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Some Say No Thanks To the Flu Shot; Mubarak Gets Retrial; Hollywood's Version of Washington; Armstrong to Admit Doping; Is Your Cat Trying to Kill You?; Cold Snap Threatens Citrus Crops

Aired January 13, 2013 - 06:00   ET


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

Forty-seven states,, more than 100 deaths and no end in sight. The latest on the national flu epidemic.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You really believe this story, Osama bin Laden?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What part convinced you?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Her confidence.


KAYE: Washington may be less popular than cockroaches, but, man, can they sell movies. How Hollywood has turned government paper pushes into blockbuster action stars.

And, do you have a cat? Well, he's probably trying to kill you. Author Matthew Inman explains the theory behind his very funny best- selling book.

It is Sunday, January 13th. Good morning, everyone. I'm Randi Kaye.

We start this morning with your health and the flu epidemic that has gripped the nation. The vast majority of the nation reporting widespread flu activity. Information released by individual states shows that more than 100 people have died this season. In New York state, Governor Andrew Cuomo has declared a public health emergency because of the flu. He issued the order yesterday. It gives pharmacists the ability to vaccinate children as young as six months. The state's health commissioner describes the increases in cases New York has seen this year.


DR. NIRAV SHAH, NEW YORK STATE COMMISSIONER OF HEALTH: As of January 5th, the state health department received reports of over 2,800 patients hospitalized with laboratory confirmed influenza, compared to 1,169 for all of last year.


KAYE: Governor Cuomo set out to be an example of why he thinks getting the flu shot is important by getting vaccinated right in front of reporters.

And it's not too late for you to get a flu shot. The CDC says this year's flu shot is a good match for the flu strain making its way across the U.S. And that it's up to 62 percent effective. But despite that advice, many don't want to get one. CNN's Lisa Sylvester takes a look at why.




D. WEINSTEIN: More. We have to save some for when you play with your friends.

LISA SYLVESTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's a good defense against the flu -- hand sanitizer. But when it came to getting a flu shot for her two-year-old daughter, Dana Weinstein was less certain.

D. WEINSTEIN: But I really thought about it and between the odds of her having a bad reaction versus catching the flu, I felt like the flu and having her down and out and possibly risking her health or her life wasn't worth it.

SYLVESTER: Dana ended up getting a flu shot for her daughter, Janica, but others we talk to say no thanks to the flu vaccine.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Busy with work and just didn't seem to affect me, I don't think.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm not sure I'm confident in its ability to really protect me.

SYLVESTER: There are concerns with the flu shot that lead some not to get one. Many of those reasons, though, are actually baseless. First notion is that the flu shot can actually give you the flu. Dr. Greg Cope is an ER doctor at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington.

DR. GREG COPE, SIBLEY MEMORIAL HOSPITAL: It's a virus that's been broken down into many parts that are inactivated and will not cause the flu.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Not really. Not this year.

SYLVESTER: Another common complaint is that the flu shot isn't effective. While it is true that scientists who develop the vaccine project which strains of the flu they think will be prevalent in any season, and sometimes they can miss problem strains, on the whole Dr. Cope says the flu vaccine is still worth getting.

COPE: I think generally the effectiveness for all ages is approximately 60 percent.

SYLVESTER: One of the most common concerns is that the flu vaccine preservative, thimerosal, a form of mercury, might be linked to autism. The issue has been looked at extensively by the medical community. A 2010 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study concluded, quote, "thimerosal containing immunizations did not increase the risk of any of the ASD autism spectrum disorder outcomes." Even for those with concerns, you can get a flu shot that is thimerosal free. Still, a flu shot is not for certain people says Dr. Cope.

COPE: I have nothing but reassurance to give in reference to the vaccination. The people that I think should not be candidates for the vaccine, people who have true allergies to the vaccination and sometimes that's people that have severe egg allergies or the very young, below six months. But it's generally very, very safe. Generally the healthy you are, the more efficient it will be.

SYLVESTER (on camera): Another argument is that some people just don't like needles and shots, and that is a valid concern, but they do make the flu mist. A quick skirt up the nose and you're good to go.

Lisa Sylvester, CNN, Washington.


KAYE: Coming up in our next hour, teaching students about germs and how they spread. One inventive teacher is using glitter to show students how the flu gets around.

And adding to flu fears out west is some wicked weather. In Phoenix, a freeze warning is in effect until Tuesday, while overnight temperatures in central California hovered in the low 20s, threatening crops.


TOM AGUILAR, OWNER, MANDARIN HILL ORCHARDS: Right now we're probably two weeks from the end of our harvest, so, maybe 15 to 20 percent of the crop would be lost.


KAYE: Meanwhile, in Spokane, Washington, no, this is not a parking lot. It's a fresh layer of snow that turned one road to ice and sent nearly 20 cars crashing into each other. In Reno, Nevada, roads are so icy that traffic is backed up for hours and troopers have been responding to dozens of accidents.

And look at this whiteout in North Dakota. The department of transportation there is warning drivers to go slowly or just stay inside. The expected high today in Minot, North Dakota, zero.

Ousted Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak won a retrial on charges tied to the killing of peaceful demonstrators during the 2011 revolution. A court last June found Mubarak and his interior minister responsible for the murders by government security forces. Both were sentenced to life in prison. The retrial will be based on the same evidence, but this time judges will be allowed to consider Mubarak's health. The 84-year-old recently broke his ribs in a fall. Mubarak's trial drew the world's attention both because he was the first Arab leader to be jailed by his own people, and because he appeared in court lying on a hospital bed and confined to a cage. I'm joined now from Cairo by Sarah Sirgany.

Sarah, good morning. It's early afternoon, though, where you are. What is the reaction there?

SARAH SIRGANY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): So far there is a lot of uncertainty about how the new retrial will have -- if there will be no evidence submitted to the court or not. Mubarak's lawyer, Farid El Deeb claims that if there is new evidence, it could be accepted by the court. But everyone is wondering about the fact -- the new facts-finding commission that was settled (ph) by President Mohamed Morsi and whether the evidence is connected would be accepted by the court or not.

KAYE: And do we have any idea how quickly this retrial might happen?

SIRGANY: His lawyer estimates that it will -- it should take place within two months, not before that.

KAYE: Egypt certainly has struggled to move toward democracy. Most recently the controversy over the new constitution there. How could a Mubarak retrial, like this, affect the country's political stability?

SIRGANY: His name almost pops up whenever there's something important happening in the country. Whether he -- whether his health condition or the course of his trial or now retrial. Definitely creates something different from the controversy regarding the constitution, regarding the new parliamentary elections that are expected this year. And now people are going to have something else to talk about. Depending on how the trial, the new trial will develop, it would affect the current government, whether negatively or positively, because a lot of people have been looking for the Muslim Brotherhood for the -- for President Mohamed Morsi to take positive action in terms of bringing justice to the victims and to the people that were killed during the course of the uprising 2011.

