Return to Transcripts main page

CNN SUNDAY MORNING

Hurricane Felix Churning Near Caribbean Vacation Destinations; Idaho Senator Larry Craig Announces Resignation; Police Stings Target Areas of Opportunity for Public Sex

Aired September 2, 2007 - 09:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


T.J. HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: You know, we are enjoying this Sunday morning, September 2nd. The year is flying by.
Good morning to you all.

At the CNN Center in Atlanta, Georgia, I'm T.J. Holmes.

MELISSA LONG, CNN ANCHOR: Are you ready, T.J.?

HOLMES: I am so ready. I think everybody behind the scenes is ready.

LONG: Is ready. Everyone's ready. I'm ready.

I'm Melissa Long. I'm in today for Betty Nguyen, who is on assignment in Africa.

HOLMES: Yes.

LONG: What a wonderful assignment.

She is back next weekend.

HOLMES: She will be back next weekend. But thank you so much. A pleasure to have you here.

LONG: A pleasure. I am ready to be here.

Thank you for starting your day us with on this Sunday.

We're going to talk about Hurricane Felix, which is growing in strength and churning in the waters near some very popular Caribbean vacation destinations.

HOLMES: Also, a new sex scandal rocks Washington, D.C. This time, of all places, at a firehouse. We will get into that story.

But first, we are tracking some severe weather this Sunday morning.

Hurricane Felix, now a Category 2 hurricane in the eastern Caribbean, beating a path toward Aruba. Folks there are filling up their cars, buying supplies, preparing for the storm. An I-Report video here from Alberto Marquez (ph). He took this video in Puerto la Cruz, Venezuela, yesterday. Felix bringing some gusty winds to the region.

LONG: And Tropical Storm Henriette still a force, dumping heavy rain on western Mexico. These are pictures showing a landslide in Acapulco. The landslide slammed into a home, killing three family members. Henriette is blamed for at least six deaths in Mexico.

HOLMES: A busy weather situation, busy weather morning. And a busy man, there he is, Reynolds Wolf, with the sleeves rolled up this morning. No time for the jacket.

Good morning to you, sir.

LONG: Good morning.

REYNOLDS WOLF, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Good morning. Good morning. Another busy weekend for us, where we've got our eyes really set on the tropics.

Let's start with Felix by showing you a shot from high above. Not necessarily here in the weather center, but a shot from our weather computer that shows this image right behind me, the series of images of this immense storm, not quite as big as Dean, which moved in a very similar pattern last week. Maybe the path just a little bit farther to the south, but still a force to be reckoned with, nonetheless.

In Aruba, they're already getting the heavy rain, the pounding surf. And that will continue easily for the next couple of hours.

The outfall of the storm is still fairly good. Not really a well-defined eye. In fact, I can't even see an eye from what we've seen just over the last series of images.

However, the storm is expected to strengthen. Although it is not as big as Dean, the storm definitely packing a punch.

By the time we get into the next couple of days, in fact -- let's see, I can't see because of the banner right there on the screen, but I'm guessing -- yes, that would be Monday. Thank you very much.

Winds of 120 miles per hour, increasing in power to a Category 4 storm. A major hurricane in just 24 hours as we get closer to the Honduran coast. Then, if it stays on this path, which was brought just by the National Hurricane Center, it will be just to the north of the Honduran coast as a Category 4 storm, maximum sustained winds of 140 miles per hour, a virtual powerhouse, and then slamming into the coast of Belize as we get to mid-morning an Wednesday.

Then let's fast forward in time to 2:00 a.m. Friday. Maximum sustained winds 80 miles an hour, weakening not because it's -- because of any shear, but rather just being away from the water. But when it pops down the Bay of Campeche, it certainly could strengthen once again. We're going to watch this for you very carefully.

Meanwhile, certainly not the only big storm. The other one is Tropical Storm Henriette. This storm has already left plenty of rainfall on its way back to Acapulco.

We've already shown you the video there from the mudslides. This storm expected to move to the west and northwest as a Category 1, then weakening as it moves into cooler water, possibly making landfall by 2:00 a.m. Friday as a tropical storm with winds of 40 miles per hour.

Full plate. Plenty to talk about here this morning. And we haven't even touched the domestic weather. We're going to get to that coming up in due course. So sit tight.

And rest assured, we'll give you all the details.

LONG: Thank you, Reynolds.

WOLF: You bet.

HOLMES: Appreciate it, Reynolds. We'll see you shortly.

We have got some more severe weather here -- we're not done with it yet, folks -- to tell you about. Massive flooding in parts of Colombia. Torrential rain soaked the country, turning streets into raging rivers.

People tried to drive it anyway. And as you can see, they're not really rolling around in some big old SUVs and 4 x 4s trying to get through that stuff. They got stuck, a lot of them. Others had to be rescued. Still, here, fortunately, no injuries or deaths to report.

