After two days of cell-phone roaming, and of staying at a hotel where the Wi-Fi was offline due to a lighting strike last week (!), I have Internet access again… woohoo! :) A handful of photos from the Grand Canyon retreat will follow shortly.
P.S. We picked a good weekend to get away from Phoenix. It was 118° on Friday and 116° on Saturday! Holy hellish heatwave, Batman! P.P.S. Phoenix also set an all-time record this morning for the highest low temperature ever recorded: 97 degrees.
UPDATE: As promised, some pictures of the weekend’s activities…
Me and Becky at the South Rim of the Canyon.
David, one of my fellow summers, says: Danger? What danger?
PJ and I model our “emergency ponchos” during a brief rain shower.
David on the edge, again. It was a theme of the weekend.
The Grand Canyon and the White Tree of Gondor… or perhaps just a random tree.
The Canyon with storm clouds on the horizon.
Lightning strikes the North Rim, as seen from the South Rim.
A beautiful reflection in the water on our float trip down the Colorado River.
WARNING: You may want to shield your eyes to protect them from the stark paleness shown in the next photo… :)
David and I brave the bone-chilling, 48-degree waters of the Colorado River.
Becky reacts to how freakin’ cold the water is.
Me and Becky on the float boat. Aww.
Yes, the Connecticut US Senate race is getting even Gamier than it already Was.
I’m Tellin’ ya, if The Hartford Courant’s crack team of Investigative reporters (these Are the Boys who Brought Down John Rowland, after all :) keeps this up, Alan Schlesinger is going to Win This Thing. :> Already he’s Gained by a full Proportion of 12.5%, already ;> (up from 8 points to a robust 9 in the latest poll :) since the First story about yer man’s Recreational Cardcounting :) came out. This one will surely accelerate the rumbling Groundswell of Casinodwellers For Alan :} ~
July 21, 2006
By DAVE ALTIMARI, JON LENDER And EDMUND H. MAHONY, Courant Staff Writers
When Alan Schlesinger gave a fake name while playing blackjack at Foxwoods in the early 1990s, he had already been sued over a gambling debt by one Atlantic City casino and was on the way to racking up an even bigger debt that led to a second lawsuit.
Schlesinger, the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate in the Nov. 7 election, paid a total of more than $28,000 in 1990 and 1994 to settle the two lawsuits, according to New Jersey court records reviewed by The Courant.
Questions about Schlesinger’s gambling habits surfaced last week, when he admitted that he had obtained a “Wampum Card” from Foxwoods Resort Casino under the assumed name of Alan Gold shortly after the casino opened in 1992.
That disclosure prompted Republican Gov. M Jodi Rell to urge Schlesinger to step aside as a candidate, but Schlesinger refused, calling his use of a phony gambling ID a “non-issue.” A Rell spokesman Thursday said the governor had no comment on the New Jersey gambling debts.
State Republican Party Chairman George Gallo, who also called for Schlesinger to step aside last week, declined to comment Thursday, except to say that Schlesinger had never mentioned anything about the debts. “This is new information to me,” Gallo said.
Schlesinger on Thursday called himself a “recreational” gambler and vowed he would not be driven from the Senate race.
“I have never done anything illegal. I did absolutely nothing wrong,” Schlesinger said. “I’m not getting out of this race because of the fact I had a couple of civil lawsuits filed against me 15 years ago.”
