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People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it. Welcome to From On High.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Sanity Returns

I tell you. The journalism profession has not represented itself well in the last week or so. Between Jack Cafferdy's hysterical rantings on CNN and the mainstream media's willfull ignorance as it pertains to the shameful role played by both the mayor of New Orleans and the governor of Louisiana in the relief debacle at the Super Dome refugee site, I can't imagine anyone ever wanting to be an on-air "newsperson" or newspaper reporter. Unless they couldn't get on at McDonald's.

Well, slowly but ever so surely, the real story is coming out.

When I heard one reporter report to another reporter the staggering - and climbing - virtual death toll in New Orleans that resulted from Hurricane Katrina slamming into ... Mississippi, my thought was, "Wait a minute. New Orleans suffered a good bit of wind damage but structurally the city's buildings were comparatively sound. It was only after the storm passed that the levees gave way and the city's streets slowly flooded. Logically, there was no way that ten thousand people drowned when the water inundated New Orleans."

It seems that finally the water level ... and the hysteria are subsiding. Here's the latest "news" in the New York Times:
Death Toll in New Orleans May Be Lower Than First Feared
By
SEWELL CHAN and MICHAEL LUO

NEW ORLEANS, Sept. 9 - The first organized effort to scour the city for its dead has turned up far fewer bodies than expected, officials said Friday. That raised hopes that the death toll from Hurricane Katrina might be much lower than the 10,000 that the mayor and others had predicted.

As the floodwater continued to recede, police officers, National Guard members and members of the 82nd Airborne Division of the Army began to canvass street to street and house to house in the first phase of a hunt to find, remove and identify the dead.

"There's some encouragement in what we found in the initial sweeps," Col. Terry J. Ebbert, the city's director of homeland security, said. "The numbers so far are relatively minor as compared with the dire predictions of 10,000."

The specter of a five-figure toll was raised this week, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency ordered 25,000 body bags flown to a temporary morgue in St. Gabriel. The official state death count stood at 118. Mississippi reported 211. (link)
118. In the entire state of Lousiana. A tragic number in itself but that's a far cry from 10,000.

So, what is the lesson to be learned here? First, when the authorities tell you to run, run.

Second, when a "journalist" "reports" - in breathless intonations - anything, run.

I Can Find No Better Example

With regard to the mainstream press, I can "report" that I have watched CNN twice in the last week. Once was last Friday while sitting in O'Hare waiting for a plane. On that occasion I was subject to the lunacy of one Jack Cafferdy. With arms flailing, thinning hair disheveled, and eyes bulging, he was screaming hysterically for someone to do something about the plight of the citizenry of New Orleans. He was pathetic.

The other occurrence came yesterday as I was waiting for a plane at LaGuardia. I had my back to the overhead television but I swung around when I heard some squirrelly-looking interviewer ask a reporter about the latter's story relating to FEMA Director Michael Brown's resume. What startled me was this (as later reported by the Associated Press):
... the beleaguered Brown was facing questions Friday about his resume.

Bush administration documents have credited Brown with overseeing emergency services while working for the city of Edmond, Okla., in the mid-1970s. Brown's official biography on the FEMA Web site says he served as "an assistant city manager." But a former mayor of Edmond, Randel Shadid, told AP on Friday that Brown had been an assistant to the city manager - never assistant city manager.

"I think there's a difference between the two positions," said Shadid. "I would think that is a discrepancy." (link)
50,000 troops and countless thousands of volunteers are searching the rubble of what was once the city of New Orleans, as well as the wreckage strewn across 90,000 square miles of the Gulf coast, coming upon horrors the likes of which none of us should ever witness and the mainstream press is fixated on Michael Brown's resume and reporting that he was never Assistant City Manager; he was Assistant To The City Manager.

For the love of God.

I looked around at the faces of several other travellers who had just watched the same thing on the monitor. They were all doing what I was doing; shaking their heads in disbelief. And, in unison, turning their backs to the television.

What idiocy.

And While We're On The Subject ...

As it turns out, we can now afix blame for the widespread destruction in New Orleans. The environmentalists did it. Hang 'em all.

Greens vs. Levees
Destructive river-management philosophy.
By John Berlau, National Review Online

The national Sierra Club was one of several environmental groups who sued the Army Corps of Engineers to stop a 1996 plan to raise and fortify Mississippi River levees.

The Army Corps was planning to upgrade 303 miles of levees along the river in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Arkansas. This was needed, a Corps spokesman told the Baton Rouge, La., newspaper The Advocate, because “a failure could wreak catastrophic consequences on Louisiana and Mississippi which the states would be decades in overcoming, if they overcame them at all.”

But a suit filed by environmental groups at the U.S. District Court in New Orleans claimed the Corps had not looked at “the impact on bottomland hardwood wetlands.”

The lawsuit was settled in 1997 with the Corps agreeing to hold off on some work while doing an additional two-year environmental impact study. (link)

The alligators thank you for your efforts, Sierra Club. So, I'm sure, do the people of New Orleans. Uh, make that the people of what used to be New Orleans.

This Is Funny

I have no idea where this originated but the author has a certain talent.

****************
When I was a kid, adults used to bore me to tears with their tedious diatribes about how hard things were when they were growing up. What with walking twenty-five miles to school every morning ... uphill ... both ways .... through year 'round blizzards ... carrying their younger siblings on their backs ... to their one-room schoolhouse, where they maintained a straight-A average despite their full-time, after-school job at the local textile mill where they worked for 35 cents an hour just to help keep their family from starving to death!

And I remember promising myself that when I grew up, there was no way in hell I was going to lay a bunch of crap like that on kids .about how hard I had it and how easy they've got it!

But ... Now that I'm over the ripe old age of thirty, I can't help but look around and notice the youth of today. You've got it so easy! I mean, compared to my childhood, you live in a damn Utopia! And I hate to say it but you kids today you don't know how good you've got it!

I mean, when I was a kid we didn't have The Internet. Wwe wanted to know something, we had to go to the damn library and look it up ourselves! There was no email!....We had to actually write somebody a letter ... with a pen! Then you had to walk all the way across the street and put it in the mailbox and it would take like a week to get there!

There were no MP3s or Napsters! You wanted to steal music, you had to go to the damn record store and shoplift it yourself! Or you had to wait around all day to tape it off the radio and the DJ'd usually talk over the beginning and mess it all up!

We didn't have fancy stuff like Call Waiting!If you were on the phoneand somebody else called they got a busy signal! And we didn't have fancy Caller ID Boxes either! When the phone rang, you had no idea who it was! It could be your boss, your mom, a collections agent, your drug dealer, you didn't know!!! You just had to pick it up and take your chances, mister!

We didn't have any fancy Sony Play station videogames with high-resolution 3-D graphics! We had the Atari 2600! With games like Space Invaders and Asteroids and the graphics sucked! Your guy was a little square! You had to use your imagination! And there were no multiple levels or screens, it was just one screen forever! And you could never win, the game just kept getting harder and faster until you died! .........Just like LIFE!

When you went to the movie theater there was no such thing as stadium seating! All the seats were the same height! If a tall guy sat in front of you and you couldn't see you were just screwed!

Sure, we had cable television, but back then that was only like 20 channels and there was no onscreen menu and no remote control! You had to use a little book called a TV Guide to find out what was on! You were screwed when it came to channel surfing! You had to get off your butt and walk over to the TV to change the channel and there was no Cartoon Network! You could only get cartoons on Saturday Morning.... D'ya hear what I'm saying!?! We had to wait ALL WEEK, you spoiled little farts!

We didn't have microwaves, if we wanted to heat something up, we had to use the stove.....imagine that! If we wanted popcorn ... we had to use that stupid jiffy pop and shake it over the stove like an idiot forever.

That's exactly what I'm talking about! You kids today have got it too easy. You're spoiled, you guys wouldn't have lasted five minutes back in 1980!

Thanks goes out to Suellen for sending me this. And Happy Birthday!