Darby and vulnerability

It’s a nice Irish name spent on a scary tropical storm.

You feel like a sitting duck out here, completely at the mercy of the water temps and the air currents above. You can’t drive far enough to get out of the way, often the airports will be shut down so you couldn’t fly elsewhere anyway, and there aren’t enough ocean liners in the world to hold a million-plus people if you wanted to evacuate them all.

This time we got lucky. Darby was headed directly for the state and was forecast to hit the Big Island of Hawai’i, the one farthest south, and then turn north and travel directly up the island chain. It did, but it’s dropped to the lowest level of tropical storm, packing barely 40 mph sustained winds. In an odd coincidence, Darby made landfall on the Big Island near Pahala, just a few miles away from where Hurricane Iselle landed in 2014.

Here’s what the track is forecast to be as of 8:00PM this evening:


That’s a pretty terrifying track, but it’s not so bad as long as it’s got those low wind speeds, right?

Now look at this. This is what we were expecting as of Wednesday the 20th, when we had no idea whether it was going to strengthen into a hurricane:


It gets a little worrisome.

Hillary picks Kaine

He seems like a good choice to me. Planned Parenthood and NARAL both approve of the choice:

“While Senator Kaine has been open about his personal reservations about abortion, he’s maintained a 100% pro-choice voting record in the U.S. Senate. He voted against dangerous abortion bans, he has fought against efforts to defund Planned Parenthood, and he voted to strengthen clinic security by establishing a federal fund for it,” NARAL President Ilyse Hogue said in the statement.


Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards made a brief appearance on MSNBC Friday night to give Kaine her approval, echoing NARAL’s statement.

Richards said Kaine holds a 100 percent rating on Planned Parenthood’s scorecard for his Senate record and said “he’s been not only a solid vote but really an ally.”

The NRA loathes him and has given him an “F” rating, the coal industry worked against him in his Senatorial campaign in 2012, he’s recognized that climate change is real and he’s got a lifetime 91% record from the League of Conservation Voters.

He’s not Elizabeth Warren, but I want her to stay in the Senate anyway. She can speak out without clearing her remarks with a boss down the hall in the Oval Office if she stays there. I know the people who call themselves progressives and who desperately wanted Bernie Sanders to win aren’t happy, but they’ll either come around and vote for the Democratic candidate or they won’t. At some point the pragmatists have to be like Elsa.

Republican Convention, Night Four

But here, at our convention, there will be no lies. We will honor the American people with the truth, and nothing else.

After hearing that speech I need a shower. Despite Trump’s claim up there, there were a lot of lies told in that speech (this site enumerates some 21), but more than that there was an attempt to portray America as a country in decline, one hopelessly indebted to the future, beset by crime, with invading brown hordes at the border, all of whom are coming here to kill us.

I’ll bet that if you surveyed every one of the people in that hall no more than ten could say they’d been a victim of a crime in the past ten years. Nonetheless, they’ve allowed themselves to be persuaded that they’re in danger of being murdered or robbed at gunpoint or burglarized every day. I don’t understand how they can ignore the facts as they’ve experienced them to believe that, but they’ve apparently done so.

The Democrats have got to figure out how to fight back against a candidate and campaign which ignores complaints that its facts are wrong, its claims are ridiculous, and its principal can’t go two sentences without pronouncing a lie.

Republican Convention, Night Three

I despise this man wholeheartedly anyway, but I surely think he deserved what he got when he refused to endorse Trump at the Party’s Convention.

Representative Peter King’s response was probably typical:

“He’s a fraud, he’s a liar, he’s self-centered and disqualified himself from ever being considered for president of the United States,” King said.

“This is the Ted Cruz that I’ve known, unfortunately. He can’t be trusted and he’s not a true Republican — he’s not a true conservative, he’s totally self-centered,” King said.

“I’ve never seen such outrage and anger on the floor as I saw toward Ted Cruz tonight, and he deserved every bit of it.”

“He disgraced himself. He disgraced the party, and the party should never consider him again for office.”

Republican Convention, Night Two

Tuesday was “Make America Work Again” day at the Republican National Convention, which also happened to coincide with the party formally nominating Donald Trump as its nominee.

But neither jobs nor Trump got much attention as a grab bag of Republican headliners Tuesday spent most of their time demonizing Hillary Clinton and talking about themselves without offering an affirmative case for the nominee or a concrete economic policy agenda.

The keynoter, House Speaker Paul Ryan, spoke nearly 1,500 words, but mentioned Trump’s name just twice. Promising he’ll be standing alongside “Vice President Mike Pence and President Donald Trump” at next year’s State of the Union address, Ryan spent the lion’s share of his time castigating the Democratic Party instead.

Yeah. It’s a little difficult to argue that the country’s employment situation is horrible when the current unemployment rate is at 4.9%. It’s even more difficult if the survey numbers about delegates for 2008 hold true this year, and there’s no real reason to doubt they do.

