Choices

June 15, 2010 2:45:34 PM PDT
What a cross-section of stories we fan out to cover. I'm amazed each day, as I walk into our newsroom, at the sheer volume of news that's out there, and the wide variety of stories we could - or should - be covering.

We have many discussions about what to cover. Sometimes the conversations are deadly serious, other times they border on comical (in the good sense). The point here is that we take all this - and by "this" I mean our responsibility - quite seriously. And the discussions about what to cover, or what not to cover, revolve primarily around what stories you, the viewers, would be most interested in or most affected by.

So with that as prelude - we're covering one of the more bizarre stories we've come across in a while. Here's the headline: A minister in New Jersey, who also runs a tax help/computer repair/real estate/private investigator services company, has been arrested and charged with posing as a cop, and then kidnapping and raping two women in a cemetery.

'Nuf said.

We'll have the latest on the case, tonight after Game Six of the NBA Finals between the Lakers and Celtics.

Also after the game, we're in the Gulf of Mexico, where the giant oil company BP is on the hot seat. Hard to imagine it won't be for years to come. Tonight President Obama will speak to the nation in prime time from the Oval Office, about the crisis, the clean up and criticism that his administration has mishandled the catastrophe by trusting BP to clean up the mess.

Meanwhile, a remarkable disclosure in Congress today from Massachusetts Congressman Ed Markey. In an opening statement at a hearing, he offered that while the oil companies testifying today have reported $289 billion in profits over the last 3 years, they have spent $39 billion to explore for new gas and oil, but just $20 million a year in research and development for safety, accident prevention and spill response.

But BP is now dolling out the money - in the form of a "Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative." $500 million to support universities in the Gulf area - for research on the "fate and effects" of oil, dispersed oil and dispersants.

Talk about the horse out of the barn.

Today, a fire shut down the oil containment for 5 hours - fortunately no one was hurt, but, sheesh, not what the region needed.

One more note about the Gulf - 18 countries have now offered assistance in cleaning up the mess. Qatar today said it would donate a containment boom. Other countries include Sweden, Belgium, Canada, China, France, Germany, Israel, Kenya, Norway, Spain and Tunisia. Only four offers have been accepted: Mexico, Norway, Canada and the Netherlands.

Finally, a real coalition!

Kemberly Richardson is in the Gulf with the latest for us tonight.

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 the basketball game.

And as a P.S., thanks to all of those who wrote in with your comments to yesterday's column. Here are two emails:

Lee Storm of Madison, New Jersey writes: "Every day seems to get worse and worse. With children becoming murderers, reactive rather than pro-active government, and greedy companies and the new unemployment count. Let's face it; here we are recovering from a recession, sort of, and the unemployment rate is starting to go down; then BP cuts corners and blows things up sending oil everywhere and putting people out of business which brings the unemployment count back up, and probably way up.

"In all seriousness, this little world of ours is in deep trouble if people don't start going back to basic values and striving to do the right rather than the quick-and-easy-and-greedy.

"We Need Some Good News On The Air... more special super-dads and decent companies donating furnaces."

And Raymond Babock of Topeka, Kansas, offers: "We are all guilty. We need to ? make our homes electric, natural gas for our cars? We need to export oil to save the country."

BILL RITTER

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