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America's Fighting Women; Hurricane Katrina's Wrath Caught on Tape; Interview With Vice President Dick Cheney; New York City Transit Worker Strike Ends

Aired December 22, 2005 - 22:00   ET


JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR: And good evening again, everyone.
When the history of the war in Iraq is written, there will be a chapter, a sad one, on the bravery and sacrifice of America's fighting women.


ANNOUNCER: Women on the war front -- months after insurgents turned their convoy into an inferno, new details emerge on the worst day in the history of women in the U.S. military.

BRIGADIER GENERAL WILMA VAUGHT (RET.), WOMEN'S MEMORIAL FOUNDATION: Women, the same as men, have to understand the same thing. In that environment, they're going to be in harm's way.

Eyewitness to a killer storm.


ANNOUNCER: 360 takes you to an extraordinary place, inside Hurricane Katrina, never-before-seen video captured by a man who braved the deadly floods and survived to tell the tale.

And that famously expensive bridge to nowhere, tens of millions of your tax dollars at work in Alaska -- but if you think Congress stopped the project, then think again.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As far as my bridge goes, the state is not about to give that money up.

ANNOUNCER: 360 investigates.



Live from the CNN studios in New York, tonight, filling in for Anderson, John King.

KING: Dick Cheney on Osama bin Laden and Iraq, and Donald Rumsfeld on troop withdrawals.

But, first, let's look at some of the other news making news at this moment.

In New York tonight, the city's mass transit system in is creaking back to life. Bus and subway operators, they are returning to work, ending a three-day strike. Neither side is claiming victory. Union leaders face multi-million dollar fines and jail time -- more on this story coming up.

Miami: The search continues at this hour for a suspected serial rapist who made a jailbreak Tuesday night. Reynaldo Rapalo is accused of sexually assaulting girls and women ages 11 to 79. Police now suspect he had outside help. There's a $16,000 reward for his capture.

Around the United States tonight, security checks are increasing at the nation's airports, due to the holiday. Travelers should be ready for metal detectors, pat-downs and screenings for explosives. But new guidelines let flyers board with scissors under four inches and small tools under seven inches. Experts say these changes will afford security teams more time to look for genuine threats.

Washington: The House and Senate now have approved a 30-day extension of the Patriot Act. The move comes amid a partisan fight over how to balance safeguards for civil liberties with effective anti-terror provisions. President Bush had opposed the temporary extension, yet is expected to sign this bill.

The current law expired New Year's Eve.

We begin tonight with a wartime twist on a holiday tradition, sizing up the year, taking stock, looking ahead. You do it. I do it -- a few more days to do it, anyway. And, today, heading to Camp David, after a year of political setbacks and another year of war in Iraq, so did the president.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This has been a year of strong progress toward a freer, more peaceful world, and a prosperous America. We had three sets of elections in Iraq, which were -- it's an amazing moment in the history of liberty. There's a new parliament has been seated in Afghanistan.

Our economy is strong and getting stronger. People are working. We've added 4.5 million new jobs since April of 2003.

Productivity is up. Small businesses are flourishing. Home ownership is high. It's been a good year for the American people.


KING: Mr. Bush is not the only one sizing things up, especially on Iraq.

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld spoke out in Baghdad. So did the vice president on a trip that took him to Iraq and Pakistan.

On that trip, he spoke with CNN's Dana Bash, who joins us now in Washington -- Dana.


Well, you know, the vice president's visit to Pakistan, where we talked to him, was intended to show that there is a softer side to the Bush foreign policy. The military is there on a humanitarian mission. They're giving medical help to the earthquake victims.

And the truth there -- the troops there that we talked to said that they feel their presence has been able to change the image of the United States among the locals, but that, when they got there, it was very bad, primarily because of Iraq.

So, I asked the vice president about the challenge of overcoming that bad perception around the world, especially in the broader Muslim world.


DICK CHENEY, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: First of all, the policy in Iraq is a good one.

And if you want a judgment on the policy in Iraq, you need to ask the Iraq people, who are -- just turned out in the millions to vote in a free election, who are free of the tyranny of Saddam Hussein.