KAYE: Right. Right. Sarah Sirgany in Cairo for us this morning. Thank you.

Tomorrow, Lance Armstrong is expected to sit down for an interview with Oprah at his home in Texas and he may finally spill the beans. "USA Today" reports that Armstrong plans to admit to using performance enhancing drugs throughout his cycling career. For years, Armstrong has repeatedly and aggressively denied doping. And then last fall he was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles. And Armstrong distanced himself from his popular cancer charity, Livestrong. His effect on the cancer community has been profound, but now some are questioning if it's a good idea to turn to celebrities to gain support for different causes. And in about 15 minutes from now, we'll talk with John Seng, who worked with Lance Armstrong to inspire cancer survivors.

Relatives of computer prodigy Aaron Swartz says they are in shock after learning of his suicide. The 26-year-old hanged himself in his Brooklyn apartment. Swartz helped create the wepi (ph) system known as RSS when he was just 14. He also pioneered the free availability of information online. He was facing federal fraud charges related to the theft of millions of academic articles from MIT. He faced 35 years in prison and a million dollar fine. Swartz denied those claims.

Hugo Chavez is not in a coma and is, quote, "continuing to make strides in his recovery." That's according to the Venezuelan president's older brother. Adan Chavez says he visited his brother in Havana, where the president went last month for cancer surgery. The elder Chavez says rumor that his family plans to take the president off life support are, quote, "totally false." Hugo Chavez hasn't been seen in public for weeks. On Thursday, he missed his own inauguration.

What do cockroaches and Congress have in common? We'll show you next.

But it's not all bad news in the nation's capital. Hollywood is giving them something to crow about, even if the accolades are built around a flawed perception.


KAYE: Good morning, Atlanta. Welcome back to EARLY START WEEKEND. It's going to be another glorious day in Atlanta and might even top yesterday. Yesterday was about 76 degrees. Actually broke a record, 123 years ago with 75 degrees on January 12th. And then yesterday was 76. That record had been set back in 1890. We're doing the math for you there this morning. Glad you're with us.

The U.S. Treasury Department will not mint a $1 trillion platinum coin to avoid defaulting on the country's debt. For weeks, people have speculated the trillion dollar coin could be a loophole for the White House if Congress doesn't raise the debt ceiling. The Treasury Department says it doesn't believe the law can or should be used to make platinum coins to avoid an increase in the debt limit.

On Tuesday, Vice President Biden is expected to deliver recommendations from his gun task force to the president. Biden was in meetings last week with gun control supporters, gun rights groups, movie industry leaders and video game leaders. It's all an effort to prevent more mass shooting.

So, here are some examples of what could be on that list of recommendations. Universal background checks and closing the gun show loophole. Also the White House is believed to favor a ban on assault weapons and high capacity magazines.

Another major issue facing the new Congress, Florida Senator Marco Rubio lays out a plan for revamping the immigration system. The first term Republican tells "The Wall Street Journal," his plan is designed to meet the country's economic needs by expanding the pool of skilled and agricultural workers. It also offers a route to citizenship for undocumented immigrants who live here now. But Rubio says it is not blanket amnesty. To earn legal status, immigrants without proper papers would have to undergo a background check, also pay a fine, pay back taxes, prove they've lived in the U.S. for an extended period and understand some English. President Obama has promised to dive into an immigration overhaul, as well, this year.

Well, we've said it before, Congress is unpopular, but worse than cockroaches? Apparently. New numbers from public policy polling pitted Congress against the worst of the worst. They found that Congress was less popular than Brussels sprouts and used car salesman. But even worse, people have a higher opinion of cockroaches, replacement referees and root canals. So, what did Congress beat out? Lindsay Lohan, lobbyists and the Kardashians. Hmm, not very complimentary.

But there seems to be one place that people really like Washington, at the movies. Though as CNN's Chris Lawrence reports, Hollywood's portrayal of Washington may be just a little off base.


CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Maybe they ran out of superheroes or aliens weren't available.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE, ACTOR: There are only bad options. It's about finding the best one.

LAWRENCE: Hollywood is turning to government analysts to anchor its hit films.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE, ACTOR: Mia, this is Joseph Bradley (ph). I was station chief.



LAWRENCE: Former CIA officers admit the agency's Virginia headquarters isn't exactly a tourist destination.

BILL HARLOW, FORMER CIA SPOKESMAN: Most of what the American people learn, or think they know about the CIA, comes from Hollywood.

LAWRENCE: So what do movie goers take away from "Zero Dark Thirty"?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I thought it was a great depiction.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was a pretty accurate portrayal.

LAWRENCE: Ouch say those who worked at the agency.

PHIL MUDD, FORMER CIA ANALYST: This isn't the life I lived.

LAWRENCE: Phil Mudd spent 20 years at the CIA. He says, don't sign up to gallivant around the world.

MUDD: If you want to spend 99 percent of your time doing pain- staking research, building a case, understanding a problem. That 1 percent, though, at the end of the game, is pretty -- is pretty much like what you might see in the movies. That's exciting.

LAWRENCE: And it's not just spies. America's 16th president has been around for years. But Hollywood spotlight on Lincoln's political life could mean gold come Oscar time.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE, ACTOR: You are more reptile than man, George. So low, in fact, that the foot of man's incapable of crushing you.


LAWRENCE: Critics and moviegoers cheered the insults, lies and boat (ph) trading that went into passing the 13th Amendment.

ANTHONY WEINER, FORMER CONGRESSMAN: I will not yield to the gentleman. And the gentleman will observe regular order.

LAWRENCE: But the good will doesn't translate to today's politicians. Can you believe telemarketers now have higher approval ratings than Congress?


LAWRENCE: Sorry, Mr. Speaker, it's true.

LAWRENCE (on camera): You know who's not a fan of Hollywood's D.C.'s focus? Iran. They're making their own version of "Argo," the story of those American diplomats following the Iranian revolution. They call the story that Ben Affleck told "inaccurate."

Chris Lawrence, CNN, Washington.


KAYE: Using celebrity to promote a cause. One man questioning if that's really a good idea after the controversy surrounding disgrace cyclist Lance Armstrong. We'll talk with him.


KAYE: Welcome back. Twenty-one minutes past the hour now.

Some sports headlines. It's January, which means one thing for football fans, playoffs. And did you catch this thriller in Denver yesterday as Joe Flacco and the Ravens knock off the Broncos 38-35 in an unforgettable double overtime. Baltimore has another tough game ahead of them in next weekend's AFC title game. Look at him go, facing off with the winner of today's Patriots/Texans game.

And in the second playoff game yesterday, the 49ers sealed their spot in next weeks' NFC title game, running over long-time rivals, the Packers, 45-31. Colin Kaepernick lead San Francisco, setting a new record for rushing yards by a quarterback, that's in any game, regular season or postseason. He scrambled for 181 yards. The Niners will play either the Seahawks or the Falcons next Sunday.

