Friday, September 25, 2020

Stock Market: Trump Brags, But Obama Was Better

Thomas Friedman Also Expects Trump Delegitimizing the Election and Civil War

Thomas Friedman also has some serious concerns about a second civil war in America and Trump delegitimizing the election. He says he's never been more afraid in his life. Click the picture for the video.

Breaking: Americans Say, 57-38%, Next Prez Should Choose SCOTUS Seat

 Via WaPo

The Post-ABC poll, conducted Monday to Thursday, finds 38 percent of Americans say the replacement for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died last week, should be nominated by Trump and confirmed by the current Senate, while 57 percent say it should be left to the winner of the presidential election and a Senate vote next year.

That there's a right mighty gap.

Three Protests, Five Miles, Rainy Day

The Proud Boys (not men, I guess) are protesting in Portland tomorrow, despite being denied a permit on the grounds of the coronavirus. They announced plans to hold their protest the outskirts of town in Delta Park, a complex of athletic fields. I've been there many times watching my nephew play lacrosse, but alas this year there are no lacrosse, soccer or softball players. The left-wing is demonstrating, also permitless, in a park about three miles away, and BLM about two miles further beyond.

Why do I feel those distances are going to evaporate, even with the forecast calling for the day to be cloudy with showers, winds 5-10 mph, high 67 Fahrenheit. Because there have to be confrontations for the iPhones, the Androids and the evening news. This is Oregon, so everyone has pretty good rain gear, so everyone will come ready to protest for the entire day. 

The Oregon State Police and the County's Sheriff's Office have refused to help with crowd control because of the city's ban on the use of tear gas. If they can't use their toys -- toys banned in warfare by the Geneva Protocol of 1925 -- they ain't gonna play.

With the way protests are going around the country this summer and this past week in Louisville, it won't surprise me if guns get drawn and someone gets shot, or three. Or someday not far off, twenty or thirty. That's where things are headed, it seems to me. There are 400M guns in America and lots of open carry laws, even for assault guns, and the idiot legislators with their gun ideologies probably weren't smart enough to foresee the day when things turned like this. (Or, even more frightening, they were.) Once this starts -- and it seems to me this summer was a fair to middling shove off -- it's hard to stop it, especially if this election is a mess, as it seems it will be, thanks to Commander Chaos. A lot of people, especially the clowns on the extreme right wing, are just itching to dress up in their Walmart commando gear and play Red Dawn in real life that they've all been playing some version of virtually since they were kids. 

I don't like where things seem to be heading. Worse, a good friend of mine, a retired Presbyterian minister, agrees with me that something like a civil war is coming and America is slowly but surely circling the drain. She's the last person I would have expected to hear that from.

Thursday, September 24, 2020

The Cure

"The only cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity."

— Dorothy Parker, American writer (1893-1967)

No Peaceful Transfer of Power

Wow. Trump is again declining to commit to a peaceful transfer of power if he loses the election. In light of RBG's death and another coming stolen Supreme Court justice, this takes on a whole new meaning. Has a US president ever said such a thing before, let alone this many times, let alone this close to the election? AP
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump on Wednesday again declined to commit to a peaceful transfer of power if he loses the Nov. 3 presidential election.

“We’re going to have to see what happens,” Trump said at a news conference, responding to a question about whether he’d commit to a peaceful transfer of power. “You know that I’ve been complaining very strongly about the ballots, and the ballots are a disaster.”
Last month Trump told Sean Hannity
This year, with a judge no longer watching, the Republicans are recruiting 50,000 volunteers in 15 contested states to monitor polling places and challenge voters they deem suspicious-looking. Trump called in to Fox News on August 20 to tell Sean Hannity, “We’re going to have sheriffs and we’re going to have law enforcement and we’re going to have, hopefully, U.S. attorneys” to keep close watch on the polls. For the first time in decades, according to Clark, Republicans are free to combat voter fraud in “places that are run by Democrats.”
which sounds exactly like something a fascist would do, does it not? 

And The Atlantic goes on about what you've all heard, the doubt Trump has sown about mail-in voting, about votes counted after Election Day, about foreign interference (the nerve), and more. It's worth reading.

There's no way there isn't going to be a big mess after the day of the election, unless Biden wins very big. And probably not even then. Probably not even then.  

Added: The Majority Leader from the Great State of Hypocrisy twote

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Trump Just Admitted He's Trying to Steal the Election

 From the NY Times:

WASHINGTON — President Trump said on Wednesday that he wants to ensure confirmation of a replacement for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg by the Nov. 3 election because he expects disputes over who won the White House to be resolved by the Supreme Court.

“I think this will end up in the Supreme Court,” Mr. Trump told reporters at a White House event on social media, adopting an argument for quick action made by his ally, Senator Ted Cruz, Republican of Texas. “And I think it’s very important that we have nine justices,” instead of the eight seats currently filled.

The president again asserted without evidence that Democrats were trying to rig the election and said he wants a high court that will agree with him. “This scam that the Democrats are pulling — it’s a scam — the scam will be before the United States Supreme Court,” Mr. Trump said.

Five of the eight current court members were appointed by Republican presidents, including two by Mr. Trump. Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., who was appointed by former President George W. Bush, has on a few occasions sided with the liberals, which could potentially mean a 4-4 split.

