Category Archive 'Disasters'
05 Oct 2015

Heavy Rain in South Carolina

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SouthCarolinaNessie

09 Aug 2015

Donald Trump Self Destructs in Debate Aftermath

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Donald-Trump-angry

Donald Trump was always looked upon as a dubious presidential candidate, seemingly lacking in judgement, depth, and gravitas. But Trump decidedly surprised everyone by demonstrating unexpected abilities to debate effectively, to address issues, and to create a case for his candidacy based on opposition to conventional American politics, professional politicians, and political correctness.

He surged in the (very, very early) polls, by being entertaining, and –more importantly– by cleverly framing himself as the opponent of the same political establishment which much of America absolutely loathes and detests.

Serious conservative commentators and the GOP establishment were appalled, but people like me thought Trump was making some good points. He never really seemed all that likely to won the nomination, but in the meantime he did seem to be driving Republican politics in the right kind of anti-Washington, anti-business-as-usual direction. And, heck! if by some miracle, Trump actually won, he’d be bound to be better than Obama.

Well, lo and behold, all it took was the first official GOP debate on Fox News to do in the Trump candidacy. Curiously, Trump really actually did do just fine in the debate itself. But he began to self-destruct as soon as it was over.

Two excellent posts by Stuart Schneiderman:

8/7: On the Republican Debate:

The moderators are professional journalists. No one should have been surprised that they acquitted themselves as such. The leftist slander of Fox journalists as Republican toadies is so entrenched that people are surprised when they act professionally. No one should be.

Some conservative commentators criticized the Fox moderators for their tough questioning, but nearly all of the candidates were prepared to address them. The overall quality of the Republican candidates is exceptional; unfortunately, they are, for now, being overshadowed by Trump.

In New York Magazine Gabriel Sherman wrote about the conflict between Trump and Fox News:

    Having spent the past six weeks rhetorically slashing at his Republican rivals, it makes perfect sense that Donald Trump would eventually run out of targets and find himself in a war with the party’s media arm: Fox News. At the GOP primary debate Thursday night in Cleveland, Trump’s on-stage clashes with the Fox moderators, and his post-debate complaints about the network’s treatment of him, were among the most talked about storylines to emerge from the Quicken Loans Arena.

If your take-away from the debate is that the moderators were not very nice to you, you do not look like a winner. You look like a whiner.

Read the whole thing.

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8/8 Still Defending Trump?:

Megyn Kelly’s first question in Thursday’s debate ostensibly addressed Trump’s insulting remarks about women. …

Kelly was asking whether Trump had the temperament to be president. Did he have the strength of character to be calm and collected under fire? Could he handle a crisis without flying off on a rant? Could he deal with foreign leaders when he could not impose his will on them?

The answer did not lie in his words, but in his behavior. Especially, in his continuing post-debate attacks on Megyn Kelly.

Now we know that the great Donald became undone when faced with big, bad Megyn Kelly. Keep in mind, as long as Trump is leading the Republican candidates in the polls, whatever he says reflects on the Republican Party.

Clearly, Kelly got to him. She got under his skin. She provoked an appalling rant, which did not subside after Trump got some rest.

Yesterday on CNN, Trump said this:

    But, certainly, I don’t have a lot of respect for Megyn Kelly, she’s a lightweight. And she came out there reading her little script, and trying to be tough and be sharp. And when you meet her, you realize she’s not very tough, and she’s not very sharp. She’s zippo.

Kelly might not have been very tough, but she was tough enough to threaten the Donald. If he cannot deal with someone who is a “zippo”–presumably, he was talking about the lighters– how could he deal with someone of substance. He was so threatened and so disarmed that he started lashing out, irrationally. I suspect that no woman has ever addressed him with such disrespect. As is his wont, Trump responded with a disgracefully indecent remark:

    And you know, you can see there was blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever, but she was, in my opinion, she was off base.

