news aand notes: hurricane edition

Storm & the Castle; Worst Responder; F for (Relief) Effort; Bunker Down

Top headlines from the Association of Alternative Newsmedia

Posted

PRESIDENTIAL GOUGE?
While desperate Miamians scramble to buy water and tuna fish, the Trump National Doral hotel is raking in the bucks—from tourists. According to Miami New Times, the luxury resort, which is still under Donald Trump’s personal ownership, is no longer taking reservations. The hotel’s public relations manager told the outlet that’s not exactly true: “We’re just not taking reservations any more.” She insisted the hotel is not completely booked, but declined to respond when asked how many rooms are available.

We can’t help but wonder for whom they’re saving rooms. Especially in light of Trump-proposed cuts to “emergency preparedness and disaster relief programs, which he considers wasteful spending.”

Exactly how much does The Art of the Deal suggest charging for water in a disaster?
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OFFICER-NOT-SO-FRIENDLY
Orlando Weekly reports that “resident big boy with a badge [sheriff] Grady Judd says he’ll arrest anyone with a warrant who seeks shelter from the Category 5 storm.”

The article cited two tweets from the verified Polk County Sheriff’s Twitter account which promised, “If you go to a shelter for #Irma and you have a warrant, we’ll gladly escort you to the safe and secure shelter called the Polk County Jail” and “If you have a warrant, turn yourself in to the jail—it’s a secure shelter.”

Right about now, Mike Williams is lookin’ pretty good, huh?
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RED LOSS
At a council meeting, Houston City Councilman Dave Martin called the Red Cross “the most inept, unorganized organization I’ve ever experienced,” and urged folks to give to other organizations, according to the Houston Press. Later in the meeting, “other council members clarified that the city strongly supported the thousands of individual Red Cross volunteers across the region working at the shelters and elsewhere.”

The paper explained most of the criticism has been lobbed at the Red Cross’ upper echelons, and this largely follows the 2015 investigation “In Search of the Red Cross’ $500 Million in Haiti Relief,” by NPR and ProPublica, which highlighted shortcomings including the administrative fees which amounted to one-quarter of $488 million dollars ostensibly for Haiti, and the farming out of funding and responsibilities “to third-party organizations, which then did the actual boots-on-the-ground work.”

Most recently, NPR pressed American Red Cross executive Brad Keiserman on just what percentage of the money people donate for Hurricane Harvey relief will actually end up helping the flood victims—but he did not know.
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BIG BEAUTIFUL WALLS
Columnist Dan Klein of the ABQ Free Press advocates for lots of walls, just none of them in a futile and peevish “look how mighty my hands are” kind of gesture. Klein took a look at the numbers required to update the country’s infrastructure and came up with $60 billion to update our dams, $22 billion for bridges on major roadways and $26 billion for secondary roads, $1.8 billion to fight the wildfires that plague New Mexico and the west, and trillions to update the country’s electrical grid.

He also voiced concern about high-level nuclear waste (remember Fukushima) and mentioned the idea of seawalls for vulnerable coastal cities—“we should take a cue from our Dutch friends and build seawalls.” So, yes, we do need a wall—more than one, in fact—just not an ugly useless slug on our southernmost border.

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