Archive for May, 2008

People Gain Voting Rights While Senators Gain Right to Ignore Their States
May 31, 2008

Hey…the weather is pretty much what I’ve been saying for the last couple of posts. Nothing has changed. Isolated afternoon or evening t’storms possible on Saturday but they should stay south of the viewing area provided the front behaves itself and slips far enough south. There is nothing at this time that suggests otherwise. I’ve got some sort of hay fever or head cold or something and I don’t feel like repeating myself. I’ll update…maybe with maps…later.

On This Date In History:  On this date in 1913, the Seventeenth Amendment to the United States Constitution was ratified giving Americans the right to vote for their Senators.  Most people don’t know that the founders did not allow for the direct election of senators. Instead, the 2 senators from each state were elected by their respective state legislatures.  I had read some time ago that part of the reason was that the founders really didn’t trust the people, whom were largely uneducated.  The Constitution’s original form only allows for House members to be directly elected and they only stayed in office for two years.  Remember, the president is also ultimately elected by the electoral college.   

Well, another school of thought, and less cynical, is that the founders wanted the senate to be made up of individuals who represented their states.  The state government would tell the Senators how to vote on specific issues.  The people had their direct role in the Federal government through their representatives and the states’ interests were to be represented by the Senators. 

By 1826, a movement was afoot to amend the Constitution.  Throughout the 19th century there were times when state legislatures couldn’t make a decision regarding their senators and so, in several cases, senator’s seats remained empty for up to 4 years.  There were also charges of corruption and such.  As the Progressive’s gained momentum in the early 20th century, so did the momentum for some of their causes.  The result was the income tax, prohibition, women’s right to vote and direct election of senators.  The last one seems pretty benign.  The photo above reflects the long effort.  It was partly put over the top by the efforts of William Randolph Hearst through his influential newspapers and Cosmopolitan magazine.  Bet you didn’t know that Cosmo wasn’t always the chic thing it is today…or whatever it is…it’s not the same.

Anway, today there is a movement to have the 17th Amendment repealed.  The suggestion is that, since the direct election of senators, the federal government has grown, states have lost some of their sovereignty or at least ceded some power to the feds and that corruption has increased since senators are influenced by national special interest groups instead of the needs of the state.

I say…repeal.  Put it back the way it was.  It would increase the importance of state elections and make Senate be more responsive to their state’s needs and reign in the power of individuals.

Here’s an interesting article from 2004 by

Bruce Bartlett on Zell Miller

Not Much Change; Not Much Concern
May 30, 2008

The short is well to the north and is weakening as outlined previously.  In spite of our heat and humidity, we had a cap on our atmosphere during the day.  It will be difficult to break the cap though late Friday night and Saturday morning but a front approaches and that may help keep some storms going as the cap weakens. I would think that any strong storms in our area would be isolated in nature.  The SPC has the risk area like it was before but as of 3:30 pm I haven’t even seen any storm reports from the northwest.  As previously stated the risk area for today and tonight is most likely out of precaution…kinda a CYA.  While the severe threat overnight around here is remote, we’ll continue to monitor.  As I said, when the boundary sags through…perhaps some late night/early morning t’storms.  Maybe some gusty winds. Not totally out of the question for a warning or two but they would be the exception, not the rule.  Saturday the boundary sags through and the focus of storms should be to our south. 

Sure, you see some qualifiers in there but consider this when considering your own plans this evening….Snow White is going to Cincinnati with her son to see the Reds game.  That should tell you what I think.


The above is the SPC maps. Here are the accompanying links with the discussions for each.

