There's an old adage in the news business: if you televise a story on Restless Legs Syndrome, everyone with Restless Legs Syndrome will e-mail you the next day. Just kidding about the whole "adage" thing, but there really ought to be one after today. We commissioned last night's story, as we explained on the air, when the commercials started running advertising a medication to treat it. Back then we were flooded with questions about what "it" was -- now we know 1) what it is, 2) what to take for it, 3) who has it (including loved ones who we didn't know had it) and 4) we don't have to do that story again for a while. The entire episode proved a thesis of the piece: having a medication on the market, with an advertising campaign, gave the condition a "name" for many of those who either thought it was just them, or never complained about it, or both. Since then we've all learned about all kinds of people with the condition.
Two young guys in Boston got a little frisky with the media today, which caused MSNBC's Susan Filan to say just now on the air, "unfortunately being a jerk isn't a crime." The two guys would be well advised not to get frisky before any Boston judges... even though, as our own Pete Williams blogs below, a lot of legal experts are now wondering if any charges will stick against them. While this day after brought a lot of second-guessing that officials in Boston panicked, that's not quite fair. It's so easy to say now that what was discovered yesterday (containing lights, circuitry, batteries and electrical tape) should have been instantly recognized as a promotion for the Cartoon Network. It's all a part of post-9/11 syndrome.
There's rough and dangerous weather today down south. There is a 20-degree difference in temperature on either side of a line which is marked by deeply embedded storm cells -- many of them massive enough to force the diversion of airliners, some of them rough enough to produce tornadoes.
Back up to the top of the broadcast today: What a tense moment when Sen. John McCain took on Gen. George Casey. Today we saw the problem with President Bush's stated policy of relying on the judgment of his "generals in the field." Those generals are then held accountable for their judgments. While all good generals are, of course, willing to be judged on that basis, Casey said so explicitly today. He got knocked around by Sen. Graham as well during hearings to consider Casey for Army Chief of Staff... Gen. Marshall's old job (among other notables). We'll also cover the various Iraq War resolutions.
Also in the broadcast tonight: news from the Rockies, and news from Italy. We'll explain. President Clinton lost his stepfather, Al Gore was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, and the mayor of San Francisco confesses. Today's New York Daily News headline called Joe Biden "SENATOR STUPID." Unusual news day... but then again, these are unusual times.
We hope you can join us for our Thursday night broadcast.