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CNN NEWSROOM

Smothered in Snow; Can Baseball Come Clean?; Clinton Advisor Quits; Dozens of Big Leaguers Linked to Performance-Enhancing Drugs; Storms in the Northeast; Doused with Gas and Set on Fire, A Man Trying to Help Two Victims Shot in the Face

Aired December 14, 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. Good Friday to you. 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 Friday morning, December 14th.

Here is what's on the rundown.

A hardy snowstorm smothers parts of the Northeast. Major freeways turn into parking lots. Today, digging out.

HARRIS: Some of baseball's biggest stars named in a steroids report. What do they have to say and can baseball come clean?

COLLINS: They look like ordinary kitties until you turn out the lights.

HARRIS: Whoa.

COLLINS: Glow-in-the-dark cats, right here in the NEWSROOM.

HARRIS: OK, OK, OK, let's get to it. Unfolding this hour, winter weather smack-down. The Northeast waking up to this cold, harsh reality.

A brutal winter storm closing schools and businesses and stranding travelers. Airlines trying to get back on schedule at Boston's Logan Airport and other airports in the region. Hundreds of flights had to be canceled. Delays already reported today.

A nightmare on the reports, including this gridlock on I-95 in Massachusetts. I-Reporter John Sullivan snapped this shot, then hit the back roads. What's it like there on the back roads? He says it took him more than an hour to drive five miles.

Traffic jams didn't just keep commuters from getting home on time, many kids were stuck on buses or at schools for hours. Round two is set to hit this weekend. A classic Nor'easter with snow, ice, gale-force winds.

Whew, let's call the whole thing off.

CNN's Reynolds Wolf is in Hartford, Connecticut.

Reynolds, good to see you.

People there trying to recover from round one and now you're telling us round two is on its way?

REYNOLDS WOLF, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes, it's true, Tony. Right now we're getting a welcome break. But I've got to tell you, last night, when we first got into town, these streets that you see behind me were still clogged in snow.

They had snow plows out. They had salt trucks. And as you can see, they did some pretty good work.

People are getting around without any issues, and we've had a lot of city buses out. All of the city services are operational. We've seen a few school buses, so the kids are in school, too. Unfortunately for them. I'm sure they are just thrilled about that aspect. But it is going to be a pretty nice day.

(WEATHER REPORT)

HARRIS: All right, Reynolds. Appreciate it. We'll get to Bonnie in just a couple of minutes. Thanks.

COLLINS: The storm moved in fast, too, catching many people off guard. Reporting on conditions outside of hard-hit Boston, Steve Cooper now from affiliate WHDH.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

STEVE COOPER, REPORTER, WHDH: Well, we're not just walking through a winter wonderland. Today, we're actually digging out from a winter wonderland here in the Boston area, where as much as 8 to 12 inches of snow fell over the past 24 hours. And this was quite a winter wallop.

One of those storms leaving mountains and mountains of snow behind, and the snow was really falling for a while at anywhere from 1 to 2 inches an hour. The story was gridlock in and around the Boston area because the snow was falling so fast, the highways actually turned into parking lots. And boy, what a difference a day makes.

The traffic is moving just fine now. The roads have been cleared off. They've been plowed, treated, salted and sanded, but all for a reason. The race is on to get this stuff out of here because over the weekend, we're expecting another storm to hit the area.

So any of this stuff here that is left behind, any of this snow, is going to freeze later today because temperatures expected to drop like a rock. And then, of course, we have another storm moving in over the weekend and, of course, for anybody that thought we're dreaming of a winter wonderland and a white Christmas, well, those dreams have apparently come true because this stuff is apparently going to be around for a while.

Steve Cooper, in Andover, Massachusetts, for CNN.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(WEATHER REPORT)

HARRIS: People partying in a cave now charged with starting that massive wildfire in Malibu, California, last month. It destroyed more than 50 homes and forced about 15,000 people to evacuate.

Five young men are now facing charges. They are scheduled to be arraigned Monday. Officials say the men were at a popular party spot in a cave when the fire started.

COLLINS: A new message out today from al Qaeda's second in command. CNN cannot independently confirm the 20-minute audio message is actually from Ayman al-Zawahiri. In the message posted on a radical Islamic Web site, the voice reels against last month's Mideast peace conference in Annapolis, Maryland. He calls it a betrayal of the Palestinians.

