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CNN SATURDAY MORNING NEWS
Number of Global Swine Flu Cases on Rise, WHO Says; FDA Warns Against Hydroxycut Products; Despite Long Tenure, Justice Souter Still a Mystery; Stubborn Minnesota Senate Fight Continues; Horse Enthusiasts Gird for Kentucky Derby
Aired May 2, 2009 - 06:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
T.J. HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: Well, from the CNN Center, this is CNN SATURDAY MORNING. 6:00 a.m. here in Atlanta, Georgia; 5:00 in Chicago; 3:00 a.m. in Los Angeles.
BETTY NGUYEN, CNN ANCHOR: Oh, it's early.
HOLMES: Wherever you may be, hello to you all. I'm T.J. Holmes.
NGUYEN: Or late, depending on what time you get home, right?
NGUYEN: Good morning, everybody. I'm Betty Nguyen. Thanks so much for starting your day with us. It is Saturday, May 2. We do have a lot to cover this morning, so let's get right to it.
Overnight, there is a big jump in the number of swine-flu cases worldwide. The World Health Organization reports 615 people infected in 15 countries. That is a 67 percent increase from the number reported just yesterday. Officials blame a testing backlog for the leap in numbers.
Now, the virus is showing up in Asia: one case in Hong Kong and one in South Korea. Officials had to quarantine a hotel where one patient was staying.
And according to the Associated Press, the WHO is warning that the epidemic may not be stabilizing in Mexico like officials were hoping. Nearly 400 people are infected in Mexico.
HOLMES: A jury in Pennsylvania has acquitted two teenagers of all serious charges against them in the beating death of a Mexican immigrant last summer. Luis Ramirez died from head injuries after a fight with teenagers on a street in Shenandoah. That's a small, rural mining town.
The two teenagers were acquitted of murder, aggravated assault and ethnic intimidation. But they were both convicted of simple assault.
NGUYEN: Also, a warning this morning about a popular weight-loss supplement. The FDA says stop using 14 Hydroxycut products immediately. The agency got 23 reports of serious liver damage linked to Hydroxycut. The recall affects products like energy boosters and fat burners.
HOLMES: Health officials have confirmed more than 140 cases of swine flu in the U.S. alone. More than 400 schools have been closed in 17 states. The government recommends schools stay closed for two weeks if they have a confirmed case of swine flu because children can be contagious for up to 10 days. Some schools want students with any flu-like symptoms to simply stay home.
And listen to this: Northeastern University's commencement ceremonies were held on Friday. They were held without the traditional handshake between the dean and the students as their names were called. Also, an extra caution, small bottles of hand sanitizer were placed beneath the faculty chairs.
NGUYEN: You know, that's really interesting, because you, you know, expect to get your diploma, get that handshake. But Dr. Sanjay Gupta was in Mexico, and -- and there's a write-up on CNN.com where he's suggesting you do the elbow bump.
HOLMES: The elbow bump. I saw him talking about that.
NGUYEN: What is that? Who does that?
But still, everybody's trying to find a way to -- I mean, the simplest thing...
HOLMES: You don't shake hand. I mean, it's seems weird -- 'Here's your diploma, now get out of here son' -- kind of a thing.
NGUYEN: Right. Don't touch me.
HOLMES: But still -- but still, you do what you got to do right about now.
HOLMES: Some of this information on swine flu comes from a -- a -- a nurse and a really deep (ph) inside the Centers for Disease Control, which is right here in Atlanta.
NGUYEN: Yes, they are working 24/7 to isolate a reference strain of the H1N1 virus to be used in making a vaccine.
Now, few people get a look inside. But speaking of, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, he was able to take a look. And here you go.
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): After five days in Mexico, hunting down the first cases of the swine- flu virus, I'm back in Atlanta. Now, if there is a place where every bit of news about swine flu is converging, it's here, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Before they would let me into the main control center, a checkup here in the medical clinic to make sure I wasn't sick.
They tell me I'm fine.
(on camera): So now we're ready to take a look at the nerve center of the CDC, something known as emergency operations control. Take a look over here.
Hundreds of people have been in here working day and night over the last week. And take a look at those screens up there, those screens monitoring cases as they come in, trying to put it all together, trying to piece it all together, trying to get control on this outbreak.
TOBY CRAFTON, OPERATIONS MANAGER, CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION: Everybody you see in here is here because of the outbreak.
GUPTA: What else do we have over here?
CRAFTON: Each one of those regions that you see on that map has a team of epidemiologists and folks that are working on making sure that they track each one of those cases in that region. And so, they are literally down there getting calls from all those states, talking to the state health officials, taking to the epidemiologists in each state and tracking the numbers.
GUPTA (voice-over): Tracking cases, looking for clues, sending out investigators. The guidelines on those Fort Worth school closings, they came from here.
But today, the focus seems to be shifting. What if this spirals into a full-fledged global outbreak and what if we need a vaccine?
(on camera): I want to show you something that very few people get a chance to see. We're in the back hallways here at the CDC, in the laboratory area. And look through this window over here. That woman is working on the swine-flu virus. All of those samples come here.
What she is doing underneath the hood -- she's obviously protecting herself -- is to try and check to see if the swine-flu virus is sensitive to antivirals.
What I can tell you, the early testing shows it is quite sensitive to Tamiflu.
MICHAEL SHAW, ASSOCIATE LAB DIRECTOR, CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION INFLUENZA DIVISION: This particular virus, with this particular combination of genes, we've never seen before in humans or animals. It was totally new.
GUPTA (voice-over): Michael Shaw runs the lab. SHAW: Are we making a vaccine?
GUPTA (on camera): Yes.
SHAW: We're all learning right now. We're -- we're doing the best we can as fast as we can, which is the -- the message I guess we -we really want to get out. You know, we're -- we're working day and night trying to get this done.
GUPTA (voice-over): Here's how it works: The scientists here at the CDC provide the virus for the vaccine. After that, it's in the hands of the manufacturers, the big drug companies.
(on camera): Has a vaccine been recommended now?
REAR ADMIRAL DR. ANNE SCHUCHAT, SCIENCE AND PUBLIC HEALTH PROGRAM, CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION: No. We're at the stage where we're trying to understand this situation. We're trying to characterize the severity and the epidemiologic characteristics.
GUPTA (voice-over): If history is any guide, over the next few weeks, H1N1 is likely to fizzle down. But come fall and winter, it could come back, making a vaccine that much more important, and keeping the hundreds of people in this room just as busy.
NGUYEN: Well, the swine flu could spread rapidly in places with high populations. But so far, there are no confirmed cases in America's second-largest city, that being Los Angeles.
When I spoke with the mayor earlier this week, he said the city won't be caught off guard if the virus does pop up there.
NGUYEN: We're looking at swine flu and the possible outbreak here in the United States. What is being done to ensure that the people of Los Angeles do not come in contact with it?
ANTONIO VILLARAIGOSA (D), MAYOR OF LOS ANGELES: We've been in constant communication with our local public-health officers. The city of Los Angeles doesn't have responsibility for the public health; that's the county. But we're working together.
We have an emergency-management department that focuses on issues like this, and we're in constant communication with them. We're also in communication with our school district. We said that because of advice from the public-health officer, there's no reason not to send our kids to school right now. We can send them to school. There -- there's no outbreak here in -- in the region.
We are working for contingency plans with the public-health agencies. Also, the federal government and the state.
So we've been coordinating in the event that there is an outbreak here in the city or the county. Our folks at the LAX, which is our LA International Airport, are taking extra precautions with passengers. They'll be doing a number of things to make sure -- particularly folks that come from Mexico -- to make sure that we're doing everything possible to address this situation.
But at this point -- and I want to make it absolutely clear -- we've had no outbreaks in either the city or the county of Los Angeles.
NGUYEN: All right. So we're going to talk with another mayor about how their cities are dealing with the swine flu in our 9:00 hour. You don't want to miss that.
