Harvey Downgraded to Tropical Depression, Rescues in Flooded Texas Continues, US Military and Coast Guard Steps In, Interview with Four Deaf Houston Flood Survivors, Federal Judge Blocks Texas’ Anti-Sanctuary City Law, Dash-Cam Shows Georgia Officer Saying, “We Only Kill Black People,” U.S. Orders Russia to Close Consulate, Trump Lawyers Meet with Mueller to Argue Against Obstruction, Moth Going to Ft. Worth for Deaf Celebration Expo
Hello, welcome to the Daily Moth! It is Thursday, August 31. Ready for news?
Harvey is now a weaker storm — a tropical depression with winds less than 39 mph — and moving through Mississippi and Tennessee after going through Louisiana yesterday and overnight.
The Louisiana Governor said while there were serious storms, the state is doing okay compared with Texas, who “took it to the chin.” He directed several Louisiana resources, such as black hawk helicopters, to Eastern Texas to help.
There is still serious flooding and rescues in Eastern Texas. The FEMA said they do not know how many more people need rescuing.
The U.S. Coast Guard is rescuing people in Southeast Texas, focusing on Beaumont and Port Arthur. They have rescued over 6,000 people and over 1,000 pets as of this morning. That’s in addition to the thousands of rescues by volunteers such as the Cajun Navy. The FEMA said 10,000 people total have been rescued by federal responders.
The Houston Fire Department will start going door-to-door starting in southwest Houston to find anybody who is left behind. Some of them might be up in attics. They will have to comb through over 18,000 homes.
The death count has increased to 39. Two of them were young men, 19 and 21 — they died from being electrocuted while standing in water at their home. The Houston Police chief said the death toll could increase after they look through homes and businesses.
32,000 people are in 232 different shelters.
The city of Beaumont had its water supply severely impacted overnight after the city’s two water pumps failed from flooding — meaning no clean water. A hospital there had to evacuate all patients to other healthcare centers and shut its emergency services. The FEMA said the military is now working to bring water to the city and its 120,000 residents. There are long lines to buy water at various stores in the area. For those who can turn on tap water, there is a boil notice — water must be in a rolling boil for 2 minutes before consumption. The water pumps won’t be fixed until after the floodwaters recede.
In Tyler County, just north of Beaumont, a dam is overflowing, causing officials to release water from floodgates. The Tyler County judge warned people near the dam to get out immediately, even bluntly telling people if they chose to stay, they should write with a permanent marker their social security number on their forearms so their bodies can be identified.
In Crosby, just outside of Houston, a chemical plant caught fire after losing power (the chemicals had to be refrigerated, but with no electricity and failed generators, it caught fire and released smoke, forcing evacuations of people who lived within 1.5 miles of the plant. 15 police officers went to the hospital after inhaling smoke. There were concerns that it was dangerous smoke, but it appears to be just “normal” smoke like a campfire.
Vice-President Mike Pence and his wife visited Rockport, Texas (near Corpus Christi) and met with people who lost their homes.
There are reports of price-gouging — Texas has received 684 different complaints of various people or businesses sharply raising the cost of water or gas to prices like $99 for a case of water, $8.50 a bottle, or $20 a gallon of gas.
The U.S. military has deployed more than 6,000 active-duty soldiers to support the recovery efforts and are ready to send 1,100 more. The Navy has deployed two military ships to the area — the boats can provide medical and logistics support, security, and air support.
The Houston Independent School District will provide three free meals to all of their students for the 2017-2018 school year. The district got federal and state funds after the disaster. Now almost 125,000 students will now have access to free breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The goal is to provide stability to students and reduce the pressure on families as they recover from the storm.
The White House said 100,000 homes were impacted by Harvey. They announced that President Trump plans to donate $1 million in personal funds (either his own money or from the Trump Foundation) to support Hurricane Harvey survivors.
