Thursday, July 27, 2017

The Ugly Madness of a Political System in Crisis Interspersed with Sunny-and-Rainy Sunday Pics -OR- Approaching TrumpWorld GÖPdämmerung

**UPDATED 2:27AM 7/28/2017: See bottom of entry.**

Sunday evening deluge at Prospect and 35th Street NW, Georgetown, Washington, D.C., 6:32PM July 23, 2017.

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Before beginning, let me just note that I am home tonight on this Thursday night following a late stay at work. It is a non-gym night, but I did NOT go to Trade or any bar/restaurant.

The very idea of having a vodka drink just appalled me -- sometimes, I hate liquor -- plus I am low on money for a reason I explain below, although my new credit card actually arrived today so that issue is nixed (my number was stolen while at the National Press Club with a friend/coworker last Thursday night; the thief only made two small purchases totaling about $20 at a BP station in Laurel, Md.).

Fort Totten Green Line sunken platform burrowed into the hillside of the Fort Totten park, Washington, D.C., 3:11PM July 23, 2017.

It looks pretty -- the park, that is -- but it is in a bad part of the city and a particularly bad park. Of course, I have in years past (when I went through there almost daily) would see bunny rabbits nibbling on the grass, making for quite the juxtaposition with the ghettoized platform. I was heading home from Union Station -- but went via Fort Totten to U Street / Cardozo.

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I just wanted to be home, and now I am. I'm cooking a steak I bought at Safeway and having the leftover jasmine rice and steamed broccoli I made too much of last night. I purchased a standard-sized bottle of Riesling wine and I'm having a glass or three of that.

The set of ginormous escalators at the Rosslyn Metro, Arlington, Va., 5:20PM July 23, 2017.

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I'm waiting for the 11PM hour when the twin reruns of Wings on Antenna TV begins. I should mention that although I recently said I never got into Family Ties -- the old sitcom rerun that Antenna TV is airing in a pair between midnight and 1AM, replacing the wonderful sitcom Becker -- I actually think I could start to like it.

Brilliant Sun seen among the Rosslyn skyscrapers, Arlington, Va., 5:23PM July 23, 2017.

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Newhart is on at 1AM until 2AM. Usually, by that point, it's time for me to start thinking about going to bed even with the schedule I keep.

It's peaceful in my lamp-lit, air-conditioned, wee efficiency somewhere in Washington, D.C. Thank God for that a/c because it is absolutely disgustingly humid outside -- 10PM KDCA air temp 82F and the dew point 76F, making it feel like 89F.

A sweaty 89F.

Trees near the Key Bridge, Rosslyn, Arlington, Va., 5:29PM July 23, 2017.

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While KDCA tends to have higher summer dew points, tonight the other three regional stations -- KBWI, KIAD, and KDMH -- are also quite elevated at 75F, 72F, and 74F, respectively (as of the 9PM hour).

View near the Key Bridge, Rosslyn, Arlington, Va., 5:29PM July 23, 2017.

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As for the weather, I would like to post another entry about our impending deluge of rain -- one that tees off this extensive CWG entry written earlier today -- in what amounts to an out-of-season quasi-nor'easter.

NWS advisories including all the flash flood watches in effect for the Eastern Region of the United States, updated 3:26PM EDT July 27, 2017.

Finally, a topically-relevant image.

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At this point, the ENTIRE state of Maryland is under a flash flood watch, something I've never seen before, for tomorrow into Saturday (see map above). Rainfall amounts from some of the models -- most notably, the Euro -- are on the order of 3 to 6+ inches even for the immediate D.C. and Baltimore areas.

Potomac upriver view, Key Bridge, Washington, D.C., 5:32PM July 17, 2017.

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However, before getting to the weather, I would first like to post an entry featuring the pictures I took on Sunday interspersed with some political commentary on the Trump/GOP EF-5 tornado of shit, lies, outright evil that is consuming Washington, D.C., and the media/political establishment this summer.

Upriver Potomac view, Key Bridge, Washington, D.C., 5:33PM July 17, 2017.

Note the ray of sunlight visible in the distance on the Maryland side.

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From the health care abomination (a bloody abortion of a bill that will result in the premature deaths of tens of thousands of Americans each year) that keeps shambling slowly toward some passage -- and Götterdämmerung in the GOP's multi-generational Long Con on the downwardly mobile, racially panicked white working class that is both the Republican Party's base and marks -- to the deeply and dangerously unhinged Donald Trump, who at present through historical accident and 19th Century vestige slave state institution, occupies the office of United States President -- this week's outburst was directed at transgendered service people, shocking even the Pentagon -- to the swirling, fetid sewer of the Trump/Putin/Russia money laundering and election scandal that could eventually take down his presidency -- there has never been anything like what is transpiring in the United States, at least since the late 19th Century era of Reconstruction followed by the Gilded Age.

