tv ABC News Good Morning America ABC December 16, 2010 7:00am-9:00am PST
good morning, america. i'm elizabeth vargas. >> and i'm george stephanopoulos. it's thursday, december 16th. and this morning, spinout. highways littered with accidents. lighthouses iced over. and here's one of the snowiest cities in the country right now. as a new winter storm eyes the east. school board shock. did the florida shooter miss on purpose? the gunman's wife breaks her silence. >> because i love my husband. he was really a gentle giant. the hazards of new homes exposed. why you have only three minutes to escape a house fire. and caught on tape. you've seen her come to a police officer's rescue, pummeling the man who attacked this cop. now, the officer and his guardian angel reunite.
good morning, everyone. robin is on her way to alaska to talk to sarah palin. >> that's right. >> great to have elizabeth vargas here. >> nice to be here. >> and i guess robin didn't have to go to alaska to get snow. >> no. she sure didn't. >> the whole country getting hit. now, it's the southeast's turn. there's kentucky. ice is coating roads and power lines. georgia, black ice on slick roads. hundreds of accidents. some deaths. >> and look at the veritable snow mountain in syracuse, new york. the plows are working so hard. this is a 20-foot-high pile of snow. you can't tell because we don't have a five-foot person standing next to it. but there's a lot of snow. >> and some other big cities in the east are going to get it today. washington, d.c., philadelphia. and there could be another snow coming to new york city. we'll have sam checking on everything later. also this morning in washington, d.c., the battle over funding to keep the government running is heating up. and we're going to show you what happens when our correspondent catches a senator in an
uncomfortable exchange over earmarks. these little pet projects coming into the bills. >> jon karl and the senators went back and forth for quite some time. he'll have the report this morning. and look at this picture. what kind of burglar breaks into your house, steals your coat, holds wads of your cash and puts it on facebook? on your account? it happened to a "washington post's" reporter's family. we'll hear from him this morning. we begin with the blast of cold and snow that has so much of the country in a deep freeze. we have complete team coverage this morning, beginning in kentucky, where all that ice can make for a rough morning commute. barbara pinto leads us off from louisville. barbara? >> reporter: good morning, george. this is a slippery and treacherous morning here. you can see everything is coated in ice. and this may all look wet. but there is zero traction here. and they're expecting another two inches of sleet. the deadly storm hit in places least equipped to deal with it. killing at least five people.
a treacherous mix of snow and ice slickened roadways in alabama, mississippi and kentucky, littering the highways with spinouts, overturned cars and pileups. in tennessee, this school bus full of kids slid off the road. >> my daughter called me from her cell phone. >> what did she say? >> she said, we had a wreck. i said, where are you at? she said, i don't know. >> reporter: near atlanta, georgia, police responded to hundreds of crashes. >> suddenly, i lose control. i go into the guardrail and i couldn't see it. black ice, it's transparent. you can't see it. folks, you have to be real careful. >> i didn't get hit. there was nobody around me. there was probably 50 yards between me and anybody. i was pretty lucky. >> reporter: even in places accustomed to the snow the weather took its toll. two people died in this chain reaction pileup in wisconsin. >> when you came over the hill, you didn't see the cars stopped until it was too late. >> reporter: further south, the damage isn't just on the roads. bitter cold in places like florida will drive citrus and produce prices higher.
>> mother nature is something else. she's tough to deal with sometimes. we have to take what we get. >> reporter: in north carolina, cold temperatures put wildlife at risk. the coast guard rescued 80 young sea turtles, stunned by the frigid water. some suffered pneumonia. earlier this year, a massive ice storm here toppled power lines, left hundredses of thousands of people in the dark,some for more than a week. those repairs cost more than $100 million. one more reason folks here are not ready for all of this. elizabeth? >> no kidding. all right, barbara. thanks so much. even cities accustomed to harsh winters are being overwhelmed by the amount of snow they're seeing. jeremy hubbard is in fairmont, new york. good morning to you, jeremy. >> reporter: elizabeth, good morning. we're near syracuse. i want to show you this mountain of snow. i'm standing in a 20-foot-high stack of snow in a grocery store parking lot. they've been plowing it for days. they got 46 inches last week. another 11 yesterday.
it just seems like in this part of the country, the snow just keeps coming. it's blowing, blinding and unrelenting. >> the amount of snow, it just doesn't let up. >> reporter: five feet of snow, blanketing places like syracuse, just since december 1st. >> i'm cursing, saying, i hate this snow, i hate this snow. >> reporter: they're fending off a winter's worth of snow. but winter hasn't even started. >> i want to retire where i don't have to shovel. >> reporter: the danger is spread across the northeast. the great lakes, and beyond. from minneapolis, where a new rip in the metrodome roof has been discovered. to cleveland, where this lighthouse is encased in frozen lake water. just look at this before and after. to michigan, where highways are shut down entirely from the brutal conditions. to just north of detroit, where canadian military helicopters and snowmobilers have come to the rescue of those 200-plus drivers stranded on the highway for more than 24 hours. >> we'd rather be at home. but at least we're not stuck in a car on the side of the road.
>> reporter: according to the 2010 farmer's almanac, we'll see more days of wintry conditions ahead. with below-normal temperatures for 75% of the country. >> for much of the winter, we're going to see mild relief briefly, but snow and cold chiefly. under the same pattern we're seeing currently. and it's not even winter yet. >> reporter: are you tired of this stuff? >> yes, i am. >> reporter: three inches an hour. that's how fast it's falling in parts of central new york. and with two weeks to go, this is the second-snowiest on record this season. with snow removal costing $8,000 per mile in some places here. towns are plowing through their annual budget, with an entire winter still to come. and back here in syracuse, this mountain of snow will be growing. the plows are out and about, hard at work. they will get a reprieve of snow today. that's welcome news. already 66 inches of snow in syracuse so far this season. normally, all year, they just get 120. they're more than halfway there.
and winter hasn't even started. elizabeth? >> 66 inches. all right. jeremy hubbard, thank you so much. sam has been tracking the storm. you say this storm will pass. but we have smaller storms along the way. >> every one of the smaller storms will cause some kind of icy problem over the next two weeks. let's show you what it looks like. roxboro, north carolina. we've got a hit of snow on the ground even in the deep south. and the folks in the great lakes are used to the deep snows. folks in the south are not. this is like a skating rink. we had twitter reports of 300 accidents from atlanta to tunnel hill this morning. stay on twitter and we'll retweet what's going on there. here comes the low right to the middle of the country. it's not a big storm. but it lays a layer of ice and snow to the north of it. the cutoff is very short here. look at washington, d.c., roanoke, picking up snow. but philly will pick up a bare, little light flake here. we'll go through all of this weather and tell you what's expected over the next few weeks when we come back.
