Category 4 Hits Texas, Friday News Dump
Saturday, August 26, 2017
Vol. 6, No. 227
Category 4: Hurricane Harvey hit the Texas coast last night with heavy rain and 130 mph winds just northeast of Corpus Christi. It was the first Category 4 to hit Texas since the 1960s, but it was quickly downgraded to Category 1.
As much as 20 inches of rain are expected to fall in some areas. A dangerous storm surge stretches from Houston southwest through Corpus Christi.
Utility poles and billboards are down and a portion of the Rockport, Tex. high school is reported to have collapsed, but’s early for comprehensive damage reports.
News Dump: Friday is the traditional day for the White House to bury unpopular announcements, and yesterday they did it under cover of a hurricane as well.
President Trump pardoned former Phoenix Sheriff Joe Arpaio, banned transgender people from the military, and booted a questionable foreign policy adviser.
Arpaio faced six months in jail for violating a federal court order to cease targeting Latinos for traffic stops in a hunt for illegal immigrants. Trump had said Arpaio was “convicted for doing his job.”
A White House statement said, “after more than fifty years of admirable service to our Nation, he is a worthy candidate for a Presidential pardon.”
The bloviating Arpaio, now 85, used to tout himself as “America’s toughest sheriff,” and was proud of the miserable conditions in his county jail where he even had a tent city in which prisoners broiled in the desert heat.
Arpaio had taken on the role of immigration policing, even though that was not his department’s function. In 2011, he was ordered to stop targeting Latinos on suspicion of their immigration status, but he continued, and was tried and convicted of contempt earlier this year. He violated the law in the name of enforcing it and Trump admires him for it.
— He’s Fired: White House adviser Sebastian Gorka, who counselled Trump to be tough on Muslim travel and immigration to the US and appears to be linked to the far right in Europe, has been fired. Gorka seems to have been found useless by the new Chief of Staff, John Kelly.
Gorka is believed to have belonged to a Nazi-sympathizing group in which members signified themselves by adding a small “v” as a middle initial in their names. Gorka has at times spelled his name as “Sebastian L. v. Gorka.”
— In Writing: President Trump yesterday signed an order prohibiting transgender people from joining the military, but gave the defense secretary wide latitude on whether to retain transgenders currently in the services.
Defection: President Trump’s economic adviser Gary Cohn, who is Jewish, publicly broke with him yesterday over the President’s Charlottesville remarks saying, “citizens standing up for equality and freedom can never be equated with white supremacists, neo-Nazis, and the KKK.”
Trump is reported to be furious, but the trickle of Republicans speaking up about Trump is turning into a stream. Among the trickle of Republicans abandoning and denouncing President Trump is former Missouri Sen. John Danforth, once a stalwart conservative leader.
Danforth writes in The Washington Post that Trump “is exactly what Republicans are not, who is exactly what we have opposed in our 160-year history. We are the party of the Union, and he is the most divisive president in our history.”
Danforth goes on, “Trump is always eager to tell people that they don’t belong here, whether it’s Mexicans, Muslims, transgender people or another group. His message is, “You are not one of us,” the opposite of “e pluribus unum.”
And he says, “We cannot allow Donald Trump to redefine the Republican Party. That is what he is doing, as long as we give the impression by our silence that his words are our words and his actions are our actions.”
The Kimchi Krisis: North Korea fired several short-range missiles from its east coast yesterday, once again putting its thumb in the eye of the US. The Americans and South Koreans began joint war games Monday, which always irritates the North, but it’s been a season of higher tensions than usual as the Hermit Kingdom develops missiles capable of reaching the US.
The Happiest Place: Bill Nye, “The Science Guy,” has filed a $37 million lawsuit against The Walt Disney Company claiming they failed to pay him profits from his television show which ran for eight years on PBS during the 1990s. Disney has a terrible reputation for paying people what the company owes them.
A one-day ticket to Disneyland is $104.