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Governors Reject Stimulus Money; Nurse Demand; New Baggage Scanners; Feeding Queens' Hungry

Aired March 21, 2009 - 15:00   ET


FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CHH HOST: Hello again. I'm Fredericka Whitfield. The chorus of outrage over those huge AIG bonuses may be growing a bit louder. Some new developments to tell you about right now. Connecticut's attorney general says documents provided by AIG appear to indicate the company paid $53 million more in bonuses than previously reported. So that would be $218 million instead of $165 million. He's asking the company to explain. AIG has received more than $180 billion in federal bailout money.

An AIG spokesman tells CNN the confusion apparently surrounds businesses paid out in December. The $165 million causing the big outrage was actually given out this month. Earlier in the NEWSROOM I asked Connecticut's attorney general about his demand for answers.


RICHARD BLUMENTHAL, CONNECTICUT ATTORNEY GENERAL: The document provided in response to our request or subpoena lists the bonuses, the total at the end of the list is $218 million for 418 separate employees. We want to know why that number is so much bigger than the $165 million reported previously.


WHITFIELD: The AIG bonuses have really stirred up a lot of anger from coast to coast. Connecticut isn't the only state investigating, 19 other states, the ones in blue on this map, have launched official investigations into the bonuses.

Tonight Ali Velshi and the CNNMONEY team search for the truth inside the AIG scandal. See what they found in "AIG Facts and Fury" that is tonight at 8:00 p.m. Eastern.

From President Obama today, new demands on Congress as lawmakers consider his $3.6 trillion spending plan. He says any budget must cut the deficit, overhaul health care, invest in education and cut U.S. dependence on foreign oil. Mr. Obama defended his plans in his weekly radio and Internet address.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE U.S: This budget must reduce that deficit even further. With the fiscal mess we've inherited and the cost of these financial crises, I've proposed a budget that cuts our deficit in half by the end of my first term. That's why we're scouring every corner of the budget and proposed $2 trillion in deficit reductions over the next decade. In total our budget would bring discretionary spending for domestic programs as a share of the economy to its lowest level in nearly half a century.


WHITFIELD: The Republicans are in a foul mood over President Obama's budget plans. Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour spoke for his party in the weekly Republican address.


GOV. HALEY BARBOUR, (R) MISSISSIPPI: President Obama's budget spends too much, taxes too much and borrows too much. It's breathtaking. The new administration's budget for next year alone calls for a $1.2 trillion deficit, nearly triple any past federal deficit. While families are cutting back, President Obama's proposed a massive government spending spree.


WHITFIELD: You probably haven't heard of him, but Earl Devaney is a very important player in the stimulus money that is coming to your pocket. He's President Obama's watchdog when it comes to spending the money and preventing fraud. CNN's Kate Bolduan gives us a closer look at Devaney.


(UNIDENTIFIED MALE): They said last night don't mess with Joe. This is the guy to don't mess with.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): But the watchdog, Earl Devaney, is having a hard time getting started without a real office.

EARL DEVANEY: I'd like to get an address, I would like to get some phones, some computers and start taking control of this.

BOLDUAN: Devaney is in charge of making sure the $787 billion of stimulus money doesn't get wasted or misused. Experts say 7 percent could be lost to fraud.

DEVANEY: The first time I took a pencil and figured that out, I was horrified to see that it was $55 billion. So obviously, the challenge is to try to minimize those losses.

BOLDUAN: He helped uncover the Jake Abramoff lobbying scandal and is now chairman of the Recovery, Accountability and Transparency Board. The chairman of the House Oversight Committee is demanding swift action.

REP. ED TOWNS, (D) NEW YORK: Mr. Devaney, who has a tremendous reputation, and I hope that he'll be able to pull together a team to make certain that the money goes to where it's supposed to go, and do what it's supposed to do. We want to stimulate the economy, not stimulate some pockets. BOLDUAN: Devaney's goal, fraud prevention rather than rooting it out after the fact. However, he hasn't yet taken control of the board's key tool, the website where taxpayers are supposed to be able to track spending and report potential misuse. Meanwhile, money is already out the door and projects are under way.

DEVANEY: I arrived at the train station and found that the train had already left.


WHITFIELD: In his watchdog role, Devaney will be letting you know how his job is going. He'll be issuing periodic reports on what exactly he's finding.

CNN is your place to see and hear the president's primetime news conference that's set for Tuesday, 8:00 p.m. Eastern. The best political team on television will be covering all the angles before and after. Watch the coverage beginning at 7:45 Eastern Time.

Right now to the weather. Flooding could be a problem in the Dakotas in the coming days and a powerful storm is moving into California. Jacqui Jeras is in the Weather Center with more on all of that.