“Never”! “Anything”! Remarkable. Yet another Jewish Saint in our Contest! :) May G*d Continue to Bless the State of Connecticut. ;>
(More after the Break :)
I’ve been having trouble getting cell-phone posts and CNN e-mail alerts to actually appear on the blog over the last few days. I’m not sure what’s wrong — the problem is inconsistent and thus difficult to replicate — but I think it’s something on Blogger’s end. Regardless, it’s possible that I won’t be able to liveblog from the Grand Canyon during this weekend’s summer-associate retreat… and it’s also possible that CNN Breaking News alerts won’t automatically post, like they’re supposed to. So, I would humbly ask my guestbloggers to check and be sure, in the event of major breaking news over the weekend (like, you know, if any “volcanoes of rage” happen to erupt in the Middle East), that there is something about it on the blog in a relatively timely fashion, and blog something if there isn’t. (Yes, I am this obsessive about making sure my blog isn’t too far behind the breaking-news curve… :)
The center of Tropical Storm Beryl’s circulation passed over Nantucket Island a few hours ago. Now the storm is moving away, and all Tropical Storm Watches and Warnings have been lifted. Beryl is bound for Nova Scotia, where her center is expected to pass near Yarmouth in about 12 hours… not that the exact location of the center means much anymore. According to the 5:00 AM EDT discussion:
BERYL IS A SHEARED TROPICAL CYCLONE THIS MORNING…WITH THE REMAINING DEEP CONVECTION CONFINED TO A FEW BANDS IN THE EASTERN QUADRANT. … THE AIRCRAFT DATA SUGGESTS THAT BERYL IS STARTING EXTRATROPICAL TRANSITION. THE STORM SHOULD SLOWLY WEAKEN AS IT BECOMES EXTRATROPICAL DURING THE NEXT 24-36 HR…THEN IT SHOULD GET ABSORBED BY A FRONTAL SYSTEM OVER THE NORTH ATLANTIC.
Beryl still had a rather well-defined center of circulation when she passed over Nantucket. After the jump, two animated GIFs showing the radar loop of the storm’s landfall.
The Crises in Israfghyianonanaq are pretty much the opposite of funny, but here’s something to laugh about: Fox News is reporting that five Palestinian terrorists in the Gaza Strip accidentally blew themselves up while trying to launch a rocket at Israel. Heh. Dumbasses.
I am inclined to agree with The New Republic’s take (free subscription required) on the Middle East situation. Money quote: “The ascendancy of AhmadinejadÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s perfidious Iran is a spectacular problem for the United States, and a spectacular challenge. … If we succeed in Iraq (a considerable if) and fail in Iran, we will have failed in the Middle East. Unfortunately, it is not clear that President Bush grasps this.”
Also, with regard to the Israel-Hezbollah war: “It would be heartless not to recoil against the civilian casualties that this war is claiming, but it would be mindless not to affirm the rightness of this struggle against the madmen and their rockets.”
Full text after the jump.
Hat tip: Bob Lutts, CT Republican Guru :)
Sen. Joe Lieberman, under fire from activists in his own party, has lost ground to his challenger and is narrowly trailing him for the first time in their race for the Democratic nomination, a new poll released Thursday shows.
Businessman Ned Lamont had support from 51 percent and Lieberman from 47 percent of likely Democratic voters in the latest Quinnipiac University poll - a slight Lamont lead given the survey’s sampling error margin of plus or minus 4 percentage points.
Lieberman had led in a Quinnipiac poll last month, 55 percent to 40 percent.
When Saint Joe announced his November Fallback petition on July 3 (subsequently settling on the excellent ballot designation Connecticut for Lieberman :), I immediately knew that he Knew that This Shift was underway. [I just now Typoed that word “Shift” :> ~ honestly, I Did ~ but have restored the Freudianly-omitted consonant. :] For the Feedback from the Phonebanks is always way Ahead of the intermittent public Polls, that Previous one having been published on longago June 8.
Of course the 51-47 with its 4-point error-margin is, as stated, among Likely Democratic Voters, not among All Democrats. Per past primary precedent (pardon :) the truly Likely Democratic Voters (i.e. those who Will in fact Vote, not just lie to a Pollster about their civicmindedness :) comprise around 20-25% of All Democrats. Neither the AP story nor (unless I Missed it, You go look) the Poll report itself sets forth the numbers for All Democrats. I Infer, from Several clues, that Quinnipiac this time polled ONLY the self-described Likelies on the various Dem-primaries-related Questions, winnowing out the Lesslikelies from those Q’s as soon as they ID’ed themselves as such.
But the June 8 poll DID report on the preference of All Dems as well as the subset of Likelies, and this showed significantly stronger Support for Joe (and Lessy for Neddy :) among the All-D’s than among the Why-Sure-I’ll-Vote- D’s. / And in the New poll, a Close scrutiny of (scroll Way down) Tables 3, 10, 11, 15 and 22 reveals corroborating, albeit sometimes indirect, evidence that selfdescribed DemLikelies continue to be notably more Negative toward Lieberman than the Dems Overall.
