Thinking about the week ahead…
Office politics, hummingbird-style.
This could also be a situation where the one hummingbird said, “I’m having some trouble with this feeder…” and the IT hummingbird’s like: “Move!”
Back to Monday…
We didn’t know what to do with ourselves last night without TWD… but is anyone else excited about the return of The Killing in June? This weekend I finally noticed that Linden is Brad Pitt’s wife in WWZ. I’m slow, I guess. And is the weather crazy where you are? Here’s what we have to look forward to over the next 24 hours — and that’s after it gets up to 66° today. Then it’s supposed to be back to the 50s by Friday.
Massive flu outbreak claims lives of 18 children: “The United States was in the grip Thursday of a deadly influenza outbreak that has hit harder and earlier than in previous years, and has claimed the lives of at least 18 children. […] US states, particularly in the northeast of the country, have seen a sharp spike in emergency room visits from patients reporting flu-like symptoms, according to the federal CDC in Atlanta. In Allentown, Pennsylvania, one hospital had to erect a large outdoor tent to admit and treat the large number of flu sufferers. Health officials said that the flu vaccine is a good match for the strain of influenza circulating around the nation, and confers about 60 percent to 65 percent protection against the illness. “You might get the flu but it will likely be less severe if you are vaccinated,” Fauci said.”
During The Worst Flu Season In A Decade, Workers Across The Country Can’t Stay Home Sick: “The CDC recommends that those who experience flu-like symptoms “should stay home and avoid contact with other people except to get medical care.” However, for a huge number of American workers, that option doesn’t exist due to a lack of paid sick days. 40 percent of private sector workers and a whopping 80 percent of low-income workers do not have a single paid sick day. One in five workers reports losing their job or being threatened with dismissal for wanting to take time off while sick. This problem is especially acute in the food industry, with its high potential for spreading disease. 79 percent of food workers say they have no paid sick time.”
And only when a Republican is in the White House.
“Rep. Steven Palazzo (R-MS), whose Mississippi district is situated on the Gulf Coast, was one of 67 Republicans on Friday to vote against a $9.7 billion relief package to victims of Hurricane Sandy. Mississippi’s Fourth Congressional District, which Palazzo has represented since 2011, includes the city of Biloxi, one of the most heavily damaged communities in the region by Hurricane Katrina. Congress quickly passed an initial $10.5 billion relief package in the immediate aftermath of Katrina in September of 2005. Palazzo’s predecessor, former Rep. Gene Taylor (D-MS), supported that legislation. The Sandy relief legislation passed overwhelmingly on Friday, with the only “no” votes coming from Republican members.” — Gulf Coast Lawmaker Votes Against Sandy Relief
When you think about it, it really is that simple. And the hurricane clarified it.
For most congressional Republicans today and their active supporters, government routinely infringes upon personal liberty, undermines self-reliance and is generally inefficient and incompetent. Since government is the problem, taxes should be cut, regulations reduced and—somehow—all be well in time. How that will happen is a matter of faith, not evidence. Republicans would roll back health care coverage for more than 30 million Americans who will finally obtain it through “Obamacare.” They deny the overwhelming scientific consensus about the threat of climate change. The economic plan consists of vague “free market” generalities.
People who don’t believe in government don’t run it well. That’s one lesson from the George W. Bush administration. That’s why, given the enormous challenges of making the federal government work well, it should be left in the hands of those who are willing to try.
…But everyone lives off the government teat to some degree – even (one might even say especially) the very rich who have been the core supporters of both the Bush presidency and Romney’s campaign. Many are industrial leaders who would revolt tomorrow if their giant free R&D program known as the federal military budget were to be scaled back even a few percentage points. Mitt’s buddies on Wall Street would cry without their bailouts and dozens of lucrative little-known subsidies (like the preposterous ability of certain banks to act as middlemen in transactions when the government lends money to itself).
And if it’s not outright bailouts or guarantees keeping the rich rich, it’s selective regulation and carefully-carved-out protections from competition – like the bans on drug re-importation or pharmaceutical price negotiation for Medicare that are keeping the drug companies far richer than they would be, in the pure free-market paradise their CEOs probably espouse at dinner parties.
The evolution of this whole antigovernment movement has been fascinating to watch. People who grew up in public schools, run straight to the embassy the instant they get a runny nose overseas, stuff burgers down their throats without worrying about E. Coli and sleep happily in planes they know have been inspected by the FAA… can with straight faces make the argument that having to pay any taxes at all is tyranny. It’s almost as if people feel the need to announce that they don’t need any help with anything, ever – not even keeping bridges safe or drinking water clean.