Mr. Trump made clear he is counting on whomever he appoints for Justice Ginsburg’s seat to support him and that he wants to be declared the winner by an overwhelming majority if the results go to the Supreme Court.

“And I think having a four-four situation is not a good situation, if you get that. I don’t know that you’d get that. I think it should be eight-nothing or nine-nothing. But just in case it would be more political than it should be, I think it’s very important to have a ninth justice.”

— Peter Baker

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

An Interview While Working From Home

Last week Gretchen Goldman, a scientist from the Union of Concerned Scientists, went on CNN to discuss NOAA's atrocious hiring of the notorious climate denier David Legates. Anyway, on left is how she appeared on camera. At right is how it looked as she was on camera, a photo taken by her husband. She swears she's wearing shorts, not underpants, as she told Slate in a (funny, insightful, parental) interview.

Monday, September 21, 2020

Oregon Party Registrations

Just for fun, here are the Oregon party registration numbers as of April 2020: There's an "Independent Party" by name, so if you want not to be a member of any party, you have to register as unaffiliated.

Good Question About RBG Replacement:

Conversation at the NY Times:

Bret Stephens: ...which just reminds me of another way in which Trump is not conservative. After all, if he’s so confident he’s going to beat Sleepy Joe, why not wait till January?

Gail Collins: Hahahahaha.

Saturday, September 19, 2020

Why Trump is a Sociopath, Latest Evidence

 Jonathan Chait, today, in New York magazine:

There’s a term for a person who views other humans purely as instruments for his own advancement, and is unable to conceive of the idea of caring about them independent of his own self-interest: “sociopath.” The United States has had some terrible presidents before, but probably never a sociopathic one. When his own aides warn the public that he does not care if the people he is tasked with helping live or die, we should take their warnings with the utmost seriousness.

This comes via today's Daily Howler. But it also comes from an aide to VP Mike Pence, which I've been meaning to get to. This is from Olivia Troye, a former senior aide to Vice President Mike Pence and member of the administration's Coronavirus Task Force. She spoke on Friday, saying she will vote for Democratic nominee Joe Biden and encouraged other Republicans to do the same.

To recap the most striking part: She calls it 

“...shocking to see the president saying that the virus was a hoax, saying that everything’s okay when we know that it’s not. The truth is, he doesn’t actually care about anyone else but himself. He made a statement once that was very striking. I never forgot it because it pretty much defined who he was, when we were in a taskforce meeting the president said, ‘maybe this COVID thing is a good thing. I don’t like shaking hands with people, I don’t have to shake hands with these disgusting people.'”

Can you imagine saying such a thing!? Robert Lewis Stevenson [is said to have] written, "All men have secret thoughts that would shame hell," but to say this out loud!! As President of the United States, in an important meeting?!?!

Of course there is more evidence, from Trump's niece, a trained clinical psychologist, that he is a sociopath. As the Daily Howler notes, the best-selling book by Yale psychiatrist Bandy X. Lee. And all the weird and disturbing things we've seen Trump do and tweet for years now. The constant lying. Constant and obvious. His strange denial of facemasks. The strange, anti-productive tweets like "LIBERATE MICHIGAN." The admission to Woodward that he intentionally lied to America about COVID-19. The book by Bolton. They all portray him as a lying dummy who understands nothing, and lies to cover up his ignorance. His lies that he has a health care plan just ready to go, two weeks away, which he's been saying since 2016. How f--king stupid does he think Americans are? It shows how stupid he is to think this is how stupid Americans are. 

He simply doesn't care. About, apparently, anything. Except himself. Whatever's good for him. And that's exactly why he's a sociopath.

"...maybe this COVID thing is a good thing. I don’t like
shaking hands with people, I don’t
have to shake hands with
these disgusting people."

Friday, September 18, 2020

Talking Referees

No other sport I know of has this kind of ref-player relationships:

COVID-19 Cases on the Rise Again

After two months of a decline in COVID-19 cases -- thought never getting back to the level of the first peak -- it looks like cases are increasing again. Who to blame? One obvious group are the idiots who won't wear masks, like the Idiot-in-Chief, the idiots who go to his rallies and cram in together without wearing masks, the Target store idiots (fined), North Dakota maskless idiots, and the entire crowd of ignorant Americans who are ruining this country and bringing about its downfall. From the NY Times:

When is it time to get out?

Talk on Fire and the Warming Climate

Some of you might enjoy this talk.

You have to register: move your pointy thing over there and clicky click

Wednesday, September 23, 2020 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM

On Fire: The Escalating Consequences of a Warming Climate, with Park Williams, PhD, and questions from Alex Halliday, Director

Join us online for a lecture by Park Williams about how climate change is fueling dangerous wildfires--and what we can expect in the future.

The Speaker:

Park Williams, PhD is a Lamont Associate Research Professor of Biology and Paleo Environment at Columbia University’s Earth Institute - Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. He is a bioclimatologist focused on the impact of climate variability and climate change on the living world. His work seeks to improve understanding of drought and its effects on terrestrial systems, including ecosystems, the carbon cycle, agriculture and humanity

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Comparing GISS and NOAA for August Temperatures

I said I might compare the GISS and NOAA global surface temperatures by bringing them to a common baseline period, and I really thought I would be too lazy to do that, but low-and-behold I had already done this on my spreadsheets and forgotten.

