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Winter Storm Affects Travel; Obama Urges Fiscal Cliff Deal; Russia Moves to Ban U.S. Adoptions; The Big Business of Guns; Instagram's Terms of Service; Does "Zero Dark Thirty" Glorify Torture?

Aired December 22, 2012 - 06:00   ET


RANDI KAYE, CNN ANCHOR: From CNN world headquarters in Atlanta, this is EARLY START WEEKEND.

Here we go. It was 10 days until New Year's and all through D.C., not a deal was stirring, despite every plea.

More guns. That's the NRA's solution for preventing another school massacre. All morning long we put gun control in focus.

You know when your mind is stressed out, but what about your body? An NBA cheerleading coach shows us how to stay relaxed during the holidays.

It is Saturday, December 22nd. Good morning, everyone. I'm Randi Kaye. And, yes, we are still here despite Mayan predictions to the contrary.

And days before Christmas, the airports have been packed while some highways are near empty. All signs of the severe weather in the Midwest that is now heading east. The system that caused this blizzard in Iowa and Wisconsin traveled through Ohio and is now hitting Pennsylvania and upstate New York.

Now, there is another blizzard in the forecast. A warning is in effect right now for West Virginia and north central Maryland through 6:00 p.m. Of course, with that severe weather can come travel delays and cancellations as millions travel for the holiday.

Victor Blackwell is live this morning in the Cleveland area.

And, Victor, good morning. I bet you're missing your warm seat in the studio this morning. How's the weather impacting flights there?

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I am. I'll talk about the flight in a moment. But you know -- our regulars know that you and I are in the ongoing negotiations over the temperature in the studio. You like it really warm. I like it to be cold, almost. I would pay for some of the warmth that you always have in that studio right now. It's 30 degrees and snow on the ground here in Cleveland.

KAYE: I'll -- I will remind you of that when you're back.

BLACKWELL: I'm sure you will. But let's talk about the flights because the good news is the FAA is not reporting any significant delays at any of the country's major airports. Green dots when you look at the map from the FAA, and that means delays less than 15 minutes.

Here in Cleveland, this storm that passed through yesterday was really more of a wind event than a snow event. You could see that the parking lot I'm standing on is just wet and there's just a dusting here on the grass. And even that wind did not stop or delay any flights out of here. We know that this could be a problem as we move through the day for the East Coast.

But let's talk about the major airport here in the Midwest. Chicago's O'Hare. Also Midway, which is a major airport in Chicago. Over the past few days, hundreds of flights, 500 between the two of those airports, were canceled on Thursday. A few dozen more on Friday. The only concern there is that those passengers who could not get on their regular flights may be delayed to today. And the thousands and thousands of people, tens of thousands of people who will passed through those airports, may have some problems getting out.

But as it relates to the weather and these -- the travel, no problem so far. AAA says about 93 million people will travel 50 miles or more to head home for the holidays. So far, no major reports on the roads, but it is still early, Randi.

KAYE: It sure is. Well, listen, I'm going to -- I'm going to sip on my hot cup of tea and I hope you have one there as well. So, keep warm, all right. We'll check back with you.

BLACKWELL: I'll do my best. Thanks.

KAYE: All right, Victor, thanks.

And here are some of the other stories that we're watching this morning.

Senator John Kerry is in line for a new job. President Obama officially nominated Kerry to be the next secretary of state. He's currently the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said that she wanted to leave the job after President Obama's first term.

Three people have been arrested in connection with a deadly house explosion in Indianapolis. The blast in early November killed two people. Police arrested the victim's neighbors who lived in the blown up home and one other person. They're charged with murder and arson.

The lack of a fiscal cliff deal led the stock market to take a big hit on Friday. You see it there. The Dow was down nearly 121 points for the day. But in the end, all three key indices actually ended up slightly for the week.

Now, there are just 10 days left to salvage a deal on the fiscal cliff where you, I, and everyone else will be paying much higher taxes. President Obama is challenging Congress to get it done. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: In 10 days we face a deadline. In 10 days, under current law, tax rates are scheduled to rise on most Americans. And even though Democrats and Republicans are arguing about whether those rates should go up for the wealthiest individuals, all of us, every single one of us, agrees that tax rates shouldn't go up for the other 98 percent of Americans, which includes 97 percent of small businesses.


KAYE: Let's check in now with CNN's Emily Schmidt in Washington.

Emily, the president made this surprise late appearance yesterday. He urged Republicans to approve I guess what you might consider a stripped down deal. This all happened around dinner time, so a lot of folks might not have seen it. So give us the details. What is he proposing?

