Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

Hurricane Katrina Should Not Have Been A Surprise
August 29, 2010

View of New Orleans from Air Force One following a Hurricane; but it's NOT the Hurricane that You May Think

Flooding In New Orleans' Lower 9th Ward Well After A Hurricane. Note the Era of the Rescue Helicopter

On This Date in History:  When a category 4 hurricane approached the Southeast Coast of Louisiana, residents who did not leave the city of New Orleans were urged to stock up on food that did not have to be cooked as well as plenty of water.    They were urged to have an emergency radio and flashlights with fully charged batteries and make certain that gas tanks were topped off.  Residents who had small boats were told to make sure that their boats were secured.   As the hurricane roared toward shore, 8 offshore oil rigs were lost, including one owned by the former company of President George H. W. Bush.  Even though the hurricane weakened to a category 3 storm at landfall, a huge storm surge pushed west up the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet.  Levees along the Mississippi Gulf River Outlet and along the Industrial canal failed.  Water in the Lower Ninth Ward reached the roofs of several homes and some residents drowned as they were trapped in their attics, attempting to escape the rising waters.  The levee breaches not only flooded the Ninth Ward, but also Chalmette, Gentilly and parts of St. Bernard Parish.  

Flooding In New Orleans From a Hurricane 40 years before Katrina

After 10 days, the water receded and left behind were over 164,000 homes  flooded by the hurricane.   Rumors persisted that levees were intentionally breached in an effort to protect more valuable property than that in less affluent areas such as Chalmette and Lower Ninth Ward.  However, evidence suggests that the failure of the levees was the result of substandard construction and poor maintenance.  The President of the United States had a busy schedule and had no plans to visit the devastated region.   The influential Senator from Louisiana called the President and told him, “…we have really had it down there, and we need your help.”  The President replied, “you got it.”   The Senator asked the President to visit New Orleans so he could see the devastation for himself.  But, the President explained that his schedule was full but said, “Let me look and see what I can back out of and get into and so on and so forth and let me give you a ring back if I can’t go, I’ll put the best man I got there.”  The Senator said he didn’t want his “best man.” 

Hurricane Betsy's Erratic Storm Track Was blamed by some on aircraft research missions flying into the storm

The Senator reminded the President of the political benefits of the President of the United States visiting the region.  The Senator was up for re-election and reminded the Commander-In-Chief of what a presidential visit would mean to his own re-election prospects to the US Senate.  “When I run for office next time, I’m going to be on the same dodge you’re going to be on. And frankly, if you go to Louisiana right now, you might be . . . just make it a stopover. We’ll [unclear]. You go to Louisiana right now, land at Moisant Airport.”   He then added a little extra flair by illustrating an imaginary news story:   “The President was very much upset about the horrible destruction and damage done to this city of New Orleans, lovely town. The town that everybody loves.”  The President first flew over the city in Air Force One before he eventually landed at Moisant Airport in New Orleans.

LBJ Gave Orders Better Than He Took Them But He Listened to Russell Long

The name of that hurricane was Hurricane Betsy in 1965 and the President of the United States was Lyndon B. Johnson. Hurricane Betsy was the first hurricane to cause damage worth over $1 Billion (1965 dollars), thus it was tabbed “Billion Dollar Betsy.”  The White House Tape Recording of the phone call from Sen. Russell Long to President Johnson and his response to Hurricane Betsy reveals that Long also reminded the president that he had lost Louisiana in the 1964 election and if he just came by for a visit, then “… they couldn’t beat you if Eisenhower ran.”  It is absolutely amazing of the similarity in several aspects surrounding Hurricane Betsy in 1965 and Hurricane Katrina in 2005.  Meteorologists were well aware of the lessons of Betsy but the media was completely ignorant and largely remain so today.  After Hurricane Betsy, the levee system was expanded and improved around the city of New Orleans but the same issues arose regarding construction and also maintenance.  But, even though Betsy was a stronger storm at landfall than Katrina, Katrina proved to be even more devastating to the Crescent City than had Betsy 40 years before.

Result of Storm Surge Through the Gulf Outlet From Hurricane Betsy 1965

Winds with Betsy in New Orleans were much higher than they were with Katrina as Katrina had weakened substantially prior to landfall as it went through and eyewall replacement cycle and Betsy actually hit New Orleans whereas Katrina did not.  However, Katrina still maintained its formidable storm surge associated with a category 4 or 5 hurricane.  Perhaps the greatest difference between the two storms was the angle of attack.  Hurricane Betsy came from the Southeast and moved Northwest.  It moved just south of the city and the city actually experienced both the north and east eyewall.  Katrina approached from the South-Southwest, very similar to Hurricane Camille in 1969 and the city was never affected by the eyewall.  Most computer models create a worst case scenario for a hurricane affecting New Orleans as a category 5 approcahing from the Southwest.  I’ve seen SLOSH models that put 30 feet of water in downtown New Orleans in association with a category 5 hurricane making landfall around Houma.  Like Katrina, Betsy was a category 5 hurricane that declined to category three level at landfall but its attack from the Southeast meant that the storm surge pushing west up Lake Bourne and into the Gulf Outlet or into Lake Pontchartrain was limited.  A storm approching fromm the Southwest has all of the Gulf of Mexico to grab and push into the region while a storm like Betsy threw much of its surge on Alabama and Mississippi and the orientation of the Gulf Coast relative to its approach also limited the water available for a surge.  Hence,  Katrina had a bigger surge than Betsy.

Katrina Storm Track

It is also important to recognize that Hurricane Betsy hit New Orleans.  Hurricane Katrina did not hit New Orleans; it hit Mississippi. The track was very similar to that of Hurricane Camille in 1969.  It could have been much worse and unless we do not understand what happened with Katrina and Betsy 40 years before, then the same thing will happen again.  However, should a category 5 hurricane make a landfall near Houma heading North-Northeast, then I suspect that any effort man makes will help but will not offer full protection.  While Katrina was far worse than Betsy for New Orleans, the lessons from 40 years before should have been heeded.  Some tried.  The New Orleans Times Picayune eerily published a story called “Washing Away” in 2002 that outlined the disasterous effect of even a moderate hurricane on New Orleans.  No one listened.

hurricane-katrina-51On This Date in 2005 New Orleans, Louisiana was under water.  It had been affected by Hurricane Katrina, but there are some things to remember from Katrina. As I mentioned, Katrina was only a category three hurricane when it made landfall on Monday morning August 29, 2005. Its winds had diminished just prior to landfall due a natural (and well timed)  eyewall replacement cycle. That is a natural process for a hurricane when new eye forms as the old one collapses. The maximum winds decrease typically and the energy gets dispersed somewhat. So the result was that 100 mph winds went beyond Mobile but the top winds were down to 120-130 mph. But, remember, the storm previously had winds of 175 mph and just because you reduce the winds does not mean the sea will react immediately so the storm surge remained what would be associated with a category 5 storm.

Katrina Surge in MS over 8 meters

Katrina Surge in MS over 8 meters

The surge in Mississippi was well over 30 feet in places. That is because it swept up the water from the mouth of the Mississippi, which is the Mississippi Trench. The water there is about 8,000 feet deep, give or take. The water along the shelf of the Mississippi coast is about 90 feet. There is no place for the water to go but on the land.  Hurricane Betsy did not draw on the same deep source for the surge and also had a vector heading that spread much of the surge along the coast.  Nevertheless, Lousiana still did not get the main surge with Katrina either.  Mississippi took the full brunt of the Katrina’s surge.  Mississippi was hit by the main force of the hurricane’s wind and water with New Orleans being on the western edge. The surge to the west of the eye was still substantial and actually went up Lake Bourne with the winds ahead of the storm coming from the East and shoving the water up the intercoastal waterway and then to the Industrial Canal and finally to the wall that collapsed into the Lower 9th Ward. I am told that the flood wall was designed to be weaker on that side of the canal so that if there was a huge force that threatened the integrity of the wall, the main part of the city would be protected. The Lower 9th Ward is in a natural marshy area and not a higher area like the French Quarter.   With Hurricane Betsy, the flood wall along the Industrial Canal did fail on both sides.

