Terror raids

September 14, 2009 1:50:29 PM PDT
We're following a breaking story as I write this: raids today in New York City - including several houses in Queens as part of an investigation by the Joint Terrorism Task Force.

Authorities had reason to believe there had been bomb-making materials in the raided houses - but so far they've found none.

Earlier today, NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly was asked about the raids - he was to say the least obscure.

"That's part of an ongoing investigation. Just sort of normal procedure. I'm not going to talk any more about that. That is part of an ongoing investigation going forward."

Congress is being briefed on the raids, and we'll have the latest on them, tonight at 11.

So what happened to Annie Le? Her remains late this afternoon were positively identified as the body found in a Yale University medical school lab.

So who killed her and why? The murder mystery is both horribly sad and horribly fascinating.

Le (pronounced "Lay"), a grad student who was supposed to get married yesterday, disappeared last week, her purse and cell phone and credit cards left behind. Clearly, this wasn't a case of runaway bride.

Cops now have a suspect they're questioning who, according to police sources, has what appear to be "defensive wounds."

Jim Dolan is in New Haven for us tonight.

The economy remains issue number one for most people, and we'll have the latest on the struggling economy's attempt to emerge from recession.

Pres. Obama was in Lower Manhattan today, to mark the year anniversary when the economy came this-close to collapse, starting with the collapse of Lehman Brothers. One year later, it's still a mess. Economists believe the worst is over, but any turnaround remains illusive.

A new ABC News poll shows millions of Americans remain badly bruised financially, and are saddled with debt, stress and skepticism.

Just 49 percent of Americans express confidence that the federal government is putting measures in place that will make another financial crises less likely in the future; and an anemic 10 percent are "very" confident this is happening. Industry self-regulation fares even worse: Only 41 percent say they're confident the nation's financial institutions themselves will change their business practices to make another meltdown less likely. Fifty-eight percent, instead, think not.

Not exactly numbers that brim with confidence.

It's not hard to find examples of this lack of confidence. I can talk about two that happened to me in recent weeks. Both involve companies I owe money to: American Express and a large bank that holds my mortgage.

Today, AMEX called me and asked why I hadn't paid my bill yet. It's not due till Wednesday, I answered; that's the day the next statement closes. Is that not right, I asked the AMEX rep who called me with an urgent message?

Yes, that's right, she said.

Then why is this so urgent, I asked?

Because your official due date is the first of the month, she said. Am I behind in my payment? Have I ever been behind or missed a payment, I asked?

No, she said.

Then why this call? Is it because of the economy, and you're worried people aren't paying their bills?

Yes, she said, rather candidly.

I told her I appreciated the job she has to do, but that she can look at my record and know she has nothing to worry about.

I was cordial - despite a slight urge not to be.

Pretty much the same thing happened to me with my bank, when I was five days past the first of the month, but two weeks before the penalty date. As background, I think I handle money fairly well (oh, except for that one really bad decision to sell a home for 60% of what I had into it!), and my parents always taught me that the longer I can hang on to the money the better. Which means let the money stay in my account until the last minute. It takes being organized and disciplined and on-top of your cash flow.

But it's clear that these big financial institutions worry that people are falling behind in their debts and they are taking no chances. They risk, however, insulting the people who do not fall behind in their payments. I'm just sayin'.

We'll have the latest on the economy, and the President's appearance in New York, tonight at 11.

We're also previewing tomorrow's New York City primary, and we'll have reaction on the latest celebrities-behaving-badly episodes, including Kanye West's rude interruption at the MTV Awards last night, when he took the mike and the stage during Taylor Swift's acceptance speech to bemoan the fact that Beyonce didn't win. And Serena Williams' apology tonight over her over-the-top outburst at the U.S. Open, for which she was disqualified in the semi-finals and was fined $10,000. Of course, maybe they had a role model in Congressman Joe Wilson of So. Carolina who last week made a spectacle of himself when he shouted "you lie" during the President's speech to Congress.

We'll also have any breaking news of the night, plus Lee Goldberg's AccuWeather forecast, and Scott Clark with the night's sports.

BILL RITTER


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