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AMERICAN MORNING

Wisconsin Floods: High Water Rising; What Homeowners Need to Know About Insurance Coverage; Sunscreen Protection: Better Label Information

Aired August 24, 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: Welcome back once again. It is Friday, August 24th.
So glad you're with us today.

I'm Kiran Chetry.

RICK SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: That's what I call a quick hit.

I'm Rick Sanchez, sitting in for John. Good to be here with you again.

CHETRY: Well, off the top this morning once again we're talking about the extreme weather across a lot of our country. A bad situation getting worse for parts of the Midwest today.

A fast, furious storm nearly as powerful as a hurricane slamming the Chicago area. Seventy, 80-mile-an-hour winds and gusts, heavy rain tearing things up in just a matter of minutes. There you see the pictures, making for a very, very difficult and, in some cases, dangerous afternoon commute.

Tornado sirens were activated. There were reports in some areas of sightings of funnel clouds as well, as police officers and rescue crews try to get around and do what they can to help people out. A lot of roadways because of the downed trees and debris making it difficult to pass. The rail lines as well. and, of course, major problems as cleanup is under way this morning. Crews are trying to get the debris off the streets and get the city moving again.

But here you look, the damage assessment. A lot of I-Reports coming in, amateur photographers sending in pictures of what happened in their community. There you see a car just literally crushed by trees.

The city is moving again, but a massive amount of damage has been done.

SANCHEZ: You know, there's something else that caught our eye as we were following this, some pictures that we got a little while ago.

Go ahead. We're going to see some pictures now out of Chicago as well that show something that we hadn't seen there in a while.

It wasn't just that they're getting lightning, because, you know, you get lightning just about everywhere, but it's how long this lasted. Every few seconds, it pounded the Windy City, and the storms leaving more than 300 people as a result without power, no electricity.

The storm through the west part of Chicago as well. It ripped the roof off this warehouse. In fact, that was the first big story to come out of there yesterday. We had it here on CNN.

Workers say that they just ran in any direction they could. A lot of them hiding in the bathrooms. Others say they just dove underneath desks, behind cabinets when the roof suddenly started falling on top of them. They did everything they could to try and get away from the violent winds and the flying debris.

Forty people hurt, seven of them taken to local hospitals. We're going to be checking on that throughout the morning.

And more than 500 flights at O'Hare and Midway airports are now grounded. Well, you can see why.

There's the loop. It shows you the weather pattern that's coming through there. But here is how it look on radar.

Our weather department put this time lapse together for you overnight so you could actually see how the system came through. Those masses of red, blue and yellow and green, they show the real severe storms that just roared right through town and canceled as many as 400 flights.

Although, we've been checking on that this morning and finding out things are getting a little better. They're getting more flights out at Midway. O'Hare, not so good -- Kiran.

CHETRY: All right. Well, Chicago's storm comes after more than a week of downpours and violent thunderstorms across the Midwest.

In southern Wisconsin, some rivers are now four feet above flood stage, and even more rain could be on the way to areas that do not need it.

Keith Oppenheim is live at Silver Lake, Wisconsin.

Tell us what the situation is like there, Keith.

KEITH OPPENHEIM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Kiran.

I am at the home of Dave and Joyce Fiegel Their back yard is a view of the Fox River, but as you can see, the water from that river has made its way into the front yard.

As I walk this way, you can get a sense of the scene here. They have sandbags now in front of their garage. Water has seeped in.

Dave says he has lived here for 60 out of his 64 years. He says that this is some of the worst flooding that he has ever seen. And if it gets worse, he says that he and his wife, Joyce, may have to leave temporarily.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAVE FIEGEL, RESIDENT: I don't know. If it does really get bad, you end up, you just pull the plug and you move out. That's all you can do.

I mean, if it gets to the point where you're not safe with the electrical and so on and so forth, and you know the pumps can't keep up with it, then you're going to have to move on. That's -- don't want to, but it's what can happen.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

OPPENHEIM: There are about 100 homes in Kenosha County, Wisconsin, that have been affected by the floods, Kiran. And bad news. It's been raining this morning. A light rain.

We do think this is probably the worst of it in this area. But the concern is that these floodwaters are moving south to northern Illinois, and not only that, that's the part of the country that's expected to get a whole lot of rain the next couple of days, so it really could be a double whammy for this part of the country.

Back to you.

CHETRY: All right. Keith Oppenheim in Silver lake, Wisconsin, where the situation is a mess, and it's that way in many, many counties in Wisconsin today.

Thanks a lot -- Rick.

SANCHEZ: Every once in a while you run across a story -- and this happened to us yesterday -- you run across a story that you just think you've got to key in on. In other words, we can't tell this enough and we've got to look more into it because some of the details as they come out just become truly amazing to us.

That's what happened yesterday when we interviewed right here on AMERICAN MORNING this couple that we met right here. That's what their house looks like.

And when we first talked to them yesterday, we realized that that was right behind them. And it really -- we were all struck by it, certainly I was.

Lynn and Sharon Partington, their house just collapsed in a dramatic mudslide. Their home is literally in pieces. They say they have nowhere to turn now.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SHARON PARTINGTON, HOME DESTROYED IN MUDSLIDE: We've had State Farm Insurance for, what, 30 to 40 years?

