The Way We Live Now Open Thread: “Infrastructure Weak”

Quote in the title from the Hoarse Whisperer tweet that linked this article. From the LATimes, “Unprecedented power shutdown coming as winds bring critical fire danger”:

PG&E said the power cutoffs will begin just after midnight Wednesday.

The blackouts will impact 34 counties in central and northern California, including the Bay Area. It would be the biggest power shutdown so far as utilities across California attempt to reduce wildfire risk due to heavy wind. Utilities malfunctions have been tied to some of the state’s most destructive fires, including last year’s Camp fire, which devastated Paradise, Calif., and the 2017 wine country blazes.

“It is very possible that customers may be affected by a power shutoff even though they are not experiencing extreme weather conditions in their specific location,” the utility said in a statement. “This is because the electric system relies on power lines working together to provide electricity across cities, counties and regions.”

Southern California Edison announced it too was considering preventive power outages. The utility said, in advance of possibly strong Santa Ana winds, power could be cut off to more than 106,000 customers in parts of eight Southern California counties.

Edison’s possible outage would primarily affect utility customers in Los Angeles, San Bernardino and Riverside counties. Also under consideration are areas in Ventura County and portions of Kern, Tulare, Inyo and Mono counties…

Thoughts & prayers to those in the affected areas, and Murphy only knows I wish that were more useful.


I’m going to be away from the keyboard the first part of today, but the strike for the planet’s climate has begun and is sweeping around the globe.

I know there’s too much going on. What are you doing for the climate?

Open thread!

Humberto and the East Coast

Right now, there is a possible tropical system that is projected to develop. And if it does develop, it could roughly tag along Dorian’s track. So if you’re on the Southeast Coast or in the Bahamas, time to start keeping an eye on the weather again.

Friday Morning Open Thread: We Do What We Must

Holding good thoughts for those still in Dorian’s shadow! Per the Washington Post:

Hurricane Dorian spawned damaging tornadoes and flooded low-lying communities in the Carolinas on Thursday, in what officials hope will be the closing chapter of a storm that devastated the Bahamas and has panicked East Coast residents for the past 10 days.

The center of the storm, which weakened to a Category 2 on Thursday, crept northward just offshore for most of the day, sticking largely to its forecast track, as it delivered heavy rain and hurricane-force wind gusts to Charleston and Myrtle Beach in South Carolina. Ocean water poured over sand dunes in some communities, but officials cautioned it could take until Friday to assess the damage.

As it whipped up the coast, Dorian’s final blow was still aimed at North Carolina, and forecasters warned it could make landfall Friday near the Outer Banks. The trajectory was expected to produce what the National Hurricane Center called life-threatening storm surge in the Outer Banks, where four to seven feet of water could wash across the barrier island from two directions…

Even as officials warily eyed the possible effects of Dorian in the United States, federal officials announced Thursday that they are marshaling additional resources for the Bahamas, where the death toll continues to climb. The U.S. Agency for International Development announced it will send “shelter materials” for 35,000 people there…

Regarding a certain metaphorical disaster, this actually is the most plausible explanation I’ve seen so far…


(Mike Luckovich via

Open Thread: The Toddler-in-Chief Will *Never* Stop Talking About Alabama

If proof were needed that the conspiracy theories about HAARP are complete bullshite, the fact that Trump hasn’t busted out the weather-altering technology to force Dorian to threaten Alabama would be it. At least it’s great fodder for comic geniuses like David Roth:

It can be difficult to remember given that he routinely appears on television with toilet paper on the soles of both his shoes and at least one of his hands stuck in a big jug of peanut butter, but Donald Trump’s opening position in all things is that he has never been wrong. He has been wronged, and is in fact wronged constantly—by terrible nasty TV actresses and fake cable news anchors and the other antagonists he’s collected over a lifetime of nonstop blowsy public feuding. But that is just the price he pays for always being right and never being afraid to speak out on whatever he has just seen on television. He carries that weight lightly, give or take the fact that he whines about it constantly. There is an entire cable television network devoted to telling this story over and over again, and every day Trump parks his ass in front of it and watches embalmed-looking septuagenarian newsreader types talk about how correct he is and heatedly demand apologies on his behalf, for hours on end. It’s the treatment that he has always believed he deserves…

The issue here is not that Trump doesn’t believe in things like truth and untruth; he absolutely believes that some things are true and other things are false, but what makes them true or false to him is grounded entirely in how he feels about them. Once a belief is lodged in the sodden Nerf of his brain it becomes true to him, and remains that way forever. These things tend, if anything, to become more true over time, or at least become larger. There is probably some latent impulse from his days as a real estate huckster that powers this—in the same way that he once added floors to the oafish towers he developed, he now adds years or billions to the oafish tales he tells from the front of his trade war with China. It also cannot be ruled out that the guy just likes saying large numbers. When Trump authors one of his really avant-garde falsehoods, it’s this impulse that’s generally behind it. He just likes things to be big, if possible “much bigger many say than anything that we’ve ever seen” but always and everywhere as big as he can get away with making them.

And then, eventually, even bigger than that. This was a problem last week, when Trump took one of his favorite parts of the presidency—the constitutionally enumerated power to tell everyone about the weather, and how large it looks like it might be—too far. Hurricane Dorian, which is indeed big and terrible, was moving towards the southeastern United States at the time, and the forecast called for moderate-to-large amounts of destruction in Florida, Georgia, and the Carolinas. Trump evidently found this insufficient…