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American Morning

Missouri River Expected to Crest in St. Joseph; Cough Syrup Warning; Iraqi Oil: How Soon to Share Profits?

Aired May 08, 2007 - 07:00   ET


KIRAN CHETRY, CNN ANCHOR (voice over): A river runs through it. Flooding drowns parts of the Plains this morning.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was very scary having it coming in our houses.

CHETRY: Hundreds already rescued, and thousands praying for relief.

Plus, judgment day. New pressure on World Bank chief Paul Wolfowitz and his sweetheart deal on this AMERICAN MORNING.


CHETRY: And good morning. Thanks so much for being with us on this Tuesday, May 8th.

I'm Kiran Chetry.

JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm John Roberts. Good morning to you.

Got lots of stories on our AM radar for you this morning.


CHETRY: Well, we begin in the heartland. Tornado Alley now being washed out by flooding. Flood warnings this morning stretching from Iowa to Texas. River town seeing water levels close to what they saw in the disastrous year of 1993.

AMERICAN MORNING'S Sean Callebs is live in St. Joseph, Missouri, along the rising Missouri River.

We also have Rob Marciano. He is in Greensburg, Kansas, where that community is trying to recover after the devastating tornado that hit that.

We begin with Sean Callebs in Missouri.

And it's that important marker about the rising rivers. Back in 1993 you'd be covered right now.

SEAN CALLEBS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I would be at least up to here in water. Back then, this river, the Missouri River, which is now in some back yards of some people who live nearby, rose to almost 32 feet. Right now, it is in between 25, 26. And the big concern, Kiran, is they expect this river to continue to rise.

Want to walk out here just a little bit and show you this tree we've kind of used as a benchmark this morning. Now, if it's at 25 feet and if, indeed, it rises the way authorities expect it will, it's going to go up at least three more feet.

We know that they're sandbagging in some parts of this city, but it has been an anxious weekend. Just severe, punishing rains hit this area, more than seven inches, and that has really led to tense moments throughout the Plains.


CALLEBS (voice over): Flooding from weekend storms stranded residents of Topeka, Kansas, and surrounding communities in their homes. Authorities and volunteers used rafts to rescue some 500 people. Here, neighbors cheer as a wheelchair-bound woman was saved from rising floodwaters.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It had been raining and raining and raining and raining, I just kept thinking, well, it can't last forever. But it did.

CALLEBS: Nearly seven inches of rain has pounded parts of Kansas and Missouri since Sunday.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was very scary having it coming in our houses and having everything floating by our houses, and there's cars and trucks under water.

CALLEBS: In Jackson County, Missouri, two teenagers had to be rescued from a tree after losing their paddleboat in a neighborhood that was overrun by floodwaters.

Storms that ravaged Oklahoma City for days caused heavy flooding that wiped out roads and bridges.

And in southwestern Iowa, residents in the town of Red Oak headed for higher ground as water rose to more than seven feet above flood stage.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The roar was horrendous.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was asleep, and the police car went by with its lights and sirens, going -- saying that it was mandatory for us to leave.


CALLEBS: Well, and just to give you an idea of how much this river has jumped its banks, let's just pan out there. And you can see debris that is blowing -- flowing down the middle of this river. And look how rapidly it's moving down. You can see a lot of limbs, even large trees coming down this area. That is from the flash flooding that is pushing all of this down.

And it's interesting, because right now, Kiran, if you look, all the debris is toward the middle of the river. And what we're hearing is, that's an indication that the water may actually be going down. Because if it was rising, it would be moving at a faster rate, and it would actually spread the debris out a little bit more.

So, this could be good news for the people in this area, but, of course, we'll continue to watch -- Kiran.

CHETRY: Sean Callebs really bringing it home for us with the shot of the river, unbelievable.

Thank you.

ROBERTS: Coming up now to six minutes after the hour.

President Bush is to visit the devastation in Greensburg, Kansas. He'll fly out there tomorrow.

Our Rob Marciano has been there all weekend. You saw him with me there yesterday. He's live in Greensburg now with the latest on flood watches and warnings in the area.

Not too much problem there in Greensburg, but other areas of Kansas, Rob, are having some problems. And as well, we've seen Missouri and elsewhere.

Give us the big picture here. How is it looking?



CHETRY: The FDA is warning U.S. drug makers to be on the lookout for potentially contaminated cough syrup. The issue is the glycerin that could be tainted with a chemical called Diethylenglycol. . And Dr. Sanjay Gupta is here to help sort it out for us, because this is concerning the glycerin that's manufactured outside of the U.S.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: It is. And we're talking about a substance that can be confused with glycerin.