LYNN PARTINGTON, HOME DESTROYED IN MUDSLIDE: Yes. S. PARTINGTON: And we thought we were insured. We didn't know that we were not insured for this. And they've advised us that we have no coverage for our dwelling or for any of our belongings.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SANCHEZ: We sent CNN's personal finance editor, Gerri Willis, out to the Partingtons' home in Brownsville, Minnesota, to try and get some answers and better explanation of what is going on back there.

Fascinating story. Why aren't they getting coverage and how common is this?

GERRI WILLIS, CNN PERSONAL FINANCE EDITOR: Well, Rick, I've got to show you their yard today. Look around here. The house is gone. It's been completely removed. They came in, they took their belongings.

As you can see, in any area of devastation like this -- and you can see the upturned trees. You can see the broken tree branches. You can see all of this.

In any area like this, there is always someplace that looks -- that is still intact. The garden, for example, next to us right here looks fabulous. But I've got to tell you, Rick, this mud is awful.

Take a look at this. I'm getting stuck here in this mud. It's really, really a mess.

And as you just said, the Partingtons had had State Farm as their insurer for 35 years, and they paid their premiums faithfully, they paid $1,300 a year. But an adjuster came by this week and said, hey, guess what? I don't think you're going to get anything out of your insurer to cover you for this disaster -- Rick.

SANCHEZ: Here is what I'm trying to figure out. What is the difference between -- what is the difference between a mudslide and flooding? Because if you -- let's suppose you have flood insurance but you're hit by a mudslide, which the last time I checked contains an awful lot of water, right? Shouldn't that fall into the same area as a flood?

WILLIS: Well, Rick, come on. Now, you know that insurance policies, there's lots of things they don't cover.

The regular homeowners policy does not cover flood, it does not cover mudslides. It doesn't cover war. It doesn't cover damage from nuclear accidents. You name it.

The exception with the flood coverage. If these folks had had their house damaged, ruined, in fact, by mud that was coming up from a river or from a broken dam, they would have been covered. But, Rick, I've got to tell it you, the insurance folks tell us that they don't cover this kind of thing unless you buy a very expensive rider.

SANCHEZ: That's interesting. Well, thanks for checking on that. Gerri Willis following the situation there. Really getting her hands dirty following that story for us.

And Jacqui Jeras is in the severe weather center. She's been following those pictures as well.

(WEATHER REPORT)

CHETRY: Well, a powerful Republican voice is calling on the White House to withdraw some troops from Iraq. Senator John Warner, a former Armed Services Chairman and former secretary for the Navy, is, for the first time, recommending a date for a partial pullout. He says that withdrawing about 5,000 of the 160,000 troops would send Iraqi leaders a message that it's time to take action.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JOHN WARNER (R), VIRGINIA: Certainly of the 160,000-plus, say, 5,000, could begin to redeploy and be home to their families and loved ones no later than Christmas of this year. We simply cannot, as a nation, stand and put our troops at continuous risk, loss of life and limb, without beginning to take some decisive action which will get everybody's attention.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHETRY: Well, the White House insists that any decisions about a change in strategy should wait until next month's progress report from Iraq.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GORDON JOHNDROE, NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL SPOKESMAN: I just think it's important that we wait right now to hear from the commanders on the ground about the way ahead.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHETRY: The new intelligence estimate is predicting that Iraq's leaders are not going to be effective, but it also says that there have been security improvements since the U.S. troop surge began.

Well, it could be the last chance to find six trapped Utah miners, Rick.

SANCHEZ: Hey, thanks so much.

We're talking about a story that is affecting the situation here in New York City. The Deutsche Bank, which has been a real problem, and people in New York have really been affected by the death of two of its firefighters in this city. Well, now, apparently, another incident that we're following.

Alina Cho has got the latest on that and she's joining us live here from lower Manhattan.

Alina, what you got?

ALINA CHO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Rick, there was a scaffolding collapse yesterday that injured two firefighters. What we can tell you about what is going on right now, all of the work has been halted at the Deutsche Bank building behind me.

Remember, this is the last building to be demolished here at Ground Zero, but this morning, there are a lot of questions about safety. One central question is, why was the contractor allowed to do work here when it had no prior demolition experience?

That question has yet to be answered. But just yesterday, as I just mentioned, two New York City firefighters were injured after a piece of heavy equipment fell 23 floors onto the roof of a makeshift construction shed.

On Saturday, a massive fire in the very same building killed two firefighters. And some people are asking the question this morning, why weren't the lessons from 9/11 ever learned?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a total and complete meltdown and I, for one, do not want to go back to my community tonight and have to explain how this got mishandled and botched.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHO: Now, the contractor in charge of the demolition has been fired. But finding a replacement may be a bit challenging.

Remember, this is tedious work. This is dangerous work. Especially when you consider all of the asbestos that needs to be removed from the building.

And on that point, a lot of residents who live in this area are very concerned about air quality. They have been for a while.

They're also wondering why, nearly six years after 9/11, why this building is still standing at all. On that question, there is no clear answer. But, Rick, I can tell you that last night, both the mayor and the fire commissioner, who have never been known to avoid the microphones, walked right by reporters last night after visiting the two injured firefighters.

SANCHEZ: Alina Cho following that story for us.

We thank you so much, Alina, from lower Manhattan.

Kiran, back over to you.

CHETRY: All right.

Well, there are new guidelines now for sunscreen that are supposed to help you decide which one will protect you best.

CNN's chief medical correspondent, Sanjay Gupta, is in Atlanta with details for us on this.

Hi, Sanjay.