When you can’t answer the question, you attack the messenger. It is not a sign of toughness or of strength. It signals weakness. It shows that Trump can be easily manipulated. Those who think that Trump is a tower of strength should revise their opinions. Trump is more bluster than strength; more boasting than leadership. One should be able to tell the difference.

Read the whole thing.

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Ed Driscoll, at Instapundit, collects negative conclusions on Trump’s potential presidential performance from conservatives.

[Roger Simon thinks foreign adversaries would easily roll The Donald:]

    Here’s how I would imagine they would handle Trump. They would love him to death, treat him like the king of the world, the genius at deal-making, ask him for advice on everything from golf courses to hospital maintenance, and if he got suspicious, love him even more, say great things about how rich he is, what a wonderful plane he has, ask for a tour, get pictures with him for People and Der Spiegel… then, after he feels like he’s been just the perfect president and has settled everything, that’s maybe six months, snatch the Baltic states (Russia), explode your bomb (Iran), move in on practically everything west of Honolulu (China) and look the other way when ISIS blows up three shopping malls in Dallas.

    What would Donald do about it? Say “You’re fired”? Brag about his money? I’m not optimistic.

And when it comes to domestic matters, as libertarian blogger “Popehat” tweets, “Consider the way Trump and his supporters speak of perceived enemies. Now, give them control of the IRS and Justice Department.”

So a looming disaster on public policy, a thin-skinned vindictive man with control over the IRS and the Justice Department, a core base of voters who view him in a near messianic light, a Fox News hater, and a man who has made common cause over the years with Bill, Hillary, Harry Reid, and the late Ted Kennedy. Trump really is the Bizarro World version of Obama.

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Krauthammer: “He’s running as a tough guy. …[He was] going to stare down Putin, and now he says that he was treated not nicely by three Fox News anchors.”

19 Nov 2014

750 Year Old Polish Oak Tree, “The Brave Oak,” Burned by Vandal

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Dab-Chrobry-2007
Dąb Chrobry, “the Brave Oak” in 1967.

An ancient oak tree, known as “the Brave Oak,” growing near the nature reserve Buczyna Szprotawska in Lower Silesian Forests around Piotrowice was damaged yesterday by fire. It was most likely deliberately set on fire from the inside. The tree germinated around 1250 and was the largest surviving Polish oak tree, the third largest in Central Europe. Centuries ago,it marked the border between two Polish principalities.

The spread of its crown was approximately 52.5′ (16 m). It was approximately 92′(28 m) high and had a trunk circumference of 33′ (10.10 m). Its diameter at breast height was 10 1/2′ (321 cm).

Polish news reports asked openly: “What kind of smoldering anger must a man have to do something like that?”

Acorns from the Brave Oak were blessed by Pope John Paul II, April 28, 2004, during a pilgrimage to the Vatican by Polish foresters. The nursery in Poverty bred from them 500 seedlings which were distributed all over the country. Its offspring are consequently known as “Papal oaks.” So seedlings survive, and “the royal oak will not perish forever.” Approximately, 500 “papal oaks” in Poland are trees from the acorns of the Brave Oak.

The tree was declared a natural monument on March 24, 1967, though it was also protected by law before WWII. Its age is estimated at approx. 760 years (germinated approx. 1250 years).

Polish Wikipedia article

Hat tip to Kaj Malachowski.

16 Nov 2014

Andy Baxter Riding With the Berkeley Hunt

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BerkeleyHuntRoofShot

Hat tip to Karen L. Myers.

