Why worse than Katrina? Well, contrary to what you might think, that storm wasn't a worst-case scenario for New Orleans (although it WAS the worst-case scenario for the Mississippi coast, which got the brunt of Katrina's winds and storm surge), because Katrina went east of the city. The current track for Gustav has it going just west of New Orleans, meaning the the front right quadrant of the storm, which has the strongest winds and the highest storm surge, would hit southeastern Louisiana and Lake Pontchartrain. That would increase the likelihood of the city's levees failing or being overtopped by the storm surge, and New Orleans once again being flooded. In addition, the city could see Category 4 winds of 140 miles per hour or more, much stronger than they did during Katrina.
It's raining here in southwest Florida right now as we are on the outer edges of the storm. There's a bit of a breeze, but nothing major. This isn't our storm. Tropical Storm Hanna, which is slowly meandering toward the Bahamas, might be, or perhaps one of the other tropical waves coming off of Africa. During hurricane season, you have to remain alert.
If you're a praying person, say one for the people on the Louisiana coast. They're going to need it.
Update 8:45 p.m.: Gustav looks to have weakened a bit, down to a Cat 3 at 115 mph. The 8 p.m. EDT update has the center of the track moving a little farther west, which means that New Orleans may (may!) dodge the bullet and just get a really bad storm instead of a catastrophic one. They're still going to be on the wrong side of the storm, but the further west the landfall is, the better for the city. Keep your fingers crossed for them.
Yesterday, Senator Barack Obama accepted his party's nomination for President of the United States. His earlier choice of Senator Joe Biden of Delaware as his vice-presidential pick was uninspired in my opinion. This isn't change, it's business as usual in Washington, just under different proprietorship.
This morning, the rumors are running wild that Governor Sarah Palin of Alaska will be announced today as Senator John McCain's running mate. If true, this would be an interesting pick. I've been saying for a long time that McCain needs a game-changer for his running mate: A fresh face who is someone other than another white male. Picking a woman or a person of color would show that the Republican party can be just as inclusive as the Democrats. Another name mentioned earlier was Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, an Indian-American.
Both Palin and Jindal are relatively youthful and thus relatively inexperienced compared to someone like Biden. However, when compared to Obama, the man at the top of the Democrats' ticket, they are no more inexperienced than he is, and thus, it is no more of a stretch to visualize them in the Oval Office if something should happen to a hypothetical President McCain.
We'll find out officially at noon today. Personally, I'll be quite pleased if it is Gov. Palin. Then on to St. Paul, and let the games begin!
Update: As of 10:30, Fox News is reporting that Sarah Palin will indeed be John McCain's running mate. It's a bold move, and I like it.
We've been told how hip and tech-savvy Senator Obama and his team are, but events over the weekend have definitely caused some doubts. First, there was the method of notifying his supporters of his vice-presidential nominee choice: The Obama team was going to send out text messages to all of their supporters, letting them know first who it was going to be. Unfortunately, they waited way too late to send out the messages: They sent them out at 3:00 a.m. Saturday morning, even though the major media had figured out that it was going to be Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware a few hours earlier. 3:00 a.m.! Brilliant! If I was an Obama supporter and my cell phone had gone off at 3:00 a.m. and woken me up, I'd have been more than a little peeved. Talk about inconsiderate!
Not to mention incompetent from a media standpoint. They'd worked the media into a fever pitch and then just left them standing around in a circle jerk. Unfortunately, they missed the window of opportunity to break the news during the Friday news cycle. If they'd been smart, the choice would have been announced around noon on Friday, with wall-to-wall Biden coverage the rest of the day. Instead, by breaking it in the middle of the night, they only got the attention of news junkies who watch the Saturday morning news shows. Keep in mind that Friday late night was the same period that the disgraced John Edwards chose to make his confession on a late night news show. It's the time of the week where news goes to die. Not savvy at all.
And then there's the Biden pick itself. Senator Obama ran off his early string of caucaus and primary victories by running as the candidate of "change," as someone who was different from all of the other politicians and would change the way that Washington works. This was enough to get the attention of all of the starry-eyed naive young people who actually bought into the hype. Biden, however, is a six-term Senator, a consummate Washington insider. If you want to change the way that Washington works, Biden is part of the problem, not part of the solution. The only "change" an Obama-Biden ticket represents is a change in the party label of the bagmen upon whom the Washington lobbyists bestow their largesse. Sorry, kids; you've been pwned. Keep this in mind the next time some politician comes along and tells you he's not like all of the rest of them.
Cop: Sex With Hooker Wasn't Fun, It Was Work
A suspended Texas police officer testified Thursday that he was forced to have sex with two prostitutes during an undercover sting operation, saying he was "paid to do it."Riiiiiiight. It's obvious that the poor man was being sexually harassed on the job. If there's any justice in this world, the City of Beaumont will have to pay for the counseling he'll need to move past this traumatic incident.
