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Reaction to Senator Craig Scandal; Taliban Frees More South Korean Hostages; Mental Health Crisis in New Orleans
Aired August 29, 2007 - 07:59 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning. Welcome back. Thanks so much for joining us on this Wednesday, the 29th of August.
I'm John Roberts.
KIRAN CHETRY, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Kiran Chetry.
Glad you're with us.
We start off by talking, once again, about the Senator Larry Craig scandal. Republicans take new aim at Senator Craig for a bathroom sting.
Well, we were going to hear a little bit of sound from Senator John McCain. We'll have to wait on that.
But we have Dana Bash with us. She's live in Boise, Idaho, with more on reaction to what has gone over the past 24 hours or so with Senator Craig.
DANA BASH, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Kiran.
You know, reaction certainly has not exactly been positive, because what Senator Craig had to do was go out and try to stop the political firestorm around him. And he came out and he was quite defiant, emotional at times, but he made abundantly clear, Kiran, in this rather bizarre news conference that he did plead guilty, but that he made a mistake in doing so, because he insists that he is innocent.
He said that the reason he did it was just to "make it go away." And he said he didn't even tell his wife or anybody in his family about it for that reason.
The senator took aim at his hometown newspaper here in Idaho, "The Idaho Statesmen," essentially saying it was because they were conducting a six-month investigation looking into rumors and accusations that the senator is gay.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. LARRY CRAIG (R), IDAHO: I am not gay. I never have been gay. Still, without a shred of truth or evidence to the contrary, "The Statesmen" has engaged in this witch hunt. In pleading guilty, I overreacted in Minneapolis because of the stress "The Idaho Statesmen" investigation and the rumors it has fueled all around Idaho.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BASH: Now, you essentially heard there the senator saying that he panicked and that he didn't really mean that he was guilty when he signed that guilty plea. This, of course, all stems, Kiran, from what happened in a men's bathroom in the Minneapolis airport.
The narrative of the plainclothes police officer in the police report is quite detailed in talking about the fact that he believed that Senator Craig was using signals that are well known as somebody who wants to engage in inappropriate sexual conduct in a public restroom. Senator Craig did sign this agreement, this plea agreement, making very clear he knew that that was the charge against him, so it's going to be very difficult, extremely difficult from a legal standpoint and, perhaps, much more importantly from a political standpoint, to overcome his claim now that he essentially didn't mean that plea agreement.
CHETRY: Right. So, at the end of the day, he pled guilty to disorderly conduct, nothing that really had to do with sexual -- anything sexual in nature. But what is surprising, Dana, is that we haven't heard any support from Republicans anywhere.
Why is that? What are you hearing from Republicans there and also back in Washington?
BASH: What they were looking for, Kiran, was some kind of explanation that they thought was credible yesterday, and essentially they did not get it. Both from Republicans in Washington -- and you saw that extraordinary move by the senator's own loadship asking the Senate Ethics Committee to investigate him and promising that they're going to look into other actions.
And then here in Idaho, Kiran, talking to his fellow Republicans, this is a man who has served this state for a quarter century, is well-regarded here. But, you know, I have not found one Republican who has said that they actually thought that his explanation was credible. And I'll just gave you an example.
I was watching the local news last night. They had asked for viewer call-in and statements. They ran about four that were very negative about Senator Craig, and the anchor said, "You know, we want to run something positive here, but we simply haven't gotten anything."
CHETRY: Not surprising. Our CNN "Quick Vote" had 84 percent of those writing in thinking he should resign, so I guess the feeling certainly is pervasive there.
Dana Bash, thank you.
ROBERTS: Coming up to four minutes after the hour.
President Bush is in New Orleans today to mark the second anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. The president has got several stops in the city and the Gulf region today. He's also going to observe a moment of silence in remembrance of the victims.
The president had dinner last night with Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco and New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, among others. This is his 15th visit to the Gulf since Katrina hit.
Well, a couple of tornadoes touching down in central Iowa. They hit about 20 minutes apart. Take a look at the results.
It was last night. They knocked down some trees, damaged roofs. No serious injuries were reported, though.
And some great pictures of a thunderstorm over the Gulf of Mexico. This was shot early last evening off of Siesta Key in Sarasota, Florida, and it gave people quite a light show there. And you can imagine it's unusual to get such a great view of a storm like this, but when they're out over the water like that, they can make for some pretty spectacular scenery -- Kiran.
CHETRY: Well, there are some other headlines new this morning.
Six Iranian government workers released from U.S. custody in Iraq. American troops handed the group over to Iraqi prime minister's office late last night.
There you see them being brought out with their hands cuffed, blindfolded, it appears. Some of the Iranians were still wearing the blindfolds and wrist ties.
The group was detained after driving through a U.S. checkpoint with weapons they didn't have permits for. And there are reports this morning that Iran not happy with this move, trying to protest it by summoning Swiss diplomats with American interests to complain about what happened.
An AMERICAN MORNING follow-up for you this morning. The FAA stepping up pressure on airlines to inspect their 737s. Two planes have failed initial inspections, and airlines have now been told to speed up the process to get all planes inspected in the next 10 days.
