Tuesday Reads: A Little Bit of This and That


Good Morning!

Texas has been experiencing really bad weather for the past few days. From the Houston Chronicle:

Texas storms leave multiple dead, 12 missing.

Recovery teams were resuming the search early Tuesday for 12 members of two families who are missing after a rain-swollen river in Central Texas carried a vacation home off its foundation, slamming it into a bridge downstream.

The hunt for the missing picked up after a holiday weekend of terrible storms that dumped record rainfall on the Plains and Midwest, caused major flooding and spawned tornadoes and killed at least eight people in Oklahoma and Texas. More than 1,000 homes have been damaged or destroyed in Texas, and thousands of residents are displaced.

Authorities were also searching for victims and assessing damage just across the Texas-Mexico border in Ciudad Acuna, where a tornado Monday killed 13 people and left at least five unaccounted for.

Scene from Houston last night

Scene from Houston last night

More on the flooding in Houston from the Chronicle: Heavy rains flood freeways, close schools, delays bus service.

Houston motorists woke Tuesday morning to swamped freeways and closed roads as heavy thunderstorms raked the region overnight, making the morning commute dangerous and even impossible for most.

The 610 Loop as well as Katy, North and South freeways were underwater in spots throughout the area. Other major roads blocked by high water include Memorial Drive and Allen Parkway near downtown.

No injuries have been reported, but dozens of vehicles were stranded in high water throughout the city. In many cases, the water came up to to the driver’s side windows of the abandoned cars, Other vehicles are almost submerged.

Firefighters with the Houston Fire Department were dispatched to several water rescues throughout the city. Areas along Brays Bayou near the 610 Loop were particularly hard hit with several rescues during the early morning hours Tuesday. Memorial Drive and Allen Parkway are closed.

According to the National Weather Service homes were reportedly flooded in the Larchmont subdivision about six miles southwest of the city early Tuesday morning. Some homes in Rosenberg were threaetened as more than three feet of water rose in the Greenwood subdivision a few hours before dawn Tuesday.

See some amazing photos posted on Twitter at News.Mic: 17 Photos of the Devastating Floods That Hit Houston. More photos at ABC 13. The Weather Channel is providing live updates.

Houston flooding

Houston flooding

NBC News reports that other states could be affected by the storms: Houston, Texas, Hit by Unprecedented Flooding; Seven States At Risk.

Flash-flood watches and warnings were issued across seven states early Tuesday as an unprecedented downpour of torrential rain triggered “extremely dangerous and potentially life-threatening” conditions in Houston.

More than 30 million Americans were told to brace for dangerous thunderstorms — including flooding, hail and possible tornadoes — as meteorologists warned the weather that has centered on Texas and Oklahoma since Saturday could expand to other areas.

At least 12 people were still missing, eight people have been killed, and countless more evacuated amid the deluge that has inundated Texas and Oklahoma with record-breaking floods since Saturday.

In Houston, more than 80,000 people were without power and the flood waters closed roads including Interstate 10 and Interstate 45. Houston was among 24 counties where Texas Gov. Greg Abbott declared a state of disaster on Monday.

I hope RalphB and his family are safe. Dakinikat could also be in the path of the damaging weather. New Orleans is expecting thunderstorms for the next few days.

In other news, there has been a shooting at a Walmart in Grand Forks, North Dakota–where the University of North Dakota is located. My Dad got his Masters degree there.

Scene outside Grand Forks Walmart early this morning

Scene outside Grand Forks Walmart early this morning

The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports: 2 fatally shot inside Grand Forks Wal-Mart; Air Force member involved.

The shooting occurred shortly before 1:05 a.m. in the supercenter store on 32nd Avenue, just east of Interstate 29, according to the Air Force Office of Special Investigations (AFOSI) near Grand Forks.

Grand Forks police said officers discovered “multiple victims” inside the store and one of them was taken to Altru Hospital in Grand Forks for injuries that are not considered life-threatening.

The AFOSI said there were three people involved and one was an airman. The base is about 20 miles west of the store.

Neither police nor Air Force personnel released details about whether the airman was the shooter or one of the victims. There is also no immediate information about what prompted the violence, but Deputy Police Chief Mike Ferguson added, “the Police Department does not believe there is any further on-going immediate public safety risk at this time.”

There isn’t a lot of information about the incident as yet. From the Fargo Forum: 

In a press conference at the Grand Forks Police Department, Zimmel said there was no active shooting when officers arrived on scene.

Zimmel said at this time, police believe the shooter is among the dead. Only one person involved in the incident is believed to have had a gun, Zimmel said.

