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White House Party Crashers Shook Hands With President Obama; Personal Finance Experts Advise on Holiday Shopping Season; Deadly Train Derailment in Russia: An Act of Terror

Aired November 28, 2009 - 14:00   ET


FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: All right, in the news room, Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson can move over for the newest pair of high profile party crashers. The fresh fallout from Tuesday's state dinner security fiasco.

And he really can drive a golf ball, but police want to talk to Tiger Woods about his driving skills behind the wheel following a Friday morning accident.

And housing prices now at the absolute rock bottom. We are answering your prices about money and talking live with the experts. You are in the CNN NEWSROOM where the news unfolds live this Saturday, November 28th. I'm Fredericka Whitfield.

We begin with an act of terror. That's what investigators are calling a deadly train derailment in Russia. A second explosive device has gone off as workers try to clear the sight of yesterday's derailment, which killed at least 26 people and injured dozens more.

The high speed express train was traveling from Moscow to St. Petersburg when a homemade bomb caused it to derail in the province of Novogorod. Officials say they found the remains of an explosive equivalent to 15 pounds of TNT.

No trains were passing at the time. Crews are still searching for 18 people who were on that train.

State side now, the party crashers who attended a White House state event caused an even bigger security breech than earlier thought. The couple actually shook hands with the president as you see right there. And now the Secret Service admitting fault, saying it is embarrassed by that breach.

CNN's Kate Bolduan is at the White House with the very latest on this very bizarre story. Kate, what is the White House saying now about the image showing that really, indeed, this couple was very close, handshaking distance from the President.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: About as close as you can get to a president, I would say, Fredricka.

While, the White House is taking this breach of security very seriously. The incident is being dubbed the "state dinner crashers." And it is now getting more and more attention. The White House admits, as you see in the picture, this couple, a Virginia couple, Tareq and Michaela Salahi, they were close enough to shake hands with president Obama in the receiving line at the state dinner with the Indian Prime Minister Singh next to him.

The Secret Service released a statement yesterday saying from the director of the Secret Service that the agency is deeply concerned and embarrassed. It goes on to say they, the Salahis, should have been prohibited from entering the event entirely. That, failing, he says, is ours.

While the White House asked for a full review of the incident, White house spokesperson Nick Shapiro made a point of saying in a statement saying the Secret Service has the full confidence of the president still -- Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: And so now what, Kate?

BOLDUAN: It's a good question. And it's still really unclear the exact details and circumstances of what really happened around the incident. How this couple really got into this state dinner. The Secret Service is not ruling out the possibility of criminal charges here.

We haven't heard specifically from this couple, but in a statement from their attorney, the attorney says that they did not crash this event and that they "look forward to setting the record straight soon," in their words.

WHITFIELD: Interesting stuff.


WHITFIELD: Kate Bolduan, thank you so much.

And we're not done talking about this crazy incident. Later in the show, we will talk with a former social secretary of the Bush administration about what the protocol is for these kinds of events.

From the White House to central Florida, another high profile crash is getting lots of attention. Golf superstar Tiger Woods is supposed to talk to investigators with the Florida highway patrol following his single car accident in front of his Orlando mansion earlier yesterday morning.

Police says Wood hit a fire hydrant, then a neighbor's tree. He suffered a few minor injuries in the process.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was on the ground, semi-unconscious, and had lacerations on his upper and lower lip.


WHITFIELD: A publicist for Woods says the 33 year old was released from the hospital in good condition. Police said they don't believe alcohol was a factor in this crash.

So why all this hoopla over a minor traffic accident? Well, it's because Tiger Woods is such a huge major figure. And in the sporting world and beyond, he just leaps beyond anyone's comprehension. CNN's Joe Johns puts it all into perspective.


JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Whether you like professional golf or not, in some ways we are all at least followers of the career of Tiger Woods. We watch him, some obsessively, not only because of his continued world dominance of his sport, but because he is probably the best known athlete from any sport in the world.

