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American Morning

'Da Vinci Code' Verdict; FEMA Tornado Response; The Ripken Way

Aired April 07, 2006 - 07:30   ET


ANNOUNCER: You're watching AMERICAN MORNING with Soledad O'Brien and Miles O'Brien.
MILES O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Brad, can you zoom in on the newsstand? Because there's probably a newspaper there that is heralding the news. Kelly Wallace now a mommy.

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, Kelly Wallace finally had her baby.

MILES O'BRIEN: There's the headline. Isn't that cute.

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN: Hattie Jane Saal came in 8 pounds, 13 ounces. That is a big old baby. Oh my goodness.


SOLEDAD O'BRIEN: You know we had -- a lot of us thought that was going to be a boy because of the way she was carrying. But, no, Hattie Jane.

MILES O'BRIEN: Oh, that's an old wives tale. You don't know how the baby . . .

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN: Yes and old wives sometimes get it right.

MILES O'BRIEN: There you go.

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN: Congratulations to Kelly. Great news. And, Matt, as well. She's never going to sleep again, as we all know.

MILES O'BRIEN: No. She's up now watching and we miss you and come back soon. And we . . .

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN: No. Actually, no, take your time.

MILES O'BRIEN: No, don't come back soon.

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN: Don't come back soon. Have a nice maternity leave, Kelly.

MILES O'BRIEN: Congratulations.

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN: Congratulations to both of you.

Let's get right to the top stories this morning. Carol's got a look at those for us. Hey, Carol, good morning.

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I was going to ask you, do you think Kelly underwent a silent birth like they do in Scientology?


MILES O'BRIEN: I don't think so.

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN: No, you don't think so?


COSTELLO: Congratulations, Kelly. And what a cute name.

In the headline thing morning, Louis Scooter Libby pointing fingers in the CIA leak case and they're pointing all the way to the top. Libby testified that President Bush had authorized the released of parts of a classified report on Iraq to counter criticism of the war. That's according to new court documents. The revelation is being seen as a political black eye for the White House. President Bush has said he would not tolerate leaks.

An emotional day of testimony making no impression on Zacarias Moussauoi. Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani among the first to testify about the horrors of 9/11. The jury also heard about one boy who wants to become an astronaut so he could go to heaven to find his daddy. Jurors are trying to decide if Moussauoi should get the death penalty. The tribunal resumes on Monday.

We know cigarette smoke is bad for the lungs, but now there is evidence it may also increase the risk of diabetes. Researchers studied more than 4,500 American men and women and they found that tobacco smoke, even second hand smoke, affects the body's ability to produce insulin and that can lead to diabetes.

And a painting of Venice has smashed records for the most expensive work by a British artist ever sold. This 1841 masterpiece by JMW Turner was sold at Christie's Auction House. It was bought by a private collector over the phone. The price, $35.8 million. Wow.

I just got outbid on that one too. I was on the phone and . . .



COSTELLO: And you kept dialing and dialing. Is that -- yes.

MILES O'BRIEN: I -- on the speed dial and it didn't work out for me.

COSTELLO: Never works. Yes.

MILES O'BRIEN: Next time, though. There's always next time.

Thank you, Carol.

A British judge is about to rule in that copyright case against "The Da Vinci Code" publisher Random House. Two authors claim Dan Brown, who wrote "The Da Vinci Code," you know a blockbuster, best seller, lifted ideas from their book to use in the novel. CNN's Paula Newton live from London.

Paula, so far it has seemed as if Dan Brown has the upper hand. After all, he didn't take exact words. He didn't plagiarize in the truest sense of the word here, right?

PAULA NEWTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: No, it was just more of a case of whether or not he stole the ideas from "The Holy Blood, The Holy Grail." And those ideas being that Jesus' blood line survives. That he married Mary Magdalene, among other things, that report to blow the cover off the catholic church. Again, that's fictional.

"The Holy Blood, The Holy Grail" tried to write some type of a nonfictional account of this in the early '80s. It was one of the books that Dan Brown read on order to come up with "The Da Vinci Code." But he said he didn't even read it until he had the full plot of "The Da Vinci Code" all outlined.

And again, Miles, as you were saying, this is not clear cut plagiarism. They're not looking at a photograph, looking at the other paragraph and comparing how similar are they. It's the question of whether or not he lifted the ideas.

