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Johnson Space Center Shootings; Seung-Hui Cho's Family Apologizes; Koreans React to Blacksburg Shooting

Aired April 21, 2007 - 11:00   ET


T.J. HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: You are in the CNN NEWSROOM on this Saturday, April 21st.
Hello to you all.

Thank you for being here.

I'm T.J. Holmes.

NGUYEN: Yes, good morning, everybody.

I'm Betty Nguyen.

Parents, have you ever talked to your kids like this?


ALEC BALDWIN: I'm going to let you know just how I feel about what a rotten little pig you really are. You are a rude, thoughtless little pig.


HOLMES: Yes, I'll call you back, dad.

That is Alec Baldwin. He probably won't be getting the daddy of the year award. We're going to be looking at what's behind the angry outburst.

NGUYEN: Plus, we have a mystery for you. In fact, it's a mystery on the high seas.

What happened to the crewmen on this ghost ship?

HOLMES: And what's rule number one when you're buying a house?

Consumer guru Clark Howard is coming up with that answer this hour in THE NEWSROOM.

Meanwhile, several memorial services scheduled today for the victims of the Virginia Tech massacre. The bodies of all of the victims have now been released to their parents and their families.

CNN's Brianna Keilar is in Blacksburg with the latest on the investigation, as well as the aftermath -- hello, Brianna.


Investigators still looking into any possible connection between the killer, Seung-Hui Cho, and Emily Hilscher, who was one of those first victims here on Monday, one of the two people who were killed in that -- in the shooting at the dorm.

At this point, according to a search warrant, investigators are looking at her cell phone and her laptop to determine if there is anything that links the two students.

Meanwhile yesterday certainly a day of mourning here on the Virginia Tech campus, but really all across the nation. And we heard from the family of Seung-Hui Cho for the first time. They have been in seclusion since Monday, but Cho's older sister, Sun-Kyung Cho, came out with a statement from the family saying, in part, "He has made the world weep. We are living a nightmare. Our family is so very sorry for my brother's unspeakable actions. It is a terrible tragedy for all of us. Our family will continue to cooperate fully and do whatever we can to help authorities understand why these senseless acts happened."

And she also said that the family is praying for all of the victims and all of the victims' family members.

Meanwhile, President Bush, who, as you'll recall, was here on Tuesday for a convocation with First Lady Laura Bush, focused today on the Virginia Tech tragedy in his radio address.

Let's listen.


GEORGE BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Our society continues to wrestle with the question of how to handle individuals whose mental health problems can make them a danger to themselves and to others. Colleges and state and local officials are now confronting these issues and the federal government will help.

I have asked top officials at the Departments of Education, Justice and Health & Human Services to provide the Virginia Tech community with whatever assistance we can and to participate in a review of the broader questions raised by this tragedy.


KEILAR: We've also learned that the FBI's Behavioral Analysis Unit is going to be helping out in the investigation of the shootings here. They look into the how and the why of the crime. And this is a unit, T.J. that has been called out before in assistance with other school shooting investigations, including Columbine -- T.J.

HOLMES: And, Brianna, before we let you go, we're looking behind you. You don't see much activity. It's a Saturday. You would expect probably campuses sometimes would be quiet anyway.

But I was there on Monday and Tuesday and what I saw a lot of were parents carrying their kids' bags, getting their kids off campus.

Are a lot of people still off that campus right now? Is it quiet? Is it kind of a ghost town even around there right now? What's going on on campus?

KEILAR: It is pretty quiet. We understand that a lot of students are planning on coming back tomorrow. But there certainly are a few signs of normalcy. We saw this yesterday and we hadn't seen it before yesterday. We were over at Drill Field. We saw some people playing ultimate Frisbee. We saw them out playing with their dogs.

And then last night, of course, there was a baseball game, the first sporting event since this tragedy, between the University of Miami and Virginia Tech's baseball team. And there were people there who were picnicking. They were playing bocce ball.

So, certainly some signs of student life here. But at the same time, if you talk with students and they say if it's a nice day out, like today, like it was yesterday, you'll have students all over the place. And that's certainly not the case, T.J.

HOLMES: All right, Brianna Keilar for us from the campus of Virginia Tech.

Brianna, thank you so much.

NGUYEN: Well, for the first time since Monday's shootings, the immediate family of Seung-Hui Cho is speaking out.

HOLMES: And we heard a bit there from Brianna Keilar. But in a written statement, the killer's sister says the family is deeply sorry.

We're going to get more now and the details of that from CNN's Randi Kaye.


RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The statement comes just days after Seung-Hui Cho's senseless slaying of his classmates and his own death -- an apology stained with shame. "We are so deeply sorry for the devastation my brother has caused.

No words can express our sadness. We are heartbroken. We grieve alongside the families, the Virginia Tech community, our state of Virginia and the rest of the nation and the world."