Al-Zawahiri, by the way, is the deputy to Osama bin Laden.

George Mitchell speaks and Congress answers. The former senator's report on enhancing drug use in baseball triggering two hearings now on Capitol Hill. The first will happen next week.

Here now, CNN's Brian Todd.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Anticipated for months, names dropped in advance, the report is still jarring -- a who's who of superstars.

The naming of Roger Clemens, one of baseball's most dominant pitchers for more than 20 years, and his New York Yankee teammate, pitcher Andy Pettitte, led one observer to call this a tough day in the Bronx. Former MVPs Barry Bonds and Miguel Tejada and nine-time All Star Gary Sheffield also make George Mitchell's list of dozens of Major League Baseball players linked to the alleged use of performance-enhancing drugs.

GEORGE MITCHELL, MLB STEROID INVESTIGATOR, FORMER SENATE MAJORITY LEADER: The use of steroids in Major League Baseball was widespread. The response by baseball was slow to develop and was initially ineffective.

TODD: Mitchell also levels blame on the players union for first opposing random testing and for a lack of cooperation with his inquiry.

MITCHELL: Each of the players was invited to meet with me so I could provide him with information about the allegations and give him an opportunity to respond. Almost without exception, all current players declined my invitation.

TODD: Mitchell recommends year-round unannounced testing, the results open to the public, and says baseball should outsource the testing program to an independent person with real authority. But he says baseball's commissioner should not punish players for past violations unless they're so serious that the integrity of the game is on the line. The commissioner indicates he may be inclined to punish some.

BUD SELIG, MLB COMMISSIONER: I will deal with the active players identified by Senator Mitchell as users of performance-enhancing substances. I will also review the comments made by Senator Mitchell about club personnel and will take appropriate action.

TODD: The head of the players union says any decision by players not to cooperate was up to the players themselves and says this about repercussions...

DONALD FEHR, BASEBALL PLAYERS UNION: Many players are named. Their reputations have been adversely affected, probably forever, even if it turns out down the road that they should not have been.

TODD (on camera): An attorney for Roger Clemens says he expects his client to come out swinging and adamantly deny the accusations against him. Our calls to representatives for Andy Pettitte, Miguel Tejada, Barry Bonds and Gary Sheffield were not returned.

Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEO TAPE)

(NEWSBREAK)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COLLINS: A Clinton campaign advisor quits, fallout from remarks about Barack Obama's past drug use. The latest clash between two campaigns locked in a very tight race.

Jessica Yellin is joining us now live from Johnston, Iowa.

Good morning to you, Jessica.

What is the deal here? Have things calmed down or actually heated up in this whole thing?

JESSICA YELLIN, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, things are pretty hot right now. All of this skirmishing is a measure of just how tight this race has become here in Iowa.

The skirmish we're talking about is a campaign co-chair for Hillary Clinton, Bill Shaheen, has resigned over comments that he made to "The Washington Post" saying that Barack Obama's past drug use would call into question his electability in a general election. Well, the Obama campaign said that was way out of bounds. Hillary Clinton herself personally apologized to Barack Obama, but all of this has not kept Obama from using this whole skirmish as a fund-raising vehicle.

He's already sent out a fund-raising letter saying that they need more money to fight off basically the Clinton smear machine. So what we are seeing here is a debate in these last three weeks -- or a struggle over how negative this campaign will go.

After the debate we saw yesterday there was an enormous amount of good feeling on the stage, a sense of positive collegiality. But we're seeing the small trickle of attacks between the two candidates in the campaign quietly from advisors behind the scenes.

Now, I should make it clear that the Clinton campaign has renounced the comments of Shaheen and he has resigned. And they say they were never authorized.

Now, Senator Clinton is going to be appearing in the room I am in right now taking questions from reporters. It's not something that we get an opportunity to do that often, so we're curious to see what she has to say.

We're told there will be a big Iowa endorsement announced today, and we'll just have to wait and see. Hillary Clinton in a very tight spot right now trying to distinguish herself and regain that lead with just three weeks to go -- Heidi.

COLLINS: All right. Jessica Yellin, appreciate it. Thank you.

HARRIS: You know, not the best idea -- hey, the city needs a Christmas tree. I know a good one in the cemetery. (INAUDIBLE).

Am I close on that?

COLLINS: I think it's good, yes. Yes.

