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CNN IN THE MONEY
State of Campus Safety; Bid to Make Big Oil Explain Summer Gas Prices; Social Networks; Stock Market Exchange; Global Warming and the Auto Industry
Aired April 21, 2007 - 13:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ALI VELSHI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: On this Earth Day weekend, put your car and yourself on a low carbon diet. All that and more after a quick check of the headlines.
FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Investigators are seeking Seung-Hui Cho's phone records to determine whether he told anybody about his plan's for Monday's rampage at Virginia Tech. Several memorial services for Cho's victims are being held today.
NASA officials are reviewing security at the Johnson Space Center a worker who managed to get a gun in the complex killed a co-worker, then committed suicide. Another worker was held hostage, but she survived without serious injury.
An American space tourist, Charles Simonyi is back on Earth after a 13-day trip a Soyuz space capsule carrying him, a Russian cosmonaut and an American astronaut landed safely today in Kazakhstan.
Three people are believed dead after a small plane accident in south Florida. Officials say the plane hit a wire that was tethering a blimp and then it crashed off the Florida Keys. The blimp was apparently undamaged.
We'll update the top stories at the bottom of the hour. Now time for IN THE MONEY.
VELSHI: Welcome to IN THE MONEY. I'm Ali Velshi.
CHRISTINE ROMANS, I'm Christine Romans.
VELSHI: Coming up on today's programs in the wake of this week's shootings, we'll look at the state of campus safety.
ROMANS: Plus Congressman Dennis Kucinich's bid to make big oil explain summer gas prices.
VELSHI: And we'll take a look at why hybrids aren't the hottest thing on the roads despite the high gas prices and a push to go green.
But all of those stories paled in light of the biggest stories this week despite all of the business news we had there was one story on everybody's mind.
ROMANS: Business news definitely in the back seat and for good reason. It may be a little comfort to the loved ones of the Virginia Tech victims; the violent crime is relatively rare on U.S. college campuses. A much greater threat is what students do to themselves. That's our first story today; Casey Wian has that for us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): University of Southern California has 33,000 students and a police force of 190 officers, 80 are armed. The campus is open to the public, but there are stringent security measures. Video cameras, restricted access to dormitories and more than 400 emergency phones. Still, USC averages about 50 violet crimes a year, mostly robberies, forcible sex offenses and assaults.
But nearby Beverly Hills, California population almost identical to USC's has a violent crime rate more than twice as high.
CAPT. DAVID CARLISLE, USC DEPT. OF PUBLIC SAFETY: The incident that occurred at Virginia Tech, and our hearts go out to them, we feel terrible about it for the families and our colleagues in campus law enforcement that that is a rare exception. USC deals with more traditional issues for crime on campus, or problems that occur with young people.
WIAN: The annual violent crime rate on U.S. college campuses in their immediate neighborhoods is about 90 for every 100,000 students. The general population, its 2,000 violent crimes per 100,000 people. A greater threat, alcohol and drug-related accidents, and alcohol poisoning, which killed nearly 2,000 college students each year, more than 1,000 others commit suicide. On average, just 16 murders occur on U.S. college campuses each year. A figured doubled in one day at Virginia Tech.
RON ASTOR, AUTHOR, "SCHOOL VIOLENCE IN CONTEXT:" Schools in particular have clicks, they have groups of people that are in that are out. They have all sorts of their own social dynamics that would create relationships where somebody who is homicidal or suicidal, that it could be triggered.
WIAN: Yet college students are far more likely to be victimized by their own behavior than by a violent criminal. USC is located near the heart of downtown Los Angeles surrounded by neighborhoods plagued by violence and gangs. Security officials here say this campus is the safest 150-acre section of the entire city.
Casey Wian, CNN, Los Angeles.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROMANS: Both the law and college policy set limits on what school administrators can tell parents or anyone else about their students. And that leaves colleges balancing commitments to student independence and privacy against concerns about safety. For a look at how far a school's responsibility goes, we're joined by a college administrator Gary Pavela of the University of Maryland, he is the author of "Questions and Answers on College Student Suicide." Thanks for joining us today. GARY PAVELA, UNIV. OF MARYLAND: Thank you.
ROMANS: Let's talk a little bit about how colleges have privacy issues when it comes to their students. If you have a troubled kid on campus, unless there's some really glaring outright threat, colleges, even local police, are hamstrung, aren't they, by what they can tell parents and other students?
PAVELA: I wouldn't say hamstrung. There are a couple of pertinent laws that are important. One is called the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.
ROMANS: FERPA they call it.
