Florida areas ravaged by Hurricane Michael are being compared to the worst damage from Katrina, war zones
Hurricane Michael, now a tropical storm threatening flash flooding in Virginia and North Carolina plus tornadoes farther south, was not oversold. If anything, hurricane forecasters and locals were taken by surprise at the speed with which Michael exploded into a Category 4 hurricane — at one point it was just 1 mph below Category 5 status — and its ability to maintain hurricane strength as it rolled over the Florida Panhandle and into Georgia.
"There is simply no precedent for a storm this strong striking this part of Florida," says Dennis Mersereau at Popular Science. It's among the four most powerful hurricanes to hit the U.S.
At least six people were killed in the storm, and search-and-rescue teams are checking the wreckage for survivors. The small Florida town Mexico Beach, where Michael made landfall, was almost completely obliterated. Panama City and Springfield are full of roofless buildings and twisted metal. Tyndall Air Force Base, near Panama City, is closed after suffering "catastrophic" damage in the winds and storm surge. Dan Simon, a first responder from Louisiana, told CBS News on Thursday that what Michael did to Mexico Beach "is what Katrina did to New Orleans, especially the Lower Ninth Ward."
"What we're standing in right now is what Katrina did to New Orleans, especially the Lower Ninth Ward," one rescue worker from Louisiana tells @OmarVillafranca https://t.co/sq8i7W8wsu pic.twitter.com/XOE7wlmRmY
— CBS Evening News (@CBSEveningNews) October 12, 2018
There was also lots of war imagery thrown about. "This one just looks like a bomb dropped," Clyde Cain, a search-and-rescue volunteer with the Louisiana Cajun Navy, told The Washington Post. Florida Department of Transportation worker Curtis Locus added that "everything along the coastline was devastated like a war zone." The area "was a community in the middle of the forest," he added. "Now the forest is gone, and so is the community." You get different views of the destruction in the reports from ABC News and NBC News below. Peter Weber
A Trump political appointee has been named to oversee investigations of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke
Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson has told his staff that Suzanne Israel Tufts, a political appointee at HUD, has been named acting inspector general of the Interior Department. The role of internal watchdog at federal agencies is traditionally nonpartisan, and the Interior Department's inspector general's office has several investigations ongoing into conduct by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, making the installation of a political appointee all the more unusual, The Washington Post reports.
That's not the only strange thing about Tufts' apparent appointment. The Interior Department's Office of Inspector General said it "has received no official communication about any leadership changes," and an Interior Department spokeswoman, Faith Vander Voort, referred questions to the White House, noting that the inspector general "is a presidentially appointed, Senate-confirmed position, which would be announced by the White House." The White House has not announced Tufts' nomination and did not respond to the Post's request for comment. A HUD spokesman said Tufts was on temporary loan to Interior, but Carson described her departure as permanent.
Tufts is a lawyer from Queens with no experience in government oversight; when she was hired at HUD, she replaced a career official who had objected to Carson's costly office makeover, the Post reports. The current acting Interior inspector general, Mary Kendall, is a longtime government lawyer who has served as deputy inspector general since 1999. She took over as acting inspector general in 2009; President Barack Obama nominated her to serve as inspector general but the Senate never voted on it.
Kendall's investigations of Zinke include a Montana land-investment deal involving the chairman of Halliburton and a foundation tied to Zinke and his wife, Lola; Lola Zinke's government travel with her husband; a casino project blocked after Zinke met with MGM Resorts International lobbyists; and whether the shrunken boundaries for Utah's Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument were drawn to benefit a Utah Republican state lawmaker. Peter Weber
Fox News pundit Tucker Carlson just "went on a podcast and explained how the real victim of our divided nation is his dining options," Stephen Colbert said, unsympathetically, on Tuesday's Late Show, playing the audio of Carlson complaining about people yelling obscenities at him when he goes out to eat. "Come on, somebody yelling 'f--- you!' doesn't ruin a meal. In fact, I think it wouldn't be Thanksgiving without it." But "good news, there's still one establishment Tucker frequents," Colbert said. "Naturally, I though it was Extremely White Castle, but I was wrong. Turns out, it's a restaurant that caters just to him." The Late Show has the commercial.
The Late Show also had a theory on what happened to a rabid raccoon that was terrorizing Washington. And you can watch that below. Peter Weber
"It's been a huge month for Melania Trump — she just returned from a trip to Africa, which was her first solo trip overseas," Stephen Colbert said on Tuesday's Late Show. "While she was on her first trip without the president, Melania sat down with ABC News to do something she never does with her husband: Talk for an hour." Several of her comments made headlines, including her explanation for that "I Really Don't Care Do U?" jacket and her indifference to her husband's alleged infidelities.
