Christie: Trump, fans have lost sight of Kaepernick’s real NFL protest

Most Americans have lost sight of why former San Francisco 49ers’ Colin Kaepernick (right) decided to kneel during the national anthem before NFL games. (AP Photo/Mike McCarn)

Arguably, the most disappointing thing about the amped-up debate over National Football League players taking a knee during the national anthem is the subject of the debate.

Thousands of American citizens, and not just NFL fans, are taking the time to let it be known that they are offended by players disrespecting the anthem and the nation’s flag by not standing when the anthem is played ahead of a game.

Players and those who support them are being castigated as unpatriotic and disrespectful to our U.S. military that defends the very freedom of speech they are exercising. And, yes, I know the last part sounds hypocritical.

But more importantly, patriotism had nothing to do with the original intent of former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s reason for at first sitting on the bench, and later kneeling during the “Star Spangled Banner.”

To be sure, many of the high school, college and NFL players who are taking a knee during the anthem are doing so mainly in support of Kaepernick, not to highlight the issue of race. For NFL players, in particular, last Sunday’s broad defiance had more to do with defending themselves — and the league — from President Donald Trump than calling attention to racial injustice.

RELATED: Trump continues railing against protesting NFL, NBA players

But the president’s comments and tweets fired up the feelings of many Americans who’ve regarded Kaepernick’s protests as an increasingly annoying distraction.

That was reflected in the Post’s Letters to the Editor on Thursday. For example:

Unpatriotic players can count me out

The unpatriotic behavior of football players who have been exposed to brain trauma playing the game is understandable. Condoning this behavior by Miami Dolphins team owner Stephen Ross is not.

This pathetic patronage to players will only accelerate the already declining viewership of NFL fans. I am proud to count myself as a patriotic former fan.

CHARLES LYDAY, BOCA RATON

Lest we forget, however, Kaepernick declined to stand during the anthem last NFL season to draw attention to our nation’s intractable issue of racial injustice. He acted when there seemed to be a rash of shootings (some fatal) of unarmed black men by law enforcement officers around the country.

You may remember that we had one such tragedy right here in Palm Beach County involving former Palm Beach Gardens police officer Nouman Raja, and a Delray Housing Department employee and part-time drummer named Corey Jones. The 31-year-old Jones is dead after Raja pumped six bullets into him. Raja is now headed to trial on, among other things, attempted first-degree murder charges.

You may remember also, at the time, that a number of law enforcement officers involved in these shootings were either not being prosecuted or not being convicted.

Kaepernick, riding a wave of popularity after taking the 49ers to the Super Bowl, was frustrated by this perceived injustice and the lack of discussion in our communities that could help bring an end to it all.

Sure, many Americans know racism and racial inequality exist in this country, but talking about it is a whole other issue. It’s either not their problem because they’re not racist, or black people need to stop complaining and appreciate the fact they live in a great country.

To bring attention to this lack of will to talk about race, Kaepernick refused to stand during the national anthem for a country that would allow any of its citizens to be treated this way. He believed, strongly, that we needed to talk about it.

Was it the best venue for a protest? That’s certainly debatable.

But that shouldn’t be the crux of the debate. From Kaepernick’s standpoint, what good would another press conference do? Who would listen? Wouldn’t most folks be tempted to write him off as just another privileged, million-dollar black athlete who lives better than 90 percent of the people in this country? So who would care?

Because he chose this venue and the national anthem, however, rather than seize on the difficult issue of racial inequality, detractors took the opportunity to wrap themselves in the flag and patriotism.

When President Donald Trump went on his rant at an Alabama rally last week saying “get that son of a b—- off the field” if an NFL player kneels during the anthem, Kaepernick’s concern about racial injustice never passed the president’s lips. From Trump, it was all about disrespecting the flag and our troops. (Yes, this coming from a man who sought, and got five waivers to avoid serving during the Vietnam War.)

U.S. Rep. Brian Mast also weighed in on Facebook criticizing NFL players who kneel in a show of solidarity for Kaepernick. Mast, a Stuart Republican, lost both of his legs while serving in the U.S. Army in Afghanistan. Again, no mention of racial injustice.

RELATED: Rep. Brian Mast: NFL anthem kneelers ‘should already be gone’

I have a sister who is a Marine Corps veteran. I have a brother who is an Army veteran.