"If you are asking if I had an orgasm, yes. It was a job, sir," Breiner reportedly said during testimony. "I didn't have pleasure doing this. I was paid to do it."
Meanwhile, here's a story that confirms that if you want to be a criminal, you're far better off doing it in the Great White North:
Flaming relapse -- convicted drunk driver's naked joyride with hooker
James Boppre broke all the rules of house arrest when he went for a late-night drive in his pickup truck last month.
He did not observe his curfew.
He did not remain sober.
He did not keep the peace.
And as he crashed into a Kitchener car lot -- driving naked while speeding, drunk, high on crack cocaine and next to a naked prostitute -- he was not being of good behaviour.
"This is one of the most flamboyant, flaming relapses I've ever seen," defence lawyer Brennan Smart said. "It's almost the stuff of comedy writers."
Boppre, 39, of Waterloo, already had a drunk driving record when he was convicted last year of two weapons offences and breach of recognizance.
He received a nine-month conditional sentence of house arrest and went to a rehabilitation facility, where he was an "exemplary resident."
Once out and living with his sister, Boppre thought he had his problem under control and gradually began drinking and taking drugs again.
Then, on the night of July 30, he completely snapped.
"He just jumped in with both feet," Smart said. "It's astounding."
The former owner of a landscaping business with a six-figure income, Boppre got drunk, went out in his truck and picked up a prostitute at a Kitchener intersection.
Crown prosecutor Mark Poland said Boppre then parked on East Avenue and smoked crack with the woman before they both took their clothes off.
Boppre sped away on East, masturbating while watching the woman masturbate, then missed a curve, went over an island and crashed into a parked car at the intersection of Weber Street.
Witnesses saw Boppre grab his clothes and dress while running away, leaving the accident and the naked woman behind.
He was arrested after one of the witnesses followed him behind a nearby plaza and gave police a description.
"I think Your Honour would struggle to find a more egregious breach," Poland told Justice Colin Westman.
"It holds the conditional sentencing regime up to ridicule."
Poland argued for a six-month jail term after Boppre -- supported in court by two rows of friends and relatives -- pleaded guilty yesterday to impaired driving, possession of crack cocaine and leaving the scene of an accident.
Westman, however, disagreed the house arrest was a failure because Boppre unravelled with about a month to go.
He credited Boppre with doing well for so long and gave him just four months in jail -- the minimum penalty given his three previous drunk driving convictions.
"I want to reward you for the efforts you've made," Westman said.
Boppre was also prohibited from driving for five years and placed on probation for three years, with a term he get recommended counselling.
Smart said Boppre has a supportive family and wants to try rehab again to beat his "debilitating addiction."
Wow! DUI with three previous DUI convictions, possession and use of crack cocaine, speeding, leaving the scene of an accident, indecent exposure, lewd and lascivious behavior... And he only gets four months in jail? In Florida, he'd be probably be spending several years in jail for all of those offenses.
The most unbelievable line in the story is when the judge says, "I want to reward you for the efforts you've made." You've got to be kidding me! If he'd made any more effort, he'd have killed somebody! And the prosecutor was going for a stiff six-month sentence. Boy, that'd show those scofflaws up in Canada that the law is not a joke, wouldn't it?
Yesterday was an excellent day for sleeping, and I got several hours worth. It wasn't much of a day for anything else. I told a friend at work that I'd had enough of the tropical storm season for this year, and that someone else would have to get the rest of the action in 2008. That may be too much to ask for.
I've probably gotten about four inches of rain here so far, and it doesn't show any sign of stopping soon. However, it hasn't rained hard enough to disrupt DirecTV, which happens whenever I get a really bad rainstorm coming from the south. It's just a continuous rainfall. Flooding on the roads is going to be a major concern in this area for the next few days, and could make driving to work tricky tonight if my normal route has deep standing water on it.
Well, not exactly. If it was really business as usual, I'd still be at work. We were told when we got in that when we finished running the mail for our machines, we could leave if we wanted to. In my case, the answer was, "I'm outta here as soon as I'm finished." We were done and dispatched by 4:00 a.m., and that's when I left. I didn't take a lunch today, which means that I only took two hours of vacation time in order to split. I figured that was a good trade-off, since the longer I stayed there, the closer Tropical Storm Fay would be when I left and the worse the driving conditions would be on my 22-mile commute home.
The drive home wasn't too bad, actually. I've seen worse wind and rain during regular thunderstorms. I'm sure it would have been worse if I'd stayed until 6:30. And the roads were almost empty -- I could count the total number of cars I saw on my fingers. Most days, even at 4 a.m., there would have been more traffic on the road.
Anyway, I'm home now and can wait for the heavier wind and rain to arrive in the next few hours. It's going to be a fine day to be indoors.
And the theme music for work last night? Vintage Neil Young: "Like A Hurricane."
I'm guessing that I may not be working Monday night for Tuesday, since they close the bridges when the winds go over 50 mile per hour. If we have a tropical storm or hurricane here on Tuesday morning, there almost certainly won't be any mail delivery that day. It also means that Wednesday, which is normally the slowest day of the week, would be more like a Monday, with two days worth of mail to deliver. Gonna have to play it by ear and keep an eye on the weather web sites.
