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If you've watched any cable news today, you may agree that it paints a pretty grim picture of our national discourse and the political conversation in this country.  I just read Joe Klein's comments as posted on his blog back today, and so it goes.  What a contrast to the scene in Parliament today where Tony Blair received a rare ovation as he departed (while there's no shortage of vitriol in the U.K.).  In the middle of yet another cable segment on the Ann Coulter-Elizabeth Edwards encounter yesterday, a bit of local news shocked us to attention: a power outage here in Manhattan, extending into some of the City's power lines.  Knowing how these things sometimes cascade through the system, I found myself looking down 6th Avenue while on the phone, half expecting traffic lights to go dark while I watched. 

The last time the power went out in New York, I was thankful that I always carry a knife: I used it to pry open the elevator door that had just closed when everything went dark.  We just heard this is affecting the E,V,D and 4, 5 and 6 trains... from 5th Avenue (200 yards to the east of our office) East to the East river.  That's a lot of people affected. We just heard the NYPD is holding over the shift currently on duty.  That is probably safe, but can't be good.

To the task at hand: the Cheney story on the Hill is heating up, and we'll also look at the air travel woes across the country.  My thoughts on that subject are well-known in this space, and it just got worse for Northwest customers.  We learned today that fully 40 percent of New York flights (coming or going) no longer leave or arrive on schedule.  That's an embarassment.

There's news on women and pregnancy, a minor device debut from Apple, our continuing series of reports on "the new rich" and an amazing discovery in the Middle East.

Please read today's Medal of Honor Recipient biography, and I'll go watch the streetlights and monitor the coverage of this power outage while we prepare tonight's broadcast. I hope you can join us for our Wednesday edition tonight.