By:  Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT – The tragedy unfolding in Houston and surrounding areas in the wake of Hurricane Harvey is difficult to watch.  Forecasters are predicting flooding of “Biblical proportions” that will be ongoing throughout the week.  The devastation is hard to imagine.

The city of Houston accepted many refugees from Hurricane Katrina who are now reliving the nightmare.

As of Sunday afternoon, parts of Houston had taken on over 27” of rain; social media was filled with photos of flooded interstates, impassible roads, and desperate animals caught in the flood.

As the storm approached the coast as a Category 3 on Friday, Texas Governor Greg Abbott urged anyone who could evacuate to do so immediately. Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner on Friday tweeted “please think twice before trying to leave Houston en masse,” sending mixed signals to local residents.  For that, Turner is coming under fire by some.  The mayor defends his decision, saying that evacuation would have created a traffic nightmare.

By early Sunday, over 2,000 rescues had been executed as people went to their attics then to the roofs of their homes to wait for help.

Just as they did in the August 2016 Louisiana flooding, the Cajun Navy jumped into action and by Sunday afternoon The Texas Navy had been organized as citizen assistance became a critical component in the rescue efforts.  These citizen rescue groups coordinate with local officials and work with them rather than outside of them to maximize efficiency and to not hamper official rescues.  What the Cajun Navy is doing, still, in response to the Louisiana 2016 flooding has been amazing and now Texas is hopefully going to benefit from their experience and aid.

The Cajun Navy mobilized and headed to the Houston area Sunday afternoon.  If you want to listen in to the Cajun Navy as they work go here for instructions to download Glympse and Zello which works like a walkie-talkie.  You may need a password for the Zello Cajun Navy channel; if asked, the password is “help”.  You can go to the Cajun Navy page for more details.  I spent a while Sunday afternoon listening in as calls went out for fuel, gasoline, water, and baby formula in Dickinson, Texas. The coordination of the group is impressive to listen to, but chitchat is not encouraged.  You are asked not to speak unless you are actively rescuing, have a boat, or are mapping.

The Cajun Relief foundation set up a CrowdFunding site after the Baton Rouge floods last year that is still helping desperate flood victims when the federal government only fiddled and lagged in their response.  A similar site should soon be developed for Texas victims as soon as needs are assessed.

Within moments after the creation of the Texas Navy Facebook page, people began reporting locations of stranded people and animals.  A call went out for flat-bottom boats and soon volunteers from all over Louisiana and other areas began mobilizing to Texas.

Another Facebook group, Hurricane Harvey Animal Rescue, was formed for animal rescue and shelter needs.

A haunting image appeared on social media Sunday of women in a Dickinson, Texas nursing home, sitting helplessly as water rose around them. Many doubted the validity of the photo because it was so horrible, but the truth of the photo was confirmed and the women were airlifted to safety.

Late Sunday afternoon the city of Dallas made plans to open the Kay Bailey Hutchinson Convention Center to house another 5,000 evacuees in addition to the other shelters currently open in the city.

The flooding will be a problem even after the storm moves on, of course.  Rivers, creeks, and runoff will keep water levels high for some time throughout the affected areas.

There are ways that you can help from wherever you are.  Obvious organizations are the Red Cross and the Salvation Army.  But don’t forget the animal rescue groups that are transporting and housing animals, keeping them safe until they can be reclaimed by owners.  One of those is Austin Pets Alive and they could really use your donations.  NOLA has a growing list of hospitals, shelters, and charities that need help.

WFAA-TV streamed live on Sunday as school buses were mobilized to evacuate people from areas in south Texas from Galveston to Houston.

Early Sunday afternoon Ben Taub Hospital in Houston, a Level 1 trauma center, was being evacuated and was taking on water in the basement.  Houston Hobby Airport was closed until perhaps Wednesday as runways flooded.  George Bush International Airport also closed.  Thousands of travelers were stranded as all flights were cancelled.

KHOU news in Houston began flooding Sunday morning and had to evacuate the station; WFAA TV in Dallas began broadcasting KHOU’s ongoing coverage.

Meanwhile, New Orleans was bracing for up to 8” of rain from Harvey and Mitch Landrieu is still trying to get pumps up and running in the city after the last flood debacle a couple of weeks ago.  Mayor Landrieu held a press conference Sunday afternoon to assure residents that the city is ready for any flooding and reminded residents not to drive through flooded roads.

President Trump has announced that he will travel to Houston and other nearby cities on Tuesday.

Without question this has been and will continue to be a terrible disaster for some time to come. Rains will continue throughout the week and will begin moving toward north Louisiana by the end of the week.

Please continue to keep Texas and Louisiana in your prayers and donate where you can.

Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport.

“I expect to die in bed, my successor will die in prison and his successor will die a martyr in the public square. His successor will pick up the shards of a ruined society and slowly help rebuild civilization, as the church has done so often in human history.”

