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Political Battle in Senate Today Over War Plan; Fatal Fire in Pennsylvania; Britney's Buzz
Aired February 17, 2007 - 10:02 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BETTY NGUYEN, CNN ANCHOR: We want to welcome you this morning.
Good morning, everybody. I'm Betty Nguyen.
T.J. HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: Yes. And I'm T.J. Holmes.
Good morning to you all. Thank you so much for being here.
Like you said, we will get in to those stories in just a moment, but first we're going to start with Iraq.
NGUYEN: Needless to say, it's a very busy morning. You can tell by this video.
First, two car bombs explode in a busy market in Kirkuk, killing at least six, wounding 45. Kirkuk is a major oil center in the northern part of the country.
Now, this new violence comes as Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice makes a surprise visit to Baghdad. The reason for the unannounced visit, well, the new Baghdad security plan and to meet with Iraqi and American officials.
We'll stay on top of that visit.
In other news, a political battle in the Senate today over the president's Iraq plan. The House has approved a resolution opposing the troop buildup. Senate Democrats are pushing for a vote but face a roadblock from the Republicans. Meanwhile, the president is still forging ahead with his Iraq strategy.
So let's go live now to the White House and correspondent Elaine to tie all this together.
Today's vote, interesting to see how that plays out.
ELAINE QUIJANO, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right. Good morning to you, Betty.
Well, you know, the vote yesterday in the House was certainly not a surprise to the Bush administration. In fact, for days now the White House has really been trying to downplay the significance of what's taking place on Capitol Hill, noting that this is a non-binding resolution. At the same time, the administration is clearly gearing up for a fight with lawmakers over funding for U.S. troops. In fact, in a written statement, White House Press Secretary Tony Snow again essentially challenged Congress, saying that they must approve President Bush's request for some $100 billion for Iraq and Afghanistan, saying, "The president believes that the Congress should provide the full funding and flexibility our armed forces need to succeed in their mission to protect our country."'
Now, President Bush himself did not comment on that vote after a meeting yesterday with the man he's chosen to become the new U.S. ambassador to Iraq, Ryan Crocker. Instead, he said that he had spoken with Iraq's prime minister, Nuri al-Maliki, and said he was pleased that the prime minister was meeting certain benchmarks, including delivering Iraqi troops to the fight as he had promised. Also moving forward on an oil deal. That's, of course, a critical component of political reconciliation in Iraq.
Now, the president said that that should not only be viewed as good news for the Iraqi people, but also good news for U.S. lawmakers who are skeptical about the president's strategy.
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GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It should get people here in the United States confidence that this government knows its responsibilities and is following through on those responsibilities.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
QUIJANO: So, at a time when the White House is facing deep opposition, staunch opposition to his plan for more troops in Iraq, the president again trying to make the case that already there are some signs of success and that lawmakers, Betty, should give his plan a chance to work -- Betty.
NGUYEN: All right. CNN's Elaine Quijano at the White House.
Elaine, thank you.
And you can see the Senate showdown over the president's plans for more troops in Iraq. You can watch it live and uninterrupted today on CNN Pipeline at CNN.com. The debate begins in about two hours, and the vote is expected around 1:45 Eastern this afternoon.
HOLMES: And we've got a bit of a juggling act for some presidential hopefuls this weekend due to that planned Iraq vote. Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton is cutting short her New Hampshire visit this morning. The Democratic front-runner had several campaign events planned but canceled all but one so she could return to Washington in time for the vote.
Democrat Barack Obama took his bid for the presidency to South Carolina. The candidate spoke before a crowd of about 2,500 last night in Columbia. He'll head back to Washington for today's Senate vote. NGUYEN: Republican candidate John McCain hits the campaign trail in Iowa and will miss today's Iraq vote. This morning, McCain's in Des Moines. Then he is off to Cedar Rapids this afternoon.
Now, today's Senate action on the Bush Iraq plan will keep Senator Sam Brownback in Washington for the vote. Then the Republican candidate for president plans to head to Orlando, Florida, for a reception with national religious broadcasters.
