Return to Transcripts main page

CNN Newsroom

Scooter Libby Juror Dismissed; Iraqi President Hospitalized; JetBlue Cancels Flights Due to Weather; Anna Nicole Smith Hearings Begin in Bahamas; Whitaker, Mirren, Scorsese, Gore Winners at Oscars; Documentary Film Purports To Reveal Jesus' Tomb, With Remains Inside

Aired February 26, 2007 - 13:00   ET


KYRA PHILLIPS, CO-HOST: Hello, everyone. I'm Kyra Phillips live at the CNN world headquarters in Atlanta.
DON LEMON, CO-HOST: And I'm Don Lemon.

PHILLIPS: The CIA leak case. A tainted juror, what does it mean in the case against Scooter Libby?

LEMON: And how fattening is your favorite snack? Who's on the hit list this time and just how bad is it?

PHILLIPS: Did archeologists uncover the bones of Jesus Christ? A Hollywood filmmaker unveils what he says is real proof. We'll debate it.

You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.

LEMON: First this hour, an odd twist in the trial of Scooter Libby. Odd and potentially crucial to the perjury trial of the former top aide to Vice President Dick Cheney.

Joining us now from the federal courthouse in Washington, CNN's Brian Todd -- Brian.

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Don, for the last two hours we were proceeding in this case with 11 jurors deliberating Libby's fate. That's because about two hours ago, Judge Reggie Walton dismissed a juror for getting exposure to too much information about this case outside this courtroom, to any information, really, about this case outside the courtroom.

The judge saying, quote, "What she had exposure to obviously disqualifies her." So he has let her go. He has elected not to replace her, despite protestations from the prosecution, who wanted to replace the juror with an alternate. We're going with 11 jurors, rather than 12 right now.

The juror who is dismissed as a white female. She is a former curator of drawings and prints at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. She is now researching and writing on that same topic. She is thought to be one of the older members of this jury and was involved in an interesting incident a little less than two weeks ago on Valentine's Day. When the jurors came in they were wearing all red T-shirts with white hearts on them. And one of them read a note to the judge, essentially thanking him and the marshals for being so kind to them and saying that, essentially, "While we're unified in this gesture, this is where our unity ends," and vowing to essentially go through the evidence in a very independent manner. It was kind of an odd stunt by the jury.

But what was interesting about that was that one juror did not take part in that display, and this is that particular juror, who was dismissed earlier today, Don. So we are heading into this phase of deliberations with 11 jurors, not 12.

LEMON: CNN's Brian Todd. Thank you, Brian.

PHILLIPS: Troubling reports about a top U.S. ally in Iraq. From Jordan comes word that Iraqi President Jalal Talabani is in intensive care after undergoing a heart procedure. Talabani was flown to Amman yesterday in a U.S. plane. A hospital official tells CNN that doctors inserted a cardiac catheter, an account being disputed by his son.


QUBAD TALABANI, SON OF IRAQI PRESIDENT: He has had a catheter inserted into his heart. His condition is stable and improving. I have spoken with him this morning, and I've spoken with his medical staff, as well. They're very pleased with the progress that he is making. Again, his spirits seem to be high and is improving all the time.


PHILLIPS: Joining us now with more from Amman, Jordan, CNN's Jennifer Eccleston.

Jennifer, what do we know about his condition, and how serious is it?

JENNIFER ECCLESTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kyra, much confusion over the nature of President Jalal Talabani's illness and its severity, but a hospital official, as you mentioned earlier, at the King Hussein Medical Center here in Amman, Jordan, where President Talabani is receiving treatment told CNN earlier today that he was, indeed, moved to the intensive care unit, the ICU, and that, indeed, a catheter was placed in his heart. Of course, that's a procedure to obtain information about the heart and to provide continuous monitoring -- monitoring, however.

However, his son, Talabani's private doctor, and the spokesman from the office of the presidency patently deny these reports. They say he's suffering from exhaustion and lung inflammation and with that he is undergoing a series of tests, the tests that have been described as precautionary measures.

And as you reported earlier, his son on CNN said he was in good spirits and feeling better and that he was stronger. And he also said his heart is healthy, and he denied those media reports and his father, who is in his early 70s, had a heart attack.

Now, we've asked the hospital source to respond to these denials, and we were told that they could no longer comment on the matter. But where we do have comment is Jordan's King Abdullah, earlier in the day visited Talabani and wished him a swift recovery. He also instructed the royal medical services here to extent what a statement called the best services and facilities to President Talabani until he recovers -- Kyra.