And I think what you will see over time is, more and more, that awareness will seep in throughout the Muslim world that what the United States did in Iraq was absolutely right, that the Iraqi people appreciate it, and that what we leave behind is a functioning, viable democracy, in place of the dictatorship that enslaved 27 million people.

So, I think that's a temporary phenomenon.

BASH: The president set a little bit of a new tone, seeming to be maybe more humble, more contrite about some miscalculations, some setbacks when it comes to Iraq.

I wonder, if you, looking back on some of the things that -- that you thought at the time, maybe you said at the time, that the United States would be greeted as liberators, for example, do you think, looking back, that might have raised expectations for the American people about what to expect in Iraq that maybe weren't met?

CHENEY: No, I don't think so.

I -- I think, on Iraq, we got the big -- big issues right, that the fact was, Saddam Hussein had started two wars. He was an evil dictator. He slaughtered hundreds of thousands of people. He had used weapons of mass destruction which he produced himself. He had a robust nuclear program back in 1990 and '91. And he had provided a safe harbor for terrorists.

And I think the decision we made was the right decision. I think, when all is said and done, from the perspective of history, the vast majority of the Iraqi people (AUDIO GAP) grateful for what we did. Far better to have to their democracy that is now in place, rather than Saddam Hussein ruling.

And the world is a far safer place because of what we did. Those are the big items, the big issues. Now, you can get down and argue about various aspects, tactics and so forth. But I think the -- on the big issues, we got it right.

BASH: We are here in Pakistan. We are, I think, in the -- in the Kashmir region.

Some think, perhaps, Osama bin Laden could be around here. Do you think that Osama bin Laden still has control over al Qaeda? Do you think he still has the kind of control that he had, perhaps, on 9/11?

CHENEY: Well, I -- I think the organization has been degraded in some respects at the center.

That is to say, we have captured and killed a lot of people that were close in to the leadership. And I don't think it's as effective as it once was. On the other hand, it's more decentralized now. And there are a lot of wanna-bes out there, people who want to emulate Osama bin Laden.

There's some suggestion that some of the other attacks that have occurred since then weren't necessarily ordered by him, but were people who claim loyalty to him that were seeking to achieve an objective similar to his, that there's a loose, amorphous kind of relationship there.

So, I think the organization has, in fact, changed some. But we haven't heard from him in a year. We have done a lot of damage to his organization by capturing and killing key operatives in the al Qaeda organization.


BASH: Now, I also asked the vice president if he has any better sense of where Osama bin Laden is.

It has, of course, been four years and three months since the 9/11 attacks. John, he wouldn't go there at all. I said, well, the president's been talking more about bin Laden. He stopped me and smiled and said, well, he's the president. I'm the vice president.


KING: Well, Dana, I think the toughest thing for the vice president in 2005 was the indictment of his chief of staff, Scooter Libby, not only his chief of staff, but a longtime aide and friend to the vice president. Did you ask him about that? Of course, he was indicted in the CIA leak investigation.

BASH: That's right. And it has been a very tough year for him because of that, certainly at the end of this year. I tried. And he was very, very, very clear that he wasn't going to talk about. Just as, I mean, everybody else in the administration has said, he said, it's an ongoing investigation. I tried to even ask a process question, if you will, if he would be willing to testify in that trial, if he were called. Wouldn't go there either.

KING: Dana Bash, thank you for that, an interview with the vice president.

Dick Cheney could well be a witness at that trial in 2006.

Thank you, Dana.

BASH: Thank you.

KING: This time last year, about 160,000 American troops were deployed in Iraq. Tonight, about 160,000 American troops are deployed in Iraq.

That number is expected to shrink this year. Virtually everyone agrees on that. But what no one can, or what no one will say, at least not publicly, is when and how, and how many.

That said, they are talking to CNN's Barbara Starr, even if their boss is not.



BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld arrived in Iraq to wish the troops a happy holiday and meet with his commanders to make final plans to reduce troop levels early in the new year.

It was classic Rumsfeld.

RUMSFELD: Until it's announced -- the government's decision hasn't been announced. Therefore, it's not final.

