Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Thomas Frank Versus Jonathan Chait on Beltway Political Scientists, the Democratic Party, and Winning the White Working Class Vote


This entry about a disagreement between my favorite political writer, Jonathan Chait, and author / columnist Thomas Frank. I've written before about the differing world views between Chait and Frank -- are we in a fundamentally optimistic or pessimistic time in the Age of Obama / early 21st Century America.

The last six images are snippets from the Sept. 2012 study "Beyond Guns and God: Understanding the Complexities of the White Working Class" by the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI). That study is linked here and below.

*************

So I was going to note this useful and engaging Salon column by Thomas Frank (link embedded):
All these effing geniuses: Ezra Klein, expert-driven journalism, and the phony Washington consensus

The sub-title / descriptor (or whatever that line that follows a headline is called) is: Ezra Klein and his data brigade think political science will save us. But expert opinion is why we're in this mess.

The column was triggered by an annoyingly triumphalist Vox.com column by Ezra Klein (link embedded): "How political science conquered Washington", as well as a Nate Cohn piece in the New York Times-hosted Upshot blog (link embedded): "Why Democrats Can't Win the House".

Yeah, yeah, we know, we know ... It's gerrymandered out the wazoo in favor of the GOP so that it severely underrepresents urban progressives and Democrats in general ...

The 2010 House of Representatives results shown in shades of red and blue.

*******

I thought / think that Frank raises some important issues that I really can't do justice here since any excerpt will quickly and necessarily be too long. Basically, he is arguing two things:

First, more generally, the idea that wonky policy experts haven't all along been in positions of influence -- including "The Best and the Brightest" that helped get us into Vietnam -- is nonsense (and, I think, he convincingly demonstrates that point).

Well, just look at that: Another day, ANOTHER flippin' BROOKINGS PANEL where neo-liberal Washington Consensus "experts" in $700 suits that would DEEPLY impress Wall-P (power and money, you know) tell us how to make the world save for flippin' amoral corporate oligarchy and brutal Chinese mercantilism. Where are Benji Wittes and Sebastian Mallaby??

*******

Secondly, the current policy wonk consensus that Democrats basically just have to wait years and decades until demographic changes eventually allow them to win the currently severely GOP gerrymandered House of Representatives that gives Republicans a huge advantage and an always-GOP-structurally-favored Senate -- and not even bother arguing on economic grounds to appeal to the under-assault working class is also questionable.

Oh, God, Bill Clinton: What bit of narcissistic tripe are you going to tell us now??

*******

This point tied directly into the rise of the "centrist," corporate-friendly, free trade-fixed Democratic Party in the 1990s under Clinton that took economic issues off the metaphorical table that allowed Republicans to hijack the debate on cultural wars stuff.


In brief, that "analysis" says that Dems should follow the "wisdom" of the frickin' "Washington Consensus" of Fred Hiatt's Washington Post editorial board and Bush-worshiping Sunday morning TV Beltway courtier class and become Republicans -- and it's all horsesh!t.

I personally think Frank has some good arguments in that column.


Alas, one of my favorite political writers, Jonathan Chait, penned a disappointing, even angry and slightly incoherent response (link embedded) "Have Nerds Betrayed the Left?" denouncing the Frank piece -- incoherent in that he uncharacteristically failed to marshal any evidence (I don't doubt that there is some convincing evidence for this, but there is also evidence to believe that surrendering the bread-and-butter issues of importance to beleaguered working class Americans is also a loser). Chait then borderline misleadingly quoted what Frank said by omitting key passages and emphasizing the wrong point.


First, he dismisses the move to the corporate center -- i.e., to the Republican right -- outright by saying the assumption is "belied by a mountain of evidence." Not only does not cite any evidence but he essentially cedes the Washington Consensus world view by implicitly saying, yes, Dems basically need to be Republicans to win, or at least Robert Rubin-type corporate oligarchs.


To be clear, this issue of the white working class and the working class in general and how it votes is a tremendously complex and critically important one for Democrats one with no single or definitive answer.