And of course, you can find all the latest on the swine flu on our Web site. All you have to do is go to CNN.com/health dash -- or slash health.
All right. So let's get to the reaction this morning coming into Supreme Court Justice David Souter's announcement that he is retiring next month.
From Chief Justice John Roberts, here's what he had to say: "Justice Souter has served with great distinction on the court for almost 20 years. His desire to return to his native New Hampshire is understandable, but he will be greatly missed in our deliberations."
HOLMES: Also, from John Paul Stevens, who is the longest-serving justice, says, "Because I am confident that I know how his professional work will be judged by future historians, my more important reaction is that the court will suffer a" fear -- a, rather, "far greater loss than many now realize."
And President Obama is promising to quickly name a replacement for Justice Souter. Conservative and liberal groups, of course, gearing up for a big fight that could center on the hot-button issues -- you can guess them....
HOLMES: Abortion, immigration, gay rights.
And Souter was appointed by the first President Bush back in 1990. And as Joe Johns, he's still a bit of a mystery to liberals and somewhat of a disappointment to conservatives.
JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): So, what's with this guy anyway? Justice David Souter is widely known in Washington for being a tad eccentric.
Much has been made of Souter bringing a shopping bag with his daily lunch of an apple and plain yogurt and his disdain for the meanness and political games of the nation's capital.
He has been known to shun cell phones and computers.
But what Souter is best known for conservatives is being a wolf in sheep's clothing, someone President Bush 41 mistook to be a conservative. Souter frequently votes with the court's liberal bloc.
President Obama and the left view Souter as being fair-minded and independent.
BARACK H. OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: He came to the bench with no particular ideology. He never sought to promote a political agenda. And he consistently defied labels and rejected absolutes.
JOHNS: So what does Obama want in a replacement?
OBAMA: I will seek someone who understands that justice isn't about some abstract legal theory or footnote in a casebook; it is also about how our laws affect the daily realities of people's lives.
JOHNS: OK, but what he needs is a nominee who will keep the court's current math in place; right now, five firm and leaning conservatives and four liberals, which means the president needs to know what he's getting.
FRED GRAHAM, CHIEF ANCHOR AND MANAGING EDITOR, TRUTV: You have a liberal on the court, Souter, who is leaving. The president will appoint a liberal, who he hopes is a liberal, to replace him. Nothing changes.
JOHNS (on camera): Officially, there's no short list of appointees yet. It's too soon. But the early thinking is that guys who want the job can probably forget about it.
GRAHAM: I don't think a man's got any chance to get this nomination.
JOHNS (voice-over): No-brainer candidates can be broken down into categories; first, the courts of appeals judges, including Diane Wood of Chicago and Sonia Sotomayor of New York.
Fred Graham says watch Sotomayor.
GRAHAM: She would be a woman. She would be a Hispanic, the first Hispanic. And she is a -- a -- an -- highly respected and regarded jurist. Why not?
JOHNS: Of the law-professor types, Elena Kagan, former dean of Harvard Law School, stands out. She's now solicitor general.
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR ANALYST: But she's never been a judge. She's only been solicitor general for a few weeks. So the question is, at age 49, whether she is experienced enough.
JOHNS: Among politicians, Senators Claire McCaskill and Amy Klobuchar, Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm, and Homeland Security Janet Napolitano -- a big choice ahead for the new president and one of the most important ones he can make.
Joe Johns, CNN, Washington.
HOLMES: Well, now that former Republican Senator Arlen Specter has changed parties, all that stands between the Democrats and a filibuster-proof Senate is one man in Minnesota: Norm Coleman. The Republican has long been contesting last November's Senate race against Al Franken, a former comedian and a Democrat with a slim lead still.
CNN's deputy political director Paul Steinhauser has been following this race since the polls closed a long time ago.
Paul, I cannot...
PAUL STEINHAUSER, CNN DEPUTY POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Six months.
HOLMES: I cannot believe that this thing is still going on. We still don't have a winner.
What's going on?
STEINHAUSER: Yes, six months later now from Election Day, T.J. And you're right, we still don't have a second senator in Minnesota.
Norm Coleman, he was the -- the incumbent; he was the freshman Republican. Al Franken, we all remember him from "Saturday Night Live" and his days as an Air America radio -- progressive talk-show host.
But yes, it's still going on. Remember, there was the election; Norm Coleman was ahead by 200 votes or so after Election Day. Then there was a recount, because out of almost 3 million cast, it was too close. Al Franken was ahead after the recount by a couple hundred votes.
And then they went to court. And during that court process in Minnesota, Al Franken's lead increased a little bit more when the ruling went against Norm Coleman. He has now appealed this on to the Minnesota State Supreme Court, and they will start hearing this come June 1.
Still no winner yet, T.J.
HOLMES: OK, Norm Coleman, obviously, does not want to give this thing up. Not going to give it up lightly.
So what options does he has left? He has lost a lot of these seem -- seemingly legal fights that he has -- he has -- keeps coming up with. So what does he have left?
STEINHAUSER: Well, you have to -- he's now in the process of -- of his giving his appeal to the Minnesota State Supreme Court. He says that a lot of votes that should have been counted weren't counted. So that's what he wants; he wants more votes counted and he's hoping that that will bring him up and give him the lead.
But if he loses in the state Supreme Court -- and we should have a decision hopefully in June -- there is one other option, and that is going to the federal-court system, maybe the federal district appeals, and maybe even taking it all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, T.J.
HOLMES: All right.
Has the Republican Party been supportive of him? Of course, they don't want to give up any seats in the Senate. However, now, given that Arlen Specter has switched over and become a Democrat, are they fighting even harder, and he is getting more support now from Republicans? Because now it's more -- more desperate than ever to hold on to this seat?
STEINHAUSER: Exactly. They have been supporting him all along and helping him fundraise to pay for all these legal efforts, and I think those efforts will now continue in even greater strength. Because you're right, if Al Franken gets in, he would be the 60th senator.
And of course, in the Senate, you need 60 votes to do just about anything. He would become the 60th Democrat. And -- and he would give the Democrats a filibuster-proof majority.
So yes, the Republicans, they are probably going to help Norm Coleman as much as they can. They want this one to -- to play out maybe as long as possible to prevent Al Franken from getting in there for quite some time.
But are the people of Minnesota ready for this to be over? Yes, and maybe there's going to be some political pressure there.
We know Al Franken is good enough, smart enough, and doggone it, people like him. But other than that, what do we know about this guy? What kind of politician is he going to be?
STEINHAUSER: He's pretty progressive on the issues, T.J. When it comes to certain things like health care, he wants universal health care.
On illegal immigration, he supports comprehensive immigration reform; he wants to give some illegals -- immigrants in this country a pathway to citizenship.
On unions, he supports that free-choice act, which the unions want, that they say will help people unionize.
On the economy, he wants to give tax relief to a lot of workers, especially Americans with children and -- and families.
And on energy, he supports the president as well; he wants to increase renewable energy.
So yes, overall, pretty progressive.
HOLMES: All right. Senator Al Franken, maybe. Or maybe we'll have something else to talk about for the foreseeable future.
Paul Steinhauser, appreciate you as always.
STEINHAUSER: Thank you.
NGUYEN: Wow. There's always something to talk about. That is for sure.
HOLMES: Yes, politics doesn't stop, does it, these days?
Hey, you know, let's talk about this for just a second: When a catastrophic tornado ripped through a Kansas town, it caused almost complete devastation. Well now, Greensburg, Kansas, has reinvented itself, and becoming one of the greenest cities in the nation.
NGUYEN: Wow, I like that kind of introduction, right?
HOLMES: You know her name. You know the face. And a lot of people even know the body she's now so famous for.
Dara Torres: an unlikely journey, yes, but not just in the pool. A poolside chat ahead with her, this week talking about more than just going for the gold in the pool. She has had all kinds of struggles in life that you may not be familiar with.