So I'm curious: Is it that the athletes themselves are better than in the past, or is it superior training and equipment? Or perhaps a combination of the two? One thing's for certain: The new high-tech equipment (swim suits, running shoes and clothing, etc.) that the athletes have can't hurt. And in sports where records are measured in tenths or hundredths of seconds, every little advantage helps, even if it's ergonomically designed clothing that is lighter and enables the athlete to move faster.
Second thought for the day: I saw in the entertainment news a couple of weeks ago that one of the movie studios is getting ready to do a remake of 1984's Red Dawn. With recent events in the Caucasus, it appears that this one should be set in Georgia rather than Colorado, although that would be the Georgia whose capital is Tbilisi rather than the one whose capital is Atlanta.
I wonder how you say "Wolverines!" in Georgian?
I'm probably just jaded, because I saw both the 2001 and 2002 Leonid meteor showers, which were spectacular. Mid-November is a much more pleasant time for being outdoors at night in Florida, since the mosquitoes are usually gone by then and we are more likely to get a completely clear sky. Tonight actually wasn't bad; the temperature was pleasant and the humidity wasn't too high. And I did see a few meteors, so we'll give this one a C grade. It could have been worse.
And talk about a chilling effect: The dude was caught on surveillance video in an "adult novelty store." Yeah, the cameras are everywhere, but you'd hope for a little privacy while you were trying to scam the store out of a copy of Barely Legal #37. Well, you would if you were the faux Porn Inspector dude. Lesson to be learned: If you don't want to appear on surveillance cameras while purchasing "adult novelties," the internet is your best bet.
And for another laugh, check out this post from Iowahawk. Seems he got a threatening letter from the digital brownshirts at Accountable America, a left-wing fringe group that threatens to dig into the personal lives of Republican campaign donors. On a serious note, is this what politics has degenerated to? If so, then maybe we deserve the John Edwardses, the Barack Obamas and the John McCains. That's the best we're likely to get. Ugh.
That's right, it's 08-08-08, and in just a few minutes, it will be 08:08:08, if you catch it on just the right second. Enjoy it; you probably won't be around for the next Crazy Eights Day in 2108. I myself would be 148 years old, so unless there are some really serious advances in longevity in the near future, I'm not counting on it.
Well of course it's Bush's fault! Everything is Bush's fault!EVA Mendes is so naked and so sexy in an ad for Secret Obsession, the new fragrance from Calvin Klein Inc., that TV networks rejected the spot until it was cleaned up, and still won't air it until after 9 p.m. The commercial "taps into the secrecy of a private moment - where it's clear that Eva is having illicit thoughts," marketer Lori Singer told WWD. The spot's creative director, Fabien Baron, angrily blamed President Bush for the censorship: "This country really needs a new president. This country is so messed up . . . I really can't believe this is happening."
Like a lot of Bush Derangement Syndrome sufferers, he's going to have to come up with someone new to blame for all of his (and the world's) problems once President Bush leaves office at noon on January 20th, 2009. If Obama is elected, they'll have no one left to hate, which is likely to exacerbate their already severe psychological problems. If McCain is elected, he's just not as hateable to the loony left as Bush is. But then, nobody is.
It's like the "Two Minutes Hate" in George Orwell's book 1984. The Party members all scream and bellow out their hate at the picture of Emmanuel Goldstein on the telescreen. What would they do without him to focus and direct their hatred on? That's what's going to happen to Democrats next January. Their Goldstein will be gone, and who will they have left to hate?
It's not like they're going to give up the emotion that has been their bedrock for the past seven-plus years. They've GOT to hate somebody, or they'll explode! It should be amusing to watch them walking around kicking puppies or doing whatever else they have to do in order to get rid of their free-floating hostility.
But contrary to what you may have heard, the old adage "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" is not necessarily true. While Solzhenitsyn was harshly critical of the Soviet government, he was almost equally critical of what he viewed as the flaws of America, liberal democracy and a "decadent" consumer society. When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1992 and Solzhenitsyn returned to his homeland, he was critical of the changes happening there as well. In the end, he almost became a parody of the curmudgeonly Grandpa Simpson "Get Off My Lawn" kind of grouch. But he did like Vladimir Putin, eventually, which speaks volumes.
Still, in the long run, the positive outweighs the negative. He will be remembered for his bravery in standing up to an evil system, and outlasting it.
Timing is everything. A fall like that during the time of year when the furnace was actually in use would have resulted in the girl being incinerated. And during the summer months when the furnaces are turned off, the people who maintain the buildings probably go down to the furnaces and shovel out the ashes and soot from the previous winter. Young Grace was lucky that the maintenance guys weren't all gung-ho about getting down there and cleaning the furnace out as soon as summer arrived. Sometimes procrastination pays off, even if it might be for someone else.