Not the good kind of acid

There is a correction in the previous issue.


Ohio River

April Johnston, “‘That’s vinegar:’ The Ohio River’s history of contamination and progress made,” Environmental Health News, November 14, 2019, https://www.ehn.org/ohio-river-pollution-cleanup-2641307895.html


Hong Kong

The appearance of the People’s Liberation Army, that is, Mainland China’s army, on the streets of Hong Kong was relatively benign: They cleared roadblocks set up by protesters. But everyone understands the implicit threat of possible intervention.[1]

John Lyons, Steven Russolillo, and Eun-Young Jeong, “Mainland Chinese Soldiers Take to Hong Kong Streets for First Time During Protests,” Wall Street Journal, November 16, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/mainland-chinese-soldiers-take-to-hong-kong-streets-for-first-time-since-protests-began-11573907250


  1. [1]John Lyons, Steven Russolillo, and Eun-Young Jeong, “Mainland Chinese Soldiers Take to Hong Kong Streets for First Time During Protests,” Wall Street Journal, November 16, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/mainland-chinese-soldiers-take-to-hong-kong-streets-for-first-time-since-protests-began-11573907250

Capitalists are bad? You don’t say!

Updates

  1. Originally published, November 15, 7:43 pm.
  2. November 16, 2:58 pm:
    • Correction: Sonoma Clean Power does not own or operate the geothermal plant at the Geysers in Sonoma County. These wells are mostly operated by Calpine.[1] I have removed erroneous text. Also, it appears the Press Democrat story[2] over-emphasized the prospect that Sonoma Clean Power might acquire PG&E’s transmission network in Sonoma County. My mother tells me that the Board was concerned with the possibility that PG&E might be bought out or become something else, and what the ramifications for Sonoma Clean Power, as a subsidiary power seller, would be. There may be a story forthcoming.

Ayodhya

Sadanand Dhume, “Hindus Take a Muslim Site. What’s Next?” Wall Street Journal, November 14, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/hindus-take-a-muslim-site-is-the-taj-mahal-next-11573775903


Pacific Gas and Electric

dt.common.streams.StreamServer.c
Fig. 1. Is this a picture to grab your attention or what? No, this isn’t a disaster about to happen. The original caption: “A helicopter uses a sprayer to wash high tension power line insulators after the Kincade Fire near Pepperwood Preserve.” This photograph is undated and uncredited but the other two in the article, also undated, are attributed to Kent Porter of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat.[3] Fair use.

There is concern that Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E), a company with a criminal record, will emerge from bankruptcy under control of a hedge fund.

“Nothing I can think of says, ‘screw the public interest’ like a hedge fund-owned public utility,” [Dave] King said.[4]

So Sonoma Clean Power may seek to acquire PG&E’s transmission network in the county.[5] It is unclear how this would mesh with the possibility that the state will take over the utility.[6]

While I’m no fan of PG&E, I also have to wonder to what extent public ownership will solve a problem whose causes lie not only with corporate malfeasance but also with the climate crisis.[7] And you know how you convince me you’re serious about the latter: Go vegan. Until you’ve done that, you’re really just playing around.

Tyler Silvy, “Sonoma Clean Power officials will explore public ownership of PG&E utility lines,” Santa Rosa Press-Democrat, November 14, 2019, https://www.pressdemocrat.com/news/10315410-181/sonoma-clean-power-officials-will


Gig economy

Imagine if other states, notably California, actually slapped Uber with a tax bill the way New Jersey has.[8]

Matthew Haag and Patrick McGeehan, “Uber Fined $649 Million for Saying Drivers Aren’t Employees,” New York Times, November 14, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/14/nyregion/uber-new-jersey-drivers.html



  1. [1]Power Technology, “The Geysers Geothermal Field, California,” n.d., https://www.power-technology.com/projects/the-geysers-geothermal-california/
  2. [2]Tyler Silvy, “Sonoma Clean Power officials will explore public ownership of PG&E utility lines,” Santa Rosa Press-Democrat, November 14, 2019, https://www.pressdemocrat.com/news/10315410-181/sonoma-clean-power-officials-will
  3. [3]Tyler Silvy, “Sonoma Clean Power officials will explore public ownership of PG&E utility lines,” Santa Rosa Press-Democrat, November 14, 2019, https://www.pressdemocrat.com/news/10315410-181/sonoma-clean-power-officials-will
  4. [4]Tyler Silvy, “Sonoma Clean Power officials will explore public ownership of PG&E utility lines,” Santa Rosa Press-Democrat, November 14, 2019, https://www.pressdemocrat.com/news/10315410-181/sonoma-clean-power-officials-will
  5. [5]Tyler Silvy, “Sonoma Clean Power officials will explore public ownership of PG&E utility lines,” Santa Rosa Press-Democrat, November 14, 2019, https://www.pressdemocrat.com/news/10315410-181/sonoma-clean-power-officials-will
  6. [6]Katherine Blunt and Alejandro Lazo, “California Governor Threatens State Takeover of PG&E,” Wall Street Journal, November 1, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/california-governor-threatens-state-takeover-of-pg-e-11572641749; Rebecca Smith, “California Mayors Join Campaign to Buy Out PG&E,” Wall Street Journal, November 5, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/california-mayors-join-campaign-to-make-pg-e-a-cooperative-11572955201
  7. [7]Kurtis Alexander, “Scientists see fingerprints of climate change all over California’s wildfires,” San Francisco Chronicle, August 3, 2018, https://www.sfchronicle.com/science/article/Scientists-see-fingerprints-of-climate-change-all-13128585.php
  8. [8]Matthew Haag and Patrick McGeehan, “Uber Fined $649 Million for Saying Drivers Aren’t Employees,” New York Times, November 14, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/14/nyregion/uber-new-jersey-drivers.html

Forecast: A blizzard of bullshit, no clearing expected

The last few days: Bullshit, mostly.

