Puerto Rico: Hard Blows / Blowhards

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Weak spelling skills, strong feelings about the storm.

As many of y’all already know from updates Adam was kind enough to post or my intermittent comments on Twitter, my family, pets and I successfully weathered the storm. There are many tales of heartbreak, loss, destruction and tragedy associated with Hurricane Irma. Ours is a tale of mild bad luck, poor planning and personal inconvenience, which makes us fortunate indeed. Details below the fold… Read more

Late Night Open Thread: Florida Men (& Ammosexuals in General)

The guy responsible for the original Facebook post says it was always meant as a joke…

A Florida man says his Facebook event inviting people to shoot at Hurricane Irma was a joke that got out of hand, saying Sunday that he never expected anyone to take his suggestion seriously.

More than 50,000 people had signed up by Sunday after 22-year Ryon Edwards of Daytona Beach posted the invitation with the note, ‘‘YO SO THIS GOOFY LOOKING WINDY HEADASS NAMED IRMA SAID THEY PULLING UP ON US, LETS SHOW IRMA THAT WE SHOOT FIRST.’’

Edwards told The Associated Press on Sunday in a Facebook message it ‘‘seems the joke may have gone over many people’s heads. I’ve got people in my inbox mad as hell because they think this is actually happening. I don’t know whether to laugh or sigh.’’

Most, but not all, Facebook responders seemed to understand that Edwards was not serious, posting photos and comments making fun of Florida stereotypes, including pot-bellied men dressed only in their underwear holding handguns and rifles…

… but here in America, guns have assumed the role that Korans hold in the more orthodox Muslim nations. Invoking the sacred totem attracts an angry mob of ill-educated worshippers ready to start a fight, over anything or nothing. And a Koran, at least, isn’t intended to be a weapon.

Open Thread: Waiting-for-Irma Reading

Jeb Lund, at Esquire:

The worst part of most hurricanes is the existential doom, knowing that your fate has been decided but waiting days to find out what it is, like a production of Waiting for Godot that lasts for a week and stands at least a slight chance of killing you…

Of course, you could skip all this and leave; you should leave. We can’t. My wife is trained in hazard mitigation and floodplain management and is one of the thousands of civil servants around the state who will help to put it back together. It’s a refreshing break from spending 364 days a year being called a government parasite…

Things are already quieter than normal. You can hear all the people who aren’t here. Costco was hushed. Nobody freaked out; nobody swore; nobody was rude. Several people looked antsy, like maybe they knew they were trapped, but most people feel that way now, to some degree. (Later, the people in the long propane line at Ace Hardware were basically a cooler full of Bud Light away from being a tailgate, but a few of them seemed like they’d figure out how to do that on Sunday regardless.)…

By the end of Saturday, it will be time to begin lying heavily to my son, who is almost three. To be fair, I’ve been lying to him since he was an infant because it’s funny, but he watches the Weather Channel and says, “It’s gonna rain,” in his toddler voice, and I tell him, “That’s ok, because mama and I are going to be here to keep you safe,” which isn’t true.

What I can’t tell him is that his parents can prepare to the very best of their ability—that they have good shutters and a new house built to high safety standards outside of the floodplain—but that if a hurricane decides to kill him, however low the odds, it will. Even a lowly Category 1 storm capriciously spins off little tornadoes that can descend on a random house and tear a family to bits. …


Poynter reprinted Miami Herald reporter Martin Merzer’s “‘Bring pencils’ and 49 other things hurricane pros know”:

— The main thing is, don’t get overly stressed. You have to really work at it to get hurt by a hurricane these days.

— So, above all, remember the first commandment of hurricane coverage: Be careful during and after the storm. Don’t take unnecessary chances. Don’t get hurt. Rewrite gets real annoyed when your screams of pain and other ambient noise from the emergency room inhibit transcription of your dictated notes…

— Go early. Nag your supervisor until he or she sends you early. Early is good — you get a feel for the scene and you make friends before the other reporters ruin everything. Also, online needs fodder early, late, always…

— Plug in and charge everything you have — laptop, cellphone, sat phone, everything — and keep them charged.

— Carry cash, a lot of it. When electricity fails, credit cards become nothing much more than toothpicks.

— Bring stable rations and plenty of water. Raisins, crackers, cereal bars, etc. Lots and lots of them, and some sports drinks and lots of small bottles of water — a case or more. You’ll need enough for yourself, and they work as friend makers/quote generators if you pass them out to emergency workers and storm victims…

— Don’t stand in standing water. Let the other idiots get electrocuted — we don’t need them anyway. You, we can’t replace because we’re in a hiring freeze. Also, if you die, we need to fill out a lot of messy paperwork.

— Don’t stand outside or drive around during the storm. What’s the point? Most of you aren’t filming anything, and you could get killed and, you know, that hiring freeze again. Just look out the window and tell us what you see and hear and feel…


Florida native Jennine Capó Crucet, in the NYTimes“Miami Always Thinks the Storm Will Turn”:

We are raised not to take them seriously.