Why? Well, it's a faulty bolt. It's believed to be what caused this fire on the China Airlines 737 in Japan when the bolt broke loose. And the way that it flew out punched a hole in the fuel tank, sparking that fire.
Nearly 800 737s in the U.S. are affected by the order. There are also about 2,200 737s in operation worldwide.
ROBERTS: The first public words in months from Senator Tim Johnson, "I'm back." Johnson is recovering from a brain hemorrhage that he suffered nine months ago. He struggled a bit as he spoke to supporters in his home state of South Dakota yesterday. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. TIM JOHNSON (R), SOUTH DAKOTA: Hard work is something in which I take great pride. So let me say just going forward, I am back.
It must already be clear to you that my speech is not 100 percent, but doctors tell me that it will get there. And, in fact, if you ask Barb, she will say I'm already talking too much.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERTS: He's come a long way, still has a long way to go.
Johnson also quipped that he has an advantage in Washington, though, because his mind now works faster than his mouth does. He said in a television interview he does expect to run for reelection next year, but a spokesperson for Johnson says no firm decision has yet been made on that.
And the monster Mega Millions jackpot still up for grabs this morning. There was no big winner in last night's drawing, so the jackpot now goes up to a staggering -- get this -- $325 million. That's the forth largest in the game's history.
The next drawing on Friday, so you have a few days to get your tickets.
We're still waiting for somebody to come forward and claim that big Powerball jackpot from this past weekend, by the way. The ticket was sold at a gasoline station in Richmond, Indiana. It's worth $314 million.
You would think, Kiran, if somebody had that ticket they might come forward and claim their dough.
CHETRY: Yes. They said, "We sold it. Check your ticket." Sometimes people forget or lose their tickets. That would be a bad time for that to happen.
Well, it's time now to check in with our AMERICAN MORNING team of correspondents for other stories new this morning.
Stocks slump on Wall Street after some troubling news from the fed, among other things. It seemed like it was a potpourri of bad news that made the market drop like a rock yesterday.
ALI VELSHI, CNN SR. BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: But with less than hour and a half to go until markets open up again in New York, I am prepared to predict that at least in the opening minutes, we're going to see a market that's higher, assuming nobody does anything crazy in the next hour, Kiran. We are looking, in fact, at futures that are higher because European markets were higher overnight.
Asian markets did suffer after the Dow closed 280 points lower. And most of that down trade was in the last hour of trading after the Fed came up with its minutes from the August 7th meeting. Not entirely sure what the history of this is, but the Fed tends to delay its minutes from the meetings for a few weeks, and you get to hear exactly what happened at those Fed meetings that we speculate all about. Well, it turns out that on August 7th, the Fed didn't really think things were all that bad in the subprime and credit markets, and then 10 days later they were forced to cut that discount rate, acknowledging that things were, in fact, worse than they thought.
Now, those minutes came out yesterday. And yesterday afternoon, investors sold off on that news.
Why? Well, because there might have been some sense that the Fed doesn't have a complete handle on this or didn't realize back then how bad things were, even though investors did.
Anyway, as a result of that, a bunch of things came together. Consumer confidence was low; home prices confirmed to be lower again. That all combined for a sell-off on the Dow.
We are now looking for an open which should be about at this point, probably -- about 50 points higher at the open. So, that's what we're looking for today, but choppy days ahead today and other days -- Kiran.
CHETRY: All right. Ali, thanks so much.
Well, eight South Korean hostages are now free in Afghanistan this morning.
CNN's Monita Rajpal is live in London now, following the latest developments.
It was just throughout the course of our show that we heard five more released this morning.
MONITA RAJPAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Absolutely, Kiran. Good morning to you.
This has been a very quickly developing story as developments are coming in minute by minute and hour by hour over the last couple of hours.
We now understand that there are eight South Korean hostages who are now free, are in the custody of the South Korean delegation in Afghanistan. Earlier in the day, earlier, just about two hours ago, first five -- sorry, three South Korean female hostages were released. And then the extra five.
There are still 11 that are remaining that need to be freed. And we understand they will be released by the end of the week.
Now, this comes just 24 hours after the Taliban and the South Korean negotiating team struck a deal securing the release of 19 hostages. There were 23 hostages when all of this begun on July 19th. They were part of a Christian -- a volunteer Christian missionary group who were abducted just south of Kabul back in July. Two male hostages killed when negotiations did not go well. However, a week or so after that, two female hostages were released as a goodwill gesture on the part of the Taliban.
Now, as a part of this deal that was struck just about 24 hours ago, the South Korean government agreed to withdrawal its 200 troops from Afghanistan by the end of the year. They also agreed to prevent any other voluntary Christian missionary groups from working in Afghanistan -- Kiran.
CHETRY: Monita, thanks so much.
And John, the latest now on Hurricane Katrina two years later.
ROBERTS: Yes. Two years after the hurricane struck -- and I was there and I remember how terrible it was -- New Orleans is still a city in critical condition. The homeless population has nearly doubled, health care still in shambles. And get this, it's the mentally ill that may be suffering the most.
CNN's chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, is here with more.
Sanjay, why such an effect on the mental health of people down there?