Storm Tide up Lake Bourne From Easterly Wind Ahead of Katrina about 5 meters

Storm Tide up Lake Bourne From Easterly Wind Ahead of Katrina about 5 meters

As a review, the New Orleans Times Picayune has a site that shows the progression of flooding of New Orleans from Hurricane Katrina which includes a timeline. When you get to the flooding of Jefferson Parish, its important to note that the pumping station had been abandoned prior to the storm by order of the Police Jury President. The workers wanted to stay but politicians ordered them out. The defense of the police jury is that they said it was part of a “doomsday plan” devised years before to send workers 100 miles north in the event of a major hurricane. They say that they were prepared for a direct hit from a Category 5 hurricane. But, many residents say they would not have been flooded had the workers been allowed to stay at their posts. Further, at 11pm CDT on the 27th, the National Hurricane Center Forecast was not for a direct hit on New Orleans, but instead a Mississippi landfall.  Had the public officials not ordered the pumping station abandoned, its possible that many millions in property damage would not have happened.

The true story of Katrina, in my mind, has not been accurately portrayed in the press. In fact, I recall seeing a national news reporter saying from the French Quarter that the city had “dodged a bullet” when, in fact, the timeline shows that the levees on the east side of town had been over-topped hours before and the eastern suburbs were under water. Even when flooding had become known,  many news outlets used the same tired phrase that “New Orleans had dodged a bullet.”    Not surprisingly, most of those stories have been removed from internet archived files.  The fiasco that was the Superdome during Katrina was also not something that should have been a surprise as during Hurricane Georges, a similar situation resulted. The result of 14,000 people seeking shelter from Georges in 1998 was that evacuees stole furniture and damaged property that resulted in thousands of dollars in losses, and there were difficulties supplying the people living temporarily in the dome with necessities.  The procedures were not changed and the media had no clue that it had happened before.  From my experience, there are far more ignorant and uncreative people in television news than the public knows.  Way too many “journalists” are more interested in being on TV than in actually getting to the bottom of a story.  Often, they are incapable of understanding the nuts and bolts of a story or those who are competent become lazy or simply ignore facts that do not fit their world view.   For that reason, the true story may be years in being revealed to the public as true academics unravel the whole story.

Blanco Shows Leadership Skills Following Katrina

Blanco Shows Leadership Skills Following Katrina

In spite of my general feelings regarding the press, there are some who are willing and able to tell a full story.  On Sept 5, 2005 the Washington Post reported that the Governor of Louisiana refused to ask or allow for Federal Troops and takeover of relief efforts, partly due to political concern over how it would look for a Democrat Governor needing the help of President Bush. We have a federation and the Federal Government cannot just willy nilly send in troops into a state unless it falls under the guidelines of the Insurrection Act. By the time the governor had allowed the Feds in on that level, the city was already cut off. Other reports point to the Washington Post story stating that Governor Kathleen Babineaux Blanco had not declared a state of emergency prior to the storm (which was false, she did) as proof that none of that is true.

Gulfport MS: What a Direct Hit from a Major Hurricane Really Looks like..there's nothing left

Gulfport MS: What a Direct Hit from a Major Hurricane Really Looks like..there's nothing left

However, historian Douglas Brinkley wrote in his book Deluge that, while Blanco did declare a state of emergency, she only filled out a legal form that requested Federal assistance after the storm. Brinkley says, “If Blanco’s message to Bush had been an emphatic letter or frantic telephone call, and not merely a legal form—if it had actually communicated what wasn’t happening in Louisiana (i.e., evacuation)—various U.S. government agencies might have mobilized more quickly. Just as New Orleans wasn’t properly communicating with Baton Rouge, Baton Rouge wasn’t properly communicating to Washington, D.C. There was a chain of failures.” Brinkley does find fault with FEMA director Mike Brown for his lack of urgency. The fact that Brown was a little laid back is a bit odd since he had generally led hurricane relief efforts for Hurricane Ivan, Wilma, Charlie and Jean in Florida just the year before and the post storm criticism never seemed to come from Mississippi where the storm actually hit…it was just Louisiana. But, Brinkley also points out how a member of the Louisiana legislature tried to get Mayor Ray Nagin to understand the grave situtation but that they mayor was watching Little League Baseball less than 48 hours before the storm.

Hurricane Katrina as Cat 5 Hurricane Well Before Landfall

There is plenty of blame to go around.  From my experience in the media, it is no surprise at all that collectively they knew nothing about Hurricane Betsy nor that they initially had no clue about the flooding.  The way that they reported Katrina made it sound like the Lower 9th Ward and Chalmette had never been flooded like that before and both areas suffered similar flooding with Hurricane Betsy.  The newsfolks made it sound like the problems at the Superdome were unprecedented when, in fact,  a nearly identical situation with evacuees at the Superdome had happened in the past.  When people started charging that levees were purposely destroyed, no one thought to remind people that in 1965 similar charges were made.   Nevertheless, what is so terrible about this is not so much the nitwittery of the media, but instead the public officials.  They had some plans that simply didn’t work the way they were supposed to or should have worked.   But there were other concerns from previous storms that were never addressed nor corrected.  Political considerations were also an unnecessary and unhelpful part of Hurricane Betsy and Hurricane Katrina.  Elections matter.  I have always speculated that had Mike Foster still been the Governor of Louisiana, the aftermath of Katrina in New Orleans may not have been so devastating.   However, while it could have and should have been better, it was going to be a disaster no matter what regardless of whether Lyndon Johnson was President or George W. Bush or whether Mike Foster or Kathleen Blanco was Governor. Man proposes, God disposes.

Weather Bottom Line:  The humidity levels have increased again so it will be a little more uncomfortable with lows in the upper 60’s.  Highs will be in the lower 90’s.  I told you that I thought that we had turned the corner on the excessive heat and humidity but that did not mean there would be no more 90 degree days.  It will be dry for the next several days, though an errant afternoon t’shower can’t be totally ruled out.

“We Don’t Know” is better than “Global Warming” “Global Cooling” or “They are Wrong”
December 18, 2009

This Was Truth in 1975...Is it Today?

“Climatologists are pessimistic that political leaders will take any positive action to compensate for the climatic change, or even to allay its effects.”

With the meeting going on in Copenhagen, one might think that the headline above was from current media.  But, it’s not.  It’s actually a quote from an article in Newsweek from April 28, 1975.  The topic was climate change but at that time, the concern was global cooling.  The concern then was from aerosols being emitted by humans, as this article partly explains.  In 1974, articles began appearing, like this one in the New York Times, that say that climate change could threaten global food production.  Another New York Times article from May 21, 1975 says that the scientific community was concerned about climate change.  It says that many thought that the earth was getting colder and we were heading toward another ice age.  But, in an interesting side note, it also mentioned that some scientists felt like man made pollution would hold  off another ice age.  It then goes on to say that just about everyone agrees that global cooling was inevitable and even cited cooling northern hemispheric temperatures since 1950 that had shortened Britain’s growing season. 

“There seem little doubt that the present period of unusual warmth will eventually give way to a time of colder climate, but there is no consensus with regard to either the magnitude or rapidity of the transition.” 

Again, some might think that is a quote from a recent global warming study that would seem to fit some folk’s world view.  But, it’s not.  This quote if from a January 19, 1975 article in the New York Times.  The Times is quoting a National Academy of Sciences report.  Now, people may jump on the parts of the article that state that says there is the potential for an abrupt end to the warmth of the interglacial period.  But, instead, I would focus attention on another quote from the article which says: “A far greater understanding of these changes is required than we now possess.”  While the article talks about the prospects of possible increasing global temperatures due to man’s activities, it also says that northern hemisphere temperatures rose steadily from the 1880’s to the 1940’s but then fell consistently from the 1940’s to the mid 1970’s.  Huh?  We’ve been led to believe that temperatures have been steadily increasing all through the 20th century. 

