And here I’ve been, waiting for word on Trump’s alleged participation in ‘golden showers’ with Russian prostitutes

Donald Trump

Despite this, Donald Trump, whom authoritarian populists insist is such a great businessman,[1] is going broke again. He is personally responsible for some $421 million in debt, “most of it coming due within four years,” and faces the possibility of having to return a tax refund to the Internal Revenue Service, which could cost him $100 million. The report does not say to whom he owes the former,[2] but some will surely suspect the Russians.[3]

Ah, gee. And here I’ve been, waiting for word on Trump’s alleged participation in “golden showers” with Russian prostitutes.[4] Make of that what you will. I sure as hell don’t know, but I can’t even wrap my head around my own finances.

So I was wondering what the National Review would have to say about the New York Times story on Trump’s taxes. Well, um, it seems they’re all about the “golden showers,” too, or more precisely the “Russian investigation” into Trump, which Republicans insist was unjustified and possibly illegal.[5] Make of that what you will, too.

Brittany Bernstein, “Lindsey Graham Hints There is ‘More Damning’ Information about the Russia Investigation to be Released,” National Review, September 28, 2020, https://www.nationalreview.com/news/lindsey-graham-hints-there-is-more-damning-information-about-the-russia-investigation-to-be-released/

Russ Buettner, Susanne Craig, and Mike McIntire, “Trump’s Taxes Show Chronic Losses and Years of Income Tax Avoidance,” New York Times, September 27, 2020, https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/09/27/us/donald-trump-taxes.html


Fire

Napa Valley in California is on fire and the fire spread west through mountainous terrain north of the Valley of the Moon, also wine country, in Sonoma County toward Santa Rosa, where evacuation orders are taking effect (figure 1) in areas that previously burned in 2017 with the Tubbs Fire. I keep saying it: In California, if it hasn’t burned, it will. And is.

Fig. 1. Screenshot taken by author of the Sonoma County Fire Incident Map, September 28, 2020, at 9:44 am EDT (6:44 am PDT).


  1. [1]Bess Levin, “G.O.P. Voters Think Losing $1 Billion Makes Someone (Trump) a Good Businessman,” Vanity Fair, May 15, 2019, https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2019/05/republicans-still-think-trump-was-a-successful-businessman
  2. [2]Russ Buettner, Susanne Craig, and Mike McIntire, “Trump’s Taxes Show Chronic Losses and Years of Income Tax Avoidance,” New York Times, September 27, 2020, https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/09/27/us/donald-trump-taxes.html
  3. [3]Craig Unger, “Trump’s Russian Laundromat,” New Republic, July 13, 2017, https://newrepublic.com/article/143586/trumps-russian-laundromat-trump-tower-luxury-high-rises-dirty-money-international-crime-syndicate
  4. [4]Jeff Stein, “Trump, Russian Spies and the Infamous ‘Golden Shower Memos,’” Newsweek, January 10, 2017, http://www.newsweek.com/trump-russian-spies-infamous-golden-shower-memos-541315
  5. [5]Brittany Bernstein, “Lindsey Graham Hints There is ‘More Damning’ Information about the Russia Investigation to be Released,” National Review, September 28, 2020, https://www.nationalreview.com/news/lindsey-graham-hints-there-is-more-damning-information-about-the-russia-investigation-to-be-released/

The west on fire

Fires

So here I was, stopped somewhere for lunch, checking my email. I got to a Washington Post newsletter and found this (figure 1):

Fig. 1. Map of fires out west since August, from the Washington Post, September 10, 2020.

I hadn’t realized just how much territory had burned. I’ve been focused on the Walbridge Fire, for which I received notifications the other day that the last evacuation warning zones had been cleared, because it’s closest to my mother’s house. As terrible as that fire was, others have covered much more territory. There are active major fires burning in California, Oregon, and Washington.


Walbridge Fire isn’t quite yet a memory

Walbridge Fire

There are almost no evacuation warning areas left. What remains are some residual fires and some mandatory evacuation zones and one evacuation warning zone (figure 1).
FireShot Capture 310 - County of Sonoma Fire Incident Map - sonomacounty.maps.arcgis.com.png
Fig. 1. Screenshot of Sonoma County Fire Incident Map taken by author on August 25, 2020 at 9:58 pm EDT (6:58 pm PDT).

Barring adverse developments, I’ll probably stop paying attention here.


Tropical Storms

eusgm
Fig. 2. 72-hour gif of satellite imagery for the eastern U.S. and Gulf of Mexico, as of August 25, 2020, 10:01 pm EDT.

It’s still a bit ambiguous to my eye, but Laura appears to possibly be on a more westerly track than the one followed by Marco (figure 2). My guess would now be landfall in Louisiana or Mississippi. I’m expecting a better idea tomorrow, yeah, probably just as the storm actually is making landfall.


Abolish the police

Pandemic

This probably isn’t another hydroxychloroquine. It looks like blood plasma therapy might be effective for some COVID-19 patients. We don’t know how many. We don’t know how often. But it probably isn’t 35 percent of patients.[1]

“For the first time ever, I feel like official people in communications and people at the F.D.A. grossly misrepresented data about a therapy,” said Dr. Walid Gellad, who leads the Center for Pharmaceutical Policy and Prescribing at the University of Pittsburgh.[2]

Katie Thomas and Sheri Fink, “F.D.A. ‘Grossly Misrepresented’ Blood Plasma Data, Scientists Say,” New York Times, August 24, 2020, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/08/24/health/fda-blood-plasma.html


Police

There is a new blog post entitled, “Don’t just defund the police. Abolish them.”

Stephen Maturen, “Wisconsin calls out National Guard after unrest over police shooting of Black man,” Reuters, August 24, 2020, https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-global-race-usa-wisconsin/wisconsin-calls-out-national-guard-after-unrest-over-police-shooting-of-black-man-idUKKBN25K0CP


Walbridge Fire

At this point, it’s very much looking to me like residual smoke, rather than fire itself, is the principle concern here. Though there have been no further downgrades of evacuation zones since 6:00 pm EDT (3:00 pm PDT) yesterday, the number of active fires seems to be diminishing (figure 1).
FireShot Capture 307 - County of Sonoma Fire Incident Map - sonomacounty.maps.arcgis.com.png
Fig. 1. Screenshot of Sonoma County Fire Incident Map taken by author, August 25, 2020, at 8:04 am EDT (5:04 am PDT).

The threat of lightning[3] should also be diminishing as that low pressure area, now roughly west of Monterey, is looking pretty weak (figure 2), but I would be cautious about this for at least one more day.
wus
Fig. 2. 72-hour gif of satellite imagery for the western U.S.

Tropical storms

Marco is gone, its remnants appear over the Atlantic; Laura is entering the Gulf of Mexico and looks to me likely to follow roughly the same track as Marco, hitting the Florida panhandle (figure 3).
eusgm.gif
Fig. 3. 72-hour gif of satellite imagery for the eastern U.S. and Gulf of Mexico


  1. [1]Katie Thomas and Sheri Fink, “F.D.A. ‘Grossly Misrepresented’ Blood Plasma Data, Scientists Say,” New York Times, August 24, 2020, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/08/24/health/fda-blood-plasma.html
  2. [2]Katie Thomas and Sheri Fink, “F.D.A. ‘Grossly Misrepresented’ Blood Plasma Data, Scientists Say,” New York Times, August 24, 2020, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/08/24/health/fda-blood-plasma.html
  3. [3]Michael McGough, “More weekend thunder, lightning in Northern California forecasts stoke wildfire concerns,” Sacramento Bee, August 21, 2020, https://www.sacbee.com/news/weather-news/article245139635.html

Maybe my Mom can go home soon

Walbridge Fire

FireShot Capture 304 - County of Sonoma Fire Incident Map - sonomacounty.maps.arcgis.com.png
Fig. 1 Screenshot of Sonoma County Fire Incident Map taken by author, August 24, 2012, 9:07 pm EDT (6:07 PDT).

Mandatory evacuation zones continue to recede (figure 1) but the possibility of lightning[1] remains (figure 2).
wus
Fig. 2. 72-hour gif of satellite imagery for the western U.S.

The low pressure area responsible for that lightning risk appears to be substantially weakening and centered southwest of Monterey.


Tropical storms

eusgm.gif
Fig. 3. 72-hour gif of satellite imagery for the eastern U.S. and Gulf of Mexico.

Marco has come ashore in the Florida panhandle and is entering Georgia, seemingly on track for South Carolina, while Laura is pretty close to where Marco was when it entered the Gulf of Mexico (figure 3).


  1. [1]Michael McGough, “More weekend thunder, lightning in Northern California forecasts stoke wildfire concerns,” Sacramento Bee, August 21, 2020, https://www.sacbee.com/news/weather-news/article245139635.html

Organizations for people of color, betraying people of color

Updates

  1. Originally published, August 23, 2020, at 9:38 pm.
  2. August 24, 5:50 am:
    • But for the predicted lightning storms,[1] with matching development now appearing, the Walbridge Fire looks more and more like something in the rear view mirror. I have replaced the screenshot of the Sonoma County Fire Incident Map with one taken at 5:26 am and updated the satellite imagery.
    • Similarly, I have updated the satellite imagery for the eastern U.S. and Gulf of Mexico. Marco appears to be making landfall in the Florida panhandle. Laura is now south of Cuba and looks to me like it could be caught in the same pattern that shifted Marco east. That pattern is itself shifting east so Laura would likely hit further east than Marco.

Ridesharing

It’s a sadly familiar story: Historically, some unions have been co-opted by employers, helping in their own emasculation, while union officials feather their own beds. Only this time, it’s organizations that should advocate for people of color, advocating California’s Proposition 22, arguing that ridesharing provides access to transportation and work for people of color. What they mean is that that work pays an estimated $5.64 per hour in California.[2]

These organizations ought to be ashamed of themselves. But hey, their beds are feathered.

Kim Bojórquez, “Why are Black and Latino advocacy groups backing Uber, Lyft in California labor law fight?” Sacramento Bee, August 23, 2020, https://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article244812707.html


Walbridge Fire

FireShot Capture 301 - County of Sonoma Fire Incident Map - sonomacounty.maps.arcgis.com.png
Fig. 1. Screenshot of Sonoma County Fire Incident Map, taken by author, August 23, 2020, 9:23 pm.

wus
Fig. 2. 72-hour gif of western U.S. satellite imagery.

The mandatory evacuation zones are beginning to recede a bit as the active fires look sparser (figure 1). Thanks to lightning forecasts, we’re not out of the woods.[3]


Tropical Storms

eusgm.gif
Fig. 3. 72-hour gif of satellite imagery for the Eastern U.S. and Gulf of Mexico.


  1. [1]Michael McGough, “More weekend thunder, lightning in Northern California forecasts stoke wildfire concerns,” Sacramento Bee, August 21, 2020, https://www.sacbee.com/news/weather-news/article245139635.html
  2. [2]Kim Bojórquez, “Why are Black and Latino advocacy groups backing Uber, Lyft in California labor law fight?” Sacramento Bee, August 23, 2020, https://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article244812707.html
  3. [3]Michael McGough, “More weekend thunder, lightning in Northern California forecasts stoke wildfire concerns,” Sacramento Bee, August 21, 2020, https://www.sacbee.com/news/weather-news/article245139635.html

Ain’t the climate crisis fun?

Walbridge Fire

Much of Healdsburg and parts of Windsor are now included in evacuation warning zones, which extend to the very northern extent of Graton and Occidental (figure 1).
FireShot Capture 292 - County of Sonoma Fire Incident Map - sonomacounty.maps.arcgis.com.png
Fig. 1. Screenshot of Sonoma County Fire Incident Map, taken by author on August 22, 2020, at 9:11 pm EDT (6:11 pm PDT).


Tropical Storms

eusgm
Fig. 2. 72-hour gif of satellite imagery for the eastern U.S. and Gulf of Mexico.


Giant Meteor Small Asteroid in 2020

It turns out an asteroid is on track to pass by earth on the day before election day. You might call it a dark horse in the race with an estimated probability of hitting us of a mere 0.41 percent.[1]

Jay Croft and Melissa Alonso, “Oh, great: NASA says an asteroid is headed our way right before Election Day,” CNN, August 22, 2020, https://www.cnn.com/2020/08/22/us/asteroid-earth-november-2020-scn-trnd/index.html


  1. [1]Jay Croft and Melissa Alonso, “Oh, great: NASA says an asteroid is headed our way right before Election Day,” CNN, August 22, 2020, https://www.cnn.com/2020/08/22/us/asteroid-earth-november-2020-scn-trnd/index.html

The problem of police handling protests against the police

California

Summer Lin, “How are wildfires named? What’s the Lightning Complex? Answers for California fire season,” Sacramento Bee, August 20, 2020, https://www.sacbee.com/news/california/article245117530.html


Pittsburgh

I’m not sure if this is more bullshit or if Bill Peduto is climbing down[1] from being an asshole about protests at his house.[2] In a way, it’s inherently bullshit and can’t be otherwise because police are, in many ways, fundamentally a wrong answer.[3] And it certainly doesn’t help when Peduto claims,

My job is the only job in the city that has to be in that middle and has to be able to recognize the rights of everyone. And yes, that makes me unpopular to both sides, but if I wasn’t unpopular to both sides, I would not be doing my job.[4]

If there is one thing that can be said about the “middle road” in any contest of ideas, it is that it is guaranteed to be incoherent. In this case, it’s at the very least problematic to (still) have police enforcing controls on protests when police are in fact a large part of the problem protesters are protesting against with the racial justice movement—anything they do other than withdraw is guaranteed to further exacerbate protesters’ anger. But Peduto is changing how protests will be handled;[5] I hope it’s really an improvement. But the problem really is more fundamental than the command structure.

Andy Sheehan, “Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto Makes Leadership Changes In Response To Police’s Handling Of Protests,” KDKA, August 21, 2020, https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2020/08/21/pittsburgh-mayor-bill-peduto-police-changes/


  1. [1]Andy Sheehan, “Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto Makes Leadership Changes In Response To Police’s Handling Of Protests,” KDKA, August 21, 2020, https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2020/08/21/pittsburgh-mayor-bill-peduto-police-changes/
  2. [2]Megan Guza And Abby Mackey, “Police disperse overnight protesters at Peduto’s house, mayor decries neighborhood harassment,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, August 19, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-allegheny/police-disperse-overnight-protesters-at-pedutos-house-mayor-decries-neighborhood-harassment/
  3. [3]David Benfell, “On police,” Not Housebroken, August 12, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/08/10/on-police/
  4. [4]Bill Peduto, quoted in Andy Sheehan, “Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto Makes Leadership Changes In Response To Police’s Handling Of Protests,” KDKA, August 21, 2020, https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2020/08/21/pittsburgh-mayor-bill-peduto-police-changes/
  5. [5]Andy Sheehan, “Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto Makes Leadership Changes In Response To Police’s Handling Of Protests,” KDKA, August 21, 2020, https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2020/08/21/pittsburgh-mayor-bill-peduto-police-changes/