5 things for August 31: Harvey, tax reform, sanctuary law, Russia probe, WWII bomb

Families, and their pets, are being reunited after getting separated in Harvey. Here’s what else you need to know to Get Up to Speed and Out the Door. (You can also get “5 Things You Need to Know Today” delivered to your inbox daily. Sign up here.)

1. Harvey

The remnants of Hurricane Harvey are (slowly) pushing out of Texas and Louisiana, but the damage that the storm leaves behind will be with us for years. Right now, at least 37 people are dead (and many people are still missing), tens of thousands are sitting in shelters, and untold numbers are still trapped in flooded homes. About a third of metro Houston sits under water.

And the misery is spreading. Communities to the east of Houston are hurting. Beaumont may be without drinking water because the city’s water pump station has failed. In Port Arthur, evacuees had to be evacuated again after flooding drove them from a shelter. There’s fear that a flooded chemical plant northeast of Houston could explode. And one of the largest pipelines between Houston and the East Coast had to be shut down.

But there’s help of all kinds for survivors: two US Navy warships are on their way with disaster relief supplies; a monster truck is helping to rescue people; gospel singers are lifting spirits at shelters; a doctor braved the flood waters in a canoe to perform emergency surgery on a teen.

2. Tax reform

Wall Street is in pretty good shape right now, so President Trump pitched his vision of tax reform as a chance to help out Main Street. Speaking in Springfield, Missouri, Trump laid out his goals in broad terms: simplify the tax code and make it more competitive, deliver tax relief for the middle class, and repatriate offshore profits. The President and GOP leaders in Congress plan to get together soon to work on the details, including the business tax rate. Trump wants it dropped to 15%, but congressional leaders think that’s too low. Democrats, who don’t exactly have much power in Washington right now, said Trump’s plan would just turn into a big ol’ tax cut for the rich.

3. Sanctuary cities

Parts of a Texas law banning sanctuary cities — set to go into effect Friday — has been blocked temporarily by a federal judge. The law, which prompted an ACLU travel warning in Texas, would have penalized local governments and law enforcement officials who didn’t comply with immigration laws and detention requests, as well as fine them $25,500 a day. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott promises an immediate appeal.

4. Russia investigation

Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller is reportedly teaming up with New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman to investigate Paul Manafort and his financial transactions. Since the US President is unable to pardon state crimes, the collaboration could also be seen as an effort to pressure Manafort to cooperate in the broader Russia investigation under Mueller, several people familiar with the matter told Politico. The move is another indication that Mueller is ramping up pressure on Manafort, who served for a time as chairman of President Trump’s campaign. Manafort has not been accused of any wrongdoing, but he is seen as a central figure in Mueller’s investigation into Russia’s 2016 election meddling.

5. Frankfurt evacuation

World War II ended more than seven decades ago, but the war is still affecting everyday life. More than 60,000 people will have evacuate the center of Frankfurt, Germany, this weekend after a massive bomb from the war was found at a construction site. Police say while there’s no danger to the public, they don’t want to take any risks as the 1.4-ton British bomb is defused. This kind of thing isn’t unheard of: Parts of other German cities have been evacuated after World War II-era bombs were found.

Show of force

US and South Korean fighter jets did a flyover of the Korean Peninsula this morning in response to North Korea’s latest missile test.


The number of people killed after a three-story building collapsed today in Mumbai


People are talking about these. Read up. Join in.

‘Hi ho! Kermit T. Frog here’

The new voice of Kermit the Frog debuted this week, and, of course, social media couldn’t decide if it liked it or hated it.

Reality run?

Jerry Springer for governor? Don’t laugh. Remember, he was once mayor of Cincinnati.

But do you still have to tip?

Ford and Domino’s are testing out pizza delivery with a self-driving car.

Dear ‘old’ dad

The average age for American dads has increased to about 31 years old, which means they’ll be even more out of touch when the kids turn into teens.

“I can just no longer be in that cheerleader’s spot”

ESPN college football analyst Ed Cunningham, who quit over his concerns about head injuries in the sport

Flipping out

Think you’re good at the flip-cup game? Well, you’re not as good as this parrot. (Click to view)

Harvey aftermath: Explosions reported at flooded chemical plant
Pets and wildlife navigate Texas flooding

Leave a Reply