All of which Goes to Show that Joe is correct in saying that if he can just generate a Really Big Turnout at this Dem primary ~ Way bigger than the paltry Usual & big enough to be a Truly representative Sample of the party ~ then he will Still Win.
BUT: even if Not, I’ve got Good News. / Nono, not about my Car Insurance :).
The new poll suggests that Lieberman still could win a fourth term, even if he loses the Democratic primary Aug. 8, however.
Lieberman filed papers last week that will allow him to petition his way onto the November ballot. The poll found that among all registered Connecticut voters surveyed, including non-Democrats, Lieberman had the support of 51 percent, followed by Lamont with 27 percent and Republican Alan Schlesinger with 9 percent.
:) Now, before going all Weepy for poor Alan there, let us note that his 9% is Up by a huge Share of Twelve-and-a-Half Percent, i.e. up One Full Point from his June 8 showing of 8% :> AAAND ~ this FOLLOWING the Keystone Kop’s Klaims about the Kasino Kerfuffles which frightened Alan’s party “leadership” into Calling for his Withdrawal! Yes, clearly Senator-elect Schlesinger ;} has now Played the Blackjack Card and can no longer be Counted out as the vast Recreational Gaming Vote begins to Cut in his favor. :)
Footnote (from the article) ~
The campaign announced Thursday that former President Clinton would help campaign for Lieberman.
Yaaaay! :) Word is that Bubba & Joe will Go to Waterbury. / These are Brave Men I tell you. :> (Cripes, I hope the Handlers make sure that Queen Noor isn’t there. :)
Well, “limping northward” would probably be more accurate, but I couldn’t resist the pun, especially now that we know how Beryl is pronounced.
Unsurprisingly, Tropical Storm Beryl is weakening as she approaches New England. Winds have dropped to 50 mph, and will continue to slowly drop as the storm moves over cooler water and experiences higher levels of wind shear. As for the track, Charles Fenwick writes:
It appears that the anticipated sharpened turn to the northeast has begun. I suspect that the only area that will get anything resembling sustained tropical storm force winds out of this will be extreme eastern Massachusettes (i.e. Nantucket and Cape Cod); for them Beryl will be a northeaster with a name.
You can clearly see Beryl on radar; she has a decently well-organized northern semicircle.
In case you missed it yesterday, the House voted 260-167 (largely along party lines) to pass a bill that, get this, would prohibit U.S. federal courts from hearing any cases involving the Pledge of Allegiance. Last time I checked, it was the Constitution, not the Congress which decides what authority the judicial branch holds. [UPDATE BY BRENDAN: Er, well, actually…] Regardless of your political leanings, I think anyone who values the protections our Founding Fathers laid out in the Constitution through the separation of powers should be appalled at this move to pander to the Religious Right.
..they use an empty auditorium, a ton of people wearing colored shirts, 4 hours, and stop motion photography to recreate Space Invaders. The funniest thing to come out of France, in, well, ever.
The 11 am NHC advisory expands the tropical storm watch area, due to uncertainty in the track forecast.
A TROPICAL STORM WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FOR SOUTHEASTERN MASSACHUSETTS FROM PLYMOUTH TO WOODS HOLE…INCLUDING CAPE COD…NANTUCKET ISLAND AND MARTHA’S VINEYARD.
AT 11 AM EDT … 1500 UTC … A TROPICAL STORM WATCH HAS BEEN ISSUED FROM WEST OF WOODS HOLE MASSACHUSETTS WESTWARD TO NEW HAVEN CONNECTICUT…AND FOR EASTERN LONG ISLAND EAST OF FIRE ISLAND AND PORT JEFFERSON.
BERYL IS MOVING TOWARD THE NORTH-NORTHEAST NEAR 13 MPH…20 KM/HR. THIS MOTION COULD BRING THE CENTER OF THE STORM NEAR THE SOUTHEASTERN COAST OF MASSACHUSETTS TONIGHT OR FRIDAY MORNING.
