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China and U.S. Tie in Medal Count; Russian Invasion Has Conflicting Reports on Cease-Fire; Foreclosure Up 55 Percent; President Bush Critic Ends Up on the Terror Watch List; What Can the U.S. Do to Deal With the Russian Invasion of Georgia? Census Bureau Report; Four-Day Work Week
Aired August 14, 2008 - 07:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ALINA CHO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Now, this is most evident in the Hispanic population which will nearly triple from nearly 47 million right now to nearly 133 million by the year 2050, making up 30 percent of the population versus 15 today. Now the Asian population will rise from about five to nine percent of the total. And the black population will go up slightly from 14 to 15 percent.
Now the U.S. population overall will rise to more than 400 million from about 300 million today. So what's going on? Well, a couple of factors. The most significant being immigration, of course, and higher birthrates among immigrants.
Another statistic, the white population is aging. The number of people over 85 will triple in the next 40 years. Baby boomers, of course, living longer. America's face, as you mentioned, John, is changing and that raises a lot of questions about quality of life, traffic, congestion, social services, education, language issues, of course.
And with so many people, how exactly will the U.S. deal with this influx? And, John, that is certainly something our elected officials are looking at right now, certainly in light of this report.
JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR: A lot of things to consider. Alina Cho for us this morning with that. Alina, thanks.
CHO: You bet.
KIRAN CHETRY, CNN ANCHOR: Overnight at the Beijing Olympics, host country China has now tied the U.S. in medal count. In a dramatic turn of events for the U.S. women's swimming team, Larry Smith is live for us in Beijing this morning. Hi, Larry.
LARRY SMITH, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Well, hi there, Kiran. Yes, the big story today is the gold medal rush by the Chinese. 21 golds now, and now 33 total medals of that 21. That is more than halfway toward their stated goal before the games of trying to get 40 gold medals in just six days now of competition.
SMITH (voice-over): Still perfect on the beach. American beach volleyballers Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh defeated Norway in straight sets to advance to Friday's medal round with a 3-0 record. The victory extends their winning streak to 104 straight matches.
In the Olympic pool, the focus for a change was not on Michael Phelps. Alain Bernard of France won the 100 meter freestyle beating out Australia's Eamon Sullivan who set the world record in a semifinal hit.
American Jason Lezak tied for the bronze. Bernard's victory was revenge of sorts after Lezak came from way behind to edge the Frenchman on the thrilling anchor leg of the 400 meter freestyle relay.
The U.S. women failed to win gold in the 800 meter freestyle relay for the first time since the events began in 1996. They took the bronze medal. The Australian team won gold, and the Chinese took the silver.
And a dramatic turn of events in the women's 100 meter freestyle semis. The world record holder, Australia's Libby Trickett, would not have qualified for the finals, but she got in when a Chinese swimmer who had won her semifinal heat was disqualified for a false start.
SMITH: As for Phelps, well, two more preliminary races on this day, Thursday. He will return to the pool looking for gold number six Friday morning, Beijing time, in the men's 200 meter individual medley. Also at the top of the hour, almost an hour away, USA men's basketball versus Greece. It's a redemption game for the U.S. After all, Greece beat them two years ago in the world championships. And you just don't beat the U.S.
Let's go back to you.
CHETRY: Absolutely not. All right. Larry Smith, thank you.
ROBERTS: Breaking news this morning. In the Georgian city of Gori right now, Russian artillery reporting to starting to pull out. It started overnight after Georgia accused Russia of violating a day- old cease fire.
Right now, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is on her way to France which is leading the international effort to find a diplomatic solution. Her emergency mission will also take her to the Georgian capital.
And the United States is sending humanitarian aid to the war zone. The first airlift of supplies arrived yesterday. More set to get there today.
CNN's Frederik Pleitgen is live for us in the capital city of Tbilisi today. And, Frederik, according to some accounts the Georgian leadership not exactly thrilled with the cease-fire agreement that was hammered out between Sarkozy and President Medvedev of Russia.
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN BERLIN CORRESPONDENT: You're absolutely right, John. That's what we're hearing from the Georgian side. Apparently there's a provision in that cease-fire agreement that says that Russian troops are allowed to move around Georgia in certain situations. And that, of course, would mean that a move by the Russian forces yesterday, a tank column of Russian forces that moved around Georgia yesterday, moved very close to the capital of Tbilisi, that that was not, in fact, a violation of the cease-fire agreement.
I talked to some Georgian officials earlier today. They said yes, indeed, there is a provision like that. They said it's one where the language is very broad and not very exact. And they say in the coming weeks and months they want to hammer something out. They want to make a language of that more exact to stop something happening than what we saw here yesterday, John.
ROBERTS: So what is this situation on the ground there today? Is it more peaceful than it was yesterday?
PLEITGEN: Well, it certainly seems to be. I mean, we're all looking at that city of Gori, watching the city of Gori, and getting new information from that very important strategic town. The Russians, of course, had said that they were going to pull out of that town.