george? >> sam, thanks. we're going to washington now. big announcement for president obama today. he'll say we're making tentative progress in the afghanistan war, when he releases his official war review strategy this morning. but there are new signs it will be a hard sell with the american people. a new abc news poll shows a record 60% of americans say that the war in afghanistan has not been worth fighting. that means the afghan war is now as unpopular as the iraq war under president bush. jake tapper is at the white house. we've seen early reports on this review. it's a carefully-conditioned headline of progress. the president says specific components of the strategy are working well. and they're just operational gains. >> reporter: that's exactly right. and the headline in this review is that all of the gains that the review talks about are fragile and reversible. but the report, the af-pak review, the president obama's new way forward, announced a year ago, says some things are
working. mainly, the taliban momentum has been slowed in key parts of the country, including the kandahar and helmand provinces. they have killed senior al qaeda leadership in pakistan. the report doesn't say it. but that is through the use of predator drones. a lot of things still need work. they need more help from the pakistani government against the al qaeda safe havens in pakistan. and, of course, corruption in afghanistan in the government remains a problem. and it's still an open question as to whether afghan forces will be capable of taking the lead when u.s. troops eventually withdraw. >> that is set for 2014. but the president says he's going to stick by this idea of beginning withdrawal in 2011. according to this report, there's no real hint as to how big that withdrawal is going to be. it just says it's going to be responsible and conditions-based. >> reporter: that's exactly right. all they say in the report is that the conditions are being set up. they do not say that the conditions are achieved. nor do they say that it's
definitely going to happen on the timeline they've announced, george. >> okay, jake, thanks. that's coming up at 11:45 this morning, the president. congress is debating a massive $1 trillion bill to fund the government. critics say the bill is wasting billions of dollars of your money on earmarks, those special projects inserted by individual members of congress. well, jonathan karl confronted some members of congress about that. take a look. >> reporter: there's over 6,000 earmarks in the bill. special projects like $500,000 for road roundabouts in mississippi. $350,000 for cool season legume research in idaho, north dakota, and washington. $400,000 for solar parking canopies and plug-in electric stations in kansas. $247,000 for virus-free wine grapes in washington state. it all adds up. more than $8 billion worth. >> this is the one, last bite at the apple that all these folks are going after because they
really don't get it. but the american people get it. >> reporter: senator coburn is one of the few who didn't put earmarks in the bill. many of his fellow republicans also denounce them. >> i think this is an outrage. but more than being outraged, i think it demonstrates profound disrespect for the american people. >> reporter: but wait. most senate republicans did put earmarks in the bill. going through this bill, there's earmark after earmark from the both of you. i mean, millions of dollars in earmarks from the two of you and from other senators. how do you have any credibility on this? why do you have earmarks in here? >> the simple answer is, i'm going to vote against the bill and refuse all of those earmarks. >> reporter: senator, were you wrong when you put the earmarks in before? >> you're missing the story if you think it's just about earmarks. this is about a flawed process of sweetheart deals cut behind closed doors. >> reporter: is that an acknowledgment that it was wrong
to put the earmarks in in the first place? >> you asked the question about five times. and i tried to answer it to the best of my ability. >> reporter: the group, taxpayers for common sense has been crunching the numbers. and this bill's earmark king, the senator with more than any other, is mississippi's thad cochran. he's a republican with more than $500 billion of earmarks in this bill. >> and he's unapologetic about earmarks. okay, way to press yesterday, jon. we're learning more this morning about the man who menaced that school board meeting in florida. 56-year-old clay duke fired bullets at board members, missing them inches before he killed himself. now, his wife has come forward and says that duke was an excellent shot and probably missed the board members on purpose. ryan owens is in panama city this morning. ryan? >> reporter: george, good morning to you. his wife may think he didn't mean to kill anyone. but police tell a different story. that of a man that carefully planned his crime. and brought more than enough bullets to kill more people than
just himself. >> i have a motion. >> reporter: police say clay duke was a gunman with a grudge. an angry husband who wanted revenge on school officials who fired his wife, a special education teacher. she calls him a gentle giant. >> basically, he loved me. he loved his family. and he was just trying to have people stop, as he would say, dump on me. >> reporter: but the 56-year-old had trouble with the law long before his wife was let go. he served four years in prison for aggravated stalking and shooting. police say he carefully planned his final crime, circling the date on his calendar. and showing up at the board meeting with plenty of ammunition. >> he had an extra magazine that was fully loaded in his back pocket at the time of the shooting. and then, he had another box of ammo. and i believe that box of ammo was full and contained 50 rounds. >> reporter: duke fired at least 14 rounds. each one missed. he only stopped when school
security officer mike jones sot him. duke then turned the gun on himself. school board member, ginger littleton, tried to stop him sooner. armed only with her purse. her efforts failed. but she's now something of a cult hero, complete with a facebook fan page. do you wish you would have had more stuff in that purse? >> actually, i do. i either needed to have a better swing or a brick or two. and i think i was a few bricks shy of a load on that one. >> reporter: she's gotten most of the attention, but she's the first to point out that the real hero is the security officer, mike jones. he was hospitalized with chest pains after this happened. this morning, he's home with his family. george? >> thanks, ryan. for more on this, we're now joined by the panama city deputy police chief, robert colburn. good morning. thank you for joining us. >> good morning. >> thank you.
>> are we any closer this morning to understanding what might have motivated clay duke? he was upset over his wife losing her job. but that happened in 2008. >> unfortunately, we're dealing with mental health issues probably on mr. duke's part. the reality is we may never know completely what the issues were. >> you mentioned mental health issues. his wife said yesterday, he suffered from bipolar disorder and was taking medication. is that true? >> we have heard information about that, unfortunately, because of different medical protection laws we may not get full disclosure of that information. but we're working on establishing better information on that. >> she said he was a misunderstood gentle giant. and we're fascinated at the claim she made that she believed that even though he fired 14 rounds, he was probably missing on purpose. >> you know, in watching the video, as i know most of america has, i stick by my point that i believe mr. duke went there with a purpose.
and that purpose was to do harm and possibly kill other individuals. i understand that that may be a part of the reasoning process for her, is that he went there to scare people. but i believe law enforcement's operating on the full notion that he truly went there to harm and/or kill mr. husfelt, superintendent husfelt and other board members. >> you say he went there with a purpose. it seems like this was very well planned for this date, december 14th. as you point out, he also came with many more rounds of ammunition. how long do you think this was in the works? >> we do know from a search warrant that detectives served on his residence, in a neighboring jurisdiction, that he had on his calendar, he had this date circled in red. it was something that was significant to him. and that was something that he had put into place. he came there prepared, as we said earlier, with extra ammunition, with extra
magazines. and he was there for that purpose. >> how could he get a gun? he was a convicted felon with a mental disorder. >> we're working with federal authorities and other entities to try to determine, number one, how he came to be in possession of that gun. and if he came about it through some maybe illegal ways, we're going to look at dealing with that. >> finally, sir, i know you don't want to second-guess the actions of superintendent husfelt or anyone else on the board. but what advice do you have for any american who might find themselves one day in a similar situation? >> you know, there's people that would probably say that ms. littleton shouldn't have done what she did. or the superintendent shouldn't have done what he did. and like you said. that's second-guessing it and playing armchair quarterback. i think in the circumstances, each person arose to the occasion. certainly, mike jones did. and because of that, and because of their actions, there's going to be many people spending a
christmas with their families this year that probably would not have been, had someone not acted. >> okay. chief colbert, thank you for your time this morning. >> thank you. and it's time, now, for sam champion and the weather. sam? >> good morning, george and elizabeth. here's this morning's snow and icemaker from the dakotas. this band of to show goes all the way to the carolinas. and there is ice and rain all the way into georgia this morning. for california, this becomes a start of a big, probably four-day rain event in this area at least here. we have storm after storm, that lowers in the central california, lower california. these will be big rain totals. and as we said at the top of the show when these storms move across the country, they're moving into very cold air. so, each one will lay down a little bit of a winter mess. but today's winter mess is in the deep south today. it will warm up into the south. but all of that will go to rain. but it will have an icy mix early this morning. careful on the roads.
