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CNN NEWSROOM

No Sign of Missing U.S. Soldiers; Did Mom Cross the Line?; Gas Prices and Refineries; Coast Guard Scraps Refurbished Boats; Fears Over Produce Safety Remain

Aired May 18, 2007 - 14:00   ET

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


DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm Don Lemon, live at the CNN world headquarters in Atlanta.
KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Kyra Phillips.

Six days, dozens of raids, hundreds of leads, thousands of troops, but still no sign of three soldiers ambushed and kidnapped in Iraq.

LEMON: CNN is on the ground, on the search, and on the story. You'll see it live right here in the CNN NEWSROOM.

PHILLIPS: Missing almost a week. Are they alive or dead? Three American soldiers somewhere in Iraq. Four of their comrades and an Iraqi translator killed in the ambush last Saturday in which they were captured.

Just today we learned the name of the fourth soldier. The military needed a DNA test to confirm the victim was Sergeant Anthony J. Schober. Such was the condition of his body after the sneak attack that killed him.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERT SCHOBER, UNCLE OF SGT. ANTHONY SCHOBER: He was very proud and he was -- of going into the Army, and the Army life fit him very well, he enjoyed it a lot. And that's why he re-upped. And going over to Iraq and being with his buddies was something he felt he needed to do.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PHILLIPS: As we said, three soldiers with Schober's unit that day are still unaccounted for. A monumental search effort, thousands of troops working around the clock has so far turned up nothing.

Straight to Iraq now for an update on that search.

CNN's Arwa Damon is in Yusufiya, the heart of the Triangle of Death. She's embedded with the troops that are searching for him.

Arwa, my guess is you haven't gotten any sleep as well.

ARWA DAMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Kyra. In fact, very few of these men have stopped from that search at all. As they all tell me, if they are not outside the wire searching, they're trying to get whatever sleep they can.

This really is quite an intense effort, and it is quite the emotional roller-coaster, especially as the days tick by. Each mission they go out on, each intelligence-based raid -- and much of that intelligence is coming from detainees. Hundreds of them have been brought in for questioning, but each time they go out, there is that renewed hope that perhaps that will be the mission that finds the three kidnapped soldiers, but no sign of them just yet.

This is incredibly difficult terrain to navigate, not just because it is inlaid with roadside bombs, but also because of the insurgency that is still highly active out there. Everyone fully aware of the dangers at hand.

But when you speak with many of these men, especially those that were closest to those who were killed and kidnapped, what you really see amongst them, despite the sorrow, is this determination that, no matter what, they will find their missing comrades -- Kyra.

PHILLIPS: And Arwa, tell me how each day, evening goes when they brief. Is it a matter of looking at a map and marking off areas they've already searched? Is it neighborhood by neighborhood? Kind of give us a visual of how they go forward each hour.

DAMON: Well, to give you the first visual, this area is mainly fields and farmlands. And in much -- many parts of it, the vegetation is incredibly thick. It's so thick that you actually can't even see through it. And they have to stick to these fields and farmlands and try to move through this vegetation to avoid the roads, because there are bombs on the roads. There are even bombs laid inside the canals.

That aside, what they're doing right now on a regular basis is they've kind of partioned off this area into a number of sections. They're going through, searching and re-searching the same location, the same homes, questioning the same people, trying to see if new people pop up into that area, really looking under every single stone for any sort of clue.

Aside from that, there are also the targeted missions. Those are the ones that are intelligence-based that are going out on a regular basis. This really is 24-hour, around the clock.

We see platoons going out, platoons coming in, constantly. The guys exhausted, dripping with sweat, but again, still determined to keep going. But it is very, very difficult.

PHILLIPS: Arwa Damon, we'll keep checking in. Appreciate it.

LEMON: And what is the reaction from the Pentagon? Well, straight to the Pentagon now and our Barbara Starr -- Barbara.

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, Don, to follow up on what my colleague Arwa Damon is saying, they are pursuing a number of leads. Unfortunately, none of them have panned out yet. Some of them have actually been phony leads. They have looked in a couple of canals, for example, drained one canal of water after getting a lead that something might be there. Nothing was there.

But I have spoken to some military officials who confirm that, yes, over the last several days of the search they did find some military equipment items -- they will not say what they are -- that they believe possibly could be U.S. government issue. Whether those are tied to these missing soldiers or not, of course, still remains to be seen, but a spokesman did give us the following statement about all of this, saying, "Any potential evidence we find in the field is being tested for connection to the missing soldiers. If and when that evidence is determined to be definitely connected to the search, and after we have exploited all possibility intelligence, we will discuss it."

