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PAULA ZAHN NOW
Bill Gates to Spend More Time on Charity Work; Massive Case of Identity Theft
Aired June 15, 2006 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: Thank you all for being with us tonight. Glad to have you with us. Here's what's happening at this moment. Bill Gates will be logging out of day-to-day operations at Microsoft within the next two years. The founder of Microsoft says though he will remain chairman of the corporation that made him one of the world's wealthiest men but he wants to spend more time on his charitable foundation.
Another case of massive identity theft. The insurance giant AIG says personal information on nearly a million people was on a computer taken during an office break in. Some files contain sensitive information about employee health.
The president has signed a $94.5 billion bill -- a spending bill into law. Some money helps Gulf States recover from Katrina but most goes to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and brings the cost of the war since 9/11 to more than $400 billion. We have major news tonight on the war in Iraq. First, the pentagon today says the number of Americans killed in the war has reached 2,500. In the words of the White House press secretary, it's a very sad benchmark. Also in Washington, an angry debate over the war continues at this hour in the house. It's the kind of fiery debate we never saw before the war began.
In Iraq, we have a name and a picture of the man the pentagon says is now the top Al Qaeda leader in Iraq replacing Abu Musab Al Zarqawi who was killed in a U.S. air strike a week ago. And in Baghdad tonight, there may be some evidence that Al Zarqawi's terrorist organization has in fact been severely damaged. Here's John Vause.
JOHN VAUSE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The new face of Al Qaeda in Iraq according to the U.S. military, his name is Abu Ayub Al Masri, an Egyptian who trained in Afghanistan, an expert they say in making the kind of car bombs which have claimed thousands of lives here over the past three years.
MAJ. GEN. WILLIAM CALDWELL, U.S. MILITARY SPOKESMAN: We know Al Masri's been a terrorist since about 1982 beginning with his involvement in the Egyptian Islamic jihad.
VAUSE: Days after Abu Musab Al Zarqawi was killed in a U.S. air strike, Al Qaeda in Iraq claimed on an Islamic Web site their new leader was Abu Hamsa Al Muhajer. U.S. intelligence experts believe that it name is an alias for Al Masri. But they're still uncertain whether he'll be able to take control of the terrorist group.
CALDWELL: How many Al Qaeda senior leadership members and Sunni terrorists that may attempt to exert their influence and take charge is unknown at this time.
VAUSE: Whoever emerges as leader, Al Qaeda in Iraq will probably be a weaker organization. In the week since Zarqawi was killed, U.S. officials say they've carried out more than 400 raids nationwide, many with Iraqi forces killing more than 100 insurgents and arresting more than 700. Iraq's national security adviser claims to have evidence that Al Qaeda in Iraq is close to breaking point.
MOWAFFAK AL-RUBAIE, IRAQI NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: We believe that this is the beginning of the end of Al Qaeda in Iraq.
VAUSE: According to the Iraqis, valuable information was recovered from computer hardware and documents found in the rubble of Zarqawi's safe house and in raids before and after the air strike. CNN could not confirm the authenticity of the information which details Al Qaeda's concern over the growing number of Iraqi forces, its inability to attract new recruits, confiscation of weapons and ammunition and a squeeze on funds. Described in the document as a crisis, Al Qaeda outlined a blueprint for sparking a war between the U.S. and Iran by carrying out attacks and planting evidence to implicate Iran. Leak false information that Iran has weapons of mass destruction and was planning a terrorist attack within the United States.
Another reason for Iraqi official's apparent optimism is that extensive police patrols and roadblocks in the past few days, seemed to have reduced the violence in Baghdad. But despite the new security crackdown, one car bomb got through killing three people. And police say they found seven bodies all had been shot and tortured. But officials in the new Iraqi government seem to believe they're making headway. For the second time this week the national security adviser has indicated that if all goes well, the last foreign troop could leave Iraq two years from now. John Vause, CNN, Baghdad.
(END OF VIDEOTAPE)
ZAHN: Now back to the furious debate going on as I speak and expected to go late into the night in the house where republicans are trying to pass a resolution rejecting any arbitrary date for bringing the troops home. Senior political correspondent Candy Crowley, part of the best political team on TV, just filed this report.
CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SR. POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A house divided debating a controversial war five months before an election produce sound bites and fury.
REP. JOHN MURTHA, (D) PENNSYLVANIA: I know standing here does not solve the problem and it hasn't gotten better. It's gotten worse that's the problem.