And here's a reminder for you. The first presidential debates will be right here on CNN. CNN teams up with WMUR TV and "The Union Leader" newspaper in New Hampshire to bring you that debate. Mark your calendar, April 4th and 5th.
HOLMES: Five children have been killed in a fire that roared through a wood frame home in Pennsylvania this morning. One adult was also killed in that fire at that home. Another adult was injured.
Andrew Stockey of CNN affiliate WTAE reports from the scene.
ANDREW STOCKEY, REPORTER, WTAE: We're just outside Valley Farm Drive, as you see state troopers have blocked off the scene. The investigation continues in to what took place this morning.
About 3:30 this morning, a blaze broke out in the 100 block of Valley Farm Drive, claiming the lives of six children, ages 4 to 10, and one female adult, the mother. Sky Four was at the scene a little bit earlier this morning. A wooden structure, as you can see, completely gutted by the fire.
Now, the cause is still under investigation, although state troopers do tell me that the heating system in the house was down and alternate heating sources were being used. One family member telling me perhaps a fireplace was active during that time. We still don't know the exact cause.
Now, before the fire completely gutted the home and took those lives, there was a daring rescue attempt attempted by two members -- two male members -- two adult male members inside the house. I talked to a family member who described to me exactly how they attempted to try to save the lives of those six children and that one mother.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The only thing I'm pretty sure, they were using the fireplace. Because the boy was cutting firewood. That's about all I know as far as the heat.
STOCKEY: One of those two adult males involved in the rescue attempt, Josh Arthur (ph), remains at Mercy Hospital this morning. He has burns on his body, second-deagree burns, we are told, and he is in serious condition.
And a footnote to all of this. This is not the first time that fire has affected the Arthur family. A family many years ago took three members of his family, a fire very similar to what took place this morning here in Waynesburg.
Live in Waynesburg, Greene County, Andrew Stockey, Channel 4, Action News.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What in the heck are you doing to me, your wife? What have you done to your children, to our family, to yourself?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOLMES: A woman gets a chance to face the man who wanted her dead. The thing is, that man is her husband. That story is coming up in the NEWSROOM.
NGUYEN: Also, oops, she did it again. That's right. Another drastic change for Britney Spears. Wait, though, until you see the new look for the pop diva. It's got the whole country talking.
NGUYEN: OK. The buzz this morning?
HOLMES: Yes, this is buzz.
NGUYEN: Yes. Britney Spears' buzz, to be exact.
HOLMES: We've got a photo here to show you. This is from x17online.
That is Britney Spears. She went to a salon last night and had a little taken off the top.
NGUYEN: Bradley Jacobs of "US" magazine joins us now on the phone from New York.
Bradley, thank you for giving us a minute. And what are the chances that, you know, she just wanted a new do and it's much ado about nothing? She just wanted a new hair cut?
NGUYEN: He laughs.
BRADLEY JACOBS, "US" MAGAZINE: Yes. Well, you know, she's been a blonde, she's been a brunette. Why not try the bald look?
JACOBS: And no female pop star has ever had it, I don't think. Maybe Melissa Etheridge last year. But "US" magazine's reporting on our Web site this morning that we actually talked to a couple of different people who were at the hair salon with her in Tarzana, California, last night when -- when somebody -- she came in and said she wanted her head shaved. The hairdresser refused. So she literally grabbed the hair clipper and started doing it herself.
NGUYEN: Bradley, did she say why? I mean, did she offer any information?
JACOBS: Yes. They asked why she wanted to shave her head, and she said, "I don't want anyone touching me. I'm tired of everybody touching me."
Another employee there told "US" magazine she wasn't making sense at all and you could tell she's not in a good place at all and that she's totally freaking out. She was a nightmare to deal with, and they said she was screaming -- sorry, yes, she was a nightmare to deal with.
NGUYEN: Well, you know, this is really kind of interesting, to say the least, because there was some talk that she was in rehab, then she was out of rehab. And I have to ask -- I don't know, there are some eastern traditions and cultures that a lot of times when a situation is just so bad, you can't control it, sometimes the best thing to do is to shave your head. I wonder if this is some kind of way to really just get rid of all the bad that's going on in her life and start anew.
JACOBS: Well, that was my first thought, too. But...