Our conversation coming up.
NGUYEN: All right. You know what today is, right?
HOLMES: Derby Day.
NGUYEN: Absolutely (ph). Well, I got to get a hat, I guess.
I was going to say, 'Where's yours?' You'd kind of look funny with one of those, right?
HOLMES: We don't do that, no. It's just for the ladies.
NGUYEN: ....are kind of cool though. HOLMES: You just like the name. A lot of people do that, with the cool names.
NGUYEN: Yes. I Want Revenge.
HOLMES: The favorite, of course.
NGUYEN: There's a Top Brain, Join in the Dance, Hold Me Back, and Mr. Hot Stuff. I don't know how that's one going to do.
HOLMES: You like that one. That's your favorite?
NGUYEN: That's a pretty good name.
HOLMES: Oh my goodness.
NGUYEN: Bonnie, which one do you like?
BONNIE SCHNEIDER, CNN METEOROLOGIST: I like Mr. Hot Stuff, too.
HOLMES: The horse? Are we talking about the horse now?
SCHNEIDER: All right. We may have some rain for Derby Day.
NGUYEN: Oh no.
SCHNEIDER: Yes, in Louisville, and it may make for some mud on the track.
But I want to show you what's happening. We're getting some strong storms in really the vicinity of Louisville. But the heavy storms are in Tennessee at this hour, working their way across Memphis, on I-40, across Jackson and certainly into Nashville, where it was storming yesterday.
But as we take a closer look at Louisville, you can see the rain is starting to slide on in on I-64. So we're starting to get some moderate showers, and really, we'll be watching for the rain to kind of persist throughout the day.
Let's take a closer look at the actual forecast. And you can see, today, we'll see a high about 64 degrees. For the Derby, temperatures will be falling into the evening hours. But we do have that chance for scattered showers and for thunderstorms as well. So watch out for that.
In fact, as we talk a look at the entire region, what we are forecasting is quite a bit of severe storms. In fact, the flooding rain will persist right along this cold front. And this is the region, through southwest Missouri, parts of Kentucky, Tennessee, all the way down through Texas, where we're forecasting severe storms. We have low pressure riding along this front, and that will produce flooding rain. We've already seen a lot of flooding rain across Oklahoma.
So scattered showers and thunderstorms throughout the day in Kentucky, and we'll look for temperatures in the 60s. So temperatures will be comfortable; it's just the rain in the forecast that's problematic.
And to the north though, we do have some cooler temperatures. And yes, there's even some snow in the forecast. I'll talk more about that a little bit later on.
But just to let you know, really, if you're heading to Derby, make sure your hat has a wide brim, because T.J., Betty, we could see some rain out there.
NGUYEN: Or you just need one of those hats with the umbrellas on them. You know, those goofy-looking things.
SCHNEIDER: Hey, that may work for today. I think that sounds good.
HOLMES: There wear some interesting -- yes, they wear interesting hats there.
We appreciate you, Bonnie.
And of course, if the tracks aren't in condition, it could be dangerous for those horses out there.
NGUYEN: Oh, yes.
HOLMES: Those -- those big, heavy animals on what looks like -- strong legs, but still with (INAUDIBLE).
NGUYEN: Yes, but one slip, and boom. You could take a few of them out.
HOLMES: And you can have a problem.
But another story here about horses as well. The horses that were supposedly by a Kentucky Derby veteran found in some terrible condition. However, somebody is coming to their rescue. That story is coming up.
NGUYEN: And mail to the chief. Yes, young writers put their opinions about the president and the country in some pretty impressive letters. You don't want to miss that.
HOLMES: All right. It's Derby Day. In just a matter of hours, we will have a champion heading to the winner's circle.
NGUYEN: Yes, the Kentucky Derby is tonight, but the drama and backstories -- well, they started weeks ago. And one of them involves a prominent horse breeder now facing animal-cruelty charges.
Our Larry Smith has the story.
LARRY SMITH, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): While the pageantry of horse racing is on full display at the Kentucky Derby, the scene on a horse-breeding farm in upstate New York is very different.
The Columbia-Greene SPCA has spent the last three weeks trying to find new homes for 67 horses whose only race was one to survive.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Girl, you're going to your new home. You're going to your new home. Going to Vermont.
SMITH: Center Brook Farm in rural Climax, New York, was the scene of what may have been the most widespread horse abuse in U.S. history. On April 8, the SPCA seized a farm from trainer Ernie Paragallo and began a process of rehabilitating the more than 170 sickly horses that were found.
DR. JERRY BLINSKI, CHATHAM EQUINE CENTER: In one paddock, the horses all had longhair coats. They all had their ribs showing, pin bones showing. They had extensive lice infestation, chronic skin infections.
RON PEREZ, COLUMBIA-GREENE HUMANE SOCIETY SPCA: We did 44 examinations, and we found them to be extremely emaciated, to emaciated to very thin. All -- all the animals we examined at that point were -- were -- were in dire straits.
SMITH: Paragallo is a longtime thoroughbred owner and trainer who has had four horses run in the Kentucky Derby over the years. He was arrested and charged with 22 counts of animal cruelty, and is scheduled to be arraigned on May 18. His license has been suspended.
And while Paragallo still insists he provided the right amount of food and care for the houses, he told CNN he knows his reputation can never be repaired, saying, "It was a total mismanagement of the farm on my part. I'm not saying it's not my fault. I'm just saying, on paper, they were provided the right amount of food."
PEREZ: If you've been involved with horses as long as -- as Mr. Paragallo has, you -- you have an idea of what it costs to keep this many horses. And it just -- it just wasn't enough.
Now what was here was being spread out as -- as well the staff could do. And they did a good job, these guys, trying to -- keeping these animals. And -- and they're understaffed here. Eight guys for over the winter had 200 horses. There's only eight guys here, total. That's nowhere near enough.
SMITH: The response from the horse community was immediate and impressive. Horse lovers from across the country, like Nancy and Fran Caldwell of Vermont, have jumped at the chance to help.
NANCY CALDWELL, HORSE ADOPTER: There wasn't a question about why or -- you know? They just told me about her, and I said, 'Yep, that's the one.'
PEREZ: I've been taken back by the industry, how it rose up, not only nationally, but also individually. People that owned thoroughbreds say, 'Well, we really didn't want one, another one, but we feel compelled to help out in this.' And I've never seen it (ph).
CHARLENE MARCHAND, BOARD OF DIRECTORS, CGHS SPCA: It's very heartwarming to see these animals get on a trailer, knowing that they're going to a good, hopefully forever, permanent home.
SMITH: Paragallo has surrendered 67 of his horses, with the fate of the rest to be determined in court. Forty have already been adopted, and doctors expect each to make a full recovery.
Larry Smith, CNN, Atlanta.
NGUYEN: All right. So it is the announcement that could impact some of those vital laws in this country: Who will replace David Souter on the Supreme Court? We have a list.
HOLMES: Also, we'll tell you what you haven't heard about one of the best Olympic champions of all time.
NGUYEN: Well, hello, everybody. Good morning. Welcome back. I'm Betty Nguyen.
HOLMES: Good morning to you all. I'm T.J. Holmes. Glad you could start your Saturday here with us.
NGUYEN: All right. So, overnight there has been a jump in the number of swine flu cases worldwide. The Worldwide Health Organization reports 615 people infected in 15 countries. That is a 67 percent increase from the number reported just yesterday. The officials blame a testing backlog for the leap in numbers. But now the virus is showing up in Asia; one case in Hong Kong and one in South Korea. Officials in Hong Kong had to quarantine a hotel there where one patient was staying.
According to the "Associated Press," the WHO is warning the epidemic may not be stabilizing in Mexico like officials were hoping. Nearly 400 people are infected in Mexico.
