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The Daily Nightly began on May 31, 2005. As Brian wrote in his first post it aims to provide a narrative of the broadcast day and a window into the editorial process at NBC Nightly News. Brian weighs in every weekday and NBC News correspondents and producers post regularly.

Brian Williams became the seventh anchor and managing editor in the history of NBC Nightly News on December 2, 2004. Read his full biography.

The great giveaway

While some will no doubt struggle to find a reason to criticize or fear what happened this weekend (and I note some already have), we have just witnessed the largest single act of financial generosity in American history. What some are calling the "golden era of philanthropy" has now stunningly moved to the next level... with Warren Buffett's decision to systematically part with his billions and to give much of his riches to the already-rich: Bill and Melinda Gates, who have devoted their lives to giving away as much money as they can to causes having to do with worldwide public health and education. It's the most interesting story of the day, and we'll cover it as such on our broadcast tonight. Beyond the fact that Mr. Buffett owns a candy company, a mattress company, an underwear company and a fleet of private jets, the aspect of the story that I love the most is that there are people around this world at this moment whose lives are about to change for the better... but they don't know it yet. For all those who have wondered "what it must be like" to have billions of dollars, today Bill Gates said he wants people to know how much fun it is to give it away.

We'll also take a look at the reports of "draw-down" plans in Iraq, and the attack by the POTUS and VPOTUS today on the New York Times. Speaking of Washington, we'll look at the rising waters and high winds in that city, brought on by some freak storms... and we will show you the damage from the sudden storm at the White House, which resulted in the downing of a famous tree. How famous? You have owned a picture of this tree at some point (perhaps many times, in fact) in your life. I currently have a few of them... and I didn't even know it.

Also in the broadcast tonight: the Comcast repairman, and how Detroit is going to try to make you buy a new car... whether you need it or not.

We hope you can join us for our Monday night effort.

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COMMENTS

Thank GOD for people like Mr. Gates and Mr. Buffett. They could have sqaundered their money or left it to their children to perhaps sqaunder. No, they saw a need to help HUMANITY. They chose not to try to just help one state or one group of people. Bravo for them! Haven't we figured out yet that no matter how much good a person does, there are still those who throw pity parties and try to convince everyone to come.

I applaud Mr. Buffet. I applaud Mr. and Mrs. Gates. It is really disheartening that some actually feel that they have the right to tell others where and how they should spend their earned money.

Charlotte, I'm sorry for your loss. I'm sure there is not a person out there who has not lost something in their lifetime. I lost something more valeuable than anything you can buy at any store. Stop feeling sorry for yourself and take your life back, and thank God that you still have your life.
I think what Mr. Buffett did was a great act of kindness. Remember beging judgemental will not get you into heaven either. "Cast no stones" I am not a religious fanatic, but I do believe in God and humanity. Life is what you make it and I wish you a better life.

This is great news .. but that's all it is news. Nobody is looking at the biger picture. What happens to these people in Africa or whereever that would have natually died.. all of sudden survive.. that's great news.. but will they but setup for another kind of death like starvation or war. Bill and Warren,, great guys.. respect what they are doing.. but gete a real grasp of what happens to big spenders when they get mixed up with politicians and corrupt governments. The people they want to help will be held hostage till the big wheels get greased too. This is why I almost gave up on charities altogether. Think out the big plan.. it should include what these people are going to do when they do survive.. who will feed them for the rest of thier lives.. it may be a small cost to save these people.. but who steps in to care for them after they are cured.. will they be turned out to fend for themsleves.. and die some other kind of death with even more suffering.

All I saying is think about the bigger picture. What becomes of these people when they beat disease. Who going to take care of them then.

I'd rather see Bill and Warren and few others team up to beat the oil companies, auto manufactures and the lobbiests for big oil and set this country straight. That klind of direction aint coming from our government and won't happen without big private investment.

Think about it.. no more Arab oil.. no more son's having to go fight for Oil.. cleaner air.. the list goes on.. let clean up our own yard some .. and if we can help some poeple along the way great.

Gates amd Buffet should be congratulated on the moral behavior. Remeber this is the same week our MOney backed congress passed the tax bill excluding inherited monies.

