Happy Birthday, Brooklyn Bridge

Behind The News
May 22, 2008 1:25:16 PM PDT
How much of the information we drink in do we actually remember? The answer is of no small import - whether you're in school or out in the world. We think about that question -- directly or indirectly -- everyday. How much of the information we transmit each day and in each newscast and on our web site -- how much of that do people really retain?

We don't really know, of course, But I thought about that question as news has started leaking out about the Vice Presidential running mate selection process for both John McCain and, before he has it wrapped up, Barack Obama.

There are names out there being floated - either by the people themselves or staffers inside the campaign, and the pilgrimages will now begin to the candidates. So I'm wondering - - will we remember the names of the potential selectees, months from now?

Somehow I doubt it. Here's a pop quiz, and be truthful with yourself: Do you remember all the hype over the possible entrance to the Republican Presidential field of former Sen. Fred Thompson? Some of you likely do, but I suspect others do not.

Nonetheless, the process of these candidates selecting a running mate is now beginning, and we'll cover it tonight at 11.

And the first lawsuit has been filed from Florida, trying to seat that state's Democratic Party delegation and have the votes counted from the primary-that-doesn't-count.

Three Florida delegates filed the federal suit against the Democratic National Committee, claiming their constitutional rights will be violated and that nearly 2 million Democrats in the state would be ignored.

What a mess this delegate issue has become - in both Florida and Michigan. Both states are being "punished" because Democrats there decided to follow the lead of Republicans and hold their primaries earlier than the Democratic Party wanted. Many Dems say Chairman Howard Dean has run the party as effectively as he ran his own Presidential campaign back in 2004 -- which is to say, not so much.

There's really no easy or great answer here. Ignore the delegates and the party risks disenfranchising millions of voters. Seat them and the party risks giving credibility to an election that wasn't legitimate, given that most of the candidates didn't campaign in those two states.

It's ugly - and it will take some kind of brilliant compromise to make this work.

One more political note: Sen. Ted Kennedy was supposed to give the commencement speech this Sunday at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut. He obviously can't, with his newly diagnosed brain tumor. Taking his place, a substitute we're fairly certain the graduates won't object to: Barack Obama.

Also at 11, a huge birthday celebration planned tonight for the Brooklyn Bridge. It's 125 years old today, and one of New York City's most impressive structures, connecting Manhattan and Brooklyn.

It's one of the oldest suspension bridges in the country and, at the time it was built, was the largest in the world. More than a mile long - and built for less than $16 million -- they'll celebrate tonight with a huge fireworks show.

When the bridge opened, thousands showed up, as did a President - Chester Arthur. They're not expecting a President there tonight, but they are expecting thousands. And we'll be there as well.

Also at 11, a powerful story by our education reporter, Art McFarland. Kind of a "Scared Straight," only instead of trying to prevent teenage crime, this program is aimed at preventing teenage drunk driving. A high school in New Jersey is the venue, and the entire student body takes part, as do their parents. In a frighteningly realistic drill, some randomly selected students are "killed" by a young drunk driver. Bodies are covered, and police and school administrators show up at homes to "inform" the parents. It's role playing, but it gets emotional. Hopefully it makes a difference.

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