LONG: A powerful 6.9 earthquake near the Solomon Islands in the south Pacific several hours ago now. A 5.4 aftershock followed a short time later. The U.S. Geological Survey pinpointed the epicenter of the initial quake about 275 miles from the island of Kira Kira. Tsunami waves were detected and that might have impacted nearby islands. So far, however, no reports of injuries or damage.

HOLMES: Idaho's governor says he still has not decided who will fill outgoing Senator Larry Craig's Senate seat. Craig calling it quits at the end of a tumultuous and embarrassing week.

Our congressional correspondent Dana Bash has the story.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DANA BASH, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It was an abrupt end to a week of tabloid drama, a stunning fall from grace for a Republican senator little known nationally until now.

SEN. LARRY CRAIG (R), IDAHO: It is with sadness and deep regret that I announce that it is my intent to resign from the Senate effective September 30th. BASH: Four days after defiantly vowing to fight, Senator Larry Craig bowed to blistering pressure, admitting it was clear he could no longer be effective.

CRAIG: I apologize for what I have caused. I'm deeply sorry.

BASH: Even as he exited the political stage, Craig denied trolling for sex in this public bathroom on June 11th, despite pleading guilty to disorderly conduct two months later. But the spectacle of a sex scandal for Republicans stung by a string of controversy was too much to bear. His GOP colleagues swiftly stripped him of influence in Senate committees, launched an ethics investigation, told him to resign.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I don't try to judge people, but in this case it's clear that it was disgraceful.

BASH: The son of a modest Idaho cattle ranching family, Craig was elected to the state legislature at age 29 and six years later won a seat in Congress. Ironically, Craig gained national attention soon after his Washington career started during a sex scandal.

In 1982, the freshman congressman issued a statement adamantly denying he had sex with congressional pages, even though no one had publicly accused him.

Here on NBC...

CRAIG: I have people telling me that a whole series of false accusations were made against my character. Frankly, it makes me mad as hell.

BASH: Despite that, Craig served 25 more years, elected to the House then the Senate by huge margins. He stayed popular fighting for gun rights and tax cuts.

The red state Republican who voted against gay rights has been plagued by rumors he is gay for years. After news broke of his bathroom bust, Craig's local paper reported on a six-month investigation into those rumors. He called it a witch hunt.

CRAIG: I am not gay. I never have been gay.

BASH: Craig's Senate salary was his only income, and despite pleading guilty to a misdemeanor and leaving in disgrace, Senate rules allow him to walk away with a $130,000 a year pension, paid for by taxpayers.

(on camera): Craig says he'll focus his time now on trying to overturn a guilty plea he signed admitting to misconduct in an airport men's room. He says he intends to clear his name, but that will be extremely hard to do both legally and politically.

Dana Bash, CNN, Boise, Idaho.

(END VIDEOTAPE) HOLMES: And coming up at the bottom of the hour, we'll hear from some of Senator Craig's constituents and find out what they think of his resignation.

LONG: Again, it's Idaho's Republican governor that will choose Craig's immediate replacement. Three contenders are being mentioned.

First, Idaho Representative Mike Simpson. The frontrunner, probably Lieutenant Governor James Risch. And then also in the mix, former Idaho governor and current secretary of the Interior, Dirk Kempthorne. Then on the Democratic side, former congressman Larry LaRocco, who was already in the race for Craig's Senate seat.

Senator Larry Craig's arrest was part of a sting operation in Minneapolis.

HOLMES: And one if many crackdowns nationwide targeting so- called public areas of opportunity.

CNN's Dan Lothian takes a look at this.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DAN LOTHIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): It's not the primary function of public parks, rest rooms and rest areas. But for men in search of anonymous same-sex partners, they are popular destinations.

PROF. RICHARD TEWKSBURY, UNIVERSITY OF LOUISVILLE: There's also the idea that there is sort of a thrill to the hunt, to the excitement of sex in a public place, of doing something that potentially does have negative consequences for you.

LOTHIAN: Web sites like this one offer a kind of adult travel guide, including rules of the game and secret signals to make a connection in a public rest room, like waiting in a stall at the farthest end of the bathroom. And when someone approaches next door, quote, move your foot so that you know the other person can see it and slowly start tapping it.

Professor Richard Tewksbury at the University of Louisville has published several studies on this subculture. He has documented about 9,000 locations across the country where he says this public behavior often referred to as cruising takes place merely because of opportunity and convenience.

TEWKSBURY: There's all kinds of places. Many times that most of us walk by or walk into in our daily lives and never realize are cruising locations.

LOTHIAN: Anonymous gay sex in public areas certainly isn't new. Remember pop singer George Michael almost ten years ago? He was busted for engaging in a lewd act in a park rest room in Beverly Hills.

GEORGE MICHAEL, POP SINGER: I can only apologize. I can -- I can try to fathom why I did it.

LOTHIAN: But law enforcement agencies across the country have been cracking down in recent months, sometimes using undercover stings to catch men in the act like in rest rooms at Atlanta's Hartsfield- Jackson's International Airport where more than 40 men were picked up recently for indecent exposure and public sex acts.

