Friday, April 10, 2015

Out of the Maritime Polar Wedge and Into Spring & GOP Crazy; Out of the Washington Consensus and Into Social & Secure Chariots of the Gods?

Saucer magnolia trees at floral peak in the Enid Haupt Garden of the Smithsonian, Washington, D.C., 6:13PM April 9, 2015.

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Friday night.

First thing's first ... The weather ...

At the start of the work week, literally five days of rain showers was in the forecast. We ended up with a grand total of 0.35" since Monday (through 5PM today) at KDCA.

This was half what even the 5-day QPF forecast from the start of the week (see this entry for map). Dulles Airport (KIAD) had even less with 0.22 inches

By contrast, the nearby Baltimore area had much more with KBWI reporting 1.44 inches since Monday (again through 5PM today).

What happened is that the region was locked in a maritime polar air mass with mostly cloudy to overcast and quite cool conditions -- much of the time was spent in the 40s Fahrenheit with some lower 50s F in D.C. It was sort of like San Francisco or perhaps Lima, Peru in the winter. However, there were weather impulses riding along the boundary that managed to clip Baltimore while the D.C. area mostly missed out.

Today was supposed to feature the warm front ahead of a cold front punching decisively through the area with temps soaring to around 80F and a highly destabilized atmosphere that would result in severe weather. The morning discussion from Sterling (LWX) talked about "supercells capable of tornadoes."

High-resolution surface weather map for the northeastern U.S. Lower 48 valid 12Z (8AM EDT) April 10, 2015.

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Instead, the cold air "wedge" east of the Appalachians hung on like a bit pull (as they often do this time of year when the Atlantic Ocean is still quite chilly) and temps remained in the 50s F even in D.C. until 3PM. That represented a temperature bust of at least 25F for much of the day. As of the 7PM hour, it's up to 65F at KDCA but the energy associated with the approaching cold front is already departed, or rather, never even showed up.

High-resolution surface weather map for the northeastern U.S. Lower 48 valid 21Z (5PM EDT) April 10, 2015.

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There are some severe t-storms in Virginia around the Northern Neck and approaching the Tidewater area and on the lower Delmarva (one of the most depressing places on the planet), but it's a done deal here. To be clear, I didn't want severe weather -- just rain.

I'm not going to bother to link to the various CWG entries on it.

NWS composite radar mosaic for the northeastern U.S. Lower 48 at 2338UTC (7:38PM EDT) April 10, 2015.

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The lack of 80F weather today meant that the Yoshino cherry blossoms didn't accelerate to peak. That should happen this weekend -- and just in time for the culminating Sunday parade of the National Cherry Blossom Festival. Of note, the saucer magnolia blossoms are at peak (see lead picture and picture below).

Another picture of the saucer magnolia trees at floral peak in the Enid Haupt Garden of the Smithsonian, Washington, D.C., 6:13PM April 9, 2015.

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About the cool, gray weather this past week, let me just repeat a point I've made many times directly and indirectly on this blog: Any day between the start of astronomical spring and the end of October that isn't hot and horrible in that typical, shitty D.C. way is simply a bonus day for me.

Alas, soon enough it will be hot, humid, and shitty -- or just blazing sunshine and awful -- and the Palka-Cabra creature will emerge from her lair.

There she is ...

ROAR!

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Friday Night Fatigued ...

I'm home now from work and a post-work trip to the Marshall's in Columbia Heights for another six-pair of white socks (I've had luck there with the Dickies brand the store sells), a 3-pack and 2-pack of boxer briefs (Polo and Reebok, except significantly reduced from what you'd pay at Macy's), and two shower liners to replace my mucky ones. This follows a Tuesday shopping expedition at Macy's where I bought three new shirts and a pair of pants.

I'm exhausted and fatigued. This is because I went out last night -- another Thursday night out that has affected my Friday. First I went to Tsunami with Andrea where we had some dinner and drinks at the upstairs back bar. We then walked to Larry's Lounge where I met Kristof (we seldom meet up / out anymore). Imara also showed up as did Jamie. Actually, at that point, the night sort of morphed into a Jamie one. I'm not exactly sure what time I got home but, obviously, I was affected today.

As for tonight, I'm tempted just to stay in and sleep, although I hate "losing" a Friday night.

Tomorrow is a gym day, although there is one potential issue I need to mention: I might be developing -- at least in right foot -- that fascist planter, I mean, plantar fasciitis condition from too much jogging. It would be bad if I couldn't jog my usual hour because I'd probably fairly quickly put on some of the 40+ pounds in fat that I lost.

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Blog Housekeeping -OR- "From Russia With Love"

Before continuing, I feel it necessary to mention this bit of blog housekeeping (although "housekeeping" doesn't really seem the appropriate word). For starters, StatCounter continues gradually to track ever-fewer hits to my blog as so many visits it was once able to monitor are now either partially or wholly invisible to it.