It was released by Cho's sister, Sun-Kyung Cho.

Of the victims, she writes: "Each of these people had so much love, talent and gifts to offer, and their lives were cut short."

It is clear from her words Cho's family is struggling, too: "We are humbled by this darkness. We feel hopeless, helpless and lost...He has made the world weep. We are living a nightmare." Seung-Hui Cho lived here until he was eight, an apartment in a poor neighborhood of Seoul. Then the family moved to the U.S. That's when his mother began to worry about Cho's odd behavior. He was quiet and withdrawn.

KIM YANG-SOON, CHO'S GREAT AUNT (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): Every time I called and asked how he was, she would say she was worried about him. She said she couldn't deal with him. She didn't know what to do. Cho's father and grandfather worried about that.

Who would have known he would cause such trouble, the idiot?

KAYE: Cho's sister acknowledges her brother struggled to fit in.

REGAN WILDER, CLASSMATE: He was just known as that kid that didn't speak. He just -- he never spoke and that's how everyone remembered him.

KAYE (on camera): Cho's parents left South Korea in hopes of a better life. They worked as dry cleaners, his sister for a State Department contractor. They had hoped for Cho, too. But now, living in seclusion, buried in grief, Cho's family members have become his victims, too.

(voice-over): "This is someone that I grew up with and loved. Now I feel like I don't know this person. There is much justified anger and disbelief at what my brother did and a lot of questions are left unanswered."

Questions whose answers may never come.

Randi Kaye, CNN, New York.

HOLMES: And this weekend on an all new CNN Special Investigations Unit, inside the mind of the Virginia Tech killer. Join Soledad O'Brien tonight and tomorrow at 8:00 right here on CNN.

NGUYEN: Well, Virginia Tech students are still coming forward with just terrifying accounts of Seung-Hui Cho's rampage.

Here's one account from CNN's "PAULA ZAHN NOW."



PAULA ZAHN, HOST: So, Emily, take us back to the moment that your teacher started jamming desks up against the door of your classroom and she told you and your fellow students to go to the back of the class and hide under desks.

EMILY HAAS, VIRGINIA TECH STUDENT: She -- we heard the gunshots and she -- she put the door -- she put the desks in front of the door. And she said call 911, get to the back of the room, get under the desks. Everybody, as far as I know, tried to move as far back as they could. I was back up at the back against the -- against the wall on the side. And just waiting and hoping that he wouldn't come in.


NGUYEN: We're going to have a special look at Seung-Hui Cho's victims later this weekend. A CNN special, "Thirty-Two Lives," remember, airs Sunday night at 7:00 p.m. Eastern.

So how did an angry worker manage to get a gun inside the Johnson Space Center?

That's what NASA officials are trying to figure out following a murder/suicide at that facility.

CNN's Susan Roesgen has the story.


SUSAN ROESGEN, GULF COAST CORRESPONDENT: There were two hostages and only one survived -- a secretary, Fran Crenshaw. The gunman was a contract engineer, Bill Phillips. He shot and killed a NASA engineer, David Beverly, and then Phillips killed himself.

The rest of the story from the Houston police chief.


CHIEF HAROLD HURTT, HOUSTON POLICE: We believe what happened was that David, the other engineer, was shot during the period of time when the first two shots was heard and someone called the emergency center.

After a period of negotiation and the hostage situation, when the one shot was heard, we think that that's when the individual killed himself and then shortly after that, Fran called the emergency center and set everything in motion.

As I understand the chain of events, she was very courageous, a calming influence in this whole issue and apparently there was a very positive relationship between her and the suspect because he at no time that we know of threatened to do injury to her.


ROESGEN: The secretary, Fran Crenshaw, was not hurt. The police say that the gunman, Bill Phillips, bought that gun just three days ago. They also say that they are now reviewing the security procedures here at Johnson Space Center. There were no metal detectors or surveillance cameras in the area of the shooting.

Susan Roesgen, CNN, Houston.


HOLMES: Well, Joshua Levs joins us up here now with a preview of what you've got coming up.

JOSHUA LEVS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, you know, events like this, and also what we've been covering all week at Virginia Tech, it can really make anybody at all feel more afraid of an act of violence, more afraid of being killed. So, coming up in the CNN Reality Check, I'm going to be telling you what the actual numbers are for homicides in America. So you've got to stay with us for that. A reality check so people don't think the threat is even bigger than, you know, they might over.

NGUYEN: Right.

Thank you, Josh.

LEVS: Yes.

HOLMES: And thank you all for sticking around.

We'll see you here in a minute.


HOLMES: Well, the Virginia Tech massacre can make everybody feel a little less safe. And it's causing a lot of people to ask what are my chances of being killed in an act of violence?

