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Coroner Says Michael Jackson Died from Propofol, Death May be Ruled a Homicide; New Report Claims Mock Executions of Terror Suspects and Children Threatened; Feds Hunt Serial Bank Robber; Federal Deficit Growing; New Orleans After the Storm, Rebuilds Health Care System; News Anchors' Threads for Sale Online; Whole Food and Health Care Debate

Aired August 25, 2009 - 06:00   ET


KIRAN CHETRY, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to AMERICAN MORNING on this Tuesday, August 25th. It's 6:00 a.m. here in New York. I'm Kiran Chetry.

JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning to you. I'm John Roberts. There is a lot going on this morning and here are the top stories that we're covering for you that we'll be breaking down for you in the next 15 minutes.

After weeks of speculation, we now know what happened in the moments before Michael Jackson died. Court documents revealing the singer was given one powerful drug after another until finally the deadly dose. And now reports of Jackson's death may be ruled a homicide.

CHETRY: This morning, the White House is taking the CIA out of the interrogation business. The move comes after a report made public reveals a laundry list of interrogation techniques. Some inside the FBI feared it went too far. We're live in Washington with new details.

ROBERTS: And have you seen this man? He's been captured on surveillance cameras in eight states sneering and holding his pistol sideways. The FBI says he's robbed at least ten banks and they are casting a wide net to try to find him. More on that straight ahead.

CHETRY: But first it was two months ago today that the world learned Michael Jackson had died. And this morning, we now know what investigators believe are the facts behind what killed the pop star. It's a chilling timeline of his final hours, a cocktail of sedatives over a six-hour period mixed with a dose of the powerful anesthetic, Propofol.

This morning, there are reports that homicide charges could come next. Here's CNN's Thelma Gutierrez.

THELMA GUTIERREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: John, Kiran, the affidavit paints an unsettling picture of what investigators believe took place in the hours leading up to Michael Jackson's death.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) GUTIERREZ (voice-over): This 32-page document released in Texas revealed there were lethal levels of the powerful drug Propofol in Michael Jackson's blood at the time of his death, according to preliminary findings of the Los Angeles coroner. The police affidavit says Dr. Conrad Murray, Jackson's personal physician, told detectives he had been treating the star for insomnia for six weeks giving him an IV drip with 50 milligrams of Propofol diluted with Lidocaine every night.

Murray worried Jackson was becoming addicted to Propofol. In an attempt to wean him off, Murray put together other combinations of drugs and succeeded in putting Jackson to sleep for two nights prior to his death.

On June 25th when those drugs failed, Murray told detectives what he did hour by hour. He said around 1:30 in the morning, he gave Jackson 10 milligrams of valium. At 2:00 a.m., he injected Jackson with Ativan, an anti-anxiety drug. An hour later, the sedative Versed. At 5:00 a.m., more Ativan. At 7:30, more Versed.

Murray says he monitored Jackson's vital signs the entire time. According to documents, at 10:40 a.m., after repeated requests and demands from Jackson, Murray administered 25 milligrams of Propofol, and Jackson finally went to sleep.

After 10 minutes, Murray says he went to the bathroom and was gone for two minutes. When he returned he says, Jackson was no longer breathing. Murray says he administered CPR until paramedics arrived but those efforts proved futile.


GUTIERREZ: Dr. Conrad Murray's attorneys released a statement saying, "Much of what was in the search warrant affidavit is factual. However, unfortunately, much is police theory. Most egregiously, the timeline reported by law enforcement was not obtained through interviews with Dr. Murray, as was implied by the affidavit" -- John, Kiran.

CHETRY: Thelma Gutierrez for us this morning. Thanks.

Dr. Conrad Murray, by the way, remains the chief target of a manslaughter investigation but he has not been charged. Reports the coroner is ruling Jackson's death a homicide makes it likely that Murray could soon face charges. And if that's the case, what does it mean for Dr. Murray? Anderson Cooper spoke to senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Jeff, from a legal standpoint, a homicide -- does that mean -- what does that mean, legal? I mean, could Dr. Murray then be charged with, what, manslaughter, murder?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: It means legally taking the life of another. It means Michael Jackson did not die of natural causes. It means it was not a suicide. It means the government has concluded that someone else killed him.

There are a wide variety of charges within homicide. Intentional homicide, you can get the death penalty for it. Negligent homicide is a much less serious crime. It's an unintentional negligent killing. Certainly he seems to be in that end of the spectrum. No one seems to suggest that Conrad Murray intentionally killed Michael Jackson.

COOPER: But by doing something which medically is unsound, he could be charged with what? Second degree murder?

TOOBIN: No. It would be -- it would be some version of manslaughter, an unintentional killing. But you can still go to prison for several years. Keep in mind, though, that these sorts of medical situations, it's very rare that they give rise to criminal charges. Malpractice suits? Yes. Losing your license, yes. But an actual criminal case resulting in a jail sentence? Very unusual.


CHETRY: Now Murray insisted he did nothing wrong. And a video last week said that he has faith the truth will prevail.