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, I mean, you're trying to rebuild an entire health care system, John. You and I were both down there when it happened, been following this for two years now.
The mission was to rebuild health care sort of from the ground up. And it's really a question of where they decided to put their priorities. To be fair, some things have improved incrementally, but mental health probably has not.
Here is a little bit of what we found.
DR. JAMES MOISES, TULANE HOSPITAL EMERGENCY DEPT.: You don't want to be back on those medicines?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK.
GUPTA (voice over): Two days in this tiny room, Carlton Jackson (ph) is still waiting to be admitted as a psych patient.
JERRYARTIS BRUMFIELD, JACKSON'S AUNT: All of a sudden, he just -- somebody was trying to hurt him, somebody was trying to kill him. And he got angry at home, upset.
GUPTA: Twenty-two years old and paranoid schizophrenic. He has bounced in and out of emergency rooms for weeks. His aunt hopes he can get help before he hurts her or himself.
MOISES: Very difficult. You see a half dozen patients like Carlton (ph) every day.
GUPTA: Emergency room doctors say a good portion of their beds are filled with mentally ill patients. Some violent, some not.
CECILE TEBO, NEW ORLEANS HEALTH DEPT.: In the past six to nine months, we have started to see a huge surge of those with chronic mental illness returning back into this city.
MOISES: Slow down your breathing.
GUPTA: And their timing couldn't be worse. More survivors are also developing new problems.
Mental illness is double the pre-storm levels, according to early findings from an ongoing Harvard Medical School study, with a staggering jump in the number of residents seriously considering suicide and showing signs of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
DR. PETER DEBLIEUX, NEW ORLEANS INTERIM HOSPITAL: Mental health care services right now in the city is like an orphan, but, you know, I kind of liken it to an ugly orphan. You know, nobody really wants it, nobody really wants to look after it.
GUPTA: State and local officials say more beds and services will open in the next few months.
BRUMFIELD: Oh, I love you. I love you. I love you.
GUPTA: But, for now, people like Carlton (ph) can only wait.
GUPTA: So, it's sort of amazing there. You have more patients, as you heard, returning, John. Fewer places to treat tem them.
We've been tracking this for sometime now. Out of the seven sort of local area hospitals, three of them have reopened, but only one at full capacity, and there's certainly not enough mental illness beds there. So that's part of the problem for people like Carlton (ph). We saw a lot of patients like him just sort of waiting around, waiting for a long time before they could even see somebody.
ROBERTS: So why is the situation in New Orleans with health care, and not just treatment for the mentally ill, so much worse now than it was?
GUPTA: Well, I think there's a couple of reasons.
One is, if you look specifically at the mental ill to start off with, it doesn't resemble other natural disasters, where you have this period of tremendous impact and then a gradual improvement over the next 12 to 18 months. You haven't seen that as much in New Orleans for various reasons.
One is, there's a lack of optimism about how things are going to improve. But overall, there is just a lack of funding to try and reopen these seven hospitals.
You know, Charity Hospital, where I was -- and you've seen Charity Hospital -- is never going to be reopened. We've been told that. The building is not going to be opened as a hospital again.
That serviced a lot of the indigent people in that community. And really, there is just nowhere for them to go. They are going to some of the other hospitals for the time being, but there's no sort of long-term plan right now.
And another thing, John, which I thought was really striking is the death rate has actually increased in New Orleans. Since Katrina, it's about 50 percent higher, and we're going to talk much more about that tonight as well -- John.
ROBERTS: All right. We'll see you then.
Sanjay, thanks very much.
And a reminder. CNN has a new tool to let you impact your world when disaster strikes. Head to CNN.com/impact for tips on what you can do to take action on the news that you witness.
CHETRY: A defiant denial from Republican Senator Larry Craig over claims that he tried to solicit sex in a men's room. But what is it going to mean going forward for the family values politician and his party?
We're going to be talking to the president of the Log Cabin Republicans up next on AMERICAN MORNING.
CHETRY: Some of the best shots of the morning in our "Quick Hits" now.
Here is one. A South African mine owner says that he has unearthed the world's biggest diamond. There it is.
To give you an idea of its size, it's pictured next to a cell phone. The picture is a little fuzzy. So is the claim. It's said to be 7,000 carats. That would be more than twice the size of the biggest known diamond.
Diamond experts say they want to check it out before they jump to any conclusions.
Here's another use for your cell phone, by the way. The eighth annual mobile phone throwing world championships. The host country, Finland, takes first place, with a toss of 294 feet. One tech paper in Britain is measuring the distance in Campbells, as in phone- throwing supermodel Naomi Campbell.
And speaking of long distance, AAA says fewer people will be on the roads this Labor Day weekend than last year. They say 29 (sic) people will travel by car, down by about 100,000. You probably won't notice the difference whether you're jammed up in traffic on any of the major highways across the country, but AAA says the reason there's a little bit of a lull is because of the high gas prices.
ROBERTS: Well, Republican Senator Larry Craig insists that he is not gay. The denial comes after he was caught in an airport bathroom sting and pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct. The charge was, though, of lewd behavior.
Patrick Sammon is the president of the Log Cabin Republicans, the nation's largest Republican organization supporting fairness for gay and lesbian Americans. And he joins me now from our Washington bureau.
