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CNN Saturday Morning News

Million Man Marches in Egypt; Remaking the Republican Brand; Reparative Therapy Controversy; Calling Attention to AIDS Funding; Beckham Era Ends Today

Aired December 01, 2012 - 07:00   ET


RANDI KAYE, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, everyone. I'm Randi Kaye.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Victor Blackwell. It's 7:00 on the East Coast, 4:00 out West.

KAYE: We begin in a deeply divided Egypt where tensions are ramping up.

BLACKWELL: The country's Muslim Brotherhood has called for 2 million man marches in support of President Mohamed Morsi this hour. Demonstrators are rallying in Cairo in support of the embattled president.

KAYE: But opposition factions are calling on rival demonstrators to turn out, as well.

So, let's go to CNN's Ian Lee. He is in Cairo's Tahrir Square.

Ian, you are at the scene of the anti-Morsi protests. Are crowds turning out there? What's the crowd like?

IAN LEE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Randi, this crowd in Tahrir Square is a bit smaller than what we've seen the previous days, but usually the crowd picks up later into the evening. We've seen tens, if not hundreds of thousands of people in Tahrir Square.

But there's a dueling protest right now at Cairo University where the Muslim Brotherhood and Islamists are calling out for their supporters to show up. This is the first time we're seeing the brotherhood flex its street muscle, if you will. And show their support for the president. There's thousands, tens of thousands at that rally already right now.

This is a big moment for them because we haven't seen them come out and give their opinion and this comes as the President Morsi, embattled as he is, is trying to push the country into accepting a new draft constitution, which should be voted on within the next 15 days.

KAYE: And I'm curious. I mean, have the rallies, have the protests been pretty much calm? Or, I know there has been some fear about some violent clashes or at least escalating a bit.

LEE: Well, the Muslim Brotherhood initially called for their rally to be in Tahrir Square today, but at the last minute, they moved it to Cairo University to avoid clashes. But yesterday we did see clashes between pro-Morsi and anti-Morsi protesters in the port city of Alexandria. It's a very heated debate right now. This is divided Egypt along two different lines.

And if these two groups do come together, we are -- we would expect to see clashes because tempers are so high.

KAYE: All right. Ian Lee, appreciate that. Thank you very much.

And to Belize now where a murder mystery has forced Internet mogul John McAfee into hiding. Police want to question McAfee who is maintaining his innocence following the shooting death of his neighbor.

Now, he talked to CNN's Martin Savidge in his first sit-down interview about life on the run.




SAVIDGE: What have these weeks been like? It's been three weeks now.

MCAFEE: It hasn't been a lot of fun. I miss my prior life. Much of it has been deprivation. No baths, no -- well, poor food, at least. Here we're in Belize, hot showers, a stove. So, we're fairly happy right now.

SAVIDGE: How is this going to end? How do you see this coming to an end?

MCAFEE: I don't have a crystal ball. If I continue to fight until something changes, sir.

SAVIDGE: You won't turn yourself in?

MCAFEE: I will not.

SAVIDGE: So, it will be that either you get away or the authorities come and get you?

MCAFEE: One of those two. Get away doesn't mean leave the country. It means that number one they will find the murderer of Mr. Faull. Number two, the people of this country who are by and large terrified to speak out will start speaking out and something will change.


BLACKWELL: North Korean's leader Kim Jong-un is raising the stakes with Washington and the neighbor to the south, South Korea. He plans to launch a rocket within days. The state-run media says a rocket carrying a satellite into orbit will lift off between December 10th and December 22nd. South Korea warns if Pyongyang goes ahead, they can expect a strong response. And this would be North Korea's attempt at a rocket launch. Remember, the first was back in April. That hyped launch that actually failed.

Both Washington and Seoul suspect the rocket launch will really cover for ballistic missile tests.

KAYE: Back here at home, issue number one is reaching a deal on that fiscal cliff. Just 31 days left until we hit those $7 trillion in automatic spending cuts and tax increases, if negotiations break down. And both sides of the aisle are going straight to the public in order to plead their case or rather tell us why the other side is to blame.