Glycerin is in a lot of different medications, especially cough syrup, and DEG, or Diethylenglycol, has the same exact consistency, and that makes it easy to counterfeit. And that's why it's been so attractive.

It's an awful chemical solvent that is used in brake fluid. It's used in anti-freeze. It can kill people. In fact, it's killed over 300 people in Panama, it killed people in Haiti a few years ago. This is something people have had their eyes on for some time. It causes kidney problems. The way to think about it is, there's a lot of different things that go into medicines, and they have to stay in solution when they get into your body.

If they come out of solution for some reason, like this awful chemical solvent does, it starts to crystallize, it gets into those small blood vessels in your kidney, for example, and it causes death. By the way, interesting -- this happened in the United States, as well, about 70 years ago, where they substituted glycerin with DEG.

CHETRY: Because it's cheaper.

GUPTA: Because it's cheaper. And they make money on it. And it was because of that -- it caused about 100 deaths at this point 70 years ago -- that the FDA was now formed.

ROBERTS: So, are there no checks and balances along the way before it gets to the importation phase here?

GUPTA: It depends where you live, quite honestly. You know, it doesn't -- it shouldn't, anyway, happen in the United States anymore, in Panama, in Haiti.

They actually traced this back -- and we're working on a documentary, food as a poison. And if you look at the way that they actually trace some of this stuff back, you know, the labels are sometimes ripped off, you go back to the place, the manufacturing plant where it was created, and you can't even find that plant still exists. It is very difficult in many places to go ahead and sort of trace it back.

CHETRY: The takeaway from this, though, is that in the United States we don't import our glycerin, right? It's...

GUPTA: That's right. I mean, most of it -- we actually asked that same question because we were concerned. We talked to the toxicologists at the CDC, and they said most of the glycerin in this country is manufactured here in this country, but the FDA has put out a specific warning in light of this new investigation, in light of all the deaths in Panama specifically, saying that, "There is no reason to believe the U.S. supply of glycerin is contaminated with DEG."

Take that statement for what you will. It's not the most adamant statement, but that's what they're saying at this point.

ROBERTS: Yes. Well, remember what they said earlier, a couple of weeks ago about the food supply and melamine, saying no reason to believe, and then three days later we find out that chickens and pigs have been eating it.

GUPTA: Yes, melamine and wheat gluten, it got into pet food. Subsequently, chickens ate it. That became a human food.

Yes, this happens. And I think it's why a lot of people are paying attention. I mean, this stuff can make you quite sick. The interesting thing, as well, is that it's in cough syrup. So some of the early symptoms are fever, nausea, headache. Well, those are the same exact symptoms that you took the medicine for in the first place, which makes it even more difficult to trace -- which came first, the medicine or your cold?

CHETRY: Would you still give your kids cough syrup?

GUPTA: I would. I would. You know -- and in fact, my daughter has a bit of a cough now, so I've giving her cough syrup. She's under 2 years old, and I trust it, you know, but I do think it's going to make people more vigilant.

ROBERTS: Guess what? Kiran's daughter has a cold, too.

CHETRY: And now John has one, because she paid a visit to the studio.

GUPTA: It's one big germ factory here.

ROBERTS: Isn't it, though?

CHETRY: Thanks so much, Sanjay.

ROBERTS: Little 14-month-old Petri dishes are so cute.

If you've got questions about Dr. Gupta's reports, e-mail us. Go to Sanjay is going to be back later on this morning to answer them. We'll answer get some answers later in the week for you as well.

A leading GOP lawmaker says Republicans are getting impatient with the president's plan in Iraq. That's coming up next.

Then our series on benchmarks in Iraq looks at oil today. Will the country's oil revenues really be a boon to all Iraqis?

Also, slipping up is one thing. Slipping up in front of the queen is quite something else. We'll show you how President Bush managed to recover, and take you to the White House dinner last night, next on AMERICAN MORNING.


ROBERTS: Coming up now to 16 minutes after the hour.

Senator Trent Lott is the latest high-level Republican to press the Bush administration on Iraq. Lott says President Bush has until fall to show progress with his new Iraq strategy, the so-called surge. Lott didn't say though what would happen if there was no improvement.

House Minority Leader John Boehner also saying similar things yesterday, as well.

One of the big sticking points in Iraq is how to split up Iraq's oil money. It's one of the benchmarks that President Bush insisted on when he launched his new strategy back in January.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: To give every Iraqi citizen a stake in the country's economy, Iraq will pass legislation to share oil revenues among all Iraqis.


ROBERTS: All week we're taking a look at the benchmarks being set for Iraq, whether or not they can achieve them.

CNN's Arwa Damon is in Baghdad.

Arwa, let's start out with this oil bill and let's talk about that today.

Where is the oil bill in terms of the process? It was passed by the cabinet, it was submitted to the parliament last week, was it not?

ARWA DAMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, John, that's right, but it's still yet to be voted on. In fact, it has been stalled once again.

Now, originally, all parties, Sunni, Shia and Kurd, had agreed to sort of a broad terminology that stated that Iraq's oil revenue would be distributed by an unknown mechanism based on population. The Kurds had initially agreed to this, but right now they're backing down.

What they want is additional amendments that are going to guarantee them a greater -- greater power over oil that is in the areas that they control, mainly in northern Iraq. There is, of course, the dispute that is happening over Kirkuk, as well, and the areas around Kirkuk that hold many of Iraq's oil reserves. And we are talking about an extremely high level of revenue here.

In Iraq, according to the IHS, which is this global research company, there are 116 billion barrels of known oil reserves. And there is additionally a potential for 100 billion barrels yet to be discovered but believed to be in the western desert. So, once again, this oil law appears to have been stalled, although the administer of oil is saying that he believes it will still be passed by the end of the month -- John.

ROBERTS: Give us the lay of the land there, Arwa. Why is an oil revenue sharing program so important there for the future of Iraq?

DAMON: Well, John, it really plays into the economics. It plays into wealth. It plays into who is going to ultimately control Iraq, and can all of Iraq's factions actually share control?

And a lot of that lies on not only the various factions here coming to an agreement, but actually genuinely putting forward a notion that everyone here is working in the best interest of Iraq. And if that is, in fact, the fact, then it does make sense on a certain level to have all of Iraq's oil revenue shared equally amongst its population.

But again, we are seeing these difficulties, these challenges that the government is facing in trying to pass even the most basic laws when it comes to distributing oil revenue. Remember, this is, in fact, a law that they have been working on for over two years now. This is not just a challenge that has been facing the current government, but it is one that has faced prior administrations here in this country. And, in fact, we are now hearing from senior U.S. officials that they don't really believe that this law is going to be passed any time soon -- John.

ROBERTS: All right.

Arwa Damon for us today in Baghdad.

Arwa, thanks very much. We'll get back to you again tomorrow.

And tomorrow we're going to take a look at how committed the Iraqis are to pumping their own money into rebuilding the country -- Kiran.

CHETRY: And now we have some breaking news that's just in right now. It's being reported by one of the local affiliates here in New York, WABC, that six people were arrested in an alleged terror plot.

What they wanted to do, apparently, it's being reported, was to storm Ft. Dix, which is an Army installation that's in Burlington County, New Jersey, not far away. Apparently, they were arrested in Cherry Hill. They're going to be arraigned in federal court a bit later today, according to police, and they are going to be charged with terror conspiracy.

It looks like they were able to, according to reports, lure these men into a secret meeting to purchase AK-47s. They were looking to -- they were looking to meet with what they thought was -- who they thought was an arms dealer so they could get a hold of them.

Again, it would be part of a plan to storm Ft. Dix, which is an Army installation not far here from New York City, and to shoot and kill soldiers with those -- with those automatic weapons.

Again, all of this coming to us from WABC. We're going to continue to check on this story and bring you the latest when we come right back.

Meanwhile, kings of the chessboard. One community college chess team is pulling off an incredible Cinderella story. We're going to have more on that.

And another slowdown for Ford to tell you about. We're "Minding Your Business" next on AMERICAN MORNING.


CHETRY: Well, against the odds, a team of scrappy student from a community college in Miami is now on top of the college chess world. And they did it with no coach and actually little help from their school.

CNN's Jason Carroll joins us now with their inspiring story.

Hi there. And we brought this out as a prop.


CHETRY: We said our game would be a very slow game, right?

CARROLL: Very slow game. I know this is a 24-hour network. It would take us that long to finish.

But this really is a terrific group of students. You know, at one point, one of them even worked part-time at a Wal-Mart while going to school. They don't have any of the resources the big universities have, but they are still beating them at their own game.


CARROLL (voice over): In the world of collegiate chess, there are elite schools with storied pasts and reputable names like Yale, MIT, and Princeton. And now, a little-known team is joining that list.

RENE GARCIA, CHESS TEAM ADVISER: In the very first match there were a couple upsets, and all of a sudden people basically said, who the hell are these guys and where do they come from?

CARROLL: They come from Miami Dade College. It's a community college with little funds available for chess.

JAVIER GONZALEZ, CHESS TEAM MEMBER: We're definitely at a disadvantage, so you have to equal it out by trying the most, as hard as you can.

CARROLL: They have no coach, no trainers, the team doesn't even have money to buy blazers traditionally worn by schools during tournaments. Still, perhaps miraculously, they beat Harvard and Duke, placing third in this year's Final Four.