Patrick, thanks very much for being with us.
Let's listen to just a little bit of what Senator Craig had to say yesterday, then I want to get your reaction to it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CRAIG: I did nothing wrong at the Minneapolis airport.
Let me be clear: I am not gay. I never have been gay.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERTS: So, Patrick, what did you think of those statements and the lack of an explanation as to exactly what happened in that bathroom?
PATRICK SAMMON, PRESIDENT, LOG CABIN REPUBLICANS: Well, John, I am rarely left speechless, but after watching that yesterday, I was definitely left speechless for a time. It was really difficult to believe. You just cannot believe the statement that he gave.
The bottom line is, you know, I used to work years ago part-time in a prosecutor's office, and the first thing I learned is that innocent people don't plead guilty. The time for contesting what happened here was before pleading guilty.
So, I think it's clear that he has a lot more explaining to do. He owes the people of Idaho an explanation of exactly what happened. And if he doesn't provide it, then I think he needs to resign.
ROBERTS: Is there an issue of hypocrisy for you in this, the fact that he has voted against expanding gay rights, he supported a constitutional ban against gay marriage, and yet, at the same time, there are charges leveled against him? It's this idea of legislating morality, while, at the same time, you appear to be crossing those lines.
SAMMON: Well, it's clear that Senator Craig was -- spent his career trying to legislate morality, and he definitely didn't live up to those standards in his own life. So, certainly hypocrisy is part of this story, but his behavior would be illegal and inappropriate even if he was supportive of gay rights. But certainly, I think voters don't have much patience for hypocrisy, whether it's David Vitter or Larry Craig. They want voters to live as they speak.
ROBERTS: Should he resign?
SAMMON: Well, I think if he doesn't give more of an explanation about exactly what happened, then he should definitely resign. I don't think he can be an effective senator. And I think the people of Idaho deserve better.
The bottom line is, his explanation yesterday wasn't credible. And the explanation for pleading guilty wasn't credible, so he has more answering to do.
ROBERTS: Right. Let me go to a broader issue. The senator was quoted in an article in "The Idaho Statesman" newspaper yesterday saying, "I don't go around anywhere hitting on men. And by God, if I did, I wouldn't do it in Boise, Idaho! Jiminy!"
Could an openly gay candidate be elected to the Senate in Idaho?
SAMMON: Well, the bottom line is, there are hundreds of openly gay and lesbian public officials around the country at all levels of government. I don't want to speculate on Senator Craig's sexual orientation. The important thing to focus on is his inappropriate and illegal behavior.
I'm not sure if an openly gay person could be elected to the Senate in Idaho, but we see all around the country at all levels of government, voters care about a candidate's competence and their integrity, not their sexual orientation. And I think we'll see more openly gay and lesbian candidates elected to office in the future.
ROBERTS: Yes. We had a guest on last hour from the Idaho Values Coalition who said, hey, he's done a lot of great things, but, you know, character and integrity are big. And because he has seem to have fallen short of that, that he shouldn't stay on as senator.
Patrick Sammon from the Log Cabin Republicans.
Thanks for being with us. Good to see you.
SAMMON: Good to be with you.
CHETRY: Well, there's a new warning for the millions of Americans who experience heartburn or perhaps symptoms that could be a sign of something more serious.
We're going to check in with Dr. Sanjay Gupta ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) ROBERTS: An unexpected drive-through at a Wendy's restaurant in Lanna (ph), Maryland. Police say a Ford Explorer plowed into the side of the restaurant. The driver, three people inside were hurt. No word though on how serious those injuries were or what caused the crash in the first place.
But pretty incredible pictures.
And check this out. A man in Minnesota almost killed by a dangerous and idiotic prank. Police say the hole in his windshield was caused by a bowling ball that somebody dropped from a highway overpass. It knocked the driver unconscious. He was in a semi-truck.
It continued to cross the median, through oncoming traffic. Luckily, it didn't hit any other vehicles though. Finally, it came to a stop in a cornfield.
The driver said to be doing all right. Police have got no suspects in the case.
CHETRY: Well, here's a story coming up that you can't miss.
ROBERTS: You just can't miss this one. This is just incredible.
CHETRY: That's right.
We have -- you know dogs, service dogs are capable of doing so much. They can help sense when someone may be having a...
ROBERTS: They can smell the kielbasa in your luggage when you come in from overseas.
CHETRY: That's exactly right. The bootleg sausage industry really has been wiped out by dogs. There may be another one though as well.
Here is a picture of the Flo and Lucky. How adorable are they? They are Hollywood's latest weapon in fighting against bootleg pirated DVDs.
ROBERTS: Wait a second.
CHETRY: How can they do it? How do they do it?
ROBERTS: This is a mystery, yes?
CHETRY: Yes. Well, they're with us. They're on the show. And coming up in about 15 minutes we're going to meet them and show you how they do it.
ROBERTS: All right. That's all coming up on AMERICAN MORNING when we return.
Stay with us, because you just can't miss this one.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) CHETRY: There's a shot this morning. This is from a traffic cam at KTVB in Boise, Idaho. It's 60 degrees currently, going up to a high of 96 degrees today.
