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Is The Economy Strong?; Rebuilding Wetlands In The Gulf Coast; Internet Companies Deal With Chinese Government Despite Controversy; Pharma Companies Give Doctors Gifts To Prescribe Medications; Bernard Henri Levy Discusses New Book; Internet Changes Watching The Olympics; Paying Taxes With A Credit Card

Aired February 18, 2006 - 13:00   ET


ANNOUNCER: From New York City, America's financial capital, this is IN THE MONEY.
JACK CAFFERTY, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to the program. I'm Jack Cafferty. Up on today's edition of IN THE MONEY, so much for the policy wonks. January's economic numbers are strong. But some say it's mostly because of warm temperatures. We're going to get a world- class economist's view of all of this.

Plus, we'll talk to a journalist who said protecting New Orleans from future storms is doable and something that should be done before the city is completely rebuilt.

And does big pharma use perks and gifts to gain too much influence over your doctor? We'll talk to a renowned physician who says absolutely the answer is yes.

Joining me today a couple of IN THE MONEY veterans, "Headline News" correspondent Jennifer Westhoven; and "Fortune" Magazine editor- at-large Andy Serwer.

So I can't get into these winter Olympics and apparently according to an article in one of the New York papers about the ratings neither does the television audience across the country. The NBC is not doing as well. A lot of our key players went over there and they're not getting it done.

Bode Miller, apparently didn't perform well. The skater Michelle Kwan probably shouldn't have gone to begin with. Then they couldn't get her replacement out of New York because of the blizzard. Got the woman's downhill skier almost kills herself on a practice one run. What do we have over there?

ANDY SERWER, EDITOR-AT-LARGE, "FORTUNE" MAGAZINE: You know it kind of reminds me I hate to say this, but the performance of the U.S. Olympic team reminds me of what we're doing around the world. A little spotty, a little raggedly, a little unexpected.

CAFFERTY: Good analogy.

SERWER: Victories, but kind of rolling my eyes, right.

JENNIFER WESTHOVEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well I didn't know that the ratings are down and one of the reasons Fox is running live shows like "American Idol" up against it. I didn't know that everybody used to do reruns up against the Olympics.

SERWER: I mean, when you don't have the stars, this is what NBC does they try to generate the stars for the soft focus pieces that come on. He was born in a small town but if he doesn't win the race it's over.

CAFFERTY: Going back to a small town and that will be the end of him. Whatever happened to what's his name? He went back to the small down. What's that thing where they put the rocks on the ...

SERWER: Curling.

CAFFERTY: The guy comes down.

SERWER: Curling.

CAFFERTY: You think ...

SERWER: Freaky people.


SERWER: Little different.

CAFFERTY: Targeting some city in the Middle East. I mean just the expressions on their faces.

SERWER: Curling.

CAFFERTY: And then the guy it is ...

SERWER: What are they doing?

CAFFERTY: Swifter. They go in front with the swifter.

WESTHOVEN: They are zamboding.

SERWER: I know, very good.

CAFFERTY: Anyway. I just can't get into it this time. If you forget the more than two feet of snow we got here in New York City last week, and that's pretty easy to do because most of it has melted, we've had a pretty good winter in the northeast so far. In fact it's been awful good. Temperatures have been warm, heating bills have been low. Some economic reports have been very promising.

Housing starts, for example, hit a 33-year high last week for the month of January. The economy -- really is it that solid or is Mother Nature just playing tricks with our heads? John Ryding is a chief U.S. economist at Bear Stearns who has a pretty good grip on this stuff. John it is great to see you again. Thanks for coming on.

JOHN RYDING, CHIEF U.S. ECONOMIST, BEAR STEARNS: Good to see you, Jack. CAFFERTY: So what's with the warm weather and how much of a factor is it in what otherwise looks like a pretty good economic landscape?

RYDING: It's certainly a factor in helping things like housing starts, which are normally held back because of winter weather in January, but the strong economy is far from just a weather-related story. I think that you've seen good momentum in the manufacturing sector over the last few months. January's manufactures output date no reason for that to be affected by the weather was a strong .7 of a percent increase.

I think the economy is in really good shape, and I think Bernanke, Fed Chairman Bernanke got the tone right this week when he had talked about the economy having good momentum.

WESTHOVEN: Hi John, Jennifer Westhoven. A lot of people ask me is there a housing bubble going on right now. So I would like to get your take on what you think the risks are and if you found a good place would you buy in the hot markets like San Francisco or Florida?

