I mailed in my passport renewal application on the 7th and got both my new passport and my passport card yesterday. I still haven't gotten my old passport back, but that's OK for now.
Two weeks and $200, start to finish, without using Express Mail. Nice job, guys.
As of yesterday, the 3/4 mark in his term, President Trump has told 16,241:
In 2017, Trump made 1,999 false or misleading claims. In 2018, he added 5,689 more, for a total of 7,688. And in 2019, he made 8,155 suspect claims.
In other words, in a single year, the president said more than total number of false or misleading claims he had made in the previous two years. Put another way: He averaged six such claims a day in 2017, nearly 16 a day in 2018 and more than 22 a day in 2019.
The president added to his total on Sunday evening with more than 20 Trumpian claims — many old favorites — during a triumphant speech at the annual conference of the American Farm Bureau Federation. He incorrectly described trade agreements — suggesting Canadian dairy tariffs were eliminated and an agreement with Japan to reduce tariffs on $7 billion of farm products was “a $40 billion deal” — and also falsely asserted that “tough” farmers and ranchers were crying as he signed a repeal of Obama-era regulations. A video of the event shows no one crying.
In 2018 and 2019, October and November ranked as the months in which Trump made the most false or misleading claims: October 2018: 1,205; October 2019: 1,159; November 2019: 903; and November 2018: 867.
So, as of today, only 365 days remain in his term. And the election is closer still.
Josh Marshall says we should hold Republican senators accountable for their handling of President Trump's impeachment trial—especially vulnerable ones up for re-election this year:
We know what Trump did. What remains to be seen is whether Senate Republicans will back his behavior. Monday evening we got a big part of the answer.
When we say that it’s Senate Republicans who are on trial, that’s not just rhetoric or wordplay. It’s the reality and understanding it is a guide to political action.
I’ve already seen a number of statements from Senate Democrats “hoping” that “Republican moderates” will force McConnell to backtrack. This is all wrong, not least because it prospectively credits the good faith of these supposed “moderates” who are in fact operating as McConnell’s foot soldiers in shutting the trial down. In other words, this is vouching for the good faith and good intentions of senators who deserve to be driven from office in November. Start making the case against them right now. If any of them think they are unfairly accused the solution is ready at hand.
Only 227 days until the election.
Wildlife authorities captured the coyote that attacked a 6-year-old boy in Lincoln Park earlier this month, and have taken it to a rehabilitation center:
With help from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, local officials tested the animal and said it was the same one that on Jan. 8 attacked the child near the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, 2430 N. Cannon Drive, biting the child on his head.
The results of the testing that were promised at the time of the coyote’s capture were released Sunday, and authorities now say the animal was limping because it had been shot with a BB gun, according to a statement from city spokesman Patrick Mullane.
Mullane also said testing confirmed the animal did not have rabies.
It looks like everyone, including the injured coyote, will recover.
I'm visiting one of my oldest friends in Durham, N.C. She is fostering Lexi, who had nine puppies on the 5th:
So, it turns out that puppies under two weeks old (a) smell horrendous, no matter how often you change their bedding, and (b) don't do a lot. But in the 18 hours I've been here most of them have opened their eyes for the first time. And they are really cute.
This morning we took a short hike at the Museum of Life and Science, which encourages John Cleese to visit:
It helps that while Chicago basks in its tropical -12°C January heat, here in Durham it's a chilly (to them) 12°C.
This looks very familiar to me:
As does this:
And it means that my 10:20 flight connecting through Charlotte is now a 12:06 flight connecting through Washington. Welcome to travel from O'Hare in January.
At least I'll have some time to nap. Or read. Or nap while reading...
Lake Michigan continues its record-high levels this month. As of yesterday, the Michigan-Huron system was at 177. 4 m above sea level, 51 cm above last year's level and more than a full meter above average January levels. This has caused massive erosion and the loss of entire beaches in Chicago:
Since 2013, the lake has risen nearly 2 meters, going from a record low to near-record high levels last summer. On Saturday, waves nearing 6 meters pummeled an already drowning shoreline.
A 1-meter wave can pack the power of a small car. A 6-meter wave? Maybe a freight train.
The Chicago Department of Transportation is evaluating the impacts of the storm at Morgan Shoal from 48th to 50th streets and working with the Army Corps to install boulders, according to spokesman Michael Claffey. The work is expected to begin in the coming months.
They'd better get to it. Typically, lake levels are lowest January through April, but so far this month the lake is only 6 cm lower than last July's all-time-record high average.
I'm not the only one who questioned whether a Delta B777 dumping fuel over Los Angeles made a lot of sense:
Fuel dumps occur only to reduce planes' weights for unexpected landings because some of them have maximum takeoff weights higher than their landing weights, said John Cox, a former US Airways captain who runs Safety Operating Systems, an aviation safety consulting company.
While the procedure is standard for an emergency landing, it can be accomplished more safely if it is done at a high altitude, allowing the fuel to evaporate before it reaches the ground, and it can be done over designated secluded areas.
"The question investigators are going to ask is that if you're going to dump fuel, why didn't you advise air traffic control, and why didn't you go where fuel dumping is approved, which would not be over a highly populated area?" Cox said. "If you had an on-board fire or something like that, it makes absolute sense to do that. But this was not that case."
The crew of Delta Flight 89 did not inform air traffic control that it was going to dump fuel, according to a review of communications, the Federal Aviation Administration said Wednesday. Typically, air traffic controllers direct planes to appropriate fuel-dumping areas, the agency said in a statement.
Apparently the airplane suffered a compressor stall, which doesn't usually affect the safety of flight. Fun fact: Boeing 777 airplanes meet ETOPS-207 standards, meaning they can safely fly for 207 minutes—up to about 4,000 km—on one engine. So even if the compressor stall took the engine offline, they could have flown back out over the Pacific to dump fuel.
Again, I'm looking forward to the NTSB report.
Fortunately, I'm debugging a build process that takes 6 minutes each time, so I may be able to squeeze some of these in:
Back to debugging Azure DevOps pipelines...
Data released today by NOAA and NASA confirm a frightening fact scientists had already guessed:
The past decade was the hottest ever recorded on the planet, driven by an acceleration of temperature increases in the past five years....
According to NOAA, the globe is warming at a faster rate than it had been just a few decades ago. The annual global average surface temperature has increased at an average rate of 0.07 degrees Celsius (0.13 Fahrenheit) per decade since 1880, NOAA found. However, since 1981, that rate has more than doubled since.
Alaska also had its hottest year on record in 2019. It included an alarming lack of ice cover during the winter in the Bering and Chukchi Seas, and in the summer the temperature at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport hit 32°C for the first time.
Still, even as millions of protesters have taken to the streets to demand action, world leaders have so far shown little ability to move as fast as scientists say is necessary to cut greenhouse gas emissions.
In a bleak report last fall, the United Nations warned that the world had squandered so much time mustering the willpower to combat climate change that drastic, unprecedented cuts in emissions are now the only way to avoid an ever-intensifying cascade of consequences. The U.N. report said global temperatures are on pace to rise as much as 3.2°C by the end of the century, and that emissions must begin falling by 7.6 percent each year beginning 2020 to meet the most ambitious goals of the Paris climate accord.
But hey, the President wants to make sure your shower and dishwasher waste more water, so that'll help.