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Why Food Costs More; Google You; Dr. Gupta's Mailbag; Monkey Business
Aired May 24, 2007 - 08:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
KIRAN CHETRY, CNN ANCHOR (voice over): Gathering storm. New signs Iran has no intention of ending its nuclear program. The U.S. now firing back.
Dashed prayers. Confirmation overnight that a body found in Iraq is a missing American soldier.
Plus, price check. Why it costs more to feed your family, and it's not just the price of gas.
On this AMERICAN MORNING.
CHETRY: And good morning. Thanks so much for being with us. Today is Thursday, May 24th.
I'm Kiran Chetry.
JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm John Roberts.
Thanks very much for joining us.
Stories "On Our Radar" this morning.
Google is making it easier to for anyone to find you. How your phone number translates into step-by-step directions to your front door.
I just did it. And it's shockingly surprising.
We're going to show you how you can remove your information from Google's site.
CHETRY: Which is a whole effort in itself. I did it for my parents last night.
ROBERTS: It's like trying to repair your credit report.
CHETRY: Well, I mean, it's just site after site after site. And they have so much information on all of us. And a lot of it's free. So, Alina Cho is going to break down how you can stop that and get it off there.
Meantime, there is a very unusual fight going on in Maryland. It's a fight over keeping a pet monkey.
This is a woman who spent -- and you can understand when you love a pet -- there is the little guy. His name is Armani.
She spent more than $10,000 on him. He is really a part of her family. And she broke, apparently, some county rules about whether or not you can have monkeys in your home. She's going to be fighting back. She's going to tell us more about her fight to get back little Armani.
ROBERTS: Rising tensions this morning as Iran once again defies the world community. A new report from the U.N.'s nuclear watchdog agency says that Iran is actually stepping up its nuclear program.
CNN State Department Correspondent Zain Verjee is following this story from Washington.
Zain, what's the State Department saying today?
ZAIN VERJEE, CNN STATE DEPT. CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's called the report disturbing, John. The State Department is saying Iran has got to suspend uranium enrichment and start negotiations.
Now, the deputy spokesman says what Iran is doing is just reinforcing the whole idea that the U.S. needs to have a strong coalition to pressure Iran and change its behavior. He also said that Iran is paying the price by dealing with sanctions that the international community has imposed on it.
Now, Zalmay Khalilzad, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, says that the pressure on Iran right now just isn't working.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ZALMAY KHALILZAD, U.S. AMB. TO U.N.: The time has come to take a look at additional pressure and to ratchet up the pressure, to bring about a change in Iranian calculation in the Iran (ph) region.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VERJEE: John, what's going on here is that essentially there's a tension within the administration on how to deal with Iran, not only on the nuclear issue, but a whole range of issues. You have Vice President Cheney on the one hand saying that he wants to send much tougher signals to Iran. I mean, yesterday, you had nine U.S. warships steaming through the Persian Gulf to hold war games pretty close to Iran's shores.
And then at the same time, you have the State Department, that's going to be holding direct talks with Iran about Iraq next week. And it's really not clear if the whole carrot-stick strategy is going to work, but there is that internal tension within the administration.
ROBERTS: As all of this goes on, Zain, of course we have been following the plight of Haleh Esfandiari, who is a U.S. citizen who has been detained in Iran, now in the notorious Evin Prison. And we learned today that yet another American has been detained in Iran. This is the fourth.
What do we know about this person?
VERJEE: Well, his name is Kian Tajbakhsh. He was detained, as we understand it, around or on the 11th of May. He was working as an independent consultant in Iran.
Now, we've spoken to sources close to his family, and they tell us that he was arrested with his pregnant wife, and then she was released, but he's being held and being interrogated. There are three other Iranian Americans also being held, as you say.
The State Department is saying that the Iranian government is just talking utter nonsense and is being absurd by even suggesting that any of them are involved in subversive activities against Iran.
ROBERTS: And we talked to Lee Hamilton yesterday, who is the boss of Esfandiari, tand he says, we no so little about Iran, we don't even know who to talk to get them back.
Zain Verjee at the State Department for us this morning.
CHETRY: And the military says that the body found in Iraq is one of three missing U.S. soldiers. PFC. Joseph Anzack Jr., just 20 years old, of Torrance, California, his family getting the word overnight.
CNN's Arwa Damon is in Yusufiya with the troops who received that news, yet still continue their search for the two other missing men.
I imagine it's been quite difficult after they got that news, Arwa.
ARWA DAMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It really has, Kiran.
In fact, I was just speaking with Delta Company's former company commander, who was talking about Private Anzack and about all of the other soldiers that were involved in the killing and that were kidnapped. And he said that what really made this company unique is that it was a relatively new company.
It formed just about a little over a year ago. So, all of these men hit significant milestones in their development as U.S. soldiers together.
He spoke of all of the young privates, including Anzack, as being very eager, at times afraid, needing counseling before going out there, but saying that all of them were brave soldiers. He wanted families back home to know that they were out here fighting, that they believed in what they fought for.
