tv Today NBC July 9, 2009 7:00am-9:00am EDT
good morning. burial mystery. where is michael jackson's body? where will he be laid to rest? and what really caused his death? we have new information on the investigation, and the feud that may be brewing within the jackson family. marriage ltdown. a successful executive charged with attempted murder after police say he held his ex-wife hostage during a day of terror, then burned their home to the ground. this morning, how she escaped. and babies on skates. ♪ ♪ to the hip-hop won't stop ♪ ♪ up to the boogie to the rhythm of the boogie ♪ >> the amazing video that's now a global sensation "today,"
>> the amazing video that's now a global sensation "today," thursday, july 9th, 2009. captions paid for by nbc-universal television and good morning, everyone. welcome to "today" on a thursday morning. i'm matt lauer. >> and i'm natalie morales in for meredith, who's making her way back from los angeles. matt, of course, a lot of mystery now into where michael jackson's body is. but we're also learning a lot about some tension within the jackson family. >> a apparently they had a lot of trouble agreeing on what to do for the memorial service, let alone where jackson's final resting place might be. i guess it is somewhat understandable. you've got a very large family, and they're all coping with a sudden and emotional loss. this is all happening as the los angeles police chief speaks out about the doctors who are being questioned in connection with jackson's death. we're going to have the latest on all of this coming up in just a little while. >> also this morning, america's obsession with bottled water. we consume 8.6 billion gallons
of it just last year alone. but is it any healthier and cleaner than tap water? we're going to take a look at some new concerns that have some researchers urging you to reach for the faucet instead. also president obama is in italy for key talks at the g-8 summit. but it is the official escort for michelle obama and the spouses of some other world leaders who's grabbing a lot of the headlines. why? well, she is a former topless model. how'd she end up with such an important job? we'll talk about that in just a little while. >> and, matt, i understand you have a very interesting interview coming up this morning which i can't wait to see. >> to say the least. we're going to be talking to austrian fashionista bruno. it is bruno, the man who wants to be uber famous will be here live for an interview a little later on. >> are you sure you're ready for that? >> not really. >> first let's begin with new information on the death of michael jackson. nbc's jeff rossen is at jackson's star on the hollywood walk of fame. jeff, good morning to you. >> reporter: hey, matt, good morning to you. you know this town very well.
nothing is secret here for very long. which makes this so surprising. big mystery brewing here. where is michael jackson's body? no one can seem to know. but we do know where his brain is. this is the last time we saw michael jackson's casket, at the staples center tuesday. from there, destination unknown. but now, we've confirmed the l.a. county coroner's office has jackson's brain. at least a part of it. investigators are analyzing his brain tissue. it's uncommon, but could help determine what killed him. >> they'll be looking to see whether there is any evidence of prior brain damage, whether from drugs or trauma or post-viral infection. >> reporter: on his official death certificate, la toya jackson provides all the information. cause of death, deferred. she lists forest lawn cemetery as a temporary location. that doesn't mean he'll be laid to rest there. to be buried at neverland, the family would have to apply for special permits.
nbc news has learned they haven't yet. but as jermaine jackson told matt, neverland would be the ideal resting place. >> this is his home. he created this. why wouldn't he be here? i feel his presence. >> reporter: it remains unclear where he'll be buried or when. the enigma that was michael jackson continues even in death. >> michael's life was a great story, but ultimately also a great tragedy. and if you knew him you know it was full of agony and ecstasy. >> reporter: which is exactly why investigators are digging in. did jackson's doctors prescribe pills for cash? and did those pills kill him? i spoke with los angeles police chief william bratton. >> we're certainly interviewing doctors. we're certainly interviewing friends. certainly trying to get an understanding off of what role drugs may have played in the life of mr. jackson. >> reporter: are you confident there will be criminal charges in this case? >> no, not at all. >> reporter: as detectives probe jackson's final days, racking up officer overtime, the city of los angeles is on the look for
more than $1 million, providing security and other services at the memorial. there's outrage that the city had to pay the bill at all. more than 10,000 jackson fans have logged in to the city's website to donate money. officials say that's not good enough. they want all of it back. >> it would be wonderful if the jackson family would consider assisting the city defraying some of the costs of this. it would also be tremendous if aeg would help us in defraying the costs on this. >> reporter: and it's not over yet. there's still the high profile battle over jackson's estate. and of course, the kids. >> and i just want to say i love him so much. >> reporter: mega stars, by default. heartwrenching every time you see it. this is far from over. you still have the estate hearing. the family trying to figure out where to bury michael jackson. and also that custody hearing set for monday. sources say there's a major infighting going on within the jackson family that they could
all barely agree on how to handle the memorial. and that, as you said earlier, it's fairly understandable after all they've been through. >> they're going through a very tough time. jeff rossen in hollywood, thank you very much. it's now six minutes after the hour. here's natalie. >> now to president obama's trip to italy, where key meetings on the global economy and other international issues are under way. nbc's savannah guthrie is traveling with the president. savannah, good morning. >> reporter: good morning, natalie. well, the economy will be front and center today. the leaders agree those big interventions like stimulus spending can't go on forever. but they say the economy is still too fragile to return to business as usual. the president started his morning with brazil's president lula da silva and was presented with the brazilian soccer jersey. >> that's beautiful. >> reporter: the summit of eight world leaders began wednesday, with a key move on climate change. the leaders agreed to keep the world's temperature from rising more than two degrees celsius, but developing nations like china and india, refused to
commit to stricter goals. on iran, the leaders issued a statement to deplore most-election violence and saying they're deeply concerned over the nuclear issue. but there were no new sanctions. >> it's very important for the world community to speak to countries like iran and north korea and encourage them to take a path that does not result in a nuclear arms race. >> reporter: the leaders are gathering in l'aquila, italy. a town devastated by an earthquake in april. on wednesday, italian prime minister silvio berlusconi gave the president a personal tour of the damage. the president paused to glad-hand with first responders. >> the fire fighters of the united states, they're very proud of you. >> reporter: mr. obama seemed to be a hit with firefighters. but some residents, still living in tent cities three months
later, had a not-so-subtle message to the visiting american president. a twist on his campaign slogan. yes, we camp. well, the summit wraps up today, but tomorrow the president and first lady will still be in italy, natalie. they'll meet with the pope. >> and savannah, do we know if president obama talked with brazil's president about david goldman? of course, he's the new jersey father locked in that custody battle with the brazilian family over his son sean? >> well, an administration official tells me it did not come up today. but that this is something the president continues to be concerned about, and presses at all levels of government, including the secretary of state. but they had other issues on the agenda today, so it didn't come up. >> savannah guthrie reporting from rome. thanks so much, savannah. coming up, we're going to tell you about the controversial hostess showing the g-8 wives around town. >> that should raise some eyebrows. let's get a check of the rest of the top stories. ann is taking some time off. hoda kotb is standing by at the news desk with the headlines. >> good morning, everybody.
