Return to Transcripts main page
Central Texas Flooding; Birth Defect Risks; Crucial Immigration Vote Today
Aired June 28, 2007 - 06:59 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): The skies open up. New storms pushing into the plains after more than a foot and a half of rain in the Texas hill country.
Plus, heightened fears in California. Powerful winds threatening new flare-ups in the Tahoe wildfire on this AMERICAN MORNING.
CHETRY: And welcome. It is Thursday, June 28th.
I'm Kiran Chetry, along with John Roberts.
JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning to you.
CHETRY: There is some more rain in the forecast today for central Texas. The area just starting to recover from an unbelievable storm yesterday being described as a "rain bomb" in the city of Marble Falls. Eighteen inches of rain causing flash flooding, wiped out bridges and homes.
Meteorologist Reynolds Wolf is in Marble Falls. It's about 40 miles outside of Austin. And they are getting ready for more severe weather.
But what do you think in terms of what impact it may have today?
REYNOLDS WOLF, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Oh, you know, it all depends on not just the amount of rain, but how quickly it falls, Kiran. I mean, if you have anywhere, say, from three to four, maybe even as much as five inches of rainfall here that falls here in Marble Falls, and it's stretched out throughout the day, I think they may be able to handle it. Now, if it all happens in a very, very short time, then that may be another issue altogether.
Let me show you how the river stands right now.
The good news, that it has dropped significantly since last night. In fact, you look right here, you see a little bit of debris lined up on this boat ramp. That tells us where it was at its high point. And then all the way down to its present location, farther down the boat ramps, that kind of shows you what 18 inches of rainfall can do to this river.
Now, one of the reasons why the river has dropped considerably is because of the great job that's been done by the Lower Colorado River Authority down at Mansfield Dam. That's a little bit down river.
They've opened up four floodgates, and that has helped this water drop. That is how things now stand on the river. You have debris in many places, there has been some damage.
Earlier, we spoke with Mayor Ray Whitman of Marble Balls. He let us know what things are looking like in town.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAYOR RAY WHITMAN, MARBLE FALLS, TEXAS: The damage here is fairly extensive. We have two areas that were very hard hit. But the majority of the city escaped major damage.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WOLF: He doesn't mince words, does he? I mean, they are very, very lucky in many ways. It could have been far worse. But still, to say the very least, they're very nervous about this possibility of rainfall coming today, and they're keeping their fingers crossed, hoping that if it does rain, again, as I mentioned, it's going to spread out over a long period of time and not come in one large, as you mentioned earlier, rain bomb.
Back to you.
CHETRY: Yes, we're hoping for that as well.
Reynolds Wolf, thanks so very much.
And it's time now to check in with some of our other big stories. Our AMERICAN MORNING team of correspondents standing by now.
ROBERTS: Let's get right to Chad Myers with the outlook for extreme weather this morning.
CHETRY: And also some questions and concerns this morning about pregnant women taking a certain kind of antidepressant.
Our chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, is looking into that for us.
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning.
Yes, you know, there's a lot of concerns about pregnancy and depression. You know, a woman who is pregnant or who is depressed and becomes pregnant, should she continue taking her antidepressant medications? Lots of particular studies on this. Two drugs in particular, Paxil and Zoloft, have been studied quite extensively, and they've actually been associated -- a very, very small association with three types of birth defects: brain defects, a gastrointestinal defect, which is your intestines, and a skull defect. What we also found -- now some newer studies actually coming out saying the risks are incredibly small and pretty much everyone agreeing that if you are -- if you do become pregnant and you are ultra depressed, stopping the medications abruptly is probably the worst thing to do.
You'll probably miss your appointments. You may not be able to take care of that baby when it's born. Talk to your doctor about this. But some new information saying much smaller risks than even previously thought.
CHETRY: Well, that's good news.
Sanjay, thank you.
ROBERTS: And Jacki Schechner is watching the blogs this morning. And, of course, all the buzz is over the Paris Hilton interview last night.
Jacki, what are they saying? I see we've got a little halo on Paris' head.
JACKI SCHECHNER, CNN INTERNET REPORTER: Yes. Good morning, guys.
She is taking a small beating from the gossip blogs this morning. There's obviously a little sarcasm in the photograph talking about her reinvention tour kicking off last night.
A lot of people didn't believe that Paris Hilton was telling the truth or that she hadn't been prepped appropriately, especially when talking about what passages of the bible were her favorite. She was mum on that. She told Larry King that said she didn't have one.
If you want support from Paris Hilton, you're going to have to go online to her MySpace page, and there people are saying they stood by her all along, they thought she did a good job last night, they are happy to have her free at last, guys. So...
