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The news broadcasts of the Oklahoma tornado disaster that I saw last night and this morning were thankfully free of speculation that this tornado is proof of—wait for it—global warming, and therefore one more reason to hand over control of our energy sector to environmentalists. I am certain this will come from the usual people starting today, but for now, note the New York Times’ Andrew Revkin discounting the thesis:
I’ll add a final thought about the persistent discussion of the role of greenhouse-driven climate change in violent weather in Tornado Alley.
It’s an important research question but, to me, has no bearing at all on the situation in the Midwest and South — whether there’s a tornado outbreak or drought. The forces putting people in harm’s way are demographic, economic, behavioral and architectural. Any influence of climate change on dangerous tornadoes (so far the data point to a moderating influence) is, at best, marginally relevant and, at worst, a distraction.
Meanwhile, Stephen Goddard points out that back in 1975, Newsweek (remember them?) blamed an outbreak of tornados on . . . global cooling:
Love how scientists are “almost unanimous” in their assessments of the effects of global cooling. Sounds almost like a “consensus.” You can download a complete facsimilie of the whole 1975 Newsweek story here.
Watch here (fixed link!) and share your comments/reactions below.
If you’re going to an IRS protest at noon today, send or tweet me your photos. If you’ve got a lawn sign, share your pics here and on Twitter. Be sure to cc @BarackObama and the @WhiteHouse.
Stand up and send a message:
[T]he residents of a glass-walled luxury residential building across the street had no idea they were being photographed and never consented to being subjects for the works of art that are now on display — and for sale — in a Manhattan gallery.Key word: luxury.
A middle-class value — privacy — is challenged. But it’s built into the scheme that only the rich have had their privacy invaded. The artist — Arne Svenson — gets his publicity in the major media. And to top it all off:
Svenson’s apartment is directly across the street, just to the south, giving him a clear view of his neighbors by simply looking out his window.Easiest art project ever.
“For my subjects there is no question of privacy; they are performing behind a transparent scrim on a stage of their own creation with the curtain raised high,” Svenson says in the gallery notes. “The Neighbors don’t know they are being photographed; I carefully shoot from the shadows of my home into theirs.”
**Written by Doug Powers
The death and injury toll from yesterday’s horrific tornado that ripped through Oklahoma continues to rise. Here’s the latest from KFOR:
Officials have confirmed at least 91 people have been killed in the Moore tornado Monday.
The medical examiner’s office confirmed at least 233 people have been injured.
That number is expected to rise as recovery efforts continue Tuesday morning and daylight arrives.
The tornado claimed an unconfirmed number of children at Moore’s Plaza Towers Elementary.
Also among those killed, a family of four with a baby near 4th St. and Telephone Rd. in Moore.
Officials said the family tried to take shelter in a freezer.
The Oklahoma City Medical Examiner says the death toll could be revised down because the previous figure of 51 dead may have included double-counted deaths, according to Reuters.
The AP just reported that a medical examiner has revised the death toll down to “at least 24.”
Video of the devastation from CNN:
If you’re looking for ways to help residents in Oklahoma, the following relief organizations are working in the area:
American Red Cross
The American Red Cross has several shelters open in Oklahoma and Red Cross Emergency Response Vehicles have begun delivering hot meals throughout the affected areas. The Red Cross is also working to link loved ones in Moore who are OK through a website called Safe and Well. Text REDCROSS to 90999 to give $10 to American Red Cross Disaster Relief, donate online, or donate by phone at 1-800-RED CROSS.
The Salvation Army is activating disaster response teams and mobile feeding units to help residents and rescuers in Moore, Okla., as well as in other locations in the Plains and the Midwest that were impacted by tornadoes. Donate online or text STORM to 80888 to contribute $10 to the Salvation Army’s relief efforts or make a donation by phone at 1-800-SAL-ARMY. If you’re sending a check make sure you put the words “Oklahoma Tornado Relief” on the check, and mail it to: The Salvation Army, P.O. Box 12600, Oklahoma City, OK., 73157.
Los Angeles-based international relief agency Operation USA announced it’s providing emergency aid where needed to community-based health organizations across Oklahoma. Donate online, by phone at 1-800-678-7255, or by check made out to Operation USA, 7421 Beverly Blvd., PH, Los Angeles, CA 90036. You can also donate $10 by texting AID to 50555. Corporate donations of bulk quantities of disaster-appropriate supplies are also being requested.
Oklahoma Baptist Disaster Relief
Oklahoma Baptist Disaster Relief says it has deployed at least 80 volunteers to respond to severe weather in Oklahoma. Those interested in helping can make a tax-deductible donation to the BGCO’s Disaster Relief ministry online or call (405) 942-3800. You may also send checks to: BGCO Attn: Disaster Relief 3800 N. May Ave. Oklahoma City, OK 73112.