But the real sports talker today is this new bombshell report about Lance Armstrong. "USA Today" reporting that the cyclist will, in fact, admit to doping tomorrow in an interview with Oprah Winfrey. The paper says Oprah will go to his home in Austin, Texas, to get all the details. And, remember, Armstrong has always denied using drugs. So his admission could have some pretty serious consequences here.

John Seng joins me now from Washington.

John, good morning to you.

You worked with Armstrong when your health care PR firm teamed up with him between 1999 and 2005. And you just wrote an op-ed for "The Washington Post" calling for Lance to come clean. Do you think that Armstrong will admit to doping? And, if so, why now?

JOHN SENG, FOUNDER AND PRESIDENT, SPECTRUM: Well, I think -- good morning to you, Randi. I think that it really remains to be seen whether he will admit to doping or how much he'll -- more he'll elaborate on just the performance enhancements that he undertook during all his competitive period.

KAYE: In your op-ed, let me just read a little bit of it here, you said the following. "Now, however, Lance's cancer advocacy efforts sour me on the idea that we need big names to gain support for causes and diseases. Perhaps it's not heroes like Lance to whom we should turn for inspiration, instead, everyday cancer survivors are the ones who really earn and deserve accolades." Can you explain that a bit.

SENG: That's right. Well, my firm, Spectrum, is a health care communications firm. We worked with our client over the space of five years and five of those years with Lance Armstrong and what was called "The Tour of Hope." It was a 32-mile -- I'm sorry, 3,200-mile bicycle ride for three years running across the U.S. And that gave us the opportunity to not only work with Lance Armstrong, but work with literally dozens and dozens and dozens of cancer survivors and people affected by cancer. Oncologists, oncologist nurses, all people who were also good bike riders, as we would go from town to town in this "Tour of Hope." The crowds would come out to meet Lance, but sometimes the last applause were for the cancer survivors themselves.

KAYE: Yes.

SENG: People challenging cancer. And it was very, very moving to all of us.

KAYE: But the Lance Armstrong foundation has raised about $500 million to fight cancer, selling more than 80 million yellow wrist bands. I mean he's -- can you say he has done a lot of good in the fight against cancer?

SENG: There's no question that he's done just an awesome job raising cancer to the highest ever profiles, I believe. I think that my concern and the gist of my article in "The Washington Post" from yesterday was that, at the end of the day, I think it comes down to integrity. And if we lose faith in our institutions and our leadership, you know, I think that, in this case, Randi, the ends don't necessarily justify the means. I am a firm believer in integrity and in credibility.

KAYE: Do you feel he's let down cancer survivors and cancer patients?

SENG: Well let me say, after the article ran in "The Washington Post" yesterday, the response I've received and my e-mail inbox has been, I would say, and I'm not exaggerating. 99 percent in favor of the position that I took. I think there are many angry people out there, many disappointed people out there. That's why I think that the whole point that we don't need celebrities, movie stars, you know, superstar athletes to really get across to emphasize the importance of cancer research and getting involved in cancer clinical trials.

KAYE: John Seng, thank you very much for your time this morning. Nice to see you.

SENG: Thank you.

KAYE: Riots in the streets of northern Ireland. We'll have the latest on the battle over the British flag. And messages from the pulpit regarding guns and religion are far from united. We'll have a report on the deep divide that's opened in the wake of the Sandy Hook shootings.


KAYE: Mortgage rates actually ticked up this past week. Have a look.


KAYE: Welcome back. And thanks for starting your morning with us and very special welcome to our troops watching on the American Forces Network. I'm Randi Kaye, it is half past the hour now. We start overseas where an Italian diplomat is safe after gunman attacked his armored car in Benghazi, Libya. Authorities aren't sure who was behind the assault that happened just outside the garage of the Italian consulate. The violence marks the latest on a series of attacks on foreign missions in the eastern Libyan city. Those include the September 11th attack on the U.S. consulate that killed ambassador Christopher Stevens.

To Washington now and Afghan President Hamid Karzai just wrapped up his visit there. He and president Obama agreed to a complete transition of combat operations in Afghanistan by the end of 2014. Some U.S. troops may stay beyond that date. That would depend on whether they get immunity from prosecution. Karzai discussed both issues when he sat down with CNN's Christiane Amanpour for the only interview of his trip. Take a listen.


CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We told you about immunity if the U.S and Afghanistan negotiate a status of forces, so, for agreement. Are you ready to agree to immunity for U.S. forces? The president in his press conference with you made it very clear. No immunity, no U.S. Troops.

PRESIDENT HAMID KARZAI, AFGHANISTAN: I can go to the Afghan people and tell them that, well, if we are to ask for a U.S. presence in Afghanistan, for that broader security and stability, there are things that they want in return. And immunity is the principal thing that they want. So, I will argue for it. And I can tell you with relatively good confidence that they will say, all right, let's do it.

AMANPOUR: You could sell it.

KARZAI: Yeah, I could argue for it, I could sell it and I'm sure they would understand.

AMANPOUR: Do you envision after 2014 there being no troops? No U.S. troops in Afghanistan?

KARZAI: No. I don't envision that. The United States would need to have a limited number of forces in Afghanistan.

AMANPOUR: How many is limited in your mind?

KARZAI: Well, we -- it's not for us to decide. That's for the United States to decide what number of troops they will be keeping in Afghanistan, but strength of equipment, those troops will have in Afghanistan.


KAYE: A victory for American-born Taliban fighter John Walker Lindh. He's won the right to pray with fellow Muslim inmates in prison. Lindh is being held at a federal prison in Indiana where the majority of prisoners are Muslim. A federal judge ruled yesterday that the prison warden was violating Lindh's rights by not allowing group prayers since other activities like board games are allowed.

Back overseas now in the African nation of Mali. A hostage rescue mission by France has failed. French President Francois Hollande announced that a mission to rescue a member of the DGCE, France's version of the CIA "did not succeed." He was being held by the terrorist group al-Shabaab. He added that one French soldier was killed and another is still missing. The hostage is believed to have died during the rescue attempt, but his captors claim he is alive and has been moved.

In Northern Ireland protests have broken out over decision by the city council not to fly the Union Jack year round. That's the British flag. Take a look at the scene yesterday.


KAYE: Police say four officers have been hurt in clashes and one had to be hospitalized. Flying the British flag is a point of contention in Northern Ireland because of the long history of violence between the two. The city council says they only want to fly the union jack on holidays.

Back in the U.S., the body of a lottery winner in Chicago who is poisoned will be exhumed as early at this week. Urooj Khan won a $1 million lottery prize back in June. His payout $425,000, but he never got to spend it, because the day after he picked up that check he died. A tip from a relative forced the medical examiner to reopen the case and that's when they found a lethal dose of cyanide in his Khan's system. The case has been ruled the homicide, however no arrests have been made.

