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U.S. Army Launches Criminal Investigation Into Pat Tillman's Death; Bush Returns From Trip to South Asia

Aired March 5, 2006 - 07:00   ET


TONY HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: And good morning, everyone.
"Now in the News," the U.S. Army is launching a criminal investigation into the death of former NFL player Pat Tillman to see if negligent homicide was involved. As you may remember, he was killed in a friendly fire incident in Afghanistan nearly two years ago. Tillman walked away from a multimillion-dollar NFL contract to become an elite Army Ranger after the 9/11 attacks.

New this morning, President Bush returns from his trip to South Asia. Mr. Bush says he has enhanced U.S. security through his visits to Afghanistan, India and Pakistan. Later this morning, Pakistan's president, General Pervez Musharraf, will be Wolf Blitzer's guest on "LATE EDITION." That's at 11:00 Eastern, 8:00 Pacific.

BETTY NGUYEN, CNN ANCHOR: In Baghdad now, gunmen disguised as Iraqi police commandos have attacked a Sunni mosque. The hour-long midnight gun battle left three guards dead and six other people wounded. The attack is the latest sectarian violence that has stoked fears of a civil war in Iraq.

In Indonesia today, thousands of Muslim demonstrators denounced President Bush as a terrorist and demanded that U.S. troops leave Iraq and Afghanistan. The rally in front of the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta ended peacefully and under the watchful eye of some 2,000 police officers.

HARRIS: A new tape with messages. An al Qaeda leader is offering his congratulations to Hamas, the militant group that's forming a new Palestinian government. In a tape that first aired yesterday on the Arabic TV network Al-Jazeera, Ayman al-Zawahiri also blasted the West for insulting Islam's Prophet Mohammed. Al-Zawahiri was referring to controversial cartoons published in many Western newspapers.

And in southern California, riot police move in to contain violence that erupted at a punk rock concert. San Bernardino Police say the crowd turned on them after they removed a stabbing victim and someone who had been beaten. Police fired tear gas and pepper balls to regain control. Two police officers suffered minor injuries.

And from the CNN Center in Atlanta, this is CNN SUNDAY MORNING. 7:00 a.m. on the East Coast -- Hi, Betty.

NGUYEN: Good morning. HARRIS: 4:00 a.m. in Hollywood, where, you know, staffers are pulling an all-nighter, getting things all together...

NGUYEN: Yes, an all-weekender.

HARRIS: ... the final touches on the Kodak Theater.

Hey, if you're watching the show this morning, why not drop us an e-mail? Let us know what you're doing. We'd just like to know what's happening in your world this morning,

Good morning, everyone. I'm Tony Harris.

NGUYEN: And I'm Betty Nguyen. Yes, a lot of people having an Oscar party today.


NGUYEN: Want to thank you for being with us on this Oscar Sunday.

Coming this up morning, Hollywood hands out the gold tonight, but did they go for broke with this year's nominees? Some in mainstream America say Tinseltown is out of touch. We're going to let you weigh in on that.

Plus, Sin City in 1940. Instead of an oasis of racial tolerance, it became a hub of segregation and poverty. That is until one group shut down the strip and stormed Caesar's Palace. Their story of courage coming up.

Plus, military veterans who are -- who stared terror right in the face and did the right thing. It is a CNN exclusive, their chilling account of stopping Zacarias Moussaoui.

HARRIS: As CNN first told you, the Pentagon probe into Pat Tillman will not focus so much on how he died, but the way his death were investigated. Tillman's family has demanded details from the Army, including why were his uniform and armor burned just a day after he was killed?

CNN Pentagon Correspondent Barbara Starr explains.


BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: The Pentagon informed the Tillman family that they have now told the Army's criminal investigative division, the CID, to begin a criminal investigation into the death of Pat Tillman. There have been several previous investigations, but those essentially have been fact-finding investigations.

Those are the efforts that resulted in learning that Pat Tillman died in a friendly fire or fratricide incident in Afghanistan, in a firefight, accidentally. At the time, believed to have been shot by fellow soldiers in essentially what was an incident of so-called fog of war, if you will.

But what the Pentagon has now said is that the Army failed procedurally to conduct a criminal investigation, that they must go back and use criminal rules of investigation, criminal rules of procedure, look at the entire matter again, determine what happened under those rules, determine potentially if there was some incident of negligent homicide. To be very clear, Pentagon officials telling us not to jump to any conclusions. This does not mean there was negligent homicide.

It doesn't mean that someone will be held criminally responsible, but that after all this time, the Army failed to conduct the investigation in the proper way. They need to now go back, do it again and come to a determination about what they believed really happened to Pat Tillman.


HARRIS: And again, that was CNN Pentagon Correspondent Barbara Starr reporting. She says the Army also vows that the military would show the same diligence in probing the death of any American.

NGUYEN: Here's a look at stories making news "Across America" this morning.

In Boston, friends and family of Imette St. Guillen paid their respects to the 24-year-old college student yesterday. New York police are investigating her death. Police say she was raped, strangled and suffocated with tape after leaving a bar last Saturday.

Now to West Virginia. Authorities there say one person is dead following a fire at a coal-fired power plant. That fire started in a smoke stack that was under construction. Three people were rescued from atop of the structure.

New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin is up for reelection, but with many of his voters dispersed all across the country it makes for a long campaign trail. Yesterday Nagin stumped in Houston, Texas. He says the post-hurricane recovery allows the opportunity for the American dream to be realized in the Crescent City.

And from Maryland, animals that survived Hurricane Katrina are looking for new homes. How cute. The nonprofit group Pet Connect was hoping to find owners for 23 dogs and cats displaced by the storm. Temporary shelters along the Gulf Coast are closing, so the group must find homes for hundreds of Katrina pets.

HARRIS: Awards last night. The winners at last night's Independent Spirit Awards may be a prelude to tonight's Oscars. The gay cowboy love story, "Brokeback Mountain," won best picture, and its creator, Ang Lee, was named best director.

"Capote" took the best actor award for Philip Seymour Hoffman. He's also an Oscar favorite for his portrayal of author Truman Capote.

Felicity Huffman, also an Oscar nominee, was named best actress for "Transamerica," in which she plays a man preparing for a sex change operation.

The Independent Spirit Awards honor the best in lower-budgeted edgy filmmaking.

NGUYEN: Well, "Brokeback Mountain" is one of three gay-themed films vying for top honors at tonight's Academy Awards. Not exactly a theme that attacks conservative middle America, though.

CNN's Brooke Anderson traveled to the U.S. heartland, where as fast as you say "Brokeback," they audience is riding off into the sunset.



BROOKE ANDERSON, CNN ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT, (voice over): Far from the glitz and glamour of Hollywood lies Lebanon, Kansas, population 250 people, median age 52. A place where three houses recently sold for a grand total of $11,000 on eBay.

Many have asked the question, is Hollywood out of touch with middle America? What better place to find out than the middle of America. This is the geographic center of the continental United States in Lebanon, Kansas.

