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Stray dog saves abandoned baby

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May 13, 2005 | 6:02 p.m. ET

Man's best friend (Ron Reagan)

The 7 pound 4 ounce baby girl had been placed in a plastic bag and dropped in the woods without nourishment or water. There she lay for perhaps two days, starving, her umbilical cord infected. She must have cried out, but along the busy road that bordered the forest, no one was listening, nobody heard. Well, almost no one.

"I had just reached the Lenana forest," local Stephan Thoya told a Kenya daily paper, "When I heard the sound of a baby crying. I looked closely and I saw a dog carrying a baby wrapped in a black dirty cloth as it crossed the road."

The dog— mixed breed, no name, probably a stray— was likely out foraging for a meal. She'd just given birth to a litter of puppies and they were hungry.

Now, this story could have taken an unfortunate and grisly turn but, remember, we're talking about a dog. These are creatures who have shared our lives for at least 12,000 years. There is a bond.

Was the canine mother moved by the plight of this human infant? Was it just blind instinct? Whatever the case, she carried the little girl back to her own litter, caring for her as best she could. That's where the child was ultimately found: nestled amongst a pile of puppies under the watchful eye of the mother dog. She was taken to a local hospital and is now doing fine.

And the dog? Well, dozens of Kenyans are visiting her home, bringing food and medication. One person has even offered to feed the dog until the day she dies.

However skeptical you may be about the intelligence of non-human animals, it would be hard to argue that, in this case, a dog— and a hungry stray at that— didn't act more responsibly than at least one human.

Going to the dogs? Well, maybe... if you're lucky.

RReagan@MSNBC.com

May 13, 2005 | 5:37 p.m. ET

Real ID a real good idea?

The measure passed in the Senate Tuesday without debate: It calls for standardizing driver's licenses, detailing the name, picture, signature, Social Security number and address of every licensed driver in the country, along with “a common machine-readable technology” i.e. magnetic strips.

You'd need the card to travel on an airplane, open a bank account, collect social security payments...  basically anything that takes advantage of almost all government services.

For some, “Real ID “ is going over like a small Cessna crossing the no-fly zone.  Imagine the possibilities for evil-doing hackers, breaking into a database with that much personal information. Groups like the ACLU say they fear the government will abuse the info, citing the incident in California where protesters found their name on a federal “no-fly” list. And even some conservatives, as well as members of the NRA, are skeptical of placing this much trust in the government.

Your e-mails

We are regulating so many things— drivers licenses, gay marriages, etc. What about the real conspiracy: Gasoline prices? The price of crude goes up.

--Bruce Dalrymple, St Louis,  Mo.

What about my grandchildren, ages 6, 8, and 10?  How will they be allowed to get on an airplane to visit me if they have no ID? Will we be tracked from birth to grave?  How big will the government organization(s) be that have to support this and how much will it cost?   The ID concept doesn't seem to have been thought through -- something isn't always better than nothing.

--Gene Aguirre, San Bernardino, Calif.

One year ago in order to get my Va. drivers license I  had to produce an original birth certificate and proof of Va. residency. Some states already have these measures in place and although it was a little aggravating, as a legal American, I had no real problem producing these documents, nor did I feel that my rights had been violated in any way.  What could be her REAL objection to REAL ID?

--KP, Louisa Va.

Hmm, apparently everyone has skipped over the section of the Social Security Act which states that Social Security Numbers cannot be used for identification purposes. I have a feeling that these cards will be hacked in a manner of days after they are issued, and then we have people with every piece of information needed to mess up our lives. Thank you, I think I'll pass. Think of what a terrorist could do with all that information. This is as much of a terror threat as any.

--Anonymous

The recommendations of the 9/11 commission are not being served by the Real ID Act. They were being served by actions already being implemented by the states (and due to be completed in 3 months), so one has to ask - what is the Real Purpose of the Real ID Act? Sounds to me like a not-so-veiled attempt to erode more of our privacy rights by the right wing.

--Mike B.,  Canton, Ohio





May 13, 2005 | 12:38 p.m. ET

Politics of base closings

If he gets his way, the closures and downsizing will occur over six years starting next year. The plan to downsize U.S. military sites packs a financial punch. It would yield a net loss of more than 29,000  military and civilian jobs at military installations.