This is President Obama in his weekly radio address.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Both parties say we should keep middle class taxes low. The Senate has already passed a bill to keep income taxes from going up on middle class families. Democrats in the House are ready to do the same thing.

If we can just get a few House Republicans on board, I'll sign this bill as soon as Congress sends it my way. But, it's unacceptable for some Republicans in Congress to hold middle class tax cuts hostage simply because they refuse to let tax rates go up on the wealthiest Americans.


KAYE: In the Republican response, Senator Orrin Hatch takes that hostage metaphor one step further and brings to mind a memorable movie scene.


SEN. ORRIN HATCH (R), UTAH: Unfortunately, some on the other side of the aisle are advocating a disastrous Thelma and Louise strategy that would take us over the cliff, putting millions of middle class families, small businesses and an already weak economy in further jeopardy.


KAYE: Negotiations will continue on Capitol Hill next week. President Obama has said he wants to get a deal done by Christmas Day.

BLACKWELL: Well, tragedy on the campus of Casper College in Wyoming where police say a man using what they're calling just a sharp edged weapon carried out a fatal attack. The man injured one person. That person was killed and then he went into a classroom and killed another person and then killed himself. The victims have not been identified, but police say all three, two men and one woman knew each other and they add that the attacker appeared to have worked alone. KAYE: We've got much more ahead this hour.

BLACKWELL: Here's a look at what's coming up.


KAYE (voice-over): Storming Capitol Hill naked. No, it wasn't a frat prank. It was a statement for AIDS awareness. And you won't believe whose office they took over.

REINCE PRIEBUS, RNC CHAIRMAN: I think that what we can conclude is that we've got to be better.

KAYE: An extreme makeover. That's what some Republicans say the party needs after losing the presidency and seats in Congress. All morning, we'll look at how the Grand Old Party might be looking for a bold new image.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why did you do that to me?

KAYE: Humiliating tasks and degrading exercises, all part of the therapy designed to turn gay men straight. Now, several men are suing for a treatment so controversial we can't even show you the pictures.



KAYE: Welcome back to CNN SATURDAY MORNING and a big good morning to New York City. Look at that. Folks already out. You can feel the holiday already upon us.

Folks out there in Central Park ice skating and only 10 minutes past 7:00 on the East Coast. So, you've got to get out and get it early. Looks like such a nice shot.

Happy holidays, everybody. Glad you're with us this morning.

BLACKWELL: Looks like fun. This year's election left the Republican Party at a crossroad, searching for a new image, a new way ahead, a new plan to bring in new voters. It's our focus this morning.

Not only did the Republicans lose the presidential race, they lost seats in both the House and the Senate. But several party leaders say they've got a plan: change -- change who they target, change what they talk about, change the attitude. It's a grand plan, but will it work?

Earlier, I asked CNN contributor Erick Erickson who is the managing editor of the popular conservative blog


BLACKWELL: I want to start with something you wrote about what should not change. You wrote, "It's not time to throw out social conservatives. It's time to accept that without them, the GOP would be even a smaller party and less able to reach out to the Hispanic demographic all the smart people need to embrace. Addition through subtraction never really works well."

Expound upon that and tell me why those who say that the Republican Party should soften a little bit are wrong.

ERICK ERICKSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, there are certainly some issues the GOP may need to soften on, I'm not sure it's the social issues. When you look at the demographics of the Latino and African-American vote the Republicans got, most of those coming in were social conservatives. They weren't actually fiscal conservatives.

So, you dropped the social conservatism. Well, now, you're at a deficit on the Latino and the African-American vote the Republicans already have, which isn't sizable but every vote counts. So, if you then toss out the fiscal conservatives, then you lose a lot of the more libertarian oriented versions of the Republicans.

They're going to have to try to work in a coalition and I suspect it's probably going to be the fiscal side that ultimately the Republicans waffle on because if you look demographically at Hispanic voters, African-American voters, they are less inclined to believe that absolute, limited government works. I think the GOP is going to have to go more towards a small government, economic populist message.

BLACKWELL: And as funny as it sounds, you were very clear about the ambiguity this week on You said that you're not really sure what Republicans in Congress stands for as it relates to fiscal issues.

Where would you like to see them go?