EMILY SCHMIDT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Randi, I have to tell you, just a few minutes ago, President Obama landed in Hawaii, 72 degrees there was the temperature on the ground. Certainly warmer than it is in Washington. Certainly warmer than the political climate that President Obama left behind here in Washington.

It was a strip down agreement. He basically is saying, we have to come up with some solution to help the majority of American taxpayers, while we still avoid coming up with the majority of the details for what was supposed to help us avoid the fiscal cliff.

So here are the basics of what it would do. It would ensure that tax rates would not go up for 98 percent of Americans. It would also ensure that unemployment benefits would be extended for about 2 million Americans who would lose them otherwise if we went over the fiscal cliff the beginning of the new year. Finally, it would work to lay the groundwork for the larger reform. So if we're looking for specific details here, not a whole lot of them. This is coming up with almost an emergency solution.

We know that President Obama did speak by phone with Speaker John Boehner yesterday, met at the White House with Democrat Harry Reid. However, publicly, what is being said sounds a whole lot like it has over the past couple of weeks which tells us, Randi, we're not exactly sure if we're going to get something worked out in the next few days.

KAYE: Yes, that's the question, of course, will -- are we any closer? And I guess we don't really know.

But what about for workers? I mean will they see any extra taxes coming out of their paychecks right on January 1st if there isn't a deal?

SCHMIDT: You know, imagine being a payroll check processor at this point because they do not know what to do. If they are going to issue checks to people on the first week of the new year, as a lot of people are expecting them to come, they have to cut those checks next week. And as of now, the IRS hasn't told these companies how much they should be withholding taxes because they don't know because of this impasse that has been in Washington.

So a lot of uncertainty about when this would start to be applied. Would it be retroactively? Would it happen at some point in the future? Don't know what your first paychecks could look like as a result of what's going on here.

The one thing we do know is if no deal is reached, if the payroll tax holiday is not extended, people are automatically going to see 2 percent go up. If you make $50,000 a year, that's $83 a month less you're going to have with no deal. And that's before we talk about the rest of the fiscal cliff implications.


KAYE: Yes. That's why we're paying such close attention to it.

SCHMIDT: That's right.

KAYE: Emily Schmitt, thank you very much for the update this morning.

It took a week, but the NRA finally responded to the massacre in Newtown, Connecticut. They promised a, quote, "meaningful contribution" to stop similar attacks. Protesters interrupted the statement twice. Once with the sign "NRA killing our kids." So what's the plan for the NRA? Armed guards in schools. Why? Listen.


WAYNE LAPIERRE, EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT, NRA: Politicians pass laws for gun-free school zones, they issue press releases bragging about them. They post signs advertising them. And in doing so, they tell every insane killer in America that schools are the safest place to inflict maximum mayhem with minimum risk.


KAYE: Now, I want to show you some of the reactions to the NRA's message. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has been critical of the president and Congress for not tackling this subject earlier. So what did he say about the NRA's plea? Quote, "a shameful evasion of the crisis facing our country."

Connecticut Congressman Chris Murphy represents Newtown and here's his tweet after that NRA speech. Quote, "walking out of another funeral and was handed the NRA transcript. The most revolting tone deaf statement I've ever seen."

And here's some reaction from a gun shop in Douglasville, Georgia.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think as -- where we're at as a country, I think that's a good idea to start from. I think from there we should start to pare it down and start to develop that idea a little bit more.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Since we do have armed people whether (ph) in our courthouses or our police stations and whatnot, I definitely think that our schools would be on (ph) great pains (ph) to protect our children while they're there as well.


KAYE: We're hearing reaction for and against the NRA's proposal. And we want to hear from you too this morning. What do you think of the gun lobby's idea to put armed guards in schools? You can tweet me @randikayecnn and we'll read your responses in the next hour.

And we're remembering the victims of the Newtown shooting this morning. One of our many iReporters, Mandy Baldra (ph), has sent in this picture of a memorial created by her eight-year-old son Mason.



BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If we're going to succeed, it's going to take a sustained effort from mothers and fathers, daughters and sons, law enforcement and responsible gun owners organizing, speaking up, calling their members of Congress as many times as it takes, standing up and saying "enough" on behalf of all our kids. That's how change happens, because of committed Americans who work to make it happen. Because of you. You've started something and now I'm asking you to keep at it.


KAYE: The issue of gun control has been thrust front and center in the wake of last week's shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. That shooting has led to calls for a new assault weapons ban and has led to President Obama putting the vice president in charge of formulating the administration's response.