Police are still investigating the motive behind the shooting, whether it was targeted or random….

Andy Legg, who was in the store at the time, told a WDAZ reporter he heard “popping sounds” going off in the store and that he and a group of customers were herded to a section of the store by authorities. Legg said he and the group later exited the building passing a Walmart employee covered in blood. Legg says he’s not sure of the person’s condition but that it “didn’t look good.”

Shortly after 4 a.m., a police SWAT team, using a special robot, began searching a car in the parking lot.


Remember Charles C. “Chuck” Johnson, the right wing a-hole and twitter troll? His account has once again been suspended by Twitter after he threatened activist Deray Mckessen. From re/code:

Notorious Twitter troll Chuck Johnson was placed in time-out Sunday — at least temporarily — and it looks as though the company’s new policy on violent threats was the reason.

Twitter suspended Johnson, who has a long history of Internet trolling, for what appears to be a threat against civil rights activist DeRay McKesson. Johnson tweeted this morning asking people to donate money for “taking out” McKesson, who responded, saying that he took Johnson’s comments as a “serious threat.”

The account suspension is nothing new for Johnson. But what’s worth noting is that this appears to be an example of Twitter’s new policy on threats coming into play. The company changed the policy’s wording last month so that it no longer included phrases like “direct” and “specific.” Essentially, those qualifiers were limiting the types of tweets Twitter could act upon.

Not anymore. This looks like the kind of threat that may have slipped through the system a few months back. So this is good for Twitter, a company that has struggled mightily when dealing with bullying and threats.

A Twitter spokesperson declined to comment on Johnson’s suspension, so there’s no way of knowing how long he’ll be blocked from the service.

From Raw Story: ‘Hate is organized in America’: Black activist fights back after death threats from pro-cop blogger.

In a statement to Re/code, Johnson accused Twitter of “censorship.”

“I was speaking metaphorically about exposing DeRay in much the same way Slate was speaking metaphorically when they talked about ‘taking out’ a Supreme Court justice,” he wrote.

But in an interview with CNN on Monday, Mckesson said that Johnson should have known better.

“For someone who considers themselves a journalist, I firmly believe that he understands the power of his words,” Mckesson explained. “And his words are his words. ‘Take out’ functions in a certain way. And if I got on any media outlet and said something to the effect of ‘take out the police,’ nobody would think that I was talking about an exposé.”

“I was proud that Twitter took the action to move so quickly, and remember that racism doesn’t exist only in the extremes,” he continued. “It’s not just slavery and the n-word. It functions in these subtle ways too. He, again, knew very clearly what he was doing by using this language.”


And from Pando Daily’s David Holmes: Here’s the remarkable letter Chuck Johnson’s attorney sent to Twitter threatening legal action.

For at least the fourth time in his sad, shameful, misogynist, racist career, Twitter has suspended the rightwing blogger Chuck Johnson….

…Johnson is outraged over the suspension, tweeting under a new account @citizentrolling– which a few minutes prior to my writing this sentence has now also been suspended — that Twitter is guilty of “censorship” and writing that the company’s enforcement of its policies exhibits a clear political bias against rightwingers like himself.

“Twitter doesn’t seem to have a problem with people using their service to coordinate riots,” Johnson wrote. “But they do have a problem with the kind of journalism I do.”

I’m struggling to know where to begin in describing the lunacy of Johnson’s argument. Under normal circumstances I wouldn’t engage at all with Johnson who has failed to build a career through producing quality journalism or analysis and instead — in what must be an overwhelmingly sad discovery — has found that the only thing anyone will pay him for anymore is to spew hatred at the most vulnerable members of society, in particular rape victims. But his complaints raise some important misconceptions about Twitter, free speech, and who controls what can or can’t be said in the new digital content paradigm.

Now it appears that Johnson is threatening legal action against Twitter for loss of income that would otherwise be generated by his hateful tweets. Johnson emailed me the letter his attorneys sent to Twitter demanding the reinstatement of his accounts, attached in full below. What makes it so absurd is the notion that Twitter is somehow guilty of “censorship” or that the company owes him a living.

Read the letter at the Pando link.

Sigh . . .  When will “journalists” finally figure out that Hillary Clinton is a separate person from her husband and there is no reason for her to feel bound by decisions Bill Clinton made back in the 1990s?

Melinda Henneberger at Bloomberg Politics: Will Hillary Clinton Run Against Her Husband’s Welfare Legacy? I’m not even going to quote from the article. It’s just a rehash of 20-year-old events. Get a clue, Melinda. Hillary is not Bill, and over the past 20 years there has been a lot of water under the bridge. Hillary is not bound by things she or her husband said and did in the distant past.

