Saturday Reads: Unpredictable Weather, Rand Paul, and Other Odd News

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Good Morning!!

I got about a foot of snow dumped on me by the latest storm, when the prediction the day before had been for about 3-5 inches. Boy were the predictions wrong for this one! Last night the Boston Globe weather blogger tried to explain “Why was there so much more snow than predicted?”

Now that the big storm is over, I am looking at why this was such a poor forecast. The basic reason was a bit more cold air than expected, more moisture and it lasted longer. No one expected so much snow to fall from 4 AM this morning until mid-afternoon. Storms usually need to be at roughly 40 degrees latitude and 70 degrees west longitude to give us a major snow event. Meteorologists around here call this the benchmark. If a storm passes near the benchmark, and it’s cold enough, we are often in for a good snowstorm. This storm passed hundreds of miles further east than that typical spot for a major snowstorm. One of the reasons I was confident in not seeing this size snowstorm, was the predicted distance of the storm from our area. That prediction by the models turned out to be pretty good. Temperatures were also forecast to be about 4 degrees milder. As it turn out, it’s sort of a good thing it ended up being colder because heavy wet snow of these amounts would have been catastrophic to the power situation.

I see . . . well, not really. Anyway, the stuff is melting already which is a good thing, because I wasn’t able to shovel my driveway out completely yesterday. We’re supposed to get temperatures in the 40s and 50s for the next few days, so I guess that will rescue me.  Now what’s in the news today?

I see that Kentucky Senator Rand Paul is really full of himself after his “talking filibuster” the other day.

He’s got an op-ed in the Washington Post bragging, “My filibuster was just the beginning.”

If I had planned to speak for 13 hours when I took the Senate floor Wednesday, I would’ve worn more comfortable shoes. I started my filibuster with the words, “I rise today to begin to filibuster John Brennan’s nomination for the CIA. I will speak until I can no longer speak” — and I meant it.

I wanted to sound an alarm bell from coast to coast. I wanted everybody to know that our Constitution is precious and that no American should be killed by a drone without first being charged with a crime. As Americans, we have fought long and hard for the Bill of Rights. The idea that no person shall be held without due process, and that no person shall be held for a capital offense without being indicted, is a founding American principle and a basic right.

randpaulwords

I certainly agree that the president shouldn’t have the power to kill Americans without due process, but I’d be more impressed with Paul if he supported other constitutional rights like equal treatment under the law for minorities, women and LGBT people. I can’t take anyone seriously as a defender of the Constitution if he opposes civil rights and the right of a woman to control her own body.

According to Grace Wyler at Business Insider, Libertarians Believe Their Moment Has Finally Arrived. On the other hand, Chris Cillizza explains why Why the Rand Paul filibuster might not be such good news for the GOP.

Everyone seems to be calling Paul’s filibuster “historic,” and no one is even mentioning the (IMO) much more dramatic and impressive filibuster by Bernie Sanders just a couple of years ago.

Sequestration cuts, anyone?

While the Village media types focus on either fawning over or condemning Rand Paul’s performance, local journalists around the country are reporting on the damage being done by sequestration cuts.

The debate over sequestration this past week has come down to two questions: Was the administration exaggerating the impact of the spending cuts, and did they really need to shut down White House tours because of them?

It’s been the predominant theme at the White House briefings, a constant subject of discussion on cable news and a topic of fascination on Capitol Hill. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) even took up the cause at a press briefing this week, saying: “I think it’s silly that they have insisted on locking down the White House, which the American people actually own.”

Beneath that debate, however, is a different type of conversation about the impact of the $85 billion in cuts. While the national media has focused on those two questions, local coverage has been more directed at the tangible impact the budget restraints will have. The Huffington Post reviewed dozens of local television news broadcasts, using the service TVeyes.com, to survey coverage of sequestration outside of the Beltway.

Check out the many examples of real pain for localities at the link. And besides, according to Buzzfeed, Nobody Liked The White House Tours That Much Anyway. They’re only rated 3.5 on Yelp. Read the negative reviews at the link.

Interesting book review at The Daily Beast

The Girls of the Manhattan Project.

They were the employees of the gigantic uranium-enrichment plant at Oak Ridge, Tenn.—those who lived and toiled in this purpose-built secret city in the Appalachian Mountains, many of them young women, had only been told that their efforts would help bring home American soldiers. Then, when atomic power was deployed against an enemy nation for the first (and so far, last) time, Oak Ridge residents realized what they had been working toward, and why their every move had been monitored, their every utterance policed, and their every question stonewalled.

