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May 1st, 2009
05:59 PM ET

Survival of the Fittest

Potato Chip Entrepreneur

This guy went from getting an idea to sell potato chips while walking down a grocery store aisle to

millions in sales a couple of years later.  Now he's sharing his ideas with other start-ups  looking

to get started during a recession.

Filed under: Anchors • Tony Harris
May 1st, 2009
04:38 PM ET

A story you didn't see this week

Every day, we write a lot of stories that never end up on the air.

Breaking news... a live event that runs long... a reporter who talks long...

All can affect a show's timing, and so the producer's gotta "float" some scripts out of the rundown.

On Tuesday, swine flu and Arlen Specter news meant A LOT of floats.

A story we liked that you didn't get to see: a shoe giveaway for unemployed men and women, right here in Atlanta. It was held by an online shoe retailer, in conjunction with a job fair at the Atlanta Workforce Development Agency.

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Event held by, in conjunction with job fair."]

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Shoe giveaway Tuesday in Atlanta."]

Filed under: Kyra Phillips
May 1st, 2009
03:56 PM ET

Request: Kyra's "CDC lady" interview

A commenter 'kelly' just left us this note:

please upload the video of you interviewing the CDC lady yesterday!!! I need to see it again and its not on youtube. you were pushing her on the issue of calling it swine flu…she was being evasive about the origin and said that it really didnt matter where it came from. OF COURSE it matters where it came from so we can stop it from happening again! Its the pig farms down there and the disgusting inhumane, unsanitary conditions in the farms. They’re trying to protect industry at the cost of human health! I think so many mexicans died becuase of a bacteria issue down there that combined w/ the flu, possibly since they were all complaining about respiratory issues around the farms!

Well, for technical reasons, we weren't able to pull the video. (Sorry!) But we wanted to 'kelly' to get that information. So here's a transcript of Kyra's interview with Dr. Cynthia Whitney, an epidemiologist with the CDC:

KYRA PHILLIPS: All right, Cynthia. Well, let's get right to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. Had a chance to talk to him yesterday. We had a bit of a back and forth on whether you call this swine flu or not. This is what he had to say.


TOM VILSACK, U.S. SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE: Well, it shouldn't be called "swine flu." That's the point. It should be called H1N1, which is what basically, technically what it is. It's different strands of viruses and flus. There's a human strand, for example, in this combination. This is a new combination.


PHILLIPS: What is your reaction to that? Do we call it swine flu or not?

WHITNEY: Well, that's a very good question and there's a lot of discussion going on about that right now. And that's - the decision will be coordinated through W.H.O.

PHILLIPS: OK. But the origin of this virus is swine. Even if you look at the CDC Web site, you are still calling it swine flu. It's got some bird. It's got some human. So, the origin is swine, correct?

WHITNEY: Well, part of the virus is similar to what we see typically circulating in swine. So, that's why we originally gave it that name. We are going to participate in this name discussion, and we'll coordinate with World Health Organization on that.

PHILLIPS: OK. Got it. So, it's still kind of up in the air at this point.

WHITNEY: Exactly.

PHILLIPS: All right. Talk to me about the team of investigators from the CDC and also the USDA right now down in Mexico. Have you actually started testing animals to try and trace the potential source of this virus?

WHITNEY: To my knowledge, we have not done that yet.

PHILLIPS: So, what will be the purpose, then, of you being there? Is that the goal, to test the hogs?

WHITNEY: Well, we have a team of investigators that are working on all sorts of the investigation in Mexico. I know we have investigators that are looking at the patients that have become ill, trying to understand the characteristics of their illness and the transmission patterns. I understand we also have people down there in the laboratory, trying to shore up their laboratory testing methods.

PHILLIPS: Are you interested in the hogs as well?

WHITNEY: That's a discussion we'll take with the Mexican authorities and proceed as we should.

PHILLIPS: So, there's a lot of political issues, then, trying to find a happy medium on what you can do and can't do, is that right? Because of the two governments?

WHITNEY: Well, you know, that, but also based on what we're learning down there. If it makes sense, you know, I'm sure that avenue would be pursued.

PHILLIPS: So, let me ask you, as an epidemiologist, are you interested in finding the reservoir, you know, AKA, the infected animal, that could be the source of this virus?

WHITNEY: Well, I think that's a question people are curious about. But at this point, the real concern for us is trying to prevent infections in people. So, at this point our main messages are do what you can to prevent yourself getting sick and preventing others from getting sick. At this point, our main messages are, if you're sick, stay home from work. Don't send your child to school if your child is having symptoms. Wash your hands frequently. And cover your cough with either a tissue or your sleeve. You know, going back to the reservoir of the pigs, at this point is not going to stop the person-to-person transmission.

PHILLIPS: Well, and we're talking about the person transmission - person-to-person transmission right now, but do you see it essential, though, to trace the origin of this in order to figure out how to prevent it from happening again or getting worse at this point? Maybe I should - let me - let me backtrack. Of it happening again. Is it important to find the origin to prevent it from happening again?