OBAMA: Here's what I think we should do. This week I called on Congress to take up and pass common sense legislation that has the support for a majority of the American people, including banning the sale of military-style assault weapons and high capacity ammunition clips and making sure criminals can't take advantage of legal loopholes to get their hands on a gun.

I also tasked the vice president with leading an effort to come up with a comprehensive set of serious proposals to keep our children safe, including strengthening student safety, improving mental health care and addressing a culture that too often glorifies guns and violence.


KAYE: We are focusing on gun control this morning. A federal assault weapons ban was first put in place back in 1994. It expired in 2004. The law, in effect, banned nearly 20 different assault weapons manufactured in the U.S. Now, it also banned the manufacture of high- capacity magazines. The ones that hold more than 10 bullets. There were plenty of loopholes, though. Gun manufacturers could make minor modifications and the banned weapons, then rename them. In a sense, making them legal. Also, there was no ban on the import of assault weapons from overseas. You see the ban was only for American-made guns. Also, any guns or high-capacity magazines manufactured before the ban could still be owned and used legally.

When it comes to gun bans, the states have really taken the lead. California went full speed ahead after a shooting at an elementary school in Stockton back in 1989. Now at that time, the state banned the manufacturer, transport, import, or sale of assault weapons. It also now bans sales to felons and drug addicts and requires safety training, a 10-day waiting period and outlaws those high-capacity magazines that hold more than 10 bullets.

Other states also limit who can own guns and whether guns that can be carried with or without a permit. We talk a lot about guns. But how prevalent are they really? Well, there are around 270 million guns in this country that are privately owned. About 32 percent of households have guns according to a study by the University of Chicago's National Opinion Research Center. But again, we are talking about the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary. So it's not the pistols that we're talking about here. It's the assault weapons. The ones that shoot 50 to 100 bullets in just seconds.

The NRA was largely quiet in the wake of the shooting, but yesterday they ended their silence by placing blame.


WAYNE LAPIERRE, EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT, NRA: Our nation's refusal to create an active national database of the mentally ill. Vicious, violent video games with names like "Bullet Storm," "Grand Theft Auto," "Mortal Combat," and "Splatter House." Blood-soaked films out there like "American Psycho," "Natural Born Killers." Politicians pass laws for gun-free school zones. They issue press releases bragging about them. They post signs advertising them. And in doing so, they tell every insane killer in America that schools are the safest place to inflict maximum mayhem with minimum risk.


KAYE: But NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre also has a solution.


LAPIERRE: And does anybody really believe that the next Adam Lanza isn't planning his attack on a school he's already identified at this very moment? How many more copycats are waiting in the wings for their moment of fame? The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. I call on Congress today to act immediately to appropriate whatever is necessary to put armed police officers in every single school in this nation.


KAYE: So, the NRA says armed guards in school is the answer to tragedies like Newtown. Next hour, I'll talk with a father and a daughter in Newtown who are part of a new effort there to end the violence. And we'll get their take on the NRA's idea. That's at 7:15 Eastern Time.

We also want to let you know that we did some legwork this week. We reached out to 43 senators of the incoming 113th Congress who have an A or A minus -- or A plus rating, I should say, from the NRA and not one of them agreed to join us this morning to talk about this issue.

Not all of its members are behind what the NRA is doing. Check out how one member expressed his anger through an iReport sent to us.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is my NRA club card. I want to show you my tribute and how outraged I am at the loss of life in Newtown, Connecticut. This is what I'm going to do with this card. That's it.


KAYE: The NRA says it has 4.3 million members.

Russia could be closing its doors to some American families. We'll explain why.


KAYE: Welcome back to EARLY START WEEKEND. Twenty-two minutes past the hour.

A former U.S. Marine, who was imprisoned in Mexico for four months, has been reunited with his family. Jon Hammar was released yesterday, partly thanks to work from U.S. Senator Bill Nelson. Hammar was imprisoned on a questionable charge after police found him with an antique shotgun. His parents say U.S. officials told him it was OK to cross the border with the gun, but Mexican officials accused him of violating their law.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange says his website is preparing to release more than 1 million documents next year. He says they affect every country in the world. Assange made the announcement from the Ecuadorian embassy in London. Ecuador has granted him asylum, but British authorities say that they'll arrest him if he leaves the building and possibly send him to Sweden where he is wanted for sex abuse allegations.

Now to Russia, where the country is moving to ban U.S. citizens from adopting Russian children. It's already passed one house of parliament. The U.S. ambassador to Russia, Michael McFaul, is criticizing the move saying, quote, "we are very concerned by measures that would link the fate of orphan children to unrelated political issues." Nadia Bilchik is here to talk a little bit more about this.

