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Search for Missing U.S. Soldiers in Iraq; Heated Reaction to Immigration Deal; Cost of Commuting
Aired May 18, 2007 - 08:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR (voice over): Done deal?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a blanket amnesty. It's nothing but amnesty.
MICHAEL CHERTOFF, HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: It is an attractive program. They're going to have an incentive to play by the rules.
ROBERTS: A fight over a new plan to give illegal immigrants a path to citizenship. Lou Dobbs joins us live with his take.
Plus, blame it on the moms?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You don't have the traditional approach of a woman being at home, cooking dinner, taking care of the kids, getting the kids outside, getting the kids exercise.
ROBERTS: Just who is pointing the finger at working moms for America's surge of chubby children?
On this AMERICAN MORNING.
ROBERTS: And good morning to you. It is Friday, May the 18th.
I'm John Roberts in Washington, D.C.
KIRAN CHETRY, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Kiran Chetry, here in New York.
John, good to see you this Friday morning.
Some stories on our radar.
CHETRY: We know now the name of the fourth soldier that was killed in Saturday's ambush near Mahmoudiyah, Iraq. He was Sergeant Anthony Schober of Gardnerville, Nevada.
Meantime, thousands of troops are still on the hunt for three missing soldiers in the so-called Triangle of Death. CNN's Arwa Damon has been embedded with the troops as they're searching the area and joins us from Camp Yusufiyah right now.
Arwa, reaction to the news that they, indeed, identified the fourth victim of that ambush.
ARWA DAMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kiran, obviously everyone here is utterly devastated with the attack that took place to begin with. A certain amount of relief, though, that at least one final soldier has been identified.
Now, I spoke with the platoon leader, and he described Sergeant Anthony Schober as being a tall, goofy kind of guy, great sense of humor, who had "the metabolism of a god." In fact, he spoke of all of his men, the four that were killed, the three that are still missing, as being notorious for a unique sense of humor that really created this amazing bond amongst them.
But very difficult times for this entire unit here -- Kiran.
CHETRY: Yes, and we're -- let's hear a little bit from the chaplain, Jeff Bryan, about that search right now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHAPLAIN JEFF BRYAN, U.S. ARMY: They're very angry, of course, over the recent incident, but we've dealt with losses of our soldiers before. And I tend to find that these soldiers are not ready to quit, they're ready to just keep going.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And as a platoon, you wind up growing together, you wind up loving each other because who -- it's all you got out here, is each other.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHETRY: And it's got to be tough, Arwa, day by day to be following these leads and hoping for the best, and then coming up empty, at least so far.
DAMON: That's right, Kiran. I mean, I can tell you right now that there are at least four to five missions ongoing at any point in time. Some of them just routine searches. They're hitting the same houses, the same fields and farmlands over and over again.
Some of these missions based on intelligence. Much of that deriving from information that they're able to gather from detainees. And I have to tell you that every single time the men step outside the wire, step off their bases to conduct one of these missions, there is amongst them a certain sense of hope that perhaps they will be the ones to find their missing soldiers. But, so far, no luck finding them -- Kiran.
CHETRY: Arwa Damon reporting at Camp Yusufiyah, Iraq.
Thank you. ROBERTS: Immigration is the talk of the town in Washington this morning. A group of senators has come up with a landmark bill that would make the biggest changes to immigration in the U.S. in decades.
For more on that and some other political hot topics this morning, we bring in our senior political correspondent, Candy Crowley.
Candy, if this passes, this would be a huge victory for President Bush. One six years in the making, though. I remember when he was there with the president of Mexico back in the spring of 2001 saying, let's get this thing done.
CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SR. POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Back in his campaign, in fact.
CROWLEY: This has been something as governor of Texas that he's been very interested in.
Look, it wouldn't just be a major legislative victory for him. Probably the last major legislative victory for him if he gets it. I mean, that sound you hear is lame duck. He's under siege for...
ROBERTS: That faint quacking in the background.
CROWLEY: Exactly. You know, he's under siege from, you know, Gonzales to, you know, what happened to the attorney general when it was John Ashcroft. All of those things. So, this is his last, best chance to get something that he really has wanted for six years, and something major before his term is up.
ROBERTS: The president and other proponents of the bill are saying, hey, it's a great start, we're off to a really good beginning here.
Take a listen to what John McCain, who's one of the co-sponsors of the bill, said about it yesterday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think we're off to a good start on immigration reform. It's good to see Republican and Democrat, conservative Republicans, as well as liberal Democrats, join together.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERTS: Yes. So, there's a few people who agree about this, but there's a lot who disagree with it. And it's a long way to go before it becomes law.
CROWLEY: Well, a long way to go. It has to go through -- the Senate debates start next week. It has to go through the House. Nancy Pelosi has said to the president, not going to bring it up unless you can deliver 70 Republican votes. She's going to have problems in her own caucus.
It's a bipartisan bill, but it has bipartisan criticism at this point. You have Harry Reid, the leader of the Democrats in the Senate, very tepid, at best, in his response.
ROBERTS: And Rahm Emanuel doesn't think it will pass either. So...
CROWLEY: Exactly. So, I mean, it's a tough row. You have got the calendar coming in on them. The political year, as we know, started two years ago, but, nonetheless, really is in earnest come September. So, this is going to be a tough row.
ROBERTS: Alberto Gonzales, a couple of more Republican senators have called for his ouster. Chuck Hagel a couple of days ago, Norm Coleman of Minnesota did yesterday.
Not a flood yet, but the trickle is becoming bigger.
CROWLEY: The trickle -- this is what counts, the Republicans. What are the Republicans saying?
They've already been to the White House saying Iraq is a huge problem. They don't need another one. They don't need Gonzales hanging on.
But as you mentioned earlier, and it's quite the truth about George Bush's personality, the more he gets assaulted, the more he digs himself in. So, not by any means certain that Gonzales will go, but the pressure from Republicans is key here.
ROBERTS: Hey, one of the things that came over the transom yesterday, James Dobson, head of Focus on the Family, sent out this -- it was a personal message -- it wasn't a message from Focus on the Family -- saying Rudy's not the one. Unacceptable for conservatives.
How much of a problem is that for him?
CROWLEY: It's a problem. I mean, there's no getting around it.
You know, Rudy Giuliani has been doing remarkably well among conservatives, despite his non-conservative social views. But when someone with this kind of name and this kind of sway within the conservative community, the family values community, comes out and says something like this, people listen. It's a problem for him at this point.
ROBERTS: All right.
Candy Crowley, thank you very much for all that political insight.
And a reminder that CNN is going to host both Democrats and Republicans for debates. The Democrat debate is on June the 3rd. The Republican debate, June 5th, live from the all-important primary state of New Hampshire.
CHETRY: Well, a hearing about doping allegations against Tour de France winner Floyd Landis turned into something much more. Greg LeMond, who won the tour three times back in the 1980s, was slated to testify against Landis in Malibu, California. The night before the hearing, LeMond says he got a phone call from a man who told LeMond to skip the hearing or he would make it public that LeMond was sexually abused as a child.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GREG LEMOND, FMR. TOUR DE FRANCE CHAMPION: I think this was an intimidation to keep me from coming here, fearing -- thinking that I feared being exposed that I was sexually abused somehow, that this equates to me admitting that I doped, or whatever their purpose was.
It was a real threat, and it was -- it was very -- I hate to say it, creepy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHETRY: Well, that call is believed to have come from Landis' business manager, Will Gagen (ph). LeMond says that he apologized to him after the hearing. Landis fired Gagen (ph) shortly after that.
ROBERTS: What a tail of intrigue.
Today marine scientists will try again to move two humpback whales from a shipping channel just outside of Sacramento, California. They're hoping that recorded songs of humpbacks would lure the injured female and her calf back toward the ocean, more than 70 miles away. So far, that strategy hasn't worked.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PIETER FOLKENS, ALASKA WHALE FOUNDATION: We are in new territory. We've never been in a situation where we had a cow-calf pair, both of whom were injured, or are injured, and they're 77 miles up a freshwater river.
This is all brand new to us. So what our scientists are trying to do is essentially an experiment, collecting data points, trying to figure out what is going to be the best solution.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERTS: Those whales, by the way, are further inland than any whale in history. Scientists say that it appears that those injuries were caused by a ship's propeller.
CHETRY: Yes. And they also say not to have high really expectations of a positive outcome, unfortunately. But, of course, you just can't help but watch and hope for the best.
ROBERTS: Yes. I mean, and, you know, the eyes of the nation are on this to see how it goes.
Remember, what was it 15 years ago, maybe 20 years ago those whales that were stranded up in the Arctic and how the nation was literally captivated by that whole scene?
CHETRY: Yes. And Humphrey, the whale, in that very same body of water, as well. A happy ending for him. So maybe it will be the case here.
ROBERTS: Let's hope.
CHETRY: We're going to take a quick break.
When we come back, President Bush agrees, but not everyone else thinks the immigration deal is the best idea. Our own Lou Dobbs joins us with his take coming up.
Plus, gas prices are only part of it. We're going to hear some other reasons why your commute is getting more expensive.
You're watching AMERICAN MORNING. The most news in the morning is right here on CNN.
CHETRY: 5:13 out on the West Coast, 8:13 a.m. right here in New York City. A lovely shot of Central Park this morning. Not sure if the day is going to stay that lovely, though.
Let's check in with Chad Myers.
ROBERTS: It took months of negotiations, but a group of senators from both parties finally found common ground over immigration. There's still a long way to go before it gets through Congress, but as it stands now, the plan would give legal status back to the approximately 12 million illegal immigrants currently in the United States. They would be granted a so-called Z visa, good for four years, and would have to pay a $5,000 fine to get it.
President Bush insists it's not amnesty.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
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.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERTS: There are few people who are more tuned in to this issue than CNN's Lou Dobbs. He joins me now from Sussex, New Jersey.
Lou, you heard the president. He says it's not amnesty. Is it amnesty or not? LOU DOBBS, HOST, "LOU DOBBS TONIGHT": Of course it's amnesty. But 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 that is definitely not, it is not comprehensive. One thing it definitely is amnesty.
ROBERTS: Right. Well...
DOBBS: If we can make certain that -- if we can make certain that it is comprehensive and assures border security, and if we can make certain that amnesty means something in terms of a broader implication for American society, that also could be a reasonable direction.
ROBERTS: Lou, we had the Commerce secretary, Carlos Gutierrez, on just about an hour ago.
ROBERTS: Here's what he said regarding this whole debate over amnesty. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CARLOS GUTIERREZ, COMMERCE SECRETARY: We have to solve the problem, and we can't be sitting here for the next several years debating the word "amnesty" while the problem gets bigger and bigger and bigger.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERTS: Carlos Gutierrez is saying get past this amnesty debate, you've got to solve the problem.
Lou, there are 12 million people in this country illegally. If you don't grant them some sort of legal status, what do you -- what do you do with them? You round them all up and kick them out? Could you do that?
DOBBS: Well, as you know, John, I have never called for deportation. But the fact is, we're watching a lot of these illegal aliens leaving the country right now because of a slowdown in construction. But that isn't the issue.
And Carlos Gutierrez, the Commerce secretary, Michael Chertoff, the Department of Homeland Security, both men need to get real. Gutierrez to say something so facile as to what he just uttered on your broadcast -- this government has the ability to control our borders. It has the ability to control our ports.
And as I have said for some time, you cannot reform immigration law in this country if you can't control immigration. You can't control immigration unless you control those borders and ports.
DOBBS: Gutierrez -- let me finish, John. This administration is putting commerce and integration of economies in North America ahead of border security and national sovereignty. They need to stop and think about what they're doing here.
ROBERTS: On the subject of border security, though, we also had on with Carlos Gutierrez the secretary of Homeland Security, Michael Chertoff...
ROBERTS: ... who told us this about what this provides for in terms of border security.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL CHERTOFF, HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: Well, it guarantees 370 miles of fence, 18,000 Border Patrol. Plus, what we call a virtual fence, ground-based radar, radar towers, unmanned aerial vehicles, all of which gives us the ability to patrol the border, which is a critical element of this entire plan.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERTS: It sounds good on paper, Lou. Doesn't it give you confidence?
DOBBS: Well, I think it should give everyone pause. The fact is that legislation was passed a year ago to provide over 750 miles of border fence. They built exactly two miles of it.
The author of that bill, Duncan Hunter, also a congressman from southern California, presidential candidate, you know, points out this would have what has already been put into law.
If this administration had the character, the capacity and vision to stop playing games with border security and national security, and actually secure these borders, actually secure these ports, and instead of talking about comprehensive immigration reform, talk about the great assimilation and do the right thing for American citizens, for this society, and for those people whom they've permitted to come into this country with a rational, effective, humane immigration program, we could get something done. But that requires working with the Mexican government, seeking out -- and by the way, Felipe Calderon, the president of Mexico, is doing a lot of very important things to be a better neighbor. If that were to include border security and a real partnership on ending illegal immigration, that becomes closer -- that comes closer to being a definition of comprehensive. But we've got to be talking about assimilation...
DOBBS: ... and what this country is going to look like. That requires vision from this president and these Senate leaders, these congressional leaders.
ROBERTS: Lou, do you think that the House is going to be the firewall against this Senate bill? You have got people on the right like Duncan Hunter, Ed Royce, who are saying this bill is no good. Then you've got people on the left who are saying it's far too tough.
DOBBS: Yes. Well, I think that if we look to the idiots on the left and the idiots on the right on Capitol Hill, nothing will get done. But if we will look to honesty and to direct, effective action on the part of government, and this president really step out and lead with sincerity, with absolute commitment to the correct national values, national sovereignty, the integrity of enforcement of law, and create something called the great assimilation and show the American people, demonstrate and put into law how we could assimilate these people that have been permitted to come here and invited here by corporations, and make certain that the fiscal impact is not detrimental to the United States -- because right now this Senate doesn't even know what the cost of this is, let alone what the shape of their so-called compromise looks like.
DOBBS: We've got an opportunity, but it's an opportunity to be leaders, to be absolutely honest, and to protect the national interest. If they seize it, then they have an opportunity, but if they continue this nonsense of social ethnic centric nonsense from the left, and this nonsense of appeasing their corporate masters from the right, nothing will happen this year. And I guarantee it.
ROBERTS: Lou, always good to talk to you. Thanks very much, my friend. Good to see you.
DOBBS: Good talk to with you, John.
ROBERTS: "LOU DOBBS TONIGHT" airs tonight and every night, 6:00 p.m. Eastern, here on CNN. And you can bet that Lou's going to have a lot more about this topic tonight -- Kiran.
CHETRY: Yes, I bet, John, for sure. And nice living room at that -- since we were at his house.
Well, you know, gas prices are high, but why is that the case? We are taking you to the oil refineries in Louisiana to find out what's going on and why we're paying more when barrels of crude are actually down.
Plus, what's making your commute so expensive? A hint: it's not just gas prices.
We'll explain coming up next on AMERICAN MORNING.
CHETRY: Well the record-high gas price is not the only reasons why our commute is costing us more.
CNN's personal finance editor, Gerri Willis, shows us right now that it's not just gas prices, but there are other things that are piling on, making it more costly to commute.
GERRI WILLIS, CNN PERSONAL FINANCE EDITOR: Well, you know, let's start with some numbers here.
We're spending $1,000 more per year on gas alone over the last five years. That's a very big number. But you need to look at some other things here, too.
Transportation now makes up 19 percent of the average household budget. That's second only to housing, which is 30.
CHETRY: Wow. It's up 85 percent?
WILLIS: Absolutely. And so, let's talk a little bit about those longer commutes, obviously. That's a problem, as well.
People are driving further, as you know. Right here in New York City, most people are commuting 39 minutes to get to work, which is a long time.
CHETRY: You can't afford to live in the city...
WILLIS: It costs a lot of money.
CHETRY: ... so you move to the suburbs to save a little money, get a little bit more space. And then it costs you more to of course get to work.
WILLIS: You bet.
And now, 10 cities by 2030 will have traffic like L.A. So, you can see it's a real problem.
Let's talk a little bit about those expensive cars and maintenance. People are spending more on cars right now.
In 1990, people spent on average $16,000, a little more than $16,000 for a car. Now, $36,000. I mean, it's a very big difference. People are buying heavier, bigger cars. It costs them more to operate.
And an interesting thing that I think people have missed -- we found this out from edmunds.com. They're spending more on maintenance. You know, you think you're going to follow your car manual to do maintenance. Now there's dealer-recommended maintenance. And guess what? They have you do more work earlier. It costs you more.
So, the cost of commuting here are going up, up, up. And we are driving further. You know, we used to drive 12,000 miles a year. Now 15,000.
CHETRY: You know, the other interesting thing -- I mean, in places like New York City, people are lucky. The public transportation system can really get you from point A to point B no matter where you live.
CHETRY: Unfortunately, in many parts of the country, that's not the case. When they tell people to take public transportation, it really isn't that practical.
WILLIS: Oh, absolutely not. I think that, you know, people not everywhere across the country have access to public transportation. They have got to use a car. And, in fact, some employers are now saying, I'm not going to hire you unless you have car, which I think is a big surprise to a lot of people out there.
CHETRY: And can you carpool? I mean, you never leave at the same time as the other people in your carpool, you never go home at the same time. It's not always convenient.
WILLIS: Well, let's talk about some things you can do, some small things.
Think about aerodynamics. You want to get rid of the car spoiler or the roof rack. Those things cost you a ton of dough.
What's more, if it's warm, it's summertime, you're going more than 35 miles per hour, please, roll up the windows and turn on the AC. You use less gas.
You also want to park smart. Now, I know everybody knows, don't park in the sun, right, because you heat up your car. But there's also something called evaporative emissions.
If you have a car that's older than five years, the gas starts going away, it evaporates. And you lose gas, you lose money.
Avoid traffic congestion, obviously. For every minute you sit in traffic, you spend more and more gas. It costs you more money. Go to traffic.com, where you can learn all about what you need to do to avoid those tie-ups.
CHETRY: Maybe you can also commute at different times if your employer is flexible, getting a little early, getting out before it gets crazy.
WILLIS: I think they're going to become more flexible, because so many people are having this problem. And it's really robbing people's budgets. You know, 40 percent of Americans live paycheck to paycheck. So this is really hurting them.
CHETRY: Wow. And if you could take a quick two-shot of us again, this was accidental. We did not mean to dress in the new CNN uniforms.
WILLIS: Right. It's the red suit or nothing.
CHETRY: Gerri, thanks so much.
By the way, be sure to catch Gerri on "OPEN HOUSE". It will be this weekend. And she'll be talking about some new signs of trouble in the housing market. Also, more on rising gas prices. How to detox your home for the spring.
All of that coming up 9:30 a.m. Saturday morning, right here on CNN.
ROBERTS: I was going to say, if I was a betting man, I would bet that you two telephoned each other and color-coordinated that whole thing.
WILLIS: Purely accidental. Believe us.
CHETRY: Next time, John.
ROBERTS: Without giving too much away, Savannah Guthrie said it looks like election night on local news. But wait until you see what she's wearing.
ROBERTS: Savannah, by the way, is going to kill me.
And is it just a coincidence or something more? A surprising statistic has some asking, are working women to blame for America's overweight children? Now there's a controversial question.
You're watching AMERICAN MORNING. The most news in the morning is on CNN.
ROBERTS: You're watching AMERICAN MORNING, the most news in the morning is on CNN.
CHETRY: Another beautiful shot in New York. You see the low- lying clouds and as Chad Myers told us, we're looking at some rain a little bit later up and down the Northeast. It is Friday, it's May 18. I'm Kiran Chetry in New York.
Good to see you this morning, John.
ROBERTS: Good to see you, too, Kiran. I'm John Roberts in Washington. Good morning to you.
A lot of new developments to get to this morning. Every passing day seems to bring another call for the resignation of Attorney Alberto Gonzales. Democrats are now calling for a vote of no- confidence in him. A key Republican is calling the Justice Department dysfunctional. Savannah Guthrie of Court TV joins us now.
And the fact, Savannah, that people like Chuck Hagel a couple days ago, and now Senator Norm Coleman of Minnesota, who we should point out is in a tough election battle, are calling for Gonzales to go -- and Arlen Specter saying as much. Is it really make it difficult sledding for him, ahead?
SAVANNAH GUTHRIE, COURT TV: Well, in the sense that he has to go up to Capitol Hill as part of his duties, and he seems to have almost no support up there. It's one thing for Democrats to call for his resignation, that has been going on for four months. But this drum beat of Republican after Republican, calling for him to resign, I think it's hard for him to stay after that.
ROBERTS: It's still not at the level yet of people like Senator Kyle or Senator McConnell the Republican leadership in the Senate. Hagel a bit of a maverick, as we said, Coleman in a tough election battle. If it does get to that level, is he dead, or can the president still say, no, he's my guy.
GUTHRIE: Well, the president can do exactly what he wants. And he certainly has resisted some strong calls for his resignation from his own side of the aisle. But I do think that once you start getting the people that are the usual defenders of Gonzales, or the Bush administration, the ones who usually carry water for the Republican side -- once they start calling for Gonzales, you have to think Bush says, all right, what are we doing here?
ROBERTS: What brought this toward the tipping point?
GUTHRIE: I think, for one thing, every day seems to bring some new revelation, some more important than others in this U.S. attorney scandal. But then there was this dramatic testimony on Capitol Hill this week, from the former Deputy Attorney General Jim Comey, somebody who is widely respected, somebody who loves the Justice Department. And who told a story that sound like Tom Clancy wrote it, about having to go to the hospital.
John Ashcroft's hospital bed -- it sounds like the dead of night -- where Gonzales and Andy Card, the former White House chief of staff, were trying to get Ashcroft to sign on, on this warrant less wiretapping program, that Comey had said no to.
ROBERTS: Oh, it's an amazing story of intrigue. But the president has been digging in his heels and maybe this idea of vote of no-confidence -- which is non-binding, of course, might get him to dig them in further. But there are some other implications of getting rid of Gonzales that the president may not want to entertain. What are those?
GUTHRIE: Exactly. The environment on Capitol Hill right now is less than friendly. And happens -- what is the next step if Gonzales goes? You have to get another attorney general; he has to get him confirmed. He already has Paul McNulty's position opening up. He's going to have to get a deputy attorney general confirmed. Maybe Bush is thinking let's ride out the storm because a new attorney general may be more trouble than even this.
ROBERTS: Savannah Guthrie from Court TV thanks for joining us.
GUTHRIE: Good to see you.
ROBERTS: Always great to see you. Glad to see you have the uniform on, too.
GUTHRIE: Yeah, got the memo.
CHETRY: That's my girl. There she is.
We've watched gas prices jump a nickel a gallon in just the last week alone, and analysts say it does come down to refineries not keeping up with demand. So, we wanted to find out exactly what's going on with these refineries. Why are you paying more? Our Sean Callebs joins us now from Norco (ph), Louisiana with a look at the oil business.
Good to see you, Sean. Refining capability took a big hit, of course, after Hurricane Katrina. Is it back where it is supposed to be?
SEAN CALLEBS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, there is still a hangover. Some 20 months after the hurricanes, those twin hurricanes blew through the area.
We have a graph -- we'll show you just how graphic of a drop the nation went through. If you look, just before that big dip, things were cruising along fine. The oil refining capacity was working 95 percent of utilization. Then a big hit, some more than 33 percent of the refineries suffered significant shutdown during those hurricanes and dropped down to about 70 percent of refining capacity.
And since that time, look, month by month, as the years moved on, the refining capacity has never bounced back and reached that 95 percent level. It got up in the 90s a couple times. So, right now, Kiran, it is about an 88 percent. Still, a significant drop from about 20 months ago.
CHETRY: Yeah, it's interesting, though, because Louisiana is just one state, does it have that far reaching of an impact nationwide?
CALLEBS: It does, really. Louisiana is capable of refining about 16 to 17 percent of the U.S. volume of petroleum that is refined. It is second behind Texas. It may not seem like a lot, but that adds up and can be a great deal. Even a small impact can have a ripple effect like dropping a pebble in a pond, Kiran.
CHETRY: Before we let you go, quickly, any hope on the horizon? Is this going to change?
CALLEBS: You know, nothing in the near future. We know there is a decent amount of expansion in a lot of refineries, but simply -- the refineries are not being built. There are so many reasons for that, and not the least of which, is gasoline going it be the future? It's a huge investment for oil companies. And who wants a refinery in his or her backyard?
So, the oil refineries always fight with that. No new refineries on the immediate horizon. There is some expansion, but basically it is a drop in the bucket, so, keep digging deep if you want to drive your car.
CHETRY: Sean Callebs, Norco, Louisiana for us. Thank you.
ROBERTS: Coming up (COUGH) Excuse me. Coming up (COUGH), a provocative question I can barely get out. Are working moms contributing to the childhood obesity epidemic? We're paging Doctor Sanjay Gupta for some answers on that one.
And they're the kids of baby boomers, what Gen Y brings to the workplace and what the workplace has in store for them, ahead on AMERICAN MORNING
CHETRY: This just another case of blame mom for everything? Could working mothers be responsible for kids getting fatter? Well, it's a controversial theory that Doctor Sanjay Gupta takes a look at in today's "Fit Nation" report.
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, good morning, Kiran. I was a little -- talk about blaming women. I have to be a little careful here.
Women have been blamed for everything going back to the Garden of Eden for sure. But we're taking a look at some -- some people believe that working mothers may actually be contributing to the childhood obesity epidemic. We decided to take a look at this controversial theory.
SINGER: Working 9 to 5, what a way to make a livin' --
GUPTA (voice over): Working 9 to 5 was a movie and a mantra in the 1980s, as American women entered the workforce en masse. That's about the same time that American kids started packing on the pounds.
TERRY MASON, CHICAGO PUBLIC HEALTH COMMISSIONER: We saw that started to happen and you could track childhood obesity and there was a direct correlation.
GUPTA: So, did working women lead to chubbier children? Well, 16 percent of children six and older are overweight. That is triple the number from 1980.
LEW FULLER, OBESITY SOCIETY: We don't have the traditional approach of a woman being at home, cooking dinner, taking care of the kids, getting the kids outside and getting the kids exercise.
GUPTA: Families now eat out an average of four times a week, a big jump from 30 years ago.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Being a working mom, I do find myself taking my children out to McDonald's and fast food a lot because when I get back after the commute, I'm too tired to fix those meals.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think that blaming women for childhood obesity is absolutely ridiculous.
GUPTA: Others say obesity may be caused by a variety of factors.
KATHRYN THOMAS, ROBERT WOOD JOHNSON FOUNDATION: At its very simplest, our kids are taking in a lot more calories than they're burning off, but there are a lot of reasons for that. It's not just because they're not eating as many dinners at home.
GUPTA: Regardless of cause, there are steps to help kids stay leaner.
THOMAS: We need to get physical education back in to schools. We need to get the junk foods out of schools. We need make communities safer for kids to walk and bike and play.
It's harder to do that than it is to say, mom and dad, you're not doing the right thing. I think mom and dad are doing the best they can.
GUPTA: You know, eating out of the home seems to be one of the biggest culprits here, Kiran. Studies have shown that when children eat out at restaurants they eat twice as many calories, on average, as they would at home.
So, Kiran, you buying any of this?
CHETRY: You can see how easily it can happen and you do sympathize with people who say -- I mean, both mothers and fathers -- they are working all day and they come home. And sometimes it's easier it go through the drive through, but if they are going to attempt to get their kids eating healthier, what do they need to start thinking about? GUPTA: We asked the same question. A couple simple tips. We want to give people as simple tips as possible.
Precooking and freezing meals because it is busy. Sometimes you can thaw those meals out quickly at the end of the day. That seems to help a lot of working parents.
Try to get kids away from the television and video games at night. They tend to eat more if they're in front of the television. And sugary sodas, lots of calories there. Certainly not the evenings, no sugary sodas, those could help.
But as we have talked about lots of times, this is a really multi-faceted problem. The childhood obesity epidemic, but a lot of people are starting to pay attention.
CHETRY: What about the update on you "Fit Nation" goal?
GUPTA: Yes, you know, this is some news here. We've been, as you remember, we actually put this challenge out to people about a month ago. For every hour of exercise you do now you can add two hours of life later on. We asked people -- we said we want to get up to 1 million hours.
And here are the updates here, the numbers, just as we're going up -- as we're talking, 937,266. So, Kiran, we're really close already, just a month into this, almost a million hours of life already. That's our goal. Maybe we'll even surpass it.
CHETRY: Yes, it looks like you're right on the road to do that. Doctor Sanjay Gupta, great to see you, as always.
GUPTA: Thanks, Kiran.
ROBERTS: "CNN Newsroom" is just minutes away now. Fredricka Whitfield is at the CNN Center with a look at what's ahead.
FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR, CNN NEWSROOM: Hello to you, John.
We have these stories on the "Newsroom" rundown. The fourth soldier killed in last weekend's Iraq ambush identified. He is Sergeant Anthony Schober of Nevada. The search for three of his comrades go on.
Behind closed doors on Capitol Hill next hour. Democrats and the White House trying to find common ground on war funding and benchmarks for the Iraqi government. Iraq's U.N. ambassador discusses it live.
The inspiring story of an Iraq war veteran getting a shot at the big leagues. Tony Harris joins me in "Newsroom", top of the hour on CNN -- John.
ROBERTS: We'll see you then, Fred, looking forward to it. It may be known as the worldwide web, that does not mean it's worldwide. Up next, a look at the countries closing the door on the Internet.
And Gen Y goes to work. What the MySpace generation can expect at the work space next on AMERICAN MORNING.
ROBERTS: It's 49 minutes after the hour, and you're looking at a shot across the Potomac River from Roslyn. It's off of the WJLA TV building looking down to the Lincoln Memorial there, on the lower right-hand side of your screen, and the Washington Monument, the big stick on the left.
The worldwide web isn't exactly worldwide for some Web sites. A new study out today says at least 25 countries block sites for political, social or other reasons. Our Internet Reporter Jacki Schechner is here with more on this web censorship.
JACKI SCHECHNER, CNN INTERNET REPORTER: I like these studies because we take for granted the Internet access we have here in North America. So, it's interesting to see what other countries have.
The Open Net Initiative is a consortium of universities, researchers at Harvard, Oxford, Cambridge, University of Toronto -- really second tier schools.
ROBERTS: Too bad they couldn't get a good education.
SCHECHNER: Seriously, 41 countries they took a look at and found out that 25 have some censorship. And they found censorship in areas of political content, social content, national security -- not the way we think about it, but possible dissidents, that kind of thing -- and they put online these interactive maps.
I want to walk through some of this. It's really interesting to take a look. If we take a look at the political maps here. There you go, now, you might not be surprised by some of this, China is the most pervasive here.
ROBERTS: You know, when I was in China, on a presidential trip a couple years back, there were certain web sites that we couldn't access when we were using the Internet.
SCHECHNER: Their access is diminishing, but the number of Internet users is growing. They say it's now up to 137 million Internet users. One city has actually introduced their web police. And these little cartoon guys show up on Web sites to remind you to be responsible -- whatever that means -- in your Internet usage.
So, taking a look at the map and talking a little bit more about China. They restrict information about their own human rights violations. They also are restrictive in terms of Internet cafes have to report their users, and the sites that they visit. Things like that. So, a lot of restriction there.
As far as social restriction is concerned, if we can switch over to that map. Take a look at Iran, for example. That is one of the countries where they are restrictive. They promote the Internet there for economic growth in Iran, but they are also monitoring Web sites. They have shut down tens of millions of Web sites. There are a 1,000 requests every month to shut down others.
Definitely, restrictions around the world. It is a really interesting map if you go and tool around a little bit. They said they found no restriction in 14 countries including Iraq and Afghanistan, which I thought was kind of interesting.
ROBERTS: Yes, Iraq is pretty much wide open.
SCHECHNER: Yeah, so there are some countries you might be surprised.
ROBERTS: So the Web site is Opennet.net.
SCHECHNER: Yes, Opennet.net. You can play around with the map. And it also gives you the chance to look up a Web site and find out where that Web site might be blocked. For example, I put in Google.com, and Google is blocked in Iran.
ROBERTS: Fascinating stuff. Jacki, thanks.
CHETRY: It is pretty neat.
Well, speaking of being tech savvy -- they are, they're good at multi-tasking and they're likely to change jobs faster than hairstyles. Some of us change hairstyles a lot. Who are we talking about? We're talking about the MySpace generation, Gen Y and what they'll bringing to the working world as they head out of school and into the workforce. And joining us to talk more about that is Polly LaBarre, a business journalist. You also wrote the book, "Mavericks at Work: Why the Most Original Minds in Business Win".
Thanks for being with us, Polly.
POLLY LABARRE, BUSINESS JOURNALIST, AUTHOR: Great to be here.
CHETRY: Tell us about this Gen Y generation and what they're going to be doing as they enter the workforce.
LABARRE They're important for two reasons. One, just sheer size. They are about 42 to 70 million strong, depending on who is counting.
But more importantly, their attitude, which is shaped by two important factors. One, their parenting. Their boomer parents have to be the most child-centric generation of parents. These kids have been coddled and praised, they've been over scheduled. And they really -- they really have been raised like that.
The second piece is technology. This is the first digitally native generation. And the class of 2007, in particular, is what I think of the Web 2.0 class. They lived through the explosion of blogs, wikis, social-networking sites, file sharing and photo swapping and all that stuff. They really want to express themselves.
CHETRY: They also are not -- it seems -- hamstrung by some of the things that our generations, and older generations used to think about, like job security and staying somewhere long enough that you would get vested and have a pension.
LABARRE: Yes, they're really more interested in satisfaction than security. They come to the workforce with a sense of entitlement, and confidence on the one hand, but also kind of ambivalence about work.
Whereas boomers sort of believe you pay your dues and you work your life and even us, Gen X, it was the same kind of idea. They think -- I want work to be meaningful. I want it to be flexible and I want to live a rich life beyond work. If I don't get the opportunity to make an impact, to work the way I want, to bring my style to work, you know, nose piercing and flip-flops included, I'm going to walk.
CHETRY: So, what impact does that make on the current workforce?
LABARRE: It sets them up for a clash with the boomer generation, on the one hand, in terms of attitude. But the workforce is adapting to this because it's a very tight labor market. They have to be more flexible. Not just for the Gen Y, but also for women who are coming back to work, having opted out having kids.
So, they are thinking about flexible work practices; more mentoring, more feedback and certain practices like that.
CHETRY: About the mistakes that they make. You talk about the sense of entitlement and ambivalence. What are some of the mistakes or pitfalls they fall into because of that?
LABARRE: Well, you know, it's -- they're not all liabilities. In one sense this is very optimistic, tech savvy, multi-tasking teamwork oriented generation. I don't think we should bash them entirely, but I think in terms of entitlement, it's this notion that they're just not commit today work if it doesn't meet their high expectations. So, they'll leave and go somewhere else. So it's really a liability more for companies than it is for the individuals.
CHETRY: Very interesting. Polly LaBarre, thanks so much for joining us.
LABARRE: Thank you.
CHETRY: Here's a quick look right now at what "CNN Newsroom" is working on for the top of the hour.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TONY HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR, CNN NEWSROOM (voice over): See these stories in the "CNN Newsroom".
The fourth soldier killed in last weekend's Iraq's ambush identified: Sergeant Anthony Schober of Reno, Nevada.
Lively debate ahead. The Senate taking up a compromise immigration reform bill. Millions of people now in the country, illegally, could get lawful status.
Church attack: The assault caught by a security camera.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Welcome to Baghdad.
HARRIS: An Internet series documents life in Iraq. "Newsroom", top of the hour, on CNN.
ROBERTS: It's 58 minutes after the hour. Some quick hits for you now before we go.
Jerry Seinfeld, to bee -- or not to bee. That's him, in costume, sliding down a zip line onto the beach at the Cannes Film Festival promoting his "Bee Movie". An animated film in which he voices a bee that is suing the human race for stealing honey.
He flies quite well, Kiran.
CHETRY: He's not bad, is he?
How about this one? He walks pretty well given the fact that he and his sister and brother do not have front legs. The four-month old Chihuahua puppies were born with out them. Right now they're in a Long Island animal shelter hoping to get someone to come and along and adopt them. They were part of a little of five. The other two puppies were normal.
And the people that are caring for them say they have no idea they don't have front legs. They're doing a great job moving around. They describe them as little kangaroos. Learning how to hop pretty well on their hinds legs.
And they look so adorable. If I had room, I'd take them.
ROBERTS: Yes, I've seen some dogs that are paralyzed in the and they have those little wheelie things. Maybe they can do something like that for these.
CHETRY: Yes, I guess, it's harder with the wheelies in the front. But they're doing all right.
And that's all from here on this AMERICAN MORNING. We hope everyone has a great weekend.
ROBERTS: Yes. Thanks very much. And you, too. I'll see you on Monday, Kiran.
CNN NEWSROOM with Tony Harris and Fredricka Whitfield begins right now.
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