NGUYEN: Uh-oh. You're laughing again.
JACOBS: Well, there are unconfirmed reports that she checked in and out of rehab within one day this week. What we do know is that her former assistant of 10 years, Felicia Colatta (ph), wrote a letter, an open letter to Britney on her fan site, saying that she's "crushed, saddened and heartsick" about the way Britney's life is unfolding.
And this is what she wrote to fans -- "I want you to know that we" -- as in her family and nearest and dearest, all of whom are not on the payroll anymore -- "are doing everything in our power to get help for Britney."
But now this incident yesterday with shaving her head and getting the two tattoos that followed, followed a cross-country flight. She got on to an airplane, domestic -- she got on to a domestic flight. She sat in the very back in Miami yesterday.
NGUYEN: So she went coach?
JACOBS: She went coach. She sat in the back in Miami, flew all the way to L.A., got -- went to her house for less than 20 minutes, then got back in her car, went out, got her head shaved, then went from there and got two tattoos.
And I have the details on the tattoos as well. One of them is on her lower hip. It's a black, white, and pink cross. The other one is on her wrist, and it's a red and pink set of lips.
And usmagazine.com is reporting that we spoke to one of the people there when she was getting the tattoos, and she said she was a nightmare to deal with. She was screaming and flipping out from all the pain and wiggling her body all around. These tattoos, by the way, cost $80.
NGUYEN: It almost, Bradley, sounds like a cry for help. We'll see how it all turns out. But the news today, Britney Spears is bald, a new look for the pop star.
And Bradley, we appreciate your information. And thank you for your time today.
NGUYEN: And the story clearly taps into some strange obsession Americans have with celebrities.
And we'd like to know why you think that is. You can't really deny it, because it is out there. There's clearly an obsession. You may not have it, but many do.
So, is Americans obsessed with celebrities? If so, why? Why? What is sparking this obsession?
Send us an e-mail. And we may read it on the air.
HOLMES: All right. We will return to the gentleman with a full head of hair.
HOLMES: And we've got a live look here we want to show you from -- whoa. I don't know if that's a live look. Mardi Gras we're going to be talking about, in New Orleans.
NGUYEN: And so they have nonstop partying going on down there.
HOLMES: They partied the sun away down in New Orleans. But behind a lot of the revelry, a lot of the city -- the legendary city still faces a lot of heart-wrenching issues. Going to have that story next.
NGUYEN: And a very angry elephant takes out his frustrations on a minivan. The story behind this incredible video, it's ahead in the NEWSROOM.
NGUYEN: Let's take a look at these topics: school integration, voting rights, and civil rights marches. It's 2007. So where is the United States when it comes to racial equality?
Veronica De La Cruz joins us now with a special report from CNN.com.
Good morning. VERONICA DE LA CRUZ, CNN PIPELINE ANCHOR: Hey, Betty. It's nice to see you again.
In honor of Black History Month, CNN is taking a closer look at racial equality in the United States. I wanted to show you our special report at CNN.com. It's called "Uncovering America."
Now, once you log on, you can take a look at this, our racial equality report card which grades our nation (INAUDIBLE) representation when it comes to U.S. politics, education, entertainment, and more. Find out what our panel of experts have to say. Or you can also weigh in with your own grades.
This explainer gives detailed statistics on the African-American population from discrepancies in education to income levels, and our list of icons and intellectuals highlights major strides in black history.
Also, throughout the month, CNN Pipeline offers a glimpse at black history in the making. There are interviews with people like Michael Maldon (ph), who is a pioneer in the entertainment industry, and many other entertainers.
Also, you can read and share your own stories on what it means to you to be black in America. And you can find it all online at cnn.com/roadtoequality.
And I have a lot of great interviews coming up on Pipeline. This Thursday I'm talking to Atlanta's mayor, Shirley Franklin.
NGUYEN: Shirley Franklin.
DE LA CRUZ: And then the week after that, the former defense secretary, William Cohen, who is married to Janet Langhart.
So a lot of great interviews coming up on CNN Pipeline.
NGUYEN: Looking forward to that, Veronica. Thank you.
DE LA CRUZ: And don't forget the special online, cnn.com/roadtoequality.
