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CNN IN THE MONEY
Martha Stewart's Post Sentencing Comments Analyzed; Author Discusses Whether the U.S. is Very Polarized;
Aired July 17, 2004 - 13:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: News magazines are reporting Iran may have helped facilitate in the 9/11 attacks by providing safe passage to some al Qaeda members. "Time" and "Newsweek" magazines cite the upcoming report from the 9/11 Commission. The magazines say it will include evidence that Iran did not stamp the passports of terrorists from Saudi Arabia as they traveled from training camps in Afghanistan and eventually into the U.S.
There was a close call for Iraq's minister of justice. A car bomb blast hit his convoy, killing four people. The minister was not hurt. The explosion happened near his home in central Baghdad. A group linked to Abu Musab Al Zawqari claimed responsibility.
Fifty percent contained. Firefighters in Carson City, Nevada say they've managed to get a line around half of 7600-acre wildfire there. At least 14 homes have been destroyed. Officials say if strong winds do not feed flames this weekend, the fire could be fully contained by early next week. I'm Fredricka Whitfield at the CNN center in Atlanta. More news at the bottom of the hour. "In the Money" begins right now.
SUSAN LISOVICZ, CNN ANCHOR, IN THE MONEY: The quote for me this week, "I will be back!" It was sort of reminiscent of Douglas McArthur. A defiant Martha Stewart saying she is not afraid of going to prison and going to prison she is.
ANDREW SERWER, "FORTUNE" MAGAZINE: Yes, the statement typical Martha Stewart-style, somewhat controversial. I thought she went a little overboard. She hasn't apologized yet and that's because she's going to continue this appeal and the appeal thing just kind of blows my mind, Allen, because it's going to take months and months and months, and would you just get over it? Everyone's talking about her come back, she was just talking about it, but you can't do that until you do the time.
ALLEN WASTLER, MONEY.COM: That's right and speaking as an investor in the company, I would just appreciate it, go do your five months. Come back and start doing the Martha thing again and get the ball rolling, get the company back.
LISOVICZ: Didn't you like that she had the pitch for the company in that statement?
WASTLER: I thought it was a little bit kind of raw there.
SERWER: I thought it was totally inappropriate and stupid but that's just my take. I mean I could be wrong.
LISOVICZ: The stock did well rally however in the minutes -- sharply actually in the minutes after the announcement was made. Of course we'll have more on Martha Stewart later on in the program.
Now left and right, red and blue, Godly and Godfrey, tree hugger and Hummer lover. The more you hear about the United States these days, the more it seems like we're living in two countries that just happen to share a single currency. Maybe we ought to let Michael Moore and Rush Limbaugh go a few rounds and settle this whole thing once and for all but our first guest says America really isn't as divided as it looks. Morris Fiorina is the author of "Culture War: The Myth of Polarized America." He's also a professor of political science at Stanford University and a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, a very busy guy, indeed. So are you saying, Morris, that voters in America are really just one big happy family?
MORRIS FIORINA, STANFORD UNIVERSITY: No, not nearly. I'm not going nearly that far. What' I'm saying is that voters in America are not nearly as polarized as much of a dysfunctional family as the political elites in Washington, as the leaders of the interest groups and as a lot of the media that's involved in the entertainment side.
SERWER: Morris, it's interesting, there's the line where an American is explaining our two-party system to a Brit and says, we have a Republican party which is like your Tory party and we the Democratic party which is like your Tory party. We are a country that's mostly in the middle but I've got to disagree with you a little bit because there are those trigger issues like guns, like abortion, like gay rights. Don't people differ on those?
FIORINA: Not nearly as much as you think. And I'd like to add that the people that regard those as important as people like you think that these are the issues that divide the party bases. These are the issues that get all of the press, but ordinary Americans don't attach a lot of importance to those. There was a Gallup poll a few months ago that gave people 15 issues and asked them how important these issues would be in their voting choices in 19 -- 2004. And of 15 issues, abortion came in 13. Gun control came in 14 and gay marriage came in 15.
WASTLER: Professor, you mentioned that the media and various lobbies have an interest in sort of poking and keeping the controversy going and that's not going to go away. Is there any sort of middle ground? Could a centrist ever get to the White House, let's say in this kind of environment?