MAJ. DARRYL TOLLESON, ATLANTA POLICE: We have arrested college professors, bank presidents, other CEOs. So we -- it ranges.

LOTHIAN: And here's another surprise.

TEWKSBURY: The research tells us that for the most part, we're talking about men who are involved in some kind of long-term heterosexual relationship frequently married, frequently with children.

LOTHIAN: Investigators say critics who argue police should be focusing on more serious crimes are missing the point, that this public behavior is illegal.

TOLLESON: We're there to enforce all crime -- enforce all laws.

LOTHIAN: And they're finding suspects in the bathroom.

Dan Lothian, CNN, Boston.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LONG: Now, our next story you must see the video to truly understand. All events at an air show in Poland have been canceled for the day after two small planes collide during an exhibition.

Watch as the television cameras capture this crash. Both pilots were killed in that collision. Spectators were left stunned.

As you see, the plane bursting into fragments that rained down on the crowd. No one on the ground was hurt.

HOLMES: Fighting intensifying this morning near Beirut, Lebanon. The Lebanese army killing at least 20 militants trying to flee a Palestinian refugee camp there. As many as 10 other militants were captured.

Members of the group Fatah al-Islam have been holed up in the camp for several months now. The government says the militants are linked to al Qaeda.

Well, we turn now to a handbook for police that is stirring up a whole lot of controversy.

LONG: Well, it's called the "Ghetto Handbook," and it's managed to offend a lot of people -- Reynolds?

WOLF: That's right. We've been keeping you up to speed on what's been happening in the tropics. Very busy there. But many of you are also wondering what is going to happen with your holiday forecast.

We're going to let you know what to expect, plus we're going to talk about the heat wave out West. How long will that continue?

We'll have that in a few moments.

HOLMES: All right, Reynolds. We will see you in a few moments.

And also, we're talking politics, of course. What a week it has been. Who's in? Who's out?

We'll get you all caught up right after a break. Stay here.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HOLMES: Want to bring you an update, a story we just brought you a short time ago, talking about the fighting that's intensified in Beirut, Lebanon, where some 20 militants have been killed by the Lebanese army. Other militants have been taken -- taken capture.

But this was happening at a refugee camp there where Palestinian refugees had been holed up for several months now in a standoff with the Lebanese army. Well, now the Lebanese army has taken full control of that refugee camp, is word this morning.

Again, this has been an ongoing battle for some three months now, back and forth between the Palestinian -- or the Palestinian forces holed up there and the Lebanese army, the militants holed up in that refugee camp. The word this morning that, in fact, the Lebanese army has now taken full control of that refugee camp, is the word we are just getting this morning.

Again, Fatah al-Islam is the group that has been holed up at that camp for several months now. Has been some -- from intense fighting for several months we have seen now. But word that the Lebanese army has now taken full control of that refugee camp.

A lot more to come as we get more information. We certainly will pass it along to you.

We will turn now to talk politics this morning.

Top Democratic presidential candidates joining others in the race to deliver a message to Florida. Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards vowing that they will not campaign in states that hold early primaries. Florida now planning to hold its primary on January 29th, but the Democratic Party rules say that only Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina are allowed to hold nominating contests before February 5th.

LONG: Then on the other side of the aisle, Republicans engineered a quick end to the Senator Larry Craig situation, pushing for him to get out of the picture before his controversy became their controversy.

Joining us now live from Washington, Jonathan Martin, senior political correspondent for Politico.com.

Jonathan, thanks so much for your time. Appreciate it.

JONATHAN MARTIN, POLITICO.COM: Thanks for having me this morning.

LONG: Let's first talk about Senator Craig, who resigned yesterday, of course. He has secured legal representation, the same attorney as Michael Vick. His problems, personal problems certainly aren't going away. But for the Republicans, will they start to go away or will the Democrats have this as fodder for criticism?

MARTIN: Well, there's no question that the Larry Craig episode has done even more damage to an already, you know, wounded GOP. And the fact is, is that this episode is not going to be immediately forgotten. But the good news for the Republican Party is that it did happen over the course of a holiday weekend, at the very end of the summer.

Craig is now going to resign. So if there was any good news that the party could salvage out of this, they did get a measure of it yesterday when Craig did say he was going to resign.

LONG: Let's talk about another senator, Senator Warner of Virginia. An 80-year-old retiring, saying he is no longer going to run for his seat.

He has had a distinguished career, served on powerful committees, highly respected. So what will his departure, what will this new position do for the leadership?

MARTIN: Well, this is yet another problem that the GOP is facing now. Senator Warner would have been an easy bet to win re-election next year in Virginia. But this is a state that is moderately conservative but is trending more moderate than it is conservative.

And if former governor Mark Warner, a very popular, very wealthy politician, does decide to get into this race, he would enter as the frontrunner and would face a very heated GOP primary on the other side. So it's just another Republican seat that could tilt towards the Democrats next year.

LONG: Let's talk about another race. Let's talk about the Democrats and talk about Hillary Rodham Clinton, the frontrunner in the race for president in the Democratic side.

Coming out this week, we understand, Bill Clinton will be helping her to campaign. How necessary is Bill Clinton this week to her campaign since she is already the frontrunner?

MARTIN: Well, he's the political equivalent of Elvis. Wherever he goes, he draws huge crowds and adoring fans. And the fact is, is that when you bring him out, especially on a holiday weekend, and you go to places like Iowa and New Hampshire, you are bound to increase the size of your crowd and the media buzz that you would -- that you're getting from the event. And so, for her, in a Democratic primary, it's mostly a win-win.

Now, her opponents are trying to subtly use it against her, especially John Edwards, talking about how we need to, you know, turn the page and we can't have the same kind of establishment status quo Democrats or status quo Republicans. But the fact is, for most Democrats, Bill Clinton is still very much a rock star.

LONG: All right. Let's talk about somebody else not of rock star status but certainly of a Hollywood status, and that's Fred Thompson.

MARTIN: Right.

LONG: Has been flirting with running. We've learned it will likely happen this week.

Has there been too much hype, though, leading up to this?

MARTIN: Well, he's had a long, long courting period and now it seems like finally he's going to tie the knot here. The only challenge Senator Thompson has is, has he waited too long?

He now has a much smaller window, a much smaller margin of error. He's got to come out this month, have a flawless announcement to show solid if not spectacular fund-raising at the end of the month. And if not, there's going to be even more doubters about his candidacy. But, going for Senator Thompson is the fact that the GOP race is still very much wide open.

LONG: Jonathan Martin, a senior correspondent for Politico.com.

Jonathan, thanks so much for your time. And have a wonderful weekend. We appreciate it.

MARTIN: Thanks so much for having me.

LONG: Thank you.

HOLMES: Well, fighting AIDS with medicines Americans throw away. A CNN Hero who is getting the job done, his remarkable story right after a break.

LONG: And a firehouse under fire. The allegations, prostitution, possibly a sex ring.

Our Gary Nurenberg is following this story and will have the details for you a little bit later in the hour.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HOLMES: One country helping another. That's the simple message in one man's efforts to help HIV and AIDS patients overseas. Today's CNN Hero is using medicines that would otherwise be thrown away to save lives all over the world.

This morning, meet Jesus Aguais. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're rolling.

JESUS AGUAIS, AID FOR AIDS INTERNATIONAL: The simplest idea can make the biggest impact. Recycling HIV medicine, how many people are there looking for medicine? And how many people with HIV in the United States have no idea that they could save lives with something that is just a leftover for them?

My name is Jesus Aguais. I'm the founder of AID FOR AIDS International. I'm dedicated to improve the quality of life of people with HIV in developing countries.

Early 1993, I got a job as a counselor in one of a Latino AIDS organization here in New York. In terms of helping people abroad, there was very little that you could do. There was no medicine at all.

Only people with lots of money could come to the United States. The rest, the common people, have to die.

In 1996, the first two protease inhibitors got approved, but some people couldn't tolerate it. A treatment that costs $1,200 was being thrown away.

I just knew it was wrong, purely wrong. I was telling people, "Why don't you bring it to me?"

We started using the concept of recycling HIV medicine. All the medicine comes from people with HIV around the U.S. and goes abroad.

People can send it directly to us, or if they live in the New York City area, we can pick it up. And we send it on a monthly basis straight to the patient.

This is a matter of saving life. People need this medicine. We need to get it to them. It's a responsibility. I see it as what I'm here to do.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HOLMES: And there's a whole lot more about Jesus Aguais and his organization on our Web site, CNN.com/heroes. That is what you see when you turn to our Web site.

You can also go to the Web site -- there's a spot over here you can actually nominate your own hero. Pretty simple. Just click on that nomination form.

You do have until September 30th, not that much longer, but you do have until then to get your nominations in. The selected winners will be honored during a special live global broadcast on December 6th. It will be hosted by our own Anderson Cooper.

LONG: T.J., thank you. Idaho's senior senator -- what does Idaho have to say about Larry Craig's fall from grace?

And right after this, a community outraged. The source, a handbook to teach police how to talk ghetto.

You're watching CNN SUNDAY MORNING.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LONG: Good morning once again. 9:30 in the morning East Coast time. I'm Melissa long in for Betty, who's on assignment.

HOLMES: On assignment. And thank you again for helping out while she's gone.

LONG: Pleasure.

HOLMES: Everybody, I'm T.J. Holmes. Happening now, Hurricane Felix getting bigger and badder. Now a Category 2 hurricane in the Caribbean with the 100 mile-an-hour winds heading towards Aruba.

LONG: Fences, gates, concrete barriers. Sidney, Australia is beefing up security as President Bush and other world leaders gather this week for the Asian-Pacific summit. Workers are putting up a 10- foot fence as security. Plenty of demonstrations are expected outside that meeting site.

