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Funeral Protest Award: Church Ordered to Pay $10.9 Million; Oil, Interest Rates & You; Cancer and Your Diet

Aired November 1, 2007 - 09:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


TONY HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: And good morning, everyone. You are in the CNN NEWSROOM.
I'm Tony Harris.

HEIDI COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: Hi there, everybody.

I'm Heidi Collins.

Watch events come into the NEWSROOM live on this Thursday morning. It is November 1st.

Here's what's on the rundown.

Nooses in the news. We've seen the pictures, heard the stories, but is this symbol of hatred really having a revival?

We'll go deeper into the topic.

HARRIS: Just in -- joyous homecoming. Troops return from Iraq. We can't get enough of these pictures.

COLLINS: Lost and found 62 years later. A sailor thought a prize possession was at the bottom of the ocean. See him light up now in the NEWSROOM.

Want to get you directly to some of these terrific pictures that are happening right now, Ft. Bragg, North Carolina, as we watch about 200 paratroopers there, actually the last member of the 82nd Airborne's 3rd Brigade, to return home from Iraq. They were on a 15- month deployment, so obviously, most of these people haven't seen any of those people.

The family members waving their flags. The kids jumping up and down with excitement in more than a year. So this is obviously a very exciting day for, once again, the last members of the 82nd Airborne's 3rd Brigade, returning back home after a 15-month deployment to Ft. Bragg.

We'll tell you more about this. They obviously suffered some of the most severe losses across all of the troops. Forty-eight paratroopers were killed, 333 were wounded in the original 3,500 members that first went over in August of 2006.

HARRIS: "Welcome home, daddy."

We love those pictures.

They protest outside the funerals of fallen troops, and now they've been ordered to pay. A judge ordering Westboro Baptist Church to pay almost $11 million to the family of Lance Corporal Matthew Snyder. The 20-year-old Marine was killed in Iraq's Anbar province last March.

Members of the Kansas fundamentalist church routinely picket military funerals. They say they believe the Iraq war and Iraq's casualties are God's punishment for America's tolerance of homosexuality.

Snyder's family sued the church for defamation, invasion of privacy, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. And the family won.

COLLINS: That court's order not a deterrent for the church. It's promising an appeal, in fact. The church's founder, Fred Phelps, spoke with our Rick Sanchez on CNN's "OUT IN THE OPEN".

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RICK SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: Why in the world would you do something like that to a father, a good man? You just saw him on our cameras...

FRED PHELPS, PROTESTING AGAINST HOMOSEXUALITY: Oh, hogwash.

SANCHEZ: ... who is grieving the son of...

PHELPS: You have been brainwashed.

SANCHEZ: I'm sorry, sir?

PHELPS: You have been brainwashed.

SANCHEZ: I have been brainwashed?

PHELPS: Yes, talking that way.

SANCHEZ: What is...

PHELPS: For goodness' sakes, all that was, was a protestation by the government of the United States against the word of God. They don't want me preaching that God is punishing America by killing those servicemen. And if that's why he's doing it and sending them home in body bags, then the appropriate forum of choice would be their funerals. And there's nothing wrong with preaching respectfully, at a great distance, from the funeral when it's going on.

SANCHEZ: How, sir, can you call this respectfully, when you're using those kinds of words and those signs to a man who is doing...

PHELPS: But I've got a right...

SANCHEZ: Hold on, sir. Sir, let me finish asking the question, and then I will give you your time to answer it.

PHELPS: No, you're asking me a loaded question.

SANCHEZ: Why would you choose this as a venue, a man who is minding his own business, trying to mourn the death of his son, who many would consider a war hero?

Sir, go ahead.

(CROSSTALK)

PHELPS: ... believe the truth, doesn't want to hear the truth. You're just a hysterical nincompoop, like all the rest of the them.

This is the first -- what you ought to be worried about is the loss of First Amendment rights in the United States, for which those guys claim they're over there fighting.

SANCHEZ: We're not talking about rights here. What we're talking about is a sense of...

(CROSSTALK)

SANCHEZ: Well, hold on. Let me ask the question, sir.

(CROSSTALK)

SANCHEZ: We're talking about...

PHELPS: And that silly verdict will last about five minutes when it hurts the Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit.

SANCHEZ: Mr. Phelps...

PHELPS: That is an abomination against God and against the country of the United States and against the First Amendment.

(CROSSTALK)

SANCHEZ: Mr. Phelps, if you will give me just a moment, I would like to ask you not about the law, but about any sense of decency that you may or may not have, by going and doing that at a man's funeral.

