Category Archives: Weather

Joe Wilson accused of disaster hypocrisy

… or at the very least, inconsistency.

I’m not going to quote the whole thing because of the language that he used, but here’s part of what someone named Jonathan Valania had to say about Joe Wilson’s vote against Sandy relief last week:

… this despite the fact that South Carolina has had 13 major disaster declarations and two emergency declarations in the last 30 years, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The worst storm to ever hit the Palmetto State, Hurricane Hugo back in 1989, caused over $13 billion in damage and left nearly 60,000 people homeless.

Guess who picked up the tab?

And back in 2003 when the South Carolina suffered through a severe drought, all 46 counties in the Palmetto State were declared federal disaster zones at Wilson’s urging. In 2005, he voted for a $10.5 billion Katrina relief package.

“The compassion, generosity, and solidarity of the American people during difficult times are one of our most cherished blessings as citizens of our great nation,” Wilson said after the Katrina relief bill passed the House. “As we now face the severity of this historic natural disaster, Americans must do what we do best: help each other.”...

That was then and this is now.

Indeed. That was before the Tea Party, and before Joe decided he must do its will. And this is now, after Joe has followed the Four Freshman (OK, so now it’s Three Sophomores) through the looking glass.

Romney campaign, other Republicans still blaming Christie

Gov. Christie on SNL over the weekend.

There’s an interesting NYT story today about how Chris Christie got a chilly reception at the Republican Governor’s Association meeting in Vegas. It also goes into just how much the Romney campaign people blame him for their loss. Some experts:

But in the days after the storm, Mr. Christie and his advisers were startled to hear from out-of-state donors to Mr. Romney, who had little interest in the hurricane and viewed him solely as a campaign surrogate, demanding to know why he had stood so close to the president on a tarmac. One of them questioned why he had boarded Mr. Obama’s helicopter, according to people briefed on the conversations.

It did not help that Mr. Romney had not called Mr. Christie during those first few days, people close to the governor say.

The tensions followed Mr. Christie to the annual meeting of the Republican Governors Association in Las Vegas last week. At a gathering where he had expected to be celebrated, Mr. Christie was repeatedly reminded of how deeply he had offended fellow Republicans.

“I will not apologize for doing my job,” he emphatically told one of them in a hotel hallway at the ornate Wynn Resort…

Inside the Romney campaign, there is little doubt that Mr. Christie’s expressions of admiration for the president, coupled with ubiquitous news coverage of the hurricane’s aftermath, raised Mr. Obama’s standing at a crucial moment.

During a lengthy autopsy of their campaign, Mr. Romney’s political advisers pored over data showing that an unusually large number of voters who remained undecided until the end of the campaign backed Mr. Obama. Many of them cited the storm as a major factor in their decision, according to a person involved in the discussion.

“Christie,” a Romney adviser said, “allowed Obama to be president, not a politician.”…

Gee, folks, do you think it could be, as this story suggests, something as simple as the fact that Obama was taking an interest in what was happening in New Jersey, and his opponent was not?

The Obama-Christie mutual admiration society

The kind words flowed both ways today between the governor of New Jersey and the POTUS:

President Obama stood shoulder-to-shoulder with Chris Christie, the Republican governor of New Jersey, on Wednesday afternoon, providing reassurance after Hurricane Sandy — and a politically powerful picture of bipartisanship…

“He has worked incredibly closely with me since before the storm hit,” Mr. Christie said, with Mr. Obama standing just behind him. “It’s been a great working relationship.”…

Mr. Obama was equally effusive, saying that Mr. Christie, “throughout this process, has been responsive.”

“He’s been aggressive,” the president continued, “in making sure” that the state was prepared in advance of the storm.

“I think the people of New Jersey recognize that he’s put his heart and soul” into the recovery after the storm. “I just want to thank him for his extraordinary leadership and participation.”…

Only one thing marred the blossoming of this beautiful friendship: When they were flying together over Point Pleasant Beach, they saw someone had written “ROMNEY” in large letters in the sand…

Gov. Chris Christie’s effusive praise of Obama

Here’s something you don’t see every day:

Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey took an unscheduled break from partisan attacks on the President Obama on Tuesday to praise him, repeatedly and effusively, for leading the federal government’s response to the storm.

“Wonderful,” “excellent” and “outstanding” were among the adjectives Mr. Christie chose, a change-up from his remarks last week that Mr. Obama was “blindly walking around the White House looking for a clue.”

Some of Mr. Christie’s Republican brethren have already begun grumbling about his gusher of praise at such a crucial time in the election.

But the governor seemed unconcerned. When Fox News asked him about the possibility that Mitt Romney might take a disaster tour of New Jersey, Mr. Christie replied:

I have no idea, nor am I the least bit concerned or interested. I have a job to do in New Jersey that is much bigger than presidential politics. If you think right now I give a damn about presidential politics, then you don’t know me.