PHILLIPS: Jennifer Eccleston, no doubt a lot of pressure on him in that job. We'll follow his condition, thank you.

LEMON: Well, JetBlue is trying to avoid a repeat of its Valentine's Day disaster, but it's slaughtering a big chunk of its schedule in the process. By canceling dozens of flights today, the airline says it's trying to stay ahead of the latest winter storm.

Our Allan Chernoff is at JFK Airport in New York with the very latest for us.

Hi, Allan.


First of all, let's mention that JetBlue is back to a full schedule this afternoon, but not before canceling 66 of its flights system wide, and that's more than 10 percent of flights for JetBlue.

Now, you might wonder why they would do that? The weather here actually hasn't been all that bad. We got maybe an inch and a half of snow. You can see most of it is gone behind me. And the runway, well, a little slushy a little wet, but not a really big deal. A lot of passengers wondering that, as well.

We chatted with a couple of passengers who were planning to take a 6 a.m. flight from New York to Florida. That was canceled. They ended up on an 11 a.m. flight and felt that half a day of their vacation had been taken away.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We don't understand why they canceled this flight because the weather is clear. So what's the point? It's not that bad.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just two inches of snow, one or two inches of snow.


CHERNOFF: What's happening now is that JetBlue is operating much more like the other airlines. Plenty of other airlines also canceled flights and did so well in advance. They did it yesterday, notifying the passengers.

Why would they do all that? Obviously, they can lose money when a flight is canceled. The idea here is to be able to bounce back quickly, and they are doing that today, as opposed to what happened right after Valentine's Day. You'll remember, it took a full week for JetBlue to get back into position.

The airline previously didn't want to cancel flights, but now it went ahead and did that. It kept a lot of planes in Florida. So, instead of waking up in the morning and having a bunch of icicles on the runway that would have to be de-iced, they had nice, warm planes sitting in Florida ready for flights. And, in fact, many flights are coming from Florida to New York this afternoon.

So, for JetBlue, it took a hit in the morning, but it's able to bounce back, which is essentially what most of the other airlines also do -- Don.

LEMON: Allan Chernoff, thank you so much.

PHILLIPS: The worst of the storm has moved on, but it's left behind low clouds and low visibility at a lot of airports. Jacqui Jeras tracking it all from the weather center. I felt sorry for those people in Chicago, Jacqui.


PHILLIPS: All right, Jacqui. We'll keep checking in. Thanks.

LEMON: The next stage in the Anna Nicole Smith drama, the Bahamas. There, lawyers for Smith's mother, her ex-boyfriend and her long-time companion are facing off over custody of Smith's infant daughter, Dannielynn, who could inherit a fortune.

Our Rusty Dornin has been following the case and joins us from Nassau in the Bahamas -- Rusty.

RUSTY DORNIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Don, presumably the hearing is under way. It was supposed to start about a half hour ago but people keep coming late. Just about ten minutes ago Virgie Arthur, Anna Nicole's mother, arrived. Howard Stern has not yet been seen. His attorney is inside the courtroom. Larry Birkhead and his attorney, Debra Opri, did arrive about 20 minutes ago.

Now, you're not going to see the kind of antics that we did see in some of the Florida courtrooms. But this is a closed hearing, not only to the media but to everyone. Only the people involved are going to be inside that courtroom.

And I understand from one of the other Bahamian judges, not likely to be any kind of decision today. There could be some decision within a few days or even perhaps a week.

But that is not the only court hearing that's going on here today. At 4 p.m. local time there is also a hearing about who really owns the house. There's a big dispute about whether the fact that Anna Nicole Smith owned the house that she was living in. The man who owned it previously says she does not own it; he was allowing her to stay there. She -- he claims she tore up a promissory note, and he says through his attorney that he wants her out of there.

So that will be decided or perhaps taken under advisement this afternoon. Also will be a closed hearing.

Now, we did hear from a Bahamian source, one very close to the investigation, that U.S. Law enforcement officials are in Nassau today and have an appointment to talk to Anna Nicole Smith's obstetrician. They want to see all of his notes about what kind of drugs she was taking before and after the pregnancy, presumably to see if there was -- he had any indication that she was taking methadone or any of those kinds of drugs.

So a lot going on here in Nassau and, of course, the story just keeps on going -- Don.

LEMON: All right. Rusty, we'll be checking back in with you. Thank you.