RYDING: I don't think there's a nationwide housing bubble. But nevertheless we have had some pretty big increases on the west coast in Florida, in the New York area, and I think that we're going to see some cooling in those areas at least, and probably some moderation in price increases for the country as a whole because interest rates aren't going lower. They're headed higher.

And the whole cycle of making mortgages more affordable through product innovation, interest only mortgages and so forth has pretty much run its course. I would expect to see some cooling in the housing market, but I certainly wouldn't describe the market as bubble nationally and wouldn't expect, therefore, a bursting of said bubble.

SERWER: John, you mentioned Ben Bernanke and I think that we all sort of missed a pretty important story this week in that he testified before Congress and he passed. The markets went up. I think everyone is breathing a sigh of relief.

We knew he was going to be able to do the job, now we have the proof. I want to ask you about Greenspan going out there and doing all those speeches at the same time Bernanke is trying to get his feet on the ground. What do you think about that?

RYDING: I think that Greenspan did not do anything that could be constituted as unethical. I was a little surprised that he didn't leave a little more time to let the new Fed chairman get his feet under the table, but Greenspan's been doing that job for 18.5 years and now he's out in the private sector.

SERWER: Making money.

RYDING: Making money.

CAFFERTY: You know, historically you can make the argument that when the Fed goes about one of these tightening cycles; they tend to overdo it more often than not. How high is up on the Fed fund's rate and what kind of change challenge is Bernanke looking at with some of the unknowns?

We had a pretty robust reading on PPI the end of last week, we have CPI coming out this coming week the economy as you suggested is growing pretty well, the fourth quarter of last year being possibly the exception but there are signs that's going to take off and begin resume growing be again.

What about interest rates? Where should they be?

RYDING: Well I think they should be higher than they are, even though the Fed has raised rates all the way up from 1 percent to 4.5 percent. I think the Fed has left the door open for more rate increases, and I think we'll see them. I think we'll be at a 5 percent Fed funds rate by the May meeting and possibly a 5.25 percent Fed fund rate by the June meeting. I think that will be about right. I'm concerned about two things.

First, we haven't seen any improvement in the value of a dollar against traditional inflation hedges like gold and that will be a signal the Fed has done its job, when we haven't seen that. The other thing is of course long-term interest rates have hardly gone up at all. A lot of borrowing costs haven't been raised by the Fed's attempt to raise interest rates as a whole. I think financial conditions are still pretty easy and I think the Fed wants to take some more of that ease out of the system.

CAFFERTY: John, we're going to have to leave it there. Thank you again for being a guest on the program. It is nice to see you as always.

RYDING: See you Jack.

CAFFERTY: All right. John Ryding, chief U.S. economist at Bear Stearns.

Up next on IN THE MONEY, as we continue, a lot of the Hurricane Katrina relief money has been wasted, but what about the rebuilding effort? We'll talk about whether it's wise to rebuild New Orleans without first protecting it from another storm. And those storms aren't that far away.

Plus we'll talk to a doctor who says the perks the drug companies give physicians are clouding their judgment and putting your health at risk.

And our "Life after Work" segment shows how leaving the business world doesn't mean you'll go to the dogs unless, of course, you want to.


CAFFERTY: Some say the wetlands are some liberal tree hugging cause, nay, nay think again. My next guest says it's a social and economic issue. Author Michael Tidwell says land loss magnified the devastation of Hurricane Katrina and that the current rebuilding effort in New Orleans is a waste of time if the problem isn't addressed. You may want to sit up and listen.

He's worried about other American cities as well. Michael Tidwell the author of the 2003 book "Bayou Farewell: The Rich Life and Tragic Death of Louisiana's Cajun Coast," which identified the warning signs that led to the devastation in the wake of Katrina. Mike, nice to have you with us. Thanks for joining us.


CAFFERTY: The whole Katrina situation is just a long national nightmare from which we don't seem to be able to awaken. Lately it's symbolized by 11,000 empty trailers sitting in Hope, Arkansas. The president talks about we've put $85 billion aside to rebuild New Orleans. What has to be done and how soon do we have to get serious about it? As I read the calendar, hurricane season will be around before much longer.

TIDWELL: Unfortunately of that entire $85 billion that's been set aside but not yet entirely spent to help the city of New Orleans, not one penny has been ear marked to treat the disease, the actual main issue that caused Katrina to bring so much destruction to the city.

