Friday, August 7, 2015

General and Weather Update Plus Political Commentary -OR- Still Waiting for "Peak Trump" at the GOP Sideshow; Who's Ready for Hillary?

Aerial view of the powerfully, indeed, transcendentally beautiful Na Pali coast of Kauai.

The three Kauai pictures are taken from this Huffington Post article.

Blog Editor's Note: This is a long entry and pictures are primarily those I had immediately available rather than all topically relevant images. 


This entry is coming to you from the old, little laptop that Andrea gave me months ago but that I only "fired up" recently after my work PC -- which I almost daily take home and use for personal purposes, primarily blogging -- was "re-imaged" and I was not able to access YouTube (or any streaming video content).

Tonight, ironically, this entry is being written on the small laptop (no, I can't figure out what it is) precisely because the IT person in my office was trying to figure out why the Barracuda on my work computer won't let me access YouTube, which it turns out is not a "blacklisted" site. By the time I left at 615PM, he was deep in trying to download this and reinstall that, so I just left.

I am composing this entry in Chrome because the computer's other browser is Internet Explorer 8 even after an update. Actually, the computer installed (rapidly and with no issues*) 35 updates. However, I see no difference except "free trial" offers you can't refuse, but that's just the usual soul-crushing Microsoft nonsense that pleases the Usual Suspects.

*I have TERRIBLE computer mojo -- everything involving computers and I goes very badly. It's the same bad karma that I have when I'm in a car and someone is trying to find a parking space (usually in an urban environment). It's only when I get out that the driver suddenly is able to find a spot.

The view toward the Virginia side (lost in the glare of the early evening Sun) as seen from the Capital Crescent Trail in the Palisades section of Washington, D.C., 5:53PM Aug. 2, 2015.


I am home after an OK day at work -- I have been slow with only tentative (rather than on-deadline) press release work to do, but suddenly some DOE client work arose that should keep me busy tomorrow -- and a very good gym workout tonight.

At this point, I can do everything as before my Friday left wrist (ulna) injury EXCEPT lift barbells and dumbbells. That's just too painful with the wrist curling action. Oh, and the arm curls using a machine (well, they aren't really "machines" so much as mechanical contraptions) are still a bit problematic.

Capital Crescent Trail in the Palisades section of Washington, D.C., 5:52PM Aug. 2, 2015.

The 10+ mile solo walk back from Bethesda (including 7 miles on the CCT) on Sunday sucked but I'm not going to get into that now.


Also, typing on a keyboard (including composing this entry) is a bit painful, reminding me of my carpal tunnel syndrome days from the mid-1990s. (I just massaged it away and started having better keyboard poster. Of course, I was in my mid 20s then.)

As for my gym visit tonight, I also jogged (6.35 miles), had a decent "core" workout in the pleasant little side studio there at the Anthony Bowen YMCA, and had a nice 15 minute swim.

The 1100 block of Vermont Ave NW, Washington, D.C., 5:54PM Aug. 5, 2015.


I'm home now having dinner -- and a healthy one, if I may say so: steamed broccoli and carrots, boiled jasmine rice, and chicken breast from a Bumble Bee tin, all mixed up (and I sweat like a whore in church when I eat it since it is hot and I'm rather sensitive to heat even with my hapless window a/c turned on high).

The back bar at the upstairs Baan Thai restaurant, Washington, D.C., 6:31PM Aug. 5, 2015.


Of course, I had my usual big dose of sharp cheddar cheese, thin crackers, and peanut butter earlier, not to mention half a Gatorade. (Now I have the fizzy lightly flavored Vintage Seltzer water. No, not the sucralose-imbued "Vitamin Water" crap.) And I'll have my usual two peanut butter cups and milk before bed.

This is my gym workout diet, not my come-home-drunk from a bar noshing, although even then I tend to be careful -- I virtually never do McDonalds whatever, late night jumbo pizza slices, and whatnot.

Yours truly at Baan Thai back bar, Washington, D.C., 6:56PM Aug. 5, 2015.


Before continuing, I need to discuss the weather ...

A low-pressure system tonight over eastern Kentucky is riding slowly eastward with an associated east-west elongated frontal system. There are lots of showers and t-storms in parts of southern Virginia tonight. The D.C. area is in a northeasterly flow with overcast conditions. Indeed, it was overcast most of the day -- which is somewhat usually for August -- although it still got up to 85F at KDCA.

The view this overcast evening from 15th and W Streets and New Hampshire Avenue looking north (with the corner of Meridian Hill Park on the left), Washington, D.C., 7:33PM Aug. 6, 2015.

It tried to rain but failed to do so.


The radar shortly after midnight (which I cannot "snip" as an image with this computer in order to post here) showed the entire Baltimore/Washington region with rain falling -- I refer to the base reflectivity mode of the Sterling (LWX) NWS radar. In reality, virtually nothing is reaching the ground, at least here in D.C.

What's annoying about this is that the models were forecasting for days a significant amount of precipitation -- some had up to 3 inches in the Metro D.C. area. The CWG had an entry to that effect (link embedded):

It’s going to rain a lot Thursday night into Friday.

I called bullshit on that forecast in the comment section (see the Arcturus24 comment which I inadvertently posted twice*).

To be clear, I did so not because I carefully studied the situation including the many and various model runs but because it just didn't make climatological sense. What's more, the models (as shown in output images in that entry) had D.C. on the edge but just inside of a large precip gradient -- something that is always the kiss of death here.

(*No, I don't understand the "reply" from TominMichiganParkDC underneath it, nor to I care. I will say that I seriously doubt there were 8 likes from 8 separate people).

In fairness, Jason Samenow posted a subsequent entry noting the models had way backed off on these amounts in subsequent runs (link embedded):Wet tonight into Friday, but models cutting way back on rain totals. (In the end, even that entry overstated the rainfall.)

Had this been a wintertime situation with snow as the p-type, this would have been a forecast of 10 to 20+ inches of snow area-wide (I'm reluctant to go up to 30 inches on the 10-to-1 ratio because that really doesn't happen in the immediate area) that then turned out to be a massive bust.

Political Commentary: "Peak Trump" Still Not in Sight ...

Tonight, I totally skipped anything having to do with the Fox News Republican Presidential Primary Debate Sideshow over which the media-entertainment complex had so many people -- in particular, all the liberal Millennials here in D.C. -- whipped up into a frenzy as if it were a reality TV show.

Of course, given Donald Trump's presence, it is precisely that and he is perfectly suited for such a reality.

The man is Huey Long, Elmer Gantry, and a Broadway show all wrapped up in one big ridiculous bouffant of badly dyed orange hair.

As for the others, I see Scott Walker as the most dangerous in terms of being able to get elected (courtesy the white working class, which still matters and will for a number of elections to come) and enact the Koch Brothers / libertarian billionaire vision of society basically restores feudalism run by aforementioned billionaire overlords. (That's what he means by "freedom" and "government getting out of the way." It works both as American prole-feed and gets the Washington Consensus crowd with their nonsensical "entitlement reform" fetish all tingly all over.)

A clueless Scott Walker getting punked by two young people at an event in Manchester, N.H., duping him into posing with them and a fake $900M check from the Koch Brothers to him for his candidacy.

This isn't the first time Walker has been punked and he sort of bumbles into these things. But he's so idiotic, I don't think he really cares.


Of the rest of the dreadful lot, I just can't stand looking at Marco Rubio with a facial expression at once smarmy, opportunistic, and somehow willfully clueless. (By contrast, Walker just looks like an overweight, dumb frat boy 20 years out of college and the fraternity house.)

As for Jeb Bush, I just don't see him going very far given that the country has no desire to elect ANOTHER member of the House of Bush, although I guess the GOP Establishment could at some point get behind him and play the Beltway media like a cheap fiddle.

This Fox debate only had the "top 10" of the 17 or so declared GOP candidates and that was based on the fanciful and probably very inaccurate polls. 

I've not checked any of the political commentary following the "debate" to see who "won" it. (The only one I can sort of tolerate and her out is John Kasich.)

The rest of what follows is adapted from an entry I started the other night but never got around to posting. It is also a political-themed entry on the very same topic, so it dovetails well with that I wrote above.

Jonathan Chait wrote a wonderful piece on what is basically the split personality disorder (he doesn't phrase it that way) in the GOP presidential primary body politic that has presently catapulted Donald Trump to the 25% support front runner, double the level of the next contender (Jeb Bush) in the cattle car-packed field.

This is because, Chait writes, "Trump’s appeal reflects, in nearly singular form, the nonideological [emotional] component of Republican rage" rather than the other ideological one. Chait states that Trump is "the candidate of affect" and his actual beliefs (past or present) really just don't matter.

Chait writes:

The amorphous fervor of the right-wing base has stumped liberals as well as conservatives. Outsiders have struggled to comprehend how Republican voters can attach themselves to an economic agenda so plainly at odds with their own interest, or whip themselves into a frenzy over a manufactured outrage (whether it is Elián González, ACORN, death panels, or the legitimacy of Obama’s birth). Trump embodies that mysterious X factor that has eluded analysts of all sides. His affect supplies his appeal — he is strong, mad, and, above all, unapologetic in a world that demands he apologize. Trump is not the spokesman for an idea at all, but the representation of undifferentiated resentment.

The piece is here (link embedded): Donald Trump, Affect, and the Conservative Mind.

As for Trump, the man cannot be stopped by ordinary means -- and the Washington Consensus of Beltway political journalists are in a vaporous tizzy with the WaHoPo editorial board and its op-ed "stable" of columnists aghast that they cannot corral the rightwing rabble into their kept place. (In their minds, Trump's campaign was supposed to collapse after insulting John McCain in the fashion he did.)

An alternative interpretation is that the GOP machine created a rightwing monster -- the GOP primary voters whose information comes only from the conservative-entertainment complex -- that it can no longer control. It is this base that wants Trump, finds him so appealing.

Josh Marshall had an excellent piece on Aug. 3rd on his TPM site that discusses all the Republican crazy in the context of Donald Trump: The Declining Marginal Value of Crazy.

Excerpt (including two pictures):

There is one additional point to keep in mind. It's not just Trump's willingness to say anything, or his flair for the dramatic. All of his Republican rivals are residents of the CPAC circuit, the annual archipelago of Republican confabs and conventions where top Republicans go to rail about and outdo each other on what is a fairly narrow range of top concerns: Obamacare, immigration, radical Islam and whatever else. Trump is clearly playing on that terrain, too. His entry into presidential quasi-politics in 2012 after all was with a massive embrace of birtherism. In 2016, Trump has focused his ire on illegal immigration. But in some very significant way he comes from outside the professional right-wing presidential, rubber-chicken circuit, bubble.

That novelty and lack of normal political constraints is what is allowing him to run circles around his competitors who had hoped to play in the Crazy space. Showmanship, lack of touch with reality, and a palpable handle on the grievance and unrestrained self-assertion that is at the center of modern Republican base politics have made Trump, for now, almost impossible to outdo in a crowded field.

Nicely said.

And what of the liberal side?

Well, my view is that far too many of the liberals are too busy prowling the world -- esp. college campuses -- on PC patrol looking for "non-PC" views on cultural issues (notably, race and sex) from anybody, anybody, although ideally, some drunken frat boy who posts something racist or sexist on his twitter account, rather than making powerful appeals to economic well-being.

Ha ha

(For its part, higher education executives administrators having long since ceased to be anything but a business funded by the sky-trillion dollar student loan racket, is fine with this state of affairs -- it deflects any attention from its business practices.)

True, there is enthusiasm among many liberals for Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders (who is running for president), and both are genuinely speaking to some bread-and-butter issues that could in an ideal world win some of the old Reagan Democrat bloc.

However, I don't see that happening. The South and Appalachia are lost to that kind of Democrat for at least another generation.

The present epoch of American history with its reality bubbles enforced by th emass media-entertainment complex (including the internet) is too polarized for that.

The only one who could possibly alter that is Hillary Clinton, by which I mean I believe (but cannot prove, obviously) that she could win a decent fraction of the white working class vote in those regions.

As Jonathan Chait noted after the 2014 midterm rout (I'm not going to try to find the link), it's only Hillary who can stop wall-to-wall far rightwing Republican control of the federal government.

I'm happy to vote for her. Why? Because I just like her, and I genuinely believe she will be less "Clintonian" in the 2010s than her (annoying) husband was in the 1990s neo-liberal, Washington Consensus heyday.

Yes, I am ready for Hillary.

OK, that's all for now. Apologies if there are typos or syntax errors in this entry. This is a lengthy posting, I have no copy editor, and it twenty to four in the morning as I finally post this entry.

I'll try to update the blog tomorrow evening, but more likely it won't be until Saturday evening.


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