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AMERICAN MORNING

Winter Storm Roars Through Midwest, Great Plains; World AIDS Day 2006; Will Iraq Study Group Report Make any Difference?

Aired December 1, 2006 - 08:00   ET

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


MILES O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: End date in Iraq. New information from the Iraq Study Group about exactly when U.S. troops should come home.
SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Snowbound. A winter blast roaring through the Great Plains and Midwest right now, canceling flights, closing roads.

It's quite a mess on this AMERICAN MORNING.

And welcome back, everybody. It's Friday, December 1st.

I'm Soledad O'Brien.

M. O'BRIEN: And I'm Miles O'Brien.

Thanks for being with us.

We're kicking off CNN's day-long coverage of World AIDS Day. It's a day to get involved in this global fight, from protests in France to education in China, from the remote borders of Mongolia to Atlanta, Georgia, home of the AIDS quilt right now, people around the world are speaking out and coming together to fight the spread of AIDS.

This morning we're on the frontlines of the fight, following the money and the medicine, the powerful people involved, and how you can make a difference.

S. O'BRIEN: That's straight ahead this morning.

First, though, let's update you on a story, a big story this morning, the weather. It is quite a mess. It's affecting millions of people across the country today.

A big storm pounding the Midwest with snow and ice and bitter cold as well. Plus, there's thunder and lightning, threat of severe weather.

Sean Callebs is live for us in St. Louis. Keith Oppenheim is in Chicago.

And let's start with Keith, where air travel has really come to a halt. No surprise there.

Good morning to you. KEITH OPPENHEIM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning to you, Soledad.

It's actually pretty uncomfortable out here. We're starting to see a few folks who are walking to work here along Michigan Avenue, and they're braving the cold wind as it comes in your face. And also, on the ground, if you can get down here with me on the sidewalk, you'd see how slushy it is, not just for pedestrians, but also for folks who are driving in this mess today. Pretty bad.

And as we take you to some pictures of O'Hare airport from overnight, there have been a lot of people who have been stranded there because the airlines generally made a plan to cancel flights this morning and not get them back going until this afternoon. There may be some exceptions to that, but for the most part, the airport has been put on standby until the weather gets a little bit better.

So, what we're really experiencing overall here is a day that's going to be slow. Despite great preparation by the city to get ready for a storm, you really can't speed things along too much while traffic is moving here. Anyone who is trying to get to or from anywhere by either car, foot or plane is going to have to wait a while.

Back to you.

S. O'BRIEN: All right. Keith Oppenheim for us, where it is quite a mess.

Thanks, Keith.

The situation is the same in St. Louis, where jets are grounded and the highways are a big mess, and everything is pretty much at a standstill.

So let's get right to Sean Callebs. He's there this morning.

Good morning, Sean.

SEAN CALLEBS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Soledad.

Really what we've seen here in the last hour and a half or so, temperatures have dropped significantly. We talked to you earlier this morning, and all this was slush. Well, it has frozen solid over the last hour and a half or so.

Really the worst nightmare for St. Louis city officials. They've been out throughout the evening with the salt trucks, with sand trucks, with plows, trying to get ahead of the situation. They've done as best they can, but a big chunk of Interstate 70, about 130 miles from here, is closed because of ice.

I want to show you these trees, too. They are simply overburdened by ice. We've had freezing rain here over the past 24 hours, and it has simply -- you can see what it's doing. It's weighing the trees down. And what this has done is bringing power lines down, bringing trees down on power lines. About 400,000 people in the St. Louis area without power on this very frigid morning.

And we talked about the travel, how difficult it is on the roads. It is a nightmare at the airport.

St. Louis Lambert airport yesterday basically shut down from midafternoon on. The reason, that freezing rain that came down.

They were de-icing planes as quickly as they could. But because of FAA regulations, safety regulations, once that de-icing happens, the plane has to take off within 15 minutes.

Well, they were simply backed up. They simply shut the airport down yesterday. About 1,000 people stuck in that airport overnight. They did what they could, trying to get people out to hotels in this area, but it has just been a nightmare.

The snow is just coming down a little bit right now, Soledad. Supposed to break up around noon our time. But it is going to be a brutal morning here as people head out.

S. O'BRIEN: Yes, it looks -- it looks cold and kind of miserable where you are.

All right. Thanks a lot, Sean. Appreciate the update -- Miles.

M. O'BRIEN: All right. Let's travel a little farther west down Interstate 80 and we'll find at the other end of Missouri, Kansas City. Who's in Kansas City? Jonathan Freed, who has been weathering the storm there and cleanup day there as well.

Hello, Jonathan.

JONATHAN FREED, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Miles.

I just want to say to my good friends, Keith and Sean, please don't hate me for what I'm about to show you. Come over here with me.

