Friday, August 24, 2012

Hundreds Of Thousands Of New Mexicans Are Native Americans!

Well, about 166,000, according to Wikipedia.

And you have a problem with that?:
A progressive group called on Republican National Committee leader Pat Rogers to step down on Friday after emails showed him telling New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez’s staff that meeting with a group of American Indians “dishonored” Gen. George Armstrong Custer, the 19th century commander who killed scores of American Indians.

“The state is going to hell,” Rogers, who is a member of the GOP executive committee and is currently in Tampa for the RNC convention, wrote in a June 8 email released by Progress Now New Mexico. Former Republican gubernatorial candidate Col. Allen Weh “would not have dishonored Col Custer in this manner,” he wrote.

Martinez is required by law to attend the annual state-tribal leaders summit, according to Progress Now New Mexico, which called for him to step down.

“Such a blatantly racist statement against our native people is offensive from anyone, but to come from a national GOP leader and lobbyist for some of our country’s largest corporations is indefensible,” Progress Now New Mexico’s executive director Pat Davis said in a statement.

An Intervention

Marking Time With Isaac

Today, no real appreciable changes, so far. The storm’s organization has improved somewhat. They moved the low pressure center farther south, as I expected they might, but then they angled the path more sharply to the north, meaning no real difference to the Tampa forecast. I still think the path will be more westerly than they are giving credit for, giving Tampa a better margin of safety, but we’ll see. In any event, the rightward kick has not happened. The storm did not skip across Hispaniola, or do any of the more interesting things they suspected it might. I don’t expect it will. Right now, it’s just south of Haiti. I think it’ll graze past the north shore of Jamaica and run into Cuba. Then, things get complicated again, with all the land interactions. But no surprises, so far.

Eliot Spitzer Is Getting Really Shrill!

Because the bastards got clean away with it, and they will do it again!:
So let's talk for a moment about the case against Ken Langone and his role on the NYSE Compensation Committee. The New York Stock Exchange, at the time a not-for-profit, paid its CEO Dick Grasso more than $200 million over a series of years. A report done for the board of the Exchange by Dan Webb, one of the most respected prosecutors in the nation, found that Grasso was overpaid by at least $144 million, and that Langone and the compensation committee handled the matter improperly!

...That Grasso was paid in excess of $200 million by a board composed of the CEOs of the very companies he was supposed to regulate is overwhelming evidence of just how corrupted our corporate governance system had become, and remains. The behavior of the New York Stock Exchange board during this era is a perfect demonstration of the interlocking conflicts of interest and corruption that permeated our corporate leadership.

...The record here is crystal clear: AIG and Hank Greenberg were charged by the New York Attorney General's Office—while I was attorney general—with fraud and deceptive accounting practices. The company settled for $1.64 billion, at the time the largest payment in history.

...After invoking his Fifth Amendment right to avoid testifying, Greenberg settled with the SEC for $15 million. And a federal judge, in a written opinion, found evidence that the conspiracy to deceive investors originated with Greenberg. Even CNBC covered Greenberg's settlement by saying "Ex-AIG CEO Greenberg settles fraud charges with SEC."

So Mr. Langone, despite your effort to talk about everything other than the facts of these cases, facts matter. These cases were absolutely correct, important, and went to the heart of the type of corporate fraud and defalcation that very nearly destroyed our economy.

El Micha feat. Clave Cubana - Esto Tiene Algo (Reggaeton Cubano 2011)

Tonight, Pepper was playing a (what I think was a remix) version of this song. A perfect Zumba AND rap dance tune AND could work really well on "Breaking Bad"!

Skeptical About Isaac

The modeled forecasts are beginning to strain credulity right now. As part of Isaac’s interaction with land and water, and the trough over the eastern United States, the NOGAPS forecast shows the storm making a rightward jog today and tomorrow through the strait separating Haiti and Cuba. As part of that process, there should be clouds and showers over central Cuba right now – but there aren’t any. So, I’m thinking, ‘not gonna happen’!

In addition, I just don’t think they have the location of the storm right. It isn’t so much that there are multiple rotating centers to this storm. It’s just that the storm has a single center that is farther south than they think. It seems clear enough to me from looking at the satellite pictures (1 & 2).

So, I’m skeptical right now. Probably what will happen is they’ll have a big reset later today, once they get hurricane aircraft in there, discover the problem, and they’ll set their modeled trajectories further to the west, and away from Tampa.

