A private funeral

Bill Ritter's daily take on the news.

February 14, 2012 1:30:21 PM PST
That collective sigh of relief you heard this morning was from the millions of people who wondered - feared - how the family of Whitney Houston was going to pull a tribute concert together by Friday or this weekend for what might have been a jammed 18,000-seat Prudential Center event?

The cost, the logistics - it all didn't add up at first blush to many people. And apparently, after some thought, the Houston family didn't think much of the idea either.

They shared Whitney Houston with the world for so many years, they said, and now it's time for private recollection.

You'll remember that the tribute to Michael Jackson took a couple of weeks to plan. To pull this off in just a couple of days, to work around the sports already planned at the Prudential Center, and to figure out a way to pay for all this given the reports that Ms. Houston may have been virtually broke and living off the generosity of friends - well, it seemed far-too-daunting-a-task from the get-go.

Smarter heads prevailed. Meanwhile we'll have the latest tonight at 11 on the investigation into Houston's death, and reaction from the fans who are gathered at a funeral home in Newark.

Also at 11, the Republicans continue to surprise - as the one-time frontrunner in the polls, Mitt Romney, now has at best co-status with Rick Santorum. I keep thinking what must have been going through Santorum's mind in those early debates, where he sometimes seemed like an after-thought to his fellow Presidential candidates and to those asking the questions. Now, on the heels of three primary victories, Santorum is tied or leading in the latest national poll, and in the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll his popularity has jumped - matching Romney's among fellow Repubs, and surpassing him among the most conservative.

It could be a long spring. But an interesting one. We'll have the latest at 11.

We're also following the escalating tension between Israel and Iran - and now the U.S. and Europe are getting more involved. With an aircraft carrier in the area of one of the world's most important oil transport-ways, there's now consideration to evict Iran from something called SWIFT, an independent financial clearinghouse crucial to Iran's oil sales. There's also heightened security, again, here in New York.

Also at 11, our investigative reporter Jim Hoffer has a disturbing story about a 68-year-old former Marine - killed by police in White Plains. There are audio and video recordings of what happened, when cops responded to the man's medical alert. But why it all happened remains filled with questions. What this a justified use of force? Or did cops overreact. See Jim's story at 11 - and you be the judge.

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.

BILL RITTER

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BILL RITTER

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