Flooding Continues to Threaten the Midwest

Continuous rainfall since Monday has left central U.S. roads and homes underwater. At least 13 people are dead, three are missing and thousands are being evacuated.

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BILL WOLFF: From NPR News in New York, this is the Bryant Park Project.

ALISON STEWART, host:

Overlooking historic Bryant Park in midtown Manhattan, live from the NPR studios, this is the Bryant Park Project from NPR News. I'm Alison Stewart. It's Thursday, March 20th, the first day of spring. And in terms of big news stories, yesterday in one of our meetings we were thinking this Hillary Clinton document dump would be the big story today - would be what everybody was talking about.

After all, 11,046 pages of her schedules, of what went on in her life during her time during the White House were going to be released, and everyone could read them, and find out what happened. Would there be some concrete information regarding what she calls her experience during her time in the White House? Would we find out some interesting tidbits during some of those tumultuous times?

Well, the documents came out early yesterday morning at about 11:28 a.m. This email went out to NPR from the newsroom. We're pouring through the 11,000 documents released about Senator Clinton's years as first lady. It appears that the documents are exclusively her public schedules, which have always been public, just not in this form.

(Soundbite of groan)

STEWART: Nothing that exciting in there. But you could have looked at what wasn't in there. Some of the things the papers have been picking up on this morning, for example, where she was during the Monica Lewinsky time, sometimes actually in the White House. Or, for example, on May 19th, 1993, no mention at all in her public schedules or anything about the seven staffers who got fired as a part of that Travelgate.

What you do find out is her life is so scripted. There's a weather forecast every day. We know that she got a gift basket on one day between 3:45 and 4:35. We also know when she was going to a hospital. Literally, they wrote in this, quote, "She will be escorted to rocking chair by four patients who will sit next to her." Every part of her life so detailed, so scripted, very much unlike the Bryant Park Project.

On the show today - it's the vernal equinox, but it's also the Great American Meatout, the day when vegetarians try to grow their ranks. We'll get some tips for living that life in case you're thinking of converting. But, don't worry. We have something for you carnivores as well, an interview with a former vegetarian who now edits a magazine called "Meat Paper." Meat, meat, meat, that's what the magazine covers. Also, the New Yorker Magazine, well, sometimes they can't fit all those very funny cartoons into their pages, so we get the leftovers.

Matthew Diffee from the New Yorker will join us in the studio, with another cartoonist, with their discards. We scoop them up, and we present them to you. All that, plus The Ramble, new movies, including something from the guys who brought you "Knocked Up" and "Super Bad." Daniel Holloway, our movie guy, will stop by, but first...

The Midwest is under water. At this hour, at least 13 people are dead, three people missing, and thousands are being evacuated as record flooding hits the Midwest. You should check back with npr.org for updates. Continuous rainfall since Monday has dumped more than a foot of water in parts of the nation's midsection, leaving roads and homes under water. And as rivers continue to rise, the worst may still be yet to come.

(Soundbite of interview)

Mr. KEVIN LADOUCEUR (ph) (Missouri Resident): There have been some floods around here before, but it was worse than it's ever been. I mean it was just unimaginable.

STEWART: That was Kevin Ladouceur, a resident of Piedmont, Missouri, one of the worst hit areas. The record flooding there is being blamed for at least five deaths, and caused the evacuation of more than 500 homes. President Bush declared Missouri a major disaster area last night, ordering federal funds to help recovery efforts. Flash flooding is expected to worsen in the coming days as rivers threaten to rise up to two more feet from the storm runoff. Missouri resident Michael Goforth (ph) says he was swept away by the rushing waters.

(Soundbite of interview)

Mr. MICHAEL GOFORTH (Missouri resident): I was washed off a country road on Clark's Creek, dropped off in a hole, and it washed my vehicle completely off the road.

STEWART: Now, in Arkansas, two people are missing after their cars were swept away by rushing water as well. In Texas, a search is underway for a teen washed down a drainage pipe. The National Weather Service has issued flood warnings from Texas to Ohio, and the storm is now headed east to New England. For updates on the story throughout the day, head to npr.org. Now, let's get some more of today's headlines.

WOLFF: This is NPR.

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