RANDY MAUS, LEBANON RESIDENT: Out here, at least in rural America where you could say it's the Bible belt, we're still looking for movies that have creative substance and a storyline.

ANDERSON: Randy Maus is a Lebanon transplant from the Boston area. He, along with other Lebanon residence, including the ladies in the Methodist Church bell choir, aren't exactly thrilled with the films the Oscars are honoring.

Has anybody seen "Brokeback Mountain?"


ANDERSON: Anybody want to see it?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're just not interested in all the sex and skin.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's just not my style of life.

ANDERSON: What kind of movies do you want Hollywood to make?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What about "The Sound of Music" and some of those?

LADIES: Right. Right.

ANDERSON: We stopped by the Lebanon hotspot, Ladow's Market, where one local told us Hollywood just can't relate to a farming way of life?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They've never been back in here to know what it's like to actually have to make a living doing this.

ANDERSON: The closest theater is 12 miles away in Smith Center, Kansas. One movie theater, one film shown per week, and none of the movies nominated for best picture have played here.

MIKE HUGHES, CENTER THEATER: We have a large senior citizen base, so we gear a lot of our movies towards that and our children's pictures do real well.

ANDERSON: So say you put "Brokeback Mountain" on the screen?

HUGHES: I feel it would not play very well. It wouldn't be profitable for us.

ANDERSON: Dave Karger, a senior writer for "Entertainment Weekly," says profits aren't the driving force behind the Academy Awards.

DAVE KARGER, "ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY": They're about recognizing the five best movies of the year, not the five most profitable movies of the year.

ANDERSON: Here in the middle of America, in Lebanon, the Oscars are as far from their minds as they seem to be from the minds of those in Hollywood.

Does anyone plan to watch the Academy Awards?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think the Oscars are for the people in California. I don't think anybody else really cares.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why waste your time? We'll come to bell choir practice.

ANDERSON: Brooke Anderson, CNN, Lebanon, Kansas.


HARRIS: What? What did I miss?

NGUYEN: She said, "Why waste your time?" We're going to bell practice.

NGUYEN: There you go. All right. Here's our e-mail question.

And look, think about this, and then send in those responses. I mean, think about it. Is Hollywood out of touch? Has Tinseltown captured America with its picks this year?

NGUYEN: We're asking to you e-mail us your thoughts on that. What do you think? Have they really gone off the deep end, or are these really true movies that reflect society?

Tell us what you think -- We'll read those replies on the air.

HARRIS: Just think, you can watch all of the glitz and glamour of Oscars' big night right here on CNN. Join us this evening for a special "SHOWBIZ TONIGHT."

Is that Kenny Loggins?

A.J. Hammer, Brooke Anderson and Sibila Vargas will be live on the red carpet before the Oscars.

NGUYEN: It starts at 5:30 Eastern on "Headline News." Then at 6:00, the live coverage moves over to CNN with "Hollywood's Gold Rush."

You don't want to miss it.

Well, this glamour and glitz music just gets you mellow, doesn't it, on a Sunday morning? It makes you want to stick around and watch us, hopefully.

Mariah Carey was among the winners at the Soul Train Awards. She picked up some more hardware for her trophy case. But check out the hardware in her other hand. Talk about product placement.

We talked about this yesterday. It's a BlackBerry, right?

HARRIS: She's got a BlackBerry at the awards ceremony? It's out of control!

NGUYEN: It is an extension of your life. Many people cannot go on without the BlackBerry.

HARRIS: There was life before the BlackBerry, people.

NGUYEN: I don't see how. I don't see how. Nor the cell phone. How did we get around without a cell phone?

HARRIS: All right. Let's hear the music.


HARRIS: I didn't think there was...

NGUYEN: Did you have a suit like that one back then?

HARRIS: Back in the day. Hey, back in the day that was hot.

You know you want to sing along.

Thirty years since hip-hop scratched and sampled its way on to the radio. Now the street beats that revolutionized the music industry are making history again.

Good morning, Bonnie.

BONNIE SCHNEIDER, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Good morning. That's hip- hop? I guess it is...

HARRIS: That's right.

SCHNEIDER: ... at the beginning of the early stages, huh?

HARRIS: Seventies, late '70s, yes.

SCHNEIDER: Right. Right. OK.



NGUYEN: Well, in case you are just joining us, here's a look at your top stories this Sunday morning.

President Bush is back at the White House after his visit to India, Afghanistan and Pakistan. The president arrived roughly two hours ago and he hopes the trip translates into better security for the U.S.

A criminal investigation will get under way to determine if former NFL player and Army Ranger Pat Tillman's death is a case of negligent homicide. Tillman passed on a multimillion-dollar football contract in order to fight for his country after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

And Hawaii is starting to dry out after days of just pouring rain. State officials took an aerial tour to see how much damage the island sustained. Standing water does remain and roughly 20 homes were flooded.

HARRIS: Well, it will be cold in the Midwest, in the Northeast today. Let's get a first check of weather with Bonnie Schneider in the CNN Weather Center.

Bonnie, good morning.

SCHNEIDER: Good morning, Betty and Tony.


NGUYEN: All right.

HARRIS: All right. Bonnie, thank you.

Armed with a turntable, speakers and a boom box, young black men took to the streets of New York to provide a positive, artistic outlook for children of the Bronx.

NGUYEN: Oh, yes. Bring it back. I love that music.

You know, we're hearing so much of it today because of these roots right here. Now 30 years later it is a cultural phenomenon. See how the prestigious Smithsonian Museum is now rapping to the same beat. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)


NGUYEN: Is that a golden voice or what?

HARRIS: It's a good song. It's a good song. Nice voice.

NGUYEN: Mariah Carey. Well, you know what, Tony? She better thank her lucky stars. For her BlackBerry, that is, not just for those vocal chords, because she stored her acceptance speech in her BlackBerry.

HARRIS: Oh, she did not.

NGUYEN: Yes, she did. I mean, forget paper when you have a BlackBerry, right? The comeback queen picked up best album and best single honors at the 20th annual Soul Train Music Awards last night. A year ago it looked like, though, it was the end of the road for Carey's career. But after several personal and professional setbacks, Mariah came back strong, blowing the roof off the charts with her album "The Emancipation of Mimi."


MARIAH CAREY, SINGER, SONGWRITER: The whole Island Def Jam staff who really, really, really did their thing to make this song "We Belong Together" the biggest hit of the year.


NGUYEN: Who needs paper when you have a BlackBerry, right?

HARRIS: It's not black. It's like silver or something, isn't it?.

NGUYEN: It's the new one.

HARRIS: It's -- they're fancy now, aren't they?

NGUYEN: They are very fancy.

HARRIS: It's out of control though. It's -- come one, you don't take -- you know what? Come on.

NGUYEN: What is the difference between that and a piece of paper? If she would have written those names on a piece of paper -- you know, it's up to date, technology. Get with it.


NGUYEN: Mr. "I don't use my BlackBerry."

HARRIS: Hey, speaking of -- well, you know, some say this was a fad years ago, that it would never catch on, never would really last, but... NGUYEN: Look at it today.