ROBERTS: Jacki, thanks. We'll see you soon.
CHETRY: Well, Paris also spent some of her time in prison and -- writing. She shared some of her journal entries with Larry King in their exclusive interview last night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LARRY KING, HOST, "LARRY KING LIVE": Let's hear some of the things you -- what did you write in prison -- in jail?
PARIS HILTON, RECENTLY RELEASED FROM JAIL: Well, I had a lot of time alone. So I wrote a lot. I actually have a journal as well, but I left that at home.
KING: You kept a daily journal?
HILTON: Yes, I did. OK. This is one of the notes that I wrote.
"They say when you reach a crossroad or turning point in life it really doesn't matter how we got there, but what we do next after we get there. Usually we arrive there by adversity, and it is then and only then that we find out who we truly are and what we're truly made of. It's a process, a gift and a journey, and if we can travel it alone, although the road may be rough at the beginning, we find the ability to walk it, a way to start fresh again. It's neither a downfall nor a failure, but a new beginning."
And I just felt like this a new beginning for me, just being in jail, and I just used it as a journey to figure out myself and who I am and what I want to do. And there's just so much more to me than what people think.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHETRY: Paris also said that she spent a lot of time in prison reading, as we said, particularly the bible. But as Jacki pointed out, when she was asked, well, "What was your favorite passage?" She didn't know.
Tomorrow it will be a triple play of Larry. His Beatles reunion, that's at 7:00. At 8:00, a second date with Paris Hilton. And at 9:00, filmmaker Michael Moore will take your calls and e-mails live.
ROBERTS: Twelve minutes after the hour now.
The Senate's immigration reform bill faces a do-or-die cloture vote in the next couple of hours. The White House and bipartisan backers of the bill need 60 votes to keep it alive. They certainly couldn't get that the last time around.
Slate.com's chief political correspondent, John Dickerson, is with us from Washington.
John, do they have the votes? Last night, Senator Jeff Sessions told our Lou Dobbs that it's going to be razor thin.
JOHN DICKERSON, CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT, SLATE.COM: Yes, there's a battle of the bad cliches -- razor thin, it's down to the wire. Another supporter said it's nip and tuck.
They need 60 votes. Earlier in the week the president and the supporters of the bill got 64. But it looks like at least a half dozen senators are moving away, which would get under that crucial 60 number. So it looks -- it looks tough for the bill this morning. ROBERTS: There's something really odd that happened last night. Supporters of the bill had done a pretty good job at defeating all of these amendments which were intended to trip it up. And then last night they swallowed what was almost a poison pill, this idea of removing provisions in this Real ID program which was a real cornerstone of making sure that this thing worked.
DICKERSON: That's right. The Real ID program would force employers to check a special kind of I.D. for the people they hire.
The problem with this, in addition to the -- what's in the actual amendment, is that it triggered a procedural problem for the supporters of the bill that would take hours to explain. But essentially created another hurdle that might doom the bill.
ROBERTS: If this thing is defeated today, John, is it dead? Is it ever coming back?
DICKERSON: I think it's dead. It's not likely to come up a third time. With Democrats in control of the Senate, they want to bring up other bills that might actually pass, and if they do pass wouldn't be so controversial.
And remember, this was a fight that interrupted the bigger fight over the Iraq war. And we're all about ready to get back to that.
ROBERTS: But if it's killed now, will it resurrect itself during the '08 election?
DICKERSON: As an argument between the candidates, certainly the Republicans might debate it. But I think it will probably die if it doesn't pass.
ROBERTS: All right.
John Dickerson of slate.com.
John, good to see you. Thanks for coming in.
DICKERSON: Thank you.
CHETRY: Remembering the fallen at the scene of a tragedy. The mayor of Charleston, South Carolina, announcing yesterday that the city will buy the site where a fire gutted a furniture store and killed nine firefighters. The plan is to put up a park, as well as a memorial.
And New York City council approving a modernized building code for the city. It's been a big debate since the World Trade Center collapsed on 9/11. The new code will affect the construction of homes, apartments, as well as sky scrapers and other buildings. Changes include wider stairwells, as well as smoke-proof evacuation roofs.
Elizabeth Edwards jumps to her husband's defense. Could it hurt his presidential campaign? We're going to be talking to Roland Martin about that and all the big political stories coming up next on AMERICAN MORNING.
CHETRY: Well, the Democratic presidential candidates are getting ready to face off in a new forum. And just who is benefiting from the war of worlds between Ann Coulter and John Edwards?
Well, it's time now to take a political pulse with radio host and contributor Roland Martin.
It's great to see you this morning, Roland.
ROLAND MARTIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Good morning, Kiran.