I have three uncles who are Army vets; two of them wounded. I also have two uncles who are Navy vets, and a father who is a 20-year Air Force vet. All were poor black kids from the wrong side of the tracks in Stuart, Fla., who served their country honorably during the Vietnam War.

And I have numerous other relatives who have served, or are still serving in different branches of our military.

I don’t know one that agrees with Mast and Trump.

Maybe because they haven’t lost sight of what Kaepernick’s protest was really about.

Goodman: Hurricane Irma: For us, catastrophe averted. But still not much fun.

Downed trees at the beach at Delray Beach after Hurricane Irma, Sept. 11, 2017 (Palm Beach Post / Howard Goodman)

Ah, the sound of chainsaws in the morning.

Sure beats the whistle of high-speed winds all night.

We awoke this morning to a house that still had power. Which told us right away that 1) we were extraordinarily lucky, and 2) our Hurricane Irma experience was a lot less than we had braced ourselves for.

The difference was that westward shift, which we began hearing about on Saturday morning if my blur of a memory has it right. Instead of blasting her way up the east coast of Florida — which would have chewed up Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach — Irma didn’t turn north until she put Marco Island, Naples and Tampa Bay in her sights.

Instead of the direct hit we’d feared, we got pelted by outer bands of the hurricane. A lot of wind. A lot of rain. Now and then a tornado warning or an alert of high winds coming, possibly 80 or 90 mph.

It was a long weekend of staying in the house and watching TV as long as we could, thankful that WPTV-NewsChannel 5 weatherman Steve Weagle knows so much and explains so calmly.

We tried to block out the wind sounds. Scurried to our safe room — a bathroom outfitted with flashlights and snacks — when Weagle said destructive winds were heading just our way.

Amazingly, this was going on while the eye of this storm was around Naples — about 150 miles away. I’m still trying to absorb the immensity of this thing. To think that the same storm brought flooding to Miami, to Naples, to Jacksonville…

Our refuge was west of Boynton Beach, around the area of Lyons and Hypoluxo Roads. As we took a look around in our car this morning, it was obvious that Irma had treated us much better than Wilma or Jeanne. We saw downed limbs and drove through intersections missing stoplights — but there were far more trees that looked unhurt, many stoplights were working, and Publix, Winn Dixie and Walgreens stores were open and attracting customers.

We drove east to Federal Highway and then south through Boynton to downtown Delray Beach, and saw that Ellie’s 1950s Diner had lost part of her marquee. Here, power outages looked almost universal. There was a long line of cars queued up on Federal, south of Woolbright Road, but they weren’t waiting for gas. It was a McDonald’s, hot food and coffee being the important thing if you were emerging from a house that hadn’t had power for hours.

But very few roofs appeared damaged. It looked like we won’t be seeing blue tarps all over this part of the county, as we did for weeks after the 2004 and 2005 hurricanes.

Ellen and I checked our condo, which is in Hypoluxo, near the Intracoastal Waterway. We had abandoned it on Friday, spooked by the dire storm surge warnings, not sure when we’d be able to get back in. Somehow… it was perfectly fine. The building even had electricity; I couldn’t believe it. A neighbor said power had stayed on all through the storm, went out at 8 this morning, then returned around 10.

Another neighbor, who lives closer to the water, had ridden out the hurricane in his apartment to keep his eye on storm surge. He said the Intracoastal had seeped over the sea wall but gone no further.

The storm was flukey. A neighbor who lives in an opposite building had lost power early on Sunday, he thought. Or maybe Saturday. It was hard to sort everything out. At the construction site next door on our other side, there was evidence that a tornado had hit; some small, newly planted trees were lying on the ground in opposite directions from each other. Coulda been us.

We went to Ellen’s parents’ home, atop a tall condo building on Delray’s barrier island. Police were allowing only residents across the bridge, but Ellen had her father’s ID and the cop let us through. There was no electricity and, as throughout Delray, no one can use toilets or bath tubs; the city’s sewage pumping stations are without power.

Her parents, who are in their 90s and unable to take of themselves, are with their caregiver in central Florida. It’s a good thing we checked their place. The refrigerator and freezer were full of food, left behind during a frenzied evacuation. The food was starting to stink. We threw it all out.

More than 530,000 customers in Palm Beach County were lacking power at midday today — maybe 1 million people. That’s a lot of disruption. For those who aren’t reconnected for days, it will be miserable. Lots of folks in Palm Beach County are going to need help. We’ve all got to be good neighbors to each other.