FIORINA: The problem is getting through the primary processes and getting the nomination in the first place. And as you know, it's the more extreme elements of both parties that are participating in the primaries. I've advocated things like runoff primaries, blanket (ph) primaries to try to let moderates overturn the party bases in the primaries. But it's tough. I mean in this kind of politics it's tough when you have the party bases which are so polarized but they're just a tiny fraction of the population compared to the great mass of voters. LISOVICZ: Let's face it, gun control, abortion, those kind of issues, they get a lot of headlines and I think it's your assertion that it's the pollsters and the media who are the proponents or at least the ones who are always talking about a culture war. For Democrats, Republicans, men, women, young, old, it's really health care, education, jobs.
FIORINA: Iraq, Iraq, terrorism, yes. It's the kind of issues that middle-class people who are holding down jobs and trying to make comfortable lives care about their everyday lives and it's not these kind of hot-button issues that animate the party masses, party bases.
SERWER: But Morris, aren't those polarizes issues, too? You talk about Iraq. I mean goodness gracious, a lot of people disagree vehemently there and with the economy too. I mean that's a bipartisan thing and isn't populism when you get say the Democrats talking about two Americas like John Edwards, isn't that a blue-red thing? Why isn't that divisive?
FIORINA: OK, let's make a distinction between the positions people take and the choices and evaluations they make. What I'm saying and what I have shown in the book with my associates is that the positions people take have not really, are not polarized and have not really become anymore polarized over the last two decades. Now their choices have. The reason the choices have is they are being faced increasingly with polarizing alternatives, that yes, if you launch a preemptive war on Iraq, that's a polarizing alternative. Here's the interesting thought experiment. Would people's voting choices this year be as split as they are if the two candidates were Joe Lieberman and John McCain as opposed to Bush and Kerry? When people are given centrist alternatives, people opt for them.
WASTLER: So, professor, if you're President Bush at this point or Senator Kerry, then should they move to the middle and avoid the polarizing issues? Is that the way to win the White House?
FIORINA: For Bush it's too late. Bush ran as a compassionate conservative and then did not govern in that way at all. Now, for Kerry, the question for the Kerry-Edwards' ticket is to avoid being captured by the Michael Moore crowd in the Democratic party and credibly presenting themselves as relatively centrist alternatives to the great masses of people. If they succeed in doing that, I think they have a real shot.
LISOVICZ: When you talk about, you know issues that relate American voters, you mentioned Iraq. And you talk about, professor that in our history that there really have been culture wars and the last one I think that you cite is in the 1960s when there was a very unpopular war going on. Why do we not have that polarization just yet?
FIORINA: Well, I think -- you know, I mean, it's always dangerous to compare a generation apart and sometimes I've wondered if we go back through American history if the received wisdom from this story is actually borne out if we have the kind of public opinion data we have today about those periods, but I think the divisiveness in the '60s was much worse. In part, you had a war. First of all, remember you had conscription. People in my generation were not being asked to volunteer for Iraq; they were being taken to Vietnam and it affected a far greater proportion of the country. We also had cities burning with riots every summer. The times of troubles in the '60s dwarfed the kind of divisiveness we're seeing today.
LISOVICZ: We've leave it on that positive note that we have not seen that kind of divisiveness here in this generation. Morris Fiorina, the author of "Culture War?" that's a question mark there, "The Myth of Polarized America." Thanks for joining us.
FIORINA: Thank you.
LISOVICZ: We're going it talk a couple minutes now to check the oil and run a squeegee over the windshield. But when we come back -- take that! A change in cholesterol standards means more pills for more people. We'll look at whether the latest numbers are on the money.
Plus, all the young dudes. It sounds like an old song.
SERWER: Matt the Hoople.
LISOVICZ: Yes, exactly, good for you Andy. In countries like China, the ratio of men to women is rising. See why that could shake up life here in the good old US of A. And putting the play back into playing ball. Find out how a couple of major league veterans are taking the pressure out of baseball for kids.
SERWER: Think you've got your cholesterol under control? Well, a new study says you probably need to think again. The reports says the level of LDL, the so-called bad cholesterol, should be significantly lower in high-risk patients than previously advised. This warning is putting a spotlight on highly-effective statin drugs like Lipitor and Zocor proven to prevent heart attack and strokes but is popping a pill really solving the problem? Here to answer that and more is Dr. Sidney Wolf, director of Public Citizen Health Research Group, a public interest group. Doctor, welcome. Can you explain some of these new findings to us?