STARR: But there is a plan. Senior military officials tell CNN it's a done deal. Twenty-thousand troops in Iraq for election security are heading home. That will leave about 138,000 troops in place. An additional 3,700 soldiers from the 1st Armored Division now in Kuwait will stay there as backup security force. Also, 3,700 soldiers from the 1st Infantry Division at Fort Riley, Kansas, will have their deployment orders canceled. But some may go to train Iraqi forces. And fewer will see combat.

LIEUTENANT GENERAL JAMES CONWAY, DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS, JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF: The typical things that you might see associated with combat operations -- cordon-and-knock patrols, sweeps -- those types of things that you've been reading about American soldiers and Marines doing over the last year, you're going to read increasingly about Iraqi units doing those things.

STARR (on camera): With the shift in strategy away from having so many U.S. troops in combat, the Pentagon hopes it can convince Congress and the public that the central issue is no longer exactly not how many troops are in Iraq, but the job that they are doing.

Barbara Starr, CNN, the Pentagon.


KING: Since the war began, more than a million troops have rotated through Iraq. Of that number, 115,000 have been women. They serve in all branches of the military. They fight. And they die. This is their story, the story of 115,000 women and, tonight, the story of three.

Here's CNN's Randi Kaye.


RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This was the scene six months ago, June 23 in Fallujah, a seven-ton truck in a ball of fire, lives inside incinerated before anyone knew what was happening.

LANCE CORPORAL ERIN LIBERTY, U.S. MARINE CORPS: It was just the loudest, hottest, you know, brightest-colored boom, you know, that I have ever seen and heard. I remember thinking, wow, we just got hit, you know, with a suicide bomber.

KAYE: A suicide bomber rammed his car into a Marine convoy's cargo truck, killing two female Marines and one female U.S. Navy reservist, the deadliest day for women in the U.S. military since World War II.

LIBERTY: My hands were burnt severely, you know, blistered. And I had skin coming off my pinkies and ring finger.

KAYE: Lance Corporal Erin Liberty remembers the explosion violently lifting the truck up in the air. Her seat mate, 43-year-old Regina Clark, was on fire.

LIBERTY: I look over to my left, and I see her. And she bounced down on the bench really hard. And she just bounced up. And she was tumbled, like, off into the flames. Like, I looked over. All I could see was orange fire and flames. And then she was gone.

KAYE: Clark was later identified only by her dog tags.

The women were returning from Camp Fallujah from guarding checkpoints and inspecting Muslim women for weapons. Male Marines were escorting the women's truck.

SERGEANT CAROZIO BASS, U.S. SOLDIER: We heard a -- a big boom and a large amount of smoke, about maybe 200 yards up.

KAYE: That's Sergeant Carozio Bass, running toward the burning convoy to help. BASS: You could see a blaze -- a blaze of fire. It almost seemed like something out of a movie. There was just huge flames. Most of the female Marines were covered in smoke, blood. Some of them were still burning. They had holes in their trousers.

And most of them were wondering what their faces looked like, you know. And my heart went out to them. I didn't know what to say to them at that time, other than they will be OK.

KAYE: Then, in the midst of the rescue, sniper fire -- by the time it was over, 21-year-old Holly Charette of Cranston, Rhode Island, 43-year-old Regina Clark from Centralia, Washington, and 20- year-old Ramona Valdez of the Bronx, New York, were all dead, along with three male Marines.

VAUGHT: I think women, the same as men, have to understand the same thing. And that is that, in that environment, they are going to be in harm's way.

KAYE: There are more than 15,000 female U.S. troops now serving in Iraq. Since March 2003, 45 have died, 31 by hostile fire.

The Marines prohibit women from participating in direct ground combat. But in a war where the front lines are blurred, that's nearly impossible. Holly Charette delivered the mail to soldiers in Iraq. She had dreamed of working for the post office. Ramona Valdez dreamed of moving her family out of the Bronx. And Regina Clark, she was just three months shy of retirement.

CAREY CLARK, SON OF REGINA CLARK: It was just me and her. So, definitely, it was -- I relied on her just as much as she relied on me.

KAYE: All Carey Clark has left now is this dog. His mom had used her own money to ship the stray back home from Iraq. He had prayed she wouldn't be far behind.

Randi Kaye, CNN, New York.


KING: An amazing piece.

