Tag Archives: FEMA

Feeling oddly ‘guilty’ as Michael thrashes Florida Panhandle

Call it a form of “survivor’s guilt,” if you wish.

I am feeling oddly out of place today as I watch the news out of Florida, Alabama, Georgia and possibly the Carolinas. Our fellow Americans are enduring Hurricane Michael’s unprecedented wrath.

Here? In North Texas? Oh, my. Our weather is postcard-perfect: 70 degrees, bright sunshine, a light breeze. Fall has arrived in the Metroplex.

Not so for our friends and fellow citizens way down yonder, southeast of us!

The Carolinas are still recovering from the havoc that Hurricane Florence brought ashore. Now it’s Hurricane Michael’s turn to become flood Americans with indelible memories of just how savage Mother Nature’s wrath can become.

It blasted ashore after being spotted only a few days ago. Hurricane preparedness officials had little time to plan how to cope with it. To its credit, federal, state and local authorities mustered their first responders who — as is their custom — reacted heroically in the face of the storm’s savagery.

Meanwhile, those of us far away are basking in sunshine. We’re also sending all the good karma and prayers we can to those who at this moment are fighting for their lives against forces far beyond mere humans’ meager limits.

If all of that assuages my feelings of guilt, well, it doesn’t matter. I just want this storm to do what it will do … and then vanish.

Ship ahoy, Cajun navy!

Every major event always seems to produce something of a “back story” that brings a smile to our face and expressions of gratitude for the bravery of average Americans.

Hurricane Florence stormed ashore this morning and delivered a punishing blow to the Carolina coastline. It meandered inland and has been “downgraded” to a tropical storm.

Five people have died from the storm’s wrath. We are saddened at that news.

Cajun navy enters the fray

Then we have the Cajun navy, which has raced to the Carolinas from Texas and Lousiana. The Cajun navy is a collection of watercraft. As MSN.com has reported: As Hurricane Florence trudged west off the sea into the Carolinas, an armada of kayaks, fishing boats, shallow-draft duck hunting boats, airboats and pirogues moved north and east from Texas and Louisiana to meet the storm. As the rains and winds began to whip the coastline, the all-volunteer flotilla settled in.

Bring it on, they said. The Cajun Navy has arrived.

The task of this “fleet” has been to rescue Carolinians stranded by the storm’s fury. They have been pulling people out of their flooded homes and motor vehicles and taking them to safety.

Man, this is what Americans do for each other.

There’s more from MSN.com: Just as they did last summer in Texas during Hurricane Harvey, a group of grass-roots, ragtag search and rescuers have moved into Florence’s path, hoping to offer their services to the flooded, the marooned, the injured. Credited with rescuing thousands of people and pets during Harvey’s unprecedented rains, they plan to do it all again, a vigilante crew trying to assist the government’s rescue efforts.

Yes, federal, state and local governments are rallying at this moment to provide assistance. Yet it’s the outpouring of selflessness exemplified by the Cajun navy that gives many of us hope in the goodness of a nation that rushes to the aid of those in distress.

This story fills me with pride.

Storm response might reveal truth about Maria

Donald J. Trump, as is his habit, told a serious lie when looking back on the administration’s response to Hurricane Maria’s devastating attack on Puerto Rico.

He called it an “unsung success,” which it wasn’t. It was a disastrous display of incompetence.

So … now the administration is preparing for another monstrous storm. Hurricane Florence is bearing down on the Carolina coast. Federal emergency management officials have ordered evacuations along Atlantic coasts of North and South Carolina.

The president said this week that “we’re ready” for the storm to make landfall. It will land likely as a Category 4 monster, packing winds of 150 mph, producing storm surges exceeding a dozen feet and bringing as much as 2 feet of rainfall.

We’re about to see just how well the government can respond to Mother Nature’s wrath. In a curious sense, we’ll also get to compare this response to what the president described as a glowing success a year ago when Hurricane Maria killed nearly 3,000 Americans in Puerto Rico.

I damn sure want the government to deliver on its promise of being “ready” for this storm, even if its response to Hurricane Florence reveals where the feds fell short in the Caribbean.

The nation is hoping for the best.

Trump cannot stop needling Americans in need

I’m trying to imagine Donald J. Trump threatening to pull federal workers out of a disaster zone if it were in, say, Wyoming. Or Alabama. Or Oklahoma.

Residents of those states voted overwhelmingly for Trump in 2016. Do you think he’d treat them in the same disgraceful manner that he’s treating residents of Puerto Rico?

The president is playing a ridiculous game of political chicken, though, with Puerto Rico, which is suffering from a humanitarian disaster of epic proportions. He has fired Twitter barbs at the San Juan mayor, who has chided the president for the criticism he has leveled at her.

Now he’s delivering threats of a new kind. He says he could pull federal emergency workers out of Puerto Rico if the local government doesn’t start doing more on its own to recover from the savage beating delivered by Hurricane Maria.

Trump blames PR?

Politico reports: “Electric and all infrastructure was disaster before hurricanes,” Trump wrote on Twitter in a series of posts. “Congress to decide how much to spend. We cannot keep FEMA, the Military & the First Responders, who have been amazing (under the most difficult circumstances) in P.R. forever!”

He keeps appearing to blame Puerto Rico officials for their inability to maintain certain infrastructure. He went to the island territory and needled the Puerto Ricans because they had drained the nation’s Treasury. “But that’s all right,” Trump said, seeming to make light of the comment he had just made. I doubt any Puerto Rico officials were laughing along with him.

Of course he cannot keep the federal first responders there “forever.” But good grief, can’t he just keep his trap shut and stop chiding the 3.5 million Americans who are suffering through a disaster of unspeakable proportions?

For the umpteenth time, Mr. President: Puerto Ricans are American citizens, too. They need — and deserve — the nation’s unqualified support and assistance.

Trump continues to show his lack of humanity

What in the name of human decency is Donald John Trump trying to accomplish with this latest Twitter tirade?

San Juan, P.R., Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz is desperate. She is imploring the federal government to expedite aid to her stricken city, which was pummeled by Hurricane Maria. Yes, she’s been critical of the federal response.

So, what does the president do? He fires off tweets that accuse the mayor of wanting the feds to “do everything.” He praises the federal response, while criticizing the mayor’s leadership. He wrote, according to The Hill: “The Mayor of San Juan, who was very complimentary only a few days ago, has now been told by the Democrats that you must be nasty to Trump,” Trump tweeted. “Such poor leadership ability by the Mayor of San Juan, and others in Puerto Rico, who are not able to get their workers to help.”

Put the Twitter device away

Why cannot this individual, the president, simply do the job to which he was elected? He took an oath to protect Americans. He pledged to care for us and to be there during good times and bad. I get that it’s all an unwritten pledge, but that’s what presidents traditionally have done.

They have avoided being openly critical of fellow Americans during times of peril and strife. Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands have been ravaged and savaged by Mother Nature’s immense power. The citizens — all of whom are just as American as the president — want their leader to concentrate fully on their well-being. The president is failing that test.

His attack on the embattled mayor is unbecoming — once again — of the high office this man occupies.

Houses of worship deserve FEMA assistance

I can almost hear the grumbling now: The U.S. Constitution prohibits any relationship between government and religious organization, which means churches shouldn’t be eligible for federal emergency relief assistance.

I’ll respond this way: As Col. Sherman T. Potter would say: Mule muffins!

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton have asked for aid from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to help houses of worship ravaged by the wrath of Hurricane/Tropical Storm Harvey.

Abbott and Paxton wrote in their letter to FEMA: “When Hurricane Harvey slammed into Texas, wreaking devastation over a huge swath of the Texas Gulf Coast, scores of churches and houses of worship jumped into action to serve thousands of Americans in their time of need.”

Indeed, those houses of worship also suffered grievously from Harvey’s savagery, just as every other inhabitant along the Texas Gulf Coast.

I get what the U.S. Constitution says about the prohibition against making laws that establish a state religion. This is different. FEMA stands as an agency committed to helping all Americans.

Harvey delivered a killer punch to Texas. It brought substantial misery all along the coast from Corpus Christi to the Golden Triangle — and many miles inland.

Everyone affected by the horrific storm — including houses of worship — deserve assistance from the federal government that aims to serve them.

Stand by, NOAA and FEMA … oh, wait!

Texas is about to get pummeled by the worst Gulf Coast hurricane in a dozen years. The state is mobilizing its substantial emergency management force now to prepare for the worst. Gov. Greg Abbott is firing off advisories left and right to warn residents to move as rapidly as possible out of Hurricane Harvey’s destructive path.

Meanwhile, at the federal level, we learn that two key agencies charged with coordinating the national response to these disasters are without administrative heads.

The Federal Emergency Management Administration and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration do not have people sitting at the top of their respective chains of command.

