Saturday, April 15, 2017

The Honest Oligarch

Congressman Mullin simply revealed what members of Congress have been thinking for a long time, that they DO NOT represent their constituents, particularly if they are rich already. One appeal of self-funding candidates was they'd be able to resist lobbyists, but they can resist others too, including you. Call Mullin an honest oligarch:
(CNN) An Oklahoma congressman is facing scrutiny after a video posted Monday showed him telling constituents at a town hall that they do not pay his salary.

"You say you pay for me to do this? That's bull crap. I pay for myself," Rep. Markwayne Mullin told constituents at a town hall in Jay, Oklahoma. I paid enough taxes before I got here and continue to through my company to pay my own salary. This is a service. No one here pays me to go."

"Pays you to go where?" a constituent objected.

"This is a service for me, not a career, and I thank God this is not how I make my living," Mullin responded.

"Oh please, then don't run," a constituent said.

Someone is Always Watching

Al Green's Birthday

Record Levels of Precipitation in the Northern Sierra

The Northern Sierra Precipitation 8-Station Index is in the news. We've set a record regarding the amount of precipitation at these 8 stations. The index started to be compiled in 1922. The index "averages 50 inches per year, gives a sense of how much precipitation the Sacramento River watershed.":
A series of late-season storms has vaulted this winter into the history books, making it the wettest winter for California’s northern Sierra Nevada in nearly a century of record-keeping, according to the California Department of Water Resources.

As of Thursday, an astonishing 89.7 inches of precipitation across a zone of eight stations in the northern Sierra has been recorded since October. That breaks the record 88.5 inches that fell by the in the 1982-83 rainy season.
Sierra Nevada precipitation is significant because the mountain range supplies large amounts of water to the rest of the state.

“When we receive a record amount of rainfall in the north, that translates to everybody who benefits from water down the state,” said Doug Carlson, spokesman for the California Department of Water Resources.
Nevertheless, we haven't set a snowpack record. Some of this precipitation must have come down as rain. As the Sac Bee article notes:
The Sierra snowpack is 176 percent of normal for this time of year. However, the state is unlikely to break the record for snow, which was also set in the 1982-83 season. The snowpack reached 63.6 inches of “snow water equivalent” on April 1, 1983. This year, the snow water equivalent was 45.7 inches on April 1.

"John! John! Oh, John!"

What caught my attention regarding this MOAB device being used in Afghanistan is that the U.S. opponent is ISIL, which entered Afghanistan only very recently - since 2014. ISIL sees an opportunity, and is exploiting it.

So, after 16 years in Afghanistan, we have a new enemy. Some progress. Victory eludes us and the likelihood of defeat grows.

According to conservatives, and folks like Trump, the only thing preventing victory is failure to utter the magical phrase "Radical Islamic Terrorism." We say it all the time now, but it doesn't matter.

The United States is big on magical phrases. Evan Connell writes in "Son of the Morningstar" that back in the days of Custer, whites would customarily address an unfamiliar Indian as "John." At the Battle of the Little Bighorn, an Arapaho named Left Hand accepted a rifle offered by a surrendering soldier, as he sobbed, "John! John! Oh, John!" The magical phrase didn't do any good there either.

Where Are All The Birds?

With this hawk at the end of my driveway, not around here.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Callow Youth

Not Much Damage

Maxine Waters "Throws Shade"

Maxine Waters is contemptuous of Trump and the GOP. Adulation for her is on the rise:
“I am having the time of my life with the millennials. They’re even teaching me a new language,” she says in the clip. “I had to ask my grandchildren, ‘What does it mean? I threw shade?’” after people used the phrase to describe her brief press conference on James Comey, at which she said with a flip of her hands, “the FBI director has no credibility.” Waters says young people mob her for autographs when goes out in cities, and the service she provides them as a vessel for their frustrations is returned in kind with youth language lessons: “I love what they taught me to say,” she says. “‘Stay woke.’”

Real Estate Idiocy Never Ends in Albuquerque

Albuquerque's South Valley:
Instead of disproving the need for more retail, the presence of the new Walmart justified the zone change. The different jurisdictions were a factor in approval too. Walmart is in the City of Albuquerque and Las Estancias remains in the unincorporated county. The county has pushed to urbanize and has a tendency to compete for new development. This benefits development but its hard to see what race-to-the-bottom overbuilding does for anyone else.

Unless you’re a real estate broker, of course – or one of the “competitors vying for business space and a piece of the retail action.” But surely not all small businesses enjoy the prospect of jockeying around the real estate market for the lowest rent in the next half-baked shopping center. It’s sure a piss poor way to try and anticipate what public services are needed and where. You can’t manage what you don’t measure.


Don't Dance in the Lifts

Latinos Have Stopped Reporting Violent Crime

As deportation fears have risen, Latinos in Houston have stopped reporting violent crime. The crime is still there, it's just under Trump's protection. Not good for anyone:
Against the backdrop of rising deportation fears among immigrants, Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo disclosed Wednesday the department has found the number of Hispanics reporting rape is down 42.8 percent from last year, and those reporting other violent crimes has registered a 13 percent drop.

Where Did We Get The Money?

Smh, White People