"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. . . ."
Storm Cuts Power in Two Newsrooms
"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 newyork.cbslocal.com."
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:
"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 nj.com, 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.
"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 thinkprogress.org. "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. . . ."
"Local television executives like to 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.' "
Al Jazeera: Haiti food crisis feared in Sandy's wake
David Carr, New York Times: As Sandy Takes Its Time, TV News Is an Endless Loop of Anticipation
Michael H. Cottman, Black America Web: ANALYSIS: Obama Shows Leadership in Storm (Oct. 30)
Daily News, New York: Tracking Hurricane Sandy Live (running blog)
Editorial, New York Times: A Big Storm Requires Big Government
Patrick Elie with Amy Goodman, "Democracy Now!," Pacifica Radio: Hurricane Sandy Kills 51 in Haiti, Leaving Behind Fears of Disease and Growing Toll
David Ford, ABC News: ABC News Extreme Weather Team Coverage of Hurricane Sandy on Monday, October 29
Conor Friedersdorf, the Atlantic: The Case Against Sending TV Reporters Out in Hurricanes
Amy Goodman, "Democracy Now!," Pacifica Radio: Bill McKibben on Hurricane Sandy and Climate Change: "If There Was Ever a Wake-up Call, This Is It"
David Hinckley, Daily News, New York: Television weather reporters get face full of Sandy
Scott Keyes, thinkprogress.org: How Romney And Ryan Would Severely Impair Disaster Relief Efforts
Rebecca Leber, thinkprogress.org: As 'Frankenstorm' Barrels Towards East Coast, Newspaper Coverage Ignores Connection To Climate Change
Peter Orsi, Associated Press: Cuba's 2nd city without power, water after Sandy
Eugene Robinson, Washington Post: Romney would pass the buck on disasters
Lauren Sausser, McLean (Va.) Patch: 'A' in USA TODAY Sign Blown Off Gannett Building
Erik Wemple, Washington Post: Hurricane Sandy: TV stands by its live shots
". . . 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.
Lisa M. Armstrong, Loop21: President Obama, What Have You Done For Me Lately?
Keith Boykin, BET.com: Commentary: Forget the Swing States; It's a 50-State Election
Jonathan Capehart, Washington Post: The rise of hate in the age of Obama
Bill Carter, New York Times: As Obama Accepts Offers, Late-Night Television Longs for Romney
Mary C. Curtis, Washington Post: Treating Colin Powell as 'the black guy' won't help the GOP
Editorial, Chicago Tribune: Tribune endorses Obama: Our children's America
Editorial, Detroit Free Press: Detroit Free Press Endorsement: Top reasons to re-elect Obama
Ben Dimiero & Eric Hananoki, Media Matters for America: After Criticism, CNN Discloses Fiorina's Role With The Romney Campaign
Shane Goldmacher, National Journal: The Power of the Asian-American Vote Is Growing - And It's Up for Grabs
Tex "Red Tipped Arrow" Hall, Indian Country Today Media Network: Why I'm Voting for President Obama
Fredrick C. Harris, New York Times: The Price of a Black President
Rick Horowitz, YouTube: He's a Moving Target (video)
April D. Ryan, American Urban Radio Networks: April Ryan's Sit-Down Interview With President Obama
Jason Salzman, bigmedia.org: Host of Leading Spanish-Language Radio Show Endorses Obama
Dara Sharif, Loop21: Loop 21's Look at the Obama Presidency
Hazel Sheffield, Columbia Journalism Review: Newsrooms' digital Sandy coverage
Matt Stoller, Salon: The progressive case against Obama
James Warren, Daily Beast: How President Obama Will Handle Hurricane Sandy
DeWayne Wickham, USA Today: Romney co-chair only energizes black voters
"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."
". . . 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.
Sheinin 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.' "
Commentator Sophia Nelson went on MSNBC's "Up With Chris Hayes" over the weekend, Betsy Rothstein wrote Monday for FishbowlDC, "and declared that she hadn't decided for whom she will vote in the upcoming election. She got clobbered online with insult after insult. The ordeal got her 200 new Twitter followers. But poor Sophia, who usually takes the so-called high road, couldn't contain herself and lashed back. . . . "
"For decades, indigenous people in the United States and Canada have been burdened with health problems linked to environmental pollutants. But that isn't their only sacrifice: Pollution is crippling some tribes' culture, too," Brian Bienkowski wrote Thursday for Environmental Health News. "Their native foods, water, medicines, language and ceremonies, as well as their traditional techniques of farming, hunting and fishing, have been jeopardized by contaminants and development. And as indigenous people lose these vital aspects of their lives, their identity is lost, too."