So, first of all, good morning.


KAYE: Why are they doing this? I mean what are the political issues that McFaul is referring to.

BILCHIK: This is direct retaliation for something called the Magnitsky Act. And this is a U.S. act that was passed earlier this year that freezes the assets of Russian officials accused of human rights violations. Particularly in reference to Sergei Magnitsky, who was an anti-corruption lawyer that was found murdered in prison in 2009.

KAYE: You know, we've talked a lot about the case of this mother in Tennessee who had adopted a child from Russia --


KAYE: Couldn't take it anymore. Said he was misbehaving. I think he'd even threatened her. Sent him back. Just put him on a plane. Would this have anything to do with a case like that?

BILCHIK: Definitely a contributing factor. And that was a horrific case and it ricocheted around the world. There was also another case of a young boy called Dima Yakovlev, and he was found in a sweltering car with the windows up, left unattended by his American father who had adopted him. So there's been several incidents like that, that have definitely exacerbated the situation. But the real catalyst in the ban is the retaliation for the Magnitsky Act.

KAYE: And what about -- what will parents of the U.S. do, because Russia is such a popular spot for them to go?

BILCHIK: It's a difficult one. It's third in terms of American adoptions. First is China. Second is Ethiopia. And, third, Russia. There were about 45,000 adoptions of Russian children by Americans since 1999.

And, you know, Randi, yesterday I spoke to various adoption agencies, people who had adopted from Russia, people who are hoping to. So those hoping to don't know what's going to happen. One assumes that on Wednesday, the upper house of parliament will pass this, but Putin still has to sign it. And he said on Thursday he's going to look at it very carefully. But he is furious with the Americans because of this Magnitsky Act.

KAYE: And what happens if there's an adoption already in process?

BILCHIK: It's unknown at this point. One assumes that it will go through. But I spoke to people who are very anxious.

KAYE: I'm sure.

BILCHIK: And at the end of this, children who are waiting to be adopted. So they're not quite sure yet what's going to happen. KAYE: All right, Nadia, I know you'll keep an eye on that for us. Thank you. Appreciate it.

Well, this is going to make the holidays a lot sweeter for thousands of people. It's El Gordo, or "the fat one," as in big fat jackpot. We'll tell you about the world's biggest lottery.


KAYE: It is just about half past the hour. Welcome back, everyone. I'm Randi Kaye. Thanks so much for starting your day with us.

Nick Valencia is here in studio with me this morning sharing some stories that we're watching.

Good morning.


If you think it's cold outside here in the United States, check out what people in central Russia have been dealing with. The man's phone says it's negative 41 degrees Celsius there. That's the same as negative 42 degrees Fahrenheit. Or so cold, watch what he can do with boiling water.

Check this out, Randi.




KAYE: Wow!


Back stateside, the conditions that brought these blizzard to Iowa that have moved through Ohio and is now hitting western Pennsylvania and upstate New York. Plus, a blizzard warning is in effect right for parts of West Virginia and north central Maryland. Some forecasts predict more harsh weather is coming Christmas week starting in Arkansas and heading to New England bringing inches of snow.

The Massachusetts company linked to a deadly nationwide outbreak of fungal meningitis has filed for bankruptcy protection. Health agency the New England Compounding Center did not follow sterilization procedures for a steroid it distributed. 620 meningitis cases were reported and 39 people died after they were injected with that steroid. The company says it will establish a fund to compensate individuals and families affected.

Got milk? It may be more expensive to answer yes to that question in the new year. If a new agricultural bill isn't passed by Congress, support for dairy farmers will revert to a statute that dates to 1949, essentially the government would be forced to buy milk at double the cost that could push the price for a gallon of milk to over $7.

And today is the second and final round of voting on a referendum for Egypt's new draft constitution. It comes one day after clashes in Alexandria between supporters and opponents of President Mohamed Morsi. The constitution, which passed a first phase of voting last week, has sparked concerns over the power it creates for the president.

Christmas is going to come early for some lucky lottery winners. El Gordo, the world's biggest lottery has a jackpot approaching $3 billion. The reports said the winning numbers were played by a group of people in northeast Spain, but participants should be prepared to split the money. There's no single jackpot. Instead, it's a share the wealth system with thousands of winners, still it works out to about $524,000 per person.

And been going Gangnam style? You are surely not alone. The viral hit song by South Korean rapper Psy is now the most watched music video of all time. That's according to billboard, which says it's been viewed now more than 1 billion times. That's billion with a "b." Gangnam style, indeed, you're not alone, Randi. That's you, that's the headlines.