Could we have Buffet for VP and Gates for President? Where would the lobbist go?

What a most wonderful thing for Buffet and gates to do!
They both earned their wealth and are now using it responsibly. Neither person flaunts their good fortune or their talent.... they live responsibly and have reached a point in their lives when they decided to contribute to society instead of self.

The goals they selected are admiral ... but I hope they also consider providing the basic human necessity.. food and some water. No one on this planet, in this day and age, should be without a daily dose of some form of nurishment.

Brian -- Why didn't Gates and Buffet shelter their huge profits from self appointed stock payouts? They could have been taxed on it instead, like all of us working middle class stiffs.

To Charlotte in Metarie, Louisiana, I say, Amen, Sister!

To everyone who has done so, please don't blast Charlotte. Try to walk a mile in her shoes. Perhaps if you lived in a disaster area where you were surrounded by ruins, your own home had been damaged, and you were doing what you can to rebuild while waiting for the assistance promised you, you'd probably feel the same way she does. She is clearly in a great deal of psychological pain, and should be getting from people all around the country compassion, support and a sympathetic ear. Please don't kick her while she's down.

It is laudable that the Gates Foundation has provided grants for libraries in Louisiana--however, there's a lot more Warren Buffet could do. For example, thousands of deserving people in Louisiana who have been promised housing aid are still waiting for it. It is estimated that the money will not start flowing until September and finish until December 2008--even though the federal government has appropriated it and the process approved by the Louisiana legislature. The delay has been so bad that people tired of keeping their lives on hold have ended up leaving Louisiana.

Someone implied that that sort of assistance is the government's job--however, when the government moves as slowly as noted above, maybe were Buffet (or any other private citizen) to personally hand out funds to those who deserve and need them, they'd get the help they need much faster.

Some other good ideas: CNN reported that the $66 billion Buffet plans to give away could be used to rebuild New Orleans' levees. And think how far it could go in bringing back New Orleans's fire department, police force, justice system, mental health services, etc.--the possibilities are endless.

Charlotte, don't let what the negative posters say get you down. They're revealing a lot more about themselves than they are about you.

With all the wealth of our country trying to do good all over the world I would think that helping our own country first would be a priority. This is just a suggestion but if a mega Billionair gave 1M each to say 700M people in our country most of those 700M people would in turn create new wealth, so on and so on. I see this as an investment in our heritage, our country and people. Stop setting up useless funds and start investing in real people.

Mr. Buffett is a wonderful man, who really and truly knows he is the riches man in the world (in spirit) and really doesnt care about the riches of this world.

Mr. Buffett and Mr. Gates have committed their fortunes to the forgotten of the world -- the people who have nobody, no, not even the media or powerful congressmen, to turn to. Public health is something those of us with health care plans give lip service to, the Gates Foundation actually makes it happen in Africa, in Asia and, yeah, even in the U.S. where we don't talk the talk and walk the walk. Thank God that Geeks Rule!

Mr. Buffet could have willed all his billions to his family. The fact that he's willing to part with so much NOW to go to ANY charity is the human thing to do. I think its a great story. It's his money; he may invest it however he wishes.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: I'd rather give up my life than my freedoms, so I applaud the NY Times for the disclosure. POTUS is likely justified in his scolding (not everything can/should be leaked), but he picked the wrong issue!

Its absolutly fantastic to see the dynamic duo doing something, sending the message of patriotic duty. Seems to me there is someone missing. Rocket science is good, human compassion is better, where are you Richard? Your not a Virgin anymore.

I'm sorry for the pain and frustration you've had to endure Charlotte. I can't even imagine what you have probably went thru and understand the bitterness that it's probably caused. But I think all of America should take a little bit of the blame for where Louisiana still is today. Guys like Buffett and Gates are the guys we should look to to cure cancer, create an alternative fuel source, global problems that governments just are willing to tackle.

Thanks Mr. Buffett for taking our money and giving it away to worthless causes... We burn money every time we give it to a 3rd world country... it either goes to support some civil war or to build the ranking leader a new mansion... why not donate it back to American's who broke their backs making it while he scooped it up when corporation's cooked their books to make their stock rise? I am confused? I'll put him in another category... Dumbest man in the world...

Hey Stu:
There's an article in Fortune where Buffett explains his rationale for giving it to the Gates. More analysis on Slate too. http://www.slate.com/id/2144506/

It seems he just wants it to go to people who have a system of giving it away and a track record of it actually getting the money to where it's needed. He's a smart one not to give it to those that would mismanage the money; unlike our government where billions go missing and lost in the system.

To the poor person in Louisana Can"t you just be thankful you are alive?

Where is your spirit? Dust yourself off, begin to live again and thank the good Lord you still have the ability to live. You must be doing ok if you are able to email and read the web.

God doesn't give you any more than you can handle, but if you choose to not learn and look beyond your situation and hope then you will only become a burden to society.

We will continue to help and pray for you.

SURE, GOOD THAT THEY GIVE TO GOOD CAUSES. IT'S EASY WHEN YOU ARE WEALTHY. THEY GIVE FROM THEIR WEALTH. IF THEY WERE GIVING THEIR LAST DIME THAT WOULD BE MEANINGFUL. PRAISE SHOULD GO TO THE PEOPLE THAT GIVE EVEN THOUGH THEY STRUGGLE FINACIALLY. THEY ARE THE REAL HEROES. THE ONES YOU DON'T SEE OR HEAR ABOUT.

I applaud what Mr. Buffet is planning to do. He will be able to do much, no doubt about this. How I wish he will also donate to help educate and train future priests in the Catholic Church who will then go to the whole world and proclaim spiritual values in name of Jesus. Man is made up of body and soul.

dear dear Charlotte.... why in the world do you believe that anybody but YOU owes YOU a thing. YOU live where you chose, unfortunately that is in the path of Hurricanes, but it certainly is NOT a surprise. Mr. Buffett is a wise man and probably chose to give his money to a well established foundation (several actually) rather than be pestered by the millions who think just because they were victims of the last big disaster they are entitled to handouts. Grab a big handful of leather and pull yourself up out of your pity. You want a Handout??? Buy flood insurance (free advise), moving to California?? Buy earthquake insurance! Pick a mood of mother nature and deal with it! It's hot here today but the government (or Mr. Buffett for that matter) doesn't owe me an air conditioner!

It amazes me that for all the protection we expect from the government, we are the first to critize any act that lends towards that end. I believe that the cost of freedom is not cheap and if some of us have to have our finances checked without knowing or our phone conversations heard without knowing it is a small price to pay to receive the proctection of not having to suffer another 9/11 scenerio.

Three cheers for Warren Buffet!

I frankly don't know how the uber rich can sleep WITHOUT doing stuff like this. I would rather see the money go to ensuring an honest Presidential election - for a change - but that's just me. Anythng you want to do with it is fine.

I'd ride with you any day, Warren. Keep the wheels down and the shiny side up.

Kudos to Buffett and the Gates' Foundation for attempting to help BILLIONS of people around the world and hisses and boos to Charlotte for her parochial myopic view--folks in Indonesia have suffered storm and volcano damages at least as severe as those caused by Katrina with a great deal more in lost lives.

I agree with Mark in NJ. Seriously Charlotte, what good are possessions if you are dying of one of the top 20 illnesses like ALS? Imagine being trapped in your own body paralyzed. It is a slow and unimaginiable death. I, for one, applaud Mr. Buffett's dedication and support.

On Bush and Cheney attacking the Times and their reporting the newest spying of citizens in the name of fighting terrorism - if all the spying the President and his Administration is doing is legal why are there so many whistleblowers. More than a few people thinks all this spying without any oversight is illegal.

On the proposal for drawdown and reconciliation in Iraq. The PM wants to give amnesty to the terrorist groups and many are rising up to protest. Lincoln gave amnesty to the South after the Civil War, Truman did the same after WWII.

People shooting at each other or setting off mines (IEDs) in a war zone - that's war. People die on all sides. That doesn't make them terrorists - just soldiers.

Those who ordered or participated in kidnapping civilians, torture, beheading and executing prisoners are the terrorists and should be brought in front of a court but the rest were defending their country against an invading army any way they could.

If you can't separate the two then there will never be peace between Iraq and the U.S.

Mr. Buffett: When you are writing out the checks I could use one. Thanks in advance.

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