Every blogger on the planet is writing this morning about Obama’s acceptance speech and McCain’s running mate.
I think Mike Barnacle on "Morning Joke" (MSNBC) just summed up Obama's speech perfectly: "Not grand and soaring, but specific and concrete." If you saw the wonderful Alan Sorkin movie, "The American President," you would have recognized some great lines delivered by the fictional President Andrew Shepherd.
As for McCain’s running mate, frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.
Ordinarily, when people have nothing to say, they talk about the weather. But, today, across the Deep South, the weather is the topic du jour.
The governor of Mississippi has declared a state of emergency. New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin has told residents he will not hestitate to order a mandatory evacuation. MSNBC is hyping Gustav’s threat so they can talk about “split-screen coverage” of a major hurricane and a Republican convention.
Reports on The Weather Channel are much less alarmist.
Friends and family in Mississippi and Louisiana are reporting a near-panic.
The Katrina syndrome.
In their words:
From central Mississippi: “Well, I have been caught totally off guard by the mass grab taking place today of people preparing for the pending hurricane. Which, by the way, could hit anywhere from Texas to Florida. I guess people were SOOO not ready for Katrina that it has caused a panic. Gas here went up 29 cents overnight. People are lined up at the gas pumps and fighting for a place in line. A friend went to two stations before getting gas last night because the stations had sold out. No water on the shelves of any of the stores here, or batteries. I am praying this thing just fizzles out in the Gulf. Wishful thinking, huh? I have some gas in the car and a few groceries. I will not panic until we get a better forecast.”
From a friend getting her master’s online: “I'm busting it trying to get all my homework done early in case this hurricane turns out to be like Katrina and knocks my power out for a week ... been at it every evening. People are freaking out and have bought all the water, gas and batteries, and are standing in line at Home Depot, waiting on generators. I filled up both my cars, and that is about it. I never have food so why start now? Ha. Got no money to run stock up on all this crap anyway. I just need INTERNET service, which I cannot store. And gas, which I’ve gotten alredy.”
From Mississippi: “I will not get crazy about the weather. I think folks around here are stopping nothing short of building a bomb shelter. All I can think that we need is a loaf of bread. If the shelves are bare this weekend, I will bake one. LOL No, seriously, I hope I am right and this is no Katrina or worse yet, Camille.”
The latest advisory from the National Hurricane Center:
“Center of TS Gustav moving west of Jamaica … 18.3 N/78.3 W … moving to W/NW at 8 mph … maximum sustained winds at 65 mph with tropical storm force winds extending up to 140 miles outward from center … minimum central pressure at 988 MB/29.18 inches … storm surge at 1 to 3 feet above normal tide … total rainfall accumulations of 6 to 12 inches across Jamaica and the Cayman Islands with maximum amounts of up to 25 inches possible.”
Then this simple cautionary note: “Interests throughout the Gulf of Mexico should monitor the progress of Gustav.”
It’s always best to err on the side of caution and, as the Boy Scouts of America motto goes, “Be prepared,” but with five additional tropical disturbances in the Atlantic, “crying wolf” and creating unnecessary panic can upset life routines as well.
Best to get reports from a source without an alarmist edge. All the latest – and official - news on Gustav (and Hannah) is available at the National Hurricane Center Web site HERE.