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Senate Turmoil; Royal Visit; Rosa Parks Funeral

Aired November 2, 2005 - 09:00   ET


SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: It's back to work in the Senate this morning, but Rule 21 still hangs in the air. Republicans and Democrats furious with one another after a showdown on Tuesday. Does the battle escalate from here? A live report is ahead.
More U.S. casualties in Iraq this morning after a military helicopter goes down near Ramadi. Insurgents are in the area. We have the very latest on that story just ahead.

And in Detroit, saying good-bye to Rosa Parks. That's the casket there. And this morning thousands of people wait and are remembering a woman who changed this country. Coverage of her funeral on this AMERICAN MORNING.

ANNOUNCER: From the CNN Broadcast Center in New York, this is AMERICAN MORNING with Soledad O'Brien and Miles O'Brien.

S. O'BRIEN: Good morning. Welcome, everybody.

We're coming to you on a split show this morning. I'm reporting from New York. You saw that nice picture there of Columbus Circle, where we're having some pretty nice weather.

In New Orleans, weather is a little bit more difficult, and of course things there a little bit more difficult. And I say New Orleans, but really I mean St. Bernard Parish. That's where Miles is.

Good morning, Miles.

MILES O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, Soledad.

Yes, we're about nine-and-a-half miles from the French Quarter. But certainly this is part of greater New Orleans.

I'm on Florida Avenue in Monroe, and I'm standing on what is left of somebody's living room, somebody's house just literally swept away clean by Katrina. Over there in the distance you can see the levee which was designed to protect these people and the canals and waterways beyond.

That surge came across here, and was just -- obliterated some houses. And in some cases, some are standing. But really most everything along Florida Avenue here will probably have to be torn down.

We began our week, as you will recall, right near the French Quarter Canal Street. And we talked there about how with the resumption of power, some tourists are actually returning there, that there were signs of normality here.

We went up then to the Lakeview section, up near Lake Pontchartrain, and took a look at what's going on near the 17th Street canal, that big levee breach there and how they're trying to fix those levees.

And now today a place where really time has stood still for nine weeks in many respects. We just talked to somebody who is here gutting a house that could possibly be saved. And perhaps as many as 50 or 60 percent of the homes can be in St. Bernard Parish. But then you come to a place like this, where there's really so many questions that remain as to whether there can be any rebuilding here ever. And the big question remains, how much safety will be afforded them by the levee system, by ultimately whatever is done to make this place more storm-hardened?

So, in just a few moments, we're going to talk to your friend, Sheriff Jack Stevens, Soledad. He says what's happening right now is the rest of the country is treating his part of the world with benign neglect. And we'll ask him about that.

S. O'BRIEN: All right, Miles. We'll see.

It's kind of a chicken and an egg scenario, isn't it? I mea, do you build your home if they're not going to fix the levees to anything bigger than a Category 3 protection? Do you fix the levees if there's not going to be federal dollars for it?

I mean, you know, everything relies on something else happening first. It's very tricky. Look forward to hearing...

M. O'BRIEN: Well, yes.

S. O'BRIEN: Go ahead.

M. O'BRIEN: And if you fix up your home and your neighbors don't, what do you do about that? You know, there's so many issues.

S. O'BRIEN: A zillion questions. Look forward to the interview with Jack Stevens. You know I always like to hear from him.

Thanks, Miles.

Let's move to Washington, D.C., now. Everything looked pretty normal as the Senate started work just about a half-hour ago. Underneath, though, Republicans seething over a move by the Democrats on Tuesday. It was called Rule 21.

CNN's Ed Henry explains just how it came in to play on the Senate floor.


ED HENRY, CNN CAPITOL HILL CORRESPONDENT: A Democratic sneak attack that sent shock waves through the Senate. SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV), MINORITY LEADER: Mr. President, enough time has gone by. I demand, on behalf of the American people, that we understand why these investigations aren't being conducted.

HENRY: Democratic leader Harry Reid accused Republicans of failing to probe allegations the White House manipulated intelligence to justify the war in Iraq.

REID: And in accordance with Rule 21, I now move the Senate go into closed session.

SEN. DICK DURBIN (D), ILLINOIS: Mr. President, I second the motion.

HENRY: An easy but rare maneuver with extraordinary consequences, the Senate chamber was locked down, television cameras shut off so lawmakers could go into secret session to debate.

Republican leader Bill Frist was enraged.

