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CNN Saturday Morning News

Strikes on Broadway and in Hollywood; Wedgie-Proof Invention; State of Emergency in Pakistan Will be Lifted; Date Rape Drug in Children's Toys?

Aired November 10, 2007 - 09:00   ET


T.J. HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: Hello there, everybody. From the CNN Center in Atlanta, Georgia, I'm T.J. Holmes. It is Saturday, November 10th.
BETTY NGUYEN, CNN ANCHOR: Not too far away from Thanksgiving. I know. Holidays are here, folks. I started seeing Christmas trees before Halloween.

HOLMES: Does that bother you?

NGUYEN: It's just too early. Anyway, thanks for starting your day with us today as we head into those holidays.

First, though, it is your favorite TV show, right? Well, now not only those TV shows but Broadway shows. Hopefully you didn't plan a trip to New York for one. Many of you probably have. That could be knocked off the stage as well as those favorite shows knocked off the screen.

HOLMES: Also, bullies need to listen up and beware. Next time you try to give someone a wedgie ...

NGUYEN: Because we do that all the time.

HOLMES: Some around here do. Next time you try that, you might come up with a handful of drawers. Twin brothers with their wedgie- proof invention. They're going to join us live. This is one you've got to see and you will be talking about.

First, we start on a series of a sad note here. New information we are getting this morning. One of the giants of American literature dead. Two-time Pulitzer Prize winning author Norman Mailer died today at a New York hospital of kidney failure, he was 84-years-old. Mailer led a generation of writers who came of age after World War II. His 1948 book "The Naked and the Dead" became a classic. He won Pulitzer Prizes for his 1968 work, "The Armies of the Night" and also his 1979 book "The Executioner's Song." Mailer wrote novels, screenplays and co-found the "Village Voice Newspaper." Again, Norman Mailer dead at the age of 84.

Well, how about this story here for you. A missing woman, a husband a suspect, the name is Peterson. Not that one. No, we're talking about another guy by the name of Drew Peterson and his wife has disappeared now. He's getting a most closer look from Chicago police after his wife's disappearance. And now more from a missing person investigation into a suspected homicide case, Stacy Peterson's family, they believe that they possibly could get some answers now that he is an official suspect.


PAM BOSCO, PETERSON FAMILY SPOKESWOMAN: There's been mixed emotions. The family has gone through a lot this past week. So I think, like I said, the news out today gives us new hope that we will find Stacy, and we hope that this case will progress a little bit faster now.


HOLMES: A judge has also signed an order to exhume the body of Drew Peterson's third wife who was found dead in a bathtub in 2004. At the time, her death was ruled accidental.

NGUYEN: Well there is word today that the crises in Pakistan could last another month. That's when Pakistan's attorney general says a state of emergency will be lifted. Officials have lifted the virtual house arrest of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. Police, concrete barriers and barbed wire prevented her from leaving her home yesterday. But she was allowed out today.

CNN's Zain Verjee interviewed Bhutto and asked her whether she's been in contact with Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf.


BENAZIR BHUTTO, FMR. PAKISTANI PRIME MINISTER: I have not spoken to him since we decided to part ways for his public protest. But before we parted ways, I did speak to him. I did say the ...

ZAIN VERJEE, STATE DEPARTMENT CORRESPONDENT: When did you speak to him? Directly on the phone?

BHUTTO: Several days before. Not recently. Not since we have decided as a party not to have any more contact because the public mood is against any contact with General Musharraf.


NGUYEN: It has been a week since President Musharraf imposed that state of emergency in Pakistan.

HOLMES: So much war coverage, of course, understandably so, focusing on Iraq. But Afghanistan, we must remember, still an extremely dangerous place. And six U.S. service members were killed yesterday in an ambush in eastern Afghanistan. The U.S. death toll in that country now at 100 making this the deadliest year since fighting began there in 2001. That echoes an identical milestone reached this week as well in Iraq. The Pentagon says 856 American troops have died there so far this year, making 2007 the deadliest year there as well.

