On Hurricanes, Hardship and Chinese Food

If you’ve ever seen A Christmas Story, based on the reminiscences of humorist Jean Shepherd from when he was a by growing up in Indiana, you know that the character of Ralphie doesn’t exactly have what you would call a Norman Rockwell Christmas.  He gets chased by the school bully, has his mouth washed out with Lifebuoy soap, and is literally kicked in the face by a department store Santa who’s half in the bag–and it ain’t filled with toys.  To top it all off, his family is a little crazy–but only in ways that every family is crazy, and in the end their love for one another brings everyone together and Ralphie is even granted his fondest wish.  But just when you think the camera is about to pan over to the glittering Christmas tree and fade to black on a perfect ending, a pack of dogs from next door bursts into the house and destroys the kitchen, making off with the Yuletide turkey in the process.

Oh, no!  Christmas is ruined!

Or is it?

With nothing else left to eat, Ralphie’s dad (played by Darrin McGavin at his best) remembers the only place in town that would still be open on Christmas Day–the local Chinese restaurant.  He packs up the family, takes them there for dinner, and they all end up singing Christmas carols in broken English with the owner.  It’s a misadventure, to be sure, but they all made the best of it as people often do when circumstances take an unexpected turn into adversity.

I thought about this on Monday evening, after Hurricane Irma had blown through my home town the night before.  We had lost power, as a lot of people did, but we were pretty lucky otherwise.  A few tiles had blown off the roof, but that was the extent of the damage to our house, but with the lights out and no air conditioning, there wasn’t much appeal to staying inside and waiting.  We were also starting to get hungry–and even though we had a pantry full of dry goods stocked for the emergency, the idea of horking down a Clif Bar for dinner wasn’t that appealing either.  Problem was, all the restaurants in town were closed because of the storm.

Or were they?

Turns out there were isolated pockets nearby where the power was still on, and in one of those pockets there just happened to be–you guessed it–a Chinese restaurant.  Chopstick Express, it was called.  And it was open, praises be it was open!

But we weren’t the only ones who were hungry.  And we weren’t the only ones who got the idea that some Chinese food would really hit the spot.  The line going into Chopstick Express almost went around the block, probably more business than the place usually saw in two months.  If they were serving, though, we were waiting, and so I dropped my wife off to grab us a spot in line while I parked the car in a nearby lot.

I joined her a few minutes later, and she was already chatting up a woman who was one spot ahead of us.  She explained that she worked for an insurance company, and had already been manning the office getting ready to process the claims that were flooding in from all across the state.  This dinner, she said, would be the first meal she’d had all day.  Right behind us, we met another person who managed a condominium, and he told us about how his entire building swayed in the wind when Irma passed through.  Taking a look at the rest of the line, I saw that other people were doing much the same thing:  talking about their families, relating their own experiences during the storm, breathing a sigh of relief that we’d escaped the worst of it.  The line was long, and moved really slow, and we all got pelted by the occasional rain that still fell, as if Irma wanted to remind us that she was still around even if she was a shadow of her former self–but nobody seemed to mind.  Meanwhile, inside the tiny restaurant, the industrious entrepreneurs who decided to open when nobody else would worked hard to provide food for those who had ventured out.

And I thought:  This is how America really works.  This is how America really is.

We weren’t divided, like the media always tells us we are.  We weren’t liberals or conservatives, black or white, or even really men and women in that moment.  We were just people who had all shared the same terrifying experience, and who now shared the same gratitude that our families and our homes had been spared.  There was no squabbling, no pushing, no shoving–no complaining at having to wait for the few items that still remained on the Chopstick Express menu.  We all had too much in common for that.  Even though nobody spoke of it, we all just knew:  In a near disaster, we were united in a way that politics had not been able to divide.

The shrimp lo mein wasn’t half bad either.

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Actual Scientists School Bill Nye on Hurricanes

Bill Nye is a science guy. But, as the trope went for an old commercial, he isn’t a scientist, he just plays one on T.V. From time to time, Nye’s limited understanding of science can get him into trouble. One of those times was last week Nye talked about how global warming affected hurricanes.