Rumsfeld says the proposal would save nearly $ 49 billion over 20 years. But before any changes happen, a federal base closing commission must review the plan, and then it needs congressional and White House approval. You can bet there will be some tough fights ahead. Connecticut stands to lose the most positions— more than 8,000 alone.

Some of the other states hardest hit by the announcement include Kentucky, Washington, D.C., and Maine. On the other hand, several states will see an influx of both military and civilian jobs, including Georgia, Texas and Maryland which could see more than 22,000 jobs between the three of them.

Your thoughts

The Bush administration doesn't bat an eyelash at spending $300 billion in two years for the Iraq debacle, but congratulates itself for the possibility of saving $50 billion over two decades with the closure of all these military bases. It's just another measure that would weaken the U.S. economy at local levels...

--BJ Murray, Forest Hills, N.Y.

I agree that the base closings are mostly decided on politics. I have heard both Democrats and Republicans say one thing and do the opposite. The main thing most seem to forget are the ones that have retired and/or disabled that rely on these bases.  New England (especially Massachusetts) has been hit the hardest with 74 percent of the bases have been either closed and/or greatly downsized. It seem that the Republicans have targeted states that have not voted or lean towards their way of thinking. 

--Bernard Mehserle Jr., Shirley, Ma.

With all of the problems facing our military today, I am more concerned than I was during the Cold War. And at 71 years. of age, I've been there!  In addition, with the scandal now breaking on the "recruitment" policies now underway, it seems to me we should be building a better armed force and giving our service personnel all they need to fight this ridiculous Iraq war. I have two grandsons in their early 20s, and they won't be enlisting if I have anything to say about it!

--Buddie Watson-King, Birmingham, Al.

Bush's home state gets more, and my state Conn. (which didn't vote for Bush) loses.  It's amazing that this administration shamelessly hurts the lives of so many people here just because they can. This bunch in Washington is the most amoral group of people I've ever seen in my lifetime.

--Joe, Norwalk, Conn.



The Clinton administration did what they felt was necessary with the military/bases. We were not in a large Iraq war, and Republicans complained, now Republicans are doing what they feel are necessary we are in a large Iraq war. This is truly political, political, political.

--Brenda Miller, Ohio

I live in Destin Florida. Within 100 miles of my home there are 4 air force bases Eglin, Tyndal, Duke and Hurlbert. Also two navy bases Pensacola and Whitting. None of these are on the list and why not? Six air bases within 100 miles of each other? THAT is government waste!

--Todd Peifer, Destin Fla.

We have $96.6 dollars missing in Iraq... and what happened to Saddam's millions? Maybe these base closings keeps Americans from questioning what's going on in Iraq? We give Iraqis billions and put Americans in Conn. and N.D. out of work so we can save billions over 10 years?? Let's close Washington instead, I think the country would rise up and cheer !!! We are sick of supporting the rest of the world and screwing Americans to do it.

--Anonymous, Londonderry, N.H.

To share your thoughts, e-mail Connected@MSNBC.com

May 12, 2005 | 5:30 p.m. ET

Outdated laws (Ron Reagan)

They were attempt to govern things that well, just shouldn't be governed. For example, in Vermont, women must obtain written permission from their husbands to wear false teeth. In Montana, it's illegal for unmarried women to go fishing alone. And one of my favorites: In Texas, it's illegal to take more than three sips of beer at a time while standing.

These kind of laws generally aren't enforced— thankfully— even though most remain on the books to this day. But now, there's controversy in North Carolina as one woman loses her job after violating a law enacted back in 1805. It's a 200-year-old statute: It says men and women can't live together out of wedlock.

40-year-old Deborah Hobbs was forced to quit her job at the local sheriff's office after it was discovered she was living with a boyfriend.

Now, keep in mind that some 237,000 unmarried, consenting adults live together in North Carolina— and the number is close to 5 million nationwide.

You couldn't build courthouses fast enough to try all those lawbreaking lovebirds!

Your e-mails

We should be careful in condemning a sheriff for firing an employee who is breaking the law. As an elected official, the sheriff must maintain a clean house to avoid attacks. However, do not mistake me, I am very opposed to the law and believe that it should be stricken. Furthermore, I think that legislators should be held accountable for both antiquated laws left on the books and for attempting to forward blatantly anti-Constitutional new laws. 

--Roland Zumbrunn, Lincoln. Neb.