HARRIS: Do you think it's -- I just hope it's in the vicinity, in the neighborhood, around the corner.

All right. Our affiliate WMUR has more.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I came out to see this tree that was causing so much discussion over lunch.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Discussion, because the 50-foot spruce (INAUDIBLE) holiday cheer to Elm Street didn't come from the Great North Woods.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was here when they were putting it up.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It certainly wasn't donated.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Terrible. That's like robbing from the dead.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But it came from Manchester's own Pine Grove Cemetery, where all that is left now is a stump.

CHUCK DEPRIMA, MANCHESTER PARKS & RECREATION DEPT.: I was not aware that this decision had been made.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Chuck DePrima with the Parks Recreation and Cemetery Department says somehow a supervisor there didn't go through the proper channels, got a crew, crane, and flatbed truck from the highway department, and made the move.

DEPRIMA: Remorseful. He realizes he made a poor decision.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And a rush decision. The tree was needed in time for the holiday parade, but no one placed an ad in the paper for a donated tree.

DEPRIMA: I don't know the story about that. I don't know if he forgot or didn't do it, but it wasn't done.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The supervisor responsible has been reprimanded, and a new tree, not quite as big, will be planted at the same spot in the cemetery during the spring.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's kind of weird. It gives you a different feeling about the tree.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But, says one environmentalist, maybe there is something to be merry about after all.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's better than having it shipped from somewhere and wasting all of the gas.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COLLINS: Going to YouTube for medical advice? Well, it could be hazardous to your health and, in fact, endanger your children.

Elizabeth Cohen has a warning for parents.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HARRIS: OK. Outlawing the death penalty. New Jersey lawmakers approved a bill to do just that. Governor Corzine says he will sign it soon.

New Jersey would be the first state to abolish the death penalty in 40 years. A special state commission found the death penalty cost more than life in prison. It hasn't deterred murders, and the commission says there is always the risk of executing an innocent person.

COLLINS: YouTube, a great place to catch a video, but medical advice? Not so much.

Our medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen is here now to talk more about this.

Elizabeth, it seems like a dumb question, but should people really be able to trust YouTube when it comes to medical stuff?

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know what? You have to look at the source.

There are 1,200 videos about vaccines on YouTube. I was shocked when I heard that number. I'm like, "Don't people have better things to do?" But I guess that's...

COLLINS: Wow.

COHEN: Yes. You'd think you go there to get music, but you go there apparently to get vaccine advice.

You have to look at the source. Who put this video on there? And if it's just some random person who wants to opine about -- you know, I mean, who are these people?

COLLINS: Yes. Is the source always on there?

COHEN: Well, you can certainly tell from looking at it if it's just some random -- you know, if it has "CDC" stamped all over it, that's one thing, but if it's just sort of a person or -- I mean, you have to look who put this on there, and if you don't know, that speaks volume.

COLLINS: Yes, no question about it.

Talk a little bit, if you would, about some of the misinformation that you've uncovered. I mean, that we already know is out there.

COHEN: Right, because this University of Toronto study that was just done, they found 1,200 videos. Almost half had wrong information about vaccines.

COLLINS: Oh.

COHEN: Almost half. So let's give some examples of some of the bad information that was on there.

First of all, "Mercury in vaccines causes brain damage." That's one of the things that's on a YouTube video.

That -- first of all, mercury is almost completely out of pediatric vaccines. It's in a few flu vaccines, first of all. Second of all, there is no evidence that it causes brain damage. So wrong, wrong, wrong.

And then the she second one, "Mercury levels are 400 times over the safe limit." Just completely not true.

Thirdly, children get 74 vaccines by 4 to 6 years of age. They get fewer than half that number.

COLLINS: I was going to say, I'm very behind if that is the case. Yikes.

COHEN: Right, exactly. You need to go back -- so it's just -- people just put wrong things out there. And I'm always amazed at what people will believe.

I've had people say to me, "Well, I know this is true about vaccines. My sister-in-law's brother's cousin said it. So it must be true." It's like, well, your sister-in-law's brother's cousin might be an idiot.

(CROSSTALK)

COLLINS: We're not saying that.

COHEN: Right. But maybe -- right, maybe.

COLLINS: Wow. Well, that is a very good idea. I remember when some of the Internet sites first came out about health. You know, everybody very weary, because sometimes if you can skip going to the doctor, let's face it, we go somewhere else first. And then, yikes, end up...