ROBERTS: This morning the White House is giving the FBI a starring role in future terror negotiations. The move to overhaul how the nation interrogates and detains terror suspects comes after we learned more about the harsh treatment of extremists. We told you yesterday about interrogations using a gun and a power drill to scare at least one inmate. This morning, new claims of threatening their children and mock executions.

CNN's Elaine Quijano is live in Washington. And, Elaine, within certain circles there in the nation's capital, this inspector general's report has been well known that some of what we're learning in public is quite surprising.

ELAINE QUIJANO, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, absolutely. And Attorney General Eric Holder has now asked a federal prosecutor to review whether interrogations under the Bush administration broke the law. And he says his decision was influenced by this newly released CIA inspector general report.


QUIJANO (voice-over): Interrogators threatened to kill the children of accused 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. The 2004 CIA inspector general's report though still partially redacted says, "According to this interrogator, the (redacted) interrogators said to Khalid Sheikh Mohammed that if anything else happens in the United States, we're going to kill your children."

The report also reveals a technique not previously disclosed that an interrogator "reportedly used a pressure point technique with both his hands on the detainee's neck (redacted) manipulated his fingers to restrict the detainee's carotid artery until the detainee started to pass out." And new information about a gun and a power drill used to scare Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, suspected of plotting the deadly bombing on the USS Cole. "The debriefer entered the cell where Al-Nashiri sat shackled and racked the handgun once or twice close to al-Nashiri's head. And later, "The briefer entered the detainee's cell and revved the drill while the detainee stood naked and hooded. The debriefer did not touch al-Nashiri with the power drill."

The reports released comes after a lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union which called the details outrageous.

JAMEEL JAFFER, ACLU: If threatening the prisoner with an electrical drill isn't torture, I'm not sure what is.

QUIJANO: The report also suggest waterboarding got Khalid Sheikh Mohammed to talk, saying he "provided only a few intelligence reports prior to the use of the waterboard."

Late Monday, the government released other declassified documents former Vice President Dick Cheney requested, arguing they would show the interrogation program saved lives. The CIA analysis says information from detainee interrogations helped thwart a number of Al Qaeda plots and arrests disrupted attack plans in progress. What's not clear from the heavily redacted documents is whether that information was obtained through controversial techniques like waterboarding.


QUIJANO: Now, in a sign of the political pressure surrounding this issue, the ACLU said it is disappointed with the attorney general's decision not to launch into a full investigation, calling a preliminary review without a commitment to prosecution "simply anemic" -- John.

ROBERTS: Well, this had been looked at before by the Justice Department and the Bush administration.


ROBERTS: What's the likelihood that the Obama Justice Department will find anything different?

QUIJANO: Well, that's a very good question. And, in fact, that is a central question that some in the intelligence community are asking. They're saying, look, if the lawyers in the Bush administration examined all of this and decided to take a pass, what's different now. This report as you noted at the top, John, has been out in certain circles. Certainly senior members of relevant committees on Capitol Hill have known about the contents of this report. They really question why, in fact, this review, this preliminary review is taking place at all -- John.

ROBERTS: Elaine Quijano for us in Washington this morning. Elaine, thanks very much. CHETRY: Eight minutes past the hour right now, and they're painting a frightening worst case scenario for the swine flu if it, in fact, resurges this fall as expected. A presidential panel of the nation's top scientists says that the H1N1 virus could cause as many as 90,000 deaths in the U.S., mainly among children and adults.

Again, this is painting a worst case scenario. But it's more than double the number of deaths in an average flu season. The panel also warning that more than a million people could be hospitalized.

ROBERTS: CNN has learned that President Obama plans to nominate Ben Bernanke for a second term as fed chairman this morning. We're expecting that announcement from Martha's Vineyard at 9:00 a.m. Eastern. You can see live right here on CNN.

Earlier this summer, the president praised the fed chief for his handling of the financial crisis and the mortgage meltdown. Bernanke will have to be reconfirmed by the Senate.

CHETRY: And lightning near the Kennedy Space Center forced NASA to scrub the launch of the space shuttle Discovery early this morning. The next attempt will likely be early tomorrow morning. The shuttle was carrying, among other things, a new space treadmill for the International Space Station named COLBERT in honor of Comedy Central's Stephen Colbert.

He had asked his fans to get in there and vote, and his fans actually won the naming rights on an online poll. And it does make sense, though, because it's an acronym, Combined Operational Load Bearing External Resistance Treadmill or COLBERT.

ROBERTS: I think the COLBERT is easier to say than the other.

CHETRY: Yes. But he wanted them to name the whole little wing after him. And that didn't quite work out.

ROBERTS: Some you win, some you don't.

CHETRY: Right.

ROBERTS: Libyan leader Muammar Gadhafi, is he going to be camping out in New Jersey? What do the neighbors think of that? We'll find out coming up next.

Ten minutes now after the hour.


CHETRY: Twelve minutes past the hour. Welcome back to the Most News in the Morning.

