I spent most of Sunday night in my closet.

Not in the coming-out-of-the-closet figurative way: I actually was lying on a down comforter on top of a foam pad with two pillows while hurricane Irma pounded away outdoors. I’m fortunate to have a closet large enough to sleep in, and it was the quietest place to be. I played my old Gregorian Chant by the monks of Santo Domingo de Silos CD that I had uploaded into the iPod years ago, and dozed on and off.

By 5:00am or so the wind had died down enough that I went back to my bed. Power was cut off at 5:45am with a “pop!”

Living through Irma in Central Florida was as frightening as when I spent hurricane Sandy in the family room of my Princeton house in 2012. I would have much preferred to have been dining with Pete and Stacy instead.

However, the amount of damage where I live was minimal. No flooding, a few tree limbs down, no electricity, but the house was completely intact, and we had natural gas and running water. We were under tropical storm warning until 4pm on Monday and it remained cloudy, but the strong breeze helped to dissipate the humidity and cool the house.

This is the view from the back porch at 10am Monday,

My sister in Miami, who had fifteen (!) people staying at her house, also had no damage to her property – and neither did any of her guests.

We are grateful beyond measure.

The local FM radio station has been covering live on talk radio since before the storm, and they have done a great service to the entire area with very informative updates and a great amount of emotional support to all the callers. Local officials, utility company spokespersons, rescue personnel, owners of private businesses, all regularly call in with updates.

Electricity was restored yesterday, much to our delight. The food in the freezer didn’t thaw.

Parts of Florida are greatly affected, but every person and organization (private and public) in the state is working towards restoring normality. The coordination between public and private is extraordinary. I have never experienced anything like it.

If you are traveling to Florida, make sure to check your route/airport in advance. For instance, Miami International airport is still under limited schedule.

On the bright side, the Gainesville Police Department promises a calendar, and perhaps the officers from Sarasota may, too.

In thankful praise to Our Lord,

UPDATE:
For the win,
Nun With A Chainsaw Becomes Symbol Of Post-Irma Cleanup: ‘She Rocks

Fausta Rodríguez Wertz writes on U. S. and Latin America at Fausta’s blog

by baldilocks

Consider this excerpt a preamble to a question.

There’s no question that Irma was and continues to be destructive. But there’s also no question that it was not nearly the storm it was predicted by all the experts to be.

Last week, there was talk of massive destruction across [Florida], with damage estimates ranging up to $200 billion. Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levin called it “a nuclear hurricane.” Storm tracks last week showed Irma remaining a Category 4 hurricane for a significant portion of its trek across Florida. When Irma shifted to the west as it approached, it was described as the “worst-case scenario” for the state.

However, when Irma made landfall in the U.S., it’s strength quickly diminished and the actual damages

to Florida in dollar terms will likely be 75% lower than predicted.

While those dire forecasts were being made, environmentalists and politicians were busy pinning the blame on global warming.

It was the same after Hurricane Harvey caused massive flooding in Houston. It’s the case whenever there is an adverse weather event. If there’s a drought, it’s because of “climate change.” If there’s flooding, climate change. Wild fires, climate change. Blizzards? Climate change.

So will environmentalists credit climate change for Irma’s unexpected turn for the better?

During the onslaught of Hurricane Harvey and as Irma was making its way through the Caribbean, this bit of Facebook logic was making the rounds.

So, here’s my question: if Donald Trump or some unseen actor can produce hurricanes and other types of weather phenomena at will, what’s all the climate change fuss about?

Yes, I’m joking. (Can’t be too careful these days.)

On a serious note, much of the Caribbean was devastated by Irma. Pray for them and take action, if you’re inclined to do so.

FURTHER SERIOUSNESS: The task set before Houstonians.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel tentatively titled Arlen’s Harem, will be done one day soon! Follow her on Twitter and on Gab.ai.

Please contribute to Juliette’s JOB:  Her new novel, her blog, her Internet to keep the latter going and COFFEE to keep her going!

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At that time some people who were present there told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with the blood of their sacrifices.  He said to them in reply, “Do you think that because these Galileans suffered in this way they were greater sinners than all other Galileans?  By no means! But I tell you, if you do not repent, you will all perish as they did!  Or those eighteen people who were killed when the tower at Siloam fell on them do you think they were more guilty than everyone else who lived in Jerusalem?  By no means! But I tell you, if you do not repent, you will all perish as they did!”

Luke 11:1-5

We interrupt our Robert Stacy McCain in Massachusetts blogging to note something concerning Hurricane Irma.

When last I brought up Irma it was to use the vast differences between the US and European computer models for Irma’s projected path three days out illustrate the absurdity of making economic policy based on computer models of climate 50 to 100  years out.

