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tv   CNN Newsroom  CNN  December 28, 2010 1:00pm-3:00pm EST

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warmer weather is ahead but the damage from the holiday snowstorm is done. could last into the new year, it will take days to clear the back log of canceled airline flights from the three major airports serving new york city alone. you don't have to live in the northeast to feel the impact of that. i'll give you a chilling example of that in a moment. first let's look at the numbers. parts of nudge digging out from 40 inches of snow, not talking drifts. five flights canceled from sunday, stranded passengers will not take off until friday. 100 flights left in six hours compared to 70 flights in one hour. heading over to chad myers who has been tracking this. it's nonstop. how are things going as far as getting back on track? >> we're trying to put almost $200,000 peel on planes that were already full.
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they didn't get on their planes yesterday. their planes are canceled now flying stand by on plays today. now it's very cold. these gate workers have to take break, they can't be out very long. windchills at zero degrees, people complaining their bags are slow. hey, you're inside waiting for the bags, these baggage handlers outside getting your bags in. laguardia, newark, jfk, open. some spots five to eight hour delays. because of this. you have to shovel out jersey. boston, stratford, two feet of snow. i know it says 26, in new york city but add in wind 25 miles per hour, if t feels colder than that. nashville, little rock, new orleans. record low, look at this, tallahassee, 18 degree, jacksonville, 21. we're whining how cold it is in the northeast. but people don't have gloves,
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mittens and all these things like people in europe. you don't have sorrell boots when you live in tallahassee. it is a cold event for everybody. you have to have an awful lot of patience. >> you have to have patience and a backup plan. get those boots. >> cnn's allan chernoff. the place may be open, but it's not business as usual any longer, is it? >> not by a longshot. deb, the people that you're looking at over here, these are the people that have actually hit the jackpot. who is that? these days, it means actually getting on to your flight. they are about to drop off their baggage. they are the lucky few. the vast majority of people who want to get out today, not able to do so, just yet, you mentioned that statistic a little while ago much the fact is, here at laguardia airport, here at new york, only a fraction of flights that normally would take place, are
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occurring today. as a result, you have many stories, like the rossman family, they've been trying to get down to dallas to visit their family there for four dace. they tried to get out before the storms saturday night. came here to the airport, they couldn't. they came for sunday morning. they had a flight booked. they were supposed to get on. that flight was canceled. they went stand by, their bags went, they didn't. then they tried yesterday and again they're here today. let hear a little of their story from them. >> so, the first stand bye we tried to get on. they sent their bags to dallas. right now, we don't have any stuff. even if we cancel our flight. we still have to have someone ship our bags back to new york. >> you're not playing to cancel? >> no. >> you think you'll get there? >> hopefully we'll try for today. but if not maybe tomorrow or the day after. which would make five, six days
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in laguardia. >> yeah. >>. >> what a story. the family said it spent more than $500, using car service to come here and back, parking, the expense here, wow. goetz expensive waiting. deb. >> it does get expensive waiting. i'm a glass half full kind of person. i'm thrilled they have not given up yet. allan chernoff. thanks so much. we'll check in with you in just a little while. imagine flying to new york or britain or new mexico only to sit on the tarmac all night long because your plane can't get to the gate. even if you could, you couldn't get off apparently because of customs issues. that nightmare scenario happened to at least two international flights arriving overnight at new york's jfk airport. british airways, flight 183 from london, air mexico flight 404 from mexico city, a passenger on
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that flight spoke to cnn after finally setting foot in the terminal. >> it was terrible. basically what happened, when you were running out of food and water, the pilot came on to say he was going to be arguing with the folks at the airport. to at least let the police come on board. i guess he lost that flight, nobody came on. and we moved up to a gate, spent another couple of hours at the gate, thinking we were going to come off and never did. apparently what happened the customs folks went home at 1:00 a.m. everybody had to sit out there in the snow, all night. >> we've since gotten a statement from customs and border protection. officials tell cnn, quote, at no point were customs officials sent home overnight from jfk. said the airport was ample staffed even in the wee hours. it's the airlines' responsibility to keep customs
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personnel for flights. all of us god us thinking, what about the passengers' bill of rights? kate hannah made flyers rights work. she started flyersrights.org. after spending nine hour on the tarmac. she joins us from san francisco. kate let's talk about this. people are so vulnerable these days when they fly. >> they are. the airlines, after 9/11, for financial reasons, have had to cut back dramatically, on the kinds of services of that they offer. and they changed their contract, and many of the airline passengers we speak to, aren't aware of many chains that have happened. so when you're in a weather event like this, the airline has almost no responsibility to you, other than safely getting you to and from your destination, if they can do it. but they don't owe you hotels or taxis, or much of anything when
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there's a weather problem, that's why we fought so hard for contingency fans and for the passenger bill of rights. unfortunately we did win the passenger bill of rights but only applies to domestic flights. so all of the hotline calls that we've been getting for the last 48 hours straight through solid, on our toll free hotline have been from people on international flights and they are not covered by our rule, so we've got some serious gaps that need to be filled, and i hope the department of transportation and ray hood are watching right now so they can address this. >> in anticipation of the storm which is a natural disaster. airlines don't have much responsibility during that. but the airlines canceled all of the flights. would passengers have had a right to call up and say, look, there's a major snowstorm p coming. wasn't to change my ticket at no extra cost. would that have been feasible, would people have been left canceling plans or eating the
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cost of what their ticket was? >> actually, i went on to all of the legacy carriers' websites three days before the storm hit and they were all offering some kind of accommodation up to five days after the storm. up until this friday, for most air carrier, they were offering reaction dags, many people should have done that. i think what happened, people flying internationally, did not get the message. they did not realize that there was a blizzard coming to new york. again, most of the people i spoke to were on international flights. but i do have to say, for the airlines to continue operating when they knew that these international flights could be stuck on the tarmac, that is something that i think could be possibly -- they could be fined by the department of transportation. >> absolutely it has to be looked at. >> you know, i really want to make sure that your viewers know that we have a 1-877-359-3776 toll free, totally free hotline and we're helping people get to
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their destinations by looking at ca circuitous routes and looking at transportation all day and all night. >> which is helpful. we appreciate you joining us, certainly a mixed bag when you're flying. and who it is you end up interacting, whether it's a nice airline employee, a grumpy employee. take what you get and hope for the best. >> appreciate it. >> our "sound effect" today is collateral damage from the storm. last we heard most of new york city was still waiting for snow plows, even for semi plowed streets, that would be manhattan. not every motorist is happy. take a look at this. >> oh, my god.
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>> are you out of your mind? >> an interesting question. clearly a guy who just doesn't care about his performance review. well, brooklyn, queens, staten island, the bronx, be careful what you wish for. attack on arise in afghanistan but not from the usual suspects. we're looking at the number one threat against u.s. troops there. coming up neck. [ male announcer ] see this?
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guaranteed! sears. the war in afghanistan, may be further complicated not by al qaeda but by the taliban. a group known as the haqqani network. barbara star has the details. >> reporter: in eastern afghanistan, u.s. troops hope to start coming home in months. but the reality may be different. here, attacks are rising. but it's not from the taliban or al qaeda.
