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FRANTIC FRIDAY

Today's posting comes with apologies (some may consider this a blessing) for brevity. Owing in part to yet another unsettled news day, and in part to my schedule -- I've been in a continuous production meeting today regarding the hour-long Katrina special we are airing on the NBC Television Network Monday at 8 p.m. ET.

In the fleeting moments I've had to look away from my computer screen today, I've noticed the cable news networks have had their cameras trained on various aircraft-related emergencies -- part of the drama today, playing out in skyways, runways and taxiways in various parts of the nation and the world. A lot of this fits beneath a post-U.K.-terrorist-plot umbrella of what will become yet another "new normal" for all those of us who fly. Having flown both internationally and domestically since the new restrictions have been put in place, I can confirm: it's a new world out there -- in terms of delays, discarded personal items, bag checks and checked bags. As an aside: I take no joy in admitting that our traveling group found it quite easy to avoid the random-bag-check delays at the gate the other day -- we just found our way to the second of the two lines forming to scan boarding passes. By putting distance between ourselves and the inspectors, we were allowed to board without delay, and we all commented on how easy it was (having already cleared primary airport security, of course) to avoid a second check prior to boarding. By the way, while it goes without saying that none of us had anything to hide, I've yet to meet anyone who truly relishes delays at the airport... say nothing of the thought of someone wearing surgical gloves reaching into your carry-on and laying your possessions out on a table. Our return flight to New York had no such random bag search at the gate -- and all of this is probably in keeping with the definition of "random." We're also awaiting a ruling on an airline strike possibility, which of course will complicate matters in the skies and on the ground.


We're keeping an eye on President Ford's health and we're thinking of him today. We have solid stories tonight on both Lebanon and Iraq. We have the already-promised look at the Presidents Bush, father and son, and we hope to get to some of your e-mails.

Have a good and safe weekend, and I hope you can join us for our Friday broadcast.

We will next see you on Monday night from New Orleans -- when I also hope you can join us for the special we've worked so hard to bring you.