It was supposed to snow here, and didn’t. It did get cold, but the streets had dried from the rain that was supposed to turn to snow, so there wasn’t even very much ice.
FireShot Capture 039 - Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Watterson for November 10, 2019 - GoComics_ - www.gocomics.com
Fig. 1. Screenshot of comic by Bill Watterson from 1989. Actually, I’d be just fine without the snow, and especially the ice.

I’m beginning to get the picture that folks have been telling me about for months. I’d still desperately rather be doing something besides driving for Uber and Lyft in a Pittsburgh winter or anywhere in any season.[1]


Pete Buttigieg

Which, come to think of it, isn’t much of an improvement on calling Donald Trump’s supporters “deplorables.”[2]

The neoliberal party does not engage on issues because its issue is neoliberalism and even it knows that that’s a loser. It claims a progressive mantle by running on identity. And some idiots still fall for it.


Uber

Kia Kokalitcheva, “Uber says it’s likely to pay Waymo or revamp its self-driving tech,” Axios, November 7, 2019, https://www.axios.com/uber-says-its-likely-to-pay-waymo-or-revamp-its-self-driving-tech-ffa6e420-4273-4cf1-8161-fc40e25b61da.html


Trade

Jomo Kwame Sundaram and Anis Chowdhury, “Trade Liberalization for Development?” InterPress Service, November 5, 2019, http://www.ipsnews.net/2019/11/trade-liberalization-development/


California

fireseasons
Fig. 2. California climate change since 1895.[3]

Santa Rosa Press Democrat, “How California’s weather has changed during fire season since 1895,” n.d., https://www.pressdemocrat.com/multimedia/10274200-181/how-californias-weather-has-changed


  1. [1]David Benfell, “About my job hunt,” Not Housebroken, n.d., https://disunitedstates.org/about-my-job-hunt/
  2. [2]Jonathan Capehart, “This is what’s ‘deplorable’ about Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump and this campaign,” Washington Post, September 12, 2016, https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-partisan/wp/2016/09/12/this-is-whats-deplorable-about-hillary-clinton-donald-trump-and-this-campaign/
  3. [3]Santa Rosa Press Democrat, “How California’s weather has changed during fire season since 1895,” n.d., https://www.pressdemocrat.com/multimedia/10274200-181/how-californias-weather-has-changed

It isn’t California anymore

Updates

  1. Originally published October 31, 7:31 pm.
  2. October 31, 9:34 pm:
    • The Santa Rosa Press Democrat has published a map (figure 1) of nearby (to Santa Rosa) fires since 2015.[1] Try, just try, to imagine living near this.

California

FireShot Capture 035 - Map of Kincade and nearby recent fires - www.pressdemocrat.com
Fig. 1. Screenshot of the Santa Rosa Press Democrat‘s map of fires since 2015.[2]

Firefighters are getting the Kincade fire under control but other fires are ravaging California.[3] But Ronald Reagan’s daughter shares the sense that California has changed.[4]

Patti Davis, “My father’s library will likely survive the fires, but the California of my youth is gone,” Washington Post, October 30, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2019/10/30/my-fathers-library-will-likely-survive-fires-california-my-youth-is-gone/

Dale Kasler, “PG&E says its equipment may have caused a fourth California fire in the past week,” Sacramento Bee, October 30, 2019, https://www.sacbee.com/news/california/fires/article236841498.html

Santa Rosa Press-Democrat, “Map of Kincade and nearby recent fires,” n.d., https://www.pressdemocrat.com/multimedia/10246412-181/map-of-kincade-and-nearby


Redlining

A few days ago, I found a couple more gratuitous guns. One is actually not very far from my apartment, just on a street I don’t drive on very often, and because my complex includes many Black residents, I can accept that this one might be metaphorically aimed at Blacks. The other is in an area I’m much less familiar with, along the Monongahela River in Washington County. I don’t know the racial make-up near the latter location but an initial impression suggests this one is not so metaphorically aimed.


Pictures are here.

Both of these additions raise an issue of how I am assessing metaphorical aims. I need to dredge up demographic maps, preferably spanning several decades. Such demographics need to cover both race and class.


Brexit

Just a quick note on Brexit: The British Press is already in full horse race mode coverage of the forthcoming election.[5] You might have already gathered that this is not the sort of coverage that interests me and that I think political surveys—now boasting a nine percent response rate[6]—should be discounted entirely. Which is to say campaign coverage is bullshit. All of it. Every last diarrhetic drop spewed from the bulls’ asses with such a velocity and range as to cast doubt as to whether any green grass may be found.


