Monday, July 24, 2017

Two Minutes to Midnight: A Brief Monday Late Night Posting with a Pair of Lovely Pictures

Bucolic farm scene taken in Delaplane, Va., earlier this month; photo by John Ernst.

The above picture and the one below are from recent CWG entries including this one and this one.


Home tonight after a Monday back-to-work workday and a Monday night gym visit. I'm watching TV -- the pair of Wings episodes aired on Antenna TV (remember I don't have cable but just a digital antenna). I'm rather chagrined, though, that whoever makes programming decisions replaced the pair of Becker episodes with a pair of frickin' Family Ties ones.

Much like Three's Company, I just have been able to get into Family Ties. Newhart is still on at 1AM and 130AM. As for the commercials aired on Antenna TV, well, let's just say thank God for the mute button.

Sunflowers in a field in or near Poolesville, Md., as seen on July 17, 2017; photo by Kathy Swendiman.

I think this image might have been taken at the Maryland DNR's McKee-Beshers Wildlife Management Area just outside Poolesville.


As for the gym, I had an overall good multi-part workout except I kinda crapped out on the jog. I managed to do 3.33 miles -- but I just can't do the hour-long / 6+ mile jogs these days. As it is, I've shifted more to weightlifting. I did a bit of a core routine tonight and then finished with a swim -- really, that's more of end-of-workout relaxing thing.

OK, I'm going to post this entry before midnight so I can have a Monday entry. (Well, actually, I already posted it so it would have a certain time / date stamp, but then I reverted it to draft form. I didn't actually finalize it until 1217AM Tuesday, so I guess technically I cheated.)

Anyway, I would like to post an entry containing the two dozen or so pictures I took yesterday after I got back to D.C. following my weekend visit to see my mom. These pictures include one in which I got caught in a deluge in Georgetown. However, I'm rather tired, too, at this point and might not do it. Tomorrow is a non-gym night and I usually don't post entries on those nights.


Sunday, July 23, 2017

The Wee Hours Sunday Morning Post: Saturday Brief Recap and Reposted Paul Krugman Entry Interspersed with Some Recent Pics

A fountain the Mary Livingston Ripley Garden (next to the Arts and Industries Building), Washington, D.C., 8:28PM July 18, 2017.

The pictures in this entry are ones I took on Tuesday night on my walk home from work. That night, I stopped at Dirty Habit at Hotel Monaco, where works a very nice bartender who also works at Trade. He reminds me of a certain bartender somebody -- except one who never went wrong.


Saturday night -- well, wee hours Sunday morning by the time I post this.

I'm here again at my mom's apartment in Glen Burnie on a tropical-like summer night with scattered showers and thunderstorms and high humidity to include dew points around 73F.

Actually, it has been an interesting stormy day -- specifically, stormy in the immediate D.C. area with little here in the immediate Baltimore area.

Indeed, here are the widely-varying preliminary daily rainfall totals for July 22nd for the regional climate stations:

KDCA: 0.98"
KIAD: 0.72"
KBWI: 0.07"
KDMH: 0.01"

We had a really nice afternoon meal at Mike's Crab House North and a stop over at Fort Smallwood Park. I have pictures from my day, but I'm not going to post them now.

Corner Bar, Old Ebbitt Grill, Washington, D.C., 3:01PM July 16, 2017.

Earlier, I has been at the Old Bar at OEG. I was getting ready to leave and waiting to use the facilities in that bar (since the downstairs main one was closed).


Right now, I'm writing this entry and watching episodes of House Hunters of HGTV, specifically, young, pretty, earnest couples with babies and/or small children finding their starter homes of their dreams. Of course, some of the couples are extremely annoying -- including those with 2-year olds named as Kayley, Wayley, Addison, Madison, and Harrison.

Two of my stuffed animals -- Randy (my green and white-striped monkey) and Flippo (my plush baby hippo) -- in my apartment somewhere in Washington, D.C., 10:37PM July 16, 2017.

They are part of my plush menagerie.


So I head back to D.C. tomorrow on a Sunday MARC train. I think I'm going to skip the gym tomorrow and go on Monday and Wednesday, so when I get back, I'll probably just have a free day -- take a walk, get a late lunch, stop at Trade.