PATRICK SNELL, CNN SPORTS: This is Tiger Woods. Everything he does is upheld with the utmost scrutiny. He transcends the sport, there's no doubt about it.

JOHNS: Though he is still a few wins away from the consensus claim of greatest pro golfer ever, he is currently the highest paid, $110 million in winnings last year, and unprecedented $1 billion in his career, including endorsements, appearances, business relationships with companies like Nike.

He gets an estimated $20 million a year just from Nike for adding his brand to their line of gold equipment. He got $10 million apiece from three golf courses he helped developed in Dubai, North Carolina, and Mexico. He also attached his name to Gatorade and Gillette and American Express.

SNELL: He wins everything. He keeps winning. He's a winning machine, and he settles for nothing but the best.

JOHNS: He has singlehandedly rebranded and expanded the game, bringing in countless fans who probably never would have picked up a golf club if they hasn't seen him do what he does.

His personal story is compelling. He married a Swedish model. They have two beautiful children. He's a mixed race kid. Son of a mother from Thailand, his late father an elite American green beret soldier said to have nicknamed Tiger after a man who saved his life in Vietnam.

And beyond all this there's the charity, the giving back that makes him so popular. The Chevron World Challenge golf tournament in Thousand Oaks, California, just days away, is a benefit for his Tiger Woods Foundation and other charities.

Attention will be paid to Tiger's appearance or nonappearance at that event, which just goes to show how watching Tiger what he does on and off the golf course is now an international past time.

Joe Johns, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE) WHITFIELD: And right now we are watching these guys here. The Dolan's, Ken and Daria have some great answers for all your personal finance questions you are sending your way. Get in on the conversation by way of Facebook or my blog, right there, The Dolan's right after this.


WHITFIELD: All right, even if you are in the red, we are seeing green whenever we see this couple, the Dolan's. Good to see you guys from West Palm.



WHITFIELD: I have digested. Now, I'm ready to get a great filling of all your wonderful financial advice.

KEN DOLAN: That's very good.

WHITFIELD: Did you guys have a good Thanksgiving?

KEN DOLAN: I'm still eating. I have a turkey leg here.

WHITFIELD: Good, you can snack in between breaks.

Folks are still trying to wonder, home sales, the prices of homes are unbelievable. Is this really a great time to buy a house?

KEN DOLAN: Housing starts are down 30 percent and home prices are down 10 percent. So it might be in certain, unfortunately, places like Nevada where a lot of people are underwater, maybe not. But, you have to be careful, that's all.

DARIA DOLAN: I'd be very, very hesitant at this point because what we are creating now, in my opinion, is a new bubble in the low priced houses thanks to the first time home buyer tax credit.

But what that's done, because if you look in our local papers here where they show real estate sales every week, the only houses selling are the ones that are the starter home prices. So those are getting inflated a little bit.

So, if you are a first time home buyer, odds are there's another leg down to come because this unemployment number isn't getting better.

WHITFIELD: What usually are starter homes, because they are traditionally moving ...


KEN DOLAN: Great question, because as people who couldn't ordinarily buy a home get the $8,000 tax credit, so now all of a sudden the inventory is drying up a little bit in parts of America. Whoa. That means prices will go up a little.

The bottom line is, if you find a home that you like, that you can afford in an area that's nice that's great for you and your family and it's not an investment, then you don't care if it goes down 10 percent.

DARIA DOLAN: As long as you have enough to put into it so you don't end up upside-down the way 23 percent of homeowners are now.

KEN DOLAN: It's a mess.

WHITFIELD: And upside-down is why so many people are in trouble. One in four mortgages are underwater.

KEN DOLAN: One in four, yes.

WHITFIELD: If that's you, if you are thinking I'm trying to hold on to the one I have, what can I do? What are my options?

DARIA DOLAN: Here is the thing. This is the scary number -- 11 percent of the homeowner who are upside down with their mortgages...

KEN DOLAN: Let me explain "upside down." What they owe is more than what the house is worth, so people know.