Heading to New York City for the holidays? It seems like this will be history. The strike affecting the nation's largest mass transit system is over, but at what cost?

Also ahead, home movies are never like this -- a Katrina's survivor's harrowing real-time account of his neighborhood washing away before his eyes.

From Louisiana and around the world, this is 360.


KING: It's over. Those are the words echoing through New York City tonight, as the Transit Workers Union ended its three-day strike. The union hasn't claimed victory, but Mayor Michael Bloomberg has backpedaled on his name-calling. The strike that cost the city's economy an estimated $1 billion was reportedly hung up on a $20 million debate over pension contributions.

CNN's Adaora Udoji joins us live now from New York's Penn Station.

ADAORA UDOJI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: John, I think an end to the strike is music to seven million people's ears.

The union president came out this afternoon, announced an end to the strike, ordering all transit workers back to work, many of them making their way, as you and I are speaking right now. Mayor Michael Bloomberg is very optimistic that, by the morning hour rush hour, that the buses and the subways will be running on their normal schedule.

After all of the rhetoric, both sides, the MTA, the Mass Transit Authority, and the union, accusing each other of not dealing fair -- fairly, it took state media -- mediators to come in, in a marathon session, to get the two sides back to the negotiating table.

But there are still some outstanding issues. For example, a judge in Brooklyn had penalized the union $1 million -- the union $1 million a day for every day that they were out on a strike that was deemed to be illegal. And there are also some contempt-of-court charges that union leaders face. But, today, the judge said all that can wait.


JUDGE THEODORE JONES, NEW YORK SUPREME COURT: On behalf of the people of New York, and citizens of our city, that, indeed, hopefully will be able to salvage Christmas, and hopefully get back on track.


UDOJI: The mayor also applauded New Yorkers for passing the test, as he put it.


MICHAEL BLOOMBERG (R), MAYOR OF NEW YORK: This was really a very big test for our city. And I think it's fair to say we passed the test with flying colors. It wasn't easy. And, certainly, serious economic harm was inflicted. But we did what we had to do to keep the city running and running safely.


UDOJI: So, the big headline, the New York City transit workers back to work, which means that folks tomorrow are going to have a much easier time of getting anywhere in the city, and just in time for the holidays -- John.

KING: Adaora, you say an easier time in the morning. What about our show staff in the control room here? Is there a bus and a train waiting to take them home tonight?

UDOJI: I think that, maybe, there might be, actually.

From what we understand, we have seen some buses moving out of depots. I have also heard some trains here along -- near Penn Station moving along. So far, though, the MTA is saying they're not picking up any passengers as of yet. But that could come at -- at any time, really, but, certainly, by the morning, as the mayor was predicting.

KING: Adaora Udoji, three days of duty at Penn Station -- thank you very much.


KING: The strike is over.

Erica Hill now from Headline News joins with us some of the other stories we're following tonight.

Hi, Erica.


Wal-Mart back in the headlines tonight, after losing a class- action lawsuit totalling more than $172 million in damages. A jury in Oakland, California, sided with workers who claimed the company had denied them lunch breaks. Now, the retail giant lost two similar cases in Colorado and Oregon last year and faces 40 more lunch-break suits in other states. Wal-Mart's attorney said the company had been -- quote -- "100 percent compliant."

In Spain, a fat prize for a small town -- the El Gordo lottery made winners of 1,700 people in the town of Vic. It's not far from Barcelona. Each first-place winner will get about $360,000, for a municipal total of $612 million. Across the country, nearly $2.5 billion is being awarded -- not a bad Christmas gift.

In Rhode Island, well-intentioned government workers had to throw out the state's official Christmas tree. That's because the 18-foot blue spruce didn't hold up so well after it was sprayed with a fire- retardant chemical. The spray was part of Rhode Island's strict fire safety regulations. Officials have been dispatched to find a replacement -- the government suggesting maybe they should go with an artificial tree.

And could it be a Christmas miracle? Not exactly the Shroud of Turin, but the Stadium Club, a restaurant in Jacksonville, Florida, has already made a relic of this piece of cookware. A chef at the restaurant was astounded when he went to empty the pan used for heating nachos and found an image of Jesus Christ.

John, no idea how long it's going to take for that bad boy to show up on eBay.