HOLMES: Thank you, Veronica. Thank you very much.
Well, we'll move on to New Orleans now, with the good times rolling through once again. It's time for Mardi Gras. Dozens of parades filling the city, five scheduled for today. This is a chance for a lot of people not to focus maybe so much on the recovery, that long road to recovery, and just enjoy themselves a bit.
CNN's Gulf coast correspondent, Susan Roesgen, takes a look.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) SUSAN ROESGEN, CNN GULF COAST CORRESPONDENT: Stacie Merritt is a rider on a float in one of the many New Orleans parades leading up to Mardi Gras. Each rider buys boxes of things to throw to the crowds and spends hours getting ready. And if you don't live here, the effort may seem strange in a city where so much serious work still needs to be done.
STACIE MERRITT, FLOAT RIDER: That is the dining room.
ROESGEN: Stacy is still waiting to move back home. She's living in an apartment while she tries to get a contractor to start doing some work. It's a common frustration in New Orleans, even a year and a half after the hurricane. But for many people, stepping away from the unfinished part of their lives is what Stacy calls therapy.
MERRITT: But when you're here and you see construction and you see trailers and you see school zones but they're not on because the schools are not open anymore, that kind of depresses you. And you want to get out of that.
ROESGEN: On the eve of this year's Mardi Gras, entire neighborhoods are still struggling. Bureaucratic snafus have tied up money to rebuild, and a new wave of crime frightens many people who have come back. But the publisher of the local magazine on Mardi Gras, Arthur Hardy, says the carnival spirit is alive and well.
ARTHUR HARDY, MARDI GRAS HISTORIAN: It's amazing that Mardi Gras has recovered much more quickly than the general recovery of the area, and I think it's because private industry, citizens, run Mardi Gras. There's no government involved, really, and people can do whatever they want to do without having to wait for any kind of outside help or interference.
ROESGEN: And so, for the next few days until Fat Tuesday, thousands of New Orleanians will drag around bags of beads instead of lumber and sheet rock. But the end result is magic: a glittering fantasy for people who choose to celebrate life and not surrender.
Susan Roesgen, CNN.
NGUYEN: Well, this looks like fun, doesn't it? When we come back, though, the amazing story of a paraglider who got caught in a storm, tossed into the clouds, and actually lived to tell the tale.
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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What have you done to me, your wife? What have you done to your children, to our family, to yourself?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOLMES: She faces the man convicted of trying to kill her. That man is her husband.
Stay tuned. This is also coming up...
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The court signed your order, and this is the title of it: "Order Authorizing Involvement of Decedent." Decedent being Anna Nicole Smith.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOLMES: And it goes on. Finally, there's permission to embalm. What could be next in this bizarre twist swirling around the death of Anna Nicole Smith?
HOLMES: A deadly house fire this morning in Waynesburg, Pennsylvania, outside of Pittsburgh. And police now confirm that six children and one adult are dead in that blaze, and another adult was injured. The adults in the home reportedly rushed from room to room trying to save the children.
NGUYEN: At least 15 people are dead following a suicide attack inside a Pakistani courtroom. A judge is among the dead. Now it's still unknown what case was being heard at that time. At least 24 others were hurt in the blast, some of them critically.
Check this out, a surprise visit to Baghdad today by Condoleezza Rice. The secretary of State is meeting with U.S. and Iraqi officials about the latest security measures. Rice says it looks like the new crackdown in Baghdad is off to a good start. She next travels to Israel and the Palestinian territories.
Back here at home, Senate Democrats are pushing for a vote today on a nonbinding Iraq resolution, but it's likely they won't get the 60 votes necessary to actually get the issue on the table. You can watch the whole debate live and uncut this afternoon. All you have to do is go to email@example.com.
HOLMES: The pig, almost here, the year of the pig, at least. Talking about the Chinese New Year's year here. Millions of people have crowded into areas throughout Beijing. That's happening right now and they're welcoming in the lunar new year.
NGUYEN: Get you to the battle over Anna Nicole Smith and that battle far from over. It seems that every time one issue is resolved, more pop up. The paternity questions surrounding baby Dannielynn is still very much up in the air even as Anna Nicole's mother and her long-time companion bicker over where the former model will be buried. CNN's Randi Kaye reports.
RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In a case already filled with more questions than answers, here are two more. Where did Anna Nicole Smith want to be buried and how much of her estate is new baby Dannielynn entitled to? The answers you might think rest inside her former "Playboy" Playmate's will. They don't. The 16-page document is signed Vickie Lynn Marshall, Smith's legal name, dated July 30th, 2001. A lot has changed since then. Smith had a daughter. There were stories of a wedding planned and she lost her only son. Daniel, who was set to inherit everything died suddenly last September.
LISA BLOOM, COURT TV: When someone wants to leave their entire estate to one person, as Anna did to her son, Daniel, usually there's a follow-up paragraph that says in the event he predeceases me, then all of my assets will go to somebody else. This will does not say that.
KAYE: So where does that leave Dannielynn and companion Howard K. Stern, one of four men still playing a game of who's your daddy? The will specifically excludes any spouse or future children from inheritance.
BLOOM: I think she'll be treated as an intestate person, in other words, somebody who died without a will. All the money will go to her only surviving heir. That would be Dannielynn. So I think Dannielynn is going to take anyway (ph).
KAYE: That could leave Stern, named as executor of the will with no money from his honey. Smith's estranged mother Virgie also gets nothing. Though her lawyer called the will a phantom will and questioned its validity because it wasn't filed in court. Virgie and Stern are still arm wrestling over Smith's body and where to bury it.
JUDGE LARRY SEIDLIN, BROWARD COUNTY FAMILY COURT: The court's signing an order. This is the title of it, order authorizing embalmment of decedent, decedent being Anna Nicole Smith will be beginning to give her peace.
KAYE: But even as the embalming got under way, more questions about drugs. Tmz.com posted this prescription for methadone written for a Michelle Chase, one of Smith's aliases and this receipt from Key pharmacy, which shipped the methadone to Vickie Marshall, Smith's legal name in the Bahamas. Notice the date. August 25th last year. Smith was eight months' pregnant. The California medical board is investigating. Dr. Sandeep Kapoor's lawyer sent us this statement. Dr. Kapoor's treatment program for Anna Nicole Smith was at all times medically sound and appropriate. Medical research and protocols confirm that methadone is approved for use by pregnant patients.
And come Tuesday Howard K. Stern will appear in a Florida courtroom try and convince the judge Smith should be buried next to her son in the Bahamas. Until now Stern has been taking part in the proceedings by speaker phone. His lawyer said he needed to stay in the Bahamas with the baby. But the lawyer for Smith's mother made a compelling argument, saying Stern and Smith had left the baby before, once to see a boxing match in Florida, again to buy a boat. It was during that trip that Anna Nicole Smith died. Randi Kaye, CNN, New York.
HOLMES: First, the target of a murder for hire scheme. Now the wronged wife gets her day in court. She had plenty of say to the father of her children. Kim (INAUDIBLE) of CNN affiliate KPRC reports from Houston
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How could you not imagine the hell you were planning for your children?
UNKNOWN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Dr. Shelly Ferrill lived to tell her husband off in court after he pled guilty to a plot to have her killed. John Sheroke was caught on tape by police asking a hit man to make his wife's murder look like a carjacking last October.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What need, what desire could possibly (INAUDIBLE) a mother.
UNKNOWN CORRESPONDENT: In her victim's impact statement, Ferrill says hers eight-and six-year-old children are scarred for life.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: ... refuses to put words to our pain. (INAUDIBLE) He is acting out his frustrations and losing a father.
UNKNOWN CORRESPONDENT: Without a trial, we don't know John's Sheroke's true motive for murder, but prosecutors say he was having an affair and he would have collected millions in insurance money. But Dr. Ferrill hinted to Sheroke's shortcomings.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You coveted everything I worked for and yet resented my success. You expected a perfection from me that you could have never lived up to. You refused to put in the work to create the life you wanted.
HOLMES: That report from Kim (INAUDIBLE) of CNN affiliate KPRC in Houston.
