Wednesday, February 6, 2019

From the Depths of Trump's Lagoon of Slime & Corruption to Heights of Temperature Variability -OR- The State of This February Union

Sumidero Canyon, Chiapas, Mexico

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OK, let's try to post something tonight on this blog …

I'm home now and ensconced in my wee, lamp-lit efficiency apartment with the window a/c purring cool air. Yes, despite the early February calendar date, the a/c is pumping out cool air because the weather -- following the "Polar Vortex" episode of last week -- has suddenly turned unseasonably, indeed, record warm today (more on that below).

However, despite the daytime warmth, and despite clear skies, the night is damp and oddly clammy in that way that tends to happen following abnormally warm wintertime days.

I'm home now on this non-gym night. I went to the gym last night.

It was an unpleasantly busy day as I had to pick up a print job at the FedEx store (at 1400 K Street, though it technically fronts onto 14th St NW) and then deliver it to the agency and file it away -- except there were issues with it.

Long story short, it was a nearly $800 print job screwed up by hole punches that, it turned out, were unnecessary (owing to the use of plastic sleeves in the five binders into which these files were to go).

No, I didn't have to pay for it myself, but still it sucked, especially since it was I who suggested the hole punching.

And then I have to do monthly progress reports and -- tonight -- I need to summarize some session notes of a meeting I attended last week and that I said I would have emailed by tomorrow morning.

I went to dinner tonight at a nearby restaurant a couple blocks away. I ended up way overspending on dinner, a couple drinks, and some dessert I took home.

Dinner included a food I have long avoided, namely, prawns. Though similar to shrimp, I don't like them.

I feel like I'm eating a dish of spicy oversized orange cockroaches.

I would have gone to Ted's Bulletin, except it is closed for two days (according to the taped up sign on the door) for renovations.

Signs like that sometimes portend something bigger, to wit, when Kapnos (at 14th and W NW) had a sign that it was closed for the night due to a "hood malfunction," the next day, the sign was replaced with one saying it was closed for good.

I'm watching the MeTV lineup as I compose this entry. It's Gomer Pyle USMC; WKRP in Cincinnati; Hogan's Heroes (two episodes); Carol Burnett & Friends; and Perry Mason. And, perhaps, The Twilight Zone.

I am not tuning into Trump's Screwed Up State of the Disunion speech. I've no desire to watch or listen to that syphilitic madman. Of course, he'll be before a far less sycophantic crowd this go-around. Now whether he is typical Trump or -- wholly out of character -- tries to be "unifying" is indeed, as Nate Silver wrote, an interesting question.

I should point out that in his past SoTU and his initial "budget address," he wasn't the raving lunatic he is on Twitter or at one of his "Hillbilly Nuremberg" rallies.

While on matters political, I would like to point note a few other things …

Jonathan Chait had this piece about that "egotistical billionaire asshole" Howard Schultz's potential spoiler presidential candidacy:

Howard Schultz's presidential campaign opened up to mixed reviews -- within the prized demographic of socially liberal, fiscally moderate billionaire moguls. (Michael Bloomberg expressed disapproval, while Schultz himself expresses strong enthusiasm.) Every other demographic category has registered a catastrophically negative response.

Change Research found Schultz's favorable rating among the public is 4 percent, with 40 percent viewing him unfavorably, and the rest not knowing who this person is.

Jonathan Chait also had these pieces on the danger posed by Howard Schultz and his vulgar vanity project:

Howard Schultz Might Reelect Trump Because He Doesn't Understand How Politics Works

Political Moderation Needs to Be Saved From the Madness of Howard Schultz

Aside from possibly helping Trump to win reelection with barely 40 percent of the popular vote, Schultz's brand of what Paul Krugman has previously called "professional centrism" essentially does not exist outside how the socially liberal, fiscally conservative "demographic" essentially does not exist in America outside of the Beltway pundit crowd.


Also from Jonathan Chait, Trump is being played like the cheap-ass fiddle he is by the neocons to try to start a war with Iran. No surprise there -- Trump reads nothing and understands less.


There were also these two Esquire pieces that I would like to mention …

Jack Holmes wrote this deep dive of the degenerate parade of kleptocrats, grifters, bottom feeders, and assorted parasites that made up the first two years of Trump's regime and the next set now taking over as we start Year Three of this Unholy Era: The Great American Heist.

It's much too long to adequately excerpt, but I'll post these paragraphs from the outset:

As we embark on a third year of The Trump Era, a new group has filtered in to populate the most senior levels of his government. The Class of 2019 is different in kind to the right-wing oddballs and ravenous feeders at the public trough that went barreling into the administration in January 2017. Often, those characters flamed out early, and now they've been replaced.

The folks taking their place are The Operators, the Beltway veterans with deep ties to the industries they are now tasked with regulating.

They have been in government, then out of it, and now they're back in. They know what the people who write the big checks want, and they know how to make it happen. They also know the rules you just can't break, and have the patience and discipline to mostly stay out of the headlines until it’s time to eat.

Many key departments of the Executive Branch are now run by cutouts of the industries they're tasked with regulating, and have set out to redraw the rules to suit the interests of their former -- and likely future -- employers. In effect, they are tasked with destroying these departments.

As for the most recent of the endless grotesque litany of Trump scandals, specifically, the inaugural committee one, let's turn to the invaluable Charles Pierce:

As the invaluable Marcy Wheeler has been saying for months, Robert Mueller is handing off various deep dives into the bottomless lagoon of slime and corruption that is this administration* as well as conducting his own investigations.

The folks in the Southern District there at the very least clearly believe that the inauguration of the 45th president of the United States to have been an elaborate mechanism for laundering all sorts of money from all sorts of people.

Not to worry, though, because Mitch "The Amoral Bitch" McConnell has enough Federalist Society judges inside his jowls -- plus coming out of his backside -- to return this country in a 19th Century Gilded Age / caste system stasis for at least another generation. Remember that's the goal: Oligarchy, Predation, Indentured Servitude, & Immiseration.

And, of course, the crazies out there that can't get enough Trump and GOP are "giddy" in their deranged state -- even though it means their own slow and systematic destruction by the same.

Turning to the weather …

Today's highs were as follows:

KDCA: 74F R
KBWI: 71F
KIAD: 72F
KDMH: 71F

The KDCA record surpassed the old record (set in 1991 and the pre-airport period of 1890) of 70F by 4F.

The forecasted high was 68F -- so KDCA "over-performed" on temperature by frickin 6F. It always "over-performs" on daily highs and warm overnight lows.

500mb geopotential heights [in dekameters] over a portion of North America looped on 30 January and 03 February 2019 based upon the Euro model

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Oh, and recall that temps were as low as the single digits with wind chills of minus 10F to minus 20F in the "DMV" region a week ago. Even more abnormal was the massive warm up in the areas where the Polar Vortex episode was most extreme -- the Midwest and Great Lakes region.

Chicago (KORD) temperature change between Jan 30, 2019 and Feb 4, 2019 in a Radiant Solutions tweet

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After a low of minus 23F at KORD on Jan 30th, the overnight low was 39F on Feb 3rd, a daily record high minimum. On Feb 4th, there was a daytime high of 51F -- or a 74F temp swing. There were places in Iowa where the apparent temp change from the lowest recorded wind chills to Feb 4th afternoon highs were in the 100F to 110F range. Anyway, it's chilled a bit back down there to normal.

Apparent temperature change between the lowest wind chill values on or about Jan 29, 2019 and the high temperature on Feb 3, 2019 for portions of the Upper Midwest and Great Lakes region.

The color scale on this doesn't make any sense.

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As for here, cooler weather and rain are in the forecast for tomorrow (Wednesday) and then mild (60F-ish) and damp Thursday and Friday before it returns to more seasonably winter cold by early next week.

San Diego NWS Forecast Office infographic for Feb 1, 2019

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NWS Hanford Forecast Office (HNX) county warning area weather (CWA) advisories updated 9:22 p.m. PST February 4, 2019

That's a rare sight to have that many weather products -- especially winter ones -- in effect for central California.

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Meanwhile, there is a veritable firehose of Pacific storm systems into the West Coast -- specifically, California -- that have dropped flooding rains and enormous amounts of snow (including in regions that have been plagued by multi-year severe drought).

Point grid forecast with icons for downtown Los Angeles, Feb 1 - 5, 2019

That was a very un-Los Angeles like forecast.

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Pacific Southwest sector composite radar mosaic looped 0338 - 0448UTC Feb 2, 2019

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The following rainfall totals have been observed since Feb 1st and Jan 1st in Southern California through 5 p.m. PST Feb 5th.

KCQT: 2.70" / 8.65" (+2.10"/ +4.93")
KLAX: 2.10" / 7.62" (+1.57"/ +4.38")
KLGB: 2.14" / 8.56" (+1.66"/ +5.48")
KSBA: 2.80" / 10.16"(+2.10"/ +5.96")
KPRB: 2.49"/ 5.81" (+2.03" / +2.60")
KBUR: 3.94" / 9.28" (+3.24" / +5.05")
KSAN: 1.91" / 4.71" (+1.56"/ +2.38")
KSNA: 2.43" / 7.46" (+2.14" / +4.26")
KOKB: 2.31" / 5.25" (+2.01" / +2.30")
KPSP: 0.41" / 1.86" (+0.32" / +0.77")

Parts of the High Sierras around Lake Tahoe have gotten up to 7 feet of snow in the past 7 days with whiteout conditions and both blizzard and avalanche warnings.

Deep snow at Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows, Calif., February 4, 2019

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A dog in the deep snow at Heavenly Mountain Ski Resort, on the California - Nevada border, February 5, 2019

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Ok, I'm going to sign off for now. My next entry will not be until late Thursday / early Friday or, alternatively, Friday evening.

--Regulus

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