KING: You stay right there. You think that dish is one, I'm going to raise you three here. Food can be quite a religious experience.

Check out this one, a fish stick. Jesus made a cameo appearance to an Ontario, Canada, man.


KING: There's Jesus on a fish stick.


KING: No, don't you go anywhere.

The Virgin Mary...

HILL: You got more?

KING: The Virgin Mary cheese sandwich sat in a Miami woman's freezer for 10 years.

HILL: That one, I remember.

KING: Well, she sold it on eBay, $28,000.

I was the number-two bidder on that one.

And, in West Virginia, a man claims he found this Mary and Jesus Funyun under his car seat -- only $609 on eBay.

HILL: That's it?

KING: I missed that one. Did you win that one?

HILL: For a Funyun? I mean, by the way, the...

KING: Did you -- did you win that bidding?

HILL: The Funyun, highly underrated. I didn't. I lost that one. But there's hope for both of us, once the -- once the pan goes -- goes up for bids.

KING: Amen.

HILL: All right.


HILL: Maybe you will get it for Christmas.


KING: All right.

When 360 returns, the story of an Alaskan bridge that never happened and other wild tales of pork-barrel spending gone, what else, hog-wild.

And the continuing investigation into whether who died at Memorial hospital in New Orleans after Katrina may have been helped to die. One doctor says things are not the way they seem.


KING: The attorney general of Louisiana calls euthanasia allegations credible, but one New Orleans doctor insists that's not what overdoses of morphine mean at all -- when 360 continues.


KING: More now on CNN's continuing investigation into whether medical professionals may have resorted to euthanasia at a New Orleans hospital in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

CNN has learned more than one professional is under scrutiny as a possible person of interest in the investigation.

But CNN's Jonathan Freed has met a doctor who has another explanation.


JONATHAN FREED, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): They're trying to put the pieces back together at this marina, where Dr. Ben Deboisblanc usually keeps his boat here in New Orleans, another part of his life shaken by Hurricane Katrina.

DR. BEN DEBOISBLANC, RESIDENT OF LOUISIANA: And we're trying to rebuild our practices, rebuild the health care infrastructure in New Orleans.

FREED: After Katrina, there were hundreds of deaths at hospitals and nursing homes in and around New Orleans, all being investigated by Louisiana's attorney general. One investigation has focused on allegations of euthanasia at Memorial Medical Center, after the hospital was surrounded by floodwaters in the days after the storm. Forty-five bodies were found at Memorial.

CNN reported on Wednesday that a source familiar with the Memorial investigation, a source who does not want to be identified publicly, says more than one person is being scrutinized as a possible person of interest for crimes related to euthanasia there.

DEBOISBLANC: I think what they're likely to find is just the opposite, that the physicians there were trying as hard as they could to not only protect the interests of the patient, in terms of their -- their health and well-being, but to make sure that they were comfortable.

FREED: Dr. Deboisblanc says he understands what it must have been like at Memorial, because he was trapped at Charity Hospital under similar conditions, with no power or plumbing, temperatures topping 100 degrees, and a sense you had been abandoned, that society had crumbled around you.

Deboisblanc says he has spoken to doctors who were at Memorial and believes, based on those discussions and his own experience, that the staff at Memorial was more likely providing what he calls comfort care to terminally ill patients, something he says could be mistaken for euthanasia, because it can involve administering potential lethal pain relievers, like morphine.

DEBOISBLANC: The specific purpose of comfort care is not to cause the death of the patient, but merely to relieve leave pain and suffering. And if death results inadvertently, then -- then, that's an acceptable side effect of the therapy. The -- the priority is to provide comfort.

FREED: Dr. Bryant King was at Memorial Medical Center in the days after the storm and first told CNN, in an exclusive interview in September, that he was first approached by a doctor on Thursday, September 1, and asked what he thought about putting patients out of their misery.

He took it as just talk. Later, he says, he saw a doctor holding a handful of syringes, telling patients she was going to give them something to make them feel better. King doesn't know what was in the syringes. Still, he says:

DR. BRYANT KING, FORMER CONTRACT PHYSICIAN AT MEMORIAL HOSPITAL: Nobody walks around with a handful of syringes and goes and gives the same thing to each patient. That -- that's just not how we do it.

