The Ugly Truth

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Ken Lay and Jeffrey Skilling were convicted yesterday in connection with the Enron scandal. I accept this jury verdict even though I did not hear all the evidence to make an independent decision. I assume as I always do that the jury listened carefully and did the best job they could with the information they had.

Having been convicted of many and serious crimes, Skilling and Lay face substantial prison sentences — so substantial, that both could spend the rest of their natural life incarcerated.

Despite that fact, the judge has let them remain on bond and will allow them to report to sentencing in September. Do either have a motive to flee? Of course! And they have the means to do it…

This is the ugly truth — rich people often (not always) get to walk out the door after a jury verdict of guilty and until their sentencing. Poor people, without even the means to flee to another country with which we have no extradition treaty, go right to jail and are held until the sentencing.

Under the headline "never dull" — yesterday I boarded a plane from N.Y. to D.C. After I was seated on the plane, CNN's Paula Zahn boarded. She passed and we both said hello to each other. From time to time we have run into each other and talked briefly. Yesterday, there was no time to talk because the flight was about to leave.

Paula left FOX for CNN about August or September 2001… and I left CNN for FOX on Dec. 31, 2001. While there were a few months overlap, we worked in different cities and thus had no contact except one PR photo shoot (and CNN had to airbrush me out of the pic later since I left!) But since we are all in the same business — we all know each other and are cordial. Also, if you have been in this business long enough, you end up working with everybody at some time. The media have an amazing revolving door.

After the flight took off… the flight attendant (who had been up and down the aisle) offered drinks and I asked for a Diet Coke. She brought me the Diet Coke and also gave me two napkins — one stuck to the can of Diet Coke so after the flight attendant moved on, I pulled it off. As I pulled it off, I noticed that it had "Paula Zahn" handwritten on it in ballpoint pen. Why would she give me that? I just could not figure it out — why was I given a napkin with "Paula Zahn" handwritten on it? After some thought, and after leaving the plane, I now think that the flight attendant must have asked for Paula's autograph — and then I got it. What are the odds? I am thinking of putting it on eBay… (Incidentally, she did not ask for mine — but I did stay at Holiday Inn Express…just kidding…)

We are back on the road today — there are weeks when I wonder whether I really need an office since I spend so much time on planes, but no one makes me, I do this by choice. The goal today is to shoot lots of tape, conduct some interviews and then show you the work next week (not tonight.) So… stay tuned…

Quick questions: Did you hear what you wanted to hear from the Bush-Blair press conference on Thursday night? Was your opinion changed about anything having listened to President Bush or Prime Minister Blair? Finally, if you did not watch, why didn't you?

I did not steer you wrong on the movie "Akeelah and the Bee," so you might want this advice: Tim Russert's new book, "Wisdom of our Fathers." It is a great book — great for Father's Day gift.

Now for some e-mails from you (most e-mails in the last 24 hours have been about Lewis, the cat, or my mistake in getting into a stranger's car thinking it was one of my producers…).

E-mail No. 1

Hi, Greta. I had a similar experience but not due to fatigue. I had a terrible sinus headache that was just relentless. I drove to the drugstore to buy some OTC medication. When I left the store, I tried to unlock and enter a car that was the same color as mine, parked next to mine. I’m so grateful that car did not have an activated alarm system or an unlocked door! In all honesty, I should not have been driving at all, but I could no longer stand the pain. Living in the mold and mildew capital of the world, we just deal with it. Keep up the great work.
Sue Mole Shelley
New Orleans, LA

E-mail No. 2

Hi Greta, I was so tired and worn out from the daily care of an elderly parent (plus my own kids, husband, 2 dogs and 4 cats), that when filling out paperwork recently I couldn't remember the street number of my address. I had to pull out my driver's license in front of the person I was meeting with and copy it from that. She didn't make a comment but no doubt thought I was some sort of strange character.
Detroit, MI

E-mail No. 3

This happened years ago when my children were very young. Every morning was a frenzy of activity as I got both my son and my daughter ready to go to school or day care, then as I loaded everyone and all their stuff in the car, then as I drove to the day care and dropped off my youngest and then on to the school to drop off the other child. So one morning after all this Herculean effort, I stopped in the front of the day care, turned around to unbuckle my youngest (this was long before fancy car seats), and was horrified to see her seat empty. Oh my gosh! Where was she? I started to panic, thinking I had left her at home or maybe she had somehow gotten the door open and fallen out of the car. Then I remembered — she was staying at my mother's house for a week! I had taken her there the day before, 50 miles away!! I didn't know whether to celebrate because she was safe or have myself committed for losing track of her. Talk about operating on automatic! In spite of having me as her mother, she grew up to be a lovely, successful woman who works for a non-profit homeless youth shelter.
Carol Weeks
Albertville, AL