They're dealing with a lot of triple-digit heat in some parts of the country. Boise, boy, you barely escape getting into triple digits today.
ROBERTS: There's a lot of news there. You know, we've got the fires that have been ongoing in Idaho. You've got the Larry Craig thing. I mean, wow.
CHETRY: Yes. A lot going on.
ROBERTS: All centered on Boise today. Who would have thought.
CHETRY: It's going to be hot.
Well, it is Wednesday, August 29th.
Glad you're with us.
I'm Kiran Chetry.
ROBERTS: Good morning to you.
I'm John Roberts.
New this morning, President Bush reportedly plans to ask Congress for $50 billion more to fund the war in Iraq. Today's "Washington Post" says this is on top of the $460 billion Defense budget for the year 2008, and $147 billion already requested for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
President Bush says failure in Iraq could have dire consequences for the United States; nuclear consequences, in fact. Speaking to thousands of American veterans at the American Legion convention in Reno, Nevada he says leaving Iraq would allow extremists in places like Iran to gain a nuclear foothold in the region.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Iran's active pursuit of technology that could lead to nuclear weapons threatens to put a region already known for instability and violence under a shadow of a nuclear holocaust.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERTS: President Bush says the momentum in Iraq is turning in the U.S.'s favor. In two weeks time the White House will report to Congress on the impact of buildup of American forces in Iraq and where they should go from there.
NASA says there is no evidence that astronauts were drinking and flying. The space agency is expected to release the official results of an internal review later on this morning. It launched the investigation after last month's allegations that some astronauts got drunk in crew quarters and were still allowed to fly even though they hadn't sobered up.
A massive immigration raid outside of Cincinnati, Ohio; 160 suspected illegal immigrants are in custody. Customs agents detained them during a sweep of a chicken plant in Fairfield. The feds say they are now moving quickly to deport the suspects.
The Virginia Tech gunman may have written a blueprint for the worst mass shootings by an individual in U.S. history. "The Washington Post" reporting that Seung-Hui Cho wrote a paper for an English class about a school shooting. That was a year before he killed 32 people on campus. It is said to have some eerie parallels to the shootings inside Norris Hall, where police say they found the doors chained shut after Cho went on his rampage.
Doctors say a series of heart attacks is to blame for the death of a Spanish soccer star's death. Twenty-two year old Seville (ph) midfielder, Antonio Puerto (ph) collapsed on the field on Saturday, then again in his locker room. He died yesterday while in intensive care. Spain's La Leguea (ph) is asking for a moment of silence before the next round of games.
CHETRY: You may be one of the 60 million Americans who has heartburn at least once a month. It's annoying, it's uncomfortable, but it actually could be much worse than that. CNN's Chief Medical Correspondent Doctor Sanjay Gupta is at the CNN Center with an explanation. It's a long word, or words, gastro esophageal reflux disease. How is it that heartburn can possibly lead to that?
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, GERD, or gastro esophageal reflux disease, has heartburn as one of its cardinal symptoms. By the way, we experience a lot of heartburn here in the newsroom. I think characteristic of a lot of high-stress jobs.
But as you correctly pointed out, gastro esophageal reflux disease can be much more serious. It can lead to things -- the heartburn may be some discomfort, behind the chest every now and then, but reflux actually can lead to cancer of the esophagus if untreated. It can lead to problems with strictures at the bottom of your esophagus, so you may have difficulty eating and ulcers, which is something that a lot of people suffer from as well.
Let me show you a quick animation here of what we're talking about Kiran. Typically someone will eat some. It will actually go down into the stomach, usually not that much acid in the stomach, unless you work for AMERICAN MORNING. Some of that acid will actually pop back up into the esophagus and can cause some of the problems we're talking about.
A lot of people will be watching this and saying how do I know which I have, heartburn, or GERD? Here's a couple of questions you can ask yourself to try to give yourself an idea. First thing do you ever feel this uncomfortable feeling behind your chest? Also a burning sensation in the back of your throat or bitter taste in your mouth? If that's something you've had, it could be reflux. Also do these things happen mainly after meals, or first thing in the morning, as well? Does it happen two or more times per week? Does taking over-the- counter medications actually provide temporary relief?
And the last question, do you take prescription medications for heartburn, but you still have some symptoms? If you answered yes to a few of those questions it might be something worth getting checked out.
CHETRY: I know so many people who suffer from this, and when it comes to the treatment option -- I mean, don't they provide temporary relief, but in the long run they can cause trouble?
GUPTA: They can mask symptoms, exactly right. So if this -- if you truly have the reflux this is something you probably need to get treated. First of all, there might be things short of medications you can do to reduce symptoms. Things like simply not eating within two hours -- before going to bed. Also keeping a diary of which foods seem to trigger this the most. Also, propping your head up on a few pillows or raising your bed up a few inches can also take care of the symptoms.
But, Kiran, you're absolutely right. If this is something that has been ongoing and its hard to treat you probably need to see a doctor and they might do something called an endoscopy. They actually put a little camera down into -- through your mouth into the esophagus to look to see if you have any damage to the lower part of your esophagus.