DR. SIDNEY WOLFE, PUBLIC CITIZEN: Well, they're very important findings. First of all, if someone has had a heart attack or stroke and really needs to prevent another one from occurring consider occurring and they're doing diet and exercise, which a lot of people aren't, they still may need a cholesterol-lowering drug and these new studies suggest that their LDL, the bad cholesterol level should be well under 100. I don't think there's any dispute about that nor is there that many of these people who could benefit from these drugs aren't taking them.
On the other hand what has been obscured in all the news in the last week is that people who have not had a heart attack, who do not have risk factors like high blood pressure, diabetes, smoking, so forth, that many of these people should not be taking a statin. So not enough people who should be getting drug, diet and exercise are getting it and I believe millions of people who really don't have cholesterol levels that merit taking a statin are being herded into it.
The pending move of making these drugs over the counter is going to even increase that. So if you have an LDL, the bad cholesterol level of 150, for instance, a total cholesterol level of 200 or 210, there is no evidence that you will benefit from a statin as long as you don't have high blood pressure, diabetes, don't smoke, don't have a family relative.
So it's interesting that for some people, too much of the drug is being prescribed. The low-risk people and for other people, not enough. I think that another point, which we have emphasized a lot, is that one of these drugs is uniquely dangerous. It's called Crestor. It's the subject of the $1 billion advertising and promotional campaign and whereas the other, all the other cholesterol-lowering drugs have some risks, none of them are as dangerous as Crestor. So we've advised anyone who is taking Crestor to go to their doctor and get stitched to another statin if they need a statin at all.
WASTLER: So, doctor, just amplify that point for a minute. If you're like dancing around the low 100s or something but you don't have a history of heart disease or any of the other factors, you're OK. Nevertheless, we get besieged with all these media messages. Your cholesterol, I asked my doctor about Lipitor and everything. Do you think we're like being commercially assaulted on this issue?
WOLFE: There's no doubt that between the advertising, the frank advertising on television, radio, and print implying that if you have a cholesterol that is anything over 200, total cholesterol that you should be on a statin is ridiculous and it's really dangerous because if you're in a group of people, low risk, you don't have high blood pressure, diabetes and so forth, the risks of these drugs outweigh any benefit because there isn't any evidence of any benefit.
If on the other hand, you are really in the high risk group that the focus was really on in the studies and stories in the last week, then you might benefit. But what I'm concerned with is that between the advertising, between some of the not carefully done news stories, that lots of people who are not going to benefit from this drug but are only going to have risks are going to be put on it.
LISOVICZ: Dr. Wolfe, can you quickly put in perspective just why we're talking about this in the first place? High cholesterol can lead to heart disease and that is still a major killer in the United States.
WOLFE: The reason we're talking about it is we're trying to diminish between people who already have heart attack, strokes, angina and so forth who really can benefit from these drugs and people who may just have the single finding of a high cholesterol, let's say . 210, 220, 230 total cholesterol. There isn't any evidence that these people can benefit from these drugs, particularly if they don't have a heart attack -- if -- excuse me, their isn't any evidence that people can benefit from these drugs, particularly if they don't smoke, don't have diabetes, don't have high blood pressure. So we need to distinguish between the people who have already had a problem and we want to prevent further problems. The drugs are good, except for Crestor which is too dangerous and the millions of other people who really just have one high number and nothing else, no other risk factors, those people should not be taking these drugs. They should be dieting. They should be exercising. They should get more help than they are getting right now from doctors and from their insurance companies to do diet and exercise.
SERWER: Doctor, I want to shift gears here a little bit and ask your opinion on the low-carb craze, the Atkins craze, if you will. Is this exacerbating the cholesterol problem in this country?
WOLFE: Well, I think that the focus just on eating a low-carb diet and sort of staying away from things like, fruit, which have carbohydrates, is really misspent (ph). I think in the long run, the only diet that really works, that's really healthy is to eat less of what you're eating, lowering the caloric intake, the number of calories you take, is much more sensible. I think that the Atkins diet may have some quick results in the first month or two or five or six, but I don't think it's a really healthy way to go because it does contain a fair amount of cholesterol, animal fat and so forth.
WASTLER: Doctor, we only have a little bit of time left but let me ask you one thing. This whole story has been spun in a lot of ways that what it was was sort of a sop to the drug companies, if they sort of supply the funding to the boards that make these kind of standards and so all of a sudden, the standards come down and people go running to the drugs. Do you agree with that spin or not?
