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Two hours from airtime and a dark air mass has just rolled in off Lake Michigan, dumping rain on the beautiful skyline of Chicago.  As I just told the afternoon host on WLS Radio, we need everyone here to hope for clearing right as we go on the air, so we can show off this beautiful city for all it's worth. Right now, the radar is showing a bad storm in Joliet and an even bigger one in Kankakee, which doesn't bode well for us.  Between the deluge of cicadas here (our closing story tonight) and the sudden downpour -- Chicago is throwing us challenges today. We will rise to the challenges and conquer.

I spent the afternoon at our NBC Station here, WMAQ-TV -- much of it with two of my absolute favorite local anchors anwhere in the country: Warner Saunders and Allison Rosatti (they've posted some video of chats with Brian on the WMAQ-TV Web site).  They are among the very best there are. Perhaps because Allison's son is also a baseball pitcher, we've always gotten along very well.  We taped a few local promos together -- and had a lot of fun in the process.  I also saw my friend Bob Sirott of WMAQ's anchor staff (a great broadcaster and former CBS Newser) and I was stunned at how much he's aged.  I'm not serious, of course, but he seems to read this blog every day and it will horrify him to read that.

The TB story got more interesting today -- we'll have all the twists and turns.  We'll also cover the president's environmental message and talk about "going green" with Chicago Mayor Daley.  He has to serve until 2010 to serve as many years as his Dad.  He told me today he feels guilty about taking Sundays off sometimes -- when he remembers his old man used to work 7 days a week.

Janet Shamlian will join us at our live anchor location with her interview with Michelle Obama -- a revealing and interesting look at the wife of the Chicago Favorite Son in the running for the Dem's nod.  Actually, our visit here today means full employment for both correspondents in our Chicago Bureau: Kevin Tibbles will report on the cicadas.  Weekend Nightly anchor Lester Holt will report on this day in Billy Graham's life -- with three former Presidents on hand to call attention to the honor.

As we continue to roll out our series of one-a-day profiles of the 110 living recipients of the Medal of Honor, today's bio (they appear alphebetically) is my friend and fellow Medal of Honor Foundation Board member "Barney" Barnum -- a modest guy with a wry sense of humor.  You can read about what he did on a battlefield long ago to deserve the nation's highest military honor.

Finally, it was brought to my attention today that it's been two years since I wrote my first blog entry and the Daily Nightly was born.  As I told someone today, it's not as if I had a chunk of unused time every afternoon before the broadcast -- but I've come to depend on this as a kind of daily column, as one half of an ongoing conversation -- and hopefully a kind of "viewer's guide" to the broadcast.  It continues to be my pleasure, and it wouldn't be what it is without the hard work of editors like Rob Merrill and Constance Parten, and all of my colleagues who contribute to it every day.

We hope you can join us as we broadcast from Chicago tonight, and join me in hoping that this rain stops.