On Radio Andy, a Sirius XM show, Nye told Dan Rather, “It’s the strength [of hurricanes] that is almost certainly associated with global warming.”

“Global warming and climate change are the same thing,” Nye said. “As the world gets warmer and there is more heat energy in the atmosphere, you expect storms to get stronger. You also expect ocean currents to not flow the way they always have and that will make some places cooler and some places warmer.”

“The more heat energy in the atmosphere strengthens the storms, Dan, that’s what you’d expect,” the science guy concluded.

Ryan Maue, a meteorologist whose Twitter bio also identifies him as a “think tanker” for the Cato Institute, took to Twitter to point out what should be obvious to a climate scientist, the fact that hurricanes draw their strength from the ocean not the atmosphere. “Bill Nye confuses the oceans with the atmosphere,” Maue tweeted, adding the hashtag, “#FakeScience.”

As most weather-watchers know, the ocean feeds hurricanes. They draw strength from warm tropical ocean water and grow while at sea. Once a hurricane makes landfall, the storm begins to weaken and dissipate, no matter how warm the atmosphere is.

That begs the question of whether global warming caused warmer ocean waters to feed the current crop of killer storms. Cliff Mass, a climate scientist at the University of Washington, says “no” on his blog.

“Hurricane Harvey developed in an environment in which temperatures were near normal in the atmosphere and slightly above normal in the Gulf,” Mass wrote. “The clear implication: global warming could not have contributed very much to the storm.”

“OK, let me go out on a limb,” Mass continues. “Let us assume that all of the .5 C warming of the Gulf was due to human-caused global warming.  That NONE of it was natural.  And that the air was warmed by the same amount. Using the scaling described above implies an increase of 3.5% in the extreme precipitation of this storm.  So, for places that received 30 inches, perhaps 1 inch resulted from global warming. Not much.  Immaterial regarding impacts or anything else.”

“The bottom line in this analysis is that both observations of the past decades and models looking forward to the future do not suggest that one can explain the heavy rains of Harvey by global warming, and folks that are suggesting it are poorly informing the public and decision makers,” Mass concludes.

NOAA’s Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory agrees in a statement on its website. “It is premature to conclude that human activities–and particularly greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming–have already had a detectable impact on Atlantic hurricane or global tropical cyclone activity,” the agency points out.

NOAA’s statement does include a qualifier that climate change may cause worse storms in the future.  “Anthropogenic warming by the end of the 21st century will likely cause tropical cyclones globally to be more intense on average (by 2 to 11% according to model projections for an IPCC A1B scenario),” the statement notes. “This change would imply an even larger percentage increase in the destructive potential per storm, assuming no reduction in storm size.”

Nye did make a second point that was more valid. “The problem in the Southeast United States and Mexico is that these hurricanes are very powerful,” the science guy said, “and, as I say all the time, they are very expensive. We are all going to pay for Harvey. We are all going to pay for Irma one way or the other.”

Mass agrees here, saying, “What the media SHOULD be discussing is the lack of resilience of our infrastructure to CURRENT extreme weather.   Houston has had multiple floods the past few years and poor planning is a major issue.  When you put massive amounts of concrete and buildings over an historical swamp, water problems will occur if drainage and water storage is not engineered from the start.”

Hurricane Harvey, a category three storm, was not the strongest hurricane on record. The biggest problem was the that storm stalled over Houston rather than moving through quickly. This caused Houston’s Depression-era drainage system to overload. The area’s rapid growth and lack of planning have contributed to the problem.

Hurricanes Harvey and Irma were very damaging, but there is no evidence that they were the result of climate change. In fact, the storms were weaker and less damaging that the category four hurricane that killed 12,000 people in Galveston, Texas. If you don’t remember that one, it is because it happened in 1900, long before the advent of global warming.

How Churches and Individuals Saved The Day During Hurricane Harvey

I had always assumed that FEMA was the primary source of aid for victims of natural disasters such as hurricanes. If my experience in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey is any indication, I was wrong.

