Thursday Reads

Good Morning!!

Hurricane Irma is still headed for Florida and then will move up the coast. The Weather Channel: States of Emergency Issued, Evacuations Ordered as Florida, Georgia, Carolinas Prepare for Irma.

As the dangerous Category 5 Hurricane Irma barrels toward southeast of Florida, officials in the Sunshine State, Georgia and the Carolinas have declared disasters and ordered evacuations.

The storm, which has undergone rapid intensification in the past several days is now the strongest Atlantic hurricane in the last 10 years, a dangerous Category 5, which made landfall overnight packing winds of 185 mph on the Caribbean island of Barbuda.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott said in a news conference Wednesday that Irma can still go anywhere and the entire state needs to be prepared.

“The storm is massive and the storm surge is predicted to go for miles. In some instances, it could cover homes and go very far inland,” Scott said.

He urged urgent preparation:

  • “Every family needs to have a plan. …Do not sit and wait. Prepare right now.”
  • “Do not ignore evacuation orders.”
  • “Take what you need to evacuate. Don’t take extra.”

Read more about Florida’s preparations at the link.

Cars sit on a flooded street on the island of Saint-Martin after Hurricane Irma passed through

The Miami Herald: South Florida comes under hurricane watch with weekend strike likely.

South Florida came under hurricane and storm surge watches Thursday morning as powerful Hurricane Irma steamed toward the peninsula on track for a weekend strike.

Tropical storm force winds could begin battering the Keys and South Florida Saturday afternoon, National Hurricane Center forecasters said in their latest advisory. The fierce center of the Cat 5 storm is also increasingly likely to plow across the state’s crowded east coast, and it’s more than 6 million residents, in three to four days.

The hurricane and storm surge watches cover much of the South Florida coast, from Jupiter Inlet south and up the west coast to Bonita Beach, including the Keys. Water levels could reach from between five and 10 feet above ground level in the storm surge watch area, forecasters said.

Because Irma is such a large hurricane, the storm surge could be widespread and life-threatening, said senior hurricane specialist Mike Brennan, with waters moving further inland along the Gulf.

Presumably, the storm will keep moving on up the coast. It’s not clear yet how it will impact us up here in New England, but environmental experts are trying to prepare Boston for future storms as the sea level rises from climate change. The Boston Globe: What a future sea barrier in Boston would look like.

According a city-sponsored report published last December, sea levels are forecasted to rise eight inches from 2000 to 2030 due to climate change. By 2050, they are expected to increase up to 1.5 feet — and by 2070, up to three feet.

Palm trees buckle under winds and rain as Hurricane Irma slammed across islands in the northern Caribbean on Wednesday, in Fajardo, Puerto Rico Sept. 6, 2017.

The chances of a Harvey-esque 50 inches of rain are minuscule in Boston. But with the expected sea level rise, a one-in-100- or one-in-10-year storm (Harvey was a one-in-1,000-year storm) would put many Boston neighborhoods underwater, according to the report, Climate Ready Boston. Even monthly high tides would flood 5 percent of the city’s real estate market value toward the end of the century, officials said.

With the sea level rise expected within roughly 30 to 50 years, major storms could make neighborhoods including East Boston, the South End, and the Seaport “unviable.” This interactive map shows what exact places could be threatened (and it doesn’t look great for Faneuil Hall).

“You’re not going to escape it,” Curt Spalding, New England’s regional administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency, told Boston.com last year regarding sea level rise, after Boston’s waterfront was inundated by simple king tides.

According to a 2013 report by the World Bank, Boston ranked eighth out of 136 coastal cities for risk of flood damage.

Local officials are thus faced with a dilemma: how to manage the characteristic that historically made Boston a thriving commercial hub — its favorable port location — when that same asset now contributes to a potentially existential threat?

Head to the Globe to read the rest. I imagine many coastal cities are looking at possible protections from future flooding.

Donald Trump Jr. is being interviewed by investigators from the Senate Judiciary Committee this morning. MSNBC reports that he has changed his story again–now claiming he took a June 2016 meeting with Russians to get information that would help him assess Hillary Clinton’s “fitness for office.” From The New York Times:

Donald Trump Jr., the president’s eldest son, is set to meet with Senate Judiciary Committee investigators behind closed doors on Thursday to answer questions about his June 2016 meeting with a Kremlin-connected lawyer, committee officials said.