Since then several of my Magnificent Seven writers have given the subject, particularly those in Irma’s projected path, their full attention but while I’ve kept an interested eye on the path of the storm I’ve been too busy with my houseguest Robert Stacy McCain and the event we put on yesterday to write anything on the subject.

There has however been a development on the subject worth of interrupting of Stacy McCain in Massachusetts blogging (which will resume after this post) namely it’s shift in path:

 Hurricane Irma’s leading edges whipped palm trees and kicked up the surf as it spun toward Florida with 125 mph winds Saturday on a projected new track that could subject Tampa — not Miami — to the storm’s worst fury.

Tampa has not taken a direct hit from a major hurricane in nearly a century.

The westward swing away from Miami in the overnight forecast caught many people off guard along Florida’s Gulf coast and triggered an abrupt shift in storm preparations. A major round of evacuations was ordered in the Tampa area, and shelters there soon began filling up.

This story brings two points to mind the first scientific:

If you were looking at the various computer models I was mentioning plus a few others this change in path would be a massive surprise as the idea that Tampa might be the possible target wasn’t really on your radar.  This is why residents of Tampa Bay are now scrambling to get ready for the storm heading their way.

In my opinion this doesn’t poorly reflect on the State’s moves to evacuate people in the path, nor on those who produced the models as they were based on the best data available.  Furthermore hurricanes being “complex natural phenomena that involve multiple interacting processes” it’s always possible that there will be another shift so given the immediate danger it’s better to be safe than sorry.

However it DOES reinforce my point concerning making decades long range economic decisions over computer models forecasting 50 to 100 years out. It’s one thing to take a week long economic hit when life is in clear and visible danger, it’s quite another, to redirect hundreds of billions toward the well connected for an ephemeral threat three to five generations in the future based on computer models whose variables are astoundingly vast and the hysteria of individuals who are incredibly shallow.

But there is a second point to be made, a social one:

One of the more disgraceful things we’ve been seeing from our friends on the left has been the apparent glee that they’ve expressed at the imminent danger to those they blame for the results of the election.  Despite the left eschewing all things religious they’ve apparently bought into the idea that this is a sign of God’s wrath at trump voters ,ignoring the fact that the President got few votes from Cuba and Haiti and Puerto Rico where Irma has vented so far.

So imagine their dismay at the shift in Irma’s path given the voter data Hillsbourough County including Tampa Bay from election 2016 showing that Hillary Clinton defeated Donald Trump in Tampa Bay by nearly seven points!

Now to any properly catechized Christian the entire concept is offensive.  First of all Christ specifically warned about this type of misconception over and over again both in the quote from Luke above and in dealing with the man born blind (John Chapt 9), but more importantly for a Christian all of the people both those already affected by the storm and those potentially affected are souls of equal value before God and deserving our help and support during this time of need,  furthermore as a pluralistic society it is our obligation to help our fellow americans in this crisis no matter who they are.

But I am curious to hear how those who so confidently expressed their delight at the plight of trump voters handle mother nature’s apparent change of heart.  Isn’t Irma woke?  Has mother nature donned a MAGA hat?  Perhaps ANTIFA should declare her a fascist and the Southern Poverty Law Center will label her a white supremacist and put her on a watch list.  I can see the marches and hear the protest chants now:

Hey Hey, Ho Ho, Mother Nature has got to go!


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We live lives of privilege.

We can spend hours debating politics, deciding what to wear to work, which running shoes to buy, which cut of beef to grill with shrimp and veggies for dinner, and where to spend our vacations.

We also spend substantial amounts of money, time and effort on our homes. In addition to my blog and reading addictions, my greatest and probably most expensive addiction is my house, HGTV included. I have purchased, improved, lived in, and sold three houses.

I bought my fourth house, moved in last month, and have spent a great deal of time unpacking and deciding what to keep and what to toss. Yes, I should have done that when I first left NJ for FL, but was renting an old townhouse with a popcorn ceilings and knew I was going to buy a different house later on, so here I am, sorting and unpacking. I’ve even been trying to decide whether or not to add curtains (I’m not a curtains person).

These past days my obsession has been Hurricane Irma, as you already know. From the looks of the latest forecast models, my area of central Florida will get hit with 100 mph winds (category 2) at 2am Monday, which I’m dreading. My rational brain knows I live in a well-constructed concrete house with underground utilities away from the waters in an area where people from Miami have come for shelter. My irrational brain worries.

I spent a scary Hurricane Sandy in my house in NJ reading the Psalms out loud so I wouldn’t have to listen to the wind. My house was untouched by the storm. All I needed to do was to schedule having a few tree limbs removed from the yard and stay in a hotel until the electricity was back. Sandy’s eye was almost eighty miles away; Irma apparently will be ripping right through Florida.