(CROSSTALK)

PHELPS: If you had any sense of decency, you wouldn't ask a question like that.

SANCHEZ: What is wrong with asking the question? Explain it to me.

PHELPS: Sense of decency, my foot.

(CROSSTALK) SANCHEZ: Go ahead, sir. Tell me what is indecent about asking that question.

(CROSSTALK)

PHELPS: ... to spit in the face of God and tick God off, so that he's punishing this nation.

You talk about a sense of decency -- my foot.

(CROSSTALK)

SANCHEZ: Mr. Phelps, would you mind if I just get one quick question in, OK?

PHELPS: Yes, if it won't be so loaded, so silly loaded.

SANCHEZ: OK.

I will try my best, sir.

Nobody is trying to take away your right to worship your God.

PHELPS: You are.

SANCHEZ: Nobody is.

PHELPS: You are. The court was.

SANCHEZ: The point we're making is, why would you choose a venue...

(CROSSTALK)

PHELPS: The Army is.

SANCHEZ: The Army is taking it away from you?

PHELPS: The very idea of putting a preacher on trial for what he preaches, the very idea, you ought to be ashamed of yourself.

SANCHEZ: All right, Mr. Phelps, we have tried to have a conversation with you.

PHELPS: No, you haven't tried to do anything but run your big mouth.

SANCHEZ: But, obviously, you have been more interested in making some of your own political statements.

We thank you, sir, for your time.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HARRIS: OK. The father of fallen Marine Matthew Snyder also spoke to CNN. Albert Snyder tells our Rick Sanchez the lawsuit was never about the money.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ALBERT SNYDER, FATHER OF FALLEN MARINE: I didn't think there was anybody in the world that would do that to somebody else, especially somebody labeling themselves as a church. It was just -- you know, the day of the funeral, I tried to focus on my son. And that's where the main focus was.

SANCHEZ: Oh, I can only imagine. Did you -- did you think to go after them? And I'm telling you, you would have been excused if you had.

SNYDER: No, I didn't, but a lot of my friends and family did.

SANCHEZ: So, was there a confrontation?

SNYDER: No, there was no confrontations. Everything went off peaceful as far as the funeral went.

SANCHEZ: But you were hurt, I imagine, I mean deeply.

SNYDER: Yes, very much.

I mean, it's hard enough burying a 20-year-old son, much less having to deal with something like this. I mean, a lot of people don't think, when your children are in the military -- my son was killed. You have two Marines come tell you at your door at 9:00 at night.

SANCHEZ: Yes.

SNYDER: And you wait for the body to come back. You don't know if you're even going to be able to see your son's body.

And then to have to go through something like this, it was enough. And...

SANCHEZ: God bless you.

What did they do? What did you see? I mean, don't -- explain to us as much as you possibly can, to make us understand what they were actually doing there.

SNYDER: Basically, what they were doing, Rick, was, they were carrying signs that said, "Thank God for Dead Soldiers," "Thank God for IEDs," "You're in hell," just "Semper Fi Fags," I mean, just really vile things.

SANCHEZ: Apparently, their whole issue is against gays. And it's kind of hard to make the connection between that and your son. Do you get it? Do you get them? Do you get their protest at all?

SNYDER: No. No, I don't. I don't understand, these troops that are coming back, I just don't get the connection between it at all. SANCHEZ: Apparently, they're saying that our country has fallen by the wayside, and that everything bad that happens to our country is something that somehow we deserve. I believe that's what they're trying to say.

SNYDER: Yes. And it's kind of nutty.

SANCHEZ: And your question, I imagine to them, look, fine. Whatever you want to believe is fine, but leave me and my son out of this, right?

SNYDER: Well, that's right.

And it's not only that. It's -- my son has a lot of -- had a lot of friends in the military and all. And, you know, I thought about this lawsuit for two, three months before I even decided to do it. And, you know, I kept thinking, what would my son do if one of his friends had been in our situation and their parents?

I don't want to see another parent go through -- it's hard enough burying a child, much less having to deal with something like this.

SANCHEZ: I understand that you shed a tear today when you heard the award at this court case.

SNYDER: There's been many tears shed, Rick, most of them for my son, though.

And I knew, you know, the whole time I was just on every day in court, I would just think of Matt, and have him on my mind, and know that he was watching out for me.

SANCHEZ: I should share with you that we have reached out to the other side, Mr. Phelps, who, as you know, is founder of this church.