Fri/Sat-Day One

Sat/Sun-Day Two

A Presidential Duel and the Severe Outlook
May 30, 2008

Here’s the deal on the weather. There will probably be an outbreak of severe weather well to our northwest as an upper low pressure passes to our northwest and north. It will be weakening as well and any energy tailing down from the main center of vorticity would be coming around here late Friday night or early Saturday morning. Strong storms would not be initiated in our area but would have to hold together if we were to get anything. While conditions are somewhat better for such activity holding together than a couple of days ago, it is still not a given that any severe storms would have the ability to hold together when they move through. When the front slips through on Saturday afternoon, there are also limiting factors that would tend to downplay the risk. Nevertheless, the SPC has us in the slight risk area as of early Friday morning. The above map reflects that and I suspect their reasoning is more precautionary than ominous. I’ll update this later on Friday.  Bottom line is that Friday will be hot and humid with highs near 90 and if anything of consequence were to move in here, it would be late Friday night.  Here is the link to the SPC report.


Storm Prediction Center Report




On This Date In History: Our future president killed a man in a duel and he did so right here in Kentucky.  Now, Abraham Lincoln was known to be quite abrasive as a young man. His wit was used as a rapier and often really hacked his prey. On at least two occasions, he was challenged to a duel.  That is not the image that we have of Father Abraham.  Well, this isn’t about President Lincoln.  No, this is about “Old Hickory” whose reputation better suits the story. 

Andrew Jackson had developed a rough and tough reputation when he ran for President in 1824.  He handily won the popular vote but lost the electoral vote to John Quincy Adams.  The pair battled for the Presidency again in 1828 and Jackson won in spite of charges from the Adams camp that Jackson was an adulterer.  His wife, Rachel, had been married to some guy named Robards.  In 1790, the Kentucky legislature declared that Robards could sue for divorce.  Now, Jackson had been a practicing lawyer since 1787 but I think he could have used the help of a Heavy Hitter.  Jackson assumed that the legislature’s declaration was one of divorce. So, he married Rachel in 1791.  Robards finally got around to suing for divorce in 1793, citing Rachel’s adultery with Jackson.  The pair got remarried in 1794 but the damage had been done. 

In spite of the fact that the charge of adultery was technically correct, Old Hickory often too hum-bridge to anyone who questioned his wife’s honor.  It is said that the future President was involved in 103 duels with his actual participation in 14.  Of the 14, only one resulted with the death of one of Jackson’s opponents.  And he did it in Kentucky!!  On this date in 1806 near Harrison’s Mills, Kentucky in Logan county near the Red River, Andrew Jackson shot and killed Charles Dickinson.  The standoff came about because…you guessed it…Dickinson questioned Jackson’s wife’s honor.  You’d think that by that time people would have figured out that, when it came to Rachel, truth was not a defense and Andy was gonna get even. 

Dickinson was younger and a much better shot than Jackson.  He was called a snap shooter for his speed and accuracy.  Jackson knew this and had a risky strategy.  He would allow Dickinson to fire first!  When the pair stood apart at the traditional 24 feet, Dickinson wore a form fitting waist coat and trousers while Jackson had a loose fitting frock coat.  Dickinson fired and Jackson didn’t flinch.  Dickinson couldn’t believe that he missed.  Jackson took careful aim and his pistol got stuck in half cock. So, he tried again and this time he struck a fatal blow to his victim. 

Here’s the interesting part…Dickinson was not wrong.  He didn’t miss Andy.  The loose frock coat made the marksman unclear of his target but it was more luck or Divine intervention.  While Dickinson lay dying, Jackson’s second noticed blood on Old Hickory’s foot and asked if he had been hit.  Jackson replied, “Oh, I believe he has pinked me a little.”  Truth is, the bullet had broken some of Jackson’s ribs before it lodged so close to his heart that it was left there for the rest of his life.    But, Jackson was not about to let his victim know that he had hit his mark. Instead, he went to a nearby tavern and had a bottle of wine sent to his dying antagonist.    And it didn’t change the fact that for two years, Rachel Donelson had indeed been married to two men at the same time.  Imagine what would have happened had someone actually lied about Jackson’s wife!! 

Friday Funny…Update Pending
May 30, 2008

Hey, I  see I’ve had a whole bunch of hits and I suspect that you are more likely looking for stuff on thunderstorm potential.  I can ususally tell when some outlet is hyping our weather by the number of hits I get and where they come from. In this case, not too many are looking for the Nudist Prophet…though it is quite popular.

