Friday, December 9, 2011

D.C. December Rain and Republican Endless Reign of Crazy

This entry is mostly a weather and political commentary update.

Wind-lashed heavy rain falls over Dupont Circle at December early electric urban night time as seen from the corner of New Hampshire Ave. and T and 17th Streets, NW, looking south (down 17th Street), Washington, D.C., 7:26PM, Dec. 7, 2011.

I nearly lost my cellphone in trying to take this picture (it got wet and the earpiece part temporarily was malfunctioning).

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Rainy December Spell / Area Precipitation Totals

We had a large rain event the past two days that set new daily and monthly records at the airport climate stations. There was overall 2 to 4 inches of rainfall in a two-day period.

More of those rainy night time urban electric dreams looking south down 19th Street toward downtown Washington, D.C., 7:12PM, Dec. 7, 2011. I had just exited the Dupont Metro south side when I took this picture.

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While this amount was well under the 6+ inches that fell area-wide in the event in early September, it nevertheless set a all-time calendar day record at National Airport with 3.10"* of rain and daily records at BWI and Dulles Airports. There was also a bit of snow toward the end, but accumulating totals (up to 6") were in the usual areas way, way west of here in the Blue Ridge and on the Allegheny Front.

*WOODY! and his pet Sue Palka - Cabra were not pleased. 

Vivid (LED) green traffic signals at the corner of Q and 18th Streets, NW, Washington, D.C., on a stormy night, 7:19PM, Dec. 7, 2011.

I forgot to note this was the 70th anniversary of D-Day.

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The following are the daily (Dec. 7th), storm, monthly, and yearly totals at the four regional climate stations ...

... including Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA), Baltimore / Washington Thurgood Marshall Int'l Airport (BWI), Washington Dulles Int'l Airport (IAD), and the Maryland Science Center (DMH) at the Inner Harbor in Baltimore.

Several notes ...

(1) The storm total refers to the amount that fell on Dec. 6th and Dec. 7th combined. The other amounts and departures are through the end of today (Dec. 8th). You'll note that the storm and month-to-date (month) totals are identical since this event was also the first precip. this month.

(2) The precipitation amount at DCA on Dec. 7th was 3.10" -- not just a daily record but, as noted, a new all-time calendar day total for December. Also, there was enough of a sleet/snow mix at the end to have "Trace" daily snowfall.

(3) BWI also recorded "Trace" of snowfall yesterday in addition to a daily precipitation record of 2.38" of rain (IAD had no snowfall) and IAD and BWI have through today identical thirty-year averages (39.45"). IAD's daily precipitation was also a daily record.


DCA
Dec. 7: 3.10"
Storm total: 3.34"
Month: 3.34" +2.48" (0.86")
Year: 45.33" +7.78" (37.55")


BWI
Dec. 7: 2.38" (daily record)
Storm total: 2.63"
Month: 2.63" +1.69" (0.94")
Year: 54.65" +15.20" (39.45")


IAD
Dec. 7th: 2.14" (daily record)
Storm total: 2.35"
Month: 2.35" +1.48" (0.87")
Year: 44.09" +4.64" (39.45")

DMH
Dec. 7th: 2.38"
Storm total: 2.62"
Month: 2.62" +1.69" (0.93")
Year: 52.29" +13.88" (38.41")


Lastly, I have to point out Harrisburg, Pennsylvania's unbelievable annual totals ...

It set a new calendar year record in October when it surpassed the 1972 record of 59.27" and as of Dec. 8th it is at 71.96" -- or +33.52" above the year-to-date normal of 38.44".

Harrisburg's annual normal is 41.45" (this may still be the 1971 - 2000 period rather than the 1981 - 2010 period, but it really won't have changed that much).

Source of partial info (normal and old record) here.

Anyway, the storm system has pulled out and it was sunny and seasonably chilly today here in D.C. with highs around 45F. Looking ahead, the forecast is for tranquil, seasonable weather through early next week.