This morning, police in Florida have a murder mystery on their hands after the bodies of an elderly couple were found in a townhouse in Hallandale Beach, that's just north of Miami. Police are not releasing any details only to say the couple did not die of suicide and did not die of natural causes. Investigators on the scene left the couple's home in biohazard suits. Neighbors in the community who are mostly retirees could not believe the news.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's so horrible. I'm just stunned. I'm stunned.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank God I lock my doors every day. As soon as I go in the house, my lock goes on.


KAYE: Police have no suspects in this case.

Today marks one year since the Costa Concordia disaster. Hundreds of people who are working on the wrecked ship will observe a moment of silence to commemorate the disaster that killed at least 32 passengers as well as crew members off the coast of Italy. Meantime, officials announce that the ship will be towed to port in one piece. But that's not happening until September. More than 420 workers, including divers are working on the doomed ship.

Now, to the gun debate and sermons in churches this Sunday may focus on the issue of guns, but not all of the sermons will have the same message. It turns out Christians are very divided on the issue of firearms. CNN's Athena Jones has a look.


JOE BIDEN, U.S. VICE PRESIDENT: You all know this is a complicated issue.

ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Gun control is front and center at the White House. And a matter of debate among Christians. ROBERT JONES, PUBLIC RELIGION RESEARCH INSTITUTE: There is a fascinating religious divide on the issue of gun control.

ATHENA JONES: A survey by the Public Religion Research Institute conducted before the Newtown shooting found six in ten Catholics support stricter gun control laws compared to about a third of white evangelical protestants and 42 percent of white mainline protestants.

ROBERT JONES: It's not just about theology. It's also about culture and geography.

ATHENA JONES: The poll also found white evangelicals are the most likely to own guns. Many live in southern and rural areas where guns are a way of life. So, what does the Bible say about weapons?

SHAUN CASEY, WESLEY TEOLOGICAL SEMINARY: The Scripture teaches that Christians are not to take weapons and avenge other people. However, there is an affirmation that government has a divine role to punish evil doers.

ATHENA JONES: But polls showing increased support for gun laws after Newtown, could we see a shift amongst evangelicals?

CASEY: It may be a tipping point, where more folks in those communities realize that there are things we can do as a society to tamp down this kind of mass violence. That doesn't require taking away everybody's guns.

ATHENA JONES: Pastor Daniel Darling is calling on fellow evangelicals to support limits on high-capacity magazines and assault weapons.

DANIEL DARLING, EVANGELICAL PASTOR: The Scriptures call us to love our neighbors more than we love our guns.

ATHENA JONES: Still, some conservative Christians say the focus shouldn't be on guns, but on the environment giving rise to this violence.

TONY PERKINS, FAMILY RESEARCH COUNCIL: Instead of having as the NRA proposes a policeman in every school, our policy should be focusing on getting a dad in every home.

ATHENA JONES: Vice President Biden said Friday he's glad evangelical groups have participated in his gun policy task force meetings because in the past, they have been "reluctant to engage on the gun issue." Athena Jones, CNN, Washington.


KAYE: All right, it's time now for a little introduction. I want you to take a look here. This is my cat, Browser. He's at home right now watching the show, no doubt. But he's pretty cute and cuddly. I spoil him rotten, but could he be plotting something sinister? Could he be plotting to kill me? It doesn't look like it there. We'll find out next when we are joined by the author of "How to Tell If Your Cat Is Trying to Kill You."


KAYE: Welcome back, everybody. And good morning, Washington. Great shot there of our Capitol building. Lights are on. Foggy there this morning, but hopefully it will be a nice day for all the folks in Washington. Glad you're with us here on EARLY START WEEKEND. This part of the show is going to be fun. Cats, it seems like they only like you when you have food and they only rub up against you on their time and they are completely worthless when you're trying to get any work done on your computer at home, of course, right? Take a look at my little guy, his name is Browser. Yes, he likes to park himself right there on my laptop. Can't get anything done when he is around. But is he up to something more sinister? Could he be plotting to kill me? To help find out, I'm joined by Matthew Inman, author of the new book "How To Tell If Your Cat Is Trying To Kill You." And creator of the Website "The Oatmeal." Welcome.


KAYE: What a great title to the book. But before we get to that and before we find out if our cats are trying to kill us, explain to us what the Oatmeal is. This is your Website.

INMAN: Yeah, the Oatmeal is just kind of a collection of comics that I put together over the past couple of years. Anything that I think I can make funny, I put into that website. So, sometimes that's comics, sometimes that's longer form stuff.

KAYE: And so, you probably got a pretty great response and that gave rise to some of these books?

INMAN: Exactly. Yeah. I made the Website and, you know, it was popular enough that they eventually turned it into some books. So that's what I do now.

KAYE: And so, you've had many cats over the years, right. How many did you say?

INMAN: When we were kids, we had 17 cats in my house.

KAYE: So, you know cat behavior.

INMAN: Yeah. Yeah. And we had one litter box for those 17 cats.

KAYE: Oh, my goodness.

INMAN: Yeah.

KAYE: Wow.

INMAN: Which I cleaned for a decade. And so ...

KAYE: Why cats? I mean why do you think cats have become so popular in your books and in general?

INMAN: I don't know. It's like -- they are almost like these adorable little serial killers in terms of their behavior. Because, for instance, this book was actually inspired by -- I was at the zoo a couple of years ago and I was looking at the big cats, tigers, cougars, things like that. And they look like our cats and they move like our cats. And so, instinctively you want to go into their cage and pet them and play with them, but obviously, if you did that with a Bengal tiger, it wouldn't ...

KAYE: Right.

INMAN: ... wouldn't really work out. And I find that's kind of thing lends itself to writing funny comics.

KAYE: So, you think they're mini serial killers. How can you tell if your cat is trying to kill you? I mean are there things to look for?

INMAN: Yeah, in the book I write about, you know, like, you know, when your cat pushes his paws on you, it means ...

KAYE: My cat does that all the time.

INMAN: He's actually checking your internal organs for weaknesses.


KAYE: Oh, my goodness. OK. Any other ways to know?

INMAN: You know, the whole, you know, when they use the litter box they don't seem to understand that they don't need to kick sand all over the entire room in order to - but they do. In the book, I believe that's because they're practicing burying bodies.

KAYE: Oh, my goodness.

INMAN: Just some things to look out for.

KAYE: All right. Let's take a look. I think we have some of your comics here. But some of them are pretty funny, including -- there's one where how to tell if your cat is a mountain lion, is that right, in addition to what we have up here on the screen.

INMAN: Yeah, well, I used to have this cat growing up named Jackie and she would disappear in the woods for days at a time and come back with sticks in her hair. She ate dog food. It's like she was trying to bulk up for protein and take her something. She took down huge animals that were twice her size. And I realize this cat thinks she is either a dog or a mountain lion. So I chronicled how to, you know, look at your cat and identify whether or not it thinks it's one of these bigger predators.