Cardinal Francis George

A general rule of thumb for public officials is, if tweets like this:

Remind people of things like John 18:19-23:

The high priest questioned Jesus about his disciples and about his doctrine.  Jesus answered him, “I have spoken publicly to the world. I have always taught in a synagogue or in the temple area 10 where all the Jews gather, and in secret I have said nothing.  Why ask me? Ask those who heard me what I said to them. They know what I said.”

When he had said this, one of the temple guards standing there struck Jesus and said, “Is this the way you answer the high priest?”

Jesus answered him, “If I have spoken wrongly, testify to the wrong; but if I have spoken rightly, why do you strike me?”

It’s probably best to back away a bit:

But in a breaking development Wednesday, Houston Mayor Annise Parker appeared to be backing away from the initial requests. Janice Evans, a city spokeswoman, told Law Blog in a statement:

Mayor Parker agrees with those who are concerned about the city legal department’s subpoenas for pastor’s sermons.  The subpoenas were issued by pro bono attorneys helping the city prepare for the trial regarding the petition to repeal the new Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO) in January.  Neither the mayor nor City Attorney David Feldman were aware the subpoenas had been issued until yesterday.  Both agree the original documents were overly broad.  The city will move to narrow the scope during an upcoming court hearing.  Feldman says the focus should be only on communications related to the HERO petition process

And start spinning:

“Let me just say that one word in a very long legal document which I know nothing about and would never have read and I’m vilified coast to coast,” Parker said. “It’s a normal day at the office for me.”

That statement isn’t consistent with the tweet we started this post with is it?

I suspect that the critiques from Ed Morrissey:

This demand was intended to send a message to the dissenters. When that backfired, the city backpedaled and claimed they were the victims, but that’s nonsense — and it still reveals exactly what Houston has in mind with its equal-rights ordinance.

National Review:

So, if a pastor is engaged in a theological discussion with a fellow pastor on the covered topics, that will have to be produced. If a pastor texts a friend his position on “restroom access,” that has to be produced. 

Oh, and did I mention that the pastors aren’t even parties to the lawsuit?

The sexual revolution, apparently, brooks no dissent. Not even from the pulpit, or in Skype chat boxes.

Texas Sparkle:

This is a gross violation of the First Amendment. This should come as no surprise, because the left seems to think the First Amendment only applies if you agree with them.

and Ted Cruz:

The City of Houston’s subpoenas demanding that pastors provide the government with copies of their sermons is both shocking and shameful.  For far too long, the federal government has led an assault against religious liberty, and now, sadly, my hometown of Houston is joining the fight.  This is wrong.  It’s unbefitting of Texans, and it’s un-American.  The government has no business asking pastors to turn over their sermons.

Likely didn’t move her as much as pieces from people like Doug Mataconis 

More importantly, the rules about tax exemptions for religious institution do not prevent churches and Pastors from taking stands on political issues of the day or even advocating certain positions. If they did, then people like Martin Luther King Jr. would have been violating those rules throughout the Civil Rights Movement.  According to some reports, the city is arguing that the churches were engaging in supposedly illegal campaigning by backing the repeal measure and helping to organize the signature, but even if that’s true it strikes me that any law that would prevent such activity would be a violation of the First Amendment rights of both the churches and the Pastors themselves, not to mention being a pretty extreme intrusion by the state into the church’s operations.

and allies like Charles Kuffner who while referring to the Pastors as “haters” leads his post with:

Not sure about this.

and is concerned about this

The other concern is that the HERO haters will do an effective job at portraying themselves as victims. It is the one thing they are really good at, after all. It looks like they succeeded, unfortunately.

FYI; that last phrase is what we in the real world call “projection”.

but I suspect the thing that moved her the most is fear of a possibility raised by Stacy McCain:

Christians in Texas are not going to surrender without a fight, and every Democrat in Texas ought to be held accountable for what radical Democrats led by Annise Parker are doing in Houston. Every Democrat in the state should be publicly challenged by Republicans either to endorse Mayor Parker’s extremist agenda, or else to denounce it. And every Texas Democrat who claims to oppose Mayor Parker’s agenda should then be called upon to condemn any Texas Democrat whosupports Mayor Parker’s agenda. It is high time, you see, that “moderate Democrats” stop pretending to be moderates, because the Democrat Party is not a moderate party.

And he suggests not stopping with Texas

Mayor Parker’s radical agenda is the agenda of the Democrat Party, not only in Houston, not only in Texas, but everywhere. The sooner Democrats are forced to admit this, the sooner the American people can decide whether they want to follow the Democrat Party down this highway to hell that Democrats are paving at taxpayer expense.

Because this is in fact the agenda of the Democrat party and the last thing their candidates need in what’s already looking like a wave election is to be given the choice between keeping their radical base happy or exposing their radical agenda.

But they shouldn’t worry there is a zero possibility that the mainstream media that forced the entire republican party to answer for Todd Akin’s remarks would hold democrats to that same standard.

The real question is this.  Will the media attempt to stigmatize Christianity reach the point where the left will see this type of behavior as a positive electoral decision.

Olimometer 2.52

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