CROWLEY: They argued over the rationale for war, the conduct of war, when and how to end the war.
REP. IKE SKELTON, (D) MISSOURI: We have just reached a sad milestone, 2,500 Americans have lost their lives in the Iraq war.
CROWLEY: But first they went silent over the cost of war. Otherwise it was an agonizing antagonizing acrid debate over a republican resolution.
REP. JANE HARMAN, (D) CALIFORNIA: This resolution in my view is a press release for staying the course in Iraq.
REP. LINCOLN DIAZ-BALART, (R) FLORIDA: We must take the war to international terrorism and defeat international terrorism before the terrorists attack us. That is the debate of our era.
CROWLEY: The resolution basically backs with policy in Iraq, ties it to the war on terror and includes this. It is not in the national security of the United States to set an arbitrary date for the withdrawal of redeployment of United States Armed Forces from Iraq.
REP. DUNCAN HUNTER, (R) CALIFORNIA: Let's send this message to every soldier, every marine who's watching this thing from the mess halls in Mosul and Tikrit and Baghdad and Fallujah, the message that the United States House of Representatives stands with them.
REP. MAXINE WATERS, (D) CALIFORNIA: It's a trap. It's an attempt to force democrats to sign on to a resolution that will do nothing to bring our troops home. All they want to make us sound is if we're unpatriotic.
CROWLEY: Debate talking points from the pentagon and the republican majority circulated the hill. Democrats called the resolution a cheap election year ploy. Republicans called it a vital election year debate with huge consequence.
REP. CHARLES NORWOOD, (R) GEORGIA: Is it Al Qaeda or is it America. Let the voters take note of this debate.
CROWLEY: The resolution is simply a document, a vehicle for debate over the Iraq war, the single most important issue of the election year. The resolution has no force of law, but its political implications could be huge. Candy Crowley, CNN, Washington.
(END OF VIDEOTAPE)
ZAHN: All of this is clearly reaching the boiling point tonight as evidence of the ongoing debate that continues at this hour. Joining me now Representative Phil Gingrey of Georgia, a republican who says we can't cut and run. Good of you to join us sir. Just how divided is the house at this hour?
REP. PHIL GINGREY, (R) GEORGIA: Well unfortunately the house is divided but this is a very simple house resolution that just basically says to the Iraqi people and to our men and women in the military that have been doing the fighting and dying over these past three years, we will not abandon you. We will stay the course and I think that a very simple resolution, I've heard some of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle including Representative Tom Lantos call it a shameless manifesto. To say shameless manifesto, to say to the Iraqi people that winning is our only option and we'll not walk off the field in the fourth quarter and leave you abandoned we won't do that.
ZAHN: But what about the democrats who are saying tonight this is nothing more than a political trap because if you don't sign onto this resolution it makes you look like you're unpatriotic. They don't think staying the course is the way to go.
GINGREY: Well, they obviously don't and John Kerry tried to bring that amendment up on the floor of the senate this week and it was rejected 93 to 6. They don't like it. They don't like the fact that for the past 2 1/2 years they have been doing special orders railing against everything this president and this republican majority and this military has done to bring peace to the Middle East and fight this global war on terrorism. Now they have to stand up and be counted. They don't like that I don't blame them. But they're going to have to vote tomorrow. They can't run and hide from that.
ZAHN: Is the subtext of tonight's debate if you are against this war, you are a defeatist who doesn't deserve to be re-elected?
GINGREY: Well I mean that's up to each and every voter. There may be some members who have 640,000 people in their district that agree with them and that's fine. That's what makes this country so great. That's what's great about democracy. We want to give that same kind of opportunity to the people in Iraq. So whether it's political or not, I think if you stand quite honestly for the right policy, the politics will take care of itself.
ZAHN: Representative Gingrey, in closing tonight there was a moment of silence earlier today when the deaths of some 2,500 Americans were marked, deaths in Iraq as a result of this war, isn't that too high of a price to pay?
GINGREY: I don't think it's too high of a price but I commend ranking member Ike Skelton for calling that moment of silence. He's a great American, he understands that we have to win and that anything else is not an option. So I commend ranking member Skelton for that.
ZAHN: And of course, what some of the critics of what you're saying have indicated today that it's not a case of winning, they think that once the Iraqi security forces get into place, that you're not talking about leaving the Iraqis high and dry but I guess this debate's going to continue well into the night. We're going to keep an eye on it from here. Thank you for your time tonight sir.
