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Ted Kennedy Undergoes Surgery; Polygamist Parents Set For Reunion With Children; Universal Studios Fire

Aired June 2, 2008 - 15:00   ET


MELISSA LONG, CNN ANCHOR: After three-and-a-half-hours of brain surgery, during which the patient was awake, surgeons say the one word the Kennedy family longed to hear: success. Our Dr. Sanjay Gupta has the very latest on Senator Kennedy's operation and the ordeals that, of course, still lie ahead for him.
DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: And it's a day those polygamist families in Texas have been waiting for and praying for and fighting for as well. Parents can take their kids out of foster care and back to the ranch, but they can't turn their backs on the investigators.

Hello, everyone. I'm Don Lemon live here at the CNN World Headquarters in Atlanta.

LONG: And hello. I'm Melissa Long, in today for Kyra Phillips.

You are in the CNN NEWSROOM.

LEMON: Well, for Senator Edward Kennedy, the first step in his battle against a potentially deadly brain tumor is behind him. Kennedy underwent an operation today at Duke University Medical Center in North Carolina, where his chief surgeon, Dr. Allan Friedman, issued this statement just a short time ago.

He said: "I am pleased to report that Senator Kennedy's surgery was successful and accomplished our goals. Senator Kennedy was awake during the resection and should therefore experience no permanent neurologic effects from the surgery. The surgery lasted roughly three-and-a-half-hours and is just the first step in Senator Kennedy's treatment plan."

Let's bring in our chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

And we want to know what the senator was experiencing during the surgery, because he was awake.



GUPTA: People haven't heard of this sort of thing. You're actually doing a big operation, removing part of the bone there and actually finding this tumor.

Remarkably, Don -- and I think this surprises a lot of people -- the only part that really typically hurts here is the skin incision. And they give numbing medication for that.

But the brain itself, that organ which causes so much innervation to the rest of your body, doesn't really have any pain fibers of its own. So, he probably wasn't feeling much in the way of pain. He was able to respond to commands, squeeze a ball sometimes, or squeeze somebody's hand, lift his arm, be able to speak in response to being shown flash cards or something like that.

For him, it was probably the most bizarre sort of experience in terms of actually feeling people operating on him, but not experiencing any pain, most likely.

LEMON: Right.

So little questions like -- you said they probably showed him flash cards. So, they ask, what's your name? What year were you born? Little things like that?

GUPTA: Yes, exactly, making sure that his speech is intact.

When you show someone a flash card, Don, you think about that. They see the picture, they process it, and then they speak what it is. You're actually testing an entire circuit there, visualizing it, and then speaking it.

That's very important, as opposed to just repeating a word, for example. "Say Senator Kennedy" or something. That would be different.

LEMON: Right.

GUPTA: So, there are all sorts of little tricks that they use. Neurologists are in the operating room, anesthesiologists, doing that with him.

LEMON: All right.

Talk to us about -- because we know radiation and chemotherapy is going to be part of -- they're going to be part of the treatment, but not for a little bit now. How soon does that start?

GUPTA: It will probably be a few weeks, maybe a couple of weeks only. He's going to recover for about a week, they anticipate, maybe even sooner than that.

As you said, as you pointed out, he told his wife he feels like a million bucks already, so he may leave the hospital even sooner than a week.


GUPTA: Once the wounds heal on someone's skin, that's typically when they say it's OK to begin radiation. You don't want the skin incision from the operation that you just had to break down. So, a couple of weeks would be my guess.

LEMON: Yes. I think he said something like, that was great and I want to do that again tomorrow.



GUPTA: He might have been exaggerating a little bit. As easy as it may have been, great, I'm not sure.

LEMON: All right. All right.

Dr. Gupta, thank you.

GUPTA: All right, Don, thanks.

LONG: Of course, the surgery took place today for three-and-a- half hours at Duke University Medical Center.

And that's where we find our Dan Lothian, who joins us now live from Durham -- Dan.


That quote, a family spokesperson telling us that quote, the exact quote is -- quote -- "I feel like a million bucks. I think I will do that again tomorrow." That is what he said to his wife, Vicki, after the operation concluded here at the hospital.

And, as you mentioned, doctors say that it was a successful operation, lasted for about three-and-a-half-hours. And his doctor, Dr. Allan Friedman, saying that there should be no long-term or permanent neurological effects.