DARIA DOLAN: Eleven percent of those homeowners bought in 2009. That's a scary statistic.

So if you're upside down, first off, you have to get yourself to the mindset, I still need a roof over my head and I'm paying for something that doesn't hold its value. But hopefully you'll be there long enough to at least break even. You have to live somewhere.

KEN DOLAN: You have to talk to the lender. Lenders don't want to own anymore houses. Talk to the lender first

WHITFIELD: So many people though who say when they talk to their lender, they get the runaround. People are saying I'm voluntarily foreclosing or thinking about filing for bankruptcy.

KEN DOLAN: It's called deed -- a lot of people are putting the keys in the mailbox and walking away. It's called deed in lieu of foreclosure. However, that's going to trail you, and that may be the solution to people who just have no other, but that's going to trail your credit history for a number of years, Fredricka.


DARIA DOLAN: The other alternative would be a short sale in which you work out a deal with the lender. I want to sell this house because you got a job somewhere else to move to. I can't sell the house for what it's worth to cover what I owe. So let's work out a deal where you forgive what I owe over and above a certain amount of money. KEN DOLAN: It's a tough scene.

WHITFIELD: It's very tough to get a loan for anything.

KEN DOLAN: The problem is, a lot of people, I hate to say this because we love or CNN audience, a lot of people underwater now should have never owned the home in the first place.

WHITFIELD: I know, but that like water under the bridge.

KEN DOLAN: You're right.

WHITFIELD: They just need help.

DARIA DOLAN: But we are creating a new bridge with more water under it. Those with the $8,000 tax credit are getting in again for nothing down because of the $8,000 tax credit.

WHITFIELD: Let's talk about something else ...

KEN DOLAN: Don't depress everybody.

WHITFIELD: I'm not depressed.

KEN DOLAN: Just be cool.

WHITFIELD: You're with a company, you have a job, a 401(k). Some folks are now saying I don't know if I want to give contributions because my company is no longer matching what it once was. What do I do?

KEN DOLAN: That's a good point. Up to 60 percent of companies who had 401(k)s stopped the contributions. But don't stop them because it's such a great tax advantage.

I'll be with you here. however, I want to say something. Get the money off the top of your income. Get it in tax deferred and put it into something as close to guaranteed as possible. Don't stop your 401(k).

DARIA DOLAN: We had this conversation at our Thanksgiving dinner table ...

WHITFIELD: Oh, really.

DARIA DOLAN: Someone in the family who shall remain anonymous because his company is now no longer matching. And we said, look, if you do an IRA at your age, you are limited to $4,000 a year ...

KEN DOLAN: $5,000.

DARIA DOLAN: $5,000, sorry. But you have a little bit more that you can contributor. As long as the choices in the plan are good, then you want to put as much away for retirement as you possibly can.

KEN DOLAN: We'll never invite him to Thanksgiving dinner again because he has money questions.

WHITFIELD: I bet where ever you go, people are asking you questions. Wait a minute, I have something to ask.

So we have a lot of other questions coming your way from our Web site, our blogs. Josh Levs is sifting through a ton of questions. People try to reach out to you in so many different ways. Wait, there's more, right? See you right after the break.

KEN DOLAN: Good deal.

DARIA DOLAN: Good deal, thanks.


WHITFIELD: We're going to get back with the Dolan's in a moment, but first these top stories to watch.

A second device has gone off near a Russian train derailment that killed more than two dozen people and injured scores more. Russian authorities say terrorists planted a homemade bomb that packing about 15 tons of TNT that went off as the train passed Friday night. The second device detonated today as emergency crews were trying to clear the site.

And three Americans are dead and one is injured at a Zimbabwe based cargo jet crashed in Shanghai, China, all members of the crew. Three other surviving crew member were hospitalized. The plane's tail struck the ground as it was taking off, causing it to veer off the runway. Moments later it burst into flames.