CHETRY: Well, we'll start off with the Ann Coulter-Elizabeth Edwards controversy. On Monday, Ann Coulter started this latest round of fighting. She seems to pick on John Edwards, or at least that's what gets picked up. But there's been some criticism that her comments were taken out of context, so we're going to listen to them really quickly and let people decide.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANN COULTER, COMMENTATOR: I wouldn't insult gays by comparing them to John Edwards. That would be mean.
But about the same time, you know, Bill Maher was not joking and said he wished Dick Cheney had been killed in a terrorist attack. So I've learned my lesson. If I'm going to say anything about John Edwards in the future, I'll just wish he will have been killed in a terrorist assassination plot.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHETRY: So that's the comment in full.
What do you think? Was the criticism of Ann Coulter unfair?
MARTIN: Well, first and foremost, I mean, Ann Coulter has a track record. And so that's what happens when you make outlandish statements, people will attach will those to you even when you didn't say it. And so it is important to understand that context is critically important when assessing what she had to say.
But again, her prior statements, that's why people responded the way they did. And so -- and I think what she has to understand -- and she knows this -- I mean, she's throwing these flames out there on purpose. But you begin to lose your sense of perspective. You begin to lose your credibility when all you're known is as a flame thrower.
And so she wants to sell more books, she wants to, you know, get headlines. But she is also losing her credibility, and so she needs to focus on the substance of her arguments rather than simply calling people by names.
CHETRY: All right. But it is the outlandish things she says that gets -- get her book, you know, number one on amazon.com. It's what gets her popular. So, I mean, so it is a double-edged sword that way, I guess.
MARTIN: But Kiran, there's a fine line you have there. And that is you still want to maintain your integrity and your credibility, and you want people to still respect what you have to say.
And so when you continue to simply throw zingers, then people are going to say, you know what? That's all you are about. You're not about anything else. And so she has to check that.
I mean, look at it. You know, she got fired from the magazine she worked for -- I think it was "The National Review". A lot of people have dropped her column. And so you lose your platform when you continue to do that.
CHETRY: Well, if...
MARTIN: That's why she has to be careful.
CHETRY: That's an interesting point, though, because clearly she doesn't care, because she does this all the time. And this has become her schtick, if you will. But then why would Elizabeth Edwards even that with a response? I mean, do you think she should have called in to the show and even engaged Ann Coulter?
MARTIN: Well, no, I -- I think she should have, because at some point you have to punch the bully in the mouth. And that's exactly what Elizabeth Edwards did.
And so you don't let people just continue to get away with some of these crazy comments. And so again, it wasn't a problem. In fact, by Elizabeth Edwards calling, it's causing other people to be critical.
And another point, Kiran -- this is critically important -- far too many political folks always want to go, "Oh, I was just kidding. I was being comedic."
Bill Maher is a satirist, he's a comedian. That's what he does. She is -- she is not in the same boat. So I find it amazing when somebody gets in trouble and says, "Oh, I was simply being a comedian."
CHETRY: Right. But Bill Maher is also somebody who is a comedian, yet is extremely political, has an extreme point of view, and shares it.
MARTIN: Well, of course, but again, I think you could make the same comment regarding Chris Rock when you listen to some of his stuff as well. Again, but we know what we are getting from Bill Maher. We are not looking...
CHETRY: I think we know what we are getting with Ann Coulter.
MARTIN: Yes, but she is a -- she does present herself as a journalist, as a columnist, as a commentator. We see her differently than we do a Bill Maher. She's not a comedian, so, you know what? Cut the jokes, Ann.
CHETRY: All right. Let me ask you about this.
There's some concern that, you know, having Elizabeth Edwards stick up for her husband like that may turn into the Teresa Heinz Kerry getting a lot of flack, and it actually adversely effected John Kerry back in 2004.
Do you think that's the case, when women come forward to support their husbands?
MARTIN: No, of course not. I mean, we see this all the time, where the wives of a candidate, or in the case of Hillary Clinton running, Senator Hillary Clinton, her husband coming to her defense, we see that.
Folks are on the campaign trail. They're going to come to the defense of their spouses. So I'm not surprised by that. And if that -- that is encouraged certain times.
Look, the White House, when things are rough, what do they do? Send Laura Bush out. Everybody uses the spouses in various campaigns and different ways.
CHETRY: One -- another quick thing to talk about. A presidential debate is going to be focusing on some issues that are important in the African-American community airing on PBS. What are you going to be listening for, Roland?
MARTIN: Well, first, I think what you're going to see is you're going to see different kinds of questions because the lens through which people were asking the questions, see the world, is a little bit different than the last five debates, Democrats and Republicans combined. And so I think you're going to see a lot more domestic issues.
