by Jane Briggs-Bunting
Local and national new outlets are going gaga over THE wedding. A prince and a commoner, was there ever a better fairy tale possibility all slated for worldwide viewing for an estimated two billion? It will be tweeted and texted, Facebooked, Flickred and YouTubed around the planet along with the old style paper and ink and broadcast news coverage. It is a thoroughly modern event with some turn of the century (not the most recent one, the one before that!) pizzazz, as well. Love the horses and carriages touch.
The networks have sent their morning A-teams across the pond to cover it, leaving them a little flat-footed this morning as tornadoes raged through six states, killing more than 240 (and counting).
But there are other, bigger stories slated for Friday that will likely get a lot less coverage:
The final launch and mission of the Shuttle Endeavour with Commander Mark Kelly leading the mission: The launch will be watched by his recuperating wife, the injured Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, and President Obama (who is definitively sure he was born in the U.S. Fortunately, Hawaii became a state in 1959, or there would be even more controversy over this nonsense). This is the 19th year of service for Endeavour. It was Challenger’s replacement, going into service in 1992. Let’s hope the launch, 14-day mission and return are flawless.
The death toll and recovery from the murderous string of tornadoes and bad weather from historic tornado alleys in Texas, Oklahoma, Iowa, Kansas and Nebraska all the way to the East coast: These unseasonable April showers have spawned thunderstorms, flooding and a record number of twisters. Thursday’s 100-plus tornadoes led to record death tolls in Alabama (at least 160 confirmed dead) and elsewhere. This followed a three-day outbreak April 14-16 when 155 tornadoes barreled across 14 states, killing 38 people. Others died from straight line winds from that same system. Mother Nature is on a rampage.
Then there are the continuing wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and the civil wars raging in Libya and Syria. Japan is still reeling from its aftershocks, the tsunami aftermath and the ongoing nuclear meltdown.
Michigan is bracing for the return of Florida Pastor Terry Jones and his sidekick. Jones, of Koran-burning fame, was briefly jailed on Good Friday after a day long trial over his right to protest outside of the Islamic Center of America in Dearborn. A jury ruled he could likely cause a breach of peace. The judge ordered a $1 peace bond. By the time the Jones decided to pay the bond (originally the judge had set the figure at $40,000), his 5 p.m. protest time was long past. He headed home but with a new issue in his Constitutional right to free speech and a team of lawyers from the Thomas More Law Center of Ann Arbor, MI. Jones is scheduled to be back in Dearborn Thursday night for a planned free speech protest at 5 p.m. Friday, this time in front of Dearborn City Hall, a permit-free zone, similar to the Speaker’s Corner in London’s Hyde Park.
Which brings it back to London and the wedding, set for early Friday morning U.S. time. For a nation that fought two wars to get out from under the yoke of royalty, many of us are totally besotted with the looming nuptials of a future king and his bride. I hope this massive 21st Century fairy tale production goes off without a hitch, in true British style (those horses and carriages again, liveried cavalrymen and footmen and a lots of fabulous hats), and that no villains, be they terrorists, anti-royalists or drunken fools, mar the day.
With all the bad and sad news in the world, a bit of pomp and pageantry may be just what we need. Cheers!