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100-Plus Flu Deaths This Season; Christians Split on Gun Issue; 70th Annual Golden Globes Tonight

Aired January 13, 2013 - 08:00   ET



RANDI KAYE, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): From the CNN world headquarters in Atlanta, this is CNN SUNDAY MORNING.

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

Straight couples can learn a lot from same-sex marriage, and that from the dean of the National Washington Cathedral. We'll talk to him.

Plus, it's Hollywood's second biggest night. They'll be dresses, divas and a drinking game? We'll explain.



KAYE: Good morning, everyone. I'm Randi Kaye. It's 8:00 on the East Coast, 5:00 a.m. out West. Thanks so much for starting your morning with us.

We start this hour with the latest on the flu epidemic that has gripped the nation. The CDC reports that 20 children have died, and we know from individual states that more than 100 adults are dead. With 47 states reporting widespread flu activity, health officials say it is too soon to know if we are over the peak.

In New York, Governor Mario Cuomo has declared a public health emergency because of the flu. It clears the way to vaccinate children more easily. More than 19,000 flu cases have been diagnosed in New York alone.

This is how the state commissioner described the number who had to be hospitalized.


DR. NIRAV SHAH, N.Y. STATE HEALTH COMMISSIONER: 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: And it's not too late to get your flu shot just like Governor Cuomo is there. The CDC says that this year's vaccine is a good match for the flu strain going around.

President Obama paid a visit to the clinic at the Pentagon this week. But don't worry, it wasn't for a case of the flu, the White House tells us that it was just a, quote, "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.

Moving overseas now. Ousted Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has won a retrial in charges tied to the killing of peaceful demonstrators during the 2011 revolution. A court last June found Mubarak and his interior minister responsible for 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, you may recall, 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.

In an incident eerily similar to a deadly sexual assault that send shockwaves worldwide, police in India say another woman has been gang-raped on a bus. Police have arrested six of the seven suspects, including the bus driver again this time. The victim who we're not identifying is talking about what happened to her.


VICTIM (through translator): They threatened me with a sharp- edged object and they were drawing things with me. They kept me confined all through the night and forced me to do what they wanted.


KAYE: Police say Friday night's attack in Punjab is similar to the one last month in New Delhi that triggered rallies nationwide and an uproar over the treatment of women.

Back here in the U.S. 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 videogame leaders. It's all in an effort to prevent more mass shootings.

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

Sermons in churches this Sunday may focus on the issue of guns, but not all of the sermons will have the very same message. It turns out that the Christians are very divided on the issue of firearms.

CNN's Athena Jones has a look.


JOSEPH BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You all this a complicated issue.

ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Gun control is front and center at the White House and a matter of debate among Christians.

ROBERT JONES, PUBLIC RELATIONS RESEARCH INSTITUTE: There is a fascinating religious divide on the issue of gun control.

A. JONES: A survey by the Public Religion Research Institute conducted before the Newtown shooting found that six in 10 Catholics support stricter gun control laws, compared to about a third of white evangelical Protestants and 42 percent of white mainline Protestants.

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

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

SHAUN CASEY, WESLEY THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY: The Scriptures teaches that Christians are not to take weapons and avenge other people. However, there is an affirmation that the government has a divine role to punish evildoers.

A. JONES: With polls showing increased support for gun laws after Newtown, could we see a shift among evangelicals?

CASEY: It maybe a tipping point where more folks on 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.

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

DANIEL DARLING, EVANGELICAL PASTOR: The Scripture calls for us to love our neighbors more than we love our guns.

A. 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 focused on getting a dad in every home.

A. JONES: Vice President Biden said Friday he is glad evangelical groups have participated in his gun policy task force meetings, because in the past, they have been, quote, "reluctant to engage on the gun issue" -- Randi.


KAYE: Athena Jones, thank you very much.

Tomorrow, Lance Armstrong is expected to sit down for an interview with Oprah Winfrey 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.

The once popular cyclist has been stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and his fellow cyclists and fans are hoping to hear an admission and apology.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's better late than never. It is bad that he did it to start with, but at least come clean so to speak.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now that he's been dropped from the cycling world, I don't think it will hurt him. I think -- I believe that this is going to soften up and maybe, you know, his admission of -- if he does admit it -- it will bring him back into the cycling world.