NGUYEN: Our Joshua Levs has been looking into that and he joins me with a reality check.

You know, when we see stories like what happened at Virginia Tech, then you hear of other similar stories, oftentimes, unfortunately, copycats.

LEVS: Yes.

NGUYEN: And we've seen some similar stories, not to that magnitude, lately, though.

LEVS: Absolutely.

I mean copycats. And, also, every time there's a killing, it makes news. And, you know, this is one of the reasons -- in a way it's similar with plane crashes. A lot of people think they happen more often than they do because they make news.

So what we want to do today is really give us a sense of how often killings actually happen in America, the homicide numbers. So here you go. We've got some screens that are going to show you this, some more graphics.

Let's start off with the raw numbers. There you go. Six in every 100,000 people in America is killed and it's 17,000 each year. And it's really interesting. These figures are from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention. They're almost exactly the same almost every year, 17,000. Also, keep this in mind. Random killings are pretty rare. In most cases, people know the people who are killing them. Often it's intimate partner violence.

Now, it's different for different age groups, so I want to break this down for you and you can look at your age group here.

Fifteen to 24 year olds, it's the second leading cause of death. After that, it becomes the third leading cause of death, up to 34 year olds. But past that, it drops way down. If you're between 35 and 44, we're going to show you that here, it drops way down to the sixth. And then after that, it's not even in the top 10.

Now, if you stop and think about what you're seeing right there, the reason is if you're over 44, you're much more likely to die from a natural cause.

But do keep in mind it's not even in the top 10 for anybody over 44.

Also, we really pieced through these numbers. There's one group of people in America -- one -- where homicide is the leading cause of death. And this is again from the CDC. And that's blacks ages 15 to 34. And I want to point out, too, that we're saying blacks, not African-Americans, because the CDC looks at people -- any killings inside America, not just U.S. citizens and not just African heritage -- anyone considered black in America.

And, Betty, really interesting also, as sad as it is, in the vast majority of cases, like 80 something percent of these cases, it involves firearms. That's usually the way that people are killed.

NGUYEN: Well, OK, but hold on. Let's look at these numbers.

LEVS: Yes?

NGUYEN: Seventeen thousand homicides.

LEVS: Right.

NGUYEN: Now I have seen numbers for violent deaths a lot larger than that.

LEVS: Yes. Thank you. Exactly. Yes, sometimes you do. You hear violent death statistics that are much bigger. And there's one reason for that. Keep this in mind whenever you hear that.

Violent death also includes suicide, OK?

So if you hear somebody shorthand it and say a large number of violent deaths, that includes suicide. And in some cases, it also includes cases in which police officers get into a shootout and then kill someone, which is not considered a homicide because it's never ruled as a homicide.

So, actual homicide, the thing people are afraid of right now, just being out on the street getting killed by somebody, that's 17,000 total a year.

HOLMES: The other thing people think about, certainly when we have the school shootings, is wow, these things are happening all the time, because they are so high profile.

LEVS: Right.

HOLMES: And we cover them so that they're always out there.

But how many school shootings? Do we have a lot of these things?

LEVS: Yes, really rare. The Education Department is the key place to go for this. The Education Department looks at killings on campuses and it averages out to about 16 per year...

NGUYEN: Really?

LEVS: ... on campus.

Yes, so now that was doubled in one day at Virginia Tech this year. Extremely unusual. We looked back at the past several years, when the average does, indeed, come out to 16. Keep in mind, I mean the things that actually kill people more often when it comes to college students, alcohol related deaths, alcohol poisoning. You know, you stay away from alcohol, you don't drive when you're drunk, you're much more likely to stay alive.

And, also, you know, for everybody, I mean for you and me, for everybody, very often the leading cause of death is an accident. So, you know, buckle your seatbelt, drive carefully. That's going to do a lot more to protect your life than being afraid in general that somebody might kill you.

NGUYEN: And once you hit 44...

LEVS: Yes.

NGUYEN: ... homicides aren't even in the top 10.

LEVS: Tyre not even in the top 10. And that's when you know a lot of the diseases that we have reported on...

NGUYEN: Those kick in.

LEVS: ... that the doctors are fighting. We talked about cancer a couple (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

NGUYEN: If it's not one thing, it's another.

All right, Josh.

LEVS: Well, yes.

NGUYEN: Thank you.

LEVS: You've got to go with something, I guess. Thanks a lot.

HOLMES: All right, thanks, Josh.

LEVS: Yes.

NGUYEN: Well, they broke up a long time ago. But a bitter custody battle means they are still fighting.

And coming up, how the Baldwin-Basinger break-up got really nasty.


NGUYEN: Thrilling explosions are a Hollywood mainstay, right?

HOLMES: Yes, but the blast that everybody's talking about now is real life.

Here's CNN's Randi Kaye.


RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): An explosive Alec Baldwin lashes out at his young daughter and it's caught on tape.


ALEC BALDWIN, ACTOR: You are a rude, thoughtless little pig. I don't give a damn that you're 12 years old or 11 years old or that you're a child. You have humiliated me for the last time with this phone.


KAYE: That nasty phone message left by Baldwin for his daughter is the latest chapter in one of Tinseltown's nastiest divorces. The tape was released by the Web site

For years, Baldwin and actress Kim Basinger have been locked in a very bitter, very public custody battle over their daughter Ireland.

KIM BASINGER, ACTRESS: We're getting through it and it's -- it has taught me -- it's been an invaluable education.

KAYE: That was Basinger in 2006.

And this is Baldwin, airing the couple's dirty laundry on the "Today" show the year before.


BALDWIN: And sometimes if you have one litigant is someone who can't move on and they like to argue, they like to fight, and they've got the wrong lawyer, the thing is just interminable. It never ends.


HARVEY LEVIN, TMZ MANAGING EDITOR: On the Richter Scale, this is absolutely a 10, with a tsunami following.

KAYE: TMZ's managing editor, Harvey Levin, won't say how he got the recorded rant, but calls the Baldwin-Basinger breakup Hollywood's ugliest split, each publicly trashing the other.

LEVIN: She's accused him of having an explosive temper, being unreasonable, being abusive. He's accused her of being psychologically unstable, addicted to various things. They have slung the mud every which way.

KAYE: But it wasn't always like this.


BALDWIN: This is the happiest day in my life.

BASINGER: I always loved these days.


KAYE: The Baldwin-Basinger love affair began in 1991 on the set of the romantic comedy, "The Marrying Man." They wed two years later and had a child. On screen, they had continued success, with 1994's "The Getaway." But off screen, trouble was brewing.

LEVIN: When things were good, they were passionate.

And you know what?

They're still passionate. The passion has just turned from love to hate.

KAYE (on camera): The marriage ended in December, 2000, when the couple separated. A month later, Basinger filed for divorce. It was granted the following year.

Until now, the couple has shared custody of their daughter Ireland. But in response to Baldwin's phone message, a judge has forbidden him from contacting his daughter until a hearing in June.

Randi Kaye, CNN, New York.


NGUYEN: Well, we have had a very busy morning keeping track of all these e-mails dealing with Alec Baldwin's voice message.

HOLMES: Voice message. That's a nice way to put it. Yes. That one to his daughter.

Was he out of line when he called the 11-year-old a rude little pig? NGUYEN: Veronica de la Cruz joins us now.

She's been sorting through it. And it's been quite a task because, I don't know, how many have you had come in? Hundreds? Two shootings?

VERONICA DE LA CRUZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Thousands and thousands of e-mails.



DE LA CRUZ: We've had so many. And, you know, the e-mails have really run the gamut. We can't read them all, but here are a couple more that we'd like to share with you this morning.

This first one is from Milton. And he says: "He's just very much frustrated that he's not able to have a relationship with her, her being his daughter. It's just a bad rap by a loving father on one his bad days."

This next e-mail from Ed, who asks: "Why be a good celebrity parent? There's nothing more boring than setting a good example. Alec's heated tirade voice-mail calling out his 11-year-old daughter is passionate. No anger management here, no rehab, no check-up from the neck up. But no Father's Day card either."

This one from Edward in Montreal, who says: "I don't blame Basinger at all for leaking the tape. It makes public Baldwin's destructive and potentially violent nature that otherwise remained hidden and private and protected from scrutiny by lawyers and publicists. It was the action of a desperate mother wanting to be believed, and now she is."

Lee in Minneapolis disagrees. He says: "I think Kim Basinger should be investigated and arrested for parental alienation."

Finally, we have this last e-mail from Mary in Iowa, who wraps it up by saying: "I'm amazed that CNN is falling into the gossip of Hollywood stars. Leave it alone and do what you do best -- report actual news around the world."

And with that, I'm going to go ahead and send it back to you guys so you can do exactly that.

NGUYEN: We will.

Thank you, Veronica.

HOLMES: That is what we do best.

NGUYEN: Yes, it is.

HOLMES: Report news around the world.

NGUYEN: And you've got to see this coming up.

HOLMES: Yes. We're going to be talking about real estate, actually, something everybody needs to know a little something about and would like to hear about.

Do you know how to buy a house?

It's certainly not just a matter of finding one that you like a lot and that you think is pretty.

NGUYEN: Oh, no. It's much more than that, because the consumer guru, Clark Howard, will be with us in just a little bit. He's written a new book on what you need to know before you commit to a mortgage.


HOLMES: Welcome back, everybody, to the CNN NEWSROOM.

I'm T.J. Holmes.

NGUYEN: Yes, hi there, everybody.

I'm Betty Nguyen.