After I returned home in the middle of the storm, we were isolated by flooded roads for a couple of days. Once we could leave our neighborhood, we made our way to our church, which was serving as a shelter for storm victims, to offer our help. After another day or so, with several storm victims leaving to go home, the evacuees housed by my church were moved to another church down the road that was an official FEMA center for relief supplies. My family and I spent much of the week following Harvey’s departure volunteering at this FEMA center a few miles from my house.

What we saw changed the way that I viewed relief efforts for natural disasters. It was not the government that offered the most assistance to those in need. It was private volunteers, both local and from around the country, and private donations of supplies that kept the center in business.

The center was staffed entirely by volunteers. There were people who drove or flew in from Oklahoma, Arizona, Kentucky, Iowa, Missouri and California to offer their assistance. These people took time off from work and paid their own way. The only medical professional at the center was a registered nurse from Arizona who paid her own air fare to come and help.

In the first days, the center was staffed mostly by local volunteers. After a few days, we started to see more Red Cross volunteers and help from the outside. Red Cross would bring shipments of prepared meals, cleanup kits for houses and comfort kits for those in need. In the days that I worked there, I never saw a single FEMA representative.

Most helpful were the churches and their members. Local individuals would bring in food, clothing and other donations. Churches from out of state would rent trucks and trailers and fill them to the ceiling with pallets of water, food, clothes, school supplies, toilet paper, tarps, diapers, pet food and cleaning items such as buckets, bleach and mops.

One truck contained several large boxes (about three feet long by two feet wide and two feet high) that were filled to the top with individual candy bars and chewing gum. As a note to potential donors, while this was appreciated, chocolate candy bars are not the most practical emergency ration for Houston in August where temperatures are normally in the high 90s. This advice also applies to Florida.

We would frequently see large military helicopters such as CH-47 Chinooks and UH-60 Blackhawks flying overhead. The center director told us that the government was flying supplies into Houston and then they were distributed out from the city. We received some supplies from FEMA, in particular several boxes of tarps, but the vast majority of relief items came from the charity of local individuals and churches from around the country.

When the center needed items such as diapers and baby formula, it was concerned citizens who brought them. When we gave out so much food that we almost ran out, it was churches who trucked in enough to allow us to restock.

Through the entire ordeal, I was amazed at how responsive people from around the country were to the specific needs of our little FEMA shelter in small town Texas. We put out requests for specific supplies on social media and the next day they arrived.

FEMA requires shelters to have round-the-clock security, but this was also left to volunteers. After some items were stolen, we heightened security at the center. Volunteers, most of whom also worked all day at the shelter or full-time jobs, took guard duty shifts at night. After the initial thefts, guards armed themselves with personal weapons and radios. In the wee hours of one night, a guard discovered a break-in. The perpetrator fled into the darkness when the guard chambered a round in his shotgun.

As volunteers had to return to their normal lives, the center director requested assistance from the national guard in protecting the center’s residents and supplies. As of this writing, two weeks after Harvey, security is still in the hands of volunteers.

Granted, a natural disaster the size of Hurricane Harvey taxed the ability of FEMA to deliver aid. The storm ravaged hundreds of miles of Texas coastline and caused flooding all over Houston, the fourth largest city in the country, before moving on to Beaumont and Louisiana and wreaking havoc there as well. Our area, a small town on the northeast side of Houston, was far from being the area hardest hit by the storm, but there were still many people who had lost everything.

If it was up to the federal government or NGOs like the Red Cross to offer aid, our town would probably still be waiting for help. The destruction simply covered too much ground and affected too many people for even the federal government to effectively render aid to everyone.

In some cases, people were even afraid to be helped by the government. Wes, a volunteer who came from California by himself to help, told of finding a family of illegal immigrants in an area where the water was estimated to have been 25-30 feet deep. They had gone for days without food or fresh water and were afraid to approach government aid workers for help. Without Wes’s compassion, they might have died after surviving the storm.

When massive need for help overwhelmed the system during Harvey, it was the American citizen who stepped up to help. It struck me that this is the way it should be. If Americans, particularly Christians, offered more charity to each other on a regular basis, there would be no need for the entitlement state.

We can rise to the occasion during an emergency. It’s a pity that we can’t do so every day.