KAYE: Of course, Armstrong hasn't admitted to anything yet. The interview with Oprah is set to air on her network on Thursday.

Relatives of computer prodigy Aaron Swartz say they are in shock after learning of his suicide. The 26-year-old hanged himself in his Brooklyn apartment. Swartz helped create the web feed system known as RSS when he was 14. He also pioneered the free availability of information online.

He was facing federal fraud charges based related to the theft of millions of academic articles from MIT. He faced 35 years in a prison and a million dollar fine. He had denied the claims.

It is unseasonably warm in parts of the South. In fact, 76 degrees in Atlanta yesterday broke the previous record of 75 degrees dating all the way back to 1890.

But it is a much different story out West. 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 are probably two weeks from the end of our harvest. So maybe 15 percent to 20 percent of the crop would be lost.


KAYE: Meanwhile in Spokane, Washington, no -- take a look here. This is not a parking lot. It's a fresh layer of snow and it turned one road to ice and then sent nearly 20 cars crashing into each other.

In Reno, Nevada, roads are so icy that traffic is backed up for hours. Troopers have been responding to dozens of accidents there.

And take a look at this white-out. It's in North Dakota. The Department of Transportation there warning drivers to go slowly or just stay inside. That might be better. The expected high today in Minot, North Dakota -- zero.

Time to break out the bubbly, and those red carpet dresses. The Golden Globes are tonight, and we'll tell you who is probably going to take home those golden statuettes.


KAYE: We won't have any of that this year. It is just about time to roll out the red carpet. The first major award show of the season is tonight and it is the Golden Globes. And the critic's darling "Lincoln" is expected to take home quite a few of those golden statuettes.

Take a look.


DANIEL DAY LEWIS, ACTOR (as Abraham Lincoln): The common notion is that things that are equal to the same thing are equal to each other.


KAYE: Daniel Day Lewis playing Lincoln there.

To discuss tonight's awards, I'm joined by "Us Weekly" senior editor Bradley Jacobs. And the editor-in-chief at, Jawn Murray.

Good morning to both of you.


KAYE: A big night tonight. I know you guys are excited.

So let's talk about the most hosts here. A lot of excitement about Tina Fey and Amy Poehler hosting together, and they even put together a drinking game.

Bradley, to you first on this, how do you think they're going to do?

BRADLEY JACOBS, SENIOR EDITOR, US WEEKLY: I can't wait to see them together. I love their movies together, "Baby Mama" and "Mean Girls". They have great chemistry. They are great friends.

And yes, I'm ready to drink every time actress gets choked up on stage, or maybe every time she thanks her hairstylist but not her husband.

These two are always -- you know, they are a riot. Their tongue is firmly planted in cheek. I think that they are perfect hosts and they might just dial it back a little bit from Ricky Gervais and all of the stuff that got him in so much trouble a couple of years ago.

KAYE: Yes, they have a great sense of humor together.

Jawn, what do you think? How will they do?

JAWN MURRAY, EDITOR IN CHIEF, ALWAYSALIST.COM: Randi, I think we're going to get double for our trouble tonight. We're going to get like the Lucy and Ethel, "Laverne & Shirley", of comedy on this show.

You know, I'm not excited about the drinking game, though I don't drink and I suggest that Robert Downey, Jr., and Lindsay Lohan maybe not partake either. They've had some troubles.

But it's going to be fun. It's going to be light-hearted. And we know they're going to bring the comedy.

KAYE: All right. Let's get to some of the nominees here.

Best drama in a movie. Certainly, "Lincoln" is a lot of the talk on that one.

Bradley, will it take -- who will take it home?

JACOBS: Absolutely. Of course, Daniel Day-Lewis for his method portrayal of Abraham Lincoln. I was reading that Daniel was in character the entire time and it wasn't until the movie, the very last take was finished that he actually thanked Steven Spielberg in his actual English accent and it made Steven cry.

KAYE: Yes.

JACOBS: For months and months, he was Abraham Lincoln, and that really resonates throughout the film. I mean, it's a class A performance that this is really unbeatable.

