Satellite Shoot-'em-up

Behind The News
February 14, 2008 1:26:44 PM PST
Calling Flash Gordon. Or maybe it should be Capt. James T. Kirk.A busy news day, to be sure, but the talker of the day is the Pentagon's plan to shoot down a broken spy satellite that is expected to plummet to Earth early next month.

Here's how it will work: A Navy cruiser will fire a missile and, if it all works, the missile will hit the satellite and the spacecraft will fall harmlessly into the ocean.


Sounds like something out of a science fiction movie, but it turns out protecting the people of Earth isn't really the objective here. Let's remember that water takes up 70% of the planet, and open space takes up another 20%. So the odds of the wayward satellite hitting a populated area are small. (Cities take up only 2% of Earth's space; of course if it should land on a city, then the odds would be 100% -- not good, especially if it's your city.)

The other more plausible attraction of this shoot-em-down strategy is that U.S. officials are worried that a huge chunk of the satellite could land in an "unfriendly" country, and that some secret information onboard could be used against the U.S.

Hence, the military takes action, under orders from Pres. Bush.

We'll have the latest on the plan to take out the satellite, tonight at 11.

We're also following the investigation into the meat cleaver murder of a psychologist on the Upper East Side. New York detectives questioned a man from Pennsylvania for eight hours today -- before releasing him. He was not involved in the crime, apparently.

So now the mystery continues.

Also at 11, our investigative reporter Jim Hoffer has a story that will make some people's blood boil. New York State is trying to collect millions from Lottery winners who were once on public assistance.

It's called "Lottery Intercept" -- but is it fair? All those people who were on workfare - working for their welfare checks - -are required to pay back the State if they win the Lottery? You've got to see Jim's story tonight.

And the Roger Clemens story continues. Today, the lawyer for Clemens' former trainer suggested that if Clemens is charged with perjury for lying to Congress, then Pres. Bush might pardon the pitching great.

The lawyer makes the claim based on the "pitcher's friendship" with the Bush family. Both are from Texas; and of course the President is a former owner of the Texas Rangers.

A stretch of a claim, perhaps. But it shows just how nasty this affair has become.

Speaking of the Clemens case, the response from readers/viewers to the Roger Clemens steroid allegations testimony to Congress yesterday was impressive. Some of your comments are reproduced down below.

We'll also have any breaking news of the night, plus Lee Goldberg's AccuWeather forecast, and Scott Clark, in Florida for spring training, with the night's sports. I hope you can join Liz Cho and me, tonight at 11.


P.S. Here are some of your comments.

" From my personal experience in interrogating potential suspects and in trying criminal cases, I would have to say that Roger Clemens is not looking good here. His lawyer, Rusty Hardin, is overacting, which makes me think there is substance to the allegations against Clemens. Clemens is stumbling and equivocating, followed by furious denials. While this is not necessarily an indicia of guilt, it would not play well with a jury. If he is charged and goes to trial, he desperately needs an advocate who is softer in style and who prepares him so he appeals to and does not repulse, the jurors.

While this it is a bit early and there is no 'smoking gun' YET in this case, Clemens longevity as a great pitcher, his physical dimensions even today, and my gut, signal to me that he is telling something less than the whole story to Congress."

Martin Schwartz, former New York State prosecutor; former U.S. Dept. of Justice special counsel.

"I couldn't help but feel the room was somewhat divided along party lines. I thought the Republicans backed Clemens mostly and did their best to take up his cause, particularly Burton of Indiana who ruthlessly attacked McNamee. Though I think McNamee is pretty pathetic, I thought the tone was somewhat cruel.

Even acknowledging that I am a Democrat and Yankee fan, I favor neither McNamee nor Clemens and in spite of the partisan hearings, am not sure what was accomplished (at the hearing)."

Dave Lillian, Watertown, CT

"Bill, I watched the proceedings from beginning to end. My conclusion: Roger is the liar. I think Andy Pettitte and Chuck Knobloch's testimony is truthful. Why in the world would they not be telling the complete truth? To say Pettitte misunderstood their conversation is not believable, especially since it has been confirmed by his wife. I will admit, I am not a Clemens fan. I have seen him do things during a baseball game that I do not respect. I think he is an egotistical 'super star' who feels he is above it all. Maybe this case will show him to be otherwise. McNamee has had his problems with lies in his past and he was bombarded on that subject, but I think he held up quite well. The bottom line is, what in the world would be his motive to tell the truth about Pettitte and Knobloch and lie about Clemens?"