Homes are damaged after Hurricane Irma struck in Philipsburg, on the Dutch Caribbean island of St. Martin on Sept. 6, 2017. Netherlands Ministry of Defense via AFP – Getty Images

Committee aides said the interview, Mr. Trump’s first with congressional investigators, will be transcribed and could last for much of the day. It will largely focus on the meeting in Trump Tower, which appears to have been set up to deliver harmful information about Hillary Clinton to the Trump campaign, according to emails disclosed in June.

Democrats, led by Senator Dianne Feinstein of California, the committee’s top-ranking Democrat, said on Wednesday that Mr. Trump had also agreed to testify at a public hearing before the committee and that he would probably be subpoenaed if he did not follow through on that agreement. Senator Charles E. Grassley of Iowa, the panel’s chairman, declined to discuss the committee’s dealings with Mr. Trump. Lawyers for Mr. Trump could not be reached for comment.

The closed-door interview is the clearest indication yet that the Senate Judiciary Committee — after months of being eclipsed by the Senate and House intelligence committees — is emerging into a higher-profile role in investigating the president, his family and his associates in the coming months.

The committee is trying to get answers about the firing of James B. Comey as F.B.I. director this spring and has staked out a broad investigation that aims to look at everything from the Trump campaign’s interactions with Russia to the Obama Justice Department’s handling of the Clinton email case last year.

More Russia news broke last night in The Washington Post: Russian firm tied to pro-Kremlin propaganda advertised on Facebook during election.

Sea water rises to a water deck as hurricane Irma approaches Puerto Rico in Fajardo. Ricardo Arduengo AFP Getty Images

Representatives of Facebook told congressional investigators Wednesday that the social network has discovered that it sold ads during the U.S. presidential campaign to a shadowy Russian company seeking to target voters, according to several people familiar with the company’s findings.

Facebook officials reported that they traced the ad sales, totaling $100,000, to a Russian “troll farm” with a history of pushing pro-Kremlin propaganda, these people said.

A small portion of the ads, which began in the summer of 2015, directly named Republican nominee Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton, the people said, although they declined to say which candidate the ads favored.

Most of the ads, according to a blog post published late Wednesday by Facebook’s chief security officer, Alex Stamos, “appeared to focus on amplifying divisive social and political messages across the ideological spectrum — touching on topics from LGBT matters to race issues to immigration to gun rights.”

The acknowledgment by Facebook comes as congressional investigators and special counsel Robert S. Mueller III are probing Russian interference in the U.S. election, including allegations that the Kremlin may have coordinated with the Trump campaign.

Read more at the WaPo.

The other big story from last night is that Trump suddenly aligned himself with Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer on raising the debt ceiling and threw Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell under the bus. Ryan Lizza at The New Yorker: How Democrats Rolled Trump on the Debt Ceiling.

A man drives through rain and strong winds during the passage of hurricane Irma, in Fajardo, Puerto Rico, Wednesday, Sept. 6, 2017.

For weeks, Chuck Schumer, the Senate Minority Leader, had been plotting a strategy to use the debt-ceiling vote to extract concessions from Donald Trump and his fellow-Republicans. Over the weekend, the White House and Senate Republicans indicated that they wanted a debt-ceiling increase attached to a bill to provide immediate aid for areas of Texas and Louisiana affected by Hurricane Harvey. The plan was perfect for the G.O.P. The House would pass a “clean” debt ceiling that most Republicans would probably support. In the Senate, Mitch McConnell, the Majority Leader, would add the Harvey money and pass the two bills together with the help of Democrats. The plan was to raise the debt ceiling for eighteen months, which would kick the next difficult vote past the 2018 midterm elections. In the House, such a bill likely would have lost some votes from both parties, but, given the urgency of the hurricane aid, it was a decent bet to pass. Best of all, for G.O.P. leaders, the bill would have taken away the Democrats’ debt-ceiling leverage from the coming debates on immigration, government spending, and health care.

But, when conservative Republicans came out vocally against McConnell and Ryan’s plan, Schumer and Nancy Pelosi, the top Democrat in the House, saw an opening. They called for the three-month debt-ceiling deal, which would kick the issue into mid-December, allowing them to maintain their leverage as Congress worked out agreements on other agenda items.