WHITNEY: Well, there are all sorts of questions we're investigating, and that may be one of them. I mean, we know from other episodes of Influenza that there has been - have been times when the - in fact, the virus has spread from animals to humans. So that's not out of the question. We already know that.

PHILLIPS: So, how do you figure out what the proper vaccine is?

WHITNEY: Well, what we're doing is evaluating the strains of virus that we've gotten back from patients. We're looking at the characteristics of those viruses, seeing which ones grow up well into this so-called seed strain and selecting the ones that seem most appropriate.

PHILLIPS: So, when you study the virus and you look at the scientific parts that you just mentioned, will that be able to tell you, OK, more than likely this is where it came from? So, let's go back to the source.

WHITNEY: Not - not really. I mean, we know that the virus has some characteristics of viruses that do come from pigs. There's some characteristics of viruses that come from birds. But I don't think we can specifically pinpoint that based on the information we have right now.

PHILLIPS: And I just want to reiterate, 36,000 people in the U.S. die of the regular flu every year. Do you think, within the media, are we adding too much hype to this when you've got so many people that die from the regular flu annually?

WHITNEY: Well, this is a brand new virus. We really don't know how it's going to behave, so I think giving information to the public is really key. The media's helping with that. We're working with our partners to help that. And we're asking people if they have any questions at all, go to and we're posting information there constantly and updating the information.

PHILLIPS: Cynthia Whitney, I sure appreciate your time.

WHITNEY: My pleasure.

May 1st, 2009
01:21 PM ET

The :30 Pitch-Clint White

With more than 6 million people looking for work, it can be tough for job seekers. We're doing our part to connect unemployed job hunters with possible employees. Check out today's pitch from Clint White. He's a corporate pilot who got grounded by downsizing.

Filed under: :30 Second Pitch • Kyra Phillips
May 1st, 2009
12:16 PM ET

Web Watch: Resume Help

Website of the Week:

There are a lot of resume sites out there, this is our favorite. It's a "plug and chug" site.  It's easy to use and you don't have to mess with "tabs" or formatting.

Filed under: Jobless Not Hopeless • Nicole Lapin • Tony Harris • Viral Video • Website
May 1st, 2009
12:11 PM ET

"Planes are Germy Anyway"

“Planes are germy anyway,” CNN Executive Producer Jennifer Bernstein said to me over the phone today. I was talking to her about how paranoid I got while flying this week because of swine flu.

I travel by plane a few times a week, mostly for work. I’m in the air enough to earn platinum miles status on Delta and a few other airlines. (This reminds me, I need to get rid of all those US Airways miles from my stint in Philadelphia. But I digress.)

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Don Lemon receives Alumni Distinguished Acheivement Award from Brooklyn College."]

I flew to New York last Sunday morning to attend an awards ceremony at my alma mater, Brooklyn College. I had just anchored three hours of swine flu coverage, and all I could think about was being in a confined space with a few hundred other people. At least one of them was bound to have been in Mexico recently.

I found myself looking around at people, especially the people who looked tan, like they had been on a beach vacation. The couple sitting across from me fit the profile. They were freshly sunned. They wore shorts, flip-flops and slept for most of the two-hour trip to Kennedy International Airport. Oh, and that’s another thing. I hadn't flown in or out of Kennedy International in years. I usually fly to LaGuardia, sometimes Newark. But rarely do I fly into Kennedy International.

(I’m italicizing International for obvious reasons. I felt it greatly raised my chances of coming into contact with an international traveler who had been in contact with swine flu.)

I tried to relax. Even though I was exhausted from working late the night before, I couldn’t. I heard every cough, every sniffle, every sneeze. “Don’t you people cover your mouths?” I kept thinking to myself as I looked around to see people coughing into the headrests in front of them.

I thought about the last time I had this uneasy feeling while flying. It was a few years ago during the SARS outbreak. On late notice, NBC sent me to Toronto from New York to do a quick story on SARS for The Today Show. “Fly up and fly back,” they said. I ended up staying there for two weeks. Needless to say I had to buy clothes.

Then, no one spoke the entire plane ride to Canada. In fact, the plane had relatively few passengers; not empty, but sparse. There were people wearing surgical masks on the flight and in the Toronto airport because of SARS. There were people wearing surgical masks on the Toronto streets. And just as I arrived, the incidences of people becoming ill started to increase; thus my two-week stint.

I interviewed a number of people who had come down with SARS. One elderly man in particular stands out in my mind. I wasn’t afraid but my crew was. The sound tech placed the microphone on the man's front lawn and walked away from it. His wife walked outside, retrieved the microphone and then placed it on him inside the house. He sat in the front window of his living room so we could get a clear camera shot of him. I stood on the sidewalk and interviewed him from about 50 feet away. I was embarrassed. But I did not have children. My crew did. And they said they didn’t want to take any strange bugs home to their families. I certainly understood that. By the way, we left the expensive microphone and the cable with the couple to keep. The camera crew didn’t want to risk it.