From the 11 am NHC discussion,
IT IS ESTIMATED THAT BERYL HAS REACHED PEAK INTENSITY AND WILL LIKELY BEGIN TO GRADUALLY WEAKEN. BERYL IS EXPECTED TO BE AN EXTRATROPICAL CYCLONE BY THE TIME IT APPROACHES SOUTHWESTERN NOVA SCOTIA IN ABOUT 24 TO 36 HOURS
Iranians were believed to be present at North Korea's July 4 missile tests, assistant Secretary of State Chris Hill, the chief U.S. negotiator with Pyongyang, testified today. Visit CNN for the latest.
The anticipated tropical storm warning has been posted. From the 8 am NHC advisory:
A TROPICAL STORM WARNING IS IN EFFECT FOR SOUTHEASTERN MASSACHUSETTS FROM PLYMOUTH TO WOODS HOLE…INCLUDING CAPE COD…NANTUCKET ISLAND AND MARTHA’S VINEYARD.
ADDITIONAL WATCHES OR WARNINGS MAY BE REQUIRED FOR PORTIONS OF LONG ISLAND AND THE NEW ENGLAND COAST LATER TODAY.
Central pressure is 1002 mb, maximum sustained winds 60 mph, tides may run 1-3 feet above normal, and 2-4 inches of rain are expected. The center is expected to stay offshore as Beryl sweeps past New England, but some of the models call for landfall in this area. From the 5 am NHC discussion:
THE CYCLONE SHOULD TURN NORTHEASTWARD AND ACCELERATE DURING THE NEXT 24 HOURS IN THE GENERAL DIRECTION OF SOUTHEASTERN NEW ENGLAND AND NOVA SCOTIA. MOST OF THE MODEL GUIDANCE IS CLUSTERED AROUND A TRACK JUST SOUTH OF NANTUCKET AND OVER NOVA SCOTIA…AND THE NEW FORECAST TRACK IS NUDGED TO THE NORTH IN RESPONSE TO THIS AS WELL AS THE CURRENT POSITION AND MOTION. IT SHOULD BE NOTED THAT THE GFDL AND THE GFS ENSEMBLE MEAN REMAIN LEFT OUTLIERS…CALLING FOR THE CENTER OF BERYL TO ACTUALLY MAKE LANDFALL IN NEW ENGLAND.
BERYL IS FORECAST TO ENCOUNTER INCREASING SHEAR AND PROGRESSIVELY COOLER WATER…WHICH SHOULD RESULT IN GRADUAL WEAKENING. THE APPROACH OF A COLD FRONT SHOULD CAUSE EXTRATROPICAL TRANSITION IN 36-48 HR
Ladies and gentlemen, the National Hurricane Center is confused.
NHC forecaster Stacy Stewart, 11:00 AM EDT: “THE CORRECT PRONUNCIATION OF TROPICAL STORM BERYL IS BERLE… LIKE THE LAST NAME OF MILTON BERLE.”
NHC forecaster James Franklin, 11:00 PM EDT: “REGARDING THE PRONUNCIATION OF BERYL…A REVIEW OF SEVERAL DICTIONARIES SHOWS THAT BOTH BER’-IL AND BURL ARE ACCEPTED PRONUNCIATIONS…AND IN FACT THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DIRECTIVE SPECIFIES THE FORMER…TWO SYLLABLE…PRONUNCIATION. THE ONLY BERYL I PERSONALLY KNOW ALSO PRONOUNCES IT BER’-IL. WE APOLOGIZE FOR ANY CONFUSION.”
Blogger Alan Sullivan caught this error before Forecaster Franklin did, writing at 12:18 PM: “All I can say is berlesh*t. As a female name or a semi-precious stone, this word is pronounced with two syllables, accent on the first. BER-il, rhyming with peril, not BURL, rhyming with girl. NHC should stick to weather and leave words to the wordworkers.”
However the heck it’s pronounced, Beryl is now considered enough of a threat that Tropical Storm Watches have been issued for Cape Cod and the Islands, and the Tropical Storm Warnings are possible tomorrow. The closest approach to the Cape should be overnight tomorrow, according to the official forecast. “There could be some squally weather and gusty winds in portions of SE Massachusetts, but the effects should be minimal,” according to HurricaneTrack. More from The Storm Track.