Monday, December 31, 2012

On the Edge of Distant Coastlines and a Brand New Year -OR- Welcome to 2013

Updated 2:43PM 1/1/2013: I intend to post a new entry before midnight tonight. My New Year's Eve turned out fine.

Sunrise over the South Atlantic Ocean as seen from a beach in La Paloma in Rocha Department, Uruguay. This is approx. 120 miles "up" the coastline from Montevideo.

I found this image on a blog called Hecktic Travels in the entry Coastlines of Uruguay – A Photo Essay.

Here is another picture from the same blog entry -- this one featuring the beach / shoreline in a place called La Pedrera, also in Rocha Department, Uruguay.

I've developed a "thing" about the Atlantic coastline of South America from São Paulo, Brazil southward past the curious city of Florianópolis and into Uruguay and Argentina -- and all the way to Cape Horn itself in Chile. Uruguay in particular interests me.


There is something similar about this coastline to the United States East Coast, and yet it is so far away and alien -- other worldly in that sense -- so that it sort of becomes a parallel Earth kind of place to which I travel in a dream. (Does that make any sense?)

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OK, I started this entry on Sunday night but it is now Monday morning -- and New Year's Eve 2013, the last day of 2012. It was an angrier and more vitriolic entry (what's new?) but I'm now in a better mood.

I actually had a nice night, initially at Nellie's and then at Larry's Lounge, where I met up with Kristof. He and I were at Town last night and had a rapprochement that others in our group (Gary and D. in particular) had hoped for.

A pastel / florid green newspapear vending machine on 15th Street by U Street NW, Washington, D.C., 10:22AM, December 28, 2012.

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I spent a large amount of money this weekend -- indeed, exactly $328.53 in all from Friday through Sunday -- and that's bad, especially considering I live check to check. But I don't want to get into this right now.

Yeah, yeah, I know ...

Matthew "M. Wade Tipamillyun" Henry takes twice that in one busy night and Wall-P makes that in a half hour of corporate legal stoogery for the forces of corporate intrigue.

"Eh. Eh. Eheheh."

But I don't want to get into that now. It makes me look bitter.

As for this New Year's Day, my plan is to go with DD and his family to dinner in Rockville tomorrow evening and then return back into D.C. in time for midnight -- either to a house party around Dupont Circle to which Andrea was going to invite me or to a bar.

A few other items ...


(I wrote this earlier tonight:)

The radiator in my old apartment (see above picture) is beyond my control in terms of when it goes on and off -- and it always seems to be on even when I don't want it to be. It's constantly hissing, whistling, and thumping. I counteract this with my hapless window a/c, which I never remove and which at this point is pretty much just blowing air that is the same temp. on both sides. If it is "cold" at all, it's because the outdoor air is sometimes chilly.

Sometimes, I just open the window and put the fan in it to suck in some colder night air.

At night, I have the a/c and my box fan on.

Rarely -- and always in the early hours of dawn -- is it actually cold enough that I am happy that I have the radiator. Otherwise, it's just a potentially dangerous pain the ass. I don't keep anything near it.

View from my apartment, Washington, D.C., 3:59PM, December 29, 2012 following a weather non-event.

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This brings up the topic of the weather ... At this point, it is going to be a "photo finish" as to whether Washington, D.C.,  will come in with warmest December on record as measured at KDCA climate station. Through Dec. 30th, the departure is +5.9F at 45.7F. The number to at least tie is also +5.9F but it is vis-a-vis a full-monthly average of 45.6F (i.e., the average monthly temp. drops another 0.1F by tomorrow).

It's going to be a close call -- indeed, at this point, I simply cannot tell.

The KDCA forecast is for a high of 47F and a low of 25F at KDCA, giving a net departure of +3F for the high (normal Dec. 31st high is 44F) and -4F for the low (normal Dec. 31st low is 29F) or -0.5F net daily departure. Based on this, I cannot determine if KDCA will narrowly miss the warmest December or not.

Regardless, it will be the warmest full year on record at KDCA and also for the contiguous United States. For background on D.C. and overall contiguous U.S. conditions in December and preliminarily for 2012, see this entry.

Lastly, I highly recommend the current Paul Krugman Monday op-ed column "Brewing Up Confusion" about Starbucks C.E.O. Howard Schultz acted as a useful idiot for the corporate oligarchical interests behind the "Fix the Debt" astro-turf scam designed to lock in obscenely low tax rates for the superrich / multi-millionaires and billionaires and savagely slash / "privatize" / turn over to Wall Street crooks Social Security and "voucherize" Medicare, or at least raise the eligibility age to, like, 100.