HOLMES: But, you got to check this next story out. This will have you talking. Angry parents say it's a slap in the face. School police officers in Houston handed so-called "ghetto handbooks" and told to learn slang terminology. The handbooks title, "Ebonics 101." At least one officer from the Houston Independent School District is on suspension. Christine Dobbyn from affiliate KTRK has this story.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CHRISTINE DOBBYN, KTRK REPORTER (voice-over): While the kids are back in class, HISD police officers are patrolling around the schools. But eyewitness news has learned it's not just students how have been given books. A ghetto handbook was passed out during HISD police role call, the so-called class, "Ebonics 101."

The seven page booklet begins with the definition of Ebonics, then a list of some of the words you may hear: a "hoodrat," "peeps." It even tells the officers to use what they learn wisely because Ebonics could save their life.

CAROL MIMS-GALLOWAY, PRESIDENT, HOUSTON NAACP CHAPTER: I don't think that persons should be printing ghetto handbooks, "Ebonic 101."

DOBBYN: Local president of the NAACP, Carol Mims-Galloway says it sends the wrong message.

MIMS-GALLOWAY: This sends a bad message as well to the officers as well as to the young people... DOBBYN: Three pages of words like "bling," "phat" and "crib" that many say clearly targets one race. And some of the officers were also offended. One saying, "I'm sworn to serve and protect and this is what I have to deal with? Even if it was a joke, I was still offended." HISD superintendent Dr. Abe Saavedra says he is angry and has a lot of questions: Who was involved in making and distributing the booklet and why it took so long for him to find out since some senior officers have known for weeks?

ABE SAAVEDRA, HISD SUPERINTENDENT: I asked for a complete investigation. Also want to know why it took two months for it to get to my desk.

DOBBYN: HISD Inspector General Robert Moore says they're not sure if it was supposed to be a joke or not, but it really doesn't matter in this investigation.

ROBERT MOORE, HISD INSPECTOR GENERAL: It is a very serious matter and one that needs immediate attention, which we intend to do -- to address.

DOBBYN: Moore has overseen the internal investigation and says one officer is suspended with pay. They are not sure if all of the officers listed on the book participated. Both administrators agree the matter is serious enough someone will likely lose their job. The back of the book claims there will be a second edition soon. But HISD administrators vow they will make sure that doesn't happen.

SAAVEDRA: My apologies to the whole community.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LONG: That story out of Houston, this morning.

And crews battling wildfires in three states, California, Washington, and Idaho are reporting great progress this morning. First in Idaho, a fire that forced the evacuation of hundreds of homes and one threatened the Sun Valley Ski Resort is nearly contained. Officials say the fire was sparked by lightning.

In California, central part of that state, fire crews continue battling a fire in the Los Padres National Forest. The fire has burned more than 240,000 acres. Firefighters expect to have it fully contained a little later today.

And then in Washington state, residents in the town of Marlin are being allowed to return back home. Firefighters say they've nearly contained a five-square-mile fire there.

HOLMES: Oh, they got a lot to deal with, there. Don't know if the weather conditions are helping them out at all. We will get that report from our Reynolds Wolf who's been a busy man this morning, dealing with some hurricanes and whatnot -- Felix and Henrietta.

But got some heat going on in this part of the world. REYNOLDS WOLF, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Oh, that's right and unusual suspects, too, still in the interior valleys of California and places like Shandon back over to even Fresno. It's going to be very warm for you today. Not so bad, though, in spots like San Francisco or in Los Angeles.

Farther to the north in Seattle and even in Portland we're see some more showers move through. This area of low pressure, this frontal boundary, we have just off the coast is going to make its way over the Cascades, bringing scattered showers. Maybe enough rainfall as we get to the eastern side of the state, near Spokane, which would certainly help with some of those fire problems.

High pressure continues to build into the Rockies. Look for scattered showers into Dallas southward and Fort Worth, possibly some heavy rainfall in Houston, also into extreme eastern Georgia, South Carolina. Looks like a rainy day for you, as well.

Great day for barbecues in Detroit, wonderful day there. Chicago, if you're going to get out and enjoy the sunshine, do it early, because later on in the afternoon, it's going to be this frontal boundary that's going to bring more cloud cover to you and a chance of rainfall as we get into the late hours.

What about temperatures? Well, we mention it's going to be hot out West. It's also going to be very warm out by Mud Island in Memphis with 95 degrees for a high. Kansas City, 88 degrees, 93 in the stock yards in Dallas. Houston with 86 degrees, 84 in Detroit and 86 in Washington, D.C.

Coming up, we're going to take another look at the tropics. It's going to be a whole lot of information. We're going to break it down, simplify it and give it to you all coming up very soon. Let's send it back to you at the news desk.

HOLMES: We appreciate when you simplify for us.

WOLF: We try to make it -- we try -- the goal is to make the complex understandable.

LONG: And you do a very good job at that.

WOLF: We do what we can.

HOLMES: All right, Reynolds, thank you.

LONG: Thanks Reynolds.

HOLMES: We got some wet weather, here, to tell you about, more of it. This time coastal Georgia is where we're talking about. It's bracing for more of this today. This was Savannah yesterday afternoon following heavy downpours. Affiliate WSAB reports on its Website that some areas could get up to four more inches of rain by tonight.