"Academy Award nominee Oprah Winfrey, who has not appeared in a film since the 1998 release 'Beloved,' will return to the big screen in Lee Daniels' 'The Butler,' a star-studded feature film inspired by a former White House butler," Kimberly C. Roberts wrote last week for the Philadelphia Tribune. "Currently in production in New Orleans, 'The Butler,' starring Academy Award winner Forest Whitaker, is based on a screenplay by Danny Strong and Daniels. It is inspired by Wil Haygood's Washington Post article about Cecil Gaines (Eugene Allen in real life), an African-American man who served as a butler to eight presidents in the White House for over 30 years."
On Monday, Univision officially started its first digital network, UVideos, which will offer more than 1,500 hours of long-form programming and about 200 short clips a day free to users, Tanzina Vega reported Sunday for the New York Times. "The content will be available as a mobile application for smartphones and tablets and online at UVideos.com. . . . Univision will also make the content and the user interface on UVideos available in English, with subtitles on many of the network's shows. In January, Univision began adding English subtitles on some of its television programming."
"Two photographers whose cameras were confiscated and photos were deleted for taking pictures near customs buildings at the California/Mexico border have sued the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency for violating their First and Fourth Amendment rights," Lilly Chapa reported Friday for the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. Environmental activist Ray Askins, who lives in Mexicali, Mexico, was on the U.S. side of the border taking pictures of a port of entry building in May. Two years prior, human rights activist Christian Ramirez took photos of male CBP agents patting down women at the Tijuana border.
In Orlando, "Jose Fajardo, the president and CEO of WMFE, is leaving, the public broadcaster announced Friday," Hal Boedeker reported for the Orlando Sentinel. "Fajardo has been with WMFE since 1996 and became CEO in 2007. He oversaw WMFE's getting out of public television last year, a controversial move that ended with the sale last month of Channel 24 to the University of Central Florida for $3.3 million."
"If any fans of former 106 & Park host Rocsi Diaz were wondering what she has been up to since her departure, the wait is finally over," Krystal Holmes wrote Wednesday for Vibe Vixen. "The TV host announced via Twitter that she is heading to primetime's Entertainment Tonight (ET)."
"Together again on TV for the first time in more than 27 years - Tracy, Iola and Troy," Ed Bark wrote Thursday for his Uncle Barky's Bytes blog, which covers the Dallas/Fort Worth television market. "Their scheduled venue is the Tuesday, Oct. 30th 8 a.m. edition of KTXD-TV's (Ch. 47) The Texas Daily, where former WFAA8 news stars Tracy Rowlett, Iola Johnson and Troy Dungan are scheduled to be that day's featured attractions."
"Reporters Without Borders is saddened to learn that Mohamed Mohamud Turyare, a 22-year-old journalist who was shot several times in the chest and stomach as he left a mosque on 21 October, died yesterday from his injuries in Mogadishu's Madina Hospital," the press freedom organization said on Monday. "Turyare's death brings the number of journalists killed with complete impunity in Somalia to 17 since the start of 2012."
In Pakistan, "Two sons of a leading local journalist were gunned down by men on a motorcycle yesterday in Khuzdar, in the troubled southwestern province of Balochistan, in a suspected reprisal for his reporting or act of intimidation against all journalists in the region, Reporters Without Borders reported Friday. "Siraj Ahmed Khan, 25, died on the spot while Manzoor Ahmed Khan, 22, died from his injuries this morning in a local hospital. Their father, Nadeem Gurjinari, the president of the Khuzdar Press Club and a reporter for the Daily Express and Express News TV, had received repeated threats and had recently stopped writing because of an increase in the frequency of reprisals against journalists."
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Journal-isms is published on the site of the Maynard Institute for Journalism Education (www.mije.org). Reprinted on The Root by permission.