Of course the law is outdated, but what bothers me is how do they know you're having sex in there?  Maybe you live together to save money or because you don't like to cook. I mean, how do they even presume to know what the relationship is between two people behind closed doors?

--Carol Martin, Walnut Creek, Calif.

While agreeing that the various laws listed are antiquated and require revision, it is flippant to just toss them aside as 200-year-old laws. The First Amendment discussion of 'freedom of the press' is also a 200+ year law that many people would like to see revised. Resolution: Designate each even number year in an election cycle as a 'clean-the-books' year for all levels of legislative bodies. This would act as a deterrent to superficial current ideas, as well as riding us of antiquated laws.

--Dan Nead, Renton, Wa.

Regarding couples living together before marriage... I don't think the government can legislate personal morality. If the laws are designed to protect women and children, as some say... how about enforcing the "child support" laws that are already in place?  After all, there's a reason why those couples are not together.

--Angela, Miami, Fla.

It is time for the people to be influenced by what is fundamentally good and not by the whim of temporary and irresponsible pleasure. As in all other ages of the world, when the majority begin to follow irresponsibility, the society crumbles. It is happening under our very noses.

--Scott F.

The gentleman from N.C. stated they had laws to strengthen marriage, the question should have been asked, how strong are the marriages in N.C.? In Catawba County, where we lived from 95-98, the divorce rate was 80%. They marry, divorce, and marry again, all the while, having children with different partners. Sad.

--Lynda Walker Ridgefield, Conn.

Although I am all for smaller government, and personally believe that cohabitation is actually a *good* thing as a last step before marriage, I have to support the sheriff in this case. If there is a law on the books that one of his people is violating, that person should, at the very least, be offered the choice of ceasing the law-breaking activity or resigning their position. If the law is not a reflection of the mores of the society, then either the local government should repeal the law, or the federal courts should (esp. if that law is unconstitutional). Failing either of these, the local sheriff has no choice but to support the laws as they stand.

--Scott McGrath, Boca Raton, Fla.

May 12, 2005 | 12:37 p.m. ET

On our home page, we asked you, "How do you think John Bolton would perform, if approved as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations?" Here's what some of you are saying:

It would be like throwing gasoline on a fire !! How does Pres. Bush think that John Bolton can reform the U.N. with his credibility problems ? If he has his way I wonder what floor of the U.N. his office will be on?

--Rick, Kissimmee, Fla.

Badly with low ability and personal skills just like other Bush appointments a grab for power that will turn back on the U.S. if he is confirmed!

--Susan Carr, Tucson, Ariz.

I'd never heard of Bolton until this nomination, and have no idea how he's likely to perform if appointed to the U. N.  If he performs as portrayed, it's bound to make the U. N. a hoppin' place and mighty interesting to watch (for a change). 

--Cindy Smith, Sacramento, Calif.

I feel that President Bush could pick a better candidate if he truly wants to reform the United Nations. However if he wants to cause its demise, then John Bolton is his man.

--Jane Farle, Greenville, Texas

He will be like a bull in a china shop. I don't think he will do well dealing w/the job he has been nominated to do.

--Mary, Ariz.

He would be a embarrassment and bring more anti-America feelings to the USA.

--Anonymous

I do not think he is a good choice for ambassador given his past remarks concerning the U.N. and his ethical behavior towards his coworkers or those under him. John Bolton does not just represent the president, he represents the American people.  If the Senators and Congressman were listening to the American people, this man would not stand a chance. The majority do not want him as their ambassador.  

--Barb, Crystal, Minn.

Whom are we concerned about?  We have few friends in that corrupt organization so there is no need to concern ourselves about diplomacy.

--Tim Barba

May 11, 2005 | 5:37 p.m. ET

Airspace scare

Officials in Washington are still trying to determine what led to some very tense moments in the nation's Capitol earlier today.

The White House and the Capitol had to be evacuated— after a small plane flew into Washington's restricted airspace.

It certainly was a big response... for what appears, at least for now, to have been a small threat: a single engine Cessna. The plane strayed into the 16-mile radius around the Washington monument, restricted to virtually all aircraft except commercial airliners.

Your e-mails on the reaction in D.C.

Since there was talk of making the runaway bride pay for the extra salaries, etc. I wonder if the little plane pilot that ventured into restricted air space be forced to pay fuel costs for the F-16's, lost time salaries for the evacuated white house employees, etc.