The Copenhagen talks have come and gone and nothing much happened.  We are in the middle of a global recession and all of the remedies proposed seem to have one thing in common: Money.  There is the cost of taxes designed to discourage fossil fuel use and encourage the development of “green” technology.  There is some sort of “cap and trade” effort which doesn’t seem to stop carbon emissions but instead shifts money around in a shell game.  And then there was the proposal that rich nations give hundreds of billions of dollars to poor countries.  Some say these proposals are nothing more than a transfer or wealth and no one can tell me who gets the tax money and what it is to be used for.  Also, what assurances are there that the poorer countries that get the money from the rich ones will actually use the funding for what it was intended?  Ask yourself if you believe a third world government that is given hundreds of billions of dollars will do what they are supposed to do with all that money. 

All of this is, of course, framed in the current “climategate” scandal in which thousands of emails from a leading climate institute came to light in which the scientists involved appear to be acknowledging cooking the books to make data fit their hypothesis.  Now, apparently Russian scientists confirm that UK scientists manipulated climate data to fit their opinions.    Some people say that all of this new evidence proves that the whole Global Warming scare is all wrong.  But, that is not necessarily true.  Peter Gwynne, who authored the famous Global Cooling article in the April 28 1975 Newsweek issue says that his story was not wrong in the journalistic sense.  He reported accuratetly what was being reported.  What the difference is that scientists in the 1970’s were looking at the situation with an open mind.  They suspected that man’s activities were altering the climate but were unsure of just how it was happening.  They let the facts lead them to reach conclusions.  NASA explains that they use the term Climate Change instead of Global Warming because the latter term is suggestive of a terminal conclusion instead of merely an alteration of the climate. 

Have global temperatures risen? Yes.  Has the Arctic Ice Cap receded? Yes over 20 years but over the past two years, there has been modest ice growth at the North Pole, but most news articles use verbiage to try and obfuscate that fact.  That is the word…obfuscation instead it should be transparency.  The world should take the view of the scientists in the 1970’s that more understanding was required.  The truth is, we just don’t know for sure what is going on.  We have no idea if the proposals at the Copenhagen Summit would change the environment one bit.  We have no idea what the truth is regarding anthropogenic global warming because so many politicians, political world bodies, people who have a monetary stake in the process and countries who stand to gain politically have gotten involved.  Everyone should step aside.  Former Vice-Presidents should leave their private jets in the hanger and let the grown ups do their work.  The UN should look at the question of whether or not, if anthropogenic global warming is a certainty, if there is anything that can or should be done.  Thomas Friedman raised the question in one of his books if they money used to try and re-alter the earth’s climate could not be better used to fight disease, hunger and poverty. 

Global Cooling? Yeah…everyone just chill out and allow for a transparent, academic process to move forth that leads to a rational, precise conclusion.  The politicians can remain spectators.  The thing that gets overlooked in the January 1975 New York Times article is the subheadline:  “Scientists Warn Predictions Must Be Made Precise to Avoid Catastrophe.”   That holds true today and those at Copenhagen should paste that sub-headline to their foreheads.   So, those who act like facists and call anyone who even raises a question a “global warming denier” and attacks them with closed ears and no answers, pipe down.  For those who run around saying that global warming is a “hoax” recognize that while some methodology may be corrupt, the conclusion may in fact have veracity and the fears well founded.  At the same time, everyone should realize that developing alternative forms of energy is a good thing.  Any time you can create energy in a cleaner, more efficient manner it is nothing but positive provided it can be economically feasible.  If the United States had renewable, home grown energy independence, that would not only potentially be a long term economic benefit, but must certainly an addition to national security. 

NAM Snow Total through 7 AM Monday

Weather Bottom Line:  As for the big snow storm…its not going to be a big snow storm for Louisville.  First off, the ground is not cold enough.  The models are still in great disagreement regarding rain or snow though it will in all liklihood start as rain before turning to snow on Saturday.  The GFS keeps on claiming over 2 inches but much of that falls when the layers just above the surface are above freezing.  The NAM continues to have more rain than snow.  It’s really tough.  Remember, the difference between one and two inches of snow would be .10″ of  liquid .20″ of liquid.  That’s not much wiggle room.  Guess here is that we have rain that washes away the brine solution put on the roads (thus wasting taxpayer money again) and that we get about an inch or so on grassy areas. 

This whole pattern is typical of an El Nino year with a low coming out of the Gulf of Mexico and moving up into the Lower 48.  This can be a good pattern for Ohio Vally Snow if a low moves northeast out of SE Texas.  In this case though, it’s a low moving through the base of the trof along the Central Gulf Coast and moving up through Georgia and then exploding off the East Coast as it moves north.  The Appalacian mountains may get as much as two feet of snow.   I know that Apple Hill Farm the llamas and Alpacas are prepared, and Knox will love it…but Chi Chi will no doubt cower in fear.  As the low deepens while moving up the coast the cold front that moves through here on Saturday will catch up and there will be plenty of cold air in the Northeast Corridor to allow for the moisture tossed ashore by the low to create quite a snow storm. 

Now, its tough for moisture to come all the way from the Atlantic, across the mountains and to the Ohio Valley in much amounts.  But, there is expected to be about a half a foot in eastern Kentucky.  The next system that comes out of the Gulf for Christmas Eve has more promise, but its also possible that we get rain and maybe freezing rain.  Could be a mess…could be a White Christmas or could be just wet.  We’ll see. Needless to say, it will not be getting warm anytime soon.

Russian Sees US “disintegration” in 2010; Norwegian Sees US collapse in 2020; American Sees Mary Todd as misunderstood
November 5, 2009

USpanarin

Russian Professor Says This is Our Fate

At the end of last year, the Wall Street Journal reported the assessment of Igor Panarin who said that US would “disintegrate” by June or July of 2010.   He said that a collapse of economy and of morals would result in a Civil War that would end with the United States being broken into the Republic of Texas, The Californian Republic, the Central North American Republic, Atlantic America and Russia would lay claim to Alaska while Hawaii would hook up with either China or Japan.   The journal describes Mr. Panarin as a “Russian Academic” and later points out that he is a former member of the KGB.  It seems that another professor  has come up with a similar prediction in a new book called, The Fall of the US Empire-and Then What?  Johan Galtung explains his new rationale in and interview with Russia Today.  He thinks that the fall began with the Korean War and claims that he had successfully predicted previous events, such as the fall of the Soviet Union.   But, Professor Galtung, the Norwegian sociologist and a principal founder of the discipline of Peace and conflict studies, offers hope.  He says what the US can do to avoid his gloomy forecast and its not another stimulus package, but instead a mixed bag of geopolitical action.  Keep in mind the book was published by Transcend Peace University Press and it provides the prolog to Galtung’s book.  I wonder if he would have had any marital advice to give Abraham Lincoln because…

Mary Todd-19th Century Hottie?
On This Date In History: On this date in 1842,  Abraham Lincoln married Mary Todd. She was considered quite a catch in her day. I don’t think they had a “catch and release” program back then.

Lincoln-Todd-Mary28

Mary Todd at age 28...catch of the day?

She actually is a rather interesting figure and there have been several biographies about her and numerous…hundreds…..written about Lincoln which delve into their relationship, how it affected his presidency. Its probably a good idea to read several to get some sort of perspective because each author will come at it from different perspectives and sometimes with a preconceived agenda or notion of what they want to say.   Jean Baker has one of the more recent biographies of Mary Todd and it paints a very sympathetic portrait by often using late 20th century sensibilities and transporting them back to the 19th century.  In my view, that is a flaw because you really can’t take modern psychology and modern ideals of society and try to use them to create a portrait of a person from the past.  I believe its like comparing apples to oranges and is often a problem when trying to draw conclusions.  One must understand the thinking and customs of the day when examining the events and people of the past.  If you look closely, you find that Professor Baker received funding from the Elizabeth Connolly Todd Foundation. Like I said, biographers look at subjects from different perspectives and different photos…the one adorning the Baker portrait of Todd is not the same presented above.

