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Two thumbs up

Bill Ritter's daily take on the news.
April 4, 2013 1:37:27 PM PDT
A leave of presence. That's what Roger Ebert said he was taking on Tuesday - as cancer reared again inside him. It means, he said, "I am not going away. My intent is to continue to write selected reviews but to leave the rest to a talented team of writers handpicked and greatly admired by me."

That was Tuesday. On Thursday he died. And now what an outpouring of emotion for the 70-year-old Ebert - the brilliant movie critic for nearly 5 decades who had lost his ability to speak but never lost his voice.

He reviewed 200 movies a year. Can you imagine? And now, on social media, where he gained a new audience after he was no longer to appear on television, it's abuzz with tributes and applause for a life well and fully lived. Two thumbs up, if you will. We'll look back at his influential and interesting life, tonight at 11.

Also at 11, it was a legit question, posed to NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly today during a briefing with reporters: Why did it take 24 days for surveillance video to surface of the vicious beating and robbery of a 56-year-old woman as she walked in a subway station in Brooklyn? It's a top-of-mind question because a violent man was loose - and millions of people who ride the subways everyday were affected. Usually, the police send out an alert promptly. So why not now, asked our investigative reporter Jim Hoffer?

The answer from the Commissioner was, to give him the kindest spin, hazy. You can judge for yourself. Here it is: "I think it's always difficult to put together some of these videos. I'm not certain in this case, but there are lots of different systems out there - you have to make it compatible with our system, so there (are) some challenges in putting out these videos as quickly as possible."

You mean, Mr. Commissioner, there were technical problems? We in the TV news business can relate to that. But then we fix them, right? And quickly, if public safety is at stake as it was in this March 9 attack.

It's not an inconsequential question because, less than 24 hours after we aired the video, the cops got about 40 tips from people who say they knew who the attacker was. Of course, he wore a sweatshirt with his Facebook name on it - an Italian slang word. This was a no brainer.

We asked the question about why it took so long before - but the cops wouldn't respond. Today, Hoffer asked, and Kelly explained. Sort of.

We'll have the latest, at 11.

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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