HARRIS: ... the truth is, hip-hop has sort of fashioned itself into a major part of American music. It's the truth.

NGUYEN: Yes. And we're talking anywhere from mainstream radio and commercial advertising to TV-show themed songs. Hip-hop is where it is at, and very soon it's going to have a permanent place in history.

CNN's Chris Huntington has those details.



CHRIS HUNTINGTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): In the late '70s, groups like The Sugar Hill Gang, as well as deejays, emcees, graffiti artists and break dancers from New York's South Bronx created a cultural phenomenon known as hip-hop. Thirty years later, the Smithsonian Institution is collecting hip-hop memorabilia for a permanent exhibit it hopes to unveil within three to five years.

Marvette Perez is the curator.

MARVETTE PEREZ, SMITHSONIAN CURATOR: To ignore it or not to take it into consideration, not only the impact it has had in the culture, the economics, in, you know, commerce, in sports, would to be ignore, I think, something important about urban culture and the history of urban America.

HUNTINGTON: D.J. Grandmaster Caz and photographer Joe Conzo are two of hip-hop's pioneers. They applaud the Smithsonian's plan.

D.J. GRANDMASTER CAZ, COLD CRUSH BROTHERS: It's a blessing for hip-hop, it's a blessing for rap music, it's a blessing for graffiti, it's a blessing for B-Boy, for deejays, for everything.

JOE CONZO, HIP-HOP PHOTOGRAPHER: I mean, you hear "Smithsonian." I mean, that is America's museum, you know. And it's long overdue.

HUNTINGTON: They should know. They were there when it all started.

CONZO: I documented the birth of a genre of music that I had no idea back then 30 years later would be a multibillion-dollar industry.

CAZ: And you this is way before the bling-bling era and all the cars and this and that because we're on a bike, on a ten-speed.

HUNTINGTON: Perez has already collected such classic hip-hop artifacts as Grandmaster Flash's turntable, the jackets of legendary break dancer Crazy Legs and Zulu Nation founder Afrika Bambaattaa, and the concert T-shirts of rapper Ice-T.

ICE-T, RAPPER: It's absolutely fly. You know, coming from something that was supposed to have been a fad, and now to be accepting something as prestigious as the Smithsonian Institute, that's a great thing.

HUNTINGTON: But hip-hop is not all rhymes and good times. It has spawned gangsta rap with its idolization of thuggery and tough guys shooting each other, sometimes mirrored in real life at concerts.

D.J. KOOL HERC, HIP-HOP LEGEND: You go to a rap concert, casualty. You know? And mainstream America is still fearful of it. And it's at a point right now they want the music but they don't want the element.

HUNTINGTON: But Perez says that element will be in the exhibit.

PEREZ: We will get criticism, of course, but we cannot ignore it and not deal with it because then we will not be doing justice to it and we would be hypocritical.

HUNTINGTON: The hip-hop pioneers just hope the Smithsonian doesn't gloss over how it all started.

CAZ: It's very important that this culture be documented and not only documented for when it became a household word or a full-blown entity, but document it from the beginning, from its roots, to where it started.

HUNTINGTON: Chris Huntington, CNN, New York.



NGUYEN: His actions were sinister, but it was Zacarias Moussaoui's acting that gave him away. A trial starts tomorrow to determine if Moussaoui gets life in prison or death. Now, he pleaded guilty to terror conspiracies but denies any part in the 9/11 plot.

Instead, he says he hoped to pilot a plane into the White House in a second wave of attacks. But he never got the chance because not one, but two flight instructors were suspicious enough to call the FBI. In a story you will only see right here on CNN, Hugh Sims and Tim Nelson tell their stories on camera for the first time. Here's our justice correspondent Kelli Arena.


KELLI ARENA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): They're good friends, military veterans who work together at the same flight school. Tim Nelson spent 20 years in the Air Force, flew missions as a B-52 gunner in the Gulf war. Hugh Sims was in the Air Force for 24 years, flew 150 missions in Vietnam and then was an airline pilot for 16 years.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They offered me a job --

ARENA: They don't see each other much since Sims retired, but when they do, the talk inevitably turns to the strange flight student they met in August of 2001. It was in Egan, a small city 15 miles outside of Minneapolis. A foreign student was coming to the Pan Am international flight school to learn how to fly 747 jumbo jets. Hugh Sims says the guy didn't even have a pilot license.

HUGH SIMS, FLIGHT SCHOOL MANAGER: So at first it was more curiosity then my antenna was up.

ARENA: All the school had was an e-mail from the aspiring pilot asking for quote, help to achieve my dream. I'm sure that you can do something, he wrote. After all, we are in America and everything is possible. It was signed, Zack, short for Zacarias Moussaoui.

TIM NELSON, FLIGHT SCHOOL MANAGER: He wanted to be able to take off and land a 747 400 and he wanted to operate it between two particular points, between New York and Heathrow, between JFK and Heathrow airport and London.

ARENA: Moussaoui, a French citizen of Moroccan descent, sent the e-mail under the user name Zuluman Tangotango. That e-mail made staffers at the flight school curious even before Moussaoui got here. But after he arrived, the curiosity turned into outright suspicion. Monday, day one, Moussaoui showed up in the morning and settled his bill by putting down about $7,000 in cash.

NELSON: Cash is hard to track. We get a customer who pays by check or by credit card, you can kind of go back and say where did this guy come from?

SIMS: Came in, he was dressed in jeans, a colored t-shirt and a ball cap. This guy doesn't look like he has the kind of money that would be just to do this for fun.

ARENA: Nelson, who had not seen Moussaoui yet went out of his way to meet him.

NELSON: He was telling us that, it's an ego thing, I want to be able to tell my friends I can fly a 747. That's a lot of money to spend to play basically.

ARENA: Did you believe him?

NELSON: I didn't.

ARENA: Nelson says he had just viewed a training tape about a 1999 Japanese hijacking.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Brandishing a knife he got into the cockpit as the plane was making its ascent.

ARENA: So you can seen that tape right at the same time that Moussaoui shows up.

NELSON: Yes, I had.

ARENA: And his motive for hijacking the plane was that he wanted to fly it.

NELSON: I'm thinking do I have that or do I have something worse on my hands?

ARENA: Even before 9/11, hijackings were often associated with the Middle East. At the time, Nelson had a class of Syrian airline pilots. He saw two of them greet Moussaoui in Arabic.

NELSON: I said what were you talking about? He said just greeting in Arabic. How is it? He's fluent. He's a native speaker. Than bothered me.


NELSON: It was just one more red flag.

ARENA: Tim Nelson is the son of a cop and once took the FBI entrance exam. With Moussaoui, things just didn't add up and at the end of Moussaoui's first day at flight school, Sims was also troubled. Sims got a chance to spend some time alone with Moussaoui when he gave him a ride to where the 747 flight simulators were located. During the two-mile drive, Moussaoui said he was an international consultant. Sims didn't buy it.

SIMS: His English skills for one, although they're adequate, they certainly didn't indicate a high degree of sophistication or indicate someone who had spent a lot of time in English conversations.

ARENA: Day two, Tuesday, Tim Nelson pulled Moussaoui's flight school file, which should have contained all sorts of documentation. Oddly, this one had nothing. Then he ran into Moussaoui's flight instructor who said his student wanted to know about unusual things.

NELSON: He had asked questions like, if the oxygen could be shut off, if I pulled the circuit breakers to disable or turn off the transponder.

ARENA: Sims and Nelson say Pan Am flight school management was cautious about questioning a paying customer. By the end of Moussaoui's second day at the school, Nelson and Sims were convinced something was wrong.

NELSON: Guys, do you really want this guy to go out and do something with his training, come back and say, where did you learn to fly? Pan Am in Minneapolis? I don't want that.

ARENA: Wednesday, day three, Moussaoui was staying at this Marriott Residence Inn. He was scheduled to take flight simulator lessons the next day. Hugh Sims and Tim Nelson were worried that he might learn just enough about flying a 747 to become very dangerous. After just two days, Sims and Nelson had seen enough. They both decided without the other knowing to call the FBI field office here in Minneapolis. Their calls were transferred to a counterterrorism agent.

NELSON: I've got a student that's raising a lot of red flags. I said you need to understand that this aircraft weighs 900,000 pounds. It carries between 50 and 57,000 gallons of jet fuel and I said, if you fly it at 350 knots into a heavily populated area, you're going to kill a boatload of people.

ARENA: Sims called around the same time.

SIMS: I explained to them that we had a student at the Pan Am flight academy, that I think is asking for training that could become dangerous, and I think that somebody ought to really look into what he's doing here. Is he here legally?

ARENA: It turns out, Moussaoui was not. On Thursday, day four, FBI agents confronted him at the Marriott, along with immigration officials who took him into custody.

NELSON: Hopefully calling, between Hugh and myself calling that maybe we did stop something from happening.

ARENA: Later investigation by the FBI would show Zacarias Moussaoui was an al Qaeda operative, like the four 9/11 pilots who had also trained as U.S. flight schools. Of all the Americans those operatives ran into, Nelson and Sims were the only ones who called the FBI.

SIMS: I had 40 years of experience being around aviators. I would have been a fool not to recognize this.

NELSON: I was willing to be wrong over it. I was hoping I was wrong, because being right and we saw what being right was, 9/11.

ARENA: Moussaoui later said his plan was to fly a plane into the White House. If Nelson and Sims hadn't acted on their suspicions, he just might have done it. Kelli Arena, CNN, Eagan, Minnesota.


NGUYEN: You want to stay tuned to CNN both day and night for the most reliable news about your security.

HARRIS: Well, it was a scene you could only see at Mardi Gras or more accurately at the end of Mardi Gras. New Orleans police clearing Bourbon Street as partiers said good-bye to fat Tuesday and a lot of other things.

NGUYEN: Whether it's giving up sweet indulgences or eating fish on Friday, Christians worldwide have entered their season of penance and reflection. We'll take a closer look at Lent in our "faces of faith."


HARRIS: Las Vegas, it's a city known for its ritzy resorts and high rollers, but you know that in 1971, Betty, sin city saw one of the most moving demonstrations in its history. Coming up in our 9:00 Eastern hour, storming Caesar's Palace. The (INAUDIBLE) men and the courageous women behind it. NGUYEN: And this for all of you who think the future is just out of reach. Guess what? The future is now and there are some pretty amazing changes that affect the way we live and work, sometimes for the better and sometimes for the worse. Our Miles O'Brien welcomes us to the future.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was worse than if somebody had just taken money from my purse because it made me feel that they were taking me. For me the cost of being a victim of identity theft was more than monetary. I'd always been pretty trusting and felt that everything was under control and suddenly I started to suspect all people with whom I normally do business. I mean those people have all kinds of information about you, you know? Technological fixes that I've heard of don't completely reassure me that my privacy wouldn't be invaded far more than I would be willing to have it invaded.

MILES O'BRIEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Barbara is not alone. In fact, American consumers lost nearly $57 billion last year to identity theft. When it comes to protecting our personal security, what hope can technology offer?

REID GOUGH, DAVENPORT U: This device is a smart card reader.

O'BRIEN: Meet Reid Gough, dean of technology at Davenport University in Michigan.

GOUGH: Biometric security is one way to stop identity theft. Physical characteristics that identify who you are is a lot harder to steal than is a credit card number.

O'BRIEN: Technologies already in place, include iris scans, palm geometry readers, facial recognition and fingerprinting tools.

GOUGH: The next line of defense is trying to identify those unique physical characteristics of an individual that are very hard to replicate, veins in your hands, looking at the inner ear.

O'BRIEN: But are we all ready to divulge that much personal information?

GOUGH: If we think that we live in a private world, we don't. What we need to do now is just make sure that the information we do have is secure.


NGUYEN: Our top stories now, the Pentagon orders a criminal investigation into the death of Pat Tillman. He left the Arizona Cardinals to go fight in Afghanistan. Tillman was shot to death by fellow soldiers nearly two years ago. It was a friendly fire incident, but the army wants to know if negligent homicide was involved.

President Bush is back home from his three-nation trip to south Asia. Here's some new video of that. In Pakistan it was a pat on the back from President Musharraf and the fight against terror. In New Delhi, the president said educating Americans will combat the loss of U.S. jobs to India.

And more sectarian violence in Iraq. A late night assault on a Sunni mosque in Baghdad and an hour-long gun battle kill three guards and six other people are wounded because of that. Gunmen stormed the mosque dressed as police commandos.

HARRIS: Well this week Christians around the world just gave up, not freedom or anything like that. For 40 days they're giving up stuff like sweets, alcohol or maybe even swearing, going without as a way to strengthen their faith. It's part of the season of Lent, a time of penance, reflection and fasting. It seems more people are taking part in the Lenten season. Monsignor Bartholomew Smith joins us from Washington with more. Monsignor, good to see you. Thanks for taking your time this morning.

MSGR. BARTHOLOMEW SMITH, ARCHDIOCESE OF WASHINGTON: Good morning, it's a pleasure to be with you.

HARRIS: I have to ask you about -- I love this story. One of your favorite stories from Lent dates back to your days in college. Tell us that story.

SMITH: Well, it was my freshman year in college and I was hanging out with a bunch of guys and I noticed at a certain point that whatever we talked about when we got together we sort of talked trash about one another, whoever wasn't around to defend himself, and so I decided that that really wasn't the way I should be talking and so for Lent, I gave up saying anything negative about anybody, whether it was a joke or in earnest. It was a very challenging Lent. I realized how much that was part of my conversation.

HARRIS: Wow, that's interesting. What is it that you think you gained from that and generally speaking, what is it that folks in general gain by giving up something for Lent?

SMITH: Well in that case, it was a bad habit that I realized how much I was dependent on, and I hope it weaned me from that and it lasted, I hope. Now, the alternative is you give up something that's actually good, say food of some sort that's actually good like chocolate or meat or wine or something like that. You give it up because it is good, and that makes it a free sacrifice. And it also makes it possible for you to pay attention to the source of everything that's good that is God, and what is the greatest good, which is his love and the life he offers us.

