The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

Record heat in Europe

Significant changes in the northern jet stream has caused serious problems for Europe and South Asia:

Unusual jet stream behavior has been recorded every three to five years since 2000 — in 2003, 2006, 2010, 2015 and 2018 — turning what scientists initially thought could be an isolated abnormality into what appears to be a pattern, [Jeff Masters, co-founder and director of meteorology for Weather Underground] said.

What is surprising to scientists now is that the wavier-than-normal jet stream has returned for a second year in a row — the first time that has been observed, said Kai Kornhuber, a climate scientist at The Earth Institute at Columbia University in New York City.

“I wouldn’t have expected this situation to return so quickly after the extreme summer last year,” Kornhuber said. “It gives me the chills to see this evolving in real time again. It’s a really worrying development.”

This weather pattern brought temperatures over 45°C to France earlier this week:

The highest reliable June temperature previously recorded in France was 41.5°C on 21 June 2003. The country’s highest ever temperature, recorded at two separate locations in southern France on 12 August during the same 2003 heatwave, was 44.1°C.

“At our local Potsdam station, operating since 1893, we’re set to break the past June record by about 2C,” tweeted Stefan Rahmstorf, of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. Eastern parts of Germany, including Berlin, are already experiencing their hottest June on record.

“Weather data show that heatwaves and other weather extremes are on the rise in recent decades,” he said. “The hottest summers in Europe since the year AD1500 all occurred since the turn of the last century: 2018, 2010, 2003, 2016, 2002.”

Monthly records were now falling five times as often as they would in a stable climate, Rahmstorf said, adding this was “a consequence of global warming caused by the increasing greenhouse gases from burning coal, oil and gas”.

And the band played on...

My junior U.S. senator turns out to be a pandering bigot

Well, maybe Mark Kirk isn't really the narrow-minded tool he seems to be, but a letter his office sent to the President sure makes him look like one. He's yet another Republican calling for us to exclude Syrian refugees on the grounds that a few of their countrymen are extremist criminals.

Here's my response, which I sent to his office just now:


The letter you sent to President Obama about not admitting Syrian refugees "unless the U.S. government can guarantee, with 100 percent assurance, that they are not members [of ISIS]" did not represent my views, nor the views of many of your constituents. In fact, it demonstrated not only an immoral conflation of the plight of refugees with terrorists, and not only a surprising lack of historical understanding (recall the Jewish refugees we turned away in 1938 and 1939), but also a total misunderstanding of the goals of ISIS that played right into their plans for their terror operations.

One of ISIS' strategic goals is to goad the US and its allies into knee-jerk overreaction. Vilifying the tens of thousands of Syrians who are just trying to get to safety from their war-torn country because a handful of criminals committed violent acts against one of our allies horrifies me.

We need to do everything we can to help Syrians get out of the killing zones in their countries. We also want people to immigrate here, as the US was built by people looking for opportunity and to get away from war. You know Steve Jobs was the son of a Syrian immigrant, don't you? Imagine if someone had excluded his father from the US.

I think you need to explain to the people of Illinois why we should in any way change our tradition of accepting those who seek a better life in our state, just because some of their countrymen are deranged, religious nuts. We have plenty of deranged, religious nuts in Illinois already, and we're still safe.

Thank you for your time.

We need to stop doing exactly what these guys want us to do. Every time we overreact, or blame entire religions or nations for the crimes of a few people, or invade Iraq, we're helping the extremists. Why is this so hard to grasp?

Back to the 7th Century

I haven't commented on Friday night's attacks in Paris for a number of reasons, none of which is relevant right now. I would like to call attention to some of the better responses I've read in the last couple of days:

  • Paul Krugman reminds us that if we fear ISIS, they're succeedingnot the other way around.
  • Professor Olivier Roy of the European University Institute in Florence says the Paris attacks reveal ISIS' strategic limitations, not their strength.
  • President Obama sharply criticized Republican governors (including our own asshat Bruce Rauner) for saying their states won't accept Syrian refugees anymore. (Because of course they were flocking to Alabama, right?) The governors presumably know that this is a foreign-policy issue entirely within Article III and states have no authority here.
  • French president François Hollande has declared "terrorism will not destroy the Republic." Of course not; the National Front, which could destroy the Republic, is widely recognized as being a racist, reactionary organization, unlike the U.S. Republican Party.

French reactions are instructive. The French people are pissed as hell, not scared. They understand that the attacks Friday were the work of assholes, not "Islam," and they're responding rationally. Flipping out and transforming France into an armed camp would support the thugs' agenda.

Also instructive is this article from last March explaining that ISIS really are religious nutters first and strategists second, and they really are trying to bring about the end of the world so that the last remaining few dozen of them can go to heaven with Jesus. I am not making this up, though I admit I might not fully understand it, in the same way that I don't always understand the ramblings of four-year-old children either.