--Duane, Bainbridge, Ga.

PLEASE!!!  Re-think the 'shoot them down' attitude.... a lot of people live here, thousands of us could be hurt or killed by any over-reaction by our defense systems.

--Marie, Columbia, Md.

I don't understand why anyone would think it was an overreaction to evacuate the White House & Capitol.  We shouldn't let fear of letting the terrorists think we're concerned about them, dictate whether or not we take safety precautions.

--Rachel, Long Island, N.Y.



I was wondering whether the government would have handled this threat if the aircraft was a jet (with a higher rate of speed)?  I realize that since this was a small propeller plane the government had more time to deal with the situation, but I how would they have reacted if the plane was a private jet traveling at high speeds?

--John Godfrey, Florence, S.C.

The little Cessna 150 was no serious threat in terms of damage potential...but what "is" serious is the fact it not only penetrated the most restricted airspace in the free world...it got within three miles of the Capitol Building itself!

--Chuck,  Southwest Va.

I'm completely 'anti-violence', but when it comes to the White House, the Capitol, the Pentagon, (etc.) --- I say shoot ANY plane, of any size, which flies too close to these national symbols out of the air immediately. Vaporize them right away --- and ask questions later. Ron's question about what terrorists 'learned' today is right on the money. This sort of (very real) threat is no place for 'political correctness'.

--Steven Byron, New York City

The media over reacted, a small plane crossed an imaginary line.This American, like many others, seriously questions the media's lack of real hard news, the hard questions are not asked, hard nose investigative reporting appears to be a lost art. I'd like to hear answers to my questions, for that to happen a journalist (the voice of every American citizen) has to have the courage to ask the questions, to demand answers,to do oversight for the people.

--Adena Wheeles, Anchorage, Alaska

Even if it hit a building, people would have been better of staying inside. We're talking a tiny plane here, not a 747. This "age of fear" is far more dangerous, trying to live in a "culture of safety," than anything the terrorists have done since 9/11.

--David Lawrence III, Columbus, Ga.

May 10, 2005 | 5:31 p.m. ET

Spokane mayor scandal

It's a controversy closer to Ron's home town. The embattled mayor of Spokane, Washington is on a leave of absence today. But he's vowing to hold on to his job after the scandal that's rocked his town.

Ron:  Republican Jim West is facing a number of allegations involving sex with other men, misuse of his office, and even child molestation.

Yesterday the mayor announced he'll take some time off—but he's vowing to keep fighting. West is owning up to having sex with other adult men—perfectly legal, but hypocritical for a conservative lawmaker well-known for opposing gay rights. West is also accused of offering city jobs to some of the men he met online.

More troubling are newspaper reports that have surfaced alleging that West abused boys while a sheriff's deputy and boy scout leader in the late 1970s and early 80s.

Monica: Exactly how all of this came to light is being called into question: There had long been rumors that Spokane's mayor had a secret life. The Spokane Spokesman-Review went looking for some facts. As part of the newspaper's investigation, they hired an outside computer expert to pose as a fictitious chatroom character. The phony person claimed to be an 18-year-old Spokane high school senior.

A former U.S. customs service computer expert was then brought in to confirm that the mayor was the person talking to their make-believe character.

The paper has been taking some heat over how it got the story—mostly from others in the newspaper business.

Tom Detzel, the man in charge of investigative reporting for another newspaper “The Oregonian”  is quoted as saying: “It's a pity they had to undercut the credibility of an otherwise fair and relevant report by setting up a phony identity and luring West into a trap. You can't lie to get the truth, then expect someone to respect or believe your version of the truth.”

Your e-mails on the journalism and the scandal

Regarding the Mayor of Spokane, I believe the man has been caught in an illegal venture and has no  business whatsoever remaining in office. This has nothing to do with his being gay or straight but rather his misuse of his power in office as Mayor.  They should not ask for but demand his resignation. 

--C. Myers, Kansas City, Mo.

This mayor got on the big Conservative values band wagon and rode it.  The voters deserve to know what he really is. Can you say hypocrite?

--Jackie, Grants Pass, Oregon

The newspaper had every right to expose the mayor and his alleged wrongdoings.  We the public rely on journalists to break down what's going on in City Hall and we have a right to know where our tax dollars are going.

--Jay, Wilmington, Del.