The winds have died down and it looks like the wildfires near Athens, Greece are mostly under control. Dozens of firefighters, though, are still on standby watching for any possible flare-ups. The government estimates around 150 homes were damaged, but that may be much higher eventually after they are able to survey more of the area. About 50,000 acres of land destroyed and much of it forests that will take generations to regrow.

ROBERTS: The Department of Homeland Security is flying illegal immigrants caught in the Arizona desert back to Mexico. They'll take a direct flight from Tucson to Mexico City where they'll get bus tickets to their hometowns at no costs. The summer program is in its sixth year now. The goal, reduce border deaths in the desert during the hottest season of the year.

CHETRY: And it's a story that already has people buzzing this morning. Libyan leader who embraced the freed bomber of Pan Am Flight 103, Muammar Gadhafi, wants to pitch a tent in New Jersey, actually near the homes of some victims' families. Gadhafi comes to New York next month for the U.N. General Assembly. There are plans for him to stay in an air conditioned tent at a Libyan-owned estate. A senior State Department official calls it "awful." But as a host of the United Nations, the U.S. may be unable to stop it.

ROBERTS: A serial bank robber has reportedly struck again. It's believed that he has hit as many as ten banks in eight states across the south from Louisville, Kentucky to Charleston, South Carolina. The FBI releasing photos of the man and using electronic billboards along major highways to warn the public. The suspect is armed and considered dangerous.

We're joined by FBI agent Kevin Keithley. He's in Johnson City, Tennessee. Agent Keithley, thanks for being with us this morning. What's the latest on this string of robberies?

KEVIN KEITHLEY, SUPERVISORY SPECIAL AGENT, FBI: Well, good morning. Yesterday the FBI released a series of photographs pertaining to the robberies that have gone on since May of this year and continued into last week. Most recently, last Tuesday here in Morristown, Tennessee and Jefferson City, Tennessee.

At this point, we believe the suspect identified has been involved in at least nine to ten robberies since May between North Carolina, South Carolina, and here in Tennessee.

ROBERTS: What...

KEITHLEY: And yesterday in cooperation with our partnership with Lamar Outdoor Advertising, a series of photographs were released that are being placed on digital billboards across the southeast.

ROBERTS: Yes, I want to get to the billboard in just a second, Agent Keithley. But when's the last time you had someone this audacious who robs so many banks over such a wide area?

KEITHLEY: Well, certainly, this is not common. But this is a unique instance in which the subject in these bank robberies has not used a mask, per se, or any type of a gimmick is really uncommon just to go into a bank and show his face like he had.

ROBERTS: Right. Yes, I mean, he makes no attempts to hide his identity. You've got some great shots of him. Some we saw there in a Troy Polamalu jersey. Any leads as to who this guy is? I would expect you just got to get these photographs in front of the right person to find out.

KEITHLEY: Well, and that's what we're hoping with the use of the digital billboards that we can develop a number of leads that we can follow up on to help in the capture of this individual.

ROBERTS: Yes. Let's bring up one of those billboards just to try to help you out here a little bit. The suspect is a white male. He is 5'9" to 5'11", weight, 170 to 175 pounds, mid to late 30s, reddish brown hair, unshaven goatee. Both forearms. You've been doing this digital billboard campaign here, not just on this fellow but on others for a little more than 18 months now. How successful has this program been in bringing some of these fugitives to justice?

KEITHLEY: Well, it's been very successful. It started in Philadelphia in 2007, and the FBI has continued its use through local and countrywide partnerships with digital billboard companies. And it's led to at least 11 individuals being arrested for violent acts across the country.

ROBERTS: Now, in talking about violent acts here, we see this fellow waving this gun, brandishing this gun fairly menacingly. No one has been hurt thus far. But are you concerned that if someone resists just a little bit, doesn't give this guy what he wants, that he could resort to violence?

KEITHLEY: There's definitely that concern. This guy has made no effort to hide the gun. He's threatened the use of it and every bank robber that he's committed. He's put the gun in the faces of tellers, threatened to use the gun against them, and threatened violence against the bank themselves. So certainly we need to get this guy in custody before he does harm someone.

ROBERTS: FBI Agent Kevin Keithley, it's good of you to come on this morning. And good luck in apprehending this fellow. We appreciate your time, sir.

KEITHLEY: Thank you for the time.

CHETRY: All right. Well, coming up, we are going to -- we talked about the health care debate a lot in this country. We're going to talk to a "Washington Post" reporter who actually did a documentary going from country to country talking about a specific injury. He had a shoulder injury and finding out based on what country he was in and what doctors he visited, the recommendations for how to best treat it. Very widely. So very interesting and how it relates to the United States health care. Could we learn anything that could help us be more efficient here at home?

Eighteen minutes past the hour.


CHETRY: If you listen to interesting, different music. Is that on your iPod?


CHETRY: Welcome back to the Most News in the Morning. Christine Romans here "Minding Your Business" this morning. And we're talking a little bit about this huge budget deficit we're facing.

ROMANS: It keeps getting bigger. The administration has been overly optimistic since day one on budget numbers and the like. And we're expected to get another number today from the government about ten years from the CBO, the Congressional Budget Office and the White House, what they're looking at over the next ten years for deficits.