I sat in through certain parts of trial. I mean it really was tedious, going through all these ideas and all these points in history. A few time the judge even alluded to the fact he wanted to head for the door because it was so complicated. I mean he had tomes of history books in front of him.

But the end of the day, the judge really seemed to give the claimants here a hard time and really wanted them to justify, hey, look , what kind of plagiarism do you see here.


MILES O'BRIEN: Well, and in the end, it appears both sides are going to reap a financial reward here. "The Da Vinci Code" coming out in paperback, movie coming out. Meanwhile, the sequel to "The Holy Blood, The Holy Grail." The Jesus papers is out on the street getting a lot more play than it would otherwise. You could be a little skeptical and say, I wonder if they're just doing this to get on TV.

NEWTON: Oh, us, skeptical, no, never. Now, look, this was not a ploy to get everyone on TV. But, on the other hand, they are making a lot of money for this. There is that little issue of a probably $3 million legal bill to settle here. But, I mean, come on, the book sales for both books, "The Holy Blood, The Holy Grail" and "The Da Vinci Code" way up. And plus we've got the movie release a little bit more than a month away. Of course here there's a lot of flogging to be done and this case has helped do it.


MILES O'BRIEN: Very interesting. Us, skeptical? What, us? Really. Paula Hancocks in London, thank you.


SOLEDAD O'BRIEN: Oh, me thinks the lady and gentleman doth protest too much.

Moving on.

President Bush has nominated Dave Paulison to be permanent FEMA chief. Paulison has been the acting director since he took over FEMA from Michael Brown back in September. Well, the Senate has to still confirm him. Sources tell CNN that several other experienced emergency managers turned down the job.

Meanwhile, the agency is tying to repair its image in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. One of the very first tests, helping victims of last week's devastating tornadoes in Tennessee. CNN's Jonathan Freed visited displaced residents to see what lessons FEMA's learned.


MARY JANE THUMPSON, TORNADO VICTIM: This is where we came up.

JONATHAN FREED, CNN CORRESPONDENT, (voice over): When Mary Jane Thumpson emerged from the basement after last Sunday's tornado in Tennessee, this is all that was left of her home of 11 years.

THUMPSON: And this was our bedroom.

FREED: The Thumpson family is going to turn for help to the agency Mary Jane heard a lot about after Hurricane Katrina, the Federal Emergency Management Agency. And she says FEMA's press wasn't exactly good.

THUMPSON: I don't really know what FEMA's all about. It's just what I heard about Katrina, how -- what a screw up FEMA was.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And as soon as the people make their 1-800 number, call FEMA, then they'll be in the program and we can start housing people immediately.

FREED: FEMA was already on the ground in Tennessee, meeting with local emergency management teams, when President Bush issued a disaster declaration on Wednesday, freeing up federal aid for the state. We told FEMA about Mary Jane Thumpson's impression of the agency. FEMA says it's trying to address its public image as the 2006 storm system gets under way.

MARY HUDACK, FEMA SPOKESPERSON: Each time we go out, we learn something that might help us be a little better. And those lessons indeed are incorporated as we're working through tornado season and approaching the upcoming hurricane season.

FREED: Scott Jewell is Mary Jane's mayor here in Dyer, Tennessee.

MAYOR SCOTT JEWELL, DYER, TENNESSEE: I asked the question back in Katrina if something like this happened in my hometown what I would do.

FREED: Jewell, and the mayors of neighboring communities, all hit by Sunday's twister, are eager to work with FEMA to make sure everything from aid money to temporary housing trailers move into their towns quickly.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It isn't a war zone.

FREED: CNN went along with FEMA as it took a driving tour of Mary Jane's neighborhood, right past her house, assessing damage for a report to the White House.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's extensive roof damage over here.

THUMPSON: I don't really know what to expect from FEMA. I've never been in a situation like this.

FREED: Mary Jane hopes she and others applying for federal aid this season will benefit from the lessons FEMA learned last year on the Gulf Coast.

Jonathan Freed, CNN, Dyer, Tennessee.


MILES O'BRIEN: Well, there will never be another Hurricane Katrina. That has a lot of meaning, of course. But, quite literally, there will never be another Katrina because the name has been retired by meteorologists. They retire those names of the most destructive storms. Kind of like pro-ball players have their jerseys retired, I guess. Katrina is considered the deadliest and costliest hurricane in American history. I don't need to tell you that. Five storm names will be retired this year, Dennis, Katrina, Rita, Stan and Wilma all gone. Good riddance to them. They will be replaced by Don, Katia, Rina, Sean and Whitney. And we hope none of those names have to be retired, if you know what I mean.

Let's check back on the weather. Chad Myers for that.

Hello, Chad.


SOLEDAD O'BRIEN: You're scribbling away furiously. What's (INAUDIBLE) business news.


MILES O'BRIEN: What are you doing over there?

SERWER: Oh, boy, I've got some great stuff coming up you guys.

MILES O'BRIEN: Got a good idea for a novel.

SERWER: Yes, well, I've got to get a real job at some point here.

Luxury cars. We want to talk about them. Not Mercedes and BMWs. Those are for pikers. We're talking about the real high-end ones. How much do they cost and how many do they sell? We'll tell you all about that coming up next on AMERICAN MORNING.


SOLEDAD O'BRIEN: Oh, with that music you knew exactly whose birthday it was.


SOLEDAD O'BRIEN: Right from the get go didn't you?


SERWER: Yes. Ate at his restaurant the other night on the upper west side, Copolus (ph).

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN: And how was it?

SERWER: Pretty good. I liked it.


SERWER: It was really good.

MILES O'BRIEN: I was (INAUDIBLE) his wine the other night. Man, he's everywhere.

SERWER: He's a mogul.

MILES O'BRIEN: He is a mogul.

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN: Yes, that is a mogul.


SOLEDAD O'BRIEN: Let's talk business news. Getting sued might be a good thing if you're Blockbuster.

SERWER: Yes, we told you about this one the other day.

MILES O'BRIEN: What? What?

SERWER: NetFlix is suing Blockbuster, saying their patent infringement is going on. On the website Blockbuster's online business is borrowing tools that NetFlix uses. Blockbuster's firing back now in an unusual way, filing with the government saying success of Blockbuster online draws patent claim. In other words, we're doing so well that all you can do is sue us. However . . .

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN: Interesting strategy.

SERWER: It is an interesting strategy.


SERWER: It's sort of -- well, it may have something to do with the point that NetFlix had 4.2 million customers and Blockbuster only has 1.2 million online customers.

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN: But their online is relatively recent and so -- and they have the bigger brand. They probably look at this as an opportunity to advertise to people who don't know that they have an online arm, that they have an online arm, I would think.

SERWER: All about the publicity, Soledad, I think you are right.

Let's talk expensive cars. Remember earlier this week we told you about the fastest car, that $700,000 Conigstag (ph).

MILES O'BRIEN: A Swedish car. Go figure.

SERWER: From Swedish -- Sweden.


SERWER: No, not yet. Remember, I thought you were going to buy me one.



SOLEDAD O'BRIEN: So not, by the way. But go on.

SERWER: No. All right. All right, I'll go on.

And we decided to look at some of the other really expensive high end cars. And apparently the cutoff point is $200,000. Below that, you have mere Bentleys and Maseratis. But above that you've got Rolls-Royces and Ferraris and the German Maybach, which apparently has got nice drapes in it according to a member of the crew. I think it looks pretty cool. These cars . . .

MILES O'BRIEN: The Maybach.

SERWER: The Maybach. Now what's really interesting here is how many . . .

MILES O'BRIEN: Trump is big on that Maybach, isn't he? Yes.

SERWER: How many do they sell in the United States? This car goes from between $300,000 and $400,000. They only sell 152 of them.

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN: You only have to sell 152 of them.

SERWER: But if you do the math -- exactly. Exactly. MILES O'BRIEN: That's all you need.

SERWER: And then with Rolls-Royce here, they only sell 445 Rolls-Royces in the U.S. each year. But again, a $330,000 car.

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN: What does a Rolls-Royce cost about?

SERWER: $330,000.


SERWER: They've got different models for you, Soledad.

MILES O'BRIEN: They've really uglied (ph) up that car, though, haven't they?

SERWER: It's not as nice as it used to be when you had all the fins and stuff.


