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The Republican Leadership Council
Friday, September 19, 2003
From Salt Lake City, UT
The National Federation of Republican Women
Let's take a break from the political storm on the West coast to look at some aspects of the tropical storm on the East coast.
The best thing about a hurricane is the TV coverage of it. You can pretty much tell which reporters are in good stead with their station or network, and which ones are more-or-less expendable, by watching to see who is hanging perpendicular from a light post with his hair plastered to his rain-soaked face reporting from the beach; and who is seated in his comfortable studio chair with an oh-so-concerned-look upon his dry face under his carefully coiffed hair saying things like, "be very careful out there, Bill," while thinking, "You putz. I told you not to drink so much at the station manager's Fourth-of-July party."
One beach reporter yesterday morning attempted to find a visually exciting way to demonstrate the force of the wind by kicking a football into it. "I can usually kick this football about 40 yards," the reporter shouted over the wind in his microphone as he punted the football toward the camera.
KICK! The darned thing went about oh, I'd say, exactly 40 yards, over the camera, out of the frame, and up the beach.
"Uh, well, if you could see the football you would see it's being blown back toward the ocean by these high winds," the reporter said, watching his local news Emmy rolling back toward him along the sand.
A standard TV/hurricane story is the fishing pier which falls into the ocean as the result of being "bombarded by high winds, high waves, and a strong storm surge." One channel was showing footage of an angry ocean where the pier used to be, as explained to us in great detail by the on-scene reporter who had clearly missed the dramatic footage of the pier actually collapsing into the ocean he had been sent there to get.
Another reporter was being blown around some street or another and said (this is a true quote), "The sustained winds are, I'd say, between 45 and 50 miles an hour with gusts up to about 65 miles per hour."
The question inquiring viewers asked was: How do you know? Unlike reporters for The Weather Channel who have actual hand-held anemometers, this guy was obviously guessing based upon what he had probably seen on The Weather Channel.
Everyone has the same story, and the same pictures, so to dramatize the storm studio hosts read from Teleprompters which include facts and figures which must include the words millions and billions. Plus, they are reduced to saying things like, "Bill, are you sure there's no hospital nearby with sick little children who are endangered by the approach of Hurricane Isabel?" Ok, that didn't happen - but the others did.
The Mullings Director of Standards & Practices was left behind to manage the family manse in the face of the approaching storm. The homeowners association sent an e-mail saying there were sandbags available for those who wanted to protect their homes against a rising Potomac River.
The MD of S&P asked if she should get some sandbags. I said that if the river got as high as our house she wouldn't need sandbags. She should go looking for an Ark.
A short look back over my shoulder to the California recall. This is an actual letter-for-letter quote by Gray Davis as published in yesterday's San Francisco Chronicle in an article headed, "Davis Concedes He Had Lost Touch With Voters" during which Davis pandered for votes from people anywhere in the solar system:
"My vision is to make the most diverse state on earth, and we have people from every planet on the earth in this state. We have the sons and daughters of every, of people from every planet, of every country on earth."
The headline SHOULD have been: "Davis Concedes He Has Lost Touch With Reality."
On the Secret Decoder Ring page today: A link to the Gray Davis piece, the etymology of the word "Hurricane" a pretty good Mullfoto; a GREAT War Poster; and an amusing Catchy Caption of the Day.
Copyright © 2003 Richard A. Galen
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