Still, Isaac will make a fairly close approach to Tampa. Interestingly, because of all the interactions with land, the National Hurricane Center does not have the storm reaching Category 1, or hurricane, status until after it’s over the Gulf of Mexico, after passing Tampa.

So, Tampa may get sideswiped by a tropical storm. Monday may see rain, and a stiff breeze, in Tampa, but I doubt there will be any calamities.

Todd Akin Died For Our Sins

Mike Huckabee is mad:
Who ordered this “Code Red” on Akin? There were talking point memos sent from the National Republican Senatorial Committee suggesting language to urge Akin to drop out. Political consultants were ordered to stay away from Akin or lose future business with GOP committees. Operatives were recruited to set up a network of pastors to call Akin to urge him to get out. Money has changed hands to push him off the plank. It is disgraceful. From the spotlights of political offices and media perches, it may appear that the demand for Akin’s head is universal in the party. I assure you it is not. There is a vast, but mostly quiet army of people who have an innate sense of fairness and don’t like to see a fellow political pilgrim bullied. If Todd Akin loses the Senate seat, I will not blame Todd Akin. He made his mistake, but was man enough to admit it and apologize. I’m waiting for the apology from whoever the genius was on the high pedestals of our party who thought it wise to not only shoot our wounded, but run over him with tanks and trucks and then feed his body to the liberal wolves. It wasn’t just Todd Akin that was treated with contempt by the thinly veiled attack on Todd Akin. It was all the people who have faithfully knocked doors, made calls, and made sacrificial contributions to elect Republicans because we thought we were welcome in the party. Todd Akin owned his mistake. Who will step up and admit the effort being made to discredit Akin and apologize for the sleazy way it’s been handled?

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Doug Shared This On Facebook

On B3ta's "Best Answers" Page This Week!

They like me: they really, really like me!:
Foot in Mouth Syndrome II

Have you ever said something and wished the ground would open up and swallow you? Tell us your tales of social embarrassment.
First Impressions

She was a radiant Nordic princess on the school bus; I was a nerdy halfling. I noticed she was playing with the ends of her long, blonde hair. I screwed up the courage to approach her, and cheerfully inquired, "Nits?"

The Folks In Tampa Just Want Some Answers

Trying to forecast where hydra-headed Tropical Storm Isaac might go, this far out, is hard.

Here’s the latest model run I'm looking at right now (don’t worry about the security certificate warning – the website is safe).

This afternoon was a bit more sobering. In its afternoon update, the National Hurricane Center warns that Isaac has no defined center at the moment, but several centers, mutually rotating about each other. Indeed, that seems to be true. And there might also be some tilt to the storm too, towards colder air (which, oddly-enough, seems to be to the south, over South America).

The San Juan/Virgin Islands radar showed one of the rotational centers being just off the Puerto Rico/Dominican Republic coast, but the upper air outflow is as far south as Aruba, and even farther south. So, basically, the storm is everywhere over the eastern Caribbean (but still not powerful yet).

So, forecasting a path is hard. The NOGAPS model is now just about on the consensus path.

The consensus path leads the storm through the Keys to just off the Naples, FL coast. It is likely that air travel to Tampa will be disrupted Monday afternoon and evening as the storm makes its closest approach to the city. It would rain pretty hard on Monday, with some wind, but Tampa wouldn’t take a direct hit. Then, the storm would continue on its path into the Gulf of Mexico, heading towards a New Orleans landfall. There is plenty of opportunity for air travel flight disruptions, as panicked people try to get out of the way of the storm.

Still hoping for more westward movement of the storm. Nothing is settled yet.

Replacing The Pipe

I just thought this time lapse video was cool! It's from Christchurch, New Zealand, where massive infrastructure repair continues from the 2010-2012 series of earthquakes they suffered.

Work began on the $4 million pipe replacement project on June 16, 2011, with MacDow Fletcher as the lead SCIRTcontractor. March Construction was the subcontractor. Woodham Road officially re-opened on 14 May 2012 with the residents of the street present to mark the occasion.

Woodham Road was closed to traffic while the earthquake-damaged northern and southern confluence trunk wastewater pipe was replaced.