Some good news amid the bad:
On @cbsthismorning, Okla Lt Gov says Search & Rescue teams found 101 survivors overnight.
— Mark Knoller (@markknoller) May 21, 2013
**Written by Doug Powers
The more the evidence emerges, the more one has to wonder: Could Obamacare have been designed any more poorly? Even those who don’t mind Obamacare’s striking consolidation of power and money in Washington at the expense of Americans’ liberty, or who don’t mind the medical overhaul’s $2 trillion price-tag over its real first decade (2014 to 2023), must be starting to wonder at the sheer ineptitude of those who spearheaded its passage and penned its provisions.
While the practice of using foreign operations to avoid U.S. taxes is legal and common among multinationals, Apple’s scheme was unprecedented in its use of multiple affiliates that had no semblance of a physical presence, Senate staffers said.Why wouldn’t Apple do what is legal to avoid taxes?
“Apple claims to be the largest U.S. corporate taxpayer, but by sheer size and scale it is also among America’s largest tax avoiders,” [Senator John] McCain said.Isn’t that exactly what you would expect?
“Travel nightmare: Dakar, Dhaka — what’s the difference? A wrong airport code sends travelers to the wrong continent.”
That factoid begins an article about the use of color in branding, which does not otherwise involve the topic of designing color images with knowledge of how it looks to people who see some but not all colors. The article gets into assertions about what women like and what men like. Both respond to blue and green and are repelled by orange and brown, but women go for purple, which men don’t like, and men like black while women dislike gray. That’s sort of interesting, but it’s much softer information than the hardcore physical reality of red-green color blindness.
Is there software that lets you check what your design looks like to someone who’s red-green color blind? One answer, I guess, is stick to blue. But it seems to me that there are many blues, including blues that lean toward red (before you’d say purple) and blues that lean to yellow (before you’d start calling it green). A person who’s not red-green color blind might think that’s a really lovely blue at the very point where it might look ugly to a person with red-green color blindness.
I’ve been thinking about this topic a lot because I’ve been losing my sense of smell, to the point where I’m smell-blind — anosmic — in some sectors of the sense of smell. It would be one thing to have no sense of smell at all, like complete color blindness. But when you have partial perception, you care about the part that you have, but you’d like a good experience with it, but other people, who may be providing the experience, don’t know what it’s like for you.
While attention is focused on various Obama administration scandals, the Schumer-Rubio immigration reform legislation keeps chugging along in the Senate. What are the prospects for enacting this law, or some similar version?
I believe the Senate is likely to pass Schumer-Rubio. All or nearly all of the Senate Democrats will vote for it. That’s 55 votes or close to it.
The four Republican members of the Gang of Eight – Rubio, McCain, Graham, and Flake – can be expected to vote for their handiwork. That’s 59 votes or close to it.
Thus, only a small handful of other Republican votes will be required to invoke cloture. With big business backing amnesty so lustily, it’s likely that those votes can be found.
The Gang has said it is hoping for 70 yes votes, or thereabouts, so as to generate “momentum”” in the House. I doubt that Schumer-Rubio will get 70 votes. Mickey Kaus suggests that without 70, it will be difficult to get 60 because no Republican will want to be identifiable as having cast the vote that pushes amnesty over the top.
Kaus may be right. But a small number of Republican “yes” votes is not a tall order from a group as squishy as Senate Republicans.
As for the House, several sources have told me that the leadership is unlikely to bring up the massive Senate bill as such. Instead, pieces of it will be presented for vote, beginning presumably with provisions such as those calling for better enforcement.
This approach will present a dilemma for House Democrats. Like their Senate counterparts, they oppose enhanced enforcement unaccompanied by amnesty, a path to citizenship, and other goodies. But they will not want to vote against enforcement for fear of the political consequences.
I imagine that the Democrats will vote for stand-alone provisions such as those pertaining to enforcement. If amnesty/path for citizenship passes the House later on, then the Dems will be in business. If not, Senate Democrats will make sure that the stand-alone enforcement provisions aren’t enacted.
In any scenario, though, House Republicans should be able to pass a series of relatively non-controversial immigration reform provisions.
But what will happen with amnesty/path to citizenship?
The first question is whether the leadership will permit a vote on this. As I understand it, the leadership ordinarily will not permit a vote on any provision that doesn’t enjoy majority support within the Republican caucus. Amnesty/path to citizenship will fail this test, I’m confident.
But the leadership might bring it up anyway. We shouldn’t underestimate the influence that can be exerted on House leadership by the important portions of the Republican establishment – most notably business interests – that favor amnesty/path to citizenship.
If amnesty/path to citizenship comes up for a vote in the House, I would expect virtually unanimous Democratic support. That’s 201 votes or close to it. Thus, with 20 or slightly fewer Republican votes, the House could pass amnesty/path to citizenship.