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the number one threat, fighters, loyal to this man, haqqani, the leader of the group known as haqqani network. they have have him in their crosshairs. >> one of the most insurgent network, i believe is the biggest threat to kabul, because of the location, how close they are to kabul. >> haqqani fighters stayed out of kabul lately. but their success to attack the afghan government could risk the u.s. warpla plan. >> they can come in very large numbers. >> reporter: major problem, the haqqanis lieutenant operate inside pack stage, sending a constant flow into afghanistan. they control a region running from eastern afghanistan across the border, and then into
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pakistan's north waziristan region. last week, pakistani intelligence officials said they arrested the leader's son, on the road into north what zir stan. it would have been a huge intelligence coupe, but u.s. officials said there's doubt the incident ever happened, telling cnn said there was no indication that his son was detained recently. a military official tells cnn there's no reason to believe the isi protects the network, something pakistan officially deny, some believe there's easy proof. the arrest may be an effort by the pakistanis to show they aring kraing down. >> the pakistani intelligence service at a minimum turns a blind eye. if they were actively fighting
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against them. they would have been more successful right now. >> pentagon correspondent barbara starr, joins us live. the karzai government courted them. they got ties to al qaeda. backed by pakistan's isi. almost seems they are controlling that entire area. what's the solution? >> put your finger on the problem. that is really a dilemma right now. even if the perhaps can fight against the haqqanis in side afghanistan, they can keep precutting new fighters, money, funding, equipment, weapons over the border in pakistan in the safe havens and send them into afghanistan. the feeling is that this winter may be a turning point where, in the spring, there will be an assessment. were they really successful, or have the haqqanis, really one more year, waited out the bad weather, waited out the coalition and in the spring
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they'll be back fighting again at full force and if you can't go across the border into pakistan, there may not be an answer to this. deb. >> is the haqqani network seen as an umbrella troop, when u.s. troops move out, the haqqani network moves in and takes over the country? al queda, taliban, all of that, their element? >> this is really the issue. you just laid it out. it's a syndicate. a supplemeoup of organizations. the haqqanis don't want to run afghanistan. the talabanis do. they are more doctored in money, influence, smuggling, trying to control trade routes and making all of the money they can in this part of the country. taliban would clearly like to see karzai out. they would like to control the government once again, all of
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these group, basically, working together, at times fighting against each other at times, but still presenting a multi laired threat to the karzai government in afghanistan, to u.s. troops and unless you can deal with all of this, how do you turn over afghanistan to the afghan forces and try to bring u.s. troops home. deb. >> barbara starr, thank you for the insights and a mixed bag of work to be done. a different phase. thank you very much, barbara starr. >> sure. >> next hour we'll hear from a reporter that went behind enemy lines to get the story of the taliban. david rohde talks about getting kidnapped in the middle of the war zone. and is gasoline headed to $5 a gallon? we'll find out why and when.
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well, in your money, if you're struggling now paying $3 or more for gas. get ready, the situation will get a whole lot worse. maybe. we hear we might be paying five bucks a gallon before long. that's for regular unleaded. not even get into the cost of the premium stuff. christine reagan will join us. christine, that will put people over the edge. $5. >> the former president will predict the gas will go to 5 bucks a gallon by 2012. main reason, demand. not from the u.s. but the rest of the world. brazil. russia, india, china. their middle classes are growing strongly.
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millions of people entering middle class, driving cars and you still have the same amount of oil being drilled and produced. that's the big reason there overall. second is critical of american energy policy. saying we're frittering around the edges of renewable resources that we don't have a big enough, bold enough plan. a former industry guy to drill more, do more on solar, wind power, renewables, and new technologies. this is how dire he gets. listen. >> i'm predicting the age of the energy abyss hit this nation between 2018 and 2020. if we just do the math, on what we're not doing, and what we should be doing, and we just overlay, a normal typical economy, the 20th century energy system was great. but it's old. we are not replacing it with a 21st century energy system which needs a combination of old and new. >> a combination of old an new,
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again, advocating for more drilling. he's concerned there's not enough new leases, not enough new drilling that will be going on in the gulf of mexico. as you know, the big bp disaster dammened the appetite because of environmental concerns and the like. weighing in with a bold prediction of $5 a gallon of gas if we continue on this path. pretty dire stuff. talk to other analysts, saying, $5 is not out of the realm of responsibility. it's not something that will happen in 2012 but further out. >> you can talk about solar, wind power, but it boils down to energy consumption and what everyone is collectively willing to do in order to basically cut down on their consumption. good news if you need cash for gas, for example. what about the trading cards if you don't want them. can you trade them in for cash, is that a good option? >> can you believe this? now we're talking about the return season at the holidays.
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people returning their gifts. you can't return a gift card, or can you? believe it or not there's search websites where you can trade or cash in a gift card. imagine, grandma gets you a williams sonoma gift card. you want to buy more songs on itunes. how do you make the swap? there's websites that let you cash it in. you end up paying -- there's a plastic jungle. cardpool, gift >> caller: cardrescue.com. something called swag. that downloads what you have on the card. there's other places where you swap with someone else for 3.99. you'll not get face value. $25 or more has to be on the gift car. you get 90% to 92% on the gift card. somebody is making money along the way. let me be clear. but there's a what to i have v
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money for the gift card. >> at least you get a little what you want as opposed to a lot of what you don't want. >> thank you very much. tune in to the bottom line. she has a great book out also. and of course "your money" with ali velshi sundays at 3:00 p.m. checking the latest developments in the top story, a rescue operation is wrapping up at a ski resort in maine after a ski resort left 200 people stuck high above the slope. a cnn employee is among them saying several people were thrown off. imagine that. after the lift lunched to trche stop. they fell 20 to 30 feet. the misery is over for passengered stranded at airports. many passengers are told they have to wait several days before getting a flight home. more than 5,000 flights have been cancelled since sunday.
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the man known as architect of airline deregulation has died. under the carter regulation, kahn spear headed the regulation which opened the regulation. kahn died of cancer at his home in ithaca, new york, he was 93. president obama vacationing in sunny hawaii. only problem, he's getting rained on. what's he doing? we'll have that and much, much more next in this stakeout. and he's got a little dancing action. gr t ?gaue
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matains heyesy.rc g if it's hawa"hawaii five-o." must be ed henry. president obama and his wife are vacationing. when it comes to weather, the 50th state is accommodating. ed henry is on the stakeout in hawaii. does the president ever relax? does he ever put the blackberry away? what is he doing? how are they doing with everything? >> they have these dashboard dolls that they sell of the
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president. they are like a big bobble head but smaller and people put them on their dashboard. they have several of the president and one has him in golf attire and has a blackberry on his belt. as president, you're never fully off, obviously, this year, the president really wanted, last year at this time, but instead with the attempted terror attack in detroit, which you covered in, you remember, clearly threw off the vacation plan. this time, really finally hanging out, hanging loose. played a little golf yesterday. did a little bowling in basketball. it was raining a bit. played with his daughters and family friends then took the kids out for shaved ice. this is a big hawaiian tradition. it's sort of like a snow cone. and they take that shaved ice. they put sear rub yrup on it. ice cream. asian beans. it just becomes this big mess.
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kids love it but the adults like it too. another hawaiian tradition is hula. and i got a hula lesson yesterday. and you're not going to believe this, deb. we filmed it, deb, and you'll see it next hour. >> i have been looking for new moves. i didn't think i'd get them from you. >> first of all, what have we been hearing about the president, called the owner of the philadelphia eagles football team. what kind of a call is that? >> yeah. it's interesting, the headline on that, on the phone call, the white house confirms, he has a colleague that said they talk about michael vick, having a phenomenal year after spending time in prison and president obama, on this call, the white house confirms said, look, he's having a great year. everybody deserves a second chance. that obviously caused a news headline. the white house explanation, he's calling the owner of the eagles to talk about alternative
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energy. a lot of people rolling their eyes saying he's a sports fan, he's calling about michael vick. the eagles announced lincoln financial field, where they were playing in philly. it was delayed because of the snowstorm, they finally will play tonight, it was to be sunday night. that snowstorm delayed everything. they announced their field has something like 80% of the stadium is fueled by alternative energy sources, big initiative. that's why he called jeffery lorie, owner of the eagles. that's why the was weighing in. he's a sports fan and think michael vick deserves a second chance. >> absolutely. michael p vick did his time. committed a crime. he did what he was supposed to do. anyway, i think they're talking about the solar energy. henry, we are getting the hula lesson, i want to see you in the
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outfit. we'll check back to you. well, if this week is the last big harrah before making the new year's resolution to diet? you're not alone. which diet is the one for you? important thing us should know.