In terms of omission, he doesn't quote or even allude to Frank's culminating point (other than to argue that Frank implicitly concurs with the "science-driven" part, which totally misses said point):

"So a data-minded commentator like Nate Cohn is able to look out over the blasted moonscape of Appalachia and conclude that a party of the left has nothing it might conceivably offer the people there. If Democrats wish to win back the seats that Republicans have taken away from them in such stricken areas, the Dems must either become more conservative themselves or sit audaciously on their butts for a couple of decades while some new generation is born and grows up to populate the boarded-up towns and collapsing houses of the deindustrialized hinterland. Those are the only choices.


"The fatalism here may be science-driven, but still it boggles the mind. Today, the right is out there organizing and proselytizing and signing people up for yet another grievance-hyping mass movement. Over the last 40 years they have completely remade the world, and at no point did they play by the centrist rules.


But the Democrats chase nobly on after grand Washington bargains and sign more free-trade deals and make endless compromises with Wall Street -- and then can't figure out why such achievements don’t win them the adoration of the people in the hard-bitten countryside. No matter. They'll simply wait for a new generation to come along, a new public that is more enlightened, better able to appreciate the fine distinctions between the parties, that is capable, at long last, of making the rational choice.

That was Frank's key point, and I'm a little disappointed in Chait gliding over it in the manner he did.


Of course, let me add as a necessary coda that it was Frank himself in his seminal What's the Matter with Kansas? who has argued that the white working class is voting against its own economic interests.

*******

My mid-afternoon lunch at my desk: Rice and a roll from the agency cafeteria and a lower sodium Campbell's chicken noodle soup and Gold Fish crackers from the L'Enfant Plaza CVS, as well as a Perrier from the ground-floor little deli / hot bar. Somehow it all came together well, especially given how I was feeling. 2:37PM September 15, 2014, Washington, D.C.

*******

OK, that's all for now. My next planned update will be late Wednesday. My Monday was OK despite the difficulty getting up. I had a good gym workout as well.

--Regulus

Monday, September 15, 2014

Ugh ... Monday Morning ...

Sorry ... I had intended to update the blog last night but did not get home until an unreasonable hour after too much drinking at Larry's Lounge with some friends (I'm not going to list them out). Now I have to get up and go to work at a reasonable hour. I feel awful this morning, deservedly so. I intend to post a new entry tonight after the gym. However, I need to get to sleep early, so it really will be a short and non-vitriolic entry. Also, I intend to detox with no drinking for the rest of the week.

--Regulus

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Jukebox Saturday Night Entry for Sept. 13th, 2014: The Freedom at Sunrise, Doobious Music, & Pink Cadillac Edition


"Freedom at Sunrise" by Chris Geith from his new Chasing Rainbows release (2014)

This is a nice piece -- it reminds me of a somewhat jazzier version of one by Stanton Lanier -- and the YouTube video cycles through a series of lovely seashore images including at sunrise or sunset (my East Coast upbringing and sensibilities lead me to always assume sunrise).

*******


"Listen to the Music" by the Doobie Brothers from their Toulouse Street album (1972)

This features the Doobie Brothers performing the song on Burt Sugarman's legendary show The Midnight Special in 1973.

*******

And now for something Saturday night upbeat (which I happened to hear this at the gym earlier today) ...


"Pink Cadillac" by Natalie Cole from her Everlasting album (1987)

The song was originally done by Bruce Springsteen and appeared on the "B" side of the "Dancing in the Dark" single released in 1984 but the Natalie Cole more R&B-like version from 1988 really made the song popular. ("Dancing in the Dark" was also released on Springsteen's seminal Born in the U.S.A. album right around that time.)

My favorite stanza:


"I love you for your pink Cadillac! / Crushed velvet seats, / Riding in the back, oozin' down the street! / Wavin' to the girls, peeling out of sight! / Spending all my money on a Saturday night! / Honey, I just wonder what you're doin' / There in the back of your pink Cadillac! / Pink Cadillac!"

Fun song and fun video.

--Regulus

A Brief Saturday Night Update (While Watching A Streetcar Named Desire on PBS)

**This entry was posted September 13, 2014.**

Low-angled sunlight from the setting Sun bathes the twin top spires of St. Augustine Catholic Church located on 15th Street NW, Washington, D.C., 6:50PM September 13, 2014. I was walking back from the gym when I took this picture.