NGUYEN: Well, listen to this story, a paraglider's perilous ordeal and her amazing story of survival. Here's how it happened. It actually happened while she and other paragliders were in Australia preparing for the world championship and managed to land nearly, after being in the air and falling some 32,000 feet. It was because they got sucked into a thunderstorm. Now 32,000 feet is higher than Mount Everest to put all of this in perspective. Temperatures at that height dropped to 40 below. The paraglider says she thought her chances of survival were almost zero.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
EWA WISNIERSKA, PARAGLIDER: I was like praying, please, please, throw me somewhere from this cloud. I could hear the lightning around me, first in front. I said, oh, no, please not there but then I heard one behind me. So I realized I'm in the middle in the thunderstorm. And I'm sure I don't want to stop flying, so I want to start to enjoy it as fast as possible.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NGUYEN: Some more information now, she lost consciousness for more than 30 minutes but suffered only frost bite. This while a Chinese paraglider caught up in that same storm system was killed.
HOLMES: Lucky woman there.
Do you want to know the value of your home? What about your neighbor's house? A real estate revolution online. Up next the men behind zillow.com. They join us live.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our company is kind of like a one-stop company, one-stop entertainment media company.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NGUYEN: He's just 30 years old and already a self-made millionaire. So how did he do it? That's ahead in the NEWSROOM.
HOLMES: Well, thanks to the Internet, looking for a new crib to call home has become a lot more convenient. Now there's a new player in the online market, zillow.com. Have you heard of this one? Less than a year old, it's featured in the recent issue of "Fortune" magazine. How does it differ from other real estate web options out there? Joining us to talk about their latest Internet endeavor, the founders of zillow.com, Richard Barton, Lloyd Frink. Good morning to you gentlemen. Thank you for being here. Tell me if somebody's in the market for a new home, what is your site going to do for them? Richard, I'll start with you.
RICHARD BARTON, CO-FOUNDER, ZILLOW.COM: All right T.J.. Our site, actually, what we're trying to do is kind of like turning on the lights in a dark room. Our mission at zillow.com is to empower all of you people out there with information that you didn't have before and tools which make you smarter about and shopping for and buying homes. The first thing we did was try to place a real-time estimate, an estimate on every home in the country and now we're moving toward opening up the database and allowing people to publish into it with thinks like our make me move prices.
HOLMES: Now a lot of folks may not know, but you two are the guys that are behind expedia.com. Now Lloyd, is this in that same vein where people feel empowered really with expedia? They're kind of in control of their experience. Is this something you're trying to do with this website as well?
LLOYD FRINK, CO-FOUNDER, ZILLOW.COM: Yeah. We're really trying to give people a lot more information so that when they go talk to a realtor or talk to a real estate professional, that they'll be more informed and they'll have better educated on the types of decisions that they're going to make.
HOLMES: All right and I know, we're going to show one here at least. But, of course, the formula isn't perfect just yet, like you say. But we have an example here we can at least show. Here's a home I believe it was in Seattle, but a home that was on sale for $3.4 million. Hour, the zestimate using you all's formula came back and said the home was about $1.1 million. Now that's a huge discrepancy. So explain why we could see something like huge of a discrepancy in a home price.
FRINK: I got that one.
HOLMES: Yes please.
FRINK: Overall are users are very pleased with the accuracy of our zestimates. Nationwide, the error rate is about 7.2 percent. That being said, there are certainly some homes where we can be off. For example, on that one right there.
HOLMES: That's way off.
FRINK: And the reason that we generally are off is because we don't have updated home facts. In this particular case, I believe that the home has been updated, had a complete remodel since it last sold and the tax assessment doesn't actually reflect that.
HOLMES: So Richard, tell me, in a case like this, I know it's not all updated, so how does somebody that's going to your site, now how can they trust it? You say you're accurate most of the time, but still, if you see something that far off how can somebody get a number and go to that real estate agent? How can they have that confidence if mistakes like this one can happen?
BARTON: Zestimate is a starting point. And while we are generally very accurate at 7.2 percent, some are way off. But I think most reasonable people understand we kept really know. We haven't been inside the house. So what we do at zillow is allow people to actually update the information themselves. We have this tool called "my estimator" that anyone can go to, either the owner or someone looking at the house and say, hey, that home isn't a two-bedroom, 1,000-square foot home any more. It's a six bedroom, 5,000 square foot house. Now what would this estimate be and we have over half a million people that have actually done that on zillow so far.