Mr. Schultz, a word to the wise: This kind of useful idiocy in which The WaHoPo Editorial Board / Beltway Media Elite specialize. Just stick to selling coffee.

Sunset from my apartment overlooking 16th and U Streets NW, Washington, D.C., 4:45PM, December 29, 2012.

As I mentioned before, I live at 2013 New Hampshire Avenue NW in Washington, D.C., so my street address and the year match up.

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OK, that's all for now. My next update planned update will be on on the other side of the New Year on New Year's Day.

The lighthouse at Cape Horn.

I believe that this is the actual and authentic Cape Horn Lighthouse at the southernmost tip of South America in the Tierra del Fuego archipelago of Chile.

There is a second and manned lighthouse on a nearby point of land and belonging to the Chilean Navy.

Happy New Year 2013!

--Regulus

Saturday, December 29, 2012

The LOOOONG (2 Months) Overdue Final Batch of Hurricane Sandy Damage Photos

An aerial view of the shoreline in Mantoloking, N.J., in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, October 30, 2012.

This entry features more pictures of the destruction caused by Hurricane Sandy two months ago to the day (October 29th, 2012) in New York City and along the coastline of New Jersey, or as it is known (and long before that TV show of same name), the Jersey shore. For the most part, the pictures are posted in no particular order -- and in some cases I already posted them in my entries right after the storm.

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In terms of direct storm destruction, the hardst hit places were both New York City's oft-maligned and often forgotten borough of Staten Island (Richmond County) and numerous towns (both boroughs and cities) on the Jersey shore such as Seaside Heights, Belmar, Asbury Park, Long Branch, Sea Bright, and Atlantic Highlands.

Ocean water and sand fills the streets of Lavallette, N.J., in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, Oct. 30, 2012. This picture includes an inset from The New York Times website.

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As of mid-November, the death toll in the U.S. from Hurricane Sandy was put at 131 with 97 of those occurring with a 65-mile radius of New York City. Another 104 died in Haiti and 11 in Cuba plus an additional 7 in four other countries (Bahamas, Canada, Dominican Republic, and Jamaica at 2, 2, 2, and 1, respectively), so the grand total is 253.

U.S. damage is estimated $63 billion, representing nearly the entire storm total of $65.6 billion.

This information comes primarily from the Wikipedia article on the storm (which, I'm assuming, is probably correct) and also this New York Times article.

The Atlantic Ocean in full fury pounds the shoreline and the pier in Ocean Grove, N.J., during Hurricane Sandy, Oct. 29, 2012.

This picture and several others in this entry (noted below) were taken by Ryan Struck and posted in this entry on his blog The New Surf.

I'm thinking this might be THE iconic image of Hurricane Sandy's effects on the Jersey shore: the wreckage of the roller coaster that had been atop the Casino Pier, Seaside Heights, New Jersey, October 31, 2012. There is a certain post-apocalyptic look and feel to it.

I understand that this destroyed roller coaster has not been moved from its current spot in the surf.

The Casino Pier was basically destroyed in the storm.

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On December 28th, 2012, the Senate passed a $60.4 billion Hurricane Sandy recovery package, but it's not clear what the GOP lunatics in the House of Representatives will do. They'll probably pass a resolution calling for free Bushmasters for all hurricane victims and tax cuts in lieu of recovery money.

Another picture of the Casino Pier with destroyed roller coaster in the surf following Hurricane Sandy, October 31, 2012. At this point, the ocean looks so tranquil.

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A woman pauses to rest while going through the wreckage of her home and possessions in New Dorp Beach, Staten Island, New York City, Nov. 1, 2012. She and so many others lost everything in the storm surge from Hurricane Sandy.

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Mark Baronowski shovels massive quantities of sand that filled in home in the flooding during Hurricane Sandy in Bay Head, N.J., Nov. 4, 2012.

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The level of damage and outright destruction in certain places was tremendous -- "unthinkable" in the words of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie -- and many people lost everything.

Aerial view of the devastated shoreline of Belmar, N.J., following Hurricane Sandy, October 30, 2012.

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There were literally hundreds of thousands of people temporarily displaced -- hurricane refugees, as it were. Furthermore, as reported here, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg estimated that up to 40,000 New Yorkers simply would not return to their homes because they were so badly damaged.

Two people try to salvage belongings from their totally destroyed home on Staten Island, New York City, following Hurricane Sandy, late October or early November 2012.

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The above article also notes that approximately 1.8 million customers were without power days a full week after the storm including about 1 million in New Jersey and 700,000 in New York, primarily on Long Island and in NYC. This was a real a problem because it had gotten rather cold by early November with overnight lows around freezing. Indeed, there was as nor'easter that brought a snowstorm with 6 to 12+ inches of snow across parts of New Jersey and New York the following week.

The tanker John B. Candell ran aground on Staten Island as a result of Hurricane Sandy, October 30, 2012.

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There was also a widespread fuel shortage and Gov. Christie declared a fuel emergency in New Jersey with rationing in 12 of the state's 21 counties.

People stand in a gasoline queue in the Jamaica section of Queens, New York City, following Hurricane Sandy, November 3, 2012.

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My friend Jonathan in Middletown had no electrcity for about 10 days. I've mentioned Jonathan before on this blog -- he was my bestfriend from my Sea Bright / Tradewinds Beach Club days in the early to mid 1980s, and we've stayed in touch over the years.

Flooding in Sea Bright, N.J., during Hurricane Sandy, October 29, 2012.

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Long Branch and Sea Bright are names that are very evocative for me because I am from Long Branch and spent my childhood and teenage summer years both there and in Sea Bright, where I used to go to the old Tradewinds Beach Club (which I've written about here, here, and here).

As for the Borough of Sea Bright, the town was basically rendered inhabitable and it is not clear two months now in what form it will be rebuilt.

A man paddles his way down a flooded street on a surf board in Sea Bright, N.J., during Hurricane Sandy, October 29, 2012.

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Destroyed in Hurricane Sandy, the ruins of Driftwood Beach Club in Sea Bright, N.J., on October 31, 2012. Photo from Ryan Struck / The New Surf.

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This was the beachclub where my cousin Betty Ann used to go in the late 1990s into the 2000s -- and I even went there a couple of times. This was long after the Tradewinds Beach Club days had ended. I went there on a couple rare and brief visits to New Jersey including in 2002. (Betty Ann is my Aunt Babe's daughter -- the Aunt Babe whose 100th birthday party is scheduled in Long Branch for Jan. 27th. She is my late grandmother's younger sister.)

The destruction of the beachfront condominums along Tradewinds Lane -- site of the legendary Tradewinds Beach Club -- in Sea Bright, N.J., following Hurricane Sandy, October 31, 2012. Photo from Ryan Struck / The New Surf.

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Massive quantities of sand were deposited in the streets of Sea Bright, N.J., as a result of Hurricane Sandy October 31, 2012. Yes, there is a touch of irony in the name.

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Hurricanes and ocean storms in general can cause EITHER cause beach erosion OR deposition. Which process dominates is a complicated question involving the period (long or short) of the waves and the direction they strike the coastline. Sandy seems to have involved a significant net erosion.

The destruction in Sea Bright, N.J., October 30th or 31st, 2012.

I personally recall that Hurricane David in 1979 DEPOSITED a lot of sand on the beaches in Sea Bright, but the storm was already well inland at that point and the winds were from the S/SE, not the E/NE.

Sea Bright, N.J., Mayor Dina Long talks to residents displaced by Hurricane Sandy at an emergency meeting held at Rumson - Fair Haven Regional High School in Rumson, N.J., on November 1, 2012.

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Sea Bright, N.J., residents attend a meeting at Rumson - Fair Haven Regional High School following Hurricane Sandy, Nov. 1, 2012.

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By contrast, Cape May and Wildwood seem to have dodged a bullet even though they were much closer to the nominal center of Hurricane Sandy.

As for the pattern of damage in Hurricane Sandy, places closer to the center including across the Baltimore and Washington, D.C., areas actually had substantially less wind owing to the structure of the hurricane and a cold air inversion that kept the really strong winds from mixing down to the surface.

A couple listens at the emergency meeting held at Rumson - Fair Haven Regional High School following Hurricane Sandy, Nov. 1, 2012.

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Sea Bright resident Tim McLoone listens grimly at the emergency meeting at Rumson - Fair Haven Regional High School in Rumson, N.J., following Hurricane Sandy, Nov. 1, 2012.