KAYE: All right, I'm still thinking about that water that that guy in that first story -- that the guy threw off.

VALENCIA: Unbelievable.

KAYE: Disappeared in thin air like that. I once actually fried an egg in a very hot city that I used to work in in local news.

VALENCIA: You can also bake cookies, you know, in your car. Something like that.

KAYE: Yes. There you go. I love it. All right, Nick, thanks --

VALENCIA: Thank you.

KAYE: We'll check back with you.

Shifting gears now, President Obama promising action on gun control and he's put Vice President Biden in charge of the response. But the NRA is very -- has a very strong voice on the other side. They've got more than 4 million members and a powerful lobbying arm in Washington. Plus, guns are big business. You might be wondering how big.

Here's our Christine Romans.


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: This is an incredibly profitable industry. Background checks for gun purchases, that's one barometer for sales. Those background checks have doubled over the past decade. As the economy has stagnated, guns sales have soared. There are more gun retailers than there are supermarkets and McDonald's locations in America. Profits for the guns and ammunition industry expected to reach nearly $1 billion this year. That's according to Ibis World.

Smith & Wesson is rolling in record profits, the parent company of the maker of the rifle used to kill teachers and children in Connecticut, Bushmaster, it brought in a quart of billion dollars in profit last year. A fast growing part of the gun industry, military-style semiautomatic rifles and high capacity magazines for ammunition. Gun shops report a surge in gun demand after Newtown. Why? Well, some of it is people looking to protect themselves, but it's also out of a fear of tighter gun control laws.

In particular, gun aficionados worry about coming restrictions to the AR-15 military style rifles like that Bushmaster model used at Sandy Hook Elementary. Gun maker stocks initially fell sharply this week, but investors say the demand for guns in America remains very strong. There are 89 guns in America per 100 residents, the highest in the world. The size and wealth of this industry cannot be overstated.


KAYE: Christine Romans, thank you very much. And Christine will have more on the $1 billion business of guns today, on "Your Bottom Line." That's coming up at 9:30 a.m. Eastern time right here on CNN.

A social media misstep for Instagram, why the photo sharing Website backtracked on a proposed policy after strong backlash from many of you.


KAYE: So you know that picture that you're really proud of that you think deserves to be in "National Geographic"? Well, imagine if it was sold for an advertisement and you never saw a dime. That was the fear from a proposal this week by Instagram. All right, but let me give you the back story here. Instagram, the social media app bought by Facebook earlier this year for a whopping $1 billion. Well, it enables users to create artsy photos on their Smartphones and then share them with friends. Well, this week it backed away from a policy change after huge outrage from many of you. Joining me now to chat about this, about the whole Instagram outrage, is Nick Valencia. All right, so I guess they've backtracked, but what would the change have done?

VALENCIA: Yeah, well, this is a huge privacy issue, Randi. I mean, obviously, this company didn't have the terms of service agreement in place back in October 2010 that it had now. And essentially, what it would have done -- it's taken your photo that you're so proud of and taken it and sold it to the highest bidder without giving you any profit at all. A lot of people are saying that this is an attack on intellectual property and very many people mad about this, a lot of people are angry about this.

In fact, there's a statement out from Instagram, they said "Because of the feedback we have heard from you, we are reverting this advertising section to the original version that has been in effect since we launched the service in October of 2012. Instagram has no intention of selling your photos and we never did. We don't own your photos, you do." So a little talking out of both sides of their mouth.

KAYE: Yeah, all right, so there's the issue of the fact that Instagram would've made money, and you wouldn't have seen a dime, but then, it's also, of course, a privacy issue, right?

VALENCIA: I mean I think that's what users are most upset about. It's -- let's say you have a kid and all of a sudden your three-year-old, that beautiful photo you take of him walking on the beach, or her walking on the beach, I mean you just got back from Hawaii, they could have taken your photos and put them up to let's say the hotel that you stayed at so that they could use it for marketing and advertising without letting you know. I mean so there's two sides here. One side is mad about the fact they're not going to get paid, the other side saying, how can you just take my photo without telling me?

KAYE: Yeah, so let's give our viewers, maybe they're not on Instagram, I know you're not on Instagram.

VALENCIA: No. You called me out here.

KAYE: But I'm going to get you on there. I'm on Instagram, at Randikayecnn, if you want to follow me, but let's give an example of how it works. OK.

VALENCIA: Sure, so you -- you take a photo, I think we've got some photos here that we put together here from the staff. So, you take a photo --

There is you hanging out --

KAYE: That's my Hawaiian trip.

VALENCIA: A Hawaiian trip. So they would be able to -- you know, and it's you -- you create artsy photos with this. You take a snapshot, and you put a filter on it. One of the filters used is a Valencia filter. But it is, actually. Some people do Valencia filter. But you take these photos and they would be able to, in essence, grab this and snatch them, and put them on, let's say, a Starbucks ad.

KAYE: Wow.

VALENCIA: So you have that -- that's from our producer Hanna Gordola (ph), she took that photo on her Instagram. We were talking a little bit before this segment. This is another photo of a producer Adam Blaker (ph) here. And so these are these private, intimate moments that you're sharing publicly.

KAYE: What would he be advertising there, I'm wondering? Oh, there's my cat.

VALENCIA: There's your cat.

KAYE: It's right -- he can be advertising, like, I guess, a computer --

VALENCIA: A computer.

KAYE: -- a computer ad right there. And he didn't see a penny, trust me.

VALENCIA: Kitty keyboard. Something like that.

KAYE: Kitty keyboard. There you go.

But Instagram, though, as you said, seems to have left, you know, a little bit of wiggle room, right? To revisit using these photos.

VALENCIA: Yeah, and that's the scary part. There's a loophole and these new terms of service agreement don't start until January 16th of 2013. So in a couple of weeks, so even if you delete your account, you can avoid those new terms of service agreement, but if you don't delete your account, those photos are susceptible and vulnerable to being used potentially in the long-term. Potentially.

KAYE: Because it is kind of fun. I mean we have a lot of --

VALENCIA: Oh, it's great fun. Yeah.

KAYE: It's great to see what everybody's doing. And it really is just for photos --


KAYE: -- unlike some of the other social media, which is --

VALENCIA: But this is the issue with the social networking sites is that in the short-term they can use all your content, but in the long- term, long-term marketing sustainability is how they use this content to try to sustain themselves financially. These social networking sites are free, things like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter --

KAYE: Yeah.

VALENCIA: They are all free. So how are they going to sustain financially in the long run.

KAYE: Right. They need the money.

VALENCIA: They need the money.

KAYE: Well, see, you were smart to wait to get on Instagram. Now, you can get on today safely knowing that your photos will not be used, at least not yet

VALENCIA: I might still wait a couple of weeks.

KAYE: I'm going to follow you --



KAYE: -- and see what you're up to, Nick.

All right. Thank you.

VALENCIA: All right, Randi, thank you.

Oh, well, you may be stressed out for the holidays and not even realize it. Dietetic technician and fitness expert Desiree Nathanson is going to tell us what you can do to keep calm and keep it moving.


KAYE: Good morning, Atlanta. Glad you're waking up with us here on "Early Start Weekend," it's going to be a great day. A bit chilly in Atlanta this morning. But it'll be a wonderful day, no doubt.

Well, maybe you're planning to do some last-minute Christmas shopping today, or perhaps you're throwing a big party this weekend or it could be you're getting ready for some travel. Well, these are just some of the things that could leave you pretty stressed out during this time of the year. Here to offer some help is dietetic technician and fitness expert Desiree Nathanson.

Good morning.


KAYE: So, a lot of people are stressed out this time of year. But, you know, a lot of times your body, you think you're stressed out, but your body is telling you something different. So, is there some sort of self test that you can do?

NATHANSON: You relate it to the fight or flight syndrome. If you feel -- if you're about to get in a car accident or something, your heart rate is elevated, you start to breathe more heavily. Your muscles tends up. So, it's stress. And that's what your body does when it's stressed out. So the more often you're stressed, it leads to chronic stress, which can in turn have a terrible effect on your body.

KAYE: It can affect your health, right?

NATHANSON: Absolutely.

KAYE: It is a really serious issue.

NATHANSON: Yes. You can get elevated blood pressure, it can lead to disease, diabetes. There's so many problems that stress can lead to, depression, anxiety.

KAYE: Yeah. Not good.

NATHANSON: Not at all.

KAYE: None of that sounds very good.

NATHANSON: No. KAYE: All right, so -- we all get -- we all get stressed out, though we handle it differently. Are there some techniques? I mean I like to do yoga and then do some breathing exercises. What do you suggest? What do you like?

NATHANSON: Yes, there is many different techniques. First, you want to make sure you stay hydrated. You want to keep your body functioning normally throughout this whole process. You want to eat well, you want to exercise regularly. If you can't focus on those things, you want to try to stay away from sweets, because sweets, they'll make you feel good temporarily but then in the long-term it'll just make the problem worse. The same with alcohol.