ERICKSON: I would like to see the GOP be a limited government party. It makes the case that spending from Washington doesn't actually help people. The younger voters actually think it does. I think the GOP needs to make the case it doesn't.

But, in particular, I think Republicans need to understand that it is easier because of them and because of the Democrats for a major corporation to go to Washington with lobbyists and get loopholes in the law than it is to innovate. The GOP really needs to stop being the party of big business and start being the party of entrepreneurs.

BLACKWELL: Let's listen to something Senator John McCain said this week about demographics and moving forward politically to try to grow the party, and then we'll talk about it on the other side.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: There is no doubt, whatsoever, that the demographics are not on our side and we're going to have to give a much more positive agenda. It can't be just being against the Democrats.


BLACKWELL: Is it -- is the problem that the agenda isn't optimistic enough or presented as an optimistic agenda or do people know exactly where Republicans stand and they just disagree with the party wholeheartedly?

ERICKSON: I think it did not help Mitt Romney during the primary to try to pivot so hard to the right on immigration issues that he left a lot of people with a bad taste over such silly notions as self- deportation. The Republicans ultimately did come off as more angry and less optimistic.

You know, it's the James Carville rule. The optimistic candidate wins. And the GOP ran a doom and gloom campaign in 2012. I do think they need to be happy warriors.

Look, I know as a conservative, whether anyone else knows it or not, that smaller government works best and less taxes is good for everybody. At the same time, the GOP didn't sell that message in a way that resonates with people.

BLACKWELL: But, you know, you say the problem for Mitt Romney was that he had to go so far hard right. He did have to do that because the people who vote in primaries are typically on the edge. They're not really center left or center right people, depending upon the party they've voting.

So -- I mean, is the Republican Party really ready for someone who says they are pro-choice or they are not on the far right with all the people who provide the money and the votes in these primaries?

ERICKSON: No, I wouldn't hang on to the far right moniker that I said. I would hang on to the far right on immigration.

Look, when you look at some of the more reasonable proposals, for example, Rick Perry had one that a lot of conservatives who aren't in favor of amnesty actually embraced. So did Herman Cain, so did Newt Gingrich. They are not willing to embrace those people before ultimately turning to Mitt Romney.

It's that issue. I think if Republicans -- I mean, for me, personally, if Republicans nominated a pro-choice candidate, I would not vote for that candidate.


BLACKWELL: All right, you heard Erick talk about immigration there. Next hour, I'll talk to a Republican strategist who advised the Romney campaign on Hispanic voters and issues, hear what he says the campaign did wrong and what the party needs to do to get it right in 2016.

KAYE: Some people believe you can turn gay men straight through intense treatment called conversion therapy. I'll introduce you to one young man whose treatment had traumatic results.


BLACKWELL: Ten bucks, life changing? Yes, I guess you could say that.

Mark Hill of Dearborn, Missouri, gave his wife, Cindy, $10 to go out and buy lottery tickets this week. It was a good investment because the couple ended up with one of two winning Powerball tickets each worth more than $290 million.

Now, the wife, Cindy, jokes they're probably going to have a pretty good Christmas this year. Of course they will.

Hey, as for the other winning ticket, we think it belongs to this guy. Very excited man captured on surveillance camera at a gas station in a convenience store in Maryland. That second ticket was bought in Arizona. Now, the apparent winner has not come forward to claim his millions.

A question: do same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry? We don't know yet.

But the U.S. Supreme Court held a closed door meeting to decide whether to hear a series of appeals. But it didn't say if they'll take the action on the divisive issue. Some took this as a sign the nine justices need more time. We expect an announcement by Monday.

KAYE: This week, a controversial therapy is getting a whole lot of attention. It is called conversion or reparative therapy. Some people believe that you can convert through intense therapy.

Now, come January, the practice will be banned in California for anyone under the age of 18. And now in New Jersey four gay men have filed a lawsuit against JONAH, Jews Offering New Alternatives for Healing.

This men and the Southern Poverty Law Center, which is representing them are claiming that JONAH falsely promised cures and used tactics that sound less like therapy and more actually like mental torture. Things like forced nudity and same-sex cuddling, beating an effigy of their mothers and visits to bath houses.