PHILLIPS: Well, a pretty big developing story out of the automotive world. Susan Lisovicz at the New York Stock Exchanges with details on this recall with Volkswagen.


Volkswagen is recalling nearly 800,000 vehicles because of problems with the brake light switch. The recall involves '99 to '06 models of the Golf and GTI, '01 to '05 Jettas, '01 to '07 new Beetles, and the '04 R32.

It expands upon a recall announced last year of some Jettas and new Beetles because of the same defect. The light could either remain on or not function and, obviously, that's a problem. Providing other motorists with the proper braking signal could potentially lead to an accident.

VW dealers will install the newly designed brake line switch free of charge beginning in late April -- Kyra.

PHILLIPS: All right. We'll continue. A lot of people drive Volkswagens here in the NEWSROOM. Everybody's paying attention to this. We'll talk about that and also the numbers. All right. Thanks, Susan.

LEMON: Also going to talk about Pandora's box. Child's play compared to the potential trouble inside a limestone casket that allegedly turned up outside Jerusalem.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What they've done here, they've simply tried in a very, very, I think, dishonest way to try to go and con the public into believing that this is the tomb of Jesus.


LEMON: Ahead in the NEWSROOM. Do you believe it or not? PHILLIPS: Attention charter members of the clean plate club. That plate might be a whole lot bigger than the one mama gave you. Calorie alert straight ahead from the NEWSROOM.

LEMON: Looks good, though.

BROOKE ANDERSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Brooke Anderson in Hollywood, where the Oscars were held literally just a few blocks away last night. Helen Mirren, Alan Arkin, Marty Scorsese, Al Gore, I spoke to all the big winners after they snagged Oscar gold. What they told me and why Al Gore says he's not planning to run for president when the CNN NEWSROOM returns.


PHILLIPS: It's a quarter past the hour. Here's a quick check of some of the stories that we're working on right now.

She was estranged from her daughter in life, and now she wants to be closer in death. Anna Nicole Smith's mother has asked a Florida appeals court to overturn a judge's ruling which denies her custody of Smith's body.

And just moments ago Virgie Arthur arrived in the Bahamas where a court is looking at custody of Anna Nicole Smith's baby.

Overseas, Iraqi President Jalal Talabani said to be in intensive care after a heart procedure. The son denies that, saying his dad is just overworked.

And in Toledo, Ohio, police officers salute one of their own. Detective Keith Dressel is the first Toledo officer killed in the line of duty since 1970.

LEMON: You know what? The sixth time was a charm for Martin Scorsese. The legendary filmmaker won his first Academy Award as best director last night after a 26-year-long losing streak. Unbelievable.

CNN entertainment correspondent Brooke Anderson is here with a look at the big night and the big parties.

Just looking over a list, Brooke, of his movies. It's hard to believe that he never won one for best director.

ANDERSON: It's hard to believe, Don. You're right. But he told me he's actually pretty relieved that it didn't happen until now, and we're going to get to that in just a second.

But it is really the night that Hollywood dreams about all year long, Don. I bet some actors really, literally have dreamed about this moment. And then last night they had a chance to make it a reality.

A couple of shoe-ins. Helen Mirren expectedly won best actress last night for her role in "The Queen". Also, Forrest Whitaker won best actor for "The Last King of Scotland". You know these two had earned numerous critics' awards and other awards leading up to the Academy Awards last night.

Jennifer Hudson, predictably, won best supporting actress for her role in "Dreamgirls".

I would say the one real surprise of the night was Alan Arkin snagging that best supporting actor trophy for his role in "Little Miss Sunshine". A lot of people thought Eddie Murphy was going to take that home for "Dreamgirls".

Now, this was Alan Arkin's third Oscar nomination, his first since 1969, and his first win. Also Helen Mirren's third Oscar nomination and, of course, her first win.

I caught up with her at the governor's ball last night, and she shared this recognition very graciously with her fellow nominees. Take a listen.


HELEN MIRREN, WON OSCAR FOR BEST ACTRESS: The one thing I've learned by being as old as I am is that nothing is sure in life and so you -- no, it's true, and you accept it. You know?

I was incredibly honored to be nominated. That was the most amazing day. This is incredible, and it's a night I shall never forget. That's for sure. But the great honor was to be up there alongside those other amazing actresses, no question.


ANDERSON: She is such a class act, and she really has been a class act all award season long.

