Charles Rangel B-day Party

August 11, 2010 1:12:52 PM PDT
One thing for sure about Charlie Rangel. He's got chutzpah.

He has tried to blow off what appear to be serious charges of ethical lapses and violations made by his colleagues in Congress.

He has taken to the House floor in an unusual and fiery defense of his character and behavior.

And tonight the 80-year-old veteran Congressman from Harlem is holding a fundraiser/birthday bash at the Plaza Hotel.

Costs of some tickets are $2,500 per person.

It will be interesting to see who shows up, and why.

Our political reporter Dave Evans will also be there, reporting for us, at 11.

We'll also have the latest in the continuing bizarre sage of Steve Slater, the JetBlue flight attendant (yes, he still has his job, officially, although he has been suspended) who has become to many a folk hero of sorts for storming off his job via the emergency chute after an altercation with a reportedly rude passenger. (And oh how we'd like to interview her! So if you're reading this, gimme a call!)

Slater is an unlikely kind of new-age Howard Beale, the mad-as-hell TV news anchor who goes ballistic, and becomes a ratings sensation, in the 1976 movie "Network."

Slater flipped out, but there's something about his not-going-to-take-it-anymore behavior that has sparked a wave of sympathy, and has shed much light on how people seem to be fed up with rudeness.

There is, however, a flip-side of this sympathetic flip-out. Jet Blue is now confirming that the plane Slater was working on had already parked at the gate, the door was open, and passengers were deplaning when he decided to open the emergency door and deploy the chute. He could have killed or seriously injured someone on the ground which mitigates I think some of the folk hero stuff and other passengers could well have followed him down the chute, a potentially dangerous situation.

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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