it has been a deadly morning in iraq and afghanistan. bombs in baghdad and in northern iraq killed at least 41 people, and wounded more than 80. the deadliest attack took place where 34 people were killed in an attack near a judge's house. and a massive truck bomb exploded in central afghanistan killing at least 25 people. at least 13 of the victims were children from a nearby school. another bombing killed two nato soldiers. a solemn ceremony, the bodies of seven u.s. troops killed this week in afghanistan returned to the u.s. on wednesday, arriving at dover air force base in delaware. tensions remain high this morning in western china, despite a massive government crackdown on protesters. nbc's ian williams is there. >> reporter: chinese security forces do appear to be back in control of this city. but it remains tense following some of the worst unrest seen in this region in decades. they have continued to flood into the city. a massive and calculated show of
force. the chinese government, determined to stifle days of turmoil here. helicopters have been dropping leaflets, trucks with loudspeakers cruising the streets, calling for unity. officials say 156 people have died, as hundreds injured in clashes involving the country's han chinese majority and the uighurs, a muslim minority, native to china's xinjiang region. the two sides blame each other for the violence. the government organized a visit to one of the city's biggest hospitals where most of the injured we saw were han chinese. most with head and stab wounds. sustained, they say, in unprovoked attacks by uighur mobs. it was indiscriminate. they attacked anyone, this woman told me, as she tended to her husband, who sustained serious head wounds. though she's in a uighur neighborhood, residents claim they're the victims of han
chinese, but also of brutal security force crackdowns. it's calmer today, a semblance of normal life returning to the streets here. but only under the watchful eye of thousands of riot police. for "today," ian williams, nbc news. more infighting between house speaker nancy pelosi and her allies and the cia director. house democrats say leon panetta told them the cia misled congress repeatedly since 2001. the cia says panetta never said that. it comes on the eve of a house debate on an intelligence bill that president obama is threatening to veto. overseas markets are mostly higher this morning. good news. trish regan is at the new york stock exchange. what are you watching? >> good morning, hoda. we are watching retail companies. basically, they're reporting their retail same-store sales for the month of june, and this basically looks at this june versus last june. and so it gives you some real insight into the health of the consumer. costco came up this morning and
said sales were down 6%. nonetheless, that was pretty much as anticipated and the reason the sales were down was actually because gasoline prices were lower. so they made a little less money. also alcoa reported after the bell, lost less money than expected, but still lost quite a bit, hoda. >> all right, trish, thank you so much for that. violent storms wednesday in kansas flipped big rigs on their side, one of them crushing a car. the driver was seriously hurt. high winds also ripped a roof off a motel and left thousands of people without power. and 11 environmentalists from greenpeace were arrested wednesday after scaling mount rushmore. they unfurled a banner about global warming. that was right next to president lincoln's face. it is now 12 minutes after 7:00. let's go back to matt, natalie and alexandra. >> all right, hoda. >> alexandra steele is here because al is taking some time off. she's here from the weather channel. you've got the forecast for us? >
>> we have nothing to complain about. and we'll see a date much like at a but even perhaps cooler. partly cloudy today, 78 our forecast high with light southeasterly winds. the same thing for tomorrow. matt? >> all right, alexandra, thanks very much. now to a connecticut advertising executive facing
kidnapping and attempted murder charges after police say he put his ex-wife through a day of terror. nbc's peter alexander is in south windsor, connecticut with that story. peter, good morning to you. >> reporter: matt, good morning to you. this appeared to be one serious case of a marriage meltdown. you can see this morning all that's left of the home is some still smoldering rubble after police say a disturbed man took his ex-wife hostage, and then took on the cops, refusing to leave the home, even after setting it on fire. nancy tyler's day of terror at the hands of her armed ex-husband richard shenkman ended shortly after dark. after being held hostage for more than ten hours, police say tyler escaped from a basement bucker where she says she'd been handcuffed to a bolt in the wall. an hour after tyler was wheeled away on a stretcher tuesday night, police say shenkman torched the couple's old home, then with fwlams raging, police say shenkman fired shots at them, but stayed inside. >> our message to him was simply that we wanted to help him.
that we wanted him to surrender himself. we wanted him to come out peacefully. >> reporter: shenkman and tyler's explosive divorce was finalized last year after a bitter 12 years of marriage. he was already facing arson charges for allegedly burning down the couple's summer house in 2007. authorities say shenkman, an advertising executive whose former media firm produces tv shows for oprah's best friend gail king abducted tyler tuesday morning. during the standoff, shenkman made four calls to karen florence, a local reporter at the day newspaper, threatening he'd blow up the house, claiming it was rigged with video cameras and loaded with explosives, and warning officers would die unless they met his irrational list of demands, including sending a judge to remarry the couple, as well as a priest to give tyler her last rites. >> i don't understand why he'd want a priest to give her his last rites if you're not going to harm her. >> they're going to do this. they're going to storm the house. >> reporter: shenkman also put his ex-wife on the line.
>> i don't want either of us to be hurt. i want both of us to come through this and move on. >> reporter: at times the reporter was exasperated trying to calm the man. >> i'm leaving in a body bag. >> reporter: hours later as the home was burning to the ground, shenkman finally gave up. >> once that fire came down and engulfed the basement where he was located, he really had no choice but to come out. >> reporter: tyler says during the standoff her ex-husband held a gun to her face and counted down from ten, telling the reporter, i truly don't know why he didn't kill me. still suffering from smoke inhalation, sherngman was arraigned in his hospital bed wednesday. he faces a long list of charges right now, matt, including attempted murder, kidnapping and arson, and his bail has been set at $12.5 million. >> wow. all right, peter, thank you very much. peter alexander in south windsor, connecticut, for us this morning. 16 after the hour, here's natalie. >> matt, thank you. before you grab that bottled water and walk out the door, do
you really know what's in it? some new questions are being raised about its safety and value. nbc's tom costello is in washington with more. tom, good morning. >> reporter: hi, natalie, good morning. you know, bottled water is hundreds of times more expensive than tap water and there are hundreds of bottled water companies that are out there promising their water is pure and clean. some even vaguely suggest medicinal or healing powers. but it turns out most of us know less about what's in our bottled water than we do about what's in our tap water. it's a sizzling hot summer day in july. so you grab a bottle of water. but, do you know what's in it? >> my kids love to drink bottled water. they love having it around. >> i can take it. i can just drink it on the bench or whatever. >> i prefer it. it tastes better than tap water. >> reporter: well, if you think bottled water is cleaner than tap water, some environmentalists say you may be in for a surprise. >> more than half of people who drink bottled water are drinking it because they think it's healthier. safer, purer than tap water.
by law, it's not required to be any of those things. >> reporter: the environmental working group and advocacy group investigated 200 popular brands of water and found less than 2% disclose the water source. america's thirst for bottled water seems unquenchable. from 13 gallons per person in 1997, to more than 28 gallons per person last year. bottled water is now an $11 billion industry. but the fda doesn't require bottled water suppliers to tell consumers where their water originates or what's in it. instead congress heard of bottlers who promise unique health benefits. >> some of them make wild claims like they can change the molecular makeup of water and make it healthy. or they play music while they're bottling the water. >> reporter: the fda found that claim intriguing. >> i'm not a musician, but i would still express skepticism about that one. >> reporter: but guess what, municipal water providers are required to tell customers what's in the water.