HOLMES: And many U.S. airlines are cutting back on flights to Mexico as the number of swine flu cases rises. Starting Monday, Continental Airlines, the biggest U.S. carrier to Mexico, will cut its seats by half. Both Delta and United Airlines also expected to reduce service. American Airlines says it is monitoring the situation but has not yet canceled any flights there.
NGUYEN: Well, they call it the first jewel in horse racing's Triple Crown. Post time for the 135th Kentucky Derby is later today at Louisville's Churchill Downs. Now the starting gate will be very crowded with 20 horses in the field. This year, I Want Revenge is the early favorite.
HOLMES: Prosecutors call the killing of a Mexican immigrant a hate crime. The jury disagreed. Two teenagers acquitted yesterday of murder in a Pennsylvania courtroom. Instead Brandon Piekarsky and Derrick Donchak were convicted of simple assault of the beating death last summer of Luis Ramirez. A spokesman for a Mexican-American group was upset with this verdict and the defense calling it "difficult".
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FREDERICK FANELLI, PIEKARSKY'S ATTORNEY: It was a long process. We have been fighting this case for lots of months. It was highly charged, obviously, by all these cameras. The week of trial was very difficult and we are just delighted that it ended the way it did.
GLADYS LIMON, MEXICAN AMERICAN LEGAL DEFENSE: The facts here were egregious in nature. And I -- it's just outrageous and very difficult to understand how any juror could have had reasonable doubt, especially as to the aggravated assault charge, the recklessly endangering another person charges. It was just an outrage.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOLMES: Prosecutors say the teenagers baited Ramirez into a fight in the rural mining town of Shenandoah.
NGUYEN: Well, in Georgia a murder suspect's Jeep has been found, but the University of Georgia professor remains on the run at this hour. Take a good look. Police say George Zinkhan wrecked his Jeep. It was ditched in a ditch in a wooded area just a few days ago. Hundreds of officers scoured the area for the professor but did not find him. He's wanted in connection with a shooting deaths of his ex- wife and two others. An FBI agent says the signal from one of Zinkhan's cell phones helped police find the Jeep in Bogart, which is a rural town about 60 miles east of Atlanta.
HOLMES: The Supreme Court hasn't been the Obama administration's front burner until this week with the impending retirement of Justice David Souter. The president now has a chance to shape the high court and influence national policy long after he leaves office. Paul Steinhauser, CNN's deputy political director, he's watching all the developments, as always, from Washington.
Paul, always good see you. Good to have you with us.
So, of course, the president not really going to change the world in the first 100 days, but now he has the opportunity, early on, to change things down the road. Now, any Supreme Court nomination is a big deal, to put somebody else on the court. But this one is not going to really shake up the balance of the court, necessarily. STEINHAUSER: Exactly. It has been four years since we have had a vacancy, so it is a big deal. But you're right. This is -the breakdown of the court right now is four conservative justices, Anthony, Kennedy, is in the middle, and then four liberal to progressive justices. David Souter is one of those and he will mostly likely be replaced by somebody as progressive and as liberal as him. So, while the ideology of the court won't change much, the texture of the court could change. The face of the court could change T.J.
HOLMES: This is always a fun guessing game. Everybody likes to guess who he'll put on the court. Let's see here, everybody is guessing what he's going to do. But he did give us an indication of what type of justice he might put on the Supreme Court. He told us about this out on the campaign trail.
Let's listen now to what he said last September.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: I think it is true that we shouldn't apply a strict litmus test. The most important thing in any judge is their capacity to provide fairness and justice to the American people. It is true that this will be, I think, one of the most consequential decisions of the next president. It is very likely one of us will be making at least one, and probably more than one, appointments and Roe versus Wade probably hangs in the balance. I would not provide the litmus test, but I am somebody who believes Roe versus Wade was rightly decided.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOLMES: He gives us some kind of indication there, but he is going to be facing political pressure, as always. Not supposed to be a political appointment necessarily, but you know, politics plays a role. And some pressure maybe to make some more history, maybe another woman, maybe a minority woman, a Hispanic or Asian member. What kind of pressure is going to be coming?
STEINHAUSER: He'll get a lot of pressure from women groups. And women will point out that women voters made up a big part of his winning coalition last November. They'll say there's only one female Supreme Court justice right now. There used to be two. After Sandra Day O'Conner stepped down, she was replaced by a man.
Also, Latinos and Hispanics will be pressuring him to make some history. To name the first Latino or Hispanic to the Supreme Court. Remember during the election, Latinos and Hispanics overwhelmingly voted for Barack Obama. During the campaign trail, as well, T.J., you heard that sound right there, but he also talked about maybe finding somebody with some outside experiences. Maybe not somebody straight from the judicial path. Somebody who knows how the law affects you and me, average, regular people, T.J.
HOLMES: While we are on it, a lot of the talk this week has been about, of course, Arlen Specter, the new Democrat. It is hard to call him a Democrat, now. But Democrat Arlen Specter, well, he played a little bit of a role back in the day in another memorable Supreme Court nomination. Remind us what happened then.
STEINHAUSER: Two big things from the 1980s when Arlen Specter was one of the top Republicans in the Judiciary Committee. He was very critical of Robert Bork, who was a darling of the conservatives and was one of the reasons that Robert Bork eventually did not become a Supreme Court justice. Then a couple years later, when Clarence Thomas, was -- during his confirmation hearings, Specter was criticized by Democrats for being critical and really grilling Anita Hill, who was one of the witnesses testifying against Clarence Thomas. He has made some history.
A question mark now is will he continue to stay on the Judiciary Committee with the changing of his parties. Our Capitol Hill correspondents are looking into that. That is not clear, but I got a feeling he will play a role in this nomination, no doubt about it.
HOLMES: All right. All eyes on the new Democrat Arlen Specter. We appreciate you keeping an eye on everything for us. Paul Steinhauser, thanks as always.
STEINHAUSER: Thank you.
NGUYEN: It is a stormy Saturday for the central part of the country. Bonnie Schneider is here with a preview of what is in store for the weekend.
NGUYEN: All right. It is a big day we've got the Kentucky Derby, but also Bonnie Schneider is with us this morning.
And I heard something about snow. It is May, Bonnie. What's going on?
SCHNEIDER: It is some very wacky weather Betty and T.J., absolutely.
SCHNEIDER: I want to start off with the immediate threat through, for flooding because we have seen a whole lot of rain in Oklahoma. We have some pictures to show you. You will see the streets are flooded. You can't even pass through some of the roads in Pryor, Oklahoma. That is because in some areas, seven inches of rain. That's a lot of water. This is a region that's already seen quite a bit of rain so far this month. April has been a wet month for parts of the Southern Plains and the Midwest.
Roads are just completely blocked off, so be careful out there, especially before the sun comes up early this morning because you just can't see anything out there in terms of how deep the water is. Even if you try to drive, it only takes six inches of water to dislodge even an SUV.
Let's talk about the flood threat right now in Oklahoma. Most of the state is under a flood watch. The lighter green color you see here, but notice we have warnings further to the north and the east. A lot of the watches could become warnings as we go into the evening hours because we are expecting at least a couple more inches of rain.
Not only is it raining heavy and hard in Oklahoma, we have strong thunderstorms that are rolling through Tennessee right now. Flash flood watches and warnings are also posted in Tennessee. Notice the real-time lightning strikes happening right now across areas into Nashville, Jackson, Tennessee, along I-40 we are seeing the heavily rain work its way through.
This is just like yesterday so no changes there. But let's talk about the Kentucky Derby. Louisville, so far this morning getting some light showers. They are moving into the area. We'll see scattered showers on and off for the derby. You can see the rain isn't as intense in Kentucky as it is to the south and the west, but a lot of it is heading into the vicinity.
Because of that, we'll keep the scattered showers in the forecast. Temperatures will stay in the 60s. Not too bad in terms of your forecast, but watch out because we do have that chance for rain, and even severe thunderstorms across much of the Southern Plains, flooding rain, really, all along this cold front. That's where we have the warnings are posted. Many of them extend until Sunday night. That's because we are going to see continuous rain, low pressure riding along the front.