And meanwhile, as you did just mention, the search does still continue for the other two missing soldiers. And the military is very, very actively searching for those that carried out the attack, right now believing that the pieces of the puzzle are coming together and that they are getting closer -- Kiran.
CHETRY: Yes, they think they know who is behind it. The question now is, how do they locate them and how do they find out?
Our Arwa Damon, live for us in Yusufiya.
ROBERTS: The House today votes on a final war spending bill without the troop withdrawal deadlines the Democrats had demanded. It's just got benchmarks now which really don't even have to be enforced.
Now another fight is brewing for the new majority. Democrats rode into Washington last year promising to clean up the town. They're now facing heat for not doing more to curb lobbying.
CNN's Andrea Koppel is live on Capitol Hill.
Are the Democrats backtracking here on their promise, Andrea?
ANDREA KOPPEL, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You know what, John? I think the answer is yes and no.
When they were out on the trail last year, they did promise that if they won they would double what's known as the cooling off period. That's the amount of time that lawmakers and senior staff are supposed to wait before -- when they leave Congress before they can go and lobby Congress. Currently it's about a year.
On the other hand, today's legislation has a number of things in it that are positive. Among them, creating a public database of registered lobbyists; requiring lobbyists to disclose how they're spending their money on lawmakers on a more regular basis. And then disclosing what is known as bundling by lobbyists. That's when they collect or solicit smaller campaign donations totaling more than $20,000 a year.
Now, on that last item, you've got a lot of Democrats up here, including Virginia's Jim Moran, who were grumbling about that because it's a huge source of campaign cash.
Just listen to him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JIM MORAN (D), VIRGINIA: I will support it. I just -- I just want the leadership to understand, we will do this. But then to expect us to raise a million dollars every time we run, that's difficult.
So, you know, let's be a little consistent here.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KOPPEL: So, Moran's point is that leaders really can't have it both ways.
On the one hand, expecting them to raise tons of cash come elections, but on the other, trying to turn off the spigot because of the lobbying reform -- John.
ROBERTS: You mentioned that the window of opportunity to go into lobbying will remain at a year, as opposed to extending it to two, or at least a ban on being able to go out there in the private sector.
How common is it for former congressmen or senators to become lobbyists?
KOPPEL: I don't know if you're going to be surprised by this. I was.
Almost 50 percent of lawmakers -- and this is between 1998 and 2004 -- became lobbyists. The number is actually 86 out of 198 members of Congress jumped ship and went into lobbying. But when you figure that their salary is $186,000 a year, and starting salaries at some of these firms are $300,000, they go up into the millions, you can understand why.
ROBERTS: Yes, tough to live off of $186,000 a year.
KOPPEL: I'll tell you, a lot of people would like that.
ROBERTS: You can understand why they want to make more. Yes, I'll bet they certainly would.
That's a huge number. Very surprising.
Andrea Koppel on Capitol Hill.
And what are you going to do with all that money? You know, you can buy gas.
With gas prices higher than they've ever been, many people are asking, why are we paying so much when oil companies and refineries are making record profits, and oil is not as expensive as it was a couple years ago when gas prices were lower?
Earlier, I asked the chief economist at Tesoro Refineries out in Los Angeles to explain.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LYNN WESTFALL, CHIEF ECONOMIST, TESORO GROUP: We are now importing about 13 percent of our gasoline needs in the United States. And those imports have to be supplied by foreign refineries who are very inefficient at making U.S. spec gasoline. So, we have to bid up the price of gasoline on the world scale to give the incentive to these very inefficient refineries to make something that they weren't built to make.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERTS: Lynn Westfall from Tesoro did have some good news, though. He says he believes that prices have peaked and they'll start to go down and will continue to go down over the summer. But as if gas prices are not high enough, we will tell you why it's also raising the price of food, among other things.
CHETRY: And some more stories we're tracking this morning.
Rescuers are going to be trying a new tactic, actually a scare tactic to get the two humpback whales that are in the Sacramento Delta back out to the Pacific Ocean, where they need to be. What they're going to be doing is playing sounds of orcas attacking a whale and the whale's cub to try to urge them to move out of the direction of that.
They are also worried that the injuries on the whales do appear to be getting worse. It's been three days, and they have not really moved at all.
Cuban leader Fidel Castro says he is eating solid food and improving after many months of intravenous feeding. The 80-year-old Castro has not been seen in public since last summer. That was when he announced he would have intestinal surgery.
Take a look at this. This is some spectacular video of Hawaii's Mt...
CHETRY: ... Kilauea erupting. We're going to have much more on that coming up in a moment.
CHETRY: Well this is just some beautiful video. It really is spectacular when you see Mother Nature like this. This is Hawaii's Mt. Kilauea -- thanks to John I got that one right this time -- looking at the glowing lava flowing from the volcano. Kilauea has been continually active since 1983, 24 years.
Thirteen past the hour now. Some day I want to go to Hawaii. It looks beautiful.
ROBERTS: Oh, it's a fantastic place.
CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: You've never been there?
MYERS: Oh. The greatest part is when you drive up to it, and all of a sudden the road is gone because the lava is over the road and you can't drive more. And you see these signs that say 25 miles per hour and they're in the lava.
CHETRY: How close do they let you get, by the way, to that?
MYERS: From me to you.
MYERS: Yes, really. You can feel the heat.
When you get that close, your senses tell to you back up, that you can't get any closer than that.
And hey, this is a great transition. Speaking of heat, yesterday a bunch of record highs across the Midwest.
I mean, temperatures were in the 90s in some spots. And they'll be that way today.
Look at this, Ft. Wayne, Indiana, 91. Breaking an old record by like six degrees, an old record that was set 100 years ago.
South Bend; Flint, Michigan; Green Bay, all over 85 yesterday. And it will be the same today.
Big-time severe weather, Kansas City, Oklahoma City, into Tulsa soon, all the way down into Texas, as well. Abilene, a couple hours to you.
Later on today, though, the severe weather will not be focussed in the South. It will actually be focused in Minneapolis, and Eau Claire, and right on down through Madison, Wisconsin. Places maybe not expecting it, but that's where the hot air is and that's where the severe weather will be this afternoon.
Watch out for tornadoes up there in a place that you don't expect it this time of year. So -- though that's the most dangerous time, when you don't expect it.
ROBERTS: Everybody has got to be on the lookout this year.
Chad, thanks very much.
ROBERTS: Coming up now to 15 minutes after the hour.
Democrats find themselves in a sticky situation today. A vote for the compromised war spending bill avoids a showdown with President Bush and gets the money to the troops, but it also flies in the face of their constituents who sent them to Washington to end the war.
Senator Russ Feingold joins us now from Washington.
Senator Feingold, thanks very much for being with us. Always appreciate you coming on.
SEN. RUSS FEINGOLD (D), WISCONSIN: Good morning.
ROBERTS: What are your thoughts on this bill that's going to be voted on today? FEINGOLD: Well, it's a shame. We basically see a cave-in by many members of Congress, Republicans and many Democrats, who know that the message from the American people was to get us out of Iraq.
We understand that there have to be some continuing operations in Iraq, but it has to be coupled with a plan and funding being used to redeploy the troops. And that is missing from this bill. So, it's a failure.
We've done very well to this point. This is the first real turn in the wrong direction in several months. I regret it, and I think it's a big mistake, especially Democrats who came here to Washington clearly with the message that the American people wanted us to end the war. I think it's a mistake.
ROBERTS: You call it a cave-in. A neighbor of yours, Rahm Emanuel, congressman from Illinois, said that it seemed to indicate it was a partial victory, saying this was the beginning of the end of the war, that it ended the days of giving President Bush a blank check.
Is he right or wrong?
FEINGOLD: Well, I hope he's right. I doubt it. I really can't believe that simply allowing this war to continue indefinitely, giving the president what he wants when he doesn't have a plan, simply means that more American men and women are going to die in a situation that doesn't make any sense.
More will be kidnapped, more will be maimed. It's unjustifiable simply to continue to give the president this blank check that I can't support.
ROBERTS: Senator Feingold, any question as to how you're going to vote on this bill?
FEINGOLD: No. I'm going to vote no.
It's a hard thing to do, but I really believe that we had an opportunity -- in fact, we passed legislation that provided what was needed, but at the same time began the end of this war. That is the bill that should be on the floor. It is not, and so I can't support it.
ROBERTS: There's huge debate in the Democratic Party as to what lawmakers in Congress should do about this. Let's take a listen to what Senator John -- or former senator John Edwards, presidential candidate, said should happen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN EDWARDS (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: What they should do is send the president another bill that funds the troops and has a timetable for withdrawal. And if he vetoes that, they should send him another bill that has funding for the troops and a timetable for withdrawal. It's very important that they stand their ground on this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERTS: Senator Edwards says keep sending them the same bill again and again and again until he signs it.
Is that a good strategy?
FEINGOLD: Well, I would strongly prefer that strategy, but Senator Edwards also has to sign on to the Feingold-Reid legislation. He has not expressed support for the idea that we have to have a funding deadline, not just begin to withdraw the troops, as he suggests, but a firm deadline at which point we withdraw the funding.
So, I need his support on that. But I do agree with him that we should keep sending a tough bill to the president.
ROBERTS: Now, Senator Edwards has got it a little easier than many of the other Democratic presidential candidates because he doesn't have to actually cast a vote on this. And they seem to be caught between a rock and a hard place.
If you vote for this bill, you're going to anger your base. If you vote against it, the Republicans are going to whack you over the head like they did John Kerry for voting against funding for the troops.
So how do you reconcile those two disparate ideas?
FEINGOLD: Well, the Democratic candidates for president who are in the United States Senate stood tall last week and voted for the Feingold-Reid amendment. They had a timeline to end this war and enforcement of it by using the power of the purse.
Today they have to make another decision. But I do want to acknowledge that they voted right. Many senators, including many Democratic senators, voted wrong.