GINGREY: Thank you so much. Proud to be with you.
ZAHN: My pleasure. Right now on to our countdown of the top ten stories on cnn.com. About 17 million of you went to our website. How do we know that? We counted every single one of you today. Number 10, in Afghanistan a bomb exploded aboard a bus carrying Afghans to work at a coalition air base today. Seven people were killed, 17 injured. A coalition spokesman blamed the Taliban for the attack.
Number nine, the Supreme Court has ruled that police armed with a warrant can enter homes and seize evidence even if they don't knock on the door first. 5-4 decision was a big victory for the government. Numbers eight and seven are next. Plus, why was Ben Roethlisberger riding a motorcycle without a helmet? We're going to get the explanation straight from the super bowl quarterback himself.
And then you're going to meet a rider, I think you'll probably recognize, he will just show us how bad Big Ben's crash could have been. Okay. His initials are J.R. and you see him on TV a lot out of Washington. But first a startling wakeup call. Another gaping hole in the country's defense against terror.
Outside the Law, immigration and your security. A major crackdown and a disturbing reality. Gang members, career criminals, not just on the streets but roaming free in highly restricted areas. If they can do it, why can't a terrorist? The eye opener trial by fury. Anger and outrage in a small Nebraska town after a judge takes pity on a convicted child molester. Can you really be too short to go to jail? All of that and more just ahead.
ZAHN: So why hasn't an admitted sex offender been sent to prison? Would you believe a judge says he's too short? Yeah. I know what you're thinking give me a break. How much outrage has that created? We're going to show you in a little bit. Now here's what's happening at this moment. A closed door meeting of democrats on the fate of Louisiana Congressman William Jefferson is now underway on Capitol Hill. Big night in Washington tonight. Party leaders want to remove him from the powerful House Ways and Means Committee. Prosecutors say he stashed $90,000 in bribes in a home freezer.
Ten-month-old twin sisters are sleeping in separate beds for the first time tonight after surgery in Los Angeles. They were born fused together from their chest to their pelvis and needed extensive surgical reconstruction but doctors say the girls should be able to lead pretty normal lives.
Federal drug agents have now searched a dozen Home Depot stores in Massachusetts and say they have found a large amount of marijuana and cocaine stashed in bathroom vanities. The investigation began after a contractor found marijuana in one of the vanities he had bought from Home Depot.
Well tonight we are told that America's streets are a little bit safer. Over the past three weeks federal agents rounded up at least 2,100 illegal immigrants who also happen to be hardcore criminals and people authorities call the worst of the worst. But this latest crackdown also brings up a very disturbing question. Why were these people walking around free in the first place and outside the law?
ZAHN: Any one of these peoples' stories are newsworthy and frightening. Here's just one, Franklin Rodriguez is a gang member who came here from El Salvador. Just listen to his rap sheet.
JULIE MYERS, ASSISTANT SECRETARY, ICE: Rodriguez, also known as Hollywood boasts a lengthy criminal history including an assault and battery conviction for helping other MS13 gang members permanently paralyze a 13-year-old boy by stabbing him in the spine with a sharpened stake.
ZAHN: But until last week Rodriguez wasn't even in jail. He was working for a rental car company at Boston's Logan Airport. Hollywood Rodriguez is just one of more than 2,100 criminal fugitives who've been rounded up since late May as part of a high profile crackdown by federal agents. The word ICE on their jackets stands for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, one of the new agencies created when the Department of Homeland Security merged government departments. This crackdown operation return to sender highlights a number of disturbing problems. No one knows exactly how many of the estimated 12 million illegal immigrants in the United States are criminals. ICE agents removed 84,000 criminal immigrants just last year. But deporting someone doesn't always solve the problem.
BRUCE CHADBOURNE, DIRECTOR OF THE NEW ENGLAND FIELD OFFICE, ICE: My guesstimate is the number of people that we're deporting on the criminal side of house, I'm going to guess and say between 15 and 25 percent are returning and that's just a guesstimate on my part.
ZAHN: Illegal immigrants convicted of crimes are supposed to be deported when they finish their sentences and get out of jail. Sometimes because no one checks the paperwork, county jails simply let them go. And the "Los Angeles Times" says that's exactly what happened with 36 convicted child sex offenders just rounded up by ICE agents in California. A separate operation this week at Dulles Airport near Washington highlights yet another danger. Some of the 55 illegal immigrants caught here had access to restricted areas including the tarmac. Since 2003 more than 1,100 illegal immigrant workers have been arrested at U.S. airports. Illegal immigrants have also been caught working at New Mexico's White Sands Missile Range as well as other military bases. Nuclear power plants and petro chemical refineries. If illegal immigrants can get jobs at any of these places, why couldn't a terrorist?
