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tv   Today  NBC  July 10, 2009 7:00am-9:00am EDT

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good morning. president under pressure, as the first family visits vatican city for a meeting with the pope. president obama's approval rating here at home starts dipping. this morning, new fears his plan to fix the troubled economy isn't working. dollars for drugs. as police piece together what killed michael jackson, and the role prescription drugs may have played, nbc news uncovers just how easy it is for people with money to get their hands on strictly controlled medications. this morning the shocking cocktail we bought inside a doctor's office. and gored to death. a 27-year-old man tragically dies during pamplona's running of the bulls. the first deadly accident at that famous event in 14 years
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"today," friday, july 10th, that famous event in 14 years "today," friday, july 10th, 2009. captions paid for by nbc-universal television good morning, everyone. and welcome to "today" on a friday morning. i'm matt lauer. as you can see my partner has made her way back from the west coast. great job out there. >> thank you so much. i came back on a good day, rascal flatts is going to be here. >> welcome you back with cool music. seven times in a row rascal flatts has been named country music's group of the year. you're going to find out why when we check them out in just a little while. meanwhile ahead in this half hour, what's causing president obama's approval ratings to sag? the latest numbers put it about 57%. that's healthy but it's down from 68% at the start of his term. we're going to get into why in just a little while. >> and then also this morning, a story out of illinois that will disturb anyone whose had to bury
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a loved one. an elaborate scheme in which hundreds of bodies may have been dug up so the burial plots could be resold. the outraged family members speak out. that's coming up. >> also she may have lifted the spirits of some people at some sporting events but police say this high school cheerleader also lifted the cash box from a fourth of july fund-raiser run by a 9-year-old wheelchair-bound girl and his friends. and those girls will join us to talk about what happened. and later, a truly unbelievable weight loss story. a guy who's featured in a new special called the 650-pound virgin and how he managed to drop, get this, 410 pounds. >> wow. >> he's here to reveal his remarkable new look. >> okay. but first, the latest on president obama. his approval rating, and the first family's trip overseas. nbc's savannah guthrie is traveling with the president and she is in vatican city this morning with details. savannah, good morning to you. >> reporter: good morning, meredith. the president, along with the first lady and their two
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daughters will be here at the vatican today for their first-ever meeting with the pope. on the final day of the g-8 summit, president obama and world leaders met for breakfast. and got in some last business, promising billions to help boost food production in some 6 the world's poorest countries. the three-day summit put a spotlight on the earth-quake ravaged down of l'aquila, italy, even actor george clooney came to see residents still living in tent cities. today the focus leaves l'aquila for vatican city, where president obama and his family will meet with pope benedict. continuing a rite of passage for u.s. presidents. an audience with the leader of the catholic church. >> for barack obama to be in league with the pope on all sorts of things will help him a great deal, not only with believing catholics around the world but among the very many people who respect what the pope stands for.
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>> reporter: but while the president makes a splash with world leaders this week, at home he faces a barrage of bad headlines. from concerns his stimulus package isn't creating the jobs promised fast enough, to snags on health care reform. and one ominous sign from the campaign bellwether of ohio, a new poll shows the president's approval at 49%, down 13 points in two months. >> this is one poll, in one state. it's an important state, and it's a relatively reliable pollster. but i think what it says is that we have an administration that, after six months, is really looking at the end of its honeymoon. >> reporter: on thursday, the white house dispatched vice president joe biden to cincinnati, to fire back at critics. >> i hear nothing, other than the criticism. i didn't take this job. barrack didn't take this job to do nothing. we took this job to rebuild america. >> reporter: later today, the president will travel to ghana, where he's expected to speak to parliament and visit an old
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slave trading post that's on the coast of africa. matt? >> all right, savannah, thank you very much. that's savannah guthrie in vatican city this morning. dee dee myers was president clinton's first white house press secretary. she's now contributing editor for "vanity fair" magazine. former republican presidential candidate pat buchanan is an msnbc political analyst. good morning to both of you. >> good morning. >> good morning, matt. >> dee dee, let me start with you. two camps it seems. when you look at the popularity numbers for the president right now down from 68% to 57%, one camp says, it's just the afterglow of the election is over. the other camp, and i think pat falls into this camp will say, no, this is about this president, and this administration screwing up with the stimulus plan and the economy. what's the truth? >> well, the truth is that this president started his term with a tremendous amount of political capital, and he made clear from the very beginning that he was going to spend that trying to do not small things but big things. he started with the stimulus, we're now in the midst of a very complicated health care reform process, and the president is spending some of that political capital.
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>> yeah, but -- >> the poll numbers are down as a result of that. >> but if people look and think that the spending of it has got positive results, they wouldn't be jumping off the bandwagon. so a lot of people are not thinking this is going well? >> well, you know, we always react in the short-term when sometimes the process is a longer-term issue. you know, we all know that. so, do we know what the result of the stimulus are yet? no. the administration says we spend about a quarter of it in 2009, another half in 2010. we're on track to do that. is it having the rules that the president had hoped? maybe not quite yet. will it over time? we don't know the answer to that yet. so people have to keep their hair from going on fire and try to be a little bit more patient. the president is going to need to come home, though, and address this. he's going to have to reassure people, reassure them why he's taking these big, difficult steps and why we might not see the results as quickly as some peep might hope. >> pat, give me your take on this. why are these numbers dropping? >> becaused patience of the american people is understandably running out, matt. the president of the united states got an $800 billion stimulus package. he's running the largest
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peacetime deficit by far in american history. and americans are saying, where are the jobs? we're losing them still at the rate of 500,000 jobs a month. the work-week is diminishing. hours are getting shorter. real wages are not going up. and people are asking where are the results? that stimulus package. $800 billion, we learned that only 10% has gone out the door. that is not a stimulus package. questions are being raised about the competence of the congress and the president of the united states, who have a stimulus package only 1/10 of which is out the door. it's not working, matt. that's the problem. >> dee dee, you remember the debate in congress at the time of the vote on the stimulus plan was between, do we take this money and use it for government spending, or do we put it into tax cuts? that was where the line was drawn. are you starting to worry at all that perhaps they erred in the wrong direction here? >> well, i mean, the first thing the president had to do was pass the package through a democratic
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controlled congress. so you do have to make some compromises in order to get the votes to get it done. he did that. you know, in a perfect world would there have been a little more tax cuts? in my view, yes. but over time, will this package work? the administration continues to believe that it will -- >> you know, matt. -- >> i don't think we know the answer to that yet. the last thing to recover in any economic recession is jobs. and yes, the administration is worried about that. yes, we want to see more job growth. but that's the way these things unfold. >> but i think we do know the answer, dee dee, for this reason. what the president could have done, he had congress -- he had the whip hand over congress, he could have said, look, cut those payroll taxes right now, cut them in half for all businesses, all individuals, money would have gone into the pockets of people every week, every month in the paychecks. you would have got that booster shot into the economy by now. we would have ignition. this engine hasn't even turned over yet and the reason is, the way you structured this package was more for the politicians, i think, than it was for the people. >> i don't want to make this feel unfair and give you a double last word here, pat, but
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this question really is for you. in just ten seconds if you don't mind. the common belief is that republicans are sitting on the sidelines quietly or not so quietly rooting for the economy to stay in the slump so they can recover in the midterm elections. true or false, fair assessment? >> false. i think what the republicans are saying now is we were right all along. i think they got the momentum now. i think they've got some of their grip back. i think health care is in deep trouble and cap and trade is in deep trouble, and rightly so. >> pat buchanan and dee dee myers. dee dee, i can see your mouth open. five seconds. >> i was just smiling. >> oh, okay. we can end on a smile. >> the republicans have not offered any alternatives. they stood on the sidelines and fired barbs. that's not an alternative and the american public recognizes that. >> you ended up getting the last word. dee dee and pat, thanks so much. nice to see you both. >> she's no fool, she's going to get it in. now let's get a check of the rest of morning's top stories from natalie morales, who is in for ann at the news desk. >> good morning, welcome back,