So they have found some items. They are looking at them, trying to determine first that they are U.S. government issue for the military. They believe they are. Trying to see if they have any connection to the soldiers, but the hunt after all these days, Don, still goes on.

LEMON: All right.

CNN's Barbara Starr.

Thank you, Barbara.

Two more journalists are dead in Iraq. One was a photographer, the other a sound tech in the Baghdad bureau of ABC News. Both were Iraqi. The network says the men were ambushed as they came home from work.

At least 104 journalists are reported killed in Iraq since the war began.

PHILLIPS: More than a few parents seem willing to fudge their addresses to get their kids into the right public schools. Jeanine Echols did it, and the district attorney in Cobb County, Georgia, wanted to throw her in prison for it. Today a jury nixed that.

Here with the story, CNN's Rusty Dornin.

You know, we were talking about this in the morning meeting. Do you know how many people do this and have done this for decades?

RUSTY DORNIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Of course. For various reasons, whether they want to get in a better school, or they want their child to get a better athletic team, or as you were pointing out, wanted to run with a better crowd.

PHILLIPS: Exactly.

DORNIN: That sort of thing.

But Jeanine Echols, here kids 16, 14 and 8. They -- she sent them to a school in Marietta, Georgia, in the city, rather than the county, because the schools were better. Well, the children did very well. They are all honor students.

This week they were honored at two different award ceremonies, one on Monday, one on Tuesday. And on Wednesday, Jeanine Echols was arrested on 16 felony counts for falsifying those documents at the school, claiming that she lived inside the city rather than in the county.

So we spoke to her attorney, who said the jury, he felt, did what was right.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

VIC REYNOLDS, ECHOLS' ATTORNEY: I guess the bottom line is that's why you have a jury. And you get 12 folks from the community to say this is a crime in my community or it isn't. And I think they spoke loud and clear 16 times over today that it wasn't.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DORNIN: But I just spoke to the school district, and they were very disappointed by the acquittal, because they feel that she was accused of falsifying government documents, and that she clearly did that. It was punishable by one to 5 years in prison. Of course, if she had been convicted and gotten the maximum on all of them, that would have been nearly 80 years in jail. So...

PHILLIPS: And there's even an overall lesson here, and that is, no matter where you live, what type of neighborhood you're in, all public schools should be up to par. I mean, it's true, if you live in a not -- in sort of a low-income area, usually the schools don't have the type of books and teaching and all of that than areas with more money. So it just seems so unfair.

DORNIN: Right. And that's what the jurors I think saw.

They saw she had no criminal intent, she was trying to get a quality education for her children.

PHILLIPS: Right.

DORNIN: And they felt that the 16 felony counts was just overkill in this case. But it's certainly a huge problem not only in that district and in metro Atlanta, but I'm sure across the country.

PHILLIPS: Oh, state to state, it's nothing new.

All right. Rusty Dornin, thank you.

Well, the jury has spoken in this case, and we'd like to know what you think.

Is it all right to lie to get your child into a different school? Send your e-mail response to cnnnewsroom@cnn.com. We'll read a sampling of viewers' opinions a little later. LEMON: Well, the whale rescuers are back at it today, trying to save a pair of wayward humpbacks in California. A mother and calf surfaced almost a week ago in the Sacramento San Joaquin Delta, about 90 miles up river from the Pacific Ocean. Both have injuries, possibly from a ship's propeller.

Well, yesterday scientists used recorded noises from Alaska whales to try to lure the humbacks back down the river and out to sea, and it didn't work. So today they're trying sounds from California whales.

Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PIETER FOLKENS, ALASKA WHALE FOUNDATION: These animals are not in terribly bad situation. They're actually pretty normal.

We don't have a level of urgency that I think a lot of people are having. I just want to remind you, we're going through a process, it's a learning process. We've never been here before. We've never had injured cow-calf pairs this far up the river before, and so we're taking it very easy and deliberately because we don't want to make any mistakes along the way. So...

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Well, scientists say if the sounds haven't worked by Tuesday, they'll try something else.

PHILLIPS: Deep trouble over the Coast Guard's deepwater project. Millions of dollars later, some of the boats aren't even seaworthy.