So, help us sort it out, because there are new labels, and we're just trying to figure out how not to get burned and how not to damage our skin and possibly get skin cancer.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right. I mean, it's a real concern. And sunscreen can be a very effective way of sort of thwarting your likelihood of getting skin cancer.

The problem is, there's about 3,000 different type of sunscreens out there, and it's a little bit confusing exactly which sunscreen is the best for you. So, for the first time in nearly a decade, the FDA is actually proposing some new guidelines to make it a little bit more -- a little less confusing and a little simpler to understand, and to try and get you the best protection as well.

Specifically -- and I think we have a mockup of what the new labels might look like -- they're going to have a new star system to identify UVA protection. I don't know if you can read that or not, but the one on the right actually has two boxes, two white boxes. The box on the left actually gifs you the SPF, sun protection factor, which is your protection against UVB light, but the little box on the right actually has a star system, anywhere between one star and four stars, to tell you how much UVA protection you're going to get as well.

In the past, Kiran, you've only been able to really tell how much UVB protectionion someone is going to get. But remember, the UVA light is the one that actually sort of passes through the skin a little bit, gets a little deeper down, causes tanning, which a lot of people want, but also causes lots of skin damage.

The UVB light was much easier to look at because it actually -- it would cause a sunburn. You could see whether you were burned or not. But people often ignored the UVA rays.

In addition, there's also going to be warning labels on sunscreen reminding people about the risk of skin cancer, like you mentioned -- protective clothing, how much time to spend out in the sun -- almost like you see on cigarette packages. So, you know, some significant changes being proposed at least.

CHETRY: All right. That's very interesting. When might we see these addition to the labels?

GUPTA: Well, it was interesting. We asked about the same thing. We thought it would be rather a simple sort of change, but, actually, it's going take couple of years, they say, for all the sunscreens to actually adopt these labels. That's how much time they're being given.

And they're also going to undergo more standardized testing to make sure sunscreens across the block sort of know SPF 15 here means SPF 15 there and vice versa. CHETRY: Right.

You know, the other thing, too, is, I mean, people for themselves can look at. I think UVA, the ingredients on the back I guess you can look for that protect you against UVA versus UVB. We were told to look for zinc oxide or that one substance called Parsol 1789. But have they added new substances that protect against UVA?

GUPTA: There are a lot of substances that already exist in sunscreen that do protect against UVA. The problem is it has not been standardized. And a lot of bottles -- and you see rows of them there -- may just say SPF protection.

We have a bottle here, for example, on the set here, a Hawaiian Tropic bottle. And you can read there, it says UVA and UVB protection, 15 plus. But it doesn't tell you how much UVA protection you're getting. So this new system will actually give you a better idea in terms of the number of stars and whether it's high or low.

CHETRY: Well, it's a good idea. And in the meantime, I guess you just have to be a little bit more aware of -- and reapply it, because it doesn't matter what it says. If you don't use it, or if you only use it, you know, one time during the course of a day at the beach, it's not going to help you either.

GUPTA: Yes. Let me show you a real quick visual here if you've got one second. I mean, in terms of how much sunscreen you should use...

CHETRY: Right.

GUPTA: And this is always sort of stunning to me -- I mean, I've got a little shot glass here.

CHETRY: We're not going to ask why you have a shot glass around the office. It's probably only for this test.

GUPTA: It's been a tough morning already.

(LAUGHTER)

GUPTA: No, but, look. I'm still pouring here, still pouring. I haven't even gotten halfway up the shot glass yet.

And this is how much is really required to cover your body. And so just get a sense. Now, people just put a quick dab in the palm of their hands and they think they're covered. Still going here.

I mean, you really need to use a lot of this stuff. And that's for your body. And a full teaspoon, really, to cover your face.

So, there you go. I mean, this might be one of the best demonstrations I've done in terms of protecting people against skin cancer. You need a lot of it.

SANCHEZ: So I guess the question is, do they sell it in gallon containers?

GUPTA: Well, you need a lot of it. You know, a lot of people will say, hey, is my sunscreen from last year still any good?

And I'll say, why do you still have your sunscreen from last year. I mean, it should clearly all be used up. So make sure you apply it liberality, as they say.

CHETRY: All right. I'm still -- the question I have is, what the heck Sanjay is doing with a shot glass at 7:00 in the morning?

Thanks, Sanjay.

SANCHEZ: A guy has got to do what a guy has to do, you know?

Well, the rains are still falling, the waters are still rising, and in some places, homes are being swept away by mudslides. We are all over this, and now we're asking the feds what they are doing to try and help some of the people in the Midwest. What is their responsibility?

We're going to be joined right here by the head of FEMA with some answers, we hope, when AMERICAN MORNING returns.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CHETRY: Welcome back to AMERICAN MORNING.

President Bush has declared a federal disaster area in three flood-damaged Minnesota counties. The damage, though, could take weeks to assess in some nine states from Texas all the way to Ohio.

These are the types of pictures that we've been seeing, and the rain is still coming down in some areas, triggering mudslides in Minnesota that are dragging houses down and pulling them apart.

Joining us now to talk about this, David Paulison, FEMA director. He visited the flood zone yesterday and joins me from Minneapolis this morning.

Thanks for being with us this morning.

DAVID PAULISON, FEMA DIRECTOR: Good morning.

