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Few Good Options for U.S on Ukraine Crisis; Hillary Clinton Compares Putin to Czar; Mudslides Hit Drought-Weary California; Vet: Ex-Girlfriend Secretly Gave Up Baby; More Questions around New Jersey Bridge Scandal; Delta Changing Its Frequent Flier Program

Aired March 1, 2014 - 08:00   ET


VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Thank you so much for starting your morning with us.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, the next hour of NEW DAY starts right now.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The United States will stand with the community in affirming costs for any military intervention in Ukraine.


BLACKWELL: The tanks are rolling in as Russia pushes into Ukraine and now President Obama warns an invasion will come at a cost.

PAUL: It's frightening to look at that. Fire, drought and torrential rain as the perfect storm for its catastrophic floods in California. And this morning, I'm sorry to say, there is no end in sight.

BLACKWELL: And does it sometimes seem that the airline industry is trying to get you to hate them? I mean, really, you want me to be angry. The latest moves that have passengers furious. Your NEW DAY continues right now.

PAUL: If you are already on the treadmill or, you know, doing your thing at 8:00 in the morning, I'm proud of you.

BLACKWELL: Good for you.

PAUL: Good for you. Absolutely. I'm Christi Paul.

BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell. I missed my morning workout this morning before the show.

PAUL: I can't believe you didn't work out before the show. We're driving in at 3:00.

BLACKWELL: Well, it is now 8:00 here on the east coast as Christi said. This is NEW DAY SATURDAY. Our developing story this morning, Ukraine is now accusing Russia of invading the Peninsula of Crimea sending in thousands of troops and armed vehicles. Well, now the tension is escalating as President Obama warns there will be costs to any military intervention in Ukraine.

PAUL: We start with you with our coverage in Kiev, the capital Ukraine where anti-government protest ousted the pro-Russian president, Viktor Yanukovych remember. CNN's Ian Lee is there. So Ian, want to go to you now. How is the Ukrainian government at this point reacting to what is happening in Crimea?

IAN LEE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the Ukrainian government really has only diplomatic options when it comes to Crimea. They don't have the fire power to go against the Russian military nor do they want to provoke the Russians into having more of the Russian military go into Crimea and essentially annexing the area.

Their diplomatic efforts are focused on the U.N. Security Council hoping that they will take a look at the situation although it is unclear really what will happen because Russia has veto power there. They are also appealing to the European Union to send observers to show that the government here, the new government is acting responsible in the areas like the Crimea.

We are following a new development right now. This pro-Russian unrest seems to be spreading. We are seeing reports of pro-Russian demonstrators in the city of Carcav trying to go into a regional government building held up inside are pro-European supporters.

There are reports of clashes with minor injuries. Now Carcav is north -- it is in the east, but it's the north of the Crimea close on the border with Russia. Close economic ties to Russia. This is also the second largest city here in Ukraine.

PAUL: All right, CNN's Ian Lee in the capital of Ukraine. Ian, thank you very much.

BLACKWELL: Let's take a moment now to kind of look deeper into what the president said as he made his statement at the White House adding his voice to the chorus of protests from Kiev.

PAUL: Yes, because President Obama making it really clear that there will be consequences if Russia meddles in Ukraine or Crimea. Listen to this.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Just days after the world came to Russia for the Olympic Games, it would invite the condemnation of nations around the world and indeed, the United States will stand with the international community in affirming that there will be costs for any military intervention in Ukraine.


PAUL: So a lot of people hear then I think what kind of costs are we talking about here? CNN Pentagon correspondent, Barbara Starr, joining us by phone from Washington. Barbara, thank you for being here. What are the president's options? I mean, he can't very well start a war with Russia.

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): Well, that is right, Christi. Good morning. I think the first thing to cross off the list is just that there will be no U.S. military action, no appetite for that. No real ability to use it or reason to use it at this point. The focus is going to be -- on exactly what Ian Lee just said. Diplomatic initiative, but also financial and economic.

The White House making clear yesterday it just might not go to the upcoming G-8 Summit if troops are in Crimea that some had scheduled to take place in Russia suggesting that other European nations would not as well. So really trying to put the economic financial pressure on Moscow and send that message don't do this. It's not worth it and to not cause any additional provocation or instability.