CHETRY: Not fun, I know. A lot of people have it. Sanjay, thank you.
GUPTA: Thank you.
CHETRY: You can e-mail questions to Sanjay at cnn.com/americanmorning, and head to Doctor Gupta's Mailbag. He answers questions every Thursday. He's going to do it for us tomorrow on AMERICAN MORNING.
ROBERTS: falling SAT scores topping your "Quick Hits" now. The College Board is warning us not to read too much into the drop in the average score. They say it's likely the result of a more diverse pool of children taking the test. Scores also fell last year after the test underwent a big redesign.
There's a growing trend to delay the start of the school year. Pressure from parents and even the tourism industry have prompted 11 states to limit how early classes can start. The law in Michigan, for example, guarantees that kids won't have to be back until after Labor Day.
Sniffing out an $18-billion problem. We will introduce you to the two dogs -- yes, dogs -- that are helping Hollywood stop the spread of pirated movies. How the dogs do it. Plus, at test of their skills, coming up live. We are calling them the "Children of the Storm". Coming up, we're going to introduce you to a kid who says Hurricane Katrina made him into a man. That's ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.
ROBERTS: Coming up to 39 minutes after hour. Welcome back to the most news in the morning. Your "Quick Hits" now, force will be with the Space Shuttle Discovery when it launches this October. The crew is taking Luke Skywalker's original light saber into space. That's the one from the "Star Wars" movie. A crew of Star Wars characters lead by Chewie the Wooki, (ph), brought the light saber to NASA. Getting it ready to go up in the space shuttle.
Who says that smoking is bad for you? A woman in South London is celebrating her 100th birthday by light up her 170,000th cigarette. I would imagine that's estimated, though, unless she's really kept track. Winnie Langley (ph) started smoking during World War I. She says that she hasn't gotten sick perhaps because she never inhales.
Myron, the emu, is safe back at home in his pen now. Myron somehow got out of his pen the other day in West Bend, Wisconsin and went -- where else -- to Wal-Mart! Resourceful Wal-Mart employees corralled him with shopping carts. Apparently, emus and ostriches are attracted to shiny things. It could have been the shine from the shopping carts that actually attracted him there in the first place.
ROBERTS: About a year ago CNN's Soledad O'Brien teamed up with Spike Lee, the filmmaker to document the lives of kids dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. They have come back with some amazing stories. One of those stories is a young man who said the storm really turned his life around and forced him to become a man. Soledad O'Brien is live in New Orleans with his story.
Good morning, Soledad.
SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning to you, John.
This morning, we're out in front of a charity hospital cemetery. There is going to be events there really commemorating some of the people whose remains were never claimed, who died in Hurricane Katrina.
There is a sense in this city that the progress has been brutally slow. And it's something we heard from the kids who are part of our documentary that's going to air tonight on CNN. Same thing: That the pace of recovery is so incredibly slow. But when you talk to Brandon, he'll tell you something else.
He says that in a way Hurricane Katrina provided for him an opportunity to kind of get his life back together, because he realized he couldn't live the way he was living. Here's a little bit of what he shot for us as part of our documentary.
BRANDON FRANKLIN, KATRINA SURVIVOR: See the name on that street? Bourbon.
Bourbon is pretty much where I made most of my living from, you know? Playing for tips, you know. Playing my saxophone for tips.
O'BRIEN: Brandon Franklin is a young man with a plan.
FRANKLIN: My plan is to go to college for four years. I'm gonna get me a music degree and become a band director. That's what I want to do for a living.
O'BRIEN: But he wasn't always this focused.
FRANKLIN: Unfortunately, I ran away from home, you know? That was around the time where I pretty much didn't care about too many things? You know, too many things didn't care about me, you know?
O'BRIEN: Before Katrina, he lived on his own for two years, and sometimes got into trouble. After the storm, he skipped school for a year playing with his street band instead.
FRANKLIN: You all got that? That's going back on the chart.
O'BRIEN: But he pulled it together.
FRANKLIN: This is O. Perry Walker, this is the band room right here. Check it out. I love this school. Because it really helped me.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Brandon Franklin!
O'BRIEN: Brandon is now a high school graduate headed toward college and his dream. But it won't be easy.
FRANKLIN: Now, who we have here is my -- I'm going to say my second daddy. I can't even call him band director. My second daddy, his name is Mr. Wilbert Rawlins. And they just pretty much want to hear what you got to say about me -- the great Brandon Franklin.
What would you say the big change you've seen in me, before Katrina versus the attitude I have now, after Katrina?
WILBERT RAWLINS, BAND DIRECTOR: I believe that the difference is probably a lot (ph). And then the addition of the girlfriend, with the kid, the child.
FRANKLIN: Oh, it's young Gillette!
O'BRIEN: Brandon is helping raise his girlfriend's child.
FRANKLIN: And I can't wait till my other one get here so she can have someone to play with.
O'BRIEN: And soon, another baby. All before Brandon can be called a freshman. (END VIDEOTAPE)
O'BRIEN: Our documentary which airs tonight profiles 11 young people; their trials and tribulations, their ups and downs, as they go through the second year after Hurricane Katrina. And it really takes a look at some of the challenges that the storm has wrought in their lives. And how, in many cases, they are overcoming these challenges -- John.
ROBERTS: You know, he's come so far. Now graduated high school as you pointed out, on his way to college. Have you to wonder helping to support one child, and another one on the way. He is going to be able to fulfill his dreams going to college or might be sidetracked to have to go to work to try to support those children?
O'BRIEN: It is sort of the $64,000 question. You know what? You meet Brandon and you think if anyone is going to do it, it will be Brandon. He has charm to spare. He is a person who fully believes in himself. And he's had trouble in the past and he's always overcome it.
If you ask me, I'm completing rooting for Brandon to succeed, but I think that's the question with all of our young people. Are they going to be derailed by Hurricane Katrina from reaching their goals? That was really the question we wanted to examine and the way they answered it was truly remarkable.
ROBERTS: Are all of the stories as uplifting?
O'BRIEN: There's a lot of downs and highs as well. So I'm not going to give away the exact answer to that question, but I will say it's very real. It's very gritty. It's very true. These kids were not putting it on for the cameras. They carried around a little DV cam in order to share the story of their lives. And because they're here in New Orleans, sometimes it's good news, and a lot of times, it's not.
ROBERTS: It sounds like a terrific project finally coming to fruition. Congratulations by the way.
O'BRIEN: Thank you very much, John.
ROBERTS: Thanks, Soledad.
And be sure to catch Soledad's special "Children of the Storm" it airs tonight at 8:00 Eastern, right here on CNN.
CNN "Newsroom" just minutes away now. Tony Harris at the CNN Center with a look what is ahead.
Good morning, Tony.
TONY HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR, CNN NEWSROOM: Hey, John. Good morning to you.
Katrina remembrances on the "Newsroom" rundown this morning. President Bush in New Orleans this morning. Somber ceremonies mark two years since the hurricane. Extensive live coverage all morning. Idaho Senator Larry Craig says he is not gay. Police say he made sexual gestures to undercover officer in a men's room.
Sources tell CNN a NASA report out today will find no evidence any astronaut ever flew aboard the shuttle drunk.
Any breaking news when it happens. You're in the "Newsroom" just minutes away. Top of the hour right here on CNN.
John, back to you.
ROBERTS: We'll see you then, Tony. Thanks very much.
An amazing comeback tops your "Quick Hits" now. For the first time South Dakota Senator Tim Johnson is talking about his recovery from brain surgery. He says he's been given a second chance at life and plans to make the most of it. The two-term Democrat jokes that he now has an advantage over his Senate colleagues, his brain works faster than his mouth does.
New pictures of damage left behind by strong storms in Minneapolis on Tuesday to show you. High winds actually uprooted a pole, shot it through the back window of a parked car. Look at that. It tore half the roof off as well. There is a chance of more extreme weather in the area today.
Coming up to 47 minutes after the hour, now for something completely different, outside the Time Warner Center to Kiran.
CHETRY: Hey, John.
I have a little black lab with me, this is Lucky. She looks like a friendly, sweet little dog, but she -- well, she is that, but she is actually the latest weapon in the fight against DVD piracy. We have a bunch of boxes out here. Lucky and her partner Flo will tell us where those bootleg DVDs are. We're going to show you after the break.
ROBERTS: Move over New Jersey. Maryland is now the wealthiest state in the union. According to the U.S. Census Bureau numbers for 2006, Maryland outpaced New Jersey's median household income; $65,000, and change, for Maryland, compared to a little more than $64,000 for New Jersey. The U.S. median household income was $48,451. Mississippi was the poorest state, the median household income there, just over $34,000.
Plenty of wealth for the Queen of Mean's pooch. The late billionaire Leona Helmsley cut two grandchildren out of her $4 billion fortune, but left $12 million to take care of her dog, Trouble. Her will also stipulates that Trouble be buried next to Helmsley and her husband in a mausoleum that has it's own $3 million trust.
Well, Kiran has gone outside now with some pooches that have proven that they're worth at least $6 million. Here she is with that.
CHETRY: We're talking about working dogs. They're not leading the pampered life getting $12 million from their owners. These guys are earning a living. Lucky and Flo, two very special dogs joining the fight against DVD piracy, which cost the Motion Picture Association some $18 billion a year, because of it.
Joining me right now to talk more about what these dogs are trained to do is John Malcolm. He is the Worldwide Anti-Piracy director of the Motion Pictures Association.
Thanks for being with us.
JOHN MALCOLM, WORLDWIDE ANTI-PIRACY: My pleasure.
CHETRY: So, Luck and Flo, what do the dogs do?
MALCOLM: They are the world's first DVD sniffing dogs. They are our latest crime fighters in combating what is an $18-billion problem to the film industry and they have been trained to detect a DVD. The scent of a DVD and they can distinguish that from any other object.
CHETRY: All right, John. We're going to put them to the test right now. Right behind us, we have a bunch of boxes, most of them are empty. One of these boxes though, contains a DVD or some DVDs. We're going to get Lucky in on it first and Neil is Lucky's trainer.
MALCOLM: That's correct.
CHETRY: Let's see if Lucky can go for it and find it. Good luck, girl.
MALCOLM: Watch what lucky will do. What Lucky will do is find the box.
CHETRY: Keep looking!
MALCOLM: And stop. That is what Lucky will do. Lucky will find the box.
CHETRY: She knew to sit?
MALCOLM: That is right's. The dog will sit motionless.
CHETRY: She found them! So these are just examples some of the movies out now, like "Harry Potter" and these are bootlegged. Where would this come in handy what Lucky is trained to do?
MALCOLM: You can use Lucky in a number of circumstances. You could take them, for instance, to cargo shipment containers, and they could walk through and find where pirates have sent over the disks in large shipments, and mislabeled it.
You can take them to warehouses, for instance, if the stock is behind a locked door, the dogs will be able to smell the DVDs from coming underneath the door. So they can get into places that police can't see.
CHETRY: I got you. So this is interesting. They can't tell the difference between a real DVD and a pirated one. What they do is they look for DVDs in places where they're not supposed to be?
MALCOLM: That's exactly correct. So for instance a pirates sent something in a cargo container, they would not label the manifest, a shipment of pirated DVDs. They would call it something else. But if these dogs found the disks, and it was called, say, bed parts, the authorities would know these are pirated DVDs.
CHETRY: Now, one of the places where there's a huge problem with this, Malaysia and the Philippines, you actually lent them out. What did they get accomplish there?
MALCOLM: Well, they accomplished quite a bit, actually. They were in Malaysia and the Philippines for about six months. They went on 35 raids. They found nearly 2 million pirated disks having a street value of about $3.5 million. And 26 people arrested and a lot of equipment used to produce pirated products; 97 burners and three pirate DVD lines.
CHETRY: That's very interesting. There is also a bounty on their head, apparently, because they were so successful.
MALCOLM: That's correct.
CHETRY: Now, I want to ask you guys, because you train them. Neil, how do you train them to know to sniff out DVDs?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is just a matter of imprinting the odor that you want the dog to find, on their minds. It's the same with explosives or drugs. It's a question of associating the reward which is --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- with the smell of DVDs. That's basically all you do.
CHETRY: And we see Labs a lot at the airport. Are they highly trainable dogs? Is that why they're usually used?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They are also very people-friendly. They have very, very good nasal qualities and their intelligence, yes.
CHETRY: These two did a great job today. We saw it. Are you training more dogs? Because you only two so far?
MALCOLM: Well the Malaysian government has indicated that they're going to establish a K-9 unit. And we're actually in discussions with a couple of other governments that are also expressing interests. These dogs are going to other places and we'll see what kind of interest that generates. CHETRY: Pretty neat. So as you said, $18 billion a year it costs the film industry with these pirated DVDs.
MALCOLM: That's right.
CHETRY: That ends up costing the consumer more money, as well. Good job, guys, Lucky and Flo, congratulations. You didn't choke on national TV!
CHETRY: You found the right box.
All right John, back to you.
ROBERTS: Amazing stuff, Kiran. Thanks.
Here's a quick look now at what CNN "Newsroom" is working on for you, for the top of the hour.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS: See these stories in the CNN "Newsroom." President Bush takes part in ceremonies two years since Hurricane Katrina. Live coverage from New Orleans and the Gulf Coast.
Idaho Senator Larry Craig says he's not gay, following his men's room arrest.
Taliban militants free more South Korean hostages in Afghanistan.
And sources tell CNN a NASA report today concludes shuttle astronauts never flew intoxicated.
"Newsroom" just minutes away, at the top of the hour on CNN.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERTS: Oh, those crazy pranksters at the White House. Take a look at this. That's Karl Rove's car there. Karl Rove, of course, the political guru at the White House is leaving at the end of the month. His staff -- as a little going away present wrapped his car in plastic today. Stuck a couple of stuffed eagles on it as well, and put a couple of stickers on it. One of which says, "I love Obama".
Nice to know you can take the kids out of college, but you can't take the college out of the kids.
Remember that New Jersey teenager we told you about who hacked into the iPhone so that it could be used on other networks? It turns out he is getting a free car out of the deal. He says a cell phone repair company gave him what he calls a sweet Nissan 350 Z and three iPhones in exchange for the iPhone that he hacked. He is going to give the phone to online friends who helped him hack the phone, but the car, worth about $30,000, he says, he's going to keep that.
CHETRY: Pretty cool.
I would shake your hand, but I smell like dog and DVDs.
CHETRY: Pirated ones.
ROBERTS: Which one smells like a dog and which one smells like a DVDs. Let me see if I can tell the difference.
CHETRY: Pretty cool, though, huh?
CHETRY: The dogs?
ROBERTS: That's amazing.
CHETRY: Went right to the correct box.
ROBERTS: I love the fact that the Malaysian piraters put a hit out on the dogs.
CHETRY: Yeah, $30,000 bounty on the poor dogs.
ROBERTS: That's incredible.
CHETRY: Shows you it's working, though.
ROBERTS: That's pretty much going to do it for us. Thanks for joining us on AMERICAN MORNING.
CHETRY: CNN "Newsroom" with Tony Harris and Heidi Collins starts right now.
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