By the way, my Hotmail account is having trouble receiving picture messages from my cellphone. I might have to start using my Yahoo account to send pictures to myself or my blog. ANY problem with ANYTHING involving the internet deeply annoys me -- far more than it should I hate the internet.

*******

As the briefest of updates ...

I'm home tonight watching the classic movie A Street Car Named Desire from 1951 based on the Tennessee Williams play and starring the then-fit / not-fat Marlon Brando; Vivien Leigh; and a young Karl Malden. It is being aired on the main, over-the-air D.C. PBS station WETA-26.

(Yes, amazingly, WETA-26 is NOT in a pledge-drive period. As for Me-TV, it has stopped showing most of the Sci-Fi Saturday Night lineup and replaced it with frickin' college football, although I think the Svengoolie-hosted monster movie is on at 11PM.)

Earlier, I went to the gym and then did my laundry and made dinner.

The top of the Wakefield Hall apartment building located at the "V" intersection of New Hampshire Avenue and 15th Street NW, Washington, D.C., 6:49PM September 13, 2014.

The Wakefield (Hall) is another W.C. Smith Building just like my Hampton Courts one. In between the two along the 2000 block of New Hampshire is the Northumberland, which I wrote a little about here.

*******

Last night, I met Jamie at Larry's Lounge last night, where the usual crowd plus some were in a festive mood. Jamie was quite generous to me with his tab and I ended up getting quite drunk. However, as noted, I made it to the gym today and had a full, complete workout (jogging 6+ miles on the treadmill, just under 1 hour of light to moderate weightlifting, and 20 minutes in the pool).

My apartment interior in the Hampton Courts, Washington, D.C., 7:00PM September 13, 2014. This was just a few minutes before actual sunset and the fifth floor apartment with its western view was bathed in a soft orange-lavender light that this picture did not capture.

*******

For tonight, I will go to No. 9, and as for tomorrow, I guess I'll take a bike ride. It is starting to get darker noticeably earlier as we near the arrival of astronomical fall.

The weather today featured some needed light rain -- 0.23" fell at KDCA, the most of the four regional NWS climate stations. Tonight is supposed to be outright cool with lows even in D.C. around 50F. (There is actually a frost advisory out for Garrett County, Md.)

Tomorrow is forecasted to feature (somewhat annoyingly but I can still enjoy it) wall-to-wall sunny tomorrow with non-hot (pleasant) temperatures, highs around 72F. The Capital Weather Gang folks are thrilled about that.

OK, a jukebox Saturday night entry to follow.

--Regulus

Friday, September 12, 2014

Friday Night Follies: A Vicarious High with Joan Rivers and How Free the Free Scotsman?


"High Times" episode of Joan & Melissa: Joan Knows Best?

Friday night ...

I'm watching TWO television shows nearly simultaneously: one of the four episodes of the rather enjoyable series The Middle aired nightly on Hallmark Channel on my TV and a full episode of Joan and Melissa: Joan Knows Best? on YouTube, specifically, the episode "High Times" (first aired January 2012) in which Joan gets high on pot, er, medical marijuana, with a friend.

She ends up in the backyard hot tub at her daughter Melissa's Malibu home, fully clothed, with a friend, howling like a wolf and doing a motorboat imitation (ha ha) even while Melissa's boyfriend's parents (the Zimmerman's) are visiting and asleep in the house. It is embedded above (not to be confused the internet show In Bed with Joan).

Joan Rivers and her friend smoking pot in a car in the episode "High Times" of Joan & Melissa: Joan Knows Best?

No, they didn't drive off. Melissa comes and rescues them.

*******

I'm so sad that Joan Rivers died. But at least I can watch her in reruns of so many of the shows she did.

YouTube screenshot of Joan Rivers waking up -- after a night of smoking pot, swimming in a hot tub, and pigging out with a friend -- in a bed with an open pizza carton containing a half-eaten pizza and her little dog munching on a piece in the same "High Times" episode of Joan and Melissa: Joan Knows Best?

No, I don't know if this is "real" or not in the sense that it "really" happened or was wholly staged. Regardless, it's still a hilarious show.

******

As for tonight, my plan is to go to No. 9 and Larry's Lounge, in one order or another.

In the meantime, here is a good blog entry by Simon-Wren Lewis on the economic and fiscal dangers facing Scotland if in fact it citizens vote for independence from the UK (even while using the same British pound currency).

Very funny cover illustration the September 19, 2014 edition of the British publication "The Week."

This is a topic that Paul Krugman has been discussing a lot lately -- and cited in this blog entry the Lewis entry. In short, Scotland is rushing headlong into a likely euro-style disaster of "monetary" union with no political union and a long-term weaker economy.

--Regulus

A Nicer Entry, Or at Least One with a Pleasant Picture ...

**This entry was posted on September 12, 2014.**


Rather than end with the previous entry and, indeed, many of my recent entries, I just wanted to have my most current entry one that featured something nice and pretty, in this case, a church with its tall white steeple set among the peak autumnal splendor in the rolling mountains around Stowe, Vermont on a particularly lovely fall day.

I might not post another entry until my planned jukebox Saturday night entry.

--Regulus

Thursday, September 11, 2014

While It's Still September 11th -OR- The Neocons Strike Back ...

Before we lose September 11th and this 13th anniversary of the Day That Transformed the Washington Consensus / American Corporate Media Into All-War, All-The-Time Cheerleaders for the Neocon Warmongering Imperialists* ...

... I would like to post a link to this excellent piece by Jonathan Chait on the "return" of the neocons in relation to the ISIS / ISIL ugly mess in Syria and Iraq. The piece is (link embedded): Dick Cheney and the Neocons Would Like to Celebrate This 9/11 by Freaking Out Over Iraq Again.

Updated 7:27PM 9/13/2014: *To be clear, this same shitty Washington Consensus crowd had long since become cheerleaders for the neo-liberal economic "agenda" of American working class destruction via "free trade" monomania (read: brutal Chinese mercantilism and oligarchical overclass corporate rapaciousness of late stage capitalism).

End of update.

Though not directly related -- except insofar as it is part of the same oligarchical overclass and their media / entertainment minions -- here is Paul Krugman's Friday New York Times op-ed on the endless predictions of hyperinflation by the Usual Suspects and reasons why they keep making such predictions (and their followers believing it) despite having been utterly wrong for six years (link embedded): The Inflation Cult.

As ever, I strongly, strongly recommend Krugman's twice a week op-eds and his regularly updated blog.

In the meantime, let's hear what Benji Wittes, the Special Legal Needs One of The Washington Consensus and the Military / Industrial / Surveillance Complex with its All-Terror Mongering, All-the Time has to say ...

"Yap! Yap! Yap! Yay! Drones! Yap! Yap! Yap! Drones!"

Little Benji was getting tired of always going on tendentiously about Monica's Dress anyway.

--Regulus

Some Exasperated Political Commentary Mixed With My Sunday Bike Ride Pictures -OR- West by Northwest With the Trail

**This entry was posted on September 11, 2014.**

The Montauk Point Light in the morning hours of December 10, 2005. 

I was thinking about Montauk Point -- where I have never actually been -- because it isn't that far from Calverton National Cemetery where Gary's dad is to be interred on Friday (even though he lived much closer "in" on Long Island in Lynbrook). Gary is heading there later this morning (on an inauspicious national anniversary).

*******

This entry features some political commentary. Nearly all the pictures below (save, of course, for the Wall-E / Wall-P one) were taken on my Sunday bike ride on the Capital Crescent Trail to Bethesda. I have already posted a few of them in previous entries.

A cerulean blue sky fleeced with middle and high level clouds as seen from 20th St. and New Hampshire Avenue NW, Washington, D.C., 1:48PM September 7, 2014.

*******

I'm home on this Wednesday night. I was watching a couple funny episodes of the Hallmark show The Middle and now I'm watching reruns of The Golden Girls. Earlier tonight, I went to the gym -- but not my usual Anthony Bowen YMCA for a full multi-part workout but instead to the National Capital YMCA where I went swimming.

The 1200 block of New Hampshire Avenue NW, Washington, D.C., 1:49PM September 7, 2014.

*******

I also nixed the idea of getting a drink after work. I'm REALLY trying to save money this particularly rough pay period (the next one SHOULD be much better). As it is, a typical day is that I can't step outside without spending a bare minimum of $30 by the time I get home (Metro fare, lunch, and groceries). Oftentimes, it is nearly double that (and that's just on a regular weekday, never mind the weekend and "going out").  

I realize that Wall-P, a.k.a., Pitty Shil, poops out a hundred $20 bills before lunch.

"Eh. Eh. Eheheh. This proves yet again my superiority --"

"Ohhh, shut up, you thimbleful of corporate stooly stoogery."


*******

The dazzling Sun in the afternoon blue sky as seen near the Watergate Complex, Washington, D.C., 1:56PM September 7, 2014.

*******

I was going to write a longer, political-themed entry because I'm so disgusted with the current political climate, but it's sort of pointless.

For starters, we know, we know ... Dems support plunging and Dems in disarray as Obama collapses politically.

Every time two Red State crazy Republicans are elected, it's time to shred the social safety net, give billionaires another trillion dollar tax giveaway, and put fecal matter and toxic sludge in the drinking water 'cuz that's where the American "center" is, or maybe it's what Jesus and the Washington Consensus would do.

A view along the Potomac River with Georgetown in the distance, Washington, D.C., 1:58PM September 7, 2014.

*******

Never mind the immoral levels of gerrymandering, the mal-apportionment of political power against progressives, endless Southern neo-Confederate radicalism through the vehicle of today's GOP, the (to quote the great Paul Krugman) "Views Differ on Shape of Earth" corporate whore-media, the socially destructive nature of American capitalism and its for-profit entertainment / information bubbles run by mega-billion corporate entities in the awful Matrix-like early 21st Century world of shitty internet and cable in the early 21st Century, the oligarchical economy, and on and on and on ...

Yachts docked along the small boardwalk at the Washington Harbour, Georgetown, Washington, D.C., 2:02PM Sept. 7, 2014.

*******

While none of what I wrote above is particularly new and in fact, has been a staple of the American political and society as a whole for a number of years now and at present in 2014 (just like in 2010 and in an early incarnation in 1994), it is currently being highly exacerbated by an impending midterm election.

It centers on a hapless and flailing president in a slow motion political collapse, a cult-like political opposition based on Southern nullification and Jacksonian idiocy and insanity, and a nihilistic, horserace-crazed political media obsessing on how a particularly favorable alignment for the frickin' GOP. While the current alignment is not quite on par with 2010, it is large enough to flip the worthless Senate and turn it ALMOST as crazy as the gerrymandered House.

A bicycle along the Potomac River on the Capital Crescent Trail, Washington, D.C., 2:10PM September 7, 2014.

*******

The most annoying part is how the whore political media (think Chris Cillizza and that little Ron Fournier troll) will go on and on for weeks and months (indeed, already are) about how this foreordained but basically irrelevant outcome into some "game changer" whereby we're on the cusp (as ever) of a century-long GOP supermajority.

A picture taken while biking on the Capital Crescent Trail, Washington, D.C., 2:11PM September 7, 2014. I've only gone from D.C. to Maryland on one or two other occasions over the past 15 years. Invariably, it is the other way.

*******

In truth, the practical outcome is unchanged as the same Fred Hiatt Washington Consensus crowd / Beltway elite doing the neo-conservative warmongering and neo-liberal "free trade" economic bidding of their overclass overlords of weirdly self-destructive Late Stage Empire.

It's mind numbing, hopeless, and despairing.

The Dalecarlia Tunnel along the Capital Crescent Trail, Montgomery County, Md., 2:28PM September 7, 2014.

It was very obvious just by looking at the ground that it had deluged in Montgomery County the previous day.

*******

But that's actually the intention of every GOP operative and the larger Vast Rightwing Conspiracy media/entertainment machine: Create a sense of juggernaut and historic inevitability.

Nevertheless, I guess I really do feel mind benumbed, hopeless, and in despair over the whole obscene situation. The only solution is just to tune out and focus on other things -- especially since any one particular "permanent" political configuration in this country quickly collapses of its own farcical nature.

A couple in Bethesda, Md., 2:49PM September 7, 2014.

Of note, LP and I skipped Rock Bottom -- not only was there a frickin' Red Skins game on, there was also a trivia contest underway in the restaurant. We ended up going to Pizzeria da Marco. I then biked back via the Georgetown Branch Trail and Silver Spring and south down (along) 16th Street (on the sidewalk).

*******

In any event, it is far better to talk about things that have real meaning and value -- whether in our own shitty time or other times. At the very least, to replace the shitty two-dimensional toxic reality of our corporate media world with something more literary, poetic, and meaningful.

To that end, I intend to post a much more pleasant entry tomorrow night around this time.

Specifically, I am thinking of posting an excerpt or two of the wonderful book I am now reading. It is my friend Wendy's copy of Beryl Markham's 1942 memoir West With the Night about her life as a young female bush pilot in British East Africa (Kenya) in the 1920s and 1930s.

--Regulus

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Summary of This Week's Record (and Not-So-Record) Rainfall Totals for Selected Spots and WMO Findings on Global CO2 Increase for 2013

A bicycle along the Potomac River on the Capital Crescent Trail, Washington, D.C., 2:10PM September 7, 2014.

The bicycle belonged to a fellow taking a picture of the river and the rock formations with a far superior camera than my little cellphone one.

*******

The weather the past two days has been for the most part mostly cloudy (it's partly cloudy tonight) with an east/northeasterly maritime flow and high temperatures in the mid-to-upper 70s Fahrenheit.

Yesterday (that is, September 8th), a low pressure system moved up the Southeastern coastal plain along a frontal boundary and it dropped anywhere from 2 inches to as much as 8 inches of rain across the immediate Tidewater / Hampton Roads area. However, none of the precipitation made it as far north as the Baltimore / Washington area (resulting in busted QPF forecasts).

The Wakefield (AKQ) NWS radar in base reflectivity mode, 4:45PM EDT September 8, 2014.

*******

Thus, Norfolk (KORF) had 3.05 inches of rain on Sept. 8th (that was NOT enough to surpass the daily record set in 2009 of 3.54 inches). To be fair, though, it was concentrated over the Tidewater / Newport News area. Richmond (KRIC) only had 0.32 inches and Salisbury, Md. (KSBY) had just 0.06 inches. Wallops Island (KWAL) had 0.48 inches of rain.

By contrast, there was zilch (or the usual "TRACE") at KDCA, that useless spot for a climate station (and also "TRACE" at KIAD and KBWI). You see, GOD looks after and protects the D.C. Bubble and its Washington Consensus Crowd, keeping them all nice and dry to and from this or that Brookings panel discussion on why it's necessary to bomb or invade this or that country and why "bipartisan" cooperation means shredding the social safety net for the working poor.

One day radar-estimated precipitation totals for Virginia, Maryland, and portions of North Carolina and adjoining states for September 8, 2014. The highest rainfall totals in the magenta, purple, and white portions are 6 to 10 inches.

*******

Phoenix Rainfall Record ...

Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport climate station (KPHX) observations from 0300AM - 1200PM MST* September 8, 2014 showing the 7-hour deluge that produced a record-breaking daily total of 3.29 inches of rain (see below for more information). Click on image and look under "6hr" column for total.

*Of note, Arizona stays on Mountain Standard Time (MST) -- so during the (never-ending) period of daylight savings time, Pacific Daylight Time (PDT) "equals" MST.

*******

Weather advisories in effect for Arizona and Southern California as shown on the Phoenix NWS Forecast Office (PSR) county warning area (CWA) map, 9:07AM MST September 8, 2014.

*******

However, the big weather story on Sept. 8th, 2014 was the monsoonal season deluge in the Phoenix area with an all-time record calendar day rainfall total of 3.29 inches at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport climate station (KPHX).

Graphical summary by the NWS of the record rainfall for Phoenix (KPHX) for September 8, 2014 compared with other extreme events.