JACQUI JERAS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Hey, Fredericka. We're looking at a very serious situation with flooding across parts of the upper Midwest. We've been talking about this for a while, ever since the blizzard up there about a week or so ago, if you remember. Last weekend it was 15 inches of snow on the ground for you in Fargo. This weekend, you got two inches left. So that's a lot of melt in a very short period of time. The Red River of the North is what we're talking about. This is the area that's expected to be hit the worst. And the river actually flows from south to north. So the opposite of what you think. And we're already starting to see the river out of its banks here and in Fargo and we are going to watch it continue to go up over the next couple of days.

In fact, we're talking probably not until next weekend, probably even into early the following week before the river will be at its crest. So preparations are being started as we speak. FEMA sending 25 people to North Dakota to help fight this situation. Let's show you a picture now from one of our I-reporters as they're starting to see the preparations there as well. Justin Szymanski from Fargo says that dikes and levees are being built, 2 million sandbags are being filled up by officials and volunteers and people are working on the levee in this picture, as you can see. And he said they're very concerned. He said this will likely be a record flood, probably in the top five, but hopefully not as bad as what they saw back in 1997.

Now, the two big factors that are going to be really predicting how bad the situation is, is how fast the rest of the snow melts and how much rain we're going to get in the upcoming week. Temperatures very mild here. Look at South Dakota, though, 62 degrees in Pierre, you are 40 in Fargo. Temperatures are expected to be rising over the next couple of days until a storm system comes on through. That could be bringing in one to two inches of rainfall. So that is not some good news. And of course the forecast will be adjusted in the upcoming days, depending on how much of that rain actually comes down.

Sunday night into Tuesday is when we expect it to happen. We also have a very strong storm across parts of the southwest. This is bringing in rain, heavy snow and some very strong, gusty winds. We're talking about feet of snow between now and early next week, into the Sierras. Snow levels very low, down to at least 4500 feet and we're likely going to see it down to the valley floor in some areas. Couple that with 40 to 60-mile-per-hour wind gusts and this is very treacherous travel. And this storm system is just getting started.

It's going to make its way across the Rockies and into the Plain states by Monday. A widespread severe weather outbreak expected from Dallas into Oklahoma City, on up towards Kansas City. And then on Tuesday moving into the Mississippi River Valley.

All right. Those are two big weather stories that we're following. We have got some space news to talk about as well. We've got live pictures here of a space walk from the astronauts in the International Space Station. They're doing some work with some solar panels and work that will actually ultimately help lessen the load for future crews. They're also going to be taking some photographs of radiators and an earlier space walk had to be canceled because of the delayed launch of the shuttle "Discovery." But cool pictures up there right now, Fredericka, doing that work.

WHITFIELD: That is always fascinating, isn't it, that we can see that? So many miles away.

JERAS: Hear them, yeah.

WHITFIELD: Full of surprises, that NASA is.

JERAS: Cool stuff.

WHITFIELD: All right. Thanks a lot, Jacqui, appreciate it.

Teens trying to save money as well. Live from a financial fair, how they are stashing away the cash.


WHITFIELD: All right. Need some good news on the economy? Don't we all? Meet CEO Ben Lewis. He doesn't fly in a corporate jet, doesn't need a bailout, but does have a good idea. Here now is CNN's Jim Acosta.


JIM ACOSTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): He looks like an intern, pitching the latest product from Corporate America.

(UNIDENTIFED FEMALE): Ben nice to meet you.

ACOSTA: But Ben Lewis is selling his own brand of bottled water that doesn't come in different flavors. It comes in different causes.

BEN LEWIS, ENTREPRENEUR: Our whole selling point is, is it is not about the water it is about the movement.

ACOSTA: A dime from each bottle of give goes to charity. Orange helps the fight against muscular disorders. Pink is for breast cancer research. Green goes to the environment. Blue children with Aids. Did we mention Ben is still a sophomore in college at Penn? How did that happen?

LEIS: We started making deliveries out of the back of my car with a few good friends of mine. And it really just expanded.

ACOSTA: Now he's got a bottling plant supplying ten retail chains, including whole foods. And he's raised $75,000 for his charities, which you could say are drinking it up.

DANA RICHARDSON HERON, SUSAN G. KOMEN FOUNDATION: If you have a choice to buy water that's going to benefit a corporation versus water to benefit an organization such as Susan G. Komen for the Cure, I think you'll choose Ben's water.

ACOSTA: After all the carnage on Wall Street, investors are creating new ideas from new faces. It was only a decade ago when google was founded by two college students working out of a garage. Is Ben on to something? His roommate Greg things so?

GREG VAN, BEN'S ROOMMATE: We need more google guys, more facebook guys. We need more Bens. And hopefully America will still be at the top of its game.