Where did JONAH learned about these types of practices? They cite the work of clinical psychologist Joseph Nicolosi whose therapy ended traumatically for one young man I had the chance to interview. Take a look.

All right. We'll have that for you in just a moment.

Meanwhile, three hours from now, I'm going to talk to a plaintiff from this week's gay conversion lawsuit and you really won't believe some of the things that he alleges the therapists made him do.

AIDS activists making news and this naked protest at the office of one of Congress' top leaders. One of the naked seven explains what inspired the group, next.


KAYE: Mortgage rates edged up just slightly this week. Have a look.


KAYE: We want to get back now to the story of the controversial therapy. It's getting a lot of attention this week. It's something called conversion or reparative therapy. And those who believe in it and follow it, they actually believe that you can turn gays straight.

And I had a chance recently to talk to a man who went through some of that therapy and here's his story.


KAYE (voice-over): When Ryan Kendall was 13 his mother read his diary and discovered he was guy. That was the beginning of the most painful years of his life.

RYAN KENDALL, RECEIVED TREATMENT FOR REPARATIVE THERAPY: For years I thought that God hated me because I was gay.

KAYE: Ryan says his parents were determined to change him. They signed him up for what's called reparative therapy with the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality, otherwise known as NARTH.

Reparative therapy aimed at changing sexual orientation has been used for decades as a way to turn potentially gay children straight.

KENDALL: Every day I would hear this is a choice, this can be fixed.

KAYE (on camera): And did you believe that?

KENDALL: I never believed that. I know I'm gay just like I know I'm short and I'm half Hispanic. And I've never thought that those facts would change. It's part of my core fundamental identity. So, the parallel would be sending me to tall camp and saying if you try really hard, one day you can be six foot one.

KAYE (voice-over): Ryan says he was treated by Joseph Nicolosi, a clinical psychologist who today is still associated with NARTH.

KENDALL: The constant refrain was the religion one. That this is something that makes God cry, that this is something your family doesn't want for you.

KAYE: At his office outside Los Angeles, we asked Nicolosi if he remembered treating Ryan Kendall about 14 years earlier.

JOSEPH NICOLOSI, CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST: I'm not familiar with the name at all.

KAYE (on camera): His parents have provided bills from your office.


KAYE: There have been checks written to your office, but no record.


KAYE: He said your therapy was quite harmless. He said you told him to "butch up," quote/unquote.

NICOLOSI: Never. It's not our language. KAYE: When somebody says people like yourself, others are trying to get the gay out of people.

NICOLOSI: That's a terrible way of phrasing it. I would say we are trying to bring out the heterosexuality in you.

KAYE (voice-over): Nicolosi says he's kept hundreds of children from growing up gay. He credits this man, George Rekers, a researcher and big believer that homosexuality can be prevented.

Rekers worked as a doctoral student at UCLA in the 1970s in a government-funded program later called "Sissy Boy Syndrome." Rekers treated a boy named Kirk Murphy.

To turn around Kirk's so-call sissy behavior, Kirk was repeatedly asked to choose between traditionally masculine toys like plastic knives and guns or feminine ones like dolls in a play crib. If he chose the feminine items, Kirk's mother would be told to ignore him.

Kirk's siblings told Anderson his outgoing personality changed as a result of his personality.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He had no idea how to relate to people.

KAYE: George Rekers considered Kirk a success story, writing, "His feminine behavior was gone," proof, Rekers said, that homosexuality can be prevented.

Kirk's family says he was gay and never recovered from attempts to turn him straight. In 2003, Kirk took his own life. He hanged himself from a fan in his apartment. He was 38.

Our producers tracked George Rekers down in Florida.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What do you say to the family if they say that the therapy that you did with him as a child led to his suicide as an adult?

GEORGE REKERS, PSYCHOLOGIST: I think scientifically that would be inaccurate to assume it was the therapy, but I do grieve for the patients now that you've told me that news. I think that's very sad.

KAYE (on camera): According to the American Psychiatric Association, the potential risk of reparative therapy is great, including depression, anxiety, and self-destructive behavior. The association says therapists' alignment with societal prejudices against homosexuality may reinforce the self-hatred already felt by patients.