*******

This 3.29 inches (as indicated in the graphical summary directly above) was an all-time daily record for the full Phoenix climate record back to 1895. It was the second greatest 24-hour rainfall total behind 4.98 inches way back on July 2, 1911. Oh, and needless to say, it blew away the previous daily record for Sept. 8th of 1.33 inches set in 1933.

Flooding along I-10 east at 43rd Avenue in Phoenix, Ariz., September 8, 2014.

*******

For reference, the current 30-year annual average precipitation is Phoenix (subject to much interannual variability) is 8.03 inches.

Other rainfall totals in the Phoenix area ranged as high at 6 inches -- and there were the expected muddy flash floods and vehicles stranded on flooded roadways. The Phoenix NWS forecast office created this web-based write up on the event. The Capital Weather Gang (CWG) also had an informative write-up with pictures.

Maricopa County / Phoenix area 24-hour rainfall totals for September 8, 2014. Click on the map for larger version.

*******

Of note, it again rained in the L.A Basin with 0.02 inches falling at LAX Airport (KLAX). To be clear, while it has rained a number of times in isolated places in Southern California this summer and including a freak thunderstorm with deadly lightning, it has been variable in terms of which places were above or below the miniscule average August amounts.

The San Diego NWS Forecast Office (SGX) county warning area (CWA) forecast advisories as of 9:27AM PDT September 8, 2014.

*******

Another hurricane (Odile?) might form along the southern Baja peninsula in a few days and its remnant moisture will flux into the Desert Southwest. But one of these days, we're going to get on a full-scale in-tact tropical system to strike Southern California. It has happened before in recorded history, though far more common are just the remnants to reach there.

*******

Global CO2 Trends for 2013 ...

Global annual average surface temperatures and CO2 concentrations, 1880 - 2013.

On another topic, the World Meteorology Organization (WMO) reports that 2013 atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) levels jumped 2.9 parts per million (ppm) to 396 ppm, the biggest annual jump in a 30-year window of careful and dedicated records. (It was 278 ppm in 1750. CO2 levels are now at their highest levels in at least 800,000 years.)

The CWG has a good entry on it as well as an exploration of the global warming "pause" or "hiatus" -- though you have to be careful when you say that because the Teabaggers and internet trolls go nuts as they do the bidding of GOP operatives, who in turn are the Fifth Column of the oligarchical overclass

Left: Charts showing (top) CO2 mole fraction (i.e., the ppm measurement) and (bottom) its percent growth rate, 1984 - 2013.

OK, that's all for now. I had intended to include political commentary and my Sunday bike ride pictures but I'm just going to go to bed now.

--Regulus

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Just a few words on my friend Gary's loss ...


It is with sadness that I note the passing of Gary's father. As I mentioned in this entry, Gary's dad -- Joseph (Joe) -- suffered a massive hemorrhagic stroke early last week and was in a coma in a hospital on Long Island in New York. Joe lived with his wife (Gary's stepmom) in Lynbrook in Nassau County. (I never met his dad or that part of his family.)

I spoke to Gary's mom tonight (she used to live in Boynton Beach, Fla., but now she lives in Fairfax County here in the D.C. area). I always love speaking to her. She told me some happy of when she was married to Joe and Gary was a little boy and his influence on what would become Gary's absolute love of aviation (with small pilot license) and professional bowling abilities.

The viewing / services are later this week -- possibly on Friday. He is being interred at a cemetery on Long Island (according to Gary's mom, much farther out in Suffolk County). I'm unsure of the time / day.

I really would like to go, and Kristof and Wendy have also expressed interest in going.

However, unless it is on the weekend and Wendy drives (which she already kindly offered to do), the logistics of it (involving trains and more trains or, far cheaper but much less pleasant, a bus) combined with my current pay period awful finances with rent due, not to mention my, ahem, NEGATIVE vacation balance make going there really difficult. So at this point, it doesn't seem likely.

(Speaking of Wendy and fathers, I had the chance to meet her dad just last night. He was in town from California and we went to dinner at Banana Leaves. As for my father, well, that's another topic for another blog entry.)


Let me just conclude by saying my deepest condolences, Gary, and to your family. I'm really sorry for your loss.

--Regulus