we have more, now, on that story about the woman who rushed to the aid of a police officer. now, the reunion between the officer and the woman he calls his guardian angel. here's dan harris. >> reporter: an officer on the side of the road in dayton, ohio. locked in a life or death struggle, with a man who was reaching for his gun and taser. >> give me some help. >> reporter: he gets help but from an unlikely source. a good samaritan, a total stranger who pulls over and dives right into the fight. initially, the woman's name wasn't released. but we now know who it was. angela pierce. >> i did it because i felt like he needed a hand. and i -- wasn't nobody else. everybody just ran past. and i just helped. >> reporter: pierce says when the other dayton officers arrived on the scene, finally taking the assailant down, they initially handcuffed her.
but quickly took off the cuffs and gave her a high-five. >> they just thanked me and let me go. >> reporter: she said she was moved when she heard officer jonathan seiter on wednesday morning, on "gma," says he thought she was a guardian angel, sent by his parents, who are dead. >> i would like to say thank you, to her. >> reporter: overnight, with our cameras rolling, he said thank you to her, in person. >> i do truly appreciate what you did. >> you're welcome. >> my wife does, too. my children. >> that's wonderful. >> reporter: officer seiter says he doesn't recommend citizens jump into police altercations. however, in this case, he admits, he's glad angela pierce had his back. for "good morning america," dan harris, abc news. >> good for angela pierce. >> absolutely. and coming up, the search for new york's serial killer. police zero in on a new link to the crime. and three minutes to escape. what you need to know to keep your house from going up in flames.
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they think he was targeted because he intervened and broke up a fight last week. there have been no arrests. a morning update on the traffic situation. >> daly city now we have an accident that's been there about a half an hour ton 280 northbound as you head into san francisco. it's just cleared out of lanes. marin county we'll go up and check southbound 101. a accident blocking the left lane there and bay bridge back to the west grand overcrossing. kristen? >> all right. awesome. thank you, sue.
>> here's a live picture from ballmer peak show the low clouds. no flight arrival delays into sfo. cool, 29 fairfield to about 44 san francisco, 46 half moon bay. we'll see an increase in high clouds and temperatures pretty close to average and low to mid-50s. tonight won't be nearly as cool as clouds will return. all of us should see rain by noon tomorrow.
you're looking at a living room experiment. we set this room on fire to see how long people would have to escape. the answer is going to shock you. it is much less than you think, and we're going to get into it this morning. the hidden hazards that could mean the difference between life and death in a house fire. good morning, america. i'm george stephanopoulos. >> and i'm elizabeth vargas. robin roberts is on assignment. and, of course, right now people have christmas trees, which are highly flammable so that makes it even worse. also this morning, they're some of the most popular television shows sending unhealthy sexual messages to teenage girls. we'll look at a disturbing, new report just released that every teen girl and parent needs to hear. >> they reach to kids lower than that. parents have to be vigilant about that. look at this. pop star, usher, he's going to take a stiletto shoe to the face
from a very excited -- oh, there it is right there. >> she didn't mean to hurt him. >> she was trying to go over his head. she didn't have the flexibility she thought she had. what usher has to say to the fan now. first, on a serious note, the latest on four bodies discovered on a long island beach. police believe they may be the work of a serial killer. investigators now say all of the victims are women, and some of them may have been prostitutes. police are also trying to determine if these crimes are connected to a series of unsolved mysteries in atlantic city. andrea canning is live with the latest on this case. good morning to you, andrea. >> reporter: good morning, elizabeth. yeah, and four other women were also murdered in atlantic city under similar circumstances. the latest here, police have narrowed in on a house, but they won't confirm what the possible connection is. we've just heard that car was towed from that house last night. a man who lived there said one of the women in question was at his house for a party but that she became agitated and left alive.
wednesday police searched this long island house where neighbors say shannon gilbert was seen running for her life eight months ago, ending up at a house next door pleading for help. >> she said, help me, and she just looked like she was spaced out. >> reporter: police say gilbert, a former prostitute, who met her last-known client on craigslist, could be one of the four yet to be identified women dumped on this barren beach over the past 18 months. guy coleti says gilbert claimed someone was after her. he called 911, but she took off and tumbled down his front steps, vanishing into the weeds. >> i could have saved that girl if i knew something would happen. >> reporter: her family said he called 911 herself and named her alleged attacker. but police will not comment. another missing victim is single mom, megan waterman. >> my gut tells me megan is no longer with us. it's been heartbreaking for the past almost 6 1/2 months. >> reporter: also, a known
prostitute who used craigslist. >> me and my family tried talking to megan about the dangers of advertising on craigslist. she didn't listen to us. >> reporter: police tell abc news, they are looking at a possible connection to the 2006 unsolved murders of four prostitutes 160 miles away in atlantic city. they were found lying in a drainage ditch. attorney james leonard represents a handyman who was investigated for the murders. he was never charged and denies he is responsible. >> we're dealing with four women that were disposed of. and it would appear that at least one of them has connections to prostitution. so the similarities to me are striking and very eerie. >> reporter: this year, craigslist removed its escort section, following the high-profile case of philip markoff. that hasn't stopped people from posting suggestive ads. craigslist had no comment. they will update the media on how the identification process
is coming along for the four women. they're looking at dna and dental records. >> all right, andrea, thanks so much. joining me is dr. michael welner. >> good morning. >> the fbi is involved in the investigation. why are police convinced they have a serial killer their hands? >> you not only have four bodies in a remote location. but each of them appears to have been brought there at different times. and the likelihood of a person going out of their way to leave someone behind, more than one person doing that, is next to impossible. >> you're not going to have four different killers, in other words, picking the same beach, deserted beach, to deposit a body. >> that's exactly right. that's exactly right. >> why does the selection -- >> that's why the killer picks it in the first place because he believes that no one goes there, and no one's going to go there.