That catastrophic land disappearance along the coast of Louisiana because of human land use along that coast for the last hundred years, a million acres of marshes in Barrier Islands vanished in the last hundred years and created this watery flight path for Katrina to slam into New Orleans like a plane into the World Trade Center.

We can rebuild the wetlands and rebuild Barrier Islands in a year or less, but the president or Congress have earmarked not one penny here six, seven months later to do anything about it. You can rebuild levees, you can have proper evacuation plans ready for the next hurricane season, but until you -- those are just symptoms. Until you treat the disease, I think we're just setting up a situation that's mass homicide, telling people to go back to New Orleans when you really don't have Category 5 protection.

SERWER: Mike, how would it actually work? I mean what would your plan or your idea entail?

TIDWELL: Well, it's a plan that's been on the table since the late '90s it is called the Coast 20/50 Plan brought together and put together by representatives from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the governor's office in Louisiana, conservationists.

And it would literally take the sediments of the Mississippi river, the muddy water of the river, and in a surgical way pump it out into pipelines and take it to the shallow bays along the coast of Louisiana to rebuild Barrier Islands, literally liquid dirt to rebuild Barrier Islands and wetlands. If you want Category 3 or 4 or 5 hurricane protection you have to have more than just Category 3 or 4 or 5 levees. You have to have systematic protection and that involves restoring the landmass. WESTHOVEN: Hi Mike. My question is how did we lose the stuff in the first place? Is this global warming, is it gradual erosion, and is it oil companies doing a lot of drilling? What happened?

TIDWELL: Actually it's from subsidence. The land is literally sinking. It's a natural process. In the mouth of any major river in the world you have two basic geologic processes at work. One is flooding we are all familiar with that, rivers flood at their mouth. The Mississippi River flooding for the last 7,000 years bringing nutrients and sediments down from two thirds of America is what created that whole raged soul of Louisiana boot.

But the same soil once deposited it's very fragile and it is very fine and over time it compacts and shrinks in volume, and it sinks naturally. What traditionally counterbalance that natural subsidence is more flooding, new deposits of sediments. The flood levees along the Mississippi River no longer allow the lower river to flood and so you get net subsidence sinking.

What we have to do is get that muddy water, the dirt in that water back into the coastal bays back into the wetlands and Barrier Islands, rebuild that land so you have natural speed bumps to slow down the surge tide of future Katrina's.

CAFFERTY: You're concerned about the future. We got a story this past week about glacial melting in Greenland accelerating and threatening to raise the sea level around the world. Tell me a little bit about what you're concerned about not necessarily about New Orleans, but about other cities in this country as you take a look into the future.

TIDWELL: The exact same conditions that led to the utter destruction of New Orleans are now rapidly being replicated along every coastal foot of coastland in the United States and around the world. Why? For the last hundred years, the reason Katrina was so devastating to New Orleans was because that whole land platform in south Louisiana sank about three feet over the last hundred years. That brought the Gulf of Mexico very close to the city and allowed Katrina to slam into the city the way she did.

Now, according to documents even from the Bush administration, and leading scientists worldwide because of global warming, we will see up to three feet of sea level rise worldwide because as the oceans warm they expand in volume, as glaziers melt on land that water goes into the ocean, up to three feet of sea level rise worldwide. Now whether the land sinks three feet per century as in New Orleans or sea level rises three feet per century, as is the case worldwide over the next century you have the same situation.

You're going to have New York City with major problems with water spilling into subway systems, waste treatment facilities, we'll have to build flood gates along New York Harbor. On top of that evidence that hurricanes themselves are becoming more intense because of global warming.

These conditions are being replicated. The answer, the way we slow down sea level rise and defuse hurricanes is simply to switch to non-greenhouse gas emitting energy sources. You know oil, coal and natural gas is what's driving global warming. Wind farms and hybrid cars are how we resist it.

CAFFERTY: All right. I hate to cut this short, but I've decided I'm going to leave and head for higher ground right now.

SERWER: For Iowa.

CAFFERTY: Mike nice to have you with us. Thank you. Mike Tidwell wrote "Bayou Farewell: The Rich Life and Tragic Death of Louisiana's Cajun Coast."

Time now for this weeks look ahead on IN THE MONEY. Monday marks President's Day it is a federal holiday. U.S. Bond and Stock Markets will be closed, so will banks, post offices and most schools. Wednesday the Labor Department reports consumer price index.