CHETRY: You know, there were thousands of people across several states that we've been talking about that have been impacted by this severe weather, the flooding and the mudslides that have resulted. And we heard from two victims of the storm yesterday. I'd like to you hear their story quickly.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

L. PARTINGTON: It was like an avalanche of rock, trees and debris from -- well, from the top of the Hill, all the way down. And it just blew the sides of the house out, and the roof dropped to the ground. And looking at the house, you would wonder if anybody could possibly live and -- or survive, but they did.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHERYL KIRK, HOMEOWNER: It's just devastating to sit for days and wait for this -- more rain to come in that could just wash away what's left of what I have, and then I'll be condemned and won't be able to live here anymore either.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHETRY: So these are...

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KIRK: That's with my settlement. This was my home.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHETRY: Director Paulison, these are just some of the -- you know, the personal stories that have been playing out across the country. How does FEMA prioritize who gets help?

PAULISON: Well, first of all, let me just say that, you know, we've had quite a few deaths across the country. It's the worst flooding I've seen, so our hearts really do go out to those families who have lost loved ones. And people have lost their homes and their businesses. It's just a significant amount of damage across the Midwest.

What we're doing, we work with the states, particularly, to make sure that if there is enough damage in a particular state, as we have here in Minnesota, where the president signed a declaration, that does a couple of things. One, it gives what we call individual assistance. Those families, those homes who don't have insurance or are underinsured, there is money there to assist them to get back on their feet.

And then there's the public assistance side which helps the cities and the counties and the state rebuild their critical infrastructures that were damaged. If we've had police stations or fire stations or sewer systems or water systems that were damaged, we can help put them back in place.

CHETRY: You know, there were some town hall meetings in some of these areas. People were very upset, you know, because they felt like they weren't getting the information they need.

How do you ensure that after a situation like this happens and people have no ability to communicate because their power is out, maybe their phone lines aren't working, that they can know where to turn in the immediate moments after a disaster strikes?

PAULISON: Well, you know, all disasters are local, so it's up to the local community to do that initial contact with people to tell them what to do. And what I've seen here, particularly in Minnesota -- I was in Ohio yesterday, I'm going to Wisconsin tomorrow -- is these local emergency managers just an outstanding job.

The fire service, the police -- the sheriff's departments have really done well to -- from what I saw -- to get people the information they need. Now that there has been a declaration declared in this state, we will be bringing FEMA people in. We've already had them in the governor's office.

There's a 1-800 number for them to call to get information about FEMA assistance. We will bring the small business association in to work with those businesses to make sure that we can do everything possible to get these towns back up and running again.

CHETRY: You know, you called it some of the worst flooding you've seen. Is there a way to expedite the help to people, especially in times when unprecedented disaster hits communities?

PAULISON: I think we've already done that. The fact that the president signed this declaration so quickly, just literally in a amount of hours by the time we got the declaration from the state to get it into the president's office, shows that he is very concerned.

He was just here a few days ago. Very concerned about this particular state and the other states around here, that we are going to process the declarations as soon as they come into our office and get them from the governors. And I know the governors are working very hard to get those damage assessments down.

CHETRY: Right. So you're dealing with all of this right now. There's other counties in many states that are at least trying to get a disaster declaration made. And, meantime, you have people wanting to move out of some of those FEMA trailers because of concerns about formaldehyde.

What is the status of trying to get them other housing?

PAULISON: We're working very hard to get people out of the -- out of the trailers. You know, we purchased trailers like we've purchased for the last 20 years. And no one had any idea that there was an issue with formaldehyde.

And now that we know that, we're going to move people out very quickly. Anyone who is in a FEMA trailer who wants to get out, we have a number for them to call and we will move them out as quick as we can.

Now, it's not going to happen today, because down there in Louisiana, on the Gulf Coast, there is really not a lot of housing available that's real close. So, it's not going to be today or tomorrow, but it's going to be as quickly as we can. And it may not be where you want it to be, but we will find an apartment or hotel or motel for you to move into.

CHETRY: All right. You guys have a lot of work on your hands because a lot of natural disasters have taken place as we've seen this summer.

David Paulison, FEMA director, thanks for being with us this morning.

PAULISON: Thank you.

SANCHEZ: What is a corridor of shame? It has to do with some schools struggling in a particular part of the United States and what Barack Obama says he plans to do about it. We'll put those two together for you right here on AMERICAN MORNING.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CHETRY: A new crime-fighting weapon topping your "Quick Hits" now.

German police call them gyrocopters. There they are. They're cheaper than normal sized helicopters, and they're also a little funny looking. And a lot of police officers say they're going to be the laughing stock as they try to fight crime.

I mean, forget that. Are they safe?

SANCHEZ: That's Austin Powers.

CHETRY: How about that? International men of mystery there in Germany.

But pretty cool. Gyrocopters. There you go.

Well, it might be nice to get a little warning before a scene like this one -- a small earthquake in Japan. How about 30 seconds?

They're putting in a system that will broadcast warnings and TV just 30 seconds before a quake. It's based on underground sensors and it's the first of its kind in the world.

SANCHEZ: There you go.

CHETRY: A billion light years worth of nothing, that's what a team of astronomers in Minnesota are saying.

SANCHEZ: Did you say Minnesota?

CHETRY: Minnesota.

SANCHEZ: M-I-N-N-E-S-O-T-A.

CHETRY: Well, that's an improvement over yesterday, when you couldn't spell your alma matter.