Betty and T.J., this will trigger on and off storms. We'll just hope the horses and everybody has a great time out there for derby. I know it might make the track a little muddy, too.
NGUYEN: Yes. All right, thank you, Bonnie. We'll be checking in.
HOLMES: Well, the name Dara Torres, a lot of people know her, Olympic champion -know her because of what she did the big comeback at the age of 41. All she had to do to get ready, to compete against a lot of women who were even half her age. You know, what? That was the least of her problems in life.
HOLMES: A pool-side chat with her you don't want to miss. She talks about a lot of things. Swimming, really the least of them.
HOLMES: No, that music is not for me. It is for Dara Torres, who is one of the best to ever do it. She is a true Olympic champion. She is the only American swimmer to compete in five Olympic Games. She has a huge treasure trove of medals, many of them gold, also other winnings from her long career as a swimmer. But there is a lot you don't know about this swimmer. There's a lot about her, there are a lot of struggles you don't hear so much about. But now, at the age of 42, Torres wants to talk and talk about it all.
DARA TORRES, CHAMPION OLYMPIC SWIMMER: The biggest thing I learned coming out of the Olympic Games, is that you just don't have to put an age limit on your dreams.
HOLMES (voice over): For Dara Torres, her dreams of becoming an Olympic champion have been realized and then some. Five Olympic games, 12 Olympic medals, her dreams of motherhood almost never got off the starting block after she was told she couldn't conceive.
But after years of experimenting with infertility treatments and at the age of 39, Torres had her daughter, Tessa Grace, who is now three.
TORRES: One, two, three!
HOLMES (On camera): What seemed less important in life once you had a daughter?
TORRES: You know, it is really funny. Walking into the ready room -- which is where all the athletes hang out 15 minutes before you swim in your finals in the Olympic Games -- you walk in and it is so intense in there. You can basically hear a pin drop. I look at these kids' faces and I'm thinking, they think this is the most important thing in their life and they have no idea what the most important thing is in life yet.
HOLMES: Your dad, his painful bout with cancer, you go through two marriages, two divorces, the tough time trying to get pregnant. You go back to bulimia, that you dealt with ...
TORRES: Jeeze, you're making it ...
HOLMES: A lot of people go through things in life, but you have been through some exceptional things.
TORRES: Right, but it is painful, but I got through them. And I moved on. And I've become a better person because of the stuff that I learned from my past. That's what inspiration is. I mean, you have all those low moments, but you also have the high moments, also. The inspiration doesn't just come from winning the medals, or going to the Olympic Games. It comes from what I had to battle and go through and deal with.
HOLMES: Do you see young people, some around you, maybe some -- certainly I see a lot of swimmers -- do you see them going through maybe some of the same things you did, with bulimia, at least? Do you see some of that stuff?
TORRES: Absolutely. Yeah, it is not just swimmers, I mean, the everyday person can have it. Different athletes can have it. It is something that I wanted to get out there that everyone could relate to.
HOLMES: It takes a while to get over that, physically, but it takes a little longer, emotionally, how long did that whole healing process take for you?
TORRES: It took awhile. The five, six years was the actual bulimia part, but as far as having a fear of food and looking at other people eat and think, God, I wish I could eat like that. That took a long time. That took until probably -- I don't know, 1999, which was about seven years after I got over it. So, it takes a long time to heal from something like that. And to get over it, but I want people to know that you can get over it.
HOLMES (voice over): Today, at the age of 42, Torres is still one of the fastest swimmers in the world. And she still doesn't think she has reached her full potential as a swimmer, which means the 2012 Olympics in London is a possibility. That would be her sixth Olympic games and she would be 45.
(On camera): Do you feel like your body starts to ...
HOLMES: I mean, still, it's a little different. You say you heal fast and but is it different than ...
TORRES: I do heal fast. And in the weight room when I'm training, I recover fast, but sometimes you just have arthritis and other things going on that you just can't help. And it comes with age and you just have to sort of deal with it. That's why I'm taking it day by day and not saying, oh, yeah, I'm going to train for the 2012 Olympics. I can't say that because I don't know how my body will hold out.
HOLMES: Why wait until you can't do it anymore. Why not let it go at your peak? Before you're Michael Jordan with the Wizards or something, you know?
TORRES: Well, what is a peak? I don't know what the peak is yet.
HOLMES: I mean, go home and check out your trophy case.
TORRES: Do you not want to see me swim anymore?
HOLMES: Check out your medals.
TORRES: Here's the thing.
TORRES: I get grief like from some people saying, you know, you should let the younger kids swim. But if I'm the fastest and I earn the spot on the team, why can't I swim? So, you are saying, why don't I just stop now? The problem is I lost by a 100th of a second in the Olympic games and it really pisses me off. HOLMES: Yes? OK?
TORRES: And so I want to keep swimming.
HOLMES: You want to keep swimming, but that sounds like you want to get back to the Olympics and get the gold.
TORRES: Well, I want to be the best in the world.
HOLMES: I tried.
NGUYEN: That's a good point, though. She lost by 100th of a second.
NGUYEN: I mean, you just want to go back and get that. But you know there's a lot of time in between. And she'll be 45-years-old. But did you see her working out?
NGUYEN: She is a machine.
HOLMES: She is a monster. Just the body is incredible, but a lot of people look at her and think, OK, I need to look like that. That's her job 9:00 to 5:00, she swims. OK, not everybody is going to look like that. She makes the point that you don't have to look like that to still be healthy. People have 9:00 to 5:00 jobs and they have kids.
HOLMES: But that is her job, swimming. That's why she does looks like that. She talks about that.
NGUYEN: She is great looking.
HOLMES: But you are right, I tried to nail her down on the Olympics thing. I tried my best, there was so much more I didn't show about that. But she absolutely wants to, but she doesn't know if she'll be able to. She's going to see how the body holds up. Again, just a month ago, she swam one of her fastest times, the best time in a meet in Texas. She is getting ready for the World Championships in Rome. She still thinks, at 42-years old, she hasn't peaked as a swimmer.
NGUYEN: If she just swam her fastest time, I mean, why would you think she peaked?
HOLMES: She swam one of the best there. But again, it is so weird to think, 42, she's been doing this since was a kid. She doesn't think she is at her peak yet. So, at 40 -- maybe she'll peak at 40 -- maybe she'll peak at 50. NGUYEN: We will be watching, nonetheless.
HOLMES: She is busy with that book, that book, "Age Is Nothing But A Number."
NGUYEN: It talks about a whole lot of things that are outside of the pool.
HOLMES: Yes, yes.
NGUYEN: Looking forward to that. Good job.
Well, listen to this. Speaking of books, how about writing say, a letter like this. Dear President Obama -- how would you finish that letter? Well, hundreds of school kids got a chance to do that and they talked about some of their issues. They took it straight to the top. We'll show you that.
HOLMES: Also a tribute to becomes more touching than even Hillary Clinton expected. You want to listen to what got the secretary of State near tears.
NGUYEN: And the town just decimated by a tornado comes back in a very unique way. You don't want to miss it.
HOLMES: Some students in Lincoln, Nebraska, are official authors now. They have been published in a book of letters to the president.
NGUYEN: That's one way to start, right? Go straight to the top. CNN affiliate, KETV visited Clinton Elementary and shows us a proud bunch of kids.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was a simple assignment.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Dear President Obama.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Write a letter to a history-making president.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am proud because there has never been an African-American president. I am proud because you are the same color as me.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Last November Clinton Elementary School students from Lincoln, Nebraska, sent in letters and drawings to a couple of authors in New York. They are friends of a friend of kindergarten teacher Trisha Hoppman.