Remember that big pile of snow and all the snow that we had here yesterday? Well, it's gone because the crews have been working very efficiently.

The general area, though, we've had as much as a foot of snow here in the Kansas City area. This is a major commercial quarter here. No surprise that those plows were out very early trying to clear the streets today.

A very intense storm, Miles. It was giving us three inches of snow an hour when it was at its peak. And yesterday, as it was coming down, and through the night at one point, we could barely see the building across the street from where we were staying. It was just that intense.

Drifts are an issue. Even if you're in a part of this area where you look out your window, where you've heard that maybe you only got a few inches of snow, when the wind kicks up, as I am told it is expected to do today as the sun begins to rise and the temperature is going to drop a little bit, then and the wind chill factor will kick in. Drifts can still be a factor, even with just a few inches of snow.

So, the people are being urged to be careful about going out, and don't assume that that snow isn't all that deep -- Miles.

M. O'BRIEN: Jonathan Freed in Kansas City.

Thank you very much.

So what's next? Where is the storm headed? Chad Myers knows.

Hello, Chad.

CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Hi, Miles.

(WEATHER REPORT)

M. O'BRIEN: Check out CNN.com for up-to-the-minute forecasts on the storm and all the weather, 24 hours a day. Chad has to sleep sometimes, you know. CNN.com/weather is the place to find that -- Soledad.

S. O'BRIEN: We're going to get back to our top story, the weather, in just a few moments.

First, though, a closer look at where we stand on this World AIDS Day. Comprehensive coverage from our correspondents and our guests are coming to us from around the globe this morning.

Let's begin with CNN Senior Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta about where exactly we stand on the fight.

Hey, Sanjay. Good morning.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN SR. MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning.

S. O'BRIEN: Let's begin with what we hear a lot about, but I think at least -- you know, and I'm probably one of many who doesn't totally understand -- antiretroviral drugs. How effective are they really?

GUPTA: Well, they are very effective with a couple of caveats, Soledad. First of all, the HIV virus is a retrovirus, and that's where the name comes from. These retrovirals treat retroviruses.

If they are started early in the course of treatment, before the virus has had a significant amount of time to replicate and spread throughout the body, they can be very effective, actually leading to normal life spans. But, you know, as you've heard so many times, and you said yourself, so many people don't know that they're infected, so don't get those good treatments in time. And that's where -- that's where it falls short. S. O'BRIEN: The big issue seems to be, whether you're talking about this country or you're talking about India or you're talking about Africa, is the cost of the drugs.

GUPTA: Yes, you know, it's interesting. They can be very expensive.

And I was watching an interview with former President Clinton earlier. A lot of those drug costs have started to come down. There's a couple of issues at play here.

In negotiating lower drug costs, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, what they've essentially done there is try to turn a -- what's a low-volume, high-markup industry into a high-volume, low-price industry. So, you know, basically negotiating with governments to say, buy millions of doses and, therefore, the prices start to come down.

And they can be up to $20,000 a year in this country. But it started to get within reach, at least, in many places, in sub-Saharan Africa, and Asia as well. It still can be very expensive. And remember, as far as things stand now, it is a lifelong drug.

S. O'BRIEN: Final question for you. Is there really a vaccine on the horizon, do you think?

GUPTA: You know, it's interesting. And people will say different things about this.

I've done a lot of homework on this. In 30 -- in 19 countries there are 30 different trials going on right now. And we've looked at just about all of them.

They're all very similar trials. They're sort of based on similar scientific mechanisms. And the reason that I point that out is because if one of those trials fails, there's a good chance that none of them are going to sort of be up to par, up to what we'd hope for.

It's a very tricky virus. It's a virus that constantly changes. It constantly mutates itself to live. And that makes it very hard to actually develop a vaccine against something that's sort of a moving target.

I don't want to sound pessimistic here, but I think it's going to take a lot of work, still.

S. O'BRIEN: Before we get to a vaccine.

Sanjay Gupta.

Thanks, Sanjay.

GUPTA: Thank you.

S. O'BRIEN: Of course we're going to have more of our special coverage of World AIDS Day 2006 in just a few moments. We're going to take you live to an HIV ward here in New York City and see how they're working to fight AIDS here at home.

Also, some new details coming out from the Iraq Study Group about maybe a more precise date that troops should pull out. We'll talk about that.

And big brother is watching. Not only watching, but keeping score, too. We're going to take you inside the government's newly- revealed threat score for airline travelers.

Those stories straight ahead. We're back in just a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

S. O'BRIEN: Welcome back, everybody. Top stories this morning.

More money for the war. The White House is expected to ask Congress for a record $100 billion more. That comes on top of the half a trillion dollars that's already been spent on Iraq, Afghanistan and the war on terror as a whole.