They had a sign up. And I would like to get your reaction to this. They had a sign up at their church today. It said: "Our message is, thank God for the 10.9" -- referring to the almost $11 million that's been awarded against them and to you -- "By that mechanism, the entire world will look over and see that America is doomed, and that, in doomed America, there is no such thing as religious liberty."

Your reaction?

SNYDER: Well, first of all, I don't know if I would even consider them a religious community.

All they talk about -- you know, I sat in this courtroom for a week-and-a-half, and all I heard these people talk about was the bad from the Bible, not one thing good.

I mean, my God is a loving god. And I never heard one thing out of these people's mouths about a loving god. It was all fire and brimstone, which I don't have a problem with, Rick. If you want to preach that at your church, go ahead and preach it at your church. (CROSSTALK)

SANCHEZ: Yes, but leave me alone.

SNYDER: That's right.

And, I mean, as far as their picketing goes, they want to do it in front of a courthouse, they want to do it in a public park, I could care less. But they're not going to...

SANCHEZ: Yes.

SNYDER: You know, I couldn't let them get away with doing this to our military.

SANCHEZ: Well, we're going to be talking to them in just a little bit.

Albert Snyder, you fought a good fight. I mean, what better fight can you have than one for your own son?

Thanks for being with us. I appreciate it.

SNYDER: You're welcome, Rick.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COLLINS: Let's go ahead and give you a little bit more of an understanding now as to what we know about the Westboro Baptist Church.

It was established in Topeka, Kansas, in 1955 by Fred Phelps, who still pastors the church. The church is not affiliated with any mainstream Baptist organization. It has about 100 members.

The church claims to adhere to the teachings of the bible, preaching against what it views as all forms of sin. The church followers began demonstrating against homosexuality about 15 years ago.

HARRIS: Man.

Interest rates down. Oil prices up. And we are feeling the squeeze.

So here's the question: Are we on a collision course with inflation? What does all of this mean to your and your paycheck?

There he is. There is the man, CNN's Ali Velshi to break it down.

OK, Ali. Yesterday's cut in the Federal Funds Rate, is that going to show up in my mortgage and credit card bills, or was this all about some crazy psychology?

ALI VELSHI, CNN SR. BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's going to show up, I'll tell you. And I'm going to get to the oil barrel in a second, because this is where oil closed yesterday, and it's all related.

Oil is actually trading higher than this. It's been trading higher than this. But let's talk about that.

The Federal Funds Rate moved down to 4.5 percent. That's the key interest rate that the Fed adjusts. Three points higher than that is the prime rate, which is 7.5 percent now.

The prime rate is the one to which so many home equity loans, credit cards, consumer loans, things like that, are tied. And then bonds traded higher, which means the interest rate on bonds traded lower.

Why do you care about that? Because that's where your fixed mortgages are set. So, yes, in fact, the Fed adjustment yesterday does work its way through to your pocket, because it's a little less money that you pay if you have interest, if you carry interest anywhere else.

Now, where does it connect to everywhere else? Interest rates, when they come down, also affect the dollar. We've seen our dollar really slipping, Tony, against major world currencies. And that plays into the price of oil, which we've seen going up.

Again, this is where it settled yesterday. That's the highest price that oil has ever settled at for a barrel. But overnight we saw $95, we saw $96 even. And it just started trading again this morning closer to the $95 range right now.

HARRIS: Why, Ali? Why are we talking about $94, $95, $96 for a barrel of oil? Why?

VELSHI: Well, fundamentally, it's still supply and demand. There's some argument that so much of the price of this barrel of oil, probably 30 percent of it, is about speculation...

HARRIS: Yes.

VELSHI: ... about people worried about things going on in the Middle East and things like that. But even with supply and demand, we're still talking about $50 or $60 or $70 oil because India, China, all these countries developing very quickly. Growth is very strong. There are more demands. More people building homes and factories, and they're using more oil.

Fundamentally, oil is still a supply and demand story. Most analysts think these kind of numbers and this moving toward $100 is highly speculative. That is trading. But we're still demanding and using a lot of oil. And no matter what anybody tells you, that is going to play its way into your gas tank and in the Northeast, if you use heating oil in your home.

HARRIS: Are we going to get some numbers, some earnings numbers from some of these big oil companies soon? VELSHI: Yes. We got Exxon Mobil just a little while ago this morning.

HARRIS: And they are the biggest player on the block, right?

VELSHI: They're the biggest of big. They are the biggest oil company on the planet. At least the biggest publicly owned oil company.

For the third quarter -- that's three months -- they brought in $102 billion in revenue. That is actually up from the same period last year.

Their profit is actually down. It's in the $9 billion range. Believe it or not, they're making less money, even though oil has been at these prices for a while. So that is a kind of a strange situation.

