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Walter Reed: This Isn't Goodbye; Terror Fraud Training; Olympic Medalist Jeret Peterson Commits Suicide

Aired July 27, 2011 - 13:59   ET


RANDI KAYE, CNN ANCHOR: A new hour brings a new chapter in the long and storied life of an American institution.

For 102 years, whenever this country went to war, Walter Reed was there for our wounded warriors. It's still going to be there in somewhat different form, in a different location for generations to come.

But today, the Army retired the facility's flags ahead of its move next month to Bethesda, Maryland. There, it will merge with the National Naval Medical Center. There ceremony you're looking at is called casing of the colors and it was six years in the making.

In 2005, a military panel decided to shutter the hospital that's treated privates and presidents and every rank in between. Money was the main reason, but Walter Reed also was showing its age.

In 2007, and annex was found to be ridden with vermin and mold, and the highest ranks of the Pentagon had to answer for it.

But I want to look ahead now to the new Walter Reed, to the challenge of living up to its own path with my CNN colleague Barbara Starr at the Pentagon. Also with us, Todd Bowers, deputy executive director of the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. He's a U.S. Marine, I will not say former -- there's no such thing.

But, Todd, what does Walter Reed mean to the men and women in uniform?

TODD BOWERS, IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN VETERANS OF AMERICA: Well, I think the best way to sum it up is that it's history, but at the same time, it's also something that is very powerful because when you first arrive at Walter Reed, obviously, you've been injured. And so, then, to make that next step and to be able to see where you're going to move on in life can make it somewhat of a scary place.

But you also know that's got the best care that our nation has to offer and that's what folks find out once they are admitted.

KAYE: Barbara, tell us if you can, the decision -- all about this decision to pack it up and move it. What's behind this?

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, Randi, this has been going on for years. This is part of what the Pentagon calls "base closure." They try and shut down either out of date or inefficient bases. In the case of Walter Reed, it was an aging facility showing its age, there was plenty of new medical technology that needed to be brought in for the troops and they decided rather than spending the money refurbishing 102-year-old hospital, although the building we mainly see, obviously, on TV where the troops are treated is much newer, that they would move it all over to Bethesda, build a new facility, consolidate everything.

This is a hospital that has treated not only tens of thousands of local military personnel, but, of course, tens of thousands from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

So, it was time to sort of get -- move ahead. Start with a new facility. But I have to tell you, the facility they are opening up at Bethesda is now doubled in cost from what they originally estimated. So, it's still not clear how much they're really saving.

KAYE: Todd, let's talk a little bit more about Walter Reed. I mean, is this considered do you think a symbol of commitment to our troops?

BOWERS: I think it is, because with all the controversy that we saw in 2007, as you mentioned, a lot of people had to answer what was going on over there. And with the new facilities being built, it's something that we've seen a commitment from our government to take care of these service members and very importantly, their families as well.

We have had 18,000 folks go through Walter Reed alone. That's incredible when you think about the sheer size and scope of the amount of the treatment that they're giving these folks.

With the new facility at Bethesda, they're going to be able to have more knowledge and understanding about things such as traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress, and really be able to take these injuries that we have never seen before because of advances in medical technology and make sure that they're taken care of on all fronts.

KAYE: So, are the troops happy about this?

BOWERS: I think they are going to be. You know, the more they see of the new facility, the more excited I think they're going to get that.

Now, with that said, Walter Reed has some incredible history -- the old statues, the stories from there. You know, I was surprised today at the ceremony when I saw actually tears coming to people's eyes as this gorgeous, magnificent facility shuts down.

But the new one is going to be fantastic. You know, what they're basically going from a 1967 Corvette which is beautiful and they're getting a 2010, you know, sports car which is really exciting to see.

KAYE: It sure is.

Barbara, I know we talked about the decision and what was behind the decision to close up shop there at this facility. But how much do you think the 2007 scandal with the mice and the mold might have played a role in that?