Earlier I was talking to Georgian officials and they were telling me that their police was ready to move into that town. There's a sort of transition there going on with Russian forces preparing to move out and the Georgian police, not the military, getting ready to move in.
The latest that I'm hearing from that town of Gori is that that pullout has somewhat stalled is what the Georgian officials are telling us. They're also telling us that they believe that the Russians may be mining some of the outskirts of that city. They say there's a military base, a Georgian military base that was abandoned on the outskirts of Gori, and they say the Russians might be mining that area.
And let me just give you a little bit of perspective on that, John. Yesterday the Russians said their encouraging very deep into Georgian territory was to destroy Georgian military hardware that they believe could be a threat to them. And the Russians have done this in the past where they have gone into abandoned Georgian military bases and destroyed those, they say, in an effort to stop aggression against themselves. It's the language they were using, John.
ROBERTS: All right. Still a lot to work out obviously. Frederik Pleitgen for us in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi today. Thanks very much, Fred.
CHETRY: Here's a look at what we're working on for you this morning. An author placed on the no-fly list after writing a controversial book about President Bush. Find out why he thinks it's no coincidence.
ROBERTS: Plus, dangerous mission on the road with Russian tanks. Our reporter Matthew Chance takes us along as he tracks down a military on the move.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: There has been a lot of speculation about where the Russian troops are. Well, here they are. Well, inside Georgian territory and outside the main conflict zone of South Ossetia. We're now on the road to Tbilisi. The big question is, how far will they go?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERTS: Eight minutes after the hour. Ali Velshi here "Minding Your Business" this morning, and an awful lot of people now losing their homes.
ALI VELSHI, CNN SENIOR BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Yes. We're still in this foreclosure mess, this housing and credit crisis. But there's been a real shift in the way we report this. And you know, lately I've had not such bad news to give you. We've been telling you about lower gas and oil prices. But unfortunately, the news on foreclosures continues to be bad.
First of all, let me show you how some of the top places in the country for foreclosures are looking. The chart hasn't changed too much. The U.S. average is that one in 464 homes is in some point in the foreclosure process. And that could be the first notice you get after missing a payment for 90 days all the way to being repossessed.
Nevada still tops the list, one in 106. Then California, which by the way, has the biggest number of foreclosures. About a third of the repossessions in the United States are happening in California. Then Florida, Arizona and Ohio for different reasons, obviously.
Nevada and California and Florida had a lot of speculation in housing. Ohio is one of those places where, like Michigan, that there's been a collapse in industry and as a result people have lost their jobs.
But here's where the story gets interesting. Foreclosure filings are up in July versus June, up by about eight percent. That doesn't sound like a terrible number, up 55 percent, though, versus a year ago.
But here's the number that really, really matters. Homes that are actually being repossessed, that is now the biggest part of the equation. Up eight percent, again, since last June. But compared to a year ago, 183 percent higher, which means fewer people are now entering the foreclosure situation but more people are actually losing their homes to the bank. And that's the sad part of the story.
ROBERTS: And how long will it take for that to all work out?
VELSHI: Well, it depends if the prices -- if prices keep coming down because you can't get out of it. If the price of your home is lower than your mortgage, you're in a rut. Somebody -- I was reading somewhere that of the 750 -- about 750,000 homes in the country are now on sale because they're bank foreclosures. That's about 17 percent of the existing home market.
ROBERTS: Ali, thanks so much for that.
CHETRY: Saving $100 a month on gas? Well, one woman was able to do that when her job switched to a four-day workweek. Taking a look at the pros and cons of a four-day workweek in our special series.
But first, Rob Marciano working his five day week, sometimes six. He's tracking the weather for us this morning.
ROB MARCIANO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Sometimes six, sometimes seven. National Hurricane Center working 24/7 this time of year, and they have their eyes on this flare up of thunderstorms heading towards the Caribbean. Could be heading towards the U.S. The "Most News in the Morning" will be right back.
CHETRY: Cyber war.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We know that our opponents want to use this kind of thing against us.
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CHETRY: A look at what happens when the front lines are online.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In the last few years we've entered the cyber edge and it will change how defense needs to be handled.
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CHETRY: You're watching the "Most News in the Morning."
ROBERTS: 13 minutes after the hour. On the wall here you see the Caribbean and Atlantic Ocean and whoa, there's a spot of trouble. So let's bring in our Rob Marciano. He's at the weather center down in Atlanta tracking all of this. Hey, Rob.
MARCIANO: God, it looks even bigger and better.
ROBERTS: They make it as big you wanted, Rob. That's the beauty of the wall.
MARCIANO: A little bit smaller down here with this wall but nonetheless, this is very impressive here. In the last several hours this -- well, it doesn't have a circulation according to the National Hurricane Center as of two days ago. It doesn't have winds that will make it a tropical depression yet. But certainly the convection around this tropical wave as it heads to the west is getting more impressive and they're going to -- looks like they're going to send not one but probably two aircraft.