Graph of StatCounter recorded visits to this blog -- including page views, unique visits, and returning visits -- grouped by year from 2008 to the present. The 2015 visits are, obviously, only through today. The 2009 - 2014 visits are for full years.

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Having said that, Blogger itself tracks the visiting URLs and websites (though not the IP addresses) that visit the blog, and it is with concern I note how many of them are from Russia and seem to be pornographic sites.

It goes without saying that pretty much anything internet related from Russia (of a "commercial" nature) is highly suspect and probably malware-infected. I'm not sure if there is some issue with my blog itself. My computer's protections haven't (so far) flagged anything. (This is actually my work computer that I often take home. It's cumbersome, but I've been doing it for 3 years.)

To summarize, Russian sites are malware dangers while Chinese sites -- much more hidden -- are probably espionage of some sort. However, there is nothing to steal from this blog in terms of useful content ...

A previous malware-infected computer (one that I owned) ended up in my bathtub in about six inches of water. It was kind of sad, actually, as the last yellow light on it flickered out. I felt bad. Of course, the keyboard was falling apart and the motherboard -- or whatever that frickin' thing is -- was on the fritz with non-stop "blue screens of death" that make Bill Gates happy.

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Hmmm ...

Headline (link embedded): Argentine judge orders arrest warrant for Justin Bieber.

This is part of the Leave It To Bieber: An Ongoing Series, namely, it is the episode "Let's Don't Cry for Him, Argentina."

To be clear, it involves his bodyguards attacking a photographer in 2013 and Bieber's alleged role in it.

Oh, yes, it is more properly "Argentine" rather than "Argentinian."

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Drizzly, foggy, cool night in the 1700 block of Q Street NW, Washington, D.C., 8:44PM April 9, 2015.

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Some other items ...


Hillary Clinton is supposed to announce her presidential candidacy this Sunday.

The whole thing is going to be a nightmare, and I'm afraid we're going to end up with a Republican president (most likely "JEB" Bush, but possibly Scott Walker) and thus wall-to-wall crazy Republican government with no checks or balances whatsoever. (The hatred of her alone on the "left" of the Democratic Party is scary, never mind the Clinton media scandal machine or crazy GOP.)

Here is a good Jonathan Chait piece (link embedded): The Unexamined Bias Behind Rolling Stone's Rape Reporting Disaster.

I can't really excerpt it so just read it.

A good Paul Krugman piece (link embedded): Where Government Excels.

This op-ed argues that we should expand Social Security because it is an example of Federal Government doing something well and achieving its intended purpose, namely, providing retirement security for millions of people with a well-managed, low-overhead program.

This isn't likely, of course, not in the current toxic, GOP-dominated political climate. Indeed, Social Security's success is why the GOP wants to destroy it. Oh, and spare us any talk about its "insolvency" in 30 years, as this is a problem that can easily be managed.

Nevertheless, this position -- which cuts sharply against the "Washington Consensus" / Beltway Establishment / WaHoPo Editorial Board view that "entitlements" must be "cut" now to avoid cutting them in the future -- is gaining traction within (if I can paraphrase Howard Dean back when he wasn't a corporate prostitute): "The Democratic wing of the Democratic party."

The Washington Consensus.

Speaking of crazy rightwing Republicans, the 150th anniversary of Lee's surrender at the Battle of Appomattox Court House just happened yesterday (April 9th), and the 150th anniversary of Lincoln's assassination is this coming Wednesday (April 15th).


It goes without saying that the Civil War never really ended in this country, and in so many ways, the South really won. This includes the total neo-Confederate domination of today's Republican Party in ideology if not regional and ethnic makeup.

Today's GOP.

Oh, yes, April 15th will also be the 7th anniversary of this Regulus blog.

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Finally, just because it is such an awesome and (for me) thought-provoking scene ...


From "Star Trek Into Darkness": The USS Enterprise rises from its undersea hiding spot to save Spock's life -- and thus reveals itself to the primitive humanoid Nibirans of Planet Nibiru. The Enterprise had gone there to stop a volcanic eruption (via a cold fusion technology) from killing off the Nibirans.

The USS Enterprise rises from the sea.

I say thought-provoking because of the incredibly disruptive / fundamentally society-altering consequences such an event would have for a primitive people if the "Prime Directive" were violated in such a spectacular way.

One of the Nibirans staring in speechless awe at the (for him) nothing less than supernatural sight of the USS Enterprise rising from the sea and taking off, a true "Chariots of the Gods" moment.

This clip also includes an awesome warp Jump scene.

I love Star Trek.

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OK, I think that's all for now. I'm probably not going to have many updates this weekend -- just a planned Jukebox Saturday Night entry and maybe a Sunday entry (though that is sort of doubtful). 

--Regulus

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