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October 11th, 2009
09:14 PM ET

Dramatic Rescue at Sea

Fredricka Whitfield talks to a Coast Guard officer who helped pull 3 people to safety after their plane crashed Saturday in the Gulf of Mexico.

Filed under: Anchors • Fredricka Whitfield
October 11th, 2009
09:05 PM ET

Happy Birthday Dad!

Fredricka Whitfield sends birthday wishes to her dad live on air.

Filed under: Anchors • Fredricka Whitfield
October 11th, 2009
05:15 PM ET

Sigourney Weaver's Staying Power

Who doesn't admire staying power? When I learned I'd be interviewing actress Sigourney Weaver, lots of things ran through my mind:

"Alien," the movies starting in 1979. Her height. Her seemingly consistent steely demeanor. Then fast forward. Her recent role in the over-the-top hilarious movie "Baby Mama." Wow, what a transition. And wow, what longevity in the entertainment industry. In "Baby Mama" she played a, shall we say, later-in-life expectant mother determined to make the baby-making dreams of every other woman possible. But all in a stoic yet humorous way. So while the focus of my interview with her would be about her longtime commitment to save and rescue mountain gorillas in Africa, I was anxious to talk about those film things I just mentioned. But I also knew I needed to be consious of the on-air time allotted for the interview. Most importantly, I've got to get in the very serious gorilla discussion with a new East African facility about to open and an Animal Planet show about to air. Two and a half minutes into our on-air chat about gorillas, yes, she gave me a perfect segue into "Baby Mama" and "Aliens." So the turn was made. Perfectly delightful, warm, and engaging, Ms. Weaver jumped right in. Chuckling along with me about the fun and quirkiness of her "Baby Mama" drama and at the same time forever embracing the ageless command of "Aliens"' Ripley. No grass growing under her feet. She says she's got five movie projects coming out this winter.

You go!

Filed under: Anchors • Fredricka Whitfield
October 11th, 2009
02:28 PM ET

Sigourney Weaver's Animal Magnetism

Say the name "Sigourney Weaver" and many of you immediately think "Alien." But those sci-fi thrillers aren't the only pivotal films in the career of this three-time Academy Award-nominated actress. Weaver received one of those honors for her performance in "Gorillas in the Mist: The Story of Dian Fossey." The 1988 biopic changed Weaver's life, for the better. While filming in Rwanda, she grew to love the gorillas, and became active in efforts to protect them. She explained her close connection to these "gentle giants" in a CNN NewsRoom interview. Check it out!

Filed under: Anchors • Fredricka Whitfield
October 11th, 2009
11:39 AM ET

Dude, you drive a Saturn?

Every so often, there's a story in the news that hits home. That was the case for me recently, when GM's deal to sell Saturn to a new owner fell through, apparently dooming the brand.

I own a Saturn.

Once upon a time, owning a Saturn was a little like being a member of a special little club, or as some less charitable observers put it, a cult. There was all the "different kind of car company" advertising; the round of applause when you drove your new car off the dealer's lot; the annual "homecoming" at the Saturn plant in Spring Hill, Tenn. There was, to my knowledge, no secret handshake, but that may just have been an oversight.

Today those of us who bought Saturns are in a different type of club, The same club as the folks who bought Oldsmobiles and before that, Desotos and Studebakers, not to mention Edsels (and please don't!). We own defunct cars.

Compared to what the people who build and sell Saturns are going through, my problems are admittedly miniscule. Other GM dealers will service Saturns, and GM will continue to honor Saturn warranties. Kiplinger's Personal Finance predicts that resale values will fall a little bit, but considering all the coffee and soda spills I've inflicted on my car over the years, I never really expected its eventual resale to fund my retirement.

This is more of a wound to my dignity because yes, I worry about What People Will Think. This is, after all, the car I'm seen in almost every day. It's not like the old leisure suits I keep safely hidden in the back of my closet.

Will people reflect on my lack of foresight for buying a car that would eventually go dodo? Is this like buying shares in White Star Lines just before the Titanic sank or cornering the market on sundials shortly before the invention of the clock? Will people on the street point at my car, laugh at me and ask incredulously, "Dude, you drive a Saturn?"

Or on the other hand, will my extinct car become a distinct car? Maybe my Saturn will be a collector's item, a nostalgic reminder of happier days when Detroit thought it could stop the rising tide of imports with "no haggle" deals and dent-resistant doors. Maybe I'll be able to take my Saturn to a car show, and proudly put it on display between a 1957 Chevy and an original Volkswagen beetle.

I can dream, can't I?

For now, I'm just going to put the key into the ignition and keep on driving as if I don't have a care in the world. Nothing lasts forever, after all, and eventually we're all defunct. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. Sheet metal to scrap metal.


Filed under: Anchors • Fredricka Whitfield
October 11th, 2009
11:18 AM ET

Max Cleland: Survivor

Former Senator Max Cleland is a veteran who fought in the Vietnam War. He came home as a triple amputee. He says he didn't know at the time that his unseen injuries would run much deeper. He's written a book about his life experiences. We talked to him about the war in Afghanistan, the worldwide battle against al Qaeda, and his own personal battles.

Filed under: Anchors • Fredricka Whitfield
October 11th, 2009
07:35 AM ET

"Best Jobs in America"

This morning we showed you this new list from naming the "best" jobs in the U.S. It looks at which fields are growing even in the recession, which pay the best, which offer the greatest "benefit to society" and which come with "lowest stress."

Agree/disagree? What do you think?

Filed under: Josh Levs
October 11th, 2009
04:34 AM ET

Ahead in the CNN Newsroom...

President Barack Obama delivers a rousing speech to the nation's largest gay rights group.

A militant standoff is defused in Pakistan. Saturday's assault was the third major attack in Pakistan a week.

The Vatican - recognizing a number of new saints today. Among them, the famed Father Damien of Kalaupapa, Hawaii.

And our Reynolds Wolf sits down with a shark attack survivor whose life's work has been to teach people about the species.

Join Betty Nguyen and Drew Griffin in for TJ Holmes in the CNN Newsroom, beginning 6am ET/ 3am PT.

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Filed under: In the Newsroom
October 11th, 2009
03:45 AM ET

Redefining Beauty

Glamour magazine recently assembled some of the top "plus-size" models working today for an eye-popping photo shoot. Glamour says these beauties bared all to "continue an extraordinary dialogue on body image."

One of these models, Anansa Sims, dropped in on the CNN Newsroom for a chat with our Betty Nguyen. Joining them from New York - Anansa's proud mom, supermodel Beverly Johnson.