You know, this storm, one is a research one from NOAA. Another one is the Air Force Hurricane Hunters, and they're going to buzz around this thing. They'll probably launch it at around 11:00 today, maybe closer to noon and see what's going on with this.
Our computer models do take it towards the Caribbean. After that, we'll see what happens. We first really have to get this thing through tropical depression status. And then once it develops into that circulation and we can get some good data, then the computers will really get a better handle on this.
In the meantime, a couple of showers and thunderstorms -- well, actually just a couple of sprinkles really north of the city here. Shouldn't be too big of a deal. The main point is this continued cool air.
Any time you get temperatures at night this time of year, John, that you manage to get into the 60s, that's comfortable stuff. Temperatures today will top out in the upper 70s and right around 80 degrees from Chicago to New York. It's another decent day temperature wise for you guys. Back to you.
ROBERTS: So, Rob, back to that big red box of trouble that you got there, down there in the Atlantic Ocean, this idea that there's a cooling trend across the United States, what might that do to the steering currents if this thing does form into a tropical storm?
MARCIANO: Well, you know, when you have cool air in this part of the country you've got basically a trough that will basically if this holds would likely either send it out to sea unless it sneaks underneath it, then we'll get into the Gulf of Mexico. We'll have to see how it times out. The faster this thing goes, the more likely it will be sent out to sea, but there are indications that it slows down as it gets closer towards Florida. So we'll just have to wait and see over the next couple of days.
ROBERTS: Rob, thanks so much for that. We'll check back soon.
MARCIANO: You got it.
CHETRY: Outraged and demanding answers. An author gets critical of President Bush, then ends up on the TSA's terror watch list. Is it coincidence or political payback? We'll tell you what the Feds are saying.
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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They do look like they are far from being 16. (END VIDEO CLIP)
CHETRY: Randi Kaye looks into the controversy surrounding China's gymnastics team.
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RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Do you know of any 16-year-olds that are 68 pounds?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, I don't.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHETRY: You're watching the "Most News in the Morning."
CHETRY: An author says he was put on the terror watch list shortly after writing a book that was critical of President Bush. Well that story sounded all too familiar to our special investigations unit's Drew Griffin.
Drew also found himself on the watch list shortly after a series of reports critical of the TSA. Drew joins me now this morning from Atlanta.
So is this terror watch list, and you're wondering this now, being used as a way to inconvenience political enemies?
DREW GRIFFIN, CNN INVESTIGATIVE UNIT CORRESPONDENT: You know, Kiran, it sounds like a cookie conspiracy theory. Until you find yourself trying to figure out why your common American name is linked in any way to terrorism, like the guy you're about to meet, a Texan named Jim Moore.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a little disturbing that --
GRIFFIN (voice-over): He has written three books about President Bush, all critical and his toughest, "Bush's War for Reelection."
JIM MOORE, AUTHOR: And that book was released right after Labor Day in 2004. And that started the entire national controversy over George W. Bush and the National Guard.
GRIFFIN: Moore's research into the president's National Guard service dogged the Bush reelection campaign in the fall of 2004.
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I accept your nomination for president of the United States.
GRIFFIN: After George Bush won reelection in November, Moore decided to go on vacation. It was January. And it was his first flight since that election and something was wrong. He couldn't check in at home. Couldn't check in at a kiosk. Went to the ticket counter and found out why.
MOORE: All of a sudden, I find myself on the no-fly watch or selectee list and traveling became very, very complicated.
GRIFFIN: According to the ACLU, his name is one of a million names and aliases that have a match on the so-called terror watch list. When Moore called the TSA, as directed by the airline, he says a TSA employee told him he'd just have to put up with it.
MOORE: And she said, the only thing I can tell you, Mr. Moore, is that there is something in your background which is similar to someone they're looking for.
GRIFFIN: Do you buy it?
MOORE: No, of course not.
GRIFFIN: In a statement to CNN, the FBI, which manages the database, says while it does not reveal who is on or not on the list for national security reasons, the FBI does say "Nominations to the watch list are handled and reviewed by non-political, career intelligence and law enforcement officials who make their determinations solely on the basis of the available information and whether there is a reasonable suspicion to believe the individual is involved in terrorism."
And the FBI says, in several government audits, there's been no suggestion anyone got on the watch list for political reasons. Last month, Congress held hearings, asking Homeland Security Director Michael Chertoff if people are being added to the list for reasons other than security.
Specifically, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, asking why I was placed on the list shortly after CNN aired critical investigative reports on the lack of federal air marshals. Jackson Lee is expecting a response from Homeland Security Department in the next few weeks. Moore says he's been waiting for three years.
MOORE: I'm stuck like everybody else, yourself included, on this list, with wondering either, am I someone's political enemy, or do I live in a country where the government is just utterly and completely incompetent? And those are -- neither one of those are pleasant thoughts.
GRIFFIN: We did ask the FBI for any information on any terrorist who shares Jim Moore's name. The FBI refused. In the meantime, this Jim Moore says being on the watch list has kept him out of the sky. He is flying much less.