BLACKWELL: Was this a surprise, Barbara, for Washington? The Russian helicopters over the skies of Crimea? The troops there? Because there were some who just expected that an invasion of any kind was unlikely.

STARR: I think that is right, Victor. From everyone we have spoken to all the government officials we've spoken to all week long, nobody was looking at, you know, a widespread invasion by 150,000 Russian troops on that military exercise along the border. By midweek, there were -- Wednesday, Thursday, U.S. Officials were privately expressing a lot of concern and seeing signs that Russia might make some more small scale initial moves as they now have done.

You know, go in, if you send in a few hundred troops, is that going to be a problem? Just keep provoking the situation. That's what they were looking at and they knew that they would get almost no warning or indication that was about to happen. I mean, I had officials telling me we're watching this unfold on television. That was frankly one of the best sources of intelligence they had as things unfolded.

I don't think it was a big surprise to them. I think they always thought that Vladimir Putin was going to try to send a message to Ukraine and send a message to the left that he was still going to have some reason to be involved in this entire situation and do what he could to protect what he believes are Russian interests.

BLACKWELL: All right, Barbara Starr in Washington for us helping us understand what is going on there both in Ukraine and Moscow and Washington. Barbara, thank you.

STARR: Sure.

BLACKWELL: Hillary Clinton says that Russia's Vladimir Putin may be looking at consolidating Russia's position in the eastern Ukraine.

PAUL: The former secretary of state has said this week and I want to quote here, "There is no doubt he sits as the absolute authority now in Russia and it is quite reminiscent of the kind of authority that has been exercised in the past by Russian leaders, both the czars and their successor communists leaders." So let's bring in James Rubin from London to talk about this. He is a former U.S. assistant secretary of state in the Clinton administration. Thank you so much, Mr. Rubin, for being here. What is your response to Hillary Clinton's statement about President Putin?

JAMES RUBIN, FORMER ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF STATE: Well, I think she was correctly predicting precisely what has transpired. She, before all of this happened, on Thursday, I guess it was, she was concerned that President Putin was going to look for an opportunity to do this sort of thing. I haven't spoken to her so I don't know exactly what she had in mind.

But clearly, President Putin is trying to exploit the new government in Ukraine and frankly by their action, the Russians are trying to provoke a civil strife if not civil war in Ukraine so that those parts of Ukraine that are most pro-Russian can perhaps remain fully in Russia's orbit.

The new government in Kiev and Ukraine has indicated they want to lean more towards the west and that has troubled President Putin. But let's remember that the Russian government and the Russian state has promised the world in a formal legal agreement in 1994 and frankly by the very terms of the United Nations charter to respect the territorial integrity and independence of Ukraine.

They have now violated that pledge. It is very clear that they are in substantial violation of that 1994 agreement and the only question now is whether the United States over the years by its reluctance to engage in many parts of the world and the way President Putin managed to manipulate the situation in Syria.

Whether the United States had the credibility and the leadership to push back against Russia and to bring to bear the costs that President Obama referred to. Will Europeans support us? Will we be able to lead in an international effort to make clear to Russia that it is not business as usual. There will be a price, a real price and a real cost to this violation of the 1994 agreement.

BLACKWELL: So here is the next question I think that comes after that, considering the U.S. reluctance and considering the violation by Russia, do you see a realistic scenario in which the Crimean region rejoins the federation and what is left becomes the new Ukraine?

RUBIN: Not in the minds of the rest of the world. De facto, in terms of on the ground in a way that has already happened. You have a Russian inspired takeover of the government. You have Russian troops on the ground and you clearly have Russia maintaining control over the Crimea. In a way, that is already happened.

This is a rerun of the situation that occurred six years ago in the country of Georgia. The difference is that the Georgian president responded to Russia's actions by provoking a formal war. I do not think Ukraine is going to make that mistake. I think the Ukrainian leadership knows Russia is trying to provoke them. They will not fall into such a trap. So as a practical matter in answer to your question, Crimea is part of Russia right now, but legally, and in terms of international acceptance and international recognition, I don't think that will ever happen.

PAUL: CNN got word, Mr. Rubin, yesterday that the president said maybe he will not go to the G-8 Summit in Sochi in June if this is still going on. Would that, A, be a smart move and would he have support from other G-8 members?