The CPI one of the most relied upon indicators of inflation. Friday, research in motion. The maker of a Blackberry will be back in court. A judge has scheduled a hearing to consider a possible injunction that could shut down most U.S. sales and service. The move is related to patent infringement suit RIM previously lost.

Coming up after the break as we continue, Yahoo! is taking some heat for disappointing profits and for its dealings with the Chinese government. We'll check the stock.

Plus, just look at these scenes of beautiful Paris. Makes you sick, no? We'll talk to a famous intellectual who came to America and wrote all about it and he actually didn't think we were so bad at the end of his journey.

Plus buyer beware. Allen Wastler looks at those credit card perks you get if you pay your income taxes with plastic. Stick around.


SERWER: How do you say Yahoo! in Chinese? Well actually Ali Baba (ph) will get to that in second. It's a question a lot more people are asking these days now that major U.S. Internet companies are facing criticism for doing business with China and the Chinese government. But all that political controversy could be worth it for Yahoo! as it tries to compete with Google and keep pleasing Wall Street.

The past 12 months have been a roller coaster ride for Yahoo! shares, and have been doing a little bottom feeding ever since the company released a disappointing profit report last month. That makes Yahoo! our "Stock of the Week." You know I find this stuff really interesting, guys.

These technology companies going before Congress and the Congressmen shaking their finger about them doing business in China and you know Yahoo! is a little different because they do have this company called Ali Baba, which is a Chinese company that runs their business there, so they're really beholden to whatever the Chinese government does.

But you know who are we to point fingers? It's a very interesting subject.

CAFFERTY: Well the whole idea of the folks in Washington preaching morality to anybody makes me laugh out loud. It's not as though they've done a great job at like Los Alamos National Laboratory protecting the secrets in this country. So perhaps they can take a back seat. ]

I'm not saying you go over there and get in bed with the Chinese government, but that's the market. That's the global game, is China. Yahoo! and Google and Microsoft, these people are going to do business there and if you have to play by their rules, hey, that's where the playground is.

WESTHOVEN: Well Google is saying that because it goes against the corporate ethics they might even reconsider being in China and Yahoo! just came out with some kind of a watery policy where they stand for freedom of the Internet but you know one of their big problems there are these allegations that Yahoo! helped the Chinese government track down a dissident. You get to many stories like that people are going to start to feel a lot more uncomfortable about Yahoo! being there.

SERWER: But then the rhetoric gets too high. You know Representative Chris Smith compared it to them turning over Ann Frank to the Nazis. Well this is a Chinese dissident who is spending time in jail and that's a bad thing. But it is not the same thing.

CAFFERTY: Plus does China really need our help in tracking down dissidents? I don't think so.

SERWER: Well here is another interesting thing Jack, the Chinese foreign minister responded to this and he said that China has also borrowed and learned from the United States government about how to surveil is what he meant.

In other words, your think about the surveillance we are doing on our citizens and other controversial subjects are we using the Internet? Yes we are using the Internet. So why are we imposing our values on them. Do we not want the technology companies doing business there? I think they should do business there is what it comes down to.

All right. Coming up on IN THE MONEY getting your fill. Some drug companies wine and dine doctors in the hopes they'll prescribe the company's pills. We will talk to one doctor who wants to put an end to that practice.

Plus can't wait for primetime; find out how the Internet is changing the way sports fans get their Olympics.

And, senior pranks. An elderly couple finds fun on the road in our "Fun Site of the Week." Coming up.


FREDRICKA WHITFIELD. CNN ANCHOR: Hello. I'm Fredricka Whitfield. Here is what is happening now in the news.

More cold windy weather is on tap for the northeast. The storm system sent temperatures plummeting yesterday and hurricane force wind gusts brought down trees and power lines. At least four deaths are blamed on the weather and hundreds of thousands of people are still without power.

An explosion rips through a karaoke bar in the southern Philippines. Officials say 20 people were injured, six of them seriously. The bar is located near a military base where U.S. troops have been staying for an upcoming war exercise with Philippine troops.

Off the coast of east Africa search and rescue operations have concluded following the crash of two U.S. helicopters during a training exercise. The Pentagon says all 12 crewmembers have now been accounted for. Details on casualties were not released, however, pending family notification. Two marines picked up yesterday are listed in stable condition.