Its' going to be humongous. It's going to be just mind boggling. $9 trillion is what we're expecting for ten years. And this is kind of leaking out for several days I think because it's just such a big number. And the White House had been closer to $7.1 trillion, even a couple of months ago, but now is ratcheting up those numbers.

Why? OK, this is really -- it's a complicated problem with a very simple analysis. It's how much money the government is taking in and how much money is going out.

Let's look at how much is going out. Government spending has skyrocketed as you all know over the past couple of years, up 21 percent in the first ten months of this year. Unemployment benefits, health care, bailout programs. We are spending more money than we take in. We are spending gobs of money constantly on lots of different programs to try to get this economy out of the mess it's in. At the same time, revenue is plunging.

The money that's coming in to the Treasury Department is plunging down 17 months in the first ten months, or 17 percent, rather, in the first ten months, declining income and peril taxes. People are out of work. We're not making as much money.

CHETRY: Right.

ROMANS: That's going down. Non-wage income. All other kinds of income people have down sharply. And then that stimulus tax credit -- that has to come from somewhere. Right? Everyone is getting this big tax break, that means less money going in.

So this is the situation. Money is not coming in like it used to, and money is going out much, much, more quickly than it used to. And the bottom line is that's red ink, red ink, red ink, red ink for ten years.

ROBERTS: On another note (ph), the president is taking a little bit of time off from his vacation today to renominate Ben Bernanke to be the chairman of the fed. Some people not happy that a holder from the Bush administration is getting the nod for a second time. But really not much of a surprise.

ROMANS: Not much of a surprise and here's the thing. This is a guy like everyone else who didn't understand or grasp the magnitude of the subprime problem. He said that it would be contained, would not spill over into housing and the rest of the economy. That was in 2007. That was wrong.

So there are a lot of people who say that he failed to see this was going to happen. But, when he did -- when he did understand how big this crisis was, he was creative and aggressive. Also, this is the man who helped orchestrate a lot of the things that people say kept us from going over the abyss. Now they need him to help unwind those things so that we don't repeat some of the mistakes of the depression. He is a scholar of the depression.

CHETRY: Right.

ROMANS: Those mistakes of the depression including once the economy started going again, it was some fed blunders and monetary blunders that actually caused the economy to go back into the hole in 1937. That's what we really want to avoid.

CHETRY: It's also not that -- is it that rare for that position to not be politicized, meaning they spill over in an administration whether it's a Republican or Democrat? Look at Greenspan.

ROMANS: Right. Exactly. No, it is insulated. It should be, at least, from the politics of Washington. It is not unusual to have one president's nominee continue on.

I mean, look, Greenspan was there for a very long time.

CHETRY: Right.

ROMANS: He was the first, sort of, I think, very well-known celebrity -- celebrity fed chief. This is kind of like the main street. He went on "60 Minutes," for crying out loud. You never see something like that from a fed chief. So, interesting stuff. We'll have more. The president will speak on it tonight.

ROBERTS: Right. Looking forward to that. We'll carry it here on CNN. Christine Romans "Minding Your Business" this morning.

Four years ago this week, Hurricane Katrina hit in New Orleans, devastating among so many other things, the medical community there. The hospitals were ruined in shape.

Well, things are bouncing back. Our Dr. Sanjay Gupta takes a look at how things are faring there after the storm as we continue our special series this week, "Katrina, Four Years Later." Stay with us.

It's 25 minutes after the hour.


CHETRY: Welcome back to the Most News in the Morning. It is 27 minutes past the hour.

You know, this week it's hard to believe it's been four years. But it marks four years since Hurricane Katrina took its deadly toll on New Orleans and many other surrounding communities. And in many places around the city, those wounds four years later are still fresh. ROBERTS: But in our special after the storm series, our Dr. Sanjay Gupta found the city's medical system is piecing itself back together and it's doing it one clinic at a time.


DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Four years ago, Katrina unhinged New Orleans. Homes, people, buildings bruised and battered, along with the medical system, destroyed. An icon of that system, Charity Hospital, today is still closed.

But out of the woodwork in unorthodox places, the community is responding.

(on camera): What does community-based therapy look like here in New Orleans? You're looking at it. This used to be somebody's home but is now an outpatient clinic. Let's go take a look.

So this is your house?


GUPTA: Used to be your house?

BERRYHILL: Yes. Now the clinic. I still own it, but it's the clinic now. The Lower Ninth Ward Health Clinic.

GUPTA (voice-over): Before the storm, Patricia Berryhill was a nurse at Charity Hospital.

BERRYHILL: I had water to the ceiling here in this home.

GUPTA (on camera): Right here. So there was water to the ceiling.

BERRYHILL: To the ceiling.

GUPTA: It's just so hard to imagine.

BERRYHILL: Oh, yes. The first time I saw it, it looked like a time bomb had hit it. Everything was destroyed.

