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Momentous Monday

I'm enormously proud of the effort that dominates our blog today... two of our finest correspondents have set out on a mission that we will all hopefully learn from: Carl Quintanilla is traveling from West to East in the Gulf states and Martin Savidge from East to West. They will end up in New Orleans on Friday and cover what they see en route. We have vowed to stay on this story, to document the suffering... and this is our way of shedding some light on those who don't always get the media attention along the way. The volume of other news of late has meant I haven't been able to travel back to the region as often as I'd like (since our last trip to Mississippi) and while we are planning our next trip to the Gulf, we are confident that this effort will keep the story front and center with our viewers. Please join us for the first two installments of their series of reports tonight, and let us know what you think.

To the major news of the day: a man I first met as a reporter when he was the deputy to a U.S. Attorney named Michael Chertoff, Judge Samuel Alito, was today nominated to fill the Sandra Day O'Connor vacancy on the Supreme Court. His nomination was immediately praised and immediately attacked (in keeping with the natural balance of Washington), and we will try to balance it all out tonight, and introduce the American people to this jurist and father of two. We received strong indications late last week that we should be taking a good, hard look at Alito. Truth be told, his bio was among those that I've been carrying around in my briefcase (of possible nominees) for months now, and please note that "Erick,"a poster on RedState.org had the right call AGAIN in predicting Alito, as he did with Roberts. Erick either has a good SCOTUS/White House contact... or is just really good at predicting those the President will nominate to the highest court in the land.

We're also enormously proud of the announcement NBC News made today: starting next week, NBC Nightly News will be available online and on-demand, after 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT each night. This is for all those viewers who have stopped me in airports and politely explained that while they watch whenever they can, their busy lives don't allow them to see their favorite newscast every night. Soon, there will be no excuse. It's an idea whose time has come, and we're all very excited about it.

Of special additional note tonight: a question-and-answer explainer from Robert Bazell on the bird flu, and a final remembrance of Rosa Parks. A lot going on, and we look forward to sharing it with you tonight.