HARRIS: Talk to us about the origins of Lent.

SMITH: Well, Christians have always been interested in fasting from the very beginning. From the Jews we picked up the habit of fasting, particularly before great holy days. It's a good way to prepare and in the earliest centuries there was no standardized fast before the greatest holy days of the Christian year, which are the Easter Tritium, holy Thursday leading to good Friday and Easter. And but by the fourth or fifth century, it was becoming fairly standard throughout the Christian world to prepare for that, and they settled on a fasting period of 40 days, mirroring Christ's 40 days in the desert, so it's really modeled on that period of preparation that Christ himself undertook.

HARRIS: Was there a belief that, by giving something up, you could I don't know, sort of absolve yourself of some sins and gain some good points with God toward salvation?

SMITH: That's not it precisely, because our sins are canceled out by Christ's sacrifice on the cross and we received that forgiveness freely, but by our free will participation in that sacrifice, by our sacrifices and our self-denial, we open ourselves to the grace that comes from Christ's sacrifice and participate with him in it.

HARRIS: If you're practicing properly, are you not just giving something up? Are you also taking something on?

SMITH: Very much so. I encourage that when I'm preaching at the beginning of Lent. But if you're more than 12-year-old, Lent better mean more than just giving up M&M's. Really to take on something, an increased period of prayer in your life, again to develop that habit, to put a good habit in your life and that might endure after Lent is over, such as a certain period of time with scripture or rosary, or going to mass during the week.

HARRIS: And a couple of special days I think we talked about ash Wednesday a bit, but there is another special day in this season, the annunciation that we don't talk about nearly as much.

SMITH: Well, annunciation is sort of an island. It's almost always in the middle of Lent and it's one of the greatest days in the Christian year, because it's the day when the angel of the Lord appeared to Mary and she conceived by the holy spirit and the word became flesh, Christ's conception. So it's a great, joyous, holy day and it's always in the most somber period of Lent at the end of March and so the church has always celebrated that with full solemnity and full joy, so it's sort of like a day off from Lent if you will.

HARRIS: Your Lenten primer this morning. Monsignor Smith we appreciate it. Thanks for your time.

SMITH: My pleasure.

NGUYEN: Still to come on CNN SUNDAY MORNING, more of the much anticipated Oscars and the music nominated may have you saying, did they say that?

(INAUDIBLE) Well, it has a good chance that you can hear it and dance to it and you may even like it, but it also has some words that would make your mother blush and maybe even cause you to go, what? So why are they allowed as tonight's Oscars? Why is this language being said and sung at the Oscars? We'll run down a list of what can and can't be said in our next hour.


NGUYEN: Well the Oscars on our Hollywood's top notch actors and performances. The Hollywood Razzies are an award of a different kind. The recipients are recognized for just the opposite and by way of dishonorable mention shall we say. Tom Cruise had been nominated for worst actor for "War of the Worlds" but get this Tony, he lost out, yeah, he lost to Rob Schneider for "Deuce Bigelow, European Gigolo." Tom did though manage to earn a special honor for most tiresome tabloid target, way to go Tom and oh yeah, Katie, thanks, too. He couldn't have done it without you.

HARRIS: Picks, we're going to get some picks.

NGUYEN: Oscar picks.


NGUYEN: It's our time to weigh in.

HARRIS: I don't think I have any of the favorites. Let's see mine first. This is the smart list by the way. Best picture, "Crash," outstanding, best actor, everybody's going for that "Capote" guy, but you know I don't follow trends.


HARRIS: I am a trendsetter of my own.

NGUYEN: We'll see if you are a trendsetter.

HARRIS: Terrence Howard "Hustle and Flow" whoop that trick and best actress

NGUYEN: You did not just say whoop that trick. What exactly does that mean Tony?

HARRIS: What did I say?

NGUYEN: You know what you just said (INAUDIBLE).

HARRIS: Judi Dench, Judi Dench, best actress.

NGUYEN: (INAUDIBLE) He's not going to win because I am the reigning champ, yes.

HARRIS: Are you really?

NGUYEN: I won last year. I'm the one who picked the most winners last year so roll that beautiful footage right here. Here we go, best picture, "Brokeback Mountain," Tony's favorite movie, best actor, Philip Seymour Hoffman for "Capote" and best actress, this one's tough for me because I really thought --

HARRIS: Judi Dench, right.

NGUYEN: No, I really think Felicity Huffman may pull this one out, but I went with Reese Witherspoon.

HARRIS: Why did you go with Reese?

NGUYEN: Well, because she did her own singing in it.

HARRIS: Oh, she did?

NGUYEN: And she's such a darling of Hollywood. They're going to vote her in.

HARRIS: Bonnie do you have some picks for us?

BONNIE SCHNEIDER, CNN METEOROLOGIST: I do. I picked some other people in the categories that I thought maybe would have a chance, not like the mainstream ones. We have the best picture "Crash."

HARRIS: Good, good, see! Smart lady there.

SCHNEIDER: I liked that picture because everybody comes away from it with something different.

NGUYEN: Everyone's messed up in it, basically.

SCHNEIDER: And Joaquin Phoenix best actor in "Walk the Line" and best actress, Charlize Theron in "North Country."

NGUYEN: You think she's going to do it again.

SCHNEIDER: I really enjoyed the film. I thought she was excellent but I was very torn between her and Reese Witherspoon. Reese Witherspoon will probably walk away with the award, but...

HARRIS: Think so?

SCHNEIDER: ...recognize her.

HARRIS: So those are our picks. We'll do it again next hour and the next hour.

NGUYEN: And on and on and on.

HARRIS: We've got three hours to do here. All right, e-mails this morning. We ask for your thoughts about whether or not the academy awards and particularly Hollywood are out of touch with the heartland? You want to start, Betty?

NGUYEN: Yeah. This has a lot to do with some of the movies that were made this year, a lot of them dealing with gay themes and some people do agree that they're out of touch. Others don't. This person anonymous saying if anything, middle America, with its incredibly conservative nature and culture is out of touch with the rest of America.

HARRIS: And Doug writes, Hollywood is out of touch with this year's Oscars. I feel like they are trying to push the homosexual agenda onto America. NGUYEN: And Diane K. says considering the value of the gift basket given to presenters is estimated at $100,000.

HARRIS: The swag bag?

NGUYEN: Yeah, the swag bag. Just for them to dress up and exchange poorly written quips, I would say Hollywood is out of touch.

HARRIS: All right, those are your thoughts.

NGUYEN: $100,000 for each one?

HARRIS: Yeah it's insane isn't it?

NGUYEN: Hollywood, it's all about the commercialism of it. Get your product in the gift bag and it sells.

HARRIS: Is Hollywood out of touch? Bonnie Schneider here with another check of weather.

NGUYEN: She's not out of touch.