GRIFFIN: So what's the solution to this? Well, yesterday Michael Chertoff, the Homeland Security director, blamed the airlines for this, Kiran, saying that they are unwilling to pay the cost to get us so-called false positives off their roles. The airlines are irate saying it's the TSA's problem. And Chertoff said, yes, there is a solution coming. And, Kiran, it is the TSA who's going to take over control of this list very soon, he promises, and clean this all up.
CHETRY: Meanwhile you are also on it as well as we had talked about. You applied or went through all the paperwork to get off. What is your -- what's the status right now?
GRIFFIN: Yes. Two flights last week. Two different airlines. AirTran and Delta both stopped me. I had to prove that I wasn't the Drew Griffin that apparently is on this terrorist watch list. And that's the problem.
You know, Michael Chertoff said if the airlines would just check the date of birth and clear you, well, they do that every time, Kiran. I've been to the airport, I don't know, it's like 20 flights now since May while this has happened. So there seems to be a snag in getting off this list and still questions about how you get on it in the first place.
CHETRY: Very interesting reporting for sure. Drew Griffin, thanks.
ROBERTS: It's 23 minutes after the hour. She was a star in the kitchen but before that she was one of the government's secret ingredients in the war against Hitler. New details just released about Julia Child's government job. We'll tell you all about it.
CHETRY: Future war. Georgia claims a high-tech direct hit.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's Russia that launched overall cyber attack.
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CHETRY: Jeanne Meserve looks at what would happen if online warriors turn their sight on us.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're more vulnerable than Georgia.
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CHETRY: You're watching the "Most News in the Morning."
ROBERTS: It's 26 minutes after the hour. Welcome back to the "Most News in the Morning."
What can the United States do to deal with the Russian invasion of Georgia? Does the United States have any leverage with Russia? Joining me now is Richard Haass. He's the president of the Council on Foreign Relations. He worked in the Bush State Department in 2001 until 2003. He was the principal adviser to former Secretary of State Colin Powell. Also a special assistant to the first President Bush and served on the staff of the National Security Council. And he joins me now.
Hopefully we'll have a little time left to talk to you after that introduction of your illustrious resume. You talked, Richard, about a shift in power away from the United States. What do you mean by that?
RICHARD HAASS, PRESIDENT, COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS: That's exactly what's going on here. What we've seen, for example, because of the oil situation, countries such as Russia have amassed enormous power through their energy reserves, the sales of that, then their dollar accumulations. It gives them tremendous power. Plus obviously it opens up the possibility of translating that into military power.
So Russia right now is fueling its oats and is able to assert itself in ways that a decade ago were simply unimaginable.
ROBERTS: Russian officials quoted today in the "New York Times" complain about the "impotence and inability of Europe and the U.S. to be unified, exert leverage and comprehend a level of threat." Is the U.S. losing influence in that region? Does it really have any leverage over Russia these days?
HAASS: There has been a general shift of influence away from the United States, again, because of the assertiveness of Russia. The United States is heavily involved obviously in Iraq, Afghanistan. We're distracted by other issues.
We don't have a great amount of leverage. Geography counts. Russia has forces there. They're located right there. The United States is not going to risk an all-out military confrontation with Russia over something like Georgia.
So we have some instruments, some diplomatic options. But we shouldn't kid ourselves. They're not enough to change the basics of the situation.
ROBERTS: This all began last Wednesday. We talked with Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili yesterday about the initial U.S. response. Listen to what he told us.
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PRES. MIKHEIL SAAKASHVILI, GEORGIA: Frankly, some of the first statements from Washington were pursued by the Russians almost as a green light for doing this because they were too soft. You know, Russians don't understand that kind of soft language. And certainly America needs to act.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERTS: Did the administration, Richard, fumble the beginning of this?
HAASS: Look, Mr. Saakashvili poked the lion or whatever animal metaphor you want to use with a stick. He may have thought that he would have a more automatic European and American response. He didn't. He provoked the Russians. It was a little bit reckless.
He's not a member of NATO. He's got to be careful given the neighbor he's up against. That said, I think the administration was a little bit slow to respond. And I think even now they don't have it quite right.
Secretary Rice is going to Georgia. I would actually send her to Russia. That's the place where the decisions are being made, and I would not simply go to speak to Mr. Saakashvili to demonstrate solidarity with him. But I would sit down with the Russians and talk about what are the potential costs, if they consider this path, and what are the potential benefits if they don't.
ROBERTS: Yesterday in anticipation of this trip, she met the press along with President Bush. Let's listen to what she said yesterday.
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CONDOLEEZZA RICE, SECRETARY OF STATE: This is not 1968, and the invasion of Czechoslovakia where Russia can threaten its neighbors, occupy a capital, overthrow a government, and get away with it. Things have changed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERTS: She's talking tough there. Things have changed since 1968. But if Putin and Medvedev really want to go in there and take over Georgia, is there a damn thing that the United States can do about it?
