June 23rd, 2008
09:00 PM ET

Evening Buzz: Inside the Disaster Zone

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/US/weather/06/23/midwest.flooding.ap/art.flood.garage.gi.jpg caption = "Jack Wheeler stands in his flooded garage Sunday in Oakville, Iowa."]

Maureen Miller
AC360° Writer

Imagine your home and all your belongings washed away and gone for good. That's the reality for thousands of people across the Midwest.  Tonight on 360, we take you inside the disaster zone.  360's Gary Tuchman is in the town of Grafton, Illinois where the Mississippi is still rising.  Residents are living in fear that the floodwaters will reach their homes.   Also tonight, a bad bet.  360's David Mattingly is in Gulfport, Illinois (about 3 1/2 hours south of Gary's location)  where residents had no flood insurance. They say the government said they didn't need it.  We're keeping them honest.

On the radio, a new controversy for Don Imus. Oh, yes. Here we go again. 

This time he talked about just one black athlete, not an entire team. We've got the details. You be the judge. Did he cross the line?

And, 360's Randi Kaye has an update on the alleged pregnancy pact at a Massachusetts high school. Hopefully you saw her latest blog on the controversial story.   And, did you hear the "Naked Cowboy" here in NYC is taking on M&M's.  We can't make this stuff up.  

Get tonight's headlines on 360, starting at 10pm ET.  Hope you'll join us!


Filed under: Maureen Miller • The Buzz
soundoff (27 Responses)
  1. Michael Broughton

    Mr. Cooper, how you can be so, , , your crew of democratic willy chompers i.e. Hilliary and Obama care truly amazes me as an American who is currently working off the coast of West Africa trying to proviode this country with oil it gluttons to the greatest degree and seems to be obliviouis to. Do you people as reporters ever think about another line of work like flight attendenants?? Just a thought after your most recent broadcast.

    Thanks and Best Regards,


    June 24, 2008 at 2:29 am |
  2. thomas holub

    I think that Don Imus and Rev. Wright should sit in the same room for awhile and notice that they're both just men and nothing more. And they are both setting this country back 40 years in race by their thoughts and comments. Let's move on to a new millenium and stop the race garbage.

    June 24, 2008 at 1:44 am |
  3. liz

    the people whose home was washed away by the floods, as seen on cnn, have to pay their property taxes in full. talk about adding insult to injury. What's the penalty if you don't pay your taxes- they take your home away??

    June 24, 2008 at 1:16 am |
  4. Rick

    I live in Virginia Beach, VA, a very low area, I was not required to have flood insurance, but I did obtain it, I can not believe how many people are not smart enough to think on their own.

    I feel sorry for them, but, you have to protect yourself in every way !


    June 24, 2008 at 1:12 am |
  5. Bruce

    Flood insurance is available from insurance agents, so I am not quite sure who they applied to? Flood insurance from the National Flood Insurance Program is available to anyone living in a community that has signed on to participate in the NFIP, regardless if they are in a high-risk zone or low- or moderate-risk zone. Even if the community does not participate, there are still a few private carriers that will provide flood insurance. Their flood insurance should be able to help with that.

    June 24, 2008 at 12:19 am |
  6. Andrew Parkland

    It is easy to feel sorry for folks who lose eveything in a flood – until they appear on the news claiming that they had no idea there was a risk of the water rising and that they should therefore purchase flood insurance. Such ignorance defies credibility.

    What is truly disappointing is that the CNN commentator in Gulfport, IL seems to suggest that these people are victims of government, or possibly insurance industry, wrongdoing. Again, such ignorance is hard to believe, but the alternative is worse. I can expect a bunch of irresponsible people in Gulfport to try to blame anyone and everyone else for their lack of common sense and preparedness. Unfortunately, it seems to be the prevalent theme of late. However, it would be refreshing to hear professional newscasters criticize such reckless behaviour rather than pander to the emotions of an increasingly ignorant audience. Rather than inform and educate the public, CNN, as well as its competitors in the news business, instead perpetuate this problem.

    June 23, 2008 at 11:59 pm |
  7. Robert Goertzen

    I'm extremely pleased to see that most people in this blog agree that people should start to take responsibility for themselves. I hope we all can please note that CNN (and other mass media) fuel this pass-the-buck attitude through the tone of their stories. Why weren't they asking the couple that didn't have flood insurance questions like "Why would you live by a river and not have flood insurance? Don't you think it would be prudent?" rather than "Didn't anybody ever warn you that your house could be flooded?". Fast food journalism at it's worst.