No, we're talking about a black hole they discovered. They say that it lives up to its name because there is nothing there. They say there is no galaxies, not even a single star.

SANCHEZ: A lot of smart people in Minnesota. CHETRY: How about that?

Well, here is a look at something coming up that you can't miss.

SANCHEZ: Minnesota, University of Minnesota.

CHETRY: The alumni association. You're supposed to have a CNN mug, by the way, but I'll let it slide.

SANCHEZ: Break the rules on this day.

CHETRY: How your nose can help sniff out deadly diseases. This one's interesting. Sanjay Gupta gave both Rick and I these canisters...

SANCHEZ: These rocket launchers.

CHETRY: ... that were supposed -- that have a scent inside of them. And apparently what we smell or what we don't smell can determine whether or not we're at risk for certain disease. How? Dr. Sanjay Gupta is going to show us.

SANCHEZ: Wait until you hear what we just smelled.

CHETRY: That's coming up on AMERICAN MORNING.

SANCHEZ: We'll be back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SANCHEZ: There you go! Beautiful Tampa/St. Pete, compliments of Bay News 9. That is St. Pete, by the way, which is right next to Tampa. You know what? The famous campus -- since it's college week here on AMERICAN MORNING, University of South Florida. Great school. Pretty good football team right there in Tampa/St. Pete. And...

CHETRY: It's 81 right now.

SANCHEZ: I've always wondered though, that is really not South Florida. South Florida is the other side, a little lower. That's like the west coast of Florida. So why University of South Florida on the west coast of Florida?

CHETRY: These are the mysteries we're trying to solve for you on this Friday morning, by the way.

(LAUGHTER)

CHETRY: It's going up to 90 there.

SANCHEZ: Because we are the international people of mystery.

CHETRY: That's right.

SANCHEZ: It's Friday, August 24th. And I'm Rick Sanchez sitting in all week for John. CHETRY: I'm Kiran Chetry. Glad you're with us today.

We start on Capitol Hill where a powerful Republican voice, John Warner, is trying to set a date to withdraw at least some troops from Iraq. CNN congressional correspondent Jessica Yellin is live on Capitol Hill. Senator Warner just came back from Iraq and he is now speaking out.

But it's interesting because he is talking, first of all, before the military progress report is due out in a couple of weeks. Why is that?

JESSICA YELLIN, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kiran, it could be a turning point in the politics of the Iraq War. What we have here is a leading Republican, John Warner, saying that the president should start to bring some troops home by Christmas.

Now, this is a measure of his disappointment with the Iraqi government which he says after that trip you mentioned has let U.S. troops down. And he wants to send the government a message that the U.S. won't stay there forever.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JOHN WARNER (R), VIRGINIA: We simply cannot, as a nation, stand and put our troops at continuous risk of loss of life and limb, without beginning to take some decisive action which will get everybody's attention.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

YELLIN: Now, Warner's announcement is of major political significance because it could be a bellwether of where other Republicans might go. Until now Warner has firmly supported the president though he has wavered on the war and we'll see if this leads other Republicans to follow his call for the start of a drawdown.

Now this all comes after a new National Intelligence Estimate, gives ammunition to both sides in the Iraq debate. It says that there has been some military success in Iraq, but political stalemate. But it also finds that if the U.S. leaves, the Iraqi security situation will get worse -- Kiran.

CHETRY: So it's interesting to note that he is calling for -- when he talked, he said maybe 5,000 out of the 160,000-plus troops that are there. Would that be largely symbolic or would it have an impact on the ground?

YELLIN: Well, it's considered -- he wants it to send a message, so largely symbolic. And he also said that he's going to leave those numbers to the president. This is a recommendation but he certainly said he's not going to vote to enforce that on the president.

CHETRY: Jessica Yellin, reporting for us from Capitol Hill this morning, thank you. SANCHEZ: We've been focusing on Chicago all morning. They are racing, literally, in Chicago to try and keep the Friday morning commute on track after a blast of extreme weather in the area. Let's look at the pictures. Have you seen these? Pounding rain. Whipping wind slammed the city called the Windy City making it worse, some residents even reported seeing funnel clouds in the area.

It's not just that they had the bad weather. Everybody gets bad weather, right? It's how long it lasted. The weather created a hazard for drivers, delivered a knockout punch at airports. Did a lot of damage. For example, at Chicago's O'Hare Airport, more than 500 flights were canceled.

Across town at Midway, the airlines are -- the same kind of problem, not as many, by the way. Midway seems to be back on track this morning. O'Hare is still not. They have got about 30 when last we checked, that was about a half hour ago -- they had about 30 cancellations just this morning.

Meantime, tens of thousands of people are still without electricity in and around Chicago. Power lines snapped as winds took down trees. And you can see some of the damage in some of the I- Reports that we've been getting. Look at this guy. That's what happened to his car when he went out to see if it was OK, it wasn't.

Also a mess sparked a lot of problems and a scare in one neighborhood. Take a listen to what the folks there were saying there about their situation.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When I came out, everything was down. Tree fell on a car on York (ph) and St. Charles (ph), people are -- I heard the people are OK but the car was demolished.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SANCHEZ: Yes. And the weather is also being blamed for a roof collapse at a Chicago warehouse. There it is. Some 40 people or so had to run for cover. They were injured. They went into bathroom stalls, under desks, whatever they could do to get away from it. Seven had to be taken to the hospital. We understand this morning most are doing OK.

