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What the Labor Deal in Detroit Means For You; Home Testing Your Kids Toys for Lead; How Wrong Words Could Cost You a Job

Aired September 29, 2007 - 13:00   ET


FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Aw, that is sweet. A look at the top stories in a moment. YOUR MONEY is next. Here's a preview right now.
CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks. Coming up on YOUR MONEY, what this week's labor deal in Detroit means for you and the cars you buy.

Also ahead, see if home testing your kids' toys for lead is a smart move or should you assume your toys are safe?

And later, does your resume say you're a team player? How the wrong words could cost you a shot at a job. All that and more after a quick check of the headlines.

WHITFIELD: Now in the news, a search is under way for this man, Chester Stiles. Nevada police say he videotaped himself sexually brutalizing a 3-year-old girl. The child has been located with her mother and she is now 7 years old and is said to be OK.

Troops keeping protesters off the street of Myanmar today as a key U.N. envoy arrives in the nation once known as Burma. The U.N. official is trying to find a peaceful resolution to clashes between the military and pro democracy activists.

A home-made bomb explodes in the Maldives capital of Male, a popular tourist destination in the Indian Ocean. At least one dozen tourists are injured, and they are from Britain, China and Japan. Investigators say it's too soon to speculate who may have planted that small bomb.

The Pentagon declares its latest missile defense test a success. Officials say a target missile was launched from Kodiak, Alaska, and an interceptor missile fired from a base in California successfully tracked it and destroyed it over the Pacific.

And another tropical storm now gaining strength in the Atlantic. Melissa is the 13th named storm this hurricane season. Forecasters say it poses no immediate threat to land.

And we'll update your top stories at the bottom of the hour. And then this question coming up. Is it time to home test your toys? That's in YOUR MONEY.

ALI VELSHI, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to YOUR MONEY where we look at how the news of the week affects your wallet. I'm Ali Velshi. ROMANS: I'm Christine Romans. Coming up on today's program, with all those new toy recalls this week; we're going to tell you whether you should be determining product safety in your own home. Should you be testing your own toys?

VELSHI: And we will show you how you do that.

Plus, buying a home in a market that is on edge about mortgages and house prices. We'll show you how you can make a buck out of it.

And while landing a better job, Ali, could start with taking a Spanish class.

VELSHI: This week's United Auto Workers strike wrapped up after two days with a land mark deal. Here's the ground baking part. GM is going to move up to $35 billion into an independent trust which covers health benefits for retired workers. After that, the carmaker can write more than $50 billion in debt for employee and retirement health care right clean offs its books.

ROMANS: And that's a big part of GM's strategy going forward. Now the UAW getting ready to talk with Detroit's other big car makers Ford and Chrysler. For a look at what this means for the industry and those workers and for the cars that the industry wants you to buy, we're joined by Rebecca Lindland, she is an auto analyst with forecasting company Global Insights, and joins us from Boston. Welcome to the program.

REBECCA LINDLAND, GLOBAL INSUGHT: Hi Christine, thanks for having me on again.

ROMANS: Who won here, did the UAW win or did GM win?

LINDLAND: You know what, fortunately in any good negotiations both sides leave satisfied. That's really what happened here. GM got the concessions that they needed in terms of this voluntary employee benefits association, this Viba funding for health care and the United Auto Workers got some job security and they got an assurance that their health care is going to be taken care of for decades to come. So it was a win win for both.

VELSHI: The problem with this Viba thing it has been tried in a few places, it is more a public service type of thing, a trust fund is invested professionally and you hope that it grows faster than it is depleted but it hasn't worked at a lot of places. Caterpillar's is broke. They started in '98 and they are already out of money. Do did the workers really get any guarantees, they didn't get job security guarantees and they didn't really get a guarantee that this health care money is going to be around for too long.

LINDLAND: Well you know this Viba is very well funded at 70 percent. You're absolutely right, Ali, the inflation rate on health care has been 10 percent which is significantly higher than the inflation rate has been in any other industry and certainly for the U.S. in general. So it is a cause for concern. But GM is putting out $35 billion up front. So it is very, very well funded. I think that GM wanted to fund it at about 50 percent. So, again, they did provide more money up front for some more assurances. But it certainly is not a full guarantee. But it's a lot better off than if their fortunes were tied to GM, which were must much more vulnerable than they are right now.

ROMANS: And speaking of GM fortunes, now GM can't say, we've got this huge burdensome health care issue hanging over our head. A big excuse or reason, depending on who you ask, is off the table now for GM.

