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Tap Water May be Contaminated; Money Changes for 2011; Inside; Christmas Displayed Throughout the U.S.; Lady Gaga Cancels Paris Concert; "Desperate Housewife" Cancels Lawsuit; Hot Off The Political Ticker; Trending Online; Frugal Life Generous Legacy

Aired December 20, 2010 - 12:00   ET


TONY HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: Winter storms out West among our big stories. The snow is literally piling up right now, more than nine feet in places in the Sierras and the Cascades. Great for skiers, not so much for drivers.

In southern California, the worry is more about mudslides. The heavy rains have already made a mess of some neighborhoods.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A basement that's several feet down there, all the Christmas presents were down there. It's basically under water now.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're a little worried that maybe it will continue to creep up the road. Just an hour ago, it was behind the black car in front of our house, and now it's in front of it.


HARRIS: Our Reynolds Wolf is here, and he's tracking all of these storms. In just a couple of minutes, he will tell us how they might affect your holiday travels.

It is already a nightmare for anyone trying to get in or out of Europe. Blizzards have forced airlines in England, Germany and France to cancel flights. Hundreds of thousands of people are stranded right now. Traveling by rail or car is not any easier. Authorities say it could be after Christmas before everyone gets to where they are going.

The situation is tense but calm right now on the Korean Peninsula. North Korea did not retaliate after military exercises by South Korea over the weekend. The North warned the drill could ignite a war and threaten a military response.

U.S. troubleshooter Bill Richardson applauds North Korea's restraint.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GOV. BILL RICHARDSON, (D) NEW MEXICO: I'm very encouraged, because the outcome is a good one. We kept pressing the North Koreans not to react, telling them they would be statesmen, they would be viewed in a positive way after their terrible actions with respect to the sinking of the ship and the killing of civilians and increased uranium capacity. And maybe we had a little impact with them.

The South Koreans were able to flex their muscles. So hopefully this will open a new chapter in North/South Korean legal relations that will lead to a negotiation where North Korea ends their nuclear capacity, South Korea preserves their security, and the United States is able to be the honest broker.


HARRIS: And you can see an exclusive interview with North Korean's prime minister today at 5:00 p.m. Eastern on "THE SITUATION ROOM."

Now a concern close to home. Your tap water may contain a cancer-causing chemical known as chromium-6. It is the same chemical that was made famous by Erin Brockovich.


JULIA ROBERTS, ACTRESS: Why are there medical records and blood samples in real estate files?

Would you mind if I investigate this a little further?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hexavalent chromium can be very harmful.

ROBERTS: So it kills people?



HARRIS: An environmental group says it found the chromium-6 in 31 of 35 cities tested nationwide.

Our senior medical correspondent, Elizabeth Cohen, joining me now.

And Elizabeth, maybe some other findings. Share with us from the report.

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SR. MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: All right. And first of all, since we brought up that "Erin Brockovich" clip, I feel compelled to say that we're talking about different levels here.

HARRIS: Right.

COHEN: All right. Because a lot of times when people think about this chemical, it's exposure occupationally. You know, or you're right near one of these plants that has it. HARRIS: And that was the movie. That was the movie -- yes.

COHEN: Right. So I want to talk about sort of what's going on here, which is the Environmental Working Group, they chose these cities at random, and they found levels of chromium-6. And this should not be in water.

It causes cancer. They know this because of people with these occupational -- with these exposures of where they work, and from animal studies.

And we asked the folks at Environmental Working Group, hey, if it's in these random cities, does that mean it's probably in a whole lot of other cities, too?

HARRIS: Maybe everywhere.

COHEN: And they said yes. Yes, they said possibly in lots of different places.

HARRIS: So how does it get into our water supply? Do we know?

COHEN: Well, because it's used to make plastics and the bumper of your car and all sorts of other things. And so then sometimes it can leach into the water system, run off into the water system.

HARRIS: So, Norman, Oklahoma, is a city where its levels of this chromium-6 are 200 times the levels established as safe in California. And -- but we had an opportunity to talk to the mayor of Norman, Oklahoma -- Kyra did a couple of hours ago -- and what does she say about this situation?

COHEN: All right. Well, you know what? Let's listen. We actually have her on tape, so let's listen to this.


