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Hurricane Rick; H1N1 Vaccine Shortage; Reforming Health Care; Pakistan Targets Terror Hub; Interracial Marriage Denied; Latinos Giving Back; Stimulating California; Mrs. Brady Teaches Tech; Alicia Keys' Keep a Child Alive; Critic in the Crowd

Aired October 17, 2009 - 11:00   ET


T.J. HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: Well, hello, everybody. From the CNN NEWSROOM, it's T.J. and Betty this morning for this Saturday, October 17th. I'm the T.J. Holmes and you're the Betty.

BETTY NGUYEN, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm the Betty portion of it. It's 11:00 a.m. here on the east coast, 8:00 a.m. out west.

All right. Let's begin with the severe weather watch that we have been keeping a close eye on. Southwest of Acapulco, talking Mexico, and something called Rick.

HOLMES: Yes. It sounds innocuous enough, Rick, but, no, this is a powerful category 4 hurricane right now that could be gaining strength. Reynolds Wolf, our meteorologist, keeping an eye on Rick. And we talk about how close it is to Acapulco, but they might get some rain, not necessarily a direct hit from (INAUDIBLE).

REYNOLDS WOLF, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes, you know, in fact, it should be pulling away from Acapulco so if you have any travel plans of going there, you know, don't call your travel agent yet.


WOLF: Don't go and make those changes. Just go ahead and enjoy yourself. But the storm is moving away. That's the good news. The latest we have on it, though, is that it's the strongest storm on the planet. We're talking winds of 145, gusting to 175. So it has strengthened since the last update.

What we do anticipate with the storm, though, is to continue its trek off towards the west. In fact, the latest path we have from the National Hurricane Center shows the storm will continue its march to the west, possibly strengthening a bit more, maybe weakening a little bit, especially as we get into Tuesday and Wednesday -- expected to be downgrading from a category 3 to a category 2, and then by Thursday morning at 2:00 a.m., maximum sustained winds forecast to be 90 miles an hour.

Possibly making landfall on parts of the Baja of California and may even downgrade a bit more to maybe a tropical storm due to some stronger below the winds and cooler waters, so the bottom line is this, folks. There's a lot that can happen between now and into early next week so we'll certainly just keep a sharp eye on it.


WOLF: That is a quick rap on your forecast around the nation. Let's send it back to you, guys.

NGUYEN: All right. Thank you, Reynolds.

You know the swine flu hitting early and hard. Doctors at the Centers for Disease Control report, quote, "widespread H1N1 flu outbreaks in 41 states."

HOLMES: Also the number of children who died from the virus have doubled in a month. CDC officials using the word "epidemic."


DR. ANNE SCHUCHAT, CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION: For the first week this fall we're seeing that amount of pneumonia and influenza mortality is above the epidemic threshold.


NGUYEN: All right. To top it off, health officials say it is taking longer than expected to make the H1N1 vaccine. Here's the latest from CNN's Kitty Pilgrim.


KITTY PILGRIM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's week 41 of the swine flu epidemic, and the delivery of vaccine is still uncertain in many pars of the country. The injectable vaccine only shipped this week.

SCHUCHAT: Initially, you know, we only have the nasal spray available, but now it's about half-and-half that are available and will be coming out towards the states relatively soon.

PILGRIM: The CDC says they have now ordered enough to provide 251 million doses. But as of this past Monday, only a fraction of that order, 9.8 million vaccines were available to be shipped.

Only one maker of the swine flu vaccine, Sanofi Pasteur, is manufacturing all of the swine flu vaccine for the U.S. market in the United States. Some 75 million doses. The other three producers -- CSL, MedImmune, Novartis -- make their vaccines overseas.

The public health department of Suffolk County, New York is the distribution center for 1.2 million people, and it only received 600 doses of the injectable vaccine today and 1,000 doses of the nasal spray last week. They say they will need 300,000 to 400,000 doses.

Steven Levy, county executive, said supplies are uncertain.

STEVE LEVY, COMMISSIONER, SUFFOLK COUNTY, N.Y.: We just got that shipment today of the 600 injectable forms, and we're hoping for thousands more to come we think sporadically over the next several weeks and months. PILGRIM: Dr. David Graham, chief deputy health commissioner of Suffolk County, says he only finds out day to day what they will receive.

DR. DAVID GRAHAM, CHIEF DEPUTY HEALTH COMMISSIONER, SUFFOLK COUNTY, N.Y.: We certainly could use more and sooner the better. But, you know, for the doses that we do receive incrementally, we're going to administer them as soon as they come in.

PILGRIM: Until then, the county is prioritizing high-risk people to receive their shots first.

Kitty Pilgrim, CNN.


HOLMES: When it comes to overhauling health care, President Obama says the country is closer than ever. Still he acknowledged the struggle.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The history is clear. For decades, rising health care costs have unleashed havoc on families, businesses, and the economy. And for decades, whenever we have tried to reform the system, the insurance companies have done everything in their considerable power to stop it.