LINDLAND: I got into a little trouble with GM for a comment that I made about a little of maybe put up or shut up but it's true.

VELSHI: Are they going to be able to do something now that gives them that edge? Are they going to be able to build the cars that we want to buy? Are they going to be cheaper? What's going to happen? What happens to the car buyer as a result of this deal?

LINDLAND: Really, the last three to five years, GM has been working behind the scenes developing really exciting cars. I mean, they have these large crossovers that are just out now. And they have the new Cadillac CTS. There's a new Malibu coming out that I'll be driving at the end of the month I'm really anxious to see. They're developing cars and trucks. And the things that I like about the products that are coming out is they appeal to what America wants in their cars and trucks, which continues to be large trucks and high command seating positions.

That's why we haven't seen this huge influx into smaller cars for the U.S. Most consumers only go down about one segment size if they're going to downsize their vehicle. So GM really is satisfying this with their large crossovers. Sort part of it is just appealing to the American public. Even though gas is fairly high, it's still really not putting a big dent in the wallets.

ROMANS: Can I bring us back to the big picture again with UAW and this GM deal this week? What does this mean for Ford and for Chrysler? Are we on the verge of a new Detroit?

LINDLAND: Well, you know, it's really interesting when we look at those two companies, because unlike in the past, their needs and their wants and desires are quite different than GM's. Ford is much more cash-strapped than GM, so funding a Viba at tens of billions of dollars is not really something that Ford wants to do. Chrysler, on the other hand, is just this incredible black hole because they're owned by Cerberus. Nobody knows what's going to happen. And really Cerberus is private equity doesn't need to report out on their contract deal. They don't' need to, they're not required by law. So it really is a whole different ball game.

VELSHI: So you should keep your phone on in case we need to call you back and find out exactly what happens.

LINDLAND: I am trying to turn it off a little bit at night though.

VELSHI: All right. Rebecca good to talk to you. Thank you so much for being with us.

LINDLAND: Thanks Ali.

VELSHI: Rebecca Lindland, I love it because she gave me a new term. You keep asking why I have this big truck.

ROMANS: Why do you have the big truck?

VELSHI: Because it gives me a high command seating position, which is what we, Americans want, even if I'm a transplant.

ROMANS: And you have the motorcycle because --

VELSHI: That's a low command seating position.

ROMANS: All right. Up next on YOUR MONEY, hundreds of thousands of tainted toys recalled this week. We'll tell you whether you should be testing your toys for lead yourself.


VELSHI: I had to actually double-check to realize that these are new recalls. More than 500,000 toys were recalled on Wednesday because they contain lead paint. In that 24 hour period there were seven or eight more recalls. Unbelievable. 200,000 of those toys are Thomas & Friends wooden railway toys from RC-2 Corporation.

ROMANS: RC-2 is the company that started the lead scare back in June with an initial recall of 1.5 million of the toy trains. Anybody that knows anybody in the toddler set knows that when you've got Thomas whose toxic you've got an imported toy problem here. Incredibly, many of these toys are already in the homes and hands of children.

Greg Hunter takes a look at why so many recalled toys may still be in your kids' toy box.



ERIC: Eric from Attorney General's Office.

GREG HUNTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Eric an Illinois state inspector is trying to keep unsafe toys away from kids. His job, making sure the public knows about recalls.

LISA MADIGAN, ILLINOIS ATTY. GEN: It should be prominently displayed and posted so when you walk into the store or you go to the toy shelf, that information is right there for you to actually read.

HUNTER: Illinois is one of the few states that has a law giving the attorney general the power to enforce toy recalls. Still, there are compliance problems like at this Kmart.

ERIC: Thomas the train. These have to be posted so customers ...


ERIC: Instead of just in a binder.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My first day here.

HUNTER: Kmart told CNN, "Kmart takes out customer's safety very seriously. We plan to remind all of out stores, the requirement to post all CPSC recall notices."

Attorney General Lisa Madigan says her team is stepping in with a Federal Consumer Product Safety Commission falls short.

MADIGAN: We find it's very spotty in terms of actual compliance with these recalls.

HUNTER: These toys with magnets were recalled in 2006. Madigan's team took them off the shelves. The magnets are so powerful that if swallowed they could stick together and block a child's intestines. Two years ago this Seattle mom Penny Sweet's son Kenny died after swallowing the same type of toy magnet.

PENNY SWEET, VICTIM'S MOTHER: I just don't want to have this happen to another child or another parent to have to live through this type of thing. This has been awful.

HUNTER: Madigan wants the CPSC to do more.

MADIGAN: The reality is they're under funded and they are understaffed. But at times they also seem completely uninterested.

