Flash floods and storm surges could continue in parts of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama while Tornado warnings remain in place across parts of Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida.
Ida Hits Louisana
Hurricane Ida was downgraded to a tropical storm on Monday but continues to pose a serious threat to much of the South after battering Louisana as a category 4 hurricane the day before.
Search and rescue crews are still assessing the damage and helping those in need. So far, one person has been confirmed dead after they were struck by a falling tree. Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) warned Monday that the death toll is expected to rise “considerably” as rescue efforts continue.
Videos and photos from southeastern parts of the state show destroyed homes, and mandatory evacuation orders were given in some parishes, as well as in parts of Mississippi.
Roadways are flooded, trees have fallen, and powerlines have been downed. The dangerous conditions have prompted officials to urge people to stay where they are and keep off the roads.
Meanwhile, in New Orleans, the system of levees, barriers, and pumps that were expanded after Hurricane Katrina appears to have passed their most dramatic test so far.
Sweeping Power Outages
The same, however, cannot be said for all of the city’s infrastructure. Ida has left virtually all of New Orleans without power, with the only power in the city coming from personal generators.
The utility company Entergy has said that all eight of the electric transmission lines that feed the city were knocked out, including one that fell into the Mississippi River.
As of Monday morning, over 1 million people were left without power in Louisana. Entergy warned that it could be days or even weeks before parts of New Orleans and the surrounding suburbs get power back.
The utility also said some customers may not get power back for three weeks, though 90% will get it restored sooner.
In other parts of the state, Jefferson Parish emergency management director Joe Valiente told NPR it will take at least six weeks for power to return to a large section of the coast.
“There are about 10 parishes that the electrical grids are completely collapsed and damaged, smashed, out — however you want to put it,” he said.
Southern U.S. Remains Alert as COVID Concerns Grow
Officials have warned that the damage will continue as Ida moves north, bringing dangerous weather conditions to much of the south.
While the storm has been downgraded, forecasters have said storm surges and flash flooding may continue today in parts of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama. Tornado warnings are also in place in parts of Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida.
The storm is expected to travel towards the Middle Tennessee Valley Monday night before moving through the Upper Ohio Valley by Wednesday.
The National Hurricane Center has warned that flooding could hit parts of both regions, including areas in Tennessee that are still recovering from devastating flash floods that left more than 20 people dead earlier this month.
President Joe Biden has already approved emergency declarations for Mississippi and Louisiana, which will help provide federal assistance and funds for those impacted.
Still, serious concerns remain about providing care and shelter in a part of the country that has found itself at the epicenter of the recent COVID surges driven by the Delta variant.
Mississippi and Louisiana are currently reporting the second and fourth highest new cases in the U.S. respectively, while other potentially impacted states like Florida, Tennessee, and Alabama all rank among the top seven.
Now, not only is Ida expected to overwhelm hospitals that are already maxing out their capacity, but it could also increase the spread of the virus as more people are forced to leave their homes for shelters or the homes of family members.
See what others are saying: (NPR) (The Weather Channel) (The Washington Post)
Kathy Griffin, Ethan Klein, More Suspended From Twitter Over Elon Musk Impersonations
Many have pretended to be Musk in an attempt to highlight the potential issues paid-for verifications could cause on the platform.
Musk Takes on Impersonations
Comedian Kathy Griffin and internet personality Ethan Klein are among the many Twitter users that have been permanently suspended for impersonating the platform’s new CEO, Elon Musk.
Impersonation has long been against Twitter’s rules, but on Sunday, the billionaire took the policy a step further by announcing that “any Twitter handles engaging in impersonation without clearly specifying ‘parody’ will be permanently suspended.”
“Previously, we issued a warning before suspension, but now that we are rolling out widespread verification, there will be no warning,” Musk explained. “This will be clearly identified as a condition for signing up to Twitter Blue.”
Musk also said that any user who changes their name will temporarily lose their verification check mark.
The announcement came as many verified users began mocking Musk by changing their name and photo to match his, then tweeting jokes that were either absurd or out of character for the business mogul. Many did this to protest Musk’s plan to charge an $8 monthly subscription fee that would allow any Twitter user to become verified.
Klein was one of many who changed his name to “Elon Musk” and made a photo of the CEO his profile image. The podcast host sent out several jokes, including one referencing the increased use of the N-word on the platform since Musk’s takeover, and another referencing Jeffrey Epstein.
“Even though Jeffrey Epstein committed horrible crimes, I do still miss him on nights like this for his warmth and camaraderie. Rest In Peace old Friend,” he wrote.
His account was quickly banned, but Klein defended himself on TikTok, arguing that both his cover photo and bio labeled his account as “parody” and therefore should be acceptable under Musk’s guidelines.