RUBIN: Well, we will have to see. I would hope that many countries in Europe, Germany in particular, France and United Kingdom are realizing they are dealing with a very, very, very dangerous figure in Vladimir Putin. Someone who has prepared to use military force to try to change borders, which is what they are doing right now and that they would support a policy of diplomatic sanctions on Russia.

And those diplomatic sanctions, as you indicated, could include not going to the G-8. But they have to be more than just one meeting. That won't really do the trick. Russia has to see that across the board their role in the world is going to be diminished by this action if they are ever going to reverse it. It is easily reversible, mind you.

There are Russian troops allowed to be in Crimea because they have a base there and it would be very straight forward for diplomacy to come to bear and the people in Kiev and the people in Crimea and Russia and the United States and Europeans to begin an intensive diplomatic effort to return to the status quo before this action.

But that would require a change of heart on the part of Russia and that's not going to happen unless the world galvanizes a formidable response beyond just not going to one meeting in Sochi.

PAUL: All right, well, James Rubin, we so appreciate your perspective. Thank you for being with us today.

RUBIN: You're welcome.

BLACKWELL: Chris Christie's charm offensive rolled on in New Jersey this week. He is trying to win over voters after the damaging bridge scandal, but that might not be easy of course with the new documents that are revealing more details.

PAUL: Also what horrible pictures we are getting out California this morning. This is not what folks had in mind there when they said they needed more rain. Look at the mudslides and floods. We will tell you what is happening and what to expect too. Stick close.


BLACKWELL: Quarter after the hour now, California, and we've talked a lot about the drought. It has gone from no rain to way too much rain. Look at this, the state is just getting hammered with torrential downpours. We have the dangerous mudslides you see here. Of course, it desperately needs the rain. This was the worst drought in 100 years.

PAUL: But you know what that means when you think about it. The ground is so dry that it just can't absorb as much as 6 inches of rain that it may be getting today. So, that means there is real fear of flooding and mudslides. Our Kyung Lah is there in California. Let's go to her. Hi, Kyung.

KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Victor, Christi, California has desperately needed this, the rain, but here is where you get the problems. When rain meets wildfire-scorched land because that leads to flooding and mud.


LAH (voice-over): It's happened in minutes. Fire scorched land couldn't hold the rain, so mud poured down from the Glendora foothills below.

RYAN FRIEND, RESIDENT: That's havoc. It's bad. It's bad. It hasn't been this bad in a long time. It wasn't like this 20 minutes ago.

LAH: They're getting out while they can.

(on camera): But you're not taking anything with you. You're just grabbing your dog?

MARIO VASQUEZ, RESIDENT: No. We've got my laptop. I don't need too many things. Everything's going to be fine. It's all replaceable.

LAH: Just a couple of inches of rain and you can see the effect here when the ground, which is burned by the fire can't hold all of this. And something you'll notice, the debris. It shows it's been scarred by wildfire.

(voice-over): A 1,000 homes are under a mandatory evacuation order because they sit below the scorched hills. Two months ago it was wildfire. Today, mud into their pools and backyards. California's been in drought for months. The sudden rain caught some by surprise.

Two people were found stranded in a tree trying to escape the rising water of the Los Angeles River. Take a closer look. It's not just people, but their two dogs. You can see the rescuers, the Los Angeles firefighters, as they carefully move the frightened animals out of the tree one by one to the nearby rescue boat.

And there's more rain coming, which is bad news for Kim and Dennis Craley. They chose not to listen to mandatory evacuation order. Their one road in and out too covered in mud to drive.

(on camera): Because you can't get out.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No. Not right now. Until they clear this, we're stuck here.

LAH: What has Mother Nature been like the last couple of months for you? KIM KRALIX, RESIDENT: We had fire, drought, and now torrential rain.


KIM KRALIX: So, yes, pretty much everything.

DENNIS KRALIX: Yes. We've hit all four elements at this point. I think we're done at this point with any more crazy storms.


LAH: But the rain is coming and it is expected to last through much of the weekend -- Victor, Christi.

BLACKWELL: Kyung Lah, thank you. Let's go to meteorologist, Karen Maginnis, in our Severe Weather Center. Karen, more rain?

KAREN MAGINNIS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes, it looks like throughout much of the weekend starts to taper off a little bit more going into Sunday. We focused a lot on Southern California because of the Oscars, but all the way in San Francisco, all around the bay area, some of this rainfall has been very heavy. It has downed trees and power lines.