Denied Wife Her Glory On this date in 1965, speedster Craig Breedlove’s wife, Lee Ann, tried to steal his thunder when she became the first woman to drive more than 300 mph on the Bonneville Salt Flats. I’m not sure if Craig got mad, but he certainly made sure he shared the spotlight. Just few hours later, Craig Breedlove got in his car and shattered his land speed record by reaching over 555 mph in his Spirit of America jet powered car. I don’t have a photo of Lee Ann.
FriAMtemps

Friday Morning Temps (NWS LMK)

Weather Bottom Line:  Lee Ann Breedlove might have been hot and someone in the mid 19th century might have thought that Mary Todd was hot, but our weather will remain on the cool side.  Thursday morning found some lows below freezing in the extreme southern and eastern parts of the viewing area and Friday morning, there may be more wide spread instances of the mercury tickling the freezing mark.  The National Weather Service in Louisville under the steadfast guidance of John Gordon provided their notion of area temperatures overnight in map form above.  What’s gonna happen is that the big fat area of high pressure that is over us now will move to the east and we will get a nice return flow.  That means are temperatures will be on the rise to the point that Saturday afternoon we will see mid to upper 60’s and Sunday afternoon maybe even some low 70’s.  A front moves through here on Monday bringing some rain and an end to the mild conditions.  That same front may also dictate what happens with Tropical Storm Ida, if it has not been broken up by its current trek over Central America.

Man in Charge of Taxation Falls Way Way Short on Income Tax Return, Remains in Charge
August 29, 2009

TaxEvasion

Did Rangel Just Forget?

Did Rangel Just Forget?

If you or I made a mistake on our income tax returns, did not disclose income and then were caught we’d certainly have to pay up, perhaps pay a penalty and maybe face charges.  Recently, we’ve seen public officials who not only didn’t pay their taxes, but they got appoinments even though it was revealed that they misrepresented their income on their taxes.  In some cases, it involves those who write tax law.  Charles Rangel is the Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, which is House Committee  “has the responsibility for raising the revenue required to finance the Federal Government.  This includes individual and corporate income taxes, excise taxes, estate taxes, gift taxes, and other miscellaneous taxes.”  Rangel was found to have not reported income of $75,000 on rental property.  He said it was a mistake.  He supposedly made restitution and the case was closed…or was it?

Now, the Wall Street Journal brings to light that the Chairman “amended” his 2007 returns.  He somehow overlooked at least a half million dollars in assets and income.  It may be as high as $780,000.  He somehow forgot about an account with something in between $250,000 and $500,000.  He neglected to mention accounts at JPMorgan, Merrill Lynch, Oppenheimer and BlackRock.  He neglected to mention properties own in New Jersey.  He failed to mention a fair amount of shares in YUM Brands.  He’s under investigation for using his letterhead for fundraising for a project that came to life due to a $1.9 million earmark funding from Congress….gee..wonder how that got in there? 

True Congressional Tax Policy

True Congressional Tax Policy

 

Anyway, is this the guy who you want in charge of writing tax law?  Maybe the guy just is a lousy bookkeeper.  But, on the surface it would appear that something else is afoot.  Do you ever wonder how a guy on his  salary can afford all of these investments..if he gained this wealth before or after he was elected to Congress…how a guy says he’w worth between $500,000 and $1.3 million and now he says he made a mistake and his net worth is between a million and $2.5 million?  If it walks like a duck…

Weather Bottom Line:  The initial front eased into the area on Friday night as expected.  In the afternoon, there was a localized cloud burst in Northeast Jefferson county and into Oldham County that supposedly brought up to 4 inches in a short time, but I can only find one rain gauge near prospect that registered over two inches.  Snow White called me to tell me that the sunflowers were getting all kinds of great rain yet it didn’t rain where I was downtown.  Curiously, when I came home, I saw the results of a heavy rain except in my rain gauge which was dry.  Hmmm..a stealth rain.  Anyway, the big front comes through today.  There may be enough residual moisture to kick off some showers but probably nothing signficant.  The real story will be the temperaturess.  Look for highs for Sunday, Monday and Tuesday in the low to mid 70’s.  Overnight lows will be in the 50’s with some people I betcha getting into the upper 40’s.  The warm up after that will not be quick but only back to the low 80’s by the end of the week.

Congressman Scalped! Taxpayer Funded Retreat? Warm-Up
February 6, 2009

Maybe She Was Just Honoring William Barksdale!

Maybe She Was Just Honoring William Barksdale!

Congressman "scalped"

Congressman "scalped"

On This Date in History: There have been a number of rumbles in the halls of Congress over the years. One of the most famous is the near beating death of Sen Charles Sumner by Congressman Preston Brooks in 1856.  That sounds pretty bad but one source claims that on this date in 1858 the “biggest Congressional donnybrook of all” took place.  Of course the root of both skirmishes was the battle over slavery.

Barksdale-Is That a Rug?

Barksdale-Is That a Rug?

On February 5, 1858 the House was tied up in a fillibuster regarding admitting Kansas to the Union.  By 1:30 on the morning of February 6, many of the house members appeared to be not just getting tired, but also filled with the juice of spirits.  The battle 2 years before was between Brooks of South Carolina and Sumner of Massachusetts. In other words, North vs South.  The same thing happened in the early morning hours when another South Carolinian, Laurence Keitt got into an argument with Galushu Grow of Pennsylvania.  Those folks from South Carolina must have really been all worked up over slavery as it was the first state to seceed and it was at Fort Sumnter, SC that the first shots of the Civil War were fired…by South Carolinians.  Anyway, Keitt called Grow a “black Republican puppy.”

Grow-Tough Guy

Grow-Tough Guy

Such an insult!  Grow retorted that “no Negro-driver shall crack his whip over me!”  Them were fighting words and Keitt followed up by grabbing Grow by the throat.  Grow punched Keitt out.  Slowly, Congressmen from both parties moved into the fray.  Must have been like a bench clearing brawl at a baseball game where two guys go at it and both teams file out on the field and stand around until something else happens.  In this case, something else did happen as a full fledged fight got going like an old west saloon scuffle.  Bodies flew to the ground and many punches reached their mark.  Bodies were bruised and bloodied and a spittoon sailed overhead.  The Sergeant at Arms tried to bring order by beating members with his cane as the Speaker of the

Washburn-Looks Pretty Stout

Washburn-Looks Pretty Stout

 House pounded on his gavel to no avail.  Grow must have been a tough guy because he was still standing and got into it with Mississippi’s William Barksdale.  While the two wrestled about, Cadwalladar Washburn of Wisconsin decided to help out and was prepared to take out Barksdale.  In trying to stand his target up and steady him for a big haymaker, Washburn grabbed Barksdale by the hair.  That action did what the Sergeant at Arms and the Speaker were unable to do.  It brought the melee to a halt.  You see….the hair Washburn grabbed was really a wig.  Barksdale was scalped!  Washburn proudly held up the toupee and the room erupted in laughter as the bald Barksdale screamed in horror.  Wouldn’t you love to see that on C-Span today?

Do as I say, not as a I do:  Speaking of politics…if you recall recently there has been public outrage regarding the bailout and the way that institutions who have received taxpayer money has been spending.  One of the issues was that several companies took the money because they were in trouble and then proceeded to have executive retreats at lavish resorts.  The media went wild and the people were outraged. 

Barney At the Spa?

Barney At the Spa?

Congressional  members got before the microphones to express their dismay.  So, where are the Democrats this weekend?  Why they are at a spa resort at Williamsburg, Virginia having a party retreat!  Now, they proudly say that they take no lobbyiest money to pay for the junket.  While the party is paying for much of it, the American taxpayer is on the hook for some $500,000 for security and such..at least thats what it cost taxpayers in the past.  This time we are paying for a chartered Amtrak from Washington to Williamsburg.  I got that figure before it was announced that the President would be flying  there on Air Force One, which undoubtedly cost the taxpayers even more.  Why they couldn’t get together in Washington where they were already gathered is beyond me.  Let’s see how much press this gets…or if anyone gets a photo of Barney Frank in the steamroom.

Is Admiral Fell Haunted?

Is Admiral Fell Haunted?

I’m back:

  But, you didn’t know I was gone. If I had followed my original plan, I too would be in Williamsburg at this time, though I would not have charged the taxpayers.  I was there last weekend and watched the Super Bowl in solitude.  I also spent a number of days in Baltimore where Snow White and I stayed in the historic Admiral Fell Inn on the harbor.  Snow White thinks she may have seen a ghost. I always miss out.  Really a great place if you get a chance to go there.   If I was a drinking man, I could get into a lot of

Cool Cumberland

Cool Cumberland

trouble in that part of town.  When you drive to Baltimore and back, you go over I-68 where you pass through an interesting town.  Cumberland Maryland has some really cool looking churches and old buildings.  Turns out it goes back to the colonial period and, of course, George Washington slept there!  I got gas in La Vale, which is right next to Cumberland.  If you go there, you can find the what looks like the world’s largest Wal-Mart. 

Missed Giant Bowling Pin

Missed Giant Bowling Pin

But don’t get into the “speedy” line.  It took me 15 minutes and there were only 4 of us in the line.  The first two were Wal-Mart employees cashing checks.  The 3rd person bought just two items.  Snow White was in the ladies room for nearly 20 minutes because some kid had locked all of the stalls and they needed to find someone to crawl on the floor to unlock them.  I guess the folks in La Vale have a laid back attitude…and had the most expensive gas on the entire trip. I guess they like big things in La Vale too.  But I didn’t stop at “the Bowler”.   Still worth a stop in Cumberland if you have time.   Oh…the town of Flintstone isn’t far away.  Let me know if you see Mr. Slate.

GFS-Strong Storms Wed Afternoon?

GFS-Strong Storms Wed Afternoon?

Weather Bottom Line: So, my return brings back with it a warm up and a melting of the snow.  Look for a high near 60 on Saturday with some rain as a little system comes through on Sunday which will hold the mercury in the 50’s.  Now, its a definite pattern shift but it doesn’t appear to be long lived and may prove interesting.  The polar jet stream moves well north and our temperatures will move to the mid 60’s for the first part of next week.  The subtropical jet is crashing into Southern California bringing storms into that drought starved part of the country.  Now, the first wave should develop and move into the Southern Rockies before lifting through the plains.  There may be some severe thunderstorms in the Southern Plains early in the week.  We would just get some rain.  What is curious is that the GFS wants to take the next wave and bring it farther east.  It would dive into SE Texas and then move up just to our west.  It looks like another severe weather potential event breaking out in the Ozarks but I’m not convinced that we don’t see some action around here on Wednesday or Thursday.  Once that system passes, then colder air returns.  Not bitter cold but cold enough.  The storm track seems to want to set up with the wave from the west moving pretty close to our area for several days.  My fear is that there  may be an ice storm in there and potentially some snow situations.  I’d love the snow but I hate ice.  I lucked out this past go-around and maintained my power but I’ve already lost my heat twice this winter and don’t want to tempt fate again.   Keep in mind…all of this is way down the road and is pure speculation at this point.  It’s doubtful that all of the potential events that I just laid out will come to pass…rarely do they all follow the script this far out.  But, there will probably be some opportunities for some items of interest for the second week of the upcoming days.  So enjoy the warmer, relatively sedate though sometimes wet, conditions over the next few days.

Does Anyone In Politics Pay Taxes? Will We Ever Warm Up?
February 4, 2009

Shakedown Doesn't Count For Washington Elite...When Will The People Stop It?

Shakedown Doesn't Count For Washington Elite...When Will The People Stop It?

 

 

Decide For Yourself:  President Obama said that he would have the most ethical administration in history.  I believe the President Carter, President Clinton and President Bush (43) said the same thing.  Of course the implication has been that previous administrations, if not the immediate predecessor, was something less than ethical.  Most of the time, pledges like that come back to haunt.  President Obama said it was time for change.  Well, I suppose he didn’t say specifically what that change would be..we were supposed to fill in the blank.  Remember when President Clinton took office and so many of their appointees had to withdraw their names from consideration when it was discovered that they didn’t pay social security taxes for the hired help or things like that?  Well, see if this sounds familiar.

"He Really Expects Me To Pay My Taxes!"

"He Really Expects Me To Pay My Taxes!"

Timothy Geithner was nominated and approved to be the new Secretary of the Treasury.  The Treasury Department is responsible for making sure people pay their taxes through the IRS.  Mr. Geithner not only was found to have not paid thousands of dollars in taxes, he did not do it for 4 years and only paid up for two of the four years when he was up for the nomination.  He said it was all an error, even though he initially paid up for two of the years in which he owed money…the others had passed the statute of limitations so he legally wasn’t obligated to pay…so he had beaten the law and the system that he is now in charge of…until he figured that it might derail his nomination.  He said it was all a mistake even though prior to the tax years in question he had signed a document acknowledging that he had to pay the taxes.

"I Don't Pay Taxes...That's For the Peasants!"

"I Don't Pay Taxes...That's For the Peasants!"

Tom Daschle is the former leader of the Senate for the Democrats before he was voted out of office. He was nominated for the Housing and Human Services Secretary.  That department is in charge of, among other things, Medicare.  Daschle was alleged to have been in arrears well over $120,000 in taxes for the hired help…his driver.  He never paid his share of the man’s medicare.  Daschle withdrew his nomination.  President Obama said it was time to close the revolving door of people in public office cashing in by lobbying and such.  He said that lobbyests couldn’t be in his adminstration.  Daschle got voted out of office and in the first two years since getting fired by the voters…he made ove $5 million.  He earns $1 million from a law firm..even though he’s not a lawyer.   At least the title isn’t lobbyiest…so I guess if you call it one thing, it doesn’t matter what it really is.  How’s that for ethics?

"I Pay My Taxes When I Feel Like It"

"I Pay My Taxes When I Feel Like It"

Nancy Killefer was tapped by the President to take the newly created position of “performance czar.”  I’m not exactly sure what the job entailed but I think it is a position in which the person is charged with making sure that the administration is living up to the expectation of being ethical, transparent and performing as advertised regarding individual performance as well as overall effectiveness of some important initiatives such as the latest bailout bill.  Ms. Killefer withdrew her name because it was discovered that she failed to pay her hired help’s unemployment tax.  Apparently she was so dilenquent that the WashingtonDC put a $946.69 lien on her home in 2005.  That should get someone’s attention. But apparently Ms. Killefer thought it was a-okay to wait another 5 months before she got the lien released.  From the reports, its unclear if that means that she paid what she owed or just got the lien removed.

Answer these questions:  How come none of these people were charged with a crime like many Americans would be?  How come none of these people were required to pay the hefty penalties involved for not paying taxes, like every

Capone Went to Jail For Tax Evasion. A Cabinet Appointment Today?

Capone Went to Jail For Tax Evasion. A Cabinet Appointment Today?

 other American would be….except perhaps politicians?  Rep. Charles Rangelwas found recently to not have paid thousands in income taxes…do you think any Washingon politicians pay their “fair share” of taxes like they say the rest of America should do?  At this early point, do you still have hope that the “change” that you may have voted for includes better ethics in the administration or does it look like its more of the same where the politicians pass laws for the rest of America but they don’t have to worry about it?  Does it seem apparent to you why many in Washington have no problem raising taxes because they don’t pay them anyway?    I honestly believe, that the type of character, integrity and attitude exemplefied by the above stories illustrates how we got in the mess we are in and if we had people of true honor, character and integrity in government leadership and political postions, this financial crisis probably would not be upon us.  As it is, I have no confidence that anything that is done in Washington will have any positive affect on the general economic circumstance simply because there is such a lack of ethics and integrity in many governmental positions.  I believe that the crisis will eventually be resolved by the honest, hard working people of character and integrity…the rest of the American citizenry…our people, not the government.

People Helped Ike Victims But No One Will Repay Them

People Helped Ike Victims But No One Will Repay Them

Speaking of owing money….

During Hurricane Ike, many Texans as well as others from around the country helped out without questions and with trust by bringing in supplies and food and medicines to the victims.  They’d worry about settling up the bills later.  Those good folks really helped a lot of people quickly and perhaps even saved lives.  Well, those people now need to collect the money for the products and services they provided.  The total is $134 millon. The state of Texas owes $14 million.  The rest, according to Texas Governor Rick Perry is owed by Uncle Sam.  Again, like the tax dead beats set up for high political office getting off the hook…what would happen if you didn’t pay your mortgage for 6 months?  It’s sad but this type of treatment by the state and local government may make it impossible for people to help their neighbors the next time there is a disaster…because if you help, you may risk going bankrupt because you can’t pay your bills simply because the government decided it was okay to pay the bills like Killefer, Geithner and Daschle think its okay to pay their taxes…

If people have honor, integrity and character when they go to Washington DC…do they check those things at a security checkpoint when they hit the city limits?  Given the apparent culture of politics in Washington, do you really think that change can or will happen anytime soon or that anyone in the district really does want change?  I am so discouraged and, so far, the questions that I had on November 4, 2008 look at this time like they will be answered in a manner that I did not want nor do we need.  Let’s hope this is just a hiccup and my fears will be found unjustified.

I had a this date in history today, but I got so PO’d, I lost interest.  Perhaps tomorrow.

Snow Totals For Tuesday Feb 3...I was Close

Snow Totals For Tuesday Feb 3...I was Close

Weather Bottom Line:  I had outlined a picture of Louisville getting somewhere between .75″ of snow and 1.5″ for Tuesday through Wednesday.  I knew that total outlook was probably a little more than you may have seen some forecasts but as it turns out, according to the NWS, it wasn’t enough. The above map shows that localized areas from the northern half of Jefferson County (KY) and northward through the viewing area had 2-4 inches of quick snow this morning and the rest of the area some 1-2 inches as the shortwave I  spoke of came through the flow.  Told you it was small and pretty strong and it sure did squeeze out what it could from the clouds in a relatively short period of time.  Here’s my weather beef….while the NWS made that claim and the pretty map above…the official total at the airport was just .40″ of snow.  This makes no sense whatsoever…actually it does to me and I think its a problem that really needs to be addressed if we are to have climatological records that have any veracity whatsoever.

Anyway…bottom line is this….we stay excessively cold for another couple of days before we make a turnaround beginning Friday afternoon and take what looks to be much milder air than I talked about yesterday for the weekend, especially Sunday.  Now that is a change we can use and will get.  The long wave pattern is definitely changing which means we’re out of the ice bucket for the forseeable future…not saying it won’t switch back because, after all, we’ve had this cold pattern generally since the middle of November with the exception of the week around Christmas.  But, lets’ not quibble about how long it will last…..lets just take it and run for the next week or so and then worry about the rest of the winter later.  Hang on…just a couple more days of  tough cold with Thursday morning probably in the single digits.  Right now it looks like 50’s more often than not for the week ahead but it will probably be wet…as in rain and possible t’storms…not snow or ice.

Woman Arrested For Voting! Train Wrecks Averted! Put Away the Bermuda Shorts!
November 18, 2008

00Z Tue 36 hr SFC (12Z Wed)

00Z Tue 36 hr SFC (12Z Wed)

The cold streak continues and will do so throughout the week. In spite of clouds and wind, Tuesday morning’s temperatures of the mid to upper 20’s indicate how cold the air is and, in spite of some afternoon sunshine, the afternoon highs in the upper 30’s confirm that conclusion. An even colder Wednesday start will lead to a chilly but somewhat milder afternoon. Then, another front comes through early Thursday with another shot of colder air to follow. The second half of the weekend should provide a warm up but I suspect even then, the temperatures will still be below seasonal averages. Good thing that LG&E cut their rates from the summer, which they did…no matter what our local paper reported.

susanbanthonytrial1On This Date in History: The presidential election of 1872 was rather odd and somewhat brutal. It was between President Ulysses S. Grant and New York Tribune editor Horace Greeley. The first term of Grant had been clouded by some questionable moves and charges of corruption. When Grant was renominated, the Liberal Republicans split off and nominated Horace Greeley, who never saw a social reform he didn’t like. As an editor, he was brilliant. As a candidate, he was sorely lacking. The Democrats surprisingly nominated Greeley, who had once said, “all Democrats may not be rascals but all of the rascals are Democrats.” I guess the Democrats figured that they could get the split Republican vote as well as Southern Democrats who would vote for anyone who was for amnesty of Confederates and the withdrawal of federal troops from the South.

While Grant spent his summer at the seashore, the newspapers went wild with negative press on their former rival, Greeley. The made sport of his favoring prohibition, vegetarianism and living on communes. The Phrenological Journal even measured his cranium and came out with a detailed analysis of why he was unfit for office. Greeley grew despondent and was sent into a deeper depression as he sat at his wife’s bedside where she died on October 30, 1872. A week later he got swamped at the polls winning 6 states to Grant’s 30.

If this weren’t enough, suffragette Susan B. Anthony carried through on her scheme to force the issue of

Sue Carried her Fight to our Friend Grover

Sue Carried her Fight to our Friend Grover

women’s voting. On November 1, 1872 Anthony and a group of other women went to register to vote. They were rebuffed but Anthony threatened to sue and quoted the 14th Amendment and New York law that was silent on the subject of sex. The men who were responsible for registration allowed them to register out of fear and also because they figured that if anything went wrong, it would fall on the heads of the ladies. They were right. Anthony and a few others voted on November 5 but later a Democrat poll watcher complained that Anthony had cast an illegal ballot. She was arrested on this date in 1872 for voting. She was found guilty and fined $100 plus court costs but she openly defied the judge saying that she would never pay up. She was right…she never paid. The 19th Amendment was passed four years after Anthony’s death. Here is a complete detail of the events surrounding the arrest of Susan B. Anthony.

No Way to Run A Railroad

No Way to Run A Railroad

It’s About Time: It used to be that each town in the nation could set its own time. In New York it was noon while in Philadelphia it was 11:55 AM. Towns would go by “God’s Time” or “Sun Time”. I have no idea what the former was but the latter was probably derived by local noon i.e. when the sun was at its highest, which seems difficult since that would be different every day. Wisconsin had 38 different local times. That was no way to run a railroad. The railroads were the first mode of transportation that went rapidly over long distances. Scheduling depended on time, not just for passengers but also for the safety of the system. There were numerous train collisions because of confusion of time. So, in on this date in 1883, the railroads had the entire nation synchronize the time by using time zones, theoretically 24 that would circle the earth based on the prime meridian at Greenwich, England. Of course, some towns in true American style resisted. Bath, Maine rang its town square bell 20 minutes before noon every day and Augusta, Georgia insisted on pushing its clock ahead at noon to maintain sun time. But, corporate America eventually won out with the passage of the Standard Time Act in 1918. So, all of you who think that corporate America produces nothing but evil, take a look at your watch.

