updated 1/14/2009 3:55:07 PM ET 2009-01-14T20:55:07

Hello everybody!  Welcome to our Thursday edition of the Daily Briefing.

This is January 8, 2009, a date that will live in infamy in the world of the consumer photography business. This was the day in 1986 when Kodak lost a patent battle with Polaroid, forcing Kodak to give up its instant camera business.  (Or at least the technology that existed at the time.)

Anyway, I'm back in DC and will be doing the show from our usual Nebraska Ave. studio.  The flight home last night from New York got delayed a bit.  But, this time I didn't have to sit on the plane.  And the marine air terminal has a cool computer center where anybody can use Macs and PCs. 

In the news today, Barack Obama gave the biggest policy speech of the transition.  His remarks about the economy were remarkably concise.  And many critics say it lacked crucial details.

We will be talking about the huge risks and rewards that are emerging for Obama as he ratchets up his push for a $1.2 trillion stimulus plan.  Republicans are already starting their effort to slow down the bill.  And if the measure gets bogged down or falters, well, we will talk about the economic and political fallout with our guests.

Also tonight, the Obama cabinet confirmation hearings began today with Tom Daschle, the nominee for Secretary of Health and Human Services.  We tend to watch these hearings for any fireworks or unusual policy pronouncements.  Daschle and the committee provided neither.  The love fest for Daschle was off the charts.  And there was a strange obsession over dental care.  Go figure.  Here's the agency Daschle will run.

One of the stories we are still working on involves something that the Washington Post first reported this morning. The Army sent a letter to 7,000 family members of soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Each letter started with, "Dear John Doe, ..." 

Talk about insensitive and outrageous.  By 6 p.m. tonight, we hope to have some answers about who at the Pentagon was responsible for this awful blunder and what's been done to make sure it doesn't happen again.   

Speaking of military issues, we mentioned this particular Web site in December... but it's worth repeating here.  A cool new social networking site has been set up specifically for veterans of the Iraq war.  If you know any vets, please forward this to them...
http://www.communityofveterans.org

That reminds me -- one of the best stories I've ever covered involves military veterans and takes place every spring.   And you will find this particularly interesting if you are looking for a volunteer project in an environment that is one of the most beautiful in the world.   Check out the information on the 23rd National Disabled Veterans Winter Sports Clinic. http://www1.va.gov/vetevent/wsc/2009/default.cfm

Back to tonight's show... the Israeli war against the Hamas terror organization is grinding on in Gaza.  And the tone of some of the criticism of Israel has felt a bit over the top, at least to me.  There is a growing debate over the debate. Plus, in Washington there are ongoing questions about Barack Obama's quiet stance. 

Later, in Minnesota, Norm "I hate lawsuits" Coleman has now filed a lawsuit challenging the Senate recount victory of Democrat Al Franken.  The legal arguments seem to be a reach.  But we shall see.  In the meantime, Democrats have removed Coleman's name from the Senate phonebook

Also tonight, we will have some fun with the latest magazine to put Barack Obama on the cover.  It's a bit unusual. 

And if you own a ferret, gerbil, or bovine creature of any kind, you will definitely want to catch the segment we do at 6:25 p.m. Eastern tonight.  That's all I will say.  But I guarantee that you don't want to miss it.

Quote of the day.  This one is from the legendary CBS newsman Edward R. Murrow.  I am not sure, but I wouldn't be surprised if he was talking about Congressional procedures:

"Anyone who isn't confused really doesn't understand the situation."

Thanks for watching.  1600 Penn. Ave. airs at 6pm in Washington, 5pm in Oklahoma City, 4pm in Cheyenne, and 3pm in Seattle.

Shuster

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