MAYOR CINDY ROSENTHAL, NORMAN, OKLAHOMA: We have, for years, tested for total chromium, as is required by the U.S. EPA. We've been in complete compliance with those standards, and our water does meet all regulated standards. I'm going to reassure our citizens that our water was safe yesterday, it's safe today, it's safe tomorrow.


COHEN: All right. I want to parse that out a little bit. OK.

She says, "We've tested this as required by the EPA for total chromium. We've been in complete compliance with those standards."

So, we asked the EPA, what are the standards? And the answer is there is no legal limit. There's no limit.

You could have tons and tons of this stuff. There is no limit as to what you can have, so it's very easy to be in compliance because there is no legal limit. Now, the EPA told us that they are working on this, and they are taking into consideration new science, and they hope to have something to tell us next year about different standards that they might come up with.

HARRIS: So, in a city like Norman, and maybe in cities, 31 of the 35 -- and we can assume, probably, you can find this stuff all over the country -- if we're freaking out a little bit, should we? And if we are, are there things that we can do to make our water supply a little safer?

COHEN: Well, you know what? I asked an expert about this at Boston University, and I said, "If you were living in Norman, Oklahoma, right now" -- which is the number one city -- "would you be freaking out?" And he said, "No, I wouldn't be freaking out."

It's not good that it's in there, but he said, "We also breathe in carcinogens. We eat carcinogens. We drink them."

Not that that's a good thing, but that this is not going to make you keel over tomorrow. And people are not dropping dead from this right and left.

It is a bigger picture, longer-term exposure, looking at the whole population. So, should it come out? Yes. Does it mean you should freak out at this moment? No.

HARRIS: And if you wanted that extra cushion of safety, I guess there are filters that you can buy, right? But they can be really expensive.

COHEN: Well, you know, it's interesting. I was talking with one of the foremost experts at the University of Colorado. And I said, all right, buddy, what should we buy?

And he said, "Well, I'm not really sure. I need to look into that. I'm not sure exactly which products would do the trick." And so he's going to get back at me.

But if the foremost expert isn't exactly quite sure, that's not good news. So I am here to say that I'm sorry I can't tell people how to be more empowered patients in this situation but right now --

HARRIS: But you will help us, because you always do.

COHEN: I will. And there is something called a filter for reverse osmosis, but you have to be really careful because a lot of people will say that they're that kind of filter when they're not. So you might get tricked. Plus, it's very expensive and it's very inefficient. You waste a ton of water using these.

HARRIS: How about bottled water? Is that an option?

COHEN: Not necessarily better, because sometimes it comes from the same source as your tap water. So not necessarily better.

HARRIS: Yes. OK. Elizabeth, I think we covered it.

COHEN: OK. All right. I think we did.



HARRIS: Some folks in Washington are calling it the Christmas miracle. The mayor of New York says it is something Congress must do. We are looking at some of the unfinished business on Capitol Hill.

First, though, our "Random Moment" in one minute.


HARRIS: Four days until Christmas and Santa Claus on vacation? Are you kidding me?

It is today's "Random Moment."

Come on. Really?

The jolly old man, Santa, scuba diving off the Florida Keys, perhaps a pre-Christmas getaway from all that snow and cold at the North Pole.

Let's do this together collectively. Let's hope Mrs. Claus gets the sleigh packed while Santa is out here goofing off. If not, you might have some explaining to do.

Happy Holidays from the "Random Moment of the Day."



HARRIS: South Hill in Spokane, Washington, not the place to be driving this weekend, to be sure. Wait for it. Wait for it. Yes.

This weekend or next weekend, it's not the place to be if you're parked either.

We're back in a moment.


HARRIS: Got to tell you, some people are looking past Christmas and thinking ahead to the new year like our Christine Romans, author of "Smart is the New Rich." Christine has some money resolutions for 2011.


STACY FRANCIS, FRANCIS FINANCIAL: A budget is how you start. It really is the roadmap that you're going to follow to get you to that ultimate goal. So, take a look and figure out what you're spending. And I will tell you, most of us do not know.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: After that, you make 2011 the year to get out of debt, to pay off your debt.

FRANCIS: Exactly. This is the year to pay off your debt.

We just saw that we had tax cuts expanded and prolonged, so we're going to have more in our pocket than we really thought. So make sure that you take that, you put it towards your debt.