KAYE: Does he have any competition, Jawn, as a movie, in terms of the drama?

MURRAY: If anything else wins in that category, I think it would be an upset of the night. "Lincoln" has great momentum going into tonight, and I think it's going to take home the prize.

KAYE: All right. What about TV? That's also a big category at the Golden Globes.

So, Jawn, I'll go to you first on this one. Who is your pick for best TV show, drama and comedy? MURRAY: "Downton Abbey" for drama. I mean, people are so excited about this show. It developed a cult following. You know, I consider myself a British rock star in a former life. So I, too, have become a fan of the show.

And for comedy, "Modern Family". I mean, people are in love with this show. It breaks all of the rules. It's broken all the stereotypes. It truly is the new format for comedy on television.

KAYE: What about "Homeland," Bradley?

JACOBS: Yes. I have two -- I actually have two different picks. I think for drama, you're going to see "Homeland" win. I mean, "Downton Abbey" is just, maybe a teeny bit too small still to win. I think "Homeland", though, has all of the buzz in this category for the second year in a row. I can't hear enough good things about it.

And then in the comedy department though, I'm going with "Girls" this year. This has been my favorite show of the last year. "Modern Family" has won a bunch of times. Now, it's time for something fresh. Lena Dunham created a niche.

You know, everyone wants to create something new about New York and young people and especially women, and it wasn't -- it took 10 years to come up with "Sex and the City", and Lena came up with it. And it's not "Sex and the City". It's a whole different thing. But it's totally enjoyable, and I really think you're going to see that win tonight and maybe Lena as well.

KAYE: Yes, yes, she is so talented.

What is it about the Golden Globe, do you think? I mean, it's just so much more of a party than, you know, the Oscars even?

JACOBS: Well, that's the joy of it.


KAYE: Jawn, you go.

MURRAY: Ricky Gervais put it best when he hosted a few years ago. He said the Golden Globes are to the Oscars what Kim Kardashian is to Kate Middleton. It's a bit louder, it's a bit more expressive, it's a bit joker. I mean, they're serving champagne and wine all night, Randi. I mean, this people have starved to get into these dresses and these tuxedos.

And so all that booze and no food, you know what type of party you're going to get.

KAYE: Yes, because everybody sits at the table there. It's much more social.

JACOBS: The whole thing is just a completely different story. I mean, it's a different animal. As you say, you are sitting at tables. They're all hobnobbing with each other. It's much more relaxed. The Oscars is super uptight, and basically every guest at the Oscars has his or her own security person with them.

KAYE: Yes.

JACOBS: And at the Golden Globes, it's just a different story. Much more mellow, much more relaxed.

And it comes out in the speeches as well. People are lighter and looser and drop an F-bomb here and there.

KAYE: Right.

JACOBS: It's much more, much more fun for the viewers as well. And that's why I think Seth MacFarlane is trying to capture a little bit of that for the Oscars this year.

KAYE: Yes.

JACOBS: We'll see if it works for him.

KAYE: Well, we not only pay attention to the nominees, but we also pay attention to what they are wearing. Fashion is a huge part of the show.

From what I have read, it sounds like emerald green is supposed to be a big color this year. Jawn, what do you expect in terms of fashion?

MURRAY: You know, I just don't want to see all the guys in black tuxedos. And I know Joan Rivers and his fashion police team love the guys in the traditional look. But I like when guys like Jamie Foxx and Ryan Seacrest and others show up at the show and they shake things up a little bit. So, I want the guys in color.

And the women, you know, they can do what they want to do.

KAYE: And, Bradley?

JACOBS: As far as women are concerned, nobody does it better than Sophia Vergara. I'm just saying.

KAYE: Oh, yes.

JACOBS: And ever since "Modern Family" has been on the air, she has been blowing the fashion editors at "Us Weekly" away every time she's on the red carpet for an award show. She was really wears it.

And also, don't forget, from last year's Oscars what Angelina Jolie did for legs everywhere.

So just one little move like that, what Angelina did actually created a new Twitter feed, et cetera, et cetera.

KAYE: Yes, it has its own Twitter feed, Angelina Jolie's leg, right?