A governor who cares more about serving his (or her) state more than national partisan politics? Imagine that. If you live in South Carolina, you might find that difficult, but try…

Is Hurricane Sandy God’s ‘October Surprise’?

And if so, which candidate does he want to benefit?

Nate Silver is worrying about Sandy, and not just because he lives in Brooklyn:

I’m not sure whether I render the greater disservice by contemplating the political effects of a natural disaster — or by ignoring the increasingly brisk winds whipping outside my apartment in Brooklyn. Still, I thought it was worth giving you my tentative thoughts on how Hurricane Sandy might affect the runup to next Tuesday’s election.

We may see a reduction in the number of polls issued over the coming days. The Investor’s Business Daily poll has already announced that it will suspend its national tracking poll until the storm passes, and other cancellations may follow. And certainly, any polls in the states that are most in harm’s way, including Virginia, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland and Pennsylvania, will need to be interpreted with extreme caution…

But beyond the polls that Silver lives by, what about the election itself?

The aftermath of Katrina did enormous damage to public perception of President Obama’s predecessor. What will happen in those blue states that will bear the brunt of this storm, and how quickly will it happen?

Will this be a chance to show political leadership that will enhance the incumbent’s chances, or will it inevitably cause a bad taste that accrues to Mr. Romney?

The Washington Post has put together this interesting explainer on “five places where Hurricane Sandy could affect the election.” Interesting. A snowstorm in conservative southwest Virginia keeping people from the polls? Whoa.

Meanwhile, the Obama team is shrugging everything off and declaring their victory inevitable. The other side is pumping out some hubris, too, saying in a memo: “Every day, Barack Obama’s so-called Ohio firewall crumbles a little bit more because of Mitt Romney’s electric appearances, our campaign’s robust ground game, and Romney’s forward-looking message that lays out a serious and specific agenda for the future.”

Electric appearances? Really?

Nikki Haley still to speak (I’m sure all of y’all will be greatly relieved to know it)

At first it appeared that planet Earth had gone to great trouble to prevent Nikki Haley from addressing the nation. But the GOP convention planners, not ones to take a hint, have rescheduled her:

TAMPA, Fla. — Gov. Nikki Haley will address the Republican National Convention at nearly 10 p.m. Tuesday under the new, storm-altered schedule of events.

The governor was originally slated to speak at 10 p.m. tonight, but Tropical Storm Isaac forced organizers to scrap the opening night activities and move the Monday night speakers to Tuesday.

Haley, who made history as the state’s first female and minority governor, will follow Artur Davis, a former Alabama Democrat and supporter of President Obama who became a Republican this year after badly losing his bid to become Alabama’s first black governor.

She will speak before GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s wife, Ann, and another popular Republican governor, Chris Christie of New Jersey, according to the revised schedule. Christie was supposed to deliver the keynote speech Monday night…

So I’m sure all of y’all are relieved, right?

D.C. wimps can’t handle FAMOUSLY Hot…

This morning on Twitter, The Washington Post whined that “Today is going to be very hot in D.C.”

I followed the link. You know what they think is “very hot?”

They were expecting it to be between 97 and 102. (OK, actually it turned out to be 104 there; but that wasn’t what was forecast this morning.) Really. What we would consider to be middlin’ warm here in Famously Hot Columbia, SC. A good day for seersucker, perhaps, but no use complaining…

So I reTweeted that, adding the message, “Oh, yeah? Well, it’s going to be 107 here, you wimps…”

As it turns out, I was being modest, as you can see from the actual screenshot from my phone this afternoon.

Earlier, on NPR, I had heard someone marveling over how hot it was supposed to be in various places across the country. No mention of Columbia. And none of the forecasts cited were as hot as it was supposed to get here.

Does everything come in twos now?

Above you see the rather startling double rainbow over Columbia last evening, shot through one of the front windows of Yesterday’s. Below you see the more earthbound view from several moments earlier.

The gray Jetta across the river — I mean, street — belongs to my daughter-in-law. I had invited her and my son and youngest granddaughter to Five Points for dinner last night. As we were eating, we were aware of how hard the rain was falling outside. Then, we noticed a crowd gathering to look out the the window. Was there a fire?

I went to check, and got the pictures. And yes, their car was flooded. Which makes me feel pretty bad, since if I hadn’t asked them out, their car would have been high and dry in their driveway.

We had to take them home — the parking lot was high enough to be out of the floodwaters, and that’s where my Buick was. Then we had to bring my son back for the bailing. The car started, but it’s saturated.