including the trace amounts of contaminants found through daily tests. and 25 percent percent of bottled water comes from the tap. the bottled water industry association says consumers do have a choice. >> consumers have many options when choosing which bottled water brand to drink. if a bottled water company does not provide them with the information that they want, he or she can choose another brand of bottled water. >> reporter: or drink from your own tap. turns out the tap water, according to most experts, across most of the country, is very safe, and very clean. now, this congressional subcommittee is asking a dozen bottled water companies to say, where does their water come from, and what specifically is in it, as congress and the fda consider requiring stricter labels for bottled water. guys, back to you. >> very interesting, tom costello, new york city tap water, my favorite. >> a lot of people like it around here. by the way, whatever you think of bottled water, whether you buy it or not, here is a little different take on the topic. evian, the bottled water company, wants to boost its brand with a new ad campaign, i don't know if it's going to
work, but the footage is great. take a look. >> how does drinking evian make you feel? ♪ to the hip-hop don't stop ♪ ♪ up to the goog i go to the rhythm of the boogie ♪ ♪ rocking to the beat and leads to groove ♪ ♪ i am one and i like to say hello ♪ >> that's amazing. >> 30 seconds of a 60 second spot that was shot in london. it's been released on youtube. it hasn't been released on tv yet. apparently they wanted to test to see if it was popular. i think you can tell it's going to be popular. >> apparently over 4 million have viewed them already on youtube. i was one of them. my son josh loved it. it's great. makes you laugh. >> so you understand. the real babies were used in filming it, just their heads and probably parts of their bodies.
but then all of the stunts were clearly done -- >> they had to clarify that. >> they're not stunt babies. >> no. coming up, the looming custody battle over michael jackson's children. will the stark contrast between the jackson family and debbie rowe factor in the case? we'll get some expert perspective. but first, this is "today" on nbc. ]phtpññ
waxed paper good morning, everybody. i am stan stovall. the mta has called a help to try to figure out why the driver of a light rail trade failed at to see "teenage boys walking on the tracks. the baltimore county police department will head up the investigation with the ntsb and others. the investigation is expected to take about 30 days. they will use audio and video from the trains and involved and interview witnesses.
they will try to find out if the driver of the train was on a cell phone variant of the two boys suffered deadly injuries after they were struck for but -- from behind on sunday. here is a more on your commute. >> we have a few early morning problems to deal with. washington boulevard at route one has an accident in the elk ridge area. it is jammed up on the beltway down to west nursery row her -- a road. you are seeing a back up southbound on a 795 from goins mills to that beltway. stop and go traffic heading down to edmundston. that is elitist and now the weather. >> we have a forecast 570
7:30 now on a thursday morning. it's the 9th day of july, 2009. lots of folks have rolled out of bed early to join us out on the plaza. we're always thankful for that. getting a little music this morning. listening to the sounds of rascal flatts. the country trio will be here tomorrow morning, live in concert. if you're in the area, come on down. they should be a lot of fun. meanwhile, i'm matt lauer alongside natalie morales. meredith is off today. coming up in this half hour, you've probably heard the ads pitching everything from cars to appliances in this bad economy. and pitching those products to people who may be in danger of losing their jobs. but, are the offers as good as they seem? just ahead, a warning before you dive in to one of those deals.
>> also this morning, when it comes to the economic crisis, is legalizing marijuana the answer to the financial crunch facing a lot of states? well, the idea is now being pitched in a controversial new ad campaign that is sparking a lot of debate. we're going to hear from both sides coming up a little bit later. >> and also, why a former topless model is now in charge of showing michelle obama and the wives of other world leaders around italy. >> okay. first up, though, who will michael jackson's children end up with? someone in his family or debbie rowe, who said at least last week, that she now wants custody? nbc's chris jansing has the latest. >> reporter: for more than a decade they were hidden behind masks. >> michael was their voice. >> reporter: their father's farewell became the formal unveiling of prince michael and paris and blanket. it was a heart-breaking debut. >> ever since i was born, daddy has been the best father you could ever imagine.
and i just want to say i love him so much. >> reporter: with that, 11-year-old paris collapsed into the arms of her aunt janet. >> a picture is worth a thousand words. you can't look at that and not realize the close relationship that these kids have with the jackson family. ♪ smile though your heart is agoing ♪ >> reporter: at the memorial, it was the unscripted, unspoken moments that resonated loudest. paris' head resting on her grandmother katherine's shoulder. embraced by aunt la toya. prince leaning on aunt janet, clinging to family. ♪ we are the world we are the children ♪ >> reporter: and singing one of their dad's songs. >> whatever beefs there were between the brothers and sisters and michael in life, you know that they will take care of
those children. >> reporter: there could not be a starker visual contrast than this, the jacksons, and the biological mother of the two older children, debbie rowe. >> do not touch me! >> nobody touched you here. >> you just did! >> reporter: debbie rowe's lawyers say she still hasn't decided whether she'll sue for custody though there is an initial court hearing on monday. now in the past she said the children were her gift to michael. here she is, in 2003. >> my kids don't call me mom because i don't want them to. they're not -- they're michael's children. >> reporter: experts say she has a strong legal claim, unless giving her custody is ruled a detriment to the children. >> the detriment is, this is a person they don't know. it would be a travesty to put those kind of hurt children, who are going through this period of losing a parent, that apparently they had a fabulous relationship with, it would be a travesty to just throw them to a stranger. >> reporter: in the days following michael jackson's
death it was their grandmother katherine filing for custody. la toya and janet, who returned to the mansion where michael died, to pick up the children's clothing and toys. there have been memorable images of children before them, robbed of famous parents too soon. william and harry, walking behind the casket of princess diana. caroline and jfk jr. and his memorably poignant salute. now paris at the microphone, and blanket with his aunts and sister, clutching his michael jackson doll. for "today," chris jansing, nbc news, los angeles. >> wendy murphy is a former federal prosecutor and jeanine pirro is a former district attorney and court judge. good morning to you both. let me start with you, janine because you've actually been a judge in family court in cases like this. we don't know what rowe will do come monday when it is expected the custody issue will come up before a judge. what we saw was the jackson clan, surrounding the children,
comforting little paris. a picture is worth a thousand words. but is it really legally relevant? >> well, in california, it is clear that the biological mother has superior rights to anyone else. but that is only one line of thought. at the end of the day, the judge has to determine what's in the best interest of these children. is this a mother who, by her own actions, has established that everything about her is biologically counterintuitive to the position that she seeks to assert as a mother. the kids don't know her. she wasn't with them at their time in need, clearly. and that visual that we just saw in the clip speaks volumes. >> the visual of her -- >> of the children with the jackson family. >> right, right. >> and it's clear that there's an extended family. michael wanted his mother to have custody. and at the end of the day this woman is not a fit mother. >> in your mind the judge's decision is probably already made just by what -- >> look at the evidence. but i think that not just what we saw at the funeral, but in sterms of what she's done. she's tried to give up parental rights. has given up custody.
and by the way there's another issue. there are reports it's not her eggs. and so, if it's not her eggs, but -- >> she's denying those reports. >> what matters, the egg or the womb? >> the court has already determined that she is the legal mother. you know, that's pretty settled, egg or not, at this point. >> and wendy, when you talk about the biological rights, though, when it comes down to it, nature versus nurture, how do judges tend to decide? >> 20 or 30 years ago, the one who gave birth would win. but we can make babies through all kinds of technologically new ways now. including ivf and surrogacy and so forth. so it isn't so simple anymore. debbie rowe does have a thumb on the scale. but i think she's easily bumped off that position for all of the reasons janine suggested. and her performance in the past week or so, the f-bomb on television. >> as the paparazzi were trying to -- >> you think that's going to harm her? >> i think it doesn't help. >> in presenting her custody debate? >> i think it doesn't help. because if you can't restrain.
you know the world is watching you, trying to figure out whether you would be a good mommy and you can't restrain yourself from using the "f" word. the other thing that's really significant is her indecisiveness. last thursday in the morning she said, i'm filing for custody. by the evening, she hadn't made up her mind. what's a judge to make of a mother who isn't sure she wants to raise her own children? >> what about her own words? i mean the interview that we saw where she said i have chosen not to be called mommy. michael jackson really was, from the minute these children were born, the caretaker of these children. how much will using her own words then, janine, go against her? >> any judge is going to look at what she said in sworn testimony, in interviews -- >> the money that was paid to her. >> who sells her own children? who tries to give up parental rights? who tries to give up custody. this is a woman who is, by every idea of fact not a good mother. >> and really quickly, the youngest child, blanket, is not her biological child. this is a child that was conceived by a surrogate.