SCHNEIDER: No, I'm right in touch with what is happening. All right. Let's take a look at the forecast now. We can show you that temperatures this morning are brisk but not as bad as they were yesterday. It's 31 degrees currently in New York City. The wind chill factor feels just like it, 31 degrees as well. But as we start looking to the west towards Chicago, the temperature is 30 degrees and if you're wondering is that cold enough for snow? The answer is absolutely.

We have snow in the forecast for Chicago. We could see one to three inches and as you can see to the west, we have some warmer air coming in so Des Moines getting rain, back towards St. Louis some moderate showers, fog and mist. Actually the current conditions in Chicago with the temperatures right at 30, we have overcast skies. The snow is not quite here yet but it is on the way. So just be prepared to shovel a little bit but not for long. Even though we're going to see some heavier amounts to the north especially towards northern Wisconsin, we actually have snow advisories posted, as we look towards the Chicago forecast it warms up. So any snow that falls even on early Monday morning, it actually will turn partly cloudy on Monday afternoon. We'll look for temperatures to warm up into the 40s, so it will get much milder for not just Chicago, but a good portion of the eastern part of the country as well as we work our way into the middle to end of next week.

Here's the reason why. We have a ridge of high pressure out to the west and it's bringing some very mild temperatures to Denver, Colorado for example, a high today of 63, 72 in Dallas. Eventually this milder air will slide further to the east, so Chicago's high 36 today, but it will get warmer, St. Louis up to 50. That's why it's not snowing there and we're just getting rain. And eventually, we'll start to see those milder temperatures work their way eastward as well. In fact, as we look towards Monday's forecast here is what's coming up. We've got some milder conditions certainly for Denver up to 68 then, 55 for St. Louis, New Orleans right at 73, 63 for Atlanta and even temperatures in Boston get a little bit warmer up to 39 degrees. It stays pretty warm in south Florida, no big changes there. We'll look for temperatures into the low 80s for Miami, so it doesn't look too bad. So overall Betty and Tony, we're looking at some nice warm weather as we wrap up winter.

HARRIS: OK, Bonnie, thank you.

NGUYEN: No complaints here. Thank you, Bonnie.

The next hour of CNN SUNDAY MORNING begins in just a moment.


NGUYEN: Back home at the White House. Just before dawn, President Bush returned from his three nation trip to South Asia. And he says his visits to Afghanistan, India and Pakistan helped enhance security for the U.S.

CNN's Dana Bash will join us from the White House straight ahead with that.

HARRIS: The U.S. Army has opened a criminal probe into the death of Ranger Pat Tillman, the former NFL player who was killed in Afghanistan nearly two years ago. The Pentagon says this does not suggest that any crime was actually committed in the friendly fire incident. Details coming up.

NGUYEN: There's a new message from al Qaeda's second in command. In a tape that first aired yesterday on the Arabic TV network Al Jazeera, Ayman al-Zawahiri congratulates Hamas. The militant group is forming a new Palestinian government. He also blasted the West for insulting Islam's Prophet Mohammed, a reference to controversial cartoons published in some Western newspapers.

HARRIS: New video this morning from Indonesia, where thousands of Muslims protested in front of the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta. The demonstrators denounced President Bush as a terrorist and demanded that U.S. troops leave Iraq and Afghanistan. The rally ended peacefully under the watchful eye of some 2,000 police officers.

NGUYEN: And in the Iranian capital of Tehran, thousands rally in support of their country's defiant nuclear program. They gathered at the tomb of revolutionary leader Ayatollah Khomeini. Iran has said that its nuclear program is just for the creation of energy. But much of the world, including the U.S. fears Iran is trying to build weapons.

HARRIS: Betty, the statuettes are polished and the stars are ready to sparkle. Hollywood is all set for tonight's Academy Awards. "Brokeback Mountain" is considered the favorite for best picture. Join us for complete coverage. "SHOW BIZ TONIGHT" will be live on the red carpet in a special edition on "HEADLINE NEWS" at 5:30 p.m. Eastern. Then, "HOLLYWOOD'S GOLD RUSH" at 6:00 Eastern, right here on CNN.

From the CNN Center, this is CNN SUNDAY MORNING, March 5th.

8:00 a.m. here at CNN Headquarters in Hotlanta.

5:00 a.m. in Hollywood.

And now if you're working on preps for the big show today...

NGUYEN: Right?

HARRIS: We would like a little window into your world.

Drop us an e-mail and let us know what you're up to,

Good morning, everyone.


HARRIS: I'm Tony Harris.

NGUYEN: And I'm Betty Nguyen.

Let us know if you're having an Oscar party.


NGUYEN: What do you plan to do?

Are you going to be watching tonight?

Send us your e-mail. We'll read it on the air.

Well, getting to other news today, it was George Carlin who coined the seven dirty words that you can't say on television. But things sure have changed in the past 30 years and the Academy Awards aren't holding back. The filthy words you'll hear tonight will make your grandmother blush.

Plus, at first people tried to keep up with the Joneses. Now, they're trying to keep up with the babies, the Pitts and the Hanks.


NGUYEN: If Oscar night raises your passion to keep up, well, we'll bring you back down to Earth.

Plus, an army of mothers storms Caesar's Palace and their gamble against the State of Nevada pays off. We'll talk to the leaders of the movement next hour.

HARRIS: But first, President Bush is back from South Asia and says he's returned with something special -- more security for the United States. Mr. Bush's travels took him to Afghanistan, India and Pakistan.

CNN White House correspondent Dana Bash is at her post this morning and she joins us now to explain -- Dana, good morning.


And the question when any president returns from an international trip like this is was it successful?

And just like any question here in Washington, Tony, that really depends on who you ask.

Now, when it comes to the White House, from their perspective, they think that they did come home with a couple of crucial things.

First of all, India. Mr. Bush was there to sign a nuclear agreement that his White House worked for about eight months on, and he was successful in agreeing to allow the U.S. to give India some nuclear fuel and know how in exchange for them to separating their civilian and military programs, and also to allowing international inspectors.

But then Mr. Bush, of course, is going to have to come back here and try to sell that to Congress. That is not going to be easy.

And, Tony, when it comes to Pakistan, the goal there was for Mr. Bush to go and thank President Musharraf, somebody who defies his own public opinion to help the United States in tracking down al Qaeda, members of Al Qaeda. So that was the main goal there.

Certainly Mr. Bush did that. But there is some skepticism in this administration that President Musharraf is actually doing enough to track down, especially senior leaders of al Qaeda. The president actually did note that, saying that one of the reasons he went was to find out.

There is already some disappointment, however, on the Pakistan front, that Mr. Bush wasn't strong enough, from some people's perspective, in encouraging President Musharraf, who came to power in 1999 through a military coup, to push more democratic reforms.

Of course, you remember, Tony, last year that was a big theme in Mr. Bush's inaugural address, saying that leaders must push for more democracy.

So, the president is back here with this trip on the world stage behind him. Certainly a lot of important issues here on the domestic front, as well, in front of him, back with -- according to our poll, Tony, 60 percent of the American people disapproving of the way he's doing his job.

