Are we seeing the disintegration of the Trump Presidency in slow motion?
Is this Trump’s ‘I am not a crook‘ moment à la Nixon? Time will tell.
From the New York Times:
WASHINGTON — President Trump abruptly blew up a meeting with Democratic congressional leaders on Wednesday, declaring that he could not work with them until they stopped investigating him and lashing out at Speaker Nancy Pelosi for accusing him of a cover-up.
He then marched out into the Rose Garden, where reporters had been gathered, and delivered a statement bristling with anger as he demanded that Democrats “get these phony investigations over with.” He said they could not legislate and investigate simultaneously. “We’re going to go down one track at a time,” he said.
I played a little social tennis tonight on the Woodland Park tennis courts. We rained out on both Tuesday and Thursday of last week, so it was great to finally get out and play.
And hey! the muscle memory from many years of playing tennis is still there, sending signals to the old muscles and creaky bones— to run down that incoming shot, and strike it, so it goes back over the net.
Well, here is the first Republican congressman calling out Attorney General Barr’s foul play in misrepresenting the Mueller report, and calling for Trump’s impeachment. (See Justin Amash’s tweets below).
What Trump has done – documented in the Mueller report, with hard evidence – cannot stand in the United States of America’s democracy, without consequences to him.
In addition, Trump and the White House staff is technically committing obstruction of justice every day now. They refuse to comply to subpoenas from Congress for Trump’s tax returns, and other records. They refuse to let former White House lawyer Don McGahn testify in Congress (Don McGahn’s testimony about Trump’s obstruction is written up in the Mueller report). Trump has even sued his own tax preparer and Deutsche Bank, to prevent them from supplying any financial records to Congress.
Time to start the impeachment proceedings. It’s overdue.
It was very pleasant this weekend in Seattle (69°F/ 21°C). We had none of the turbulent, stormy weather that swept through the Midwest and elsewhere.
Here are two pictures from my downtown walkabout this afternoon.
When I was a kid, we would build a cozy wood fire in the living room fireplace in winter time. On top would go a layer of anthracite (hard black coal, with a metallic luster on its surface), to make the fire glow a long, long time.
But then I would go to school the next morning, and the neighborhood’s chilly winter air would be blanketed by a layer of thick smoke. Man! I thought .. this is not good.
Now here we are, 50 years later, and I read about the Australian elections, and the saga of the contentious Carmichael coal mine in Queensland. The mine will be ‘hugely beneficial’ to Australia and ‘global climate change’, says Adani CEO Jeyakumar Janakraj. Really? Yes, your $16.5 billion project will create a few thousand jobs, but pump up to 12 billion litres of water a year from the Suttor River. It will gouge out 60 million tonnes of low-grade coal every year from the Galilee basin right across the Great Barrier Reef. The coal will get burned in India andpush up the 415 parts per million CO2 concentration we already have in the atmosphere.
Taiwan became the first Asian country to legalize same-sex marriage. Thousands of gay rights supporters had gathered in the rain outside the parliament building in the capital, Taipei, to await the landmark ruling.
The Pew Research Center wrote up a report of gay marriage around the world, that has this nice map to show what progress has been made so far.
Germany and Australia were some high-profile additions to the roster of countries that have joined the list, both in 2017.
The map shows that there is clearly a lot of work still to be done in Asia and in Africa, though.
I had a picture from twenty years ago, of a New York City street corner somewhere in Times Square, and I stubbornly used Google Street View until I finally found the place that I had taken the 1999 picture from. It looks very different today!
P.S. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced he is running for President in 2020 today. The count of Democratic candidates is now at 23.
I took my big camera with the zoom lens tonight with me on my neighborhood walk, and was rewarded with catching this American robin (Turdus migratorius), catching an earthworm. The bird saw the worm wriggle into the grass sod, and ran up and pulled it out.
Here are two pictures that I took today, of the Rainier Square Tower. Construction workers have started to install the glass panels on the swooping side of the tower. Boy, I hope it will not be too tricky for window cleaners to scale down that side of the building to clean those slanted surfaces!
What you seek is but a shadow.
– the motto on the University of Washington sundial.
With all the sunshine we had this week, I thought it was high time for me to understand how the sundial on the Physics building at the University of Washington works!
In the picture below, the shadow of the gnomon (ball) moves from left to right as the day progresses. The sun crosses lower in the sky in winter time, and then the path on the wall is higher. The sun crosses higher in summer time, and then the path on the wall is lower. The equinox was in March, so we have already crossed to below the line marked EQUINOX on the sundial.
The only other thing that seemed out of whack, was that the dial seemed a little off: it showed 12.30 pm PDT on the nose, when it was already 12.39 pm when I took the picture. Should the gnomon ball shadow not have moved at least a little bit off the 12.30 pm line, towards the 1.00 pm line?
We in Seattle, and all others in the Pacific Standard Time zone, keep a clock time based on the solar time at the arbitrary longitude of 120° W (which happens to pass through the town of Chelan). However, in Seattle we are located some 2° 19′ to the west of this longitude, and the sundial in Seattle indicates a time 9.2 minutes earlier than the sun would in Chelan. Here is the full explanation from the UW Dept. of Physics.
P.S. Look for the slender figure-eight-shaped curve in the sundial’s center by the 12, called the analemma. It is a plot of the location on each day at noon, throughout the year, of the gnomon ball’s shadow.
I’m watching the vote count in South Africa, here.
With some 95% of the votes counted, the African National Congress (ANC) of the incumbent President of South Africa, has 57.7% (so towards the high end of expectations, but the worst result for them since 1994), and the official opposition, the Democratic Alliance, has 20.7%. Hopefully this is good enough for President Cyril Ramaphosa to clean house in the ANC (corruption), and to get the economy going.
The DA has carried its stronghold, the Western Cape Province, with 55.5% of the vote (down 4% from 2014), but elsewhere in other provinces, the strident and far-left Economic Freedom Front (EFF) party has made substantial gains.
Geotagging* a (digital) photograph is the recording of its geographical location, by assigning at least a latitude and longitude to the image. Sometimes other fields such as altitude and compass bearing could also be included.
The old film pictures I had scanned in for my iPhone and iPad photo albums have no geotag information, and so I geotagged them manually.
I have been very fortunate to be able to travel to many places in the world.
Check out some of the more unusual geotags that I had added to my pictures, below.
*Geotagging is done automatically by today’s smartphones, and by GPS-enabled digital cameras. The method I am using for scanned pictures, is to use an obsolete picture editor from Google called Picasa. Inside Picasa, one can call up a desktop version of Google Earth, that allows searches for places all over the globe, and the geotagging of their coordinates onto the picture.
South Africa has a parliamentary system of government.
On Wednesday May 8, South Africans will elect a new National Assembly, and representatives for each of the 9 provincial legislatures.
The National Assembly consists of 400 members, elected by closed-list proportional representation.
Of these members, 200 are elected from national party lists.
The other 200 are elected from provincial party lists in each of the nine provinces.
The President of South Africa is elected by the National Assembly after the general election (held every 5 years).
What to watch for after Wednesday:
There is little doubt that the African National Congress will remain in power.
They got 62% of the vote in 2014, with their main opposition, the Democratic Alliance, a distant 22%.
For President Cyril Ramaphosa to continue his efforts to root out corruption in his own party, and get the South African economy going again, pundits say the ANC needs to get at least 55% of the vote, though (49% to 60% is projected).
The Democratic Alliance is hoping to hold on to its share of representatives (15% to 23% is projected), but that may be a challenge. They have the populist Freedom Front Plus party on their right that will draw away votes, and in the Western Cape province an ugly spat with the Mayor of Cape Town, Patricia de Lille, had her break away from the DA in 2018 to form her own party, the Good Party.
When I go downtown with the No 10 bus, I usually take the same No 10 bus back, from its stop a the Washington State Convention Center on Pike. Today at 5 pm, though, that spot was flooded with Microsoft nerds just leaving the first day of the 2019 Microsoft Build conference. And another 15 minutes for the next bus, said my app, and I thought: well, it’s such a nice day, let’s just walk walk walk, which is what I did, all the way home (took about 20 minutes).
Our favorite Capitol Hill brewpub – the Elysian Brewery – will reopen on Monday after renovations that had taken more than four months. We were able to get in and get treated to a special pre-opening beer tasting event on Saturday. There is a lot to like about the changes they had made to the inside, and we had a lot of fun tasting the new beers on offer. Cheers!