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Storm Cuts Power in Two Newsrooms

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Sunday, October 28, 2012

3 Feet of Water in Lobby of N.Y. Daily News Building

"Our Stratified Society Makes Storms More Deadly"

Storm Raises Suppressed Issue of Climate Change

All Hands on Deck at Local Television Stations

Washington Post Examines Obama as Black President

Presidents Found to "Betray" Fair-Housing Law

Black Quarterback Phenom Portrayed as "Color-Blind"

Short Takes

New York Daily News tweet @nydailynews

3 Feet of Water in Lobby of N.Y. Daily News Building

"Hurricane Sandy battered the mid-Atlantic region on Monday, its powerful gusts and storm surges causing once-in-a-generation flooding in coastal communities, knocking down trees and power lines, leaving about two million people — including a large swath of Manhattan — in the rain-soaked dark," James Barron wrote for the New York Times.

"At least seven deaths in the New York region were tied to the storm."

At least two New York-area newsrooms — the Daily News and the Star-Ledger in Newark, N.J., were without power.

All-news WINS-AM radio tweeted just before midnight, "#Sandy has forced #1010WINS off AM radio; We are now simulcasting on WCBS-FM 101.1 continuing storm coverage at"

James Gordon, a BBC New York correspondent, said on the BBC's "Newsday" radio program that his office was without power and that he was delivering his report via Skype from his Manhattan apartment.

[Julie Moos reported Tuesday for the Poynter Institute: "The Huffington Post website is down Tuesday morning, along with all the Gawker sites and Daily Kos. BuzzFeed was up and down Monday evening, as teams shifted publishing to social platforms including Twitter, Tumblr and Facebook."]

Lauren Johnston posted a photo of a darkened newsroom on a News website at 10:35 p.m. with this note:

Daily News reporter Corky Siemaszko files his story the old-fashioned way —

"This is the daily news newsroom now. All power down. Three feet of water in the lobby. News crew there sitting tight in the dark. Turns out it was a good thing that I got stranded in Pittsburgh — my flight back to NYC was cancelled Sunday and I still have power here.

"A small crew of us still have Internet access and will continue to post updates as regularly as possible. We have limited access to up date our homepages at this time. We will be posting all updates to this blog. Stay with us."

On, Eliot Caroom wrote this for the Star-Ledger at 9:28 p.m.: "Everyone from The Star-Ledger to PSE&G [Public Service Gas & Electric] employees have lost power as of 9 tonight as Hurricane Sandy continues to wreak havoc.

"More than 1.2 million utility customers throughout the state — including 700,000 PSE&G customers — were without power as of 9 p.m., according to the Associated Press. That surpasses the peak number during Tropical Storm Irene last year.

"The power was out in many parts of Newark — including The Star-Ledger offices — because PSE&G shut down its Essex substation in the city."

Seven Advance Co. newspapers suspended delivery of their Tuesday print editions. The papers include: the Star-Ledger, the Times of Trenton, the Jersey Journal, the Express-Times (of Easton, Pa.), the Gloucester County Times, Today's Sunbeam in Salem and the News of Cumberland County.

People walk through flooded streets in Port au Prince, Haiti. Hurricane Sandy pa

"Our Stratified Society Makes Storms More Deadly"

"While the Eastern seaboard braces for Hurricane Sandy, 65 people have already been killed by the storm in the Caribbean," Zack Beauchamp wrote Monday for "The tragic death toll and accompanying widespread property damage are caused in part by poor infrastructure and poverty — problems that aren't limited to the Caribbean. Indeed, America's inequality problem is a key reason why natural disasters wreak such havoc inside the United States.

"That our stratified society makes storms more deadly is nearly universally believed by disaster experts. According to a paper by three experts at the University of South Carolina (Cutter et al.), '[t]here is a general consensus within the social science community' that some key causes of vulnerability to storms include 'lack of access to resources (including information, knowledge, and technology); limited access to political power and representation; social capital, including social networks and connections; beliefs and customs; building stock and age; frail and physically limited individuals; and type and density of infrastructure and lifelines.' Inequality was, the researchers found, the single most important predictor of vulnerability to storm damage — variation in the wealth of individual counties alone explained 12.4 percent of the differences in the impact of natural disasters between counties.