Marty Scorsese, who we were referring to earlier, finally, you know, in what some are saying is a really long overdue Oscar. And it was presented by Steven Spielberg, Francis Ford Coppola, George Lucas. What a moment. Finally wins best director after losing five previous times in that category.

Listen to what he told me last night.


MARTIN SCORSESE, WON OSCAR FOR BEST DIRECTOR: In a way I'm glad it's happened now, if it was to happen at all. I think -- I don't know if I would have been strong enough if it happened earlier to continue making the kind of films I really wanted to make. So this just means, hopefully, to get a few more pictures to make. You know, as you get older, that's what you realize.


ANDERSON: And you see a couple of women behind Scorsese there. He was actually flanked by, I think, four or five women, and I asked him if he always traveled with such an entourage. And he said, no, no, no. They're all related, and they're helping celebrate his big win.

I also want to talk about the former veep, Al Gore. He has officially gone Hollywood. His movie, his documentary, "An Inconvenient Truth", won two Academy Awards, one for best documentary and also one for best original song for Melissa Etheridge's tune, "I Need to Wake Up".

I spoke to Al Gore. And look at this. OK. The award technically doesn't go to Al Gore. It goes to the director right there, David Guggenheim. But Guggenheim insisted Gore take the stage and say a few words, because this really is Gore's movie. It's Gore's message.

And last night when I talked to him, he was just beaming that his campaign against global warming is really getting a worldwide audience. Listen to this.


AL GORE, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I've been trying to tell this story, but it says a lot that as soon as Davis and this incredibly creative group got involved, all of a sudden people started paying attention to it. So, I'm grateful to them.

I think Mother Nature played a role also. People are connecting the dots. And the, you know, the bottom line is we've all got to be a part of the solution, and we can solve it. But the first step is learning about it and then being a part of the solution.


ANDERSON: And I also asked Al Gore if he had any intentions whatsoever of running for president. And he said he's not really planning on doing that. He has no plans to do that, that he is on a campaign of a different kind right now. And that is for the environment.

Back to you, Don.

LEMON: Yes, he had us guessing with a couple of "my fellow American" moments, but he never went through on it. Thank you so much for that.

ANDERSON: He's got a great sense of humor. Right?

LEMON: He does, he does. Thank you, Brooke.

And get more on Oscar night in a special report online with's "Academy Award Spotlight". See who won, watch reaction from the winners and view a gallery of who wore what. Get more at

PHILLIPS: High speed car chases, a mainstay of local news, now on the radar of the highest court in the land. Police tactics under constitutional scrutiny. Straight ahead from the CNN NEWSROOM.

LEMON: Hey, letter carriers have to buy gas, too. The cost of a stamp ready to rise again, and our T.J. Holmes has a couple of pennies for your thoughts. Straight ahead in the CNN NEWSROOM.


PHILLIPS: Well, it's a dinosaur in the airline sector and like T-Rex, the paper ticket may soon become extinct. Susan Lisovicz at the New York Stock Exchange with the details.

Susan, I'd like to have that -- that proof. I don't trust the computers all the time.

LISOVICZ: There is the sizable portion out there, but the airlines don't want it, because they want to save money, Kyra. And it wasn't that long ago, though, that paper tickets were the only game in town. Now hardly anyone uses them. Pretty soon no one will.

The International Air Transport Association says by the end of this year all airlines will have make the switch to e-tickets exclusively. The move will save money, a lot of it. The "Detroit News" says the cost of issuing a virtual ticket is $1, which is one tenth that of a traditional paper ticket. That could mean savings of $3 billion a year for the airline industry, an industry that needs it.

Northwest and other carriers are already discouraging the use of paper tickets and posing a $50 surcharge. On Northwest 20 million passengers last year. Only about 200,000 used paper tickets. That's just one percent, Kyra. Perhaps you were part of that group.

PHILLIPS: I never realized that that would add up to so much money. It's true. I mean, that makes sense. Well, is there any reason at all for issuing paper tickets?

LISOVICZ: Well, something that you mentioned, which is just simply the comfort of having that documentation. You know, one time paper tickets made it easier for travelers to move from one carrier to another in the event of a cancellation. You had proof of purchase, essentially. Paper tickets provided that source of payment. Many airlines wouldn't accept another company's e-ticket.

But that all changed two years ago, because all the airline got on an industry-wide computer system. So changes are actually easier now with an e-ticket. There's also no such thing as a lost ticket. A lot of us have experienced that, as well. You can simply get it reprinted.

