Second Landfall, Pyongyang Provocation

The Storm that Won’t Go Away: Tropical storm Harvey made a second landfall overnight in southwest Louisiana while Houston area homes and streets remain under water and shelters are overflowing with people.

Louisiana could get 8 to 12 inches of rain in the next couple of days. An astounding 51.88 inches have fallen on Cedar Bayou, Texas.

Emergency authorities say they have rescued as many as 13,000 people from their homes, and that doesn’t include those retrieved by hundreds of private boat owners now known as the “Texas Navy.”

At least 30 deaths have been reported. Among them is a Houston police officer, a 34-year veteran of the department, who drove his cruiser into a flooded underpass in the dark Sunday and drowned.

Thousands of Texans have lost everything. As many as 17,000 people are in shelters and Houston asked the Federal Emergency Management Agency for food and cots for another 10,000.

Emergency organizations are looking to open additional shelters while megachurch Pastor Joel Osteen, taking criticism for keeping his doors closed, opened his 16,000-seat church to storm refugees.

With reservoirs overflowing, the National Weather Service predicted less than an inch of rain for Houston today and only a 30 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms for Thursday. The sun might actually break out with a high near 94 on Friday.

Politics of Disaster: President Trump yesterday visited the area in what might become the most expensive national disaster in US history once all the bills are in. He met mostly with emergency officials and stayed out of the way of ground operations.

  At a meeting in Corpus Christi, Trump said he wanted to make the state and federal response a model for the future. “It’s a real team, and we want to do it better than ever before,” Trump said. “We want to be looked at in five years, in 10 years from now as, this is the way to do it.”

Trump promised he would quickly drive through an appropriations bill to help pay for the damage to private and public property, but he was a little light on expressing dismay at the deaths and sympathy for the displaced.

First Lady Melania Trump was criticized for boarding Air Force One in Washington wearing stiletto heels, but really, who cares? She got off in Texas wearing sneakers.

On the local level, Houston’s Mayor Sylvester Turner ordered a 10 pm to 5 am curfew to guard against robbery and looting. Turner has been taking some criticism for not ordering a full evacuation of Houston in advance of the storm. Turner said yesterday, “You cannot evacuate six point five million people.

It’s an impossible decision. In 2005, when officials called an evacuation, about 3.7 million people ended up in massive traffic jams, baking in heat that resulted in more than 100 deaths.

Pyongyang Provocation: In response to North Korea’s firing of a missile over Japan, President Trump warned yesterday that “all options are on the table.”

The missile flew over the Japanese northern island of Hokkaido yesterday and landed in the Pacific.

In a more measured statement, Trump said, “The world has received North Korea’s latest message loud and clear: this regime has signaled its contempt for its neighbors, for all members of the United Nations, and for minimum standards of acceptable international behavior.”

North Korea’s most provocative missile launch came just a week after Trump threatened “fire and fury” and said he believed North Korea “starting to respect us,” Mr. Trump said.

The missile was launched from near the capital of Pyongyang, possibly from a mobile launcher. That makes a military counter-strike dicey and more likely to cause civilian casualties.

The Obit Page: Bernard Pomerance, who wrote the play “The Elephant Man” about the terribly disfigured John Merrick, who became a celebrity in Victorian London, has died at age 76.

In the play, Merrick finds peace and friendship in a London hospital after a life of being a freak in carnival shows.

Shark Fin Soup: Earlier this month officials with the Galápagos National Park called in the Ecuadorian navy to investigate a Chinese-registered fishing boat lurking in the waters of the preserve. When they boarded, Navy sailors found 300 tons of dead fish, including 6,600 sharks. Most of them were endangered hammerheads.

After a quick trial on the Galápagos’ San Cristobal Island, an Ecuadorean judge sentenced the 20 members of the fishing crew to anywhere from one to four years in prison, and fines totaling $5.9 million.

All for the Asian delicacy shark fin soup.


Sunday, February 18, 2018

Page Two

Jaw Meet Floor

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

The Small President

Thursday, December 15, 2016

The Cuba Diaries

Sunday, March 13, 2016

An Alphabet of Maladies

Friday, February 26, 2016

The Healthcare Confusion Act

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Freedom from Speech

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Too Big to Fire

Friday, June 19, 2015

More Probable Than Not

Thursday, May 14, 2015

It's Been Said

" 'The enemy of the people,'" was what the president of the United States called the free press in 2017 ... It is a testament to the condition of our democracy that our own president uses words infamously spoken by Josef Stalin to describe his enemies. It bears noting that so fraught with malice was the phrase 'enemy of the people,' that even Nikita Khrushchev forbade its use, telling the Soviet Communist Party that the phrase had been introduced by Stalin for the purpose of 'annihilating such individuals' who disagreed with the supreme leader."
Arizona republican Sen. Jeff Flake speaking on the floor today.

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