The grind-it-out side of public policy occupied me this morning, as I went to the State House to listen to a subcommittee patiently work out the language of a bill. That done, I walked outside to see what was up on the State House plaza.

And my day was made.

A collection was underway for the Red Cross, with an eye to the disaster in Puerto Rico. Pallet upon pallet of water awaited loading onto trucks. Other types of donations were being sorted, labeled, and packaged. One large “check” was on display, indicating a substantial cash donation by one of the state’s larger utilities. Kids coming off school buses for their State House tour carried armloads of things to donate to the effort.

State employees, elected officials, just plain folks, those wonderful fourth-graders: everyone on the plaza was on the same page. This was a relief effort in every sense.

The Governor was on the scene, delighting the schoolkids with a photo op, and someone said to him, “Will any of this actually get where it’s supposed to go?” He said reassuring things. I hope he’s right. Distribution: that’s the sticking point. How will this get to Puerto Rico? How will the Red Cross allocate things among the multiple disasters it’s addressing these days? I wish I knew the answers.

The people on the plaza weren’t being paralyzed by discouragement or uncertainty over what comes next. They were doing their best with what they had. They left me inspired, refreshed, challenged. That was a fine midday course correction.

Ellen is a New Hampshire pro-life activist and writer who blogs at ellenkolb.com

Here is a transcript of  his remarks.

CNN’s John King Slams Trump Press Conference as ‘Love Fest’. Resident Commissioner Jennifer Gonzalez traveled to the island on Air Force One with the President.

My FB and Twitter feeds lit up over Trump’s remark on the budget. Here’s the actual quote (emphasis added),

Now, I hate to tell you, Puerto Rico, but you’ve thrown our budget a little out of whack because we’ve spent a lot of money on Puerto Rico, and that’s fine. We’ve saved a lot of lives.

Trump also stated that “we’ll have to say good-bye” to Puerto Rico’s debt

“They owe a lot of money to your friends on Wall Street and we’re going to have to wipe that out,” Trump told Rivera. “You can say goodbye to that.”

Puerto Rico was facing a $74 billion public debt load prior to Maria and was struggling to recover from a decade-long recession that has caused hundreds of thousands of residents to leave for the U.S. mainland.

I expect there will be a lot of discussion on the debt restructuring.

Right after the hurricane I posted that

You can kiss the debt good-bye.
. . .
Puerto Rico has no money.

Most of the island has been destroyed by the elements.

I thought that was pretty obvious, but received several emails and comments at my blog from people who thought that meant that Puerto Rico should bear no responsibility. To the contrary, on the same post I clarified that reconstruction efforts should entail outside supervision and full transparency.

Any debt restructuring should require strict federal oversight.

Puerto Rico must, in order for any rebuilding to work, embrace full transparency and accountability, and end corruption. That is a bigger task than any rebuilding.

Meanwhile, help continues to arrive: The Mercy-class Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Comfort (T-AH 20) arrived in Puerto Rico to assist in humanitarian relief efforts, Oct. 3.

Comfort is a seagoing medical treatment facility that currently has more than 800 personnel embarked for the Puerto Rico mission including Navy medical and support staff assembled from 22 commands, as well as over 70 civil service mariners.

The hospital ship has one of the largest trauma facilities in the United States and is equipped with four X-ray machines, one CAT scan unit, a dental suite, an optometry lens laboratory, physical therapy center, pharmacy, angiography suite and two oxygen-producing plants.

Here’s a photo with the official caption,

171003-F-EK767-0002
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (Oct. 3, 2017) The Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Comfort (T-AH 20) arrives in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Oct. 3, 2017. Comfort will help support Hurricane Maria aid and relief operations. The Department of Defense is supporting the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the lead federal agency, in helping those affected by Hurricane Maria to minimize suffering and is one component of the overall whole-of-government response effort. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Capt. Christopher Merian/Released)

Fausta Rodríguez Wertz writes on U. S. and Latin America at Fausta’s blog

My plans for finally getting my Red Summit post were derailed a 2nd time after I read this piece from Christopher Harper that stopped me in my tracks.

Violent crimes increased nationally last year by more than 4 percent and homicides rose by nearly 9 percent, one year after violence rose nearly 4 percent and homicides jumped by nearly 11 percent. A total of 17,250 people were murdered in 2016, the FBI said, an increase of about 20 percent over the past two years alone.

What really got me were these stats

–The demographic group where a significantly higher rate of violence occurs–those between 18 and 34–is getting smaller. So the percentage of crimes committed by that age group should be getting smaller, but it’s not. It’s way up.

–More than three-quarters of U.S. law enforcement officers say they are reluctant to use force when necessary, and nearly as many–72 percent–say they or their colleagues are more reluctant to stop and question people who seem suspicious as a result of increased scrutiny of police, according to a study by the Pew Research Center. 

This is consistent with this story at the NY Post 

Cops in some crime-ridden South Bronx neighborhoods have all but abandoned aggressive or intuitive policing — to avoid getting sued or otherwise derailing their careers, officers admitted to The Post.

And those who commit crime know it

Several precinct patrol officers recalled incidents in which they didn’t bust suspected drug dealers who were taunting them while recording with cellphone cameras.

In one case, a cop said, neighbors were “leaning out their windows, shouting at us to go away.”

“In the past, we’d stand our ground, start issuing summonses. But we just moved on,” a cop recalled. “It was hard, to be honest.”

The NYPD’s most recent stats show shootings in the precinct have jumped 64 percent, from 14 to 23, so far this year compared to the same period in 2016.

In other words thanks to the fine efforts of Black Lives Matter, NFL players and all those who have decided to make the police the enemy those who actually prey on poor and minority neighborhood are completely unleashed knowing that they have little to fear from those who would have once enforced the law.

What’s worse there is little or no political incentive to fix this problem, these cities are controlled by Democrats who have a lock on city counsels and aldermen positions and even if you have a sitting lawmaker who wants to do something , they don’t dare side with police for fear of being voted out of office.

Meanwhile Republicans, knowing that this problem has little effect on their voters and that the race card will be instantly played on them if they attempt to intervene are, like the police, disinclined to get involved in a situation that carries political risk with little reward.

This is a direct byproduct of the balanization of our nation for fun and profit and until that stops and we unify as a culture again expect this problem to increase.  I suspect the rewards of money, power and position for this division are too great, however I do know that with God all things are possible and as long as we have people like this:

There is hope for us as a people.