In 2008, 70% of Democratic delegates and 67% of Republican delegates reported earning $75,000 or more per year, compared to 27% of Democratic voters and 39% of Republican voters.

Seems unlikely folks earning that kind of money are out of work.

So what did the speakers talk about instead? Why, Hillary Clinton, of course!

Nate Silver 10:33 PM
Just got a transcript of tonight’s remarks. The scoreboard: “Clinton” was mentioned 79 times and “Trump” 61 times. Variations on “work” or “working,” the alleged theme of the evening, were mentioned 48 times.

Republican Convention, Night One

Name your poison. Here are tonight’s speakers. Now, which of the following SUVs corresponds to Rudy Giuliani, Joni Ernst, Scott Baio, and Melania Trump?

Even for Republicans, giving opportunities to speak to their convention to people who lost family members in car accidents which happened to involve undocumented immigrants is in pretty poor taste, as far as I’m concerned.

60 Minutes does Trumpence

That was painful to watch and listen to. Trump’s ego was on full display (quelle surprise!), and he interrupted and rolled over both his VP candidate and his interviewer constantly. There were half-a-dozen really uncomfortable moments in there, or they’d be uncomfortable if the candidate were a normal sensitive human being.

Remember how he’s lambasted Hillary Clinton for voting in favor of using military force against Iraq? You’d think it would be awkward that Mike Pence voted for it too; he was in Congress then. Not for Donald, though! “He’s entitled to make a mistake every once in a while.” Lesley Stahl tried to get him to acknowledge that was a little hypocritical, but not a chance.

My favorite line was near the end, though:

Lesley Stahl: You’re not known to be a humble man. But I wonder–

Donald Trump: I think I am, actually humble. I think I’m much more humble than you would understand.

There there, little lady, you just don’t get it.

Puzzled I was once I saw Pence

We saw Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey all but polishing Trump’s shoes in his attempt to be named the VP on the Republican ticket. We saw Newt Gingrich demonstrating his attack dog skills (loyalty oaths for Muslims, forsooth!) in hopes he’d get the VP nod. Frankly, neither of those things surprised me, considering the principals involved. But Pence and his willingness to absorb the humiliation of Trump’s apparent late night reversal of his offer of the job and his willingness to flat-out lie about Trump — “Donald Trump understands the anxiety and the aspiration of the American people like no leader since Reagan” — during the VP rollout today did give me pause.

Mike Pence’s views about abortion and same-sex marriage and gay rights are abhorrent to me, but I thought he was still a serious public servant. He proved today he is not. He’s a panderer to the Republicans’ latest Man on Horseback. This version isn’t a military man as the classic definition requires, but in this day and age a CEO is probably a more likely choice anyway.

Take a T and a P

Man, even the very conservative magazine The Federalist, or at least its managing editor, doesn’t like Mike Pence. Not for the reasons most decent people do, though. Nope, because he expanded Medicaid as part of complying with Obamacare and he did it the wrong way. Here’s how the people who write that magazine think:

…suffice to say that this is perhaps the most generous Medicaid expansion yet from any state, red or blue—and that’s precisely why it’s the worst. (My emphasis)

Oh, they go on to say they don’t mean the poor should get sub-par coverage (nudge, wink), but that the poor won’t have to pay for this coverage. What they think those who live under the poverty line should forego in order to pay some premium for this insurance is left to our imaginations — food? Phone service? Car insurance? Gasoline?

Pence is about as far right as you can find short of an actual white supremacist, according to voting records.

In the 107th Congress (Pence’s first, covering 2001 and 2002), for example, out of 435 members of the U.S. House, Pence ranked #428 – meaning that 427 members were to his left, putting the Hoosier on the far-right-wing fringe. The results were roughly the same in the 108th Congress and the 109th.

By the 110th Congress, Pence was at #432, putting him to the right of nearly everyone in the chamber. The results were roughly the same in the 111th Congress and the 112th.

Hard to believe but true: he was to the right of Michele Bachmann, Steve King and Louie Gohmert.

I’m sure he and Trump will get along just fine.

Truck attack on Nice

The identity of the man is not yet known, but AFP news agency reported the identity papers of a 31-year-old French-Tunisian were found in the truck, citing an unnamed police source.

That’s from the BBC story about the tractor-trailer attack which left dozens dead and many more injured in the seaside city of Nice in France on Thursday.

Apparently the Nice flics knew of the driver as a criminal; French intelligence sources did not have him on any terrorist watch list.

It is obviously a terrorist act, but it’s not clear that its author was connected to any Islamic group, which is what most American commentators and politicians automatically think whenever one of these events takes place. “Engage brain before opening mouth” is something they should practice, but they rarely do.

I’ll wait and see. Whoever committed this, it was horrific.