Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Marching In and Out

The house at 2052 N Street, NW, Washington, D.C., 6:42PM, March 31, 2010.


I'm finally getting around to updating this blog. I am very tired and need to get some sleep. However, I have to be up quite early because I am participating in (enumerating at) a major Census enumeration at a large facility. Today I got to do some clerical work of stuffing envelopes -- putting the D-20's into the D-40's -- at the local census office here in D.C. in preparation for the enumeration at another large institution.

A fountain along M Street at the corner of either 24th or 23rd Street, NW (I can't recall), 6:35PM, March 31, 2010.


The Census Bureau is strict on their confidentiality issues so I won't go into any more details.

The information collected is rather basic. If you've filled out your form -- most likely a residential D-1 "Individual Census Record" form -- you'll see how quickly it can be completed. The D-20 form is the group quarters enumeration version of the ICR and if anything it is even slightly shorter.

It took me about 90 seconds while I was riding the Metrorail Red Line between Dupont Circle and Woodley Park stations to fill in my (D-1) ICR.

By the way, tomorrow (April 1st, 2010) is officially Census Day 2010 when the forms are in theory to be completed and mailed in. I have heard about the teabagger / rightwing militia / black helicopter crowd and more general American Know-Nothing wingnut contingent have been urging people to not fill in their forms.

This picture of that religio-crazy Michigan militia, some of whose members were just arrested by the FBI for their plans to carry out domestic terrorist attacks, is a sample of what I'm talking about.


Political Detour 1: Political Cartoons

Some related political cartoons ...




Political Detour 2: Shadowy Rightwing Billionaires

Rachel Maddow tonight on her show -- talking about Pres. Obama's proposal to open up the Middle and South Atlantic continental shelf and Gulf Coast to offshore oil drilling posed the question (and I'm paraphrasing so I'm not using quotes):

How did the debate on climate get shifted so far to the right that we're talking about lifting the moratorium on offshore oil drilling? Usually there's a rightwing zillionaire behind it, and that's the case here.

She was referring to the Koch Industries Family Empire and its nearly $29 million in bankrolling the climate denying "echo chamber" industry as detailed in a report by Greenpeace.

Her subsequent segment was on the Koch Industries efforts and billionaire David Koch himself and included an interview with author and blogger James Hoggan who wrote about this topic.

A breakdown of the bogus organization expenditures is available in the above report link. And that dollar amount is just for a three-year period 2005 - 2008.

This is just a small part of the vastly larger corporate and rightwing foundation-funded "TOXIC SLUDGE IS GOOD FOR YOU" rightwing pseudo-intellectual think tank and Astro-turf network in D.C., not to mention larger corporate PR machine (which was more of the topic of the 1995 book of same title).

It was actually easier during the days of the Geo. W. Bush when things were so starkly clear.

If lifting the offshore drilling moratorium really helped get Republican votes for a filibuster-proof energy and climate change bill, I would be for it, but it probably won't, Sen. Lindsey Graham's efforts notwithstanding. As for the expanded nuclear power option, I'm actually quite in favor of that.

As for "Climategate" itself and the hacked East Anglia University emails, my guess is that the hacking was a highly sophisticated operation on the part of a specific foreign government. Take one guess, and no, not from Russia -- that's just whence all the nasty computer v1ruses come, with love.


And just because I think this is funny ...

Click on this image for a larger and more readable version


The Theology of Pope Benedict XVI and Christopher Hitchens

Speaking of things less than theologically inspiring, I haven't written about the Vatican cover up scandal involving its deviant priests and directly implicating Pope Benedict XVI -- or "Benny the Rat" as Bartcop calls him -- but it's bad.

I basically find myself agreeing with Christopher Hitchens on this matter these days.

Here was Christopher Hitchens on Morning Joe the other day. Remarkably, Pat Buchanan -- a hardright Catholic who was part of the show's panel discussion -- doesn't say a peep during the whole clip. I don't know what the weird background music is. Andrew Ross Sorkin's face and giggle at the end are priceless. As for Mika Brzezinski -- daughter of Zbigniew Brzezinski -- she seems kind of clueless.

This AP article carried by HuffPo about the Vatican's legal defense -- including some weird 1962 document called "Crimen Sollicitationis" is a good one.

Speaking of Christopher Hitchens, this 2001 Onion parody article about him is one of the funniest things I've ever read.



What follows are some other pictures I took with my blurry cellphone camera.

The statue of Serenity -- badly damaged and broken with missing body parts -- in Meridian Hill Park, Washington, D.C., 6:25PM, March 30, 2010. This sculpture is over 85 years old. Here is a better picture of Serenity.

I was walking through (crummy) Meridian Hill Park returning from a service based enumeration at a church in Columbia Heights yesterday evening. Meridian Hill Park is very near where I live. It is sometimes called unofficially Malcolm X Park, but I will not call it that. Yes, Malcolm was in the end a very good man who did good, but the park's historical name is Meridian Hill for a specific and excellent geographical and related symbolic reason related to the original design and layout of the city involving the Washington Meridian.