SEN. BILL FRIST (R-TN), MAJORITY LEADER: Not with the previous Democratic leader, or the current Democratic leader, have ever I been slapped in the face with such an affront to the leadership of this grand institution.

There has been at least consideration for the other side of the aisle before a stunt, and this is a pure stunt.

HENRY: Reid refused to back down, demanding the Republican-led Intelligence Committee finish a long-awaited report on whether the Bush administration twisted intelligence.

REID: This investigation has been stymied, stopped, obstructions thrown up every step of the way. That's the real slap in the face. That's the slap in the face. And today the American people are going to see little bit of light.

HENRY: What's really going on is, Democrats feel emboldened by the indictment of Vice President Cheney's former chief of staff, believing this is their chance to issue a broader indictment of the Bush administration.

DURBIN: We have lost over 2,000 of our best and bravest. Over 15,000 have been seriously wounded. We are spending more than $6 billion a month with no end in sight. And this Republican-led Senate Intelligence Committee refuses to even ask the hard questions about the misinformation...

HENRY: Republicans insist they're completing the investigation, and this is just a distraction.

SEN. RICK SANTORUM (R), PENNSYLVANIA: This is purely political. This is settling an old political score.

HENRY: Democrats say they also want to signal they're ready to stand up to the Republican majority and may even filibuster the president's latest Supreme Court pick, Samuel Alito, a move that would make these events seem like the opening fireworks in a much nastier battle.

Ed Henry, CNN, Washington.


S. O'BRIEN: A little bit of tipping of the hand by the Democrats. White House, though, playing the cards pretty close to the vest.

AMERICAN MORNING's Bob Franken live for us at the White House.

Why no big word from the White House, Bob?

BOB FRANKEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: No percentage, probably. I mean, these are -- this is an issue that really comes close to the White House. And that is the Democratic bitterness, the Democrats' bitterness over the -- their allegations that the Republicans have been stonewalling an investigation into whether this administration misused intelligence to justify the war in Iraq.

But I think that we get all atwitter about this. I think there's a great body of the U.S. public that looks at this and says, yeah, whatever.

I mean, it looked like the senators did everything but take off their glove and smack each other with them in preparation for a duel. But who knows, Soledad. That could be next.

S. O'BRIEN: You know, it's starting to feel that way, isn't it, Bob?

FRANKEN: It is. It is.

S. O'BRIEN: Anything could happen now. Hope they're rolling tape. We'll be interested in seeing that.

FRANKEN: Hopefully we get it on camera.

S. O'BRIEN: Yes, exactly.

Let's talk about the royal couple. The royal couple is headed your way in just a few hours, Bob. What happens with Prince Charles and Camilla?

FRANKEN: Well, speaking of atwitter, the White House definitely is. They will be arriving around noon. There will be a real ceremony on the south lawn, as the couple arrives.

There will be an intimate lunch with the president and first lady and Charles and Camilla. See, we're already on a first-name basis. And then this evening there is one of those state dinners that the Bush family really rarely does, just five times.

S. O'BRIEN: Are there huge expectations about it? You know, because here in New York, it was -- well, it's not mean, but it was kind of like yawn, nobody cared that much.

FRANKEN: Well, I mean, it doesn't compare to the senators going -- using Rule 21.

S. O'BRIEN: Weird as it is, that was better TV, wasn't it?

FRANKEN: It was definitely. In other words, the Senate has its best TV when cameras are not allowed.

S. O'BRIEN: Yes it does. Bob Franken, thanks.

He's at the White House this morning.

In just about two hours, the funeral of civil rights pioneer Rosa Parks will be held. Mourners are already lining up outside to tour Greater Grace Temple Church.

There are 2,000 seats of the 4,000 inside that church that are open to the public. And as you can see, the folks here in our live pictures here from Detroit have lined up early in the hopes of getting some of those seats.

AMERICAN MORNING's Dan Lothian is there as well this morning.

Dan, good morning.


It is just amazing how long some of these people have been waiting in line. In fact, some of them came out here last night at 9:00. They brought their cots and their chairs.

They want to be part of this moment. They want to get inside, attend the funeral for a woman who impacted so many people in so many different ways.


LOTHIAN (voice-over): Steven Delidow never met Rosa Parks, but this white, Jewish, Motown native says his life is different today because of what Parks started 50 years ago.

STEVEN DELIDOW, CHEF: If we could all do one small act that could quite possibly change the world, we'd be living in utopia.

LOTHIAN: Delidow, a chef and restaurant owner, is married to an African-American married woman, and they are expecting their first child if about a month. Their relationship once would have not only been taboo, but illegal in many states.

GINA DELIDOW, EXPECTANT MOTHER: A life without Steven, you know, saying that it would be illegal for our relationship, it's just too much.

LOTHIAN: While there is still plenty of what she calls recycled hatred, much has changed. G. DELIDOW: There is more understanding and there's more compassion, and there's not so much, I see the color of your skin.

LOTHIAN: By refusing to surrender her seat on a bus to a white man, Rosa Parks ignited the flame that sparked a civil rights movement and shattered many racial barriers. She never imagined how far- reaching that one act would be.

ROSA PARKS: I didn't know what would be the outcome of my taking this stand.

LOTHIAN: Even today, she continues to inspire.

CYNTHIA BAKER, MOURNER: We appreciate all that she did and what she represented.

LOTHIAN: Cynthia Baker joined tens of thousands of people, young and old, who lined up for hours to pay their last respect, a public viewing, a final farewell at this museum of African-American history in Detroit. Not far away, Detroit educator and social worker Cleophus Roseboro peered out the sliding glass doors of his 20th-floor apartment and reflected on the woman he met several times, the woman who changed his life.

CLEOPHUS ROSEBORO, EDUCATOR: What she did was to imbue me with a can-do attitude, that I'm not going to let anything stop me from doing what it is that I need to do.

LOTHIAN: Her passing, he says, while sad, may present new opportunities.

ROSEBORO: Perhaps this, her death, may be another spark that will take race relations further.

LOTHIAN: Maybe not utopia, but for this couple, a better, more tolerant world for their new child.


LOTHIAN: We're back live outside the Grace Temple, where people who have been waiting in line have been entertaining themselves, so to speak, by singing gospel music, gospel songs, even making up some of their own tunes out here.

Now, the service will begin in about two hours or so. There will be various dignitaries taking part in the service, including former president Bill Clinton. Also civil rights leaders, like the Reverend Jesse Jackson.

After the service, there will be a procession to a nearby cemetery for a private ceremony.

Back to you, Soledad.

S. O'BRIEN: And Aretha Franklin's going to sing.

Dan Lothian for us this morning.

LOTHIAN: That's right.

S. O'BRIEN: Thanks, Dan. Appreciate the update.

We've got some breaking news to get to this morning. Let's go right to Carol for that.

Good morning.

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: We do have breaking news to tell you about.

We just got word there's been a car bombing in Musayyib, Iraq. I'm not quite sure where that is. We're trying to get that information.

It happened at a Shiite mosque, though. Officials in Iraq say there are reports of casualties. At least -- let me just check my wire here. There are reports that said that car bomb killed at least seven at that Shiite mosque.

When we get -- actually, 70 kilometers south of Baghdad. That's where the town is. And we believe at least seven people were killed at that Shiite mosque.

Of course when we get more information about that, we'll pass it along to you.

Also have to tell you about a deadly helicopter crash in Iraq this morning. The U.S. military says two Marine pilots were killed when a Super Cobra chopper went down near Ramadi. That's a town west of Baghdad.

Coalition forces also apparently carrying out air strikes in that area after that helicopter went down. They were targeting a reported insurgent command center. The two Marine pilots onboard that helicopter died.

There could soon be a bigger troop presence in Iraq. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is saying he expects more insurgent attacks in the run-up to December's parliamentary elections.


DONALD RUMSFELD, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: We'll decide what we're going to do about December as we go along, but it would not be a surprise to me that the commanders wouldn't want to have some sort of an overlap there.


COSTELLO: As in more U.S. troops to Iraq. U.S. troop levels rose to a peak of 161,000 before the October 15 election. There are now about 158,000 American troops in Iraq. Right now, the Department of Health and Human Services is expected to hash out more details on preparing for a possible flu pandemic. You know, the bird flu. Health officials meeting right now to discuss that.

Actually, these are live pictures. And you can see officials are already testifying before the Senate.

On Tuesday, President Bush unveiled his new $7 billion plan. It includes better early warning systems to detect outbreaks, stockpiling vaccines and antiviral drugs, and investing in new research.

And we end on a bright note, because, you know, there's nothing like a baby panda to make you smile.

S. O'BRIEN: I love this picture.

COSTELLO: It's the cutest little panda. This is Tai Shan, 16 weeks old. He's the baby panda at the National Zoo. And we're showing you this picture because the little baby's taken his first steps.