The NWS forecast for Washington, D.C., valid 08 - 12 Dec 2011.

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Political Commentary

Re. politics, there is simply too much to write about the egomaniacal grotesqueness that is Newton Leroy Gingrich and the atavistic, yahoo ignorance that is the GOP "base", as well as the uselessness of the "Views Differ on Shape of Planet" corporate whoremedia.

However, I will post a few excerpts with links beginning with the inestimable Gene Lyons in his 12/8 Salon column, Why Smart Conservatives Suddenly Hate Newt Gingrich:

"Newt Gingrich is the Jimmy Swaggart of American politics, a confidence man so transparent as to test the faith even of True Believers.
Paradoxically, that's precisely why the disgraced former speaker looks a good bet to secure the GOP presidential nomination.

"Not seeing through Gingrich's bare-faced mendacity requires an effort of the will so profound it can only be accomplished with the aid of strong countervailing emotions -- essentially the envy, resentment and fear that right-wing media have fomented among the faithful ever since the election of President Clinton and the 1994 'Contract With America.'

"Metaphorically speaking, Gingrich’s candidacy is the love child of Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter, with Fox News throwing the baby shower.

"This only makes the horror of intellectually inclined conservatives at the prospect of Newt's ascendancy more remarkable. Where have they been all this time?"


"... the Chicago Tribune's estimable Steve Chapman captured the essence of Gingrich's appeal to the GOP’s propagandized base: 'Demonizing adversaries is what he does best. Some on the right don't want a conservative so much as they want a hater. Gingrich is their dream come true. Romney shows no flair for irresponsible hysteria and crude smears -- and many count that as a serious flaw ...'"


"Few on the right have been willing to confront the reality that conservatism in the classical sense scarcely exists anymore in the United States. It's long been replaced by the Yahoo dogmatism of a huckster like Gingrich, and it looks increasingly as if we're all going to have to live with the consequences."

Full article here.

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And here is a lengthy piece by Gary Kamiya on "The infantile style in American politics" in which he describes how the late historian Richard Hofstadter's legendary tracts from the late 1950s and 1960s on the rightwing paranoid style of American politics have become especially prescient today.

However, I just want to quote the opening paragraphs ...

"The farce known as the GOP presidential campaign has officially become a freak show. Newt Gingrich, the creepiest huckster in American politics, whose unique combination of hypocrisy, opportunism and sanctimoniousness led to his being unceremoniously bounced from Congress back in 1998, is now the front-runner to become the Republican presidential nominee.

"Having gone through Michele 'the founding Fathers ended slavery' Bachmann, Rick 'I'd close down the federal government if only I could remember what it is' Perry, and Herman 'all this stuff twirling around in my head' Cain, Republican voters have now embraced their latest unelectable stooge, a narcissistic, ethically challenged trough-feeder and third-rate history professor ..."

"I pity the mainstream journalists who are required to pretend they take this grotesque process seriously. The GOP campaign has become indistinguishable from one of those episodes on Montel ... How are you supposed to write about this rogue’s gallery with a straight face? Pretending that Herman Cain or Michele Bachmann are qualified to be president is like calling Meat Loaf 'Mr. Loaf'..."

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Little Wall-P declares in his binary clicks and clacks, "It IS What It Is. Shareholder Value was increased. Therefore, all is good."

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As ever, I highly recommend Paul Krugman's blog and his Monday and Friday regular op-ed columns, all in the online The New York Times.

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OK, I think that's all for now. My next update will not be until Saturday or Sunday. Tomorrow evening is my scheduled annual office holiday party (though we don't call it that) over at the L'Enfant Plaza hotel.

Speaking of L'Enfant Plaza, here are some (attractive) young guys who work in the various Federal office buildings at lunch in the new food court in the L'Enfant Plaza mall area (now under huge renovations), Washington, D.C., 1:27PM, Dec. 8, 2011.

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I am planning more "thematic" entries heading into the Christmas holidays than these linear weather / politics / fixations ones I typically write.

--Regulus

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