STARR: Well, I think they moved beyond that a bit by fixing Walter Reed up and fixing up the patient housing areas for outpatients once they got out of the main ward.

But make no mistake, veteran's groups are keeping an eye on this whole new Bethesda situation very carefully and on the wounded care facilities across the country, because there's so many of them now. You know, a lot of people may think the wars are winding up. But there are tens of thousands of troops across this country who need help, who are in wounded care facilities, and people are keeping a really close eye on them to make sure that kind of scandal doesn't repeat itself.

KAYE: All right. Barbara Starr, Todd Bowers, appreciate it. Thank you so much.

Less than a week before the U.S. Treasury runs out of money, both of the two main plans for avoiding default are coming up short -- and I mean that in more ways than one.

The plan from House Speaker Boehner would pair a trillion dollar hike in the debt ceiling with $1.2 trillion in spending cuts over the years. He'd allow another debt hike in 2012 if Congress passed more cuts.

Senate Majority Leader Reid would hike the debt by $2.7 trillion now, and mandate an equal amount of cuts.

But hold everything here, the Congressional Budget Office says the Boehner plan would really trim spending by only $850 billion; the Reid plan, by $2.2 trillion.

Boehner's gone back to the drawing board and postponed a vote that was supposed to happen today, a vote he may well lose whenever it happens. That's another way. Both of these plans fall short. Reid's plan can't pass the House and not only is Boehner's plan doomed in the Senate, a great many House Republicans don't like it much either.

So, what happens now? Well, time marches on -- a never before seen default on U.S. debts and obligations could be just six days away. But, potentially , just as bad would be a downgrade of government debt, a verdict from the credit rating firms that America isn't as rock solid reliable as we used to be.

That could force up the cost of borrowing for all of us and the fallout -- well, it could be global.

Last hour, I asked my London colleague Richard Quest whether foreign investors are alarmed.


RICHARD QUEST, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: If you want the adjectives, the words flabbergasted, bewildered, horrified, alarmed -- all words that perhaps ordinary Americans would certainly use to describe the process underway, but certainly a scene from across oceans, people are looking at supposedly the most sophisticated political economic system in the world and saying, what on earth is going on and how has it got so bad?

The really big fear ultimately is that there's some sort of accident, basically a vote doesn't take place, somebody loses, somebody doesn't turn up and, ultimately, a technical default actually happens.

Now, all the rating agencies have pretty much said that we accept that if there is some default, it will be short lived, this is a case of "won't pay, not can't pay."

But, Randi, these are delicate times and, certainly, the global economy is in no fit state for these sorts of shenanigans.


KAYE: And, of course, there's still much to be known about where this whole debt ceiling mess is going to end up. You're looking at a live picture there at the White House and the press briefing room. We're going to continue to keep a close eye here, monitor that White House briefing today, and see if we can find out any new nuggets for you if there's been any movement. And, of course, we'll bring it to you right here in the CNN NEWSROOM.

Meanwhile, checking some other top stories:

New video to show you of the terror attacks in Norway. This video shot inside a store just as the bomb goes off a block away. As you can see, the force of the explosion blows out part of the shop's wall. Moments later, people rush outside.

The pictures you see now were taken outside the shop moments after the blast. You can see blown out windows, damaged doors, broken glass all over the streets there.

Shortly after suspect Anders Breivik allegedly set off the bomb, he went on a shooting rampage at a nearby camp for teens and young adults. A total 76 people were killed in the twin attacks. Breivik is in custody.

There will be no payment for cancer treatment for workers involved in the response of the 9/11 attacks. That's the controversial describe by the World Trade Center Health Program. The report says there isn't evidence to say this time whether the dust and smoke cloud produced by the attack has caused cancer.

The report was required by federal legislation which took effect in January. That measure provides over $4 billion over the next five years to monitor, treat and compensate people who were exposed to the fumes and dust. Some lawmakers and survivors of the attacks who originally supported the legislation have denounced the exclusion of cancer.

