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FEDERAL OFFENSE(S)

So, it turns out that when you open one of the "suspicious packages" that tied Boston in knots, scared millions and forced the closing of the Charles River this afternoon -- you see circuit boards, flashing lights and a video image of a cartoonish character "flipping the bird."  Nice. As one Boston cop just put it, "I hope they (the hoaxers) know it's a federal offense."

LATE UPDATE: How strange to be watching CNN right now while a reporter was forced to read an apology from Turner Broadcasting -- saying these "suspicious devices" are actually part of a promotional advertising campaign for a cable show on the Cartoon Network! Post 9/11 syndrome has just hit the Bay State. Wolf just said "it looks like a major misunderstanding."


Which brings us, somehow, to Joe Biden. There is serious speculation, being advanced by serious people, that he (his campaign for president) will not be able to survive the comments published in this morning's New York Observer. That outcome, of course, would make his the shortest presidential campaign in history. Using the words "clean" and "articulate" to describe Senator Barack Obama -- not to mention his handling of Senator Clinton and former Senator Edwards -- amounted to striking a match while pumping gas. The reaction, at first, was anything but fierce. It was interesting to watch the story build as the quotes caught fire and as the various targets of his barbs huddled (in masses) to draft carefully worded statements in response. We'll take a look at (and listen to) what the senator said.

Our cavalcade on non sequiturs continues: We'll talk about the so-called Birmingham plot in the U.K., we'll look at the Iran situation, the rebuilding of Iraq (or various expensive attempts at it) and airport security.

ADDENDA AND EPHEMERA
Thanks to those who wrote saying we should have an hour. For about seven years of my life, I had an hour each night on cable to do a serious newscast, and I miss the extra time. A network evening newscast of 30 minutes in length is a constant in our lives, and nevertheless, I will keep asking for another 30. A Libby trial update: After slogging through a number of options on how best to report Tim Russert's testimony when it happens, we've come back around to this -- Kelly O'Donnell was assigned to the story because she's a solid, fair network journalist.  She'll continue to report the story. While Tim is presently prohibited by the lawyers from talking with us about the case on the air (anything that would prejudice the case), once he's done with his testimony we'll have him on for a thorough live interview regarding his role and what transpired. Remember, the journalists who've found themselves swept up in the Libby trial (ours and others) don't relish that role, and certainly weren't asking for it. That they play a role means we have to report it.

Also, why is it that so many of those classic unsigned e-mail rants to the blog (this blog or any blog) WRITTEN IN ALL CAPITAL LETTERS... contain so many spelling errors? Just asking.

Memo to casting directors of both "Mystic River" and "The Departed": If you tune in to this afternoon's briefing by the Boston mayor and the city's emergency service chiefs, you will hear actual Boston accents. Best accent so far in the briefing: the reporter asking if this is "some whack job" planting these suspicious packages. As the son of a man from Framingham, I can tell you there's nothing worse than a bad attempt at a Boston accent.

Back to the real news -- we hope you can join us for tonight's broadcast.