I am, of course, worried about possible damage to my new house, but I’m also worried about relatives who decided to stay in Miami. They are hardy folk who have lived in Miami for decades and are definitely less worried than I, a newcomer. In contrast, a friend who also has lived in Miami for decades is not taking any chances, shuttering down her house and sheltering at the hospital where her husband works.

Having Jim Cantore in Miami does not ease my worries at all.

I’ve been reading hundreds of Facebook posts on Irma. The more annoying are those urging all people in Florida (population 20 million) to “get the [insert expletive] out.” The more encouraging are photo journals of friends living in Puerto Rico who now have no electricity and water but whose homes and cars are intact and were not flooded.

Yes, life is tough. Yes, there are bigger things and existential questions we should be concerned about. Yes, we are blessed every day, for which I am abundantly grateful.

But yes, I’m superficial enough I’d rather be thinking about curtains instead.

Fausta Rodríguez Wertz writes on U. S. and Latin America at Fausta’s blog

Y’know what’s worse than being in the path of a hurricane? Having loved ones in the path, when you’re far away and can’t do a whole lot to help. I’m with Fausta, in that my mind is elsewhere right now.

Of course, it’s altogether possible that Irma will come up the coast and visit my neighborhood after she’s done with Florida. It’s a sign of the times that the thought of being assailed by Irma is easier to grasp than the thought of an ineffectual GOP majority in Washington.

So, hurricane thoughts:

Be prepared, just like they taught us in Scouts. If it’s not a hurricane now, it’ll be an ice storm in December or a blizzard next March. Don’t be That Person going after the last water, bread and milk at the grocery store. (Because I am likely to be That Person, and I hate competition.)

Storm-chasers are a special breed, and I’m still trying to figure out if that’s a good thing. Neighbors of mine are indulging themselves by heading south to observe Irma, up close and personal. Part of me is looking forward to their reports, which are sure to be fascinating – and part of me is thinking “y’all are plumb crazy.”

If you haven’t seen this one, join me in a toast to the Delta crew that flew a 737 to San Juan as Irma bore down – and then out, the last plane to leave before air traffic control closed up shop for the duration.

Finally, let’s spare a thought for everyone caught up in the western fires. That part of the USA could use the rain that those of us to the east and south are enduring. I’m off to Washington state shortly, and I’ve been warned to expect ash on everything the way we New Englanders get springtime pollen.

May you and yours be safe in the face of storms of all kinds.

Ellen Kolb is a writer and pro-life activist living in New Hampshire. Read more of her work at EllenKolb.com/blog.

Don’t forget that Da Tech Guy is hosting Robert Stacy McCain for “Buffet, Books, & Blather” in Leominster on September 9.

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As expected, the President’s announcement on the DACA (the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals) program was going to create a controversy.

Andrew McCarthy explains why DACA is defective (emphasis added),

Contrary to much of the public commentary, the defect in DACA is not that it was done in the form of an executive action (under the guise of a Department of Homeland Security memorandum). There is nothing wrong with an executive order that merely directs the lawful operations of the executive branch.

The problem is the substance of executive action. DACA is defective in two ways. First, it presumes to exercise legislative power by conferring positive legal benefits on a category of aliens (the “dreamers,” as concisely described in Yuval Levin’s Corner post). Second, it distorts the doctrine of prosecutorial discretion to rationalize this presidential legislating and to grant a de facto amnesty. These maneuvers violated core constitutional principles: separation of powers and the president’s duty to execute the laws faithfully.

I recommend McCarthy’s article, and fully agree with his statement “There has never been a shred of honesty in the politics of DACA.”

Indeed, a few years ago a naturalized citizen who was brought here as a child by undocumented parents (both parents are now back in their country of origin) explained to me that they were very suspicious of any governmental act that had you declare names, addresses and other data without clear legal limitations on the use of that information.

Immigration is a very important issue, but my mind is on other things. I bought a house and have spent the last month unpacking (less than 10 boxes to go!) in Central Florida. Now Irma‘s turning up in the map:

If Irma does turn into Florida, NHC currently has it going right through the center of the state at 2 a.m. Monday, passing directly through Miami. Irma is likely to remain a Category 5 or 4 hurricane for at least the next couple of days.

“The next couple of days” may mean that Irma could die down to a category three by Saturday, which would be a  very good thing for Florida.

The map looks like so much spaghetti,

As Rush Limbaugh pointed out,  You can accomplish a lot just by creating fear and panic. Uncertainty is fertile ground for fear and panic, both on immigration and on the weather.

Having said that, August was a very stressful month, so I’m hoping Irma loses strength soon, and especially . . . if it gets to Florida.

Fausta Rodríguez Wertz writes on U. S. and Latin America at Fausta’s blog