HUNTER: The CPSC says it effectively keeps problem products off the store shelves but says few consumers actually return them after a recall. It urges consumers to sign up for recall alerts on their Web site. Ultimately, parents are the last line of defense.

JULIE VALLESE, DIR. OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS, CPSC: The best way to protect yourself is to do an inventory of your home, to go on to our Web site and to compare what's in your home against the recall notices that are on our Web site.

HUNTER: These are a couple of the toys that they recalled just in the past year, the Polly Pockets with the little magnets that actually hold the clothes on Polly. The magnets can come out and get caught in a small child's intestine. That's a big problem, recalled.

Also the Sarge car that had lead paint. But the CPSC tells me they've been recalling toys by the millions for the last few years, 2004, 2005, and 2006. The reason why the toy recalls have gotten more attention this year, there's a few more and they also have the tainted toy in China connection. But make no mistake; there are millions and millions of toys that have been recalled in the last several years. The best way to protect your kids is to logon to the CPSC Web site. Or you can just simply logon to and take a look at all the recalls that go back to the '70s. Check the recalls with your toys to make sure your kids are safe.

Christine, Ali, back to you.

Christine, Ali back to you.


VELSHI: All right, thanks, Greg.

ROMANS: Greg was pointing out two problems here. A design flaw for those horrible little magnets that poor Kenny lost his life over these magnets. Mattel even admitted there was a design flaw in those. But you also got the import problem from China, somehow lead paint getting in the system. You can't tell if your child is lowering his I.Q. or causing brain damage.

VELSHI: It is not a simple way to find out about this. While there are questions about whether Washington's handling this or whether the various states are handling this or whether it's a Chinese problem, the bottom line is if you're a parent and you have toys in your house you need something to tell you what the problem is and how to get it out of your house.

ROMANS: Don Mays is going to tell us whether you can become your own consumer product safety commission. He is the director of Product Safety Planning and Technical Administration for "Consumer Reports." Welcome to the program.

DON MAYS, "CONSUMER REPORTS:" Well, thank you.

ROMANS: Fascinating. This week Senator Brown and some unions and some other folks were all together passing out free lead kits. But the Consumer Product Safety Commission says, not so fast. They're not sure of the reliability. At the same time other agencies are saying you should be checking your ceramic cookware. I'm not sure what I need to be doing to make sure my products don't have lead paint or lead taint.

MAYS: Well it's hard to tell. In fact "Consumer Reports" is testing the do it yourself lead kits, we'll be publishing that information later on this year. Although I don't have the results yet, I can tell you that we do know that those lead test kits can sometimes give you false positives and sometimes false negative results. They're not perfect but there may be some applications where they're useful. We know that the FDA has recommended them for use in testing for lead on ceramic wear and they may be effective for that. But you can look forward to "Consumer Reports" report sometimes in the future.

VELSHI: Leak that for us if you can. I guess it's a bit like pregnancy tests. They can be false positives and false negatives but at least a starting point. What do you do? You're a parent sitting at home. Do you quit your job and log into your Web site or the Consumer Product Safety Commission Web site? I mean what do you do? Every week, Greg Hunter was saying the Consumer Product Safety Commission has been doing this for some time. Are there more recalls or are we covering this more? What's going on?

MAYS: No, there actually are more recalls. Last year we had reached a high of 467 recalls. This year we might even exceed that number. We've been hearing about major recalls on almost a daily basis. In fact, this week has been just a banner week. There's been a million cribs recalled, 400,000 play yards recalled and 600,000 toys, a tremendous number. Today more than ever it is important for consumers to arm themselves with information. So it's absolutely essential to go on to, sign up so you get automatic notification. Go to "Consumer Reports" read our safety blog. We've been updating people on almost a daily basis and giving some analysis as far as what they can do to help protect themselves.

ROMANS: There are some really easy things, too. It took a Chicago grandmother named Marilyn Feror to use the lead kits to check a baby bib and low and behold she found it was covered with lead. The retailers then recalled a lot of those baby bibs. A vinyl baby bib at this point, be careful. Ceramic cookware be careful. Your toys if they're scratched or they are damaged, you should take them away from your child.

MAYS: That is our recommendation. If you think your child has been exposed to lead, we recommend that you bring your child to a doctor and have their blood tested to see if in fact they have excessive levels of lead in their blood because as you know that can do brain damage and it can lower the child's I.Q. There is a way of sort of mitigating the effects of lead if you do discover it early.

VELSHI: Don we're going to put up a list of some of the recalls that were called in this week.

ROMANS: Pay close attention to the names of these toys.

VELSHI: They're common.

ROMANS: Look at them and make sure you don't have them in the toy box.

VELSHI: Don you were saying earlier, one of the things that "Consumer Reports" has said, it's hard to spread the word. Recalls are not all that effective. One thing if you have a car. If my car is recalled I know it's this year and this model. Toys we don't keep that sort of track of. The second problem, Don, the fact it's now September. We are moving into the holiday shopping season. So parents have two problems, figuring out what's in your house and figuring out what else you should buy or accept as a gift.

MAYS: Well that is exactly right. In the case of cars, the manufacturer knows that you own that car based on the vehicle registration so they can contact you directly. In the case of toys, there's no toy registration system in place. If there was, it would be easier for manufacturers to contact consumers. We've been advocating for that. In fact, a bill was just marked up in Congress yesterday that says they want product registration cards on durable juvenile products so in that in the event of a recall, consumers will be notified. ROMANS: Do you think we're going to have more recalls, Don?

MAYS: We absolutely are going to have more recalls and we'll see many more due to excessive levels of lead paint.

ROMANS: Grandma and grandpa, I think we need a savings bond for Christmas.

VELSHI: I think it's worth even if there's a risk of a false positive or false negative try out one of those lead surface kits because until you hear about the recall, what else can you do?

MAYS: That's exactly right. But we do think it's important to arm yourselves with that information. So watch that recall news on a regular basis.

ROMANS: All right. Don Mays, "Consumer Reports." thank you so much Don. Really appreciate it.

Coming up after the break, see if all the scary talk about mortgages and home prices means hold off on buying the house or maybe it's time.

VELSHI: This might be an opportunity. Stay with us YOUR MONEY is coming right back.


ROMANS: Now, if you've been saving up to buy your first home, now just might be a good time to start looking. There's an awful lot out there. A recent report from the National Association of Realtors projects that existing home sales will fall 7 percent this year. New home sales could drop 19 percent.

VELSHI: Wow, this might be a buyers' market or at least we might be getting into one. Our next guest says there are a number of nonprofit organizations that are actually able to help first-time home buyers out. Lynnette Khalfani Cox is the author of "Your First Home: The Smart way to Move from Renter to Owner." She is a good friend of our show. Lynnette good to see you again.


VELSHI: Looking through the notes here, you talk about something called an individual development account. First of all, tell me what that's like? Is that kind of like a 401(k) for buying a house?

COX: You could call it that. Getting up the down payment to buy a home is the biggest obstacle to home ownership in this country. It's hard for a lot of people to save. An IDA am individual development account lets you do that. It's a matching fund. Essentially whatever you put away, the IDA which has beneficiaries, you, the homeowner or potential homeowner has governments, businesses, nonprofits that will match your contributions oftentimes three to one.

VELSHI: Who qualifies for this stuff? COX: Most of the people who will qualify will be low to moderate income wage earners. Let's say you earn $35,000 a year and you say, well, I can afford to put $100 bucks a month. If you save $1200 in a year, at the end of the year, you'll get $3600 from that IDA. That's a great way to save for that down payment for your house.

ROMANS: I mean there's no such thing as a free lunch and no such thing as free money except there is free money for people who are looking to put that down payment together. There are national nonprofit organizations that will help you pay for the down payment on your home?

COX: That's correct. You know, there's a big effort nationwide to boost the rate of home ownership in this country which right now is about 69 percent. Home ownership is good for America. It gives people roots in the community. It helps them to settle down, pay taxes, to patronize businesses, to be workers for local companies, that kind of thing.

Yes, there are, in additional to state governments, federal agencies, there are non-profits that will help you to get money, free money, no strings attached for that down payment and for your closing costs, up to as much as $40,000.

ROMANS: is one that you are looking at here, no income limitations, and no regional restrictions.

COX: That is correct. Ameridream is one of the best known national organizations, no matter you live in the country. They'll give you money for a down payment for a house, again, up to $40,000, which could be helpful whether you're buying a $200,000 home or $400,000 home. That could be 10 percent in terms of a down payment. This is a great way for a lot of people to get into a home who might not have been able to save the money that they need.

The genesis foundation, is that similar?

VELSHI: The Genesis Foundation is that similar.

COX: The Genesis Foundation is similar, it is another organization out there that will supply you with a down payment, up to $22,000 -- $22,500, to be exact, for a down payment. Again, you know, depending on the state in which you live, $22,000 might be plenty for you to have a down payment. So, again, I would encourage people to check them out as well.

ROMANS: There are organizations that offer loans at interest rates that are below the market rate as well to help you get started.

COX: That's correct. NACA is one of those organizations. Their Web site is The idea is you get an interest rate that's 1 percent below the current or prevailing market rates, which is great. You figure, you know, even if you -- if somebody with prime credit, with a-1 credit can get a mortgage at 6.5 percent, you'll get a rate of 5.5 percent, which is really a good deal.

VELSHI: You have to go to this class.

ROMANS: You have to go to a counseling class, which probably everybody should do that.

COX: Precisely. You know why that's a great thing? Because statistics show, studies show that first-time home buyers who go ahead and get home buyer education, which teaches them about everything from the mortgage process to their rights and responsibilities in terms of being a homeowner, they typically have lower default rates than people who haven't been educated about what to expect when they become homeowners.

ROMANS: Which is part of the whole subprime crises. We are trying to keep home ownership strong in this country but there will be a wave of foreclosures and defaults in part because people were preyed upon and in part because people just didn't know what they were getting into.

VELSHI: That is why I think it is a big question, when we ask it I just want to let viewers know that if you didn't take down some of those Web sites, go to Lynette's Web site at and she has links to these. Lynette, is this a problem, though? Are we encourage asking people who maybe aren't ready to be in a home to buy a home?

COX: I don't think so. The studies that have been done on this are clear. When you give people an opportunity, when they are in fact credit-worthy, when they have been educated in terms of taking home ownership counseling classes, then those people don't default on their loans at any more frequent rates than people who get money from an uncle or mom or a dad or somebody else. So, no, I don't think so. I like the fact that there are nonprofits out there that will help people become home owners because a lot of renters are ready to make that leap but just haven't been able to come up with the total cash needed in terms of the down payment and the closing costs.

ROMANS: Now may be an entry point for some people just left in the dust over the past ten years.

COX: Exactly. I think it's a great thing.

VELSHI: Every time you come here, we learn something new. Lynette Khalfani Cox thank you so much for being with us.

ROMANS: Coming up on YOUR MONEY one popular Web site hopes to take a bite out of apple.

Plus, how the wrong language on your resume can talk you out of a job. Hint, don't say you're a team player, folks. Doesn't go on the resume.


WHITFIELD: Hello, I'm Fredricka Whitfield with this top story.

A little girl, her rape on videotape is found alive and well living in Las Vegas with her mother. The hunt now on for suspected predator. Police describe 37-year-old Chester Arthur Stiles as a survivalist type who always carries a weapon.

And Topps Meat Company expands its recall of frozen hamburger patties. It now covers 22 million pounds of beef product, E.Collie contamination is suspected. The USDA is investigating illnesses in Connecticut, Florida, Indiana, Maine, New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania. And you can find a complete list of the recalled products on

A U.N. envoy is in Myanmar this hour trying to end the deadly clashes between government forces and pro democracy protesters. The streets are relatively quiet today after a week of massive demonstrations, the military Guinta banning journalists and snuffing out Internet reporters coming out of the area. All that taking place right now.

An Afghan army bus bombed in Kabul. Government officials report at least 27 dead, nearly 30 wounded most of them soldiers. No one has claimed responsibility.

And the Pentagon calls its latest missile defense test a success. A target missile was launched from Kodiak, Alaska. The interceptor missile fired from a base in California. It tracked, intercepted and destroyed the target over the Pacific.

And another tropical storm now gaining strength in the Atlantic. Melissa is the 13th named storm this hurricane season. Forecasters say it poses no immediate threat to land.

Now back to more of YOUR MONEY.

VELSHI: Welcome back to YOUR MONEY. Another week, another statistic about how bad this housing market actually is. Jen Rogers is our ray of sunshine this week.

JEN ROGERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Oh, God, I don't know if I can be a ray of sunshine. I don't have ...

VELSHI: What have we got now? The housing market is bad.

ROGERS: Yes. Can we stop there? I should go on, right? The news was even worse than expected for the housing market this week. New home sales fell to a seven year low in August and we're down 8 percent from July. People are having trouble selling homes or finding a mortgage to buy a new one. The median home price in August for a new home fell nearly 7.5 percent from a year ago to just over $225,000.

The news was not much better for existing home sales out there. The National Association of Realtors reported existing home sales dropped for the sixth consecutive month to a five year low. Is that what you were expecting in the ray of sunshine?

VELSHI: Maybe the ray of sunshine is that this is a --

ROMANS: It wasn't worse.

VELSHI: It wasn't worse and it's a buyers' market. Maybe we're coming to the end of this thing.

ROMANS: You've got 20 percent down and at least 720 on the credit score.

VELSHI: And the don't need to sell in a year.

ROMANS: It's not a piggy bank or short term investment anymore.

ROGERS: A buyers market if you can go and get a mortgage. That might be tough.

VELSHI: It is partly sunny as opposed to partly cloudy. That sounds like a song.

ROMANS: It does sound like a song.

ROGERS: You know what speaking of songs, thank you so much. I have to tell you about Amazon. They are taking on Apple's iTunes with their own online music store it is called Amazon mp3. How will Amazon ever compete with the iTunes giant? One, they do it on price. They are featuring many top songs, selling them for 89 cents. A bargain hunter I am.

VELSHI: You buy a lot of songs, that ten cents can make a difference.

ROGERS: Do the math. Ten songs you can save a dollar right.

VELSHI: It's not ten songs it is the bazillion songs. I never needed that much music.

ROGERS: Well, if you're out there, sure, the price will matter to you if you're buying a lot. They also have it working not just with an iPod but so it works with different devices. Another big advantage is it does not have the restrictions that a lot of the iTunes has in terms of copying and how many computers you can use it on.

ROMANS: This week I was outside like ten hours waiting to get Halo 3.

VELSHI: I thought I saw you. You were in incognito. Do you know even know what it is?

ROMANS: I don't know what it is. Who? Everyone loves them. I can't believe $60 bucks and kids, teenagers, grownups, it's some kind of phenomenon that I'm not a part of.

ROGERS: I'm not a part of it either but it's rather impressive. Halo 3, those of you that don't know, this is a video game for the XBox from Microsoft. It generated a whopping $170 million in sales in the first day of release. Put that in perspective, beat's "Spider-Man 3's" opening weekend. Movie prices have gotten more expensive but Halo 3 is more expensive, $60 a pop.

VELSHI: You get to play it a few times. It is fascinating. It is a cultural phenomenon how much money these video games actually make and the fact that people still wait in line because, frankly, even if I really loved it, I would just order it online and wait an extra week and not spend the night standing around.

ROGERS: But it's like their Harry Potter.

VELSHI: That doesn't resonate with me either because I wouldn't be -- there is nothing. Food is the only thing I will wait in line for. Nothing else. I'm not waiting in line for anything but food. If you can eat Halo but you can't. Because you know what will happen? You'll find out it has lead paint in the wrapper.

ROMANS: All right. Jen Rogers thanks Jen.

VELSHI: Coming up next on YOUR MONEY, why learning Spanish could be your ticket to a better job right here in the United States. Be back in a minute.


ROMANS: Welcome back. If you're looking to broaden your career prospects, maybe you ought to think about taking a Spanish class. With more and more Spanish speakers in the United States these days there's greater demand for the language especially in a few specific fields.

VELSHI: And we are marking, CNN is marking Hispanic heritage month. We thought it would be a good opportunity to find out how knowing Spanish could help you in the workplace. Luke Visconti is going to tell us all about that. He is a partner and co-founder of Diversity Inc. the magazine and Luke welcome to the show.


VELSHI: Without stating the obvious, obviously, we know why there are more speaking Spanish in this country. Randomly speaking everybody doesn't need to learn how to speak Spanish. Where is it going to put you ahead if you're an English speaker and you add Spanish?

VISCONTI: I think if you look at consumer-facing industries, telecom, banking especially, you're looking at companies that are really aggressively moving out to capture customers as they become customers so they don't become branded on a competitor. In those areas being bilingual is a plus.

ROMANS: We know studies have shown that in this country, if you have two languages, whatever those two languages are, you statistically make more money than somebody with just one language, whether it's just English or just Spanish.

VISCONTI: When you think about just the three years and the change in telecommunications, and the ability to move money internationally and e-mail and phone call over the Internet, having more than one language is an absolute plus. I think there's an old joke, if you know three languages you're tri-ling, if you languages bilingo, if you know one, you're American.

VELSHI: In some places, I almost think that if you're in New York or L.A. or Miami, am I going to give myself a big advantage by learning Spanish here where there are lots of Spanish speakers or am I better advantaged in some places where there's still a growing Spanish speaking community or there aren't as many people speaking Spanish? Am I really going to be competitive learning how to speak Spanish in a city which has so many Spanish speakers?

VISCONTI: I think you'll find that living is much more nice because you'll go in -- I think bilingual people, if you look at second generation Latinos, the overwhelming bilingual and almost half prefer English. But there's a big difference between speaking to the heart and to the mind. I think when you're able to converse in a person's own language, at times that's going to give you a big advantage in relationship-building. But if you take a step back, I don't know that it's so important in the city as it is for business sake and for making money as chosen the industry you are working in.

ROMANS: It is interesting this company Time Warner offers Spanish classes, our booker who helped arrange this interview she is taking Spanish classes twice a week before work.

VELSHI: The issue, though, however is Stephanie happens to be one of these people for a facility of learning all sorts of things. Guys like me are in trouble.

VISCONTI: I'm in the same boat. She told me that they added two more classes. I'll point out that this company is on our list of top 50 companies for diversity. It's an extremely progressive company. Think about what your company is doing. You're in communications. All the people that need to listen to the news and watch the news. You're building a work force that can communicate with those local markets effectively and penetrate them. Same thing going on in insurance especially health insurance, same thing going on in telecom. It's a very smart thing to be bilingual in a company or industry that's progressive.

ROMANS: Luke Visconti, Diversity Inc. Thank you so much.

VISCONTI: Thank you, good to be here.

VELSHI: Coming up next on YOUR MONEY, hard workers, team players and a few other resume killers that you should know about. Watch what you put on your resume. We'll give you the words to avoid when you come back on YOUR MONEY.


VELSHI: Innovative, energetic problem solver. Motivated with outstanding communications skills. I'm proactive and detail oriented a real people person with a dynamic take charge attitude, a hard working goal oriented team player, proactive and creative.

ROMANS: If you put that on your resume that sounds like yada, yada, yada, yada, yada. VELSHI: What are you talking about? Those are great powerful words.

ROMANS: Powerful words you should never use on a resume. Michelle Minten is a recruiter director for the recruiting firm Hudson. She sifts through thousands of resumes. And she knows, we don't want people who are team players and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. You are supposed to say what you did and do. Everybody says they're aggressive and a team player, right?

MICHELLE MINTEN, DIRECTOR OF RECRUITING, HUDSON: That's correct. Unfortunately, I wouldn't hire you based on that very wonderfully put together sentence. The bottom line, that is yada, yada, yada to me and it doesn't really tell me anything about you. So all those great words don't mean anything to me.

ROMANS: Empty words.

VELSHI: Do you think that they should have powerful words? They sound better than, I'm a nice guy who's going to get the job done for you.

MINTEN: That's true. But let's face it, I've never seen on a resume, I'm lazy, I tend to run late, I'm not a great team player.

ROMANS: I know, Michelle --

MINTEN: When I see these empty --

ROMANS: Everybody says they're a good team player, right? Everybody says they're aggressive. Everybody looks at the description of what the job is and then they pick out those words and say, oh, I do all of these things. But doesn't everybody do that?

MINTEN: Everybody does that. It's very subjective descriptions of yourself. So what I'm looking for is something more specific. I need something that's going to catch my eye as I'm looking at that resume. So you need something that's going to set yourself apart. Saying you're a team player is definitely not the way to do.

VELSHI: Some people say take the job description that you got from the company and mirror that. They say they're looking for x, y and z, say you are that. Then I heard it's not right to do that because it's not tailored to you, not specific to what you can offer.

MINTEN: The other reason you don't want to do that is not just because it's not specific to you. It's not specific enough for a recruiter. When you think about a recruiter or hiring manager, I might look at that resume for on average five seconds. If I don't see specific examples of quantifiable results that are going to lead me to deduce that you've got the skills that I'm looking for, I'm not going to pay attention to your resume. You want to be as specific as possible.

ROMANS: You want to see what your last real big win was, where you made the company money, where you specifically did something that set you a part from everybody else.

MINTEN: That's exactly right. Every company is looking for somebody that can help them make money, save money, save time, whatever it is. You need to show me the results of what you did that's going to help me to analyze.

ROMANS: Besides so many words like these 25 cent business school words like transition and facilitate and blah, blah, blah, those are so boring. Let me ask you another question. I was once told don't have the word "I" too many times on there, I, I, I, I. Then people try to avoid "I" and have these passive sentences. What's your advice on that?

MINTEN: You don't want to have the word "I" too often in your resume but you also don't want to speak in passive terms. So you really want to have action verbs and really powerful things in there that are going to catch my attention.

VELSHI: A few of the 25 words you ever gave me that one should probably be cautious about using. Michelle Minten, thank you for very good advice on how to come up with an excellent resume.

ROMANS: A well written resume doesn't always land you your dream job. Neither does nailing a tough interview. Political hopefuls have to pound the pavement and convince a lot more than a handful of people that they're right for the job.