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the northeast blizzard leaves airlines struggling. at jfk, a little further away. hundreds of travelers leaves passengers stranded in planes stuck on the tarmac. it's not clear why the people were not allowed to get off that
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plane. and, a rescue operation is wrapping up at a ski resort in maine after a ski lift malfunction left 200 people stuck high above the slope. a cnn employee, among them said several people were thrown off the lift after it lurched to a stop much six injuries, fell about 30 feet. it was that time many make a new year's resolution to go on a diet. choose which to follow isn't confusing enough. 2011 gives something new. a diet war. here to break it down for us is senior medical correspondent, elizabeth cohen. elizabeth, battles. >> a battle, yes. remember the people we haven't heard much from them in the past few year, they are now out with their arm. they are armed about this diet called the dukan diet.
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when i show you the picture, it might ring a bell. she's the mother of queen of england. telling people how much weight she lost on the dukan diet. it's a high protein diet like atkins, many people say the differences are subtle. but the atkins peep are not happy how much attention the dukan diet is getting. they put out a statement. that say you have nutritional recommendations that don't make sense, guaranteed to fail. my good ms. to fail. hear you are hearing more about the diet in the coming year, deb. >> so they are guaranteed to fail. i done know, it's called the diet. what are the differences? what can i eat, what can i not eat? >> -- what can i eat and not eat? . the dukan diet allows you to eat more of what you want.
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atkins said that won't work. we'll get ahold of the dukan diet. won't get ahold of them. after having covered this. the diet is not what determines your success. it's the diet. go on dukan. weight watchers, jenny craig, whatever. it's all up to you, whether you follow that diet or let it all go. realistical realistically, how can a dieter make sure they get the weight off. whether dukans or atkins whatever is out there. >> choose the diet that you want and got to come up with skills and tactics in order to stick with it. this is the great study that you get in colorado. 6,000 successful dieters who lost a lot of weight and kept it off. those are the best people to ask for tips. what they found when you look at these people. they had certain things in common, for example, they tended to eat breakfast. that controlled their hunger
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throughout the day. if they skipped breakfast they loaded up on calories later in the day. weigh yourself once a week. these folks were really pretty rigorous about knowing what they weighed. they can tell if they gained a couple bounds. they needed to do something differently. also they tended to make healthy friends. what i mean they surrounded themselves with people who ate right and exercise. surround yourself with people who eat poorly, you tend to follow that pattern. surround yourself by people who you want to be like. if you want to look like them, want to be their friends. you're more likely to go on a walk, do healthier things. also this week, jenny craig is announcing a big change to her program. that also takes in exercise. >> it does. it's really interesting. jenny craig and weight watchers haven't changed their program that much in years.
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jenny craig announced that they have this new arm band. it's interesting, you wear it and calculates how much you're moving throughout the day. if you are moving a lot and got a lot of activity going on. they'll let you eat more. if they find you're' slug and not doing much. they may decrease your caloric intake. when you think about it, it makes sense. how many calories you need to take in is based on what your size is. how much weight you want to lose and how much activity you do. they're trying to put that into the equation. >> elizabeth goen, lots to think about. i'll have a diet soda when i'm done. >> thank you for joining us. >> moving on. kited in the line of duty.
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time for a globing traing. first stop, war in afghanistan. two nato troops killed in the southern part of the country. nato said they were killed by improvised explosive devices. the coalition did not release their nats. another report. nato said more than 15 insurgents killed in spratt operation by nato and afghan forces, those occurred in southern even afghanistan over the last 24 hours. and an update on the story we told you yesterday. second straight day. expected u.s. drones attack pakistan. intelligence officials tell us that the two spratt strikes kill aid total of ten militants. u.s. military officials say the attacks are necessary. because taliban, and other insurgent groups used pakistan as a base to launch attacks into afghanistan.
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based on cnn count, attack raised the number of drone strikes to 110 this year. that's double compared to 52 in all of last year. now to the ivory coast. rising concern. afghan country. consumed in civil war. bug bow is refusing to make way for the opponent who is internationally recognized as president elect. the victory in last month's election was overturned. counsel was headed, by ally, and president. supporters of the president accuse the president of interfering in the prices. here's what the president ha to say about the u.n. >> translator: we have a problem. it was considered force, since
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we noted it took sides. we are against them, because they are against us. >> as he's demanding him to leave office now. >> he risks exposing our country to new violence. i would like for one last time to ask him to bend to the choice of the people. >> and u.n. said at least 173 people died in violence, triggered by the election in the ivory coast. >> next, outrage triggered by the big hike in fuel prices. these are just the latest protest against the government's move to raise gas prices. 73% by 83%. they've called indefinite national strike. there are reports of people waiting in line to buy food because they believe a hike in food prices will be neck.
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the hike has been low for years. it's a bid to crack down on gas and diesel where fuel prices are much, much higher. in today's big eye, you'll find how our universities are firing innovations from one of the brightest minds in the business.
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♪ ♪ happy talk keep talking happy talk ♪ ♪ talk about things you'd like to do ♪ >> well, in today's big "i,"
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we'll look at how innovations can improve our economy and create jobs. university of southern california make fines new ideas to turn them into profitable businesses that serve the public, also working on strengthening the relationship between universities in the government. joining us is christina holly. christina, let's talk about this. is the usc acting as a lab, or as a clearing house, finding new ideas, the ones that are profitable? >> well, university is the main mission of universities is to discover new knowledge and teaching knowledge or as part of that mission, it's really part and parcel to it, trying to make the greatest impact possible to serve society's needs. so what we do, and the institute for innovation, does, we help service that, catalyst, to try to connect people and to idea some of the most exciting things that are happening in the labs.
