Retired Clarence businessman Ravinder K. Bansal is back home after completing a six-week solo flight around the world to help raise enough money to purchase an MRI machine for a hospital in his hometown of Ambala, India. His charity flight raised $160,000 toward his $750,000 goal.
As might be expected on an airborne mission, Bansal had some highs (the money raised) and lows (enduring the heat in a Mideast desert).
Worse, when he arrived home he discovered that someone had hacked into his email account and sent off of to his contacts emails phishing for cash. He’s looking on the bright side of that inconvenience, remarking that: “I am making contact with people I haven’t talked to in years.”
If anyone wanted to put the devastating Hurricane Harvey into perspective as it relates to Western New York, try this image: If the more than 4 feet of rain that pummeled South Texas had fallen as snow, it would have equated to nearly five Snowvembers, as recently reported by T.J. Pignataro.
Snow sometimes falls here in great amounts, with results that can be tragic. But what happened in Texas, as Hurricane Katrina was 12 years ago, is on an unimaginable scale.
New Yorkers in and out of government, we are pleased to note, appear to have no hesitations about sending tax dollars and other public resources to help Texas and Louisiana with what will be a long, painful and expensive recovery from the historic devastation inflicted by Hurricane Harvey. It is, without question, the right thing to do.
Still, it’s hard not to remember the politicians – some from Texas, and led by Sen. Ted Cruz of that state – who were content to abandon New York and New Jersey for weeks after Hurricane Sandy laid waste to parts of the states. Cruz falsely claimed then – and still does – that the reason was because the effort was larded with non-Sandy spending. There was some, it was true, but the vast majority was directed at storm recovery. Regardless, it was the wrong moment for fiscal purity.
Here’s hoping, for Texas’ sake, that no one applies the Cruz model to the Harvey bill and, considering the nation’s generosity, that Texans will demand better of their senator.
If you’re traveling by car this weekend, you’ll notice a sudden spike in gasoline prices. It’s a consequence of the destruction caused by Hurricane Harvey. Our advice: Pay it happily and repeat: “There but for the grace of God …”