Newspapers have long (since the very beginning in this country) published articles that somehow implicated public officials in wrong doing. I think it's common sense that any wrong doing should be brought to the public, at which point it is up to the police, sheriff, or other agency to investigate the validity of the disclosure and take the appropriate action. The mere fact that the newspaper used the internet to bring this out is simply a sign of the times. The truth of the matter is that any individual conducting their in this fashion should NOT be in public office handing favors out like candy.

--Anonymous

I agree that blurring the lines between journalism and law enforcement is treading near the edge of a slippery slope. Much the same way that agents of the CIA pretending to be priest endangered all in the clergy, and similarly the U.S. military carrying out humanitarian missions endangers the lives of humanitarian aide workers the world over.

--Robert B.

Regarding the "sting" conducted against Jim West, the mayor of Spokane: It is completely and clearly wrong for the "Spokesman-Review" to have approached their story in this way. Beyond the problem of telling lies in order to report the truth, the "sting" they conducted served to induce the commission of a crime. That is the very nature of a "sting" operation. News operations should not be attempting to report and reduce crime by helping crimes be committed, and it is imaginable that in some similar situations, ones that would go further than this one did, reporters could be indictable for abetting the commission of crimes.

--Mark Cohen, Basking Ridge, N.J.

Mayor West should have been investigated by the police well before this story broke. Which is why, investigative reporting is so important for the truth to come out.

--Tracy, Calif.

Any political figure using his office for private gain of any kind should be outed. There was no trap, he offered jobs for sexual favors.

--Paul Bruyere, Clearwater Fla.

May 10, 2005 | 12:21 p.m. ET

Nuclear options

There's another nuclear option in the news: Iran. Iran admits it recently converted 37 tons of uranium into gas, the first step in producing nuclear energy. The country insists its nuclear program is only for peaceful purposes.

Skeptics argue that the oil rich nation doesn't need alternative fuel options  -- they argue uranium conversion is just the first ominous step to building nuclear weapons.

What do you think?

We have no right to limit any nation from gaining nuclear capacity as long as we continue and have and improve our nuclear options. This is hypocrisy of the first degree.

--Art Horn, Waynesville

Of course America isn't the world's police, and I wish we'd learn to mind our own business. Canada never has any trouble with anyone; perhaps we could learn a thing or two from them.

--Kara, Wichita, Kan.

Every  country  has the right to protect its citizens, we  did it  with  preemptive  strikes,  why  shouldn't  they?

--Mark  K., Myrtle  beach, S.C.

I would love to meet the individuals that voted against restricting nuclear developed by count-ries that are deemed unacceptable by our country.

--Ben Garcia, Cicero, Ill.

There is no question that North Korea and Iran cannot be trusted.  Both have shown how trustworthy they are by past actions and lies.  I suggest that the United Nations and the International community get tough and sanction, block shipping to these countries until which time they have a change of mind. Quit playing diplomatic games with countries that in the end have no intention of keeping to their word.

--Barb,  Hometown: Crystal, Minn.

I don't understand how we feel it is our responsibility to tell other nations that they aren't allowed to have certain weapons because we are afraid of their leadership.  We should just look here at home and see what could happen with an out of control leader.  I feel the UN should step in and have ALL nations do away with their nuclear weapons.

--Heather Matesic, Moline, Ill.

May 9, 2005 | 5:40 p.m. ET

Attacking the messenger?

Monica:  Whom do you trust?   Lately, people don't think it's the media.  According to one recent survey, more Americans trust the government to “do the right thing” than the press.

The mainstream media is under fire. And rightfully so.

Ron: But that just might be the view from the right. Politicians sure aren't helping much on the “trust” issue. Lately, whenever they're criticized, the Republican answer is to simply attack the messenger. Too often, the message ends up getting twisted.

Take the on-going controversy over Tom DeLay: In a recent interview given to her hometown newspaper  The Allegheny Times, Republican Congresswoman Melissa Hart complained:  “The media likes to hype things… The national media have not done justice to the American people... It is a (media) feeding frenzy.”

What do you think?

I hear a lot of people voicing concern over legislation from the bench, I am more concerned with the legislation from the news desk.

--Thomas Gaupp, Honolulu Hawaii

When I got back from Iraq, where I served as a cavalry scout platoon leader, I was frustrated by Television media reports from Iraq. All I saw reported was casualties. There was no reporting on the good being done by US forces. It is easier for television media to do a 20 second media clip on a casualty, than go with an American patrol to report on a 1 hour neighborhood council meeting to discuss how to improve Iraqi quality of life. That is not fair and biased reporting.

