An alley off the 1400 block of U Street NW on a rainy late morning, Washington, D.C., 10:59AM March 31, 2017.
This view should be set to some mournful jazz music, I guess.
I started this entry last night but was unable to finish it for the reasons alluded to in my previous entry. It is a thematically disjointed one that includes a weather update, excerpts of political commentary, and some of the pictures of my Atlanta work trip earlier this month that I haven't previously posted.
NECONUS composite radar mosaic looped 1148 - 1258UTC March 31, 2017.
As an update, it has indeed been a very welcome rainy day with the following amounts through 5PM from highest to lowest at the four main regional climate stations:
KDMH: 1.52 inches
KIAD: 1.46 inches
KBWI: 1.30 inches
KDCA: 0.91 inches
As ever, KDCA (National Airport) sucks. It needs another 0.35 inches of rain today to end the month above normal. The last above-normal month was in May 2016.
For the record, the 12-month precipitation deficit (through yesterday) is about 10 inches or 25% at both KDCA and KIAD but the six month deficit is more like 50%, while for KBWI it is 15% and 45%, respectively. (Yes, I have an Excel spreadsheet running tally that I periodically update.)
Sterling (LWX) NWS radar in standard base mode reflectivity looped 8:08AM - 9:03AM EDT March 31, 2017.
From last night (updated in places) ...
I'm back from the gym tonight and watching my usual late night TV line up on Antenna TV (Wings, Becker, and Newhart). For this entry, I'm going to post some of my Atlanta work trip pictures I took earlier this month. At this rate, it's the only way I'm ever going to post them (or at least a subset of them). The pictures are TOPICALLY UNRELATED to this entry.
Composite regional radar for portions of the eastern U.S., as prettied up by Weather Underground, 9:15AM EDT March 31, 2017.
As for work-related travel, I am supposed to go to another client (agency) workshop in Chicago probably in June. What's more, I found out I have to go to Raleigh/Durham in mid-April for a few days, specifically, to Durham. (Why do I always end up in some damn Southern city? I don't like the South.)
12Z 3/30/2017 GFS for NECONUS showing MSLP and precipitation type and intensity looped form 8PM EDT March 30th to 2AM EDT April 1st, 2017.
Anyway, let me start this entry ...
The good news is that we here in the D.C. area should -- as in, are supposed to -- get some decent and very needed rainfall tomorrow. Here is the CWG entry by Jason Samenow about it: It's going to rain a lot Friday. And we need it.
Exterior of Henry's Midtown Tavern, Atlanta, Ga., 2:16PM March 1, 2017.
The place doesn't really look like a tavern. What it does look like, though, is gay.
The bad news, of course, is that we are still only in the opening act of the Trumpocalypse with at least 2 to 4 years to go -- the Emperor Madman is still firmly entrenched in power and the GOP Flying Monkeys as nuts as ever.
The little living room of the apartment Airbnb along Piedmont Ave NE in the Midtown section of Atlanta, Ga., 2:34PM March 1, 2017.
The good news is that the Trump Russia story is blowing up in a myriad of ways -- including the farce of a House investigation involving the world-class dunce Devin Nunes. In the written words of Charlie Pierce (more on him a bit later in this entry), there are "billowing clouds of smoke engulfing Camp Runamuck."
Intermezzo Café, Atlanta, Ga., 5:00PM March 1, 2017.
I went to this place three times over the course of my four day stay.
But for this entry, I want to repost some other strands of political commentary about Trump -- most of it not involving the Russia election meddling mess.
An evening deluge and traffic in Midtown Atlanta, 7:36PM March 1, 2017.
I was actually back outside Henry's when I took this picture and I stopped in if only to dry off. (The workshop was held the following day.) This was taken as a strong cold front was crossing the Metro Atlanta area -- part of a weather system that reconfigured the pattern from February's far above normal (record warmth) to a bit below normal for March. Except for this short-lived deluge, rainfall was mostly lacking in March.
For starters, here is a quotable paragraph:
"Because [Trump] speaks almost exclusively to his most fervent supporters while ignoring just about everybody else, at long last they (the white working class) feel heard. As they should. Communities that, for decades, have watched their jobs disappear across the ocean or, more likely, into a robot, deserve a government that addresses their concerns. Instead, they've been duped by a huckster who will only enrich himself off their continuing misery."
-- Sarada Peri, special assistant to former President Obama and a senior presidential speechwriter, in the column (link embedded): "Empathy is Dead in America".
View along 6th St NE, Midtown section of Atlanta, Ga., 5:49PM March 2, 2017.
The workshop was over at this point.
Here is an interesting piece about what many House Republicans think of Trump but the cowardice that animates them to dutifully support anything and everything this madman says and does.