Dr. Nicolosi says his therapy isn't harmful and he only treats people who want to change. Not true, says Ryan Kendall.

KENDALL: It led me to periods of homelessness, to drug abuse, to spending a decade of my life wanting to kill myself. It led to so much pain and struggle.

And I want them to know that what they do hurts people, hurts children, has no basis in fact, and they need to stop.


KAYE: Ryan Kendall's story there.

In our 10:00 hour this morning, I'll talk to a plaintiff from this week's gay conversion lawsuit and you won't believe some of the things he alleges the therapists made him do.

BLACKWELL: All right. Here are five stories we're watching this hour.

There are dueling protests and demonstrations going on in Egypt's capital this hour. Supporters of Egypt's embattled president, Mohamed Morsi, have called for two one-million-man marches today. This follows a week of fierce anti-government protests and we could see much more.

Demonstrators were also gathering in Cairo's Tahrir Square. They are furious at what they say is a power grab by the president.

Mr. Morsi has said that he just wants to ensure stability until a new constitution is in place.

KAYE: Syria may have no working Internet right now, but the fighting is raging on. The country's civil war is focusing right now on Damascus International Airport on the outskirts of the capital. Rebels say they have surrounded it on one side. They're trying to keep the government's war jets grounded and stop its flow of weapons. Syrian state-run TV insists the airport is functioning normally, though.

BLACKWELL: Ford is issuing a voluntary recall of its 2013 Escape and Fusion models today. There are reports of engines overheating and then vehicle fires when the engine is running. There have been no injuries reported, but if you own one of these models, Ford wants you to contact the dealer immediately, for alternative transportation won't cost you a dime. Repair procedures, they don't know about those yet.

KAYE: Today, 17-year-old Jordan Davis will be laid to rest in an Atlanta suburb. The high school senior was shot to death at a Florida gas station following a disagreement about loud music. Forty-five- year-old Michael Dunn is charged with Davis' murder in a case that remind some of the Trayvon Martin shooting in Florida.

But Dunn's attorney said there is no comparison here and her client was acting in self-defense.

BLACKWELL: And today marks World AIDS Day. The White House is marking the event by displaying that red ribbon, an international symbol of support and awareness on the north portico. In a proclamation, President Obama says in part that the United States is committed to preventing the disease to spread and, quote, "ending this pandemic once and for all."

And World AIDS Day is a time for some say for the truth -- the naked truth.

(VIDEO CLIP PLAYS) BLACKWELL: Yes, these folks, they're naked and they're naked in John Boehner's office. They're protesting huge cuts to HIV and AIDS funding.

Jennifer Flynn was one of those naked protesters. She joins me now from New York.

Jennifer, it's good to have you with us.

JENNIFER FLYNN, HIV/AIDS ACTIVIST: Thank you so much for having me.

BLACKWELL: So why did you take your clothes off to protest budget cuts?

FLYNN: Yes. Well, we took our clothes off to illustrate that people with AIDS and the most vulnerable people in our country have actually been stripped of everything, from budget cuts for decades. And that the rhetoric around the fiscal cliff or what I like to call the fiscal bluff is really just a way to thinly shroud these drastic budget cuts that will result in 60,000 people with aids around the world dying. These are preventable deaths that we could otherwise avoid if these budget cuts don't go through.

BLACKWELL: Well, let's talk about those cuts because the AIDS Institute, their speculation is that more than half a billion dollars will be cut from HIV/AIDS programs in the first year of sequestration if it goes into effect.

Do you see the need for entitlement reform at any measure? And, if you do, what cuts would your group be OK with?

FLYNN: So, here's the thing. If we could just pass a tiny tax on the speculative stock transactions, a Robin Hood tax, we could actually generate up to $350 billion, and I said billion dollars a year, every single year. That would be more than enough money to end the AIDS pandemic and to have money left over for the largest jobs program that any of us ever dreamed of and enough money to fight against climate change, so that us up here in New York don't have to face things like hurricane Sandy, again.

So, we should be looking at revenue increasers like a Robin Hood tax to end AIDS rather than talking about cuts that really only affect the poorest and most vulnerable people who have been stripped naked, taken -- had everything taken away from them for decades.

BLACKWELL: Yes, that --

FLYNN: Like people who rely on Medicaid and Social Security, HOPWA, which is the Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS, Ryan White, PEPFAR, the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, and The Global Fund Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

We know we can fight AIDS, but we have to actually invest in it.

BLACKWELL: Let me get in here because you mentioned something that maybe not a lot of people know, the PEPFAR blueprint. I want to talk about that for just a moment, the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. It's an acronym.

And the secretary listed five points to end the spread of HIV and AIDS, cited evidence of a drop of infections in more than two dozen countries.

But listen to what Secretary Clinton said.


HILLARY CLINTON, SECRETARY OF STATE: As we continue to drive down the number of new infections and drive up the number of people on treatment, eventually, we will be able to treat more people than become infected every year. That will be the tipping point.


BLACKWELL: Now, the administration says that it recognizes why it should get ahead of this. It sounds like the administration is headed in the right direction, making this a priority. Do you agree?

FLYNN: Oh, absolutely. The blueprint is visionary. And it's a great blue print. And Secretary Clinton said, you know, her office, the State Department is full -- the global health field is full of blueprints that haven't been fulfilled.

If these budget cuts go through, this blueprint will just be another one of those, those plans on the shelf that doesn't get fulfilled. We need to invest in fighting AIDS and actually ending the AIDS pandemic, which we can do in the next 30 years. This is new, exciting science here on World AIDS Day that we actually know that we can end the AIDS pandemic if we just get a small number of people, about 18 million people on to treatment by 2015.

But we need to move forward -- to steal a slogan from President Obama -- and we need to get past these ridiculous budget cuts that right now are frankly just targeting only poor people, poor people with AIDS around the country and around the world.

BLACKWELL: Well, we know that nudity was a way to get attention for a very important topic.

FLYNN: Yes, I want to --

BLACKWELL: It's good to speak with you this morning.

FLYNN: Thank you so much. I want to give a shout-out to bureaucracy (ph) for strategizing the idea of nudity. So, thank you so much. Happy birthday to my son, Flynn Robert Walker.

BLACKWELL: Happy birthday. Jennifer Flynn, thank you so much.

FLYNN: Thank you.

KAYE: They love their appearance there for sure.

Well, after today, there will be a star missing from the Galaxy. Today's MLS final will mark the end of an era for professional soccer in the U.S. We'll have all the details.


KAYE: Welcome back. Forty-one minutes past the hour and it is time to check out some of our top CNN trends.

In New York, a police officer's random act of kindness has gone viral. On a cold, November night, Officer Larry Deprimo saw a bare foot homeless man and decided to use his own money and buy the man a pair of boots to protect himself against the cold. A tourist took this photo and sent it to the NYPD who posted it to their Facebook page. The rest, as they say, is history.

BLACKWELL: In New Jersey, three people in the hospital in stable condition after a train derailment. This train ran off its tracks in the town of Paulsboro and started to leak the highly flammable and toxic chemical vinyl chloride. State officials say a lot of it has dissipated. The derailment is being blamed on a bridge failure.

KAYE: And, finally, fast food workers on strike. Hundreds of employees from New York City restaurants like McDonald's, Burger King and KFC protested their employers this week. The group was calling for higher pay and the right to unionize.

BLACKWELL: All right. Check out other top CNN trends, head to

KAYE: When he joined the Galaxy more than five years ago, David Beckham sent the MLS into another stratosphere. Later today, Beckham will play the last game for the Galaxy. He could go out as a champion.

Paul Vercammen has more on Beckham's impact on soccer right here in the U.S.


PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Randi, when Beckham started playing soccer in America in 2007, there are only four stadiums, including Home Depot behind me, that were dedicated only to soccer. Soon, there will be 15. The MLS says the Beckham experiment worked.

(voice-over): From the second he arrived in America to his now final hours with the L.A. Galaxy, David Beckham got people talking about Major League Soccer in both the United States and he says overseas.