WOLFE: Two of the people on the government committee that made these recommendations have, but it wasn't disclosed, funding from drug companies. I think that the recommendations would have been different if they had been made only by people without connection to drug companies. So there's no question, that even though there's lip service paid to diet and exercise, the main push is high cholesterol, take drugs, take drugs, take drugs! Eventually, that's not a good idea, particularly for low-risk people.
SERWER: All right, part of an ongoing debate. Dr. Sidney Wolfe, director of Public Citizen Health Research Group in Washington, D.C. Thank you.
SERWER: There are lots more ahead here on "In the Money." Coming up crime and punishment. Martha Stewart learns her fate following her conviction for fraud. We'll have a recap.
Also ahead, diamond thieves. Pushy grown-ups are stealing the fun from baseball playing kids. We'll show you how a couple of major league brothers are bringing it back.
LISOVICZ: Sentencing day finally arrived for Martha Stewart and her stock broker Peter Bacanovic on Friday. The pair of course were convicted separately on counts of obstruction of justice and making false statements on March 5th. Chris Huntington has all of the details.
CHRIS HUNTINGTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: When Martha Stewart entered court, she looks stoically braced for the worst. When she came out, she looked somewhat relieved. The sentence at the lower end of the Federal guidelines and considerably lower than what most legal analysts expected. Martha Stewart was not contrite but she did apologize to those who had suffered as a result of her crime, particularly those who had lost their job but then she returned defiantly to her classic form.
MARTHA STEWART: I'll be back. I will be back. Whatever I have to do in the next few months, I hope the months go by quickly. I'm used to all kinds of hard work, as you know, and I'm not afraid. I'm not afraid whatsoever.
HUNTINGTON: Judge Miriam Goldman Cedarbaum gave out a sentence of five months in prison followed by five months of home confinement, two years of supervised probation and a $30,000 fine to Martha Stewart. For her former stockbroker Peter Bacanovic, the same sentence with the exception of the financial penalty, in his case only $4,000. Both Bacanovic and Stewart are appealing their convictions and pending those convictions, their sentences will be stayed. So they'll be out and about. Martha Stewart made it clear that propping up her company is a high priority.
STEWART: Perhaps all of you out there can continue to show your support by subscribing to our magazine, by buying our products, by encouraging our advertisers to come back in full force to our magazines.
HUNTINGTON: Martha Stewart has every intention of staying in the public eye. She's already arranged for two high profile nationwide television interviews and if her statements here are any indication, she will remain on the offensive. This is Chris Huntington outside of Federal court in lower Manhattan. Back to you.
SERWER: This is a week for settlements for Wall Street giant Morgan Stanley. The big one was a $54 million deal to end a major gender discrimination suit against the firm, but there was also a deal with the government to end an informal accounting probe of some of Morgan Stanley's bond trades. It's been a roller coaster year for Morgan Stanley shares. They're now trading near their 52-week low. That makes Morgan Stanley our "stock of week."
I want to get back to this discrimination stuff because it's something that's plagued Wall Street firms. Merrill Lynch had problems with them. Citigroup had problems. I got an e-mail from a woman who works at Morgan Stanley afterwards, after the suit was settled. Between you, me and the lamppost, I'm surprised something like this hasn't happened before. I worked there 12 years and overtly harassed three times. I've been through this thing there quite simply unbelievable stuff. The testosterone-laden culture permeates everything.
LISOVICZ: It's pretty obvious in the numbers. You ever work on Wall Street, walk on Wall Street, physically it hasn't changed and the settlement's interesting in itself, $54 million. That's a lot to you and me and most people. Certainly makes headlines, but this is a company that reports $1 billion in revenue in the quarter and Allison Schieffelin, I believe the trader who won a $12 million settlement, it sounds like a lot of money but you take taxes and legal fees, let's just say conservatively speaking, that's half. This is what she could earn in a few years as a successful trader on Wall Street and her career on Wall Street is over.
WASTLER: Still a pretty good paycheck and I think your point's well taken. This is teeny tiny money to Morgan Stanley, cost of doing business. If you're looking at the stock, well, look at the interest rate picture. Look at what is going on in the economy. That's the mega trends that's really going to affect which way it goes.
SERWER: This company has not been in full gear I have to say over the past five years. The stock's gone nowhere. It's underperformed Goldman Sachs and Merrill Lynch. Phil Purcell (ph) has had other problems he's had to deal with as well. So I think this is a company that needs to get back on track and focus on doing things because it's a very competitive business and it can't afford to fall behind Goldman Sachs and Merrill Lynch.