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meredith. good morning to you, matt. today, a new chapter for general motors, as it emerges from chapter 11, as a leaner company. one largely owned by the u.s. government. gm has spent the last 40 days in bankruptcy. the new gm now will focus on four core brands, chevrolet, cadillac, buick and gmc. after a firestorm of criticism over bonuses earlier this year, aig plans to resume paying millions of dollars in promised retention bonuses next week. the company wants the obama administration's compensation czar, though, to approve those payments ahead of time. a horrible scene this morning in pamplona, spain, and a warning, the video is graphic, where a 27-year-old spaniard was killed during the running of the bulls when he was gored by a bull. another man was also gored and tossed into the air. but amazingly he walked away from it. the death was the first fatality in pamplona in almost 15 years. thousands of people turned out last night in nashville at a memorial service for former nfl
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quarterback steve mcnair, who was shot to death last weekend by his girlfriend. former teammates called his death heartbreaking. overseas markets this morning are mostly lower. now to wall street nbc's trish regan is at the new york stock exchange watching it for us. trish, what are we watching there at the end of the week? >> hey, good morning, natalie. we're still at the very beginning of the earnings season, but a lot of investors are voicing concern that corporations just aren't meeting their profit expectations as they had anticipated. and for those few that actually are, natalie, they're doing so by cost cutting. and that's a problem. because, corporations need to be growing sales. they need to be growing their revenues. they can't really save their way to economic prosperity. so while it may work in the short-term, it's a long-term issue. the other thing, of course, keep an eye on retail companies again today. they posted their results for the month of june. very weak results, but the good news here, i suppose, is that you probably will see a lot of back-to-school discounts in the fall, natalie. >> i've certainly seen them
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already. a lot of sales out there. trish regan at the new york stock exchange, thank you. and two brothers in brazil are combining their love of climbing with art. they eat, sleep, and they work perched on the side of a building more than 30 feet high. their street art exhibit began late in may and they plan to keep hanging around until august. but you see they've got a dining room table there, a chair, a hammock, even. that was better than my first new york city apartment. not a bad deal. matt, meredith and alexandra. >> all right, natalie, thanks very much. meredith, alexandra. >> nice to meett
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meredith? >> thank you, alexandra. now to the latest on michael jackson's death. nbc news has confirmed that during the private gathering ahead of tuesday's memorial the jackson family viewed his body in an open casket. meanwhile, you may remember that during the public memorial, texas congresswoman sheila jackson lee called for a house resolution to honor jackson's legacy. well, maybe she should have checked with the house speaker
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first. nbc's kelly o'donnell is on capitol hill to explain that. kelly, good morning. >> reporter: good morning, meredith. i've been watching all of your coverage, and the global interest in michael jackson, and i would have never thought i'd have a capitol hill angle for you. but today, i do. and like so many things with jackson, there's controversy. ♪ who would have thought she was about to be starting something. the most powerful woman in politics said no to the king of pop. >> i don't think it's necessary for us to have a resolution. >> reporter: no on a vote to honor michael jackson. house speaker nancy pelosi appeared uneasy. >> we're into the popular culture now, and michael jackson was a great, great performer -- >> reporter: kind words are enough for the speaker, who says she will not permit the house to celebrate the superstar with a formal bill. but wait, at jackson's memorial,
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senator sheila jackson lee promised that honor with millions of jackson fans watching around the world. >> this resolution 600 that will be debated on the floor of the house, that claims michael jackson as an american legend and musical icon, a world humanitarian -- >> reporter: that resolution, in page after page, lists jackson's hits and chart topping successes, credits his crossover appeal as an african-american entertainer, and outlines nearly 40 examples of jackson's charitable giving. >> someone who will be honored for ever and forever and forever. >> reporter: but not with a vote. >> a resolution, i think, would open up to contrary views that are not necessary at this time. >> reporter: meaning an awkward debate about the hugely talented but troubled star. republican congressman peter king already made clear he's no fan of jackson. >> this guy is a pervert, he was a child molester.
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>> reporter: even without a resolution, the house did pause the day jackson died. in happier days, jackson had played washington's biggest stage, honored at the reagan white house. >> thank you very much, mr. president. >> reporter: a guest on capitol hill to support aids funding. and sheila jackson lee says she can be patient, and will try to push her resolution again. >> this is very shortly after the death. so no door is closed. >> reporter: and the texas congresswoman tells me she's concerned that michael jackson's children and family could be hurt or disappointed by this. so she's going to try to get more support. while aides to speaker pelosi say that with so much going on here in washington, nancy pelosi feels they just need to work on some other business right now. meredith? >> all right, kelly o'donnell, thank you very much. it is 7:15, once again here is matt. >> meredith, thank you. betrayed and violated. that's how dozens of families are reacting to the news of an elaborate scheme that's been busted in the chicago area.
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police say a cemetery manager and three workers dug up hundreds of corpses so they could resell the cemetery plots. nbc's kevin tibbles is in alsip, illinois, with the latest on what is a terrible story. kevin, good morning to you. >> reporter: good morning, matt. the cook county sheriff says as many as 300 graves may have been desecrated here so that they could be resold, all in the name of making a quick buck. families lining up, desperate for information about their loved ones whereabouts as authorities reveal the disturbing scale of this crime. >> it's a whole new dimension that shows us what lengths people would go through for financial gain. >> reporter: as many as 300 graves may have been desecrated here during the past four years. in what investigators said was a for-profit scheme to resell burial plots. >> there's nothing to tell me to
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make me feel better about my father's remains being disturbed. >> reporter: cook county sheriff says he's never seen anything like it. >> they would take a back hoe, dig out the top of the casket, put the rest of the remains down. >> reporter: crush it? >> crush it down and put another on top of it. >> reporter: four cemetery employees have been charged with removing remains from the graves. in some cases dismembering them. many of the remains were reportedly dumped in a weedy area. >> there should be no bail for them. there should be really a special place in hell for these graveyard thieves who have done so much to hurt these families. >> reporter: this cemetery was the first in the chicago area to allow african-americans to be buried there, and it is the final resting place for many iconic figures, including civil rights symbol emmitt till whose grave has not been disturbed. and blues legend dinah washington. for the count also families who have relatives buried here, this crime means they must mourn their deaths all over again. >> we know exactly the area, but
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it's not -- he's not there. >> out of 23 family members out here, i have grave sites that haven't even been used, headstones that are missing. this is ridiculous. this is sacred ground. >> reporter: and an fbi forensics team with experience in the mass graves of serbia is now on the ground here to help sort out this jigsaw puzzle of identification. matt? >> all right, kevin tibbles in illinois for us this morning. kevin, thank you very much. it's now 19 minutes after the hour. once again here's meredith. >> thank you. now to ghana. the next destination on president obama's week-long overseas trip. and as he visits one of the capital city's new es hotels he might feel right at home. nbc's digital reporter maria scheeveo campo has more on that. good morning to you. >> good morning, meredith. well, today's newspaper says it all. welcome president obama. ghanaians here are eagerly anticipating the president's visit and in the days leading up to it they've been clamoring for
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everything obama related. singing obama songs, wearing obama shirts and now some are getting the chance to sleep in obama's room. visitors here aren't just staying at any hotel. they're guests of obama. hotel obama, that is. brand-new come indications in ghana's capital city where every room is designed around a barack obama theme. >> they have a hotel washington, why not have a hotel named off obama? >> reporter: it's run by a ghanaian american whose father owns the business. she worked for this obama during the campaign and then moved to ghana to work for this one. it's a budget conscious hotel featuring 18 themed rooms priced at $60 to $100. >> and this room is the obama suite. most people stay here that come for a special occasion or coming with their family. we have michelle obama right next to barack obama, across from obama.