France plans to vaccinate nearly 1 million birds after a wild duck died of bird flu in eastern part of the country. It's a precautionary measure because tests have yet to confirm if the duck had the deadly bird flu strain. The mass vaccinations will begin on Wednesday and take about a month to finish.

In the Middle East, a new Palestinian parliament dominated by the militants Hamas party has been sworn in. Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas called on Hamas members to form the next government and urge them to honor existing peace deals with Israel.

Powerball mania kicking into high gear. The jackpot for tonight's multi state drawing is a record $365 million. Tickets are selling fast but don't hold you breath. The chances of matching all six numbers are estimated to be 1 in 146 million.

And I'll have all the days' news at the top of the hour. I'm Fredricka Whitfield. Now back to more of IN THE MONEY.

WESTHOVEN: Feel like you see a drug ad every time you turn on the TV? Well consider this, only about 10 percent of pharmaceutical marking dollars go to advertising according to our next guest. The other 90 percent? A lot of it is for gifts like travel and food for the doctors who are prescribing all of those pills.

Dr. Jerome Kassirer says this is putting our nation's health at risk. Dr. Kassirer from Tufts University School of Medicine and he is also the author of "On the Take How Medicines Complicity with Big Business can Endanger Your Health."

Welcome to the program. I mean, you go to the doctors office, all right you see pens, you see mugs, you see pads, but you argue this really, this kind of pervasive graft shall we say has a real effect on people's health. How so?

DR. JEROME KASSIRER, TUFTS UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF MEDICINE: Well, I'm not sure you have the idea that sitting in front of me was a purple pill and a purple pen and the pen advertises Nexium. Of all things, I don't know if this is a plant or not but it is certainly reminds me of the problem.

CAFFERTY: We try to push a few pills to supplement our income around here, doc.

KASSIRER: It reminds us ...

CAFFERTY: So -- go ahead.

KASSIRER: It reminds us of the problem and that is that Nexium is the most expensive drug used for a very common condition and that is for reflux or gird. The problem is when doctors get pens like this, they're reminds to use Nexium which, of course, raises the cost of care for all of us.

SERWER: What kind of stuff are we talking about? Tickets to the Super Bowl, golf outings, restaurants, trips to Paris? That's a lot of money you're talking about here. What are some of the examples?

KASSIRER: One example, free samples. A huge amount of money is given to doctors through free samples that they give to their patients. In fact, some of those free samples end up not in the patient's bathrooms but in -- for -- used by doctors and nurses, families of doctors and things like that, and, of course once you give free sample to an indigent patient and they run out, they're going to have to reap for the prescription which will cost them money.

CAFFERTY: Those same patients might not be able to afford the prescription at all in the beginning and the fact that a doctor can hand them perhaps enough to cure over a ten day or two week cycle of an antibiotic condition that may be ailing them, what's wrong with that?

KASSIRER: There's nothing wrong with giving them that kind of prescription. But giving them a few pills and then telling them to go on and refill the rest is not going to be a solution for their problem. On top of that, any time you use those free samples, then the doctor gets used to using that particular drug and that raises the cost of care. It's very much like this purple pen.

But that gets away from the major problem, which is that doctors are given free education, they're given consultation fees, they're -- they are employed by the drug companies to give lectures and the problem is in getting those kinds of deals, financial deals, they may do things that are not in the best interest of patients.

WESTHOVEN: OK. So no more free drugs. We have a little bit of a joking resistance to that in the room. What about the medical establishment, are they very resistant to your ideas that this kind of practice has to stop? It means no more money for them? KASSIRER: They have a problem and that is that a lot of lunches for medical students, lunches for house staff and for even the staff is being supported by industry, so they certainly will have a problem in getting rid of all those things. But the fact is that just because there's a pragmatic problem in yielding to a higher standard, doesn't mean that we should give up that standard. We should still persist. We should try to get rid of the -- this incredible connection between industry and physicians.

WESTHOVEN: All right. Thank you very much. Jerome Kassirer from the Tufts University School of Medicine. Who of course thinks that doctors should be held to some higher standards? Thanks a lot.

We've got lots more to come here on IN THE MONEY. Up next, maybe they don't hate us after all. Meet a French man who traveled America and found plenty to love.

And after her company told her to play dead, this retiree decided to take her love of dogs and make it the focus of her life. Her story coming up.


