First, a tidbit we liked from today's National Geographic Bee: Name the city in Mauritania that has increased in population 70-fold in the last 20 years. The answer in a moment.
All eyes are on the junior senator from Vermont. Strange to think that one man's change of heart could have ramifications ranging from judicial appointments to education reform to stem cell research. We just happened to choose those issues; the fact is that in a Senate split 50-50 between Democrats and Republicans, just about any divisive issue will be affected if a senator changes his party affiliation. Which is what Vermont's James Jeffords is considering doing.
At the start of the day it seemed a done deal. Now moderate Republicans in the Senate are leaning heavily on Jeffords not to jump ship. On the broadcast tonight, Linda Douglass has the lead story, and the implications. Terry Moran reports on what this might do to the White House's ambitious agenda (suddenly the Senate Majority leader would be Tom Daschle, a Democrat). Other questions tonight: Who lost Jeffords (if he's been lost)? Some leading Republicans cannot understand how their party failed to keep him in the fold. And what about the other Senate seats "in play," as it were? Concerns about the health of Sens. Thurmond and Helms; the political wooing of Zell Miller and Lincoln Chaffee; and corruption allegations facing Robert Torricelli. Again, such things would matter much less in a less divided Senate. When it's 50-50, every seat counts.
Lisa Stark has a story tonight about sport utility vehicles, and the phenomenon known as rollovers. She has a look at new government ratings on rollovers — and in the wake of that big Ford-Firestone breakup, Firestone has produced what it says it "evidence" that the Ford Explorer has a rollover problem. Lisa dissects all this tonight.
Around the world today, Kashmir & the Dalai Lama, Colin Powell in Africa, and why the Australian penguins are wearing sweaters. Quite a picture, that last one.
We take a Closer Look tonight at designing for the elderly. Or should we say, designing for a generation that has no interest in some of the typical trappings of old age — i.e., the rocking chair. As Georgia Tech engineer Elizabeth Mynatt tells correspondent Deborah Amos, "They don't want to look old, they don't want to feel old. They want to continue their own social activities and not look like their parents." Tonight, the designers who say they've got the answers.
And finally, red lights, green lights and the cameras. Why did a man in Arizona fire 15 shots at a traffic camera? Why did the House Majority Leader take a verbal shot at traffic cameras generally? Do these devices save lives? If so, why do they infuriate so many people? ABC News' John Martin has that.
For all you Geography Bee players — the answer (of course) was Nouakchott.
Hope you'll join us.