KAYE: So, what's so important about yoga, for example? I mean the breathing is really good. Even if you are not doing yoga just taking in some deep breaths can help relieve some stress, right?

NATHANSON: Yeah, yoga and the meditation are wonderful. A lot of people turn to prayer or meditation, and it's not necessarily a miracle. It's focusing inward and calming your mind. So there are actually a few yoga poses you can do.

KAYE: OK, let's see.

NATHANSON: That are restorative and relaxing. So, first, of course, is child's pose. I think a lot of people know child's pose.

KAYE: My favorite.

NATHANSON: Yes. You want to get down on the floor on your knees and just lean forward to where your chest is touching your thighs. If you're not as flexible doing this, then you can place a pillow or a blanket between your butt and your heels, so that'll help relieve that.

KAYE: Support you a little bit. What else can you do?

NATHANSON: You can also do forward bends. I love doing forward bends. So, even if you're not that flexible to where you can't touch your toes, you can just kind of come here and relax because, again, it's calming and focusing inward.

KAYE: I could use some of that right now. I wish I wasn't wearing a dress. I did that on the ground --

NATHANSON: Absolutely.

And then legs of the wall --

KAYE: Oh, yeah.

NATHANSON: -- is a very good restorative pose. So, we'll pretend I have a wall right here and you're going to lay down on your back and then you just want to try to put your legs. I've got a mike pack, so I can't really do it fully.

KAYE: Right.

NATHANSON: But you just want to put your legs --

KAYE: Lean them up against the wall, right?

NATHANSON: Yes, and relax. So you want your tailbone up against the wall so that everything is just kind of settling down.

KAYE: So, that reverses gravity for a little bit?

NATHANSON: Yeah. And you can just (ph) breathe for a few minutes.

KAYE: Yeah.

NATHANSON: It's really nice.

KAYE: You know, some people also in terms of how they handle the stress, you mentioned blood sugar, some people eat --


KAYE: -- and some people don't eat.


KAYE: So, how much does blood sugar play a role in this -- the stress continues or not?

NATHANSON: Well, when you're stressed out, it increases stress hormones, which is cortisol, and cortisol in turn has an effect on blood sugar. So it's really going to screw with your blood sugar, and you really want to make sure that you're eating regularly so that you keep your blood sugar's level.

KAYE: OK, and because it's the holidays --


KAYE: Doing good, that helps reduce stress?

NATHANSON: Yeah, absolutely.

KAYE: Yes?

NATHANSON: Yes, even if you just smile at a stranger. And if that's kind of awkward for you, just --



KAYE: Yeah.

NATHANSON: But doing something nice and the act of smiling alone and laughing like you just said, can relieve the anxiety and tension.

KAYE: I feel so much calmer.

NATHANSON: You should.

KAYE: Happy New Year in studio. Even if you didn't do legs off the wall.

NATHANSON: No, I didn't. I will, though, today, for sure.

KAYE: Yes, absolutely. Well, Desiree, thank you.

NATHANSON: Thank you, Randi.

KAYE: Good tips.

Well, one of the most anticipated films out this weekend is "Zero Dark Thirty," but some people say this fictional tale of the hunt for Osama bin Laden glorifies torture. Our entertainment reporter Nischelle Turner has much more on this. Nischelle.

NISCHELLE TURNER, CNN ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, Randi, from its inception, "Zero Dark Thirty" has been a movie under intense scrutiny, and now that it's out in limited release, the controversy behind it only seems to be growing. Now, three U.S. senators who have seen the movie are taking issues with specific scenes where CIA operatives are torturing detainees.

Now, these Senators include Democrats Dianne Feinstein, Carl Levin, as well as Republican John McCain whose own experience as a POW in Vietnam have made him an outspoken critic of torture. Now, since most people have not seen the film yet, let me explain a little bit. The torture scenes, which there are more than one show CIA interrogators waterboarding, humiliating, and abusing detainees. Now, in the movie, these interrogations do result in crucial information in the search for Osama bin Laden. Now, I would not say that the film actually glorifies torture, but the CIA operatives are not squeamish about what they're doing. At a later point in the film, one of the CIA officials actually complained about President Obama's decision to stop the detainee program.

Now, in a letter to Sony, which is the studio behind the film, the senators say that "Zero Dark Thirty" is, quote, "perpetuating the myth that torture is effective." Now, they argue that a still classified report proves what they call the coercive interrogations did not result in any information that led to bin Laden's capture. Here's what else they had to say in the letter. They say "Zero Dark Thirty" is factually inaccurate. And we believe that you have an obligation to state that the role of torture in the hunt for Osama bin Laden is not based on the facts but rather part of the film's fictional narrative." Now, Sony maintains that they've never classified this as a documentary and they stand behind the film's authenticity. They issued a statement of their own, saying this was a ten-year intelligence operation brought to the screen in a two-and-a-half -hour film. We depicted a variety of controversial practices and intelligence methods that were used in the name of finding bin Laden.