Could those votes be found? I don’t know, but I wouldn’t bet against it.
The key, I think, is the extent to which conservatives raise their voices against amnesty/path to citizenship. We can’t count on the Republican establishment; we can’t count on Fox News; and we certainly can’t count on the business community. Moreover, the financial mismatch between pro-amnesty and anti-amnesty Republicans is shocking.
I believe that only a massive outpouring of conservative opposition, such as we witnessed in 2007, will stop the amnesty express this time. Without such an outpouring, I think it’s more likely than not that the House leadership will permit a vote on amnesty/path to citizenship, and more likely than not that such a measure will pass the House.
I understand the fixation on Obama administration scandals. But I also understand that 20 years from now, nearly everyone will have forgotten them. By contrast, 20 years from now Schumer-Rubio, if enacted, will be having a massive impact on America.
Having lived through the Watergate scandal and the impeachment of President Nixon, I recall that one conservative journalist stood out from the pack. As the Washington columnist for National Review, George Will regularly exposed the Nixon administration’s lines of defense as the lies that they were. He distinguished himself both for his merciless analytical rigor and his skills as an anatomist.
Will was in the infancy of his now long and distinguished journalistic career. He had joined National Review in 1972, just in time take a front row seat from the beginning of the scandal. By 1973 he was devoting every one of his biweekly NR Washington columns to a dissection of the administration’s evolving “hangouts,” limited, modified or otherwise.
Readers of National Review did not take kindly to Will’s treachery, as they saw it. In one of his books (I think, but which one?), William Buckley writes about the torrent of criticism that Will’s work aroused among National Review’s subscribers. It can’t have been a pleasant experience, either for Buckley the editor or Will the columnist. Yet Buckley stood behind him and Will went from strength to strength, beginning his syndicated column and, within a few years, winning a Pulitzer Prize for commentary.
George Will’s intellect made him one of a kind in the profession, but is there a liberal columnist who can serve Will’s role in the current crisis of the Obama administration? Asking the question suggests that events support a parallel between Nixon and Obama, and I don’t exactly mean to do that. Something, however, is rotten in the Obama administration. The problem is that the political rot overlaps with leftist goals. I doubt that a liberal critic can rise to the challenge presented by Obama and his, if not the journalist’s, friends.
I’ve had the thought that Kirsten Powers might be the liberal counterpart to the conservative George Will of 1973. Powers would have it easier than Will did. In mid-career, she is already a star, and calling out the Obama administration might even serve to enhance her career.
I have the feeling she will let me down before long, but in the meantime, here is to Kirsten Powers and “How hope and change gave way to spying on the press.” Ms. Powers, you might even want to follow up with a look at the administration’s incredibly destructive national security leaks — leaks regarding the Stuxnet virus and the Seal Team 6 raid that killed bin Laden, to take two examples offered by Victor Davis Hanson — in the service of its transient political goals.
UPDATE: As I think about it, I am almost certain that I was recalling Jeffrey Hart’s account of Will’s tenure at NR in his terrific personal history of the magazine, The Making of the American Conservative Mind. I will have to return to this subject when I have my copy of Professor Hart’s book in hand.
Nate Silver is now trying to see what’s coming next for him. He has just turned 35. His interest in politics, always more intellectual than emotional, seems nearly exhausted by the election season. “I definitely get tired of the politics stuff,” he tells me. “Or at least I’m tired of it now. You basically have a lot of sociopaths and crazy people who work in the politics industry who are kind of enabled by it being such a strange profession. Just a lack of. . . .” Silver stops to reach over for a french fry, eat it, and think. “I mean, well, the fact that it’s seen as so optional to actually be truthful?” It offends his sensibilities as a data scientist in pursuit of truth. “You know,” he continues, “whereas business can be amoral, I think politics is actively immoral on many occasions. So people will ask if I will go work for a campaign and I say, ‘No way.’ I can make a lot more money working for a hedge fund and it would be a lot less actively evil. At least you’re not trying to manipulate people’s belief systems.”In my view, the way not to get tired of the politics stuff is to be, specifically, interested in the behavior of real human beings, with all their flaws. That they are unusually flawed human beings — “sociopaths and crazy people” — becomes a positive. You are observing and analyzing these people, who are manipulating and dissembling and lying. This does not conflict with your own love of the truth. You pursue the truth about their lies and manipulations.
The show will go on. Sequestration may have cost Washington D.C. tourists a chance to tour the White House, but the Independence Day fireworks will go off as planned. A contract was awarded yesterday to Garden State Fireworks of Millington, NJ for $221,819.77. The listing for bids on the typically business-like fbo.gov website contained this somewhat colorful solicitation: