Hemingway’s 54 Cats Safely Rode Out Hurricane Irma on Key West

Hemingway House has 18 inch thick limestone walls and it’s 16 feet above sea level. It wasn’t going to be blown down.

US Magazine

The Florida Keys’ most famous felines are safe after Hurricane Irma battered the sunshine state as a Category 4 storm. The 54 six-toed cats — most of whom are descendants of a polydactyl cat owned by the late Ernest Hemingway — live at the late writer’s home in Key West, Florida, which was turned into a museum after his death in 1961.

According to The New York Times, as the life-threatening hurricane approached the Keys, state officials ordered a full evacuation of the area, but Jacque Sands, the general manager of the museum, refused to leave — claiming responsibility for the home and for her furry friends.

“The cats are also accustomed to our voices and our care,” David Gonzales, the museum’s curator told MSNBC on Sunday, September 10. “We’re comfortable with them; they’re comfortable with us. We love them. They love us. We all hung out last night together.”

And while the storm knocked out the museum’s electricity and internet, all of the six-toed felines survived the storm.

“The cats seemed to be more aware sooner of the storm coming in, and in fact when we started to round up the cats to take them inside, some of them actually ran inside, knowing it was time to take shelter,” Gonzales explained. “Sometimes I think they’re smarter than the human beings.”

According to NPR, Hurricane Irma was the longest-lasting and most powerful hurricane or typhoon on record. It claimed three lives in Florida, one in Georgia, and at least 36 in the Caribbean to-date.

I hope the museum people stocked up on cat food or that enough sea creatures are available to be eaten after the storm. I’ve heard that cats like fish!

St. Martin’s Blacks Complain About White Privilege in Rescue Efforts

Don’t worry about the blacks. They’re looting.

And when they’re not looting, they’re complaining.

Excerpt from Associated Press

MARIGOT, St. Martin (AP) — In the chaotic days after Hurricane Irma smashed St. Martin, the storm also exposed simmering racial tensions on the island’s French territory, with some black and mixed-race residents complaining that white tourists were given priority during the evacuation.

It was the type of anger that has long plagued France’s far-flung former colonies – especially its Caribbean territories, where most of the population identifies as black and is poorer than the white minority.

Johana Soudiagom was disturbed to find herself among a tiny handful of non-whites evacuated by boat to nearby Guadeloupe after Irma devastated the island.

“It’s selective. Excuse me, but we saw only mainlanders,” she told Guadeloupe 1ere television, visibly shaken. “That’s a way of saying, ‘I’m sorry, only whites. There are only whites on the boat.'”

It’s common practice for tourists to be evacuated first from disaster zones for practical reasons, as they are staying in hotels and not in their homes and tend to have fewer resources such as food and vehicles. The French prime minister insisted Monday that the only people being prioritized were the most vulnerable.

Government spokesman Christophe Castaner said he understood islanders’ frustration with the government response but blamed part of the controversy on their “emotional shock, an impact that’s extremely hard psychologically.”

Soudiagom and other witnesses told Guadeloupe 1ere that the boat they took Friday carried tourists, including Americans, to safety but left many St. Martin residents behind, including needy mothers and children.

On Monday, France’s Representative Council of Black Associations asked the government for a parliamentary inquiry, citing concerns that those who were evacuated were not “necessarily the most in distress.”

“In my eyes, Irma is for the French Antilles what Hurricane Katrina was for Louisiana in the U.S. – an exposer of racial and social inequalities,” the group’s spokesman, Louis-Georges Tin, told The Associated Press.

The terror of facing down a Category 5 hurricane has combined with a long-held sense of isolation among local residents of St. Martin, some 6,700 kilometers (4,200 miles) from the French mainland and popular with European tourists.

“The natural catastrophe occurred in a place that’s very vulnerable socially, where there is a population of many different skin colors and a history of slavery,” said Michel Giraud, a French researcher who writes on race. “Of course there will be a perception of racism.”

The island of St. Martin – divided in the 17th century into the French territory of Saint-Martin and the Dutch territory of Sint Maarten – measures just 87 square kilometers (34 square miles). Its 80,000 residents are a vibrant ethnic mix descended mainly from Africa, Europe and Asia. The two sides of the island share a creole language that draws heavily on English vocabulary.