Some Duggar updates:

Anna and Josh Duggar

Anna and Josh Duggar

Raw Story: GOP ally suggests criminal charges for police chief who released Duggar sex abuse report.

State Sen. Bart Hester (R-Cave Springs) told KSFM-TV that Kathy O’Kelley, chief of the Springdale police, had harmed Duggar’s sisters and other girls he admitted to fondling as they slept in 2002, when he was 14 years old.

“The law to protect minors’ identities is not a suggestion,” Hester said. “So sad to see the person charged with protecting the community being so reckless and irresponsible. I believe it is unavoidable that the Springdale police chief should be terminated. She has re-victimized these young ladies.”

I guess Hester hasn’t heard of the Freedom of Information Act.

“From every indication I have, the chief and city attorney reluctantly did what they had to do to comply with the state (freedom of information) law,” said Dough Sprouse, the Springdale Mayor.

Hester, sponsor of an Arkansas bill similar to Indiana’s anti-LGBT “Religious Freedom Restoration Act,” wondered whether other sex abuse victims should worry that O’Kelley would publicize their identities.

Like he cares even an iota about abuse victims. Give me a break!

Us Weekly: Anna Duggar Shared Cryptic Quote About Forgiveness Days Before Josh Duggar Molestation Allegations Surfaced.

Days before news broke of Josh Duggar allegedly molesting five girls back when he was a teen, the 19 Kids and Counting star’s pregnant wife Anna Duggar shared a cryptic quote about forgiveness with her Instagram followers.

“The three most beautiful and liberating words in the English language are these,” the mother of three wrote on May 17, quoting pastor Lon Solomon on her page. “‘I forgive you.'” (Solomon, a senior pastor at a Virginia megachurch, is the author of a book titled Brokenness: How God Redeems Pain and Suffering.)

Well, she apparently knew all about Josh’s history and still decided to have children with him.

Finally, from TMZ: Josh Duggar Cracks Molestation Joke. Dating Family Is What We Do!

Back in 2008 — long before Duggar’s molestation past came to light — he made a quip during an episode of what was then called “17 Kids and Counting.”

Josh describes a double date scenario with his then-fiancée Anna … he ended up going with 2 of his siblings.

Josh explains, “We chose Jana and John David. We thought why not, have a double date … We are from Arkansas!”

He then broke out in laughter.

Not so funny now …

Not funny then either, IMHO.

So . . . what else is happening? Please post your thoughts and links in the comment thread and have a terrific Tuesday!

29 Comments on “Tuesday Reads: A Little Bit of This and That”

  1. bostonboomer says:

    I almost never hear planes flying where I live, but I just heard an ear-shattering flyover. It turns out it was a scheduled flight of the Blue Angels. I just heard them again!

    Blue Angels To Fly Over Boston On Tuesday

    Last week I heard what sounded like fighter jets going over my house, so I looked into that too.

    Updated: FAA investigating low-flying plane over Arlington, Lexington

    Updated Thursday, May 21 at 4:52 p.m.: An MIT spokesperson responded to questions about Tuesday’s fly-over. The involved aircraft was flying at 1000 ft above Mean Sea Level, according to a Lincoln Lab spokesperson, who added, “with rising terrain the above ground level could be less than 1000ft.” The mission was “associated with a [Department of Defense] program” and therefore a plan for it was not given to officials in surrounding communities, the spokesperson said. “The FAA and the pilots did not deem this a safety risk.

    “Updated Thursday, May 21 at 3:45 p.m.: MIT Lincoln Laboratory Spokesperson David Granchelli released the following statement regarding Tuesday’s low-flying aircraft sightings:”On May 20, MIT Lincoln Laboratory’s Gulfstream II aircraft flew a data collection mission within the Federal Aviation Administration Hanscom/Bedford Tower Traffic pattern. The weather made it difficult for the aircraft to achieve an altitude higher than 1000 ft in the traffic pattern, which was coordinated with the Hanscom Field Tower Supervisor. Therefore, some noise was noticed by neighbors in the local area during the 33-minute mission.”

    Some noise? It sounded like war planes.

    • bostonboomer says:

      I guess it’s better than helicopters.

    • roofingbird says:

      Ha, In SF, we get that every fall! The trick is to get to the top of the highest building that will let you in.

    • janicen says:

      They come to Seattle every year for Seafair. My husband’s office faced Lake Washington and he could watch them practice. One year I was driving with my daughter and we saw a plane in the distance which suddenly seemed to drop straight down out of the sky. My heart stopped. I honestly thought we had just witnessed a horrible tragedy until we remembered that the Blue Angels were in town practicing for Seafair.