It won't help you in the fight against the swine flu, but it should keep the seasonal flu at bay. The FDA has given fast track approval to a new vaccine called Agri-Flu. It's intended for patients who are at least 18 years old.

Another check of the headlines in 20 minutes from now.

And when we come back, we're going to hear more from the Dolans, all your money questions answered. And it's for free. They are financial advisors. They are the best that you can come across.

And we are going to be sending a lot of our questions that we have seen on Facebook and our blog their way. More of them when we come back.


WHITFIELD: All right. Cha-ching. Ask the Dolans anything you want about your personal finances and they will have an answer for you. They are join us from West Palm as well as our Josh Levs, who is here in the studio with lots of questions that have come your way, Ken and Daria.

We have seen a lot on Facebook and our blog. We know on, you have had a lot of questions as well. KEN DOLAN: We are ready.

WHITFIELD: OK, you're ready?

KEN DOLAN: Hey, Josh.

JOSH LEVS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Dolans, what's up?

WHITFIELD: All right, Josh, what do you have?

LEVS: Let's get straight to this first one. A lot of people sending questions today about investments. I want to bring up this first one from Feff. He's asking this. Where is one's money safe? It seems the Madoffs, Enron, hedge fund people, and swindlers/bankers are circling like tiger sharks. Uncle Sam is certainly no help. So where does it go?

KEN DOLAN: That's a good point.

DARIA DOLAN: Right now, you really have to be very, very careful ...

KEN DOLAN: More than ever.

DARIA DOLAN: There's so much going on. I won't get into the news out of Dubai World where they made default on interest payments of $60 billion. It's got the world reassessing everything.

KEN DOLAN: Risk, assessing risk.

DARIA DOLAN: Yes. And one of the areas of great risk that's benefited a lot of late are the commodities areas.

KEN DOLAN: Jeff's not going to invest in commodities.

DARIA DOLAN: I would absolutely say this. We have way overdone any sort of market upside with the run from March until now. It is not the time to be getting talked into going into the market by any way, shape, or form.

I would stay in cash and cash equivalents like money market funds, certificates of deposits, so that when the time comes, and it will come, but now is not it, you'll be able to walk in and pick all that low-hanging fruit.

LEVS: You mentioned Dubai. Do individuals out there needs to be reassessing their own investments right now as a result of that?

DARIA DOLAN: I'll tell you why they do -- sorry.

KEN DOLAN: Please go ahead. I love this part. You're on a roll.

DARIA DOLAN: There's a reason they need to reassess this. We don't know the full fallout from this. We know that the U.S. banks other than Citi-Corp don't have that much exposure to the debt of Dubai World as much as European banks and specifically British banks.

But the fact of the matter is, it's incidents like this that keep our own Federal Reserve of keeping interest rates low. The longer we keep interest rates low, the more we inflate these other asset classes like first time home buying, like the commodities market, and like the stock market.

So we are running the risk of creating new bubbles out of old bubbles. And that's very dangerous for us all.

KEN DOLAN: This is only a one-hour show.

Let me get me a question, will you, Josh?

LEVS: This one is for you, Ken. It's a follow up on investments. This is from Karen.

DARIA DOLAN: I'll shut up now.

LEVS: Where are you going to invest if you're 10 years from retirement? She's says "I want to protect my future, but getting less than one percent interest these days, I might as well put it in my mattress. Are you going to stick with keeping it in cash and cash equivalents, or if you are ten years from retirement, is there something you can do to give yourself a little more than that?"

KEN DOLAN: Karen and Josh, that's a great question. I have to stay with Daria because we want you to come back for a better day to fight. There will be a time to come back for growth. There will be a time. This isn't it. Don't chase yield.

We are now $7 trillion poorer in our households across America. I saw a headline the other day, I heard it on one of the cable networks, it was CNN, and if it was I would say CNN.

LEVS: If it wasn't, you shouldn't have been watching it.

DARIA DOLAN: I let him talk and this is what happens.


KEN DOLAN: I'm almost done. Dubai World has problems. Could Black Friday be a buying opportunity for stocks? I think not.

LEVS: You know what, before I lose you, could I follow up with one more investment question? This came to us from Dan. He says "Both my parents passed away. My life insurance policy has been in this state for awhile and soon I'll be getting what is due to me." He's getting a life insurance payout. Are we talking the same thing?

DARIA DOLAN: In this case -- in this case, along with that safety now for opportunities later strategy is if you owe any debts, get out of debt. Use whatever you need to from that, assuming that you leave enough for emergencies and your, you know, liquid bank accounts. Try to pay down debt. KEN DOLAN: Make a 9 percent investment. Credit card, nine percent investment or 12 percent investment in credit cards. I would say clear the debt with a $60,000 coming to you. Establish an emergency fund and we'll talk to you again.

LEVS: Pay down your mortgage, too?

DARIA DOLAN: I don't know. I'm not too quick to recommend paying down mortgages nowadays when we don't know where the bottom of real estate values are.

WHITFIELD: You are making the distinction between good debt and bad debt.

KEN DOLAN: And we don't like the home equity loans because it's getting very difficult with the bank credit shrinking $500 billion in loans this year.

WHITFIELD: You are saying hold on to the equity loans.

DARIA DOLAN: Because they're closing them and you can't even get another one.

KEN DOLAN: Hard to get it, even with good credit, Fred.

WHITFIELD: How do you keep it open, if you are paying off on it or just about to pay off on it, keep a tiny balance there?

DARIA DOLAN: If you are just about to pay off on it, for me, I don't think you need to have that home equity line of credit sitting there with the siren song of use me, use me and give in to debt. So if you are about to pay it off, with this environment and no floor yet that we can predict in real estate prices, you are probably better off without it.

WHITFIELD: Interesting.

KEN DOLAN: If you can do without it, Fred.

WHITFIELD: Black Friday is the big old launch of that holiday spending, people aren't thinking about saving. They are thinking about acquiring. A lot of retailers -- yes, yes. A lot of retailers are really counting on that Black Friday, counting on this holiday season.

KEN DOLAN: Big time.

WHITFIELD: And some analysts say retailers are going to do better this year than last.


WHITFIELD: What about the shoppers?

KEN DOLAN: No. I will tell you this -- retailers depend from Thanksgiving on, their yearly business is almost 20 percent of it. Was there a blip? Yes. And Cyber Monday, an enormous amount of people, half the shoppers will be online.

I predict and you can make note of this, I see retail at about the same, which is down about one percent over last year on balance for the year.

DARIA DOLAN: And I will say this, if you didn't -- if you weren't crazy enough, because I think this is insane, this door buster 3:00 a.m. in the morning thing.

KEN DOLAN: Watch out, the doors are opening.

DARIA DOLAN: But if you didn't cash in on one of those really good deals that were out there, don't go rushing to the malls now, because what happen traditionally is...

KEN DOLAN: There will still be sales.

DARIA DOLAN: ... by the middle of next week, there's going to be such a slowdown in traffic in the malls and stores, the box stores...

KEN DOLAN: You'll see sales again.

DARIA DOLAN: ... that when it gets closer to the deadline for Christmas, you'll see the prices go even lower and you'll get better deals.

WHITFIELD: I bet a lot of folks will get caught in the moment.

KEN DOLAN: The emotion of it all. That's what they want. Josh makes a good point.

LEVS: You get caught in that moment. That's why they want you in the door.

KEN DOLAN: And that's why they want you to use your credit card for last minute shoppers with ten days or seven days to go. I'm late, I'll do the credit card. No, make a list and stick to it.

WHITFIELD: Try to pay cash, right?

DARIA DOLAN: Absolutely. If you have credit card debt, make the gift to yourself and pay down the debt. Tell everybody else I can't afford to do it this year.

WHITFIELD: Give the hug you recommended last week.

KEN DOLAN: I love you.

DARIA DOLAN: The Dolan's, a lovey-dovey couple, thank you so much. They're so smart. Josh Levs, I'm sending a hug your way, too.

LEVS: I'll hug her during the break. She's over there.

WHITFIELD: There you go. Y'all have a great weekend.

KEN DOLAN: Thanks. DARIA DOLAN: Thank you.

WHITFIELD: All right, don't forget, if you do want to ask the Dolans a question or two about your personal finances, just head to the Web site They have answers, tips, 24/7.

And Josh will be back as well, right?

LEVS: You saw it outside today, right?

WHITFIELD: I saw the eBay trailer thing.

LEVS: They came and set it up here for us. EBay has what they are calling a mobile boutique, and it's traveling all over the country. It's huge. We are going to climb on board and see you eBay is trying to compete this holiday season.

WHITFIELD: We were just talking about not spending money.

LEVS: Maybe you can bargain for a good rate on eBay.

WHITFIELD: All right, Josh, we look forward to that. Thank you.


WHITFIELD: All right, many bargain hunters plan their moves with military-like precision for Black Friday sales, hitting shop after shop after shop. We won't know how much they spent until later on in the day or even in the season, but retailers say they are encouraged by the size of the crowds.

Among the hottest selling items at mall stores, gemstones, gold jewelry, luggage, coats, and a TV image projector. Others did their buying from the comfort of their couches by doing it online. Internet orders jumped 35 percent, and the average Black Friday purchase was just over $170.

So Black Friday shoppers at one Wal-Mart in upland California got so unruly that everyone actually was kicked out. The store locked its doors and wouldn't allow shoppers back in for more than two hours. That was the punishment.

Police say the crowd was just too focused on grabbing bargains and not listening to the store's instructions.

You remember last year a security guard was crushed by stampeding shoppers at another Wal-Mart.

Stores are taking all sorts of new steps to compete for those holiday shoppers. And so are online sights. Our Josh Levs went outside the CNN center to check on something new that eBay has, a mobile boutique traveling all across the country.


LEVS: I look at how retailers are competing, eBay is doing something brand-new. They have this mobile boutique. And Karen Bard, eBay's pop culture expert, is going to tell us about it. Good morning.


LEVS: All right, what is this.

BARD: It's an eBay boutique. It's a virtual eBay marketplace. Step inside and get over 200 million gift ideas. It's rolling into town. Get inspired and shop online.

LEVS: This is traveling to major cities across the country.

BARD: Major cities across the country, popping up everywhere.

LEVS: And the idea here behind what you are doing is you need to compete. You have all these stores out there selling. If you buy from eBay, you can bargain for a price and eBay gets a chunk of it.

BARD: Absolutely. But the greatest things is we are highlighting the great merchandise available on eBay, the selection and of course the value. Everyone needs a deal.

LEVS: Let's look at the deals.

BARD: Absolutely.

LEVS: This is one of the most popular things.

BARD: It is. For the parent who does not want to get your kid a pet hamster, this is the perfect thing. These are little electronic hamsters. They come with environment. They scoot around on the floor.

When you put it on the floor, it can go. It does all kinds of things. They are sold out in stores. We have over 20,000 of them listed on eBay now. They are sold out in stores.

LEVS: One reason people turn to eBay is electronics.

BARD: Absolutely. But the greatest thing about eBay, iPhones, iPods, whether you want last season's or this season's, we have them available on the site. E-readers are hot this year. And of course, iPods, Shuffles, cameras. I love this great little TV. It's perfect for a kid's room or a kitchen. It's a great little size and value.

LEVS: Let's climb on board the eBay mobile boutique. Let's go.

BARD: Five computer kiosks inside. The hottest gifts laid out in front of you.

LEVS: These aren't for sale here. The way it works on eBay is you buy from someone else via the Internet. They are here to suggest items you may want to look for on eBay.

BARD: They are to inspire people. And we have shopping experts on hand to help you shop, get the correct search term. You can buy it now and have it shipped to your house.

