Tough Call

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Check out the pictures posted on today's blog. They are pics of the aftermath of those tornadoes that violently smacked Tennessee recently. They were taken by my colleague, Shayla Bezdrob, who has posted lots of her pics here on the blog before. I could not stop looking at the images — the devastation is beyond words. The pics look much like what we saw in the aftermath of the hurricanes. At least with a hurricane you get some notice that it might be striking. With a tornado there is virtually no signal at all that violence is headed one's way.

Here is a piece of information you won't read or hear anywhere else — I can't brag about having this first, but the person who had it first has sworn me to secrecy as to his/her identity and thus does not want credit for this scoop, so I am taking credit for this bit of news: Have you wondered what the "J" represents in Ted J. William's name? (Admit it, you have!) The "J" is the initial for his middle name, "Justice"! His name is Ted Justice Williams. When I told him (threatened him?) that I would put this information in the blog, he in turn threatened to kill me. So, if I show up floating in the Potomac, check his alibi. (By the way, there is no better sport than Ted, although he won't bring in his high school picture like Bernie did — so maybe Bernie is the better sport. That high school photo was something else!)

I learned last night that today we will get a transcript from the cockpit recordings from Flight 93 that went down in Pennsylvania on September 11 because of the terrorists. The recording will be played for the jury in court today in the death penalty phase of the Moussaoui trial, but we will get only the transcripts (that is the judge's order.) Here is a question for you: Do you think we should post the transcript from this recording on the blog tomorrow? I can't decide. On the one hand: It makes sure we never forget the horror of this day and we should face the truth. And on the other: It is ghoulish. I could be convinced either way and each time I think about the issue to post or not post the transcript, I reach a different decision. My guess is that viewers will e-mail me their views and that likewise there will be passion and good arguments in the e-mails, but different conclusions. So send me your thoughts. I am curious, maybe one of you has the argument that will convince me one way or the other and I am looking to be convinced since I can't decide.

As a real random thought: I don't know about you, but I am anxious to see Meredith Vieira on the "Today" show. Like Katie Couric, she has "paid her dues" and has a long and interesting history in journalism and television. I love new adventures and both women certainly have new adventures on their hands. I have met Meredith a few times — I've never met Katie Couric — and Meredith has always gone out of her way to be nice to me.

Now for some e-mails:

E-mail No. 1

I do not watch your show because I feel that you fight for confiction [sic] before all the info is in and you are always against men. You are not fair and balanced. I love FOX News and you don't stand alone in your thoughts and way. I anly [sic] watch FOX until it comes to the nightly news and I am forced to watch NBC News but am going to stop that as it is more one side then FOX News. ABC and CBS is [sic] out, if at all possible. I hope that you learn to be more fair and balanced in your reporting.
Wyatt Moorefield

ANSWER: Wyatt, perhaps if you watched the show you would not have to rely on "feelings" about what I do and would then have "facts." I think a review of the facts would prove to you that I believe in presumption of innocence and an examination of the facts.

E-mail No. 2 — This next e-mail refers to the 5-year-old boy — now represented by Geoff Fieger — who called 911 twice to come help his mother. They did not come and his mother died:

Hi Greta,
Please tell your friend Geoffrey Fieger that he is INSANE for suing for $1,000,000 on behalf of this child.
If I were on the jury I would award him no less than $100,000,000. Having lost my mother at a young age too, I know that it affected my life in ways that those who have their mothers through childhood and adolescence can never imagine. I am 54 and not a day goes by where I don't think of my mother who died at a young age from a heart attack too.
The Detroit 911 people need to start taking this seriously, with technology they know where the calls originate from and all it takes is a visit by the police and a Sunday tour of the jail for those who call in pranks.
Thank you,
Sabreena Katz
San Diego, CA

E-mail No. 3

Barb from Colorado is totally correct. Missing 911 calls is NOT the norm nor is it more of a problem than people know. I work in emergency telecommunications and we NEVER miss a call. We follow SOPs and we would be immediately dismissed if we did not follow through all calls. I dispatch fire, ambulance, rescue (including swift-water), HAZMAT, biohazard, search and rescue, life saving instructions and everything in-between. I have been an Emergency Medical Technician / IV Therapy for 22 years with continuous training required to handle any emergency that I might have to deal with on a 911 call. I am also certified by the state as an Emergency Telecommunicator so when I hear these horror stories on the news about these so-called "911" operators that miss calls or think going on break is more important than peoples lives it shocks and sickens me that they are allowed to be in this profession. Obviously they have not had the training nor the supervision to take on such an important position as saving lives or homes. Everyone should inquire as to the training required by their state. If they do not have to comply with SOPs or some kind of on-going training or certification you need to find out why. Do you want just anyone to take a call from your loved ones in their most desperate hour? Being in this business is not just a job. It's what you are...

E-mail No. 4

Did you at 10:41 p.m. say mistakenly 'Cuba'?
Tim Gilliss

ANSWER: You rat! You got me! During the break I read your e-mail to my producers in the control room and said, "Did I say Cuba instead of Aruba? I could not have done that, did I?" The answer to me: "I am afraid so!" Ugh! I am a dope, I admit it. The mistake is sorta funny. (When I got home last night I told my husband he said, "Yes, I heard it." It sounds like I am the only one who did not hear it. Ugh.)

E-mail No. 5 — This next e-mail refers to a previously posted one from a viewer who is a big Shep Smith fan:

Please let Marsha's mother know I'm right there with her. The first time I saw Shep on TV, I fell in love with his professionalism, accuracy AND his sparkly eyes. I like all the FOX people, but if I were 50 years younger I'd chase him until I caught him. LOL
Oh, I'm 78 and I wish he was at least my grandson.
Bette Maddox

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