Suddenly, recalling that experience eased my fears. I realized how many of us had overacted during that outbreak. Sadly, people had died then. But Sudden Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) faded from the headlines. And as I sat in the crowded plane the other day at Kennedy, I prayed now that swine flu would do the same. I relaxed and took the attendant up on her offer of a fruit plate for breakfast. I opened up my favorite section of the Sunday New York Times, “The Week In Review.” And I quietly gathered my thoughts about what I’d say as I accepted the alumni award for distinguished achievement.

If it was time for me to cross paths with the swine flu bug, then so be it. Grandma always said, “Life is for the living.” And she was right. Just keep living, I thought.

But first I had to go wash my hands. Again!

Filed under: Don Lemon
May 1st, 2009
11:20 AM ET

Here Comes the Judge!

Supreme Court Justice David Souter wants to go home to New Hampshire. This will be President Obama's first opportunity to influence the direction of the Court. A lot of potential nominees are being tossed around as we all play The Name Game. It's your turn to join in. Tell us who you'd like to see President Obama nominate to the Supreme Court. Who's not getting enough representation on the nation's High Court? Post your comments!

Filed under: Tony Harris
May 1st, 2009
10:37 AM ET

Time on your hands this weekend?

Festival of Nations – St. Paul, MN

Art Chicago – Chicago, IL

The Bamboozle – Newark, NJ

World Horror Convention – Winnipeg, Manitoba

Tulip Time – Holland, MI

Orangeburg Festival of Roses – Orangeburg, SC

Dandelion May Fest/Great Dandelion Cookoff – Dover, OH

Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival – Amelia Island, FL

Richmond Mushroom Festival – Richmond, MO

World Famous Armadillo Festival – Hamburg, AR
Toad Suck Daze Festival – Conway, AR
(150 miles apart... ROAD TRIP!)

Cinco de Mayo Fiesta – Portland, OR

U.S. Capitol Bible Reading Marathon – Washington, DC

NASA Jet Propulsion Lab Open House – Pasadena, CA

Mock Prison Riot – Moundsville, WV*
(*OK, maybe don't take part in this one...)

Filed under: Kyra Phillips
May 1st, 2009
10:32 AM ET

CNN Weekend Prime show meeting

Don Lemon and the CNN Newsroom show team prepping for the weekend prime show

CNN Weekend Prime show team huddles at Legal Seafood across from the CNN Center to brainstorm the upcoming weekend shows.

L-R: Don Lemon, Emily Kean, Glenn Emery, Bonnie Turner, Jen Bernstein (not shown: Annika Young, Bhaskar Nair, Rob Harber)

Filed under: Don Lemon
May 1st, 2009
08:00 AM ET

Pontiac: We're gonna miss you!

Here's what else is on our minds this Friday morning:

The end of an era – well, it seems that way to me anyway. We’re talking all about Chrysler on our show today and let’s not forget GM announced on Monday that they were doing away with the Pontiac. And that’s the part that makes me sad. My first car, you see, was a 1989 Pontiac Grand Am. And I loved that little car. It was white with a silver stripe, and boy, did it get me where I needed to go. I brought this up in our morning meeting today, and no one really seemed to have that much love for Pontiacs. In fact Doug, one of our writers, made a joke about Yugos. And I know my little car wasn’t one – but Pontiacs were the great muscle cars of our time.

I’m glad reporter Brian Todd shares my thoughts – he did a story that is basically an Ode to Pontiac. We’re running it our 9am eastern hour. And we’re also going to tell if you can still repair your car if you own a Chrysler.

From Sara McDonald

Here's another view ... from one of our resident smart aleck writers (we have quite a few):

Will anyone notice?

General Motors announced this week that they’re cutting Pontiac from their roster, as part of a broad restructuring plan.
This prompted people to think back to Pontiac’s glory days.
The Bandit (Burt Reynolds) driving his Firebird Trans Am.
Jim Rockford driving a Firebird in the Rockford Files.
The Trans Am made a comeback as the car in Knight Rider (it was replaced by a Ford Mustang long after David Hasselhoff moved to the beach).
Other than those high-profile appearances, where has Pontiac been?
Record-setting stock car driver Richard Petty piloted his Pontiac to more than 200 wins.
But there’s no more Pontiac in Nascar.
GM stopped supporting the racing brand in 2003.
Now, we’re left to remember the good ol’ days.

My colleagues wanted to share their memories, with Bev German’s fond recollection of the family’s Bonneville (but they really wanted a Cadillac).

Sara McDonald’s first car was a 1989 Grand Am (not exactly a classic). (See above for Sara's story).

Do you have any personal Pontiac stories to share?
We’d love to hear them.

From Doug Furnad

Filed under: Anchors • Heidi Collins
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