COHEN: But go to the Centers for Disease Control.

COLLINS: Sure.

COHEN: Go to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Go -- there are real sites with real information. Go to those.

COLLINS: OK. Great advice. Thank you so much.

Elizabeth Cohen, appreciate it.

HARRIS: College not an option back in her day, but now meet great grandma, the graduate, 77 years old and living her dream.

Lin Sue Cooney of affiliate KPNX has more.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

LIN SUE COONEY, REPORTER, KPNX (voice over): Five thousand graduates received their degrees today at Arizona State. One of them is making history.

LOUISE ALFLEN, ARIZONA STATE UNIV. GRADUATE: It looks like it, and I really don't know why.

COONEY: Louise Alflen, a 77-year-old history major from Mesa, is the oldest-known student to graduate from ASU.

ALFLEN: I love to learn. I've always loved to go to school. I loved going to classes. Every class is a new adventure.

COONEY: This is the second degree for this humble mother, grandmother and great grandmother. She earned an Associate's Degree from Mesa Community College back in 1985. After a few years and a little encouragement from her family, she enrolled at ASU.

ALFLEN: My family said, you know, you've got to do something with your time. You know, go back. You've got all of those lovely credits. Use them.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: These students are exemplars, and I am pleased to recognize them today. First is Louise Alflen.

COONEY: Louise was honored by her classmates.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I hope that I'm still passionate about learning when I'm her age.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's definitely inspiring.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And now congratulations.

ALFLEN: It's a very exciting day for me. It's kind of unbelievable.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HARRIS: Wow! Alflen says when she graduated from high school, her father told her to get married because she was a girl. That was 60 years ago. She is live in the NEWSROOM this afternoon, 3:00 p.m.

Ooh, this is a good! It's a good booking for us -- 3:00 p.m. Eastern.

COLLINS: Piling on. Winter is still a week away -- right. A big storm paralyzed parts of the Northeast. Look at that. Yikes.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COLLINS: Baseball allegations of steroid use, questions of integrity. Big stars, bigger questions -- in the NEWSROOM.

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

COLLINS: Good morning once again, everybody. It's 9:30 Eastern Time, and it's Friday, which is good.

HARRIS: Oh, that's a good thing.

COLLINS: Hi, everybody. I'm Heidi Collins.

HARRIS: And I'm Tony Harris.

What do you say we check the Big Board?

COLLINS: I don't know.

HARRIS: The New York Stock Exchange just a couple of seconds -- yes, it's been roller-coaster, but it's a constant roller-coaster for us. COLLINS: Yes.

HARRIS: We watch this every day here and it's nutty.

Just a couple of moments here from the opening bell. As we get the business day started, the Dow will begin the day at 13,516, after picking up, what, 44 points in trading yesterday? Oil prices on the move again. Oh, boy, in the wrong direction.

(BELL RINGING)

HARRIS: Thank you. Oil prices going in the wrong direction if you care about inflation and we all do. New inflation numbers in, not good. We are following the markets this morning with Susan Lisovicz, right here in the CNN NEWSROOM.

COLLINS: Baseball, the national pastime. Today, the spotlight turns blistering in one of the biggest scandals ever to rock the game. Dozens of big leaguers are linked to performance-enhancing drugs. The names, (INAUDIBLE), who's who of this generation. Home Run King Barry Bonds, slugger Jason Giambi and earning the most attention, legendary pitcher Roger Clemens. In all 31 all-stars. Some critics say the report lacks concrete evidence; its author scoffs at that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE MITCHELL, MLB STEROIDS INVESTIGATOR: There is direct eyewitness statements by participants. There are checks. There are money orders. There are telephone calls. And there are many admissions. At least, 11 players admitted to us that they did, in fact, purchase steroids from one of the witnesses, as he said they had. So, I think it's quite wrong to say there is no concrete evidence. There is several hundred pages of evidence.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COLLINS: Baseball commissioner Bud Selig says he'll take action. He's not saying what exactly that will mean.

HARRIS: Wow. A lineup of baseball stars, are they the latest inductees to the hall of shame? The steroid scandal and the fallout on this morning after. CNN's Alina Cho.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ALINA CHO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The New York Metro's Little League Team had a winning season this year and they did it simply by playing hard and fair. But can the same be said of many of their major league heroes? Grown men it turns out, who may not be the best role models?

NATHANIEL CRAMER-GIBBS, LITTLE LEAGUE PITCHER: They're cheaters. They're just ruining the sport for kids and even people on their team.

CHO: The lineup of seven MVPs and 31 all-stars in the report was disappointing, but to see hometown hero Roger Clemens, one of the greatest pitchers of the last 20 years, tainted by allegations of steroid use, even though he vehemently denies them, was almost too much to handle.

RYAN THIER, LITTLE LEAGUE THIRD BASEMAN: When I was younger, I look up to them and stuff and tried to like, have like windups like them and stuff and now like, they cheated and I really don't want to be like them.

CHO: Jimmy Haber has coached Little League Baseball for seven years. He says the major leagues are setting a bad example.

JIMMY HABER, LITTLE LEAGUE COACH: We sending out a message to them that if they cheat at work or they cheat at school, they're going to make more money, and that's the way they're going to get ahead in life and that's not the right message.

THIER: Whenever I see someone hit a home run, I'm always, like, wondering, if they take steroids and if they really, like are naturally hitting it or if it's like the drugs hitting it.

CHO: And what does this 12-year-old say he'll do when he sees his former hero, Andy Pettitte, head to the mound at Yankee Stadium next year?

THIER: I'll boo him. Loudly.

CHO: Alina Cho, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COLLINS: Did you hear that? I'll boo him, loud.

All right. We want to get to the other story that we are following today. The storms in the northeast. They're in recovery mode this morning after getting slammed by a fierce winter storm. Yes. As much as 13 inches of snow blanketed the region yesterday. Many schools and businesses shut down as crews try to clear those roads. This was the scene yesterday in Massachusetts. Commuters stuck in absolute gridlock.

This shot captured by I-reporter John Sullivan from an overpass. He was just glad he wasn't in it on I-95. Many airports also brought to a standstill. Hundreds of flights canceled and airlines now trying to get back on schedule. But delays already being reported this morning.

And more trouble ahead, a Nor'easter with snow, ice, strong winds set to hit this weekend.

HARRIS: Doused with gas and set on fire, then a man trying to help the two victims shot in the face. Chris Martinez of affiliate WFTS reports. Police now have a suspect.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you have anything to say to the family.

CHRIS MARTINEZ, AFFILIATE WFTS: On this night before his 30th birthday, Leon Davis is no longer a free man. In the midst of a massive manhunt, the suspect turned himself in. Davis was a well- known customer of this insurance office. The two women working here today told police he came in demanding money and clutching a can of gasoline. Seconds later, cops say he doused the place and the victims and then set them on fire. They got out badly burned, to find the suspect waiting with a gun and a good Samaritan rushing to their rescue.

CAPT. TROY SCHULZE, LAKE WALES POLICE DEPARTMENT: They the saw the smoke, heard the yelling, he tried to intervene and help and took a gunshot wound to the face from the suspect.

MARTINEZ: Witnesses say that is when Davis made his retreat leaving the three bloody victims in the parking lot to die. Both women, one of them six months pregnant managed to walk next door to Alex Franco's restaurant for help.

ALEX FRANCO, WITNESS: They were gushing blood out. I mean, like, they had no skin to be honest with you. When the paramedics got there, they told them it was between 80 to 90 percent of the body was burned.

MARTINEZ: Both women were air-lifted to a burn center in Orlando. The shooting victim was treated at a hospital in Lake Wales. Now, tonight with the suspect in custody, no one can make sense of such a violent outburst, especially those who know the accused.

JOY DAVIS, KNOWS SUSPECT: He was always funny and playful and he just don't seem like that type of person to do something like that.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HARRIS: Wow. The shooting victim is expected to be OK. He is scheduled to undergo corrective surgery today. No word on the condition of the two women who were burned.

COLLINS: Little girl, big responsibility, saving dad by taking the wheel of his pickup truck in the dark of night.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HARRIS: No apology. No more money equals, no dignity. A former army private says he deserves more after an unfair military trial years ago. Here is CNN's David Mattingly.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This piece of paper was supposed to make things right for Samuel Snow. It's a check from the Pentagon cut for the World War II Veteran. A way he thought the military would say I'm sorry. But that is not what happened.

With that check, is the army saying that they care what they put you through?