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>> you're also working with the governor -- i'm sorry, with government. but how are you helping innovators and interpre neuers get this off the ground. is it seed money, development? >> it's a whole wide range of thins. we, as tax payers in the country, we spend $40 billion to $50 billion a year in research. there's a huge amount of innovation already happening in the laboratories, part of the challenge and community is to help nurture culture of innovation and help develop skills to enable researchers and faculty students to identify and learn how to apply new ideas to real sustainable businesses and ideas and nonprofits. >> when you say it's a culture of innovation which is terrific, because the mood is obviously towards creating new business, and get economy back on track. what are some examples, what are the best ideas that you're
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seeing? >> there's a whole range, and that's one of the most exciting things, how many different disciplines are coming together and converge. some examples of restoring sight to the blind. there's a company called the second sight using this prosthesisic, put it in the eye and enable people to start seeing again. you might have language translation software. something called language weaver acquired this year and a similar company using language translation technologies to teach culture. folks going into afghanistan and iraq, to go into a culture and gaming environment. so you can approach these virtual humans, in these environments. and, speak a little bit of the long, and take off your sunglasses and if you do things right, and if you have started to learn how to speak in that
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culture, then the people start to be helpful, come into the game. >> you're looking for things that fill' need or a hole, providing culture. that's not to make people excited about prospects. >> definitely. there's so many benefits that we're talking about. new jobs. if you think about it, we, you know, if you think about $40 billion to $50 billion a year in research, that's the feed stock for new companies, new businesses, and last year, universities across the country had created over 500 new companies, brand new companies, and over 500 new products went to market. those are creating new companies, new jobs and that's the sort of thing that's really going to be getting the economy started. there's a study done by the kaufmann foundation that showed all net new jobs are created by
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companies that are less than five years old. >> certainly very exciting new terrain, and something to look forward to in the future. thank you so much. we appreciate your joining us. more information on this program is on our show blog, cnn.com/ali. checking developments in our top stories, rescue operations wrapping up in a ski resort in maine after a ski lift malfunction left about 200 people stuck 30 feet above the slope. a cnn colleague who was among them says several people were thrown off the lift after it lurched to a stop. imagine that. six injuries are reported. authorities are waiting autopsies to confirm whether carbon monoxide poisoning killed five teenagers celebrating a birthday at a hotel in florida. police say the teens left a car running in a closed garage below their room. a motel housekeeper found the bodies yesterday afternoon. and for the first time since
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1946, the nfl will play tuesday night football. it's to make up the vikings/eagles game that was snowed out sunday in philadelphia. the nfl says the delay allowed enough time to ensure the stadium, roads and parking lots are cleared. nearly a year after haiti's devastating earthquake, the country is still struggling. gary tuchman has a report from port-au-prince after the break. right now you can take home a volkswagen for just your signature. like the cc, or the tiguan. huh. yeah, plus every vw includes scheduled carefree maintenance. really? that's great. there you go. oh, that guy's pretty good too. yeah, he's ok. [ male announcer ] it's amazing what you can do with a pen. sign then drive is back. for a limited time get any 2011 volkswagen for practically just your signature. i knew for years before i quit that i needed to quit and i went online to find a way. ♪
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it feels wonderful. i don't smoke. i don't smoke. [ male announcer ] it's a new year. so, ask your doctor about chantix. and find out how you could save money on your prescription go to chantix.com to learn more and get terms and conditions. [ male announcer ] when diarrhea hits, kaopectate stops it fast. powerful liquid relief speeds to the source. fast. [ male announcer ] stop the uh-oh fast with kao. you're seeing some live pictures of one of our crews there driving in brooklyn. when you talk about new york city, new york city is made up of five boroughs, brooklyn being one of them, and sometimes the tow trucks do not get to what's known as the outer boroughs as fast as they get to places in manhattan.
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they've got a little backpack with them and are broadcasting those pictures live. just so you know, the snow on those cars, if it's not dug out, the cars could be there for a couple weeks or certainly longer, if it snows yet again. those are some of the conditions in brooklyn. it's been nearly one year since a magnitude 7.0 earthquake slammed into haiti, leaving an estimated 230,000 people dead. the earthquake displaced 1.2 million people and left many parts of the country paralyzed, even now. cnn's gary tuchman takes a look at the devastation. >> reporter: i'm gary tuchman in port-au-prince, haiti. when we arrived here the morning after the earthquake, we had no idea how catastrophic this disaster was. we saw the prime minister of the country on the tarmac. he told us the presidential palace was collapsed. he also estimated the death toll to be in the six figures. he was right about the palace and also right about the death toll. at least 230,000 people died, literally one out of every 45 haitians. in the last few weeks, there's
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been a cholera epidemic and much violence in the streets after a presidential election that many thought was fraudulent. this was a terrible tragedy and it continues to stay bad. >> gary tuchman in haiti. the international community pledged billions in aid for haiti but the country has expressed frustration over the slow trickle of money it has actually seen coming in. the classroom of the future is already here. we'll meet the robot teachers next.
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well, almost 30 robots have started teaching english to youngsters in a south korean city. education officials said tuesday in a pilot project designed to nurture the nascent robot industry, a white egg-shaped robot developed by the korea institute of science and technology began taking classes monday at 21 elementary schools in the southeastern city of dagu. the 29 robots are 3.3 feet high
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wheeled around the classroom while speaking to students, reading books to them, dancing to music. by moving their head and arms. the robots which display an avatar face of a caucasian woman are controlled remotely by teachers of english in the philippines who can see and hear the children via remote control system. cameras detect the teacher's facial expressions and instantly reflect them on the avatar's face. on this frozen pond in oklahoma, that's where the pilot of a local tv chopper found this calf slip sliding away to safety. with a little help from his friend, the helicopter pilot used the downdraft from the chopper blades to actually push the little guy out of harm's way. the blizzard's gone and the airports are open. the calf is apparently safe. sunshine and warmer weather's ahead but the damage from the
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holiday snowstorm is not yet done. it could last into the new year. it will take days to clear the backlog of canceled airline flights from the three major airports serving new york city alone. the impact of that reaches far beyond the northeast, and we will give you some examples in a moment. first, let's take a look at the numbers. parts of new jersey are digging out from 32 inches of snow. it's not just the drifts. more than 5,000 people also another number, they have been stranded. their flights canceled since sunday. some stranded passengers not apparently going to take off until friday. hundreds of passengers who flew in from other countries landed overnight at new york's jfk airport, only to sit for hours on the snowy tarmac. one plane still has not made it to the gate after 12 hours on the ground. tracking all of this for us is chad myers. it seems incredible that the airport would be in sight and these poor people can't even get off. >> there is just not enough people working today, because
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people can't get to their jobs. they can't get a cab or a car. the trains are so delayed, they can't get on them. so you have all these people in need of workers to get off the plane, you have to get your bags, take your bags to customs and customs has to get you through. there's a whole process. if you don't have people to get you to the gate or run your jetway to get you off, you will be stuck. if your plane that's trying to get to gate two already has a plane in gate two and it's not leaving, you're sitting there waiting for that plane that was before you to get out of the way or move you to a new gate. we know most of the gates are completely full. there you go. this is what you have. jfk, 77 flights in bound right now. that's pretty good, a pretty good number. not what it could or should be, but pretty good. laguardia, not quite so good, only 47 planes inbound to you. newark, 62. now, in contrast, let's go to atlanta. 153 planes inbound to atlanta. that's kind of what the number
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should be for some of these northeast corridor airlines. we should have more planes on the ground. we do know, talking about laguardia, that -- i know allen chernoff is there. >> the point you raised earlier, we have somebody on the line, steve coleman with the port authority. he is the one who will talk about why a plane that is on the tarmac with people on it, those people cannot get off the plane. are you there? >> i'm here. >> nice for you to join us today. i want to ask you a question. why can't these poor people get off that plane, given that that plane is on the ground? >> because what happened in this case is that the airline did not check before they got to the airport whether they were going to have a gate to put these people. they don't have the staffing, they don't have the gate to put the planes so without that, that's -- they're out on the tarmac. what i can tell you is our general manager at jfk has spent
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his entire morning trying to find a gate for these people even though it has nothing to do with his responsibility. it's strictly an airline responsibility and they didn't fulfill that responsibility. >> steve, should that plane have been diverted some place else once they found out there wasn't enough staff? >> they could have asked the faa to divert them some place else but they didn't do that. they sent them to jfk. there was no gate to put them. we have been trying for hours now to find another gate for them, but obviously, most of the gates at jfk are full right now. >> when you say there is no gate to put them, isn't there, they have those movable stair wells. couldn't a couple people have gotten together and brought one out to the plane? >> we could have but these are international passengers and they have to be screened at international terminals so the best you could have done is put a staircase and put them in some kind of holding pen somewhere which is not the optimal situation. >> would the holding tent have been inside? some place in the building, a secure area, perhaps? >> well, once again, these airlines should have checked before they came to the airport
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whether there was a gate to accommodate them. they did not do that. >> so now the airlines are basically i guess, their argument, we are trying to reach out to one of the planes, their argument being look, we were destined to arrive, you would have thought somebody would have greeted us. are there other planes in that situation right now on the tarmac? >> i believe it's just those flights that are affected right now. >> all right. steve, in the future, obviously when it comes to a snowstorm, nobody can foresee how bad it's going to be, how quickly people are going to be able to mobilize. we know that everybody's doing the best job they can under very difficult circumstances, but still, there's got to be a level of frustration, perhaps also on your part, over the fact that you can probably see that plane and understand just how unhappy those people are. >> obviously. i can see that people would be unhappy sitting on a plane that long but at the same point, i think the airline's got to take some responsibility to make sure they have a gate to park a plane and they have staff to deal with that plane once it arrives at an
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airport, whether one of our airports or one of somebody else's airports. i can give you another anecdotal information here. at laguardia, we just had three planes come in with no gates to park, and our staff spent several hours finding gates, calling every airline at laguardia to make sure we could put those planes at a gate. once again, we're taking on the responsibility that's generally something that belongs to the airlines. >> just so i know, as we wrap, is it that there are no gates because grounded planes are at those gates? or is it that there are no gates because there's nobody there working those gates? >> i think it's a combination of both. i think there's no gates because there's nobody working the gates and there's no gates because planes are still parked there, you know, waiting to depart or trying to get back on some kind of schedule. >> steve coleman from the port authority in new york, we really appreciate your joining us. thank you so much. we'll check in with you later. we will turn now to elise zeiger, a cnn colleague and producer, who is out there. you spoke to a woman who was stranded on the tarmac, couldn't
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get off that plane? >> reporter: that's right. i actually talked to many passengers who were in that similar situation, not only were they delayed getting into jfk, but once they did get here, they were sitting on the tarmac for hours and hours. many of them with no food or very little water, and once they did get released and into the gate, they now have been waiting and waiting and waiting for their baggage. that's been the biggest problem. i'm actually here with one of those passengers who has been waiting probably six, seven hours now for his bags or any information about his bags. his name is donald nicholson. he was on an air france flight this morning. here you go. >> first of all, sir, what was it like? people must have been -- to stay
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on a plane for that long had to be a little claustrophobic, no? >> yeah. it's really just frustrating and it's been chaos. there has been very little communication. some of them saying one thing, others saying another thing. they do not actually tell them the honest truth, it's frustrating. we were sort of told first of a all, [ indistinguishable ]
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we are being told that baggage will be able to be uploaded and i'm hearing the greatest city in the world without toiletries, without a change of clothing, wearing the same clothes i had on since yesterday morning when i left scotland and really, it's making for a challenging vacation. >> welcome to new york. welcome to new york, sir. it can only get easier from here. just yes or no answer, have you found people who are helpful, that they care, or do you sort of find hands up in the air, sl shrugging of the shoulders out there? >> some of them, i must admit, i have seen obviously naturally
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quite frustrated. some have been quite nasty which is really unprofessional. but there has been one woman who is an absolute gem. she has been really helpful. she talks to you and explains things to you. she reassures you without trying to patronnize you and she tells you the truth. >> it's personal service, absolutely. i think the truth and obviously when people are dealing professionally with other people, that's really sort of the brunt of making a bad situation, good. mr. nicholson, thank you so much. we hope you get your bag and toiletries and more importantly, we hope you have a great time here. it's a lot of fun once you get past the hard stuff. thank you. we will turn now to kate hanni who has made flyers' rights her life's work. she's a realtor in napa,
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california, who started flyersrights.org who spent nine hours on a tarmac in texas five years ago. you're joining us today from san francisco. you know what this man is going through. is there a way to fix it? do passengers' rights matter when it comes to natural disasters? >> well, they do matter on domestic flights, but they apparently don't matter on international flights, and when i was listening to the gentleman from the port authority talking about what they can and can't do in terms of gates, they do have common use gates. they can give that airline. of course, they do need staff to run the gates. but they have an international terminal at jfk. jfk's terminal four. they can run buses out and portable stairs like you were suggesting which is exactly what they offered to do when jet blue had their meltdown four years ago. so there is no excuse and there should be no blame going back and forth between the airports and airlines. they should simply be figuring out how to get these people
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taken care of. we tried to get pizzas inside the airport night before last. we ordered pizzas and there was no one we could reach at the port authority that could get the pizzas through security to the people in the terminal. so there's a lot of suffering going on and we have a hotline, we're here to help people. unfortunately, we can't put the food in their mouths. we're trying. but people, they are frustrated and it really is something that we ought to be embarrassed about in the u.s., that we don't have contingency plans at the airports. the airports were not required to have contingency plans in our rule and that's a mistake. we need to fix that. >> do you think that one of the ways to fix that is for the airport facilities, the airlines themselves, to have sort of an ad hoc committee to address these issues so that people aren't standing around pointing the finger at one another, relying on the good will of somebody who can actually think outside the box?
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>> you just nailed it. when i was on the tarmac delay task force, the biggest conversation that we had was all about situational awareness and that there needed to be teams of people that work for tsa, border patrol, the airport, the airline, and the faa, all in communication with each other so that they could coordinate appropriately to get people off of planes. each airport has to have a team and they have to communicate with each different body in order to get these folks off and get them taken care of. the priority should always be the passengers' safety and i guarantee you, it's not safe to have people, especially when seven out of every 100 people is diabetic, you have a lot of compromised health going on on these flights that needs to be taken care of and they can't possibly take care of themselves. >> sure. it could certainly get a lot worse. kate, thank you so much. people really have to think about what's going on. maybe somebody is taking notes and maybe we'll see perhaps a different outcome should there be another snowstorm later on
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this winter. thank you so much for joining us. we will check out laguardia airport. we have people there. we are monitoring the situation. we are keeping our fingers crossed for all of you out there that you will get on your way maybe soon. black forest cake? ♪ [ female announcer ] need a guilt free treat? try yoplait light. and i've lost weight. [ female announcer ] with 30 delicious flavors all around 100 calories each. with walmart's end-of-the-year clearance event, starting december 26 at 6am. get unbelievable clearance prices on select toys, home decor, clothing, candy, and seasonal items. it all starts december 26, while supplies last. it's the end-of-the-year clearance event at walmart!
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so let's go to new york's laguardia airport and alan chernoff, anywhere close to business as usual? where are we? 40%, 50%, 60%, 20%? >> reporter: a big improvement. i just received an e-mail update from the general manager at laguardia airport. during the past hour, they've handled 48 flights total. that compares to a typical hourly number of about 70. that is a huge increase from this morning. during the first six hours of the day, he said they handled in total only 100 flights. so they are really stepping it up, but they're not close to getting back to normal. you have been talking about the gates over the past few minutes. let me just add a little more information with regard to that. i spoke just a little while ago with an american airlines pilot. he flew in from hartford to
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laguardia airport here. that is a hop. that is maybe a half hour flight, not even. he said he waited an hour and a half to get to a gate over here. the fact is, there are limited gates. one reason is that there is so much snow out there. they have been shoveling that snow. it's got to be piled up somewhere, and over here, they do pile it by some gates and then they put them into snow melters. it can't happen instantly. they are doing an absolutely incredible job of clearing out the runways, the taxiways, the gate areas here. i actually can see pavement there right now. that's incredible. having said all of that, it's not all good news, because we do have some people who have been terribly, terribly delayed. i have one right here. nancy came to the airport expecting that she was going to get on the flight. in fact, she has an e-mail here from american airlines, came just about two hours ago, tells us that the flight was on time
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and then what happened, nancy? you got to the gate and what? you got to the ticket counter? >> we walked basically into the airport and went to the kiosk to get our boarding passes and they would not give us the boarding passes. within that three-minute time we looked back up on the screen and it said the flight had been canceled. >> reporter: this after the airline had told you the flight was on? >> on our way to the airport, the flight was on. >> reporter: you're trying to get to charlotte, north carolina. what's the game plan now? >> we're going to rent a car. we're thankful we have another mode of transportation that a lot of people don't have that option. >> reporter: because they had told you the next flight you would be able to catch would be when? >> not until december 31st. >> reporter: wow. >> yeah. we're thankful we have another mode of transportation. >> reporter: all right. we wish you a safe drive. that probably would have been a good idea for a lot of the other travelers, the people who have been stranded here at the airport for several days. most of them would have gotten to their destinations faster if they had driven. >> probably. imagine that.
