While most of the nation was sleeping, Wilma blew up from a category 2 storm to a category 5. More than that: it set a new record for pressure at the core... and more than that: this storm is on a mission. They are predicting that this will now run SO fast through two peninsulas (Yucatan and Florida) that it will reach Cape Cod by Monday. Put another way: by the time we start a new week's broadcasts, this storm that is just now entering our sphere of interest will be in the rear view mirror. The good news: it will NOT make U.S. landfall at anything close to its present, freakish strength. There's a whole lot of distance to travel first, so we're dusting off the "Projected Paths" graphic, Max Mayfield's bio... the whole nine yards.
We'll obviously cover Saddam's day in court, including some of the atmospherics that were not obvious to a viewing audience dependent on translation and pool pictures... the body language between the former maximum leader and some of his old cronies who he saw in court for the first time in several years. For the record, he entered a plea of "not guilty."
Bush met with Bono today over lunch. The White House has released a photo. This photo must find its way into the broadcast tonight. Don't know of any plans for The Edge to meet with Vice President Cheney. Just a thought.
We have a medical story tonight that if read in a vacuum would present entirely differently than we know the reality to be. The wire story (correctly and appropriately) mentions "cancer" and "cure" in the lead paragraph. It's about the great success Herceptin has brought to the fight against breast cancer, especially the early detection of a virulent form. The trouble with reporting this story is: we've done it before... while notable and life-saving, it's not NEW. It was broken in April (front page New York Times, and carried on this broadcast and here on MSNBC.com), but is now being published in a medical journal and getting the commensurate attention. In a very strange twist, the story per se is embargoed until 5 p.m. ET, so we can't show you yet or link to it by rights. But those in need of this information presumably already know it. While the passage of time does not diminish its breakthrough status (or the good news this represents for millions of women), explaining the fact that it's an "old breakthrough" with greater care than I'm exhibiting here is a bit of a conundrum. We'll have Robert Bazell's help... let's see how we do.
We have a story tonight on the FEMA response to New Orleans which may make blood boil in those who are easily transported back to how that week in America made them feel. It's a wonderful piece of work by Senior Investigative Correspondent Lisa Myers and her producers and the the e-mails we will share with the audience make it all too real.
Intriguing atmospherics are emerging from the Plame Grand Jury... my favorite of the day: the judge allowed courtroom artists and journalists in today to look around (and sketch their "baseline" backgrounds) of the room where the testimony has been gathered in this case by Mr. Fitzgerald. Speculation has reached a fever pitch. No one is making any plans for Friday. A reminder: the Grand Jury meets Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. While the web has indeed gone wild this week (the rumor repeated yesterday on U.S. News' Web site of a possible Cheney resignation? Vice President Rice? Flipping witnesses?) JustOneMinute is today and remains a worthwhile stop for the Zeitgeist on this story that, by my count, is understood fully by about a half dozen American adults.
On second thought....
First, about yesterday's posting: I obviously misspoke and it made it past our crack editorial team. I said that the terror threat led to the closure of Baltimore BRIDGES when obviously it was TUNNELS. That I wrote it while watching live pictures of the closure increases the embarrassment of the error that a few of you brought to our attention. Secondly: I note that one reader (seeing a reference to a speech I gave this week) asked if I accepted money for speaking. The answer is an unequivocal NO... never have, never will. My reasons? I'm well compensated...and I never want to be conflicted should a story come before us involving an organization that has contributed to my bank account. Some organizations insist on an outlay of the money because it's been budgeted that way, so in those cases, I merely suggest a charity. I do accept offers of transportation to a speech location, but as a practical matter Nightly News keeps me busy and I do not accept that many engagements. I do NOT judge others who accept speaking fees, but have simply never thought that anything I have to say is worth so much as a nickel. I have family members who can confirm that.
Back to tonight: I hope you'll join us.