Katrina is still a fresh memory -- and so it's difficult to watch some of the scenes from the flooding in Texas without thinking back to the helicopter rescues in Louisiana and Mississippi almost two years ago. Holes cut into rooftops show where the families escaped to the relative safety of the hot shingles, where they now wait and signal for help. One mother used a black plastic tarp in the midday heat to shield her two small children from the sun. Tonight Don Teague will cover the story for us; he's on the ground in Texas.
As I write this, the White House complex (the mansion itself, as well as Jackson Place and Blair House) are under security lockdown. Our camera crews have been hustled off the North Lawn (along with correspondent Kelly O'Donnell, gamely reporting on it all via cellphone for MSNBC) due to a suspicious vehicle. With Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Ohlmert in Washington, they are taking no chances. Having been a visitor for these security lockdowns at both the White House and Capitol, I can tell you they are harrowing affairs, especially in the first moments when the exact nature of the threat isn't shared with those being ordered to run onto Pennsylvania Avenue, well clear of the building. These kinds of incidents are part of an almost unmeasurable and ever-present "din" of security in the post-9/11 era. They aren't good for the nervous sytem or the psyche -- but are, I guess, a necessary evil. Walking through O'Hare Airport recently, I noticed the regular PA announcement repeating the color of the threat level -- "orange" -- and mentioning the Department of Homeland Security. It keeps the heart rate at an up-tempo.
Also in the news tonight, Gaza through the eyes of our veteran in the region, Martin Fletcher. Martin happens to be on home leave and will be by my side tonight. I may use the Newsweek cover story as a starting point for our conversation -- and use this opportunity to explain why there are no visible western journalists covering Gaza.
We'll also talk about immigration tonight, the Mormon Church, the new British entertainment idol, and we'll run some of Matt Lauer's revealing interview with the two young Princes.
Tomorrow, we'll talk about our travel plans for this week. For now, we hope you can join us for tonight's Nightly News.