Here's what's happening right now.

A Soyuz space capsule has landed in Kazakhstan, bringing a Russian cosmonaut and an American astronaut plus an American space tourist, Charles Simonyi, back to Earth. They're all back safely.

HOLMES: Also, five days now after the Virginia Tech massacre, several memorial services scheduled for today.

Seung-Hui Cho's family, meanwhile, has issued an apology. His sister writes: "He made the world weep. We are living in a nightmare. Our family is so very sorry for my brother's unspeakable actions. It is a terrible tragedy for all of us."

She goes on to say: "Our family will continue to cooperate fully and do whatever we can to help authorities understand why these senseless acts happened."

NGUYEN: Well, sadness and shame in the Korean community in the aftermath of the Virginia Tech massacre. And some are concerned that they may become targets of hatred.

CNN's Alina Cho reports.


ALINA CHO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): When the Korean community learned one of their own, Cho Seung-Hui, was behind the worst mass shooting in U.S. history, many said it was like a member of their own family had committed the crime. THOMAS KANG, KOREAN-AMERICAN: They feel a lot of shame, a lot of guilt, not because -- it's not because they've done it, but they -- they feel it that way because it is a Korean person that has done it.

CHO: Thomas Kang was not much older than Cho when he moved here with his parents. His family, like Cho's, came for a better life -- hard working parents who sacrificed everything for their children, in the same way Kang is now doing for his daughter -- a classic Korean- American story, why so many are connecting to this tragedy.

PROF. KYEYOUNG PARK, UCLA: It's Korean-Americans that I talk to, they feel really uncomfortable and they're very embarrassed and trying to do anything, if there is anything that we could do.

CHO: Cho's sister graduated from Princeton, a source of family pride. Her brother is now a source of shame.

KIM YANG-SOON, CHO'S GREAT AUNT (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): Who would have known he would cause such trouble, the idiot?

CHO: They were weeping in Seoul and South Korea's president said his shock was beyond description. Here in the U.S. Korean-American leaders say they are scared of a backlash in the same way Arab Americans felt after 9/11.

SJ JUNG, KOREAN-AMERICAN: Some parents, they are really afraid of sending their children to school and some Koreans (INAUDIBLE) decide to shut down their store.

CHO: There is intense sadness, too. Just as the students of Virginia Tech are grieving for the victims by holding vigil, Korean Americans are doing so as well. Alino Cho, CNN, New York.


HOLMES: It's time for us now to turn to some weather. Our Reynolds Wolf standing by for us in the weather center. What are you keeping an eye on for us Reynolds?

REYNOLDS WOLF, CNN METEOROLOGIST: We're actually watching things in the central plains. Not much as of yet, but we've got the setup, the potential for some strong storms developing mainly in extreme north Texas into western Oklahoma, parts of Colorado, even into Nebraska as we make our way to the midday, especially into the late afternoon hours. Possibility of some strong thunderstorms, maybe large hail, damaging winds and there's even a potential for some tornadic activity. So we're certainly going to watch that.

However, on the eastern seaboard, couldn't be better, high pressure really building up in parts of the northeast. Take a look at the great lady, a beautiful shot that we have for you of the statue of liberty, a fantastic day there in downtown Manhattan, the Bronx. It has been just lovely for you, Brooklyn, same story all the way up to Long Island. No problems to report. Meanwhile, we are having a few issues still in the southeast. You'll remember just moments ago we were talking about some of the problems we've seen in Georgia, all morning we're talking about the dry conditions, the fires they've had there. They need some rain. No rain is going to be in the picture until we make our way into the middle of the work week, maybe late Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Until then, it's going to remain dry.

Scattered showers and snow showers out into the Rockies, into parts of Sierra Nevada. We could see up to a foot of snowfall from about 5500 feet to 6,000 feet and higher and that's going to be - they're going to be dealing with up near Yosemite through much of the weekend. Now in terms of your temperatures for the central plains from Kansas City southward to Dallas, mainly some upper 70s, 73 degrees in Minneapolis, 55 in Billings, 63 in San Francisco, to 64 in Los Angeles, a little bit warmer there, 81 in Memphis, 75 in Washington, D.C. and 64 in Boston. That's a look at your forecast across the nation. Let's send it back to you.

NGUYEN: All right, thank you, Reynolds. What's the first question you should ask before you buy or sell a house?

HOLMES: We've got the answer here because our next guest, he knows that answer and he knows a whole lot more. Consumer guru Clark Howard. He is going to be right here on the set. Stick around.


NGUYEN: We do have three recall-related stories to tell you about this morning. First a frozen hamburger pattie sold in five western states are being recalled after three kids were sickened by e. coli. The meat was distributed in California, Arizona, Idaho, Oregon and Washington and was produced from April to May of last year. I want to give you a list of the brand names involved. Here they are. The patties were made by the Richwood Meat Company.

HOLMES: A California hog farm under quarantine today. That's because the pigs ate tainted pet food. A California state veterinarian says there's no evidence that humans ate pork from these hogs. Still, the state is trying to track down pigs sold from the farm. The pet food fed to the hogs contained melamine. That's the chemical that prompted the massive recall last month in pet foods. It's common for pet food manufacturers to sell seconds and leftovers to the feed lots.

NGUYEN: Well, another company is recalling some of its pet food products as well, this time over rice protein contaminated with melamine. Royal Canin is recalling five types of widely available dry dog food. A statement on the company's Web site says it will no longer buy any vegetable proteins from any Chinese suppliers. The original recalls were made after contaminated wheat glutin from China was found in some pet foods. More than 100 brands of pet food have been recalled. You can find the entire list on

HOLMES: He is one of the biggest tight wads around.

NGUYEN: He's right here.

HOLMES: He's right here. I feel bad.

NGUYEN: ... line of fire, thanks T.J.

HOLMES: I feel bad but he's smiling about it because it's a label he wears proudly. He also knows how to help you get the most bang for your buck. He has got impeccable timing.

NGUYEN: Just as houses and mortgages turn into financial quicksand for a lot of Americans, Clark Howard throws out a lifeline. "Clark Smart" is the name of the new book. It's a real estate book and it's part, from radio money master. Clark is here with some tips for us this morning. I think the thing that we want to talk about is when you're buying real estate, there are some fundamental rules that a lot of people don't sit down and learn before they just jump into it.

CLARK HOWARD, HOST, "THE CLARK HOWARD SHOW": Right. Rule number one, when you're shopping for real estate, you ready? First rule, know this thing here, the heart, you cut it out when you are looking at real estate. What we do is we fall in love with real estate before we own it. You fall in love before you own it. You're going to pay too much. You're not going to use good judgment. You got all the time you own your home to be in love with it.

Number two, you got to look at a lot of houses. So many people will go to just a few houses. They are lazy. They're done and they pay too much or they buy the wrong house. So you look at a ton of places.

NGUYEN: That's hard because when you see one that you think is just perfect, this is the house and you are saying forget about it, keeping looking?

HOWARD: Absolutely. How many houses are there in a big metro area? There might be 100,000, 500,000, a million. If you believe that that one is the only one out of a million, you're not being fair to yourself. That's right.

NGUYEN: Because you can take a home that may not have the best curb appeal and change it especially if it's a lot cheaper on the market. You can use that money and invest in...

HOWARD: I love houses that smell.

NGUYEN: Really?

HOWARD: The worse the odor is - I'm telling you, not once you own it, but when you are buying a house. The worse it smells, the better a deal you're going to get on that house because people buy houses as a dream. Think about kids with doll houses, they're buying that doll house or girls with doll houses. They are buying that thing to be their dream house. If they get smacked right in the face with something that's broken or a house that looks sad or a house that stinks from pets or whatever, you're going to get a deal on that. Those things don't cost much to fix.

NGUYEN: So use it to your advantage?

HOWARD: Absolutely. NGUYEN: Well, let me ask you this. Let's step on the other side, for people who are trying to sell their home, what's the best way to do, what's the best thing to do to get it ready, tiptop shape and put on the market when should you put it on the market?

HOWARD: If it's a neighborhood with a lot of kids, spring is absolutely it. If it's not a kid-oriented neighborhood, you just want to avoid the middle of summer and Thanksgiving through to about the 10th of January. But as far as getting a house ready for sale, one thing I'd like you to do in you know that relative of yours or friend or neighbor who you know is always griping and really negative -- you bring them -- know those people right, none of us would have relatives like that.

NGUYEN: Friend maybe.

HOWARD: But let's say you do. You bring them in and you have them tell you everything they don't like about your house. You want somebody to be the most critical eye you could ever have because when you go to your house every day or your condo, you don't see the things that might be wrong with it, something that needs repairing, the ugly color that you left that room when you bought the house, because you would never have picked that ugly color yourself and you want to clean closets out. You want to get that house looking in tip-top shape so that somebody can come in and look at it as their canvas, what they're going to paint in that house.

NGUYEN: I got you.

HOLMES: You're talking about getting it ready there. Also you got to price it. (INAUDIBLE) Everybody updates, there is a certain price they ought to get. What's the reality?

HOWARD: A lot of times what we'll do is we'll hire what I call the hero agent, the real estate agent who says I can get you more money than anybody else.

NGUYEN: Love those people.

HOWARD: But still they don't get you the price. If you are give them the listing, then you are handcuffed to them. And then they say I'm getting feedback that we have the house overpriced. You want to hire the agent who presents the best sales plan for your home. You want to have somebody who is very well thought out, how they're going to market your home and you want somebody who knows your neighborhood, what they call in real estate a farmer, somebody who specifically sells your street, your subdivisions, your immediate area, because they have knowledge. They know the agents who bring in buyers in those neighborhoods. They network together but just because you have a friend who sells real estate, hm-mm.

NGUYEN: These numbers though, don't they vary in different markets? Like it's a buyers market, right now correct?

HOWARD: Well, it's a buyer's market almost everywhere in the country. There are just a few markets in the country where sellers still own the day. You now more than ever have to do everything you can to make your house more attractive and stand out versus your neighbors. Get your landscaping looking beautiful. If you are trying to sell a condo in an impossible market, offer somebody a free big screen high def TV with the purchase.

NGUYEN: No way.

HOWARD: I'm serious.

NGUYEN: To buy your house?


NGUYEN: ...offer them a plasma television?

HOWARD: Yes I would.

NGUYEN: Are you serious?

HOWARD: Yes I would.

NGUYEN: And you make your money back?

HOWARD: Oh, no question because they come in and they think how cool is this? I can sit right here and I can look at this fancy television. You bet they'd love that.

NGUYEN: I would have never thought of that. That's why we have you on. Clark Howard, we appreciate your time, some really good tips.

HOWARD: Thank you very much.

NGUYEN: I hope they work. I'll let you know.


NGUYEN: This weekend does mark a special anniversary for ""Rolling Stone" magazine. Guess how old it is. Can you guess? We'll be right back with the answer.


HOLMES: "Rolling Stone" marking 40 years of music, pop culture and political commentary. The magazine rolling out a three-issue celebration. The first out now showcases interviews with rock and roll grandpas Dylan, Jagger and McCartney and just a little trivia for you here, who was the first person on the cover anybody? OK, I don't see the answer there I guess, yes.

NGUYEN: We didn't want to cheat.

HOLMES: It was John Lennon, the first on the cover in 1967.

NGUYEN: Look at all those covers, all those faces, famous people on there. All right thank you. There is a mystery to tell you about this morning as well off of the coast of Australia. Hope is running out for three missing sailors. Daya Clark (ph) has the story.


DAYA CLARK, CORRESPONDENT: After a 10-hour journey, the (INAUDIBLE) was towed back to port in Townsville early this morning, its dingy still attached. At first glance, police boarded the catamaran hoping to find some clue as to why the crew disappeared with the engine and computers still running. The yacht was spotted by a customs plane three days ago. A rescue team reached the boat yesterday. Data extracted from its GPS indicates the men left the boat in rough conditions within the first 24 hours of their voyage last Sunday.

ROY WALL, POLICE SUPERINTENDENT: Later on during the day, it appears that they just - they're tracking in a slightly different direction and probably consistent with what the wind and the tidal flow would take it.

CLARK: Missing are 56-year old skipper Derek (INAUDIBLE) and brothers Peter and James Tunstead, both in their 60s. Relatives arrived in Townsville last night hoping for more information.

SHANE TUNSTEAD, SON OF MISSING SAILOR: We heard that they lowered someone down onto the boat to search the boat and found no one and that's all we have.

CLARK: Shane and Grant Tunstead say their father James had been looking forward to a trip of a lifetime, sailing the recently purchased catamaran back to western Australia.

GRANT TUNSTEAD: Dad was like a little kid at Christmas he was so excited.

SHANE TUNSTEAD: I actually spoke to him about a half an hour into the sail. That was the last we heard.

CLARK: But this afternoon, any hope that the men would be found alive dimmed as a massive air search was called off.

WALL: The expert medical advice that we have now is that there's very little hope at all.

CLARK: Police say they've yet to decide whether to resume further searches tomorrow.


NGUYEN: Do want to let you know that after Daya Clark filed that report, the search did resume.

HOLMES: And I got a story of the big one that did not get away. Yes, they have caught Jaws. Fishermen say they snagged the biggest mako shark ever hauled ashore in Florida. The menacing fish if you will is 13 feet long and tops 1,000 pounds. It's so big and so strong --

NGUYEN: How big is it?

HOLMES: 13 feet. It's so big that it nearly capsized the boat.

NGUYEN: Exactly.

HOLMES: They had to call in a bigger vessel to bag this sucker.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was like we filmed "Jaws 4" that day.


HOLMES: It took the eight men three hours to get the shark on their boat. Now it's not going to take that long to get it to somebody's dinner table. Don't know if they'll be serving shark steaks at this birthday party we need to show you know

NGUYEN: I kind of doubt it.

HOLMES: Forget about 16 candles. How about 114, 114 balloons, 114 roses for Edna Parker. She is celebrating 114 years of life. The Indiana woman is the oldest American and the world's second oldest human being. She's partying with a slice of carrot cake. She has some forgetfulness and uses a wheelchair. But otherwise, she's in pretty good shape. She has seen 20 U.S. presidents, the first was Grover Cleveland. Happy birthday, Miss Edna.

NGUYEN: Happy birthday to her. Happy birthday Miss Edna.

Fredricka Whitfield joins us now to look at what's coming up today.

FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Happy Saturday to both of you. How are you doing? It's been a pretty busy morning. It's going to be an action-packed noon hour as well because people are still reeling trying to figure out how is it that someone who has some mental disabilities, some illness, can slip through the cracks. We talked to a former "Washington Post" reporter who now an author who said, unfortunately, it is rather easy. It happened to his college- age son. He tried to get him some assistance, but he was told that he didn't show eminent threat. It took something drastic and very bizarre to happen before he finally got some assistance. "It's Crazy" and in fact, that's the name of the book. We'll be talking to the author.

Also out of Iraq, something strange happens on the way home from work. We have an interesting story from Arwa Damon who shows how U.S. soldiers there come across a bomb-making factory and it was pretty happenstance.

And also, perhaps either one of you are in the market for a new car?

NGUYEN: T.J. is.

HOLMES: Always.

WHITFIELD: Always, really? You need to pay attention to this report coming up because you want to know which vehicle, large vehicles, survive or don't survive well (INAUDIBLE) crash test. All that straight ahead in the noon hour.

NGUYEN: It's good stuff. We will be watching. Thank you Fred.

HOLMES: U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez was on the hot seat this week.


ALBERTO GONZALEZ, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: I don't recall. I don't recall. I don't recall.


NGUYEN: Jeanne Moos does recall and she gives her take on the proceedings. That's coming up.


HOLMES: Of course, when public figures need to dodge and weave a little bit, they often get that sudden memory loss.

NGUYEN: Don't you hate when that happens? When it comes to those fired prosecutors, the attorney general came down with a bad case of I don't recall-itis. Here's our Jeanne Moos.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was a long day for a guy with a short memory.

ALBERTO GONZALEZ, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: Sir I don't recall. Sir I do not recall. I don't recall remembering.

MOOS: To help Alberto Gonzalez recall what he doesn't remember was this guy keeping score, a member of the Iraq veterans against the war. He and a handful of protesters made themselves hard to forget during breaks in the hearing, yelling sarcastic comments about the attorney general's legal positions. Also keeping tab on Gonzalez' memory was "The Daily Show."

GONZALEZ: I can only testify as to what I recall. Senator, I don't recall. I don't recall. I firmly believe that nothing improper occurred.

JON STEWART, "THE DAILY SHOW": But he ensures you what he doesn't remember was handled properly.

MOOS: Now Gonzalez didn't invent I don't recall. It is a time- dishonored tradition. RONALD REAGAN, FORMER PRESIDENT: I have to say I don't recall that at all.

BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT: I just don't recall that.

GONZALEZ: I don't recall making a decision. I don't recall when the decision was made.

MOOS (on-camera): Ha, ha, go ahead and laugh, but I personally made plenty of decisions that I recall making but I don't recall when I made them, not that I recall any examples. Right there, two "I don't recalls."

(voice-over): Though that's nowhere near Gonzalez' total for the day long hearing...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Seventy four times, I don't recall. How did you get through law school?

MOOS: How did she get into the Senate with that get up? Free speech. As for the guy keeping score, he sure was a hit on the liberal blogs. The man with the digits is making me swoon. That guy is totally hot, but he can count past 50. Yep, Adam Kokesh got all the way to 74 I can't recalls.

ADAM KOKESH, IRAQ VETERANS AGAINST THE WAR: It was actually a lot more than that. If you include the I don't know's and I'm not aware of, it would have been probably close to 400.

MOOS: Just to refresh your memory.

GONZALEZ: Senator, I don't recall. I don't recall. I have forgotten.

MOOS: Maybe it would have been less work to count these --

GONZALEZ: I do recall.

MOOS: At least the sign is...(singing) unforgettable. Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


NGUYEN: We do recall that the CNN NEWSROOM continues with Fredricka Whitfield.

HOLMES: That's it for me today. Hello, Fred, take it away.

WHITFIELD: Hello, you all have a great day.

Thanks everyone for joining us here in the NEWSROOM. Straight ahead. How safe is your ride? We will tell you which cars are most likely to save your life in a crash.

Also a deadly discovery in Iraq. We'll show you what soldiers found on patrol. And in the aftermath of the Virginia Tech massacre, how can someone like Seung-Hui Cho fall through the cracks? I'll talk to a father who says the mental health system failed his son. News unfolding live on this Saturday, April 21st. I'm Fredricka Whitfield and you are in the NEWSROOM.

Investigators in the Virginia Tech shootings are looking for a connection between Seung-Hui Cho and one of his first victims.