PAVELA: FERPA, but it is commonly misunderstood, sometimes even on college campuses to mean that you can't tell parents anything, but there is a major provision in that law, an exception that allows colleges to share information from student records. Not their medical records, but their other educational records with parents, if the parents claim the student as a dependent for tax purposes. Now, that's permissive. Colleges aren't required to do that, and there really ought to be a negotiation between parents and colleges. Parent associations and colleges, as to where the line has to be drawn.
I think it's really important to understand that people go to college not just to take classes. Traditionally, students go to college, in part, to learn how to be an adult. And you learn how to be an adult by practicing being an adult, after you're a certain age 18, 19 and above. And you can't have someone hovering around you all the time. So colleges have more freedom in this area than I think is recognized, but that freedom is not a mandate. They don't have to notify parents.
VELSHI: Gary, the distinction here, of course is when it comes to health or mental health, the rules are no different for a college on campus, for a student on campus than for anyone else, right? The laws that govern your privacy as a patient are the same for a college student as for anyone else? When you talk about FERPA and you are talking about what a college can tell parents, we're talking about other matters?
PAVELA: That's right. The medical records are protected. They really should be. That's an ethical and a legal issue for mental health professionals, other healthcare providers. We want people to go to counseling, and they're not going to go to counseling if the word gets out that the counselor is going to call the dean or call their parents.
ROMANS: This is where we have to try to make sure that kids who are in trouble, are disturbed, or are having trouble, don't slip through the cracks. I think a lot of parents who are huge consumers of college educations in this country want to make sure that if something's going on with their kid that they are told. How should a parent make sure that they are on top of what's happening to their child on a college campus? PAVELA: Well you know number one I guess is the most obvious one. It's like the elephant in the room and that is to have a good channel of communication with your own child. To be constantly working at that. I know it's not easy. I'm the parent of three boys. So I know what the problems are in that regard. But the next, after that initial effort, should be an ongoing effort. After that effort, there should be another form of asking, and that's asking the college. What are your policies? What are your practices? Colleges should have a policy statement published about parental notification and the scope of how they interpret FERPA.
Another thing parents can do is join the Parents' Association on most college campuses. Have a voice. A voice on campus about what you think the appropriate notification policy should be, but do remember, there will be many parents and many of your viewers will be one of these parents who will say, I don't want to know about every little thing. I don't want to know if my son or daughter was unhappy last week. I want to know about an emergency, that I need to know. So there has to be some negotiation about what the standards will be.
ROMANS: All right. Gary Pavela thank you so much for joining us from the University of Maryland. Thank you so much, sir.
When we come back, social networking sites like MySpace, Facebook, and why year hearing so much about those this week.
VELSHI: One of the things we found out in the wake of the Virginia Tech shootings on Monday was how many students turned to these social networking sites to get responses, to let people know they were safe, and to mourn those who were lost, the facebooks and the MySpaces.
ROMANS: It was really incredible. Instant messaging, texting, online networking. Technology drastically changing how today's youth communicate and adults are often left out of the loop.
VELSHI: Amanda Lenhart studies how and why young people use the Internet, she is a senior researcher for the Pew Internet and American Life Project. Amanda, were you surprised at the way in which these students were communicating in the wake of this shooting?
AMANDA LENHART, PEW INTERNET & AMERICAN LIFE PROJECT: I actually wasn't particularly surprised. Certainly we know that 55 percent of young people, teenagers, are using social networks and particularly on college campuses. They're an incredibly vital part of the social fabric of the campus experience. So I think what better way for teens to get the word out, communicate with family and friends, mourn, grieve, than on a social networking site.
ROMANS: It was incredible to see students using the sites of their friends to talk about them afterwards to say good-bye. In a way, it's a social networking phenomenon that I don't think -- is there anything that compares with it that we've seen before? Is it a totally new way I guess, for kids to communicate? And in this case, grieve? LENHART: It certainly is a new location for people to express themselves. Whereas in the past we might have gone to a funeral or even to a cemetery to sort of have a location or a place to really mourn and grieve a person. Now we have a digital space that's always available that we can go to at any time to interact with other people who felt the same way about the person, and also to see, you know, evidence of that person's life.
VELSHI: You know, Amanda, I've actually read a lot the work from your foundation in the past, and it talks about social networking, a lot of parents might have seen some of the research that you've done that shows the negative side of it. The parts where people stalk other people, or their predators or too much information is put on. This is the other side of social networking for parents to understand what the value is of Facebook and MySpace, things that a lot of people don't even understand.