The project involved sheet piling and excavation of a substantial 130 metre long, six metre by six metre wide trench, the bypassing of the old trunk wastewater pipe which carried 40% of the city's wastewater volume with a 1.2 metre diameter temporary pipe, and lastly the replacement of the damaged trunk wastewater with a 1.8 metre diameter plastic pipe, the largest of its type to be used in New Zealand.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

First Weight Landmark

Reached 180 pounds today (after having started from 193 pounds a little over a month ago).

180 pounds was from where I started losing weight back in 2005. At that time, I decided that 180 pounds would be the maximum tolerable weight I should ever reach, and that I should never exceed that weight again, under any circumstances! A lot of good that declaration did!

The next landmark is 168 pounds (the lowest weight I reached in 2005). After that, 164 pounds (my weight in 1991, when I was considerably concerned about my growing weight then).

In my mid-twenties, I was 135 pounds. Out of reach?

Getting That Sinking Feeling About Tampa

Giving advice to the folks there:

Studying these things is something like studying bowling, and figuring out exactly which pins will be knocked down, and which will remain standing, right after the ball is released.

Looking harder at this thing, I'm beginning to adopt the National Hurricane Center consensus view. That view is perilous to Tampa!

The reason the heretical NOGAPS model kicks the storm to the right is because of a complicated interplay with a little low pressure area currently swirling over eastern Cuba and Haiti. NOGAPS says Isaac will collide with this region of vorticity off-center, creating two mutually-rotating low pressure lobes that will ultimately have the effect of kicking the storm to the right. Meanwhile, the GFS model suggests the collision will not be off-center, that the collision will be direct, that the low pressure area will be absorbed, and that the progress of Isaac will be unaffected, with no kick to the right.

As much as I like the NOGAPS model, I find the second line of reasoning more persuasive. The storm is still pretty far south, farther south than it needs to be for the kick to work, is more powerful than the eastern Cuban low, and will dominate any interaction. If so, then there will be no kick to the right, and the National Hurricane Center consensus view will prevail.

We'll know more as the storm passes Hispaniola. By that time, either there will be a kick to the right, or there won't be. I'm now thinking there won't be.

The high pressure area NE of Florida seems stronger than anything NW of Florida: another reason why a more westerly track is favored, and why the National Hurricane Center consensus view is likely to prevail.

NOGAPS has the storm raking Florida's east coast all during Monday, with closest approach to Tampa late Monday afternoon. The GFS model has the storm raking Florida's west coast, making closest approach to Tampa early Tuesday morning. Generally, NOGAPS tends to be a bit fast, so I'm thinking early Tuesday morning will be the time of closest approach.

If the NOGAPS view prevails, the airport in Tampa will remain open when you are traveling, but if the National Hurricane Center consensus view prevails, the airport will be closed.

Right now, I'm thinking it's a bad time to travel. The odds of real trouble are just too great.

Mostly Pretty Dry This Last Month In The West

Premature Schadenfreude

It’s interesting just how different the NOGAPS forecast is from the National Hurricane Center consensus.

The NHC consensus is that Tropical Storm Isaac will certainly hit Florida, and could come into the Tampa area.

Nevertheless, even though the NOGAPS forecast has shifted Isaac a bit farther west than it was yesterday, it still shows Isaac remaining east of the Bahamas (but approaching close enough to alarm people there). The NOGAPS forecast shows the storm moving up the East Coast, hitting Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, and raking the Atlantic seaboard. But NOGAPS does NOT show the storm entering the Tampa area: at least, the forecast doesn’t show that at the present time.

So, let’s hope things turn out the way NOGAPS forecasts!

Meanwhile, the folks over at Salon are yearning for some schadenfreude:
Oh no, a hurricane might strike the Republican National Convention in Tampa! Weather scientists say a little “tropical system” in the Atlantic could head up to Tampa this weekend and become a hurricane named Isaac. Also, fun fact: Tampa is terribly vulnerable to hurricanes. Vast numbers of Tampa residents live in areas that would be overrun in the event of a major storm surge. The city is more vulnerable every year, since sea levels are rising due to ... God loving the Earth so much that he’s hugging it real close and accidentally melting the ice caps.

According to Climate Central’s research, sea level rise is escalating the threat of damaging storm surge flooding in the Tampa area. The odds that a flood exceeding 6.5 feet would occur in Tampa before 2030 are about 14 percent without global warming, but these odds increase to 20 percent with the effects of global warming-related sea level rise factored in.