Now, after he spends about a week here in the hospital, then he will return back to Boston, back to Boston Mass General Hospital, where he's expected to undergo chemotherapy and radiation treatments there.

What is interesting about this is that Senator Kennedy continues to remain upbeat, even though this is such a tough, a difficult situation for him, saying in a statement earlier today that he looks forward to returning to the Senate, returning -- going back to work, and also joining Barack Obama, helping him win the presidency.

So, Senator Kennedy going through a difficult time here, but still thinking about the future -- Melissa.

LONG: Dan, people may be curious, why did Senator Kennedy and Senator Kennedy's family choose to come to Duke University for care?

Apparently, we're having a technical glitch right there. Not sure that Dan Lothian...


LOTHIAN: Well, the family has not really talked specifically as to why they chose this hospital. But a couple of things -- first of all, this hospital has been doing the tumor removal surgery now since 1937. This is also a hospital where you have Dr. Allan Friedman, who has been conducting these operations for quite some time. In fact, he does about 90 percent of the tumor removal operations here at this hospital.

And he's also, we're told, a doctor who thinks out of the box, trying a lot of new things, some of these clinical trials. So, that is perhaps a reason, perhaps some reasons there why the Kennedys thought it was important to come here and do the surgery, and then return back to Massachusetts to do chemotherapy and radiation.

LONG: I understand.

Dan Lothian, live for us from Durham just outside that medical facility.

Thank you, Dan.

LEMON: And we're keeping an eye on Texas, where parents from that polygamist sect are rushing to foster care facilities across the state. A state judge has signed the order giving them their children back, under certain conditions, they say.

Our Susan Roesgen has more from the courthouse in San Angelo.


SUSAN ROESGEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The agreement hammered out here at the courthouse in San Angelo allows about 450 kids to be returned to that polygamist ranch in Eldorado, Texas.

However, this agreement has some restrictions. Three of the most critical seem to be these. First of all, the parents themselves, or the guardians, must pick those children up. And they have been scattered to 16 different shelters all across the state of Texas some hundreds of miles away.

Secondly, the children are not allowed to leave the state of Texas, which means they won't be allowed to go to another Warren Jeffs polygamist compound in some other state or across the border. And, finally, perhaps the most important restriction is that the Child Protective Services Agency, here for the state of Texas, has the right to make unannounced visits to that secretive Eldorado ranch between the hours of 8:00 a.m. in the morning and 8:00 p.m. at night, during daylight hours, to check on the progress and the condition of the children.

Those are the three main restrictions for this order, which allows the children to start going back as early as today. And, by all accounts, Child Protective Services here says this agreement was done in the best interests of the children.

MARLEIGH MEISNER, SPOKESWOMAN, TEXAS CHILD PROTECTIVE SERVICES: Our goal at Child Protective Services is always to try to reunite families, to reunite children when they can be safe in their own parents' care. And we hope they can be safe there. And we hope that we are going to be able to provide services to make them better parents for these children.

ROESGEN: Of course, critics would say, then, why did the state of Texas take all those children to begin with? Apparently, now this investigation is going to focus in particular on just five underage girls, five girls between the ages of 16 and 17 who either have been pregnant or are currently pregnant. The state attorney general's office is considering a criminal case.

Susan Roesgen, CNN, San Angelo, Texas.


LONG: More than 50 contests down and just two more to go. The presidential primary season wraps up tomorrow. There will be contests in Montana and South Dakota.

Now, of course, after a big win yesterday in Puerto Rico, Hillary Clinton is hoping for more. But polls show Barack Obama in the lead in both states. And wins tomorrow could put him very close to clinching the nomination.

The latest estimate shows he's just 46 delegates short of the magic number. That's 2,118. Thirty-one delegates are at stake tomorrow.

Now, Hillary Clinton today is in South Dakota. Barack Obama spent the weekend there.

CNN's Jim Acosta joins us now live from Keystone, South Dakota, home of Mount Rushmore.

It's a lovely place to be reporting from, Jim.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Not too shabby, Melissa. That's right.

And Hillary Clinton, as you mentioned, was in Rapid City, South Dakota, earlier today, just wrapped up an event a short while ago. And she took note of the fact that she feels that she's gaining in this state. And there may be some new polling data that indicates this. Some new polling data has come into CNN which we can now report, that, according to an American Research Group poll that just came out, Hillary Clinton has a 26-point lead in South Dakota, which is not where the polls were shaping up just a short while ago here in this state.