You're going to see a lesser focus on Iraq, on immigration, on abortion, on stem-cell research. And so it's really going to be a lot more pocketbook issues that speak to people -- education, health care, subprime lending crisis, housing. Those are likely going to be the issues you discussed tonight.
CHETRY: 9:00 p.m., PBS. And we'll have you back tomorrow and we can get your thoughts on how you thought it went.
MARTIN: Sounds great.
CHETRY: Roland Martin, always great to see you. Thanks so much.
MARTIN: Thanks, Kiran.
CHETRY: By the way, Elizabeth Edwards is going to be our guest coming up in the next hour. So we're going to putting some of these questions to her as well. John is going to be talking with her at 8:15 Eastern.
ROBERTS: Twenty-four minutes now after the hour. Ali Velshi here "Minding Your Business".
Second day of the Fed meeting. And why is that important to you? Because if you are taking out a lone for your iPhone, you want a low interest rate.
ALI VELSHI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You could be paying more for it.
If you used a credit card, you carry a balance on that credit card, and that credit card is linked to the prime rate, you're all of a sudden interested in what the Fed is doing. There are other folks who are interested in what the Fed is doing for other economic reasons. But here's what you need to know.
The Fed rate has been unchanged for a long time. It's at 5.25 percent. The prime rate, which is always 3 percentage points higher than the Fed rate, is 8.25 percent. And there are many loans that are tied to prime.
It could be three points higher than prime or 10 points higher than prime depending on your credit. So, when prime rate moves, your loan rate moves on a home equity line of credit or those types of loans. And that can affect how much your borrowing costs you.
So, it is something that you should keep an eye on. Remember, this is not mortgage rates. Your fixed mortgage rates are financed in the bond market. That's something else entirely. Those rates have been creeping up recently, but the prime rate is important to so many Americans because we carry so many consumer loans, and they are tied to the prime rat.
ROBERTS: So what is the Fed expected to do?
VELSHI: Nothing. The Fed is not expected to move rates right now. It's constantly balancing how the economy is going against inflation, and right now they think things are under control. It will be a big surprise to everybody, including the market, if the Fed does move. So for those of you in line right now to get your iPods, don't sweat it.
ROBERTS: Ali, thanks. I'm sure you're going to be in line there tomorrow, too.
VELSHI: I'll be there.
ROBERTS: Twenty-eight minutes after the hour.
And that sort of looks like Minneapolis this morning. Our thanks to our folks at KARE for that shot. Fifty-six degrees right now, going up to a high of 75.
CHETRY: No traffic.
ROBERTS: Yes. But, you know, this is that Midwestern sky. That little bit of sun out there is just a tease, because look at the clouds behind it. It's one of those things where it looks like it's going to be a beautiful day and then, bam, you're disappointed.
CHETRY: Well, they say it's a mix of sun and clouds. We'll see. But I just can't get over how there's hardly any traffic.
ROBERTS: Betting more clouds than sun today.
Good morning. It's Thursday, the 28th of June. Thanks for being with us.
John Roberts, along with Kiran Chetry this morning.
CHETRY: Good to see you.
ROBERTS: It's going to be a real cliffhanger. That's what Senator Jeff Sessions says about this morning's vote on the immigration reform bill. The Senate convenes at 9:30 to vote on whether to cut off debate. If that vote passes, the immigration bill then goes on to a final vote. That could be as early as tomorrow. If not, it looks like the bill will be dead yet again.
A piece of history is about to return to the Catholic Church. Pope Benedict XVI has just signed an order that would allow individual churches to practice mass in Latin. The church restricted the use of Latin back in the 1960s, trying to make the church more accessible favoring local languages instead.
KIRAN CHETRY, CNN ANCHOR, AMERICAN MORNING: They are expecting more rain in central Texas this morning and it's an area that's already recovering from the massive whopping it took yesterday. Eighteen inches of rain fell there triggering flash floods. The town of Marble Falls near Austin was hit hardest. Three bridges in that town washed away. About 100 homes damaged. Soldiers from the Texas National Guard are now headed to the area to help with the recovery.
And progress to report on the Lake Tahoe fire overnight. They are saying it's about 55 percent contained. Only problem, they knew earlier in the week that the high winds are due to come back into the forecast today. It means that burning embers could blow into an area of about 750 homes that they have been trying to save. If they do get past that danger, fire crews say they could have the fire contained by Tuesday. Chad Myers with the outlook for extreme weather this morning. So they're looking and hoping for no rain in Texas and they're hoping for no wind in Lake Tahoe, in California. Hopefully they'll get it.
CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Those pictures were amazing when you see what that pine tree can do. The sparks and the sap in that pine tree just -- it's like an explosion. Right now the winds are calm. South Lake Tahoe, great, 47 degrees. They are getting a handle on it. The more they can work on it now, the better because later on today the winds gust to 35 miles per hour. That's enough to jump the sparks ahead of their fire lines. They need to get it done. They need to be mopping up by noon today before those winds start.
The rain still across Texas and Oklahoma. although kind of spreading itself out a little bit today. There still will be heavy rainfall. There still will be pockets of maybe five to six inches, but it looks like now the heaviest threat of any flooding will be Tulsa, southeast of Wichita back into Springfield and all across I-70 in Missouri. That is where the heaviest rainfall will be today. Sans this, a bit of a tropical moisture bomb source, not a storm, but it will be over the Bahamas and Miami and all of south Florida for the next couple of days. That's the little disturbance we're looking at right there and that's going to make some heavy rain, maybe even for your weekend if you want to go to South Beach. John?
ROBERTS: But they can use the rain, right Chad?
MYERS: Absolutely. You bet, man.
ROBERTS: Thanks. Democrats had just upped the stakes in a running battle with the White House. The Senate Judiciary Committee issued subpoenas to the Bush administration demanding documents in the warrantless wiretapping program. Listen to committee Chairman Patrick Leahy for an idea of just how angry this fight is getting.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. PATRICK LEAHY (D) CHMN, JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: I've never known an administration so willing to operate outside the law even to operate against the law.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERTS: Where is the showdown headed? Court TV's Savannah Guthrie joins me now live from Washington. Savannah, this all falls out of the testimony last month of the former deputy attorney general, James Comey who talked about that crazy night where he and the FBI chief Robert Mueller had to race to John Ashcroft's bed to prevent Al Gonzales and Andy Card, who was then the White House chief of staff, for getting him to sign off, reauthorize this program.
SAVANNAH GUTHRIE, COURT TV: Right, in many ways, that testimony kind of reawakened the sleeping giant, the whole controversy over this National Security Agency warrantless wiretapping program. Congress looked into this last year but when Comey came in and told that story that was straight out of a Tom Clancy novel, many in Congress raised their eyebrows, especially since the attorney general, Alberto Gonzales had testified before that there wasn't serious disagreement within the administration over this program. Comey's testimony seemed to directly contradict that.
ROBERTS: So where is this all headed? The White House obviously is not going to accede to a demand, the demands for these subpoenas. Is this going to provoke some sort of a constitutional confrontation?
GUTHRIE: It definitely could. Normally in these situations, there's a lot of storm and fury but at the end of the day, they negotiate a settlement and everybody walks away. It seems though the White House really doesn't want to turn these documents over. They have been asked time and time again, according to the Democrats. Now they're being subpoenaed, so maybe they're thinking it's worth fighting for the principle. It could end up in the courts. If Congress passes a contempt order against the agencies that don't turn over the documents, then it could end up in a courtroom for the judge to decide.
ROBERTS: So you heard Senator Pat Leahy just a minute ago. Is this about scoring political points? It reinforces the notion of a lack of transparency in this White House, in a secret little society that goes around, does whatever it wants without any kind of accountability?
GUTHRIE: Of course it depends on who you ask, but certainly Democrats see it that way, that the White House has not been very transparent at all and that this is all part of a cover-up of what they consider to be illegal activity within the White House. On the other hand, the Democrats have to be careful too. They don't want to push this too far, because then they're vulnerable to the idea that they are more interested in investigating, scoring political points, making Republicans look bad and that's what they did when they had control of Congress as opposed to getting things done.
ROBERTS: All right. We'll keep watching which way this is going to go, but it's pretty obvious, I would think. Savannah Guthrie of Court TV, thanks. Always good to see you.
GUTHRIE: Nice so see you.
CHETRY: A photo of Rose O'Donnell's youngest daughter posted on her website and blog has everyone buzzing. Internet reporter Jacki Schechner has more. It's a photo of her youngest daughter Vivian that you would not expect to see because Rosie is so anti-war.
JACKI SCHECHNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's exactly right Kiran. This is the photo that we're talking about. This is four-year-old Vivian. The picture was posted on Rosie O'Donnell's website and her blog. You can imagine this is stirring up a bit of controversy. People are coming to her blog to comment. A lot of people are saying that it is a horrible picture of Vivie (ph). Other people are saying that it is brilliant and disturbing. Rosie O'Donnell followed up with posting a video online explaining that her daughter was playing dress- up, that in past years she had been dressed up as a princess and this year, she was dressing up as a soldier. She has said that the costume was bought online at buycostumes.com and that she is not necessarily making a statement, this is just her child playing dress-up. Kiran. CHETRY: There are a lot of people that were shocked about it especially supporters of Rosie who said this would be the last thing I would expect, you letting your daughter dress up in garb that had bullets hanging around her neck because of your outspoken criticism of the war and violence.