LEVS: There's a lot to this unit. How much did eBay pay to make this happen?

BARD: We don't detail our marketing commitment. However, this is just a great program. We want people to experience eBay and we want to highlight the sellers that make our marketplace run. These are the things our sellers have to offer.


WHITFIELD: Wow, all that in a trailer. That's pretty impressive. That eBay boutique is traveling to 11 cities.

All right, imagine artwork that not only moves you, but it actually moves. Inspiration with a beauty all its own.


WHITFIELD: A look at our top stories now. A cargo plane bound for Kyrgyzstan from Shanghai, China crashed shortly after takeoff this morning killing three crew members. The U.S. embassy in Beijing confirms the three were Americans. We're told one of four survivors is an American as well. All four are being treated at the hospital.

More embarrassing by the flash frame -- the Virginia couple who crashed Tuesday's White House state dinner did, in fact, meet the president. Take a look at this photo here, a White House photo, confirming President Obama encountered Tareq and Michaela Salahi.

The Secret Service admits it blundered by letting the couple get in without proper credentials.

And pro-golf superstar Tiger Woods is supposed to talk with the Florida highway patrol today after his early morning car accident yesterday outside his Orlando estate.

The 33 year old suffered minor injuries. Police don't believe alcohol was a factor, but do say Woods could be ticketed.



WHITFIELD: First, some call them optical illusions. Others say they are animated artwork. Gary Tuchman shows us in this week's "Edge of Discovery."


GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You might have seen these bestselling books. They bring pictures to life when you flip the page. But the man behind the books has been creating other eye- catching art for 20 years. Rufus Butler Seder calls them life tiles, murals that move when you walk by.

RUFUS B. SEDER, ARTIST/INVENTOR: What I'm after is trying to create an experience which totally takes you by surprise.

TUCHMAN: But how do they work?

SEDER: The short answer is it's magic. The slightly longer answer is it's like a flip book. I have taken the pages of a flip book and I've scrambled them all together and put them up on the wall and made them animate.

TUCHMAN: Life tiles don't use any moving parts, electricity, or anything, just hours of painstaking work done at Cedar's Boston studio.

SEDER: We put about four to five hours into each tile we make.

TUCHMAN: The glass for each tile is cast by hand, then sandblasted, painted, and eventually assembled to work in harmony with the hundreds of other tiles that make up each mural.

SEDER: Anywhere from six months to a year is what it takes to produce these.

TUCHMAN: Seder says the hard work pays off when his audience pays attention.

SEDER: I love to watch people react to the work. They don't expect a wall to move. So they will be walking down the hallway in a museum or outdoors through the zoo, and suddenly they will realize the dolphins are starting to move. How is that possible?

TUCHMAN: Gary Tuchman, CNN.


WHITFIELD: All right, one group wants MTV to cancel a new show.


ANDRE DOMINO, UNICO PRESIDENT : They are going to the lowest denominator. It's just a bunch of pumped up young bimbo and buffoons acting on the beach with their spiked up hair.


WHITFIELD: Boy, strong words. We'll explain why "Jersey Shore" is raising eyebrows.


WHITFIELD: An Italian American organization is seeing red over a most unusual reality series. Here now is CNN's Jeanne Moos.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Just what New Jersey needs, another slap.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: MTV's new series "Jersey Shore."

MOOS: But what's creating waves is the way Italians come across in this reality series.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Four of the hottest, tannest, craziest guidos.

DOMINO: "The tannest, hottest, craziest guidos."

MOOS: Guido, the "G-word" really grates on Andre DiMino's nerves. He is president of UNICO, an Italian-American organization that would love "Jersey Shore" to be cancelled even though it hasn't yet aired.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They keep their hair high.

DOMINO: They are going to the lowest common denominator. It's just a bunch of pumped up young bimbos and buffoons acing on the beach with their spiked up.

MOOS: You have nice hair.

DOMINO: Thank you, thank you.

MOOS: But it's not spiked up. It's up, though.

DOMINO: That's right.

MOOS: The reality show gets hairy. It's about a group of 20- somethings who that share a summer rental in Seaside Heights, New Jersey.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am a good-looking, well-groomed Italian who is very, very good with the ladies.

DOMINO: It shows them being arrested, fighting, hitting a girl, a girl kissing a girl. It's just trash.

MOOS: Isn't this just normal reality show fare?

DOMINO: What's the insult on injury here is that they connected it so closely to being Italian-American.

MOOS: The last show UNICO protested was against was "The Sopranos." The cast of "Jersey Shore' makes Tony Soprano seem modest.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can hate on me all you want to, but what can you possibly say to somebody that looks like Rambo with his shirt off?

MOOS: MTV released a statement saying "The show continues MTV's history of documenting various subcultures and the ways they self- identify."

But Domino's not buying the anthropological explanation. Of MTV, he says...

DOMINO: The "MT" stands for "empty." It's really an empty network now.

MOOS: His wife Jenny agrees.

JENNY DIMINO, ANDRE DIMINO'S WIFE: It looks like "Girls Gone Wild."

DOMINO: They call the girls "the guidettes."

JENNY DIMINO: You never know at the Jersey shore what's going to go down.

MOOS: Not their hair.

Jeanne Moos...

MOOS (on camera): Has he ever had gel in his hair?


MOOS (voice-over): ... CNN, New York.


WHITFIELD: All right, coming up next hour, 34,000 more U.S. troops mi be heading to Afghanistan. But what do the Afghan people think about this development and when will the country be able to handle its own security?

And do you have unruly kids? Take some tips from the Dog Whisperer, yes, the Dog Whisperer. We'll explain how you can be the pack leader in your home, all straight ahead in the 3:00 p.m. eastern hour.


WHITFIELD: I know you are used to the image by now. So they posed for pictures with the president, yes, the vice president and members of the inner circle. But they weren't supposed to be at the White House state dinner.

Now the U.S. Secret Service says Tareq and Michaela Salahi could face charges for their deception. The couple crashed the invitation only event with a film crew from the Bravo cable network following them.

Bravo says that they are actually being considered for a reality show. The publicist of the couple says the Salahis did not actually crash the event.

So, how do these events really work and how do you keep track of all those guests, anyway? I spoke with Amy Zantzinger -- she was the White House Social Secretary during the final years of the George W. Bush administration -- to find out how something like this could happen.


AMY ZANTZINGER, FORMER WHITE HOUSE SOCIAL SECRETARY: I think everybody is very shocked. There are actually only two real ways that this could have happened.


ZANTZINGER: Well, they clearly calculated that they were going to slip into a White House state dinner, which is really a game of luck. They would have had to assume they would catch a guard off guard. And that statistically seems very impossible.

The other way that they could have gotten in was having been assisted by somebody within the complex.

WHITFIELD: All right, so the investigation is now underway. The White House, Secret Service they want to know how in the world this could happen.

Apparently Bravo television, they were filming a lot of their approach to this dinner. Might that video tape, I guess, be seized or requested by the U.S. Secret Service as it investigates the holes in the perimeter?

ZANTZINGER: Oh, I don't know how they are conducting their investigation. But as I said, it just seems like such a game of luck they could control this whole thing and just somehow slip in without someone assisting them.

WHITFIELD: So give me an idea. When you were social secretary then and there were big events that were being hosted, there was a list, a manifest of all the guests. Is there real meticulous check of the list? And if for some reason someone is not on the list, wouldn't there be instructions of actually calling the social secretary, identifying whether this person should be there?

Give me an idea of what would likely happen.

ZANTZINGER: Most definitely. I don't know exactly how they handle the gate, but I know that we always had a White House staff person at the gate to assist with anyone that was an unexpected visitor that may have shown up.

But I have to be honest with you. We never had a situation for a seated dinner where guests were trying to come into the White House. So this is a very unusual set of circumstances.