That is going to come to some surprise -- as some surprise to many Democrats who have been following these last two primaries. And the race in Montana appears to be tightening, with Barack Obama, according to that same polling group, with just a four-point edge over Hillary Clinton in big sky country.

And Barack Obama is going to try to avoid here stumbling at the finishing line with these last two states holding their primaries tomorrow. The voting will get started less than 24 hours from now. Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, she would like to pull off an upset sweep in both of these states to convince those last-minute undecided superdelegates, even though the long odds are there and the numbers are not adding up for her, that perhaps, by showing two big wins in these last two states, that she might be able to convince some of these superdelegates to come her way.

Now, we should mention that, despite all the serious talk out here on the campaign trail, both of these candidates have tried to work in a little fun time. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have both paid their own visits here to Mount Rushmore here in South Dakota, Barack Obama just over the weekend, Hillary Clinton late last week.

And we should note that when Senator Obama came here -- there's a backstory on this -- it was the traveling press that he travels with that was originally planning to come here on Saturday. And when Senator Obama caught wind of this, he said, hey, wait a minute, I want to tag along, too.

So, Senator Obama made his way up to Mount Rushmore on Saturday afternoon. He was asked the question, Senator Obama, do you expect to see your face up here on this mountain behind us, joining the likes of Washington and Lincoln?

Here's his response.


SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I don't think my ears would fit.


OBAMA: So, there's just only so much rock up there.


ACOSTA: Now, if they can work in Teddy Roosevelt's mustache, Melissa, they have got to be able to work in Barack Obama's ears.


LONG: It was a good moment.

ACOSTA: Seriously, though -- that's right.

Seriously, though, Senator Obama was in Michigan today, where, we should note, he did make mention of his rival Hillary Clinton again in the way that he did in South Dakota yesterday, talking about the fact that he would like to see her in action out on the campaign trail in some capacity, not saying whether or not this involves the vice presidential running mate idea, but in some capacity over the fall campaign.

It was interesting to hear Barack Obama talking about that again today. He did that up in Michigan -- Melissa. LONG: You know, it gets so contentious and sometimes so nasty on the campaign trail, it's nice to have those lighter moments.

ACOSTA: Absolutely.

LONG: Jim Acosta live for us with Mount Rushmore in the background -- lovely backdrop -- Jim, thank you.

LEMON: All right, speaking of politics, race and the campaign for the White House. Why can't America seem to get past the issue of race? We will talk about it with a couple whose marriage crosses both political and racial lines, former Senator and Defense Secretary William Cohen and his wife, Janet Langhart Cohen.

LONG: And the Democratic Party's Florida fix, will it win over Hillary Clinton supporters in that battleground state? We're going to hear what some of them are saying today.


LEMON: OK, well, this drew some controversy last week and over the weekend.

Sunday services took place as usual at Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago. But for the first time in 20 years, the name Barack Obama was not on the membership rolls.

CNN's Christian Farr looks at the fallout from Obama's decision to find a less controversial place of worship.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's a free man. He can do what he wants to do.

CHRISTIAN FARR, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): As they file into the church, many walk past a stand selling Obama '08 merchandise.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I feel that he was forced out.

FARR: Everything from hats and T-shirts to buttons with Obama and the pastor whose comments first put this church under the microscope. Jeremiah Wright.


FARR: But what may have triggered his ultimate decision to leave Trinity were remarks made by visiting priests and community activists, Father Michael Pfleger who mocked Obama's Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, a week ago.

REV. MICHAEL PFLEGER, VISITING CATHOLIC PRIEST: I'm white! I'm entitled! There's a black man stealing my show!

FARR: At his own church today, Pfleger made a public apology. PFLEGER: I am deeply sorry, and I pray that my apology will be accepted even by those who have told me they won't accept it.

FARR: For many, Obama had no choice.

SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: But it's clear that now that I'm a candidate for president, every time something is said in the church by anyone associated with Trinity, including guest pastors, the remarks will be imputed to me even if they totally conflict with my long-held views, statements and principles.

KEN DANIEL, CHURCH MEMBER: It's the decision he had to make. I mean, he's running for president of the United States. And these things are happening and it causing him issues he has to make the decision to extricate himself from the situation that causing those problems.

FARR: Is that disappointing that he had to -- did he sell out by having to...

DANIEL: No, he didn't sell out. For me, he didn't sell out. He was put in this position by somebody else.

FARR: During today's service, the loss of Obama and his family was not the subject of Trinity senior pastor Reverend Otis Moss' sermon.

REV. OTIS MOSS, PASTOR, TRINITY CHURCH: I have some good news that we'll not be printed in the paper. I have some good news that we'll not be on the television. I have some good news that we'll be passed down from generation to generation. I have some news about a loving God who cares about and love people.

FARR (on camera): Reverend Moss did issue a statement which said in part that We are saddened by the news. We understand that this is a personal decision. Obama is in search of a new Church home, one which he says he hopes he can sit quietly in the pew and have a nice reflection.

Christian Farr, CNN, Chicago.


LEMON: Well, race and politics, why are they still such a volatile mix, and what can be done about it?

Joining me now to talk about it, a couple whose relationship crosses racial and party lines, former Defense Secretary William Cohen, a Republican who served in the Clinton administration, and his wife, Janet Langhart Cohen. And they have written a book about their relationship, right? It's called "Love in Black and White."

Mrs. Cohen runs -- I have to say, you have got a very long resume here. I want to say, Mrs. Cohen runs a firm that supports Barack Obama for president. William Cohen is the head of The Cohen Group, an international consulting firm that represents defense contractors and others. He is also a former senator and has not endorsed anyone in the 2008 campaign.

That's all the time we have. Thanks for joining us.


JANET LANGHART COHEN, CO-AUTHOR, "LOVE IN BLACK AND WHITE": Don, it's great to see you. I have seen you on television and watch CNN all the time. It's lovely to see you in person.


LEMON: Thank you very much.

And, of course, I see you guys all the time with Wolf. And you are a handsomer and more beautiful couple in person.

J. COHEN: Thanks.

LEMON: But let's talk about this. We were just -- we have just done that, played the story about politics and of course Senator Obama's former church. And you heard Father Pfleger from Chicago.

J. COHEN: Yes. Yes.

LEMON: He talked about -- his words were inflammatory to a lot of people, but he talked about white entitlement, which many people find a very viable issue, that it is an issue, whether people want to believe it or not.

What do you think about...


J. COHEN: Well, I think it was unfortunate that the priest said that, and that it was covered. But he has a right to say what he wants.

And it's also unfortunate that we're covering these things and not the issues that have to do with our economy, the two wars, and our heroes coming back, and our wounded at Walter Reed. It's very difficult to talk about that when you're thinking about how the world sees us...

LEMON: Right.

J. COHEN: ... and the dilemma our country is in right now.

But what about the issue of white entitlement? Do you think that's true in any way?

J. COHEN: Well, it's hard for me to say how whites feel, but I do feel there is a zero-sum game, that many historically have felt that, if I give you your rights, I lose my privilege. So, we have to reconcile that.

LEMON: Do you think that? WILLIAM COHEN, CNN WORLD AFFAIRS ANALYST: Well, there has been this whole discussion about representing the ethnic voter, the white people of this country.

And that has become a discussion. So, suddenly, one candidate represents white people.


W. COHEN: And the implication is that Barack Obama represents only black people. Not true.


W. COHEN: Barack Obama is where he is by virtue of many white people supporting him.

So, the issue has come up in various contexts, but there is a notion that -- being expressed in the paper and on CNN and other outlets saying that I will never vote for a black person.

You say, well, what's his color -- the color of his skin got to do with anything? What does Hillary Clinton's gender have to do with her capabilities? So, we're trying to do is to elevate the discussion and say, let's look at what really is involved here? All the major issues that we have to contend with, that shouldn't be one of them.


And the reason you said what you're trying to do is because you're going to have forums on tolerance and race relations that you are going to start this summer.


J. COHEN: Well, this is something, Don -- I'm sorry.

LEMON: No, tell us. I was just going to say, tell us about that. Go ahead.

J. COHEN: This is something I have wanted to do my whole life, is have a dialogue on race. I know how most black people feel. I can empathize with them, most people of color.