--Jonathan

Whether the media is biased is all a matter of perception. If you are in the right gutter, everything else is liberal.

--Ron Hohn

I am a former news junkie. Was for many years. As a youngster I read four papers per day and always listened to the evening news. Today the only news I feel I could trust is the so called "fake" news on Comedy Central. Under threat of violence, I don't believe I could name one credible reporter on any paper, network news or cable channel. Look at your own discussion --- people who are promoting their wares --- i.e., the books they wrote.  Why should I rely on any of such opinions?

--Lori Klingman, Chicago, Ill.

The TV networks are busily promoting those aspects of stories which they believe will enhance corporate positions.  They don't seem to be too concerned with pursuing the truth or holding the administration's feet to the fire!

--Russell Johnson, Vista, Calif.



Politics and Press, The main problem I have seen in last 10 years, which the media is focusing to much on creating headline news other than reporting facts. Rabble rousing they want to catch the zapper to stay on their program a little longer with shallow promises for bigger news. I think the main media is out of touch to real politics.

--Raymond, Glendale, Ariz.

Funny how the media hammered Clinton about lying about his sex life, but nobody died.  Interesting how the media has not bothered to challenge Bush's lies and lots of people are dying.

--Jan, Irving, Tex.

May 9, 2005 | 1:00 p.m. ET

Fast food tax

It's being called the “fat tax.”

A controversial new proposal designed to take a bite out of Detroit's whopping $300 million budget deficit. That city's mayor, Kwame Kilpatrick, says he hopes residents won't mind paying a few extra pennies for that whopper or quarter-pounder. He's proposing a two percent fast food tax, in addition to the six-percent state tax already in place on restaurant meals.

It would be the country's first tax to target fast-food chains.  And the tax would even apply to healthier drive-through fare, like salads and grilled chicken.

Critics say the tax would actually hurt economic development, unfairly targeting young people and senior citizens, the biggest consumers of fast food. An interesting note: Detroit is currently in third place on the men's fitness list for “Fattest American city.” But city officials insist the proposal is more about budget bottom lines than waist-lines.  They predict the tax could bring in as much as 17 million dollars next year alone.

Your e-mails

We place a high tax on tobacco products in order to reduce consumption because they are not good for one's health. Cannot this be said for high fat and high sugar fast food?

--C. Tim Quinn,

Fresno Calif.

Going out to a restaurant or picking up fast food is a luxury that some people cannot afford to do.  There's nothing wrong with putting a tax on it.  People get so excited about any mention of a tax on anything but yet they want cities and states to provide them with every service possible.  Well, that costs money and you have to be willing to pay for those services. There's an alternative you know - you could actually COOK for a change!!  I have my moments of Mac attacks too - but I also like to cook.  For those moments of a Mac attack I'm willing to pay a few extra cents if I'm feeling too lazy to cook!! Get over it people or get in the kitchen!!

--Jeanne Walker, New York

Adding a tax to junk food restaurants may not be a bad idea but what Detroit and the federal government really needs to do it do is an a "sin" tax on all those the gas gussling SUV and high performance vehicles that are driving up the cost of gasoline.

--Micki, Red Hook, NY

May 9, 2005 | 12:28 p.m. ET

Homeland insecurity

In the weeks and months following the attacks of September 11, 2001 the federal government moved quickly to protect America and its people. 

Federal agencies spent billions of dollars buying equipment designed to secure our nation's ports, borders, airports, mail and air.  But according to the New York Times -- the government has now concluded that much of the equipment bought to protect us is ineffective, unreliable or too expensive to operate --  and need to be replaced.

One of the problems cited by the paper: radiation monitors at ports and borders cannot differentiate between radiation emitted by a nuclear bomb and naturally occurring radiation from everyday items like cat litter. Federal officials have said they bought the best available equipment at the time.  And a spokesman for the department of homeland security was quoted as saying :  "The nation is more secure in the deployment and use of these technologies versus having no technologies in place at all"

Yet now, according to reports, the government is estimating that as much as seven billion dollars more will need to be spent on new screening equipment in the coming years.