Southern California, when it bumps up into the mountains, that's where you will see the heavy snow pack. They are expecting between 1 and 3 feet of snowfall, but could see as much as 4 feet. Good for the ski operators there. Very vigorous weather system moving onshore. It has been 70 days since Phoenix has seen any precipitation. We will have another weather hit coming up in the next hour. We'll tell you some more. Back to you, guys.

PAUL: All right, thank you, Karen, so much.

BLACKWELL: Fighting for his daughter. An Army vet finds out the child he's thought was dead is really alive. We are going to share this heart breaking story. Stay with us.


BLACKWELL: A man in Pennsylvania is living every father's nightmare. He is battling the courts in a cross country custody battle fighting for the daughter he thought was dead only to learn later that she was secretly given up for adoption.

PAUL: It has happened to Army Veteran Chris Carlton. Alexandra Field has his story for us.


CHRIS CARLTON, FIGHTING FOR CUSTODY OF CHILD: Well, any real parent will lay down their life for their child. If I had to, I will rob a bank for my child. That's how much love you have for your child.

ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: What do you know about your daughter? CARLTON: Nothing. Nothing.

FIELD (voice-over): That could change. A Utah Supreme Court ruling means Chris Carlton can fight for custody of his daughter, almost four years after the infant was adopted by another family.

(on camera): You don't know her name. You don't know where she lives. You don't know who her parents are.

CARLTON: No. Again, this is something that was preventable. If Utah would get its act together and fix these laws, then something like this cannot happen.

FIELD (voice-over): Carlton, an Army veteran and former military contractor says his ex-girlfriend disappeared from their hometown, Williamsport, Pennsylvania when she was seven months pregnant. Later telling him she'd given birth to a son who died. Court documents show something different. She eventually admitted she gave birth to the couple's child, a daughter, whom she put up for adoption in Utah.

KEVIN MAILLARD, SYRACUSE LAW PROFESSOR: Just like people who go to Nevada because they want to get married quickly or some same-sex couples might go to Massachusetts or New York because those laws favor them. A lot of women who want to give up their children for adoption, they go to Utah.

FIELD: Not knowing where his child was, Carlton had missed Utah's 20- day deadline for father's to file a paternity claim. A lower court judge found he had no standing to contest the baby's adoption.

WES HUTCHINS, CHRIS CARLTON'S ATTORNEY (via telephone): The most significant argument that Chris Carlton is making is that the Utah laws are unconstitutional, most notably, the fraud immunity statute.

FIELD: The statute says fraudulent representation is not a basis for an automatic grant of custody to the offended party, but the statute does allow for the possibility for civil or criminal penalties. Carlton is one of 12 fathers who claim their rights have been violated. They've joined in a federal lawsuit against the current office of Utah's attorney general and to former attorneys general. The AG's office isn't yet commenting on the suit.

CARLTON: It is up to these adoptive parents and the judge to fix this. Right what is wrong, give my child back.

FIELD: In Carlton's case, this week's Supreme Court ruling means the fight returns to district court. Carlton's attorney will argue the state's adoption laws are unconstitutional and that Carlton should have custody of the daughter he did not give up.

CARLTON: No matter what the adoptive parents say or no matter what -- let's say your biological mother ever says, your father has been here like he always will be.

(END VIDEOTAPE) FIELD: We have reached out to attorneys representing the adoption agency involved in this case, but we have not yet received any comment from them. Now Chris Carlton in Pennsylvania is celebrating the Supreme Court's decision as a victory. But there is a long legal road ahead.

When this case returns to district court, Carlton's attorney will have to successfully argue that Utah's 20-day deadline should not apply to a man from Pennsylvania where no such law exists. Only if that matter is settled in his favor, Christi, Victor, could we then be talking about a potential custody hearing and we know that those things can drag out for some time while a judge has to consider what is in the best interest of the child at that point.

PAUL: All right, Alexandria Field, thank you so much. I wonder if he has even seen the child.

BLACKWELL: Maybe no more than just that photograph to know she is out there somewhere.