One airline stock on the move today, shares of JetBlue down 2 percent. As Allan Chernoff has been reporting, the carrier canceled dozens of flights today because of another winter storm here in the northeast area. Doesn't want a repeat of what happened on Valentine's Day, so is acting proactively. The stock is getting beaten up.


LISOVICZ: Coming up, a record-breaking buyout on Wall Street, valued at $45 billion. We'll have details next hour.

You're watching CNN, the most trusted name in news. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PHILLIPS: Hello, everyone. I'm Kyra Phillips live at the CNN World Headquarters in Atlanta.

LEMON: I'm Don Lemon. Could the contents of this box shake up centuries of Christian belief? We'll take you to Jerusalem for more on controversial claims of the lost tomb of Christ. You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.

It is a controversy of biblical proportions, and I do not exaggerate. A claim that the bones of Jesus, and his family, may have been found. A new documentary makes an argument that some say could shatter the core belief of Christianity that Jesus was resurrected, and descended to heaven. "Titanic" producer James Cameron served as executive producer of that project and today he explained his involvement.


JAMES CAMERON, EXECUTIVE PRODUCER, "LOST TOMB OF JESUS: To a layman's eye it seemed pretty darned compelling. As a documentary filmmaker I was very, very attracted to the story. I said, I think, literally, this is the biggest archeology story of the century. And I still believe that to be true.

But I was also, quite frankly, somewhat trepidatious (ph) of becoming involved for all the obvious reasons. I asked myself, do I really want to be -- do I want this in my life? Do I want to stand up in front of the controversy and criticism that is inevitable to follow? My decision, ultimately, was that as a documentary filmmaker I should not be afraid to pursue the truth.


LEMON: Cameron stressed the film is not trying to undermine Christianity but to celebrate the real life existence of Jesus and his family.

PHILLIPS: Well, Cameron's team sought DNA testing and detailed forensic analysis. Our Ben Wedeman joins us with more on the controversy and more -- Ben.

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Kyra, actually I'm standing in front of the tomb that Mr. Cameron and his colleagues claim in their documentary film is the tomb of Jesus of Nazareth.

Now, obviously, this documentary doesn't actually air until the 4th of March, so we don't really have all of their evidence in front of us. But even now, a week before it's supposed to air, that documentary is making waves and raising eyebrows.


WEDEMAN (voice over): The Christian faithful have journeyed to Jerusalem for centuries, to walk in the footsteps of Jesus, to worship on hollowed ground. But a new documentary could shake the bedrock of Christian faith, taking up where the "Da Vinci Code" left off, purporting, not to be fiction, but rather fact -- or at least a theory, based upon fact.

The theory goes that Jesus was not resurrected, but rather died a natural death, after fathering a child with Mary Magdalena. The claims is based on inscriptions on several ossuaries, or stone boxes containing bones, uncovered in 1980, in a cave south of Jerusalem. The inscriptions indicate the bones are of people with the names of Joseph, Mary and Jesus, among others.

But the man who excavated the tomb studied its contents says names like Joseph, Mary and Jesus were common 2,000 years ago.

(On camera): Nobody knows this tomb better than you. Do you think it is the tomb of Jesus?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No. Because the family buried there is a middle-class Jerusalemite family and we don't know about the family of Jesus, as being such.

WEDEMAN: Archeologist Joe Zias studied the ossuaries and says the documentary's claims just don't add up.

JOE ZIAS, ARCHEAOLOGIST: What they try to do is they try to con the public into believing that we're talking about a nuclear family. When we say family tombs, these are not nuclear family tombs. These are tombs of extended families, so you may have in there three or four generations, you may have 100, 200 people in these tombs. It is impossible to go and tell who is related to whom, simply on the basis of names.

WEDEMAN: Some see a positive lining to the controversy this documentary may ignite.

DR. STEPHEN PFANN, UNIVERSITY OF THE HOLY LAND: What I think will come out of this film is a greater interest in studying more about Jesus; more about archeology, more about history. And I think that, in terms of Christians, they're going it have to re-evaluate the basis upon which they hold faith in Jesus. Is it because of historical reasons, or is it because of reasons of faith?


WEDEMAN: So, Kyra, as you can see, the film hasn't even run yet and already there is a lot of discussion, a lot of skepticism.

PHILLIPS: Ben, where exactly are you? Are you in some type of neighborhood or where were these discovered?