For the rest of this entry, I'm just going to repost a very worthwhile Paul Krugman blog entry (not one of his regular op-eds) interspersed with some of my Tuesday evening photos. I'm going to use a different font (bolded Helvetica) to differentiate the Krugman text.

Puffy cumulus congestus clouds in the sky above U and 14th Streets NW, Washington, D.C., 12:39PM July 18, 2017.

I was heading to the U Street / Cardozo Metro. Remember that the 13th and U Street entrance is closed for at least six months (and probably more like 8 years) for an escalator replacement.


Some Pundit Meta On Our Twin Crises

By Paul Krugman
July 22, 2017
Source here.

Right now, there are two huge crises in American politics, but one is clearly bigger than the other. Yet looking at my recent columns, and to a large extent my blogging and tweeting, I’ve been focusing mainly on the lesser crisis. A few thoughts about why.

Cumulus congestus cloud in the high summer sky as seen from the 1200 block of U Street NW, Washington, D.C., 12:44PM July 18, 2017.

The sign is to the now-closed Alphonse Italian Market & Osteria.


Clearly the most important thing happening in and to America right now is the constitutional crisis. Not potential crisis: it’s already here. The president’s inner circle is under investigation for possible collusion with a hostile foreign power, collusion that may have put him in office; he himself, whether or not he’s currently a direct target of that investigation, is clearly suspect. Yet he has already made clear his determination to block any investigation that gets too close.

Pathway through the Mary Livingston Ripley Garden of the Smithsonian, Washington, D.C., 8:37PM July 18, 2017.


This is way worse than Nixon -- yet all indications are that the moral rot of the Republican Party now runs so deep that the constitutional answer to a rogue president is null and void. This is an existential threat to the republic, and it can be hard to focus on anything else.

Dusk at the corner of 9th Street NW and Madison Drive NW, Washington, D.C., 8:42PM July 18, 2017.


Yet if Trump-Putin-treason weren't in the news, we'd all be focused on health care, where Republicans are still trying to ram through a disgusting bill, inflicting immense harm, under cover of secrecy and lies. In the process they are bringing conspiracy theorizing to the heart of politics: every attempt at objective analysis, every statement of plain facts, just shows that you're an enemy.

Garden phlox, Pollinator Garden, Washington, D.C., 8:42PM July 18, 2017.

Yes, I featured a (much better) garden phlox image in this entry.


So, what to write about? In my case, I'm mainly doing health care. Why?

First, personal comparative advantage. I’m not a national security or legal expert. That won’t stop me from weighing in when I think other pundits are, for whatever reason, failing to see the obvious – as was the case long ago when I stuck my neck out to argue that we were being lied into the Iraq war. But Trump-Putin-treason is in fact getting plenty of attention.

The Smithsonian Pollinator Garden just off the National Mall, Washington, D.C., 8:42PM July 18, 2017.

This used to be called the Butterfly Garden Habitat but was rechristened in June 2016 as the Pollinator Garden.


Meanwhile, health economics is close enough to my home areas of expertise that I think I know what I’m talking about (and who to consult); so it’s an area where I think I can still add significant value to the discussion.

A giant American elm tree at Constitution Avenue and 9th Street NW, Washington, D.C., 8:44PM July 18, 2017.

This roughly two century old American elm has not succumbed to Dutch elm disease. There is a sign next to the tree (see above image) that includes a name for the tree -- but for the life of me, I cannot recall it, nor could I find it anywhere via a Google search. I do remember that the sign stated the tree started to grow around 1850. Other information I found (which I can't find now) states that the tree is over 200 years old.


Another view of the American elm at the corner of Constitution Avenue and 9th Street NW, Washington, D.C., 8:44PM July 18, 2017.


Equally important, health care is an area where punditry can make a difference, either by helping to stop the Republican bum’s rush or by helping to ensure that those responsible for destroying health care pay the appropriate price. For now, by contrast, Trump-Putin-treason is largely in the hands of Robert Mueller and Trump himself.