Both datasets start in 1880, and the common baseline period I had calculated with is the 30-year period 1880-1909. 

So with that the GISS anomaly for August 2020 is 1.08°C and the NOAA anomaly is 1.17°C. 

People, we are in the range of 1.1°C of total global warming and quickly heading into the 1.2°C range. (And that's not even comparing to the true pre-industrial period, pre-1850 period, or maybe pre-1750, depending.)

Warming is stacking up fast. Easily 0.2°C/decade now. And accelerating. 

GISS's 30-yr slope for the global surface temperature is now 0.23°C/decade. Ten years ago it was 0.18°C/decade; ten years before that, 0.17°C/decade. In July 1990, 0.14°C/decade. July 1880, 0.05°C/dec.

Should have put that in a table or graph, sorry.

But there's no doubt warming is accelerating. Someone tell Trump. I'm sure it will make all the difference to the scientific heathen, to the climate arsonist.

Scientific American Endorses Biden

They elaborate here. First paragraph: 
The evidence and the science show that Donald Trump has badly damaged the U.S. and its people—because he rejects evidence and science. The most devastating example is his dishonest and inept response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which cost more than 190,000 Americans their lives by the middle of September. He has also attacked environmental protections, medical care, and the researchers and public science agencies that help this country prepare for its greatest challenges. That is why we urge you to vote for Joe Biden, who is offering fact-based plans to protect our health, our economy and the environment. These and other proposals he has put forth can set the country back on course for a safer, more prosperous and more equitable future.

Monday, September 14, 2020

Biden Calls Trump a "Climate Arsonist"

Big bonus for whoever on Biden's staff came up with that label!

...later in the briefing, the president was directly challenged to accept the reality of climate change by California's secretary for natural resources, Wade Crawfoot.

"If we ignore that science and sort of put our head in the sand and think it's all about vegetation management, we're not going to succeed together protecting Californians," Crawfoot told the president.

"It'll start getting cooler, you just watch," Trump replied.

"I wish science agreed with you," Crawfoot said.

"I don't think science knows, actually," Trump shot back.

What a stooge.

Some White House reporter, please please please ask Trump to explain why it will start getting cooler.

While you're at it, ask him to explain the theory of manmade global warming in one minute or less. Please.

NASA GISS: 4th-warmest August

NASA GISS says August was the fourth-warmest August since the data begins in 1880, +0.85 C relative to 1951-1980.

Maybe I'll do the calculations to compare that to NOAA. Maybe I won't. 

Warmer Augusts were, in order, 2016, 2019 and 2017.

In his Monthly Temperature Update (sent by email; subscribe here), James Hansen says

2020 thus stumbled in its horserace with 2016 for record warm year (upper right figure), perhaps dragged down by the developing La Nina (upper left), as we cautioned in our April Temperature Update.  It’s still possible for 2020 to catch 2016, though, as the late months in 2016 were also cooled by a La Nina.

The important question concerns the acceleration in global warming in recent years, as global temperature in the past five years has been well above the nearly linear trend of warming in the past 50 years.  We will discuss the relation between the accelerated warming and climate forcings in a future communication.

It was extremely hot in the large portion of Central Europe and the Southwest United States in August.  Death Valley, California reached a record high 130⁰F (54.4⁰C).  This heat wave continued into September and is contributing to the severity and spread of wildfires in the western states.

and gives these graph:

2016's La Nina was mild, and this year's year-to-date temperature is already below 2016's, with a deeper La Nina forecast for the rest of the year, so if I had to guess I'd say a record high temperature 2020 looks unlikely. We'll see.

Globe Had 2nd Warmest August, 3rd Warmest Summer

Just in from NOAA: globally August ranked as second-highest (after only 2016), with an anomaly of +0.94°C above the 20th century average.

North America had the warmest August on record (records start in 1880), with a whopping anomaly of +1.52°C. as did the Northern Hemisphere (+1.19 C).

The meteorological summer ranked third-highest (after 2016 and 2019), with an anomaly of 0.92°C above 1901-2000.

Saturday, September 12, 2020

Fire Situation Update

The novelty of all this has worn off and now it's just getting sad and depressing. 

This afternoon the AQI (Air Quality Index) here was 553, "Hazardous." That's the highest I've seen for here, or for Portland. They say the west coast has the worst air in the world. I'm not even letting my cats go outside.

This image in the NY Times shows the western fires and, in Oregon, those in the Cascade Mountains sending their smoke west, dumping it straight into the Williamette Valley. 

About 1 M acres have burned in Oregon, or 1,500 sq-miles. That's about 120% of Rhode Island's area, or 1.5% of Oregon. That last number really surprises me. Oregon is vast -- the 9th largest state in the country. 

There are reports of 7 dead and dozens missing. This story is utterly heartbreaking, and it's just from down where I just to live a year and a half ago.