SERWER: And then the Ferraris they sell a whole lot of. But that's because it goes for about, what, $220,000.

MILES O'BRIEN: It's at the low end of the category.

SERWER: It is.

MILES O'BRIEN: It's a deal.

SERWER: It is. And it's interesting, you know, these companies are in different businesses. Rolls-Royce makes jet engines. Maybach used to make zeppelins but they don't any more.

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN: That was a bad thing.

MILES O'BRIEN: That's not a growth industry.

SERWER: No, that was long ago.

MILES O'BRIEN: A bunch of hot air is what it is.

SERWER: I love these cars, though, and I'd love to get one, Soledad, at some point.

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN: I know you -- yes, I know you do. I know you love them and I know you'd like to get one.

SERWER: You know, birthday is coming up.


MILES O'BRIEN: You know, the upper west side of Manhattan is the perfect place to have a Ferrari.

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN: Where you going to part it? SERWER: In a garage.

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN: How far do you (INAUDIBLE) and move it every other Wednesday.

SERWER: Oh, yes, right, to park it.

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN: Yes, I don't think so.

Tonight on "Paula Zahn Now," bringing up baby in a world of invisible dangers. But could exposure to bacteria actually be good for your child? CNN Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen will take a look at different ways that parents deal with germs.


ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT, (voice over): What kind of mother lets her baby crawl around in a department store, crew on a stick and put a ball in her mouth that had just been in the dog's mouth? Fourteen-month-old Madison Sukenic (ph) eats right off the carpet of a doctor's office and that doctor behind her, that's her father.

So what did you say when he would come home in his scrubs and pick up the baby?


COHEN: And you thought she was crazy?


COHEN: What did you tell her.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That she's going to be exposed to things. That's she's a baby. That she'd be fine.

COHEN: But Kara Sherry (ph) isn't convinced. Kara bleaches the grout in the kitchen floor, scrubs down cabinet, disinfects doorknob after doorknob.

KARA SHERRY: Everything gets sanitized and I feel good about it.

COHEN: And Kara says her way works. Her kids are rarely sick.


SOLEDAD O'BRIEN: Well, I fall somewhere in between the two of them. I'm not bleaching any grout. Come on.

SERWER: You're a grout bleacher, Soledad, from way back.

MILES O'BRIEN: We know what she's doing.

SERWER: She bleaches grout. SOLEDAD O'BRIEN: I'm not going to let me kid eat the ball -- you know, chew on the ball that the dog has. Anyway, "Paula Zahn Now," of course, you can catch at 8:00 p.m. Eastern every single day. That full report will be on tonight.

MILES O'BRIEN: It's good one because, you know, there's a body of thought that makes them tougher, you know.

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN: Well, yes, it actually, you know, exposure to germs makes you eventually more healthy. But, you know . . .

MILES O'BRIEN: Five second rule? We have the five second rule.

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN: We had the 25 second rule.

MILES O'BRIEN: All right.

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN: That pretzel was there for a day. I'm sure it's fine. Go ahead and eat it.


MILES O'BRIEN: All right. A baseball legend. It is our privilege to have this gentleman joining us very shortly straight ahead. Cal Ripken Jr. is here to talk about his new book for parents of young athletes and he'll share his tips for helping kids succeed while keeping sports fun and, you know, muzzling the parents a little bit, if you know what I mean.

And if you're filling out your taxes and you want a big refund or you're expecting a big refund or you're counting on it, what's the best way to use the money? We have tips for you in our "A.M. Tax Guide." That's ahead.


MILES O'BRIEN: He is baseball's Ironman, Cal Ripken Jr., 21-year career. He played 2,632 consecutive games. I think he remembers each and every one, inning by inning, surpassing Lou Gehrig and he learned the Ripken way from his father, by the way. He's passing it on to his kids now. Third generation, I guess. And really offering up advice to all parents. The new book is called "Parenting Young Athletes The Ripken Way."

Good to have you in the house, Cal Ripken. Good to have you here.


MILES O'BRIEN: This is a follow-up book to your "Baseball The Ripken Way," which had a lot of similar philosophy in it. You've taken it and adopted it to other sports. What has made you get on this cause?

RIPKEN: Well, I mean, what I enjoyed about being a big league player was you have a platform to kids. And I was very -- I was always really happy to be able to use my influence in a positive way. I love the game. I want to grow the game of baseball. These are tools in which to give advice. Our instructional book went out, did really, really well. There was some small section that I gave about the philosophy of baseball and youth sports.


RIPKEN: The publisher looked and it and said, hey, I'd like to hear more about that. And so I didn't know I had so many opinions, but I certainly do.

MILES O'BRIEN: There they are.

RIPKEN: There they are.

MILES O'BRIEN: Suddenly they gushed out.

Here's the thing. The perception is, and we've all seen them at games with the kids, pushy parents. And, in some cases, you could say trying to live vicariously through their kids and pushing them too hard. And there are some ugly scenes we have all scene. Is that really happening on mass, do you think?

RIPKEN: Oh, absolutely. And I think the intentions are all good by the parents. These aren't bad parents. They want the best for their kids. Some feel they have to toughen their kids up a little bit and push a little bit harder. They want to support them and shelter them a little bit and make sure their experience is great. Some want to make the next Alex Rodriguez or Derek Jeter by making them practice and pushing them.

I think that's -- I'd like to let the kids have their own experience and let it come out naturally and try to alleviate the pressure. Because all these things add pressure which kids aren't built yet to take that sort of pressure. They're figuring out how to handle their emotions. They go up and down really easy and us parents or us coaches can really fuel that if we want.

MILES O'BRIEN: Well, it's tricky, though, because sometimes kids need a little nudge. You don't want to call it pressure, but they need a little push sometimes because left to their own devices they're going to be, you know, playing the video games or whatever, right?

RIPKEN: Sure. I would call them exposures. You know, nudging them in a direction, kind of painting a glossier picture, presenting the fun that makes -- that hooks them in there and they give them a try. Now if they're going to say they want to do it, you have to have some level of commitment. Say, look, I'm just not going to sign you up for everything that you come ask me for. Let's talk about it. Let's get into it. But that nudge, you know, I call it an exposure. And if they start to have fun with it, then fuel the fun.

MILES O'BRIEN: Right. Right.

You talk about the three Ps. One of the Ps is not pressure. We're talking passion, patience and praise. Sounds simple but it's hard for parents to keep this in mind, I think.

RIPKEN: Well, patience is probably the best part. I mean you want the kid to love what he does and you want to actually present it in the right way. But patience is really what you need because we, as parents, when they don't do well, we cringe and we want to help them at that moment. You need to sit back.

I think if you really looked at your behavior as a coach and a parent at a ball game, anything you do the kids pick up on your actions way more than the words. So if you could sit back and act like you were a grandmother or a grandfather, and when you go to a game, I've seen this a hundred times before and your reaction to the positive is easy and gradual, your reaction to the negative not overreaction, then all of a sudden the kids will start to play and have fun and you'll be supportive in the right way.

MILES O'BRIEN: Yes, what you're making is another point that we should make, is that too much praise is a bad idea, too, right?

RIPKEN: Well I think over the top again, if you look at these little people, their emotions are going up and down all the time and you want to try to keep them steady. If we really over saturate the praise, you shoot them through the roof and then when things go down, they go to the bottom. And it's a constant up and down of their emotions. And that ultimately is not too good because you crash and you come back up and you have to lift them back up. You want to try to give them a way to gauge and help their emotions across the board in a nice, even way.

MILES O'BRIEN: Yes. It seems like parents are just determined to get that scholarship, to, you know, to get that kid really good in one sport these days. And I think that leads to this problem in some cases.

RIPKEN: Well, I think, yes, there's, you want to make the next Alex Rodriguez or Derek Jeter, is what I say. Or to get a scholarship you want to push them harder because you think you have a talented kid. I think you should avoid that. I mean parents sometimes will react to pressure thinking, if I don't put them into lessons and I don't keep them on these travel teams, then he's going to fall behind. I would assure you that if the kid has talent, you know, there's going to be different levels and challenges that you're going to have to meet as you go up the ladder. And I wouldn't worry about that.

MILES O'BRIEN: All right. The book is "Parenting Young Athletes the Ripken Way." Cal Ripken Jr., thanks for joining us. Always a pleasure hearing your thoughts on parenting and sports.

RIPKEN: Thank you.

MILES O'BRIEN: Back with more in a moment.