NGUYEN: All right. Well, listen to this. The so-called date rape drug in a popular kid's toy. We're talking about the popular but dangerous Aqua Dots. Some kids who ate those dots became ill and one even fell into a coma. Researchers found that chemicals in the dots can break down into a form of GHB, which is also known as the date rape drug or liquid ecstasy. China says it will stop shipping those Aqua Dots overseas. And just this week, millions of packages of Aqua Dots were taken off the store shelves.

Frightening when you think about it.

HOLMES: The thing about that, the date rape drug in the kids' toy.

NGUYEN: In the kids' toys of all things.

HOLMES: So many recalls at Christmas time.

NGUYEN: As we get closer to the holidays, we'll have to put a list out so people know.

HOLMES: They always say the show must go on. That's just something they say.

NGUYEN: Is it really?

HOLMES: Those are just words, because you planning on being in New York for a big Broadway show, you might want to rethink your plans and go check out something else.

NGUYEN: The union is expected to go on strike in just about two hours. But union members are meeting right now to decide whether to go ahead with their walkout. A matinee of the "Grinch that Stole Christmas" would be the first show affected. Other biggies include "Les Miserables" and "Spamalot." Those could go dark as well. We'll have much more on this. That is coming up next hour.

HOLMES: Not "Spamalot." I love "Spamalot."

NGUYEN: Prepare to say good-bye to new episodes of your favorite TV show. Yes, folks, it just keeps going. The entertainment writers strike is now in its sixth day. There's no sign of it ending anytime soon. No new negotiations are planned. So far, writers and some stars are walking the picket lines. Many shows have already shut down production with only enough episodes in the can to last until the New Year.

HOLMES: And the race is on in California to try to save some wildlife there. This is happening around San Francisco. Wildlife rescue teams trying to save dozens of sea birds. They've been tarred by the worst oil spill in the San Francisco Bay in nearly two decades. Almost 60,000 gallons of a heavy fuel leaked into bay and spread along the coast line. It happened after a ship struck a tower off the bay bridge on Wednesday. The spill led to the closing of more than a dozen beaches.

NGUYEN: Get you the latest on the weather outside today. Reynolds Wolf has been watching it. There's some rough weather across the nation.

REYNOLDS WOLF, AMS METEOROLOGIST: There is a little bit of rough weather. For the most part around the nation, it's a pretty tranquil day. But we are watching this area of low pressure in parts of the northeast, bringing a little touch of light snow fall. Not much in terms of the heavy stuff. We are looking at less than a half inch of accumulation, but still, certainly enough to make things pretty icy and pretty slick on spots like I-70.

It is Saturday, after all so you don't have to hurry too much. This area of low pressure move from the northeast and move out over the open water. When that occurs, it will do two big things. For one it's going to increase the wind along the coast from Boston southward to the Jersey shoreline and it is also going to really pick up the surf anywhere from 8 to 12 feet in some spots. It's going to cause some beach erosion.

Betty loves this animation. She absolutely adores this. It is going to be a nasty day in the northeast to say the least. In the southeast, still very dry. That's been pretty much the going trend over the last couple of weeks and months that should continue for quite some time. Also a chance of scattered showers in south Texas, a touch of snow fall up in the northern half of the Great Greats. And in the Pacific Northwest, rain in the lower elevations, but from 6,000 feet and higher, look for a touch of snowfall.

That's your forecast. Let's send it back to you.

NGUYEN: All right. Reynolds, but not to alarm you. We need to put that graphic back up, when we talk about "Planet in Peril." Look at this thing. You see the lighthouse, if we can get it back up. What I didn't notice is not only is the water splashing all over the place, but the shoreline is eroding. What's happening there?

WOLF: It's a very scary thing. You know, sometimes there are things that you really shouldn't describe. You should just watch and enjoy and, Betty, this is just for you.