SAMUEL SNOW, WORLD WAR II VETERAN: No, they didn't care. MATTINGLY: We'll get back to the check in a minute. But to understand the scale of this injustice, you first need to rewind 63 years. Snow is one of two living defendants left from one of the biggest military trials of World War II. 28 black soldiers were sent to prison after an Italian POW was found hanged to death, following a night of brawling at Seattle's Fort Lawton. Two of the soldiers were sentenced to 15 years for manslaughter. Private Samuel Snow spent more than a year in prison for rioting and was dishonorably discharged. Stripped of any chance for GI loans or benefits, he became a career janitor.

SNOW: That just like you might slap me and say excuse me.

MATTINGLY: Snow's life with dignity began on a night in august, six decades ago when tensions between Black U.S. troops and Italian POWs boiled over.

Words were exchanged. They got angry, somebody punched somebody?

JACK HAMANN, AUTHOR, "ON AMERICAN SOIL": Exactly.

Seattle author Jack Hamann spent years detailing the riot for his book "On American Soil." Hamann concludes the army rushed to judge black soldiers to hide its embarrassment over the murder of a white POW. Today, we find the old fort is a public park with most buildings torn down.

HAMANN: We now know for a fact...

MATTINGLY: But Hammond was able to take me to the spot where, Snow, says he was knocked unconscious as he left his barracks. Was Samuel Snow ever involved in that riot?

HAMANN: He never had a chance to be involved in that riot. He was just responding quickly to what he thought was an attack and he was knocked out of it almost immediately.

MATTINGLY: Hamann's book caught the attention of Congress. Representative Jim McDermott asked the army to review the nearly forgotten case.

REP. JIM MCDERMOTT, (D) WASHINGTON: A real injustice had been done to a whole lot of black guys who were serving their country and somebody had to speak up for them.

MATTINGLY: And in October, the army seemed to agree. A board determined that the soldiers did not get a fair trial. It asked that their convictions be overturned and that they and their families be paid every penny they had been denied. After all this time, you would think that would be a substantial amount of money and until he saw his check, Samuel Snow thought so, too.

Did you think there was some kind of mistake?

SNOW: No, I didn't think there was no kind of mistake. I think they had done this all along, they would do that, too. MATTINGLY: How much?

SNOW: It was $725.

MATTINGLY: $725?

SNOW: Yes.

MATTINGLY: Only $725. The exact amount of army pay, Snow, lost while in prison for 15 months. There was no allowance for lost benefits, inflation, or interest. At 8 percent a year, $725 would have grown to more than $82,000. Keeping them honest, we went to the Pentagon only to find the army was going by the book. $725 after being put in prison, denied benefits, pretty much for a lifetime, does the army believe that is fair?

COL. DAN BAGGIO, ARMY PUBLIC AFFAIRS: Well, really, it's not a matter of the army deciding what is fair. It is the U.S. law. What the army has done has gone back to correct the record and given him the pay that he is allowed under the current law. Any redress beyond that would have to really go beyond the army, probably really to Congress.

MATTINGLY: A spokesman for Congressman McDermott tells CNN, if its hands are tied, then the army will have to tell Congress what changes to make.

SNOW: Thank you.

MATTINGLY: The army's action also stopped short of saying that, Snow, and the other 27 soldiers are innocent. Something, Snow, believes he deserves, along with an apology and medical benefits. But now 83 and in poor health, he wonders if he will live to see it. David Mattingly, CNN, Leesburg, Florida.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COLLINS: Cats that glow in the dark. Looks kind of spooky. You think? Why did researchers do it?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HARRIS: Are you in the market to buy a cell phone this holiday season? Veronica De La Cruz takes a look at some of the year's best buys. They're not just -- Veronica, hi.

VERONICA DE LA CRUZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Tony. How are you?

HARRIS: They're not just cell phones anymore.

DE LA CRUZ: No.

HARRIS: you can download our podcast on it, which many people do by the way, Heidi and they also do your laundry. They're not just cell phones -- sorry. Sorry, sorry.

DE LA CRUZ: Let's move on.

HARRIS: OK.

DE LA CRUZ: You're right, Tony. There are so many out there. There are so many to choose from. Switched.com has been recommending four phones that they love that won't break the bank. The LG Rumor comes in at about $50. It's perfect for those of us addicted to text messaging because the keyboard pops up the back, making it easy to type a message. It also plays media and comes equipped with a camera.

