By Senior producer
msnbc.com
updated 5/4/2005 11:18:23 AM ET 2005-05-04T15:18:23

5 p.m. ET
It's not an election year, so what's with the deluge of political ads?  Social security, judicial nominees— these hot button issues are keeping the rainmakers afloat during a traditionally dry political season.  We'll take a look at why in our 5 p.m. show.

Then, a look at the military's recruiting problem. A 17-year-old in Colorado conducted a bit of an experiment.  He told a recruiter he was a high school dropout.  No problem.  He said he had a drug problem and the recruiter gave him a detox kit.  No problem.  It seems like they'll take just about anybody these days.  The reason: they have to.  Are the forces stretched to thin to the detriment of a quality military?  We'll examine this today.

Keep the e-mails coming.

12 p.m. ET
I just read a piece in The New York Times about a fireman in Buffalo who has been unconscious and blind for about ten years.  The other day he simply woke up and started speaking lucidly, asking to talk to his wife.

I don't know whether or not miracles really happen.  I'm sure we'd all like to believe that they can, and this story certainly sounds miraculous.

It leads us to an interesting question, a kind of left over argument from the Terri Schiavo case: Can you ever really know what an unconscious person is thinking or feeling? And further, can you know IF they are thinking and feeling?

We'll take a look at this story today at noon, along with some other ones that caught our eyes.

For example, a Republican chairman of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting is attracting some attention for an initiative to examine bias in public broadcasting.  Is PBS too liberal, and who is complaining?  PBS features ballet and old Woody Allen movies and Sesame Street, but there is also a good deal of news programming.  Frontline is one of the best documentary magazine shows still out there.  But is it biased?  We'll debate whether or not there should be a checks and balances system for public broadcasting.

And later, both Iran and North Korea are raising the stakes in the nuke debate, threatening to test weapons.  We'll ask whether the approach the U.S. has taken with these rogue nations is the right one.  How do you solve a problem like Korea?

Send us your thoughts, and tune in at 5 p.m. ET today for my live blog report.

Send us your thoughts. Maciulis@MSNBC.com and Connected@MSNBC.com.

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