As you’ll recall, this is the second time in three days that a car belonging to a member of my family has been drenched by the chronic floods of Columbia. (My wife’s car started after the flood receded, but there’s still water squelching under the carpet, and it started to smell over the weekend. We kept trying to sop up the water and air it out, but it kept raining.)

My eldest daughter (unlike me, a Columbia resident) said last night, “I’m not someone who normally says this, but what am I paying taxes for?”

Indeed. I saw Cameron Runyan this morning and advised him, “Here’s a city issue for you.”

This is totally unacceptable. As we were leaving, we saw the business owners fighting the water in their shops. Shoes were floating around in a shoe store. Lights were on everywhere on this Sunday night.

Five Points is a gem for Columbia. But it’s kind of hard to keep a business going when there are whitecaps in the street.

It wasn’t just Five Points last night, of course. I saw someone else stalled in Shandon after the waters receded. And state GOP Executive Director Matt Moore Tweeted this, at about the time I Tweeted out the double rainbow:

Water 6 feet deep on Leesburg Rd, in@columbiasc #sctweets

That’s no everyday occurrence — or rather, it shouldn’t be. That kind of flooding in Louisiana inspired Randy Newman to write this wonderful song 50 years later:

The river rose all day
The river rose all night
Some people got lost in the flood
Some people got away alright
The river have busted through clear down to Plaquemines
Six feet of water in the streets of Evangeline…

Let me leave you with a theological question: If one rainbow means it’s not going to flood any more, is a double rainbow a double guarantee? Or is it a toggle sort of thing: One the promise is on; two it’s off? Is it like adding positive three to negative three, so you end up at zero?

In Columbia, I fear that may be the case.

Today’s floods: Will her car start? I don’t know.

This morning my wife texted the above photo from Shandon, with the simple message, “Think it will start?” She’s referring to her half-submerged Volvo there. I called her right away, and she said it was higher than in the picture, and still seemed to be rising.

I don’t know yet. My advice was to wait until the end of the day (she’s taking care of the Twins), and try then. Give it some chance to dry out.

I like it when she calls me and asks me stuff like I have special knowledge on account of being a guy. It’s like “Car Talk.” I should have asked her to imitate the noise it was making. I imagine it would have sounded like the opening of “Splish-Splash.”

But there was one thing I could do, as one of the Twitterati. I Tweeted her picture, and it got three reTweets, one by WLTX, with the added words, “Crazy flooding!

Speaking of TV stations, WIS has a gallery of crazy flooding pics from this morning.

The Great White North


Travel has distracted me the last couple of days. I’ve been exploring the frozen wastes north of the Mason Dixon line, expecting at any moment to run into Peary or Byrd or Shackleton or somebody.

They got those people off the Interstate not far from here. The Turnpike has pretty much been open all along. As one cynical local sage told me, "They’ll never let the Turnpike close. It’s a toll road.

Good thing, too, because I’m using it today to drive to the airport and get back home.

I’ve missed Obama, but not Hillary. I’ll try to catch up tomorrow. No column today. I wrote one before I left, but decided that Cindi’s column was better for Sunday.

So, take off, eh?


Is God telling us something?

As we’ve all come to learn from bitter experience, the worst place to be when a hurricane strikes is just to the right of the eye as it comes ashore. That’s where the greatest force and the highest storm surge hit, because at that point you’re dealing with not only the head-on circular speed of the counter-clockwise winds, but the forward momentum of the storm itself (at least I think that’s why; any more weather-savvy people out there are invited to correct me).

Conversely, if you’ve got to be within the radius of such a storm, the “best” place to be is to the left of the eye, because that way you just get the hurricane’s “backhand” as it is moving in a direction opposite that of the wind.

Thus Hugo hit McLellanvile harder than it did Charleston, and Katrina slammed little towns in western Mississippi harder than it did New Orleans (not that that was much comfort to New Orleans once the Lake Pontchartrain levee broke).

So it struck me as interesting, looking at the map we ran
on the front page this morning, to see the way Rita had shifted course. Galveston and Houston were able to breathe a little easier, as it looked as though they might get the backhand now, when the opposite had seemed likely earlier. But in shifting course to the east, the greatest force of the storm was now projected to hit the greatest concentration of oil refineries in the region.

Is God trying to tell us something? Is He giving us a more direct hint — since we haven’t taken the earlier ones, which were none too subtle (9/11, Katrina) — that maybe, just maybe, we ought to be thinking about a serious energy policy? One in which we pursue alternative sources of power for all we’re worth while conserving like crazy and in the meantime (as long as we’re still relying on some oil) looking for other places to get and process oil domestically besides the Gulf Coast?

Maybe. But before I make too big a deal about this in theological terms, let’s wait and see where the storm actually does come ashore…