“What more do you want from me?” he asked. “Comedy is dead. And Elon Musk dug the grave.”
Protests of Musk’s Twitter Control
For her part, Griffin likewise tweeted while masquerading as Musk, writing that after “spirited discussion with the females in my life, I’ve decided that voting blue for their choice is only right.”
Musk joked that she was actually “suspended for impersonating a comedian” and added that she can have her account back if she pays for the $8 subscription. Griffin, however, found another way around the ban.
The comedian logged into her late mother’s Twitter account and began using the hashtag #FreeKathy while calling out Musk.
“Mad Men” actor Rich Sommer and podcaster Griffin Newman have also had their accounts suspended for tweeting as Musk. Other celebrities, including TV producer Shonda Rhimes, musician Sara Bareilles, and model Gigi Hadid have protested Musk’s Twitter reign by leaving the platform altogether.
“For a long time, but especially with its new leadership, it’s becoming more and more of a cesspool of hate & bigotry, and it’s not a place I want to be a part of,” Hadid wrote on Instagram over the weekend.
AOC Says Twitter Notifications “Conveniently” Disabled After Criticizing Musk
“What’s good? Doesn’t seem very free speechy to me,” she tweeted at the new CEO.
AOC Vs. Elon Musk
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) said several of her Twitter features are “conveniently not working” after feuding with the platform’s new owner, billionaire Elon Musk.
Ocasio-Cortez has never been shy about her views on Musk. After he officially took charge of Twitter last week, the congresswoman began criticizing his new proposals for the social networking site, specifically his plan to charge an $8 subscription fee for verification.
“Lmao at a billionaire earnestly trying to sell people on the idea that ‘free speech’ is actually a $8/mo subscription plan,” she wrote on Tuesday.
“Your feedback is appreciated, now pay $8,” Musk replied the following day.
Around an hour later, the business mogul sent another tweet appearing to call Ocasio-Cortez out for selling $58 sweatshirts.
“Proud of this and always will be,” she shot back. “My workers are union, make a living wage, have full healthcare, and aren’t subject to racist treatment in their workplaces. Items are made in USA. Team AOC honors and respects working people. You should try it sometime instead of union-busting.”
In a follow-up tweet, she noted that proceeds go to community organizing programs, including one that tutors students who are falling behind because of COVID-19.
AOC’s Mentions Not Working
On Wednesday evening, just hours after her back-and-forth with Musk, Ocasio-Cortez told her followers that her “Twitter mentions/notifications conveniently aren’t working tonight.”
“I was informed via text that I seem to have gotten under a certain billionaire’s skin,” she added. “Just a reminder that money will never [buy] your way out of insecurity, folks.”
The issue seemingly continued into Thursday morning when the Democrat tweeted a screenshot of her notifications page, which loaded no results.
“Why should people pay $8 just for their app to get bricked when they say something you don’t like?” she tweeted at Musk. “This is what my app has looked like ever since my tweet upset you yesterday. What’s good? Doesn’t seem very free speechy to me.”
Musk has repeatedly claimed that one of his primary motives to buy Twitter was to protect free speech. Once taking the reigns as CEO, though, he did say he would start a content moderation council and make decisions jointly with them.
South Carolina County Votes Against Moving LGBTQ+ Friendly Books Away from Children’s Section
Efforts to limit LGBTQ+ content in libraries first began over the summer.
Attempts to Restrict LGBTQ+ Displays
The county council in Greenville County, South Carolina this week voted against discussing a resolution that would move all books “promoting sexuality” to the adult section.
This resolution is the culmination of months of turmoil in Greenville County. In June, libraries in the county removed Pride displays at the direction of library officials. Then in September, the county’s Republican Party executive board passed a resolution to call on the County Council to restrict access to books with LGBTQ+ themes and characters.
The resolution was proposed by Joe Dill, an outgoing council member, as well as a member of the county’s Republican Party executive board. It proposed the council “officially order that no books or content, including digital copies or online accessible materials, promoting sexuality be allowed in the Children’s Sections of our public libraries.”
However, the resolution required the council to suspend its regular rules in order to discuss it as it was not submitted to the council via committee. The final vote was 9 to 3 against the suspension of the rules and effectively killed the resolution.
Those that voted against it viewed the resolution as an overreach.
“We just do not believe that’s our job to get involved in the library’s business,” Council member Ennis Fett said to a local news outlet. “We appoint a board. We can not set a precedent of micromanaging the library board, because if we do that, then, we will be micromanaging all boards and commissions that we appoint.”
Although the council decided not to get involved, the library still has the final decision to make regarding these books. Their meeting to discuss the matter is scheduled for December 5.