SERWER: You know what the world needs now a less bank intellectual from Paris to tour our country and give us his evaluation. Sounds crazy, well French author Bernard Henri Levy did just that and put it all into a book and America comes out smelling like a rose for the most part. Masseur Levy joins us now from Philadelphia to talk about his new book "American Vertigo, Traveling America in the Foot Steps of Tokeville." Welcome to the program.


SERWER: I'm interested. So you really wanted to do this echoing that author who previously traveled America, I'm interested. Did you find the same sort of things that Tokeville discovered?

LEVY: More or less, yes. At least I found as Tokeville did the American democracy is still vibrant and still youthful. If you try to overcome the crises of the political crises is you go to the roots of the American democracy, these associations of which we've already said there was the real core of democracy, it is still vibrant and sill vivid, as in the time of Tokeville.

CAFFERTY: Don't misunderstood this question, but why should I care what you think about my country?

LEVY: Why should you care?


LEVY: Maybe you should not care. If Vice President Cheney for example had ready my book, he would have seen a very good chapter about these very seldom custom which is quail hunting, big chapter about quail hunting. He would have seen it can be a dangerous game and you should go to quail hunting after having drunk some tea or sparkling water only. Maybe you should care sometimes about what foreigners tell you. They have fresh eyes, candid eyes and friendly eye. I am a friend of America and I came in this country with a friendly spirit.

CAFFERTY: I withdraw the question.

SERWER: Next question.

LEVY: No. Keep it. It gave me the occasion to give you.

CAFFERTY: All right.

WESTHOVEN: One of the things you talk about is that one of the reasons you wrote this book was to address French people who are anti- Americans. You say you're anti-anti-Americanism. How did you find -- there must be some Americans out there who you found were anti French. How was your reception?

LEVY: Frankly, I tell you the truth I crossed every single state of this country. I met hundreds of people all around the country. I looked for, searched for a real guy, I did not find. I was welcomed in such a warm way with so great and hospitality I did not find it. Less than in my country.

SERWER: Bernard, you said ...

LEVY: I would say that yes.

SERWER: Let me ask you, you say that we're a very divided country. You also say we're the most materialistic country and the most spiritual country at the same time. Are we more divided, though, than France say?

LEVY: I think so. I think that we were very divided, and in a way, I don't think it is a good deal for you. We gave you the plague. The plague of division. I'm sorry. Two strong fights often, it's always good. Except when it takes the form of a sort cold TV war, which sometimes it takes a form.

As a French man, as a candid foreign man, was to go everywhere and speak with everybody and even to speak with people who generally no longer speak to each other in America. I tried to do that and as a result of this -- of that, not the blue helmet. Of course not. But somebody who went everywhere because again, I am anti-anti-American.

CAFFERTY: What was the biggest misconception you had before you undertook this little project that might have been dissolved or exploded for you in your travels?

LEVY: A lot of misconceptions. I would even say that. I began this journey the head full of misconceptions. Only one. I had in mind the cliche, the received idea the preconception of the south of the country being chauvinistic, all wide southern culture and so on, and my discovery was that the south of America had changed so much. It is night and day. The movement of the city rise, the dream of Martin Luther King in 40 years, did such a progress and achievement.

I don't think there is no longer racism in America and the south, but I say no country in the world, coming from so far, 40 years ago you had still in America slavery. No country made such a quick progress deep in mentality as America did. This for me was very warm and great discovery, a great surprise.

WESTHOVEN: We're running out of time. Do you have one favorite thing you could take back to France if you could?

LEVY: The spirit of other people. I heard you speak of Katrina a few minutes before. Katrina for me, the great discovery of Katrina was the solidarity of the average people of the neighboring states in favor of the refugees and the survivors of Katrina.

The way in which the cities, which as you know is not the most blue state you have in America, the way in which they open their heart, open their arms, open the houses, hospitals, schools and own wallet in order to give shelter to the survivors of Katrina in New Orleans, was something amazing.

I am not sure that in my country if this happened, people would have acted in the same way. Even more, if it had arrived in Germany, would France or Italy have acted as the people, the average citizen of America, I hope, but I am not so sure. Real vibrant living, concrete, democratic.

WESTHOVEN: All right.

SERWER: Henri.

LEVY: I like this country. You have some problems too. You are at a crossroads. The real workings are vibrant. This is the conclusion of my book.

WESTHOVEN: Well thank you so much for joining us.

LEVY: No, thank you. I'm sorry for my bad English. It is better when it is written.