Bartender at Blake's on the Park, Atlanta, Ga., 11:18PM March 2, 2017.
I forget this bartender's name but I think he's ethnic Egyptian or Turkish. He served me twice. I thought (assumed) he was rude (Atlanta's answer to M. WADE Tipamillyun*) the first time I went there but the second time, he said hello and he even remembered the drink I ordered the first time, which sort of surprised me.
*At least Atlanta's answer to the Baby Wade ten years ago.
From conversations the [libertarian think tank] Niskanen Center has had on Capitol Hill, [Jerry] Taylor believes there are somewhere between 50 and 100 Republican congressmen "who have convinced themselves that Donald Trump is worth embracing and have little concern about that partnership." The rest, he says, "are in various degrees of shock, horror, and disgust at what's going on in this administration. But none of them want to be decapitated by a primary challenge. Nobody wants the social media fanaticism of the alt-right turned on them."
A quartet of gay sorority boys, Blake's on the Park, Atlanta, Ga., 12:25AM March 3, 2017.
Perhaps more importantly, taking on Trump would displease Republican donors. "Of all of the different entities on the right, it is the right-of-center donor base that is most over the moon about Donald Trump," Taylor says. Right-wing donors, he says, "are far more interested in taxes and spending and regulation than everything else combined, and Donald Trump is singing right out of their hymnals on these matters. They're the most pro-Trump wing of the GOP outside of the people who are drooling and watching Fox News 18 hours a day. So right now, even if Republicans have consciences that nag at them, they have every incentive to ignore them.
Yours truly at the Airbnb located off Piedmont Avenue NE, Atlanta, Ga., 1:48AM March 3, 2017.
The Airbnb including the bed was quite comfortable -- and I had the air conditioning unit (or at least the fan part) cranked up into a somniferous whoosh of white noise. Earlier, while out at Blake's, I had had an extended text exchange that night with a certain somebody who shall remain nameless.
As my (two) regular blog readers know, I'm a great fan of Jonathan Chait in this Reign of Trumpolini and the GOP Jacobins. But Charlie Pierce of Esquire is increasingly becoming a go-to read for some good laughs on the inanity and insanity of this Trump Dark Age.
A road in the northern suburbs of Atlanta (Sandy Springs?), Ga., 2:51PM March 3, 2017.
This picture taken the following day after I had trekked on the MARTA up to Dunwoody / Sandy Springs and was tooling around in Chris's Mercedes-Benz SUV.
Here is a recent Pierce piece on Democrats and Trump's Supreme Court pick Neil Gorsuch:
You can also tell how nervous Gorsuch's supporters have become because, once again, we are seeing the Keep The Powder Dry argument floating through the discourse. This is the political strategy by which Democrats give the Republicans what they want on the assumption that they will be able to assert their power at some vague point in the future. The only minor flaw in this plan is that it never works. The Democratic Party must have an airplane hangar somewhere filled to the rafters with dry powder.
The sub-headline to this column is: It's not their responsibility to be the grown-ups while children vandalize the government.
Finn inspects an array of colorful flowers, Atlanta, Ga., 3:33PM March 3, 2017.
Of course, if a dog is basically colorblind as we know it, then it's more of a smell thing rather than being impressed by the colors. Chris and I had gone to a car wash somewhere in Atlanta -- car washes are popular there -- and were waiting for his vehicle to be detailed.
Last week, when the GOP abortion of a bill called the ACHA failed, Pierce wrote an awesome summation of the Democrats' political strategy.
Dazzling sunlight over Mama's Cocina Latina Restaurant, Piedmont Ave NE, Atlanta, Ga., 4:12PM March 3, 2017.
"'Obamacare is the law of the land for the foreseeable future.'"
That statement should have come with a sword for Ryan to hand over to Nancy Pelosi who, let it be said, is one legislative badass. She somehow kept her caucus united. There wasn't even a hint of blue-doggery from her caucus as it sat back and let the Republicans rip each other to shreds, let the president* get exposed as a rookie who should be sent back to A-ball, and let the conservative movement expose itself as graphically as it ever has as the soulless creature of the money power that it's been for 40 years. Usually, there are some Democrats who either want to make a deal so that Fred Hiatt will send them a Christmas card" -- ha ha -- "or simply because Democrats occasionally can't help themselves from trying to make the government, you know, actually work. (That nervous tic already is at work concerning the nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court.)
Atlanta skyline as seen on a side street approaching Piedmont Park, 4:22PM March 3, 2017.
Chris and I took Finn to the dog park located within the sprawling Piedmont Park.