Look, I’m evaluating the data.   I’ll get back with you later on.  Friday during the day should be fine.  So, I’ll get back with you.  I’ve got to go and visit a friend in the hospital and when I get back, then I’ll deal with it.  That should give you a clue as to my concern at this point.  For me, this situation is more of an academic interest than fear for the safety of my kitty cats and Snow White. But, I’ll bring you up to date soon.

In the meantime…amuse yourself.  This is a post from another blogger named Anthony Watts. who loves going after the Global Warming Debate….it’s about an Ice-Breaker-turned-Arctic Tour Boat that got stuck in the ice while showing a tour group that the ice sheet is disappearing.  I’ve never met this Watts fellow but it’s a pretty good story.

Ice Breaker Stuck In Ice

Here Come the Brides
May 29, 2008

Thursday looks to be the day to call in sick.  The clouds on Wednesday moved south pretty quickly such that Louisville was sunny. Much of the southern part of the viewing area had the clouds for a good chunk of the day but they will be chased away by high pressure and everyone will enjoy temperatures moving to the upper 70’s and low 80’s after a cool start.   Friday’s not too bad but the humidity level increases as does the mercury as we head toward the upper 80’s.  Someone may even hit 90.  A front approaches late Friday and rain chances increase for Friday night into Saturday.  Sunday looks good.

On This Date In History:  Asa Mercer was already the president of Washington Territory’s first university by the time he was in his mid twenties.  The Pacific Northwest had great natural resources attracting miners and lumbermen from around the nation.  But…there was a scarcity of women.  Mercer decided to fix that by placing an ad in a Seattle newspaper promising to find a wife for every man who paid $300 toward bringing a woman from the East.  A New York magazine hailed Mercer as a modern day Moses.  Skeptics suggested that the women would have nothing to do and their trade would be something less than honorable.  Mercer assured that the ladies would be employed as schoolmistresses and nothing more.  Those same skeptics wondered how they could all be school teachers if there were no children to teach.

Nevetheless, Mercer sailed a ship from Seattle and found he had some 300 adventurous ladies willing to take the trip.  However, by the time he was to set sail from New England, in January 1866, the number of volunteers had fallen to 100.  I guess they had second thoughts.  Those on board became even more fickle when they began romancing with the ships’s crew.  When they stopped in Chile, many became enamoured with the military officer’s stationed at Lota, Chile.  Apparently, one of Mercer’s ladies rode a spirited pony to the delight of onlookers such that 17 proposed marriage.   So, now Mercer had to deal with women who didn’t want to leave the crew and others who didn’t want to leave their Chilean suitors.  So, he set sail at night and secretly stole away…to keep his cargo from getting stolen away.  When they got to San Francisco, he lost 11 who got off and never returned.

On This Date in 1866, Asa Mercer arrived in Seattle with what was left of his precious cargo.  Many of the subscribers who had paid $300 were chagrined when they found out that their payment didn’t guarantee a woman.  One man was quite upset when the specific woman whom he had asked for showed up and turned out to be a different woman by the same name.  Undeterred, the man said, “All I want is a wife, and if you are willin’ I would as soon take you as the other woman.”  Such romantic overtones went unheeded as the woman replied simply, “I do not wish to marry, sir.”

It wasn’t a total disaster for the operation or for Asa Mercer.  Annie Stephens from Baltimore was one of the first to be married.  Her husband?  Asa Mercer.

This little tale was no doubt the inspiration for the late 1960’s TV show, Here Come the Brides.  The photo above is of the Bolt brothers, Jeremy, Joshua and Jason as well as Candy, a girl with whom Jeremy was smitten.  Jeremy was played by Bobby Sherman, who was a teen idol.  His acting career went no where and after watching the tv show, you might find out why.  He tried his hand at singing and that too went nowhere.  Joshua was played by David Soul who later was one of the rogue young cops in Magnum Force.  I think Clint helped him exit the movie violently.  Later he gained fame for his role in Starsky and Hutch.  He capitalized  on that fame by singing a stupid song that was in the top 40.  Jason Bolt was played by Robert Brown who was an accomplished stage actor.  He is known perhaps more by his role in a Star Trek episode in which he played a guy named Lazarus.  I think that was the last we saw of him. Maybe he got the Star Trek gig by way of Mark Lenard, who plays Sarek in the 23rd century but was Aaron Stemple in Seattle in the 19th Century.  I have no idea who Candy was nor what happened to her.