  1. [1]Santa Rosa Press-Democrat, “Map of Kincade and nearby recent fires,” n.d., https://www.pressdemocrat.com/multimedia/10246412-181/map-of-kincade-and-nearby
  2. [2]Santa Rosa Press-Democrat, “Map of Kincade and nearby recent fires,” n.d., https://www.pressdemocrat.com/multimedia/10246412-181/map-of-kincade-and-nearby
  3. [3]California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, “Active Incidents,” October 30, 2019, https://www.fire.ca.gov/incidents/
  4. [4]Patti Davis, “My father’s library will likely survive the fires, but the California of my youth is gone,” Washington Post, October 30, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2019/10/30/my-fathers-library-will-likely-survive-fires-california-my-youth-is-gone/
  5. [5]Karla Adam and William Booth, “Britain sets December date for an election in which Brexit will dominate,” Washington Post, October 29, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/with-labour-partys-backing-britains-boris-johnson-looks-set-to-get-his-snap-election/2019/10/29/778ed246-f9c9-11e9-9e02-1d45cb3dfa8f_story.html
  6. [6]Steven Shepard, “Report: Phone polls aren’t dead yet,” Politico, May 15, 2017, https://www.politico.com/story/2017/05/15/pollsters-phone-polls-238409

Men. Idiot fucking men. (Not all men, but men.)

Dorian

There is a new blog post entitled, “The captain is always right.”

Associated Press, “NOAA assailed for defending Trump’s Hurricane Dorian claim,” Los Angeles Times, September 7, 2019, https://www.latimes.com/world-nation/story/2019-09-07/noaa-assailed-defending-trump-hurricane-dorian-claim

Andrew Freedman, Colby Itkowitz, and Jason Samenow, “NOAA staff warned in Sept. 1 directive against contradicting Trump,” Washington Post, September 7, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/noaa-staff-warned-in-sept-1-directive-against-contradicting-trump/2019/09/07/12a52d1a-d18f-11e9-87fa-8501a456c003_story.html


#MeToo

Tim Bower, “The #MeToo Backlash,” Harvard Business Review, September/October 2019, https://hbr.org/2019/09/the-metoo-backlash


Pacific Gas and Electric

Katherine Blunt, “San Francisco Offers to Buy PG&E Wires in City,” Wall Street Journal, September 8, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/san-francisco-offers-to-buy-pg-e-wires-in-city-11567960938


Reboot and reinstall

All I wanted was to get my music collection onto my new iPhone. Talk about opening a can of worms.

Apple has done its level best to make it impossible to access the file structure on the iPhone through a USB connection and if there’s a way to do it via Bluetooth, I haven’t found it. And Google Drive doesn’t allow folder downloads via the web.

With Android and on Linux, I had programs or apps that got around this. They don’t seem to be available for the iPhone and those that are claimed to get around this either no longer exist or do not work.

So I tried booting into Windows to try to find out what my options are there. This was a huge mistake.

First, there didn’t seem to be any working options for downloading folders from my Google Drive to the iPhone.

But second, while I knew Windows would change the boot configuration so I’d have to go back into it at what used to be called the BIOS level and reconfigure it to get back into Linux, I wasn’t expecting it to make the Linux installations on the machine unbootable.

And when I tried going back in with a bootable USB drive, even though I’d chosen UEFI options, the Linux kernel wasn’t configured properly for UEFI.

No more. It’s time to cut the bullshit. I simply don’t have patience for this shit anymore.

So the Windows installation is blown away, the Sabayon Linux installation which had gotten increasingly problematic is blown away, the old Ubuntu installation is blown away.

I have a fresh Ubuntu installation and I’m restoring files from backup. I may go have a chat with the folks at the Apple Store about how to do what I need to do.

What all this means for this newsletter is that I won’t have up to date satellite images for a while. I still have the scripts—they’re backed up. But I don’t have them running on the new installation yet. Not only do I need to restore from backups, but I have to get scripts that had been tailored for Sabayon working under Ubuntu.

None of this is impossible. Ubuntu generally has more options than Sabayon. It’s just work.


Dorian

KRBAMS5E5FE3HA2OOQAAARGROA
Satellite photo of Dorian on the North Carolina coast, via the Washington Post, September 6, 2019.

Since nearly making landfall (I thought it actually had[1]) on the southern extent of the North Carolina coast, then as a category 2 storm,[2] Dorian basically followed the coast, weakening to category 1,[3] but certainly retaining strength longer than it would have had it gone inland.

As to landfall, it sure looked like the eye passed over the Outer Banks to me:
Continental US - Clean Longwave Window - IR
As of 8:00 am.

And I guess I was right this time (you know what they say about throwing darts).[4]

This is when I need to remember that the human rats (politicians) in Washington, D.C., are likely on high ground anyway:

While the storm could bring tropical-storm conditions to the tidal Potomac south of Cobb Island, it is not forecast to send a storm surge riding up the Potomac River toward Washington, D.C.[5]

So apart from a self-inflicted wound about Alabama[6] and barring a change in path, Donald Trump emerges from Dorian unscathed.

Meanwhile, the death toll in the Bahamas is now at least thirty.[7]

Mia Mottley, the prime minister of Barbados, spoke about her thoughts on Dorian’s links to the climate crisis. She did not pull her punches.

“We are on the frontline of the consequences of climate change but we don’t cause it,” she said. “And the vulnerability that attaches therefore to us is a matter we’re trying to get the international community to deal with consistently.”

She added: “People say the words and hear you, but they don’t follow through so that I have every confidence. Now that the last few years are beginning to show others that frontline states, whether it’s an island in the Caribbean or states in the US or cities, all of us who are continuously being affected, have to recognise that this doesn’t happen out of the blue.

“The warmer waters do what? They fuel the growth and the strength of hurricanes.”[8]

Valerie Bauerlein and Jon Kamp, “Weakened Hurricane Dorian Makes Landfall on North Carolina Coast,” Wall Street Journal, September 6, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/hurricane-dorian-makes-landfall-over-cape-hatteras-n-c-11567775699
210138_5day_cone_no_line_and_win
Matthew Cappucci and Andrew Freedman, “President Trump showed a doctored hurricane chart. Was it to cover up for ‘Alabama’ Twitter flub?” Washington Post, September 5, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/weather/2019/09/04/president-trump-shows-doctored-hurricane-chart-was-it-cover-up-alabama-twitter-flub/

Oliver Laughland and Adam Gabbatt, “’Everything is destroyed’: 30 dead in Bahamas as Dorian lashes North Carolina,” Guardian, September 6, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/sep/05/hurricane-dorian-latest-us-strength-path

Jamie Pietruska, “Why President Trump’s Sharpied weather map was likely a crime — and should be,” Washington Post, September 6, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/2019/09/06/why-president-trumps-sharpied-weather-map-was-likely-crime-should-be/

Jason Samenow and Andrew Freedman, “Dorian slams N.C. Outer Banks with 95 mph winds, charges toward southeast Va., southeast New England,” Washington Post, September 6, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/weather/2019/09/06/dorian-lash-eastern-north-carolina-southeast-virginia-southeast-new-england-before-finally-zipping-away/


Recession

Add this[9] to the pile of reasons for worry:[10]

Hiring in August was also boosted heavily by the U.S. government adding 25,000 temporary workers to its payrolls for the 2020 Census.

“Hiring in the U.S. is slowing, not stopping,” said Mark Hamrick, senior economic analyst at Bankrate, although he called it “somewhat concerning” that setting aside government hiring, private sector job gains fell to 96,000.[11]

And remember that the psychology is a major factor.[12]

Heather Long, “U.S. economy adds just 130,000 jobs in August amid worries that trade war has sunk its teeth into hiring,” Washington Post, September 6, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2019/09/06/us-economy-adds-just-jobs-august-amid-worries-that-trade-war-has-sunk-its-teeth-into-hiring/


Gig economy

Aaron Gordon, “The Bill That Would Make Uber And Lyft Drivers Employees Isn’t Just Making Uber And Lyft Nervous,” Jalopnik, September 6, 2019, https://jalopnik.com/the-bill-that-would-make-uber-and-lyft-drivers-employee-1837909962


Brexit

There is a new blog post entitled, “Voters still need to decide on Brexit.”

Deutschewelle, “Brexit: House of Lords approves bill to block no deal,” September 6, 2019, https://www.dw.com/en/brexit-house-of-lords-approves-bill-to-block-no-deal/a-50331382


  1. [1]David Benfell, “Dorian (sort of) comes ashore in North Carolina,” Irregular Bullshit, September 6, 2019, https://disunitedstates.com/2019/09/06/dorian-comes-ashore-in-north-carolina/
  2. [2]Andrew Freedman and Jason Samenow, “‘Life-threatening’ storm surge, torrential rains and hurricane force winds pound the Carolinas as Hurricane Dorian grinds north,” Washington Post, September 5, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/weather/2019/09/05/life-threatening-storm-surge-torrential-rains-hurricane-force-winds-pound-carolinas-hurricane-dorian-grinds-north/
  3. [3]Jason Samenow and Andrew Freedman, “Dorian slams N.C. Outer Banks with 95 mph winds, charges toward southeast Va., southeast New England,” Washington Post, September 6, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/weather/2019/09/06/dorian-lash-eastern-north-carolina-southeast-virginia-southeast-new-england-before-finally-zipping-away/
  4. [4]Valerie Bauerlein and Jon Kamp, “Weakened Hurricane Dorian Makes Landfall on North Carolina Coast,” Wall Street Journal, September 6, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/hurricane-dorian-makes-landfall-over-cape-hatteras-n-c-11567775699
  5. [5]Jason Samenow and Andrew Freedman, “Dorian slams N.C. Outer Banks with 95 mph winds, charges toward southeast Va., southeast New England,” Washington Post, September 6, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/weather/2019/09/06/dorian-lash-eastern-north-carolina-southeast-virginia-southeast-new-england-before-finally-zipping-away/
  6. [6]Nancy Benac, “Trump clings to idea Alabama faced big threat from Dorian,” Associated Press, September 4, 2019, https://www.apnews.com/416144d854fb4302a9f34cccae81b0e0; Matthew Cappucci and Andrew Freedman, “President Trump showed a doctored hurricane chart. Was it to cover up for ‘Alabama’ Twitter flub?” Washington Post, September 5, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/weather/2019/09/04/president-trump-shows-doctored-hurricane-chart-was-it-cover-up-alabama-twitter-flub/; Jamie Pietruska, “Why President Trump’s Sharpied weather map was likely a crime — and should be,” Washington Post, September 6, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/2019/09/06/why-president-trumps-sharpied-weather-map-was-likely-crime-should-be/
  7. [7]Oliver Laughland and Adam Gabbatt, “’Everything is destroyed’: 30 dead in Bahamas as Dorian lashes North Carolina,” Guardian, September 6, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/sep/05/hurricane-dorian-latest-us-strength-path
  8. [8]Oliver Laughland and Adam Gabbatt, “’Everything is destroyed’: 30 dead in Bahamas as Dorian lashes North Carolina,” Guardian, September 6, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/sep/05/hurricane-dorian-latest-us-strength-path
  9. [9]Heather Long, “U.S. economy adds just 130,000 jobs in August amid worries that trade war has sunk its teeth into hiring,” Washington Post, September 6, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2019/09/06/us-economy-adds-just-jobs-august-amid-worries-that-trade-war-has-sunk-its-teeth-into-hiring/
  10. [10]Jon Hilsenrath, “After Record-Long Expansion, Here’s What Could Knock the Economy Off Course,” Wall Street Journal, June 3, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/after-record-long-expansion-heres-what-could-knock-the-economy-off-course-11559591043; John Kemp, “Global economy is probably in recession,” Reuters, August 7, 2019, https://www.reuters.com/article/uk-global-economy-kemp/column-global-economy-is-probably-in-recession-idUKKCN1UX1OF; Colin Kruger, “‘Insane levels’: Can a world where profitless companies are flying last?” Sydney Morning Herald, August 10, 2019, https://www.smh.com.au/business/companies/insane-levels-can-a-world-where-profitless-companies-are-flying-last-20190808-p52f3d.html; Damian Paletta, Thomas Heath, and Taylor Telford, “Stocks tank as another recession warning surfaces,” Washington Post, August 14, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2019/08/14/stocks-tank-another-recession-warning-surfaces/; Tim Wallace, “‘Very real’ recession risk as economy contracts for first time in seven years,” Telegraph, August 9, 2019, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2019/08/09/recession-risk-now-real-economy-contracts-first-time-seven-years/; Tim Wallace, “World economy faces a risk that’s far bigger than Trump’s trade war,” Sydney Morning Herald, August 9, 2019, https://www.smh.com.au/business/the-economy/world-economy-faces-a-risk-that-s-far-bigger-than-trump-s-trade-war-20190809-p52ffs.html
  11. [11]Heather Long, “U.S. economy adds just 130,000 jobs in August amid worries that trade war has sunk its teeth into hiring,” Washington Post, September 6, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2019/09/06/us-economy-adds-just-jobs-august-amid-worries-that-trade-war-has-sunk-its-teeth-into-hiring/
  12. [12]David Benfell, “As a possible or probable recession looms, neoliberalism evades challenge. Yet again,” Not Housebroken, August 14, 2019, https://disunitedstates.org/2019/08/14/as-a-possible-or-probable-recession-looms-neoliberalism-evades-challenge-yet-again/

Dorian (sort of) comes ashore in North Carolina

Updates

  1. Originally published, September 5, 9:05 pm.
  2. September 6, 8:39 am:
    • It turns out I misunderstood when I said below Dorian had made landfall. It appeared to me that the eyewall had come ashore, but apparently there’s another layer of subtlety here, and at this writing, I’m still figuring that out. They’re now saying it might make landfall over North Carolina’s Outer Banks.[1] I have adjusted the title and the text of this post.

Dorian

I was enmeshed in cell phone issues yesterday so I actually didn’t even remember to look at what Dorian was doing.
211226_5day_cone_no_line_and_win
It killed at least twenty people in the Bahamas. It turned north well off the Florida coast. As of 5:00 am, it had approached the Georgia coast and was expected to graze the Carolina coasts. It was once again a category 3 storm.[2] Charleston looked set to be a mess.[3] Tropical storm warnings and watches had been posted for an area including Virginia and Maryland, along with another area including Cape Cod in Massachusetts. Another area I couldn’t quite tell about was Washington, D.C.; it seems to me there will be considerable risk of flooding along the Potomac River and Chesapeake Bay to the extent that tides combine with winds.
Continental US - Clean Longwave Window - IR
As of 8:00 am. I thought we’d see weather in the Pittsburgh area from the outer reaches of Dorian in fairly short order. But it was mostly a beautiful and unusually clear day with really very little cumulus build up. I didn’t see a drop of rain.

eusgm-2019-09-05-20
72-hour gif, images two hours apart, as of 8:00 pm

As I was about to publish this issue, an alert from the Washington Post reported that Dorian had nearly made landfall in North Carolina. It had flooded downtown Charleston, South Carolina. It had dropped back down to being category 2.[4]

Andrew Freedman and Jason Samenow, “‘Life-threatening’ storm surge, torrential rains and hurricane force winds pound the Carolinas as Hurricane Dorian grinds north,” Washington Post, September 5, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/weather/2019/09/05/life-threatening-storm-surge-torrential-rains-hurricane-force-winds-pound-carolinas-hurricane-dorian-grinds-north/

Cameron McWhirter, Arian Campo-Flores, and Will Parker, “Hurricane Dorian Strengthens to Category 3 as It Churns Toward Carolinas,” Wall Street Journal, September 4, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/hurricane-dorian-churns-northward-off-floridas-coast-11567600739

Jason Samenow and
Andrew Freedman, “Dorian slams N.C. Outer Banks with 95 mph winds, charges toward southeast Va., southeast New England,” Washington Post, September 6, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/weather/2019/09/06/dorian-lash-eastern-north-carolina-southeast-virginia-southeast-new-england-before-finally-zipping-away/


Brexit

The anti-no-deal legislation has reached the Lords. Attempts to filibuster it have failed.[5] Let’s return to that flowchart from the Times:[6]
methodetimesprodwebbinb3e05f1e-c
Seriously, guys, thanks for this. Graphic from the Times, September 4, 2019. As of this morning, we were at “Lords passes bill” or “Lords rejects bill, bill fails,” with the Lords having agreed to take action in advance of Boris Johnson’s prorogation of Parliament.[7]

Peter Walker and Warren Murray, “Lords agree to push through bill preventing no-deal Brexit by end of Friday,” Guardian, September 4, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/sep/05/brexit-lords-agree-to-push-through-bill-preventing-no-deal-by-end-of-friday


  1. [1]Jason Samenow and
    Andrew Freedman, “Dorian slams N.C. Outer Banks with 95 mph winds, charges toward southeast Va., southeast New England,” Washington Post, September 6, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/weather/2019/09/06/dorian-lash-eastern-north-carolina-southeast-virginia-southeast-new-england-before-finally-zipping-away/
  2. [2]Cameron McWhirter, Arian Campo-Flores, and Will Parker, “Hurricane Dorian Strengthens to Category 3 as It Churns Toward Carolinas,” Wall Street Journal, September 4, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/hurricane-dorian-churns-northward-off-floridas-coast-11567600739
  3. [3]Andrew Freedman and Jason Samenow, “‘Life-threatening’ storm surge, torrential rains and hurricane force winds pound the Carolinas as Hurricane Dorian grinds north,” Washington Post, September 5, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/weather/2019/09/05/life-threatening-storm-surge-torrential-rains-hurricane-force-winds-pound-carolinas-hurricane-dorian-grinds-north/
  4. [4]Andrew Freedman and Jason Samenow, “Core of Hurricane Dorian barrels ashore in North Carolina with ‘Life-threatening’ storm surge, torrential rains and high winds,” Washington Post, September 5, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/weather/2019/09/05/life-threatening-storm-surge-torrential-rains-hurricane-force-winds-pound-carolinas-hurricane-dorian-grinds-north/
  5. [5]Peter Walker and Warren Murray, “Lords agree to push through bill preventing no-deal Brexit by end of Friday,” Guardian, September 4, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/sep/05/brexit-lords-agree-to-push-through-bill-preventing-no-deal-by-end-of-friday
  6. [6]Francis Elliott and Oliver Wright, “Moderates attack Boris Johnson after Tory rebels have whip removed,” Times, September 4, 2019, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/news/tory-rebels-defy-boris-johnson-in-historic-vote-hbnhhpzh7
  7. [7]Francis Elliott and Oliver Wright, “Moderates attack Boris Johnson after Tory rebels have whip removed,” Times, September 4, 2019, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/news/tory-rebels-defy-boris-johnson-in-historic-vote-hbnhhpzh7; Peter Walker and Warren Murray, “Lords agree to push through bill preventing no-deal Brexit by end of Friday,” Guardian, September 4, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/sep/05/brexit-lords-agree-to-push-through-bill-preventing-no-deal-by-end-of-friday

The world’s worst poker player

Brexit

Boris Johnson keeps raising the ante. There is a new blog entry entitled, “The world’s worst poker player, on a jet-powered bicycle at full throttle toward a brick wall.” He might be strapping on a rocket next.

Kevin Sullivan and Karla Adam, “Britain may face snap elections after Prime Minister Boris Johnson suffers major loss in Parliament,” Washington Post, September 3, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/showdown-set-for-the-british-parliament-as-legislators-return-from-summer-recess/2019/09/03/105ecca6-cb6c-11e9-9615-8f1a32962e04_story.html

Peter Walker and Jessica Elgot, “Boris Johnson’s ultimatum: back me or face 14 October election,” Guardian, September 2, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/sep/02/boris-johnson-threatens-to-ignore-mps-on-no-deal-brexit

Esther Webber and Kate Devlin, “Try and stop me rebelling, Philip Hammond tells No 10,” Times, September 3, 2019, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/news/try-and-stop-me-rebelling-philip-hammond-tells-no-10-kbdzj8nwf


Recession

I’ve been inclined to think a recession is on the way for a while now[1] for a bunch of reasons.[2] Now Aaron Back, writing for the Wall Street Journal’s “Heard on the Street” column opines that “[s]igns of a possible recession keep stacking up. At some point it no longer makes sense to keep explaining them away.” The manufacturing index dipping below 50 is not a perfect recession signal and Back seems to think it’s less reliable than the inverted yield curve. But he concludes, “With both the yield curve and manufacturing surveys flashing red at the same time, it would be foolish to dismiss them both. No wonder investors are spooked.”[3]

Ruth Simon, Megumi Fujikawa, and Paul Hannon, “U.S.-China Trade War’s Global Impact Grows,” Wall Street Journal, September 2, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/u-s-china-trade-wars-global-impact-grows-11567466809

Aaron Back, “Another Recession Sign to Ignore at Your Peril,” Wall Street Journal, September 3, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/another-recession-sign-to-ignore-at-your-peril-11567530230


Hong Kong

Natasha Khan and Eva Dou, “Beijing Asserts Power to Declare Emergency to Quell Hong Kong Unrest,” Wall Street Journal, September 3, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/beijing-asserts-power-to-declare-emergency-to-quell-hong-kong-unrest-11567509276


Dorian

Continental US - Clean Longwave Window - IR
As of 8:00 am, Dorian’s eye had moved off of Grand Bahama, but the storm was still lashing the island. The storm had weakened to category 3,[4] but appeared to be beginning to affect Florida. It killed at least five people on the Abaco islands, to the east of Grand Bahama.[5]

The storm has weakened further since, to category 2, but looks set to graze the Atlantic Coast all the way up to Newfoundland.[6]
eusgm-2019-09-03-20FireShot Capture 083 - HURRICANE DORIAN - www.nhc.noaa.gov
72-hour gif, images 2 hours apart, as of 8:00 pm and National Hurricane Center storm track forecast as of 8:00 pm.

Andrew Freedman and Jason Samenow, “Dorian expands in size as tropical storm conditions hit Florida and the hurricane risk increases in the Carolinas,” Washington Post, September 3, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/weather/2019/09/03/hurricane-dorian-is-set-creep-north-closer-florida-georgia-carolinas-after-pounding-bahamas/

Arian Campo-Flores and Erin Ailworth, “Hurricane Dorian Death Toll at Five in Bahamas as Storm Is Headed for U.S.,” Wall Street Journal, September 3, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/hurricane-dorian-batters-bahamas-drives-toward-u-s-11567429839


  1. [1]David Benfell, “About that recession timing and the 2020 election,” Not Housebroken, August 25, 2019, https://disunitedstates.org/2019/08/25/about-that-recession-timing-and-the-2020-election/
  2. [2]Jon Hilsenrath, “After Record-Long Expansion, Here’s What Could Knock the Economy Off Course,” Wall Street Journal, June 3, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/after-record-long-expansion-heres-what-could-knock-the-economy-off-course-11559591043; John Kemp, “Global economy is probably in recession,” Reuters, August 7, 2019, https://www.reuters.com/article/uk-global-economy-kemp/column-global-economy-is-probably-in-recession-idUKKCN1UX1OF; Colin Kruger, “‘Insane levels’: Can a world where profitless companies are flying last?” Sydney Morning Herald, August 10, 2019, https://www.smh.com.au/business/companies/insane-levels-can-a-world-where-profitless-companies-are-flying-last-20190808-p52f3d.html; Damian Paletta, Thomas Heath, and Taylor Telford, “Stocks tank as another recession warning surfaces,” Washington Post, August 14, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2019/08/14/stocks-tank-another-recession-warning-surfaces/; Tim Wallace, “‘Very real’ recession risk as economy contracts for first time in seven years,” Telegraph, August 9, 2019, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2019/08/09/recession-risk-now-real-economy-contracts-first-time-seven-years/; Tim Wallace, “World economy faces a risk that’s far bigger than Trump’s trade war,” Sydney Morning Herald, August 9, 2019, https://www.smh.com.au/business/the-economy/world-economy-faces-a-risk-that-s-far-bigger-than-trump-s-trade-war-20190809-p52ffs.html
  3. [3]Aaron Back, “Another Recession Sign to Ignore at Your Peril,” Wall Street Journal, September 3, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/another-recession-sign-to-ignore-at-your-peril-11567530230
  4. [4]Arian Campo-Flores and Erin Ailworth, “Hurricane Dorian Death Toll at Five in Bahamas as Storm Is Headed for U.S.,” Wall Street Journal, September 3, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/hurricane-dorian-batters-bahamas-drives-toward-u-s-11567429839
  5. [5]Arian Campo-Flores and Erin Ailworth, “Hurricane Dorian Death Toll at Five in Bahamas as Storm Is Headed for U.S.,” Wall Street Journal, September 3, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/hurricane-dorian-batters-bahamas-drives-toward-u-s-11567429839
  6. [6]Andrew Freedman and Jason Samenow, “Dorian expands in size as tropical storm conditions hit Florida and the hurricane risk increases in the Carolinas,” Washington Post, September 3, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/weather/2019/09/03/hurricane-dorian-is-set-creep-north-closer-florida-georgia-carolinas-after-pounding-bahamas/

Boris Johnson isn’t even a bad poker player

Brexit

There is a new blog post entitled, “Even bad poker players know better.”

Jessica Elgot, “Johnson could sacrifice majority by withdrawing whip from rebel MPs,” Guardian, September 1, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/sep/01/boris-johnson-brexit-sacrifice-majority-by-withdrawing-whip-from-rebel-mps

Kate Proctor, “Irish border after Brexit – all ideas are beset by issues says secret paper,” Guardian, September 2, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/sep/02/irish-border-after-brexit-all-ideas-beset-by-issues


Dorian

Hurricane Dorian has pounded the northernmost islands of the Bahamas with winds gusting to more than 220mph (355km/h), the biggest storm to hit the Caribbean island chain in modern times.[1]

And of course this somehow has to be about Donald Trump, his astonishing ignorance, and his raging narcissism:

The storm decreased to category 4 and is expected to weaken further.[2] I would be cautious about that: The eye was passing over land, even if only the northwestern Bahama Islands; storms have been known to regain strength when they return to open water. It now appears to be turning north, off of Grand Bahama.
eusgm-2019-09-02-20
72-hour gif, images two hours apart (missing two images, from 2:00 pm and 4:00 pm, from yesterday), as of 8:00 pm.

Andrew Freedman and Jason Samenow, “Historic Hurricane Dorian unleashing ‘catastrophic’ blow in northern Bahamas. Hurricane warnings posted for Florida’s east coast,” Washington Post, September 1, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/weather/2019/09/01/catastrophic-hurricane-dorian-unleashes-devastating-blow-northern-bahamas-takes-aim-southeast-us/

Richard Luscombe, “Hurricane Dorian: first reported death as category 5 storm hits Bahamas,” Guardian, September 1, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/sep/01/hurricane-dorian-bahamas-us-flooding-florida-south-north-carolina

Jason Samenow and Andrew Freedman, “‘Catastrophic’ Hurricane Dorian blasting Bahamas while bearing down on Florida, threatening Georgia and the Carolinas,” Washington Post, September 2, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/weather/2019/09/02/catastrophic-hurricane-dorian-blasting-bahamas-bearing-down-florida-georgia-carolinas/


Hong Kong

Stack-HongKongDispatch
Undated photograph attributed to Anthony Kwan, via the New Yorker.[3]

I have wondered since Britain agreed to hand over Hong Kong how this could possibly end well. It seems we’re seeing the answer. I hope I’m wrong.