LENHART: Absolutely. I mean, certainly I think, you know, there was criticism. There's been a lot of worry about social networks as place where young people can be victimized or even just simply putting up too much information that might harm job prospects or college prospects, if you haven't yet gone to college, but I think we see through these events how much we can use them to really connect. When you hear of something like this happening at Virginia tech, you want to know where people are. You want to see all this information about the person. You want a place to find out about individuals. I think social network shows that these do have a good side, that these do share valuable information in times like these.
ROMANS: You know there might be, frankly, kind of a big audience who might not even know what we're talking about when we talk about MySpace or Facebook and there might be a lot of parents out there whose children are on these and have their own profile and their parents don't know what it is. Tell us exactly what it is and do you recommend that it parents should go and read their own children's social networking pages?
LENHART: Certainly an online social network is a place where an individual can put up a profile of themselves, and it usually has a picture, your first name and it might have other information about you. Then you take that profile and you connect it to a network of other people, your friends. So these networks are places, again, both to display yourself and share yourself with others, but also to connect with other people. As to whether parents should go and check out their child's social networking site, I mean certainly that's something I would ask permission before I did. But, yes. It's a window. It's an incite in to your child's life.
VELSHI: Amanda Lenhart, senior research of the Pew Internet and American Life Project. Thanks for joining us.
Coming up after the break, we are going to check in on Wall Street at the end of a hot week for the Dow and later we are going to tell you about stories getting the most clicks on Money.com this week.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) VELSHI: One of the interesting things about this week in business is despite the tragedy that went on, there was some sense from a viewer's perspective that it was contained to where it was, and as a result it didn't spill over in to markets, which have had a tendency to get very jittery when things like this happen.
ROMANS: It is true. But this week in the markets was absolutely incredible. Sumptuous profits as "Fortune" put it, Susan Lisovicz joins now from the New York Stock Exchange, she is going to wrap up the busy week on Wall Street. Susan, something that incredible news that we are all talking about from Virginia Tech, but in the markets, a completely overlooked for, I guess for all the right reasons overlooked rally there. Tell us about that.
SUSAN LISCOVICZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well you know, it's not as if this tragedy didn't shock people and overwhelm them. You know, Chris. I remember Monday at noon there was a cluster of traders on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange a whole group of them just staring at a TV monitor, so I knew something was going on, CNN had been reporting all morning long that there were a couple of students who had died. It was just at that moment, then, that the headlines had changed.
That it became a massacre, that we finding out the true magnitude that 20 or more students had died. So, yes, people took a moment to try to comprehend what was going on, but in terms of affecting overall trading, no impact. Why? There was no publicly traded company involved, and it's an overwhelming story, but it's not like 9/11 where it led to profound changes in our everyday life with security and the places we work or when we travel to airports. So it was really confined to the campus and the deep feelings that we all share, but it didn't affect the market's direction.
VELSHI: Susan what we saw this week were earnings. It was a big earnings week, and for the average investor, this is the best way to judge the health of a public company. I started off this week by saying; it's a good week to pay attention to markets, even if you don't typically pay attention to them because you're going to get a sense of the health of America's big companies.
LISOVICZ: No question about it, Ali. Between this week and next week you're going to have 3/4 of the companies in the S&P 500 weighing in with their quarterly report cards. This has been a concern; this is one of the things that had investors a little bit concerned. We knew that corporate profits would slow. How are some of the best and brightest teams dealing with this? And you know, so far, it's been tremendous. You know, as of Friday, we ha had -- really, two-thirds of the companies reporting this week had beaten Wall Street's estimates, and one of the themes you'd have to say among a great diversity of companies, companies like Caterpillar, which is an old line company, makes tractors, or eBay, a new company in technology, you're seeing a lot of growth overseas and they're managing things like, for instance, the slowness in housing for Caterpillar with making up with a lot of growth overseas.
ROMANS: Susan, one of those big lessons here. It was just back in February we saw a huge decline. Everyone was concerned about a multi day pullback in the market. What was this? Was it a correction? Was it some kind of you, know; bear market that was going to happen? And here we are right back recovering all of those losses. It's one of those lessons that the old timers always tell us on the floor, that you've got to keep your wits about you and find your buying opportunities that looked like it was a beautiful buying opportunity.
VELSHI: And Susan was live on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange that very day. The question everybody had was what do I do? What do I do? The message was hold on. It you're not a professional, don't do too much.