FREED: King felt uncomfortable and left the hospital. He says he did not witness any acts of euthanasia.

Dr. Deboisblanc says the New Orleans medical community is not overly worried about the attorney general's investigation. And he says, even if evidence is found to support the allegations of euthanasia:

DEBOISBLANC: There's good and bad doctors, just like there are good and bad lawyers, there are good and bad policemen. I -- I don't think that would be an indictment of -- of the profession as a whole.

FREED: The attorney general has told CNN, the allegations of euthanasia are -- quote -- "credible and worth investigating."

Jonathan Freed, CNN, New Orleans.


KING: How many deaths might be involved is still under investigation, and no charges have been filed.

Two companies are involved with patient care at Memorial Hospital. Tenet Healthcare runs the hospital. LifeCare of New Orleans leases space to care for long-term patients on the seventh floor. Both companies have declined to be interviewed by CNN, citing the ongoing investigation. But both say their employees acted heroically under difficult conditions. And both say they're cooperating with that investigation by the attorney general's office.

The floodwaters of Hurricane Katrina captured minute by minute, rising foot by rising foot, a Louisiana a man determined to make a video record, with no idea how high he would have to go to keep his camera dry -- that's coming up.

But what do you get if you go to a school you go where all the kids are into yoga and meditation. If you really breathe in and breathe out, you get a salad bar? 360 taking it to the mat. Stay with us.


KING: Horrifying footage of Hurricane Katrina made not by a professional cameraman, but by an amateur standing smack-dab in the path of the storm. But first here's a look at what's happening at this moment.

Police in Palm Desert, California are on the lookout for thieves who clearly knew exactly what they wanted. It took them less than two minutes inside to round up and get away with in a new silver Mercedes, a painting by Picasso and a lithograph by Marc Chagall.

The assisted suicide advocate headline writers called Dr. Death has been denied parole. Seventy-seven year old Dr. Jack Kevorkian, who is serving a 10 to 25 year sentence for second degree murder claims he is ill and does not have long to live but the Michigan Parole Board said his condition does not meet the commutation of his sentence.

It looks like science textbooks will need to be updated. Scientists studying Hubble Telescope photos have discovered that Uranus has two more moons than previously known, bringing to current total to 20 plus. Two more rings were also discovered.

And his parents are distraught. Toga the Penguin, three months old, 18 inches tall, weighing nine pounds remains missing. He was snatched from a zoo on England's Isle of Wight several days ago and zookeepers, knowing Toga is still dependent on his father for food feel he can't last long and fear the worst. Police and the Royal Navy are on the lookout.

Now to Slidell, Louisiana, the end of August, almost four months ago. A homeowner decides to make a home movie starring a newcomer named Katrina. What he doesn't know how evil the villain in his film will turn out to be and that his footage will get more dramatic as the storm forces him to constantly retreat, not that it stops him from filming.

Here's CNN's Gulf Coast correspondent Susan Roesgen.


SUSAN ROESGEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Kennard Jackley says he only picks up his video camera when a storm is coming. And on August 28th, he knew a big one was on the way. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. This is it, insurance people. I'll give you close up of the living room.

ROESGEN: Jackley set out to make a video record of everything in his house, so if the storm did some damage, he could make a claim for what was lost.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. You'd never know there was a hurricane coming.

ROESGEN: This was the afternoon before the storm. But by daybreak the next morning the wind was starting to howl.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, Mother Nature is angry, my friends.

ROESGEN: For 30 years, Kennard Jackley was a merchant marine sailing through storms on oceans all over the world. And here he was in his own house, watching a hurricane wrap itself around him. But he kept the camera rolling and his commentary is a conversation between an old man and the sea.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've had enough out of you there, whatever your name, Katrina, or whatever the hell your name is.

ROESGEN: Eventually Jackley realizes the situation is much worse than he thought. It isn't just the wind anymore.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Uh oh. The ground floor is buckling up underneath me.

ROESGEN: It's the water from the lake swallowing his property.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Uh-oh. There it goes. It's in. Here it comes. It's in the house. Broke the door lock. It there is. Oh, man, I can't stop it now.

