updated 8/15/2005 10:44:45 AM ET 2005-08-15T14:44:45

5 p.m. EST

Today at 5pm, the Department of Homeland Security is lowering the terror alert level from High to Elevated for subways, buses and trains. As you may recall it was raised shortly after the July 7 bombings in London. Video: Blogging soldiers

Phew. Now I feel better. I mean, do we really have any idea if there is any less risk of attack today then there was a week ago? In the meantime, the elevated level and increased security at train stations and bus depots cost us $900,000 per day.

We'll debate the terror alert plan today.

I'll deliver a blog report on pain at the gas pump--ouch. Over $3 in some places, and the bloggers are on it.

Later, Justice Sunday II is being held this weekend in Nashville. We'll debate the mixing of faith and politics, especially concerning the President's Supreme Court nominee John Roberts.

Email me. Oh, and have a great weekend. maciulis@msnbc.com

12 p.m. EST

Today in the The New York Times, word of a domestic terror threat--fuel trucks potentially used as bombs.

These threats are always uncorroborated and unconfirmed, nonspecific and not independently verified.  Some critics are beginning to get suspicious of the timing and vague nature of the reports.  I think Craig Crawford over at Crawfordslist sums up that argument well today:

Here we go again. The President's polls are down, anti-war sentiment is growing, and it's summer time. Get your August terror alerts while they last.
We recently heard Donald Rumsfeld announce that this year the Pentagon will commemorate 9/11 with a march saluting our men and women fighting in Iraq.  When Karl Rove spoke before a group of New York conservatives early this summer, his message was that liberals saw the horrors of 9/11 and wanted to offer therapy while the GOP prepared for war--the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Is there any validity to this argument that this administration plays the 9/11 card every time the going gets rough?  That terror threats and color coded Crayola warnings are a mere distraction from the bigger issues?  That sounds very "Wag the Dog."  The truth is likely more complicated than this.
We're going to debate this today on the show with Bob Graham and James Gilmore.  There are really three sides to this story--the first outlined above, then the theory that our FBI doesn't know when the next attack may come and so prefers to keep us on alert, and the last that it is all 100% true.  We'll has it out and let you decide.
And later, I will interview Jonathan Finer of The Washington Post on military blogging.  The new letter from the frontline is a digital diary.
All that, and a look at the debate over tipping in restaurants.  If the service stinks, why am I paying for it?

Discuss:

Discussion comments

,