>> does that mean he's in the area? from the area? he must know the area. >> police are going to look at the area and people who might travel by there frequently. but it could also be a visitor. and serial killers are known to travel. they're known to case. they're known to be familiar with their environment. they're students of criminality. and so one can't read too much, although, naturally, you start local and you go from there to visitors to the area. >> i ask because son of sam, another notorious serial killer who killed six people was arrested after a parking ticket search. so police can use the fact that this is sort of a remote location and start to work backwards from that possibly to track him? >> well, in my professional opinion the identification of the victims is going to be key to solving the case, because we now live in the digital age where cell phone records and computer use records give folks an opportunity, give investigators an opportunity to hone in on suspects and whom people were interacting with. i think that there is a future to those who conduct business, prostitute business, escort
business, finding ways to just digitally keep themselves connected. >> leave a trail. >> so that if anything -- always leave a trail so that if you disappear, and you can't be accounted for, someone has to answer for it from beyond the grave. >> given the fact that the bodies are badly decomposed, they've been exposed to the elements, how likely are police going to find a cause of death? time of death and identification? >> it's difficult, and cause of death may not be determined. many investigators of serial killers focus on signatures and approaches that a serial killer may have taken. >> a calling card. >> a calling card. and a calling card is a lot harder to identify when decomposition is so advanced. but, again, i would underscore it's not just biological evidence, it's also digital evidence, and in this case there may even be identification evidence. if someone comes screaming to you, don't look away. call the police and keep them connected. >> in that one case, we know of
one woman who did go screaming to a man who lived in the neighborhood, asking him to call 911. he did call 911. >> yeah, it may break the case. and in jeffrey dahmer's case, it didn't. and it could have saved lives. we can keep our community safe. >> you referred to a moment ago of the so-called calling card or a signature that a serial killer can sometimes leave. what are we talking about very quickly? >> things that one keeps as souvenirs. marks on a body. a particular mode of death, using a particular weapon. >> taking an item of clothing? taking a piece of jewelry, that sort of thing? >> good examples. >> all right. dr. michael welner, i'm sure we'll be talking to you more as this case develops. thanks so much for being here. >> you're welcome. have a good day. now, let's check in with other stories developing right now. let's check in with juju chang at the newsdesk. >> good morning, elizabeth. wikileaks founder julian assange is about to walk free. a london judge rejected an appeal that would have denied his release on bail.
he'll now be placed under house arrest at a friend's mags as he fights extradition to sweden on rape charges. bp's stock fell this morning after word the government is suing the oil company for up to $21 billion in connection with the gulf oil spill. the suit claims bp and four other companies ignored safety regulations leading up to april's explosion and the resulting spill. well, it looks like the senate is ready to join the house, which has already voted to repeal the military's don't ask, don't tell policy. the big issue now, whether they can schedule a vote in the busy final days before christmas. and finally, r&b superstar, usher has a message that a fan, remember her? she kicked him in the face the other night. did you see it? oh. he got the boot while serenading her as he brought her on stage. she tried cozying up and accidentally kicked him. but usher says it looked worse than it was. he says he got a "kick out of
it," bah dum-dum. that's what we call a news kicker. >> i'm sorry. i'm just running over from my interview with dr. welner. okay over here. >> keep those stilettos down. >> don't worry. i'm not swinging my leg up over here. sam? >> oh, no. i can't let that whole moment go. all right, we have to. let's get to the boards. we have one or two things going on this morning we need to talk about. we're going to start with live shots. louisville, kentucky, our first one. about an inch of snow. they've gone over to frozen rain. that means all of the road surfaces are going to be hazardous. it's the braking that's the real problem. sure, you can go fast on ice. you just can't stop. in washington, d.c., this will go to snow later on today. and it will be a couple inches there. but it's southern virginia, central virginia, that will pick up the real snow there. from louisville all the way into roanoke. i know my niece is leaving college early today to get to washington, d.c. because they're expecting about 5 inches of snow there. raleigh will get a coating of ice, as well. that's what it looks like. on the big board, we're drier in the northwest, but we got some big-time rain moving into central california. this will last for days. it will take you through the
weekend with off and on rain. some of the rains will be pretty heavy. the jet stream has dropped right here and is moving directly across the country. every one of those storms will move into this cold air. and we'll all have to watch the weather over the next couple of weeks. that weather report was brought >> that report brought you to by united health care. mow the very athletic elizabeth vargas. >> thank you so much, sam. coming up next, how long do you have to get out of a burning house? we set a room on fire and timed it to find out. don't go away. so many tough decisionsth i felt lost.
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the wicked cold snap continues across the country with places like florida, georgia and south carolina, recording the coldest temperatures of 2010. that has many people taking unusual steps to stay warm. but those steps can sometimes be dangerous. our consumer watchdog, elisabeth leamy, is here with the fire hazards you need to know about. >> reporter: more house fires happen in december than in any other month. and many of them are caused when people misuse ordinary products in their homes. so, we teamed up with underwriters laboratory, the nonprofit laboratory under the ul mark, to show how good products can be dangerous when
used improperly. can you find the five fire hazards in this typical, american living room? show me the problem. >> a lamp that's overlamped. >> reporter: hazard one. a lamp containing a 150-watt bulb, enthough it's only rated for 60 watts. over time, that can superheat the socket and cause a fire. hazard two. misused extension cords. >> time and again, people get killed from fires because of extension cords that are not used properly. >> reporter: worst-case scenario? here's what happened when ul deliberately overloaded a flimsy extension cord with too much power. hazard three, electric blankets should not be tucked, pinned or balled up. >> these products are tested as best anybody can test them. but the fact is, if you're not using them properly, that can introduce a hazard. >> reporter: potential hazard number four, space heaters. >> keep them three feet from the
heat. >> that's three inches here. >> that's no good. >> reporter: when ul placed a space heater next to a fabric curtain, it went up in flames in less than two minutes. now, hazard number five, the worst of all. handles. >> you are absolutely right. >> reporter: candles start 23,000 fires a year. >> everybody that's had a fire will tell you they will never have a lit candle in a room they're not in. >> reporter: after all, candles are open flames. i can see a situation where if somebody bumps it just like that. look at that. it's catching fire. let's get out of here. we get out fast because ul's research shows you have just three minutes to evacuate safely in a fire. whereas 30 years ago, you had 17 minutes. >> your job is to get yourself and your family out of the house. >> reporter: why? because these days, the products in our homes are made mostly of artificial fibers that smoke and burn far faster. watch in ul experiment.
the flames on the natural pillow on the left peter out. but fire engulfs the polyester pillow on the right. back in our typical, american living room, we can feel the heat 50 feet away, behind a wall. the flames are eating up the room and shooting through the ceiling. so, anybody upstairs would be in real trouble. seven minutes in, ul firefighters declare it too dangerous and put the flames out. and seeing how fast fires burn, those artificial fibers is a real call to action to install top-notch smoke detectors. preferably, george, detectors that are linked. if you have a fire in the basement, it can trigger the one by the bedroom to go off, so you get the warning sooner. >> i was shocked how powerful
that fire got so quickly. >> i was standing behind that concrete wall with the double-pane glass and could feel it. >> you can go to abcnews.com "gma" for information about do-it-yourself home wiring that are potential hazards. this burglar hosted a picture on facebook from the house he was stealing from. a new twist on trespassing. okay, which picture for the card? hellllllo...that one, everyone looks great. [ female announcer ] when you make your christmas cards at hallmark.com... my show, perfect.
♪ la la la la la la laaa ♪ [ daughter ] dad! sorry. aww yeah! that one! [ female announcer ] ...we address and mail them for you... [ little boy ] now that's a good one. [ indistinct conversations ] [ female announcer ] ...which gives you more... done! [ female announcer ] ...family time. let's go decorate the tree. [ female announcer ] cards that mail themselves, at hallmark.com. [ daughter ] so, the one where everyone looks great, right? [ mom ] right.