WEDEMAN: Well, we're about 15 minutes south of the center of Jerusalem, in a suburb -- actually, right next to a housing project. We'll just pan over and show you. This is a housing project in the southern Jerusalem suburb of East Tal Piot (ph), very working class, very simple. In fact, many of the people here living in this project had no idea, or have no idea, about the significance, according to the filmmakers, of course, of this tomb right here.

In fact, they are a little surprised we're even here doing these live shots this evening. What's interesting is the tomb was discovered when they were building the foundations for this project. And, obviously, when it was discovered they called in the archeologists. The archeologists spent several years examining the contents, studying the tomb itself.

And most of the archeologists who took part in this study actually don't believe the results of this documentary film. So, this is going to be interesting and, really, we're just at the beginning of this controversy -- Kyra.

PHILLIPS: Quite an interesting neighbor, next to that building, that's for sure. Thanks, Ben.

So how has the tomb of Jesus been found -- has it been found? "Titanic" director James Cameron says yes. And tonight's going to tell Larry King why. That's right after Larry interview with First Lady Laura Bush. It all starts at 9 p.m. Eastern only on CNN.

LEMON: Screeching tires, hairpin turns, police cars in hot pursuit of crime suspects. You've seen it time and time again, but is it constitutional? High-speed chases have finally landed at the Supreme Court of the United States. CNN's Gary Nurenberg looks at the case that caught the High Court's attention.


GARY NURENBERG, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): In 2001, 19- year-old Victor Harris didn't stop when Georgia police tried to pull him over for speeding. The police video shown to judges shows him accelerating, leading police on chase at times more than 100 miles per hour.

PHILIP SAVRIN, ATTORNEY FOR DEPUTY SCOTT: It wasn't just a question of the speed, he was also crossing the double line. Actually driving in the wrong direction, of travel, in order to pass cars that were in his path. He was also going through red lights.

NURENBERG: Harris pulls into a shopping center parking lot and Sheriff Deputy Timothy Scott tries to block him. Harris hits Deputy Scott's car. This is what it looks like from another angle. Then it's back to high speed on a two-lane road. Scott radios his supervisor.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right, let me have him, 78. My car is already tore up.

NURENBERG: Scott bumps Harris from behind.


NURENBERG: The crash leaves Harris a quadriplegic, he sues, arguing police used unreasonable force.

CRAIG JONES, HARRIS' LAWYER: All Mr. Harris had done was commit traffic violations. He wasn't a felon. He wasn't a violent criminal.

SAVRIN: If Deputy Scott had not used the force that he had, and a minute or so later someone had been injured or killed, the question would be, why didn't Deputy Scott take some action?

NURENBERG: Lower courts ruled the police did use unreasonable force. And the Supreme Court, which has shown deference to police on a number of cases since 9/11, decided it wants to review this case.

ED LAZARUS, CONSTITUTIONAL SCHOLAR: Nobody is going to suddenly say it's OK to use deadly force against a fleeing felon, who poses no threat to society. They're just going to say, I think, that a speeding car going down a two-lane road at 100 miles an hour is, in and of itself, necessarily a danger.

AL LIEBNO, POLICE DRIIVNG INSTRUCTOR: Just because a violator does something in front of us, doesn't mean we have to pursue him.

NURENBERG: As police departments across the country try to teach their officers whether to chase, and how, the Supreme Court may be about to decide how much force is allowed. Gary Nurenberg, CNN, Washington.


LEMON: We want to hear from you, what limits should be placed on high-speed chases? E-mail us your responses. The address is and we'll read some of your comments later on, right here in the CNN NEWSROOM.

PHILLIPS: Extreme eats, a consumer group counting calories at chain restaurants. They add up to big numbers. We'll tell you what foods we're talking about.

LEMON: A connection rooted in a dark part of American history. It comes to light today. The story straight ahead in the CNN NEWSROOM.


LEMON: Well, of course, it sounds great on the menu, looks great on the plate, tastes really good going down. And if it's bursting with fat and calories, that's just the restaurant's little secret. For now, at least, restaurant food doesn't come with all those pesky nutrition labels, but CNN Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen tells us what we don't know can hurt us.

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right, because if you go to a restaurant and you see a nice big piece of chocolate cake on the menu and you order it, you assume -- you assume that it's going to have tons of calories, right? A big piece of chocolate cake.

Here's the issue when you order a chicken and broccoli pasta dish, do you know that it has more than 2,000 calories, probably not. That's what Center for Science in the Public Interest group is trying to get at today. They've issued a report. Here's one entree they talked about at Ruby Tuesday's, that fresh chicken and broccoli pasta dish has 2,060 calories and 128 grams of fat. Oh, my gosh. That is equivalent to two 12-ounce sirloin steaks, along with two buttered baked potatoes and two Caesar salads. That is a lot.