At his morning press conference, Ryan had been withering about this idea. “Let’s just think about this,” he said. “We’ve got all this devastation in Texas. We’ve got another unprecedented hurricane about to hit Florida. And they want to play politics with the debt ceiling? That will strand the aid that we need to bring to these victims of these storms that have occurred or are about to occur. And then they also want to threaten default on our debt? I think that’s ridiculous and disgraceful that they want to play politics with the debt ceiling at this moment.”

He added that the idea was “unworkable,” and, speaking for Trump, noted, “What the President doesn’t want to do is to give more leverage where it shouldn’t occur on the debt ceiling.”

But Ryan spoke too soon.

An hour later, in the Oval Office, Ryan, McConnell, Schumer, and Pelosi sat down with Trump and Steve Mnuchin, the Treasury Secretary, to negotiate. The Republican leaders—at first—stuck to their demand for an eighteen-month debt-ceiling increase. But the Democrats held fast as the Republicans dropped their request to twelve months and then to six months. Mnuchin argued that the financial markets needed a long-term deal. Trump cut him off and abruptly sided with Schumer and Pelosi on their three-month request.

Read the rest at The New Yorker.

Hurricanes Irma and Jose stacked over the Caribbean and Atlantic on September 6.

Lots of media people are outraged that Hillary Clinton dared to write a book detailing the challenges she faced during the 2016 election. Never mind that Clinton won the popular vote and her book has been number 1 on Amazon for months. Those of us who voted for her are still invisible to the media. Politico: Democrats dread Hillary’s book tour.

President Donald Trump may be the only person in politics truly excited about Hillary Clinton’s book tour.

Democratic operatives can’t stand the thought of her picking the scabs of 2016, again — the Bernie Sanders divide, the Jim Comey complaints, the casting blame on Barack Obama for not speaking out more on Russia. Alums of her Brooklyn headquarters who were miserable even when they thought she was winning tend to greet the topic with, “Oh, God,” “I can’t handle it,” and “the final torture.”

Political reporters gripe privately (and on Twitter) about yet another return to the campaign that will never end. Campaign operatives don’t want the distraction, just as they head into another election season. And members of Congress from both parties want the focus on an agenda that’s getting more complicated by the week.

But with a new NBC News poll showing her approval rating at 30 percent, the lowest recorded for her, Clinton kicks it off on Tuesday with a signing at the Union Square Barnes & Noble in New York. She’ll keep it going all the way through December, all across the country.

Do the Democrats really think they can win elections without Hillary’s hard core supporters? They seem to be going all in with Bernie, who lost to Hillary in the primaries by 4 million votes. Do these people know anything about math?

That’s all I have for you today. What stories are you following?

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41 Comments on “Thursday Reads”

  1. bostonboomer says:

    Wired: Hackers Gain Direct Access to Power Grid Controls.

    Security firm Symantec is warning that a series of recent hacker attacks not only compromised energy companies in the US and Europe but also resulted in the intruders gaining hands-on access to power grid operations—enough control that they could have induced blackouts on American soil at will.

    Symantec on Wednesday revealed a new campaign of attacks by a group it is calling Dragonfly 2.0, which it says targeted dozens of energy companies in the spring and summer of this year. In more than 20 cases, Symantec says the hackers successfully gained access to the target companies’ networks. And at a handful of US power firms and at least one company in Turkey—none of which Symantec will name—their forensic analysis found that the hackers obtained what they call operational access: control of the interfaces power company engineers use to send actual commands to equipment like circuit breakers, giving them the ability to stop the flow of electricity into US homes and businesses.

    • NW Luna says:

      Saw that earlier. How much more of this do we need until local, state, and the federal government get together and take action? I’m dumbfounded that nothing is being done.

  2. bostonboomer says:

    Share Blue: MSNBC’s Peggy Noonan destroyed for bizarre defense of men who fought for slavery

    https://shareblue.com/msnbcs-peggy-noonan-destroyed-for-bizarre-defense-of-men-who-fought-for-slavery/#.WbFZUa35KfE.twitter

    • Pat Johnson says:

      Why is this Chucklehead invited to spew her nonsense in a national forum is beyond me.

      I refuse to watch any MSNBC show that hosts her presence. She is utterly stupid and a Right Winger whose claim to fame was once a Reagan speechwriter. Whoop dee doo!

      Her latest “contribution” is a disgrace. Get rid of this woman immediately and let her bask in the pages of the Wall Street Journal another Rupert Murdock publication that is “home” to these GOP apologists.

      Great post bb!

      • bostonboomer says:

        Thanks!