(END OF VIDEOTAPE)
ZAHN: And shortly before we went on the air tonight I spoke with one of the officials we heard from just now, Julie Myers who's the assistant secretary of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
ZAHN: Can you explain to us how thousands of criminals made it across the border into the U.S.?
MYERS: Well, they come across in many different ways. Sometimes they sneak in front of the border patrol. Sometimes they overstay a Visa. Sometimes they use faulty documents at a point of entry.
ZAHN: Let's talk about the phony document part of the problem. One of your colleagues says, "The fact of the matter is that if they are using phony documents and we don't know who these people are, here is a chance that they could be terrorists or criminals with sinister intentions." So what can you do to stop the black market industry that allows for these fake I.D.'s to be made in the first place?
MYERS: Well there is no question that document fraud is really an epidemic in this country. And we have teamed up with the Department of Justice and we're really trying to crack down on the big document fraud rings, document fraud franchises and really stop the big organizations from producing those documents.
ZAHN: So while that is being worked on, you certainly have to acknowledge there are probably more of these criminals out there that have already gotten into the country. How many more are out there?
MYERS: Well certainly there's plenty of work for us to do. And that's why ICE is beefing up. We have fugitive operations teams and their soul job will be to find immigration fugitives and criminals and help remove them from the country.
ZAHN: There are a lot of people who don't think we'll be much safer until another loophole is closed and that's a loophole that allows for illegal immigrants who are convicted of crimes here who serve their prison time to stay here in the United States even though they should be deported because the deportation process isn't working the way it should. How big of a problem do you acknowledge that that's tonight?
MYERS: Well certainly Secretary Chertoff has said we need to completely reengineer the deportation process and we are calling upon congress to make some changes and we're also looking within our own agency.
ZAHN: So Julie you have talked about what's being done to try to clamp down on these fake I.D.'s that are being made but in the meantime we saw a number of men being arrested at Dulles Airport with high security clearances, who got there with these fake I.D.'s. So if they got there, how likely is it that other criminals and potentially terrorists are here on U.S. ground?
MYERS: Well, certainly we focus each and every day on critical infrastructure sites. That's a high priority for us in work site enforcement and so certainly we are troubled whenever we find situations like this. I think one of the good news part of the story is that in fact fellow agents from United States Customs and Border Protection actually alerted us to something they thought was amiss and started this investigation. Let me tell you it is ongoing and we are going to find out who is responsible for allowing these aliens to work at the airport.
(END OF VIDEOTAPE)
ZAHN: And we appreciated Julie Myers for joining us tonight. And moving on now, new developments in a story that has everyone asking what the heck was he thinking? Ben Roethlisberger has just put out a statement to tell us why he wasn't wearing a helmet when he crashed his motorcycle. Wait until you hear what he has to say.
Later on a judge's ruling sparks national outrage. See this guy here, is an admitted sex offender really too short to go to prison? That's what the judge said. Find out more as we continue reporting on that. Number eight on our cnn.com countdown though first, $17.4 million, that's how much an anonymous bidder paid for four rare flags from the American Revolution. They were auctioned at Sotheby's yesterday. That just happened to be Flag Day. Wonder if that's why they cost so much.
Number seven, the president signs a new law that raises fines for indecent broadcasts. The maximum penalty was $32,500 per violation, now that has gone up to $325,000. Number six and five on our countdown straight ahead. Be right back.
ZAHN: How would you feel if an admitted child molester in your neighborhood got probation instead of prison? So you can imagine the outrage when a judge in Nebraska did just that and then justified it by saying the guilty man was too short for prison. It's a story that has a whole town fuming tonight and justice correspondent Kelli Arena has tonight's "Eye Opener."
KELLI ARENA, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Sidney, Nebraska is a small, quiet town. People who live here aren't used to being in the national spotlight. But that's exactly where they found themselves about three weeks ago.
TIFFANY JONES, PROTESTER: It was like a whirlwind. We were in a different world there for a while.
ARENA: Why all the uproar? Well it started when 50-year-old Richard Thompson who grew up in Sidney pleaded guilty to sexually molesting a 13-year-old girl. The judge sentenced Thompson to 10 years probation instead of 10 years behind bars. The decision itself prompted outrage. That was nothing compared to the reaction to the judge's comments from the bench.
JIM HEADLEY, EDITOR, SIDNEY SUN TELEGRAPH: She made a direct reference to his physical size. He's not tall. He's not fat. He's short. It was clearly a comment towards him being short.
ARENA: Five foot one to be exact. Jim Headley is a local reporter who was in court that day.
HEADLEY: This is the first thing she said when she came out of a very long rant about how bad he needs to go to prison. And then she said and then I look at your physical size. Well that's her number one reason. That's her opening argument in this case to not put him in prison.
ARENA: The headline in the local paper the next day read, "Too Short to go to Prison." The article said Judge Christine Cecava decided against jail time because she was concerned that Thompson's height or lack of it would put him at risk from other inmates. Residents of Sidney were outraged taking to the streets to protest. Ed Ward manages the town's video rental shop.
ED WARD, RESIDENT, SIDNEY, NEBRASKA: We have 10 grandchildren, four of them are girls, little girls. I think it's the court's responsibility is to protect my grandchildren.
ARENA: Nebraska's attorney general appealed the sentence.
JON BRUNING, NEBRASKA ATTORNEY GENERAL: Mr. Thompson sexually molested a 13-year-old girl repeatedly. And any time a grown man sexually molests a child, they deserve to go to trial.
ARENA: Even local prison officials questioned Judge Cecava's implication that Thompson would not be safe in prison.
BECKY MENCL, NEBRASKA DEPT. OF CORRECTIONS: Yes, we do have several inmates incarcerated who are that stature or possibly less. Possibly shorter. And probably have been convicted of the same type of crime. We to my knowledge have had no reports of incidents that are at all related to a person's stature.
ARENA: After nearly 20 years on the bench, the judge was vilified. A Nebraska native and a mother, she consistently receives above average marks in judge evaluation surveys filled out by attorneys.
JUDGE CHRISTINE CECAVA: I went to work one day and the next day it was all different.
ARENA: CNN spoke to Cecava but she said she wouldn't comment on the case due to the appeal. But allies rose to her defense. Bernard Glaser has known Judge Cecava since they went to law school together. He says she is not a lenient judge and made her decision based on the law and the facts.
BERNARD GLASER, FRIEND OF JUDGE: And if the law and the facts and the standards imposed upon her as a judge indicate that somebody should receive something as strict as intensive supervisory probation, she's got the guts to do it.
ARENA: The special probation calls for all sorts of restrictions. Thompson must get counseling, undergo random testing for drugs and alcohol, is barred from being in the same room with any one under 18 without supervision. And he has to spend 30 days in jail every year.
GLASER: And if he violates just one of those provisions, the judge made it clear in her sentencing order he's going to prison, because he's had his chance. ARENA: Supporters also say the judge's comments were taken out of context, and that critics should actually read the court transcript.
So CNN asked for one. It turns out we were the first media organization to do so. It says Cecava told Thompson, quote, "I look at your physical size. I look at your basic ability to cope with people, and quite frankly I shake to think of what might happen to you in prison."
GLASER: You know, I don't think anyone can deny that the judge did not consider this guy's mental capabilities, along with his stature.
ARENA: And in fact, two weeks after being put on probation, Thompson became suicidal.
(on camera): He was brought halfway across the state to this psychiatric hospital, where he was placed under strict supervision.
(voice-over): Even so, there was very little sympathy for Thompson among residents, and most believe that he still belongs in jail. But the uproar has died down, and life in Sidney is getting back to normal.
Tiffany Jones runs a child care center there.
JONES: I think a lot of people are trying to back away from the initial anger, outrage, and look at all of it. And I did the same thing.
ARENA: Jones, who collected more than 900 petition signatures to have Judge Cecava removed from the bench, says that she hopes her town's reputation isn't tarnished forever.
JONES: We don't want to be on the map for allowing sexual molesters, convicted people that do crimes against children to walk on our streets.
ARENA: Kelli Arena, CNN, Sidney, Nebraska.
ZAHN: We of course here tried to reach Richard Thompson, but he declined to talk with us. His lawyer also declined, and Thompson remains in a psychiatric facility in Nebraska.
