Friday, December 21, 2012

Winter Arrives, Christmas Nears, and the Earth Abides* -OR- Entry #800

*Yes, yes, that was the title of a 1949 novel.

Rainy electric night in Washington, D.C., at the intersection of 18th and Q Streets and New Hampshire Avenue, 10:45PM, December 20, 2012.

I was walking from the YMCA to Larry's Lounge for a couple (2) drinks before going home.


Rainy night in the 2000 block of New Hampshire Avenue (right next to my apartment building), Washington, D.C., 12:08AM, December 21, 2012.


This is a Friday night update. I'll post my musical interlude entry subsequent to this one.

First off, it's December 21, 2012 and the world DID NOT end, per the (mis)interpretations of the Mayan calendar.

Today was the first day of astronomical (seasonal) winter and it actually felt winter-like in the Washington / Baltimore area following a strong and rainy frontal passage.

Event rainfall totals (yesterday and today) at the three regional airport climate stations were:

Reagan Washington National Airport (KDCA): 0.82"

Baltimore/Washington Marshall Int'l Airport (KBWI): 1.16"

Washington Dulles Int'l Airport (KIAD): 0.92"

Month and year-to-date totals (MTD and YTD, respectively) and depatures / 30-year normals (1981 - 2010):

MTD: 1.27" -0.88" (2.15")
YTD: 30.69" -8.15" (38.84")

MTD: 1.70" -0.67" (2.37")
YTD: 36.01" -4.87" (40.88")

MTD: 1.16" -0.96" (2.12")
YTD: 33.91" -6.79" (40.70")

Here was the NWS Lower 48 radar mosaic as of 1608UTC (11:08AM EST) Dec. 20, 2012 as the sprawling system was approaching.


Here was the NWS map of U.S. weather advisories updated at 1659UTC (11:59AM EST), December 20, 2012. 

Much of Iowa was under blizzard warnings. I understand Chicago -- where up to 8" of snow was forecasted -- only less than 1" in what was the latest measurable snowfall of the season. Chicago O'Hare (KORD) had 0.3" in the event.


The Sterling (LWX) county warning area (CWA) webpage map showing the advisories updated at 8:56PM EST, December 21, 2012. The deep / vermilion orange stripes on the Allegheny Front are blizzard warnings.


So at this point, one of the main operational NWS weather computer models -- the 18Z GFS from today -- indicates a non-trivial winter weather event on Christmas Eve for our area with 850mb temperatures critical (around or slightly below 0C), which would give the suburbs and far outlying areas snowfall and (most likely) D.C. and Baltimore mixed precip. / rain.

The 18UTC 21 December 2012 GFS model showing surface pressures, 850mb temperatures, and 6-hour precipitation valid at hour 78 at 00UTC (7PM EST) 25 December (December 24,) 2012

However, the NAM model shows a warmer solution in a similar overall pattern and thus rain in the mid-Atlantic region.

The 18UTC 21 December 2012 NAM model showing surface pressures, 850mb temperatures, and 6-hour precipitation valid at hour 78 at 00UTC (7PM EST) 25 December (December 24,) 2012


Tonight is a blustery, variably cloudy night with a few scattered snowflurries, although I have not seen anything. The weather today was similar. There is heavy snowfall in the favorable upslope parts of the Allegheny Front with blizzard warnings in effect in very select areas (see above image of LWX CWA map).

Then there is a potentially significant storm system for the Wednesday / Thursday time frame, but we will worry about that later.

Some Political Commentary / Links ...

Updated at 10:44AM 12/22/2012

The first topic I wanted to dicuss was the semi-deranged and wholly delusion rant -- nearly a meltdown -- that firearms fixated Wayne LaPierreLaPissoire of the NRA had at his much-anticipated press conference today -- pictured above -- to discuss his organization's "meaningful contributions" to the gun violence debate in America. He offered nothing and instead casted blame everywhere (including the culture, movies, assorted "monsters" in society, politicians who try to limit firearms availability and lethality, etc.) -- EVERYTHING EXCEPT the merchants of armed death that he and his deranged ilk support, and called on more firearms, more firepower, more bloody destruction, more death.

Watch Lawrence O'Donnell's take on it on his show last night. It's epic and beautiful.

A Code Pink protestor briefly interrupts LaPierre's deranged monologue "presser."

The issue of unlimited access to unlimited firepower has actually split the Second Amendment crowd between the reasonable and the pathological, and the NRA leadership falls squarely in the latter with its (at core) apocalyptic / civilization is collapsing / need-to-be-armed-to-the-teeth mindset, potentially neutering its long-feared and fearsome political power (though I doubt it).

Check out this exchange between Joe Scarborough -- himself a former Republican House member -- and some jackass rightwing Congressman from Kansas (Rep. Tim Huelskamp).

The Bushmaster ad about how this particular weapon will boost your manhood, presumably by machine gunning evil-doers and/or liberals and/or non-whites.  


The other topic I wanted to mention is how the rightwing radical Republicans in the House -- the Teabaggers -- ironically scuttled yet again their chance to get huge and unnecessary concessions from President Obama and thus (as happened in 2011) will get nothing. Long story short, as this article in TNR pointed out, Obama was never actually negotiating with House Speaker John Boehner but rather the unappeasable and even irrational rightwing radicals of the Teabagger sort.

They are so radical that they don't even do things that are in their own long-term self-interest.

This gets into the deeper issue of their collective insanity in which they do not believe in actual governing or "public policy" in any rational sense of that word for a mature representative democracy. In short, America's loonier ideologies of extreme libertarianism and Protestant shallow fundamentalism mixed with racism are actually harming its long-term survival prospects as a healthy, functioning nation.

Of course, and needless to say, the whoremedia must maintain the fiction that "both sides" are responsible.

On this topic, Alex Pareene drew up his annual Hack List of the Worst Pundits for 2012. I didn't agree with the institutional approach because of #8 and #10, but I totally agree with #1, #2, #3, and #4.  

Anyway, long story short, we're very likely going over the contrived "fiscal cliff" and, well, that's probably the least bad option at this point.

As for the two classes of bullies and crazies -- the NRA and the Teabaggers -- let me quote, yes, Joan Walsh:

"For at least the last decade, and arguably longer, we’ve been held hostage, as a nation, by bullies and crackpots. Democrats try to placate and compromise, but the bullies and crackpots only get crazier ...

"Maybe the Mayans were right. Politically, it’s the end of the world as we know it, or it should be: The extremists who have been running the country, either outright or by obstructing their opponents, have been exposed as self-dealing frauds. It’s time for the rest of us to undo the damage they’ve caused."

Alas, I'm not so sure. America is sufficiently nutty that I don't think we're done with the rightwing crazies anytime soon.


Finally, as for additional entries this weekend, I was considering psoting another installment of Gaylord Wade O'Henry's Creative Writing Class!

In this installment, we learn how to write a socially significant and culturally insightful story based off national events a bunch of self-absorbed tripe on nothing.

"Like, oh my Gawd, so I was buying a new car when I heard the news, and I was, like, maybe I should get some new jeans, too, and I have to call up [fill in the cardboard cut-out boyfriend's silly nickname]!"


Yours Truly in my cubicle in my office at L'Enfant Plaza, Washington, D.C., 12:21PM, December 20, 2012.

I was looking up the Wikipedia article on São Paulo, Brazil and its lowest all-time temperature (that's a separate entry topic altogether).


OK, that's all for now. I'm home tonight -- having just finished my laundry and watching the Friday night Antenna TV-aired line-up of old sitcoms including Father Knows Best and Bachelor Father. I'm planning on going to No. 9 and/or Stoney's tonight over on P Street.


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