Monday, April 21, 2008

A big dam project

African policymakers have begun discussions on building what could be the biggest and most powerful hydroelectric dam in the world…

…Actually, I got nothing. I just thought that the pun in the headline was rather awesome. But, coming from the Pacific Northwest where dams are plentiful, this is a remarkable show of progress for the African nations. Dams, remarkable in their ability to deliver efficient power, irrigation, jobs and much, much more could represent a turning point for many Africans hoping to develop a viable industry and strengthen an otherwise impoverished economy.

Also, speaking of dams and puns, I am reminded of a story from way back when I was in college and hosting the “Morning Breath” radio program on Spokane’s KWRS 90.3 FM with Sean Taylor.

We had the opportunity to interview then-Senator Slade Gorton just prior to his 2000 election defeat to Maria Cantwell. That year, dams on the Columbia River were a hot-button issue for Washingtonians. Sitting in a dank cinder-block room that represented the senator’s Spokane campaign headquarters, Sean and I grilled him on the future of dams in Washington State. His wife, a kind and proper woman sat next to him almost monitoring our edgy and irreverent interview style.

When the interview was finished, we asked Slade to provide us with a few station I.D. quotes to re-air for the show. In good humor he agreed to say for one of them, “This is Slade Gorton and I discussed the dam issues on Morning Breath” – hilarious to a couple of college kids; but not to Slade’s wife. If ever I received a cold stare from anyone, it was Mrs. Gorton. I wonder what she would say to the headline of this blog post….? As much as I like to lay claim to it, I am highly doubtful that our prompting of a sitting U.S. senator to curse on air contributed to his electoral demise.