By the way, I want to tell it you something else.

HARRIS: Sure.

VELSHI: Because I just want -- I want an excuse to use my gold bar.

HARRIS: Is that a troy ounce?

VELSHI: That's -- that's actually -- this is supposedly much bigger than an ounce.

HARRIS: Yes, it sure is.

VELSHI: It feels heavy.

HARRIS: Yes.

VELSHI: Well, gold is going for $792 an ounce. But if you want to buy it on the spot, not a future, it actually went for higher than that, up to $800. The highest gold has ever been has been $850.

That, often people think of, as a sign of inflation. And if you want to buy a euro, it's going to cost you about $1.44. A pound is going to cost you $2.07 or $2.08. And a Canadian dollar, for those of us who like to go to Canada, is now over $1.05.

HARRIS: Hey, how about me dusting off a troy ounce?

VELSHI: Yes.

HARRIS: Who says that?

VELSHI: Some would tell you dust it off and hang on to it, because gold seems to be headed in an upward direction.

HARRIS: Yes. OK, Ali. Good to see you. Thanks, man.

VELSHI: You, too, my friend.

(WEATHER REPORT)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(NEWSBREAK)

HARRIS: Philadelphia police searching today for a gunman who shot one of their own. This is surveillance video from a Philly doughnut shop.

The gunman in the hood. You don't see it here, but he shot Officer Charles Cassidy just as he entered the shop. Cassidy is listed in extremely critical condition with a head wound.

Police are hoping someone will recognize the gunman. He walks with a limp. Officer Cassidy was the third police officer shot this week in Philadelphia.

COLLINS: We told you about a landmark study that links what you eat to your risk of cancer. And one stat in particular caught our eye. It's about your breakfast bacon or sausage and your risk for colon cancer, especially this time of the day.

Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen is joining us now to let us know if we really need to "hold the bacon."

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, according to the American Institute for Cancer Research, you definitely need to hold the bacon, hold the sausage, hold the pepperoni, hold anything that is processed. That is what this group says, just don't eat these foods.

And they say the reason that you should just cut it down to nothing is that they say that even 1.7 ounces of these meats per day increases your risk of colon cancer by 21 percent. Now, you might be wondering, OK, well, what exactly is 1.7 ounces? What does that look like? We have an example for you. It has gotten cold by now, but it is right here.

COLLINS: It looks really luscious.

COHEN: It looks delicious. This will keep you from eating sausage for the rest of your life.

COLLINS: actually It looks better on camera, doesn't it?

COHEN: That's true. It does look better on camera.

That is 1.7 ounces. That is what this group says increases your risk of getting cancer by 21 percent.

Now, what is wrong with these meats? Well, according to these researchers, they are high in fat, they have nitrates and they have salt. So now you might be wondering what about other meat? What about something like a hamburger or -- well, this is -- yes. COLLINS: This what's left of my bacon that I eat every morning. But mine -- I'm sorry, I don't mean to interrupt you, but mine is not processed. It's just the plain pork.

COHEN: Right. Sliced up.

COLLINS: I mean, nothing added. Yes. So, different, right?

COHEN: Well, that might be different, because what they say about something like a steak or a burger that is not processed, is they say a small serving a day is OK, about the size of a deck of cards.

Of course, most Americans...

COLLINS: OK. That's nonexistent.

COHEN: Right. Right. Right. Who eats that? But that is what is recommended.

COLLINS: OK. Interesting.

All right. So, again, this seems a little bit drastic, especially for the American diet. You know, I'm thinking of lunchmeats.

COHEN: Right.

COLLINS: And even when you're sending your kids to school you make up a sandwich every day.

Do other doctors really agree with this?

COHEN: No, not everyone agrees with this. I mean, experts who are unrelated to the meat industry, even they say, you know, OK, you want to limit what you eat, but you don't have to ban it all together. So not everyone agrees with these folks.

And I should say, the meat industry says this is completely unfounded. I bet they do. But they say it is completely unfounded whatsoever.

COLLINS: OK. Well, there's a couple of other things that a lot of people really like that are sort of under attack this morning, too -- salt and alcohol.

COHEN: Salt and alcohol, right. They have very specific recommendations about what to do with salt and alcohol if you want to avoid cancer.

Salt, they say, don't have more than a teaspoon a day. Now, you might think to yourself, well, I don't shake salt on my food that much. Well, that's not really the issue. It's the salt that's in your food already.

