A once-in-a-million-year event

Aug 28, 2017

A lot to recap today, starting with coverage of Hurricane Harvey’s aftermath. Poynter’s Ben Mullin tweets, “We're covering the media's coverage of Harvey.” On that note, his colleague Kristen Hare tweets, “Houston’s essential site for hurricane news started as a side project for @SciGuySpace.” That’s Houston-based Eric Berger of Ars Technica. She links to her piece on Berger, As Houston floods, this independent journalist is delivering the news to hundreds of thousands of people. Says Dwight Silverman, “Great piece on the work being done by my friend @SpaceCityWX … He is a Houston treasure.”

And from The Washington Post, As a Houston TV station flooded, this reporter kept broadcasting, reports Amy B Wang. Of KHOU reporter Brandi Smith, Emily Allen says, “You make me so proud to be a journalist. Absolutely spectacular job. Check this out if you missed it.” Tweets Gene Park, “Journalistically, @BrandiKHOU is today's MVP. Local news at its very best.”

Justin Miller of The Daily Beast brings you video of Smith on the scene waving down a sheriff unit to rescue a man trapped inside his tractor-trailer: Watch: Houston TV Crew Saves Truck Driver’s Life. Tweets Kyle Clark, “Journalists are not traitors, or un-American, or fake. Journalists are essential.” And Susan Berger says it’s “A must watch for those who denigrate the press.”

“Texas journalists are either stranded in homes (theirs or not) or are bringing info to millions. One account,” says Allison Babka, referring to A Reporter’s Tale in Houston: When a Story Becomes Your Own Disaster, by The New York Times’ Clifford Krauss. “Amazing dispatch from @ckrausss whom I hope is still dry and enjoying some of that gin and vermouth,” tweets Nicholas Riccardi. Tweets Brian Rosenthal, “NYT reporter @CKrausss has covered five wars. But nothing prepared him for when #HurricaneHarvey hit his home.” And a side note: The New York Times says, “All readers have open access to Tropical Storm Harvey coverage. NYT lifted the paywall on articles about the storm.”

To see “A truly amazing moment on CNN,” Pat Campbell refers you to the widely shared tweet from CNN’s Ana Cabrera, linking to video of a flood rescue with CNN’s Ed Lavandera. Tweets Abby Livingston, “.@edlavaCNN = Longhorn.”

At the Galveston County Daily News, John Ferguson reports on the 18 people rescued from flooded assisted living facility (51,000+ shares). Tweets Andrew deGrandpre, “Haunting image. Thankful they're safe.”

The Los Angeles Times’ Matt Pearce tweets, “Here's what I saw in Houston today: fortitude, bravery and mercy.” He links to his piece, In the midst of Harvey's swirling floodwaters, residents make desperate treks to safety across Houston's sprawling freeways

There’s more from CNN’s Brian Stelter and Julia Waldow: Houston TV coverage; social media's power; stunning rescues; stories from local reporters; Monday's plans; Trump's tweets.

Meanwhile, Matthew Cappucci of The Washington Post reports, Texas flood disaster: Harvey has unloaded 9 trillion tons of water (145,000+ shares). For perspective, ProPublica tweets, “Some spots may get 50+ inches. Many textbooks have the 60-inch mark as a once-in-a-million-year event.” And Amber Phillips tweets, “#Harvey has poured so much water on Texas, it could cover the entire nation says @capitalweather.”

Also at The Washington PostFull extent of Harvey’s aftermath starts to come into chilling focus, as 30,000 people may be forced into shelters while flooding will linger, write Kevin Sullivan, Robert Samuels and Emily Wax. And at The New York Times, isa Friedman and John Schwartz take a look at How Hurricane Harvey Became So Destructive.

How can you help? Dan Solomon at Texas Monthly has details in Here Are Ways You Can Help People During Hurricane Harvey (50,000+ shares), and William Axford has more in the Houston Chronicle, Hurricane Harvey: How to help victims of the Texas storm. Sarah Breuner shares the link to the Houston Flood Relief Fund, via YouCaring.com.

Oh and just a reminder: 'Shark Swims Down a Flooded Street' Is a Viral Hoax That Won't Die. That’s from Vice’s Kaleigh Rogers. “Y’all please stop sharing this very fake photo,” says Satchel Price.


“Welp. This is a head scratcher,” says Abby Johnston. And Rebecca Traister says, “I am perplexed by this.” The New York Times’ Mark Landler says, Hurricane Brings a Display of a President Anything but Disengaged. To which Dan Pfeiffer tweets, “This @nytimes story is true if you ignore all of the facts, do hard drugs and squint into the sun for an hour.” “This is bizarre -- using the exclamation point key on your smartphone doesn't mean that you're ‘engaged,’” says Will Bunch. Tweets Andy McGeady, “Strange piece. I see the mark it’s trying to hit, but author has been too ‘clever’. Say what you mean.” “Oh, @nytimes…” tweets Sean Carroll.

“In other Trump action,” Bunch refers you to The Washington Post’s latest, Trump’s business sought deal on a Trump Tower in Moscow while he ran for president (66,000+ shares), by Carol Leonnig, Tom Hamburger and Rosalind Helderman. Tweets Jeanine Barone, “During the 2016 campaign, didn’t Trump claim he had no biz w Russia? Huh!”

Also at The Washington Post, Philip Rucker and Ellen Nakashima report, Trump asked Sessions about closing case against Arpaio, an ally since ‘birtherism’ (43,000+ shares). Tweets Rucker, “For months, Trump wanted to help Arpaio. He was advised dropping case would be inappropriate, so waited to pardon.” Eric Holder notes, “Number of times over six years that President Obama called and asked me to think about dropping a case: ZERO.”

At The New York Times, Paul Krugman calls it Fascism, American Style (16,000+ shares). “Don't let Harvey wash out coverage of the truly terrifying Arpaio pardon,” he tweets. “The president pardons the concentration camp warden - a scorcher from my @nytopinion teammate,” tweets Brent Staples.

Hint: not good

“So this is how policy debates at the white house sound... o__0,” tweets Noah Sneider. He links to Exclusive: Trump vents in Oval Office, “I want tariffs. Bring me some tariffs!” the exclusive from Axios’ Jonathan Swan and Dave Lawler. “This also works as the script for Steinbrenner-George scene,” says John Delury.

“Back in DC: With Harvey aid on table, what about taxes, debt ceiling, budget?” asks Rosalind Helderman. She links to Cost of cleaning up Harvey will bring new test of governance for Trump and GOP, by The Washington Post’s Mike DeBonis and Damian Paletta.

And Bloomberg’s Sahil Kapur says Trump's Pivot to Taxes Is Fraught With ‘Pitfalls Everywhere’. Tweets Joe Weisenthal, “Read @sahilkapur on how tax reform is going. (Hint: not good).” Kapur tweets, “NEW: Trump is set to kick off one of the most important sales pitches of his presidency—but there's no plan to sell.”

At AxiosMike Allen is reporting, Tillerson switcheroo may happen sooner than expected. As Axios tweets, “One possible scenario for replacing Tillerson: U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley moves to Foggy Bottom.” Meanwhile, The Guardian’s Julian Borger reports, White House 'pressuring' intelligence officials to find Iran in violation of nuclear deal.

And Trump expected to lift ban on military gear to local police forces (52,000+ shares), reports USA Today’s Kevin Johnson. He writes, “The new plan takes effect immediately and fully rolls back an Obama administration executive order that blocked armored vehicles, large-caliber weapons, ammunition and other heavy equipment from being re-purposed from foreign battlefields to America's streets.” 

Was hoping somebody would ID this hero

​​​​​​Noli Novak tweets, “So proud of Jax's and CoRK's own Al Letson!” The staff at Reveal report, Reveal host Al Letson shields man from beating at anti-hate rally. Says Ryan Chittum, “was hoping somebody would ID this hero.” It’s journalist Al Letson, host of Reveal, who was covering Sunday’s “Rally Against Hate” in Berkeley when he witnessed a man being attacked by a group of protesters. He said, “I was scared they were going to kill him. So the only thing I could think was I wanted to get on top of him to protect him.” Kyle Swenson of The Washington Post has more on the violence in Berkeley, Black-clad antifa attack peaceful right-wing demonstrators in Berkeley.

Avocados and kale and fuji apples, oh my

In other news, you may have to retire the “Whole Paycheck” joke, as Bloomberg’s Jennifer Kaplan and Matthew Boyle are reporting Amazon Cuts Prices at Whole Foods by Up to 43% on First Day. Tweets Boyle, “Avocados and kale and fuji apples, oh my.” “It's on. It is so on,” says Eddy Elfenbein. But, Shira Ovide tweets, “Handy reporting on the scale of Amazon's selective price cuts at Whole Foods. Key word: Selective.”

Also, “BREAKING NEWS. GOOD MORNING,” tweets Charley Grant. He links to Gilead to Buy Kite Pharma for Roughly $11 Billion in Cash, the scoop from The Wall Street Journal’s Jonathan Rockoff

The New York Times’ Mike Isaac reports that Uber Chooses Expedia’s Chief, Dara Khosrowshahi, as C.E.O., Ending Contentious Search.

Mark your calendars, says Tripp Mickle. He reports in The Wall Street Journal that Apple to Hold Product Launch Event on Sept. 12.

And now for something completely different. Here’s what Electric Literature says is “easily the wildest story in publishing right now”: This Book That Scammed Its Way Onto the Times Bestseller List Is Real, Real Bad. Jess Zimmerman highlights, “Although ‘Lani Sarem’ anagrams to both Mars Alien and Anal Miser, it is not a nom de plume.”

About the author

Nashville-based writer, marketing communications consultant, and all-around word nerd. Usually covered in dog and/or cat hair.

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