The Blessings of Hurricane Harvey

“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. The second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.”             Matthew 22:37-40

It is of great relief no charlatan has rushed in front of a camera and breathlessly announced Hurricane Harvey is the result of God’s judgement on this or that. We can’t know the mind of God, and being the creature not the creator we have absolutely no right to pretend we do.

What we do know and what we have a right to discuss is what we’re taught in scripture.  We are taught that we live in a fallen world corrupted by sin, and as a result life can be very hard and painful. What we aren’t taught is God intends only health, wealth and happiness for His elect.

We are also taught our Heavenly Father allows trials and tribulations to be visited upon His elect for a myriad of reasons. Some of those are salvation. sanctification, and discipline, but most importantly simply for His glory. And that glory is manifest in the terror of the storm, it is manifest in the faith of those who are suffering, and also in the responses of love in action by His people throughout the Gulf.

There are those who have lost most, if not all of that is dear to them, and they have become unmoored through loss of their homes, vehicles and jobs. They wonder where the relief will come from, and can’t understand why. Doubting and frightened beyond belief, trying to figure out how to provide for spouses and children. There are those who have suffered loss of family and friends, whose pain will not soon dissipate.

There are those who lie awake in the dark of the night, beseeching their Father in Heaven to provide and for an answer. Those who fervently meditate upon the 23rd Psalm, knowing they are being led through the darkest of valleys, yet knowing His rod and staff will protect. These are now being served. For many, this is a new experience. They’ve been cast into a humbling role of without, reliant upon the loving and charitable acts of strangers. They are walking by faith, having precious little choice in the matter. These faithful are the embodiment of the Hall of Fame chapter in Hebrews. Chapter 11. Faith being the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

Others were tortured and did not accept deliverance, so that they might obtain a better resurrection. 36 Still others had trials of mocking and scourging, and even chains and imprisonment. 37 They were stoned, they were sawn in two, were tempted, were slain with the sword. They wandered around in sheepskins and goatskins, while destitute, afflicted, and tormented. 38 The world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, in dens and caves of the earth. Hebrews 11:35-38

This is not the first nor the last of travails visited upon God’ s people. The pain and heartache is very real. It can’t be glossed over with a trite uncaring “all things work together for good…”.  It is both immediate and future, casting a cloud of despair and terrifying the soul. Nothing written about hope, love, or kindness will lessen the hurt.

Then there are the serving, the servants, those who are acting out real love for their neighbor. They risk their lives plunging into water to save a soul, not caring the race, the color, the religion or the creed. They give of their time, money, and possessions. Often giving until it hurts. Churches, countless churches raising money, receiving donations, organizing volunteers, and praying without ceasing.

JJ Watt starts off wanting to raise $200, 000 in order to provide essentials to those in need. His efforts will surpass $20 million any moment now if it hasn’t already. Jim McIngvale, “Mattress Mack – Save you Money!!” opens up his two stores and provides every surface available for those without a place to live. Every couch, every bed, every mattress, brand new but being used to comfort and provide for those in need.

And while these two are very visible, there are thousands who make up the invisible army of God. Loving and serving simply because God loved them and give His only Son for their salvation. These are being also being strengthened and sanctified, seeing with every act of kindness, God’s faithfulness manifested to those in need. And yes, being humbled as well, knowing but for the grace of God, this could have happened to them.

Last night as I was going over this article in my mind, one of my favorite songs kept running through my mind. I think this says it all.

I don’t know about tomorrow;
It may bring me poverty.
But the one who feeds the sparrow,
Is the one who stands by me.

And the path that be my portion
May be through the flame or flood;
But His presence goes before me
And I’m covered with His blood.

Many things about tomorrow
I don’t seem to understand
But I know who holds tomorrow
And I know who holds my hand…

JJ Watt Has Nearly Hit His $15,000,000 Fundraising Goal to Benefit Texas Hurricane Victims

Houston Texans defensive end JJ Watt responded to the unprecedented devastation from Hurricane Harvey by setting up a page on the fundraising site YouCaring.com.