LISOVICZ: That's right. I mean look most of us are long-term investors, I mean we are planning for things like our retirement or our children's education. If you believe in what you bought, unless you take a second look and you don't like some of the thing's management's doing or you see a trend, you can't sleep at night. OK. These are things to are aware of, but the best time to buy, of course, is on a dip.
If you're watching something, you say this is an opportunity. Having said that, folks, this has been one breathtaking comeback. Not even two months after the worst one-day drop, since 9/11, for the Dow Jones Industrial, coming back, hitting all-time highs and 13,000, Dow 13,000 insight.
ROMANS: All right. Susan Lisovicz at the big board. Thank you Susan.
LISOVICZ: You are welcome. Good to talk to you, Chrissy and Ali.
VELSHI: OK, Susan.
Many of this weeks big headlines weren't focused on business stories. With CNNMONEY.com managing editor Allen Wastler who keeps a tight eye on this has been tracking the most popular financial stories that you might have missed. More so this week than in many weeks he joins us now to tell us about the stories that clicked. Allen.
ALLEN WASTLER, MANAGING EDITOR, CNNMONEY.COM: Yes, you know I got all my do-dads, I'm watching to tell me what people are piling in to. Early in the week, believe it or not, there was a deal story. Now deal stories usually they get a lot of play on our site and you know people pile in to them. This one got more than average. Because it was Sally Mae, it was the $25 billion dollar buyout. Two reasons for that, one, that number and the private equity guy, hey they are buying a loan company. So that you know, among the typical money watchers, that's a big splash. Two, I think a lot of people remember Sally Mae. I know I paid off a Sally Mae loan, remember going all through life.
ROMANS: I got personal mail from Sally. She and I were pen pals.
VELSHI: The big student loan giant.
WASTLER: Wrote every month with a couple zeros in there. People wondering, the student loan business, because there has been some nasty headlines about maybe the lenders sort of chumming up a little too much to the college people. I think that drew a lot of interest and a lot of people wanted that story.
The other story that got a lot of play, a lot of big click action, was our continuing coverage of the sub-prime situation. OK. We had some congressional --
ROMANS: The situation is such a euphemism. The subprime debacle.
WASTLER: It's coming apart! Get all the coverage on CNNMONEY.com. There were Congressional hearings, because it's a mess. So naturally, our congressmen are what can we do to fix this? And the answer pretty much was, not much. They're talking bail out, but the problem with a bailout is --
ROMANS: How could you bail --
WASTLER: Who do you pay, and how are you going to do it? One of our writers made a pretty good point. It's not like you're going down to Jimmy Stewart any more and talking to him about your savings and loan deal. Because once you've made the deal for the mortgage, that mortgage lender has sold that to someone else. If they change the terms of that loan, wait a minute. Some investor bought that security based on what you did. You're changing the terms of the security now.
WASTLER: If you sold it oversea, it's even more complicated, 75 percent of loans are like that.
VELSHI: Everything I read about this thing makes my head hurt more. It is such a complicated story. If nothing else, at least America is getting familiar with how complicated the mortgage business is.
LISOVICZ: And some people are going to get familiar with foreclosure because of this. You know, because they've got teaser rates that are going to adjust upward. Some people are in trouble. A big house, it is about ready to get more expensive and they don't have the commensurate rise in income.
WASTLER: More people are still interested in that. Finally, our big Kahuna this week, you know the CNNMONEY.com super site is home to many of the fine magazines.
VELSHI: "Money," and "Fortune."
WASTLER: And "Fortune" came out with the Fortune 500 and so we had wall-to-wall coverage. People piled in. Lets show you the top ten, just so you're reminded. Wal-Mart took the number one spot beating down Exxon Mobile. Who'd have thunk? This is based on revenue. If you went by profit, well, Exxon Mobile --
VELSHI: This happened before. Wal-Mart sort of played --
WASTLER: Yeah. What I thought was interesting looking at that top ten. Maybe if you looked at it and said, hmm, a couple might not be there next year. Look at, well, the car companies are coming under more and more pressure. Ford is sort of holding on to its top ten positions, but you kind of wonder how long it can do that.
VELSHI: That list is always fun. It just reminds you about how big and how interesting some of these stories are.
WASTLER: Very deep and our coverage, we look at the most profitable. Ones that are read by women. Different ones are doing in terms of hiring. Best ones to work for. It's chock full of good, chunky stuff. Go there, dig it up, chew.
ROMANS: Allan Wastler, stories that click. Thank you Allen.
Coming up on IN THE MONEY, Congressman and presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich wants oil companies to explain higher summer gas prices. We'll ask him how that's going.