And tragedy in the Philippines. More than 400 people are dead in the wake of that super typhoon there.

It's 13 minutes past the hour. Let's get right to Chad with a check of the traveler's forecast which is, in a word, bad.

MYERS: It is bad.

(WEATHER REPORT)

M. O'BRIEN: Well, you know, it's officially called the Iraq Study Group, but a lot of people view it as the Iraq fix-it team. But Iraq is not an easy riddle to solve, and leaked previews of the 100- page report coming from that group seem to offer no dramatic strategy change in Iraq -- some sort of drawdown without a firm deadline.

So, will the report make any difference?

Joining us from Washington with some insights on that is our special correspondent, Frank Sesno.

Frank, good to have you with us.

FRANK SESNO, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Miles.

M. O'BRIEN: I assume the Iraq Study Group does not -- while they want to offer some suggestions, they would prefer not to paint the president into a corner on this subject, right?

SESNO: Yes. I'm not sure there are very many corners to paint them into, or to avoid painting them into, because, as you say, the situation on the ground is so bleak and so bad, that there really isn't much running room. What's really remarkable is, if you remember back before the election, everybody was talking about the Baker group, the Iraq Study Group. This was going to be the bright light, you know, and there was going to be a solution or a formula or something. And there was great optimism attached to it.

Now, however, it's really remarkable how the mood has changed and whether it's overtaken by events or the feeling that Baker, somehow, because he's a Republican and friend of the Bushes and sort of helped deliver the election to this president before, may not want to embarrass Bush now, or whatever. But that this group will not have dramatic answers and it will not make recommendations for a dramatic departure, that the president wouldn't accept anyway.

M. O'BRIEN: Well, so, let's take that one step further. If that is what happens on Wednesday when that report comes out, what does that do for some of the more -- the stronger antiwar Democrats on the other side of the aisle? Will that embolden them in some way politically?

SESNO: I think it will, although the other thing that's happening here in Washington is very interesting. Some of those very strong antiwar Democrats are backing off just a little bit.

The mood here really is when, not what, meaning over what period of time do you redeploy or withdraw or call it what you will. There don't seem to be very many Democrats who want to head for the exits immediately right now, because then they know that the issue of a failed state or what may happen, a bloodbath, will be hung on them.

So, what the Iraq Study Group seems to be discussing, which is consistent with what's coming out of various parts of the administration, phased withdrawals with suggestions of a timetable or deadline. That seems to be where the consensus is emerging here -- Miles.

M. O'BRIEN: Let's listen to what the president has to say when he was asked about this whole issue, the "T" word, timetables.

Let's listen for a moment.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I know there's a lot of speculation that these reports in Washington mean there's going to be some kind of graceful exit out of Iraq. We're going to stay in Iraq to get the job done.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

M. O'BRIEN: All right. The election is over. The president isn't running again. Is it likely, no matter what this report says -- and there are other reports out there -- that they're not going to call it stay the course, but the White House will, in fact, stay the course? SESNO: You know, I spoke to a number of people yesterday, Miles, and some of them are people who have fought or commanded in Iraq, others who have been on the ground there in various capacities. Others are Democrats and Republicans here in Washington. And almost to a person, they actually wonder whether the president has any intention of significantly changing course or, in some cases, even appreciates just how bad the situation is on the ground here.

There's not a great deal of confidence that the White House has any intention of doing anything other than sort of stay the course light with minor adjustments. But basically to hang in there, and you kind of understand why. The president's entire legacy -- his entire legacy is hung up in Iraq.

M. O'BRIEN: So in a sense he is painted into a corner, when you put it that way.

Go ahead.

SESNO: Yes, I think he is. I think that -- and let's think about it. You know, if you were the president of the United States, you sent America to war, you, in a sense, unleash these forces that are now ripping Iraq apart, Americans have died, Iraqis have died. The region is less stable. Iran is threatening.

If you leave now -- you're the president -- if you leave now, what happens after you leave is also hung on you. That's very serious.

M. O'BRIEN: Frank Sesno, our special correspondent.

Thanks for your insights.

SESNO: A pleasure.

M. O'BRIEN: Soledad.

S. O'BRIEN: Ahead this morning, an update on the condition of that trainer who was attacked by the killer whale during the Shamu show. We're going to show you what's happened with both the trainer and the whale.

Plus, a freight train goes off the tracks, smashes into cars along the way. We'll update you on the condition of some of the folks who have been injured.

And an American masterpiece makes history at an auction. We'll tell you how much money people paid for this straight ahead.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

S. O'BRIEN: Welcome back.

Happening "In America" this morning, that trainer that was attacked by a killer whale during a SeaWorld show in San Diego is expected to be released from the hospital today. His name is Ken Peters, and he suffered a broken foot in the attack.

