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Walking to the door

Bill Ritter's daily take on the news.
July 29, 2013 1:32:20 PM PDT
She died way too young. Darlene Ritter was just 61 when lung cancer quickly ravaged her body. She was diagnosed in October; she died in early January - 11 weeks of hell. She would have been 86 had she lived. 86 today. July 29 still means mom's birthday, despite the 24 years since her death. And I'm thinking of her today.

It's especially poignant given what Scott Simon is going through right now. The long-time and oh-so-talented NPR anchor and journalist is sitting in the ICU of a hospital in Chicago with his mother, walking her right to the door. He's documenting the emotional experience - and in a way that is so Scott Simon, which I mean in the best sense and with the highest regard - via Twitter. And so on this day when I member my mom's birthday, and how we walked her right to the door, I'm thinking of Scott and his mom, and his family.

That's the backdrop for me as we prep tonight's 11 p.m. newscast.

And what a fascinating welcome-back from vacation, on two issues that are long-suffering, long-simmering, and seemingly intractable. Talking about the effort to start - for the umpteenth time - the Mideast peace talks, and the Catholic Church's new-found but partial humanitarian view of homosexuality.

We start with the Middle East, and tonight in Washington, Secretary of State John Kerry begins to discuss the discussions that will hopefully follow between the top leaders of Israel and the Palestinians. Yes, we've heard this song and seen this dance before. But as always, fingers crossed. Again.

And then there's Pope Francis, who today took the boldest step by any pontiff ever when he said it was not for him to judge other people's sexual orientation. No, he didn't say it was okay for priests to be gay (and there may be a couple of them), and yes he did urge gay Catholics to be "chaste." But his statements about homosexuality - given aboard a plane back from his trip to Brazil - are causing quite a stir among Church experts. Does it open the door to the closet?

We'll have the latest on both stories, tonight at 11.

We'll also have the latest on that tragic boat accident in Rockland County on the Hudson River, that killed a bride-to-be and the best-man-to-be. The driver of the boat, now charged with vehicular manslaughter and driving while drunk.

We'll also have any breaking news of the night, plus Meteorologist Lee Goldberg's AccuWeather forecast, and Laura Behnke (in for Rob Powers) with the night's sports, including the latest on Alex Rodriguez's big decision whether to take baseball's proposal to be suspended for the next year and a half, or face a lifetime ban for using steroids. I hope you can join Sade Baderinwa and me, tonight at 11.

BILL RITTER

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