JACOBS: That's right. But, you know, the fashion is more than half of the fun as far as the editors of "Us" are concerned. That's what really -- it's what really matters and we devote pages and pages to it.

KAYE: Yes, that's what -- we certainly look for that, no question about it. Bradley Jacobs of "Us Weekly" and Jawn Murray of -- nice to see you both. Thank you.

JACOBS: Thank you.

MURRAY: Thank you, Randi.

KAYE: And a note. CNN's Brooke Baldwin will be live on the red carpet starting at 6:00 p.m. You can watch right here on CNN.

One lucky woman has a new tiara. We'll tell you which state can claim this year's Miss America.


KAYE: Welcome back. Twenty-two minutes past the hour now. Glad you're with us.

It is official. We have a brand new Miss America this morning.


EMCEE: Your new Miss America is Miss New York.



KAYE: Mallory Hytes Hagan hails from New York. She'd beat out Miss South Carolina to take the crown. And a little known fact here, the last time Miss New York won the pageant was 1984, and that winner, you may remember, was Vanessa Williams.

Now, some sports headlines. Did you catch this playoff game yesterday? Joe Flacco and the Ravens knocked off the Broncos, 38 to 35, in an unforgettable double overtime. It was super exciting. Baltimore has another tough game ahead of them in next week's AFC title game, facing off with the winner of the Patriots/Texans game.

And yesterday, the 49ers sealed their spot in the NFC title game running over long time rivals, the Packers, 45 to 31. Colin Kaepernick led San Francisco, setting a new record for rushing yards by a quarterback. That's in any game regular season or post-season. He scrambled for 181 yards.

The Niners will play either the Seahawks or the Falcons next Sunday.

And while football isn't your thing, maybe hockey is. The new season starts next Saturday. Yes, the NHL has finally inked an agreement to start playing again after a three-month lockout. It will be a short season, though, just 48 games, down from usual 82. Training camps open today.

All right. Forget Lance Armstrong or the gun debate or even the Oscars. Here is a sports story that comes from a half mile under the ocean. The first ever pictures of a giant squid in its natural habitat.

Take a look here. The 10-foot find was touted as one of the most important discoveries in decades.

But in California, they don't have time to talk about giant squids. Instead, they have their own fishing frenzy.

Our Miguel Marquez has more.


MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It is a southern California squid frenzy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Up and over. There we go.

MARQUEZ: Every night, fishing boats packed to the gills set off to hunt for two to three-foot long and sometimes bigger squid. The sea here of Dana Point thick with creel, squid food, the elusive creatures are good sport fishing. They make a fine squid steak. They are bizarre, shooting ink in water as they fight to stay in the sea.


MARQUEZ: When out of the water, they change colors, and sometimes like a traffic light.

(on camera): This is what the squid hunters have come after, Humboldt squid. Look at that. There's the eye there, and the teeth are right in here, and if I stuck my hand in there, they grab me.

They change colors amazingly. Somebody grabbed a hold of this one, and you can see a perfect hand print on that squid right there.

(voice-over): The Humboldt or the flank squid makes its home from Alaska to South America. It is rare, very rare to have so many squid off of the coast here for so long, offering such great fishing or squidding.

Todd Mansur, captain of the Sun Fun, know knows these waters well. Tonight, he is the only guy who knows precisely where the squids are. Boats from miles around hover, hoping for a squid bonanza.

(on camera): This is a traffic jam in the middle of nowhere.

TODD MANSUR, DANA WHARF SPORTFISHING Exactly. I tried to move the boat forward to give room and I couldn't. There's too boats in front of me. It's just awesome.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): 2013 is shaping up to be the year of the squid. A giant squid, a very distant cousin of the Humboldt, was seen for the first time in its natural habitat 2,000 feet down off of the coast of Japan.

Squid isn't just for breading and deep frying anymore. In popular culture, the squid agenda is alive and well and bent on world domination.

You see Gallaxhar in "Monsters Versus Aliens."

GALLAXHAR: So, just to recap. We come in peace. We mean you no harm. And you all will die.


MARQUEZ: All hail Gallaxhar, viva la squid.

Miguel Marquez, CNN, Dana Point, California.


KAYE: And hat's off to Miguel Marquez for touching that thing. Quite brave of him.

Well, why are these two siblings so excited to see each other? We'll tell you.


RANDI KAYE, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back to CNN SUNDAY MORNING. I'm Randi Kaye. Glad you're with us

Bottom of the hour now and here are some stories that we're watching right now.

We are in the middle of a deadly flu epidemic. The government says 47 states are reporting widespread activity. Though the severity has lessened in some of those states the CDC said this week that 20 children have died. But health officials say it's not too late to get your flu shot. This year's vaccine is a pretty good match they say to the strain and can help lessen flu's effects.

In Washington State a Seattle commuter bus burst into flames during a Friday morning commute -- take a look at this fire. Officials say 24 passengers were on that bus when it caught fire and the quick-thinking driver helped moved everyone to safety. Isn't that incredible when you look at that bus on fire that everyone survived? Sound Transit which operates the bus has said frigid temperatures could be to blame.

Two long lost siblings have reconnected after 65 years all thanks to Facebook. Betty Billadeau was separated from her little brother, Cillord Boyson in 1948. Boyson recently asked his neighbor's seven- year-old son to help him search for her on the Internet. When he found her the siblings arranged an emotional meeting.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CILLORD BOYSON, BETTY'S SISTER: My heart was going 60 miles an hour and I've never thought it would come true.

BETTY BILLADEAU, CILLORD'S SISTER: He reminded me a lot of my brother, Bob, who I knew and it was -- he is deceased -- and it was like seeing him again.


KAYE: As a way to thank the seven-year-old sleuth, the reunited brother and sister set up a scholarship fund for him. How nice is that.

In St. Genevieve, Missouri some important religious artifacts have gone missing. Though they may only be important to the parishioners of the St. Genevieve church, the Reverend says they really aren't that valuable. Police say they are baffled by the theft of these nine small artifacts.

For today's "Faces of Faith" we're talking about the Washington National Cathedral. It is the so-called spiritual home of the nation, four presidents have been inaugurated there, and national figures are memorialized there. But now the cathedral will play host to same sex weddings. You see the Episcopal Church worships there and that denomination has made a special marriage rite for same-sex couples. And same-sex marriage is legal in Washington, D.C.

The dean of the National Cathedral is Reverend Gary Hall and I spoke with him earlier and asked him about the cathedral's decision and his own evolution on this issue?


REV. GARY HALL, DEAN, WASHINGTON NATIONAL CATHEDRAL: In the 1990's I began working at All Saints Church in Pasadena, California. All Saints is a big urban church in the Los Angeles area. It has a large gay and lesbian population. It also an AIDS Service Center.

And so in those years, I really came to know gay and lesbian people as my friends and colleagues and as parishioners. And I -- because of the AIDS Service Center, we had many people who in those years were dying of AIDS and I just got to see the families and couples and, you know, men and women in these stressful situations and saw the extent to which they loved and supported each other.

And I really began to see that if the love that I saw in those hospital rooms and in those homes was not real love that the church should bless then I didn't know what was. So that was really kind of a transformational time for me.

KAYE: Yes it had a real impact. You've also said that --

HALL: Sure.

KAYE: -- straight couples can learn from same-sex marriages, what do you mean by that? How so? HALL: Well, I think that, you know, heterosexual marriage I'm married myself I've been married for 35 years very happily so. And my marriage has really taught me a lot about life and God and the world. And -- and I would say that both Kathy, my wife and I and all straight couples have to do some work to make our relationships as equal and mutual as they can be.

And I -- I do think one of the things that we learned from gay and lesbian couples in same sex couples and same-sex marriages that it is radically mutual and radically equal. Both partners really come to that relationship as equals. There isn't the sort of male/female vestiges of hierarchy and patriarchy that we straight people have to still deal with in our marriages.

KAYE: Right.

HALL: The new same-sex rite is really based in baptism and it really is -- again which is a kind of sacrament of radical equality in our -- in our tradition.

KAYE: Are you concerned at all that embracing a controversial issue at the National Cathedral of all places will be divisive? I mean does that worry you?

HALL: Well, the National Cathedral is a -- is a public church. And really, for many years, it has had a history of taking positions on important social issues. One of my great predecessors Dean Sayre went to Selma during the civil rights era, was a vociferous opponent of the -- of the Vietnam War. Martin Luther King Jr. preached his final sermon on March 31st, 1968 in the pulpit of the cathedral.

So we have -- although in recent years we haven't had as visible a public role. The cathedral has been -- has had a history of engaging major public policy issues.

KAYE: But some critics though do say that the church is bucking thousands of years of religious tradition and the teachings of the bible. How do you see it?

HALL: Well, the bible, I wrote and edited -- I edited a book of essays about this, so I've actually have been thinking about this issue for a long time. You know, the bible doesn't speak with one voice about marriage. I mean, the bible has several visions of what marriage can be.

I mean, one man, one woman ends up being the sort of late version in the bible, but earlier versions included levirate marriage where you would -- if -- if a man died, his brother would marry the widow and before that, polygamy, so it's not like the bible has -- speaks with a unified voice.

And the church's teaching about marriage has evolved over the years. We have -- we have moved to a much more equal and egalitarian place about men and women in the 20th and the 21st centuries, but it wasn't that long ago where women were swearing to love, honor and obey their husbands. And so, our teaching about marriage has evolved both within the scriptures and within the tradition. And I believe that offering faithful gay and lesbian people this pastoral opportunity to live their lives faithfully in the same way that we've offered that to heterosexual men and women is really the next logical step in the development of our teaching about marriage.

KAYE: So I guess the question is then, I mean, do you see this move as starting a trend for other denominations?

HALL: Well, I think the Episcopal Church and you know the Unitarian Church and the United Church of Christ have been pretty much in the forefront of this issue. Our hope is we are both an Episcopal institution as the National Cathedral, but we are also mindful of our role as a kind of -- as a kind of sacred space for the nation.

And so my hope is that we can use our visibility to advance this -- this issue further and -- and really to be a model for other faith communities in the country.

KAYE: Reverend Gary Hall, Dean of the Washington National Cathedral, thank you so much for your time this morning.

HALL: It's a real pleasure. You're very welcome.

KAYE: And for more stories on faith or to see this again, be sure to check out our belief blog at

"USA Today" is reporting cyclist Lance Armstrong may admit to doping this week. I'll tell you when to expect that bombshell announcement next.



It is time to get you ready for the week ahead so let's take a look at our "Week Ahead" calendar.

On Monday, we have been talking a lot about Lance Armstrong. Well according to "USA Today," Armstrong may confess to doping during an interview on Monday with Oprah. That interview will then air on Thursday night on the Oprah Winfrey Network but it will take the place Monday at Armstrong's home.

Also we're talking about Newtown on Monday it's the one-month anniversary of the shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. 27 people you'll recall were killed in that tragedy.

Tuesday is also a very busy day certainly for the Vice President. Joe Biden will give the President his gun control recommendations. Last month the President vowed to prevent future shootings like Newtown. The expected recommendations might include universal background checks and a possible ban on assault weapons as well. A lot of people are paying attention to that. Also on Tuesday, we'll talk about Sandy relief. An expected vote on about $50 billion of Super Storm Sandy relief money is going to take place on Tuesday. Congress has already approved a $9.7 billion package; we'll see if they approve the rest of all that money.

And on Sunday, the presidential inauguration, it is officially Inauguration Day. President Obama will have a private swearing in on Sunday, but the public ceremony remember, is on Monday, you can catch all the festivities then.

And I will be in Washington, D.C. all weekend next weekend covering the celebrations. It's all will be live right here on CNN, your place to catch it all.

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

SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Randi. Wounds remained 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's 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.

The body of a lottery winner in Chicago who was poisoned will be exhumed as early as this week in fact. Urooj Khan won a $1 million lottery prize back in June. His payout was $425,000, but he never got a penny of it, never got to spend it, because the day after he picked up his 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 Khan's system. The case has been now ruled a homicide, however, no arrests have been made.

In Washington, the debate over gun control rages on. The Vice President says he'll give Obama his recommendations on Tuesday. We'll let you know what might be in those recommendations.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) KAYE: Good morning, Washington, D.C. Look at that. Nice shot of the Capitol there. Looks like a quiet morning there, but boy, oh, boy, wait until next weekend. Already getting set as you can see for the inauguration of President Obama happening on Sunday there. We will be there live. This show will be there Saturday and Sunday mornings, so we hope you will join us.

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 does not 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.

It has been less than one month since the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut and the country remains deeply divided over the issue of gun control. And the deadline is approaching for Vice President Joe Biden to present his recommendations on gun control to the President. That should happen Tuesday.

CNN's Candy Crowley is taking up the debate in today's "STATE OF THE UNION" and she joins us now. Candy, good morning, I understand you have a pretty outspoken guest booked on your show today.

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN HOST: Well, a couple of them actually. David Keene who as you know is the president of the National Rifle Association and then we're going to talk to Chris Murphy who's the new senator from Connecticut. I actually spoke to him a month ago on the scene up there in Newtown.

And then we want to kind of try to take a look at this from a bipartisan approach if that is possible. There is a new group forming with Senator Joe Manchin who as you know is a Democrat from West Virginia with Jon Huntsman who was a Republican presidential candidate, a moderate who is trying to form this outside group that encourages bipartisanship -- is that even possible anymore? So we want to look at the gun debate through the prism of bipartisanship -- is that at all possible?

KAYE: Do you think they will be able to come to some type of agreement here, certainly a lot of issues on the table?

CROWLEY: Yes. I think there are a lot of issues on the table, so I think there are some things that the White House is prepared to do in terms of making the background checks more effective. There are already laws in place. They could fund more of the money for some of those background checks. They could tighten up the sort of the mental health background check, and try to help states comply a little more.

But in terms of the big things, that is, what about the magazine clips that can just fire so many bullets at the, you know, one right after the other in rapid fire. What about the assault weapons ban?

I don't know. We will see a little more coming up, because we do expect an assault weapons ban to be introduced in the Senate this week. But I don't -- yes, it is different, but I'm not sure that at this moment with all these other things on their plate that an assault weapons ban is something that Congress is going to be able to do. So we'll certainly -- you know the President says he will push it.

And when you look at the other things, when you look at school safety, when you look at mental health help for those who are in trouble, and when you look at all of those things, like you know, the society and the culture and all these video games, it is just -- it's hard and all these are terrible, but when come to do it, it kind of falls apart in the details.

KAYE: Yes, it seems that maybe that universal background check and maybe the limited magazine capacity might be a little bit easier.


KAYE: Candy, thank you. We will be watching.

CROWLEY: Thanks.

KAYE: And keep it here for "STATE OF THE UNION" which starts in about nine minutes at 9:00 a.m. Eastern time right here on CNN.

Yes, the Donald is back and now demanding $5 million for a joke made on "The Tonight Show". I will tell you what this is all about when our friend comedian Dean Obeidallah joins me.


KAYE: Welcome back, everyone.

Entertainment news now -- the bad blood between Bill Maher and Donald Trump took a very bizarre turn this week. Take a look at this clip from "The Tonight Show".


BILL MAHER, TALK SHOW HOST: The color of his hair --


MAHER: And the color of an orange orangutan are the only two things in nature of the same color. I'm not saying it is true I hope it is not true --

LENO: Right.

MAHER: -- but unless he comes up with proof, I'm willing to offer $5 million to Donald Trump --


KAYE: $5 million for Trump to prove that he is not an orangutan. That's of course, Maher's jab over Trump being a flame thrower in the birther movement which demanded President Obama's birth certificate but and all just fun and games, right? Wrong in response, Trump sent a copy of his birth certificate to Bill Maher and says that he needs to pay up. He has actually been tweeting about this, believe it or not. He writes, "I hope Bill Maher comes through with his $5 million offer, which I fully accepted or I will be forced to sue him. All goes to charity."

Our good friend, comedian Dean Obeidallah joins me now to talk about that. I'm not sure what's funny here Dean but as a comedian, what do you think about this? I mean is this for real?

DEAN OBEIDALLAH, POLITICAL COMEDIAN: I think that I still don't believe Donald Trump is a human being. I think that perhaps he's from another planet. You know, he led the birther movement; I'm leading the Trumper movement. I'm the only one in that movement right now as people do not believe he is from this -- I don't believe he's an orangutan, I think he was left here by aliens at some point.