ROESGEN: Now, surrounded by water, Jackley watched his neighbor's homes start to float away.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There goes Charlie's boathouse. It's taking off now.

ROESGEN: Jackley begins to question his decision to stay.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When's this thing supposed to stop? Woo! Next time, leave, stupid! I don't even think I saved my golf clubs.

ROESGEN: It took about a day for the water to go down.

(on camera): This is one of the few things that didn't float away. This is one of his wife's golf clubs. To give you an idea how high the water was here, I'm 5'8" and the golf club takes us up to about nine feet. But you have to remember that the water that was here came from the lake 200 yards away.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Brave, I wouldn't go brave, probably crazy. ROESGEN: Today, Kennard Jackley is starting to put his home back together. The whole bottom half of his house is bare. His wife's little beauty parlor, the washing room and sewing room all gone.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The windows was 90, 100 dollars.

ROESGEN: He and his wife are trying to figure out how to pay for repairs. The couple didn't have flood insurance and the insurance company offered $14,000. But the Jackleys say they need at least four times that much. So they're selling DVDs of Kennard's home video to try to raise the money to rebuild.

(on camera): Why stay here? Why put your house back together when you know the next one could come even higher?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why? I'm from Illinois but this is the only house I've ever had. And I'm not going to let a little rain hurt me.

ROESGEN: It was more than a little rain.

We had history made, didn't we? Part of growing up, that's what I say. You got to do what you got to do.

Man. Going like a mammy jammer out there.

ROESGEN (voice-over): Katrina made history and Kennard Jackley recorded it, now he is using that record to try to get past it.

Susan Roesgen, CNN, Slidell, Louisiana.


KING: What's that old disclaimer of do not try this at home? There is even more to see of Kennard Jackley's amazing video just go to, our new live online video subscription service and check it out.

Your tax dollars at work. Alaska land developers want your money to build bridges to nowhere. Look closely. See any traffic? And idea that will not die. Build it and the cars will come.

And a school where children start the day by releasing their bad energy. Should yoga have a place in American schools, when 360 continues.


KING: With a record federal deficit of more than 300 billion dollars, what's a few million among politicians? When it's pork on the menu, not much. Which will explain why when Alaska lost out on federal money for a controversial new bridge project you might have thought it was history. But the politicians knew better. Watch, because if you pay taxes, you have got a stake in this. Here's CNN's congressional correspondent Joe Johns.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Remember the bridges to nowhere? Those wildly expensive bridges powerful Alaska politicians tried to get? The stakes were enormous. Hundreds of millions of your tax dollars for those bridges, and they were going to build one of them here. This is that nowhere.

Anyway, most people thought the bridges got killed in a huge congressional showdown. But guess what? They're back. Thanks to a decision by Alaska's governor to revive the projects, one of which would go here and connect Anchorage to an unpopulated and isolated swathe of land known as Point Mackenzie over there.

Keeping them honest, we decided to ask some of the people who have a dog in this fight whether the project is worth the 600 million dollar price tag. First the obvious, Point Mackenzie is out of the way and hard to get to despite being just across the water from the city.

(on camera): The city of Anchorage looks close but getting from there to here is a two hour drive right now. You have to go all the way around the inlet.

(voice-over): A two hour trip past the air force base, spectacular mountain ranges, a town, and developments and snow covered road down into wilderness, the place critics have called nowhere. But real estate broker Darcie Salmon, one of the bridge project's biggest local promoters says the future will look much different.

DARCIE SALMON, BRIDGE BOOSTER: Over here, we can offer half acre, acre lots, private wall (ph), private septic (ph), recreational, lakes, rivers, streams, snow machines, they're going to want to come here.

JOHNS: Try telling that Janelle Walton, who lives across the water just a few paces from the Anchorage end of the bridge.

(on camera): The bridge would not go straight through your backyard. It wouldn't take your house but it would take the very next house.

JANELLE WALTON, BRIDGE OPPONENT: Yes. I would be wishing it would take my house it would be so close. It would be unbearable for us.

JOHNS (voice-over): She sees no reason for it except to massage some big political egos.

WALTON: Satisfy some representative's ego so he has a bridge named after him, I mean really, that's the gist of it. It's going to be Don Young's Way.