      • Enheduanna says:

        MSNBC has a guy in charge who wants to make it a conservative network – hiring Megyn Kelly, etc. – but it isn’t working for them. Maddow, O-Donnell and Joy Reid are the most popular shows really.

        I also have trouble watching Tweety and Williams sometimes when they insist on having Hugh Hewitt on or George FKNG Will. Charlie Sykes doesn’t deserve to be there either – these guys never pay for what they’ve done.

        I do like Nicole Wallace and contributors Rick Wilson and Richard Painter who are all conservative or former GOP.

        It makes zero sense putting Noonan in the lineup – the typical MSNBC audience can’t stand her.

    • RonStill4Hills says:

      I used to like Peggy because I thought she had style and could turn a good phrase but I eventually realized that she is as evil as any of the righties.

      Worse maybe because she makes evil sound so good.

  3. cheekos says:

    Greetings from Command Central, Sunny South Florida. Following mandatory evacuation from barrier islands, and low-lying areas, is great advice. Once the storm surge hits, exit causeways and low-lying bridges may be under water.

    People at somewhat of a distance from the sea–however, 185 mph surges are unknown–should think twice before leaving the area. You can only get so far in bumper-to-bumper traffic, before you find that gas supplies are empty, food is scared, and the few North-South roads are all but passable.

    Better find friends who have a sturdy home–take water, food, blankets and pillows for the sleep-in–and remember that you owe them–BIG TIME!

    • bostonboomer says:

      Take care!

    • NW Luna says:

      Hope you stay safe.

    • cheekos says:

      I really should callout “Bunker Central”. Over the past month or so, I have stopped blogging, due to a medical procedure that I had performed yesterday. Perhaps now, I will use my spare time to update those who live outside of the hurricane Zones all of the fun that they are missing.

      Now, besides Hurricane Jose following in Irma’s footsteps, and an 8.1 magnitude Earthquake off the southwestern coast of Mexico–oh, and with potential tsunamis falling that. Thank you, Donald, for the additional distractions!

  4. dakinikat says:

    The First White President
    The foundation of Donald Trump’s presidency is the negation of Barack Obama’s legacy.

    TA-NEHISI COATES

    https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2017/10/the-first-white-president-ta-nehisi-coates/537909/

    You have to read this!!!

    IT IS INSUFFICIENT TO STATE the obvious of Donald Trump: that he is a white man who would not be president were it not for this fact. With one immediate exception, Trump’s predecessors made their way to high office through the passive power of whiteness—that bloody heirloom which cannot ensure mastery of all events but can conjure a tailwind for most of them. Land theft and human plunder cleared the grounds for Trump’s forefathers and barred others from it. Once upon the field, these men became soldiers, statesmen, and scholars; held court in Paris; presided at Princeton; advanced into the Wilderness and then into the White House. Their individual triumphs made this exclusive party seem above America’s founding sins, and it was forgotten that the former was in fact bound to the latter, that all their victories had transpired on cleared grounds. No such elegant detachment can be attributed to Donald Trump—a president who, more than any other, has made the awful inheritance explicit.

    • quixote says:

      There’s an elephant in the room. Apparently invisible. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m guessing Hillary is white. And yet enough of the country felt that when the choice was between her and an actual monster, the monster was preferable.

      If whiteness was the be-all, end-all, how could that be?

      • NW Luna says:

        Reminds me of Robin Morgan’s poem The Monster

        Excerpt:

        The baby is asleep a room away. White. Male. American.
        Potentially the most powerful, deadly creature
        of the species.
        His hair, oh pain, curls into fragrant tendrils damp
        with the sweat of his summery sleep. Not yet, and on my life
        if I can help it never will be “quite a man.”
        But just two days ago on seeing me naked for what must be the
        five-thousandth time in his not-yet two years, he suddenly
        thought of the furry creature who yawns through
        his favorite television program;
        connected that image with my genitals; laughed,
        and said, “Monster.”

        ….

        May I learn how to survive until my part is finished.
        May I realize that I
        am a
        monster. I am
        a
        monster.

        I am a monster.

        And I am proud.

        https://earlybirdbooks.com/monster-by-robin-morgan-the-anthem-of-the-womens-movement

        • Earlynerd says:

          That’s extraordinarily powerful.

          I know Robin Morgan raised an emphatically pro-woman son, an almost impossible task in these times. The agency she expresses here shows how she may have accomplished it.

      • RonStill4Hills says:

        I have an opinion for what it is worth.

