Open Thread: Pray for Nebraska

And if anyone has more concrete suggestions about helping, please leave a comment!

Commentor Jay Noble, last night:

Haven’t seen it mentioned here but Nebraska took a beating from Mother Nature this week. From Central NE to the Missouri river has become an archipelago due to failed dams, levees and washed out bridges and roads. Over 60,000 people evacuated, 53 of 93 counties declared disaster areas, 2 fatalities so far. Right now, many are venting that MSM is ignoring them because “fly over country” and “Trump deplorables”.

This does need a some more coverage because it’s all headed down stream both literally and figuratively. Literally all that stuff – inculding at least one fair-sized sewage treatment plant – will go into the Missouri River and thus into the Mississippi. If the Keystone Pipeline had been built . . . Figuratively, it will be hitting pocket books at the supermarket. Most of that area is corn and soybeans. While planting season is still a little ways off, whole farms worth of tractors and trucks and tools got swept away. And this is calving season with calves at theirs most vunerable…

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Saturday Morning Open Thread: SN@W

Here in the Boston area, we’ve had unnervingly little snow so far this winter — but the weathermedia are cheerfully predicting that we’ll double our seasonal tally by Tuesday. And right now, I have the barometric pressure headache to support that theory. On the other hand, if it’s the kind of light fluffy powder we got earlier this week, at least our 17-year-old rescue Zevon will enjoy himself hugely…

Not quite as much (or nearly as persistently) as Blair Braverman’s crew of professional athletes, of course!

Braverman, a dog-sledder, author and correspondent for Outside magazine, is one of 17 women racing in this year’s Iditarod, a record 32.7 percent of the field. ­­­

“Mushing is one of the only sports where men and women compete together at elite level,” she says. “We are taken seriously as athletes because there’s no chance for people to tell themselves we’re not on the same playing field.”

But she doesn’t consider herself just an athlete. She’s also a coach, a nutritionist, a parent, even a veterinary tech for her team. All her dogs, 14 hand-picked racers from a group of 20 that she has been training, have undergone physicals as extensive as the preparations for any professional athlete in the NBA or NFL, from electrocardiograms to vaccinations.

The dogs are a sharp but motley crew of strong personalities. Pepe is the steady, “mature” head of the pack. Flame is Braverman’s “shadow” and has raced with her in every qualifier. Jenga, Flame’s half sister, “doesn’t suffer fools.”…

“People are getting to know these dogs as pets, as friends, and they’re also seeing them as elite athletes,” she says. “It’s like rooting for your favorite sports team, but they all happen to be dogs.”…

Sunday Morning Open Thread: The Groundhog Is A Lie

Me, I prefer to trust the old proverb:

If Candlemas is bright and clear, there’ll be two winters in the year;

If Candlemas has snow and rain, old winter shall not come again.

It was *delightfully* bright & sunny here north of Boston yesterday… but of course we all knew we’d pay for it later.

[Candlemas is the ‘cross-quarter day’ halfway between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox. In the Christian tradition, February 2 is the Feast of the Presentation, and parishioners would bring their household’s candles to be blessed to ensure good fortune. But the cross-quarter day ceremonies all involve fire — candles in February, bonfires for May Day, hearth fires (for bread-baking) on August 1st, and lanterns for Halloween.]

The groundhog’s got a lousy track record anyway, according to actual meteorologists:

In the past decade, Phil has predicted a longer winter seven times and an early spring three times. He was only right about 40% of the time, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which says the groundhog shows “no predictive skill.”…

So, what do the experts say the next month or so will actually feel like?

Well, the past week spread record cold across the United States. More than 200 million Americans experienced temperatures below freezing. The polar vortex killed at least 23 people and left others with lasting frostbite injuries.

Next comes the thermal whiplash as the bone-chilling cold is expected to melt away through early next week.

As for the rest of winter, temperatures over the next six weeks look about average — if not below average in most of the country, Jones said, nodding in the direction of a bit more winter.

Wednesday Morning Open Thread: COLD

I half-way suspect some of the media enthusiasm for Kamala Harris this week is that reporters would *much* rather be in Oakland than Des Moines. I spent 15 years in the comparatively clement part of Michigan, and frankly, even the winter of 1978 made me seriously reconsider my life choices. Thoughts & prayers to all you Jackals in the Midwest!

In happier news:

I don’t shine if you don’t shine.

Tuesday Morning Open Thread: Actions Have Consequences

Positive reinforcement, as the behaviorists say. Trump performed his task (ended his pointless shutdown) on command; as a reward, he gets to stand in front of ALL THE CAMERAS and tell everyone how great & powerful he is. Win-win!

The State of the Union is the biggest annual event for political Washington, and the logistics needed to put it together are formidable. Security for the address is extraordinary, as the president, vice president, Cabinet members, Congress, Supreme Court, military leaders and diplomatic corps gather inside the Capitol.

The event is declared a “National Special Security Event,” meaning extensive resources and thousands of personnel from the federal government — including some military troops — are brought in to help guard the area.

For the media — especially the TV networks — the address requires a huge investment in equipment and resources as well. Hundreds of reporters attend the session, with Statuary Hall turned into an “interview room” for dozens of TV cameras.

Will Trump use the occasion to attack his perceived enemies? No doubt — but remember, right now, that includes all the Wingnut Welfare Wurlitzer mouthpieces (Ann Coulter, Breitbart, the Federalist) calling him bad names becauses he ‘caved’ on The WAAAHLL. Nancy, as he calls her, has given him a public show of ‘respect’ with her letter; his favorite Fox News analysts are caught between disbelief and derision. Lord Smallgloves has a short memory and a shorter capacity for gratitude; Steve Miller may write speeches that get lauded by all the Reicht people, but Miller’s not the guy being yelled at by Sean Hannity.

Tragically negative reinforcement:

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