He weighs 15.5 pounds. And I just want to watch him walk, because he just makes me happy.

Look at that. It's pretty good.

S. O'BRIEN: It's cute.

COSTELLO: Hey, Jacqui Jeras. Look at the panda.

JACQUI JERAS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: I know. He's so cute. You're bringing out the baby voice there, Carol.


JERAS: Look at the panda.


S. O'BRIEN: Looking a little iffy. All right. Thanks, Jacqui.

Ahead this morning, we're going to have more on Tuesday's Senate showdown over prewar intelligence. Republicans say what the Democrats did was just a stunt, and it was offensive. We'll talk to one Democratic senator just ahead -- Miles.

M. O'BRIEN: And we'll check in with the sheriff of St. Bernard Parish, and we'll ask him how things are going here. He says basically what -- the country is treating this part of the world with benign neglect. We'll ask him about that coming up on AMERICAN MORNING.


S. O'BRIEN: Just about 10 minutes after Senate Democrats forced a rare closed-door session, Majority Leader Bill Frist blasted the minority party.


SEN. BILL FRIST (R-TN), MAJORITY LEADER: Democrats use scare tactics. They have no conviction. They have no principles. They have no ideas. But this is the ultimate.

Since I've been majority leader, I'll have to say, not with the previous Democratic leader or the current Democratic leader have ever I been slapped in the face with such an affront to the leadership of this grand institution.


S. O'BRIEN: Senator Frist angry about the way the Senate Democratic leaders forced action on an Intelligence Committee investigation. The committee now has promised to look into intelligence failures leading up to the war in Iraq, and the Bush administration's role.

Well, Senator Ron Wyden is a Democrat from Oregon, and he is on that Intelligence Committee. And he's in Washington this morning.

Nice to see you, Senator. Thanks for being with us this morning.

SEN. RON WYDEN (D), OREGON: Thank you.

S. O'BRIEN: A slap in the face, an affront is what we heard from Bill Frist. Do you think he's got a point?

WYDEN: I don't. Here's what really happened.

Twenty months ago, the Senate Intelligence Committee on a bipartisan basis, every single senator agreed to do this critical work to make sure that we understood how the intelligence was used. That report has never been produced, even though every senator agreed 20 months ago.

The Senate leadership has been sleepwalking this. It seems to me what was done yesterday was a wake-up call. In effect, what the Senate said yesterday is, look, you folks on the Intelligence Committee have to wake up, you've got to get going, you've got to produce this report, get it to the American people as was promised.

S. O'BRIEN: November 14 is now the new date. Would that date not have come about? Was this a date that was never on the table, never on the agenda to getting this phase two part of the report, sort of a critical part that everybody wants to know, getting that information out?

WYDEN: As far as I can tell, we still would have seen what amounts to an excuse-o-rama. This is a very serious bit of business.

The American people are owed this information. For example, I've heard discussions about how a draft report was being prepared. I can tell you, neither I nor any other member on the Democratic side of the Senate Intelligence Committee ever saw a draft report.

Sure, some very small steps were taken. But there's no question that the leadership was not exactly tripping over themselves to do what was promised 20 months ago.

S. O'BRIEN: This phase two part of the investigation is looking into whether the administration, I guess, misused, really, intelligence in the public words, the argument to go to war. You're on the Intelligence Committee. What do you think the findings will be when we finally get the information on November 14?

WYDEN: Of course you don't want to prejudge a report. But it seems to me that it's well understood now that the intelligence in this case was just plain lousy.

The question is, did administration officials know at the time it was lousy? Did they exaggerate the intelligence?

And on key questions like Iraq's nuclear capability, and nonexistent connection between Hussein and al Qaeda, the contacts with shady characters like Mr. Chalabi, I mean, it's time to get to the bottom of how the intelligence was used. And I think the American people want to know if they were sold a bill of goods on this.

S. O'BRIEN: And the answer is, do you think, yes or no?

WYDEN: You don't prejudge the report. I can tell you that I voted against going to war in Iraq. I thought the intelligence was flawed. And certainly had serious questions about how it was used.

S. O'BRIEN: Senator Ron Wyden joining us. The senator is from Oregon.

Thank you, sir.

WYDEN: Thank you.

S. O'BRIEN: Let's get right to some breaking news out of Iraq this morning. A bomb exploded outside of a Shiite mosque in a town just south of Baghdad, killing 20 people, injuring many more.

Aneesh Raman is live for us in Baghdad.

Aneesh, what's the latest on this story?