You know, so it is Saturday, most of us are going to be hitting the roads with not much of a problem, but Monday morning, the traffic will be back. If you think you hate traffic, wait until you hear from the people stuck in the gridlock that hit Fort Lee last year created reportedly by Governor Chris Christie's aides. We have the 911 calls for you. They are coming up.


PAUL: I hope this is the calm before your storm on a Saturday if you're going to be running all over the place this afternoon. You know it's a lazy morning. I'm Christi Paul.

BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell. And let's hope the storm is just a few sprinkles and not much thunder we can get it all done.

PAUL: Yes.

BLACKWELL: Top five things you need to know for your NEW DAY. Number one top Russian lawmaker says Russia may decide to send a small contingent of troops into Crimea in Ukraine. Now she says they would protect Russia's Black Sea fleet and Russian citizens there. Well Ukraine says Russian troops and tanks are already in Crimea and it wants them out.

PAUL: Number two, all you in California now went from drought to drenched and look what is going on now -- torrential downpours leading to dangerous mudslides like this. After its worst drought in 100 years, the state desperately needs the rains that the ground is so dry, flooding is causing stuff like this. The water is causing stuff like this and with the flooding and the mudslide. And in fact, we know Los Angeles County is under a flash flood watch.

BLACKWELL: Number three. A year in jail and a $5,000 fine. That's what secretly filming animal rights abuses could earn you in Idaho. According to "The New York Times" Governor Butch Otter signed the controversial bill in response to the videos of the alleged beating of cows at the Bettencourt Dairy back in 2012.

PAUL: Number four, vandals hit Spike Lee's father's home in Brooklyn just days after the director's rant against gentrification went viral. A neighbor's glass door was shattered too and the words, "Do the Right Thing" were spray painted on the wall. That neighbor says she believes there has to be a connection between Lee's rant and the graffiti.

BLACKWELL: Number five, "Son of God" could be the surprise winner at the box office this weekend. It's a biblical epic, it's all about the life and times of Jesus Christ. And it raked in more than $1 million Thursday night. "Son of God" is based on the History Channel's series "The Bible" which was so popular.

PAUL: So believe it or not, that traffic jam scandal plaguing New Jersey Governor Christie's administration is getting even stranger if you think that's possible. Listen to this newly released text messages from two former Christie officials. These texts are about a local rabbi by the way who has ties to Jersey politicians.

David Wildstein said, quote, "And he has officially pissed me off." Then, Bridget Kelly responded quote, "Clearly we cannot cause traffic problems in front of his house. Can we?" Wildstein, quote, "Flights to Tel Aviv, all mysteriously delayed" unquote. Now it's not clear how Rabbi Mendy Carlebach upset Christie's officials and the Rabbi says he had no idea that he was mentioned.

BLACKWELL: And we're now getting a new sense of that chaos that the traffic jam caused. We want you to listen to the 911 dispatch tapes. We'll play those for you in just a moment.

But right now we're going to go to reporter Matt Katz, we've got Matt who covers all things Chris Christie for WNYC's The Christie Tracker and New Jersey Public Radio. Matt, it's good to have you back.


PAUL: Good morning.

BLACKWELL: Hey so what's the deal with this Rabbi becoming part of this? How is the Rabbi connected?

KATZ: Well we're not sure. Sources in the political community and the Jewish community aren't really clear. Our only guess is that this Rabbi, perhaps, did not do enough for the Christie re-election campaign. He appeared to be a Republican and general supporter of the Governor, but maybe Christie's people had asked him to maybe hold a campaign event and do some sort of formal endorsement and he didn't and they were upset with him. And this is a pattern we're seeing. Remember they were apparently upset with the Mayor of Fort Lee who was asked to endorse Christie and did not and as a result there was a traffic jam. So in this case, they are upset about the Rabbi and they are joking about a traffic jam to Tel Aviv. And it should be noted that this agency, the port authority that controls the bridge also controls the airport, the Newark Airport. So theoretically, you know, they could have created a traffic jam anywhere they pleased, including the airports. So it's -- it's a pretty amazing stuff.

PAUL: So we've also learned you know the Democrat who called for Governor Christie to resign had quit the investigative committee after pressure from Republicans. Is there talks that the investigative committee is fair to the Governor or is this an example some people might say of partisan bias?

KATZ: That's right. Yes the Governor's people were all over this yesterday when one of the members on Thursday night said that the Governor and his friends should all resign. And the Governor's folks were upset with this and she -- this assembly woman who said this ended up being the one to resign from the committee in a special investigative committee last night.