Plus why American drivers still aren't up to speed with going green.
WHITFIELD: Hello. I'm Fredricka Whitfield at the CNN Center in Atlanta. Now in the news, NASA is conducting a security review after two people were killed in a hostage standoff at the Johnson Space Center in Houston. Police say a male worker armed with a handgun entered the space center and used it to kill another man before shooting himself. We hope to learn more from NASA officials when they hold a press conference at the top of the hour and, of course, we'll carry that live for you right here on CNN.
Investigators in the Virginia Tech shootings are looking for a connection between Seung Hui Cho and one of his first victims. They want to examine Emily Hilscher's laptop and cell phone. Meanwhile, Cho's family is apologizing for the shootings that killed 32 people.
And officials say three people are believed dead after their small plane crashed off the Florida Keys. Witnesses say the plane hit a wire tethering a blimp before crashing last night. Divers are still sifting through the wreckage.
Coming up at the top of the hour, we will have a complete report on all the day's news. Now back to more of IN THE MONEY.
ROMANS: Every year as temperatures rise across the country so does the price Americans pay at the pump's in the spring of 2007 has been no exception, with gas prices rising steadily now since early February. According to a new CNN opinion research poll, high gas prices are putting a squeeze on two-thirds of Americans. One lawmaker is demanding answers from the CEOs of seven major oil companies. Joining us now, is Ohio Congressman and presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich. Welcome to the program.
REP. DENNIS KUCINICH, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Thank you very much. ROMANS: You've sent a letter to seven oil CEOs. What are you asking them?
KUCINICH: We are looking at the dynamics of the markets, we're trying to determine what affect concentration has had on the market and prices with the chance that gasoline could go up to $4 a gallon over this summer driving season's. We're concerned about the affect of declining refinery capacity, about conditions where inventory supplies are apparently going down in California. We want to know. Is there any kind of manipulation of the loss of supply and demand that is resulting in very high fuel prices?
VELSHI: Congressman, gas, the national average right now, $2.8 6 a gallon, 30 cents higher than it was a month ago. Christine and I were talking about this. We seem to go through this cycle at springtime gas prices go up. We had the same discussions about refining capacities and all these things. What do you think you are going to get out of these oil companies that is any different than what we've heard before? Have you had any responses yet at all?
KUCINICH: We're starting to get responses. I would like to say that Congress has a legitimate role to play here in oversight over the oil companies as the concentration in the market increases. It seems the profits for these companies keep going up. And it seems that the American consumer doesn't have anyone intervening on his or her behalf. So what the job of our subcommittee is to go deeply in to the issues of the mechanics of the market, look at the supply and demand with respect to oil, look at the refining capacity, look at how they're pricing is going in winter months versus summer months, look at how the profit per barrel has increased at the refinery level from about $17 a barrel to about $39 a barrel over a period of five years. Has are the elements of that? Are they contracting refinery capacity and driving up profits? I want to know about that, and our subcommittee's determined to find out.
LISOVICZ: Let's talk about supply and demand and the economics of it. If you look at textbook economics, if the price keeps going up, then Americans should be using less oil. Using less gasoline, and that conversely would be good for the environment. So if you make prices low, don't we set ourselves back on conservation?
KUCINICH: Well actually, you raise an interesting point. There's no question that America has to transit away from reliance on oil. We all know that. At the same time we have to make sure that the oil companies do not use this as a license to be able to drive prices up and gouge the consumers while the whole world is searching for alternatives. And so that's where a windfall profits tax comes in to play, where the money would go in terms of tax credits for the purchase of fuel efficient vehicles made in this country.
I mean you have to look at this in relationship, certainly, to the environment. But the fact that there doesn't seem to be any diminishment of the supply when it comes to these companies being able to drive up the profit. The supply's available at a high price. That's the point. VELSHI: Congressman, Christine and I are both a little bit square, we've spent time as I know you have, looking at the relationships between oil production and refining and how the price of oil has changed and how, you know what it costs in the refining capacity, all this stuff. But one of the things we always hear is that they can't build refineries because the EPA doesn't let anybody build refineries. Is that true?
KUCINICH: I'm not sure that that's true. I think there's a question of the, of refinery capacity being depressed as justification for driving up the price, and I think one of the things our committee will look at is the relationship between the EPA and the oil companies' policies. My guess is that under this administration, the oil companies has been setting the rules, not the EPA. That the EPA hasn't shown any aggressive effort in trying to protect the environment. I'm determined to see that the oil companies be held accountable and that's why we've sent a letter to the seven presidents of the oil companies.
