Marisa’s Musings: Kennedy/Health Care/Kidnapping Mystery/Bank Failures

By Marisa Bramwell

Aug 27, 2009 9:40pm

Thousands of people are lined up outside the JFK Library to pay their respects to Senator Kennedy, the health care debate rages on, and an 18-year kidnapping mystery is solved.  I'm Marisa Bramwell and here's the evening editorial note from the ABC News Desk.

KENNEDY – FROM HYANNIS PORT TO BOSTON:  This afternoon  Senator Ted Kennedy‘s body was driven from Hyannis Port to the JFK Library in Boston, where it will lie in repose through Friday.  “All the generations of Kennedy’s – 85 family members by one count – stood witness – with the Senator’s wife Vicki and only surviving sibling sister Jean in the vanguard….once in Boston the motorcade made its way past buildings significant from Kennedy’s past…St. Stephen’s Church…the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway…Faneuil Hall…South Boston…” Charles Gibson reported on WORLD NEWS.  As Kennedy’s motorcade made the trip, “thousands of people lined the streets…and they had thousands of stories…personal stories…for why they wanted to be here to say goodbye,” John Berman reported on WORLD NEWS. 
On Friday Senator Ted Kennedy will lie in repose at the JFK Library from 10a-4pm ET.  From 7-9pm ET, there will be a Celebration of Life Memorial Service held at the library.  It will be a private event, closed to the public.

KENNEDY SUCCESSOR:  George Stephanopoulos tells us the chances of Ted Kennedy’s successor being chosen soon is likely:“It’s got the support of the governor, Deval Patrick, and the state legislators are warming up to it after lobbying from the Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid and Vicki Kennedy.  There is a chance this could pass by late September, and one of the names being mentioned as a temporary senator is the former governor and presidential candidate, Michael Dukakis.”  As for who would run for Kennedy’s seat in a special election, Stephanopoulos says “Vicki Kennedy has taken herself out, but Joe Kennedy – Bobby’s eldest son, a former congressman – is still looking at the race.  He has some money left over in his campaign chest.  And there’s a host of other members of congress and other statewide officials.  There’s a lot of pent up ambition in Massachusetts.  There hasn’t been an open Senate seat since John Kerry first ran in 1984, 25 years ago.”

KENNEDY/HEALTHCARE:  With Senator Ted Kennedy’s passing, there’s been an urgent push by Democrats to pass a health care reform bill in the Senator’s honor.  “Many prominent Democrats are hoping to turn an outpouring of goodwill into political magic….the tactic has worked before: after the assassination of John Kennedy, President Johnson invoked his memory to revive the long-stalled civil rights bill,” Jonathan Karl reported on WORLD NEWS.  But Republicans are resistant – Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) told ABC News today “Frankly, I’m getting a little upset by some of these people trying to take advantage of [Kennedy’s death] and saying we now have to pass a health care reform because of Ted.  Well, Ted wouldn’t want it passed if it wasn’t good.”
“’Win one for Teddy’ is already becoming a rallying cry on Capitol Hill,” Karl reports, “but the divisions run deep and not easily overcome…no matter how much goodwill there is for Senator Kennedy. “

KIDNAPPED GIRL FOUND 18 YEARS LATER:  An 18-year-old kidnapping mystery has been solved.  Jaycee Lee Dugard was 11-years-old when she was kidnapped outside her South Lake Tahoe home in June 1991.  “What ensued was one of the largest searches for an abducted child in California history,” Mike von Fremd reported on WORLD NEWS.  “There were posters, ribbons and candlelight vigils.  But the trail was cold.  Stepfather and mother Terri were devastated.”  A break in the case came when University of California at Berkeley police expressed suspicion of a man who wanted to distribute religious literature on the campus with two girls Tuesday.  A background check found the man was 58-year-old convicted sex offender Phillip Garrido, who was on lifetime parole for a kidnapping and rape conviction.  Garrido was ordered to meet with his parole officer Wednesday.  He brought the girls and a female named “Allissa” to the meeting, raising the suspicions of the officer, who claimed to have never seen the females during any of his visits to Garrido’s house over the years.  “Allissa” was later identified as Jaycee Lee Dugard, and Garrido and his wife Nancy, 54, were arrested.  Officials say Dugard was held captive in the backyard of Garrido’s Antioch house, living in a shed designed to be undetectable to visitors.  The two children that were with Garrido on the UC Berkeley campus – ages 15 and 11 – are Dugard’s and were fathered by her kidnapper.   Police say they have not had any medical care or schooling their entire lives.  Dugard has reunited with her family.  Police said they expect to formally file charges against the Garridos by Friday at noon local time.

PROBLEMATIC BANKS:  Matt Jaffe and Dan Arnall report: “There are more banks are on the brink of failure today than there have been in 15 years, according to a new report from the FDIC. And the agency’s basic insurance fund for deposits has dwindled to around $10 billion after a record 81 banks have failed already this year.  As of the end of the second quarter of this year, the FDIC’s “problem list” now has 416 institutions, with a combined $300 billion in assets, up from 305 institutions at the end of the prior period, the agency said…The bad news doesn’t end there. Never before in the 26-year history that such data has been recorded have insured institutions suffered a higher amount of write-downs or dealt with a higher percentage in past-due loans and leases…Despite the agency’s deposit insurance fund dwindling by $2.6 billion down to $10.4 billion, Bair told reporters after this morning’s announcement in Washington that the FDIC has no plans at the present time to borrow money from the Treasury Department.” 

GDP 2ND QUARTER REPORT:  The government’s second look at its second-quarter GDP report brought positive news that the economy’s performance saw an annualized reduction of 1 percent – better than economists’ expectations.  Dan Arnall reports the improvement comes from American companies exporting more overseas, increased government spending and consumers spending more on housing and general goods.  Here’s more from Arnall:  “Economists tell us that two of these factors – better consumer spending and small business spending on inventories – bode well for future GDP reports. Why? Businesses have to put stock on their shelves, and if they’re not restocking the storeroom now, they’ll have to in the coming months. That means a potentially big bump in business spending at the end of the year, which means positive GDP growth that might exceed expectations. But we won’t see that peeking through until the Q3/Q4 reports, which aren’t out for months. We’ll get a final pass at the Q2 GDP results at the end of September.”

BERNANKE’S ID STOLEN:  Apparently even the Federal Reserve Chairman isn’t immune to identity theft.  Matt Jaffe and Jason Ryan report:  “According to court documents obtained by ABC News, Ben Bernanke and his wife were the victims of identity theft last year, falling prey to a ring led by a convicted schemer called ‘Big Head’ that stole over $2.1 million from consumers. …Bernanke’s wife Anna had her purse stolen at a Washington Starbucks last August. Inside the purse was not only her wallet, including her driver’s license and social security card, but also a joint checkbook the couple used. Days later, someone started cashing checks. The crime was quickly reported to DC police.”  One of the ring leaders, Clyde Austin Gray Jr. – aka “Big Head” – pleaded guilty last month to conspiracy to commit bank fraud, and ring member George Lee Reid has admitted to depositing checks from Bernanke’s account.

SWINE FLU & PREGNANT WOMEN:  Federal health officials today urged pregnant women to get vaccinated for swine flu.  Brian Hartman reports “Federal officials worry vaccine safety concerns might keep pregnant women from getting flu shots this fall. So they're pushing to make expectant mothers more afraid of the flu than they are of vaccines.  Pregnant women are at greater risk than others from pretty much everything, including the regular flu and, of course, the swine flu.”

DISCOVERY LAUNCH, TAKE 4:  Gina Sunseri reports NASA will make a fourth attempt to launch Discovery Friday night at 11:59pm ET. 

TS DANNY:  A tropical storm watch has been issued for the coast of North Carolina as Tropical Storm Danny continues to move westward.  The National Hurricane Center reports Danny has slightly weakened – with maximum sustained winds at 50 mph – but could slowly strengthen over the next 48 hours, but they do not expect it to become a hurricane.  The US Coast Guard has issued warnings urging beachgoers and mariners along the Atlantic Coast to be cautious.

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