Have Satellite Truck, Will Travel

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Location: Sitting inside a TV truck, Somewhere, more then likely in the Southeastern region, United States

I am a grouchy, bald headed old fart filled with opinions and not the least bit shy about sharing them.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Every TV station's worse nightmare

A major fire struck WABC just before the 11:00 p.m. news Monday night. Friends say the fire spread with frightening speed after a loud "pop" was heard behind the New York City skyline back drop. The fire began almost instantly with flames towering for or five feet. Within seconds it climbed the wall and got into the lighting grid and ceiling. Fire sprinklers contained the fire to the studio.

The fire produced heavy smoke resulting in an evacuation of the entire building, master control included. WABC went to black and alternated between black and color bars until sometime before 1:00 a.m. when engineers were able to patch ABC's West Coast feed from the network headquarters next door.

The news is heavily damaged. This was in the new set just recently completed to accommodate the finer resolution of high definition television. The morning news aired from the flash camera in the news room while round the clock repairs began in the studios below. The Regis and Kelly set next door suffered water and smoke damage forcing that show next door to ABC's TV-3 studio. This is the set that used to be home to Good Morning America and is currently home to Who Wants To Be Millionaire.

The cause of the fire is reported to be a faulty electrical connector that fed the overhead lighting grid.

Written from various news reports and personal accounts...

Here are some interesting you tube links covering the event:
WABC coverage part 1
WABC coverage part 2
Raw footage shot outside of firefighting operations
WNBC's mention that WABC is off the air

- 30 -

"We will go on the air even if we have to broadcast from the sidewalk."
- Kenny Plotnik, WABC News Director.

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Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Science fiction writers assist Homeland Security

A rest area just north of Macon, GA - Today's USA Today carried a story about a group of well known science fiction writers who consult with the government on possible future terrorism scenarios. Check this out:

Looking to prevent the next terrorist attack, the Homeland Security Department is tapping into the wild imaginations of a group of self-described "deviant" thinkers: science-fiction writers.

"We spend our entire careers living in the future," says author Arlan Andrews, one of a handful of writers the government brought to Washington this month to attend a Homeland Security conference on science and technology.

Those responsible for keeping the nation safe from devastating attacks realize that in addition to border agents, police and airport screeners, they "need people to think of crazy ideas," Andrews says.

The writers make up a group called Sigma, which Andrews put together 15 years ago to advise government officials. The last time the group gathered was in the late 1990s, when members met with government scientists to discuss what a post-nuclear age might look like, says group member Greg Bear. He has written 30 sci-fi books, including the best seller Darwin's Radio.

Now, the Homeland Security Department is calling on the group to help with the government's latest top mission of combating terrorism.

Although some sci-fi writers' futuristic ideas might sound crazy now, scientists know that they often have what seems to be an uncanny ability to see into the future.

USA Today: Sci-fi writers join war on terror

The entire article is very cool. I highly recommend it, especially since most of you reading this are also science fiction fans.

- 30 -

Science fiction writers foresee the inevitable, and although problems and catastrophes may be inevitable, solutions are not.
- Isaac Asimov

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Tuesday, May 15, 2007

So long Rev. Falwell and thanks for all the intolerance

Near Lake City, FL - Rev. Jerry Falwell collapsed at his desk today. He was taken to the hospital in full cardiac arrest and later pronounced dead. The cause of death has not been released as of now.

Rev. Falwell is survived by the remains of his "moral majority" movement that combined religion and politics to create the "Religious Right" we've come to know today. The result is what got me to stop supporting the Republican party and call myself a conservative.

Prior to Rev. Falwell's marriage to the political machine, the Republican party was primarily interested in fiscal conservatism, keeping taxes and spending to the bare bones and keeping government out of our personal lives.

Now, thanks to the influence of Rev. Falwell and others like him, the party has come to represent intolerance, closed minds and a down right uppity "Holier then thou" attitude. There is way too much God and preaching in an organization that should have little if anything at all to do with religion.

Thanks to Rev. Falwell and Co. we now we have institutionalized bigotry against gays. We have judges that think they can ignore state and federal law based on a religious belief. Roe vs. Wade is under attack on several different fronts.

And the worse part of all is because of all this, good people, unable to stomach the party dogma are fleeing the party. Which means the new socialist party, also known as Democrats, are probably going to end up with entire ball of wax in 2008.

In spite of that nasty religious-Holier-then-thou-we-know-what-God-wants-you-to-do streak, the Republicans still stand for many of the things I do: Private property rights, gun ownership rights, lower taxes, getting welfare recipients off the dole and working, getting government off out backs, strong defense, etc.