TRISHA HOPPAMAN, KINDERGARTEN TEACHER: My friend is doing this book of letters from kids. Could you get a couple of letters from second graders and fourth graders?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They had no idea of what became of the letters or the book. They got to see it for the first time at this assembly.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are here to celebrate a very special day.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is five-year-old Jason Fam's (ph) crayon drawing on the cover; 11 other Clinton kids have letters or drawings published throughout.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How many hats do you have? Can I have one of your hats?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Written by hand, coming from the heart.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You are the best president on Earth. You should be on all the dimes in the world.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They joined letters from 179 other children in states from New York to Hawaii writing down their hopes and concerns for the country, covering the economy, health care, and even smoking.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you shut down cigarette stores? Because people smoke every year to be cool and then they die.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Each of the kids got their own copy to keep.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm going to show it to all my friends and all my family.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And knowing the whole world will now see their letters to the president.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're friend, Marelius Arwi (ph).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Your friend, Anthony Nuwen (ph).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Your friend, Taylor Lingles (ph).
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sincerely, Judy Chung (ph).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: With more (INAUDIBLE) News Watch 7,
NGUYEN: You are in an awfully good mood today.
HOLMES: I got my rest, Betty. Is that OK?
NGUYEN: No, I like you this way. Trust me.
NGUYEN: Hello, everybody. From the CNN Center, this is CNN SATURDAY MORNING. It is 7:00 a.m. in Atlanta, 6:00 a.m. in Chicago, and 5:00 a.m., early, early in San Diego. Thanks for joining us this morning. I'm Betty Nguyen. HOLMES: Hello to you all, I'm T.J. Holmes. Well rested on this Saturday, May 2nd. Glad you could start your day here with us. Of course, it is always on a Saturday. We have some a lot of stuff going on. We have some major updates you need to listen to. So we'll start with this.
Swine flu: we have health officials now confirming there are more than 140 cases of swine flu in the U.S. more than 400 schools have been closed in 17 states as a precaution. The government recommending that schools stay closed for two weeks because children can be contagious for up to 10 days. However, we have all kinds of reports, some out of Mexico saying, it is not as bad as they thought it was going to be, but then, some other officials saying it is just as bad. So, we'll try to break all this down for you this morning.
Also, some schools, they want students with any flu-like symptoms to stay home. And Northeastern University, their commencement ceremonies Friday held without the handshake between the dean and the students. Yes, people don't know what to do there.
NGUYEN: Is that a mock handshake right there. What is that?
HOLMES: People don't know what to do there. They don't know what to do. They get their picture, but no handshake there. Extra precautions as well that small bottles of hand sanitizers were placed beneath the faculty chairs. So, no handshake.
NGUYEN: All right. Well, is this going too far? Well, let's tell you what we know so far. The strain in the U.S. hasn't been nearly as deadly as the one in Mexico, but President Obama says the U.S. will be ready if it mutates into something worse.
Now, in his weekly address he assures that every resource is in use. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: As our scientists and researchers learn more information about this virus every day, the guidance we offer will likely change. What will not change is the fact that we'll be making every recommendation based on the best science possible.
We will also continue investing in every resource necessary to treat this virus and prevent a wider outbreak. The good news is, that the current strain of H1N1 can be defeated by a course of antiviral treatment that we already have on hand.
We began this week with 50 million courses of this treatment in the Strategic National Stockpile. Over the course of the last few days, we've delivered one-quarter of that stockpile to states so that they are prepared to treat anyone who is infected with the virus. We then purchased an additional 13 million treatments to refill our strategic stockpile.
Out of an abundance of caution, I have also asked Congress for $1.5 billion if it's needed to purchase additional antivirals, emergency equipment, and the development of a vaccine that can prevent this virus as we prepare for the next flu season in the fall.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NGUYEN: Well, the president also credits the health care measures in his stimulus plan for helping America prepare for an outbreak like this one.
HOLMES: Wars, recession, now a public health crisis for a president who prides himself on doing a lot of things at once. It's yet another dilemma squeezing onto his already full plate. There are at least 140 U.S. swine flu victims and counting. This is not just a medical emergency but a political one as well.
Paul Steinhauser, CNN's deputy political director joins us from now our Washington bureau.
Paul, appearances are important. The president needs to look like he's in charge and out front on this thing. So, is that resonating, at least, with the public?
STEINHAUSER: It seems to be right now because this administration has been giving a lot of briefings. We've been seeing the president talk out daily about the crisis and we've been seeing members of his administration giving news conferences throughout every day.
But what does the public think? The Gallup, the Gallup Organization asked that question earlier this week. They had a poll. And in that poll conducted on Tuesday, two out of three Americans said they thought that the Obama administration was doing a good job combating this crisis. Only 16 percent thought that the Obama administration really wasn't tackling it very well, T.J.
HOLMES: So, from here on out, every crisis that happens in this country, will every president be thinking back to how Hurricane Katrina was handled, and is this always -- the way the president's handling now an indication of lessons learned from that?
STEINHAUSER: Yes, it seems that way. Back in 2005, the Bush administration was really criticized for the federal government's response to those people down in New Orleans and Louisiana, and elsewhere along the gulf coast. And ever since then, you know, we've been -- the government has been trying to find and learn the lessons from the mistakes made in Katrina.
Now, President Obama, though he pointed out when he was speaking the other day, he actually put it out, some good things the Bush administration did combating the virus earlier this decade.
Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: I do want to compliment Democrats and Republicans who worked diligently back in 2005 when the bird flu came up. I was part of a group of legislators who worked with the Bush administration to make sure that we had beefed up our infrastructure and our stockpiles of antiviral drugs like Tamiflu. And I think the Bush administration did a good job of creating the infrastructure so that we can respond.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEINHAUSER: Well, that's the case. Remember, the Katrina disaster definitely hurt the Bush administration politically. I think the Obama administration, T.J., has learned the lessons, and they don't want that to happen again.
HOLMES: Well, it's important in time, especially of crisis, for the administration to stay on message. And it seemed like the Obama administration was, but then they forgot they had a guy who works at the White House by the name of Joe Biden.
Let's take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I would tell members of my family and I have -- I wouldn't go anywhere in confined places now. It's not just going to Mexico, it's your in a confined aircraft when one person sneezes, it goes all the way through the aircraft. That's me. I would not be, at this point, if they had another way of transportation suggesting they ride the subway.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOLMES: Oh Paul, that can't be good -- the vice president coming out and telling everybody essentially not to take -- not to go anywhere, not to do anything.
HOLMES: So, how big of a mistake was this?
STEINHAUSER: He was off message, I think, and even the administration has acknowledged that. That was Thursday morning and right after that, a few hours later, the vice president's office had to put out a clarification. And then later, during the White House briefing that day, Robert Gibbs, the White House press secretary, really said that what Joe Biden meant to say was something very different along the lines of what President Obama has been saying.
And this administration is trying to do two things, T.J. They're trying to raise the concern among Americans and keep Americans, you know, up-to-date as to what's going on, but not to scare them. And I think this -- that little episode with the vice president was definitely off message.
HOLMES: Definitely off message. But we're used to that from Vice President Biden.
HOLMES: All right. We look forward to the next one from the vice president.
Paul Steinhauser, we appreciate you as always. Thank you so much.
STEINHAUSER: Thank you.
NGUYEN: Prosecutors called the killing of a Mexican immigrant a hate crime and a jury disagreed. Two teenagers were acquitted yesterday of murder in a Pennsylvania courtroom. Instead, Brandon Piekarsky and Derrick Donchak were convicted of simple assault in the beating death last summer of Luis Ramirez.
A spokesman for a Mexican-American group was very upset with the verdict, the defense called the trial, quote, "difficult."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LIMON: Facts were egregious in nature. And it's just outrageous and very difficult to understand how any juror could have had reasonable doubt especially as to the aggravated assault charge, the recklessly endangering another person charge, it was -- it's just an outrage.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NGUYEN: Well, prosecutors said the teenagers baited Ramirez into a fight in rural mining town of Shenandoah.
