New FOIA'd emails reveal the chaos behind the scenes of the National Weather Service's #SharpieGate

In early September 2019, President Donald J. Trump tweeted something dumb. Specifically, this time it was about the encroaching Hurricane Dorian, and the places that it would or would not hit.

At the time, there was no indication that it was ever going to hit Alabama. But Trump's stubborn ego — so unwilling to admit to, well, anything — turned life into hell for the National Weather Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. It reached a point where Trump literally drew on a map with a sharpie to make it look like he'd been right all along, and the central office of the NOAA was publicly disavowing efforts by the Birmingham, Alabama office of the NWA to deliver accurate information to the very same people who would potentially stand in harm's way, or who might be tempted to make irrational decisions in a panic over the president's false information.

In short, it was a perfect microcosmic storm of everything wrong with the Trump administration.

This past Friday, January 31, the NWA and NOAA released a trove of 1,000 emails relating to the incident, revealing the panic behind the scenes as different government agencies found themselves torn between protecting the public, and protecting the president's fragile ego. Read the rest

Migrant parents are refusing to be reunited with their kids, citing safety concerns

According to the ACLU, the nightmare perpetuated against immigrants and refugees attempting to find safe harbor in the United States has taken a new, unexpected turn for the worse: the parents, separated from their children as part of the Trump administration's drive to make migration into the United States as miserable as possible, are refusing to be reunited with their children. The reason is absolutely heartbreaking:

From Reuters:

Immigrant parents separated from their children by the Trump administration and returned to their homes are refusing to be reunited with their children because their countries are so dangerous, an attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union told a court on Friday.

Gelernt said parents who refused to be reunited tended to have older children who could be recruited by violent gangs if they returned home. In addition, some children have relatives in the United States and are unlikely to end up in foster care.

The ACLU contacted parents in Central America of 162 children and said 109 refused reunification, according to a court filing.

According to Reuters, Gelernt recently spent time in Guatamala attempting to help parents separated from their kids by U.S. Immigration officials to reunite their families. Of the 300 parents that Gelernt spoke to, roughly two-thirds preferred to let their kids take their chances in the United States where they'd have a greater expectation of safety and prosperity.

I'm not a parent, so I can't even begin to imagine the sort of painful parental devotion it would take to leave a child behind, in the name of keeping them safe, in a country that despises me enough to have torn my family apart rather than providing them with refuge from harm. Read the rest