The French part of St. Martin is similar to other French holdings in the Caribbean in that its white minority is generally wealthier than its black majority. Because France bans the collection of data on race, there are no statistics to show how much wealthier.

It began as a colony whose economy was fueled by African slaves. But after slavery was abolished in 1848, Tin said, “there were no reparations for the slaves, only for the slave owners,” so the former slaves won freedom but remained destitute. “The economy is now based on tourism but it is still poor. The wages are significantly lower than the mainland France.”

The government is not the only one being accused of racial bias in the wake of the storm. Giraud said French television reports on the devastation focused disproportionately on white people.

“When I saw the pictures, I was shocked,” Giraud said. “In the coverage I saw, the victims were mostly white tourists, or white French mainlanders. But the poorest are always the first victims.”

French president Emmanuel Macron is flying to the islands on Tuesday. Lots of luck at that town meeting, Mr. President.

Florida Offering Five Finger Discounts in Wake of Hurricane Irma

EVERYTHING’S FREE TODAY.

This post jumbles together several stories and photos of looting arrests. No matter.

We’re just here to thank our darker friends for their interest in sneakers, TVs, and other consumer goods (liquor), which we’re certain they plan to donate to a worthwhile charity.

Thanks, neighbors.

Miami Herald

FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA.
Police in Florida have arrested nine people who were caught on TV cameras looting sneakers and other goods from a sporting goods store and a pawn shop during Hurricane Irma.

Fort Lauderdale Police Chief Rick Maglione said the group was arrested Sunday as the storm roared across South Florida. Maglione called the idea of stealing sneakers during a hurricane “a fairly bad life choice.”

Local TV images showed the alleged looters running in and out of a store through a broken window carrying boxes of sneakers.

It wasn’t immediately clear what charges those arrested would face. Their identities also were not immediately released.

Meanwhile, in Tampa:

Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn announced a curfew and a stern warning against looters Sunday morning.

Hurricane Irma was forecast to hit Tampa and other highly populated areas of the Florida west cost as a Category 3 storm.

“We are taking this curfew very seriously,” Buckorn said. It begins at 6:00 pm Sunday local time.

“The curfew will remain in place until we determine there is no risk of [lost] life from downed power lines,” Buckhorn said.

He also said, “Be cognizant once you get back into your neighborhood, of who belongs there and who doesn’t.”

“If you see somebody in your neighborhood who doesn’t live there or doesn’t belong there, call the Tampa Police Department,” Buckhorn added. “We’ll take care of the rest. This is when we are Tampa strong.”

“We have all of our officers on the streets now,” Buckhorn said of the Tampa Police. Officers had been doing 12 hours shifts. Late Sunday morning, it was all officers on duty.

Buckhorn said at some point when the winds get too high, officers will be instructed to come off the streets and take shelter. The officers will re-emerge when it’s safe.

Hurricane Irma: Caretaker Staying in Key West for Sake of “Hemingway Cats”

ONE OF THE SIX AND SEVEN TOED HEMINGWAY CATS.

What a dream job for a cat lady–taking care of the so-called Hemingway cats in Key West, Florida. The 72 year old cat lady isn’t leaving, but she and the cats will be OK.

Excerpt from the September 6 Washington Post

KEY WEST, Fla. — Jacqui Sands stands near the wrought-iron gate that leads into the courtyard of the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum, the latest weather updates and computer models still showing that Hurricane Irma is barreling toward the Conch Republic. As the historic site’s general manager, Sands is tasked with securing the legendary author’s 19th-century estate as well as ensuring the safety of the 55 cats that roam the lush ground here, many of them with six and seven toes on one paw.

“If I didn’t have to, I wouldn’t stay,” Sands said. “My kids told me to get the hell out. But I have an obligation to take care of the building and the cats.”

The petite 72-year-old won’t be alone in her house- and cat-sitting duties; she’ll be joined by nine employees, four of whom she has sent off to retrieve storm shutters and plywood from a nearby storage facility to board up windows and doors. “They couldn’t leave because either they don’t have a car or couldn’t find a flight out of here,” she said. “I think we are going to be fine.”

The limestone French Colonial house, built in 1851, has withstood many tropical storms through the past two centuries, Sands said, noting that it sits about 16 feet above sea level, one of the highest points on this island at the end of the Florida Keys.