Hurricane Irma: Stress leading to questions about who should be allowed in shelters

Lines form outside of Palm Beach Central high school as people wait for the storm shelter open for evacuees from Hurricane Irma in Wellington. (Allen Eyestone / The Palm Beach Post)

Things are getting tense out there. Winds are picking up, rain bands are coming through and tornado warnings are buzzing our smartphones.

And being forced to sit in a closed-in space with hundreds of folks you don’t know is not exactly ideal.

As Palm Beach County emergency management officials quickly decided how many shelters they would need, and where to care for some 16,000 Hurricane Irma refugees, local residents were making a critical call of their own.

Should I stay and shelter-in-place, or should I go to one the 13 public shelters being opened and run by hurricane relief officials?

To be sure, it was a difficult question for many of the thousands that are now in the shelters. Just as it was deciding on whether to evacuate the area, despite not being in a mandatory evacuation zone.

But such decisions are bound to produce some ill feelings. The stress of the storm is already high, and clashes over bottled water and gas lines was inevitable.

RELATED LINK: Hurricane Irma: Updates from shelters around the county; some residents are leaving

Not surprisingly, some of that stress is also spilling over into the hurricane shelters, as well.

As one Post reader put it in an email late Saturday afternoon:

Selfish.

It is hard to believe people who live in a gated community, whose homes have concrete and stucco walls, take themselves to a shelter when they are not in a evacuation zone because they are afraid

Many people were afraid, and with good reason. They may have been living in a mobile home, unstable home or on the water. Afraid is not a reason, but safety is.A couple I am thinking of did this just recently. They not only live in a fortress{ concrete stucco home) but also have hurricane shutters and a generator. Meanwhile, people are outside the shelters, sleeping in their cars unable to get in.The staff checking people in should tell people like this, who do not live in a evaculation zone to go to their safe home and let those who need shelter have it.

Adrienne Finer-Cohen, Lake Worth, Fl

While that can sound a bit harsh, she is far from the only once who shares that feeling right now.

But what do you think?

Should folks who have well-built concrete homes that are not in a flood-prone evacuation zone be allowed to take up much-needed space in a hurricane shelter, just because they are afraid?

Let me know what you think in the Comments section.

Hurricane Irma: This storm is really testing Floridians’ patience

Cars back up into Belvedere Road and Parker Avenue as drivers line up for gas at the Citgo Station in West Palm Beach Wednesday morning. (Lannis Waters / The Palm Beach Post)

“What’s up, Irma?”

That’s the question that most — nay, every — Palm Beach County resident must be asking after awakening to news that the “monster” tropical storm is now expected to side-step to the West coast.

For six days, we’ve been buying every drop of bottled water in sight.

For six days, we’ve waited in hours-long, miles-long lines to pay 50 cents more per gallon for gasoline. (And mind you, I’ve been known to skip stations for a two-cent difference.)

For six days, we’ve been putting up metal and plywood shutters, and moving all kinds of grimy outdoor items into our already crowded garages. (Yep; sorry Allstate, the cars are on their own.)

For six days, we’ve rightly heeded the pleas of our governor and local emergency officials, and the Post’s Kimberly Miller to evacuate flood-prone areas. (In fact, we now know that a massive, potentially “catastrophic” storm like you will cause major evacuation problems on our roadways.)

RELATED LINK: Post coverage of Hurricane Irma; updates

Those of us who’ve decided to shelter-in-place are hunkered down. We’re ready for you, Irma. But you’re really testing our patience here.

You were supposed to begin knocking on our door today, but no. You’ve decided — with a wink and nod — to make us wait another day.

That’s another day of finding games and other entertainment to keep the kids occupied. By the way, what do you do when they’ve reached the highest level of Destiny 2, Resident Evil or Madden ’18? Will a game of Monopoly really be enough?

The kids are literally asking, “Is it here yet? Is it here yet?… ”

“No! … She’ll be here to tomorrow!”

That’s another day of trying to eat all of the perishable food in the refrigerator so that those ribs we barbecued over the Labor Day weekend don’t eventually go bad. And that, of course, will leave us with only high-calorie snacks. (You are really bad for diets, Irma.)

It goes without saying, but that’s also another day of exploring the liquor cabinet to … ahem, “catalogue” all of the rums we’ve collected over the years. (It is likely the collection will have to be replenished.)