17 Oct 2014

Great London Beer Flood of 1814

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beer-flood-in-london

Zythophile remembers today the victims of the London Beer Flood which occurred 200 years ago today:

Wherever you are at 5.30pm this evening, please stop a moment and raise a thought – a glass, too, if you have one, preferably of porter – to Hannah Banfield, aged four years and four months; Eleanor Cooper, 14, a pub servant; Elizabeth Smith, 27, the wife of a bricklayer; Mary Mulvey, 30, and her son by a previous marriage, Thomas Murry (sic), aged three; Sarah Bates, aged three years and five months; Ann Saville, 60; and Catharine Butler, a widow aged 65. All eight died 200 years ago today, victims of the Great London Beer Flood, when a huge vat filled with maturing porter fell apart at Henry Meux’s Horse Shoe brewery at the bottom of Tottenham Court Road, and more than 570 tons of beer crashed through the brewery’s back wall and out into the slums behind in a vast wave at least 15 feet high, flooding streets and cellars and smashing into buildings, in at least one case knocking people from a first-floor room. It could have been worse: the vat that broke was actually one of the smallest of 70 or so at the brewery, and contained just under 3,600 barrels of beer, while the largest vat at the brewery held 18,000 barrels. In addition, if the vat had burst an hour or so later, the men of the district would have been home from work, and the buildings behind the brewery, all in multiple occupancy, with one family to a room, would have been much fuller when the tsunami of porter hit them.

Read the whole thing.

Hat tip to Rafal Heydel-Mankoo.

31 Aug 2014

These Days, Not Such a Wonderful Life

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pottersville

A Facebook friend of Glenn Reynolds recently argued that, life under the leadership of Barack Obama, is a lot like the vision of Pottersville George Bailey was shown by the angel Clarence.

Let’s accept, arguendo, that the outgoing DIA chief is right, and that we are now in an era of danger similar to the mid-1930s. How did we get here? It’s worth looking back into the mists of time — an entire year, to Labor Day weekend 2013. What had not happened then? It’s quite a list, actually: the Chinese ADIZ, the Russian annexation of Crimea, the rise of ISIS, the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the fall of Mosul, the end of Hungarian liberal democracy, the Central American refugee crisis, the Egyptian-UAE attacks on Libya, the extermination of Iraqi Christians, the Yazidi genocide, the scramble to revise NATO’s eastern-frontier defenses, the Kristallnacht-style pogroms in European cities, the reemergence of mainstream anti-Semitism, the third (or fourth, perhaps) American war in Iraq, racial riots in middle America, et cetera and ad nauseam.

All that was in the future just one year ago.

What is happening now is basically America’s version of “It’s a Wonderful Life.” The President of the United States — supported to an exceptional extent by an electorate both uncomprehending and untrusting of the outside world — is Clarence the Angel, and he’s showing us what the world would be like if we’d never been born, Unsurprisingly, Bedford Falls is now Pottersville, and it’s a terrible place. Unfortunately we do not get to revert to the tolerable if modest status quo at the end of the lesson: George Bailey will eventually have to shell the town and retake it street by street from Old Man Potter’s Spetsnaz.

But the larger point here is not what’s happening, because what’s happening is obvious. Things are falling apart. The point is how fast it’s come. It takes the blood and labor of generations to build a general peace, and that peace is sustained by two pillars: a common moral vision, and force majeure. We spent a quarter-century chipping away at the latter, and finally discarded the former, and now that peace is gone. All this was the work of decades.

Look back, again, to Labor Day weekend 2013, and understand one thing: its undoing was the work of mere months.

06 Jul 2014

Interesting Derailment

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Derailment
Three Boeing 737 jet fuselages lying in or near the Clark Fork River.

KTVQ:

A Montana Rail Link train en-route from Kansas City to Renton, Washington derailed east of Superior Thursday afternoon, sending three cars of aircraft components into the Clark Fork River.

MRL spokeswoman Linda Frost says 19 cars derailed around 4p.m.

Thursday 18 miles east of Superior near Fish Creek Road and Interstate 90.

Frost tells MTN News a total of 19 cars derailed; seven cars with aircraft components, three cars carrying soybeans, three cars with denatured alcohol and the other seven were empty.

Frost says three aircraft components landed in the Clark Fork River. Frost says no alcohol or soybeans leaked.