We're going to ask Admiral Thad Allen what happened.

LEMON: And how would you like a side order of E. coli with that salad? Before you pick up your fork, you'll want to see Dr. Sanjay Gupta's eye-opening report on food safety.

You're watching CNN, the most trusted name in news.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PHILLIPS: In northern Florida, some people run out of their homes by a huge wildfire are being allowed back to go home. Rain overnight helped firefighters gain even more control of the fires straddling Florida and Georgia. It's about 70 percent contained, but for how long?

This weekend, winds are expected to kick up again, and the temperatures will be rising. Not exactly ideal firefighting conditions. So far the fire's burned more than 320,000 acres.

Rob Marciano just back from those fire lines.

(WEATHER REPORT) LEMON: Keeping food safe. New fears over potentially deadly contamination. Tips from our very own Dr. Sanjay Gupta, live in the CNN NEWSROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: Gas prices up yet again, a record high for a sixth straight day. AAA says a gallon of self-serve unleaded now averages $3.12. That's a gallon, and that's up a penny since yesterday. Some analysts blame refineries, saying they aren't keeping up with demand, in part because they haven't bounced back from hurricanes Rita and Katrina back in August of 2005.

CNN's Sean Callebs reports from Norco, Louisiana.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SEAN CALLEBS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The U.S. oil refining industry suffering a hangover in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita. If you look at this graph, before those hurricanes punished the Gulf Coast area, the oil refining was operating at about 95 capacity. Then, look at that huge dip, all the way down to 70 percent capacity, when we saw a huge spike in the cost of gasoline.

Now, since that time, the U.S. has never fully recovered. Not one time since then have refineries been able to operate at 95 percent refining capacity across the country.

There were lessons learned from the hurricanes. There's a tremendous concentration of refineries here in the Gulf Coast area. Texas and Louisiana, the number one, and number two, refining states in the country. But there's very little the U.S. can do. There's very little surplus because the demand is so great, and there's very little refineries can do to prepare for a punishing hurricane coming through.

Now, is there any promising news on the horizon, any new refineries? The simple answer is not on the immediate horizon.

A lot of refineries are doing limited expansion right now, but really the refining only adds about a drop in the bucket to the U.S. production. A lot of the refineries are hesitant to make the huge kind of investment it would take.

There's still the argument, the environmental concern, not in my backyard. And from an economics standpoint, they wonder if it makes sense. There's a tremendous outcry for new, cleaner-burning fuels in the future. So refineries are hesitant to spend billions of dollars to build a new facility wondering what the future holds.

Sean Callebs, CNN, in Norco, Louisiana.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

PHILLIPS: Well, workers at Chrysler can sleep a little easier now. Susan Lisovicz is at the New York Stock Exchange to tell us about a deal to keep their pensions safe, at least in the short term.

(BUSINESS REPORT)

PHILLIPS: Well, we've been asking what you think about lying to get your child into a different school. We've gotten, of course, a lot of responses.

LEMON: We certainly did. Let's start with one from Hugh.

And Hugh writes, "It's never right to lie to get your kids into school, but it's also utterly ridiculous to put someone in jail for doing it. It's wrong to send a fibbing mom to prison when a smack on the writs and a few hours community service would be ample punishment."

PHILLIPS: And Susan makes this point: "The issue is not with the parents. The issue is with the fact that our schools are suffering and parents are desperate to seek better education for their children."

I agree with Susan.

LEMON: But Chris, well, Chris saw it a little bit differently, Kyra. He says, "I think she got away with a crime. This mother received several warnings before she was arrested and ignored those warnings. I don't think she should be in jail, but she should have to pay the school system the money they spent on her children."

Keep your e-mails coming. And we'll read more of them later.

Strong opinions.

PHILLIPS: Well, straight ahead, hundreds of millions of your dollars spent for state-of-the-art Coast Guard fleet. What did you get? Well, there's some boats that aren't even seaworthy. What went wrong? We're asking Admiral Thad Allen for answers straight ahead from the CNN NEWSROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PHILLIPS: Hello, everyone. I'm Kyra Phillips, live at the CNN world headquarters in Atlanta.

LEMON: And I'm Don Lemon.

A multimillion-dollar scandal is about to hit the fantail for the U.S. Coast Guard. Boats that were supposed to be upgraded, well, they're headed for decommissioning instead.

PHILLIPS: What went wrong, and how's it going to get fixed? I'm going to talk live with Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen.