Megan K. Stack, “Bravery and Nihilism on the Streets of Hong Kong,” New Yorker, August 31, 2019, https://www.newyorker.com/news/dispatch/bravery-and-nihilism-amid-the-protests-in-hong-kong

Violet Law, “Looking to future, school students join Hong Kong protests,” Al Jazeera, September 2, 2019, https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/09/future-school-students-join-hong-kong-protests-190902082122134.html

Iain Marlow, Aaron McNicholas, and Natalie Lung, “Hong Kong Officials Urge Calm While Warning of ‘Signs of Terror,’” Bloomberg, September 2, 2019, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-09-02/hong-kong-officials-urge-calm-while-warning-of-signs-of-terror


  1. [1]Richard Luscombe, “Hurricane Dorian: first reported death as category 5 storm hits Bahamas,” Guardian, September 1, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/sep/01/hurricane-dorian-bahamas-us-flooding-florida-south-north-carolina
  2. [2]Jason Samenow and Andrew Freedman, “‘Catastrophic’ Hurricane Dorian blasting Bahamas while bearing down on Florida, threatening Georgia and the Carolinas,” Washington Post, September 2, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/weather/2019/09/02/catastrophic-hurricane-dorian-blasting-bahamas-bearing-down-florida-georgia-carolinas/
  3. [3]Megan K. Stack, “Bravery and Nihilism on the Streets of Hong Kong,” New Yorker, August 31, 2019, https://www.newyorker.com/news/dispatch/bravery-and-nihilism-amid-the-protests-in-hong-kong

Pretty close to the worst is happening in the northwestern Bahama Islands

Dorian

Continental US - Clean Longwave Window - IR
From 12:00 pm. Dorian is making a direct hit on the northwestern Bahama Islands, oh, and . . .

Yeah, just before it hit the northwestern Bahama Islands with what turned out to be up to 185 mile per hour winds.[1] And this was the forecast as of 11:00 am:
155815_5day_cone_no_line_and_win
It calls for the storm practically stalling over those islands,[2] meaning the storm hits, the punishment begins, and it just goes on and on and on. People there have to be wondering if it ever ends.

car-2019-09-01-18
72-hour gif, images two hours apart, as of 6:00 pm.

Now try to imagine being in the eye of that storm as this image was taken. Knowing you don’t dare stay out. Because the fury will resume at any moment.

There’s nothing I can say here that does justice to what the people on those islands must be going through.

British Broadcasting Corporation, “Hurricane Dorian: Bahamas braces for category four storm,” September 1, 2019, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-49541485

Andrew Freedman and Jason Samenow, “Historic Hurricane Dorian unleashing ‘catastrophic’ blow in northern Bahamas, takes aim at Southeast U.S.,” Washington Post, September 1, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/weather/2019/09/01/catastrophic-hurricane-dorian-unleashes-devastating-blow-northern-bahamas-takes-aim-southeast-us/


Housekeeping

I am introducing categories for the Irregular Bullshit. Right now, they aren’t terribly useful, only some of them I can apply in bulk by searching for them, and there is a lot of stuff here that might never get properly categorized. But I’m trying.

Articles can be assigned multiple categories and categories can be seen on the line with the author (always, at least for the foreseeable future, “benfell”) and date in a light grey. The idea is that you can click on a category and find other posts in that category.


Pittsburgh

Owing to cell phone issues, I have found myself with some unplanned time off. Yesterday I found a couple of significant (to me) markers at the Mount Lebanon Cemetery.

Today I went to Braddock’s Battlefield History Center. I’ve been a bit perplexed. I had thought ‘Braddock’ was the name of a British general in the Amerikkkan Revolution. This one actually met his end in a defeat at the hands of the French and their allied American Indians in battle at the site of this museum early in the French and Indian War, a contest over the Ohio River Valley which connected French Canadian holdings ultimately to Louisiana, and in which the British later captured Fort Duquesne, which then became Fort Pitt (later Pittsburgh).

Because of my mistake, I was wondering why at least three towns (Braddock, North Braddock, and Braddock Hills) bear his name in an area that goes well beyond wearing its patriotism on its sleeve. It seems I was just wrong: I checked my old history textbook (actually a more recent edition of the one I used in my undergraduate work) and found the name ‘Braddock’ only in the context of this battle.[3]


  1. [1]Andrew Freedman and Jason Samenow, “Historic Hurricane Dorian unleashing ‘catastrophic’ blow in northern Bahamas, takes aim at Southeast U.S.,” Washington Post, September 1, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/weather/2019/09/01/catastrophic-hurricane-dorian-unleashes-devastating-blow-northern-bahamas-takes-aim-southeast-us/
  2. [2]Andrew Freedman and Jason Samenow, “Historic Hurricane Dorian unleashing ‘catastrophic’ blow in northern Bahamas, takes aim at Southeast U.S.,” Washington Post, September 1, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/weather/2019/09/01/catastrophic-hurricane-dorian-unleashes-devastating-blow-northern-bahamas-takes-aim-southeast-us/
  3. [3]Paul S. Boyer et al., The Enduring Vision: A History of the American People, 8th ed. (Boston: Wadsworth, 2014).