LONG: Political news, now. Senator Larry Craig says he the file to overturn the guilty plea he signed admitting to misconduct in a Minneapolis airport men's room. But, he won't do it as a member of Congress. The veteran lawmaker is calling it quits. Now, as for Craig's constituents, their reactions to his resignation have been mixed. CNN's Kara Finnstrom reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KARA FINNSTROM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): From applause of support for the embattled senator making his entrance...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And I hope people today will stand up and fight for him.

FINNSTROM: To jeers during his resignation speech.

SEN LARRY CRAIG (R), IDAHO: And I announce that it is my intent to resign from the Senate, effective September 30. In doing so...

CROWD: Yeah!

(APPLAUSE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We love you, Larry!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think he really needs to step forward and I really think he needs to come out and say what he really did and not try to hide it.

FINNSTROM: The people of Idaho rocked by a week of tabloid-like scandal are speaking out. Crystal White and her neighbors came with signs, one referring to the senator's statements on "Meet the Press" during the Monica Lewinsky scandal.

CRAIG: So, bad boy, Bill Clinton, you're a naughty boy.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He can be gay all he wants. My aunt's gay. I don't care. I just wish he'd be truthful and honest.

FINNSTROM: Charges of hypocrisy resonated in Boise's Farmer's Market. Lifetime Idahoan, Lee Rice, runs a farm. He says Craig's guilty plea to even a reduced charge contradicts the senator's clearly voiced conservative social values.

LEE RICE, IDAHO FARMER: It just looks like a double standard to, you know, those of us here in Idaho and I'm sure to the rest of the country and even some -- a lot of his colleagues.

FINNSTROM: Greg Smith, who used to work for the senator, says there had been whispers of Craig having a gay lifestyle for years, but he believes the senator is telling the truth.

GREG SMITH, REPUBLICAN POLLSTER: You hear the little rumors. But there's never been any kind of substantiation to that. I know, I used to travel with him.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think Larry Craig is one of the most honorable men that I have ever met in my life. And I have had the privilege of working with him for the last -- throughout the last 25 or 26 years...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Quite frankly, I hope the next senator is a Democrat.

FINNSTROM: You won't hear much of that in this staunchly Republican state. But many here say regardless of their personal opinions of the senator, they agree with his decision to step down.

CRAIG: I apologize for what I have caused.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just shocked and stunned. I mean, just don't expect that out of our leaders, and hoping for the best for Idaho to move on.

FINNSTROM: Kara Finnstrom for CNN, Boise, Idaho.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HOLMES: Idaho's Republican governor will now choose Craig's immediate replacement. Three names are being floated around out there. First, Idaho representative Mike Simpson is one. Maybe the frontrunner, if you will, probably Republican Lieutenant Governor James Risch. Also in the mix, maybe former Idaho governor and current secretary of the Interior, Dirk Kempthorne. On the Democratic side, former Congressman Larry laRocco has already said that he was in the race for Craig's Senate seat.

LONG: Coming home, I want to show you this scene yesterday, near Boston, as about 70 soldiers returned from duty in Iraq. The Army reservists from the 382nd military police battalion have been deployed in Iraq for 16 months. A dozen members of the unit, they had to miss that party. They are, instead, at the military hospital in Fort Dix, New Jersey, recovering from injuries from Iraq.

HOLMES: Memories still strong for an Ohio soldier listed as missing in Iraq. Sergeant Matt Maupin was captured when his convoy came under attack in Baghdad three years ago. In Dayton yesterday, dozens of people took part in a raffle to benefit the Matt Maupin Scholarship Fund. Maupin's parents witnessed the raffle winner take home a new Harley Davidson.

They say the scholarship fund helps to keep their hero alive.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CAROLYN MAUPIN, MOTHER OF SGT MATT MAUPIN: We thank them from the bottom of our hearts that they remember Matt, they're not going to let him be forgotten. And we're not going to leave him in Iraq, because one day we're going to bring him home. And I believe that's everyone's sentiment. And I appreciate our troops, we thank them everyday for what they do for our freedom and for us to be here today.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HOLMES: And proceeds from this benefit go to students from Maupin's alma mater. LONG: The cost for the war in Iraq may be going up. Sources on Capitol Hill say President Bush is preparing to ask Congress for billions of dollars more to pay for the war. CNN's Brian Todd has more.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): More than $2 billion a week to fund the war in Iraq. And now sources on Capitol Hill tell CNN they expect the president to ask Congress for more, around the time general David Petraeus and Ryan Crocker delivered their assessment of the new offensive in mid September. The "Washington Post" reports the president could ask for as much as $50 billion more to keep troop levels going through next Spring. White House and Pentagon officials will only say this...

GEOFF MORRELL, DEFENSE DEPT SPOKESMAN: I think we've signaled to Congress that we may indeed be coming to them shortly for additional moneys to fight the global war on terror. But, I think at this point in terms of numbers and when that will happen, we're ahead of the game.

TODD: Still, top Democrats are ramping up their no blank check argument.

JOHN EDWARDS (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: What the Congress should do when they come back next week is make it absolutely clear no timetable, no funding.

TODD: But Democrats tried to attach conditions to war funding earlier this Summer and lost a veto showdown with the president.

JOHN ULLYOT, FMR SENATE CMTE SPOKESMAN: What's difficult for the Democrats in that debate is that fundamentally no one wants to, of any party, wants to be in a position, politically, of blocking funding for troops in the field.

TODD (on camera): For that reason, if the president does ask for more money, he'll likely get it. But analysts say there's a cost to Republicans, too, that this will give the Democrats more ammunition to talk about an unpopular war heading right into the primary season.

Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HOLMES: And today on THIS WEEK AT WAR, who is running Iraq? Is the troop buildup working? Tom Foreman gets into those questions as he hosts THIS WEEK AT WAR, that's today at 1:00 p.m. Eastern.

LONG: Still to come, we're talking about a D.C. sex scandal.

HOLMES: Yeah, this one's not political, however. Not this time. Yeah, it's a firehouse that is under fire. The allegations, prostitution, possibly a sex ring. That story a little later this hour. JOSH LEVS, CNN.COM DESK: As Hurricane Felix is churning now, in the Caribbean, we are getting amazing photo and also photos and also some video that you've got to see. I'm Josh Levs; I've got that at the Dot-Com Desk. And that's coming right up, here on CNN, the most trusted name in news.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HOLMES: You know, oftentimes, we seem, it time and time again, bad weather bringing out the best in our i-Reporters.

LONG: And this morning, Josh Levs is focusing on Felix on the Dot-Com Desk.

LEVS: You know, it's a place in which people who are not seeking it are all of a sudden in the middle of a huge news story. And this is a huge story, right now.

And the kind of things we're seeing from Felix, as it's churning in the Caribbean, really powerful stuff. You've got to see some of these images, here. Let's start off with the photographs, if we could. These were taken from Grenada in the West Indies, on that side of it. A man named Derek Pickell.

Now, I want to explain to you what you're seeing. That's lightning. Now, it's incredibly powerful lightning, some really amazing imagery. Turns out our own Reynolds Wolf explained that usually the human eye cannot pick up what's going on with lightning, because it's so fast, but with a certain photography, you can actually see. So that is the powerful lightning of someone caught in the middle of that storm. Folks, a lot of them there, did not see it coming.

Let's also show you some of the video we've got going. And this is from the Venezuela side of things. Just come into us. It's really powerful and you can get a sense, you know, of people living in here in villages and towns along the coast, there. And this is growing, it's a growing storm right now. We just checked the latest stats on it and it's still churning in that area. So, you can see the powerful winds are picking up, could be affecting some of the buildings as we go on. This is thanks to a man named Alberto Marquez, he is in Puerto la Cruz, Venezuela. That's right out there, on the Northern side, along the coast.

So folks in that region are going to be sending us photos and videos throughout the day. Obviously, keep them coming. We want to share them with you. We'll sharing some of them on TV and also, right there on cnn.com. So, guys, as the storm moves, we're going to keep hearing from people all over the world. Get those images, get those videos, share them with you so you can see, really, the strength of this storm.

HOLMES: We appreciate it. Our i-Reporters, we certainly appreciate them. They have helped us out so much. What, it's been a year, not, i-Report's been going on? LEVS: Yeah, had this big anniversary. And we've gotten thousands, now. And you know, every time there's a major storm, more and more people know about i-Report and more and more people are sending them. What we saw just now, that video, that was on a phone camera. So, that's modern technology, we can get this great video that way.

HOLMES: It helps us tell the story. Josh Levs.

LONG: Citizen journalism. Thank you.

HOLMES: Josh Levs, appreciate you.

LEVS: I gotcha.

HOLMES: Well, we got another story coming up. It is strange but, yes, it is true.

LONG: It sounds like a riddle. You take three contestants from Mrs. America, put them in the room with a rattlesnake and what do you get? The answer a little bit later in the hour.

HOLMES: Also, the things you can get people to do with a little ingenuity. This is really one of my favorite stories. Can you read what that spells? We'll tell you why they were spelling it and they didn't mean to spell it. That story coming up about just a bright young man. Stay tuned, we'll explain.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LONG: Good morning. Hope you're having a good Sunday so far. Idaho Senator Larry Craig is by no means alone when it comes to facing damaging allegations involving sex.

HOLMES: No that. One Washington, D.C., fire station, of all things, is being investigated for what may turn into a sex scandal at the department. CNN's Gary Nurenberg has that story.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

GARY NURENBERG, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The police department in Washington, D.C., has begun an investigation of alleged sexual improprieties within the city's Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department. An allegation that prostitution has been conducted at a D.C. firehouse is front page news in the "Washington Times." We asked the fire department spokesman if the allegations that a "sex ring" is operating at a D.C. firehouse is part of the criminal probe.

ALAN ETTER, D.C. FIRE DEPT SPOKESMAN: The allegations involved alleged sexual impropriety, and that is true. The minute Chief Ruben found out about the allegations, he immediately engaged in an investigation with the Metropolitan Police Department. They are now engaged in a criminal investigation.

NURENBERG: When asked about the allegations, the president of the Firefighters Union told CNN "If they turn out to be true we naturally find that to be absolutely disgusting...we will have to wait and see what the truth is."

Spokesman Etter, says legal constraints prevent him from being specific, but he says there will be a full accounting.

ETTER: The reason that we're even saying this much about the allegations -- about this investigation is because we want the public to know that we are as up front and honest and transparent about this and we want people to know that if this activity is proven to be true, it is never, ever tolerated in our agency. Chief Ruben has been adamant about that. Again, we don't know if these allegations are true, but they are serious and we want them investigated.

NURENBERG (on camera): Etter says the city plans to assess its investigation at the beginning of the week and currently plans a public statement on the potential scandal on Wednesday.

Gary Nurenberg, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HOLMES: It is time to check in with Howard Kurtz to see what is ahead on RELIABLE SOURCES.

HOWARD KURTZ, RELIABLE SOURCES: Coming up, Larry Craig accuses Idaho's top newspaper of conducting a witchunt for investigating allegation that's he engaged in gay sexual conduct. We'll talk to the reporter who's been talking with Craig and ask the question: Should the media be delving into private sexual behavior?

Alberto Gonzales resigning at justice after months of negative stories. Did the press hold him accountable or get carried away?

Plus, the president, the candidates, the journalists flocking to New Orleans for the second anniversary of Katrina. But will the media attention, again, prove fleeting. That and more ahead on RELIABLE SOURCES.

LONG: A warning before we show this new tape of this next story. Because, I know people that are terrified of snakes, they flip out whenever they say: why do you roll that tape? So, that's your warning all right? So a real hissy fit, not at your home, but at the Mrs. America contest.

HOLMES: This would happen when you put a contestant in the same room with a rattle snake. Doesn't look like we're going to see the rattle snake, here.

LONG: Oh, you're going to see it a little later.

HOLMES: Oh here, it's coming. There it is.

LONG: There it is.

HOLMES: All right. We'll tell you about that coming up. LONG: And then, we love this story this morning, this morning. I think you might get a kick out of it as well. Fans that blindly follow the directions and oh, the so should have known better. These stories coming up after the break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOLF: I'm Reynolds Wolf, and this is Hurricane Felix still roaring through parts of the Caribbean and the storm is expected to strengthen. In fact, it's moving into very, very warm open water with very little shear. It should be Category 3 as we get into Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday we'll see this storm grow even more in strength to a Category 4, possibly making landfall by late morning on Wednesday, crossing the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico and into the Bay of Campeche by early Friday morning. We're going to keep you updated on the storm throughout the day. This is CNN, your hurricane headquarters. Let's send it back you to guys at the news desk.

LONG: All right, Reynolds, thank you. We've saved some of the lighter stories we want to share with you now. This is our favorite this morning.

HOLMES: Favorite of the day.

LONG: Absolutely.

HOLMES: No doubt about it.

LONG: It's about a high school prank in Hilliard, Ohio, that's a suburb of Columbus. And students of a rival school were tricked into holding up some cards, you know, plaques during a football game that spell out, can you see that? We suck. Ooops.

HOLMES: They thought it was supposed to say Go Darby. So, they just trusted a kid who ran up and down, and said; hey, hold up your sign. The video has been posted on YouTube. The senior who put all this together says he and two friends spend three days working out all these logistics. No, you think the kid might get some extra credit or some point or get something for this. You know what he got? He got suspended.

LONG: And the kid seemed surprised. Very creative of him. And good organizational skills.

HOLMES: Yes. He'll go far, hopefully.

LONG: And a story out of Arizona that is a bit change. Couldn't make it up. And this is not a story for anybody that afraid of snakes. A contestant in the Mrs. America pageant was bitten by a rattle snake at the Tucson resort where that weekend competition was held.

HOLMES: This is Kristina Ryan, Mrs. Tennessee. She spent about 15 hours in the hospital after the venomous bite. She said it took Mrs. Iowa to pull the snake off her foot and then Mrs. Wisconsin called 911. LONG: That's team effort as well, like the last story.

HOLMES: ...from the beauty queens. Mrs. Tennessee, she's all right now, but her foot still a bit sore.

LONG: I don't think they're going to do that again, huh?.

HOLMES: Mrs. Wisconsin and Mrs. Iowa come together to help Mrs. Tennessee.

LONG: Nice team work.

HOLMES: Well, coming up here folks, did the press go too far with Senator Larry Craig? That question being asked and answered today on RELIABLE SOURCES with Howard Kurtz.

LONG: Also ahead on LATE EDITION, countdown to the Iraq progress report and surviving an attack in Iraq.

HOLMES: And Wolf Blitzer talks with Senator Richard Shelby, he was one of four lawmakers on a military plain that took fire over the Baghdad airport.

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.voxant.com