VELSHI: Having a recognizable name helps. We caught up with one congressman who made a name for himself in a very different field before tackling Capitol Hill.


VELSHI (voice over): its fall in Washington and Heath Shuler is back under center but this time he's quarterbacking a team of his fellow U.S. congressmen practicing for a charity game. You see Shuller's new playing field is the U.S. Capital.

REP. HEATH SHULER, (D) NORTH CAROLINA: True leaders lead by example in the way they say, look, you can follow me. You can follow me. We can do this together. I think we have to have more people that will have the courage to stand up and reject their own party when they feel the party is wrong.

VELSHI: Shuler's independence streak is part of the reason he got elected last November as a conservative Democrat from North Carolina. But he's better known for his days as a star quarterback at the University of Tennessee and a brief NFL career. His road to politics started when a major foot injury in 1997 forced him to think about life after football.

SHULER: I knew at that point I needed to have a new direction in my life, that football wasn't going to be here forever, I needed to have that plan for my life going forward.

VELSHI: Shuler retired from football and built a successful real estate business with his brother. But a part of him felt unfulfilled.

SHULER: I never had intentions to be a member of Congress. What can I do to help my community? And my community suggested that I put my hat in the arena to be a member of Congress.

COSTELLO: And so Shuler continues to learn the Washington playbook as he works on issues that are important to him, the environment and assisting small businesses. And he's already made plans for the future. Shuler says he's running for reelection in 2008.


VELSHI: And who says politics isn't a game? Coming up on YOUR MONEY, an airline horror story that will have you thinking twice before you book your next flight, in case you weren't already thinking twice about it. Stay with us you are watching YOUR MONEY.


ROMANS: Airline delays are bad, very bad. But just when you think it can't get any worse, another airline takes it to a whole new level.

VELSHI: You have to hear this one. It's the story of a Continental flight from Newark Airport to Venezuela that went from a routine international flight into an absolute nightmare. Allan Chernoff has the story.


ALLAN CHERNOFF, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Diverted because of bad weather, the plane had been on the Baltimore tarmac for more than four hours following a five-hour flight. Passengers say the stench from a toilet backing up was beginning to fill the cabin.

CARLOS CIRINO, STRANDED PASSENGER: We had no food, no water, nobody is telling us anything.



MURRAY: There was no toilet paper. There were people who were ill on the plane. There was a diabetic woman who needed food. There was a pregnant woman who needed food.

CHERNOFF: Passengers had had enough, enough of being trapped on board.

MURRAY: We said it's time for us to stand up and demand to be let off. We stood up; we started clapping in unison, demanding to speak to the pilot, who refused to speak to us, refused to even come to the intercom.

CHERNOFF: They were banging on the overhead luggage compartment. Fight attendants threatened to call the police to make arrests.

MURRAY: We said call the police; have them rescue us because you're holding us hostages.

CHERNOFF: Armed airport police and customs officers came on board and marched passengers single file into a secure room in the terminal where they were treated to pretzels and potatoes chips.

MURRAY: We were kept in that room for two hours until we put on the plane. Held against our will for eight hours after a five hour flight.

CHERNOFF: Continental Airlines told CNN passengers were kept on the plane because it was an international flight that had to be processed by federal agents who happen to have been in short supply at the airport.

The airline added, we have written apologies for the delay to the customers for whom we have contact information, including travel vouchers as a goodwill gesture. Those vouchers are worth $200. And some passengers say it's not enough.

Allan Chernoff, CNN, New York.


ROMANS: $200! $200!

VELSHI: They should get everything they paid for the flight and more money to use that airline again! That is outrageous!

ROMANS: How many hours -- a diabetic woman, screaming babies -- particularly sensitive to screaming babies.

VELSHI: I get that the airlines say it's not all their fault. It is air traffic control.

ROMANS: True, true.

VELSHI: It is immigration and customs, all sorts of things. But get it under control. There are too many planes flying in the air. We have not expanded our system. Fix it or don't fly all those planes. Don't promise people something that the system doesn't allow you to deliver.

ROMANS: We can't talk about this anymore because both of us are flying next week and we're going to jinx it.

VELSHI: If anybody from the airlines hears us, we're going to be stuck in the back of the plane. Thank you for joining us for this edition of YOUR MONEY. You can catch Christine later today at 6:00 pm Eastern on "Lou Dobbs This Week."

ROMANS: And you can see Ali every weekday morning on "American Morning." We will see you right back here next week.

VELSHI: Saturday at 1:00, Sunday at 3:00. Make an appointment. See you then.

ROMANS: WE will be on time.