Monday, February 22, 2021

Texans are suffering

And celebrities like Bette Midler aren't helping with their attempts at 'pith' and 'wisdom.'  Robert Reich (an American writing for the British GUARDIAN) isn't helping either, not with garbage like this, "Yet the white working class has been seduced by conservative Republicans and Trump cultists, of which Texas has an abundance, into believing that what’s good for Black and Latino people is bad for them, and that whites are, or should be, on the winning side of the social Darwinian contest."

Honestly, WTF?

Robert Reich wants to take the suffering of people and turn it into some sort of racism event.  Robert Reich is a dumb hick.

Per AP's exit polling of Texas' 2020 election turnout:

According to survey data, Trump was more popular amongst white voters, 65% of white voters supported Trump while 35% of white voters supported Biden.

Biden connected with Black and Latino voters, survey data indicates that 89% of Black voters and 67% of Latino voters supported the Democratic nominee.

However, other races of people surveyed supported Trump over Biden, according to survey data, 49% of survey results favor the sitting president to Biden’s 46%.

Starr and Zapata counties, where turnout increased about 15 and 6 percentage points, respectively, from 2016, were among a predominantly Hispanic swath along the U.S.-Mexico border that brought some of the worst returns of the night for Biden. In rural Starr, 51.3% of voters cast ballots — with 47% voting for Trump, compared with 19% in 2016. Biden lost Zapata, a county presidential contender Hillary Clinton won with a 33-point margin in 2016, and where former President Barack Obama garnered a 43-point margin in 2012.

How about we leave partisanship out of it?

The people in Texas are suffering.  A cold spell hit the hot state.  As Celeste in Houston told us, "We're just not used to cold like this.  A day or two is usually it."  Rodrigues in Denton remembers February 2014 being bad.  A cold snap came through and the roads froze.  "It was rough for two days," he remembers.  "But the third day the buses were running.  I remember because I had an interview for a county job and they didn't answer when I called so I assumed the interview was still on.  I took the bus there and walked around and around looking for someway in before I realized that the place was shut down.  It opened up the next day."  

Two Thursdays ago, the cold weather moved in for some.  For others, it was Sunday last week that the cold weather moved in.  It had been expected to hit earlier, two to three days earlier.  But it hit at the start of last week for many.  And it lingered and lingered.

During this time?  Many were without electricity, water and internet.  SUDDENLINK customers were especially blistering in their comments to us.  For Noah in Chandler, the internet went out that Sunday "around 4:00 pm.  I called and couldn't get a person.  Around 11 p.m. I called again and this time the automated system told me it would be up by 3:00 a.m.  So I got up at five and it was still down.  All day Monday, all day Tuesday, all day Wednesday, all day Thursday, all day Friday except for about 80s minutes, all day Saturday and then it came up at 4:00 pm today."  Noah expressed the same thought that many SUDDENLINK customers did: is the company going to prorate?  Susan in Lindale argues they should, "I pay about $125 a month just for my internet.  I was out for a week -- a full week.  Not only was I out but I also could not speak to anyone.  No matter how often I called, no atter what times I called, I never could get a person on the line.  This was lousy service.  I've got three kids under the age of 10 and we were trapped at home for a full week.  We lost electricity only one day, luckily.  But the kids had nothing to do.  It was too cold for them to play outside for very long.  With no internet, we had no films or games to distract with.  It did make me decide that I'd start buying books again.  I've been doing KINDLE and NOOK for years but if we ever have another storm like that, we need physical books."

A cold storm like that?

No one we spoke to could remember a storm like that hitting Texas before and we spoke with -- by text, by e-mail and by phone -- 172 COMMON ILLS community members in Texas.

Brenda in Fort Worth has lived in Texas her whole life and was born right after WWII.  She couldn't remember every experiencing a storm like this one.  "It iced," she said, "and then it just hung around and lingered.  I'm not used to that.  I can't remember that before, not like this.  There was a Christmas, in the last 20 years, where it snowed for maybe 20 minutes and then it all melted.  Usually, it lasts a little bit longer than that but nothing like this."