We're getting initial reports, as you say, that a car bomb went off in the town of Musayyib. That's in Babil Province, south of the capital city.

Initial casualty numbers, as you say, are that at least 20 people were killed, 46 others wounded. These numbers of course vary, and given our distance from the scene, we get conflicting numbers. That is what we have at the moment. Musayyib a small town that saw one of the deadliest bombings in Iraq in July of this year, where at least 98 people were killed after a suicide bomber detonated next to a fuel truck there. So it is an area that has seen consistent violence before.

It is also part of what is called the Triangle of Death, an area in Iraq that sees consistent violence. Not just these sort of insurgent attacks, but also vigilante justice has taken to the hands by tribes in that area.

It comes just a few days after a bomb exploded in the southern Iraqi city of Basra. That explosion killed some 15.

But we're expecting more numbers, more information on what has happened in Musayyib. The bomb, it seems, exploded just a short time ago, less than half an hour ago. Again, at least 20 people killed, 46 others wounded -- Soledad.

S. O'BRIEN: Aneesh Raman for us with an update on this terrible story there. A big explosion. A car bomb exploding, killing 20 people.

Thanks, Aneesh. We'll get back to you when we have more information on this story.

We've got a short break. Coming up in just a little bit, we're going to update you on the very latest, funeral arrangements for Rosa Parks, as she is laid to rest today.

That's ahead. Stay with us. You're watching AMERICAN MORNING.


S. O'BRIEN: Tonight, "PAULA ZAHN NOW" takes a special look at a problem that affects more than 10 million Americans. We're talking about eating disorders.

Paula's here to preview her special report. It's called "Walking the Thin Line."

It's really a disease that doesn't just affect women. Men, too. And it's psychological, in addition to physical, isn't it?

PAULA ZAHN, HOST, "PAULA ZAHN NOW": It's a terrifying disease. And when you think that one million men are fighting it, in addition to these nine million American women, it's something that we need to all be aware of.

And tonight, one of the women we interview is Jamie-Lynne Discala. Of course we're all well aware of the pressure that Hollywood puts on its celebrities to be impossibly thin. Well, she took that message very seriously.

And in this amazingly raw and honest interview, she tells us step by step what set her down the path towards contemplating suicide. She was an exercise bulimic, superstar student, getting up at 3:00 in the morning to exercise for four hours before she ever went to school.

And at the time that the American public was introduced to her, she was 40 pounds below where she was supposed to be.

S. O'BRIEN: Which Hollywood loves.

Let's listen to what she had to tell you.


JAMIE-LYNNE DISCALA, ACTRESS: I was completely, physically and mentally addicted to the exercise and the restricting of calories. I was wearing, you know, basically children's clothes.

I mean, I was a teenager and back to children's sizes. It was hard to find clothes that would fit. And it was like every week I would see my reflection of my back and see more bones coming out and more ribs, and more hip bones, and it was awful.


ZAHN: And her bulimia was so -- and anorexia -- was so calculated that she would actually take one piece of laundry down to the basement at a time and calculate how many additional calories she could burn in the process.

S. O'BRIEN: Oh, that is so sad.

Jane Fonda, you talk a lot about her struggle with anorexia, too. And she blames a lot of it on her dad, doesn't she?

ZAHN: Yes. She talks about being in charge of this huge exercise empire, when we all are looking at her and think, wow, she's fit, she looks great.

What we didn't know is that she's purging herself eight times a day. And she said it goes back to this standard about how thin they wanted their women, and you'll hear in this excruciating soundbite how tough that was on her.


JANE FONDA: I was made to feel that I wasn't good enough, not by mean people, but just, I had to be perfect in order to be loved. And if I wasn't perfect, I'd end up alone.

ZAHN: Who expected you to be perfect?

FONDA: I think my father did, and I don't think that he meant to, or realized, or you know, I just think that down through the generations of Fonda men, there was a tendency to not like women who weren't really thin.

ZAHN: It was that simple?

FONDA: It was that simple, and I didn't know that before. But I talked to a lot of the Fonda girls, and apparently, two of his wives suffered from bulimia, as I did for 30 years, striving to be perfect.


S. O'BRIEN: It's still kills her, really.

ZAHN: Yes, and she won't call herself cured now, but she says she has it under control, that she no longer exercises obsessively.