GUPTA (voice-over): The triage area used to be a den. Berryhill's kids' rooms, now a kid-themed exam rooms. Her old bedroom, more exam rooms. Berryhill built the clinic alongside a friend, another nurse at Charity.

ALICE CRAFT-KERNEY, EXEC. DIRECTOR, LOWER NINTH WARD HEALTH CLINIC: The first patient that walked through the door was so ill that we had to send her to the emergency room. But what that did was that confirmed our belief that we needed to be here.

GUPTA: The days are long. The two nurses alongside two part- time doctors, two medical assistants care for about 80 patients every week. And the cost to the patient, even those without insurance -- a pittance -- funded in part by government insurance like Medicaid and donations.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you, ma'am. All right.

GUPTA: Across town under a bridge, a free therapeutic drum circle.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We've had an increase in mental illness since the storm with a decrease in providers and a decrease in hospital beds.

GUPTA: This is not a cure for depression, but organizers say it's a subtle, non-stigmatizing way to give some relief. The circle, the clinic, both a response to hemorrhaging hospital budgets and emergency rooms filled to the brim with patients.

(on camera): Are you going to get to a time when this doesn't need to be a clinic anymore?

CRAFT-KERNEY: You know, we hope we'll get put out of business in a way. Because if that happens, that means that we will have adequate health care.

GUPTA (voice-over): Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN, New Orleans.


ROBERTS: And a reminder, tune in at this time tomorrow. Sanjay will be back in New Orleans looking at the lingering emotional effects from Hurricane Katrina and one group's efforts to help residents cope four years after the storm.

And to see any of the stories from our series this week, just check out our blog,

Half past the hour now and checking our top stories.

Finally, an answer to what killed Michael Jackson. Preliminary findings from the Los Angeles corner suggest what was long suspected: Jackson died from lethal levels of the powerful drug Propofol.

The report also included a statement from Jackson's personal physician, Dr. Conrad Murray. Murray told investigators he gave the singer a cocktail of drugs to help him sleep over a six-hour period. He also said he had been treating Jackson for insomnia for about six weeks.

Will he or won't he run for governor in 2010? That's the question surrounding former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani. According to "The New York Times," Giuliani could make a decision sometime in the next two months. The former Republican presidential candidate has been meeting with GOP movers and shakers across the state and just recently urged the state Republican chairman to step aside, which party insiders view as a concrete step to making a run at it. The American Heart Association says the Americans are eating way too much sugar, 22 teaspoons a day on average. That's 355 calories or two cans of soda and a candy bar every day. The group says women should be getting no more than 100 calories of added sugar -- that's about six teaspoons a day -- or 150 calories for men, which is about nine teaspoons.

CHETRY: Or one Krispy Kreme doughnut, right?


CHETRY: Well, it's 32 minutes past the hour right now. Now to our look at health care during this make-or-break month for health care reform. "Washington Post" correspondent T.R. Reid went around the world asking a simple question: Can you fix my bum shoulder?

He received a variety of treatments, spoke to doctors, health care experts, government officials and patients in many different countries to figure out how they're able to provide quality health care at a reasonable cost, and are any of these lessons able to be learned here in the United States?

And he describes his journey in his new book, "The Healing of America: A Global Quest for Better, Cheaper, and Fairer Health Care." He joins me now.

Great to talk to you this morning T.R.

T.R. REID, "THE WASHINGTON POST": I love your show. I'm delighted to be here.

CHETRY: Well, thank you. You're welcome any time. So, you hurt your shoulder when you were a Navy seaman, and you said that a Navy surgeon at the time basically pinned you back together, screwed your shoulder back together.

REID: Correct, a stainless steel screw.

CHETRY: And that you can still see in the X-ray.

REID: It's still in there, yes, yes.

CHETRY: And so, when you traveled around -- you went to France, Germany, Japan, India, the UK -- what did you notice and what types of recommendations did you get about how they would go about treating it?

REID: Everybody approached it differently. Several countries would have done exactly the same high-tech procedure, operation that an American doctor recommended, although it was much less, one-sixth of the cost, one-eighth of the cost.

In Britain, the doc told me to go home and live with it. You're living your life. We're not going to fix that. In Canada, very good care in Canada, but not if you're only hurt. If you're acutely sick, they'll treat you in Canada, but in my case, guy said, I'm going to send you to an orthopedist. It will take 10 or 12 months. CHETRY: Wow.

REID: Never even saw the doctor there. What I...

CHETRY: And you also said it was interesting that in India and also was it Japan, I believe, that they wanted to try other things first, alternative medicines as we know it, In India, aryuvedic medicine, which is herbal remedies and also massage.

REID: Yes, that's right. In aryuveda, we did herbal medicine for five weeks. Six guys massaged my shoulder with warm oil every day. It was really sweet. It was great.

And guess what? It worked. I got more movement and less pain out of it. And the Japanese insurance system would have paid for that. They paid for acupuncture. They paid for shots. They would have paid -- Japan covers everything. That's really, that's the broadest choice of any health care system I've ever seen.

CHETRY: Really?

REID: Yes.