HOLMES: All right, CNN's Kate Bolduan joins us from the White House.

Kate, good morning to you again. We got the Baucus bill, which was the one we were told that's supposed to be a compromise. Well, compromise was one reluctant Republican, it seemed. So what does compromise look like moving forward?

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, you really hit it right there. Compromise -- kind of to be determined, T.J. I wouldn't say that the White House highlighting today that it was -- it had Democrat and Republican support but very slim as you point out.

The White House continues to call for a health care reform bill to be passed by the end of the year. The president today in his address highlighting progress so far as he calls it as the debate kind of moves out of congressional committee phase towards it next phase, which is a wider and likely fiery floor debate to come.

But Congressman Kevin Brady of Texas, who is speaking for the Republicans today, he says that the reform plans that are making their way, taking shape in Congress right now, he says they equal nothing more than greater government interference that will only serve to drive up costs without the health care system.

Listen here. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. KEVIN BRADY (R), TEXAS: The Democrats' plans are loaded with new federal mandates and higher taxes on insurance plans, treatments, and equipment, all of which will be passed down to patients.


BOLDUAN: T.J., you talked about that Senate finance committee plan that was approved this week. That was the last plan to really be approved and make its way through the committee stage. That's the Senate finance committee version.

The Congressional Budget Office scored that, really estimating the cost of what it would be. They -- the budget office said that it would cost $829 billion. That's over 10 years but it would also, they say, eventually reduce the national deficit by $80 billion.

But the bill only -- that plan only had one Republican support, that's from the moderate Republican Senator Olympia Snowe of Maine. So right now, the White House negotiators, as well as key Senate Democrats, they are continuing some closed-door deliberations and they're scheduled to pick that back up next week to move this all forward, they hope.

HOLMES: All right. And we hope the lights stay on there for you. Got a little dark there.

BOLDUAN: I can do that. I don't know what's going on.

HOLMES: All right.


HOLMES: Kate Bolduan, as always, we appreciate you this morning. Thank you.

BOLDUAN: Thank you, T.J.

HOLMES: And a programming note for you. Sunday 9:00 Eastern, we have a rare interview with the chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel. The White House chief of staff. Our John King talking to him about health care and every other topic you can think of. Again, that's Sunday morning on "STATE OF THE UNION" right here on CNN, 9:00 Eastern.

NGUYEN: Well, long planned and much promised. Pakistan today launched an assault on Taliban and al Qaeda in the southern Waziristan tribal region.

CNN's Reza Sayah now from Islamabad with the details.

REZA SAYAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: On one side you have 28,000 Pakistani troops taking on about 10,000 to 15,000 of the most hardened militants in this region. Senior military officials telling CNN that the ground offensive began shortly after midnight local time on Friday here in Pakistan.

Officials telling CNN that all eight entry and exit points in south Waziristan have been sealed, and already this first day of this offensive we've seen some skirmishes. And officials say in some of these skirmishes the Taliban actually taking the fight to Pakistani troops, attacking their check posts.

Today, four soldiers have been killed according to officials and in air strikes that have accompanied this ground assault, 12 militants have been killed, as well. This ground offensive coming after a wave of militant attacks here in Pakistan that killed more than 150.

Washington also keeping a very close eye on this. Keep in mind, U.S. officials say many of the insurgent attacks taking place across the border in Afghanistan are emanating or stemming from south Waziristan. That's why analysts say this is a defining moment against militants in this region.


PERVEZ HOODBHOY, PAKISTANI DEFENSE ANALYST: Now the situation has become critical. What we've seen is that suicide bombings have spread into all our cities. We've seen the extremists become stronger and stronger, day after day. And that nerve center lies in Waziristan. We've got to go for it now.


SAYAH: With tens of thousands of troops moving in, that means a lot of refugees are leaving the battle zone. We've seen that happen over the past few weeks. Eighty thousand people have already left, according to the U.N.'s refugee agency. That poses another dilemma for this government, taking care of all these displaced citizens.

But perhaps the biggest dilemma is handling this very severe and rugged terrain in south Waziristan just right next to the Afghan border. Analysts say the hardened militants know this severe terrain extremely well and expect them, they say, to use it to their advantage.

NGUYEN: Well, over in Afghanistan, the NATO coalition today announced the deaths of three more U.S. soldiers. Two died in eastern Afghanistan. The other in the southern part of the country. All three were killed by roadside bombs.

Twenty-eight American deaths reported in Afghanistan so far this month. And as President Obama weighs a new war strategy for Afghanistan, watch "FAREED ZAKARIA: GPS" tomorrow afternoon on CNN for topnotch analysis 1:00 p.m. Eastern, again at 5:00, only on CNN.

