Today’s weekend news roundup will be abbreviated because most of the nation’s attention is focused, as it should be, on the devastation being wrought along the Texas coast by Hurricane Harvey. Our thoughts and prayers are with the many people in the path of the storm, which quickly rose in intensity and came ashore as a historic Category 4 hurricane with heavy rains and winds in excess of 130 mph. The town of Rockport suffered particularly severe damage. To those stubborn residents who refused to evacuate, the Mayor issued a request so grim that I hope it scared them into getting out while they could.
Even after weakening to a category 1 storm over land, Harvey is expected to linger for days, bringing more heavy rains and potentially deadly flooding. President Trump almost immediately approved a request for federal disaster relief and plans to visit the area next week. This is an ongoing emergency situation, so stay tuned to TV, radio and internet news feeds for the latest information. And if you are in the area affected, please don’t attempt to leave safe shelter to travel. Most people who die in situations like this are killed in their cars because they get caught in flash floods or attempt to pass through waters that are deeper or faster-moving than they appear.
When Hurricane Harvey made landfall last night, it blew away walls, trees, billboards, vehicles and a number of weather reporters, who for some inexplicable reason are always expected to stand out in a hurricane to demonstrate to viewers that nobody in his right mind would stand out in a hurricane. But even amid all the frightening and ominous news, there was one funny moment when Fox News reporter Casey Stegall was standing on the beach in Galveston, braving the storm as he outlined the coming dangers. He was suddenly surprised by a woman who demonstrated that not even a category 4 hurricane can put a damper on Texas hospitality.
Even as most of the government and media’s attention was focused on the storm, several other stories hit the news Friday night. I'll talk about most of them on Monday. Among them were two presidential orders, President Trump signed his presidential memo barring the enlistment of new transgender military recruits unless either the Secretary of Defense or the DHS Secretary recommends them. It also bars providing government-paid sex reassignment surgery to those already enlisted, although those currently in the process will be allowed to continue.
As he hinted last week, Trump also issued an executive pardon for former Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who was facing up to six months in jail for contempt of court for continuing to detain people suspected of being illegal aliens. The contempt charge was cheered by Arpaio’s critics, who accused him of imposing racist police tactics. But his defenders claim he was being vindictively railroaded into prison at age 85 for nothing more than attempting to enforce US immigration laws that the Obama Administration was willfully refusing to enforce, to the endangerment of Arizona citizens.
Both actions by Trump were greeted by the usual howls of outrage from his critics. A Washington Post writer even tried to categorize it as an outrageous and unprecedented Friday “document dump,” cynically using the hurricane as cover so that it would go unnoticed. That might have some merit, if it weren’t for the following:
1. Trump broadly hinted at a rally this week in front of thousands of people and prime time TV cameras that Sheriff Joe Arpaio was going to be fine.
2. Trump already announced the transgender policy weeks ago; this was just the official documentation.
3. The left’s outrage over both decisions seems awfully selective, considering that the same people screaming over Arpaio’s defiance of federal immigration authorities are currently backing lawsuits, petitions, civil disobedience and even outright secession efforts on behalf of of the right of “sanctuary cities" to defy federal immigration authorities. Also, they were remarkably quiet for eight years under Obama, as veterans with genuine life-threatening medical issues died on waiting lists for care while the people responsible covered it up and weren’t even fired. Also, the same policy Trump is reinstating prevailed for 7-1/2 years under Obama until he finally changed it as he was preparing to leave office.
4. Finally, if Friday document dumps are so outrageous and unprecedented, why is the phrase “Friday document dump” a cliché, ?
Sorry, we all have more important things to think about right now than another one of the left’s daily, category 4 “OUTRAGE!”® storms.