Let's look at another entree that they talked about, at UNO Chicago Grill. Pizza skins, it's an appetizer: 2,050 calories. Those are like baked potato skins, but with like some pizza toppings on them, so it's kind of a fusion thing going on there: 48 grams of fat. That is equivalent to three pepperoni personal pans pizzas. Who knew you were chowing down on all of that?

And then the last one, you know, this one I think people really, probably, maybe know. Venti white chocolate mocha, that is the largest drink size at Starbucks. I know because I sometimes get my Venti, with a blueberry scone, 1,100 calories that is equivalent to a Burger King bacon double cheeseburger, with medium fries and a medium coke.

What do restaurants have to say about all this? The National Restaurant Association issued this statement, they said, "Virtually all restaurants provide healthful options and many items can be customized to reduce calories and/or fat content. But of course, what critics would say is, well, golly, how do you know if you need to order something else? I mean, chicken and broccoli with pasta, how do you know that you should be going with something else, because there's no information on the menu.

LEMON: It all sounds so good, though. But I don't know that about coffee. I don't get the sweeteners and all that stuff. So, I really didn't know. That is a lot of calories for a coffee.

COHEN: It is a lot of calories.

LEMON: But you know what, for years, even back on local news, we were doing these stories on portion control. Portion distortion and that stuff. What's new about portion size? Is there something new in all of this?

COHEN: What's new, according to this group, is that portions have gotten even bigger and the fat and calorie content has gotten even bigger, as well. They said back 10 years ago, when they started this, an entree would have 1,000 calories. And they would say, oh, my goodness. Can you believe something is 1,000 calories for one entry? Now it's 2,000 calories.

Before you could blow your entire day's allotment of fat grams on one entree, now, you're blowing several days worth of fat grams on one entree. So it's just the size and calorie and fat count.

LEMON: That's kind of hard to do because you need that, especially when you're down and you need that, what you call comfort food.

COHEN: Little boost. Yes.

LEMON: OK, so I understand, I know that New York City got the transfats, whatever. Chicago is trying to do it, but there are cities trying to get involved with this portion thing, as well, right?

COHEN: Right. They're getting into the act about labeling. For example, New York City will soon require many chain restaurants to put on the menu how many calories and grams of fat are in certain dishes, or if you're talking about a fast-food restaurant, where you look up at the menu board the information would be right up on there.

The more places that move that direction, you have to wonder maybe the restaurants will change things because maybe that chicken and broccoli pasta doesn't look so good anymore when it has 128 grams of fat, right there on the menu.

LEMON: Oh, trust me, it will look good. Doesn't mean it's good for you, but --

COHEN: But you might be more inclined to say, let's move on to something else.

LEMON: And everything in moderation.

COHEN: That's right. Split it in half, take half home.

LEMON: Thank you. Elizabeth Cohen.

COHEN: OK, thanks.

PHILLIPS: Letter carriers have to buy gas, too. The cost of a stamp ready to rise again. T.J. Holmes has a couple of pennies for your thoughts from the CNN NEWSROOM.


PHILLIPS: Straight to CNN's T.J. Holmes. Working details on a developing story -- T.J.

T.J. HOLMES, CNN NEWS ANCHOR: Yes, what's developing here is you may be paying more for that letter, to drop it in the mail, Kyra.

This is the deal that an independent commission today has recommended that the post office does, in fact, raise the amount for first class stamp by 2 cents to 41 cents, from 39, which it is currently. The post office asked for an increase of 3 cents, up to 42 cents but this commission came back and recommended that in fact it goes up 2 cents to 41 cents.

Another key recommendation that comes from this commission is something called a "forever stamp". Now, if this "forever stamp" is created, what would happen here is that you could buy a first class stamp at whatever rate it would be today, 39 cents, 41 cents, whatever it may be. And that that stamp would be good forever, no matter how much stamps might go up in the future.

You can buy it and you could just stock up on them. Right now, and stamps could go up to a dollar -- heaven forbid -- but they could go up in theory to whatever you would like, for whatever it goes up to, as long as you have your hands on this "forever stamp", it would still be good for a first class letter.

The recommendation goes to the board of governors of the Postal Service now, they'll decide. If they implement this, it could be in place in 60 days and expected, if they implement it, it could be in place as early as May.