Donald Trump -- I mean the man is a billionaire; owns hotels and buildings. This is a comedian Bill Maher, perhaps you don't know how comedy works where people tell jokes and then people laugh. If you don't like the jokes, ignore the jokes.

This is unreal. I mean Donald Trump is becoming like a villain in a James Bond movie who wants to wipe out comedy. It's unseemly for a guy who has done everything unseemly. I think this is the lowest he has gone.

KAYE: Yes. It is really bizarre. But that is your comic background talking there. But as a former lawyer -- I mean Trump does not have a case here does he against Maher?

OBEIDALLAH: Well, no, one of the elements of a contract -- one of the first elements is an offer, and an offer has to be actual intent to enter into the contract. Bill Maher is saying right before this offer -- this fake offer -- you are the son of an orangutan. I mean you can't be any more comedic than that.

Imagine if comedians that worry about we tell a joke, I'd pay to see that. People say that all of the time, "I will pay to see that" and then we're in court having to defend ourselves against lawsuit for that. It's ridiculous.

But we know this. Donald Trump wants publicity.

KAYE: I was just going to say. Let me guess, this is another attempt at publicity, right?

OBEIDALLAH: These guys are great at -- I mean Donald Trump loves publicity. I've never seen anyone better at that as much as he is divisive. And Bill Maher also is a great publicity hound. And "hound" is a nice word because it's something dirty --

KAYE: Yes.

OBEIDALLAH: -- but they're both great. They really are cut from similar ends of the cloth, they come at it from different points of view, but they love the press, these two.

KAYE: So he does say thought that if he did get paid, Trump says this that the money would go to charity. He tweeted that the money would go towards -- among other things -- the Police Athletic League New York, March of Dimes, Hurricane Sandy victims. I mean that sounds nice, but I'm curious, if you have ever been sued or gotten into legal trouble for telling a joke or calling someone a orangutan.

OBEIDALLAH: Not yet. I'm hoping if Trump is watching this tape, I will be in court later next week and I'll be in all of the headlines.

KAYE: You and me both.

OBEIDALLAH: I will be huge.

No, but I have. You know, I do a lot of political jokes. Jokes about social issues, race issues, hot button issues; and I have been called a lot of names on Twitter especially by people who get angry. People on the far left and the far right have something in common. If they don't agree with your joke, they will attack you and tell you it is not funny and you are an idiot and all these horrible words.

People in the middle get it is a joke but people on the extremes, and Donald Trump clearly on the extreme of the far right has no sense of humor. I've seen it all of the time.

KAYE: What is your advice for the Donald on this one?

OBEIDALLAH: Get a better hairpiece; that would be nice. Have thick skin. You know, look -- he is so thin skinned for a man whose face is like leather. You know, let it go. If someone tells a joke, laugh at it and smile at least. And if not, just ignore it, Donald. Go in one of your houses or your big hotels and enjoy your life. You are a billionaire.

KAYE: I bet you anything he's going to send you a copy of his birth certificate any day now, just to prove it.

OBEIDALLAH: And I will send him mine to prove that I, too, am a human being born in the United States of America.

KAYE: Yes, it sounds like -- I mean really, if you look at this example I mean just very quickly, but it is like I mean -- it's come to the point where comedians actually have to be concerned about what they say.

OBEIDALLAH: There is a concern about the freedom of expression I'll be honest with you. The more -- the better known you are like Bill Maher, there are more limitation, because if you say something wrong, inappropriate, offensive and then the next day you are in the media having to defend yourself.

If you're lesser known, it's a little easier.

KAYE: Yes. OBEIDALLAH: But there are concerns that it's a war on comedy. That's what I tell people -- this is a war on comedy.

KAYE: Right.

OBEIDALLAH: Donald Trump is leading the war --

KAYE: Get your $5 million check ready, Dean Obeidallah. Nice to see you.

OBEIDALLAH: Ok. Nice seeing you Randi. Thank you.

KAYE: And thank you very much for watching today.

"STATE OF THE UNION" with Candy Crowley starts right now.

Enjoy your Sunday.