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although let's -- in all due fairness, perhaps some of the roads are not as passable as one might think. allan chernoff, thank you so much. right now, in maine, a rescue operation is wrapping up at the sugarloaf mountain ski resort. a ski lift malfunctioned, leaving about 200 people stuck about 30 feet above the slope. most of the skiers were lowered down by ropes. take a look at this. a cnn colleague was among them. he says several people were thrown off the lift. you can see the perspective there of those on the lift and those on the ground. at least eight injuries are reported. again, one of our cnn colleagues who i guess he thought he would have a fun, uneventful vacation but turns out there's always news. we wish them well. jon stewart spends a lot of time telling people he's a comedian, not a journalist. "new york times" thinks otherwise.
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so you kind of have to wonder what went through jon stewart's mind when he picked up "the new york times" yesterday morning and the "daily show" host who is telling people constantly he's a median, not a journalist, despite being the preferred news source for young viewers, his presence and arguably, his authority has been rising steadily over the last two years. since 2009, when "time" magazine called him the most trusted news anchor in america. if you thought it couldn't get better, think again. "the new york times" now suggesting that stewart may be the second coming of edward r.murrow, who questioned the communist red scare of the
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1950s. he is often credited with triggering the downfall of senator joe mccarthy. the comparison comes after stewart challenged republican senators for blocking the 9/11 first responders bill. >> the house of representatives passed it and it would pass in the senate if it came to an up or down vote. they have more than the 50 votes they need. but the republicans have filibustered it. this is an abdication of our responsibility to those who were most heroic on 9/11. >> even the white house realized stewart's voice might be a turning point. >> i hope he can convince two republicans to support taking care of those that took care of so many on that awful day in our history. it seems at the end of a long year around the holiday season. >> well, apparently he was successful because the bill passed last week. many say stewart was instrumental in goading
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republicans to vote for the bill. so we have people to talk about it. pete dominick, cnn contribute sirius xm radio host and former warm-up act for the "daily show." we also have a professor who will be joining us on the phone, professor thompson. first, pete, i will go to you. it seems that jon stewart simply called out the hypocrisy of those trying to block the 9/11 bill. does that make him a journalist or a crusader? >> right now, jon stewart is sitting somewhere on vacation laughing this whole comparison off. he oftentimes gets this question, i get this question as a comedian who also worked for him. journalists, as the professor can define, is not what we do as stand-up comedians. there's a sign over the entrance of "the daily show" that says all ye who enter this building, abandon news or something like that. jon and myself and other
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comedians, we get to a point in our career where we realize we have a lot more people watching, listening, and i think you take a certain amount of responsibility with that. in this case, he wanted to shed some light on an issue that a lot of the mainstream media wasn't covering. he has the ability to do that at times and he took advantage of that ability. that's what he did. that's what he sometimes does. he sometimes slips that in. that's my opinion. but to call him a journalist, i think he would be the first to laugh that one off. >> we want to go to professor thompson, robert thompson from syracuse university. we have him on the phone. he's the one who sort of initially suggested that maybe he is edward r.murrow. what was the link there that you see? was it maybe his ability to turn people's compasses perhaps in a different direction? >> the only comparison -- no, jon stewart is not walter cronkite. i agree, he is not a journalist, nor are all these bloggers that
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call themselves citizen journalists. to me, a journalist has got to have been trained in some of the complex professional skills of what journalism is. but all of that having been said, the comparison i think that i make and that many make between what stewart did with this whole first responders thing and what cronkite did with his vietnam editorial and what murrow did with mccarthy is that in a way that surprised many people, they took a certain medium, in jon stewart's case, a comedy parody show and in other cases, news and journalism shows, and they really emotionally and effectively advocated a certain position that ended up having a significant impact on the way many people thought about that position. >> pete, one thing -- i want you to kind of -- i want to ask you, is it just that jon stewart can
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stand up and in the 30-minute show basically say stop the craziness, cut it out, knock it off. it's like sort of moderating a temper tantrum. >> this might be a provocative thing to say and i don't mean it so, and i know you have won awards as a journalist. this isn't about you or anybody. sometimes i wonder if journalists get jealous of me as comedians, what we're able to do, the freedom we have. journalists don't really have that. sometimes we can do a little bit of journalism, we can cover issues in a way and in a fashion that journalists can't get away with, and we do that. we take advantage of that. some of us do. i will add this. as the professor just mentioned, cronkite worked for cbs and as jon stewart pointed out and as "the new york times" points out, cbs really didn't cover this issue, where edward r.murrow and walter cronkite once worked, this issued of the 9/11 responders bill. jon stewart and comedy central and "the daily show" did shed
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some light. as we gear up to commemorate 9/11 every year, we should also be commemorating and talking about this issue, the guys who responded and what they need. >> i want to ask professor thompson this question first, then i will go back to you, pete. networks are run like a business and profits, there's bottom line, there are people you have to answer to. playing devil's advocate, 9/11 can wear people down. people, you know, life is tough enough and to be constantly reminded and again, playing devil's advocate, do you think that maybe networks are making decisions because they just want to give people a break and is that the right thing? is that fair? >> well, maybe yes and maybe no. depends on where you look. if you look at the cable 24 hours news network, people are doing this advocacy stuff and outrage and talking about 9/11 all the time. i think what's really different here, and it is true, i think these legit journalists on tv are jealous of the latitude that comedians have, but the big
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difference is jon stewart and a few others are actually now using this in an interesting civic way. when i was growing up, we had johnny carson. he told jokes about politics but they certainly weren't political jokes. we had chevy chase making fun of gerald ford by falling down a lot. what jon stewart has done and a few others is to take this opportunity that comedy has and to really begin to use it in serious sorts of ways, to turn comedy into the fifth estate like journalism is the fourth estate. i think that's a really important different change in the state of affairs. >> absolutely. sort of listening to this seriousness. the old saying, pete, i will get to you on this, every joke is serious, there's always something that's real, that people are trying to make a point. do you think, when you think about this, pete, is it just, yes, journalists want to be funny and maybe we're not that funny most of the time because we're too busy being serious,
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but i'm wondering, does jon just have a latitude that perhaps others don't have in terms of being a comedian? >> yes. he does. absolutely. he also has a lot of viewers and he does, you know, we have a huge amount of latitude as comedians. we can get away with a lot more than anybody anchoring on cnn or cbs. let me go back to your point about the idea of deciding what to cover and what to discuss and ratings. yes, it wears people down to hear about 9/11 but we are the news. we need to tell people what's going on. in jon's case, it was his opinion and we can look back through records, in his opinion, the news wasn't covering an issue that needed to be covered and so he took an opportunity to do it on "the daily show" and there was some comedy involved there. he's saying there wasn't but there was. you have to pay attention and look at it in context. i think it's important to cover this issue. that's why i think jon wanted to. >> pete, robert, thank you so
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very much for joining us on this. for more on the story, tune in at 3:00 p.m. don lemon will talk to one of the authors of "the new york times" article. we will be right back. and that. it's a paint and primer in one -- so it goes on bold, and looks even better. it means getting more done -- in half the time. and it means the shade you see on that swatch -- ends up on that wall... and is as durable as it is colorful. you know where to find it. more saving. more doing. that's the power of the home depot. try it for yourself. get your own 8-ounce sample of the number one-rated behr paint. now, just $2.94. of the number one-rated behr paint. seven years ago, i had this idea. to make baby food the way moms would. happybaby strives to make the best organic baby food. in a business like ours, personal connections are so important. we use our american express open gold card to further those connections. last year we took dozens of trips using membership rewards points to meet with the farmers that grow our sweet potatoes and merchants that sell our product. we've gone from being in 5 stores to 7,500.