We've now got some breaking news for you out of Capitol Hill. House Democrats have just voted 99-58 to temporarily force Louisiana Congressman William Jefferson off an important committee, the Ways and Means Committee, because he's the subject of a bribery probe. Two men have pleaded guilty in the probe, and the FBI says Jefferson stashed $90,000 in bribe money in his own freezer. Jefferson denies any wrongdoing and has not been charged with any crime. He argued his colleagues had no reason to suspend him from that committee. Onward now we go. Now, what could possibly get a major city's bureaucracy worked up about ordering a sandwich? How about if you have to order it in English? Is that in bad taste, or is it discrimination? You can debate that with us before that.
Number six on our cnn.com countdown, an alleged robbery attempt at a Kansas City store, and the suspect loses the shirt on her back. It happened as she reached over the counter to grab some cash. The clerk managed to grab her shirt. There you see. Yank it off. Boy, that will slow you down, won't it?
Number five, "American Idol" winner Taylor Hicks gets another kudo, this one from "People" magazine. He's ranked number one on "People's" list of the hottest bachelors. Number four on our countdown when we come back.
ZAHN: Welcome back. Here's what's happening at this moment. Raging wildfires still burning out West. More than 3 million acres have gone up in flames so far this year. And a widespread drought has raised red flag warnings all over Colorado. And 1,000 homes were evacuated because of a forest fire near Flagstaff, Arizona.
Maybe we have to get used to those higher gas prices. Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke tells economists the cost of energy is likely to stay high because of worldwide demand being so high. So let's take our nightly look at gas prices across the country, our "Crude Awakening."
The states with today's highest gas prices are in red. Nailed on the West Coast again. The lowest gas prices in green. And $2.89 a gallon is today's average price for unleaded regular, and the "Crude Awakening" trend continues.
Change of focus now to Super Bowl winning quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. He is out of the hospital and recovering tonight after the motorcycle crash on Monday that could have killed him. The Steelers quarterback was riding in downtown Pittsburgh when he and a car collided. He was not wearing a helmet.
Tonight, he released a statement saying if he ever rides a motorcycle again, he will wear a helmet, and he says he's gained a new perspective on life. Which is probably true for many motorcycle riders who have survived accidents even though they weren't wearing helmets. We asked our own rider, senior national correspondent John Roberts, to take us beyond the headlines tonight.
JOHN ROBERTS, CNN SR. NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This video, posted on an Internet Web site, shows just how quickly a routine ride can go terribly wrong. The crash is sickening, but the rider was wearing a helmet. In fact, the camera was attached to it, and she's conscious. (on camera): As a rider myself, I can tell you there's a certain sense of freedom that comes with taking off the helmet. It feels good. And it looks good. That is, right up until you kiss the car that's just turned in front of you.
(voice-over): Look at this video from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety of a rider that crashed without a helmet.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is your name Bradley?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What is your name?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE).
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right. Bradley Stone (ph). So the answer to that question was yes.
ROBERTS: How close Ben Roethlisberger came to that kind of brain damage we'll never know, but Dr. Jeffrey Augenstein says he's incredibly lucky. The chief of the Ryder Trauma Center at Jackson Memorial in Miami, Augenstein says motorcycle deaths have increased dramatically since Florida repealed its helmet law back in 2000.
DR. JEFFREY AUGENSTEIN, RYDER TRAUMA CENTER: You increase the number of admissions from about 3,500 to approximately 5,000. Increases in severe injuries by about 80 percent.
ROBERTS: Florida is one of 27 states where adult riders can go helmet-free. Michigan was added to that list just this month. Four others have no helmet laws at all.
This surveillance video shows that in an instant, life can change, and when a helmetless head hits the pavement, says Dr. Augenstein, dramatic forces reshape the brain.
AUGENSTEIN: Your brain just keeps on moving into the skull, and it tears apart the blood vessels in the brain, tears apart the nerves in the brain, smashes the brain against the skull. The brain rebounds and smashes again on the other side of it.
ROBERTS: For Gerry Dana and Terry Hillerich, who we found teaching a motorcycle safety course at Northern Virginia Community College, there is not even an argument. Dana came off his Harley nine years ago, head first.
GERRY DANA, MOTORCYCLE SAFETY INSTRUCTOR: Wouldn't have much of a face left, I know that. When I did hit, I hit here and on the side.
ROBERTS: Hillerich's son owns the same type of muscular street rocket as Roethlisberger. Hillerich rides it all the time, can't figure out why Roethlisberger would ever get on it without a helmet.
