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Congress Debates Ethics Reform; First Responders Suffering Health Effects from 9/11; Tech Stocks Down; Nutritionist Says Food, Mood Connected

Aired January 18, 2006 - 09:30   ET


SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CO-HOST: Well, Chad said rain, rain, rain. And we have seen rain, rain, rain, right here in New York City. Welcome back, everybody.
MILES O'BRIEN, CO-HOST: It is rainy. It is gusty if you're flying to New York City today or any part around -- any parts around here.

S. O'BRIEN: Delays for sure.

M. O'BRIEN: You're going to be delayed, I think.

S. O'BRIEN: Yes.

M. O'BRIEN: Because -- well, Chad will give you the scoop on it right now. Chad, some of the gusts were upwards of 50 miles an hour, weren't they?


S. O'BRIEN: Forecast full of bad news this morning. All right, Chad. I guess I'll say thank you, even though I don't necessarily really mean that. Thanks.

The rules for lobbyists in Washington, D.C., appear destined to change. Republicans are trying to get out in front of the curry -- current, rather, lobbying scandal. They've got a reform plan. Democrats coming out with their own plan today.

Ed Henry is live for us on Capitol Hill.

Ed, good morning.


S. O'BRIEN: Details of the Democrats' plan?

HENRY: Well, you know, the race is on from all sides, basically trying to see who's cleaner than whom right now. And the Democrats, you're right. They're trying to put heavy political pressure on the Republican leaders.

Today we're going to see Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid and House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi introduce a very aggressive reform plan. They're trying to beat the drum here from now until November in the mid term elections, make this the dominant issue because of that Jack Abramoff scandal, the lobbyist who's now cut a deal with prosecutors, starting to squeal on lawmakers and staffers up here.

The Democratic plan will ban all private travel, like some of those lavish golf trips to Scotland that Abramoff helped finance, allegedly, for various lawmakers.

Also the Democratic leaders today want to go a step further than the Republicans. They want to ban all gifts. Not just cut down on them, but ban gifts from lobbyists.

And in fact Senator Reid has already instituted a zero tolerance policy in his office, effective immediately. He's not going to wait for any of these bills to pass. He sent around a memo yesterday saying to all of his staff, you can't accept any gifts.

Yesterday, as you mentioned, the Republican speaker of the House, Dennis Hastert, trying to get ahead all of this. Faced with all these allegations, he also had a three-point plan, basically wants to ban all privately funded travel, as well.

Secondly, he wants to cut down on gifts from lobbyists, cut it from up to $50 right now down to $20 per gift from lobbyists. He also wants to cut down on the so-called resolving door, where basically lawmakers become lobbyists. He wants to make sure that those law -- former lawmakers no longer use their house floor privileges to do their lobbying.

What's interesting, the bottom line here, is when you look at someone like Republican Senator John McCain, who had been pushing for these changes for years to no avail, he's quite amused by all this, saying yesterday it just shows if you're old enough and you're around long enough, almost anything can happen up here on the hill, Soledad.

S. O'BRIEN: Yes, I can imagine him saying that. Let me ask you a question, though. We've been through this before. Ethics reform -- or proposed ethics reform has been around a number of times. What do you think makes the difference this time? Is this the scope of the Abramoff scandal?

HENRY: Yes, I think it's just public embarrassment and public pressure. That's ultimately what forces lawmakers to act. And I think that specifically the Republicans and the fact that they're in power, they run the House, the Senate and the White House. Most of these scandals so far have been Republican. The heat is on them, and they're very worried about losing power in November. That is a -- very much a motivator, Soledad.

S. O'BRIEN: Ed Henry on the Hill for us this morning. Ed, thanks.

HENRY: Thank you.

S. O'BRIEN: Other stories making news, Carol has got those. Good morning. CAROL COSTELLO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning.

Good morning to all of you.

The clock is ticking for that American hostage in Iraq. Jill Carroll's family has just released new pictures of her. You know, they've been pleading for her release. Her kidnappers say they'll kill the American journalist if the United States does not release all Iraqi women prisoners. A brief video of Carroll appeared on the Arab TV network Al Jazeera. She was abducted on January 7. The group holding -- holding her issued a 72-hour deadline on Tuesday.

President Bush is meeting with what the White House calls victims of Saddam Hussein. Among them, a former Kurdish military official whose daughter was kidnapped by the Saddam regime. The president is also expected to speak to reporters. That meeting set to get under way less than two hours from now.

In Britain, police are looking into an alleged plot to kidnap Prime Minister Tony Blair's 5-year-old son. The "Sun" newspaper claiming a father's rights group was planning to snatch Leo Blair as a publicity stunt. The group is denying any involvement. No arrests have been made.

And a real-life story of Lassie, but with the -- Butch and Dusty playing the starring role. A diabetic man collapsed in an Indiana court. You see him up and healthy now, thanks to his dogs. The sheriff's deputy was driving around at night. He said he saw some strange lights. He walked over to the light, and he saw one of these man's dogs holding a flashlight in his mouth. The other dog was lying on top of him, possibly trying to keep his master warm.

And the story has a very happy ending. The man spent four days in the hospital but as you can see, he's absolutely fine today -- Miles.

M. O'BRIEN: What a smart pair of dogs!

COSTELLO: I don't know if I believe the dog was holding a flashlight in its mouth to flag down help. But the laying on top of the master to keep warm, I believe.

M. O'BRIEN: But one of them said, I'll lie down here, I'll go get help. I mean, that was smart.

COSTELLO: But they were smart enough to pick up the flashlight?

M. O'BRIEN: Yes. Of course. If it was a cat you'd say that. Right?

COSTELLO: I don't know.

M. O'BRIEN: All right, let's shift gears here. You could call this next syndrome, if you will, disease, whatever, the Gulf War syndrome of 9/11. Dangerous and often deadly health problems lingering long after the Twin Towers came down. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

M. O'BRIEN (voice-over): The swirl of bad air on September 11th lingered like a bleak nasty fog, clinging to the back of the throat, creeping into the lungs; 2,749 people died in that air.

What was that stuff? Emergency medical technician Bonnie Giebfried and her team were overcome by it that day. She had an asthma attack for the first time since childhood.

BONNIE GIEBFRIED, EMERGENCY MEDICAL TECHNICIAN: That's where we ran to. And that's where I got buried alive.

M. O'BRIEN: Since then she has watched other Ground Zero workers succumb to lung ailments that appeared to begin on September 11, like the recent deaths of police detective, Joseph Sdroga (ph), and her colleague, Felix Hernandez.

GIEBFRIED: I've been on probably over 100 medications since 9/11.

M. O'BRIEN: Their deaths have brought new panic to the tight group of 9/11 rescue workers we spoke to who struggle with poor health and blame their exposure to Ground Zero, where the EPA identified free-floating lead, PCBs, asbestos and dioxin among other contaminants.

There are seven billion federal dollars set aside for victims of the September 11 attacks, including first responders. But it's hard to predict whether that money will be enough. A medical monitoring program of those affected found that half have persistent respiratory and mental health needs years later.

DR. JACQUELINE MOLINE, MOUNT SINAI HOSPITAL: We failed many of these people. They became physically or mentally disabled as a result of the exposures they had at World Trade Center site. They weren't able to work. They lost their health insurance. They lost a safety net.

M. O'BRIEN: Tim Keller, the guy in the middle, died this fall, left penniless and fighting for benefits.

REP. CAROLYN MALONEY (D), NEW YORK: We called them heroes and heroines. But now that they are coming forward with their illnesses, government is not there to help them and we should be there.

M. O'BRIEN: Proving that bad air five years ago did this...


M. O'BRIEN: ... is not easy. They must turn to insurance and workers compensation, where claims by 9/11 victims are rejected at higher than average rates.

New York's Workers Compensation Board offered this written statement: "In light of the fact that a significant number of WTC claims involve matters such as stress, inhalation or other illnesses that are not visible or immediately detectable, it is not unexpected that insurance carriers would desire additional examination."

Bonnie goes for regular checkups and monitoring.

GIEBFRIED: It's a constant prove this, prove that, show us documentation that you're still sick, prove that you're still sick. Prove you were there that day. And it is a constant battle. Constant, constant, constant battle.

M. O'BRIEN: Fighting to prove that something awful happened to her that day and the effects linger.


M. O'BRIEN: Now apparently, only about one in five of the people who responded in the wake of the falling of the Twin Towers wore respirators or masks. It was either uncomfortable, it was difficult work or they weren't available.

S. O'BRIEN: You just ran down there. I mean, I remember that day. I was -- I lived downtown. And people, you ran downtown. And that's the story for everybody who covered that story. I mean, you just went to the story and...

ANDY SERWER, "FORTUNE" MAGAZINE: People didn't think about masks.

S. O'BRIEN: When you go to save someone's life, you're not going to grab a mask.

M. O'BRIEN: It's the last thing you think about. And you know, the truth is we're going to have to watch these people who were there, really, for the remainder of those lives and try to connect those dots. It's difficult to make that connection. It puts people in a difficult position for the short-term.

S. O'BRIEN: Yes, it sure does.

Did you guys hear about this story? This is a bizarre one. Here's a guy who for years was a respected member of his community. Then his three sons found out that he was leading a secret life of crime.

Last month we told you the story of this guy named Bill Ginglen. His three grown sons turned him in for a string of bank robberies in Illinois. Until now we've only heard the sons' side of the story. Tonight on "PAULA ZAHN NOW," CNN's Keith Oppenheim talks to the father, who's now been sentenced to 40 years in prison. Here's an excerpt.


BILL GINGLEN, CONVICTED BANK ROBBER: I know they feel that they did the right thing and I'm glad that they did.

KEITH OPPENHEIM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You're glad that they turned you?

GINGLEN: I'm glad that they did the right thing, as they saw it.


GINGLEN: The only complaint that I've aired is that I felt that they should have called me and asked me and given me some help. And I would have went to my lawyer and turned myself in. And I'd have probably been getting the eight or 10 years instead of the 40.


S. O'BRIEN: You can see the full interview with Bill Ginglen, the bank robber/father tonight at 8 p.m. Eastern on "PAULA ZAHN NOW."

SERWER: Emotional stuff.

M. O'BRIEN: Little bit of resentment there. It just...

SERWER: Eight to 10 versus 40.

M. O'BRIEN: Yes.

SERWER: Serious.

S. O'BRIEN: There's a lot going on behind the scenes on that one. Right?

Let's talk about what's going on in "Minding Your Business" this morning.

SERWER: Soledad, how bad are things on Wall Street this morning?

Plus, the gun that won the American West. An institution, some say, might not be made in the USA anymore. Stay tuned for that on AMERICAN MORNING.


S. O'BRIEN: An ugly start for Wall Street. Investors taking some disappointing news not only from Tokyo, really across the board when it comes to tech stocks.

SERWER: That's right. You're right to say tech stocks, Soledad, because that's where most of the blood bath is occurring this morning.

The Dow not so terrible, actually, with all this going on. You can see we're only down 20-something points right now at the big board. The NASDAQ down more on a percentage basis. And here is why. A couple tech stocks.

Listen to this. Intel down 10 percent to $22 and change, which means it's down over $2. Yahoo! down 13 percent, or $5, to $35. Those are huge drops. And those two companies, in particular, announced weak earnings last night. Apple is reporting after the bell this evening. The Tokyo sell-off that we mentioned, that market is down three percent today and will only be open partially tomorrow. They're going to be closing it a little bit early to make sure that there's not too much selling going on, point of fact.

M. O'BRIEN: Wouldn't that just make them sell earlier?

SERWER: Well, you know, it's funny. You would think that. But that governor effect actually does temper things. They've do it here in the United States at various points, as well. So you know, it is something that seems to work.

Another story we want tell you about, and this has to do with the Winchester (ph). This is the gun from the American West. It's been made for 140 years in New Haven, Connecticut (ph). Now it appears that there is (AUDIO GAP). And it looks like they're going to (AUDIO GAP).

M. O'BRIEN: They stuck to that one model? I mean they've expanded beyond that.

SERWER: They have different models but they're all called Winchesters.

M. O'BRIEN: Got you.

S. O'BRIEN: A hundred and forty years.

SERWER: John Wayne used to carry one in the movies.

M. O'BRIEN: That's right. And of course "The Rifleman."

SERWER: "The Rifleman," as well.

M. O'BRIEN: Chuck Connors.

SERWER: That's right.

M. O'BRIEN: That was a good show.

All right. Coming up on "CNN LIVE TODAY," I don't know what's coming up. Actually, Daryn does, though.

Hello, Daryn.


M. O'BRIEN: Yes.

KAGAN: I'm here for you. Good morning.

M. O'BRIEN: Good to see you.

KAGAN: Yes. At the top of the hour, Miles, it is back to school in New Orleans. Thousands of college students are returning to class there for the first time since Hurricane Katrina struck. We'll talk live with Education Secretary Margaret Spellings about that.

And we're expecting some good news about the sole survivor of the mining tragedy in West Virginia. We'll get a live update from Randal McCloy's doctors in about 40 minutes, just about, live right here on CNN.

For now, back to you.

M. O'BRIEN: Thank you, Daryn. Appreciate that. See you in a bit.

S. O'BRIEN: Here's a question for you. Have you been in a bad mood today? It's really kind of early. But -- but...

M. O'BRIEN: Not for us. I've been cranky already.

S. O'BRIEN: Well, then maybe it's because you did not eat a good breakfast. What you eat for breakfast...

M. O'BRIEN: I believe this. I do believe this.

S. O'BRIEN: It's true.

SERWER: There is my breakfast right there.

S. O'BRIEN: What you eat for breakfast could be putting you in a bad, cranky mood. We're going to tell you this morning exactly what you need to eat to feel better.

M. O'BRIEN: I am going to be listening to this. This is important.

S. O'BRIEN: That's ahead. We're back in a moment.


S. O'BRIEN: Well, you know what they say? They say this: you are what you eat. And for those of you who usually get up on the wrong side of the bed, and you know who you are, it could be that your breakfast is in fact to blame. Nutritionist Heidi Skolnik joins thus morning to talk a little more about food and your mood.

Good morning.


S. O'BRIEN: Give me a sense of the link between food and mood. I've never really heard that before.

SKOLNIK: Well, it's very powerful. When you think about it, breakfast is really breaking your fast. So it's been 12 hours since you've eaten last. And what you eat is going to affect your problem- solving skills, your mood, your outlook. It fuels your brain, your -- your energy.

S. O'BRIEN: So it's not just, oh within haven't eaten, I'm hungry and crabby. It's the fuel that you've taken in is going to sort of be your output for the day?

SKOLNIK: You can really feel yourself almost crashing.

S. O'BRIEN: All right. Let's walk through some of the breakfasts. This is a breakfast that I love -- yum -- eggs and sausage. What's wrong with that?

SKOLNIK: Eggs and sausage, high-protein. The problem with that is that you actually still get an insulin rush from that. But there's no carbohydrate coming behind it. There's no blood sugar. There's nothing to elevate. So as your -- as your muscles sort of take up that energy, there's nothing else coming by. You crash.

S. O'BRIEN: And the crash is what...

SKOLNIK: And that crash is what makes you in a bad mood.

S. O'BRIEN: OK. Then this is -- this should be a perfect breakfast because it's all carbs. Bagels and pancakes. Again, yum. Why is this not the perfect breakfast?

SKOLNIK: Because that's the opposite. Now this is all carbs. There's no protein there to help make that release a little bit more even. And so about after 90 minutes, you also -- your blood sugar drops, and it leaves you feeling lethargic.

Also there's no fiber in those. Those are pretty processed foods. So unless you're getting a whole grain bagel or whole grain pancake, you're really talking about pretty -- those kind of bad carbs we talk about where you're going to -- you're going to burn it off pretty quickly.

S. O'BRIEN: Well, these are carbs, too, this next meal, but this sounds like good carbs. Low-fat bran. Boy, if that doesn't have fiber I don't know what does. Carrot muffins, also a lot of fiber. Why do you think that's a bad breakfast?

SKOLNIK: Well, these are the muffins. It's a low fat bran muffin or a carrot muffin. Just because there's bran or carrot in the title doesn't really make it healthy. A lot of those low-fat muffins are actually very high in sugar. A jumbo muffin could be the equivalent of ten slices of bread. So you go into that kind of carb coma after eating it.

And recognize that actually low-fat isn't always healthy. Healthy fats can contribute to your -- to the way your nerves transmit. And so kind of being short-tempered, you're kind of frustrated in the morning and again, cranky, that can be related.

S. O'BRIEN: Me. All I eat are the carb, carb, carb. Let's talk about this. You say the frappuccinos, the pastries, the donuts, which I love. A lot of sugar. Gives you a lot of energy. Got the carbs behind it to follow up. Why isn't that good?

SKOLNIK: Sounds like it tastes good, but again, frappuccino, it's not just a cup of java you're talking about. There's really 44 grams of sugar in a grande frappuccino.

S. O'BRIEN: Oh, my gosh.

SKOLNIK: And pastries, there's fat in them, but that's all trans fat. They're not healthy fats. They're not really helping to fuel you for the long-term in the morning.

S. O'BRIEN: Let's run through some good food options for a good mood. First, yogurt, and fruit and granola.


S. O'BRIEN: Boring. But why is it going to make you happy?

SKOLNIK: When we're really talking about healthy breakfast, what we want to look for is a whole grain, a protein and/or fat, or dairy really, and then fruit. I'd like to add fat to it, as well, if you can get that much in in the morning.

So something like yogurt, granola and fruit, or even put some nuts on top of that, you're getting calcium. You're getting protein in the yogurt. You're getting some of the nutrients that you really need, some Vitamin C and all of that in the fruit, and that healthy fat in the nuts.

S. O'BRIEN: All right. So that would sort of cover the oatmeal with nuts and berries, which is another one of your recommendations.

SKOLNIK: Oatmeal, you're really getting the fiber. Remember we talked about that in the pancakes. Oatmeal is going to give you fiber. And it's great -- it's very satiating. Quaker even just came out with a new weight control oatmeal that has more protein. They've added some more protein and fiber. So that's the tiety (ph) factor which gets you through the morning. It can make a big difference.

S. O'BRIEN: Eggs or lox on whole wheat toast.

SKOLNIK: Right. There you're getting -- again you can use whole wheat toast or like a cracker or a whole grain cracker. The lox are smoked salmon, is giving you...

S. O'BRIEN: That's your protein right there.

SKOLNIK: That's your protein, and that's the healthy omega-3s. That's the healthy fat. The whole grains, more B vitamins. And B vitamins is related to what you use when you're stressed and can even affect neurotransmitters. Like that mood outlook thing. So that's where it comes together. Chase that with some orange juice. It's a very well balanced meal.

S. O'BRIEN: You are what you eat. And you've really got to make it, I guess, a good mix of everything. Otherwise you're cheating yourself...

SKOLNIK: You got it.

S. O'BRIEN: ... at 9 in the morning. All right. Heidi Skolnik, thanks as always. Appreciate it.

SKOLNIK: Have a great day.

S. O'BRIEN: Thank you and likewise.

We've got a short break. We're back in just a moment.


S. O'BRIEN: That's it. We're out of time.

M. O'BRIEN: Quitting time for us. Daryn Kagan on the clock now.

Morning, Karen -- Daryn.

KAGAN: Karen -- Karen Dagen.

M. O'BRIEN: Whatever works. Should have eaten better today.

KAGAN: Too many of those donuts. You need to watch that nutrition. Thank you, Miles.

M. O'BRIEN: Stay away from those donuts.

S. O'BRIEN: Tomorrow, for sure.

KAGAN: You guys have a great day in New York City.


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