Sudan is kicking out a top diplomat from Canada and the European Union. Sudan claims that the diplomats were meddling in their affairs. Western governments have been critical of the Sudanese government's role in the atrocities in the Darfur region.

Kiran, over to you.

CHETRY: All right. Well, an ex-astronaut is at the center of a NASA soap opera. And she is due in court today. A hearing scheduled for Lisa Nowak. You may remember her, an unusual case, to say the least, accused of attempted kidnapping, and she could take the stand. Police say that she drove almost a thousand miles from Houston to Orlando to confront a fellow astronaut about a common love interest, another astronaut. The intended victim, Colleen Shipman, may also be in court.

John Edwards stepping up the heat on Democratic frontrunner for president, Hillary Clinton. Listen to what he said at a campaign stop in New Hampshire.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN EDWARDS (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The American people deserve to know that their presidency is not for sale. The Lincoln Bedroom is not for rent. And lobbyist money can no longer influence policy in the House or the Senate.

The problem with nostalgia is what we tend to do is you only remember what you like. And you -- right? And you forget the parts you didn't like.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHETRY: Hillary Clinton leads Edwards and all Democrats in national polls. And she is also leading in New Hampshire.

SANCHEZ: Presidential Democratic candidate Barack Obama toured a school in rural South Carolina Thursday. This is part of his effort on a focus on education and the need for more federal money.

CNN's Don Lemon caught up with Obama and he asked him about that topic as well as the latest National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: The NIE report out today. Iraq, Nouri al-Maliki. The surge supposedly is working in some areas, not working in other areas. What do you think of Nouri al-Maliki? Should he go? Do you agree with that? And why pull the troops out if it appears to be working?

SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think this is a distraction, this whole notion of, is Maliki the right guy? We can replace Maliki with four or five other guys. If the underlying political dynamic is not changing, then we are not going to see progress in Iraq.

We know that our troops are performing well under the surge and that there has been a temporary reduction in violence. What we also know is that none of the Iraqi factions have taken seriously the need to come to a political accommodation.

And we can't create a stable Iraq until that happens, which is why I believe that we need to, more than ever, initiate the kind of responsible, orderly withdrawal that will trigger a change in behavior on the part of the factions. And this is a fundamental disagreement that I have with George Bush. This disagreement is not going to go away. And, you know, as president of the United States, I'm going to set us in a new direction.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SANCHEZ: By the way, today Obama delivers a speech in Tallahassee, Florida, at Florida A&M, the university.

A lot of radio show hosts give advice. She is asking for advice, and actually, taking it to heart during some of life's most important lessons. How you can join Angela's Advisory Board. This is unique.

Also, you can see your house now. All right. We have got Google Earth for you here. Well, wait a minute. That's not Google Earth. That is "Google Galaxy." That is right. It is going beyond this stratosphere on AMERICAN MORNING.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SANCHEZ: As we look at our galaxy, we welcome you back to AMERICAN MORNING and get you ready for the Google of the universe.

CHETRY: Are you trying to sound like James Earl Jones this morning?

SANCHEZ: Google Sky, folks, was developed with the help of some of the world's leading observationalists (ph). Isn't that cool?

CHETRY: That's pretty good.

SANCHEZ: Yes. Anyway. It's an add-on to Google Earth. Because everybody knows about Google Earth now, right? Well, now, Google is going to let people view the stars from any point on the planet as well. And maybe you could find your home.

(LAUGHTER)

CHETRY: Right. Or maybe there will be some calls from alien beings saying, hey, my privacy is being violated. I don't want people to know where I live.

SANCHEZ: I don't want people to see my roof...

CHETRY: What will they think of next?

SANCHEZ: ... in case it's on fire.

CHETRY: All right. Well, when it comes to detecting sometimes deadly diseases, perhaps it's as easy as following your nose.

SANCHEZ: CNN's chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, who has followed his nose throughout his career and done quite well at it, is joining us now to tell us a little bit more about this.

I don't get it!

CHETRY: Wait, well, you gave us both of these things, Sanjay.

SANCHEZ: Nuclear fuel rods.

CHETRY: They -- yes. It almost looks like, you know, something out of "Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery." What are we supposed to do with these?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Wait. You're not supposed to sniff yet.

SANCHEZ: The North Koreans are calling. They want these back.

(LAUGHTER)

GUPTA: Hey look, all right. Here is how this works. For years there has been a link people believe between neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's, for example, and your sense of smell.

So, for example, someone's sense of smell may start to diminish years before they actually develop any signs of memory loss or dementia. I want to give you just a little bit of science here, then I'll let you open the canister, I know you guys are anxious to do that.

Take a look here. The olfactory bulb, that is where your fell gets processed. The reason I'm showing you this picture is that it's pretty close to an area of the brain called the limbic system. This is the brain. The left side of your screen is the front of the brain and the right side the back of the brain.

That limbic system and olfactory bulb close together. So there's this idea that as you start to develop some neurodegenerative problems in the limbic system, which controls memory, your sense of smell may also be affected. And you may notice that first.

So that's a little bit of the signs there. Now go ahead and open your canisters. I want you guys to take a smell.

SANCHEZ: Well, wait -- well, tell me first. What happens if I don't smell anything? Does that mean...

GUPTA: Well, I want to get to that, too. But go ahead and open your canisters, tell me what you smell.

SANCHEZ: All right. Fine.

(SMELLING CANISTERS)

SANCHEZ: Wow!

