27 August 2008

Meteorological mischief

I’m an avid hurricane watcher. It comes from growing up in the path of so many tropical storms down in south Florida (where I grew up, Miami was the big city to the north of us). As a young child, I would map the progress of storms across the Atlantic Ocean and into the Caribbean Sea, plotting their coordinates and tracking their barometric pressure and maximum sustained winds at each reading. Combining that background with the fact that I plan to spend a few days down in Florida this Labor Day weekend, it should come as no surprise that I’ve been keeping an eye on Hurricane Gustav this week. As best as I can tell from the storm’s history and the current computer predictions, it looks like I’ll be safe in Florida.

Residents of the Gulf Coast, however, might not be so fortunate. In fact, based on the most current projections I’ve seen, it looks as though Gustav will become a rather strong storm (maybe Category 3) as he moves into the Gulf of Mexico, and he might make landfall somewhere around the city of New Orleans. Of course, any predictions about hurricanes that extend more than a day or two into the future are somewhat speculative; we are a long way from understanding all of the factors that control the weather. But the irony of this possibility was too striking to ignore (and I must thank Jason for the initial idea behind this post). To reiterate, there’s a decent chance that a major hurricane might hit New Orleans around the middle of next week, evoking memories of the devastation that was Katrina (she hit NOLA three years ago this Friday) and the current Administration’s continual failures in cleanup and restoration efforts – right in the middle of the Republican National Convention!! To paraphrase my spouse’s comments on this, that would be a fine display of Mother Nature’s justice.

I wonder if Lou Dobbs is on the phone with Pat Robertson right now, asking him to pray Gustav over to the coast of Mexico instead…

22 August 2008

VP...Then again...

You know what? I'm starting to think it's Hillary. Listen to Obama's tone of late, and his populist economic rhetoric. Who better to help him with that theme than Hillary? When was the economy better in the last 15 years than under Bill? (Of course, he can't really take a lot of credit for that, as no President actually has that much control over general economic health, but that's another post.) 

And also, Obama plans to unveil his pick in Springfield on Saturday on the state Capitol steps where he first began his improbable campaign. Springfield, of course, invokes memories of Abraham Lincoln - and thanks to Doris Kearns Goodwin's popular book, Lincoln is now famously known as someone who brought his harshest rivals into his cabinet - following the maxim "Keep your friends close and your enemies closer". (BTW, that quote has been attributed to Sun Tzu - author of The Art of War - and to Niccolo Machiavelli, but apparently there is no definitive source for that quote before its appearance in The Godfather Part II as spoken by Michael Corleone...go figure.)

So if it's not Biden, as I (sort of) predicted before, it's going to be Hillary. That would definitely be a newsworthy event. Stay tuned...

19 August 2008

Oh, why not – VP predictions

Chances are, by the time you read this Barack Obama will have announced his Vice Presidential selection. Nevertheless, I figured I’d join the cacophony of online voices making predictions about whom he will choose, so here are my various levels of prediction:

Most likely: Senator Joseph Biden (D-DE). Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, solid resume (now that it’s honest), adds experience and gravitas to the ticker, and would make a great attack dog in the VP debate.

Most boringly objectionable: Senator Evan Bayh (D-IN). Is in his current office because his father preceded him there, and has done little to distinguish himself in two terms in the Senate. Also was a solid supporter of the Iraq war, and his ability to deliver Indiana in the electoral map is perhaps overrated. This, to me, would be a rather disappointing choice.

Most likely surprise: Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY). Picking his bitter rival (and the second most popular candidate in the Democratic Party) would be a bold move, one that might backfire depending on the level of animosity toward the Clintons that remains in the nation, and also depending on how the Big Dog reacts during the campaign. However, she would bring another constituency to the ticket and would rally the part of the Democratic base that Obama currently doesn’t have in his pocket.

Less likely/most satisfying surprise: General Colin Powell. It’s been rumored that Powell will endorse Obama at some point before or during the convention. What better way to endorse him than by agreeing to be his running mate? This would be a devastating ticket, and would clearly answer any concerns about national security prowess on the ticket.

So that’s my $0.02 on the topic. Comments welcomed to tell me just how off base I am/was.