Now where will I get my bagels?

June 21, 2011 1:08:51 PM PDT
My first bagel exposure as a transplanted New Yorker back in 1992 was a visit to H&H. I lived two blocks from the famous bakery on Broadway on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, and walking in and smelling those freshly baked rounds of heaven in all different flavors was better than a Welcome Wagon.

I have such great memories of H&H, from my kids asking the clerk for "hot ones," to stopping there at 3:30 a.m. on Christmas mornings for years on the way to anchor Ch. 7's morning show, and getting five dozen bagels with cream cheese for the staffers working the holiday, and to the guy panhandling outside, always willing to accept a bagel instead of a dollar.

A couple of years ago H&H was shuttered by the State for a couple of hours after its owner fell behind in his taxes.

Actually that's sugar-coating it a bit. He withheld his employees' payroll taxes and failed to pay that tax as well as sales taxes he owed. It turned many of his customers' stomachs in the process. And, last year, he pleaded guilty to three felonies, and pocketing more than $300,000 in the process.

Despite the bad behavior, it's a sad day for New Yorkers who love bagels. Today is apparently H&H's last day in business at 80th and Broadway. Oh sure there's a sign saying to visit their big bakery on 46th Street and the West Side Highway but who walks on the West Side Highway? It's not exactly an impulse buy.

So we bid adieu to H&H, my Welcome Wagon and, even with the owner's tax crimes which are simply inexcusable it's going to be sad not having New York's most famous bagel shop closed up.

We'll have the last day rituals, tonight at 11.

Also at 11, and certainly of greater concern to the country and the world than the fate of H&H Bagels, we'll preview

Pres. Obama's big speech tomorrow night about the war in Afghanistan. When the President announced the 30,000 troop surge a year and a half ago, he promised that he would start withdrawing the added soldiers next month.

Next month is now here.

The military was always a bit hinky about slapping a withdrawal date on a war, and I suppose from the Generals' points of view, that makes sense.

But this war was always a crap shoot it has been even when the logic of it was overwhelming back in October, 2001, and Pres. Bush wanted to crush the Taliban for giving aid, comfort and shelter to Osama bin Laden and his attacks of Sept. 11.

But a not-so-funny thing happened between then and now. The U.S. is still there, and this conflict in Afghanistan has become the longest-running American war in history.

Now, Mr. Obama faces some tough choices. He ran on a theme of getting out of Iraq and beefing up the war against Al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan.

Now, the government of Afghanistan is in peace talks with the Taliban, and bin Laden has been killed. So is it time to finally get out?

Of course, getting out is a loaded concept, because the truth is the U.S. will remain in Afghanistan in some form, just like it's remained just about everywhere it's ever been at war, in some form.

But there are upwards of 100,000 troops in Afghanistan these days, and with the war costing anywhere from $120 billion to $180 billion a year (estimates vary, depending on who is doing the calculation), recession-weary Americans are rightly asking if the money couldn't be better spent here.

How many teachers could be spared firing with that money? I'm just sayin.'

We'll have a preview of Mr. Obama's speech, at 11.

Also at 11, a disturbing and eye-opening story about how your money might not be as protected as you think it is especially if you use your bank's ATMs. Turns out, high-tech thieves are increasingly getting the code from your card and, using hidden cameras, getting your PIN as well.

Ug. Consumer Reports takes a closer look at how to protect yourself.

We'll also have any breaking news of the night, plus Meteorologist Lee Goldberg with his AccuWeather forecast, and Laura Behnke, in for Rob Powers, with the night's sports. I hope you can join Sade Baderinwa and me, tonight at 11.


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