The Key Bridge (formerly Jack's) Boathouse as seen from the Key Bride, Washington, D.C., 5:36PM July 23, 2017.

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On the matter of the health care bill abortion, the wee hours are to feature the "skinny" Obamacare repeal, the details of which are Alice-in-Wonderland bizarro, but I'll get to that in a bit.

The Tombs subterranean restaurant and bar, Georgetown, Washington, D.C., 6:02PM July 23, 2017.

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People continue to marvel in appalled astonishment that Sen. John McCain -- recently diagnosed with brain cancer -- rushed back to D.C. and gave an impassioned, standing ovation-inducing speech about how horrible the political process has become only to vote not only to continue the process by being a critical vote for Mitch the Bitch McConnell's motion to proceed to go forth, but also voting for the "Repeal and Replace" bill known as the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA).

Yours truly at The Tombs, Georgetown, Washington, D.C., 6:12PM July 23, 2017.

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The BCRA failed 57-43 thanks to multiple Republican defections. Next day, the "Repeal" only bill -- the Obamacare Repeal and Reconciliation Act (ORRA) also failed, 55-45. Yes, both are reconciliation bills because it is the utterly amoral Mitch the Bitch McConnell's way of doing an end run around any Democratic input. As for the Dems, all 48 were united against both bills.

Deluge as seen from the 3200 block of Prospect Street NW, Georgetown, Washington, D.C., 6:27PM July 23, 2017.

This was going to be my lead image but I featured it in my previous entry.

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Now tonight comes up the "skinny" bill, a.k.a., the Health Care Freedom Act (what a bizarro world obscenity of a name) -- except nobody but the secret cabal drafting it -- as seen it and it is Republican Senators are appalled at it -- yet will vote for it anyway on the theory that the Senate-House conferees will create something they are incapable of doing.

Rainwater rivulet along Prospect St near Wisconsin Ave NW, Washington, D.C., 6:43PM July 23, 2017.

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They can't do it because the demands of the cult-like inverted Marxist, libertarian fanaticized GOP "movement conservatives" to include the oligarchical donor overclass are antithetical to anything remotely conducive to a functioning health care system for 300+ million Americans.

Chart: Estimated percent of U.S. population uninsured under Obamacare, BCRA, ORRA, and HCFA.

Yes, a second topically-relevant image.

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The "skinny" bill is likely to pass the Senate tonight -- possibly in a 50-50 tie with Pence breaking the tie -- and then after days or weeks of pointless negotiation, Paul Ryan is likely to ram it through the House unchanged so no additional Senate input can occur. 

The bar at Martin's, Georgetown, Washington, D.C., 6:52PM July 23, 2017.

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Whatever passes, of course, the Vulgar Talking Yam, also known as the Great Orange Buffoon, will immediately sign it for "the win" -- and it will quickly blow up the insurance markets and throw 16 million people (at least) off their insurance in a wild "death spiral" (actuarial AND actual).

The bar at Martin's, Georgetown, Washington, D.C., 6:59PM July 23, 2017.

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The lies and bullshit of the current "debate" are beyond remarkable. On that note, here are two pieces by Ezra Klein of Vox.com:



These are worth reading.

Trees and sky, 3100 block Dumbarton St NW, Georgetown, Washington, D.C., 7:16PM July 23, 2017.

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There are numerous political-themed pieces I'd like to post to include those by Jonathan Chait, Charlie Pierce, Ezra Klein, and but it's all somewhat overwhelming.

The lies and bullshit to their marks aside, how someone such as Sen. Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia could vote for this when she knows full well what it will do to hundreds of thousands of her constituents is beyond me but we are living in a post-factual time.

Leafy sidewalk, 3100 block Dumbarton St NW, Georgetown, Washington, D.C., 7:16PM July 23, 2017.

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It is worth noting that the other female Republican Senators including Sue Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska have held out strongly against this abomination of a process -- and Trump had his Interior Secretary call her and threaten her and the State of Alaska; that's how Trump rolls and the 25% of the country that worships him thinks its great.)

3058 Dumbarton Street NW, Washington, D.C., 7:18PM July 23, 2017.

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Assuming "skinny" and nothing else passes, well, no one really knows how it will play out, but the rightwing media/entertainment complex disinformation machine headed by the amoral charlatans of Fox News and hate radio will (likely) convince the doltish Red State supporters that the loss of their insurance is somehow due to Obama, Hillary's email server, and transgendered service people.

The Dupont Circle fountain at dusk, Washington, D.C., 7:37PM July 23, 2017.