ACOSTA: But Ben has a ways to go. He only has four employees and has yet to turn a profit. There is a little extra in there for pizza money.

LEWIS: Hopefully at the end of the day, yeah.

ACOSTA: Ben Lewis remembers how he started out selling lemonade. So he knows what to do when the economy hands you lemons.

LEWIS: I think it's a great time for an entrepreneur to start a business. If you have a good idea and the passion and the unique concept and really the energy behind it, the economy doesn't --

ACOSTA: You can make it happen.

LEWIS: You can make it happen.


ACOSTA: Ben Lewis picked a controversial vehicle for his cause. Environmentalists worry about the plastic bottles that are piling up fast in the nation's landfills. But Ben says he has all that figured out with plans to roll out a biodegradable bottle that decomposes in a decade instead of a century.

Jim Acosta, CNN, Washington.

WHITFIELD: Well teenagers are often known for spending their parents' money. But some are learning to actually save, particularly in these tough economic times. Joining us from a financial fair in Baltimore, Patricia Granata Eisner, she advises high schoolers on money matters. With her, Anne Montague, a teenager who is sharpening her financial skills. Good to see both of you.

Patricia, let me begin with you because it's a little awkward when it's time to talk to the kids about money and asking them to save or cut back. How does one begin and at what age are we talking a parent starts to have that conversation about saving with your kids?

PATRICIA GRANATA EISNER, NATL. FDN. FOR TEACHING ENTREPRENEURSHIP: Sure. The program that we run is Nifty National Foundation for teaching entrepreneurship and we work with students between the ages of 11 and 18 and we start by teaching them about accumulating their own personal finance, writing a business plan and how important that is for them as they start to save toward the future. But there's no time that would be a bad time to start to talk to them about things like that.

WHITFIELD: I want to begin with that 11. You're 11 years old and your parents say, let's start talking about accountability, saving. I mean, really, what is that conversation like? And are you actually physically going to the bank with them and opening up an account? Take me through the steps.

EISNER: Sure. I think at that age, at 11 years old, it's a lot of, I want, I want. There will probably be something where a parent has an opportunity to say, when the child says he wants a new ipod, they want a new a toy or video game, where the parent can show them by going to the store what that would cost or how much money that will be and how much it would take for them to earn that money, to save that money, what chores they could do.

And in our case starting their own business and seeing how they can earn enough money to buy that. I think just advising them and teaching them as much as you can about it is the best way to go.

WHITFIELD: Because for the most part you know a kid says I want this, mom or dad gets it and presto, this wasn't difficult at all. And the list goes on.

EISNER: Exactly, exactly.

WHITFIELD: Anna, how about you? Is that kind of where you were at a point? Did you feel like, you know what, all I need to do is ask my mom or dad for something and it just happened, you didn't know about the sacrifices made along the way?

ANNE MONTAGUE, NFTE STUDENT: Never. My dad installed in me make my own. Being my father he's going to support me regardless but always taught me that if I really want something, to go after it and get it myself.

WHITFIELD: OK, and then where did this entrepreneurial bug come from you? Because I understand you've been crafty and creative enough to come up with your own stamp on a product. And then sell it. And, "a," what is the product?

MONTAGIE: Well, actually, it started in high school. I was very reluctant to have this class because I'm a senior of course. I don't need any extra classes. But I stayed with the class and I developed a business off of something that I love, which is dance. My business is where I teach urban youth between the ages of 8 and 18 how to dance.

WHITFIELD: That is very inventive because dancing is something a lot of kids like to do but then you turned it into a business opportunity. How do you market yourself?

MONTAGIE: Well, most of --

WHITFIELD: How do you get your clients, in other words?

MONTAGIE: Well, my clients from the neighboring schools. I go to Forest Park, so neighboring is an elementary school as well as a middle school. So it's a huge pool of students.

WHITFIELD: OK. So then you get the money. You get a paycheck. Then what do you do with it? Surely you want to spend it, right?

MONTAGIE: Yes, it's tempting. But being that I'm graduating I've got college to worry about. The last thing I want is to be a broke college student.

WHITFIELD: So who reached you about saving? And how do you save? Is it as simple as you open a savings account? What do you do?

MONTAGIE: Well, actually, through nifty course, they taught me a lot about blowing your money or how a business can fail. They taught me the techniques needed to save my money or how to invest my money or how to better support my business so that I won't just spend, spend, spend, but spend and earn something back.

WHITFIELD: And so Patricia, do you ever find that some of the students, young people, kind of fall off the wagon, they spend all their money, they don't do what Anna is telling us what she does?