CHETRY: Now, I want to ask you what lessons that you can take away from some of these countries on how we can make health care better in the United States. I mean, we're dealing with a much larger and much more diverse population in some of the countries that you visited.

REID: Well, all the other rich countries cover everybody with high quality, and they spend half as much as we do. That's really what I was looking for -- how do you do that? And guess what? It's not all socialized medicine. A lot of countries -- Germany, Netherlands, France, Japan -- private docs, private hospitals, private insurance. They cover everybody and spend much less...

CHETRY: So how did they do it? What's the difference?

REID: In the first place, the insurance companies are much nicer. They cover everybody. They have to pay every claim. In Switzerland, they have to pay the claim within five days or your next month's premium is free.

CHETRY: Are they for-profit as well?

REID: No. They're nonprofit in every other country. All the countries have decided that health insurance has to be nonprofit. The docs, the drug companies, the hospitals, they can be for-profit, but all the other countries have concluded that the payment system has to be nonprofit. And guess what? They have much lower administrative costs, they cover everybody and spend a lot less.

CHETRY: You also -- I thought this was an interesting tidbit. We talk a lot about waste. What is it, 20 percent of every dollar goes toward administrative costs and profit, right...

REID: Exactly right, yes.

CHETRY: ... when it comes to -- talking about here in the United States. You say that in France, everybody has a little green card. That's their medical card. All of it is computerized. All of it, 100 perecent, is digital, and they've been able to bring their administrative costs down to 3 percent. How can we do that here?

REID: Why can't we do that is the question. You think of France as a model of management efficiency? I don't know. But we're aiming now to get everybody on digital records by 2014. The French got there in 2005. We're only going to be a decade behind France.

CHETRY: And I believe our goal was 50 percent of medical records.

REID: That's exactly right. Fifty percent by 2014.

CHETRY: Fifty percent by 2014. Other countries are already doing it. It is because we have a larger -- I mean, France, you're talking about 61 million people. Here, we're talking about maybe 300 million people or more.

REID: I don't think that's the difference, no. The difference is we have so many different overlapping systems. There's one for veterans, there's one for seniors, there's one for members of Congress, there's one for people under 16, blah, blah, blah..

And all of the other countries have put everybody into one system. They think it's fairer. They think that everybody gets the same access. But it's much simpler and cheaper. That's why their administrative costs are so much lower than ours.

CHETRY: And why do you have to wait ten months in Canada to get your shoulder looked at?

REID: Because they're saving money by making people wait for elective surgery or things that you don't need. If you're really sick in Canada, an ambulance comes to your house for free, they treat you for free in the hospital. That's pretty good. If all you've got is a shoulder that hurts when you wake up in the morning, you wait a year.

CHETRY: And use massage oil, right?


REID: That's right. That's right.

CHETRY: Well, it's very fascinating. It was the subject of a documentary for "Frontline," and you can read the book now. T.R. Reid, "The Healing Of America." Great talking to you this morning, and thanks for being with us.

REID: Hey, I like your show. Thanks. Delighted. Thank you..

CHETRY: John. ROBERTS: Remember that sordid tale of the model versus the blogger? Well, now it's getting nasty. And guess who else is in the cross hairs? We'll tell you, coming up. Thirty-seven and a half minutes after the hour.


ROBERTS: From the catwalk to the cover of fashion magazines, model Leskula Cohen is used to the spotlight and the scrutiny. But she says nothing compares to the scorn that she suffered at the hands of an anonymous blogger. So, she sued, and a New York court forced Google to reveal the blogger's identity. Well, now the outed blogger is fighting back.

Here's Jason Carroll.


CARROLL (voice-over): It's the kind of photo spread no model would want, featured on a blog called Skanks in New York City. Former "Vogue" cover girl Liskula Cohen ended up on the blog, telling CNN's Campbell Brown she was determined to find out who was behind putting her there.

LISKULA COHEN, SUED GOOGLE AND WON: I wanted it gone. And I didn't want it to be there for the rest of my life. And I knew that the only way for it to be gone was to call my lawyer.

CARROLL: She's not the only one calling a lawyer. So is the woman behind the blog, Rosemary Port, a 29-year-old fashion student and casual acquaintance of Cohen. Port's attorney saying she's the real victim.

SALVATOR STRAZZULLO, PORT'S ATTORNEY: I not only feel my client was wronged, but I feel now it sets a precedent that anyone with money and power can get the identity of anyone that decides to be an anonymous blogger.

CARROLL: Ports's name released after a judge sided with Cohen, who sued Google to reveal information about the anonymous blogger. The blog had appeared on Google's Web site. The court rejected Port's claim blogs like hers serve as a modern-day forum for conveying personal opinions and shouldn't be regarded as fact.

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: The court said, look, there was specific evidence that this one person may have libeled another person. In that circumstance, we are going to disclose that name.

CARROLL: Google says it complies with court orders saying, "We have a legal team whose job it is to scrutinize these requests and make sure they meet not only the letter but the spirit of the law." Port still says Google should have kept her name private and plans on suing Google for $15 million. Cohen's attorney says he can't believe Port's nerve.