LISOVICZ: Assuming you find something out that you don't like, how are you going to hold them accountable?
KUCINICH: First of all, I don't like that we're relying on oil to begin with. There is no question we have to make a transition. When you see that hedge funds are urging people to get back in to oil on Wall Street and coal and into uranium you see the country's investments going in the wrong direction, but inasmuch as that we're still dependent on oil we have to make sure that we understand the market dynamics and see and determine if the consumer's being gouged. If we're looking at $4 a gallon in the summer, then we sure have a responsibility to get on top of this and understand completely how this pricing is being accomplished.
VELSHI: Congressman, thanks for your time and thank you for joining us.
KUCINICH: Thank you very much.
VELSHI: Congressman Dennis Kucinich.
Well coming up next on IN THE MONEY, with gas price where they are, why aren't more hybrid cars being sold?
Plus, why what you eat affects the health of the planet. Stay with us.
VELSHI: Well, a new poll out from "USA Today" and Gallup finds that 60 percent of Americans believe that global warming is changing the earth's climate up from 48 percent just a year ago and experts point to the cars we drive as a big part of the problem. This weekend marks Earth Day. We thought we'd check in with our resident car expert to see if Americans are really getting serious about making a difference on the roads. Peter Valdes-Dapena joins us now he is a staff writer for CNN.com and focuses on the auto industry. Peter we talk about this a lot.
PETER VALDES-DAPENA, CNNMONEY.COM: Yep.
VELSHI: Why, if we are serious, if two-thirds of Americans, almost, now are getting in to this whole thing about cars being a part of the problem, why isn't everybody driving a hybrid?
VALDES-DAPENA: Well there are a couple of reasons. Right now, there's been cost. I was one person for a long time said, look, if you just want save money on gas, hybrids are not going to make sense for you because the price difference via a regular car that's starting to change as more hybrid cars are coming on the market, there was analyses by Edmonds.com recently showing that with the federal tax credits and the incentives that some car companies are putting on, the gap between hybrid and the regular car is starting to go down. That's one reason. Another reason is power. People are worried that hybrids won't give them the power. Really not true. Depends on the car you get. Not true.
The other thing is people are afraid about battery replacement. Also, basically another myth. Hybrid car batteries are not like cell phone batteries or laptop batteries. They don't give out after a while. The battery on a hybrid car should be the last thing that goes. They've had these things in taxicabs here in New York and California. Hundreds of thousands of miles without even a reduction in battery performance. That's really not an issue.
LISOVICZ: How do you get over the hurdle personality car and personality in this country? Because you know Ali has a car that -- sorry, a truck, that perfectly reflects his personality.
VELSHI: Big, tough, strong.
LISOVICZ: Americans, this is the biggest car market in the world. Americans define themselves by what they drive. How do you get Americans to consider defining themselves by their Prius or whatever their hybrid is?
VALDES-DAPENA: Well I think it's kind of starting to change a little bit. I think we're starting to see it is now -- remember when everybody wanted the Lincoln Navigator and people identified big with good. I want the biggest SUV I can get? That's starting to change. I think people are getting a little more conscience and not wanting to be seen as for having a big gas hog vehicle, but still want the SUV.
Now they're going with the crossover SUVs, things that look a little milder, not quite so big, and that is starting to change. It's always going to be a thing, cars always an extension of your personality. Like your clothes it starts to change. People want to project a different image, as we become more consciences of this issue.
VELSHI: We're all people who like cars and know a lot about cars. When people ask me about hybrids, I, like you, have always been a supporter of the idea. Then what's the tax break? You can't give anybody a straight answer on this, it is different, and it is different at different times. It is different depending where you live. What's the advantage?
VALDES-DAPENA: Before you go buy a hybrid car make sure you -- sounds silly -- but check with H&R Block or an accountant and check with the dealership and everything. Different cars have different tax breaks and also to make things more complicated, it phases out for different manufacturers. On Toyota, it is already phasing out. They have sold so many hybrid cars that the tax break for their car is starting to phase out and they'll go away soon. Furthermore, if, we've talked about the alternative minimum tax. That affects the tax break you get on your hybrid car.
VELSHI: You lose that deduction.
VALDES-DAPENA: Because you lose that tax credit. It doesn't go away at once. It makes it shrink. It's complicated but --
VELSHI: It is very complicates. There's an easy way to plug it in, I live here. This is what it is.
LISOVICZ: The more complicated it is the less likely someone is going to want to take the chance maybe to do it.