Women Lose The Right To Vote; Cold Here To Stay For Awhile
November 16, 2008

00Z NAM 11.16 12Z Wed Surface

00Z NAM 11.16 12Z Wed Surface

Told you that snow would not be an issue. There is a tiny chance of a flake or two Tuesday morning but the real issue here is the temperatures. We get a little sun on Sunday afternoon but the mercury only gets to the low to mid 40’s. Same Monday though its reversed. The sun is early and clouds late. Cold front comes through and temperatures fall to the upper 20’s. Tuesday afternoon the clouds decrease and a clear Tuesday night will bring low to mid 20’s Wednesday morning. We move up toward 50 in the afternoon before another front comes through keeping us cold through the end of the week. We moderate somewhat for the weekend.

New Jersey Women Stormed To Take Back What Was Once Theirs

New Jersey Women Stormed To Take Back What Was Once Theirs

Early Suffrage Poster Featuring George Washington

Early Suffrage Poster Featuring George

On This Date in History: The original constitution of the state of New Jersey said that “all inhabitants” who met residency requirements and had a net worth of at least 50 pounds had the right to vote. I assume that it only meant whites but it certainly made no reference to women. The women of New Jersey apparently gave a collective yawn. They had not pushed for suffrage and there is no record of any woman voting prior to 1790.

Things went awry though in 1797 when a state legislature seat was up for grabs between Newark’s John Condict and William Crane of Elizabeth. Condict looked to be the winner until 75 women from Elizabeth showed up to vote for their favorite son. Condict still managed to hang on but the race was on for the female vote. Women were hauled to the polls in wagons and carriages by candidates in the elections that followed. (sound familiar?) Some of the ladies were even underage. But, in 1807, the freedom train came to a halt.

Once again, the players were Newark and Elizabeth and the issue was the location of a new courthouse. Women were tossed and pulled by both sides as they tried to get them to the polls and convince them of the merits of each side’s position. Hijinx were at a premium as even young boys dressed up as women to try to cast a ballot. The rank and file of the elites were “shocked” by this “saturnalia of corruption and abuse” and on this date in 1807 New Jersey lawmakers quickly adopted new voting laws that took away the vote from the ladies. It would take over 100 years for them to get it back.

Moral to the story: Don’t take your opportunities for granted and squander what you have.

Beware of Presidential Polls; A House for a Dollar; A Deer Goes To School; A Wizard Has A Birthday; Who Cares About Halloween?
October 31, 2008

140 year Old 5000ft home for a dollar...a good deal?

140 year Old 5000ft home for a dollar...a good deal?

Nice Stretch: Thursday had temperatures, as expected, generally in the upper 20’s and low 30’s. More low 30’s than upper 20’s. I don’t think I had a freeze here the past two nights because my Hydrangia still is hanging in there. We warmed, again as expected, to the low 60’s. Look for upper 60’s and low 70’s with lots of sunshine from Friday through Voting Day…no excuse not to vote.

Wanna Buy a House for a Dollar? In these days of falling prices on homes, we’ve seen stories about homes on the market for far less than they had previously sold. But, a home for a dollar? A church is selling a big house for a dollar…but there are strings attached. (CLICK HERE)

Halloween? Fiddlesticks!

Halloween? Fiddlesticks!

Who Cares About Halloween? Not me. I don’t get all of the hubbub with Halloween. When I was a kid,

Pets Often Suffer on Halloween

Pets Often Suffer on Halloween

Halloween was for kids. You dressed up and got candy. Sometime over the past 20 years adults have gotten into the act. I think that the baby-boomers wanted to recapture their youth. I think I read the other day that even in this time of economic woe, Americans have ponied up $6 Billion in spending for Halloween. All of the complaining about the economy, yet we have billions to spend on a kids day. Then there are those who take it so seriously. People who go and worship some sort of devilment and those who think that its a day of devilment and then there are those who claim it is really a Christian day that has been usurped. I know its not as it always has been the same in my lifetime and probably before because I saw Meet Me In St. Louis where Tootie goes around throwing flower in people’s faces and making a bonfire. But again, it was kids. Anyway, I’m not going into the detail about Halloween except that the weather will be great for Trick-or-Treaters. Mid to Upper 60’s for the kids. If you want to look at a history of Halloween, below are two different versions:

The History Channel’s (History.com) Version of Halloween History

ExploreFaith.org version of Christian Roots of Halloween

Presidential Medal of Freedom Recipient John R Wooden

Presidential Medal of Freedom Recipient John R Wooden

Wizard of Westwood:

I love John Wooden. Everyone who ever played for him seem to hold him close to their heart, even Bill Walton who was a UCLA student who tried to be involved in the fading counter-culture movement in the early 1970’s while working with the conservative Wooden. Wooden recently had his 98th birthday. Read the article from Rick Reilly about this humble man who achieved greatness on and off the court.

John Wooden as told by Rick Reilly

Buck Goes To School:

Good Thing For Kids at Manual HS That it wasn't a Moose

Good Thing For Kids at Manual HS That it wasn

Louisville is blessed with its heavily wooded environment. I suspect that

3rd Ave 1897

3rd Ave 1897

what we see in Louisville regarding the number of trees is not natural. Photos from the early 20th century reveal that Louisville did not have nearly the number of trees that we enjoy today. Many of the large trees were planted around that time and they have a natural lifespan of 100 years and now they are falling down. We hear reporters after a large storm talk about how vicious the winds were because they

3rd Ave Today

3rd Ave Today

“brought down this tree that stood for 100 years” when, if you look at the tree, its diseased or has rotted wood. It

4th Ave 1906

4th Ave 1906

wasn’t the storm as much as the fact that the tree was near the end of its lifecycle. Anyway, I’ve wondered if our area is considered an urban wooded area. I can’t find that information and don’t feel like looking any more than I have. Nevertheless, as part of our “forest” we get creatures of the forest. Snow White and I love to go out at night and walk. She can actually talk to Owls. She hoots and they hoot back. We even had one follow us one night. I think it thought that I was a big

4th Ave Today

4th Ave Today

rat. We often see deer. I’ve had a deer running in front of me down the street when I was leaving the TV station. But, I can’t figure out how a deer managed to get to near downtown to Manual High School…but it did. Pretty good lookin’ buck. Read what happened and see the the story as it aired HERE
or see the Raw Video of Deer Roaming HS campus not far from downtown Louisville

Famous Presidential Pole?

Lech Walesa: Famous Presidential Pole?

This Date in History: The presidential polls are all over the place. Today I’ve seen polls with Senator

Truman Thankful Not All Polls as Forthright As Lech

Truman Thankful Not All Polls as Forthright As Lech

Obama up by 11 points and another that claims 3 points. Apparently, the polling business is quite lucrative. There are about 3 times as many polls out for this presidential go-around than 4 years ago. They claim to be scientific but they can’t all be right. I think you have to know the methodology to know which ones to believe and we aren’t privy to that. It’s kinda like weather computer forecast models. There are at least a dozen and often, they say completely different things. What you have to do is understand what is going on, analyze the models to see if what they say make sense and understand the biases of the mathematics involved with each model. Anyway, polls have been wrong quite often. Everyone remembers the famous headline from the Chicago Tribune, “Dewey Defeats Truman.” (Story as told by Chicago Tribune) But, before that there were other miscalculations. In 1916, the New York Herald proclaimed Charles Evans Hughes as President, which was a surprise to President Wilson. On this Date in 1936, The Literary Digest went out and asked its 10 million readers “to settle November’s election in October.” Their poll resulted in Alf Landon winning by a pretty sizable margin. Too bad for Alf that the Literary Digest wasn’t in charge of the election. President Franklin Roosevelt won all but two states in a very lopsided electoral landslide.