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The only thing the GOP base cares about is that Trump makes nice with his deranged, hatemongering little Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Trump has been tweeting bizarre attacks on Sessions for the past few days because Sessions didn't fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller investigating the Russia mess.

Entrances to the row houses at 1708 and 1710 P Street NW, Washington, D.C., 7:41PM July 23, 2017.

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As for the transgender service person issue and Trump "tweeting" a "policy" -- about which he lied outright when he said in 140 characters that it was based upon "consultation" with HIS generals (or was it his genitals?) -- it arose on unrelated matters involving a House defense appropriations bill, funding for his fucking wall with Mexico, and transgender reassignment surgery -- the White House actually boasted that this was the ancillary benefit of Trump's early morning "tweet" of a new Pentagon policy (startling the Joint Chiefs of Staff). There are about 15,000 transgendered service people and DoD was figuring out a way to incorporate them into the military thanks to America's last actual human being president, Barack Obama.

Picturesque clouds in the sky as seen from 16th and P Street NW, Washington, D.C., 7:45PM July 23, 2017.

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Let me just say that if there are zero electoral consequences next year as a result of this abomination -- to include Trump's Red State marks and victims -- then the country basically can't survive and gets what it deserves (in the aggregate, collective sense).

Row houses, 1600 block of P Street NW, Washington, D.C., 7:45PM July 23, 2017.

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Oh, and today, the new White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci, launched a profanity-laced tirade against Steve Bannon and Reince Priebus that is too vulgar to reprint here. I refer you to Fred Hiatt's take on that matter. (I'm sure Trump thinks it's great -- but he'll soon tire of "The Mooch.")

On that note, I'm just going to end this entry. That's all for now.

UPDATED 2:27AM 7/28/2017

Wow ....

Screen capture of TPM's headline at 1:57AM July 28, 2017.

Just wow.

Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona) unexpectedly voted "No" on the Health Care Freedom Act -- a.k.a., the Senate's "Skinny Repeal" of Obamacare -- and thanks to him and Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) plus all 48 Senate Democrats, the effort failed 51 to 49.

A portion of an infographic from this New York Times article showing how each Senator voted on the three Obamacare repeal bills. It captures the 13 Republican Senators who voted "No" on at least one of them. Sen. McCain was the deciding vote in the failure of this 3rd try.

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Now while we know killing Obamacare is the GOP Holy Grail (along with tax cuts for the superrich), and this zombie could very well come back from the undead, right now, this is a good -- very good -- outcome. It is a very good night. And day.

Thank you, Sen. McCain. Tonight, you're my hero.

End of Update and of Entry.

--Regulus

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Weather Update: Regional Precipitation Tallies Through July 26th and This Friday's Impending Potentially Heavy Rainfall Event

Sunday evening deluge in Georgetown, Washington, D.C., 6:37PM July 23, 2017.

Of note, virtually none of the regular-sized Georgetown row houses have any sort of overhang. The above picture was taken in the 3200 block of Prospect St NW -- and the house at 3275 had a small overhang above the front entrance and under which I took temporary shelter.

I was going to use this picture as the lead image for my planned entry featuring my Sunday walk-through-Georgetown pictures, but it seems more relevant here.

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Downtown Washington, D.C., deluge; undated photo by Robert Miller, The Washington Post.

This image is featured in the below-linked CWG entry. I assume it was taken this past weekend (near McPherson Square) but I couldn't determine for sure.

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This is a weather-related entry to post both the current monthly and yearly precipitation tallies for the four regional climate stations and info on the possibly heavy rain fall event for Friday and Saturday.

The maps shown below are taken from the NWS and for the GFS and European model outputs, as prettied up by WeatherBell.com and Tropical Tidbits.

Below are the precipitation tallies for both month-to-date (MTD) and year-to-date (YTD) through July 26, 2017 with plus/minus departures and normal-to-date amounts given in parentheses (based upon the 1980 - 2010 averages, except in the case of KMDH, which only has a dataset back to Apr. 1998).

KDCA
MTD: 5.37" +2.22" (3.15")
YTD: 21.29" -1.60" (22.89")

Of note, the Saturday-Sunday two-day rainfall total at KDCA was 2.37 inches -- making it the wettest weekend of the year.

KBWI
MTD: 3.17" -0.23" (3.40")
YTD: 21.70" -2.19" (23.89")

KIAD
MTD: 7.11" +4.05" (3.06")
YTD: 27.48" +3.62" (23.86")

KDMH
MTD: 2.19" -1.73" (3.92")
YTD: 17.84" -5.44" (23.28")

Note the 9.64" YTD and 4.92" MTD differences between KIAD and KDMH.