May 6, 2005 | 7:04 p.m. ET

Happy mom's day (Connected Staff)

It's mother's day weekend and the 'Connected' staff would like to remind you to greet your moms, and the mother of your children (if you have any).

Below, are some messages to our moms:

One of the things that makes my mom so special is that she is my friend. Without even realizing it, I find myself calling her to tell her things that only a good friend would care about.  She is my rock, and a role model of the kind of person I aim to be; patient, kind and loving.  Happy Mother's Day to her, and all the other wonderful moms out there!

--Sarah Danik, Production Assistant

My mother is the funniest person I know.  I think the most important lesson she taught me was to laugh at myself.  It's my greatest defense and always will be.

--Tony Maciulis, Senior Producer

Mom....thanks for the fried corn and mac & cheese... Happy mother's day!

--Stefanie Cargill, Senior Producer

I remember my mother gave me a memorable piece of advice when I was a little kid . 

Somehow the topic of choking came up, and I remember my mother enforcing one simple rule ... that still managed to confuse me. I nodded, and as she walked away, confident that she had just saved her child from death at the hands of Jif or Skippy, it dawned on me.

"You mean..." I began, still trying to take it in, "... you mean, alone like alone by MYSELF ... or alone, like, alone by ITSELF ... straight out of the jar?"

I could almost see the scenario playing through her head as she came up with answer.

The police outlining my corpse with chalk ... a peanut butter jar and spoon lying by my cold dead hand.

"What happened here?" The detecive asks. "Was it a case of him eating the peanut butter alone, all by himself ... or alone, straight out of the jar?"

"I'm afraid it's a worst case scenario," an officer answers ... "both."

"Good God.  Didn't his mother ever tell him ...?"

"Neither," my Mom snapped out of the daze. "Neither ... never eat it alone either way."

So while I may not be able to make it home this year for Mother's Day, I'll be sure to eat a peanut butter sandwich ... WITH jelly ... in a room full of people ... just for you, Mom.

--Pete Breen, Producer

My mom is coolest. We talk about everything, especially boys and fashion. We were the original Gilmore Girls even before they existed. She's pretty and pretty hot (and I know she'll just love me more for saying that). Happy Mother's Day mom!

--Jesamyn Go, Web Producer

The most useful thing my mom ever taught me was to always speak my mind, be independent, and never hide my true feelings.  And most importantly...when in doubt, scream like a cross between a chihuahua and pterodactyl.  

--Michelle Protzmann-Tejada, Tape Producer

As a single, working mom raising two kids, I'm still not sure how you pulled it off. You kept your cool when I cut my hair, pierced my eyebrow, and came-back from junior-year abroad wearing all-black. You're strength, determination and grace wrapped up in a one fabulous package. Love the hair, love the shoes, love you.

--Kara Kearns, Segment Producer

It's funny how Mother's Day takes on a whole new meaning when you have kids of your own.  (And not just because of those priceless macaroni and construction paper cards).  Having children makes you appreciate your own mom all the more.

And my mom, Frances Reid, is amazing. Four children in five years. And not one of us in prison. Yet.

So every day, I try to remember her advice. "You'll never know until you try."

And I keep trying. Trying to be as good a mom to my boys Zach and Jeremy— as she has been to me.

Happy Mother's Day to moms everywhere!   

--Sharon Newman, Executive Producer

Citizen Journalists share the best advice their moms gave them. Click here to read some of the e-mails they sent us.

May 6, 2005 | 6:28 p.m. ET

Creationism and vacating the Age of Reason (Ron Reagan)

For instance, generations of school kids have been taught that George Washington and his troops defeated the British after crossing the Delaware River in wooden rowboats. Plenty of scholarship backs that up. But we don't have any of the actual boats, do we? Who's to say that Washington didn't ditch the watercraft and instead cross the river on the backs of specially trained dinosaurs?  No evidence for that - but in Kansas, we don't need no stinkin' evidence.

How about math? The diameter of a circle equals twice the radius? Nah, in my new new math, the diameter of a circle equals time to order out for pizza. Doesn't sound like mathematical science to you? Yeah... and what's your point?

All that's necessary for ignorance to triumph is that people who know better step aside and get out of its way. We might want to consider that as we sit back twiddling our thumbs and playing politics while Kansas spirals into the Dark Ages, dragging its unwitting children with it.

Here were your e-mails about the segment when it aired on 'Connected' earlier this week.

E-mail RReagan@MSNBC.com

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