So I give points, strong points and credit to those senators who voted to end this war last week. I hope they will continue to do so.
ROBERTS: All right. Well, we'll keep following this vote.
And Senator Russ Feingold, Democrat as Wisconsin, as always, thanks for being with us.
FEINGOLD: Thanks, John.
ROBERTS: Good to see you.
CHETRY: And a quick check now of some of the stories topping CNN.com.
The military identifying the body found in Iraq as one of the missing soldiers. Private First Class Joseph Anzack Jr., 20 years old, from Torrance, California.
Number three on the most popular list, the U.S. checking all toothpaste imports from China. This comes after reports of tainted toothpaste in other countries. It is prompting the FDA to check Chinese imports here to the U.S.
And you know the price of gas is rising, but you might be spending for your car, too, sometimes more than it's even worth. We're going to show you how to find out whether you are and what do about it coming up on AMERICAN MORNING.
The most news in the morning here on CNN.
ROBERTS: Well, some other stories that we're following for you this morning.
An Arizona court hearing today for former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson, facing drunk driving and drug possession charges.
And a small victory for the family of Ron Goldman. O.J. Simpson ordered to turn over some $3,500 that a Florida judge is holding in a trust. The Goldman family hopes that the ruling serves as a tipping point into their fight to collect on a $33 million wrongful death judgment against Simpson.
Everything starts small and then builds.
CHETRY: Thanks, John.
Well, we've all heard of sticker shock. But what you may not know is that you're spending more money than you think on your car.
CNN's personal finance editor, Gerri Willis, is here to explain.
Well, we see the sticker price when we buy a car. How do we end up not knowing what we are paying for in the end?
GERRI WILLIS, CNN PERSONAL FINANCE EDITOR: I'm telling you, you end up paying a whole lot more than you expect, and here's why.
Every year the price of cars are going up. You probably know that. And you are getting the leather seats and the really nice stereo. And to afford all that you are paying it over longer and longer periods of time.
Folks are typically taking out loans that are just under six years to pay for their car, or as much as nine years. This means you pay a ton in interest.
Let's take a look at an example.
You see if you have a Chevy Tahoe and it costs about $36,000, the difference in interest on a five-year loan verses a three-year loan is $3,000. So people are paying more than ever for their cars.
CHETRY: Yes. You know, a lot of times people say, well, the car depreciates the second you drive it off the lot. What can you do to try to help stem that, if anything?
WILLIS: Well, let's take a look at just how much money you lose, because I think people know you lose some when you drive off the lot. But after five years, the average car loses 75 percent of its value.
Look at the top cars that lose the most value. You can see the Ford Freestar there losing 82 percent. If you want to know how much your car -- how much value your car is losing, go to kbb.com. That's the Web site for Kelley Blue Book.
CHETRY: Yes, and the other interesting -- does it help to buy -- they always talk about, like, the last year's model that is still at the dealership but not necessarily -- hasn't been used, but it's just from a year ago.
WILLIS: I like that strategy, but at the end of the day you have got to watch about how much you are spending overall. That's what I think is important right now, is that people don't spend too much on cars. Because look, the big problem here is that as a result of all this money that's being spent, people are under water in their loans, Kiran.
Thirty percent of people are spending more than the car is worth. They owe more on the car than it's worth. It's called being under water in your loan.
What's more, people are rolling over more debt to the next car because they haven't paid it off -- $3,000 on average. And we are also seeing people roll this debt into mortgages, home mortgages. It just doesn't make any sense.
We are loading ourselves up for debt for goods that we don't even have anymore.
CHETRY: That's interesting. It's not an investment. A car is not an investment. At least a house is.
WILLIS: No, no. It's a deprecating asset. So you've got to unload that, you've got to pay what you should be paying, and, you know, maybe forget those leather seats this time.
CHETRY: That's right. Bring your iPod. No stereo.
Thanks a lot, Gerri.
WILLIS: You're welcome.
CHETRY: You can also see more of Gerri this weekend. "OPEN HOUSE," it's on Saturday, 9:30 a.m. Eastern Time.
I don't know that's the right music. That was the stripper music from last hour.
Gerri, that was...
WILLIS: We're not that show.
CHETRY: ... so accidental. Something happened subliminally in the audio booth.
ROBERTS: That's a whole new take on "OPEN HOUSE," I'll tell you.
Twenty-five minutes after the hour. Carrie Lee here "Minding Your Business".
And we always hear about -- they tell you to turn off your cell phone in an airplane because it might interfere with the navigation system. But we actually have found something that it does interfere with.
CARRIE LEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Exactly. Nissan is warning customers that some cell phones can effect the eye (ph) keys you use for some 2007 models. So they're recommending keeping your cell phone at least one inch away from these keys.
ROBERTS: And an eye (ph) key is a what?
LEE: Basically, it's a -- it's a fob. You don't need a regular metal key.
ROBERTS: So it's an electronic key.
LEE: It's an electronic key. That's right.