NGUYEN: There you go. Look at that. See, the shoreline is eroding. OK. This is an emergency situation. I think you need to call your folks up there, Reynolds and get somebody on it.

HOLMES: Reynolds, we love listening to you and doing a good job, but pictures and illustrations work best for us.

WOLF: Just a little beach erosion. Look like chocolate, doesn't it? Chocolate splashing into blue Kool Aid.

NGUYEN: Kudos to our graphics department for that one.

HOLMES: Well, they are back from war. That's the good thing. But the problem is, many of them are unemployed.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The country has no jobs and the veterans have the skills. We just need to make that, create that nexus for those.


NGUYEN: We'll tell you what California is doing to help struggling veterans find a job.


HOLMES: A quick look at some other stories this morning. Protests in the streets of Malaysia's Capital Kuala Lumpur. Police used teargas and water cannons against demonstrators demanding clean and fair elections. Voting is expected early next year in Malaysia.

One pilot crashed his plane in North Carolina yesterday, but he came out just OK. OK enough to get out and stand next to his plane and call for help on his cell phone. He's calling to say, honey, I'm fine, but the plane is not in good shape.

We'll take you to Huntersville, another story about a plane. A 17-year-old high school student, two of his friends in a bit of trouble. Officials say they flew a rented plane over a high school football game several times. That's the football. More to this story. The football was actually signed by faculty and also some students. So they're not sure how many knew this. But he dropped the football into the end zone as a prank, which takes some skill to do. They say he was flying lower than the stadium lights. So he has been charged. Also, students raised $700 for him beforehand in case he needed bail money.

NGUYEN: So they knew this was going on.

HOLMES: They knew this was going down.

NGUYEN: Well, listen to this story, they risk their lives fighting for this country. Once they're back home, they sometimes have to fight just to find a job.

HOLMES: A move under way now in California to help veterans find work by encouraging employers to hire a hero. Here's Walter Richardson of our affiliate KTLA.


WALTER RICHARDSON, KTLA REPORTER: Army National Guard veteran Jason Kelly's job in Iraq was in a security convoy on alert for improvised explosive devices.

JASON KELLY, ARMY NATIONAL GUARD VETERAN: It's nerve-racking because you don't know what anything is.

RICHARDSON: Back in the civilian world, he feels rattled all over again in his struggle to find a decent job. At just 23 years old, Jason Kelly, Iraq war veteran, now lives in the U.S. Vet Center. He feels stigmatized by the war.

KELLY: They think you're going to be like erratic, and I'm not. RICHARDSON: Jason Kelly's looking for a dose of good fortune. Maybe he'll find it next week at the state's job fair in Long Beach. This year's theme, hire a hero, hire a vet. This career affair near L.A.X. attracted a large number of veterans. Kevin Olosan, who served in the Gulf War, is still searching for the right job.

KEVIN OLOSAN, GULF WAR VETERAN: Actually, Northrup Grumman is going to be giving me a call next week.

RICHARDSON: But for Marlon Unda, the job picture is gloomy.

MARLON UNDA, MILITARY VETERAN: We are paying the price, and even though you are hired, highly qualified you have to apply for a job.

RICHARDSON: The plight of veterans to get back into the work force is a goal of the California Employment Development Department.

EDDIE PURTUAS, STATE EMPLOYMENT MANAGER: One of the major things that we run across is the person being able to transition the skills they've learned in the military to the civilian workforce.

DWIGHT RADCLIFF, U.S. VETERANS INITIATIVE: The country has the jobs. Now -- and the veterans have the skills. We just need to make that -- create that nexus for those, for the outcome to be employment and significant employment.

RICHARDSON: One person who hopes to land a job with the help of the state is air force veteran Valerie Baker. Laid off last month from her human resources job, now she's hit the wall.

VALARIE BAKER, VIETNAM VETERAN: I haven't turned down an offer because I haven't gotten an offer. So -- and now we're going into the holidays. It's getting kind of scary.