HOLMES: Well, a shift on Sudan. Officials say Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will announce a new U.S. policy on Monday. And instead of isolating Sudan, the U.S. will now engage the government in Khartoum. There would be incentives and pressure to end the killing and abuses in Darfur, also there'll be a time line. Sudan's president has been indicted, you may remember, for crimes against humanity by the court, the Hague. Official with the Obama administration says they will continue to characterize the slaughter in Darfur as genocide.

NGUYEN: Throwing cold water on a wedding? Yes. A local Justice of the Peace says no way when he is asked to marry an interracial couple. Now the uproar has gone national.


NGUYEN: All right. So outrage over the actions of a Louisiana Justice of the Peace. There are calls, in fact, from the governor's office and from Capitol Hill for an investigation.

HOLMES: So what exactly did the man do? Well, he's a justice of the peace, supposed to hand out marriage licenses. He also marries couples. Well, he refused to marry a particular couple. Why? The groom is black. The bride is white.

CNN's Sean Callebs now reports not the first time he's done this.



BETH MCKAY, BRIDE: It's just so hurtful.

CALLEBS (voice-over): Hurtful because she never could have expected what she heard from Tangipahoa Parish Justice of the Peace, Keith Bardwell, when she called Bardwell's office a week ago to handle her marriage ceremony.

MCKAY: He was the first one that I called, Keith Bardwell. And when I called, we were setting up a time for us to come over, and at the end of the conversation, she said that she had to ask me a question and she asked if this was an interracial marriage.

CALLEBS: The answer is yes. She's white, her then-fiance, Terence, is black.

MCKAY: She said well, we don't to interracial weddings or marriages.

CALLEBS: Beth said her jaw hit the floor.

(On camera): Is this something you feel was or is over racism or was it -- was there any other reason behind this?

MCKAY: It's overt racism. And we are used to (INAUDIBLE) so we're not -- we're not going to tolerate over racism from an elected official.

CALLEBS: Well, we found Keith Bardwell, the justice of the peace, tucked away in a rural part of his parish. Now he has been a public official, a justice of the peace, more than 30 years. We want to hear what he has to say about this entire controversy.

(Voice-over): So about a mile down Bardwell road, we found the Bardwell house that doubles as his office. This woman identified herself as Keith Bardwell's wife. She said he wouldn't talk and she demanded we not take any pictures.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have nothing to say. (INAUDIBLE)

CALLEBS: We asked but never got an answer about what exactly she meant, so we left.

(On camera): But he's done this before. You said that he has referred people to you before.

TERRI CROSBY, TANGIPAHOA PARISH JUSTICE OF THE PEACE: He has referred people, interracial couples, to me on one or two occasion, and then of course I've married interracial couples on my own.

CALLEBS (voice-over): Turned away by Bardwell, the couple turned to Terri Crosby, also a justice of the peace. Last week she married Beth and Terence under this archway. She calls them a wonderful couple.

It's also personal for Crosby. She has a granddaughter who's from a mixed marriage.

(ON CAMERA): Is this a racist area? What would you say?

CROSBY: Absolutely not. Absolutely not. I can never believe that this area is racist. No. I think that this is the most fair and loving people.

CALLEBS (voice-over): Beth works in marketing and wants to go back to college. Terence is a welder, and it took four months for him to find work here. To them this parish, that's about 70 percent white, sometimes feels like it's the 19th century.

TERENCE MCKAY, GROOM: It's disheartening, seriously. You know, it's 2009 and we're still dealing with a form of racism.

CALLEBS: Beth says they have received amazing support from friends and family. They see it as an opportunity.

B. MCKAY: I just think that God puts you in the right positions at the right time in order to stand up to people who choose to live their lives with hate.

CALLEBS: Sean Callebs, CNN, Tangipahoa Parish, Louisiana.


NGUYEN: All right. So we've got an lot of reaction from you today. We've been asking you on our Facebook, Twitter pages and our blog, what do you think about it. So let me just take you to my Facebook real quick. And Claire says, "I thought we moved past this. I guess I was wrong." And this other person writes, "Love sees nothing, hate sees everything." And quickly to my Twitter site, this person right here says, "The last thing I promised you should be able to marry anyone you choose. That is what a loving relationship should be about."

So a lot of people really taking the stand that these two should be married.

Yes, under law they should and they did get married. The problem was the justice of the peace, the original one, just didn't want to do it.

HOLMES: And who knows what's going to happen with him. And what's going to come. He could be let go. I mean they're looking at taking some action against him because many say this is a clear violation of constitutional rights.

NGUYEN: Right. Absolutely. OK. Well, be sure to join Fredricka Whitfield at noon as she takes up this case with the legal guys. We'll have much more on that.

HOLMES: Also coming up. She has graced the cover of countless magazines -- not Fredricka, even though she could.

NGUYEN: She could.

HOLMES: She could easily do so.

NGUYEN: She's fabulous.

HOLMES: But the lady we're talking act has also walked runways all over the world. And here now with the first Latina supermodel is up to.


NGUYEN: Time now for our top stories. The billions, they flee ahead of a full-scale military blitz now under way in Pakistan's southern Waziristan region. Pakistan launching what it calls a massive offensive against insurgents.

The Pakistan military says it is targeting 10,000 militants along its border with Afghanistan and at least four soldiers and more than a dozen militants are already reported dead.

HOLMES: Meanwhile, three U.S. service members were killed in two separate bombings yesterday in Afghanistan. The deaths bring the number of U.S. service members killed this month in Afghanistan to 28.

NGUYEN: The government is reporting shortages of swine flu vaccine due to delays in production. And child deaths attributed to the virus, well, that's up significantly as well. The CDC says 86 children have died from the H1N1 virus since last spring. Eleven of those deaths reported just in the last week alone.

And another check of your top stories, well, that's coming up in 20 minutes.

So what about this? Latinos in a minority population, America, right? But one that is expected to nearly triple by 2050.

HOLMES: Yes. And next week, CNN taking an in-depth look at how Latinos will likely change this country and how the country has changed them.

NGUYEN: Yes. It's all part of a special. Soledad O'Brien shows us what the first Latina supermodel is doing to honor her roots.

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Betty. Hi, T.J. For years, the model Patricia Velasquez made her money with her gorgeous face. Now she's letting her heart lead the way.


O'BRIEN (voice-over): Patricia Velasquez has come a long way. Possibly the most recognizable Latina supermodel in the 1990s, she helped raise the profile of Latinas in America.

PATRICIA VELASQUEZ, FOUNDER, WAYUU TAYA FOUNDATION: The fact that I was the first Latina supermodel, it put me in a place where I was able to raise the self-esteem of a lot of girls.

O'BRIEN: She never forgot where she came from.

VELASQUEZ: My mommy is Wayuu Indian so we were very close to the Wayuu people.

O'BRIEN: The Wayuu Taya are indigenous people, some 300,000 who live in the dangerous border region between Colombia and Venezuela. A long way from the runways of New York and Milan. The children live without schools or running water until Patricia came back.

VELASQUEZ: I got together in New York with some of my friends, and we said, you know, let's put an event together. And we were able to raise some really good money. We put a water pump in the village. They had no water. Then 2,800 people had water for $6,000 and we got really excited.

O'BRIEN: Patricia, along with a host of famous friends, raised more money and expanded her project. She created the Wayuu Taya Foundation, then built the roofed center in Mara, a building where volunteers work to meet many needs.

VELASQUEZ: We wanted to create one place that identifies the Wayuu Taya Foundation. We thought let's have a place where the kids can come, they get two meals a day, they get education when -- you know, since they're 2 years old. And then just let it keep growing.

O'BRIEN: As more donations came in, the center grew. They started reaching out to the Wayuu women, helping them craft then sell their famous handbags.

VELASQUEZ: It takes a woman 20 days to make a bag. And they're called susus. And every Saturday when they turn in their bags, they have to have a course in something -- family planning, hygiene, nutrition. If they don't get the course, they don't get paid.

O'BRIEN: So the women have an incentive to return and continue learning.

VELASQUEZ: The Wayuu Taya Foundation is starting to work. And the really, really the time we -- when we completely achieve full a sustainability of the foundation, and it doesn't really need me only to be the sustainability of the foundation, then that's the time I'm going to say OK, we made it.

O'BRIEN: The results she's seen give her hope.

VELASQUEZ: The statistics say that one kid was dying a day. Now the statistics don't say that anymore. But the most important thing is what it has done for a community. They had lost their hope and now they have their hope.

O'BRIEN: Hope for others from one of their own.


O'BRIEN: The foundation continues to expand. They now have a computer lab which Patricia says is always busy. They recently received a grant to create a computer program that will help them preserve the Wayuu dialect, which is one of a kind.

Betty, T.J., back to you.

HOLMES: All right. And we are just four days away from "LATINO IN AMERICA," the comprehensive look at how Latinos are changing this country.

NGUYEN: Yes. CNN's two-night event takes place Wednesday and Thursday at 9:00 p.m. Eastern. It'll also be simulcast in Spanish on CNN Espanol.

HOLMES: Now this morning we are keeping an eye on a storm that seems to be getting stronger.

NGUYEN: Oh, my goodness. Hurricane Rick off of Mexico's pacific coast. If you just take a look at this on the map, it is huge. Category 4. When is it expected to hit? We'll tell you that next.

ANNOUNCER: "LATINO IN AMERICA" is brought to you by...


NGUYEN: Well, a shot in the arm from the stimulus. The government has released a new report on jobs created by the recovery plan.

HOLMES: But we want to take a look now at one state hit hard by the recession. CNN's Casey Wian has California's stimulus story.


CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The Army Corps of Engineers is using federal stimulus money to remove graffiti from the Los Angeles river channel, including one of the largest tags in the United States. The $800,000 project has created eight jobs. President Obama trumpeted the job creation prospect of the Recovery Act during a Democratic Party fundraiser in San Francisco Thursday night.

OBAMA: If it hadn't been for that Recovery Act here in California and all across the United States -- if it weren't for the Recovery Act, we'd be in a much deeper hole and that is a fact.

WIAN: California companies have been awarded more than $1 billion in federal economic stimulus contracts. Yet according to the federal government's own data, so far they've created or saved just 2,240 jobs. That works out to nearly half a million dollars per job.

But that figure will improve because many of the companies have not hired all of their workers, and some projects are not yet under way. Some of the money hasn't even been spent.

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is aggressively pushing for more federal funds. His most recent appeal for green energy jobs.

GOV. ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER (R), CALIFORNIA: These 40 companies that are in the pipeline say they're ready to go and that they will be also eligible for federal money, billions and billions of dollars of federal money.

WIAN: Including grants and loans through various federal agencies California is set to receive about $28 billion. No one knows how many jobs that will create.

REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R), MINORITY LEADER: American families and small businesses are struggling, which they've seen this stimulus package pass but they're asking, where are the jobs?

WIAN: They're coming, says the White House, adding, quote, "It's also too soon to draw any conclusions from this partial and preliminary data."

(On camera): It's also too soon to draw any conclusions from a bit of good news out of California Friday. The state's unemployment rate actually declined slightly last month by a tenth of a percent. It's still among the highest in the nation at 12.2 percent, and in the past year California has lost nearly 750,000 jobs.

Casey Wian, CNN, Los Angeles.


NGUYEN: All right, time now to check in again on Rick, Hurricane Rick, that is. Boy, this is a huge one.

WOLF: Reynolds checking in on Rick. NGUYEN: Yes.

WOLF: That's how we do it. You know, you guys were asking, there's a chance this storm, which is now a category 4, and major storm could actually become a category 5. And the latest forecast we have from the National Hurricane Center indeed shows that occurring, going from a category 4 status to a category 5 by 8:00 a.m. on Sunday.

That's the bad news. Good news, that it is expected to be far away from land. And the forecast path brings it a little bit more to the west-northwest and then turning to the north, weakening as it encounters two things -- shear and then cooler water temperatures. And then possibly making landfall at the southern end of Baja, California.

But there's a lot that can happen between now, tomorrow and certainly next Wednesday and Thursday, so it all bears watching.


WOLF: That is a rap on your forecast. Let's send it back to you, guys.

NGUYEN: That's a lot, too, though.

WOLF: Oh yes.

NGUYEN: Appreciate it. Thank you, Reynolds.

You know we do have some video that you really have got to see coming out of Australia.

HOLMES: It's a little scary.


HOLMES: Until you hear the result. But you see that thing moving there?

NGUYEN: That's a stroller, folks.

HOLMES: With a baby in it and that's a train. Yes, folks, you just saw that correctly. Let me say ahead of time that the baby is OK. Again this was in Melbourne, Australia. The baby was dragged in that stroller more than 100 feet. A 6-month-old was in it.

Would you believe, though, all the child had was a bump on the head? You see it highlighted again. Just got away from the mother. And the train was on the way. It's a miracle this happened the way it did.

NGUYEN: It absolutely is. And just imagine the fear. That stroller is getting away from you. You're trying your best to grab it. It falls over the edge, then a train comes by. And you know, yes, for it to be dragged 100 feet. But apparently the baby was harnessed into that stroller so well, you know, just like a seat belt, that there were really very minor injuries, just a cut on his head. It is truly a miracle. Boy, but it's a really remarkable video out of Australia.

Well, you know her as Mrs. Brady, but stick around and find out how Florence Henderson is actually helping seniors get wired. Josh has the latest on this.

JOSH LEVS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, we've got to talk to her about this. A lot of people out there want to stay in touch with their grandparents or stay in touch with their grandkids, don't necessarily know all the latest tools. Mrs. Brady to the rescue. We'll show you what she's up to right next.


HOLMES: Well, at home, an official tells CNN that Pakistani troops have seized control of the home village of a Taliban leader. Pakistani military says he's been the mastermind behind some of Pakistan's deadliest suicide attacks. This comes as the Pakistani military has launched a massive ground and air offensive against the Taliban.

NGUYEN: Well, federal health officials say swine flu killed 11 kids this week in the U.S. Forty-three children have died since the beginning of September. A number usually seen across an entire flu season. Well, the government hoped to have 40 million doses of H1N1 vaccine this month, but officials say manufacturing delays means the number will be closer to 30 million.

HOLMES: And under the sea, they held a meeting. They are trying to draw attention -- well, they have it -- in particular, they're trying to draw -- there are desks down there. I didn't even notice that earlier. Individual desks like little classrooms.

NGUYEN: And under water pens, apparently, because they were writing something.

HOLMES: And -- well, what they're trying to do here. This is in Maldives. This is a cabinet meeting they're having there. They're trying to draw attention to global warming. They actually got some business done down here, Betty. They approved a measure that they're going to present at the U.N.

NGUYEN: Guess that's a vote. That's a yes.

HOLMES: On climate -- yes, about climate change. But the issue here is that this island, not far from Sri Lanka, actually because of global warming they say and the change in the global climate, the water levels are rising, which means that their island is literally sinking and going under water. So hence the whole idea here.

LEVS: So all the latest technology can help you keep in touch with family, right? But only if you and they know how to use it. And now someone is here to help. You know her as Mrs. Brady.

Florence Henderson, she started this business. We can show it to you here. It's called the Floh Club. It's for people who didn't grow up with computers. They take phone calls, they talk you through how to get hooked up.

In the NEWSROOM, I get to speak with her about being tech savvy and about the 40th anniversary of "The Brady Bunch."


FLORENCE HENDERSON, ACTRESS-TURNED-TECH-TEACHER: That's one of the most exciting things for me is to be able to video conference because I have a son and his wife and two children who live in St. Louis. I have a daughter in Florida and they have two children.

And now I can actually see them. I have a new little granddaughter just a year old, and I can watch her grow and I can talk to them. To me, that is the most exciting thing. And so, I'm encouraging older adults to really stay connected and use your brain.

LEVS: Well, quickly, I've got to talk to you about "The Brady Bunch" because it's the 40th anniversary of "The Brady Bunch." Forty years.

HENDERSON: Can you believe it?

LEVS: I can't. 40 years after it was created. And we're talking about some of that -- maintained this kind of iconic position in society. Talk to me quickly. We see stars come and go. But you, 35 years after the show technically ended, you've stayed out there as an icon. What's your secret? What did you do that no one else figured out?

HENDERSON: You know what, Josh, I think it's because I love what I do, I'm passionate about what I do. I've always kind of felt that my career was my vocation, and I love staying on top of things. That's why I would get so frustrated. That's why I started the Floh Club.

You know now I'm cyber mom. But I think I genuinely love to communicate and I love people and I'm so thrilled to be on CNN I can not tell you.

LEVS: Well, listen, thank you so much. Listen, let's show one of the graphics because I've posted a link to your blog.

HENDERSON: Thank you.

LEVS: To your new business right there. Let's go to that. It said has it. I've also posted it on Facebook and I'm sending it out by Twitter right now.

HENDERSON: Thank you.

LEVS: Florence Henderson, so good to talk to you. Thank you so much.

HENDERSON: Thank you, Josh. You're a doll. See you again soon. LEVS: Mrs. Brady called me a doll. Wow.


LEVS: Lucky me in the NEWSROOM. I'll show you a couple of things quickly. This is it. It is a business. And they charge about $25 a month or $250 for the entire year. Just to see how tech savvy she is now, she took the video of our interview, she posted it on her Facebook page,

Here's an example of what people are writing her. Rob wrote, "Yo, Florence, you rock. My parents need your help." She's getting a lot of messages like that from people of all generations. And you can learn all about it at the blog you saw there,

Hey, Betty, T.J., you guys fans of the Brady bunch? You guys...

NGUYEN: I remember watching it. Yes.

LEVS: A little bit?

NGUYEN: I know that you were really excited to talk to her. Then she called you a doll.

LEVS: Made me so happy.

NGUYEN: T.J. calls you that all the time around here.


HENDERSON: I didn't know that.


HOLMES: "Brady Bunch." When was that?

NGUYEN: It was a while back.

LEVS: Forty years ago.


NGUYEN: We got to watch it in reruns. But that's...

HOLMES: Reruns.

NGUYEN: Neither here nor there, right?


HOLMES: All right. Thanks.

Well, coming up here, you know the face, you know the voice, you know the music. But did you know Alicia Keys also is trying to save lives in Africa? I sat down with her. She has a message for you.


ALICIA KEYS, SINGER: I believe that the world does want to find a way to utilize themselves. You know, everybody wants to know how they can help another person, you know. But how and where and what do I do and how should I do it? So if someone can tell you how, then you want to step up to the plate.



HOLMES: Alicia Keys, the song "Karma" from her first album, "Songs in A Minor." It was released some eight years ago.

Well, you know the name, you know the face, you know the music, you know the talent. But this morning we're going to show you another side to Alicia Keys, one that's about saving lives of HIV/AIDS victims in Africa.

Not necessarily talking just about numbers here, not statistics either. This story here is about people, the faces of the people she met when she went there.

I caught up with this 12-time Grammy Award-winning singer in New York and talked about her charity, Keep A Child Alive.


KEYS: It's crazy when you think about it, how you can change the lives of people forever for the price of a pair of shoes.

HOLMES (voice-over): Alicia Keys didn't set out to do humanitarian work in Africa. In a way, Africa came to her. It was 2002. Her first album was climbing the chars. She won Grammys for best new artist and song of the year. But she never expected an invitation to perform in Africa.

KEYS: I was wowed that people that far away would know my music.

HOLMES: Maybe she knew that 40 percent of the population there was infected with HIV/AIDS. But those numbers didn't really hit home until she came face to face with the people there.

KEYS: I started to meet kids my age and younger who were personally dealing with it, lost their parents, watched their parents die, then had to raise their younger brothers and sisters. They're 14 and they raising their 7-year-old, 6-year-old brother and sister.

HOLMES: The people she met changed her life. And ever since, this 12-time Grammy Award-winning singer has been working to change theirs.

KEYS: All they kept saying when I was leaving, "Don't forget us. Please don't forget us."

HOLMES: Within a year, Keys co-founded the Keep A Child Alive organization with filmmaker and activist Lee Blake. Their mission is to build clinics and provide kids and their families with medicines that will save their lives.

KEYS: Picture your brother, picture your mother, picture your daughter, picture your son and picture suffering them greatly. You would not tolerate it. You wouldn't. You would say whatever I have to do to change that I'm going to do it.

HOLMES: On December 4th, World AIDS Day, Alicia Keys will release her fourth CD, "The Element of Freedom." She says it will show a different side of Alicia Keys.

KEYS: I'm renewed and I'm reborn. So you will feel a different side of me, definitely. A freer side of me, more confident side of me, stronger side.

HOLMES: The first single, "Doesn't Mean Anything," is already out. She performed it for the first time live this week.

(On camera): Everybody knows about what you do behind the piano. But what do you want to be known for maybe years down the road?

KEYS: I want to be known as an incredible, global citizen and a person who has made their mark in inspiring positive ways. I'll tell you one thing, though. They're going to make it through it. And they're going to have something serious to say. They're going to change the world. We're going to change the world.

And I felt proud that that was my generation. This is my generation. We're about to do something really big.


NGUYEN: I feel the conviction in her voice when she said that.

HOLMES: Yes, and so many times people -- not always like that, but sometimes people just attach their name to something or attach their face.

NGUYEN: And it does help a cause.

HOLMES: I can.

NGUYEN: It brings awareness but for someone to get behind it so passionately.

HOLMES: Not the case here. She was there from the jump, started it, founded it, and has continued with it, hope to expand it to India next. So she's working on that right now.

NGUYEN: Especially huge there in India as well, too, so...


NGUYEN: Fantastic organization. And just a great person all in all. HOLMES: Yes, you know, some people you meet, you've been fans of their music or whatever.

NGUYEN: Right.

HOLMES: And you meet them and they're kind of a jerk and you lose kind of...

NGUYEN: Hey, we're just being honest.

HOLMES: Being honest.

NGUYEN: When you meet someone that lives up to the expectations...

HOLMES: Yes. That was...

NGUYEN: ... it is so heart warming. It really is.

HOLMES: That was a relief that she -- I've been a fan of her music but now to know and confirm that she's a good girl...

NGUYEN: You know, I had that kind of feeling when I met Fredricka Whitfield for the first time here at CNN.




WHITFIELD: What a lovely segue talking about these great people.


NGUYEN: Well, you are, Freddie, a fabulous person in your own right.

WHITFIELD: You're funny.


HOLMES: Hello, Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: Hey, well, hey I'm glad to be in your presence here. And nice to follow Alicia Keys.


WHITFIELD: OK, let's talk about the noon eastern hour.



WHITFIELD: All right. Well, he got the world's attention, right, the nation's attention. A little boy in a bubble but then no, not in a bubble thankfully. Well, the father has something else to say. He says he's got a major announcement. We'll be carrying that live as it happens out of Colorado.

And this may be a Justice Department investigation now. A Louisiana judge refusing to marry an interracial couple. Well, our legal eagles will be weighing into this one, picking it apart to see exactly what might happen next.

Finally, the couple did get married but they said this has really left a pretty bitter taste for them, this experience of being refused the right. It's a constitutional right to be able to be married in this country. So our legal eagles will be delving into that one.

HOLMES: We'll love to hear that. And kind of waiting to hear what happens at noon. Supposedly in a few minutes.


HOLMES: So what else is there to say about this floating...

WHITFIELD: Well, you know, the talk of a hoax and no, it's not a hoax. OK. What's going on?

NGUYEN: Right, exactly.

WHITFIELD: And on the heels of that talk and you know, some saying the little boy kind of alluded to maybe this was a show.

NGUYEN: Well, during a CNN interview he was asked.


NGUYEN: You know, why did you do it? And he said because of the show or whatever.

WHITFIELD: Right. The dad says that's pathetic. So we're going to hear the follow-up now.

HOLMES: All right.

NGUYEN: This is interesting. All right.

HOLMES: All right, thank you.

WHITFIELD: Intrigued? Skeptical? What am I getting here?

NGUYEN: A little bit of both.


NGUYEN: All right.

WHITFIELD: All right, we're getting new details...

(CROSSTALK) HOLMES: All right, thanks, Fredricka.

NGUYEN: So if you know anything about me, you know I like a good meal. But that's my dream job would be, to be a big-time food critic. I didn't write this. But anyway, I'll go with it.


All those restaurants, all the company dime. You know, hey, that's not too bad. But the job isn't as easy or as glamorous as you might think. We'll give you details on that.


NGUYEN: All right. So finding the critic in the crowd, it can mean life or death for a restaurant.

HOLMES: Yes. And as CNN's Susan Candiotti reports from New York, it leads to an interesting game of cat and mouse for top food critics.


SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In the competitive New York City dining scene, one opinion matters more than the rest.

JIMMY BRADLEY, OWNER, THE RED CAT: The zenith, the pinnacle is the "New York Times" restaurant critic.

CANDIOTTI: Chef Missy Robbins hopes she has the right ingredients to win a top review.

MISSY ROBBINS, CHEF, A VOCE: It can sort of make or break a restaurant.

CANDIOTTI: She knows the "New York Times" critic will be in her newest restaurant A Voce, but who knows when?

ROBBINS: When there is a critic in the house I can promise you I'll be here as quickly as I can get here.

CANDIOTTI: It's a cat and mouse game. Critics try every trick in the book to go unnoticed so they'll be treated like anyone else. Frank Bruni just rapped up five years writing arguably the most sought after reviews for "The Times" unmasking himself in a new book.

(On camera): Is it possible for someone to remain anonymous?

FRANK BRUNI, FMR. NEW YORK TIMES RESTAURANT CRITIC: It's impossible for someone to remain anonymous night after night in restaurant after restaurant and I actually think it's been very difficult for decades now.

CANDIOTTI (voice-over): Partly because restaurants keep dossiers on critics like Bruni. At the Red Cat restaurant owner Jimmy Bradley knew plenty about him.

BRADLEY: We've noticed that Frank Bruni likes to -- he like to wear pretty funky sneakers.

CANDIOTTI (on camera): So you wrote that down here.

(Voice-over): Hoping to stay a step ahead Bruni would pay the bill using credit cards with unisex names.

BRUNI: If I though they'd recognize me but I wasn't sure I could pass the credit card, say, to you so you could use it. You couldn't be John Rooney but you could be Pat Reynolds.

CANDIOTTI (on camera): Sure. Or Robin Parker for that matter.

BRUNI: Right. Exactly.

BRADLEY: We noticed that he used Bancroft or Berman or Morgan or Wilson or Farris (ph) to actually make reservations and confirm reservations and then to use different names like Nicholas or Kurt to pay the bill with.

CANDIOTTI: Even if the restaurant staff doesn't recognize the critic, he or she still might not be anonymous because a customer sitting at the next table might notice, take a picture, and send it out over the Internet instantly.

(Voice-over): The blogs already have pictures of Bruni's successor, Sam Sipton, including what he might look like in disguise. A few times Bruni even tried a wig.

(On camera): I'm not sure I want to touch that, Frank, but I did. OK.

BRUNI: Yes. I know, I mean, it's -- it was road kill and then it was on my head.

CANDIOTTI (voice-over): Former "Times" critic Ruth Reichl, famous for her disguises in the '90s, remembers what a waitress once told her.

RUTH REICHL, FMR. NEW YORK TIMES RESTAURANT CRITIC: There is a huge picture of you in the restaurant I work in with "Reward" written across the bottom and anybody who spots you gets $500.

CANDIOTTI: In reality, Bruni says anonymity might not matter after all.

BRUNI: At the end of the day, a restaurant has a menu that they can't change. They can't start from scratch just because they see you walk through the door.

CANDIOTTI: But that won't stop them from trying to find the critic in the crowd. Happy hunting.

Susan Candiotti, CNN, New York. (END VIDEOTAPE)

NGUYEN: All right. If you're in the middle of a restaurant with your sunglasses on...


NGUYEN: ... chances are you're going to be spotted.

HOLMES: That was a great disguise, though.

NGUYEN: I was going to say, that's it.

HOLMES: I didn't even know it was Susan there for a second.


HOLMES: Fredricka, did you -- could you make her out there?

WHITFIELD: Oh, no. She had me fooled.


NGUYEN: Me, too.

WHITFIELD: That was close. OK.

HOLMES: Hello to you. We're going to hand it off to you here now.

WHITFIELD: All right, thanks so much. You all have a great day.