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CNN LIVE TODAY

Voices of 9/11; Inside Al Qaeda; Storms Rage Through Midwest; Jazz Fest Returns to New Orleans

Aired March 31, 2006 - 10:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right. World, that leaves just you and me. Let's go ahead and get started.
Starting actually with a story from New York City. There are voices still haunting us. Pleas to 911 that were made on 9/11. Today we're going to hear some of the final words of those who were trapped inside the World Trade Center. In fact, Soledad put together a piece on one desperate phone call.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CHRIS HANLEY, 9/11 VICTIM: I'm on the 106th floor of the World Trade Center. We just had an explosion on the like 105th floor.

NYPD: The 106th floor?

HANLEY: Yes.

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, (voice over): A calm call for help just minutes after the first airplane strikes the north tower of the World Trade Center. It's September 11th and Chris Hanley was one of the first to get through to 911.

HANLEY: We have a conference up here and there's about 100 people up here.

NYPD: What is your last name?

HANLEY: Hanley. H-a-n-l-e-y..

NYPD: H-a-n . . .

HANLEY: We have smoke and it's pretty bad.

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN: The police dispatcher then connects him to the fire department. After six rings and 44 seconds the call finally goes through.

FDNY: Fire Department 408. Where's the fire?

HANLEY: Yeah, hi. I'm on the 106th floor of the World Trade Center. We just had an explosion up here.

FDNY: What building are you in, sir? One or two?

HANLEY: That's one World Trade. FDNY: Sit tight. Do not leave, OK? There's a fire or an explosion or something in the building, all right. I want you to stay where you are.

HANLEY: Yes.

FDNY: We're coming up to get you.

HANLEY: I can see the smoke coming up from outside the windows down . . .

FDNY: All right, we're on the way.

HANLEY: Huh?

FDNY: We're on the way, sir.

HANLEY: OK. Please hurry.

FDNY: All right. Just keep some windows open if you can open up windows and just sit tight. It's going to be a while because there's a fire going on downstairs.

HANLEY: We can't open the windows unless we break them.

FDNY: OK. Just sit tight.

HANLEY: OK.

FDNY: All right. Just sit tight. We're on the way.

HANLEY: All right. Please, hurry.

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN: New York City notified the families of 27 other victims about 911 calls. Those tapes are being released today without the voices of the victims. Chris Hanley's parents released his entire 911 recording to "The New York Times." They say hearing their son's voice again was difficult.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The memories and sadness and I was just quite amazed that he was so -- had so much grace under pressure.

JOE HANLEY, FATHER OF 9/11 VICTIM: It's been a long time and he has been in our hearts right along. And it's kind of painful to hear it again, to hear him, you know, alive like that. But I thought he distinguished himself very nicely under a great deal of pressure. I'm proud of him for that.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KAGAN: And we will have more on what happens to those other calls with our Mary Snow straight ahead.

Meanwhile, an al Qaeda mystery man. He's accused of training some of the 9/11 hijackers. What we know about the man is chilling. But there's much we don't know. CNN's Brian Todd has a closer look. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT, (voice over): A glimpse inside Osama bin Laden's inner circle. New details about a man so trusted by bin Laden he was one of only a few with full operational knowledge of the September 11th plot. A man so mysterious terrorism experts don't recognize the name.

PETER BERGEN, CNN TERRORISM EXPERT: Sort of surprising and interesting because we don't really know anything about this guy.

TODD: The information comes from interrogations of 9/11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, read aloud this week in the trial of Zacarias Moussaoui.

Who was the shadowy al Qaeda terrorist? According to Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, he was a Jordanian named Abu Turab al-Urduni. One U.S. official tells CNN, he was a particularly blood thirsty character.

Court transcripts obtained by CNN show Abu Turab trained 10 of the so-called muscle hijackers how to disarm air marshals and "had each hijacker butcher a sheep and camel with a Swiss knife to prepare them for using their knives during the hijackings."

RICHARD FALKENRATH, CNN SECURITY ANALYST: He was very trusted by Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and bin Laden and the rest. And he also was very skilled. He knew how to conduct training for storming an airplane cockpit and for knife work against the flight crew.

TODD: When Khalid Shaikh Mohammed speaks of this obscure figure, so central to the plot, can Mohammed be trusted?

BERGEN: I think Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the operational commander of 9/11, his credibility is very good. Because if you look at the 9/11 report, much of what's in there about the details of the plot came from his interrogation.

TODD: What became of this top 9/11 conspirator? A U.S. official tells CNN, Abu Turab al-Urduni is believed to have been killed by U.S. forces during the first stages of the war in Afghanistan.

Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KAGAN: Now back here to the U.S. where neighborhoods were transformed. Today they look like demolition zones. The work of a violent storm system that plowed through the Midwest. Kansas bore the brunt of it, getting hit not by just heavy rain and wind but a tornado and fires as well. Reporting live from the hard hit town of Hutchinson, our National Correspondent Gary Tuchman.

Gary, we don't usually see fires left behind after a tornado.

GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Daryn, this was a twister with a twist. This behind me is not twister damage, despite the fact that a tornado touched down here in Reno County, Kansas, right near here about 20 hours ago. But at least 14 fires were set off because of the twister that came down near here.

What happened, according to authorities, is one of two things. It was either a lightning strike or power lines going down. But in 14 different locations here in this town we have fires that are still burning 20 hours later.

Now this is a shed. This was a storage shed that a family owned. A family that lived in that house. The fire came dangerously close to their home, did not burn down their home but it was very close. Firefighters came out, the family came out with hoses to keep the fire away as the wins reached 40 miles per hour but were blowing in this direction.

About six or seven hours ago we were here in this very spot. The flames were much higher at that point. The family was standing out here hoping that the flames would not blow into their house.

But we can tell you that at least five homes here in Hutchinson, Kansas, were burned down because of these fires. There were twisters in other parts of Kansas, also. In the southeastern Kansas county of Montgomery County, at least one person was hurt when their house was damaged. And then in northeastern Kansas, there was also a twister that touched down. No injuries there.

Nebraska, near Omaha, the suburb of Papian (ph), also had a small tornado. No injuries there. And that is the key word we're telling you. The key two words, no injuries. And key three words, there are no serious injuries. Very unusual because we knew yesterday there was going to be a very serious situation in this region of the country.

We knew the tornadoes were going to come through and they did indeed, but no serious injuries. But we do have the very unusual story here of 5,000 acres charred. Hundreds of people evacuated. They're now back in their homes. But at least five homes have been heavily destroyed because of these fires.

Daryn.

KAGAN: And, Gary, I understand it's supposed to be pretty dry and windy there today.

TUCHMAN: Right. Right now you have beautiful, crystal blue skies and it is dry. The wind is picking up a little bit, but the forecast is for the winds to die down. So right now authorities here in this county aren't overly concerned that the fires will stir up even bigger than they are now but they're keeping a carefully eye.

KAGAN: Gary Tuchman live from Kansas. Gary, thank you for that.

Let's check in on what weather looks like today. Chad Myers has that for us.

Chad. (WEATHER REPORT)

KAGAN: Take the money and run. Things get a little claustrophobic when a robber stops by the ATM. I'll fill you in on that story a little bit later on CNN LIVE TODAY.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KAGAN: Mounds of rubble. That's all that is left of entire villages in Iran. Three earthquakes struck the western section of the country damaging or destroy no fewer than 200 villages. State television reports at least 66 people dead and 1,200 others are injured. The U.S. Geological Survey says the strongest of last night's quakes was magnitude 5.7. Residents are now afraid to go home if they still have one.

Well, that looks like a war zone. This is war games. Iran's revolution guard says today it successfully test fired a new, homemade missile. Iran claims the weapon can avoid radar and hit several targets at the same time. The Air Force chief says that the missile's range will depend on the weight of its warhead. Today's test comes at the start of a week-long military maneuverers in the Persian Gulf and Arabian Sea.

A dinner cruise turns deadly. It happened off the coast of Bahrain. Authorities say at least 57 people drowned when their boat capsized during a party. Rescuers are still searching for 13 more people. Most victims are Europeans and Asians. Sixty-seven people did survive, including the boat's captain who is being questioned. Arab news reports that "owners of the wooden vessel" as saying the boat may have been overcrowded and capsized when most of the passengers moved to one side of the boat.

Well, pick a border crossing, any border crossing, and you can find as many stories there as the people who risk their lives on it. CNN's Jeanne Meserve went to the Rio Grande and she has one tale of bravery, another of great sorrow.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're going to have three that came out of that 14-14. They're already across the drag road.

JEANNE MESERVE, CNN CORRESPONDENT, (voice over): Every day border patrol cameras help catch illegal immigrants crossing the Rio Grande at Eagle Pass, Texas. But some days they capture much more. Events that tell us about the best within us and the worst.

ISMAEL MARTINEZ, BORDER CROSSER, (through translator): Here's the point that we got into the water. And we crossed through here.

MESERVE: Ismael Martinez, his mother, his sister and three others wadded across the Rio Grande to the United States in the early morning darkness of September 23, 2004, to join Ismael's father who had a job milking cows on a dairy farm in Wisconsin. Border patrol cameras saw them and agents found them. STEPHEN F. WHITE, MARTINEZ FAMILY LAWYER: They came out, all six of them and prepared to be arrested. But that's not what happened.

MESERVE: In a deposition, one of the agents says he told the Mexicans to go back to their effing country. The Mexican's say they were ordered back into the water at a deep stretch of the river.

Could you swim?

MARTINEZ: No.

MESERVE: Could your mom swim?

MARTINEZ: No.

MESERVE: Could your sister swim?

MARTINEZ: No.

MESERVE: In a videotaped statement, a Mexican who was in the group says they asked the border patrol for help but the agents instead threw rocks.

GERARDO OJEDA, BORDER CROSSER, (through translator): Because of the rocks they were throwing, the women started panicking. And not being able to feel the bottom of the river they became desperate and were grabbing on to us trying to save themselves. The river's current kept taking us further out.

MESERVE: The border patrol's own infrared cameras captured the women's struggle. Eventually they disappeared beneath the water.

MARTINEZ: My mom and sister, I couldn't see them.

MESERVE: They drowned, along with another woman in the group.

In depositions, the border patrol agents deny ordering the Mexicans back into the river or throwing rocks. And an investigation by the Department of Homeland Security did not result in any disciplinary action.

ALAN LANGFORD, U.S. BORDER PATROL: There was no findings of misconduct. To the best of my knowledge, it's been presented to the U.S. attorney and he declined prosecution. There was no evidence indicating that it occurred.

MESERVE: But Ismael's father is suing for $240 million. The case is pending.

WHITE: Because I don't think anybody should be put in the circumstance that they were put in. It shouldn't happen anywhere. It certainly shouldn't happen in the United States.

MESERVE: The drownings and the alleged misconduct are horrific, but in this very same stretch of river, a tale of heroism and it happened right there. Border Patrol Agent Daryl Lee was on patrol last February 22nd when again border patrol cameras saw illegal immigrants entering the U.S. When Lee approached them, the immigrants went back in the water and one got in trouble.

DARYL LEE, U.S. BORDER PATROL: They came to a point where he took his last little breath. He had kind of struggled up, his face barely broke the water this time and he just kind of bubbled a little bit and went down and that's when I made my decision, you know, that he wasn't going to -- probably not coming back up.

MESERVE: Video from boarder patrol cameras show Daryl Lee diving into the water, swimming towards a man he could no longer see. And then a bubble. A successful rescue.

LEE: And I just felt that if I couldn't live with myself if I stood by and didn't do everything within my ability to save another human life.

MESERVE: One river, two stories, that turn a lens on us as well as our neighbors.

Jeanne Meserve, CNN, Eagle Pass, Texas.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KAGAN: And Jeanne also tells us that Ismael Valdez (ph), whose mother and sister drowned, is now back in Mexico. His dad has also gone back there. They say if they try to cross into the U.S. again they will try on dry land.

Homeowners, go ahead, be a haggler. It could put thousands of dollar in your pocket. Our "Top Five Tips" for today coming up in just a bit.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KAGAN: Check out some numbers for you. The Dow has been -- the markets actually been open up 52 minutes. The Dow is up 24 points. The Nasdaq a little bit of movement there. The Nasdaq up just over 5 points.

Take a look at these pictures. A lot of us would just love this. To be locked inside of an ATM. Just think about all that cash that's in there. Well, but see the lady in red -- in the red shirt behind those Detroit area policeman. She was servicing the ATM when a robber showed up. He duct taped her hands, feet and mouth and stuffed her inside. That's not good. A couple of customers stopped by for money. They didn't even notice the woman. But then . . .

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SGT. RICK POMORSKI, CANTON TWP., MICHIGAN POLICE: All of a sudden some individuals came and to made a deposit withdrawal -- excuse me, to make a withdrawal. They noticed that the machine was not operating and they thought they heard some muffled sounds. The police were called and we were able to confirm that there was a female that was inside.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KAGAN: Firefighters had to cut the ATM to get the lady out. She's a little shaken up. She's just fine. Oh, by the way, she will be going car shopping as well. Get this. The robber took her car as well. That is a bad day at work.

If your house is your biggest investment, then your real estate agent may be your highest paid employee. But you can trim that payroll by negotiating the commission and that can mean thousands of dollars in your pocket. Our Personal Finance Editor Gerri Willis has more.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

GERRI WILLIS, CNN CORRESPONDENT, (voice over): When Carl Bushko put his Connecticut home on the market, he couldn't justify paying a real estate broker a 6 percent commission.

CARL BUSHKO, HOMEOWNER: Houses have increased in value so much and yet I've rarely seen commissions for realtors actually going down to change the proportion. They were selling $150,000 houses for 6 percent. And all of a sudden they're selling $2 million houses for 6 percent. But it seemed to me that the work was similar.

WILLIS: So Carl, caught between wanting to sell his house on his own and facing a time crunch, decided to negotiate for a reduced commission. He's not alone. Sellers are now bargaining hard, cutting average commissions to about 5 percent. The trick is perseverance.

BUSHKO: I was patient and I didn't make any fast decisions. I let the realtors call. I let them call again. I let them call again. I kept learning. I kept tapping them for knowledge to make me a much more educated consumer.

WILLIS: And the market is in your favor if you choose to haggle, according to experts.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have more choices. We're smarter. Consumers are smarter about the process. They can do the math. And so they're in a position to negotiate harder.

WILLIS: So, here are some tips on how to do just that. Remember, it's your right to ask for a lower commission. By law, it's negotiable. And when you do negotiate, try to do it outside of your home. It may be tough to play hardball with an agent with your 10- year-old in the next room.

And finally, let the agents compete for you. Get at least three or four commission estimates and use those figures to pit agents against each other. Negotiation is a valuable tool. By signing with a real estate agent for a 4 percent commission, Carl estimates he'll save about $12,000.

BUSHKO: I said this is the perfect deal. Right in the middle, 4 percent, and I can stay on for sale by owner.

WILLIS: For more tips on negotiating real estate commission, go to our Web site at cnnmoney.com.

I'm Gerri Willis and this is "Five Tips."

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KAGAN: Thank you, Gerri.

You can't keep a great sound down. The New Orleans Jazz Fest will go on. I'll talk about it with my guest. Wait until you find out who's playing. Some surprises coming up in just a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KAGAN: Rebuilding New Orleans levees. A huge job, a humongous price tag. Much more than the $3.5 billion already requested. The Bush administration's Gulf Coast recovery chief says almost triple that amount must be approved before major reconstruction gets underway. Frustrated Louisiana lawmakers say Washington needs to come up with that cash fast, but the Bush administration insist the levees will be rebuilt to at least pre-Katrina levels, perhaps stronger, by June 1. That is, by the way, the first day of hurricane season.

Meanwhile, New Orleans is getting ready to toot its own horn. In just a few weeks, the city kicks off Jazz Fest. Call it a musical healing for the soul of New Orleans. Maybe a shot in the arm for a strapped economy. To tell us about it, to get us pumped up, Jazz Fest Producer Quint Davis is with us from New Orleans.

Quint, good morning.

QUINT DAVIS, PRODUCER, NEW ORLEANS JAZZ FEST: Daryn, good morning to you. Happy Jazz Fest.

KAGAN: To you too.

I looked on your Jazz Fest Web site this morning and the little clicker said 27 days.

DAVIS: Oh.

KAGAN: Yes.

DAVIS: That's frightening, isn't it, the clicking, clicking, clicking, clicking.

KAGAN: Exactly, exactly. Are you ready to go?

DAVIS: But hey, we've been -- well, we've been waiting seven months. Bring it on. We've got obviously the music lined up. Yes, it's been amazing how everyone who is a part of the festival has really been so determined to come. You know, we've got 386 bands, almost 4,000 musicians, and initially they were scattered all over the country. And just everybody is determined to come back. We're doing -- actually on Monday, tents start going up at the fairgrounds.

KAGAN: They do? Now, what are the conditions at the fairgrounds? We're looking at a photo that's a little bit old, but it does show a crane. Just how much damage was done there by Katrina and how much has been put back together?

DAVIS: Well, quite a bit of damage was done out at the fairgrounds. I remember sitting in a hotel room in New York watching the roof peel off on CNN. But it's all been repaired now. There was a major repair to the grandstand building. The infield, where we hold most of the festival, the electrical installations out there had to be replaced. A lot of the horse barn, their roofs blew off because they were tin.

I tell you what, we've been on a project the last month to cut and rake 40 acres of dead grass and replace it with all fresh new grass for the festival. So we're sort of leaving no stone unturned.

KAGAN: Let's talk the music. Because that's what it is about at the beginning and end of the day, right?

DAVIS: Yes.

KAGAN: A very...

DAVIS: Yes, and I appreciate what you...

KAGAN: Go ahead.

DAVIS: ... what you said about being a shot in our soul. That was really great to hear that. You know, down here the music is really much more in normal times than entertainment. It's really the thing that drives our souls, and with Jazz Fest coming this year, you know, it's just everybody so much needs to plug into that big music battery and recharge. And, you know, we welcome everyone to come down.

An extraordinary, you know, group of American musicians really wanted to be part of it is this year. You look at that first weekend, which is April 28, 29, and 30, when we welcome Bob Dylan, Dave Matthews, Bruce Springsteen and his Seeger band, Elvis Costello, The Meters. Then our second weekend, May 5, 6, 7, where we have Keith Urban, Jimmy Buffett, Paul Simon, Fats Domino, Lionel Richie.

And, of course, like I say, that's in addition to thousands of New Orleans musicians. The Radiators, Irma Thomas, gospel tent, jazz tent. If you've never been to the festival -- and we also have 54 of the greatest New Orleans restaurants that you can ever imagine in one place at one time. The festival has ten stages that run simultaneously. So we have close to a thousand musicians today. I mean, it's very healing in the best of times.

KAGAN: Yes, Quint, let me just ask you about one performer that I think will probably bring more emotion than most. And that's Fats Domino. Last we saw Fats, we were looking at him go through his home, which was destroyed in Katrina. How important to have him at the festival?

DAVIS: We really -- yes, we really feel like Fats -- Fats up on stage playing, and he will close the festival.

KAGAN: I mean, that's going to a moment. That is going to be a moment.

DAVIS: Yes, I don't know, I think that's a scoop. He will be closing the festival on May the 7th. But, you know, we all saw on CNN Fats wading through the water, being taken off the balcony of his house in a boat. And, you know, I know Fats well for many, many years and followed him to staying in a dormitory in LSU. And you know, he had the -- here's this icon.

You know, Fats Domino, along with Louis Armstrong, are two of the people from New Orleans that changed the music of the whole world. And so for this icon that had more gold albums than Elvis Presley, to be going through the same kind of experience that so many New Orleanians went through. And he hasn't had a public appearance. I mean, he hasn't played since the flood. And for him to say to us I'm going to be there, I'm going to be on that stage, I'm going to play, you know, really signals to all of us the spirit of New Orleans coming back.

KAGAN: Well, and he also, as you're saying, you know, he symbolizes two parts of the story. Because, you know, around Mardi Gras, there was the criticism, people saying this is not a time for fun and entertainment. We need to be rebuilding our city. Are you hearing any of the same thing about Jazz Fest? And what would you say to those people? It's not time to make music, it's time to make houses.

DAVIS: No, actually we haven't heard that at all. The Jazz Fest has been here for 37 years. It's a part of the fabric of people's lives. And nowhere is culture more of an innate and driving part of people's lives. It's not, you know, a once a year thing. The food, the music here, is in our way of life. And the Jazz Fest puts all those things together in a way that's really healing.

I was in a little bar where a blues band was playing, and a guy came up to me in a flannel shirt with a beard. And he said I'm down here working construction. My wife and daughter are in Idaho, but they've made their plane reservations to come back for Jazz Fest because they don't want to live without at least coming to Jazz Fest. And that struck me. That really told me something.

What the festival means to the people here to -- they want their Jazz Fest. And you know, and they've told us in no uncertain terms, you've got to do this Jazz Fest.

KAGAN: Got to makes some music. And to folks who have come in the past from all over the country who might think, oh, this might not be a good year to come because New Orleans isn't ready for me, what would you say to them?

DAVIS: Well, that's a really good question. Because there are -- New Orleans has taken an enormous hit here, as you know. And there are parts of the city that are not back. But it so happens that all the parts that make up Jazz Fest, much as Mardi Gras -- from the airport to the hotels, but from the French Quarter to the music clubs to the restaurants to the fairgrounds itself to the neighborhood around the fairgrounds -- all those things are blessedly and wonderfully intact.

You know, the Jazz Fest is a daytime event that ends at 7:00 at night. And when you come to Jazz Fest, one of the great things about it is when you leave, you're in New Orleans. So you go out to eat dinner, you go out to hear clubs. We have about 85 live music clubs. And it would be equally important for all of that to be in place so people have their real New Orleans Jazz Fest experience. And fortunately, all that is back.

KAGAN: All right, well, sounds like you are jazzed for Jazz Fest.

DAVIS: Oh, I am. The Jazz Fest is kind of like -- we call it the "Funk Olympics." So we invite everybody to come on down and have a good time. And, really, when you -- you know, when people gather on that field and many of them coming back to New Orleans for the first time, many of the bands coming back to New Orleans for the first time, there's just going to be an incredible emotional feeling. And you hit on it before when you talked about the healing power of music.

And I think to be a part of that, to be on that field whether you've been to the festival before or haven't been to the festival before, it's just -- you know, unfortunately, so to speak, something very special in the history of American culture and really the American people, and a chance to share something really special but really fun.

KAGAN: Really fun. The Web site is "No Jazz Fest," but it stands for New Orleans Jazz Fest. Nojazzfest.com.

DAVIS: Nojazzfest.com.

KAGAN: Exactly. Quint Davis, good luck. Gold medal performance for you this year, all right?

DAVIS: Well, thank you so much. And I hope you'll come too, Daryn.

KAGAN: I would love to come on down. Quint Davis of the New Orleans Jazz Fest, thank you.

Life, death, sex, and talking dirty?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SHARON STONE, ACTRESS: So is this where we're going to do it?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KAGAN: "Basic Instinct" is back. We're checking with Mr. Moviefone. Do you think he saw the movie? Well, he sees the movie he talks about, but something tells me I know what he thought about. We'll come up and talk to Mr. Moviefone in just a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(MARKET REPORT)

KAGAN: We're talking the movies just ahead. That scene. I mean, we're talking that unforgettable scene. Sharon Stone, you know, at the police station. Well, does she have the magic to make it work in "Basic Instinct 2?" We're going to machine it up with the blockbuster original. Mr. Moviefone is ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STONE: Do I make you uncomfortable?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Be careful, Michael, she's trying to seduce you.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Did you kill him?

STONE: If I said I didn't, would you believe me?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KAGAN: Getting back to basic. Sharon Stone is on the big screen with "Basic Instinct 2." You have the sequel. You have the first one. There's that scene from the first one. There's only one man to ask about this. Actually I'm a little bit nervous about bringing in Mr. Moviefone, Russ Leatherman, and things I heard about this movie and things I know about you, Russ, I don't know if this is a safe discussion on national television.

RUSS LEATHERMAN, "MR. MOVIEFONE": Well, you know, I'm a little nervous about being here.

KAGAN: You're blushing, look at you.

LEATHERMAN: I know.

Here's the deal. There are two movies in theaters this weekend that feature slippery, slimy characters that you do not want to come in contact with. You know, one is the slugs from "Slither," the other, Sharon Stone.

KAGAN: Oh, my.

LEATHERMAN: OK. How bad is it? I heard that at the premiere people were giggling at the lines.

KAGAN: Well, here's what you got. Sharon Stone many, many years later bringing back a movie we really didn't need a sequel to. And she plays basically the same character. She's Catherine Tramell. Once again, she finds herself involved with a psychiatrist, and there are all these murders and this mayhem. And here's what you got. You have a cheesy erotic thriller with the emphasis on cheese. And...

KAGAN: Because with you, if the emphasis was on erotic you would say, well, what's the problem?

LEATHERMAN: No that's not true.

KAGAN: That is true.

LEATHERMAN: Here's the problem with this movie, Daryn. It's not erotic. I mean, it's almost embarrassing for Sharon Stone. I would guess this is going to be one of the worst movies of the year.

And you're right, in screenings what is happening people were laughing at all of the wrong places, so all of a sudden they decided they were going to sell it as camp. Well, it's not campy; it's just awful. And I'm out.

KAGAN: OK. To the opposite end of the spectrum, one perhaps for the movies, "Ice Age" three? We're on to "Ice Age" three -- two.

LEATHERMAN: Well, actually it's only "Ice Age II" but there will be an "Ice Age" three. You know why, because this one is pretty good.

KAGAN: So we did need a sequel to this one. This is a worthy sequel.

LEATHERMAN: I think so. You know, we're always looking for something to take the kids to. This is a safe bet. The first movie was a big success. Ray Romano, Dennis Leary, John Leguizamo, they're back. And this time the polar icecaps are melting and our group of fury friends have to escape before they get flooded out.

KAGAN: Not unlike a little global warming to make the kiddies feel warm and fuzzy, you know.

LEATHERMAN: You know, it's very topical. And, in fact, I hope things work out in our world like they do in movie world, and we'll be much better off. I like this movie. It's not great. It's not an incredible or "Finding Nemo," but it's perfectly OK. The kids are going to like it. It is bright. It's colorful. Queen Latifah is in the movie.

KAGAN: Love Queen.

LEATHERMAN: She's pretty good. Yes, she's good, and I like Ray Romano, and actually it seems like animated features are about all he's going to be able to do in the movie world.

KAGAN: Don't go slamming Ray. What did Ray ever do to you?

LEATHERMAN: I'm not slamming Ray!

KAGAN: What did Ray ever do to you? LEATHERMAN: Nothing, but he hasn't made a movie where we see his body. But what he has done is make good animated films, and I like this one. I'm in.

KAGAN: And a zillion dollars on "Everybody Loves Raymond."

OK, it would not be a Mr. Moviefone segment if we did not have a bad dream movie to talk about. So slither away, Russ.

LEATHERMAN: Come on, you're going to like this movie.

KAGAN: I am not seeing this movie!

LEATHERMAN: You're going to see -- we're going to go together, Daryn.

KAGAN: No. No, we're not, Russ.

LEATHERMAN: And we're going to hold hands.

KAGAN: It's not going to happen.

LEATHERMAN: Here's the deal. Here's what -- but Daryn, here's what happens. A small town is taken over by alien slugs. Come on!

KAGAN: I'm having bad dreams already.

LEATHERMAN: The slimy little creatures, what they do is they work their way into the victims through a body cavity and then turn them into zombies. Daryn, that's good. That's good! Come on.

KAGAN: I'm not even looking into it.

LEATHERMAN: Listen to me. Daryn, listen to me. Here's the thing. Horror films -- to me, I think they have to be as much fun as they are gory or scary. And we've had a recent slew of horror films like "Saw," "Saw 2,' "The Hills Have Eyes," that are just sort of nasty for the sake of being nasty. This movie is as fun as it is scary and gory, with one of the most horrible screen creatures I have seen in years. I like it, I'm in.

KAGAN: Look, horror movies for you are like romantic comedies for me.

LEATHERMAN: You know what, we could do a double feature.

KAGAN: No, we could not.

LEATHERMAN: We could.

KAGAN: No. I'm not going to see that.

LEATHERMAN: Daryn.

KAGAN: I'm not.

LEATHERMAN: "Slither," you and me.

KAGAN: No, no. Not a chance.

LEATHERMAN: It's going to happen. You're in.

KAGAN: Unless I had a blindfold and a big bucket of popcorn.

LEATHERMAN: You know what, I can make that happen.

KAGAN: Something tells me you probably could. Different story, different day.

Russ Leatherman, Mr. Moviefone, thank you.

LEATHERMAN: Have a great weekend, Daryn.

KAGAN: Good to see you. Have a great weekend yourself.

All right, from horror films to germs. It is a germ alert. What is lurking in your kitchen that actually could make you sick, very sick? This is our own hard news cafe. We don't call it hard news cafe anymore here. I'll have to find out -- oh, it's the CNN diner. Back in the day we called it the hard news cafe. That's what I always call it. Down there, very clean, but we're talking about your own kitchen. Some bad things could be happening there. A report for strong stomachs still ahead.

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