Election Forum - This Saturday Morning
Thu, Oct 13, 2016, 9:32 am // John ServaisThe League of Women Voters is holding the third of three political forums this Saturday morning, Oct 22 at 9:30 am. The first was held on Saturday, Oct…
Fri, Oct 21, 2016, 3:00 am // David Camp
A really challenging essay. Here's an exerpt:
"For the moment, we have to get through the catastrophe that this election has become. A fault line was always going to appear between the economically dominant class and much of the rest of the country which has been left behind. In my view, it is a very great tragedy that Bernie Sanders did not win his primary campaign to represent the left-behind in a positive and inclusive way. All humans are racists in some ways and to some degrees, but it was not at all inevitable, I think, that we end up in a “battle between cosmopolitan finance capitalism and ethno-nationalist backlash”, as Chris Hayes put it.
"Donald Trump offered a particularly comfortable home to the most ethno-nationalist fraction of the left-behind, and no home at all to people of color. But many not-unusually-racist “white” people who, fairly or not, perceive Clinton as an icon of corruption, now see Trump as the only game in town. It is tempting, among those of us who would be appalled by a Trump victory, to try to sway undecided voters by equating voting for Trump with racism full-stop. That’s a bad idea. If it becomes the mainstream view that Trump voters are simply racists, it leaves those who are already committed, those who are unwilling to abandon Trump or to stomach Clinton, little choice but to own what they’ve been accused of.
"Racist is the new queer. The same daring, transgressional psychology that, for gay people, converted an insult into a durable token of identity may persuade a mass of people who otherwise would not have challenged the social taboo surrounding racism to accept the epithet with defiant equanimity or even to embrace it. The assertion that Trump’s supporters are all racists has, I think, become partially self-fulfilling. In and of itself, that will make America’s already deeply ugly racial politics uglier. It will help justify the further pathologization of the emerging white underclass while doing nothing at all to help communities of color except, conveniently for some, to set the groups at one another’s throats so they cannot make common cause. It will become yet another excuse for beneficiaries of economic stratification to blame its victims. Things were bad before this election. They are worse now, and we should be very careful about how we carry this experience forward. These are frightening times."
And - just in case you think Trump can't ever be elected - consider the guy in the photo - Rob Ford, racist crack smoker, football coach (Provincial champs several times running), businessman, Toronto City Councillor for ten years and Mayor of Toronto for four. And Toronto a liberal metropolis of over 5 million that reliably elects mostly Liberal Members of Parliament.
Thu, Oct 20, 2016, 2:00 am // Tip Johnson
Following David Camp’s post about The Royal Bank of Scotland pillaging their own customers, it is worth revisiting the Wells Fargo debacle of faking 2 million accounts to pad their results. Wells Fargo quickly settled with the feds for $185 million but defrauded customers will see only $5 million. Now the California Attorney General has launched a criminal investigation into identity theft.
But there is growing concern that this is just the “tip of the iceberg” and that the "pathogens" may “fester in every large corporation". Indeed, JP Morgan admits they’ve had similar problems. Navy Federal credit union even got a piece of the action.
And it’s not confined to banking. T-Mobile is being fined for misrepresenting data plans. Comcast is being fined for mischarging customers and faces a seven state class action lawsuit for hidden fees even as they begin rolling out data caps to protect their broadcast television service while creating even more fees.
Fortunately, we have the internet, so you can read all you want, ponder the adequacy of regulation and consumer protection in our country today, and see if you can find anyone going to jail for fraud worth over four or five digits.
Wed, Oct 19, 2016, 4:07 am // John Servais
Cliff Mass has posted up a detailed post mortem of the fizzled storm of last Saturday evening. He acknowledges the forecasters missed and reveals what is needed for them to do better. He explains how and why they got it wrong. If you like understanding the weather, then this is for you.
Another reason to look into this fizzled storm relates to how we as communities respond to severe weather warnings. While we recognize no forecast is perfect, we do expect better within 24 hours and even 12 hours of an approaching storm. The technology is available to us and the weather experts know how to do it. So, the question is why are the forecasts wrong so often. Again, Cliff goes into it. Short answer: the Feds will not spring the money for radars and computers.
I did my best on Friday and Saturday to update the storm information in my blog post. In retrospect, I did ok, especially the first post Friday evening. And my radar image on Saturday evening clearly showed how the storm was missing us. I was confident as my US Air Force service was with the Air Weather Service and I was given a good grounding in weather. I was stationed in Germany during the Cold War and we were weather central for European military forecasts. It has been a life long interest and study.
We will try to pay attention to future storm forecasts and provide some local refinements to them for Whatcom and Bellingham residents.
Tue, Oct 18, 2016, 2:06 am // David Camp
In ancient times, fables were told of the land of milk and honey, a wonder and a fantasy to the people of the times. For if your daily meal is thin gruel, earned by the sweat of your brow, surely a land of milk and honey was heavenly, Elysian. Well, we are the privileged inhabitants of such a land as the ancients only dreamed of. We have walk-in 24-hour cornucopias, where milk is cheaper than water, and honey from many lands fills the shelves. Such wealth and abundance as the world has never seen!