Unfortunately, I cannot go along with the Republican's propensity to invade personal decisions such as abortion, adoption, who you can marry, etc. And these things are directly attributable to Rev. Falwell and the Moral Majority movement. There are other minor issues as well, but that one is the deal breaker.

So Rev. Falwell has gone on to find out what happens after this life. I feel for his loved ones that are probably devastated at his unexpected and very sudden departure. Death is the one on non-negotiable pain in this life.

But I can't help but wonder what lays in store for the good reverend if he was as wrong in his beliefs as I believe he was.


AIDS is not just God's punishment for homosexuals; it is God's punishment for the society that tolerates homosexuals.
- Jerry Falwell

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Sunday, May 13, 2007

Imus, Al Sharpton and Opie and Anthony

Near Lake City, FL - Imus used the phrase "Knappy Headed Ho's" to describe the national champion Rutgers basketball team on his nationally syndicated radio show last month. In doing so he incurred the wrath of Rev. Al Sharpton, race activist, presidential candidate and all around lens hound. Even though Imus apologized publicly and then personally to the basketball team, Rev. Sharpton pressed his organization's efforts demanding Imus be removed from both MSNBC and CBS Radio.

Rev. Sharpton got his wish. Imus was fired. So much for all that good Christian noise about forgiveness.

Now we fast forward in time to a debate during which Rev. Sharpton said, "As for the one Mormon running for office, those who really believe in God will defeat him anyways, so don't worry about that; that's a temporary situation."
Sharpton said, "I don't believe you can really believe in God if you believe that God created some inferior to others. I believe that, and as a minister I have a right to advocate that. That's not bigotry. That's really saying I don't believe God is a bigot."
KSL News: Public Reacts to Sharpton's Comments on Romney, Mormons

If those are not two bigoted statements worthy of any Klansman, I don't know what would be.

Now Rev. Sharpton is back peddling something fierce, making apologies and arrangements to meet in person with Mormon elders. Rev. Sharpton is offering lame explanations for his statements. He is working hard to get back on message as a leading political activist and defender of the race.

I don't see a gray area here. Either Imus needs to be reinstated with back pay and a really sincere apology from the people that fired him or Al Sharpton needs to lose his radio show, be fired from all his leadership rolls and live out the rest of his life in relative obscurity.

Speaking of the self appointed bigotry watch dog role Rev. Sharpton is so fond of playing, why isn't he all over Opie and Anthony for their Condoleezza Rice rape skit? There were definite racial overtones to that one. In my view it was far more offensive then the "Knappy Headed Ho's" comment.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has been accused of "selling out her people" because of her conservative positions on most issues. Of course Opie and Anthony continually beat the Bush administration, the war and all things even remotely conservative to a nauseating degree.

Is it possible that Rev. Sharpton is not interested in going to war over racial slurs when the person being slurred does not set well him politically? Or maybe it is somehow acceptable to look the other way when the people doing the slurring are forwarding his political agenda.

Possibly both?

Edit: I was wrong above. Al Sharpton did call for Opie and Anthony to be fired. An anonymous commenter on another blog directed me to a story carried on the NY1 web sight:

This news comes as another pair of shock jocks -- CBS and XM's Opie and Anthony -- find them selves under fire once again -- this time for comments a homeless man made on their show about raping Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, First Lady Laura Bush and Queen Elizabeth.

The pair apologized for the comments, but that has not stopped the Reverend Al Sharpton from calling for their firing.

Sharpton says he hopes to meet with officials at XM about the incident.

NY1: CBS Fires Two More Shock Jocks For Inflammatory On-Air Remarks

Oddly enough and for whatever reason, his demand for Opie and Anthony's career heads did not get a great deal of media play.

A tip of the hat to the anonymous commenter. I would rather stand corrected then stand in error.

Bigotry dwarfs the soul by shutting out the truth.
- Edwin Hubbel Chapin

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Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Today's air travel in the United States.

Louisville, KY - Yesterday was a red a letter day. I flew from Tallahassee to Louisville yesterday and did not get the strip search and anal probe at the security check point. This is the first time since Sept. 11th the TSA felt me unworthy of the "special treatment." Obviously someone screwed up here.

But that small joy at being overlooked for the hand pat down and explosive sniffing machine is itself noteworthy. What have we come to when it is a treat to walk through the airport lines without getting treated like a criminal?


Increased and better screening for explosives is necessary - and Congress should fund it and TSA should implement it as quickly as possible - however that screening doesn't reduce the risk posed by a trained terrorist with an unconventional weapon.
- Dave Reichert

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