STEVEN WAGNER, COHEN'S ATTORNEY: Her being a victim here? I have trouble understanding that, in its entirety.

CARROLL: Web watchers like "Wired" magazine's Nicholas Thompson say this is a lesson for all anonymous bloggers.

NICHOLAS THOMPSON, "WIRED" MAGAZINE: Some of the effects will be good. People will recognize, wait a second, the law does apply to the blogosphere. And some of it may be bad. There will be people who won't publish things that maybe they should publish that would be good for society.


ROBERTS: Jason Carroll with that story for us this morning. So, what do you think?

CHETRY: I understand both sides. I understand where the lady was coming from then when she said that been impugned, and this person has just been able to, you know, write things about her that are not true under the protection of being anonymous.

ROBERTS: I think there's a difference between people who are whistleblowers who are out there trying to expose things that need to get out there in the public forum and then other people who are just, like, gossiping.

CHETRY: Right. In hurtful ways.

ROBERTS: Yes. True.

CHETRY: Very interesting that the court decided, and I wonder how it will affect future bloggers.

ROBERTS: Yes, well, we'll find out if they even accept the lawsuit against Google.

We want to know what you think about all of this. Should bloggers' identities be private, and is freedom of speech protected online, particularly when it's malicious speech?

Sound off on our blog. You can find it at

CHETRY: All right. Still ahead, our Rob Marciano's going to be joining us. He says there's some weather right now brewing in the tropics near the Bahamas, and he's also going to let us know they had to scrub the shuttle launch last night. Will tonight be any better? He joins us in a few minutes. It's 44 minutes past the hour.


ROBERTS: It's coming up on 47 minutes after the hour. Rob Marciano at the weather center in Atlanta tracking all the extreme weather today. A little something, something down there in the southeastern part of the Bahamas there, Rob.

ROB MARCIANO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes, we got rid of Bill, John and Kiran. And now we're watching this wave, which looks pretty impressive. And more than that, really, it's closer than Bill was to a stand (ph). So, these things can flare up in a hurry.

And just to give you an idea of timing of this, this is the same area that Katrina formed four years ago. It's the same area that Andrew came in back in '92. So, it's definitely an area of concern.

so, this is a tropical wave right here. Right now, it's kind of running into a trough. That doesn't typically help things, but the National Hurricane Center thinks, you know, things could become more favorable for development over the next day or two. They're giving it a 30 to 50 percent chance of that happening.

So, when you're talking about a 50-50 shot of it becoming maybe a tropical storm or a hurricane, then we've got some problems.


ROBERTS: All right, Rob, thanks so much. And a reminder, Rob hits the road every Friday for a little something we call "Rob's Road Show." If you know a neat spot where he should be live from, send us an e-mail. Just go to our Web site at

CHETRY: You think he can outshine the tractor this week?

ROBERTS: I don't know. That would be difficult.

CHETRY: Big tractor pull.

ROBERTS: That would be difficult. I would have liked to have seen Rob pulling the sled, though, you know, as opposed to being pulled by a sled.

CHETRY: All right, well, there is a new Web site out, as if there's not a Web site for everything. But I think this makes a little bit of sense. You have nice clothes that we wear on TV. And what do you do when you're sick of them? Do you give them to somebody else who could maybe really take advantage of them in their (INAUDIBLE)?

ROBERTS: As people know me well know, I tend to hang on to them forever.

CHETRY: Well, as you're about to see, so do i. Jeanne Moos takes a look at a new TV anchor clothes Web site. Has it taken off? Forty-nine minutes after the hour.


ROBERTS: Welcome back to the Most News In The Morning. Larry King's got his suspenders. Ali Velshi has his vests. Rob Marciano has his muscle Ts. I have my ties -- or not. People on television news are known for their keen sense of fashion, as we said (INAUDIBLE) industry.

CHETRY: What is it? Tieless Tuesday? Tie-free Tuesday? Always a big hit with some of our e-mailers. ROBERTS: Tieless Tuesday -- yes, you know -- whether we do it on Friday. I'm amazed at how many people get their knickers in a twist when you don't wear a tie.

CHETRY: It really bothers some folks. Well, hey, how about this? If you are looking for perhaps a new update to your closet, you're in luck. Because Jeanne Moos most found a most unusual hand- me-down Web site.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: (voice-over): Want to wear what they're wearing?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Good morning, Darlene.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hey there, Mac (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Felicia Garozzo (ph) joins us live from Miami.

MOOS: You can dress like a TV anchor for peanuts at

JOLENE DEVITO, TALENT DYNAMICS: Send us your gently worn TV clothes and accessories.

MOOS: Most TV anchors, like CNN's Kiran Chetry, have them -- castaways in the closet.

KIRAN CHETRY, CNN ANCHOR: Let me show you what's been rejected.

MOOS (on camera): Someone told you not to wear this?

CHETRY: Yes. So that's why it's up here.

MOOS: Your boss?

CHETRY: Yes. But I shall not reveal names.

MOOS: A perfect candidate for TV news closet.