SCHECHNER: Kiran, she is actually making a couple of points here. She's got a section of her blog that she calls ask Rosie, where she answers questions that you send in and she entered them late last night, that she was saying it's just a photo. This is just my child playing dress up. What she would like people to do actually is focus on the actual war. People who were arguing with her saying that she was anti-American. She says that is not the case at all. She would like people, especially us in the media and other people to focus on the actual war in Iraq and not this picture of her child. Kiran.
CHETRY: All right, generating lots of buzz though. Jacki, thank you.
ROBERTS: Teenagers should expect another shot the next time they visit the doctor. Your quick hits now. A meningitis vaccine is now readily available after being in short supply. It is recommended for children ages 11 to 18.
More toxic toothpaste from China this morning to report. The "New York Times" says that 900,000 tubes, 900,000 tubes of toothpaste made with a toxic ingredient found in antifreeze have turned up in hospitals and prisons. The FDA says you should check your toothpaste tube. If it says made in China, that could be a warning label. Throw it out.
Some pregnant women suffer from depression, but is it safe to take medication to treat it? We're paging Dr. Gupta coming up next.
CHETRY: Welcome back to AMERICAN MORNING. What could be a record-breaking flight topping your quick hits now. Barrington Irving wrapped up his around the world flight in Miami yesterday. He is just 23 and might be the youngest person to do it solo and the first African-American to accomplish such a feat.
A new company is going to make it easier for blind people to use ATMs down the road. Cardtronics says it will install voice guidance technology in 24,000 ATMs by the year 2010. It works when head phones are plugged into a jack on the machine. The move stems from a lawsuit filed by the National Federation of the Blind.
And Michael Moore taking his fight against the health care industry from the big screen to Wall Street. He will be leading a protest today in New York City calling on investors to pull their investments out of health insurance companies. Moore's movie "Sicko" opens tomorrow.
ROBERTS: Forty one minutes after the hour. Is it safe to take antidepressants during pregnancy? Will they harm the fetus? There is good news for expectant mothers. In two new studies, they say that the risks are very low. Our chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta joins us now from Atlanta, very good news for women Sanjay.
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This could be an incredibly difficult decision as you might imagine for a woman who has severe depression or anxiety requiring medications. Subsequently, that woman finds out that she is pregnant. Women need to pay attention to these new studies. You'll remember John, we talked about this a couple years ago. We were very concerned there were these reports coming out that there was an increased potential heart defect risks with some of these antidepressants. Two new studies now as you mentioned say the risks are very small. In fact they didn't find really any heart defect problems in the fetus with the antidepressants and the mother at all. There were concerns with two particular antidepressants, which are Paxil and Zoloft and potentially causing a few different birth defects, specific skull defect, a brain defect or a gastrointestinal defect. But again, as you mentioned, the risks are very very small. Generally speaking, the entire class of what are known as SSRIs, selective seratonin reuptake inhibitors, which are a type of antidepressant, the risks appear to be small. Women should be able to take these medications fairly safely. Of course talk to your doctor, but a very, very low risk.
ROBERTS: And of course, even if there is any kind of risk with taking these antidepressants when you're pregnant, you've got to balance that off against the risk of not treating the condition, correct?
GUPTA: Absolutely. One of the hallmarks of this sort of depression is neglect, neglect of yourself in terms of not making your prenatal visits, being able to take care of yourself as a pregnant person and possibly neglecting the baby after the baby is born as well. So, for sure, never stop them abruptly. Talk to your doctor if there is some concern about it.
ROBERTS: Sanjay, thanks very much. And if you have a question on a medical story that we've covered, go to cnn.com/americanmorning and e-mail us. Sanjay is going to be answering your questions coming up in the next hour of AMERICAN MORNING.
Car shoppers getting a break and topping your quick hits now. Ford trying to boost slumping sales on 2007 model Ford, Lincoln and Mercury vehicles. Customers can get a 0 interest loan and a rebate of $2,007, why? Because it's 2007. And Ford also teaming up with its Detroit rivals Chrysler and General Motors to fight global warming. The three auto makers are part of a larger group of businesses which are trying to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases. But the auto makers are against proposed legislation to increase fuel efficiency because they say, it's too expensive.
CHETRY: And still ahead on AMERICAN MORNING, a camera this small, I'm taking a picture of myself with it right now, was used to document a very, very bad travel nightmare. This man interviewed a pilot after being stuck on a plane for four hours. We're going to find out what he said coming up on AMERICAN MORNING.
