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American Morning

Father of U.S. Marine Killed in Iraq Wins Jury Award; Landmark Study Links What You Eat With Risk of Cancer

Aired November 01, 2007 - 07:00   ET


ALI VELSHI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is one of those reasons why we are worried about inflation even though that Fed rate cut came yesterday, a quarter-point rate cut. One of the other measures that we often look at is gold. I have my trusty gold bar here, gold topping - well, getting to about $792 an ounce, up $7.70, but again, in after-hours trading, trading higher. We're looking at some spot prices for gold topping $800. The all-time high for gold is in the $850 range. These are things that have people worried about inflation, oil, gold, the U.S. dollar sinking again to a new 11-year low against major currencies. These are all stories to be concerned about but for now we have lower interest rates. That's the silver lining around this cloud, John.
JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Ali Velshi for us this morning with the update. Ali, thanks. We'll check back in with you soon. Kiran.

KIRAN CHETRY, CNN ANCHOR: The father of a U.S. Marine killed in Iraq has now won a stunning jury award, nearly $11 million in a lawsuit against a controversial fundamentalist church. The followers of the Westborough Baptist Church picket military funerals because they believe the Iraq war and its casualties are god's punishment for America's tolerance of homosexuality. Well, the funeral for Al Snyder's son, Matthew, was interrupted by these church protesters last March. He took them to court and he won big time. Al Snyder joins us from York, Pennsylvania this morning. Thanks for being with us, Al. And first of all, let me say, we're sorry for the loss of your son.

AL SNYDER, FATHER OF FALLEN Marine: Thank you, Kiran.

CHETRY: You know for years we've watched these images of these church members holding up these hateful signs screaming, many people feeling outrage, anger, shock, and even a little bit helpless, I think. You managed to take all of that, put it into action and sue the church and its leaders. What was your reaction when you found out about the ruling in your favor?

SNYDER: Well, of course, it was -- I was very happy. I think the first thing I thought of was my son, Matt. I don't think the dollar amount has really even sunken in on me yet. I think about all Matt's friends that are Marines and you know, I think about the other parents that have had to go through this, and I think about anybody that has had to go through this, you know. I don't think there's anything more private than a funeral, and you know, frankly, I don't care where these people protest, to be honest with you, but not at a funeral. CHETRY: I heard you say that last night, too, that it's not about cutting off free speech, if they want to be outside of a courthouse go ahead but a funeral for a fallen soldier, certainly a different story. Let's listen to what the church's leader, Fred Phelps said last night.


FRED PHELPS, CHURCH LEADER: They don't want me preaching that god is punishing America by killing those servicemen, and that's why he's doing it and sending them home in body bags, then the appropriate forum of choice would be their funerals, and there's nothing wrong with preaching respectfully at a great distance from the funeral where it's going on.


CHETRY: First of all what is your response to that. Because you say forget even being there but they disrupted your son's funeral, correct?

SNYDER: Correct. Correct. You know, I kind of looked at these people as kind of delusional. The whole thing that they're saying they protest, it just doesn't make any sense to what they're doing. I think the biggest concern I have about the family, and I'm not going to talk about anybody, because one thing I can honestly say about my son was, he was the type of person that if he didn't have something good to say about somebody he kept his mouth shut but I do feel sorry for the children in this church. I pray for those children every night, that -- I just, I feel sorry for them.

CHETRY: When you see the signs and some of the young people holding up the signs with those types of hateful messages it is scary. Do you ever fear any repercussions from this group?

SNYDER: No, not really. You know, I don't, you know, I don't worry about that kind of stuff. What is going to be is going to be. I think I got a lot of Marines up there watching out for me.

CHETRY: I bet you do, actually. Reverend Phelps is now saying, I mean clearly unapologetic from what we heard, he's saying he's going to appeal this decision. Regardless of whether or not you see any of this money, do you think that he is going to think twice and stay away from military funerals?

SNYDER: Well, I think initially, to prove their point, he will do some more, but I think it will stop, and as far as the appeals go, we kind of know that's going to happen. I think the big thing for me right now is, you know, I had this big reward from the courts, but it will be years before I probably can see any of it, and the big question is, am I going to be financially able to afford all the appeals? I asked people to go on to the website, and you know, look at, read the stories, and if they want to help out with the further lawsuits I would appreciate it.

CHETRY: What is your website? SNYDER: It's Like I said, my big concern is just having the money to continue the battle at this point.

CHETRY: All right, well I have a feeling there will be other people backing you in this situation and in the ongoing legal fight, as we said. Al Snyder suing the demonstrators and winning, thanks for being with us this morning.

SNYDER: You're welcome, Kiran.

ROBERTS: Now 6 minutes after the hour. Several hundred State Department Foreign Service officers are on notice today. They could soon be forced to accept orders to serve in Iraq. During a State Department town hall meeting yesterday a 36 year veteran of the Foreign Service called the move a "potential death sentence."


JACK CRODDY, STATE DEPARTMENT: It's one thing if someone believes in what's going on over there, and volunteers, but it's another thing to send someone over there on a forced assignment. And I'm sorry, but basically, that's a potential death sentence, and you know it. Who will raise our children, if we are dead or seriously wounded?"


ROBERTS: The State Department announced the move last week, saying there are not enough volunteers to work at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad and elsewhere in the country. It is the largest call up since Vietnam. The State Department says all diplomats take an oath to serve the country, whether it's here or overseas.

A Philadelphia police officer is fighting for his life this morning and the manhunt is on for the gunman who shot him in the face. Last rights have been given to Charles Cassidy. He is the third officer shot this week. Police say the suspect was caught on a security camera robbing a Dunkin' Donuts in Philadelphia. They are looking for a black man around six feet tall with a spider web tattoo on his hand. He was wearing a black-hooded sweatshirt, also walks with a limb.

NASA is shuffling its spacewalk plans to tackle repairs on a solar wing at the International Space Station. Today's planned spacewalk was supposed to inspect a malfunctioning joint that allows a set of solar panels to rotate toward the sun. The mission managers say that's been postponed because the priority is now fixing the tear in the solar wing. Both of the problems involve the station's power system, could threaten future construction if they're not fixed. NASA says astronauts will work on the ripped solar panel either tomorrow or on Saturday.

And trying to stop illegal from getting licenses. The public interest group that fights government corruption is now suing New York Governor Eliot Spitzer on behalf of the taxpayers. Judicial Watch claims that his new three-tier licensing plan as illegal. People are still required to give a social security number when applying for a driver's license and that's something that illegal immigrants would not have. The governor says critics are still missing the point.


GOV. ELIOT SPITZER (D), NEW YORK: This is not a conversation about immigration. People have deeply felt beliefs about what immigration policy should be. This is about making sure our streets are safe. This is about not having people drive when they don't have a license. This is about law enforcement knowing who is driving. This is about making sure people have insurance.


ROBERTS: Under the new plan, drivers would only need a foreign passport and a second form of ID to obtain a license. Kiran.

CHETRY: Well, also new this morning, Duane "Dog" Chapman, the Bounty Hunter who has his own show on TV, is apologizing after he was caught on tape in a racist rant. The website for "The National Enquirer" has released two recorded phone conversations that it says are of Chapman raging against his son because his son is dating a black girl. "The Enquirer" doesn't say how it obtained this tape but it's loaded with the "N" word and we want to warn you it is very offensive. It doesn't say how it acquired the tape. Take a listen.


DUANE "DOG" CHAPMAN, BOUNTY HUNTER: It's not because she's black. It's because we use the word (EXPLETIVE LANGUAGE) sometimes here. I'm not gonna take a chance ever in life of losing everything I've worked for 30 years because some (EXPLETIVE LANGUAGE) heard us say (EXPLETIVE LANGUAGE) and turned us in to the 'Enquirer' Magazine. Our career is over. I'm not taking that chance at all.


CHETRY: Well, this morning Chapman released a statement saying "My sincerest heartfelt apologies go out to every person I've offended for my regrettable use of very inappropriate language." I believe we have it. There you see it. "I'm deeply disappointed in myself for speaking out of anger to my son and using such a hateful term in a private phone conversation. It was completely taken out of context. I was disappointed in his choice of a friend, not due to her race, but her character. However, I should have never used that term." Meanwhile, A&E announcing it is suspending production of the show "Dog the Bounty Hunter" until an investigation is complete.

Well, another possible hate crime at Columbia University. Police say a Jewish professor at Colombia's Teacher's College found a swastika painted on her office door. It comes less than a month after a black professor found a noose hanging on her office door. No arrests have been made.

And another news case, this one on Long Island, New York. Police say the head of a black mannequin was found hanging from a noose outside of a home in Valley Stream along with a piece of paper with the "N" word on it. CNN is going to be taking a look at the noose, its violent history and recent resurgence it seems. Kyra Phillips investigates tonight at 8:00 eastern.

ROBERTS: South Florida is on alert for Tropical Storm Noel this morning. Storm watches are in effect for coastal Miami-Dade and Broward Counties. Noel now slamming the Bahamas with torrential rain and tropical storm force winds and is already blamed for more than 80 deaths in Haiti and The Dominican Republic. Reynolds Wolf at the Weather Desk in Atlanta this morning is tracking Noel for us. How close to Florida is it going to come?

REYNOLDS WOLF, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well right now it's about 180 miles from Miami, from the very center of the storm. If you look right over my shoulder, John, you can see the center of the storm and it's not very well defined. It's island hopping. It's been going from Cuba, northward into the Bahamas near Cat Island. It is expected to strengthen a bit. Sustained winds are currently 60 miles an hour. It is moving to the north-northeast right now at the north about six miles per hour. But John, I would say it will come within 100 miles or so before making its way to the north and then northeast. But keep in mind, this is a storm that's fairly wide. Even though the center may just stay within 100 miles or so of Florida, Florida will be affected. As you mentioned, we already have tropical storm warnings there in effect for good parts of the Florida coastline, southeast Florida and I would expect that the rain should really begin to pick up, anywhere two to four inches of rainfall within the next 24 hours or so and strengthening to a very strong storm with winds of 70 miles an hour. That is the latest on your forecast. We'll send it back to you in New York.

ROBERTS: All right. Reynolds, thanks very much. We'll check back in with you in a few minutes. Kiran.

CHETRY: Well, there's a landmark new study that links what you eat with your risk of cancer. One stat in particular caught our eye. It's about your breakfast bacon and sausage or really any type of processed meat, less than two ounces a day, and how that can impact your risk especially for colon cancer. Medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen is in Atlanta, and just knowing what my eating habits are, I'm in real trouble here. 1.7 ounces of processed meat can really make a difference?

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: I want someone to put that camera down so I can see what you're eating for breakfast this morning, Kiran. Right. American Institute for Cancer Research says for you and everyone else, hold the bacon, hold the sausage, hold the pepperoni. They say just don't eat it at all. Even a small amount can increase your risk of getting colon cancer. 1.7 ounces of these processed meats a day can increase your risk of getting colon cancer. Now, 1.7 ounces, what does that look like? We're going to show you. I have three sausages right here, that's it, just that can increase your risk of getting colon cancer by 21 percent, according to the group. How about a steak? They aren't so upset about steak. Steak is better in their eyes. They say that you can have 2.5 ounces of red meat a day. That would be equivalent to a serving the size of a deck of cards. Of course that's not the size most Americans eat. Now the meat industry calls this, let me look at the words, "extreme, unfounded and irresponsible." That's what they say about this report and I do have to say, Kiran, that you can find experts unrelated to the meat industry who would tell you that telling people not to eat processed meats at all is going a little overboard.

CHETRY: I guess what's astounding, if they can extrapolate it causes that much of a jump in the risk it should come way warning label just like cigarettes or alcohol does. That's what seems to be so surprising. But Elizabeth, what is it about the processed meat we're talking about, is it the fatty nature or what they use to smoke it?

COHEN: Part of it is the fact, but also it's the nitrates in these meats, it's also the salt level in these meats, these are high in sodium. Put that all together that's why they don't like the processed meats.

CHETRY: All right. Wow, that was pretty shocking. Elizabeth, thank you.

COHEN: Thanks.

ROBERTS: I have never seen such a pained look on your face.

CHETRY: It's just, the turkey sausages, she held up, that's about your breakfast three times a week. Get rid of it, hard boiled eggs or raisin bran.

ROBERTS: Next time you're at a gas station you may not need your wallet. A new payment device lets your fingers do the paying. We'll tell you all about it.

We've been talking about travel nightmares, asking for your stories of flier frustration. The long awaited security. Is there any hope in high-tech screeners on the horizon? That's ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.


ROBERTS: 17 minutes after the hour. Radio talk show host Warren Balentine is calling on his listeners and all African Americans not to buy anything tomorrow. He's calling it a blackout to protest injustices in the legal system that had been illuminated by the Jena six case, Genarlow Wilson and others. A major point of contention for African Americans is the disparity in penalties between the possession of crack cocaine and powdered cocaine. It's called the 100:1 ruling. 100 times as much powdered cocaine for one part of crack cocaine. AMERICAN MORNING's Alina Cho is here with more and they're revising the sentencing guidelines today.

ALINA CHO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It is, today, John, it's so fascinating. We did the research. Crack cocaine if you can believe it, is the only drug that carries a federally-mandated minimum sentence for simple possession. The sentence for crack possession is the same as material support for al Qaeda. In fact, possession of five grams of crack, roughly the equivalent of five Sweet and Low packets gets you five years in prison. The same amount of powdered cocaine usually gets you probation. Why the difference? For many the answer is black and white.


CHO: Like most twins, growing up Lawrence and Lamont Garrison were inseparable. Today they are 450 miles apart.

KAREN GARRISON, TWIN SONS IN PRISON: When they got their life taken away from them, you had a good life before then. You were a good man before you left the street, you'll be a good man from prison when you come back home.

CHO: Weeks after graduating from Howard University in 1998, the aspiring lawyers were convicted of conspiracy to distribute crack cocaine. They always maintained their innocence. Laurence is serving 15 1/2 years in Elkton, Ohio and Lamont, 19 1/2 years in Manchester, Kentucky. They've already served more than nine years. How much does the color of your skin have to do with the sentence?

GARRISON: If my sons were white boys and I was a little yuppie mommy, my sons, nothing can make me believe they would have been in prison.

CHO: Karen Garrison now works full time at Families Against Mandatory Minimums, helping others just like her. Last year, more than 80 percent of federal crack defendants were black. Only 9 percent were white. The Garrison's lawyer says had the twins been convicted of the exact same crime but with powder cocaine, their sentences would be five and a half years shorter.

MARC MAUER, THE SENTENCING PROJECT: The whole thrust of the war on drugs has been described by many as a war on African Americans. Blacks are much more likely to be arrested, prosecuted and incarcerated for drug offenses than whites, far out of proportion to the extent they're involved in the drug trade.

CHO: Back in the 1980s, crack was considered an epidemic, more dangerous and addictive than powdered cocaine. Sentences for crack were tougher. Medical research shows crack and powder are pharmaceutically the same with the same effects. So starting today, sentences for crack defendants will be shorter, on average, by 15 months. What does this mean to you?

GARRISON: It means that something's working. It's just a little crack in the door, but you know, you keep your foot in that crack and then it will open.


CHO: Unfortunately for Karen Garrison the new rule is not retroactive. Her sons will remain behind bars for now but in two weeks there will be another hearing to talk about whether to change that and if the new guidelines do become retroactive, nearly 20,000 inmates could petition for an early release. We crunched the numbers. It costs about $25,000 a year to keep somebody in federal prison, add it up John, that's $475 million saved in taxpayer money.

ROBERTS: These new guidelines begin today. Anyone arrested from today on would have the reduced guidelines. Its there's not parity between crack and powdered cocaine.

CHO: No, they reduced the sentence by about 15 months to 16 months on average but no, still not parity and what's interesting, we went looking for somebody who would be opposed to this change. We couldn't find anybody. People like Supreme Court Justice Conservative Antonin Scalia, who is no slouch on crime and punishment called this utterly unreasonable. So listen, families like the Garrisons, Karen Garrison, are working hard for parity but that may take awhile.

ROBERTS: Perhaps this is a step in the right direction.

CHO: That's what they say.

ROBERTS: Alina Cho for us, thanks. Kiran.

Sorry, this special programming note, by the way, before we get over to Kiran. We have a special investigation on the noose, why are so many cases coming up lately, just another one on Long Island the other day. Kyra Phillips investigates "The Noose, An American Nightmare," at 8:00. Now let's go to Kiran.

CHETRY: More signs of trouble for mortgages. Topping your "Quick Hits" now, a just released report tracking foreclosures shows a 30 percent increase from the previous quarter and that's up nearly 100 percent from the third quarter of last year. That means one in every 196 homes went into foreclosure.

It sounds like a futuristic movie but at ten Chicago gas stations you can pay with your fingertips right now. It will set you up. All you need to do is scan your fingerprints, have it linked to a credit card and the next time you touch the device it charges you. You don't need cash, you don't need a credit card, just your fingerprint.

Well, what scientists know about this cat, Cinnamon, could help cure human diseases. We're going to tell you why Cinnamon is such a special kitty, coming up.

Also, democrats calling for the Head of the Acting Consumer Chief, Consumer Safety Chief, why doesn't she support a bill that would double her budget and give her more power? We'll talk to her live, the Acting Chair of the Consumer Product Safety Commission, Nancy Nord, ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.


CHETRY: Police in England are looking for a man who set off a fireworks display inside of a store. The man was wearing a black cloak and a Scream mask. He walks into the store and drops a lit firework on the ground and walks off. It looks like someone was rolling just a regular video camera on it. It goes off, firing a colorful display into the store, before the store's owner kicked it outside. That was pretty brave. The shop owner's young son had to be sent to the hospital after suffering from smoke inhalation. They're still looking, I'm assuming still looking for that guy.

ROBERTS: I would think, yes.

27 minutes after the hour. This story in the next half hour you can't miss, travel nightmares. Many of you have been e-mailing us your stories of flyer frustration and we've been reading them.

CHETRY: The last hour we heard about the 40th anniversary to Spain that was thwarted because of a missed flight. Will high-tech screeners make the problem better or delay it? We're going to talk about that. We have the story on that, all the day's headlines as well when AMERICAN MORNING comes right back.


ROBERTS: Right out of the Brooks and Dunn song "Only in America" sun coming up over New York city. Look at that beautiful sunrise. It is on my iPod actually. That was George Bush's theme song in 2004 and just go tit stuck in my head. When you hear it 100 times a day those things tend to happen.

It's Thursday the 1st of November. It's going to be 64 degrees and they say mostly cloudy today in New York though you wouldn't know it from that picture. I'm John Roberts.

CHETRY: And I'm Kiran Chetry. Thanks for being with us. Also new this morning, a potential death sentence is what one long time American diplomat is saying about the State Department's order to go to Iraq or be fired. Their voices were heard at a town meeting yesterday. The department says it is necessary because there aren't enough volunteers to work at the U.S. embassy in Baghdad or other parts of the country.

More tough times for military recruiters -- the Army in particular, the general in charge says the recruiting year began October 1st and there are fewer recruits signed up for basic training than in any year since the army became an all volunteer service back in 1973. The Army is trying to increase its active duty force to relieve strain on war-weary troops. Army officials say it will take extra effort to reach the recruiting goal of 80,000 this year.

ROBERTS: A plan to fix bridges gets a $23 billion trim in Congress. The house committee approved the bill that allocates only $2 billion to fix the nation's worst bridges. The original version of the bill called for $25 billion for repairs but lawmakers balked at that version because it would have been funded by a five-cent a gallon gasoline tax.

It was so scary that NASA didn't want to you know about it and fear that you might stop flying. Now the agency is promising to release the full report it was keeping secret on airline safety. NASA surveyed 24,000 pilots and spent more than $8 million on it. According to the Associated Press, the report found that there are twice as many near midair collisions, runway accidents and bird strikes than other government reports are showing. CHETRY: Some brand new information this morning about the boy who admitted to starting a 38,000-acre wildfire in L.A. County. According to the "L.A. Times," he lived on a horse ranch that offers equestrian therapy for physically and mentally disabled children but he wasn't part of the program. Prosecutors are deciding whether or not to file charges. Officials say that inferno burned down more than 60 buildings, including 21 homes. Two firefighters as well as three other people were also injured.

$96 a barrel, that's the price of oil this morning. It's as high as it's ever been, depending on whether or not you adjust for inflation but a sharp rise that came yesterday on a report that oil inventories are lower than expected, calls concerns about supply heading into winter when demand increases.

ROBERTS: 32 minutes now after the hour. South Florida on alert today as tropical storm Noel looms in the Caribbean. Reynolds Wolf closely watching the storm track from the CNN weather center this morning. Just how close to Florida it?

REYNOLDS WOLF, CNN, METEOROLOGIST: Well, the center of the storm is going to come, I'd say, within a 100, maybe 150 miles. As we speak, that center of the storm is about 180 miles just south southeast of Miami at this point. Already parts of Florida getting heavy surf, and strong winds and some rain along parts of i-95. We even have a tropical storm warning that is in fact for the Miami northward into Coral Springs, as far south as parts of the keys, certainly an area, if you happen to be in that area of the world, you're going to have to watch out for the storm and the storm is strengthening. Winds now currently at 16, moving to the north around six miles per hour but it is forecast to strengthen with winds of 70 miles per hour, as we get into the afternoon hours and through tomorrow, but notice the latest path we have has the storm pulling away from Florida and veering more to the northeast as we get to Friday.

It should weaken a little bit as it interacts with cooler water. But at the same time, one reason why this storm is going to stay away from the U.S. or at least should according to this forecast is due to a frontal boundary that is going to make its way into parts of the southeast. Great, great news for parts of Georgia and for the Carolinas in terms of keeping this big storm away, but it's also going to keep away a lot of that moisture that we so desperately need in that part of the world. That's the latest we have on the forecast. Let's send it back to you in New York.

ROBERTS: All right. Thanks, Reynolds. At this point, they probably wouldn't mind a tropical storm. Kiran.

CHETRY: Well, it seems that a week doesn't go by that we don't hear yet about another product recall, it's why senate committee members say they passed legislation to try to bolster the consumer product safety commission. It's an agency that's responsible for regulating almost 15,000 different types of consumer items. The agency's leader is critical of the bill. There's also House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that's calling for her to step down. With us from Washington this morning is acting chair of the CPSC Nancy Nord. Thanks for being with us this morning.


CHETRY: So, the senate bill that made it through committee, all told would end up giving you guys more money and more authority. Why wouldn't you be in favor of that?

NORD: Well, I'm certainly in favor of more money and more authority but frankly, that's not what the senate bill does. I apparently committed this sin in the speaker's eyes of setting out my views on this legislation to the senate, in that, in a letter I sent to the senate which has been the cause of all of this controversy, I pointed out that the senate bill is imposing a number of new requirements on our agency. Many of them take us way from our core missions and that they have not provided sufficient funding for us to do that new job as well as the job that we were set up to do. I would like to see new authorities, Kiran. I have proposed new authorities but we've got to make sure that our resources are the right resources.

CHETRY: What, first of all, Nancy Pelosi also is calling for to you step down.

NORD: That's right.

CHETRY: Are you going to?

NORD: No. I have no intentions of stepping down.

CHETRY: The bill, it says, because you said it wouldn't, we were both just talking back and forth about what it would and wouldn't do. It's supposed to double the funding over seven years to $142 million to ban lead in products for children. You support both of those things, I take it?

NORD: Well, I'd certainly like to see our budget go up and I fully agree that there should not be lead in children's products.

CHETRY: But also raise the cap on civil penalties from, to $100 million. Is that one of the things you have trouble with, also collecting and acting on corporate whistleblower complaints?

NORD: Well, I would like to see our penalty cap go up. I have suggested the amount of $10 million. That is the amount that the House of Representatives passed. With respect to the whistleblower provision, there are currently provisions and laws that can deal with the need for dealing with corporate wrongdoing. This particular provision is going to put us right in the middle of disputes between employers and employees. And it is going to mean that we are going to be hiring lawyers, not safety inspectors, and frankly, I don't think that American consumers benefit by that provision.

CHETRY: Democratic senators are saying that the CPSC "seems unable to prevent dangerous products from entering in the marketplace." Millions of Chinese-made toys, of course, we've been talking about have been recalled in recent months. So, how does the CPSC need to change, if at all, to make sure we don't have to recall millions and millions of children's toys, because of things like lead paint, which aren't supposed to be in the toys in the first place?

NORD: Well, we, I have proposed to the congress a package of amendments that I think would enhance our enforcement authorities and I would challenge the senate to move on my suggestions, but with respect to the underlying issue here, basically what we have tried to do is take the problem back to the source. We are working very hard with industry to make sure that they understand their responsibilities. This past September, I negotiated a set of agreements with the Chinese government that we are now working on implementing, but at the end of the day, if we see a product that comes into the marketplace that is not safe or does not meet our safety standards, we will act and we will do a recall and we will jerk it from the marketplace and that is what we are doing and that is what I'm committed to doing.

CHETRY: And so, that's a reactionary move. You know, something comes out, it's deemed unsafe, you guys act to get it off. What about prevention? Is that the job of the CPSC as well?

NORD: Well, the CPSP does not pre-market tests or have some sort of process that every product coming into the country has to be tested. That would be absolutely -- it would stop commerce. There are billions of products being imported into this country, and they're being bought and sold and used.

CHETRY: Right.

NORD: So what we do is we set safety standards, and we insist on those safety standards being enforced, and one of our tools is to do recalls when we see a violation of our statute. When I see something that violates the law, I am going to insist on a recall.

CHETRY: Nancy Nord, acting chairman of the Consumer Products Safety Commission, thanks for being with us.

NORD: I'm happy to be here, thank you.

ROBERTS: 39 minutes after the hour now. Confessions from Warren Jeffs, the polygamist sect leader. Transcripts of tapes made during jailhouse visits have just been unsealed. He renounced his role as a prophet and admitted to being "immoral with his sister and daughter." The tapes reveal his deteriorating state of mind and health in the months leading up to the trial. Jeffs will be sentenced later on this month for two rape convictions.

Almost anyone who flies has a story of frustration. A series looking at the air nightmares that we have all faced. Your airline horror stories coming up, including the long lines at security. Do you feel any safer? Could it be faster?

And with the success at the do not call list, a new list is in the works and it aims to keep what you do on the internet away from prying eyes. That's ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) CHETRY: Welcome back to the most news in the morning. Your "Quick Hits" now. Drug cartels have a navy? Well, apparently Colombian Marines say they seized two submarines used to ship drugs. One had a five-ton capacity. The Colombian Navy says they belong to the country's largest rebel group.

North Korea could begin dismantling its nuclear program later this week, that's from a top U.S. official. Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill said that talks went well on disabling a reactor that produces plutonium for bombs. The north has agreed to disable its main complex by the end of this year.

And images of children working like slaves, forcing the "Gap" to take immediate action. The clothing company's head is flying to India Friday to meet with all of its vendors. The "Gap" also says a non- government organization in India is helping to step up child labor inspections and to certify products.

ROBERTS: 43 minutes after the hour. We probably all had run-ins with airport security from long lines to sometimes confusing restrictions on what you can carry on to that screener who says, next time take your liquids out of your bag or we'll throw them away. AMERICAN MORNING'S Chris Lawrence is at New York's La Guardia Airport this morning. He's got the second part of our series on flyer frustration.

You're looking remarkably calm this morning, Chris. No frustration on your face.

CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN, CORRESPONDENT: Because I'm not flying, John. That's the reason why. You know, but a few months ago I was on a flight and I was going through security and I got one bottle of lotion confiscated because it wasn't in a plastic bag. And I got to admit I just didn't get it. I asked the agent, I said, I understand the bag is supposed to limit the content, but I only have one content, there's nothing to limit. Well, the lotion got tossed anyway and it got us thinking about other experiences that people have had going through the security lines.


LAWRENCE (voice-over): Travelers complain about long lines.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Especially here in Atlanta, it's crazy sometimes.

LAWRENCE: Some about TSA agents' attitudes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They can be very rude and it makes a big difference when you travel.

LAWRENCE: But the main question is, are the rules really keeping us safe?

DAVID ROGERS: It just seems like there's a lack of common sense sometimes when they're looking at certain items. LAWRENCE: David Rogers can't understand why some gels and liquids get confiscated.

ROGERS: I was carrying an unmarked bottle the other day and has some hair gel in it and the woman didn't let me carry it because it was not marked, and she confiscated the bottle even though it was the right size.

LAWRENCE: He wonders why a label matters, wouldn't the machine detect if it was anything bad? The TSA insists there's a reason behind every rule. To them, it's not one hair gel. It's thousands of people and their bags. In fact, a new scanner addresses specific complaints from mothers and older passengers.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If you're traveling say with a baby, and you have breast milk or you're traveling with medications that exceed the three-ounce limit, it just basically sniffs and reads the contents of the liquids and can tell if there's explosives.

LAWRENCE: The TSA is testing another scanner that uses electromagnetic waves to produce a 3-D image.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Turn to your left, put your arms to your side.

LAWRENCE: They say it takes 60 seconds, blurs faces and is erased after you clear security.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We would much prefer this to being pat down. Just because it's less personal and less invasive.

LAWRENCE: The TSA says it takes time to install new technology. They have to prove devices work before paying millions of dollars to buy them.


LAWRENCE: For example, that machine in Phoenix cost well over $100,000, but it is now on its way to both LAX and JFK. As for my one bottle of lotion, TSA official says yeah, it could have gone through but it is the agent's discretion to say yes or no. I got to say, although I didn't agree with his reasoning at the time, he was extremely polite the entire time. John.

ROBERTS: Well that's positive at least. Next time, put your single bottle of lotion in a bag. Chris.

LAWRENCE: I know, I know, I learned my lesson.

ROBERTS: Are we ever going to get back to a time where we can bring liquids and gels on planes?

LAWRENCE: There may be that time. They've got a new system called the explosive detection system or EDS and with it you don't have to remove your liquids or laptop. Because the system does sort of a virtual scan of the bag. The problem is it is very expensive, it's probably not worth the price to just check carry-ones but you may see it show up in some of the smaller airports where they can combine checked luggage and carry-on into one screening area.

ROBERTS: And what have you got coming up for us tomorrow?

LAWRENCE: We went out and asked people what are your biggest headaches when flying, you know, lost luggage, canceled flights, bad food on the planes? And we're going to bring in our travel expert to try to maybe ease you through some of those problems a little bit easier.

ROBERTS: All right. Great, and my pet peeve is number 21 for takeoff on the runway. Don't feed me, don't give me a drink, just make me number one for takeoff. Chris, thanks for that. We'll see you again tomorrow. Kiran.


CHETRY: Well, how about this one for an airport nightmare, a man went out for a smoke and triggered a major security alert. Thousands of passengers at New York's Kennedy Airport had to be evacuated and rescreened after a passenger says he stepped out for a smoke, didn't have his boarding pass on him so he found another way back in the terminal, apparently going through the exit part. He was arrested at his destination. They also say he had no weapons but a straight razor was found in his carry on luggage. He's going to be questioned by the FBI.

Newest numbers on what a hotel room will cost you. The average across the country just over 100 bucks but a room in New York City, the average is $303.

There's a new study about children of mothers with asthma. Does breast feeding them actually lead to trouble later? Elizabeth Cohen has that story coming up.


ROBERTS: Nine minutes before the top of the hour. If you're just joining us, here's a look at what's making headlines this morning.

The father of Marine Lance Corporal Matthew Snyder killed in Iraq has been awarded nearly $11 million by a federal court jury. Al Snyder sued the Westborough Baptist Church after its members demonstrated at his son's funeral. The church claims the war is god's punishment for tolerating homosexuality and it plans to appeal the court ruling.

There's another racial incident involving a noose to tell you about today, this one on Long Island in New York. Police say the head of a black mannequin was found hanging from a noose outside of a home in Valley Stream along with a piece of paper with the "n" word on it. There have been a rash of noose cases around the country lately. CNN investigates the noose's violent history tonight at 8:00 p.m. Eastern. Storm watches are in effect for Florida, for coastal Miami-dade and Broward counties, with tropical storm Noel bearing down, it's slamming the Bahamas right now with torrential rain and tropical force winds. Noel has been blamed for more than 80 deaths in Haiti and the Dominican Republican.

The U.S. military is cracking down against Kurdish rebels in northern Iraq. The Pentagon is now saying publicly that the U.S. is flying manned spy planes over the border area and providing intelligence to Turkey. U.S. troops are also under standing orders to capture any rebels that they find. The Turkish government had threatened a full-scale ground attack if the U.S. and Iraq failed to do something about the rebels.

Severe drought has three states fighting over water. The governors of Georgia, Alabama and Florida are meeting today to decide how best to split up the remaining water in Georgia's Lake Lanier. Georgia says there is only 80 days of drinking water left for 3 million people in Metro Atlanta.

CHETRY: Well, we have some pictures to show you this morning. This is Hudson, a 1-year-old polar bear, not your canoe but Hudson. Here he is at the Brookfield Zoo in Illinois. He is given a pumpkin as a Halloween treat and he certainly looks like he's quite enjoying it.

ROBERTS: Looks like Winnie the Pooh in the honey pot there, stuck in the old nose.

CHETRY: Well Hudson performed trick or treating, a trick of eating rather the pumpkin, eating with no hands or in his case, no paws. That's their annual boo with the zoo festivities. Get everyone in on it, including the animals.

ROBERTS: I love polar bears.

CHETRY: Very cute.

ROBERTS: They're so cute.

CHETRY: Don't get stuck in a cage with them. Cute from a distance.

ROBERTS: Thanks for that tip.

CHETRY: Well, if you were thinking of buying Google when it was 600 bucks a share but you didn't. You're going to kick yourself now. Google stock now over 700 bucks a share less than a month after it broke 600 for the first time. This is the stock that Ali Velshi said was overvalued at 100 bucks a share. The latest boost came on news that Google is going to get involved into social networking. Google's market value is now greater than 26 of the 30 stocks that make up the Dow Jones industrial average.

Well, crude oil prices have hit a new record depending on how you adjust for inflation. Rising above $96 a barrel. Analysts say the increase was driven by a sharp decline in U.S. oil inventories. The bottom line for consumers is that we'll be paying more for gas of course and also home heating oil.

Some companies want to know what you're doing online but could you get the chance to hide your internet habits from their prying eyes. Thanks to not a do not call but do not track list. We're going to tell you how that works coming up on AMERICAN MORNING.


ROBERTS: Welcome back to the most news in the morning here on CNN. It stopped a lot of annoying phone calls. Now, a copycat of the do not call list wants to protect your privacy on the internet. Consumer advocates are calling for a do not track list. It would prevent companies from tracking which web sites people visit. It seems to me that would be a little difficult.

CHETRY: Yes. How would they pull that one off? Well it's also, you wonder how do they get all of your info in the first place? You know...

ROBERTS: Its' called the IP address.

CHETRY: You buy somebody flowers online and suddenly you get all these ads for coupons for flower shops online. Ali Velshi joining us now "Minding your Business" this morning. You said Google was overpriced at 100, now we're talking like 700.

ALI VELSHI, CNN, "MINDING YOUR BUSINESS:" Do we have to remind our viewers that if I were really that smart I wouldn't be here this morning? I'd be calling you from my yacht and telling you what to buy but unfortunately I'm not so I'm here so I'm going to give you more of my learned speculation. The Fed dropped interest rates yesterday as we all know now. They dropped it by .25 percent of a percentage point. The Fed rate went from 4.75 percent to 4.5 percent. The part that matters to you is that the prime rate went from 7.75 percent to 7.5 percent, and that's the rate to which many consumer loans are tied. Now, the bad side of that is as interest rates go down, and this always happens, the dollar continues to go down.

Let's look at what the U.S. dollar is doing right now, $1.45 to a euro. $2.08 to a pound and for those of us who do think in loonies, the Canadian dollar will now cost you $1.05 and no one thinks this is getting better any time soon. So, what's the upshot of this, it costs you more to buy imported goods or to travel. Forget the travel. So much of what we buy today is imported. So that costs more. Then, we look at oil, we just crossed $96 this morning. Oil is in the $95 range now. It's been going up regularly so energy costs you more. Heating oil costs you more. Gasoline costs you more. Imported product costs you more. Your grains are costing you more. Inflation is now a real concern. The Fed lowering rate creates more demand that gives it, that makes it easier for people to spend money and there are real concerns now that that could cost inflation. That's our next watch and I'll let you know if I was right about that in 3 or 4 years.

ROBERTS: I'm wondering if we're slowly chipping away at our economic power in the world.

VELSHI: Well, that's a good question to ask. I mean the one reason why we're not going into a recession right now is despite how tough things are with the U.S. economy, the rest of the world is very strong and they continue to buy our goods and with the low U.S. dollar that could actually continue for a while.

ROBERTS: Maybe some good news in there.

VELSHI: There's maybe some good news in there.

ROBERTS: Ali, thanks. We'll see you in the next hour.

The next hour of AMERICAN MORNING starts right now.

CHETRY: Multi-million dollar punishment.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: God hates America.

CHETRY: A jury's message at protesters at military funeral and the Marine dad who took them on.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I couldn't let them get away with doing this to our military.