HAASS: There's not a lot we can do about it physically on the ground. The real question is what kind of repercussions can you credibly threaten. Essentially the Russians do want to become part of Europe. They do want to be a major world power still. So what there are are the possibilities of suspending certain types of participation, to use my favorite word, integration, with various European and international institutions.
And over the long run what we've really got to do also is get a credible energy policy. One of the reasons Russia can do this is because oil is its valuable asset and gas. If the price of oil were one-third of what it is today, the Russian treasury would look very different.
This is one of the strategic costs of the United States not having had in place for decades now a serious energy policy so countries like Russia, Venezuela and Iran are tremendous strategic beneficiaries of our thirst for energy.
ROBERTS: It's always great to get your take on this stuff. Richard Haass, thanks for coming in this morning. Good to see you.
HAASS: Thanks for having me, John.
CHETRY: 7:30 right now here in New York. Some of the top stories we're following for you this morning.
Minorities are on track to pass white Americans and become the majority population by the year 2042. That's according to new numbers by the U.S. Census Bureau. Right now minorities make up roughly a third of the nation's population.
We have a follow up to a story that we first brought you yesterday. American Airlines now retreating from its policy of charging soldiers for their third piece of checked luggage. Military personnel are already exempt from fees on two checked bags. But until now troops had to pay the $100 fee up front for that third bag, then fill out forms from the war zone, in some cases, to be reimbursed by the Defense Department.
And Russian artillery still rolling through Georgia. This time they're reportedly leaving the city of Gori. The pullout started overnight. Meanwhile, Russia's foreign minister is hinting the two break away regions that are at the center of this conflict may never be part of Georgia again. CNN's Matthew Chance is on the ground in Georgia along the main road to Tbilisi. He witnessed the confusion, the conflict and the danger as it all unfolds.
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MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Russia's military advance came without warning. A column of armor heading towards Georgia's capital in an unprecedented show of force.
CHANCE (on-camera): There's been a lot of speculation about where the Russian troops are. Well, here they are. Well inside Georgian territory and outside the main conflict zone of South Ossetia. They're now on the road to Tbilisi. The big question is, how far will they go?
I can see there are troop carriers here. There are armored personnel carriers. We haven't seen any Georgian forces up ahead. We don't know whether they're going to encounter any resistance. But these are incredible scenes.
This wasn't the full scale invasion many Georgians fear. This column is now turning off the road to Tbilisi. Let me get out of the way of the armored personnel carrier. And it's heading down this road to a village. Georgian officials have indicated to us that this is a - a planned incursion by Russian forces. We don't know what they're doing at the moment.
In fact, let's try and ask them. I asked the Russian officer what his men were doing. No comment, he answered. But the Georgian people know we're here. A couple of soldiers edgy and smelling of alcohol had fallen behind and approached us. We've not been ordered to take Tbilisi, they told me. Russia doesn't want a war. We were forced to send our troops here, they said. Georgian officials say Russia is failing to respect its own cease fire.
Well, these are the first Georgian forces that we've come across after the Russians have moved in. They're about five kilometers, three miles or so from where the Russians have positioned themselves inside Georgian territory. Now, obviously they're heavily armed. They've got field guns there.
But this Georgian Army may be in no position to resist the military might of its giant Russian neighbor. Matthew Chance, CNN, Georgia.
ROBERTS: And at 33 minutes after the hour, Alina Cho joins us now with other stories new this morning. Good morning to you.
ALINA CHO, CNN, CORRESPONDENT: Hey there, guys, good morning to you and good morning, everybody. New this morning, they want their mayor ousted. First the sex scandal. Then a perjury charge now after Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick's recent stint in jail for violating the terms of his bail, there's a growing chorus for the embattled mayor to resign. So far, he has refused to step down.
Julia Child, international spy? For the first time the national archives is releasing the names of secret spies during World War II. The previously classified files identified almost 24,000 spies in what was then called the Office of Strategic Services or the O.S.S.. Besides the legendary chef herself, spies included a Supreme Court justice, an actor for the movie the "Godfather," and the father of Stuart Coppola, he's the drummer for the bank "The Police." One spy apparently was told to keep his mouth shut so he didn't even tell his wife of 52 years.
Michael Phelps. From 11 gold medals to billion dollar man. The earning capacity of the most successful Olympian ever has exploded within seconds of winning his tenth gold medal, overall fifth this year. Visa released a special edition Michael Phelps TV commercial. No longer just a 23-year-old swimmer, Phelps is now an international brand.
And they are the worst writers in America. Hold your ears, a line from the Grand Prize winner of San Jose State University's annual worst writing contest. Garrison Spik writes "theirs was a New York love, a checkered taxi ride burning rubber, and like the city their passion was open 24/7, steam rising from their bodies like slick streets exhaling warm, moist, white breath through manhole covers stamped Forged by Delaney Bros., Piscataway, New Jersey." Another gripping opening line, "toads of flurry, slugs of love." Pure poetry, guys.
