So when DO we talk about this?

“Your thoughts and prayers aren’t going to stop the next shooting. Only action and leadership will do that.”

When Hurricane Harvey hit Houston and most of southeast Texas, it was NOT the time to talk about global warming because of people’s lives and homes and businesses in danger? OK, how about now? No, the recovery is still going on.

So when do we talk about Houston’s rampant growth and urbanization, which merely aggravates the problem of the city’s flat terrain? If they’re going to “rebuild,” then how and where? What are they going to do differently going forward?

I remember some towns in the Midwest that were flooded in 1993 by the Mississippi River moved entirely.

Yet talking about Puerto Rico’s aging infrastructure seemed to be fair game for at least one person, right after Hurricane Maria, a broken system that has made communication so difficult that the aid was not reaching many of the people.

“I hate to tell you, Puerto Rico but you’ve thrown our budget a little out of whack because we’ve spent a lot of money on Puerto Rico.” You would never have heard this in Houston or Miami.

So what’s the difference? Mark Evanier tweeted: “Puerto Rico doesn’t have water, power or humanitarian aid because of two other things they lack: Electoral votes and enough white people.” I have (jokingly? I’m not sure) suggested that some of the three million residents of the island move to some red states on the mainland before 2020.

(And I will rant that I wish some news commentators would refer to Puerto Rico as a commonwealth rather than a territory, even though commonwealth status is just plain weird.)

Over 58 people were killed and over 500 were injured in Las Vegas. “Thoughts and prayers.” But Mark Kelly, the retired astronaut and husband of former congresswoman Gabby Giffords, who was shot in 2011 at a constituent event in Tucson, AZ, disagrees.

Messages to the families of victims in the Las Vegas shooting, while important, are “not enough.” Kelly told reporters outside of the Capitol building with his wife at his side: “Your thoughts and prayers aren’t going to stop the next shooting. Only action and leadership will do that.”

The Onion ran YET AGAIN, ‘No Way To Prevent This,’ Says Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens.

So when do we talk about a ban on assault weapons that can kill people from a distance of four football fields away? Apparently, it’s just not the right time. It wasn’t the right time after the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, FL, which was the deadliest mass shooting in modern US history. And it’s not time now, less than 16 months later, when we have the NEW deadliest mass shooting in modern US history.

Maybe it’ll be money: After Hurricanes and Las Vegas Shooting, Countries Warn Citizens About Travel to U.S. I’m not sure what awful things will be required in order for us to have the conversations, but I better start praying NOW, because they’re going to be horrific.

Different take on the news

I need to get a different take on the news for a while.

You start writing a blog post, and sometimes, at some point, it just loses its joy.

Yeah, I was going to write about the lying Ryan Lochte and the other Olympic swimmers, and how he particularly was the Ugly American abroad. And Rio 2016 spokesman Mario Andrada downplaying their actions may be a case of white male privilege– OK, probably is, while the black girls’ hair is analyzed.

And I was going to write about the Louisiana flooding and whether there was enough media coverage – the New York Times acknowledged it was slow on the story, but I saw it daily on TV – and which politician should visit when, and whether Obama was responsible for Katrina.

And there’s this story about Donald Trump’s health report that was released in December of 2015, when most people thought it was bogus. So why is it a big news story only NOW? Because there are folks with a conspiracy theory about Hillary Clinton’s health, which Trump has helped spread, which the Democrats are contradicting.

Plus stuff about Paul Manifort and the Russians, and California fires, and explaining that this story about Obama banning the Pledge of Allegiance is bogus. I had thoughts on all of it. But then I realized something, that was just for a while, a little more important to me.
That is: a team from Maine-Endwell, NY is in the Little League World Series, after going 19-0. The hamlet of Endwell is in Broome County, where Binghamton, my hometown, is the county seat. “It’s the first time in over 35 years that a team from anywhere other than New York City has represented the Mid-Atlantic region in Williamsport.”

M-E won its first LLWS game on Thursday, 7-2, over a team from New England, Warwick North (Rhode Island). The team will play today in the double-elimination tournament, which means that, if they should lose today, they’re not yet eliminated.

I need to get a different take on the news for a while and may take a hiatus from the cares of the world, especially on Facebook. Instead, I will concern myself with fastballs and turning the double play, for a little while. Well, except for the stuff I’ve already written, and if something REALLY big happens…

Strange day – August 5: loss of power, THEN the flood

Elberon Place, which is about eight blocks from our house, and Hackett Boulevard, not much farther in a different direction, were particularly hard hit by the flooding, as was downtown.

Hackett Blvd, Albany, 5 Aug 2014
Hackett Blvd, Albany, 5 Aug 2014

Monday night, sometime around 9:45 p.m., I’m watching recorded television when the power goes out, just for a fraction of a second, but enough to make the sound of the air conditioner go off, then surge back on. A couple of minutes later, the power flickers again, less noticeably.

I go to bed, but it’s nocturus interruptus – see the upcoming 8/11 post. Go to work, tired. The Wife calls me on her cellphone to tell me the power’s out at the house – as it turns out for somewhere between three and five hours – because of some electrical cable problem in the area.

After work, I was going to go to the barbershop, but I hear rumbles of thunder, so I attach the bike first to one bus, then another, and hightail it home. And a good thing, too.

I’ve lived in Albany for 35 years. It has rained more than 2.6 inches (6.6 cm) before in a sustained event. But I have no recollection of ever seeing it all come down in an HOUR, plus wind, hail, lightning. Water from our front lawn poured out onto the street so fast that I think anyone walking out there would have been knocked down.

Check out photos HERE and HERE. Elberon Place, which is about eight blocks from our house, and Hackett Boulevard, not much farther in a different direction, were particularly hard hit, as was downtown., and suburban Latham. Some folks lost power, but we did not a second time.

Yet other nearby cities and towns, such as Schenectady, got NOTHING. I heard several stories of spouses calling to say, “You’d better stay where you are during this storm,” and the other person responds, “What ARE you talking about?” It was a very narrow band of very nasty weather that also uprooted some trees.

New York State found a $4.2 billion surplus in this year’s budget recently. I agree that a good chunk of it ought to address the aging infrastructure of our cities.
“Albany County Executive Daniel P. McCoy directed that flags on county buildings be flown at half-staff for 30 days in honor of Guilderland native Maj. General Harold J. Greene who died in the line of duty in Afghanistan on August 5, 2014.” State buildings will do likewise for a period. Greene, who went to college at RPI in nearby Troy, was the highest-ranking American officer to die in a combat zone since the Vietnam war.

The general’s father, who is 85 or so, was interviewed on a local news station – he still lives in Albany County – but he did not want to be shown on camera, so they showed his hands, holding an unlit cigarette, then his sneakers. It made for very odd television.


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