HOLMES: OK. To rap up here, gentlemen, I'm sure you know, you probably got a lot of real estate agents, brokers and other folks out there nervous that you might eliminate the middle man at some point, you might eliminate them if you give people this option and empower them in this way to handle it on their own. What do you say to those folks? Are you really trying to revolutionize and knock maybe some players out of the game?
BARTON: We're not trying to eliminate the middle man here. It's actually very different from what we did with Expedia. With Expedia, we were a travel agent. With zillow, zillow is not a real estate agent. People need professional consultation in real estate. All we're trying to do is provide the information and tools by which people can be much smarter about these decisions and to try and create a new kind of marketplace like we're doing with these "make me move" prices, that allow people to say hey, what would it take, what would it take for me to pack my bags and turn over the keys to an owner. The reporter who wrote that "Fortune" cover story, Jeff O'Brien on a whim posted his "make me move" price in San Francisco and now he's in serious discussions with a buyer.
HOLMES: Richard Barton, Lloyd Frink, it is zillow.com. You can get your zestimate, like you say, don't cry if you see that your house is not worth what you think it is, just update the information. Gentlemen, thank you so much. We'll see you down the road I'm sure.
FRINK: Thank you very much.
HOLMES: Of course we got several other real estate websites out there. Some of the top online sites, realtor.com. You got Homegain and also Remax. So you've got plenty of options.
NGUYEN: This morning in our uncovering America series, the time to honor the struggle of Africa-Americans. It's black history month and today a profile of a young man who in a way represents a new generation where the focus has shifted from the civic rights arena to the business arena. CNN's Rick Sanchez introduces us to DJ Wimberly, a millionaire at the age of 30.
RICH SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): If you drop by the Atlanta home of DJ Wimberly, you're sure to get something baked, shaken, or fried. Wimberly's cooking up a whole lot more than what's in his kitchen. He says he's got the ingredients now for success in life.
DJ WIMBERLY: You have to have patience, determination and commitment. Anything is possible.
SANCHEZ: It's a recipe that's lead Wimberly to become the CEO of his own business, a business Wimberly says grossed $4 million last year. And at just 30 years of age, he's chairman of Wimberley Media Group, a multi-faceted company.
WIMBERLY: We have four divisions. One is Internet, one is also music, one is fashion and our media sector, which is everything else that we do, we didn't have a name for it so we decided to place it all in there. So our company is kind of like a one-stop company, one-stop entertainment media company.
SANCHEZ: But Wimberly says at 19 years of age, he began simply investing money he made from modeling in JC Penney catalogs. He ended up starting a small web design company.
WIMBERLY: I decided that I wanted to work for myself. I decided that being a boss was my dream, but I wanted to use my leadership rose not just to be a boss, not just to say I'm the boss, but I wanted to use my position to help others. SANCHEZ: His dream flourished over the next decade, blossoming into a full fledged business with 60 employees in the United States and abroad, currently designing and managing web sites for 250 clients worldwide, including Atlanta Falcons football player Warick Dunne (ph). Wimberly's quick to stress anyone can enjoy the same success.
WIMBERLY: The American dream doesn't have to come when you're 40 years old. The American dream can come as early as 19, 20, 25, if you're committed to it. You know, you have to buckle down and say this is what I want to do.
SANCHEZ: Still, he admits the role of businessman can be tough.
WIMBERLY: Sometimes it might take that you have to work 20 hours a day to achieve that goal, but you know what? At the end of the day when you are at the success level that you want, that 20 hours a day seems so, like I could -- I would do it again.
SANCHEZ: Of course, it's February, black history month. And we couldn't help but ask how does he consider himself a part of black history?
WIMBERLY: There's a lot of African-American CEOs, but I think the difference is I'm a CEO that thinks out of the box. I like to have fun.
SANCHEZ: Patience, determination, commitment. It's a recipe that always has DJ Wimberly cooking up something new. Rick Sanchez, CNN, Atlanta.