LISOVICZ: Amen to that!
SERWER: Amen to that.
LISOVICZ: Brother, Andy, thank you so much.
Up ahead on "In the Money," hold the testosterone in countries like India, the ratio of men to women is rising. See why the consequences could stretch all the way to your door.
Plus major league players with little league attitude. Find out how the Ripken brothers, yes, those Ripken brothers are putting the fun back into baseball for kids.
And get your game on with the player breaking the million-dollar mark on "Jeopardy." We'll look at game shows where it pays to play.
WHITFIELD: Hello, I'm Fredricka Whitfield at the CNN center in Atlanta. "In the Money," continues in 60 seconds but first now in the news, a new bulletin has been issued by the FBI in the nation's fight against terror. It warns that al Qaeda may be trying to recruit non- Arabs for attacks. The FBI thinks al Qaeda wants operatives to have American citizenship or residency status.
A U.S. soldier died today after his convoy was attacked with a road-side bomb. A second soldier was wounded. The attack happened near the town of Beiji in northern Iraq. Suspects nabbed, two men are under arrest charged in random shooting that wounded five people this week in New Haven, Connecticut. Police say three more arrests are expected. There is no clear motive for the shootings. Investigators believe the suspects are part of a car theft ring.
More news at the top of the hour. "In the Money" continues right now. Keeping you informed, CNN, the most trusted name in news.
LISOVICZ: Osama bin Laden, al Qaeda, North Korea's Kim Jong-il, these are the people and organizations we think of as security threats to the U.S. But our next guest says there's another threat looming and it has no famous face. It's the millions of unmarried men growing up in Asia today. In China and India, a surplus of men may spell trouble for the international community. Valerie Hudson is the co- author of "Bare Branches: The Security Implications of Asia's Surplus Male Population." She's also a professor of political science at Brigham Young University. Welcome.
VALERIE HUDSON, BRIGHAM YOUNG UNIVERSITY: Thank you.
LISOVICZ: Disturbing findings that you have here. We've seen it before, have we not? When you have this unnatural imbalance, bad things happen in a society. And now that we have a global economy, it's not just in Asia where we're going to see the consequences.
HUDSON: That's right. Almost 40 percent of humanity resides in China and India alone and those two nations have some of the worst sex ratios in the world.
SERWER: Valerie, let me ask you a question. You talk about the subject too many men, at least to a situation where there's violence but I think you write that in eastern Europe and Russia, that is not the case. In other words, the sex ratio, as you call it, is not out of whack. The male-female populations are somewhat more equal. Yet, there certainly there is violence in eastern Europe and Russia. Explain that, please.
HUDSON: Oh, I'm glad you mentioned that. Actually, eastern Europe and Russia are on the other extreme of the spectrum of sex ratio imbalance. Eastern Russia -- excuse me, eastern Europe and Russia have a dearth of males. For example in Russia, there's 24 million fewer males than there are females. And so we find on both ends of the spectrum with very high sex ratios favoring males or very low sex ratios disfavoring males, that societal instability follows.
WASTLER: Professor, I think it might help our viewers a little bit if you could explain a little bit how does it get so unbalanced one way or the other?
HUDSON: Great. In the Asian situation, the root problem is intense son preference that is built into some of these cultures. So, for example, China, India, Pakistan, Taiwan, to a lesser extent South Korea and Bangladesh, we see this intense desire to have at least one son, probably two to ensure social security in old age as well as continuance of family lineage and so forth. So in Asia, it's actually the daughters are being actively weeded out. Historically, female infanticide has been the manner in which this has been carried out. Since the 1980s, the mid-1980s, it's been through prenatal identification of the sex of the fetus, followed then by abortion if the fetus turns out to be a girl.
LISOVICZ: It's just shocking you know in the 21st century that you would continue to see this horrific practice. Professor, some stats. In China, for instance, I believe there are 13 million more boys than girls under the age of 9. By 2020, it may be 30 million to 40 million. Can you talk about the specifics that you see? What kind of violence? What does the community have to bear and how does it affect the rest of the world?
HUDSON: Great question. In societies where you have very high sex ratios, approaching 120 young adult males per 100 young adult female, these societies are inherently unstable and in virtually all cases, this has led to a growth of violence, crime, vice, development of a chattel market for women and we're beginning to see the beginning of that take place in China. In China, historically, which has had many episodes of favoring males, we've also found that some of what we call these bare branch or these surplus young adult males begin to coalesce, first into gangs, which are only interested in criminal activity, but later coalescing into small armies that challenge the government's control of certain regions in locations.
SERWER: Valerie, let me ask you a question though. Statisticians have a concept called auto correlation. You might be familiar with it. It's when two things occur simultaneously but there's no causality. What proof do you have that these birthrates and weights of sexes actually leads to violence? There's a lot of violence in the United States. There's gun violence. What's the causality between this and the violence?
HUDSON: That's another excellent question. We've taken pains to point out that you don't have to have an abnormal sex ratio to have violence in your society. That's absolutely true. But what we found is through historical case studies and theoretical investigation, we can show that these abnormal sex ratios -- excuse me aggravate or amplify the instability found in any society.
WASTLER: Professor, OK. So we've got a problem, imbalance, what do you do to sort of fix this problem? I mean, not to be facetious but you point out the lack of males in eastern Europe, Russia, heavy on males - are we going to see...
SERWER: Bring them together!
WASTLER: Immigration patterns change or something like that?
LISOVICZ: It's a big business.
HUDSON: Well, I think there's some cultural reasons that might not work out, some geographic reasons. But I'm glad mentioned what we can do about this. What I'd like to present is that there's some reason for hope but there's also some reason for despair. The despair part comes in because there's nothing that can be done about what's happened over the past 20 years in China and India and some of these other nations that I've mentioned. Nothing the government does right now can alter the fact that, by the year 2020, they'll be facing tens of millions of young adult males who have no chance to marry and settle down and form a family.
SERWER: All right, controversial stuff, Valerie Hudson author of "Bare Branches, the Security Implications of Asia's surplus male population." She's a professor of political science at Brigham Young University. Thank you.
We've got some games coming up, the kind you play for fun and the kind you play for money. After the break, sending the grown-ups to the dugout. Adults with attitude are taking the fun out of baseball for kids. That's too bad. Find out how a couple of former major leaguers are getting the big guys to lighten up.
And mind over money. We'll check out game shows that can pay big for the right answers. Stay tuned.
SERWER: Here's a shocking idea -- when your kids decide to play little league baseball, maybe they'll actually have some fun. Our next guest is a former major leaguer who is doing something about the ultra competitive trend that's making youth sports anything but fun for thousand of kids. Joining us now from Baltimore is Billy Ripken. He's the director of the Ripken Baseball Academy which he runs along with his brother, hall of famer Cal Ripken. Billy, welcome.
BILL RIPKEN, CO-OWNER, RIPKEN BASEBALL: Thank you. Thanks for having me.
SERWER: As a native Marylander and the long time fan of the Os watching you and your brother and your dad for all those years, we're delighted to have you on. Can you tell me exactly how bad this problem is right now, though with kids?
RIPKEN: Well, I don't think it's that bad. I like to view when we're doing our academy and we're hosting tournaments, I like to watch 12-year-olds play against 12-year-olds and you can instantly see there's nothing wrong with the game of baseball. The problem does lie within sometimes the coach putting too much pressure on trying to win games at that level and the 10-year-old level and some of the parent's reactions up on the hillside when they're watching the games. Some time that can get a little bit over top, but if the coach and the parents take it into perspective of what they're trying to accomplish and understand they're competing and they're trying to get better, then it's a great experience for the kids to go out there and play this game of baseball.
WASTLER: Billy, I'm also from Maryland so go Os!
SERWER: Fix up the team.
WASTLER: What do you think motivates parents to go off of the deep end like that? When did it change? Why all of a sudden are parents raving maniacs?
RIPKEN: Well, once again I'm not going to call them raving maniacs. I think some of them kind of get a little edgy. I think some of them and I've heard this with kids that have come to my camps before, my kid's going to be the next A-rod. You should see him play and he's 9 and I'm not qualified to understand if a 9-year-old is going to be to play in the big league. I could look at a 9-year old and say he's pretty good. He's got some tools but I can't project him into the big league. I think some of it is for the parents is, they see the contracts that are getting thrown around in professional sports all over the place and they look at this and they want to invest in the kid's future and the kid has some talent and sometimes they go about it in the wrong way. Because if kids want to play 70 games as a 12-year-old, let the kid be the one that's kind of pushing the envelope on that instead of the parent actually pushing the kid in that direction. Say, we have to go play this tournament. We got to go play that tournament. The kid should be the barometer. If he's very interested in baseball and loves playing the game, let him play and let me progress on his own.