Thus, even though the D.C. and Baltimore areas got much more rainfall than the New York City area -- 4 to 8 inches versus 0.5 to 1 inch -- but the damage was far less.

Peak wind gusts in the Washington and Baltimore areas included 61 mph at National Airport (KDCA) and 60 mph at BWI Airport (KBWI) and there were lulls.

Furthermore, even though winds were roaring at 80 mph barely 1,500 feet overhead, they never really mixed down to the surface and sustained winds were more in the 35 to 40 mph range -- not enough to cause windspread downed tree limbs and power outtages.

Even Atlantic City Int'l Airport climate station (KACY) -- which is righ near where the actual center of Sandy crossed the shoreline -- had a peak gust of "only" 64 mph. By contrast, JFK Int'l Airport climate station (KJFK) had a peak wind gust of 85 mph and sustained winds of nearly 50 mph for hours -- all screaming in off the ocean, piling in the storm surge that wreaked so much havoc in the NYC area. (These numbers are all from the monthly climate summaries.)

Submerged cars in the East Village of Manhattan, New York City following Hurricane Sandy and its storm surge, October 30, 2012.

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Reagan Washington National Airport climate station (KDCA) had a three-day storm precipitation total of 4.84" while KBWI had 6.67". The barometric pressure at KDCA and Baltimore/Washington Marshall International Airport climate station (KBWI) bottomed out at 28.62" or 969.1 mb.

These numbers thus left in place the record low barometric pressures at KDCA and KBWI of 28.54" or 966.5 mb and 28.52" or 965.9 mb, respectively, both set March 13, 1993 in the Superstorm. (Thus, my entry at the time stating that KBWI had a record low barometric reading in this storm was wrong. KACY had a minimum pressure of 28.00" on the 29th.)

Aerial view of the destruction of the Casino Pier in Seaside Heights, N.J., following Hurricane Sandy, Oct. 31, 2012.

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The main destruction was from the storm surge. The revised numbers from the National Hurricane Center were 13.7 feet at Battery Park in Lower Manhattan, New York City and 13.3 feet at both Kings Point, Nassau County, N.Y. and Sandy Hook, N.J.

Kathy Lahey goes through her destroyed home in the Breezy Point section of Queens, New York City, Nov. 4, 2012.

A massive conflagration destroyed scores of homes during the height of Hurricane Sandy.

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Aerial view of the fire destruction in the Breezy Point section of Queens, New York City, October 31, 2012 as a result of Hurricane Sandy.

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Hoboken, N.J., experienced one of its worst flooding episodes ever. The city's mayor last week made an empassioned plea on "The Rachel Maddow Show" two days after the storm for National Guard help to help with what he estimated were 20,000 to 25,000 people trapped in their homes. The city is apparently slightly below the level of the Hudson River in places. The National Guard arrived soon thereafter.

Debris and mud fill the streets and yards of Toms River, N.J., Nov. 1, 2012.

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As usual in these cases, the flood waters were a toxic and dangerous mix of sewage, oil and gasoline, assorted filth and litter, and downed power lines.

Mountains of garbage from the debris caused by Hurricane Sandy line this street in the New Dorp section of State Island, New York City, November 4, 2012. All across the region massive quantities of debris were created by the storm. Proper disposal of it is problematic and difficult.

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President Obama toured parts of the Jersey shore on Wednesday, October 31st with Gov. Chris Christie, who overnight suddenly became Democrats' best Republican friend, and who earned a lot of Republican ire for doing this right on the eve of a presidential election that Obama easily won. Gov. Christie strongly praised Pres. Obama for all the Federal support and resources were brought to bear so that it didn't turn into another Katrina situation.

Pres. Obama and N.J. Gov. Chris Christie talk to residents at a shelter in Brigantine, N.J., following Hurricane Sandy, October 31, 2012.

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Federal disaster assistance poured into the region including in the form of military cargo plan airlifts of supplies.

Residents in Long Beach, N.Y., wave at three passing military transport helicopters following Hurricane Sandy, Nov. 3, 2012.

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I don't know if there is anything the United States of America does better than "project" power as needed wherever in the world for whatever purposes including humanitarian. Whether for better or worse, it is actually quite awesome.

As it is, a massive rescue effort was underway at that point. This wasn't a post-Katrina Bush / "Heckuva Job Brownie" / GOP "free market" reply of doing nothing and letting anarchy and death take over -- all while corporate and foundation-funded pimped-out intellectual and moral gigolos at D.C. think tanks yammer obscenely about how this is the proper "libertarian" response, even as Fred Hiatt ponders "both sides" of the issue.

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In terms of the recovery process, the transportation infrastructure took a few weeks to approach anything like normal, though the New York subway system opened remarkably quickly. Oh, and of course, the Red Cross did its usual outstanding job to assist those in need.

One question I keep coming back to even now is whether and in what form the Jersey shore -- that place of so many memories for so many people and pop cultural iconic legend -- will come back.

Aerial view of Ocean Beach, N.J., showing the destruction following Hurricane Sandy, Oct. 30, 2012.

That little pastel green bungalow intrigues me.

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I am assuming that many things will be in time rebuilt, but there will probably and necessarily be some changes. There has to be some sort of enhanced beach dune management system to recreate the needed buffers from most storm surges.

The larger issue of whether to "retreat" from the shoreline as a result of climate change-induced sea level rise and more frequent and extreme weather events is probably too vexing and controversial to address.
 
Honestly, I don't have any answeers for that one.

As for the climate change angle, here is the cover of the Nov. 11, 2012 issue of Bloomberg's Businessweek.

The tweet quote from the editor Josh Tyrangiel is worth noting: "Our cover story this week may generate controversy, but only among the stupid."

Hear, hear.

MODIS satellite image of Hurricane Sandy several hours before landfall, October 29, 2012.

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Sandy, Sandy

I just want to note the bitter irony of the name "Sandy" appearing in two terrible news stories within a month and a half of each other -- Hurricane Sandy the "superstorm" and the horrific massacre of small children at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.

As for the name "Sandy Hook," that is also what the peninsula at the upper end of the Jersey shore is called that juts out into Sandy Hook Bay and towards New York City.

Left: An aerial view of the Sandy Hook peninsula. Sea Bright is at the bottom of the image. In the upper right, the Coney Island section of Brooklyn is visible.

The Breezy Point / Far Rockaway peninsula of Queens is a bit farther to the right not visible in this image.

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The remains of a ship called the Bessie White were exposed along Fire Island on Long Island as a result of the sand shifting / eroding due to Hurricane Sandy, Nov. 2012.

There is something very evocative about this  beach morning image of an exposed ancient ship wreck.

Needless to say, the name "Sandy" has been retired from the Atlantic Ocean basin roster of hurricane names.

As for the NWS, it is "reviewing" its procedures in light of the profoundly -- dangerously -- stupid idea and the resulting deserved grief it got for failing through the National Hurricane Center* to issue "hurricane warnings" for the mid-Atlantic coastal region as a result of the obsession with bureaucratic** and technical minutiae about the barotropic versus baroclinic structure of the storm at the precise moment the center/eye made landfall near Atlantic City, N.J.

Idiots.

*Only NHC has the authority to issue tropical cyclone-related watches and warnings.

**Working in a Federal environment myself, I can so see how this decision was reached.

Instead, it was left to the local NWS offices to issue a farrago of warnings such as a Hurricane Force Wind Warning, High Wind Warning, and Storm Warning (the last one in place of a Tropical Storm Warning) that did not have the same impact as a simple Hurricane Warning.

Here were the advisories in place as of 12:45PM October 29, 2012 about six hours before Sandy made actual landfall. Note the only actual "Hurricane Warnings" were in effect well offshore on the continental slope waters -- which, I'm sure, was very useful to the marine life out there.
 
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Here were the NWS issued warnings in place as seen on the Philadelphia / Mount Holly National Weather Service office webpage as of 1:03PM October 29, 2012.

Again, the hurricane warnings are in place well offshore while along the shoreline are a host of more confusing warnings, most notably that "Hurricane Force Wind Warning." (In fact, there were multiple warnings in place simultaneoulsy in many areas. Only the most serious one shows up on this map.)

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Here was the Dover, Delaware (DOX) NWS radard in enhanced base mode reflectivity at 12:59PM October 29, 2012.

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And with this entry, I will close the chapter on Hurricane Sandy. Unfortunately for so many people, that is a far harder task, and for some, impossible.

Brian Hajeski is overcome with emotion at the sheer scale of the devastation of Hurricane Sandy as he walks through the streets of Mantoloking, N.J., October 30, 2012.

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My next planned update will be tomorrow night. I think I'm going to Town tonight with Gary.

--Regulus

Pareene and Reich on House Republicans and the Impending Fiscal Cliff


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The following are excerpts of two columns I think make important points ahead of the looming and wholly contrived "Fiscal Cliff" crisis ...

GOP hasn't fallen off a cliff

No matter how destructive and harmful and foolish they've been this month, they'll bounce back

by Alex Pareene, Salon.com

Full piece here.


"[R]egardless of how completely lost the Republican party is -- and they are well and truly lost, and not currently 'negotiating' with anything resembling a coherent plan or unified voice -- they will emerge from the current mess unscathed.


"It really doesn't matter how awful the Republicans are, because a) they've got a gerrymandered House majority that is practically guaranteed through 2020 and b) American history teaches us that Americans vote for each party about 50% of the time almost no matter what. The GOP currently can't scrape together national popular vote majorities, and they keep losing gimme Senate races, but that'll self-correct in a couple of years, even if they spend those couple of years acting like lunatics and purposely blowing up the economy.


"Americans don't really punish political parties for longer than a few election cycles, and they save that punishment for truly monumental disasters. In the meantime, Republicans still control a majority of state legislatures, and they have complete control of the government in 24 states. They have the power to enact the entire conservative agenda in nearly half the country. They're fine. If they blow up the economy, do you know who people -- and much of the press -- will blame? 'Congress.' Or 'partisanship.' Or 'dysfunction.' Or Obama.

Bob Woodward already wrote a book about how irresponsible it was for Obama not to somehow force House Republicans to act reasonably and rationally, and he will definitely be happy to write another one...


"The idea of the Republican Party getting replaced, like the Whigs, in our lifetimes, is slim. And unless that happens, they'll return to power, because America thinks one-party rule is unnatural ...

"So, cheer up, National Review cruisers! You'll probably win the House, Senate and presidency in 2020."

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More political 'toons (Part 1)


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Click for a larger version -- the Republican country side is kind of funny. Note there is a "Guns Galore" here, too, as in the preceding image. I think the funniest name is the "Strip 'N' Poke Her Club."

Note the air temperature difference on both sides -- 72F as recorded atop the "Recycling" center versus 99F as recorded the "Cut Rate Liquor and Cigarettes" store. The Democratic side should have a few gay bars as well.

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Cliff Hanger: Why Republicans Don’t Care What the Nation Thinks

by Robert Reich, RobertReich.org
December 28, 2012

Full column here.

"Democrats are confident that even if the nation technically goes over the cliff January 1, Boehner will bring such a bill [extending the Bush tax cuts to the first $250,000 of everyone’s income] to the floor soon after January 3 -- once House Republicans have reelected him Speaker -- and it will get passed.

"But this assumes Boehner and the GOP will be any more swayed by public opinion than they are now.


"Public opinion is already running strongly in favor of President Obama and the Democrats, and against the GOP. In the latest CNN/ORC poll, 48 percent say they’ll blame Republicans if no deal is reached while 37 percent blame Obama. Confidence in congressional Republicans is hovering at about 30 percent; Obama is enjoying the confidence of 46 percent. And over half of all Americans think the GOP is too extreme.

"Yet Republicans haven't budged. The fact is, they may not care a hoot about the opinions of most Americans.


"That's because the national party is in disarray. Boehner isn't worried about a challenge to his leadership; no challenger has emerged. The real issue is neither he nor anyone else is in charge of the GOP. Romney's loss, along with the erosion of their majority in the House and Democratic gains in the Senate, has left a vacuum at the top.


"House Republicans don't run nationally. They run only in their own districts -- which, because of gerrymandering, are growing even more purely Republican. Their major concern is being reelected in 2014, and their biggest potential obstacle is a primary challenge from the right.

"The combination of a weakened national party and more intense competition in primaries is making the Republican Party relatively impervious to national opinion."

"This poses a large strategic problem for the Democrats. It could be an even bigger problem for the nation."

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Ha ha

(In case you're wondering, this is a parody of the Norman Rockwell's "Happy Birthday, Miss Jones" from the coverof the March 17, 1956 Saturday Evening Post. Or maybe I should just say this is the NRA Dream World.)

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OK, I would like to take care of some blog house-keeping and post between now and New Year's Eve a few more entries that I have been meaning to post.

--Regulus