"But is she really still deeply in 'yes we are fine, yes' with her husband?" Colbert asked. "Here to tell us, in her first exclusive interview since her first exclusive interview," Melania Trump (or at least her Late Show stand-in, Laura Benanti). It is a little surprising that her pronunciation of "focus" made it past the CBS censors. The Late Show Melania Trump had a lot to say about love, marriage, being bullied, sexual assault, whether the press should pay attention to her clothes or her words, and the rationale behind her perennially misunderstood #BeDressed initiative. Watch below. Peter Weber
Rep. Beto O'Rourke (D-Texas) and President Trump don't agree on much politically, but O'Rourke said in a debate Tuesday night that the president had a point when it comes to his opponent Sen. Ted Cruz's (R-Texas) truthfulness. "Sen. Cruz is not going to be honest with you," O'Rourke said in the San Antonio debate, likely his last face-off against Cruz before the election. "He's dishonest. It's why the president called him Lyin' Ted, and it's why the nickname stuck. Because it's true."
O'Rourke, who's trying to unseat Cruz, is trouncing him in fundraising but trailing in the polls. Cruz characterized O'Rourke as too liberal for Texas on a number of issues, while O'Rourke said "Ted Cruz is for Ted Cruz" and "all talk and no action" when it comes to helping Texas. They sparred on border security and abortion rights, but largely agreed on trade, and both stressed the importance of civility — though Cruz snapped "Don't interrupt me, Jason," at one of the moderators when he tried to ask a followup question about the uncivil Brett Kavanaugh confirmation battle, CBS News notes.
When O'Rourke pointed to Cruz's 2013 government shutdown over ObamaCare, Cruz shot back that if you "want to talk about a shutdown," O'Rourke's efforts to investigate Trump would lead to "two years of a partisan circus and a witch hunt on the president." O'Rourke replied that it's "really interesting to hear you talk about a partisan circus after your last six years in the Senate."
Both candidates tried to end on a high note. "We're in desperate need right now of inspiration," O'Rourke said, adding that he's constantly inspired by the people of Texas. Cruz highlighted his policy differences with O'Rourke and portrayed himself as the actual candidate of hope. "Do we choose fear, or do we choose hope?" Cruz asked. "I believe in hope." Peter Weber
A CBS reporter tried to ask Jared Kushner about Saudi Arabia and Jamal Khashoggi. The Secret Service shut him down.
CBS News correspondent Errol Barnett found himself on the same New York–bound flight as President Trump's daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner — both White House employees — on Tuesday evening, and he took the opportunity to ask Kushner a question about Saudi Arabia and the presumed murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Or rather, he tried to ask that question. A Secret Service agent accompanying Kushner blocked Barnett's phone, according to a video of the incident he posted online, and when Barnett showed the agent his press credentials, he said: "I don't give a damn who you are, there's a time and place."
On the CBS Evening News, Barnett explained press-shy Kushner's role as Trump's main envoy to Saudi Arabia — the U.S. doesn't have an ambassador in Riyadh — and centerpiece to Trump's close ties to the Saudi rulers. "The Secret Service officer said to me there is a time and a place for these types of interviews. I have to make the point that it's unclear what time and place that would be to ask Jared Kushner questions."
Blocking a reporter from asking a government employee a question is apparently against Secret Service protocol. In a statement to Olivier Knox, president of the White House Correspondents' Association, the Secret Service said the incident is under review. Peter Weber
— Oblivier Knox (@OKnox) October 17, 2018
Within the first few moments of The Conners premiere Tuesday night, it was revealed how Roseanne Barr was written out of the show: Her character, Roseanne Conner, was dead.
The very-much-alive Barr didn't care for this twist, tweeting, "I AIN'T DEAD BITCHES!!!!" The original Roseanne aired on ABC from 1988 to 1997, and a revival was launched this spring. ABC canceled the show in May after Barr tweeted a message that likened former Obama administration official Valerie Jarrett to Planet of the Apes, but the network ordered a spin-off, The Conners, in mid-June, with everyone but Barr coming back.
Barr released a statement on Tuesday, written with her spiritual adviser Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, saying they wish the "very best for the cast and production crew," but "regret that ABC chose to cancel Roseanne by killing off the Roseanne Conner character. That it was done through an opioid overdose lent an unnecessary grim and morbid dimension to an otherwise happy family show." People loved Roseanne Conner "not in spite of her flaws, but because of them," they added. "The cancellation of Roseanne is an opportunity squandered due in equal parts to fear, hubris, and a refusal to forgive." Catherine Garcia
As of midnight Wednesday, it is legal to possess and use recreational marijuana in Canada.
Provinces and territories will set the parameters of where pot can be purchased and consumed in their boundaries, and the government has sent out mailers to households across Canada notifying them of the new cannabis laws. While adults will be able to purchase dried weed and cannabis oil from licensed producers and retailers, it will be illegal to possess more than 30 grams in public, grow more than four plants in a household, and buy from an unlicensed dealer.
The first legal purchase was made in St. John's, Newfoundland, and while the nationwide market is open, it's not going to be easy to buy in some places; in Ontario, for example, retail stores won't open until the spring, BBC News reports, although residents can order online. In British Columbia, there will just be one legal store open on Wednesday. Edibles will be available for purchase within the next year.
Marijuana possession became a crime in Canada in 1923, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has argued that laws criminalizing marijuana haven't done anything to curb use. Marijuana has been legal for medical use in the country since 2001. With this new law, Canada becomes the second country after Uruguay to make it legal to possess and use recreational marijuana. The government predicts it will earn $400 million in tax revenues from the sale of marijuana every year. Catherine Garcia