Scattershooting 180115

Scattershooting while wondering what happened to respect for the Constitution as it was written…

WHAT IS THE LINE BETWEEN A TORNADO and NOT A TORNADO?: In SkyPix, I don’t just exhibit photos, I discuss stories, lessons & issues behind them. Please browse this entry on a near-tornado from 2015 near Renfrow, OK. The issues here: Is it a tornado? Where’s the line between tornado and mesocyclone? What is a tornado? Not simple…sometimes the binary yes/no tornado question is too hard to answer, even for those of us who have seen numerous tornadoes over decades, and we just need to accept that. The spectrum can get very messy sometimes. It would be nice to have a mobile-radar interrogation of this, and I have been fortunate to have landed on many of the same storms as the DOW and/or OU+UMass radars the last several years (LaGrange WY, Sulphur OK, El Reno/Piedmont-2011, Dumas-2010, Bennington-13, and several more). Of course, those were no-brainer tornadoes, even the weak ones with the Dumas supercell. Having that data on this storm would have made things far less subjective; but barring that and/or sufficient damage, we’ve got what we’ve got, which is no more than what you see here — visual evidence. So we do the best we can with that, and my best call was, “not quite a tornado”. I am more than secure enough in my own skin not to let any sort of “notch in the gun” mentality infect reasoned judgment!

CLIVEN BUNDY, RUBY RIDGE and the CONSTITUTION: Both the Bundys and the Feds did wrong things that escalated all this. Regardless, the standoff happened, the Feds lied and covered up, and this dismissal of charges “with prejudice” (defendants cannot be tried for those charges again) by Judge Navarro. [This judge is an Obama nominee and Hispanic woman with no intrinsic reason to side with the Bundys, if that matters to you, and was in fact sued to be dismissed by the Bundys.] This dismissal simply was the right thing for her to do. For once, a Federal judge simply compared what happened to the Constitution and acted accordingly, despite all the reason in the world she had to do otherwise. Kudos to her. The Constitution still matters, at least in this one instance. Whether you or I agree with the Bundys’ opinions on Federal land and cattle ranching is irrelevant. That’s not the issue here. The Bundy family (and the Weaver family in the early 1990s, much as I disagree with their stance on separatism!) was and is entitled to the same Constitutional rights of due process as everybody else. Whether you like it or not, our Constitutional rights are supposed to be completely blind to sociopolitical opinion. Nowhere does the Bill of Rights say “except” or “unless”. If you think it does, prove it , in the literal, black-and-white words of the text. In fact, the Constitution is designed specifically to protect unpopular opinion. If that bothers you, suck it up and deal with it.

NFL CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP GAMES: Amazing. One team with a starting backup QB — either Minnesota or Philadelphia — is going to the Super Bowl. It could be a Jeff Hostetler situation. Of course, if Brady is on the other side, forget I brought it up. He is the king until deposed. In the meantime, congratulations, all Vikings fans. You have put up with a lot of futility and bad breaks over the years (though I still say Drew Pearson did not push off in ’75!). I’ll be rooting for MN all the way in PHL..and not just because I can’t stand PHL!


I just got back from vacation to Hawaii (the Big Island) a week before their infamous nuclear-attack false alarm, and inexcusably long time to retract. [By contrast, in 1971, this more vague but still ominous false alarm went out, and was retracted within five minutes!] A friend who lives in Hawaii, and who is involved with their emergency weather-warning system, stated on social media: “Real kudos to our local media (broadcast and print) for swiftly getting to the bottom of things yesterday and demanding answers. Mistakes like this are never fun but the public deserves to know. I would say, though, to be cautious about putting all of your anger and blame on one single person. A root-cause analysis of these things typically reveals several things went wrong. It’s possible the software was very hastily and poorly designed in the rush to get a procedure in place. Experience tells me this will not be Hawaii’s last false alarm. It certainly wasn’t our first. We’ve had other, similar things happen over the years, unfortunately. Hawaii is a vulnerable place, the most isolated island group in the world. You NEED to be fully prepared for an emergency if you live here. When we have a disaster, and (just like in Puerto Rico) help is not going to come right away after a disaster strikes. I wish people took the hurricane and tsunami threat as seriously as they apparently take ballistic missile threats. And finally: Shame on those of you who selfishly and stupidly acted foolhardy, reckless, and put lives at risk, panicking during the false alarm.”

I can’t state it better, and agree completely. I am a parent, and have taught my now-adult children to use reason and not emotion when decision-making under stress. [Whether they choose to do so and make rational decisions, or panic and endanger people, is up to them, but they know that self-control is a choice.] Rationality vs. emotion can be the difference in living vs. dying. And as someone who has worked in a clunky and inefficient bureaucracy for decades, I stand firmly behind the notion that procedures can fail just as readily as people, and should be examined and held accountable too. If a rule/procedure/software goes bad, change the damned rule/procedure/software!

RACISM AGAINST OWN RACE: It is possible to be racist against your own kind. I see it often on social media, especially amongst self-loathing white liberals. Racism is not necessarily defined by the color of the perpetrator. From “dictionary dot com”, racism is: “A belief or doctrine that inherent differences among the various human racial groups determine cultural or individual achievement, usually involving the idea that one’s own race is superior and has the right to dominate others or that a particular racial group is inferior to the others.” That doesn’t rule out one’s own group. If you believe whites are inferior, even if you are white, you are racist. If you believe blacks are inferior, regardless of your color, you are racist. Same goes if you’re any other race. That is the end of that.


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