EISNER: Sure, I had one last year who made a lot and he spent it all on his girlfriend for Valentine's Day. She probably knows what I'm talking about. When they broke up, he realized that's $500 that's gone. We talked to him and said that was a lot of money that you made on your business and you worked really hard and now it's gone. So he's a much better saver now.

WHITFIELD: All right. Five hundred dollars and the girl is gone. All right. Patricia Granata. That stinks. That's terrible. Thanks so much, Ms. Eisner and Anna Montague. Thanks so much. All the best in your continued entrepreneurial pursuits. Fantastic.

While the economy slump has many businesses failing, others are taking off.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) WHITFIELD: All right. You know the economy is bad when small business owners have to lay off members of their own families. Greg Holloway owns a dry wall company in suburban Jacksonville, Florida. And when business was good, he had 12 full-time employees. And that included his 70-year-old dad. But because of the slowdown in the construction industry, he's had to lay off his dad, not once, but twice.


GREG HOLLOWAY, DRYWALL COMPANY OWNER: I said, dad, you know, the market the way it is, I'll bring you on for as long as I can, but when it's time to call it quits, we're going to have to call it quits. When the market really started getting bad, again, I had to let him go.


WHITFIELD: Holloway says there may be a happy ending to the story however. He tells us that business has suddenly picked up in the last few months and he may be able to invite his dad back on board. We certainly hope that happens.

All right. For some companies, the recession has made it a challenge to stay afloat. But for others, business couldn't be better. Nicole Lapin joins us now with a list of the industries that are thriving. You gave us the first five, or really it was the bottom five of ten. Now it's the top five.

NICOLE LAPIN: Resume writing services, no big surprise here. Everybody wants to beef up their resume. And we're seeing a lot more resumes going to health care, to tourism, to the restaurant industry. No big surprise here either, resumes are down in financial services. Condom makers.

WHITFIELD: I giggle. That's silly.

LAPIN: No pun intended, are up 6 percent. Babies are expensive. I didn't know -- I was reading it there and I said --

WHITFIELD: All these dudes around here on the floor.

LAPIN: We have to say it. Trojan up. Condom sales are up. It's a cheaper date.

WHITFIELD: It's interesting -- because people do not want to procreate right now.

LAPIN: Let's move on. Bodis rippers, a segue to the romance novels. Harlequin that makes those saucy romance novels that make it look like Fabio on the cover. Their sales are up. Science fiction and fantasy doing quite well. People want escapism, Hollywood, nesting a big friend. Come home with your DVDs. Netflix is doing quite well. It is the DVD delivery service. Movies are so expensive these days.

WHITFIELD: $10. LAPIN: I know. So $10, people are still spending that and at least see a movie, part of the lipstick index. Part of the indulgences, number one. Home gardening. And we're not talking about the flowers here, Fred. We're talking about produce. People are planting their stuff. $50 worth of seeds --

WHITFIELD: Cheaper food and it is therapeutic. If you get into your gardening and making things grow, it makes you feel better.

LAPIN: It makes you feel even better if you get to eat that. $50 worth of seeds makes $1,250 worth of produce. So and that really helps.

WHITFIELD: That was part of the argument that we saw the first lady make about why she has returned gardening to the White House lawn.

There she was.

It's cheaper and it's great incentive for the kids. She invited D.C. public school kids to help break ground there. Here are some of the images here.

LAPIN: And kids want to eat it. If they grew the radish, Sasha and Malia are probably more willing to eat the radish, to eat the good stuff.

WHITFIELD: And get out there and pick the carrots and peas. I think Michelle Obama said that the president really likes arugula. So they're planting arugula and Boston lettuce. Fancy stuff.

LAPIN: You can plant all types of stuff.

WHITFIELD: And very fertile stuff there at the White House, I would imagine. You know that's top-notch lawn.

LAPIN: There are a lot of whichers here in the recession.

WHITFIELD: Ten big winners. You gave us the last five or the top five, I should say. Thank you so much. It's fun.

All right. Well it is a dream that includes a need for speed and a need for a lot of cash. A young driver's quest despite the economy to reach his NASCAR goals.


WHITFIELD: News happening right now, more questions about the huge executive bonuses at insurance giant AIG. Connecticut's attorney general says that AIG documents appear to show the handout was $218 million. That's $53 million more than originally reported. He wants, meaning the attorney general, wants that paperwork explained. And here's what the attorney general said on CNN in the NEWSROOM a few hours ago, about getting that money back.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) RICHARD BLUMENTHAL, CONNECTICUT ATTORNEY GENERAL: There are various actions that we're considering. Obviously, the company is Connecticut-based. Many of the employees are Connecticut residents. And the company has invoked Connecticut law as a reason that it paid these bonuses, saying that it was compelled to do so under our wage protection statute. That argument is bogus, absolutely categorically incorrect, because these bonuses were not wages that were required to be paid.

So, we have a number of potential's of redress, not to mention the possibility of a tax at the federal level or even at a state level that would recover these bonuses.


WHITFIELD: Attorneys general in 20 states, in fact, are investigating AIG bonuses. President Obama today defended his budget. In his weekly address, he says he's targeting health care, education, dependence on foreign oil and the deficit.


BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES PRESIDENT: I'll be discussing each of these principles next week as Congress takes up the important work of debating this budget. I realize there are those who say these plans are too ambitious to enact. To that, I say that the challenges we face are too large to ignore. I didn't come here to pass on our problems to the next president or the next generation. I came here to solve them.


WHITFIELD: President Obama's economic stimulus plan is also generating a lot of buzz, especially when a governor decides to reject the money. I talked about that earlier today with CNN's deputy political director Paul Steinhauser.


Some states are refusing stimulus money, including Alaska. Why?

PAUL STEINHAUSER, CNN DEPUTY POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Well, Fred, Sarah Palin, the governor up there in Alaska, and we all of course remember her when she was John McCain's running mate -- she announced this week she's not accepting almost half of the federal stimulus money allotted to her state because there's too many strings attached and that when the federal money dries up, it could put Alaska bigger in the hole.

And she is one of a few conservative governors now who have said no to portions of the stimulus money, among them also Bobby Jindal of Louisiana and Nark Sanford of South Carolina. And there's one thing in common with all three of these people, they all may want to run for the Republican presidential nomination the next time around in 2012.

And that's got Democrats in the state of Alaska up in arms and they're criticizing Sarah Palin saying that she's doing this because she wants to make good with conservatives and show her conservative chops. So, we will see where this on plays out.

WHITFIELD: Well, that's interesting, because perhaps one other Republican whose name has been tossed into the whole could he run for president, but he can't, he did accept money for his state, Arnold Schwarzenegger.

STEINHAUSER: Exactly. That is very -- a very different case there, too, because Arnold Schwarzenegger is very much of a moderate Republican. He's kind of on the different end of the spectrum from Sarah Palin and Mark Sanford and Bobby Jindal.

And you're absolutely right, in fact, he teamed up with Barack Obama at town hall earlier this week in California to talk about the stimulus. He's accepting the money. His state has unemployment over 10 percent, it's one of the worst when it comes to unemployment, right now.

And he -- it's an interesting case, because if you remember last October, Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Republican, of course, campaigning with John McCain. And, yeah, and at the time he had some fun. He said Barack Obama had scrawny arms and skinny legs and he wanted to pump him up. Well, times have changed.

WHITFIELD: He didn't mean to go as far as calling him a girlie man, did he?

STEINHAUSER: He did not do that, he did not do that. And times have changed because now he's one of the biggest proponents and one of the biggest supporters on the Republican side of this federal stimulus plan. He was at the White House just yesterday to talk about that -- Fred.

WHITFIELD: Yeah, so that's twice in one week the two together. Very interesting forged relationships. Who knows where it's going from here.

All right, meantime, looking ahead next week, Tuesday, the president back in front of the camera and fielding questions.

STEINHAUSER: You got it, primetime news conference Tuesday night 8:00 Eastern. You can see it right here on CNN. Of course, it's his second, Barack Obama's second since he became president back in January. And the idea here is to push the budget. It's all about selling the budget plan, which he has presented to Congress but needs to formalize and get the actual blueprint, the numbers out next months. And we've seen the president in the last couple of days doing this, those town halls out in California.

He's going to be on "60 Minutes" on Sunday night. He was on Jay Leno the other night and then this primetime news conference. Plus, at the same time, "Organizing for America," which is kind of the remnants of the Obama for president campaign, they're doing some grassroots organizing for the budget.

So, it's all about pushing the budget. And there's already push-back, though, from Republicans and even some Democrats as we've seen the budget deficit projections keep rising -- Fred.

WHITFIELD: All right, Paul Steinhauser, part of the best political team on television. Thanks so much.



WHITFIELD: If you are one of the millions of job hunters out there, think about this. There's tremendous demand right now for nurses. The pay is good and the job is pretty rewarding. But a downside, the crazy hours. Let's go to California and CNN's Ted Rowlands at Santa Monica College.


TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Fredricka, we are in the nursing skills lab at Santa Monica College in Southern California. And as you can see, this is where nurses are trained to be nurses, using mannequins rather than real people to be safe. And it is just really fascinating to watch them learn this trade.

This is Jane Reynolds, a third-semester student, used to be a fraud investigator, laid off a couple years ago.