In Afghanistan, another deadly Taliban strike against local government. The mayor of the southern city of Kandahar was assassinated today by a suicide bomber who hid explosives in his turban. He was killed during a city hall meeting. The Taliban says it carried out the attack. The mayor's death is the latest in a series of recent high profile assassinations claimed by the Taliban.

Earlier this month, the half brother of President Hamid Karzai was gunned down by a long time bodyguard. Taliban claimed he was working for them.

Also several top government officials in Kandahar have been killed recently by militants.

Police in Utah say a U.S. Olympic freestyle skier has taken his own life. Salt Lake City police say Jeret Peterson died of a self- inflicted gunshot wound. His body was found off Interstate 80, between Salt Lake and Park City Monday. Police say they responded to a 911 call in which Peterson said he was going to commit suicide. Peterson took part in the Winter Olympics in Italy in 2006 and won the silver medal in Vancouver in 2010. His signature jump was called the hurricane.

The man accused of killing dozens in two attacks in Norway last Friday was an admirer of someone you first heard about right here on CNN. How a so-called reformed terrorist plays into these attacks, next.


KAYE: New information today that the man accused of killing dozens of Norwegians last Friday was an admirer of someone that CNN recently investigated. In his 1,500-page manifesto, Anders Behring Breivik quotes a man named Walid Shoebat multiple times. Shoebat describes himself as a former terrorist who now spent his life warning about the dangers of Islam.

CNN's Drew Griffin joins me now with much more on this.

And you found out that Shoebat story didn't really add up?

DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SPECIAL INVESTIGATION UNIT: It didn't add up at all which is what is so troubling about this connection in Norway, because not only does Shoebat reach out to would-be terrorist over in Norway, shut ins perhaps who are learning about Islam from this man who we believe knows very little about it.

But also because Shoebat is on a tour of the U.S. He teaches, some say preaches, to churches, to universities and to law enforcement about the dangers of Islam. And if all you knew about Islam came from Walid Shoebat, you would believe that we are in a Holy War.


WALID SHOEBAT, TERRORISM SPEAKER: I think we are at war with Islamic fundamentalism and Islamism, which stems from Islam. You know, no historian can deny that Islamists basically invaded Christendom.

GRIFFIN: Walid Shoebat's message is the epitome of good versus evil. He has an advertised pedigree that makes him an expert -- Islamic- terrorist-turned-ultraconservative Christian. A U.S. citizen because his mother is American, he is a darling on the terror circuits, the church and university circuits. And, yes, he believes the war on terror is a holy war.

He portrays himself as a man converted and on a mission. Once a Jew- hating, bomb-throwing terrorist, now a devout Christian convert, warning the world Islam is out to destroy you.


That's how you recite the Koran. I know the Koran inside out.

English: and if you meet the unbelievers, then smite off their necks.

But what part of smite off their necks you Americans don't understand?

GRIFFIN: His message before a largely positive crowd of cops and emergency responders at this South Dakota homeland security conference: trust no Muslim, especially those who organize.

SHOEBAT: Know your enemy. Know your enemy. All Islamist organizations in America should be the number one enemy -- all of them, Islamist organizations. Islamists in America should be focused on. You've got that on camera.

GRIFFIN: He is being paid $5,000 plus expenses to speak here with your tax dollars. He was also given a Rapid City police guard during his time in the city, a nice day's work.

And judging by his Web site, where he highlights more than three dozen speaking engagements, Shoebat gets a lot of work.

(on camera): Being a terrorism expert is a cottage industry since 9/11. The Department of Homeland Security has spent billions of dollars on anti-terrorism just since 2006. DHS doesn't keep records on how much it spent just on speakers.

But some of the so-called experts who go around the country teaching and in some cases preaching about terrorism and the dangers of Islam are not quite what they seem. People, it turns out, like Walid Shoebat.

The first thing I want to ask you is what is the purpose of your talk this morning to these cops and emergency responders here in South Dakota?