You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM. LEMON: But first let's talk about immigration. If you can't find something to like about the immigration reform bill that burst on the scene yesterday, keep looking. If you can't find something to hate, keep looking as well.

There's something for everybody in a vast and complicated compromise that brings together people who usually don't agree on anything and divides people who usually agree on everything.

CNN's Anderson Cooper reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Americans demanded action, and they got it.

SEN. EDWARD KENNEDY (D), MASSACHUSETTS: And the agreement we just reached is the best possible chance we will have in years to secure or borders, bring millions out of the shadows and into the sunshine of America.

COOPER: A bipartisan group of senators struck a landmark deal that could pave the way to citizenship for every undocumented man, woman and child in this country.

Here's how the plan would work.

After meeting certain criteria, millions of illegal immigrants would receive temporary visas called Z visas before applying for permanent, legal status. They also would have to pay a $5,000 fine.

Every head of household would have to return to his or her country of origin within eight years. They're guaranteed to be let back in. And green cards would be issued based on a point system that would favor education over family ties.

Senator Lindsey Graham says this bill will deliver justice.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: From the Ph.D. to the landscaper, there's a chance for you to participate in the American dream on our terms, a way that will make this country better.

COOPER: The other key points of the proposal include a guest worker program for hundreds of thousands to work in the U.S. for two years at a time; a new security perimeter created, and the border fence expanded. In the workplace, new enforcement procedures and strict penalties to employers who hire illegal aliens.

So far, President Bush likes what he sees.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This is a bill where people who live here in our country will be treated without amnesty, but without animosity.

COOPER: But to critics, it's amnesty. Shouts of the word were heard at the Capitol today. REP. BRIAN BILBRAY (R), CALIFORNIA: If you think we're going to control illegal immigration by telling the world we're going to reward it, you can't build a fence tall enough to stop illegal immigration.

COOPER: Still, the president says he's anxious to sign legislation as quickly as possible. He calls it a first step. The question is, is it the right one?

Anderson Cooper, CNN.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LEMON: And one more aspect of the bill that presumably would appeal to those who want immigration enforcement: the legislation would increase the number of Border Patrol officers by 50 percent to 18,000.

Well, critics argue that much of the new immigration bill is simply word games. What supporters call a path to citizenship they say is simply another way of saying amnesty.

CNN's Lou Dobbs shared his thoughts about the legislation on CNN's "AMERICAN MORNING".

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LOU DOBBS, CNN ANCHOR: Of course it's amnesty. And the question becomes to what degree is that a pejorative, and to what degree is it an opportunity?

What we watched yesterday, as these senators came together to hail themselves in reaching this compromise, is exactly what we saw happen a year ago, when the Senate also passed a comprehensive immigration reform bill.

The fact is that there are some improvements in this bill from a year ago, as best we can understand it. No one yet has seen the 380 pages. But one thing it is definitely not: it is not comprehensive. One thing it definitely is, is amnesty.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Well, the immigration bill has to get through the Senate before it heads to the House. Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said she won't bring the bill to the House floor unless President Bush can deliver at least 70 Republican votes.

PHILLIPS: Want to buy a boat? One owner, newly refurbished, seaworthiness not guaranteed. It's a trick question, but you've already bought it. Several, in fact.

Coast Guard patrol boats overhauled at a cost of almost $100 million taxpayers dollars, decommissioned and scrapped for faulty workmanship. That's just the tip of an iceberg known as Deepwater, a $24 billion project aimed at modernizing a fleet that fought the Nazis off in Greenland in World War II. To help fight the war on terror, the Coast Guard enlisted the defense contractors Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman, and in a tidal wave of defects, delays and cost overruns has resulted.

Last month, though, Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen took back the helm of Deepwater. And just this week, the Coast Guard announced it wants its money back for those useless patrol boats.

Admiral Allen joins me now, live from Washington.

Good to see you, sir.

ADMIRAL THAD ALLEN, U.S. COAST GUARD: Hi, Kyra.

PHILLIPS: I guess just looking at the background, the program was definitely in need. I was shocked to see this old film of these ships during World War II, the same ships that are fighting terror in 2007.

ALLEN: Kyra, one thing everybody agrees on is the requirement. We've got to replace our aging aircraft and cutters. Unfortunately, that 64-year-old ship was replaced with the next oldest cutter, which was 63 years.

