Brain cancer

Behind The News
August 5, 2008 1:32:14 PM PDT
I have a friend who has brain cancer. She has fairly beaten the odds, in terms of survival. But her quality of life is hardly what it should be, what she's accustomed to. And I think of her all the time, and how her children - young adults - are having to adjust and deal with their mother's mortality and illness.

Brain cancer is an equal opportunity disease, and I think of my friend every time someone else gets diagnosed and it makes news. Ted Kennedy earlier this summer. Robert Novak last week.

Today, Novak's situation was described as "dire" on the website of his newspaper, The Chicago Sun-Times, where he's worked for several decades.

Novak and Kennedy - two very political people from two very different perspectives, now both fighting the same horrible disease.

Kennedy showed up in Congress last month, a surprise visit to cast an important vote, and received a heartfelt standing ovation from friend and foe alike.

And, over the weekend, there were camera crews reportedly at the Kennedy compound to film what is likely to be an emotional tribute to the senior U.S. Senator from Massachusetts - to be aired at the Democratic National Convention later this month in Denver.

It's still unclear if Kennedy will show up at the confab, but a 15-minute tribute film will air regardless.

Novak, in such bad shape now, that today he announced his immediate retirement. We'll have the latest on his condition, tonight at 11.

Also at 11, quite a scene tonight at Gracie Mansion, the official residence of the Mayor of New York but a place where the current Mayor, as far as we know, has never spent a night. But I digress. At the City's official residence for its Chief Executive - a Democrat who became a Republican who became an Independent - Mayor Bloomberg will host a party for Hillary Clinton. There are many who think this is a fundraiser to help pay off Sen. Clinton's campaign debt for her bid for President. But we're told this is simply a "welcome back" party, not a fundraiser. Nonetheless, it should be something - with Barbara Walters and the cast of Hair among the guests expected to show up.

We're also following a new development in the death of actor Heath Ledger last January. Actress Mary Kate Olsen apparently refused to testify voluntarily to a federal grand jury looking into the actor's overdose on prescription drugs. Now there are reports that she has been subpoenaed to appear. She is not, we are told, the target of the investigation; but investigators apparently want to find out if she knows where Ledger obtained the drugs, specifically Oxycontin.

And there's this item about fuel oil prices and the way folks will heat their homes this winter. And, yes, I know, it's still mid-summer. But as people begin planning their winter heating requirements, wood suppliers are reporting increased demand, and that's driving the price way up. And by "way up" I mean double. There are also reports of some wood suppliers not having enough to meet demand. It's a sign of the times.

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