KAYE: So, another one of the comics that's in the book is, why cats love reflective surfaces like windows? What can you tell us about that?

INMAN: In my house growing up it was like a vending machine, because the birds would hit it ...


INMAN: Fonk, I mean just have this pile of treats ...

KAYE: Oh, yeah.

INMAN: ... underneath the window, at least that was my experience with what they use it for.

KAYE: All right, well, listen, I want you to take a look, we are going to do a little self-analysis here. I want you to take a look at some photos that I brought in of my cat and I want your professional opinion here as we take a look. That's Browser. Now, he likes to get real close as you can see. But he looks kind of sinister there, doesn't he? Do you think he's trying to kill me?

INMAN: Yeah, I think so. The trick is to look into their eyes and do you see love, compassion? Or do you see, you know ...

KAYE: I think I see ...

INMAN: ... absolutely murderous rage?

KAYE: A murderous rage?

INMAN: (inaudible) exist in both realms. Cats just -- it's like they can't make up their mind whether they want to kill you or love you, you know.

KAYE: So, what does it tell you when they're, you know, they're rubbing on you and kneading -- we did the kneading thing. But I mean when they are all over you like that. I mean, get that close.

INMAN: They're maybe plotting your demise. He may love you -- he may not know he may be in the middle.

KAYE: Yeah.

INMAN: It's a bit of confusion ....

KAYE: Yeah. Should you look him straight in the eye or no?

INMAN: No, I wouldn't recommend doing that. Famous staring contest, just like the cat -- let the cat win that.

KAYE: OK. Good advice. Matthew Inman, the author of "How To Tell If Your Cat Is Trying To Kill You." Nice to see you. Thank you.

INMAN: Thanks for having me.

KAYE: Ladies and gentlemen, we have a new Miss America. We'll tell you who won last night and why her win is so noteworthy. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KAYE: Welcome back. It is official, we now have a brand-new Miss America.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Your new Miss America is -- Miss New York.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mallory Hytes Hagan.



KAYE: Mallory Hytes Hagan is the new Miss America. She beat out Miss South Carolina to take the crown. And here's the little known fact. The last time Miss New York won the pageant was 1984 and that winner, you might remember this one. Vanessa Williams.

All right, well, we have a busy, busy week ahead. So, let's take a look at the week ahead. We have a big sporting day and big sporting news coming up on Monday. According to "USA Today" Lance Armstrong may confess to doping during an interview with Oprah. That interview will air on Thursday night on the Oprah Winfrey network, but they'll be taping it on Monday at Armstrong's home in Austin. Also on Monday, we'll be talking a lot about Connecticut and the Newtown Sandy Hook shooting anniversary. 27 people were killed in that tragedy. Taking a look to the next day on Tuesday, we'll be talking gun control. Vice President Biden will give the president his gun control recommendations. Last month Obama had vowed to make -- prevent future shootings like Newtown. Expected recommendations include all kinds of things. Universal background checks and a possible ban on assault weapons. We'll see if that happens on Tuesday. Also on Tuesday, an expected vote on about $50 billion of Superstorm Sandy relief money. Congress had already approved a $9.7 billion package, but, certainly, much more needs to be done here. And on Sunday, looking all the way ahead to the end of the week. President Obama's inauguration at noon on Sunday. Now, this is a private swearing in before the big festivities on Monday. And just to note -- I will be in Washington, D.C., all weekend covering it and covering all the celebrations, as well. It will all be live right here on CNN.

And we mentioned Newtown and as that one month mark from the shooting at Newtown approaches, the community is reflecting on the tragedy. CNN's national correspondent Susan Candiotti has more.

SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Randi. Wounds remain fresh here in Newtown, yet the community continues to find ways to help each other heal. The touching memorials we all became so familiar with are gone. But they will serve a new purpose. Toys, candles, handmade signs and more are being mulched and preserved and will become part of a new permanent memorial one day. Meantime, a makeshift memorial marked by a large American flag has been set up alongside of one of Newtown's main roads. We have been asked to keep a respectful distance, and we are. It was created by a local businessman. There is a tent and inside a lot of mementos from all over the world where people can come inside and reflect. Today there is a public meeting in town to talk about future plans for Sandy Hook Elementary. You'll recall students are attending another school now and, tomorrow, a town hall meeting to join the national debate on gun control. In attendance we're expecting to see some relatives of the victims of Sandy Hook. Randi?

KAYE: Thank you very much, Susan.

Well, if you didn't get your flu shot, there is still time. New York's governor got his this week, just before declaring a public health emergency in the state. More on the flu epidemic just ahead.


KAYE: Good morning, New York. Welcome back, everyone. The EARLY START WEEKEND here on CNN. Thanks for spending part of your weekend with us. Here is a shot of Columbus Circle there in New York City. A little foggy this morning, as we understand it. But supposed to get to about 52 degrees and afternoon clouds. So, not a bad day on tap for January.

President Obama made a visit to a clinic at the Pentagon this weekend, but don't worry, it wasn't for a case of the flu. The White House tells us that it was just a routine fitness evaluation. The results of which will be released by the end of the month. The president's last exam in 2011 found the long-time smoker to be tobacco free and consuming a healthy diet.

Now that we know the Oscar nominations, award season has officially begun. And tonight, we've got the Golden Globes. And we'll be talking more about what to expect from them at 8:00 this morning eastern time with our entertainment panel. But there's another big Hollywood award show coming up that you may not know about. That's the Razzies, and they honor the year's worst films and actors, and earlier I talked with Razzies' founder John Wilson.


JOHN WILSON, RAZZIES FOUNDER: This is shelf paper from 99 Cents Only and it has a little sprig of a leaf on the top of it. It's intentionally tacky. We wish we could say the same for the movies that we nominate. They achieved it without even trying.

KAYE: And what about "That's My Boy?" I mean this is a film that I actually saw recently, I admit it. And you have put the entire cast on the Razzies list. It stars Adam Sandler and Vanilla Ice is there with him. Susan Sarandon is in it.

WILSON: Yes, that surprised me. This is his follow up. Last year he won every -- his movie won every single Razzy award, "Jack and Jill." This time he's playing a scofflaw dad who fathered a child with his math teacher when he was 14 and after basically abandoning the kid comes back begging for money to pay back taxes. It is very foul-mouthed, the basic concept of it isn't particularly humorous, I don't think. And it, surprisingly to me, watching it, I would have thought Adam Sandler had written it. It is on the level with most of his movies, he didn't. So, that's at least one nomination he didn't get, is Worst Screenplay.

KAYE: Is there one movie that you think was just the worst of the whole year?

