Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog
Tuesday 1 August 2006

From guest blogger Sean:


About Chicago's recent weather—today the temp in Oneida is expected to hit 36°C (97°F). Some areas will likely see 38°C (100°F) or more. I don’t think I've ever seen it this hot in this area before, not in almost 36 years. But after last summer, which was the hottest average summer yet, we really don't want more heat here.

At least we aren't merely baking, though; we're broiling: July finished with an official monthly precipitation total of just over 10 inches. In one month. My tomato garden is now a rice paddock. The water table around my house has risen to just below the two-foot mark. And yet the NWS is telling President Bush the evidence for global warming is "inconclusive?" Excuse me, when upstate NY has already seen over a dozen 32°C (90°F)-plus days this year as of August 1st and this much rain, and the Midwest is another Dust Bowl, and the Ross Ice Shelf in Antarctica continues to erode at an alarming rate, I think there's more than enough conclusive evidence for global warming. How much is human-caused and how much is a larger natural global cycle, now that's the real question, but come on, I think we can draw some very clear conclusions here.

On another and unrelated note, we picked almost 9 gallons of blueberries last week and we’ve just started harvesting blackberries from the pasture—over 2 gallons there yesterday and we can expect many, many more over the next month. The apple trees—which I aggressively pruned—are bearing a nice harvest of fruit. Too bad my tomato plants are flowering at less than half size and speaking Vietnamese. Well, that means next year we create raised beds with better drainage. And dig out the pond as planned.


Sean is a teacher and farmer in Oneida, N.Y.

Update, 18:00 UTC: You can see more of Sean's agony at the experimental Weather Now history page.

Tuesday 1 August 2006 08:57:44 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Weather#
Monday 31 July 2006

As threatened, it hit 37°C (99°F) in Chicago today, making it possibly the hottest July 31st on record. We won't know for sure until tomorrow.

From July 1st until today the average high temperature in Chicago was 29.6°C (85.3°F), modestly above normal, but not quite like those in Jamie's and Angela's home cities, which were 32.2°C (90°F) and 32.4°C (90.4°F), respectively. As Angela pointed out, this is much more normal for Atlanta than it is for here, but that doesn't make it any more pleasant in either city.

Last year, despite an all-time July high of 38.2°C (102°F) in Chicago, the average July highs for Atlanta, Chicago, and Raleigh were 30.4°C (86.7°F), 30.2°C (86.4°F), and 33.8°C (92.8°F), respectively, which were much closer to normal for all three.

But let's review. The average daily high temperature for June in Chicago was 25.9°C (78.6°F), which I think we can all agree was much more pleasant. And, moreover, we chose to live in Chicago, not anywhere South of the 40th parallel, for precisely this reason.

Oh, and another thing: at this writing, it's 34°C (93°F) in Raleigh, 33°C (91°F) in Atlanta, but 37°C (99°F) here. So, yes, my dear Southern friends, it's really quite warm in Chicago right now.

Monday 31 July 2006 15:55:01 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Weather#

The National Weather Service had this to say three hours ago:

URGENT - WEATHER MESSAGE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE CHICAGO/ROMEOVILLE IL 517 AM CDT MON JUL 31 2006
Monday 31 July 2006 08:11:00 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Weather#
Saturday 29 July 2006

It was 29°C (85°F) by 9 this morning. The temperature may possibly fall below 25°C (77°F) before sunrise Tuesday, but not likely before then.

Last night, my buddy from Washington remarked about the 30°C (86°F) evening and said, "back home, this is delightful July weather."

Bleah. I want frost.

Saturday 29 July 2006 11:01:56 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Weather#
Friday 28 July 2006

Anne is stuck in Washington because of storms in Chicago...sort of:

O'Hare International Airport was experiencing [hour-long] delays, she said, but the airport's flight schedule also had been interrupted by technical problems at a Federal Aviation Administration facility in Elgin.
[Chicago Transportation Dept. spokeswoman Wendy] Abrams said the delays were expected to continue throughout the early evening.
The National Weather Service in Romeoville issued a Severe Thunderstorm Watch, which will remain in effect until 11 p.m., for northeastern Illinois and northwest Indiana.

I may see her tonight. I hope.

Thursday 27 July 2006 19:05:51 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Weather#
Thursday 27 July 2006
Thursday 27 July 2006 09:50:08 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Jokes#

Why did the only government we have approve a deal to give nuclear materials to one of only two nuclear-armed countries that rejects the Non-Proliferation Treaty? (Possible answer: because the other one is Pakistan?)

Yes, Congress voted 359-68 to give India nuclear technology:

For Bush to implement his accord with India, lawmakers must first exempt New Delhi from U.S. laws that bar nuclear trade with countries that have not submitted to full international inspections.
Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich (D-Ohio) [said] that "at this time of great crisis in the world, we should be looking for nuclear disarmament, nuclear abolition—saving the world, not ramping up for Armageddon by nuclear proliferation."
"We're going in the wrong direction here," he said.