DORAL, Fla. — Florida Gov. Rick Scott gives an update to the media regarding Hurricane Irma. It was still too early to know where the direct impact of the hurricane would take place but the state of Florida was in the area of possible landfall. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

We’ve been teased before, of course.

Just last year, Irma’s little brother Matthew laid waste to Haiti as a Category 5, and promised a direct hit on Palm Beach County, leading to warnings from Gov. Rick Scott: “This storm will kill you!”

Hurricane Matthew made landfall to the north of us as a Category 1. More folks were probably injured taking down shutters than from the storm’s wind and rain.

But we know better than to ignore the warnings, no matter what.

There is still a great deal of danger from hurricane-, and even tropical storm-force winds likely hitting Palm Beach County.

RELATED LINK: PBC officials: Don’t be lulled into complacency by Irma’s western turn

So we pay close attention to the storm updates. We tune in to the governor’s regular briefings as he traverses the state coordinating with local officials, and making sure that Floridians don’t get complacent.

We won’t.

We’re waiting, Irma. But you’re testing our patience.

Hurricane Irma: Waiting for ‘Irmageddon’

We’ve prepared for hurricanes before, but none of them felt like this.

With Frances, Jeanne and Wilma, we expected winds that shake the roof and flatten trees. Rain that pelts sideways. Those were punishing enough.

This time, the forecasts predict a something new: devastating storm surge. And for my wife and me, who have lived in South Florida since 2000, and enjoy the view of the Intracoastal Waterway from our condo, this is nothing to fool with.

A sign at Harry’s Banana Farm bar in Lake Worth.  (Bruce R. Bennett / The Palm Beach Post)

This mother of all storms looks to be giving a new meaning to “Mother” Nature. It looks as fierce as an Andrew, as huge as Katrina and roaring to swallow up the whole of the Florida peninsula and spit it out as a chewed-up ruin.

Irmageddon, my friend Jon calls it.

Today, Ellen and I have spent hours packing clothes, medicines, laptops, bottled water, flashlights and plenty of food to bring to the house of a friend  who lives 10 miles inland and who generously invited us in.  Our house, a short distance from the ocean, is in a voluntary evacuation zone, and we didn’t hesitate to take the hint.

Our first shelter of choice — the Palm Beach Post building, a fortress of an office building constructed post-Andrew to withstand a Category 3 — fell through when the parent corporation and its risk managers decided the whole place had to be vacated as of Saturday morning. So this hurricane, unlike any other, is driving the Post from its home. Reporters and editors will work remotely.

We’re far from the only ones who have had to readjust plans — or move to firmer shelter– because this storm exceeds all previous experience in its scope and potential for savagery.

Luckily, we had a friend ready to share her house.

As we scrambled this morning to leave our fifth-floor condo, it dawned on Ellen that we might not be back home as soon as the hurricane passes. This is that different a storm. The surge they’re talking about — would it flood our parking lot? The first floor apartments? Would it compromise our building? Make it unsafe to enter?

We recalled a friend in New Orleans who fled Hurricane Katrina with only a few things flung into the car’s back seat — and couldn’t get back into her house for three months.

That might be us. And so we packed with a pang of melancholy: this could be the last time we see our house until….when?

It’s a hot day, somewhat breezy. As we drove to our place of shelter, local traffic was thinner than normal, but the streets didn’t feel empty. For all the thousands who have fled, there are still a lot of people here in this metro area of 6 million.

Lots of buildings are boarded up. Lots of cars still lining up for gas at the few stations with supplies.

Ellen and I are settling as I write, in a shuttered-up suburban house west of Boynton Beach with friend Agneta, a cooler of beer, a rack of wine and a bottle of good whiskey.

The TV is on and we’re watching the interviews with public officials and storm refugees, the meteorologists’ breathless explanations of the maps.

Nothing to do now but wait.

Hurricane Irma: Scott says Florida needs 17,000 volunteers for relief effort

DORAL, Fla — Florida Governor Rick Scott gives an update to the media regarding Hurricane Irma. It’s still too early to know where the direct impact of the hurricane will take place but the state of Florida is in the area of possible landfall. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Florida Gov. Rick Scott continued his plea today for more volunteers in preparation for, and in aftermath of Hurricane Irma.

“We’ve had 6,800 volunteers sign up in the past 24 hours,” Scott said during a 10 a.m. televised update from an emergency operations center in Hialeah. He said most of those have been government employees.