I really would like to have a dialogue and listen to see how white people feel. To begin with your question, how do they feel? When your reporters go out and you ask why people, why won't they vote for a black man, or they say they won't vote for a black man, nobody follows up to say, why won't you?

LEMON: But I have got to ask you this. When you talk to -- and this is the oldest thing, that, you know, many of my friends are white, but they are. I'm like the United Nations. I have friends of all different races and backgrounds. And people are afraid to talk about it sometimes, because people are going to say, you know what, you're racist for thinking that or saying that. J. COHEN: Well, what we, the people of color, must do, I feel, I feel it's incumbent upon us, understanding that, to welcome them. We understand they never really have to deal with racism, because it's not perpetrated against them.

We understand it. We need to give them a forum where they can come in and share their views without feeling like they have to be politically correct, or they will say something stupid that we won't like.

I think it's about reconciliation, after acknowledgment. And then it's forgiveness. They don't need to bring their guilt, and we don't need to bring our blame.

LEMON: Right. Right.

J. COHEN: We need to dialogue and hear what they have to say.

LEMON: Listen. Listen.

J. COHEN: Listen.

LEMON: Listen. Yes.

W. COHEN: Well, Janet has written a one-act play called "Anne and Emmett," which is going to be the basis for this discussion. And it's an imaginary discussion between Anne Frank and Emmett Till.

LEMON: Emmett Till, yes.

W. COHEN: And most white people have never heard of Emmett Till, a very young boy who was murdered in Money for...


LEMON: For allegedly whistling at a white woman.

W. COHEN: And which served as a spark to the civil rights movement, because once that picture of his mutilated body was put on the cover of "Jet" magazine, it went worldwide.

LEMON: And to hear his mother's words for that...


W. COHEN: And read what she has written about it, yes.

J. COHEN: Well, we want this. We want -- I want for the play "Anne and Emmett," Anne Frank -- most people have heard of Anne Frank. She happened 10 years before Emmett Till on another continent.

Emmett Till happened here and was the impetus to the civil rights -- the modern civil rights movement. But he's not required reading. And if indeed all of our history was told, not just in Black History Month, but in our textbooks, all school year long, where blacks and whites could study the history, I think there would be greater understanding.

LEMON: I have got about 10 seconds left. Tell us when you're doing these forums, when and when, and how can people find out about it.

J. COHEN: July 24, 24 in Washington, D.C., at the National Press club. But you don't have to talk about race to come and be with us. You can talk about race in your neighborhood.

LEMON: All right.

Thank you very much, Janet Langhart.

J. COHEN: Thank you, Don. Thank you. Thank you.

LEMON: And, William Cohen, thank you very much.


LEMON: Always a pleasure to see you guys. You're watching CNN, the most trusted name in news.



LEMON: The U.S. housing market continues to cool, but, for investors, things are beginning to heat up.

CNN's Ali Velshi is "Right on Your Money."


RON DRALUCK, MORTGAGE EXPERT: A lot of people think it's a terrible time to invest. Well, that's not so at all.

ALI VELSHI, CNN SENIOR BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Mortgage expert Ron Draluck says money and good credit could have you cashing in on today's real estate market.

DRALUCK: Interest rates are close to a 45-year low, which means your house payments on these new mortgages will be low. And since we are in a crisis, the mortgage banks and companies have tightened up in their criteria to qualify for loans.

VELSHI: Draluck believes it's also a good time to turn your new real estate into rental property.

DRALUCK: People that normally could have bought a house maybe two years ago can't do it anymore. There's more renters out there than almost ever before.

VELSHI: To get the most bang for your buck in this unstable housing market, Draluck suggests investing in locations where property values are likely to go up.

DRALUCK: Areas that may be fast appreciating may be close in to work, shopping centers and hospitals and that sort of thing.

VELSHI: No matter where you buy, the best time to invest in real estate may be right now.

Ali Velshi, CNN, New York.


LONG: Three-and-a-half hours in surgery -- and that's only the beginning of Senator Ed Kennedy's battle against brain cancer. Dr. Sanjay Gupta will tell you what he went through and, of course, what lies ahead.

LEMON: And after a dozen hours of this, workers are returning to their jobs at one of the biggest movie studios in the country. We'll tell you what was damaged.


LEMON: All right, we're working on a couple of stories for you today here in the CNN NEWSROOM, including this one.