But on her way out in her statement, she trashed one of the Republican members of the investigative committee. That's because he is a friend of Governor Christie and she had written an e-mail that was disclosing the subpoenas indicating that he was mention in the meeting excuse me indicating that he was putting a statement forward of saying that these traffic jams were part of some sort of traffic study.

So the Democrats are saying that he potentially was part of the cover up and it's possible that this special investigative committee subpoenas one of its own members, this Republican legislator who was -- who was involved in one of these e-mails. So it's gotten very partisan one way or another. And both sides are really going after each other. So it could turn into something of a mess. We'll see.

BLACKWELL: And of course at the center of this, all those people who sat in traffic for hours. We now have the 911 tapes. Let's listen to a couple of those.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The medics were notified. It is a possible head injury. She has been waiting for over an hour.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's 4-5-3, they have a new pattern. They are testing a new pattern of traffic from Washington. It's down to one lane now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, 2-11 Fort Lee traffic is a nightmare.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: 10-4. We're getting calls from irate motorists.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You are aware the town is a total gridlock correct?


(END AUDIO CLIP) BLACKWELL: So you know before this bridge gate scandal as it's called, Christie was discussed as one of the 2016 hopefuls probably to top the list of Republicans. He said in a town hall this week, "I'm not going to worry about politics anymore everybody this is it. I'm on my back nine. When you're on the back nine you don't have to worry about playing another front nine, your only obligation is to tell people the truth."

Is he pulling himself out for 2016 consideration?

KATZ: No. I think Christie and his team still thinks that he could certainly be a contender in 2016. I mean we should -- we should keep some perspective here. There was a new poll out in New Jersey; he still has 50 percent approval ratings. He's lost a lot nationally against Hillary Clinton. But he's still in striking distance. Six or seven points and some of the other potential rivals in the Republican 2016 primary are in -- have their own problems and their own skeletons in the closet and their own popularity issues in their own states.

So I think that he is still and still believes that he is a potential 2016 contender. And I went to two town hall meetings in New Jersey this week -- over this past week; a week and a half. And he was asked zero questions about bridge gate. So I don't know what that means. I don't know if that is random. But perhaps it's reflective of the fact that folks know about this issue, but aren't necessarily overly concerned with it and won't necessarily make a decision at the ballot box over bridge gate.

PAUL: All right Matt Katz, reporter with WNYC. Great to get your perspective Matt. Thanks for being with us.

BLACKWELL: Thank you Matt.

KATZ: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: So -- so this chemical is the same one used to make yoga mats also at hundreds, hundreds of your favorite snacks at the grocery store.

PAUL: What?

BLACKWELL: We're going to talk about this in a moment.


PAUL: Could this be the next hot workout video, people?


PAUL: The President and Vice President getting some cardio in at the White House. Now look if you were going to run, that would be a good run (inaudible).


PAUL: I mean if you would like run around the White House? They made this video as part of First Lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move fitness campaign, a little jogging, a little stretching, a little Monday night football music and a little rehydrating.

BLACKWELL: You've got to get the glass of water at the end.

Hey remember the chemical that fast food chains like Subway agreed to remove from its bread? The one that's also used to make yoga mats?

PAUL: This week, a health research group says that same chemical is in about 500 foods that you find in the grocery store. Everything from dinner rolls to tortillas.

BLACKWELL: Not my dinner rolls. The chemical is known as ADA and the government says it's safe in small amounts. But some consumer groups want it out of the food supply completely.

PAUL: Well yes if it's in 500 things, that's not a small amount after the time you eat dinner.

BLACKWELL: Yes that's true a little here a little there -- PAUL: It could be in everything you are eating.

BLACKWELL: -- all day you're eating the ADA.

PAUL: What is that about? Hey you like selfies?

BLACKWELL: I do like to selfie every once in a while. On my Instagram page.

PAUL: Yes that sounded a little -- I know that sounded a little provocative.

BLACKWELL: I tried to jump over it without going there but how can you now.

PAUL: You know what I'm taking about when I say selfie. The question is though do you like head lice?

BLACKWELL: I don't. I don't like head lice but we can agree on that. Yes those selfies you are taking they are apparently leading to a problem. Much bigger than mundane self portraits. Those are the selfies we're discussing. We'll explain when we're back.

PAUL: But first, Christine Romans has a preview of "YOUR MONEY" coming up in an hour from now. Good morning, Christine.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN HOST, "YOUR MONEY": Hi Christi and Victor. Some of the world's biggest brands coming out this week to support gay rights in Arizona. But are companies waving the rainbow flag just to make green? That's coming up on at 9:30 a.m. Eastern on an all new "YOUR MONEY".


PAUL: You ever feel like once and a while technology doesn't improve our lives, but just ruins it? Here is a case in point. This new app called the BroApp.

BLACKWELL: BroApp -- hey.

You can actually program this app to text your significant other a specific message. So as the site puts it, you can spend more time with the bros. I mean, what possibly could go wrong here --

PAUL: Are you kidding me?

BLACKWELL: -- when your smartphone handles your relationship while you're out drinking with your friends. Listen to this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Your girlfriend's house is a no bro zone. Set the time of day you want your messages sent and BroApp takes care of the rest.

Good morning, Sweet Pea. I hope you have a great day.


PAUL: So you mean you have to do that in the morning. You just set it up and it will send it for you no matter where you are. I say this thing is smarter than some men.

BLACKWELL: Here is my question also. Can you program that message to go to four or five people?

PAUL: Oh, see now that's dangerous. That's dangerous.

BLACKWELL: I'm just asking. If you want to say "good morning, Sweet Pea" to four or five Sweet Peas I think I should have that option. Just saying.

PAUL: Maybe that's an app you need to take care of.


PAUL: Let me ask you this.

BLACKWELL: All right.

PAUL: Have you ever taken a selfie?

BLACKWELL: I take selfies quite often, thank you.

PAUL: So the next time you do, make sure you are actually kind of by yourself --


PAUL: -- when you do it.

BLACKWELL: This is kind of nasty. It turns out there's an increase in head lice for people in their teens and early 20s. Why? Because you take a selfie with someone and you put your heads together.

This nurse in Atlanta says she's has seen a big increase and it's all because "Hey, let's take a selfie" and the lice jumps from one head to another.

PAUL: That's disgusting.

BLACKWELL: I mean I'd imagine that I'd just -- I would not want to take a selfie with anybody else after that.

PAUL: I would be safe with you because -- you know.

BLACKWELL: Yes. Listen, if I have lice, you will see them sitting on my head playing cards. I mean they can't hide.

All right.

So we fly a lot just because of the job.

PAUL: Right.

BLACKWELL: And you know, I have gotten ok with the airline industry. There are some people who hate it. And if you hate it, it is because sometimes it seems like what they're doing is they're getting you or trying to get you to hate them. We'll tell you the newest complaints next.

PAUL: First, though, he played one of the most memorable veterans on the big screen and now actor Gary Sinise has turned his passion into helping vets. CNN's Chris Cuomo shows us how.


GARY SINISE, ACTOR: Thought I'd try out my sea legs.

TOM HANKS, ACTOR: But you got no legs, Lieutenant Dan.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST (voice-over): Long before Gary Sinise played Vietnam veteran Lieutenant Dan in "Forrest Gump", he was a passionate supporter of the military.

SINISE: Well, I have a long history with working with veterans starting with the relationships that I have in my own personal family. My dad was -- served in the Navy. My two uncles were in World War II. My grandfather served in World War I.

CUOMO: With the success of "Forrest Gump", wounded veterans began to identify with Sinise.

SINISE: How many veterans we got here tonight?

CUOMO: He formed the Lieutenant Dan Band and has entertained troops around the world with the USO. The actor says his call to action became very clear after 9/11.

SINISE: When our men and women started deploying to Iraq and Afghanistan, they started getting hurt and killed. Having Vietnam veterans in my family, it was very troubling to think that our men and women would come home to a nation that didn't appreciate them.

CUOMO: So he started his own charity dedicated to veterans. The Gary Sinise Foundation helps build customized homes for the severely wounded and helps vets find civilian careers.

SINISE: I have met hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of wounded veterans who continue to not let their circumstance get them down. Countless Lieutenant Dans out there that inspire me every day.



PAUL: Well, leave it to "The Onion" to make fun of disappearing airline travel benefits. This week, the satirical newspaper published a fake article titled "American Airlines to phase out complimentary cabin pressurization".