Now, there is another hurricane — Irma — now a Category 2 storm with winds nearing 100 mph — that is moving in the Atlantic Ocean east of Africa. It will approach waters west of Puerto Rico sometime next week. It is projected to become stronger and be a dangerous Category 4 hurricane. That’s something we’ll all have to watch.
The Baton Rouge Association of the Deaf, Inc. (BRAD) has started a hurricane relief drive in Baton Rouge and are asking for donations for various things such as water, paper towels, cleaning supplies, diapers, personal items. You can contact the BRAD on their Facebook page — more contact information and details there. [https://www.facebook.com/BRADeaf/posts/197991497406601]
Yesterday a federal judge in San Antonio, Texas temporarily blocked most of Texas’ new state immigration law, SB4, that sought to dismantle sanctuary cities in Texas (cities with police departments who refuse to ask for people’s immigration status or send people to the ICE for deportation).
SB4 was recently signed in law by Texas Gov. Abbott (R) in May on Facebook Live. It would have allowed sanctuary city sheriffs be fined or jailed if they did not cooperate with federal immigration officials to hold undocumented immigrants in jails.
A Latinx advocacy organization representing the Texas border city of El Cenizo sued the state of Texas — and was joined by the cities of Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, and Austin — with the support of their police chiefs. Now the federal judge has sided with them.
The judge — U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia (appointed by Bill Clinton) — said the most of the law was unconstitutional.
Gov. Abbott said the judge has made Texas less safe and would allow gang members and dangerous criminals to be freed to prey on our communities — and vowed that the state would appeal.
A police dash-cam video from July 2016 shows an officer In Cobb County, Georgia, Greg Abbott, telling a pulled-over driver at a DUI traffic, “we only kill black people.”
The officer said this because the driver was nervous and did not want to reach for her phone because she saw too many videos (of officers shooting people).
That’s when the officer said, “But you are not black, remember we only shoot black people. Yeah, we only kill black people, right? All the videos you’ve seen, have you seen black people get killed? You have.”
The police chief there said the racial comments were inappropriate and unacceptable — and has placed the officer on administrative duties and started an internal investigation.
The officer’s lawyer said he is a highly-respected 28 year veteran of the police department and that the officer was “not serious” — it was just to de-escalate the situation with a nervous passenger.
But this video has sparked a wide reaction critical of the officer. We’ll see what happens with the investigation.
The U.S. has ordered Russia to close a consulate in San Francisco and two offices in New York and Washington — the deadline is this Saturday. This is the U.S.’ response to Russia’s order last month that the U.S. must cut 755 diplomats from offices in Russia. Putin ordered this in response to previous President Obama’s sanctions against Russia in 2016 for election interference and recent sanctions that was passed in Congress and signed by Trump.
There are still relations between the two countries, but with a lot less staff and offices.
Now in separate news, the Wall Street Journal broke news that lawyers for Donald Trump has met with special counsel Mueller several times to argue that Trump did not obstruct justice by firing former FBI director James Comey and has called Comey an unreliable witness in the investigation. Lawyers also said Trump had constitutional authority as President to fire people.
Neither the White House, Trump’s lawyers, or Mueller’s office has commented about the investigation — because it’s still ongoing.
I’m making an announcement — I will be going to Fort Worth, Texas on Saturday, September 23 to attend the Deaf Celebration Expo. It will be hosted at the Tarrant Community College with free admission from 9 am to 5 pm.
Over 50 different booths will be there, as well as a food truck from Crepe Crazy. During the evening, there will be special entertainment provided by myself and ASL storytelling by Jose Granda and Heath Devin Goodall. The evening portion requires tickets — $8 for adults, $4 for teenagers, and free for children under 9.
If you’re in the area, I hope to meet you. For more information, check out www.deafcelebration.org.
That is all for this week. Be sure to follow Daily Moth on Facebook for the latest and check out tomorrow’s Deaf Business Spotlight. Have a wonderful weekend and stay with the light!