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coming up, what messages is your daughter getting from some of the most popular television shows? there's a brand-new report out, a disturbing report out on young girls and sexuality. and just more than a week before christmas. we have all of the last-minute gift ideas for the people still left on your list. i'm still shopping. so, i'm paying close attention. don't go away. ys one of the first gifts opened, and the first ones on., because they're not just pj's, they're christmas pj's./ it's one of those traditions...that keeps the whole family smiling, year after year./ live your christmas story at a kmart price -/ with 50% off sleepwear for the entire family. a tradition this good could last all day long., there's smart and there's kmart smart. we went around the country asking women to speak frankly about something no one wants to talk about. it's time to get real about what happens in the bathroom. stop all the cutesy stuff. and start talking about what you really want from your toilet paper. it's time to talk about clean.
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if layoffs go through the police department will be down to 98 sworn officers. you can see it's pretty foggy out there. let's find out more from mike. >> some spots are foggy. still dealing with frost. high clouds this afternoon. and looks like mid-50s. rain will start in most neighborhoods by noon tomorrow, heaviest on saturday and
some happy faces downstairs. of course, robin is on assignment. she is heading up to wasilla, alaska, to talk to sarah palin. elizabeth vargas is here. you got a story that ali and i, a subject we discuss a lot. the whole question of whether teen girls are too sexy on television. there's a new report out. >> saying they're portrayed sexually more often than adult female characters are in sexual situations. >> and kids hook into it. it sends some harmful messages to young girls. we'll tell you what it says and what parents can do this morning. also this morning, a terrifying moment for a doctor at the hands of her own patient. but this turns into an inspiring lesson in courage. you're going to meet this woman
with her message of hope in just a few minutes. >> what she went through at the hands of her patient, and how she recovered from it. >> and forgave him. >> stronger than ever. if you're out of holiday gift ideas, becky worley is here to save the day with her favorites. >> what is that? it looks like a game. >> she's too into it to tell us. we're going to find out a little bit. also, sam is going behind the scenes at macy's santa land. to meet the big guy himself. you see him waving. with a bunch of kids. we begin this hour with a social break-in. this burglar, breaking into a washington, d.c. house, taking a coat and cash. and then, posting it all on the facebook account of the people he was stealing from. how about that for audacious? pierre thomas has the latest. pierre? >> reporter: good morning, george. call me old-school. but back in the day, thieves did not taunt their victims. this is a story about burglary in the 21st century. and a criminal who is, well, either stupid or bold. recently mark fisher of "the washington post," had his home
broken into. >> and we came rushing home. called 911. and we and the police arrived at the same moment. >> reporter: besides the indignity of having their home violated and personal items stolen, the burglar decided to engage in one more very personal injustice. he stole fisher's son's laptop. and decided to post his picture on the facebook page, so all of the young man's 400 friends could see it. the burglar even wore a new coat that mr. fisher had just received. >> i had to look at the picture several times to realize that was the new coat. it had just arrived the day before. and he stole it out of the macy's box it was delivered in the day before. >> reporter: but the photo of bravado may be the thief's undoing. police are all over it. >> having the image is fantastic for us. >> reporter: the burglar has not been located yet. but the fishers are hoping the
facebook posting of his picture will turn into a mug shot when he's arrested. we're left with a crime question. will the face time on facebook lead to time in the slammer? george? >> you had fun with this, pierre. we hope he gets caught. thanks very much. now, let's get a look at the rest of the stop stories with juju. >> good morning, everyone. more news on the breaking news out of london. a judge has granted bail to julian assange. jim sciutto is at the court with more. >> reporter: with assange in the courtroom, his mother as well, the judge listened to arguments for about 90 minutes before deciding to uphold the bail. the lawyer telling us they have successfully raised the 200,000 pounds. that money will be in the court's account today some time. once it's in, assange will walk free. though with restrictions. he'll have to visit a police station once a day. his lawyer tell us me he'll get
right back to the work of wikileaks. juju? >> thanks, jim. fragile roprogress. that's the headline from president obama's long-awaited review of the war strategy in afghanistan. the report finds the military is on track to begin withdrawing forces in july. meantime, 60% of americans say the war is not worth fighting. that is a record low. the house could join the senate in passing president obama's plan today to extend the bush-era tax cuts. but some democrats are vowing to stand in the way over cuts to the estate tax. well, the wild winter weather continues for much of the country this morning. at least five deaths are now blamed on icy roads down south. and along the great lakes, one image captured it all. a lighthouse, if you can believe it, encased in ice. three people have died in a severe storm that brought this massive hail pummeling to the ground in australia. collapsing roofs and stranding cars. and after years of recalls,
the government is outlawing those drop-side cribs used for generation. the cribs have been blamed for dozens of deaths. beginning in junks it will be illegal to sell or resell them. parents are advised to make sure the hardware is working properly. and now the sam. why did you get the lucky assignment? >> juju, the headline here is santa's secrets revealed. where does santa claus spend the last few days before the important night? we first found out in a film clip, where natalie wood discovers santa claus. >> well, young lady, what's your name? >> suzy walker. what's yours? >> mine? kriss kringle. i'm santa claus. oh, you don't believe that, do you? >> so, that was 19 -- 1947, "miracle on 34th street" was the film. one of my favorite move clips. edwin guinn won an oscar for depicting santa claus.
because santa doesn't really like to be on film. but he does hang out here. i got good authority from the elves. these are kind of tall elves. but they assure me that elves come. the other santa secret is that this is the big board. the board that santa uses. and they track santa, the elves do. you can see greenland there. iceland there. denmark. all of these places will be gotten to. let's get to our boards and we'll show you what is going on this morning. we have a secret interview with santa coming up. here's what the big map looks like. ice and snow comes anywhere from virginia all the way back into tennessee. also, kentucky this morning. northern georgia is still getting out of those icy temperatures. a lot of the deep south will go to rain. but this morning, those road surfaces, if you see them look wet, they might be icy. central virginia will pick up a good hit of snow here. a few inches in chicagoland, all the way up toward the dakotas there. there's a brand-new wet system that moves into central california. it is drying out in the northwest, ever so slightly. about 33 in spokane.
that's all good news. in florida, temperatures are on the rise >> okay. so maybe it's not such a secret that santa hangs out at macy's for awhile before the holiday. 250,000 kids like these see him every year. how can you make a difference and give kids a good christmas? we're going to talk about that with santa when we come back in the next half hour. elizabeth? >> so important. great. thanks, sam.
a brand-new report is out this morning looking at an issue that's so important to many parents. how popular television shows are sexualizing young girls. and how those messages can have an negative impact on your child later in life. and the study uncovered a troubling trend. ♪ >> reporter: a teenage girl dances seductively through her classroom. >> is there any way i can dance my way out of this ticket? >> reporter: another performs a mock striptease for a police officer. and these teens share a very passionate kiss in a dark room. it might seem like network cable, but these are all from prime five tv. images that the parent council believes sexualize in the media. >> the ubiquitous saturation sexualization of young girls in every form of media. it's not just college kids. it's not just 20-somethings. we're talking about teenagers. >> reporter: the study analyzed the top 25 primetime scripted programs for viewers age 12 to
17, including "glee," "90210," "gossip girl," "law & order" and "house." and defined sexualization as the active process of making a person, group, or thing seem as sexual in nature. they found that underage female characters were more often depicted in a sexual way than adult female characters. and for the underaged characters, it's more likely visual sexual behavior than just dialogue. and the majority were presented as high school kids. not college-age adults. tim winter, says these are geared toward younger children. they found that 75% of these shows did not contain an "s," for sexual content rating so parents could avoid them. >> as a parent, it's incumbent upon you to become more involved in the media consumption op your child. as more children are watching the actors and television shows, they're seeing pretend teenagers as the types of role models they want to become. >> it's not a big deal. we're joined by our parenting expert, ann pleshette
murphy. and those images we're looking at, it's kind of shocking those are all on primetime. not, you know, cable. >> not shows that you associate with having sexualized content. i think that's one of the interesting things about this study. >> we're talking about teenage girls in, quote, visual sexual behavior. what are we talking about? >> when you talk about sexualization, it's a very important question. the american psychological association released a very important study a couple of years ago that this organization used in their looking at these shows and screening them and saying what's sexualizing and what isn't. we often think about it in inappropriate dress. in this context, it's really about girls being treated as sex objects. girls being defined very narrowly, just in terms of their sexual behavior or language. >> and you say that exposing your girls, your teenagers or preteens to this kind of image, the kind of images, can have lifetime consequences?
