The news amazes me. It must be an incredibly slow night here in Houston, because they have been hiding this one under their hats waiting for the right time to pull it out… I am watching channel 11, the local CBS station. The news has just started. Picture two anchors sitting at the desk, and this is how it begins.
Good evening, I’m Lisa Foronda… (pan to the male anchor) And I’m Greg Hurst, thank you for joining us… Lisa: We are beginning with a special “Upclose Report” on an explosive situation that might be at your doorstep right now. Greg: There is no way that you can tell that it is there, and no one is doing anything to protect you even though a lot of lives have been lost.
FLASH text on the top of the screen: Underground Danger (Of course in dramatic lettering)
New announcer takes over: “It’s no secret, at least not to the people that oversee & run the natural gas pipelines…”
Cue the dramatic music.
Then they go on to talk about an explosion that happened in August, 1997, when a woman lit her cigarette and the natural gas that had filled the room ignited. A pipe fractured in her neighborhood. In 1998 there was a special investigation report released that states that most of the pipe installed nationwide from 1960’s to mid-1980’s is flawed. Cracks cause leaks – 15 incidents have occurred, and 47 deaths have resulted. The pipes crack when the ground in Texas dries out and the moving soil makes the pipes brittle.
Flash to the redneck guy – those are mandatory of course. Note: if you are filming a broadcast, be sure to locate one guy that sounds like an idiot.
The Texas Railroad Commission says that the report cited isn’t enough proof that the pipes are not good. In spite of all the experts who agree that the pipes are flawed. But the news points out that there is too much pipe to pull to repair.
“It has been nearly 3 years since the NTSB released their report, and in that time there has been another fatal incident, in January, 2000” – a home was leveled and 3 people killed. In October, 2000 – the Railroad Commission ordered pipeline operators to catalog the pipe in their system.
End of the story, on to the next one…
In the end the news station has no solution for me, of course – just that I should do some homework and figure out when the pipe in your neighborhood was installed. Ummmmm… ok. I just don’t see that happening. Of course I care about having my house explode – but it seemed pretty dated for the lead story. How is that for odd though? How jaded have I become, thinking that just isn’t sensational enough to be the lead story? Man, our society is screwed up. Why do I watch the news? It seems to just end up being annoying fluff. Not anything of substance – how much can you cram into 30 minutes?
Speaking of the news, they just passed over a blurb on Duhbya. I tell you… Texas has one of the worst education systems in the country. I think (I do need to look it up to verify) that we normally end up in the 10 lowest states on the education scale. But Duhbya thinks he should push for mandatory testing nationwide. Oh, ok, yeah, it’s working here. I *HATE* the mandatory testing. When I go to my son’s elementary school it is all that I hear. Do they learn to learn? NOOO!!! They focus constantly on the test. All they seem to teach is the material that they will need for the test. That just seems wrong to me. I think you should just teach. Then do a test at the end of the year and note what they have learned. Don’t use the test as a basis for funding or anything else like that – just test them to see where the school is lacking and where they can improve – and so that you know what they have learned. Basically, it seems to me that instead of pushing my child to grow and learn all that he is capable of, instead they actually hold him back and have him focus constantly on these trivial details that they feel is necessary to pass this test. Ack! It seems to me that we are teaching them to meet the minimum standards instead of teaching them to reach for the stars!
Now here is your chance – click that “Talk Back” link and tell us what you think about the whole thing.