Hurricane Harvey has taken a catastrophic toll on our great city, while leaving many stranded and in need of assistance. We must come together and collectively help rebuild the aspects of our community members lives that were damaged or lost. Any donation that you can spare, no matter how large or small, is greatly appreciated. We will come out of this stronger than ever. We are Texans.

Watt set a goal of $15 million, and at the time of this writing, he has just about hit the target! As of 1:00 p.m. on September 1, Watt’s 140,875 donors have contributed a total of $14,608,789 to help those affected by the massive flooding and destruction from Harvey.

The response to Watt’s call for donors has been so overwhelming that the site is having a hard time keeping up, which prompted a response from YouCaring CEO Dan Saper:

The response here has been surreal. Due to everyone’s overwhelming generosity and the amount of traffic going to this page, you may experience intermittent donation issues. Please bear with us, or check back in a few minutes if that’s happening to you. Our engineering team is working tirelessly to ensure uptime on the site! We are also working closely with JJ Watt and the Houston Texans to ensure the funds are used as effectively as possible, and we commend them for this incredible initiative. THANK YOU for your continued generosity to support the people of Houston. Every donation counts, no matter how big or small, so please keep sharing the link and spreading the word. Thank you.

Good for Watt for stepping up and sounding the call for donations – and thanks to all who have given!

 

Houston Housing Growth and Liberal Hyprocrisy

The devastation visited upon the Gulf Coast by Hurricane Harvey is truly biblical in nature. Both the volume of rainfall to the record flooding levels are unprecedented. It is difficult to imagine the scope of what has happened to the coast, and the effects won’t be fully understood for a very long time.

From the estimated 500,000 vehicles lost, to the thousands of flooded homes, the recovery will be arduous, painful and subject to criticism by Monday morning quarterbacks of every stripe and persuasion.

Not able to blame the size and ferocity of Harvey on a concrete issue, liberals have landed upon assessing blame to city and county government for allowing so many homes to be built up and down the Gulf Coast.

The regional and demographic bias shown by those who want to blame flooding on permissive housing development shows a lack of appreciation for the economic engine that has propelled Houston and the gulf coast into one of the most important and vital regions around the globe.  Because of their liberal bias, they have bifurcated the region’s economic drivers from residential/commercial development, and that’s impossible to justify. In reality, industry has driven housing development in Houston since it’s inception, and both are inextricably connected.

Three prime examples jump out:

Texas Medical Center: The Texas Medical Center is the largest med complex in the world. The facts on Wikipedia show the Med Center to contain 54 medicine related institutions, having 21 hospitals, along with eight specialty and eight academic research institutions, four medical schools, seven nursing schools, three public health organizations, two pharmacy schools and a dental school. All are non-profit. Located just south of downtown, the Med Center is larger than the downtowns of many mid-tier cities.

Whether it’s open-heart surgery at Memorial Hermann, cancer and cancer research at MD Anders, wide ranging children’s medicine at Texas Children’s and Shriners, the list goes on and on.

Thousands of Houstonians work at the Med Center, and even more thousands support it in some way. The economic ripple across the region and benefit the world, common citizens and national leaders have come into the Med Center for care.

Over 50% of the Med Center employees live in areas that were affected by the storm.

Gulf Coast Oil & Gas Refining Industry: At least 10 refineries have been forced to temporarily shut down due to the hurricane, and resulting flood. The gulf coast region accounts for nearly one-third of the nation’s refining capacity: (CNN Money)

S&P estimated Sunday that roughly 2.2 million barrels per day of refining capacity were forced offline because of the storm.Overall, the Gulf area is home to refineries and other operations that account for nearly one-third of the nation’s capacity to turn oil into gas, diesel and other products.

Oil & Gas refining employs thousand and thousand of people living in the gulf coast region, and many more thousands servicing those refining plants. The vast majority of these employees live south of Houston, which is the area hit hardest by Harvey.

From paraffin for candles to asphalt for roads, parking lots and driveways, a barrel of crude produces many products. Products which impact every part of every American’s life.

Gulf Coast Petro-Chemical Industry: The petro-chemical industry is the least discussed but most important industry on the gulf coast. From the very large companies such as Dow Chemical to the smaller speciality petrochemical plants, America depends on gulf coast chemical production (Business Texas)

Texas is home to over 50 energy-related companies on the Fortune 1000 list. More than 3,700 energy-related establishments are located within the Houston Metropolitan Statistical Area, With 100,000 workers employed, Texas is home to the largest petrochemical cluster in the world. Houston alone accounts for over 40 percent of the nation’s base petrochemical capacity.

Gulf coast locals have heard it all, and this is not our first flood. Its just the biggest and most devastating. We’ve also heard it all when it comes to the self-righteous liberal eco-hypocrisy about our oil & gas, and petrochemical industries.

A thought experiment: Stand in your garage. First take a look at your car. Forget for moment that it is fueled by our gas or diesel, forget about the fact that your motor oil, transmission fluid, windshield wiper fluid and brake fluids originate from here, forget all of that. Just take a look at your car. Because even if it were electric, solar, or hydrogen powered, it wouldn’t be a car without the petrochemical industry. From the heavy duty plastics on the grill, to the rubber on the bumpers, to the paint, the dyes on the carpet and cloths, well you get the picture. Your car is basically a mobile barrel of refined crude, even the carbon black for rubber is produced here.

Then, look around your garage. See any mosquito spray, bug killer, grass or plant fertilizer? Thank you, we’ll take credit for the chemicals in those. Oh, if you are storing them on heavy duty plastic shelves. That’s on us as well.

Step into the mud room. Washer & dryer? Laundry detergent? Stain removal? Ditto ditto and ditto.

Then go into your comfortable air conditioned home. The A/C? Not possible without us. The dyes in your carpets, the paint on your walls, your refrigerator, kitchen counters, the list goes on and on and on. Virtually 100% of your life is affected by and made more beneficial by the petrochemical industry.

We find it rich when a limousine liberal complains about the gulf coast, all the while living in a life enriched by the great men and women that work here faithfully. We can chuckle at the nonsense about the sprawl of housing development, knowing how loudly they would howl if these companies disappeared. We look on in pity and grace when their relatives come in for life-saving care, never reminding them of how they are so adept at speaking out of both sides of their mouth.

The bottom line? Have mistakes been made in urban planning? No doubt. But this is one of the most vital and necessary regions in the world. Before you speak out to criticize,  please take a moment and consider how every minute of your life is dependent on those who live in the development areas you are criticizing.

Walk a mile in our shoes, then thank us for them.

God Bless the Bubba Brigade

There’s nothing like pulling into a Waffle House at 4 a.m. to see the parking lot full of jacked up 4×4’s, their drivers inside filling up on coffee, along with scattered, covered, chunked and maybe a side of waffle with that plate of bacon. That’s the Bubba Brigade preparing to go “muddin'” on their way to deer stands or duck blinds deep in the swamplands.

Texas is absolutely full of Bubbas like this, and God bless’em.

Because if you’re one of them National Guard people who have to get up, put on cammo (with sleeves), shave, and keep your hair short, one day you might need to call on the Bubba Brigade to get you out of a tight spot.

And that’s exactly what happened in flood-ravaged Houston. The tweet reads “Redneck Army saves National Guard.” But really, it’s the Bubba Brigade (my wife’s term) in full, glorious display.

But these were not just your average jacked up 4×4’s. They were real monster trucks. Here’s what happened.

The monster trucks were driving through northwest Houston’s Copperfield neighborhood when a resident, Josh James, informed them that the Guard had a truck stuck underwater in an apartment complex parking lot.

From ABC News:

James, a 26-year-old mechanic at Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport, said he enlisted the help of his friends at the Dallas-based dirt racetrack Rednecks with Paychecks for the five monster trucks being used in the rescue missions, which stand 10 feet off the ground.

The group posted this video on Facebook:

The Rednecks with Paychecks, aka Bubba Brigade, has now headed to areas like Port Arthur and Beaumont, where folks are still struggling with massive flooding.

God love’em, and if you see them at the Waffle House, pay for their meal (or donate to their GoFundMe page).