The J. Edgar Hoover FBI Headquarters building, Washington, D.C., 8:49PM July 18, 2017.

This building sets the standard for hideosity (OK, hideousness), monstrosity, architectural sinful abomination, and just all-around-wrong. It's as close to an Airstrip One (Oceania) Ministry of Love building as we have in D.C. Oh, and the plan to replace the decaying thing fell through, much to Fred Hiatt's deep chagrin. (In this case, I totally agree with him.)


Two guys at the corner of 18th Street and New Hampshire Ave NW, Washington, D.C., 5:17PM July 16, 2017.

I wanted to call this picture Gay Laurel & Hardy, or Gay Abbott and Costello ...


Investigative reporting can help move the situation along, and it will be all hands on deck if and when Trump fires Mueller (which seems more likely than not). But for now, it seems to me that I personally best serve the public interest by focusing on the lesser but still great evil.

Good stuff.

An Impressionist-like painting of a French café on the wall of the dining area in the Gourmet Too eatery, L'Enfant Plaza, Washington, D.C., 2:48PM July 19, 2017.


OK, that's all for now. My next planned entry will be late Monday / early Tuesday.


Friday, July 21, 2017

Friday Night Travel Files: Ecuador, Switzerland, and Glen Burnie Plus Charlie Pierce & Jonathan Chait on Trump's Escalating War on Rule of Law

A llama in Ecuador with some lovely background scenery. 

At least I think it's an actual picture and not photoshopped.


Friday night.

I'm visiting my mom this weekend here in Glen Burnie, a.k.a., the Big Burn Out. I took the MARC train up earlier this evening to BWI Rail Station and we had dinner at Lee's Szechuan in Millersville.

You wouldn't think a Chinese restaurant in a non-descript suburban strip mall would have good food or a pleasant setting -- but it did. The place has a healthy menu that is actually, well, kinda healthy, to include sauce on the side and steamed vegetables, chicken, and/or shrimp.

The San Rafael waterfall along the Quijos River outside Quito, Ecuador.

(To be clear, I think this is the San Rafael falls near Quito. There were numerous versions of this picture stating that it was in Yasuni National Park.)


I've been watching TV tonight. I just watched a rather wonderful program on WHUT called "Ecuador: The Royal Tour."

In it, CBS News Travel Editor Peter Greenberg is taken on a weeklong whirlwind tour of Ecuador by the then-President of Ecuador Rafael Correa to include the incredibly biodiverse Yasuni National Park in the Amazon rainforest, Quito's gold-laden La Iglesia de la Compañía de Jesús, Correa's hometown of Guayaquil, the seaside town of Puerto López, and the Galapagos Islands where we see, yes, a giant tortoise (the kind that live for centuries).

The full episode is available here.

It was filmed in 2015 when the mighty Cotopaxi volcano has a minor eruption -- the first since 1942 and, prior to that, 1903-1904.

Mighty Cotopaxi.

No, not the tramp steamer SS Cotopaxi that went missing in Dec. 1925 en route from Charleston to Havana -- and that was "featured" in Close Encounters of the Third Kind.


This show is part of a series of such "Royal Tour" documentaries in which Greenberg is taken on tours of countries by the heads of state, in this case, Rafael Correa (pictured left), who was the President of Ecuador from Jan. 2007 to this past May (and was succeeded by the former Vice President Lenín Moreno).

The show was the another installment in the series that has visits to Jordan, New Zealand, Israel, Mexico, and Peru. (I would link to Greenberg's personal website but Google states it might be hacked.)

Snowy Engelberg, Switzerland.


Now there is a travel show (Real Rail TV) on about railway travel across Switzerland and it features some stunning Swiss natural scenery as well as visits to chocolate factories, monasteries, picturesque alpine villages, a St. Bernard dog training school, and rickety suspension bridge walkways high in the Alps. Engelberg seems an especially lovely town.

Summertime in and around Engelberg, Switzerland.


Tomorrow, we're going to Mike's North restaurant in Pasadena near Fort Smallwood (and not to be confused with its older sister restaurant Mike’s Crab House in Rivera Beach). I'll head back to D.C. on Sunday. I also want to determine if it is possible to see the White Rocks formation at the mouth of the Patapsco River.

A few pictures from earlier today interspersed with some Charlie Pierce and Jonathan Chait political pieces on our ongoing Trumpocalypse ...

View from the MARC train just pulling out from Union Station, Washington, D.C., 4:24PM July 21, 2017.


Some good reads (links embedded)... 

Excerpt (without embedded links):

It is about the money because it always has been about the money, and, because it always has been about the money, we suspect that the hounds now are baying loudly at the doors of the Kompromat Laundromat. This is how it could have happened: The Trump Organization, reportedly deeply in debt, needed money and couldn't get a loan from a U.S.-based bank. Meanwhile, the vicious Russian kleptocratic elite had a lot of dough it needed cleaned and was washing it through Deutsche Bank and through banks in Cyprus, an underrated spot for such enterprises. It was a profitable relationship for both parties: Both of the older Trump boys boasted in the past about how important Russian investment had been in maintaining the Trump Organization. Then Dad ran for president. Then he won. And then, by all indications, the bills came due...

Water tower along the Amtrak / MARC train tracks, Odenton, Md., 4:44PM July 21, 2017.

As I've mentioned before at various times on this blog, there are many water towers -- most blue and looking like an ellipsoidal spaceship on elevated legs -- across the Metro Baltimore area. By contrast, the Metro D.C. area has relatively few water towers. I think this has to do with the fact that the D.C. area relies on the Potomac River for its water supply while the Baltimore area depends on a sort of archipelago -- so to speak -- of manmade reservoirs and so water storage is more of an issue.

I could be wrong, though.


Continued excerpt:

His entire presidency has been an exercise in playing chicken with the other institutions of government, and, by and large, because they are controlled by his own party, which is composed now of the most conspicuous public cowards in the history of the Republic, he's won every time. Why wouldn't he try it again? The Post story was somebody's idea of a warning shot. That it was handled clumsily should surprise nobody. But it was a warning shot nonetheless. Don't go near the money because it always has been about the money. His whole life. His whole image of himself. His delusions of grandeur. It always has been about the money.

Central Avenue in "residential old" Glen Burnie, Md., 5:10PM July 21, 2017.



The legal conflict between Donald Trump and Special Counsel Robert Mueller is escalating rapidly. New reports in the Washington Post and New York Times are clear signals that Trump is contemplating steps -- firing Mueller or issuing mass pardons -- that would seem to go beyond the pale.

Except: Trump's entire career is beyond the pale and, in his time on the political stage, the unthinkable has become thinkable with regularity.

Trump's actions are best understood in the context of the overwhelming likelihood he, his family members, and at least some of his associates are guilty of serious crimes. The investigation might not produce proof of criminal collusion with Russia’s illegal hacking of Democratic emails. (Though reasonable grounds for suspicion already exists in abundance.) ...

Central Avenue in residential "old" Glen Burnie, Md., 5:11PM July 21, 2017.


Continued excerpt:

Trump has shown himself immune to widespread warnings that certain steps are simply not done. His hiding of tax returns, firing of U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara (who was investigating Russian financial crimes when he was let go), and ousting of FBI director James Comey were all steps that would seem to immolate his career. Ordering the Department of Justice to fire Mueller, or pardoning the targets of his investigations, would be an open announcement that Trump considers his financial ties to the Russian underworld and state to be beyond any legal accountability. The ominous threats emanating from the White House are that of an administration mobilizing for war against the rule of law.

The intersection of Central Avenue, Post 40 Road, and Crain Highway, Glen Burnie, Md., 5:13PM July 21, 2017.

This intersection is actually the zero point (0.0) of Glen Burnie's quadrant-based grid system. Like D.C., it has NW, NE, SE, and SW "quadrants," but unlike D.C., the street numbering really doesn't adhere to it -- if anything, most Glen Burnie addresses are on the larger Baltimore numbering system.

However, along Crain Highway the numbers drop off to 1 at this intersection -- hence the address of that Glen Burnie Mutual Savings Bank (shown in the above picture) is 1 Crain Highway.


Well, I think that's about all for now. Also, I might not have a Saturday Evening Post or Jukebox Saturday Night entries tomorrow.


Thursday, July 20, 2017

Justine Ruszczyk Damond and the Recurring American Nightmare; Sterling's Still-Missing Hot Weather Products; The Betelgeuse Boom Time

Garden phlox (Phlox paniculata)

I was going to post a full entry to include a series of pictures I took over the past several days. However, upon returning home from the gym, I had a lot of laundry to do -- including all my on-the-floor-above-a-foam-cushion bedding of quilts, blankets, and pillow cases -- and I also made dinner. As a result, it is now 2:22AM as I start this entry, so I'm going to stick to just a few items. Howver, the first is not a happy one.


Justine Ruszczyk Damond

To begin with, I really hope (but don't expect) that Minneapolis police officer Mohamed Noor, a native of Somalia, is fired from the police force and charged with either murder or at least manslaughter for what he did.

I refer to that horrific incident in Minneapolis late Saturday in which Australian foreign national Justine Ruszczyk -- yoga teacher and life coach living in Minneapolis and engaged to be married and going by the name Justine Damond -- who was killed by the hair-triggered Noor after Ms. Ruszczyk twice had called 911 upon hearing what she thought was a sexual assault near her house.

Screenshot of CNN video showing Minneapolis police officer Mohamed Noor.


For a police officer to discharge his weapon from inside the police cruiser -- across his seated partner, Matthew Harrity, who was driving the fucking car -- at a woman in an alley wearing pajamas is just inexcusable. Yes, it's part of the systematic, nationwide failure of American law enforcement that is, of course, due to a violent society drowning in firearms and all the issues with how the police interact with the citizens they are supposedly there to protect, especially urban African Americans.

Justine Ruszczyk with fiancé Don Damond and his son Zach Damond.


But in this particular hideous instance, though, the matter seems relatively straightforward and if it proves, in fact, to be what it seems, namely, that this this cop couldn't tell the difference between a violent threatening him and his partner with in a life-and-death situation versus a woman in her pajamas trying to wave down their cruiser, then Noor not only should but MUST be fired and brought to justice for summarily executing an innocent woman who was just trying to help intervene in what she thought was a crime.

Screenshot of Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges talking to reporters about the killing, July 18, 2017.


It's just not fucking OK for the cops to do this, and if that is the law enforcement strategy, then the strategy and mindset are all wrong. And it happens ceaselessly -- on the order of thousands of times a year in this country with hundreds of fatalities. In this case, the two cops conveniently didn't have their body-cams turned on.

Screenshot of Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull remarking upon the killing of Ms. Ruszczyk.


This is a huge story in Minneapolis where even Mayor Betsy Hodges has gotten involved in giving press conferences and expressing her shock and desire to figure out what happened.

Left: Minneapolis Star-Tribune online coverage of the killing.

It is also a huge story back in Ms. Ruszczyk's native Australia, where even Prime Minister Turnbull remarked on the situation. The sense in Australia -- as it is in any other normal first world country when one of their own is killed in the United States -- is that there is something uniquely sickly deranged about the United States with psychosexual worship of firearms and all the resulting blood, murder, and mayhem, and the hyper-militarized, shoot-first approach of American law enforcement to virtually any situation.

As Australia's Daily Telegraph newspaper headline of July 18th summed it up (see above), an American Nightmare, indeed.

In the end, though, we know how this is going to play out: No charges and everything is great. Well, fuck you, too. Noor, for his part, refuses to make a statement.


The Weather ... Sweaty Sucks.

The weather is so goddamn uncomfortably humid in addition to being too goddamn hot. It reached 97F at KDCA today, tying for the hottest this summer (but no where near the daily record of 102F in 1930 (a pre-airport record) -- this is, after all, climatologically the hottest part of the summer.

KBWI reached 96F, KIAD hit 93F, and KDMH recorded 95F. The first two of these were not daily records and KDMH doesn't yet have a 30-year data set.

The forecast calls for temperatures to rise again into the upper 90s Fahrenheit tomorrow and flirt with the 100F mark on Friday and perhaps Saturday before it gets milder (I'm not going to say "cooler") by next week with daily chances of showers and t-storms. Just as importantly, the humidity is forecasted to be quite high with some of the models in recent runs forecasting heat indices of 110F to 115F across parts of North Carolina, Virginia, and Maryland (as well as the mid-Mississippi River valley).

Max heat indices forecasted by NCEP/NWS for day 3 / Saturday, July 22nd, 2017 issued earlier on Wednesday.


However, as usual, the NWS forecasters at the Sterling office (LWX) are refusing to issue any hot weather products -- specifically, heat advisories or excessive heat watches -- because of a strange and persistent bias against those, especially the excessive heat watches and warnings.

US National Weather Service weather advisories updated 0741UTC (3:41AM EDT) July 20, 2017.

This does not include the legend but the coral colors are heat advisories and the are excessive heat warnings are shaded medium violet red while excessive heat watches are maroon in color (there appears to be none of those on the above map).


True, the criterion for an excessive heat warning in our region is a heat index of 110F or higher (unsure about any nighttime criteria), but to have heat indices forecasted to be in the 105F to 110F range and not even have a heat advisory -- on the stupid reason that "mixing" will occur and thus lower the dew point to "below threshold criteria" -- is really irresponsible.

Sterling (LWX) county warning area (CWA) weather advisories updated 2:15AM EDT July 20, 2017.


Sterling usually exhibits this behavior in the hot months and I'm not sure why. It's like some sort of badge of honor to not issue excessive heat warnings and to keep heat advisories to a minimum. Maybe it's based upon some weird climate change denying mindset that pops up more than you'd expect among operational meteorologists, not to mention TV weathermen, and as opposed to climate scientists.

Mount Holly / Philadelphia (PHI) county warning area (CWA) weather advisories as of 2:28AM EDT July 20, 2017.


By contrast, the Mt. Holly/Philadelphia office (PHI) already has heat products up include an excessive heat warning for the Metro Philly area. Now it is true that the Philadelphia area has a lower threshold for the excessive heat warning than D.C. or Baltimore, but to not even have a heat advisory in place -- as does the New York City office (OKX) -- is just highly irresponsible on Sterling's part.

New York City (OKX) county warning area (CWA) weather advisories updated 2:26AM EDT July 20, 2017.


The office's legalistic defense, of course, is that it is following the strict letter of the advisory, but that's bullshit in a situation such as this (especially given populations vulnerable to extreme heat), in addition to which, my view is that a 110F lower bound for an excessive heat warning is too high in this part of the world. Only the NWS has the ability to get the media to broadcast potentially dangerous weather issues.

Oh, yes, all the air quality alerts notwithstanding, the air quality is so much cleaner than it used to be on these hottest of summer days. Ozone pollution, much to GOP chagrin, is so much improved.


Updated (prior to posting):

So Sterling has, in fact, issued a heat advisory for later today for heat indices "up to 105F."

Sterling (LWX) county warning area (CWA) weather advisories updated 3:38AM EDT July 20, 2017.

Unlike in other parts of the country, though, it'll be dropped the nanosecond tomorrow the 105F threshold isn't met -- presumably in a forested glen outside Winchester rather than in downtown D.C. or Baltimore. 


When Betelgeuse Goes Boom!

OK, I'd like to end on a happier note.

Here is a very engrossing 47-minute documentary about the effects on Earth when (not if) the red supergiant star Betelgeuse goes supernova (within the next tens of million years or so).

When it goes supernova, Betelgeuse will be fantastically bright in the sky -- much brighter than the full Moon and quite possibly able to cast daytime shadows before it fades to invisibility over the ensuing months and years.

There is still the matter of the high-energy electromagnetic radiation bursts (read: X-rays and gamma rays) that shoot out from the core collapse in two jets to within about 2 degrees of the axis of rotation.

Even at 640 light years, a direct strike would still be powerful enough to damage Earth's atmosphere, not to mention biological organisms.

As a show spoiler (see image at left), neither jet should hit Earth because our fair planet is, apparently, about 20 degrees away from Betelgeuse's axis of rotation.


Betelgeuse imaged by the European Southern Observatory's Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA).


