmas services, closing church doors and passing out videos over sermons instead. As you can imagine there's lots of outrage. Join us for two sides of the story in an intriguing debate, canceling Christmas services tomorrow morning in faces of faith. 7:00 a.m. Eastern.
HARRIS: Have you taken a gander at our e-mail question of the morning? It's all about national security, spying and you heard the president within the hour talking about, well, owning up to the fact that it was undeniable I guess that he did authorize these wiretaps by the NSA domestically.
So e-mail responses this morning, this is from Donald who writes, "if he, Bush, has reviewed and renewed this illegal wire tapping some 30 times, if he has gotten OKs from the Justice Department and members of Congress why hasn't he simply gotten a warrant from a judge? I'm terribly sorry and I apologize to the American people for it, that I voted for King George."
WHITFIELD: And this from Tim in Elmira, New York. "People need to make up their minds what they want. After 9/11, Congress and people around the country had a fit that we were caught off guard and the Secret Service hadn't done their jobs. Now they're doing their jobs. What do we hear? Oh, it's a crime. Down with the self-proclaimed king. That from Tim, Elmira, New York. HARRIS: Once again, thank you for your e-mails this morning. Hot topics, see if we can get some more on this in the next hour. Speaking of which, if you were looking for a gift to give this Christmas, take note, how about this excursion into outer space? Price tag...
WHITFIELD: That's out of this world.
HARRIS: A mere $100 million.
WHITFIELD: Oh, my goodness. Coming up, live next hour, a Soyuz voyage and other ultimate gifts for that person who just might be hard to please and, of course, you being the gift giver of that person hard to please, you better have really deep pockets. This is no joke kind of stuff.
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