Setting the Record Straight On Hurricanes, Grifters, Mensches

Dorian's devastation. Photo by Scott Olson/Getty. Front Twitter photo of a mensch/chef giving a hungry kid a sandwich.

Remarkably - "it was the worst of times" - #Sharpiegate, wherein the alleged leader of the free world argued for days with a map, persists. In the latest petty, deranged, disheartening claptrap, a Trump flunky with the NOAA issued an anonymous statement that sought, evidently as instructed, to obliterate  science by arguing yup sure Dorian coulda hit Alabama and trashing its Birmingham office for accurate predictions that were now suddenly "inconsistent with probabilities." The move led outraged former NOAA officials to blast "rewriting history to satisfy an ego" and the head of the National Weather Service Employees' union to declare the “utterly disgusting and disingenuous" message “like nothing I’ve ever seen,” adding that because it could encourage people to ignore future warnings it constitutes “managerial malpractice,” which, to get real, isn't exactly a first these days. Still, grifters gotta grift: Having mastered the art of fleecing dumb sheeple in the name of said malpractice, Team Trump quickly came up with the latest way to own the libs, make some bucks and "set the record straight": Trump-signed markers with the "special ability to drive CNN and the rest of the fake news crazy." The stupid, it burns.

Meanwhile, even as evidence emerged that it was the Lying-Buffoon-In-Chief himself who wielded the infamous Sharpie with his own stunted teeny hands, the Washington Post ran a story castigating his "lost summer" and by implication his entire, shrunken, incompetent life as an abject failure - a wholly credible story that prompted the already-fragile guy with the temperament and vocabulary of a 4th-grader (no intended offense, 4th-graders) to recycle a whine about "nasty lightweight" reporters; it also sparked a disastrous attempted smackdown by his missing-in-action "press secretary" and the release of an astoundingly inane, martial-music-infused, North-Korea-flavored propaganda video by the White House outlining his many summer "accomplishments," including smiling thumbs-up photo ops with babies orphaned by his racist rhetoric and inaction on gun-control, florid signings of many executive orders that did nada, and historic visits with friendly neighborhood mass murderers who then blithely continued with their nuclear build-ups. So yeah, lost summer.

Then there's chef, humanitarian and immigrant José Andrés. Lest we forget, all this Sharpie foolishness comes amidst the climate-crisis-driven devastation wrought by Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas, where at least 50 people are confirmed dead, 70,000 are "in immediate  need of life-saving help," and officials have warned of a "staggering" death toll that could reach into the thousands. (Displaying his usual flair for the grotesque, and despite the fact that many bodies are newly surfacing under debris and nobody knows the final number of victims, Trump has already boasted there'd be way more without his help.) Back in the real world, the Red Cross estimates half the homes on Grand Bahama are destroyed; on Grand Abaco, said one resident, "All the buildings are gone. Everything. Gone." The storm's 200mph+ winds and catastrophic flooding ravaged roads and airports, leaving distraught residents isolated and without food, water or shelter. Many charge the government has abandoned them; says one volunteer fireman to officials who may or may not be listening, "We need you guys to show your faces here."

One guy who beat many of them to it, as thousands were fleeing, is Andrés, whose World Central Kitchen travels the globe feeding victims of disaster, from Puerto Ricans after Hurricane Maria to furloughed workers and blocked asylum-seekers. Andrés, who likes to quote Steinbeck's Tom Joad - "Wherever there’s a fight so hungry people can eat, I will be there” - quickly set up nine emergency kitchens in Florida and on the islands under the moniker Chefs For Bahamas, hiring a ship and hopping on helicopters to deliver up to 20,000 meals a day. He began with water and sandwiches; now a fleet of volunteer chefs are turning out hot meals like coconut rice and chicken teriyaki, chickpea curry and, a new one, Bahamian Ratatouille. Having urged officials to "tell me where to go" but gotten little response, he goes where he hears he's needed. A few days ago, he posted from tiny Green Turtle Cay, whose 550 people all survived; having taken on their own survival, they eagerly clamored for water, blue tarps, chainsaws, a generator. While there, he got another message that conveyed the urgency of things: "They need you in Freeport. Communicating with a friend who has small children...Kids are hungry. They feel helpless." Andrés answered, "We are getting there probably today! Food is coming!" Lesson of the hour: Good exists. Also, note to self: Be like Andrés, not Donnie.

The officers of the Caine realized Queeg was unfit pic.twitter.com/NtLsAcItBY

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