Leonard Rudner, Florida

"Here's my two cents, for what they're worth: This is not a Congressional matter. If something is illegal, let the courts take care of it! It's a shame that performance enhancing drugs are deemed necessary by athletes, but that's the reality. It started way back in the Olympics by the East European and Russian teams. It was an "open secret".

Everybody should just go home and implement regular drug testing here on in. This is a waste of time and the tax-payers money."

Jean Stark

"I watched most of the Roger Clemens proceeding. For me as a 50 year old mother and someone who loves baseball and the Yankees, it was hard for me to watch a baseball hero go through this. I look at baseball as a fun way to escape the realities of life in the warm spring and summer months. I've lived in New York all of my life and I grew up near Shea stadium. I used to cut school and walk to Shea and catch a game, it was great. I always respected the players and the coaches. It was the only fun common ground I found I have had with many of my husband's friends and my friend's husbands and our kids.

We still go to games even though it is pricey, and we can't go as often as we would like to, we love it.

When the first gossip broke about the steroids years ago I didn't believe it. When Giambi admitted it I was so upset, but I gave him credit for standing up and being an adult. It seemed to have worked out in his favor.

This trainer who decided to come forward and save the needles and gauze pads is a real low life. If you agree to do something it's not fair to decide years later to come forward and expose someone. he should be dis-credited right away. Andy Pettitte obviously had the desire to save his own self just incase it came out about him, that's what most people do, I would have a hard time doing that but that's me. It seems like Clemens maybe did some of the same things as these other players but he was the one left holding the bag.

Maybe I am kidding myself but I feel the trainer should be held responsible for administering the drug and for exposing these players to something that was not allowed in baseball. These players are not as bright (no offense made) as this trainer/cop/doctor of something, and he seemed to not be able to talk his way out of this but I think he was being sincere most of the time. He stumbled over his words and he seemed very nervous. I feel sorry for him and his wife who did not help his career by being injected secretly by this creepy trainer. If Roger had an injection or two he will have to come clean and move on.

As for the Hall of Fame, this is a hurting shame especially if it is a lie. MY advice to him, dump your friends, control your wife and tell the truth."

Susan Merrill

"I know this a serious issue, but why the big fuss? Persons with disabilities are treated as 4th class citizens and this includes our returning soldiers who are now disabled. All this fuss and time from Congress should be on more important issues. I do know the danger of using human growth hormones and it should not be used the way it has been used. But let's see the same fuss when children with disabilities, including developmental and physical disabilities, need help. Yes, I do believe Roger Clemens has lied. I do not believe his wife used the human growth hormones. But I think we make heroes out of our sport stars who are not heroes."

Debra Greif, Brooklyn.

"I don't know if I believe (Roger Clemens) or not. How can you know, when we are hearing all sorts of things from all sorts of people? To me it is just a sad thing that is occurring, giving a sport which I like a lot a black eye and bad reputation. I just hope that they can get to the bottom of this and nip it in the bud so future generations can enjoy the sport without having to hear or worry about such a bad thing."

Dana Trentacost, Wayne, NJ

"I cannot believe we can't get past this bi-partisan thing, even for the hearings. The Republicans hammered McNamee and the Democrats hammered Clemens.. Although I do believe that Mr. Clemens is not telling the truth about HGH, I can believe that he never did steroids. There were some inconsistencies about the conversations with Andy Pettitte, which he should have just admitted. No harm done, I apologize, it was wrong, That would have been enough.

As far as McNamee goes, he has a BIG CREDIBILITY issue with me as far as the Jose Canseco barbeque goes. If he is lying about this issue, where numerous people have contradicted him. What else is he lying about. I can tell you one thing he is also lying about, writing a book, or trying to get rich the old fashioned American Way -- LAWSUIT.

Have we learned from this? I hope so, but steroids were around when I was in high school in the 70's, so I am sure they will be around for a while longer, unless the judicial system starts putting people in jail for a long time, for selling them."

Neil O'Donnell