>a big Red X shows under status [for the sitemap]<
I found that my XML Sitemap Generator plugin was set to add additional pages as recommended by the description for that section which states:
"Here you can specify files or URLs which should be included in the sitemap, but do not belong to your Blog/WordPress.
For example, if your domain is http://www.foo.com and your blog is located on http://www.foo.com/blog you might want to include your homepage at http://www.foo.com"
It seems that google doesn't like multiple version of a URL in the sitemap. I removed the additional pages in that section of the plugin setup and now get the green checkmark for my sitemap files.