HOLMES: Well, disasters come and go. You may often wonder what happens to those affected by a storm after that storm. Take Greensburg, Kansas, as an example. Two years ago, you may remember, an F-5 pretty much wiped this town out.
NGUYEN: Yes, pretty much off the map. So, how does a small town rebuild from scratch? And just as important -- how do you keep storm victims from starting over somewhere else?
Well, to find out, I took a trip back to Greensburg, and as you are about to see, the progress is pretty impressive.
NGUYEN (voice-over): May 4th, 2007, this is all that's left of Greensburg, Kansas. And F-5 tornado tore through town, killing 11 people.
STEVE HEWITT, CITY ADMINISTRATOR: I walk upstairs and there's nothing but sky. There's no top of the -- there's no top of the house. It's all gone.
NGUYEN: That was city administrator Steve Hewitt showing me where his home once stood two years ago. This is him today.
(on camera): Nice. A lot better than this -- an empty piece of property which I saw last time.
HEWITT: Yes, you know, we've come a long way since then.
NGUYEN (voice-over): And so has the town. Take a look at what was left in 2007. A little more than empty slabs and stacks of debris. But look at it now. Hewitt says 50 percent of the town is rebuilt, and not just the cope, the town has gone green.
The goal? Become one of the most environmentally-friendly cities in the nation. And in doing so, create jobs, so that young families will want to stay.
Like the Tedders who've been living in this FEMA trailer for nearly a year and a half.
JODI TEDDER, STORM SURVIVOR: Six of us and a dog, it's kind of small.
NGUYEN (on camera): It is a little cramped. I see, there's laundry on the side. I mean, there's no place to put it.
TEDDER: And the dresser has silverware in it.
NGUYEN (voice-over): They are one of the last families still living in what's referred to as FEMA-ville. Some 300 trailers used to line these lots. Today, there are only about two dozen -- soon to be one less.
The Tedders are packing up and moving into a brand new house built in the middle of the town.
(on camera): So, when you get into your new home, your room is not going to look anything like this, right?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No. It will be twice the size and I'll have room to put stuff.
NGUYEN (voice-over): But staying here wasn't always a given.
(on camera): Did you ever think about not rebuilding and moving out of Greensburg?
TEDDER: Actually, we did, but Greensburg has a great -- they have wonderful school system. So, we made the decision to stay.
NGUYEN (voice-over): Just what Hewitt wants to hear -- as he works to bring Greensburg back in a big way.
HEWITT: We have tremendous opportunities that won't be without a lot of tough -- sweat and equity and tough investments from each and every single citizen, but -- and -- but I thought, let's give it a shot.
NGUYEN: And that's what they're doing, one family at a time.
(END VIDEOTAPE) NGUYEN: Giving it a shot. You know, even before the storm, the city leaders say their biggest export were young people because they would grew up there in Greensburg, they would go off to college. And because there weren't that many jobs in a small Kansas town like that, they would go to other cities and settle. So, they're hoping that with this green initiative, and actually, about 2/3 of the town has already decided to stay and they'd rebuilt -- they are hoping that the green initiatives will create jobs which are so needed for them.
HOLMES: They're still trying to appeal to that. I mean, you had to appeal to -- that appeals for a job there.
HOLMES: Are they trying to appeal to this -- that sense of home and service and wanting to come back here and serve your community?
NGUYEN: Right. Exactly. Come back and be a part of something that's bigger than what it used to be because we are doing something new in this town and we're creating one of the most environmentally- friendly cities in the nation. So, not only have you grown-up here, but you can be a part of shaping it for the future.
HOLMES: Hopefully, that works.
HOLMES: Because you see that oftentimes, that people go off to college and go off schools and whatnot.
NGUYEN: Yes. They go to bigger cities. They try to get those jobs there. But the good news is, as I mentioned, about 2/3 of the town has decided to stay, and they are rebuilding and rebuilding green.
HOLMES: That's great to hear. That's great to hear.
NGUYEN: And, you know, coming up in the next hour, how Greensburg is redefining what it means to be environmentally-friendly. From a house that can withstand a car being dropped on its roof to a unique way of lighting your home or business without electricity. You have to see what they have in store.
HOLMES: How can a car dropped on a roof of a house?
NGUYEN: They dropped this car on a roof, a Ford Escort.
NGUYEN: I don't want to give it all away.
HOLMES: All right.
NGUYEN: But there was no damage. Can you imagine that? Now, try doing that at your house.
HOLMES: Well, I don't usually toss my car on top of my house. But still, that's interesting.
NGUYEN: But they are proving a point that if you build green you can also build strong.
HOLMES: Well, that's interesting to hear.
All right. Well, our Bonnie Schneider is keeping an eye on the weather as well. A lot of eyes on the derby today.
HOLMES: They might have a bit of a problem today.
SCHNEIDER: That's right. It's already raining in Louisville this morning.
SCHNEIDER: But, of course, the Kentucky Derby is later tonight, maybe we'll get a little dry spot in there around 6:00 or 6:30 so we can have a dry track at Churchill Downs. So, I can tell you, right now, we have the flood threat stretching across a good part of the center of the U.S. all the way back towards Oklahoma. Flood watches, flood warning in place. This is going to be problematic as we go throughout most of the day.
So, we are looking for a forecast for scattered showers for the Kentucky Derby, 64 degrees. So, temperatures will be comfortable, but once again, we do run the risk of rain in the forecast. And part of the reason is, we have a front that's working its way through. It will bring flooding rain through a good portion of Oklahoma, all the way to Missouri, lower sections of Illinois and certainly, into Kentucky and Tennessee.
And Tennessee is really being hit hard. We are seeing some very heavy rain right now in the Nashville area as well as in Jackson and in Memphis, Tennessee. The flooding rain and severe storms threat will persist throughout the day.
I want to talk a little bit about the temperatures and show you that we are looking at some cold numbers as you head further off to the north. Right now, it is about 36 degrees in parts of Michigan at this hour. So, starting off a little chilly this morning, but temperatures will be warming up throughout the day today.
How warm? Well, very hot across parts of Texas and in Florida. And this is important to note because we still run the risk for fire danger. In southwest Texas and parts of New Mexico, the fire weather watches and warnings posted because we could see that relative humidity dropped down below 20 percent today. We also have gusty winds, hot temperatures for extreme southern Texas -- which is interesting because Houston saw a lot of flooding earlier this week.
And then we crossed over the Gulf of Mexico and take you to southwest Florida, having some of the driest weather they've seen so far this year. No rain in sight for southwest Florida. It keeps on coming in terms of the dry, hot conditions. So, watch it for this region because we are going to see hot temperatures and gusty winds -- Betty and T.J.?
NGUYEN: All right, Bonnie, we'll be checking in with you shortly.
In the meantime, though, protecting your biggest asset. We're going to look at the latest in mortgage insurance and see if it's really worth the price.
NGUYEN: Well, good morning. Welcome back, everybody.
All right. So, if you can't save your job, how can you save your home? Well, we do have some answers for you this morning. Clyde Anderson takes a lighthearted look at financial discipline in his book, "What Had Happened Was." In fact, one my favorite titles there. He is with me in the studio this morning to discuss mortgage insurance, all right?
And we want to get down to the bottom of this because a lot of people are thinking, I already have that. I have PMI and I had to purchase that when I bought my home. So, let's talk about the difference between PMI, what that is ...
CLYDE ANDERSON, AUTHOR, "WHAT HAD HAPPENED WAS": Yes.
NGUYEN: ... and the difference between that and mortgage insurance.
ANDERSON: Sure. What we are talking about, PMI is private mortgage insurance. This an insurance you have to have if you have less than 20 percent in the property, meaning that you have more than 80 percent actually in the property. They require you to have private mortgage insurance to protect the lender. The job loss insurance is actually going to protect you in case you lose your job and you still need to make those mortgage payments.