It’s this weird national paranoia about being seen as needy, or labeled a parasite who needs government aid, that leads to lunacies like the idea that having a strong disaster-relief agency qualifies as a “big government” concept, when in fact it’s just sensible. If everyone could just admit that government is a fact of life, we could probably do a much better job of fixing it and managing its costs. Instead, we have to play this silly game where millions of us pretend we’re above it all, that we don’t walk on regularly-cleaned streets or fly in protected skies. It shouldn’t take a once-in-a-generation hurricane for Americans to admit they need the government occasionally, but that’s apparently where we are.
As Hurricane Sandy hit the East Coast this week, the so-called “Frankenstorm” exposed the dark underbelly of Mitt Romney’s plans to delegate core federal responsibilities to the states and to blindly impose a 5 percent, across-the-board budget cut to all discretionary programs “excluding military.” The true impact of a Romney presidency would be a federal government ill-equipped to coordinate a response to a regional natural disaster like this one, and agencies hobbled in their ability to provide storm forecasting, emergency housing – even Superfund cleanup in the toxic aftermath of a storm.
Here are the five most damaging cuts that a President Romney would seek “on Day One” from the agencies that are essential for federal storm response:
- FEMA: Cut $500 million
- NOAA: Cut $255 million
- SuperFund: Cut $60 million
- Nuclear Regulatory Commission: Cut $50 million — There were 16 nuclear power plants in the path of Hurricane Sandy. Enough said.
- HUD: Cut $2.05 billion
Read details at the link…
Joe Romm: How Does Climate Change Make Superstorms Like Sandy More Destructive: Climate science explains how global warming can make a superstorms like Sandy more destructive in several ways:
- Warming-driven sea level rise makes storm surges more destructive. In fact, a recent study found “The sea level on a stretch of the US Atlantic coast that features the cities of New York, Norfolk and Boston is rising up to four times faster than the global average.”
- “Owing to higher SSTs [sea surface temperatures] from human activities, the increased water vapor in the atmosphere leads to 5 to 10% more rainfall and increases the risk of flooding,” as Kevin Trenberth explained to me in a 2011 email about Hurricane Irene. He elaborates on that point for Sandy here and for all superstorms in this article.
- “However, because water vapor and higher ocean temperatures help fuel the storm, it is likely to be more intense and bigger as well,” Trenberth added (see another of his articles here). Relatedly, warming also extends the range of warm SSTs, which can help sustain the strength of a hurricane as it steers on a northerly track into cooler water (much as apparently happened for Irene). September had the second highest global ocean temperatures on record and the Eastern seaboard was 5°F warmer than average (with global warming responsible for about 1°F of that).
- The unusual path of the storm — into the heavily populated east coast rather than out to see — was caused by a very strong blocking high pressure system that recent studies have linked to warming. Meteorologist and former Hurricane Hunter Jeff Masters has an excellent analysis of this, “Why did Hurricane Sandy take such an unusual track into New Jersey?“
“These weather events are not simply an example of what climate change could bring. They are caused by climate change.” ––James Hansen, NASA Climate Scientist
Rising oceans, healing the planet are highly mockable ideas to Mitt Romney and his base:
Here’s an example of the help Mitt will provide to American families:
And here’s what Obama said, in context, from June 2008 when he accepted the Democratic nomination for president:
If we are willing to work for it, and fight for it, and believe in it, then I am absolutely certain that generations from now, we will be able to look back and tell our children that this was the moment when we began to provide care for the sick and good jobs to the jobless; this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal; this was the moment when we ended a war and secured our nation and restored our image as the last, best hope on Earth. This was the moment – this was the time – when we came together to remake this great nation so that it may always reflect our very best selves, and our highest ideals.
From Autumn Roth, intern, Mayo Clinic:
First, while it may seem obvious, it is important to eat the food from your fridge first, the freezer next, and after that move on to foods you may have stocked in your pantry. Do not discard frozen and refrigerated foods right when the power goes out. I was surprised to learn that foods from a well-stocked freezer will last up to 48 hours!
Second, make sure you have a manual can opener. Although it seems obvious, it is easy to forget that your electric can opener will not work.
Finally, stock up on some tasty condiments and seasonings. Certain condiments like mustard, ketchup and relish are good for days with no refrigeration. And these will help you spice up the usually bland pre-packaged foods.