But now Jane, you are becoming a nurse as you try to insert this IV into a virtual patient here. Tell us, why nursing?

JANE REYNOLDS, NURSING STUDENT: Well, one reason was that I wanted to help people. And the other reason is that there's endless career paths in nursing.

ROWLANDS: And that is a theme that we have been hearing. A lot of people redefining themselves, coming back for a second career, getting into the health-care industry. Not only because they think they have an interest in nursing, but also because there is stability here and, more importantly, jobs.

Ida Danzy is the associate dean here.

Tell us about the interest you've seen. You even have a waiting list.

IDA DANZY, ASSOCIATE DEAN, SANTA MONICA COLLEGE: We have a wait list. And that wait list has about 350 students who are qualified applicants. And I was about to do the combination. And a number of those applicants are second careers, and quite a few have a bachelor's degree in some other profession.

ROWLANDS: Now, you said one of the concerns is that you get in some people that are in it because they know there's stability, but might not be cut out for nursing.

DANZY: Yes. Some people are in because they want to earn a living while they pursue another area of interest and for example, musicians. And we have some people interested in being dancers, actors. And when they don't have a gig, then they can always work. ROWLANDS: Needless to say most of them do not last.

This is a great room here. These students right now are dealing with a virtual patient. This patient reacts to everything they do: blood pressure, et cetera, et cetera. It even talks back to them, telling them their symptoms. This is one of the many programs around the country.

A nurse starting in an urban area makes about $58,000 a year. And to educate yourself at a community college, a couple years of your time and a couple thousand dollars. You can get through the program for about five grand. A good deal, and a lot of people are getting into it -- Fredricka.


WHITFIELD: Thank you, Ted Rowlands.

All right, in our next hour we have a group of guest experts who will address today's job market, whether it's nursing or any other industry that you're trying to find a place. Our Josh Levs is gathering some questions so we can get some answers for your questions. Don't know if I said that right. Hopefully people get it. Anyway Josh, what do you have?

JOSH LEVS, CNN NEWS CORRESPONDENT: It's really interesting, Fred, this is that time of the week where we start getting the rush of questions, the 4:00 hour. I'll tell you, there's a lot coming in, people contacting us in a couple of ways. Keep in mind, you're always seeing this map, right, talking about unemployment. But as a lot of you know you've probably seen this part of our map at dotcom, as well, that shows anywhere where there's blue jobs on the rise. So there are, in some cases, ways to get jobs. And that's what we're looking for right now.

I'm going to show you my FaceBook page. And Fred, you can tell me if I got everything covered, here. People have been sending questions for a whole bunch of guests we got in the next hour talking about how to find a job, succeeding at job fairs, changing fields, nailing an interview and then there's also another one that I think is interesting, reducing stress and staying focused and happy in the meantime, because you have a special gest who can talk about that.

WHITFIELD: That's right, a wellness expert or a yogi, who will say you may not into the yoga thing on a regular basis but there are practical things you can do to kind of keep your inner core in check so you don't lose your mind during this, and especially the stress that it builds on families, too.

You've lost one breadwinner and the whole family almost kind of starts to fall apart and this person will be with us to say that's how you keep it all together.

LEVS: And that's really important because the experts that have been cited by CNN Money say one of the most important thing is to stay optimistic because especially in an interview people can sense that. Let's quickly show the graphic. I want to see the e-mail address, You can send your questions there. Also, I got my FaceBook page going. If you're on FaceBook you'll find me at Josh Levs CNN. And that'll open the whole hour. Keep those questions coming.

Fred, a lot of people are sending us really emotional stories about what they're going through. And that means a lot, because it helps us get specifically at what they need to know. The more you can tell us your situation, the more -- the better a job we can do getting you answers.

WHITFIELD: For a lot of people, this is the first time they've had to deal with this kind of compounding of tough times. Some people are experiencing for the first time in their lives, some this is the second go-around and so it's elicited quite a few questions and that's why we're doing this segment "Jobless Not Hopeless." And we hope a lot of folks get a lot out of this.

LEVS: Yeah, we'll be here with some answers.

WHITFIELD: All right, Josh, thanks so much. Appreciate it.

All right, next, an in-depth look at one of the heroes among us, one man's quest to help those who need it most.


WHITFIELD: All right. It is time to start looking again for the heroes among us. This nominee comes from one of New York's toughest neighborhoods, Queens. He is there every day feeding the hungry.


ANNOUNCER: This is CNN Heroes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's no money to eat.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's hard to find a job.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I live on the street.

JORGE MUNOZ, COMMUNITY CRUSADER: When you're hungry, you're hungry. That's it.

Four years ago, I see those guys standing out like they're desperate. They need to eat.