NGUYEN: OK. So, PMI, private mortgage insurance protects the lender, but this other mortgage insurance protects you, the homeowner. How so?
ANDERSON: It protects in a way that you can get it when you purchase a home. Generally, it doesn't take effect until you are in the home for at least six months. And what happens is, if you ever lose your job, become unemployed, not fired as far as something that you've done.
ANDERSON: But if you lose your job, they'll pay your mortgage payments, sometimes, up to $2,500 a month, to cover it from six and sometimes even 12 months. And a lot of companies offer it. It's just that a lot of people don't know about it.
NGUYEN: Really? And there is a clause in there that says you cannot be fired. We won't cover you if you are fired.
ANDERSON: Yes. If it's your own fault, if you are let go at your own fault, if you do something wrong, they're not going to cover you. So, you really got to read the fine print.
You got to understand what the policy is, what the premiums are. Ask a lot of questions. And it can definitely help a lot of people.
NGUYEN: And this can cost quite a bit though. Let's talk about the pros and the cons. Let's start with pros of it.
ANDERSON: Sure. There are several different things that you really have to look at. The pros are, again, that's going to help you in case you lose your job. And in this economy, a lot of people are losing their jobs. So, it can come in handy. I mean, think about it, up to 12 months it can cover you, as far as the mortgage payments up to $2,500 in a lot of cases. So, that's a great pro.
NGUYEN: It is.
ANDERSON: A con is that sometimes it can roll in some of those costs to your closing costs, to the price of the home. Some programs require you to work with a builder or work with a lender or real estate company because they've partnered with those companies. So, you really got to watch the fees and expenses.
A lot of times they won't let you keep it for more than two years. And so, it's a short-term thing. And usually, the most defaults happen in that two-year period. So, if you get it going in, two years, and you're probably much done. You know, the money that you put in, it's just gone.
NGUYEN: Do you have to buy it going in? Do you have to buy it when you sit down and do the closing and all that? Or can you already be in your home and decide, "You know what, this is a good program, I want to get in on it"?
ANDERSON: It depends. Some policies let you go in if you've been in the house for a little while. They have an existing property. Some, you have to get when you get to purchase the property. So, you really got to ask questions, you got to know and ask your lender. As soon as you sit down with the lender to start to pre-qualifying, getting the loan, find out if this is an option.
NGUYEN: Got you. And you talk about the fees and how they can add that on to it, they can tack them on. How much does it range when you're thinking about purchasing this kind of insurance?
ANDERSON: Well, it depends. In some cases, like I said, the builder will actually pay for it. But you got to be careful to see how much they are rolling in. Some policies range from $45 a month and I have seen them up to $500 -- $750 a year.
It just really depends on the company that's doing it, how long they are going to cover you, and that means that -- is it going to be six months, is it going to be 12 months as far as how long they will make those mortgage payments and how much of the mortgage payment will they cover. So, some may not do the whole payment, then, it's two (ph) partial payments, depending on what you can afford and what they feel that you can afford.
NGUYEN: But if you got a $2,000 or $2,500 mortgage payment every month and you've lost your job, this could really pay off.
ANDERSON: It could. And if you get too much over $2,500 a month, you're not going to find any policies for you.
NGUYEN: They're not going to cover it. All right.
NGUYEN: That is good to know.
Clyde Anderson, thanks so much for your time this morning. We appreciate it.
ANDERSON: My pleasure. My pleasure.
HOLMES: All right. Well, Donald Trump, "Apprentice." Now his own chairman of the board. How did he do it? The game plan that got him a plug from Oprah. We could all use a plug from Oprah, couldn't we? That's coming up.
NGUYEN: I'm still kind of confused about that music choice right there.
HOLMES: It's, what, "Money, Money" ABBA. "Money, Money," do you know that one?
NGUYEN: No. Not really.
HOLMES: We have we got to stop ...
NGUYEN: (INAUDIBLE) on the music.
HOLMES: They keep using your playlist.
NGUYEN: That is not my playlist. Show your iPhone, what are you talking about?
HOLMES: I have argued against this for a long time, Betty. Stop bringing it yourself.
NGUYEN: Like I know (ph) ABBA. All right. Please.
HOLMES: All right.
NGUYEN: A great band though, for all those who do love it.
HOLMES: Nothing's wrong with it.
NGUYEN: At all.
HOLMES: Of course.
NGUYEN: Should we sing "Mama Mia"? We love it.
All right. Weekly address, showing (INAUDIBLE).
HOLMES: All right. The Democrats, of course, this week celebrated President Obama's 100th day in office. Republicans -- not celebrating so much. They view this as three months of unchecked spending -- well, as Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins said in her weekly GOP address, take a listen to her.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. LYNN JENKINS, (R) KANSAS: This week, we marked the president's 100th day in office. And while, like most of you, I like the president, personally, I think the Democrats first 100 days running Washington can be summed up in three words: spending, taxing and borrowing. The plans they have passed in the first 100 days will add more to our nation's public debt than all previous presidents combined in 200-plus years. They've taken away President Obama's promised middle-class tax cut and paved the way for a new national energy tax to be paid by every American who dares to flip on the light switch.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOLMES: Democrats approved a $3.4 trillion budget plan this week. No Republicans supporting it.
NGUYEN: Well, job cuts have hit hard in the financial sector. Thousands of people have been laid off in the world of banking and investing. But, one entrepreneur is proving there is life after Wall Street.
CNN's Melissa Long shows us how he got started. And, by the way, you might recognize this guy.
MELISSA LONG, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Kwame Jackson never planned on becoming the reality TV star. The Harvard Business School graduate was working on Wall Street when he won a spot on the first season of "The Apprentice" on NBC. Jackson saw the potential.
KWAME JACKSON, FOUNDER, KRIMSON BY KWAME: It was a chance to brand myself as an individual product and an entrepreneur and then take that platform and see what I could make of it.
LONG: He came in second, but the national exposure was a prize all its own.
JACKSON: So in that television show and people saw me in suits and shirts, and they really liked what I wore and how I put my style together.
LONG: Jackson turned his personal style into a brand, Krimson by Kwame, a high-end line of neckties aim to generation X professionals. Krimson was in the test marketing phase when Jackson met this man, Corwyn Thomas, at a speaking engagement in Cincinnati two years ago. Their conversation led to a partnership.
CORWYN THOMAS, COO, KRIMSON BY KWAME: Thank you for calling Krimson. How may I help you?
LONG: Thomas owned an apparel company and had the connections Jackson needed.
THOMAS: Kwame handled the global brand and marketing piece, and I handled the design and manufacturing and operations piece.
LONG: Last year, Krimson by Kwame neckwear made Oprah's "O-list" and is available online at select Macy's and Belk department stores.
HOLMES: Good ties.
NGUYEN: Yes, you've got one.
HOLMES: I've got one of those ties. And it was -- I didn't realize I had it on, I was wearing it one day, and he sent me an e- mail that said, "Thanks for wearing my tie." OK. Yes, sure.
NGUYEN: Send me a couple more.
HOLMES: Yes. But, no, he's done well. He's done well.
Coming up next: we'll show you the ceremony that nearly brought tears to Hillary Clinton's eyes.
NGUYEN: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton became emotional during ceremonies marking Foreign Affairs Day yesterday. Clinton's voice broke when she talked about a diplomat killed in Ethiopia in March.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: Brian Adkins was a smart, talented and generous young man -- everything that his country looks for in a foreign service officer. Wherever he went he made an impression and he made a difference.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NGUYEN: Well, that diplomat, Brian Adkins, was just 25-years- old. And on his first overseas assignment, a State Department official says Adkins was the victim of a homicide.
HOLMES: All right. Betty and I, of course, will be back at the top of the hour to give you more live news updates. But right, we want to hand it over to "HOUSE CALL" with Dr. Sanjay Gupta.