But the common thread in all these stories tonight is the fact that people very quickly lose control out of being able to determine what they need to eat to stay healthy. We meet a little girl who at the age of five was eating 15 pages of paper a day, and the message she had gotten from her own mother was, oh, I feel fat. She'd hear her mother say that, and that resonated within, underneath this darling little girl who is now a teenager, and I think has triumphed over it. But she tells us in painful details about what she went through.

S. O'BRIEN: That is just so -- because you're right. It's not just celebrities. A lot of people, as you mentioned, suffer with this disease. It's so sad. I'm looking forward to this special report.

ZAHN: Just wait until you have an adolescent daughter.

S. O'BRIEN: They're on their way. You know, I've got a couple of them heading there.

ZAHN: It's a disturbing thing when you look at the numbers, because that's where you're seeing the increase in these cases spark.

S. O'BRIEN: Yes, it's scary.

All right, Paula, thanks. It looks fascinating.

ZAHN: Thank you.

S. O'BRIEN: And again, you can see Paula's hour-long special called "WALKING THE THIN LINE," tonight 8:00 Eastern, right here on CNN. Let's get right back to Miles right outside of New Orleans this morning -- Miles.

M. O'BRIEN: All right, thank you very much, Soledad. Saint Bernard Parish, no money, no jobs, no homes, massive layoffs and an infestation of snakes. All in a day's work for the sheriff of Saint Bernard Parish. You'll meet him in just a minute.




S. O'BRIEN: Let's talk about the funeral for Rosa Parks, going to happen today at 12:00 noon Eastern Time, 11:00 a.m. in Detroit. It's being held at the Greater Grace Temple church. You can see mourners are filing past her casket right now, as preparations for the funeral get under way. Thousands of people have been camped out outside since overnight really, hoping to be one of the few who will have an opportunity to be inside the church for that funeral.

National Urban League President Mark Morial is going to be among the speakers who is remembering Rosa Parks. And he's at the church this morning. It's nice to see you, Marc, thanks for talking with us.

MARC MORIAL, PRESIDENT, NATIONAL URBAN LEAGUE: Good morning, Soledad. How are you?

S. O'BRIEN: I'm very well, thank you. You know, a lot of eyes on you today, and a very big job you have. What are you going to say? What can you possibly say to sum up the life of Rosa Parks?

MORIAL: Well, I'm just honored that I'm able to participate in this funeral as one of the several speakers who will be speaking and saying things about Mrs. Parks' life. I think the important message today is that an ordinary person, a quiet, humble person, can ignite a movement, can make a difference, can change the course of history.

Rosa Parks represents that. She was not a politician, or a minister, or the president of a community or civil rights organization. Yet she ignited a movement which has changed America and changed the world.

S. O'BRIEN: While you've been speaking, we've been looking inside the church, which is large. And that's one of the reasons it was picked. It can hold a lot of people. And also, outside, as well. You know, you can see some of the preparations of how this funeral is really going to go today.

I've been impressed at the number of young people I've seen, not only in the line outside, but some of the shots inside, as well, some of the people they've been talking to over the last couple of days Why do you think she resonated -- at 92 years old, when she died, why did she resonate with so many young people?

MORIAL: It's so positive that she has resonated with so many young people. And Soledad, if you could see the crowds here, if you could see the lines here, if you could see -- as I understand it, people have been here literally all night, waiting in line. People are singing. People are in a positive mood, because this is a celebration of a wonderful life.

I think it is because a simple act of defiance in 1955 by this woman ignited a great movement. And I think young people who yearn for a way to contribute, to participate and to make a difference, see in Rosa Parks a way that anyone can serve and make a difference and change history.

S. O'BRIEN: You know, she's such a quiet woman. You know, she was not a yeller and a shouter and a marcher and a -- you know. She just was sort of somebody who one day said, I'm done, I'm done. This is my line, and I am done. And I think that made a big impression on a lot of people, don't you think? MORIAL: I think it made a great impression. One day, she was tired. She had been working and she refused to give up that seat on the bus. And I think that simple act by a woman who was a seamstress, but also a woman who was active in her community and many community affairs, has resonated, because who could have imagined back in 1955 that what she did would, in fact, trigger and give rise to the prominence of Martin Luther King. The great nonviolent resistance that changed America, the civil rights act, the voting rights act, the transformation of American democracy to be much more inclusive.

And then she retained her great, quiet presence throughout her life. And, you know, Soledad, in about 30 days, we'll celebrate 50 years since she refused to give up her seat on the bus. So her death is poetic, her life was prophetic, and this is a great time for people to not only celebrate a life, but to remember that simple act of defiance 50 years ago.