Ordinary COVID masks don't keep smoke particles out, they say, only N-95 masks. I'm trying not to go anywhere -- the smell and taste of smoke in the air is really strong. After a few hours of it you get a headache and dry throat. My sister works in Oregon City, a suburb of Portland, and though her company gave her and N-95 mask yesterday she decided not to go there (she does home PT care). OC was only under Level 2, "Get Set" order, but she said many people were leaving anyway, and her colleagues who live there took several hours to get out and somewhere safe, like Gresham on the eastside of Portland, what would normally be an hour drive at worst. 

While there was very little humidity here Tuesday and Wednesday, it picked up and Thursday was 71% yesterday (relative humidity). It's supposed to stay high, and rain some Monday and Tuesday. That would be great. The smoke is also blocking the sun. The high here today was only 63; the normal high is 78. I had to turn my heat on for the first time this season. 

Trump approved emergency aid for Oregon yesterday, despite all the contretemps about the protesting and rioting in Portland. The governor said they had a good conversation.

Here is a really good article about Oregon in Slate by Oregon resident Rebecca Schuman, "There Are Two Oregons, and They’re Both on Fire."

I'm not doing anything to help, which I feel kind of guilty about.

That's enough.

Comment About Trump

 ...on this article by Maureen Dowd:

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Ha - Not Surprising - Ha ha - Not Surprising At All

And isn't THIS typical of our fubar situation??

Gallup - Bias in Others' News a Greater Concern Than Bias in Own News


  • About 7 in 10 Americans are concerned about bias in media other people consume
  • Fewer than one in three worry more about bias in their own news media
  • Younger, more educated Americans are more concerned with bias in others' sources
"WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Six in seven Americans think there is at least a fair amount of political bias in news coverage in general, and over half say the same of the news source they rely on most, according to a recent Gallup/Knight Foundation study. Yet 69% of Americans say they are more concerned about bias in the news other people consume than its presence in their own news (29%)."

The inability to think critically is American's greatest fault.

A Bit of a Fire Update

It continues to be another bad day here. The sky isn't as orange, but definitely smokier. I'm sneezing every half-hour, far worse than any allergies I've ever had, and it's 3 pm and I've got a headache. 

The Air Quality Index (PM 2.5) here is 407, "Hazardous." 

Oregon Governor Kate Brown: Wildfires here could be the "the greatest loss of human life and property" due to wildfires in Oregon history. 

More suburbs of Portland are being told to evacuate -- Canby, Molalla, Oregon City -- which is almost unthinkable. I think of those places as largely suburbs surrounded by agricultural fields. 

My sister is a physical therapist who does home visits in Oregon City. Today her boss gave her an N-95 mask to wear all day just because of the smoke there. 

There are small towns that have been decimated in eastern Washington as well. [Well, far worse, really. "Decimated," comes from the Romans -- "deci," meaning a-tenth.]  

I'm sorry, I'm not very up-to-date on the situation in California.

Lots of people are noting the role of climate change in these fires, but I think that's a little premature. Yes, we're had a drought, and high temperatures. But we're also had high winds (though not today, at least here deep in the (Williamette) Valley), which don't follow from climate change. So I think we need to let the scientists do their attribution studies and give their results in a few months. I doubt that's a popular opinion.

Here's the view from a main thoroughfare in my town, Keizer, Oregon, when I was out earlier today:

"The best political ad ever made"

Wednesday, September 09, 2020

Update on the Situation in Oregon

It seems like there are fires everywhere now. Here is ashe on my car's roof, noticeable but not too bad:
My sister said a couple of her colleagues in Oregon City have been told to evacuate. Oregon City is a suburb of Portland! It's really hard to imagine fires coming in that close.

Southern Oregon is getting it the worst. The town of Medford (pop 82k) is threatened and nearly everyone has been told to evacuate, and the small towns of Phoenix (pop 4,600) and Talent (pop 6,500) a few miles south are reported to be "pretty well devastated."

There are lots of personal videos on the Twitter hashtag #Oregonfires, if you're interested. The Washington Post just came out with another article, quoting the governor as saying the towns of Detroit, Blue River, Vida have also suffered significant damage. Blue River (pop 202) is in my county, but about 40 miles east where one enters the Cascade Mountains.

Gov. Brown said more than 300,000 acres are burning across Oregon, and that this could be the deadliest wildfire disaster in state history.
WaPo says:
"The wildfires come after a record-shattering heat wave and amid human-caused climate change that is heightening fire risks, along with temperatures, in the West. These blazes are being driven by strong, dry, offshore winds that are causing extreme fire behavior, which can produce everything from mushroom cloud-like plumes of smoke that reach 40,000 feet in height, to vortexes that make it impossible for firefighters to contain an advancing fire."
But the governor is also saying these are "once in a generation events," so perhaps we should wait on attribution until scientists get to studying this in detail in the coming months. For example, also from WaPo:
“This event is unprecedented. I’ve talked to people who have been in fire for 20, 30, 40+ years and they’ve never seen anything like this before. Not this many large, rapidly spreading wildfires across such a broad region,” tweeted Nick Nausler, a fire weather specialist with the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho.
At least here the skies aren't quite as gray as yesterday, or quite as pink. And there is almost no wind.

BLM Beatdown Here Last Weekend

This was here in Salem last weekend. I don't know what transpired before it, but I doubt it was nothing. Did it require this response? The increasing standoffs between leftist groups and right-wing groups is worrying and clearly ramping up lately.

Tuesday, September 08, 2020

Eerie Skies Here in Salem This Afternoon

 Today was one of the strangest days I've ever experienced. I thought the sky was odd at 8 am, but by mid-afternoon, when I had an appointment across town, it was really strange, with a little ashe falling from the sky:

The governor has declared a state of emergency, and the highway through the mountains is closed just 12 miles east of Salem. I heard there was ashe falling from the sky further south in Eugene.

After my appointment I had to run an errand across the (Williamette) valley, and it wasn't until 4:30 pm that I came out of the building. The view was stunning; it looked like it was at 8 pm. My eyes stung, and the smell of smoke was noticeable in the air. Here's a picture from my iPhone, which like my pictures from this morning, came out much lighter than it appeared to my eyes. I'm not sure why.

The sky looked much darker, almost like a heavy partial eclipse, maybe 60% (comparing it to 2017 total eclipse here). [Can't believe it's been 3 years already!]

When I turned on the [radio] news, the national media is putting all of their attention on the fires in California. OK. They've had a 10-year drought. Their fires seem to be getting worse every year. Whole towns have been burning down. Of course, Trump doesn't give a shit, or even notice -- he thinks people should just rake harder. Someday I hope trees get to vote.

Feynman Anecdote

"When physicist Richard Feynman was asked which now-deceased person from history he would most like to speak with, and what he would say, he said: “'My father. I would tell him that I won the Nobel Prize.'” 

Weird Skies Here from Fires to the East

 It looks very strange here this morning. What would ordinarily be a beautiful blue sky morning is instead a reddish-gray, almost like dusk. We had a big wind storm last evening and night, and it blew in a lot of smoke from fires in the Cascade Mountains east of here. We're also in a severe drought, so a lot of dust got blown up as well. People just 25 miles east of Salem have been ordered to evacuate, and those 16 miles east have been told to get ready in case they have to evacuate. It's stunning to think the fires could come this far west. 

Here's my view to the northeast, taken at about 7:45 am:

To the southeast, towards the sun, it looks a little better:

The situation doesn't look good here, or for much of the West:

I'm not going to look up the statistics right now, but, especially for California, which now seems to be getting serious fires yearly, this does not bode well. 

8:30 am update - skies still look the same here; the sun isn't visible at all, and the street lights are still on.

Monday, September 07, 2020

The Daily Howler

Recently David in Cal recommended the blog The Daily Howler, written by Bob Somerby, which I've been reading since. It's interesting and well written, and usually has an interesting perspective on what's happening. It's not usually predictable, either. For example, the other day it published this:

All the lying on its own by itself tells you there's something seriously wrong with Trump. (Now at least 20,055 false claims in 1,267 days, as of July 9, 2020 -- an average of almost 16 per day.) Now we can't believe a single thing Trump says, which is a real shame for a President of the United States. 

Of course there's clearly much more wrong with Trump, and even his defenders know he's an asshole. His niece, trained in psychology, wrote a whole book about it. Look at the country now compared to what it was four years ago -- it's seriously damaged politically, economically, in public health, in public trust, in racial justice, in economic equality, in peaceful streets. Trump is the difference, and his incompetence, especially with respect to the pandemic, is the difference. His racism and arrogance and incompetence are the difference, not Democratic mayors, who were there before Trump but without all the protesting and rioting. 

Anyway, The Daily Howler is worth reading, in my opinion too.

Arctic Sea Ice Update

 It's September and I was going to write about Arctic sea ice, but this tweet does the job:

Vonnegut Quote

"The British mathematician Stephen Hawking, in his 1988 bestseller A Brief History of Time, found it tantalizing that we could not remember the future. But remembering the future is child's play for me now. I know what will become of my helpless, trusting babies because they are grown-ups now. I know how my closest friends will end up because so many of them are retired or dead now . . .

"To Stephen Hawking and all others younger than myself I say, 'Be patient. Your future will soon come to you and lie down at your feet like a dog who knows and loves you no matter what you are.' "

-- Kurt Vonnegut, preface to 25th-anniversary edition of Slaughterhouse-Five

Thursday, August 27, 2020

Trump Lying About "The Greatest Economy In History"

Trump said he will again "build the greatest economy in history." It's a pure lie -- his first economy was nothing special at all:

and this is being generous and leaving out this year's crash that's occurred under his watch. What chutzpah.

Here's his economic growth compared to the last 30 years -- average at best:

The Capitulation to Manmade Climate Change Begins

 New York Times:

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Two Climate Disasters At Once

It's beyond atrocious that the US is now suffering two disasters which are almost certainly exacerbated by manmade climate change -- the California wildfires and Hurricane Laura, with its rapid intensification to at least a category 4 -- and the Republican Party's Potemkin village convention can't even acknowledge the issue.

It's fundamentally unfair that the resulting property damage won't be limited to only Trump voters. Or at least that they be the only ones to pay for the damages.

Saturday, August 22, 2020

Google, Blogger and Time Off

Google, who owns Blogger, the software platform on which this blog has been published since about 2005, just released an upgrade, and the upgrade is now mandatory to use. (It was voluntary for the last six months or so, during which I was avoiding it while using the old version.)

The new version is awkward to use -- it frequently takes more steps to accomplish the same simple tasks, for example -- and there are some simple tasks that are even no longer possible, like adding a link in certain circumstances. 

Once I might have hunted down a forum somewhere and registered and tried to make my voice heard and detailed what this circumstance was and when and how this software bug occurs so the Google developers could address it and, hopefully, fix it in a future release. 

But I feel that's a young person's game and I don't believe Google developers are interested anyway. My experience in using Google software -- Gmail, Chrome, Chrome extensions, etc -- is that they're clearly not a software company, they're an advertising company, and their software takes a definite backseat in their business model.

Blogger takes a seat even behind the seat of Gmail and Chrome.

Not only that, but I'm getting tired of blogging. What's the point anymore? The cause of climate change is settled. Its degree is settled. I'm no longer interested in writing long detailed posts about subtleties of the science -- if I was, I'd try to publish them somewhere for money, and I'm not even trying to do that. Not sure I want to do that anymore either.

The idiocy of Donald Trump is settled. I can keep pointing out what an idiot he is, and everyone but DinCal will agree with me, and he will quote Instapundit with some very unconvincing item and so what. I don't have anything new to say either.

I appreciate all your comments, I do.

I know I've said all this before and I said to myself I wouldn't say again that I"m quitting this blog, so maybe I'm only saying I'm only taking some time off. So I'm taking some time off. And if Trump wins in Nov I just might shoot myself in the head or move to Costa Rica.

Perhaps the ways I might move forward in my life right now mean I need to go a little light on the blogging.

Trump Stupidity.... And agh

I sometimes wonder if Trump has ever taken a single step off concrete.

I mean that seriously.

No, I don't mean walking on a golf course fairway or green, or to or fro the Presidential helicopter.

I mean walking somewhere in nature, on a trail in a forest, or even a few steps off the edge of a city.

Because he has weird ideas about forests and how to contain forest fires, like all you need to do is keep hundreds of thousands of acres raked clean and the fire potential will vanish.

He's said this before and he

During a speech in Pennsylvania, the president blamed the wildfires on "years" of poor forest management in California.

"And I see again, the forest fires are starting," Trump said. "They're starting again in California. And I said, you've got to clean your floors. You've got to clean your floors."

"I've been telling them this now for three years, but they don't want to listen," he added.

Trump made similar comments last year, prompting California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) to hit back by saying the president was unqualified to weigh in on fire safety due to his past remarks calling climate change a hoax.

"The Governor of California, @GavinNewsom, has done a terrible job of forest management. I told him from the first day we met that he must 'clean' his forest floors regardless of what his bosses, the environmentalists, DEMAND of him," Trump tweeted in November.

Bush Jr at least flew over Katrina -- an image some think represented the functional end of his presidency -- but as far as I know Trump has never visited California during a forest fire -- why would he, he doesn't get their electoral votes so to him they don't exist -- just as for Iowa last week in their destructive derecho he only spent 30 minutes in an airplane hanger after their devastating derecho. We are not talking about an empathetic man here. 

Record Greenland Ice Melt in 2019

Returning to items that won't get any comments, Greenland ice melt, which has been on the wane for a few years, picked up last year and reached a record amount of 530 Gt for 2019, which works out to an average, as The Guardian puts it, to -1.01 million tonnes per minute. 

For July alone it was -223 Gt.

I wish a White House journalist would ask Trump about this on Monday. 

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Yes, Russian Interfered in the Election For Trump

A committee led by Republicans found -- disproving again another monster lie from Trump. Grounds for impeachment if this lying criminal is somehow reelected. 

WASHINGTON — A sprawling report released Tuesday by a Republican-controlled Senate panel that spent three years investigating Russia’s 2016 election interference laid out an extensive web of contacts between Trump campaign advisers and Russian government officials and other Russians, including some with ties to the country’s intelligence services.

The report by the Senate Intelligence Committee, totaling nearly 1,000 pages, provided a bipartisan Senate imprimatur for an extraordinary set of facts: The Russian government undertook an extensive campaign to try to sabotage the 2016 American election to help Mr. Trump become president, and some members of Mr. Trump’s circle of advisers were open to the help from an American adversary.

Saturday, August 15, 2020

Friday, August 14, 2020

Mr President, Do You Regret All The Lying You Have Done to the American People?

Update 8/17: the reporter who asked this question was Shirish Date of the Huffington Post.
Anyone know who this reporter is?

Antarctic Sea Ice Extent Annual Minimum

 It's not clear if there's any kind of a trend....

2020 Likely to be the Hottest Year in NASA's Records

Here, in short, is how they calculate this: 

Saturday, August 01, 2020

Climate Change Bites Back

Svalbard coal mine flooded by melting glacier 

"After days with record heat at Svalbard, the penetration of water from the above melting glacier is now flooding Norway’s only operating coal mine that supplies the country’s only coal-power plant.

"The day before, a record heat of 21,7°C was measured in Longyearbyen, the highest temperature ever measured so far north in the European Arctic.

"In the town of Longyearbyen is houses sagging due to unstable ground as the permafrost melts. About 250 homes will have to be torn down and new buildings are built on steel pillars and sensors are placed in the ground to measure how the steel constructions impact the permafrost."

Friday, July 31, 2020

Friday Night: Birthday Boy, Drive-by Truckers

More of Various

The Republican party, including Mitch McConnell, are cancers on America, without empathy, without caring, without basic decency. 

McConnell says a third of Republican senators just don't give a shit. Instead of people, they're pretending to care about the deficit. How convenient. 

Of course they never care about the deficit or debt when they give giant tax breaks to the wealthy and corporations. There's always lots of money for that.

We do need a revolution -- that's the only thing that will fix all this. No election will -- the two parties have rigged it so no one else can get in power. Maybe we need a revolution with no quarter given, a la Tom Cotton's plan for protesters. 

Revolutions happen periodically. They have before, and they will again. It's difficult to know the form of those in the future, with so much changing so fast, but they will happen.

But watch -- those who really need the help, in middle America, in the south, will again (and again) vote for Republicans. Because they don't mind being kicked in the teeth again (and again). Doesn't bother them, because they have so very few teeth left.


A co-founder of The Federalist, which I do believe we've heard a thing or two about here on this blog before, says Trump should be impeached for suggesting election day should be postponed.

It has always been set in steel.


After all, the Presidential oath of office says the president "...will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."

Trump just willingly failed to do that. He clearly violated his oath.


Fauci said today we would most likely have a safe vaccine ready by the end of 2020 or early 2021. Seems hard to believe, when you include rigorous testing. But as the book said, "been down so long it looks like up to me."


Recently I started reading Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov, where the narrator is a pedophile. Two things have surprised me so far, 1/3rd of the way in: (1) it's set in New Hampshire, and (2) it's actually quite funny.


Last week I finished The Invincible by Stanislaw Lem. It's old school sci-fi (pub 1967), though nothing by Lem is ever really pulp. (Earlier I read Lem's His Master's Voice (pub 1968), which wasn't easy, and which I'll need to read again.) The Invincible is about a human spaceship that lands on a planet in search of an earlier human spaceship that never returned, and the mysteries behind the reasons. They involve self-assembling and self-replicating nanotechology, and the humans' struggle to not defeat the quasi-lifeforms, but merely to escape them. And, ultimately, to let them "live" -- exist --  alone, an enlightened view for a book published in the 1960s, though perhaps not by a scifi writer like Lem.


Here's what I've been reading over the last decade. (Sorry, I'm a spreadsheet junkie.)

Where Are They Wearing Masks?

From the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation:

I don't know what's wrong with Illinois. Or the entire upper midwest, for that matter. 

IMHE is now projecting 231,000 deaths by November 1st. 77 9/11's.

They say more people are wearing masks, and "if that number increases to 95% across all states, around 32,000 lives could be saved."

Trump: "If no testing, few cases"

As someone wrote on Twitter, Herman Cain would be alive today if only he hadn't gotten tested for COVID-19. 

 Trump really can't be this stupid, can he? So what's his angle?

Thursday, July 30, 2020

van Gogh's Last Painting, and a Movie

Vincent van Gogh's last painting, "Tree Roots." Someone recently discovered its likely location, which still looks much like the painting. 

Just recently I watched an interesting movie on Kanopy, Loving Vincent, which is an animation of 65,000 frames of 853 paintings done in van Gogh's style, made by 100 artists. I wasn't sure about it at first, but was very glad I stuck with it -- it's set a few weeks after van Gogh's death, narrated by a man investigating the circumstances leading up to his suicide as he tries to deliver van Gogh's last letter to his brother Theo. I recommend it.

Louie's Lousy Logic

So Louie Gohmert, a Republican from Texas, has COVID-19. He has refused to wear a mask while walking around the Capital. He berated his own staff for wearing a mask in his office after forcing them to come back into the office instead of working from home. 

Gohmert's reason for not wearing a mask? Because he was getting testing regularly for the virus. Perhaps while quarantining he can read up on biology or logic or both. 

Gohmert, who is perhaps one of the dumbest members of Congress (he called an in-person meeting of his staff to tell them he had COVID; in June Gohmert said he'd wear a mask if he got sick), plans to take zinc and hydroxychloroquine to cure his disease, because of course he does. I suppose injecting bleach will be his backup plan.

Louie, who is (of course) a climate denier, claims he thinks he got COVID from the few times he did wear a mask, 
When the Texas Republican later contended to a local TV station that he might have gotten sick because of getting germs on a mask while wearing one, Rep. Jared Huffman (D-CA) tweeted, “This is the COVID version of claiming you got VD from a toilet seat. That hydroxychloroquine must be starting to impair Louis' mental faculties.”
Republican minority whip accidentally called him "Congressman COVID." Now the Capital Hill petri dish is angry and up in arms. 

Also, Herman Cain, who once campaigned for the Republican party presidential nomination, has died from COVID-19. He also opposed face masks, and attended Trump's Tulsa rally two weeks before receiving his diagnosis. In a tweet about Trump's 4th of July part at Mt Rushmore, Cain wrote
“Masks will not be mandatory for the event, which will be attended by President Trump. PEOPLE ARE FED UP!”
It's sad that some people are so bullheaded they have to learn the hard way, and angering they put the rest of us at risk in the process. Not wearing a mask should be enforced, with at least a fine. This again is one of Trump's great failings.

