Hello from the deep freeze. Drove to the pool at 6:20 a.m. to find it closed. If there’s anything worse than venturing out in 2-degree weather for a predawn workout, it’s having it cancelled, after you’re dressed and your contacts are in.
Oh, well. Compared to some of you guys, I have it easy. For some time now, I’ve thought that weather reporting, especially TV weather reporting, is well into boy-who-cried-wolf territory; the other day, I watched an entire TV weathercast that failed to mention the actual forecast temperatures, so fixated they were on the wind-chill numbers. If you wear clothing, and enough of it, wind chill shouldn’t be a problem for the vast majority of us who don’t have to work outdoors in cold snaps like this.
And then I go on the WaPo last night and read the news of a “bomb cyclone” forming as we speak off the eastern seaboard. A bomb cyclone, if I understand it correctly, is the new, sexy name for a bad blizzard:
Forecasters are expecting the storm to become a so-called “bomb cyclone” because its pressure is predicted to fall so fast, an indicator of explosive strengthening.
The third lowest non-tropical atmospheric pressure ever recorded in the mainland United States occurred as the storm passed over Mount Clemens, Michigan, where the barometer fell to 956.0 mb (28.23 inHg) on January 26.
So I guess those of you in the midst of that soup have it worse. At least the roads are clear here. For now.
Man, does the dog hate this crap, though. Even in her fetching winter coat and with mushers’ wax on her paws, all she wants to do is get the job done and go back to standing in front of the furnace vents.
As for me, I ate very lightly yesterday, abstained from alcohol and feel much better today. Even with my aborted workout.
For today, a rich banquet of linkage.
From Politico, an analysis of the Trump administration’s foreign policy that will not make you sleep well tonight, particularly in light of the dick-measuring button tweets last night. Here he is, meeting with leaders from Latin America:
After the photo op was over and the cameras had left the room, Trump dominated the long table. His vice president, Mike Pence, was to his right; Pence had just spent nearly a week on a conciliatory, well-received tour of the region, the first by a high-ranking administration official since Trump’s inauguration. To Trump’s left was his secretary of state, Rex Tillerson. “Rex tells me you don’t want me to use the military option in Venezuela,” the president told the gathered Latin American leaders, according to an account offered by an attendee soon after the dinner. “Is that right? Are you sure?” Everyone said they were sure. But they were rattled. War with Venezuela, as absurd as that seemed, was clearly still on Trump’s mind.
A thesis statement, after a couple more disturbing anecdotes:
So what the hell is going on? I’ve come to believe that when it comes to Trump and the world, it’s not better than you think. It’s worse.
Not that things are better on the domestic front. The House Intelligence Committee’s Russia investigation may well produce two reports:
In an interview with me, Rep. Jim Himes of Connecticut — the No. 2 Democrat on the House intel committee — said that Democrats are seriously exploring the possibility of issuing a minority report that details (among other things) the degree to which Republicans tried to impede a full investigation, should that end up happening. In this scenario, the public would at least have a clear sense of just how far Republicans went to protect President Trump and his top officials from accountability.
“It’s in both the Democrats’ and the Republicans’ interests to … write a report based on a common set of facts,” Himes told me. “It would be a tragedy if the report has a minority section that says, ‘Look, we wanted to talk to these two dozen witnesses and weren’t able to do so.’”
But I don’t want to bum you out on a day when just stepping outside is…trying. So here’s this: The year in weird Florida news, a veritable Whitman’s Sampler of giggles:
When a SWAT team raided a home in the retirement mega-community of The Villages, police found more than just the meth lab they’d expected. They also discovered it was a chop shop for stolen golf carts. …A Plantation police officer giving a gun safety lesson to schoolchildren warned them that his Taser was not a toy, then accidentally Tasered a 10-year-old. …Police in Fort Pierce said a man jumped into a burning car, drove it around the block, stopped, jumped out, then fired several shots into it.
PS: It wasn’t his car.