CHETRY: I smell something.

SANCHEZ: Strong!

GUPTA: All right.

SANCHEZ: You know what this is? This is those things my wife puts in our toilets.

(LAUGHTER)

SANCHEZ: No, really.

GUPTA: I can assure you, it's not. But what does it smell like to you guys?

CHETRY: It smells a little bit like nail polish remover.

SANCHEZ: It's a deodorizer.

GUPTA: Of bananas maybe at all?

CHETRY: Oh, it's bananas!

SANCHEZ: Bananas!

CHETRY: We were wondering.

SANCHEZ: And the way he said that so subtly, maybe bananas?

GUPTA: Well, you know, look, I may have to revise the segment now given the fact that you guys couldn't smell what is in there.

(LAUGHTER)

CHETRY: We knew it was something. He thought it was like a room deodorizer. And I thought it smelled a little bit like nail polish remover. But I have a cold, so does that affect it?

GUPTA: It does. And in fact, let me just say as well, Kiran, we wanted to give you something really nice smelling. And, Rick, my producers actually wanted to give you like garbage or sewage in yours, but I talked him out of that.

SANCHEZ: Thank you.

GUPTA: But look, the way that this works is if we were actually going to do this test on someone who is concerned about this, they would actually have these canisters and they would be hooked up to some of the machines, as you see there.

And what she is doing, she is sniffing. There is actually a pressure sensor at the bottom of the canister there. And it tells basically how big a whiff, if you will, you have to take to get the smell.

People who have to take bigger whiffs of stronger smells are starting develop problems with their smell as opposed to people who can just quickly take a small whiff and tell what it is or at least if there is something there. So the idea is that this might be used as a screening test for people who are concerned about dementia, concerned about Alzheimer's or some sort of cognitive problem later on.

It has to be used, as you might imagine, in conjunction with lots of other tools. But smell and a neurodegenerative problem is linked. And this is one of the ways they test it.

SANCHEZ: So if we hadn't smelled -- because we both smelled something right away. We just couldn't put our nose on it. What would that -- that means that we're going to be real sick and die or something?

GUPTA: No, no, no. Not at all. See, most of us, and this will surprise you, can smell about 10,000 different odors. And we don't always know exactly what they are. And our sense of smell diminishes as we get older. So by the time you're 65, for example, you can smell as half as many odors.

But around the time that you are 50, if you start to have significant smell problems, you can't smell, you just don't smell anything, you have to take a huge whiff to get any sensation of smell, that might be an indication you might be an indication that you might develop some problems in that olfactory bulb area. And that could be an indicator that you get checked out for Alzheimer's.

Now, Kiran, you brought up a very good point, and that is that having a cold, having sinus problems, having a previous -- a history of...

SANCHEZ: It's an excuse.

GUPTA: ... head injuries are going to be a bigger indicator of smell problems than these other things. So you have got to rule those things out.

CHETRY: These are quite heavy.

SANCHEZ: She has no cold.

CHETRY: Getting knocked upside the head by one of these won't feel good either.

(LAUGHTER)

GUPTA: Right.

SANCHEZ: It's an excuse.

GUPTA: That is the side effect of the sniff test, absolutely.

CHETRY: But very interesting stuff, Sanjay.

GUPTA: Good stuff, yes.

CHETRY: Banana. GUPTA: Bananas, might be a good screening tool in the future.

CHETRY: Thanks, Sanjay.

GUPTA: All right, guys.

SANCHEZ: Given that it was Sanjay, it was probably more of a banana daiquiri thing going on.

(LAUGHTER)

SANCHEZ: Thanks, Sanjay. This weekend you can get more of this on "HOUSE CALL." How to avoid taking your kids to the ER all because of their overloaded backpacks. That's a problem. A back to school special "HOUSE CALL" Saturday and Sunday, 8:30 a.m. Eastern here on CNN with Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

CHETRY: Yes. The poor kids have to carry around suitcases now, you know, on wheels, because they have...

(CROSSTALK)

SANCHEZ: No! They won't do...

CHETRY: Backpacks on wheels.

SANCHEZ: No. They won't do the wheels. I tried to talk my kids into doing that. They say, dad, it's totally uncool. So there you go.

CHETRY: Oops. All right. Well, she needs to much advice, that she hired an entire cabinet to deliver it for her. Positions include "secretary of chocolate." How about "secretary of Angela's fantasy football team"? We're going to meet a women, she is radio host who is no longer taking responsibility for anything. We're going to ask her why coming up ox next on AMERICAN MORNING.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CHETRY: Well, as we all know, life is all about choices. Where are you going to live, where are you going to work, what do you wear and who do you trust?

SANCHEZ: You got that right. And for one Washington, D.C., radio host, it's all just too much to deal with. So she decided that she would form an advisory board. Well, how do you do that if you're a radio host? You ask people to call you on the radio to make life's everyday decisions for her.

CHETRY: That's right. And she joins us now from WGTS studios, Tacoma Park, Maryland. By the way, I went school right around there at Montgomery Blair High School. Radio host Angela Stevens.

ANGELA STEVENS, ANGELA'S ADVISORY BOARD: Did you really?

CHETRY: Yes. The creator of Angela's Advisory Board. Thanks for being with us this morning, Angela.

STEVENS: Well, thank you for having me. This is...

CHETRY: Now is this -- oh, I was just going to ask...

STEVENS: Go ahead.

