Saturday, August 16, 2003
In the days before book sellers became drop-off points for multiglomerate produced and Chinese manufactured kitsch, certain SciFi tales postulated a near future America of separate territories warring over limited resources like energy and water. A decadent class-riddled America of sex, drugs, lurid omnipresent media and massive infrastructure decay. As kids on vacation are prone to yell from a car’s back seat, “Are we there yet?”
Certainly the images and sounds from the last few days so reminiscent of September 11, 2001 will linger in the minds of many Americans.
Blessedly, here on the western edge of the eastern grid with oversight by the sensible burghers of the metro Cincinnati utilities and by the grace of God, our invisible megawatts remained. Several things, however, stand out from the confusion of the largest power outage in American history:
The calm and civility of the people in the affected cities.
The effectiveness of the local and state governments
The absence of Federal representatives on scene or commenting
As thousands of people not stuck in subways or elevators swarmed out of Manhattan on foot, the similarities to September 11 were reinforced by the televised absence of the President. Almost five hours after the blackout froze clocks at 4:10pm, videotaped comments from Mr. Bush, ever busy fund-raising, were played by the networks.
Like September 11 the President seemed preoccupied. During the taped remarks, the Mr. Bush repeated, as fact, an unfounded rumor that the outage had been caused by a lightening strike at a power plant in Niagara, New York. He also, without supporting evidence, said that terrorism was not a factor.
Vacationing President shows great skill with pictured tool
I was struck by CNN’s continued insistence that the President, in the rugged wilds of wealthy Santa Monica, was unable to speak live to the nation.
I also thought it highly interesting that the Vice President, according to CNN, was also on vacation and “unavailable”.
I was surprised not to see the ever telepresent Tom Ridge.
Unsurprisingly, Wolf Blitzer, who remains unflappable no matter the nonsense he spouts, then said that Chief of Staff Andrew Card was in charge from the White House. Wolf [meaning Card] confided to the camera, “He’s very good.”
Yesterday, still on the photo op fund raising circuit, the President switched to the more politically advantageous:
I view it as a wake-up call. You know, I've been concerned that our infrastructure -- the delivery system is old and antiquated. And I think this is an indication of the fact that we need to modernize the electricity grid.
Update Aug14 Post
Yesterday, Friday August 15th, the fine people of CBS News broadcast a story about American wounded.
That story reported 450 wounded American soldiers from Iraq since the President’s speech on the aircraft carrier.