CHETRY: Got to give it to them for the creativity.
CHO: Yes. I mean, A for effort. And you know, he's the winner of something. It's just the worst writing contest.
CHETRY: Put that on your resume, huh? ROBERTS: At least he won something.
ROBERTS: Alina, thanks so much for that.
Time now for part four in our series on employers cutting down to four-day workweeks. Our John Zzarrella rides along with one Florida woman who is saving time and money.
JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on-camera): John, Kiran, one of the biggest benefits of the four-day workweek is, of course, saving on gasoline. Everybody's been telling us that, including a woman you're about to meet. The four-day workweek has reduced her commute by 100 miles.
ZARRELLA (voice-over): 7:30 a.m. Donata Prichard is already at work. Her day at the prosecutor's office starts off dealing with a computer with an attitude.
DONATA PRICHARD, COMMUTER: Once it's up, it's great. But I guess it's getting started like everything else.
ZARRELLA: Donata gets started a wee bit earlier than most. She feeds the cat. It's 6:00 a.m. There's just a hint of blue in the sky when Donata leaves her home in Orlando, hops on interstate 4, and heads to Daytona Beach.
PRICHARD: Round trip is 100 miles a day.
ZARRELLA: For 14 years she's made the drive. Five days a week. Her four-year-old PT cruiser has 100,000 miles on it and a third set of tires. But she'd never take a job closer to home.
PRICHARD: I love what I do. I love the people I work with.
ZARRELLA: This summer, finally, after all these years, I-4 became a road less traveled.
PRICHARD: I just only dreamed of it. Now I have it. I don't want it to go away. I don't want to wake up from the dream.
ZARRELLA: A pilot program that runs through Labor day allows employees at state prosecutors' offices including attorneys to work a four-day week. Nine hour days. Donata took Fridays. She's cut her gasoline costs more than $100 a month. Donata's not just saving money at the gas pump. She's saving about $50 a week in lunches. With the flex schedule she only gets a half hour for lunch each day now. She doesn't have as much time to go out. With only a half hour for lunch now, Donata brown bags it instead of eating out. But the best thing about Fridays off?
PRICHARD: OK. I'm waiting for that cannon ball. ZARRELLA: More time with the grand kids. The pilot program will be evaluated before state officials decide whether to continue it. It won't get an argument from Donata, who has spent way too many hours of her life on the interstate. John, Kiran.
ROBERTS: John Zarrella for us this morning. Even though the series is about four-day workweeks, we're going to give you a bonus fifth day. Oh, we're going to be here anyways. Tomorrow we put the shorter workweek to the test and find out how it works for different people.
CHETRY: Well, a big controversy over the little gymnasts who won gold. They're supposed to be at least 16 years of age. They're shorter and lighter than the American team. And there's questions about whether or not they really are 16.
ROBERTS: Are they underage? Who knows.
The critics called her fat. Now, comedian Margaret Cho is responding, taking it all off on her new show. She joins us to talk about that. Plus lip synching at the Olympics and the autograph that is making her vote for Obama.
CHETRY: An update now with the latest medal count for you in the Beijing Games. China once again leading the U.S. now in overall medals 34 to 33. Still close. They are dominating though the race for gold. 22 to the U.S.'s 10.
And now there are some new questions about the Chinese gold medal winning women's gymnastics team. Did China cheat to let younger girls compete?
RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): How hold does this girl look to you? The Chinese gymnastics coach says He Kexin (ph) is 16, the required age to compete in the Beijing Olympics. But is she really? A recent investigation by "The New York Times" suggests half the Chinese team, three out of six, could be underage. These are the girls raising eyebrows. According to their passports, they are all 16. But the "Times" reports a 2006 biography on He Kexin listed her birthday as January 1st, 1994, which would make her 14, not 16. This girl was listed as 14 in a local competition in China recently. And a web site in China says this member of the team is 15. Amanda Boarden represented the U.S. in the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta.
AMANDA BORDEN, FORMER OLYMPIC GYMNAST: Are they 16? I'm not sure we'll ever know the exact age of those girls. They do look like they are far from being 16.
KAYE: Borden says there are definitely advantages to competing at a younger age. Gymnasts are smaller, more flexible. BORDEN: We tend to be a lot better and at our peak performances when we are younger, before we go through maturity.
KAYE: This Chinese gymnast knows that's true. In his documentary now on YouTube, she admits she was too young to compete at the 2000 Sydney Olympics where she won a bronze medal. She says she was just 14. Debbie Johnson has been coaching gymnastics for 30 years. She says the girls don't look 16 either.
One of these girls is 68 pounds. Do you know of any 16-year-olds that are 68 pounds.
DEBBIE JOHNSON, GYMNASTICS COACH: No, I don't. I don't.
KAYE: What's the average height and weight of a 16-year-old gymnast that you see here at your gym?
JOHNSON: At my gym they're much bigger, average maybe 100 pounds, 110 pounds. 5'2", 5'3", 5'4", in that range.