“That’s great, but we need more,” he added. “We going to need 17,000 volunteers statewide.”

Even that may not be enough.

Hurricane Irma is still a Category 5 storm packing winds of 175 mph, the most powerful to hit the Atlantic Ocean outside of the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico. And it is expected to be the most powerful to make landfall in Florida since Hurricane Andrew 25 years go.

Irma is also a large storm that, if it follows a track of heading down the center of the state, has the potential to cause up to half-a-trillion dollars in damage and leave thousands of Florida resident without homes.

RELATED LINK: Hurricane Irma: Plywood lines, Gov. visit ahead of storm; Here’s the latest

“The storm is bigger, stronger and faster than Hurricane Andrew,” said Scott, who is scheduled to visit the Palm Beach County Emergency Operations Center today and give a noon briefing. “We have to understand that this is serious and not take chances.”

Scott said the non-profit Volunteer Florida has 43 teams on stand-by and the American Red Cross is arriving with 1,000 volunteers and several tractor trailers. A Red Cross disaster relief operation is setting up in Orlando, and the Salvation Army and Florida Baptist Convention have kitchens on stand-by to distribute food.

But with the prospect of widespread damage from a direct hit from Hurricane Irma — and Houston’s devastation from Hurricane Harvey still fresh in Floridians’ minds — Scott has been sounding the volunteer alarm for days.

 

Scott’s pleas are made necessary because relief resources are stretched thin in the wake of Harvey. That goes for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), as well.

DORAL, Fla — (L-R), Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL), Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Gov. Rick Scott discuss the need to FEMa aid with the media about Hurricane Irma. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

On Wednesday, Florida Senators Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio reminded that FEMA is scheduled to run out of money on Friday. The agency is hoping to get a $7.5 billion infusion just to deal with Harvey alone; but Nelson and Rubio are pushing their Senate colleagues to add more for Florida to the disaster relief bill because “even with the Harvey supplemental aid package, FEMA is likely to run out of funds before the end of September.”

And Nelson took the Senate floor today to urge the immediate passage of a $15 billion disaster aid package needed to fund FEMA past Friday.

“I urge the Senate, I implore the Senate, I beg the Senate to pass this package,” Nelson said on the Senate floor. “FEMA is stretched, and, of all things, FEMA runs out of money unless we act by tomorrow.”

“I left Florida in the middle of the night to come back to make sure that it has my stamp of imprimatur on this legislation,” he continued, “And I’m very glad that the majority leader has agreed to double the amount – basically $7.5 billion, for FEMA and another $7.5 billion for CDBG, Community Development Block Grants, both of which would be for natural disasters.”

“I have emailed yesterday to the administrator of FEMA, Brock Long,” Nelson added, “People are trying to get out, but they’re stuck on the roads, and now they’re running out of gasoline … An urgent plea that I made yesterday that I would make to FEMA again, that we get gasoline into the state of Florida.”

Scott has already deployed 1,000 members of the Florida National Guard to begin logistical and planning work ahead of Irma’s landfall. The governor mobilized another 3,000 this morning. The National Guard also has 1,000 high-water vehicles, 17 boats, 13 helicopters and more than 700 generators on stand-by. More can be brought in from other states, if necessary.

However, Scott insists that people who can help will be needed for everything from food and water distribution to checking on residents to clean up to helping with the disabled in shelters and more.

He urged folks to visit www.volunteerflorida.org to sign up for volunteering opportunities.

“It’s not too late,” Scott said. “We know that volunteers can make a huge difference.”

Goodman: With DACA decision, Trump sells out American Dream to pander to his base

Attorney General Jeff Sessions announces “wind down” of a program protecting hundreds of thousands of young immigrants who were brought into the country illegally as children, (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Signaling sympathies to white supremacists in Charlottesville. Pardoning Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio. And now ending the DACA program.

In the space of a few weeks, President Donald Trump has turned the federal government — for at least 50 years the protector of civil rights for vulnerable, maligned minorities — into an instrument for the very opposite.

Today’s announcement that he is rescinding the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which has offered protections for nearly 800,000 young immigrants who were brought here as children with no intent of their own — including nearly 40,000 in Florida — is arguably the worst.