HARRIS: And, Dana, I have to tell you, Mr. Bush, welcome back.

But the Dana Bashes of the world have a lot of questions for you, because he is facing some real issues and real problems here at home.

BASH: That's right. I mean we were just talking about terrorism.


BASH: That was the issue that Mr. Bush was talking about in Pakistan. But it -- the poll I just mentioned, the new CNN/"USA Today"/Gallup poll, terrorism, which, of course, has been the president's top asset -- that is the one thing that people still approve of him, in terms of how he's handling his job -- that is down tremendously. It's down to about 44 percent.

The issue there that Mr. Bush is going to have to deal with that has been going on while he is away, of course, is the whole controversy over this ports deal. That is something that really, since he's been gone, there has not been a lot of momentum on his side on.

We'll see. It's going to be a long haul on that particular issue -- Tony.

HARRIS: CNN White House correspondent Dana Bash with us this morning.

Dana, thank you.

BASH: Thank you.

NGUYEN: We want to get you more now on the U.S. military's latest probe.

The Army is launching a criminal investigation into the death of former NFL player Pat Tillman.

As you may remember, the Army Ranger was killed in a friendly fire incident in Afghanistan nearly two years ago. But the probe will look beyond that, with a special focus on how the death was investigated. Military officials are being cautious for now, saying there is nothing to suggest a crime was involved.

But here's CNN Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr.


STARR: What the Pentagon has now said is that the Army failed procedurally to conduct a criminal investigation, that they must go back and use criminal rules of investigation, criminal rules of procedure, look at the entire matter again, determine what happened under those rules, determine potentially if there was some incident of negligent homicide.

Pentagon officials telling us not to jump to any conclusions. This does not mean there was negligent homicide. It doesn't mean that someone will be held criminally responsible, but that after all this time, the Army failed to conduct the investigation in the proper way. They need to now go back, do it again and come to a determination about what they believe that really happened to Pat Tillman.


NGUYEN: The Tillman family has angrily demanded answers on several aspects of the military investigation. They were told of the criminal probe on Friday.

HARRIS: And in other "News Across America" this morning, a construction worker is killed in a West Virginia power plant fire. Three others are in the hospital. The workers were installing a lining inside a 1,000-foot smokestack. They secured themselves to the top of the structure until a helicopter rescued them.

It took extra riot police to quell violence at a punk rock concert in California. Several people were injured when a melee broke out at the British Invasion 2K6 show. One person was stabbed, another beat up. The crowd pelted police with rocks and bottles and destroyed two police cruisers, as well.

And two dozen dogs left homeless by Hurricane Katrina get a chance for a new home in Maryland. Hundreds of pets survived the storm, but temporary shelters in the Gulf Coast unfortunately are closing. The animal welfare group Pet Connect is working to find the new families. A vet says the dogs aren't mean, they're just scared to death.

NGUYEN: No doubt. They've been through so much.

HARRIS: It's understandable, yes.

NGUYEN: Well, Tony, they're the kind of words that you would never say to your mama, never.

HARRIS: What are you talking about?

NGUYEN: I know this to be true. But you will hear, these words at the Oscars. You have to stick around for that.

Stay tuned for the list of these dirty words.

HARRIS: Also, the Independent Spirit Awards are out. Are they a predictor of what's to come tonight at the Oscars? Coming up, we'll tell you who went home with the top honors -- good morning, Bonnie.

SCHNEIDER: Good morning, Tony and Betty.


SCHNEIDER: I'll have the rest of the forecast for the entire country.

That's coming up next on CNN SUNDAY MORNING.


HARRIS: OK, the winners in last night's Independent Spirit Awards may signal what's to come at tonight's Oscars.

The gay cowboy love story, "Brokeback Mountain," won best picture. And its creator, Ang Lee, was named best director.

Philip Seymour Hoffman took the best actor award for "Capote." He is also an Oscar favorite for his portrayal of author Truman Capote.

Felicity Huffman also an Oscar contender, was named best actress for "Transamerica," in which she plays a man preparing for sex change surgery.

The Independent Spirit Awards honor the best in lower budget, edgy filmmaking.

NGUYEN: Well, Tony, if you watch the Oscars tonight, you might get an earful. The show features a live performance of a nominated rap song from the movie "Hustle and Flow." And for the first time, the Oscars are letting the rappers use two words on the air. One of them, 'ho. And the other one, well, let's just say it starts with a "B" and ends with an "H." You might get slapped if you use it.

But why are these words being used? Why aren't they taboo, like they used to be?

Let's rap with linguist and author Dennis Baron, who joins us now from Chicago to talk about all this.

Good morning to you.


NGUYEN: All right, let's go through this song, shall we?

It goes, "You know, it's hard out here for a pimp when he tryin' to get this money for the rent."

Now this would have never been sung at the Oscars years ago.

Why is it being allowed now?

BARON: Well, I think that our attitude toward the kind of language we use in public has relaxed a lot in the last 50 years. But our attitude toward everything we do in public has relaxed, too.

NGUYEN: All right, but the word "'ho" and the "B word" that's being allowed? I mean is this stuff that's used in everyday language? Is it just accepted?

BARON: Well, it's accepted in certain kinds of contexts. And I think you see that the range of contexts that you can use words like that, relaxed words -- George Carlin's seven deadly sins, the words that you're not allowed to use on TV, this keeps changing.

NGUYEN: Yes, we're listening to the song right now. You know, it's one thing maybe in cable, satellite TV...

BARON: You're right.

NGUYEN: But on mainstream television to hear this kind of language, during a time when children are watching?

BARON: Children watch cable, too. And I think the -- if they're like my children, they stay up pretty late. So...

NGUYEN: So you're saying basically society has shifted. More and more of these once considered curse words no longer are?

BARON: That is exactly the case. It's not that there aren't words that you can't -- I mean there are -- there is still going to be a range of taboo words. That range shifts. And it always has and it probably always will.

NGUYEN: You know what I find is interesting? Not only are more curse words being used in public, but more women are using them.

BARON: That's right.

NGUYEN: Why the heck is that?

BARON: Well, let's say that's a reflex of femin -- the feminist movement in the 1970s. More words are used in mixed sex and women to women, men to men, in public, than when I was growing up in the 1950s, certainly. You didn't hear that kind of talk and people were a lot more reserved about it.

NGUYEN: Right. Not at all. I mean you wouldn't dare to say these types of words on TV.

So what's next? We're going to hear "F" bombs all over the place in mainstream television?

BARON: Well, I think people aren't making a big distinction between mainstream TV and cable anymore. I mean you've got Jon Stewart hosting the Oscars on "The Daily Show." He says all kinds of words to the studio audience that are then bleeped because they are not considered appropriate for the viewers at home.

But you can certainly tell, if you're watching the show at home, what he's saying.

NGUYEN: Yes, that's true. Even though the bleep is there, you know what they're saying, all right.

Well, let's go through some of these words that are now the norm, really, that are readily accepted, some of these words that used to be taboo, like pimp. I guess another word we've got up here, bootylicious.


NGUYEN: Is that something that people just say in everyday language?