Also fascinating is that Betelgeuse apparently has a massive lobe of gas it has already ejected that gives the star a lop-sided shape. (Betelgeuse is so enormous, we can actually image its surface from Earth rather than it being a point of light.)

Betelgeuse imaged by the European Southern Observatory's Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA) with our Solar System's planetary orbits out to Saturn superimposed at this scale.


Some of the comments on the YouTube site are critical of the program to include the video quality. I would like to post a comment in response by user Walter Kelly3:

We are taken to Kansas, Los Angeles, Argentina, Germany, Japan, Paris, spoken to in French, German, English, Japanese, Spanish. This documentary represents the incredible resource that is YouTube. With brilliant narration, fascinating animation, and stunning imagery we learn about a celestial event that will one day simply blow our minds. And all for free. Only the most narrow-minded, short-sighted and self-absorbed would fail to appreciate this amazing production. It is a privilege and pleasure to spend an hour with these scientists, to be witness to human kind at it's most brilliant. Thank you.

Amen, brother.


OK, that's all for now. My next planned entry will likely be Friday night. I'm visiting my mom in Glen Burnie this weekend.


Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Some 2:02AM Notes from the 202 Area Code: Josh Barro's Moralizing Liberal Tofu Burger & Mitch McConnell's Rancid Meat Healthcare Bill

Developing thunderstorm as at New Hampshire Ave and Q Street NW, Washington, D.C., 5:50PM July 17, 2017.

This cumulus congestus-to-cumulonimbus cloud -- thunderstorm -- formed over Northeast D.C. and pushed east (away) so there was no rainfall. There were scattered-to-widespread showers and thunderstorms across the Metro D.C. and Baltimore areas today with drenching rains in Montgomery County but nothing measurable at KDCA and KIAD, 0.02" at KBWI, and 0.01" at KDMH.


Well, I had intended to post a full entry but I'm very tired and need to go to sleep. I made it to the gym tonight and even got in a 6-mile jog on the treadmill (I've been having a bit of trouble with that lately and pared back), as well as weightlifting and a swim.

Tomorrow night is a non-gym night.

Finn in his suburban Atlanta abode.

By the way, I ought to mention that on Saturday night -- or rather, after midnight Sunday around 130AM -- I was at Old Ebbitt Grill Old Bar and I encountered Jon Ossoff, the guy who lost in the special election in Georgia's 6th District (where Chris lives (with Finn)).

He was there with a guy at the Old Bar whose name I can't recall.

I had a 5-minute conversation with him -- mostly one way -- talking about the size of the House of Representatives, GOP's serious (Operation REDMAP) gerrymandering, the case before the Supreme Court on gerrymandering, and the idea of having more states than the current 50. (I was channeling Michael Lind on some of these points.) He said he had never really thought about those points -- and he was also genuinely friendly and didn't seem annoyed that I had interrupted his conversation.

As for Jon Ossoff, I'm fairly sure he'll be back again for another attempt.


Developing thunderstorm, 1700 block of Corcoran Street NW, Washington, D.C., 5:51PM July 17, 2017.


By the way, as a follow-up to my previous entry and a counterpoint to the column I reposted there, I'd like to link to this new Josh Barro column (link embedded): Liberals can win again if they stop being so annoying and fix their 'hamburger problem'.

It's a good piece and definitely worth a read, although I'm not going to try to except it as that would take too long.

I like and respect Josh Barro's insights into things and I think he makes some important points about urban upper middle class and elite liberalism.

Of course, the tribalism within the rightwing media / entertainment complex and fanning of endless grievances in an epistemologically closed, science-and-policy-denying bubble are no small matter, but one issue at a time.

New York Times online headline earlier tonight.


Oh, yes, at least for now, it looks like Mitch McConnell's Rosemary's Baby of a "healthcare reform" bill -- itself a stalking horse for reverse Robin Hood economics wedded to libertarian horseshit -- is apparently about to be still-born, but as it is really more of a zombie demon-spawn, expect it to return from the undead at any time.

But I'm going to refrain from any political commentary now. Instead, I think that's all for now. Good night.

I'll try to post a new entry tomorrow night.