PHILLIPS: Well, and is this like a continual -- has this been a problem for years, these old ships and old aircraft? I mean, why do you think it has remained such a fight to get the funds and to be able to rebuild your fleet?

ALLEN: Well, Kyra, in the middle of the 1990s, we realized a lot of our aircraft and cutters were going to become obsolescent at about the same time, about where we're at right now.

And our attempt was to try and acquire a system of cutters and aircraft and communications systems that would be interoperable, and to do that over a period of time, because we were operating under severe budget constraints at the time, and that four-star acquisition strategy when we began.

PHILLIPS: All right. So here came Deepwater. The intentions were good. However, there were some serious contract issues with the companies and the oversight, tremendous problems, millions of dollars wasted.

Just looking at some of the numbers that I was reading from the CRS report for Congress, $24 billion later, millions of dollars spent, $800 million on national security cutters with structural flaws, patrol boats with decks that were cracking. Hulls were buckling. Small boats with radios that weren't even waterproof.

Tell me what happened.

ALLEN: Well, Kyra, I think it was a combination of factors. First of all, we were constrained at how much money we could expend every year, so we were forced to extend the lives of some vessels, and the 823-foot cutters that I took out of service were existing cutters that were lengthened in order to increase their service lives while we bought other ships before we replaced them.

Unfortunately, we don't believe they were structurally sound enough to have those changes made. And those boats have been taken out of service that we're looking to get value for right now.

PHILLIPS: And you have definitely stepped up and said, "Look, we've got some serious issues here. I've got to take the helm and make a difference."

And I want you to be able to respond to the Coast Guard whistleblower, the retired captain, Kevin Jarvis. He was -- he used the analogy of the fox guarding the henhouse, when it came to the mismanagement of taxpayer funds. And he said, "It's where the government asked the fox to develop the security system for the henhouse, then told the, 'By the way, we'll give you the security code to the system and then we'll tell you when we're on vacation.'"

Well, now you're taking over, you're guarding the henhouse. Tell me what is going to change, how fast will it change, what's your plan of action?

ALLEN: Well, Kyra, as the commandant of the Coast Guard, I'm responsible for this procurement, and we need to get it right. And I've been working with the inspector general. Our oversight committee is the Government Accountable Office.

We're making significant changes inside the Coast Guard to unify and strengthen our acquisition organization, but at the same time we have to be a better, more informed customer, and we have to play a larger part. And we're going to do that.

PHILLIPS: So let me ask you. These patrol boats that you said, "Hey, look, these aren't even seaworthy." Even these national security cutters that have structural issue, can you fix those at all or take any parts from those boats? I mean, can any of that money be saved? And can you get paid back at all?

ALLEN: Well, Kyra, on the 123 patrol boats, there is equipment that can be reused, but in the end we will not have gained the value that was invested in those boats, and we need to recover that right now. We're taking appropriate steps with our contractors to do that.

In regards to the larger cutters and the issue of fatigue life, we feel there are changes that can be made in the court of construction of those vessels, and we're in the process of doing that. We think they're going to be just fine. In fact our national security cutters will be the most capable cutters we've ever produced for the Coast Guard.

PHILLIPS: Now, I've had the chance to be on those cutters. They're pretty amazing. Going through Antarctica and cutting through the ice and getting to the South Pole. They're -- it's an incredible ship.

What is different about these cutters that's going to make me feel more safe as an American citizen? ALLEN: Well, what we did was we changed our requirements after 9/11, which is one of the issues that drove the price of these boats up, but we did some things to make them more survivable in a chemical, nuclear, biological attack. We changed the flight deck configuration, so we could accommodate maybe helicopters and also accommodate better intelligence capability on these ships.

Everything was directed at the new requirements and the new threat environment we found ourselves in after 9/11.

PHILLIPS: So Admiral, here's what I want to ask you, just hearing about the money wasted and these assets not up and operating. If a ship were to come into U.S. waters, potentially a threat to the United States, moving towards, say, the port of Miami, are you capable to defend the U.S. right now with what you have?

ALLEN: Well, we're much more capable than we were on 9/11, but we need to understand that we have over 12,000 miles of coastline. If you take the navigable shorelines, it's up closer to 95,000 miles. And we have a permeable border.

What we are doing is incrementally trying to build layers out there, of which these cutters are part of. But we also need what we call maritime domain awareness, and that's very persistent surveillance out there.