This is Charlie Pierce today (Friday):
See? This is where we are now. You try to get a few hours sleep and then you wake up to the fact that the President* of the United States -- or someone tweeting in his name -- publicly has left himself open to charges of tampering with a federal witness and flirted in the classic p*ssy-grabbing sense with obstruction of justice. Here's the idiocy du jour.
The venality of this administration should shock nobody at this point; venality has been the business plan of the president* ever since he stiffed his first subcontractor. But it's the sheer mudbrained incompetence of this crew that is a continual surprise, at least to me.
Note: I added this piece today (Friday evening).
Finn and another dog, Piedmont Park, Atlanta, Ga., 4:31PM March 3, 2017.
Here is Jonathan Chait's take on Charles "Dr. Chuckles" Krauthammer -- a wheelchair-bound paraplegic -- following the latter's standard rightwing Republican channeling of Ayn Rand about health insurance and why should any one who isn't a female of child-bearing years be required to subsidize through their insurance any form of maternity care:
Driving north out of Midtown Atlanta at dusk, 6:26PM March 3, 2017.
"It is callous enough that Republicans apply their every-man-for-himself logic to health care, and land on the belief that those fortunate enough to be blessed with good health should not be burdened with the cost of paying for the medical needs of others. But when the advocate of this argument himself has expensive medical needs, the callousness rises to a level of solipsistic barbarism. A paraplegic man resents having to pay for women who need help breastfeeding their babies. Why should those women have to buy insurance that covers wheelchairs?"
Gee, I hope Fred Hiatt doesn't read that -- he'll go into anaphylactic shock, metaphorically speaking.
I also added this on March 31st after putting together the other excerpted pieces.
Forrest Lake Drive on the northernmost fringe of Atlanta, 2:11PM March 4, 2017.
This was part of an afternoon spent driving in the vicinity of what I believe to be the geographically northernmost point of the actual City of Atlanta. I've written about this previously here and my assumption is based upon this map:
A police zone sectional map of Atlanta, Ga., that I believe marks the northernmost twin sections of the city -- in outline, resembling twin "pincers," although the resolution is too low to help determine the actual geographic northernmost point.
My assumption is that the eastern pincer is slightly farther north than the western one, but, honestly, I can't tell.
Street sign for the intersection of Forrest Lake and Tall Pines Drives, Atlanta, Ga., 2:12PM March 4, 2017.
Maureen Dowd on Trump's Obamacare repeal bill debacle: Donald, This I Will Tell You.
You're all about flashy marketing so you didn't notice that the bill was junk, so lame that even Republicans skittered away. You were humiliated right out of the chute by the establishment guys who hooked you into their agenda -- a massive transfer of wealth to rich people -- and drew you away from your own. You sold yourself as the businessman who could shake things up and make Washington work again. Instead, you got worked over by the Republican leadership and the business community, who set you up to do their bidding.
The large, sloping yard of a house along Forrest Lake Drive, Atlanta, Ga., 2:13PM March 4, 2017.
It is possible that this house is the northernmost one in Atlanta -- or if it isn't this one, it is certainly among the closest. To be clear, the areas north of this along Mt. Paran Road is still referred to as Atlanta, but they are not in the actual City of Atlanta.
That's why they're putting up with all your craziness about Russia and wiretapping and unending lies and rattling our allies. They're counting on you being a delusional dupe who didn't even know what was in the bill because you're sitting around in a bathrobe getting your information from wackadoodles on Fox News and then, as The Post reported, peppering aides with the query, "Is this really a good bill?" You got played. It took W. years to smash everything. You're way ahead of schedule.
The corner of Mt. Paran Road and Lake Forrest Drive, Atlanta, Ga., 2:14PM March 4, 2017.
Again, I think this is technically just north of the City of Atlanta (see map above).
And here is New York Times regularly commenter gemli in a comment following Ms. Dowd's piece:
This kidney stone of a [Obamacare repeal] bill was never going to pass without inflicting great pain on somebody, and I'm glad it was the so-called president, along with Republican frauds like Paul Ryan. It couldn't happen to a nicer bunch of millionaire sociopaths. That's especially true of the Freedom Caucus, who thought the bill was flawed because it didn't hurt the poor and the sick enough.
Mt. Paran Country Store, northern suburban Atlanta, Ga., 2:17PM March 4, 2017.
The building was apparently built in 1906, so it is genuinely old. The tall structure behind it is a cellphone tower that is "decorated" to look like some giant sequoia or Sitka spruce tree.
The president is getting a much needed dose of reality. His entire administration has been marked by deception, gross incompetence, unjustified claims and international embarrassments, so it's nice to see the chickens finally coming home to roost. And boy, are they ever. It looks like a scene from Alfred Hitchcock's "The Birds."