Meanwhile, Kasatka, the 5,000-pound whale, is performing again. Trainers, though, won't be going in the pool while she's performing.

In Ohio, investigators want to know just what caused a freight train to jump the tracks near Toledo. Three cars who were waiting at a rail signal were hit. Three people were hurt and one person is still in the hospital.

In California, an F-18 fighter pilot was able to eject from his jet right before it crashed near the Miramar Marine Base Airfield. Flames from the crash, though, sparked a small brushfire, burned about five acres there.

In Braintree, Massachusetts, a 91-year-old woman says she usually sleeps late, but she got a life-saving wakeup call from her dog, whose name is Josie (ph), a 4-year-old terrier mix. Started barking when smoke from the malfunctioning furnace started filling the house. The lady's name is Rose Capolla (ph). She says she doesn't have a carbon monoxide detector installed in the house and her nephew just bought her one.

M. O'BRIEN: That Josie (ph) is no pussycat, that's for sure.

S. O'BRIEN: Oh, I knew you were going to get to that eventually. It only took you two hours and 23 minutes.

M. O'BRIEN: I saved it for the last -- saved it for last. Wanted to end on a good note.

S. O'BRIEN: Why do I feel like it's not the last?

Let's turn to Seattle now. The National Weather Service says more than 15 .5 inches of rain recorded at the Seattle-Tacoma airport last month. The most rain to fall in that city in November since they've been keeping a record in Seattle, where there's a lot of rain. Now, that should be noted.

M. O'BRIEN: That's a real record, folks.

S. O'BRIEN: Yes, it is.

And then one of Norman Rockwell's most famous paintings -- no, this one specific painting, it was auctioned off at Sotheby's in New York for $15.4 million. That is a record for a Rockwell painting. It's called "Breaking Home Ties."

Remember that? The dad taking his son...

M. O'BRIEN: It kind of makes me misty. I've got to tell you, honestly, it does.

S. O'BRIEN: I know, because you're getting all choked up for...

M. O'BRIEN: My kids going off to school.

S. O'BRIEN: Yes. Because your kids are getting to that age.

M. O'BRIEN: Yes, they are. You can't stop it.

S. O'BRIEN: The cool story -- the cool story behind this, they found this painting behind a false wall in a home in Vermont. Apparently, the original owners bought it for 900 bucks.

M. O'BRIEN: And then hid it. And then hid it.

S. O'BRIEN: And then hid it behind the false one. No, I think that's -- they sold it for $900, now $15.4 million.

M. O'BRIEN: Those New Englanders are hard to figure sometimes. You know?

ALI VELSHI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes.

M. O'BRIEN: All right. Ever been in a movie theater with some jerk talking on his cell phone?

VELSHI: Well, that jerk is here.

M. O'BRIEN: Sure we have. He's right here, Ali Velshi.

(LAUGHTER)

VELSHI: I'm definitely -- I'm definitely into -- into that sort of thing. But there's a fantastic new invention. I love this story.

This is the Regal Entertainment...

S. O'BRIEN: Hold it up high there.

VELSHI: ... it's testing these little -- these little units. It sort of tells the story. It's got -- it's got four buttons on it: picture, sound, piracy and other disturbance.

They're going to give it to regular moviegoers. Not everybody in the theater. And you're meant to press one of these buttons to signal an attendant if you have a problem with any of these things going on.

Now, the first two, picture and sound, you'd figure the theater could handle that. Right? They'd know or people would make enough noise.

M. O'BRIEN: Well, you know what? They turn on the movies and they go leave.

VELSHI: They leave, right. So...

M. O'BRIEN: And do whatever they do.

VELSHI: ... I think this is a big admission that there's a staffing problem if you have picture and sound buttons. M. O'BRIEN: Yes.

VELSHI: The next one, piracy, kind of interesting. If there's somebody, you know, with a DVCam behind me filming a movie on opening night, I'm not sure I want to risk being the one to tell them to stop or...

M. O'BRIEN: Tape away, is what I say.

VELSHI: I'm going to have to -- you'd have to really keep this down near you.

S. O'BRIEN: Well, you could do it secretly.

VELSHI: Right, because they're going to beat you up on the sidewalk. But that's the problem, the beating up. And apparently it has got to do with cell phones and noisemakers and crunching popcorn and making out and stuff like that. It really annoys people.

M. O'BRIEN: Wait a minute? Making out? They've a makeout button too?

S. O'BRIEN: No. No.

VELSHI: They don't have a makeout button. They could possibly add that.

M. O'BRIEN: Because, I mean, that's un-American.

S. O'BRIEN: People who are distracted by the making out.

VELSHI: People are loud kissers. I don't know.

And they've apparently had all sort of altercations about this sort of thing.

S. O'BRIEN: Really?

VELSHI: So here you're supposed to press this button and they'll come to you.

S. O'BRIEN: Why not just have attendants...

VELSHI: And then the lovers are going to beat you up outside.

S. O'BRIEN: Why not just have attendants in the theater like they used to? Remember back in the day, someone would come down and say, "Excuse me, please do not rustle your popcorn."

M. O'BRIEN: You can't do that.

VELSHI: Yes.

M. O'BRIEN: The guy with the funny little hat there.

(CROSSTALK) VELSHI: Well, you know what? Pete over here was just mentioning that one of the better inventions that they put -- since they're in testing stages we're going to let them know. Add a couple extra buttons. One can be for popcorn and one can be for soda.

S. O'BRIEN: You need more, right. I need more popcorn. Then have someone run it in.

M. O'BRIEN: Yes, just bring it in. Just bring it on in.

VELSHI: I'd totally pay a premium for that.

M. O'BRIEN: That would be worth it.

S. O'BRIEN: That actually would be worth it.

VELSHI: Yes. Well, we'll see how these -- how these go. I'm going to have to start turning my cell phone off, and not making out as much.

M. O'BRIEN: I'm going to hit the piracy button on you. You better watch yourself.

Ali Velshi, have a good weekend.

VELSHI: And you.

M. O'BRIEN: The weekend is right around the corner, as a matter of fact, but that doesn't mean the news stops.

Betty Nguyen and T.J. Holmes will keep us covered.

What are you guys working on for tomorrow?

BETTY NGUYEN, CNN ANCHOR: Of course.

T.J. HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: Well, I guess we need to go check out a movie before those devices get in there, because Betty can be disturbing at some movies.

NGUYEN: Yes. I mean, definitely press the button for me.

Thanks a lot, buddy.

HOLMES: Well, of course, World AIDS Day a lot of the talk today. We're going to continue to talk about that this weekend. How do you teach AIDS awareness to young black teenagers? Well, maybe try speaking their language.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice over): We're just going to the dance together.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice over): That's what I told my mother when your granddaddy came to pick me up for my prom. And if he's anything like my Herbert, bless his soul, you'll be needing these.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HOLMES: Yes. This is an educational cartoon, and it deals out a dose of reality. But is this going to work?

NGUYEN: Plus, more people than ever will shop online this holiday season. But before you point, click and buy, you'll want our inside scoop from our net-savvy shopper.

HOLMES: And guys, just how much would you pay for a jar of spaghetti sauce?

NGUYEN: I don't know, five bucks.

HOLMES: OK, maybe. But this couple paid $1,600.

NGUYEN: Wow.

HOLMES: And they did not get it out of the grocery store. This is some good -- this has got to be some good stuff.

NGUYEN: That better be some good spaghetti.

HOLMES: No, this is really a nightmare before Christmas we're going to tell you about in the "WaterCooler."

NGUYEN: All that, plus the day's top stories starting tomorrow on "CNN SATURDAY and SUNDAY MORNING."

So, any $1,600 spaghetti sauce, guys?

S. O'BRIEN: I buy that kind. I buy Classico.

NGUYEN: But not for $1,600.

M. O'BRIEN: Something less than $1,600.

S. O'BRIEN: No, that's ridiculous. You could get it for, like, four bucks.

NGUYEN: Exactly.

S. O'BRIEN: That's insane. All right.

NGUYEN: Well, listen to this story. It's a good one.

S. O'BRIEN: All right. We'll stay tuned for that.

M. O'BRIEN: We will tune in.

S. O'BRIEN: Thanks, Betty. Thanks, T.J.

HOLMES: See you guys.

S. O'BRIEN: Ahead this morning, big brother is watching you when you cross the border, but does the government's secret rating system for travelers cross the line?

We'll take a look at that this morning.

And the Philippines now trying to recover after being lashed by the fourth typhoon in as many months.

We'll take a look at the devastation there straight ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(NEWSBREAK)

S. O'BRIEN: On this world aids day 2006, let's take a closer look at both the fight and the hope. It's been 25 years since the very first cases emerged. In North America, 145 million people are infected with HIV.

CNN's Alina Cho is in New York this morning.

Good morning to you, Alina.

ALINA CHO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey there, Soledad. Good morning to you.

We are here at Harlem Hospital at the Family Care Center. This is where they treat HIV and AIDS patients, including a lot of children.

Now what's significant here is that 100 percent of the people they treat are either African-American or Latino.

Now let's get to the numbers. Currently in the United States, more than one million Americans are living with HIV. Twenty-five percent of those cases, 250,000 people, do not even know that they are infected, and there are 40,000 new cases each year.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, NATL. INST. ALLERGY & INFECTION DISEASES: The number that bothers us probably more than anything else is that there are about 40,000 new infections per year in the United States, but this number has remained constant for about 15 years. So we've almost reached that point beyond which we are not seeming to do any better, and we've got to be much more aggressive in our prevention messages.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHO: Now, another startling statistic is that African-Americans make up 50 percent, half of all new infections in the United States, even though they makeup just 13 percent of the population. That's why education, awareness, testing, all of those things are so important. And they provide all of that here at Harlem Hospital.

In fact, they provide something called rapid HIV tests. What that means you can walk in, take the HIV test, and in just 20 minutes, you will have your results. There's none of that painful waiting period of two weeks or more. In fact, Soledad, these rapid HIV tests are becoming more and more common in hospitals around the United States, and that certainly is encouraging news.

S. O'BRIEN: Alina Cho for us this morning. Thanks, Alina -- Miles.

M. O'BRIEN: Twenty-five years ago, a diagnosis of HIV was tantamount to a death sentence. While there is no cure yet, there are treatments that allow people to live long, productive lives with the virus that causes AIDS.

AMERICAN MORNING's Dan Lothian met one man who is HIV positive with a positive outlook on life.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DAN LOTHIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Joe Lemieux has been living with HIV for almost 19 years.

JOE LEMIEUX, BOSTON LIVING CENTER: I remember in the early stages we used to keep diaries and write down how many days we were sick, and there were hardly any days that I wasn't. My T-cells had dropped below 200. They didn't have a viral count at the time. They didn't have the cocktail. They only had ACT at the time. And it was very burdening. I was very tired. I was wiped out.

LOTHIAN (on camera): He says things got so bad, so desperate, that he began drinking heavily and taking drugs.

(voice-over): Then one day he came here to the Boston Living Center, a safe haven for people with HIV/AIDS, offering hopes through wellness programs, counseling and simple things like art.

LEMIEUX: The (INAUDIBLE) drawing classes that I participated in, they were outlets. Many times the drawings were very angry and, you know, black and dark, and it was my outlet. It was my way to express how angry HIV made me. I remember one time being very angry at God, and I was cursing at God and I was saying swears. I came in one day and I told one of the girls that was in the art class that I was swearing at God, and she said, it's OK, God can handle it, and I broke down crying.

LOTHIAN: Lemieux says advances in medication and the positive environment here gave him a new life. Now he works at the center, helping others, and he's thankful for every day.

LEMIEUX: It's really giving me hope, like I'm going to live and see an old age. I feel like I'm going to see 80 and 90 years old.

LOTHIAN: Dan Lothian, CNN, Boston.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

S. O'BRIEN: She was one of the fashion industry's first super models back in the '70s. Well, now 51 and the mother of two, Iman is a leader in the war on AIDS. As part of our special coverage of World AIDS Day, Iman joins us.

Nice to see you. Thank you very much.

You have a special project, Keep the Child Alive, which has been your focus for the last number of years. With so many problems that plague Africa where you're from originally, why AIDS?

IMAN, AMBASSADOR, "KEEP A CHILD ALIVE": I think AIDS will be that kind of an issue that will define our time and our history. The AIDS pandemic in Africa is really ravaging not only the people itself, but the whole economical structure of the whole continent. Forty million are living with AIDS, and 25 million Africans have already died.

S. O'BRIEN: So why have hope? You've listed statistics and numbers that make you say, oh, what a massive, overwhelming problem, not just here in the United States, but around the globe.

IMAN: Because what we do at Keep a Child Alive is quite very simple. With our program of $1 a day, you can be a change today, and you can save a life and you can stop the dying.

S. O'BRIEN: What does a dollar buy?

IMAN: A dollar buys an ARV drugs, which is very, very...

S. O'BRIEN: Anti-retroviral.

IMAN: It is very, very important. It provides that, and what it really does, really the core of the issue, it is not just the prevention, it is the treatment itself.

What it has done for the West, by the way, is that it has made people who have the AIDS issue and who are HIV, can live a normal, healthy life with a chronic illness and not a death wish sentence on them.

S. O'BRIEN: The "I Am African" PR campaign that you did for Keep a Child Alive in some ways was very much mocked when they had Gwyneth Paltrow, who's the blondest woman you can possibly find, you know, with face markings and face paint like she's African. But also, at the same time, made a ton of money for Africans who have VVI.

IMAN: Yes, the "I Am African" campaign, it was meant to be a thought-provoking campaign to remind people of our African DNA that we all share.

S. O'BRIEN: You told a story about a grandmother in Kenya who is raising all of her grandchildren. Tell me that story.

IMAN: Well, in Africa, we love our grannies, and it is unacceptable at her old age for her to be raising these children. She has been left with her grandchildren because her own children have died of AIDS. She has all these children. Two of them are infected with HIV. She religiously makes them take their ARV drugs on a daily basis, because that is how she knows they will be able to survive. But most of all, what's happening also that's a very, very new phenomenon is the child-headed household. We're talking about 8-year- olds taking care of themselves and their siblings, not just taking care of themselves, feeding them, clothing them. So what happens, they'll be prey to prostitution, and most importantly, especially the boys, they'll be prey to be become soldiers.

S. O'BRIEN: Its's not just a disease. It has great implications for the social fabric of the whole entire nation.

IMAN: It's destroying the continent, Because those Children that are really becoming prey are getting lost in that infrastructure, and that they could be the ones who will be the doctors, and the lawyers and the ones who would be able to take care of the continent itself, those are the ones who are dying, and that is what we want to make sure at Keep a Child Alive, that we can keep their mothers and fathers alive so that they can take care of their own children.

S. O'BRIEN: Iman, nice to see you. Thanks for talking with us. It's such an important cause.

IMAN: Thank you.

S. O'BRIEN: We appreciate it.

Iman's group is running an auction for the next week. You can go right to the Web site, which is keepachildalive.org, and then there's a little auction button; you can just click on that.

The stuff that they're auctioning off is amazing.

M. O'BRIEN: Like what?

S. O'BRIEN: Go backstage with John Legend, this morning it was going for 650 bucks.

(CROSSTALK)

S. O'BRIEN: It's very early on, but that's what I'm going to get. Right there, John Legend, my boyfriend.

Also, private concert with Alicia Keys.

M. O'BRIEN: Private concert with Alicia Keys. What's that?

S. O'BRIEN: You can bid on getting.

M. O'BRIEN: How much for that?

S. O'BRIEN: About 25 grand is what it's at right now.

Twenty-five grand, that's nothing, for Alicia Keys to come to your house to give you a concert.

(CROSSTALK)

S. O'BRIEN: No, but if 100 of my friends and I get together, we can afford it. Spike Lee's movie. You want a part in it?

M. O'BRIEN: You get a part?

S. O'BRIEN: Yes, you can bid on that.

M. O'BRIEN: Speaking part or just a walk-on?

S. O'BRIEN: I didn't say speaking part. Maybe if you're really good, you can get a speaking part. I think it's pretty cool. You should go check it out, at keepachildalive.org.

M. O'BRIEN: Great idea.

Coming up, to the way-back machine we go, Sherman. Chad Myers plays Mr. Peabody and pays a visit to a toy shop from another time.

And all I want to know is did they find Major Matt Mason? Remember him? That's an obscure one.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(WEATHER REPORT)

S. O'BRIEN: Ahead this morning, a trip down memory lane with Mr. Potato Head and his family. You can (INAUDIBLE), courtesy of Chad. That's right, he doesn't only do the meteorological reports. He's also checking out the vintage toys.

M. O'BRIEN: He's a kid. That's what he is.

S. O'BRIEN: Like you are. Straight ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CHAD MEYERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Remember that pedal car you spent hours and hours driving around the house when you were a kid? Well, a lot of folks are going down memory lane. You hear about meatloaf becoming comfort food. I think old toys are becoming comfort food as well. I went down memory land, and I bought my son a pedal car, cost me nearly as much as a Playstation 3, but it was the same pedal car that I had when I was a kid, and we found some baby boomers who were also buying those old things to make them feel good again.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MYERS (on camera): No big flashing lights, no neon. This is the quintessential one-door store here, huh?

Now, I don't see any Playstations here. Are you just sold out, or you just don't carry it?

STEVE KARCHIN, OWNER, ALPHAVILLE: No, we deal with bygone era toys. MYERS: I haven't seen this in, I don't know, 30 years. Remember these, they came in a little package. They have the Rice-a-Phoni. They have Land-O-Quakes Butter. Hyde's Rox Cookies. Fit-to-be-Tied Detergent.

You can always get the Slinky to go back and forth, but if you tried to get it to go down the stairs like it did on the commercial, didn't always work.

I admit, I have never seen the Mr. Cucumber Head.

KARCHIN: It's called (INAUDIBLE) Cucumber. Mr. Potato head acquired some friends. That's Katie Carrot, Pete the Pepper, Oscar Orange.

MYERS: What are some of the things that people walk in here and it jogs their memory?

KARCHIN: The Cooties over there.

MYERS: Cooties. I never had Cooties. Well, maybe I did, but I don't think I knew it.

Let's talk about safety just for a minute. Invisible ink remains invisible until held over a flame. I don't think you can sell that anymore.

Should people be finding things? Is there value there still?

KARCHIN: Absolutely. There are mothers that throw everything away, and there are mothers that save every little bobby pin.