Sociopath Sociology professor’s social media blunder

An ill-advised tweet cost the job and may have destroyed the career of former University of Tampa Associate Sociology professor Ken Story, after he posted this very provocative message on Twitter last Sunday night:

I don’t believe in instant Karma but this kinda feels like it for Texas. Hopefully this will help them realize the GOP doesn’t care about them.

Perhaps today Mr. Story has a different opinion about karma, because the consequences of his thoughtless and absurd tweet have been swift and severe. The University of Tampa no longer employs him as a college professor.

In an interview with news outlet WFTS, University of Tampa student Melissa Paradise said, “It is free speech and he does have the right to say that, except he is a representative of this institution. And for a professor, someone who is shaping and molding young minds—I’m not sure that is the sort of professor I want shaping and molding young minds. I think he owes an apology.”

Former professor Story issued an apology, but it was too little, too late. He wrote,

I apologize for the tweets. My intention was never to offend anyone. This was a series of tweets taken out of context. I was referring to the GOP denial of climate change science and push to decrease funds from agencies that can help in a time like this. I hope all affected by the storm are safe and recover quickly. I also hope this helps the GOP realize the need to support climate change research and put in place better funding for agencies like NOAA and FEMA.

How exactly could his expressed wishes that people who voted for Donald Trump should suffer (and possibly die) be taken out of context? What made a sociology professor so sure about “climate change” that he would risk expressing such inflammatory opinions on social media?

Kudos to University of Tampa President Ronald Vaughn listening to his students, and for his swift and decisive action to terminate Professor Story’s employment.

College students with “skulls full of mush”, as Rush Limbaugh might say, don’t need their young and impressionable minds filled with such vitriol and hateful thoughts.

Even if the tweet was meant to be a joke, it was spectacularly unfunny.

Professor Story’s choice of words was also quite disturbing. Words like denier are charged and polarizing, an implied slur. The purpose of attending college is to further one’s education, not to receive an indoctrination into liberal groupthink.

A Holocaust denier believes Hitler and the Nazis did not murder six million Jews in concentration camps. A science denier is typically anyone who questions Darwinian natural selection as the best explanation for the origin of species. And now the term climate denier is used to belittle the opinions of anyone who dares question the “scientific consensus” regarding abrupt climate change. Clearly, the word denier has a very negative connotation, no matter the application.

The use of such inflammatory language is nothing more than a rather shameless attempt to marginalize the opinions of one’s opponent in debate, and demonize them. One might even reasonably assume that Professor Story was rather stupidly suggesting that global warming caused the hurricane, with no evidence to support such a claim.

Then again, liberals sometimes can have great difficulty applying logic and reason in the real world, and to real life.

While it may seem harsh that a college professor might lose his job for exercising his First Amendment right of free speech, don’t forget that the speaker is not fully protected from suffering consequences of his or her speech.

Remember that Brendan Eich, former president and founder of Mozilla Corporation, was forced out of his job because he had once made a $1,000 contribution to a campaign opposed to same-sex marriage, and six years later, social justice warriors discovered the confidential donation and engaged in a campaign that ultimately resulted in Eich’s forced resignation. Even though Brendan Eich had never done nothing publicly to draw attention to the fact he opposed same-sex marriage, radical activists managed to succeed in their effort to destroy his career.

Professor Story should count his blessings.

No matter how bad the temporary loss of income may hurt, at least he didn’t completely lose his mind and his freedom like Diablo Valley College Philosophy Professor Eric Clanton, who was arrested for assault with a deadly weapon after his disgusting attack on a Trump supporter with a metal bike lock. Quite ironically, one of the courses Professor Clanton will no longer be teaching was titled “Introduction to Ethics.”

If anyone is wondering what is wrong with education in America today, remember that these people allegedly were our intellectual elites, employed as educators. Is this the best and brightest that academia has to offer? I’m pretty sure the true answer to that rhetorical question is “no” — at least, I sincerely hope that’s the right answer. Otherwise, God help us all.

Also remember that an educator’s job is to educate, not to indoctrinate. Everyone may well be entitled to have their personal opinions, but sometimes it might not be such a great idea to share those opinions with the rest of the world.

For every action, there is usually an equal and opposite reaction.