She said no one was hurt.

05 Jun 2014

Explaining Obama’s Bergdahl Political Disaster

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bismillah

Ralph Peters, in National Review, explains how Barack Obama and his elite team of intellectual giants walked obliviously into a colossal political disaster.

Congratulations, Mr. President! And identical congrats to your sorcerer’s apprentice, National Security Adviser Susan Rice. By trying to sell him as an American hero, you’ve turned a deserter already despised by soldiers in the know into quite possibly the most-hated individual soldier in the history of our military.

I have never witnessed such outrage from our troops.

Exhibit A: Ms. Rice. In one of the most tone-deaf statements in White House history (we’re making a lot of history here), the national-security adviser, on a Sunday talk show, described Bergdahl as having served “with honor and distinction.” Those serving in uniform and those of us who served previously were already stirred up, but that jaw-dropper drove us into jihad mode.

But pity Ms. Rice. Like the president she serves, she’s a victim of her class. Nobody in the inner circle of Team Obama has served in uniform. It shows. That bit about serving with “honor and distinction” is the sort of perfunctory catch-phrase politicians briefly don as electoral armor. (“At this point in your speech, ma’am, devote one sentence to how much you honor the troops.”) …

The president, too, appears stunned. He has so little understanding of (or interest in) the values and traditions of our troops that he and his advisers really believed that those in uniform would erupt into public joy at the news of Bergdahl’s release — as D.C. frat kids did when Osama bin Laden’s death was trumpeted.

Both President Obama and Ms. Rice seem to think that the crime of desertion in wartime is kind of like skipping class. They have no idea of how great a sin desertion in the face of the enemy is to those in our military. The only worse sin is to side actively with the enemy and kill your brothers in arms. This is not sleeping in on Monday morning and ducking Gender Studies 101.

But compassion, please! The president and all the president’s men and women are not alone. Our media elite — where it’s a rare bird who bothered to serve in uniform — instantly became experts on military justice. Of earnest mien and blithe assumption, one talking head after another announced that “we always try to rescue our troops, even deserters.”

Uh, no. “Save the deserter” is a recent battle cry of the politically indoctrinated brass. For much of our history, we did make some efforts to track down deserters in wartime. Then we shot or hanged them. Or, if we were in good spirits, we merely used a branding iron to burn a large D into their cheeks or foreheads. Even as we grew more enlightened, desertion brought serious time in a military prison. At hard labor.

This is a fundamental culture clash. Team Obama and its base cannot comprehend the values still cherished by those young Americans “so dumb” they joined the Army instead of going to prep school and then to Harvard. Values such as duty, honor, country, physical courage, and loyalty to your brothers and sisters in arms have no place in Obama World. (Military people don’t necessarily all like each other, but they know they can depend on each other in battle — the sacred trust Bergdahl violated.)

President Obama did this to himself (and to Bergdahl). This beautifully educated man, who never tires of letting us know how much smarter he is than the rest of us, never stopped to consider that our troops and their families might have been offended by their commander-in-chief staging a love-fest at the White House to celebrate trading five top terrorists for one deserter and featuring not the families of those soldiers (at least six of them) who died in the efforts to find and free Bergdahl, but, instead, giving a starring role on the international stage to Pa Taliban, parent of a deserter and a creature of dubious sympathies (that beard on pops ain’t a tribute to ZZ Top). How do you say “outrageous insult to our vets” in Pashto?

Read the whole thing.

10 Feb 2014

“Nasschneelawine” in the South Tyrol

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Nas = “wet — Schnee = “snow” — Lawine = “avalanche”

Hat tip to Vanderleun.

30 Jan 2014

Gravity is Not Your Friend in the South Tyrol

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If you live in Tramin/Termino in the South Tyrol, you had better beware of falling rocks.

Gizmodo has more pictures.