S. O'BRIEN: How remarkable that you'll have a chance to be there in person.

MORIAL: Thanks, Soledad.

S. O'BRIEN: Marc Morial is the National Urban League president joining us. Thank you, appreciate.

Let's get right back to Miles, who is in Saint Bernard Parish this morning -- Miles?

M. O'BRIEN: Thanks very much, Soledad. As the sheriff of St. Bernard Parish puts it, it's like Groundhog Day every day. Scenes like this. Fighting with FEMA, fighting with the other authorities, trying to get a fair deal for the parish that is just on its knees in the wake of Katrina. In a moment, we'll get a status report from him. Stay with us for more AMERICAN MORNING.


M. O'BRIEN: Live pictures now in Meraux, Louisiana. We're on Van Cleave (ph) Avenue.

That's Pat Wellmyer (ph). He's in the National Guard. He's still on deployment, but taking some personal time, finally, to try to gather what he can from his house. Very quickly -- it seems like you're optimistic having a U-Haul here. Do you think you'll get a U- Haul worth of stuff out of here?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That I don't know. I mean, I'm looking at try to see what we can get. You know, hopefully, hoping for the best. Let's put it that way.

M. O'BRIEN: Wish you well, wish you well. This is a scene all over here as the morning goes on here. You know, it's a ghost street, a ghost town. People systematically are coming back, trying to get what they can out. When you see a U-Haul, you think, well, that's being optimistic, quite frankly. But he's got a second floor and he might be able to pull some things out of here. Here's the sheriff, Jack Stephens, and we've been telling you we've been -- want to talk to. Sheriff, good to have you back with us. That term, things like Groundhog Day is something I'd like you to explain to us. It's that sense of fighting the same battles over and over again. Tell us about that.

SHERIFF JACK STEPHENS, ST. BERNARD PARISH, LOUISIANA: Well, we're in the 66th day of this event now, and things are moving so excruciatingly slow. It just appears, from day to day, that little progress is being made. And I mean, you were here. You covered this, and if you look around, it's really hard to tell what's been accomplished since, I don't know, mid-September.

M. O'BRIEN: Yes, it looks the same.

STEPHENS: Yes, it does. And that's the dilemma that people are facing down here right now. You're just talking to Wellmyer and he's uncertain about his future here. He says he's homesteaded here, he would love to come back, but he really doesn't know what his options are yet, because he doesn't have answers about base flood elevation, flood insurance homeowners, the toxic nature of what he's facing in the house.

And what we're involved in here, Miles, is a giant civics lesson. If people around the country think they know how government works in the aftermath of natural disasters like this, I promise you they don't know what it's like.

M. O'BRIEN: And what we're learning is how government doesn't work at times. And that's got to be your biggest frustration right now. Because you constantly are fighting battles with people that are on payrolls designed to help us, right?

STEPHENS: That's right. I mean, as far as the FEMA officials are concerned right now, I have to tell you, from the standpoint of the sheriff's department, we made some headway with assistance from them in re-establishing ourselves as an operating, functioning law enforcement district.

But with regards to their relief to individual citizens, with respect to their temporary housing and all, they're way behind the curve. And with regards to 00 how do you handle putting a community back on its feet that's been totally devastated from boundary to boundary?

We're still dealing with the United States Congress who has, in my opinion, adopted a philosophy, a policy, of benign neglect towards us. And I don't think the neglect is malignant and I don't think it's malicious. I think they just wish we would go away. We get to be another component or element of the federal budget, and that's not fair.

And you know, I'd like to say to any member of the United States Congress that doesn't appreciate what we're going through down here or fully believe that we're in the peril we are, I will personally pay for a plane ticket for them to come down here, get on the ground. Because irrespective of how many photographs you take or how many images you see on television, you can't fully appreciate the nature of this disaster until you're involved in it or you see it on the ground. And I think more members of the United States Congress have to come here and walk in these streets where you are right now, walk in these houses and talk to citizens like Mr. Wellmyer (ph) and see what their feelings are about it.

M. O'BRIEN: Maybe there's a member of Congress calling you right there offering to come down.

Just final thought here, biggest issue you're facing right now, biggest frustration.

STEPHENS: Well, the biggest frustration we had been facing is, you know, our operating condition. We're in a position where we couldn't pay our deputies. I was advised as late at 5:00 yesterday afternoon that we have been approved to borrow money, which is a departure from the way every other jurisdiction in this country's been handled in the aftermath of a disaster like this.

So we're very frustrated with the federal government. We're very frustrated with the congressional response to this. Hopefully things will get better. We deserve a chance to get bang on our feet. If people would help us for six months or a year. This is a resilient population. They want to come back. I'm more optimistic really now than ever that we're going to get a substantial portion of our population back, they want to be here, but we need some help.

M. O'BRIEN: Jack Stephens, sheriff, Saint Bernard Parish. Good luck to you. I hope they're listening -- Soledad.

S. O'BRIEN: Miles, thanks.

Well, "CNN LIVE TODAY" is coming up next. Good morning to you, Daryn. What are you working on?

DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, Soledad. We have a lot coming up over the next three hours. At the top of the hour, remembering Rosa Parks. Thousands of people already gathering for her funeral right now in Detroit. Former President Clinton and many civil rights leaders will be speaking in her honor. We will bring you that funeral live.

Also we'll show you a royal welcome at the White House. Britain's Prince Charles and his wife, Camilla, visit President Bush and the first lady.

We have a busy morning ahead. You might say a lot of royalty. Civil rights royalty and British royalty.

S. O'BRIEN: You can never have too much royalty is what I always say.

KAGAN: That's what I'm saying, you know. Absolutely.

S. O'BRIEN: Thanks, Daryn. Looking forward to that. Ahead on AMERICAN MORNING, we're "Minding Your Business." The cost of stamps is about to go up again. We're going to tell you how much, up next on AMERICAN MORNING.


S. O'BRIEN: Some bad news. You're going to pay more for a stamp now. The good news, though, the post office is offering so many more services for that two cents it's going to just surprise you. That's a joke.

Andy Serwer's got a look at that.

ANDY SERWER, "FORTUNE" MAGAZINE: Stamps are still a good deal though.

S. O'BRIEN: Yes, but they keep raising the price for the same thing.

SERWER: Yes, that's true, but it's still a good deal.

S. O'BRIEN: You're right. What can you get for 39 cents?

SERWER: That's right. You can't get a candy bar anymore.

Let's talk about the markets first off, Soledad, go down to Wall Street and look at the Big Board. Up four points on the Dow Jones Industrials. What have we got moving this morning? how about Time Warner. Time Warner, parent company of CNN, profits up 80 percent. They announced a big stock buyback.

Remember Carl Icahn wanted them to do that. They kind of met him halfway, looking to buy back $12.5 billion worth. You know, when executives do that, they're telling the world they think the stock is cheap. Does the rest of the world think Time Warner stock is cheap? We'll find out. Stocks moving a little bit up, two percent to just under $18. We're harping on this a lot. We work for this company. Sorry.

S. O'BRIEN: We care about what happens with the stock in this company, don't we?

SERWER: We do. We really do. Let's talk about the post office. Yes, it really looks like they're going to be raising the stamp price again. Now here's what we got, all the different little things. First class, 37 to 39. Just in case you care, that's 5.4 percent. It goes from the Postal Rate commission to the Post Office Board of Governors. They requested it in April. Looks like it will happen in January. The last one was in June of '02. And again, 39 cents is not so bad. FedEx is $15.

S. O'BRIEN: I don't even mind that. What I mind is running around now with two-cents stamps I have to glom on to my 37-cents stamps, because otherwise my mail will get bounced back.

SERWER: Right, no, I do hate that.

S. O'BRIEN: And that lasts for about six months while you try to get rid of all your 37 cent stamps.

SERWER: Right, no, that is a pain, agreed.

S. O'BRIEN: Online bill pay.

SERWER: Yes, right.

S. O'BRIEN: Sorry, U.S. Post Office, but that is an option.

SERWER: Coming.

S. O'BRIEN: All right. Well, thank you very much.

SERWER: You're welcome.

S. O'BRIEN: A short break. We're back in just a moment. Stay with us.


M. O'BRIEN: We're out of time. I'm Miles O'Brien, Saint Bernard Parish, Monroe (ph) today. Tomorrow, Soledad, we're going to go across the river to what they call the West Bank here, Algiers, Louisiana, and it really is a tale of two cities there. Things really have gotten back to normal there. As a matter of fact, they were just a couple of weeks after the storm -- Soledad.

S. O'BRIEN: Yes, they were the first back on line. All right, Miles, thanks, and look forward that.

We're out of time, as Miles says. So let's get right to Daryn Kagan. she's at the CNN Center, and she'll take you through the next few hours.


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