In The Girls of Atomic City: The Untold Story of the Women Who Helped Win World War II, Denise Kiernan recreates, with cinematic vividness and clarity, the surreal Orwell-meets-Margaret Atwood environment of Oak Ridge as experienced by the women who were there. They were secretaries, technicians, a nurse, a statistician, a leak pipe inspector, a chemist, and a janitor. “Site X” began construction in late 1942, and was also known as the Clinton Engineering Works (CEW) and the Reservation. Staff members were recruited from all over the U.S., but particularly from nearby Southern states, and were offered higher than average wages, on-site housing and cafeterias, and free buses.

More importantly, they were offered the chance to join the 400,000 or so American women performing non-combatant roles in the armed services, as well as those keeping vital industries afloat and helping the men on the front lines. But whereas a female Air Force pilot or munitions factory worker understood precisely her contributions to the war effort, the women at Oak Ridge were kept in the dark about the actual purpose of their workplace, a mystery heightened by the apparent lack of anything ever leaving the site. Provided with “just enough detail to do their job well, and not an infinitesimal scrap more,” workers at all levels were forbidden from taking the slightest interest in anyone else’s duties. “Stick to your knitting,” in the words of Lieutenant General Leslie Groves, head of the Project.

That sounds like a fascinating book!

ABC News reports on a scary new virus–the coronaviris.

Coronavirus

Coronavirus

Health officials are warning of a new virus that has sickened at least 14 people worldwide, killing eight of them.

There are no known American cases of the coronavirus, known as hCoV-EMC, but the U.S. Centers for Disease Control is urging doctors with patients who have an unexplained respiratory illness after traveling to the Arabian peninsula or neighboring countries to report the cases to the CDC.

Doctors should also report patients with known diseases who don’t respond to appropriate treatment, the agency said its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Close contacts of a symptomatic patient should also be evaluated.

The novel virus, which is associated with severe respiratory illness with renal failure, was first recognized last September and caused alarm because it is genetically and clinically similar to the SARS virus, which caused hundreds of deaths worldwide.

Read more at the CDC website.

A new archaeological theory about Stonehenge

The Guardian: Stonehenge may have been burial site for Stone Age elite, say archaeologists.

Stonehenge with a new moon seen through standing stones

Centuries before the first massive sarsen stone was hauled into place at Stonehenge, the world’s most famous prehistoric monument may have begun life as a giant burial ground, according to a theory disclosed on Saturday.

More than 50,000 cremated bone fragments, of 63 individuals buried at Stonehenge, have been excavated and studied for the first time by a team led by archaeologist Professor Mike Parker Pearson, who has been working at the site and on nearby monuments for decades. He now believes the earliest burials long predate the monument in its current form.

The first bluestones, the smaller standing stones, were brought from Wales and placed as grave markers around 3,000BC, and it remained a giant circular graveyard for at least 200 years, with sporadic burials after that, he claims.

It had been thought that almost all the Stonehenge burials, many originally excavated almost a century ago, but discarded as unimportant, were of adult men. However, new techniques have revealed for the first time that they include almost equal numbers of men and women, and children including a newborn baby.

I’ll end with this “chart of the day” from Business Insider:

“The Scariest Jobs Chart Ever”

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I hope that’s enough to get you started on the day. Please share your recommended reads in the comments. I look forward to clicking on your links!

Have a great weekend!!

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32 Comments on “Saturday Reads: Unpredictable Weather, Rand Paul, and Other Odd News”

  1. bostonboomer says:

    Poll: Rubio Trails Hillary Big Time Among Latinos

    The survey, conducted by Quinnipiac University, tested a variety of possible 2016 pairings with 1,944 registered voters and had a margin of error of +/-2.2 percent. Clinton led Rubio by a 50-34 margin, including 60-24 among Latino voters. Rubio performed worse than Chris Christie overall, who trailed Clinton 45-37 nationally, and only slightly better with Latinos, where Christie was down 62-23. Paul Ryan also performed weak against Clinton, losing 50-38 in an overall matchup and even worse with Latino voters, 69-21.

  2. bostonboomer says:

    Senator McNasty is sooooooo jealous of Rand Paul: McCain Says He, Not Rand Paul, Represents ‘Party Of Ronald Reagan’

  3. ecocatwoman says:

    So glad to see your shout out to Bernie Sanders. With the coverage of Paul’s filibuster, I waited for someone, anyone to mention Sanders’ great filibuster which was the most recent in history. Nada, no one. Instead I heard about Estes Kefauver’s catheter slipping out & his getting permission for a “break” in his filibuster to fix the problem.

  4. ecocatwoman says:

    Stonehenge has always fascinated me. Isn’t it amazing (sarcasm here) that early speculations were that ONLY men were buried there? I often feel that women throughout history are much like the donkeys of gold prospectors – a maligned and often forgotten beast of burden & not a participant.

    I’m going to check out the coronavirus link. Corona virus is the most common virus in cats. There are many variants, most related to URI (upper respiratory virus) infections. It’s estimated that 99% of cats have been exposed to corona at some point in their lives. It can be very, very bad resulting in death for kittens, especially, and adult cats if it goes untreated. Feline infectious peritonitis (FIP) is one strain that is always fatal.

    • bostonboomer says:

      I didn’t know that about cats.

    • NW Luna says:

      Coronaviruses are a “family” of viruses, with many separate strains, as ecocat points out. One coronavirus caused SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome). They range from very nasty to weak.

      Coronaviruses are important human and animal pathogens. They are the cause of up to one-third of community-acquired upper respiratory tract infections in adults and probably also play a role in severe respiratory infections in both children and adults. In addition, it is possible that certain coronaviruses cause diarrhea in infants and children, and their possible role in central nervous diseases has been suggested but not proven. ….

      Coronaviruses are medium-sized, enveloped, positive-stranded RNA viruses whose name derives from their characteristic crown-like appearance in electron micrographs

      • ecocatwoman says:

        Thanks Doc. You said it better than I did.

      • NW Luna says:

        ecocat, you are far more well-informed than the average! It’s just that sometimes I can’t resist talking shop.

        Hmmm, wonder how much the CDC’s budget has been slashed recently?

        • ecocatwoman says:

          45 years of living with & caring for cats. Fortunately? Unfortunately? I’ve come across the spectrum of illnesses they can contract. I’ve spent lots of time force feeding & giving them fluids to keep them alive and pull them through. Thanks for the compliment.

          BTW, Luna how is your kitty? Did you check into curcumin?

  5. ecocatwoman says:

    I apologize for being a comment hog, but a friend just sent this to me: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bianca-jagger/women-the-unsung-heroes-o_b_2838414.html?utm_hp_ref=email_share I haven’t had time to read the whole thing (it’s LONG), but Biana Jagger talks about women’s contribution to the planet throughout history. Happy Women’s History Month everyone.

  6. ecocatwoman says:

    This is great, IMHO. It’s Part 1 of a recent speech given by Noam Chomsky: http://www.alternet.org/visions/chomsky-corporations-and-richest-americans-viscerally-oppose-common-good

    Here’s a short paragraph near the end that succinctly describes the theme of the speech:

    This common theme from 150 years ago is inhuman and savage. It also meets with resistance. And there have been victories. There were many in the struggles of the 1930s, carried further in the 1960s. But systems of power never walk away politely. They prepare a new assault. This has in fact been happening since the early 1970s, based on major changes in the design of the economic system.

  7. ecocatwoman says:

    In case anyone needs a smile today, check out the latest cartoon of Simon’s Cat. I really love these cartoons & this one perfectly illustrates my evening ritual but with more cats:

    http://www.simonscat.com/Blog/2013-02-04/Simons-Cat-in-Feed-Me/

  8. RalphB says:

    Liberals supporting Paul’s silly filibuster are useful idiots at best, or so it would seem. This clusterfuck was meaningless.

    MoJo: Rand Paul Exploits Drones Grandstanding With False Fundraising Letter

    Though foes of drones on the right and left cheered Sen. Rand Paul’s filibuster this week, with the tea partier delaying confirmation of CIA director John Brennan for a day, Paul’s rant targeted a nonexistent dispute: whether or not Obama administration officials believed they could use drones (or other weapons) to kill American citizens within the borders of the United States without due process. Take away all Paul’s hyped-up hysteria—watch out, Jane Fonda!—and he didn’t truly disagree with the administration’s position that in an extraordinary circumstance, such as an ongoing terrorist attack, the US government can deploy lethal force against evildoers who happen to be American citizens. So why did Paul go ballistic? Here’s a clue: The day after he ended one of the longest filibusters in US history, he tried to cash in on his stunt by zapping out a fundamentally inaccurate fundraising email for his 2016 reelection campaign.

    The story contains Eric Holder’s original response to questions about using drones in the US. After reading it, I’ve gotta say there doesn’t appear to be any additional answers required. Apparently those who didn’t understand didn’t actually take time to read Holder’s letter before charging ahead. That yields no confidence in either the Left and the Right.

  9. ecocatwoman says:

    Have ya’ll seen this video on You Tube, called Wealth Inequality? It’s had over 4 million hits & it is really powerful. It ain’t what the media or politicians are telling the American people.

  10. RalphB says:

    IMITATIONS OF LIFE: The Power Rules!

    In a rational world, being right makes you smart. In the imitation of life in which we live, being right makes you shrill. There’s no better way to get thrown down the stairs than to get some important matter right when Insider Washington is getting it wrong.

    Bob Somerby is a treasure. The Daily Howler is one of the best reads on the net, every day!