E-mail No. 4

You said you would tell us what WE could do to help Lewis, but I think you ran out of time.
I once got in a car with a strange man, absolutely certain that it was my car with my husband waiting for me. When I realized my mistake, I made some humorous remark to him, which he took pleasantly, and we both laughed as I slid out the passenger side.
HOWEVER, as I was getting out of the car, his WIFE was walking toward her car with her husband in it, and she didn't find ANY humor AT ALL in the situation. She had some choice words for me, she was very nasty in words, tone, and manner, and did not readily accept my apology.
Gayle Levison
New City, NY

E-mail No. 5

I have "several" responses - they are:
— Putting concealer on my lips rather than lipstick (oops)!
— Putting a kitty food pellet in my mouth thinking it was a vitamin (early morning)!
— My husband, drinking coffee after dinner (at a friend's house), and proceeding to fall asleep while doing same (?)
Just a few that come to mind...I'm sure there are "many more."

E-mail No. 6

Having had cats most of my life — I think perhaps the neighbor should be penalized or euthanized? Cats are a great judge of character!
Jane Trout
Kitty Hawk, NC

E-mail No. 7

Greta, I pray they do not put the cat to sleep. I have several cats, and I find it hard to believe that the cat attacked for no reason. I am sure it has been provoked in some way. The cat owner needs to take the people to court for harassment. I can't believe that someone would go that far.
Thanks & keep us updated.
Taylorsville, KY

P.S. I have a saying: "Cat hair, don't leave home without it" :-)

E-mail No. 8

Hi, Greta,
Just want you to know that I'm with you all the way in support of Lewis the cat. Everyone who has ever had a cat and loved it knows that each of these animals has his or her own special personality and a lot of attitude — I like to call it, "Cat-atude." It is only natural for them to have certain instincts and they deserve the right to defend themselves from abuse. I cannot STAND people who think an animal should take whatever is dished out to it without fighting back. It is well known that people who abuse animals become some of the most violent criminal offenders in our society, i.e. serial killers. I say the community Lewis lives in would be better off to relieve itself of the abusive neighbor and to welcome Lewis with open arms. Any judge who cannot see this deserves to have O'Reilly nipping at his or her heels!
If your viewers can do anything at all to help Lewis, please let us know.
Lynn Repinski

E-mail No. 9

Hi Greta—
Obviously Ruth Cisero's neighbors are not cat people, and I can understand how they would be upset by being attacked by a "mini-fridge" like Lewis. Pet owners need to understand that in most cities, there are ordinances against letting cats roam freely, just like dogs. On the other hand, you cannot keep a cat indoors if it wants outside. They can slip through a door unnoticed when you open it. Our cat can even open our screen door by itself! The solution here, instead of killing the poor guy or putting Cisero on trial, seems simple — work out a plea deal to get Lewis declawed and neutered (if he isn't already) and get some invisible pet fencing to keep him from roaming around. Chances are he already believes that the neighbor's yards are his domain and when approached, he feels threatened. Oh, and FYI — you should never approach a cat if it is crouched, it's fur is puffy, its ears are folded back or it's growling. If you are attacked, try to grab the cat by the scruff of its neck - that will stop it cold.
Sarah (a cat person)
Ankeny, IA

E-mail No. 10

I am appalled at the woman demanding the cat's life. Lewis is a domestic cat not a mountain lion or full-grown tiger. It would not surprise me to learn that these women were antagonizing Lewis in some way.
I have always had animals to care for and do believe they should be looked after and kept track of at all times. Perhaps Lewis' owner should make it a point to keep Lewis indoors. He would be safer from the neighborhood bullies.
Cadillac, MI

E-mail No. 11

Hi Greta,
If the owner of Lewis the cat, really cared about him, she would keep him in the house. I have two cats who I love like they are my children, and I never let them outside. It also keeps the cats from killing birds and keeps the cats healthier by being indoors.
Marti Ward
North Port, FL

E-mail No. 12

Dear Greta—
1) Having a cat, dog, and son — and calling each one by the other's name.
2) Using hair gel for toothpaste. (No kidding!!)
P.S. The coffee is on its way, Greta. I also enclosed a mug.
Also, a sure sign of rude stupidity — grievous personal insults, i.e., media w***e.
Respect and support,
Mick R.
Alta, WY

E-mail No. 13

Hi Greta,
When I do stupid things because I am tired, I usually don't realize it until the next day.
I am usually very careful about locking my doors, but twice in the last few years I got home really late and went right to bed, and then in the morning I opened the front door to get the paper and realized I left my keys hanging in the door. Just a week ago I got home really late, opened the back door to let my dog out, and realized in the morning that I went to bed without ever closing the door.