Hurricane Irma — which could bring 20-foot storm surges and 185-mile-per-hour winds to Florida in coming days — is going to test Sands’s resolve, should it make landfall in or near Key West, which had largely emptied out by Wednesday morning. The only signs of life on Duval Street, the town’s famous main drag, consisted of shop owners putting up shutters and plywood to protect their storefronts and a handful of tourists seeking a place for breakfast. At the Key West Port, the cruise ships had long departed for safer docks and the inlet was devoid of pleasure craft. Only four small vessels remained in the marina, including a 50-foot boat that ferries residents and hotel guests to and from Sunset Key, a private 27-acre resort located in waters nearby.

The latest from Mercury News confirms the staff decision to ride out the storm on Key West.

UPDATE: At around 1 p.m. PST, Dave Gonzales, executive director of the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum in Key West, confirmed to CNN that he and nine other employees were staying through the fierce winds and rain expected with Hurricane Irma, saying the legendary author’s 1851 house, with its 18-inch-thick limestone walls is “the strongest fortress in all the Florida Keys.”

General manager Sands is tasked with securing the property and ensuring the safety of the 55 cats that freely roam there. Many of the cats are believed to be descendants of the author’s cat, referred to as either Snow White or Snowball, and have the distinctive six and seven toes on one paw.

NY Times U.S. Map: How Long Would it Take for Your Location to Have 50 Inches of Rain?

Houston received 50 inches of rain from Hurricane Harvey. In many locations it would take a year or longer to reach that rainfall total. If you’re in the USA, what’s it look like in terms of rainfall where you are?

The wettest part of the U.S. appears to be along the Pacific Northwest coast.

Source: New York Times via NOLA

Trump Hating Dimwit Used Old Photo to Falsely Make America Think Obama Helping in Houston Food Shelter

The picture isn’t fake, but the claim that it shows Obama in Texas dishing out turkey to flood victims is. Thousands of Twitter people wanted to believe that Obama was out righting wrongs while Trump was grabbing ****** in the White House, conspiring with Russia, or meeting with the KKK.

It’s a lot harder to put things over on people than it used to be.

BTW, the Tweeter is apparently a Muslim. Figures!

Politifact

As Tropical Storm Harvey rocks Houston, Texas, a Twitter user decried President Donald Trump’s response in comparison to former President Barack Obama’s purported on-the-ground efforts using an outdated photo.

Twitter user Aiden Benjamin (@Feisal_Hagi) posted a picture of Obama and his family serving food at a shelter, which he captioned with the hashtags #HurricaneHarvery and #prayfortexas.

“Something youll never see trump do: Obama is in texas serving meals!” he wrote in the Aug. 26, 2017 tweet.

The tweet had received over 14,000 likes and 7,500 shares as of Aug. 28, 2017.

Benjamin posted the same picture with a similar caption on Aug. 27 that read “Obama serving food in Houston shelter, somthing trump will NEVER do!”

Here’s the thing. The picture isn’t from Houston nor from this year. It’s from a homeless shelter in Washington, D.C., where Obama and his family served Thanksgiving dinner to homeless veterans on Nov. 25, 2015. Both tweets have since been deleted.

As the following AP video shows, the president served turkey while his wife and daughters served stuffing, vegetables and cranberry sauce.

Benjamin issued an apology on Aug. 28, 2017.

“I took down the tweet of obama, I apologize to people who thought it was real. also to @callrail I apologize!”

I took down the tweet of obama, I apologize to people who thought it was real. also to @callrail I apologize!

— Aiden Benjamin (@Feisal_Hagi) August 28, 2017
“I took the tweet down it was wrong information sorry if you thought it was real,” Benjamin wrote to PolitiFact.

He had originally issued a correction that said, “Sorry for people thinking this was in texas (he was there) but this is from 2015.”

A representative for Obama told CNN the former president was not in Texas.

Obama wrote a tweet on Aug. 27 thanking first responders and sharing a link to make donations to the Red Cross.

Notice that the Obama rep didn’t say where he was. Playing golf or planning new mischief?

CNN Reporter Told Off by Hysterical Houston Negress (Twitter Video)

Hahahahaha. Nice job CNN. #fakenews