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

US CO2 Emissions Hit Record Low

Meanwhile, US CO2 emissions for April were the lowest since modern record keeping began by the EIA in 1973:

Women Snatched Off Street in NYC

Now a women unconstitutionally snatched off the street by men in blue shirts an shorts, no insignia or identification at all, wearing guns, producing no warrant, this time in Argentina New York City. I suppose some excuse will be offered by the police, by Trumpists, by the fascists and by conservatives. The hippie deserved it.

US Coal Production: Lowest Since 1978

Tuesday, July 28, 2020


I want to get back to blogging more science. But events keep getting in the way, important events, historical events. I know it's a cliche by now, but this really is the most important election of our lifetimes. (What does it say about America that this has been true for the last five or so elections now?) Four more years of Trump and this country will be left in shreds.

At the Republican National Convention in 2016 Trump said the nation was in crisis and then he said "I alone can fix it."

Is there any part of America that is better today than it was in 2016? Perhaps only the stock market, up about 38% since he was sworn in. But then, "84 percent of all stocks owned by Americans belong to the wealthiest 10 percent of households."

By the way, the same Wilshire 5000 was up 35% in Obama's first term, 51% in his second.

Trump can't be blamed for the pandemic, but he is certainly responsible for the US's feeble, uncoordinated, feckless response to it. The deaths of tens of thousands lies in Trump's hands. He has no clue how to provide leadership in this crisis, no ability to, and, worst of all, no desire to. He is such a psychological head case that he sees himself as the victim in all this, pathetic beyond compare. He lies as he breathes, and even when we all know he's lying, he lies again. It's clear by now that, despite all his bluster, he is a very weak, broken man.

So I have to write about what's going on politically, socially, culturally, at least untl the election. If it doesn't convince anyone of anything, at least it gets some stress out of me, in this lonely pandemic, which is something I need right now. I hope you can bear with me.


Florida now has more COVID-19 cases than New York state. But New York still leads per capita, 21.2 cases/K to 19.8 cases/K. (Not sure about any other states.) About 1/5th per hundred. Still pretty low, unless you're vulnerable.


The Kaiser Family Foundation says 8 in 10 people who have died from COVID-19 were 65 or older. That's the national number; it varies by state, from 90% in Idaho to 70% in D.C.


Gallup: Two in Three Americans Support Racial Justice Protests.


David Frum writes about pandemic life in Canada right now. It's eye-opening. 
"It’s not the health-care system, exactly—although that has coped better, too. A close friend in Los Angeles combatting cancer this week began to experience COVID-19-like symptoms. Her cancer treatment had to pause while she awaited first a test (a two-day delay) then the results (God knows how long). Meanwhile, my two Canadian nephews took the precaution of a COVID-19 test before coming to visit us in the country. They got the test on a walk-in basis. The results arrived a few hours later: all clear."

A little while back I mentioned John Hersey's book Hiroshima, which was a journalistic account of the bomb through profiles of six people who survived it. It was originally published in The New Yorker, taking up the entire issue of the August 31, 1946 magazine. It sold out almost immediately; nationwide radio read it in its entirety over the air.

This Daily Beast article says Harry Truman, who of course ordered the dropping of the bomb (and also that on Nagasaki), didn't want to read about what he'd done. I guess that's understandable, but still. The article is password protected, so I can't read the details for now; it will probably become available without a password in a few days. We'll see if he actually did read it or not.

Albert Einstein ordered a thousand copies.


I thought these two comments were excellent, from this NY Times opinion piece, "In Portland’s So-Called War Zone, It’s the Troops Who Provide the Menace: If President Trump is actually trying to establish order, he is stunningly incompetent," by Nicholas Kristof (who lives about 20 miles outside Portland and grew up on a farm there):


Clay Bennett:


The melting of Arctic sea ice has stalled in the last week and is returning to something normal (at least normal for an AGW world):


Monday, July 27, 2020

The Fire Devil

A recent cover of Der Spiegel. Translation:

"The fire devil"
"A president sets fire to his country."

Sunday, July 26, 2020

About Masks

Those people who warned early on in Trump's term that fascism was coming to America.... They were right. "America is 'staring down the barrel of martial law' as it approaches the presidential election," said Oregon Senator Ron Wyden in The Guardian.

Here's Trump gloating when the mayor of Portland, Ted Wheeler, had a bad experience at the protests:
“They knocked the hell out of him,” President Trump boasted on Fox News. “That was the end of him.”

First Image of Two Exoplanets

This is the first ever image taken of two planets orbiting another star.

The star is located about 300 light-years from Earth in the constellation Musca in the southern sky, and is about one solar mass. But the two planets are exotic -- orbiting at four and eight times Pluto's distance from our sun. Both are huge -- the inner one is 14 times Jupiter's mass, and the outer one is 6 times.

Photo taken at the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope in northern Chile.

Photo and article via Scientific American.

Saturday, July 25, 2020

Donavan La Bella Has Brain Injury

This tweet shows video of the federal attack: