Who Is A Hero?

mccain-trump

I’m sure you heard all about the blowup by now. If not, I’ll let CNN fill in the blanks.

The controversy began when Trump, speaking at a question-and-answer session at the Family Leadership Summit in Ames, Iowa, commented on McCain, with whom he’s recently feuded over illegal immigration.

“He is not a war hero,” Trump told pollster Frank Luntz, who was hosting the session.

“He is a war hero,” Luntz interjected.

“He is a war hero because he was captured,” Trump said, cutting him off. “I like people that weren’t captured, OK? I hate to tell you. He is a war hero because he was captured. OK, you can have — I believe perhaps he is a war hero.”

First things first. McCain is obviously a hero. Here’s the actual definition:

A hero or heroine is a person or character who, in the face of danger and adversity or from a position of weakness, displays courage, bravery or self-sacrifice—that is, heroism—for some greater good

McCain attended the Naval Academy, then flew fighters in Vietnam. He was shot down, captured by the North Vietnamese and held in the infamous “Hanoi Hilton.” He refused special treatment even though he had been ceaselessly tortured.

I’m not a fan or Trump, McCain nor our war in Southeast Asia. However, McCain showed more strength and fortitude than I’d ever be able to muster. How is he not a hero?

As his fellow Republicans started pushing back at Trump I wondered, where were they when the Swift Boaters went after John Kerry? Much of what they said was false, specifically the claim “I served with John Kerry.” Most who said that never even met him.

The same question goes for Tammy Duckworth’s campaign which was hatcheted by Rep. Joe Walsh and Max Cleland of Georgia who lost both legs and most of an arm in Vietnam and whose patriotism was questioned by Saxby Chambliss.

Politics is a dirty, ugly business. But I agree with the Republicans who now say military service should never be questioned. Their problem is, I agree retroactively.

The Day The Rains Came

bridge

The current reading at the airport is t76°/d72°. It’s raining. The Angels were rained out for the first time since 1995. The Padres didn’t play either.

When Californians plan events in the summer there is no rain date. Why would there be?

It is uncharacteristically nasty in SoCal. We don’t deal with it well.

Removing sunshine from California is like removing super powers from Superman. He becomes just another guy in a skintight bodysuit.

A bridge washed out on I-10 near Desert Center, a tiny community surrounded by dusty (now muddy) mountains and jackrabbits. There was flooding on “The 91,” the main road to the Inland Empire. Mud poured into homes in Moreno Valley.

I played lookout over the Palm Springs area all afternoon from my upstairs office. I watched the radar and monitored NOAA’s San Diego office chat room. We were ringed by storms, but rainfall was light in the valley itself. The larger concern was runoff from the mountains.

Much of this region is wilderness. There are reasons some places are left in a natural state.

SPOTTER REPORTS SHEEP CREEK…NEAR THE TOP OF EAST CANYON IN EAST WRIGHTWOOD…IS FULL AND COMING DOWN LIKE RIVER RAPIDS…WITH LOTS OF TREE TRUNKS GOING BY. IT’S BEEN FLOWING SINCE AROUND 4 PM.

CHP REPORTS LARGE BOULDER IN DOWNBOUND LANE ON HIGHWAY 74 NEAR SANTA ROSA MOUNTAIN.

FLOODING STARTED AROUND 6:45 PM AND CONTINUED FOR A COUPLE HOURS. WIDE SPREAD FLASH FLOOD/ROAD CLOSURES ALONG ROUTE 2 IN THE WRIGHTWOOD AREA, DUE TO HEAVY RAINFALL IN THE AREA AND DEBRIS BEING WASHED ONTO ROADS. A COUPLE OF ROAD WASH OUTS AND CULVERTS BEING DAMAGED. THERE WERE A COUPLE OF SWIFT WATER RESCUES AS PEOPLE DROVE INTO FLOODED ROADWAYS. SOME MINOR STREET FLOODS IN THE HESPERIA, CA AREA AS WELL. FLOODING AND A SWIFT WATER RESCUES IN LYTLE CREEK, JUST BELOW BONITA FALLS. OCCURRED JUST BEFORE 8 PM. NO INJURIES. OBSERVER IS FROM HESPERIA WORKING IN ASSOCIATION WITH SAN BERNARDINO EMERGENCY SERVICE. OBSERVER LOCATION HESPERIA.

Native Californians love this weather. It’s so unusual.

From experience, it loses its luster quickly.

Meanwhile, tonight I’m enjoying it, out on the porch listening to the rain.

Our Very Unusual Midsummer’s Day

rose chriswell la quintaI worked today. Saturday is usually an off day for me, but we had active weather in Palm Springs.

Two lightning strikes this morning, one in Indio another in La Quinta, managed to ignite a few palm trees! Obviously, the lightning preceded the rain.

Last night a brief downburst caused a haboob, an airborne wall of sand which swept through the valley.

In the desert some people bring down the temperature with evaporative cooling, so called swamp coolers. They leverage the normally low humidity to make living indoors comfy. With dew points in the 60s and 70s, they were little help today.

We ended up with around 1/3″ of rain in Palm Springs. The old record has been smashed… and records have been kept here since the 1890s.

Another humid day with scattered showers follows. Long time California residents say they look forward to what everyone else considers bad weather. I suspect after today, the humidity and rain have lost their romance.

I’m writing this on my patio and it feels like I’m back on the East Coast. It’s that sticky. That’s really unusual.

The North Fire

on fire cars and trucks

This is our third fire season. Today was the scariest day. The North Fire went from zero to thirty five hundred acres in a few hours. It’s still mainly out-of-control.

fireThe fire started in Cajon Pass. Settlers from the East rode their covered wagons through here. It was the pass or the mountains!

I-15 runs through the area as does a very busy set of railroad tracks. Much of what enters America on the West Coast moves through this pass.

north-fire--imgI watched cars on the 15 catch fire this afternoon. It was difficult to see it happen in real time. Nobody beats TV when it comes to stuff like this.

We’ve been very dry, though we’re always dry around now. The fire area is mostly chaparral–sparse and stubby, drought resistant shrubs. They burn like paper.

DC-10-North-FireAlong with local firefighters, CalFire is on the scene. It’s serious here. The state’s involved.

This afternoon I watched a small biz jet lead an ancient DC-10 into the pass. Just above treetop level they dropped their load. A long thick plume of red powder fell to the ground. It was truly heroic flying.

One thousand firefighters plus a small air force are working hard. So much can burn so easily.

Don’t Ditch Donald

trump

This morning, Huffington Post decided to remove Donald Trump from its political pages. At the moment, Trump leads the GOP presidential field.

After watching and listening to Donald Trump since he announced his candidacy for president, we have decided we won’t report on Trump’s campaign as part of The Huffington Post’s political coverage. Instead, we will cover his campaign as part of our Entertainment section. Our reason is simple: Trump’s campaign is a sideshow. We won’t take the bait. If you are interested in what The Donald has to say, you’ll find it next to our stories on the Kardashians and The Bachelorette.

Wrong decision.

It’s not up to Huffington to decide whether Trump is viable or not. It’s up to the Republican electorate. Though I personally despise the man, he’s a real candidate who’s filed the real paperwork and has already reshaped the race.

When Donald Trump speaks, people (and other candidates) listen and react. What Donald Trump says today deserves to be covered in a political context.

I can’t believe I just wrote that.

The Little Laptop Reborn

It used to be if you ran Linux you had a very limited set of programs and apps you could run. That’s changed. So much of the Internet sits in the cloud and runs in your browser. Nearly every weather tool I use is web based.

-read more-

We Visited Pluto And All I Got Was This Lousy Shirt

It will produce data of interest to a very few with nearly zero chance of changing life on Earth. We’re long past the Velcro, transistor, Tang stage of space exploration.

-read more-

Like Pissing In The Ocean

There’s an old expression about making a futile gesture: “pissing in the ocean.” That’s what this 18 million gallons is, a futile gesture. Families will be inconvenienced with nearly no benefit.

-read more-

Dew Point Versus Relative Humidity

We’ve all been sold a bill of goods over the years. We’ve been told relative humidity is what humans feel. Alas, it’s not true.

-read more-

Return Of The Penguin

It’s an HP G60, possibly the worst laptop I’ve ever used.

-read more-