Hagibis ends search for a positive topic

By Judy Ferro

I started this week looking for something to write about other than impeachment. 

I soon was hunting for something to write about other than impeachment and abandoning our allies the Kurds.  

Then it was impeachment, abandoning the Kurds, causing the release of 1100 ISIS fighters who’d been prisoners of the Kurds,and sending troops to Saudi Arabia. 

From the Guardian and the news website Sludge I learned that U.S. Senators and their spouses have $28 to $96 million invested in corporate stocks. (Reporting is by wide ranges.) Senators who will be deciding whether Amazon gets a $10 billion defense contract own between $423,000 and $1.3 million of its stock. 

From Newsweek I learned that under Secretary Betsy Devos, the U.S. Department of Education has attempted to collect loans from 160,000 victims of “predatory student lending” in spite of a court ruling in June 2018 that a 2016 order had cancelled those debts.  

From the newsletter of Rep. Matt Erpelding I learned that “Idaho Atty. Gen. Lawrence Wasden submitted a brief asking the Supreme Court to rule against individuals” who were fired for being LGBTQ. 

That wasn’t as bad as District 11 Rep. Tammy Nichols denouncing the Model U.N. activity for students as  “indoctrination,” but it does hurt some hardworking individuals and invite economic retaliation.   

I was still searching for something positive, maybe even uplifting.  

Then, Hagibis. 

When I first read that Typhoon Hagibis was expected to reach Japan on Saturday, I was worried about two friends who were visiting there. Later, I learned that thousands of people have friends there. Japan was hosting both the Rugby World Cup and the Japanese Grand Prix last weekend.  

Obviously, I wasn’t going to find a positive theme this week.   

Imagine waiting, waiting and watching for a storm beyond imagination, a storm larger than Japan itself  with a 55-mile wide eye and wind gusts up to 120 mph. Imagine knowing that government agencies had ordered a million people to evacuate their homes and advised ten million more to do so.

Games were cancelled. 

Planes were grounded, then trains. 

People hurried to safer ground. 

Store shelves emptied before noon. Streets were deserted. 

Then, millions waited–and hoped the storm would veer.  

Hagibis hit Tokyo about 7 p.m. and dropped eight inches of rain.  Elsewhere, in the island nation the rains reached two feet– even three.

A 5.3-magnitude earthquake added to the number of mudslides and broken levees. 

More than 430,000 people were left without electricity.    

 I expect “Hagibis” will be a movie one day. 

Unless a bigger storm hits next year–or the year after that.

I wonder how many million minds thought “climate crisis”–and how many resented major polluters like the United States for worrying more about coal and oil billionaires than about humanity itself. 

Hagibis makes our weather anomalies seem trivial.  

That intense September storm in Montana brought bitter cold, winds of 30-35 mph, and four feet of snow in mountain areas. 

The dry Santa Ana winds brought Southern California wind gusts up to 60 mph and temperatures up to 85 degrees.  

And last week’s snowstorm in Spokane dropped 3.3 inches of snow and cut power to more than 20,000 people.  Tree limbs, breaking under the weight of freezing snow on leaves still green, littered the streets. Schools closed

And much of Idaho remained sheltered from even these weather events.  

Today, give thanks. Think of the people in Japan. Cut your energy use. And demand that our leaders do more to cut pollution. 

Published by Judy Ferro

Judy Ferro is communication director for the 2C Dems and a columnist for the Idaho Press.

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