ROMANS: You also need to think about putting away the money for a rainy day, because if there's one thing we know, it's that we didn't put enough money away for a rainy day over the past year.

FRANCIS: Exactly.

ROMANS: So, three to six months is what you think?

FRANCIS: Yes, exactly. And that's why a lot of people have ended up with debt.

So, if we've got our emergency fund here, we want to put in anywhere from three to six months of your living expenses. And once you've done that, then you know that no matter what happens in your life, you're going to have enough cash on hand that you can successfully get through it and not have to touch those Visa cards.

ROMANS: Number four on your list is buy a new home. You think this is a good time to buy a house, huh?

FRANCIS: If you've done this, you've created this emergency fund, you've paid down your debt, you have some money in the bank, you're able to put a 20 percent down payment, and you have some extra money for those unexpected closing costs or those unexpected purchase costs and homeownership costs, then now is a great time.

ROMANS: And get your estate documents in place. This is something that every family should do, and this is a priority for you for 2011.

FRANCIS: It is. It is. Getting your estate planning documents in place is the best gift you could ever give anyone for the holidays, and that is making sure that they're being taken care of. And also, by really doing your estate planning, you can save quite a bit in taxes so that more money goes to your loved ones versus the pocket of Uncle Sam.


HARRIS: CNN's Christine Romans for you.

Getting anywhere in Western Europe right now is a real nightmare. Another major winter storm has brought a lot of travel to a standstill. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)


HARRIS: And this just in to CNN. New York Governor David Paterson has been fined more than $62,000 for soliciting, accepting and receiving five complementary tickets to the first game of baseball's 2008 World Series, according to a press release from New York State's Commission on Public Integrity.

Still to come, changes are headed your way, particularly if you're heading out to the post office to get those last few holiday cards and presents there in time for the big day. In fact, today is expected to be the busiest day for the U.S. Postal Service.

How many pieces of mail, including your precious packages, do you think will be rushed into the system today? Think about it. We'll have the answer in a moment.


HARRIS: So, we asked, how many pieces of mail will the U.S. Postal Service move today? Traditionally, it is the busiest day of the year? Oh, I love this song.

On an average day, the postal service handles 559 million pieces of mail. Today, that is expected to jump to 800 million postcards, envelopes and packages.

It is crunch time at The online retailer has hired thousands of seasonal workers to pack and ship your orders in time for Christmas deliveries.'s Poppy Harlow in New York.

Poppy, really? You got an inside look?

POPPY HARLOW, CNNMONEY.COM: We got an inside exclusive look at, where the magic happens.

I've got to say, Tony, this place was like Santa's warehouse, all these elves running around, packing up boxes. You know, you wonder what happens at Amazon after you click that order button, how they get things to you so quickly. And it all comes down to proprietary software, a very, very mechanized system.

And last year, on the same day that we visited this year, Tony, they had their busiest day ever, 9.5 million orders. That is 110 orders a second.

And these folks make it happen. Take a look.


BERT WEGNER, DIRECTOR OF FULFILLMENT, AMAZON.COM: This is where our receivers are receiving product, adding to Amazon selections. They scan all of these items into these storage bins using radio frequency technology. It activates it live on our Web site and it's available to customers.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I've seen stuff that I've never seen before in my life.


HARLOW: You've got extension cords. Can I pick these up?

WEGNER: You can. Just do me a favor.

HARLOW: Put them back in the same place.

WEGNER: I will mark them so we know exactly where that extension cord needs to go back.

HARLOW: All right. The extension cord -- right below it you have this, crystal candleholders.

WEGNER: That's right.

HARLOW: It doesn't make sense that these would be together, but this makes the most sense for Amazon.

WEGNER: It does.


WEGNER: We optimize our storage space.

HARLOW: Between the time that I order something online and and it gets pulled from one of these shelves, or another distribution center, how long is that?

WEGNER: Hours.

HARLOW: Hours?

WEGNER: We've got over 5,000 square feet that we have inventory in. And so our challenge is to quickly get all of those items into one spot so we can package them and get them on the road to the customer.

This is an order that's ready to be shipped. The blue light tells us that it's ready to be shipped.


WEGNER: It's going to go in a carton here. We're going to scan it into the carton. It's going to go down this conveyor, get sorted out, and then get weighed and shipped right behind us here. We're going to close that trailer door, and off to the customer.

We've hired over 15,000 temporary associates to help us through the holiday season in North America. HARLOW: So what does that mean for a facility just like this?

WEGNER: Thousands of jobs.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right now is the busiest time. It's just not going to stop until Santa comes down the chimney.



HARRIS: Love it.

HARLOW: And Tony, you know, that's exactly right. I've got to tell you, what Amazon told us is that last year, someone ordered a gift, probably for their wife, some earrings, on the 23rd, at 9:00 at night, and they arrived on Christmas Eve, in the afternoon. That is how fast they can get it done. You always pay a little bit more for that.

But, you know, the facility we just showed you, that was 580,000 square feet. But it's not even close to the biggest. The biggest one, 1.2 million square feet in Phoenix, Arizona. They are going to have 52 of these centers around the world, Tony, by the end of the year.

HARRIS: That's amazing, amazing stuff.

HARLOW: Pretty incredible to see behind the scenes, yes.

HARRIS: Any surprises?

HARLOW: You know what surprised me most? You would expect one area of televisions and one area of books. It's not like that.

Those big rows you saw at the beginning, what they do, they think it's best to maximize space. So, they had vitamins next to extension cords, next to kids' toys, next to books. It's all labeled with these little bar codes. And they scan them and that immediately tells the whole system, this is not for sale anymore, this is going in this box, the blue light is on, that's ready to ship. A lot of people work there, but a lot of this is very, very automated and very, very accurate. They say 99.9 percent accuracy. So it all comes down to one thing, Tony, on thing, right -- technology.

HARRIS: Technology. What a good look.

Poppy, appreciate it. Thank you.

HARLOW: You've got it.

HARRIS: And time to head across the country now with stories making news across the nation.

Here's a little taste of winter in the west today. Cars and trucks were no match for a snowy ice hill in Spokane, Washington. A powerful tropical storm is dumping as much as a foot of rain in some places. The higher elevations have had had nine feet of snow. Slow down if you can.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When the cars would come down the hill and slam into the pileup -- we were standing back in the yard and as soon as it stopped, we would run over to make sure everybody was OK and get people out of cars. There were a couple of minivans. One of them had three little kids strapped into car seats. We were just screaming at the parents get out, get out, getting the kids out.


HARRIS: Look at that.

South Florida police want to find this man. A surveillance camera caught him stealing Christmas presents for needy children in Coral Gables. One parishioner says the robber's got nerve.

And surveys appearing in today's "USA Today" indicate commercialism has taken over the holiday. 90 percent of Americans participate in the holiday, even if they are atheists, agnostics or a non-Christian religion. But the surveys found less than half of Americans will attend church Christmas Eve or Christmas day.

There was a lot of time and work behind all those holiday light shows. CNN's iReporters help generate a little Christmas time electricity. Sandy Endo is next with that in the "CNN NEWSROOM."


SANDRA ENDO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Sandra Endo with a look at how people across the country are gearing up for the holidays. Take a look at these displays sent in from our iReporters.

This is from Coronado, California, and the annual San Diego Bay Parade of Lights. It's a holiday tradition for the area where dozens of boats are decorated, covered in holiday lights, bringing cheer to the community.

And take a look at this one from Round Rock, Texas. This family used more than 14,000 LED lights to decorate their house. It's synced up their computer to coordinate lights and music.

Thanks so much to our iReporters for spreading the holiday fun.



HARRY: A one-time "Desperate Housewife" is facing a legal set back. And Lady Gaga was forced to cancel a major concert. "Showbiz Tonight's" Brooke Anderson is here with our showbiz update.

Brooke, so Gaga's Paris, this much ballyhooed Paris concern is not going to happen?

BROOKE ANDERSON, CO-HOST, "SHOWBIZ TONIGHT": No, it's not and I've got to tell you why, Tony, Mother Nature happened, Mother Nature. The massive snowstorm in Europe forced her -- it will actually happen because it forced her to postpone her concert scheduled for last night.

But the catch is this, Tony. Sunday's concert was supposed to a make-up for an October show that was cancelled. That was during the massive strikes and protests in France over raising the retirement age. This time, it was the weather. The French government was forced to close roads and that kept Gaga's tour buses and equipment from making it to the show.

Lady Gaga, of course, is keeping her little monsters updated by Twitter. She even sent out a blurry picture from the bus showing the messy weather. She also tweeted that she's devastated by this and promises her fans that the makeup show on Tuesday is going to be the night of their life.

But still, Tony, there are still some disappointed fans out there. One story posted on Gaga's web site is from a Swedish mother. She says that she and her 9-year-old son have had travel plans to see this show twice back in October and this past weekend, and now they are out hundreds of Euros in lost travel costs. But, Tony, that may be the case but really there's no arguing with the weather. It's life.

HARRIS: Absolutely. Maybe you can give an update on this story. It's been a bit of he-said, she-said, on the set of "Desperate Housewives." Catch us up on the story. And could there be some vindication for producers here?

ANDERSON: Potentially. There's a new development. Remember, Nicollette's messy departure from "Desperate Housewives" led to a really messy lawsuit. But according to the "Hollywood Reporter," the actress just dropped her most explosive claims against the show, abuse allegations. When Nicollette left the ABC drama back in April 2009, she claimed she was physically abused by show creator, Mark Cherry (ph).

Nicollette said that he slapped her on the face on the set one day. So she sued "Desperate Housewives," she sued ABC for a whopping $20 million. The lawsuit has not gone well. She did not get support from her castmates. So now she's reportedly dropped the abuse claim. In exchange, she reportedly will not have to submit to a mental or psychological examination.

Tony, apparently, she is still claiming wrongful termination, sex and gender discrimination. So the fight continues.

HARRIS: Sounds like it. That is messy.

Brooke, appreciate it. Thank you.

If you want information on everything breaking in the entertainment world, Brooke has it for you this evening on "Showbiz Tonight." That's at 5:00 and 11:00 p.m. eastern on HLN.



HARRIS: That was Jib Jab's annual review of 2010.

CNN's newest primetime program, "Parker-Spitzer," goes beyond the headlines to bring you all of the story. The economist, Jeffery Sachs, says the systems is so rigged at the top, nobody worries about how it works at the bottom. He says the high-profile Debt Commission has not figured out how the economy works for everyone.


JEFFERY SACHS, ECONOMIST: Even when you look at that Debt Commission, you're just all about cuts, cuts, cuts, because they are not thinking. This isn't a game of how you cut. This is how do you make the American economy work for everybody. And that's a question we barely ask right now, it's so rigged at the top. No one is worry about how it's for those at the bottom. This is a rigged system right now.


HARRIS: Catch "PARKER SPITZER" tonight at 8:00 p.m. Eastern on CNN.

This Web site has been brought up in cases of prostitution and even murder and now craigslist is doing something about its erotic services listings.


HARRIS: New poll results just released on what the public thinks about the new tax cut extension. Candy Crowley, host of "STATE OF THE UNION" on Sundays and, of course, she is an essential part of "The Best Political Team on Television, live from the political desk in Washington.

Candy, good to see you.

The public weighing in with its view on the extension of tax cuts.

CANDY CROWLEY, HOST, CNN "STATE OF THE UNION": December has been very, very good for President Obama. That's sort of the bottom line in all of these polls. These are just up on our ticker and just new for your program, Tony.

The new tax cut law. Remember the liberals hated it.

HARRIS: Oh, yes.

CROWLEY: But the president worked out a deal with the Republicans. Look at this, 75 percent of Americans favor that new tax cut deal. That's a pretty good number. Remember, it kept everybody's tax cuts in place. It also extended unemployment benefits for the long term unemployed and had several other tax credits for the middle class. So really popular. The president -- a big win for the president on that one.

Now, take a look. The president's overall job rating right now is about 48 percent. That's not bad. Remember, this is a guy who got, in his own works, shellacked last month. But now take a look at the breakdown between liberals, moderates and conservatives. Remembering, liberals don't like that tax cut deal. And his popularity among liberals has gone down to 72 percent. Not shabby but it's down.

HARRIS: Right.

CROWLEY: Conservatives, about the same. But look there in the middle, Tony. He's gone up with moderates. And, guess what, moderates are the people who actually, in the end, decide an election. That's the swing vote there. So that tax cut bill obviously having a big impact on those numbers.

And finally, right direction, wrong direction. That's always something that we look at so keenly when we move into an election year. If people feel that the country is going in the wrong direction or a leader is taking them in the wrong direction, very bad news.

But take a look. President Obama leading this list of folks in will the policies of this person or this entity take us in the right direction or wrong direction? Fifty-five percent say President Obama will take -- will -- policies will moving the country in the right direction. Forty-eight percent for Democratic leaders and 44 percent for Republican leaders.

So he's got -- you know, it's not even Christmas and a couple presents for the president.

HARRIS: Right. Right, right.

CROWLEY: Sure is -- what a difference a month makes.


CROWLEY: Those are good numbers for him.

HARRIS: Hey, Candy, let me reflect on your program from yesterday. We're about to drop in here in just a little bit and listen in on the daily White House briefing. But from your program yesterday, what are your thoughts on the START treaty moving forward in the Senate, in Congress this week?

CROWLEY: Well, it will not be with the help of the Senate Republican leader, Mitch McConnell, who was on our show. He said I'm against this for a variety of reasons. He also -- but what was interesting to me was, he wouldn't say, and we're going to defeat it. I said, well, have they got the numbers? Can they get this START treaty without you? And he wouldn't bite on that question. So it says to me that they're pretty close. That they may, without the help of some high-profile Republicans, be able to go ahead and get this treaty. I mean, you know, we will see. It's the U.S. Senate.


CROWLEY: Lots of interesting things happen there.

HARRIS: That's for sure.

CROWLEY: But certainly the leadership on the Republican side is against this. But then you have some very high-profile Republicans, like Senator Lugar of Indiana, who helped Senator Kerry, the foreign policy -- the Foreign Relations Committee, sort of go over this thing for the past several months. He's been pushing very hard. And the president's on the horn. And people, you know, saying, I need this treaty, I want this treaty. If he gets it, it is amazing to me that a lame-duck Congress for the president gave him this tax cut deal, gave him the repeal of the "don't ask, don't tell."


CROWLEY: And if it gives him START, he's starting the new year looking pretty good. As we all know, it can change in a month.

HARRIS: Absolutely.

CROWLEY: But, you know, a good month is better than a bad one.

HARRIS: Candy, great to see you. Candy Crowley, of course, is the host of "State of the Union."

CROWLEY: Good to see you.

HARRIS: Her terrific program on Sundays. And part of "The Best Political Team on Television."

Candy just mentioned the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell." We believe Robert Gibbs is answering a question on that topic right now.


ROBERT GIBBS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Policy process once the president signs the repeal into law. I don't have -- I don't -- I would not want to be in a position to, at this point, give that legal advice.

JAKE TAPPER, CORRESPONDENT ABC NEWS: As for START, Condi Rice, the former secretary of state, has come out in favor of the START treaty but she has said with caveats that the Senate should make clear in an accompanying resolution that the preamble language that some (INAUDIBLE) links missile defense with this treaty it should be made even clearer in this resolution that there is no linkage because she says sometimes, in her experience, the Russians have taken language, even non-binding preamble language like in the START treaty, and used it to justify an argument or a point of view. Does the administration have any issue were the Senate to take that sort of step?

GIBBS: I think, Jake, we'd have to look at the wording of a resolution. Again, we -- our view and the view of not just those that negotiated the treaty, but more importantly those that are our implementers of the missile policy -- missile defense policy believe strongly that the language does in no way inhibit any of our actions.

TAPPER: (INAUDIBLE) Russian leaders made comments indicating that they interpret differently?

GIBBS: I -- we -- our policy on missile defense in protecting Europe and protecting the United States is not done with Russian signoff. We have a -- for many years a missile defense shield for Europe and for the United States was a theoretical exercise.

At Lisbon, it became a realistic missile defense shield for Europe and the United States based on a phased adaptive approach conducted by General Cartwright and others that make what we have always wanted a genuine reality. That's, again, that's not done with Russian signoff. That's the policy that our government thinks is best for our partners and allies in Europe and for the protection of the people of the United States.

TAPPER: And regarding the latter that the president sent to senators over the weekend, on Saturday, about --

HARRIS: OK. The White House spokesperson, Robert Gibbs, now taking questions on a number of different areas as part of the daily White House briefing.

We want to get to what's trending right now. You're online right now. We are as well. And the folks at Craigslist seem to have cleaned up their act a bit over the weekend. Sandy Endo is back and she's talking about that.

Sandy, good to see you again.

ENDO: Hey, Tony. Good to see you.

This is a story CNN has reported on extensively and it's trending right now on Craigslist quietly shut down its adult services section on its Web site worldwide. Now, Tony, you remember they were forced to shut it down back here in the states in September after being criticized for profiting off prostitution. And CNN's own reporting cracked down on the site and its sex for sale ads. So this is a pretty big move for the site. No comment yet, though, from Craigslist so far today.

And also, Tony, real quickly, trending in the news. From "The New York Times," Google is struggling when it comes to its TV venture. "The New York Times" is reporting the search engine giant needs more time to work out its software to put Google TV powered devices on the market. Now the company is expected to work out all the kinks sometime next year, but this is another series of obstacles for Google. It received some lackluster initial reviews. And it was blocked by several U.S. major broadcasts and cable networks. So we'll see if 2011 is a better year for that.

HARRIS: OK, Sandy. Good to see you. See you tomorrow. Thank you. A farmer, known in life as a bit of a tightwad. Just asked the people in a tiny Minnesota town.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He watches his penny.



HARRIS: A frugal life, but a generous legacy. It is an amazing story of giving.


HARRIS: A retired farmer known for his frugal lifestyle leaves a generous legacy in a small Minnesota town. Have you seen this story yet? It turns out that farmer, who experienced so much heartache, had quite a big heart and a bank account to match. Reporter Boyd Huppert of affiliate KARE has this amazing story of giving.


BOYD HUPPERT, KARE-TV CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): There are people in big cities who would consider this harsh, unwelcoming country. People who wouldn't give a nickel to live in LeRoy, Minnesota. Who wouldn't pay the quarter they charge for coffee at the LeRoy Senior Citizen Center.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And if they take a cookie, that's another quarter.

HUPPERT: People who need to pull up a chair and listen.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My God, we've never had this kind of money.

HUPPERT: As Eileen Evans tells the story of small-town values, and a check --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We didn't know what to do, you know. My God, $20,000.

HUPPERT: The envelope arrived from the estate of 94-year-old Loren Krueger, a retired farmer who had seen his share of sadness, having lost his first wife, then his second. Having lost his only child, a teenage son to cancer. But long before he passed away last year, Loren gained a reputation.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He watched his pennies.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Very frugal. Very -- he was very careful with his money.

HUPPERT: Apparently so. For as he humbly lived out his days in this white frame house on main street, Loren quite amassed --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We held on to it for a while.

HUPPERT: A fortune.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I said, well, let me see it. I've never seen a check like that before.

HUPPERT: That first $20,000 check was followed by two more, $100,000 each.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I said, my God, look at this. Look at this.

HUPPERT: Up till then, the seniors had been getting by on what the county gave their center, $600 a year.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, we got -- we got $220,000 total.

HUPPERT: And Loren wasn't done.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He loved this church.

HUPPERT: Loren willed roughly a million dollars to St. Patrick's Catholic Church.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He came here for many, many, many years.

HUPPERT: Then he revealed an ecumenical streak.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I think we're very blessed.

HUPPERT: When Loren left the Presbyterians more than $400,000, too.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're looking at the new steel roof that we put on our church, all this thanks to Loren.

HUPPERT: Checks for the same amount were delivered to Bethany Bible Church and to the Lutheran s --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The leak is fixed.

HUPPERT: Who have already used some of Loren's gift to repair their bell tower.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We were notified through his attorney.

HUPPERT: That old pumper truck behind Chief Rick Dolman (ph).


HUPPERT: Plans are to replace it with a new one, thanks to the $220,000 Loren left the fire department.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is our crew quarter.

HUPPERT: Another $220,000 allowed the ambulance service to build an apartment.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So we have to get another bed in here yet.

HUPPERT: For its on-call EMTs.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I mean, honest to God --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Nobody knew he had --



HUPPERT: All told, Loren spread some $3 million. Frugal was the word pinned on Loren Krueger in life. Generous is the way he'll be remembered.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's astounding what he did.

HUPPERT: There are still people who wouldn't give a nickel to live in LeRoy. But folks around here prefer to put their faith in the kind of person who'd give everything.


HARRIS: Man. Frugal and generous. Two sides of the same coin. What a story for the holidays.