Now, the Samsung Juke is about a hundred dollars, its small, its pretty cool and we're moving on to the next one. Blackberry Pearl comes in red. That one is about a hundred dollars these days now. The last one I want to show you, move over iPod because the Samsung Beat plays your music. And just like you said, it doesn't do your laundry, Tony, but it makes the phone calls, it plays music, video, acts as an MP-3 player and that one is only available on T-Mobile. So again, the LG Rumor, the Samsung Juke, the Red Blackberry pearl and the Samsung Beat. So, there are four really, really good ones for you.

HARRIS: Wow. What about the price on this thing? And where are we again on the pricing on all of this?

DE LA CRUZ: All under a hundred dollars.

HARRIS: All under a hundred dollars.

DE LA CRUZ: All affordable, all of them. Yes.

HARRIS: All right. I think, I guess I can spare it for...

DE LA CRUZ: Hang on. I got another cell phone story for you.

HARRIS: Do you? OK.

DE LA CRUZ: You know, it's really, really important to check the fine print and I'll tell you why. A guy in Canada had a cell phone bill that came in at nearly $85,000, Tony.

HARRIS: $85,000?

DE LA CRUZ: $85,000.

HARRIS: (INAUDIBLE), what about the cell phone that blew up in the guy's chest but wasn't the story?

DE LA CRUZ: No, no, no. We are way over that.

HARRIS: We're beyond that, huh?

DE LA CRUZ: We're moving on to the $85,000 phone bill.

HARRIS: We'll tell us about. My goodness.

DE LA CRUZ: Apparently, the man had been downloading movies, pictures, TV shows using his cell phone, Tony, as a modem. He says that he wasn't aware of the costs that these kinds of file would incur. And the company Bell Mobility has agreed to lower this bill though, Tony, to about $33,000. So now, its only $33,000. Still, a pretty pricey cell phone bill but, you now, the price is down from $85,000. So, read the fine print. Buy one of those cell phones that come in under a hundred dollars and make sure you read your service plan.

HARRIS: Good to see you, Veronica. You have a great weekend.

DE LA CRUZ: You, too.

COLLINS: Some, new information just in to the CNN NEWSROOM. I want to get back to the story with Michael Vick. What we understand to have happened now, according to the associated press is that a fourth defendant was now sentenced, Tony Taylor. He was actually the first man to plead guilty but now, he is the last to be sentenced. He got two months in prison.

HARRIS: Two months?

COLLINS: For his role in the dog fighting conspiracy, as you well know, led to the downfall of NFL star Michael Vick. So once again, the fourth defendant Tony Taylor has been sentenced to two months in prison for his role in the dog fighting conspiracy.

HARRIS: What did Michael Vick get here? 22, 23 months?

COLLINS: 18 months -- yes, exactly. But Vick got 23 months and two of the other defendants, the second, Purnell Peace and Quanis Phillips, one got 18 months and the other got 21 months. So, there you have it.

HARRIS: And still to come in the NEWSROOM this morning. Daddy missed their birthday because of the war. Look at this. We love this. Daddy sent the girls a big present surprise.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HARRIS: Hey, Heidi, we are pod casting today for Friday get-away day. Can't wait. Can't wait. I'm going to do a little ranting on the sentencing of Tony Taylor. Michael Vick, just because. Because, we got about 10 minutes to do with the podcast to fill in. So, why not? Here is what you do. You go to cnn.com and download the CNN NEWSROOM daily podcast, available to you 24/7, do it today as we rant and rave. Well, I will.

COLLINS: I just want to bring you the story about the cat. I've been waiting for this all day long. Here is a bright idea. Cats that glow in the dark. Really? Why did researchers do it though, and how it might actually save lives. The story now from CNN's Kristie Lu Stout.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: At first glance, these cats look like any normal cat, but they are two big things which make them very different. One, the cats are clones. Two, they glow in the dark. You heard right. When they are put under this ultraviolet light, they grow a dull red and it's no accident. Scientist manipulated the donor's genetic code, then passed those changes onto the clones.

PROF. KONG IL-KEUN, GYEONGSANG UNIVERSITY (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): It's meaningful as we introduce outside genes to transgenic cloned cats for the first time and as they have the red fluorescent protein gene in their organs, they give off a red color.