I want to know what happened to Captain Clancy.  It seems to me that aside from Lenard and Soul, Here Come the Brides was the graveyard for actors though it was a pretty accurate show because, like the Asa Mercer story, it didn’t seem there were too many marriages.

(Snow White thinks I am too hard on Bobby Sherman in this…I told you he was a teen idol)

Jim Thorpe, All-American; Jose Canseco (fill in the blank)
May 28, 2008

The weather is co-operating with the forecast.  We had the frontal boundary sag down our way and trigger some pretty good thunderstorms in the northern part of the viewing area. As it sagged down into the metro, an upper low from the southwest…perhaps an MCV…came across bringing pretty good storms to the southwest.  Biggest problem with this stuff was the heavy rain with some flooding problems in Jackson and Lawrence Counties.  All of that is out of the way…high pressure will build in and shove out the clouds by Wednesday afternoon.  Much drier and cooler air will take hold.  Thursday look for a cool start and warm afternoon.  Friday, the humidity returns as we move to the mid 80’s. On Saturday, we are hot and humid as another front comes down.  The timing is a bit in flux but I would think that this system may provide a better chance for strong thunderstorms than the last one.  I”m not going to worry about it at this point. Snow White and I will probably be found sculling on the river.

Jose Canseco…the man who helped to bring steroids into the game of baseball then helped to reveal to the world the MLB steroid scurge, now has a new way to keep his name in the headlines…though the headlines this time may be on page 17-C.  He is going to box another former athlete. 

See the Video of who will take on Jose Canseco!.

On This Date In History:  King Gustav V of Sweden said to Jim Thorpe, “Sir, you are the greatest athlete in the world” following Thorpe’s performance at the 1912 Olympics in Stockholm.  Two things are funny about the famous utterance that would precede just about every Thorpe appearance for the rest of his life.  First off, Thorpe had tried to walk away but before he could, the king reached out and grabbed his hand.  Then, after the comment, Thorpe simply said, “Thanks King!” The king then gave Thorpe a silver chalice in the shape of a Viking ship lined with gold and embedded with jewels

James Francis Thorpe was born on this date in 1887 in what was then the Indian Territory of Oklahoma.  They say he was 5/8 Indian…whatever that means.  He was the great-great grandson of Black Hawk, the famous chief of the Sauk tribe that fought valiantly to preserve the tribes land against the European settlers in Illinois.  Black Hawk was known to be a tough and courageous warrior, though it is unknown what kind of football player he was.  But he great-great grandson was one of the best ever and then some.

Thorpe not only won the Decathlon AND the Pentathlon in the 1912 Olympics, he did so by finishing first in every single event except the Javelin.  He played football at Carlisle Industrial Indian School under Pop Warner where he became and All-American.  He played professional football and became the commissioner of what was to become the NFL.  While he was playing pro-football, he also played Major League Baseball for John McGraw’s fabled New York Giants and the Cincinnati Reds.  He was known world wide and still is today. He became an active spokesman for Indian affairs, had a dance troupe. At age 58, he showed his patriotism by joining the merchant marine toward the end of World War II.

But, like many American heroes, Thorpe’s tale of triumph has a tragic side.  A year or so after he returned to New York to a ticker tape parade, a newspaper reported that Thorpe had played for a semi-pro baseball team while he was in college for two years.  I think he made something like $60 a month.  Thorpe said he was just a poor Indian kid who didn’t know that was against the rules.  Well, the AAU and the US Olympic Committee as well as the International Olympic Committee all came down on Thorpe and took his medals away and struck his records from the books.  They even took back the Viking Ship!   In 1950, he was voted the best athlete of the first half of the 20thcentury by the Associated Press. By that time, Sports Illustrated says he was a bloated alcoholic living in a trailer.  He died of a heart attack in 1953 with very little to his name, not even his gold medals.