MYERS: My mom is not going to see the end of this interview because she's going to be up in the attic looking for stuff.

One of the most powerful forces in human nature is the desire of parents and grandparents to have their kids play with the same toys that they did.

Nice setup you have here. How come this glass is so high?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We originally had it about this high to prevent kids reaching over and grabbing things. And we found the kids weren't the problems; it was guys like you and me.

MYERS: When I looked at this, it just makes me smile. I'm thinking that they call meatloaf comfort food. This is a comfort toy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Perfect. What else can we sell you here?

MYERS: Oh, come on! Let's go shopping!

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MYERS: The classic why did the chicken cross the road.

M. O'BRIEN: In New York, no one even looked twice, right?

MYERS: They didn't. They said, hey, there goes the weather guy.

I picked up a couple things for you. So go ahead and open them.

M. O'BRIEN: Can we introduce, please?

MYERS: This is my son, Grant.

(CROSSTALK)

M. O'BRIEN: He's such a cute guy.

MYERS: I bought him something. I bought him a vintage toy. He hasn't seen it yet. I want to see whether he likes it or not. We'll see.

But do you know the first Mr. Potato head, actually you had to go and get a potato.

M. O'BRIEN: Oh, really? No kidding?

MYERS: That's Katie the Carrot.

S. O'BRIEN: I don't think I had this as a child.

M. O'BRIEN: I'm a zucchini?

MYERS: And because most anchors have big heads...

S. O'BRIEN: Notice Miles' head is bigger than mine, thank you.

(CROSSTALK)

MYERS: Now from the 1950s, I actually found this downtown.

M. O'BRIEN: The real slinky.

S. O'BRIEN: Do you like that?

M. O'BRIEN: What do you think of this? What do you do with that?

S. O'BRIEN: Yay!

Good work. Grant likes it. That's a keeper.

MYERS: He figured it out pretty quick.

It's just amazing, everybody that I talked to loved to go buy toys for their kids that they played with. Stratego is popular. Mystery Date is popular.

S. O'BRIEN: Candy Land.

MYERS: Obviously Candy Land. S. O'BRIEN: Candy Land looks exactly the same. It looks exactly the same.

MYERS: Candy Land and also Chutes and Ladders, they're out again. They're actually remaking some of these things. The kids are having a ball with them. Rather than using their thumbs and getting carpal tunnel syndrome, they're using the imagination.

S. O'BRIEN: Look at this. He's loving the slinky.

M. O'BRIEN: It's a hit.

But it just proves that yes, the video games, they want the video games, but these toys they're fun, they're fun and you do use your imagination in ways you don't with video games.

MYERS: They're making amazing doll houses again for imagination time, for play time. You'd be surprised if you go out there. I went on eBay to find this pedal car, and it was a couple hundred dollars. I started out at 30 bucks. You know, it's from 1965, 30 bucks. Now that didn't go fly. Then I went to 50 bucks. Then I was up to a couple hundred dollars, and people were still bidding against me. And I go, I don't know -- but this has to be a story, because people are out there buying stuff. I mean, Trouble and Clue, and all those games kids love again.

S. O'BRIEN: All great games.

You like it?

M. O'BRIEN: No Major Mason, though?

MYERS: I couldn't find your Major Mason.

(CROSSTALK)

MYERS: Jetsons was pretty popular.

M. O'BRIEN: From the Jetsons, yes.

S. O'BRIEN: Even as a child you were into space, huh?

M. O'BRIEN: Yes.

MYERS: He's a space cadet.

M. O'BRIEN: From early on?

S. O'BRIEN: Grant, do you like your Slinky? Grant, you like the Slinky? Yes? Yes.

He gave it a nod of approval. Sally, thank you for bringing him in.

Oh, he's so cute.

MYERS: He's a pepper man.

S. O'BRIEN: Oh, pepper.

M. O'BRIEN: There you go. All right.

S. O'BRIEN: Thank you very much, Chad. Thank you, Grant.

M. O'BRIEN: Thanks for coming by this week. We had a fun week.

S. O'BRIEN: Yes, we really enjoyed it. As always, great to see you.

MYERS: I'll be back.

M. O'BRIEN: We'll see you on Monday from Atlanta.

Come back, OK?

And here's a quick look at what's coming up on NEWSROOM, and things they're working on for the top of the hour.

ANNOUNCER: Stories you'll see in the NEWSROOM this morning, snow blower, ice maker, an early blast of winter rolling east. Chaos on the roads. Cancellations at heartland airports.

Hezbollah hitting the streets of Beirut today trying to bring down Lebanon's government.

And World AIDS Day. Our Christiane Amanpour alive. Her difficult story on Nairobi's AIDS orphans.

Your in the NEWSROOM at 9:00 Eastern, 6:00 on the West Coast.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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