SHOEBAT: Well, being an ex-terrorist myself is to understand the mindset of a terrorist number one.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): An ex-terrorist, it's Walid Shoebat's claim to fame. A terrorist, a PLO member, who bombed a branch of an Israeli bank in Bethlehem square, throwing a fire bomb on the bank's roof.

The problem with the story, with a lot of Shoebat's stories, is CNN could find no find any evidence for them. And despite CNN's many request, neither Shoebat nor his business partner had provided us with any.

(on camera): Bombings in Bethlehem square, you specifically said you threw --

SHOEBAT: The bank was in the Bethlehem square.

GRIFFIN: You threw explosives on top of that bank?

SHOEBAT: Yes, I did.

GRIFFIN: No record.

(voice-over): CNN's Jerusalem bureau went to great lengths trying to verify Shoebat's story, finding the general location with a branch of bank once stood but not finding anyone who could remember a bombing.

We contacted the bank headquarters in Tel Aviv, asking officials to search records, no records found. And Israeli police found no record anyone ever threw a bomb at the branch of the bank.

(on camera): Why would the bank not have a record? Why would the Israeli police not have a report?

SHOEBAT: Why would the Israeli police not have a record? I don't know. I mean, I don't know where you check, what dates, all these things.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): There's another part of his history that doesn't check out. Shoebat says he was arrested and spent two weeks in an Israeli prison.

(on camera): There's no record of you being in prison. I would think there'd at least be an arrest record. They held you for two weeks. Would the United States know you were in prison?

SHOEBAT: How about me and you go to the Muscobia (ph) prison and extract the records? The records are there.


SHOEBAT: Would you be willing to do so?

(voice-over): We did and the Israeli detention center could find no record of detaining anyone with the name Walid Shoebat.

(on camera): Yes. I mean, you obviously can see why people are critical of -- of your claims. There's a whole lot of gaps in your story.


SHOEBAT: There's no gaps at all.

GRIFFIN: No, we don't have a bank bombing.

(voice-over): And we don't have a terrorist, because it turns out Walid Shoebat, even on his own admission, was never charged.

SHOEBAT: I was in prison for a few weeks.

GRIFFIN: Was there a charge?

SHOEBAT: No. I was a U.S. citizen, remember? I was born by an American mother. The other conspirators in the act ended up in jail. I ended up being released.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): There's another problem, his family. In the neighborhood where Walid Shoebat grew up, relatives say he was just a regular kid.

And Daood Shoebat, who says he is Walid's fourth cousin, goes even further.

DAOOD SHOEBAT, RELATIVE OF SHOEBAT (through translator): There were only two banks in Bethlehem district, and they are Bank Leumi and Discount Bank. They were on Nativity Square. And Walid never had any connection with those two banks, not a close or a distant connection.

I tell you this out of experience. I am one of the people who are considered a responsible man in the area of Bethlehem or Bethahul (ph). I have never heard anything about Walid being a Mujahed or a terrorist. He claims this for his own personal reasons.


GRIFFIN: What personal reasons? In part two, we look into the money that Walid Shoebat is making on this speaking tour. He's making quite a bit of it but even that is shady as to how he's dealing with that money, Randi, and where it is going.

KAYE: This is really so disturbing, because you think about the connection between the Norway suspect Breivik and Walid Shoebat. How much do we know about their connection?

GRIFFIN: We know from his manifesto, the Norway suspect, that 14 times he cuts and pastes the teachings of Walid Shoebat into this manifesto. He mentions Walid Shoebat 16 times. We have no idea that these two men ever met, ever talked to each other, but we do know that this suspect in Norway was an avid reader of everything that Walid Shoebat was putting out and continues to put out on his Website.

KAYE: Never knew that he was a fraud?

GRIFFIN: Absolutely. And the police in South Dakota never knew he was fraud. Apparently, the churches that ask him to come and speak, the universities that come and speak, nobody has gone back and check his record, to see if any of it is real. And we have found out that none of it is.

KAYE: Amazing. Amazing story. I look forward to part two.