Financial Meltdown Finger Pointing? Laura is Dead? President Wilson Lives through Edith?
October 2, 2008

Cooldown Won’t LastThe weather here is on track. Wednesday morning found temperatures fairly uniform in the upper 40’s. The airport was 48. Look for lows Thursday morning in the mid 40’s and perhaps on Friday morning too. We climb back to the mid 70’s on Friday and Saturday with upper 70’s to near 80 on Sunday following the passage of a warm front Saturday night. Early next week we get back to the low to maybe the mid 80’s.

Tropical Storm Laura Spaghetti Model 1001 12Z

Tropical Storm Laura Spaghetti Model 1001 12Z

Tropical Storm Laura Satellite 1002 0145Z

Tropical Storm Laura Satellite 1002 0145Z

Tropical Storm Laura Epitaph: Tropical Storm Laura is gone. From the report at the bottom of the page, you can read about its demise. If you look at the satellite image from early Thursday morning, you can see what the discussion is talking about. Its tough to find Laura. Its generally in the center of the photo with a little swirl apparent with no convection. But the Spaghetti model still takes whats left of it to the British Isles and some eventually take it to Germany. The discussion mentions that some models want to re-intensify it. While it may be an academic issue of interest, otherwise its a European question.

The Blame Game!

The Blame Game!

So Who Got Us in this Mess? While the Congress tries again to solve the financial problems and questions, inevitably we will be bombarded with who is to blame. Here is an interesting video that may shed some light, but keep in mind, while it’s 8 minutes long it has been edited. The first part is Rep. Richard Baker from 2006 and the rest is from a Congressional hearing from 2004. I won’t editorialize…you see if it provides some insight.

Video of Who Aided the Demise of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae?

The Senate Votes: The Senate on Wednesday night passed a bill concerning the current financial situation. It is interesting though, because according the Article One, Section 7 of the Constitution, only the House of Representatives must originate bills for raising revenue and House precedent has established that this means “raising revenue and appropriating the same.” But, the Senate apparently does not agree yet, normally, if the Senate tries to originate such legislation, when its sent to the House, the House routinely returns it to the Senate with a “blue slip” which indicates that the House rejects the bill on procedural terms without ever considering it. Now, since the House first originated this bill and the vote failed, the Senate will claim that the House originated it and now they will vote on it with amendments that will define what in many regards will be a new bill, even though the House never passed the original. I don’t think that’s what the founders intended. I doubt if the House will “blue slip” this one though. So, even if it is unconstitutional, it will probably get voted on in the House anyway. It wouldn’t be the first time that the government has violated the Constitution. President Jefferson violated the Constitution several times and no one seemed to mind. Its funny when the public decides the Constitution is important and when it is not. Anyway, here is part of Article One, Section 7.

Section 7: All bills for raising revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with amendments as on other Bills.
Every bill which shall have passed the House of Representatives and the Senate, before it become a law and be presented to the President of the United States; if he approves, he shall sign it, but if not he shall return it, with his objections to that House in which it shall have originated, who shall enter the objections at large on their journal, and proceed to reconsider it. If after such reconsideration two thirds of that House shall agree to pass the bill, it shall be sent, together with the objections, to the other House, by which it shall likewise be reconsidered, and if approved by two thirds of that House, it shall become a law. But in all such cases the votes of both Houses shall be determined by yeas and nays, and the names of the persons voting for and against the bill shall be entered on the journal of each House respectively. If any bill shall not be returned by the President within ten days (Sundays excepted) after it shall have been presented to him, the same shall be a law, in like manner as if he had signed it, unless the Congress by their adjournment prevent its return, in which case it shall not be a law.

First Woman President?On This Date In History: On October 2, 1919 President Woodrow Wilson was giving a speech in Pueblo Colorado when he suffered a massive stroke. Daily reports came assuring the public that the President was recovering nicely. Truth was, he was partially paralyzed and nearly blind. But, his wife Edith refused anyone access to the President. Cabinet members, trusted aides, Congressmen and even the Vice-President. She claimed she had no role in decisions but did determine what was important and when to present it to the President. That sounds like a role to me. When Woodrow Wilson was scheduled to address Congress, instead a message was sent to the legislative body made up of snippets from Cabinet reports with corrections penciled in by Edith. Many referred to it as a “Petticoat Government.”

Edith Wilson was a rather odd match for Woodrow Wilson, who was a PhD who had been the President of Princeton and Governor of New Jersey. She married Wilson in 1915 after his first wife Ellen died. In contrast to the bookish Wilson, Edith had little formal education, in 20 years of living in Washington had never visited the White House and could not recall whom she voted for in the 1912 election….an election that her husband won. But, she became politically quite adept and came to rule the roost in the White House. 44 years after standing by her husband at his second inaugural, she attended the inauguration of President Kennedy. When she died a year later, the New York Times said that “some went so far as to characterize her as the first woman President of the United States.” To this day, there are many historians who agree with that assessment.

If you ever think that a presidential candidate’s wife doesn’t matter, remember Edith Wilson.

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TROPICAL STORM LAURA DISCUSSION NUMBER 10

NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL

AL122008 1100 AM EDT WED OCT 01 2008

ALTHOUGH A SMALL PATCH OF CONVECTION REMAINS…THERE IS NOT ENOUGH DEEP CONVECTION FOR LAURA TO BE CONSIDERED A TROPICAL CYCLONE…AND THIS WILL BE THE LAST ADVISORY. I RATHER LIKE THE CANADIAN HURRICANE CENTER’S TERM POST-TROPICAL…WHICH SIMPLY MEANS NO LONGER TROPICAL…TO DESCRIBE WHAT LAURA HAS BECOME. THERE IS NOT REALLY ENOUGH EVIDENCE OF FRONTAL STRUCTURE YET TO CONSIDER LAURA EXTRATROPICAL IN THE TRADITIONAL SENSE…AND SOME USERS MIGHT INFER A WEAK SYSTEM IF WE USED THE TERM REMNANT LOW…WHICH IS MOST-COMMONLY APPLIED TO DECAYING SYSTEMS IN THE EASTERN PACIFIC BASIN. A QUIKSCAT PASS THIS MORNING SHOWS THAT THE MAXIMUM WINDS REMAIN NEAR 40 KT…PERHAPS EVEN A BIT HIGHER. A TRANSITION TO A FULLY EXTRATROPICAL STRUCTURE IS EXPECTED OVER THE NEXT DAY OR SO…AND THE GFS SUGGESTS SOME REINVIGORATION OF THE EXTRATROPICAL REMNANT OF LAURA IN THREE OR FOUR DAYS. OTHER GLOBAL GUIDANCE…HOWEVER… SHOWS THE CIRCULATION BECOMING ELONGATED AND DISSIPATING WITHIN A FRONTAL ZONE. THE OFFICIAL FORECAST WILL CALL FOR AN EXPANSION OF THE WIND RADII IN GENERAL AGREEMENT WITH THE GFS…BUT FOLLOWS A CONSENSUS OF THE GLOBAL GUIDANCE IN CARRYING A TRACK ONLY OUT TO 72 HOURS. FUTURE INFORMATION ON THIS SYSTEM CAN BE FOUND IN HIGH SEAS FORECASTS ISSUED BY THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE…UNDER AWIPS HEADER NFDHSFAT1 AND WMO HEADER FZNT01 KWBC.

FORECAST POSITIONS AND MAX WINDS

INITIAL 01/1500Z 46.5N 46.5W 40 KT…POST-TROPICAL

12HR VT 02/0000Z 48.9N 45.6W 40 KT…EXTRATROPICAL

24HR VT 02/1200Z 52.2N 43.5W 40 KT…EXTRATROPICAL

36HR VT 03/0000Z 55.0N 39.8W 40 KT…EXTRATROPICAL

48HR VT 03/1200Z 56.0N 33.0W 40 KT…EXTRATROPICAL

72HR VT 04/1200Z 56.5N 20.0W 40 KT…EXTRATROPICAL

96HR VT 05/1200Z…ABSORBED

$$ FORECASTER FRANKLIN