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well, we were going to talk to cafe pacific now. we have been trying to get them on the phone for some time. theirs is the plane stuck on the tarmac out at jfk airport. it's been there since 2:15 in the morning, when it landed. we spoke to somebody from the port authority who said that apparently they shouldn't have landed, that there wasn't a gate, there wasn't personnel. well, cathay pacific was listening and are on the phone with us now. first, gus whitkam, thank you for calling in. are those passengers off? they have been on for almost 12 hours. >> good afternoon. yes, they actually are at the gate and are deplaning at this particular moment. they certainly did have a very uncomfortable experience. the plane did land early this morning, was not able to deplane until this point. >> let me ask, obviously somebody must have guided that plane in, air traffic control, for example. would they have routed the plane to a different location had they
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known that there was no gate for these people? >> well, i'm not sure how this exact situation transpired but really, to be honest with you, it doesn't do any good to point fingers at anybody. the reality is that we had a flight that landed, stayed on the tarmac far too long. we will try to do what we can to make it right for the passengers. >> what does that mean? right now, people are a little bit frustrated to be so close, to be looking at the terminal from your window, and not be able to get off that plane. how do you make that right? >> well, again, it's going to be a heartfelt apology followed by something tangible but i think it's a very fluid situation at jfk. everybody, the port authority, the faa, the airlines are all trying to do their best. you've got, you know, some very difficult conditions out there, very fluid movements with crew times, plane availability, gate availability. everybody is trying their best to do what they can. unfortunately, this particular flight did not go as planned.
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>> and sir, what is the airport's responsibility in all of this? should they have had a gate, should they have had some emergency go team to bring a ladder there, should they have made arrangements through customs to get them through? what is the airport's responsibility, in your opinion? >> well, i think all of us are partners in the air transportation system, so after we have a few moments to get the system back up and running operationally, i think we'll all have a chance to sit down and think about how we could have done this better. but finger pointing really doesn't do anything at this point. the real issue is to try and make sure we get the passengers on their way. that was the goal from everybody in the beginning and hopefully we can get that accomplished now. >> if i were you, i would be pointing the finger at the snow. but i'm just kidding. trying to add levity to a frustrating situation for so many people. gus whitkam, we really do appreciate your joining us. one quick question. are there other planes inbound to the new york area? >> we actually -- well, probably other planes from other
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airlines. we are actually not going to be bringing any additional airplanes into the airport until we get the planes that are on the ground out and on their way and we have a much more structured way to make sure that once it comes in, it will be able to get into the gate and get out. >> okay. gus whitkam from cathay pacific, we appreciate your joining us now. we are hoping in just a little bit to go to our white house correspondent, ed henry. he is covering the president's vacation in hawaii. i would like to cover that. we expect you will get a huge laugh, because ed has a special surprise in store for you. stay with us. agen for just your signature. really? that's great. yeah. plus, it includes scheduled carefree maintenance. huh. light's green. there you go. oh, you need a pen. i had one here just a second ago. who would take my pen?? [ male announcer ] it's amazing what you can do with a pen. sign then drive is back. for a limited time get any 2011 volkswagen
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we have been trying to convince you that our senior white house correspondent is working hard covering the president's vacation in hawaii, and truth be told, he is working kind of hard, but when you go to hawaii, people are just jealous. wait until you see what he's been doing in his free time on his stake-out in the 50th state. ed? >> reporter: well, you know, i feel bad following these stories about stranded passengers because while there's a light rain falling on me, you can see it's kind of overcast today, we have nothing like that. it's still beautiful here. a woman just got out of the beach behind me while i was waiting with a giant board and said she had been surfing for 90 minutes and was exhausted. people are still going out there. the waves are supposed to be better when it's rainy. my operating philosophy here on the beach is the last thing you want -- i know it looks ridiculous sometimes but last thing you want is to be richard nixon and come on the beach with a washington suit and wingtips. you got to just live it. own it. you can't be scared to jump in. so yesterday i did something i may regret which is i took hula
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lessons at the hotel here. some of my colleagues went. other of my colleagues, some of them told me they decided not to go because they knew i was going to actually shoot videotape here and they didn't want to be part of it. you'll see some of my colleagues, you'll see a representative from the white house travel office, who organizes travel for the white house and the president. she didn't want to be in it but her relatives said she should be in it and gave me permission to use it. we will talk about this on the other side. ♪ >> okay. ed, i'm telling you, i take it back. i'm not going to learn any moves from you. we know it's a tough beat.
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we know when you are on assignment there never is any real down time because you're always kind of waiting for something to break. so thanks so much. we will check in with you a little later on. >> reporter: okay. >> take it easy, my friend. well, he was "the new york times" reporter who was captured by the taliban after seven months of captivity, he escaped and now has written a book about his fight for freedom. he joins us next.
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well, we send reporters into the war zone to bring back stories that would otherwise be simply reduced to facts and figures, to give a voice to the brutal realities of conflict and life in those zones.
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it's a dangerous job, as david rhode knows all too well. he's a pulitzer prize winning reporter for "the new york times" and spent seven years writing a book on the taliban. there you see him. he was kidnapped in what was supposed to be an interview with a taliban leader. he spent more than seven months in captivity in afghanistan and pakistan before he escaped. his book has become a recounting of that time from both his perspective and his wife's perspective. kristin mulvihill who helped negotiate his release. their book is called "a rope and a prayer, a kidnapping from two sides." they're joining us in the newsroom. we want to ask you a question. first, your husband comes to you, you have been married two months, and says honey, i'm going on a trip. what did you say? >> well, actually i knew i had married a war correspondent. he made several trips to the region during our courtship. this was to be his final reporting trip so i supported it. i did not know about the
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specific interview with the taliban commander which upset me, but i quickly got over that and realized he was kidnapped by the kidnappers and i needed to move forward from there to work to bring him home. >> it was as much a struggle for you, as it was for you, david. i was riveted by your accounts you wrote in "the new york times" of that. how difficult was it knowing that you may never see your wife again, you may never see life as you knew it again? >> well, it was one of the hardest moments actually was when we crossed, i was kidnapped just outside of kabul, the capital of afghanistan, and the taliban quickly moved me over the border into pakistan. the tribal areas there, it's really a taliban mini state, a safe haven they have inside pakistan. once we entered there, i wasn't sure i would ever see my wife again. people have been held there and can be held there for years. so i'm just incredibly lucky to be home and she worked incredibly to help me. i'm just a very lucky man. >> in a very odd way, this book,
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i do want you to explain the title, but it kind of becomes not only a political story, a war correspondent story, but also a little bit a love story about trying to get -- trying to be there for the person that you've just married, to help them in a time of terrible crisis. >> yes. it was really a test of commitment and it was a commitment we each made every day. he did his best to come home and i did my best to be strong for him back home and try to see him again. >> what i realized, too, is that whenever you face a crisis in life, particularly around the holidays, in the end it's your family, it's not necessarily whatever job you have or these other things, you know. the people that are going to support you and have your back in the end, it's your wife and your family and they were just incredible. i'm just again, so lucky to have her in my life. >> now, you were an expert on the taliban. you trusted a commander to speak
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with you, to go as his guest. he betrayed that. in the end, what did you learn about the taliban and what do you think they ultimately learned about you? >> i was surprised in terms of, this doesn't apply to all taliban, i think there are more moderate taliban inside afghanistan itself. but the taliban operating in the tribal areas of pakistan are very extreme. they have crazy conspiracy theories that they believe american troops were forcing afghan muslims to convert to christianity and you know, what i saw was that these guys that kidnapped me, they pretended they were this religious movement but they were really criminals. i ended up deciding in the end because i just hated that commander. he had interviewed two other western journalists and not kidnapped them, but he kidnapped me. i hated him for what he was doing to my family and what he was putting my wife through. they are much more extreme in tribal areas of pakistan and that's a very dangerous thing for the united states. the young man that tried to set off a suicide bomb, a truck
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bomb, excuse me, in times square last year, was trained in this exact same area. that area is still under taliban control and he was trained in the exact same place where i was held. >> when you think about some of the promises that the taliban's making, what is it that you had hoped to learn in this interview and when you walked away, what is it you thought about the overall situation? >> i think that the key thing is this dynamic where pakistan is allowing the taliban to have the safe haven. i wanted to interview him to explain how the taliban had regained strength. dozens of journalists have interviewed the taliban. i was just very unlucky. what i saw frankly is that the surge in u.s. troops, i don't think it will work and most experts don't think it will work as long as these safe havens exist in pakistan. they can simply wait out the surge of u.s. troops and it's a stark message but that's honestly what i believe after what i saw in that tribal area. >> first-hand, absolutely.
