This column isn’t about baseball. It’s about Cleveland Browns football players, the national anthem and a police union president who has a habit of making us sound like a town of time travelers who just arrived with a thud from somewhere in the 1950s.
President Trump, who was called a “short-fingered vulgarian” in the 1980s, is still feeling insecure about his hands. He brought up the size of his hands at a Hurricane Irma relief location run by the Red Cross in Florida, as he was handing out food. Trump claimed his hands were “too big” for the gloves.
Hurricane Irma made a second ferocious landfall near Naples Sunday after inundating the low-lying Florida Keys, sending floodwaters surging into downtown Miami and menacing millions in Florida’s Gulf Coast cities where some had initially sought shelter from the storm.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, Florida Power and Light (FPL) CEO Eric Silagy announced Sunday evening that more than 2 million households and businesses in South Florida would not get power restoration for weeks. FPL Vice President of Communications Rob Gould also told ABC News that affected areas will see a “wholesale rebuild” of the electrical grid, which could be considered the “longest restoration in U.S. history.” FPL serves more than 10 million customers across Florida.
Forecasters say Irma will hit Florida directly this weekend, starting in Miami and the Keys, and then the entirety of the state by Monday. Nadege Green, a reporter with WLRN in Miami, lives in an area that’s not currently in an evacuation zone. She has boarded up her house in preparation for the storm. She says she’s staying put not because she wants to, but because she feels like she has no other choice.
The three hurricanes—Category 4 Irma, Category 4 Jose and Category 2 Katia—are swirling and wreaking havoc along their distinct paths. Both Irma and Jose are moving up the eastern Atlantic Ocean, with Irma already causing destruction in the northern Lesser Antilles and Jose expected to do the same over the weekend.
FPL now has 13,500 crews from around the country, as well as its own, on hand to restore power once hurricane and tropical winds subside, Silagy said. “We’re frankly more prepared for this hurricane than we have been for any storm in the history of our company,” he said. But Hurricane Irma is the kind that “can snap concrete poles and bend metal,” he said. Silagy expects overgrown vegetation and debris to cause some equipment failures, as well as flooding. “We’re going to see a lot of damage. We’re going to see areas where we’re going to have to rebuild,” Silagy said.
In their early morning discussion, National Hurricane Center forecasters said the latest model runs have moved Irma’s path slightly to the east, taking the fierce Cat 5 storm over Florida’s east coast or the northern Bahamas in the coming days. But they say models are still struggling to factor in a trough moving over the U.S. expected to help steer Irma.
The disaster in Houston has put many conservatives on the defensive. Houston was their urban model. Developers could put almost anything anywhere, which lowered the cost of living. By unfavorable comparison, “elite” coastal cities that regulate development have relatively high housing costs. But it’s an extreme creed that portrays regulation as the enemy of investment. In the real world, smart regulation can protect investments.
Confronted with the catastrophe still unfolding now, Turner sticks by his story. His defiant tone, under duress, falls flat. It seems clear now that those living in Houston’s 100-year floodplain should have been strongly encouraged to flee their homes, ahead of time, in an orderly process. That’s emergency preparedness 101.
“In the Houston metro area alone, there is more than $325 billion in residential value at risk,” Simmons said in an interview. “Most damage to residential property will be flooding and if people don’t have flood insurance they are on their own.” (Most don’t, in part because the floodwaters reached so far beyond established danger zones.)
With the shutdown of oil refineries and chemical plants, impaired roads and ports, and widespread damage to homes, businesses and cars, the economic toll from Hurricane Harvey is now being estimated as the second-costliest natural disaster in U.S. history, trailing only the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
It’s not unusual for presidents to visit states impacted by natural disasters, but it is somewhat odd for a president to not meet with victims of such disasters. Former President George W. Bush was criticized for his delayed visit to the Gulf Coast following Hurricane Katrina, but when he finally did visit the Gulf Coast, he made sure to visit with victims.
Politicians, celebrities and the rich often set the world’s idea of their cities and regions. It takes a disaster to meet the regular folks. We met average Louisianans during Hurricane Katrina and the commoners from New Jersey and New York for Superstorm Sandy. Hurricane Harvey has introduced America and the world to ordinary Texans.
Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump—or Javanka, as some terrible person has dubbed them—moved to Washington, D.C. eight months ago certain they’d become America’s preeminent power couple. Turns out that vision was clouded by an inability to see beyond their own cloistered versions of reality.
Nearly a month before a car driven by an alleged neo-Nazi plowed into counter-protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia, on Aug. 12, white supremacists planning the “Unite the Right” rally joked about using vehicles to run over their opponents. That message and thousands of other conversations among white supremacists were leaked from a chat app called Discord and posted on the website of a left-wing media collective called Unicorn Riot. Many users’ participation could not be verified, but ProPublica was able to confirm that two people whose statements were included in the leaked trove made the comments attributed to them.
We do value our freedom here in Texas. As I write from soggy Central Texas, the cable news is showing people floating down Buffalo Bayou on their principles, proud residents of the largest city in these United States that did not grow in accordance with zoning ordinances.
A Texas television station investigating white supremacist hate in their region was startled to discover a website linked to the newly-appointed Colbert, Oklahoma police chief. It started with all of the attention the Southern Poverty Law Center’s “Hate Map” received following the violence in Charlottesville, VA.
During former Imperial Wizard of the KKK David Duke’s recent appearance on Vice News Tonight’s Charlottesville episode, he tried to explain the “oppression” he was experiencing as a white supremacist. In response, the cyber-hacking group Anonymous has taken matters into its own hands and doxxed Duke, releasing all of his personal information for the world to see.
No corner of the health care system would be harder hit than Medicaid, the federal-state health insurance program for the poor, if Republican leaders in Congress round up the votes to repeal major portions of the Affordable Care Act. GOP lawmakers have proposed winding down the Medicaid expansion that added 17 million people in 31 states and the District of Columbia under the ACA, and eventually capping the program’s spending per capita.
Vice President Mike Pence’s office has confirmed the White House commission on voter fraud intends to run the state voter rolls it has requested against federal databases to check for potential fraudulent registration. Experts say the plan is certain to produce thousands of false positives that could distort the understanding of the potential for fraud, especially given the limited data states have agreed to turn over.
There he is, Gov. Chris Christie, chilling with his family on a beautiful stretch of deserted beach on a holiday weekend, something that no living mortal has ever seen in New Jersey, a treasure that for the common man and woman is the stuff of dreams. “Run for governor, and you can have a residence there,” Christie said when he was asked if it’s fair. The huddled masses were crammed together at local beaches nearby, held back by the governor’s patrols. Little people. Let them eat cake.
The United States Flag Code, written in 1923, more than frowns on these infractions. Penalties for mutilating or stomping on the flag include a fine and up to a year in prison. That the law is pretty much forgotten these days must be a great relief to law enforcement.
Despite having received more than half a million citizen comments opposing the action, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced on June 22 that it is removing federal Endangered Species Act protections for grizzly bears in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem and effectively transferring management authority over these bears to Idaho, Montana and Wyoming.
“The ACA is not repealed,” tweeted Andy Slavitt, who ran Medicaid and Medicare for the Obama administration. “Health care for poor people, kids, the disability community and seniors is. The ACA income based tax credits stay—due to Senate rules. They just get bulldozed. More accurately, the people receiving the help do.”