>> it really can. there's a lot of research, well beyond this study that shows, having a body image that's very negative, which, of course, if you think of yourself as an object, it affects a child, and girls in particular -- this is all about girls. body images. their self-esteem. and self-confidence, associated with eating disorders and depression. and it affects how you think. there was a beautiful study that was done where they ask girls to try on a bathing suit or try on a sweater. these were college girls. and they were asked to do a math test while they were waiting. if they were alone in a dressing room wearing a bathing suit, they did significantly worse than wearing a sweater. >> you're kidding. >> there was no impact in the same study with boys. i go into this detail because the impact of girls being obsessed of what they look like, being treated as objects, is very damaging in the long term. >> given the fact that it seems to be pervasive, if it's on network television. by the way, at times that are not late at night.
these are early time slots, 8:00 in some cases. music, videos. what do you do as a parent, aside from insulating your child or banning television? >> i think that's where a lot of parents should say, how can i do that? that's not what you should do. the point of this study i think was to get the dialogue going. and the most important thing you do is watch what they watch and use it as an opportunity to say, i've heard about this show. and i checked. they're not going to watch with you. if they will, that's the best. watch it. say i watched this show. and i noticed a lot of times sex is a big joke. this is another finding in this study that 67% of the incidents were where it was kind of a big joke. >> it's not being used in a lesson learning kind of a way. >> 98% of the incidents occurred in the context of an unhealthy relationship. you can talk to your daughters and your sons -- it's very important to talk to boys -- about how sex is something special. it's something that we want to have happen in the context of an intimate, loving relationship.
and these are not messages they're getting on television, or frankly, anywhere else in the media. >> you mentioned boys. i'm the mother of two boys. i was wondering what message boys are getting watching this about girls. >> you need to make sure they understand how damaging this is, not just to girls, but to boys and their relationships. boys want loving relationships, too. they don't just want sex, despite what their reputation is. >> ann pleshette murphy. thanks so much. important information for parents of girls and boys. very important. what do you think? do you think underaged girls are portrayed as overly sexual on television? tell us what you think on our shoutout board at abcnews.com/gma. coming up next, one woman's amazing survival story. ure card we get double miles on every purchase. so we earned a holiday trip to the big apple twice as fast! dinner! [ garth ] we get double miles every time we use our card. and since double miles add up fast, we can bring the whole gang! it's hard to beat double miles! i want a maze, a sword, a...
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it's been said that man has never made material as strong ass the human spirit. and the woman in our next story is proof of that. this harvard professor and leading researcher in bipolar disorder was brutally attacked by one of her own patients. stabbed time and time again. but she has survived and thrived thanks to brilliant surgeons and the power of forgiveness. >> she is one of those people that just stays with you. she can be described as one of those pillars of her community.
so, when word broke out of this attack, it sent shock waves through her boston community. it was an unspeakably violent episode. but this is a story of equally staggering forgiveness and fortitude. this isn't just a simple walk to work. it's a resounding symbol of great strength and resilience. >> to me, she's a hero. she's a fighter. she's a warrior. >> her resilience. her courage. >> it's pretty extraordinary how committed astrid is. >> i said, you are strong. >> reporter: just over a year ago, this esteemed psychiatrist, known for giving selflessly volunteering time and resources here and in her native haiti, experienced the unthinkable. >> i said, how are you? then, he just grabbed me. >> reporter: in her office at mass general's bipolar clinic, she was treating her patient of two years, jay carciaro, a
likable father of four. who, like many bipolar patients, never had a history of violence. >> he shut the door. pulled a knife out of his shirt and started stabbing me. he got my vocal cord. so, i was not able to call for help. >> reporter: she managed to kick the door. alerting colleagues in nearby offices. >> she was stabbed repeatedly in a lot of different areas. >> i was thinking about my children. are they going to grow up without a mother? >> reporter: an off-duty security officer arrived and shot carciaro, after he refused to put the knife down. he died several hours later. dr. derosier was rushed to surgery. >> stabbed by a psychiatric patient. >> reporter: a team of surgeons worked to control the trauma caused by an estimated 20 stab wounds. >> i didn't know whether or not she was going to make it. but i said, please help.
help me carry this. >> i opened my eyes. my husband was there. >> and she saw me. >> and i was surprised because i thought i had died. >> one of the first words was that, you have to protect me. and i said, yes. i will protect you. >> and from that day on, i never looked back. >> reporter: bolstered by a massive outpouring of support. >> it was unbelievable support. was just unbelievable. >> reporter: she slowly made progress, gaining strength, remaining movement in her arms and fingers. >> i saw she could move her arms, i knew she was getting better. >> i just kept on going. i never lost faith. >> reporter: even after hearing news that shook her to the core. >> tragedy in haiti. >> reporter: dr. derosier managed to find incredible hope in her homeland. >> they continue to fight. you watch them on television. and you are thinking, you know,
sometimes how can they go on? but they do. >> reporter: and that inspired her own journey of recovery, that amazingly comes with complete forgiveness for the patient who almost took her life. >> i forgave him from the very beginning. i never asked him, why did you do this to me? no. i never asked those questions. >> reporter: now, we return to that dally walk to the same office, to continue helping the countless patients that she cares for so deeply. >> she's not scared off by what happened. she understands that it's incredibly rare. and she wants to continue doing her job. >> i'm honored to be her colleague and to be able to work with somebody who's so dedicated. >> i think, when you take good care of the world, the world will take care of you. and i think that's what happened. i think every day i try to be a good doctor, a good citizen. i try my best, every day.
and i think that pays back. >> it's definitely paying back. she not only has no fear. she has no bitterness, no self-pity. mass general's bipolar clinic leads the nation. and doctors there feel strongly that patients attacking doctors is very rare. it's never happened in the 75-year history. research shows people with mental illness are more likely to be the victims of attack. >> that's why astrid describes what happened to her as an accident. >> she says even as he was shot and laying, and she thought she was dying, she said, i forgive you. >> thank you, juju. great story. now, we get to our next finalist in our "gma" advice guru search. it's ann zirkel from ann arbor, michigan. >> holidays are supposed to be jolly. but they can be stressful. if you find yourself being impatient, or biting someone's head off, here's what you can do. in the moment, take a breath. besides stopping you from saying something you might just regret, it acts kind of like a pause
button. what you do with that pause? rethink your stress. change your game plan. change your perspective about what's important. it probably has something to do with family, friends fun. and being jolly. and unpause and have a great holiday. >> okay. ann, thanks very much. you can tell us what you think about all our finalists. you can also read their personal essays and see how they responded to your questions at abcnews.com/gma. becky worley is here with great christmas gifts, when we come back. [ male announcer ] for frequent heartburn relief, nothing beats prevacid®24hr. just one pill helps keep you heartburn free for a full 24 hours. prevent the acid that causes frequent heartburn with prevacid®24hr, all day, all night. nothing works better.