Indeed, so wealthy are we that we throw away vast quantities of milk - between January and August of this year, over 43 million gallons of milk have been dumped. This, the largest quantity of milk wasted in sixteen years, is the result of a glut caused by the combination of efficient farmers (consolidation and better cow breeds) and soft markets, especially foreign markets. And it's not only milk - the U.S. currently has 1.2 billion Lbs. of surplus cheese in cold storage - enough to give three pounds to every person in America.
Strange times indeed. We live in abundance beyond the wildest dreams of the ancients, yet fret and whine over vanities.
Mon, Oct 17, 2016, 5:00 am // Deb Gaber
An Idaho company, Solar Roadways, recently unveiled 150 square feet of hexagon-shaped solar panels that people can walk and bicycle on. According to a story by Nicholas Geranios of the Associated Press, the company is in the process of proving the patented panels are strong enough and have enough traction to handle motor vehicles, including semitrailers.
Company owners, Scott and Julie Brusaw, want their product to replace all 48,000 square miles of concrete/asphalt in the U.S. and are the only business receiving federal highway research money to pursue solar road panels.
In strength tests, the half-inch-thick glass panels have been successful and are able to hold 250,000 pounds, three times the legal limit for a semitrailer. Since the glass has a traction surface equivalent to asphalt, vehicles have been able to stop in the required distance during testing.
The hexagonal panels are 31 inches point-to-point, made of tempered glass, and weigh about 70 pounds each. Embedded lights can be programmed to direct traffic or alert drivers to problems. Microprocessors in the panels allow them to communicate with each other, a central control station, and/or vehicles. Heat produced by the panels keeps roadways free of snow and ice, and they are easily replaced if damaged.
Currently used for sidewalks, driveways and parking lots, the company is seeking permission from the federal government to use them in roads. You can find out more and see an array of pictures at the Solar Sidewalks website.
Sat, Oct 15, 2016, 8:24 pm // John Servais
Update - Sat 8:25 pm & 8:34 pm
The worst of the storm is past us. Pressure at the Bellingham airport is rising and the center of the storm is now moving further from Bellingham. We dodged a bullet this evening. The center of the storm on a path towards the north east, passed over Barkley Sound on the west side of Vancouver Island about 7 pm and is now entering the Straits of Georgia up by Texada Island. The storm center is falling apart as it crosses the hilly island and will reduce to just rain in the next couple hours.
Bellingham airport reported gusts to 35 mph at 7 pm and 43 at 8 pm. That is probably as high as the wind will go for Whatcom County, with the exception of possibly Point Roberts. Vancouver area is reporting winds of in the 30 mph range, and they are closer by 50 miles to the center of the storm.
Here is an 8:04 pm article in the Seattle Times confirming the above. The storm simply never reached the intensity forecasted on Thursday and Friday.
Update - Sat 5:45 pm
Radar shows the low moving into the Olympic Penninsula and towards Victoria. Bellingham, according to Cliff Mass, may still get hit with wind gusts over 70 mph. We should see winds start to climb dramatically at 7 pm - if the storm passes close to us. Else, if it takes a more northerly path then we may feel little wind increase.
A suggestion. Charge your phones, tablets for use in an extended electrical outage, and find your flashlights now.
The radar screen shot above is from this website. As you can see, this storm looks like mini hurricane.
Original posted Fri eve.
Cliff Mass, the properly celebrated weather professor at the University of Washington, is our go to guy when a storm threatens the Pacific Northwest. Tip posted on Wednesday, citing Cliff and linking to his website. And we got hit with two storms since. I'm doing the same here.
The third storm, scheduled to hit Bellingham Saturday between 5 pm and 7 pm, is even stronger - but it covers a smaller area. Thus, it could miss us and we might just have heavy wind. Folks were taking no chances on Friday, as super markets got raided for bottled water, milk, and batteries. We know the storm is coming. Even if the details escape us.
Which brings us back to Cliff Mass. His weather blog is must reading for all who want to get the best forecast. He says the track of Saturday's storm is uncertain. The projected track is for it to pass just west of Bellingham and sock us with wind gusts exceeding 60 mph and maybe 70. But if it passes a bit further west, then we may have just 30 to 40 mph winds.
The graphic above is lifted from Cliff Mass' blog on Friday. He says he will update his forecast on Saturday. If you enjoy the storms even while preparing for them, then his blog is the source.
Sat, Oct 15, 2016, 10:27 am // David Camp
Some rainy day listening - why are these guys banned from the
corporate media propaganda apparatus in favor of known liars for war like John Bolton and Paul Wolfowitz, who in any sane system would be thrown back under the rocks they slimed out from under? And why is the Democratic Party the war party as under LBJ, including its presidential candidate who in advocating for a "no-fly zone" in Syria is in fact advocating for a shooting war with Russia and Iran and now apparently China?
Where are the voices for peace?
Alternet article on Chomsky and his slow exclusion from news.
Thu, Oct 13, 2016, 2:00 am // Tip Johnson
The discovery of a watery planet circling Proxima Centauri only 25 trillion miles away is said to “give us hope to start anew on another planet”. Of course, we can’t really get there yet, so ideas about the planet are based on current theories and models.
While we work on better space transportation, there is still plenty to do. Wouldn’t it be nice if we learned how to manage this planet before taking off to wreck the others?
Wed, Oct 12, 2016, 2:11 pm // Tip Johnson
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