Drew Griffin, good to have you here on studio. Thank you.

Every move you make online is being watched and recorded. Is this information safe from malicious hackers? Find out more, next.


KAYE: There are companies out there tracking every move you make online. What you do in your spare time, what you buy, what you visit, seemingly everything.

Is this information safe? That's the question.

CNN's Chad Myers reports in-depth.


CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST (voice-over): Did you know that companies you never heard of track every website you visit and keep a record of everything you do online? That's right. Everybody who visits the Internet has a "digital fingerprint," a unique profile that's built by these specialized companies.

PETER ECKERSLEY, SENIOR STAFF TECHNOLOGIST, ELECTRONIC FRONTIER FOUNDATION: We actually don't really know who their clients are. So, they may be selling this technology to banks, they may be selling it to online advertising companies, and that's the bigger concern.

MYERS: Peter Eckersley is a technologist with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a digital civil liberties group that defends people's rights on the Internet. He says digital fingerprinting is a violation of every aspect of your privacy.

ECKERSLEY: You should have the right to read what you want in private without someone looking over your shoulder reading along with you. As you pick up a magazine to read it, you don't want the magazine to be reading you.

MYERS (on camera): Last March, Senator John Rockefeller introduced a bill to stop companies from tracking your online movements, part of the recommendations from the federal trade commission. What it would require is that Internet browsers would have an option up here to say do not track. Do not track me. Eckersley says this is already there, the technology already exists, all we need is congressional action.

DON JACKSON, DIRECTOR OF THREAT INTELLIGENCE, SECURE WORKS: I think the scary thing is people don't understand what is out there about them personally that's linked to their online digital fingerprint

MYERS (voice-over): Don Jackson, the director of threat intelligence for Secure Works, says digital fingerprints are used for personalized marketing and advertising campaigns and customized political messages. But he says there's also a danger they will be used with malicious intent.

JACKSON: What we're doing is trusting these companies with the security of that information. We're entrusting them to guard that information. We don't want anyone to be able to break in to that system and use it. But, unfortunately, when companies aggregate that much information in one spot, it makes them a target for hackers. MYERS (on camera): What if I'm at a wireless place like this, and people are just everywhere, and everybody's logged in. Can that guy right there be tracked?

JACKSON: Absolutely.

MYERS: Really?

JACKSON: And he is being tracked right now. So, everything you do is online. If you are using a public Web site or any kind of online service, they are tracking everything that you are doing.

MYERS: Can data be wrong? Can people get something incorrect and is it a big deal?

JACKSON: Yes. So, your fingerprint can be manipulated by criminals. That's just one way it can be wrong. Another way it can be wrong is that it's been cross-linked. There's really no mechanism to correct that. So, you can't remove the information. There's currently no channel, no way to file a complaint.

MYERS (voice-over): Security experts are concerned that, right now, there is no practical way to stop companies from using this technology. And that as scary as that is, the best defense is to be aware that everything you do online is being watched.

JACKSON: Keep your antivirus up to date. Keep your computer up to date. But for the most part, once the information leaves your computer, at least one person, that's the Web site that you're visiting, can track it.

MYERS: Chad Myers, CNN, Atlanta.


KAYE: And the White House press secretary just talked about how firm that August 2nd default deadline really is, there he is in the White House briefing room still talking about it. We'll hear from him next.


KAYE: About half past the hour. Here are some of the top stories you may have missed:

A federal judge has thrown out a lawsuit that sought to block federal funding for human embryonic stem cell research. U.S. district judge, Royce Lambott, ruled that the U.S. National Institutes of Health Guidelines on stem cell research do not violate federal law and dismissed all legal challenges.