Why the delay in finding FEMA and NOAA bosses? Oh, wait! It must be that the president of the United States has become fixated, consumed and swallowed up by the “Russia thing.” Or it might be that Donald John Trump Sr. has been too worried about planning for his campaign stops where he takes plenty of time to rail against his foes. Or perhaps it’s because the personnel management office that helps the president fill these spots has gotten zero guidance on who to place in these key emergency response posts.

I have no clue, quite obviously.

However, I do have plenty of worry to spread to our many friends who live along the huge swath of the Texas coast from Beaumont to Corpus Christi, where Hurricane Harvey is projected to make landfall early Saturday.

I will do so with this blog. I’ll express my worry for them. I also am going to send as many good wishes, good karma and positive thoughts their way as they prepare for the worst.

The good news, if you want to call it that, is that Texas emergency management officials have these response routines down pat. They’ve all been through hurricane preparedness and have had to enact their best-laid plans for previous events.

Let’s hope and pray they get this right — and that our fellow Texans along the coast heed the warnings they are receiving. Hurricane Harvey figures to bring a lot of destruction as it levels its Category 3-force wind and rain onto the Gulf Coast.

Let’s also hope — and pray — that any possible lack of federal coordination doesn’t impede the state’s emergency response.

Texas can use federal assistance


Hey, no kidding. Texas actually can use some help from the federal government.

As I understand it, Gov. Greg Abbott has to ask for a federal emergency declaration. The pictures I’m seeing from around the state, particularly in Houston and in the Hill Country, suggests the governor needs to get on the stick and ask for it.

President Obama talked to the governor by phone the other day and offered federal help. I’m guessing Gov. Abbott said, “Thank you, Mr. President. I’ll get back to you on that.”

Has he done so? I haven’t heard that he has.

Abbott calls the floods the worst in Texas history. As I’m writing this short blog, another storm is blasting overhead along the Texas Panhandle. It’s dumping more rain on our saturated ground — which isn’t nearly as soaked as the ground is in Houston, the Golden Triangle, the Coastal Bend and the Hill Country.

But it’s wet enough here.

My son, who’s visiting us from Allen — just north of Dallas — informed us of playas that appeared where there’s “never any water.” Well, he can’t say “never” now.

Ask for the feds’ help, governor.

And whatever you do, don’t let your political differences with the White House stand in the way.


Obama pledges to aid, not invade, Texas

Did I read this correctly?

President Obama told Texas Gov. Greg Abbott that the federal government stands ready to assist in helping the state recover from the devastating floods of recent days. That’s what I read.


What a marvelous turn of events.

Barely a month after the governor ordered the Texas State Guard to monitor federal troop movements in Texas after an Internet post declared Obama intended to invade and occupy Texas, the president is going to actually aid the state in its flood recovery.

“I assured Gov. Abbott that he could count on the help of the federal government,” Obama told reporters in the Oval Office. “I will anticipate that there will be some significant requests made to Washington. My pledge to him is that we will expedite those requests.”

That’s what presidents are supposed to do.

The floods have ravaged much of the state. Eleven people are now known to have died as a result. Others are missing. Property has been destroyed. Gov. Abbott compared the floodwater to a tsunami.

Better to aid than to invade. Then again, the invade part was a hoax.

This Texas resident wants to say “thanks” for lending a hand. We’ll need it, Mr. President.

‘Tsunami’ flood inundates Central Texas

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott isn’t usually prone to mutter hyperbole.

So, when he says the floods over much of the state are the worst in anyone’s memory, then he is taking aim at the extreme hardship thousands of Texans are enduring from this crazy weather.


A dam in Bastrop County apparently has failed; water has poured over the land. People are missing along the Gulf Coast. Texans have died as they’ve been swept away by raging water.

Abbott compared the flooding to a tsunami.

He’s declared disasters in 24 Texas counties.

Federal emergency management officials need to take notice of what’s happening here.

We’ve been bemoaning the local flooding here in the Panhandle, but it pales in comparison to what’s happening downstate.

Allen, where my son and daughter-in-law live with our grandkids, has been inundated along with much of the rest of the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area. The city had imposed watering restrictions; I haven’t heard whether they’ve been lifted. My family is safe, I’m happy to report.

Abbott has toured the area south of Austin from the air. He said: “This is the biggest flood this area of Texas has ever seen. It is absolutely massive — the relentless tsunami-type power of this wave of water.”

What can the rest of us do? Pray for their safety and for a break in this thing for which we’ve prayed already. The rain has arrived. But enough, already!