As Tom Lehrer once sang: "We'll try to stay serene and calm/When Alabama gets the bomb./Who's next?"

I am sad to report that Illinois' own nuclear material Henry Hyde sponsored the bill, though how this will help DuPage County is beyond me. Also troubling is my own representative's vote for it. Congresswoman Schakowsky: why? Why? Why?

Thursday 27 July 2006 09:18:15 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Politics#

ExxonMobil (NYSE: XOM) posted a $10,360,000,000 profit last quarter:

The earnings figure was 36 percent above the profit it reported a year ago. High oil prices helped boost the company's revenue by 12 percent to a level just short of a quarterly record. Exxon Mobil's report comes a day after another large U.S. oil company, ConocoPhillips, said it earned more than $5 billion in the quarter and at a time when many drivers in the U.S. are paying $3 for a gallon of gas—increasing the likelihood of further political backlash in Washington.

I wonder, does this have anything to do with the secret Cheney energy-policy meeting in 2001? I wonder. I also wonder who's getting that money. Are you an ExxonMobil shareholder? Do you know anyone who is, whose annual income is below $500,000? I wonder.

Just for giggles, you might want to know that their profit works out to $1,317 per second. In the time it's taken for me to write this entry, they've earned almost $400,000.

As we say in Chicago: "Where's mine?"

One more thing: Temperatures in Chicago should hit 32°C (90°F) every day for the next week, so it's possible my estimate of their earnings was low.

Thursday 27 July 2006 09:06:04 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Politics | Weather#
Wednesday 26 July 2006
I noticed this morning that the sun is rising a little later. So I thought, other than pressing personal and professional obligations, why not update the sunrise chart? (You can get one for your own location at http://beta.wx-now.com/Sunrise/SunriseChart.aspx.)
Wednesday 26 July 2006 14:26:01 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Weather#

That's what Molly Ivins suggests this week:

Do I think Bill Moyers can win the presidency? No, that seems like a very long shot to me. The nomination? No, that seems like a very long shot to me.
Then why run him? Think, imagine, if seven or eight other Democratic candidates, all beautifully coiffed and triangulated and carefully coached to say nothing that will offend anyone, stand on stage with Bill Moyers in front of cameras for a national debate … what would happen? Bill Moyers would win, would walk away with it, just because he doesn't triangulate or calculate or trim or try to straddle the issues. Bill Moyers doesn't have to endorse a constitutional amendment against flag burning or whatever wedge issue du jour Republicans have come up with. He is not afraid of being called "unpatriotic." And besides, he is a wise and a kind man who knows how to talk on TV.

Sounds good to me.

Wednesday 26 July 2006 14:03:05 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Politics#

The ACLU's case over AT&T sharing its phone records with the government got dismissed:

"The court is persuaded that requiring AT&T to confirm or deny whether it has disclosed large quantities of telephone records to the federal government could give adversaries of this country valuable insight into the government's intelligence activities," U.S. District Judge Matthew F. Kennelly said.

Any adversary of this country who can't figure out what phone records went to which agency is probably too stupid to be much of a threat, in my opinion.

I was all set to rant that Kennelly was a Bush (either flavor) or Reagan appointee, but no, he's one of ours. Still, the whole thing smells bad, not least because the judicial branch really ought to stand up to the executive, since the legislative isn't.

Tuesday 25 July 2006 20:17:08 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Politics | Software#
Monday 24 July 2006

I don't know whether this is funny or sad. The Italian government is using the frequent-flier records of several CIA operatives to build their prosecution:

It is unclear whether the operatives intended to take advantage of the free flights garnered at government expense—CIA personnel on such assignments are permitted to fly expensive international business class—or whether they simply were attempting to bolster their covers as private-sector executives.

So keep this in mind, all you road warriors: Someday someone may track your movements based on your quest for Executive Platinum.

Monday 24 July 2006 11:40:54 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Politics | Software#
It's old news, but the President has frequently attached "signing statements" to bills he's signed indicating that, his signature notwithstanding, he won't enforce the law. Now the ABA says this is bad. No kidding.
Monday 24 July 2006 08:38:58 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Politics#
Sunday 23 July 2006

Yesterday I rode 80 km (50 miles) in some of the most beautiful weather Chicago can have. It started off cool and got pleasant but not hot, with a light breeze and low humidity. If every day were like this, I thought, we'd be in Santa Barbara.

It rained a little last night (here, anyway; a collossal thunderstorm charged through the Western suburbs), so new we have even better weather than yesterday, if such is possible. If my legs were not still rubbery right now I would go for a bike ride.

Stupid post, I know, but that's what this weather does to me.

Sunday 23 July 2006 08:48:33 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Weather#
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David Braverman and Parker
David Braverman is a software developer in Chicago, and the creator of Weather Now. Parker is the most adorable dog on the planet, 80% of the time.
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