So we can detect anomalous activity and intercept it. And it's part of a larger system. It's going to take several years to build out, but that's our intent.

PHILLIPS: I want to ask you about your adaptive force package. You know, I had the chance to watch you work through Katrina. This is where you really made a name for yourself with your leadership, and now you're heading the U.S. Coast Guard. The president picked you.

You have actually taken your adaptive force package. You have built these SWAT teams. You have built these port security teams. You have also built these strike teams for oil and pollution.

How are you going to pull from all of those assets and make us all feel a lot safer when it comes to the waters and the threats that are there? How are you going to use all this Special Operations training, which is very new to the Coast Guard?

ALLEN: Well, it's a great question, Kyra. Starting clear back with the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 that was passed in the wake of the Exxon Valdez indent, we've had deployable specialized forces built in the Coast Guard, but we tended to manage them programmatically in scopites (ph) or silos (ph).

What I found as the Atlantic area commander on 9/11, and then with my experience in Hurricane Katrina, you need to be able to force package to the specific event you're trying to remediate. In other words, you may need to marry up a security team with a FEMA urban search and rescue team. When I was talking with Secretary Chertoff about becoming a commandant, I proposed we should create the ability to do adaptive force packaging first in the Coast Guard, and they consider that department a lie. And we're trying to build that doctrine right now. It will be a way for us to put the right resources on target to the problems that we're trying to deal with.

PHILLIPS: We look forward to seeing solutions to those problems. Admiral Thad Allen, head of the U.S. Coast Guard, I appreciate your time today, sir.

ALLEN: Thank you, Kyra.

LEMON: Keeping food safe? New fears over potential deadly contamination, tips from very our own Sanjay Gupta. He's live in the NEWSROOM, straight ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: More E. Coli concerns, almost 130,000 pounds of steaks and ground beef are being recalled in 15 states in the southeast and the Midwest.

Recalls, contamination and food borne illness are beginning to sound almost routine, and vegetables, well, they can be affected, too. So CNN's chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, joins us now to talk about food safety and all that spinach and E. coli, in your special that's coming up this weekend.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Essentially, hearing you talk about the beef. You know, in the '90s it was always beef that we heard about, as far as E. coli goes, but the cattle industry was able to sort of reform itself.

Now you hear mainly with regards to produce. It's sort of amazing how many food outbreaks we've had, over 20 over the last decade or so.

The question for a lot of people is you hear the triple-washed spinach, what does that really mean? Does it really work? And how can we, as consumers, keep ourselves safe?

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

GUPTA (voice-over): It takes only a pinpoint's worth of E. Coli 0157-H7 to make you sick: as few as 100 cells. Young children and the very old are the most vulnerable to its toxins.

E. coli 0157 is also extremely hardy. It's resistant to cold. And in one test it survived on a leaf of lettuce for 77 days.

Mansour Samadpour knows all about deadly bacteria. He's president of IEH Laboratories, a Seattle-based company that tests salad greens for E. coli and other pathogens.

MANSOUR SAMADPOUR, PRESIDENT, IEH LABORATORIES: Every 15 minutes they can double in numbers, so you could have one cell going in, and after 24 hours, you can have billions of them. The toxin is released, it's absorbed and starts killing the intestinal cells and makes its way throughout the body.

GUPTA: We asked Samadpour to contaminate spinach leaves with E. coli 0157 and then use various methods to remove the bacteria. Washing it off in water, 50 parts per million of chlorine bleach in water, the same as the commercial processors you, and then two commercially available vegetable washes.

SAMADPOUR: This product you have to spray, also then mix.

GUPTA: Finally bleach and the vegetable washes.

SAMADPOUR: We are measuring the amount of bacteria that was on these leaves before the treatment and after the treatment, and you can determine what the impact of the treatment was.

GUPTA: Now, the unwashed spinach had 11,700 bacterial colonies. Each is one or two organisms, more than enough to make you sick.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

GUPTA: Not many people are going to do all that, go through all those precautions when they're just trying to get their spinach at home. They'll probably take it out of a bag and run it under tap water and put it in a salad bowl.

The point of fact is that doesn't work. It doesn't get enough of the E. coli off. That was what that test was supposed to show.

Again, you know, I sort of walked out of this whole experience, making the documentary for this weekend, still optimistic, though, because we know that in the cattle industry they were able to get better at this. The produce industry still, it's very much voluntary. There's no mandatory regulations.