VALDES-DAPENA: Yes that is right. Because a lot of people are going to start hearing stories about folks that get surprised. Gee I bought this hybrid car, I bought a hybrid and all of a sudden, thought I was getting a tax break but I'm not getting it. Congress I think is going to have to work that out and simplify that to make it more meaningful.
LISOVICZ: What about getting consumers to make the connection between the environments and driving their car? I still think most people don't make this connection when they actually go and buy the car. They know in the back of their head about global warming, about pollution and all this kind of stuff and burning fossil fuels. When it comes to actually picking the car is that social awareness going to be enough to make people make the decision, make the switch?
VALDES-DAPENA: It's tough. I think you just have to keep reminding people that you know, these are part, that cars aren't the whole problem there on everything, but they're a part of the problem, and when you're choosing your car, I think we all have a tendency to choose a car that's going to do whatever we want whenever we want, even if we only need to carry something big once a year, we get the big vehicle for that.
And I think we need to start thinking a little more about that, and I think what it comes down to, gas prices. That's where it comes into. Environmental consciousness is one thing, when we have to act well that would be nice, but I'd rather --
VELSHI: Peter I think about it every time I fill up the tank. That is the time I think about it and then I forget about it.
LISOVICZ: And I just rented a little hybrid the other day and the gas mileage was like 99.8 miles per gallon, I couldn't believe it. When do you see something like that? Peter Valdes-Dapena thanks so much, CNNMONEY writer. Thank you so much for joining us, CNNMONEY.com.
Coming up next on IN THE MONEY, what the food you buy means for the planet that brought it to you.
VELSHI: From hybrid cars to energy efficient light bulbs, consumers who know what a carbon footprint is are trying to reduce carbon footprints this has to do with concerns over greenhouse gases and the connection to climate change. Jen Rogers is here to tell us about how we can go green at mealtime in this week's "What Works" and it's not about salads.
JEN ROGERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That is right. It's not just about eating more peas and broccoli. Although that probably will help you as well. You know, we all know that what we eat affects your bodies but we don't often consider that it also affects the environment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROGERS (voice over): It's lunchtime at Yahoo! Headquarters in Sunnyvale, California.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who's covering that station?
ROGERS: Executive chef Bob Hart is busy creating meals that hopefully not only taste good but are also good for the planet. It's all part of a new low-carbon diet. Being rolled out this month by Bon Appetit Management Company at their 400 cafeterias nationwide.
MELENE YORK: A typical American diet contributes as much greenhouse gases as driving a typical car.
ROGERS: Estimates are that one-third of the world's greenhouse gas emissions come from growing, processing and transporting food. A low-carbon diet means cutting back on beef, pork and cheese. The U.N. says live stalk alone contributes 18 percent of greenhouse gases worldwide. Also eating local and seasonal foods that don't need flown in and limiting highly processed foods, which need a lot energy to be made.
BOB HART, EXECUTIVE CHEF: You can't tell them, no, you can't have this. But we can offer good, alternative choices and say, hey, this is available.
ROGERS: For breakfast, instead of highly processed cereal with a banana, most likely from Guatemala, and orange juice from Brazil, a low-carbon diet choice would be oatmeal, which is minimally processed with two eggs from a local farm and a California orange.
HELENE YORK, BON APPETIT MANAGEMENT COMPANY: I think people are so concerned about climate change that this gives them an opportunity to do something every day. We are being advised to insulate our homes and to buy new cars. That's not possible for a lot of people, and it's not possible for most people tomorrow. It is possible to make some changes with our diet, every single day.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROGERS: A low-carbon diet can also trim your waistline, which in turn limits your carbon footprint even more a recent study showed that people that are over weight burn more gas when they drive.
VELSHI: I don't doubt that that's true, but let's just talk about that a second. You got your light bulbs, your hybrid cars, eating stuff that doesn't you know, pollute the environment. In the end, is this problem still a lot about companies that burn too much carbon and emissions?
ROGERS: Bring it down to --
VELSHI: I think it's a good idea that we're all thinking about this and if we can reduce our carbon footprint. But is my carbon footprint really the only problem in the economy?
ROGERS: It's not the only problem Ali but it would be helpful if you can send a message to those companies that you care about and that you can make small changes. You don't have to make all of these changes at once. Small things along the way might be helpful.
LISOVICZ: Your carbon footprint times 300 million starts to make an impact I would guess. Because then companies have to change what they're doing to meet the demands of their customers. Tell us a little bit, though, what makes, for example, a pineapple less carbon-rich than another pineapple?