JOHNS: Congressman Don Young of Alaska, of course, is the powerful chairman of the House Transportation Committee. He vigorously defends the project and the money Congress originally set aside to help build it.

REP. DON YOUNG, (R) TRANSPORTATION CHAIRMAN: As far as my bridge goes, the state's not about to give that money up.

JOHNS: But at the end of the day, it's a question of priorities. And critics say using federal dollars to build a bridge to a place that is for the most part unpopulated is, well, a bridge too far. Joe Johns, CNN, Point Mackenzie, Alaska.


KING: Joe gets all the good trips.

Reading, writing and greeting your inner life. We'll take you to the only public school in America with a yoga based curriculum. That's next on 360.


KING: Now that yoga has become mainstream in America, it's not unusual to find it in practically every city across America. But in schools? As a basis for education? CNN's medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen found one such school.


ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: On a cold Chicago morning, Alejandro Gutierrez runs to catch the bus.

And this is the bus, no fuel, just feet. There are no regular buses to this school. The principal banned them. She also banned pop-tarts, pastries and sugar cereals for breakfast, which many children eat here at school.

And that's just the beginning.


COHEN: Welcome to Namaste Charter School. Where every morning starts with yoga and meditation.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK, boys and girls, if you brought any extra energy with you today, let it go.

COHEN: Later in the day, there's an hour of phys. ed. And then recess, too.

ALLISON SLADE, PRINCIPAL, NAMASTE CHARTER SCHOOL: And what we've really seen is that kids who are healthy and active do perform better in the classroom.

COHEN: Allison Slade, the principal said she's getting results. She started this charter school last year in a largely Hispanic neighborhood with low test scores and high obesity rates. Now, many overweight kids are slimming down. And in a city where many fall short of the state's literacy goals, 80 percent of Namaste's students are now doing better than the city average.

SLADE: What did you make? Apple? You like red apples? COHEN: Slade said she starred started the school because she was horrified what she saw as a teacher in other public schools.

SLADE: I used to see my kids come to school and they eat fiery hot Cheetos for breakfast and lunch.

COHEN: Here, no chips, no fries at lunch, instead, a mini salad bar and fresh fruit which the kids actually eat. The school also serves foods like pizza and chocolate milk but not that often.

(on camera): At this school, you don't have a lot of ice cream, you don't have a lot of cakes, you don't have a lot of cookies, you don't have a lot of fried foods. Do you miss them?


COHEN (voice-over): And in a neighborhood with a lot of violence, yoga permeates every aspect of this school. From the name, which is a greeting ...

What does "namaste" mean?

UNIDENTIFIED CHILDREN: The light in me is the light in you.

COHEN: To story time.

To learning what to do when you get mad.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do this and squeeze it really hard.

COHEN: Squeeze really hard.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: For 10 minutes and then do this.

COHEN: Now, what does this help you do?


COHEN: It all sounds pretty earthy crunchy and some parents were initially skeptical, including Ricky (ph) and Jesse's (ph) mom. But then she saw how the school changed her kids.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They surprised me. Because I don't expect a seven year old to say no to Doritos or no to cookies.

COHEN: Right now so many parents want yoga, meditation and healthy food for their kids, the school has two applicants for every space.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is a peaceful school and not some kind of junky school.

COHEN: Elizabeth Cohen, CNN, Chicago.


KING: I will leave a note for Anderson to try to doing that at staff meetings once I'm very safely out of town.

On the radar tonight, subway trains expected to begin rolling in New York, the system fully up and running by the end of the day, just in time for New Yorkers to head out of town for the holiday weekend. Now, they can make it as far as the city limits again for just two bucks.

Special delivery at the international space station, a supply ship expected to dock there tomorrow with three tons of food, water, spare parts and holiday presents.

And for the last time since Katrina, the last call on Bourbon Street. Starting Friday night, no more last call, no more curfew in all of the neighborhoods west of the Industrial Canal.

In the headlines tomorrow, on the radar tonight.

In the next hour, the women at the heart of Christianity. CNN PRESENTS: "The Two Marys." A historical look at the Virgin Mary and Mary Magdalene. Who they were and how they are being better understood today.


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