A “worst-case Category 4 hurricane in the Tampa Bay region” would put the Tampa Bay convention center under 20 feet of water, “and St. Petersburg would become an island, as occurred during the 1848 hurricane.”

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Harrisons Visit "Breaking Bad" Locations

I received an E-Mail from Tim Harrison:
Hey, Marc

Last week, we went on vacation to Albuquerque. We checked out some of the Breaking Bad sites and put together a little video. We couldn't have done it without your site!

Tim Harrison
I'm amazed how good the quality here is! The song is "Giving Up Drugs Again" by The Womb. Like Stephanie at the Facebook site says:
Gah! That's what we did back in April but they did it SO much better & on video. I'm totally envious and crazy impressed.

Ben Bruening's 50th Birthday Party

A Second Bike Ride To Discovery Park With Joe The Plumber

Joe is like a salmon when it comes to bike rides. We headed on a nearly-identical path as before to the archery area at Discovery Park.

The little train in Old Sacramento.

We passed through the K Street Mall and Downtown Plaza, to reach Old Sacramento.

At the water intake facility on the Sacramento River.

Once again, the water-lovers were out in force.

At Discovery Park itself, a group of archers were finishing a shooting session. Joe talked to everyone and anyone, riding out to the targets to grill an archer about his craft.

One of the people who Joe talked with was a fellow who came out of the bushes (and apparently lives there). He talked to Joe, but not to me. He said, "I wonder about the differences between the words 'paranoia' and 'suspicion'. These words come up a lot these days."

"That's a good point," I said. "They are similar concepts. For example: 'I'm paranoid about my suspicion'; 'I'm suspicious about my paranoia.'" Joe replied, "Now you're just babbling."

The departing archers took pity on the homeless - Joe, the guy from the bushes, and (apparently) me. They left watermelon slices and burger rolls for us to eat. I was hungry, and dug right in with the melon.

Back in Old Sacramento again.

Everyone turns out for the big gunfight!

The gunfight was staged as an 1850 battle between big landowners, who cited the 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in order to assert their rights, and a group of newly-arrived squatters from the East.

Hurry to the gunfight!

Challenges hurled! Guns fired!

Innocent bystander struck!

The big landowners advance! They win!

A German family watched the pitched battle. All of the complicated citations of legal authority, in English of course, went right over the head of a six-year-old German girl. She heard yelling and gunfire, and felt the aggression. She started crying....

Chess available at Downtown Plaza.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Farewell To Jenny Reuter and Ashley Hickman

After the performance of "The Music Man", Saturday evening segued into a party for both Jenny Reuter (heading to Harvard) and Ashley Hickman (heading to Pratt Institute, in Brooklyn). Lots of karaoke & dance-a-oke, and just general fun!

"The Music Man" - DMTC YPT Summer Workshop - Saturday Evening, 08/18/12

Bows. Harold Hill (Noah P.) and Marian Paroo (Petra F.).

Pity They are Fleeing

One of the hallmarks of the national GOP is a determination to ignore science, and anything related to it, that way being able to redefine reality to suit what it wants to believe. No where has that refusal to deal with obdurate reality been in starkest contrast than with biology. Alas, the GOP doesn't want to have a debate:
Todd Akin stands alone. Minutes after Akin vowed to remain the Republican nominee in the Missouri Senate race, the full infrastructure of his party abandoned him.

John Cornyn (R-TX), chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, called on Akin to “reconsider” staying in the race and then reportedly warned him that if he does stay in, he won’t have any financial help from the committee.

Around the same time, the super PAC founded by Karl Rove said it had abandoned the Senate race as well, leaving Akin without valuable air cover in his bid to unseat Sen. Claire McCaskill (D).

Irrational Enthusiasm

Holy Water:
A Republican congressman representing Kansas has apologized for embarrassing his supporters by swimming naked at the holy site of the Sea of Galilee while on a fact-finding mission to Israel.

Freshman U.S. Rep. Kevin Yoder, 36, has not been charged in the Aug. 18, 2011, incident when he and about 20 other lawmakers and staff members jumped into the water. Politico reported Sunday that he was the only one among them who wore no clothes.

“I feel incredibly remorseful that I have caused embarrassment to my constituents and I have caused folks who believe in me to be disappointed,” Yoder told The Kansas City Star Sunday night ( ).

Some Christians consider the Sea of Galilee a holy site because they believe Jesus walked on water there. Swimming in the lake is permitted but public nudity is not allowed, according to Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld.