Ehud Olmert at Tulane

Before going to WVUE today, dad took me to the office for a little while to reconfigure the office router. Apparently there was an outage yesterday and an ISP tech came by and wiped the router settings in the process of fixing things, probably because he did not have the router password. After getting that fixed, dad took me to the station.Most of the action at Fox 8 was well over when I arrived at noon. During their three hour morning show from six to nine, they featured wall-to-wall coverage of the “sail away ceremony” of the USS New York, a San-Antonio class amphibious transport dock built at Avondale Shipyards. The ship was leaving the port for the Gulf of Mexico and on to Norfolk and later New York City. Residents were invited to line the levee and see the ship and crew on their way. There was a heavy fog early this morning that limited visibility, however. Rom Masson was broadcasting live from Avondale. Jennifer Hale, Donny and Travis were doing live reports on board the Navy vessel. Chris Franklin and Kim Holden were set up at the moon walk at the river in the French Quarter. They also got live shots of the ship from the Gretna ferry landing and rented a helicopter for aerial shots of the boat passing through New Orleans.The mood in the newsroom seemed pretty positive today as everyone seemed very proud of their coverage and they had a lot of good material for the evening news cast. Free pizza for lunch couldn’t have hurt either. It ended up being the only thing I got to eat today. I stuck around downstairs for the better part of the afternoon although I was never exceptionally busy. There was a big stack of press releases to put in which kept me occupied when I so desired.This afternoon, Janette gave me a similar job to do. She handed me the New Orleans Hornets home game schedule and had me enter reminders in ENPS for each game. Bob Breck will be doing his halftime weather reports to be shown on the jumbotron at the games like he is currently doing for the Saints.Rather than go upstairs right at five to watch the news I stayed at the assignment desk in case Claudia needed any help and I watched the first half hour with Nancy, Janette and news director Mikel Schaefer who was in a decidedly chipper mood this afternoon. Before this afternoon I didn’t know he was even aware of my existence.The script was uncharacteristically complete when the broadcast started and there wasn’t much printing to be done after five although I did run a couple pages upstairs for Claudia a couple minutes into the broadcast. Things were pretty calm by 5:30 so I went up to the control room and watched the rest of the news and the promo taping that immediately followed.I was expecting Dad to pick me up not long after six but he was held up. He went to an advisory board meeting this evening and didn’t get out until well after six. I was planning to go to Tulane after work this afternoon and we were going to go together. Former prime minister of Israel Ehud Olmert spoke at McAlister auditorium this evening. I wouldn’t call myself a fan of his but the chance to see a head of state was very interesting to me. I thought I would have to call a cab to make it there for seven but I got lucky. We received an e-mail about a planned protest and they decided to send a photographer to check it out. I rode with Bob, a freelance photographer, to the uptown campus. We got there before 6:30 so I was able to hang out with him for a few minutes before parting ways. We parked at Freret and McAlister. There were about a dozen kids there holding signs and not doing much else. We were greeted by a PR rep of Tulane University and I gave him the station’s e-mail address so he could forward a cozy statement that pointed out that TUCP, a student organization, arranged for Olmert’s visit. Soon after one of the protesters approached us and Bob asked her some questions on camera while I held the microphone.After the interview, I left to get a seat in the auditorium. They were checking student IDs at the door and wanding people. I would have taken my camera to get some pictures but they were prohibited. By sevent there was a pretty decent crowd but the theater was not close to a capacity crowd. Although the event was scheduled for 7 o’clock, Mr. Olmert was not introduced until 7:30. He spoke for about 45 minutes than then took a couple questions that the audience had written on cards.Olmert did not look like much of an orator in the first half of his presentation, frequently pausing to say “uh,” a problem I have when giving speeches. I would have to assume he does much better with his first language than English. He started by speaking about Israeli domestic policy and his accomplishments with regard to the economy and education. Later, he sounded much more sure of himself and articulate as he began to address foreign policy issues and the middle east peace process. He spoke at length about peace with the Palestinians and addressed his idea to return to the 1967 borders and competing ideas from the current Israeli administration led by Netanyahu.I would guess many attendees, including myself, wanted to hear his thoughts about the recent Gaza conflict but he didn’t have very much to say about it outside of rather standard talking points. None of the chosen audience questions addressed it either. The corruption indictment he is currently facing was not mentioned at all.Over all, I was glad I went to the event but it certainly was not as fascinating or provocative as I would have liked. Luckily he was only interrupted once by an audience member and Olmert handled it will. As we left the auditorium after the Q & A, the protesters were outside in slightly greater numbers and making a lot of noise, chanting something about “free Palestine.” I’m sure there is plenty of legitimate criticism that could be leveled against Olmert but what the protesters chose to mention revealed plenty of ignorance and probably feigned passion.With fall break this weekend, ballroom was rescheduled for this evening. Olmert’s appearance concluded just after 8:30 so I headed to the Reily center after stopping briefly at the LBC. In spite of the schedule change, we still have a good turnout this evening with about 40 students there. Tammy was again accompanied by Byron who served as guest instructor. This was the second week of west coast swing and I had a reasonably firm grasp on the dance steps tonight which is always nice.Intermediate salsa started tonight after the beginner lesson but I elected not to stay for it. As I was leaving, I ran into Nicole from the BSG meetups. We spoke for 20 minutes, largely about recent goings-on in her life. She told me about an internship she is currently doing in Stacey Head’s office at City Hall and her trip to Dragon Con. I caught a cab home after that and got home around 11. The tripod I won on eBay finally arrived today. It’s a Bogen 3001 tripod with a Manfrotto 168 head. It was dusty but I cleaned it up and I think I’m going to be very happy with it. Before bed I started some laundry and watched the better part of the film Wanted. Krystle called late and I talked to her a few minutes before turning in for the night.

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