KAYE: A Chinese gymnastics official reportedly suggested sports writers in China got the ages wrong, insisting their passports are valid. The Chinese teams average size is 4'9," 77 lbs. The gymnasts from the U.S. are about 3 1/2 inches taller and 30 pounds heavier. Only one American Shawn Johnson stands shorter than five feet and weighs 100 lbs. A spokeswoman for the International Olympics Committee told the "Times," "we feel comfortable having heard feedback from people directly involved with the athletes." But that's not how legendary gymnastics coach Bela Karolyi sees it. The man who once coaches Nadia Comaneci and Mary Lou Retin told the "Associated Press," these people think we are stupid. And during NBC's coverage of the games Tuesday night, Karolyi continued.
BELA KAROLYI, LEGENDARY GYMNASTICS COACH: Half of the Chinese team is underage. But the thing is over. Nobody could really prove because they have their passport given by the government.
KAYE: Former Olympian Amanda Borden suggests if the U.S. team had done better in the finals, the focus would still be on the games, not the girls.
BORDEN: I think had the U.S. won the women's team, none of these issues would have come up.
KAYE: The competition may be over, but the fight continues. Randi Kaye, CNN, Orlando.
ROBERTS: It's 44 1/2 minutes after the hour now. Problem parents blamed for their kids' drug problems. Some even called passive pushers. Our Dr. Sanjay Gupta explains how to stop your kid from getting hooked. You're watching the most news in the morning.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) ROBERTS: 47 minutes after the hour. Well before the Russian invasion into Georgia, there was a cyber attack. An apparent effort to bring down Georgia's communication infrastructure. It's a grave concern because the same thing could happen here in America. CNN's Jeanne Meserve is live in Washington. She has been following all these for us. Good morning, Jeanne.
JEANNE MESERVE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, John. Experts say the cyber attacks in Georgia began weeks ago but escalated when Russian military action began.
MESERVE (voice-over): The web site of the Georgian parliament defaced with pictures of Hitler. And shut down by a massive denial of service attack. As were the web sites of other critical government agencies, the media, and banks.
PRES. MIKHEIL SAAKASHVILI, GEORGIA: Russia has launched a world cyber attack.
MESERVE: Georgia's president was quick to assign blame. Some experts in the U.S. agree the Russian government is behind the attacks, but others say it may be impossible to determine who is responsible.
JOSE NAZARIO, CYBER SECURITY RESEARCHER: Some servers are located in some cases in Russia, in fact, in Moscow, we know that the code base being used is available on Russian language forums and was written for Russian language audience by a Russian language author. That said, we don't have any evidence the government is behind this.
MESERVE: Russia's military action is having a far greater impact than the cyber attacks. Though the government's ability to communicate with its citizens has been hindered. Georgia, however, is not dependent on the internet.
JAMES LEWIS, CENTER FOR STRATEGIC & INT'L STUDIES: Whether it's our European allies or Japan, the United States, Australia, we're more vulnerable than Georgia. And we know that our opponents want to use this kind of thing against us.
MESERVE: And most experts agree, they will, perhaps to disrupt electricity, water, or other critical infrastructure. Cyber war, they say, is here to stay.
SCOTT BORG, U.S. CYBER CONSEQUENCES UNIT: We've entered the nuclear age sometime in the late 1930s, early 1940s. In the last few years we've entered the cyber age, the age of cyber attacks. And it will change how defense needs to be handled.
MESERVE: Some Georgian government web sites are now up and running, hosted in other countries. But the cyber attacks are continuing. John. ROBERTS: Fascinating piece. Jeanne Meserve for us in Washington this morning. Jeanne, thanks very much.
CHETRY: Here's what we're working on for you this morning. Unabomber Ted Kaczynski has a message for a federal court. Shut down a new museum showcasing his life. We'll tell you why he wants the doors closed. You're watching the most news in the morning.
CHETRY: We hear about problem teens. What about problem parents? There's a new report released by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University and it shows that some parents are actually enabling their teens when it comes to using drugs and alcohol. Our chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta is in Atlanta to explain more on this disturbing trend. It's a report suggesting that some adults may actually be steering their own children towards drugs and alcohol?
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. In a way, the report calls them passive pushers. They may be doing it unwittingly. But this idea that parents may leave prescription drugs sitting around, they don't adequately monitor their children's whereabouts and in the worst case, has actually used illicit drugs with their teens are something that this report sort of focused on. These types of problem parents, as they're called, are at the heart of this report.
We want to break this down a little bit. Consider where most kids get prescription drugs that they shouldn't be using. A third of them from the home, parents' medicine cabinets, another third from friends and classmates. But even more than that, 25 percent of teens say they know a parent who is using marijuana. Take that a step further, 10 percent say that parent uses the marijuana with teenagers. So, this maybe a bigger problem than was previously recognized.
Most parents, the report goes on to say, are doing just fine. They're dealing with issues like any other parent does but reminds people that it's those teenage years where you develop these lifelong model behaviors and it's a real chance for parents to make a positive intervention here, Kiran.
