Thursday, September 13, 2018

This And That..... Miscellany

With the edges of Hurricane Florence beginning to whip up the waters of South Carolina, my thoughts are with the folks who will be on the front lines when the areas re-open.  Right now, South Carolina is taking the first hits, while the winds will soon impact North Carolina, Georgia, the southern parts of Virginia around the Chesapeake Bay, and possibly all the way down to Daytona beach in Florida.  Florence is a huge storm, and even though she's only a Category 2  at this time, she will probably cause trillions of dollars of damage.
   I was worried about my beloved islands of Chincoteague and Assateague on the Eastern Shore of Virginia (and Maryland) - but it looks like they'll just receive the effects of a really nasty and long-lasting nor'easter.  The folks along the coast lines of the Carolinas, however, are in for a beating from the winds, and a drowning from rains and storm surge.  I feel for those who had to leave their homes, but that is one of the downsides of coastal living.  (Having been in Florida for 38 years, I know what I'm talking/writing about.)

    Last year, Hurricane Maria crashed through the US Territory of Puerto Rico.  Immediately after the storm, the number of dead caused by Maria was listed at 64.  As time has passed, and people have been questioned about health care and the aftermath of Maria, it turned out that the number of deaths related to Maria came to a total of 2,975.  This included those who died from heat prostration, from dehydration, from starvation, from filthy and impure drinking water, from not receiving medical care, etc.  -  And one of the latest finds was 20,000 pallets full of bottled water that have been lost for over a year - laying under tarpaulins where they were deposited, and sitting there while people died.
  Yesterday, as Hurricane Florence approached the United States, the current President denied this had happened.  He tweeted, "3000 people did not die in the two hurricanes that hit Puerto Rico. When I left the Island, AFTER the storm had hit, they had anywhere from 6 to 18 deaths. As time went by it did not go up by much. Then, a long time later, they started to report really large numbers, like 3000."
  The President is refuting studies done by the US government and US universities.

Here in Boulder, a resident can tell that it's fall.  The leaves are changing colors early this year; a lot of juvenile mountain lions are on the move, leaving mom and siblings, and staking out their own territories; and our local population of black bears are raiding garbage cans and cars that have food left inside them.  I live in what is considered "downtown" North Boulder - it's on US 36, the main road from Denver to Rocky Mountain National Park.  A couple of weeks ago, a young (but adult) mountain lion was tranquilized and moved to RMNP from beneath the deck of a house 1/8 mile from US 36, and a couple of blocks from our apartment.  Earlier this week, a friend called to say she had seen a black bear opening trash cans 10 blocks from my apartment, and 6 blocks from her house.  The bears need to consume 15,000 to 20,000 calories per day to hibernate successfully.  And two elementary schools were placed on lock-down due to  the presence of a mother bear and three cubs in there vicinity for a full school day.

Two days ago, Bob Woodward's new book, Fear, was released for sale.  In it, Woodward details a conversation between former National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn and the 45th President.  They were discussing rising interest rates, the deficit, and the national debt, to which the President offered an interesting solution: "We should just go borrow a lot of money, hold it, and then sell it to make money," the book quotes the President.  Cohn told Woodward that he was "astounded" at the President's "lack of basic understanding" about how the government works, and what borrowing would mean.  When Cohn told the President that wouldn't work, the President came up with an alternative resolution - "Just run the presses," the President told him.  "Print money."  Gary Cohn again tried to explain the basics of debt, inflation, the stock market, and the debt ceiling worked, but the President just kept saying that he should print more money.  Woodward wrote "it was clear that" the President "did not understand the way the US government debt cycle balance sheet worked."
   But this really isn't news.  In May 2016, when the President was running for office, he told CNN's Chris Cuomo, "People said I want to go and buy debt and default on debt, and I mean, these people are crazy. This is the United States government.  First of all, you never have to default because you print the money, I hate to tell you, OK?" 
   Yes, it has been announced that the US will have a $21 trillion national debt at then end of this fiscal year, and not 2020, as previously believed.  But the President believes we can just borrow our way out of debt and then just print more money when he needs it....
   And, with Hurricane Florence about to strike the shore, and with all those other lovely hurricanes lined up behind her, I can't wait to see what this man, who stated, "I, alone, can help you," will do.  Not much, I think.

    It seems that there might be a hold-up in Judge Brett Kavanaugh's Supreme Court bid...  He has been, apparently, accused of unwanted sexual advances....  The FBI has been asked to investigate, and the voting on his SCOTUS seat has been postponed for a week.

   And it was also announced by ABC News that it appears that Paul Manafort has reached a plea deal with prosecutors in his second trial -  this one for 7 felony accounts including lobbying for a foreign country, not being registered as an agent for a foreign country and tampering with witnesses.  ABC stated that it is believed that the plea deal will be announced tomorrow in the Washington DC court.  At this time it is unknown whether he is just pleading guilty to the charges, or if he will assist Robert Mueller's Special Investigation to keep from spending so much time in jail.  (He is 69 years old.)

No comments: