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CNN Saturday Morning News

Retired General Ricardo Sanchez Slams the Iraq War Plan; New Developments in Anna Nicole Smith's Death; Hannah Montana Fans Left Out in the Cold; U.S. Justice Department Investigating Boy's Death at Boot Camp

Aired October 13, 2007 - 09:00   ET


BETTY NGUYEN, CNN ANCHOR: From the CNN Center right here in Atlanta I'm Betty Nguyen, this is CNN SATURDAY MORNING.
T.J. HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, hello to you all. I'm T.J. Holmes. So glad you could be here with us this morning.

Up first here a stunning declaration. The man who oversaw the war in Iraq slams the war plan and says there's no end in sight.

NGUYEN: Also, new developments in the death of Anna Nicole Smith. Police raids, search warrants, and now doctors under suspicion.

HOLMES: Also fans of Hannah Montana left out in the cold. Parents frustrated by outrageous ticket prices. Would you pay $2,500 to see her perform? Well, of course, you know parents will do a lot for their babies. Will they do that much? We will get to that story a little later.

But we are going to start with the criticism of the war in Iraq and it's coming from a former commander of coalition forces. Retired General Ricardo Sanchez calls the war "A nightmare with no end in sight." But he says the withdrawal of U.S. forces now would lead to chaos.

We'll get more from senior Pentagon correspondent Jamie McIntyre.


JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Ricardo Sanchez was brimming with optimism when he was the top commander of U.S. troops in Iraq. He's retired now. His career cut short by the fallout of the Abu Ghraib scandal that happened on his watch, and he's turned into one of the biggest critics of how the Bush administration has managed the war calling it a catastrophic failure.

LT. GEN. RICARDO SANCHEZ (RET.), FORMER COALITION CMDR. IN IRAQ: Continued manipulations and adjustments for a military strategy will not achieve victory. The best we can do with this flawed approach is staving off defeat. The administration, Congress, and the entire interagency, especially the state department, must shoulder the responsibility for this catastrophic failure and the American people must hold them accountable.

MCINTYRE: Sanchez told the group, military reporters and editors that he had reservations about the strategy while in Iraq back in 2003 and 2004, but he felt he could not resign without jeopardizing his troops. But now retired, he says the current strategy is too little and doomed to fail.

SANCHEZ: There has been a glaring unfortunate display of incompetence in strategic leadership within our national leaders. As a Japanese proverb says action without vision is a nightmare. There is no question that America is living a nightmare with no end in sight.

MCINTYRE: Sanchez was in line for promotion to four star general until tarred by the Abu Ghraib scandal. While officially cleared of any wrongdoing, he had fierce critics in Congress. For a while he sat quietly in a job in Europe waiting to see if the furor would blow over, but the controversy made him unconformable and he retired. He plans to write a book.

Jamie McIntyre, CNN, Washington.


NGUYEN: New this morning a Texas man suspected of killing his wife and two stepchildren is dead. Police say Arthur Jackson shot himself in the head ending a seven-hour standoff. A church daycare worker called police after Jackson dropped his 3-year-old daughter off yesterday. The child had blood on her clothes, but she wasn't hurt.

Now, police later found Jackson in a park driveway. A chase then followed. Here it is right there, and it ended, as you will see, this car plunges into the lake. Police say Jackson was dead when they pulled him out and officers never fired a single shot.

HOLMES: Well really high emotions in Florida over the acquittal of seven boot camp guards and a nurse in the death of a 14 year old African American boy in 2006. An all-white jury took 90 minutes to return a not guilty verdict in the manslaughter trial. And the verdict provoked protests, this one here at the capitol. The U.S. Justice Department now reviewing the case for possible civil rights violation.

NGUYEN: A Pennsylvania mother out on bail this morning. Michelle Cossy was arraigned on charging related to firearms. Police say she bought for her 14-year-old son. The teen told police he was planning a Columbine-type attack on the local high school. He's being held pending a psychiatric evaluation. Prosecutors say his mother probably didn't know his intentions and was just indulging his interests, but around 30 weapons were found in the home, most were air rifles.

HOLMES: The arrest in Pennsylvania came just a day after a 14- year-old in Cleveland shot two teachers and two classmates before taking his own life.

CNN's Allan Chernoff has more on the troubling common denominator in both cases.


ALLAN CHERNOFF, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): The teenage gunman at a Cleveland high school who shot four and then killed himself this week had a history of being bullied. The same is true of the 14-year-old boy arrested Wednesday who had a cache of arms in his bedroom allegedly to be used in a Columbine-style attack at Plymouth White marsh High School outside of Philadelphia.

His former karate teacher who says she knows the family well and did not want to appear on camera, believes the boy has had social problems for years. He was bullied quite a bit though?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, he was. Yes, he was.

CHERNOFF: To your knowledge, for any particular reason?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, kids are kind of cruel when kids are overweight or they made fun of him about the way he talked.

CHERNOFF: The Columbine attackers also had been bullied at school. In fact, the Federal government says school initiative found that more than two-thirds of school shooters feel they have been bullied, often severely. A condition expert says that can set off a child to seek vengeance.

JOHN DAVIS, ZXTREME ALTERNATIVE YOUTH COUNSELING: They're going to isolate themselves, possibly have some issues with depression, and eventually they will either self medicating or finding ways to act out.

CHERNOFF: Schools recognize the problem of bullying, and many have programs to stop it, but they are largely infective says youth violence expert Sally Black, whose two children are students at Plymouth Whitemarsh High. Too often, Black says, school administrators end up siding with the bully rather than the initial victim which can instill in that victim a desire to strike back in a big way.

SALLY BLACK, ST. JOSEPHS UNIVERSITY: We just need to get the programs out there that work and stop doing these programs that don't work. We're causing a whole lot more harm than good. We're wasting taxpayers' money and there will be more bloodshed over this unless we as adults get it right.

CHERNOFF: What's needed says Black are school programs that aggressively address bullying but understand that children, including teens, need to learn what is unacceptable. So the best defense against school violence, Black says, is for schools and parents at home to constantly teach proper behavior.

Allan Chernoff, CNN, Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania.


NGUYEN: We do have new developments this morning in the investigation into the death of Anna Nicole Smith. Officials tell CNN that eight search warrants have been issued, and police are searching the homes of the offices of two California doctors. Authorities want to know if Smith was illegally prescribed medication. She died of a drug overdose in February. So why the investigation now? Well, here is what California's Attorney General had to say.


JERRY BROWN, CALIFORNIA ATTORNEY GENERAL: The investigation started when I reviewed the fact that all these different dangerous drugs and controlled substances were a part of the death of Anna Nicole Smith, and I learned that these were California doctors and California prescriptions. So based on that, I had the Department of Justice come into the investigation and it's been going full bore since that time.


NGUYEN: So far no arrests have been made, but one of the doctors has been investigated by the California Medical Board.

HOLMES: Just a horrible crash in Santa Clarita, California. Five big rigs on fire inside a tunnel. This is part of a section of Interstate 5, it's closed at least until tomorrow. This started with a 15-truck pileup during last night's rainy weather. Ten people are injured. Take a look at this video here. At least one person still involved in this accident has not been accounted for. This started with two vehicles that actually collided, two trucks, and they kind of started a chain reaction after that.

Authorities got that part of the highway closed now because they're worried the tunnel certainly not safe right now, but just some pictures we're just getting in, and we will keep an eye on this scene and hopefully that one person that is missing will be accounted for.

NGUYEN: Yes, those are some dramatic images.

Well we want to tell you about a deadly crash in southern Wisconsin. Two people were killed when their SUV was broadsided by a school bus. Police say the SUV ran through a stop sign. The bus tipped over after the collision. Nine of the high school soccer players onboard were taken to the hospital.

HOLMES: Islamic holy month of Ramadan drawing to a close. After a month of daily sun up to sun down fasting Muslims around the world are now celebrating the three day festival of Eve from the Middle East to Asia. The official start of the festival is determined by sightings of the new moon.

NGUYEN: Well the festival of fast breaking is also being noted in New York with special lighting on the Empire State Building. It is first time the world famous sky scraper has been lit to mark the Islamic holiday, and we're told it will be an annual event. In Islam the color green symbolizes a happy occasion and the importance of nature.

HOLMES: Well, it is one of the hottest concerts of the year if you're a teenager or a tween. But the tickets for the Hannah Montana concert, they sold out almost immediately, but all the fans aren't the ones who have the seats right now. We'll tell you who grabbed them. NGUYEN: Yes, people are in an uproar about that.

And about this, there are water concerns from Georgia, lakes and rivers are at an all-time low. So how close is the state to running out of water?

HOLMES: Also more food recalls this morning. If you like potpies, you have a problem. Stick around to see if you have any of the recalled brand names in your freezer. Stay here.


NGUYEN: A village in Haiti just devastated by a deadly wall of water. At least 20 people were killed in that flooding, many more are still missing, and thousands are now homeless. Heavy rains in the mountains caused an overflow in lower-lying areas, and in this case that downpour sent a five-foot deep surge through the street.

HOLMES: Well, just how low can you go? Well, not much lower if you're talking about Georgia's Lake Lanier. That's just north of Atlanta. Lake Lanier is a lot more than a popular recreation spot. It's the city's main water supply, and the Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin is making the push for water conservation.


MAYOR SHIRLEY FRANKLIN, ATLANTA: We need to understand that having water to drink and to fight fires is more important than our grass and our ornamental flowers.


HOLMES: Atlanta's water chief says he doesn't think the city will run out of water, but at this point Lake Lanier only has enough water to last four months. It's a scary thought.

NGUYEN: It really is. A lot of water rationings taking place. Reynolds Wolf, you are adhering to every bit of that.

REYNOLDS WOLF, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Oh very much so. Absolutely, Betty, actually the Wolf house, what we're planning on doing is taking all the grass in the front yard and just taking it out completely, installing astro turf.

NGUYEN: You might as well because you're not going to be able to water that for a long time.

WOLF: And you don't have a cut it.

NGUYEN: Very good, smart thinking.

WOLF: Freaks the cat out though. The cat says, what is this? It will be an interesting time. One of the reasons you will notice the last couple stories you're talking about the excessive rainfall in Haiti and the lack of rainfall in the southeast, believe it or not the two are connected. Look at this area of high pressure has been nailed to this part of the planet. It's been pushing the storm track, many of the tropical systems well to the south in places like Haiti where they have had the abundance of rainfall.

On the other side of the coin, other places where we have been getting the mid-latitude storms have also been well to the north up in the Great Lakes and the Ohio Valley which leaves us dry in parts of the southeast. So looks like it's going to be very dry, not just for the next couple months, but possibly all the way to springtime with no real relief in sight.

We are seeing heavy rainfall in other pardons of the nation, especially parts of the mid west as we make our way into Kansas and Missouri. We have scattered showers that are coming through. When you head back on I-70 into Kansas City, we're seeing stronger development. Nothing in terms of tornatic activity, but there have been some severe thunderstorms, and they will bring heavy rainfall from Lawrence back over to Kansas City proper and even as far north as Excelsor Springs.

That is your forecast. Let's send it back to you at the news desk.

NGUYEN: Let us know how that astro turf goes.

WOLF: I'll keep you posted.

NGUYEN: All right. Thanks Reynolds.

Well Al Gore is on a winning streak. He has won the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to bring more attention to global climate change. He already won an academy award and an Emmy earlier this year in connection with the movie "An Inconvenient Truth." Gore is the co- winner along with the intergovernmental panel on climate change, when it comes to that Nobel Peace Prize. That group has been studying climate change for nearly 20 years. Gore says he'll donate his half of the $1.5 million award to an environmental charity.

HOLMES: And, yes, it is your world, and we're bringing you the story behind the statistics. Tune in for CNN's worldwide investigation "Planet in Peril" with our own Anderson Cooper, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, and Jeff Corwin. It premieres Tuesday, October 23rd at 9:00 p.m. Eastern and again on Wednesday, October 24th. You can get a preview of "Planet in Peril" online just go to

NGUYEN: OK, listen up if you have any frozen potpies in your freezer, just throw them out. Packaged food maker Conagra now recalling all brands and varieties of frozen potpies. They include Banquet and a number of store brands. Here they are Albertson's, Hill's Country Fair and Food Lion. Also, Great Value, Kirkwood, Kroger and Meijer.

Health experts have linked some of the pies made at a Missouri plant to a salmonella outbreak. Conagra says trash the pies, yes, just throw them out, but if you can, keep the box. You can return that for a refund.

HOLMES: And just in time for early holiday shopping. We've got another major toy recall to tell you about. Tens of thousands of toys and, yes, made in China. Too much lead. They include these Disney Winnie the Pooh play sets sold at J.C. Penney. Other items on the don't play list, bendable dinosaurs, baby dolls, collectible Nascar helmets and travel art sets sold in stores nationwide.

NGUYEN: Well was her daddy the biggest hit but you might catch Miley Cyrus fans with an achy, breaky heart after ticket brokers shut them out.

HOLMES: Also, that's not a horse.

NGUYEN: That's a camel.

HOLMES: I think that might have been a camel. We have other critters doing the work in this race.

NGUYEN: But first here is a preview of today's "OPEN HOUSE" with Gerri Willis.

GERRI WILLIS, PERSONAL FINANCE EDITOR: Coming up at 9:30 am Eastern, why all the talk about solving the mortgage meltdown hasn't turned into action.

Plus, how to save money on your rising home energy bill.

Why women are better investors than men and how to save money on wine. That's right, wine. That's "OPEN HOUSE," the show that saves you money. 9:30 a.m. Eastern, right here on CNN.


NGUYEN: Take a look. Quick hits to get you more news in less time. A crack in Boston's Tobin Bridge has forced new weight restrictions. Vehicles over 5.5 tons are no longer permitted on the upper deck. Officials insist though the bridge is safe.

When you put camels on a racetrack, it's not always a pretty sight. They don't always run in a straight line. Still though folks cheered on their favorites. Maybe this is what they mean by hump day in Australia.

And hot air balloons light up the desert night in Albuquerque. Look at this. So beautiful. When it comes to fanciful designs, you can see there, sky's the limit -- T.J.

HOLMES: All right, Betty. Well parents are outraged. The Hannah Montana concert sold out in minutes. Now, that often happen with big concerts, but the problem here is that the fans didn't get the tickets. Brokers got most of the tickets, and now they're selling them on the Internet for ten times as much.

CNN's John Zarrella has the story.


JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Cara, Casey, Amanda, 7:00 p.m., like clock work they're plopped on the sofa in front of the TV.

CARA VON MINDEN, "HANNAH MONTANA" FAN: We didn't miss like any episodes of her unless something really big was happening.

ZARRELLA: The her is Mylie Cyrus, the 14-year-old star of her own show called "Hannah Montana." Every parent with girls between the ages of 6 and 16 knows about it. It has exploded in popularity, so Cara, Casey, and Amanda had to have tickets to Cyrus' concert billed as the best of both worlds.

VON MINDEN: All my friends were going to come, too, but now we can't.

ZARRELLA: Can't because within minutes of going on sale, tickets at all 54 venues were gone. So where did they all go? They're right here. Ticket brokers using sophisticated computer programs gobbled up nearly every ticket available, and now ticket that is went for $25 to $65 face value are going for hundreds, even thousands on Internet sites. And all that cash going into ticket brokers' pockets. Cyrus' October 25th concert in Denver, on Ticket Liquidators you can buy one in section 212 for $228, or in section AAA, row 2, for $2,550 each.

MAUREEN VON MINDEN, MOTHER OF "HANNAH MONTANA" FAN: I think its taking advantage of me as a consumer, my children, and it's not teaching my children a good lesson either, that you can get what you want if you pay the right price.

ZARRELLA: After undercover investigators paid ten times face value for tickets in Kansas City, Missouri's Attorney General filed suit accusing three companies of violating local anti-scalping laws.

JAY NIXON, MISSOURI ATTORNEY GENERAL: When you allow the hijacking of the market, it's the worst of both worlds. You get too much charge for the price and no access for the locals.

ZARRELLA: Ticket brokers would not talk with us, but Donald Vaccaro whose company resells tickets for brokers says the bottom line is that the marketplace defines the price.

DONALD VACCARO, CEO. TICKETNETWORK.COM: I'd say reasonable price is whatever the consumer wants to pay.

ZARRELLA: Thursday Cyrus and her co-star dad Billy Ray appeared on the "Ellen Degeneres Show" saying they understand their fans' disappointment.

MILEY CYRUS: It's going to be a good show, but I don't think its worth what it's going for.


CYRUS: But I'm making it the best show ever.

ZARRELLA: Except in this case the concert promoter, AEG Live, auctioned off select tickets at 15 venues. They went for hundreds to thousands per ticket. DEBRA RATHWELL, AEG LIVE: If the brokers are going to end up with the tickets, the artists should get paid for them.

ZARRELLA: The fact is no one anticipated that a ticket to see a 14-year-old might end up the most coveted concert ducket ever.

John Zarrella, CNN, Miami.


NGUYEN: Well, it can fly like a plane or hoover like a helicopter, but is the v-22 osprey cut out for combat duty? We're going to get into it in the next hour of CNN's SATURDAY MORNING.

JOSH LEVS, CNN DOT COM DESK: Hey there, Josh Levs for the Dot Com Desk. You think you know a lot about the world? Well, a video by a teacher in Colorado has gone crazy and makes you realize how much you don't know. Until you're going to see the future a little differently. It's coming up right here on CNN SATURDAY MORNING.


NGUYEN: Well, a Colorado high school teacher had a simple idea. Start a dialogue with other teachers about how best to prepare students for the future.

HOLMES: OK. One year later this started an education revolution and Josh Levs of the dotcom desk, you have so many titles.

LEVS: I like Mr. Reality. Not giving that up.

HOLMES: I like that. But this time you're from the dotcom test. Tell us about that.

LEVS: It's really nice to see a borrowed video that isn't someone saying something moronic or falling down. This ...

NGUYEN: This is actually pretty good.

LEVS: It's pretty good. It's almost like a half minute reality check. You have to see this. Here is what happened. This man, he is a teacher in Colorado, and he decided to get other teachers talking about how much the world is changing at this time in order to prepare students for what's coming up ahead. He put together this video. He's calling it "Did You Know," and it looks at how the world is changing. Who is getting educated, how many people speak English. What kind of jobs will be available?

He even points out a little bit after this that the majority of today's college majors didn't even exist ten years ago. What he's trying to do is get teachers to realize you need to prepare kids for a changing world, not the one you think exists. Originally it was just local right there, it turned viral. It's had millions of hits. It's on YouTube. You can also get to it at his blog which is Thefishbowl at blog spot. It takes a long time to load. I clicked on it and then came back 45 minutes later. It's interesting stuff. I can't personally vouch for all the facts in there, but it's really powerful, and there's music that goes along with it. Who would think some animation, some facts, and some video would turn viral like this.

NGUYEN: Most people have between 10 and 13 jobs.

LEVS: By the time they are 38 isn't that crazy. No one these days stay at the same job and a lot of the teachers are thinking of the old world. He's saying let's look at what's going on in today's economy to prepare our kids.

NGUYEN: That is fascinating. It does make you want to watch it to find out all the other static's.

LEVS: You have a little break coming up.

HOLMES: Maybe you should do a reality check on that since we're not sure we can vouch for the facts. There you go.

LEVS: The producer said can I please do a reality check on that.