WILSON: It would be that one of the five we nominated. I found it the most offensive, the most indefensible. "Twilight" I actually find very entertaining, but as a comedy. And I know that the fans of that franchise take it very seriously, but I personally do not know anyone who had to choose between a werewolf and a vampire for a date to prom night.


KAYE: There you have at the Razzies. Winners for the 33rd annual Razzies will be announced February 23rd, the night just before the Oscars.

Thanks for starting your morning with us. We've got much more ahead on "CNN Sunday Morning", which starts right now.

Good morning, everyone. I'm Randi Kaye. It is 7:00 on the East coast and 4:00 a.m. out west. Thanks so much for starting your day with us. Now to your health and the flu epidemic that has gripped the nation. New York State has joined the City of Boston in declaring a public health emergency. Governor Andrew Cuomo issued the order yesterday. It gives pharmacists the ability to vaccinate kids as young as six months. The state's health commissioner describes the increase in cases New York has seen this season.


DR. NIRAV SHAH, NEW YORK STATE COMMISSIONER OF HEALTH: As of January 5th, the state health department received reports of over 2,800 patients hospitalized with laboratory confirmed influenza compared to 1,169 for all of last year.


KAYE: Governor Cuomo set out to be an example of why he thinks getting the flu shot is important by getting vaccinated right there in front of reporters, including those in the hospital. New York has seen more than 19,000 flu cases this season.

Well, if you've finally decided to get a flu shot, you might have to do some hunting around. The health department in one Illinois county is running out of the vaccine for adults and for kids and officials don't plan to order any more. Take a listen to this.


SARA SPARKMAN, TAZEWELL CO., ILLINOIS HEALTH DEPT.: We have a limited supply of children's vaccine injectable. We do not have any nasal spray children's right now. There are vaccines available in the area. I do believe other health departments in the area may have vaccines. Pharmacies also have limited supply.


KAYE: At schools across the country, administrators, teachers and nurses are finding themselves on the front lines of the flu epidemic. Our Brian Todd spoke with several officials about what they're doing to defend against the outbreak.


BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Cynthia Norris knows she's got to get creative. She's got to keep a nationwide flu outbreak from slamming into her school.

And with this small group of kids, ages 6 to 11, it's the visual that counts. She spreads glitter on her desks.

CYNTHIA NORRIS, REGISTERED NURSE, PATUXENT ELEMENTARY SCHOOL: And then I'm going to put my hands in it. And that represents the germs, the germs that we don't see, OK? So, if I come and I touch you, this glitter being the germs will be what I would pass on to you and you can potentially get sick. OK?

Now, my phone rings, I pick up the phone. Now, after I put it down, look at that. What does that represent?


NORRIS: Germs.

TODD: As a registered nurse at Patuxent Elementary School in Upper Marlboro, Maryland, Norris is like a field commander against the flu. Her other tactics, coloring sheets with cleanliness pledges to sign, demos on hand washing, sanitizer dispensers all over the place.

(on camera): What do you think of this? Does this help you?

AMIYA BAKER, 6TH GRADER: Yes, because when you clean your hands, you make sure it's clean and you don't get a lot of germs.

TODD: Do you find a lot of this hard to remember to try to prevent the flu?


TODD (voice-over): Neillsville, Wisconsin, is in the region of the country at the Centers for Disease Control says has been the hardest hit. School district officials say one out of every five students there has had to stay home recently with flu-like symptoms.

JOHN GAIER, NEILLSVILLE, WISCONSIN DISTRICT ADMNISTRATOR: We are working hard to try to find kids that maybe have symptoms that are in the district and having our nurse looking and checking those kids out, and sending those kids home if need be. TODD: Cynthia Norris says the most common ways flu spreads in schools, kids touching each other, with droplets from sneezing or sniffling on their hands, sharing of food and other items, and just close proximity to others.

But mistakes are made by parents, too.

(on camera): Do a lot of parents who may have a kid on the borderline or whatever, do they err on the side of sending them to school too many times?

NORRIS: They do. They do. And sometimes the kids say, I told my mama I wasn't feeling good and mom, you'll be OK, and they'll send them to school. And so, a lot of times, they are just not keeping them home that 24-hour period after they have a fever.

TODD (voice-over): A mistake also made Norris says by many teachers who don't stay home when they are sick.

(on camera): As bad as this outbreak has been, in some school districts around the United States, including this one, health officials say they may have caught a break. They say that just before the schools broke for the holidays, they noticed more flu-like symptoms, more widespread symptoms. But since the kids have come back from vacation, they have noticed fewer cases, at least in some districts.

So, the holidays may have been a mitigating factor, keeping kids away from each other and keeping the flu from spreading, at least in some cases.

Brian Todd, CNN, Upper Marlboro, Maryland.


KAYE: And flu fears are increasing out West where a cold snap has paralyzed parts of the region. In California, some areas had near record low temperatures overnight, according to the National Weather Service. Frost and freeze warnings extended as far south as San Diego and temperatures reached the low 20s in some places. That could be a huge problem for the state's citrus crops.

Here is Luana Munoz from our affiliate KTXL in Sacramento.


LUANA MUNOZ, KTXL REPORTER (voice-over): For harvesters, every day is a race against the clock. Pick as many oranges as you can before sun down. But early morning, freezing temperatures means these harvesters can't start picking until 9:00 a.m., two hours after their regular schedule.

MIGUEL GOMEZ, HARVESTER: It's really bad because sometimes it's really wet, really cold. And we don't care working like that.

MUNOZ: Less work means less pay. On top of that, freezing temperatures could spoil what's left of their harvest.

TOM AGUILAR, OWNER, MANDARIN HILL ORCHARDS: Right now, we're probably two weeks from the end of our harvest. So, maybe 15 percent to 20 percent of the crop will be lost.

MUNOZ: The owner of Mandarin Hill Orchards, Tom Aguilar, isn't too worried about that. In order for these crops to completely damage, freezing temperatures must last longer than eight hours.

AGUILAR: The inside of the tree won't be affected as much as the outside of the tree.

MUNOZ: But even some freezing temperatures could leave the oranges soft, even though they're perfectly fine. Fewer consumers will actually buy them, leaving a bigger burden on harvesters.

GOMEZ: It's about time. We're working right now because it's really hard to find a job right now. You know? But we're working, a little bit but working.


KAYE: And tomorrow, Lance Armstrong is expected to sit down for an interview with Oprah at his home in Austin, Texas. He may finally spill the beans. "USA Today" reports that Armstrong plans to admit to using performance-enhancing drugs throughout his cycling career.

For years, Armstrong has repeatedly and aggressively denied doping. The once popular cyclist has been stripped of his seven Tour de France titles. The interview with Oprah is set to air on her network on Thursday.

Ousted Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has won a retrial on charges tied to the killing of peaceful demonstrators during the 2011 revolution. A court last June found Mubarak and his interior minister responsible for the murders by government security forces. Both were sentenced to life in prison.