My name is Jorge Munoz, and every night I bring food to the hungry of Queens, New York. I'm born in Colombia, but I'm a citizen right now. I'm a school bus driver. When I come back around 5:15, my second job starts.

Prepare the meal, pack them up. It's like a family project seven days a week.

I go to same corners every night around 9:30. They're waiting for me.

The economy is really bad right now. Day-by-day, the numbers increase. In two months, the goal was 100, and now it's jumped to 140. It's a lot.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's awesome. I mean, they call him "The Angel of Queens."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): It's through him that many of us are fed.

MUNOZ: In the beginning, it was just Hispanics. But now I see different nationalities.

I'll help anyone who needs to eat. Just line up.


Since 2004, Jorge Munoz, has handed out food every night. He estimates he ahs give out more than 70,000 meals.


The best part is when you see their smile. I want them to eat every night. For me, it's easy. Compared with them, I'm rich.

ANNOUNCER: Tell us about your hero at


WHITFIELD: Jorge Munoz joins me now from New York. Good to see you.

MUNOZ: Hi, how are you?

WHITFIELD: I know there are countless people who want to thank you for what you have been doing. When you first started to reach out to people, providing food, homeless, jobless, did you realize that the demand would grow to be such a huge number?

MUNOZ: No, I was just thinking that somebody has to use that food they were throwing in the garbage, so I was thinking just go ahead and feed those who need it.

WHITFIELD: How are you able to afford to keep up with the demand?

MUNOZ: Right now -- I mean, three days ago, I was on my own with a couple others, but now thanks to the interview from CNN, I'm getting a couple of donations, more donations now.

WHITFIELD: You're getting lots of donations and then do you ever feel like, OK, I'm seeing 20 -- and we saw in some of those images, it looks like dozens upon dozens of people who are waiting for you to arrive. Do you worry about the people who haven't gotten the word about you but are just as needy? How do you reach them?

MUNOZ: I just wanted -- I don't know. WHITFIELD: Maybe it's just kind of word of mouth, you're just kind of hoping through word of mouth one person in need will share it with another person in need and know exactly how and when to find you?

MUNOZ: No, no. They know. They know that. The hospital here in Queens, they have a note right there when the homeless get there, they show them where there's free food every night. So, they know how to get there.

WHITFIELD: Now, how do you do this and not allow it to affect you? Because I imagine there are lots of stories that you hear along the way as you're handing out food, personality stories from people. Does it sometimes weigh you down? Does it get to you?

MUNOZ: Yes, yes, of course. You hear they've been abused and others, sometimes -- when they're sleeping in streets, it's cold and they need water in the summer, so I just want to be ready for them.

WHITFIELD: Do you ever see in any of the individuals, see yourself, perhaps see that, wow, this could be a relative of mine or a close friend of mine? Is that in part kind of what keeps you going?

MUNOZ: Yes, of course. As an immigrant, I can see myself right there. But thanks to god I'm fortunate because I have my family here and am not alone, but most of them are alone in this country. They're by themselves.

WHITFIELD: Jorge Munoz, thanks for your time. And of course people are reading about your story on It's the No. 1 story of interest in terms of the heroes that we're featuring and so I'm glad you're receiving a lot more donations. Something tells me you'll get even more to keep your project going and helping even more people than you are helping.

Jorge Munoz, thanks so much for your time join us from New York.

MUNOZ: Thank you so much.

WHITFIELD: And of course we want to hear from you. If you know someone making a difference, just like Jorge, in the lives of others, send us your nomination to Extraordinary individual.


WHITFIELD: Lugging your bags, separating your liquids and pulling out your computer, sometimes all so aggravating, isn't it? Some of the hassles that flyers have to endure to get through airport security. But new technology may not only make the experience more pleasant for everybody but just as safe, if not safer. CNN's Chad Myers has the story in today's "Techno File."


CHAD MYERS, CNN NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Anyone who flies knows the routine: Ziploc with your shampoo, computer out. Don't even think about bringing that bottle of water. But a new generation of x-ray bagger scanners called Multiple Angle Scanners could make that a thing of the past.

DOLAN FALCONER, CEO, SCANTECH HOLDINGS: Can you see the threat in the package? The main problem with the current systems is that it has one x-ray source pointing in one direction and if I'm able to put it on plane then you can want see the threat. It's not until you're able to see it in some profile view they're able to the threat.

MYERS: Dolan Falconer is the founder and CEO of ScanTech Holdings in Atlanta. ScanTrch is one of several companies developing this new technology.

FALCONER: By adding additional x-ray sources and detectors, you can look around at the other side of the package and see it from a different profiling.

MYERS: ScanTech scanner can distinguish harmless water from dangerous liquids by analyzing the multiple x-ray signals going through the material.

