Pensacola flood video and how to help flood, tornado victims

My son joined with many other Pensacola and gulf-coast residents in using kayaks and other small boats to help police and other first-responders transport and evacuate people who were stranded by the region’s flooding

The “eerily quiet” (as a friend so correctly described it) video below was shot by my son yesterday (Wednesday) morning in Pensacola, Fla., after nearly two feet of rain pounded the Alabama and Florida Panhandle gulf coast.

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When disaster strikes “someplace else,” first send money (continued)

It is with deep grief that we learn of the magnitude of the loss of life caused by yesterday’s tornado in Moore, Oklahoma. That so many of the victims were children is especially sad. Parents, especially, know it is the realization of that which we fear the most. Below is a re-posting of a blog post I’ve written, in various ways, in the past. As I know is true for all of us, my thoughts and prayers are with the people who are now coping with the aftermath of this disaster:

Over the years, I have written about many natural disasters and the human toll they’ve taken. I believe social media, writ large, make such events more personal to us all — a shared phenomena, even for those of us not on the scene.

When we start to see the images of these disasters, our first impulse is “go help.”

However, I’ve also learned from writing about these disasters (and having one occur in my hometown) that it’s always better to give the local citizens and experienced officials and non-government agencies a few days to address the immediate needs and to assess what the longer-term needs will be.

salvation army logo

As I’ve written before, in the first days of any disaster, for those of us not on the scene, the best way we can help is always: first, send money.

This is especially true when a disaster is so widespread as Hurricane Sandy appears to be.

Personally, and because of advice I’ve been given by individuals who have been on the front lines of such disasters, I contribute, in a designated way, to the Salvation Army as it is supposed to be one of the most efficient ways to support first-responder, essential needs efforts.

Of course, there are many groups through which you can make such contributions.

When disaster strikes “someplace else,” first send money

Over the years, I have written about many natural disasters and the human toll they’ve taken. I believe social media, writ large, make such events more personal to us all — a shared phenomena, even for those of us not on the scene.

When we start to see the images of these disasters, our first impulse is “go help.”

However, I’ve also learned from writing about these disasters (and having one occur in my hometown) that it’s always better to give the local citizens and experienced officials and non-government agencies a few days to address the immediate needs and to assess what the longer-term needs will be.

salvation army logo

As I’ve written before, in the first days of any disaster, for those of us not on the scene, the best way we can help is always: first, send money.

This is especially true when a disaster is so widespread as Hurricane Sandy appears to be.

Personally, and because of advice I’ve been given by individuals who have been on the front lines of such disasters, I contribute, in a designated way, to the Salvation Army as it is supposed to be one of the most efficient ways to support first-responder, essential needs efforts.

Of course, there are many groups through which you can make such contributions.

Sidenote: I have a daughter who lives and works in “Zone A” in New York. Thank you to those who have asked about her. She’s with friends on higher ground (despite being just a few blocks away).

Related links:

Why the White House situation room photo is so powerful

04_situation-room

[Last update: 5/5/2011, 12:11 pm, CST]
[Update: 7/28/2016, fixed some broken links]

[This is a post about why photography is a unique and powerful medium, even in an era when I spend a lot of time preaching to people that learning to edit video on the fly is a required skill anyone who communicates for a living must master — right up there with knowing how to type and how to make a presentation without using bullet points.]

Yesterday, when I saw the White House had used Flickr to release a set of photos of President Obama and his security team monitoring the Bin Laden raid, I was immediately captivated by the photo above and posted it on my Tumblr account.

Later last night, I went back to the Flickr set because I wanted to study the photo a bit more closely to see what made the photo so compelling, beyond its obvious historic significance. (I can assure you the photographer took dozens of photos of equally historic significance, but this is the one not culled and released and that will be the shot associated with this moment.)

At first, I thought it was the intensity of the President that made the shot — it did when I first saw it. Obama’s crouching position (while others are erect or leaning back) is probably going to be analyzed by body-language experts, but any group of people who’ve watched a TV sporting event (and I apologize in advance for the following comparison, considering the serious nature of what they were watching), will recognize Obama’s position as that of the person in the room who in addition to being a fan, has just made a call to his bookie.

My second thought was that the photo was captivating because it was so different from how such scenes have been depicted in countless movies and TV shows. In such dramas, this would not be taking place in a spartan, crowded conference room with all the aesthetic appeal of a Marriott Hotel business center — and a table full of HP laptops that still have Intel Inside and Windows stickers on them. In an episode (in every episode) of “24” this would be in an expansive subterranean room filled with translucent touch screens that make all sorts of electronic beeping and screeching sounds when they zoom in to watch the action of each soldier on the ground.

But, upon further examination, I’ve decided this photo’s true power can best be understood by looking at it, as one can do on Flickr, at the original size it was posted, 4996 x 2731 pixels At this size, you can see the photo as its photographer saw it through the lens — or the photo-editor who chose it might.

Screen Shot 2016-07-28 at 9.26.42 PMAt 4996 x 2731 pixels, you can immediately see the photo’s focal point is Hillary Clinton — more specifically, her eyes.

The photo tells a story of an entire room of people, but this is a photograph of Hillary Clinton. And, frankly, it is one of the most powerful, honest photographs you’ll ever see of a public figure.

Update: (via Flickr) In addition to the President and Vice President, identification of people in the photo: Seated, from left, are: Brigadier General Marshall B. “Brad” Webb, Assistant Commanding General, Joint Special Operations Command; Deputy National Security Advisor Denis McDonough; Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton; and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. Standing, from left, are: Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; National Security Advisor Tom Donilon; Chief of Staff Bill Daley; Tony Binken, National Security Advisor to the Vice President; Audrey Tomason Director for Counterterrorism; John Brennan, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism; and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.

Update 2: On Flickr, the copy accompanying the photo indicates the document on the table is obscured because it is classified.

Update 3: Photo credits and settings: Photographer: Pete Souza; Canon 5D MkII, 35mm f/1.4L USM, f/3.5, 1/100s, ISO 1600 (via: John Goldsmith, see comments below).

Update 4: The photo has turned into an internet meme, via: Alexis Madrigal of The Atlantic

Update 5: If you haven’t visited the situation room Flickr set, you should at least take a look at this photo, as it will provide you with an idea of what the rest of the room looks like.

Update 6: According to TechCrunch, the photo is on its way to being the most-viewed photo on Flickr. (This post is going to set similar records for this blog.)

Update 7: Clinton says she doesn’t remember what she was doing when this photo was taken — perhaps trying to keep from coughing, she says.

What ‘Second coming type’ looks like on a website front page

On the walls of most newspaper newsrooms I’ve visited over the years, there are displayed some framed front pages of issues reporting historic events. The term “second-coming type” is the phrase I’ve heard to describe the screaming headlines that dominate these framed mementos. (The Newseum.org website has a gallery each day of newspaper front pages.)

I wonder if the newsrooms of online papers print-out such home pages. Below are screen grabs (screen shots) this morning of the websites of the five largest circulation daily newspapers.

I’ve included, at the bottom, screen grabs from two online news sources, Huffington Post and The Drudge Report. Drudge, however, looks like that a couple of times every week.

WSJ.com

wsj.com-bin-laden-20110502-073818

USAToday.com

usatoday-bin-laden-20110502-071659 NYTimes.com

nytimes-bin-laden-20110502-065930

LATimes.com

latimes.com-bin-laden-20110502-071941

 HuffingtonPost.com

huffpo-bin-laden-20110502-071156