LISOVICZ: Hey, Billy, I am not from Maryland. I hope you don't hold that against me.
RIPKEN: No, I'm fine with that.
LISOVICZ: I'm a huge baseball fan though and I think it's time to give you some props that you are considered a master of the basics. You started at all four infield positions. Very few players can claim that type of feat. So we're very glad you are still involved in the game. And because of your knowledge of the game, I'm curious how you feel about steroids in major league baseball. The only professional sport considered not to have an iron-clad policy on steroids.
RIPKEN: Well, one thing I'd like to point out is I appreciate you knowing that I played four infield positions in the big leagues. Some would actually say that I wasn't good enough to hold one position so they had to make me play other ones. I like to think that I spent 12 years in the big leagues and I did what it took to stay on teams and do some things. So I appreciate that. Now, if you look back at my career I had 20 big league home runs. So obviously no one ever accused me of being on steroids.
LISOVICZ: I didn't mention that Billy!
RIPKEN: Which was a nice thing. I think that that issue being bounced around and getting into the forefront is OK right now because it's going to force major league baseball and the players association to kind of come together and figure out a way to do that. If somebody is using something that is illegal and against the rules, it's unfair, in my opinion, to the other people that weren't doing it. And it can taint some records along the way, if somebody's found out doing something a little bit wrong. But this being discussed and talked about, I think is a good thing because I think it's going to force the association and the major league baseball, the ownership group, to get together and actually fix the problem. SERWER: Hey, Billy, getting back to kid's sports though, for a minute here. I coached my girls' soccer teams and let me tell you, it's very hard to sort of restrain yourself from getting too into it! It's a very emotional thing for parents. What tips can you give us to parents who are coaching to just sort of, you know, chill out? Get into it but not get overly emotional, I guess.
RIPKEN: Right. I think for one, and I'm with you on that one. My daughter plays soccer and she plays lacrosse and you're getting on the side and you want to see your kid do so well, because anything that they do as a parent you want them to succeed and sometimes it's hard. Cal, being Cal, and what he's done in his career, he can always take a few minutes and reflect on things before he answers questions. He says, you as a parent and a coach have to understand, you have to act like you know what's going to happen. And when something good happens, you got to stay here. When something bad happens, you've got to stay here.
Because he also believes that there is a danger of cheering too much and what happens in a baseball game, the 10-year-old teams out there bludgeoning another 10-year-old team and the parent's are on the side, high-fiving, cheering, hooting and hollering. Number one, that has a negative effect on the other 10-year-old kids who are getting whomped. But there was one particular instance where his boy was on the end of getting whomped. They came back to win and all of the cheering on the side that was doing the early kicking, turned to dead silence and now the kids actually thought they did something wrong.
So if it's a positive experience and the team's winning big, you got to try to fly straight. And if something bad happens, you got to pretend that you've seen that before because you're the one that can handle the kid's emotional side of it. And you're the one that has to fix the problem and explain things at the end because they're 9 and 10 years old, they can't do that on their own.
LISOVICZ: Words of wisdom from Billy Ripken, director of the Ripken Baseball Academy down in Maryland. Thanks so much for joining us.
RIPKEN: Thanks for having me. I appreciate it.
LISOVICZ: Time to take that seventh inning stretch now. But after the break, political karaoke! This land is your land and a couple of cartoon candidates are going to tell us how they see it. Stick around for our "fun site of the week." and take your mouse for a walk on the wild side. Send us an e-mail and just might read it on the air. The address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
SERWER: We're still not sure if he's a human or a robot or an "I, Robot," but Ken Jennings is sitting on a ton of money thanks to his record "Jeopardy" run. The software engineer from Utah is now the winner of more than a million bucks. But is going toe to toe with Alex Trebek and company the easiest way to win game show gold? Webmaster Allen Wastler has some answers to that question and a fun site of the week that's really worth waiting for. Allen, take it away.
WASTLER: Quick answer, no. That wasn't the easiest way. "Jeopardy" has the rep of being the hardest game show. What is the hardest game show on TV and right now it's "Jeopardy." It used to be "College Bowl" but "College Bowl" is defunct, OK. "Jeopardy," you got to work hard for your money and you got to work hard to get on there, too. You have to take a 50-question test. Then you got to go through some mock trials.
LISOVICZ: You have to have personality too.
WASTLER: And then you got to see if the producers like it. You know? Sort of the same game in all of TV, do the producers like you.