NWS/NCEP/WPC cumulative QPF for days 1 - 3 valid through 0Z 30 July 2017.

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Turning to the weather forecast ...

Tonight is a partly cloudy one with a southeasterly breeze as a maritime tropical (mT) airmass moves in from the Atlantic across the mid-Atlantic coastal plain and piedmont. At KDCA, the dew point has risen from about 60F at noon to 71F at the 11PM hour. It is a bit lower at KIAD at 65F and 67F at both KBWI and KDMH.

Even at this late hour, the clouds are puffy with a hint of convection.

The 0Z 7/26/2017 European model's precipitation total through hour 102 for the Mid-Atlantic region, as prettied up by WeatherBell.com.

The legend (in inches) is on the side.

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Looking ahead, there is the potential for a heavy rainfall event starting late Thursday and through Friday and into Saturday morning across the extended Baltimore / Washington region with rainfall totals anywhere from 1 to 6+ inches -- depending on how the synoptic and mesoscale situation unfolds.

The 12Z 7/26/20167 GFS model's precipitation total through hour 90 for the Mid-Atlantic region, as prettied up by WeatherBell.com.

Again, the legend (in inches) is on the right side. Also, both WeatherBell.com images are from this CWG entry.

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Below is part of the Sterling (LWX) area forecast discussion (AFD) updated at 9:32PM tonight interspersed with some relevant images. I'm going to end my part of the entry here.

--Regulus

As the mid-west disturbances approach from the Ohio Valley Thursday morning, the wind field is expected to strengthen as do the lapse rates. There is a model spread for the amt of available energy by Thursday afternoon but 1000 J/Kg or more is expected by Thu afternoon. Southerly surface flow will continue during the day with about 30 kt of 0-6km shear. Isolated strong to severe storms are expected Thurs afternoon into the evening.

Tonight's 0Z 7/27/2017 GFS model precipitation total through hour 90 for the Mid-Atlantic region, as prettied up by Tropical Tidbits.com.

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.SHORT TERM /THURSDAY NIGHT THROUGH FRIDAY NIGHT/...
The showers and thunderstorms will likely move to the south and a brief break in activity is likely Thu night. The cold front will be approaching the Appalachians Thu night while a closed low passes across the Great Lakes.

Cyclogenesis will be occurring across the Mid-Atlantic region Friday and depending on the placement of the sfc low and front hazardous weather is possible. The main threat at this time is heavy rain due to the increased PWAT air and overrunning Fri morning into the afternoon.

The NWS/WPC National Digital Forecast Database (NDFD) weather map forecast for the Lower 48 valid at 18Z July 27, 2017 issued earlier Wednesday.

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Thunderstorms are possible mainly in the warm sector and across the southern CWA. Deepening of the sfc low will continue off the Mid-Atlantic coast resulting in northerly flow on the backside of the low Fri night. The wind field will strengthen aloft as the upper level low approaches the Mid-Atlantic region. Bands of heavy rain may continue Friday night into Saturday.

There will likely be multiple rounds of heavy rain Friday morning into Saturday. Uncertainty exists in the location of the heaviest bands of rainfall but all interested parties across the Mid-Atlantic region should stay tuned to the rainfall threat during this time.

The NWS/WPC NDFD weather map forecast for the Lower 48 valid at 0Z July 28, 2017 issued earlier Wednesday.

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.LONG TERM /SATURDAY THROUGH WEDNESDAY/...
Still some uncertainty in the forecast for Saturday. Some guidance holds back the upper level trough longer during the day while the new 12Z GFS/06Z GEFS push moisture out quicker.

Fairly confident though that lingering impacts from the departing surface low will continue into Saturday morning and maybe into the afternoon east of the Blue Ridge. Clouds and showers are a good bet all areas Saturday morning.

The NWS/WPC NDFD weather map forecast for the Lower 48 valid at 12Z July 28, 2017 issued earlier Wednesday.

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Then by Saturday afternoon drying will begin in earnest across western areas with clearing skies during the afternoon while in the east...clouds linger longer into afternoon with even some spotty showers activity. By Saturday night...most areas will be drying as a large area of high pressure over the Great Lakes builds into the region.

The NWS/WPC NDFD weather map forecast for the Lower 48 valid at 0Z July 29, 2017 issued earlier Wednesday.

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Sunday through Tuesday will be influenced by a large area of high pressure centered over the eastern U.S., and overhead on Tuesday. Sunday will be a great day featuring dry weather with sunny skies and low humidities and well below normal temperatures for late July.

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.

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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.

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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.

--Regulus

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.

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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).

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.)

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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 ...

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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.

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

--Regulus