26 Dec 2013

Sanctuary of the Virgin of the Boat Burned on Xmas Day

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The Sanctuary of the Virgin of the Boat in Muxia, Galicia, one of the most important stops on the Pilgrimage to the Shrine of St. James of Campostella was destroyed yesterday, Christmas Day, by a fire which attacked the ancient church, built in the 12th century on the site of a previous Celtic pagan shrine, after lightning struck a transformer.

The fire raged for two hours, destroying in the process the original ceiling and main altar, and seriously damaging the dome, now in danger of collapse.

The region late remained pagan, and legend has it that St. James despaired of being able to convert the native population of Finisterre from their cult of worshipping the sun. The apostle came to the cove at Muxia to rest, whereupon a vision of the Virgin Mary “full of mystery and majesty” on a boat appeared to him, assuring him that his mission would be successful. Celtic stones were later interpreted as the petrified remains of the Virgin’s boat.

ABC News story

Il Messagero (Italian)
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16 Nov 2013

The Day the Obama Magic Died

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Fouad Ajami, in the Wall Street Journal, comments on the recent dissolution of the illusion.

The current troubles of the Obama presidency can be read back into its beginnings. Rule by personal charisma has met its proper fate. The spell has been broken, and the magician stands exposed. We need no pollsters to tell us of the loss of faith in Mr. Obama’s policies—and, more significantly, in the man himself. Charisma is like that. Crowds come together and they project their needs onto an imagined redeemer. The redeemer leaves the crowd to its imagination: For as long as the charismatic moment lasts—a year, an era—the redeemer is above and beyond judgment. He glides through crises, he knits together groups of varied, often clashing, interests. Always there is that magical moment, and its beauty, as a reference point. …

Forgive the personal reference, but from the very beginning of Mr. Obama’s astonishing rise, I felt that I was witnessing something old and familiar. My advantage owed nothing to any mastery of American political history. I was guided by my immersion in the political history of the Arab world and of a life studying Third World societies.

In 2008, seeing the Obama crowds in Portland, Denver and St. Louis spurred memories of the spectacles that had attended the rise and fall of Arab political pretenders. I had lived through the era of the Egyptian leader Gamal Abdul Nasser. He had emerged from a military cabal to become a demigod, immune to judgment. His followers clung to him even as he led the Arabs to a catastrophic military defeat in the Six Day War of 1967. He issued a kind of apology for his performance. But his reign was never about policies and performance. It was about political magic.

In trying to grapple with, and write about, the Obama phenomenon, I found guidance in a book of breathtaking erudition, “Crowds and Power” (1962) by the Nobel laureate Elias Canetti. Born in Bulgaria in 1905 and educated in Vienna and Britain, Canetti was unmatched in his understanding of the passions, and the delusions, of crowds. The crowd is a “mysterious and universal phenomenon,” he writes. It forms where there was nothing before. There comes a moment when “all who belong to the crowd get rid of their difference and feel equal.” Density gives the illusion of equality, a blessed moment when “no one is greater or better than another.” But the crowd also has a presentiment of its own disintegration, a time when those who belong to the crowd “creep back under their private burdens.”

Read the whole thing.

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David Boaz adds:

The Day the Magic Died
(Lines inspired by the WSJ headline “When the Obama Magic Died.”)

A long, long time ago
I can still remember how that magic used to make ‘em smile
And I knew if I had my chance
That I could make those people dance
And maybe they’d be happy for a while

But October made me shiver
With every paper they delivered
Bad news on the doorstep
I couldn’t take one more step

I can’t remember if I cried
When the papers said I lied
But something touched me deep inside
The day the magic died

And while I read a book of Marx
The party gathered in the park
And we sang dirges in the dark
The day the magic died

So bye-bye, my Obamacare
Took my browser to the website, but the website was bare
And them good old boys were losin’ all their health care,
Singin’ “This’ll be the way that I die
This’ll be the way that I die”

H/T Don McLean

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