Most of the people we spoke with suffered a water outage during the time period.  Those who now had water back on noted that it was hard to figure out whether or not you were still supposed to be boiling water before drinking it.  Lily in Canton talked about the worst part for her, "I"ll say it, going to the bathroom.  Okay, I can -- and we did -- pee in a cup or bowl and then toss it down the bathroom sink.  But s**ting?  We had a big plastic bowl that we left in the bathroom.  If you needed to crap, you put that bowl on top of the toilet -- with the lid on the toilet down -- and you lined it with a plastic Walmart sack.  You then did your business, wiped, tossed the tissue in the Walmart sack and then tied up the sack, carried it to the backyard where we had a trash bag that we just dumped the dumps in.  It was gross and it was disgusting.  I'm not going to pretend that it wasn't and I'm not going to pretend like it didn't happen."

In Mesquite, Francisco felt truly trapped.  Not only was their ice on the ground but his apartment is on the second story and "there was no way to down those stairs.  For four days, the ice was so bad and the stairs are rickety anyway.  I was dumping all the salte I had in the house on them and that didn't do much to help.  On the fifth day, by about 11 in the morning, I could go down the stairs -- moving very slowly and very carefully."  

Getting out was a problem.  That made things arriving even harder.  That was food and other things -- books or whatever from AMAZON but, for Katie near Jacksonville, that was also her insulin.

She recalls, "We knew the freeze was moving in.  My insulin was supposed to arrive on Wednesday and I figured it would.  Sunday would be bad and, the way things go, by Tuesday, it would be clearing out.  Only that didn't happen this time.  And so I was really worried because I was almost out.  I had one Lancet pen left on Wednesday when the meds didn't arrive.  I'm hopeful that they shipment will be there tomorrow [Monday].  But I planned for two to three days.  I hadn't planned for my water to go out -- that's never happened to me before.  But it did go out.  And stressing over the insulin and having no water?  Because by Tuesday, I'd consumed -- drinking -- all the bottled water I had on hand.

In Dallas, Sabina reached out to friends and neighbors to see who was in need.  And?  "Pretty much everyone I called was.  My husband has four-wheel drive and we stock up like crazy -- with water and food we're practically hoarders.  So I'd sack up stuff and he'd go out and deliver it.  That was every day of the storm.  There were so many people in need and that's just among the people I know.  I can't imagine how bad it was in the rest of the city or throughout the state."

People are suffering.  Even now, they're suffering.

Eric Levenson (CNN) reports:

The water issues are part of the sprawling impacts of extensive blackouts: families forced to sleep in frigid homes and cars, scavenge for a hot meal, forgo medical treatment or use melted snow to flush the toilet.
At a news conference Sunday afternoon, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said around 30,000 people remained without power in his state.
"Based upon the speed that I've seen power get restored, I suspect that all power will be fully restored across the state of Texas to every house either later tonight or tomorrow," Abbott said.
The governor said water services were being restored throughout Texas and that more than 3 million bottles of water had been distributed in an effort by the Texas National Guard, US Department of Defense and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

In Tyler, J.I. revealed he was still without water.  And?  He texted off for Monday explaining he hasn't been able to take a shower since his water went out last Tuesday.  And?  His boss texted him back that she'd have bottled water at the office and really needed him there.  If you stink, you can't be around the public.  And if there's any fall out over his texting off, we've already told him we will embarrass his boss and we will embarrass the 'compassionate' corporation he works for.  But that's what's going on right now?  In the midst of all of this, workers -- for nationally ranked companies -- are being told they have to come in to work on Monday despite the fact that they stink, they can't shave, they have no water.

Texans are suffering.

These people did not need celebrities and pundits trashing them, attacking them, trying to shame them.

Who failed the test?  We're sure some politicians failed.  And we're all for accountability.  

But the biggest failure came from people outside the state who failed the compassion test.  They were more concerned with scoring partisan points than they were with feeling for those in need.

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