    June 23, 2008 at 11:52 pm |
  8. Lindsay Shiels

    I feel sorry for the victims of the flooding in the midwest, and down the MIssissippi Valley, but to blame FEMA for not warning them that they should have flood insurance, is the worst kind of "it's not my fault" mentality. FEMA may not be the best agency for disaster relief in world, but to blame them for something that any intelligent person can see would be a necessity, is not really fair. Anyone who buys a house in a flood plain, especially in a major river system, such as the Mississippi, Ohio, Missouri system, should know, that if there are heavy rains (not unusual) there is going to be flooding, and act accordingly. In Ontario, Canada, where I live, when you buy a house in a river flood plain, you are required to have flood insurance, before you can get a mortgage. Just common sense, I think.

    June 23, 2008 at 11:45 pm |
  9. Bruce

    Guy, I agree. Look at the flooding that has happened over and over again in that region....in some cases just a few months ago. It is sad that the media and those they interview tend to slant their stories to blame the federal government (i.e. FEMA) since they (the homeowner) did not make a prudent decision. They sadly made a decision, rolled the dice and lost. But the very agency they belittle, will be there to help them file for grants (which we pay for) or SBA disaster loans.

    June 23, 2008 at 11:28 pm |
  10. JR - NC

    MMMMMMMMM, you buy a house near a river or near a levey that you know your house is below the water level of that levey. It's bad enough that states require you to get insurance on your car. Now people are blamming the goverment for the flood. So now that the press is exposing them for thier stupidity of not getting insurance. So now our fearless brave gov. officials that will step in and die for thier people will take action and make all of use have insurance for this or that. 1 = more gov. regulations. 2 = insurance and lobbiest drueling over coming profits. Priceless = American working class getting screwed again for stupidity of others.

    June 23, 2008 at 11:21 pm |
  11. Jared Greuel

    While flood insurance is something that homeowners and tenants should have considered pursuing at what point would they have gotten it. I live in Illinois and know several people who have applied for flood insurance through various agencies and were denied simply on the fact that the applicants lived in a high risk region. This would seem to defeat the point of offering insurance if it is not going to protect against that for which its namesake is derived.

    June 23, 2008 at 11:20 pm |
  12. Carol, California

    Of course I feel sorry for the people in this situation but why does everyone look to blame someone else for their problem?

    Nancy Pelosi and George Bush are not our Mom and Dad. Everytime something happens, the gas prices, the flood, whatever... there's always someone saying 'the government didn't tell me what to do", "this is the government's fault'.

    I live in California, relatively close to the San Andreas. I do not have earthquake insurance – this is my choice. It's expensive and it carries a very high deductable. I am completely aware of the fact that I am taking an enormous risk. No one I know carries quake insurance. If we do have a devastating quake is that Schwarzenegger's fault that he did not force me to have insurance? No.

    I'm sorry for your loss, but please stop trying to blame FEMA and everyone else for the choices you made.

    June 23, 2008 at 11:19 pm |
  13. Rob

    Typical Christopher Dodd – he wants a law requiring people (in certain areas) to have flood insurance. More socialism, just like universal health care. Where does it stop? And suppose someone cannot afford the flood insurance? Are they prohibited from living where they want to. People have to start thinking for themselves, taking personal responsibility and not blaming the government or expecting them to do things for them.

    June 23, 2008 at 11:17 pm |
  14. Robert Goertzen

    I'm extremely troubled by the tone of your report on the flooding in Gulfport, Illinois. I am tired of everybody's attempts to pass the buck instead of taking responsibility for themselves. If you live near a river, you should have flood insurance. If you want to take the risk and not have it, then that is your choice. If you don't realize you should have had it, then that is your fault for not looking into the safety issues of your own residence. The tone of your story and interviews was to make it appear that nobody had warned these people that they should have insurance ... that they should be safe because of a levy. I'm sure they are aware of what happened in New Orleans. Mother nature will never be 100% predictable. Your story should have indicated that these people were foolish not to have flood insurance as it is too big of a risk to take, but apparently your show is fueling up the pass-the-buck band-wagon.

    June 23, 2008 at 11:16 pm |
  15. Guy Merritt

    Among the numerous pieces of our government which – more and more – appear broken and impotent, in the wake of recent natural disasters FEMA is something of a poster child for governmental agencies that need to be dismantled and restored to "working condition". Nonetheless, how in the world could the couple profiled on Anderson Cooper's program have purchased a home in that region and not have known – without any sales pitch from FEMA (nor anyone else) – to immediately purchase flood insurance....?

