Wednesday, September 3, 2014

A Patch or Two of Weather and Political Blue in the Late Summer Washington Sky

A patch of blue sky amid storm clouds that brought a short-lived deluge of rain to this part of Washington, D.C. This was the view from New Hampshire Avenue and 15th Street NW at 4:09PM September 1, 2014. I had gone to the gym and then met Wendy at the Fast Gourmet place that is housed in a most unlikely fashion at a gas station.


There are a number of items I would like to post but I'm rather tired as I sit at home in my wee, air-conditioned efficiency and just want to go to bed early on a tropically humid, post-thunderstormy early September night here in Washington, D.C., and just want to get to bed early.

(I actually biked back from the Black Rooster Pub where there was a Tuesday night happy hour with Andrea & Co., and it deluged on me. Fortunately, my phone only got slightly damp on the outside rather than damagingly wet.)

Wendy and Flippo, my power-blue plush hippo in my apartment, Washington, D.C., 4:15PM September 1, 2014. It was deluging at that point and we were waiting for the rain to end.


I intended to post a blog entry tonight with lots of weather information and political commentary accompanying a variety of links. However, I'm just too tired to post a full entry so instead I intend to post only the links along with some disjointed pictures I took over the summery warm Labor Day holiday weekend.

Receding cumulonimbus clouds that brought a brief deluge as seen from 17th and S Streets at New Hampshire Avenue NW, Washington, D.C., 4:46PM September 1, 2014.

Wendy and I were walking down New Hampshire Avenue at this point, but it was just too flippin' hot and humid with temps. in the 90s Fahrenheit and dew points around 70F -- but the sky an incredibly rain-washed blue. It was just too damn tropical rainforest hot and humid outside and the sunlight too intense, so we went to No. 9, where it was dark and very cool and inviting. Wendy stayed for a while and we had two drinks before she left. Then Brett showed up and we had a nice talk and even went over to Larry's Lounge.


For my links, the first one I would like to post is to an informative Capital Weather Gang review of the climatological summer of 2014 (i.e., the period June 1st - August 31st) for Washington, D.C. Unfortunately, the data is necessarily from the city's crappy "official" climate station spot at Reagan Washington National Airport (KDCA). The entry is here (link embedded): Near normal August closes near normal summer for temperatures in Washington; suburbs were cooler.

In short, while it was a tad above normal temperature wise (+0.4F at 78.1F) at KDCA for the full climatological summer, it was the coolest of the summers in the past five years. By contrast, it was markedly cooler at the other two regional airport climate stations -- KBWI by about 1F and KIAD by about 2F -- due to their non-heat island locations. August was especially below normal with KIAD -3.6F and KBWI -2.5F. (KDCA was -0.4F.)

Precipitation totals for the climatological summer were above normal by varying amounts at all three locations: KDCA: +0.94" at 11.38"; KBWI: +3.83" at 14.65"; and KIAD: +0.68" at 11.86". For KDMH, where there is no full climate record yet, it was much more at +5.28" at 16.56".

All numbers are measured versus the current thirty-year average of 1981 - 2010.

As noted, there thunderstorms tonight -- just like yesterday afternoon -- across the D.C. and Baltimore areas but KDCA, of course, didn't get that much. Actually, none of the three main climate stations had that much KDCA had 0.02" yesterday (Labor Day) and 0.08" today. By comparison, KBWI had 0.08" and 0.06" while KIAD had 0.01" and 0.12".

(Updated 9:24AM 9/3/2014 for corrected figures:) By contrast, the Maryland Science Center climate station (KDMH), which had nothing yesterday, had 0.71" tonight in a thunderstorm that hit Baltimore that pushed its annual total to just over 40 inches (40.32"). For comparison, KDCA is at 33.77" for the year.

There was a huge deluge in Bethesda on the Sunday, although officially on that day (Aug. 31, 2014), KDCA had 0.27" of rain.

The second link I would like to post is a climate study on the displacement of the Arctic polar vortex and changes in Arctic sea ice: Study links polar vortex chills to melting sea ice.

The actual Nature Communications article is linked here behind a pay wall (only the abstract is included in the free link): Weakening of the stratospheric polar vortex by Arctic sea-ice loss.

Needless to say, always-enraged Teabaggers are in a collective frenzy -- hopped up on rightwing hate talk radio and the non-stop vitriol and misinformation from Fox News blowhards and fascist mannequin fembots.

Not to worry, though, because the mainstream "Views Differ on Shape of Planet"* corporate media and Washington Post editorial board will see "bipartisan nuance" everywhere rather than our 1850s-style radicalism and dysfunction. To invoke Jonathan Chait, Sally Quinn will just have to dine with some more non-fake friends.

*Credit to the great Paul Krugman.


Speaking of Paul Krugman, here is a worthwhile debate between him (on his blog) and blogger Steve Randy Waldman of the Interfluidity blog on the question of why the rentier class -- the top 1% and really the top 0.01% -- are so "hard money" fixated, desiring low inflation (even deflation) and high interest rates even though such a situation actually adversely impacts asset prices.

Krugman notes that it is always about using "the 1970s" as a weapon to bulldoze over anyone who wouldn't give the rentier oligarchical overclass everything it wants at all times.

Total share prices for Germany, the U.S. (S&P 500), and Italy for the period 2007 - 2012 referenced to 100 in late 2007. This shows that European-style austerity has actually worked against the increase in asset prices, which, in theory, should make the rentier class more open to easy / soft money policies.


After discussing how the economy of the 1970s REALLY worked, Waldman concludes on the main point: "Aggregate wealth is held by risk averse individuals who don't individually experience aggregate outcomes. Prospective outcomes have to be extremely good and nearly certain to offset the insecurity soft money policy induces among individuals at the top of the distribution, people who have much more to lose than they are likely to gain ... Diminishing marginal utility, habit formation and reference group comparison, the zero-sum quality of insurance against systematic risk, and the tendency of regression towards the mean, all make soft money a bad bet for the wealthy even when it is a good bet for the broader public and the macroeconomy."

Prof. Krugman still thinks there is a "false consciousness" at play among billionaires and their pundit lapdog apologists whereby they aren't remembering the past correctly and eat up the misinformation and reassuring lies fed to them 24/7 by the CNBC carnival barkers and daily by the WSJ editorial page.


Freelance writer and Salon contributor Michael Schulson interviews author and former Yale professor William Deresiewicz on the topic of "millennials, the meritocracy, student loans and what's wrong with the Ivy League." Prof. Deresiewicz just published a book on this topic called Excellent Sheep that builds on his 2008 essay "The Disadvantages of an Elite Education."

My own view, of course, is that the broader system of higher education in America is a sky-trillion dollar rentier class racket.


The view of the Lincoln Memorial from the base of the Washington Monument, Washington, D.C., 6:52PM August 31, 2014.

I had biked up to Bethesda to meet Quill at Rock Bottom and then biked back on the Capital Crescent Trail, detouring over to the National Mall / Washington Monument.


As a final piece, here is an article on the new WaHoPo publisher named by Jeffrey Bezos, who ownership error era has begun following the sale of the Graham Family Empire's erstwhile flagship publication. The piece alludes to the fact that The Post's editorial side simply sucks (and has for quite some time), and this isn't likely to change.

My own view is that Fred Hiatt's "stable" isn't going anywhere as long as Hiatt is there -- and if he does leave / is forced out by this loopy Reagan-worshiping Frederick J. Ryan character, his replacement is likely to be even worse.


The house at 4823 Dorset Avenue, Somerset, Md., 3:23PM August 31, 2014. Of note, the address number on the tree had been partially subsumed into the trunk with the "4" no longer visible.

My bike route to Bethesda took me up Wisconsin Avenue and across the DC-Maryland line and thence onto Dorset Avenue in the Town of Somerset and over to the Capital Crescent Trail at Kenwood. Of note, it appears to me that many of the Yoshino Japanese cherry blossom trees in Kenwood are dying (most had lost most of their leaves). Weather-wise, it was frickin' hot with temps in the mid-90s Fahrenheit.


Another view of the house at 4823 Dorset Avenue, Somerset, Md., 3:23PM August 31, 2014 with its cloaking bushes, trees, and shrubbery on a hot late summer day.

As an aside, I didn't even realize we had a D.C. Maryland suburb called Somerset. The houses along Dorset Avenue were really nice. I wish I could own one of them but that won't happen in this lifetime / reality.


OK, that's all for now. Tomorrow should be a normal workday. I actually worked from home for part of Tuesday, and I also made it to the gym for the second day in a row with a full workout. Tomorrow, I am going into the office and skipping the gym in the evening. My next planned update will be Thursday night.


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