updated 8/4/2005 10:40:28 AM ET 2005-08-04T14:40:28

5 p.m. EST

In my blog report today, a closer look at Steven Vincent, the blogger and journalist killed in Basra.

He was an art critic by profession, not a war correspondent or even policy wonk. On 9/11 he stood on the roof of his Manhattan building staring at the massive towers of the World Trade Center as they smoldered and then collapsed. The powerful image moved him, and many fellow New Yorkers, to do something about it. He would devote the rest of his career to covering the stories from the war in Iraq, focusing mainly on the Iraqi people themselves.

His blog was called In the Red Zone, an obvious play on the term "Green Zone" which refers to the secure area in Baghdad where many reporters live and work. He clearly ventured well beyond the perimeters of that zone, as did many brave reporters.

Bloggers all over the Internet are commenting on his death. Many, like Captain Ed and Junkyard Blog, have personal stories to share about interviews or email exchanges with Vincent.

I learned today that Vincent is not the first blogger killed in Iraq. In March of 2004, the miliblogger Bob Zangas was killed. His last posting is still on the web, a beautiful photo of him smiling, enjoying his time and work in that nation.

For more information on how to protect yourself as a blogger, as well as stories from bloggers around the globe in danger zones, visit the Committee to Protect Bloggers website.

Email me. maciulis@msnbc.com

12 p.m. EST

Journalist and blogger Steven Vincent was abducted and murdered in Iraq, his body recovered late last night.  He was known for his fearless reporting about corruption, particularly in the Basra region.  We'll bring you the latest on this story today.

Video: Bloggers on Bolton

It really was a startling reminder that Iraq remains a truly dangerous place, of course for ourmilitary but also for the journalists covering the story.  It angers me when I hear criticism from bloggers or talk show hosts that the "MSM" in Iraq is doing nothing but sitting in Green Zone hotel rooms reading wire copy.  The men and women covering this story for NBC News, The Washington Post, and all the media organizations of the world are making real sacrifices.  They are away from their families and away from all the amenities of life at home, and frequently go for hours with no electricity or water.  Not to mention they are risking their lives.

It takes a brave person to be a war reporter and they deserve respect.  I'll be checking the blogs for reaction to Vincent's death, as in a way he was a part of that community.

This has been a bloody week all around in Iraq.  Today 14 Marines died in the Northwest, and yesterday 6 Marines were ambushed and killed in the West.  We'll bring you the latest.

We'll also share with you some stunning pictures of mission specialist Steve Robinson as he performed a space walk to remove debris from a tile on the shuttle's belly.  It look as easy as pulling a playing card out of a deck, but this was a potentially life-threatening protrusion on the shuttle.  Apparently anything that breaks the aerodynamic entry into the atmosphere could create friction so hot the shuttle could explode.  Way to go, Steve!

Later, we'll look a debate in Texas over Bible study in public schools.  Seems like a cut and dry case of separating Church and State, but it is more complicated than that. 

And just this week President Bush said he believes intelligent design should be taught in schools alongside evolution.  I would ask what's up with Texas, but this is really happening all around the country.  Can we reconcile religious views with public education?  Should we even try?

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