COLLINS: Yes. COHEN: A lot of sodium in processed foods. And as far as alcohol what they recommend to prevent cancer is, don't drink it all, or if you're going to drink, men should have no more than two drinks a day and women should have no more than one drink a day.

So, for some people, that's easy. For other people that would take a lot of change.

COLLINS: We won't go into who those people are.

COHEN: Yes, exactly right. Exactly. But just, you know...

COLLINS: But you know what I was going to say? If you're gluten-free, you pretty much can't eat the processed foods.

COHEN: There you go.

COLLINS: That's all I'm telling you. It's the right diet.

COHEN: There you go.

COLLINS: CNN Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen.

COHEN: Thanks.

COLLINS: Elizabeth Cohen, thank you.

HARRIS: A man said to be dressed in women's lingerie now stripped of his power. Did we mention that he is a lawmaker? Or at least he was until yesterday.

Which party? You're asking, aren't you? We'll tell you after the break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

Live in the CNN NEWSROOM, Tony Harris and Heidi Collins.

TONY HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: Coming up on the bottom of the hour. Welcome back, everyone, to the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Tony Harris.

HEIDI COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: Hi there, everybody, I'm Heidi Collins.

We want to quickly get you to New York Stock Exchange for the opening bell. This first day of November. A lot of happy people there. Yesterday, an interesting day, wasn't it? Didn't realize the numbers are closed up so high. Up 137 points, resting just below that 14,000 mark now once again. So, it has been a crazy ride but we are going to watch those numbers for you today, especially in light of, gosh, all kinds of stories. Oil and the Fed and on and on and on. We'll have it for you throughout the show.

HARRIS: Let's talk about the tropical storm Noel. Well, it has become a category 1 hurricane. That is the latest word from the national hurricane center. The storm is expected to pass just west of Nassau later this afternoon and we just received this. Picture from I-reporter Phelina Knowles in Long Island, Bahamas. She tells us flood waters are already several feet deep and she says her banana farm has been wiped out. Noel killed at least 64 people as it made its way through Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Right now, South Florida is under a tropical storm warning.

COLLINS: And we want to get the very latest now from Reynolds Wolf who is standing by to talk a little bit about what this thing is doing. I don't really think that people realized how devastating this was for Dominican Republic and Haiti, Rolf.

(WEATHER REPORT)

COLLINS: Well, it's a war over water among three southern states. Most of the Metro Atlanta area gets its water from Georgia's Lake Lanier. But look at this now. Georgia officials say a drought has left the lake with only about 80 days worth of drinking water. The Fed says there is enough for about 280 days. The Governors of Georgia, Alabama and Florida meet in Washington this morning and they are looking for ways to share the water. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to outline some options by tomorrow. We are going to have a live report on the southern water wars in the next hour, right here in the NEWSROOM.

HARRIS: Outrage over potential orders to serve in Iraq. We are not talking troops here. We're talking diplomats. Hundreds of State Department foreign service officers voicing concerns over policy that could force them to serve in Iraq or risk losing their jobs. The sharpest comments at a State Department town hall meeting coming from a 36-year veteran of the Foreign Service.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JACK CRODDY: "It is one thing if someone believes in what is going on over there and volunteers, but it is another thing to send someone over there on a forced assignment and I'm sorry, but basically that is a potential death sentence and you know it. Who will raise our children if we are dead or seriously wounded?"

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HARRIS: Well, the move to directed assignments is rare, but not unprecedented. In 1969, an entire class of entry-level diplomats was sent to Vietnam.

COLLINS: Once enemies, now allies. Can some Iraqi police trainees be trusted? Here is the story now from CNN's Frederick Pleitgen.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

FREDERIK PLEITGEN (ph), CNN CORRESPONDENT: Mahmoud Abdullah Saad is a cop manning a guard post in Fallujah, a former al Qaeda stronghold. His presence here, he says, is paying off.

MAHMOUD ABDULLAH SAAD, (THROUGH INTERPRETER): I've met people who say thank you for searching us. It is so much better here than in the past he tells a comrade. It was only a few weeks that Mahmoud kissed his family good-bye and left them for this.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And you answer me! You'll answer me like a man.

PLEITGEN: An eight-day crash course at Fallujah's police academy. Mahmoud belongs to a Sunni tribe that only a few months ago, fought the Americans but has now joined U.S. forces in the battle against al Qaeda. As part of an independent militia initially, but now Mahmoud is one of the first officially join the Iraqi police. Leading some of the instructors unsure where his loyalties lie.

QUESTION: Do you trust them?

DONLON E. MCGOVERN, U.S. MARINE CORPS: No, I don't trust them.

QUESTION: Why is that?

MCGOVERN: Why? I don't know these guys. Some of them have family that has shot at us, tried to kill us.

PLEITGEN: Mahmoud was with the U.S. military deems to be a so- called good insurgent. Now, the instructors here are teaching him and dozens of others Sunni tribesmen to shoot at those they call bad insurgents. And that is not all. In only eight days, recruits are supposed to learn to storm houses, stop vehicles at checkpoints and, they hope, arrest insurgents before they can strike. The Shia-led Central Government is weary of this bid to integrate Sunnis into the Shia dominated Iraqi security forces. But Mahmoud says it will work.

The benefit is great, God willing, we will eradicate terrorism, he says. How do you feel, we ask? I feel I'm a courageous person, he answers. On the last day, Mahmoud and the others receive their degrees. As he returns home, Mahmoud, in many ways, is a different man. Respected by his family, but now a target for al Qaeda insurgents. A police officer with rudimentary training will have to prove his long term commitment to a Shia dominated government reluctant to trust the loyalty of the Sunni tribe. Frederik Pleitgen, CNN, Baghdad.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HARRIS: You know, we're digging deeper into those noose incidents that have been in the headlines recently. Are they really on the rise? We will talk with a guest who says yes. That's ahead in the NEWSROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COLLINS: Nooses found hanging at prominent universities, in work places, from vehicles. The apparent rash of incidents raises questions is there really an increase or just more media attention? And what does it say about race relations in the United States? CNN takes a closer look during a special investigations report tonight. We'll tell you more about that later. But, right now, we want to go a little more in-depth. Mark Potok is with the Southern Poverty Law Center. It's an organization that tracks hate crimes and hate groups.

Thanks for being with us, Mr. Potak. Why all of a sudden are there so many more reports of nooses? Is it the media just covering it more or is there evidence to back up the possibility that, indeed, there are more incidents?

MARK POTOK, SOUTHERN POVERTY LAW CENTER: I think almost without question, there really are more incidents. There really has been a rash of these incidents, particularly in the last couple of months.

COLLINS: What is the evidence?

POTOK: From the time of Jena really start to get attention.

COLLINS: Yes, the time of Jena, true. But what is the evidence of that. Your group tracks these incidents.

POTOK: Well, it's really anecdotal evidence. Nobody keeps really statistics on this. What I would say is that we generally see between half a dozen and perhaps a dozen of these incidents. Very often, they occur in school yards or in work places. A year, since Jena has gotten a lot of attention, the last 2 1/2 months or so, there have been 40 to 50 reported so far, noose incidents. You know, some of those certainly are copy cats in the sense that they might be even very young kids essentially trying to get a lot of attention, but I think the vast majority of them really are a reaction, a white reaction to the events of Jena.

COLLINS: I guess I'm not really sure how you know that. And I don't know if we can completely discount the idea of a lot of them being copycats. What are the discussions that are had about how to determine what the actual intent or motivation is?

POTOK: Well, there is no way of absolutely knowing, of course. But what I would say is this. We have seen a huge amount of reaction among whites and I'm not talking about people who are in, you know, clan groups or other hate groups, to Jena. And essentially the reaction has been the idea, that the media, that sort of politically correct media has grossly twisted this. That what really happened in Jena was a black on white hate crime. A six on one attack. Of course, this kind of discounts all that happened before the attack, but, in any event, I think there's a great deal of white anger out there and I think there is some real evidence for this.

I think you see this reflected on the thousands and thousands and thousands of comments on mainstream web sites. CNN's own news website for instance. Where you see relatively mainstream people really angry about this. So what I'm saying is that I think the noose incidents really reflect a kind of larger white backlash against the way these people think Jena has been portrayed.

COLLINS: OK. Let's listen to this just for a moment from "Out In The Open". Joyce King is the author of the book "Hate Crime". She has an explanation. Let's listen for a minute.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JOYCE KING, AUTHOR OF "HATE CRIME": I think people are upset because, number one, the climate and the mood of the country right now, especially after Jena, Louisiana, especially after Genarlow Wilson has been freed, especially after noose incidents around the country, I think for people to say that I didn't know there was a sentiment over nooses means that they have not been paying attention to what's been going on.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COLLINS: Is that fair? Do you think most people now know and are very familiar with Jena Six, Jena, Louisiana and Genarlow Wilson?