The retrial will be based on the very same evidence, but this time, judges will be allowed to consider Mubarak's health. The 86- year-old recently broke his ribs in a fall. His trial drew the world's attention because he was the first Arab leader to be jailed by his own people and because he appeared in court lying on a hospital bed and confined to a cage.

The big party in Los Angeles is tonight, otherwise known as the Golden Globe Awards, and there are a couple of Hollywood bigwigs who are going to be there, who already have plenty on their plate. You're about to see why and you'll hear from them.


KAYE: The Golden Globe Awards are this evening. Host Tina Fey and Amy Poehler gave just a little insight into why they decided to host this year's ceremony.


AMY POEHLER, ACTRESS: Well, we decided to host because the Golden Globes seem like they're pretty fun.

TINA FEY, ACTRESS: Yes, we've been to them before and it's a very kind of sloppy, loud party and that seemed like our kind of thing.


KAYE: And as it turns out, the same two men who are producing the Oscar ceremony will be at the Golden Globes tonight. Their show "Smash" is up for an award.

Our Nadia Bilchik spoke with Craig Zadan and Neil Meron about today's awards.


NADIA BILCHIK, CNN EDITORIAL PRODUCER: Your show, "Smash", is nominated for best television series, comedy or musical. So, are you going tonight?


CRAIG ZADAN, "SMASH" PRODUCER: Yes. We're really excited.

MERON: I'm leaving here and going home and changing.

BILCHIK: Now, you have been nominated and won so many awards throughout your careers. Is it still so exciting to be nominated?

MERON: You know, we're so proud of "Smash" and we're so proud that it's being recognized by the Hollywood foreign press that, yes, it's really, really exciting because we think that to do what all the great people on "Smash" every week is quite an achievement and it's so great for all of us to be acknowledged.

ZADAN: Besides the show being something that we're so proud of and excited about producing, we're really excited and proud of the fact that we share our producing credit with Steven Spielberg, who created the show in concept and in vision. And it was his idea to do the show and he called us and invited us one day to partner with him and produce the show with him.

BILCHIK: And let's talk logistics for a moment. You're producing the Oscar ceremony in February. Will you watch tonight's Golden Globe ceremony and looking at how it might impact your award ceremony?

MERON: No, basically the Golden Globes is a separate entity, as is the Oscars. And the Golden Globes honors TVs and movies and more informal than the Academy Awards and the Oscars. And because people sit at the table and they eat a meal and they drink and it is more of a party.

The Oscars are kind of its own being. And it is -- it is the ultimate. I mean, the Golden Globe could be a step to the Oscar.

BILCHIK: Tina Fey and Amy Poehler will host the Golden Globes and they have a long, successful career as a comedic duo.

So, in any way do you think you're looking out their performance and see how it impact Seth's at the Academy Awards?

ZADAN: I think Amy Poehler and Tina Fey are brilliant and brilliant choice to host the Golden Globes and we think we've gone in a different direction, and we've made it a choice that we're very proud of in going with Seth. I think they're all really talented comedians, but we think Seth is very different from them. So, we think it's going to be quite dissimilar.

BILCHIK: And who do you think are going to be the big winners tonight at the Golden Globes?

MERON: Oh, you know, we're hoping Ann Hathaway is acknowledged, we're hoping "Smash" is acknowledged. It's -- there is, again, this is, this year has been an embarrassment of riches for great talent and everybody's worthy and I think there will be a lot of surprises.

BILCHIK: And you say that the Golden Globes are often seen as a forecast for big winners at the Oscars. Do you think the winners at tonight's Golden Globe ceremony will also be big during your Academy Award ceremony?

MERON: Traditionally, there has been some overlap there. So, it's just, we will just be watching to see who the winners are and we'll be better informed to respond once we see that.

ZADAN: The big difference, though, in both shows, of course, is that the Golden Globes involves television, as well as movies and then the movies are divided into two categories where it's all Oscars. It's movies, only, not television. And there's one category that covers every movie.

BILCHIK: Neil Meron, Craig Zadan, thank you so much for joining us.

ZADAN: Certainly.

MERON: Thanks for inviting us.


KAYE: And you can catch the Golden Globes tonight.

Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers, two big name quarterbacks you won't find in the NFL playoffs but Russell Wilson is still going strong. He's the only rookie quarterback left in the playoffs. So, who is he? We'll take a closer look at this rising star.

But, first, it's official. You can now use a smartphone everywhere. Yes, if planes, cars, gyms and the dinner table weren't already enough, you can now tweet and check your e-mail in the shower. I'm not kidding.

Dan Simon has been on gadget overload at the annual Consumer Electronic Show in Las Vegas and here are some of the coolest things he's found.


DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): First up, the water- safe iPhone. Liquipel has a special coating that makes any phone or tablet immune to the hazards of H2O.

(on-camera): If you're someone who likes to watch TV in bed, here's a product that might appeal to you. This is from Brookstone, and it's a pillow that has speakers insides. And the selling point is, if you're listening to the TV, watching whatever show or movie you got on, you can listen to it without disturbing the person lying next to you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We think it's going to be a terrific Father's Day gift. May even save a few marriages.

SIMON (voice-over): There was the Hapifork which might be able to save you a few pounds. The electronic utensil lets you know when you're eating too fast.

(on-camera): If you're eating too fast, it's going to buzz or it's going to light up and tell you to slow down, right?

FABRICE BOUTAIN, HAPIFORK: Yes. You're going to have a gentle vibration.

SIMON (voice-over): At $99, it's being called the world's first smart fork.

Next, ultra HDTV, the headliner at this year's Consumer Electronics Show.

PHIL JONES, SONY: 4K Ultra HD is four times the resolution of a traditional HD TV, which means you can have a bigger TV in your room. You can sit closer to that TV, and that TV will be much, much, much clearer.

SIMON: They are, in fact, stunning. Content, though, is limited. And the price can go upwards of a whopping $20,000.



KAYE: That was certainly a big day in the world of basketball. But, now, to the NFL playoffs where big name quarterbacks are falling by the wayside. Peyton Manning is out and so is last year's MVP, Aaron Rodgers. That means post-season glory could fall to Russell Wilson, instead.

You might be asking who is Russell Wilson. Carlos Diaz has the introduction.


CARLOS DIAZ, HLN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): He's the only rookie quarterback left in the playoffs and his name is Russell Wilson.

RUSSELL WILSON, NFL QUARTERBACK: A lot to be excited about.

DIAZ: That's an understatement at only 5'11", Wilson has less than ideal height for NFL quarterback. It's one of the main reasons he lasted into the third round of the draft before he was picked by Seattle.

CHARLIE MCFALL, WILSON'S HIGH SCHOOL COACH: He made everyone around him better. He had tremendous athleticism.

I mean, he had a cannon arm. He made good decisions. A lot of times, he made the coaches look good by decisions he made.

DIAZ: Russell carried those traits to the NFL where the Seahawks realized he was the best quarterback on the team and named him the starter just before the season.

WILSON: This is not easy. This game is not easy, especially playing the quarterback position, playing as a rookie. It's as hard as it gets. And you have to mentally be tough. You have to in a constant quest for knowledge and you have to be a great leader, you have to have great attention in detail, you have to have competitive nature, and that's what I tried to bring to the table.

DIAZ: With 26 touchdown passes in the regular season, Wilson tied Peyton Manning's NFL rookie record. The difference? Manning's team wasn't two wins away from the Super Bowl.

WILSON: I'm happy to play every day I wake up. You know, wherever, whenever. That's the great opportunity we have in front of us.


KAYE: Thank you to HLN's Carlos Diaz for that report. Russell Wilson also has a fallback option if he gets tired of football. He was drafted a few years ago to play baseball for the Colorado Rockies. And even played in the Minor Leagues before going back to quarterback in his college team. You can see Wilson take the field today against the Atlanta Falcons at 1:00 Eastern Time this afternoon.

Well, the 2013 Australian Open kicks off tonight. First major of this year's tennis season and I'm pretty excited about that. Novak Djokovic enters as the top seed in the male pack, and Victoria Azarenka, the defending champ, heads up the females. The United States top male tennis player John Isner will miss the action with a knee injury and one of my favorite players Rafael Nadal is also going to be out of this one, unfortunately. If tennis is not your thing, maybe hockey is. The season starts now next Saturday. Yes, the NHL has finally inked an agreement to start playing, again, after a three-month lockout, but it will be a short season, just 48 games not the usual 82. Training camps open today.

And basketball star Kobe Bryant and his wife, Vanessa, say they're calling off their divorce. On Friday, the two sent out the announcement over their Instagram and Facebook pages. Vanessa originally failed for divorce in December, citing irreconcilable differences. Well, apparently, they reconciled. They have two daughters together.

Katherine Webb can now add something else to her resume other than the apple of Brent Musburger's eye. Remember, she is the girlfriend of Alabama quarter A.J. McCarron, and was the star of the BCS championship game broadcast.

Well, now, she has been invited to be the newest "Sports Illustrated" swimsuit model. She says she feels extremely blessed to be invited.

And what about her image? She says, "I have morals and I have class. A lot of people have said I'm the anti-Kim Kardashian and I'm all right with that." Got to wonder what Kanye West might say about that one.

"S.I." swimsuit edition hits the stands February 11th.

From swim suits to snakes, if you want to join a month-long hunt to find the biggest snake possible, you better head to Florida. The state kicked off the 2013 python challenge yesterday. It is aimed at reducing the exploding python population because the snakes are eating native animals like foxes and birds, even deer. The hunter who bags the most pythons will win $1,500. And whoever gets the biggest python will win 1,000 bucks and some bragging rights, too.

You must be trained and registered and you're encouraged to kill the snakes humanely.

It is one of the most popular books in recent history, but now "Fifty Shades of Grey" is hitting the stage. We have a preview.

But, first, let's check in with Dr. Sanjay Gupta for a look at what's coming up on his program at the bottom of the hour. Good morning, Sanjay.


DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Randi, I'm going to be busting some of the biggest myths about the flu and telling you what you need to do to protect yourself.

We also have, the surgeon, Dr. James Andrews, who's worked on more top athletes than anyone, including the recent operation on Redskin's quarter RG3. We'll explain all of that coming up at 7:30 Eastern.



KAYE: Welcome back. Twenty-six minutes past the hour now.

The U.S. Treasury Department will not mint a $1 trillion platinum coin to avoid defaulting on the nation's debt. For weeks people have speculated that the trillion dollar coin could be a loophole for the White House if Congress doesn't raise the debt ceiling. The Treasury Department says it doesn't believe the law can or should be used to make platinum coins to avoid an increase in the debt limit.

On Tuesday, Vice President Joe Biden is expected to deliver recommendations from his gun task force to the president. Biden was in meetings last week with gun control supporters, gun rights groups, movie industry leaders and video game leaders. It's all an effort to prevent more mass shooting.

So, here are some examples of what could be on the list of recommendations: You might see universal background checks and closing the gun show loophole. Also, the White House is believed to favor ban on assault weapons and high capacity magazines.

Well, we said it before, Congress is unpopular. But worst than cockroaches, really? New numbers from public policy polling pitted Congress against the worst of the worst. They found that Congress was less popular than Brussels sprouts. Less popular than used car salesman.

But even worse, people have a higher opinion of cockroaches, replacement referees and root canals. Man!

So, what did Congress beat? Lindsay Lohan, lobbyist, and the Kardashians. That's really not saying much.

If you're one of the 65 million people who have picked up the novel "Fifty Shades of Grey." You might want to visit your local box office. The erotic tales of Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey are now a musical.

Our Felicia Taylor has all the dirty details.


FELICIA TAYLOR, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Racy, raunchy, risque, some might call it soft porn.

It's the book that made women squeal with pleasure.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (singing): Want to open my eyes and see all 50 shades --

TAYLOR: Now, on stage, others are belting out a different kind of tune in its honor.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (singing): Open your book, open your mind --

TAYLOR: The spoof is titillating spectacle, with plenty of sensuality. The stage version parodies the erotic bestseller, by centering around a middle age ladies book club, obsessed with the more colorful parts, which become the butt of jokes through a series of sketches.

(on camera): Here we are with the cast of "Fifty Shades" to get a first-hand look behind the scenes before they actually hit the great white way.

JODY SHELTON, MUSIC DIRECTOR: A couple of friends of mine actually came to me with the idea and initially I said, what a terrible idea. I'm not going to -- I can't make that funny. It's a very serious thing, you know, about sex.

But I was convinced and we started writing these songs and they were really, really funny.

TAYLOR (voice-over): This musical production is also as erotic and decadent as you'd expect.

The collaboration of comedy writers creating an ultra spicy script.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (singing): You don't have to have, up on your finger, to write my finger --

TAYLOR: It's all capitalizing on the frenzy caused by this dirty sensation.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (singing): How much can I handle --

TAYLOR: And if you have an image in mind of Ana and Christian, you might just be surprised.

CHRIS GRACE, ACTOR, "CHRISTIAN": I think this is the role I was born to play. I read in the book he says he has dark hair. I'm perfect for this.

TAYLOR (on camera): And now, this kinky musical is taking its show on the road. Traveling to many different cities across the United States and it's all because of this book "Fifty Shades of Grey".

(voice-over): Which is now nearing a half a billion dollars in sales and having sold 65 million copies worldwide.

Hollywood is also trying to cash in on the frenzy. But for now, fans can get their fill of Ana and Christian on stage.

Felicia Taylor, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE) KAYE: I'll be back here in 30 minutes. "SANJAY GUPTA, M.D." is next.