DAVID BECKHAM, INTERNATIONAL SOCCER STAR: There's interest there now. So, if that's what I've brought to this league, then great. Hopefully, it's in a great position now to continue to grow.

VERCAMMEN: That was the plan. Grow the MLS, America's struggling professional soccer league, with help from a global superstar.

DON GARBER, COMMISSIONER, MLS: We're in the board meeting, we said, why don't we just try to sign David Beckham? And here we are five and a half years later and that experience with David has far over- delivered on the expectations we had when we sat in that meeting in 2006.

VERCAMMEN: The MLS commissioner explains, with Beckham at the forefront, the league jumped from 12 to 19 teams, average in total attendance also rose.

DEBBIE SEIFRIED, GALAXY SEASON TICKET HOLDER: He is the one reason we started coming to the games and to see him leave now is just really sad. At the same time, it's going to be good for him.

VERCAMMEN: Beckham and his wife, former Spice Girl, Victoria, grew in celebrity from Hollywood's red carpets to the White House.

America seemed to notice that Becks as he is called, had an "it" factor and more.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Very easy on the eyes. Very easy.

VERCAMMEN: Visions of Beckham will disappear from the MLS after the championship.

LANDON DONOVAN, L.A. GALAXY MIDFIELDER: The saddest part, we're losing a teammate that we really like. When you think of it on a bigger scale, it's difficult for our league to lose a player like that and a personality like that. But we all wish him well. He's certainly earned the right to do whatever he wants in his life and we just want him to be happy.

VERCAMMEN: So, Beckham goes on his merry way and leaves behind scenes like this. Young players with the L.A. Galaxy Academy working on their own dreams of somebody kick-starting a league.

Paul Vercammen, CNN, Los Angeles.


BLACKWELL: And if you're planning to tour the White House this holiday season or you just want to be sure that everything is where it should be, oh, rest assured. Every light, every string of garland has been given the four paw seal of approval. We're going to explain.


DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Max Little said he found a way to diagnose Parkinson's with a simple phone call.

MAX LITTLE, MATH WIZ: They leave a voice recording, the algorithms will analyze that voice recording, and then a neurologist can get an indication about whether or not they have Parkinson's and the probability associated with that.

GUPTA: How confident can you be that that person has Parkinson's?

LITTLE: To about 99 percent.

GUPTA: That's pretty incredible.

If he succeeds, he could change the game for Parkinson's patients and for doctors, on "THE NEXT LIST".



BLACKWELL: Check this out -- it's a ram, not a dodge, an actual ram on the loose in Iowa.

KAYE: Des Moines police, yes, they had a very busy morning chasing down a ram that escaped from a trailer. Its freedom, though, only lasted oh, about an hour.

BLACKWELL: Oh, poor ram, tried to get away.

And a couple more animals that made an escape in New York.

KAYE: A zebra and a pony escaped from a Staten Island petting zoo and they made it, well, they made it out there in freedom than the ram, trotting around for several hours before they were finally tracked down. Look at those guys go.

BLACKWELL: And you know they have been plotting this for some time. Wednesday, you and me, we're out of here.

Hey, you know, the old folks say Bo knows Christmas.

KAYE: Yes.

BLACKWELL: I know they actually don't say it, but I'm going to make this stick.

KAYE: That's the new saying now?


KAYE: Yes.

BLACKWELL: Bo knows Christmas.

KAYE: I'll try to make you help it stick.

BLACKWELL: Thank you.

KAYE: Watch the Obama's pet, the first dog Bo inspect the famous White House Christmas decorations. Look at this.


KAYE: That is my favorite piece of video that I've seen in several weeks now.

BLACKWELL: I love it.

KAYE: He cocks his little head and ends up with a Santa hat. Is it me?

BLACKWELL: OK. I like that he just kind of strolls through, blue room -- we're good. Red room -- all's well. And he's not rushing around. He's a really well-behaved dog.

KAYE: Yes, it is. But even on the video, he gets some great close-ups of his paws, he's a great dog. If you're a dog lover, even if you're not, it's a great video. You can check it out. It's on as well if you want to watch it again for fun.

BLACKWELL: Well, we all buy the occasional $4 latte, but would you fork over three more for plain black coffee, none of that fancy flavor, any special milk?