POTOK: I think most people are familiar with what happened in Jena. At least roughly and the sort of debate or all the news about nooses at least. I think that's true. I think that, you know -- look. I think there's a lot of evidence to suggest that there really is kind of heightened difficulty in race relations. You know, the number of hate groups, for instance, operating in this country has gone up by 40 percent in the last six years by our account. There number of other indicators. We are re-segregating, at least, especially educationally, residentially to some extent as well as a society.

COLLINS: Maybe, the bigger question then, it goes back education. I mean, there are people talking about race relations in our junior highs, in our high schools? And then, when they go into the work place, not quite sure everybody has, you know, obviously, a different background, are these issues that are really handled the way that they should be, by way of diversity?

POTOK: I think, essentially, the answer is no. I think that's especially true in our nation's schools which tread extremely carefully around the issues of race and civil war and slavery. That is particularly obvious in the south and southern schools. You know, in the work place, sure. I mean, I think that these attitudes that begin in schools often are really not cured when people go to universities or colleges do play out in the work place and there, too, we have statistical evidence of an increased number of complaints filed with the EEOC about racial harassment, including these incidents.

COLLINS: OK, now, that, I can see is a real step, If you've got, you know increased complaints about this. People talking about that you are able to tally, certainly something to talk about there. We appreciate your time today. Mark Potok from the Southern Poverty Law Center, Montgomery, Alabama. Thank you, sir.

POTOK: Thank you.

COLLINS: "The Noose, An American Nightmare", it's a CNN special investigation. You can catch us tonight 8:00 eastern only here on CNN.

HARRIS: World War II sailor loses lighter overboard.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My lighter is gone and I thought no more about it, it's gone. It's at the bottom of the ocean. Nothing I can do about it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HARRIS: But his lighter is back. There you see it. 62 years later. You got to see this story coming up in the NEWSROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HARRIS: Once again, we want to take the opportunity to tell you about the podcast, everyday. This team, the team you're looking at right here. There is Jessica, working hard right now putting it -- well, actually, they're getting ready to get the rest of the NEWSROOM show on the air. But after that, after that, they're going to be working to get the podcast in order so that it is available to you when you go to cnn.com. What you do is download the CNN NEWSROOM. The daily NEWSROOM podcast. It is available to you 24/7. Go it today. Download it. Hey, Libby. Download it on to your ipod.

COLLINS: To Washington state now. A republican lawmaker resigns amid a sex scandal. All the accusations and new trouble for the GOP. CNN's Carol Costello explains.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It has been a truly scandalous few months for the GOP. For the third time in three months a Republican lawmaker is accused of soliciting gay sex. This time it's Washington State Representative Richard Curtis whose defense sounds a lot like Florida State Representative Bob Allen's, and Idaho Senator Larry Craig's.

LARRY CRAIG, IDAHO SENATOR: I am not gay.

COSTELLO: Craig pled guilty to disorderly conduct and then tried to change his plea. As for Curtis, he told "The Columbia" newspaper, He did not have sex with the man and he's not gay. But here's what Spokane police told me. On October 26, Representative Curtis dressed in women's lingerie, picked up a young man in a Hollywood erotic boutique. The rest of the story is contained in a graphic 50-page police document. The young man alleges Curtis offered him $1,000 for unprotected sex at a nearby hotel and, he says at the conclusion of the sexual activity, Curtis fell asleep. Police say Curtis' sex partner, Cody Castagna, then took his wallet, in order to extort money from the Representative and threatened to publicly expose Richard Curtis' gay lifestyle to his wife.

At that point police say Curtis called on an officer to investigate. Police say Curtis hoped the incident would go away once police nabbed a suspect. Instead, the media got wind of the case and they found Curtis' alleged sex partner who promptly went public with his attorney.

CODY CASTAGNA, SUSPECT: I'm freaked out, you know? He gave me his wallet.

QUESTION: Why would he do that?

CASTAGNA: As collateral.

QUESTION: For?

CASTAGNA: The money that he promised me.

COSTELLO: It is a particularly ugly drama unfolding around yet another Conservative Republican lawmaker. Like Florida State Representative Bob Allen who has pled not guilty to a charge of soliciting gay sex in July and Senator Larry Craig, Curtis is married with children and votes conservatively. Voting against a Domestic Partnership Bill and a bill that would have outlawed discrimination based on sexual orientation. As for how this story will end, well, Representative Curtis did send me an e-mail he has resign from office saying quote,"Events that have recently come to light have hurt a lot of people. I sincerely apologize for any pain my actions may have caused. This has been damaging to my family and I don't want to subject them to any additional pain." Carol Costello, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HARRIS: And we're following this killer storm as it churns through the Caribbean. Already, cutting a deadly path across Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Noel, now threatening to become hurricane. In fact, it is.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COLLINS: We've all dealt with sleep deprivation in some point in our lives. CNN medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen looks into what you can do about it in your 30s, 40s and 50s.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We live in a world that runs 24/7. What is missing too often is sleep.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm tired every day. You know, every, every night, I'm tired.

