No quick fix

June 8, 2010 1:51:37 PM PDT
In a world of tweets and texts and IM's and e-mails, our attention spans are simply not what they used to be. Which brings something of a burden to covering ongoing news stories.

We're more than a wee bit mindful that many people simply no longer have the tolerance for extrapolated stories, or news that doesn't have a beginning, middle or end in rather short order.

But the truth is life just ain't that simple. And some things are complicated. And lengthy. And cumbersome. And hard to resolve in one day.

One of the exciting elements of the 2008 Presidential campaign was that, in the midst of this instant-communication onslaught, the country was able to parse the words and politics of its candidates - from the many during the primaries, to the two who matched up in November.

But for many of the bigger stories there is an underlying feeling that some people just want to move on. To quote the first President Bush: not gonna happen.

Certainly, the horrible oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico fits that bill.

Years of damage, it seems, are still to come. And as the oil keeps flowing, on this, Day 50, there are captivating sidebars that tax our patience and our sense of credulity.

Tonight we're learning of what might be other oil spills in the Gulf - not from BP but from other drill sites. What's going on? We're keeping tabs.

And we're following Pres. Obama's "whose ass to kick" comments this morning, as he defends himself from critics who say the federal government has blown this crisis and relied far too much on BP, the giant oil company that owns the rig.

Pres. Obama today said if he were in charge of BP, he would have fired its CEO. And it turns out that Tony Hayward is on the block from all fronts, because BP is now deciding whether to go ahead with its planned 2010 dividend to shareholders.

It's easy to howl in protest, as the British-based company has created an environmental nightmare in the U.S., and will cost American taxpayers and businesses billions. But BP is under enormous pressure from investors back home to declare its annual dividend. And consider this: One report today says that many large British pension funds depend on regular income from BP's dividend - so much so that last year, 14% of shareholder dividends paid by companies on London's FTSE 100, came from BP.

That's staggering.

We'll have the latest on the crisis in the Gulf, tonight after the Lakers-Celtics basketball game. In addition, we've sent Eyewitness News reporter N.J. Burkett to the Gulf to bring us the latest, starting tomorrow.

Also tonight - we're following the soap opera that's developing around this year's Puerto Rican Day Parade.

And a fascinating conundrum involving a Spanish-language soap opera actor who was picked to be the "international godfather" of the annual event this Sunday.

Turns out, not everyone was thrilled about the selection of 49-year-old Osvaldo Rios because he has a history of domestic violence ? he was convicted back in 2003.

At least one invited guest dropped out in protest, as did one corporate sponsor.

So what's the right thing here? Protest his involvement, in solidarity against domestic violence? Or back him because he's already paid his debt to society, and this is a symbol of rehabilitation?

The former apparently won out. Rios has dropped out. But the question remains a fascinating one. We'll have the latest, tonight after the game.

Finally, thanks to all of you who wrote in regarding the Helen Thomas resignation after her unfortunate and questionable comments about Israeli Jews leaving Palestine and should instead go home to Germany and Poland.

Here are some of the responses:

From Lee Storm of Madison, New Jersey:

"Can we say, 'OUCH?' I'd like to say that dementia and aging are the culprits, excuses, etc., but unless some other manifestation of those things can be seen, I guess that won't fly. I could posit that aging removed inhibition, but, again, it's a grasp if no previous manifestation of such was noted. It's too bad Helen didn't retire when she was on top. Now she's flopped into the frying pan and possibly into the fire with no safety net, and her goose is cooked. If she wanted to go out with a bang, she certainly achieved that goal."

From Lil Noonan, of Jackson, New Jersey:

"What Helen Thomas said was not appropriate. But please, let's not forget that she is an American WHO IS ENTITLED TO HER OPINION. Would the controversy have been this great if the comments were regarding a different issue? You can say it was her age that allowed her to speak without thinking. Or you could say she was just exercising her right to freedom of speech. Time to retire? Perhaps. But time to retire solely because she voiced an opinion? Surely not."

Raymond Babcock of Topeka, Kansas, writes:

" If you think the problem in the Middle East is land, then you are ignorant or you are siding with the terrorists. Hamas' goal is to kill all of the Jews. Same thing in Iran. You need to face facts: 7000 rockets, suicide bombers; these lunatics beat their women, (who) are treated like live stock you can inherit. You need to think about what you are saying."

And Sharon-Frances Reynolds of Columbia, Missouri, writes:

"Although I think this is sad in the outcome, I think the whole situation is outrageous! When, oh when, will public personages realize that the microphone is ALWAYS ON?? I really do not want to have to know what shameful thoughts fill the minds of the very people who are held up to us as icons or mentors, etc. I think we all have given the crotchety Miss Thomas enough passes - time for retirement, for sure."

And Jim Kerner of Bergenfield, New Jersey, opines that, "As a Jew, I'm upset by what Helen Thomas said about what Israeli Jews should go back to Germany & Poland. As a human I'm sorry the way she retired from her job as a reporter. I'm sure that many of us has said something we later regretted. She will most likely be remembered for this one statement. That is a shame. Ms. Thomas, I accept your apology."

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, after Game Three of the NBA Finals.

BILL RITTER

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