        In the minds of racists there is nothing quite so compromised as white people, especially females, who fraternize with people of color by choice.

        If work or duty requires it then association with non-whites can be tolerated, but choosing to connect oneself with blacks and browns and whatever else (I think gay might be a color now) because you like it!!! There isn’t much worse that you could do.

        Why was the derangement surrounding Bill Clinton so INSANE? I believe it was because he was a southern politician who seemed to have a genuine affinity for people of all races. He and Hillary both seemed at home among blacks, rather than just doing there due diligence securing the minority vote.

        It wasn’t because he was so ULTRA-LIBERAL, he was a DLC moderate through and through. I think it was because he so obviously had affection for his non-white constituents.

        Both of the Clintons continually collaborated with people of color in a way that clearly went beyond tokenism.

        Bill once famously responded to a question about why black voters seemed to like him so much saying, ” I think black people like people who like them.”

        That is why it is so sad that the right wingers (and Bernie Bots) successfully ginned up so much bogus animosity among young blacks regarding the Bill Clinton presidency and the Hillary Clinton Candidacy.

        The Clintons lost their “white card.” That is how you could have two caucasians running against each other and only one of them be the “white” candidate.

        But then again, I am black. I may be a bit near-sighted on the issue.

        • Enheduanna says:

          I’m glad you pointed out WJC’s response – ” I think black people like people who like them.”

          I have noticed there is something about men who actually like women that sets them apart. You can just tell they genuinely like women – and it’s a powerful aphrodisiac. And they are few and far between, let me tell you!

          lol

  5. dakinikat says:

  6. bostonboomer says:

    //platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

  7. Pat Johnson says:

    Don Jr. just completed 5 hours of testimony (lies). How much longer are we to remain in the dark regarding what these creeps were up to?

    The public has the right to know about the unsavory relationship between Trump and the Russians.

    Come on Mueller, give us a glimpse.

  8. Minkoff Minx says:

    The Euro model has Irma going west again.

    • janicen says:

      My friend has a condo on the west coast of FL, not far from Tampa and she said on FB that mandatory evacuation starts tomorrow.

  9. Minkoff Minx says:

    My daughter got an email at work, from the DNR…they are calling the evacuated folks. Hurricane refugees. Which got a few of the employees shaking their heads…that that terminology was ridiculous. I said…it follows the line of thought. Hurricane evacuees are refugees and real refugees are migrants or terrorist.

  10. dakinikat says:

    • NW Luna says:

      Except the air’s much too clear. Or the wind is miraculously and strongly blowing away from the golf course and into the fire. Where I live we’ve had days of seeing a red sun, sometimes so dim from the thick smoke that you can safely look at it without any protective eyewear. You can see the smoke fogging the view even in the length of one block. This evening it’s growing more clear. We’re hoping for western winds, although they will, alas, just blow smoke the other way.

    • Enheduanna says:

      Wow – nothing better to do than golf. Unfkingbelievable.

  11. NW Luna says:

    Puts it in perspective.

  12. NW Luna says:

    Another great one gone:

    Kate Millett, pioneering second-wave feminist, dies aged 82

    Author, activist and artist whose 1970 book Sexual Politics was a bestselling and hugely influential critique of patriarchal ideology.

    https://www.theguardian.com/books/2017/sep/07/kate-millett-pioneering-second-wave-feminist-dies-aged-82-sexual-politics

    • Earlynerd says:

      No! No. No. No.

      Not one of the last feminists so true to herself even Jean-Paul Sartre would’ve granted her entry into existentialist heaven.

      I can’t stand the Guardian’s pseudo feminism, where women’s rights are always a matter of collective opinion, but the rights of any group that includes males are always determined by hard logic and incontrovertible justice , so will look this up elsewhere, but thanks for posting it, Luna.

  13. joanelle says:

    Ok, so we’re now dealing hurricanes (potentially 3 within the next 7 days) huge earthquake, 1/3 of the US batteling wildfires, and a couple of tornados. And most of that right here in the US but these ‘chuckleheads’ as Pat calls them, still maintain there is no climate change.
    Why do we Americans stand for this with only mild rebuke??? 😠

  14. Enheduanna says:

    Wow – I didn’t know about the earthquake. Here is the CNN story:

    http://www.cnn.com/2017/09/08/americas/earthquake-hits-off-the-coast-of-southern-mexico/index.html

    8.1 is really huge.