WESTHOVEN: You did meet one frank a fob today on your journey, Jack Cafferty.

CAFFERTY: Oh no not at all. I love the French.

LEVY: After the journey I met a few. After the journey. But I had to wait for the book being released to find what I searched in vain during the travel itself.

WESTHOVEN: All right. Thank you. Maybe you won't meet anymore.

In this week's "Life after Work" segment a pet project. Susan Watts was laid off from her job as a corporate secretary. But she found early retirement a little slow. So s he took a part time hobby, created a new job for herself and a year-round business.


WESTHOVEN (voice over): Susan Watts left the corporate world and started home business-training dogs.

SUSAN WATTS, DOG OWNER & HANDLER: We opened a little place in the basement and I immediately started getting some clients, just people and pets, nothing big. And it got really busy.

WESTHOVEN: Her dogs starting winning awards and she started spending almost every weekend showing off her champion canine. This week she was at Madison Square Gardens where her dachshund Simone made it all the way to the Westminster Dog Show.

WATTS: It's like goose bumps. You're excited. I have to say I was not nervous until I stepped out on to the green carpet when I went to get my armband this morning. It hit me it's like oh, my gosh I'm at Westminster. You're nervous it goes down the leash and she knew right then, all I have to do is misbehave a little and mom will give me bait. She was right. I gave her the bait, which got her to stand nicely, and helped us make the first cut. I was glad of that.

WESTHOVEN: Simone didn't make it to the final ring but her owner says they'll both be back next year.

WATTS: I'll keep at it. I don't know if I'll get a best in show at Westminster but I'm sure in the next ten years, if I keep going I'll end up evidentially with a best in show and I'm certain of that. It's just a big family and I mean when you come here; it's hard not to root for your friends. We're very competitive with each other but it's also a very supportive area and you just make the best friends.


WESTHOVEN: Coming up, technology versus tradition. The Internet is changing the way we watch the Olympics. Find out if it's better or for worse.

What do you think of what's on the show? Drop us a line, tell us what's on your mind. The address is


SERWER: After the Olympics in Torino, Beijing and Vancouver and London, who knows where the games will be. One place you'll be sure to find them though is on the World Wide Web. That's right. The Internet is changing the way we watch and will watch the Olympics. Here to tell us what the future of the games looks like is Kevin Maney, technology columnist extraordinary at "USA Today." Kevin welcome to the program.

KEVIN MANEY, USA TODAY: Thanks for having me on.

SERWER: Talk to us about how the coverage has changed with the Internet.

MANEY: Well, it's changed a lot. This year because for the first time ever, the International Olympic Committee has allowed video to be used on the Web sites and so the NBC is offering some video highlights and things like that. But it's really, you know, it's really only the beginning. It's really not enough yet.

SERWER: How much of what's not shown on NBC can you watch on the Web at this point?

MANEY: Pretty much nothing that you can't see on NBC either there's going to be packaged highlights of things that have been on the air and I think sometimes starting next week they might have whole entire events a day after they've been aired on NBC or one of the other channels.

But, you know, the thing is that the Internet and the Olympics are really just -- they're a match made in heaven because you should be able to see, you know, basically anything that has taken place in the Olympics somewhere on the net and that's the one way you would be able to do it. Broadcast TV could never do that because there are not enough channels.

But on the Internet you should be able to download -- say you want to watch all of the biathlon events or two man huge events there should be a way to do that. Eventually that's where this is going to go.

SERWER: I mean it really is true that, you know, it's sort of strange you can't watch all the events. Some of them are niche sports but these people work for years to get there and you can't even see what they're doing. Are these niche sports something that marketers and advertisers will want to be attached to on the web?

MANEY: There's this really powerful concept in the media industry right now called the long tale and this is the idea that, you know, if you think of something like net flicks where they have instead of having a few movies you can see in the theater, there are thousands and thousands of titles that are appealed to little tiny niche audiences and there is huge money to be made in all of these little niche offerings.

What you end up doing if you're an owner like NBC to these Olympic events. There is a couple of things you can do, one is you can charge people for it because if you've got fans that are just crazy about two-man huge, they're going to possibly be able to, you know, charge for, you know, the access to downloading those particular events that the people are really crazy about it.

The other thing is that there are always going to be advertisers that they might not pay as much as they pay to broadcast -- advertise on broadcast television but would be willing to pay for that audience. Maybe they sell two man lunges. There would be a reason for the advertisers to get to those audiences.

SERWER: Quick last question. So how do you see this ending up in terms of the Internet and TV? Will all it be on the web say ten years from now? MANEY: Yes. I absolutely believe that. Twelve years from now, I was talking to the head of NBC Olympics and he said, you know, 12 years from now when it's -- when the NBC contract runs out, by then they pretty much figure probably everything will be available somehow or other on the Internet.

The thing is that NBC is waiting and looking for a way for that business model to evolve so that they know how they can make money from it. Remember they paid $613 million just for the rights for these winter games. They need to find a way to make that up.

SERWER: All right. Kevin Maney, explaining what the Internet and Olympics will look like down the road. He is a technology columnist for "USA Today" thank you for coming on the program.

MANEY: Thanks for having me on.

SERWER: Coming up next on IN THE MONEY, this little old lady from Pasadena isn't fooling around on the road. It's our "Fun Site of the Week."

And it is time to hear from you as we read some of your e-mails from the past week. You can send us an e-mail right now to we are at


CAFFERTY: Well in case you hadn't noticed we're getting closer to tax time my favorite time of the year. The credit card companies are trying harder than ever to get you to pay your taxes with plastic. That's the focus of Allen Wastler's "Inside Out" for this week and he also has a great fun site I'm told.

ALLEN WASTLER, MONEY.COM: Oh, yes. This is great. Chase Visa, they'll double your miles with United Airlines.

SERWER: The miles thing.

WASTLER: If you pay your tax bill using their card. Amex similar program with their Delta and star awards program. I'll pay off my taxes with a credit card; why not get the points and everything. No. People, this is what you call a bad idea. Americans already have ...

SERWER: I'll do anything for points.

WASTLER: The average American family has around $9,000 in credit card debt. If you pay your bill with this you're going to be adding to that, paying all the charges that come with the credit card bill and on top of that, you get an extra 2.5 percent added charge on average for paying by credit card to the IRS. The IRS will say it's not us charging you that. But they use vendors that charge you a convenience fee.

SERWER: Oh, yeah. WASTLER: For getting the money to them on time. Now here is the irony, if you go to the IRS web site, they have their own plan for if you want to pay electronically you can just move from your bank account to their bank account.

CAFFERTY: But the government doesn't give you any miles. What if I want to pay off my credit card the minute the bill comes in, why can't I go ahead and use the credit card, get the miles ...

WESTHOVEN: Still a 2.5 percent fee.


WASTLER: 2.5 percent fee is going to be less than perhaps the airline trip to Hawaii you're going to get.

SERWER: Right.

WASTLER: People are rarely at that level. The more people are paying their taxes by credit card, 1.5 million last year.

CAFFERTY: What is the "Fun Site of the Week?"

WASTLER: We found some old folks on the Internet driving. Let's see what they ...

CAFFERTY: Be careful.

SERWER: Hello.

CAFFERTY: Very good.

SERWER: Oh, man.

WASTLER: How they get their fun.

CAFFERTY: At least he wasn't telling them how to drive.

All right. Time now to read your answers to our question about whether you learned any real job skills in high school. We got a lot of mail on this question. The overwhelming majority of you said the only skill you learned was typing. But most of you were very grateful for that.

Ruth wrote this, "When I graduated a fancy college in 1983, there were no jobs for liberal arts graduates. So I fell back on my typing skills to find temporary jobs that paid pretty well. Now I am a partner at a large law firm, and being able to type quickly still comes in handy."

Tonya wasn't as lucky, "There was not one thing I learned in high school that I use today. High schools should stop worrying about silly proficiency tests and teach classes on how to balance a checkbook, consumer economics and CPR."

And Norman in California wrote this, "All I did while I was in high school was fight with my classmates, fight with my teachers and fight with my parents. In my adult life I've been a soldier, boxer and a bar bouncer. So I guess I learned a thing or two in high school."

Here is next weeks email question of the week. "Do you think your doctors are only thinking of your best interests when they prescribe you drugs?" Send you answers to You should also visit our show page at, which is where you will find the address of our "Fun Site of the Week."

Thank you for joining us for this week's edition of IN THE MONEY. Thanks to "Headline News" correspondent Jennifer Westhoven, "Fortune" Magazine editor at large Andy Serwer, and managing editor Allen Wastler. Hope to see you back here next weekend Saturday at 1:00, Sunday at 3:00. Join us if you can. Enjoy the rest of your weekend.



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