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Terror Investigation Involving Afghan Men in New York; Four Men Falsely Accused of Rape; Joe Wilson Welcomed Home; Anti-Obama Racism Displays; Popular Soap Opera "Guiding Light" Ends

Aired September 19, 2009 - 15:00   ET


FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: In the next hour of the CNN NEWSROOM, this Saturday, September 19th, the latest from Denver where the FBI is questioning an Afghan man about an alleged terror plot, one that apparently reaches all the way to New York.

Everyone knows George Washington was the first president of the United States, right? Apparently not, a new survey has astonishing new results.

And seven long decades of accidents, weddings, paralysis, death and (INAUDIBLE). It is all over. Talking about the "Guiding Light" it's fading to black.

I'm Fredricka Whitfield and you are in the CNN NEWSROOM. New details emerging in the terror investigation. It came to light after raids in New York this week. An Afghan national who works at the Denver Airport was expected to face a fourth straight day of questioning by the FBI. So far, it's not taken place. CNNs Homeland Security correspondent Jeanne Meserve joins us now from Denver. What happened?

JEANNE MESERVE, CNN HOMELAND SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well Fred, we wish we knew the full story. Najibullah was expected here, to undergo a forth day of questioning by the FBI but he did come. Yesterday, an administration official who is familiar with the matter said that Najibullah had admitted ties to al Qaeda. Today, his lawyer said not so and Zazi is saying the same thing. In an interview with the "Denver Post" Zazi reportedly says, it is not true, I have nothing to hide. It's all media publications reporting whatever they want. They have been reporting all this nonsense. Once again, those comments were said to Najibullah Zazi to the "Denver Post."

In the meantime, some new developments in the investigation, a former counter terrorism official who was familiar with the investigation says that on September 9th, that was the day that Zazi was driving from Denver to New York, a group of Afghan men went to a u-haul outlet in Queens and tried to rent a truck, they tried with credit cards, cash and they were unsuccessful according to this source. The source also says that the FBI came to this u-haul outlet on the 17th and showed them photographs. The employees identified two men, one of them identified as Ubam Isola (ph). The source says this individual has denied to the FBI that he has any involvement with this group, but that his funeral parlor has been searched.

The second man identified according to the source is Kahn (ph). He is the man who gave Zazi a place to stay while he was in New York last weekend. CNN has interviewed Kahn (ph) this afternoon. He has denied having anything to do with any group going to a u-haul outlet. He says he doesn't know anything about any ties Zazi had to terrorism. He only knew him from the mosque. Why is this relevant to the investigation? The answer is simple. It might be relevant because a truck can be turned into a bomb. Fred, back to you.

WHITFIELD: All right. Jeanne Meserve in Denver. Thank you.

Germany has bumped up its terror alert this weekend. An al Qaeda video threatened attacks after this month's national elections. A speaker actually warns German voters to support candidates who favor pulling German troops from Afghanistan. That voice also tells Muslims in Germany to stay out of public areas during the first two weeks after the election.

Social and religious conservatives are gathering in Washington right now for the Values Voters Summit. Their goal, regain Republican control of Congress and the White House. Among those attending, politicians testing the waters for 2012.


MIKE HUCKABEE, (R) FMR. PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It is, at times, a country that's difficult to recognize. We have become the land of czars, clunker cars and Hollywood stars. Unfortunately, it's also become a place where we have lost any sibilance of those promises of transparency and accountability.

MITT ROMNEY, (R) FMR. PRESIDENT CANDIDATE: Candidate Obama promised not to raise our taxes by one dime for people making less than $250,000 a year. If cap and trade program just demolished that promise. The Obama team had secretly calculated the cost of that plan. It would cost the average American family $1,761 a year, the equivalent to a 15 percent tax income tax hike. It would kill jobs in this country. It moves greenhouse gas admitters for America to other nations like China; it wouldn't do a thing to affect climate change. Democrats keep talking about climate change. But I think they are confusing global warming with the heat they are taking at the town halls.