TERRY HILLERICH, MOTORCYCLE SAFETY INSTRUCTOR: I realize what he does for a living, he gets jumped on by 400-pound people but that's safer than riding one of those without a helmet.
ROBERTS: The debate over head protection has gone on for decades. For helmet advocates it is about tragedies like this.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is your name Bradley?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No.
ROBERTS: For opponents of helmet laws, it is about having the right to make a choice and hoping this never happens to them. John Roberts, CNN, Washington.
ZAHN: We are hoping John Roberts continues to wear his helmet given what he has just described. I know the debate rages on out there but we need him on our political team here.
When was the last time ordering a sandwich sparked a very angry national debate. It depends on where you place your order and what language you use. Has one of the most famous restaurants in Philadelphia gone too far, insisting that customers order in English?
And, a little bit later on why is Sir Paul McCartney thinking about changing the words to one of his most famous songs?
Before we get to that, number four on our CNN countdown. In Indonesia rescue crews are trying to reach two men trapped in an underground bunker near the active volcano on Mount Merapi. Officials say the trapped men were helping out with evacuations. Number three right after this.
ZAHN: So tonight the passion and anger over illegal immigration are making the most unlikely place of flash point in the debate. The place is a famous cheese steak shop in Philadelphia. The owner has posted a sign telling customers to order in English and the reaction, outrage from all sides. Including a discrimination complaint and some people asking what has become of freedom of speech? A couple facts worth noting, the owner's grandparents emigrated from Italy and the shop is in a formerly Italian-American neighborhood that is now populated by Spanish speakers. Allan Chernoff has the story tonight from Philadelphia.
ALLAN CHERNOFF, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The sign in question at Geno's Steak says "This is America. When ordering, please speak English." Owner Joey Vento does not want to hear Spanish at his counter.
JOEY VENTO, OWNER OF GENO'S: English at Geno's is Cheese steak, you spoke English.
CHERNOFF: You call that English? VENTO: This is the cheese wiz. You could build a house with this. This will hold cinder block together. Imagine that going through your arteries.
CHERNOFF: For Vento, who has owned Geno's Steaks for 40 years, this is the king's English. Vent's sign is creating quite a stir in the city of brotherly love. The City Commission on Human Relations filed a discrimination complaint, saying the sign discourages non- English speakers from eating here. Hispanic advocates say, that's exactly how they read it.
LIZA RODRIQUEZ, JUNTOS COMMUNITY OUTREACH: It's a way of saying no Mexicans allowed or no Latino immigrants allowed.
CHERNOFF: Joey says that's nonsense. He'll serve anyone, but he wants customers, particularly newly immigrated Hispanic, to learn English. Even though he concedes his grandfather and his grandmother, who came from Italy, never really picked up the language.
(on camera): How would you describe how their English was?
VENTO: Terrible. They barely could say hello in English.
CHERNOFF: Of course, Joey's English could use improvement. English professor Bob Pearlman. If Joey Vento were in your classroom, how would you grade him?
BOB PEARLMAN, ENGLISH PROFESSOR: He would have to, he would have to work extra hard, I would say.
VENTO: I don't speak perfect English. No one says you have to be fluent in English.
CHERNOFF (voice-over): Around here though, it is easy to hear how English can be mangled into Philly speech.
(on camera): The preferred technique for ordering a cheese steak, here in South Philly, is to ask for one wiz wit, meaning one cheese steak, with cheese wiz, with onions. But, even for Joey, it can get complicated.
VENTO: I don't even understand that. So, it's a wiz with onions or a wiz with. It's not a wit. Cause a wit is, what is a wit. What is a wit? If you want an onion, say that.
CHERNOFF: Joey Vento, a modern day defender of the English language believes Americans need to lighten up and adapt what natives here would call the south Philadelphia attitude. Allan Chernoff, CNN, Philadelphia.
ZAHN: Forget about the debate for a moment, I don't know about you, Larry King, but that is making me hungry. Don't you miss the East Coast when you see a story like that?
LARRY KING, CNN ANCHOR: I do, I'll be there tomorrow.
ZAHN: Good, travel safely.
KING: Near you Paula, I will see you Monday.
ZAHN: Terrific, we will all be here holding down the fort. Who is joining you tonight?
KING: Tonight we're having a major debate on the question of gays, particularly gays in the Episcopal church and part of the panel will include the bright Reverend Robinson, the first openly gay bishop in the Episcopal church. There's a great debate over it, the church is having a mass meeting in Columbus, Ohio. We'll have a wild, a wide open debate on the question of gays in the church, with phone calls. Tonight at 9:00 Eastern, following Paula.
ZAHN: I imagine you will spark a pretty good debate, given the wide array of guests you will have tonight. See you Larry when you get to town.
ZAHN: Now, every Beetles fan has probably wondered what would things really be like when Sir Paul McCartney's song turns true and actually turns 64. Guess we're going to be finding out real soon.
Now, Number three in our CNN.com countdown, our lead story, the Egyptian terrorist Abu Musab al-Masri is expected to replace Abu Musab al Zarqawi as the leader of al Qaeda in Iraq.
Number two on our list is next.
(MUSIC, "WHEN I'M 64")
ZAHN: All right. So guess what, the author of those lyrics really does turn 64 on Saturday, and of course the timing couldn't be worse for Sir Paul McCartney. The former Beatle is in the middle of a very nasty divorce. So those words must seem like salt in the wounds. Paula Newton has the story tonight from London.
PAULA NEWTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): When he wrote those lyrics at the age of 16, Paul McCartney had no idea how bittersweet his own 64th might be.
Sir Paul will finally turn 64 this weekend, just a month after separating from Heather Mills, his second wife of four years.
Who could turn Paul McCartney away? Apparently, Heather Mills McCartney.
The British tabloids have been ruthless, relentless. Mills says it was the media scrutiny that destroyed her marriage, but the separation is said to be destroying her. The newspapers are plastered with photos from Mills' past. They allege a career in soft porn and prostitution.
Mills says the tabs are printing lies, and she says she will sue. But her publicist adds the last month has been hideous.
MAX CLIFFORD, PUBLICIST: The public perception is, well, he's been taken for a fool, he's been taken for a ride and is very sad. He obviously loved her obviously and showed that. So we feel very sorry for him. I mean, you know, the crueler ones will say, well, there's no fool like an old fool.
NEWTON: After all, Mills stands to gain as much as a quarter of McCartney's $1.5 billion fortune.
IAN CAPLIN, LEGAL ANALYST: So even in the case where there's been a short marriage, you know, three to five years or something like that, the courts can still make, they have decided, a substantial award of the husband's assets in favor of the wife.
NEWTON (on camera): Paul McCartney and the Beatles recorded "When I'm 64" back in the '60s, here at Abbey Road studios, and fans can't help but think that they actually believed that the lyrics to that song would one day ring true for all of them.
(voice-over): A fact not lost on anyone at the well-worn crossing on Abbey Road. Fans scribble their birthday notes and wax poetic about this grandfather's life at 64.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Kind of ironic. I'm sure he's kicking himself for that one.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just change it to 84. "When I'm 84," yes.
NEWTON: Sir Paul himself jokes he might change the lyrics, but this weekend he'll be having a quiet birthday, and you can only wonder if he would be tempted just a little to play the song.
Paula Newton, CNN, London.
ZAHN: And now a man who refuses to spend his retirement in a rocking chair, because he would rather be making them. Here's Valerie Morris with tonight's "Life After Work."
HOWARD CUTTER: My business uniform.
VALERIE MORRIS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Seventy-two- year-old Howard Cutter spends the days of his retirement exactly as he hoped he would, fine-tuning his craft as an accomplished woodworker. He built his dream work shop after a 37-year career with IBM.
CUTTER: So I began maybe 10 years before I retired to say, what can I do if I could do whatever I wanted to do? And I had always had a love of fine art and of design.
Once I got the notion that I was doing pretty well, I decided I was going to build something a little more difficult. I tackled a rocking chair, which turned out to be a real challenge. And from beginning to end, it took me about three years to finish it.
I started entering juried competitions, and when I began to win ribbons I started making things and putting them in several galleries.
There is nothing that's quite as nice as when somebody sees something you have done and say, I love it and can you do one like that for me.
Absolutely, I'm living my dream. It's a thrill to get up and come out here every day.
MORRIS: Valerie Morris, CNN, New York.
ZAHN: Number two on the countdown, the president apologizes for teasing a reporter about wearing sunglasses during a news conference yesterday. He didn't know the reporter has a rare disease that is slowly stealing his eyesight.
Coming up next, why Britney is the top story on CNN.com this time.
ZAHN: And that wraps it up for all of us here. Thanks for joining us. Good night.
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