CHETRY: ... you, is this more of a radio gimmick to sort of get attention from your viewers or is this something that you thought maybe I do need some help with this and maybe it could be helpful in my life?

STEVENS: The sad part is, in all honesty, I need a lot of help in my life.

SANCHEZ: Yes.

STEVENS: I mean, it kind of started off as like an offhanded kind of joke. We broadcast here inside the Beltway, you know? And Washington, D.C., is a totally different animal than most normal places in the nation. And everywhere you go, you see committees and you've got bureaucracy and red tape. And I think...

(CROSSTALK)

SANCHEZ: So you've got your own, yes.

STEVENS: ... I'm so good at making -- I've got my own. I'm good at making bad choices. The president has a cabinet. Maybe this would be good for me as well. I would like to have a faceless body of representatives make crucial decisions for my life.

SANCHEZ: We've got that faceless body of representatives, as a matter of fact. Here we go. Are you ready? We're going to share with the viewers what your advisory board sounds like. You've got a "CEO of cheesecake."

CHETRY: Everyone needs that, of course.

STEVENS: Yes.

SANCHEZ: This is somebody who decides what cookies and snack- related items you should have throughout the day. You've got an executive in charge of...

STEVENS: That is important.

SANCHEZ: Is it?

STEVENS: Yes.

SANCHEZ: We've got an -- or you've got an "executive in charge of quality assurance and alter egos." What the hell does that mean?

(LAUGHTER) STEVENS: Well, he's basically -- makes sure that I am always being true to myself and, you know, he's kind of one of our friends that has been doing a whole lot of blogging. And you know, he's one of those guys that pretty much keeps me on my toes, making sure that everything that I do on the radio is up front and honest.

You know, we worth in a faith-based format. WGTS is a little unique because it is a Christian radio station, but we like to have a lot of fun. And part of working at a Christian radio station is bringing in your parts of your life and elements that, you know, are really open and real and honest.

SANCHEZ: We just found one that we can relate to. Are you ready?

CHETRY: The "emergency advisers on VCR and DVD relations." All right. Let's show a couple of...

SANCHEZ: How to program those things, right?

CHETRY: You also got some advice, actually, which is funny about what you were supposed to wear today to your CNN interview. This is from a 12-year-old. Did you follow the advice?

STEVENS: Well, no. Because I was told that -- I believe she told me to wear brown, a brown dress or a white dress?

CHETRY: She wanted you to wear a yellow dress with pink fingernail polish and a pink headband.

STEVENS: Oh, but see, yes, I don't look good in yellow. But then again, the sad part is, she is 6 and she probably has a lot more fashion sense than me at 26. And you know, working in radio, we never really worry about what we have to wear.

SANCHEZ: Hey, you know what? She is 6 and...

STEVENS: Yes. Unfortunately, I chose blue.

SANCHEZ: She is 6 and all she knows is it works for big bird, so there you go.

CHETRY: Yellow. Color of the season, Angela. Don't worry.

SANCHEZ: I like the time delay. Every time we say something funny, a thousand one, a thousand two, laugh.

CHETRY: That's why we need that laugh track we've been asking for. Angela Stevens, radio deejay at WGTS, good luck with this. I hope that your committee continues to advise you on vital decisions in your life and that it works. Thanks for being with us.

STEVENS: Thank you very much.

SANCHEZ: Good job. CHETRY: Still ahead, we're going to be following the latest developments in the Michael Vick dogfighting case. Some twists and turns overnight. His estranged father speaks out. We're going to have at all coming up for you at the top of the hour.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SANCHEZ: I give you one you might remember. McDonald's is your kind of place snap, snap, snap, happy place. Ali Velshi joining us now to tell us more about this.

(LAUGHTER)

ALI VELSHI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You've heard, obviously, that this is the 40th birthday of the Big Mac. You know, you probably heard it before, but you've heard me talk about markets before when they are up or down. You remember the jingle, right?

SANCHEZ: I remember all of them!

VELSHI: Two all beef patties special sauce lettuce cheese pickles onions on a sesame seed bun.

CHETRY: Two all beef patties special sauce lettuce cheese pickles onions on a sesame seed bun, if you please.

VELSHI: Here is a little guy -- here is a little guy. Listen to this guy.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (singing): Two all beef patties special sauce lettuce cheese pickles onions on a sesame seed bun.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Cheese pickles onions lettuce -- cheese pickles and -- oh, what am I saying?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SANCHEZ: What is he saying?

VELSHI: Entirely how I feel on television this morning, actually.

CHETRY: That was one of the first commercials, right?

VELSHI: That was one of the first commercials. 1974 is when the commercials came out. This Big Mac is available in a hundred countries, 550 million of them sold in the U.S. alone, according to McDonald's. That's 17 per second if you do the business math on that one.

Only 29 grams of fat and 540 calories per, which is not going to stop me from absolutely celebrating the birthday of the Big Mac and having one today, so enjoy.

SANCHEZ: And throw a Quarter Pounder in there while you're at it.

VELSHI: Why not? Go nuts.

CHETRY: How about back in the day when they were 45 cents.

VELSHI: Forty-five cents when they started. There is a museum in Pennsylvania, the guy started it. McDonald's said, you can't do it with anything but the ingredients in your store. They didn't want him to have the third piece in the bun. But the third piece adds structural integrity, which we all know is very important.

Chew on that for a while. Next hour of AMERICAN MORNING starts right now.

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