They can't even recall food off the shelves mandatorily. They have to do that all voluntary. That needs to change, I think. I want to feel comfortable when I go to the grocery store and get food off the shelves.

LEMON: And there's huge interest in this. I mean, we talk about it every day. Every time there was another recall, we're like, well, what can you eat, you know? The list of what you couldn't eat was bigger than what you could eat.

GUPTA: That's right. And I think as a general expectation if you want to know that your food in this country is safe. I think, you know, to be fair, most times it is, but you know, I'm going to introduce you to some characters in the special this weekend who are directly affected by this. A 2-year-old who almost died.

LEMON: Oh, my goodness.

GUPTA: She's going to need kidney transplants. It's just remarkable how profound the impact can be.

LEMON: I'm so looking forward to this, and I think lots of people are. Tons of interest, Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

And we want to remind you, you can see all of Dr. Sanjay Gupta's special. It is this weekend, a special investigation. It's called "Danger: Poisoned Food" on Saturday and Sunday. It is at 8 p.m. Eastern right here on CNN.

Thanks, Sanjay.

GUPTA: Thank you.

PHILLIPS: All right. Eat your heart out, Jack Sparrow. Half a billion bucks of treasure pulled from the bottom of the sea. If we told you exactly where, well, we'd have to kill all ye.

I'm sorry, guys, I tried -- I tried the pirate voice. It didn't work. Keel-har-yay (ph). All right. Give me the "arr." Thank you.

GUPTA: Arr.

PHILLIPS: Thank you, Sanjay.

Sibila, can you do a pirate "arr"?

SIBILA VARGAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Arrr.

PHILLIPS: Hey. That's -- that's the sexiest pirate "arr" I've ever heard. Sibila Vargas.

VARGAS: I'm blushing now.

Well, I'll tell you what's coming up in the entertainment report, the hip-hop debate. That's kind of serious. It continues as a popular rap star lashes out against a proposed lyrical ban. I'll have that story and more straight ahead in the NEWSROOM.

PHILLIPS: Aye-aye.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PHILLIPS: Well, just say "doh," and get ready to raise a Duff beer to America's first family of dysfunction. This weekend "The Simpsons" reaches a milestone, its 400th episode. The show's been on the air since 1989, and there are only four shows that have produced more episodes: "Gunsmoke" with 633, "Lassie" with 588, 435 for "Ozzie and Harriet", and 430 for "Bonanza".

This Sunday night "The Simpsons" will air two episodes, putting it right at 400.

Well, there's more news about this momentous occasion. In Springfield for that, entertainment correspondent Sibila Vargas joins me now.

I'm just wondering, Sibila Vargas, do you remember any of these shows: "Gunsmoke", "Lassie", "Ozzie and Harriet", "Bonanza"?

VARGAS: Do I have to answer that?

PHILLIPS: No, you don't have to. It's OK.

VARGAS: I don't think I -- I can't. But I've got to tell you, I've never shared this with anybody before, but when I wake up in the morning, I sound a little bit like Marge Simpson. Not a good broadcasting voice.

PHILLIPS: Everybody is getting a little excited. Could you just say that one more time?

VARGAS: All right. She talks like this, right? It's hard to believe.

It's been 18 seasons, though, that "The Simpsons" definitely have made a name for themselves, thought, Kyra, and part of that success is due to the cartoon cameos made by some of the biggest names in Hollywood.

Well, Sunday's 400th episode will be no exception. This time, Kyra, it's rapper Ludacris who will be making his animated debut. The actor will play a tube of toothpaste called, get this, Luda-Crest. It's all part of a new informational video played during The Simpsons' annual dental check-up.

And Ludacris, of course, has recently earned rave reviews for his acting talent in roles in such films as "Crash" and "Hustle and Flow". I got to see him at the SAG Music Awards, the Actors Guild Awards, and he was amazing. He's a good guy.

Once you make it on "The Simpsons", you've made it all the way.

PHILLIPS: Well, I've interviewed him with regard to the troops, and he definitely has great intentions with causes like that.

VARGAS: He's intelligent.

PHILLIPS: Well, speaking of rap stars, I hear 50 Cent is making some noise this week, and not just about his latest CD. Right?