BLACKWELL: You know, we got a good laugh out of it. And we thought we'd show. It's part of the article that reads, "Unfortunately, to stay competitive as a legacy carrier in today's air travel market, it no longer makes economic sense for us to provide breathable air at altitude."

PAUL: There's a reason for this though, right?

BLACKWELL: Yes, yes. I mean I'm sure if you had to take your own it could charge you the carry-on fee. But seriously folks -- rim shot -- if you feel like you are not getting much bang for your bucks when you're flying, you're not alone.

Delta is making these big changes to its frequent flier program.

PAUL: Yes. Starting next January, just so you know, the airline is going to give out frequent flier miles based on your ticket price, not the number of miles you travel. So the bottom line is it's going to become a lot harder to rack up those rewards.

BLACKWELL: Mark Murphy is the author of "Travel Unscripted". He is joining us now from New York.

Why would Delta do such a thing, Mark? Why would they do this?

MARK MURPHY, AUTHOR, "TRAVEL UNSCRIPTED": It is all about the bucks, Victor. You just said bang for the buck.


MURPHY: They're going to reward people that spend more money to fly. And those guys that are looking for that cheap, cheap, cheap airfare, they're going to get their frequent flier miles trimmed dramatically sometimes by 60 percent or 70 percent defending on the fare.

PAUL: Ok, let's break this down for people. MURPHY: Yes.

PAUL: The new program is going to award anywhere from 5 to 11 points for every $1 spent. So elite numbers are going to get the most points.


PAUL: For example. If you book a trip from New York to Los Angeles for $650 -- today that's going to earn you 5,000 miles -- right?

MURPHY: Anybody, right. Anybody today.


PAUL: Ok. Under the new program the credit would be just over 3,000 miles.

MURPHY: Correct.

PAUL: So let's take a look at how this benefits business class passengers. Oh my gosh, right.

MURPHY: Right.


BLACKWELL: Go ahead. If someone booked a business class ticket from New York to London for $5,000 under the current program that's 20,000 miles. Under the new program 45,000.

PAUL: Yes. So the people who suffer are travelers who rack up points by booking frequent low cost fares or people, you know, who travel twice a year across the country. With fares already so high, Mark, what is our incentive to stick with Delta?

MURPHY: Well, you know what -- loyalty programs really don't make people loyal. Only 14 percent of the American population that flies is loyal to a single airline. So they become less relevant because they become more and more difficult to actually accumulate points.

Take a typical leisure traveler. A typical leisure traveler flying twice a year, forget frequent flier programs. They are not even worth joining. Just go for the cheapest fare because even today before this change today, almost impossible to earn enough miles to make it worth your while to be loyal to a single airline.

So that's been pretty much the trend. I think what Delta is doing is they are rewarding the people that fly in the front of the planes or people that paid highest ticket price because they're the ones that drive the profitability for these airlines.

Take care of your best customers. It is about the one percent on the plane.

BLACKWELL: So, American Airlines announced that it's no longer going to offer discounted fares to customers who have to book last minute of bereavement fares as they're known. They're not the first to do this. Discount fares (ph) like South West, JetBlue that never offered bereavement fares -- how many more benefits are there left to cut?

MURPHY: You know what -- if you are a really great flier, you're going to get good benefits. If you are just the average Joe, forget it. You're going to pay fees. You're going to get hit all the time. The bereavement fare is not such a big deal. It's a five percent discount. It's a bad PR thing because we're talking about it.

But other than that, it is really not that relevant because those last-minute tickets tend to be the highest price tickets. And you're going to go anyway because of that situation. Five percent is not going to make the difference.

And they're just trying to get in alignment with the U.S. Air partner because of the merger that has already taken place.

BLACKWELL: Wow. I'll remember it. Mark Murphy, thank you so much for joining us. I remember when if you took a flight across the country, you get a meal. The last time I did that, they gave me a sandwich and a bag with a chocolate square.

PAUL: Hey, I just got peanuts last night.

BLACKWELL: And the chocolate wasn't even good.

PAUL: Good.

BLACKWELL: Thanks for starting your morning with us.

PAUL: We're so glad to have you here. We've got more for you. NEW DAY SATURDAY continues right now.