I got in the elevator here at 30 Rockefeller Plaza this morning, pressed the button for my floor, and after the doors closed, noticed a message was flashing on the control panel: HELP IS ON THE WAY. HELP IS ON THE WAY. It made me worry: was there something I didn't know? Who was sending help? Who knew I needed help? Is it that obvious? Can I decline help and send it to the folks in Pennsylvania? Iraq? New Orleans? Can I send it to a Children's Hospital? A hospice? My guess is that a warning light malfunctioned in the elevator. It sure made for a vigorous intellectual exercise first thing in the morning.
This was one of those rare mornings in our business, in that we came to work pretty much knowing the Supreme Court would supply our lead story... or at least a big story. We knew this was the last day of the term, and we knew the Guantanamo Bay decision had yet to be announced. It went against the president. In a body not known for high drama, Justice Thomas supplied some today by reading his dissent aloud from the bench for only the second time in his years as a justice. Pete Williams will head up our coverage of that story tonight. Tomorrow the president will put the subject behind him and take his house guest to Graceland.
We have been watching the flooding all day as well. As a former Pennsylvania resident and a fan of autumn drives (in a fast car) through the same areas currently being inundated, some of these pictures hurt to watch. While high water is a part of life in some of these communities, it is nonetheless awful to watch and is causing great suffering and anxiety. We will have two reports tonight.
Also tonight, we'll look at the situation in Gaza -- this is a whole new ballgame, even given the tactics and history of the Israelis. Last night's roundup of members of the Hamas power structure was extraordinary, as is the silence that has followed among other nations, for the most part. Some are saying it's about much more than a missing soldier. Martin Fletcher got very close to this story today and will report for us tonight.
That laptop with all the data on U.S. vets? They found it. Nothing missing.
Bob Bazell will report on what's being called a de facto cancer vaccine. As we discussed in our afternoon editorial meeting, its distribution, while voluntary, will still require some parenting. Then again, so do a lot of things these days. It's still an amazing story, especially for those of us with daughters.
And I will cop to having commissioned our closing piece tonight, because it's the collision of a historical landmark and a favorite topic of mine. The 50th anniversary of the Interstate Highway System is upon us, and as I said to my colleagues this afternoon, somewhere Ike and Mamie are smiling. Mike Taibbi does a superb job of telling us why this project (suffering of late from its own success) was so important to President Eisenhower (who for my money has received a raw deal in U.S. history despite a recent re-thinking of his presidency) and why it is so important to our country. Mike tells a great story, and in this case he has some great material to work with.
No shortage of compelling stories on this Thursday prior to the July 4th holiday weekend. We sure hope you can join us for tonight's broadcast.