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is the number one jewelry store in america. ♪ students at east bay high school will wear back after a student was stabbed to death. he was aid senior at newark memorial high. friends think he was targeted balms he intervened and broke up a fight last week. witnesses saw two males wearing dark clothes and hoodlies running from the scene. how thursday morning traffic is shaping up. >> a major issue in newark that is continuing. a sigalert is in effect at the parkway.
>> welcome back. here's a look at the bay bridge and some of the fog. locally dense in some areas and freezing in santa rosa, napa and livermore. 32. even 44 san francisco, 40 mountain view. our destination this afternoon, about the mid-50s with increasing high clouds. tonight not as cool as this morning thanks to those clouds.
rain will roll in by noon. heaviest saturday and tuesday. kristen? >> the new ♪ santa claus is coming to town ♪ becky's still into that game. she's teaching the girl scouts. >> she has more people playing, actually. >> she's going to teach us about that, coming up. and other great last-minute gift ideas for christmas. we have one shopping weekend left. good morning, america. i'm george stephanopoulos, here with elizabeth vargas. robin on assignment today. this morning, sam gets his turn in the kitchen for his favorite holiday recipe. he's going coconuts. he's making coconut cake for us. >> that was his dad's favorite. the power of thank you. can it help you lose weight? find a job? >> he wrote a thank you note for every single day for a year. 365 thank you notes.
and it may be freezing where you live and even snowing. but the girl scouts are here to help. troop 971 from belmar, new york. this is alex. it was your idea, right, to do this coat drive? >> yes. >> how did you come up with that? >> i came up with it because it's cold out. and someone needs someone to give back to the community. >> and you gathered 50 coats from your friends and family? >> yes. >> how did you do that? how did you convince them? >> i told them it was going toward a really good cause. and we're very fortunate to have coats. and some people don't have that luxury. >> thanks so much, girls. troop 971. thank you. great idea. >> thank you, girls. behave something special from the oscars right now. 74 days until hollywood's big night. 83rd academy awards. and the theme of this year's oscars is you're invited. the academy wants fans to feel
part of the show. you're going to hear about ways to be part of the festivities. right now, we're going to unveil for the first time anywhere, the official oscar poster. there it is. you're invited, live, february 27th, on abc. >> that looks pretty great. >> does. >> drumming up excitement already. >> a little dark. >> it looks like batman kind of, doesn't he? >> he does. >> anyway, there's something else special this year. for the first time ever, the academy has created additional images to commemorate the big night. they're all suspensible. you co-go to oscars.org and download the images on your facebook or twitter pages. >> they're doing something on twitter, as well. the academy just this morning started tweeting. you can retweet this message. you're invited to down load, own and share oscars art from the academy. hit the retweet -- that's hard to say. retweet, by 12:00 noon eastern.
and you can be chosen by the academy. it's time for the weather with sam champion, who is at santa land, in the world's largest department store, macy's harold square, right here in new york city. and he's with the big man himself. good morning, sam. >> we're actually here with santa and very lucky kids and their parents, sitting here. luka is on santa's -- the very important lap of santa claus. luka, you wrote a letter and drew a picture. that's a reindeer right there. that's santa. is that your house? >> yeah. >> that one right there is your house? >> sure. >> for every letter, santa, macy's donates a dollar to -- >> make-a-wish. >> the make-a-wish foundation. a million dollars could be going to make-a-wish, if every one of these kids wrote a letter. >> they already did. >> i have one question for you before we get to the weather. if i'm on the naughty list and
chances are, i may be, is there time for me to get on the nice list? can i make it up? >> well, of course, sam. if you believe in your heart. >> i do. >> i know you do, as these children do, there's not a doubt on my mind you're going to be on the nice list. >> we have a quick moment to tell you what's going on the weather map this morning. as you leave your house, one or two things you should know. in the midsouth, an awful lot of ice and snow this morning. that will stay in place until at least we start to warm up. places like washington, d.c., to roanoke, virginia, will pick up a hit of snow. it's likely that snow will extend, in a long line all the way to north dakota. it's a thin line. cold air stays in place in new england. milder air is moving into the
all right. all that weather was brought to you by kay jewelers. santa, thank you. >> of course, sam. >> kids, thank you. george, elizabeth, back to you. everybody, give a big wave. >> thank you, sam. thanks to all the kids. we're going to continue our countdown for christmas. one weekend to go. if you're still shopping for presents, becky worley is here with holiday deals. and there are a lot of chains offering special deals this weekend. >> the promotions just keep coming. we'll give you quick deals at the stop. at walmart, if you're looking for a gaming console, you buy the wii, you get $75 and a gift card from walmart. you get the ps3, you get $100 gift card. if you go to kohl's, you spend $50, you get $10 in kohl's cash. finally, toys "r" us, 50% off. >> toys "r" us? >> yes. a lot of dvds, transformer
action figures and fisher-price stuff. good last-minute deals. >> you have great gifts. starting out with the "star wars" cookie cutter? >> i like quirky, fun gifts. and making cookies, that's winter. not your traditional snowflakes and reindeer. storm troopers, darth vader, boba fett and yoda. i took these to a decorating party in my neighborhood. and i was a hit with the 9-year-olds. and everybody likes to bite yoda's ear off. >> this is what you use. >> continuing the theme for decorating. this is from cuisinart, 12, different molds. you can use it to frost. i'm not artistic. but if you want to get serious with it, this is one idea for a foodie and a cook. and we have ideas online. help me, please. for the love of god, george.
we have ideas for foodies online. this is a gift for geeks. i love this. this is called the lunatik watchcase. you know the ipod nano? what it does is turns your nano into a watch. >> just by sticking this in there? >> this is on major back order. it may not make it for christmas. but this is a great idea for somebody that has the nano. like a dick tracy idea. it's $34.95 for the tiktok version. and a little more for the v screwdown version. >> remember simon when you had to remember the sequence? this is the loopz game. it's three-dimensional. i don't know if this is the right game. but when one comes in, start sticking your hands in. you can make music. it can ask you to repeat patterns.
it's a lot of fun. you think your girls would be into something like this? >> i think they would. although, i haven't figured it out. >> you can bust it out on christmas and you can play together. it's something to do, beyond just opening stuff. now, will it be quiet? this is a toy for adults only. this is the oster wine opener. it's electric. i love this because all you do is just put it right on top of the cork. >> these things really do work. >> i am so in love with this. who wants to wrestle with the cork? boom. that easy. rechargeable batteries. and i really like this. i don't know if it will sit back down. it has a cork in it. you have the kindle? >> i do, yeah. >> this is an idea, accessories for the kindle. this is a cover. it comes in all these great different colors. and what i like about this is it hooks right into the kindle's battery. and it gets you a little book light. it will automatically, if you want to pull this out at night, you don't have to have the lights on. >> save the marriage.
