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Where I've been

February 12, 2009 1:01:15 PM PST
It started as a bit of wooziness. And the overwhelming feeling that I had lost control. I tried fighting it. Tried hard. But I couldn't. I lost it, several times. My lunch, my breakfast, everything.

I thought I could hide it, but when the 20th person asked me if I was all right, I knew I wasn't.

I never get sick.

Or at least that's what I used to say. But I did this week. The last two days are something of a blur; no, make that just lost time. I slept more in the past 48 hours than I normally do in a week. Anyway, I'm on toast and liquids and feeling fine.

While I was feeling awful, I was pleasantly surprised by how many people inquired via email about my whereabouts. And it meant a lot. Thanks.

Ok... That's probably, as my kids say, TMI, so we move on to tonight's newscast.

The weather tops it, because after a couple of days that teased us of the coming spring, we are back to severe weather. High winds created most of the problems. Trees down, power out -- and it was deadly. At least three people have been killed. Lee Goldberg is tracking the winds, and we have reporters out in it tonight.

We're also following the latest on the stimulus package. There's no question now, the new President takes ownership of the problem. There are many skeptics -- this package has a little bit of everything, but perhaps not enough of any one element to solve the problems of this tanking economy.

There are spending programs and tax cuts. The question -- are there enough of either to really solve the problems? One problem for sure: The deficit will rise. Many experts say the deficit is the least of our worries. We'll see.

One of the more entertaining elements of all this has been to hear, again - and didn't you miss her? - from Alaska Gov. Palin. Here are some gems from her about the stimulus package:

"On the whole these things that are good for the state we will appreciate those dollars coming as an addition to our economy, certainly the construction projects we are still looking forward to those because those are what actually create the jobs."

Or this:

"I beg to differ with the premise on this economic stimulus package that it was a whole stimulate the economy when you look at the programs ...That are entailed in this economic stimulus package that programs that could end up costing states so much more at the end of the day they don't necessarily stimulate an economy, construction projects do."

And to think we could have heard from her everyday.

Also at 11, we'll explore the meaning of today's so-called Vaccine Court ruling that the childhood vaccine known as MMR does not cause or contribute to neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism.

The ruling has sparked waves of support from the medical community, which has long-argued that there is no link; and waves of protest from some activist families, who have long-argued the opposite.

And, in fact, those activists are saying this ruling doesn't change anything and that their "fight is not over." They want even more research. But the court's rulings were, to quote ABC News' John Donvan, "almost scathing in their dismissal of the plaintiffs' scientific presentations."

"Not a close call" writes one of the judges. And another judge likened the arguments trying to link the vaccines to autism to something out of Alice in Wonderland.

Full disclosure: I have not hesitated to get my kids these childhood vaccines. And the people who don't get them, I believe, have the luxury of not getting them only because the rest of us do. However, I understand the passions of the people who believe there is a link between these vaccines and autism. Some of them are my friends, and I respect their opinions.

I'm sure many of you are in similar situations. We'd like to hear from you on this subject. Please CLICK HERE to send your response for publication in this space tomorrow.

We're also keeping tabs on the Pope's campaign of damage control. Today he met with dozens of American Jewish leaders, and he announced he'll go to Israel in the spring -- all part of a campaign to try to convince people, especially Jews, that the Catholic Church isn't anti-Semitic. This, after the Pope promoted a Bishop who has publicly said the Holocaust never happened. The Pope claims he was unaware of this Bishop's statements.

And we wouldn't want to end this column without a nod to the 200th birthday of Charles Darwin, the British naturalist whose Theory of Evolution remains, unfortunately, a hotly debated issue amongst some of our citizenry.

We'll also have any breaking news of the night, plus Scott Clark in Florida with spring training. I hope you can join Sade Baderinwa (in for Liz Cho) and me, tonight at 11.

BILL RITTER


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