FALCONER: We're going to send through a bag that has ethyl alcohol, baby formula and ice tea in it. Here is the x-ray of the liquid threats, the found threat bottle, was actual threat was ethyl alcohol and in that, the algorithms calculate it as a highly flammable liquid.

MYERS: But, it's not just liquids, it can determine if something is explosive, a harmful chemical or a nuclear explosive. This will allow scanners to tell the difference between a harmless tennis ball and one filled with gun powder without even opening the bag.

FALCONER" If we run our material algorithms on each of the balls, they determine that that ball contains an explosionive.

MYERS: ScanTech's x-rays machines have not been purchased for Abu Dhabi's airport in the United Arab Emeritus. In the United States, the Transportation Security Administration plans to deploy the new scanners at selected airports within the year, which could lead to faster security lines and fewer baggage restrictions.

Chad Myers, CNN, Atlana.



WHITFIELD: In these tough economic times, no part of the economy is immune and that includes NASCAR. But, that's not stopping one young driver from pursuing his NASCAR dream. Marc Davis hits the track today in Tennessee and CNN's Joe Johns has his story.


MARC DAVIS, NASCAR DRIVER/OWNER: Look the car over and then we come back out.

It is the only thing I've ever known. I just love the speed and adrenaline and the competition. JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Eighteen-year-old Marc Davis test drives his car at Tennessee's Bristol Motor Speedway. Davis has been competing in various race leagues since he was six years old. He worked his way up the NASCAR ranks, ultimately signing a six-year contract with the Joe Gibbs race team. But halfway into the deal, the economy tanked, and Davis was cut loose.

DAVIS: It's a victim of the economy, the economy's really rough nowadays and a lot of the drivers out here are in the same bed as me.

JOHNS: No hard feelings, says Davis. Who, with family funding and a few sponsors is now fielding a two-car team to compete in NASCAR's nationwide series with an eye toward the Sprint Cup Series.

A two-car team is considered a bare-bones operation by NASCAR standards, when the average race team has between eight and 12 cars at its disposable. But the Davis family is doing it the old-fashioned NASCAR way.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As soon as we get these tire pressures logged in, we'll be ready to roll.

HARRY DAVIS, MARC'S FATHER: Drivers driving their own cars. We're bringing it to the track themselves, we're working on it with a crew that supports the driver.

Marc is going to be an 18-year-old, old-school driver.

JOHNS: Alex Beam echoes that statement. Beam owns a race car museum in North Carolina and knows the Davis family well.

ALEX BEAM, NASCAR HISTORIAN: There's very few people doing that today and I admire him for it.

JOHNS: Doing it on his own also gives Marc Davis the distinction of being NASCAR's only current African-American driver and owner. Davis says that's all nice and good, but he just wants to race and win.

DAVIS: That's the only thing important to me, winning and having fun. And I'm not having fun if I'm not winning.

JOHNS: Mike Herman has worked as Davis' coach for the last two years. He says Marc is coming along swiftly.

MIKE HERMAN, DAVIS' COACH: There's less for me to do at the racetrack now as his coach, because he's ready. He's ready to compete and he's ready to move up the ladder.

JOHNS: Davis realizes the recession has put many Americans in tough situations, and he says he knows he's fortunate to still be able to do something he loves. All the more reason, he says, to go after it full throttle.

DAVIS: It's all I've ever known. Racing is -- I've been into it for so long, it's my whole life.

JOHNS: Joe Johns, CNN, Washington.


WHITFIELD: And Marc Davis racing, right now. He's 120 more laps to go, and he is in 33rd place. So, everybody is rooting for him.

With folks protesting the AIG bonuses, a state attorney general wants to know if the company has been paying out even more. We'll tell you what the Connecticut AG had to say.


WHITFIELD: All right, news that happening right now. More questions about the huge executive bonuses at insurance giant AIG. Connecticut's attorney general says AIG's documents appear to show the hand out was $218 million. That's $53 million more than originally reported.

And President Obama is getting ready for primetime TV blitz. He's appearing on "60 Minutes" tomorrow night. And then Tuesday night he addresses the nation at a news conference. Today, he pitched his budget plan during his weekly radio and Internet address.


OBAMA: These investments are not a wish list of priorities that I picked out of thin air. They're a central part of a comprehensive strategy to grow this economy by attacking the very problems that have dragged it down too long. The high cost of health care and dependence on foreign oil, our education deficit and our fiscal deficit.


WHITFIELD: Taking a stroll 220 miles above the earth, astronauts at the International Space Station are doing that right now in these images that you see here. They're installing a GPS antenna and doing prep work to replace old batteries on the space station.