VARGAS: That's right, 50 Cent. You said it right. He does actually have a new disc coming out, but at a recent press conference, it was a comment he made backstage rather than a new single that seems to be hogging all the airplay. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

50 CENT, RAPPER: Rise (ph) through the paint or picture the American flag and not use the color red, you're going to have a difficult time. You know, so to capture what we're trying to capture in the art form, I'm sure some conservative Americans can't actually I.D. with it because of their lifestyle and the way they've actually been brought up. They haven't been exposed to these realities, you know? I understand it. I'm actually angry at some points when I'm confused or I don't have information.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VARGAS: That was the music mogul's response at the BET nominations after journalists asked them about the growing controversy around images and lyrics associated with hip-hop music.

Just last month, community leaders called on artists to clean up language in the popular genre. But the rapper, whose real name is Curtis Jackson, says that's not going to be an easy thing to do. Many other artists agree with Jackson, calling the proposed ban on hot topic words a form of censorship.

Well, 50's latest disc, "Curtis", will hit stores on June 26, the same day as the BET awards, and we're guessing it's going to contain plenty of, shall we say, colorful lyrics.

PHILLIPS: No doubt. And I saw Eminem there. That's a whole other story.

Now, you're talking about new music. I hear Madonna has a new song available for charity now, right?

VARGAS: She certainly does. And this one I can guarantee is safe for all ages.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MADONNA, SINGER (singing): Hey, you, don't you give up. It's not so bad. There's still a chance for us. Hey, you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VARGAS: Inspired by the upcoming Live Earth concert series, the top icon has written and recorded the new track. It's called "Hey You", available for download on MSN.com. Proceeds from the song will go to benefit the Alliance for Climate Protection.

Madonna will perform the song July 7 when she headlines the Live Earth event, dedicated to raising money and awareness of environmental issues. And in addition to the single, Madonna's record label says they'll be releasing a special live CD/DVD of the concert performances. So it's something you won't want to miss.

And something else you won't want to miss is "SHOWBIZ TONIGHT". Wait for this transition.

We've Paris Hilton's countdown to lockdown. How will she adjust to spending time in jail with no makeup, no fancy clothes, no instant messaging? And a daily wake-up call that is at the same time that she usually gets home from the clubs?

"SHOWBIZ TONIGHT" is going inside the mind of Paris Hilton on TV's most provocative entertainment news show, "SHOWBIZ TONIGHT", 11 p.m. Eastern and Pacific on Headline Prime.

Back to you, Kyra.

PHILLIPS: Her lockdown is going to be like a love-down. She is going to be treated with such kid gloves, Sibila. Come on.

VARGAS: It's looking like that, really, sadly.

PHILLIPS: All right. We'll be watching. Thanks, Sibila.

LEMON: Hey, Sibila and Kyra, don't go anywhere. Because you guys are going to want to see this next one, if you didn't see it last night.

He is the king of the interview, but he has other talents, as well. Viewers saw Larry King strutting his stuff on last night's "LARRY KING LIVE". So what did the stars of "Dancing with the Stars" think about that?

Well, here's a look at that feisty performance.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(MUSIC)

LARRY KING, HOST, "LARRY KING LIVE": I should have entered. If Jerry Springer can do it, I can do it.

CHERYL BURKE, PROFESSIONAL DANCER: Exactly. One, two, three, cha-cha cha. One, two, three, cha-cha cha.

KING: Like that?

BURKE: That's pretty good.

KING: Is that allowed in the cha-cha, as well?

BURKE: Yes, of course.

KING: That's good. I like this.

BURKE: OK.

KING: I invented this one.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: All right. That's Larry King getting down right there.

The star scores a 10. A 10 and a 50. Of course a 50 to honor his years in broadcasting. See "LARRY KING LIVE" every night, 9 p.m. Eastern, only here on CNN. Maybe, you know, he might dance for you, and could be singing for you, as well.

All right. Let's see if I can do this as well as Kyra did it. Eat your heart out, Jack Sparrow. Half a billion bucks of treasure pulled from the bottom of the sea? Well, if we told you exactly where, we'd have to kill all ye. Arr. In the NEWSROOM. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PHILLIPS: Well, they've struck the jackpot on the ocean floor. Deep sea explorers have mined what could be the richest shipwreck treasure ever. The Tampa-based Odyssey exploration group unloaded 17 tons of colonial era silver and gold -- coins, actually -- from the shipwreck in the Atlantic Ocean.

The haul is worth an estimated $500 million. For obvious reasons, the company isn't saying much about the ship or the site, but court records show the coins may be from a 400-year...

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