Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Getting ready to go back to work...happy Tuesday!

Although it's a bit late for me as some of us have to get up way early, I saw this morning that NBC's Jay Leno will be stepping down as host of "The Tonight Show"...in five years when his contract ends. The amazing thing is that the network has learned from it's mistakes and decided to name "Late Night" host Conan O'Brien as his eventual replacement.

A good choice, although Conan's style may not resonate as well with the traditional 11:30 PM audience. He does attract a younger crowd to his show an hour later than Leno's, which is likely what NBC wants to do and is the reason they decided to take care of him now. O'Brien's contract was set to expire this year, and you know there were other entites ready to make the catch.

This brings up a couple of interesting questions. First, would Conan bring over his band, the Max Weinberg 7, or keep Leno's band led by Kevin Eubanks? And would the show move back to New York, where Conan is currently based, or stay at the NBC studios in Burbank? Would be interesting for the show to move back east, where Jack Parr began the tradition a half century ago.

You've gotta wonder how David Letterman is feeling this morning upon hearing the news?

And on a more serious note, Cargill continues to have problems related to the storms. Remember the huge breach it had at one of it's gypsum stacks that sent acidic sludge into Archie Creek after Frances? Well, here's another, slightly different situation on a smaller scale at their Bartow fertilizer plant, but according to this story in today's Lakeland Ledger they may be able to contain any effects before it reaches the Peace River, which is already overflowing it's banks near Bartow. As if that company doesn't have enough problems already with enviromential issues...

BTW: When you go to their Web site and look, it has a page where they tout their "Cargill Cares Councils" throughout the USA featuring fact sheets noting it's commitments to the people in the states in which they operate. If you notice closely, there is not one for Florida. Does THAT tell you something???

And personally, I'm not worried about any effects on this hurricane on the upcoming election as far as the ability of Polk County residents to cast their ballots. We have a fine Supervisor of Elections in Lori Edwards, who knows her way around Tallahassee as a former Democratic state representative. She decided to run for the nonpartisan SOE job after leaving the legislature due to term limits, replacing a long time officeholder who retired and defeating her assistant (who is still working in the office as Lori's assistant SOE). Lori and her staff had made plans to use portable trailers if necessary at polling places with generators to power the optical scan voting machines and modems used to transmit the results back to Bartow. They are a first-rate staff, and the optical scan method guarantees a paper trail if needed. We're proud to say that Polk County is ahead of the game, and many of our other counties can learn from Ms. Edwards.


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