SERWER: And you go on "Millionaire," you win one show and you win a million dollars.
WASTLER: One show. In fact if you look at the top five payouts, if you look at the five top five payouts, OK, three out of the five are actually from "Who Wants To Be a Millionaire."
WASTLER: ... because they just crank it up.
LISOVICZ: Ken Jennings has wasted his time.
SERWER: He's getting messed over.
LISOVICZ: He's getting ripped off.
SERWER: He's getting messed over.
WASTLER: The winner - the top winner of "Who Wants to be a Millionaire." got $2.18 million. So Jennings would have to win 60 more games at least.
SERWER: Forget it man. He's never going to do that because I mean it's just impossible. He's got this great streak. He's Like Cal Ripken.
LISOVICZ: I've been watching this guy for weeks. He's a Mormon from Utah. He's going to tithe 10 percent of his winnings to the church. And you know what was really interesting, he not only knows technology and travel and art, but in the cocktail drink section, he breezed through that.
SERWER: That's knowledge (INAUDIBLE).
WASTLER: He's with the popes and ancient kings. I don't think so.
SERWER: Is that like "Quiz Show." (ph)
WASTLER: No, it wouldn't be like "Quiz Show," geez, conspiracy- minded. SERWER: I'm just asking the tough questions here.
WASTLER: But they're saying OK, so "Jeopardy" is the hardest. They say "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?" biggest pay out. Easiest is "The Price Is Right" apparently because in getting on and...
SERWER: My speed, my speed.
WASTLER: You got to be a shopper.
LISOVICZ: Let's get to the fun site.
WASTLER: The fun site, OK we've been talking about politics, right? There's this great little flash movie running around the Internet right now that, here's the Bush side of the argument. Now don't think we are busting on Kerry too. Because in this one it's a bipartisan thing. Kerry gets his say too.
SERWER: Who has the time -- I thought those were excellent, I mean very creative but who has the time to do that stuff? Who are these people? And they do it for free, for fun, just for all of us to enjoy?
WASTLER: These guys are trying to make a little money off it. It's jibjag.com. You can watch it free on the net or you can download it to your computer. They say it's a charge that they're using just to help pay server costs. I know previously in the week when I was trying to get back to the site, their servers were slammed and the site was temporarily off.
LISOVICZ: We like free and we like fun. And you always bring us...
WASTLER: And check out the fun site. It has a heart-warming ending, folks. You'll love it.
LISOVICZ: You should know because you are the webmaster.
Coming up next on "In the Money," it is time to hear from you as we read some of your e-mails from the past week and you can send us an e-mail right now. We're at email@example.com.
LISOVICZ: Now it's time to read about some of your worst cell phone horror stories. Bill in East Haven, Connecticut, wrote -- "we were on the highway when a woman talking on the cell phone rolled through a stop sign and lightly hit our car. Even after the accident, she kept talking on the phone as we waited for the police!"
LISOVICZ: Isabel from New York City had this horrific story. "I was holding a memorial service for my husband. Suddenly the cell phone of the woman standing next to the priest conducting the service began to ring and ring and ring. Five minutes later, the phone started to ring again! She never apologized."
SERWER: Another one!
LISOVICZ: But at least this next e-mailer had the decency to learn her lesson. Elizabeth from Austin, Texas wrote, "a few years ago I was watching a play when during an important and quiet moment of the play, my phone started ringing loudly. I ran out of the theater as fast as I could and stayed in the lobby until the show was over. Later I went back stage and apologized to the entire cast. Now I always just leave my cell phone in the car."
WASTLER: Lesson learned.
SERWER: It's a little tortured but better.
LISOVICZ: Yes, an improvement. Time now for our question of this week and it's linked to the race for the White House. "Is America more politically and culturally divided now than it was 30 years ago?" Send your answers to firstname.lastname@example.org and you should also visit our show page at money.com/inthemoney. That's where you will find the address for our fun site of the week and Allen says there's something really good on it. Right, Allen?
WASTLER: You bet.
LISOVICZ: A little tease. Thanks for joining us for this edition of "In the Money." Thanks to "Fortune" magazine editor at large Andy Serwer and money.com's managing editor Allen Wastler. Join us tomorrow, 3:00 p.m. Eastern when we'll look at looks in the presidency. Do most of us subconsciously vote for the guy who simply looks the most presidential? We'll talk to someone who's studied the issues. That's tomorrow at 3:00. See you then.
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