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it's joe biden's room. >> reporter: and in case you never make it to the white house, you can always stay in the lincoln bedroom here. they're not just politically themed rooms. at hotel obama you can stay in rooms like harvard, or the chicago room. even though this obama was inaugurated less than a week ago, it's already the talk of the town. >> when the u.s. president is coming, the hotel obama -- >> people just love the idea that the hotel is named obama. >> reporter: in fact ghanaians are so taken with the new american president they're naming lots of things after him. everywhere he goes people tell 12-year-old felix he bears a striking resemblance to a certain american politician. what part of you do you think looks most like? >> everywhere.
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>> reporter: tell me like where. >> my ears. my eyes. my nose. my mouth. the way i smile. >> reporter: even the way he writes. felix is a lefty. just like the president. how do you feel when people tell you that you look like obama? >> i feel good. >> reporter: president obama won't be staying at his name sake hotel during his visit, but in this nation, he'll be greeted everywhere, as the guest of honor. now, along with the excitement there is a little bit of frustration that obama's not holding a big public event like clinton did during his visit. people here really want a chance to get to see him and are disappointed that for the most part he's going to be kept behind closed doors. >> thank you very much. and still ahead, nbc news goes undercover in the wake of michael jackson's death to reveal just how easy it is to buy prescription drugs for cash at a doctor's office in los angeles. but first, this is "today" on nbc.
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still to come the cheerleader arrested for robbing a fourth of july fund-raiser. >> plus rascal flatts live in concert out on the plaza. so instead of searching for "deals" out there... you get everyday low prices, right here. vo: ave money. live better. walmart. delicious flavors... expertly blended... because great tasting dressings aren't just made, they're crafted. you're ready for the mid-morning rush thanks to a good breakfast. one coffee with room, one large mocha latte. medium macchiato, light hot chocolate hold the whip, and two espressos. make one a double. she's fiber focused! i have two cappuccinos, one coffee with room, one large mocha latte, a medium macchiato, a light hot chocolate, hold the whip, and two espressos, one with a double shot. gonna take more than coffee to stay this focused. stay full and focused through the morning...
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with a breakfast of kellogg's® frosted mini-wheats® cereal; an excellent source of fiber that helps you avoid... the distraction of mid-morning hunger. no thanks, i'm good. >> good morning, i'm jennifer franciotti. here is it one of our top stories this morning. a baltimore county soccer coach faces charges of soliciting sex from a minor, and this morning police are asking any other possible victims to come forward. police 832-year-old -- police a 32 year-old charles freidel is the suspect. let's get a check on the morning commute with trafficpulse 11 and
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sarah caldwell. >> looking at a busy ride for motorists on southbound 895. a live view approaching the harbor tunnel where we have two lanes closed due to an earlier vehicle fire. you are going to find heavy delays on southbound 895 as a result of that. stick to 95 or the beltway over toward the key bridge. let's look at what is happening elsewhere. southbound 95 approaching 195 you are getting residual delays due to an accident in the northbound election. number outerbridge 195 you are dealing with heavy traffic as you approach -- problem spots around the area -- at warburg and charles, all lanes closed due to a downed tree. we're looking at drive times of about 10 minutes on southbound 895 as you make your approach toward the harbor tunnel. that is the latest on trafficpulse 11. now a look at the forecast was john.
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>> temperatures in the 60's, the sun is out here with a few sprinkles. that is down in virginia, but that weather will not be an element for us today. we go out to western maryland, a lot of sun, maybe an isolated storm late in the day. 73, the high temperature. we expect temperatures around the bay at 83 with partly cloudy skies.
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7:30 now on this friday morning, july 10th, 2009. you can see we have an overflow crowd out on the plaza. they are ready to sing along to music of country superstars rascal flatts. live concert just about an hour from now. meanwhile inside studio 1a i'm meredith vieira, alongside matt lauer. and coming up in this half hour, a high school cheerleader who police say lost her spirit in a big way. she allegedly stole the cash box from young girls who were trying to raise money for their dad's business, which is struggling in the bad economy. we're going to speak with the girls in just a bit. >> also ahead, how about this for a remarkable transformation? we're going to meet a man who could not have a normal life because he weighed 650 pounds.
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he wouldn't go out during daylight because he was afraid people would make fun of him. now he has lost 410 of those pounds. he's going to join us to show off his new look. >> good for him. plus, a story that has south beach crowing. mr. cocky, one of the city's most fame russ residents is facing eviction. but that rooster is that going down without a fight. we're going to get his side of the story coming up. >> but first, some serious news to get to. an undercover "today" show investigation. police investigating the death of michael jackson believe that doctors may have written him prescriptions in exchange for money. drugs that could have contributed to his death. nbc's jeff rossen is in los angeles with more on this. jeff, good morning to you. >> reporter: matt, good morning to you. we actually have some new information in this case. homicide investigators from the lapd are now collecting medical records from several of jackson's doctors. they're checking to see if there was any criminal activity. which brings us to our undercover investigation. it's an open secret around here,
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if you're a celebrity and you have money, you can get all the drugs you want. these aren't back alley drug deals, either. these are reputable doctors, in nice offices, taking cash in exchange for prescriptions. and this morning we'll show you just how easy it is. ♪ well baby what i couldn't do ♪ ♪ with money and you >> reporter: in a town where celebrities rule and anything goes, it's the new epidemic. stars buying off doctors. >> it's not like buying crack off the street. but it's as simple as that. >> reporter: that easy? >> easy as ordering a pizza. >> reporter: we're about to find out. our decoy is an ex-performer in hollywood. he's agreed to go undercover for us as long as we hide his identity. we're watching as he walks in to a doctor's office with a wad of cash. he'll see a doctor with a reputation for taking care of celebrities. >> if i walk in his office, i
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pay the fee, i give him the money, i have a doctor, i have drugs, i have whatever i want. >> reporter: as our guy walks inside, you have to remember, he's never met this doctor before. he just made an appointment saying he has a tv pilot coming out. he was with the doctor for only five minutes, and handed over nearly two grand in cash. when he walked out, even we were surprised. prescriptions in one hand, a goodie bag of samples in the other. the drugs that were prescribed to you, could those drugs kill you? >> this is a suicide cocktail on paper. could these drugs kill me? they could kill 20 people. >> reporter: the doctor wrote him prescriptions for four different drugs, including a heavy dosage of oxycontin, a schedule ii narcotic. 240 pills of the painkiller vicodin, sleeping pills, and for good measure, cialis for erectile dysfunction. what did you tell the doctor to
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get these prescriptions? >> i had a strain in my arm and i reinjured an old back injury. >> reporter: did he examine you? >> i didn't even take my shirt off. he did not examine me at all. he said i have exactly what you need and started writing. >> reporter: just as shocking, the timing of this. the doctor sold prescriptions to our decoy -- ♪ -- right in the middle of the michael jackson drug investigation. police are hunting down the doctors who may have contributed to his death by overprescribing meds for money. and yet here we are, with prescriptions for cash in l.a. what do you think of these doctors who are prescribing this medication at will? >> it makes me sick to my stomach that people who have sworn such an oath, to help their fellow man, are actually killing their fellow man. >> reporter: doctor howard samuels runs a luxurious wonderland rehab clinic in malibu. sources say the jackson family called him to run an intervention for michael just weeks before his death.