ROGERS: Yes. A less carbon friendly, because it is not grown in the continental United States, for the most part. So it has to be brought in somehow, either air transport or it has to be put on a boat from Hawaii. This pineapple is actually from Costa Rica.
VELSHI: So it has a carbon footprint?
VELSHI: It has an expense?
ROMANS: Pollute, jet fuel, boat fuel, whatever.
ROGERS: Exactly. Bottled water is another big issue. Of course, there's a lot of popular water coming from Europe or the South Pacific. Bon Appetit, the company coming out with this diet they are saying, if you have to drink bottled water because of the convenience, try and get from a local source and that that can pollute a lot less.
ROMANS: The whole idea, too, the plastic bags it's the grocery stores, I was just reading in regards to what's happening in California that 14 of those could drive your car one mile. Which is incredible to think that the food you're putting in is also, it's almost the epitasis of globalization, you know, you are talking about growing local, consuming local, so that you can get rid some of the oil.
VELSHI: If you are from Iowa you're not getting a pineapple in winter from Iowa.
ROMANS: No, I guess I am not going to be eating any more pineapple.
VELSHI: What do you mean? You find what you grow locally?
ROMANS: It is going to be corn and soybeans for me from now on.
ROGERS: Go back to canning and do some of those kinds of things. Obviously for a special occasion, if you are making your upside down pineapple cake, go ahead and splurge.
ROMANS: It is a great idea Jen, but I can't eat my fruits and vegetables as it is. If you tell me I can't eat those fruits and vegetables, now I'm really going back to macaronis and cheese again. I got get a better diet before I can do that.
VELSHI: Thank you to Jen Rogers our resident buzz kill.
Still to come on IN THE MONEY taking the thrill of lottery win and making it last for years. Stay with us.
VELSHI: Ever wonder what it would be like to win the lottery and immediately begin to lead your own life after work? At the age of 34, Idaho's Brad Duke is doing just that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Jackpot was $220.3 million.
VELSHI (voice over): Brad Duke was managing local gyms in Idaho when he won the Powerball lottery nearly two years ago.
BRAD DUKE, POWERBALL WINNER: I started a lot of my days on this bike right here.
VELSHI: But he knew the legends of what can go wrong, so he didn't act fast.
DUKE: Still I was officially employed and working for two or three months afterwards. Because I loved doing what I did.
VELSHI: Duke was 33 at the time. After taxes he ended up with about $85 million. He grew up poor, but his work ethic and ultra competitive spirit carried him far. His new goal was to become a billionaire before he was 50. So Duke decided to diversify his investments. He put some money in with professionals in areas he knows little about, like oil and gas. He had other proposals, though.
DUKE: Time machine. This dude thought that he had a time machine. VELSHI: But he also teamed up with old colleagues in businesses that played off as strengths in the fitness industry. He's busy, but says it doesn't really feel like work.
DUKE: I feel retired, because if I have the freedom to make the decisions that I want to make, and I can pursue the opportunities that I want to pursue.
VELSHI: One opportunity Duke hasn't pursued is buying a new house but he has however traded up from his 2003 VW Jetta, way up to a brand new Aston Martin and he still plays the lottery.
DUKE: There has never been anybody that has done twice. I can't do it twice if I don't play.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELSHI: Duke's financial team originally had him on course to reach his billion dollar goal in 15 years, he claimed the time line has already been trimmed with his originally $85 million. Now worth $125 million in just under two years. Brilliant. We've all heard the stories how you get this big jackpot and it disappears somehow.
ROMANS: There's a lesson in here for people hoe don't even play the lottery or are never going to win the lottery and that is don't spend the money. Try to grow the money. Even the money you got right now, growing the money is what makes him different than a lot other lottery winners. That is so cool. In the very beginning, decide I'm going to make more money on this.
VELSHI: I though it was a great goal and part of his work ethic, that nothing came easy. He's got this pot now and he's going to grow it be competitive, and do it in that field. We'll follow his story.
ROMANS: Spending too much money can people crazy. Spending up on car, that is cool. That's having the business deals, just what a great story.
VELSHI: Splurge on something, so that you don't feel like you are not doing it, but be careful with everything else. He bought his car and --
ROMANS: And make your relatives to be a business plan. Don't pass out money to distant cousins.
VELSHI: Thank you so much for joining us for this edition of IN THE MONEY. Make sure you catch Christine tonight 6:00 p.m Eastern on "Lou Dobbs This Week."
ROMANS: And we will see you right back here next week same time, Saturday at 1:00, Sunday at 3:00. Have a great rest of the weekend.
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