>> yeah. >> we don't know the identity of this other person. what happens to blanket? >> well, blanket, as a matter of law, is really an orphan. clearly an orphan. his mother is irrelevant. i'm sure that her rights were resolved by contract and that's fine. so the question for him is simply what's in his best interest? and i think the court is going to be clear, among other things, he should be with his siblings. >> right. >> and that will weigh against debbie rowe's interests. but the judge is going to say to debbie rowe, how come every time you show up, it's related to money. every time you show up, you say you care about the children, somebody hands you a check and you walk away. that's not good parenting. i don't think she's going to win not even a close call. >> and you know what, california law recognizes that these children should be together, there is no question they will ultimately be together. and i think that at the end of the day, katherine jackson is going to get them. that extended family is what these children need, what they're used to. deborah rowe was someone who was basically a stranger to them. >> all right. wendy murphy, jeanine pirro, thank you. of course, remains to be seen
"today's money" is brought to you by lendingtree.com. when banks compete, you win. this morning on "today's money," what seemed like good deals in a very bad economy, with consumer confidence low and unemployment high, retailers are getting very creative to sell everything from big ticket items to prescription drugs. to people who are worried about losing their jobs. "today's" financial editor jean chatzky is here with details. jean, good morning. >> good morning. >> i don't understand, is it a good idea for people who are worried about losing their jobs to even be considering buying big ticket items? >> you know what i'm going to say. you need your emergency cushion first, if you can afford to buy a new car, then you can afford to buy a new car. but i do think that there is a difference between needing a new refrigerator, because yours broke and you have to put one in the house, and wanting something
else. and you have to consider that. >> so take care of necessities. these deals we're going to talk about in a second, they sound great, are companies doing this because they're kind and generous, or is there a catch to most of these? >> a catch may be putting it a little bit strongly. but there is fine print you absolutely have to read it, and you have to understand that you have to lose your job to take advantage of these deals. you can't just quit. >> all right, let's talk about that refrigerator you just mentioned. sears is offering a good deal. >> exactly. if you buy an appliance -- that costs more than $399 and you lose your job, they will take over the payments, essentially, they will put 1/12 of the cost of that appliance into your account every single month for a year, if at the end of the year you haven't gotten another job, you get to keep the fridge. >> is there a catch to this one? >> you have to have been paying for that appliance for two months before you get into the program. and you have to buy it on a sears citibank credit card. >> pfizer is doing something that also sounds generous, dealing with prescription drugs. >> right.
70 prescription drugs, if you've been on them for three months and you lose your job, they will take over and give you those medications for up to a year, until you get that job. >> who qualifies for that? >> essentially it's anybody who has lost their job, and who doesn't have other insurance or prescription coverage. you can't have a back door to get those prescriptions another way. >> what jumps out at me about this is while these plans sound pretty good, if people do go off and lose their jobs, the company has to absorb some of the costs, aren't they going to defray that by passing it on to consumers in other areas? >> i think you're absolutely right about that. just as they will defray the cost of having inventory that is sitting around and not moving. these companies are doing this because it's working. >> discover bank. this is a plan that allows people to withdraw money when they need it, even if it's ahead of a deadline. >> we're talking about a 12-month cd here. and you have to put in at least $2,500. and they will allow you to get at your money without penalty. this one's interesting. there's not a lot of money on the line here unless it's a really big cd.
but particularly for people who remember when cds were paying 12%, 18%, there's a big fear about breaking a cd. >> jetblue offering something when people have booked airline tickets? >> right, usually if you cabsle an airline ticket you have to pay a $100 penalty. now they're saying they will give you that cash. you have to have booked the ticket and paid for it yourself. somebody else on the trip can't have lost the job. >> and real quickly virgin mobile, a cellphone plan especially for people in a little bit of financial trouble. >> exactly. if you have been on the plan for awhile they will make three months worth of payments up to $90 each for you. >> we've just given like five of these. if these work for the retailers and these companies are we going to see a lot of other companies get on board? >> that's where we're seeing thome begin with. hyundai started a plan in january, sales were up 14% month-to-month. other cars were not selling. so it's working. >> jean chatzky, as always, thanks very much. appreciate it. >> sure. >> coming up next, the former topless model escort be michelle obama around italy. that's right, you heard me correctly. right after this.
back now at 7:49 with more on the first family's overseas trip, and why one of their guides in italy is stealing a lot of the headlines. keith miller is in rome with the details. keith, good morning. >> reporter: good morning, natalie. well the g-8 meetings are all about foreign policy, international economics. but here in the land of romance, italy's notorious prime minister has sizzled up the agenda with
his domestic politics. silvio berlusconi's wife has left him because the 72-year-old prime minister adores the attention of beautiful women. taking her summit role as first lady, a former topless model, and current minister in his cabinet. mara carfagna is now the official escort for michelle obama and the spouses of other world leaders. on wednesday she joined several of the world's leading first ladies for tea with the pope. while carfagna may be the minister of equal opportunity, but she was also voted the world's sexiest government minister by a men's magazine. and his political party actively promotes show girls and starlets as candidates to the european parliament. could this be a sign of a mid-life crisis? >> i think he's a long-life crisis i would say. this is something that's been going on for a very long time. this is the ultimate italian latin lover. the one that just needs to have
girls constantly. and he tells this. he spends three hours every night in sex. >> reporter: berlusconi seems to do everything right, even when he's wrong. he dismissed allegations that he paid a high-priced call girl to spend the night in the prime minister's residence. he claims his relationship with an 18-year-old underwear model is purely platonic. it means nothing, said the prime minister, accusing his critics of lacking a sense of humor. in america, he would resign from office, and go into hiding. but here, his popularity rating has hardly suffered a blip. >> i think particularly this scandal, he gets by with it because he is a 72-year-old man. i think if he were a younger man it would be harder for, perhaps, the other heads of states to forgive him. but he's a 72-year-old man. and if he's got a sex scandal i think people accept that more than if he were a 52-year-old man. >> reporter: still, he has critics. there is a petition to remove him from office. with some people claiming, he
has a casting couch approach to politics. the prime minister, however, is not apologetic. apparently believing that every man in italy wants to be him, and most of the women, want to be with him. the prime minister has five more years in office, and shows no signs of resigning. and after all, natalie, all the skeletons in his closet are out there for all the public to see. >> all right, keith miller in rome. thank you, keith. just ahead, as if he does not knock us off the air, bruno the austrian superstar wanna-be who's taken over our control room will stop by for an exclusive morning interview. >> jim, are you going to let him do that to you? >> after this, will i be hosting "good morning, allentown." your local news and weather are next.
>> live, local, late breaking. >> good morning, everybody. it is 7:56. let's look at the commute. >> good morning, everyone. we're not doing bad that this morning. just a few problems bus. if you are on route 1 in elk ridge, we hear of an accident that is still wrapping up and the right line is closed. southbound 295 is the gem from the baltimore beltway down. it is pretty consistent there. the inner loop, if you are traveling from camp meade to the interlude, there is a closure.
you are looking good on the jfx. let's switch to a live view of the white marsh area. some delays are lingering southbound to the beltway. that is the latest. >> plenty of sunshine out there. it is gorgeous. we'll see partly cloudy skies throughout the afternoon. later on, we will see some clouds in the picture. that means a daytime high of about 78 degrees at the airport. it is pleasant with east winds at 10 miles per hour. it will hold steady for at least two days. it is a great way to wrap up the work week. a front will get through here saturday night. warm and humid saturday, showers and storms potentially in the evening, could on sunday at 85 and by the middle of the week,
i used to love when our kids were little, we would camp in the backyard, and he'd pee in the lawn and in the bushes. >> wait a minute, what are you talking about? you don't do that when you camp in the yard. >> you just go into the bushes. we wouldn't go back in the house. i mean, you're camping. >> you're not camping if you're on your front lawn. meredith, you're not doing it, your kids are doing it. but you're not doing it. >> of course, yes, we did it as a family. yes! it was toethally -- >> you did it as a family? >> yes. >> what are you chlt the crazy von trapps? let's all ling arms and pee. >> that's one of the bizarre little anecdotes meredith decided to tell conan o'brien last night on "the tonight show" when she was winging her way back from los angeles. and actually something she does here on the plaza a lot, also.
the "p" on the plaza. meredith's not here today. i'm matt lauer along with natalie morales. thursday morning, the ninth day of july, 2009. and from that strange story to a rather bizarre interview coming up in this half hour. >> good luck with that. >> this is going to be interesting. the crowd out here getting a little bit of a taste of bruno. the global phenomenon. he is the austrian fashionista. he wants to be uber famous and he's going to sit down for an exclusive, live, morning show interview with us in just a couple of minutes. >> you are going to make him uber famous or you're going to lose your uber fame. >> that's probably right. >> will we see you tomorrow morning? >> oh, let's hope so. if all goes well. >> also ahead -- ook. okay. also on a more serious note a controversial solution to the economic crisis. a new ad is now running in the state of california, calling for the state to legalize marijuana beyond medicinal purposes.
the group behind it claims that taxes alone would pay the salaries of about 25,000 teachers and the idea, as you can imagine, is frigerring a renewed debate over the topic. we're going to hear from both sides of the issue coming up. >> also this morning, we're going to do some grilling out here on the plaza. we've got a bigger grilloff. three top chefs are going to show us their unique spin on the classic american burger. >> my favorite segment of the morning. >> all that coming up. but first let's go inside, ann is off this week. we have hoda kotb taking a look at the headlines. >> good morning, everybody. the global economy is front and center today as day two of the g-8 summit gets under way. earlier on the topic of iran the leaders issued a statement deploring post-election violence and saying they are deeply concerned over the nuclear issue, but recommending no new sanctions. meantime first lady michelle obama toured the town devastated by an earthquake in april.
today, the iraq bombings have left at least 41 people dead. more than 80 others hurt. two bombs exploded in baghdad's sadr city but the deadliest attack happened north of the capital in talafar where a suicide bomber struck outside a judge's home. and in afghanistan, at least 25 people lost their lives when a truck bomb went off outside a school this morning. it left 13 young students among the dead. today in sacramento, a rally is being held for laura ling and euna lee, two american journalists jailed in north korea. on wednesday, laura's sister lisa ling told our affiliate kcra that she spoke to laura by phone this week and she admitted she broke the law. >> she was very deliberate and clear in her message, which was, look, you just have to know that we did violate north korean law. we broke the law, we are sorry, and we need help. we need our government's help to try and get amnesty, because
that really is our only hope. >> laura ling and euna lee were sentenced in june to 12 years of hard labor for illegally crossing the border from china. police in tennessee have confirmed that former quarterback steve mcnair's death was a murder/suicide with his girlfriend pulling the trigger. police say she suspected mcnair, who was married, of having an affair with another woman. fans turned out wednesday at the stadium where he once played. today the government holds a day-long summit to assess how prepared states will be to handle swine flu in the coming months. 90-minute police chase through dallas ended violently. newly released police dash cam video shows a driver weaving in and out of traffic, and jumping a curb before crossing through an intersection, and getting rammed by a pickup truck. the driver of the car, a forgery suspect, is hospitalized. the truck driver was not injured. and talk of a new kind of fish tank. several armored personnel carriers were dumped into the atlantic ocean off south carolina's coast on wednesday.
>> the showers and storms for us are well out of the area. we will see high-pressure dictate things again. there is more of an easterly flow today and i will be about 78 and tomorrow 81 degrees korean and for all your weather needs, let's head to the weather channel on cable or weather.com. matt? >> all right, alexandra, thank you very much. when we come back, is legalizing
marijuana the answer to a struggling economy? as an unscientific survey, we'll talk about it right after these messages. yes, we do. and we can say 700 miles on a single tank and epa estimated 41 mpg city and all the words stick because they're true. we speak the most fuel-efficient midsize sedan in america. we speak the all-new 2010 ford fusion hybrid. get in... and drive one. but now they have new areas where i can find the brands i use every day-- and save even more. so that's what they mean by unbeatable. save money. live better. walmart.
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what's in your wallet? ♪ this morning on "today's" health, should marijuana be legal? a first of its kind and controversial ad debuted on wednesday on many local television stations in california. take a look. >> sacramento says huge cuts to schools, health care and police are inevitable due to california's budget crisis. even our state parks could be closed. but the governor and legislature are ignoring millions of californians who want to pay taxes. we're marijuana consumers.
instead of being treated like criminals for using a substance safer than alcohol, we want to pay our share. taxes from california's marijuana industry could pay the salaries of 20,000 teachers. isn't it time? >> and with us to make the case for and against legalizing marijuana aaron houston with the marijuana policy project who helped create that ad and dr. andrea barswell, a former director of 9 national drug control policy and nbc's chief medical editor dr. nancy synderman. let's clarify, california already legalized marijuana for med smedicinal purposes. >> right. right now there are 13 states that have said by law you can use marijuana for medicinal purposes, everything from lou gehrig's disease, glaucoma, chemotherapy, nausea, to gain weight in anorexia. that's sort of how it's been carved out. this bill being floated around
in california would legalize marijuana and tax marijuana for all purposes, beyond just the need for medicinal marijuana. >> there is a pill form of marijuana. but what people are doing is fighting to legal iz it across the board? >> what gets you high when you smoke pot is something called thc, which has been synthesized into a drug called marinol. so the anti-people will say don't legalize marijuana, you can use the drug. if you talk to patients who used marinol, they will say nice try but it is not as effective. so there may be more going on when you inhale marijuana. >> aaron you're the group responsible, partly responsible for putting that ad out looking to make marijuana legal for all purposes, not just medicinal. why now? why are you starting this in the state of california? >> well, the state of california is a logical place to start because it has a crippling budget deficit facing that state right now. additionally california was the first in the nation to make medical marijuana available for seriously ill patients.
additionally, california could make -- run a billion dollars in tax dollars from legalizing it, taxing and regulating marijuana like alcohol. but more importantly and more broadly across the board, marijuana is the nation's largest cash crop valued at $36 billion a year, bigger than corn and meat combined. and partially because of that the mexican drug cartels which have gotten such notoriety recently actually make 70% of their profits from marijuana sales alone. which is a remarkable figure. staggering. they're active in 230 american cities. we'd like to control marijuana, regulate it. >> legalize but regulate. >> regulate it like alcohol or tobacco. and we can see that the current policy on marijuana has not worked. since marijuana was first banned in 1937, use has gone up by 4,000%. >> dr. barswell, let me bring you into the debate. you disagree with this proposal. why? >> i disagree because there are lots of states across the country that have crippling budget issues now, with
unemployment, and erosions of their tax base. and they're finding it difficult to pay for many social services, including treatment. the reality is 60 cents out of empry dollar we spend on treatment in this country goes to pay for marijuana and abuse dependence. and there is no reason for us to make marijuana more available in a cheaper form, more widely available, and increase the burden to society. tobacco costs us about $200 billion a year in its consequences and the tax on tobacco will only pay for about 20% of that. there's no reason to believe that we would not see the costs soerked with marijuana use soaring if we made it more available and cheaper. >> go ahead. >> i don't know if that's a fair characterization, saying that so many treatments for marijuana in particular. in fact, probably a large bulk of the treatment dollars she's talking about come from alcohol. some of the social consequences and the costs come from alcohol, are much more dangerous substance than marijuana. toxic, you can actually die from
just the withdrawal symptoms alone. >> it's interesting. because let's talk about one of the claims in the ad, and that's that it states that alcohol is actually worse for people than marijuana is, and aaron, let me ask you, i mean what evidence do you have to back that up? >> well -- >> what are you basing that claim on? >> the national institute on drug abuse, take that for example, says that some of the worst symptoms associated with marijuana withdrawal are irritability, strange dreams and difficulty sleeping. compare that to alcohol, and certainly dr. nancy would be a bet are authority than i, but take alcohol where death can occur and grand mal seizures can occur from the withdrawal symptoms. >> we have to be very careful that we are comparing apples and oranges. any time you inhale smoke, just as a physician, whether it's spoke from a burning building or cigarette or cigar or marijuana. >> it's causing damage. >> well, there's something. there's always a tradeoff, whether it's a pill or a drug there's always going to be a
tradeoff. >> and dr. barthwell you say that the cost of this is going to be much greater than any benefit to a state or state budget, right? >> well, what we've got to remember is that health advoc e advocates such as myself and others have purned back on tobacco and we really have tobacco at an all-time low use in this country, and part of what's driven that is taxation, and a public health campaign that focused on the negative health effects of tobacco. it doesn't make sense to me, while all america's eyes are focused on washington and health care reform, and the fact that we need a health promotion system in this country, we're trying to eat organic, exercise, eat better, wear sunscreen in our safety belt and we've been effective in pushing back on tobacco, that we would promote smoking another substance. >> we're going to have to leave the debate there. unfortunately this is just the beginning of the discussion. aaron houston, thank you. dr. andrea barthwell and dr. nancy synderman. up next, a live interview with
the flamboyant fashionista bruno. the flamboyant fashionista bruno. right after this. building my life, while my high cholesterol was contributing to plaque buildup in my arteries. that's why my doctor prescribed crestor. she said plaque buildup in arteries is a real reason to lower cholesterol. and that along with diet, crestor does more than lower bad cholesterol, it raises good. crestor is also proven to slow the buildup of plaque in arteries. crestor isn't for everyone, like people with liver disease, or women who are nursing, pregnant, or may become pregnant. simple blood tests will check for liver problems. you should tell your doctor about other medicines you are taking, or if you have muscle pain or weakness. that could be a sign of serious side effects. while you've been building your life, plaque may have been building in your arteries. find out more about slowing the buildup of plaque at crestor.com. then ask your doctor if it's time for crestor. announcer: if you can't afford your medication, astrazeneca may be able to help.
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"today's" entertainment is sponsored by buick. the renaissance continues with the new buick 2010 lacrosse. >> we're back now at 8:20. sacha baron cohen brought us borat and now we have bruno. he's been called everything from vulgar to brilliant. and one thing's for certain, whenever you find bruno, you'll find trouble, as well. take a look. >> by fredrick? >> well, thank you. >> yeah. >> okay. >> thank you. >> yes, you haven't finished. >> yes. yes. >> stop.
>> and bruno, we welcome you to "today." it's nice to see you. nice to see you -- whose idea was it to wear a velcro suit to a fashion event in milan? >> you know, it was mine. not that there were several. but why did i do it? why do artists do anything? why did louis armstrong walk on the moon? you know. why did steve build rome in a day? why did leonardo dicaprio paint the mona lisa? just don't know. >> but it ruined the show. >> yeah, it was a disaster. it was worse than dar four. it was darfive. >> it also ruined your career in europe. you lost your job hosting a
television show. you were blacklisted from basically every fashion event in europe. is that what made you come to the united states? >> you know, it's to come here and become like an internationally respected figure like heidi mon tag from "the hills." >> and to seek uber fame? >> you know, want to become uber famous. i want to become the most famous celebrity from austria since hitler. >> so what -- what is the -- what has the reaction been in this country, as compared to how people in your home of austria tend to react to you? >> you know, they treat guy austrians really well here. i mean in california, they made one of them governor. or didn't you know? >> moving along -- >> you not only traveled to the united states. you obviously traveled to california, to texas and then you set off on a trip to the middle east. >> that's right. >> and i just have to ask you, do you think you were fully aware -- >> i think it's told the middle -- >> were you fully aware of the issues of that region, the
conflicts of that region before you set off on that trip? >> you know, matt, it's like a lot of research. it's like watched the mummy returns and also like 20 minutes of aladdin. >> but you seemed to be confused about some very basic things. for example in speaking to an israeli and palestinian representative, one on reert side of you, you confused hamas with hummus. >> yeah. they're basically the same thing. >> but do you know they aren't basically the same thing? are you a little clearer on that issue right now? >> well, it's a situation like really complex. i mean, the palestinians have got their enemies, you know, the israelis. but i've got my enemies, too. my enemies is carbohydrates. i've had to declare jihad on haagen-dazs. but the real problem there is fashion. right? i mean if all i saw was like a black burqa and some sandals i'd blow myself up, too. i mean here is a statistic, a great statistic, america, not
one suicide bomber has ever blown themselves up while wearing marc jacobs. >> i'll look at up. i'll look that up. as long as you bring fashion up. i was watching as you went around the world to promote your documentary on becoming uber famous, some strange outfits. we saw you dressed as a bull in madrid. >> that's right. >> we saw you dressed as a beefeater, a british guard in london. >> that's right. >> has that been working for you? >> well, the world tour was totally amazing. i mean, it went to nine countries in 18 days, which is more than any austrian since 1941. you know. although the favorite bit was definitely paris, which, of course, is named after america's skankiest bimbo. >> let me talk about some reaction to your film, and there's been a lot of it, not all positive, and it hasn't even been released yet. a representative from the guy and lesbian alliance against defamation said quote my fear is in parts of the country where guy men and lesbians are still unable to adopt children or can
lose their job for being guy, bruno is going to make things worse for people. how do you react to that? >> well, why all this backfighting from my restaurant? i never saw the restaurant community getting upset about buzz light-year. you know. it's a great thing to have always been persecuted. plato, aristotle, shakira. >> but there are some people in your own country, for example, the austrian minister to great britain has called for a boycott of your movie. >> what? >> he's called for a boycott of your movie. doesn't want people to go out and see "bruno." >> he's -- austria is turning on me now? i just heard about this now. it's a very private moment. close-up, please. that is just so austrian. they build you up and then they knock you down. first they did it to arnie, then they did it to moez art. he had to leave, i don't know where he lives now.
it's only a >> like, local, late breaking. >> good morning. it is 8:26. new developments in a criminal case against mayor sheila dixon as the state prosecutor calls witnesses before a grand jury. three witnesses are being called to testify about the alleged use the get carved by the mayor. she is accused of stealing get cards intended for needy families. the mayor's attorneys are asking the judge to bury the subpoenas, arguing that the prosecutors are trying to tie up the case. >> we are not quite through with the rush hour. if you're traveling southbound on the harrisburg hartwig, there
will be delays. we are dealing with a lace southbound on 295 from the belt way to west and nursery row. -- west nursery road. let's give you a live view of traffic on the outer loop. watch for lane closures in the area past providence. let's go to fort mchenry where it is a nice ride. that is believed this. >> another gorgeous morning. our current temperature is 68 degrees at the airport. the humidity is low and it will remain comfortable. our temperatures will remain below normal with a high of 82 degrees. winds are out of the east and we are getting a clockwise flow of a high-pressure system out of new england.
♪ we're back now, 8:30 on a thursday morning. it's the 9th day of july, 2009. we've got a great crowd gathered in rockefeller plaza. we're happy to have them here today. but they should also join us tomorrow if they like great music. because in our 8:30 half hour tomorrow morning, rascal flatts will be here putting on a show. outdoors. if you're in the area, come on, check it out. we look forward to it. >> and it's not the only concert we have lined up. because on monday, the fray will be here. and you can win tickets to see them on tour.
just make a great poster or a sign, and the band, along with live nation, will give tickets out to the show to the makers of the 25 best signs. >> and also coming up on "today," you can smell the burgers over there. we're going to have a little bit of a burger cookoff and pick the best burger. and also if you're wondering where our wedding couple is going on their honeymoon? we're going to figure that out. you guys get to vote at home. we're going to find out. >> lots to get to. first bee also want to tell you that harry potter and the half-blood prince is going to hit theaters next wednesday. this time we understand it's about more than just the battle of good and evil for the young wizards. take a look. >> anyway, you can't take anyone. apparently it's a love potion. >> really? >> hey, she's only interested in
you because she thinks you're the chosen one. >> but i am the chosen one. >> and if you're looking forward to seeing that movie you're going to be looking forward to this young lady right here. emma watson joins us. nice to see you. >> good morning. >> so love is in the air, i understand, like a romantic comedy, almost. >> it is. it's -- i think it's the funniest of all. >> it is. >> you spend a lot of your time, i understand, being jealous, being a little heartbroken, was that tough for you in this movie? >> well, yeah. but sometimes it was a nice. sometimes it was quite dark and then happy and scary and it's nice to do a bit of comedy for a change. >> you've really grown up on screen over the series of movies that have been out. you started when you were 9 years old. how much have you kind of blossomed on the stage? >> gosh, i don't know. i certainly learned a lot. >> you're all grown up. >> yes. >> thank you. yeye
"today's kitchen" is brought to you by hershey's bliss chocolate. bliss is everywhere. you just have to unwrap it. >> -- summer to find the best, must-try burgers in every state. so we decided to bring a few of what we thought were the most unusual and wacky ones to our plaza to give a try. our contenders this morning. aaron mccargo junior the host of big daddy's house on the food network. aid up raider, owner and chef of mother's federal hill grill in
baltimore, maryland. and tom perrini. owner and cook at the steak house in buffalo gap, texas. we've got natalie and hoda doing taste testing down at the end. good morning. this is a serious competition. i'm going to start with you aaron and i want you to tell me what's new and different about the burger you're making today. >> check it out. what i did was i created the burger off the grill with the pizza and made them both together. pepperoni pizza sauce, shredded mozzarella cheese. pregrill my burger. store bought pizza dough. right in the middle is your bufrg ir. that pizza sauce with the mozzarella cheese and pepperoni right on top. take the dough, fold it over. >> are you going to put that right on the grill? >> right on the grill. just grease it up. seal it up. form it like a burger. >> and put it on there? let me try it before i move down. >> you got it. >> hoda and natalie, you try, also. >> okay. >> thank you. >> get the pope roney, the
cheese. >> aaron, that's good. that is good. >> all right, okay. >> adam, what's crazy about this burger? >> i don't know if you've ever had one, we had inspiration from one of our favorite restaurants in new orleans. >> you got a big burger to start. >> eight ounce burger stuffed with cheddar cheese as you can see. >> inside it, okay. >> season it with salt and pepper. flour it so the batter sticks. we have a delicious beer batter here we make with spice and any of our favorite beers. microbrews preferred. >> this is a heart attack, isn't it? >> yeah, it's a heart attack on a plate. no one's had a heart attack yet. >> how long do you have to fry that now? your burger was not precooked. >> you want to take the temperature every couple minutes. i like to serve it around 140 degrees. >> is that medium rare? >> it's about medium. >> can i have a taste of one of these? >> oh, yeah. >> you know what, just cut off a little. is this one okay? >> it's crunchy. >> you've got to get some of the
cheese in there. let me help you. >> go ahead. >> i'm going to eat that just with my fingers. >> there you go. >> all right my first fried burger. natalie and hoda? adam, good. >> thank you very much. >> tom, how are you? >> good morning, sir. >> tell me about the cowboy type burger. >> this is like an old-fashioned burger. there's no tricks with this. except we use great beef, what we do is we certified angus, ball it up and actually what i do is bang it out. this is the way we used to make hamburgers years ago before they've gotten too fancy. >> i still make them that way. >> it's a great way to do it. you get thickness with this. i season this with our steak rub which gives it a little kick. >> okay. and what do you put on top of it? >> well, this is, let me put this real quick. this is -- excuse me. we use a sourdough bun. but in this case i'm going to do
some mushrooms, all of these things are great flavors. i have cheddar cheese on this. i'm going to put mushrooms that i can keep on top. >> are cheese chilies? >> green chilies? >> these chilies are not hot but they give that wonderful flavor that we are so accustomed to. >> okay. >> why don't you cut me up a little piece of that. hoda and natalie. >> right here. >> hoda and natalie are going to try that while i take a bite of this one. can anybody get their mouth around this thing, other than hoda i mean? i'm sorry, hoda, i'm just kidding. >> wow! so wrong. >> that's my favorite. >> go in the silent booth over there for a second, okay? >> i need another pizza bite. >> what do you think? >> hoda? >> what do you like? >> this one. >> the same. >> all right. >> done.
>> the judges have reached a decision. judges, come on up and join me here. >> unanimous. >> aaron and adam and tom, stand here, and we want to tell you that we thought they were all great. that's what we say in every competition. you are all deserving chefs, but -- >> all very different. >> all very different. we have decided that tom, this burger is the best this morning. >> congratulations. >> thanks, matt. >> you're the winner of the burger cookoff on the "today" show. >> oh. >> give him a hug. it will be a nice surprise. >> you guys, thank you all. thank you for sharing your recipes with us. there's your trophy. how about that? we'll be back with much more ahead on a thursday morning. but first, this is "today" on nbc.
"today throws a wedding," ten years of i dos, brought to you by purina. your pet, our passion. our "today throws a wedding" celebration, live on the plaza, is just next wednesday. and this morning it's time to take leigh and nick's honeymoon destination. they're here along with missy ewing from virtuoso travel. good morning to everyone. >> good morning. >> and leigh and nick we have a little business to take care of once again this morning. because our viewers have voted for you on the choice of your wedding band. so are you ready to see what they picked for you? >> we're ready. >> i've got the little box right here in my hand. let's see. i'm going to hand this over to you, leigh, and let you do the honors. and if you can just point it to that camera. >> all right. >> and -- there you go. it's number 4. it was the de beers rings, which were classic pave, and are you happy with that? >> yes, very. perfect. >> it will go very nicely with
that emerald engagement ring. >> it will. >> and you're going to wear that wedding band, right, nick? >> you know -- >> okay, good. >> i need that back. you can't have that till next week. let's get to our honeymoon destination, shall we? because a lot more excitement. misty, you and virtuoso travel put together four incredible packages. so let's take a look. first is the land and sea combination. tell me about this. >> it is. it starts with the caribbean. the couple will bard the world's largest cruise ship, royal caribbean's freedom of the seas. they'll have an opportunity to experience all the cruise ship has to offer. they can surf, they can tan, they can splash without ever leaving the ship. after five nights the couple will disembark and check into the open suite of the ritz-carlton grand cayman. with the famous seven mile beach awaits. and leigh and nick will also get to reaffirm their love with a private beach ceremony. >> so this is a tropical
paradise for the two of you. okay. so that sounds amazing. the second honeymoon choice is going to take you a little further from the u.s. to the other side of the world, to be exact. and misty, what's part of the great australian experience? >> well, the journey begins in business class aboard qantas airways new a380 jetliner as they make their way to the deluxe resort of qualia. they will have their own pavilion and explore the great barrier reef and the beaches. the couple will return to sydney and stay at the observatory hotel where they'll relax with ten hours of spa treatments. and they'll be vips, enjoy bike riding, bridge climbing, surfing and even koala cuddling. >> oh, my gosh. that sounds amazing. hold on, because the third honeymoon option combines luxury with a little bit of the exotic as you head to the bustling and one of the most beautiful places on earth, cape town south africa. so what's included in this option, misty? >> the first leg starts on south african airways, premium business class.
upon arrival, the couple will spend four unforgettable nights at the new one and only cape town with views of the iconic mountains. leigh and nick will enjoy four days and nights in a suite on its own private island. and next you will head to the famous game rich 33,000 acre property in the national park, and this exclusive safari boasts 15 open air suites where the wildlife of the bush can be enjoyed in first-class style. >> oh, my goodness. i want to go. >> i'll be the chaperone. lastly arabia's jewel oman, which some are calling the new hot spot right now, misty, right? >> just outside of dubai. >> it is. it is the next honeymoon spot. fly business class abard qatar airways and arrive in ultimate style via paraglading. they'll have a private pool villa suite to call home for the next five days and dine under the arabian stars of nights. you'll then transfer to the
capital of owe man where scuba diving and historical pressures await, as does a visit to the sultan's private palace complete with camel rides and a romantic trip to the desert dunes. >> so what do you think? >> oh, my gosh. i am blown away. >> no matter where you go, it's going to be amazing, as you saw by that. so, misty, you and virtuoso travel did a great job of putting together some great packages for you, leigh and nick. coming up next, a lot we should tell you. it's up to you to decide for them and the choices are once again, a cruise to grand cayman. australia, number three south africa, or honeymoon number four is oman. you can cast your vote at todayshow.com or text the number of your favorite destination to 46833. this time voting ends monday at 2:00 p.m. eastern time so you have a little more time to think about it, perhaps. we're going to hold off on revealing the winner until right after leigh and nick's ceremony which will be next wednesday again. get ready. coming up next, a new
that. some airlines allow pets on board if they're small enough. others put them down with the cargo. but now that's all about to change. how would you like to fly coast to coast for just a few hen dread dollars, enjoy organic meals in your own private cabin? >> snowy, good to see you. >> reporter: so it's not exactly a cabin. it's a cage. but the food and fares, those are for rule. oh, and here, animal behavior is mandatory. >> all mobile devices off, we're getting ready to land next. >> reporter: dan and ellis sa who have been married more than 20 years are behind this pet-only adventure. >> if love pets, this is for you. >> reporter: the quiet jack russell terrier inspired the dream on a commercial flight five years ago. >> we put zoe in the cargo hold of a plane when we moved from san francisco to florida, and we had great anxiety doing it. because there has to be a better way. we did a lot of research,
realized that there wasn't a better way and we said we're going to build it. >> reporter: and build it they did. >> at pet airways pets fly in the main cabin, not in cargo. >> we're pet only airlines. the only people on the flight are pets. and one trained pet attendant. >> reporter: what was once a commuter plane now looks like this. >> we actually have somewhere between 30 and 50 seats depending on the size of the pet. >> reporter: is pet airways just for dogs and cats? >> right now it is just dogs and cats. but we have attempt to open up to birds. >> reporter: the one dur bow prop will service five u.s. cities with a pilot and pet attendant on board. >> from the time the pet is boarded on to the time the pet is taken off the plane they're going to be watched regularly, monitored. >> reporter: okay there are no tray tables and you don't have to worry about your seat in the upright position here. >> good-bye. >> reporter: but the staff does try to make the animals feel like they're flying first class. >> you get in that little,
silly, oh, it's okay, abby. they're going to go oh, no, i've got to be scared. but if you go, hey, abby, this is going to be a positively great flight, and you speak in an upbeat, confident tone, that helps a lot. >> reporter: flights cost about $150 and increase with the animal's size. >> my goal was to make this as affordable as possible for the general public. >> we know that a lot of these pet owners who are driving will start flying because they know there's a safe and comfortable way for their pets to be transported. >> reporter: so pet parents, action their called will drop off and pick up their animals in a kennel-like waiting area near the terminal. but if you're thinking about getting a ticket. flights are already booked for about months in advance. and they haven't even started service yet. the inaugural flight is next tuesday the 14th. >> it's a great idea. >> it's a very good idea. for people who are pet lovers that don't want to put their pets underneath the belly of the plane in the cargo. >> and they don't complain you
there is a task force being formed based on the reason burning of a pit bull that will stop animal abuse. they want to and the pattern of behavior before it starts. >> those people who enter a dog, the next thing you know, they will be their son, the next thing you know, and i say he because that the jury, they will be their white. violence begets violence. we have to stop it. >> the task force begins work on july 16. it will present recommendations in one year. wepa