Dozens of family reunions now in the works. And that's happening in Texas. A judge is allowing the 400 plus children seized from that polygamist ranch to return to their parents' custody. But she's also letting child welfare workers continue their investigation into that case.

Doctors in North Carolina have wrapped up an operation to treat Senator Edward Kennedy's malignant brain tumor. The chief surgeon says the three-and-a-half hour procedure was successful, but just the first step in Kennedy's treatment. He now faces chemotherapy and radiation.

No special effects here -- the intention and all too real battle. This one was at Universal Studios in Los Angeles. Firefighters battled a weekend blaze there that destroyed some famous studio sets, including the courthouse square from "Back to the Future." Tourists have returned to Universal theme park, while investigators try to find out the cause of the fire.

LONG: Universal Studios in California is now back in business one day after the fire. It ruined some of the most famous sets in Hollywood. The damage may have been lighter, according to fire officials, if the water pressure had been stronger.

Kareen Wynter joins us now live from outside the Universal Studios -- Kareen.


That's right. The theme park, in fact, opened just a few hours ago, meaning that tours are back up and running again, the rides at this popular theme park. But one area that will certainly be off limits -- and you're seeing it right there behind me -- that's the charred remains, Melissa, of some of the structures destroyed by yesterday's inferno Universal's back lot.

Look at that. Fire investigators were on the ground all day long today mopping up. And they're also keeping an eye out for any potential hot spots that may still be flaring up.

Now, this massive fire began yesterday morning, the pictures just incredible. At its peak, Melissa, it burned the equivalent of two city blocks -- explosions so loud, it echoed all across the area. It sent smoke and ash shooting into the air, which was certainly a concern for those living in this area. It is a residential area.

Several firefighters did suffer minor injuries, but there was definitely nothing minor about the overall damage. Several movie and television sets were destroyed. We're talking the famed King Cong attraction that was a popular part of the tour. That burned to the ground. The New York City streetscape also destroyed. The town square from the movie "Back to the Future" had some damage.

A lot of cleanup work ahead. Investigators have not pinpointed a cause yet to this fire, Melissa. No word yet on damage estimates.

You mentioned something off the top, the fact that it was hindered a bit when the fire broke out yesterday morning in the critical early morning hours. And that's because there was also a fire back in 1990 at the same location, the same area we're talking about. That one, however, was arson. And one of the changes that came about as a result of that, they changed the pipes -- the piping system. They wanted to be able to have an upper hand faster in case anything similar to this broke out.

And, ironically, there were problems with the water pressure, according to firefighters, initially. They had to resort to ponds and reservoirs in the area to pump water out of that. They did correct that later on in the day. But it's interesting how that turned out to be a hindrance, rather than help them in their fight against this huge inferno -- Melissa.

LONG: Right. Kareen, you mentioned the sets that were destroyed. Of course, that's terrible, but they can be rebuilt. I'm curious about some of the film reels that were destroyed.

Were any of them the originals?

WYNTER: Well, luckily -- and this is according to Universal, that's right. There was a structure -- that was the story -- that had a lot of this archive material. We're told that that wasn't the master copy, that that was just a duplicate. And so they do have backup copies. But they're OK on that end, that all that was damaged is, in fact, replaceable.

LONG: Good to know.

From Universal City, Kareen Wynter.

Kareen, thank you. LEMON: We have been dealing with some heat here in Atlanta and in many parts of the country, I'm sure, especially the Southern parts, I should say.

Our Chad Myers is working that story for us in the Weather Center.

It's not even summer yet -- Chad.

CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: No. But it's not that far away. I mean, only a couple of weeks right now.

LEMON: Yes, just a couple of weeks. But, you know, Mother Nature doesn't go by a calendar with dates on it.

MYERS: Well, exactly.


LEMON: Thank you for that.

Hurricanes, tornadoes -- the stormy season is upon us. And that means preparing for the worst.

General Russel Honore -- remember him? He helped turn chaos into calm after Hurricane Katrina. Well, he wants to make sure all of us are ready willing and able to get out of harm's way. Earlier in the NEWSROOM, I, as well as Chad Myers, sat down with the general and he talked about his no nonsense checklist.


LT. GEN. RUSSEL HONORE, U.S. ARMY (RET.): One of the key parts of being prepared is being informed.

LEMON: Right.