E-mail No. 14

Dear Greta,
Here in Wausau we have a leash law for dogs and cats. They can't be running around on their own. What I don't understand is why that owner doesn't keep him in the house. As a cat lover, my husband and I automatically reach down when opening our door, because we know kitty will be there planning an escape. Our veterinarian said cats don't have to go outside. If they never go out, it's easier on them if they are allowed outside sometimes. Sure the meowing gets loud every spring, but the cat will get over it and accept being a housecat.
We have a blind kitty, blind from birth. He is remarkable. Hard to know he is blind. When my husband is outside sitting in lawn chair we let kitty out, with flea protection. But he is constantly watched and if heads toward leaving our yard he is promptly put back in the house. He has chased rabbits and chipmunks (never caught one), just a remarkable animal.
Of course I am such an animal lover I think all animals are remarkable
Thanks for listening,
Barb Klug

E-mail No. 15

I had to laugh at that one. A couple years ago, I was a chaperone on my daughter's choir trip to Chicago. After a night at the comedy club we went out and I got on the bus. I started walking done the aisle not recognizing anyone. They asked me if I was a new passenger and I asked where they were going. They said Branson, Missouri. They were a friendly bunch and wanted me to join their group, I proceeded to get off the bus. The choir kids got a big laugh out of my adventure. Leaving for that same trip, it was an early morning, a deputy from the Sheriff's Department had the drug dog there to sniff the suitcases. I asked him what the dog does when he spots drugs. The deputy proceeded to spell out S.I.T. I asked him what that stood for?

E-mail No. 16

I say have the neighbor de-clawed and its fangs removed!
What a Grinch!
Dallas, TX

P.S. No body better take little Mike to court! I'd be first in the picket line!

E-mail No. 17

A year and a half ago in the dead of winter I dropped my son at pre-school. Most parents leave their cars running while doing this, as it is cold and dark. I returned to my car got in, backed out, drove about twenty feet and realized it was not my car. It was the same make, and model however. I returned in time to see a stunned dad looking at me. When I pointed to my identical car he just laughed. My clue was the radio station was on a type of music I would not listen to, otherwise I may still be driving it today! So how's that for tired....
Love the show.
Jeff Armstrong
Noblesville, IN

E-mail No. 18

A couple of years ago I went on a camping trip. We flew into an airport at Whitehorse in the Yukon Territories of Canada then drove to Alaska and found a campsite. We set up our tent then decided to go exploring. Since it was the first day of our weeklong vacation we weren't wearing watches and just figured when it started to get dark we would head back to the campsite. We didn't realize that because we were so far north and because it was June that we were in the land of the midnight sun and it wasn't going to get dark at all the whole time we were there. We realized this after we had been up about 48 hours non-stop and felt totally exhausted and couldn't figure out why it seemed we had done and seen so much our first day and it still wasn't getting dark.
Pittsburgh, PA

E-mail No. 19

Dear Greta,
A very close college friend of mine lives in Houston and is married (20+ yrs. now) to a man who works for Enron. They were close to retirement and, although her husband was not let go, they lost all their retirement savings due to this mess. As a result, her husband has had a breakdown, and now CANNOT work! It has been devastating for my friend, who has some serious health issues and can't work F/T. Her husband was the breadwinner. I don't know what will happen to them. I surely think the Enron executives should take their punishment after what they put so many employees and their families through!

An article that caught my attention:

Judge Says Man Too Small for Prison

SIDNEY, Neb. (AP) -
A judge said a 5-foot-1 man convicted of sexually assaulting a child was too small to survive in prison, and gave him 10 years of probation instead.
His crimes deserved a long sentence, District Judge Kristine Cecava said, but she worried that Richard W. Thompson, 50, would be especially imperiled by prison dangers.
"You are a sex offender, and you did it to a child," she said.
But, she said, "That doesn't make you a hunter. You do not fit in that category."
Thompson will be electronically monitored the first four months of his probation, and he was told to never be alone with someone under age 18 or date or live with a woman whose children were under 18. Cecava also ordered Thompson to get rid of his pornography.
He faces 30 days of jail each year of his probation unless he follows its conditions closely.
"I want control of you until I know you have integrated change into your life," the judge told Thompson. "I truly hope that my bet on you being OK out in society is not misplaced."

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