Yours Truly with Serenity, Meridian Hill Park, 6:25PM, March 30, 2010


The view from Meridian Hill Park looking down on 16th Street and the Envoy, Washington, D.C., 6:26PM March 30, 2010. Even with my cellphone camera image you can see a Yoshino (Japanese) cherry tree at its floral peak.

I'm not sure I'll be getting down to the Tidal Basin to see the cherry blossoms -- not even for my middle-of-the-night walk as I have done in some years. I've only got a few days to do it before the blossoms fall off. Next up are my favorite blossoms: the double-flowering kwanzan.


The southeast corner of Meridian Hill Park at W and 15th Streets and New Hampshire Avenue, NW, 6:35PM, Washington, D.C.

My apt. building is just out of view along New Hampshire Avenue.


One last picture from this past Sunday ...

The scene outside on a gloomy gray rather cool early evening at Cosi along Connecticut Avenue at R Street, Washington, D.C., Sunday, 5:21PM March 28, 2010, shortly before it started to rain.

I went to Cosi with Chris T. and then we went to an early dinner at a Chinese restaurant. Unfortunately, I left my book bag underneath the table and by the time I remembered and went back, it was went bye bye and I need a new one now. I didn't have anything important in it at that point but I miss it.


Weather Update

The above picture was taken just before it started raining as a big coastal storm system approach. That storm -- which brought gusty, blustery conditions and about 1 inch of rain to the D.C. area versus 12 to 16 inches of rain to parts of southern New England including the Boston and Providence areas -- is gone.

This was the Northeastern U.S. radar mosaic (composite mode) for 0048UTC (848PM EDT) March 31, 2010 (March 30, 2010) -- i.e. last night.


I'm annoyed both because DCA has managed to be slightly BELOW normal on precip for the month and below for the year -- the latter partly because its snow storm liquid equivalent totals were so low, less than half the BWI and IAD ones. These liquid equivalent determinations are highly ambiguous with no set way to do it. (Am I right on that Chester??)

No, I didn't want flooding such as occurred in parts of New England but I still feel somewhat cheated and I'm not even sure I buy the DCA numbers.

Richmond and Charlottesville (which does not have a climatological normal data set yet), two locations south of here, are also significantly higher than DCA on precipitation and instead are on par with BWI and IAD. This suggests to me that the DCA numbers, esp. for the year, are not that accurate and certainly aren't reflective even of the immediate D.C. area.

Of note, the stalled out and even retrograde motion of this storm was like the sixth major one in the past four months to move as such including the snowstorms and was due once again to a blocked flow and negative North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) / Arctic Oscillation (AO), although not nearly as negative as earlier this year.

I'm also annoyed because a big frickin' ridge is moving in with very warm (mid 80s F) and dry conditions in the forecast for the next 5 to 7 days (until the end of the reliable forecast period).

Anyway, here are the final March / year-to-date numbers for the usual DCA, BWI, and IAD regional airport trio (with normals in parentheses) -- CORRECTED DCA figure.

Month: 3.55" -0.05" (3.50")
Year-to-date: 7.83" -1.61" (9.44")

Month: 5.53" +1.60" (3.93")
Year-to-date: 11.92" +1.50" (10.42")

Month: 3.36" -0.19" (3.55")
Year-to-date: 10.00" +0.63" (9.37")

For reference: Richmond is at 6.17" for March (+2.08") and 12.59" for year so far (+1.97") and Charlottesville is at 4.93" and 11.47", respectively.

Boston (Logan Aiport) is at 14.87" for March (+11.02") and 21.12" for year-to-date or +10.05". Providence (T.F. Green Int'l Airport) is at 16.34" for March (+11.91" and obviously a monthly record) and 24.18" for year-to-date or +11.93".

Remember: It's the implicit goal of the LWX - Sterling NWSFO at all times to have as little "sensible weather" as possible at all and most of the public just thinks "hotter and sunnier = better."

And DCA is the best location for recording no weather.

OK, I think I better wrap up this entry. I have a planned busy weekend -- my mother is supposed to visit D.C. on Saturday (not sure what we're doing) and on Sunday I'm going to Quill's parents' house in suburban Maryland (Silver Spring) for Easter dinner. I will still try to post an update this weekend.


Sending You a Hippo-Gram!!

Oh, yes, my friend Eric was in San Diego and visited the big zoo there and took this picture of one of its two hippos:

It is a bit blurry, maybe because he was anxious to take this pic and send me a hippo-gram. The two hippos are Jabba and Funani.

If I had to guess, I'd say Eric's picture is of Jabba.

Here is another picture of Jabba from his Web page. He is doing that Hippo gaping mouth thing in both pictures.

As it says on the Web page, HOORAY FOR HIPPOS! (As long as they don't eat me.)

And with that, I shall end this entry.


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