Now, Randi, the star of the film who is Jessica Chastain, she actually credits the director Kathryn Bigelow for including these type of scenes. Let's take a listen to what she had to say.


JESSICA CHASTAIN, "ZERO DARK THIRTY": She's such a brave filmmaker. Because it's a historical event she wants to show as accurately as possible that includes showing intense interrogations which include torture. That's part of our history.


TURNER: The other actors in the film have maintained that this was Bigelow's vision and her creative version of what she believes the hunt and capture of Osama bin Laden was actually like. Randi?

KAYE: Nischelle, thank you very much.

In an unusual move, the acting CIA director put out a statement to employees saying "Zero Dark Thirty" is not a historically accurate film. He addressed the film's torture scenes saying some detainees did endure, quote, "enhanced techniques, but that other sources were used to catch Osama bin Laden."

Well, just a few more days left in 2012. So if you missed any of the really big stories this year, we'll catch you up on 12 months of controversy, celebrity, and history.


KAYE: Well, we asked you this morning what you think about the NRA's proposal to put armed guards in schools, and we're already getting a whole lot of responses on Twitter. Here's some of them: Willie says "It's crazy. How does it look to our kids? Guns in school is demoralizing and weak. And Tammy tweeted "I thought about this the other day. If you know I'm armed, you are less likely to attack me." Steven says 'It's the worst idea I've ever heard. What a terrible signal to send to U.S. youngsters." And Thomas tweeted this, "I think it's a great idea. The schools here have a uniformed cop at every school with no issues." And Brea tweeted "Laughable, U.K. and others are baffled by NRA insistence guns are good. You've lost your tag "Land of the Free." Thanks for all of these responses, and keep them coming, because we will continue to check on them and read that Twitter feed throughout the morning.

Well, the past 12 months were full of big moments, historic moments, emotional moments, and of course, some pretty funny ones too. Here's a look back at the biggest stories of 2012.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Touchdown confirmed.

(cheers and applause)


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The crowd has gathered here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We want to be freedom. We want to be free people.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The Italian cruise ship capsized.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nearly 23 percent unemployment.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Viral on social media sites.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Outrage stirs social media.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My name is Sandra Fluck.

OBAMA: The Affordable Care Act.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a very massive play by Facebook.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The largest IPO in tech history.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, he is really breastfeeding in the picture.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: One article has the entire country talking.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: The president says he now believes that same-sex marriage should be legal.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We now know the name of the suspect blamed for the movie theater shooting spree.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Shooting at the Sikh temple in Wisconsin.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Police now tell CNN people have been shot in front of the Empire State Building.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Jerry Sandusky sentenced to a minimum of 30 years in prison.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: An iconic statue honoring the late Penn State football coach Joe Paterno is gone.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The British people are going gaga for the Diamond Jubilee.



ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Someone sold photographs of Britain's Prince Harry naked during a strip billiards game.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's one of the hottest novels around.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What went wrong? Why now?

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Isaac is forcing some changes at the Republican Convention.

CLINT EASTWOOD, ACTOR/DIRECTOR: What do you mean shut up?

OBAMA: Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Christopher Stevens and three other embassy staff, they are dead.

HILLARY CLINTON, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: We will bring those to justice who committed these murders.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All the affects of Hurricane Sandy already.

COOPER: Sandy's carved a path of destruction across all along the eastern seaboard.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We can't fully secure the crane until the wind dies down.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, my God -- they are doing another story on this? Gangnam style.




UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Live picture from Los Angeles of Endeavour, the shuttle rolling down the streets of L.A.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But let's take a look at the man at the center of this scandal. General David Petraeus.

BLITZER: Israel responded to fresh rocket attacks from Gaza.

FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Despair in Syria has gone on for 20 months.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are these red line warnings talk?

BLITZER: CNN projects that Barack Obama will be re-elected president of the United States. (cheers)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Terror at an elementary school in Connecticut.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: 20 children dead, six adults are also dead.

OBAMA: So our hearts are broken today. For the parents and grandparents, sisters and brothers of these little children. May God bless the memory of the victims.


KAYE: Thanks so much for starting your morning with us. We've got much more ahead on CNN SATURDAY MORNING which starts right now.