Day of Action

November 17, 2011 1:31:48 PM PST
Can't help but wonder why Mayor Bloomberg talks one way when he's addressing his peers - and quite another when he's at the City Hall podium, talking to the public.

At his news conferences, hizzoner seems to have a tough time playing - what's the right description? - a Bill Clintonesque character. You know - the "I feel your pain" kinda thing.

But let him let his hair down just an eighth of an inch, and a different Bloomberg appears. An insightful and empathetic and, dare I say, wise Michael Bloomberg emerges.

His speech this morning to a group of business leaders - including Rupert Murdoch - proves the point. The Occupy Wall Street protests, said the Mayor, are a sign that something is wrong with the country, and people are desperate and fed up.

"We're coming to a point where Occupy Wall Street is just the beginning, the Tea Party is just the beginning," he said. "The public is getting scared. They don't know what to do, and they're going to strike out, and they don't know where."

In his public pronouncements, Mr. Bloomberg - the nation's 8th or 12th richest person, depending on which news story you read - has said he respects the rights of the OWS protesters to demonstrate but disagrees with their criticisms of the economic system.

But today he fairly scolded his business brethren for not grasping and appreciating the sentiment of the "99" percenters - the peeps who view themselves as part of the grant have-nots.

The OWS peeps, said the mayor, were basically chanting: "We don't know what we want, but we want it now. And if you think about it, that tells you what the problem is. They just know the system isn't working, and they don't want to wait around" for politicians to make more empty promises.

But while Mr. Bloomberg was pontificating, his police offers were squaring off against the demonstrators. As of this writing - anywhere from 175 to 200 arrests so far, as protestors tried unsuccessfully to "shut down Wall Street" and break down police barricades in Lower Manhattan. Among those arrested: A retired cop from Philadelphia, in full uniform.

Seven cops were hurt - one with some kind of liquid thrown into his face and another cut by a piece of glass. And there are reports of various substances getting thrown at cops. Not good. And there are reports of cops roughing up demonstrators. Also not good.

We'll have the latest from the protests - planned to coincide with the Occupy Wall Street two-month anniversary - tonight at 11.

Also at 11, and speaking of fomenting change, the heads started to roll in Connecticut from the massive power outages after last month's rare snowstorm.

Today, the President of Connecticut Light & Power resigned, saying staying on the job would be a distraction. The resignation was "voluntary," said the company, but the utility has been under enormous pressure and criticism after up to 830,000 customers - that's millions of people - lost power, some of them for up to 11 days. We'll have the latest on the fallout, tonight at 11.

A fascinating story crossed the wire today - and it validates a discussion we regularly have in our newsroom about the term "elderly."

Of course, the older you get, the stickier the definition.

But now the National Institute on Aging has conducted a first-ever census on the number of people who are 90 or older, and it has nearly tripled since 1980, to 1.9 million people. A century ago, the number was less than 100,000 reaching the age of 90.

All sorts of reasons for the longevity: Better nutrition, better medicine, more active adults. If the trend continues - and there's no reason to think it won't - it's estimated that one in 10 older Americans will reach the age of 90 by midcentury. That's nearly 9 million people. And it's huge.

For us in the news business, does that mean that, say, 70 is no longer "elderly?"


But there are also very real problems with this graying population. Yes there are reductions in heart disease and stroke, but there will be increases in disabilities and chronic conditions like Alzheimer's, diabetes and arthritis.

I'm just sayin'.

And under the heading: What have we become? Maybe you heard about the "security threat" on board a Delta commuter plane from North Carolina to La Guardia last night. A pilot became trapped in the plane's bathroom - and he asked one passenger to alert the co-pilot. The passenger happened to have a thick foreign accent, which caused the co-pilot to think that something untoward had happened to the pilot, and so he alerted the tower. The plane made an emergency landing - with Port Authority police and the FBI meeting the flight. Sheesh.

And finally, our Nina Pineda once again dives into New York State's "unclaimed funds" file and finds people who are owed money. And it's their back stories that are fascinating.

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


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