Tomorrow's predicted high in New York's Central Park is 68 degrees. We broke a record here today, and will set a new record with each day forward, for the latest arrival of snow... ANY snow... this winter. We've yet to have a flake, and it's the latest-arriving winter in history. And for every New York story, there's another region reporting strange happenings -- from Denver (they're getting hit AGAIN) to New England (bare grass ski slopes in some places) to the American South, where twisters rolled through three states so far today, January 5th. Tonight we'll have a look at what might be going on here.
Also tonight, we'll look at what happened on day two of the Democrats in control in Washington, plus the Bush White House changes its management of the Iraq war and security situation. There are also changes being announced in how Homeland Security money is distributed.
The weatherman in Washington, D.C., says it will be 70 degrees tomorrow. New York City hasn't seen a single snowflake yet this year. What's going on with this wacky weather?
As Brian says in today's vlog, that's a question the broadcast hopes to answer for you tonight.
Click here or on the image to watch.
Perhaps the most graphic way of viewing the political change that took place today is this: Nancy Pelosi is now second in line to the Presidency after the Vice President. The 66-year-old veteran member of Congress from California became Speaker today, the first woman to hold the job. In the meantime, across town, the Director of National Intelligence is out, as is the President's White House Counsel. It's a time of great political change, with more to come. We are days away from the President's policy speech on Iraq, and weeks away from the State of the Union. That nicely sets the table for our broadcast tonight.
As Joe Scarborough put it this afternoon on MSNBC, we all noticed several Republicans who were seemingly fighting the urge to stand up and applaud Nancy Pelosi today -- presumably because they were fighting back a 12-year habit of standing to applaud the Speaker. While much of it took place during my hour-long shift as part of MSNBC's political coverage today, there were several iconic scenes: the children-filled rostrum, Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., rising to swear in the new Speaker, the trio of Tony Bennett, Richard Gere and Carole King in the House Gallery, Pelosi's handshake with Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, former Speaker Thomas Foley rising with great apparent effort to applaud, former Speaker Hastert's wan applause from his back seat in the chamber, the newest Pelosi (Alexandra's daughter and the Speaker's granddaughter) being passed between what seemed to be about 50 different people, the embrace between Congressman Keith Ellison, D-Minn., and Congressman Virgil Goode, R-Va., Sen. Robert Byrd's, D-W.V., trembling hand and determined expression while taking his oath from Vice President Cheney, and in Boston -- the swearing-in of Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, using the Bible the Amistad slaves gave John Quincy Adams. More history.
U.S. officials are providing more details about the impending resignation of National Intelligence Director John Negroponte and nomination of Adm. Mike McConnell.
The White House has been trying for more than a year to get Negroponte to take the No. 2 job at State and have McConnell replace him. On at least two, and possibly three occasions within the past 18 months, the White House approached each man about taking a new job.
While we all focus on the 110th Congress and the new Speaker of the House, there was one perfect moment in the House chamber that would escape anyone but a parent. The new Speaker, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., is a grandmother of six. In fact, there had even been a question around the time of the election whether she would choose to stay in Washington to watch the returns, or head to New York if her daughter went into labor.
Just yesterday, her 8-year-old granddaughter revealed at a fancy tea that her grandma eats chocolate ice cream for breakfast. So when grandma becomes Speaker of the House, it’s a huge day. You wear your best suit, mom makes you put on a tie, you gotta comb that hair, and behave. But as any parent knows, no matter how hard we try, kids just end up being, um, kids.
Click here or on the image to watch video from the House floor. There’s a little messing with grandma’s mic, a little shoving, a little grabbing of what looks to be grandma’s BlackBerry.
If Madame Speaker can control the House as well as she quiets down the kids, we foresee time-outs for misbehaving lawmakers in the near future.
As I just posted, he's anchoring on MSNBC in 40 minutes, but Brian still found time to deliver today's vlog.
As he explains, the new Congress will get lots of coverage on tonight's broadcast. Click here or on the image to watch.
Just a quick note to tell you that Brian anchors an hour of MSNBC's all-day coverage of the new Congress today at 1 p.m. ET and you can watch it live on your computer.
We're streaming MSNBC-TV on the Internet until 2 p.m. ET. Click here to watch.
Donald Rumsfeld delivered an absolutely beautiful eulogy for his old boss today. Watching the next speaker, President Carter, it became incredibly sad. For reasons he enumerated, his friendship with President Ford was closer than even our very best historians have realized heretofore. We learned today that President Carter placed but one phone call from his helicopter, Marine One, after the Camp David Accords were reached: It was to President Ford. And about the wonderful, classy and close Ford family, with whom we the people have become "re-acclimated" over the past few days: The weight of mourning finally got to them today. From the matriarch, the solid, stoic and heroic Betty Ford, to the children, the tears came as the eulogies were delivered -- no doubt coupled with the realization that the time of burial was nearing. What an interesting thing we've seen happen to this country and many of its citizens since first word of the death of the 38th President. Many of us can't help but view this President and his era against our own times and leaders. A year from now, 10 years from now, the word "decency" will endure when the name Ford is mentioned.
Editor's note: Correspondent Kerry Sanders will profile National Hurricane Center Director Max Mayfield on tonight's broadcast. Today is Mayfield's last day on the job after 34 years. We asked Kerry to share a personal story with blog readers.
I've known Max for a long long time. I began covering hurricanes in 1982. While Max was always feeding me information of what would likely happen and how unsafe areas could become, you know how we as reporters tend to head into the thick of the storm. I will remember Hurricane Ivan in Sept. 2004 the most.
I freely admit that I foolishly decided to ride out Ivan in a home built to withstand a hurricane. It was a "dome home," called that because it was shaped like a dome.
Max warned me it was a very dangerous move to ride out a category four on Pensacola Beach. He recently remembered, as we chatted about his retirement, that I had been in the "dome home" and lived to talk about it. Max's advice sticks with me. He said: "Kerry, don't ever do that again."
I can say, after riding out that storm, watching the cars wash away into the bay, that I will never do that again.
I will miss Max, and owe him a personal thank you for guiding me to safe spots to cover all those hurricanes.
Editor's note: Pentagon correspondent Jim Miklaszewski broke the news last night on our broadcast and has written this follow-up for MSNBC.com.
Although nothing is final until President Bush puts his stamp on it, administration officials tell NBC News the president has all but decided on a temporary surge of additional American forces into Iraq in an effort to bring sectarian violence in Baghdad under control.
While no one is talking specific numbers, military officials believe it would involve some 20,000 additional soldiers and Marines.
Most of the increase would be achieved by extending the deployments of those troops already in Iraq by 90 days, and accelerating the deployments for troops scheduled to deploy by sending them into Iraq sooner.
Click here to read the rest of Jim's report.