It only took a few weeks of being in the hot seat for the president to realize why it was so named. His boxers were ablaze in short order. All the while he tried to distract us from his incompetence with claims of wiretaps, unprecedentedly high crime rates, voter fraud and massive inaugural crowds. But those things only confirmed the old saying, liar, liar, pants on fire.
View along Mt. Paran Road just north of Atlanta, Ga., 2:20PM March 4, 2017.
The sign says "Dirt Wanted" but I didn't take the picture at the right angle for easy reading.
None of his experience prepared him for the realities of being president. Surprisingly, the skills one acquires by groping starlets, founding a bogus university, ripping off workers and selling cheap ties do not transfer well to the job of running the most powerful nation on earth. So hold on to your seats, America. We've got 3.9 years to go, and it's going to be a bumpy ride.
A large house along Habersham Rd, Atlanta, Ga., 2:54PM March 4, 2017.
There are lots of big-ass houses in parts of Atlanta, especially on the north side. It's sort of a Southern-fried McMansion heaven.
Lastly involving Trump and the health care "reform" bill -- which was actually just a massive tax cut for millionaires and billionaires at the expense of the working poor including Trump's "base" -- here is a good Ezra Klein summation (link embedded): Donald Trump is extremely bad at making deals.
Sub-headline: Why is the health bill failing? Look at Trump Steaks, Trump University, Trump eyeglasses, Trump Suits ...
A characteristically traffic-clogged highway (near the I-85/I-75 interchange), downtown Atlanta, Ga., 7:15PM March 4, 2017.
Chris and I were driving back to Midtown to go out in the gayborhood -- dinner and back to Blake's -- on my last night there.
As you may know, a nasty fire caused a northbound section of I-85 through downtown Atlanta to collapse, and while there were no casualties, this has thrown traffic-clogged Atlanta into chaos rivaling anything that would grip Washington, D.C., in a major snowfall or ices storm.
I asked Chris T. if this was causing a temporary relaxation of the racial and socio-economic taboo against taking the MARTA. He replied that the MARTA parking lots are full.
MOTHER OF JEFFERSON DAVIS, NO!!
Speaking of Ezra Klein, here is the transcript of a recent interview he had with Israeli historian, author, and futurist Yuval Harari (link embedded): Yuval Harari on why humans won't dominate Earth in 300 years.
Yours truly in a quiet, pleasantly cool part of Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, Atlanta, Ga., 12:00PM March 5, 2017.
I was waiting for my flight. I say pleasantly cool because there was an air conduct above me purring cool air.
Intelligence is not consciousness. Intelligence is the ability to solve problems. Consciousness is the ability to feel things. In humans and other animals, the two indeed go together. The way mammals solve problems is by feeling things. Our emotions and sensations are really an integral part of the way we solve problems in our lives. However, in the case of computers, we don't see the two going together.
Jets lined up for takeoff from Hartsfield-Jackson Int'l Airport, Atlanta, Ga., 2:11PM March 5, 2017.
This brings back childhood memories of when I would fly between Newark Int'l Airport and Dallas/Fort Worth Int'l Airport via Hartsfield in 1980 and 1981 going between my dad and grandparents in New Jersey and my mom and Ray in Texas.
Continued excerpt - 1:
Over the past few decades, there has been immense development in computer intelligence and exactly zero development in computer consciousness. There is absolutely no reason to think that computers are anywhere near developing consciousness. They might be moving along a very different trajectory than mammalian evolution. In the case of mammals, evolution has driven mammals toward greater intelligence by way of consciousness, but in the case of computers, they might be progressing along a parallel and very different route to intelligence that just doesn't involve consciousness at all.
The moment of takeoff from Hartsfield-Jackson Int'l Airport, Atlanta, Ga., 2:12PM March 5, 2017.
Continued excerpt - 2:
We may find ourselves in a world with nonconscious super intelligence. The big question is not whether the humans will fall in love with the robots or whether the robots will try to kill the humans. The big question is how does a world of nonconscious super intelligence look? Because we've absolutely nothing in history that prepares us for such a scenario.
On ascent over the southern suburbs of Atlanta with Hartsfield-Jackson Int'l Airport, 2:13PM March 5, 2017.
You can see the Atlanta skyline vaguely in the distance. I was actually able to see the "King and Queen" buildings in Sandy Springs near Chris's place for much of the departing ascent out of Atlanta.
I also like the part where Harari talks about how religion is basically a virtual reality game -- indeed, was the original virtual reality game for thousands of years.
OK, that's all for now.
I had intended to post a new episode of BIG Y'EYEMAH's Friday Night Creature Feature, but it would take too long and it is already 7PM. Perhaps what I'll do is try to post it tomorrow as a special Saturday edition of the Friday Night Creature Feature.