I know it was a song.

BARON: Well, they say it certainly in informal language. I mean you're not probably going to hear it in the State of the Union Address. But...

NGUYEN: At least not yet.


But an after dinner speech or people chatting on a talk show, sure. That stuff is appearing more and more. And, of course, the thing about taboo is the more you air a word, the more you hear it, the less impact it has. And I think that was George Carlin's ultimate point when he gave that routine, I don't know, maybe 20, 30 years ago, that seven dirty word sketch.


Quickly, are there any words that you think will never, I mean never make it on the air?

BARON: Well, there probably are, but, of course, I can't say them on the air.

NGUYEN: That would kind of defeat the purpose then, huh?

So how do you reverse this trend? Or should we? I mean should we be alarmed that the language is getting more foul as the years go on?

BARON: I don't think we need to be alarmed. Certainly the language was always foul. It's the venue, the places where you use the foul language that have changed over time. And they'll probably continue to change. We may retreat from this kind of thing if we feel that it is a little bit too blatant. But my guess is that words like this in public are pretty much here to stay.

NGUYEN: Dennis Baron, linguist and author, thanks so much for rapping with us today.

BARON: Thank you.


HARRIS: Yes, nice.

All right, and speaking of language, Mel Gibson is speaking a few choice foreign phrases of his own in his last film, "The Passion of The Christ." That film was spoken entirely in Latin and Aramaic. Now, Gibson has taped a message for tonight's Academy Awards in Maya. It is the sole language of "Apocalypto," Gibson's new adventure flick, set in pre-Columbia Mexico. Gibson told "Time" magazine: "I wanted to shake up the stale action/adventure genre, so I think we almost had to come up with something utterly different this time." "Apocalypto" is scheduled to hit theaters this summer -- Betty.

NGUYEN: Very interesting.

Well, who will take home the top honors? That's the big question.

We'll have our Oscar picks straight ahead -- Tony.

HARRIS: And good morning, Las Vegas.

Look at the strip -- bright lights, big city.

We will have your complete weather forecast in about three minutes.


HARRIS: All right, another check -- what am I doing here?

Another check of weather now with Bonnie Schneider.

NGUYEN: I don't think you know.

HARRIS: Good morning, Bonnie.

NGUYEN: Hi, Bonnie.

Bail him out again, will you?

SCHNEIDER: You guys have Oscar fever.

HARRIS: There you go.

SCHNEIDER: You keep going to the Oscars.

HARRIS: There you go.


HARRIS: Picks. Picks. Let's do picks again, OK?

NGUYEN: Oscar picks.

Everyone's got their own picks --

HARRIS: Yes. But...

NGUYEN: ... which are fun.

HARRIS: ... you need to follow me, because I'm the trendsetter here.

NGUYEN: Oh, please.


NGUYEN: Yes, right.

HARRIS: Yes, all right, Tony's picks.

Where are we?

"Crash." There you go. "Crash."

NGUYEN: Good movie, definitely.

HARRIS: Best actor, Terrence Howard, for "Hustle and Flow." It's hard out there...

NGUYEN: For a pimp?

HARRIS: Best actress, Judi Dench.


Because she is the best actress in this category.

NGUYEN: Yes, but I don't think she's going to win, Tony. I mean, you know, she's a great actress, I give you that...


NGUYEN: But I don't think she's going to win.

HARRIS: The best actress in that category, Judi Dench.

NGUYEN: Well, you know, just like...

HARRIS: All right, Betty, what do you...

NGUYEN: ... "Crash" is a great picture but I don't think "Crash" is going to win, either.

Here are my picks. Now, these are the real picks, folks. If you want to bet on a winner, bet on my picks.

HARRIS: Oh my goodness.

NGUYEN: Best picture, "Brokeback Mountain," Tony's favorite.

Best actor, Philip Seymour Hoffman, for "Capote."

Best actress, Reese Witherspoon. I think she's going to do it.

HARRIS: In "I Walk The Line?" OK.

NGUYEN: Although Felicity Huffman is going to give her a run for the money.

And so there you go. HARRIS: All right...

NGUYEN: That's who I have.


HARRIS: Bonnie, what are you talking about here?

SCHNEIDER: Well, I'm going for like the underdog here.

NGUYEN: The underdog?

SCHNEIDER: I think that your picks are good and they're probably going to win...

HARRIS: Her picks?

SCHNEIDER: ... but I wanted to recognize...

HARRIS: What about...

NGUYEN: See! See!

SCHNEIDER: ... "Brokeback Mountain"...

NGUYEN: You heard it right here.

HARRIS: "Brokeback Mountain?"

SCHNEIDER: Yes. I didn't see it, but it has all of the hype. A lot of it's popularity.


SCHNEIDER: My picks, though, critically acclaimed "Crash." I think that has a good chance.

Joaquin Phoenix also did his own singing in "Walk The Line," so that was great.

NGUYEN: He did.

SCHNEIDER: Charlize Theron -- I don't know if you guys saw "North Country," but it was excellent.

HARRIS: No, I didn't see that.

SCHNEIDER: Very, very well acted.

NGUYEN: I didn't see it.

HARRIS: Is that one of those little independent films?

SCHNEIDER: A little disturbing, but...

HARRIS: Disturbing? SCHNEIDER: No, no, but...

HARRIS: What was the subject matter in that?

SCHNEIDER: It was about...

HARRIS: Is it another "Brokeback Mountain" kind of...

SCHNEIDER: ... Charlize being the first miner in a male- dominated mining industry and what she -- what she went through, her character went through.

HARRIS: Oh, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes.


HARRIS: The Supreme Court -- yes, yes.

SCHNEIDER: And I also pick, for supporting actress, Frances McDormand, who had a good role in that, too.


All right.

NGUYEN: It sounds good.

HARRIS: Good picks.

Good picks.

NGUYEN: We'll see who comes out on top, Tony.

HARRIS: That's not bad.

Any money on the table?

OK, fine.

NGUYEN: I don't think you want to do that.

HARRIS: You can watch all of the glitz and glamour of the Oscars right here on CNN.

Join us this evening for a special "SHOWBIZ TONIGHT." A.J. Hammer, Brooke Anderson, Sibila Vargas will be live on the red carpet before the Oscars. It starts at 5:30 Eastern on "HEADLINE NEWS," our sister network.

And then at 6:00, the live coverage moves to CNN, with "HOLLYWOOD'S GOLD RUSH."

It should be fun.

NGUYEN: And what will we be talking about once the red carpet is all rolled up and the winners are announced? Of course, it's the fashion, everybody -- the designer clothes, the expensive jewelry.

But can middle class America really afford all these things?

HARRIS: Yes, a good question.

NGUYEN: Or are we just paying the price, trying to keep up with the celebrities?

Join us next hour for that story.

HARRIS: And next, Dr. Sanjay Gupta takes on the epidemic of obesity. He's urging you to get fit in a special national tour.

Today he talks with Governor Mike Huckabee, who lost 100 pounds and started healthy programs in one of the most overweight states in the nation.


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