Well, Starbucks is hoping you will, and we're trying to find anyone who will buy it.

BLACKWELL: Yes. None in here. But, first, if Starbucks coffee isn't your thing, maybe it's time to take a trip to Paris. That's where we find our Alina Cho in this week's "Travel Insider".


ALINA CHO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): I lived in Paris during college, so going back always brings back memories.

One of my favorite things to do -- then and now -- sit outside and sip espresso or a glass of wine at a cafe. The French invented the concept. Cafe de Flore on the left bank is my pick. And for dinner, Brasserie Lipp across the street is also great.

If you've never been to Paris, take an afternoon on a sunny day and ride the bateaux mouches. These large sight-seeing boats are open air and allow you to see the entire city by sea.

For the arts, the Orangerie Museum, which houses spectacular murals by Monet.

For shopping head to Avenue Montaigne, the Madison Avenue of Paris.

Then, grab your walking shoes and head to the Champs Elysee, walking all the way up to the Arch de Triumph and back down is a great way to work of a meal.

And speaking of food, don't forget to buy a real baguette sandwich at a boulangerie, or a crepe on the street.

Soon, you'll feel like a native.

Alina Cho, CNN, Paris.



KAYE: Welcome back. Glad you're with us this morning.

If you thought your latte was pricey -- well, now Starbucks is selling a $7 cup of coffee. It's just coffee, black coffee, for 7 bucks.

And CNN's Jeanne Moos went searching for anyone who might be willing to buy it.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Is that the sound of money being sucked from wallets?

JIMMY KIMMEL, TALK SHOW HOST: It's priced at $7 a cup.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi, there. Welcome to Starbucks. What can we get started for you?

MOOS: How about a bank so we can afford the new coffee made from rare Costa Rican beans called --

(on camera): Finca Palmilera.


MOOS: Finca Palmilera. Actually $7 is for the medium, the Grande. You could skimp and for $6, get a small.

It was introduced at 46 Starbucks stores in the Pacific Northwest.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is that something you would buy?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, not at all.

MOOS: But hold the outrage. For some people, coffee tasting is like wine tasting.

(voice-over): People like Melody Overton who runs a fan site for Starbucks enthusiasts were somewhat giddy over the prospect of sampling a rare coffee. Melody attended a special tasting.

MELODY OVERTON, COFFEE BLOGGER (via telephone): And I noticed all of these flavors and how it has so much going on in a single cup of coffee and I'm like, oh, I like this.

MOOS: So what's it taste like?

OVERTON: Fruity, juicy, clean. Definitely a little pineapple.

MOOS (on camera): See, not words I associate with coffee.

(voice-over): This type is expensive, because it grows only at high altitudes, and there are fewer cherries per tree.

KIMMEL: And let the Finca Palmilera coffee challenge begin.

MOOS: Jimmy Kimmel's staff asked folks if they could pick the new super premium Starbucks coffee --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I pick this one because it has more of a richer taste.

KIMMEL: OK. I should mention that we didn't even bother to get the $7 coffee. We got a pot of regular coffee and poured the exact same coffee in both cups.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This one is a smoother flavor. The other one is slightly bitter. I believe it's this one. It just tastes richer.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It kind of has a beanie taste. It tastes like the bean.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would put $2 to $3 on this cup preferably over the second cup.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It all tastes the same.

MOOS: That guy was using his bean.

Jeanne Moos, CNN --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It all tastes the same.

MOOS: -- New York.


KAYE: Would you ever?


KAYE: I mean, I just -- I'm sure it's delicious. I'm just saying that's like -- especially in this day and age, crazy.

BLACKWELL: A cup of coffee or two gallons of gas.

KAYE: Yes, there you go. It's a bold move by a coffee house, that's for sure.

BLACKWELL: Well, apparently some people are going to go for it. I don't know. I don't even drink coffee.

KAYE: I know.

And I drink tea, so it's good. I don't even have a hankering for it. Who needs it?

BLACKWELL: All right. Just about 8:00 now. Thanks for starting your morning with us.

KAYE: We've got much more ahead on CNN SATURDAY MORNING. It starts right now.