(on camera): These guys have the best coaches, they've got the best institutions in the country behind them. What do you have?

GONZALEZ: We have will, and we play as a team.

CARROLL (voice over): The winning team is made up of three immigrants from Cuba and one American-born Colombian. They have little time to practice because most of them work -- Charles as an alarm salesman, Renier used to deliver food.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Show me what happened in the last move.

CARROLL: Now he teaches chess to inner-city children.

(on camera): And obviously you have a love for the game. I bet you wish you could just be playing it a lot more. RENIER GONZALEZ, CHESS TEAM MEMBER: Yes, definitely.

GARCIA: Yes, that's a main problem. We don't play that many tournaments, so we don't have time to (INAUDIBLE).

CARROLL: So you go first. Go ahead.

(voice over): They are gracious when taking on a novice.


CARROLL (on camera): Whoa.

(voice over): Ferocious when facing real opponents.

CHARLES GALOFRE, CHESS TEAM MEMBER: I think we have heart because we're seen as the underdogs.

CARROLL: They're not worried about their next move, as long as they get to play and beat a few big dogs along the way.


CARROLL: As for their next move, Miami Dade's next tournament is in June. They say their story isn't just about chess, it's also a lesson in how to achieve in life even when the boards, so to speak, may be stacked against you.

CHETRY: What a great story.


CHETRY: And it's...

CARROLL: It was not just about the free trip to Miami.

CHETRY: Right. Well, I asked you about that one, as well. It had to be Miami Dade, right?

But they can't even afford the blazers.


CHETRY: And are they sort of looked at twice when they come to these tournaments?

CARROLL: They are. They are, until they start to play on the board. I mean, that's when people really open their eyes and say, whoa, these guys are really good.

CHETRY: So they knocked Harvard and Duke right off the competition.

CARROLL: Right out of there.

CHETRY: Not bad. CARROLL: Yes, not bad.

CHETRY: Great story, Jason.

CARROLL: Thank you.

CHETRY: Thanks a lot.

ROBERTS: How many moves did he beat you in, Jason?

CARROLL: Let me put it to you this way, he beat me in about -- in about one minute. It didn't take him long.

ROBERTS: So five or six minutes?


ROBERTS: That's not bad.


ROBERTS: Twenty-six minutes after the hour. Ali Velshi minding our business this morning.

And in the great game of global competition and the automobile industry, lots of winners and losers.


ROBERTS: It looks, you know, in terms of domestically, Ford continuing to lose.

VELSHI: Ford continues to. And about a year and a half ago, Ford announced that major, major restructuring. Lots of plants closing.

They said they were going to close 16 plants in North America. Now they have announced their 10th plant of those 16 that are going to close by 2012. This one is a casting plant, the Cleveland Casting Plant, obviously right outside of Cleveland, 1,100 hourly workers.

Not new jobs lost, but for Ford workers all across the country, you know, waiting for this shoe to completely drop, to find out whether it's your job that's lost. This is 1,100 people in a town of about 20,000.

You know, the story here, John, as you know, is these towns, when a plants closes, are often close to devastated.

ROBERTS: Oh, yes.

VELSHI: So much of the business depends on them.

Now, on the other side of the coin, just like many American businesses, a lot of profits are coming from overseas. General Motors is more successful in many cases overseas than they are in the United States. In China, the Buick brand -- now, a lot of you don't think of Buick as hip and young -- the Buick brand is wildly outselling...

ROBERTS: Even though Tiger Woods drives one.

VELSHI: Well, it's a solid, long-lasting brand, but in China it's aspirational. It's an upper middle class idea.

They're selling way more cars in China than they are -- they only have three Buick cars in the United States. There are eight models in China. There are expected to be over half a million sort of new -- oh, sorry, not half a million, 500 million new up-and-coming middle class people in the next 15 years in China.

ROBERTS: Oh, yes. A huge, huge market there.

VELSHI: Buick wants to be the car for those people.

ROBERTS: The last time I was in Beijing, the number of cars in the road compared to the time before that, it was just amazing.

VELSHI: It's exponential. Yes. Yes.

ROBERTS: Oh, yes. Every week there are thousands more vehicles added.

Ali, thanks very much.


ROBERTS: Twenty-eight minutes after the hour, the top stories of the morning are coming up for you next. An arrest of six men announced this morning, accused of targeting soldiers at Ft. Dix. Actually training with automatic weapons in the Poconos.

Plus, the Midwest is bracing for the worst flooding in more than a decade. A live report from there coming up next.

And how much TV is too much TV when it comes to your kids? This is a debate that's gone on for decades. Sanjay Gupta in the house. He's got some surprising new information for you.

And breaking up is hard to do, but one billboard is pushing it anyway. The uproar that this ad selling divorce is causing.

You're watching AMERICAN MORNING. The most news in the morning is on CNN.


KIRAN CHETRY, CNN ANCHOR, AMERICAN MORNING: And welcome back. It is Tuesday, May 8th. I'm Kiran Chetry.

JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR, AMERICAN MORNING: I'm John Roberts. Good morning to you.

CHETRY: We have some developing news to touch on right now here in New York this morning. Six men under arrest accused of planning to gun down soldiers at Ft. Dix army base in New Jersey. We go now to CNN Deb Feyerick on the phone with more details on this plot. Hi, Deb.

DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey there Kiran. Well, according to law enforcement sources, six ethnic Albanians were arrested last night and they are in custody this morning. According to sources, they were allegedly planning to use automatic weapons and open fire on soldiers at Ft. Dix. Now, sources tell CNN that they've been planning this for a while. But they'd actually been doing some training using automatic weapons. The training they were doing occurred up in the Pocono's, according to sources. They were doing surveillance on Ft. Dix and apparently, some other targets as well. There is videotape and audiotape of some of the trainings. We are told that an informant was key in terms of finding these men and helping law enforcement authorities get them into custody. Several suspects have spent time in the United States, but it's not clear exactly what their immigration status is. Now, again, six men in custody right now and we are told that they will be charged with some sort of terrorism charges later this afternoon. Kiran?

CHETRY: It is interesting. We're hearing Albanian nationals and it probably is too early to look at whether or not they were ties to al Qaeda or whether they were operating independently.

FEYERICK: That's correct. But the Albanians do have connections with Islamic radicals, a number of Albanians fighting in the war in Afghanistan. So, there are connections, there are known connections, but it is unclear just whether the connections happened, whether the connections are apparent in this case.

CHETRY: All right, it will be interesting as we find out more details, possibly today, from the Feds. But, again, six men arrested. This arrest taking place last night, planning to use automatic weapons aimed at soldiers at Ft. Dix, which is the army installation in nearby New Jersey. Deb Feyerick on the phone for us with more details. Thank you.

ROBERTS: Now to the rising fears and flood waters in the Midwest this morning. Flood warnings up right now from Iowa to Texas, hundreds of people are being evacuated. AMERICAN MORNING's Sean Callebs is live in St. Joseph, Missouri, right along the Missouri river there and the sun is up now, Sean. We can see the water running behind you and it looks like things are fast encroaching on the town. How much risk is it at today?

SEAN CALLEBS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I think the town's people are certainly anxious. However, there has been some good news over the night. As of yesterday afternoon authorities here thought that the Missouri River, where I'm really standing in right now, was going to crest at 31 feet. To give you an idea just how dangerous that is, it was back in '93 when it just simply devastated this area, the flooding, the Missouri crested at more than 32 feet. I want to show you though, just pretty graphic example of the problem. You always wanted a house on the river, right, but look over here. You can see just how close this water has moved to these homes. The folks that live here, there was a mandatory evacuation here and really that has played up throughout this area, too, throughout the many plain states. There have been evacuations of many, many towns, many folks. Look out in the middle of the river. I want to take you to another camera shot. We have a camera aimed out towards the middle and look at this debris floating down. We've been out here for several hours now. We've seen some very large logs, basically trees go down, household appliances and you can see it is really moving at a good clip, this stream, just flowing very rapidly.

Back here, just, once again, John, to show you this benchmark we have been using throughout the morning. They say that right now the river is about 25 feet. It's considered flood stage in this area at 17 feet. So it shows you just how high it is, but a couple of things. If it gets as high as expected, it will climb up another three feet and that's expected to happen at 2:00 Eastern time. John, this area down here, we have the city spokesperson down here earlier and she talked about the fact that it looks like the water is actually going down now. So that may be some good news. Some just torrential rains in this area over the past, over the weekend triggered all of this, but this could be a time when St. Joseph really dodges the bullet, John.

ROBERTS: So the fact that the level is going down right now, do you think that's temporary. Is there more rain upstream that is just waiting to come down or may the worst have already passed?

CALLEBS: Exactly. Well, it's -- what we're hearing is they're still saying that this river is going to crest at 28 feet. We'll be out here for several more hours, so we'll be watching it, but if indeed, the city is, hopefully, seen the worse. They're actually doing some sandbagging just down river a little bit, trying to keep this river from jumping into a wastewater treatment plant. If it would get near there, the real danger is they would have to hand pump the waste over a levee and that could be very nasty.

ROBERTS: I'm sure it would. Sean Callebs for us in St. Joseph, Missouri this morning, thanks very much.

President Bush is traveling to Greensburg, Kansas, tomorrow. He wants to see for himself the devastation caused by Friday night's massive tornado there. Many of the people who lost their homes returned to search for anything that they could salvage yesterday. Nine people were killed in that tornado, people who lived there say it could have been a lot worse had it not been for the fact that they received a 20-minute heads up from the National Weather Service.

CHETRY: An internal panel that concluded that Paul Wolfowitz broke the rules of the World Bank and there's now tremendous pressure on Wolfowitz to resign. One of his top aides resigned yesterday. Another is suspected of writing a misleading public statement, all of it stemming from a promotion and raise that Wolfowitz apparently arranged for his girlfriend who worked for the World Bank. ROBERTS: English farm house cheeses, London silver and the music of Izak (ph) Pearlman for a royal night at the White House last evening. President Bush and the first lady hosted their first ever white-tie state dinner in honor of Queen Elizabeth II. Earlier in the day the official White House welcome included, well, a presidential slip up.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You helped our nation celebrate its bicentennial in 17 - in 1976. She gave me a look that only a mother could give a child.


ROBERTS: It's not nice to suggest that the queen is 230 years old. The queen let that one pass. She sat next to the president at his right at the table in the state dining room last evening. Nancy Reagan, Chief Justice Roberts, Arnold Palmer, Colin Powell, Peyton Manning, Nancy Pelosi, George Schultz, all in attendance last evening.

I went to a white-tie dinner at the White House once during the Clinton administration .

CHETRY: What color tie did you wear?

ROBERTS: ... the king and queen of Spain. I decided to go with sort of a red color because I wanted to be different.

CHETRY: That would have been a faux pas like the poor president.

ROBERTS: I wore gloves.

CHETRY: You did?


CHETRY: Anything he says, just -- it came out and then he tried to take it back in and there was a big chuckle.

ROBERTS: That's the thing about those presidential faux pas, once they're out, they don't go back in so easily.

CHETRY: Exactly. Is this door locked? I think it is.

She played the queen in the movies, but she won't be going to Buckingham palace. Helen Mirren, she won an Oscar for playing Queen Elizabeth II in the movie "The Queen." Well, she turned down an invitation to dinner with the real queen. Mirren sent her regrets according to the British newspaper "The Mail" because she'll be working in the U.S. on a film. That's a big no-no, right? Turn down the queen?

ROBERTS: It all depends on what the reasons were.

CHETRY: She's working on a movie. ROBERTS: She's well enough respected that she could probably do it. Up next the good news/bad news situation. The good news the doctor tells you you're going to live, the bad news is -- stay tuned to find out.

Also how much is too much TV when it comes to your children? Dr. Sanjay Gupta has got the answer ahead. We put out the page for him and he'll be here in a few minutes. You're watching AMERICAN MORNING. The most news in the morning is on CNN.


ROBERTS: Forty two minutes after the hour. Rob Marciano is checking out the weather forecast in the Midwest and the plain states for us. He's in Greensburg, Kansas, this morning. Good morning, Rob, what's up?

ROB MARCIANO, CNN METEOROLOGIST: On the ground here in Greensburg, Kansas. The scene this morning much like it was yesterday morning with the ravaged community behind me and residents will be coming in again starting at 8:00 to go through and salvage what's left of their homes. The weather will be cooperating. The heavier rain and the severe weather has shifted to our south. Oklahoma has been getting hammered with it. That's for sure. Here is the radar out of Oklahoma City. You can see, it's stretching to the west, south, north and east. We're seeing a heavy amount of rain stretching to the west across the Red River valley of Texas. That is where the heaviest rains will be today.

Off to the southeast, a spiraling area of low pressure, you see the radar off the shores of South Carolina and Georgia. Not a tropical low, but it has winds that are similar to that, gusts of 40 or 50 miles an hour along the coastline and that will only exacerbate the fire issues across southeast Georgia and Florida with the dry winds today. Fire weather is at a critical stage. Across the rest of the United States, looks real nice across the northeast, temperature there's will be in the 70s for daytime highs, 75 degrees expected in New York City and 79 degrees expected in Atlanta, Georgia.

But again, the focus point of the rainfall will be across Texas where flood watches are up and the good news, as Sean Callebs reported, most of the heavy rain has shifted to the south of St. Joseph's and Kansas City. More National Guard troops arrived yesterday. Search and rescue troops from Nebraska arrived last night, as well so that effort will be ongoing and then the president arrives tomorrow for comfort and support. Back to you.

ROBERTS: All right, thanks very much. Appreciate it.