As Jennifer Rubin, the conservative writer of the Washington Post’s Right Turn blog put it:

Of all the actions Trump has taken, none has been as cruel, thoughtless or divisive as deporting hundreds of thousands of young people who’ve done nothing but go to school, work hard and present themselves to the government.

As if he didn’t have the nerve to face the public himself, Trump sent his attorney general, the former senator with the past of racist accusations against him, Jefferson Beauregard Sessions 3rd, to announce the decision. Sessions’ statement was filled with claptrap about restoring the rule of law and constitutional order after President Barack Obama’s “overreach” in signing the program into existence by executive order.

Trump’s DACA cancellation doesn’t get fully implemented for six months, supposedly to give Congress time to come up with a legislative solution: a way for Dreamers to earn their right to stay here as legal citizens. Fat chance of that. It was because Congress failed so many times to grapple with the complications of illegal immigration that Obama finally decided to act: If he couldn’t solve every issue, at least he could help the most innocent of the people caught between two worlds.

Diego Rios, 23, of Rockville, Md., rallies in support of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, known as DACA, outside of the White House on Tuesday. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

About 70 percent of voters in most polls, Republicans and Democrats, back the DACA program, believing that Dreamers deserve sympathy and support. And why not? They are doing everything we expect of citizens. Ninety-one percent of Dreamers are working. They are projected to contribute $460.3 billion to the U.S. gross domestic product over the next decade — that is, if they aren’t mindlessly kicked out of the country.

Even Trump has said, “We love the Dreamers…We think the Dreamers are terrific.”

But Trump loves the crowds at his rallies even more. Increasingly, he is defining himself as the president of his base  — a base burning with white grievance — not president of the United States.

A real president of the United States would know in his soul that we’re a nation based on an essential bedrock of inclusion. It’s in our motto: E pluribus unum.

Out of many, one.

Goodman: For anyone wondering if journalism has merit, look at Houston

Journalism is a highly competitive game, but my guess is that most of us who work in newspapers — or who ever have worked in newspapers — are damn proud to see the staff of the Houston Chronicle do such an outstanding job of delivering the news of the disaster that has engulfed their city.

The entire staff of about 200 journalists has been working since Sunday morning in the most dire conditions — some unable to leave their houses, all surely burdened with worries about their homes, families, loved ones — to deliver clear, accurate reports on the flooding, rescues, deaths, and potential further perils to their fellow Houstonians and the outside world. For thousands of displaced people, the arrival of the Chronicle every day amid so much chaos must feel like a miracle. And a truly welcome source of extremely important information.

Watching that staff’s work from here is especially inspiring at this time when journalism itself is under attack from no less than the president of the United States.

Floodwaters from the Addicks Reservoir inundate a Houston neighborhood on Wednesday. (Brett Coomer/Houston Chronicle via AP)

“Honestly, these are really, really dishonest people,” Donald Trump seethed of the news media at his recent rally in Phoenix. “And they are bad people. And I really think they don’t like our country. I really believe that.”

Yes, they detest their country so much that scores of journalists in Houston, young and old, responded to their city’s unimaginable inundation by trudging into the waters; going without food, sleep or showers; and sweating every last detail to ensure the accuracy of their reports.

The Poynter Institute’s Kristen Hare has written a rich account.

As thousands of people leave their homes and neighborhoods to flee massive flooding in Houston, journalists at the Houston Chronicle are spread out across the sprawling metro covering the story.

“Nobody covers hurricanes at this paper full-time, and now everyone is covering hurricanes at this paper full-time,” said Managing Editor Vernon Loeb.

All hands on deck is a cliche, he added.

“This is all hands on deck.”…

On Sunday at 10:24 p.m., investigative reporter Susan Carroll wrote a note on Facebook that captured what went into covering the floods.

Mary Colson wipes away tears at the George R. Brown Convention Center where nearly 10,000 people are taking shelter. “I just don’t know where I’m going to go,” Colson said. “I’m just so uncertain.” ( Michael Ciaglo/Houston Chronicle via AP)