CHETRY: What are some things that need to change?
GUPTA: Well, I mean, some of it is going to be really obvious. This idea that you would ever use illicit drugs with your teenager, while some people may think it's a way to bond, get your children beyond that, those tumultuous teenage years. It's not a good idea. It's not good role model behavior. But I think a lot of it is less intuitive than that. For example, not leaving your prescription drugs just sort of sitting around. That may be an opportunity for the teenagers. Monitor the teens' whereabouts. Also, this is something we've talked about before, more family dinners. A lot of studies have shown, I have been fascinated by this that having simply five family dinners a night with the entire family significantly reduces the chance of abusive behaviors by that teenager later in life and again model healthy behaviors yourself. Kiran.
And you know, I'm always reluctant to give out parenting advice, but I think this report was pretty fascinating.
CHETRY: Absolutely. It sure is. Sanjay, thanks.
GUPTA: Thanks, Kiran.
CHETRY (voice-over): Breaking news, Russia pulls back from a major Georgian city after President Bush drives home his concerns.
PRES. GEORGE W. BUSH, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Russia's ongoing action raised serious questions about its intentions in Georgia and the region.
CHETRY: And getting political, comedian Margaret Cho.
MARGARET CHO, COMEDIAN: I'm 39. Are you going to ground me?
CHETRY: On presidents, politics, and her new TV show. She joins us live on this AMERICAN MORNING.
ROBERTS: Four minutes now to the top of the hour. This morning, Unabomber Ted Kaczynski wants a federal court to shut down a new museum exhibit that recreates the cabin where he made his deadly bombs. CNN's Carol Costello tells us why.
CAROL COSTELLO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, John and Kiran, this exhibit is at the museum and it's meant to educate the public about the relationship between the press and police. But what it's done, it's attracted the attention of the unabomber.
COSTELLO; The Unabomber is not happy. He's written this letter to a U.S. Court of Appeals, complaining about an exhibit that features my cabin, yes, that cabin, the one Unabomber Ted Kaczynski built by hand in Montana where he made the bombs he mailed to victims, killing three and injuring 23.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And he also kept some of his bomb-making materials in the hole in the ceiling, right?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. He had things scattered about.
COSTELLO: The cabin along with an interactive display is part of an exhibit called G Men in journalists at Washington D.C.'s museum. The items are on loan from the FBI. Kaczynski, long kept in solitary confinement, found out about the exhibit from the museum's ad in the "Washington Post." The ad asks, "what led the "Unabomber" to target universities, airlines and computer stores? Was it a deadly case of cabin fever?" Kaczynski didn't address that in his letter. Instead, he complained "government is responsible for the public exhibition of the cabin. This has obvious relevance to the victims' objection to publicity connected with the Unabomber case." "I don't think I need to say anything further, the court can draw its own conclusions."
GARY WRIGHT, UNABOMBER VICTIM: It is a strange statement in that I think he's trying to say that for some reason he has feelings for the victims, but for so many years, I don't think he really did.
COSTELLO: Gary Wright is one of Kaczynski's victims, injured in 1987 when he picked up a package outside of his computer shop. It exploded, hitting him with hundreds of nails and wood slivers. He dismisses Kaczynski's alleged concern. He made his peace with what happened at Kaczynski's sentencing hearing years ago.
WRIGHT: I actually told him, look, I don't hate you. I forgave you a long time ago because if i hadn't, I just would have been kindling to your cause. And I don't know exactly what that was. And when that happened, he dropped his pencil and we just locked gaze. That's something that I'll always remember.
COSTELLO: Wright does say any money made from the exhibit should go back to the victims. The museum hasn't talked to any of the victims, but says the exhibit is not a memorial to the victims or of course to the Unabomber himself but a way for people to understand the relationship between the press and the police. John, Kiran.
CHETRY: Carol Costello, thank you.
Well, a two-month long Middle East truce could be in danger of breaking this morning. A Palestinian group in Gaza says it's building long range rockets that can hit targets up to 16 miles away. That's double the range of previous weapons. Israel says that violates a cease-fire agreement between its country and militants in Gaza. The group, calling itself the Popular Resistance Committee has displayed it's rocket factory to journalists last week.
We're on the oil and gas watch this morning. Some mixed news, oil is trading slightly higher, up nearly $3 to more than $116 a barrel and that's on news of lower gas inventories. But the price of the pump is dropping once again, falling nearly a cent. This is the 28th straight decline. Gas nationwide on average, $3.78 a gallon.
And the face of America is changing. Much faster than originally predicted. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in just 34 years, Americans who identity themselves as a minority will together end up being the majority.
CNN's Alina Cho is live in our control room with more on the story. Alina.
CHO: Hey there, Kiran. Good morning. You know the census report came out at about midnight. And the surprising projection is that by the year 2042, that's eight years sooner than earlier estimates, minorities will indeed become the majority and eight years after that, by the year 2050, minorities are expected to make up 54 percent of the population.