From 1952 to 1972, Avery Brundage served as the head of the International Olympic Committee and he staunchly held firm in preventing Thorpe from being reinstated, even after he died.  Brundage used the old “ignorance is no excuse” routine.  Brundage died in 1975 and in 1982, the IOC changed course and said it had erred in taking Thorpe’s medals. His records were put back in the  books and by the end of the century, he was again honored as, not just the greatest athlete of the first half of the 20th century, but of the entire 100 year span.

Here’s the kicker.  It is speculated that Brundage held a racial grudge against Thorpe.  That is probably up for debate….but here is a more specific fact.  Avery Brundage did have an ax to grind against Thorpe.  You see….the man who ate Thorpe’s dust in 1912 by coming in 6th in the Pentathlon and 15th in the Decathlon was none other than, Avery Brundage.

Oh…and by the way…there’s a town in Pennsylvania called Jim Thorpe. 

You can read about Jim Thorpe, PA.

Late Tuesday Update
May 27, 2008

If you watched last night I showed how an upper low would come out of the west and move across the front as it came down our way. Well, the boundary came down slowly.  We got warmer than we expected today and it was very muggy.  Our winds had a southerly component while the winds behind the front in Indy were out of the north. That convergence area of the front where the southerly winds bumped into the northerly winds is where we got some lift.  There isn’t much steering so the storms just drifted east and then slowly south as the convergence line..the front..drifted south as well.

If you look at the above shot of late evening, you can see the winds out of Bowling Green out of the sourh whereas all of the winds to the north are out of the north…..keep in mind the northerly breeze in Louisville is due to local effects of storms.  Anyway, the upper low in this shot is lifting up activity from our southwest and should run into the frontal boundary slipping down from the north.  When they meet, that is worth watching.  Probably nothing will happen but if it does, it will be there.

This stuff clears out and we get nice weather for the next few days. More humid on Friday and Saturday with a front Saturday afternoon perhaps causing some excitement.


I’ll see if I can’t find something good for this date in history.

Tuesday Outlook; Video Of Golden Gate Bridge Grand Opening
May 27, 2008

An upper level low that produced some big old t’storms Monday night in Oklahoma and Kansas will rotate through the flow to the northeast…that is until it runs into a frontal boundary sliding our way.  As the boundary slips through here in the afternoon, the upper disturbance will slide eastward along it and bring us a chance for scattered showers and t’storms.  But, like it was on Monday, the best chance for strong storms will be to the south…more specifically to the southwest. Clouds will stick around much of Wednesday then we get sunshine for Thursday and warm and humid conditions on Friday and Saturday with a frontal boundary late Saturday that may produce some t’storms.  While it is many days away and far from anything close to a certainty, I would say that at this point the prospects for anything worthwhile probably look better for late Saturday than for Tuesday afternoon.  Nevertheless, we’ll watch it.

On This Date In History: The Golden Gate Bridge opened on this date in 1937, six months after the Oakland Bay Bridge.  When it did the San Francisco Chronicle referred to it as a “35 million dollar steel harp. ” Today, 35 million dollars might get you about one stran of steel cable….or a little more of a year from Alex Rodriguez to play baseball.  Estimates in today’s dollars would be approaching 2 billion dollars.  But, in those days $35 million it was a lot of money.   And remember, it was valuable to hundreds of men who needed jobs during the Great Depression.  The steel from the bridge was forged in plants in New Jersey, Maryland and Pennsylvania and was shipped in pieces from Philadelphia, through the Panama Canal, to San Francisco.  In order to maintain efficiency, they timed the shipments with the progress on the bridge so when a section came, it went straight from the ship to the workers on the bridge. At the time, it was the longest single span suspension bridge in the world at 4200 feet and held the title until 1964.  There is no record of how many men worked on the bridge but it is known that eleven men perished during it’s construction with ten falling to their deaths in one incident on February 17, 1937 in which a scaffolding fell and broke through the safety net.  That safety net was credited with saving the lives of 19 men, who all became part of the “Half-way to Hell Club.”  I don’t think that’s a club I’d like to join.