>> there you go. we have accessories, cases from casemate, for the phones. really cool. and bring our puppies in. come on in. this is the freedom leash. >> two at a time. >> this is what's so great about this. if you've ever walked two dogs -- >> i do every night. >> you know how they get tangled? >> all the time. >> this -- feel how this rotates? see? they would never get tangled. >> ours gets tangled. we have daisy from the humane society, as well. she's wild. this is great. >> the freedom leash is a good idea for those of you with two dogs and don't want to do the untangling. >> get the details on all of the deals and picks. go to abcnews.com/gma. we have a complete countdown to christmas there. if you want to adopt a pet like these adorable dogs, you can go if you want to adopt a pet like these adorable dogs, you can go to the new york humane society.
and wait until you hear what it did for him. he's written a book called "365 thank yous, the year a simple act of daily gratitude changed my life." it's out december 28th. and john joins us this morning. good to have you here. what inspired you to do this? >> i was having a rough time in my life. my business wasn't going well. i was losing money. i was working so hard at times, i felt like i was envying people with heart attacks because they got a few days off. and i just didn't really know what to do. and i went on a long walk in the mountains. the inspiration that i received on that walk was that until i learned to be grateful for the good things i had, i would not receive the things that i wanted. >> the first thank you note you wrote was to your son. what happened? >> well, i -- i got started by writing thank you notes for christmas presents. and he had sent me a christmas present. and it was a wonderful christmas present. so, i thanked him for it.
and the next day, he showed up at my office and paid off a loan of thousands of dollars that i had forgotten about. and took me out to lunch and picked up the tab. and i was like, wow. the universe has shifted in some way. >> you hadn't been close to your son? you were somewhat estranged from him? >> i wasn't estranged from him. but i had let him become too distant. when i sat down to write the note, i realized i didn't even have his address. i called him to get his address. that's when he said, i'll be over tomorrow. >> so, you wrote him a second thank you note. read that for us. >> okay, thank you. it says, "thank you for paying back the loan. it was a great day for me because actually, i really needed the money. most important, it built trust in our relationship. it showed me you were growing up as a man, and that you could be true to your word. love, dad." >> that's a lovely note. now, in order to write a thank you note every, single day of the year, you can't just write
thank you notes for gifts. you found yourself writing thank you notes for ordinary, small things in life. you even wrote a thank you note to the man who takes your coffee order at the local starbucks. >> the man and woman, thank you scott and kimber. i reached a day when i felt i didn't have anything to be grateful for. and i went in. these people remember my name. and my drink. >> like, hi, john. are you having your latte today? >> exactly. and i realized i needed to be grateful for that. and the many small things that people do for us and the many large things that people do for us in our life, are all things to be grateful for. and i realized after a while, maybe only after a couple months, that i didn't have such a bad life. that it was filled with people who were doing things for me. >> so, writing these thank you notes, one a day, every day, really changed your outlook on life. >> i think it did. i realized the many good things i had, starting with my
daughter. but the many lovely people who are helping me out. clients who were actually paying their bills. i found that when i thanked them for doing so, they paid faster. >> you wrote to old friends. you wrote to a doctor who had operated on you ten years earlier. you wrote to people you had lost touch with, to restart those acquaintances. >> i restarted them. and many of my friends are now -- who i had lost touch with, are now very close to me. and we talk and write often. >> are you still doing it? >> yes. >> even though your year is over? are you still writing a note every day? >> well, i tried stopping for a while. that didn't work out for me. it seemed -- i think it's a habit now. and i'm up to about 640 notes at this time. and lots of good things keep happening to me. so, i keep writing them. >> john kralik, it's a wonderful project. and a wonderful book.
and really an important lesson these holidays to remember how lucky we all are and to be grateful for the blessings we have in our lives. good luck to you. and happy holidays. >> thank you. >> thank you. john's book is published by hyperion, which is owned by our parent company, disney and is in stores on december 28th. coming up next, join sam in the kitchen for his favorite
for itchy dry skin. try cortizone 10 intensive healing. the strongest itch relief medicine now has three vitamins and seven moisturizers. feel the heal. all week long we've been sharing our favorite holiday recipes. i have a mouth full of coconut here, sam. today is your day. coconut cake, your dad's favorite. >> my dad's birthday is the 26th. christmas day is the 25th. so, he required a special birthday, not to be locked into christmas. >> of course. >> there's two cakes involved. the cake he liked the most was the coconut cake that my grandmother used to make.
and in paducah, kentucky, my grandfather would find coconuts at the store, crack them open and get coconut milk. let's see what we can do. cream the sugar and butter together. and also egg whites. you don't want to use the egg because you want the cake to be bright and white. only the egg whites. you put that together. mix that in with cream, butter and sugar. >> it will also make it fluffier, lighter. >> and this is cake flour, that does the same thing. makes it fluffier and lighter. you dump all that. the baking powder and some salt, as well. can i get a little applause? [ applause ] a little salt in there. and mix it all together. okay. all right. that may be overdoing it. and then, you put your dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. and don't forget the coconut milk. you can buy it now and coconut flavor. >> coconut milk or watt center. >> you want it to be nice and a
good batter. you come out with a batter like this. you divide it into two. and the batter's delicious. i was the official batter tester. >> you always do that, right? >> don't do that at home. you divide it evenly in the cake pan. when it's baked, to get a nice, four-layer cake -- >> this is hard. ali can do it. >> can you? >> uh-huh. >> you slice it to get a nice thin. then, you do the frosting. a lot of people make frosting with butter. on this cake, you want it to come out that beautiful. with all of the coconut, nice, fluffy, snow white. you want to use shortening. is it the healthiest? no. >> it's cake. >> it's cake. we dropped the healthy idea. >> come on. >> you know what, sam? i've never seen you nervous before. >> i am nervous. >> and you did it beautifully. >> you cream it together. forecast it. layers, mix it with coconut. and you come out with a beautiful coconut cake. >> are we going to try it sfwh.
>> oh, my goodness? >> did everybody get theirs? >> all right. thank you. we used to put the coconut -- and use plenty of it, liberally, all the way around it so it looks nice and fluffy. >> sam. unbelievable. >> i'm telling you. a little coconut milk in the cake itself and the whole thing is good. >> oh, my gosh. >> snowy, wintry concoction. you might think of coconut as summary and tropical. but after you see this, you won't have a christmas without it. >> this is fantastic. >> juju, your turn tomorrow. >> i'm nervous myself, too. >> what are you making? >> i'm making a korean rice soup. very traditional. i'm looking forward to introducing it to our audience. >> after george's greek soup yesterday. >> two soups and two desserts. what would be yours if you -- >> gosh. probably my dad's strata he makes every christmas morning. a souffle with eggs and sausage
get selsun blue for itchy dry scalp. strong itch-fighters target scalp itch while 5 moisturizers leave hair healthy. selsun blue. got a clue? get the blue. >> heaviest rain will be saturday and again on tuesday. here's sue with your traffic. >> san mateo now where we have an issue southbound 101 at peninsula avenue. an accident there. right lane you find slow traffic to highway 92. we go back to newark