Saturday, September 13, 2008

Anderson Cooper's 360 does 2 hour special on Ike

Anderson Cooper loves the chance to turn his CNN 360 program into an instant real-time documentary movie, and he did so today with his special report on Hurricane Ike from the Gulf Coast at 6 PM EDT, for two hours.

Anderson himself was paying his dues by standing waist-deep in a gentle current in Bridge City, Texas, near Port Arthur and near the Sabine Pass on the Louisiana border. At one point, a water moccasin was spotted near him. Anderson’s outdoor approach to reporting shows he is trying to match Sebastina Junger in “paying his dues.”

Rob Marciano reported from Galveston, as did Gary Tuchman, who interviewed one couple who had stayed in their home, in the attic, defying warnings from authorities about “certain death.” The report showed downtown Houston, with streets being swept up of glass that got blown out by the wind tunnel effect on lower floors of skyscrapers, especially the Chase Building. There was a helicopter tour of Bolivar Island, east of Galveston, showing about 15 rows of inundated houses. At the last minute, the storm veered slightly to the East, sparing Galveston from the worst.

Ali Velshi reported from Baytown on the preparations of the oil industry to get back online.

Reporters say that many residents in south Texas cities could be without power for several weeks. But power was still on in downtown Houston, where utilities are underground. I think Texas utilities will get the juice back sooner. I almost got a mainframe contract programming job with Texas utilities in 1988 through a consulting company called Culter-Williams. One job would have involved the nuclear plant at Glen Rose.

Anderson’s 360 blog on the show is here. He is now filming a sequel to “Planet in Peril”. I would love to see a theatrical release from the “Planet in Peril” series, to match films by Al Gore and Leonardo di Caprio. I suppose Warner Independent Pictures or Picturehouse would be logical distributors. I think such a release ought to be made.

The broadcast also covered the tragic commuter train wreck in California Sept. 12.

Update: Sept. 15, 2008

The Washington Times reports, in an exclusive story by David M. Dickson today, that John Hofmeister, a former president of Shell Oil, has called for short term odd-even gasoline rationing in many parts of the country, possibly up to Washington DC, to handle shortages due to major refinery disruptions in the Houston area from Hurricane Ike. The reporting by Ali Velshi on CNN so far would not seem to back up this need, but I will track this. The newspaper link is here.

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