American Morning

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October 23rd, 2009
09:13 AM ET

Pilots could face 'serious discipline' for silence

Air safety investigators are studying voice and flight data recorders to find out whether the crew of Northwest Airlines Flight 188 was asleep at the controls. Air traffic controllers could not contact the flight crew for more than an hour yesterday, triggering fears of a possible hijacking.

Peter Goelz, former managing director for the National Transportation Safety Board, says the pilots are facing a serious disciplinary situation. He spoke to John Roberts on CNN’s “American Morning” Friday. Below is an edited transcript of that the interview.

John Roberts: Peter, I know there are a lot of details yet to come out about this. What's your initial reaction to what happened? What are you thinking here?

Peter Goelz: Well, this is really disturbing. The pilots are saying they were engaged in a heated discussion, and that that distracted them. And there are indications, also, that the NTSB is going to look at whether these guys were simply asleep. But in any case, they certainly were not doing their jobs.

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Filed under: Airline safety
October 23rd, 2009
09:07 AM ET
October 23rd, 2009
08:08 AM ET

Airliner overshoots airport; controllers feared hijacking

By Mike M. Ahlers
CNN

WASHINGTON (CNN) - A passenger flight from San Diego, California, to Minneapolis, Minnesota, overshot its destination airport by about 150 miles Wednesday, and federal investigators are looking into whether the pilots had become distracted, as they claimed, or perhaps fallen asleep.

An aerial view shows downtown Minneapolis.

An aerial view shows downtown Minneapolis.

Air traffic controllers lost radio communication with the Northwest Airlines Airbus A320, carrying 147 passengers and an unknown number of crew, when it was flying at 37,000 feet, according to the National Transportation Safety Board. There was no communication with Flight 188 for more than an hour as it approached the airport, the board said.

When air traffic controllers finally made contact with the pilot, his answers were so vague that controllers feared the plane might have been hijacked, according to a source familiar with the incident.

The controllers in Minneapolis ordered the pilot to make a series of unnecessary maneuvers to convince them the pilots were in control of the flight, the source said, adding that fighter jets were poised in Madison, Wisconsin, but were never deployed.

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Filed under: Airline safety
October 23rd, 2009
07:15 AM ET

Parents divided over the H1N1 vaccine

By Nailah Ellis Timberlake

The Centers for Disease Control reports that 41 states are currently experiencing widespread influenza activity and that the number of cases is unprecedented.

Clinical trials to test the effectiveness and safety of the H1N1 vaccine have been under way since the summer.

Clinical trials to test the effectiveness and safety of the H1N1 vaccine have been under way since the summer.

Among the heavy flu states is New York. In New York City, the numbers of infected were huge last spring at the outset of the H1N1, or Swine Flu epidemic.

Even though young children are being the hardest hit by the swine flu, many parents are not sold on the idea of vaccinating their young children. Queens resident Darrow Hill, father of a 4-year-old girl, is adamantly against it.

"I don't believe that giving vaccines at an early age is a good idea," he said. "It doesn't let the body fight off illnesses naturally and it leaves the body susceptible." In a press release issued this week, New York City Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley said that, "getting vaccinated is safe, effective and simple," and urges parents to allow their children to be immunized.

Darrow said he would let his daughter get vaccinated only if a child she had been in direct contact with became infected.

Turia Goggins is a teacher's assistant at a Harlem elementary school where her students have already been sent home with permission slips for their parents to sign – or not sign – depending on whether they wanted their children to receive the H1N1 vaccine.

"At work, I'm worried about being infected and I'm constantly washing my hands and using hand sanitizer and having my students do the same," Goggins said. "It's overwhelming to be put at risk working in a school every day and then to worry about my child's health as well."

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Filed under: Health
October 23rd, 2009
07:10 AM ET

White House releases portrait of first family

The White House unveiled this portrait of the first family this morning. It's the first official White House portrait of the Obamas. The picture was taken by famed photographer Annie Leibovitz.

President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, and their daughters, Sasha and Malia, sit for a family portrait in the Green Room of the White House, Sept. 1, 2009. (Official White House Photo)
President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, and their daughters, Sasha and Malia, sit for a family portrait in the Green Room of the White House, Sept. 1, 2009. (Official White House Photo)

Filed under: White House
October 23rd, 2009
06:26 AM ET

Should kids be reality TV stars?

By Carol Costello and Ronni Berke

Will Falcon Heene be forever known as "Balloon Boy?" It sounds silly, maybe even funny – unless you’re Falcon Heene.

The Heene family - including Falcon, second from right - on CNN's ''Larry King Live'' last week.

The Heene family – including Falcon, second from right – on CNN's ''Larry King Live'' last week.

The Heene incident begs the question: is it time we re-evaluate how children are used on reality TV? Exactly why are we so interested in watching kids stumble, and sometimes fall on shows that we see as Hollywood and they may often see as real life?

On the program “Supernanny,” kids are seen at their worst on national television, with parental consent – all so Mom and Dad can get advice on "how to parent" from Supernanny, Jo Frost. The show's a hit, as are so many others that feature children.

Some say Richard Heene used the adorable assets for a shot at adult fame. And remember Octomom? She and 14 kids are currently "in production." But some experienced Hollywood producers have bucked that trend.

Watch reality TV kids Video

“I don't use children in any of our reality programs,” says Scott Sternberg, a veteran reality TV and executive producer of such programs as “The Academy” and “On the Case with Paula Zahn.” “We have done kids’ game shows where kids compete for prizes and for good things. But no, I've never done a reality show with children and certainly not using children to get their parents on television,” he adds. “Once you put a child in any kind of a serious situation where there can be repercussions, then you're changing those children's lives forever.”

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Filed under: Just Sayin'
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