NGUYEN: Well, there are more uncovering America profiles coming throughout this month. And this evening at 4:00 Eastern, we take you inside the CIA. Our tour guide, one of the men who oversees the agency's international spies. He's one of the first African-Americans to ever hold that position. It's an intriguing twist though because his mother paved the way.
And then we are on the cat walk with fashion designer Tracy Reeves. You may not recognize her face, but you will probably recognize her designs. Her clientele reads likes a "Who's Who" of the Hollywood elite, from Paris Hilton to R&B singer Mya.
Plus a superior court judge who is ruling out hunger. He's taken the idea of giving back to a whole new level. Watch these profiles at 4:00 Eastern every Saturday this month.
HOLMES: Of course, we know, and like I always say to you, you can't put a price tag on love, but what about this wedding dress?
NGUYEN: Well, that's a whole nother story. Millions, millions that will go for this bling, bling, and we're going to tell you exactly how many millions ahead in the water cooler.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) NGUYEN: Well, we know every day there are those news stories that make you stop and say "what?"
HOLMES: It's something we call the water cooler. Now we got a wedding gown to show you that you will not be finding in Filene's basement, a place I've never been, but.
NGUYEN: (INAUDIBLE) discount.
HOLMES: If you have to ask how much for this dress, you cannot afford it.
NGUYEN: Absolutely not because most brides are happy just to get one diamond. This custom made dress is set in with $19 million worth of diamonds. That is 19 and six zeros, guys.
HOLMES: For the daddy, the dear dad who wrote the check for his princess to wear this on her wedding day, well, the groom had better be worth it.
NGUYEN: He'd better be worth it.
Don't make that pachyderm mad. Everybody would agree, this is probably one of the favorite videos of the day. Somebody is having a very bad day. The four-ton trained elephant, mind you this elephant is trained and it was supposed to be playing polo in Sri Lanka.
HOLMES: And wasn't in the mood to play apparently. Nobody was injured here but the insurance will cover this because they do have the elephant attack insurance policy as well.
NGUYEN: Really. I don't have that on my policy. (INAUDIBLE)
HOLMES: It's huge but is is worth it.
HOLMES: Well of course we've been seeing Britney's new look, shaved head, telling you all about it this morning. Well, we started thinking. She's not the first female celebrity to go bald.
NGUYEN: This is true. There is Sinead O'Connor, the singer, Natalie Portman, you see there in the middle and who can forget Demi Moore. All of them shaved their heads. Some of them for movies, Sinead, I think that's just her do.
HOLMES: Natalie Portman pulled it off pretty well I thought. Sigourney Weaver also, Persis Khambatta, you remember her from the "Star Trek," yes. And also Erykah Badu singing there on the right also shaved her head.
NGUYEN: Then there's -- can we show the video? Wait. Why is my head so big? That is awful. T.J. you look just fine but I look like a Conehead. Let's move on, shall we? Even Britney's new do looks way better than that. So all morning long, we have been asking you not only about all the stories -- we're not going to go back. But you've been asking you about these stories, Anna Nicole Smith, Britney Spears, are Americans just too caught up with celebrities? In fact, we've learned, indeed they are.
HOLMES: We got some e-mails for you that we heard from. One we heard from Dorothy in Illinois who says, America's obsession with celebrities is create and fueled by the media. It sells magazines and air time. Reading about what rich and famous folks do to mess up their lives makes regular people feel better about themselves.
NGUYEN: Interesting, though we're not forcing you to read it or watch it. Jim McDade from Alabama says this, we love to watch our celebrities as they rise and especially when they fall. Rock stars, astronauts, billionaires and film actors are people who live the kind of lives that we can only imagine. And obviously some of those lives end up in turmoil. We talk about that a whole lot here.
HOLMES: Unfortunately and of course CNN will still be following that Britney Spears, kind of a shocker for a lot of folks. We'll be following that throughout the day.
NGUYEN: Shake her head, a lot more pictures of that. But first, coming up in three minutes, a showdown in the Senate. We have a live report from Capitol Hill where it appears that a resolution against the president's troop increase in Iraq is facing a do or die situation.
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