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Bill Ritter's daily take on the news.
November 28, 2012 1:32:04 PM PST
So - how many of you wish you could respond more directly to this column? Or to the people who you see post their responses on Facebook or Twitter? We've been kicking around the idea of launching a #behindthenews hashtag on Twitter - and so I'm going to put that out to you all. If you're interested - use it. I'll start using it today. We'll see what happens and unfolds.

Now to the 11 p.m. newscast, and Powerball fever is the hot topic today. I will not go on and on about how this is a regressive tax and people who can't afford it spend a disproportional amount of money on this state-sponsored gambling. I will simply say that the $550 million - at least - jackpot is the second largest lottery in U.S. history and, if you win it, yes, you will be very wealthy - even after the cash valuation takes a third of it away and the various taxing agencies take another half.

*If* you win is the caveat. The odds are staggeringly against you - 1 in 175 million. But it's nice to dream, and millions of people are doing just that. The winning numbers? Watch the drawing right before Eyewitness News at 11. And if you are in Times Square, stop by the GMA Jumbotron at 1500 Broadway to watch the drawing on the big screen. Our Jeff Pegues will be there covering the story.

We're also on Long Island, with the latest on that tragic accident involving a public bus that swerved to avoid a pedestrian (it hit the guy anyway) and then crashed into a house and killed a 6-year-old boy sleeping inside. We deal with death and destruction every day, and the hard truth is we steel ourselves against it emotionally. But it does affect us, and for some reason, this story that broke as we went on the air last night at 11, affected me deeply. The poor boy, and his family, and the bus driver, who tried to do the right thing, and ended up hitting the pedestrian and killing a child. What must he be going through tonight? And it will last? forever. Jen Maxfield is in Hempstead for us tonight, trying to piece it all together.

Also tonight - I'll have the great honor of presenting legendary folksinger and activist Peter Yarrow with a lifetime advocacy award on behalf of YAI, the nation's premier service organization for people with disabilities. Peter Paul and Mary were part of a generation of folk singers based in Greenwich Village who led the Clarion call for change back in the early 60s.

When John F. Kennedy was inaugurated President in January 1961, and urged Americans to ask not what their country could do for them but what they could do for their country, Yarrow and the others had begun to think that what they could and should do for their country was to change it. And so they set out to do that.

Peter has been an advocate for civil and human rights for more than 50 years; his latest campaign is Operation Respect, to fight bullying. So it's my honor tonight to present him with YAI's award. Speaking of YAI, they are, like so many people and organizations, still struggling to recover from Hurricane Sandy. 189 of their consumers in YAI residences were displaced; 50 out of the 119 YAI residences lost power; 2 YAI homes in Brooklyn were so badly damaged they are still unlivable, and they're dealing with nearly $2.5 million in damages and lost revenue.

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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