DEVITO: Maybe you're out in a business here like me. And maybe it doesn't fit and you don't like it.

MOOS: TV people send in, say, this turquoise jacket and dress. The Web site sells it for $30 and splits the proceeds with the owner. The names of the owners aren't specified, though a certain morning anchor in the Southwest seems to be cleaning out her closet, selling several items.

(on camera): Anchors come in all sizes, right? DEVITO (via telephone): Anchors do come in all sizes.

MOOS: But don't they come in mainly small?

DEVITO: Oh, we have an abundance of small sizes right now.

MOOS (voice-over): Jolene DeVito was on air for 15 years. Now she's running a Web site through a talent recruiting and coaching outfit called Talent Dynamics.

DEVITO: Definitely give this away. I can't wear shiny.

MOOS: The site also sells items for men, and not Ron Burgundy (ph) stuff. Take this custom-made suit from a primary anchor in a top five market. Most of the clothing isn't designer. Though Kiran hasn't yet sent anything, she's got plenty of rejects.

CHETRY: Here we go, the piece de resistance.

MOOS (on camera): This is maternity?

CHETRY: The last stick (ph) equals maternity.

MOOS: You do need maternity stuff?

DEVITO: Absolutely.

MOOS (voice-over): The idea is to sell the hand-me-downs to local TV people who can't afford expensive clothing.

Of course, maybe you wouldn't want some of the TV clothing once you find out where it's been.


MOOS: Take the orange top that CNN's Deb Feyerick wore to help deliver a calf.

FEYERICK: Oh my gosh.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's beautiful.


I wasted no time getting it dry cleaned.

DEVITO: Sent it our way.

MOOS: It's the first of a Web site.

Jeanne Moos, CNN...

(on camera): I'm just never in an anchor's closet.

(voice-over): ...New York.


ROBERTS: How much did you get rid of?

CHETRY: Well, on that, she gave me an idea. There are actual charities as well, Dress for Success and others that give away the clothes, too. I have a lot of cleaning out to do. She made me realize I'm saving way too much stuff.

ROBERTS: Definitely. Well, a good way to get rid of some more clothes.

CHETRY: (INAUDIBLE)... Deb Feyerick's jacket. She kept the jacket for posterity's sake.

ROBERTS: Some of those things could be famous, you know.

So, Whole Foods, otherwise known as Whole Paycheck in some circles -- they made some noise in the last couple of weeks about health care reform. Now some people not too happy with Whole Foods. We'll let you in on "Whole" story, coming right up. It's fifty-five and a half minutes after the hour.


CHETRY: Welcome back to the Most News in the Morning. If you like to eat organic and you don't mind spending a little more, it is the place to go. But now the upscale grocery chain Whole Foods is in the middle of a health care reform debate after its CEO wrote an editorial about it. Our Deb Feyerick is looking into the controversy this morning.


DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Many who shop at Whole Foods say it's easy to justify spending a little extra money to feel you're staying healthy and maybe living longer.

So why are so many people so upset?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Boycott Whole Foods.

FEYERICK: Price isn't the problem. At issue is an editorial appearing on "The Wall Street Journal's" conservative opinion page written by Whole Foods chief executive officer, John Mackey. He argues universal health care is no more a right than food or shelter.

MARK ROSENTHAL, ACTIVIST: This is about a CEO using one of the most progressive brands in this country to murder any discussion of health care reform and health insurance reform.

FEYERICK: Among Mackey's suggestions -- deregulation, Medicare reform and allowing higher deductibles -- positions similarly advocated by John McCain, Newt Gingrich and conservative groups.

Mark Rosenthal is a playwright, activist and former Whole Foods loyalist. Using Facebook, Twitter and other social media, he has recruited some 26,000 people to boycott Whole Foods, saying the CEO has betrayed the ideals which helped build the health food chain.

(on camera): There are a lot of Democrats who shop here, there are a lot of Republicans who shop there.

ROSENTHAL: It's not about Democrat or Republican. It's not about conservative or liberal. It's about a brand that has built up by progressive dollars being used as a Trojan horse for some of the most discredited lies that we have poisoning this debate on health care right now -- lies about deregulation, lies about people who are sick not taking personal responsibility.

FEYERICK: (voice-over): Whole Foods provided a statement saying the chain "has no official company wide position on the health care reform issue" and that the CEO was, quote, "expressing his own viewpoints and providing constructive ideas to support reform, as President Obama invited America to do."

So how badly will the boycott hurt sales, if at all?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm just not supporting him with my dollars.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It wouldn't stop me from -- from buying. You know, people are allowed their own opinions.

FEYERICK (on camera): Rosenthal is not organizing the protests per se. He's encouraging people who want to make a difference to hand out copies of the editorial at Whole Foods stores across the country and let shoppers vote with their wallet.

Deborah Feywick, CNN, New York.


CHETRY: All right. Thanks so much, Deb.

Meanwhile, it is 7:00 on the nose here in New York. Welcome to AMERICAN MORNING on this Tuesday, August 25. I'm Kiran Chetry.