So, that is the deal now, but, still, I know people never like to hear, and I know people stories. I remember when stamps used to be this, used to cost this much, but at any rate, Kyra. If I ask you to take a letter from Atlanta to Los Angeles and offer you 39 cents to do it, you're not going to say that's a good deal. So it's still a pretty good deal, nonetheless.

PHILLIPS: Let's get back to the $1 a stamp, if that were to happen, I would hope it would have your picture on it. That'd be well worth it.


HOLMES: Well, thank you, Ms. Phillips.

PHILLIPS: All right, T.J., catch you later.

HOLMES: See you.

LEMON: Well, he's has a name and a face and the undivided attention of cops in Manatee County, Florida. Ahead in the NEWSROOM the latest on a search for a suspected kidnapper.

PHILLIPS: And the thrill of the chase, it might be popular TV, but when should the cops hit the brakes? The Supreme Court considers that issue today. It's the topic of our e-mail question. What limits should be placed on high-speed chases?

Send your responses to We'll read some of them.


LEMON: Strom Thurmond, Al Sharpton, if I gave you an hour to think of a common between the political firebrands, you probably couldn't do it, but it looks like there is one. If you go back far enough you'll find it. And Sharpton calls it the shame of the glory of America. CNN's Bob Franken reports.


REV. AL SHARPTON, CIVIL RIGHTS ACTIVIST: Everything from anger and outrage, to reflection, and to some pride and glory.

BOB FRANKEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): That's how a flabbergasted civil rights activist Al Sharpton describes what it was like to learn not that his great-great grandfather was a slave, but a slave owned by relatives of a symbol of racial segregation, Senator Strom Thurmond. According to the genealogists, Coleman Sharpton, before he was freed, he was owned by Julia Thurmond, blood ancestor of the Strom Thurmond who generations later became the champion of Jim Crowe laws before moderating his views in later years as a U.S. senator.

He had walked out of the 1948 democratic convention run for president as a Dixiecrat. This intertwined family history was discovered after web site approached the "New York Daily News" and then Sharpton, who has run for president himself.

MEGAN SMOLENYA, ANCESTRY.COM: I'll tell you, this was a stunner even for me. I had no clue we would find a story like this hiding in there.

FRANKEN: It was just another chapter in the story of Senator Strom Thurmond. Before Thurmond died, at age 100, it was made public that he was, in fact, the father of a mixed race daughter, Essie May Washington. Family members are refusing comment on the slavery connection, although a niece of Thurmond's, Ellen Senter, did tell the "Daily News" "It is wonderful that [Sharpton] was able to become what he is, in spite of what his forefather was."

SHARPTON: The shame is that I am the heirs of those that were properties to the Thurmond family, but the glory is that Strom Thurmond ran for president in 1948 on a segregationist ticket. I ran in '04 on a ticket for racial justice.


PHILLIPS: Now Sharpton talked about the revelation this morning with CNN's Soledad O'Brien.


SHARPTON: I was absolutely shocked. I assumed that my forefathers were slaves, but the connection to Strom Thurmond is something I couldn't have imagined in a worst nightmare.

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR, AMERICAN MORNING: So, now that you had a couple days to think about it, what's your reaction? You still think it is a worst-nightmare scenario?

SHARPTON: I think the whole idea of slavery and that we're only three generations away clearly a nightmare. I think that the outcome, though, is that because people struggled from the abolitionist, to the civil rights movement, to those who continue to struggle today, the glory is that Thurmond ran for president in '48, preaching segregation. I was able to run because of those struggles, in '04, trying to preach racial justice.

So, the shame of America is that people were property. The glory is that people fought black and white to end that and are continuing to fight those inequities.


PHILLIPS: Long before his death, as Bob Franken noted, Thurmond softened his public stance on race relations.

LEMON: Ready or not questions about the U.S. military and its ability to respond to another war. High-level concern, the next hour of the NEWSROOM starts right now.

Hello, everyone. I'm Don Lemon, live at the CNN World Headquarters in Atlanta.

PHILLIPS: And I'm Kyra Phillips. And alleged kidnapper still on the loose in Florida police name a suspect after tracking down leads that the young victim gave them.

LEMON: High-speed car chases, necessary police tactic or use of excessive force. As the Supreme Court considers restrictions we are reading your e-mails.

PHILLIPS: The plot heard around the world. Some say they've found the bones of Jesus Christ and members of his family. Other scoff at a notion that could rock Christianity to its core. You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.