CHETRY: We have all had horror stories this summer from flight delays as well as other complications making travel a nightmare, but this may be a first. A flight nightmare that was actually captured on tape, including a confrontation with the pilot. After four hours of no air conditioning, no takeoff from Kennedy airport last week, one passenger marched up to the plane's cockpit to demand answers. Let's take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID: If this was your family on this plane, would you do something different?
PILOT: No. I would actually take everybody off.
DAVID: So why can't we do that?
PILOT: They closed the ramps.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHETRY: They closed the ramp. Well, what happened next? David Ollila, the passenger who taped that confrontation, is with us now and this is the mini camera that you used. It's so tiny. It almost looks like a microphone. I'm just going to show how it works. I'm just taking a shot right now of the entire studio with it. There it is. It is pretty -- there you are, David. The pilot agreed to be interviewed on camera?
DAVID OLLILA, STRANDED AIR PASSENGER: I said you are being recorded. And he said he wasn't going to talk. But then he continued to talk for about four, five minutes.
CHETRY: You have other video as well of what was going on. Explain the situation, how bad did it get on that plane?
OLLILA: Essentially, you know, it was like a typical flight, probably leaving JFK. We got on to the plane. Shortly after we got on to the plane, the first bit of bad news is that we're sorry, the air conditioning isn't working. So we had no air on the plane. It was extremely hot and extremely uncomfortable.
CHETRY: And in fact, in this picture, the woman who's wearing a yellow shirt is fanning a little four-month-old baby. Tell us about that.
OLLILA: That's correct. So I mean one of the first things that they did, about an hour of being in that condition, is that baby was stripped down to its diaper. And it was clear that the baby was in distress.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OLLILA: You have people who have health risks right now because of this situation they're in. PILOT: I believe you. I'm at risk myself.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHETRY: Is there no choice but to just put up with this as air travelers these days?
OLLILA: You certainly have to understand, if you are going to fly you have to accept a certain amount of poor customer service unfortunately and I think people are willing to tolerate that to some level. But when it becomes a health risk and people are in danger by being on a plane without any air, then action needs to be taken. It's not clear what action is allowed.
CHETRY: This is what Com Air said about it. Our crew members are trained to do what is within their control to care for customers, especially during difficult situations. The crew for flight 5637 utilized the methods available to them to try to keep passengers comfortable. And then they go on to say we extend our apologies to customers who were uncomfortable and/or inconvenienced. What do you make of that statement?
OLLILA: I think that it's indicative of a broken system. It doesn't appear that people -- one thing is operating within standard operating procedures, another thing is operating beyond that with some sensibility. If people within the situation that have a health risk, then action needs to be taken. It doesn't appear that people are comfortable on the airline side to make decisions where there may be personal repercussions for them.
CHETRY: David Ollila, passenger who was able to tape the nightmare because of a small camera that I'm actually taping you with right now. Thanks for being with us.
OLLILA: Thanks for having me.
CHETRY: Just imagine trapped on a plane for four plus hours with no air conditioning. With horror stories like that, is there really anything you can do about it? Charles Leocha is the founder of a travel commentary site. It's called tripso.com. Good morning Charles. Thanks for being with us.
CHARLES LEOCHA, CO-FOUNDER, TRIPSO.COM: Good morning.
CHETRY: You had a chance to see some of that. He actually had a camera, but as a passenger what rights do you have if you're in that situation?
LEOCHA: You don't have a lot of rights when you're sitting on the airplane. You just have to use your common sense. As I tell people, if you're planning to drive into New York City, you don't do it at 8:00 in the morning. So one of the things you might want to do is try to avoid flights that are really at high frequency times, such as rush hours. But otherwise, the airlines each have their own specific rules and regulations as to when they're going to take people off of the tarmac and they have to check back with headquarters in some cases and in some cases they don't. But one of the things is you can also research and do some work ahead to find out what flights are on time and which flights aren't on time.
CHETRY: In fact, I want to ask you, I wan to show you this right now. We have our on-time record for airlines and it shows a pretty pathetic picture, to be frank. U.S. Airways on time 36 percent of the time only. This is according to the website (INAUDIBLE), Delta, 57 percent, American, 59, Northwest, 62, Southwest, 65, United, 67 and then Continental with 69 percent. So even at best you're looking at a pretty big chance of a delay.
LEOCHA: You really are. And ironically, of that list, I believe that only U.S. Airways is the airline which actually shows you on their website what percentage of certain flights are delayed.
CHETRY: So you just don't book a flight on U.S. Airways if you know that you have probably a 70 percent chance it not going to arrive on time?