LU STOUT: Here is how they did it. Scientists took skin cells from a Turkish Angora female cat and used a virus to insert the genetic instructions for making red fluorescent protein. Then, they put the gene altered nuclei into eggs for cloning, after that they implanted the eggs back into the donor cat which effectively became the surrogate mother. Now, these glow in the dark cats, shine a light on what may be possible down the road.

Scientists say, if you can pass along coding for fluorescent markers through cloning, you could eventually pass along more complex genetic coding. That means, cats could help develop treatments for diseases, for animals, and for humans. After all, researchers say there are some 250 diseases which affect cats and humans. In theory leaving a warm, healthy, fuzzy glow, many more than just their nine lives. Christy Lu Stout, CNN, Hong Kong.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HARRIS: Massage therapists works the kinks out of her retirement plan. She made a million in about five years. Now, she is living the life she always wanted. Ali Velshi looks at her life after work.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ALI VELSHI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Google. Search engine. Tech giant. And for retired massage therapist, Bonnie Brown, Google was the job opportunity of a lifetime.

BONNIE BROWN, RETIRED MASSAGE THERAPIST: A friend of my sister's called one day and said, I read in the paper that there's a company called Google looking for a full-time massage therapist. I think you should probably send them your resume. So, I said all right. I sent the resume in.

VELSHI: That was back when Google was a small start-up of only 50 people and when, Brown, was offered a job, she made a savvy decision negotiating her compensation.

BROWN: I'll give you guys ten hours a week, $45 an hour is fine and I'd like options and she agreed and we put it into the contract.

VELSHI: Those options changed her life and they couldn't come at a better time for Brown. Her marriage had just ended leaving her a single mom with two teenage kids to raise. Plus, the private children's school she ran had gone under. Massage therapy went from being a hobby into a career at Google. Five years of massages and thousands of stock options later, her life turned around dramatically.

BROWN: Valentine's Day of 2005, I knew that if I pushed send on the computer that I was going to be a millionaire and it was quite a moment.

VELSHI: So, Brown cashed out and retired. Now, she has written a book about her experience and helps fund charitable groups that assist poor people in third world countries.

BROWN: After the IPO, I started a foundation. It was a private foundation and that enables me to carry on something that has always been a part of my life and that is helping people less fortunate.

VELSHI: Ali Velshi, CNN.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COLLINS: Finger food fine. Forks forbidden. That's a capital idea for the holiday party season. Here now is CNN's Chris Lawrence.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: New rules for Christmas in the capital. Forks are out. Finger food is in. Lobbyists aren't allowed to wine and dine like Christmas past, so congressional staffers who go to their parties won't sit down and eat lavish meals. They can't even use silverware.

LINDA DARKE, CHARLIE PALMER'S STEAKHOUSE: We can't have a fork. I mean, we have one group here that didn't want to see a fork in the place.

LAWRENCE: Catering manager, Linda Darke, is trying to comply with the new so-called toothpick rule, which means, Senator so and so will be eating French fries, not fillet.

DARKE: Because, they can pull it out with their fingers versus putting a fork. You know, it's a finger food.

LAWRENCE: This season, the ethics committee is putting a tap on how lavish these parties can be. So, Washington watchdog Melanie Sloan says lawmakers are under the microscope as well as the mistletoe.

MELANIE SLOAN, WASHINGTON WATCHDOG: Staff and members are going to ethics committee and asking whether or not they can go to these kinds of parties.

LAWRENCE: Two big parties are OK as well as so-called widely attended events.

SLOAN: If you have such a party, then you can serve whatever you want.

LAWRENCE: The catch, the lobbyists has to bring at least 25 other people to the party who don't work on Capitol Hill.

SLOAN: If they have to drag in their own children and friends to that event, they are not going to screw that up.

LAWRENCE: It's supposed to ensure lobbyists don't get all of this private time with staff members and a lot of invitations spell out exactly why it's OK to attend. So, what happens if a member of Congress goes to one of these banned parties? Probably nothing. Now, Melanie Sloan says only a member of Congress can file a complaint with a committee and that just doesn't happen too often. Chris Lawrence, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HARRIS: Well, you now that felt bad. He miss his daughter's birthday while on duty in Iraq, so he set a big present for them to open at their Kentucky school, tearing off the wrapper and

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