    Guy Merritt
    Flint, Michigan

    June 23, 2008 at 10:26 pm |
  16. Neil

    This is ridiculous. People bought a home on a flood plain. They bought a home that was sold because it was flooded before, and they never thought it might happen again? No one can accept responsibility for their own actions. It's easy to blame the government but hard to point the finger at yourself.

    Clearly these are the same people that need instructions on a bottle of shampoo. Wet, lather, rinse. Who would have guessed?

    June 23, 2008 at 10:23 pm |
  17. Dave C

    My sympathies go out to all those affected by the flood. However it is not FEMA's fault that they did not purchase flood insurance.

    June 23, 2008 at 10:21 pm |
  18. Nathan Enterline

    At some point personal responsibility has to come into play. The people without flood insurance deserve what they got. Everyone needs to analyze their situation and decide for themselves what the proper action for their situation is, for example whether or not to get flood insurance when living next to a river. No one should rely on someone else for information. People need to make their own decisions and be responsible for their own decisions.

    June 23, 2008 at 10:20 pm |
  19. Patti

    You live in a flood plain along a river! Why is it somebody else's responsibility to tell you to buy flood insurance? I'm sure the government didn't think the levees would break, but they did. There is no personal responsibility in our country. It's always somebody else's fault, somebody else that needs to be sued. Even though they don't have insurance, I'm sure the government (FEMA) will be compensating them. I actually do feel really sorry for them, but blame nature, not the government for an act of nature.

    June 23, 2008 at 10:16 pm |
  20. Hunter Nelson

    The report on Gulf Port, IL leaves me wondering when will people take responsibility for their own actions. They did not purchase flood insurance, even though they were well aware that they resided in a flood plain. They took the advice of the government and unforunately they lost their belongings. It is harsh reality, but they are wanting to blame everyone but who matters most, themselves.

    Hunter Nelson
    Birmingham, AL

    June 23, 2008 at 10:15 pm |
  21. DP

    People have lived in these flood planes for years...and have been warned over and over again. The reality is that if you live near a river that has had historically predicable outcomes of flooding, why continue to live there? Yes, I feel badly for these people however, they should have known better and purchase the flood insurance instead of trusting the levys.

    June 23, 2008 at 10:15 pm |

    how can i send my widow's mite to these disaster areas
    China earth-quake frlief fund ,Mississpi and Iowa flood

    MODERATOR: You can find a list of agencies that are helping at CNN.com/impact

    June 23, 2008 at 10:13 pm |
  23. Annie Kate

    This flooding seems like it has no end. Its too bad we don't have a way to move all that excess water to places suffering from drought. Too much in one place and not enough in another – its going to get worse and more regular with global warming. We need to exercise some foresight in these places rather than hindsight – too many people suffer when we don't.

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    June 23, 2008 at 10:07 pm |
  24. Heidi, Lou.Ky

    I looks as somebody will make great money from it . we had chance to see from Katrina ,We saw but it is not veni,vedi,vici,,,,,,,85 mil.$ was insight warehouse for victims of Katrina for 2 years ,CNN talked about on Blitzer show ,that was all,,,,,,,so many people donated money and things for all victims ,,,,they never got that ,,,,,,now even ,if somebody needs help ,,,,,,people afraid to be genres because, we don't know ,where it going to finish actually in who's pocket
    Thank you

    June 23, 2008 at 10:04 pm |
  25. Sharon from Indy

    Even though the insurance companies are tap dancing around the policies' coverage...thank you residents of the Mississippi Gulf coast for coming up to help the Midwest in their flood recovery efforts! You know how the Midwest flood victims feel.

    June 23, 2008 at 9:44 pm |
  26. Amy

    Wow, it is just getting worse and worse in the midwest. This disaster is becoming a mini-Katrina...scary!

    June 23, 2008 at 9:28 pm |
  27. MaryEllen Richmond TX

    What happens when it's decided their home is unsafe, they are refused access or to reside in it - and yet have the mortgage debt?

    And what about utility companies – TV, Electric, Gas, Cable, City Water bills - do they stop the day people had to move out or does each family have to make separate calls about their specific individual accounts to "suspend service"?

    June 23, 2008 at 9:15 pm |