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Brazilian Justice Blocked Father-Son Reunion; DNA Clears Man After 35 Years in Jail; Brands Lost in 2009; Homes Built in House Boom at Risk of Fire

Aired December 18, 2009 - 08:00   ET


JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning. Thanks for being with us on this Friday, the 18th of December. I'm John Roberts.

KIRAN CHETRY, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Kiran Chetry. Glad you're with us.

Here are the big stories we'll be telling you about in the next 15 minutes.

Brazil's Supreme Court is now blocking a New Jersey dad from bringing his kidnapped son home. It's been a five-year battle for David Goldman. He was hoping to be reunited with his nine-year-old son yesterday after a lower court ruled in his favor, a judge now delaying the transfer of custody until the child can be heard in court.

ROBERTS: "Climate change poses a grave and growing danger to our people," those words from President Obama. Right now, he's on his high stakes trip to Copenhagen, trying to salvage the climate change talks, but can the president get a deal or will he return to Washington empty-handed?

CHETRY: And an innocent man set free after 35 years behind bars, accused of a crime he didn't commit. James Bain spent most of his life locked up for a brutal rape that he didn't take part in, until DNA evidence proved his innocence.


REPORTER: How do you get through 35 years knowing you are innocent?




CHETRY: We're going to follow James Bain as he takes his first steps as a freeman. He sits down with our John Zarrella for an exclusive interview.

But first, a New Jersey dad says he is appealing a ruling by a Brazilian Supreme Court justice that bars him from bringing home his kidnapped son. David Goldman hoped that his international custody battle would turn out differently yesterday, instead of painful five- year separation from his little boy is continuing.

ROBERTS: Susan Candiotti joins us live this morning.

And a very frustrating ruling from the Supreme Court yesterday; he had hoped that the appellate court decision would be upheld and he'd be on his way home by now. But he's coming from...


SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: And you have to wonder how much longer is this going to go on? I mean, it just seems to have no ending in sight. Goldman is still in Rio de Janeiro with his attorney this morning. He says he's appealing the Supreme Court ruling but how long that process may take is anyone's guess.

Goldman calls yesterday's decision ridiculous, and he seems resigned to the fact that his five-year odyssey to be reunited with his son isn't over.


DAVID GOLDMAN, NEW JERSEY DAD: I've been down this road for five years. It's another setback, and it's very sad.

CANDIOTTI (voice-over): Not exactly the happy "home for the holidays" ending David Goldman hoped for. Instead, more heartbreak for the New Jersey dad who arrived in Rio de Janeiro hoping to finally bring home his son.

GOLDMAN: It's very discouraging.

CANDIOTTI: Only to learn a Brazilian Supreme Court justice had blocked the transfer of Sean to his only surviving parent, ruling the child had to first be heard from in court.

GOLDMAN: I honestly believe that the justice system does not want to be looked at as a country that is a safe haven for kidnappers, that will allow a child to remain separated from their only parent and try to turn that child against that parent, and then demand a 9-year- old, innocent, vulnerable, psychologically-damaged child to speak in a court is beyond cruel.

CANDIOTTI: And it sends a message no court wants to send -- according to CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin.

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: They introduce the idea of -- well, we need the feelings of the child. We need to interview the child. Well, if that's the rule, then the lesson to be learned is you should kidnap a child as young as possible so that they identify with their captors and ask to stay.

CANDIOTTI: A lawyer for the family in Brazil says Sean is happy where he is, and wants to stay there.

But New Jersey Congressman Chris Smith, who's been helping Goldman in his bid to reunite with his son, believes the Brazilian courts will ultimately rule in his favor.

REP. CHRIS SMITH (R), NEW JERSEY: This justice could have done the right thing, he chose poorly and unwisely. This has become a major embarrassment to the Brazilian government, and I do believe the supreme court of Brazil is Hague-literate. They understand the Hague convention, and will appropriately apply its provisions and Sean will be on a plane home.


CANDIOTTI: Now, Goldman's son Sean has been living with his stepfather. After Goldman's ex-wife died in child birth. Brazilian Supreme Court judge, Marco Aurelio, is defending his decision in a written statement, saying 9-year-old Sean is old enough to decide where he wants to live. But that's raising eyebrows in most legal observers over whether a child abducted by his mother when he was only four should be testifying, is that in the best interest of the child.

ROBERTS: February is when the judge has stayed this ruling until and...

CANDIOTTI: Could be.

ROBERTS: Is there anything that could move it along more quickly?

CANDIOTTI: Well, you know, his attorney is working with Goldman to try to see whether he can get possibly a stay to allow him to take his child home while they are deciding that, but I don't think many people think that there is much of a chance.


CHETRY: They filed more than 40 different motions with the court trying to keep him badly. So...

CANDIOTTI: That's right. And they've managed to keep it in advance all this time.


CHETRY: Right.

ROBERTS: Susan, thanks for that.

Turn to climate change this morning and strong words from President Obama during his speech at the U.N. conference in Copenhagen. Right now, he and more than 100 world leaders are trying to hammer out a final agreement before the summit winds down later on today.

Here's what the president said earlier.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: For while the agreement of climate change is not in doubt, I have to be honest, as the world watches us today, I think our ability to take collective action is in doubt right now and it hangs in the balance. I believe we can act boldly and decisively in the face of a common threat. That's why I come here today -- not to talk but to act.


ROBERTS: And coming up, we'll be talking with Congressman Ed Markey. He's in Copenhagen to help the United States reach an agreement with other nations. We'll find out if he thinks the president can get a deal and what that deal just might look like.

The fate of health care reform could rest with Nebraska Democratic Senator Ben Nelson. Without his vote, Democrats do not have enough to get a bill passed. Nelson is holding out for stricter abortion limits. He told a Nebraska radio station that compromised language on abortion in the bill just isn't good enough.


SEN. BEN NELSON (D), NEBRASKA: As it is right now, without further modifications, it isn't sufficient. There's a lot of improvement on the legislation, but the basic question about funding of abortion has not been fully answered yet.


ROBERTS: Nelson does not believe the Senate can get a bill passed by Christmas. And there's apparently no love lost in the health care fight.

Check out what happened on the Senate floor Thursday as a routine courtesy turned ugly.


SEN. AL FRANKEN (D), MINNESOTA: The senator has spoken for 10 minutes.

SEN. JOE LIEBERMAN (I), CONNECTICUT: I wonder if I could ask unanimous for just an additional moment.

FRANKEN: In my capacity as senator from Minnesota, I object.

LIEBERMAN: Really? OK. I don't take it personally.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: I just saw -- I've been around here 20-some years, first time I've ever seen a member denied an extra minute or two to finish his remarks. And I must say that I don't know what's happening here in this body, but I think it's wrong.




ROBERTS: Joe is not the favorite person of Democrats these days.

CHETRY: No, it isn't but -- yes, I mean, you just sort of make yourself look bad if you will not let him just finish for a couple of seconds. But there you go, John McCain jumping to...


CHETRY: ... his defense.

ROBERTS: It's a different Senate than it used to be.

CHETRY: He said, "I don't know really what's happening here." I think a lot of people feel that way right now over this health care debate. It's just very divisive.

ROBERTS: I think you're right. And will they get it done in time for Christmas? I don't know. There's a lot of hurdles that they need to go through, all the machinations...

CHETRY: Oh, yes, it's a tight...

ROBERTS: Procedural hurdles...

CHETRY: Yes, it's a tight procedural and how many times have you seen senators willing to stay Christmas Eve or Christmas Day to hammer out something?

ROBERTS: We'll see if they do this time around.

CHETRY: All right. Well, in the meantime, we're going to check in with Rob Marciano. He's giving us a quick check and maybe can we expect some snow for the weekend?

ROB MARCIANO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes, I mean, will snow come in time for Christmas? Yes, in a lot of spots, it's going to.

Let's first check if it's cold enough. Current temperatures across the U.S., pretty mild actually in west, at least in Chicago at 33, but it's 17 right now in New York, 13 degrees in Boston. And that's important note because there's a storm brewing there in the Gulf of Mexico, with heavy rains developing across parts of the Alabama. It's 37 and raining in Atlanta. It's just miserable.

And we also have a tornado watch out for parts of southern Florida until 2:00 this afternoon. But watch this map as it goes into motion, cold air in place, and this thing rise up to the eastern seaboard. And the track is key, guys, because we could get in spots one or two feet in some of the mountainous areas. We might not get half of that if this thing ships to sea. That's always a tricky part of forecast in these things.

And we'll go into more details on it in about 30 minutes. We'll see you then.

ROBERTS: All right.

CHETRY: Thanks, Rob.

ROBERTS: Rob, thanks so much.

So, if you were in jail for 35 years, you were put there because you were wrongfully accused and wrongfully convicted, how would you feel if you were set free? Well, we talked to a man that went through that ordeal. It's a CNN exclusive. We'll have it for you, coming right up after the break.

Eight and a half minutes after the hour.


ROBERTS: Welcome back to the Most News in the Morning. Ten minutes after the hour and that means it is time for an A.M. original.

But first, new this morning: an underwater Fourth of July. That's how one scientists is describing this never-before-seen images in an extraordinarily deep sea volcano erupting. It occurred 4,000 feet down n the Pacific Ocean near Samoa. A submersible robot captured the images back in May. They were unveiled at the conference in San Francisco on Thursday. Researchers consider this to be a major geological discovery because it's the deepest volcano ever observed.

CHETRY: It's amazing to look at those pictures taken well.

Well, Twitter is now back up and running this morning. But overnight, it was hacked by a group calling itself the Iranian Cyber Army. It's still not clear who that (INAUDIBLE), even if they're connected to Iran, but you might recall that Iranians rely heavily on Twitter to stay connected after that country's disputed presidential election and the deadly protest that took place.

ROBERTS: Homicides detectives are now investigating the death of Cincinnati wide receiver Chris Henry. The 26-year-old NFC star dies yesterday, one day after falling out of a pickup truck during a domestic dispute with his fiancee. She was behind the wheel, and he jumped into the bed as she drove away and he fell out of it, obviously, the results were pretty tragic.

CHETRY: Well, now, an A.M. original. It's something that you will see only on "American Morning," and it's the story of James Bain. He spent 35 years behind bars for a crime he didn't commit.

ROBERTS: He is the longest standing prisoner to be exonerated by DNA evidence in the country.

Our John Zarrella sat an exclusive interview with Bain, his very first interview as a freeman.


JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: John, Kiran, 1974, Richard Nixon resigned his presidency and gasoline was 55 cents a gallon, and the movie the "Godfather II" came out. Until today, 1974 was also the last year James Bain was a freeman.

(voice-over): This is James Bain in 1974, 19 years old. This is Bain today, smiling, a freeman, in the arms of his family and friends after wrongfully serving 35 years behind bars.

REPORTER: How do you get through 35 years serving time knowing you are instant?

BAIN: One day at a time.


The Florida court hearing to release Bain, now 54, lasted less than three minutes. Prosecutors are acknowledging the state was wrong 35 years ago.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He is just not connected with this particular incident.

ZARRELLA: And then the judge?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Bane, I am now signing the order, sir, you are a freeman. Congratulations.


ZARRELLA: Also all so matter of fact, no apology.

Bain had been convicted of kidnapping and raping a 9-year-old.

(on camera): The victim told police he was taken from his bedroom and dragged to an empty field here in Lake Wales and attacked. Later, he was shown the pictures of five men and picked out Bain.

(voice-over): Bain appealed numerous times for DNA testing, but was repeatedly denied. After the Innocence Project which looks into question of all conviction took his case, the request was granted.

DNA test confirmed Bain was not the rapist.

Surrounded by his family, I sat and talked with him after his release.

ZARRELLA: Long overdue?

BAIN: There you go.


ZARRELLA: It's so hard to believe that you spend 35 years of your life locked up for something that you didn't do...

BAIN: Yes.

ZARRELLA: And you are turning the other cheek. You are just not angry?

BAIN: I can't be, sir. Once again, people had a job to do back then, and it's just sad the way -- the outcome came. And I don't have no bitterness for that.

ZARRELLA: The things you want to see? Things you want to do?

BAIN: Yes.

ZARRELLA: What are some of those things?

BAIN: Well, I want to travel, because I didn't do that as a kid.

ZARRELLA: Bain says all he wants to do now is spend time with his family. When he left the courthouse, James Bain called his sick mother in Tampa on a cell phone, the first time he'd ever used one.

His attorneys gave him his two favorite drinks, Mountain Dew and Dr. Pepper. His attorney says Bain is now entitled to $1,750,000 restitution, under a new state law requiring payment of $50,000 for each year of wrongful imprisonment, a lot of money -- money that can't give him back those 35 years.

(on camera): With Bain's release, authorities will have to turn their attention to what is once again an open case, the search for a rapists -- John, Kiran.


ROBERTS: John Zarrella this morning. Imagine if not for the innocence project he would still be in jail.

CHETRY: And just the fact that he was kept in jail for 35 years over just showing three or four random photos and saying is this the guy?

ROBERTS: It's pretty incredible.

CHETRY: And all of the fighting by his lawyer to try to get DNA evidence introduced all those years?

ROBERTS: No hard feeling. What a character.

CHETRY: I know. Amazing man. Still, excuse me. I am a little choked up. Still ahead, Christine Romans is going to be joining us. She's "Minding Our Business" and she is going to be taking a look at some of the big businesses and some of the most interesting that went bust in 2009. We know it was a tough year, but what are we missing because of it? 16 minutes past the hour.



CONAN O' BRIEN, "THE TONIGHT SHOW" HOST: A group that is trying to legalize marijuana in California says that they recently collected the 434,000 signatures needed to get the issue on the ballot. But then their roommate like totally lost them or something.



CHETRY: You know how that goes? Terrible. Welcome back to the Most News in the Morning. It's now eighteen minutes after the hour and that means it's time for Minding Your Business. First, the -- new this morning. There is a credit card that now carries an interest rate of 79.9 percent. That's right, 79.9 percent. Subprime lender First Premiere Bank used to charge really high risk card holders hundreds of dollars in upfront fees to open a new account. But now because of the new regulations capping those fees, they are now getting around the rules by jacking up their interest rates from 9.9 percent to nearly 80%. So, if you look for other lenders to follow suit, and Christine's advice is, look very closely if any of these offers get in the mail.

ROBERTS: Pepsi says it's not going to run advertisements during this year's Superbowl. That will be the first time in 23 years. The company says they plan on launching a new online campaign aimed at financing community projects, and it's just too hard to explain all of that work in a 30 second television spot.

CHETRY: Also, the Indianapolis Colts are still perfect. They are running their record to a 14-0 with their 35-31 win over the Jacksonville jaguars last night. The Colts Payton Naggy threw four touchdown passes, including the game winning touchdown pass. There you see it, that's a hail mary. And, boom, 65 yard bomb to Reggie Wayne. Nice catch. Indi is just the third team, Indiana felt it win their first 14 games this season. I hope we did not jinx it for them.

ROBERTS: Christine Romans here "Minding Your Business" this morning. She joins us now. Hey.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Hi, I am taking a look at eight iconic brands that did not make it in 2009, names that we all grew up with that won't exist anymore going forward. This is from our friends at putting together their yearend list. And among them, Circuit City. Now you might see this online because another company has bought the name Circuit City, but those Circuit City stores that you saw and you loved for years, they went away. The company went bankrupt.

ROBERTS: Obviously did not love enough.

ROMANS: Right. Well, you know what, they had a lot of competition from Wal-Mart, and then they made a mistake in 2007 many analyst say when they swapped out their experienced sales staff for people who was inexperienced, who really did not know the products, and that was the nail in the coffin.

CHETRY: You know, they were looking for help. They don't even know where the iPods chargers are.

ROMANS: Right, that's absolutely true. You have to pay for quality, otherwise you go out of business. End of the road for Saturn. Remember the Saturn? 2010 will be the Saturn's last model year, this is of course the big shake up in brands for GM and Pontiac as well. Its muscle cars, Firebird, remember the GTO --

CHETRY: Good thing my parents bought one this year, because now they will have it for the next twenty.

ROMANS: That has been around since 1926. It's not a core brand GM out of the bankruptcy, so bye-bye Saturn. Bye-bye Pontiac. Okay, cue the music Johnny. Kodachrome, remember the


ROMANS: Kodachrome, look this is only 1% of Kodak sales by the end of last year. Digital -- it's expensive and complicated to produce this film, this Kodachrome film. Kodachrome, bye-bye.

ROBERTS: You know, I love the old 35 millimeter film. It just felt good loading it into the camera.

ROMANS: You are going to be -- and some buffs, you know, they have been stocking this kind of stuff. They are trying to keep this stuff around. Okay, and then Au Revoir Gourmet Magazine, since 1940, I think, Conde Nast, this is the magazine, a brand that is going away.

CHETRY: This is heartbreaking to a lot of foodies.

ROMANS: I know. These foodies will love this. Now, I think the brand gourmet is going to live on, maybe in some other contents, books and maybe some digital contents. But this just shows you, it is a -- you know, they had a million subscribers at one point but things have just really, really changed.

CHETRY: Any other quick ones, or do you have to go?

ROMANS: Yes, there are some other ones, but those are the big ones.

CHETRY: Christine gives us a number that is driving a story about our money today, and she has her numeral? What is your Romans numeral?

ROMANS: What goes away, there are new things that come up, right? 60 million, as in 60 million customers for a certain brand, can you guess what brand, barely existed a year and a half ago, two years ago, and now has 60 million customers/followers?

ROBERTS: Twitter. You Tube.

CHETRY: Facebook.

ROMANS: Yes. Twitter. So, you know, we are losing some of these old brands, but then you look at some of the other things that are popping up, you know, the new -- it shows you the digital trend. CHETRY: Yes. Who needs Kodachrome, you have got Twitter.

ROBERTS: Have they figured out a way to make money with these 60 million subscribers?

ROMANS: No. They have not yet. But they have four million, I am sure they will. But it is four million subscribers last year, and this year, they have sixty million.

ROBERTS: All right. Thanks, Christine Romans "Minding Your Business" this morning.

New developments in the Copenhagen summit apparently after a bilateral meeting with the Chinese premiere, President Obama has designated his negotiators to break into two teams. There is going to be bilateral negotiations with the Chinese, and then surrounding that, negotiations with the broader set of countries. We are going to be checking in with Congressman Ed Markey who is over there helping to try to break through the stale mate there. That will be coming up in just a little while. Twenty three minutes after the hour.


ROBERTS: It's 26 minutes after the hour and that means it's time for an AM original. If your home was built during the housing boom, you may have fewer minutes to escape a fire.

CHETRY: That's right. It's a danger that is getting some extra attention during the holiday season, of course, when you have the fires lit, the extra light, the candles, that could sometimes lead to something tragic. Well, Gerri Willis is here now with more details. And when you talk about the housing boom, what years are we talking about?

GERRI WILLIS, CNN PERSONAL FINANCE EDITOR: Well, we are talking just the last few years, right? We are talking about the 1990s. That's right, you know, the big homes that went up all over the place during the housing boom. Some of them were using materials that have a downside you may not know about.


WILLIS (voice-over): To stop a fire's fury, it's always a race against time.

He knows where it is.

WILLIS: Former firefighter Jo Brinkley knows. Three years ago she and her partner, Arnie Wolf, responded to a house fire in Greenbay, Wisconsin.

JO BRINKLEY-CHAUDOIR, FORMER FIRE FIGHTER: The whole house was full of smoke.

WILLIS: Crawling along the floor Joe heard a cracking sound and then suddenly she fell into the basement.

BRINKLEY: The whole area I was in was orange. I mean, everything around me, underneath me and on top of me, everything was burning.

WILLIS: She fought her way to a window and escaped. But Arnie never made it out. Was the home's construction in part to blame? The floors were made using engineered lumber support beams called, Ijoy. Ijoy and other lightweight materials became popular during the housing boom because they made it easier to build large homes with wide open floor plans. Today they are used in 30% of new home construction.

We test about 90,000 different products for safety.

WILLIS: John Durenberg is the consumer safety director at underwriters laboratory, where they test products for safety.

WILIS (on camera): John, this looks like a bunch of wood pieces just glued together.

WILLIS (voice-over): He shows us how the lightweight Ijoy compare to traditional lumber.

It's a lot thicker than what we have here, but believe it or not this is stronger than this.

WILLIS: Safe for building. But what happens if those homes catch fire?

In a fire situation, evidence shows us that this could collapse a lot quicker than standard lumber.

WILLIS: How quick? Underwriters lab built this structure for us, with heavy appliances on top, to demonstrate. Like many home fires, it starts with a candle.

WILLIS (on camera): We are getting smoke now.

WILLIS (voice-over): As we count the minutes, the fire takes hold. At flashover, we retreat to the hallway.

WILLIS (on camera): I can feel the heat, and we're on the other side of the glass -- ooh.

That was the television picture tube.

WILLIS (voice-over): Then eight and a half minutes after the fire starts

WILLIS (on camera): Oh, there it goes.

There is the stove and the refrigerator.

WILLIS: Look at that.

WILLIS (voice-over): Under writers lab says in a fire this Ijoy flooring will collapse about three times faster than traditional construction. A group representing the lumber industry says it's working with the fire service to reduce risks, but points out that the use of wood Ijoy has increased without a corresponding increase in firefighters' deaths due to collapse. Still, as this demonstration shows.

If that room happened to have a firefighter on the second floor, he would absolutely crash through the floor.

WILLIS: Just like Arnie Wolf.

It's a devastating lost that will always be felt.

WILLIS: Rob Goplin says Arnie's death is a sobering lesson for firefighters to check a home's construction before rushing in. And it's a wake up call for homeowners for potentially dire consequences.

We are not going to be able to save as many buildings as we used to. We potentially will not be able to save as many occupants as we used to.


WILLIS: Well, you may be wondering what you can do to protect yourself. Certainly you should have alarms in your house. And fire prevention experts recommend that new homes should include a fire sprinkler system. It costs about the same as installing carpeting, will be more expensive in an existing home, but something to consider if you are remodeling.

And if your home has those exposed I-joints in the basement, covering those beams with dry wall can give you an extra 20 minutes before collapse, giving you more time to get out and the fire service additional time to make rescues and fight the fires.

ROBERTS: At least there are some steps you can take to mitigate the circumstances.

WILLIS: Absolutely

ROBERTS: Gerri, thanks so much for that.

Crossing the half hour now, which means it's time to check our top stories. New video just in the CNN, more rain and flooding in the forecast for the state of Florida today. They have already taken a beating. Homes are flooded and drivers are stranded overnight in Miami. Water levels in the streets are already knee deep in someplace.

CHETRY: Residents of an ocean side apartment complex in northern California has been told to get out. This order after chunks of the cliff -- you can see it right here behind the building -- basically just fell into the ocean.

Authorities says they fear the complex itself could fall next. Officials say just ten feet is left between the building and the cliffs' edge. Two nearby buildings were not affected, but officials also are keeping a close eye on them.

ROBERTS: The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff confirming that Iraqi militants were in fact able to hack into feeds from U.S. drones. Admiral Mike Mullen says the breach caused no damage and the security flaw has been fixed.

CHETRY: Our Ali Velshi is on the road again, and he is having conversations with real Americans about how they are getting by in a rough economy.

ROBERTS: This morning he is live from Savannah, Georgia, with a story of a trucker that turned the tables on the economy. Good morning, Ali.


We were talking to you yesterday morning. A gentleman came up next to me and had a little baby pit bull with him. It turns out he was one of these people that was hit hard by the economy and has done something to turn things around. Listen to his story.


TOVIN PRISTELL, D.J.: My name is Tovin Pristell. I go by D.J. Tap, and I got into D.J.-ing about eight years ago, doing it as a hobby mostly, and now I do it full time because the trucking business did not work out for me.

The gas prices went so high, and everybody was paying $4 for regular and everybody was complaining about that, but we paying $7 or $8 for diesel. I saw a guy at a fuel depot, and this was a guy's guy, and this guy was crying because he had to fill his tanks with fuel that was $6 or $7 a gallon.

And one of my semis got on fire. I want from making maybe $1,000 to nothing. So all I had -- I had a bunch of D.J. equipment. And since the economy was bad and people were needing to save money, they were booking D.J.s instead of booking a band because they could save a couple hundred dollars money.

I think things are going pretty well for me.


VELSHI: D.J. Tap as he's now called says he is busy almost every weekend, and because of the fact people are trading down to D.J.s from bands for events -- John, Kiran.

ROBERTS: It looks like he is doing all right. Ali, thanks so much.


ROBERTS: All right, it's 33 minutes after the hour. A climate deal is one possible at Copenhagen. Congressman Ed Markey of Massachusetts is over in Denmark hoping to try to break the stalemate in negotiations. We will be talking with him in just a couple of minutes. Stay with us.



CHETRY: If you're looking for happiness, think sun, sand, and surf. The folks at the CDC put together a list of the happiest states. The top three, Louisiana, although half of the survey was pre-Katrina half post-Katrina, Hawaii, and Florida. Experts say that one reason for the sunny disposition is the sun.

And for those of us with a New York state of mind, apparently we are the least happy. But even if we were happy, we would not think we were happy, because we're New Yorkers, so there you go, dead last.

ROBERTS: Just in time for the holiday parties, Dr. Sanjay Gupta asks a question that people always want to know this time of year -- which booze hurts of the most.

CHETRY: The kind with alcohol in it.


ROBERTS: They have actually done a study to find out. Is it vodka? Is it bourbon? What do you think? Wait until you hear what Dr. Gupta has to say.

And coming up next from the climate conference in Copenhagen, Massachusetts Congressman Ed Markey is on the House select committee on energy independence and climate change. He's part of the negotiating team, and he'll join us to tell us where things stand right now.

It's 39 minutes after the hour,.


ROBERTS: It's 42 minutes after the hour. Welcome back to the Most News in the Morning.

The clock is ticking as President Obama steps up the pressure in the showdown over climate change. Right now he is in Copenhagen, Denmark to try to shake loose a stalemate.

And this morning there are reports that the U.S. and China have moved a quote, "step forward" to striking a possible deal. Joining me now with the latest form Copenhagen is Democratic Representative Ed Markey from Massachusetts. He's the chairman of the House select committee on energy independence and global warming.

Congressman Markey, do you think you will be able to get a deal here? Time is running short. REP. ED MARKEY, (D) MASSACHUSETTS: Well, I think that the negotiators will take as much time as they need. This is obviously a very complex negotiation. Every country in the world is affected by it. It's the most complex negotiation in the history of the planet.

So if it takes a little more time in order to reach an agreement, I think it's going to be well worth the extra effort.

ROBERTS: Just a little while ago President Obama had about a 55- minute long bilateral meeting with the Chinese Premier Hu Jintao. After that there seemed to be some movement and negotiating teams have been now been broken into two.

You have bilateral negotiations between the U.S. and China, and then you have broader negotiations. What happened during that meeting, do you know?

MARKEY: Obviously there are issues that relate to transparency, that relate to the amount of commitment that is going to be made to the developing nations of the world.

But the issues have narrowed. And without question, the United States and China are the central parties here in bringing this agreement ultimately to a conclusion.

And so the rest of the world now awaits this discussion, but I know that President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton are right now intensely involved in the discussions towards the goal of ultimately producing a positive result.

ROBERTS: The sticking point between the United States and China is China's reluctance to be transparent in verification in its attempts to mitigate its emissions of greenhouse gases. Now China did move towards resolving that impasse. Do you know if there has been a change in that?

MARKEY: Well, that's obviously one of the key subjects still being discussed. There are promises being made to every country in the world. And it's important that those promises be kept.

And so as a result, transparency is a central issue. And that is what -- the effort is being made right now to achieve some progress on it so that there is transparency sufficient to ensure that the rest of the world is actually provided with the promises that are being made to them.

ROBERTS: Yes, very early this morning in Copenhagen, because the meetings didn't break up until 3:00 a.m. there in Europe, Secretary of State Clinton held out a carrot saying ok, the United States is prepared to fully become a partner in this fund to help developing countries mitigate their greenhouse gas emission. It calls for a $10 billion fund by 2012, expanding to a hundred billion by 2020.

But already you're getting some resistance to that here at home. Congressman Joe Barton of Texas said quote, "I guess when you're this close to the North Pole this time of year, the spirit of giving takes over. But nobody back home -- the ones who pay our bills -- has told me that they've asked Santa for lower living standards this Christmas so Third World diplomats could be happy in Copenhagen."

Are you going to have a problem getting that -- that prospect through Congress? And the Republicans are threatening to say we might just hold up funding here.

REP. ED MARKEY (D), MASSACHUSETTS: Look at the people in the United States give every single day of the year. $1 billion a day is sent overseas to purchase oil from other countries; $350 billion a year; that's half of our entire trade deficit.

What this is all about in the United States is cutting our dependence upon imported oil dramatically, telling OPEC that we are not going to allow to you hold us hostage any longer, telling Exxon Mobil we're not going to allow you to use American consumers in order to provide you with those huge windfall profits.

And we're also going to tell other nations in the world that we are going to create millions of clean energy jobs in our country so that we are no longer dependent upon imported oil from OPEC, but we're also not substituting it with something that says we're going to have made in China be the sign on the imported new renewable energy technologies.

ROBERTS: Right, I know...

MARKEY: That's our challenge. And these people who are -- who want to -- to have us continue on that path represent a position that obviously the oil industry and OPEC want us to continue on, but this opportunity for us is too great to ignore because then we begin to break out dependence upon imported oil, cut our trade deficit in half and create millions of new jobs here in America.

ROBERTS: Congressman, I know you've got to get back to the negotiations. Just real quick, if you would, on a scale of 1-10, what do you think the chances are for a deal here at Copenhagen?

MARKEY: Well, I will tell you one thing, the Obama administration won on a message of hope and throughout this entire conference every country in the world right now is praying for his success in this negotiation.

And I do believe and I'm optimistic that at the end of the day -- and it might even be tomorrow, that we will have an outcome.

ROBERTS: All right.

MARKEY: Which begins the process of ending the threat of catastrophic global warming.

ROBERTS: Ok, no predictions, but at least some hope there. Congressman Ed Markey, it's good to talk to you thank so much.

MARKEY: Thank you, thanks for having me on. ROBERTS: All right.

CHETRY: All right, well, just in time for the holidays and all of those holiday parties, Sanjay Gupta, the good doctor is going to join us with which booze hurts the most the next day.

Forty-eight minutes after the hour.


CHETRY: Well, sometimes when the night is a good night, the morning not so much.

Welcome back to "The Most News in the Morning".

A shot of bourbon, vodka straight up, which kind of alcohol gives you the worst hangover?

ROBERTS: A new study looked at that question; we're paging Dr. Sanjay Gupta. He's going to break it down for us. He's in Atlanta this morning and this is an age-old argument. It's you know, does dark liquor hurt you more than white liquor does? What did they find out?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Right. And I should point out that Rob Marciano is even paying attention today. He came up to me and said I'm going to pay attention to this one.

It's an age-old question. And it goes without saying when I was reading the study, one of the first paragraphs says all alcohol is a toxin. They want to remind us of that apparently, if you drink too much, you're going to have a hangover no matter what.

But the key word out of these studies that I read is the word congener, that's the word you sort of keep in mind and certain alcohols have more congeners than other alcohols. If you have more congeners you're going to have a worse hang over. That's really the key point in all of these.

Congeners aren't something you can smell, taste, see in any way, but you're right as of general rule darker alcohols are going to have more congeners.

These are thought of these impurities that occur naturally in alcohol. Sometimes you absorb some of the congeners from the barrel, some of them in distilling process but again, it's not something you can tell simply by looking at the alcohol.

But the study was sort of interesting and they want to sort of answer two questions. Which alcohol is going to give people the worse hangover? And the second question that was sort of interesting, is what exactly is a hangover? What exactly is happening to the body? That's what they were trying to address in the study.

ROBERTS: All right, so between bourbon and vodka, the bourbon is worst then, isn't it? GUPTA: That the bourbon is going to be worse and as a general rule, the darker liquors are going to be worse. Again, because of those congeners but the hangover, you know, overall, seems to affect the body mentally as well as physically. And that was sort of the interesting thing here is that people could have a blood alcohol content that went back down to zero, they may even have felt fine, but they're impaired the next day when it came to things like driving and making decisions.

And that's what these researchers are sort of really getting at is you know, we know how to measure blood alcohol concentration, we know someone is impaired to drive for example but the next day they may still be impaired we just don't have any way to measure that yet. That's what they're trying to figure out.

CHETRY: All right, you know, everything in moderation, or you've got to pay the piper.

Thanks so much Sanjay.

GUPTA: Thanks, guys.

CHETRY: All right, well, still ahead, Jeanne Moos, keyboard cat and no description needed but just sort of a legend in Jeanne's history. We'll look after the break.


ROBERTS: We're back with the Most News in the Morning. Fifty- six minutes after the hour. That means time for the "Most News in the Morning", and today we are reprising one of the all-time favorites.

CHETRY: That's right. It's our loveable online feline, the keyboard cat. Here's Jeanne Moos.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This kind of keyboard meets this kind of keyboard to produce the latest Web sensation. The keyboard cat has become a recurring theme.

Tagged on to the end of some of the Web's classic videos: be it Bill O'Reilly's rant or a break dancer kicks a kid, or the TV salesman whose ladder collapses, the videos tend to be captioned, play him off, keyboard cat.

How's the cat?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The cat actually, unfortunately is dead.

MOOS: Charlie Schmidt is an artist and inventor from Spokane Washington. He videotaped his cat Fatso 20 years ago. Suddenly people are taking the cat video and adding it to other videos, tagging videos with the keyboard cat somehow highlights their absurdity.

GLENN BECK, FOX NEWS HOST: You want to sit down? MOOS: For instance, a guest fainting on the air.

BECK: We'll be back in just a second.

MOOS: Charlie thinks the keyboard cat works especially well with news video.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's what the news is. It's sort of a frame for weird behavior.

MOOS: Like a car chase. The keyboard cat could replace news anchors.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We don't need these guys necessarily. But don't tell Wolf I said that though.

MOOS: We added the cat to this one, ourselves. In case you are wondering how he did it, Charlie dressed his cat Fatso in an infant T- shirt and manipulated the cat's paws with his own hands under the T- shirt.

Actually there's a cat that really does play the piano -- sort of. The keyboard cat is not really playing. Who says cats and dogs don't get along? It's easy to make CNN keyboard cat moments.

CHETRY: Nice melons behind you there.

Thank you.

MOOS: We asked Charlie for his favorite keyboard cat video.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: South Africa, and Iraq, everywhere like, such as.

MOOS: And sometimes a cat should get your tongue.

Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


CHETRY: There you go.

ROBERTS: The things people do with animals on YouTube.

CHETRY: Right. There you go.

It's a bittersweet day for us here...


CHETRY: It is because we are happy it's Friday, and we are getting ready for a Christmas party, but we are saying good-bye to one of the most beloved, beloved staffer. This is Eddie Cohen (ph) -- Ed Cohen, our 6:00 a.m. line producer. He is getting ready to move on to greener pastures. ROBERTS: When I arrived here two and a half years ago, Ed was a member of the maintenance staff. We found him cleaning out the fridge. We said, hey can you write? Do you know how to use a computer? And somebody put him on. He showed up so much promise that he ends up producing the whole thing.

Ed is going off to the University of Massachusetts where he goes from being a line producer to being vice chancellor.

CHETRY: Yes, he is making us call him that. It's so strange he does not answer to Ed any more, it's vice chancellor this, vice chancellor that.

ROBERTS: But he works around in this Jedi outfit with a light saber saying, "Call me the Vice Chancellor."

CHETRY: Anyway, Ed is -- there's always an open door for you to come back. And anyone in this company will agree because you were wonderful and you really personified team spirit, dedication and we absolutely love you. The reason our show is as smooth as it is every day is because of Ed. So he'll be missed.

ROBERTS: Show me up a Sam Adams (ph) there, we will see you in Massachusetts, Eddie.

All right. Take care.

CHETRY: He's shipping off to Boston and our executive producer is telling us to shut the heck up too. I can hear it.

ROBERTS: They're calling the top of the hour.

Continue the conversation on today's stories. Go to our blog at

CHETRY: That's right. And right now here's "CNN NEWSROOM" with Heidi Collins -- hey, Heidi.