It will turn at the last minute, there’s no reason to cancel school, this is just a way for supermarkets to make money: all things I’ve heard, and even said, growing up in Miami.

We wait to put on the shutters until the last minute because it is a pain to take them off later, after the storm makes that last-minute turn. We don’t take them off, not all of them, and that one room in the house is dark for weeks, maybe months. We watch as the storm devastates the countries our families are from and maybe still live in, only to have ourselves — with all our unused resources — spared.

On Wednesday, I read a tweet from a scientist with the National Hurricane Center saying that Hurricane Irma’s size and strength left him at “a complete and utter loss for words.”

I lose my Miami-born-and-bred resolve and send frantic texts to my sister saying she should get out. She assures me that they are prepared, she just needs to pick up steak and baby yogurt for her 10-month-old.

Last year, I missed her baby shower when the threat of a hurricane canceled my connecting flight into Miami. My family thought I should’ve gone for it, that the worst-case scenario was that I’d have to turn back in Atlanta. No, I said, the worst-case scenario is that I get stuck in Miami as a hurricane hits and I can’t get back to Nebraska, where I now live.

This scenario didn’t register for them as a possibility. They said, It’s going to turn just as it always does. In that case, they were right. They’re still angry I missed the baby shower, that I didn’t make the airline fly me toward the storm…

Wednesday Morning Open Thread: “What You Do for the Least of These… “

More context, via Esquire:

Anyone who’s glanced at the electric Twitter machine since the sky began to fall on southeastern Texas has become familiar with Jim McIngvale who, under the name of Mattress Mack, owns the Gallery Furniture chain of stores in Houston. Mattress Mack has opened a couple of his stores for people displaced from the storm to come and rest and sleep on his inventory…

Mattress Mack apparently is one of those local businessmen known for his eccentric promotional sense… Now, though, he’s betting long on his fellow citizens, which is pretty much the living definition of citizenship…

Also of Christianity, if what the nuns told me forty-plus years ago still has any currency. Not that Pastor Osteen would take advice from a bunch of women, but I don’t think even the Prosperity Gospel has been able to wholly eliminate Matthew 25:40.

Apart from looking for the helpers (as Mr. Rogers always told us to do), what’s on the agenda for the day?

Rainy Wednesday (Open Thread)

Here’s an interesting photo of “invasive spawn,” i.e., baby tree frogs, from faithful reader cope:

We’ve had a ton of rain lately, so our local frog population is happy. We got a good soaking from TS Emily on Monday, dried out a little yesterday between sprinkles, and it’s been overcast and muggy as hell all day, with another big storm on the way.

I don’t mind a bit since rain keeps the heat down. But there is a lot of standing water, and that means the already ferocious clouds of mosquitoes will be increasing their numbers. That part sucks. Plus the muddy paw prints the dogs leave everywhere. And the aggrieved hens.

Oh well. Open thread!

PS: Lindy West has a really great op-ed in the NYT about why Democrats damn sure should make support for abortion rights a litmus test. An excerpt:

Democratic candidates are perfectly welcome to refrain from terminating theirown pregnancies. But to be anti-choice on a policy level is absolutely indefensible from an economic justice, racial justice, gender justice and human rights standpoint. And if the Democratic Party does not stand for any of those things, then what on earth is it?

It’s true that the left will have to choose (and soon) between absolute ideological purity and the huge numbers required to seize the rudder of the nation and avert global catastrophe. But abortion is not valid fodder for such compromise, nor is racism, nor is L.G.B.T.Q. equality, nor is any issue that puts people’s fundamental humanity up for debate. Abortion is not a fringe issue. Abortion is liberty.

I hear from some people on the left that Donald Trump’s victory was at least partially the fault of “identity politics” — of feminists pushing too hard, of Black Lives Matter being too aggressive, of trans people needing to go to the bathroom — as though the violent suppression of a movement points more toward its irrelevance than its necessity. What the Democrats need to do, I often hear, is to move away from issues of “identity” and toward purer, broader issues of economic equality.

But there is no model of economic equality that does not reckon with “identity politics.”

A thousand amens, and worth a click for the shitty NYT, IMO.

How I Learned To Love Climate Modeling

I’m annoyed by the New York Times hire of Bret Stephens, more annoyed by the defense that Times editors are mounting on Twitter. I’m annoyed that this has to be said again, but here we are, as Times editors tell us that any criticism is merely trying to silence a conservative voice. My objections have nothing to do with Stephens’s political views, except that it is clear that those views drive his views of climate change.

I was once a climate skeptic, with a great deal more basis than Stephens’s sense that life is uncertain and therefore we should eat dessert first. My skepticism arose BECAUSE I knew something about the climate models. Read more