WHITFIELD: Last hour I spoke with reporter Andy Barr who is covering the Summit for . It is the fourth one and given that the climate between the Republicans and Democrats just exhibited in the last few months has been rather heated.

ANDY BARR, POLITICO.COM: I think that is very much carrying over. You are seeing a lot of guys speaking with pointed attacks against the administration. The other thing right now that's different from this summit then the other ones is they feel like they have a little wind at their backs. They feel like they have advanced the ball some. They feel like the movement is coming back. There's a lot of excitement and still a lot of anger at the administration. But right now they are looking at an election cycle that looks good for them. Numbers across the country in terms of polling, generic ballets looking good for Republicans. They are excited now.

WHITFIELD: That's Andy Barr with

Phil Sackly (ph), the well know voice against the Summit will be honored at the Summit Gala this evening.

There is a new voice in the call for health care reform. Michelle Obama, she weighed in on the contentious issue for the first time yesterday, making her case for change in an impassion speech at the White House. Joining us live now, CNN White House correspondent Dan Lothian. Dan.

DAN LOTHIAN, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well the first lady was speaking at an event that was sponsored by the Council for Women and Girls. She was trying to do was really put a human face on this story, talking about how even her family, when her young daughter, Sasha was 3 months or so old, she had meningitis and some of the difficulties that they had in getting her case diagnosed. She pointed out, they had good insurance.

If they had not had that insurance how difficult it would have been. The first lady also acknowledging other women there who had a much more difficult time who were not able to have insurance or had some difficult struggles with illnesses. And so really trying to tell personal stories in this push for health care reform.


LOTHIAN (voice over): In the push for health care reform, First Lady Michelle Obama, appealed directly to women.

MICHELLE OBAMA, FIRST LADY: No longer can we sit by and watch the debate take on a life of its own. It's up to us to get involved.

LOTHIAN: Speaking to a diverse group of women, the first lady tied the issue of equality to the need for reform.

OBAMA: For two years on the campaign trail, this is what I heard from women, they were being crushed, crushed, by the current structure of our health care. This is why we are fighting so hard for health insurance. This is it. This is the face of the fight.

LOTHIAN: The first lady who in CNNs most recent poll remains a popular figure with a 67 percent favorable opinion has made a healthy lifestyle for signature issue. Planting a vegetable garden and shopping at a farmers market a few miles from the White House. Now she is stepping out in a more public way for healthcare reform. The White House put it amplified the president's message.

(UNIDENTIFIED MALE): If she can help out, we are happy to have her.

LOTHIAN: She's joining a fight that is in high gear. The president's tone appeared more campaign style in Thursday's University of Maryland's rally.


LOTHIAN: And he's pitching health care and other issues on five Sunday talk shows.

ROBERT GIBBS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I think it's important the president continue to speak to a host of different audiences to reach as many people as possible to talk about the benefits of health care reform.


WHITFIELD: The first lady is part of it. She has background in working as administrator at the hospital. Personalizing this. At the same time, we also heard from other members of Congress in the form of Max Baucus coming up with a proposal saying this is what I think the president has been talking about. Does the president like the Baucus plan?

LOTHIAN: Well it certainly has a lot of the elements that the president has been pushing. It does not have that public option. The White House believes that this is a good starting point. It's the first time now that something has been put on paper. That's been one of the big concern, when you go out across the country, a lot of Americans are saying we don't know what's in the proposal or bill. There's so many being thrown around up there on Capital Hill. This is the first time that something has been put on paper.

Clearly, there's still a lot of pushback happening here both from Democrats and Republicans and even Mr. Baucus was not able to get the three Senators, Republican Senators that are part of this effort to try to get a bipartisan proposal. Still a lot of talk that needs to be done on Capitol Hill to get this bipartisan effort for health care reform.

WHITFIELD: Senator Baucus did say himself earlier in the week, that this really is just a first step. It's likely to take a lot of other forms along the way.

LOTHIAN: That is right.

WHITFIELD: All right. From the White House, thanks so much, Dan Lothian.

While the president fights for his agenda, he's trying to dismiss the idea people that his critics are motivated by the color of his skin. Comments by former President Jimmy Carter inflamed the debate but in an interview with CNNs John King, Mr. Obama argued while racism is a factor, it's not the only thing driving his critics.


JOHN KING, HOST, STATE OF THE UNION: In recent weeks people have raised some pretty serious questions, the big rally in town talking about afro socialism. You lie shouted at you during a national televised address that former President Carter says he sees racism in some of this. Do you?

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE U.S: You know, as I said in the past, are there people out there who don't like me because of race? I'm sure there are. That's not the overriding issue here. I think there are people who are antigovernment. I think there are -- there's been a long standing debate in this country that is usually that much fiercer during times of transition when presidents are trying to bring about big changes. The things said about FDR are similar to what's being said about me. He was a communist or socialist. The things said about Ronald Reagan when he was trying to reverse some of the programs were vicious as well.


WHITFIELD: You can catch much more of John King's interview with President Barack Obama tomorrow on CNNs "State of the Union." The president tackles the issue of healthcare reform, the economy and much more. "State of the Union" starting tomorrow morning at 9:00 a.m. Eastern only on CNN. You don't want to miss that.

Falsely accused of gang rape. How do four young New York men now get on with their lives?


WHITFIELD: CNN news across America now. New Haven police continue to collect evidence in the murder investigation of Yale graduate student Annie Le. Last night, they towed a car from the motel where suspect, Raymond Clark was arrested. Clark was a technician in the lab where Le worked. The Associated Press quotes authorities as saying Clark tried to hide evidence in the lab even as investigators worked around him. That evidence reportedly included blood spattered equipment used for cleaning in that lab.

A judge in Atlanta says he was serious and serious concerns about how the estate of Martin Luther King Jr. is being managed. He is warning King's three surviving children that they may lose control of the estate if they don't comply with their legal obligations including holding shareholder meetings. Dexter King who controls the estate is in a legal battle with his brother and sister the siblings have not formally met, have not formally come together since 2004.

In Los Angeles, a possible challenge to Michael Jackson's estate. Yesterday, a judge ruled that Jackson's mother can challenge the two executors without being disinherited. The ruling paves a way for possible trial in which Kathryn Jackson could try to gain control of the estate.

In New York four young men falsely accused of raping a student are describing their ordeal as traumatic and a nightmare. The young woman has been suspended from school and could face criminal charges now. CNNs Deborah Feyerick reports. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Falsely accused of raping an 18-year-old college student. Four young men were set free and charges dropped hours after the accuser changed her story about being forcibly tied up and sexually assaulted in a dormitory bathroom.

KATHLEEN RICE, NASSAI COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY: The young woman admitted that each of the encounters with the men was consensual.

FEYERICK: Twenty year old Kevin Taveras and his step brother nineteen year old Stalun Felipe in red said they had never been to jail before and never plan to go back.

KEVIN TAVERAS, FALSELY ACCUSED: We were there thinking that we were going to do a long, big, 25 years and I'm not even that old. It was a scary place.

STALUN FELIPE, FALSELY ACCUSED: The things that they said with the rope come on. It's disgusting. We were looked at as disgusting men. It's not a good name to have.

FEYERICK: Prosecutors say the woman recanted soon after they told her the incident was recorded by cell phone.

RICE: Whether the video tape that we believed could be out there would collaborate her story. That was when she began to tell the truth.

FEYERICK: Only one of the four wrongly accused was a Hauster (ph) student and he has been allowed to return to campus and resume classes. As for students on the Long Island/New York campus there was a sense of relief and disbelief.

(UNIDENTIFED FEMALE): It went from being a shock that it happened in the first place to a shock that it's a big lie.

FEYERICK: They say the big problem with false accusations is real victims may not step forward. Those who do may have a harder time being believed.

JACLYN FRIEDMAN, ACTIVIST: This young woman has already gotten 20 times more attention than most rape victims on campuses.

FEYERICK: Prosecutors say it does not appear the young woman had been drinking. While they don't know what motivated her to lie, it appears she called police after she returned to her dorm room and spoke to her boyfriend. She's been suspended pending the investigation. As for the four men they plan to sue. Their lawyers say morality aside, there was no criminal activity.

Deborah Feyerick, CNN, New York.


WHITFIELD: First it was drought, now the southeast is trying to stay afloat. Jacqui Jeras has the forecast straight ahead.


WHITFIELD: Today's forecast doesn't bode well for much of the deep and mid south. Take a look at this. It's everywhere, rain. We're going to get much more of it. You are looking at Memphis here. Yesterday's downpour backed up the city's storm drainage system. Streets were flooded leaving cars trapped in the water. Things might be getting more in the Baltimore suburb after a six foot wide water main broke yesterday. That happened not because of rain, but something else. Water is still safe to drink. Water pressure has been restored in most areas. The type of flooding there was knee to chest deep. What a mess. So, outside of the water main break, the sunshine for so many folks in the south.


WHITFIELD: Only you can handle it, Jacqui.

JERAS: I think we had sun for 90 seconds yesterday in Atlanta.

WHITFIELD: You were watching the clock, right?

JERAS: I was like run outside while the sun is there. You have to laugh. If you don't, you're going to cry. Seasonal disorder is in full effect for people. Things aren't looking very good for the next couple days. We have an area of low pressure that is cut off from the main flow of the wind. Basically your jet stream, your upper level winds are what drive storms from one place to another. Those winds are not there. It sits and spins and it's waiting for something to move it. It looks like mid-week; we're going to get a new development that's going to knock all of this out of here. We're going to have to wait nearly a week. Fall will be here officially on Tuesday. We have to wait for fall to arrive before things look better.

So still some very heavy rain across parts of Alabama, into parts of Georgia. You can see the steady rainfall continue to push into the Atlanta metro area. Look at the live pictures of the dreary conditions that we have in Atlanta right now, 73 degrees, record rainfall already and it is not even 3:30. We're had 3.84 inches of rainfall already, I- 75 has been shut down for a time because of the heavy rainfall. The reasons we tell you not to drive through the water or walk through the water. One foot of water will float a small car. Two feet of water will float an SUV or a bus. It's not much; it's below your knee. Don't take those chances. Half of all flash flood deaths are usually are vehicle related. It's great in the northeast, great in the Midwest.

WHITFIELD: Absolutely. OK, you shared with me some of the bounty from your garden. I'm impressed. Beautiful plum tomatoes or Romas?

JERAS: Romas.

WHITFIELD: I'm not going to eat them on the air. It wouldn't be pretty. The garden is doing good?

JERAS: It's doing great. WHITFIELD: You received lots of feedback. You received a lot of feedback. Let me straighten up my grammar. What are people saying?

JERAS: We've gotten a lot of feedback. People are starting up gardens. I pulled up my Facebook page. Overall, good stuff. Kelly Wood says she didn't get much more than a few cherry tomatoes. But it was her first year; hopefully next year will be better. Kathryn lives in south Texas she says not enough rain for her. Sherry says money isn't as much the issue as having home grown food.

WHITFIELD: Tastes so much better.

JERAS: A lot of people are doing it for organic issues. My favorite one down here Jenna Ellis, hey there, sister-in-law puts me to shame here, 18 quarts of crushed tomatoes, and eight pints of pasta sauce. Four dozen onions braided and hung to dry, nine quarts of squash. Six quarts of bell peppers sliced and chopped.

WHITFIELD: I'd be happy with counting a couple. I tried a little myself. Nothing to the level of yours. I got a couple tomatoes, I'm happy about that. Squash didn't turn out. That's all I got for you.

JERAS: Did you enjoy it?


JERAS: People get more out of it than just trying to save money.

WHITFIELD: It's nice. Its fun getting your hands dirty and being in the dirt. I like that part.

All right. Jacqui thank you for sharing. I have lunch. A little something to munch on later off air. Thank you, appreciate it.

South Carolina Congressman Joe Wilson back home saying he wants to put it all behind him.


WHITFIELD: He's feeling the ire of Democrats and a public rebuke for heckling the president. Republican Congressman Joe Wilson says he wants to put it behind him. Wilson is back on his home turf of South Carolina and despite the cold shoulder that he has received in Washington, his constituents are welcoming him with open arms. Here's Brianna Keilar.


BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): South Carolina Congressman Joe Wilson is back in his home state facing constituents and local media, telling them it's time to move on.

REP JOE WILSON (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: And I, of course, as a gentleman, immediately contacted the White House, apologized. It was accepted numerous times. Let's close the book on last week. Let's look ahead to work together for real health insurance reform. KEILAR: The Friday evening news conference was Wilson's first public event in his home district since he let out the shout heard round the country.

WILSON: You lie!


KEILAR: Wilson's office encouraged supporters to attend and a small contingent showed up. Wilson got choked up as he left the podium. His office says he was simply moved by the outpouring of support he has gotten over the last week-and-a-half.

In this Republican stronghold, Congressman Wilson is known simply as "Joe." And while people we talked to thought his outburst was inappropriate, they, too, take issue with President Obama's efforts to overhaul the health care system.

BRIGETTE HEMMING, VOTER: There's a time and there's a place for that kind of a statement and that venue was not it. I believe that we're -- we're becoming socialism in -- in sort of a way. We're borrowing money from other people. We're doing these programs that are really taking away a lot of the choices from individual people.

DANIEL MORALES, VOTER: I'm somewhere between embarrassed and proud of him. I would say thanks for trying to stand up for the truth, but maybe next time do it in a little bit more of an effective way that doesn't cast a bad shadow on -- on who you are.

KEILAR: Congressman Wilson's office says he is very eager to move on from the last week-and-a-half. They say he held this event just to answer the questions of local media because he hadn't had a chance to do that until now.

Brianna Keilar, CNN, West Columbia, South Carolina.


WHITFIELD: Some critics of Wilson's outburst linked it to racism. Is racism at the root of other anti-Obama displays from the ruckus health care rallies to t-shirts of Obama as Hitler? These are questions we asked author Tim Wise about the White House's handling of the attacks, as well. Wise wrote the book "Between Barack and a Hard Place: Racism and White Denial in the Age of Obama."


Just looking at the title of your book, you saw this coming or, to this degree?

TIM WISE, AUTHOR: You know, to some extent, I think the president has to walk a fine line because anytime he speaks about race, we saw it in Cambridge with the Skip Gates affair, he talks about race and people like Glenn Beck say he hates white people. So I think what we have to take the burden off this president and for those of us who are white, we have to take the burden off the people with color, generally. It's not just folks of color who need to challenge racism.

WHITFIELD: So you're saying someone needs to talk about it, but perhaps black people should refrain from it?

WISE: No, no, no. They should do it too. Look, folks of color have to call it out, they are the ones historically who have been the truth barometers and detectors on this issue. What I'm saying is that those of us who are white also have to take some of that burden, because historically we know that when people of color have called out racism, even in the early '60s, most whites, according the Gallop Polls, would not believe them. So, we have to join in solidarity and allyship (ph) and make it an issue for us, as well.

WHITFIELD: So, President Carter's latest comments offer what in this argument of whether indeed this is about race, is it about policy, we hear from the RNC, Chairman Michael Steel saying, it's not race, it's policy. But when you have a president, former president, Jimmy Carter, now chime in, does this now make some people listen whereas before their ears may have been closed?

WISE: Well, it might, but you know, other white folks who were not former presidents or publically connected, need to also do it. The reality is, it's not just race. Michael Steel's right about that, but when you have folks like Mark Williams, one of the key organizer of the tea party, calling him an Indonesian Muslim and a welfare thug on his blog, those are racially loaded terms. The research says that when white Americans, for example, hear the term welfare, for the majority of us, it conjures up a negative connotation regarding blacks. So, I think it's incumbent up on Michael Steel and others to call out that kind of rhetoric if they expect to be taken seriously when they argue it isn't about race.

WHITFIELD: So, let's talk about the White House and how it reportedly is internally trying to figure out how to deal with it, because we are talking about the White House being the centerpiece of all that is taking place. What do you suppose members of the White House are trying to consider right now in how to move forward with this issue?

Yes, the president already spoke about race and he talked about the Professor Gates incident, he talked about it as a candidate, but now what?

WISE: Well look, the president has to stay focused on governing the country. He has to obviously talk about issues of health care. That's on his agenda. And it should be on of our agenda. But for those of us who think of racism as a serious poison that needs to be addressed, it has always been the case that the grassroots folks have to lead the way. No president, whether they are white, black, brown or otherwise, can be expected to lead on this issue, unless the people are challenging and pushing forward. So, we have to be raising it, we have to challenge our friends, our colleges, our family members, our neighbors them when racism is expressed. If we start do that then people will not feel emboldened to make some of the really blatantly raciest comments about the president that they've been making. WHITFIELD: So, it almost sounds like you're also saying there's greater danger for the White House to address this, for President Obama to address this as opposed to him or the White House being able to offer real healing powers when it's clearly a big problem.

WISE: Well, in theory, he should be able to address it. But unfortunately in this country, when people of color try to raise this issue and talk about it, there is a defensiveness that comes from white folks as happened with the Skip Gates affair. I mean, to say that the president hates white people just because he criticized a white officer is nonsense, but that is what millions of people heard when Glenn Beck made the argument. So, it's obvious he cannot do it alone.

WHITFIELD: Do you see all of this stemming from fear? And if so, fear of what?

WISE: Well, there's fear, there's anxiety. I mean, I think for a lot of white folks, the image beamed around the country right now by having a president of color, as to what an America is, is being challenged. Historically, those of us who are white could take for granted that we are the prototype of normality, that we were the prototypical American. And right now, I think there are some folks who are not comfortable with a multi-cultural America. And that's too bad, because that's the country we have.

WHITFIELD: And are you saying we're hearing that when we hear whether it be in town hall meetings or maybe in some other arenas where we hear, you know, take back our country, and this is not the America of our founding fathers, is that code language of this fear or is that...

WISE: Well, for some, it certainly is. Look, when you say you want to go back to the country the way the founders envisioned it you cannot separate the good part of the founders from the bad part. That was there and we have to address that.

WHITFIELD: Yeah. All right, Tim Wise, thanks so much.

WISE: You bet.

WHITFIELD: Author of "Between Barack and a Hard Place: Racism and White Denial in the Age of Obama." Thanks for your time from Nashville.

WISE: You bet.

WHITFIELD: So, outbursts from the world of politics, sports and entertainment. We saw it all this week. Right? Are we out of control? Next hour, join our conversation: How can we be more polite? Show some manners. Answer the question, are we out of control? We want to hear from you on Facebook at Fredricka Whitfield CNN or you can share your thoughts on my blog at We'll have a dynamic conversation. How we can reel it all back in and be a little bit more kind and polite to one another.

All right, so sometimes, simply not having a car keeps many parked in poverty. Our CNN Hero turns things around.


WHITFIELD: So, every day, hundreds of low income families struggle to get to work on time. They use public transportation systems that aren't always reliable. Well, this week's CNN Hero is working to provide an alternative.


ANNOUNCER: This is CNN Heroes.


ANNOUNCER: This is CNN Heroes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm a single mom. Not having a car, I have to take three buses every morning. I also depend on a friend of mine to get my kids to day care, because of the way the buses run, I'm unable to do it and get to work on time.

SUSAN JACOBS, CNN HERO: I know what it's like to have the fear of losing my job because I can't get to work. I was hitchhiking. That didn't last long because of the kindness, actually, of a stranger. He said "I'll let you use one of my vehicles." He was put in my path to help me move forward and made me realize I could make it.

I'm Susan Jacobs, and I provide working wheels to keep families working.

This is Susan with Wheels of Success.

Our goal is to try to step in to work with employers so that before they lay someone off, hopefully we have a solution.

The Cavalier's done, too?


JACOBS: We started taking donated cars and doing repairs. (INAUDIBLE) you pay a monthly payment for a year based on a sliding scale, and also give three volunteer hours a month back to the organization.




Since 2006, Susan has distributed 280 refurbished cars to low income individuals and families.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you so much.

JACOBS: You're so welcome.

Receiving a car is more than just the car. People literally see how their life's going to change.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is awesome. I got my own car.

JACOBS: I love what I do. My life has made a difference.


WHITFIELD: So, to learn more about Susan Jacobs or any of the other CNN Heroes check out our Web site, You can also join us on Facebook at CNN heroes. Nominate your own CNN Heroes and share their good works with the rest of the world.

We'll be right back after this.


WHITFIELD: Well, perhaps you like to watch your favorite movie or television show streamed over the Internet. Well, published reports say the FCC's chairman will impose new rules to make sure the signals aren't slowed or blocked by Internet service providers. Some providers have argued that they need to be able to make sure applications that consume a lot of bandwidth don't slow Internet access to other users.

An Atlanta company is developing new technology meant to give advertisers some flexibility and how and where they reach potential customers. Jacqui Jeras has more in this week's "Technofile."


JACQUI JERAS, CNN NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The 2002 movie, "Minority Report" depicts a futuristic shopping mall where every nook and cranny is crammed with video screens pitching their product.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: John Anderson, you could use a Guinness right about now.

RICHARD COPE, (INAUDIBLE): Less than a quarter inch thick, very flexible.

JERAS: Richard Cope is the CEO of (INAUDIBLE), an Atlanta company focused on developing flexible high definition indoor advertising screen. Cope says that science fiction has closer to becoming advertising fact.

We have everything there but the displays. Indoor advertising is growing second only to Internet.

JERAS: I all started with this --

Flexible, green only, no video, no nothing except the concept the technology behind it with the ability to do flexible stuff.

JERAS: Acquired from a university in Canada, originally developed as a small flexible screen concept for personal electronics like cell phones and iPods.

We thought it would be better for a very large, 10 foot enlarger, indoor displays that were thin, light and flexible and significantly more environmental.

JERAS: Nine months later and four generations later...

We build this, five times the size, can bend it around itself, quarter inch thick, runs on batteries. So, the whole thing is portable.

JERAS: Cope says they use existing technology, but configured in new ways to achieve flexibility.

Our display mechanism is a essentially stiff things in an overall flexible matrix. And people have a lot of trouble visualizing that. So one of the analogies I use is a sequined dress on Argentina Jolie, the sequins don't bend, but the dress form very nicely around whatever it's put on.

JERAS: Initially developed for indoor advertising at places like subway stations, airports and malls, the technology can be adapted to any shape and fit any contour.

Well, show up in a card board backseat, you can stick it to the wall if you want, with Velcro.

JERAS: Cope believes other applicants such as portable trade show displays and even military applications are in its future.

Jacqui Jeras, CNN, Atlanta.


WHITFIELD: Reaching for the stars, a California man did it and against all odds achieved a lifelong dream, in space.


WHITFIELD: A dream come true, Jose Hernandez finally made it to outer space on this past shuttle mission. It's something he promised to do back when he was just seven years old. And as our Thelma Gutierrez reports, he's now committed to helping others like him, keep similar promises to themselves.


THELMA GUTIERREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Astronaut Jose Hernandez was born to immigrant parents. As a child, he worked right here in the fields of Stockton, California, alongside undocumented migrant workers. His parents told us, his experiences are the reason why he supports immigration reform. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Jose Hernandez, mission specialist No. 2 on the mission, is making his first spaceflight.

Booster ignition and liftoff of Discovery.

GUTIERREZ (voice-over): A trip to space, against astronomical odds for one astronaut.


GUTIERREZ: Salvador and Julia (ph) Hernandez were migrant workers from Mexico who took their children to work with them every weekend.

HERNANDEZ: Because I want them to learn how to -- to learn money.

GUTIERREZ (on camera): It sounds like the lesson paid off.

HERNANDEZ: It sure did. It sure it, because you see that result now. You see the result.

GUTIERREZ: They say, every night, one child, Jose, just seven at the time, would lay out on the grass and stare at the stars. He told them he would become an astronaut.

Though Jose was born in the U.S., the family followed the harvest, and he didn't learn to speak English well until he was 12. But Jose was gifted and proficient in the language of mathematics. He excelled in physics and engineering, and never gave up on his dream. For 12 years in a row, he applied to NASA and was rejected. Then, in 2004, he was finally accepted, at the age of 41.

LETICIA CORONA, SISTER OF NASA ASTRONAUT JOSE HERNANDEZ: You think about when we were working in the field.


CORONA: You think about all the struggles, the hardships that we faced.

GUTIERREZ: On his first flight that just ended last week, Jose gave an interview from space to the Spanish-language TV network Televisa.

He talked about his background, the mission, and how he hoped the Obama administration would pass comprehensive immigration reform.

His public comments on a controversial issue caused NASA to take its own stand. In a statement released to the media, NASA said, "Hernandez's opinions are his own and do not represent the space agency," but that he has every right to express his personal views.

HERNANDEZ: I'm really proud of this -- this guy here right there. GUTIERREZ: His parents say they're glad their son hasn't forgotten his humble beginnings. They hope he will inspire other children to seek their place in the universe.

(on camera): Jose Hernandez says he wants to make sure that other low-income students also have a chance to achieve their dreams. And so he started a foundation called Reaching for the Stars to raise scholarship money, so that that students can pursue careers in math and science.

Thelma Gutierrez, CNN, Stockton California.



WHITFIELD: The feuds, the romance, and all those tragic accidents told every day for decades on the "Guiding Light." We talked to the shows stars as this legendary soap opera gets ready to actually fade to black.


WHITFIELD: After decades of drama, kidnappings, whodunit scandals, and traumatic medical maladies, "Guiding Light" is ending its run. The soap opera has been a guiding force on radio and television for more than 70 years and our Alina Cho talks to the cast.


ALINA CHO, CNN NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Some might say it's ridiculous to call this -- an institution, but Guiding Light is an institution, the longest running drama in history.

The CBS soap opera started on the radio back in 1937 and moved to TV in 1952. Seventy-two years of over the top lies...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If this is some kind of plan to extort money, you can forget it.

CHO: Cheating.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You, me, sex, now.

CHO: And pure drama.

GRANT ALEKSANDER, ACTOR: Even if you see the body, even if you see the body cut up, it doesn't really matter. Nobody is ever really dead.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm not hooked on alcohol.

CHO: "Guiding Light" also helped launch more than a few careers. It was one of the first soap operas to introduce leading African- American actors and tackle social issues that once were taboo.

ELLEN WHEELER, EXEC PRODUCER, GUIDING LIGHT: This show was doing uterine cancer stories when you couldn't say uterus on television.

CHO: But the show is ending. "Guiding Light" is the latest victim of low ratings and increased competition.

KIM ZIMMER, ACTRESS: The show is an heirloom. It gets passed down from generation to generation.

CHO: Like the King family in Connecticut. Four generations of "Guiding Light" fans.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Some people knit together. Some people drink together. Some people play cards. We watch "Guiding Light."

CHO: The family has never missed an episode.

DEBBIE KING, FAN: You know, when you watch every day like we do, you know, it becomes a part of your life.

CHO: For the actors, too. Many have been with the show for decades.

ROBERT NEWMAN, ACTOR: I signed a three-year deal 28 years ago. I got no complaints.

CHO: No regrets.


ALEKSANDER: Whatever anybody may feel about soap operas and where they rank in the artistic pantheon, to have any enterprise like this for a 72-year period, I don't think anybody will ever beat that.



WHITFIELD: All right, the "Guiding Light" now fading to black.