LEOCHA: If you are flying U.S. Airways, some flights have actually been listed I think at 100 percent delays. They're always delayed. But other flights you get there most of the time on time. You can do a little bit of research with that particular airline. But otherwise, you just have to get ready to be delayed, because we've got a situation where we have more people than ever flying. We have flight crews which are really stretched right to the limit and sometimes go over their legal limits. And we've got a problem with air traffic control system right now. So it's sort of a confluence of three big problems all coming together at the same time, right during the height of the summer travel season.
CHETRY: Right. But you say people need to use common sense. I don't know what anybody else could have done in that situation. You're expecting that when you get on a plane, you're not going to be trapped for four hours without air conditioning with a baby.
LEOCHA: There's not much you can do once you are on an airplane. You can let the pilot know and let the flight attendant know that you are uncomfortable that you want to go on back. Ask them, try to get it documented. In this case the passenger actually got it on tape. That's what makes this a really big story, because they can see exactly what was going on. In this case the airline pilot actually said hey, I can't do it. My higher-ups won't let me do it. We heard stories that when you're a pilot, you are like the captain of a ship, but it looks like that's not really the truth anymore and the pilots don't want to cross the airlines because they get a lot of grief if they pull out of the line and go back to the terminal.
CHETRY: Tough situation. Unfortunately the passengers sometimes pay the price. Charles Leocha, co-founder of tripso.com. Thank you.
LEOCHA: Thanks a lot.
ROBERTS: A literary mystery tops our quick hits now. The original manuscript of Pearl S. Buck's Pulitzer prize winner novel "The Good Earth" has been found four decades after it mysteriously disappeared. The FBI says it turned up in an auction house last month. They don't say if anyone though is going to face charges in this disappearance.
Create your own video game. Nintendo is opening up the wii game system to anyone with a good idea. You can create and sell your own games with a tool called wii-ware.
Watch the countdown clocks, because it looks like the Spice Girls are giving their fans what they want, what they really, really want, a big reunion in the works next on AMERICAN MORNING.
CHETRY: Hey, hey Paula. "American Idol," Paula Abdul has a new reality hit show. It premieres tonight so is she showing a side of her that's a little too real? There she is. Our own Lola Ogunnaike is here with that and an update on the Spice Girls reunion as well, but first let's talk Paula. Did you get a chance to see this thing yet?
LOLA OGUNNAIKE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I did get a chance to see it and Kiran, it's not quite a train wreck but it is not flattering. We see her laughing hysterically about things that aren't really funny. We see her having a meltdown with her assistant, forgets to pack her favorite pants and instead packs jeans. And what you see is really unflattering actually, which is surprising because she's actually one of the executive producers on the show.
CHETRY: She just sort of lets it all hang out much like Anna Nicole Smith did in her series.
OGUNNAIKE: She lets it all hang out. She's not nearly as incoherent as Anna Nicole Smith was, but she clearly had serious problems, but you do feel like again that this was not something that she should have necessarily done. The most interesting thing about Paula Abdul is her relationship Simon Cowell and Randy Jackson and they're not involved in the project at all, so really what is the point?
CHETRY: There you go. I'm sure people will watch it though just because people do like to see train wrecks.
OGUNNAIKE: They do like to see train wrecks, but this is not enough of a train wreck. It's just kind of sad and boring.
CHETRY: Give it thumbs down on that one. How about the Spice Girls announcing a 25-day multimillion tour. These girls are getting back together, so where are we going to see them?
OGUNNAIKE: They're getting back together. All the girls are going to be there. They're expected to make an announcement actually in the next few minutes in London and it's interesting because they're not girls anymore. They're actually all mothers with the exception of Melanie (INAUDIBLE) which is Sporty Spice and (INAUDIBLE) having a baby right now. (INAUDIBLE) just had a baby with Eddie Murphy. That's a whole other drama and now, we have to see whether or not their fans are going to come out for the nostalgia factor or whether they're going to be able to cultivate a new audience of young girls around the world who are into songs like "If You Want to Be My Lover."
CHETRY: ... because that's really the only song we know them by, so we say greatest hits but John was saying, maybe it's a greatest hit tour.
OGUNNAIKE: That was a huge hit for them.
CHETRY: It was.
OGUNNAIKE: It was the biggest group to come out of London since the Beatles. Think about that.
ROBERTS: So you sing the same song for two hours. Let's hear it one more time.
The next hour of AMERICAN MORNING starts right now.
CHETRY: Storm zones, wild weather and power outages in New York, destructive flooding in the plains, the National Guard moves into Texas overnight as new storms threaten new trouble today.
Plus, the great bargains (ph) last breath. The new fight that could kill a controversial immigration bill on this AMERICAN MORNING.
And welcome. It is Thursday, June 28th. I'm Kiran Chetry along with John Roberts. Glad you're with us today.
TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.voxant.com