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kristin, the book is called "a rope and a prayer." what does that mean? >> yes. well, the rope is part of his daring escape which was successful, obviously. and then prayer played a major role for me, particularly as the months dragged on and it was hard for me to find that positivity within myself. i did say prayers. it was a way to surrender, acknowledge that i wasn't going to have control over the situation, but it was a way to surrender without giving up. for friends and colleagues as well, about a week before he escaped, they all took a moment at 10:00 a.m. on a sunday and thought about david or said prayers for him or lit a candle, everybody sort of rallied to send positive energy his way. so that was a large part of it as well. >> what's so interesting, you couldn't even really publicize this because you were afraid your captors would use this against you. they were demanding $25 million, wanted the release of 15 guantanamo detainees. how were you treated? how was it like being a hostage with these people?
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>> i was physically treated very well. i was never beaten. they saw me as a very valuable prisoner. they had these sort of delusional ideas about what they could get, their demands were astronomical. they never beat me. i was given bottled water and they actually called me the golden rooster. what did surprise me was the conspiracy theories they believed in, that 9/11 was a pretense to occupy muslim countries and in terms of hostages, if you remember the case of the american sea captain kidnapped off somalia, they said oh, no, no, that story about the three pirates being shot by american snipers, that's not true. the u.s. government secretly paid $25 million in ransom. they live in this alternate reality in the tribal areas of pakistan. it's very dangerous. >> it's interesting, i was speaking to somebody talking about an alternate reality who was up in that area who said that some of the people you talk to don't even know what 9/11 is fundamentally. they're just sort of joining the cause because they are being told they need to join the
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cause. you ended up escaping. tell me how that worked. tell me how you got away. >> this is, as kristin mentioned, the rope part of the book. we were -- our captors felt so comfortable in terms of the pakistani military. there are pakistani military bases but the soldiers just don't come off them and challenge the taliban. so their first mistake, they moved us to a house that was only three-tenths of a mile from the pakistani base. i found a car tow rope in the house we were held hostage and we used that rope to lower ourselves down a wall. we walked to that base. at first, the guards on the base thought that we were potentially militants ourselves. they thought we were maybe suicide bombers. we spent 10, 15 minutes standing in a road with our hands up, after we took off our shirts and did other things, they let us on the base. this is a really important thing. there was a moderate young pakistani army captain that let me on that base. he let me call kristin and say we had escaped and he saved my life. there are moderates in that region. most people in afghanistan and pakistan don't support the taliban.
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i'm here today because those people helped me. >> wow. well, david, kristin, we are so pleased you joined us. the book is "a rope and a prayer, a kidnapping from two sides." thank you for joining us. we'll be back after the break. stay with us. the history of my y the history of my y and they're also the history of coit. we've been in business for 60 years and our greatest asset has always been our people. we use the plum card from american express open to purchase everything we can and with the savings from the early pay discount, we were able to invest back into our business by hiring more great people like ruben here. how can the plum card's trade terms get your business booming? booming is a new employee named ruben. [scraping] [piano keys banging] [scraping] [horns honking] with deposits in your engine, it can feel like something's holding your car back. let me guess, 16. [laughing] yeeah.
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well, checking developments on our top story this hour. look at those pictures. right now in maine, a rescue operation is wrapping up at the sugarloaf mountain ski resort. a ski lift malfunctioned, left about 200 people stuck 30 feet above the slope. most of the skiers were lowered down by rope. a cnn colleague was among them. he says several people were
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thrown off the lift after it came to a sharp stop. at least eight injuries are reported. and considering all the battles on capitol hill this year, who do you think the democrats are supporting for president in 2012? gr d t ?gaue
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matains heyesy.rc g we've got news to tell you. you know the cathay pacific flight stuck on the tarmac at jfk for 12 hours? those people just got off the plane. we are going to our cnn colleague, elise zeiger in new york, who is with one of the passengers. >> reporter: yes, i'm here with passenger vincent butcher, who was traveling with his wife and three children and yes, they were sitting on the tarmac.
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they landed at approximately 2:15 in the morning and they were released at the gate at about 1:00 p.m. so almost 12 hours of sitting on the tarmac. i will let you speak to vincent. he can describe his ordeal. >> mr. butcher, thank you so much for joining us. what was it like? it had to have been excruciating. >> it wasn't fun for the children sitting there. once we arrived, to have to sit there for 12 hours wasn't the best. >> was there food, was there water? did you have enough blankets? >> blankets and that were fine. water was fine. there was plenty of that. food was pretty scarce. in the end there was just peanuts and juice the kids were picking on. there were no meals or anything like that. >> how angry or upset was the pilot and the flight attendants? did they say that they had made
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a mistake by landing there when no gate was prepared? >> no. no one said there was a mistake made. the pilot was quiet. certainly no one admitted to making any mistakes. >> cathay pacific says it will try to make it right. in your mind, what can make it right? >> oh, well, not much can make it right now. sitting on your backside on the plane, you can't turn back time. at the moment, we're in another line, we had to go to another terminal to try to find our bags. no one knows where our bags are. there's no one from cathay pacific here with regards to that. >> when you left vancouver and you say the plane was delayed, did you have the expectation that in fact just very quickly that the plane was going to land, or was there a question at the time? >> when we got on the plane we knew the plane was going to land. we didn't realize there would be such a delay taking off.
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when we landed, no one expected to be sitting there for 12 hours, nearly, waiting to get off the plane. >> certainly a cascade effect. vincent butcher, thank you so much. welcome to new york. "cnn newsroom" continues right after the break. so i went back to my doctor again. we chose symbicort to help control my asthma symptoms all day and night. [ man ] symbicort improves my lung function, starting within 15 minutes. symbicort will not replace a rescue inhaler for sudden symptoms. it is a combination of two medicines and should not be taken more often than prescribed. symbicort contains formoterol. medicines like formoterol increase the risk of death from asthma problems, and children and adolescents may have an increased risk of being hospitalized for asthma problems. symbicort is not for people whose asthma is well controlled with a long-term asthma control medicine like inhaled corticosteroids. once your asthma is well controlled, your doctor will decide if you can stop symbicort without loss of control, and prescribe a long-term asthma control medicine.

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