Vernon Loeb ran a couple miles from his house to the newsroom this morning during the flood because the roads were impassable. He honestly didn’t seem to think twice about it. Lindsay Ellis walked a few miles in the storm, too. Al Lewis climbed over a flooded freeway ramp and waded through waist-high water while doing Facebook Live. Lomi Laura was stranded in her car at one point but still filed great copy. StJohn Barned-Smith’s car drowned, but luckily he’s OK and kept working. Emily Foxhall spent the night in a shelter and her day on a boat. Mike Morris waded through flooded houses in his neighborhood while Matt Dempsey rode his bike through Pearland snapping photos. Shelby Webb spent all of last night in the newsroom. I don’t think she slept at all. John D. Harden has been at the emergency command center literary for days. Keri Blakinger and Jacob Carpenter filed dispatches from down south and along the banks of swelling rivers. Rebecca Elliott, Greg Murago and Nancy Sarnoff talked to some of the people hit the hardest and left homeless, including a barefoot woman with a baby and no formula. Dug Begley filed a couple thousand words, raided the cafeteria and drove us safely to a hotel by the newsroom. Gabrielle Banks called a man back to double check the spelling of his dog’s name (thanks again!). And Mark Collette finally made it home to Meyerland on a jet ski, wearing another man’s shorts. We left Lydia DePillis, Dianna Hunt and Mike Tolson and many more in the newsroom tonight — along with Vernon, of course. Thanks, guys.

It so happens that I worked with Vernon Loeb for years at the Philadelphia Inquirer, and I’m a big fan of his talent. Over the years, I’ve been constantly bowled over by his passion and an energy level that borders on the superhuman.

In the article, he says this to Hare, perfectly capturing why all those people were working so hard:

“It’s like, ‘this is why we’re journalists,'” [Loeb] said. … “When it happens, this is why we’re here. This is the antidote to people saying reporters are evil and hate America. No, reporters aren’t evil and they don’t hate America. They feel an incredibly strong sense of obligation and responsibility and a calling to go out there and cover stories like this.”

Vernon elaborated on his Facebook page:

People walk along West Port Arthur Road in Beaumont, Texas toward a flooded neighborhood where their family members live after Tropical Storm Harvey on Wednesday. (Jay Janner/Austin American-Statesman via AP)

This is what we do, and the Houston Chronicle is how the people of Houston know. I really hate the #fakenews hashtag because it’s a bogus concept. I’ve been doing this for a long time at The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times and now the Houston Chronicle, and I’ve never known a single colleague — not one, ever — to publish anything they thought was fake. It was, and is, grounds for immediate dismissal. What they really do is go out and report honestly and fearlessly, with skill and humility. They tell people’s stories with great care. They hold officials accountable fairly and accurately, and credit them for good performance. And they feel a tremendous responsibility for getting at the whole truth, which is always elusive. It’s a calling and we take it seriously. I know I’m biased, but I think the Houston Chronicle is the most important institution in the city.

This isn’t the first time that a big city’s newspaper has become a lifeline in an extreme emergency, often the only reliable means of accurate information when power goes out and radios and TVs are made useless. The Miami Herald is still remembered for its tenacity and heart after 1992’s Hurricane Andrew. The New Orleans Times-Picayune served miraculously after Hurricane Katrina in 2005, at a time when newspapers were being pummeled by economic and technological forces and bleeding red ink, their impending death being predicted almost daily.

In Houston, it’s not just the Chronicle that’s doing extraordinary work. Our sister Cox Media newspaper, the Austin American Statesman, is hard at it. TV reporters have rescued people from cars and trucks rapidly filling with water. Such as this local reporter, Brandi Smith, who stayed on the air after her CBS affiliate station was forced to evacuate:

When a catastrophe of this magnitude forces our colleagues to rise to new heights, others of us in the profession take a vicarious pride in the work they do. That’s why a group of journalists at The Washington Post — former Houstonians — arranged for a shipment of 20 dozen donuts to be sent to the Chronicle newsroom Thursday. It was a gesture of love.

As one of those Post reporters, David Farenthold, himself a formidable journalist, wrote to Loeb, telling him to expect the delivery:

What your staff has done over the last week – during the most trying time in our hometown’s history — has been nothing short of astounding. This is a small gesture of admiration, appreciation and awe. Keep it up!

Knowing Loeb, he and his staff are just getting started.

The Nosh Update, 3:20 p.m.:

As if to prove the point that journalists everywhere are taking pride in the Chronicle’s work,  investigative reporter Nancy Phillips of The Philadelphia Inquirer “on behalf of proud journalists everywhere” sent the Houston newsroom two dozen COLD Heinekens, 14 pizzas and two huge Caesar salads. The staff has also received fajitas from the Dallas Morning News and “an incredible care package” from the Orlando Sentinel, according to Vernon Loeb.