"The reasons for this are fairly clear — poorer communities have [fewer] resources to evacuate and prepare for storms, and also live in housing that's less likely to be build to withstand nature's wrath. . . ."

Storm Raises Suppressed Issue of Climate Change

"It was not a good year for people, weather and climate. The winter was strangely warm in many places and the summer ridiculously hot," Adam Frank wrote Sunday for NPR.

"As a large fraction of the country suffered through extreme or even extraordinary drought many folks naturally wondered, 'Is this climate change?' Then along came a presidential election in which the words 'climate change' disappeared from the dialogue.

"Now, just a week or so before voting day, the convergence of westbound Hurricane Sandy with a eastbound cold front is creating a massive storm, a Frankenstorm even, that is threatening millions of Americans. Weird weather is making yet another appearance in our lives and once again we ask, 'Is this climate change?'

". . . One thing that does seem clear is that warmer oceans (a la global warming) mean more evaporation, and that likely leads to storms with more and more dangerous rainfall of the kind we saw with Hurricane Irene last year. In addition, a paper published just last month, used records of storm surges going back to 1923 as a measure of hurricane activity. A strong correlation between warm years and strong hurricanes was seen. Thus if you warm the planet, you can expect more dangerous storms. . . ."

All Hands on Deck at Local Television Stations

"Local television executives like toNayeli Chavez-Geller, New York correspondent for Univision's Primer Impacto dail say it's all hands on deck when breaking news such as a lethal hurricane hits, and sometimes that even means the station general manager grabbing a camera and playing photographer for a few hours," Michael Malone wrote Monday for Broadcasting & Cable.

"That's what Craig Jahelka, vice president and general manager at WBOC in Salisbury, Md., did when the station needed someone to haul a camera around Monday morning, with Hurricane Sandy lurking off shore. 'At times like this,' he says, 'everyone's got to pitch in.'

"Covering Irene last year is fresh on East Coast reporters' minds, but it's becoming clearer that Irene was a relative non-issue compared with the massive magnitude of Sandy. No less an expert than Weather Channel reporter Jim Cantore told B&C, 'You could probably put two Irenes inside this thing, maybe two and a half. The size of this enormous.' "

President Obama receives an update on the ongoing response to Hurricane Sandy Ca

Washington Post Examines Obama as Black President

". . . If the election of four years ago put to rest the notion that the United States was not ready to elect a black president, this year poses a new question: Can an African American president, after four years as a fixture in Americans' lives, win reelection?" Peter Wallsten wrote Sunday for the Washington Post.

"For many blacks and other Obama allies, proving that the first time was not a quirk has become almost as important a landmark as the history made four years ago. It would be an affirmation of the 2008 achievement, coming despite what many African Americans interpret as indications in some places of discomfort with a black president — such as a rise in anti-government militias since Obama's election, or even threats to Obama's safety, such as the 2011 incident in which a man pulled up his car south of the White House and fired an assault rifle at the residence.

"The electoral landscape, however, has gotten more difficult for Obama, with the 2012 presidential election shaping up to be the most racially polarized since 1988. . . ."

A Washington Post-ABC News national tracking poll Thursday showed that "The 2012 election is shaping up to be more polarized along racial lines than any presidential contest since 1988, with President Obama experiencing a steep drop in support among white voters from four years ago," as Jon Cohen and Rosalind S. Helderman reported last week for the Post.

Those results were followed by an Associated Press poll Saturday that found that "Racial attitudes have not improved in the four years since the United States elected its first black president."

Yet the issue of racial attitudes was barely mentioned when the mainstream Sunday talk shows discussed the campaign. (An exception was Republican pollster Bill McInturff, who said of the election on CNN's "State of the Union," "the difference by ethnicity, white, black and Hispanic will also be as large as we've even seen."

Only two black journalists were on the talk-show roundtables, guest Gwen Ifill of PBS on ABC's "This Week," and regular Juan Williams on "Fox News Sunday."

Meanwhile, the Pew Center for the People & the Press reported Monday, "As the presidential campaign enters its final week, Barack Obama has failed to regain much of the support he lost in the days following the first presidential debate and the race is now even among likely voters: 47% favor Obama while an identical percentage supports Mitt Romney."