Oh and one last note – grab some powdered milk. Even if you’ve forgotten the hand cranked can opener, you can always just add water and have the breakfast of champions anytime of day.
Stay safe, everyone!
Front page: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/
Hurricane Sandy update: Storm track as of 9 a.m. Sunday: The storm has tracked up the East Coast and is currently about 260 miles southeast of Cape Hatteras, NC., and 395 miles south of New York City. Maximum sustained winds were clocked in at 75 mph, with higher gusts, and the storm is churning northeast at a steady 10 mph, the National Weather Service says. The center of the hurricane will move parallel to the southeast coast of the United States today and tonight and start moving towards the coastal Mid-Atlantic states by Monday night. The leading edge of Sandy is forecast to hit the Garden State this afternoon, strengthening as it merges with a cold weather system to the west.
The worst of Sandy is forecast to converge between New York City to the Delmarva on the coast Monday into Tuesday with conditions deteriorating rapidly Sunday night. Problems ranging from travel delays and inconveniences to major damage and life-threatening conditions are to be expected with this storm. […] Salt water can spread over some rail yards and perhaps into subway stations. Some low-lying communities can take on feet of water. […]
Wind gusts in the neighborhood of 60 to 80 mph are a strong possibility in the New York area even if the center heads for Delaware or South Jersey. This can down trees, send loose items airborne. Funneling effect between the buildings can make walking extremely difficult. Windows could be dislodged from some skyscrapers, as the winds will be much stronger several hundred of feet above the ground.
This live blog is tracking the latest info on Hurricane Sandy, along with specific information for each region and major city in its path.
- Here are all of the latest maps and coordinates of Sandy
- The Weather Channel has great coverage of the storm
- And finally here is a good news feed and photo wire feed
7.7 magnitude quake hits Canada’s British Columbia: “A powerful earthquake with a magnitude of 7.7 hit Canada’s Pacific coastal province of British Columbia late Saturday, setting off a small tsunami, but there were no immediate reports of injuries or damage, officials said.”
Hawaii tsunami downgraded as threat recedes: “Neil Abercrombie said early on Sunday the island was lucky to avoid more severe surges after a powerful earthquake struck off the coast of Canada. But he said that beaches and harbours remained closed.”
Newspaper Coverage Ignores Connection To Climate Change: There is a ton of coverage on the “Frankenstorm,” but you aren’t getting the full story. Here’s why.
Hurricane Sandy and the election: “What I’m seeing a lot of right now is an assumption that Hurricane Sandy and its aftermath will hurt Obama more than Romney. This strikes me as a case of not thinking things all the way through. Yes, Sandy will hit a region where President Obama is mostly doing well and it’s sure to depress turnout. But keep in mind, we’re not extremely concerned with the popular vote. If, for example, only three people turn out in Massachusetts and two vote for Obama, the president wins twelve electoral college votes. Turnout is only a factor when compared to the other candidate’s turnout — and Romney voters will face similar challenges.”
lori-rocks: Autumn ridge. (Tenkawa Mountain, Japan)
Here’s the perfect spot for it.
Supposedly it’s 45° outside right now. I felt slightly chilled, but not 45° chilled. Heaven is autumn.
Andrew Sullivan writes, “In their new book, The Chemistry Between Us: Love, Sex and the Science of Attraction, Larry Young and Brian Alexander imagine the personal ads of the future. Lisa Miller summarizes:
“Evolutionarily, women bond to nurture and men bond to protect. The hormone that activates the protect-and-guard impulse (the bonding impulse) in men is called vasopressin. A variant in a gene called RS3 AVPRIA reduces men’s receptivity to vasopressin. According to a Swedish study, the married men with this gene variation were likelier to have experienced a marital crisis in the past year, likelier to have talked about divorce than those without the variant. They were also likelier, overall, to be unmarried. “If you want a guy that’s bonded to you tightly, you want to make sure you’ve got a guy with the right variance,” says Alexander in a phone call.
“In the last chapter of the book, the authors imagine a world in which online personals contain genetic information as well as physical details and professional status. “In addition to bundling the familiar ‘tall, professional, SWM’ in personal ads, why wouldn’t men proclaim ‘AVPRIA RS3 neg.’ as yet another selling point? Men and women routinely demand body types in their personals. Why not toss in genetic types?””
This is information that would truly matter in the long run. I think I’ve known way too many RS3 AVPRIA positives.