2007 Altima sedan, 2007 Infiniti G35 can have a bad reaction with some phones, basically dismantle the eye (ph) key. And if that happens then you really have a problem, because the code is altered and it can't be reprogrammed.
So, you need to keep your cell phone away. They recommend keeping it in a little plastic baggy. And a good idea to prevent this, maybe get a couple of different keys, or, you know, similar -- the copies of the same key if you do have one of these models.
So this is what Nissan...
ROBERTS: It makes it difficult to answer the phone, though,, when it's in a baggy, doesn't it?
LEE: Yes. Yes. But you shouldn't be on your cell phone when you're in your car anyway, right?
ROBERTS: What else you got for us?
LEE: OK. We've heard about cyber theft, spyware. Here's the latest in electronic theft. It's called smart phone spying, and basically, as cell phones become more sophisticated, you can send information to your desk top, your laptop computer.
People are jumping in on this. There are 400 or so versions now, expected to go up to 1,000 by 2007.
This is not a widely-used type of -- type of criminal activity, but basically they can monitor activities on your phones, listen to phone calls, messages, e-mails. They can even activate a microphone or a camera to hear and see what's going on around you.
So, some companies like Symantec software companies do have some programs that can stay one step ahead. But you know how this is, the crime, the technology always keeping pace.
ROBERTS: Frightening. And a whole new twist on that.
LEE: It really is.
ROBERTS: Carrie Lee, thanks very much.
LEE: My pleasure.
ROBERTS: We all know that Google can be a great source of information, but could it also have too much information on you and your family?
Our Alina Cho will be here to explain.
And the cost of gasoline is trickling down to your grocery bill. How high food prices are rising, and why, next on AMERICAN MORNING.
The most news in the morning is on CNN.
KIRAN CHETRY, CNN ANCHOR: Well, there's a beautiful shot. That's Fleet Week. It kicked off yesterday. And that's -- which one is that? That's an aircraft carrier.
JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR: It's definitely an aircraft carrier.
CHETRY: Docked on the west side of Manhattan. Thousands and thousands will be coming to visiting, stop by and meet the crew. Get a chance to see one of those ships firsthand as Fleet Week festivities roll along.
ROBERTS: It's always a great time here in New York.
CHETRY: It's a blast.
Well, welcome back. Thanks so much for being with us. Thursday, May 24th. I'm Kiran Chetry.
ROBERTS: And I'm John Roberts. Thanks very much for joining us.
First, gasoline. Now it's food that's costing you much more. Prices at the supermarket are way up. And it all starts back on the farm and the huge demand for corn. AMERICAN MORNING's Chris Lawrence has been looking into it. He's live this morning from a dairy farm in Corona, California.
What did you find out, Chris?
CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, John, if you're wondering why you've got to pay more for a gallon of milk these days, blame them. And what I mean by that is, it's costing farmers nearly 50 percent more to feed them and we all end up having to bear that cost.
LAWRENCE, (voice over): Mac and cheese is up 25 percent. A gallon of milk costs 30 percent more. A pound of oranges, 75 percent. And for California shoppers, there's no relief in sight.
TERRELL RICHARDSON, GROCERY SHOPPER: I have definitely noticed a difference.
LAWRENCE: Terrell Richardson is shopping for his wife and daughter. He spends so much more on food that he's had to skimp on other necessities, like routine car maintenance.
RICHARDSON: So I'm gong to sacrifice my car and getting my car washed and make sure my daughter has a good meal in her -- in her belly in the morning. And with these prices, it's really, really hard.
LAWRENCE: Last month food prices rose 4 percent nationally. It's even worse in California because of its high real estate and gas prices. Analysts blame a combination of drought, freezing weather, and the rising price of corn.
Corn? That's right. It's the main ingredient in ethanol, an alternative fuel in hot demand. Corn syrup is used to make ketchup and sweeten soda pop. Corn fattens animals before slaughter and it's forcing dairy farmers to spend millions more to feed their milk cows.
SYP VANDER DUSSEN, DAIRY FARM OWNER: And the dairy industry is caught with skyrocketing feed prices which must be passed on to the consumer eventually.
LAWRENCE: This Texas factory produces 6 million tortillas a day. That's a lot of corn. Guerra says he's competing for corn with ethanol producers. Food versus fuel.
RUDY GUERRA JR., PRESIDENT, RUDY'S TORTILLAS: Corn products, chips, tortillas, enchiladas, they will go up about 25 percent to 30 percent at the restaurant level if things continue as they are now.
LAWRENCE: And with ethanol production expected to double in the next four years, today's food prices may look like a bargain.
LAWRENCE: Some economists say the price of food has not gone up this much since 1990. And it's forcing shoppers to take a closer look in their grocery basket. Sometimes replacing say the $5 cereal with maybe the store bought brand that's half the price.
ROBERTS: So, Chris, it's the -- the cost -- it's the production of ethanol that's helping to drive up corn prices. If this technology for developing what's called cellulosic ethanol catches fire, will that reduce the demand on corn and therefore reduce prices or will ethanol just become a bigger part of our lives every day and we're expected to see these prices stay high for the foreseeable future?
LAWRENCE: Well, one of the ripple effects is, it's not just corn. Because what farmers do, if they're going to make more money producing corn, they then take some of the room that they had for some of the other crops and devote it to corn, which drives up the price of some of those other crops, too. It's a ripple effect that won't entirely be solved by just increasing the production capacity or increasing technology.
ROBERTS: All right. Chris Lawrence for us live from the dairy farm in Corona, California.
Chris, thanks very much.
CHETRY: Well, Google is an incredible search tool. We've all used it. Sometimes many times a day. But some say sometimes it's a little too incredible. Especially when it comes to your personal information. It's available for all to see. For example, just typing in your phone number now, hitting enter in the search -- in the little search line, well, sure enough, a map often comes up, leading people right to your house if they wanted to get there. Alina Cho joins us now with more on this.
We did it this morning with John Roberts. He typed in his home phone number and, sure enough, there's his home address and a map to his home.
ALINA CHO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I think John's going to call the phone company today and say I'd like to be unlisted, right?
But, you know, this is interesting. It's not new. It's been around since 2002, Kiran. But a lot of people don't know about it.
It's so incredible. You really only have to type in your phone number, and what comes up immediately, if you're listed, is your name, your address and a link to a map, as you mentioned. You click on that map, it gives you directions right to your house. It's incredible. And you can imagine why people would be scared about this, right?
So we did some checking. And actually if you click on the link, if you put in your phone number and you click on the link with your name and phone number and address, it takes you right to the opt-out form. You can click on that op-out form. We're going to show it to you right now.
And essentially it says Google phonebook name removal. You scroll down to the bottom here and it's pretty easy. All you have to do is enter your name, first and last, city and state, your phone number, and then you submit the form and you get an immediate response which says within 48 hours your name and address will be removed from the site. So now that doesn't mean there aren't other sites where you can do this, right.
CHETRY: Right. Then you do this one and Google actually tells you after you submit this, you may be removed from our site, but there is about a half dozen others, it proceeds to list those, and it's a long process. I did it for my parents phone number yesterday. Because some of them don't just make it this easy. You actually have to call.
CHO: Oh, right. You have to call or you'll get an e-mail and you have to send an additional e-mail. It's a process. And you have to hunt for it. It's not easy to find it often.
So another thing we want to mention is that Google's chief executive, Eric Schmidt, made some waves this week. He does not talk often. But when he does, he makes news. And he did because he talked about the direction of Google. And what he said is, the way for Google to expand is to gather more of your personal data.
Now that sounds scary, right. What does it mean? Well, it means if you have something like a g-mail account, you have to type in some of your personal information, right?
CHETRY: So a Google account, an mail account.
CHO: That's right. Well, Google is storing that information, they say because in five years from now, what they are hoping is you'll be able to type in, what do I want to do tomorrow or what job should I take? And Google, in theory, will have enough personal information about you to spit out a personalized answer. Google says it will not pass on that person information to a third party. So that personal information, they say, is safe.
CHETRY: But it's interesting because it sort of is the flip side to the ease with which the Internet allows us to find out information. Unfortunately the flip side is, how easy it is for others that you may not want to find out information about you and even your kid.
CHO: That's right. You've got to be careful about it.
CHETRY: Sure thing.
Alina, thanks a lot. Very interesting.
CHO: My please.
ROBERTS: Thirty-seven minutes now after the hour. You have sent us your medical questions. Coming up, we're going to turn to our Dr. Sanjay Gupta for the answers.
That's ahead on AMERICAN MORNING. The most news in the morning is on CNN.
ROBERTS: All right, Kiran, question for you. We saw this ship just a little while ago. All right. We said aircraft carrier.
CHETRY: Yes. Were we wrong?
ROBERTS: No, we're correct, it's an aircraft carrier. Thanks to Eric Vad (ph), U.S. Navy retired, who saw that and wanted to help us out writes in and says that is the USS Wasp, a Navy ship that typically ferries Marines into action. Ferried them into combat in Somalia back in 1993.
CHETRY: Thanks for writing in. And people are going to get a chance to tour it.
ROBERTS: Yes, absolutely.
CHETRY: And get a firsthand look inside for Fleet Week.
ROBERTS: It's actually the tenth incarnation of the USS Wasp. The first one was a sail and scooter (ph) back in 1775.
CHETRY: Well, it certainly is majestic to look at there.
ROBERTS: Now Eric didn't tell us all that. I did a lot of research on it when he called me.
CHETRY: Don't give Eric all the credit. All right. Thanks for writing in.
Every day here on AMERICAN MORNING we talk about health stories and studies. And now it's your turn to call the shots. We're going to answer your questions that you've sent to Dr. Sanjay Gupta.
ROBERTS: Sanjay Gupta is locked, loaded, at the ready in Atlanta this morning.
First question to you, Sanjay . . .
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT : This is my favorite part of the week, just so you guys know.
ROBERTS: You like that?
GUPTA: I love this. Go ahead. ROBERTS: OK. We're going to throw out the scripted questions today and go ahead like that.
GUPTA: All right. Even better.
ROBERTS: The first question is about that monkey that died of bubonic plague at the Denver Zoo. Kathy from the kingdom of Fredonia in Kansas writes, "I read 20 infected squirrels were found in City Park next to the Denver Zoo. While going to the zoo may be OK, what about the people that go to the park, often bringing their dogs with them?" May their pets and those people be at risk of contracting bubonic plague from squirrels?
GUPTA: Yes, you know, that's a good question, Kathy. A couple of points to keep in mind. First of all, bubonic plague exists in this country. A lot of people don't remember that, but it does exists in the country. In fact, it's endemic in several different animal populations.
The other thing about dogs is that dogs specifically really aren't at risk for getting sick from bubonic plague. What they're at risk from is actually getting fleas that they can subsequently bring home and can bite something else, another animal or even a human being. So keep your dog on a leash. You know, the risk from getting bubonic plague to a human, very, very small. There's only one case, actually, reported this entire year.
CHETRY: Well, that's good news, certainly.
Well, our next question is about food safety, Sanjay. You had a big special on it last week. In fact, thanks to you, my dad's no longer eating lettuce. Robert from . . .
GUPTA: That wasn't my intention. Eat your lettuce, Kiran's dad, Mr. Chetry.
CHETRY: Robert from Lakeland, Florida. He writes, "the talk of irradiation to make meats safer to eat seemed to fade. Why and would it be applicable to produce?"
GUPTA: Well, you know, it's interesting. You know, they do irradiate meat. And this has actually been going on since February of 2000. Something we did look into for the special. Irradiation can kill bacteria. That's why it's used. But, you're right, there's a lot of concerns. Could you become radioactive. Would it make the taste of the food go away. So there was concerns about irradiation and sort of waned in popularity.
There is a lot of talk now about using radiation to try and kill bacteria in produce as well. Right now they do use low levels of radiation to prevent what they call sprouting. But to actually use high enough doses to actually prevent bacterial infections is a possibility as well. They're talking about this as possibly trying to reduce the number of these outbreaks. ROBERTS: All right. Our final question this morning about the diabetes drug Avandia that we talked about earlier this week. Kareen from Glendale, California, asks, "if I stop taking Avandia, will the risk of heart attack stop or will some risk remain because of prior use?" What do you say to that?
GUPTA: Well, you know, this should be a chip shot. You should be able to answer this one easily. But the real answer is, we don't know how long the risk actually takes. Remember, we talked quite a bit about Avandia and the possibility that it could actually increase your risk of heart disease by about 43 percent, specifically a heart attack by 43 percent. That's a big concern because diabetes and heart disease often times go hand in hand.
You remember with Vioxx, Kiran, you and I were talking about this earlier. With Vioxx -- it got taken off the market because of concerns about heart disease as well. The risk actually lasted about a year after you stopped taking the drug. We don't know if the same is going to be true about Avandia.
One thing that's important to point out though, blood sugar management is really important. So if you're going to stop the Avandia, make sure you're replacing it with something else.
CHETRY: Yes, very good point, Sanjay.
And, by the way, next Thursday, we're going to be turning again to Dr. Gupta's mailbag. So if you have some of your questions and if you want Sanjay to answer them, go ahead and e-mail us, cnn.com/americanmorning.
Sanjay, by the way, great to see you. Very informative. Thanks.
GUPTA: Any time. Thanks.
ROBERTS: See you next week, Sanjay.
CHETRY: The CNN NEWSROOM just minutes away. Tony Harris is at the CNN Center with a look at what's ahead.
Good to see you, Tony.
TONY HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: Kiran, good morning to you.
We have got these stories on the CNN NEWSROOM rundown for you.
A body pulled from an Iraqi river identified as Army Private Joseph Anzack. The search for two soldiers caught in an ambush with Anzack goes on.
For the first time, New York's medical examiner linking a death directly to toxic dust from the World Trade Center.
And is 60 the new 20? Meet a new mom who's really, well to put it delicately, an old mom. When it old too old for twins? All right. These are questions, just questions. Don't look at me sideway there. Heidi Collins with me in the NEWSROOM. We get started at the top of the hour right here on CNN.
Kiran, back to you.
CHETRY: All right. No one's look at you sideways. And those were very cute twins, by the way.
HARRIS: Yes, they are.
CHETRY: Tony, we look forward to watching you. Thanks.
ROBERTS: Forty-six minutes now after the hour. Does the government have the right to take your pet away? Just ahead, we're going to meet a woman in a big battle over a three-pound monkey.
Stay with us on AMERICAN MORNING.
ROBERTS: A shot for you this morning from Philadelphia. Our folks -- our friends at WPVI. That's a shot of the Ben Franklin Bridge. Traffic starting to come in here in the morning.
Forty-nine minutes after the hour. A brief wild fling of freedom for an orangutan in Taiwan. The ape busted out of his zoo cage. He overturned motor bikes -- look at this -- some picnic tables. Terrified diners at a restaurant. The rampage finally ended when the orangutan was shot with a tranquilizer dart. Man, that's some coat he's wearing, isn't it?
CHETRY: There he is. All right.
Well, speaking of monkeys, here's another one to talk about. How much do you love your pet? Well, a little capuchin monkey named Armani is priceless to Elyse Gazewitz. The trouble is, is that Montgomery County, Maryland, says it's illegal to have him and they actually took Armani away. Elyse is with us now from her home in Rockville, Maryland.
Good morning and thanks for being with us.
ELYSE GAZEWITZ, PET MONKEY CONFISCATED: Good morning. Thank you.
CHETRY: Elyse, first, tell us what happened. How did Montgomery County police even know you had your pet monkey, Armani. And how did they take him away from you?
GAZEWITZ: Well, I was -- I called the sanctuary to find out, like I always have, like any mother would call another mother about food. And the woman referred me to this other woman at a sanctuary. And I called her.
And I had never spoken to her before in my life. She's never seen Armani. She's never been to my house. I don't know this woman. And I was simply talking to her about coconuts and different kinds of nuts and food.
And the next thing I know, she reported me to animal control, Montgomery County Animal Control, saying that my monkey was frail, not eating, and in desperate need of a veterinarian. And animal control showed up at my house and they said that if I didn't let them in, they were going to arrest me and they were going to euthanize my monkey.
So I let them in. And they said that my monkey was perfectly fine. That he had it made. They looked at the room and they said they were going to speak to the director. And . . .
CHETRY: Well, they did end up taking your monkey -- Elyse, they did end up taking the money away from you and now you're in the midst of this fight to get him back. One of the things they say is that apparently they will let you keep an animal but they no longer allow, if you bought it before, I guess, it's October 2006. But they claims that in their statement that they have documentation showing this monkey was not born or purchased until after that law went into effect. Can you prove otherwise to get your monkey back?
GAZEWITZ: Yes. Yes, I can. Yes, I can. And right now I'm fighting to keep him alive because they told me I have to pay $1,300 every month, prepaid, otherwise I lose ownership to Armani and then they'll euthanize him. And I haven't seen him. I'm not allowed to call. And -- I don't know how he is.
CHETRY: And I -- for anybody who loves their pet, they can understand why you feel the way that you do right now. Where is Armani?
GAZEWITZ: He's at the Catoctin Zoo. And they never even called me. I have no idea how he's doing. They didn't ask me, when they took him, they didn't even know his name. They didn't ask me what his eating schedule is, what kinds of foods he eats. Nothing. And Armani is -- he's already started learning his colors and he knows how to turn the remote control on and we watch TV together in the morning. And he just -- he has a routine every day.
And I just want him to come home because I'm very worried. I don't want them to -- I don't want them to take him and euthanize him. And I'm trying so hard to keep him and this is just wrong. And they handcuffed me and they took me to jail. And one animal officer kicked my dog across the kitchen floor because my dog was trying to protect me.
CHETRY: It's an upsetting situation, Elyse, and I know that you've actually gotten a lawyer because you're hoping to be able to prove quickly that he is, indeed, allowed to be kept in Montgomery County.
Can you explain for people what's behind you as well? I mean, you spent thousands of dollars making your home and the area around it friendly for a primate.
GAZEWITZ: Yes, I did. I did my homework. I've always loved primates all my life. It's been a dream of mine. And I understood that I needed to make sure that he had everything that he needs. And I had a room built for him consisting of sky lights so he can get natural vitamin d, and he has monkey bars.
CHETRY: Right. And we're seeing some pictures of it right there.
GAZEWITZ: Yes, and he loves that room.
CHETRY: And we'll show one more picture of little Armani. He certainly is adorable. I know you're trying to figure out what you can do to be able to get him back. And good luck. And please keep us posted.
GAZEWITZ: Thank you so much. And please help me get Armani back.
ROBERTS: Fifty-four minutes after the hour now. A quick look at what CNN NEWSROOM is working on for the top of the hour.
HARRIS: See these stories in the CNN NEWSROOM.
The body of a missing U.S. soldier identified. Private Joseph Anzack, one of three soldiers seized in a May 12th ambush in Iraq.
The House set to vote today on Iraq War funding. The bill excludes withdrawal time lines.
Hawaii's Kilauea volcano, in a spectacular eruption.
Daytime TV in a spectacular eruption over the Iraq War.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROSIE O'DONNELL, "THE VIEW": Do you believe that, yes or no!
ELIZABETH HASSELBECK, "THE VIEW": Excuse me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS: NEWSROOM at the top of the hour on CNN.
CHETRY: Thanks so much for being with us here on AMERICAN MORNING. We'll see you tomorrow.
ROBERTS: See you again tomorrow.
See you again tomorrow.
CNN NEWSROOM with Tony Harris and Heidi Collins begins right now.
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