The E.D. Bullard Company was founded in San Francisco in 1898 as a company that made stuff for miners.  Bullard’s son returned from WWI and had an idea from the helmet he wore in the army.  In 1919 he used a canvas hat and put glue and black paint on it with a suspension system to make a “hard boiled hat.” They provided the hard-hats for the workers. I think the folks at the Hoover Dam also take credit for the hard hat when they dipped a soft had in tar and let it harden.  Anyway, the company is still in operation and makes products for construction and public safety from the new company home of Cynthiana, KY.

Now, the bridge didn’t open to traffic until May 28, 1937.  On this date in 1937, they opened it to pedestrians on Pedestrian Day.  Some 200,000 people paid a toll of 25 cents to walk the bridge. The following day, President Franklin Roosevelt pressed a telegraph key in Washington DC that opened the bridge to automobile traffic.

Here is a link to video of the opening day…though you have to wait until the end of the over 4 minutes of footage to see the people walking across…most of it is car traffic but it’s kinda neat seeing the vintage automobiles and how the San Francisco skyline has changed. For some reason it says “1936”…they got the year wrong!

Grand Opening of the Golden Gate Bridge Video

Memorial Day Late Day Forecast Update
May 26, 2008

We had a little wave move through during the early afternoon as most of the models had forecast.  It really weakened over most of the area as our atmosphere was really not conducive to maintaining the storms. The storms were much more robust though south of the viewing area into Tennessee.  They still have us in the slight risk but the chances will be minimal in my view. There is another shortwave expected to move across Monday night but it remains to be seen if we will be able to support anything that develops to our west. I suspect that anything that develops to our west overnight will be minimal and it’s not a real good shot that anything of significance would hold together.  On Tuesday, the boundary slips down and we get a little wave in the afternoon that may produce some thunderstorms but scattered showers are the most likely result of Tuesday’s action.  Wednesday the clouds hang tough for much of the day before improving late followed by a nice latter half of the week.

Memorial Day wasn’t spectacular, but it wasn’t a total bust either.  Hope you enjoyed it. Naturally, we will monitor the situation overnight. 

Here’s the SPC Discussion

Memorial Day Weather Looks A Bit Unsettled
May 26, 2008

The story is pretty much the same though there is a little more clarity.  Morning dewpoints moved into the 60’s and will continue to climb somewhat.  Temperatures Monday morning heated up and a short wave was moving toward the area.  Models agree that it will move through the area in the mid afternoon.  There is a second stronger shortwave (upper low) that will come through Monday late day or evening.  There is a little descrepency in the track with some data suggesting that it moves to our north and some a little closer to us. 

If you notice, the SPC doesn’t have an appreciably high risk anywhere in our region.  This is due to the track of the shortwaves proceeding more from a westerly direction than southwest as they round over the flattening ridge.  As they round over the ridge they would tend to weaken a bit.  However, the second short is looking reasonably formidable and there will be a fair amount of energy available.  I suspect this is why the boys at the SPC have continued the slight risk as previously outlined, with it sticking down just to our south.

Bottom line is scattered showers and thunderstorms on tap for Monday afternoon and then again in the evening.  Initiation of strong storms is not a huge probability in our area but instead they would develop west of here  and anything out of hand would be storms maintaining themselves as they move our way. In other words, we’d probably have to import trouble.  The biggest and most wide spread storms will probably be to our west with the main concern being one or two that can hold together as they move our way and the primary threat would be gusty winds and small hail.

We’ll keep you updated. Don’t get too worked up but keep an eye on the weather as you proceed with your Memorial Day weather. Make sure you follow your safety precautions in the event of thunderstorms, particularly lightning.  And make sure you take a moment to remember our fallen heroes who make days  like this possible.

Here’s the Link to the SPC report