CHETRY: Well, the pediatricians recommend that children under two years old should not watch TV at all, but a new study released yesterday shows that most parents are not listening to that advice. Dr. Sanjay Gupta is with us this morning. I'm guilty. You're guilty, even the little DVDs that you play for the kids.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, my daughter, she's 22 months and I'll just say it right now. We're guilty and I think a lot of parents are watching probably are, as well. I found the study fascinating. First of all, a lot of little interesting tidbits came out of it. For example, by the time most kids finish grade school, they'll witness 8,000 murders on television, which I thought was very interesting in light of today's climate. We're not here to talk about violence as much as attention deficit problems.

A new study coming out saying specifically, if children watch three or more hours of television a day, they're more likely to have attention deficit problems. The problem is right now, on average they watch about four hours a day. So you can see how this all sort of plays together. The study is about almost 700 children over a 20-year period. It's one of the longest studies. And they found that after about an hour a day of television watching, you start to see some impact, lower grades perhaps. You get up to three or four hours, you start to see less chance of graduating from high school, poor performance overall in the long run. Kiran, not everyone is buying this and we want to do a little bit more investigation as well. So we actually contacted the attention deficit disorders organization. It's kind of surprising actually, there was such a thing, they stayed focused long enough I guess to organize themselves. But they say there is no link. They remind us, there is no absolute link. This is an association between television watching and some of these bad things and most time ADHD is inherited. So keep that in mind as well.

CHETRY: They also sort of lumped everything in, television and violence versus things that are geared towards babies, the baby Einstein, the little DVDs that your child watches. It used to be that that the comment was, oh, this is helping develop the baby's brain.

GUPTA: You felt like you were committing child abuse if you didn't buy this for some reason. You're right. They lumped that all in together as well. Some part of the study did stratify between non- educational television programming versus educational television programming. But overall the message was still very much the same to greatly limit the amount. And they say about one to two hours on average for all children and again, as we said earlier, we're guilty of this. But for under the age of two, absolutely no television for children age two and younger.

ROBERTS: Is it just that the brains sort of goes into neutral while they're watching?

GUPTA: It;'s interesting. We asked the same thing as well and there's something known as the orienting reflex and this is the sort of possibility of why it leads to ADD. Orienting reflex, you're watch TV, several different things are happening at the same time and you're getting all these different signals and all of a sudden, your brain starts adapting to getting messages that quickly and it makes it much harder to orient to things in real life. Your focus changes. Again, not everyone is buying that. It could just be that you're not doing your homework and paying attention to other things.

CHETRY: Can I ask one more little question. What if the TV is on in the background, but your baby is not actually looking at it. Is it as bad to have it on? We have CNN on all day in our house. GUPTA: I don't know the answer to that one. I don't know if that's more of a radio thing. I think the actual watching (INAUDIBLE) does seem to make a difference because of that orienting reflex but I am not sure. Keep CNN in the background all day.

CHETRY: That's for the ratings, not for the baby, right? Sanjay thanks so much.

GUPTA: Thanks guys.

ROBERTS: Didn't know you're a Nielsen family.

CHETRY: We're not. If you have a question for Dr. Gupta by the way, e-mail us, go to We're going to try to answer as many questions as we can.

ROBERTS: When is learning that you're not, in fact, going to die a bad thing when you've gone out and blown all your money because you were told you were going to die. A 62-year-old British man is demanding money from his doctors. They told him that he had pancreatic cancer and would be dead within a year. So what did he do? He went out on a wild spending spree that left him completely broke. It turns out that he didn't have cancer and he's going to be fine. Sound like that Queen Latifah movie "Last Holiday."

CHETRY: Or Joe versus the volcano (ph). There's a ton of movies - I mean that's right out of a Hollywood script.

ROBERTS: Go see the movie.


CHETRY: He has no more money, clean bill of health.

ROBERTS: So far by the way, the hospital is refusing to pay him.

GUPTA: Not surprising.

CHETRY: Coming up, things are getting worse for David Hasselhoff. We're going to tell you what a judge had to say about that drunken videotape and what his ex-wife is saying about how that tape surfaced.

Also a racy billboard to say the least. There it is. It's advertising divorce. Meet the brains behind the operation, next on AMERICAN MORNING.


ROBERTS: A judge says that a videotape of a drunken David Hasselhoff has changed the landscape of his custody fight. He has temporarily suspended Hasselhoff's visitation rights to see his two teenage daughters after one of them videotaped him allegedly in a drunken stupor. Last night Larry King asked Hasselhoff's ex-wife how that video ever became public.


PAMELA BACH-HASSELHOFF, HASSELHOFF'S EX-WIFE: That's why I don't believe Taylor Ann (ph) would have released it. I know I didn't. I know my youngest daughter. When you're in the family disease, it's the elephant and you don't talk about it.


ROBERTS: Hasselhoff's visitation rights are suspended until the judge can determine who was responsible for the tape's release. Hasselhoff says he's a recovering alcoholic and has apologized for his behavior.

CHETRY: A Chicago law firm is turning heads with a new billboard that has a pretty blunt and racy message. Life's short, get a divorce. Well, critics say the ad is too racy and also that it attacks family values.


UNKNOWN: I think it's ludicrous. I think it's basically showing people that marriage is no longer a commitment in this country.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's disgusting. I think it's sexist. I think it's going to backfire on her because I think what is going to happen is women are going to be so disgusted, that she's not get the business she wants.


CHETRY: There it is. But the law firm says it's cutting edge and it's an answer for couples that are looking for a way out of a bad marriage anyway. Corri Fetman is the lawyer behind the billboard and she's actually in front of it today. She joins us from Chicago. Boy, you got people all fired up over this. Where did you come up with the idea, Corri?

FETMAN: We were just sitting around our office one day like we always do, thinking about advertising business and we wanted to do something that said something about us, which is gutsy, unique, outcome oriented, strategic. So, we contacted some strategic partners that I had had about 10 years ago and we asked them to help us with an advertising campaign.

CHETRY: All right. Why did you choose the pictures that you did, the guy with the six pack and the very busty woman in a bra?

FETMAN: The photos came because we wanted to do something that was cutting edge and something that was different. Typically, law firm advertising is lawyers in suits. We wanted something that was going to provide hope and fantasy. Hope gets you through the darkest times. We recognize that divorce is a very, very good difficult process and it's a personal decision. So, the images and the heads are cut off to show that there's some hope or there's someone waiting for you or you may have that person out there.

CHETRY: What do you say to people who say that the ads are unethical?

FETMAN: I say that they're looking at these ads in the wrong light. What we are doing is we are promoting personal integrity. We are promoting happiness. We're telling people to take stock of their life. If you're in an unhappy marriage, then be honest with yourself. You're not doing anyone a favor. Your life is very short, it could be over within an instant.

CHETRY: (INAUDIBLE) Corri, because people think, hey, if I get a divorce, that's what's waiting for me on the other side of this divorce decree.

FETMAN: No, I think people are insulting the intelligence level of the people that are viewing the billboards. If that were the case, then every company would be advertising because somebody looks at a billboard and says, I'm going to buy your product tomorrow. That's not going to happen. We don't cause divorce. People cause divorce. Lawyers don't. We provide a viable solution.

CHETRY: Right now you certainly have gotten a lot of buzz with your billboard. So Corri Fetman, thanks so much for joining us to talk about it today.

FETMAN: Thank you so much.

ROBERTS: Well, outcome oriented advertising, puts a new twist on that whole game doesn't it?

Heavy rains and rising waters, it's making for the worst flooding situation in the Midwest in more than a decade. We're live from the flood zone coming up.

Also democracy in action. Find out what's worth fighting for. You're watching AMERICAN MORNING. The most news in the morning is on CNN.


ROBERTS: Fifth eight minutes after the hour, Ali Velshi "Minding your Business" for you this morning. We're still wondering about outcome oriented advertising when it comes to divorces.

ALI VELSHI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Nothing to say about that, but I can tell you Wal-Mart is one of these companies that does things that hopefully and somebody's going to get mad at me. I always get e-mails about this, but sometimes will give them a good impression because sometimes they have -- people have a bad impression of Wal-Mart. So maybe that's outcome oriented decision making. Wal-Mart has decided to put solar panels on 22 of its facilities in California and Hawaii because they feel they can get energy generated from it. They're not going to be generating it. It's a company that's going to contract to do this, but they'll pay less, they'll pay 30 percent less than they pay to, you know, their utilities for their electricity.

It's a big deal, 20 mega watts of energy they're talking about generating here. Just to give you a senses of perspective, Google, which has the largest single installation of solar power for a company in the United States right now is about 1.6 mega watts. That's the situation in Mountain View for Google. So it's a big deal. It's important because the solar panel industry is growing at about 30 percent a year in the United States. Solar energy still is just 1 percent of the electricity we use, but when Wal-Mart decides it wants to get on the wagon with things like this, it is a big deal.

ROBERTS: Tom Friedman (ph) from the "New York Times" has done a whole documentary for the Discovery channel, which he goes into a Wal- Mart that's almost a green Wal-Mart. They talk about this and other things they do to try to save energy.

VELSHI: They've got a stated goal that they want to use 100 percent sustainable energy. It's actually becoming a big deal. The big issue of course is when there are enough incentives to put in these systems because they cost a lot of money to do that.

CHETRY: It's interesting, because if these big companies start doing that...

VELSHI: That's going to be