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how much will the mega star pay a doctor to be at his beck and call 24/7? >> oh, $30,000 to $50,000 a month. and 50 could be conservative, depending on really what the addict or the celebrity wants. >> reporter: truth be told, it's the celebrities in this town who allow this to continue to happen? >> it's the celebrities, and it's the doctors who feed on greed. >> reporter: celebrities like jeff conaway. that's jeff in "grease." he also played bobby wheeler in "taxi." jeff was a rising star until he got hooked on painkillers and hit rock bottom. jeff played himself on the show "celebrity rehab." >> i used to get like, you know, anything i wanted. you know, could i have some of this? could i have some of that? >> reporter: done? >> done.
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script, script, script, script. >> reporter: done? >> done. over. go get high. >> reporter: he's recovering now. no thanks, he says, to hollywood dr. feel-goods looking to make a buck. it's hard to say no to a celebrity if you're just a normal doctor? >> yeah. >> reporter: for our investigation, we spoke with dozens of celebrity insiders who told us this is the new hollywood. doctors are the new pushers. for example, in the anna nicole smith case, two of her doctors were charged with writing illegal prescriptions. >> there are people who are dead today that would not have been dead if there were doctors who were using their authority the right way. >> this is a wake-up call to the celebrity world that they have a problem, it's called a drug addiction, and it needs to be stopped. >> reporter: but it seems unstoppable. the list of dead celebrities is growing.
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and so is the list of crooked doctors willing to sell their power for a brush with fame. >> this is happening everywhere. right now, as we speak, the same thing i just did is happening all over. dozens and dozens of times. >> reporter: this is scary stuff. >> yeah, this is scary stuff. how many celebrities have to die? michael jackson, 10 more, 20 more? how many movie stars before this stops? >> reporter: here's the problem, there's actually a loophole in the law. to arrest and charge a doctor for overprescribing medication, police have to show malice or gross negligence. and we're told that it's difficult to prove in court. so the doctors know that and continue to do it. by the way, it's important to note, we destroyed all the pills you saw from our undercover sting. matt? >> all right, jeff rossen in los angeles. jeff, thank you very much. we're going to get more insight into hollywood's drug culture
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from the host of celebrity rehab, dr. drew pin ski
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maybe you're traveling this weekend, you want to check the weather, of course, go to the weather channel on cable or weather.com. matt? >> all right, alexandra, thank you very much. coming up next, the high school cheerleader busted for stealing from a fund-raiser run by 9 and 11-year-old girls. those girls are here to share their story.
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exclusively in a moment. but first nbc's ron mott has the details. . >> it just made me mad, basicry. >> reporter: give me a t-h-i-e-f. that spelled trouble for 17-year-old high school cheerleader chelsea steele in atlanta's famously conservative suburb of cob county. she's now admitted to stealing a box of hard-earned money from children, including one in a wheelchair at the neighborhood pool. >> we had $147. >> reporter: what's worse, this was no ordinary fund-raiser. it was to earn some summer spending money while helping a parent struggling embroidery business. >> my dad's business has been hurting. so we -- we had nothing to do this weekend, so we thought it was kind of a cool idea to just sell these t-shirts and hats. >> reporter: the kids were selling a little bit of peace, love and freedom. and got much more than they bargained for when the cheerleader and a few of her friends showed up. >> one of them asked for a green
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hat and she had a $20 bill and then she took the $20 bill, took the box, her friend was holding the gate and they ran and the car went. >> reporter: hearing the commotion, dad literally sprang into action. >> mr. joe, mr. joe, they took the money. as soon as i found out, i immediately ran out the gate and jumped the wall and crossed the street. >> reporter: hours later, chelsea steele was arrested and charged with felony robbery. charges that could lead to serious prison time. >> she is just torn up about what happened. she'd like to express to the children who were involved in this and had to experience it, as well as their parents, that she is extremely sorry for what happened. >> reporter: the kids picked up where they left off, with one lingering question. >> i wanted to ask her why she did it. >> reporter: but so far, like their money, the answer is still missing, and police have yet to decide if they'll also charge chelsea's friend. for "today," ron mott, nbc news, atlanta. and we have now exclusively are joe greene, his daughters
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sidney and sophie and their friends megan cobbler and caroline pierce. good morning to all of you. joe this started out as something so sweet. your daughters wanted to help you out, business is not very good right now, having a sale at the local pool. in a nice community you've been there, what, 12 years now? did you ever think something like this would happen? >> not in my wildest dreams. we were just blown away by it. it's just unbelievable. >> reporter: sydney, this was your idea originally. you're there, you've got about $142 in the cash box at this point? and you're selling the t-shirts and the hats. this girl comes up, chelsea steele, to the table. what was your impression of her? >> well, one of my baby-sitters is her age, so i usually think of those types of girls as sweet and caring. but i guess not. >> reporter: but at first she was sweet, wasn't she? >> yeah. she was telling us how cool this was, talking to my dad, asking all about what we were doing.