RUSSELL ROSENBERG, DIRECTOR ATLANTA SLEEP INSTITUTION: Most people, in our country, are terribly sleep-deprived.

COHEN: A common culprit is stress piling up as we get older.

ROSENBERG: 30 something do bring up a lot of the issues of children, parenting, as well as busy lifestyle and busy jobs.

COHEN: If you're a parent, you know sleep deprivation.

ROSENBERG: When you have a situation that's difficult to resolve like children waking up frequently in the middle of the night and you've done your best to try to limit that for children, you have to take care of yourself. It's important not only for your own well- being but for your mood and for your ability to take care of your children.

COHEN: If kids are running you ragged, he suggests grabbing even a short nap whenever you can.

JOLIE FAINBERG, INSOMNIAC: It's Sunday night and it's about, I think, about 1:30. Actually, I've been up for about an hour. It's still Sunday night. It's now about 4:00 a.m. I think I was back here at about 1:30. I've just been dozing on and off for the last three hours.

COHEN: After juggling a full-time job and two kids all day, Jolie Fainberg's mind kept racing at bedtime. One thing Rosenberg told her quit the tossing and turning.

ROSENBERG: One of the best behavioral treatments you can do for yourself when you can't sleep is to get out of bed because what happens is the bed becomes conditioned as place to be awake, alert or anxious and it is not condition as a place to fall asleep so get out of bed, go do something else, come back to it in 15 or 20 minutes.

COHEN: He also had Fainberg write down worries before bed along with an action plan to solve them. Within a few weeks.

FAINBERG: I feel a lot better.

COHEN: A common problem, especially for men nearing 50, is sleep apnea. Often signaled by snoring. You stop breathing for several seconds until you partially wake up. Again and again and again. You wind up exhausted and at risk for heart disease and other problems. One treatment is sleeping with a mask called the C-Pap which opens the airway and pumps in oxygen. To sleep better at any age, go to bed and get up around the same time every day. Don't drink alcohol near bedtime. And avoid caffeine after lunch. Sweet dreams. I'm Elizabeth Cohen, CNN, reporting.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HARRIS: More than 60 years ago, maybe our favorite story of the morning. A World War II sailor lost his lighter. It was a special gift. Now, a surprising find. Cornell Bernard of affiliate KXTV has the details.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

AUBREY KYLE, WORLD WAR II VETERAN: There it goes.

CORNELL BERNARD, CORRESPONDENT, KXTV AFFILIATE: 81-year-old Aubrey Kyle says if his long lost lighter could talk it would have a big story to tell.

KYLE: The war was over and we're just going home. There are a lot of things to be jolly about.

BERNARD: At the end of World War II, he was stationed aboard a U.S. Supply ship near Okinawa. The silver cigarette lighter a good- bye gift from his girlfriend, Emogene, now Aubrey's wife of years 60 years.

KYLE: But I never thought this much attention would be brought to this little lighter.

BERNARD: That lighter accidentally fell overboard when it slipped from Aubrey's uniform pocket aboard the USS Black Hawk.

KYLE: My lighter is gone and I thought no more about it. It's gone. It's at the bottom of the ocean. Nothing I can do about it, so I forgot.

BERNARD: What Aubrey didn't know is that lighter didn't fall into the ocean at all. It actually fell into a life boat on the side of the ship and it would take six decades for that lighter to find its way home.

This is him right here.

BERNARD: Fellow sailor Russell Ryandress (ph) found the lighter engraved with Aubrey's name. He tried for years to locate him after the war. His son recently posted a picture of the lighter online trying to find its owner. Aubrey Kyle's daughter saw it, got it back, and gave it to dad as a gift.

KYLE: When they handed me the lighter, there it was. My gosh! 62 years. At that time, it had been gone and to show up when, all of the time, I kept saying it was no way we're going to find that lighter. No way, it's gone. But here it is. There you go. Lighter. Then you hook your finger around there like that, push it down and you're already for another cigarette.

BERNARD: Aubrey stopped smoking in 1978 and Emogene says he better not start now or else the lighter would be gone for good.

EMOGENE KYLE, BROUGHT LIGHTER AS A GIFT: I would throw the thing away. I would go down to the ocean or get somebody to take me to the ocean and toss it in there. It would never come up again.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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