HONORE: Gather your plan. Make sure you know where you're going to evacuate to if you're told to evacuate. And know how you're going to get there. And create decision points for when you're going to leave, whether it's at hurricane warning or at watch.

MYERS: General, I've been in so many hurricanes, that -- probably as many as you can count.


MYERS: People tell me I'm not leaving. I'm staying here.

I said, well, it's a mandatory evacuation. And I said -- then they say, well, I'm not leaving, because if my house gets opened up, somebody's going to all steal my stuff.


MYERS: So I'm going to stay right here and protect my house. HONORE: Yes, that's a...

MYERS: How do you overcome that?

HONORE: That is a dilemma. And, hopefully, conversations like we're having here, lessons learned from Katrina and Rita and Wilma, people will become more conscious of the fact that they need to leave when advised by the National Weather Service and by their local mayor and governor.

People need to understand, Katrina was over 200 miles wide. It spun tornado storms out. So if the eye is arriving maybe 100 miles from you, you're still in danger from -- particularly, if you're on the right front of that hurricane...

MYERS: Absolutely.

HONORE:'s going to destroy everything in its path.

LEMON: So, if people learned anything from Katrina, it is get out when people tell you to get out.

HONORE: Get out and take a neighbor with you or anybody else on the street who does not have transportation. Take them with you.


LEMON: That was General Russel Honore.

And here's what the general also recommends. He advises every family to have an emergency kit with three days' worth of food and water for every person. He also strongly recommends every home have a weather radio.

LONG: Live pictures we want to share with you from space, courtesy of NASA. And as we enjoy this beautiful picture, we're going to tell you, you have one more hour to wait. Well, you don't, they do.

I'm talking about the astronauts aboard the International Space Station. And they're waiting one more hour before they get that new pump for their faulty toilet. It is aboard the Shuttle Discovery right now, which docked at the orbiting outpost about 2:00 Eastern time. It's called the rendezvous. Discovery is also delivering a lab -- an important lab that is the size of a school bus -- and the crews, who plan on installing that tomorrow. Seven astronauts are aboard the Discovery on that 14-day mission.

LEMON: Wow! Beautiful pictures.

More than a music festival, it was a counterculture state of mind.


JOHN SEBASTIAN, WOODSTOCK FESTIVAL MUSICIAN: Woodstock is a hard thing to grasp, especially for those who weren't there. (END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Now for those who weren't there -- or can't remember being there...


LONG: That's good.

LEMON: ...a museum opens.

LONG: And you are barefoot and walking to your kitchen for a late night snack.

LEMON: Oh my gosh. My worst fear.

LONG: A warning to anybody who has this fear of snakes. You're going to find one right here.




LONG: It's been happening to one poor guy, and more often than you might think. More on his rattling experiences coming up in the NEWSROOM.


LEMON: Well, police in North Carolina and Georgia are investigating a possible black widow case -- 76-year-old Betty Neumar, who is accused of hiring someone to murder her fourth husband 22 years ago in North Carolina. Now police are suspicious about her fifth husband's death. That was just last October. It was in Georgia. They're examining his cremated remains.

Depending on their findings, the investigation could expand to three other states. Each of Neumar's five husbands has met an untimely end.

LONG: The sights and sounds of a concert that defined a generation -- the Woodstock music festival. And it is now all enshrined for the ages. Woodstock Museum opens today on the site of the old dairy farm where hundreds of thousands of people gathered on that wet August weekend back in 1969.

And Richard Roth takes you there.


RICHARD ROTH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In August of 1969, half a million people swarmed Bethel, New York for a music festival that became known simply as Woodstock. Jimi Hendrix and dozens of other musicians played to the masses during one of America's most discordant periods. Woodstock has always lured people searching for the spirit of the 60s.

DUKE DEVLIN, WOODSTOCK FESTIVAL, "SITE INTERPRETER": A year after Woodstock, people found this site. People came here. It was like a Mecca.

ROTH: Now, a museum is letting the public get on the magic bus and take a trip back in time.

DENNIS ELSAS, RADIO PERSONALITY: This is about the '60s. This is about the best parts of the '60s. And, yes, there's some of the not so nice parts of the '60s.

ROTH: Not so nice -- deep divisions between left and right, between pro- and anti-war factions.

Sound familiar?