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>> reporter: and then when she suddenly grabbed that box, and actually she started to hand you a $20 bill, right, you thought you were going to take that, instead she grabs the box, jumps into the car. were you scared? >> i was scared. >> reporter: you were? caroline, were you scared, too, honey? yeah. because nobody expects that. and the good thing was that everybody in the community seems to have jumped to the rescue there to try to find out what was going on. even your little brother helped out. what did he do? >> he remembered her name. >> reporter: so he recognized her? and knew the name. and then how did you piece the rest together, joe? >> well, after we got the first name, a friend of ours had an iphone, and we tried to get a yearbook first, that didn't work out. so we got the iphone, got on the website of the high school that she attended, and someone said she was a cheerleader so we went
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to the cheerleading page and sure enough we saw chelsea, and at that point we still didn't know if it was the right girl. so someone said let's check her on facebook, so we clicked on facebook. >> and saw her picture? >> face popped up and we said that's her. we called police. >> and the police actually knew her, knew who she was, as well, right? >> they did. later that night, after they picked her up, i think they had seen her before. >> i think she's had some problems before. i want to read you something that her attorney said. she is in jail, as you girls know -- i'm sorry, she's out of jail on bond. she was in jail. but her attorney said this, chelsea steele and the family have asked me to convey their most sincere apology to joe greene and the children and their families. no words can adequately express her remorse and the family's regret for what happened. she intends to cooperate fully with the police and prosecutors in their investigation of this case. she hopes to have an opportunity in the future to apologize personally to the children, as well as to their families. i know that her mom also contacted you and said please
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don't press charges. at this point, how do you feel? what do you want to see happen to her? >> ipt a tough decision. i want her to learn a lesson from this. you know, she affected all of us, our community. even the other girls, too, need to learn a lesson. >> that were with you. girls, have you lost your faith in people because of this? or has it been renewed by -- i know there was somebody that came to help out? can you tell me a little bit about, wasn't there a man who actually replaced the money? >> yes, there was this man who came by and he felt really bad for us because we lost all our money so he gave us $200. >> which is great. which is even more than you lost. i think most people in the end are nice, and what you set out to do, girls, is really terrific. so keep that spirit, for sure. joe, thank you so much. >> thank you. >> sydney, sophie, megan, caroline. irony of the name, too, the last name steele. still ahead, the south beach rooster, mad at city hall.
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>> good morning, i'm jennifer franciotti. it is 7:56. let's get a check on the morning commute with trafficpulse 11 and sarah caldwell. >> busy ride for motorists heading southbound on the 895. an accident still being cleared and you can see only the right lane being squeezed by. it is diverting to southbound 95. that is impacting traffic on southbound 95 as you make your approach to the 895 split. we will put you over to some
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other delays. this is on the inner loop of the curtis creek droppage -- drawbridge. that is because of the malfunctioning traffic light. watch for delays there. pulaski, all lanes closed because of a disabled tractor- trailer. woodburn closed at charles because of a downed tree. they're doing preparations for artscape. our biggest delay is on southbound 895. let's look at the weather with john. >> good morning, sarah. very comfortable weather, a few clouds, a couple of sprinkles in virginia to our south, not of any concern here. take a look at the weather forecast today. a lot of sunshine, scattered clouds. mountain temperatures will be in the 70's. elsewhere with low humidity,
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temperatures will be in the low 80's for a high. very much like yesterday. >> thank you, john. see you again in 25 minutes.
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♪ my wish for you ite clock now on a friday morning, it's the 10th day of july, 2009. it is really a spectacular, spectacular day here in the northeast. even though we're in july, it's only about 63 degrees. it feels like an early fall morning. and what a day. rascal flatts picked to be here. they're going to be performing in our next half hour. they're going to heat things up with live music in front of one of the biggest crowds we've had here in a long time. >> and as if that isn't enough, check this out, harry potter himself daniel radcliffe is out here. where is he? there he is. we're going to talk with the
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star of "harry potter and the half-blood prince" just ahead. he's all grown up. >> also, we've got an amazing story. we're going to meet a guy, well it's a young man, he started to gain weight and gain weight and gain weight and at his heaviest he weighed 650 pounds. never had a job. never had a girlfriend. then he set out to lose that weight, and with the help of a physical trainer, a personal trainer, he has lost an astonishing 410 pounds. we're going to have him step out in front of us in a little while. we're going to reveal his new physique. >> that is great. plus the best of the best when it comes to plans. first we're going to head inside to natalie morales who is filling in for ann curry today. >> good morning, meredith and matt. good morning to you. today, president obama wraps up three days of talks at the g-8 summit in italy before heading to africa. and for the first time the president and the first family are meeting with the pope this morning at the vatican. the president and the pope share similar views on helping the poor and the mideast peace process but are divided an
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abortion and stem cell research. earlier today, president obama and other leaders pledged billions of dollars to help boost food production in some of the world's poorest nations. today, general motors emerged from bankruptcy a leaner company. minus its massive debt, and with tens of thousands of fewer employees. the new gm is largely government owned. a pennsylvania pool club is at the center of controversy this morning amid allegations of racial discrimination towards some camp kids. nbc's ron allen is in huntington valley, pennsylvania, with more. ron, good morning. >> reporter: good morning to you, natalie. at the valley swim club is facing a barrage of criticism and calls for investigation. a day camp of mostly minority kids who signed up to swim here once a week through the summer. they paid some $2,000. and everything seems fine until the children showed up. the children from creative steps day camp had joined the jewish community center's pool. each summer they visit local clubs. but at the valley club in a mostly white suburb, some campers say they heard the
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members talking. >> she was complaining to an employee that like why are there so many black kids here and that she was afraid that we might try to do something to our children. >> reporter: after the children left, the club canceled the invitation and refunded their money. >> i'm hurt for the children. and this won't be tolerated, and it's unacceptable. it is unacceptable in 2009. >> reporter: at first the club president said the children affected the club's complexion and atmosphere, and then later he said, allegations of racism are completely untrue. we underestimated the capacity of our facilities. >> i was the first person to talk to the president about it, because the pool was overcrowded. >> reporter: still, some parents have been comforting their kids. >> i told him to be comfortable in his own skin. i said, what happened at that swim club does not define who you are. >> reporter: members of the club insist that this is all a big misunderstanding. hoump the day camp staff and
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parents want an apology to the children, and they say they have no interest in coming back here again. natalie? >> all right, ron allen in huntington valley, pennsylvania. thank you, ron. for the first time, nevada senator john ensign acknowledged that his mistress received a payment of nearly $100,000. in a statement released thursday, ensign said his parents wrote a check for $96,000 last year out of concern for her family. his attorney said no campaign funds were used. today, illinois senator roland burris is set to announce he will not seek a full term in 2010. burris has come under fire ever since i was appointed by ousted illinois governor rod blagojevich to fill the former senate seat of president obama. hundreds gathered at the california state house in sacramento late thursday calling for the u.s. to help secure the release of laura ling and euna lee. the american journalists were sentenced to 12 years in a north korean prison for illegally crossing into the country. it is 8:04 right now. let's go back outside once again
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to matt and meredith. >> natalie, we have got one of the most positive crowds >> another nice morning this
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morning. temperatures in the 60's. the forecast today talking -- calling for sunshine, low humidity, relatively speaking for the seas back to you, meredith. >> i am getting in the mood for rascal flatts. up next, an astonishing transformation. we're going to introduce you to a man who lost 410 pounds, made a best friend in the process, and then just a little later, a live concert by you know who, country superstars rascal flatts. when morning comes in the middle of the night, [ rooster crow ] it affects your entire day. to get a good night's sleep, try 2-layer ambien cr. the first layer dissolves quickly...
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32-year-old david smith from phoenix, arizona. before he lost a staggering, and i mean staggering, 400-plus pounds. a journey that's cranicled in a new tlc documentary called "the 650-pound virgin." here is david in his own words. >> my name is david. and at one point i weighed 650 pounds. i used to live a lonely life. the only thing that made me happy was food and soda. at 17 i dropped out of high school. i want to be human. just a regular human. interact with other people. i had no friends. or job. i never went out in public, because people would stare or laugh at me. in 2003, i realized i needed to change my life, because if i didn't, i would end up in the hospital, or dead. i contacted my local tv station for help. chris returned my call and volunteered to become my trainer. up until now my life has been nothing.
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i mean, i ate, i slept, i watched tv, and that's about it. and then i met chris, and he's changed my life. in 26 months, i lost 401 pounds. i am looking forward to the changes. instead of being a dud, i want to be a stud. >> before we bring david out, one more look at how he used to appear. all right. that was david before. david, come on out. how are you? >> nice to meet you. >> nice to meet you. come on in. and this is chris powell, the guy who helped make it all happen. david, sit down. you look incredible. >> well, thank you. >> do you feel incredible? >> i sure do. >> new life? >> new life. >> when you look at the video of yourself from that time gone by, what goes through your mind? >> just, you know, it's a different person.
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it's not me anymore. >> you said you had no job. you had no friends. no girlfriend. you go out only at night because you didn't want people to stare at you. and yet you picked up the phone finally and maded decision to change things. why? had you tried other diets? >> i have. and i realized if i don't act on this and give it my all, it won't happen. >> when you met chris -- chris when you met david, you called the local television station, you were introduced to chris. what made you decide you wanted to help him? >> i couldn't stop thinking about it. it actually took me about a week before i even contacted him back because i had no idea how to help somebody who was so large. and i couldn't stop thinking about it. and it was curiosity. i went out to go see him. and i couldn't look back from there. >> everybody's going to ask, how. so, what did you two do? what was the course you put him on that allowed him to lose more than 400 pounds? >> the biggest thing is not to make a drastic change. and so i needed to not just handle it physiologically,
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because the body can lose weight. but psychologically for the mind. i created a series of high and low days that allowed him to reward himself every other day. because if i said you can't have pizza, you can't have soda, you can't have ice cream, it's too much. we feel deprived. but i said if you can't have it today, you can always have it tomorrow. >> baby steps. >> baby steps, exactly. >> as you started to shed the pounds, and you've lost over 400 pounds, one of the biggest concerns you had was excess skin. >> yes, correct. and believe it or not, i still need one or two more operations. >> we're taking a look at some pictures. and this is what happened after the weight loss, the skin that your body had stretched out, and so you've had how many operations so far? >> three so far. and i'm going to need one or two more. >> i think one of the nicest things is that not only has he become your kind of task master, but a great friend. >> true. >> through the course of this. >> we're a best friend. we've lived together for a year now. he's a personal train are, and we're working together to help other people.
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>> and that's what this is all about. that was our deal from the get-go is that i was going to help him. he has to pay it forward. >> you got something alongside you, chris. >> i do. >> this is just a dramatic kind of example. >> this is the shirt david was first wearing when he answered the door when i met him. i don't know if you can see this. >> that was 410 pounds ago. >> correct. >> are you confident you can keep the weight off now? >> i sure hope so. i might do a little bit of body building. >> congratulations. >> well, thank you, matt. >> what a terrific transformation. chris, well-done. job well done. it's fantastic. and the show, "650-pound virgin" premieres this sunday on tlc. up next, harry potter. meredith chats with daniel radcliffe, right after this.
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>> harry potter fans are gearing up for the saga's sixth installment, "harry potter and the half-blood prince." the movie is filled with all the things normal teenagers face, friendship, love, and lust. with potions and battling the dark lord thrown in for good pressure. and daniel radcliffe is back as the chosen wizard. good morning to you. >> good morning, how are you? >> i'm doing great, thank you. this is the sixth film. you're filming the seventh one. half your life will have been spent playing harry potter? >> yeah. >> have you morphed into him? how similar are you two? >> i don't think we're -- it's funny, i think when you play a character at such a young age you can't help but respond to that aspect of that personality. i certainly think that the way we both value our friends and friendship and the importance of our friends in our lives is so great. but i think that's probably the main, also a kind of natural curiosity which gets us into trouble. >> gets you into a lot of trouble, as well. >> me not quite as much trouble as him. i've been in far, far fewer life
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or death situations. >> do you ever go back, your fans have seen, fans of harry potter have seen the movies probably and read the books over and over and over. do you ever go back and look at the first films? never? >> no, i haven't seen the first film since it came out in 2001, was it? >> really? why don't you go back? >> oh! >> what the heck was that? >> exactly this, you see that little frog thing on the right. >> it's just weird. seeing myself, it's very -- >> look at him. >> that's what i've heard about you, daniel, that you don't like your work very much. you're too critical of your work. >> i think a lot of actors are. i think i've been told that, you know, the moment you think you're good, you're not. >> so it's better to -- >> i think it's better to be on the self-critical side than say, my goodness, i'm marvelous, aren't i? i think it's much healthier to be critical of yourself. >> i know that off screen that
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you all are good buddies, right? you and rupert and emma, and she was just here the other day. actually yesterday, and she told us about the ping pong matches. >> i don't know what she's talking about. >> you're not the best? she's better. >> no, she was the best last year. the point is i've been playing this year and i'm better than her. i've practiced. i worked at it. >> didn't you just say you don't brag? >> i don't brag about my acting. ping pong, i could probably beat anybody in the world. i have actually been the score this year is me two, emma nil. >> look at you. >> i'm really -- i didn't lose this side of my personality i didn't want to air, this competitive monster that i actually am. for the same reason. i don't cheat at monopoly. >> this is like a -- meeting we're having right now. there or here --
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>> yeah, it's a struggle for me. they have to wrestle me into clothes for this. obviously -- >> i want to show a scene from the film, because this is a clip of you and jim broadbent who is a terrific actor. he plays the new potions professor slughorn and holds the key to the evil wizard's past. so take a look at this and then we'll talk on the other side. >> it's got me wondering is there some kind of magic you're not allowed to teach us? . he and i don't exactly see eye to eye, sir. what i mean to say is, he's not like you. >> i don't mind watching that. >> you enjoy the man, right? >> i do enjoy him. you think there's a definite connection between the two of you. what do you mean? >> me and him share a -- >> what's happening? >> me and him share a love of a really incredibly bad joke which is what is the difference between a stoet and a weasel? >> i don't know.
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you don't remember. >> i'm laughing because i'm about to tell this really horrendous joke on national television. a stoat is totally different from a weasel and a weasel is recognizable. >> oh, that's a good one. cute sound effects again. >> anything to cover that punch line. it's a really bad joke and i walked up to him on the first day, i just heard that joke and i thought i invented it. >> of course. you known it. >> and i went up to him and said that and he said the punch line back to me before i got to it. and i knew we were going to get on. >> and i know that you really want to be an actor forever. i mean once harry potter is done you've shown you can do other things. what do you see yourself doing to get because i mean you've got to move beyond harry at some point? >> of course. i just want to keep working. i mean i want to work hard, and for as long as possible. i mean i don't have specific things that i -- i'd love if they made a movie about him, i'd love to do that. there's nothing like that,
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particularly. but there's one thing i'm tasked to do called the journey is the destination. about a guy in somalia, a true story, and it's an incredible story. so that will be great. >> well, we adore you. you're terrific. and you're an excellent joke teller. not so good at ping pong but an excellent joke teller. and a new theme park, i have to mention that. >> no, i haven't told you anymore. >> daniel radcliffe, thank you very much. >> thank you. >> "harry potter and the half-blood prince" opens next wednesday, july 15th. it is 8:23. now here's matt. >> all right, meredith, thank you very much. they say you can't fight city hall but one south florida resident is saying, dock doodle do to this. michelle kosinski explains. >> reporter: of all the cocktails on south beach, one rooster's story is turning heads like nothing else really can anymore. yes, mr. clucky. the free-wheeling, tourist
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thrilling, apartment dwelling, bar hopping rooster that everyone seems to know. he's just been given the boot from this town. and so has taken on the cause of freedom. >> we are individuals. and we have the right to speak. ♪ freedom oh, freedom ♪ >> reporter: two years ago, mark buckley found clucky wounded in some bushes. nursed him back to health, to become a south beach sensation. he's fronted magazines, grand marshalled parades, picked up chicks. the city law does say no farm animals. even though other birds are okay. and after one anonymous complaint they gave clucky a week to clear out. >> look at this. what do you think of this? what do you think? >> where does he live? we investigated if he's in violation, it was over.
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>> reporter: this is not over. >> yeah, you're right. >> reporter: the result has been outrage. >> one complaint from one person. >> reporter: spread being like spandex on miami beach. >> give the chicken a break. >> reporter: is mr. clucky the weirdest thing you've ever seen on south beach? >> not even close. >> mr. clucky may be an outlaw but he's not a criminal. >> reporter: don't cluck with me. they filed an appeal. the poultry taking on city hall will have his day in court. mark says it's a wake-up call. they say live and let live ought to apply to all the characters here. ♪ freedom >>'s a good guy. >> reporter: for "today," michelle kosinski, nbc news, miami beach. >> and just ahead on a friday morning, rascal flatts, live in concert. right after your local news and weather.
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>> we are taking a look around the area, prosecutors have been withdrawing their subpoenas against baltimore mayor sheila dixon. attorneys for the mayor are saying the prosecutor's office issued a summons to former city employees seeking records and testimony about gift card under their control. nixon is accused of stealing gift cards intended for needy families. now let's get a check on the morning commute with sarah caldwell. >> good morning, everyone. good news to report on southbound 895. the harbor tunnel reopened. we had an earlier accident just cleared, and we have left lane closure, the right lane getting
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by, and you can access the harbor tunnel. fort mchenry, heavy delays there because a lot of folks are trying to avoid the harbor tunnel. a live view of southbound 895 approaching before mchenry, and that is affecting things all the way up to the 895 split to the fort mchenry. in randallstown, we're checking on the report of an accident involving a pedestrian there. also, shut down between hot -- in advance of artscape, 15 minutes -- 895 reopened after the harbor tunnel. a switch over to look at the weather. for that we go to john collins. >> plenty of sun here, some clouds in virginia, a couple of sprinkles coming out of that. nothing very significant, and it will not change our weather at all. high pressure will be with us all day today, it in the evening
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hours. tomorrow it comes in, and then we will see some scattered showers and thunderstorms. today's forecast calls for plenty of sunshine. our high temperatures with low humidity, right around 80. >> thanks for joining us. another update for youp$pa
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♪ all that you have 8:30 now on this friday morning, july 10th, 2009. we are packing them into the plaza today for one of the biggest acts around. a live concert from rascal flatts just minutes away. also ahead in this half hour, matt you are our world traveler and you're going to give some tips. >> i travel a lot but i'm not the one giving the tips. travel and leisure magazine, the people who read that magazine must be pretty good at knowing where they like to say, they have just come out with a
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reader's poll and we're going to announce the top picks for best city in the united states, best hotel, things like that. >> based on their reads are. >> based on the reader's poll, reader's survey. >> very good. also why can't a lot of us seem to kick the urge to splurge, especially in this economy? so many people struggling but yet still wanting to spend the money and buy something new. we're going to tell you why you do it, and more importantly how to control it. >> and i know everybody's excited about rascal flatts, right? but, you can't forget that we have another special concert coming up on monday. the fray is going to be here. so 25 lucky fans will walk away with free tickets to one of the fray's upcoming shows which is very cool. bring your best fray fan sign or poster and the band,
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>> as opposed to taxes, we are cool here, only 80's. the sun dominates today. around 81 for the high.
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meredith? >> alexandra, thanks very much. up next, from airlines to hotels, the very best in travel. plus rascal flatts live in concert. these kids are so excited, right guys?
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we're back now at 8:35. this morning on "today's" travel, the world's best. each year "travel & leisure" magazine asks its leaders to rate their travel experiences from the destination to the way they arrived and the hotels. this year's results are featured in the august issue.
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leyland mohammed is the magazine's feature editor. nice to see you. >> good morning, matt. >> what kind of things do you ask the readers? >> oh, no, it's a very elaborate survey. it's the 14th year we're doing it. we ask them everything from hotels to airlines to cruise ships. cities and more. and honestly, the readers of "travel & leisure" know their stuff. >> there's a lot of categories. we only have time for several of them. let's start with the world's best city, and your readers chose udaipur, india. >> it has been called the venus of the east. the city of leaks. if it was a woman you would call her an exotic beauty. this is one of those places that is magical and just lovely to visit. and what i think this speaks to is our readers search for adventure, for -- >> something exotic? >> authenticity, as well. >> some of the other cities, cape town, south africa, bangkok, thailand, buenos aires,
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argentina and chang mai in thailand. now let's move on to the best u.s. city. kind of home team. >> honestly, i'm so excited it's new york. it makes total sense. >> did your readers say why? >> they did. they love it for the kult your. they love it for the shopping, for the food and the restaurants. i can't blame them. new york is a fantastic city. it's home for one thing, but even though it's a financial capital it is accessible. we have hotels that have opened up for under $200 a night or the ace hotel for $ 39 a night. and we're having a mini pizza boom. burgers. there's great stuff to be had here and you don't have to be intimidated by coming to new york. >> let me talk about some other cities, san francisco, obviously, is on the list all the time. quebec city. charleston, south carolina. and santa fe, new mexico. >> honestly, i think -- >> there's diversity in that. >> but also, the running theme which is places where you can feel like you can connect with the locals. >> all right. and let's go now to the next
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category which is the world's best hotel and i have to say this surprised me when i was reading my notes last night because they chose actually an endangered wildlife sanctuary in south africa. it's called bushman's kloof, and this is a place to go if you're looking for a safari experience or a wilderness experience. what's amazing is safaris are considered to be so costly. and this is $323 a night all-inclusi all-inclusive. . and there are -- there's cave drawings there, as well as amazing safari rides that you can do. it's really a worthwhile experience. >> in second place, the overray vanyavilas in india. jade mountain in st. lucia. sabi sabi private game reserve in south africa. >> and let's move on to the best resort in the united states. and we've got one in south carolina. >> closer to home, and close to
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charleston which did really well. palmetto bluff. this is actually very well in the world. this is a place if you love golf. if you want to go away with your family. it's very close to hilton head, super accessible and this is definitely all-american. >> once you get to your vacation, that's always the fun part. getting there is often the most difficult part. you actually asked your readers to talk about airlines. airlines get a lot of criticism these days. and when it comes to domestic airlines, your readers picked one that might not come to the mind of a lot of people plp >> well, this is a new airline and it's called virgin america and it's their second year in business and their second year on top of our list for airlines. >> they're doing something right. >> they're doing a lot of things that we see on jetblue, plus more. i know ann curry is really big into tweeting. if she goes on this airline she can tweet in the air because they have wi-fi in the whole cabin. you're kind of rolling your eyes. >> as long as the cell phones
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aren't ringing. >> exactly. >> jetblue second, midwest third, west jet fourth and southwest fifth. those all did well. our last category that we're going to talk about this morning, the best car rental agencies and the winner on your list is once i've never even heard of. >> can i tell you that i had never heard of it either, the winner is sixt. 1679 i-x-t. and i'm upset i never heard of it. because i went to europe last week. >> they don't operate in the united states? >> they have 95 countries, not including the u.s. if you're traveling an abroad, i use an american car rental. and i have to say, i got really, really, really taken advantage of. >> what company was that? >> i'm not telling you. but i will tell you that if i'd known about sixt i would have used them. they have mercedes, audis and at affordable prices. >> we're talking about the readers of "travel & leisure" and they travel a lot so they should know their stuff. thanks very much. >> thank you. >> important information. when we come back, one of our favorites, rascal flatts live in concert out on the plaza.
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first this is "today" on nbc.
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the "toyota concert series" on "today," brought to you by toyota. toyota, moving forward. >> get ready for a little country in the big city. ladies and gentlemen, rascal flatts. >> new york city! ♪ >> let's put your hands together. ♪ ♪ way on down to southern alabama with the guitars jammin' that's where we're headed ♪ ♪ straight up to butte, montana singin' lord i was born a ramblin' man ♪
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♪ california to oregon even new york city got one or two hillbillies ready to hit the road ♪ ♪ it's a brother and a sister kinda thang ♪ ♪ raise up your hands if you all wanna hang with ♪ ♪ me and my gang we live to ride we ride to live ♪ ♪ me and my gang jump on that train grab a hold of them reins ♪ ♪ we gonna rock this thang cock this thang ♪ ♪ me and my gang ♪ me and my gang let me tell you what we got ♪ we got hippies, gypsies freaks and geeks ♪ ♪ high class women in daisy duke denim banging and singing our songs ♪ ♪ dude named elrock jammin' on an ipod ♪ ♪ beer and bonfires wide open throttle
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coors in a bottle ♪ ♪ it's all for one and one for all, ya'll ♪ ♪ it's a brother and a sister kinda thang raise up your hands if you all wanna hang with ♪ ♪ me and my gang we live to ride we ride to live ♪ ♪ me and my gang jump on that train grab a hold of them reins ♪ ♪ we gonna rock this thang cock this thang me and my gang ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ it's a brother and a sister kinda thang ♪
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♪ raise up your hands if you all wanna hang with ♪ ♪ me and my gang we live to ride we ride to live ♪ ♪ me and my gang jump on that train grab a hold of them reins ♪ ♪ we gonna rock this thang cock this thang ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ me and my gang
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♪ >> thank you. >> rascal flatts, thank you. another song just ahead. but first, this is "today" on nbc.
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the academy of country music has awarded rascal flatts the honor of group of the year for a record-breaking seven consecutive years. so it is no wonder why their current tour and their current album are both called "unstoppable." they're here, rascal flatts, gentlemen, good morning. nice to see you. >> good morning. >> in a moment we're going to do a little interview here. but we want to kind of brag on you guys. you released your first album together back in 2000, right? so it's been a decade. >> yeah. >> so we want to present you guys with something. we can bring it up here and put it down. this is a plaque that commemorates the 20 million albums you have sold in the past ten years. >> wow. >> the consecutive, four consecutive number one debuting albums. the multiple number one singles in that time, and to being country music's group of the year seven consecutive years. so that is for you. >> thank you. >> and we have to -- you have to
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actually carry it home. >> apparently gary is the only one that gets one, though. >> no, no, no, it's for everybody. but gary, it is also a special day for you. >> yes. >> so if you would step forward for a second. >> stand right there. bring this out. it is your birthday. and your fans have already been starting this morning by singing, so ladies and gentlemen, can we start it one more time for gary? ♪ happy birthday to you happy birthday to you ♪ ♪ happy birthday dear gary happy birthday to you ♪ >> i got to tell you, you look great for 50. >> thank you guys so much. >> we have a tradition around here. did you smell that cake? >> i did. >> you usually end up with a face full of icing. >> i was ready.
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>> tell me about the tour. >> we're very, very proud of our tour. it's the american living unstoppable tour with jcpenney. we just started our partnership with them and it's been an incredible year so far. we're going all over the place. we just started about a month ago. >> scranton p.a. on sunday. >> what are you going to sing for us next. >> a song called summer nights. >> we'll get this cake out of the way. ladies and gentlemen, rascal flatts. >> y'all sound lovely. ♪ ♪ come on ladies it's time to pop that top ♪ ♪ new york city are you ready to rock ♪
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♪ we went crazy cooped up all winter long ♪ ♪ and school is out so let's get it on ♪ ♪ flip-flop tans and some white sand ♪ ♪ i know the perfect spot ♪ well the sunset better set soon so we can get in the mood ♪ ♪ things start getting all heated up when it starts getting cool yeah ♪ ♪ summer nights everybody, are you with me ♪ ♪ let that igloo cooler mark your piece of paradise ♪ ♪ summer nights everybody's feeling sexy ♪ ♪ holler if you're ready for some summer nights ♪ ♪ ♪ now fellas you better watch your step ♪ ♪ let let those teeny french bikinis make you lose your breath ♪ ♪ back to the ladies
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y'all keep doing y'all's thing ♪ ♪ cause everything about you makes me want to scream ♪ ♪ the sun is getting low there it goes here we go ♪ ♪ things start getting all heated up when it starts getting cool yeah ♪ ♪ summer nights everybody are you with me ♪ ♪ let that igloo cooler mark your piece of paradise ♪ ♪ summer nights everybody's feeling sexy ♪ holler if you're ready for some summer nights ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ it's a party down bar fight on the beach ♪ ♪ it's wild and it's free
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♪ summer nights everybody are you with me ♪ ♪ let that igloo cooler mark your piece of paradise ♪ ♪ summer everybody's looking sexy ♪ ♪ holler if you're ready for some summer nights ♪ ♪ summer nights everybody are you with me ♪ ♪ let that igloo cooler mark your piece of paradise ♪ ♪ summer nights everybody feeling sexy ♪ ♪ holler if you're ready for some summer nights ♪ oh, yeah ♪ new york city are you ready ♪ summer nights yeah oh, summer summer ♪
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>> the boys will be back with one more song in just a little while. but first these messages, your local news, and weather. >> good morning, i'm jennifer franciotti. it is 8:55. here's a look at top stories
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this morning. two men tied to the shooting of a deli witness have been -- avenue witness -- of a witness had been sentenced. ronald williams received a 25- year sentence. both played key roles in the murder of carl lackl, gunned down just a day before he was to testify against ronald buyers. a 19-year-old is pleading guilty to murdering a 14-year-old he had been dating. charles jakes will serve 25 of the 50-year sentence after pleading guilty to shooting and killing shaundretta griffin. she stopped dating jakes when she's not out of the house in 2008, only to be shot to death
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>> now let's take a look at the forecast with meteorologist john collins. beautiful, john. >> a few clouds in virginia, so the sun dominates with relatively know -- relatively low humidity. temperatures? highs again today in the low 80's. just about like yesterday. >> we will see you again for another update at 9:25 and have a nice morning.
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