RICHARDSON: It's just as scary as well for Iraq war veteran Jason Kelley, unless he gets help at next Tuesday's job fare in Long Beach.


NGUYEN: Of course, tomorrow is Veterans Day. We do plan to have a full day of coverage. You'll hear from the men and women who guard the tomb of the unknowns. We'll also talk with Lieutenant General Russell Honore, a veteran who also led the charge during hurricane Katrina.

HOLMES: Well, oil prices on the rise. Gas prices on the rise as well.

NGUYEN: It's all going up. Gerri Willis will be here with some tips on how to save money while filling up.


HOLMES: Well, as crude oil prices hit nearly $100 a barrel, there are still ways to save at the gas pump. Earlier I spoke with CNN's personal finance editor Gerri Willis about how you can save a few dollars when you fill up.


HOLMES: Hi. A gas rebate card. Is this for real? Does this thing really work? Where can I pick up one, if it works?

WILLIS: You need to go shop for one right now. They are a great investment because they save you three percent to five percent on your gas purchases. Think about it. If you save five cents on every dollar you spend at the gas station, you are getting it for $2.85 a gallon if it's three bucks. Make sure you are getting a rebate of at least three percent on your purchases. Check for any limits on what you can spend. You want a cap of at least $600 and, well, no cap is really better. If you are loyal to one particular brand of gas, get the company's gas rebate, but you are probably better getting a bank backed credit card. Then you can really shop anywhere.

Watch out for expiration dates so you can redeem your rebates and it is better if you have a card that automatically credits your account for the next billing cycle. Make sure you pay your balance on time. Gas rebate cards have high rates of interest, 16 to 18 percent. So you won't want to roll that over. Two of the best picks in the category, here's the payoff, Discovers open road and Chase's perfect car. Two great cards.

HOLMES: It sounds like a lot of stuff to keep an eye on in there, a lot of little things. But, still if you get into it right it can pay off for you. Something else that can pay off, timing. I need to gas up at a certain time and that could save me some cash?

WILLIS: I'm serious. Prices tend to change between 10:00 a.m. and noon local time. Bottom line, buy gas in the morning on your way to work rather than on the way home. You'll save a few pennies. Major gas players in the area receive their orders from corporate offices to either raise or lower prices based on what competitors are doing and what the oil markets are doing in the morning. So beat them and you'll save some money. One reason you don't see prices move during the weekend is the managers at the corporate office aren't even working so they're not changing prices.

HOLMES: So I will gas up in the morning on the way to work. Finally, what do we have coming up on "OPEN HOUSE?"

WILLIS: Yeah, 9:30 a.m. Eastern, it's one year until the presidential election and one year to decide which candidate better suits your interest. We'll check out the issues that matter it you.

Plus, why the words compensating factors are really important. You need to know what they mean. We'll tell you what to do about it and how to get through the holidays without going deep into debt. That's coming up at 9:30 a.m. on "OPEN HOUSE."

Join us then, T.J. I know you'll be there.

HOLMES: We will be there, especially that part of not going into debt over the holidays. Need to listen up on that one. Gerri, thank you so much, we will see then.

WILLIS: My pleasure.

NGUYEN: So do you remember getting those dreaded wedgies in school? T.J. got a ton of them. Fear no more because, check them out. These two 8-year-olds have come up with a permanent solution.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'd say you don't have any way. I'm serious. You're scaring me. This will just take a minute. OK. Get a good grip. Bend your knees and lift. One, two, one, two -- hey. No pain, no gain. This is great for the deltoids. Thanks, kid.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Glad I could help.


NGUYEN: Ouch. That was kind of painful just to look at.

HOLMES: I have actually never been through a wedgie. Seriously. Ever in life. I mean, don't start this one, please. Never been through a wedgie. So what is really worse? The pain of it all or the public humiliation of it all? But now a couple of third graders have solved the problem. They might turn a profit.

NGUYEN: Talk about keeping an eye on the bottom line. Jared and Justin Serovich are the twin inventors of the Rip away 1000. And they are joining us from Columbus, Ohio.

Jared, I hear that you are the wedgie king. Did you just torment your brother with wedgies all the time? How did you guys come up with this?

JARED SEROVICH, CO-INVENTOR, "RIP AWAY 1000:" Well, one day in our basement we were giving each other wedgies and we got in trouble.

NGUYEN: Of course you did.

JARED SEROVICH: So our mom said for somebody to invent wedgie- proof underwear as a joke. And we took them seriously and we invented them because there was the Invention Convention coming up.

NGUYEN: Look at the face on Justin. It looks like you already have a wedgie as we speak.

HOLMES: And, fellas, help us -- oh, maybe you do.

Help us understand, fellas. It's been a while since we were in school. In school, even though you don't get wedgies, are wedgies still a problem? Do kids still do this to kids?

JUSTIN SEROVICH, CO-INVENTOR, "RIP AWAY 1000:" Not really in our school. JARED SEROVICH: In our school they don't, but in other schools, probably so.

HOLMES: Now explain to us how these things work.

NGUYEN: Yes, we need a demonstration. Can one of you give the other a wedgie for us?


NGUYEN: Proudly.

HOLMES: All right.

NGUYEN: Walk us through it. Wow. Oh, that was kind of violent there, Jared, you are the wedgie king.

HOLMES: So wait a minute. Justin, you are underwearless right now is that right?


HOLMES: How is that for you?

NGUYEN: And he is very proud of it. Is that a victory dance for losing your underpants? All right. So tell me. Now that you've just ripped away his underwear, these things are Velcro, is that how they work?

JARED SEROVICH: Yeah. Because we put the -- cut the bottom seam and the side seams and secured it back with Velcro. So when they pull up like this, it will just rip away.

HOLMES: What's supposed to happen if somebody gives somebody a wedgie on a playground and these wedgie-proof underwear come out? Do you give the underwear back or keep them? What you're supposed to do with the underwear?

JUSTON SEROVICH: Well, the bully will probably have it as a souvenir, or when you tell a teacher, the teacher will have to give it back. The teacher will make the boy give it back probably.

NGUYEN: Justin, you're having a good time. Are you enjoying not having any underwear on right now? What's going on? All right. You guys are too much for us. Well, you know, this thing was all the hit. Are we going to see these in stores anytime soon?

JUSTIN SEROVICH: Probably in a while.

JARED SEROVICH: When the stores call, they can carry them, but they haven't called yet.

HOLMES: I'm sure they will. We're going to have to let you go and we're going to have to let Justin, you get some underwear on.

NGUYEN: Please. JUSTIN SEROVICH: I don't want to.

NGUYEN: You don't want any? OK. Keep your pants on then.

HOLMES: Justin, no, no, really.

NGUYEN: Take your hands out of your pockets, my friend. So nice talking to you both today. It's been a pleasure. Best of luck to you.

HOLMES: See you, fellows.

NGUYEN: Isn't it great? Check them out.

HOLMES: Oh, my goodness.

NGUYEN: I don't even know what to say after that. Maybe Josh can save us. You are wedgie-proof, right?

JOSH LEVS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Can I just say how happy I am that I came to work at CNN at this moment. This is a shining achievement for our network. Those kids are going to laugh all the way to the bank. I love these guys.

So I get to show you some other slightly less exciting but still fun wacky inventions. Have you ever wanted to clean the floor just by walking around? Kind of -- there you go guys. The mop flops. Allegedly if you like walking to the bathtub and get them all wet and soapy and then walk around your floor for a while. Boom, your kitchen is clean. That's the theory.

Let's move on to the next one. All right. Check this out. This is the ice cream cone revolver. This guy got a patent on this thing. You put your ice cream cone in that. It automatically rotates it for you so you don't have to rotate it yourself.