Health care reform debate

August 13, 2009 2:24:28 PM PDT
If you were visiting here from another planet, watching these confrontational forums on health care reform, you'd be right in asking: Health care crisis? What health care crisis?

To hear some of these people complain and fret - and, I'm not going to judge any book by its cover, but by their covers these folks don't seem to be independently wealthy and able to pay for their own medical bills - you'd think that the status quo of health care is just peachy.

Otherwise, why would there be so much resistance to changing it?

I'm the first to hoist the banner about questioning authority and challenging assumptions and asking tough questions. But when the questions come from right field, based on somebody's opinion on a blog, you have to question what's behind the confrontations? Confrontations that were supposed to be conversations?

Perhaps lost in all this is the great democracy-in-action part of the equation: The town hall forums themselves, where those who legislate open discussion with those who have to foot the bills. That's a great thing.

Tonight at 11, we'll have the latest on the health care reform debate.

Also at 11, reaction tonight from police and family members of the cop who was shot and killed in a friendly fire mishap in May in East Harlem. No indictment today of the cop who fired the shots. Officer Omar Edwards, off duty with his gun out and chasing a man who he saw break into his car, was confronted by an undercover officer, who told Edwards to drop his weapon.

Instead, the 25 year old Edwards turned, gun out, and was shot. Just a horrible shooting.

It was always a hard case to make into a criminal matter, despite some of the high emotions in the community. Edwards was black; the cop who shot him was white. Adding to it all: Edwards' father-in-law is a cop. Jim Dolan is on the story for us tonight.

And under the heading: Go NFL. Pro football doing what the criminal justice system wouldn't do - punishing a drunk driver for killing a pedestrian.

Cleveland Browns receiver Donte Stallworth today was suspended without pay (that's worth a cool $5 million) for the entire season by pro football, after he pleaded guilty to driving drunk and running down a pedestrian last March in Miami.

It's a much stiffer punishment than the court, which sentenced Stallworth to 30 days in jail. Under Florida law, the sentence could have been up to 15 years in prison.

If it had been you or me, we'd still be behind bars. And should be. I'm just sayin'.

And finally the passing of a legend. And even that description doesn't begin to properly measure the contributions to music from Les Paul.

He wasn't just a great guitar player - he was something of a visionary genius - inventing the solid body electric guitar - and later, multi-track recording. Both - changed the way music is played and listened to. Forever.

My favorite quote about Les Paul - from his childhood piano teacher - in a note to Paul's mother: "Your boy, Lester, will never learn music."

Yeah, right. Les Paul was 94 when he died today at his home in White Plains.

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

BILL RITTER


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