Walter Reed Army Medical Center is closing its doors after serving the military's finest for more than 100 years. A formal ceremony underway today at the hospital where a flag was taken down to mark the inactivation of the unit. The medical center will combine services with the National Naval Medical Center in Maryland and the new Fort Belvoir Community Hospital in Virginia. Police in Utah say a U.S. Olympic freestyle skier has taken his life. Salt Lake City police say that Jeret Peterson died of a self inflicted gunshot wound. His body was found off Interstate 80 between Salt Lake and Park City Monday. Police say they responded to a 911 call in which Peterson said he was going take his life. Peterson took part in the Winter Olympics in Italy in 2006. And won the Silver Medal in Vancouver in 2010. His signature jump? The Hurricane.

Sales are skyrocketing for the albums of the late singer Amy Winehouse; 37,000 copies of her award winning "Back to Black" album with the hit song "Rehab" have sold the week. All but 1,000 of those sales were downloads. Winehouse was found dead in her London home Saturday. She was just 27.

And the stalemate over the debt ceiling continues in Washington and still no deal. Just moments ago White House Press Secretary Jay Carney talked about how important it is for the nation to avoid default.


JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: And while at midnight on August 2, we don't all turn into pumpkins, we do as a country lose our borrowing authority for the first time in our history. And that would be a very bad thing.


KAYE: We are keeping track of all of the developments. And will, of course, bring you any updates.

Can you smell it? That fresh smell of turf is returning and that's because NFL Football is back. Players are back on the practice field and up next we'll take you live inside the Baltimore Ravens training camp.


KAYE: if you open it, they will come for football players pulling up to work never felt so good now that the NFL lockout is over and training camps are ready for practice to begin. Our Carol Costello is in Owing Mills, Maryland, where the Baltimore Ravens are training.

Carol, what is the mood there now, after all the uncertainty these last few months?

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'd say it's pretty exciting here. Although they're not exactly playing on the field today, they're actually inside that building. Here is the scoop, Randi.

Joe Flacco, the Ravens quarterback, is in there along with many other Ravens players. They're holding meetings today, presumably going over playbooks, meeting with coaches, sort of getting the ball rolling. Every so often a player will pop-out, frankly, because we asked him to come out and talk to us and give us something. Ed Dixon, the Ravens linebacker was kind enough to do that a short time ago. We asked him how he's been preparing for coming season. Here's what he said.


ED DIXON, LINEBACKER, BALTIMORE RAVENS: All I can do is be the best player I can be. So if I'm in that starting spot, I'm going to go out every day at training camp and train to be that starter, like I did last year.


COSTELLO: And let me expound on that, he spent most of his off time in Oregon. He went to Oregon State, so he was training there at the university. He had college quarterbacks throwing him some passes and things like that. So he says he's in good physical condition. And he'll have to be, Randi, because he may, just may, take over for Todd Heap and those are some mighty big shoes to fill.

KAYE: Did you get your season tickets yet, Carol?

COSTELLO: No, not yet, I wish I could afford them.

One more thing to pass along to you, the union is meeting tomorrow. So the players will be meeting for a unification meeting, because remember they dissolved the union for negotiation purposes. So they will be meeting tomorrow. So, on the field practice, at least here in Baltimore, won't take place until Friday morning. And then we'll have pictures of that.

KAYE: All right, Carol Costello, there. Thank you very much for us.

Inside an Oslo store moments before a terrorist bomb explodes. New video of the attack right after this.


KAYE: In Norway, people in the shop enjoying some free time as they considered what they might buy. A second later they're showered by debris from a huge bomb blast. This new video shows what it was like when that terror bomb went off in Oslo last Friday. It was shot inside a store just as the bomb went off about a block away. As you can see, the force of the explosion blows out part of the shop's wall, moments later people rush outside.

The pictures you see now, right here, were taken outside the shop moments after the blast. You can see the blown out windows, the damaged doors and broken glass there in the street. Shortly after suspects Anders Breivik allegedly set off the bomb, he went on a shooting rampage at a nearby camp for teens and adults. A total of 76 people were killed in the twin attacks. Breivik now in custody.

In Afghanistan, another deadly Taliban strike against local governments. The mayor of the southern city of Kandahar was assassinated today by a suicide bomber who-listen to this-hid explosives in his turbine. He was killed during a city hall meeting. The Taliban says it carried out the attack. His death is the latest in a series of recent high-profile assassinations claimed by the Taliban.

Earlier this month, the half brother of President Hamid Karzai was gunned down by a long-time bodyguard. The Taliban claim he was working for them. Also several top government officials in Kandahar have been killed recently by militants.

The only person convicted in the bombing of a U.S. jetliner over Lockerbie, Scotland has appeared on Libyan television. Abdel Basset al-Megrahi took part in a pro-Gadhafi rally in Tripoli. He was released from a Scottish prison two years ago on grounds that he had cancer. A move that triggered international outrage.

Also, Britain today formally recognized the rebel umbrella group fighting to overthrow Gadhafi. In announcing the move foreign secretary William Hague denounced al-Magrahi's appearance at the rally. He said it is proof that his release from prison was a mistake and that the medical advice that the didn't have long to live was, quote, "worthless".

As the dealt ceiling battle rages on in Washington, how is your personal debt looking these days? No need to call in a budget committee to get you out of the red. We have five very simple steps that you don't want to miss. We'll give you some help next.


KAYE: So with all this talk about Congress not being able to solve the debt crisis in this country, it got some of us thinking. How can we, as individuals, cut some of the fat from our own personal budget? In today's "Taking the Lead" segment, we're looking at five easy ways that you can actually reduce your debt at home.

So take a look here. First when in doubt, write it out. Most people have no idea how much credit card debt that they actually have. Do yourself a favor, look at all your credit card balances and personal loans and write down how much you owe each one. Then you can better attack how you can feasibly pay some of that credit card debt down, which really is the goal for all of us.

Second adjust your tax withholdings at work, if you're one of those people who routinely gets large tax return checks, that you are having too much taken out of your paychecks in taxes. And you are allowing the government to hold on to your money interest free. By adjusting your W-4 withholdings you're giving yourself more money in your paycheck, which you can use to pay down that debt.

Third, sell some of your stuff. We all have too much stuff, don't we? Have a garage sale. Or list some of the furniture, electronics, or jewelry that you have laying around, on the Internet for sale. Not only will this give you some extra cash to pay down your debt, it could also help you clear some of the clutter you may have around the house. That sounds like a pretty good idea.

Fourth, find some extra cash just lying around and use it to pay off some bills. I'm serious, really, about this one. There is a lot of money out there that has yet to be claimed from unclaimed income tax refund checks, to forgotten savings, and checking accounts. There really is money out there that could have your name on it. On tip here: Searching for unclaimed money is free. So don't get roped into those companies online who actually try to charge you for this. They're just looking for money.

Fifth, don't just pay the minimum payment on your credit cards. That is the fastest way to make your creditors rich. Avoid this by paying as much as possible, over the minimum payment, even if it's just $10 to $20 bucks extra. Every little bit helps get you out of debt.

And we also want to thank for these wonderful tips. Keep them in mind.


It is about 43 minutes or so past the hour. And here's some of the top stories that we are keeping an eye on.

Dunkin' Brands, parent company of popular restaurant chain Dunkin' Donuts, showed strong demand in its initial public offering to day. Shares started trading at 25 bucks apiece; up 31 percent from the list price. Most of the Dunkin' stores are franchises. The company opened 200 new U.S. stores last year and there are plans to open just as many this year.

Just in case, the State of California has borrowed nearly $5 billion from major banks in the event there's no solution to the debt ceiling impasse. The move shores up the state's cash reserves ahead of possible market disruption.

A latex mask in the likeness of Casey Anthony is sparking a bit of a bidding war on the auction website eBay. There's been 84 bids so far and the price is just over $24,000 with less than seven hours to go. The seller from LA claims only nine were made with this one being number six. Earlier this month a Florida jury found Anthony not guilty of murdering her two-year-old daughter.

Public schools censoring the Internet, some call it a modern day book burning, others say it's necessary to protect children from violence and pornography. We'll get to the bottom of it next.