The president conducted a series of media interviews before forgoing them to deal with Hurricane Sandy. He told April Ryan of American Urban Radio Networks that his campaign has enlisted an army of lawyers to clear hurdles for his supporters.

"If people have problems voting, we can solve those problems. We've got lawyers all across the country," Obama said, Paul Bedard of the Washington Examiner reported.

Presidents Found to "Betray"  Fair-Housing Law

"A few months after Congress passed a landmark law directing the federal government to dismantle segregation in the nation's housing, President Nixon's housing chief began plotting a stealth campaign," Nikole Hannah-Jones wrote Monday for ProPublica.

However, Hannah-Jones wrote, George Romney's orders to officials in the Department of Housing and Urban Development prompted a backlash. Romney, father of GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney, told the officials to reject applications for water, sewer and highway projects from cities and states where local policies fostered segregated housing. But Nixon intervened.

"I am convinced that while legal segregation is totally wrong that forced integration of housing or education is just as wrong," Nixon wrote, according to Hannah-Jones' story.

"Over the next four decades, a ProPublica investigation shows, a succession of presidents — Democrat and Republican alike — followed Nixon's lead, declining to use the leverage of HUD's billions to fight segregation.

"Their reluctance to enforce a law passed by both houses of Congress and repeatedly upheld by the courts reflects a larger political reality. Again and again, attempts to create integrated neighborhoods have foundered in the face of vehement opposition from homeowners," Hannah-Jones continued.

". . . . ProPublica could find only two occasions since Romney's tenure in which the department withheld money from communities for violating the Fair Housing Act. In several instances, records show, HUD has sent grants to communities even after they've been found by courts to have promoted segregated housing or been sued by the U.S. Department of Justice. New Orleans, for example, has continued to receive grants after the Justice Department sued it for violating that Fair Housing Act by blocking a low-income housing project in a wealthy historic neighborhood."

Black Quarterback Phenom Portrayed as "Color-Blind"

". . . He was raised in a military household, by two now-retired Army sergeants who taught him to see the world without much regard to race, and those lessons continue to inform his worldview as a young adult," Dave Sheinin wrote in a 3,600-word profile in the Sunday print edition of the Washington Post.

In April, ESPN the Magazine put Robert Griffin III, known as RGIII, on the coverSheinin was describing Robert Griffin III, the black quarterback for the Washington Redskins who has become the team's latest phenom, perhaps "The One?" as the headline called him.

" 'My parents raised me to not ever look at race or color,' Griffin said recently, 'so it doesn't have a big part in my self-identity. [But] I think it has played a big part in how other people view me, just going back to when I was a kid, to even now, doing the things that I've been able to do. As an African American, I think other people view that in a different way than I do.'

"And yet, in a city where race remains a relevant issue — where even the name 'Redskins' is charged with racial tension, and where old-timers still resent the fact the franchise was the last in the NFL to integrate in the 1960s — the symbolism of Griffin's emergence goes beyond the mere question of how many Super Bowl titles or most valuable player awards he might win.

". . . Jackie and Robert Griffin Jr. were both New Orleans natives who enlisted in the Army as teenagers, doing tours of duty in (among other places) Okinawa, Japan — where their son, Robert III, was born — and Korea before retiring from the Army and settling in Copperas Cove, just outside Fort Hood," Texas.

"From the beginning, they chose to raise their three children — Robert has two older sisters — to be largely color-blind.

" 'They can thrive in any environment they're in, because they don't see color — which is something we really strive for in our lives,' Jacqueline Griffin said. 'It's not about somebody's race — it's about humanity. And God wants to love everybody, no matter their background. I don't want them to see color. It's not about that. Any experience we had dealing with racism, we always told our kids, 'You learn from that. Don't do that to others.' "

Short Takes

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Richard Prince's Journal-isms originates from Washington and is published Monday, Wednesday and Friday. It began in print before most of us knew what the Internet was, and it would like to be referred to as a "column." For newcomers: The words in blue (on most computers) are links leading to more information. The Web site provides passwords and user names to some registration-only news sites, but use may be illegal in some states. Any views expressed in the column are those of the person or organization quoted and not those of any other entity.

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WAPO : White Reporter analysis of Obama

Interesting how WAPO assigned a white reporter to pen feature article on president 's racial issues during his tenure. Why ?

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