News PM Punch — ‘Cyclone Cleopatra’

November 19, 2013

newsmanOvercast and gray this afternoon on California’s north coast, but the outside feels warm, almost an ironic-balmy for around here — temperatures in the mid 60s, a wind whispering from the north, totally-not unpleasant.

A surprise for me, weather-wise, was news of another chaotic, deadly storm, this one/this time was in the Mediterranean, dubbed Cyclone Cleopatra, which clobbered the Italian island of Sardinia earlier today, killing 18 people.

The storm was full of moisture — in a hurry, more than 17 inches of rain: The mayor of Olbia, the north-eastern Sardinian town among the worst-affected areas, said the sudden flooding had burst “like a bomb” with the same amount of water falling in 90 minutes as falls in the city of Milan in six months.
Prime Minister Enrico Letta called Cleopatra’s aftermath, a “national disaster.” And seemingly, rare-assed weather:

“This was an absolutely extraordinary event,” Letta said, with one expert telling AFP that a storm of such intensity and with such high rainfall had not been seen on the picturesque holiday island “for centuries.”

A lot of the old patterns are falling away as the planet warms. Although not that infrequent, the tornadoes crashing across the US Midwest this past weekend were also considered out-of-season, and just a tiny-bit rare. And after some investigation, the tornado outbreak was complicated and pretty massive.
According to Wunderblog , there were two EF-4 tornadoes, and one strong EF-3 in Illinois, 85 preliminary tornado reports from Sunday, with a grand total of 572 severe weather reports, the highest this year.
Dr. Jeff Masters adds this: Sunday’s outbreak will probably rank as the second to fourth most prolific November tornado outbreak since 1950. But what was really remarkable about the outbreak was how far north it extended.
Shifting sands of warm water.

Meanwhile, in other shit not weather-related but just as chaotic, was this piece from TechDirt on the real reason behind the fuck-up of Obamacare’s Website — politics.
Contracting cash:

You’ve got companies like… Booz Allen Hamilton, famous for promoting cyberwar hype and employing Ed Snowden.
There’s defense contracting giant Northrup Grumman.
Then there’s SAIC — which I can’t believe can still get government business.
This is the same firm that famously was given a $380 million contract to revamp the FBI system, on which it went $220 million over budget, and then saw the entire system scrapped after it (literally) brought some users to tears, and the FBI realized it was useless in fighting terrorism.
SAIC is also the company that NYC Mayor Bloomberg demanded return $600 million after a city computer project (budgeted at $68 million) actually cost $740 million.
SAIC has a long list of similar spectacular failures on government IT projects.

Clowns with no sense of the “internet native” world.

And cause and effect: The president’s job approval rating has fallen to 42 percent in a new ABC News/Washington Post poll, down 13 percentage points this year and 6 points in the past month to match the lowest of his presidency. Fifty-five percent disapprove, a record. And 70 percent say the country’s headed seriously off on the wrong track – up 13 points since May to the most in two years (via ABC News).

Near-dark now — time for Colbert on Hulu.

(Illustration above found here).

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