The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Elliot: Hard rains in the wind

Lung Hui Chen pushes Manuel Terrazas in a wheelbarrow across flooded streets as local residents clear out damaged homes in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, in the Millwood subdivision of Fort Bend County, Texas, on Saturday, Sept. 2, 2017. (Marcus Yam/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

Picture this: Our Great Leader, standing on the edge of a disaster, praises those gathered for being a great crowd. Kind of like a rookie comedian at his first open mic.

But no, you don’t have to picture that. It happened. When Our Great Leader first visited Texas in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, that’s what he did. A fire station in Corpus Christi (which he managed not to mistake for Gov. [for now] Chris Christie of New
Jersey, who used to be a best-
buddy-lackey type). A disaster command center in Austin, full of guys named I’m the schlep who has to clean up all this mess. No Houston. No victims/survivors. No flooded homes. No flooded streets and highways and pretty much everywhere. No.

But plenty of tweets. It wouldn’t be a lovely day in paradise without tweets.

Exclamation point and
everything. F. Scott Fitzgerald was right; only lousy writers need exclamation points.

Which would be all fine and good, relatively (even with the
misspelling of “firsthand”), except that the Trumpster didn’t
witness any of the “horror &
destruction” firsthand. And, as leaders do, he had some reporters accompanying him who saw what he saw:

“I traveled with the President yesterday. Personally, I would not claim to have seen Harvey’s horror and devastation first hand.” — Andrew Beatty (@AndrewBeatty) Aug. 30, 2017

“Our reporting does not match claim that @POTUS witnessed any horror or devastation first hand.” #harvey @dallasnews — Todd J. Gillman (@toddgillman) Aug. 30, 2017

(Yeah, I know; nobody seems to be able to spell “firsthand” anymore. Perhaps because hardly anybody experiences life “firsthand” anymore.)

And then this from Politico: “It was a
presidential trip to a deluged state where the president didn’t meet a single storm victim, see an inch of rain, or get near a flooded street.”

Ah, yes. Meanwhile, the way disasters seem to go. Many conservative Republicans refused to vote for emergency funds for New Jersey and New York after Hurricane Sandy hit. Some of the GOPers came from Texas, including Sen. Ted Cruz, who defended his nay vote by contending that much of the Hurricane Sandy relief money was “pork.”

Actually, the alleged “pork” was funding for storm-mitigation efforts. And yeah, mitigation money isn’t nearly so splashy and sexy as immediate relief funding after a disaster, but that money might “mitigate” some of the effects of future disasters. And, of course, it’s
impossible to see the effects of mitigation efforts,
because the future hasn’t
happened yet. As far as we know.

Speaking of the future, which apparently is dangerous these days, FiveThirtyEight reports that Dong Energy — no junior-high jokes, please; it’s Danish Oil and Natural Gas — will, despite its name, eschew the oil and natural-gas biz in favor of renewable energy. So it’s selling its oil and gas fields.

Since 2011, FiveThirtyEight says, Dong has spent approximately $10 billion on wind farms and $4 billion to convert its power plants to biomass.

Thus, while the rest of the world moves toward a 21st-century energy economy, Trumpster Land stubbornly sticks with moving back to a 1950s world. (Sounds like
Version -4.8.) Drill, baby, drill.

It will be hilarious in 50 or 60 years, when the U.S. has all this excess oil capacity and most of the rest of the world has kicked its oil addiction. Oil? the rest of the world will say and sniff. Maybe you can sell it to Saudi
Arabia. 2
0 cents a barrel. (Much
, in various languages.)

Has anyone else noticed this? Not that I believe in ironic karma or anything, but the low-pressure systems that become, with the right conditions, hurricanes are spawned off the west coast of near-equatorial Africa. Then they trundle our way. Those are the very lands where Americans went to round up Africans, make them slaves, and trundle them our way.

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