      They should have warned you ahead of time at the very least.

      • bostonboomer says:

        It was published in the news. Actually the ones last week were much scarier.

        • Those planes flying so close overhead sound just like when the jet crashed into WTC Tower 1…I was on the phone with my husband when that second plane hit, and it was loud, it was the last thing I heard from him until he came home…whenever the planes from Dobbins airfield buzz the mountains it still upsets me.

    • ANonOMouse says:

      BB…a few weeks before we invaded Iraq a huge group of helicopters of all shapes and sizes from Ft.Campbell, KY flew directly over my home on their way to a deployment spot in Florida. I live about 110 miles South of Ft. Campbell and I had never had anything like that happen before. It was about 5:30 – 6:00 AM and I heard them coming for several minutes before the actual flyover began. They were flying very low and It took them at least 15 minutes to flyover, there were hundreds of them. Every window in my house shook. I went outside to get a better look and the entire neighborhood was out looking at the spectacle. We all figured out what was going on before it was picked up by local news, but it was quite a shock.

    • Fannie says:

      I was out in the garden and saw 4 of them fly over, perfect formation.

  2. RalphB says:

    This weekend was a rainy, stormy mess. Just yesterday we got roughly 6 inches of rain in my neighborhood. Flooding in Austin was the worst it’s been since Memorial Day in 1981. There’s a little creek across the street from my house, in a park, that’s normally a little trickle that you step over. Last evening it was at 5-6 feet deep and overflowed all into the park. It went down in a few hours but it was still a little off-putting. Someone made a joke yesterday that the streets of Austin are named after the rivers of Texas and today they look like them.

    The Blanco River went 24 feet over flood stage and wiped out about 400 homes in Wimberley and San Marcos, leaving over 1000 people in shelters, along with the dead and missing from the post on Saturday.

    Lake Travis had risen about 20 feet prior to yesterday, 12 in the prior 3 days. It’s expected to rise another 4 feet from the rains yesterday. On a positive note, last year Texas had severe drought conditions over most of the state but now less than 30% of the state has any drought at all and there is no severe condition anywhere.

    I sure hope Mona and everyone in Houston are OK and am sending my very best thoughts Dak;s way since NOLA may see this storm system.

    • Pat Johnson says:

      The pictures on the newscasts are disturbing to say the least. My heart goes out to those families who are searching for loved ones.

      • RalphB says:

        I agree Pat. There are tons of people searching by air, water, and land. Hopefully they will be found soon. Since 1981 Austin has done a lot of flood mitigation along the waterways which flooded then. If they hadn’t it would have been a lot worse in the metro proper.

    • janicen says:

      I’m glad your home wasn’t directly affected, RalphB. People in that area are going to need a lot of help and support over the coming weeks and months. Floods destroy everything.

    • bostonboomer says:

      I’m glad you’re OK. I hope Mona is too. Has she posted to Facebook? I will look.

    • Beata says:

      Glad you’re okay, Ralph. Hoping for the best for Mona and her family. Dak, too.

    • Fannie says:

      24 feet over flood stage is HUGE. Glad ya’ll doing good and safe. Hope it all ends soon.

    • I have an old friend from jr high and high school that lives in Houston, she posted this:

  3. bostonboomer says:

    OMG, this is frightening! SCOTUS has agreed to decide the meaning of “one person, one vote.” If the rule in favor of the Texas voters who brought the suit, all districts would have to have the same number of voters, and power would shift to rural areas, benefiting Republicans.


    • janicen says:

      It’s insane to me that the Supremes would even agree to hear this case. The Constitution is crystal clear, one person, one vote.

      • bostonboomer says:

        They already trashed the voting rights act.

        • Fannie says:

          I think in reading this, particularly the last paragraph this is what the article is all about. If I am right, it wouldn’t affect presidential elections, but House represenatives, in state districts. But I don’t trust a damn republican to really know what up’s their sleeve. All the gerrymandering, and bullshit, suggest they plan on selecting not electing in 2016, same crap they did with Bush.

          • janicen says:

            I wonder though, when you’re talking about representation, that can mean the number of Congressional seats in the house, as well as the numbers in the Electoral College which could have a major impact on Presidential elections.

          • bostonboomer says:

            Yes. This is dangerous.

        • janicen says:

          Well yeah, but that was because we don’t need it anymore according to Chief Justice Roberts. 😛

  4. bostonboomer says:

    Publisher To Correct Rand Paul’s Book After He Writes That Six People Died In Benghazi, but not till the second printing.