Blackout 2003

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It's been a trying day, to say the least, for those of us working and leaving in the Big Apple. Cleveland; Toledo; Detroit; Canton; Plattsburg, New York; New Haven, Connecticut, on and on and on. Also, Eastern Canada.

It's not even that hot here in the Northeast. Very few 90 degree days this summer. But somehow, some big power plant on the Canadian border went down, putting millions of people out on the streets.

60 million people live in and around New York City. Very few of us have power right now. And bad things can happen in that kind of scenario, as darkness is about to fall.

But not too many things bad happened today. Once again, the vast majority of Americans affected by this power blackout behaved magnificently.

Now here's what happened at FOX News. I had just finished writing the original Factor, which you'll never see, when my computer went out, my phone went out, my cell phone went out. Immediately, I tried to blame the whole thing on Alan Colmes, but we all knew that something was awry. And terrorism, of course, was flashing through everybody's minds. That's just something all New Yorkers will always have to deal with because of 9/11.

Now it took about 30 minutes before the authorities defined the problem. In that time, millions of people simply poured into the streets because there's no air conditioning in the big high-rise buildings in New York City and had to get out. And I walked down 17 flights of stairs with hundreds of people. Everybody was calm except one guy. There was one jerk. I was going to strangle him, but everybody else was fine.

And they walked down. They gathered outside the FOX News Channel because nobody had power. And we were broadcasting. So they were watching it on our monitors outside and the ticker around the building.

Now people trying to get home tonight, you know, trains not running. Some people are still trapped in the subways. Massive jams on the ferries because they are running, but it's very frustrating because it's frightening to think that one power plant, hundreds of miles away from here, can alter the lives of millions. Here we got some people evacuating underground in New York now. I can imagine how difficult that was.

In just a moment, we'll find out why so many things didn't work. But if a simple power failure can cause this kind of an anxiety, does not bode well for a real disaster.

And the hard truth is that we're extremely dependent on energy sources everywhere in the U.S.A. And these sources are vulnerable. We need to think about that and come up with some solutions to protect ourselves.

All in all, the summer blackout of 2003 currently in progress is not yet a catastrophe, but it may be a warning.

And that's The Memo.