RICHIE HAVENS, WOODSTOCK FESTIVAL MUSICIAN: A lot of what happened then can be traced to a lot of what's going on now.

ROTH: The establishment didn't dig Woodstock then and current leaders have used the festival to take political pot shots.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Now, my friends, I know that was a cultural as well as a pharmaceutical experience.

ROTH: Senator John McCain, a Vietnam POW, likes to say he was tied up during Woodstock. Last fall, McCain and fellow Republicans blocked New York's Democratic senators, Hillary Clinton and Chuck Schumer, from earmarking $1 million in federal government funds for the museum, though after securing private funding, the show goes on.

ALAN GERRY, DEVELOPER, "MUSEUM AT BETHEL WOODS": This was a squabble between the folks down there in Washington. They said that they were supporting the hippies.

Well, you know, what's a hippie?

ROTH: One weekend back in 1969, this field was filled with half a million of them. And while the museum does its best to capture the spirit of that day and of those times...

SEBASTIAN: Woodstock is a hard thing to grasp, especially for those who weren't there.

ROTH: As the saying goes, if you remember Woodstock, you weren't there.


LONG: That was Richard Roth reporting. Now, if you weren't there but you'd like to find out what it was like, well, there are five interactive exhibits and 20 films that are playing there in Bethel, from kiosk shorts to the 50-foot high wraparound movie version of the concert.

LEMON: An actress with a troubled past -- Oscar winner Tatum O'Neal is arrested in New York.


LEMON: All right. Check these out. These are the latest sketches just in to CNN.

Academy Award winning actress Tatum O'Neal was arraigned today in New York after being arrested for allegedly buying crack cocaine. O'Neal, who has a history of drug problems, was released without bail. Police say she made a purchase from a drug dealer in Manhattan yesterday. She was charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance and could be sentenced to a year in jail if she is convicted. The 44-year-old actress chronicled her struggles with addiction in her memoir, "A Paper Life."

LONG: Caught on Camera -- a pair of scary images to share with you. That's two window washers that had to be rescued from a tight spot in Little Rock, Arkansas on Sunday. They were working on a scaffold when a storm crept up. Strong winds tangled their support wires and they were stuck. Firefighters, as you can see, helped to bring them down.

And talk about unwelcome guests.

LEMON: Oh, man.

LONG: The California man was really rattled when he went into his kitchen for a glass of milk and instead found a rattlesnake. He says, in fact, his property in San Diego is overrun with them.

What about that snake -- captured, removed from his home without any injury.

Don, you're terrified. Of course, it is enough to make anyone sleep with one eye open. Never get a full night's sleep in that household, right?

LEMON: Is it over yet?

LONG: Are you really that scared of snakes?

LEMON: I cannot stand to look at -- I am deathly afraid of snakes.

LONG: I have family members that are.


LONG: Yes. Terrified. LEMON: I can imagine, too.

LONG: But have you to confront this fear.


LEMON: I think I'd have to move. What about you -- Wolf Blitzer?

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Scared. I hate those snakes myself. I'm with you, Don.

Thanks very much.

Coming up at the top of the hour, the last day of campaigning in the Democratic primary. Primary season ends tomorrow, can you believe it? Will there be unity in the Democratic Party?

Also, a surprise announcement from the Kennedy family. Senator Ted Kennedy had brain surgery today to remove cancer. We're going to have a complete report -- the latest on what we know. Our own Dr. Sanjay Gupta, a neurosurgeon, will be joining us.

And an explosive article about Bill Clinton in "Vanity Fair" magazine. We'll be talking one-on-one with the author about the allegations. All that and a lot more coming up right here at the top of the our hour -- back to you.

LONG: Thank you, Wolf. We'll see you in just a few minutes.

And the Dow, the Nasdaq, the S&P are all down right now. The closing bell coming up in moments and a wrap-up of the action on Wall Street.


LONG: 3:58. The bell on Wall Street just about to ring.

LEMON: Wow! Yes, pretty soon.

Susan Lisovicz is standing by with a final look at the trading day.

And, Susan, it looks like the New York Stock Exchange has a case of the Mondays.


LONG: Thank you, Susan.

LEMON: All right, Susan. Have a good one.

Now it's time for "THE SITUATION ROOM" and Mr. Wolf Blitzer.

Take it away, Wolf.